Brazil deforestation shatters April record

  RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon last month shattered the record for April, destroying more than 1,000 square kilometers of the world’s biggest rainforest, nearly double the previous high, according to official figures published Friday. The record — the third in four months — is the latest damning statistic on the accelerating loss of the Amazon under President Jair Bolsonaro. Satellite images show a total area of destroyed forest […]

40 million more faced acute hunger in 2021: UN

  The number of people facing hunger rose to 193 million last year as conflict, climate change and economic crises ravaged people’s livelihoods, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said Wednesday. While experts have warned that Russia’s war in Ukraine could cause famine, the FAO said in an annual report that nearly 40 million more people were pushed into “acute food insecurity” in 2021. Among 53 countries facing the problem, the most affected include the […]

New Zealand sea level rising more quickly than forecast: data

  WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — The sea level is rising twice as fast as previously forecast around parts of New Zealand, according to research published Monday, putting the country’s two largest cities at risk decades earlier than expected. Government-backed data amassed from around the country’s coastline found some areas are already sinking three to four millimetres per year, speeding up a long-expected threat. The projections, labelled “a bit terrifying” by one expert, are the […]

Spectacular glass-bottomed bridge opens in Vietnam

  Mộc Châu, Vietnam (AFP) — Don’t look down! Vietnam launched a new attraction for tourists with a head for heights on Friday, with the opening of a glass-bottomed bridge suspended 150 metres (490 feet) above a lush jungle. The Bach Long pedestrian bridge — whose name translates to “white dragon” — in northwest Son La province snakes around dizzying cliff faces before spanning a dramatic valley between two peaks, hitting a total length of […]

Psychologist testifies that Amber Heard has personality disorders

    by Brendan Smialowski with Chris Lefkow in Washington Agence France Presse FAIRFAX, United States (AFP) — A psychologist hired by lawyers for “Pirates of the Caribbean” star Johnny Depp testified on Tuesday at his defamation case against his former wife Amber Heard that she suffers from twin personality disorders. Shannon Curry, a clinical and forensic psychologist, said she had examined Heard’s mental health records and personally evaluated her for 12 hours over two […]

Climate change creating new virus hotspots ‘in our backyard’

  by Daniel Lawler Agence France Presse Climate change will drive animals towards cooler areas where their first encounters with other species will vastly increase the risk of new viruses infecting humans, raising the threat of another pandemic, researchers warned Thursday. There are currently at least 10,000 viruses that have the capacity to cross over into humans “circulating silently” among wild mammals, mostly in the depths of tropical forests, according to a study published in […]

Moderna seeks US authorization for Covid vaccine in children under 6: statement

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US biotech firm Moderna said Thursday it had submitted a request for an emergency use authorization in the United States for its Covid vaccine for children aged six months to under six years. Children under six are the only age group that has yet to gain access to a Covid-19 vaccine in the United States and in most countries. “We believe (this vaccine) will be able to safely protect […]

Musk’s Twitter purchase puts moral champion in crosshairs

    by Glenn Chapman © Agence France-Presse SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — The fate of Twitter’s top attorney, deemed a moral champion of the platform, was in doubt Wednesday after Elon Musk tweeted displeasure with content moderation she had carried out. Musk, the world’s richest man, has vowed to be a free speech absolutist when he takes control of the global messaging platform as part of a $44 billion deal. The lawyer, Vijaya […]

Nearly 60% of US population had Covid by February

  by Issam AHMED Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — By February of this year, 58 percent of the US population — more than 190 million people — had been infected with Covid, according to an antibody survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published Tuesday. The figure is far higher than the 80 million officially recorded cases, with the majority of infections undiagnosed, asymptomatic or unreported. Roughly 75 percent […]

Elon Musk: tech visionary turns social media king

  SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Sometimes it feels like it’s Elon Musk’s world and we just live in it. The endlessly innovative, endlessly eccentric billionaire has struck a deal to buy Twitter — giving him control of the social media network on which the world debates, mobilizes and bickers. It is just the latest conquest for Musk, who has revolutionized the car industry, sent his own rocket to space, built the world’s biggest […]

The quest for a universal coronavirus vaccine

  by Daniel Lawler Agence France Presse As vaccine makers rush to stamp out new Covid-19 variants, some scientists have set their sights higher, aiming for a universal coronavirus vaccine that could tackle any future strains and possibly even stave off another pandemic. Since the race for a first Covid jab supercharged a new generation of vaccine technology, there have been numerous efforts to develop pan-coronavirus immunisation. Drew Weissman of the University of Pennsylvania, who […]