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War on Netflix: Disney throws down gauntlet!

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WASHINGTON: The battle is on. Walt Disney Co. is bringing its biggest weapons to a new streaming service, including “Star Wars” and Marvel superheroes, in what is expected to be bruising war with Netflix and others for television dominance.
The media-entertainment colossus announced its Disney+ streaming service would launch in November in the United States and gradually expand internationally.
The new service’s subscriptions are due to start at $6.99 per month – less than streaming leader Netflix’s most basic $8.99 plan.
Disney+ will be packed with blockbuster movies and TV shows from the Disney library, including its recently acquired assets from 21st Century Fox.
That includes shows and films from Pixar animation studios, the Marvel franchise of superheroes like “Spider-Man” and “Captain America,” National Geographic documentaries and of course the “Star Wars” series.
Disney said it would include all 30 seasons of “The Simpsons,” family-friendly titles like “The Sound of Music,” and “Malcolm in the Middle” and its forthcoming “space opera” series “The Mandalorian.”
Analysts say Disney’s announcement shows it is giving no quarter as it battles Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and an upcoming service from Apple.
“The biggest surprise was the price – $6.99 per month, which was much lower than many people were expecting,” said Alan Wolk, co-founder of the TVREV consulting firm.
“It’s also ad-free, which was unexpected, as the conventional wisdom was that they would go to a hybrid Hulu-style model, with both ad-supported and ad-free options.”
Wolk said the programming “is exactly what you’d expect from Disney and will appeal to families with children.”
Wolk said the content will mean the new service won’t compete for head-on with Hulu, which is 60 percent owned by Disney.
The move “allows them to position Hulu as their edgier, adult offering,” he said.
Disney has predicted it will sign up 60 million to 90 million users over the next five years.
Some analysts have said they expect Disney’s new service to grow quickly and eventually top Netflix’s 140 million worldwide subscribers.

 

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Bears growl at Hong Kong bourse

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Bearish bourse

HONG KONG: Shares fell more than one percent Tuesday, hit by concerns over rising  Iran-US tensions and as investors await this week’s crucial trade talks between  Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.
The Hang Seng Index sank 1.15 percent, or 327.02 points, to 28,185.98. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.87 percent or 26.07 points,
to 2,982.07, while the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, lost 0.99 percent, or 15.63 points, to 1,560.46.

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Oil prices rise on US-Iran concern, stocks up ahead of G20 talks

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Oil prices rise on US Iran concern stocks up ahead of G20 talks

HONG KONG: Oil prices extended gains Monday as rising US-Iran tensions fuelled supply concerns, while Asian equities also edged up ahead of a crunch meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping this week.

Both main crude contracts are up almost 10 percent since Tehran last week shot down a US “spy drone” for breaching its airspace, ratcheting up fears of a conflict between the old foes.

At the weekend Trump said he would impose fresh sanctions on Iran, following bans of countries buying its oil, while US media reports said Washington secretly launched cyber-attacks against missile control systems and a spy network.

Both sides say they want to avoid war, but tensions have spiralled as a series of incidents, including the drone downing and recent attacks on tankers, raised fears of an unintended slide towards conflict.

The US president said he was ready to reach out to Iran if it renounced nuclear weapons, adding that if leaders did so “I’m going to be their best friend”. But Iran continues to insist its atomic programme is for civilian purposes.

Brent rose 0.3 percent Monday and WTI was 0.5 percent higher.

“The geopolitical escalation in the Middle East is unquestionably a bullish short-term signal for oil markets, as even the thought of 20 percent of the world oil supply being affected is enough to trigger significant tremors,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard Markets.

“And these tremors are noticeably moving up the Richter scale.”

The stand-off, coupled with a weak dollar as the Federal Reserve flags an interest rate cut, has helped push gold prices to six-year highs above $1,400 as dealers look for a safe haven to park their cash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Qatar Emir announces $3 billion for Pakistan

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Qatar Emir Imran han

ISLAMABAD: Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has announced $3 billion fro Pakistan in deposits and direct investments from Qatar.

It follows Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledging aid packages for Pakistan. Riyadh has given a $3 billion loan to Pakistan whereas UAE provided $1 billion.

The south Asian country and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had reached an agreement in May on a loan of about $6 billion to overcome economic crisis.

Pakistan and Qatar ink MoUs

Pakistan and Qatar on Saturday signed three different memorandums of understanding (MOUs) to further enhance the mutual cooperation in areas of trade, business, tourism, and investment.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Amir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani witnessed the signing ceremony held here at the Prime Minister House.

The memorandum of understanding on the establishment of Pakistan and Qatar Joint Working Group (JWG) on trade and investment was signed by Finance Minister of State of Qatar Ali Shareef Al Emadi and Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood.

Secretary-General of Qatar National Tourism Council Akbar Al Baker and Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Dr. Fehmida Mirza signed the MoU for cooperation in the field of tourism and business events between Qatar and Pakistan.

Another MoU on the establishment of cooperation in the field of exchange of financial intelligence related to money laundering associated predicate offenses and terrorism financing between the Financial Information Unit of State of Qatar and the Financial Monitoring Unit of the Government of Pakistan was signed by Sheikh Ahmed bin Eid Al Thani, Head of Qatar Financial Information Unit and Muneer Ahmad Acting Director General Financial Monitoring Unit.

 

 

 

 

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