China to see driverless cars “in 3 to 5 years” — Baidu

BEIJING, China (AFP) — Self-driving cars will hit the roads in China “within three to five years,” the founder of Chinese internet giant Baidu, one of the world’s leading designers of driverless cars, said Thursday. That is a lot sooner than predicted by China’s information technology minister, who last week said it would only be a reality in 8-10 years, citing constraints related to security. “I’m more optimistic than him, I think it will come […]

France to take legal action against Google, Apple for ‘abusive’ practices

  PARIS, France (AFP) — France will take legal action against Google and Apple for “abusive business practices”, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Wednesday as transatlantic ties threaten to be riven by a trade war. “I believe in an economy based on justice and I will take Google and Apple before the Paris Commercial Court for abusive business practices” against French start-ups, Le Maire said on RTL radio. He said start-ups face conditions imposed […]

British scientist Stephen Hawking dead at age 76 — family spokesman

  LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking, whose mental genius and physical disability made him a household name and inspiration across the globe, has died at age 76, a family spokesman said Wednesday “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today,” Professor Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim said in a statement carried by Britain’s Press Association news agency. “He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose […]

SpaceX poised for 50th launch of Falcon 9 rocket

MIAMI, United States (AFP) — SpaceX is poised for the 50th launch of its signature Falcon 9 rocket early Tuesday, marking a swift ascent to a milestone many aerospace giants take far longer to attain. The launch of the Falcon 9 carrying the Hispasat, Spanish telecommunications, and broadband satellite, is scheduled for 12:33 am (0533 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. “At six metric tons and almost the size of a city […]

Cameroon startup launches drones for a global market

by Reinnier Kaze Agence France-Presse DOUALA, Cameron (AFP) — Talking fast and dreaming big, William Elong shows off the first “made in Cameroon” drone at his sixth-floor workshop in downtown Douala, minutes from the economic capital’s Atlantic seafront. The 25-year-old, known as a high-flyer after being named one of Forbes’ most promising young Africans under 30, is enthusing about his new unmanned aerial drones and keen to promote his company and Africa as a place […]

US blasts off another satellite to boost weather forecasts

by Kerry Sheridan Agence France-Presse MIAMI, United States (AFP) — A new US satellite that offers speedy, high-resolution images of storms and may save lives by making forecasts more accurate blasted off Thursday from a NASA launchpad. “Three, two, one and liftoff!” said a NASA commentator as the Atlas V rocket rumbled into the blue sky at 5:02 pm (2202 GMT) over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S […]

Dropbox files for public stock offering of $500 mln

  by Glenn Chapman Agence France Presse SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Dropbox filed Friday for an initial public offering, seeking to raise an estimated $500 million for the Silicon Valley cloud computing storage startup. The San Francisco company claimed 500 million users in 180 countries and $1 billion in annual revenues in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Dropbox said its shares will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol “DBX.” […]

WATCH: Onboard the €6,000-a-ticket zero-gravity plane

(AFP) — Since his return from the International Space Station last year, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet has been training to fly the Airbus “Zero-G” plane, which recreates the weightless conditions of space flight. As he prepares to start his new job he took part in a special flight with members of the public who’d paid 6,000 euros per ticket for an out-of-this-world experience.

All the wild horses are extinct: study

by Kerry SHERIDAN Agence France-Presse MIAMI, United States (AFP) — All the world’s wild horses have gone extinct, according to a study Thursday that unexpectedly rewrites the horse family tree based on a new DNA analysis of their ancestry. What most people thought were the last remaining wild horses on Earth — known as Przewalski’s horses — were actually domesticated horses that escaped their owners, said the report in the journal Science. “This was a […]

Large vessels are fishing 55 percent of world’s oceans

by Kerry SHERIDAN Agence France-Presse MIAMI, United States (AFP) — More than half the world’s oceans are being fished by large commercial vessels, particularly from China, according to the first view from space of global fishing practices published Thursday. The report in the journal Science used satellite data to track industrial fishing and found that 55 percent of the world’s oceans — and possibly more — are being exploited by big fishing operations. Some parts […]

Space-X lobs Spanish military satellite into orbit

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Elon Musk’s Space-X sent a Spanish military satellite into orbit Thursday in a hitch-less liftoff from California, extending the private space company’s record of successful launches. Space-X, which proved the utility of its massive Falcon Heavy rocket earlier this month, put up the Paz imaging satellite and two of the company’s own test internet communications satellites on a smaller Falcon 9 rocket. “Successful deployment of PAZ satellite to low-Earth orbit […]

Twitter sets crackdown on automated ‘bot’ accounts

by Glenn Chapman Agence France-Presse SAN FRANCICSCO, United States (AFP) — Twitter announced Wednesday a crackdown on accounts powered by software “bots” which can artificially amplify a person or cause and which have been accused of manipulating the social network during the 2016 US election. The San Francisco messaging platform said the move was intended to rid the service of spam-spewing automated accounts, and not aimed at people using the service according to the rules. […]