Telegram Adds 25 Mln New Users In 72 Hours

Walmart Any-time Delivery Using HomeValet-powered Smart Box

Walmart (WMT) has partnered with smart box maker HomeValet for grocery delivery pilot program.

Walmart announced that beginning this spring, participating customers in Bentonville, Arkansas, will be able to receive deliveries from their local Walmart directly into a temperature-controlled HomeValet-powered smart box placed outside their home. This gives customers the ability to receive secure, contactless deliveries with the peace of mind knowing their grocery items will stay fresh.

Walmart said it will reach out to its current delivery customers in Northwest Arkansas to learn of their interest in participating in the pilot.

HomeValet’s smart box is powered by an internet of things (IoT) platform that has three temperature-controlled zones, so it can properly store frozen, refrigerated and pantry items.

“If there’s one thing we know about our customers, it’s that they’re busier than ever. Our pilot with HomeValet is one of many solutions we’re testing that can make their days more manageable. After all, delivery should fit within their lifestyle, not the other way around,” said Tom Ward, SVP of Customer Product, Walmart U.S.

Germany’s CDU Elects Merkel Loyalist Laschet as Party Leader

Germany’s dominant party voted for continuity on Saturday by electing Armin Laschet as leader, opting for the candidate who most resembles outgoing chancellor, Angela Merkel, in policy and style.

Laschet, head of the country´s most populous state, beat long-time Merkel critic Friedrich Merz in a runoff after Norbert Roettgen, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Bundestag, was eliminated in the first round of voting at the Christian Democratic Union’s online convention.

Dubai’s Emirates Suspends Flights to Sydney and Melbourne

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Emirates is suspending flights to Australia’s three largest cities due to “operational reasons,” the world’s largest airline by international passengers announced.

The last flights to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane will be on Jan. 20 and customers for those cities will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin. Emirates did not say when the flights would resume.

Australia all but closed its borders to travelers last year to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Arrivals are capped, and those who do enter have to undergo a strictquarantine for two weeks. Many of its citizens abroad have struggled to get home.

Dubai, the Middle East’s main business hub, locked down the city for about a month last year and Emirates grounded passenger flights. It’s eased entry requirements in recent months in a bid to boost tourism.

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Parched California Braces for Winter Fire Season, Blackouts

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California utilities are warning that they may need to cut power to almost 280,000 homes and businesses to prevent live wires from sparking wildfires as high winds are expected to sweep through the drought-weary state.

Edison International’s Southern California Edison said 256,000 customers in six counties near Los Angeles face blackouts within 48 hours due to a forecast of a strong Santa Ana wind event. The utility had switched off almost 2,000 customers, mostly in Ventura County, late Saturday,according to Southern California Edison’s website.

Red flag warnings circle the mountains and valleys around Los Angeles, and near-hurricane force winds are forecast to hit the area starting Monday night, the National Weather Servicesaid. While the winter months usually mark California’s rainy season, much of the state remains gripped by drought conditions, according to theU.S. Drought Monitor.

Telegram Adds 25 Mln New Users In 72 Hours

Telegram added 25 million new uses in 72 hours amid concerns over WhatsApp’s new privacy policy.

The messaging service has now crossed 500 million active monthly users. Telegram founder Pavel Durov recently confirmed the news on his personal Telegram channel.

Demographic-wise, 38 percent users were from Asia, 27 percent from Europe, 21 percent from Latin America and 8 percent from MENA (the Middle East and North Africa).

Apps like Telegram and Signal are witnessing significant spike in new downloads as users of WhatsApp have started ditching the platform due to its new privacy policy and its sharing of certain user data with Facebook.

Previously, Durov had shared plans to monetize the app, including bringing premium paid features for business and power users while keeping all existing Telegram features free of cost. The app also plans on bringing ads to the platform, but only for large groups and channels, keeping private chats and groups ad-free.

“It will allow us to keep innovating and keep growing for decades to come. We will be able to launch countless new features and welcome billions of new users. While doing that, we will remain independent and stay true to our values, redefining how a tech company should operate,” mentioned Durov in the post, dated December 23, 2020.