As more space junk falls to Earth, should we be worried?

Last week, debris from a suspected Chinese booster rocket made an uncontrolled return to Earth, reportedly falling just metres from villages in Malaysia and Indonesia, and triggering a rebuke from Nasa. This follows the recent discovery of SpaceX debris on a sheep farm in regional NSW. Jane Lee speaks to ANU astrophysicist Dr Brad Tucker and reporter Natasha May about why more space junk is falling to Earth, what risks it poses to our safety How to listen to podcasts: everything you need to know The Guardian

Britain’s electric dreams will never come true while China has a materials advantage | John Naughton

In his book Electrify: An Optimist’s Playbook for Our Clean Energy Future, Saul Griffith, an American inventor, entrepreneur and engineer, sets out a plan for decarbonising the US: electrify everything. From now on, every time people replace a vehicle or renovate a building or buy an appliance, they should be buying electric. Every new roof must have solar panels, all new housing must be energy efficient and shouldn’t contain a gas cooker. All that’s required to make this happen is a collective national effort comparable to the mobilisation of the…

Our global food supply is at risk when high gas prices limit the creation of fertiliser | Andrew Whitelaw

If water is the source of life, fertiliser is the source of scaleable food production. The increasing cost of fertiliser is one of the largest contributors to a “cost-price” squeeze affecting the farmers of major agricultural products in Australia and globally. The cost of food is increasing in step with the cost of producing that food and, in the past quarter in Australia, we have seen food inflation increase by 2.8% – the fourth-highest quarter since the turn of the century. The price of wheat, the main staple for much…

China carries out anti-missile tests amid opposition to US systems in South Korea

China carried out a test of “ground-based midcourse anti-missile intercept technology” that “achieved its expected purpose”, the defence ministry in Beijing has said, describing it as defensive and not aimed at any country. Beijing has tested missile interceptors before; the most recent previous public announcement of a test was in February 2021, and before that in 2018. State media has said China has conducted anti-missile system tests since at least 2010. China has been ramping up research into all sorts of missiles, from those that can destroy satellites in space…

Shanghai reopens after two months of Covid lockdown – in pictures

Restrictions have eased and more than 22 million people are allowed to move around the city again Main image: People drink on a street, as the city prepares to end the lockdown placed to curb the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Shanghai Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters Wed 1 Jun 2022 01.46 EDT The Guardian

Shanghai starts to dismantle fences as Covid lockdown due to end

Shanghai authorities have begun dismantling fences around housing compounds and ripping police tape off public squares and buildings, to the relief of the city’s 25 million residents, before a painful two-month lockdown is lifted at midnight. On Monday evening, some of the people allowed out of their compounds for brief walks took advantage of suspended traffic to congregate for a beer and ice cream on deserted streets, but there was a sense of wariness and anxiety among residents. Most will be stuck indoors again until midnight, as they have been…

Half of Covid-hospitalised still symptomatic two years on, study finds

More than half of people hospitalised with Covid-19 still have at least one symptom two years after they were first infected, according to the longest follow-up study of its kind. While physical and mental health generally improve over time, the analysis suggests that coronavirus patients discharged from hospital still tend to experience poorer health and quality of life than the general population. The research was published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine. “Our findings indicate that for a certain proportion of hospitalised Covid-19 survivors, while they may have cleared the initial…

‘No end in sight’: Shanghai residents chafe at harsh Covid measures

Tensions between Shanghai residents and China’s Covid enforcers are on the rise again, amid a new push to end infections outside quarantine zones to meet President Xi Jinping’s demand for achieving “dynamic zero-Covid”. Videos shared on China’s social media platforms showed suspected Covid-positive patients forcibly quarantined in central facilities. In some neighbourhoods a single positive case could lead to residents in the entire apartment building be sent for quarantine. Censors have been taking down many of these videos, but determined residents have continued to post them. Past speeches by top…

Car T-cell therapy shows early promise in treating gastric cancers

An experimental cancer therapy that infuses designer immune cells into patients has shown early promise in a clinical trial by shrinking tumours in the digestive system. Interim results from the first phase of the clinical trial found that nearly half, or 48.6%, of the 37 patients treated so far responded to the infusions with their tumours reducing in size after the therapy. While the findings come from an initial safety assessment of the approach, researchers running the trial in Beijing believe it demonstrates the potential for genetically-altered immune cells to…

As China looks on at a world opening up, can Xi Jinping survive zero-Covid?

Across much of the world people are taking international holidays, returning to the office, and going to festivals and political rallies. Faced with the seemingly unstoppable Omicron variant, they’ve decided to live as close to normality as they can in the presence of Covid-19, limiting its impact. But in Covid-zero China it’s a vastly different story. An estimated 340 million people in at least 46 cities are under some form of lockdown or restrictions in China, as cases appear in multiple provinces – often in so far tiny quantities. On…