Virgin Galactic completes final spaceflight before two-year pause

  WASHINGTON, June 8, 2024 (AFP) – Virgin Galactic on Saturday successfully completed its last spaceflight before heading into a two-year pause on commercial operations to upgrade its fleet, as the space tourism company seeks to finally turn a profit. “Galactic07 is back on terra firma, now as astronauts!” the company said on X, formerly Twitter, referring to a team of two pilots and two passengers. “Our pilots, crew and spaceship have landed safely at […]

Japan video-sharing site Niconico hit by cyberattack

TOKYO (AFP) – Popular Japanese video-sharing website Niconico has suspended its services as it has been under “a large-scale cyberattack,” its operator said. “Currently, Niconico is under a large-scale cyberattack, and we are suspending our services to minimise its impact,” operator Dwango said in a statement late Saturday. “We are hastily investigating and taking countermeasures, but we won’t be able to restore the service until we make sure about its safety after completely excluding the […]

British TV presenter Michael Mosley found dead on Greek island

ATHENS, June 9, 2024 (AFP) – British diet guru and TV personality Michael Mosley was found dead on Sunday on the Greek island of Symi where he went missing this week, police said. “People on a boat saw a body close to the rocky coast,” said Petros Vassilakis, police chief for the southern Aegean region. The lifeless body was spotted by a television crew from Greece’s ERT public channel out filming in the area where […]

Five hurt as police, activists, clash at French motorway protest

PUYLAURENS, France, June 8, 2024 (AFP) – Police and masked activists clashed at a protest over a motorway project in southern France Saturday, leaving five people hurt, local officials said. Thousands of demonstrators ignored a ban on the gathering to turn out for the protest at the site of the A-69 motorway between Castres and Toulouse in the southwest. A police officer hit by a Molotov cocktail, two paramilitary gendarmes and two protesters were injured […]

Apollo 8 astronaut dies in small plane crash at age 90

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2024 (AFP) – William Anders, the former US astronaut who took the historic “Earthrise” photo from space over 55 years ago, died in a plane crash on Friday at the age of 90, his family said. Anders had been piloting a small plane which crashed off the coast of Washington state on Friday morning, his son told US media. Anders was alone in the plane. His body was later recovered by a […]

WHO confirms first fatal human case of H5N2 bird flu

GENEVA, June 5, 2024 (AFP) – A person died of bird flu in Mexico in the first confirmed case of a human infected with the H5N2 variant, the World Health Organization said Wednesday. The 59-year old, who died on April 24 after developing fever, shortness of breath, diarrhoea and nausea, had “no history of exposure to poultry or other animals” and “multiple underlying medical conditions”, the WHO said in a statement. The resident of the […]

More than 1 in 4 children under age 5 face ‘severe’ food poverty: UNICEF

By Amélie BOTTOLLIER-DEPOIS UNITED NATIONS, United States, June 6, 2024 (AFP) – More than one in four children under the age of five globally live in “severe” food poverty, UNICEF has warned — meaning more than 180 million are at risk of experiencing adverse impacts on their growth and development. “Severe child food poverty describes children who are surviving on severely deprived diets so they’re only consuming two or less food groups,” Harriet Torlesse, a […]

Extreme heat brings Cyprus to a halt

NICOSIA, June 5, 2024 (AFP) – Outdoor work and food delivery services were suspended in Cyprus on Wednesday as the first heatwave of the year brought scorching temperatures to the Mediterranean island. The meteorological department issued an orange warning as the mercury hit 43 degrees Celsius (109 Fahrenheit) in Nicosia, 38 degrees on the coast and 34 in the mountains. Due to the extreme heat alert, the labour department issued a decree stating that all […]

May marks 12th straight month of record global heat: EU

PARIS, June 5, 2024 (AFP) – C It is the latest red flag in a year already hit by climate extremes and rising greenhouse gas emissions, spurring fresh calls for more rapid action to limit global warming. “The global average temperature for the last 12 months (June 2023-May 2024) is the highest on record… and 1.63 degrees Celsius above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average”, EU monitor Copernicus said, referring to the period before human-caused greenhouse gas […]

Morocco says eight dead after drinking bootleg alcohol

RABAT, June 5, 2024 (AFP) – Eight people in Morocco have died and dozens of others were hospitalised after drinking homemade liquor, the health ministry said on Wednesday. “Serious complications from poisoning” led to the death of eight people in the town of Sidi Allal Tazi, about 100 kilometres (over 60 miles) north Rabat, said the regional health directorate. More than 100 people in the town suffered from alcohol poisoning between Monday and Wednesday from […]

TikTok fails ‘disinformation test’ before EU vote, study shows

By Joseph Boyle with Anuj Chopra in Washington PARIS, June 4, 2024 (AFP) – Wildly popular social network TikTok approved adverts containing political disinformation ahead of European polls, a report showed Tuesday, flouting its own guidelines and raising questions about its ability to detect election falsehoods. International campaign group Global Witness created 16 ads targeting Irish audiences with false information about this week’s EU elections and tried to get them approved by three platforms — […]

Russia ramps up disinfo ahead of Paris Games: Microsoft

WASHINGTON, June 3, 2024 (AFP) – Russia is waging an intense disinformation campaign aimed at tarnishing the reputation of the International Olympic Committee and stoking fears of violence at this summer’s Paris Games, according to a new report from Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center. According to Microsoft, the influence operations utilize a potent mix of fake videos, fictitious news stories, and AI-generated impersonations, including the faked voice of Hollywood star Tom Cruise. “Russia is ramping up […]