Elon Musk and Twitter dig for evidence as trial looms

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Twitter and Elon Musk sparred in court on Tuesday, each digging for evidence to prevail in a high-stakes trial next month over the billionaire’s bid to break his buyout deal. Musk has been keen to find evidence to back his accusation that Twitter misled regulators and investors about what portion of accounts are actually spam or software “bots,” as well as its key measures regarding growth. Twitter, which has […]

Direct impact or nuclear weapons? How to save Earth from an asteroid

by Issam AHMED Agence France Presse Laurel, United States (AFP) — NASA’s DART mission to test deflecting an asteroid using “kinetic impact” with a spaceship is just one way to defend planet Earth from an approaching object — and for now, the only method possible with current technology. The operation is like playing billiards in space, using Newton’s laws of motion to guide us. If an asteroid threat to Earth were real, a mission might […]

Hackers leak French hospital patient data in ransom fight

Évry, France (AFP) — Hackers who crippled a French hospital and stole a trove of data last month have released personal records of patients online, officials have confirmed. The cyberattackers demanded a multimillion dollar ransom from the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital near Paris a month ago, but the institution refused to pay. The hospital said the hackers had now dumped medical scans and lab analyses along with the national security numbers of patients. “I condemn in the […]

Demand for queen’s favourite corgi dogs hits new high after her death

London, United Kingdom (AFP) — Prices for corgis, the dogs beloved by the late Queen Elizabeth II, have doubled to new highs since the monarch’s funeral last week, the UK’s largest pet marketplace said Monday. Pets4Homes told AFP it was currently experiencing “over ten times the volume of daily searches for corgis when compared to this time last week”. It added: “The prices asked for by registered corgi breeders have today hit a new high, […]

Inflation hits home for Mongolians struggling for basic goods

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (AFP) – At Ulaanbaatar’s Naiman Sharga money exchange market, elderly women stand in the street waving wads of money at passers-by, encouraging them to change foreign currency to Mongolian tugriks. Each transaction nets them a small profit — but when the value of the tugrik fluctuates it makes that more difficult, and lately the currency has taken a dive. This year the currency has fallen almost 15 percent against the US dollar — […]

‘Safari for sound’: New York Philharmonic fine-tunes new home

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) – The New York Philharmonic is tuning up to open their brand-new performance space next month — and it’s not only the instruments that need to strike the perfect pitch. The hall itself is getting trial runs, with the famed symphony testing their pieces as acousticians make adjustments to wall and ceiling panels to ensure warm, rich tones. It’s “almost like you’re going on a safari for sound,” said Jaap […]

NASA gears up to deflect asteroid, in key test of planetary defense

by Issam AHMED Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — NASA on Monday will attempt a feat humanity has never before accomplished: deliberately smacking a spacecraft into an asteroid to slightly deflect its orbit, in a key test of our ability to stop cosmic objects from devastating life on Earth. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spaceship launched from California last November and is fast approaching its target, which it will strike at roughly 14,000 […]

Almost 200 pilot whales perish on Australian beach

by Andrew LEESON Agence France Presse OCEAN BEACH, Australia (AFP) — Almost 200 whales have perished at an exposed, surf-swept beach on the rugged west coast of Tasmania, where Australian rescuers were only able to save a few dozen survivors Thursday. After an arduous, day-long effort in difficult conditions, state wildlife services said just 32 of the 226 beached long-finned pilot whales were strong enough to be rescued. “We’ve been refloating those whales that have […]

Who wants to go to the moon? Europe names astronaut candidates

PARIS, France (AFP) – The European Space Agency announced a team of seven astronauts on Wednesday to train for NASA’s Artemis mission to the moon — but only one will have the chance to become the first European to walk on the lunar surface. The candidates — France’s Thomas Pesquet, Britain’s Tim Peake, Germany’s Alexander Gerst and Matthias Maurer, Italy’s Luca Parmitano and Samantha Cristoforetti, and Denmark’s Andreas Mogensen — have all completed at least one […]

Babies in the womb react differently to flavors: researchers

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) – Babies in the womb are big fans of carrots but not so much leafy green vegetables — and show it in their faces, scientists said in a new study published Thursday. Researchers at Durham University in northeast England said the findings were the first direct evidence that babies react differently to various smells and tastes before they are born. A team of scientists studied 4D ultrasound scans of 100 pregnant […]

Global Fund raises $14.25 billion to end HIV, TB and malaria

by Issam AHMED Agence France-Presse NEW YORK, United States (AFP)  — The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria raised $14.25 billion Wednesday at a donor conference led by US President Joe Biden, as decades of progress against the diseases are set back by Covid. It was the highest amount ever pledged for a multilateral health organization — but fell far short of the ambitious goal of $18 billion after the United Kingdom and […]

230 pilot whales stranded in Australia, ‘about half’ feared dead

  SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Around 230 pilot whales were found stranded on the rugged west coast of Tasmania Wednesday, with Australian officials saying only half appeared to be alive. “A pod of approximately 230 whales has stranded near Macquarie Harbour,” said the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment. “It appears about half of the animals are alive.” Aerial images showed a devastating scene of dozens of black glossy mammals strewn along a stretch […]