Tycoon Musk touches down in Bali for Starlink launch

DENPASAR, Indonesia, May 19, 2024 (AFP) – Tech billionaire Elon Musk launched Sunday his Starlink service on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali as the country aims to extend internet to its remote areas. Millions of people in Indonesia, a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, are not currently hooked up to reliable internet services. Musk, making his first visit to the Southeast Asian nation, inaugurated the satellite unit services at a clinic in Bali’s […]

‘Danger behind the beauty’: more solar storms could be heading our way

By Daniel Lawler PARIS, May 18, 2024 (AFP) – Tourists normally have to pay big money and brave cold climates for a chance to see an aurora, but last weekend many people around the world simply had to look up to see these colourful displays dance across the sky. Usually banished to the poles of Earth, the auroras strayed as far as Mexico, southern Europe and South Africa on the evening of May 10, delighting […]

First crewed flight of Boeing Starliner postponed again

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2024 (AFP) – The first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner to the International Space Station has been delayed again due to a technical issue, NASA said Friday. The launch in Florida was scheduled for Tuesday but NASA said it is now planned for May 25 to allow teams to further assess a helium leak linked to the service module, which sits on top of the rocket. Earlier this month, a Starliner launch […]

OpenAI disbands team devoted to artificial intelligence risks

SAN FRANCISCO, May 18, 2024 (AFP) – OpenAI on Friday confirmed that it has disbanded a team devoted to mitigating the long-term dangers of super-smart artificial intelligence. OpenAI weeks ago began dissolving the so-called “superalignment” group, integrating members into other projects and research, according to the San Francisco-based firm. Company co-founder Ilya Sutskever and team co-leader Jan Leike announced their departures from the ChatGPT-maker this week. The dismantling of an OpenAI team focused on keeping […]

‘Dad’s going up in a rocket!’ French businessman set for launch

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2024 (AFP) – He arrived in Texas, tried on his flight suit for the first time, and is now preparing to live out his childhood dream. On Sunday, French entrepreneur Sylvain Chiron will board a Blue Origin rocket and blast off into space, joining the select group of humans who have ventured beyond Earth’s bounds. “I never thought I’d get to do this,” the 52-year-old, who hails from the mountainous southeastern region […]

Third time could prove lucky for aurora viewers around the world

By Issam AHMED with AFP bureaus around the world WASHINGTON, May 13, 2024 (AFP) – Anyone who missed the dazzling auroras dancing across night skies earlier this weekend will get another chance Sunday evening, as the powerful geomagnetic storm hitting the Earth is expected to intensify yet again. “Several intense Coronal Mass Ejections are still anticipated to reach the Earth’s outer atmosphere by later today,” the US National Weather Service said. Those ejections — expulsions […]

Second night of auroras seen ‘extreme’ solar storm

  By Lucie AUBOURG with AFP bureaus around the world WASHINGTON, May 12, 2024 (AFP) – Auroras lit up skies across swaths of the planet for the second night in a row on Saturday, after already dazzling Earthlings from the United States to Tasmania to the Bahamas the day before. A powerful solar storm — which could continue into Sunday — has triggered spectacular celestial shows usually confined to the far northern reaches of the […]

First ‘extreme’ solar storm in 20 years brings spectacular auroras

By Issam AHMED WASHINGTON, May 11, 2024 (AFP) – The most powerful solar storm in more than two decades struck Earth on Friday, triggering spectacular celestial light shows in skies from Tasmania to Britain — and threatening possible disruptions to satellites and power grids as it persists into the weekend. The first of several coronal mass ejections (CMEs) — expulsions of plasma and magnetic fields from the Sun — came just after 1600 GMT, according […]

Boeing Starliner crewed mission postponed shortly before launch

By Miguel J. Rodriguez Carrillo with Issam Ahmed in Washington CAPE CANAVERAL, May 7, 2024 (AFP) – The first crewed flight of Boeing’s Starliner spaceship was dramatically called off around two hours before launch after a new safety issue was identified, officials said Monday, pushing back a high-stakes test mission to the International Space Station. Astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams were strapped in their seats preparing for liftoff when the call for a “scrub” […]

Microsoft CEO pledges $1.7 bn AI, cloud investment in Indonesia

JAKARTA, April 30, 2024 (AFP) – Microsoft’s chief executive officer pledged a $1.7 billion investment in artificial intelligence and cloud computing to help develop Indonesia’s AI infrastructure after a meeting with the archipelago’s president on Tuesday. Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and has a population of around 280 million across its sprawling archipelago, with a growing demand for data centres and AI tech in the region. Satya Nadella held talks with President Joko Widodo, […]

Microsoft, Google earnings shine as AI drives revenue

By Glenn CHAPMAN Microsoft and Google on Thursday drubbed quarterly earnings expectations as the tech titans continued investing heavily in artificial intelligence promising to shake up the way people live. The results were cheered by Wall Street investors who pushed up Alphabet’s share price more than 11 percent and Microsoft shares up nearly 4 percent in after-market trades. Google parent Alphabet reported profit of $23.7 billion on revenue of $80.5 billion, crediting growth in cloud […]

Bill to ban TikTok in US clears Congress

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2024 (AFP) – The US Senate on Tuesday approved legislation requiring the wildly popular social media app TikTok to be divested from its Chinese parent company ByteDance or be shut out of the American market. The measure was part of a $95 billion foreign aid package, including military assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, which has now cleared Congress and heads to President Joe Biden’s desk. US and other Western officials have […]