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Oracle to invest $1.5bn in Saudi Arabia, open data centre in Riyadh

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Oracle to invest $1.5bn in Saudi Arabia, open data centre in Riyadh

Oracle Corp plans to invest $1.5 billion in Saudi Arabia in the coming years as it builds up its cloud footprint in the kingdom and opens its third public cloud region in Riyadh, a company official said.

Increased demand for cloud computing has pushed technology companies such as Oracle, Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet’s Google to set up data centres across the world to speed up data transfer.

Saudi officials have pressed international companies to invest in the kingdom and move their regional headquarters to Riyadh in order to benefit from government contracts.

“We are finalising the plans for opening the Riyadh region. We are still working with our suppliers before we can announce the actual date,” Nick Redshaw, a senior vice president at Oracle, said in an interview from Dubai.

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Redshaw said the investment will be made over several years without providing detail. He added that Oracle would also expand the capacity of its cloud region in Jeddah, which the company first opened in 2020.

The company made the announcement as global tech companies gathered for a major tech conference in the Saudi capital.

Though Oracle lags its bigger rivals in the race to corner the cloud computing market, it was among the first large tech companies to open a data centre in Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom has been devoted hundreds of billions of dollars to an economic transformation, known as Vision 2030, led by its de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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But it has struggled to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), one of the pillars of Vision 2030, which aims at diversifying the economy away from oil.

FDI reached just under $4.1 billion in the first half of 2022, a fraction of the ambitious $100 billion target set for the end of this decade.

While Oracle has been working with the government, Saudi Arabia has been trying to encourage foreign firms to set up headquarters in the country or risk losing out on government contracts and has given them until the end of 2023 to comply.

“We are working closely with the Saudi government to finalise plans for that regional headquarter requirement and we will announce them as we finalise that with them,” Redshaw said.

Oracle has also won contracts from the crown prince’s $500 billion flagship NEOM project, a futuristic mega city and economic zone which the crown prince is building on the Red Sea coast.

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Lunar racer car will take Moon astronauts to mysterious destinations ‘unreachable’ by foot

Lunar racer car will take Moon astronauts to mysterious destinations ‘unreachable’ by foot

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Lunar racer car will take Moon astronauts to mysterious destinations 'unreachable' by foot

Nasa has picked three companies to develop a new lunar racer car that Artemis astronauts will use to traverse the Moon in the 2030s.

It will help astronauts reach mysterious, never-before-explored destinations that are deemed unreachable by foot.

The lunar terrain rover (LTV) will be an essential string in Nasa’s bow in terms of scientific research and exploring the Moon’s south pole during the Artemis V mission.

The south pole is, scientists believe, the most promising location for water-based ice, which will be key to future human habitation on the Moon.

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The concentration of precious lunar materials in the polar region is also of interest to the US government, experts say.

We will use the LTV to travel to locations we might not otherwise be able to reach on foot, increasing our ability to explore and make new scientific discoveries, says Jacob Bleacher, Chief Exploration Scientist At Nasa.

Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost and Venturi Astrolab have been tasked with developing an autonomous vehicle as part of a $4.6billion contract over the next 13 years.

The trio will now launch a year-long study to develop a system that meets Nasa’s requirements.

Nasa has said that the Moon car must be able to accommodate two suited astronauts, and withstand extreme conditions.

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Temperatures can drop to as low as -230 degrees Celsius (-382 degrees Fahrenheit in shadowed regions of the lunar south pole.

It must also be able to work autonomously, so controllers on Earth can continue to explore the lunar surface without astronauts.

“We will use the LTV to travel to locations we might not otherwise be able to reach on foot, increasing our ability to explore and make new scientific discoveries,” Jacob Bleacher said.

“With the Artemis crewed missions, and during remote operations when there is not a crew on the surface, we are enabling science and discovery on the Moon year-round.”

Nasa’s Artemis V mission in 2029 will see two astronauts land on the Moon to explore, and another two astronauts set up the ESA’s refuelling module onboard Gateway – the first-ever lunar space station.
I
n 2026, Nasa will launch its Artemis III mission, the first human assignment on the Moon since Apollo 17.

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The third Artemis mission forms part of a decade-long programme that is hoped to culminate with a permanent lunar base.

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Brief disruption in internet services in Pakistan

Brief disruption in internet services in Pakistan

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Brief disruption in internet services in Pakistan

 Internet services were disrupted in several parts of the country on Tuesday.

According to Downdetector, there was a disruption in services in Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Peshawar.
Internet services across the country were restored after a brief outage. 

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EU regulators assess Apple’s plan for complying with music streaming order

EU regulators assess Apple’s plan for complying with music streaming order

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EU regulators assess Apple's plan for complying with music streaming order

 EU antitrust regulators are checking to see if an Apple (AAPL.O) proposal would comply with their order to let Spotify (SPOT.N) and other music streaming services inform users of payment options outside its App Store, the European Commission said on Monday.

The iPhone maker risks antitrust charges and fresh fines if its proposal announced last Friday fails to satisfy the EU competition enforcer, which issued its order together with a 1.84 billion euro ($2 billion) fine last month

Under Apple’s proposal, the Swedish music streaming service Spotify and others can include a link to their websites to inform users of other ways to purchase digital goods or services, away from Apple’s App Store.

They can also invite users to provide their email address to be sent a link to the platform’s website to buy digital music content or services. Such links, however, carry a 27% fee to Apple, including for subsequent auto-renewing subscriptions.

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“We are currently assessing whether Apple has fully complied with the decision,” a Commission spokesperson said.
“In general, if the Commission suspects that there is non-compliance with an adopted decision, it will send the undertaking concerned a Statement of Objections …”

Spotify bemoaned the fact that it was still waiting for Apple to comply with the EU order, five weeks on.

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