The trio of US-based John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham from Britain and Akira Yoshino of Japan were jointly awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their contribution "to the development of lithium-ion batteries," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm announced on Wednesday. Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Academy, said the prize was about "a rechargeable world." "Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized our lives and are used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles," the Academy wrote on Twitter.
Mondia, a leading private mobile technology company, announced the opening of their new tech hub in Cairo. The newly created facility will host the company s technical developers and designers, creating state of the art technologies, innovative products and solutions servicing various markets across Europe, Middle East and Africa. The modern first-of-its-kind facility in New Cairo will set a new standard in the software industry and will be home to more than one hundred technical team members. The office design will allow for a team to function in squads a proven working concept, aiding extensive collaboration and promoting communication which in turn drive innovation. The premises will include creative space such as a gamers cave , focus rooms, playful seating areas and a café type street kitchen.
Nearly six years after the arrival of PlayStation 4, Sony confirmed on Tuesday its next console will launch in 2020 for the holiday season. In a blog post, the company announced PlayStation 5 will feature a redesigned controller. It will include haptic feedback and improved tactile sensations, such as rumbling and shaking, so that users can better feel what s going on within a game. "With haptics, you truly feel a broader range of feedback, so crashing into a wall in a race car feels much different than making a tackle on the football field. You can even get a sense for a variety of textures when running through fields of grass or plodding through mud," Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, wrote in the post. "One of our goals with the next generation is to deepen the feeling of immersion when you play games." The company declined to share further details, including how much the PlayStation 5 will cost. In April, Sony teased its fifth-generation console. The PlayStation 5 is expected to have faster load speeds, better graphics and improved audio. It will compete against Microsoft s Project Scarlett, its next-gen Xbox console, which will also launch for the 2020 holiday shopping season. Earlier this month, Sony slashed prices on its cloud gaming service, PlayStation Now, as Google gears up for a November release of its rival offering, Stadia.
Vodafone is testing technology in Europe that could break the stranglehold on telecom equipment enjoyed by Ericsson, Nokia and Huawei. The world s second largest mobile network provider said Monday that it would test Open Radio Access Networks (OpenRAN) in Britain, part of an effort to increase the number of companies that sell telecom network equipment. OpenRAN, developed within industry association Telecom Infra Project (TIP), standardizes the design and functionality of the infrastructure, masts and antennae used by mobile network operators. The technology could encourage upstarts to challenge incumbents Ericsson (ERIC), Nokia (NOK) and Huawei, and result in more choice for the likes of Verizon (VZ), CNN parent company AT&T (T) and Vodafone when it comes to telecoms gear. "The global supply of telecom network equipment has become concentrated in a small handful of companies," Vodafone (VOD) said in a statement, adding that more more suppliers would improve flexibility and innovation. An open alternative The number of equipment suppliers has dwindled in recent decades, leaving operators beholden to a small number of very large vendors. OpenRAN could change this over time, introducing more competition and driving down prices for telecom companies, which are facing the roll out of costly 5G technology. By standardizing hardware, the platform should allow new vendors to compete on software. The new technology, which Vodafone has also deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mozambique, will provide 2G, 3G and 4G services for now, "with 5G possible over OpenRAN in the future," Vodafone said. One of the major equipment suppliers, China s Huawei, is the target of a US campaign that seeks to discourage mobile network operators from using its equipment on national security grounds. Huawei denies that its products pose a risk, but some countries have sought to limit use of its equipment and others are looking into the issue. The conflict has meant tough choices for mobile operators building 5G networks. Still, OpenRAN represents a tiny share of the telecoms equipment market and this is unlikely to change considerably in the near future, said Julian Bright, a senior analyst at Ovum. "It s hard to see 5G as an inflection point where suddenly OpenRAN is going to gain significant market share," he told CNN Business. Telecom operators are already embarking on vendor selections for 5G and the tendency is to procure the bulk of their 5G equipment supply from existing suppliers, Bright said. But Paul Triolo, global technology policy director at Eurasia Group, said that it would take a decade to roll 5G out on a standalone basis, by which time OpenRAN may be positioned to play a bigger role. Vodafone s goal Vodafone is seeking to "actively expand" its vendor ecosystem, CEO Nick Read said in a statement. The company has already started working with a number of new vendors supplying OpenRAN technology, including US companies Parallel Wireless and Mavenir, and UK-based Lime Microsystems. "OpenRAN improves the network economics enabling us to reach more people in rural communities and that supports our goal to build digital societies in which no-one is left behind," Read said. More than 100 possible locations across the United Kingdom had been identified for OpenRAN trials, a Vodafone spokesperson told CNN Business. This list would be narrowed further to 55. By testing the technology in a market as big as the United Kingdom, Vodafone could help upstarts to attract financing and eventually scale to rival existing vendors, said Usman Ghazi, an analyst at Berenberg. The UK trials are Vodafone s first in a developed market.
Facebook announced on Thursday the removal of hundreds of fake Facebook accounts, pages and groups split into two lists. The first list included accounts originating from several countries including Egypt and the second included accounts originating in Egypt. The first list consisted of 211 accounts, 107 pages, and 49 groups on Facebook and 87 accounts on Instagram removed for engaging in “inauthentic coordinated behavior” originating from the UAE, Egypt and Nigeria. “The people behind this network used fake accounts – some of which had already been disabled by our automated systems — to run Pages, post in Groups, disseminate their content and artificially increase engagement. They managed Pages — some of which changed names over time — sharing local news in targeted countries and promoting content about UAE,” the company said in a statement posted on its official website. “The Page admins and account owners primarily posted videos, photos and web links related to local events and issues in a particular country, and some content on topics including elections and candidates; UAE s activity in Yemen; the first Emirati astronaut; criticism of Qatar, Turkey, and Iran; the Iran nuclear deal, and criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood,” it added. Facebook added that these people tried to hide their identities, but Facebook investigations found links between the removed accounts and three marketing companies, Charles Communications in UAE, MintReach in Nigeria and Flexell in Egypt. A second list marked the removal of 163 accounts, 51 pages, 33 groups and four accounts on Instagram in Egypt engaged in “inauthentic coordinated behavior” and usually focused on disseminating political content supporting the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, and criticizing Qatar, Iran, Turkey and southern separatists in Yemen. The company said it found links between the accounts and Egypt s El Fagr newspaper.
Microsoft has unveiled two folding devices, with dual touch screens, which it says will create a new category in mobile computing. But, unlike attempts from its rivals, the firm has not adopted a bendable screen - nor has it decided to include a high-end camera system on the products. Panos Panay, Microsoft s chief product officer, gave the BBC a demonstration of the devices ahead of their public unveiling in New York on Wednesday. "We want people to see the direction we re taking with productivity,” he said, adding that the products will be released in a year s time. “This is the earliest we ve ever shown [a prototype] Surface. We re going to get developer units out pretty soon.” One industry watcher said it was no surprise that Microsoft had shied away from trying to incorporate an all-in-one foldable screen, despite the fact that products using the technology had already gone on sale. "Given the issues Samsung had with the initial version of the Galaxy Fold and the wider challenges around the fragility of flexible displays, it makes sense that device makers are experimenting with alternative designs," commented Ben Wood from the consultancy CCS Insight. As part of Wednesday s launch, Microsoft also announced several updates to the Surface laptop range due to be released later this year, and open to pre-orders today. The Surface Neo consists of two screens which open up to a 13in display with a split in the middle, and runs Windows 10X, a variation of the operating system designed to run on dual-screen devices. The Surface Duo - a smartphone - opens to 8.3in, also with a split, and runs Android, Google s mobile operating system. In the BBC s hands-on with the device, it experienced several glitches - including an unresponsive touchscreen, and sudden powering down. Mr Panay stressed the devices were still in the early stages of development. Mr Panay would not say how much the devices would cost, nor would he be drawn on whether his engineers had considered a flexible screen that would run across the split. Instead, he said his preference was for the products to incorporate a hinge design that can bend both ways. "The overload is much less," Mr Panay told the BBC. "I m staying in context on a web browser on one side, and I m looking at my mail on the other. Or, I have a calendar on one side, and I have my mail on the other. "It s structured in a way that you re actually optimising and feeling good about being productive.” The Surface Neo can be positioned like a typical laptop, with an additional keyboard placed over the lower screen. In this configuration, the remainder of the screen acts as an extension to the keyboard, similar to - but larger than - Apple s Touch Bar. The smaller device, Surface Duo, will be seen as a competitor to Samsung s Galaxy Fold. Unlike Microsoft s effort, Samsung has managed to create a bendable screen made from plastic rather than glass. However, the product was delayed after reports of extreme unreliability. Despite adding reinforcements, the firm still recommends a “light touch” when using the $2,000 device. Samsung s device features six cameras, including a telephoto and wide angle lens. Surface Neo and Duo, however, have just one front-facing camera, the specifications of which Microsoft was not yet willing to share. This isn t Microsoft s first attempt at a “booklet” computer. In 2009, details leaked about a dual-screen product named Courier - but it was shelved less than a year later. Other projects, such as the Codex, never graduated beyond the research stage. Since then, however, Microsoft has enjoyed considerable hardware success. Its Surface line first launched in 2012 to a mixed reaction, but has in time become a significant revenue stream for the firm. In the past fiscal year (ending in June 2019), the Surface range accounted for $5.7bn of Microsoft s total revenues, up 40% on the previous year. The firm has also followed Amazon and Apple in releasing wireless in-ear headphones, called Surface Earbuds. Kait Schoeck, senior industrial designer at Microsoft, said her team 3D-printed “more than a thousand” different shapes and sizes of the ear bud in an attempt to prevent the device falling out - a common complaint with other brands of wireless headphones. “We scanned thousands of ears,” Ms Schoeck said. "But we also took the approach of just trying it on. It really comes down to making the prototype and putting it in people s ears. So hundreds and hundreds of people would come through this lab, try it on, give us feedback, and then we go through another iteration." While being worn, Surface Earbuds can be used as a control device, such as tapping your ear to move on a Powerpoint slide, Microsoft said. However, priced at $249, the product is considerably more expensive than Amazon s Echo buds ($130) and Apple s latest AirPods ($159/$199).
In a collaboration between the Ministry of Environmental Affairs and the Egyptian company Environ Adapt, the first waste collection app in Egypt, called DAWAR (recycle), launched in Cairo to facilitate garbage tracking across governorates, according to a statement issued by Minister of Environmental Affairs Yasmine Fouad on Sunday, September 29 on the sidelines of the Green Economy and Sustainable Development Conference. The application is designed to help citizens report waste placed in streets by facilitating communication between concerned entities, including the Waste Management Authority, relevant district offices, and the environmental ministry so that they can jointly collect the garbage. Citizens who report garbage in a particular location will soon after receive a photo on their mobile phones of the same place following the removal of the garbage, according to Yasmine Fouad, who spoke at a press conference that took place to celebrate the new application. The application project is part of a newly announced 2019/2020 waste management plan by the Ministry of Environmental Affairs. The plan also aims to found waste recycling factories. The minister further noted that the application has been beta-tested in districts of Maadi and Tora to ensure their capacity for success. All the required preparations have been carried out, and the application is ready to be implemented in other governorates. The environmental affairs ministry signed a protocol with Environ Adapt, the leading mapping applications and monitoring systems company, to implement a waste management system set to serve Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Qena, Assiut, Gharbiya and Kafr al-Sheikh. Environ Adapt, the company behind DAWAR, focuses its services on providing comprehensive graphical and textual data that enables users to obtain qualitative and quantitative information. The company has thrived in the waste management industry. During the press conference, Fouad highlighted the current efforts of the Ministry of Environmental Affairs to digitize Egypt s environmental management infrastructure, stating that all the requisite equipment is available to secure the success of these efforts. She also underscored the importance of mutual work between the government and the private sector while taking this major step. The government s environmental system aims to sustain the recycling process on higher levels and to fight diverse types of the threatening pollution, according to Fouad s comments. These actions, facilitated through technology, will return Egyptians streets to the way they looked in past decades, she added. Egypt generates nearly 80 million tons of solid waste annually, according to a governmental report. The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) revealed on August 29 figures about waste recycling in Egypt during the year 2017 in a report detailing statistics from the Egyptian governorates with the top five highest recycling rates. Gharbiya governorate came in first place with 97.9 percent, and Beheira came in second place with 97.5 percent. The three governorates Kafr al-Sheikh (92.3 percent), Qalyubiya (72.3 percent) and Daqahlia (0.5 percent) occupied the following three rankings. In May, Egypt s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered concerned officials to design a new solid waste management system for overpopulated areas to enhance citizens lives on various levels, a prior statement by the presidential spokesperson said. Solutions for two major issues faced by Egyptian society, water and air pollution, are included in the new system s strategic plan, according to the same official statement.
The new archaeological season has begun, showing promise in Luxor, the capital of world tourism. There are currently five archaeological missions, including three Egyptian missions, one Spanish, and one American conducting excavations there. Several new mission and projects have been approved for the new season. Luxor is known for its rich tombs and pharaonic temples, which all seem like they will see a strong tourist season. Last season witnessed many discoveries and restorations of Pharaonic tombs, palaces, and statues of Pharaonic kings in several areas. Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa al-Waziry said in a press statement on Monday that the Standing Committee of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities approved the work projects of some 240 foreign archaeological missions at various archaeological sites for the new archaeological season. The work of these foreign missions was approved alongside the work of 40 Egyptian archaeological missions. He added that an archaeological mission headed by the well-known Egyptologist Zahi Hawass started operating in the western valley, known as the Valley of Monkeys. The mission is also completing work in the Valley of the Kings, which includes dozens of tombs of the kings of ancient Egypt, he added, explaining that the foreign archaeological missions that work in Egypt rely on Egyptian archaeologists, restorers and workers in 90 percent of their operations. Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani is exerting huge efforts in order to enable Egyptian archaeologists to participate in excavations, said Waziry, pointing out that Egyptian missions rose from five to 40 in the current season, which started a few days ago. The Ministry of Antiquities was able to provide the necessary funding for the work of these Egyptian missions through a number of successful exhibitions in foreign countries, the latest of which was the exhibition of the treasures of the golden pharaoh Tutankhamun in the French capital Paris. Waziry referred to his presidencies of the Egyptian archaeological mission operating in Zeraa Aboul Naga and the Egyptian archaeological mission in the archaeological area of Assasif. A Spanish archaeological mission is working in the Temple of King Tuthmosis III, and another American archaeological mission is working in the tomb of Prince Amon Mees and cemetery number 63 in the Valley of the Kings.
While the US banned Huawei for alleged espionage and asked its allies to do the same, Moscow has rolled out the red carpet for the Chinese tech company, letting it develop 5G networks in Russia. Analysts say the move is as much a show of solidarity with Beijing against the US as it is a drive to bring ultra high-speed internet to Russian tech users. This month, Huawei opened its first 5G test zone in Moscow in partnership Russian operator MTS, with a view to rolling out the service to the rest of the capital. Moscow authorities say the network will become part of the city s normal infrastructure within the next few years. A pioneer in telecoms networks compared to many Western countries, Russia plans to deploy 5G in all of its main cities by 2024. When Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Russia in June — at the height of Washington s conflict with Huawei — Russia s main operator MTS signed a contract with the Chinese company. We live well in Russia At the inauguration of the 5G zone in Moscow, the CEO of Russia s branch of Huawei Zhao Lei praised the company s activities in the country. “We have been working in Russia for 22 years. Thanks to our partners, we live well here,” he said. He added that Huawei, considered a world leader in 5G technology, plans to “lead in the development of 6G” in the future. Huawei is also the world s second-largest smartphone company. It did not respond to AFP s interview requests. A source in Russia s 5G research community said Huawei is the biggest investor in the development of mobile technologies in Russia, with “the largest research laboratory of all operators” in Moscow. According to the Vedomosti business daily, Huawei currently employs 400 people in Moscow and 150 in Saint Petersburg in mobile research and development. It aims to employ 500 more people by the end of 2019 and 1,000 more over five years. Experts said Russia s welcome of Huawei does not mean the Chinese company is alone in the race for developing 5G in Russia. “Russian operators are all collaborating with multiple 5G equipment vendors, Huawei included. We do not see any clear 5G leaders in the network deployment in Russia,” said Michela Landoni, an analyst at Fitch Solutions. She said operators prefer this approach to avoid being “reliant on one specific vendor” and to protect themselves against cyber threats. The Tele2 operator was the first to launch 5G in Russia with Sweden s Ericsson in August, on Moscow s main Tverskaya street. Economic front In the midst of a trade war and technological rivalry with China, the US has threatened to cut Huawei s access to the US components and services it needs, such as the Android operating system that the company uses on its phones. Russia then promptly stepped in to offer its Aurora operating system to the Chinese group. If Android remains Huawei s preferred choice, Landoni said Aurora could be a “short-term solution” for the group. According to the analyst, Aurora could become a “stepping stone” in the development for Huawei s own OS. According to Sylvain Chevallier, a partner at the technology consulting firm BearingPoint, the aim is “to create an economic front against the US.” Russia and China, he said, are trying to break away from the US monopoly over smartphone operating systems. As for the espionage risks Washington has warned of, Russia is hardly worried. While using foreign mobile equipment risks foreign government accessing data, for Russia there is “no big difference” if it is Huawei, Ericsson or another company, said Evgeny Khorov, the head of the Wireless Network Lab at Russia s Academy of Sciences. “Many people use Android phones whose system is designed by Google. Does this mean that Google has access to all the data? Yes, of course,” he said. “So what s the difference between Huawei and Google in this case?”
If there s one thing technology companies learned during the smartphone boom, it s that getting people locked in early is the difference between success and failure. Customers are simply unwilling, at least in any significant number, to leave whatever ecosystem they ve invested in - whether it s Apple s iOS or Google s Android. And so when there s a chance to break ground on a new ecosystem, a fresh opportunity to get people locked in for years to come, you can expect a scramble. For “voice”, widely considered the next big platform in tech, the scramble is on, and it s being seen most aggressively in one distinct area: your face. It s an area with limited real estate - you are likely to have just two ears, and two eyes - and a fraught history of botched attempts at game-changing tech. "To date, the most commonly accepted place to wear technology has been the wrist and Apple s success with its Watch reflects this,” said Ben Wood, from CCS Insight. “But as Amazon and a number of other players start to get more serious about ear buds and smart glasses, there is growing evidence that the battle for the face has begun.” Let s begin with the ears. Apple has established an early lead here, built on past glory: the iPhone. Its AirPods, released in 2016, currently dominate the category with a 53% share of the 27 million “hearables" sold globally from April-June this year, according to data gathered by Counterpoint Research. "Apple will keep leading the market for the time being thanks to its loyal base of hardware users and its sticky ecosystem of devices and software,” said Counterpoint Research senior analyst Liz Lee. "It will also release new ear buds with a major overhaul to the design expected in late 2020 and refresh the market again. We expect that Apple s share will be around 40%-50% this year and a bit lower next year, but still, it will be the biggest player." Amazon Alexa gets Samuel L Jackson s voice Facebook buys mind-reading wristband firm Apple s iPhone 11 Pro triggering fear of holes While AirPods appear to be simply a wireless version of the headphones Apple has sold for a decade now, the firm considers them to be something far more strategic: its best opportunity to get consumers interacting with devices using voice. They do little to address Apple s main problem right now, which is that once people get home, they re more likely - if they have a smart speaker - to talk to an assistant from Amazon or Google than they are to Siri. Amazon s problem is the other way round. The success of its Alexa assistant has it leading the smart-speaker market in our homes, according to Canalys research, but the firm s disastrous attempt to break into smartphones means Alexa has mostly been stuck indoors. On Wednesday, Amazon took significant steps it hopes will change that with the announcement of Echo Buds, wireless ear buds with Alexa built in - the most straightforward way yet to take Alexa out of the home. The device is cheaper than AirPods - $129 v $199 - and has the added selling point of including noise cancellation, something AirPods lack. "It is apparent that access to Alexa could be more appealing for some people than access to Siri, as Alexa can be used to order goods from Amazon directly and Amazon s ecosystem is more open than Apple s,” said Ms Lee. "Amazon could also take aggressive markdowns including offering its new gadget in Prime deals and bundles for cheap during the Black Friday sales to increase market share.” More in-ear players will soon emerge. Next week, Microsoft is expected to announce its own smart wireless ear buds too. And Google, with its own assistant and a range of voice-powered software (such as auto language translation), could offer another strong device, improving on the Pixel Buds that were launched in 2017. The company is holding its hardware launch event on 11 October. The eyes have it Amazon is also hoping to turn heads - though not too quickly - with Echo Frames. These are glasses with Alexa relatively discreetly built into the titanium frames. Paired to a smartphone, they vibrate when a notification is received and, like the Echo Pods, allow for voice commands to be given to Alexa via two microphones. It s being seen as a modest first step en route to the real goal: smart glasses containing augmented reality (AR), digitally created imagery laid over the real world. Just as Amazon was talking about Echo Frames at its HQ in Seattle, Facebook was busy sharing its own aspirations for AR at its Oculus Connect developers conference in San Jose. Andrew Bosworth, Facebook s head of virtual reality and AR, said the firm was building AR glasses. A demonstration video showed how pop-ups could appear in your vision, alerting you to movie times or directions. This product isn t imminent - Facebook has a lot of work to do to make the tech a reality. And the firm is currently lacking a full-featured voice assistant of its own (though it has been working on one as part of its Portal video chat range). There are credible rumours that Apple is preparing to release its own AR wearable device too. According to Wired, those who keep a close eye on the code contained in Apple s operating system, iOS, noticed that deep inside recent updates was code that looked almost certain to be related to some kind of future AR device. Taiwanese analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted an Apple AR device could be ready as early as the middle of next year. Looking foolish Getting these devices to work well is just one hurdle to overcome, however. There are also the issues of style and trust. You ll remember Google Glass, released in 2013, that as well as suffering from technological shortcomings was also held back by the fact it made the wearer look rather foolish (no offence, Rory). Newer technologies are bulky and cumbersome. Microsoft s Hololens and Magic Leap s goggles sit heavy on either the head or hip. And these technologies make other people uncomfortable. Famously, one woman was attacked for wearing Google Glass in a San Francisco bar. AR glasses will need to use outward-facing cameras to detect objects around them, and it is likely that tech firms will consider video recording, and calling, to be a selling point. Ear buds, similarly, will need to capture some amount of audio from the world around them in order to work. The wearer might be fine with that, yes, but what of those around them who may not want to be captured and analysed by companies that have already lost our confidence? That s what makes this latest tech race different. Anyone buying these devices will spend time considering not just which company has the best technology, but also the best intentions.
Eighty-three hotels with about 22,000 rooms so far have received the Green Star Hotel Certificate all over Egypt, a source with the Ministry of Tourism said. The source added that about three other hotels will get the certificate soon. Egypt is adopting the sustainable development concepts approved by the UN through a structural reform program, and is prioritizing the development of eco-friendly tourism by encouraging hotels and tourist facilities to preserve the environment and use clean energy, the source said. The Ministry of Tourism is cooperating with the Chamber of Tourism Establishments to increase the number of eco-friendly hotels, and to set up standards for hotel clusters in the so-called “green destinations” to meet demand for this type of tourism and enhance its presence in Egypt. Tamer al-Shaer, member of the Chamber of Hotel Establishments, said that the green certificate hotels are distributed in the areas of Cairo, Ain Sokhna, Sharm el-Sheikh, Taba, Hurghada and Marsa Alam. He added that the certificate aims to support the use of solar energy technologies, energy conservation in hotel facilities and linking renewable energy and sustainable development, utilizing it for the development of the tourism sector. Shaer pointed out that tourists coming from Europe specifically, one of the most important markets for Egypt, favor green tourism hotels. He stressed that Egypt must keep pace with the latest developments in the sector globally. The Green Star Hotel Certificate for tourist accommodation businesses is awarded to tourist accommodations in Egypt for their commitment to environmentally friendly management and social responsibility. It was developed as a public-private project between key stakeholders from the German and Egyptian tourism markets. The Vice President of Marsa Alam Investors Association, Tarek Shalaby, explained that the government must provide the required materials to produce solar energy at low prices or allow investors to import it with a customs exemption. He said that reliance on clean energy concerns the entire country, and therefore the state should encourage investors to enter the solar energy field.
Google is not required to apply an EU “right to be forgotten” to its search engine domains outside Europe, the EU s top court ruled Tuesday in a landmark decision. The European Court of Justice handed victory to Google in the case, seen as crucial in determining whether EU online regulation should apply beyond Europe s borders or not. The US internet giant had argued that the removal of search results required under EU law should not extend to its google.com domain or its other non-EU sites. The court ruled that, while a search engine operator such as Google must carry out “de-referencing” of links as demanded by a regulator or court in an EU state to all European versions of its sites, that “right to be forgotten” did not need to go further. “There is no obligation under EU law” for search engine operators such as Google “to carry out such a de-referencing on all the versions of its search engine,” the court said. But it did stress that de-referencing on EU sites must include measures to “seriously discourage” a European internet user being able to get around the “right to be forgotten” by accessing unrestricted results from a search engine on a non-EU domain. That demands “geo-blocking”, which Google says it already uses effectively in Europe. Savvy internet users, however, can get around that measure with a VPN that masks the user s location, or by going to some non-Google search engines. Google hails win The EU court case, seen as pitting individuals rights to privacy online against freedom of information, stemmed from a legal battle waged by France since 2014 to have Google apply the “right to be forgotten” to all its search domains. If France had won, it could have deepened a rift between Europe and the United States, which is home to most of the internet s behemoths and whose President Donald Trump has railed against what he sees as EU meddling in US business. In the end, though, the court found that EU law on the issue did not seek to have the “right to be forgotten” extend beyond its borders. Google hailed Tuesday s decision by the EU court. “It s good to see that the court agreed with our arguments,” its lawyer, Peter Fleischer, said in a statement, adding that Google has worked “to strike a sensible balance between people s rights of access to information and privacy”. The US company and other stakeholders had warned that authoritarian countries outside Europe could abuse global de-referencing requests to cover up rights violations. “It s a balanced decision. You can t impose extraterritorial effects when it comes to de-referencing a person,” said Yann Padova, a data privacy lawyer with the Baker McKenzie firm in Paris who was not involved in arguing the case. “What would we say if China started demanding de-referencing of content accessible to French users?” he asked. Closely watched case Google s position was bolstered in January by a non-binding opinion from the EU court s top legal advisor, advocate general Maciej Szpunar, who recommended judges “should limit the scope of the de-referencing that search engine operators are required to carry out, to the EU”. The case had been closely watched, especially as Europe has also already emerged as a global rule-setter in terms of data protection on the internet. A 2016 General Data Protection Regulation it enacted that covers all EU citizens and residents has forced many sites and companies around the globe to comply with its measures. In terms of the “right to be forgotten” legal fight, France s data regulator, the Commission Nationale de l Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL), had argued that, for de-referencing to be effective, it must apply to all domains wherever they are. In 2016, CNIL fined Google 100,000 euros ($110,000) for non-compliance. Google appealed to France s highest court, which in turn referred to the European Court of Justice, ending up with Tuesday s ruling.
Set in 2019, cult 80s movie “Blade Runner” envisaged a neon-stained landscape of bionic “replicants” genetically engineered to look just like humans. So far that has failed to materialize, but at a secretive research institute in western Japan, wild-haired roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro is fine-tuning technology that could blur the line between man and machine. Highly intelligent, self-aware and helpful around the house — the robots of the future could look and act just like humans and even become their friends, Ishiguro and his team predict. “I don t know when a Blade Runner future will happen, but I believe it will,” the Osaka University professor told AFP. “Every year we re developing new technology — like deep learning, which has improved the performance of pattern recognition,” he added. “Now we re focusing on intention and desire, and if we implement them into robots whether they become more human-like.” Robots are already widely used in Japan — from cooking noodles to helping patients with physiotherapy. Marketed as the world s first “cyborg-type” robot, HAL (hybrid assistive limb) — developed by Tsukuba University and Japanese company Cyberdyne — is helping people in wheelchairs walk again using sensors connected to the unit s control system. Scientists believe service robots will one day help us with household chores, from taking out the garbage to making the perfect slice of toast. Stockbrokers in Japan and around the world are already deploying AI bots to forecast stock market trends and science fiction s rapid advance towards science fact owes much to the likes of Ishiguro. He previously created an android copy of himself — using complex moving parts, electronics, silicone skin and his own hair — that he sends on business trips in his place. Wake up, time to die But Ishiguro believes recent breakthroughs in robotics and artificial intelligence will accelerate the synthesis of man and machine. “As a scientist, I hope to develop self-conscious robots like you see in Blade Runner to help me understand what it is to be human,” he said. “That s my motivation.” The point at which that line between humans and machines converges has long been a source of anxiety for some, as depicted in popular culture. In “Blade Runner”, Harrison Ford plays a police officer who tracks down and kills replicants that have escaped and are living among the population in Los Angeles. The “Terminator” series starring Arnold Schwarzenegger centers on a self-aware computer network which initiates a nuclear holocaust and, through autonomous military machines, wages war against human survivors. “I can t understand why Hollywood wants to destroy robots,” shrugged Ishiguro, who in 2007 was named one of the top 100 living geniuses by global consultants firm Synectics. “Look at Japanese cartoons and animations — robots are always friendly. We have a totally different cultural background,” noted the professor. It s not just Hollywood that has concerns over AI. Tesla s Elon Musk has called for a global ban on killer robots, warning technological advances could revolutionize warfare and create new “weapons of terror” that target innocent people. But Ishiguro insists there is no inherent danger in machines becoming self-aware or surpassing human intelligence. “We don t need to fear AI or robots, the risk is controllable,” he said. “My basic idea is that there is no difference between humans and robots.” Uncanny valley The ultimate goal, according to Ishiguro s colleague Takashi Minato, is “to bring robots into society as human companions — it s possible for robots to become our friends.” But will they look like us, as Ishiguro believes, and how comfortable will we feel surrounded by autonomous humanoids? Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori suggested in 1970 that the more robots resemble people, the creepier we find them — a phenomenon he called the “uncanny valley”. Ishiguro s first attempt at creating an android clone was based on his daughter and its “jerky movements” reduced her to tears. He has since perfected the template, including a creation he claimed was the world s first news-reading android and a robot priest at a Kyoto temple unveiled earlier this year. Minato shares his boss s visionary ideas. “Hopefully remote-control technology will develop to allow our alter egos to lead regular lives,” he said. “Like in the movie Surrogates — that would make life more convenient,” he added, referencing the sci-fi Bruce Willis hit in which people cocooned at home experience lives through robotic avatars. While he won t put a date on a real-life “Blade Runner” future, Ishiguro claims the rise of the machines has already begun. “Already computers are more powerful than humans in some cases,” he said. “Technology is just another means of evolution. We are changing the definition of what it is to be human.”
Dozens of people dressed in black went on a “funeral march” up a steep Swiss mountainside on Sunday to mark the disappearance of an Alpine glacier amid growing global alarm over climate change. The Pizol “has lost so much substance that from a scientific perspective it is no longer a glacier,” Alessandra Degiacomi, of the Swiss Association for Climate Protection, told AFP ahead of the event. Sunday s climb took place as the UN gathered youth activists and world leaders in New York to mull the action needed to curb global warming. The solemn two-hour “funeral march” led up the side of Pizol mountain in northeastern Switzerland to the foot of the steep and rapidly melting ice formation, situated at an altitude of around 2,700 meters (8,850 feet) near the Liechtenstein and Austrian borders. Upon arrival, a chaplain and several scientists were to give sombre speeches in remembrance of the glacier, accompanied by the mournful tones of alphorns — a 3.6-metre (12-foot), pipe-shaped wooden instrument. A wreath will be laid for the Pizol glacier, which has been one of the most studied glaciers in the Alps. The move comes after Iceland made global headlines last month with a large ceremony and the laying of a bronze plaque to commemorate Okjokull, the island s first glacier lost to climate change. 500 glaciers gone But unlike Iceland, Sunday s ceremony does not mark the first disappearance of a glacier from the Swiss Alps. “Since 1850, we estimate that more than 500 Swiss glaciers have completely disappeared, including 50 that were named,” Swiss glaciologist and march participant Matthias Huss told AFP before the event. Pizol may not be the first glacier to vanish in Switzerland, but “you could say it is the first to disappear that has been very thoroughly studied,” Huss of the ETH technical university in Zurich said. The logs kept since scientists began tracking the glacier in 1893 paint a bleak picture of recent rapid changes to the climate. Pizol has lost 80-90 percent of its volume just since 2006, leaving behind a mere 26,000 square meters (280,000 square feet) of ice, or “less than four football fields,” Huss said. Pizol, which sits at a relatively low altitude, was never very big. According to Glacier Monitoring Switzerland, or GLAMOS, it, like nearly 80 percent of Swiss glaciers, has been considered a so-called glacieret. Greenhouse gas referendum It has figured among some 4,000 glaciers — vast, ancient reserves of ice — dotted throughout the Alps, providing seasonal water to millions and forming some of Europe s most stunning landscapes. But Huss and other ETH scientists recently cautioned more than 90 percent of the Alpine glaciers could disappear by the end of this century if greenhouse gas emissions are not reined in. Regardless of what actions humans take now, the Alps will lose at least half of their ice mass by 2100, according to their study, published in April. And in a subsequent study published earlier this month, the researchers indicated that the Alps largest glacier, the mighty Aletsch, could completely disappear over the next eight decades. Sunday s “funeral” for Pizol provides an occasion to point out that climate change is not only melting glaciers but is endangering “our means of subsistence”, according to the organizing groups, including Greenpeace. It is threatening “human civilization as we know it in Switzerland and around the world,” they warn on the event webpage. With this in mind, the Swiss Association for Climate Protection recently presented the 100,000 signatures needed to launch a popular initiative, to be put to a referendum, demanding that Switzerland reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. The date for the vote has yet to be set, but the Swiss government in August said it supported the objective.
Apple TV+ will be available for the public starting November 1, offering original shows and films featuring some of Hollywood s biggest stars for $4.99 a month, the US multinational technology company said on Wednesday. Apple TV+ will bring forward the highly awaited new series “See”, an American drama starring Jason Momoa, in November. The events of the series take place in a future world in which humanity has lost its sight. A number of other original shows will be available for streaming through Apple TV+, including “The Morning Show”, a satire about the world of daybreak news, “Dickinson”, a period drama about the coming-of-age of American writer Emily Dickinson, “For All Mankind”, an alternative history story about the space race, and “The Elephant Queen”, a documentary series about a mother elephant forced to leave her African savannah watering hole with her young. Apple added that the service will be available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac and other platforms, including online at tv.apple.com with a seven-day free trial. “With Apple TV+, we are presenting all-original stories from the best, brightest and most creative minds, and we know viewers will find their new favorite show or movie on our service,” said Zack Van Amburg, Apple s head of Worldwide Video. According to the Apple website, the multinational technology company has led a technological revolution by introducing the Macintosh in 1984. “Apple s four software platforms — iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud,” the website reads.
Facebook has unveiled its plan to create an independent "oversight" board to make decisions over how the network is moderated. The firm insisted the panel, which will hear its first "cases" in 2020, will have power to override decisions it makes over contentious material and influence new policy. The idea, dubbed the Facebook supreme court, will eventually comprise 40 people around the world, but will be smaller at first. Experts have questioned the board s independence, as well as the motivation behind the move. "Facebook does not have a court," said Bernie Hogan, senior research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute. "The only vote that really counts is the majority shareholder, Mark Zuckerberg." He added: "Facebook s supreme court invokes all the pomp and circumstance of actual judicial practice without any of the responsibility to citizens." The board will launch with no fewer than 11 part-time members, Facebook said, and the names of those appointed will be made public - as will the results of their deliberations. The board will be paid via a trust set up and funded by Facebook upfront. "We are responsible for enforcing our policies every day and we make millions of content decisions every week," wrote Facebook s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg. "But ultimately I don t believe private companies like ours should be making so many important decisions about speech on our own." How would the process work? Facebook outlined how the board would operate in a charter published on Tuesday. The goals of the panel, as stated by Facebook, are to: "Provide oversight of Facebook s content decisions" Reverse Facebook s decisions when necessary" "Be an independent authority outside of Facebook" Major disagreements will be escalated to the panel once all of Facebook s existing moderation layers had been exhausted. Facebook controls which cases are submitted to the board, although panel members will decide which of those cases to take on. Facebook anticipated that the board would only consider "dozens" of cases a year, focusing on those where a clear decision would be in "the greatest public benefit". Users affected will be allowed to state their case in a written statement, but Facebook said it anticipated some board members may wish to speak to users "face-to-face". Image copyrightREUTERS "The board s decision will be binding, even if I or anyone at Facebook disagrees with it," Mr Zuckerberg said. "The board will use our values to inform its decisions and explain its reasoning openly and in a way that protects people s privacy." One caveat, according to the firm s charter, is when recommendations are not technically feasible. Facebook said the trust would be opened up for other networks to join - and fund - in future. Why is Facebook doing this? Facebook s primary concern is that it doesn t want the power it currently wields - or at least, it doesn t want the scrutiny that power attracts. Its ability to decide what goes on its platform, the biggest network of people ever created, brings it nothing but trouble, particularly in its home country. One recent example demonstrates the conflict Facebook faces. An anti-abortion video, deemed to contain inaccuracies by an independent fact-checking group contracted by Facebook, was removed - only to be reinstated after four Republican senators complained to Mr Zuckerberg personally, accusing the site of having a bias against conservative views. In future, this kind of decision could be taken out of Facebook s direct control and handed to the oversight board, which has the power to override the site s policies - although experts predict Facebook will still bear the brunt of criticism. "This panel is seen as an attempt to do something, but it appears to be just short of having enough teeth to make a difference," argued Mr Hogan. "It is a way to tell critics lay off, we are doing all it can . Such a panel, while admirable is no match for some well organised trolls or broad systemic issues."
Somewhere in Cupertino, Apple executives are probably breathing sighs of relief — if not celebrating — as demand for the new iPhone 11 appears to be off to a good start. Apple (AAPL) announced three versions of the new model at its annual media event last week: the more basic iPhone 11, and the premium iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The iPhone 11 looks largely the same as its predecessors, with functional improvements such as longer battery life and more cameras. But analysts say early demand for the new phone has been stronger than last year since Apple and several retailers began accepting preorders on Friday. It s a win Apple desperately needs from its single biggest revenue driver. Declining iPhone sales have been a drag on Apple s business as customers hold onto their smartphones longer and Apple works to reverse a slowdown in China, once its most promising market, amid an ongoing trade war with the United States. Analysts often measure demand for smartphones in expected shipment delivery times — the more preorders that are made, the longer it will take for those orders to arrive on consumers doorsteps. Content by DHL Would you trust your business deals on the strength of a handshake? Bruce Allen and his client Bryan Adams have worked together for 40 years off the strength of a handshake, and they wouldn t have it any other way. Delivery times have been pushed out on a number of iPhone 11 models, with many now expected to arrive two to three weeks after the phone s September 20 release date, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors Sunday. Ives said there has been particularly strong demand for a larger-storage version of the iPhone 11 Pro, and for Space Gray and Gold colored models. A research note from data analytics firm Nomura Group similarly pegged the shipment time for the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max models at 17 days, versus 11 days for last year s iPhone XS and XS Max. "We are careful about extrapolating first weekend data, though it is fair to say it is ahead of last year s launches," Nomura analysts said in the note. Among the reasons for the iPhone 11 s early success may be that fewer people upgraded to last year s iPhone XR and XS models. The XR and XS were Apple s most expensive iPhones yet (the basic XR version started at $749), with relatively few new innovations to excite customers. But with the way technology is designed, people still typically need to upgrade every few years, and Apple dropped the price of the basic iPhone 11 model back down to $699 and held the price of its flagship models flat. Roughly 350 million of the total 900 million iPhones out in the market could soon be ready for an upgrade, Ives estimates. However, he points out that orders could be hurt by expectations that next year s iPhone release could feature 5G capability. Continued tensions in China could also lower iPhone 11 sales, though Nomura analysts said preorders of the new model from China so far appear to be on par with last year. More iPhone 11 sales would likely mean more subscribers to Apple digital services, an area the company is increasingly leaning on to drive profits and future growth. At its event last week, Apple announced the prices and some offerings for its Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ services, with Apple TV+ slated to be the cheapest streaming service on the market when it launches November 1 at $4.99 per month. CEO Tim Cook also said all new purchases of iPhones, iPads and Macs would come with one year of free Apple TV+. That offer could help Apple secure future paying customers for the service. Ives said he now expects Apple could gain 100 million Apple TV+ customers in the next three to four years, so long as Apple delivers on its promise of content good enough to stack up against the fierce competition in the streaming market. That could mean Apple bringing home nearly $6 billion in annual Apple TV revenue by 2024. However, analysts from Goldman Sachs said in a note to investors Thursday the one-year free offer could harm Apple s earnings in 2020. The company refuted that idea, saying: "We do not expect the introduction of Apple TV+, including the accounting treatment for the service, to have a material impact on our financial results." Now, with the basic version of the iPhone 11 set to hit shelves in Apple stores this Friday, the company will likely soon see whether that early demand will translate to actual iPhone sales.
The ozone hole over Antarctica this year could be one of the smallest seen in three decades, say scientists. Observations of the gas s depletion high in the atmosphere demonstrate that it hasn t opened up in 2019 in the way it normally does. The EU s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) says it s currently well under half the area usually seen in mid-September. The hole is also off-centre and far from the pole, the EU agency adds. CAMS experts, who are based in Reading, UK, are projecting stable levels of ozone or a modest increase in the coming days. Why don t we talk about ozone anymore? China confirmed as source of rise in CFCs Ozone: The Earth s protective shield is repairing Ozone is a molecule that is composed of three oxygen atoms. It is responsible for filtering out harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. The gas is constantly being made and destroyed in the stratosphere, about 20-30km above the Earth. In an unpolluted atmosphere, this cycle of production and decomposition is in equilibrium. But chlorine and bromine-containing chemicals released by human activity have unbalanced the process, resulting in a loss of ozone that is at its greatest in the Antarctic spring in September/October. The Montreal Protocol signed by governments in 1987 has sought to recover the situation by banning the production and use of the most damaging chemicals. This past week has seen the area of deep thinning cover just over five million square km. This time last year it was beyond 20 million square km, although in 2017 it was just above 10 million sq km. In other words, there is a good degree of variability from year to year. The conditions for thinning occur annually just as the Antarctic emerges from Winter. The reactions that work to destroy ozone in the cold stratosphere are initiated by the return of sunshine at high latitudes. Scientists say that while losses started earlier than normal this year, they were truncated by a sudden warming event that lifted temperatures in the stratosphere by 20-30 degrees. This destabilised the ozone destroying process. Richard Engelen is the deputy head at CAMS. He says the small size seen so far this year is encouraging but warns against complacency. "Right now I think we should view this as an interesting anomaly. We need to find out more about what caused it." he told BBC News.. "It s not really related to the Montreal Protocol where we ve tried to reduce chlorine and bromine in the atmosphere because they re still there. It s much more related to a dynamical event. People will obviously ask questions related to climate change, but we simply can t answer that at this point." CAMS is an EU service run by the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). It has access to a range of space-borne observations. Principal data sources include the European Metop weather satellites and the EU s own Sentinel-5P spacecraft. The four platforms all carry ozone sensors and routinely cross the pole. Their information is combined with models of atmospheric behaviour. The World Metrological Organization-sponsored 2018 Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion said a recovery of the ozone layer to pre-1970 levels could be expected around 2060.
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 with some 2.5 million subscribers. But the future is now uncertain for “Sam and Nia” and other YouTube “creators” as a result of a settlement with US regulators that will make it harder to get ad revenues from videos and channels directed at children. “I went into a minor panic attack when I heard,” said Rader, whose channel has taken in a reported $2 million from ads placed along the videos. “I thought we would have to find a new source of revenues.” YouTube earlier this month agreed to pay a fine of $170 million and change how it handles collected data from children under a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission. YouTube will treat data from anyone watching children s content on YouTube as coming from a child. It will also stop serving personalized ads on this content entirely, and bar features such as comments and notifications. The new rules, set to go into effect in four months, have stoked fears in the YouTube community of creators and “vloggers” like the Raders, who live off the advertising revenue. Shock, grief, fear “There s a lot of shock, grief and fear. For many creators, this is their only source of income,” said Melissa Hunter of the Family Video Network, a consultancy which also operates a group of channels on YouTube. “They are people making content in their houses, not huge companies; they re small homemade businesses.” Many questions remain as to how YouTube will define children s content — intended for kids up to age 12 — which will be subject to the new rules. Rader said he has been advised that “we are a low-risk channel because our content is not targeting children.” YouTube is believed to have millions of content creators on its network, who share in the service s ad revenues, estimated to be more than $10 billion annually, though it is unclear how much of YouTube s content is directed at children. In announcing the new policy, YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki acknowledged that “these changes will have a significant business impact on family and kids creators who have been building both wonderful content and thriving businesses, so we ve worked to give impacted creators four months to adjust before changes take effect.” Wojcicki added that YouTube is “committed to working with them through this transition, and providing resources to help them better understand these changes,” and would also establish a $100 million fund “dedicated to the creation of thoughtful, original children s content.” Critics of the internet giant said YouTube marketed itself as a destination for children and benefitted by selling advertising to toymakers and others. FTC chairman Joe Simons said the settlement “prevents YouTube and Google from turning a blind eye to the existence of kids-directed content” on its platform. Hunter said the creators of family content may collect anywhere from $30 to $100,000 per month, but that “those families are going to make almost nothing on January 1” when the new rules come into effect. Ending targeting? YouTube and creators may still be able to generate revenue from video ads as long as they are not targeted based on data collected from children, although these are far less lucrative. “Advertisers do spend more for trackable, measurable placements,” said Nicole Perrin, an analyst at the research firm eMarketer. “I m not sure there is a way to comply with this for kids without limiting some of the revenues on that side.” Shaun McKnight, whose Dallas-based M-Star Media has created several popular YouTube channels which have attracted millions of subscribers, said he and his wife anticipated changes were coming. “My wife and I thought it was too risky so we pulled back,” he said.
A major United Nations climate change summit will take place in Glasgow. The UK has won the bid to host the 26th Conference of the Parties, known as COP26, following a partnership with Italy. Up to 30,000 delegates are expected to attend the event at Glasgow s Scottish Events Campus (SEC) at the end of next year. It is designed to produce an international response to the climate emergency. The UK will host the main COP summit while Italy will host preparatory events and a significant youth event, as part of the agreement. Claire Perry, UK nominated president for COP26, said: "In 2020, world leaders will come together to discuss how to tackle climate change on a global scale - and where better to do so than Glasgow, one of the UK s most sustainable cities with a great track record for hosting high-profile international events." The Scottish government s Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the decision to host COP26 in Scotland was right "given our leadership on climate action". She continued: "Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to acknowledge the global climate emergency and the Scottish government has introduced the toughest targets in the UK to ensure our action matches the scale of our climate ambitions. "We look forward to working collaboratively with partners to deliver an ambitious and effective conference that ensures Scotland plays a leading role to help promote the increased global effort to tackle climate change." Vote of confidence Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the announcement was a "vote of confidence" from the UK s international partners. He added: "The UK is leading the world in tackling climate change. We re the first major economy to pass laws to end the UK s contribution to global warming. "Since 1990 the UK has reduced its emissions by over 40% while growing the economy by over two thirds." The UK government said it had cut greenhouse gas emissions by 16 million tonnes in the last eight years. Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack said: "The UK government is showing great leadership on this vital issue - becoming the first major economy to pass new laws to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050." The conference has been described as the most important gathering on climate change since the Paris agreement was signed in 2015. Lasting for two weeks, it would be the largest summit the UK has ever hosted, with up to 200 world leaders expected to attend for the final weekend. 2020 s conference is seen as a major crossroads in the battle against global climate change. It will likely be held just after the next US presidential election. It will also be the year in which governments are due to review their promises to cut carbon emissions in line with the latest science. The stark photo highlighting Greenland s ice loss UK government to commit to 2050 target EU leaders face pressure to deliver on climate change Campaigners have said the event will give the UK the chance to set the tone for the world s future. Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg appeared at the 2018 conference in Poland. It is expected to pose major security challenges for the Scottish government and police. Sources have told BBC Scotland that police will seek additional funding from the Scottish and UK governments. Deputy chief constable Malcolm Graham said: "Police Scotland has an enviable reputation for successfully and safely policing major events. "We will now start the detailed process of planning, with partners, for what will be a complex and expensive policing operation to support COP26 and to ensure a safe and secure event." Analysis by BBC News Science Editor David Shukman Intense, overcrowded and bewildering - a few impressions from UN climate conferences I ve reported from over the years. They re a rare chance for the world to get together to tackle climate change but because the stakes are high the atmosphere is always tense. The negotiations are complicated - with long arguments over phrases or even individual words. They regularly drag through the night leaving delegates exhausted. In Montreal back in 2005, at dawn on the final day, the then British environment secretary Margaret Beckett wept with relief when a deal was reached. In Copenhagen in 2009, some environmental campaigners were so frustrated with the lack of progress that they walked out - while at the same time other campaigners, who had staged a march outside the conference centre, battled with police in an effort to get inside. The gathering in Paris in 2015 was one of the smoothest, clever French diplomacy navigating towards a landmark deal, what s called the Paris Agreement. A system of voluntary cuts in carbon emissions, it formally comes into effect next year. The Whitehall view is that this is an extraordinary opportunity. But it also means there s a huge responsibility now on British shoulders.
NASA is developing a new technique to forecast malaria outbreaks in Myanmar from space, as the emergence of new drug-resistant strains in Southeast Asia threatens efforts to wipe out the deadly disease globally. The goal of worldwide malaria eradication within a generation, by 2050, is “bold but attainable”, a report released this week in The Lancet argued. Malaria cases and deaths plummeted by more than 90 percent in Myanmar between 2010 and 2017, World Health Organization (WHO) figures show, a success largely credited to better rural health services and wider use of treated bednets. But the country still has a higher prevalence than its neighbors in the Mekong region. Several drug-resistant strains are taking hold across Southeast Asia and it is feared these could migrate to Africa where more than 90 percent of cases globally occur. To counter this threat, NASA is deploying “cutting edge” spatial technology to tackle malaria outbreaks before they happen, scientist Tatiana Loboda told AFP. She is applying her expertise in geo-spatial and risk modelling — coupled with a background in predicting wildfire outbreaks in the US — to identify potential hotspots so medicines and health workers can be mobilized in advance. “A lot of people use a little spatial modelling… but not to the same depth and capabilities as we re doing here,” said Loboda, a professor at Maryland University. The satellites provide meteorological data, including land surface temperatures, atmospheric water content and information about land cover, including forest, shrubland, settlements or water. These are then combined with socio-economic data gathered by teams of researchers carrying out in-depth surveys with sample populations in the field. The project is only in its third year but Loboda s team has already seen a high correlation between the rate of deforestation and the disease. One unproven theory is that these areas — often dotted with logging sites, mines and plantations — are host to a disproportionate number of migrant or seasonal workers, bringing with them new strains of the parasite. The Maryland University team is working closely with local government and military scientists, collecting data from civilians and troops respectively. But that brings challenges in a country where the armed forces keep their operations shrouded in mystery. “We re not allowed to ask where they go,” Loboda told AFP in Yangon, describing it as “like working blindfolded”. This is coupled with a lack of access to Myanmar s myriad conflict areas. “I m used to working with big data,” Loboda bemoaned. “I want to blanket the whole country with random locations… but I can t.” The project is not immune to geopolitics either. The state of US-Myanmar relations can complicate meetings with the military in the capital Naypyidaw. “Sometimes I can go, sometimes I can t,” Loboda said.
Education is one of the key factors to develop a country. However Egypt doesn t appear that much in the world university rakings, but the American University in Cairo (AUC) changed that fact after it had been ranked among the world s top 200 Universities in the annual QSGraduate Employability Rankings, with an 86 percent rate within a single year post graduation. Thus, it came in the 191th place out of 200. The ra