Amid turmoil, Facebook chief product officer quits

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Facebook said Thursday its chief product officer Chris Cox was leaving the company, becoming the highest-ranking executive to depart amid the turmoil at the leading social network. Cox made his announcement in on his Facebook page, saying he was leaving “with great sadness” after 13 years. While Cox gave no specific reason for his move, he noted that Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled a new direction away from […]

The Atlantic Ocean is rising and 11-year-old Levi is worried

by Ivan Couronne WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Levi Draheim is an 11-year-old kid who lives on a barrier island separating the coast of Florida from the Atlantic Ocean. He is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the US government over climate change. “I don’t even know if the Earth is going to be around when I’m older at the rate that we’re going,” Levi told AFP in a phone interview before his swim […]

Air pollution deaths are double earlier estimates: study

by Marlowe HOOD PARIS, France (AFP) — Air pollution causes 790,000 premature deaths every year in Europe and 8.8 million worldwide, doubling recent assessments, according to a study released Monday. Between 40 and 80 percent of those excess deaths are caused by heart attacks, strokes and other types of cardiovascular disease underestimated up to now as a driver of smog-related mortality, researchers reported. On average, a toxic cocktail of pollutants from vehicles, industry and agriculture […]

NASA chief acknowledges more trouble with SLS rocket

by Ivan Couronne WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The US space agency NASA on Wednesday cast a shadow on the future of its new heavy-lift rocket, the SLS — acknowledging development delays on a project that is already years behind. The Space Launch System program is being run much as the Apollo and space shuttle mission were handled in the days of old. But Wednesday’s announcement illustrates how quickly NASA has embraced a new era […]

Outage hits Facebook, Instagram users worldwide

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Facebook and Instagram users lost access to the social network’s applications in parts of the world Wednesday as a result of an outage of undetermined origin. The California giant which has more than two billion users acknowledged the outage after users noted on Twitter they could not access Facebook or had limited functionality. “We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re […]

Hollywood stars among dozens charged over college entrance scam

by Thomas URBAIN “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman and fellow Hollywood actress Lori Loughlin were among dozens indicted Tuesday in a multi-million dollar scam to help children of the American elite cheat their way into top universities. The accused, who also include chief executives, financiers, the chairman of a prominent law firm, a winemaker and fashion designer, allegedly cheated on admissions tests and arranged for bribes to get their children into prestigious schools including Yale, […]

K-pop star Seungri retires amid sex-for-investment allegations

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — South Korean pop star Seungri on Monday announced his retirement from show business amid mounting criminal investigations including his alleged involvement in a sex-for-investments scandal. The 29-year-old singer from K-pop boy band BIGBANG is accused of lobbying potential investors by offering sex services at multiple nightclubs in Seoul’s posh Gangnam district. He faced police questioning at the weekend. “It would be better for me to retire from the entertainment business […]

Second South Korean star quits as K-pop sex scandal spreads

  SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — A burgeoning K-pop sex scandal claimed a second scalp as a singer who rose to fame after coming second in one of South Korea’s top talent shows admitted secretly filming himself having sex and sharing the footage. Jung Joon-young, 30, announced his immediate retirement from showbusiness amid allegations he shot and shared sexual imagery without his partners’ consent. “I admit to all my crimes,” he said. “I filmed women […]

The nations grounding their Boeing 737s

  PARIS, France (AFP) — A number of countries have grounded Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 medium-haul workhorse jet in response to an Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 people on board. The Nairobi-bound plane was the same type as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed in October, killing 189 passengers and crew — with some detecting similarities between the two accidents. There are some 350 of the 737 MAX 8 planes currently in […]

US regulators order improvements to Boeing jet after latest crash

  by Heather Scott Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US regulators have ordered Boeing to make urgent improvements to its popular 737 Max 8 aircraft after the second deadly accident in a few months prompted the grounding of fleets around the world. Singapore Tuesday banned the use of the high-tech jet in its airspace, becoming the latest in a growing list of jurisdictions worried about the safety of the flagship plane. On […]

Web inventor urges users to seek ‘complete control’ of data

by Agn├Ęs PEDRERO GENEVE, Switzerland (AFP) — World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee on Monday slammed the increasing commodification of personal information and appealed for internet users to strive to maintain “complete control” of their data. Berners-Lee, credited with creating the web in 1989, is on a mission to save his invention from a range of problems increasingly dominating online life, including misinformation and a lack of data protection. “You should have complete control of […]

Madagascar battles killer measles outbreak

by Tsiresena MANJAKAHERY ANTSIRANANA, Madagascar (AFP) — Frangeline is aged two but weighs no more than a four-month-old — the terrible result of her battle with measles, which is cutting a deadly swathe through Madagascar. Widespread malnutrition and low rates of immunisation on the Indian Ocean island have ramped up the killing power of the highly infectious virus. In the last six months, nearly 1,000 children have been killed by a resurgent disease that vaccination […]