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In the never ending search for kid-safe products, the Amazon Echo Dot Kids’ Edition seems to be one that’s carefully designed and surprisingly attractive. This model comes with parental controls, games and skills designed to encourage young imaginations to run wild, but with everything under control. The $70 Echo Dot Kids Edition is the same device in all respects as the third-generation Echo Dot, but it includes an annual FreeTime subscription, Amazon Parental Service, thousands of audible books, hundreds of Alexa games and child-friendly skill-development tools, as well as Amazon Music without the advertising. The FreeTime package costs $36 for Prime members and $60 for non-members. Considering that the standard Echo Dot costs $50 before discounts, you get more for the money with the Kids Edition. Also, note the books and movies available through the FreeTime subscription can be accessed on an Amazon Fire, Kindle, iOS or Android device. The Echo Dot Kids Edition is guaranteed for two years compared to 90-days for the standard Echo Dot.  Good deal.

The Amazon rainforest is one of the most important natural ecosystems in the world and it’s on fire.

The forest’s biodiversity is unmatched and its positive impact on global oxygen levels is significant making it devastating that the city of Sao Paulo has been darkened by a cloud of smoke coming from the burning Amazon rainforest. Strong winds brought the smoke from the forest over 1,600 miles away. The state of Amazonas declared an emergence earlier this month because of the forest fire and NASA images show smoke covering large parts of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.

The event inspired Brazilians to go to social media to protest the destruction of the Amazon.

Sao Paulo resident, Gianvitor Dias, told BBC that it seemed as though the day had been turned into night.  Another particularly popular Twitter post was by William Barros, who pointed out how Brazil had celebrated its natural abundance at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic opening ceremony only to continue to destroy the country’s most valuable natural resource.  So far the post gathered 17,000 likes as it encouraged people to pray for the rainforest.

Many of the most popular tweets criticized Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE) said that the Amazon has increasingly suffered losses since Jair Bolsonaro took office last January. In response, President Bolsonaro claimed that the data did not relate to reality and went on to accuse the Institute of smearing Brazil. If the forest fire does not inspire action to save the Amazon, major negative impacts on the climate will result.

In the first half of 2019 Amazon doubled its digital ad spending relative to its 2018 spending levels. Amazon also increased TV spending by 28% for Amazon Prime Video. Amazon Prime Video launched 13 new campaigns for original shows in the first half of 2019. Many other companies in the world of big media are making similar investments. Disney and Apple are planning to launch separate streaming services in the fall.

One of Amazon’s big advantages is its more than 100 million Amazon Prime members in the United States. Netflix’s subscriptions in the US fell from 60.2 million in the first quarter to 60.1 million in the second quarter. This might mean that Amazon has space to catch up to its competition.

Amazon Music doesn’t have nearly as many music streamers as Spotify or Apple Music; however, in an effort to recruit more student users Amazon has announced a benefit for Prime Student Members that gives them access to Amazon Music Unlimited for just $0.99 a month. Students without Prime Membership can get a six-month free trial. Amazon Music may be in third position, but its 32-million subscriber base, compared to Spotify’s 217 million and Apple Music’s 60 million, is growing faster, driven by low cost Amazon Echo speakers.  Now the price break is expected to keep the growth moving against their competitors whose services price out at $4.99 a month.