In the spotlight
China accuses U.S. of whipping up panic over virus as stocks tumble
China accused the United States on Monday of whipping up panic over a fast-spreading coronavirus with travel restrictions and evacuations as Chinese stocks plunged on the first day back from the extended Lunar New Year holiday.
UN health agency works with Google to combat coronavirus misinformation
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is working with Google to ensure people get facts from the UN health agency first when they search for information about the new coronavirus that recently emerged in China.
Bat soup, dodgy cures and ‘diseasology’: the spread of coronavirus misinformation
Fake news and conspiracy theories about the origin of the coronavirus have swiftly followed the outbreak around the world. The quick spread of the virus from its origins in China’s Hubei province, and the lack of early detail about where it comes from or how to treat it, has provided ample room for speculation.
Coronavirus: the US laboratory developing a vaccine
Scientists in the US have told the BBC they could have a vaccine for the new coronavirus ready for use in China- before the end of the year. The pharmaceutical company Inovio is one of a number of research facilities urgently trying to develop a vaccine, as cases in China continue to soar.
An outbreak of racist sentiment as coronavirus reaches Australia
Recently, when Andy Miao takes the train to work in Sydney, he has noticed other people’s disapproving looks if he does not wear a face mask.Although he does not have the coronavirus, Mr. Miao, who is of Chinese heritage and grew up in Australia, knows it’s because of one reason: his ethnicity.
China virus injects fears for global supply chains
From carmaking to electronics and tourism, the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China is infecting companies around the world with anxiety about the impact on their supplies and earnings.
Agriculture & Environment
Fungi as food source for plants
The number of plant species that extract organic nutrients from fungi could be much higher than previously assumed. This was discovered by researchers from the University of Bayreuth and the University of Copenhagen through isotope investigations on Paris.
Germany’s new bioeconomy strategy criticised for overlooking agriculture, food production
Germany’s federal cabinet adopted a new bioeconomy strategy last week, which has immediately been criticised for hardly mentioning agricultural reform and focusing too much on technology and optimisation.
Even after death, animals are important in ecosystems
Even after death, animals are important in ecosystems. Animal carcasses play an important role in biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems, also over prolonged periods.
Transport & Energy
Increasing tropical land use is disrupting the carbon cycle
An international study led by researchers at Lund University in Sweden shows that the rapid increase in land use in the world’s tropical areas is affecting the global carbon cycle more than was previously known. By studying data from a new satellite imaging system, the researchers also found that the biomass in tropical forests is decreasing.
Apple’s self-driving car system could use voice, gesture guidance – Roadshow
Apple has its eye on self-driving car tech. Interacting with a future self-driving car could be a lot like working with some future interpretation of Apple iOS with voice, gesture and touch-enabled commands at your disposal.
UK allows role for Huawei in shaping 5G network
The British government on Tuesday said that companies such as Chinese tech firm Huawei would be allowed to participate in developing the country’s high-speed wireless 5G network, but that they would be excluded from “core” parts of the system.
Bitcoin has lost steam, but criminals still love it
The last few months have not been good for Bitcoin. The value of the digital tokens has steadily dropped. Bitcoin trading on cryptocurrency exchanges has slowed. And using bitcoins to buy legal items? That has also dropped. But one corner of the Bitcoin economy is still going strong: the sale of illegal drugs and other types of lawbreaking.
Why digital strategies fail: six pitfalls to avoid when going digital
In a recent McKinsey Quarterly article, Jacques Bughin, Tanguy Catlin, Martin Hirt and Paul Willmott of McKinsey wrote an article on “ Why Digital Strategies Fail .” In that article they describe five pitfalls that explain why so many companies fail to realize the benefits of going digital that were aspired and hoped for. I briefly summarize them below and add a sixth and at least as important one that should not be overlooked.
Food & Health
Cut meat and dairy intake ‘by a fifth’, report urges
People should cut the amount of beef, lamb and dairy produce they eat by a fifth to combat climate change, a report says. It says public bodies should lead the way by offering plant-based options with all meals. But it says if people don’t cut consumption willingly, taxes on meat and dairy might be needed.
Science policy & Communication
Google shows off far-flung AI research projects as calls for regulation mount
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are crucial to Google and its parent company Alphabet . Recently promoted Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has been talking about an “AI-first world” since 2016, and the company uses the technology across many of its businesses, from search advertising to self-driving cars.
#CohesionPolicy – European Commission helps transforming waste into energy in #Poland
The European Commission has approved two investments aimed at improving waste management in Poland, by transforming waste into energy. Almost €63 million from the Cohesion Fund will be allocated to build a municipal waste treatment plant in Gdańsk.
EU launches ‘toolbox’ to build secure 5G in Europe
The European Commission endorsed a joint 5G ‘toolbox’ Wednesday, a concerted EU approach to addressing security risks related to the building and protection of a European infrastructure for fifth-generation of mobile networks.
Low-calorie sweeteners do not mean low risk for infants
Many people turn to artificial or so-called natural sweeteners to cut calories and lose weight. A new study led by Dr. Raylene Reimer, PhD, published in the high-impact journal Gut discovered that the consumption of low-calorie sweeteners while pregnant increased body fat in their offspring and disrupted their gut microbiota – the trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that inhabit the intestinal tract and affect our health and risk of numerous diseases.