Amazon magnate Bezos blasts into space on own rocket

by Issam AHMED WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The wealthiest man on the planet Jeff Bezos lifted off on his own rocket and reached outer space on Tuesday, a key moment for a fledgling industry seeking to make the final frontier accessible to elite tourists. Blue Origin’s first crewed mission, an 11-minute hop from west Texas to beyond the Karman line and back again, coincided with the 52nd anniversary of the first Moon landing. “It’s […]

French firm makes first sale of artificial heart

  PARIS, France (AFP) — French prosthetics maker Carmat said Monday it had sold one of its artificial hearts for the first time since its 2008 founding, for implantation into an Italian patient awaiting a transplant. The operation “was performed by the team headed by heart surgeon Dr Ciro Maiello at the Azienda Ospedaliera dei Colli hospital in Naples, one of the centres with the greatest experience in the field of artificial hearts in Italy,” […]

WHO warns of ‘dangerous’ variants as Covid cases rise globally

  by Marianne BARRIAUX with Agence France Presse bureaus The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Thursday that “more dangerous” variants of Covid-19 could tear across the world as global infections soared to half a million daily, largely driven by the virulent Delta strain. An AFP tally of official sources found that after an initial dip, cases have been rising again worldwide since the end of June, topping 540,000 on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. “The […]

BioNTech produces 10 times more antibodies than China’s Sinovac: HK study

  HONG KONG, China (AFP) — People who received BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine had ten times the amount of antibodies than those given China’s Sinovac, a Hong Kong study has shown, adding to growing data on different jabs’ effectiveness. The University of Hong Kong (HKU) research, based on a study of 1,442 healthcare workers, was published in Lancet Microbe on Thursday. Researchers said antibodies are not the only measure of a vaccine’s success at fighting a […]

Singapore unveils one of world’s biggest floating solar farms

SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — Singapore Wednesday unveiled one of the world’s biggest floating solar power farms, covering an area the size of 45 football pitches, as part of the city-state’s push to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The project is the country’s most ambitious yet, comprising 122,000 panels on Tengeh Reservoir that will produce enough electricity to run its five water treatment plants. Singapore is among the biggest per capita carbon dioxide emitters in Asia and […]

Covid case cuts short Singapore ‘cruise to nowhere’

SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — An ocean liner on a “cruise to nowhere” was forced to make an earlier-than-scheduled return to Singapore Wednesday after a coronavirus case was detected on board, reports said. The cruises — starting and ending in Singapore, with no stops — were launched last year as part of the travel industry’s attempt to bounce back from a pandemic-induced crunch. They have proved popular among those seeking an escape from the tiny city-state, […]

“High-speed stream of solar wind” forecast to hit Earth’s magnetic field

Solar activity could spark “minor geomagnetic storms,” “high latitude auroras,” says space weather forecast   (Eagle News) – A “high-speed stream of solar wind” is expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field Monday, July 12, according to the latest space weather forecast. The solar wind on July 12, 2021 has a speed of 303.9 kilometers per second, according to in its update as of 1101 UT (Editor’s note: 7:01 p.m. Philippine Time). provides “news […]

‘Experience of a lifetime’: Billionaire Branson achieves space dream

  by Lucie AUBOURG Agence France Presse British billionaire Richard Branson flew into space Sunday aboard a Virgin Galactic vessel, a voyage he described as the “experience of a lifetime” — and one he hopes will usher in an era of lucrative space tourism. The mission’s success allowed the swashbuckling septuagenarian to one-up fellow tycoon Jeff Bezos — who owns space company Blue Origin and is set to launch on July 20 — in the […]

90-year-old infected with ‘two virus variants at once’

PARIS, France (AFP) — A 90-year-old woman who died after falling ill with Covid-19 was infected with both the Alpha and Beta variants of the coronavirus at the same time, researchers in Belgium said Sunday, adding that the rare phenomenon may be underestimated. The unvaccinated woman, who lived alone and received at-home nursing care, was admitted to the OLV Hospital in the Belgian city of Aalst after a spate of falls in March and tested […]

Dubai does it again: now world’s deepest pool

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AFP) — The city of superlatives with the world’s tallest tower among its many records, Dubai now has the deepest swimming pool on the planet complete with a “sunken city” for divers to explore. Deep Dive Dubai, which opened Wednesday but initially by invitation only, prides itself as “the only diving facility in the world” where you can go down 60 meters (almost 200 feet), 15 meters deeper than any other […]

Sinovac’s CoronaVac jab less effective against Gamma variant: study

  PARIS, France (AFP) — The Chinese CoronaVac jab, a key tool in Brazil’s fight against Covid-19, is less effective against the Gamma variant first detected in the virus-ravaged South American country, a study said Friday. Researchers found that antibodies generated by the vaccine work less well against the variant than a previous coronavirus strain, while Gamma may also be able to reinfect people who had previously had the virus. Gamma’s capacity to evade these […]

Pfizer-BioNTech to seek authorization for 3rd Covid shot in US: statement

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Pfizer and BioNTech announced Thursday they would seek regulatory authorization for a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine. It comes after initial data from an ongoing trial showed a third shot pushed antibody levels five to 10 times higher against the original coronavirus strain and the Beta variant, first found in South Africa, compared to the first two doses alone, according to a statement. “The companies expect to publish more […]