Protests continue in Sudan after a military coup. Pictured: Bottled water is distributed to protestors, 11 April 2019. Photo: Sudanese Professionals Association (a group organising anti-government protests)
Uber reveals losses, Israeli moon mission fails and some geeky weekend reading. Delano’s breakfast briefing for Friday.
Sudan protestors reject curfew, military coup
Protestors defied a curfew imposed by Sudan’s army and continued to rally outside the defense ministry, after the military ousted Omar al-Bashir, the country’s president for 30 years (who’s wanted by the International Criminal Court), and announced two years of military rule. Protestors demanded a civilian government. Reported by the AFP, BBC, DW and Guardian.
Assange arrested after 7 years of Ecuadorian asylum
Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, was arrested by British police at Ecuador’s embassy in London, after Quito withdrew his asylum status. He was quickly found guilty of breaching the terms of his bail granted in 2012. The US has requested Assange’s extradition on a computer hacking charge. Reported by DW, the Guardian and Reuters.
Brunei LGBTQ community reaction to anti-gay penalties
Turmes named on Politico’s “40 MEPs who mattered” list
The Green party’s Claude Turmes was named one of the “40 lawmakers who have had the greatest impact on the most high-profile debates of the past five years” by the political insider news service Politico. Turmes became a cabinet minister in May 2018.
Mersch adds regulator role
Luxembourg’s Yves Mersch, member of the European Central Bank’s executive board, was named vice chair of the ECB’s bank supervision branch, reported Bloomberg and Reuters. The post had been vacant for 2 months.
Uber says it’s worth $90bn-$100bn but may not turn a profit
The ride hailing and delivery company Uber warned in its IPO filing that it “may not achieve profitability.” Uber lost $3bn on $11.3bn in revenue last year; it hopes to raise around $10bn in the floatation. Reported by the BBC, Financial Times and Reuters.
NY investor sues Czech billionaire over Luxembourg transactions
Kingstown Capital Management, a hedge fund, has sued a Czech real estate mogul in New York City, alleging he illicitly gained control of a Luxembourg-based property developer and sold its best assets at “distressed prices” to investment vehicles he secretly owned. Reported by Crain’s New York Business, the Financial Times and StreetInsider.com.
Israeli lunar spacecraft crashes
The first privately funded mission to the moon has failed. Israel’s “Beresheet” crashed into the moon after its engine failed. The spacecraft only cost $100m, making it one of the cheaper lunar endeavours. Reported by the BBC, CNN and DW.
Amazon workers listening to Alexa conversations
Staff improving Amazon’s speech recognition software “listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices,” according to Bloomberg. “The team comprises a mix of contractors and full-time Amazon employees who work in outposts from Boston to Costa Rica, India and Romania,” the news agency reported.
Here’s 13 science & technology stories you may have missed
“Inmates at two prisons in Finland are doing a new type of labor: classifying data to train artificial intelligence algorithms for a startup,” reported The Verge. “A Russian defense contractor has patented a drone that uses a shotgun to blast other drones out of the sky,” according to Engadget. Researchers conducted test phishing attacks on 50 university administrators and had a success rate of 100% within 2 hours, reported The Register. The BBC has a rare interview with a cybersecurity expert named Fabian, who’s helped hundreds of computer users foil ransomware attacks and earned the wrath of the gangs behind the extortion attempts. Researchers have developed a new approach to writing computer code which creates software that “is completely invulnerable to the main types of hacking attacks that have felled other programs in the past,” according to Quanta Magazine. Relativity Space, a Los Angeles-based startup that 3D prints launch rockets, has signed Canada’s Telesat as its first customer, per MIT Technology Review. Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft appears to have created the first ever artificial crater in an asteroid, as part of its mission to collect asteroid samples and return them to earth, said Science magazine. Wine tasting “engages more of our brain than any other human behavior,” argues Gordon M. Shepherd, a neuroscientist at Yale University, in a book reviewed by Food & Wine. The International Space Station is really, really full of microbes, per Gizmodo. The European Commission published preliminary AI ethics guidelines that “are about stopping AI from running amuck, but on the level of admin and bureaucracy, not Asimov-style murder mysteries,” wrote The Verge. Shocking the brains of older people with electricity improved their memory for about 50 minutes, according to a study described by MIT Technology Review and Science magazine. A magazine writer “was accidentally locked out of his iPad for 49 years” by his 3 year old son, according to ABC7. It actually would be rather difficult for terrorists to shut down the entire internet, according to this article on Vice Motherboard. Police in the US state of Oregon responded to a report of a home invader, which it turned out, as Cnet and NPR reported, was a robot vacuum cleaner. A doctor in Taiwan extracted 4 living bees from a woman’s eye, reported the BBC.