US TikTok users prepare for a possible exit from platform

  by Thomas URBAIN Agence France Presse NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — American TikTok users reacted with a collective shrug Friday to the US move to ban new downloads of the video-sharing app — but many are already planning an exit to other platforms should the clampdown lead to an outright ban. “Oh my God! Ok! It’s happening! Everybody stay calm!” TikToker Nick Foster told his 577,000 followers, dubbing a video of himself with […]

Welcome to the jungle: plants overrun Chinese apartment blocks

BEIJING, China (AFP) — An experimental green housing project in a Chinese megacity promised prospective residents life in a “vertical forest”, with manicured gardens on every balcony. All 826 apartments were sold out by April this year, according to the project’s estate agent, but instead of a modern eco-paradise, the towers look like the set of a desolate, post-apocalyptic film. The problem? The mosquitoes love the plants too. Only a handful of families have moved […]

NET 25’s new noontime show “Happy Time” promises fun and surprises, as it gives hope amid pandemic

Show starts on Monday, Sept. 14 with hosts Anjo Yllana, Kitkat, and Janno Gibbs (Eagle News) – Get ready for the newest noon time show in the country, “Happy Time” with hosts Anjo Yllana, Kitkat and Janno Gibbs that will surely bring fun and surprises to audiences – both young and old alike. This newest show to be aired starting Monday, Sept. 14, at NET25, of Eagle Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) will be aired weekdays, Monday […]

Microsoft’s new Xbox Series X set for November launch, from $499

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Microsoft said Wednesday its next-generation Xbox game console will launch on November 10, with an estimated starting price of $499. The new XBox Series X, Microsoft’s flagship console which competes notably against Sony’s PlayStation devices, will be available for pre-orders from September 22. The news comes one day after Microsoft said it would sell a slimmed-down Xbox S game console priced at $299, also in November. The Xbox Series […]

First 5G iPhone expected at Apple online event Sept 15

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Apple on Tuesday fired off invitations to a September 15 online event expected to star the first iPhone tailored for superfast 5G telecom networks. The typically tight-lipped technology titan revealed only that the presentation would be streamed starting at 1700 GMT from its headquarters in Silicon Valley. Copies of the emailed invitation spread quickly on social media, featuring a video-snippet version of the Apple logo in blue that unraveled […]

Germany’s first ‘green’ bonds attract strong demand

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany (AFP) — Germany on Wednesday launched its first “green” bond offering to finance environmental initiatives as it pivots towards a sustainable economy, and could become a benchmark issuer in the booming field. The government raised 6.5 billion euros ($7.7 billion), in the offering for the 10-year 0% bond, with investors placing orders of more than 33 billion euros, according to German finance agency. Even at this early stage, “Germany is well on the way […]

Zimbabwe to return land to farmers protected by investment deals

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP) — Zimbabwe said Tuesday that only foreign farmers protected by international investment treaties qualified to retrieve land seized by the government two decades ago. Former president Robert Mugabe launched land reforms in 2000, grabbing parcels from 4,000 white farmers on the grounds that he was reversing historical land ownership imbalances that favoured the minority whites. On Monday, the government said white farmers could apply to regain the titles to their land. Information ministry […]

Stricken ship behind oil spill sunk off Mauritius

PORT LOUIS, Mauritius (AFP) — The broken stem of a Japanese-owned ship which ran aground causing a devastating oil spill in pristine waters off Mauritius, has been successfully sunk in the open ocean, the national crisis committee said Monday. The MV Wakashio ran aground on a coral reef off the Indian Ocean island on July 25 and began leaking oil two weeks later, prompting a race against the clock to pump all the fuel off the […]

On burrowed time: hunting with Ireland’s last rabbit catcher

by Joe STENSON Agence France-Presse CARNDONAGH, Ireland (AFP) — Steven McGonigal crosses a pockmarked field in the north of Ireland with a box of unruly ferrets while his dog, Fudge, sniffs out rabbit warrens. As the lurcher does his work, McGonigal covers the openings with nets before releasing a single ferret down the hole to flush out the occupants inside. For five minutes, the ferret races around the underground tunnels, poking its head out of […]

Google turning smartphones into earthquake detectors

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Google added an earthquake alert system in California on Tuesday, saying it is working on letting Android-powered smartphones double as tremor detectors. Android phones will receive warnings triggered by a “ShakeAlert” earthquake early-warning system implemented on the West Coast by the US Geological Survey and partners. ShakeAlert uses signals from hundreds of seismometers across the state to trigger warning messages that “an earthquake has begun and shaking is imminent,” […]

‘I don’t want to die’: Blast traumatises Beirut children

by Rouba EL HUSSEINI Agence France-Presse BEIRUT, Lebanon (AFP) — “I don’t want to die.” Those were the first words Hiba’s six-year-old son screamed after the massive explosion at Beirut port sent shards of glass flying around their house. The blast a week ago that injured around 1,000 children and temporarily displaced 100,000 according to the UN had the magnitude of an earthquake. The mental shock it caused among Beirut’s youngest was just as powerful. […]

Road test: Chinese ‘robotaxis’ take riders for a spin

by Dan Martin / Beiyi SEOW Agence France-Presse SHANGHAI, China (AFP) — Chinese entrants in the race to put autonomous vehicles on the road are bringing “robotaxis” online in hopes that a hired-car format can be the key to unlocking wide acceptance of the futuristic technology. It is expected to be years before cars that operate completely without human intervention are unleashed owing to lingering technological, regulatory, and safety hurdles. But as China challenges US […]