Black hole observed ‘awakening’ for the first time

PARIS, June 18, 2024 (AFP) – Astronomers have been able to observe a supermassive black hole waking up and setting the heart of its host galaxy alight for the first time, the European Southern Observatory said on Tuesday. The galaxy 300 million light years from Earth in the Virgo constellation had been quiet for decades until late 2019, when it suddenly began to shine brighter than ever before. The centre of the galaxy — where […]

New report warns of heat danger at Paris Olympics

PARIS, June 18, 2024 (AFP) – A new report backed by climate scientists and athletes warned Tuesday about the dangers of extreme high temperatures at this year’s Paris Olympics. The “Rings of Fire” report — a collaboration between non-profit Climate Central, academics at Britain’s University of Portsmouth and 11 Olympians — said conditions in Paris could be worse than the last Games in Tokyo in 2021. It warned that “intense heat at the Paris Olympics […]

‘Constant blood’: Ukraine’s frontline medics battle exhaustion

By Maryke VERMAAK Ukraine, June 15, 2024 (AFP) – When Vitaliy signed up to join the Ukrainian army as a surgeon, he made a promise not to burn himself out, fearing he could be needed for a lengthy and bloody war. More than two years after Russia invaded and with the fighting showing no sign of subsiding, that promise is being put to the test. Vitaliy serves at a medical post in the Pokrovsk area […]

Meta pauses AI plans in Europe after privacy complaints

VIENNA, June 14, 2024 (AFP) – Meta has paused plans to use personal data to train its artificial intelligence technology in Europe, Ireland’s regulator said Friday, after the social media giant was hit with privacy complaints. Last week, a Vienna-based privacy campaign group filed complaints in 11 European countries against Meta, saying the global tech giant’s planned privacy policy change would allow “unlawful” use of personal data to train an “undefined” type of current and […]

UK’s Princess of Wales makes first public appearance since cancer diagnosis

By Sylvain PEUCHMAURD, Joe JACKSON LONDON, June 15, 2024 (AFP) – Catherine, Princess of Wales, on Saturday tentatively returned to UK public life for the first time since being diagnosed with cancer, attending a military parade in London to mark King Charles III’s official birthday. Kate, as she is widely known, travelled in a state carriage alongside her three children at the outset of the annual event before watching the ceremonial proceedings from a viewing […]

Virgin Galactic completes final spaceflight before two-year pause

  WASHINGTON, June 8, 2024 (AFP) – Virgin Galactic on Saturday successfully completed its last spaceflight before heading into a two-year pause on commercial operations to upgrade its fleet, as the space tourism company seeks to finally turn a profit. “Galactic07 is back on terra firma, now as astronauts!” the company said on X, formerly Twitter, referring to a team of two pilots and two passengers. “Our pilots, crew and spaceship have landed safely at […]

Japan video-sharing site Niconico hit by cyberattack

TOKYO (AFP) – Popular Japanese video-sharing website Niconico has suspended its services as it has been under “a large-scale cyberattack,” its operator said. “Currently, Niconico is under a large-scale cyberattack, and we are suspending our services to minimise its impact,” operator Dwango said in a statement late Saturday. “We are hastily investigating and taking countermeasures, but we won’t be able to restore the service until we make sure about its safety after completely excluding the […]

British TV presenter Michael Mosley found dead on Greek island

ATHENS, June 9, 2024 (AFP) – British diet guru and TV personality Michael Mosley was found dead on Sunday on the Greek island of Symi where he went missing this week, police said. “People on a boat saw a body close to the rocky coast,” said Petros Vassilakis, police chief for the southern Aegean region. The lifeless body was spotted by a television crew from Greece’s ERT public channel out filming in the area where […]

Five hurt as police, activists, clash at French motorway protest

PUYLAURENS, France, June 8, 2024 (AFP) – Police and masked activists clashed at a protest over a motorway project in southern France Saturday, leaving five people hurt, local officials said. Thousands of demonstrators ignored a ban on the gathering to turn out for the protest at the site of the A-69 motorway between Castres and Toulouse in the southwest. A police officer hit by a Molotov cocktail, two paramilitary gendarmes and two protesters were injured […]

Apollo 8 astronaut dies in small plane crash at age 90

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2024 (AFP) – William Anders, the former US astronaut who took the historic “Earthrise” photo from space over 55 years ago, died in a plane crash on Friday at the age of 90, his family said. Anders had been piloting a small plane which crashed off the coast of Washington state on Friday morning, his son told US media. Anders was alone in the plane. His body was later recovered by a […]

WHO confirms first fatal human case of H5N2 bird flu

GENEVA, June 5, 2024 (AFP) – A person died of bird flu in Mexico in the first confirmed case of a human infected with the H5N2 variant, the World Health Organization said Wednesday. The 59-year old, who died on April 24 after developing fever, shortness of breath, diarrhoea and nausea, had “no history of exposure to poultry or other animals” and “multiple underlying medical conditions”, the WHO said in a statement. The resident of the […]

More than 1 in 4 children under age 5 face ‘severe’ food poverty: UNICEF

By Amélie BOTTOLLIER-DEPOIS UNITED NATIONS, United States, June 6, 2024 (AFP) – More than one in four children under the age of five globally live in “severe” food poverty, UNICEF has warned — meaning more than 180 million are at risk of experiencing adverse impacts on their growth and development. “Severe child food poverty describes children who are surviving on severely deprived diets so they’re only consuming two or less food groups,” Harriet Torlesse, a […]