Life

Airbus pulls plug on costly A380 superjumbo as sales plummet

by Joseph Schmid Agence France Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — European aerospace giant Airbus said Thursday that it would stop building its A380 superjumbo, the double-decker jet which earned plaudits from passengers but failed to win over enough airlines to justify its massive costs. The final two double-deckers will be delivered in 2021, just 14 years after the first A380 went into service, after the Dubai-based Emirates decided to reduce its total orders by 39 […]

Airbus pulls plug on costly A380 superjumbo as sales plummet

by Joseph Schmid Agence France Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — European aerospace giant Airbus said Thursday that it would stop building its A380 superjumbo, the double-decker jet which earned plaudits from passengers but failed to win over enough airlines to justify its massive costs. The final two double-deckers will be delivered in 2021, just 14 years after the first A380 went into service, after the Dubai-based Emirates decided to reduce its total orders by 39 […]

Hundred children die in DR Congo measles outbreak

KINSHASA, DR Congo (AFP) — More than a hundred children in the Democratic Republic of Congo have died of measles since the start of the year, an outbreak that has added to deadly epidemics of cholera and Ebola, the UN said on Wednesday. Health officials in the southeast provinces of Lualaba and Lomami recorded 7,175 cases of measles in January, “at least 137 of which were fatal,” the UN’s MONUSCO peacekeeping mission said. More than […]

Mission complete: NASA announces demise of Opportunity rover

by Ivan Couronne Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — During 14 years of intrepid exploration across Mars it advanced human knowledge by confirming that water once flowed on the red planet — but NASA’s Opportunity rover has analyzed its last soil sample. The robot has been missing since the US space agency lost contact during a dust storm in June last year and was declared officially dead Wednesday, ending one of the most […]

Robot probes radioactive fuel at Japan’s Fukushima plant

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — A robot will attempt to examine radioactive fuel at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant on Wednesday in a complex operation seen as key to clean-up efforts after the 2011 meltdown. The operation is intended to better assess the status of the melted fuel, including whether it is stable enough to be picked up for removal, or may crumble upon contact. “The operation began at 7:00am local time and will last around five […]

NASA to make final attempt to contact Mars Opportunity Rover

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US space agency NASA will make one final attempt to contact its Opportunity Rover on Mars late Tuesday, eight months after it last made contact. The agency also said it would hold a briefing Wednesday, during which it will likely officially declare the end of the mission. Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004 and covered 28 miles (45 kilometers) on the planet, securing its place in history after lasting well […]

Gotta gram ’em all: must-snap locations testing Hong Kong’s patience

by Elaine YU Agence France Presse HONG KONG, China (AFP) — For smartphone-wielding hordes of tourists, Hong Kong boasts a host of must-have Instagram locations — but crowds of snap-happy travelers are testing local patience and transforming once quaint pockets of the bustling metropolis. Tony Hui recalls how elderly residents always used to play cards in a courtyard in the middle the densely packed housing block where he owns a dry cleaning store. The buildings […]

World seeing ‘catastrophic collapse’ of insects: study

by Marlowe HOOD Agence France Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — Nearly half of all insect species worldwide are in rapid decline and a third could disappear altogether, according to a study warning of dire consequences for crop pollination and natural food chains. “Unless we change our way of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” concluded the peer-reviewed study, which is set for publication in […]

Actor Liam Neeson fights to recover after sharing racist episode

  by Thomas Urbain Agence France Presse NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — After sparking a scandal by recalling a racist episode from his distant past, actor Liam Neeson is now battling to save his career — a task experts predict will be difficult but not impossible. More than 40 years ago, Neeson recently told The Independent of London, he was enraged to learn of a friend’s rape by a man she said was black. […]