From basement to battlefield: Ukrainian startups create low-cost robots to fight Russia

Northern Ukraine — Struggling with manpower shortages, overwhelming odds and uneven international assistance, Ukraine hopes to find a strategic edge against Russia in an abandoned warehouse or a factory basement. An ecosystem of laboratories in hundreds of secret workshops is leveraging innovation to create a robot army that Ukraine hopes will kill Russian troops and save …

Demand for rare elements used in clean energy could help clean up abandoned coal mines in US

MOUNT STORM, West Virginia — Down a long gravel road, tucked into the hills in West Virginia, is a low-slung building where researchers are extracting essential elements from an old coal mine that they hope will strengthen the nation’s energy future. They aren’t mining the coal that powered the steel mills and locomotives that helped industrialize …

EU accepts Apple plan to open iPhone tap-to-pay to rivals

Brussels — The EU on Thursday approved Apple’s offer to allow rivals access to the iPhone’s ability to tap-to-pay within the bloc, ending a lengthy probe and sparing it a heavy fine. The case dates back to 2022 when Brussels first accused Apple of blocking rivals from its popular iPhone tap payment system in a breach …

Russian election meddlers hurting Biden, helping Trump, US intelligence warns

WASHINGTON — Russia is turning to a familiar playbook in its attempt to sway the outcome of the upcoming U.S. presidential election, looking for ways to boost the candidacy of former President Donald Trump by disparaging the campaign of incumbent President Joe Biden, according to American intelligence officials.  A new assessment of threats to the November …

LogOn: Unfired earth blocks surpass modern building codes

 A new homebuilding method with ancient roots in adobe offers protection from wildfires, earthquakes, high winds and floods, while being climate friendly and sustainable. The secret ingredient: compressed earth blocks made from mud. Shelley Schlender has the story in this week’s episode of LogOn from Superior, Colorado. …

TikTok has launched tons of trends. Will its influence last?

new york — TikTok and its bite-sized videos arrived in the United States as a global version of the Chinese app Douyin in 2018. Less than six years later, the social media platform is deeply woven into the fabric of American consumerism, having shortened the shelf life of trends and revamped how people engage with food …

Russian-linked cybercampaigns focus on Olympics, French elections

paris — Photos of blood-red hands on a Holocaust memorial. Caskets at the Eiffel Tower. A fake French military recruitment drive calling for soldiers in Ukraine, and major French news sites improbably registered in an obscure Pacific territory, population 15,000. All are part of disinformation campaigns orchestrated out of Russia and targeting France, according to French …

Australia plans to build secret data centers with Amazon

SYDNEY — Australia said Thursday a $1.35 billion deal with U.S. technology giant Amazon to build three secure data centers for top-secret information will increase its military’s “war-fighting capacity.” The data centers are to be built in secret locations in Australia and be run by an Australian subsidiary of the U.S. technology company Amazon Web Service, …

Silicon Valley steps up screening on Chinese employees to counter espionage

Washington — Leading U.S. technology companies reportedly have increased security screening of employees and job applicants, which experts say is necessary to counter the cyber espionage threat from China. While the enhanced screening is being applied to employees and applicants of all races, those with family or other ties to China are thought to be particularly …

Alliance sets sights on minerals needed for global shift to green energy

The U.S. government’s representative to the Minerals Security Partnership, an alliance of mostly Western countries that aims to speed the development of energy mineral supply chains, said last month that a Chinese company was using “predatory” tactics to hold down the price of cobalt mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Henry Wilkins looks at …

Meta risks fines over ‘pay for privacy’ model breaking EU rules

Brussels, Belgium — The EU accused Facebook owner Meta on Monday of breaching the bloc’s digital rules, paving the way for potential fines worth billions of euros. The charges against the US tech titan follow a finding last week against Apple that marked the first time Brussels had levelled formal accusations under the EU’s Digital Markets …

Russian satellite breaks up, forces space station astronauts to shelter

WASHINGTON — A defunct Russian satellite has broken up into more than 100 pieces of debris in orbit, forcing astronauts on the International Space Station to take shelter for about an hour and adding to the mass of space junk already in orbit, U.S. space agencies said.  There were no immediate details on what caused the …

Chinese hackers have stepped up attacks on Taiwanese organizations, cybersecurity firm says

Hong Kong — A suspected Chinese state-sponsored hacking group has stepped up its targeting of Taiwanese organizations, particularly those in sectors such as government, education, technology and diplomacy, according to cybersecurity intelligence company Recorded Future.  In recent years, relations between China and Taiwan, a self-governed island across the Taiwan Strait that Beijing claims as its territory, …

Apple’s App Store rules breach EU tech rules, EU regulators say

AMSTERDAM — Apple’s App Store rules breach EU tech rules because they prevent app developers from steering consumers to alternative offers, EU antitrust regulators said on Monday, a charge that could result in a hefty fine for the iPhone maker. The European Commission, which also acts as the European Union’s antitrust and technology regulator, said it …

Germany assures China that doors still open to discuss EU surcharges

Shanghai, China — The German vice-chancellor assured China on Saturday that the “doors” remained “open” to discuss EU surcharges on Chinese electric vehicles, without reassuring Beijing which promised to “firmly defend” its manufacturers. Also, the Minister of Economy and Climate, Robert Habeck is making a visit that seems like a last chance to avoid a trade …

China, France launch satellite to better understand universe

Xichang, China — A French-Chinese satellite blasted off Saturday on a hunt for the mightiest explosions in the universe, in a notable example of cooperation between a Western power and the Asian giant. Developed by engineers from both countries, the Space Variable Objects Monitor, or SVOM, will seek out gamma-ray bursts, the light from which has …

Trump, Biden woo voters on TikTok. Will it make a difference?

President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump agree on few things, but a ban of the Beijing-based social network TikTok is one of them. Now with a presidential election at stake, both are joining the platform they previously attempted to take down. Will it make a difference on Election Day? Tina Trinh reports. …

US bans Russia’s Kaspersky antivirus software

Washington — U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration on Thursday banned Russia-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky from providing its popular antivirus products in the United States over national security concerns, the U.S. Commerce Department said. “Kaspersky will generally no longer be able to, among other activities, sell its software within the United States or provide updates to software …