Smaller but More Frequent Catastrophes Loom Over Insurance Sector | Sidnaz Blog


Less devastating than mega events such as earthquakes and hurricanes, these secondary perils, as they are known in the industry, happen relatively frequently and include hail, drought, wildfire, snow, flash floods and landslides.

Climate change and urban sprawl are driving a jump in secondary perils losses, said Tamara Soyka, Head Cat Perils EMEA at

Swiss Re.

Insurers and reinsurers, who traditionally focused on predicting big weather events that can cause widespread damage, are increasingly incorporating secondary-peril models.

Swiss Re, for instance, last year started considering pluvial—that is, heavy rainfall, similar to the recent European floods—flood zones when assessing risks.

A storm system over Europe dumped heavy rains in recent weeks, causing heavy floods in Germany, Belgium and parts of the Netherlands and Switzerland. The German Insurance Association on Wednesday said it expects insured losses could hit nearly $6 billion as a result of the flooding in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. It doesn’t yet have estimates for the damage in Saxony and Bavaria.

Before-and-after images show the extent of damage in German towns hit by the region’s worst flooding in decades. Visiting one inundated village, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for more effort to combat future climate-related disasters. Photo: Satellite Image ©2021 Maxar Technologies

This year is expected to be the most damaging for the country since 2002, when insured storm damage totaled about €11 billion, equivalent to $12.98 billion, the association said. While mostly all residential buildings have windstorm and hail coverage, only 46% of homeowners have cover for heavy rain and floods.

Heavy rain, hailstorms and wind in Germany and Switzerland in June have already cost the industry an estimated $4.5 billion, according to analysts at Berenberg.

Analysts at

Moody’s Investors Service

in a note this week said German insurers “may find it challenging to protect homeowners against climate risk without significant price increases.”

Insurers paid out $81 billion for damages related to natural catastrophes in 2020, according to reinsurance giant Swiss Re, up 50% from 2019 and comfortably topping the $74 billion 10-year average for such losses.

Secondary peril events accounted for more than 70% of the $81 billion in natural catastrophe losses last year, according to the data.

Firms expected to take hits to their earnings from the European floods include Swiss Re,

Munich Re AG


Zurich Insurance Group,

according to analysts. Spokespeople for Swiss Re, Zurich and Munich Re declined to give estimates of the potential impact.

UBS Group AG analysts project $6 billion worth of losses for the industry, split into $2 billion for primary insurers and $4 billion for reinsurers.


Have you been affected by a natural disaster? What was your experience working with insurance companies? Join the conversation below.

The prospect of more intense weather has insurers rapidly updating their risk-assessment models and recalculating the price of insurance. Property insurers faced an estimated $18 billion bill for damage to homes and businesses from the long stretch of frigid weather in Texas and numerous other states, the equivalent of a major hurricane, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year.

In some cases, the increased frequency of extreme weather events can lead insurers to drop coverage altogether. Some insurers in California chose to not renew insurance policies for homeowners in high-risk areas for wildfires, the Journal reported in 2019. California wildfires the prior two years had killed dozens of people and racked up more than $24 billion in insured losses.

Analysts say the losses from the European flooding will be manageable for the industry. While they may dent quarterly or yearly earnings, they won’t have a seismic effect on their capital. If the coming U.S. hurricane season is a normal one, that will likely crimp earnings further for some.

Flooding in Altenahr, Germany. In some cases, the increased frequency of extreme weather events can lead insurers to drop coverage altogether.


friedemann vogel/Shutterstock

The Euro Stoxx Insurance index is up 7.6% this year, trailing the broad Euro Stoxx 600 stock-market index, which is up nearly 15%. The insurance index has fallen 6.4% since March 30, which Berenberg analysts attribute to fears of potential dividend cuts due to recent natural catastrophes.

The costs of reinsurance in Asia and the U.S. went up over the past couple of years owing to hurricanes and wildfires, said Berenberg analyst Michael Huttner. But prices in Europe didn’t increase significantly over that period. The floods will likely help catastrophe pricing increase, said Mr. Huttner.

Will Hardcastle, an analyst at UBS, says this year is shaping up to be the fifth consecutive year that natural catastrophe losses will be above reinsurers’ budgeted level.

“The last five years would suggest you’re not getting appropriate pricing for it,” he said. “It’s always difficult to determine whether the trend is short term. Now at this point you have to be thinking it’s more structural” because of climate change, he said.

Write to Julie Steinberg at [email protected]

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Latest News Today – Google Tool That Shows How the Weather Is Like Around


A software engineer and cartoonist at Google, who quit the company after more than 14 years, had developed an interesting tool that showed what the temperature would be like around the world through the year. The tool, dubbed The Well-Tempered Traveler, was developed as an internal project and has become a topic of intense debate on Hacker News, soon after Manu Cornet quit the tech giant reportedly due to disagreements over some of the decisions Google made. However, his tool is still available on Google’s domain as a testament to his contribution to the company.

Cornet launched the tool in October 2017 and sought feedback from Twitter users to improve the initial version to add features they would want in it. Many found the tool, that can be really helpful for travellers in planning their trip around the world, interesting.

Just launched this small website — feedback welcome!

— Manu Cornet (@lmanul) October 28, 2017

When you visit The Well-Tempered Traveler’s webpage, it throws up a colourful chart showing the temperature in two parts (fortnightly) for every month and the possibility of precipitation for the entire year. Take New Delhi for example. The chart shows the likely weather pattern for the year, starting with harsh winter days in January and then gradually moving towards a rise in temperature in April. After the peak summer in May–June, it predicts monsoon from June-end till September-end. And then again, a decrease in temperature. For a traveller, who is not familiar with the weather of India, this can be a nice way to plan a journey.

Now, working with Twitter, Cornet was known as the “moral bellwether” at Google. He published hundreds of cartoons, known as Goomics, that initially poked fun at the tech giant’s culture and employees’ sense of entitlement but then became a critique of senior leaders. During a recent interview with The Information, Cornet said of his decision to leave Google, “At some point, I have to draw the line in the sand somewhere.”

Now, an intense debate has been gaining traction on Hacker News about Cornet, his tool, and Google.

The post has got 170 comments in two days, most of them praising the tool and lamenting the work culture at big companies.

“The HN (Hacker News) response here is a pretty good demo with regards to why large scale companies have a hard time trying out new things, IMO. And why smaller companies are able to bubble to the top on occasion,” said a person with username yupper32.

It’s Google I/O time this week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, as we discuss Android 12, Wear OS, and more. Later (starting at 27:29), we jump over to Army of the Dead, Zack Snyder’s Netflix zombie heist movie. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.


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Coffee Prices Soar After Bad Harvests and Insatiable Demand | Sidnaz Blog


Global coffee prices are climbing and threatening to drive up costs at the breakfast table as the world’s biggest coffee producer, Brazil, faces one of its worst droughts in almost a century.

Prices for arabica coffee beans—the main variety produced in Brazil—hit their highest level since 2016 last month. New York-traded arabica futures have risen over 18% in the past three months to $1.51 a pound. London-traded robusta—a stronger-tasting variety favored in instant coffee—has risen over 30% in the past three months, to $1,749 a metric ton, a two-year high.

Brazil’s farmers are girding for one of their biggest slumps in output in almost 20 years after months of drought left plants to wither. Brazil’s arabica crop cycles between one stronger year followed by a weaker year. Following a record harvest in 2020, 2021 was set to be a weaker year, but the drop is more severe than expected.

“I’ve been growing coffee more than 50 years, and I’ve never seen as bad a drought as the one last year and this year,” said Christina Valle, a third-generation coffee grower in Minas Gerais, Brazil’s biggest coffee-growing state. “I normally take three months to harvest my coffee; this year it took me a month,” she said.

Brazil’s total coffee harvest this year is expected to drop by the biggest year-over-year amount since 2003, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Its arabica crop is forecast to be almost 15 million 132-pound bags smaller than in 2020.

Others are guarding for an even larger slump. Dutch agricultural bank Rabobank expects the harvest to be 17 million bags smaller, while commodities brokerage ED&F Man, whose Volcafe arm is one of the world’s largest coffee traders, expects a decline of more than 23 million bags.

“A drop that severe is unprecedented,” said Kona Haque, head of research at ED&F Man.

The pandemic shook up how consumers drink coffee. Demand for at-home machines and instant brews rose, compensating somewhat for closed coffee shops. The price rally comes just as Western nations are emerging from lockdowns and cafes are welcoming back customers starved of out-of-home coffee culture.

Global coffee consumption is expected to exceed production this year for the first time since 2017, according to the USDA. The department expects 165 million bags of beans to be consumed in 2021. That is 1.8 million bags more than last year. Meanwhile, global coffee production is expected to decline to 164.8 million bags.

There are other factors behind the price rally. Two other major producing nations, Colombia and Vietnam, have had much better harvests than Brazil but are struggling with a different issue: Port delays have left beans sitting idle on the dock.

Exports of Colombian coffee, particularly desired by baristas for its milder flavor, fell as antigovernment protesters blocked highways and ports. A shortage of shipping containers and rocketing freight costs hit Vietnamese farmers, who produce more than a third of the world’s supply of robusta.

“The whole supply chain suffered not only a significant increase in costs but also massive delays,” said Carlos Mera, head of agri-commodities market research at Rabobank. Unlike other commodities, coffee can only be moved around the globe in containers, he said.

Investors are also playing a role, betting that commodities will benefit from rising prices generally. Some investors bid up the price of coffee by putting money in commodity index funds that track broad baskets of commodities from industrial metals to coffee and cocoa, said Mr. Mera.

Coffee prices are heating up, and experts say an even bigger price hike could be coming. WSJ explains the web of economic forces that help determine the cost of coffee. Illustration: Mallory Brangan/WSJ

“There is a lot of money right now that is very keen on holding commodities as real assets, as hedges against inflation,” he said.

Coffee roasters have so far held off from passing higher prices on to consumers, said Ms. Haque. The higher costs of beans coupled with higher freight costs could mean roasters start charging consumers more if they think post-lockdown demand will be strong, she said.


How much more would you be prepared to pay for your morning coffee? Join the conversation below.

In Brazil, farmers say their stockpiles left over from last year’s bumper crop are dwindling and they are concerned they could run out before next year’s harvest begins.

“We’re a bit worried about having enough to sell next year,” said José Marcos Magalhães, president of the Minasul coffee cooperative. The cooperative is urging members to deliver whatever coffee they have to the cooperative so that it can keep meeting its orders, he said.

Coffee lovers could still find a reprieve. Brazil’s spring rains, which typically fall in September, will be crucial for determining whether damaged coffee plants can recover and produce enough beans during next year’s harvest, said Steve Pollard, a coffee analyst at brokerage Marex.

The alternative could see prices rise even higher, he said. Coffee plants take about 2½ years to develop, and farmers can’t respond quickly by simply planting more crops. “If there is a significant deficit then prices could skyrocket,” he said.

Dry river banks next to a coffee plantation show the extent of the recent drought in Brazil’s biggest coffee-producing state, Minas Gerais.


Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg News

Write to Will Horner at [email protected] and Jeffrey T. Lewis at [email protected]

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IMD issues heavy rainfall warning for several Telangana | Sidnaz Blog


HYDERABAD: The India Meteorological Department (IMD), Hyderabad has issued a heavy to very heavy warning for a few districts of Telangana from July 11 to July 13 following a low-pressure area forming over Bay of Bengal.
The IMD, Hyderabad has issued orange warning for districts such as Adilabad, Komaram Bheem, Warangal, Khammam, Nalgonda, Nirmal, Nizamabad, Mahabubabad, Warangal (rural and urban), Jangaon, Siddipet, Asifabad, Mancherial, Jagtial, Rajanna Sircilla, Karimnagar, Peddapalli, Suryapet, Yadadri Bhuvangiri and Kamareddy. This level of advisory recommends people to ‘be prepared’ for wet weather conditions as these districts are set to witness heavy to very heavy rainfall.
“A cyclonic circulation lies over coastal Odisha and it’s neighbourhood. Under it’s influence, a low pressure area is likely to be formed on July 11 from west central and adjoining northwest Bay of Bengal off north Andhra Pradesh – south Odisha coasts. This will trigger heavy to very heavy rains in parts of Telangana,” said Naga Ratna, in-charge director, IMD, Hyderabad.
Fairly widespread rains are expected across Telangana for the next few days. The intensity of rain is likely to subside slightly from July 14.
“In this monsoon season, parts of South India have received varying amounts of rainfall so far. Between June 1 to July 8, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana recorded an ‘excess’ amount of rain at 154.8 mm and 263.5 mm, respectively,” read a weather report issued by Weather Channel, an independent forecasting agency.


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Are Power Companies Playing Texas Hold’em? | Sidnaz Blog


It isn’t even close to the peak of Texas’s sizzling summer season and already the state’s power grid has given out two warnings of tight conditions after a higher-than-usual volume of plants went offline. Wear and tear from the February winter storm is one possible explanation; market manipulation is another. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

Warm weather and low wind output played a role, but what was surprising about the alerts—one in April, the other in June—was the number of power plants that were offline at the same time. On June 14, the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s grid operator, said some 11 gigawatts of generation (roughly 15% of that day’s peak load forecast and enough to power 2.2 million homes in the summer) was on forced outage for repairs. In April, Ercot had said roughly 33 GW of generation was out of service for maintenance. Of course, that isn’t entirely surprising after the February disaster that strained the entire system and left millions without power.

The exact causes of the outages aren’t all accounted for. Texas regulators on Wednesday ordered Ercot to release that kind of information within three days instead of the usual 60 days for any outages that occur this summer. Ercot is expected to release information on the June outages this week. While that will offer some color, it likely won’t be the full story, especially given that the information will be based on whatever the power plants have told Ercot. The independent market monitor, Potomac Economics, will investigate whether any market manipulation took place in those two events.

The tight supply conditions are a reminder of two separate but potentially compounding risks of a grid that offers large carrots in times of market tightness (up to $9,000 a megawatt-hour) but barely any sticks for being unavailable. Such a market gives generators little reason to maintain their power plants beyond the bare minimum, increasing the chances of unplanned outages. Secondly, in such a market, manipulation—withholding power from certain plants to reap outsize profits from others—is tempting. The combination seems to make for a potentially reinforcing spiral of risks, especially given the worn-down physical and financial state of power plants in Texas after the February storm.

The most obvious culprit for the outages is the storm itself, which left the grid severely strained. Beth Garza, former director of Ercot’s independent market monitor, pointed out that the June outages occurred on a Monday and that it isn’t uncommon for power plants to plan to go offline over the weekend for a quick fix only to have that outage extended because repairs took longer than expected.

Another possibility that can’t be ruled out is market manipulation. The electricity market fiasco in February led to high rewards for certain market participants and painful losses for others. The former group’s appetite for reward might have been piqued by the scarcity event, while for the latter, the rewards of spiking profits could start to overwhelmingly outweigh any costs of being caught out for manipulation.

Selling electricity in Texas isn’t terribly rewarding. Based on an analysis of annual reports that Ercot’s independent market monitor publishes every year, Ed Hirs, an energy economist who teaches at University of Houston, found that in eight out of the last 10 years revenues received by generators haven’t been enough to cover their costs.

A crew in Odessa, Texas, made repairs after the February storm. The exact causes of the widespread outages aren’t fully accounted for.


Eli Hartman/Odessa American/Associated Press

Part of the problem is that market manipulation rules are rather lax. For example, Texas has a “small fish” rule that means companies controlling less than 5% of the system’s total capacity aren’t considered to have market power. Yet the independent market monitor has pointed out in previous reports that there were times when small fish would have been pivotal to the grid and able to increase the market’s power price.

A more far-fetched but nonzero possibility is that the winter’s strain provides easy cover for any power plant owners who need an explanation for withholding power from the market.

Ironically, Texas’s attempt to fix the winter problem could end up exacerbating these very risks. In June, the state passed a mandate ordering the public utility commission to establish rules for the weatherization of power plants, giving the commission power to levy fines as large as $1 million for those that don’t comply. Such measures would probably require more downtime among existing power plants and create more costs for them. And more financial strain could, theoretically, cause more market-manipulative behavior from power plants unable to recoup enough of their costs through normal course of business.

Moreover, Mr. Hirs notes that it is “entirely possible that some companies will just withdraw from the grid because they haven’t been covering their costs to date,” adding that some participants were running power plants that were already “essentially broken.”

On the other hand, there is already a lot of scrutiny following the cold snap in February. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission opened an examination to determine whether any market manipulation was involved in both wholesale natural gas and electricity markets during the power shortage earlier this year. And, because the market was already under tight conditions for long spells in February, the maximum price that power plants can reap has come down to $2,000 per megawatt-hour, down from $9,000. Still, that cap is still well above the roughly $22 per MWh day-ahead prices seen for the market overall in 2020.

Scrutiny or not, power producers might be messing with Texas.

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Latest News Today – YouTuber Sends Dogecoin to Space on Weather Balloon as


While many people are waiting for Elon Musk — who has repeatedly put his weight behind Dogecoin on social media — to send the meme currency to the Moon, a US-based YouTuber has actually tried to do something of that sort. On the tech billionaire’s50th birthday on June 28, Reid Williamson sent an actual Dogecoin to space with a weather balloon. Williamson posted a video titled, “I sent a literal Dogecoin to space” on his YouTube channel that showed him and his friends preparing to achieve the challenging feat.

The video showed Williamson and his friends first identifying the launchpad. Once they zeroed in on an open green field, they began setting up the balloon system and tying up the cryptocurrency payload to it. After a few attempts that went south, the team finally managed to get a successful launch. A camera attached to the payload showed the bird’s-eye view of Earth as the Dogecoin escaped far away from it. Later, the weather balloon returned to Earth and landed a few miles from the site it was launched from.

Separately, Williamson also shared the news on his Twitter account.

A user, @lilyledyard_, commented on Williamson’s tweet to congratulate Musk but also pointed out that the billionaire is yet to follow through on his promise.

Noticing that comment, another user, @Doge4faithfull, asked everyone to be “respectful with Musk” for his birthday. “A trip to the Moon takes eight days, close to 200 hours. Not one hour. That’s Earth. I’m very glad they did it anyway, and as a gift to Musk. Not to shame him,” the post read.

The person added Musk will be sending a satellite that would “process transactions for us all,” something that no other digital coin has done.

When user @williamson_reid asked whether that was real, Williamson said “yes.”

Some other people congratulated the YouTuber and his team.

In May, Musk had promised that his firm SpaceX will put “a literal Dogecoin on the literal Moon.” In a tweet, he said the commercial space exploration company will launch the “DOGE-1 Mission to the Moon” early next year.

The tech tycoon has often supported Dogecoin on the social media. As of 11:12am IST on July 1, Dogecoin price in India stood at Rs. 18.28.

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.


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Latest News Today – iOS 15 Announced With New FaceTime, iMessage, Sharing,


Apple has officially unveiled iOS 15, and like many recent rumours and leaks suggested, several far-reaching improvements have come to iMessage and FaceTime. There’s also new system-wide emphasis on sharing and communication, as well as even more privacy-related features, and new ways to leverage on-device intelligence. iOS 15 will roll out to iPhone 6s and later devices in fall this year. Developer previews begin immediately, and a public beta will arrive next month. One feature that wasn’t mentioned in the WWDC 2021 opening keynote presentation, but appeared in a background slide, was Hindi language support for the iOS Quickpath swipe keyboard.

New FaceTime features in iOS 15

Starting with FaceTime, global lockdowns and quarantine measures over the past year have thrown light on challenges people face while keeping in touch. Apple says it has made this easier and more spontaneous.To make FaceTime calls feel more comfortable and natural, users can now leverage spatial audio. This is said to make people sound like they’re sitting in the same room and speaking face to face. Voices will be spread out in group chats to sound as though they’re coming from speakers’ positions on screen.

Voice isolation uses on-device machine learning to block out ambient noise and prioritise voices. On the other hand, if you want every bit of sound to come through, you can switch to a Wide Spectrum mode. In group FaceTime calls, users will be able to see every face in a grid view. Same-sized tiles will make it easy to identify who’s speaking while seeing everyone else’s reactions. Portrait mode blurs your background and puts the focus on you.

FaceTime users can now generate links to invite others. These links can be shared anywhere and even used by Android and PC users in a browser, with end-to-end encryption for privacy. You can plan ahead for calls, and send invitation links in messages or emails, or even create a shared calendar event. Screen sharing will let participants share information in any app for group research or even showing off your gaming skills.

A new experience sharing feature called SharePlay let you synchronise watching videos or listening to music with everyone in  a FaceTime call. Users can just press play in Apple Music, Apple TV, or any third party app that implements this feature. media will immediately be shared, and participants can all control playback or queue up a shared playlist. With picture-in-picture functionality, you can see friends’ reactions and even carry out text conversations as media plays. Media can even be played on an Apple TV while you continue your FaceTime chats on your iPhone. Third-party apps that are already working to implement SharePlay include Disney+, Hulu, HBOMax, TikTok, Masterclass, NBA, and Paramount+.

ios 15 sharing wwdc2021 ios 15

You can retrieve links and media shared with you if you didn’t have time to check it out then


New iMessage Features in iOS 15

iMessage in iOS 15 will let users quickly find articles, photos, and more that are shared in chats and group chats. There are new collage and stack designs for photos, letting users swipe through them, tap to see full screen, and react. Shared With You sections will appear in Apple News, Apple Music, Photos, Safari, Podcasts, and other apps to conveniently surface links or media sent by friends.

You can tap their name at the top of the screen to pick up the conversation while checking that media later. Apple Music will let you save a shared playlist, while Photos will show shared media in the featured photos section and memories. Shared photos can be automatically brought over to the library, while filtering for screenshots and memes that you don’t want to save. Shared media can be pinned for easier retrieval, and will also surface in systemwide search.

New notifications and Focus features in iOS 15

Notifications get a fresh new look with contact photos for people and larger icons for apps to make them easier to identify. A new Notification Summary can be customised and scheduled to appear at any time you choose, letting you deal with unimportant notifications all in one go. Users won’t miss messages from people as this is intended for apps that send periodic updates.

The systemwide DND mode can now be used to show an away status in the Messages app. Users sending an iMessage will see that you won’t immediately be notified, but will be able to override to get through if they need to urgently.

You can also define periods in the day when you want to be totally focused on work, and enable one of several Focus modes. This is a new way to match your device to your current mindset  iOS 15 can use on-device intelligence to analyse past activity and suggest which notifications you need to be aware of. Each Focus mode can be associated with a dedicated home screen page that shows only relevant widgets and app icons to reduce distraction. Context like location and time of day can be used to suggest when to trigger a Focus mode, such as one for work, and custom ones can be defined. When set on one Apple device, it will apply to all others you want as well.

ios 15 federighi photos wwdc2021 ios 15

iOS 15 can recognise text in photos and let you search for it or extract it


New Photos features in iOS 15

On-device intelligence will allow for Live Text to be detected and extracted from photos. You can capture information on a whiteboard, or even handwritten notes. Useful information such as names and phone numbers on shop signs, or instructions in recipes can just be selected and copied to another app, or sent to search or translate. Photos already in your library will also be scanned automatically. Live Text will understands seven languages including Chinese when it rolls out with iOS 15. On-device intelligence can also recognise objects and scenes such as the breed of a dog, type of flower, famous works of art, books, pets, landmarks.

Photo Memories can curate captured moments into heartfelt movies. Users will be able to set their memories to their own music from Apple Music. Relevant personalised songs are suggested and users can choose their own as well. Memories videos are created on the fly, and are interactive as well as editable. Transitions, filters, and pacing will be coordinated with the mood of the selected background track, and you can keep trying different variations. Consistent colour and contrast corrections will be applied to photos in a Memory video, to make them look like a professional colourist has worked on them.

New Search features in iOS 15

Photos as well as text in photos are now searchable through Spotlight in iOS 15. Photos can be referenced by people, scenes, location, or elements. You can use it to find a photo of a specific receipt, handwritten note, recipe, or screenshot. There are also new rich results for contacts in search, showing call, text, FaceTime, and email shortcuts, their location if shared through Find My, tagged calendar events, notes, and files. There are also new rich results for actors, musicians, tv shows, and movies.

ios 15 weather ios 15

The Weather app in iOS 15 gets richly detailed backgrounds and information views


New Wallet, Maps, and Weather features in iOS 15

Apple Wallet will support Ultra Wideband position-aware location to let users unlock and drive their car without taking their iPhone out of a bag or pocket. You’ll also soon be able to unlock your house, and tap to enter hotels or offices, with a range of partners for locks and access systems already on board. Later this year, over 1,000 Hyatt hotels worldwide will support zero-contact access, which can be activated before you even arrive. Also later this year in the US, Apple Wallet will be able to store government IDs and drivers’ licenses in participating states. The US TSA is also working to enable airport security checkpoints with digital ID. Users will see the specific information requested, and will have to tap to present this to the authority.

Apple Maps is getting an interactive globe that invites users to tap and explore. A few major global cities including London, Los Angeles, and New York City are getting much more detailed maps for commercial districts, marinas, and important buildings. There’s now added elevation representation, road colours ,and hundreds of custom-designed landmarks. A new nighttime mode will show areas with a moonlit glow. More granular road details will help drivers better see and understand turn lanes, medians, crosswalks, etc. Maps will also render complex interchanges and intersections in 3D. Transit directions will help people find nearby stations and notify users when it’s time to step off a train or bus. Maps can even help you with AR positioning and directions.

The Weather app is getting an update with new data and layouts that change based on conditions such as rain, or air quality, with thousands of variations in the graphics. New graphics will help users understand wind, UV, and barometric pressure data. Full-screen high-res weather maps will show temperatures, precipitation, and air quality.

New iPadOS 15 features

In additon, iPadOS 15 gets a few other improvements that take advantage of its big screen. Widgets can now be placed among app icons on all home screens. There are new widgets for Find My and Contacts, plus a larger format for Game Centre, Apple TV, Photos, Files, and others. App Library comes to the iPad with a quick access button in the dock, and you can reorder or hide home screens you don’t need.

Multitasking will be easier to discover and use. A new control appears at top of apps to easily trigger a split screen or slide-over view. Windows can be minimised to a new area called the Shelf making it easy to see and manage multiple open windows for an app. Appears when switching apps. Many open, even in split view with other apps. The app switcher can now be used to create split views by dragging one app over another.

Notes in iPadOS 15 will let users tag other people with @ mentions and see what’s changed in shared notes with a new activity view. Hashtags can be used anywhere, and referenced to help quickly find notes. Systemwide Quick Notes can be created by swiping in from a corner of the iPad screen, and can capture information from an app that’s in use such as a Safari URL. Quick Notes will be saved tro the Notes app and can be created on iPads or Macs, but can also seen on iPhones.

iPadOS 15 now also gets a Translate app that lets people practise handwriting with Apple Pencil and work in Split View. Auto translate detects when you’re speaking and in which language. Systemwide translation can work on text from anywhere, even in photos. You can download languages to use all features on-device.

Swift Playgrounds will now let users actually build iOS apps right on an iPad. You can run them fullscreen to try them out, and submit them directly to the App Store.


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Travelers Sees Pre-Tax Catastrophe Losses More Than Double From | Sidnaz Blog


A Travelers Cos. office building in Hartford, Conn., in 2015. The insurer attributed catastrophe losses to winter and wind storms in the U.S.


Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg News


TRV -1.01%

Cos.’ pretax catastrophe losses more than doubled from a year ago for the company’s first quarter, due in part to winter storms.

The property-casualty insurance company logged pretax catastrophe losses of $835 million. A year earlier, those were $333 million.

The three-month period was the company’s highest first quarter ever of catastrophe losses, Chairman and Chief Executive

Alan Schnitzer

said in prepared remarks. The company said those losses were mainly from winter and wind storms in the U.S.

Travelers reported earnings of $733 million, or $2.87 a share. The company’s profit rose from $600 million, or $2.33 a share, a year ago. Core income was $2.73 a share. According to FactSet, analysts were expecting $2.37 a share in core income.

Revenue increased to $8.31 billion, up from $7.91 billion a year ago. Net written premiums at the company rose a little over 2% to $7.51 billion. Analysts were expecting net written premiums of $7.55 billion.

The company also said its board approved $5 billion more in share buybacks.

Write to Allison Prang at [email protected]

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Monsoon cheer: Rainfall to be above normal for Telangana, | Live Newspaper Hyderabad


HYDERABAD: Telangana is very likely to witness above normal rainfall with probability of 35% to 55% during the ensuing monsoon season, stated the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Hyderabad in its 2021 southwest monsoon seasonal rainfall forecast released on Friday.
Details related to commencement of southwest monsoon will be released by the IMD, Hyderabad in May-end. “The southwest monsoon rainfall in the country as a whole is most likely to be normal with 96% to 104% of long period average.

Forecasts for monsoon season (June to September) rainfall for four regions including south peninsular, under which Telangana falls, will be issued in May-end,” said Naga Ratna, in-charge director, IMD, Hyderabad.
Pre-monsoon activity that commenced across Telangana few days ago is likely to continue till April 19. The IMD, Hyderabad has forecast that an upper air cyclonic circulation lies above Odisha and adjoining areas, will trigger isolated rains in parts of Telangana over the next few days.
“Over the next four to five days, light to moderate rains would lash in a few districts. Thereafter, dry weather conditions will prevail. There will be a gradual rise in temperature over the next few days,” said Naga Ratna.
According to the Telangana State Development Planning Society figures, some parts of Shadnagar, Rangareddy, Bhadradri Kothagudem, Mahabubnagar and Ibrahimpatnam recorded two to four cm rainfall in the last 48 hours.


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IMD holds out hope: Hyderabad may get pre-monsoon rain | | Sidnaz Blog


HYDERABAD: The city may get some respite from rising mercury only by April second or third week when pre-monsoon showers are expected to lash parts of Telangana.

The city recorded maximum temperature of 40 degree Celsius on Saturday and 38.2 degree Celsius on Sunday. As per Telangana State Development Planning Society, Khairtabad, Secunderabad, Manikonda and Gachibowli are among the hottest areas that recorded maximum temperature of 41 degree Celsius.
While the maximum temperature is expected to be above normal for another few weeks, a trough extending from Odisha towards Telangana and Tamil Nadu may bring in some thundershowers. Under its influence, the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Hyderabad has issued thunderstorm warning for eastern parts of Telangana such as Jayashankar Bhupalpally, Mulugu, Bhadadri Kothagudem, Khammam, Suryapet, Mahabubabad, Warangal (rural and urban).
“A cyclonic circulation over south Chhattisgarh and neighbourhood persists. Apart from this, a north south trough runs from north interior Karnataka to interior Tamil Nadu due to which few districts may witness thunderstorm accompanied with lightning,” said K Naga Ratna, in-charge director, IMD, Hyderabad.
Meteorologists said that pre-monsoon activity has already commenced in few parts of West Bengal and Odisha and would soon extend to Telangana. “Currently, there is no significant weather system which may give thunderstorm activity. Once the temperature starts rising in Vidarbha and neighbourhood areas, thunder cloud development is expected to result in pre-monsoon showers over parts of Telangana in the second and third week of April,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice president, meteorology and climate change, Skymet, an independent weather forecasting agency.


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