3 THINGS THAT WILL CHANGE THE WORLD TODAY

Good morning, here’s your Thursday morning briefing. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

Facebook provides free Portals to NHS

Facebook will provide up to 2,050 free Portal video-calling devices to NHS hospitals and care homes to tackle the isolation felt by residents and patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

Announced this morning by the Department of Health and Social Care, the plan is part of the NHS’ technology unit – NHSX – push to work with technology firms during the crisis.

Free Portals will also be offered to in-patient learning disability and autism units. The initiative will also see the devices used to help health and care workers work remotely where possible and to enable more virtual appointments.

Facebook released Portal in 2018, but the social media giant’s poor privacy track record and competition with rival devices by Google and Amazon resulted in struggling sales.

OPEC+ holds virtual meeting on oil crisis

Oil ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meet ministers from non-OPEC oil countries via videoconference today to discuss the current oil crisis.

Global demand for crude oil has dropped by as much as 30% during the coronavirus pandemic, causing a surplus in supply without enough space to store the extra barrels.

The extra supply has hammered the price of crude and a dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia, along with OPEC+ members exchanging barbs, has added to market uncertainty.

The attendance of Russia, not part of OPEC, is confirmed. The US, UK, Norway and other non-members will reportedly attend. Today’s meeting at 3pm BST – delayed from 6 April – will see participants work towards a solution.

Astronaut trio launches to International Space Station

The Expedition 63 trio of astronauts are scheduled to fly to the International Space Station today, weather permitting.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will launch aboard the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:05am EDT.

Six hours later they will dock with the ISS, joining Expedition 62 Commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos and NASA flight engineers Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir.

The State of Technology This Week

On 17 April the Expedition 62 crew will depart the ISS aboard the same Soyuz capsule. No later than late May, the Expedition 63 crew will be there to welcome NASA astronauts aboard a SpaceX test flight, the first commercial crewed mission of its kind.

Wednesday’s Highlights

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How to place employees on furlough leave: The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Vodafone app turns your phone into a coronavirus-fighting supercomputer

Coronavirus distance advice not enough for exercise, computer simulations show