Safaricom Partners with Amazon in Bid to Bring More Cloud Services to East Africa – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sourced from Amazon and AfrichRoyale

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the largest cloud computing platform on Earth, has been planning to set up an Edge location in Kenya for some time now. However new developments in Nairobi between Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and AWS execs have seen the signing of a strategic agreement between the Amazon service and Kenya’s largest mobile operator, Safaricom. This new deal will allow the operator to resell AWS services, reports Techweez.
This agreement aims to accelerate Safaricom’s internal IT transformation, cut operational costs and provide it with “a blueprint and skilled resources to assist customers with their journey to the cloud,” says Safaricom, who have attained Advanced Consulting Partner Status in the AWS Partner Network – its first member from the East Africa region.
Safaricom will also be able to offer, not just Kenya, but also to other East African customers. Cloud services, according to Safaricom, are some of the increasingly most valuable for a business that wants to go beyond boundaries with their innovation.
Amazon says that AWS Partner Network (APN) consulting partners are “professional services firms that help customers of all types and sizes design, architect, build, migrate, and manage their workloads and applications on AWS, accelerating their journey to the cloud.’
“We chose to partner with AWS because it offers customers the broadest and deepest cloud platform, overall commitment to security excellence, and a strong culture of customer obsession. This agreement will allow us to accelerate our efforts to enable digital transformation in Kenya,” said Michael Joseph, CEO of Safaricom.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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With Amazon Foraying Into The Food Space, Tough Times Ahead For Swiggy And Zomato?- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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The food-tech space of India has been dominated by existing players like Swiggy and Zomato; amid this, there is a strong entrant – Amazon. The US e-commerce major had already made huge investments in a two-hour delivery supply chain. Amazon is piloting its much-anticipated project of delivering food to specific places in Bengaluru.
Amazon plans to foray in India at a time when both Swiggy and Zomato, have cut down on discounts, and also tightened the cost structures. This was after the ride-hailing firm Uber backed out of the food delivery in India as a whole. Uber Eats India was sold to Zomato last year, in exchange for a 10 percent stake.
Amazon’s endeavor to enter the food delivery space is a part of the larger plan, in order to build a comprehensive product portfolio. This would range from grocery and food to electronics and home products; for its top customers, who have availed of its Amazon Prime paid subscription service.
Currently, Amazon’s food delivery platform has been made open only to its own employees, and it is piloting five high-density pin codes in Bengaluru, like HSR, Bellandur, Haralur, Maranthahalli, and Whitefield.
With Amazon foraying into the payments space, it would have to make significant investments in logistics. Even the restaurant ecosystem, technology, and marketing in order to scale its food delivery business; to tackle Swiggy and Zomato.
Swiggy has been making headlines since last week when it raised $113 million, by South African internet giant Naspers. Also, this happened a few weeks after Swiggy’s rival Zomato acquired Uber Eats India for about $350 million.
Also Read:
Naspers Invests $113 Mn In Swiggy
Last August, Amazon had started onboarding eateries for its planned food delivery foray. In  2019, Amazon had shut down its four years old Amazon Restaurants delivery service in the US. It had invested in its food delivery platform Deliveroo in Europe. It also indicated the complexity of running a business at feasible unit economics. 
Leading investors have stated that it’s worth experimenting with building the business directly, rather than direct buying, or investing in a technology-first problem in India. 

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Amazon opens first full-sized cashier-free grocery store in Seattle – Blog – 10 minute

The big picture: Amazon Go allows users to shop with no lines, no checkouts and no registers – simply open the Amazon app on your smartphone, scan it when entering the store, grab what you need and go. Items you leave with will be billed to your Amazon account.
It’s been a little over three years since Amazon launched its first cashier-free convenience store. The concept took a big leap on Tuesday with the launch of Amazon’s first full-on Go grocery store in Seattle. The 7,700-square-foot facility at 610 E. Pike Street in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood isn’t just a bigger version of the convenience store, however.

Dilip Kumar, vice president of physical retail & technology for Amazon, said it offers a much more expanded selection that caters to what people are looking for when shopping for groceries. “What Amazon Go did for central business districts — like locating it very close to where people work so you can get breakfast, lunch, snacks — Amazon Go Grocery does the same thing, but closer to home,” Kumar added.
The executive wouldn’t tell GeekWire how many more Amazon Go Grocery stores are in the works, where the next one will be built or if they will all be the same size but one has to think that this isn’t a one-and-done run. Amazon is simply too invested in the physical retail space now, what with its 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods and all.

Locals can check out the new Amazon Go Grocery store from Sunday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to midnight.
All images courtesy Kurt Schlosser, GeekWire

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Amazon Is Pulling Out Products, Claiming Coronavirus Treatment- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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E-commerce giant Amazon warns sellers that are making exaggerated medical claims in regard to coronavirus. One such case was when a seller of surgical masks made medical claims of curing the virus for marketing purposes. Amazon warned the seller that it would delete their listing for unapproved claims. 
However, there were quite a few products that were making unapproved claims despite the warning by Amazon. Products such as cleaners, disinfected sprays, etc were claiming that they could kill the coronavirus. 
The lethal virus has been on a rampant spread and with it the spread of misinformation too. As the death toll rises, fear engulfs the world. Some sellers see this as a business opportunity to use fear in people as a way to sell their products. While the misinformation about the virus is difficult to fight, by deleting such products from its website, Amazon takes a step. 
There were several technology companies that were part of a discussion with the World Health Organization (WHO) about fighting misinformation. Amazon was one of the companies that discussed with WHO the measures to take in reducing the spread of misinformation regarding coronavirus. 

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Premier League boosts Amazon Prime Video subscribers- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Amazon Prime Video has hit the back of the net in its strategy to claim the crown of fastest-growing subscription video service in the UK, after registering 35% growth in subscribers over the fourth quarter following its exclusive live-streaming of Premier League matches.
The sports strategy contributed to the service notching up its strongest year since its launch six years ago with 7.14m people now signed up to its digital offering. It has invested in a flurry of hit programming such as the big-ticket Jack Ryan series, an Andy Murray documentary called Resurfacing and the latest output of the ever-popular Grand Tour.
But it is the football-first strategy which appears to have done most to boost numbers with 1.86m fans taking up £7.99 per month subscription after catching matches in a free-trial period.
Despite the surge, Amazon has a way to go to match Netflix’s subscriber base, which grew 20% over the same period to reach 12.35m households. The fourth quarter of 2019 proved to provide a less hospitable climate for Sky’s Now TV, however, which suffered a fall in subscriber numbers of 8% – although the service is still up by 8% over the year as a whole.
Shortly after the subscription figures for Amazon were released, Sky announced two new sports packages that will combine Sky Sports and BT Sport channels for the first time on Sky TV.
Lyssa McGowan, chief consumer officer at Sky said: “Our customers have always loved sport and we’re delighted to now be able to offer them even more. From the excitement of the Uefa Champions League, Tiger Woods defending The Masters and the rise of Fallon Sherrock, 2020 is a huge year of sport. Now, through our partnership with BT and the launch of our new sports packages, millions of fans can watch all the sports they love.”
2019 has proven to be a turning point for subscription streaming in the UK with over half of all households now signed up to at least one of Netflix, Prime Video or Now TV, with 14.3m homes on board for at least one service and 6m double dipping with two simultaneous on-demand services.

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Socialist Kshama Sawant reignites fight to tax Amazon for affordable housing | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Just a few months after going head-to-head with an Amazon-backed rival to claim her third term on the Seattle city council, Kshama Sawant has proposed a new tax on the trillion dollar giant and other large Seattle businesses, which she says will “stop at nothing” to try to defeat progressive proposals like this one.
The proposal, which was unveiled last week, would involve a 1.7% payroll tax on the top 3% of companies (based on their payroll) operating out of the city. Sawant estimates the tax will impact about 825 companies, each with about $7m or more in annual payroll. All non-profit organizations, public employers and grocery stores would be exempt.

“On the whole what we have achieved is exactly what we want to achieve, which is that it’s a truly progressive tax, meaning it falls only on the very very largest corporations,” Sawant told the Guardian.
Amazon has a long-history of tax management. It paid just 1.2% in federal income tax last year – a three-year high for the company – and has angered some critics with its tax policies.
In Seattle the new tax is expected to raise $300m each year. In a city that has the fourth highest rate of unsheltered homeless in the US, according to a 2019 federal report, 75% of the money from the tax would go toward building thousands of affordable, publicly owned homes. The rest of the funds would go toward converting homes that use oil or gas to clean electric energy.
Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative party and former tech worker, introduced a similar tax on big businesses in 2018. The Head Tax proposal would have implemented a per-employee tax on corporations making more than $20m each year.
Although the nine-member council initially unanimously approved it, after Amazon, Starbucks and other locally based companies contributed financially to a campaign to kill it, called No Tax on Jobs, all but two council members voted for repeal (Sawant and Democratic council member Teresa Mosqueda voted for the tax).

Supporters at the inauguration of the ‘Tax Amazon 2020 Kickoff’ event. Photograph: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images
Now Sawant has reignited that fight at a much larger scale. The new proposal would likely impact at least 200 more businesses than the previous tax and potentially raise more than six times the funds. And with a better sense of what can befall a proposal like this one at the 11th hour, the council member is also working to build up more momentum at the grassroots level.
“We need an even more powerful movement to withstand not just the pressures, but the bullying and threats of big business,” she said. “They will stop at nothing.”
Sawant was elected six years ago as the first socialist on the Seattle council in almost 100 years. She won her second re-election campaign in November, after a hard-fought battle against Amazon-backed candidate Egan Orion. The corporation, which is headquartered in Seattle, funneled $1.5m into the local city council elections by way of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee, which supported Orion and six other candidates considered to be business-friendly (all but two of these candidates lost their races).
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Throughout her campaign, she frequently referenced her plan to revive her fight for a tax on big business. But she said the specific proposal just announced came out of several months of deliberations among hundreds of people from the Socialist Alternative party, Democratic party and renters’ rights organizations.
Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan, a Democrat, said in a recent statement that while she does believe big businesses should contribute more financially to addressing the city’s challenges, “this proposal that is six times bigger than the failed council head tax proposal is not a plan that I can support”.
“Being progressive means actually making progress. While slogans are nice, a failed, divisive fight that is high on rhetoric but low on outcomes, or one that funds lawyers instead of housing, is not an actual solution,” she said.
Mayor Durkan helped to put together a bill introduced last month in the Washington state legislature that would authorize King county, which includes Seattle, to implement a 0.1 to 0.2% payroll tax on big businesses. But there has also been a recent push to add a clause barring cities from enacting similar big-business taxes.

Seattle has the fourth highest rate of unsheltered homeless in the US, according to a 2019 federal report. Photograph: Elaine Thompson/AP
Sawant said such a move would be “devastating” and “a huge betrayal of working people”.
Alicia Teel, spokesperson for the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, said that while lawmakers at the state level are working to develop a regional approach to help increase funding for housing and homelessness, “councilmember Sawant is spending her time printing posters and calling press conferences”.
Sawant plans to formally introduce the tax to the city council later this month. She said she also will likely hold district meetings throughout the city, along with rallies and marches to help spread awareness about the tax.
At the same time, she is working to introduce this tax to the Seattle council, there is also a group working on a corresponding ballot initiative. The idea is that if her proposal doesn’t get through the council, they can take the issue directly to the people.
Sawant was recently charged with violating the city’s ethics and elections code for promoting the initiative through links posted on her city council website. She said she was very surprised with the complaint, since the ballot initiative hadn’t been officially submitted or even written.
“We did not in any intentional way break any rules, and I’m looking forward to meeting with the commission to resolve this issue,” she said.

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EVGA’s GeForce RTX 2060 KO is available for $300 on Amazon – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: Typically, you have to wait for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or other holiday events to get the best deals on computer hardware. However, if you’re looking for a decent budget video card, you can now snag EVGA’s RTX 2060 KO for just $300 on Amazon.
This particular 2060 model was announced a while ago in response to AMD’s almost identically-priced 5600 XT. Recently, it became available for purchase, meaning the Green and Red Teams are once again competing head-to-head in this price bracket.
As long as this price stays consistent, we’d consider the 2060 KO a pretty good value option for 1080p gaming. Though the updated 5600 XT (with AMD’s boosted factory overclock speeds) outperforms it in some scenarios (and vice versa), based on our own benchmarks, the difference is typically not very noticeable.
You might assume, then, that your final decision should come down to personal preference, and that’s true to an extent. However, as Steve pointed out in our recent AMD driver discussion piece, if we pit the 5600 XT against the RTX 2060 directly (which we intend to do soon), we’ll have a tough time recommending the Red Team’s contender — even if the performance difference between the two is minor.

Why? Well, through our own research and discussions with users, it’s become clear that AMD’s drivers have some pretty serious problems, and that’s been the case since the launch of the earliest Navi cards seven months ago. We’ve seen widespread reports of driver crashes, black screen bugs, and flickering issues, to name a few.
AMD is doing its best to fix these problems, but we have no idea when complete patches will arrive. Until then, it might be best to go with the (for now) more stable Turing cards if 1080p gaming is your primary focus. We’re not saying RTX GPUs don’t have issues — occasional driver bugs are, and probably always will be a problem on both sides of the aisle — but our own polling seems to suggest that they’re currently less frequent and less severe among the latest Green Team GPUs.
If a $300 2060 does sound like your cup of tea, you can snag the 6GB EVGA KO model on Amazon right now. It comes with a “real boost clock” of 1680 MHz, and a free copy of Deliver Us The Moon, an RTX-enabled sci-fi adventure title. If AMD’s driver problems don’t scare you, multiple RX 5600 XT models can be found for $300 or less.
Masthead credit: Shutterstock

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Amazon founder launches $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund to fight climate change – Blog – 10 minute

The big picture: Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos this week announced the launch of a global initiative to help fight the devastating impact of climate change on Earth. The Bezos Earth Fund will empower scientists, activists and non-governmental organizations to both amplify know methods and explore new ways to combat what is described by some as the biggest threat to our planet.
Bezos in announcing the initiative on Instagram said he is contributing $10 billion to start with and will begin issuing grants this summer.
Climate change aside, the size of the gift and the fact that it is coming from Bezos is noteworthy in itself. According to Vox, the only other larger pledge of the 21st century came when Warren Buffett pledged to give the bulk of his net worth to the Gates Foundation back in 2006.

Critics for years have said Bezos hasn’t done enough charitable work with the wealth he has amassed. Donating what roughly amounts to 7.5 percent of his net worth to a charitable cause should certainly hush the critics.
Last year, Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife MacKenzie signed the Giving Pledge, vowing to donate at least half of her net worth to charity. As part of their divorce agreement, MacKenzie received roughly 19.7 million shares of Amazon stock that’s worth north of $42 billion today.
Masthead credit: Jeff Bezos sketch by Marina Linchevska. Climate change by Nicole Glass Photography.

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Former Amazon executive says he switches off Alexa for “private moments” – Blog – 10 minute

Why it matters: While smart speakers continue to make their way into more households, there’s increased concern that our recorded conversations could be heard by strangers. Those fears won’t be helped by the admission of a former Amazon executive, who says he turns off his Alexa smart speaker whenever he wants a “private moment”
Robert Fredrick, who was once a manager at Amazon Web Services, told the BBC’s Panorama program that he always turns off his Alexa speaker when discussing anything private or sensitive.
“I don’t want certain conversations to be heard by humans,” he said. “Conversations that I know for a fact are not things that should be shared then I turn off those particular listening devices.”
Alexa has been known to mishear wake words in conversations and start recording them without participants’ knowledge.

In April last year, it was reported that that Amazon employs thousands of contractors and full-time workers around the world to listen to voice recordings captured by Echo devices. The conversations were transcribed and annotated with the aim of improving the performance of digital assistant Alexa, helping the AI better understand human speech. Amazon said less than one percent of conversations are listened to by human staff, and the information is anonymized beforehand.
Following criticism of the annotation program, Amazon introduced an option that allows users to opt-out of human review of their voice recordings. You can also delete most of your transcripts stored on the company’s servers.
Fredrick wasn’t the only ex-Amazon worker with concerns over Alexa speakers. James Marcus, a senior editor at Amazon between 1996 to 2001, said: “I simply hate the idea of voluntarily putting a bug into my living room, and knowing that some schmo in Seattle might be listening to it on a headset.”
In response to the program, Amazon asked why Panorama would choose to question a former worker who left long before Alexa was created. “It is surprising that someone who left Amazon 14 years ago is being quoted, about a technology that was developed a decade after he left. His quotes do not accurately portray how Alexa works,” a spokesperson told The Sun.
“We take privacy very seriously at Amazon and designing Alexa was no different. Echo devices are designed to detect only your chosen wake word. No audio is stored or sent to the cloud unless the device detects the wake word. Customers can review and delete voice recordings at any time in the Alexa App, as well as, choose to have them automatically deleted every 3 or 18 months on an ongoing basis.”

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Concerns over safety at Amazon warehouses as accident reports rise | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

More than 600 Amazon workers have been seriously injured or narrowly escaped an accident in the past three years, prompting calls for a parliamentary inquiry into safety at the online retailer’s vast UK warehouses.
Amazon, whose largest shareholder is the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos, recently launched an advertising campaign fronted by contented staff members, after a string of embarrassing revelations about working conditions.
But new figures obtained by the GMB trade union under the Freedom of Information Act suggest safety at its more than 50 UK warehouses has not improved, and may be worsening.
Local authorities have received 622 accident reports involving Amazon warehouses over the past three years. The annual total has risen from 152 in 2016-17 to 230 the following year and 240 last year.
In one case, a self-employed contractor at a London warehouse lost consciousness and appeared to stop breathing following a head injury, having attempted to restart work.
The accident investigation report found that sorting baskets had been overfilled and that “the main root cause of this incident was failing to provide a safe working environment”.
A report covering an incident in 2015, before the period covered by the figures, concluded that a lapse of concentration due to “long working hours” was behind an incident in which a forklift truck driver reversed into a steel structure, bringing some of it down.
Internal emails from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that the accident was reported by an Amazon worker who would not give their name because they were “worried about getting sacked”.
Lisa Nandy, the MP for Wigan and a Labour leadership contender, called for an investigation into Amazon. She said: “The warehouse injuries suffered by Amazon workers are beyond appalling. I stand ready, if and when Amazon’s workers take strike action and protest, I will be there with them.
“The Tories need to start taking workers’ rights seriously and standing up to businesses like Amazon. I call on an urgent investigation – workers simply cannot wait for their conditions to improve.”
Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington, said: “In my 30 years in the world of work I cannot remember any company clock up so many injuries to its workers.
“I have been inside the giant Rugeley depot and heard first-hand from frightened workers of the 77 serious incidents in Rugeley alone.
“Amazon purports to be a 21st century company. It behaves like a 19th century mill-owner. [Its] owner, the American billionaire, Jeff Bezos, should be called to account by parliament for his actions.
“How can he or Amazon justify refusing to talk to their workers’ union, the GMB, on safety? Their behaviour is disgraceful.”
The GMB said the escalation in the number of accidents and near-misses demonstrated the need for parliament to investigate the online retailer.
Mick Rix, GMB national officer, said: “Amazon are spending millions on PR campaigns trying to persuade people its warehouses are great places to work. But the facts are there for all to see – things are getting worse.
“Hundreds of stricken Amazon workers are needing urgent medical attention. Conditions are hellish.
“We’ve tried over and over again to get Amazon to talk to us to try and improve safety for workers. But enough is enough – it’s now time for a full parliamentary inquiry.”
Amazon became the second company in the world to be valued by Wall Street at $1tn, while its founder Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest man with an estimated net worth of $137bn (£104tn).

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But the company has been dogged by allegations that its success is founded on the backs of workers enduring poor safety and low pay, leading to claims that Scottish staff resorted to living in tents to cut commuting costs.
Bezos is paying $165m for a house in the exclusive Beverly Hills area of Los Angeles, according to the Wall Street Journal, more than Amazon is due to pay in US federal taxes in 2019.
An Amazon spokesman said: “Amazon is a safe place to work. Yet again, our critics seem determined to paint a false picture of what it’s like to work for Amazon. They repeat the same sensationalised allegations time and time again.
“Our doors are open to the public, to politicians, and indeed to anyone who truly wants to see the modern, innovate and, most importantly, safe environment we provide to our people. The fact is we benchmark against UK national data, published by the Health & Safety Executive, confirming we have over 40% fewer injuries on average than other transportation and warehousing businesses in the UK.”

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