Australia to force Google, Facebook to pay for news content

  SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Facebook and Google could be required to pay news outlets for their content in “world first” legislation set to be introduced to Australia’s parliament on Wednesday. In one of the most aggressive moves to check the power of the US digital giants, Canberra plans to compel the companies to pay media organisations when their platforms host their content or face millions of dollars in fines. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the […]

Japan space agency hails return of asteroid dust on Earth

by Kyoko HASEGAWA / Sara HUSSEIN TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan space agency officials on Sunday hailed the arrival of rare asteroid samples on Earth after they were collected by space probe Hayabusa-2 during an unprecedented mission. In a streak of light across the night sky, a capsule containing the precious specimens taken from a distant asteroid arrived on Earth after being dropped off by the probe. Scientists hope the samples, which are expected to […]

NASA buying Moon dust for $1

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The US space agency NASA awarded contracts to four companies on Thursday to collect lunar samples for $1 to $15,000, rock-bottom prices that are intended to set a precedent for future exploitation of space resources by the private sector. “I think it’s kind of amazing that we can buy lunar regolith from four companies for a total of $25,001,” said Phil McAlister, director of NASA’s Commercial Spaceflight Division. The contracts […]

Chinese probe lands on Moon to gather lunar samples

BEIJING, China (AFP) — China landed a probe on the Moon on Tuesday, said Beijing’s space agency, which aims to bring back to Earth the first lunar samples in four decades. China has poured billions into its military-run space program, with hopes of having a crewed space station by 2022 and of eventually sending humans to the Moon. The latest mission’s goal is to collect lunar rocks and soil to help scientists learn about the […]

Mysterious ‘obelisk’ in US desert draws wild theories

LSO ANGELES, United States (AFP) — A mysterious metal “obelisk” found buried in the remote western United States desert has inflamed the imaginations of UFO spotters, conspiracy theorists and Stanley Kubrick fans around the world. The shiny, triangular pillar — which protrudes approximately 12 feet from the red rocks of southern Utah — was spotted last Wednesday by baffled local officials counting bighorn sheep from the air. Landing to investigate, Utah Department of Public Safety […]

New Chinese submersible reaches Earth’s deepest ocean trench

BEIJING, China (AFP) — China livestreamed footage of its new manned submersible parked at the bottom of the ocean Friday, the latest foray by the country’s scientists into the Earth’s deepest ocean trench. The vessel “Fendouzhe”, or “Striver”, descended more than 10,000 metres into the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench with three researchers on board, state broadcaster CCTV said. Video footage shot and relayed by a deep-sea camera showed the green-and-white submersible moving through dark water […]

SpaceX launches four astronauts to ISS

by Issam Ahmed and Ivan Couronne WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Four astronauts were successfully launched on the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Resilience” to the International Space Station on Sunday, the first of what the US hopes will be many routine missions following a successful test flight in late spring. Three Americans — Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker — and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi blasted off at 7:27 pm (0027 GMT Monday) from the Kennedy […]

Virtual gold? Bitcoin’s rise sparks new debate amid pandemic

  by Joseph SOTINEL Agence France Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Bitcoin’s rally above $15,000 has reignited debate over whether the cryptocurrency is so-called digital gold or a perilously risky bet as investors grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. The world’s most popular virtual unit has gained over 30 percent in value in almost three weeks up to Friday (November 6), taking it close to its December 2017 peak when it reached nearly $20,000. After […]

Moon richer in water than once thought

by Juliette Collen and Kelly Macnamara PARIS, France (AFP) — There may be far more water on the Moon than previously thought, according to two studies published Monday raising the tantalizing prospect that astronauts on future space missions could find refreshment — and maybe even fuel — on the lunar surface. The Moon was believed to be bone dry until around a decade ago, when a series of findings suggested that our nearest celestial neighbor […]

Huawei revenue growth wilts under ‘intense pressure’

  by Dan Martin Agence France Presse SHANGHAI, China (AFP) — Huawei’s revenue growth slowed significantly in the first nine months of 2020, the Chinese telecom giant said Friday, citing “intense pressure” on operations during the coronavirus and as the US moves to cut off its access to vital components. Huawei, the leading global supplier of telecoms networking equipment and a top smartphone producer, said it grossed 671.3 billion yuan ($100.7 billion) in revenue in […]

NASA probe Osiris-Rex ‘boops’ asteroid Bennu in historic mission

by Ivan Couronne WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — After a four-year journey, NASA’s robotic spacecraft Osiris-Rex briefly touched down on asteroid Bennu’s boulder-strewn surface on Tuesday to collect rock and dust samples in a precision operation 200 million miles (330 million kilometers) from Earth. The so-called “Touch-And-Go” or TAG maneuver was managed by Lockheed Martin Space in Denver, Colorado, where at 6:12 pm (2212 GMT) an announcer said: “Touchdown declared. Sampling is in progress,” and […]

Sweden bans China’s Huawei, ZTE from 5G network

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AFP) — Sweden has banned Chinese telecoms groups Huawei and ZTE from its 5G network for security reasons, the Swedish telecoms regulator said on Tuesday. The ban is in line with new legislation that entered into force in January 2020, following an examination by the Swedish armed forces and security service “to ensure that the use of radio equipment in these bands does not cause harm to Sweden’s security,” the Swedish Post and […]