South Pole warming three times faster than rest of Earth: study

by Patrick GALEY PARIS, France (AFP) — The South Pole has warmed three times faster than the rest of the planet in the last 30 years due to warmer tropical ocean temperatures, new research showed Monday. Antarctica’s temperature varies widely according to season and region, and for years it had been thought that the South Pole had stayed cool even as the continent heated up. Researchers in New Zealand, Britain and the United States analysed […]

Chinese coronavirus vaccine approved for military use

BEIJING, China (AFP) — China’s military has approved a coronavirus vaccine for use within its ranks that has been developed by its research unit and a biotech firm, the company said Monday. Organisations around the world are racing to find ways to treat and prevent the deadly pathogen, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has since killed over half a million people worldwide. More than half of 17 candidate vaccines […]

Panda gifted by China gives birth to second cub in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AFP) — A giant panda gifted by China to Taiwan has given birth to a second female cub after being artificially inseminated, Taipei Zoo announced Monday. Yuan Yuan and her partner Tuan Tuan have been top attractions since arriving from China in 2008 as a symbol of what were then warm relations between the two sides. The unnamed cub, weighing 186 grams, was born on Sunday after five-hour labor, the zoo said. “We […]

Australian outback station turned into national park

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — A slice of the Australian outback almost the size of greater London will be turned into a national park to help protect threatened species, authorities said Saturday, in a move welcomed by green groups. Narriearra Station, a 1,534-square kilometre (592-square-mile) property in northwest New South Wales, is the biggest purchase of private land for national parks ever made by the state government, Environment Minister Matt Kean said. It stretches across floodplains, […]

France pulls plug on country’s oldest nuclear plant

by Béatrice ROMAN-AMAT Agence France-Presse FESSENHEIM, France (AFP) — France’s oldest nuclear power plant will shut down on Tuesday after four decades in operation, to the delight of environmental activists who have long warned of contamination risks, but stoking worry for the local economy. The Fessenheim plant, opened in 1977 and already three years over its projected 40-year life span, became a target for anti-nuclear campaigners after the catastrophic meltdown at Fukushima in Japan in […]

Russian mining giant admits waste ‘violations’ at Arctic plant

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — A Russian mining giant behind an enormous Arctic fuel spill last month said Sunday it had suspended workers at a metals plant who were responsible for pumping wastewater into nearby tundra. Norilsk Nickel cited a “flagrant violation of operating rules” in a statement announcing it had suspended employees responsible for dumping wastewater from a dangerously full reservoir into wildlife. The incident occurred at the Talnakh enrichment plant near the Arctic city […]

Panamanian boxing legend Roberto Duran hospitalized with COVID-19

  PANAMA CITY, Panama (AFP) — Panamanian Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran, six-time boxing world champion, was hospitalized in non-life-threatening condition Thursday with the novel coronavirus, his children said on the same day that Panama hit a new record of daily cases. “Test results have just arrived for my dad, and they confirm he is positive for COVID-19,” the legendary fighter’s son Robin Duran said on Instagram. “Thank God for now he doesn’t have symptoms […]

Australia starts virus testing blitz to curb surge in Melbourne

MELBOURNE, Australia (AFP) — Health workers fanned out across suburbs of Melbourne Friday in a testing blitz aimed at choking off a surge in coronavirus cases in Australia’s second-biggest city. Officials reported another 30 new COVID-19 infections in the city overnight in a continuing outbreak that has raised fears of a second wave in Australia, which looked like it had successfully contained the epidemic. It was the 10th straight day of double-digit rises in new […]

Israel wields startup tech against coronavirus second wave

by Guillaume Lavallee Agence France-Presse TEL-AVIV, Israel (AFP) — Israel’s armoury in the battle against the novel coronavirus includes thermal cameras scanning crowds and algorithms trawling vast medical databanks for real-time indicators of an infection spike. The Jewish state is enlisting the help of local startups in the hope of stemming a “second wave” of the virus. The chaos of daily life in Israel, or “balagan” as it is known in Hebrew, stands in contrast […]

UN says Covid will increase the risks associated with drug trafficking

Vienna, Austria (AFP) — The new coronavirus pandemic could hit drug markets just as the 2008 economic crisis did, exacerbating the risks for users, the UN drugs and crime agency warned Thursday. In its 2020 World Drug Report, the agency predicted an overall increase in drug use due to the pandemic, with a shift towards consuming cheaper products and injecting them, which carries greater risks. Countries were also likely to reduce drug-related budgets, it warned. […]

Italy study shows mosquitoes cannot transmit coronavirus

ROME, Italy (AFP) — A new scientific study by Italy’s national health institute ISS shows that mosquitoes are unable to transmit coronavirus to humans, the institute said Thursday. The World Health Organisation had already said there was no evidence that the virus could be transmitted by the blood-sucking insects, which spread dengue and other diseases when they bite humans. But the latest study, performed in collaboration with IZSVe, a research organization for animal health and […]

European Union donates to Guatemala 72,000 test kits to detect COVID-19 cases

EAGLE NEWS —The Republic of Guatemala and its President, Alejandro Giammattei received on June 22, 72,000 RT PCR tests for the detection and diagnosis of the virus causing their respiratory syndrome of COVID-19. This generous donation will serve to strengthen the institutional response of the government of Guatemala to this pandemic. Through this goodwill gesture, President Alejandro Giammattei  said that “They’re friends we have to honor such as the European Union.” These 72,000 tests may […]