Dangling his feet off the edge of a skyscraper more than fifty storeys above the streets of Hong Kong, Jonathan Tsang looks as relaxed as if he was kicking back in his own living room. But for 25-year-old Tsang, it brings a sense of calm. Tsang, who asked AFP to use a pseudonym, is one of a growing number of so-called "urban explorers", a subculture of adrenaline junkies, photographers and history enthusiasts who treat the world’s forgotten -- and often forbidden -- places as their own personal playgrounds. Hong Kong, a city with more skyscrapers than anywhere else in the world, is a particularly attractive destination for both local and international "rooftoppers", a daring subset of adventurers with a head for heights willing to risk arrest, injury and even death as they scale some of the world’s tallest buildings.
Hanover (Germany) (AFP) - European IT security firms have flocked to the world's biggest high-tech fair with hopes of benefiting from the fallout from shock revelations of mass US and British spying. Exactly a year ago, Chancellor Angela Merkel vaunted her new, ultra-secure Smartphone at the opening of the same fair, the CeBIT, in the northern city of Hanover. German firm Secusmart, which provides the security features for the German government's telephones, says it has now been approached by several other governments. Secusmart chief Hans-Christoph Quelle declined to name the governments in question but stressed his business had seen a knock-on effect from the leaks by rogue US analyst Edward Snowden.
Dozens of ships and aircraft from multiple nations scoured an expanded swathe of Southeast Asia Tuesday for any sign of a Malaysian jet that vanished with 239 people on board, as frustration mounted over the baffling disappearance. Authorities had announced late Monday they were doubling the search radius to 100 nautical miles (equivalent to 185 kilometres) around the point where Malaysia Airlines MH370 disappeared from radar over the South China Sea early Saturday, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. China, which had 153 of its nationals on board the plane, said it would harness 10 satellites equipped with high-resolution imaging to help, as Boeing said it was joining a US government team to figure out what happened to its 777-200 plane. Malaysian authorities and airline officials have come under fire from China for their inability to provide any indication of what happened, and for a string of contradictory statements.
The troubled Bitcoin exchange MtGox filed for protection under US bankruptcy law Monday, 10 days after doing the same in Japan after a huge loss of the digital currency, a court document showed. The Japanese firm is now protected temporarily under Chapter 15 of US bankruptcy law for foreign firms. A bankruptcy court in Dallas, Texas accepted the request and will make a definitive ruling in April, the document said. MtGox faces a class action lawsuit filed February 27 in Illinois by an American named Gregory Greene.
North Korea has developed sophisticated countermeasures to circumvent U.N. sanctions, including the suspected use of its embassies to facilitate the illegal trade in weapons, according to a United Nations report. North Korean embassies in Cuba and Singapore were suspected by the eight member U.N. panel of experts of facilitating the country's banned arms trade, including a shipment of fighter jets and missile parts that were seized in Panama last July. The report also pointed to the use of more developed financial countermeasures used to mask the purchase of both banned and permitted goods.
A co-author of a Japanese study that promised a revolutionary way to create stem cells has called for the headline-grabbing research to be retracted over claims its data was faulty. The findings, published by Japanese researcher Haruko Obokata and US-based scientists in the January edition of British journal Nature, outlined a simple and low-tech approach in the quest to grow transplant tissue in the lab. But it has faced hard questions as the Japanese research institute that sponsored the study launched a probe last month over the credibility of data used to reach the explosive findings. The Japan-based Riken Institute, which could not be immediately reached Tuesday, had earlier said it was standing by the results for the time being.
Indian Wells (United States) (AFP) - Defending champions Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova suffered shock third-round exits at the Indian Wells ATP Masters and WTA hardcourt tournament. Ukraine's 31st-ranked Alexandr Dolgopolov on Monday ended world number one Nadal's run of eight straight trips to the semi-finals or better at Indian Wells with 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) triumph. Dolgopolov notched his first career win over Nadal after five prior defeats -- including a loss to the Spaniard in the claycourt final at Rio de Janeiro two weeks ago. Serving for the match at 5-3 in the third, Dolgopolov was broken at love with a double fault on break point.
The Miami Heat clinched a playoff spot and snapped a three-game losing skid by beating the Washington Wizards 99-90 behind a 23-point performance from LeBron James. Dwyane Wade scored 13 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter in front of a crowd of 19,657 at the AmericanAirlines Arena. "This was a game that showed some growth," said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. James also tallied eight assists and seven rebounds, while Chris Bosh added 22 points and seven rebounds for the Heat, who haven't lost four in a row since a five-game losing streak in 2011.