‘Majestic’ WWII Spitfire takes off on round-the-world flight

by Robin MILLARD ¬© Agence France-Presse CHICHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) — An original Spitfire plane took off from Britain on Monday on an unprecedented attempt to fly the iconic World War II fighter around the globe. The gleaming silver aircraft set off from Goodwood Aerodrome outside Chichester near the south coast of England for the first leg of the epic four-month journey. The restored 76-year-old fighter served in World War II but has been de-militarized, […]

Quarter of world’s population facing extreme water stress

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Nearly a quarter of the world’s population lives in 17 countries facing extremely high water stress, close to “day zero” conditions when the taps run dry, according to a report released Tuesday. The World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas ranked water stress, drought risk and riverine flood risk using a peer-reviewed methodology. “Agriculture, industry, and municipalities are drinking up 80 percent of available surface and groundwater in an average […]

July hottest month measured, 2019 set to be among warmest years

by Marlowe HOOD PARIS, France (AFP) — July was the hottest month across the globe ever measured, and 2019 is on track to be one of the warmest years, according to data released Monday by the European Union’s Earth observation network. Searing heatwaves saw records tumble across Europe last month, with unusually high temperatures around the Arctic Circle as well. Wildfires unprecedented in scope and intensity burned in Siberia and Alaska, releasing more than 100 […]

Crocodiles hunt in flooded Indian city

VADODARA, India (AFP) — Crocodiles hunted dogs in the flooded streets of the Indian city of Vadodara after it was battered by nearly 50 centimeters (20 inches) of rain in 24 hours leaving five people dead, police said Friday. Waist-high water remained Friday in the Gujarat state city where the main railway station and most roads were closed by the freak deluge. About 5,000 people were evacuated from their homes as water from the overflowing […]

S.Korea tests drone delivery in remote regions

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Seoul began testing delivery by drone in the country’s remote regions Wednesday, with the hope of improving residents’ quality of life, the government said. The project, jointly launched by the interior and safety ministry and Korea Post, among other government agencies, aims to establish a “public drone delivery system” to serve the country’s dispersed population. A test operation on Wednesday transported medical relief items from Dangjin, a city 80 kilometers […]

Huawei still number two smartphone seller despite US sanctions

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Huawei remained the number two global smartphone vendor in the past quarter despite tough US sanctions imposed on the Chinese technology giant, market trackers said Wednesday. The Chinese firm managed to boost its sales even as the overall market declined, remaining on the heels of sector leader Samsung and ahead of US-based Apple. According to Strategy Analytics, overall global smartphone sales fell 2.6 percent to 341 million units in […]

Asian countries turning back wealthy world’s waste

PARIS, France (AFP) — Several Southeast Asian countries, sick of being the wealthy world’s rubbish dump, have in recent weeks turned back container-loads of waste from foreign shores. It comes after China last year stopped accepting the world’s used plastic, having previously been the biggest market for recyclables. After Indonesia on Tuesday announced it had sent back illegally imported garbage from France and Hong Kong, here is a roundup. China¬† On January 1, 2018, China […]

Siberia forest fires spark potential ‘disaster’ for Arctic

by Maria PANINA MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Gigantic forest fires have regularly raged through the vast expanses of Russia’s Siberia, but the magnitude of this year’s blazes has reached an exceptional level with fears of a long-term impact on the environment. As fires sweep across millions of hectares enveloping entire cities in black smoke and noxious fumes, environmentalists warn of a disaster threatening to accelerate the melting of the Arctic. More than 3.2 million hectares […]

Record 42.6C in Paris as Europe heatwave hits blistering peak

by Stuart WILLIAMS PARIS, France (AFP) — Paris on Thursday baked in an all-time high temperature of 42.6 degrees Celsius (108.7 Fahrenheit) as a ferocious heatwave smashed records across northern Europe, sparking concerns about public health and causing new misery for rail travelers. As records also tumbled in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany, Paris beat the previous top of 40.4C set in July 1947. Trains have been slowed in several European countries to avoid damage […]

Flying Frenchman to attempt pioneering Channel ‘flyboard’ crossing

SANGATTE, France (AFP) — A daredevil French inventor is Thursday to attempt a flight across the Channel standing on a jet-powered “flyboard”, in an ambitious crossing he sees as following in the footsteps of the aviation pioneers. Franky Zapata, a former jet-skiing champion, aims to soar above the Channel “like a bird” in the crossing from northern France to southern England, in a scene likely to resemble a science fiction film. In a tribute to […]

Huawei unit cuts more than 600 jobs following US sanctions

SHANGHAI, China (AFP) — Chinese telecom giant Huawei said on Tuesday that more than 600 jobs would be lost at a US unit as a result of “curtailment of business operations” caused by Washington’s sanctions on the firm and 68 of its subsidiaries. The layoffs will come at the Chinese company’s US-based research and development arm, Futurewei Technologies, which is incorporated in Texas, an email statement from Huawei said. Futurewei employs more than 750 people, […]

End in sight for US heat wave that set temperature records

by Brian KNOWLTON WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The United States sweltered in dangerously hot weather on Sunday, with major cities including New York, Philadelphia and Washington broiling in temperatures that rose into triple digits. An oppressive heat wave stretching from the Midwestern plains to the Atlantic coast had nearly 150 million people struggling to stay cool in stifling heat that set records in a handful of states. By Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service […]