The Great Barrier Reef has lost half its corals within 3 decades - CNN
Australia's Great Barrier Reef has lost 50% of its coral populations in the last three decades, with climate change a key driver of reef disturbance, a new study has found.
(CNN) Australia's Great Barrier Reef has lost 50% of its coral populations in the last three decades, with climate change a key driver of reef disturbance, a new study has found. Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, in Queensland, northeastern Australia, assessed coral communities and their colony size along the length of the Great Barrier Reef between 1995 and 2017, finding depletion of virtually all coral populations, they said Tuesday. Coral reefs are some of the most vibrant marine ecosystems on the planet -- between a quarter and one third of all marine species rely on them at some point in their life cycle. The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef, covers nearly 133,000 square miles and is home to more than 1,500 species of fish, 411 species of hard corals and dozens of other species. "We found the number of small, medium and large corals on the Great Barrier Reef has declined by more than 50% since the 1990s," reported co-author Terry Hughes, a distinguished professor at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, in a statement. Reefs are fundamental to the health of marine ecosystems -- without them, ecosystems collapse, and marine life dies. Coral population sizes are also considered vital when it comes to the coral's ability to breed. "A vibrant coral population has millions of small, baby corals, as well as many large ones-- the big mamas who produce most of the larvae," said Andy Dietzel, a doctoral student at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, in a statement. "Our results show the ability of the Great Barrier Reef to recover -- its resilience -- is compromised compared to the past, because there are fewer babies, and fewer large breeding adults," he added. Population declines occurred in both shallow and deep water coral species, experts found, but branching and table-shaped corals -- which provide habitats for fish -- were worst affected by mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017, triggered by record-breaking temperatures. Warm ocean temperatures are the main driver of coral bleaching, when corals turn white as a stress response to water that is too warm. Bleaching doesn't kill coral immediately, but if temperatures remain high, eventually the coral will die, destroying a natural habitat for many species of marine life. Tuesday's study found steeper deteriorations of coral colonies in the Northern and Central Great Barrier Reef following the mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. The Great Barrier Reef has suffered several mass bleaching events in the past five years, and experts said the southern part of the reef was also exposed to record-breaking temperatures in early 2020. "We used to think the Great Barrier Reef is protected by its sheer size -- but our results show that even the world's largest and relatively well-protected reef system is increasingly compromised and in decline," Hughes said. The report authors warned that climate change is driving an uptick in the frequency of "reef disturbances" like marine heatwaves. "There is no time to lose -- we must sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions ASAP," the report authors warned in the paper, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society journal. CNN's Helen Regan contributed to this report. © 2020 Cable News Network.A Warner Media Company.All Rights Reserved.CNN Sans & © 2016 Cable News Network.
Malaysia detains Chinese vessels for trespassing in territorial waters - CNN
Maritime authorities in Malaysia said they stopped six Chinese fishing vessels in Malaysian territorial waters Saturday, as Beijing increases its presence throughout the South China Sea.
Hong Kong (CNN)Maritime authorities in Malaysia said they stopped six Chinese fishing vessels in Malaysian territorial waters Saturday, as Beijing increases its presence throughout the South China Sea. According to a statement, 60 Chinese nationals were detained during an operation off the eastern coast of Johor, the southern Malaysian state which borders Singapore. Their vessels, all of which were registered in Qinhuangdao, a port in northern China, were en route to Mauritania, West Africa, when they trespassed in Malaysian waters, the country's maritime authorities said. Malaysia reported 89 intrusions by Chinese coastguard and navy ships between 2016 and 2019,as tensions continue to escalate between the United States and China over Beijing's claims to most of the resource-rich South China Sea, which is also a major trade route. The arrests in Malaysia coincide with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's tour of Southeast Asian nations. The four-day trip, which takes in stops in Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and Singapore is intended to help bolster regional ties amid growing pressure from Washington and continued fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. China's Ministry of Commerce said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China have become each other's largest trading partner, with total trade from January to August reaching $416.5 billion, according to Chinese state media. But tensions between the bloc of Southeast Asian nations and China remain over aggressive moves by Beijing throughout the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea, almost all of which is claimed by China. In recent years, despite the objections of its neighbors and an international tribunal ruling, Beijing has militarized islands and reefs throughout the sea, and stepped up patrols of the region, as the Chinese fishing fleet expands outwards, often trespassing into other countries' territorial waters. While Washington has long objected to Beijing's actions, the US stepped up its challenges this year: it formally rejected China's claims as illegal, and sanctioned dozens of Chinese companies for building the artificial islands. In July, two US Navy aircraft carriers conducted joint military drills in the sea for the first time in six years -- a strong show of force. The US has also increased engagement with the Quad, an alliance with Australia, Japan and India which some see as becoming a sort of Asian North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), much to Beijing's chagrin. Speaking last week, a US State Department official said that a "sudden turn toward gross aggression by the Chinese Government in its entire periphery" has increased the willingness of Beijing's neighbors to push back, and made "the Quad actually matter and function this time around." Competing claims in East China Sea Chinese maritime expansion isn't only happening in the South China Sea. On Monday, the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) said that two Chinese vessels entered what Tokyo regards as its territorial waters near the Senkakus, a hotly disputed set of islands in the East China Sea known as the Diaoyus in China. The two Chinese Coast Guard patrol ships have been in the area since Sunday, Japanese authorities said, and have attempted to approach Japanese fishing ships in the area to get them to leave what China regards as its territorial waters. Japan -- which recently increased its defense budget to the highest ever amount -- has complained about "relentless" intrusions into the waters around the Senkakus, which encompass rich fishing grounds, and potential oil and natural gas deposits. This is the 18th time in 22 days that Chinese ships have entered Japanese waters, JCG said. Additional reporting contributed by CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki, Jessie Yeung and Reuters.
Astronauts home in on International Space Station air leak - CNN
Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have successfully narrowed down the source of a small air leak that had been growing in size.
(CNN)Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have successfully narrowed down the source of a small air leak that had been growing in size. Kenny Todd, deputy manager of the space station, said the leak was first detected more than a year ago but had increased in the past couple of months. A fresh round of testing overnight Monday revealed the leak was in a service module in the Russian segment, Todd said during a NASA briefing Tuesday. "We're going to try and put a finer point on our troubleshooting plan," said Todd, explaining that the team is dealing with the same leak as before rather than a fresh one. Russian space agency Roscosmos confirmed that the leak was coming from one of its service modules. "Currently the search is underway to precisely locate the leak," the agency tweeted. "The situation poses no danger to the crew's life and health and doesn't hinder the station continued crewed operation." NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscomos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner carried out the onboard tests. "The size of the leak identified overnight has since been attributed to a temporary temperature change aboard the station with the overall rate of leak remaining unchanged," NASA said in a blog post Tuesday. While crew members experience comfortable pressure while living in the orbiting laboratory, the space station does experience tiny air leaks over time. Regular repressurization is possible thanks to nitrogen tanks that are included on cargo resupply missions that deliver them to the space station. The next resupply mission is due to arrive this weekend. The uncrewed Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft will launch from the Wallops Flight Facility in the US state of Virginia on Thursday night. Then the crew members will rotate. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 14 and dock at the space station, while Cassidy, Vagner and Ivanishin will depart the space station on October 21 and return to Earth. The trio will have spent 195 days together on the space station after launching in April. Then, on October 23, the SpaceX Crew-1 mission will launch to the space station, carrying NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese space agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi. CNN's Ashley Strickland contributed to this report.
September 21 coronavirus news - CNN International
The coronavirus pandemic has brought countries to a standstill. In many places, as countries reopen, Covid-19 cases are on the rise. Follow here for the latest.
Canadian health officials across the country have pleaded with the public to stay home, stick to your bubble and mask up, as daily positive cases continue to climb to levels not seen since May. Officials in the province of Quebec and in the countrys capital, Ottawa, have declared that a second wave has already taken hold in their cities and communities. Canadas seven-day average is now just under 1,000 cases per day according to Johns Hopkins University and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Im telling you that right now the curve is not the way it was in the spring but its still pretty bad and I think that this is the beginning of a second wave. If we dont do something its going to go up even more and Im telling you that will not be fun, said Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec director of public health, during a news conference in Quebec City Monday. What's behind the spike? Public health experts say Canadians are having too many close, social contacts between family and friends and young people are gathering in groups that are too large to contain the spread. The spike in cases comes two weeks after the Labor Day holiday and as a majority of Canadian children return to in-person learning in schools. Young are getting sick: Canadian government statistics show that about two thirds of new, positive cases of Covid-19 are detected in people under the age of 40. Restrictions to be enforced: In cities like Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, city officials, bylaw officers and police say they are stepping up enforcement of strict protocols that limit indoor, private gatherings to six or 10. In Ontario the minimum fine for breaking the rules is $7,500. In British Columbia, the spike in cases is being described as a resurgence and public health officials say they would not yet depict the spike in cases as a second wave. Officials say hospitalizations have crept up but are stable and add they will wait for more data before deciding if or when to bring in more closures or restrictions.
Coronavirus can spread on airline flights, two studies show - CNN
Coronavirus can spread on flights. Two new studies describe how it happened.
(CNN)The young woman and her sister had traveled across Europe just as the coronavirus pandemic was taking off there, visiting Milan and Paris before heading to London. When the woman left London on March 1, she had a sore throat and cough as she boarded a flight home to Vietnam, but no one noticed. By the time she got off the flight in Hanoi 10 hours later, 15 other people who had been on the plane with her were infected, researchers reported Friday. This story is one of two published Friday demonstrating how coronavirus can spread on airline flights, and suggesting that simply spacing people out a little will not fully protect them. In another incident, passengers on a flight from Boston to Hong Kong appear to have infected two flight attendants. Both cases involved long flights early in the pandemic, before airlines began requiring face masks. A team from Vietnam tracked down a cluster of cases linked to the flight that arrived in Hanoi from London on March 2. "A 27-year-old businesswoman from Vietnam, whom we identified as the probable index case, had been based in London since early February," Nguyen Cong Khanh of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi and colleagues wrote. "On February 22, case 1 and her sister returned to Milan, Italy, and subsequently traveled to Paris, France, for the yearly Fashion Week before returning back to London on February 25," they wrote in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. At this time, coronavirus was starting to spread fast in Italy but very few cases had been reported in Britain. The woman boarded a flight to Hanoi on March 1. "She was seated in business class and continued to experience the sore throat and cough throughout the flight," the researchers added. She went to a hospital three days after landing and tested positive for the virus. Health officials tracked down 217 passengers and crew who had been on the flight with her and found 12 fellow business class passengers, two economy class passengers and one crew member were also infected. The investigators said there was no other likely way any of the 15 others could have been infected other than exposure to the sick patient on the flight. "The most likely route of transmission during the flight is aerosol or droplet transmission from case 1, particularly for persons seated in business class," they wrote. "We conclude that the risk for on-board transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during long flights is real and has the potential to cause COVID-19 clusters of substantial size, even in business class--like settings with spacious seating arrangements well beyond the established distance used to define close contact on airplanes," Khanh's team wrote. "As long as COVID-19 presents a global pandemic threat in the absence of a good point-of-care test, better on-board infection prevention measures and arrival screening procedures are needed to make flying safe." In the second incident, a couple flew from Boston to Hong Kong in business class on March 9. They both exhibited symptoms after they arrived and were diagnosed with coronavirus. Contact tracing found two flight attendants were also positive for the virus. "The only location where all four persons were in close proximity for an extended period was inside the airplane," Deborah Watson-Jones of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and colleagues wrote in a second report in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases journal. "Genetic sequencing linked all four cases. The near full-length viral genomes from all four patients were 100% identical," Watson-Jones and colleagues wrote.
Ice shelves propping up two major Antarctic glaciers are breaking up and it could have major consequences for sea level rise - CNN
Satellite images show that two important glaciers in the Antarctic are sustaining rapid damage at their most vulnerable points, leading to the breaking up of vital ice shelves with major consequences for global sea level rise.
(CNN)Satellite images show that two important glaciers in the Antarctic are sustaining rapid damage at their most vulnerable points, leading to the breaking up of vital ice shelves with major consequences for global sea level rise. The Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers, which sit side by side in West Antarctica on the Amundsen Sea, are among the fastest changing glaciers in the region, already accounting for 5% of global sea level rise. Scientists say the glaciers are highly sensitive to climate change. A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, found that the glaciers are weakening at their foundations and this damage over the past few decades is speeding up their retreat and the possible future collapse of their ice shelves. The researchers, led by Stef Lhermitte, satellite expert at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, used satellite data to document the growth of the damaged areas from 1997 to 2019. The images showed highly crevassed areas and open fractures in the glaciers. While rapid ice loss and melt of these Antarctic glaciers have been well documented, the new study suggests there could be future disintegration of the ice shelves to come. "We knew they were sleeping giants and these were the ones losing a lot of miles (of ice), but how far and how much still remains a large uncertainty," Lhermitte said. "These ice shelves are in the early phase of disintegration, they're starting to tear apart." Thwaites Glacier is one of the largest and most unstable ice streams in Antarctica. It's a giant mass of more than 192,000 square kilometers (74,000 square miles) -- an area similar in size to the US state of Florida, or Great Britain. The two glaciers effectively act as arteries connecting the West Antarctic ice sheet to the ocean. At their base are permanent floating ice shelves that act as a buttress to the fast-flowing ice behind it. The region holds enough ice to raise global sea levels by 1.2 meters (4 feet) according to NASA. So what's happening to the glaciers now? Human-induced warming of our oceans and atmosphere because of the increasing release of heat-trapping greenhouse gases is weakening the planet's ice shelves. This ocean warming has increased the melting and calving (the breaking off of ice chunks) of Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers, studies show, while declining of snowfall means the glaciers can't replenish themselves. The damage researchers found pointed to a weakening of the glaciers' shear margins -- areas at the edges of the floating ice shelf where the fast moving ice meets the slower moving ice or rock underneath. "Typically the ice shelf acts like slow traffic. It's floating on the ocean but it buttresses the ice traffic behind it," Lhermitte said. "So if you weaken this slow car, then the ice discharges more rapidly." That's exactly what the researchers observed -- and they believe these severely weakening parts of the glacier will accelerate mass ice loss. The study makes the case that this process should be included in models that project sea level rise, which it's not currently a part of. Researchers found that while the tearing of Pine Island Glacier's shear margins has been documented since 1999, their satellite imagery shows that damage sped up dramatically in 2016. Similarly, the damage to Thwaites Glacier began moving further upstream in 2016 and fractures rapidly started opening up near the glacier's grounding line, which is where the ice meets the rock bed. Researchers warn the process is creating a feedback loop -- where the weakening ice shelf is speeding up the damage to the glacier's vulnerable shear margins, which in turn leads to more damage and disintegration of the ice shelf. Isabella Velicogna, Professor of Earth System Sciences at the University of California Irvine, who wasn't involved in the study, said that, "with a process of weakening of the ice shelf included in models, it is likely that the glacier speed up will occur sooner and will be larger in magnitude, which means that sea level will rise faster than currently projected." Velicogna said that there are other processes that play "a much larger role" in glacier evolution, such as "the rate of retreat of the grounding line forced by a warmer ocean." The study comes on the heels of research published last week that found deep channels under the Thwaites Glacier may be allowing warm ocean water to melt the underside of its ice. The cavities hidden beneath the ice shelf are likely to be the route through which warm ocean water passes underneath the ice shelf up to the grounding line, they said. Over the past three decades, the rate of ice loss from Thwaites and its neighboring glaciers has increased more than five-fold. If Thwaites were to collapse, it could lead to an increase in sea levels of around 25 inches (64 centimeters). And there's more bad news for glaciers on the other side of the world. On Monday, scientists announced that a 44-square-mile chunk of ice, about twice the size of Manhattan, has broken off the Arctic's largest remaining ice shelf in northeast Greenland in the past two years, raising fears of its rapid disintegration. The territory's ice sheet is the second biggest in the world behind Antarctica's, and its annual melt contributes more than a millimeter rise to sea levels every year. These recent findings from Antarctica show that the glaciers are "weakening from all angles," Lhermitte said. "Most of the weakening in this part of Antarctica is coming from below," he said. "Warm ocean water gets to the (glaciers') base and weakens them. What we observed is that this becomes so weakened, that they speed up and once they speed up, the shear margins speed up and start to break." Velicogna said the research "points to another Achilles' heel of the system conducive to faster retreat, and triggered by climate change." "It seems that the more we look at these systems evolve, the more we see reasons for them to disappear more rapidly than we thought," she said. "We have to act quickly on controlling climate change to preserve our future. The time to act is now."
Colonizing Mars could be dangerous and ridiculously expensive. Elon Musk wants to do it anyway - CNN
Elon Musk has spent nearly two decades rallying SpaceX fans around his goal of colonizing Mars, something world governments aren't currently attempting — in part because of the unfathomable price tag such a mission will entail.
Analysis by Jackie Wattles, CNN Business Updated 10:25 AM ET, Tue September 8, 2020 Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. Austin, TX (CNN Business)Elon Musk has spent nearly two decades rallying SpaceX fans around his goal of colonizing Mars, something world governments aren't currently attempting in part because of the unfathomable price tag such a mission will entail. Musk, the company's CEO and chief engineer, refers to his interplanetary ambitions more like a sci-fi protagonist with a moral calling than an entrepreneur with a disruptive business plan. "If there's something terrible that happens on Earth, either made by humans or natural, we want to have, like, life insurance for life as a whole," Musk said during a virtual Mars conference on Aug. 31. "Then, there's the kind of excitement and adventure." SpaceX's plans for a Red-Planet settlement bring up numerous technological, political and ethical questions. One of the most challenging hurdles may also be financial: Not even Musk has ventured to guess an all-in cost estimate. The last space program that came close to Musk's interplanetary travel ambitions was NASA's Apollo program, the mid-20th Century effort that landed six spacecraft and 12 astronauts on the moon. Apollo cost well over $280 billion in today's dollars, and, in some years, NASA was taking up more than 4% of the entire national budget. The space agency, which in more recent years has received less than half of one percent of the federal budget, is mapping its own plans to return humans to the moon and, eventually, a path to Mars. But the agency has not indicated how much the latter could cost, either. Musk's personal wealth has ballooned to about $100 billion at least on paper thanks in no small part to a series of stock bonuses from his electric car company, Tesla. Musk has also repeatedly said that he hopes profits from SpaceX's other businesses, including a satellite-internet venture that is currently in beta testing, will help fuel development of his Mars rocket. SpaceX has also raised nearly $6 billion from banks and venture capitalists, swelling into one of the most highly-valued private companies in the world, according to data firm Pitchbook. Presumably, at least some investors will one day be looking to cash out. And that begs the question: Is there money to be made on Mars? SpaceX is likely still many, many years from developing all the technology a Mars settlement would require. The company is in the early stages of developing its Starship, a massive rocket and spaceship system that Musk hopes will ferry cargo and convoys of people across the at-minimum 30 million-mile void between Earth and Mars. Musk has estimated Starship development will cost up to $10 billion, and Musk said Aug. 31 that SpaceX will look to launch "hundreds" of satellites aboard Starship before entrusting it with human lives. If it proves capable of the trek to Mars, settlers will need air-tight habitats to shield them from toxic air and the deadly radiation that rains down on its surface. "It's not for the faint of heart," Musk said. "Good chance you'll die, and it's going to be tough going...It'd better be pretty glorious if it works out." But for at least the first 100 years that humans have a presence on Mars, the economic situation will be dubious, said Michael Meyer, the lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program, which recently launched the Perseverance rover to further study the planet robotically. Musk does have a plan for making Mars an attractive destination for long-term living: Terraforming, a hypothetical scenario in which humans make Mars more Earth-like by pumping gases into the atmosphere. It'd be an attempt to use the same greenhouse gases causing the climate crisis on our home planet to make Mars' atmosphere thicker, warmer and more hospitable to life. Musk has promoted the idea that the process could be kicked off by dropping nuclear bombs on the planet. The idea of terraforming arose from scientists who were kicking around ideas, Meyer said, but not from anyone who thought it was something humans could or should do. "It was an intellectual exercise," Meyer said. But there's barely any oxygen in Mars' atmosphere. And there's an infinitesimally small amount of water, meaning it will be extremely difficult to grow crops, much less create a Mars-wide water cycle. It's not even clear if there are enough resources on Mars to make terraforming possible at all. "I think 'Total Recall' has the right idea," he joked. "You'd need to use some alien technology." Musk has also acknowledged that terraforming will be extremely resource-intensive. But the concept is ingrained in SpaceX lore, so much so that the company sells t-shirts saying "Nuke Mars" and "Occupy Mars." Musk is frequently seen wearing one. There are no known resources on Mars that would be valuable enough to mine and sell back to Earthly businesses, Meyer said. "Part of the reason [scientists are] interested in Mars is it's pretty much made of the same stuff as Earth," he told CNN Business. Musk has previously suggested that he agrees, noting that the resources on Mars would likely be valuable only to settlers hoping to build up industries on the planet. He noted eight years ago that the only "economic exchange" between Mars and Earth dwellers would be "intellectual property." Money-making ambitions aside, the idea that Mars could one day become home to a metropolis and potentially a tourist destination is acknowledged by mainstream scientists like Meyer, NASA's lead Mars expert. Meyer said that, 20 years ago, he attended a presentation about Mars business and tourism. "I went in pretty skeptical of this... and coming away I was thinking, 'Well, [there are] some pretty reasonable ideas," he said, adding that he now embraces the idea that businesspeople could make space travel more accessible. Meyer added that, in his mind, it's not if Mars travel will one day be a profitable venture, but when. Musk hasn't expanded on his ideas for making money on Mars, but his musings about exporting intellectual property echoed a book written by Robert Zubrin, an influential but polarizing figure in the space community and a longtime Musk ally. "Ideas may be another possible export for Martian colonists," Zubrin, who heads the Mars Society, wrote in his oft-cited 1996 book, "The Case for Mars." To look towards a potential future of humanity, Zubrin looks to its past. "Just as the labor shortage prevalent in colonial and 19th century America drove the creation of Yankee Ingenuity's flood of inventions, so the conditions of extreme labor shortage...will tend to drive Martian ingenuity." In a recent interview with CNN Business, Zubrin stood by those ideas, arguing American colonization has worked. Zubrin again harkens back to the colonization of North America as an example of how would-be Mars colonists might fund their trip, either by liquidating their Earthly possessions to fund the trip or by "indentured servitude." "If you say, okay, you want to go to Mars, you're going to want to offer something," Zubrin said. "If you look at Colonial America, a middle-class person could travel to America by liquidating their farm. But, the proceeds would give them a one-way ticket. But if you are working, what you could do is sell your labor for seven years." Zubrin, who has worked with conservative think tanks but says he is not politically affiliated, also acknowledged that colonization can go hand-in-hand with exploitation: "If somebody says, 'But won't there be exploitation there?' Well sure, that's what people do to each other all the time." (Musk has not expounded on his thoughts about colonialism, and he donates to both US political parties.) To be clear: The story of American colonialism also included chattel slavery and the brutalization and erasure of many native populations. "There aren't native Martians," Zubrin said. But Damien Williams a teacher and PhD student at Virginia Tech who studies the intersection of advanced technologies, ethics and societies warns that the stories we may tell ourselves about America and exploring outer space can leave out key context. It's still unclear, for example, who Musk envisions as the first Mars settlers. NASA astronauts? Ultra-wealthy thrill-seekers? SpaceX employees? "This competitive stance of expansion and exploration, it's not necessarily a bad thing," Williams, who also works with the advocacy group Just Space Alliance, said. But, when it comes to a private company using resources that international treaties say do not belong to anyone "Who's been brought in and how? Who's been left out and why? These things matter." Musk's use of the word "colonization" also belies a long history of Americans and other Western nations enriching themselves by exploiting and enslaving others. And when it comes to colonizing another planet, it's not just the microbial lifeforms that may exist on Mars that should be concerned. Without clearly defined objectives and agreements, SpaceX's colony could create a "contentious sphere of conflict," Williams said. "The values that we take with us into space exploration should be front and center," he added. SpaceX did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
The latest on the coronavirus pandemic: Live updates - CNN International
The coronavirus pandemic has brought countries to a standstill. In many places, as countries reopen, Covid-19 cases are on the rise. Follow here for the latest.
Brazil has reported 41,576 new Covid-19 cases and 709 deaths in the past 24 hours, the countrys health ministry reported Saturday. The total number of confirmed coronavirus infections now stands at 3.3 million. At least 107,232 have died from coronavirus in the country, according to the ministrys data. São Paulo state reported 11,408 new cases and 167 new deaths on Saturday, down from 11,667 and 289 the day before. São Paulo has been the state hardest hit by the coronavirus in Brazil, with 697,530 total confirmed cases and 26,780 confirmed deaths.
Every Sumatran rhino has died in Malaysia. Scientists want to bring them back with cloning technology - CNN International
Scientists want to use cells from dead Sumatran rhinos to bring the population back from the brink of extinction.
(CNN)Iman, the last Sumatran rhino in Malaysia, died last November -- bringing the endangered species one step closer to extinction. Now, Malaysian scientists are hoping to use tissues and cells from Iman and other dead rhinos to bring the population back. The project, conducted by a team at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), focuses on stem cell technology and in-vitro fertilization. The process is similar to cloning technology, in that it aims to give birth to a new baby using cells from old rhinos, said Dr. Muhammad Lokman Bin Md. Isa, one of the lead researchers. "Before the three rhinos (the last survivors in Malaysia) died, we got their cells, and the cells are still alive -- which is why I'm quite confident," Dr. Lokman told CNN. "If you don't have any cells, or if we just had tissue that aren't living anymore, we can't do anything with that. We can only put it in a book or museum. But now we have a living thing that we can use." Here's how the process works: In collaboration with the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA), the researchers collected cells and tissue from the last three Sumatran rhinos at BORA's sanctuary -- including Iman -- before each died. The cells came from the rhinos' hearts, lungs, brains and kidneys. Crucially, the team collected stem cells -- basically, raw material from which cells with specialized functions can be generated. There are then two possible approaches. The first is to develop these stem cells into an egg and sperm, to create an embryo that will be implanted into a surrogate mother. The surrogate will likely be another rhino, either a Sumatran rhino from another country or another species. The second method is to take the egg of a surrogate animal, remove the nucleus, and join it with a Sumatran rhino's somatic cell. This technique was famously used to clone Dolly the sheep in 1996. Lokman and his colleagues are trying both ways. Because the stem cells self-replicate, the team has a decent stockpile and can try different methods to see which works best. The team is still in the preliminary stages; next, they need to analyze the cells to create a genomic database, differentiate the stem cells, and work with zoos and conservancies to find a suitable surrogate female. There are a number of ways this could go wrong; the fertilization could fail, and even if it doesn't, the pregnancy could fail once the embryo is implanted. But there are signs of hope from similar projects around the world. A Kenyan conservancy houses the only two northern white rhinos left worldwide, Fatu and Najin, who are both female. Last year, scientists successfully fertilized in-vitro embryos collected from the two remaining females with sperm from dead males, which was celebrated as a major step forward in saving the subspecies. The race against extinction Iman died at BORA's Borneo Rhino Sanctuary last year, where she had been kept and cared for since her capture in 2014. She was 25, and had cancer, which was starting to cause her pain because a tumor was putting pressure on her bladder. Her death came months after Tam, Malaysia's last male Sumatran rhino, died after suffering organ failure. Conservationists had hoped to breed Tam and Iman. There are a number of factors that complicated these efforts; the female rhinos at the reserve turned out to be infertile, and plans to set up an international breeding collaboration ultimately failed due to "a series of incidents, some sociopolitical, some biological, and some simply bad luck," said Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation, in a statement after Tam's death. Sumatran rhinos, the world's smallest rhino species, are listed as critically endangered by the World Wildlife Fund. The International Rhino Foundation estimates that there are less than 80 alive in the world. With Iman's death, the IRF declared the species extinct in the wild in Malaysia; the remaining rhinos are scattered across Indonesia and Thailand. The population's decline was initially caused by poaching for their horns, which were coveted as ingredients in traditional Asian medicine. Later, it was exacerbated by fragmented habitats and human encroachment on the environment, which prevent the rhinos from gathering and breeding. The international trade in rhino horn has been banned since 1977, regulated by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), but individual countries determine their own laws that allow or prohibit its sale domestically, according to Save the Rhino. There are now only five remaining rhino species worldwide, and all are threatened. Some sub-species have already vanished; the western black rhino, native to western Africa, was declared extinct in 2013 due to poaching. The last male northern white rhino died last year, which is what pushed scientists to try in-vitro fertilization with Fatu and Najin.
New US sanctions could slowly strangle Huawei's smartphone business - CNN
Huawei recently became the world's biggest smartphone maker, beating Samsung and Apple at their own game by offering consumers state of the art phones with amazing cameras at competitive prices.
Hong Kong (CNN Business)Huawei recently became the world's biggest smartphone maker, beating Samsung and Apple(AAPL) at their own game by offering consumers state of the art phones with amazing cameras at competitive prices. All that is now at risk after the latest US sanctions on the Chinese tech champion. Consumers around the world were already abandoning the brand because the phones no longer come with some popular US apps. Now, a blow to its hardware supply chain is putting its advantage in the Chinese market on shaky ground. The company will lose its supply of super fast, advanced Kirin chipsets startingfrom next month, because they are made by contract manufacturers that use US technology, Huawei's head of consumer business Richard Yu said at a conference last week. "This is a very big loss for us," Yu said on Friday, according to the Associated Press and multiple local media reports. Huawei declined to comment on the reports. Huawei's chipmaking subsidiary HiSilicon designs the Kirin chips, and then contracts Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to make them. But earlier this year, the Trump administration banned any semiconductor manufacturer using US technology from supplying Huawei without first obtaining a license to do so. That restriction applies to TSMC. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether it had applied for a license to sell products to Huawei. In an earnings call last month, TSMC chairman Mark Liu said that the company is complying with the US regulations, and plans to stop shipping chips to Huawei after September 14. Huawei should have enough Kirin chipsets to get through this year, said Nicole Peng, an analyst with market research firm Canalys. After that, the company will likely turn to MediaTek, another Taiwanese chipmaker. Will Wong, an analyst with IDC, said Huawei would still be able to buy that company's "off-the-shelf" chipsets. But using MediaTek's standard chipsets will erode Huawei's competitive advantages when it comes to hardware, the analysts said. Losing Kirin chipsets "will definitely affect the unique selling point" of Huawei's smartphones, Peng said. Kirin chips are specifically designed to power Huawei's more expensive devices. They are faster and more advanced than MediaTek's chipsets, and have better artificial intelligence, imaging and 5G capabilities, according to Peng. That's why Huawei uses them in flagship phones such as its Mate and P models. Being "unable to produce Kirin chips will create a large uncertainty to [Huawei], especially for their high-end phones," Wong said. "Nevertheless, Huawei still has a strong national brand image in China, which is a great driver" for the company. Huawei outsold every other brand in China last quarter, shipping roughly 40 million smartphones in China, up more than 8% compared to the same period last year, according to Canalys and IDC. Those brisk sales in mainland China, along with rival Samsung's slump, also helped Huawei overtake the South Korean company to become the world's top smartphone seller. Shops in China reopened earlier than other countries still grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, helping to boost Huawei's sales. Analysts say, though, that Huaweiis likely to fall behindagain as stores reopen and sales resume in other global markets. Huawei's internationalsmartphone business was already struggling after the United States imposed a separate restriction on the company last year that barred American firms such as Google(GOOGL) from supplying it with tech and software. As a result, Huawei's latest smartphones don't have access to popular apps such as Gmail, YouTube and Google maps, making them a lot less attractive to buyers outside of China. Before the US restrictions, Huawei's sales outside of China made up nearly half of its smartphone shipments. Now, it sells over 70% of its smartphones in China, according to Canalys. And even at home, Huawei faces fierce competition from domestic rivals Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi, who all have established relationships with chipset makers such as MediaTek and Qualcomm(QCOM), said Peng. With the company forced to rely on less powerful chips that many of its domestic competitors also use, it will likely lose its home advantage. "These vendors will continue aggressively expanding, while Huawei is weakening next year in China," Peng said.