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Gaza: Guterres ‘shocked and saddened’ by deadly strikes on Al Mawasi, as WHO and partners aid medical response

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The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said via his Spokesperson late on Saturday that he was “shocked and saddened by the loss of lives”.

Israeli officials said the attack had been a “precision” strike targeting top Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif and his deputy Rafa Salama.

The strike took place close to the city of Khan Younis in an area reportedly designated by the Israeli military as a safe zone for civilians.

‘Nowhere is safe in Gaza’

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said that reports indicated the attack had taken place in a densely populated area “designated as a humanitarian zone sheltering displaced people.”

This underscores that nowhere is safe in Gaza”, he stressed. “The Secretary-General condemns the killing of civilians, including women and children.”

The Secretary-General underlined once again that there must be an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, with all hostages released “immediately and unconditionally.”

In a post on X, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that 134 “severely injured people” had been admitted to the nearby Nasser Medical Complex “which is extremely overwhelmed by the influx”.

Multiple hospitals treating the injured

WHO staffers are at the hospital along with two emergency medical teams helping to treat the injured, he continued.

“We have dispatched 50 foldable beds and 50 stretchers to increase the hospital’s capacity while our prepositioned medicines and trauma supplies are being used to save lives.”

Some of the injured have also been taken to a field hospital run by the International Medical Corps in Deir Al Balah where WHO supplies have been provided to meet the urgent needs of around 120 others. Other NGO field hospitals have also received patients in need of urgent treatment, he said.

Senior Communications Officer for the UN refugee agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) Louise Wateridge, tweeted harrowing video from Al Nasser hospital on Saturday afternoon local time where workers were “mopping up pools of blood with water alone.”

She described children lying on blood stained matresses “traumatised from losing siblings. Some had lost limbs. Many had life changing injuries.”

‘Senseless massacre’

The independent UN expert who monitors human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories Francesca Albanese, said in a post on X that she was “horrified” at the deaths and injuries sustained during the strikes on what an Israeli military official said was an operational Hamas compound, in an “open area”.

Hamas said it was “false” that Israel had targeted it’s two top military commanders.

Of the Israeli attack which she said was “yet another senseless massacre” of civilians, Special Rapporteur Albanese tweeted “The justification is always the same: ‘targeting Palestinian militants’.”

Officials from Gaza’s civil defence authority also reported that at least 20 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli attack on a prayer centre inside the Shati camp for the displaced, to the west of Gaza City on Saturday.

Listen here to UNRWA’s Louise Wateridge describe to UN News what saw earlier this week in Gaza City, following a week-long Israeli offensive there.





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As Apple headset reaches Europe, will VR ever hit the mainstream?

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By Zoe KleinmanTechnology editor

Getty Images A woman using the Vision Pro headset inside an Apple store. It looks like a sleek, shiny, curvy, futuristic pair of goggles strapped to her face. You'd almost say it looks cool.Getty Images

The Vision Pro launched in the UK and parts of Europe on Friday

To get a sense of the public interest in the Vision Pro, Apple’s very high-tech, very expensive virtual reality (VR) headset – finally launched in the UK and Europe on Friday – where better to head than one of its own stores?

In the past, people camped outside Apple branches overnight, so desperate were they to get their hands on the tech giant’s latest product.

When I went to its branch in central London on Friday morning, though, there was just a small group, mainly comprised of men, waiting for the doors to open.

Partly, that’s because people these days prefer the convenience of pre-orders.

But it also perhaps tells us something about the question that continues to hang over the VR headset market: will it ever escape the realm of tech aficionados and go truly mainstream?

Apple’s plan to make its product break through is to position it as a product you use to do the stuff you already do – only better. Home videos become 3D-like, panoramic photos stretch from floor to ceiling, 360 degrees around you. Apple keeps reminding me it calls this “spatial content”. Nobody else does. Plenty suck their teeth at the Vision Pro’s price though – a whopping £3,499.

Facebook owner Meta has been watching Apple’s approach closely. It’s been in the VR game a long time. At a recent demo for the Meta Quest 3, which has been available in the UK since 2023, the team was very keen to talk to me about “multi-tasking” – having multiple screens in action at once. In a demo I had a web browser, YouTube and Messenger in a line in front of me. “We always did this, we just didn’t really talk about it,” one Meta worker told me.

And in its most recent advertisement, a man wears a Quest 3 to watch video instructions while building a crib. Not the most exciting concept, perhaps, but it shows just how Meta wants people to see its tech.

Oh – and it costs less than £500.

Getty Images A woman using the Quest 3 headset. It is white, clean and goggle-shaped. However, it looks less sleek and futuristic than Apple's product. In comparison, you would struggle to argue it looks as cool as the Vision Pro.Getty Images

It is believed Meta’s Quest series of headsets have sold more than 20 million units worldwide – though the firm does not release sales figures

Apple and Meta are the two big players but VR is a crowded market – there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of different headsets already out there.

But what unites them all is none have quite hit the mainstream.

Up until now, the Vision Pro has only been on sale in the US – research firm IDC predicts it will shift fewer than 500,000 units this year.

Meta, which has been in the market longer, does not release sales data for the Quest either but it’s thought to have sold around 20 million worldwide.

VR headsets are nowhere near as ubiquitous as tablets, let alone mobile phones.

And it gets worse – George Jijiashvili, analyst at market research firm Omdia, said of those devices sold, many are abandoned.

“This is largely due to the limited in-flow of compelling content to keep up engagement,” he said.

But of course lack of content leads to reduced interest – and a reduced incentive for developers to make that content in the first place.

“It’s a chicken and egg situation,” Mr Jijiashvili told the BBC.

Alan Boyce, the founder of mixed reality studio DragonfiAR, warned that early adopters of the Vision Pro would have to “be patient” while more content arrived.

That’s where the Quest 3 wins out for him – it already has a “robust library” of games, and it can perform virtual desktop tasks just like the Vision Pro.

And IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo says we should not be too quick to write off a slow start for Apple’s new product.

“There’s always the expectation that Apple with every single product will sell in the millions straight away, there’s always the comparison with the iPhone,” he said.

But the reality is even the iPhone took time to find its feet – and a huge number of buyers.

According to Melissa Otto from S&P Global Market Intelligence, the iPhone only became mainstream when the App Store “started to explode with apps that added value to our lives”.

“When people start to feel their lives are becoming better and more convenient, that’s when they’re willing to take the leap,” she said.

The VR experience

There is another factor to consider here too though: the physical experience of using a headset.

Both Apple and Meta use so-called “passthrough” technology to enable what is known as mixed reality – the blending of the real and computer-generated worlds.

By utilising cameras on the outside of the headset, users are given a live, high-definition video feed of their surroundings – meaning they can wear it while doing things like walking or exercising.

But strapping something to your face weighing half a kilogram is not something that feels particularly natural. Generally headsets now are lighter than before, but I still can’t imagine wearing any of them for hours on end – though a colleague says he often does just this.

A sizeable number of people, myself included, have experienced VR sickness, which is when being in VR makes you feel queasy. This has significantly improved as the tech has advanced and is much less of a problem – but any experience that has you moving around with a controller instead of your feet will still take some getting used to.

Most VR experiences now include all sorts of settings to avoid this, such as the ability to “teleport” between locations. Sony’s VR game Horizon: Call of the Mountain solved the problem by letting you move by swinging your arms up and down – it sounds silly, but it goes some way to trick the brain and avoid nausea.

Getty Images A man uses the PlayStation VR 2. It is larger than the other two headsets, and it is a sleek white curved shape.Getty Images

Sony says it sold 600,000 PlayStation VR 2 headsets in the first six weeks after it launched in February 2023. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sony has focused on gaming with its headset.

Goggles or implants?

Whatever the experts say, the companies themselves appear bullish about their products, and their respective strengths

It’s no secret that the long-term ambition from the tech giants here is for mixed, or augmented, reality to become normal reality. Facebook owner Meta renamed itself after its grand plan for us all to inhabit a virtual world called the Metaverse – working, resting and playing there, and presenting ourselves as digital avatar versions of our ordinary selves. That all seems to have gone a bit quiet at the moment.

But they are all right in that one day, something will replace our phones and perhaps that thing is some form of VR headset. Eventually, I expect these things will start to look more like glasses and less like giant ski goggles… if they’re not brain implants (I’m not joking).

“The devices that look like what they look like today – I think we know that’s not a mass market device. It’s too heavy, it’s too awkward,” said Mr Jijiashvili.

That’s an area where rivals have focused their efforts, with Viture and XReal producing sunglasses with high-fidelity screens embedded in them.

Melissa Brown, head of Development Relations at Meta, told us she “absolutely” thought the Quest 3 could one day replace the smartphone. But the next day Meta’s PR team got in touch with a more measured response from Mark Zuckerberg, in which he said “the last generation of computing doesn’t go away… it’s not like when we got phones, people stopped using computers”.

Judging by what I saw in the Apple store in London’s Regent Street, the UK is not about to be flooded with people wandering around in Vision Pros or Quest 3s.

The very first customer I spoke to had actually just popped in for a charger and was a bit bemused by Apple staff applause as he walked in.

But in the couple of hours we were there, several people walked out grinning with big white Apple bags. The question remains: how many more can be persuaded to do the same.



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First Person: Filipino elderly ex-prisoner’s joy of ‘sleeping and eating’

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According to Government figures, the number of inmates are four times over the planned capacity, making the Philippines one of the most overcrowded penal systems in the world alongside countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti and Uganda.

But now the Government, with the support of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), is trying to ease congestion by prioritizing, amongst other things, the release of elderly prisoners.

Toto Aquino, who is 70 years old, spoke to UN News’ Daniel Dickinson at his home in the Pandacan neighbourhood of the capital Manila.

“I was released two weeks ago and I feel good.  I was incarcerated for eight years, four years in pre-trial detention at Manila City Jail and, four years after I was convicted, in Bilibid prison.

It was very crowded and I slept on a piece of cardboard in a corridor in Bilibid during those four years. I was housed in a maximum-security wing, 4C-2, alongside members of a gang, but I was not a gang member myself. There is a hierarchy in gangs and this is why I did not have a good place to sleep.

We had to go to our sleeping quarters at 6pm every day and wake up at 4am. Every day I ate porridge, coffee, bread and rice and sometimes hotdogs. This is rancho food, the food that prisoners receive from the prison kitchen. You can buy other food, but I didn’t have the money, so I survived off rancho.

Detention facilities in the Philippines are amongst the most crowded in the world.

Detention facilities in the Philippines are amongst the most crowded in the world.

It feels good to be free! I am living with my younger brother in the house that I grew up in with my five siblings. Life is very different now as I can eat and sleep when I want. I have a comfortable bed and my own room and my brother cooks good food.

In prison, I dreamt of chicken adobo [Filipino chicken stew] and a soft mattress and today I have both of these things; sleeping and eating is now my joy.

Toto Aquino, two weeks after being released from an eight-year prison term.

Since I was released from prison I have stayed at home. I am comfortable here. I sit on a stool on my doorstep and watch the neighbourhood go by.

I grew up here, so I know my neighbours. I sometimes sweep the yard and burn the rubbish and I also continue to do 15 press-ups several times a day, which I started in prison to keep fit.

I have not seen my daughter for ten years. She lives in another part of the country and I hope to see her soon as she is pregnant with her second child.

I think it is important for convicted people to serve their sentences, but I also think the release of old people like me should be prioritized. I was released with other elderly prisoners, but I know men who are 75 years old and who are still being held.”



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Crushing the scam farms: Southeast Asia’s ‘criminal service providers’

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As we reported earlier in the week, there has been a proliferation of illicit operations, known as scam farms, following the COVID-19 pandemic, across Southeast Asia – including in the Philippines – where they have often operated alongside legal gambling businesses.

UNODC is supporting countries across the region to cooperate more closely to fight back against the influence of criminal networks.

Benedikt Hofmann, the UNODC Deputy Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, visited a scam farm in the Philippines that was raided in March this year. He took UN News’s Daniel Dickinson on a tour.

Benedikt Hofmann: Here in northern Philippines, just a few hours north of Manila, is an example of a scam farm of the type that exist in many parts of the Philippines and across Southeast Asia. We can see buildings where people work, cafeterias where they eat and dormitories for sleeping.

Benedikt Hofmann describes the luxury in which the scam centre bosses live.

Benedikt Hofmann describes the luxury in which the scam centre bosses live.

In the midst is one building that housed the gambling operation, which had been formally registered with the government and inspected by a regulator. But, what’s not visible to that regulator, at least on paper, are the buildings that are in between.

One of them I saw earlier, houses computers and work stations, previously staffed by Vietnamese workers running scams targeting the Vietnamese market. Another building is for Chinese-speaking workers, who conducted scams targeting the Chinese market.

There are houses like the one that I’m standing in here, where the people that control this compound – the bosses, as they call them – do business and where they relax by the pool with their families.

UN News: Is there anything that you’ve seen today which has surprised you?

Benedikt Hofmann: The scale and sophistication of the compound is surprising. This does not look very different from a well-established tech company. Some 700 people were discovered on this compound when it was raided in March, and that’s not as many as other compounds we know about.

The other surprising aspect is the contrast between the lives of the people who were forced often against their will to live and work here and the sheer scale of wealth of the people who were in charge of the compound.

UN News: How much freedom do the workers have?

A scammer’s workstation; the text in blue reads ‘increasingly prosperous.’

A scammer’s workstation; the text in blue reads ‘increasingly prosperous.’

The people who work here are basically fenced off from the outside world. All their daily necessities are met. There are restaurants, dormitories, barbershops and even a karaoke bar. So, people don’t actually have to leave and can stay here for months.

However, even if they wanted to leave, they could not, as we’ve heard from people who were rescued from these centres. Some have been tortured and been subjected to unimaginable violence on a daily basis as punishment for wanting to leave or for failing to reach their daily quota in terms of money scammed from victims. There’s a huge amount of human suffering on this compound.

There are multiple types of victims, the people who are being scammed around the world, but also the people who are trafficked here held against their will and who are exposed to violence.

UN News: Who is behind these massive operations?

Southeast Asia is the ground zero for the global scamming industry. Transnational organised criminal groups that are based in this region are masterminding these operations and profiting most from them.

Workers who do not perform are handcuffed and threatened with fake guns.

Workers who do not perform are handcuffed and threatened with fake guns.

They work with different actors, with people who control territory, for example, in the Mekong border areas of Myanmar, or they might work with local power structures.

UN News: What range of crimes are being committed here?

Many of the more established scam farms in the Mekong region, which borders Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, started out as casinos tied into the regional money laundering of the proceeds from drug trafficking and other criminal activity.

But there has been a significant evolution, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which casinos have changed their business model and moved into the online space, especially scamming and cyberfraud.

They are essentially turning into criminal service providers by selling cybercrime, scamming and money laundering services, but also data harvesting and disinformation.

Workers who break the rules are fined or more often, beaten.

Workers who break the rules are fined or more often, beaten.

Technology, like generative artificial intelligence (AI), is evolving so quickly, and that will really change the way these places operate by creating new opportunities for the scammers to make money.

UN News: How concerned should we be about what’s happening now and what could happen in the future?

These scam farms are places of innovation in a way because they’re far ahead of other parts of the economy, and that really doesn’t bode well for the future.

AI expands the scope and the scale at which a scam farm can operate. You’re not going to need a thousand people to run scams on a text-based cell phone; you just need a well programmed application to do it for you.

That’s where the real threat for the future lies. It’s a great concern for us from the UNODC as it has potentially serious implications for people around the world.

UN News: How are countries responding?

There is a growing gap between the speed these technologies are developing and being adopted by organised crime networks and the responses that governments in the region have at their disposal to address these issues. It is a regional problem with global implications. These scam operations are still predominantly based in this region, however, we do see some small operations in places like South America and Africa.

This is an extremely complex issue. It is not possible for one country by itself to address it, not least because these operations, even if you address them in one place, will just move to another country where there is less enforcement pressure on them.

So, what is needed is a regional response, and UNODC can support that effort. We can bring countries together and help them to agree on priorities and strategies to fight organised crime.

UN News: How much political will is there to do that?

At the moment, we see a strong push in the region to cooperate on addressing this issue. The Philippines, as well as countries in the Mekong region and China, are working together, conducting joint operations, discussing priorities and exchanging information at a scale that in the past was not the case. That is very positive.

At the same time, we continue to see a law enforcement-focused response to these issues rather than a more strategic whole-of-government response. The more countries work together, share expertise and information, and the more countries in the region also receive support from countries elsewhere in the world and organizations like UNODC, the better they can be prepared to address this issue.

Getting ahead of this issue will be incredibly difficult. We have no illusions that it will take a very long time, time that we don’t have with this technological change.



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Elon Musk's X Hit by EU Charges Over Blue Checkmarks

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The bloc said it identified three grievances over X’s content practices, which could lead to a fine of up to 6% of the company’s total worldwide annual revenue.



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World News in Brief: Concern mounts over fate of El Fasher, call for consensus over South Sudan elections, indigenous rights in Brazil

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Residential areas, markets, hospitals and sites holding displaced people are all being impacted, he told reporters at the daily briefing in New York.

As many as 329,000 people were displaced during the past three months from the last remaining city under Government control in Darfur, according to the UN migration agency (IOM).

Civilians must be protected and those fleeing the fighting must be afforded safe passage, said Mr. Dujarric.

“It is critical that the parties de-escalate to prevent further suffering for civilians and to enable the unimpeded delivery of life-saving assistance”, he stressed.

Response continues

“Meanwhile, we and our partners continue our efforts to respond to those needs, including by trying to get health kits to areas around El Fasher, including in gathering sites for civilians.”  

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is also strengthening nutrition support at displacement sites in El Fasher, as well as the towns of Tawila and Dar As Salam in North Darfur state.

Conflict is also intensifying in Sennar state – close to the border with Ethiopia – causing further civilian suffering and more serious rights violations, UN humanitarians have warned.

According to the UN aid coordination office (OCHA), more than 136,000 people have been displaced as clashes between the rival Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia spread across the state.

Civilians are facing multiple protection risks, including widespread looting. Reports indicate that the RSF has occupied Sinja Teaching Hospital, using patients and staff as human shields and disrupting medical services.

Forced displacement has spread to neighbouring states including Gedaref, Blue Nile and Kassala, where humanitarian partners are scaling up their response. But aid teams have warned that the rainy season has begun and conditions at displacement sites are dire.

OCHA is already working with state authorities and humanitarian partners to address the crisis. But it warned that the situation is getting worse as protection concerns grow, with civilians reporting looting of shops and markets, leaving them without basic needs.

UN Mission in South Sudan calls for consensus on electoral roadmap

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) published a joint statement on Thursday urging the parties to the long-delayed peace agreement “to reach consensus” on the best way forward for holding free and fair elections across the world’s youngest nation.

UNMISS, the African Union Mission in South Sudan, and the regional bloc known as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) began their statement by congratulating the country on its 13th anniversary of independence.

But they urged the Government and political rivals who six years ago signed the so-called Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict to “provide clarity on the electoral roadmap.”

Reflect ‘will of the electorate’

They noted the numerous different positions being adopted and expressed on transition measures, saying that while it was “the sovereign prerogative” of South Sudanese leaders to decide, the pathway to successful elections must happen “in accordance with agreed processes, procedures, and timelines.”

National elections are due to be held in December but there is no agreement yet on the basic ground rules for moving forward.

Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese died and millions were displaced during the 2013-18 war between Government forces and rival militia but although some issues have been resolved, many remain outstanding.

The AU mission, IGAD and UNMISS appeal for everyone to work collectively: “In this regard, the partners reiterate their full support for all efforts to ultimately deliver peaceful, free, fair, and credible elections that reflect the will of the electorate.”

Rights expert calls on Brazil to protect indigenous rights amid controversial new law

The UN is calling on the Brazilian Supreme Court and Senate to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples to lands, territories and natural resources.

UN Human Rights Council-appointed independent rights expert José Francisco Calí Tzay is urging immediate action to suspend the new law that can dispossess or evict indigenous communities.

Mr. Calí Tzay praised the Brazilian Supreme Court for rejecting the ‘Marco Temporal’ doctrine that requires Indigenous Peoples to prove they were occupying their lands on October 5, 1988.

But he said he was very concerned over the hasty passage of the new law by Congress that effectively brings back the doctrine.

Beyond the bounds

The rights expert argued that the law goes against international human rights standards that protect indigenous rights without time limits.

He stressed the importance of indigenous lands for biodiversity and climate balance and warned that mining, gold exploitation and cattle breeding can cause significant environmental damage.

He also called on the Supreme Court to suspend the law until it’s declared constitutional.

Special Rapporteurs and other Human Rights Council-appointed rights experts are independent of any government, receive no salary for their work and serve in their individual capacity.



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Vivid portrait of interacting galaxies marks Webb’s second anniversary

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This “penguin party” is loud. The distorted spiral galaxy at center, the Penguin, and the compact elliptical galaxy at left, the Egg, are locked in an active embrace. A new near- and mid-infrared image from the James Webb Space Telescope, taken to mark its second year of science, shows that their interaction is marked by a faint upside-down U-shaped blue glow. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

A duo of interacting galaxies commemorates the second science anniversary of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which takes constant observations, including images and highly detailed data known as spectra. Its operations have led to a “parade” of discoveries by astronomers around the world.

“Since President Biden and Vice President Harris unveiled the first image from the James Webb Space Telescope two years ago, Webb has continued to unlock the mysteries of the universe,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “With remarkable images from the corners of the cosmos, going back nearly to the beginning of time, Webb’s capabilities are shedding new light on our celestial surroundings and inspiring future generations of scientists, astronomers, and explorers.”

“In just two years, Webb has transformed our view of the universe, enabling the kind of world-class science that drove NASA to make this mission a reality,” said Mark Clampin, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

“Webb is providing insights into longstanding mysteries about the early universe and ushering in a new era of studying , while returning images that inspire people around the world and posing exciting new questions to answer. It has never been more possible to explore every facet of the universe.”






The telescope’s specialization in capturing —which is beyond what our own eyes can detect—shows these galaxies, collectively known as Arp 142, locked in a slow cosmic dance. Webb’s observations, which combine near- and mid-infrared light from Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) and MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument), respectively, clearly show that they are joined by a haze represented in blue that is a mix of stars and gas, a result of their mingling.

Their ongoing interaction was set in motion between 25 and 75 million years ago, when the Penguin (individually cataloged as NGC 2936) and the Egg (NGC 2937) completed their first pass. They will go on to shimmy and sway, completing several additional loops before merging into a single galaxy hundreds of millions of years from now.

Before their first approach, the Penguin held the shape of a spiral. Today, its galactic center gleams like an eye, its unwound arms now shaping a beak, head, backbone, and fanned-out tail.

Like all spiral galaxies, the Penguin is still very rich in gas and dust. The galaxies’ “dance” gravitationally pulled on the Penguin’s thinner areas of gas and dust, causing them to crash in waves and form stars. Look for those areas in two places: what looks like a fish in its “beak” and the “feathers” in its “tail.”

Surrounding these newer stars is smoke-like material that includes carbon-containing molecules, known as , which Webb is exceptional at detecting. Dust, seen as fainter, deeper orange arcs also swoops from its beak to tail feathers.

In contrast, the Egg’s compact shape remains largely unchanged. As an , it is filled with aging stars, and has a lot less gas and dust that can be pulled away to form new stars. If both were spiral galaxies, each would end the first “twist” with new star formation and twirling curls, known as tidal tails.

  • Vivid portrait of interacting galaxies marks Webb's second anniversary
    Webb’s mid-infrared view of interacting galaxies Arp 142 seems to sing in primary colors. The background of space is like a yawning darkness speckled with bright, multi-colored beads. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI
  • Vivid portrait of interacting galaxies marks Webb's second anniversary
    Two penguins, two eggs—two very different color schemes. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

Another reason for the Egg’s undisturbed appearance: These galaxies have approximately the same mass or heft, which is why the smaller-looking elliptical wasn’t consumed or distorted by the Penguin.

It is estimated that the Penguin and the Egg are about 100,000 light-years apart—quite close in astronomical terms. For context, the Milky Way galaxy and our nearest neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, are about 2.5 million light-years apart. They too will interact, but not for about 4 billion years.

Now, look to the top right to spot a galaxy that is not at this party. This edge-on galaxy, cataloged PGC 1237172, is 100 million light-years closer to Earth. It’s also quite young, teeming with new, blue stars.

Want one more party trick? Switch to Webb’s mid-infrared-only image to see PGC 1237172 practically disappear. Mid-infrared light largely captures cooler, older stars and an incredible amount of dust. Since the galaxy’s stellar population is so young, it “vanishes” in mid-infrared light.

Also take a moment to scan the background. Webb’s image is overflowing with distant galaxies. Some take spiral and oval shapes, like those threaded throughout the Penguin’s “tail feathers,” while others scattered throughout are shapeless dots. This is a testament to the sensitivity and resolution of the telescope’s infrared instruments. (Compare Webb’s view to the 2018 observation that combines infrared light from NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope and near-infrared and visible light from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.)

Even though these observations only took a few hours, Webb revealed far more distant, redder, and dustier galaxies than previous telescopes—one more reason to expect Webb to continue to expand our understanding of everything in the universe.

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Croc’s deadly last meal in Ancient Egypt unearthed

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Crocodile in the CT scanner. Credit: University of Manchester

Scientists have used state of the art 3D imaging technology to piece together the life—and probable death—of a 2.2 meter-long crocodile mummified by the ancient Egyptians.

The researchers from The University of Manchester, along with Loughborough and Birmingham City Universities, revealed a freshly eaten fish still attached to its hook in the beast’s stomach, which probably killed it.

Using specialist software in combination with X-ray and CT scanning, the scientists were able to virtually extract the hook from the , and then construct a replica first in plastic and then cast in its original material, bronze.

The age of the animal mummy—kept at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and known by its accession number, 2005.335—could be anything from between 2,000 and 3,000 years old, when the practice of mummifying animals was at its peak.

The study is published in the journal Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage.

The croc had swallowed considerable numbers of small stones known as gastroliths while alive to break down chunks of meat and regulate buoyancy.

The presence of more gastroliths higher up in the , say the authors, indicates an attempt to break down the animal’s last meal, and shows it died before they reached its stomach.

Croc's deadly last meal in Ancient Egypt unearthed
X-ray showing hook in the animal Credit: University of Manchester

The skeletal integrity of the fish also suggests that it was swallowed whole and had not yet been affected by the harsh digestive enzymes present in the first chamber of the crocodile’s stomach or the abrasive action of the gastroliths.

The apparent short time span between the ingestion of the fish and the death of the crocodile also suggest, say the researchers, it was deliberately caught in the wild and processed for mummification as an offering to the crocodile god Sobek shortly afterwards.

Healthy crocodiles were associated with fertility and plentiful agriculture. The Egyptians also believed you could protect yourself from danger by wearing clothing made from the skin of the animal.

Lead author Dr. Lidija Mcknight Research Fellow from The University of Manchester, said, “Crocodile mummy 2005.335 was a unique opportunity to apply to a large animal mummy.

“Our work revealed a great amount of information, both about the life of the crocodile and the post-mortem treatment of its remains.

“Mummies have long been a source of fascination for museum visitors of all ages. Our work provides a unique opportunity to connect visitors to the story of this animal.”

Croc's deadly last meal in Ancient Egypt unearthed
The reconstructed hook Credit: University of Manchester

She added, “Whereas earlier studies favored invasive techniques such as unwrapping and autopsy, 3D radiography provides the ability to see inside without damaging these important and fascinating artifacts.

“We took the process a step further by replicating the hook in its original material, bronze.

“The Egyptians probably used a hardened clay mold into which the , melted over a charcoal-based heat source, would have been poured.

“Despite the passing of several millennia between the production of the ancient fish hook and the modern replica, the casting process remains remarkably similar.”

More information:
L.M. McKnight et al, Seeing is believing – The application of Three-Dimensional modelling technologies to reconstruct the final hours in the life of an ancient Egyptian Crocodile, Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (2024). DOI: 10.1016/j.daach.2024.e00356

Citation:
Croc’s deadly last meal in Ancient Egypt unearthed (2024, July 12)
retrieved 13 July 2024
from https://phys.org/news/2024-07-croc-deadly-meal-ancient-egypt.html

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Amazon Prime Day 2024 is days away: Everything to know, plus deals to shop now

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Amazon Prime Day 2024 will be back July 16 and 17. 

Adam Breeden/ZDNET

The 10th anniversary of Amazon’s popular Prime Day sale is creeping up. It’ll be back next week, running Tuesday, July 16 through Wednesday, July 17. 

Prime Day is Amazon’s biggest sale event of the year, when you can save big across 35 categories, from tech to home goods to clothes. Prime members can shop new deals as often as every five minutes during select periods of the event and partake in exclusive invite-only deals

Also: The best early Amazon Prime Day 2024 deals

In 2023, Prime members bought more than 375 million items and saved over $2.5 billion across the shopping site, the largest year on record for Amazon, according to the company. Since last July’s Prime Day sale, the company has held a Prime Big Deal Days sale in October and, in March, promoted a Big Spring Sale for the first time. Read on for everything you need to know about this year’s Prime Day sale, including some early deals you can shop now.

Also: The best early anti-Prime Day deals you can shop at Best Buy, Walmart, and beyond 

The best Amazon deals to shop before Prime Day 

Perhaps one of the best things about Amazon is you don’t have to wait until Prime Day to catch savings. Here’s a look at some top tech deals we’ve found scouring Amazon’s deals page for the best savings.

What Prime Day deals can I expect? 

Prime Day is always packed with deals across every category, especially flagship Amazon products like Echo devices, Fire TVs, Kindles, and more. Amazon says shoppers can anticipate deals across 35 categories, including home, tech, and more. During October Prime Day 2023, ZDNET readers scooped up savings on Fire Sticks, AirPods, chargers, and security cameras the most, but these Prime Day sales typically include many products. 

Also: The 10 most popular October Prime Day deals among ZDNET readers

Amazon shared in its release that Prime members can expect to jump on back-to-school savings and college essentials, find deep discounts across the site, and find deals on “new and popular” brands only available on Amazon for the upcoming event.

How much cheaper are things on Prime Day?

Prime Day not only slashes prices on many top products on Amazon (across 35 categories, to be exact), but it also sparks generous competiton amongst other major retailers such as Walmart, Target, Costco, Best Buy, and more. This means that you have a good chance of scoring a product you’ve been eyeing for a discount of 30%, 40%, 50%, and even more at Amazon, or nabbing the very same or even better discount elsewhere. 

Plus, Prime Day is typically worth it for Amazon-exclusive products like Fire TVs, Fire tablets, Echo devices, Ring doorbells and cameras, Fire Sticks, and more (really, we’re already seeing discounts of over 50% on these items). While sale periods can sometimes be tricky to know if you’re getting the best deal, Prime Day generally does bring legitimate discounts, especially on tech. Remember, we’re already seeing new smartphones, TVs, tablets, and more releases, which means more savings are incoming for older products. 

Everything to know about Prime Day (so far)

Amazon finally announced that Prime Day will return on Tuesday, July 16 and Wednesday, July 17 — just a few weeks away. We’ve been keeping up with all the best Prime Day news since Amazon’s confirmation of their 10th annual Prime Day back in April, and we’ll continue to cover all the best deals you can shop before, during, and after the popular event. Be sure to keep up with our Advice team on ZDNET.com throughout the coming weeks. We’ll be updating the site with all the details you need to shop savvy — including the best deals on products we’ve personally tested and would recommend. 


When is Amazon Prime Day 2024? 

Amazon Prime Day 2024 is slated for this upcoming July, and Amazon announced that the sale will officially run from July 16 at 12:01 a.m. PDT through July 17. Last year, Prime Day ran July 11 and 12, tailing Fourth of July weekend more closely. 

When does Prime Day start?

Prime Day 2024 will kick off on Tuesday, July 16 at 12:01 a.m. PT and will run through Wednesday, July 17. The sale will last 48 hours like in years past, though we fully expect to see a ton of deals drop before the even begins and linger for several days after. Plus, Amazon always has shoppable deals available you can explore. 

What is Amazon Prime Day? 

Prime Day is Amazon’s most popular flagship seasonal savings event, typically in mid-July each year. Although Amazon has since branched out to add an October Prime event and other sales, this July Prime Day remains the holy grail of Amazon sales. 

Prime Day grants Amazon Prime members exclusive access to deals on Amazon.com across all categories, including home, tech, apparel, and more. 

Who can shop Amazon Prime Day 2024? 

Amazon’s Prime Day is an exclusive sale for Amazon Prime members. You can always sign up for a 30-day free trial for those who aren’t members. (If you’re a student, you may be eligible for a discounted Prime Student membership, which includes a 6-month free trial.)

Do I need a Prime membership to shop on Prime Day? 

Technically, yes. Prime Day is an exclusive Prime members-only event. You must purchase a membership or start a free trial to participate. You can always sign up for a 30-day free trial for those who aren’t members. 

Can I sign up for Amazon Prime, shop, and then cancel?

Look at you, two steps ahead. Yes, there are loopholes to enjoying the Amazon sale if you aren’t already a Prime member or don’t want to become one permanently. A popular tactic is to sign up for a free 30-day trial, shop your favorite steals, and cancel before the 30 days are up to avoid getting charged. 

Also: Get access to Prime Day deals even if you aren’t a member

Where will Prime Day take place? 

Amazon announced that Prime Day 2024 will take place in 24 countries

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the US, and the UK are the participating countries.

How much is an Amazon Prime membership? 

Amazon Prime costs $14.99 per month, or you can purchase an annual membership for $139, saving you a few dollars. 

Also: These 5 new Amazon features make finding the products you need even easier

All college students and those aged 18-24 are eligible for a discount and can pay $7.49 per month or $69 per year. In addition, those with qualified government assistance (which may include select seniors) can receive a Prime membership for just $6.99 after their free trial.

How do I join Amazon Prime? 

Join Amazon Prime or start your free trial here: https://www.amazon.com/amazonprime

How often does Amazon hold Prime Day? 

Amazon is known for its annual Prime Day event in mid-July. Prime Day began in July 2015, on the company’s 20th birthday. However, the retail giant has recently expanded its sale periods to become more frequent. For the past two years, Amazon added a sale called Prime Big Deal Days in October, colloquially dubbed “October Prime Day.” We expect the same for this year. 

From March 20-25, 2024, Amazon launched its first-ever Big Spring Sale, a sale event expected to appear again next year. 

Is there an October Prime Day?

In 2020, Amazon ran its Prime Day sale event in October due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, in October 2022, the retail giant offered a “Prime Day Early Access” sale event, and most recently, in October 2022, Amazon ran an “October Prime Day” for the first time. Since we also saw an October Prime Day in 2023, we anticipate another Prime-related sale event will pop up in October 2024.

How do I score the best deals during Prime Day 2024?

Throughout the sale, we’ll be extensively updating ZDNET.com live with all the best deals on products we’ve tested and would recommend. We’ll also curate, share, and update hand-picked lists of top deals in several product categories, including laptops, security cameras, tablets, Amazon devices, and more. 

Amazon also offers “Lightning Deals” during its sale events, which are time- and stock-sensitive. Look for this tag on any products you want to purchase—if you see it, you may want to check it out—and fast. Throughout select periods during Prime Day, new deals will continue to drop as often as every 5 minutes. Plus, invite-only deals are back. Prime members can also request an invitation to access invite-only deals—exclusive Prime Day deals Amazon is anticipating to sell out. 

Are there Prime Day deals available already? 

Yes and no. While there are no live “Prime Day” deals on particular products, the retail giant shared several early offers for savings across the platform. Most are for Prime members, so you’ll likely need to have or get a membership to access these exclusive rates. Here are a few: 

Also: The best early Amazon Prime Day 2024 deals

  • Amazon Music: Prime members who haven’t already tried Amazon Music Unlimited can get five months free (the best deal ever from Amazon Music for Prime Day) to celebrate Amazon Music’s 10-year anniversary. 
  • Shop top products: Starting right now, Prime members can get discounts on top products like Ring doorbells, Amazon Fire TVs, tablets, Echo products, and more. 
  • Shop small business deals: Prime members in the U.S. can shop more small business deals than ever before, and early access to deals starts now from small businesses at Amazon

Plus, the e-commerce site regularly offers products at a discount all year round. Be sure to keep up with ZDNET.com, where we share deals every day of the week across major retailers. We also keep you posted when coveted products hit great prices. 

Also: The best Amazon deals you can shop right now

Are there any deals to avoid during Prime Day 2024?

Prime Day brings discounts across nearly 35 categories (some of the best being in tech). There are not necessarily specific items to avoid, but remember to keep your eyes out for discounts and listing prices. Sometimes, during big savings events, it’s hard to tell what’s really a “discount.” If you’re checking in with all of ZDNET’s Prime Day content, don’t worry — we’ll be expert-vetting deals to ensure they’re worth your money. If you’re shopping on your own, make sure to do some research on historical pricing using tools like Google Shopping and more.

Also: Google expands its shopping tools just in time for Amazon Prime Day. Here’s how to use them

Will there be similar sales at other retailers?

Yes, as we’ve seen in the past, other major retailers will undoubtedly offer competing sales, deals, and discounts. Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and other retailers try to compete with Amazon’s Prime Day offerings, often price-cutting the same items during the same periods or extending their own sales. We’ll cover all the best deals on top tech during Amazon’s Prime Day event, including deals surfacing elsewhere. 

Are the same deals available for both days of the event?

The answer here is hard to say. It’s a yes, but also a no. Invite-only Prime deals, or Lightning deals may be different each day. Amazon confirmed last month that new deals may surface as often as every five minutes on the site. As always, deals only last as long as Amazon decides, with lighting deals offering a countdown to their expiration, and other deals’ longevity pending on how fast products sell-out (or don’t). 





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