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Billionaire space race – Blue Origin lifts off

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Billionaire Jeff Bezos has made his first journey to space, in the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, New Shepard.

Bezos was accompanied by his younger brother Mark as well as Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pioneer of the space race, and a student.

WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS

They travelled in a capsule with the biggest windows flown in space, offering stunning views of the Earth.

New Shepard is built by Bezos’ company Blue Origin and is designed to serve the burgeoning market for space tourism.

Once the rocket reached space, it was time to return to earth.

The capsule touched back down after a 10-minute and 10-second flight. 

From left: Mark Bezos, Jeff Bezos, Oliver Daemen, Wally Funk
From left: Mark Bezos, Jeff Bezos, Oliver Daemen, Wally Funk

Rescue crews followed the capsule as it returned to earth under three parachutes. 

The crew was then brought out of the capsule and back to land after the short flight to space.

Jeff Bezos told NBC News it was his “Best day ever!”

“THERE ARE NO WORDS”

But Mr Bezos, and other participants in the “billionaire space race”, have been criticised for offering what some regard as mere joy rides for the super-wealthy. 

Mr Bezos insists his underlying rationale is an environmental one: “We need to take all heavy industry, all polluting industry and move it into space, and keep Earth as this beautiful gem of a planet that it is,” he told MSNBC.

Still, the flight received praise from his competitor Richard Branson, who tweeted:

Blue Origin’s flight comes a week after Richard Branson blasted into space on board Virgin Galactic.

Business

WhatsApp ramps up privacy features

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WhatsApp ramps up privacy features to prevent subscriber loss

The world’s two billion plus WhatsApp users will soon have greater privacy controls with new platform changes on the way.

Meta boss, Mark Zuckerberg, announced the new WhatsApp updates in a Facebook post earlier this week.  

Users will be able to make a stealthy exit from group conversations without the rest of the participants being notified.

Other changes include allowing users the ability to check messages without others knowing and controlling who sees when they are online.

These functions have been flagged as being rolled out to WhatsApp users over the next month.  

Even more significant to user privacy is a function that is still under development.

Here, WhatsApp users can allow their messages to be viewed only once with an added screenshot blocking feature.

This will prevent other users saving their communication onto their phones for future reference.  

The changes have been announced after Meta was scrutinised last year for their data sharing practices after an update of its Terms of Service.

META CEO, Mark Zuckerberg as WhatsApp ramps up privacy features

Users were concerned over suggestions WhatsApp user data would be shared and utilised by parent company Meta.

WhatsApp has always boasted about the benefits of its end-to-end encryption preventing.

The news that WhatsApp planned to share user data more widely with Meta shook users’ faith in the platform.  

As the third most popular social media platform, it seems Meta is keen to retain this market share by increasing its privacy features.

Some would say this is both to allay security fears and to prevent them from moving to other popular messaging apps such as Signal.  

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Business

Facebook hands teen’s data to police for abortion charge

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New reports reveal that Facebook has handed over data to police to help criminally punish a teenager for seeking to get an abortion

The tech giant turned Celeste Burgess’ Facebook message’s into the authorities, where she is being charged for “removing and abandoning a dead human body.”

The 17-year-old lives in Nebraska where abortion isn’t illegal, but the abortion happened via medication at 23 weeks.

Nebraska has a 20 week pregnancy cut off date, and the medication also warns against medical abortion past this time.

The teen’s mother is also facing 5 charges.

This comes amid widespread controversy after the historic Roe v Wade ruling was overturned in the United States.

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Business

Meta faces a probe into triggering poor mental health

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Meta is facing a string of lawsuits that relate to the mental health of young people

The legal disputes blame Instagram for eating disorders, depression and even suicides among children and teens.

It comes after whistle-blower Frances Haugen exposed internal documents about how Instagram impacts body image and mental health.

The leaks allegedly show Meta is aware that its products hurt children but the company chose to put its growth and profits ahead of user’s safety.

Meta has not responded to these latest legal blows.

Of course, if you or someone you know needs help, please contact your local helpline.

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