Dead whale in Philippines had 40 kg of plastic in stomach

MANILA, Philippines (AFP) — A starving whale with 40 kilos (88 pounds) of plastic trash in its stomach has died after being washed ashore in the Philippines, activists said Monday, calling it one of the worst cases of poisoning they have seen. Environmental groups have tagged the Philippines as one of the world’s biggest ocean polluters due to its reliance on single-use plastic. That sort of pollution, which is also widespread in other southeast Asian […]

Remote Cape with ‘world’s cleanest air’ offers smog respite

by Andrew BEATTY CAPE GRIM, Australia (AFP) — As much of Asia wheezes, coughs and sniffles its way through another smog season, one isolated and windswept corner of Australia is serving as the global standard for clean air. With panoramic views of swaying tussock grass and the vast crystalline expanse of the Southern Ocean, Tasmania’s beautiful Cape Grim peninsula is an unlikely reference point for the scientific world. But since 1976, this wild and blustery […]

New data in eternal debate over eggs, heart health

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The debate over whether eggs are good for you is age-old: while a good source of protein, they also contain potentially harmful cholesterol. Now, a new study — published Friday by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) — has weighed in. After analyzing 30,000 Americans from six separate studies, researchers concluded that eating an extra half-egg a day increased the risk of cardiovascular disease (six percent) and premature […]

Forget flying carpets, flying taxis are coming your way

by Laurent BANGUET AUSTIN, United States (AFP) — We’ve all dreamed while stuck in traffic jams of being able to just lift off and fly over the gridlock. According to experts gathered this week at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, that is likely to happen sooner than later, with flying taxis expected to take to the skies by 2025. “People have been dreaming about it for decades on paper, and now the […]

Elon Musk’s Tesla adds ‘Model Y’ SUV to line-up

by Javier TOVAR / Glenn CHAPMAN HAWTHORNE, United States (AFP) — Tesla introduced a new electric sports utility vehicle slightly bigger and more expensive than its Model 3, pitched as an electric car for the masses. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk showed off the “Model Y” late Thursday at the company’s design studio in the southern California city of Hawthorne, and the company began taking orders online. The all-electric Model Y has a starting price […]

Toxic air tears apart families in Mongolia

by Khaliun Bayartsogt BOMUUR, Mongolia (AFP) — In the world’s coldest capital, many burn coal and plastic just to survive temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees — but warmth comes at a price: deadly pollution makes Ulaanbataar’s air too toxic for children to breathe, leaving parents little choice but to evacuate them to the countryside. This exodus is a stark warning of the future for urban areas in much of Asia, where scenes of […]

WHO urges enforcement of tobacco ad bans at sporting events

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The World Health Organization called Thursday for better enforcement of bans on tobacco advertising at sporting events, after tobacco companies discretely reentered sponsorship deals with Formula 1 teams. “WHO is urging governments to enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship at sporting events, including when hosting or receiving broadcasts of Formula 1 and MotoGP events,” the UN health agency said in a statement. It also called on “all sporting bodies, […]

Astronauts on aborted Soyuz launch blast off successfully for ISS

by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AFP) — NASA astronaut Nick Hague and his Russian colleague Alexey Ovchinin, who survived a dramatically aborted Soyuz launch last year, blasted off successfully for the International Space Station on Thursday. The two men, joined by US astronaut Christina Koch, lifted off from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at the expected time 1914 GMT. “The Soyuz is now in orbit and the crew are on their way to the International […]

Facebook blames server problem for massive outage

by Glenn CHAPMAN / with Rob Lever in Washington MENLO PARK, United States (AFP) — Facebook blamed a “server configuration change” Thursday for a massive outage affecting its applications around the world and brought fresh attention to the embattled social networking leader. The outage affected users for at least 12 hours in most areas of the world, with the biggest impact in North America and Europe, according to the tracking website After acknowledging the […]

Amid turmoil, Facebook chief product officer quits

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Facebook said Thursday its chief product officer Chris Cox was leaving the company, becoming the highest-ranking executive to depart amid the turmoil at the leading social network. Cox made his announcement in on his Facebook page, saying he was leaving “with great sadness” after 13 years. While Cox gave no specific reason for his move, he noted that Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled a new direction away from […]

The Atlantic Ocean is rising and 11-year-old Levi is worried

by Ivan Couronne WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Levi Draheim is an 11-year-old kid who lives on a barrier island separating the coast of Florida from the Atlantic Ocean. He is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the US government over climate change. “I don’t even know if the Earth is going to be around when I’m older at the rate that we’re going,” Levi told AFP in a phone interview before his swim […]

Air pollution deaths are double earlier estimates: study

by Marlowe HOOD PARIS, France (AFP) — Air pollution causes 790,000 premature deaths every year in Europe and 8.8 million worldwide, doubling recent assessments, according to a study released Monday. Between 40 and 80 percent of those excess deaths are caused by heart attacks, strokes and other types of cardiovascular disease underestimated up to now as a driver of smog-related mortality, researchers reported. On average, a toxic cocktail of pollutants from vehicles, industry and agriculture […]