Library picture: Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, speaks at a UN conference in March 2009. Lavrov has denied that Russia was involved in the nerve agent attack in the UK earlier this month. Image credit: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre
Amazon signed French grocery deal and SpaceX launch disrupted GPS. Today’s breakfast briefing.
Canberra joins EU and US in ejecting Russian diplomats
Australia became the latest country to expel Russian diplomats, telling two “undeclared intelligence officers” to leave, according to the BBC. More than 20 western countries have ordered the expulsions of over 100 Russian diplomats, said to be spies, after the chemical weapon attack in Salisbury, England, on 4 March, according to the Guardian. Moscow called the moves “provocative” and a “unfriendly act”, said there was no proof that Russia was behind the attack, and promised to retaliate with its own expulsion of European and north American diplomats, France 24 and the Guardian reported.
Amazon strikes French grocery deal
Amazon has inked a distribution deal with France’s Casino Group, said the Financial Times. Groceries from Casino’s Monoprix brand will be available for delivery to subscribers of Amazon’s Prime Now service, starting in the Paris region, later this year. It is the e-commerce firm’s first alliance with a French retailer. Amazon bought the US supermarket chain Whole Foods last year.
Uber tests officially suspended by Arizona
The governor of Arizona has suspended Uber’s authorisation to test self-driving cars in the state following a fatal accident that killed a pedestrian last week, reported Reuters. Uber was testing about 100 self-driving cars in Arizona, the news agency said. Doug Ducey called the accident “an unquestionable failure.” Uber had voluntarily stopped testing of its autonomous vehicles following the accident. Separately, Uber sold its operations in southeastern Asia to its main regional rival, Grab, reported Recode.
Car firms market to Saudi women
Saudi Arabia has lifted its ban on women drivers, but as some automakers have found out, and PRI reported, not all Saudi women want to drive.
SpaceX rocket could have thrown off GPS system
A Falcon 9 rocket, launched by SpaceX in California last summer, has “ripped a humongous hole in Earth’s ionosphere,” reported The Register, a technology news site. It cited an article published in the scientific journal Advancing Earth and Space Science. The Falcon 9 carried a satellite for Taiwan’s space agency. Like all rocket launches, this one created a “shock acoustic wave”, although this one was 1,770,000 square kilometers, more than four times larger than the state of California, the site said. That, in turn, “could have led to a range of errors in GPS navigation of up to a meter”.
Netflix out at Cannes
Original Netflix films will no longer be able to compete for Palme d’Or prizes at the Cannes film festival, following a clarification of the festival’s rules which ban movies that have not been released in cinemas, according to the Hollywood Reporter.