Vaping-related illness sickens over 500 in US

by Ivan Couronne and Elodie Cuzin © Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — More than 500 people have been sickened in an outbreak of vaping-related illness in the United States, health authorities said Thursday, as Los Angeles became the latest city to take steps to ban flavored e-cigarettes. The known tally from the mysterious lung disease has jumped from 380 to 530, though the number of deaths stood unchanged at seven, according to a […]

Huawei in public test as it unveils latest high-end smartphone with no Google apps

  by Daphne ROUSSEAU Agence France Presse BERLIN, Germany (AFP) — Chinese tech giant Huawei launches its latest high-end smartphone in Munich on Thursday, the first that could be void of popular Google apps because of US sanctions. Observers are asking whether a phone without the Silicon Valley software that users have come to depend on can succeed, or whether Huawei will have found a way for buyers to install popular apps despite the constraints. The […]

‘Flying’ river taxi tests Seine waters in Paris

Paris, France (AFP) — A “flying” electric river taxi hailed by its creators as the future of clean city transport is being put through a battery of tests in Paris this week, with a view to being in service by the spring. Named the “Sea Bubble”, the white aerodynamic craft skimmed over the River Seine at speeds of up to 30 km/hour (17 m/hour), hovering 50 centimetres (1.5 feet) above the water. A journey from […]

YouTube ‘creators’ fret over impact of new child protection rules

by Julie JAMMOT Agence France Presse SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Samuel Rader quit his job three years ago to work full time on his YouTube channel, “Sam and Nia,” featuring videos of his family life. The channel created by the Texas-based couple — with videos of their Hawaii vacation, setting up their backyard pool and other content about “Christian family life” — has become one of the stars of the Google-owned video service […]

Fire forces Japan to cancel rocket launch to ISS

  TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — A pre-dawn fire on Wednesday forced Japan’s space agency to cancel the launch of an unnamed rocket meant to deliver supplies to the International Space Station, the operator said. The fire broke out near the launch pad on southern Tanegashima island at around 03:05 am (1805 GMT on Tuesday), as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) was preparing to launch the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s cargo vessel Kounotori8 on an H-2B rocket, […]

India loses contact with Moon lander

  by Manjunath KIRAN with Bhuvan BAGGA in New Delhi Agence France Presse BANGALORE, India (AFP) — India’s space program suffered a huge setback Saturday after it lost contact with an unmanned spacecraft moments before it was due to make a historic soft landing on the Moon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to comfort glum scientists and a stunned nation from the lunar program’s command centre in Banglalore, saying India was “proud” and clasping the […]

India loses communication with spacecraft trying to land on Moon

  by Bhuvan Bagga and Glenda Kwek BANGALORE, India (AFP) — India lost communication with its unmanned spacecraft Saturday just before it was due to land on the Moon, in a blow to the country’s lunar ambitions as the world takes renewed interest in Earth’s satellite. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi looked on in the mission control room at the southern city of Bangalore, India had hoped to become just the fourth country — after […]

Black hole movies coming soon, says leading astronomer

by Ivan Couronne Agence France Presse Washington, United States (AFP)– By the time an international group of scientists stunned the world with the first ever image of a black hole, they were already planning a sequel: a movie showing how massive clouds of gas are forever sucked into the void. The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration has already recorded the necessary observations and is processing the mountains of data to produce the first video, which will […]

Samsung to launch foldable smartphone after major delay

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Tech giant Samsung has said it will launch its hotly anticipated first foldable smartphone on Friday, months after faulty screens forced an embarrassing delay of its release. The world’s largest smartphone maker spent nearly eight years developing the Galaxy Fold, but had to hold its launch in April after reviewers reported screen problems within days of use. It was a major setback for the firm, which was hoping to spark […]

Telegram secretly plans ‘Gram’ cryptocurrency

  by Andrea Palasciano  MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Working in secrecy for a year, the Telegram messaging service has a plan: to beat Facebook in the race to launch a cryptocurrency with its new project “Gram”. Little is known about Gram, but media reports say Russian-founded Telegram aims to create an accessible service that is easier to use than various cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin — still confined to a relatively small market. In a document leaked […]

New Huawei handset to launch without Google apps

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Huawei’s upcoming flagship Mate 30 smartphone will launch next month without key Google apps, creating a disadvantage for the Chinese tech giant hit by US sanctions. A Google spokesperson confirmed Thursday that the California firm won’t be able to deliver licensed applications such as Gmail, Maps and YouTube for the new device because of sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump. As a result, Huawei will be able to pre-load […]

Russia sends its first humanoid robot Fedor into space

by Maria ANTONOVA MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Russia on Thursday launched an unmanned rocket carrying a life-size humanoid robot that will spend 10 days learning to assist astronauts on the International Space Station. Named Fedor, short for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research, the robot is the first-ever sent up by Russia. Fedor blasted off in a Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft at 6:38 am Moscow time (0338 GMT) from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz is […]