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Ecuador drills near an Amazon nature reserve calls it the start of a new era

Ecuador drills for oil near an Amazon nature reserve and the government blamed the international community for this failure

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Members of the media inspect measures taken at the ITT, or block 43, oil block by Petroamazonas to minimize impact on the environment during oil production in Tiputini, Ecuador, Sept. 7, 2016. Source: VOA
  • Ecuador began drilling for oil Wednesday near an Amazon nature reserve known as Yasuni
  • Around half of Ecuador’s income comes from oil, according to the World Bank.
  • Correa’s government blamed the international community for the failure of a plan once seen as a possible model for other developing countries seeking to resist the lure of oil money

Ecuador began drilling for oil Wednesday near an Amazon nature reserve known as Yasuni, a site that President Rafael Correa had previously sought to protect from development and pollution under a pioneering conservation plan.

Correa in 2007 asked wealthy countries to donate $3.6 billion to offset revenue lost by not drilling in the Yasuni National Park. But the initiative was scrapped in 2013 after it brought in less than 4 percent of the amount requested.

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Correa’s government blamed the international community for the failure of a plan once seen as a possible model for other developing countries seeking to resist the lure of oil money. Wednesday’s drilling by the state oil company Petroamazonas began in the ITT (Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini) block at Tiputini, which is just outside Yasuni. Ishpingo and Tambococha are within the Yasuni reserve itself.

Workers walk past machinery at Miranda Port in Tiputini, Ecuador, Sept. 7, 2016.
Workers walk past machinery at Miranda Port in Tiputini, Ecuador, Sept. 7, 2016. Source: VOA

Correra has said previously that drilling would affect less than 1 percent of the reserve.

“It’s the start of a new era for Ecuadorean oil,” said Vice President Jorge Glas after a tour of the site Wednesday.

“In this new era, first comes care for the environment and second responsibility for the communities and the economy, for the Ecuadorean people,” he told reporters, adding that the cost of production was less than $12 per barrel.

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Ecuador is OPEC’s smallest member and has suffered heavily from the fall in oil prices. Around half its income comes from oil, according to the World Bank.

It is also one of the world’s most biodiverse nations, boasting Amazon rainforest, Andean mountains and the Galapagos Islands.

The end of Ecuador’s conservation initiative for the eastern Yasuni, a vast swath of rainforest on the equator, drew outrage from environmentalists when it was first announced.

“This is the worst imaginable place to be drilling for oil. The world can simply not afford to lose a place like Yasuni,” Kevin Koenig, Ecuador program director at Amazon Watch, said in a statement.

About 1.67 billion barrels of oil lie under Yasuni’s soil.

With output from the Tiputini field, Ecuador’s oil production will rise to some 570,000 barrels per day (bpd) from a current level of about 550,000 bpd, government officials say. (VOA)

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Amid Lockdown Netflix, Fortnite, Zoom Entertain & Empower Many

Amazon Web Services driven, Netflix, Disney Plus or Hulu and Zoom keep people busy during the lockdown

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Lockdown
AWS driving Netflix, Fortnite, Zoom entertain and empower millions at home during lockdown. Pixabay

As you stream your favourite movies or TV series on Netflix, Disney Plus or Hulu, or connect with your team via video meet app Zoom, leading Cloud service provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the backdrop is ensuring seamless, scalable and secure connectivity to help people at home and organisations function while they can’t operate normally at work.

According to AWS CEO Andy Jassy, a lot of things that are allowing humanity to deal with the global health crisis run on top of AWS which is Amazon’s Cloud arm and topped $10 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time in the January-March period.

“We’re just trying to help our customers in various areas. If you look at Netflix, it runs completely on top of AWS. So does Disney Plus. Hulu runs on AWS. Prime Video runs on AWS. All those entertainment pieces have kind of made time go by,” Jassy said during a fireside chat at AWS Online Summit recently.

“Fortnite runs on top of AWS, and so does Sony PlayStation. A lot of other popular games too,” he informed. The popular Battle Royale game Fortnite has gained 350 million registered players, who in April collectively spent over 3.2 billion hours in the game.

Netflix
Netflix and other platforms keeping people sane in lockdown. Pixabay

According to Jassy, AWS has its own video-conferencing service in Chime. “But a lot of people use Zoom, and the vast majority of Zoom’s cloud infrastructure runs on AWS and will for the foreseeable future,” he said. Amazon Chime Voice Connector is a service that enables enterprises to migrate their telephony workloads to AWS.

 

If you have kids at home, you also realise they’re all doing e-learning at the moment. “If you just look at companies like Blackboard and Instructure’s Canvas, which run on top of AWS. A lot of the things that are allowing us to deal with the crisis run on top of AWS. So we’re just trying to help our customers in various areas,” Jassy emphasised. AWS today offers 15 purpose-built database engines including relational, key-value, document, in-memory, graph, time series, and ledger databases.

“We have an unmatched number of those purpose-built databases that people are getting real value from and are changing the way they build applications. So (for us), it’s just the way that people are rethinking how they build in this unprecedented era of data growth,” informed Jassy. It is interesting to see how manufacturing and industrial organisations are changing in these Covid-19 times.

“In these industrial organizations, they have all of these assets that function in their facilities and their factories, and they collect really important data. And today they’re largely sending that data, through AWS IoT, to the cloud to store it and to analyze it,” said Jassy. Amazon AWS IoT has done well in terms of completeness benefiting from a robust Cloud IoT and Application Enablement capabilities. Further, AWS has been building its edge capabilities via AWS Greengrass.

fortnite
Fortnite has gained 350 million registered players, who in April collectively spent over 3.2 billion hours in the game. Pixabay

AWS has grown into a behemoth in itself, raking in $10 billion in sales in the first quarter this year, with a super annual run rate of more than $40 billion. The cloud computing service logged $10.2 billion in sales in the March quarter, up from $7.7 billion from the year-ago quarter – a growth rate of 33 per cent.

Also Read: Thousands of Australians Get Killed Each Year Due To Heat: Study

According to Amazon, AWS now spans 76 Availability Zones within 24 geographic regions, with announced plans for nine more Availability Zones and three more AWS Regions in Indonesia, Japan, and Spain. (IANS)

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Amazon Alexa Powered Mi Band 5 to Check Blood Oxygen Saturation

The band will come with NFC support feature in China

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Mi Band 5
A picture of Mi Band 4, prequal to the upcoming Mi Band 5. Wikimedia Commons

Xiaomi is reportedly working on next-generation fitness tracker Mi Band 5 with features like SpO2 detection that checks the blood oxygen saturation along with Amazon Alexa support.

The latest fitness band will also come with NFC support though the feature would be limited to China.

The fitness tracker is likely to feature 1.2-inch OLED display which is bigger than the one on the Mi Band 4 and is expected to come with a bigger battery.

According to Tizen Help, the Mi Band 5 will have a “Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI)”.
This feature will essentially show users how much activity is required to stay healthy and the band will make such suggestions based on the user’s heart rate data.

 Mi Band 5
The fitness tracker in Mi Band 5 is likely to feature 1.2-inch OLED display. Wikimedia Commons

Also Read: WhatsApp Beta to Add New QR Code Feature for Easy Contact Sharing

The band may also come with a Women menstrual cycle feature (the one available in Apple Watch). This will allow female users to keep a track on their menstrual cycle.

The smart band will be launched in China first and will be available in other countries later. (IANS)

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COVID-19 Supplies Store Launched Across India by Amazon Business

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Amazon business
Amazon business introduced its COVID-19 Supplies Store in India. Pixabay

Amazon Business on Monday introduced its “COVID-19 Supplies Store” to provide easy access for businesses to buy COVID related supplies on the e-commerce platform in the country.

The initiative is designed to help institutional buyers like nursing homes, hospitals, healthcare NGOs, government agencies and other businesses purchase COVID-19 related items in bulk with GST invoices.

The store has been specifically curated to provide instant access to critical medical supplies and safety products, said Amazon Business, a business-friendly marketplace on Amazon.in.

The store has a wide selection of items like N95 masks, surgical masks, sanitizers, personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, gloves, shoe Covers, PPE suits, facial shields, and infrared thermometers, among others, it said.

“The ‘COVID-19 Supplies Store’ is our effort towards providing institutional buyers with a one-stop-shop for all their needs around safety and sanitization products,” Manish Tiwary, Vice President, Category Management, Amazon India, said in a statement.

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Amazon Business launches ‘COVID-19 Supplies Store’ in India. Pixabay

“The store seeks to serve bulk buying needs of healthcare professionals and organisations as the nation continues to fight the virus. In these unprecedented times, Amazon remains committed to serve the nation by providing instant access and delivering products safely to customers across the country,” Tiwary mentioned.

Also Read: How The COVID Pandemic Pushed More Indians To Online Casinos

Institutional buyers can get competitive quotes from multiple suppliers, coupled with safe delivery, Amazon Business said, adding that these business purchases also come with the benefit of bulk pricing and GST invoices to ensure compliance and claim input tax credit. (IANS)