Technology Enhances Soccer Watching Experience

Football fans are watching the World Cup on multiple screens in bars, on their phones while they should be working, on TVs at home with their friends. One day, they could be following the action in 3D. Researchers at the University of Washington are developing a way to watch soccer games and other sporting matches as if you were in the stadium, by using augmented reality devices. Faiza Elmasry takes a look at the new technology in this report, narrated by Faith Lapidus.

Rising Greenhouse Gases Making Food Less Nutritious

Temperatures around the world are rising as humans burn coal, oil and other fossil fuels for energy. Burning those fuels releases heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But it does more than that. CO2 is vital for plant growth. While having more of it sounds like a good thing, scientists are finding it is not always that simple. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Rising Greenhouse Gases Making Food Less Nutritious

Temperatures around the world are rising as humans burn coal, oil and other fossil fuels for energy. Burning those fuels releases heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But it does more than that. CO2 is vital for plant growth. While having more of it sounds like a good thing, scientists are finding it is not always that simple. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Fingerprinting Technology Could Save Endangered Pangolins

Pangolins are the world’s most illegally trafficked animal. Eight species of the elusive mammals are found in Africa and Southeast Asia, but as many as 300 are poached every day, destined for markets in Vietnam and China, where their meat is considered a delicacy and their scales believed to have medicinal properties. Researchers in the UK are hoping to deter pangolin poaching with fingerprint technology that’s designed to identify poachers and bring them to justice. VOA’s Julie Taboh explains.

Fingerprinting Technology Could Save Endangered Pangolins

Pangolins are the world’s most illegally trafficked animal. Eight species of the elusive mammals are found in Africa and Southeast Asia, but as many as 300 are poached every day, destined for markets in Vietnam and China, where their meat is considered a delicacy and their scales believed to have medicinal properties. Researchers in the UK are hoping to deter pangolin poaching with fingerprint technology that’s designed to identify poachers and bring them to justice. VOA’s Julie Taboh explains.

First Test-Tube Baby Born 40 Years Ago This Month

Forty years ago this month, the first test-tube baby was born in what is now called in vitro fertilization. British baby Louise Brown was born July 25, 1978. She’s married now with two children who were born naturally. A new exhibition at the Science Museum in London is showcasing the anniversary and the technological advances achieved through in vitro fertilization. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.

First Test-Tube Baby Born 40 Years Ago This Month

Forty years ago this month, the first test-tube baby was born in what is now called in vitro fertilization. British baby Louise Brown was born July 25, 1978. She’s married now with two children who were born naturally. A new exhibition at the Science Museum in London is showcasing the anniversary and the technological advances achieved through in vitro fertilization. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.

Pacific Leaders Sign on to Australian Internet Cabling Scheme, Shutting Out China

Pacific nations Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands have signed on to a joint undersea internet cable project, funded mostly by Australia, that forestalls plans by Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to lay the links itself.

Wednesday’s pact comes as China pushes for influence in a region Australia views as its backyard, amid souring ties after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last year accused Beijing of meddling in Canberra’s affairs.

Australia will pay two-thirds of the project cost of A$136.6 million ($100 million) under the deal, signed on a visit to Brisbane by Solomon Islands Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

“We spend billions of dollars a year on foreign aid and this is a very practical way of investing in the future economic growth of our neighbors in the Pacific,” Turnbull told reporters about the deal.

The project, for which Australian telecom firm Vocus Group Ltd is building the cable, will link the two nations to the Australian mainland, besides connecting the Solomons capital Honiara with the archipelago’s outer islands.

For years, Western intelligence agencies have worried over Huawei’s ties to the Chinese government and the possibility that its equipment could be used for espionage.

Australia, which is poised to ban Huawei from its domestic 5G mobile network on the advice of its intelligence services, raised “concerns” that scuppered a Huawei offer for cabling to the Solomons, Houenipwela has previously told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Huawei has said it was never informed of any security problems with its planned cables for the Solomons, where Chinese activity has attracted additional attention, as it is one of six countries in the Pacific to maintain ties with Taiwan. 

China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own and has never renounced the use of force to bring under its control what it sees as a wayward province.

Pacific Leaders Sign on to Australian Internet Cabling Scheme, Shutting Out China

Pacific nations Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands have signed on to a joint undersea internet cable project, funded mostly by Australia, that forestalls plans by Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to lay the links itself.

Wednesday’s pact comes as China pushes for influence in a region Australia views as its backyard, amid souring ties after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last year accused Beijing of meddling in Canberra’s affairs.

Australia will pay two-thirds of the project cost of A$136.6 million ($100 million) under the deal, signed on a visit to Brisbane by Solomon Islands Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

“We spend billions of dollars a year on foreign aid and this is a very practical way of investing in the future economic growth of our neighbors in the Pacific,” Turnbull told reporters about the deal.

The project, for which Australian telecom firm Vocus Group Ltd is building the cable, will link the two nations to the Australian mainland, besides connecting the Solomons capital Honiara with the archipelago’s outer islands.

For years, Western intelligence agencies have worried over Huawei’s ties to the Chinese government and the possibility that its equipment could be used for espionage.

Australia, which is poised to ban Huawei from its domestic 5G mobile network on the advice of its intelligence services, raised “concerns” that scuppered a Huawei offer for cabling to the Solomons, Houenipwela has previously told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Huawei has said it was never informed of any security problems with its planned cables for the Solomons, where Chinese activity has attracted additional attention, as it is one of six countries in the Pacific to maintain ties with Taiwan. 

China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own and has never renounced the use of force to bring under its control what it sees as a wayward province.

In Purge, Twitter Removing ‘Suspicious’ Followers

Social networking platform Twitter announced Wednesday it will be removing accounts it had deemed suspicious from user’s follower counts, as part of a recent push to promote accuracy on the website. This could reduce the number of “followers” of some of the website’s most popular users, including politicians and celebrities.

The website had locked accounts of users where Twitter “detected sudden changes in account behavior,” such as sharing misleading links, being blocked by a large number of accounts that account had interacted with, or a large number of unsolicited replies to other users’ tweets, Twitter general counsel Vijaya Gadde wrote. The accounts are locked, preventing one from logging in and using the account until the account’s owner verified their use.

Wednesday’s change will remove these locked accounts from users’ follower counts, which are visible on a user’s account page and often are used as a barometer of an individual’s sway on the website, which 336 million users log into every month, according to USA Today.

Gadde wrote that while the average Twitter user will see their follower count drop only by about four, popular accounts could see a more dramatic drop in the number of their followers.

In the wake of reports that Russia had used fake accounts platform to help sow discord in the American public in the lead-up and aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey pledged in March 2018 to help clean up the website.

And on Friday, The Washington Post reported that Twitter had suspended more than a million accounts a day in recent months — upward of 70 million in the months of May and June 2018 alone.

“I wish Twitter had been more proactive sooner,” Sen. Mark Warner [D-Virginia] the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told the Post. “I’m glad that — after months of focus on this issue — Twitter appears to be cracking down on the use of bots and other fake accounts, though there is still much work to do.”

Following the Post’s report, U.S. President Donald Trump, who often was the recipient of support from Russian-linked accounts, posted this tweet:

One such Twitter account suspended in 2017, @TEN_GOP, purporting to be related to the Tennessee Republican Party, had its tweets shared on the platform by Trump White House officials such as Kellyanne Conway and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

In February 2018, special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian influence in the Trump campaign and the 2016 election, named the account in an indictment, alleging it was one of many on social media that “primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”