Latest AFP Stories

2010-11-01 09:35:00

Marijuana usage for medicinal purposes has been legal in California since 1996, but a new, hard-fought referendum will be on the ballot Tuesday for voters to decide whether or not to become the first US state to legalize all marijuana consumption, cultivation and trade. Proposition 19 would allow people ages 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to 25 square feet of pot plants. A passing vote could also pave the way for large-scale commercial cultivation, though...

2010-10-25 09:20:00

Capital punishment sentences across the country are being postponed due to a shortage of a drug used to carry out the executions, the AFP news agency reported on Sunday. According to reporter Lucile Malandain, "Only one pharmaceutical company in the United States, Hospira, currently manufactures the drug, the anesthetic sodium thiopental"¦ But it is out of stock and will not be able to resume production until the first quarter of 2011, and Hospira's most recent batch is nearing its...

2010-10-13 06:30:00

Officials said the U.S. lifted a ban on Tuesday on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico imposed after the BP oil spill. "We have decided it is now appropriate to lift the suspension on deepwater drilling for those operators that are able to clear the higher bar that we have set for safety," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told the AFP news agency. President Barack Obama ordered a six-month freeze on deepwater offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico shortly after the BP oil disaster...

2010-09-27 09:20:00

Speaking before a business conference in Kuala Lumpur, entrepreneur Richard Branson confirmed that his Virgin Galactic company will be ready to begin commercial space flights within the next 18 months, French news agency AFP reported on Monday. "We just finished building SpaceShipTwo. We are 18 months away from taking people into space," the British billionaire told those attending the conference. According to the AFP, he also noted that the cost of the service would begin at $200,000....

2010-09-06 07:40:00

People once restricted from a large part of society due to physical and mental impairments are now finding a virtual world of Internet gadgets, tools and software that offers them opportunity and equality. "It is not about being able to do everything; it is about being able to do what you possibly can given your condition and the technology available," Victor Tsaran, a project manager at Yahoo! "Ëœaccessibility lab' told the AFP news agency. Tsaran, who can scour the web at...

2010-08-11 12:43:49

Contractors are set to start salvaging the wreckage of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which could provide key evidence for a criminal investigation. The U.S. government is leading a criminal investigation into the disaster, but it does not have the technical experience to gather any evidence that might lie 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Transocean, which leased the rig to BP, is expected to lead the salvage operations. Experts say the salvage process is likely to be...

2010-08-05 10:55:00

BP has received the all-clear to begin pumping cement into the damaged Gulf of Mexico oil well that has been leaking crude into the region's waters for more than 100 days, according to various media reports published on Tuesday. According to the AFP new agency, the government response team, led by retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, gave the British petroleum giant permission to begin permanently sealing the MC252 well after workers had reported reaching what Allen referred to as "a...

2010-08-02 11:15:00

A hacker is making mobile phone snooping affordable by showing how to build a call-catching system for just $1,500. Chris Paget showed off his budget device to over a thousand people at DefCon in Las Vegas, warning them to turn off their phones if they wanted to be spared. "I can intercept cell phone calls with 1,500 dollars worth of radio gear and a laptop," Paget told the AFP news agency after the talk. "Your handset thinks I'm your cell phone tower and I get to control your calls. These...

2010-07-27 05:40:00

Doctors in Israel have developed a unique "sniffing" controller that allows people with severe disabilities to use their noses to write, surf the Web, and even navigate their wheelchairs. The new technology might even be used in the future to create a sort of 'third hand' to assist healthy surgeons or pilots. The device uses a "sniffing technology" that measures pressure changes in the nose from breathing in and out, and then translates these changes to electrical signals. When tested on...

2010-07-14 06:05:00

The White House unveiled a new domestic AIDS policy on Tuesday that seeks to increase public education and improve treatment for those suffering from the disease. President Barack Obama said that the nation's AIDS battle is at a "crossroads" as he rolled out the first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which will ask federal, state and tribal governments and medical and scientific communities to reduce human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections by 25 percent over five years. The new strategy...

Word of the Day
  • A unit of saved energy.
Coined by Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute as a contraction of negative watt on the model of similar compounds like megawatt.