‘Desperate for water’: drought hits Mexican industrial powerhouse

by Sofia Miselem Agence France-Presse MONTERREY, Mexico (AFP) — Maria Celia Navarro smiles wistfully as she remembers the now-unthinkable luxury of taking a shower in her home before a water shortage struck one of Mexico’s wealthiest cities. Nestled in mountains a few hours’ drive from the US border, industrial powerhouse Monterrey boasts living standards that many Mexicans could only dream of. Residents of the northern city, whose metropolitan area is home to around five million […]

Tech firms unveil plan for ‘space-based’ 5G network

  PARIS, France (AFP) — Thales, Qualcomm and Ericsson unveiled Monday a plan to allow smartphones to communicate directly with satellites, a “space-based network” they hope will bring connectivity to the entire globe. The three firms envisage launching hundreds of satellites with 5G capabilities to bring coverage to “extreme geographies or remote areas across seas”. The plan would potentially cut out the base stations and antennas that current mobile networks need to send and receive […]

Pakistan’s prized mango harvest hit by water scarcity

by Ashraf Khan Agence France-Presse MIRPUR KHAS, Pakistan (AFP) — Mango farmers in Pakistan say production of the prized fruit has fallen by up to 40 percent in some areas because of high temperatures and water shortages in a country identified as one of the most vulnerable to climate change. The arrival of mango season in Pakistan is eagerly anticipated, with around two dozen varieties arriving through the hot, humid summers. This year, however, temperatures […]

Twitter’s future uncertain as it faces messy breakup with Musk

  by Julie JAMMOT Agence France Presse Courted and then jilted by the world’s richest person, Twitter looks well positioned to win a court battle with Elon Musk over a $1 billion breakup fee and more — but the company will not emerge unscathed. The entire saga has left observers baffled by what Wedbush analyst Dan Ives described as “one of the craziest business stories ever.” “I think it starts off as a circus show […]

Ghana reports two suspected cases of Marburg virus

  ACCRA, Ghana (AFP) — Ghana has reported two suspected cases of the Marburg virus, which belongs to the same family as Ebola, in the country’s southern Ashanti region, health authorities said on Friday. No treatment or vaccine exists for Marburg, which is somewhat less deadly than Ebola, with symptoms including high fever and internal and external bleeding. Preliminary findings from blood samples for the two cases suggest Marburg virus and the samples have been […]

TikTok sued in US after girls die in ‘Blackout Challenge’

  SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Video-sharing sensation TikTok is being sued in California after children died while taking part in a “Blackout Challenge” that makes a sport of choking oneself until passing out. The lawsuit filed in state court in Los Angeles last week accuses TikTok software of “intentionally and repeatedly” pushing the Blackout Challenge that led to the deaths of an eight-year-old girl in Texas and a nine-year-old girl in Wisconsin last […]

Apple devices getting beefed-up defense against spyware

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Apple on Wednesday unveiled a new way for activists, journalists and other targets of state-sponsored espionage to protect themselves from spyware. A Lockdown Mode being added to iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers is intended to counter threats from a thriving industry that provides sophisticated espionage tools to governments. “While the vast majority of users will never be the victims of highly targeted cyberattacks, we will work tirelessly to protect […]

Western US drought brings Great Salt Lake to lowest level on record

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Water in Utah’s Great Salt Lake has fallen to its lowest level ever recorded, authorities announced this week, a result of the ongoing drought impacting the western United States which scientists warn has been exacerbated by climate change. The average depth of the massive saltwater lake, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, fluctuates naturally with the seasons and local precipitation. But the economically and environmentally important basin has never […]

Weathering sandstorms, Iraqis grit teeth and battle on

by Tony GAMAL-GABRIEL Agence France-Presse BAGHDAD, Iraq (AFP) — Another sandstorm has darkened Iraqi skies and it’s hard to breathe, but Baghdad motorcycle delivery rider Milad Mitti doesn’t have the luxury of missing a day’s work. Like most people in the now blistering hot desert country, the 30-year-old battles on in frustration, wearing goggles and a grey neck warmer over his mouth and nose “so I can breathe”. Iraq, still recovering from decades of war, […]

Italy blames climate change for glacier collapse, 7 dead

by Francesco Gilioli with Ella Ide in Rome Agence France-Presse CANAZEI, Italy (AFP) — Italy’s prime minister on Monday linked the collapse of the country’s biggest Alpine glacier to climate change, as hopes faded of finding further survivors from a disaster that killed at least seven people. Eight people were injured and another 14 were reported missing, authorities said, cautioning that it was not clear how many climbers were caught when the glacier gave way […]

WHO calls for ‘urgent’ action in Europe over monkeypox

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AFP) — The World Health Organization called on Friday for “urgent” action to prevent the spread of monkeypox in Europe, noting that cases had tripled in the region over the past two weeks. “Today, I am intensifying my call for governments and civil society to scale up efforts… to prevent monkeypox from establishing itself across a growing geographical area,” WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Henri Kluge said. “Urgent and coordinated action is […]

Covid air war being lost, experts warn, urging mass ventilation

  by Isabelle CORTES Agence France Presse PARIS France (AFP) — The world is still not using one of its most effective weapons against Covid — properly ventilating public spaces — more than two years into the pandemic, experts warn. At the moment there is a “fragile, armed peace” with Covid-19, said Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva. “In the hopes of stemming the tide of the […]