S.African chickens hit by ‘worst’ bird flu outbreak

JOHANNESBURG, Sept 22, 2023 (AFP) – South African poultry farmers have warned of possible chicken and egg shortages as they battle what the industry says is the worst bird flu outbreak ever to hit the country. Producer Quantum Foods said on Friday that this year it had lost almost two million chickens — worth a total of more than 100 million rand ($5.3 million) — because of the disease. “The bird flu outbreak is the […]

China to control half the world’s hydrogen electrolyser capacity

PARIS, Sept 22, 2023 (AFP) – By the end of 2023, China will control half the world’s installed capacity of electrolysers for producing low-carbon hydrogen amid a slowdown in new projects due to inflation, according to an International Energy Agency report released Friday. “After a slow start, China has taken the lead on electrolyser deployment,” the IEA report on hydrogen said. China’s installed electrolyser capacity has jumped significantly in recent years, and is expected to […]

Historic NASA asteroid mission set for perilous return

WASHINGTON, Sept 22, 2023 (AFP) – NASA’s first mission to retrieve an asteroid sample and return it to US soil is expected to reach a perilous finale on Sunday with a descent into the Utah desert. Scientists hope the material — possibly the most ever retrieved by such a mission — will provide humanity with a better understanding on the formation of our solar system and how Earth became habitable. The US space probe OSIRIS-REx, […]

Hidden ocean the source of CO2 on Jupiter moon: research

PARIS, Sept 21, 2023 (AFP) – Carbon dioxide detected on Jupiter’s moon Europa comes from the vast ocean beneath its icy shell, research using James Webb Space Telescope data indicated on Thursday, potentially bolstering hopes the hidden water could harbour life. Scientists are confident there is a huge ocean of saltwater kilometres below Europa’s ice-covered surface, making the moon a prime candidate for hosting extra-terrestrial life in our Solar System. But determining whether this concealed […]

UN General Assembly chief warns: ‘World’s breadbaskets’ are sinking

While small island states are the most vulnerable to rising sea levels, the impact is much wider, warned the President of the UN General Assembly on Thursday. Addressing a special summit meeting, Dennis Francis – a veteran diplomat from Trinidad and Tobago – said he was determined to make sure the issue gets the attention it deserves during his presidency. With the climate crisis unfolding rapidly, the need for more inclusive and innovative approaches to […]

Australia’s firefighters face worst season in years

SYDNEY, Sept 22, 2023 (AFP) – Volunteer firefighters are scorching Australia’s forest undergrowth, reducing fuel for what is expected to be the fiercest fire season since the monster “Black Summer” blazes. Deadly wildfires have devastated forests in Canada, Greece, Hawaii and elsewhere around the world this year but unlike many other countries, Australia heavily relies on a 190,000-strong volunteer cohort to battle the flames. Their courage was on display during the “Black Summer” fires of […]

In war-scarred Iraqi city, food business gives women independence

By Mohammad Salim Abir Jassem is busy preparing stuffed vegetables at a kitchen in Iraq’s Mosul, where after years of unrest a women-run catering service has helped single mothers like her achieve financial security. The 37-year-old, who lost her husband while the city was under the control of the Islamic State (IS) group, said she had to get a job to put food on the table for her and her children. “If I didn’t work, […]

Tuvalu will always be a state, even if underwater, says PM

By Issam AHMED Tuvalu could be one of the first nations to sink beneath the sea as a result of climate change, but that doesn’t mean its statehood is up for discussion, the tiny Pacific archipelago’s prime minister said Thursday. Speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Kausea Natano said there had been “unnecessary” conversations in academic and diplomatic circles centered on the definition of a country under international law. “Our sovereignty is […]

Volcanic Smog (VOG) Alert for Taal Volcano

As of 12:30 PM today, volcanic smog (VOG) has been observed over Taal Lake, persisting in the region. Continuous upwelling at the Taal Main Crater Lake is generating steam plumes reaching 2,400 meters high, drifting west-northwest. A total of 4,569 tonnes/day of volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas emission was measured today, September 21, 2023. VOG contains acidic volcanic gases like SO2 and may irritate the eyes, throat, and respiratory tract, particularly for those with health […]

Air pollution from fires hits world’s poorest hardest: study

People in poorer countries are disproportionately suffering from air pollution spewed from the increasing scourge of fires in forests and fields around the world, according to new research published Wednesday. Landscape fires include blazes in forests, shrub, grass, pastures and agricultural lands, whether planned or uncontrolled such as the wildfires that have ravaged countries including Algeria, Canada and Greece this year. They generate smoke that can travel up to thousands of kilometres, creating public health […]

Climate crisis has ‘opened the gates to hell’, UN chief tells summit

By Issam AHMED UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday told world leaders the climate crisis had “opened the gates to hell” during a summit where leading polluters China and the United States were conspicuously absent. The talks were partly overshadowed by an announcement from Britain — also not present — that it was rolling back policies that would help it achieve its net-zero goal. Despite increasing extreme weather events and record-shattering global temperatures, greenhouse gas […]

AI both a risk and opportunity for journalism: study

AI is both a threat and an opportunity for journalism, with more than half of those surveyed for a new report saying they had concerns about its ethical implications on their work. While 85 percent of respondents had experimented with generative AI such as ChatGPT or Google Bard for tasks including writing summaries and generating headlines, 60 percent said they also had reservations. The study, carried out by the London School of Economic’s JournalismAI initiative, […]