As Amazon burns, Brazil’s Bolsonaro tells rest of world not to interfere

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Amid growing international criticism over the wildfires raging through the Amazon, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday admitted farmers could be illegally setting the rainforest ablaze but told foreign powers not to interfere. French President Emmanuel Macron and United Nations Secretary General António Guterres both took to Twitter to express concern about the fires that have reached a record number this year, devastating vast swathes of forest considered a vital bulwark against climate change. Bolsonaro responded angrily to what he regarded as meddling. “These countries that…

EU piles pressure on Brazil over Amazon fires

DUBLIN/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union piled pressure on Friday on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over fires raging in the Amazon basin, with Ireland and France saying they could block a trade deal and Finland urging a ban on Brazilian beef imports. FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of a deforested plot of the Amazon near Humaita, Amazonas State, Brazil August 22, 2019/File PhotoBolsonaro has rejected what he calls foreign interference in domestic affairs in Brazil, where vast tracts of the Amazon rainforest are ablaze in what is known as the…

The Google Home Mini’s mute switch makes privacy deliberate

In today’s digital age, it sometimes feels like hardware has taken a back seat to the software that drives our devices. Button of the Month is a monthly look at what some of those buttons and switches are like on devices old and new, and it aims to appreciate how we interact with our devices on a physical, tactile level. Smart home devices can make people uneasy, what with the “constantly listening to you” and the massive breach of privacy whereby paid human contractors turned out to be listening to…

Facebook learned about Cambridge Analytica as early as September 2015, new documents show

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC.Jim Watson | AFP | Getty ImagesNewly released documents appear to shed light on when Facebook first learned about potential violations by Cambridge Analytica, the firm that used Facebook data to profile and target voters in the 2016 U.S. election.The internal communication refers to concerns over Cambridge Analytica as early as Sept. 2015.Facebook released a blog post Friday…

EU drafts plan for hundred billion-dollar fund to take on US tech firms, reports say

Ursula von der Leyen, incoming president of the European Commission, left, speaks during news conference at the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday, July 16, 2019.Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesEuropean Union officials drafted a plan to launch a sovereign wealth fund to invest in companies that could compete with U.S. and Chinese tech giants, according to reports in the Financial Times and Politico.The reports, citing an internal document, said EU officials have drafted a document for a « European Future Fund » that would invest 100 billion euros…

Rockin ‘n’ rollin on Mars: Rolling Stones have space rock named after them

The Rolling Stones perform during their No Filter U.S. Tour at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, U.S., August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni(Reuters) – The Rolling Stones have rocked stages around the world in their more than 50-year career. But now their influence has gone into space after NASA’s Mars InSight Mission named a rock on the planet after the band. Slightly larger than a golf ball, the “Rolling Stones Rock” is said to have rolled some 3 feet (1 meter), spurred by the InSight spacecraft’s thrusters during touchdown on…

Chicago judge may tap special prosecutor to review actor Jussie Smollett’s case

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The case of ex-“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who sparked a firestorm in Chicago by reporting a racist attack authorities have ruled a hoax, returns to court on Friday, when local media say a judge may tap a special prosecutor to review the case. FILE PHOTO: Actor Jussie Smollett leaves court after charges against him were dropped by state prosecutors in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File PhotoThe actor, who is black and gay, stunned the city when he told police on Jan. 29 that two…

Amazon fires: Merkel and Macron urge G7 to debate ’emergency’

Media playback is unsupported on your device The French and German leaders say the record number of fires in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is an international crisis which must be discussed at this weekend’s G7 summit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the « acute emergency » belonged on the agenda, agreeing with French President Emmanuel Macron’s earlier rallying cry. « Our house is burning, » he tweeted. Environmental groups say the fires are linked to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s policies, which he denies. Mr Bolsonaro has also accused Mr Macron of…

The Amazon in Brazil is on fire – how bad is it?

Thousands of fires are ravaging the Amazon rainforest in Brazil – the most intense blazes for almost a decade. The northern states of Roraima, Acre, Rondônia and Amazonas have been particularly badly affected. However, images purported to be of the fires – including some shared under the hashtag #PrayforAmazonas – have been shown to be decades old or not even in Brazil. So what’s actually happening and how bad are the fires? There have been a lot of fires this year Brazil has seen a record number of fires in…

PC Andrew Harper: Family tribute to ‘hero’ officer

The family of a police officer killed while investigating a burglary have paid tribute to him as forces across the country held a minute’s silence. PC Andrew Harper, 28, died after he was dragged along the road by a vehicle in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, on 15 August. Thames Valley Police led the silence, which was observed by forces across the country, at 11:00 BST. PC Harper’s mother Debbie said she was moved by the « outpouring of love » since her son’s death. « We are devastated and bereft but as…

Center Parcs Longleat: Boy dies after becoming ill at resort

A boy has died after becoming ill at a Center Parcs resort. He is reported to have collapsed by the side of a swimming pool at the holiday chain’s « village » in Longleat, Wiltshire. The boy’s mother was heard « screaming » for her son to wake up amid desperate attempts to revive him, according to one eyewitness. Emergency services were called to the park on Saturday afternoon but were unable to resuscitate the boy. A spokesperson for Center Parcs said it was « deeply saddened by the tragic…

First day at school: Mum’s before-and-after photos of daughter go viral

Before-and-after photos of a five-year-old’s first day back at school have been shared thousands of times online after her mother posted the « really funny » images on Facebook. Lucie, from East Renfrewshire, « likes to be clean » and looked immaculate before she left home, mother Jill said. But by the end of a day of playing with her friends, her clothes were « a mess ». The photos were liked more than 10,000 times after Jill agreed to let a local newspaper put them on their page. «…

Facebook bans ads from The Epoch Times after huge pro-Trump buy

Facebook has banned The Epoch Times, a conservative news outlet that spent more money on pro-Trump Facebook advertisements than any group other than the Trump campaign, from any future advertising on the platform.The decision follows an NBC News report that The Epoch Times had shifted its spending on Facebook in the last month, seemingly in an effort to obfuscate its connection to some $2 million worth of ads that promoted the president and conspiracy theories about his political enemies. « Over the past year we removed accounts associated with the…

Hong Kong airport faces renewed protest turbulence after last week’s fracas

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong braced for an anti-government protest “stress test” of the airport this weekend, as weeks of sometimes violent demonstrations in the Chinese-ruled city showed no signs of let-up amid rising tension between China and some Western nations. FILE PHOTO: Officials post a court injunction to stop people from obstructing airport operations at an entrance to Terminal 1 of Hong Kong Airport, China August 14, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas PeterThe airport, reached by a gleaming suspension bridge carrying both rail and road traffic, was forced to close last…

Japan says South Korea fails to grasp North Korea threat with scrapping of pact

TOKYO/SEOUL (Reuters) – Japanese Minister of Defence Takeshi Iwaya said on Friday South Korea’s decision to end an intelligence-sharing pact was regrettable and showed it failed to appreciate the growing security threat posed by North Korea. South Korea officially informed Japan on Friday of its decision to scrap the intelligence-sharing agreement, further straining ties amid a dispute over South Koreans pressed into forced labor during Japan’s wartime occupation of Korea. “North Korea’s repeated missile tests threaten national security, and cooperating between Japan and South Korea and with the U.S. is…

How a not-for-profit charity is helping Apple, Goldman Sachs and others to embrace renewables

The CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, is a not-for-profit charity. It operates a « global disclosure system » which allows businesses, states, regions and cities to « measure and manage » their impact on the environment. With offices and partners in 50 countries, the CDP’s reach is global. It says that, through its work, it has managed to create the « most comprehensive collection of self-reported environmental data » on the planet. Paul Dickinson is the executive chair of the CDP. He told CNBC’s Sustainable Energy that…

Qatar may be losing the top spot as world’s biggest LNG exporter

Workers walk towards a plant at the Queensland Curtis Liquefied Natural Gas (QCLNG) project site in Gladstone, Australia, on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. Patrick Hamilton | Bloomberg | Getty Images Qatar will lose its title as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) within the next year, as Australia ramps up production on a slew of multi-billion dollar export projects. « Australia and Qatar continued to jostle for the title of the world’s largest LNG exporter over the first five months of 2019, » the Australian government said…

Huawei launches A.I. chip as it looks to defy US pressure, pitting it against giants like Nvidia

A Huawei logo on display at MWC Shanghai in June 2019.Arjun Kharpal | CNBCHuawei announced the commercial availability of an artificial intelligence (AI) chip Friday, pitting it against major American giants like Qualcomm and Nvidia, as it looks to defy continued U.S. pressure and prove it can still bring out core technology.The chip, called the Ascend 910, was first unveiled in October last year and is aimed at data centers. Companies using AI applications require huge amounts of data to train smart algorithms, which can take several days or weeks.…

Asian stocks cautious ahead of Powell’s speech; yuan at fresh 11-1/2 year low

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares struggled to make headway on Friday as uncertainty over how much further the U.S. Federal Reserve would cut interest rates added to investors’ worries over slowing global growth. A passerby walks past in front of a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Issei KatoWith the U.S.-China trade war dragging on, and political tumult in Hong Kong, Italy and Britain adding to the tense backdrop, investors were keenly awaiting Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at a gathering of central bankers…

Hong Kong protesters target airport week after arrivals hall mayhem

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong braced for multiple anti-government demonstrations on Friday and a “stress test” of the airport this weekend, as protests in the Chinese-ruled city showed no signs of let-up and diplomatic tension between China and some Western nations rose. Students attend a rally to call for political reforms outside City Hall in Hong Kong, China, August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Kai PfaffenbachThe airport, built on reclaimed land and reached by train or a highway over a series of spectacular interlocking bridges, was forced to close last week and…

OnePlus says its TV will have a 55-inch QLED panel

OnePlus is continuing the dripfeed of information about its upcoming TV, following news of its September release date and the revelation that it’ll be called the OnePlus TV. Now we know the first technical details of the product, courtesy of a tweet from OnePlus India: it uses a 55-inch QLED panel. Previous filings have suggested Android-based models of between 43 and 75 inches in size, with the 43-inch variant seemingly also bound for India. This announcement doesn’t necessarily rule any of that out, but it does at least confirm that…

‘People were hiding’: Bangladesh bid to repatriate Rohingya stalls as refugees refuse

COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh (Reuters) – An attempt to begin repatriating thousands of Rohingya Muslims living in camps in Bangladesh stalled on Thursday after nearly 300 refugee families refused to go back to Myanmar, almost a year after a similar effort failed amid protests. FILE PHOTO: Rohingya refugee children look on at the Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, November 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir HossainLast week, the neighbors said they had agreed Aug. 22 as the start date for the return of 3,450 people cleared by Myanmar, of more than 730,000…

Two years on, a look at the Rohingya crisis

YANGON (Reuters) – This month marks the second anniversary of the fleeing of more than 730,000 Rohingya from Myanmar’s northwest Rakhine State to Bangladesh after a military-led crackdown in response to an attack by Muslim militants on Myanmar police posts. FILE PHOTO: Rohingya refugees, who crossed the border from Myanmar two days before, walk after they received permission from the Bangladeshi army to continue on to the refugee camps, in Palang Khali, near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo Here is a timeline of key events in…

Pompeo says the US message on Huawei is clear. Trump’s words say otherwise

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week the U.S. has been very clear about its stance toward Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. « No mixed messages, not at all, » Pompeo told CNBC earlier this week. « President Trump has been unambiguous. I don’t think there’s a mixed message at all. » « The threat of having Chinese telecom systems inside of American networks or inside of networks around the world presents an enormous risk — a national security risk. Our mission set is to find a way to reduce that…

Oil prices eke out small gains ahead of Fed Chair speech

Oil operations in the Permian Basin near Midland, Texas Nick Oxford | Reuters Oil prices clawed back the previous day’s losses on Friday, with Brent nudging above $60 a barrel, as tighter supplies from key producers offset slowing demand growth while investors await clues from the Federal Reserve on U.S. monetary policy. Brent crude rose 10 cents to $60.02 a barrel by 0118 GMT, while U.S. crude futures were at $55.38 a barrel, up 3 cents. Both contracts were on track for a second weekly gain. « Oil is set to trade…

Hong Kong gears up for fresh protests as activists target airport

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong braced on Friday for further demonstrations and a “stress test” of the city’s international airport at the weekend, as nearly three months of anti-government protests showed no sign of abating. General view of the central district of Hong Kong, China, August 22 , 2019. REUTERS/Kai PfaffenbachMultiple protests are planned for Friday, including a march by accountants to government headquarters and a “Baltic Chain” event where protesters will join hands across different districts in the Chinese territory. In 1989 an estimated two million people joined…

Bernie Sanders proposes $16.3 trillion Green New Deal plan

WASHINGTON, August 22 (Reuters) – Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders unveiled a climate change strategy on Thursday that would mobilize $16.3 trillion to help the U.S. generate 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and achieve “full decarbonization” by 2050. The plan would “launch a decade of the Green New Deal,” a 10-year federal “mobilization” that would factor climate change into every policy action from immigration to foreign policy while promising to create 20 million jobs in the process. The plan outlines dozens of policies aimed aggressively moving the…

Five people killed in stampede at Algiers rap concert

ALGIERS (Reuters) – At least five people were killed in a stampede at a packed rap concert in the Algerian capital on Thursday night, a hospital source said. Thousands had gathered at the concert of local rap star Abderraouf Derradji, known as “Soolking”, in a stadium in Algiers. No further details were immediately available Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; Editing by Sandra MalerOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. Source: Reuters

Amazon fires: ‘Our house is burning’, Macron warns ahead of G7

Media playback is unsupported on your device French President Emmanuel Macron has said the record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest is an « international crisis » that needs to be on the top of the agenda at the G7 summit. « Our house is burning, » he tweeted. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said his government was « open to dialogue » about the surge in fires. But he said calls to discuss the issue at the G7 summit, which Brazil is not participating in, evoke « a misplaced…

Google Photos now lets you search for text in pictures you’ve taken

Google made a subtle announcement today on Twitter: it’s in the process of rolling out new AI features for its Lens platform that will let you search your Google Photos library for text that appears within photos and screenshots. Then, you’ll then be able to easily copy and paste that text into a note, document, or form. Both of the new features make use of a technique known as optical character recognition (OCR), with the copy/paste option building on Lens’ existing ability to understand and pull out the text found…