Netflix, Apple Cross Swords In Indian Streaming Market

 

 

Competition in India’s booming streaming market is heating up as Netflix joins forces with a director of Bollywood feel-good blockbusters and Apple launches its TV platform for 99 rupees ($1.39) a month.

Netflix announced late Wednesday a long-term partnership with Karan Johar’s Dharmatic Entertainment to make a range of new fiction and non-fiction series and films for the platform.

Johar has directed eight films including “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” with Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan, and “Raazi”, nominated for best picture at next week’s Indian International Film Academy (IIFA) Awards, dubbed the Bollywood Oscars.

“It’s going to be P.H.A.T — pretty hot and tempting,” said Johar, whose Dharma Entertainment is one of India’s biggest production firms and which already teamed up with Netflix for the successful “Lust Stories” anthology.

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Netflix launched in India in 2016 and two of its Indian-made series have won critical acclaim — “Sacred Games” starring Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and “Leila” with Huma Qureishi.

But Netflix faces stiff competition in Asia’s third-largest economy as Amazon’s Prime Video, Disney’s Hotstar, Alt Balaji and other local platforms jostle for digital subscriptions and eyeballs.

US technology giant Apple on Wednesday announced the launch of its streaming platform Apple TV+ in India, hoping to upend competition.

Netflix is available in India from 199 rupees a month and as millions of first-time users access internet in Asia’s third-largest economy, analysts expect competition to intensify.

India’s video-streaming industry is expected to grow at nearly 22 percent per annum to 119 billion rupees ($1.7 billion) by 2023 according to consultancy PwC, Bloomberg News reported.

Netflix chief Reed Hastings has said the company’s goal is 100 million customers in India — almost 25 times its estimated subscriber base there as of this year, Bloomberg said.

14 Confirmed Dead In Mumbai Building Collapse As Rescue Operation Ends

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 16, 2019, Indian National Disaster Response Force and Indian fire brigade personnel rescue a survivor from after a building collapsed in Mumbai. Punit PARANJPE / AFP

 

Rescuers Wednesday called off the search for survivors after a building collapsed during heavy monsoon rains in India’s financial capital Mumbai, killing 14 people.

Heavy monsoon rains on Tuesday trapped more than 40 people after the building crumbled in southern Mumbai’s congested Dongri area, with rescuers and volunteers struggling to conduct their search among the narrow lanes.

Disaster management spokesman Tanaji Kamble told AFP that 14 people, including four women and three children, lost their lives in the collapse.

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India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said a woman was pulled alive from the rubble earlier Wednesday, although her young children died.

“We rescued 28-year-old Alima Indrasi with her two children early on Wednesday morning,” India’s National Disaster Response Force spokesman Sachidanand Gawde told AFP.

“She has sustained injuries but is undergoing treatment and her children did not survive.”

The plight of the residents in the 100-year-old building, which was due to be redeveloped, has highlighted the perilous state of Mumbai’s ageing infrastructure.

The tragedy is the second collapse to hit Mumbai in two weeks and the third in Maharashtra state.

A wall collapsed in the city killing 30 people in July, and 15 died in the nearby city of Pune when another wall gave way the previous month.

Building collapses in Mumbai, home to around 20 million people, are common during the monsoon season with rickety structures buckling under the weight of continuous rain.

Across South Asia, torrential downpours have swept away homes, triggered landslides and claimed at least 200 lives.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday tweeted his condolences to the victims’ families, describing the incident as “anguishing”.

vm-abh/grk/gle

© Agence France-Presse

 

 

Two Dead, Over 40 Trapped In Mumbai Building Collapse

Indian National Disaster Response Force and Indian fire brigade personnel rescue a survivor after a building collapsed in Mumbai on July 16, 2019/AFP

 

Two people were killed and more than 40 trapped under the rubble after a building collapsed as heavy monsoon rains lashed India’s financial capital Mumbai on Tuesday, officials said, the second such tragedy in two weeks.

Torrential downpours have swept away homes, triggered landslides and claimed at least 180 lives across South Asia.

“Two people have been declared dead and over 40 are trapped under the debris,” disaster management spokesman Tanaji Kamble told AFP of the building collapse in southern Mumbai’s congested Dongri area.

Kamble said five others, including two children, were rescued and taken to hospital.

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Earlier this month, a wall collapsed in the city, killing 29 people.

Two teams from India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as well as local volunteers, fire department and police officials were scouring the rubble for survivors.

“The building collapse sounded like an earthquake and we rushed to the spot to check the loud noise,” a local resident told Indian news channel NDTV.

Another resident said the building was more than a century old and had 10 families living inside despite its dilapidated condition.

Building collapses in Mumbai, home to 20 million people, are common during the monsoon season because of rickety structures that buckle under the weight of continuous rain.

India Recovers 13 Bodies After Monsoon Dam Breach

 

Thirteen bodies have been recovered in western India after the heaviest monsoon rains in a decade breached a dam and caused mayhem in Mumbai, authorities said Thursday.

Eleven people were still missing after the dam in Ratnagiri, around 275 kilometres (170 miles) south of Mumbai, burst on Wednesday and swamped seven local villages, rescuers said.

“We have commenced rescue operations for the second day and recovered 13 dead bodies. We are still trying to find remaining victims,” National Disaster Response Force spokesman Alok Awasthy told AFP.

In Mumbai, the death toll from a wall collapse in a slum on Tuesday rose to 26 as the city braced for 200 millimetres (eight inches) of fresh rain forecast in the coming days.

READ ALSO: Collapsed Wall Kills 22 In Mumbai Monsoon Chaos

Six labourers also died in the nearby city of Pune when another wall collapsed on Tuesday.

Building collapses and dam breaches are common during the monsoon in India due to dilapidated structures that buckle under the weight of continuous rain.

Torrential downpours in Mumbai — a city of 20 million — earlier this week caused traffic misery as floods swamped roads and railways and forced the closure of the airport’s main runway, which remained off limits on Thursday.

India’s second-busiest airport cancelled 75 flights on Wednesday and more than 100 on Tuesday, causing chaos for passengers.

AFP

Collapsed Wall Kills 22 In Mumbai Monsoon Chaos

 

A wall collapsed and killed at least 22 people in Mumbai on Tuesday as the heaviest monsoon rains in a decade brought chaos to India’s financial capital and surrounding areas.

Scores more were injured when the structure came down at nighttime in a slum, said Tanaji Kamble, a disaster management spokesman for Mumbai’s local authority.

By late Tuesday one more person had succumbed to injuries, increasing the previous death toll of 21, the Press Trust of India reported.

The tragedy came during heavy rains which lashed the teeming coastal city of 20 million residents for a second consecutive day, bringing it to a virtual standstill.

Authorities declared Tuesday a public holiday and advised all residents to stay indoors. Schools and colleges were closed while more than 100 flights were either cancelled or diverted from Mumbai airport.

The airport’s main runway was shut after a SpiceJet plane carrying 167 passengers and crew overshot it shortly before midnight Monday.

“Currently secondary runway is in use, our team is trying their best to bring the main runway back in operation and this may take up to 48 hrs,” the airport tweeted.

READ ALSO: Eight Dead, 15 Missing After Indian Dam Breach

According to Skymet Weather, a private weather-tracking agency, large swathes of Mumbai received around 350 millimetres (13 inches) of rain overnight into Tuesday morning, the most in a decade.

The deluge left low-lying areas submerged.

“Everything around us is flooded. It’s scary and the problem persists every year despite government promises,” Vishal Agawane, a 32-year-old resident of the Dharavi slum, told AFP.

Around 1,000 people living close to the city’s Mithi river were evacuated to higher ground as it threatened to burst its banks, said Kamble, the disaster management spokesman.

Waterlogged tracks disrupted train services on Mumbai’s colonial-era rail network, a lifeline for the city’s population, while motorists were seen pushing cars through flooded streets.

Rescuers sifted through the debris of the collapsed wall in Mumbai’s north, hoping to find more survivors.

‘Begging for water’

The dead included a 10-year-old girl, who was trapped alive under the debris for hours before rescuers pulled out her body in a 12-hour unsuccessful operation.

A local rescue volunteer earlier in the day told the NDTV channel that they heard the girl crying in pain and begging for water.

Building collapses are common during the monsoon, when dilapidated structures buckle under the weight of continuous rain.

Three people, including a toddler, were also killed Tuesday in Thane district, which borders Mumbai, when a wall collapsed at a school.

Two waiters were electrocuted after rainwater gushed into a restaurant and came in contact with a live wire in Thane. Another person was critically injured.

And six labourers died near the western city of Pune, 150 kilometres (around 100 miles) from Mumbai, when a wall fell onto their makeshift shacks. At least 15 labourers died in a similar accident on Saturday.

Mumbai’s streets regularly flood during the monsoon, which runs from June until September or October, and which provides India with most of its annual rainfall.

In 2005, 950 millimetres (37 inches) of rain fell on the coastal metropolis in just 24 hours, killing more than 500 people.

At least 10 people died in August 2017, when intense rainfall brought the commercial hub to a virtual standstill for two days.

Activists say Mumbai’s susceptibility to floods has worsened in recent years due to a construction boom that is trying to keep up with the city’s swelling population.

Much of Mumbai’s mangrove cover, which helps drain water, has been destroyed over the past decade to make way for glitzy highrises.

According to various studies, anywhere between 40 to 50 percent of the city’s population live in slums, which become a sea of blue tarpaulin every monsoon as residents try to keep out the rain.

AFP

Eight Dead, 15 Missing After Indian Dam Breach

 

Eight people were killed and at least 15 were missing on Wednesday after the heaviest monsoon rains in a decade breached a dam in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, authorities said.

In the state capital Mumbai, the death toll from a wall collapse in a slum on Tuesday following the torrential downpour reached 24, with more rain expected in coming days.

Heavy rain continued to lash the coastal city of 20 million people Wednesday, bringing it to a virtual standstill as flooding cut train lines, closed the airport’s main runway and caused traffic misery.

Building collapses and dam breaches are common during the monsoon in India due to dilapidated structures that buckle under the weight of continuous rain.

India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) told AFP they were using drones over the area flooded by the breach of Tiware dam, around 275 kilometres (170 miles) from Mumbai.

READ ALSO: Collapsed Wall Kills 22 In Mumbai Monsoon Chaos

“We have located eight dead bodies and over 15 people are still missing,” said spokesman Alok Awasthy.

Police teams and government officials were also helping rescue efforts.

In the state capital, a spokesman for the local authority said the death toll from the wall collapse in a slum in the north of the city had risen to 24, with many others being treated for injuries.

Six labourers also died in the nearby city of Pune when another wall collapsed.

India’s weather department has warned of “extremely heavy rainfall” in parts of Mumbai in coming days.

After more than 100 flights were either cancelled or diverted from Mumbai airport on Tuesday, officials announced the operations on the main runway were still closed.

According to Skymet Weather, a private-weather tracking agency, Mumbai faces serious risks of flooding with more than 200 millimetres (eight inches) of rain expected in the next few days.

15 Killed As Wall Collapses In Monsoon-Hit Mumbai

Rescue workers and onlookers look for survivors at the site of a wall collapse in Mumbai on July 2, 2019.  PUNIT PARANJPE / AFP

 

At least 15 people were killed in India’s financial capital of Mumbai early Tuesday when a wall collapsed during torrential monsoon downpours.

Another 69 were injured when the structure came down around 2 am (2030 GMT Monday) in a slum settlement, Tanaji Kamble, a disaster management spokesman for Mumbai’s local authority, told AFP.

The tragedy came as the teeming coastal settlement of 20 million residents was lashed by heavy rains for a second consecutive day, bringing the city to a virtual standstill.

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Authorities declared Tuesday a public holiday and advised all residents to stay indoors. Schools and colleges were closed while flights were diverted from Mumbai’s main airport.

Large swathes of Mumbai received around 100 millimetres (4 inches) of rain overnight into Tuesday morning, leaving low-lying parts submerged in water.

Train services on Mumbai’s colonial-era rail network, a lifeline for the city’s population, were reduced due to waterlogged tracks while motorists were seen pushing cars through flooded streets.

Rescuers were sifting through the wreckage of the wall that collapsed in a slum area in Mumbai’s north, in the hope of finding more survivors trapped under rubble.

“Rescue operations are underway and more details are awaited. Besides, a team of the fire brigade and local police also reached the spot and took control of the situation,” a National Disaster Response Force official told the Press Trust of India news agency.

Mumbai’s streets regularly flood during the monsoon, which runs from June until September or October, and which provides India with most of its annual rainfall.

In 2005, 950 millimetres (37 inches) of rain fell on the coastal metropolis in just 24 hours, killing more than 500 people.

In August 2017, intense rainfall brought the commercial hub to a virtual standstill for two days and left at least 10 people dead.

Building collapses are common during the monsoon when dilapidated structures buckle under the weight of continuous rain.

Activists say Mumbai’s susceptibility to floods has worsened in recent years due to a construction boom that is trying to keep up with the city’s swelling population.

Much of Mumbai’s mangrove cover, which is extremely effective in helping to drain water, has been destroyed over the past decade to make way for glitzy high-rises.

According to various studies, anywhere between 40 to 50 per cent of the city’s population live in slums, which become a sea of blue tarpaulin every monsoon as residents try to keep out the rain.

AFP

Six Killed, 100 Injured As Fire Guts Hospital In Mumbai

 

No fewer than six persons have been reported dead after fire engulfed a hospital in Mumbai on Monday.

Officials say more than 100 were injured in the latest disaster which raises concerns about fire safety in India.

The blaze broke out around 4:00 pm (1130 GMT) on the fourth floor of the government-run ESIC Kamgar hospital in the northern suburb of Andheri.

Six people died, according to a statement released by the civic authority’s disaster management cell. Around 150 patients, doctors and nurses were rescued.

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“They were rescued from different floors by firemen using ladders,” a disaster management official told the Press Trust of India news agency, adding that they were then taken to other hospitals for treatment.

He added that the cause of the fire was not yet known.

Accidental fires are common across India because of poor safety standards and lax enforcement of regulations. They are particularly common in densely populated Mumbai, India’s financial capital.

In December last year at least 14 people were killed when a huge blaze tore through a popular restaurant in the city.

Earlier that month a fire swept through a Mumbai sweet shop, sparking a building collapse which killed 12 sleeping workers.

 

AFP

Five Killed In Mumbai Plane Crash

File: Aircraft queue up on the tarmac due to monsoon showers delays before taking off at Mumbai airport on June 7, 2018.

 

A small plane crashed into a construction site in a densely populated part of India’s financial capital Mumbai on Thursday, killing five people including one on the ground, officials said.

Images broadcast on Indian news channels showed flames and black smoke billowing from the area, which sits right next to several high-rise residential towers.

There were four people on the 12-seater aircraft, disaster management officials said, with witnesses reporting hearing a loud blast as it smashed into a half-built structure.

“There was a huge explosion and the adjacent tree caught fire and the fire spilled on the streets,” a man was quoted as saying on the NDTV news channel.

“Initially we assumed an electric box in the under-construction building must have caught fire but when we checked out the spot, we found the charred body of a man who apparently was on bike when the plane crashed,” he added.

A woman, who was also not named, reported hearing three loud explosions and described seeing a “major fire”.

Video footage posted online showed bright orange flames licking the side of a building next to a construction site.

Other images shot after the fire was put out showed firemen sifting through the twisted wreckage of the twin-prop plane as crowds looked on.

The white tailfin seemed to be the only recognisable part of the aircraft not consumed in the blaze.
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the plane was a turbo-prop King Air C-90 and had been on a test flight from the nearby Juhu airstrip.

“There were two pilots and two aircraft maintenance engineers on board. All on board (the) aircraft along with one person on ground are dead,” the DGCA statement read.

– ‘Completely charred’ –

A medical officer at Rajawadi hospital, where the victims were taken, said the dead included three men and two women.

“There bodies were completely charred due to the fire,” she told AFP, adding that two injured had also been admitted and were in a stable condition.

It was not raining at the time of the accident and weather did not appear to have been a factor in the crash.

DGCA said it was sending a team to investigate the cause, adding that the aircraft was owned by a private operator who had purchased it from the Uttar Pradesh state government.

P Rahangdale, Mumbai’s chief fire officer, said several fire engines had rushed to the spot.

India’s National Disaster Response Force said it was also sending a team to make sure no there were no injured trapped under any rubble at the crash site.

Former Indian Aviation Minister Praful Patel tweeted his condolences and praised the pilot for the guiding the plane into an open area.

“Salute to the pilot who showed presence of mind to avoid a big mishap, saving many lives at the cost of her own life,” he wrote.

There have been several crashes involving small planes in India in recent years.

In 2015 a light aircraft belonging to India’s paramilitary border force crashed after taking off from New Delhi airport, killing 10 people on board.

Ten people were killed in 2011 after an air ambulance crashed into a residential area in Faridabad, near the capital. Seven people on board and three on the ground were killed.

The last deadly air crash involving a commercial plane happened in 2010 when an Air India Boeing 737-800 overshot the runway while landing at Mangalore airport in southern India.

At least 158 passengers were killed and nearly a dozen others survived the crash Spokesman told AFP.

Mumbai Fire Kills At Least 15 – Police

A general view of a building on fire where a rooftop party was being held in Mumbai early on December 29, 2017. At least 14 people were killed when a huge blaze tore through a popular restaurant in Mumbai early December 29, police said, in the latest disaster to raise concerns over fire safety in India.
AFP

Fire tore through a Mumbai building where a rooftop party was being held early Friday, killing at least 15 people and leaving many injured, police said.

The blaze started just after midnight in a top floor restaurant in the centre of the city and quickly spread to two adjacent bars, destroying the entire building in 30 minutes, media reports said.

Most of those who died were women at a party at the restaurant, Mumbai’s disaster management authorities said.

One woman who said she was in the building at the time told of the desperate scenes as people tried to escape.

“There was a stampede and someone pushed me,” Sulbha Arora said on Twitter. “People were running over me even as the ceiling above me was collapsing in flames. Still don’t know how I got out alive. Some powers were definitely protecting me.”

Television footage showed fire engines and emergency teams rushing to the scene as the building was being consumed by flames and dark plumes of smoke rose into the night sky.

“So far the deaths of 15 people have been declared,” S. Jaykumar, a Mumbai police commissioner, told reporters, adding that the cause of the fire was under investigation.

More than a dozen people were taken to nearby hospitals and two were in critical condition, civic authorities said.

Firefighter Sanjay Hiwarle told reporters the blaze was brought under control during the night and a “cooling operation” was underway.

The blaze broke out in the Kamala Mills compound, which houses restaurants and other commercial establishments including hotels, around 12:30 am (1900 GMT), police said.

Several media organisations also use the building and at least three national news channels were affected by the fire, including Times network’s Times Now, Mirror Now and ET Now channels.

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind expressed his condolences on Twitter.

“Disturbing news about the fire in Mumbai. Condolences to the bereaved families and wishing the injured an early recovery. Commend the valiant efforts of fire-fighters and those in rescue ops,” he said.

Accidental fires are common across India because of poor safety standards and lax enforcement of existing regulations.

A fire swept through a sweet shop in Mumbai earlier this month, sparking a building collapse which killed 12 sleeping workers.

In September, a gas cylinder exploded in an unfinished building in Mumbai killing six people.

AFP

Commuter Stampede Kills 22 In Mumbai

Indian pedestrians walk through the scene of a stampede on a railway bridge in Mumbai on September 29, 2017. Commuters stampeded on a Mumbai railway bridge during the morning rush hour September 29 killing at least 15 people, a disaster management official said.
PUNIT PARANJPE / AFP

A commuter stampede on a Mumbai railway bridge during the morning rush hour Friday killed at least 22 people, officials said.

Dozens of people took shelter on the bridge during a sudden monsoon downpour and the deadly crush started as they emerged all at once, Indian Railways spokesman Anil Saxena said.

Avinash Supe, a dean of KEM Hospital, told AFP there were 22 dead.

“There was a huge crowd on the FOB (foot overbridge). Everybody tried to leave at once and it appeared one of them slipped and fell, triggering the stampede,” Saxena told reporters.

The bridge connects the Elphinstone and Parel stations in south Mumbai.

The toll is likely to rise further, a disaster management cell spokesman warned. “It was the peak hour rush but the stampede has been brought under control,” Tanaji Kamble told AFP.

TV footage showed commuters trying to revive the injured by pumping their chests and also carrying some downstairs to street level.

“We put everybody who was injured in cars, police vans and ambulances and tried to take them to the hospital as quickly as possible,” said one witness.

“There were 3-4 women who were badly injured, I don’t know whether they survived.”

Local trains are the lifeline for the 20 million people of Mumbai. Some 7.5 million commuters take the train daily, with services running every three minutes on average.

Hundreds die every year due to losing their grip on the doors, falling while trying to get into packed compartments, hitting electric poles outside or doing stunts while hanging off the train.

Official figures say some 3,400 people died in 2016 either from falling off the trains or while crossing the tracks of what is the world’s most overcrowded suburban rail network.

Stampedes at India’s religious festivals are also common with police and volunteer stewards often overwhelmed by the sheer size of the crowds.

In January, six women died in West Bengal state and last year 24 people were killed after a stampede broke out in the Hindu holy town of Varanasi.

AFP

Three Dead, Dozens Feared Trapped In Mumbai Building Collapse

Indian rescue workers look for survivors at the building collapse site in Mumbai on August 31, 2017. At least three people died and dozens were feared trapped when a building collapsed in India’s financial capital of Mumbai, after days of heavy rain swamped the city.
PUNIT PARANJPE / AFP

At least three people died and dozens were feared trapped when a building collapsed in India’s financial capital of Mumbai Thursday, after days of heavy rain swamped the city.

Rescuers using diggers could be seen sifting through the remains of the four-storey residential building which gave way around 08:40 am (0310 GMT) in the densely populated area of Bhendi Bazaar.

It was the latest deadly housing collapse to strike the teeming metropolis — shining a spotlight on poor construction standards in the Asian country — and came after heavy rains and inundations in the city killed 10 people.

A spokesman for the Mumbai civic authority’s disaster control team said three bodies had been pulled from the rubble.

“Three people are dead and thirteen injured have been rescued from the building collapse. Two firemen also have been injured during the rescue operations,” Tanaji Kamble, told AFP.

An official in the control room of India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said dozens more were thought to be trapped, he added.

“Forty people are believed to be stuck inside and a 43-member team is conducting rescue operations,” the official told AFP.

He said eight or nine families were thought to have been living in the building.

Building collapses are common in Mumbai, especially during the monsoon season from late June to September, when heavy rains lash the western Indian city.

Severe downpours began on Tuesday and caused flooding across Mumbai and the neighbouring region of Thane.

The collapse came as officials said the death toll from the floods was expected to rise above 10, despite the waters receding after better weather.

“We are still on the lookout for more missing persons and the number may go up,” Santosh Kadam, spokesman for disaster control in Thane, told AFP.

Bhendi Bazaar, a scruffy colonial-era market, is one of Mumbai’s most historic districts.

It is currently undergoing a six-hundred-million-dollar redevelopment project that is set to replace hundreds of ramshackle, decades-old low-rise buildings with around a dozen glitzy new tower blocks.

Mumbai has been hit by several deadly building collapses in recent years, often caused by shoddy construction, poor quality materials or ageing buildings.

The city is particularly vulnerable to deadly collapse with millions forced to live in cramped, ramshackle properties because of rising real estate prices and a lack of housing for the poor.

Activists say housing societies, private owners and builders often cut corners to save on costs. They also claim that corruption plays a part with officials sometimes knowingly certifying dilapidated buildings in return for money.

In July, 17 people including a three-month-old baby, died when a four-storey building gave way in the northern suburb of Ghatkopar.

In 2013, 60 people were killed when a residential block came crashing down in one of Mumbai’s worst housing disasters.

AFP