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The best Prime Day deals under $50

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By now you’ve probably realized just how many deals Amazon has on offer during its giant Prime Day event. While there are tons of steep discounts on big-ticket items, like laptops and smartphones, there are also plenty of quality products — including appliances, clothing and tech — you can find for under $50. We’ve rounded up our top picks below

For a full list of notable Prime Day deals, check out our complete guide here.

Tech

3rd-Gen Echo Dot ($18.99, originally $49.99; amazon.com)

You can really never go wrong with an Echo Dot, especially at just $18.99. It’s the easiest way to add Alexa to a room, but you’re getting more than just a virtual assistant. Alexa can be your DJ from a variety of sources or even turn your Echo into a Bluetooth speaker. Better yet, you get to pick your color: Charcoal, Heather Gray, Plum or Sandstone. You can even bundle an Echo Dot with an Amazon Smart Plug for just $23.99, down from $74.98.

Echo Flex
PHOTO: Amazon

Echo Flex ($9.99, originally $24.99; amazon.com)

The most affordable Echo is even more affordable right now. The Echo Flex is down to just $9.99 and is the simplest way to add Alexa to a room, as you simply just plug it into an outlet. There are even attachments like a motion sensor, night light or LED clock that can clip into the bottom to give this some more utility.

SanDisk MicroSD cards (starting at $19.99, originally $24.49; amazon.com)
Whether you want to expand storage on your smartphone, tablet or even a Nintendo Switch, SanDisk is here to help. With 128GB ($19.99), 256GB ($23.49), 400GB ($45.93), 512GB ($79.99) and 1TB ($182.99) microSDs all discounted, you can’t go wrong with any size.

PHOTO: TP-Link

Kasa Smart Plug by TP-Link ($17.99, originally $29.99; amazon.com)

The Kasa smart plug allows you to seamlessly control devices, power devices on or off and set schedules with your smartphone using the Kasa smart app.

PHOTO: Amazon

Anker 49.5W PowerDrive Speed+ 2 ($22.03, originally $29.99; amazon.com)

If you’ve got an older car, but a newer phone, the PowerDrive Speed+ 2 can bridge the gap. This accessory converts the old cigarette lighter port into a two-port charging station for your phone and other devices. Whether you need USB Type-A or USB Type-C, it’s got you covered.

Netgear, TP-Link and D-Link networking products
Netgear, TP-Link and D-Link networking products
PHOTO: Amazon

Netgear, TP-Link and D-Link networking products (starting at $12.99; amazon.com)

Give your at-home network a boost with deals on gear from TP-Link, Netgear and more. Switches start at just $12.99, while routers are as low as $51.99.

Home and health

Waterpik
PHOTO: Amazon

Waterpik Aquarius ($39.93; amazon.com)

When flossing just isn’t enough, reach for the Waterpik Aquarius, now almost half off. You can even choose between seven colorways to find the one that will suit your bathroom counter best.

Crest and Oral-B
Crest and Oral-B
PHOTO: Amazon

Crest and Oral-B toothbrushes and whitening kits (starting at $7.99; amazon.com)

No matter what your teeth need, you’ll find it for a discount here. Add a highly rated Oral-B electric toothbrush to your cart, or brighten up your smile with a set of Crest Whitestrips.

Face masks
Face masks
PHOTO: Amazon

Face masks (starting at $6.31; amazon.com)

Turns out Prime Day is the time to stock up on face masks for the whole family. Choose from a selection of reusable fabric styles and disposable one-use masks.

Beverages from Crystal Light, Solimo, V8 and more
Beverages from Crystal Light, Solimo, V8 and more
PHOTO: Amazon

Beverages from Crystal Light, Solimo, V8 and more (starting at $6.49; amazon.com)

Sip on some savings with these deals on beverages of all kinds. Caffeinate with several discounted K-cup varieties and teas, power up with protein shakes or drink up some seltzer for less.

Crock-Pot Slow Cooker
Crock-Pot Slow Cooker
PHOTO: Amazon

Crock-Pot Portable Slow Cookers (starting at $20.93; amazon.com)

Crock-Pot’s set of food warmers and slow cookers is an extra 20% off this Prime Day, with its lime green Food Warmer now $20.93 at checkout, down from $29.99, while its blue Slow Cooker is now $24.16, down from $30.20.

Hamilton Beach Digital Programmable Rice Cooker
Hamilton Beach Digital Programmable Rice Cooker
PHOTO: Amazon

Hamilton Beach Digital Programmable Rice Cooker ($28.27, originally $35.34; amazon.com)

Trusted brand Hamilton Beach is discounting its extremely popular rice cooker, which has more than 3,500 reviews, 20% off.

Fasta Pasta Microwave Pasta Cooker
Fasta Pasta Microwave Pasta Cooker
PHOTO: Amazon

Fasta Pasta Microwave Pasta Cooker ($11.95, originally $19.99; amazon.com)

If you’ve got a kid who’s recently gone off to college or you’re frankly just over waiting for your water to boil every night, here’s a kitchen gadget for you. Just a simple container that cooks your pasta perfectly in the microwave — no waiting around for boiling water necessary.

PHOTO: AMAZON

MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener ($16.98, originally $39.98; amazon.com)

The MyQ Smart Garage Hub by Chamberlain is a retrofit device for existing garage doors that adds in smart controls via a companion app. Plus, you can link MyQ with Alexa for voice commands.

Diapers and wipes
Diapers and wipes
PHOTO: Amazon

Diapers and wipes (starting at $15.98; amazon.com)

If your household includes a baby, be sure to browse through these deals on diapers and wipes from brands like Pampers, Seventh Generation, Honest and more.

Hamilton Beach 5-Cup Switch Coffee Maker
Hamilton Beach 5-Cup Switch Coffee Maker
PHOTO: Amazon

Hamilton Beach 5-Cup Switch Coffee Maker ($19.99, originally $39.99; amazon.com)

If you’re looking for an ultra-sleek and affordable coffee maker to use every morning, well then, here you go.

PHOTO: Leviton

Leviton Decora Smart Dimmer ($26.10, originally $49.99; amazon.com)

Replace your existing light switch with this smart dimmer to easily control your lighting.

PHOTO: C by GE

C by GE Smart LED Bulbs + Smart Plug Bundle ($38.39, originally $63.98; amazon.com)

These color-changing bulbs also offer a wide range of warm and cool light options — and, along with the smart outlet, you can control them via app or by voice command when paired with a voice assistant.

AmazonBasics kitchen essentials
AmazonBasics kitchen essentials
PHOTO: Amazon

AmazonBasics Kitchen Essentials (starting at $5.16; amazon.com)

No matter what your kitchen currently lacks, it’s likely you can find it on sale among these discounted AmazonBasics kitchen essentials. Save up to 40% off on wine glasses, silverware, dinnerware sets, kettles, Dutch ovens and more.

AmazonBasics home furnishings
AmazonBasics home furnishings
PHOTO: Amazon

AmazonBasics Home Furnishings (starting at $8.23; amazon.com)

When it comes to home storage, AmazonBasics should be your go-to. And today, the brand is offering up to 40% savings on plenty of items you probably need around your house, like hangers, storage cubes, curtain rods, bedding, shelves and more.

Wellness Natural Pet Food
Wellness Natural Pet Food
PHOTO: Amazon

Wellness Natural Pet Food (starting at $2.83; amazon.com)

Treat your cat and/or dog to delicious wet and dry food, not to mention treats galore, with this deal on Wellness Natural Pet Food brand food.

PHOTO: Amazon

Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker and Pods (starting at $42.73; amazon.com)

Keurig single-serve coffee makers make it super easy — we’re talking “press one button” easy — to start your morning with a hot cup of joe, and this K-Mini model fits on even the smallest of countertops. Score one on its own, or opt for a machine bundled with some pods — either way, you’re getting a deal.

Clothing

Levi
Levi’s Women’s 721 High Rise Skinny Jeans
PHOTO: Amazon

Levi’s Women’s 721 High-Rise Skinny Jeans ($38.49, originally $69.50; amazon.com)

Levi’s apparel for the whole family is up to 40% off this Prime Day, from jeans to jackets to denim shirts. You can score these customer-favorite women’s high-rise skinny jeans, which have a slim fit through the hip and thigh, at 44% off their original price.

Levi
Levi’s Men’s 505 Regular Fit Jeans
PHOTO: Amazon

Levi’s Men’s 505 Regular Fit Jeans (starting at $32.96, originally $59.50; amazon.com)

Save nearly $25 off this classic, bestselling pair of men’s jeans. Made of 100% cotton, the pair has a zipper closure and features a straight leg, with extra room throughout the seat and thigh.

C9 Champion Women
C9 Champion Women’s Long Sleeve Open Back Top
PHOTO: Amazon

C9 Champion Women’s Long-Sleeve Open-Back Top ($13.99, originally $19.99; amazon.com)

A staple for your weekend or work-from-home wardrobe, this loose-fitting top features breathable fabric and a fun open-back detail.

Amazon Essentials Women
Amazon Essentials Women’s Oversized Open Front Knee Length Sweater Coat
PHOTO: Amazon

Amazon Essentials Women’s Oversize Open-Front Knee-Length Sweater Coat ($24.50, originally $35; amazon.com)

Part sweater, part coat, 100% stylish — this oversize number will instantly pull together any look in the coziest way possible. Find more deals on Amazon brands like Daily Ritual, Goodthreads and Amazon Essentials here.

Keds Women
Keds Women’s Champion Canvas Sneaker
PHOTO: Amazon

Keds Women’s Champion Canvas Sneaker (starting at $35.13, originally $50; amazon.com)

Save up to 26% off these Keds sneakers, a classic style that can complete nearly any look perfectly, from jeans and a tee to casual dresses. The 100% canvas shoes have a cushiony outsole and will take you comfortably through your entire day. Find deals on even more top footwear brands — including Ecco, Keds, Aldo and more — starting at $6.36 here.

Calvin Klein Women
Calvin Klein Women’s Modern Cotton Bralette
PHOTO: Amazon

Calvin Klein Women’s Modern Cotton Bralette (starting at $15.14, originally $28; amazon.com)

Whether you’re working out or just lounging at home, you can’t go wrong with this iconic, ultra-comfy Calvin Klein sports bra. Stock up on matching underwear, also on sale for $24.50 for a three-pack (down from $35) while you’re at it. Find deals on more Calvin Klein underwear starting at $9.10 here.

Calvin Klein Men
Calvin Klein Men’s Cotton Stretch Multi-Pack Boxer Briefs, 3-Pack
PHOTO: Amazon

Calvin Klein Men’s Cotton Stretch Multipack Boxer Briefs, 3-Pack ($18.63, originally $42.50; amazon.com)

You can never have too many pairs of underwear, and that’s a fact. So why not channel your inner Justin Bieber (or Mark Wahlberg) with these classic boxer briefs, now more than half off.

Vetinee Faux Fur Lapel Zip Pockets Quilted Parka
Vetinee Faux Fur Lapel Zip Pockets Quilted Parka
PHOTO: Amazon

Vetinee Faux Fur Lapel Zip Pockets Quilted Parka ($34.39, originally $42.99; amazon.com)

With stylish faux fur trim, this bestselling lightweight puffer jacket with zipper closure is 20% off for Prime Day.

Toys and games

PHOTO: Amazon

Playskool Mr. Potato Head Silly Suitcase Parts and Pieces ($13.99, originally $19.99; amazon.com)

The littlest tykes will get a kick out of this classic 35-piece set, perfect for preschoolers and toddlers.

PHOTO: Amazon

Play-Doh Modeling Compound, 24-Pack ($14.69, originally $20.99; amazon.com)

Keep the kids occupied at home with a new pack of Play-Doh, which always equals hours of entertainment.

Books and media

Kindle Unlimited
Kindle Unlimited
PHOTO: Amazon

Kindle Unlimited Subscription (free, $9.99 per month after 3 months; amazon.com)Want unlimited reading and listening on any device with the Kindle app? Kindle Unlimited unlocks any book you want to read or listen to at the tap of a finger. If you’re a new subscriber to Kindle Unlimited today, you get three months free. And if you know you’re in it for the long haul, you can get six months of Kindle Unlimited now for $29.97, down from $59.94.

PHOTO: Amazon

Best-selling TV box sets (starting at $17.99; amazon.com)

Relive all the glory of your favorite TV series’ by investing in an old-school box set. Cult favorites like “The Office,” “Friends,”Game of Thrones,” “Breaking Bad,”The Twilight Zone,” “Mad Men” and more are on sale now, up to 40% off. You’ll never have to worry about whether any of these shows are leaving Netflix again.

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Galapagos sees record rise in penguins, flightless cormorants

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A drop in tourism and weather patterns associated with La Nina are thought to have helped the bird species in the remote archipelago.

The population of Galapagos penguins and flightless cormorants, two species endemic to the remote islands, has seen a record increase, according to study results released on Friday.

The Galapagos penguin is one of the smallest species of penguins in the world, measuring up to 35 centimetres (14 inches) and the cormorants on the islands are the only type to have lost their ability to fly. They have developed diving skills instead.

“The number of cormorants has reached a record number, according to historical data dating back to 1977, while the number of penguins is at the highest since 2006,” said a statement from the Galapagos National Park, which carried out the census.

The population of Galapagos penguins, the only ones living on the earth’s equator, increased from 1,451 in 2019 to 1,940 in 2020, it added.

Flightless cormorant numbers increased from 1,914 to 2,220 over the same period.

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept tourists away from the Galapagos, helping the species that live on the archipelago recoup [File: Rodrigo Buendia/AFP]

The Galapagos Islands lie 1,000 kilometres (625 miles) off the coast of Ecuador and are home to species found nowhere else in the world.

The study was carried out by the park and the Charles Darwin Foundation in September. The main colonies present on the Isabela and Fernandina islands and the Marielas islets which are to the west of the archipelago have been classified as a natural heritage site.

Paulo Proano, Ecuador’s minister of environment and water, said the census results reflect the “good state of health of the population” of the Galapagos’ birds.

The park said the presence of the La Nina climatic phenomenon, which helps to provide more food for the birds, had contributed to the increase in their populations.

Another factor was the coronavirus pandemic, which has reduced disturbances to their nesting areas because of the drop in tourism, the park added.

The islands, which served as a natural laboratory for the English scientist Charles Darwin for his theory of the evolution of species, takes their name from the giant tortoises that live there.

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US to base Coast Guard ships in western Pacific to tackle China

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The United States will deploy Coast Guard patrol ships in the western Pacific to counter what it described as “destabilizing and malign” activities in the region by China, the country’s top security adviser said on Friday.

The US Coast Guard was “strategically homeporting significantly enhanced Fast Response Cutters … in the western Pacific,” White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said in a statement.

Describing the US as a Pacific power, the statement added that China’s “illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and harassment of vessels operating in the exclusive economic zones of other countries in the Indo-Pacific threatens our sovereignty, as well as the sovereignty of our Pacific neighbors and endangers regional stability”.

It said US efforts, including by the Coast Guard, were “critical to countering these destabilizing and malign actions.”

The Coast Guard did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the statement, which came just ahead of a planned visit to Asia by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) and Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne pose prior to their bilateral meeting in Tokyo on October 6, 2020 ahead of the four Indo-Pacific nations’ foreign ministers meeting. – (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / POOL / AFP)

Pompeo led a meeting of the so-called Quad in Tokyo this month. Washington hopes the grouping of the US, Japan, India and Australia can act as a bulwark against China’s growing assertiveness and extensive maritime claims in the region, including to nearly all of the South China Sea.

On Sunday, Pompeo will begin a five-day tour of India – where he will be accompanied by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper – and then he will continue on to Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia. Maritime security and a “free and open Indo-Pacific” will be high on the agenda, the State Department said.

Incursions

In July, Esper condemned a “catalogue of bad behaviour” in the South China Sea over the previous months, accusing the Chinese military of having sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat, harassing Malaysian oil and gas vessels and escorting Chinese fishing fleets into Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone.

O’Brien added that the Coast Guard, which is under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was also studying whether to permanently station several of its patrol ships in the area of American Samoa in the South Pacific.

Last month, Indonesia protested after Chinese coastguard ships travelled into its exclusive economic zone, which is situated between its own territorial waters and international waters and where the state claims exclusive rights to develop natural resources.

China claims almost the whole of the South China Sea as its own. Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Philippines also claim the parts of the sea nearest to their shores.

The US Navy regularly conducts what it calls “freedom of navigation” operations in the disputed sea – angering China, which has developed military outposts on islands and islets.

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An island built from coral: How Indonesia’s Bajau made a home

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Bungin Island, Sumbawa, Indonesia – Scattered across many of the islands and coastal communities in Southeast Asia, the Bajau, numbering about one million people, are the world’s largest remaining group of sea nomads. But their culture is under threat.

In the Sulu Sea between Borneo and the Philippines, where the Bajau have roamed the ocean for 1,000 years, insurrection by the Abu Sayyaf armed group has led to an increased military presence and curfews restricting movements on both sides of the border.

On the islands of southern Thailand, where the group are known as Moken, they live in stilt shanties that cling like barnacles to coastlines that are rapidly being consumed by buildings built for tourists.

In Indonesia and peninsula Malaysia, many Bajau have given up ocean-based life by marrying people from local communities and seeking jobs in the cities.

But one Bajau community on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa has preserved its unique way of life by building their own islet out of coral, allowing it to evolve separately from the mainland.

With 3,500 residents on just 8.5 hectares (21 acres) of land, Bungin Island also stands out as the most densely populated of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands.

No crime

When the first Bajau arrived in Sumbawa from the southern Philippines 200 years ago, Bungin Island was just a sandbank on the north coast. In the Bajo language, Bungin means “a mound of white sand”.

Traditionally, the Bajau harvested coral to make foundations for their homes, expanding what was once a sandbank [Ian Neubauer/Al Jazeera]

They built their spartan stilt houses on the sand, but as their numbers grew, they enlarged the island by harvesting coral to build foundations for houses on low-lying sections of the surrounding reef. With the help of relatives and friends, it typically takes a week to build a 70-square metre (172-square acre) plot and structure.

“We have a good life here and we have enough money because all the time, every day and night, we are looking for fish,” said Surat, a Bungin Island elder, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name.

The Bajau are accomplished fishermen and free-divers who can remain underwater for as long as eight minutes on a single breath. Some children have their eardrums pierced to prevent them from bursting from water pressure while diving.

Studies of Bajau who start diving from young have shown their spleens, the organs which store oxygenated red blood cells, are 50 percent bigger than average.

Bungin Island has also developed a strong sense of community. When the heat of the day eases at dusk, people come out onto the tightly packed streets to shop, mingle, eat and pray in the mosque.

The Bajau are renowned for their ability to free dive and are famous for their salted fish [Ian Neubauer/Al Jazeera]

Indonesians are renowned for their hospitality but on Bungin Island they really roll out the red carpet, sharing drinks, meals, laughter and conversation with visitors. And apparently, there is no crime on the islet.

“We don’t have locks on our doors,” said Rizky, Surat’s neighbour. “Everyone knows each other so it’s not possible to steal anything here.”

‘The problem with corona’

The nature of the sea gypsies’ lifestyle means they have missed out on many basic services.

Bajau communities in Indonesia are lacking “in the areas of health and education … [and] many Bajau are illiterate,” found the Joshua Project, a research project focused on Indigenous cultures with Christian minorities.

In the mid-1990s, the Indonesian government embarked on several large infrastructure projects to drag Bungin Island into the 21st century.

It built a wide sand causeway linking the island to the mainland and making it easier for islanders to sell their salted fish at mainland markets.

Nearly all the Bajau on Bungin island are Sunni Muslims [Ian Neubauer/Al Jazeera]

It also built a large government school on the mainland-end of the causeway and connected the islet to the national power grid. And tackled overcrowding by shipping in thousands of tonnes of sand to reclaim an additional 2.5 hectares (6.1 acres) of land from the seafloor.

The causeway also had an unintended effect – it turned Bungin Island into Sumbawa’s leading attraction for domestic tourists who would come to marvel at the paper-eating goats.

As plants cannot grow on the islet, the domesticated goats that roam the streets search instead for paper, cardboard and cloth. For many children, the highlight of visiting the islet was to feed the goats pages from their exercise books. For adults, it was long lazy lunches at Resto Apung, a floating seafood restaurant and fish farm with breathtaking coast and mountain views.

But when Indonesia temporarily banned domestic travel in April to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, tourism came to an end. With Indonesia’s coronavirus outbreak still surging, it has yet to recover.

“We had many tourists before the problem with corona,” said Surat. “But as we live so close together it is impossible to socially distance. The restaurant and our guesthouse had to close.”

Rubbish dump

The causeway has also brought more worrying problems.

Plastic and other household waste has collected around the shore of Bungin Island [Ian Neubauer/Al Jazeera]

Before it was built, islanders ate only seafood, some greens and ric, and used organic materials like coconut shells and palm fronds as bags.

Easy access to the mainland introduced cheap packaged foods, water bottles and plastic bags and no waste management system to deal with it.

The result is that Bungin Island has been turned into a rubbish dump; its shores are carpeted with tonnes of rotting waste – all of which ends up in the delicate marine ecosystem the Bajau depend on to survive.

When asked about the problem, islanders laugh – a typical Indonesian response to awkward questions and social situations.

But a study published by the University of Queensland in July on plastic literacy in remote Indonesian coastal communities found a majority of people in the communities did not see the plastic waste as a threat and believed its only negative effect was to “make the village look dirty”.

The study’s authors suggested a two-pronged solution: the creation of “rubbish banks” – a term used in Indonesia for a recycling facility where plastic can be sold, sorted, shredded and moved down the value chain; and plastic awareness and environmental education.

Goats live on the island subsisting on a diet of paper and cardboard [Ian Neubauer/Al Jazeera]

Awareness initiatives have already led to changes of some centuries-old traditions.

In the past, customary law dictated that young people who wanted to marry had to harvest coral to build a home of their own. The 21st-century residents of Bungin have different ideas.

“Now, if you get married, you stay with your parents and slowly, you save up money to buy a house on Bungin,” said Surat. “Most people do it this way because it’s easier than building with coral and doesn’t hurt the reef where the fish live so we can keep on fishing.”

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