Zika virus outbreak is a ‘global public health emergency’, says WHO

The World Health Organisation said the outbreak should be considered a ‘public health emergency of international concern’, putting the mosquito-borne disease in the same category as ebola, which killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa. Experts were called in to assess the Zika outbreak after noting a link between its arrival in Brazil last year […]

Syria rebels agree to regime talks but without Assad

Syrian opposition groups say they are ready for UN-sponsored negotiations with representatives from the government, but insist that President Bashar al-Assad has to step down. “The aim of the political settlement is to create a state based on the principle of citizenship without Bashar al-Assad or figures of his regime having a place in it or any […]

A story of pigs and cement : The huge changes in China

As China’s President Xi Jinping visits the US, there is a meeting of the world’s two biggest economies. Yet, compared with America, China’s economic expansion has happened at breakneck speed. It has sparked mass urbanisation and led to tens of millions of rural workers heading to the cities to find work. The story of China’s […]

‘Kalashnikovs of tomorrow’: Hawking, Musk, Wozniak warn of global AI arms race

Artificial intelligence, especially weaponized, is a huge mistake, tech gurus and scientific geniuses warn in a newly-released open letter. Professor Stephen Hawking, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Tesla CEO Elon Musk are among 1,000 signatories. The luminaries believe that for the last 20 years we have been dangerously preoccupied with making strides in the direction […]

Julian Assange: WikiLeaks fully back up and ‘We Are Drowning in Material’

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks via video link during an event on the sidelines of the United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva in July. Assange talks about the comeback of WikiLeaks whistleblowing platform and his desire to provide assistance to a parliamentary committee in Germany investigating mass NSA spying in this interview with […]

World powers and Iran ‘on verge of nuclear deal’

  Iran and six world powers meeting in Vienna are said to be  close to an historic nuclear agreement that could resolve a dispute that lasted more than 12 years over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday that he could not rule out the possibility of an agreement in the coming hours, […]

One of the world’s two worst polluting countries may have peaked

  China’s greenhouse gas emissions could start to decline within 10 years, according to a report from the London School of Economics. This would be five years earlier than expected and would offer a boost towards efforts to protect the climate. The shift has been partly caused by a massive commitment to renewables. China is […]

China ‘expanding island building’ in South China Sea

US officials say China has reclaimed 810 hectares (2,000 acres) since the beginning of 2014. China claims almost the whole of the South China Sea, resulting in overlapping claims with its neighbours. More details in this excellent analysis from the BBC Other countries accuse China of illegally taking land to create artificial islands with facilities […]

Future farming to be based on robots and big data

Thought provoking lead from the excellent KurweilAI.net The farm of the future will involve multiple lightweight, small, autonomous, energy-efficient machines (AgBots) operating collectively to weed, fertilize and control pest and diseases, while collecting vasts amount of data to enable better management decision making,” according to Queensland University of Technology (QUT) robotics Professor Tristan Perez. “We are […]