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Dogs are coming to Sea of Thieves, possibly the newest pet type
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Sea of Thieves didn't get its own dedicated spotlight during the gamescom Opening Night Live event, but eagle-eyed fans may have noticed a small clip of the game being displayed on the Xbox Game Pass montage that played during it. The clip in question - seen at the 22-second mark on the video above - shows a pirate holding a dog, an animal/pet that hasn't even been announced yet for the adventure title.
It's very likely that dogs were supposed to hit Sea of Thieves as a part of this month's content update, but as its major features were pushed back by Rare to the September update, fans will have to wait a little longer to get their own canine friend.
Sea of Thieves already offers three types of animal companions for players, Monkeys, Parrots, and Cats, which can be bought through the Pirate Emporium using the premium currency Ancient Coins. Multiple dog breeds will probably be available for purchase as pets via the same means when Rare introduces them, unless the studio intends to add them as a regular world mob, which is rather unlikely.
Also during the gamescom show, the Xbox camp revealed the Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition plus a new trailer showcasing the star-studded voice talents of upcoming Xbox console exclusive time loop game Twelve Minutes.
Uber announces help for New York restaurants and workers
by Paul Hill
Uber has announced that Uber Eats users located in New York will be able to contribute to their local restaurants during checkout in order to help them during the on-going COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent economic hardship. Every donation that is made will be matched by Uber who will pay into the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund up to a total of $5 million.
Uber's contributions will help the Relief Fund provide $500 grants to eligible restaurant workers including couriers working on apps like Uber Eats, who have been squeezed financially. Uber has confirmed that once it has experimented with the program in New York, it will expand it to cover the whole of the U.S., possibly as early as next week. Additionally, it wants to roll out the program to other countries where it serves customers.
Commenting on the news, Paul Barker, owner of Pauli’s North End in Boston, MA, and Uber Eats partner, said:
Earlier in the month, the firm revealed that it was scrapping the Delivery Fee for more than 100,000 independent restaurants across the U.S. and Canada on its Uber Eats platform. As a result, it has seen a significant increase in orders to independent restaurants since mid-March. It also revealed that restaurants looking to keep delivery orders coming have been signing up to the platform at ten times previous rates.
Intel provides $6 million for coronavirus relief efforts
by Paul Hill
Intel has announced that it will provide a total of $6 million to assist coronavirus relief efforts. $4 million will be used to support communities in areas where the company has a significant presence while the other $2 million has been allocated for matching employee relief efforts around major Intel sites.
The Intel Foundation which is supplying the money said in a statement:
In terms of the specifics, the $4 million donation will be used to aid community foundations and organizations that are focused on food security, shelter, medical equipment, and small-business support. The donations it matches with the $2 million will be directed to “strategic organizations unique to each major Intel site”. The beneficiaries include food banks, school districts, children’s hospitals and any others that help local communities manage the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
The donation areas in the U.S. include Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, and Texas. International donation areas include Costa Rica, India, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, and Vietnam. Donations from employees and U.S. retirees will be matched from March 26 to April 2 or until it uses up the $2 million.
These newly announced efforts build on the $1 million donation to the International Red Cross and the donation of 1 million gloves, masks, and other equipment to healthcare workers.
Apple announces new measures to tackle Covid-19
by Paul Hill
Yesterday, Apple announced that it would be holding its annual developer conference online instead of inviting people to its campus. The firm has now announced further measures to tackle the deadly disease. The measures include matching employee donations to fight the disease, store closures outside of Greater China until March 27, and more.
One of the measures that Apple will implement is a donation matching programme. To assist in the elimination of Covid-19, Apple has so far donated $15 million worldwide, now it will also match any donations made by its employees to assist in response efforts locally, nationally, and internationally.
Many countries have now begun implementing social distancing strategies to encumber the spread of the coronavirus. To further these efforts, Apple is closing its retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27. The firm encourages people to use its online store if they want to purchase items from the company.
In its offices, employees will be moved onto flexible work arrangements outside of Greater China, they will be allowed to work from home if their job allows for it. While people are out of the offices, Apple will continue to deep clean all of its office spaces to further inhibit the spread of the disease. Additionally, it’s rolling out health screenings and temperature checks to ensure people are healthy.
Hourly workers will continue to receive payments in alignment with business as usual operations and leave policies have been adjusted to accommodate personal or family health circumstances created by Covid-19 such as recovering from the illness, helping sick relatives, mandatory quarantining, and issues around childcare.
As of 2018, Apple had 123,000 full-time employees. With these new measures, transmission rates could be lowered wherever there are high concentrations of Apple employees.
Aside from taking WWDC online, Apple has also released a new Covid-19 section on the Apple News app; this will help you keep up with all the latest information about the disease.
By Hamza Jawad
UNICEF becomes first UN organization to start accepting cryptocurrency donations
by Hamza Jawad
In recent times, there has been plenty of discussion surrounding the implications of cryptocurrencies. While financial services firms have been unwilling to support them as a medium of exchange, fearing scrutiny from regulators, others have been more welcoming of the idea. There have also been a couple of mass hacking incidents involving cryptocurrency exchanges that certainly haven't done digital currencies any favors in terms of their popularity.
Now, in what may be considered a surprise move, the United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF) has announced that it will be accepting, disbursing, and holding donations in the form of bitcoin and ether. With the setting up of its new Cryptocurrency Fund, UNICEF becomes the first UN organization to make transactions in cryptocurrency.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, commented on this initiative in the following manner:
Through the received donations, the organization will be funding open source technology that aims to benefit children and young people globally. The Ethereum Foundation will be the first one to be contributing to UNICEF through the Cryptocurrency Fund, in the form of donations to three grantees of the UNICEF Innovation Fund. Aya Miyaguchi, Executive Director of the Ethereum Foundation, noted that this move would help showcase Ethereum and blockchain technology's power to benefit communities all over the world.
Notably, UNICEF is one of the co-leaders of the UN Innovation Network. As such, it helps in researching the potential of blockchain and other emerging technologies, as well as problems associated with them. The organization's latest move is another major step in its ongoing work related to blockchain. It will be interesting to see whether the scope of this move expands to other digital currencies in the future, and whether other UN organizations start adopting a similar model as well.