Uber acquires alcohol delivery service Drizly for $1.1B


Uber acquires alcohol delivery service Drizly for $1.1B

Drizly is the leading on-demand alcohol marketplace in the US, available in more than 1,400 cities.

Ride-hailing major Uber has acquired alcohol delivery service Drizly in a deal worth $1.1 billion, and Drizlys marketplace will eventually be integrated with the Uber Eats app.

Drizly is the leading on-demand alcohol marketplace in the US, available in more than 1,400 cities.

After the completion of the transaction, Drizly will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Uber.

“By bringing Drizly into the Uber family, we can accelerate that trajectory by exposing Drizly to the Uber audience and expanding its geographic presence into our global footprint in the years ahead,” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Drizly works with thousands of local merchants to provide consumers with an incredible selection of beer, wine, and spirits with competitive, transparent pricing, the company said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Merchants on Drizly will be able to benefit from Uber’s best-in-class routing technology and significant consumer base, it added.

“We are thrilled to join a world-class Uber team whose platform will accelerate Drizly on its mission to be there when it matters—committed to life’s moments and the people who create them,” said Drizly co-founder and CEO, Cory Rellas.

“Drizly has spent the last 8 years building the infrastructure, technology, and partnerships to bring the consumer a shopping experience they deserve”.

Drizly plans to innovate and expand independently in its fast-growing and competitive sector, while also gaining access to the advanced mobile marketplace technologies of the world’s largest food delivery and ridesharing platform.

The acquisition is expected to close within the first half of 2021.




Amazon surpasses $100B in quarterly revenue for 1st time


Amazon surpasses $100B in quarterly revenue for 1st time

During a call with investors, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said the company has a “highly effective” succession plan in place.

After Apple, Amazon became the second US tech company to log its largest quarter by revenue of all time at $125.56 billion, as online shopping broke all records in the holiday quarter (October-December period) amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company doubled its net income to $7.2 billion for the quarter, compared to $3.3 billion for the same period in 2019.

Amazon’s full-year 2020 net sales were up 38 per cent, to $386.1 billion.

The Amazon stock was up 1 per cent in extended trading on Tuesday.

Amazon also announced that Jeff Bezos will transition to the role of Executive Chair in the third quarter of 2021 and Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS, will become Chief Executive Officer at that time.

“Amazon is what it is because of invention. We do crazy things together and then make them normal. We pioneered customer reviews, 1-Click, personalized recommendations, Prime’s insanely-fast shipping, Just Walk Out shopping, the Climate Pledge, Kindle, Alexa, marketplace, infrastructure cloud computing, Career Choice, and much more,” said Bezos who founded Amazon in 1994.

“When you look at our financial results, what you’re actually seeing are the long-run cumulative results of invention. Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition,” he added.

During a call with investors, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said the company has a “highly effective” succession plan in place.

Amazon’s cloud-computing arm AWS saw its revenue jump 28 per cent to $12.7 billion from $9.95 billion a year earlier.

Earlier, riding on the stellar performance of iPhones, wearables and services in the festive December quarter, Apple posted an all-time record revenue of $111.4 billion in its history, up 21 per cent year over year, and quarterly earnings up 35 per cent.




UN chief calls for immediate attention to 3 global emergencies


UN chief calls for immediate attention to 3 global emergencies

UN chief calls for immediate attention to 3 global emergencies

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for immediate attention to three global emergencies after listing a long string of threats and challenges the world is facing.

“Among the challenges we face, there are three global emergencies that demand immediate attention,” the UN chief told the press conference held at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The secretary-general said that the first global emergency that needs immediate attention is the “distribution of vaccines for Covid-19.”

Guterres said that more than 70 million doses have been administered, but less than 20,000 of these were on the African continent.

“A global immunity gap puts everyone at risk,” he said.

“Vaccine nationalism is an economic as well as a moral failure,” he said. “While every country has the right – and the duty – to protect its own people, no country can afford to neglect the rest of the world.”

“We must close the funding gap; ramp-up vaccine production by making licenses widely available and sharing technology; and get doses into the arms of all who need them – starting with health workers and those most at risk around the world,” said the secretary-general, adding that “we need a global vaccination campaign to deal with a global pandemic.”

“The second area for urgent action is financial support for all countries that need it,” said Guterres.

“In today’s world, self-interest cannot be separated from solidarity. The global economy is made up of an intricate web of transactions between developed and developing countries,” he said.

“While the pandemic continues to disrupt supply chains, developed (economies) will not make a full recovery,” added the UN chief.

The top UN official warned that for a fast and full recovery, the developed world should not only share vaccines equitably; it should support developing economies by ensuring continued liquidity, including through the issuance of Special Drawing Rights, and expanding debt relief to all developing countries and Middle-income countries in need of it.

Guterres said the third global emergency is the climate crisis.

“The recovery from the pandemic must embrace renewable energy and green and resilient infrastructure,” he said. “We have an opportunity to end our senseless war on nature and start the healing process.”

“At five minutes to midnight, governments are finally starting to listen to scientists, businesses, cities, academia and in particular, the young people who have been global leaders on this issue,” said the UN chief, noting that “we need to build on that momentum.”

Guterres underscored that the central objective of the United Nations for 2021 is to build a global coalition for carbon neutrality by 2050. “Every country, city, financial institution and company needs to adopt credible plans for transitioning to net zero emissions by 2050, and take decisive action now to put themselves on the right path.”

“Countries must review their Nationally Determined Contributions before COP26 (the UN Climate Change Conference) in Glasgow to cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 compared with 2010 levels,” he said.




US detects 1st case of S.African Covid-19 variant


US detects 1st case of S.African Covid-19 variant

As of Friday morning, the country’s overall caseload and deaths stood at 25,739,405 and 432,864, respectively.

The US has detected the first cases of a new and highly contagious coronavirus variant which was first discovered in South Africa, according to authorities.

The two cases was detected in the state of South Carolina, Xinhua news agency reported.

In a statement on Thursday, the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control said that “there is no known travel history and no connection between these two cases”.

Both infected patients are adults, one from the Lowcountry and the other from the Pee Dee region, according to the Department.

The B.1.351 South African variant has been identified in more than 30 countries, but these are the first cases of detected in the US.

On Monday, health officials in the state of Minnesota confirmed the first Covid-19 case caused by P.1, the variant first identified in Brazil.

Meanwhile, the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first discovered in Britain, has been detected in more than 20 US states.

As of Friday morning, the country’s overall caseload and deaths stood at 25,739,405 and 432,864, respectively.




Global Covid-19 cases top 100.7mn: Johns Hopkins


Global Covid-19 cases top 100.7mn: Johns Hopkins

India comes in second place in terms of cases at 10,689,527, while the country’s death toll soared to 153,724.

Washington, Jan 28 (IANS) The total number of global coronavirus cases has topped 100.7 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 2.17 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Thursday morning, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 100,755,075 and 2,170,608, respectively.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 25,588,419 and 428,862, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in second place in terms of cases at 10,689,527, while the country’s death toll soared to 153,724.

The other countries with more than a million confirmed cases are Brazil (8,933,356), Russia (3,733,692), the UK (3,725,637), France (3,165,449), Spain (2,670,102), Italy (2,501,147), Turkey (2,449,839), Germany (2,179,679), Colombia (2,055,305), Argentina (1,896,053), Mexico (1,788,905), Poland (1,489,512), South Africa (1,430,648), Iran (1,392,314), Ukraine (1,241,863), Peru (1,107,239) and Indonesia (1,024,298), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 218,878.

The countries with a death toll above 20,000 are Mexico (152,016), the UK (102,085), Italy (86,889), France (74,600), Russia (69,971), Iran (57,651), Spain (57,291), Germany (54,498), Colombia (52,523), Argentina (47,435), South Africa (42,550), Peru (40,107), Poland (36,054), Indonesia (28,855), Turkey (25,476), Ukraine (23,307) and Belgium (20,879).




Maldives to reintroduce curfew amid Covid-19 surge


Maldives to reintroduce curfew amid Covid-19 surge

The HPA has also introduced a 10-day quarantine period for political campaigners and poll workers travelling across islands for the local council elections scheduled for April 10.

The Maldives’ Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced that a curfew will be re-imposed in the capital region of Greater Male due to a spike in fresh Covid-19 cases.

On Wednesday, Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru announced that the curfew will be imposed between midnight and 4 a.m. in the Greater Male region, while all parties and public gatherings will be prohibited, reports Xinhua news agency.

The renewed restrictions include a quarantine period for individuals travelling form the capital to other islands, as well as a 10-day quarantine period for Maldivians entering the country from abroad.

The HPA has also introduced a 10-day quarantine period for political campaigners and poll workers travelling across islands for the local council elections scheduled for April 10.

The Maldives is currently experiencing a a resurgence with an average of around 100 cases per day in recent weeks.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country has increased to 15,247, while the death toll stood at 51.




How to prevent food-borne illnesses


How to prevent food-borne illnesses

Foodborne illnesses are quite common and it is important to know the causes and ways to prevent these diseases to keep oneself away from the agony that is caused by these diseases.

According to a survey done by the Centre for Disease Control & Prevention, it is estimated that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.

Foodborne illnesses are caused by contamination of food that has occurred at any stage of the food production, delivery, and consumption chain. They can happen from various forms of environmental contamination including pollution in water, soil, or air. Foodborne illnesses can also occur from unsafe food storage and processing.

These diseases are borne from food encompass a wide range of illnesses from diarrhea to cancers. Most of them cause gastrointestinal issues, though they can also produce neurological, gynecological, and immunological symptoms. Diseases that cause diarrhea are a major problem in all countries of the world and mostly affect children under 5 years of age. Although foodborne diseases are quite common, it’s also important to know the causes of foodborne illnesses. The causes fall into the following 3 categories:

Biological hazards are the most common cause responsible for foodborne illnesses. These include microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Bacteria and viruses are responsible for most foodborne illnesses. Biological hazards are the biggest threat and problem to food safety. They can be inherent in the product or can be transferred due to mishandling (e.g., time/temperature abuse).

 Chemical hazards generally include natural toxins and chemical contaminants. Most of the time there are some natural toxins associated with the food itself that lead to its contamination (i.e., certain mushrooms, PSP in molluscan shellfish) and in some cases, the food gets contaminated by pathogens when it is time or temperature abused (i.e., histamine development in certain seafood species). Apart from this, some additives, such as sulfites, can be a hazard for some people.

 Physical hazards can include metal shavings from cans and plastic pieces or broken glass present in food that lead to its contamination.

The symptoms of foodborne illnesses range from mild to severe and depend upon the microbe that has been ingested. However, common symptoms are as follows:

Upset Stomach
Vomiting
Nausea
Fever
Abdominal pain
Diarrhoea
It might take hours or days to develop symptoms after you consume contaminated food.
Foodborne illnesses are quite common and it is important to know the causes and ways to prevent these diseases to keep oneself away from the agony that is caused by these diseases. So, let’s know tips in order to prevent these illnesses 

Practice hygiene – Practicing hygiene the first step towards the prevention of food-borne diseases. One should wash hands before handling food and often during food preparation and after going to the washroom. Washing and sanitizing all surfaces and equipment used for food preparation is imperative. Care should be taken to protect kitchen areas and food from insects, pests, and other animals.  It is equally important to clean fruits and vegetables well. Using a natural and safer solution like Marico’s Veggie Clean is the best way to do so.  This unique, naturally-derived solution will help you get rid of all those pesky germs, bacteria, chemicals, and waxes, which tend to go unnoticed on all your fruits and vegetables, rendering them squeaky clean in no time! Simple to use, one is only required to soak and hand rub the fresh produce in a solution made of half capful of Veggie Clean and 1 liter of water followed by rinsing the soaked produce in running water 2-3 times for about 30 seconds.

Separate raw and cooked food – It is important to separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods. This can be done by using separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards for handling raw foods.

Storage– The majority of times, food contamination occurs at the time of food storage. Care should be taken to store containers separately in different containers to avoid contact between raw and prepared foods. 

Cooking – Cooking plays a vital role in preventing foodborne illnesses. One should cook food thoroughly, especially animal products like meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood.

Temperature – Keep food at the correct temperature. Make sure to not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours. All cooked and perishable foods should be refrigerated promptly (preferably below 5°C).

Water-Water plays a very important role to prevent food-borne diseases. Make sure to use safe water while washing raw materials and vegetables. Cook food using clean and safe water.

Footnote

Foodborne illnesses are quite prevalent in today’s time. What is important is to maintain hygiene and being aware during the process of food procuring, handling, and storage.




India and France joint Air Exercise Desert Knight-21 to feature Rafale by both sides


India and France joint Air Exercise Desert Knight-21 to feature Rafale by both sides

The exercise marks an important milestone in the series of engagements between the two Air forces.

Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force (Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace) will conduct a bilateral Air exercise, Ex Desert Knight-21 at Air Force Station Jodhpur from 20 to 24 Jan 21.

The French side will participate with Rafale, Airbus A-330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), A-400M Tactical Transport aircraft and approximately 175 personnel. The Indian Air Force aircraft participating in the exercise will include Mirage 2000, Su-30 MKI, Rafale, IL-78 Flight Refuelling Aircraft, AWACS and AEW&C aircraft.

The exercise marks an important milestone in the series of engagements between the two Air forces. As part of Indo-French defence cooperation, Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force have held six editions of Air Exercises named ‘Garuda’, the latest being in 2019 at Air Force Base Mont-de-Marsan, France.

As measures to further the existing cooperation, the two forces have been gainfully utilising available opportunities to conduct ‘hop-exercises’. The French Air and Space Force deployment while ferrying to Australia for Ex Pitchblack in 2018 was hosted by IAF at Air Force Stations Agra and Gwalior for exercise with fighters and MRTT aircraft.

Presently, the French detachment for Ex Desert Knight-21 is deployed in Asia as part of their ‘Skyros Deployment’ and will ferry in forces to Air Force Station Jodhpur.

The exercise is unique as it includes fielding of Rafale aircraft by both sides and is indicative of the growing interaction between the two premier Air Forces. As the two detachments commence their air exchange from 20 Jan onwards, they will put into practice operational experience gained across terrains and spectrums and endeavour to exchange ideas and best practices to enhance interoperability.




Leaders from neighbouring countries greet PM and GoI for successful launch of COVID-19 vaccination drive


Leaders from neighbouring countries greet PM and GoI for successful launch of COVID-19 vaccination drive

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the pan India rollout of COVID-19 vaccination drive via video conferencing on Saturday. This is the world’s largest vaccination program covering the entire length and breadth of the country.

Leaders from neighbouring countries have greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian Government for the successful launch of the vaccination drive against COVID-19 on 16 January 2021.

In a tweet, the President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa said, “My heartiest congratulations to Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi on the successful roll out of the #COVID19 vaccine & his generosity towards friendly neighbouring countries.”


In a tweet, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa said, “Congratulations PM @narendramodi and the Government of India on taking this very important step with this massive #COVID19 Vaccination drive. We are starting to see the beginning of the end to this devastating pandemic.”


In a tweet, the President of the Republic of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said, “Congratulations to PM @narendramodi and the Indian government for its landmark program to vaccinate India’s population against COVID-19. I’m highly confident that you’ll be successful in this endeavor and that we are finally seeing an end to the COVID-19 scourge.”


In a tweet, the Prime Minister of Bhutan Dr Lotay Tshering said, “I would like to congratulate PM @narendramodi and the people of India for the landmark launch of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive today. We hope it comes as an answer to pacify all the sufferings we have endured this pandemic.”


Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the pan India rollout of COVID-19 vaccination drive via video conferencing on Saturday. This is the world’s largest vaccination program covering the entire length and breadth of the country.




Joe Biden to propose 8-year citizenship path for immigrants


Joe Biden to propose 8-year citizenship path for immigrants

As a candidate, Biden went so far as to say the Obama administration went too far in its aggressive deportations.

US President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping immigration bill on Day One of his administration, hoping to provide an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the country without legal status, a massive reversal from the Trump administration’s harsh immigration policies.

The legislation puts Biden on track to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of President Donald Trump’s restrictive policies and mass deportations.

It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years, but it fails to include the traditional trade-off of enhanced border security favoured by many Republicans, making passage in a narrowly divided Congress in doubt.

Expected to run hundreds of pages, the bill is set to be introduced after Biden takes the oath of office Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the legislation and granted anonymity to discuss it.

As a candidate, Biden called Trump’s actions on immigration an unrelenting assault on American values and said he would undo the damage while continuing to maintain border enforcement.

Under the legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other basic requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization, if they decide to pursue citizenship.

For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements.

The bill is not as comprehensive as the last major immigration overhaul proposed when Biden was vice president during the Obama administration.

For example, it does not include a robust border security element, but rather calls for coming up with strategies. Nor does it create any new guest worker or other visa programs.

It does address some of the root causes of migration from Central America to the United States, and provides grants for workforce development and English language learning.

Biden is expected to take swift executive actions to reverse other Trump immigration actions, including an end to the prohibition on arrivals from several predominantly Muslim countries.

During the Democratic primary, Biden consistently named immigration action as one of his day one priorities, pointing to the range of executive powers he could invoke to reverse Trump’s policies.

Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and enough other GOP senators to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades.

That kind of major win even if it involves compromise could be critical as Biden looks for legislative victories in a closely divided Congress, where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities that involve rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending.

As a candidate, Biden went so far as to say the Obama administration went too far in its aggressive deportations.




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