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Science | ThisWeek Middle East

Category: Science

UN expert urges states to work towards cyber surveillance treaty

GENEVA, March 8 – The world needs an international treaty to protect people’s privacy from unfettered cybersurveillance, which is being pushed by populist politicians preying on fear of terrorism, according to a U.N. report debated on Wednesday. The report, submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council by the U.N. independent expert on privacy, Joe Cannataci, said traditional privacy safeguards such as rules on phone tapping were outdated in the digital age. “It’s time to start reclaiming cyberspace from the menace of over-surveillance,” Cannataci told the Council. With governments worldwide demanding data from firms such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple...

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Thai Veterinarians Remove 915 coins from sea turtle thrown into her pool for good luck

BANGKOK, March 6 – Thai veterinarians on Monday removed 915 coins from a 25-year-old sea turtle which had been swallowing items thrown into her pool for good luck, eventually limiting her ability to swim. The coins and other objects removed from the turtle named Omsin – piggy bank in Thai – weighed 5 kg (11 lb). The turtle itself weighed 59 kg (130 lb). The green sea turtle, living at a conservation centre in Sriracha, Chonburi, east of the Thai capital of Bangkok, had been finding it hard to swim normally because of the weight. The vets said they...

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Uber is in trouble – again. Alphabet Inc Sues Uber for Theft of Trade Secrets

By Julia Love and Heather Somerville SAN FRANCISCO, March 6 – When Uber Technologies Inc was raising venture capital in 2013, it was one of the hottest deals around – and no one was more eager to write a check than Bill Maris and David Krane of Google’s venture capital arm. Not everyone at Google Ventures, since renamed GV, agreed. The firm already had an investment in a competitor, Sidecar, and Uber was demanding what then looked like a sky-high valuation. Maris and Krane prevailed, and the deal is now regarded as GV’s greatest success. On paper, the firm’s...

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12 treated for chemical weapons agents in Mosul since March 1, UN says

BAGHDAD, March 5 – Twelve people, including women and children, are being treated for possible exposure to chemical weapons agents in Mosul, where Islamic State is fighting off an offensive by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, the United Nations said on Saturday. The U.N.’s World Health Organization has activated with partners and local health authorities “an emergency response plan to safely treat men, women and children who may be exposed to the highly toxic chemical,” the agency said in a statement. It said all 12 patients had been received since March 1 for treatment which they are undergoing in Erbil, the...

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What does the “global gag rule” mean for reproductive rights?

LONDON, March 2 – A summit hosted by Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden on Thursday aims to support family planning charities affected by President Donald Trump’s ban on U.S.-funded groups providing abortions or abortion information. The meeting in Brussels comes amid mounting anger at Trump’s decision from women’s rights and health campaigners, who say it will result in restrictions on abortion that will endanger women’s lives, especially in developing countries. Government officials from about 50 countries, charities and businesses are expected to attend the conference to discuss reproductive rights, including safe abortions and contraception, as well as funding for...

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Twitter turns to algorithms to clamp down on abusive content

By Dustin Volz WASHINGTON, March 1 – Twitter Inc on Wednesday launched a wider effort to use algorithms to identify accounts as potentially engaging in abusive behavior, a departure from its practice of relying on users to report accounts that should be reviewed for possible violation of its rules. Twitter and rivals like Facebook have long relied on users’ reporting potential abuse for review, sometimes to the chagrin of groups that accused them of doing too little to thwart hateful speech or harassment. Twitter, which already uses technology to try and limit some communications, will still review user reports...

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Dubai Crown Prince Drives Around Town in Green Car

It has been barely two weeks since Tesla announced its big entry into the UAE market, and the Dubai royalty is already driving the green machines on its swanky roads, pushing the vehicle to its limit. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, recently put up pictures on Instagram of him driving a Tesla on what looks like the Sheikh Zayed Road during the recent spell of rain. At a time when fuel costs are rising and countries are pushing to reduce consumption of fossil fuel, a member of the Dubai royal family taking...

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Uber says thousands of London drivers threatened by English language test

LONDON, Feb 28 – Tens of thousands of London private hire drivers could lose their licences due to new English reading and writing requirements, taxi app Uber said on Tuesday at the start of a court battle to halt the plans. San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to book journeys at the touch of a button on their smartphone, has grown rapidly in recent years but faced bans and protests around the world as regulators play catch-up with technology disrupting traditional operators. Uber launched legal action in August after public body Transport for London (TfL) said that drivers should...

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Taliban Calls on Afghans to Plant Fruit Trees for benefit of the society

KABUL, Feb 26 – The Taliban group in Afghanistan on Sunday used a rare public statement in the name of its leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, to call on Afghans to plant more trees for worldly and other-worldly good. Official Taliban outlets released the “special message” under Akhundzada’s name, an uncommon move for the group that has recently published unsigned statements on a range of issues such as civilian casualties, upcoming military operations, and the anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet troops in the 1980s. Akhundzada, a cleric, is believed to have been in hiding since becoming Taliban leader in May...

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Tech breakthroughs take a backseat in upcoming Apple iPhone launch

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 23 – When Apple Inc launches its much-anticipated 10th anniversary iPhone this fall, it will offer an unwitting lesson in how much the smartphone industry it pioneered has matured. The new iPhone is expected to include new features such as high-resolution displays, wireless charging and 3-D sensors. Rather than representing major breakthroughs, however, most of the innovations have been available in competing phones for several years. Apple’s relatively slow adoption of new features both reflects and reinforces the fact smartphone customers are holding onto their phones longer. Timothy Arcuri, an analyst at Cowen & Co, believes...

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