Liftoff! NASA launches mega Moon rocket, ushering new era of exploration

United States | AFP | by Lucie AUBOURG NASA launched the most powerful rocket ever built on a journey to the Moon on Wednesday, in a spectacular blaze of light and sound that marked the start of the space agency’s new flagship program, Artemis. The 32-story tall Space Launch System (SLS) blasted off from the storied Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 01:47 am (0647 GMT), producing a record 8.8 million pounds (39 meganewtons) of […]

Billion youth risk hearing loss from headphones, venues: study

PARIS, France (AFP) – Around one billion young people worldwide could be at risk of hearing loss from listening to headphones or attending loud music venues, a large review of the available research estimated on Wednesday. The World Health Organization-led study called on young people to be more careful about their listening habits, and urged governments and manufacturers to do more to protect future hearing. The analysis published in the journal BMJ Global Health looked at data […]

Trump acolyte Kari Lake loses Arizona governor race

  Los Angeles, United States | AFP | by Huw GRIFFITH Donald Trump loyalist and prominent election denier Kari Lake has lost her bid to be governor of Arizona, US networks projected Monday, rounding out a difficult week for the former president as he readies a new run for the White House. Lake, a former TV anchor, had been seen as one of Trump’s most reliable picks heading into the midterm elections, but her defeat […]

Humanity hits the eight billion mark

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) — A baby born somewhere on Tuesday will be the world’s eight billionth person, according to a projection by the United Nations. “The milestone is an occasion to celebrate diversity and advancements while considering humanity’s shared responsibility for the planet,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement. The UN attributes the growth to human development, with people living longer thanks to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and […]

Handshakes, shoes and coffee cups: Qatar etiquette essentials

DOHA, Qatar (AFP) – Home to gleaming skyscrapers and upmarket shopping malls, World Cup host Qatar is also a conservative Muslim country deeply attached to its customs and traditions. Here are some of the cultural conventions football fans should know when visiting the gas-rich Gulf emirate, which, like other Arab nations, prides itself on its hospitality. – Greetings and handshakes – In public places, it is customary to stand up when greeting others, particularly the elderly, […]

Subarctic boreal forest, vital for the planet, is at risk

by Diane Desobeau and Marion Thibaut Agence France Presse Fort McMurray, Canada (AFP) — It burns, it drifts, it falls victim to insects. And it’s shrinking. The boreal forest, which is second only to the Amazon in terms of its vital role in ensuring the future of the planet, encircles the Arctic — and it is in just as much danger from climate change as the South American rainforest. The deep, verdant green ring — […]

‘Threat multiplier’: How climate change affects health

by Daniel Lawler Agence France Presse Paris, France (AFP) — Deadlier than Covid, or even rivalling cancer? Researchers have been increasingly attempting to calculate the effect climate change will have on health if the world does not act quickly to reduce carbon emissions. The World Health Organization, which says climate change is the single biggest health threat facing humanity, has called for the issue to be “front and centre” in negotiations at the COP27 summit […]

Bong! Big Ben’s back in Britain

by Jitendra JOSHI Agence France Presse London, United Kingdom (AFP) — Getting up close to Big Ben requires earplugs, and ear defenders over them to be safe. When the 13.7-tonne bell sounds, the vibration hits you in the chest. After a five-year restoration project, the world-famous ringer is back with a bong. The Great Clock towering above Britain’s Houses of Parliament is resuming daily operations following the painstaking renovation of more than 1,000 moving parts. […]

Fact Check: How to spot impostor Twitter accounts

by Bill MCCARTHY Agence France Presse Washington, United States (AFP) — The rollout of Twitter’s subscription service has prompted a string of accounts impersonating public figures, sparking concerns about the potential for scams and disinformation. Multiple accounts posing as politicians, celebrities and corporate brands have been suspended after being identified as inauthentic. The impostors had paid the $7.99 required to display a verified blue tick –- an identifier previously reserved for notable people or institutions […]

Paul Allen’s art collection tops $1 bn at Christie’s

New York, United States | AFP | Paintings and sculptures from the collection of late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen were auctioned off for a historic $1 billion Wednesday, Christie’s auction house said, with records set for works by Van Gogh, Cezanne, Gauguin, Seurat and Klimt. Five paintings entered the exclusive club of works of art sold for more than $100 million at auction, the New York auction house said, in a sign that the art […]

Thinning Greenland ice sheet may mean more sea level rise: study

by Jenny VAUGHAN Agence France Presse Paris, France (AFP) — Part of Greenland’s ice sheet is thinning further inland than previously believed, which will likely lead to greater sea level rise by the end of this century, a new study found Wednesday. The findings pertain to a northeast section of the giant ice block covering, but the trend is likely happening elsewhere on Greenland and Earth’s other ice sheet, in Antarctica. The implications are worrying, […]

Facebook owner Meta to lay off 11,000 staff

by Juliette MICHEL with Joseph BOYLE in Paris Agence France Presse New York, United States (AFP) — Facebook owner Meta will lay off more than 11,000 of its staff in “the most difficult changes we’ve made in Meta’s history,” boss Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday. He said the cuts represented 13 percent of the social media titan’s workforce and would affect its research lab focusing on the metaverse as well as its apps, which include […]