Amazon, Apple and Facebook shares soar amid pandemic

The £170bn tech boom: Bumper figures send shares in Amazon, Apple and Facebook soaring…but Google dives

  • Huge rally saw Apple shares soar to record highs of more than $412 each
  • Bonanza on Wall Street added £5.3billion to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ personal fortune

Almost £170billion was added to the value of three American tech giants yesterday just 24 hours after the US economy recorded its biggest slump in post-war history. 

Shares in Amazon, Apple and Facebook soared as investors cheered yet another set of bumper earnings figures. 

The huge rally saw Apple shares soar to record highs of more than $412 each, with the firm overtaking state-backed oil giant Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable listed company, with a market capitalisation of almost £1.4trillion. 

Riches: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with girlfriend Lauren Sanchez

At the same time, the bonanza on Wall Street added £5.3billion to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ personal fortune and more than £5billion to that of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. But shares in a fourth tech giant – Google owner Alphabet – tumbled after it posted the first drop in revenues in its 22-year history. 

The 5 per cent slide in shares saw around £18billion wiped off its value. 

However, Amazon added £46billion to its value, Apple gained £85billion and Facebook more than £37billion. 

The combined gains were worth more than the entire value of the UK’s biggest listed firm, the £120billion consumer goods group Unilever. 

Together, the four US tech titans had reported an astonishing £156billion in sales for the three months to June 30, even as separate data showed the wider US economy had contracted by a record 9.5 per cent in the second quarter. 

It underlined the gulf in fortunes between the companies, which have benefited from the shift towards digital services during the pandemic, and more traditional businesses which have been hammered by lockdown restrictions. 

Roger McNamee, a longtime Silicon Valley investor, said: ‘The day we found out the US economy declined more than it ever has in history, these companies recorded extraordinary growth.’ Amazon is emerging as a major winner from the coronavirus crisis, with its second quarter revenues surging 40 per cent to £68billion as people stuck indoors turned to online shopping. Profits doubled to £4billion – despite the company previously saying it wasn’t expecting fireworks because of significant costs for making its warehouses ‘Covid secure’. 

The results were even better than many Wall Street analysts had predicted, with Amazon handing a one-off £382 ‘thank you’ bonus to tens of thousands of frontline staff who worked throughout June. Sales in North America rose from £29.5billion to £42.3billion during the quarter, while international sales rose from £12.5billion to £17.3billion. 

One Wall Street analyst branded the numbers ‘simply humongous’, while another said the firm’s ‘online sales hit the roof during the pandemic lockdown’. 

And the subsequent surge in Amazon’s shares helped to further enrich Bezos, 56, who is already the world’s richest man with a fortune of more than £138billion. It was also a good day for Apple, after the iPhone maker posted a rise in sales of all of its major products from MacBook laptops to iPad tablets. The company posted revenues of £45.4billion – £3billion more than analysts had predicted. Facebook, meanwhile, also beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly revenue, as more businesses used its digital advertising tools to take advantage of a surge in internet traffic during the pandemic. 

Total revenue at the social network rose from £12.9billion to £14.2billion, beating forecasts of £13.3billion. Daily active users also averaged 1.79billion for the period, an increase of 12 per cent compared to a year previously. 

However, Alphabet sales dropped 2 per cent to £29.1billion after big advertisers cut back spending in the face of economic uncertainty

Amazon Fresh trials same-day groceries delivery in SE England


Supermarkets were facing a fresh challenge today after online giant Amazon announced that Prime customers can now get their food shop delivered for free.

Shoppers using the £1.17billion company’s subscription service are now able to get groceries delivered straight to their door without leaving their sofas.

It replaces the previous system where Prime members – who already had to pay £7.99 – needed to pay an extra £2.99 for a food order. 

Now, as long as customers are in London and the south-east – including Surrey, Hampshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire – and spend more than £40 on Fresh orders they will get their groceries delivered free.

A member of staff at one of the new Amazon Fresh fulfillment centres preparing a delivery

What is Amazon Fresh? 

Amazon Fresh is an Amazon Prime benefit available at no extra cost to existing Prime subscribers.

Prime members in around 300 postcodes across Greater London and the South East (including London, Surrey, Hampshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire) can do their weekly shop on Amazon Fresh, with local produce, brands and artisan products, included in the cost of Prime membership.

Amazon said delivery in two-hour windows is now free on orders over £40 and the minimum order value has been lowered from £40 to £15.

Shops that come in under £40 will be charged a £3.99 delivery fee.

Customers will be able to access between 12,000 and 15,000 products online including products from retailers and brands including Booths, Morrisons, Whole Foods Market, Pepsi, Danone, Arla, Warburtons and Britvic. 

Amazon Fresh customers will also be offered a selection of thousands of products from local producers including GAIL’s Artisan Bakery, C.Lidgate and Paxton & Whitfield.

The US e-commerce giant also plans to expand the free delivery to ‘millions more’ customers around the UK by the end of the year and speed up deliveries in a bid to capitalise on the booming online grocery industry. 

It is understood that Prime customers in Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh will be among the first to benefit from the wider roll-out.

The huge push will see current warehouses – also called fulfillment centres – adapted and expanded to be able to safely store the food from suppliers before it is delivered to buyers,

It means suppliers, who include bakers and butchers, will have their goods transported to the hubs ready for Amazon to distribute themselves.

The same will happen with any supermarkets who decide to opt-in to the ambitious new system. 

A spokesman for Amazon told MailOnline that Amazon Fresh will supply food from supermarkets Morrisons, Whole Foods Market, and Booths, as well as smaller suppliers including GAIL’s Artisan Bakery, C.Lidgate and Paxton & Whitfield.

But food from ‘nervous’ supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda will not be supplied as the US retailer looks to ‘capture a material slice’ of the market.

Shops that come in under £40 will now be charged a £3.99 delivery fee. Customers will be able to access between 12,000 and 15,000 products online – compared to 40,000 products on Ocado. 

Shoppers in 40 postcodes in Surrey and Berkshire can also book a one-hour slot for £3.99 or get same-day delivery. 

MailOnline compared an online food order Amazon Fresh to similar products from Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose, and found the online giant to be cheaper by more than £4 to nearest rival Sainsbury's 'Chop Chop'

MailOnline compared an online food order Amazon Fresh to similar products from Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose, and found the online giant to be cheaper by more than £4 to nearest rival Sainsbury’s ‘Chop Chop’ 

A worker at one of the new centres picks a pineapple to deliver on the new delivery service

A worker at one of the new centres picks a pineapple to deliver on the new delivery service

The new Amazon Fresh fulfillment centres will be in retrofitted and expanded buildings

The new Amazon Fresh fulfillment centres will be in retrofitted and expanded buildings

Retail analyst Richard Hyman called Amazon a ‘voraciously ambitious business that wants to dominate every market that it trades in’.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he added that UK supermarkets will be ‘rightly nervous’ as Amazon wades into the grocery market. 

‘History shows that Amazon doesn’t enter markets lightly, and it doesn’t enter markets to be another player. This is a voraciously ambitious business that wants to dominate every market that it trades in,’ Mr Hyman said.

The groceries will arrive in these branded bags

Amazon says the goods will be sent from new fulfillment centres

Amazon says customers using the delivery network will be able to pick between 12,000 and 15,000 products from a special section found on its website

Who are Amazon Fresh’s biggest rivals? 

Ocado Zoom and Ocado.com

Ocado Zoom is Ocado’s on-demand service stocking a wide selection of ocado.com’s range. So if you want groceries delivered now, or later the same day, and you live in West London, then Ocado Zoom’s for you.

Zoom is only available to a limited number of postcodes from a small site in west London. They provide a choice of over 10,000 products with a minimum order £15 and a delivery charge that starts from £1.99. 

Sainsbury’s Chop 

Chop customers can order up to 20 items via an app for delivery by bike within 60 minutes for a flat delivery fee of £4.99. There is a minimum spend of £15 and the service is available in selected areas of Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, and Reading. 

Tesco.com

Tesco.com guarantees same-day delivery by 7pm if ordered by 1pm, with ‘same day’ plan. 

Waitrose ‘Rapid’

Customers can choose 25 items, delivery within two hours. There is a minimum £10 order with a £5 delivery fee in a select number of postcodes.

‘Now it’s not going to dominate the UK grocery market any time soon because there’s rather a lot of players in it already who are actually pretty good at what they do. But I think we shouldn’t be under any doubt that they will capture a material slice of this market.

‘It’s certainly true that when someone with the pockets that are as deep as Amazon enters the market and their existing retail business model doesn’t need to make any profit because they make their profit doing other things, that represents a potential challenge of significant dimensions.’

He added: ‘One of the things we’ve all learned about Amazon over the years is that they are very unconventional and they’re also extraordinarily secretive. So there’s a lot about this that they’ve not told us.’ 

Amazon release their second quarter results on Thursday. Investors who have seen the share price rise by around 60 per cent this year will be hoping for more good news from the technology giant. The surge in Amazon shares saw founder Jeff Bezos add £10billion to his wealth in just one day last week. 

Food delivery has doubled in size to more than 3million orders per week since the start of the pandemic as families avoid crowded spaces and learn to shop online. 

Traditional supermarkets have already seen their market share undercut by German discounters, which hold more than 13 per cent of the UK market, and sellers such as Ocado and Amazon post a threat online. 

Russell Jones, UK country manager for Amazon Fresh, said: ‘It’s a really obvious next step to take. Grocery delivery is one of the fastest growing businesses at Amazon and we think this will be one of the most-loved Prime benefits in the UK.’ 

Tom Brereton, an analyst at Global Data, said: ‘It’s a bold and ambitious move from Amazon.’

Canadian inventor’s lock aims to beat doorstep parcel thieves


Is this the end of ‘porch pirates’? Tiny lock uses aircraft-grade steel cable to stop packages from being stolen

  • One in five Americans are thought to have fallen victim to ‘porch pirates’, with $25million worth of parcels going missing every day 
  • After falling victim, Canadian entrepreneur Dennis Evans invented a solution 
  • Parcels are locked inside an adjustable cable made of aircraft-grade steel 
  • Only way to release the cable is using a key, held by the homeowner 

Online shopping has revolutionized the way the world shops – but it has also given rise to so-called ‘porch pirates’ who steal deliveries right off people’s doorsteps. 

After Canadian inventor Dennis Evans was struck by pirates himself, he vowed to come up with a solution – and created a device called Snare.

One in five Americans are thought to have fallen victim to ‘porch pirates’, with 1.7million parcels going missing across the US every day.

Snare security system stops parcels from being stolen from doorsteps using an aircraft-grade steel cable which wraps around the package

The system is designed to stop opportunistic thieves from taking packages by making them much more difficult to steal (file image)

The system is designed to stop opportunistic thieves from taking packages by making them much more difficult to steal (file image)

The system works by wrapping parcels in a loop made from aircraft-grade steel cable which is pulled tight, meaning the package cannot be taken by passersby.

The cable runs through through a lock which fixes on to the outside of a house using a specially designed bracket.

Whenever the homeowner is expecting a delivery, they take the lock outside and fix it on to the bracket, before locking it in place.

Evans has spent four years developing Snare, and is now raising money for the project on Kickstarter

Evans has spent four years developing Snare, and is now raising money for the project on Kickstarter

After a package has been put inside the cable tightened, the only way to loosen it is by unlocking the box using the key.

The bracket has been designed to fit to brick, wood paneling or metal railings with screws, making it difficult to remove.

The cable itself is made from aircraft steel, meaning it is difficult to cut through – but flexible enough to fit all kinds of packages.

Evans admits that Snare, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is not totally secure – but said that is not the point.

Because porch pirates are opportunistic – striking because the parcels are an easy target – his aim was not to make stealing the parcel impossible, only to make it difficult enough that the crooks either give up or don’t bother in the first place.

He said: ‘I started Snare because I wanted to solve a problem I had personally experienced – my online orders were getting stolen right off my front porch!

Evans said the project evolved three times after input from his wife, but is now patented and will be available from November this year

Evans said the project evolved three times after input from his wife, but is now patented and will be available from November this year

‘Every community site in my neighbourhood was posting videos of porch pirates stealing their parcels.’ 

While cameras might help to catch thieves, Evans noticed that they weren’t stopping them from taking the packages.

Over the course of four years – and with plenty of input from his wife – he developed a lock which he says makes taking packages much more difficult, if not impossible.

Snare will cost $100 when it is finished, but is available for an early bird price of $69 if you pledge through Kickstarter.



Bear Grylls Amazon Prime show on ‘world’s toughest race’ in Fiji


Newly released images from an upcoming TV show offer a taste of what the ‘world’s toughest race’ involves.

‘Eco-Challenge’, a brutal ‘expedition race’, saw 66 teams from 30 countries race non-stop for 11 days, 24 hours a day, across 671 kilometres (416 miles) of rugged Fijian terrain. One participant says that for four days of it, he only managed to get four hours’ sleep.

The action has been captured by Amazon Prime Video series The World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji, with stills from it showing competitors performing jaw-dropping rappels down waterfalls and rafting down raging rivers. And host Bear Grylls (inevitably) hanging out of a helicopter.

Amazon Prime Video series The World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji, hosted by Bear Grylls (pictured), documents 66 teams from 30 countries racing non-stop for 11 days across rugged Fijian terrain

Grylls, left, said: 'This is an expedition with a stopwatch, is how I always kind of see this, and just to complete it is a huge achievement'

Grylls, left, said: ‘This is an expedition with a stopwatch, is how I always kind of see this, and just to complete it is a huge achievement’

Another shot shows a worn-out competitor pushing their bike up a steep muddy trail amid lush prehistoric-like foliage.

The ten-episode series tells the story of the event, in which the teams paddled, biked, rappelled, climbed, and hiked across ocean waters, over mountains and through jungles and swamps.

It total, there were 330 competitors in groups of four vying for a $100,000 cash prize. The race kicked off on September 5, 2019, with temperatures averaging a sweaty 28 degrees Celsius.

Competitors rappel down a waterfall during the Eco-Challenge event, which took place last September

Competitors rappel down a waterfall during the Eco-Challenge event, which took place last September

Teams paddled, biked, rappelled, climbed, and hiked across ocean waters, over mountains and through jungles

Teams paddled, biked, rappelled, climbed, and hiked across ocean waters, over mountains and through jungles

A show statement said: 'People from all walks of life and every corner of the globe join together to overcome the most incredible obstacles'

A show statement said: ‘People from all walks of life and every corner of the globe join together to overcome the most incredible obstacles’

A statement for the upcoming series says that ‘viewers worldwide will see the limits of human physical and mental endurance tested like never before’.

It adds: ‘At its core, World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji is about perseverance.

‘People from all walks of life and every corner of the globe join together to overcome the most incredible obstacles. The challenges lie both within the course itself, and competitors’ equally daunting personal struggles, which are only magnified by the demands of the expedition.’

'I unashamedly wept at times, seeing the effort and what it meant to these people,' said Grylls

‘I unashamedly wept at times, seeing the effort and what it meant to these people,’ said Grylls

One competitor said that taking part in the race was 'the closest we get to being superheroes'

One competitor said that taking part in the race was ‘the closest we get to being superheroes’

Extreme: Grylls stresses that the event is 'not a normal adventure race'

Extreme: Grylls stresses that the event is ‘not a normal adventure race’

One participant says that for four days of it, he only managed to get four hours' sleep

One participant says that for four days of it, he only managed to get four hours’ sleep

The show is a chance to see a different side to Fiji, which is typically associated with honeymooners and hammocks

The show is a chance to see a different side to Fiji, which is typically associated with honeymooners and hammocks

Grylls revealed that it was difficult to see racers drop out after spending so much time and energy in preparation.

He said: ‘But at the same time, those that endured, whether or not they won, it wasn’t really about the winning. This is an expedition with a stopwatch, is how I always kind of see this, and just to complete it is a huge achievement.

‘I unashamedly wept at times, seeing the effort and what it meant to these people.’

The adventure race series Eco-Challenge was created for television back in in 1992 by Mark Burnett, the same producer behind the reality show Survivor

The adventure race series Eco-Challenge was created for television back in in 1992 by Mark Burnett, the same producer behind the reality show Survivor

'The challenges lie both within the course itself, and competitors' equally daunting personal struggles, which are only magnified by the demands of the expedition,' a show statement said

‘The challenges lie both within the course itself, and competitors’ equally daunting personal struggles, which are only magnified by the demands of the expedition,’ a show statement said

The World's Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji will be available exclusively via the Prime Video app from August 14

The World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji will be available exclusively via the Prime Video app from August 14

Grylls noted the field's diversity, including the first fully African American team competing internationally. Another American squad includes Mark Macy, a past Eco-Challenge competitor who has since been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and his son, Travis

Grylls noted the field’s diversity, including the first fully African American team competing internationally. Another American squad includes Mark Macy, a past Eco-Challenge competitor who has since been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and his son, Travis

Grylls noted the field’s diversity, including the first fully African American team competing internationally. Another American squad includes Mark Macy, a past Eco-Challenge competitor who has since been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and his son, Travis. 

‘That was a very emotional journey for them to race together, for the son to want to be alongside his dad,’ Grylls said. 

Joji Tamani, a guide from the outdoor company Talanoa Treks in Fiji, told MailOnline Travel that he helped with logistics on the race and that he’s happy to see how adventure tourism is growing in the country, which is traditionally associated with honeymooners and hammocks.

He mused: ‘I think there is more interest now in tourists considering Fiji as a hiking destination.

‘Hopefully, the screening of the World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji will create more interest in Fiji’s adventurous side.

‘I also hope that many locals tap into adventure tourism. I feel there is so much that can be offered by native communities.’

The adventure race series Eco-Challenge was created for television back in in 1992 by Mark Burnett, the same producer behind the reality show Survivor.

It visited destinations including Utah, Australia, Argentina and Morocco with the last race, before the relaunch, taking place in Fiji in 2002.

  • The World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji will be available exclusively via the Prime Video app from August 14 at amazon.com/primevideo in more than 200 countries and territories. Watch the teaser trailer here.

Illegal fires rage in Amazon rainforest after Brazil outlawed them


The shocking condition of the Amazon has been caught on camera by conservationists as illegal wildfires ravage the rainforest. 

Images from Greenpeace taken between July 7 and 10 show the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso ablaze despite it being illegal to start fires in the state since July 1st.

As of yesterday, the Brazilian authorities extended this ban to include the country’s entire rainforest for 120 days.   

Hotspots in an area with degraded forest, in Mato Grosso state. Every year, Greenpeace Brazil flies over the Amazon to monitor deforestation build up and forest fires

Images from Greenpeace taken between July 7 and 10 show the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso ablaze despite it being illegal to start fires in the state since July 1st (pictured)

 Images from Greenpeace taken between July 7 and 10 show the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso ablaze despite it being illegal to start fires in the state since July 1st (pictured) 

Images taken by the conservation charity also document vast swathes of land that have already been razed. Areas being actively prepared for burning have also been captured on film

Images taken by the conservation charity also document vast swathes of land that have already been razed. Areas being actively prepared for burning have also been captured on film

Images taken by the conservation charity also document vast swathes of land that have already been razed. Areas being actively prepared for burning have also been captured on film. 

Land is deliberately burned to allow illegal commercial activities such as livestock farming and mining to take place.  

The charity is putting the blame squarely in the lap of the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a notorious climate change sceptic. 

He also repeatedly flouted lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic despite his country being ravaged by the disease. He has since tested positive for COVID-19, twice. 

He is under enormous pressure to listen to conservationists who say his pro-mining and reckless deforestation policies for agriculture will devastate the rainforest.  

As a result of increased wildfires and record-breaking levels of deforestation, Bolsonaro issued a three-month ban on all fires and continues to deploy the army to tackle the issue. 

However, campaigners say this is nothing more than bluster and smokescreens.  

Romulo Batista, Greenpeace Brazil Amazon campaigner, said: ‘Banning fires alone does not work. 

‘Those calling on the Brazilian government to act cannot fool themselves and think that President Bolsonaro’s sloppy PR moves will have meaningful impacts. 

Greenpeace is putting the blame squarely in the lap of the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a notorious climate change sceptic. He also repeatedly flouted lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic despite his country being ravaged by the disease. He has since tested positive for COVID-19, twice

Greenpeace is putting the blame squarely in the lap of the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a notorious climate change sceptic. He also repeatedly flouted lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic despite his country being ravaged by the disease. He has since tested positive for COVID-19, twice

Bolsonaro is under enormous pressure to listen to conservationists who say his pro-mining and reckless deforestation policies for agriculture will devastate the rainforest

Bolsonaro is under enormous pressure to listen to conservationists who say his pro-mining and reckless deforestation policies for agriculture will devastate the rainforest

Preliminary data from the country's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) published last week revealed June 2020 was the 14th consecutive month where deforestation has increased in the Brazilian amazon

Preliminary data from the country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) published last week revealed June 2020 was the 14th consecutive month where deforestation has increased in the Brazilian amazon

Amazon deforestation surges by 25 per cent in a YEAR

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has risen by a quarter since last year, official statistics show.  

The rainforest is also on course for its worse year on record and in the first half of 2020, 1,184 square miles (3,069 square kilometres) — an area ten times the size of Paris — was destroyed. 

Preliminary data from the country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) show June was the 14th consecutive month where deforestation has increased. 

June marks the start of the dry season and Brazil has been criticised by a number of countries and environmental groups over large-scale deforestation and fires.

Deforestation and fires in Brazil’s Amazon released 115 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in the first half of 2020, up roughly 20 per cent from the same period a year ago.

 

‘These images, along with the record deforestation rates this year, are the intended outcome of Bolsonaro’s long term strategy for the Amazon. 

‘His government has been dismantling environmental protection laws and kneecapping the power of the environmental protection agencies since he took office. 

‘They have even used the COVID-19 pandemic as a smokescreen to further enable deforestation, logging and mining.

‘This administration is doing nothing but putting the climate and more lives at risk, especially those of Indigenous Peoples. 

‘Protecting the capacity to monitor and stop environmental destruction and to enforce the law is essential.’

Preliminary data from the country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) published last week revealed June 2020 was the 14th consecutive month where deforestation has increased in the Brazilian amazon. 

It found that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has risen by a quarter since last year and the rainforest is also on course for its worse year on record.

In the first half of 2020, 1,184 square miles (3,069 square kilometres) — an area ten times the size of Paris — was destroyed.  

A report issued recently from RSPB and the WWF found Britain’s obsession with timber, leather and beef ‘is having a heavy impact’ on the Amazon rainforest and contributing to wildfires.

The latest figures suggest that 2,248 fire outbreaks were detected in the Amazon biome for the month of June – the highest number for 13 years.

For the first 14 days of July, there were a further 1,057 fires recorded in the biome.

Brazil represents 13.9 per cent of the UK overseas land footprint, according to a new report, equal to about 800,000 hectares or five times the area of Greater London.  

The WWF and RSPB have called on the UK government to introduce new laws and policies to take deforestation of natural habitats out of the supply chain. 

A government spokesperson said they were considering all the recommendations from the report including a mandatory due diligence obligation. 

Research from Brazil's space agency found that deforestation in Brazil's Amazon has risen by a quarter since last year and the rainforest is also on course for its worse year on record

Research from Brazil’s space agency found that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has risen by a quarter since last year and the rainforest is also on course for its worse year on record

The latest figures suggest that 2,248 fire outbreaks were detected in the Amazon biome for the month of June - the highest number for 13 years. For the first 14 days of July, there were a further 1,057 fires recorded in the biome

The latest figures suggest that 2,248 fire outbreaks were detected in the Amazon biome for the month of June – the highest number for 13 years. For the first 14 days of July, there were a further 1,057 fires recorded in the biome

Brazil represents 13.9 per cent of the UK overseas land footprint, according to a new report, equal to about 800,000 hectares or five times the area of Greater London. The WWF and RSPB have called on the UK government to introduce new laws and policies to take deforestation of natural habitats out of the supply chain

Brazil represents 13.9 per cent of the UK overseas land footprint, according to a new report, equal to about 800,000 hectares or five times the area of Greater London. The WWF and RSPB have called on the UK government to introduce new laws and policies to take deforestation of natural habitats out of the supply chain

Romulo Batista, Greenpeace Brazil Amazon campaigner, said: 'Banning fires alone does not work. 'Those calling on the Brazilian government to act cannot fool themselves and think that President Bolsonaro's sloppy PR moves will have meaningful impacts'

Romulo Batista, Greenpeace Brazil Amazon campaigner, said: ‘Banning fires alone does not work. ‘Those calling on the Brazilian government to act cannot fool themselves and think that President Bolsonaro’s sloppy PR moves will have meaningful impacts’

Carrie Symonds slams Amazon for too much plastic packaging


Boris Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds blasts Amazon for using too much plastic packaging as she reveals she is relying on deliveries for baby essentials since son Wilf’s arrival

  • Carrie Symonds, 32, said she was ‘dismayed’ at the amount of plastic packaging
  • Oceana senior adviser shared petition calling for ‘plastic-free’ checkout option
  • She has ‘relied’ on the retail giant since giving birth to her son Wilfred in April
  • Miss Symonds is living at No 10 with PM and their almost three-month-old son

Boris Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds today revealed she has had to rely on Amazon deliveries for baby essentials since her son Wilfred’s arrival as she blasted the internet giant for using too much plastic packaging.

Miss Symonds, 32, said she was ‘dismayed’ at the amount of plastic packaging used by Amazon for their baby products.

The senior adviser for Oceana, an organisation which campaigns for policies to protect and restore the world’s oceans, also shared a petition calling for the online retailer to provide a ‘plastic-free’ option at checkout.

Boris Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds today revealed she has relied on Amazon deliveries for baby essentials since giving birth to her son Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson

Miss Symonds tweeted: ‘Since having Wilf and not being able to get to the shops during lockdown, I’ve relied on Amazon for lots of baby essentials but I’ve been dismayed at the amount of plastic packaging. 

‘Please sign this petition to ask Amazon to give us plastic-free options too.’

In a series of earlier tweets, she explained: ’94 per cent of Amazon customers surveyed in the UK by YouGov for Oceana are concerned or very concerned about plastic pollution and the impact on the environment. It’s time we are given plastic-free choices.

‘UK customers are by far the most in favour of a plastic-free check-out option (81 per cent), with half of them willing to shop elsewhere to be given a plastic-free option (52 per cent).’

The petition, which has gained over 487,400 signatures at the time of writing, reads: ‘Since Amazon ships over 50 per cent of the packages in many countries, we are asking them to set an example and offer materials that are more easily recycled and reused so consumers can feel better about the need to shop online and gain more control over what arrives on their doorstep.’

It adds: ‘Please grant consumers the choice to go “Plastic-free”. 

‘It’s not acceptable for major businesses to leave consumers with so few choices and we are fed plastic we didn’t ask for that later ends up in landfills or in our rivers and oceans. 

‘Plastic-free choices should be accessible and plentiful if we want to see lasting change and a dramatic decrease in plastic waste. 

Miss Symonds pictured returning to Downing Street via the backdoor last week, where she is living with the Prime Minister and their almost three-month-old son

Miss Symonds pictured returning to Downing Street via the backdoor last week, where she is living with the Prime Minister and their almost three-month-old son

The senior adviser for Oceana, which campaigns for policies to protect and restore the world's oceans, shared a petition calling Amazon to provide a 'plastic-free' option at checkout

The senior adviser for Oceana, which campaigns for policies to protect and restore the world’s oceans, shared a petition calling Amazon to provide a ‘plastic-free’ option at checkout

‘Let’s take a big step forward and make “Plastic-free” a regular option on all checkout forms.’ 

It follows Miss Symonds also demanding that British retailers stop selling coconut products that use monkey labour in their production. 

She welcomed pledges by four firms including Boots and Waitrose to take the goods off their shelves, adding it was ‘time ALL supermarkets to do the same’.

A keen conservationist, she called on all other supermarkets to stop selling the products, which include certain brands of coconut water and coconut milk, and named three chains.

Within hours of posting about the use of monkey labour on social media, the huge supermarkets began to respond. 

A Hermes delivery courier carries two boxes, one labelled with the eco-friendly range Kit & Kin, as he makes a delivery to 10 Downing Street on May 5

A Hermes delivery courier carries two boxes, one labelled with the eco-friendly range Kit & Kin, as he makes a delivery to 10 Downing Street on May 5

The courier seen wearing a face mask as he makes a delivery to the Prime Minister's official residence. Kit & Kin sells organic and non-irritable baby skincare products

The courier seen wearing a face mask as he makes a delivery to the Prime Minister’s official residence. Kit & Kin sells organic and non-irritable baby skincare products

Miss Symonds is living at Downing Street with the Prime Minister and their almost three-month-old son, Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson. 

Carrie gave birth in London on April 29 with the Prime Minister at her side, days after he himself had been released from medical care following a lengthy battle with coronavirus.

A courier has previously been spotted carrying two boxes to the Prime Minister’s official residence with the eco-friendly range Kit & Kin labelled across one of the deliveries. 

Kit & Kin sells organic and non-irritable baby skincare products, including nappies, wipes and cotton clothing.

The range was created in 2017 and co-founded by Spice Girl Emma Bunton and Christopher Money.

Carrie Symonds slams Amazon for too much plastic packaging


Boris Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds reveals she has had to rely on Amazon deliveries for baby essentials since son Wilf’s arrival as she blasts internet giant for using too much plastic packaging

  • Carrie Symonds, 32, said she was ‘dismayed’ at the amount of plastic packaging
  • Oceana senior adviser shared petition calling for ‘plastic-free’ checkout option
  • She has ‘relied’ on the retail giant since giving birth to her son Wilfred in April
  • Miss Symonds is living at No 10 with PM and their almost three-month-old son

Boris Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds today revealed she has had to rely on Amazon deliveries for baby essentials since her son Wilfred’s arrival as she blasted the internet giant for using too much plastic packaging.

Miss Symonds, 32, said she was ‘dismayed’ at the amount of plastic packaging used by Amazon for their baby products.

The senior adviser for Oceana, an organisation which campaigns for policies to protect and restore the world’s oceans, also shared a petition calling for the online retailer to provide a ‘plastic-free’ option at checkout.

Boris Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds today revealed she has relied on Amazon deliveries for baby essentials since giving birth to her son Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson

Miss Symonds tweeted: ‘Since having Wilf and not being able to get to the shops during lockdown, I’ve relied on Amazon for lots of baby essentials but I’ve been dismayed at the amount of plastic packaging. 

‘Please sign this petition to ask Amazon to give us plastic-free options too.’

In a series of earlier tweets, she explained: ’94 per cent of Amazon customers surveyed in the UK by YouGov for Oceana are concerned or very concerned about plastic pollution and the impact on the environment. It’s time we are given plastic-free choices.

‘UK customers are by far the most in favour of a plastic-free check-out option (81 per cent), with half of them willing to shop elsewhere to be given a plastic-free option (52 per cent).’

The petition, which has gained over 487,400 signatures at the time of writing, reads: ‘Since Amazon ships over 50 per cent of the packages in many countries, we are asking them to set an example and offer materials that are more easily recycled and reused so consumers can feel better about the need to shop online and gain more control over what arrives on their doorstep.’

It adds: ‘Please grant consumers the choice to go “Plastic-free”. 

Miss Symonds pictured returning to Downing Street last week, where she is living with the Prime Minister and their almost three-month-old son

Miss Symonds pictured returning to Downing Street last week, where she is living with the Prime Minister and their almost three-month-old son

‘It’s not acceptable for major businesses to leave consumers with so few choices and we are fed plastic we didn’t ask for that later ends up in landfills or in our rivers and oceans. 

‘Plastic-free choices should be accessible and plentiful if we want to see lasting change and a dramatic decrease in plastic waste. 

‘Let’s take a big step forward and make “Plastic-free” a regular option on all checkout forms.’ 

It follows Miss Symonds also demanding that British retailers stop selling coconut products that use monkey labour in their production. 

She welcomed pledges by four firms including Boots and Waitrose to take the goods off their shelves, adding it was ‘time ALL supermarkets to do the same’. 

The senior adviser for Oceana, which campaigns for policies to protect and restore the world's oceans, shared a petition calling Amazon to provide a 'plastic-free' option at checkout

The senior adviser for Oceana, which campaigns for policies to protect and restore the world’s oceans, shared a petition calling Amazon to provide a ‘plastic-free’ option at checkout

A keen conservationist, she called on all other supermarkets to stop selling the products, which include certain brands of coconut water and coconut milk, and named three chains.

Within hours of posting about the use of monkey labour on social media, the huge supermarkets began to respond.

Miss Symonds is living at Downing Street with the Prime Minister and their almost three-month-old son, Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson.

Carrie gave birth in London on April 29 with the Prime Minister at her side, days after he himself had been released from medical care following a lengthy battle with coronavirus.

A courier has previously been spotted carrying two boxes to the Prime Minister’s official residence with the eco-friendly range Kit & Kin labelled across one of the deliveries. 

Kit & Kin sells organic and non-irritable baby skincare products, including nappies, wipes and cotton clothing.

The range was created in 2017 and co-founded by Spice Girl Emma Bunton and Christopher Money.

Amazon says memo to employees BANNING TikTok for security reasons was ‘sent in error’


Roughly five hours after an internal email went out Friday to Amazon employees telling them to delete the popular video app TikTok from their phones, the online retailing giant appeared to backtrack, calling the ban a mistake.

‘This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error,’ Amazon emailed reporters just before 5pm Eastern time. ‘There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.’

Company spokeswoman Jaci Anderson declined to answer questions about what caused the confounding turnaround or error.

Earlier on Friday, the memo surfaced online and requested ‘all staff’ remove the app from mobile devices with access to Amazon emails by July 10.

The e-commerce giant cited ‘security risks’ as the reason for the ban, but notes staff can continue to use TikTok from their Amazon laptop browser. 

A TikTok spokesperson told DailyMail.com in an email: ‘User security is of the utmost importance to TikTok – we are fully committed to respecting the privacy of our users.’ 

‘While Amazon did not communicate to us before sending their email, and we still do not understand their concerns, we welcome a dialogue so we can address any issues they may have and enable their team to continue participating in our community.’ 

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A memo surfaced online that requested ‘all staff’ remove the app from mobile devices with access to Amazon emails by July 10. An Amazon spokesperson later revealed that the memo was ‘sent in error’

 ‘We’re proud that tens of millions of Americans turn to TikTok for entertainment, inspiration, and connection, including many of the Amazon employees and contractors who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic.’ 

DailyMail.com has reached out to Amazon for comment and has yet to receive a response.  

The note is said to have been sent to all of Amazon’s staff, which must delete the app by Friday in order to continue access to their emails. 

TikTok allows its users to publish short-form mobile videos and showcase their creativity to the app’s 800 million members.

The note is said to have been sent to all of Amazon's staff, which must delete the app by Friday in order to continue access to their emails

The note is said to have been sent to all of Amazon’s staff, which must delete the app by Friday in order to continue access to their emails

However, the Chinese firm has come under fire as being a threat to national security in the US and other countries around the world.

Last month, India banned the app following a deadly border conflict between the country and China, which resulted in 20 Indian soldiers losing their lives during hand-to-hand combat.

This is not the first time that TikTok has been banned in India.

It was banned briefly last year after concerns were raised about the app being used to distribute pornography.

The ban was lifted after a few weeks, but reinstated June 29. 

The news comes just four days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US was ‘looking into’ banning TikTok because it poses a threat to national security.

Pompeo told Fox News’ Laura Ingram Monday that he and President Trump are taking claims that the app collects users’ cellphone data and then shares the information directly with Beijing ‘very seriously’.

The comments were made by Pompeo when quizzed about whether the United States should be considering a ban on Chinese social media apps, ‘especially TikTok.’

‘With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right,’ Pompeo said. ‘I don’t want to get out in front of the President [Donald Trump], but it’s something we’re looking at.’

TikTok allows its users to publish short-form mobile videos and showcase their creativity to the app's 800 million members. The news comes just four days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US was 'looking into' banning TikTok because it poses a threat to national security

TikTok allows its users to publish short-form mobile videos and showcase their creativity to the app’s 800 million members. The news comes just four days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US was ‘looking into’ banning TikTok because it poses a threat to national security

The top Washington diplomat added that Americans should only download the app ‘if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.’

Other than bans looming over TikTok, the app experienced a worldwide outage Thursday that affected tens of thousands of users.

Around 2pm ET, reports surfaced that all video likes had mysteriously reset to zero – sending users into a frenzy.

However, some had raised concerns that TikTok may have completely shut down, as there has been rumors in the past that it would one day come to an end amid increased governmental scrutiny.

The issues were eventually resolved later that evening.

Amazon will start listing names and addresses of merchants in effort to hold counterfeiters to task


Amazon will start publicly listing the names and addresses of third-party merchants in an effort to hold counterfeiters accountable

  • Amazon will require merchants to list their names and addresses 
  • The move will look to shed light on anonymous sellers and inform customers  
  • It will augment broader moves by Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit 

Amazon will look to crack down on bootleggers by requiring them to publicly list their names and addresses on

According to a report from Business Insider, the new requirement was sent in a note to sellers this week and will take effect on September 1st. 

‘These features help customers learn more about the businesses of a seller and the products that they are selling,’ the note says, according to a report from Business Insider.

‘We are making this change to ensure there is a consistent baseline of seller information to help customers make informed shopping decisions.’

Amazon recently created a special division assigned to weeding out counterfeit products on its platform through investigation and civil lawsuits (stock)

The effects of publicly listing the name and address of a seller will be twofold according to Amazon.  

It will make it harder for sellers to stay anonymous while also give customers added agency when deciding when and from whom they buy goods on the platform. 

According to Business Insider, the idea behind the added transparency requirements was taken from a Department of Homeland Security report on counterfeiting which states:

‘To increase transparency on this issue, platforms should significantly improve their pre-sale identification of third-party sellers so that buyers can make informed decisions, potentially factoring in the likelihood of being sold a counterfeit or IPR infringing merchandise.’ 

The requirements will be a part of a broader initiative by Amazon which recently announced the formation of a Counterfeit Crimes Unit consisting of ‘former federal prosecutors, experienced investigators, and data analysts’ that will be responsible for holding bootleggers to account.

Specifically, the division will attempt to facilitiate civil lawsuits, help brands in their investigations, and also partner with law enforcement in their separate efforts to combat counterfeiters.  

‘Every counterfeiter is on notice that they will be held accountable to the maximum extent possible under the law, regardless of where they attempt to sell their counterfeits or where they’re located,’ said Dharmesh Mehta, Vice President, Customer Trust and Partner Support at Amazon. 

The introduction of a new unit devoted to stopping counterfeiters is no coincidence. Amazon has struggled to deal with phony products on its platform, leading some major retailers to stop selling goods through the company.

In November, Nike stopped selling products on Amazon’s platform saying that unlicensed distributors were a major factor. 

The company has also invested heavily into attempting to stop counterfeit products from being sold. 

Amazon shuns police plea to remove ‘Blue Lives Murder’ T-shirt


Amazon has refused police officers’ pleas to remove ‘deeply offensive’ T-shirts displaying a ‘Blue Lives Murder’ logo.

The Police Federation, which represents British officers, branded the shirts ‘deeply offensive’ and last month asked Amazon to remove them from sale on its site.

Previously on sale for £17.95, the blue shirt shows a white officer striking a pair of arms from above and appears to have been taken down by the individual seller.

Dozens of other merchandise bearing the slogan were on sale, including a T-shirt featuring officers in riot gear manhandling a hooded man. 

Amazon has refused police officers’ pleas to remove ‘deeply offensive’ T-shirts displaying a ‘Blue Lives Murder’ logo showing  a white officer striking a pair of arms from above 

The slogan appeared on dozens of T-shirts on the site, which have now been taken down by individual sellers rather than being banned by the company

One shirt featured to officers in riot gear manhandling a hooded man

The slogan appeared on dozens of T-shirts on the site, which have now been taken down by individual sellers rather than being banned by the company

Chair of the federation John Apter has now revealed he had a meeting with Amazon UK executives on Monday to try and convince them to stop the sales.

Last month the Police Federation claimed its pleas to stop the sales of the T-shirts was backed by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

But he claims their plea was ‘rejected’ and added: ‘The company maintained the merchandise does not contravene their policies.’

He branded the decision a ‘kick in the teeth’.

Mr Apter said: ‘Together with police colleagues, who have contacted me from across the UK, I consider this merchandise to be highly inflammatory and deeply offensive.

Police Federation chair John Apter revealed he had a meeting with Amazon UK executives on Monday to try and convince them to stop the sales

Police Federation chair John Apter revealed he had a meeting with Amazon UK executives on Monday to try and convince them to stop the sales

On Twitter the Police Federation said the immediate stopping of the sale of the 'disgusting' t-shirts in June was backed by Home Secretary, Priti Patel

On Twitter the Police Federation said the immediate stopping of the sale of the ‘disgusting’ t-shirts in June was backed by Home Secretary, Priti Patel

‘I believe most members of the public will agree with me that this calls into account the moral judgement of Amazon.

‘I really can’t contain my anger and disgust that Amazon failed to act and refuse to remove the ‘Blue Lives Murder’ merchandise from sale.

‘I met with senior directors from Amazon UK and they did not consider that the sale of these disgraceful items contravenes their policy on offensive and controversial materials.

‘I think this is a bad decision and a wrong decision and smacks of poor judgement. I believe that this is a decision police officers and the public will find hard to understand and stomach.

‘Given recent attacks on my colleagues, this was an opportunity for Amazon to hear the voices of those officers, their families and others who have objected to the sale of these items and to show support for policing during this difficult and dangerous time.

Mugs priced at £12.95 with the 'Blue Lives Murder' logo emblazoned on them continue to be sold on the Amazon UK website

The mugs are inspired by the T-shirts formerly sold on the site

Mugs priced at £12.95 with the ‘Blue Lives Murder’ logo emblazoned on them continue to be sold on the Amazon UK website

The mugs are being sold by traders Situen and PKS Home on the site and have received one-star ratings by customers

The mugs are being sold by traders Situen and PKS Home on the site and have received one-star ratings by customers

‘With policing under so much pressure and being unfairly vilified by some, this is a kick in the teeth.

‘I hope Amazon will urgently reconsider their decision and put right the wrong many of us feel.’ 

A spokesperson from Amazon UK said: ‘Amazon has strict guidelines in place and follows the local laws of every country we operate in. We also have public policies for third-party sellers, so that they understand the standards we expect of them.

‘We have policies governing offensive and controversial materials which are posted publicly, and we invest significant time and resources to ensure our content guidelines are followed.’

An online petition started by Chelsie Stevenson to remove the items from Amazon has reached more than 68,000 signatures out of its 75,000 goal

An online petition started by Chelsie Stevenson to remove the items from Amazon has reached more than 68,000 signatures out of its 75,000 goal

While T-shirts emblazoned with the ‘Blue Lives Murder’ logo are not currently available on the Amazon UK website, mugs priced at £12.95 continue to be sold on the site. 

Amazon UK refused to comment on whether it removed merchandise from its website or if individual sellers took the decision to remove items when questioned by MailOnline.

An online petition started by Chelsie Stevenson to remove the items from Amazon has reached more than 68,000 signatures out of its 75,000 goal.

Among those to complain was serving police officer Carl Blower, who has been working with Greater Manchester police for 18 years.

Among those to speak out against the t-shirt was police officer Carl Blower, 50, (pictured right, with Gino D'Acampo) who has been working with Greater Manchester police for 18 years

Among those to speak out against the t-shirt was police officer Carl Blower, 50, (pictured right, with Gino D’Acampo) who has been working with Greater Manchester police for 18 years

He took to the retailer’s Facebook page saying: ‘I am appalled and disgusted that Amazon would sell and associate themselves to T-shirts with Blue Lives Murder slogans.

‘You are adding to the cause of what is wrong with the world today. Please ban all these products.’

Facebook user Lesley Michel also posted a picture of the shirt and said: ‘Shame on you Amazon! #Bluelivesmatter’.

Lawrence Hemmings added: ‘Disgusting, I will no longer use Amazon.’

And Kate John said: ‘Still live to buy, how dare you.’