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Sunday,28-February-2021

Business

Amazon to soon allow users to type and chat with Alexa

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Amazon

Amazon is testing typing functionality for Alexa on iOS devices which will allow users to send messages to Alexa rather than using voice, especially in situations like being at a public place or in a meeting where voice command is awkward.

The new feature, being rolled out as part of a public preview, was first spotted by The Ambient publication.

The new feature is available for iOS users in the Alexa smart home app.

Tap the keyboard icon that appears on the top left of the main menu of the app to access it.

According to an Amazon spokesperson, ‘Type with Alexa’ will allow you to interact with Alexa without using voice, “meaning everything you can currently say to Alexa can now also be typed using your Alexa mobile app”.

“Type with Alexa is available to iOS customers in the US”.

The company, however, did not reveal when this feature will be rolled out globally, or on Android.

Google Assistant already has this functionality.

Amazon is also adding new capabilities in its Alexa virtual assistant that will speak to you in more languages.

To date, Alexa was able to respond in two languages as it received the ability to automatically respond to English and other languages last year.

Now, users can enable a few more languages in the Alexa app — German, French, Canadian-French, Japanese, Spanish, US-Spanish, and Hindi — all paired with English.

Business

Fuel prices resurge after 3-day break

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Petrol

Country’s petrol and diesel prices continued its northward march on Saturday, after a three-day break, taking its retail rates to unprecedented levels and burning holes in the consumers pockets.

Oil marketing companies raised the pump price of petrol and diesel by 24 paise and 15 paise per litre on Saturday.

With this, petrol is now priced at Rs 91.17 a litre and diesel Rs 81.47 a litre in the capital.

Across the country as well the petrol and diesel prices increased between 20-30 paise per litre depending on the level of local duty at the state level.

Sources in OMCs said that price rise on Saturday followed movement in product price in global markets. The crude oil is also on boil with benchmark Brent crude still above $66 a barrel now. It was less than $60 a barrel just a few days back.

Petrol and diesel prices have been rising continuously since February 9. In the 14 increases since then, the prices have gone up by Rs 4.22 per litre for petrol and Rs 4.34 a litre for diesel in Delhi.

The increase in the previous weeks has taken petrol to cross historic high levels of Rs 100 a litre in several cities across the country.

In Mumbai, petrol prices is just Rs 2.4 per litre short at Rs 97.57 a litre (from the three digit mark of Rs 100 per litre for the very first time ever). Diesel prices in the city is closing in on Rs 90 a litre (Rs 88.60 a litre).

In all other metros, petrol is over Rs 90 a litre mark while diesel is well over Rs 80 a litre.

Premium petrol crossed Rs 100 per litre mark in several cities of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra a few days back.

Since fuel prices are benchmarked to a 15-day rolling average of global refined products’ prices and dollar exchange rate, pump prices can be expected to remain northbound over the next few days even if crude price stabilises.

The petrol and diesel prices have increased 26 times in 2021 with the two auto fuels increasing by Rs 7.46 and Rs 7.60 per litre, respectively so far this year.

Oil companies executives said that petrol and diesel prices may increase further in coming days as retail prices may have to be balanced in line with global developments to prevent OMCs from making loss on sale of auto fuels.

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Business

Maruti Suzuki exports 20L vehicles since 1986-87

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Maruti-Suzuki

Automobile Maruti Suzuki India on Saturday said it has accomplished two million (20 lakh) vehicle exports.

Accordingly, Maruti Suzuki commenced export of vehicles in FY1986-87.

The company’s first large consignment of 500 cars was shipped to Hungary in September 1987.

In FY2012-13, the Company achieved the milestone of one-million exports.

“In the first million, more than 50 per cent of exports were undertaken to developed markets in Europe,” the company said in a statement.

According to the statement, Maruti Suzuki achieved the subsequent million in over eight years with special focus on emerging markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia regions.

“With concerted efforts, the Company has been able to gain sizeable share in markets like Chile, Indonesia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. Models such as Alto, Baleno, Dzire and Swift have emerged as popular choices in these markets.”

Currently, we export 14 models, nearly 150 variants, to over 100 countries.

In January this year, the Company started production and export of Suzuki’s celebrated compact off-roader Jimny from India.

“With India as a production base for Jimny, Suzuki aims to leverage Maruti

Suzuki’s global production stature.”

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Business

Nirmala Sitharaman attends G20 Central Bank Governors’ Meet

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Nirmala-Sitharaman

Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has participated virtually in the First G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting under the Italian Presidency to discuss policy actions for transformative and equitable recovery.

The other issues on the agenda on Friday included global economic outlook, financial sector issues, financial inclusion and sustainable finance.

Sitharaman spoke about India’s policy response to the pandemic. She said that India’s domestic policies have been based broadly on supporting citizens through measures such as credit guarantees, direct transfers, food guarantees, economic stimulus packages and accelerating structural reform.

She also spoke about India’s vaccination programme, which is the world’s largest and the most ambitious vaccination drive. She mentioned that India has extended vaccine support to several countries.

During this meeting, G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors also discussed the implications of climate change on global growth and financial stability.

Speaking on the Presidency’s proposal to undertake systematic policy dialogue on climate risk and environment taxation, Sitharaman suggested that these conversations should remain within the ambit of Paris Agreement and should be based on the principles of common but differentiated responsibility, respective capability, and the voluntary nature of the commitments.

The Finance Minister also stressed upon the importance of transfer of green technologies and scaling up of climate finance.

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