Sinking city: Indonesia’s capital on brink of disaster

  JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Time is running out for Jakarta. One of the fastest-sinking cities on earth, environmental experts warn that one third of it could be submerged by 2050 if current rates continue. Decades of uncontrolled and excessive depletion of groundwater reserves, rising sea-levels, and increasingly volatile weather patterns mean swathes of it have already started to disappear. Existing environmental measures have had little impact, so authorities are taking drastic action: the nation […]

Global measles cases triple year-on-year: WHO

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — Measles cases nearly tripled globally during the first seven months of the year compared to the same period in 2018, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, amid growing concern over public resistance to the vaccine. So far this year, 364,808 measles cases were reported around the world, compared to 129,239 cases during the first seven months a year earlier. These numbers are “the highest (registered) since 2006,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier […]

Ecological disaster on Greek island as fire burns on

by Angelos TZORTZINIS MAKRYMALLI, Greece (AFP) — Firefighters on the Greek island of Evia were still battling Wednesday to contain a fire that has caused massive damage to a pristine mountain wildlife habitat after threatening four communities. “It’s a huge ecological disaster in a unique, untouched pine forest,” said acting regional governor Costas Bakoyannis. The fire that broke out in the early hours of Tuesday on Greece’s second-largest island prompted the evacuation of the villages […]

WATCH: NASA descends on Icelandic lava field to prepare for Mars

BORGARNES, Iceland (AFP) — To prepare for the next mission to Mars in 2020, NASA has taken to the lava fields of Iceland to get its new robotic space explorer ready for the job. With its black basalt sand, wind-swept dunes and craggy peaks, the Lambahraun lava field at the foot of Iceland’s second biggest glacier, Langjokull, was chosen as a stand-in for the Red Planet’s surface.

Microsoft halts development of Minecraft update

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Microsoft has halted development of an ambitious update to Minecraft, throwing in the towel after concluding it was technically too complicated, according to a blog post by the team responsible for the hit adventure and construction game. Microsoft had unveiled the project, dubbed “Super Duper Graphics Packs,” to great fanfare in 2017, at E3, the world’s biggest video game trade show. “Unfortunately, the pack proved too technically demanding to […]

Singapore to ban sale of elephant ivory from 2021

  SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — Singapore said Monday it will impose a blanket ban on the domestic sale of elephant ivory and products from 2021 as the government tightens its campaign against illegal wildlife trade. The announcement on World Elephant Day followed two years of consultations with non-government groups, ivory retailers and the public. Authorities in the city-state made their largest ever seizure of smuggled ivory last month, impounding a haul of nearly nine tonnes […]

New Era University inaugurates School of Management building as school strives towards educational excellence

  (Eagle News) — The New Era University (NEU) inaugurated on Thursday, August 8, the School of Management building, the newest addition to the ever-growing university that aims to be a world class academic institution. The inauguration of the modern five-storey building along Central Avenue in Diliman, Quezon City was led by Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo who is supporting the school’s drive towards excellence. NEU President Dr. […]

US seniors fulfill dreams, fight depression with virtual reality

by Leila MACOR Agence France Presse Nidia Silva had never realized her dream of swimming with dolphins until a Miami NGO gave her a pair of virtual reality glasses as part of an experimental treatment for depression and isolation in senior citizens. “You’re in a world you don’t know, but it’s very beautiful and very important for me to see,” 78-year-old Silva said after taking off the virtual reality (VR) goggles. She was sitting in […]

London celebrates INC 105th anniversary through a performance of INCentre Stage at the Lighthouse Theatre

by JD Sison EBC United Kingdom Bureau (London, UK) — “Who am I?” A story which enacts the modern struggles of youth and the real problems they face daily, capturing the main character’s journey through emotional battles and self-discovery. This debut launch of the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s INCentre Stage has attracted viewers from all over the United Kingdom.   Audiences traveled from the different regions of the country to witness this much-anticipated live theatre production. […]

Trash for tickets on Indonesia’s ‘plastic bus’

by Harry PEARL JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Dozens of people clutching bags full of plastic bottles and disposable cups queue at a busy bus terminal in the Indonesian city of Surabaya — where passengers can swap trash for travel tickets. The nation is the world’s second-biggest marine polluter behind China and has pledged to reduce plastic waste in its waters some 70 percent by 2025 by boosting recycling, raising public awareness, and curbing usage. The […]

In a London workshop, artisans craft bespoke globes

by Joe JACKSON LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — In 2008, Peter Bellerby set out to buy his father a high quality handmade globe as an 80th birthday present. When he could not find one, the Briton decided to make it himself — and, in the process, catapulted himself into a new profession. Just over a decade later, his company Bellerby and Co claims to be the finest globemaker in the world, selling tailor-made products to […]

‘Siberia is burning’: Russians choke on forest fire smog

by Ekaterina ANISIMOVA BOGUCHANY, Russia (AFP) — Svetlana Tuflyakova is in a hurry as she pushes her small son in his pram, keen to get back inside her house and away from the permeating smoke of Siberian wildfires: “It feels like it fills your whole body,” she says. Tuflyakova lives in the village of Boguchany in Krasnoyarsk region, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from raging fires which have engulfed vast territories and filled residential areas […]