Life

Moon lighting: partial lunar eclipse to be longest since 1440

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — The longest partial lunar eclipse in nearly 600 years, which will bathe the Moon in red, will be visible Thursday and Friday for a big slice of humanity. The celestial show will see the Moon almost completely cast in shadow as it moves behind the Earth, reddening 99 percent of its face. The spectacle will be visible for all of North America, as well as parts of South America, […]

Bird watching for peace in Colombia

by Hervé BAR Agence France-Presse PLANADAS, Colombia (AFP) – As a bird perches on a telegraph pole, two young girls are deep in consultation — is it “Tiranus melancholicus,” or perhaps “Pyrocephalus rubinus?” The answer is “rubinus,” a sparrow with a bright red breast. In the center of Colombia, among the leafy mountains of Planadas, this ornithological debate by indigenous children might seem surprising. With their eyes scanning the mountain, around 30 people, adults and […]

Apple to start letting people fix their own iPhones

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Apple on Wednesday said it will begin allowing people to fix gadgets they buy from the Silicon Valley giant in a concession seen as a victory for “right-to-repair” advocates. The iPhone and Mac computer maker has long restricted repairs to technicians at “Genius bars” in its shops or at authorized service centers, where device owners often meet with lengthy waits and costly tabs. “We never thought we’d see the […]

34,000 protest in Greece on anti-junta revolt anniversary

ATHENS, Greece (AFP) – Tens of thousands of people joined protests in Greece’s two largest cities on Wednesday, marking the anniversary of a 1973 student revolt against a US-backed junta, an annual event that often sparks violence. Twenty thousand turned out in the capital Athens, according to police. Most of the marchers were students, unionists and members of leftist parties. A further 14,000 marched in the second city Thessaloniki. Police were deployed in their thousands […]

Novavax files for EU Covid vaccine approval

by Jan HENNOP THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AFP) — Pharmaceutical giant Novavax has applied for authorization for their coronavirus vaccine in the EU with a decision possible “within weeks”, Europe’s drugs regulator said Wednesday. The jab, if approved, would be the fifth authorized for use within the EU — the other four are made by Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The assessment of the vaccine, which goes under the brand name Nuvaxovid, would be […]

Sumatran baby elephant dies after trunk snared in poacher trap

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AFP) – A critically endangered Sumatran baby elephant has died after losing half of its trunk in a poacher’s trap, Indonesian conservation officials said. The one-year-old calf succumbed to a severe infection, two days after it was found by villagers in Aceh Jaya and despite subsequent efforts to save its life by amputating the rest of its injured trunk. “We couldn’t save it because the injury was severe and infected,” Agus Arianto, head […]

US wants to produce one billion doses of mRNA vaccine a year

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The United States wants to produce one billion more doses of mRNA vaccines each year, starting in 2022, both for the current pandemic and future threats, officials said Wednesday. “The goal of this program is to expand existing capacity by an additional billion doses per year, with production starting by the second half of 2022,” said Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator during a press conference. To reach […]

Covax hits 500 million Covid-19 vaccine dose deliveries

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The Covax scheme aimed at equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines has now delivered more than 500 million doses around the world, figures showed Wednesday. Covax was established to ensure poorer countries get Covid jabs but the facility has been hit by setbacks as wealthy nations hog doses straight off the production lines. Covax, co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, and CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic […]

Australia looks to wall off sensitive tech from China

  by Andrew BEATTY Agence France Presse SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australia on Wednesday announced measures to ring-fence dozens of sensitive technologies from foreign interference, stepping up efforts to safeguard against “national security risks” from China and others. Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled a list of 63 “critical technologies” to be promoted and protected at an online forum in Sydney — a step toward limiting what government, industry and universities can and cannot share with […]

Wikipedia editor ‘warriors’ fight lies, bigotry and even Nazis

by Joshua MELVIN WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — False Covid death reports, a vast gender gap, Nazi “fan fiction”: These are some of the perils an international crowd of volunteers battle across Wikipedia’s tens of millions of online entries. The world’s largest internet encyclopedia is often the first result to pop up when users ask the internet a question — and thus a massively influential source of free information but which also reflects humanity’s faults. […]

‘Find a solution,’ say residents as smog blankets Pakistan’s Lahore

LAHORE, Pakistan (AFP) — The Pakistani city of Lahore was declared the most polluted city in the world by an air quality monitor on Wednesday, as residents choking in acrid smog pleaded with officials to take action. Lahore had an air quality ranking of 348, well over the hazardous level of 300, according to IQAir, the Swiss technology company that operates the AirVisual monitoring platform. “Children are experiencing breathing diseases… for God’s sake, find a […]

Delhi schools shut indefinitely as smog worsens

NEW DELHI, India (AFP) – Delhi shut down schools until further notice, urged people to work from home and banned non-essential trucks from entering the Indian capital due to dangerous levels of air pollution. One of the world’s most polluted cities and home to some 20 million people, Delhi is cloaked every winter in a thick blanket of smog. On Saturday, the Delhi government had ordered schools to close for a week and banned construction […]