Happy Friday! Here are 5 news highlights from this week.
- Ethiopian Airlines: Flight recorders recovered from the crash site
On Sunday, 10th March, the Boeing 737 Max-8 took off from Addis Ababa and was expected to arrive at Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. This flight reportedly crashed six minutes after it took off, killing all 157 people on board at that time. There were more than 30 nationalities on board the flight, including Kenyans, Canadians and Britons. The cause of this accident is not yet apparent, but investigations are still being carried on to determine the factors leading up to this disaster. Air traffic monitor Flightradar24 reported that visibility was relatively good; however, the plane’s “vertical speed was unstable after take-off.” To deal with this issue, Boeing will expectedly release a software patch to the system. On Monday, 11th March, devices including the cockpit voice recorder and the digital flight data recorder were recovered from the crash site.
2. Facebook and Instagram suffer the most severe outage ever
Facebook has reportedly suffered from a more than 14-hour disruption, causing it to be inaccessible from almost all of the world. The company hasn’t declared the cause of this incident as yet. According to BBC reporters, the last time Facebook had a disruption of this magnitude was in 2008, when the site had 150m users – compared with around 2.3bn monthly users today. These apps seemed to be recovering on Thursday as the company attempted to solve the technological issues. Most people encountered problems such as problems in loading, being unable to post or showing glitches with images. This incident also leads to firms losing trust in Facebook as their channel of communication. For instance, Buenos Aires-based designer Rebecca Brooker told the BBC the interruption was having a significant impact on her firm’s work. She said, “Facebook for personal use is fine – but what happens when we rely on large companies such as this to provide business services?”
3. Solar storm: Evidence found of huge eruption from the Sun
Scientists have found evidence of a huge blast of radiation from the Sun that hit Earth over 2000 years ago. This discovery is highly significant in today’s world because solar storms can negatively impact modern technological devices. The evidence for this discovery was found in Greenland’s ice cores, through which scientists have determined that the Earth was hit with numerous with solar proton particles in 660BC. They found radioactive isotopes, namely beryllium-10 and chlorine-36, which are believed to be of cosmic origin. According to researchers, The particular kind of solar emission recorded in the Greenland ice is known as a solar proton event (SPE). In the modern era, when these high-energy particles collide with Earth, they can knock out electronics in satellites we rely on for communications and services such as GPS. Astronauts could also be significantly affected by solar storms as they receive high amounts of radiation when they fly at high altitudes.
4. 16-year-old nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for climate activism
Greta Thunberg is a Swedish schoolgirl who has initiated an international movement to fight climate change. She was nominated by three Norwegian MPs. As of now, Malala Yousafzi has the record for the youngest girl to have received the Nobel Peace Prize, at the age of 17; but Greta Thunberg could set a new record if she were to win. A Norwegian Socialist MP, Freddy Andre Ovstegard, said that, “We have proposed Greta Thunberg because if we do nothing to halt climate change, it will be the cause of wars, conflict and refugees,” On Friday, March 15th, thousands of students from over 100 countries are expected to start a climate change campaign to raise awareness. These strikes were a result of Ms. Thunberg’s initiative, which was the hashtag #FridaysForFuture. Ms. Thunberg describes herself as “a 16-year-old climate activist with Asperger [syndrome]”. She first staged a school strike in front of the Swedish parliament in August last year.
5. Canada, Singapore and Australia have banned the Boeing 737 Max 8
After the recent Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents in less than five months, Singapore and Australia have decided to temporarily halt the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. Singapore’s main International Airport is known to be the sixth’s busiest in the world. Only a few airlines operate Max aircraft into and out of the country. Australian airline companies don’t run this aircraft; however, two foreign airlines, SilkAir and Fiji Airways, fly the Max 8 into the country. Although this decision may lead to significant flight cancellations and disruption to schedules, countries have put people’s health as a priority until further safety notice. According to BBC News, Shane Carmody, who is in charge of aviation safety at Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority, said the suspension would remain in place while the organisation awaited “for more information to review the safety risks”.