Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Author: Malek Fahmi

How do instant messaging applications stand up to the dominance of WhatsApp?

Quite a few applications that provide instant messaging services have seized a piece of the share of WhatsApp owned by Facebook (100 billion messages per day through its platform), as a result of users’ anger at the expected change in WhatsApp policies to deal with data privacy.

According to a report issued by the Statista research institution, the number of active WhatsApp service users reached two billion per month in January, despite the loss of the service to millions of users after announcing the intention to change privacy policies and data management.

After the users sparked a wave of outrage, WhatsApp withdrew from applying the amendment last February, and it was postponed to this May, specifically May 15, that is, next Saturday.

WhatsApp alone holds a 30% share of the global instant messaging services market, and it dominates the largest share in 93 countries at the level of Android users’ phones.

The service recently clarified a simple modification in the procedures it will take with non-acceptors to amend its new policies. After it promised that accounts of non-conformers would be suspended immediately on May 15th, the service retreated and explained that those accounts will gradually lose the benefits of its services, in order to give their owners a greater opportunity to change their thinking. And approval of the amendments.

The encrypted messaging service Telegram has achieved remarkable growth in the number of users since the beginning of this year, and the service has reached third place in the world in the list of the most used messaging services on the Android operating system at the end of last March.

The service has achieved wide reach in 11 countries around the world, including Egypt, Armenia, Lithuania, and Venezuela.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger comes second in the global instant messaging market, according to a SimilarWeb report on the market situation at the end of last March.

Messenger has dominated users in a group of countries, led by the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, and Sweden.

Until the end of last March, Messenger succeeded in maintaining its third position in the list of the most popular apps with active monthly users. Facebook and WhatsApp snapped first and second places, according to what Social Media Today reported on the App Annie Research Foundation report.

According to a report by the Statista for Statistical Research, the total number of active monthly users of Messenger reached 1.3 billion users in January.

American actor and director Norman Lloyd dies at the age of 106

Variety and Deadline Hollywood reported on Tuesday that American actor, producer and director Norman Lloyd has passed away at the age of 106.

Lloyd’s artistic history dates back more than 80 years and included collaborations with legends such as Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles.

Variety said Lloyd’s friend and co-producer Dean Hargrove confirmed the death, saying Lloyd had died on Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles. Deadline Hollywood added that Lloyd died in his sleep.

Reuters was not able to independently confirm the news.

FILE – Norman Lloyd, executive producer of Hollywood Theater, a series of high-class dramatic shows seen on affiliated stations on the Public Broadcasting Service, poses for a photo on Dec. 26, 1974, in Los Angeles. Lloyd, the distinguished stage and screen actor known for his role as a kindly doctor on TV’s “St. Elsewhere,” has died at 106. Manager Marion Rosenberg said the actor died Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at his home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/George Brich, File)


United Talent Agency Co-Founder Marty Bauer passed away At Age 74

Marty Bauer, a founder of the United Talent Agency, has died. Bauer, who was 74, died at home in Los Angeles on Friday. He died of natural causes, sources said.

“The entertainment industry has lost a unique and accomplished executive – and UTA has lost one of its founders,” said the agency in a statement obtained by THR. “Marty Bauer helped reshape the agency business. He was a fierce advocate for artists and a force in the creative community. We pay tribute today to his life and legacy and our thoughts are with his family.”

Bauer later went on to establish The Bauer Company, a management and production outfit, serving as its president. Throughout his career, Bauer’s clients also included John Mankiewicz and Alan Alda.

Fiat 500 EV … a car that combines elegance and luxury

Fiat 500 EV … a car that combines elegance and luxury

In early March, the Italian company Fiat revealed that the third generation of its 500 will be an “EV” – the first Fiat Chrysler car “FCA” it has ever produced in a full production chain; The Fiat 500 EV has two battery options: 24 kWh and 42 kWh.

Fast charging at 50 kW is standard with the option of charging at higher power at 85 kW available to everyone except for the base model.

Leading Fiat has divided the new 500 EV lineup into three trim levels called Action, Passion and Icon; The base model with Action Badge comes standard with 15-inch wheels, keyless entry, rear parking sensors, and lane-keeping assist, and inside buyers get a 7-inch digital kit and smartphone holder instead of the traditional infotainment system. The 500 will also be offered in three body styles: hatchback and cabriolet, and a new 3 + 1 configuration that includes an oyster shell rear passenger doors that open to the rear.

The Fiat 500 EV
The mid-range 500 Passion starts at £ 23,495 and adds 15-inch two-tone wheels, LED daytime running lights, along with a choice of two finishes for the interior upholstery, and buyers also get the latest 7-inch infotainment system from FCA, which is It offers support for natural language commands, in addition to the usual Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

According to the flagship Fiat, the entry-level Fiat 500 EV is equipped with a 23.8 kWh battery pack and a 118 hp electric motor, which offers a 0-62 mph time of 9.5 seconds and a top speed of 84 mph. The powertrain has a WLTP range of 115 miles, although Fiat says that number will swell to 150 miles under city driving conditions.

$ 900 billion, a growth in consumer spending to buy online after Covid-19 … How has the Middle East been affected?

Covid-19 has raised consumer spending in the electronic retail sector by $ 900 billion globally after the epidemic changed the behavior of people who had to stay at home and prompted them to boost online purchases.

The percentage of e-commerce out of total retail sales in the Middle East and Africa increased to 4.6% during the height of the pandemic, compared to 2.2% before the crisis.

The UAE witnessed an increase in consumer spending online during the year 2020, mainly driven by the increase in the number of electronic stores by 21% year-on-year, in addition to the increase in the number of e-commerce partners by 44% compared to 2019, according to the “Recovery Visions: E-Commerce” report issued by Master Card.

Covid-19 has accelerated the shift to e-commerce spending in markets such as the UAE and the United States, which have already started promoting digital transformation, along with countries that were in the early stages of the digital transformation of retail, such as Egypt and Brazil.

The online purchase rate of people residing in Saudi Arabia increased by 33% over the average over the past year, and the levels of electronic purchase in the UAE increased by 21%, in Russia by 29%, and in the United Kingdom by 22%.

E-commerce accounted for approximately one dollar out of every five dollars spent on retail, last year, while it was a dollar of every seven dollars spent in 2019, as e-commerce represented a lifeline for the retail sector. Face-to-face interaction, fearing the spread of the epidemic.

The report predicts that between 20% and 30% of the shift in online shopping related to Covid-19 will be permanent, even after the epidemic subsides.

Core retail sectors such as grocery, which held the smallest digital share before the crisis, saw some of the biggest gains as consumers adapted to buying online.

Two-thirds of online purchases in Saudi Arabia are made through websites based in the Gulf region instead of global platforms such as American Amazon and Chinese Alibaba, while Egyptians who shop online prefer Arab websites, according to a recent report issued last month by UNCTAD titled “Covid-” 19 and e-commerce. ”

E-commerce sales in the Middle East and Africa are currently stable at 2.4% of retail sales in the region after Covid-19 caused it to rise to 4.6% during the height of the epidemic, while it was at 2.2% before the crisis.

The proportion of e-commerce from retail sales in Europe increased to 11.6% during the height of the epidemic, compared to 7.5% before the crisis and 8.5% now.

E-commerce represented 11% of retail sales in the United States before the spread of Covid-19, but it rebounded to represent 22% at the height of the epidemic, to currently settle at 17%.

The proportion of e-commerce from retail sales in the United Kingdom increased to 31.3% during the spread of Covid-19, compared to 21.8% before the outbreak of the epidemic, when it stabilized at 24.1% during the current period.

Global consumer spending on e-commerce rebounded by 25-30% during the outbreak – from March 2020 to February 2021, in a year-on-year comparison, as the volume of sales increased and the number of different countries in which shoppers placed electronic orders.

The report suggested that groceries will be at the top of the sectors that will continue to benefit from the digital transformation in the field of e-commerce during the coming period, as only 7% of global grocery stores have electronic stores, but with the spread of Covid-19, the sector has rebounded. For example, a fifth of online grocery store shopping is currently taking place, as a result of pandemic-related closures.

The share of e-commerce in total global retail trade increased from 14% in 2019 to 17% in 2020, due to the digital transformation that Covid-19 has promoted, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The German “Rosberg X Racing” crowned the “Extreme E” title in Saudi Arabia

The first race in the history of the “Extreme E” series of electric SUVs, which was hosted by the Kingdom over two days, concluded in the Saudi Al-Ula governorate, on Sunday, with the participation of 9 international teams.

The German “Rosberg X Racing” team, made up of Sweden’s Johan Kristofferson, and Australian Molly Taylor, was crowned the “Extreme E” racing title.

Andretti United, represented by Swedish driver Timmy Hansen and Britain’s Kitty Munning, came second, and X44, represented by French rally champion Sebastian Loeb and Spanish driver Christina Gutierrez, came third.

The race was held over a period of two days, with the participation of 18 riders representing 9 international teams, in the event organized by the Saudi Ministry of Sports in cooperation with the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation.

The final round of the race took place amid great competition, starting with the first semi-final round, as the “Rosberg X Racing” and “X44” teams qualified before “Rosenberg” decided their presence in the final, while the “Andretti United” team qualified from the semi-finals. The second final called “The Crazy Race”, in which the “fourth, fifth, and sixth” of the qualifying rounds completed.

30% of global trade containers and 1.74 million barrels of oil per day pass through the Suez Canal

The Suez Canal is currently capturing the world’s attention, after the traffic in it stopped, due to the delinquency of a huge container ship while crossing the new branch of the canal, as part of the southern convoy on its journey coming from China, bound for the Dutch city of Rotterdam.

The severe storm, which hit the country last Tuesday morning, caused the crew of the Evergiven Panamanian ship to become invisible, with winds reaching 40 knots, which made the crew lose control of it, hit the bottom, and veered off course.

A long column of 185 ships, loaded with thousands of tons of petroleum, grains, and other goods, formed around the waterway of the canal, according to Bloomberg, in addition to dozens of containers stopping in the Mediterranean, which led to a decline in global trade movement, as the Egyptian Canal acquired 10 % To 12% of the volume of international trade flows, according to data from the Suez Canal Authority.

The rescue efforts, which continued for the third day in a row, did not succeed in disqualifying the ship loaded with about 224 thousand tons of oil and other products, despite the use of 8 gigantic locomotives, the largest of which reached about 160 tons, which dampens the hopes of international shipping companies, which seem to be You will have to resort to the more difficult option, which is to pass around Africa through the Cape of Good Hope Road, and the high cost it carries, according to experts.

What does the Suez Canal stop oil shipments mean?
1.74 million barrels per day out of 39.2 million barrels per day of imported crude oil by the sea used the Suez Canal in 2020, according to the company, “Kepler”, for tanker traffic data.
Crude oil and refined products flow in both directions in the 193 km long Suez Canal. In 2020, Europe imported 550,000 barrels per day of crude from sources east of Suez, most of it through the canal, according to Kepler’s figures.

South and East Asia imports through the canal reached 1.27 million barrels per day in June 2020, but deliveries subsequently declined to 310,000 barrels per day in November.
9%, or 1.54 million barrels per day, of global refined product imports, crossed the Suez Canal last year, according to Kepler. Naphtha, a feedstock for the plastics industry, makes up a large portion of the refined product supply that uses the canal.

Two distillate tankers loaded with diesel and aviation fuel were waiting for Thursday to sail towards the Mediterranean, while two tankers were waiting for Nafta to set sail east.

“Continental GT Speed” … is more dynamic than “Bentley”

“Bentley Motors” revealed some details of its new “Continental GT Speed” car, which is the most dynamic in the history of “Bentley”, which extends over 101 years, and it is the perfect expression of a performance-focused luxury car.

The new third-generation is distinguished by being carefully designed, engineered, developed, and handcrafted in the carbon-neutral Bentley factory for the production of luxury cars. It builds on the long-standing traditions of the various Speed ​​versions and raises them to greater levels.

The famous first-generation Continental GT Speed ​​was introduced in 2007 and was inspired by the 3-Liter Speed ​​models from the 1920s. The latest model from the Continental GT Speed ​​continues to have the same heritage characteristics and embodies the perfect combination of luxury and performance in the design of a high-performance luxury car.

Dr. Mathias Raab, Board Member of Bentley Motors, said: For engineering: The new Continental GT Speed ​​is the pinnacle of luxury, high-performance driving. This new model is the strongest expression of the Continental GT’s values ​​of thrill and high dynamism and is full of unique Speed ​​details to enhance the ownership experience and give customers more control over the car’s personality.

He added: The world’s most luxurious high-performance car is already more capable than ever before, and it has a new sporty feature that will attract drivers interested in high performance. Speed ​​is the latest chapter in the Continental GT story and helps Bentley customers create their own extraordinary rides.

International Theater Day … control of virtual shows and mourning the absence of the audience

The world’s celebration of the International Day of Theater (March 27) this year comes a year after the curtain was dropped on the logs around the globe, as a result of the Corona epidemic that afflicted the sector with historical losses that the “father of arts” did not experience since the Spanish flu crisis in 1918.

This global artistic event, which falls on next Saturday, coincides with a discussion and reflection on the meaning of theater, its forms, its new doors and the identity of its audience, in light of the influence of virtual shows at the expense of live performances, which is the issue that Al Sharq discussed with the plays and academies underwent the virtual experiences imposed by the epidemic In the world, and they agreed on the different schools to which they belong, that “nothing compares to looking into the eyes of the public and directly interacting with them on stage.” And they predicted that after the coronavirus recedes, the public will be hungry for live performances.

OPEC may be forced to extend the production cut until the end of the first half of 2021

The supply of oil stocks may decline, but despite this, the world’s major producers will not yet be able to ease their grip on production, as the recovery witnessed this year will be less than two-thirds of the lost demand in 2020, and the need for production restrictions will remain for many months.

The three major oil agencies in the world (the International Energy Agency, the US Energy Information Administration, and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) are close to a consensus that the global growth in oil demand on an annual basis in 2021 may reach 5.5 million barrels per day, close to the levels expected. When the International Energy Agency began publishing detailed forecasts for this year last July.

At the time, its outlook was pessimistic, expecting growth of 1.5 million barrels per day less than its peers, but the Energy Information Administration and OPEC have repeatedly reduced their forecasts since.

Demand rose below expectations
Despite the boost given to demand in the winter due to cold weather across most of the Northern Hemisphere and the acceleration of economic activity with the distribution of vaccines, previous expectations of strong growth in demand in the first quarter were dispelled.

Currently, all three agencies believe that global oil demand in the current quarter will not change much from the same period directly last year before the epidemic actually hits oil consumption.

Unsurprisingly, demand is expected to show strong growth on an annual basis in the second quarter, but despite the increase in demand by about 12 million barrels per day, the recovery will still be equivalent to only about three-quarters of the lost demand in the same period last year, and the three agencies see 60% restored. To 65% of last year’s losses, and the range widens to between 60% and 75% in the fourth quarter.

Supply expectations varied
On the supply side, the agencies are moving in different directions. While the International Energy Agency and the Energy Information Administration lowered production expectations from outside OPEC in the first quarter by more than 500 thousand barrels per day due to the impact of the winter storm, “Uri” on US production, OPEC raised its estimates by 230 A thousand barrels.

However, looking at the entirety of 2021, the IEA forecast is not in line with its two peers, and it is the only one of the three that does not see a response from the US shale oil sector to the oil price increases that pushed WTI above $ 60 a barrel until the end of the year.

The Energy Information Administration raised its expectations for non-OPEC supply in the second half of 2021 by 500 thousand barrels per day, while OPEC strengthened its expectations by more, and both believe that producers in the US shale oil sector will respond to the high prices with more investment and production.

The International Energy Agency is the only one that expects an increase in the world’s need for OPEC crude this year, at 27.32 million barrels per day, currently, an increase of 210,000 barrels per day over last month’s expectations.

In contrast, the Energy Information Administration lowered its estimate of the amount of crude that OPEC should pump to balance supply and demand by 310 thousand barrels per day to 27.23 million barrels, while OPEC lowered its expectations by 25 thousand barrels per day to 27.26 million barrels.

%d bloggers like this: