Newspaper round-up

The Times - 16 June 2021

1,000 diabetic patients to test ‘revolutionary’ artificial pancreas

NHS diabetes patients will be given an innovative artificial pancreas in a “potentially revolutionary” pilot scheme. Up to 1,000 adults and children with type 1 diabetes will take part in a trial of systems that continually monitor blood sugar levels and automatically adjust the amount of insulin given via a pump. Health chiefs hope the so-called hybrid closed-loop technology can prevent life-threatening hypoglycaemic attacks, as well as making patients’ lives easier by eliminating the need for finger prick tests.

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The Guardian - 16 June 2021

Volvo to build steel cars without fossil fuels by 2026

Volvo plans to build cars using steel made without fossil fuels by 2026, as part of a deal that could significantly reduce the carbon emissions from manufacturing its vehicles. The Swedish carmaker and compatriot steelmaker SSAB signed a letter of intent to commercialise technology that replaces coal with hydrogen in a crucial part of the process. Steel is a big contributor to global carbon emissions but it is widely seen as one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonise. Blastfurnaces use huge amounts of energy, while carbon dioxide is also released when coking coal is used to remove oxygen from iron ore.

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The Daily Mail - 16 June 2021

Damning report claims Britain is not ready to deal with devastating consequences of climate change

The UK is not prepared for the devastating consequences of global warming, Government climate advisers warned in a damning report last night. Flooding caused by rising seas, landslides, heatwaves, droughts and the destruction of rivers and lakes are all predicted as temperatures increase. Food shortages and power cuts are also threats linked to global warming. The Climate Change Committee said UK planning for the impending catastrophes had been inadequate.

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The Financial Times - 16 June 2021

UK and Norway complete world’s longest subsea electricity cable

The world’s longest undersea electric cable is set to be switched on this week, as testing begins for the 720km interconnector that will trade power between the UK and Norway. Electricity will start flowing through the €2bn North Sea Link in coming days, with the joint venture between the UK’s National Grid and Norway’s Statnett due to begin formal operations in October. Interconnectors are a key part of the UK strategy for cutting emissions and boosting offshore wind because they allow the UK grid to share or import power depending on supply and demand.

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The Times - 15 June 2021

Tailor-made app Sojo fights wasteful culture of fast fashion

Thirteen million items of clothing end up in landfill every week in the UK. One woman is on a mission to change that with an app that aims to be the ‘Deliveroo of clothes repairs’. Josephine Philips, 23, launched Sojo in January, and it has now been downloaded thousands of times. After coming to believe that the “fast fashion” industry was built on exploitation, particularly of women of colour, Philips started shopping for second-hand clothes. However, finding the right fit was tricky, therefore Sojo was founded to offer affordable alterations and drive people away from choosing fast fashion retailers.

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The Telegraph - 15 June 2021

Wizards of technology recruited to lead Porton Down's pivot to the AI battlefield

A drive to develop AI for the battlefield has begun as Porton Down begins its recruitment of hundreds of top secret scientists. Over the next three months, jobs will be advertised for around 300 defence scientists to work for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), part of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) which is based at Porton Down, near Salisbury, and other sites around the country. A new technology hub, which launched in April this year, will become Dstl’s fifth site and will focus solely on AI.

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The Guardian - 15 June 2021

Scientists convert used plastic bottles into vanilla flavouring

Plastic bottles have been converted into vanilla flavouring using genetically engineered bacteria, the first time a valuable chemical has been brewed from waste plastic. Upcycling plastic bottles into more lucrative materials could make the recycling process far more attractive and effective. Currently plastics lose about 95% of their value as a material after a single use. Researchers have already developed mutant enzymes to break down the polyethylene terephthalate polymer used for drinks bottles into its basic units, terephthalic acid (TA). Scientists have now used bugs to convert TA into vanillin.

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The Daily Mail - 15 June 2021

One step closer to the moon! NASA finishes assembling its $18.6BILLION Space Launch System 'megarocket' ahead of its maiden voyage this November

NASA has finished assembling its massive $18.6 billion (£13.18 billion) Space Launch System (SLS) 'megarocket' that will fly astronauts back to the moon over the coming decade. SLS will launch for the first time in November this year, sending the Orion capsule on an uncrewed jaunt around the moon as part of the first Artemis mission. Engineers working at Florida's Kennedy Space Centre finished lowering the 212ft tall core stage between two smaller booster rockers on Friday.

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The Financial Times - 15 June 2021

GE and Safran explore plans for lower emissions jet engine

Two of the world’s largest aero-engine makers have unveiled plans for a new generation of jet engines that promise to cut fuel consumption by 20 per cent as early as the middle of the next decade. General Electric and Safran said they would extend their engine joint venture, CFM International, by another 10 years to 2050 as part of the commitment.

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The Times - 14 June 2021

Leaders sign up to fund ‘green industrial revolution’

G7 leaders have pledged to finance a “green industrial revolution” across the world with a fund to support the decarbonisation of developing countries. They also agreed to raise their contributions to meet an overdue spending pledge of $100 billion a year by rich countries to cut carbon emissions and cope with global warming in the developing world. Only Canada and Germany, however, offered firm promises of more cash.

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The Telegraph - 14 June 2021

Amazon singled out for special tax in G7 tech crackdown

Western governments plotting a tax crackdown on multinationals could target Amazon’s cloud computing arm, despite the company appearing to fall outside the scope of a planned minimum corporation tax. Reports had suggested that Amazon could avoid the minimum tax rate, since its company-wide profit margins are typically below the 10pc identified by the agreement reached this weekend by G7 finance ministers.

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The Guardian - 14 June 2021

Ransomware is biggest online threat to people in UK, spy agency chief to warn

Ransomware represents the biggest threat to online security for most people and businesses in the UK, the head of GCHQ’s cybersecurity arm is to warn. Lindy Cameron, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre, will say in a speech that the phenomenon, where hackers encrypt data and demand payment for it to be restored, is escalating and becoming increasingly professionalised.

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The Daily Mail - 14 June 2021

Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic and Rolls-Royce back £3BILLION British plan to roll out 1,000 'near-silent' zero emissions flying cars in 2024

A Virgin Atlantic fleet of flying cars that could reduce the travel time of short-haul journeys by more than two thirds is set to roll out in the UK by 2024, it has been revealed. Vertical Aerospace, a Bristol-based firm, is working towards building the fleet of electrically powered vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, as part of a £2.8 billion ($4 billion) project. Virgin Atlantic will purchase up to 150 of the aircraft, called VA-X4, to deliver a Virgin Atlantic branded short haul network around some of the UK's busiest cities.

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The Financial Times - 14 June 2021

US lawmakers launch bipartisan push to rein in Big Tech

Members of the US House of Representatives have introduced five different bills seeking to tame the power of the world’s largest technology companies, in the biggest legislative threat to Big Tech in years. If passed, the proposals would together constitute the biggest shake-up of US monopolies law in a generation, curbing tech industry takeovers of the kind that cemented Facebook’s dominance of social media and limiting the ability of Apple, Amazon and Google to use their platforms to favour their own products.

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