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Coronavirus: Risk of spread raised to ‘very high’ around world

Coronavirus: Risk of spread raised to ‘very high’ around world

World
The risk of the coronavirus outbreak's global spread and impact is at its highest possible level, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.The level has been raised to "very high" from "high" by WHO and brings the rest of the world in line with China, which was already at "very high". This means that an "immediate response" - within hours - is required as soon as a COVID-19 case is suspected.However, it would be a "big mistake" to switch from a public health strategy of containment to mitigation, where authorities accept the coronavirus is spreading, WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. ...

As forests burn around the world, drinking water is at risk

Technology
Fabric curtains stretch across the huge Warragamba Dam to trap ash and sediment expected to wash off wildfire-scorched slopes and into the reservoir that holds 80% of untreated drinking water for the Greater Sydney area. In Australia's national capital of Canberra, where a state of emergency was declared on Friday because of an out-of-control forest fire to its south, authorities are hoping a new water treatment plant and other measures will prevent a repeat of water quality problems and disruption that followed deadly wildfires 17 years ago. There have not yet been major impacts on drinking water systems in southeast Australia from the intense fires that have burned more than 40,000 square miles (104,000 square kilometers) since September. But authorities know from experience that the bi...
Google to buy Fitbit for around $2.1bn

Google to buy Fitbit for around $2.1bn

Technology
Google is to buy the fitness technology firm Fitbit for around $ 2.1bn.The move comes as the internet search giant looks to enter the fast-growing market for fitness trackers and smartwatches. The deal is expected to be sealed in 2020, subject to approval by Fitbit's shareholders and regulatory approvals.The firm also moved to reassure customers over data confidentiality, amid persisting concerns over the security of personal information online and how it is used by technology companies. Image: The deal is set to be sealed in 2020, subject to shareholder backing and regulatory approvals The firm's co-founder and chief executive James Park said: "More than 12 years ago, we set an audacious company vision - to make everyone in the world...
Angelina: Strong women ‘learn from men around them’

Angelina: Strong women ‘learn from men around them’

Entertainment
Angelina Jolie has championed the role men can play in shaping the personalities of young girls.The actress, who stars in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, also said female characters in films should not have to be portrayed as physically tough in order to be considered strong."I think that, so often, when a story's told which says 'this is a strong woman', she has to beat the man, or she has to be like the man, or she has to somehow not need the man," Jolie told journalists at the film's launch.Referring to her own character in the film and Princess Aurora, played by Elle Fanning, Jolie said: "We both very much need and love and learn from the men. "And so I think that's also an important message for young girls, to find their own p...
Giant planet around tiny star ‘should not exist’

Giant planet around tiny star ‘should not exist’

Science
Astronomers have discovered a giant planet that, they say, should not exist, according to current theories.The Jupiter-like world is unusually large compared with its host star, contradicting a widely held idea about the way planets form.The star, which lies 284 trillion km away, is an M-type red dwarf - the most common type in our galaxy.An international team of astronomers has reported its findings in the journal Science. "It's exciting because we've wondered for long a time whether giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn can form around such small stars," said Prof Peter Wheatley, from the University of Warwick, UK, who was not involved with the latest study."I think the general impression had been that these planets just didn't...