Japan Moon lander revives after lunar night

By Kyoko HASEGAWA Japan’s Moon lander has produced another surprise by waking up after the two-week lunar night, the country’s space agency said Monday. The unmanned Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) touched down last month at a wonky angle that left its solar panels facing the wrong way. As the sun’s angle shifted, it came back to life for two days and carried out scientific observations of a crater with a high-spec camera, the […]

Dior postpones Hong Kong fashion show: govt

HONG KONG, Feb 24, 2024 (AFP) – Dior has postponed a fashion show set to be held in Hong Kong next month, a city official confirmed Saturday, dealing a blow to the financial hub’s ambitions to boost its economy through major events. Hong Kong is courting top international celebrities and brands in the hope of rebooting its reputation, which had been battered by years of social unrest and strict pandemic curbs. The Dior fashion show […]

Underfunded & under-maintained: Eiffel tower workers strike for repairs, fair treatment

France’s iconic Eiffel Tower was closed for a fourth day on Thursday as employees extended a strike over the monument’s management, unions said. The stoppage at one of the world’s best-known tourist sites is the second within two months in protest of what unions say is insufficient investment. The tower’s operator, SETE, has advised ticket holders to check its website before showing up, or to postpone their visit. E-ticket holders were asked to check their […]

America returns spaceship to the Moon, a private sector first

By Issam AHMED WASHINGTON, Feb 23, 2024 (AFP) – For the first time since the Apollo era, an American spaceship has landed on the Moon: an uncrewed commercial robot, funded by NASA to pave the way for US astronauts to return to Earth’s cosmic neighbor later this decade. Odysseus, built by Houston-based Intuitive Machines, touched down near the lunar south pole Thursday at 2323 GMT, after a nail-biting final descent where flight controllers had to […]

New Zealand opens first ‘kiwi hospital’ for injured birds

By Ryland JAMES WELLINGTON, Feb 23, 2024 (AFP) – New Zealand on Friday opened its first hospital exclusively treating kiwi birds, and vets have already nursed the first patient back to health — a chick nicknamed “Splash” that tumbled into a swimming pool. Rising numbers of the once-threatened national bird have led to the construction of a purpose-built facility in Kerikeri, a three-hour drive north of Auckland. The Department of Conservation told AFP the new […]

‘Zombie’ blazes and drought: Canada headed for another brutal fire season

By Marion THIBAUT MONTREAL, Feb 23, 2024 (AFP) – Beneath the ground in Western Canada, dozens of so-called “zombie fires” that started last year are still burning. And even though it’s the dead of winter, the lack of snow this year is compounding ongoing drought conditions, leaving Canadians already bracing for another brutal forest fire season. “We are having an exceptional winter after an exceptional summer,” laments Josee St-Onge, a spokesperson for Alberta firefighters. It’s […]

Odysseus lands on Moon’s south pole; first private lunar landing achieved

By Issam AHMED WASHINGTON, Feb 23, 2024 (AFP) – A Houston-based company has landed America’s first spaceship on the Moon in more than 50 years, part of a new fleet of NASA-funded, uncrewed commercial robots intended to pave the way for astronaut missions later this decade. But while flight controllers confirmed they had received a faint signal, it was not immediately clear whether Odysseus, the lander built by Intuitive Machines, was fully functional, with announcers […]

Portugal’s Bobi loses oldest dog title

LISBON, Feb 22, 2024 (AFP) – Bobi, previously crowned the world’s oldest dog, has lost his title due to inconclusive evidence of his age, Guinness World Records (GWR) announced Thursday. A Guinness review launched last month concluded it “no longer has the evidence it needs to support Bobi’s claim as the record holder”. Bobi died last October at the age of 31 years and 165 days, exceeding the 12-14 years life expectancy for his breed, […]

Commercial US spaceship hours from attempted Moon landing

By Issam AHMED WASHINGTON, Feb 22, 2024 (AFP) – A Houston-based company is set Thursday to land America’s first spaceship on the Moon in more than 50 years, part of a new fleet of NASA-funded, uncrewed, commercial robots meant to pave the way for astronaut missions this decade. If all goes well, Intuitive Machines will guide its hexagon-shaped lander Odysseus, currently orbiting at approximately 60 miles (92 kilometers) from the surface, to a gentle touchdown […]

Massive leak exposes Chinese firm’s hacking of foreign governments, activists – analysts

By Oliver Hotham with Jing Xuan Teng in Shanghai BEIJING, Feb 22, 2024 (AFP) – A Chinese tech security firm was able to breach foreign governments, infiltrate social media accounts and hack personal computers, a massive data leak analysed by experts this week revealed. The trove of documents from I-Soon, a private company that competed for Chinese government contracts, shows that its hackers compromised more than a dozen governments, according to cybersecurity firms SentinelLabs and […]

A brief history of famous Moon landings — and failures

By Issam AHMED WASHINGTON, Feb 22, 2024 (AFP) – A spaceship built by a company in Texas is poised for lunar touchdown on Thursday, returning America to the Moon after more than five decades in what promises to be a historic first for the private sector. Here’s a look back at notable attempts — both successful and unsuccessful — at landing on Earth’s cosmic companion. – First survivable landing – The Soviet Union led the […]

Food watchdog lodges complaint over Nestle mineral water ‘fraud’

PARIS, Feb 21, 2024 (AFP) – Consumer watchdog Foodwatch said it was filing a legal complaint Wednesday against food giant Nestle and another group over them allegedly fraudulently treating water for their top mineral water brands. A government probe reported by media last month said about 30 percent of mineral water sold in France had undergone purification treatment only meant to be used on tap water. Foodwatch said it was lodging its complaint with a […]