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Shark-spotting drones to patrol above Australian beaches

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Australian lifesavers work hard to protect beachgoers from hazards such as dangerous rips and sharks, but they are about to get some extra help from the sky.

On Sunday, Westpac, which sponsors the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Services, announced it would be supporting a trial of new drones to be used in search and rescue operations.

According to an emailed statement from Westpac, as well as determining the suitability of the drone for Australia’s coastal conditions, the trial also aims to develop a system of aerial detection of sharks using its advanced vision capabilities.

In addition, the trial is looking at using the drones to deliver ULB Life Saving Pods to people in emergency situations. The packages contain vital items such as floatation devices, shark repellent and medical equipment.

The long-range drone being trialled, nicknamed the Little Ripper, looks much like a mini-helicopter and is battery-powered.

The long-range drone being trialled, nicknamed the Little Ripper, looks much like a mini-helicopter and is battery-powered.

The trial will initially focus on the coastlines of Newcastle, Hawkes Nest and Byron Bay in northern New South Wales. Westpac has been contacted for further details regarding the cost of the devices and the number to be deployed.

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Myanmar

Digital Revolution and Repression in Myanmar and Thailand

Activists have also proactively published social media content in multiple languages using the hashtags #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar and #WhatsHappeningInThailand to boost coverage of events on the ground.

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By Karen Lee

Following the February 1 coup, Myanmar’s netizens became the latest to join the #MilkTeaAlliance, an online collective of pro-democracy youth across Asia.

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Ecommerce

How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

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How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability

A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.

The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.

Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.

In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.

While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.

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