US states accuse Google of app store monopoly

by Glenn CHAPMAN Agence France Presse SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Dozens of US states joined forces in a lawsuit filed Wednesday accusing Google of abusing its power when it comes to getting apps for Android-powered mobile devices. The litigation aimed at the Play Store online shop for apps and other digital content for Android smartphones comes as the power of Big Tech firms is facing increasing pressure from regulators and lawsuits. “We are […]

Finland rallies to save one of world’s most endangered seals

by Sam KINGSLEY PUUMALA, United States (AFP) — The serene, icy waters of Finland’s Lake Saimaa are a boon to fishermen and tourists, but their presence also threatens one of the world’s rarest and most endangered seals. Despite seeing numbers recover in recent decades, the Saimaa ringed seal still faces extinction amid climate change and die-hard fishing habits. Out on Saimaa, a dark grey, whiskered creature pops its head up and breaks the surface in […]

WHO urges ‘extreme caution’ in lifting Covid restrictions

by Robin MILLARD GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The World Health Organization on Wednesday urged “extreme caution” for countries considering lifting Covid-19 restrictions, warning that high vaccination rates would not stop transmission of the virus increasing. The UN health agency urged governments not to squander hard-won gains and return to scenes of overwhelmed hospitals and exhausted health workers. Asked about England’s plans to ditch most of its coronavirus restrictions from July 19, WHO emergencies director Michael […]

New Lambda “variant of interest” causing concern as Chilean researchers note its higher infectivity, immune escape

Lambda variant has now been detected in at least 29 countries including in South America, US, Australia, Israel and parts of Europe   (Eagle News) – A new variant of interest of the COVID-19 virus is yet again causing concern since it was first detected in Peru late last year, amid recent research that indicated it may be more infectious than other variants and could have higher immune escape mechanisms. The Lambda variant, or C.37, […]

J&J’s says its Covid-19 vaccine effectively combats Delta variant

Washington, United States — ( AFP)Johnson and Johnson’s single-shot Covid-19 vaccine is effective against the highly contagious Delta variant, with an immune response lasting at least eight months, the company said Thursday. The antibodies and immune system cells in the blood of eight people vaccinated with the J&J jab effectively neutralized the Delta strain, which was first identified in India, researchers found. A second study with 20 vaccinated patients at Boston’s Beth Israel Medical Center […]

Birthday cake helps Indian brothers escape leopard

  NEW DELHI, India (AFP) — Two brothers pulled off a sweet escape from a leopard in India by throwing a birthday cake at the animal as it chased them while they rode a motorbike, officials said Thursday. “Your first instinct when you sense danger is to do whatever you can to save yourself. That’s what they did,” a forest official told AFP. “They had a cake with them and they threw it at the […]

Cyberattack hits hundreds of US businesses

  SAN FRANCICO, United States (AFP) — A US IT company urged customers to shut down their servers Friday after cyberattackers smuggled ransomware onto its network platform. Kaseya said Friday evening that it had limited the attack to “a very small percentage of our customers” who use its signature VSA software, “currently estimated at fewer than 40 worldwide.” Cybersecurity firm Huntress Labs had earlier said in a Reddit forum that it was working with partners […]

WHO warns against vaccine favoritism; says all COVID jabs it approved for EUL are “safe and effective”

WHO issues “Joint COVAX Statement on the Equal Recognition of Vaccines” amid some countries’ preference for Western-made jabs     (Eagle News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) called on all countries and regions to recognize the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines included in its emergency use listing (EUL) as these are all “safe and effective.”  WHO said failure by some countries to do so is “undermining confidence in life-saving vaccines.” In a statement, WHO called […]

Double Covid jab seems to curb Delta variant: EMA

  THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AFP) — Two doses of Covid vaccine appear to provide protection against the rapidly spreading Delta variant, the European Medicines Agency said Thursday. The upbeat assessment came as the World Health Organization warned that the coronavirus variant first spotted in India could fuel a new wave of cases in Europe. The EMA’s head of vaccine strategy, Marco Cavaleri, said the Amsterdam-based watchdog was “aware of concerns caused by the rapid spread […]

UN confirms 18.3C record heat in Antarctica

by Robin MILLARD GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The United Nations on Thursday recognized a new record high temperature for the Antarctic continent, confirming a reading of 18.3 degrees Celsius (64.9 degrees Fahrenheit) made last year. The record heat was reached at Argentina’s Esperanza research station on the Antarctic Peninsula on February 6, 2020, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization said. “Verification of this maximum temperature record is important because it helps us to build up a […]

Trailblazing woman pilot, 82, to fly into space with Bezos

by Lucie AUBOURG WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Barrier-breaking woman aviator Wally Funk, 82, will join Jeff Bezos this month on the first crewed spaceflight for the billionaire’s company Blue Origin, the firm announced Thursday. The trip is 60 years overdue for Funk, who was one of the Mercury 13 — the first women trained to fly to space from 1960-1961, but excluded because of their gender. On July 20, she will become the oldest […]