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Oil leaps as major producers look to extend record production cuts through July - Business Insider
Oil leaps as major producers look to extend record production cuts through July
- Oil continued its climb to past highs on Tuesday amid reports that OPEC+ members are eyeing extensions to record production cuts.
- Major producers including Russia want to keep cuts set to end in June in place for one more month, Bloomberg reported Monday.
- Saudi Arabia, OPEC's de facto leader, is reportedly in favor of a one- to three-month extension.
- West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained as much as 3%, to $36.51 per barrel, on the news. Brent crude, oil's international benchmark, leaped 3.2% to $39.55 at intraday highs.Â
- Watch oil trade live here.
SpaceX's historic launch hurled a sequined plush dinosaur into space with NASA astronauts - Business Insider South Africa
The plushie indicates when the Crew Dragon spaceship has reached a state of zero gravity, but neither NASA or SpaceX have explained how it was chosen.
SpaceX launched its most precious cargo yet into space on Saturday: two NASA astronauts and a plush, sequined dinosaur toy. At 3:22 p.m. ET, a Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying the Crew Dragon spaceship that SpaceX designed and NASA funded. It's the first time a commercial spacecraft has carried humans into space, and the first time astronauts have launched from the US since the end of the Space Shuttle Program nine years ago. It's also the first time a sequined dinosaur has been to space. (Though dinosaur fossils have traveled beyond our atmosphere before.) The toy carries on a tradition of spaceships carrying plushies with them. Once the toys start to float around, observers know the ship has left the pull of Earth's gravity. That's why they're often called "zero-gravity indicators." Astronaut Bob Behnken pushes aside a plush dinosaur toy floating around the cabin of the Crew Dragon as it reaches low-Earth orbit, May 30, 2020. NASA TV About 10 minutes after launch, the plushie appeared in NASA's live feed of the Crew Dragon, where it was floating around the cabin of the spaceship. It drifted towards Behnken, and he pushed it aside. "Looks like we saw our zero-G indicator floating around there," a NASA commentator said as the dinosaur appeared. "I know Bob and Doug owe us a little bit about what exactly that is that they brought up with them." It is unclear who picked out the dinosaur, why they chose it, or whether it has a name. Observers first spotted the dinosaur in NASA's live feed of launch preparations on Wednesday, when the rocket was first scheduled to liftoff (and then delayed due to poor weather). A plushie dinosaur sits in the seat of the Crew Dragon next to astronauts Bob Behnken (left) and Doug Hurley as they prepare for their first launch attempt, May 27, 2020. NASA TV Geophysicist Mike McKinnon suggested on Twitter that the plushie could be a TY Flippables Tremor Dinosaur. —Mika McKinnon (@mikamckinnon) May 27, 2020 When the Crew Dragon made its first test flight to the International Space Station, with no astronauts on board, it carried a plushie Earth named "Buddy." The toy later sold out in stores. However, TY no longer manufactures the Tremor Dinosaur. It is out of stock on Amazon, Walmart, and Barnes and Noble.
Facebook is adding 'Shops' to let businesses sell products through the social network - Business Insider South Africa
Facebook is starting to go up against Amazon and eBay as it attempts to encourage people to buy things on its social network.
- Facebook and Instagram are adding a big new e-commerce feature: Shops.
- Businesses will be able to list the goods they have for sale on the social networks.
- It's part of a major push by Facebook in recent years to move into ecommerce, taking it up against the likes of Amazon and Etsy.
- Facebook said it accelerated the rollout of the feature to help small businesses affected by Covid-19.
A London train station worker died after a man saying he had Covid-19 spat at her - Business Insider South Africa
Ticket office worker Belly Mujinga died with Covid-19 two weeks after a member of the public who claimed he had the disease approached her and spat at her.
- A railway ticket officer in London has died with Covid-19 days after a member of the public who said he had the coronavirus spat at her.
- Belly Mujinga was on the concourse at Victoria station in London in March when a member of the public approached her and coughed and spat at her, claiming he had the coronavirus.
- Mujinga, who had underlying respiratory problems, died less than two weeks later.
- The British Transport Police have launched an investigation into the incident.
- For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
A four-year-old llama named Winter may treat coronavirus with its antibodies, says study - Business Insider South Africa
Scientists from Belgium and the US found that Winter was immunized from the spike proteins of the SARS and MERS virus by producing camelid antibodies.
- Research from Belgian and US scientists suggests that a four-year-old llama named Winter and 130 other llamas may hold the key to neutralising the effects of the virus that causes Covid-19.
- Scientists from Belgium's VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology and the University of Texas at Austin found that Winter was successfully immunised from the spike proteins of the SARS and MERS virus by producing a special kind of camelid antibody.
- The findings could be applied to the Covid-19 coronavirus - which is a cousin of the SARS virus - and offer early promise as to the potential Winter's blood and antibodies hold in helping treat Covid-19.
- The research from the llama studies is still in preliminary stages, however, as scientists are still conducting preclinical trials on hamsters, The Washington Post reported.
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TikTok crosses 2 billion downloads on back of record-setting Q1 2020 - Business Insider - Business Insider
TikTok's 315 million installs in Q1 2020 is not only a record for the platform, it's also the most downloads any app has ever gotten in one quarter.
TikTok has now surpassed 2 billion downloads on mobile devices after seeing a surge in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. The video-sharing app already had a monstrous start to 2020, attracting 315 million new installs since January, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower. That reportedly is the most downloads any app has ever gotten in a single quarter. TikTok, known for the viral, short-form videos its users create, has seen a surge in popularity in the last several months as countries were placed under lockdown orders and people continue to adjust to life indoors. Users have filled TikTok with light-hearted content providing an alternative to coronavirus-related news, including doctors taking dance breaks, people sharing DIY fashion and home renovation projects, and quarantined families making creative uses of their time at home together. TikTok's 315 million first-quarter downloads dwarfs numbers out of other platforms, but social apps across the board have seen significant boosts in usage and downloads since the pandemic started. In Q1, Facebook accrued 186.1 million mobile downloads, and Instagram saw 151.8 million installs. TikTok has become the go-to launchpad for memes and internet culture since it was launched by the China-based company ByteDance in September 2017. When TikTok debuted in the US less than a year later, it became the next best thing for creators since Vine, the video-sharing Twitter shut down in 2016. The 2 billion downloads mark comes just over a year after TikTok reached 1 billion downloads globally. It took the app nearly 1.5 years to reach its first billion. TikTok's download numbers, by quarter, since 2017. Sensor Tower US-based companies and startups have made several attempts at their TikTok competitors, but none have been able to reach the level of popularity that TikTok has achieved and is continuing to build upon. The only platform to have found comparable success in the US was Musical.ly — which ByteDance acquired in 2017 before shutting it down a year later to merge it into TikTok. Most recently, The Information reported that YouTube is working on Shorts, an in-app feature for shortform video-sharing. Google, YouTube's parent company, had also previously been rumored to be in talks to acquire a TikTok competitor called Firework, the Wall Street Journal reported in October 2019. Facebook released a TikTok competitor in November 2018 named Lasso, but the app has remained quiet since its debut. Vine's cofounder launched an app called Byte in early 2020, which has seen some initial success in download numbers, but has yet to birth any internet stars or viral memes. Triller, advertised as a music-discovery app, is banking on partnerships with major music labels to rival TikTok. Although lip-syncing app Dubsmash has been instrumental in launching some TikTok-famous dances — notably, the "The Renegade" — it has only around one-third of the US downloads of TikTok, according to Sensor Tower data provided to TechCrunch in early 2020.
100 cases of child Kawasaki disease that may be linked to coronavirus - Business Insider - Business Insider
A child condition combining toxic shock and symptoms similar to the inflammatory Kawasaki disease is rising globally. Doctors fear a link to COVID-19.
Around 100 children in 6 countries have been reported as having a rare complication that doctors fear could be related to coronavirus, The Guardian reported. The World Health Organization has put its clinical network on alert since UK health officials first warned of the cases on Tuesday. The cases combine toxic shock and symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease, a rare syndrome that causes inflammation of the arteries to the heart, Reuters reported. The cases also have "blood parameters consistent with severe COVID-19 in children," said the UK alert. There has been no confirmation of any connection to the coronavirus, but the alert spoke of a "growing concern" of the possibility. Doctors across Europe are seeing a spike in cases, according to Italy's Il Corriere Della Sera newspaper. Patients have been reported in the UK, the US, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, The Guardian said. Business Insider was able to verify more than 70 of these through local reports. World Health Organisation (WHO)'s Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on the Health Emergencies Program, said in a press briefing on Wednesday that the WHO's clinical network has met to discuss the issue and has put clinicians "on alert" for cases. Loading Something is loading. Maria Van Kerkhove, Technical Lead of the World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme - seen here on March 16 - spoke about the emergence of the new syndrome on Wednesday. Christopher Black/WHO via Reuters She also emphasized that the syndrome is "very rare." At Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo, Italy, 20 children are being treated for the syndrome. Pediatrician rheumatologist Dr Lucio Verdoni told Il Corriere Della Sera that they were seeing as many cases in one month than the hospital would normally see in three years. In New York, three cases that appear similar to those reported in Europe are being treated, two of which are serious, Reuters said. In an earlier case in California, a 6-month-old baby tested positive for coronavirus after being admitted with the new syndrome. Dr Mark Gorelick at Columbia University Medical Center in New York told Reuters that he does not believe the children have Kawasaki disease, but are experiencing a very similar immune response to an earlier infection of some kind. It is possible, he said, that an earlier infection is having a delayed effect. "It seems a week to two weeks later, you may have the immune system responding in a very disorganized way," he told Reuters. Pediatrician Dr Marianna Fabi, who is treating five cases at Bologna's Sant'Orsola-Malpighi hospital, told Il Corriere Della Sera: "Kawasaki syndrome does not have a precise cause, but in genetically predisposed children there is a triggering environmental factor, probably infectious and probably viral." A 3-year-old was discharged from the hospital on Thursday after a month of care, the newspaper reported. Kawasaki disease, which is rare, normally affects children up to the age of 8. It is named after Tomisaku Kawaski, the doctor who first described the condition in the 1960s, according to The Japan Times.
Monkeys given the Oxford vaccine did not catch Covid-19 - Business Insider South Africa
A team from the University of Oxford is leading the way in the search for an effective vaccine for the coronavirus. Human trials started last week.
Six monkeys given a vaccine developed by the University of Oxford are said to be coronavirus-free 28 days after sustained exposure to the virus. The result is a promising early sign for the vaccine, which is also undergoing human trials. A working human version, however, remains months away even in the best-case scenario. The monkey experiment was carried out in late March by government scientists at the Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Hamilton, Montana, The New York Times reported Monday. Six rhesus macaques received a vaccine produced by the Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group. They were then exposed to heavy levels of the coronavirus that were known to have previously sickened other monkeys. These monkeys suffered no ill effects, however, and remained healthy at least 28 days later, The Times said. "The rhesus macaque is pretty much the closest thing we have to humans," Vincent Munster, the head of the Virus Ecology Unit at the laboratory, told The Times. The first human trial of the hAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine from the Oxford Vaccine Group. YouTube/University of Oxford Loading Something is loading. The Jenner Institute, working as part of the Oxford Vaccine Group, is leading the global race for a coronavirus vaccine. The UK government has pledged £20 million, or $25 million, to the trial. The vaccine given to the rhesus macaques is called hAdOx1 nCoV-19. Human trials began Thursday and are expected to be finished in September. The process of developing a vaccine is long, and even having a usable product by September would be unusually fast. Read more: There are more than 70 potential coronavirus vaccines in the works. Here are the top efforts to watch, including the 16 vaccines set to be tested in people this year. On Monday, the world's largest vaccine maker, the Serum Institute of India, said it would not wait for the trial to end and was preemptively making 40 million doses to save time in case it worked. The Serum Bio-Pharma Park in Pune, India. Serum Institute Sinovac Biotech, a Beijing-based company, is also hunting for a vaccine to the coronavirus. It found last week that its vaccine also appeared to be effective in macaques. Human trials have now begun. Humans and macaques share about 93% of their DNA. Just because a vaccine appears to work on a macaque does not mean it will work on humans, however. As many as 80 coronavirus vaccines are in development, but some are choosing to skip the animal-testing stage to save time.
Apple's new iPhone SE shows it's finally starting to take Android seriously - Business Insider South Africa
Apple's iPhone SE is another sign that the iPhone is about so much more than generating hardware revenue. It's a tool to hook you into Apple's world.
Business Insider When Apple launched the iPhone 11 in September, one thing raised eyebrows: Apple had seemingly lowered the price of its flagship model. Signaling a shift from its strategy in 2018, Apple positioned its least expensive new iPhone as its primary smartphone offering for 2019. The pricier iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, by comparison, were framed as gadgets for camera enthusiasts willing to pay extra for a triple-lens camera and a more premium design. Now with a new $400 iPhone SE, Apple is continuing that trend and sending a similar message. The new phone is an acknowledgement by Apple that not everyone can afford or is willing to pay $1,000 for a new smartphone. And by launching an iPhone that caters to that audience — from shoppers in emerging markets where less expensive phones are typically more popular, to legacy iPhone owners that want a cheap and familiar device — Apple has an opportunity to expand its installed base by targeting new users. That's especially important for Apple as its business has become less reliant on the number of iPhone units sold. Segments like services and wearables have emerged as a bright spot in the company's earnings report as iPhone sales slumped throughout 2019, and it's become increasingly clear that Apple is more concerned about getting iPhones in the hands of more people even if it means doing so at a lower price. After all, each new iPhone owner is a potential AirPods customer, and possibly a future Apple Music subscriber, too, and so on. Another way to get hooked into Apple's ecosystem The AirPods Pro. Crystal Cox/Business Insider The iPhone had a great fiscal first quarter of 2020, before the pandemic upended its business and the lives of its customers around the globe. Apple finally broke the iPhone's sales slump by announcing that iPhone sales were up year over year after facing several quarterly declines. That demand was driven by positive reception of the company's new iPhone 11 and 11 Pro. Still, even if the slump has worn off, the episode seems to have taught Apple and its investors that Apple can no longer be viewed as the iPhone company. Apple spent most of 2019 driving that message home by focusing a large chunk of its product roadmap on non-hardware launches, like the Apple Card, Apple News Plus, Apple TV Plus, and Apple Arcade. Apple's efforts in focusing its resources on areas like services and wearables have clearly paid off. Those two business segments have been in a tear in recent quarters, eclipsing product segments like the iPad and the Mac. Apple's wearables, home, and accessories division generated $10 billion in revenue in its fiscal first quarter of 2020, marking a jump from $7.3 billion in the year-ago quarter, while its services business generated $12.7 billion — up from $10.8 billion in the period that ended in December 2018. That's why it makes sense for Apple to be launching a product like the iPhone SE right now. It lowers the barrier of entry to the iPhone, which also means making everything else Apple has to offer more accessible — like Apple Arcade, Apple Music, and the Apple Watch. Cheaper smartphones are on the rise The iPhone SE, left, and iPhone 8. Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider Cheaper iPhones like the SE mean Apple now has a way to appeal to possible customers that may have felt alienated before by the company's high prices. While it's true that Apple's top competitors, like Samsung, have also released similarly priced smartphones, many of them also offer lower-priced alternatives. Look at Samsung as a primary example. Its new Galaxy S20 phones are even more expensive than some of Apple's iPhones, but it also sells a range of more affordable devices like its Galaxy A series smartphones. Data suggests that there's widespread demand for less expensive smartphones rather than top-of-the-line attention-grabbing phones like the iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. The best-selling smartphones in 2019 were Apple's $600 iPhone XR, the $700 iPhone 11, and Samsung's $300 Galaxy A50, according to Counterpoint Research. Even the iPhone 8 from 2017 ranked higher than 2019's iPhone 11 Pro Max. A survey from NPD Group last year also found that only 10% of Americans were spending more than $1,000 on new smartphones. The iPhone SE isn't really about Apple selling more iPhones simply to generate more revenue from iPhone sales. It's about taking the next step in the strategy Apple seems to have been pursuing for some time now — using the iPhone as a catalyst to lure people into its ecosystem and keep them hooked for whatever may be next. And more than anything else, it send the message that there's a new iPhone for everyone, not just those who can afford to spent $700 or more.
WhatsApp says viral message forwarding is down 70% following new limits - Business Insider South Africa
Social media companies have had to scramble to combat misinformation, hoaxes, and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus.
WhatsApp seems to have successfully put a leash on messages going viral on its platform. A spokeswoman told Business Insider it's seen a huge reduction in viral forwarded messages. "Since putting into place this new limit, globally there has been a 70% reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages sent on WhatsApp. This change is helping keep WhatsApp a place for personal and private conversations," she said. The private messaging service announced in early April that it was placing limits on the mass-forwarding of messages in an effort to stop misinformation about the coronavirus winging its way around the world. Specifically, it placed a new limit on "frequently forwarded" messages — which it defines as messages which have already been forwarded on five times. The change meant such messages could only be forwarded to one chat at a time rather than en masse. "We've seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation. We believe it's important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation," WhatsApp said in a blog post on April 7. WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, meaning the company can't actually read the content of people's messages. That's better for privacy and trust, but also makes it tough to track the spread of misinformation via private messages. The platform is long thought to have contributed to misinformation — in one eye-opening example, inaccurate forwarded messages on WhatsApp about child abduction resulted in lynchings in India. Social media has become a hotbed for coronavirus conspiracy theories, some of which have led to real-world harm. Facebook was forced to shut down two groups on its platform which were encouraging members to sabotage phone masts due to a conspiracy theory that the virus is being spread or accelerated by 5G. Loading Something is loading.