Two Americans, one Russian blast off for ISS

by Vyacheslav Oseledko Agence France Presse BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AFP) — Two astronauts, a cosmonaut and a ball set to be used in the forthcoming football World Cup in Russia blasted off Wednesday for a two-day flight to the International Space Station. NASA’s Drew Feustel and Richard Arnold lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a five-month mission in a Soyuz MS-08 under the command of Russian colleague Oleg Artemyev at the expected time […]

Google boosts efforts to help news organizations, with $300 mn

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Google on Tuesday launched a new initiative, committing $300 million to help news publishers get more paid subscribers while stemming the flow of misinformation. The internet giant described the Google News Initiative as part of an “effort to help journalism thrive in the digital age.” The announcement in New York followed a series of commitments to help the troubled sector by Google, which has been accused by some in […]

UK firm in Facebook row suspends CEO amid fresh revelations

by Alice Ritchie © Agence France-Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Cambridge Analytica, the British firm at the centre of a major scandal rocking Facebook, suspended its chief executive Alexander Nix Tuesday, as he became embroiled in fresh controversy and lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic demanded answers over the data breach. Recordings of Nix emerged Tuesday evening in which he boasts about the company’s expansive role in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, claiming it did […]

Facebook security chief says he is still “fully engaged” with work at FB; changes role to focus on election fraud

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Facebook’s chief of security said late Monday his role has shifted to focusing on emerging risks and election security at the global social network, which is under fire for letting its platform be used to spread bogus news and manipulate voters. Alex Stamos announced the change in his work role after The New York Times reported he was leaving Facebook in the wake of internal clashes over how to […]

Facebook rocked by data breach scandal as investigations loom

by Rob Lever © Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Facebook shares plunged Monday as the social media giant faced an onslaught of criticism at home and abroad over revelations that a firm working for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign harvested and misused data on 50 million members. Calls for investigations came on both sides of the Atlantic after Facebook responded to the explosive reports of misuse of its data by suspending the account of Cambridge […]

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.” […]