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Former astronaut Cunningham, member of first crewed Apollo flight, dies at age 90

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WASHINGTON: Former US astronaut Walter Cunningham, who flew to space aboard Apollo 7 in 1968 on the inaugural crewed Apollo mission that paved the way for the first human moon landing nine months later, died on Tuesday at age 90, NASA said.

Cunningham joined crewmates Walter Schirra and Donn Eisele for the 11-day mission, which was conducted in low-Earth orbit. It was the first human test flight of the new Apollo spacecraft, which would ultimately land a dozen astronauts on the lunar surface between 1969 and 1972.

He was the last surviving member of the Apollo 7 crew, following the deaths of mission commander Schirra, one of the original “Mercury Seven” astronauts, and command module pilot Eisele, in 2007 and 1987, respectively.

Cunningham was the flight’s designated lunar module pilot, even though Apollo 7 did not carry the moon landing craft, and he was responsible for all spacecraft systems except launch and navigation.

Blasting off on Oct. 11, 1968, Apollo 7 marked the resumption of NASA’s lunar spaceflight program 21 months after the fire that killed all three members of the Apollo 1 crew — Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee — during a ground-based launch rehearsal in late January 1967.

Prior to his assignment to Apollo 7, Cunningham had been the backup lunar module pilot for the ill-fated Apollo 1 mission and was on the prime crew for Apollo 2 until it was cancelled.

Apollo 7 also was notable for providing the first live television transmission of onboard crew activities, as well as for testy exchanges between ground control and the astronauts, who developed head colds during the flight and openly voiced annoyance with mission directors at times.

Due in part to those tensions, none of the three astronauts went to space again, though Schirra, who by then had flown two previous NASA missions, had already announced plans to retire.

Still, the mission was considered a technical success for proving the capabilities and integrity of systems that would carry Apollo 11 to the lunar surface in July 1969 for the historic first moonwalks by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin.

Cunningham, who served in the US Navy and Marine Corps, flying 54 missions as a fighter pilot before retiring with the rank of colonel, was selected as an astronaut in 1963 as part of NASA’s third astronaut class, the space agency said.

Between his military service and NASA tenure, Cunningham spent three years as a Rand Corp. scientist, working on classified defence studies and problems related to the Earth’s magnetic field.

“Walt Cunningham was a fighter pilot, physicist and an entrepreneur — but, above all, he was an explorer,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement announcing his death.

Following Apollo 7, Cunningham was assigned to lead the Skylab branch — an early space station program — under NASA’s flight crew directorate, and he retired from the space agency in 1971.

He went on to a post-NASA career as an investor and executive in several business ventures, becoming a frequent keynote speaker and radio talk show host.

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Google abandons its plans to do rid of cookies in Chrome

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The significant change in course comes as a result of worries expressed by advertisers, who provide the majority of the company’s revenue, that their capacity to gather data for customised advertisements will be restricted due to the removal of cookies from the most widely used browser in the world, leaving them reliant on Google’s user databases.

Due to worries that Google’s proposal would stifle competition in the digital advertising market, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has also carefully examined the proposal.

“Rather than discontinuing third-party cookies, we would launch a fresh experience in Chrome that empowers individuals to make a knowledgeable decision that is applicable to all of their online browsing, and they could modify that decision whenever they choose,” stated Anthony Chavez, vice president of the Privacy Sandbox project, which is supported by Google, in a blog post.

A major objective of the Privacy Sandbox project, which was started in 2019 by Alphabet (GOOGL.O), opens new tab unit, is to phase out third-party cookies while simultaneously improving online privacy and boosting digital enterprises.

Though they can potentially be used for unauthorised monitoring, cookies are information packets that websites and advertisers use to identify specific online users and follow their browsing patterns.

Within the European Union, publishers are required to obtain explicit agreement from users before storing cookies, as per the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Cookie deletion is another feature that most popular browsers offer.

While continuing to fund the Privacy Sandbox programme, Chavez stated that Google was collaborating on the new strategy with publishers, privacy organisations, and regulators like the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office and CMA.

Many responded differently to the announcement.

Analyst Evelyn Mitchell-Wolf of eMarketer stated in a statement, “Advertising stakeholders won’t have to prepare to quit third-party cookies cold turkey.”

One example of how cookies can hurt consumers is when they display predatory advertisements that target specific demographics, according to Lena Cohen, a staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. According to Cohen, Google’s choice to keep accepting third-party cookies is a direct result of their advertising-driven business model, even though other major browsers have been banning them for years.

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Pakistani cellphone customers are unable to utilize WhatsApp.

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On social media, a number of users have reported that although media files like movies and photographs are not loading or processing regularly, WhatsApp calls and text messages are working as usual. By comparison, WiFi users can seamlessly utilize WhatsApp.

WhatsApp is down.During peak hours after Youm-e-Ashur, the issue with media loading was at its worst. No explanation for the ongoing problem has been provided by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). The topic is presently being looked at by major cellphone operators.

Many users had reported frequent breakdowns on X and LinkedIn, and the bug has previously also affected other Meta apps, such as Facebook and Instagram. That disruption, meanwhile, is currently mainly confined to mobile network users’ access to WhatsApp services.

Facebook users had issues across multiple internet service providers (ISPs) after local authorities limited access to the social media platform earlier this week without any formal announcement. WhatsApp and Instagram were also affected by this restriction at the time, according to Downdetector.

Although the administration was meant to know how or if to eliminate the limitation by July 17, it doesn’t seem like they have made up their minds.

Due to major technical issues that Pakistani users have been having since Muharram 9th, Facebook users on July 17 witnessed widespread irritation and conjecture on the social media platform.

People in Pakistan have moved to alternative social media platforms, such as X (previously known as Twitter), to express their worries after reports surfaced that several ISPs have been unable to access Facebook and Instagram since Tuesday.

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Pakistan’s IT industry is expanding rapidly.

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With the assistance of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), the information technology industry is expanding significantly.

This year, the government has set aside seventy-nine billion rupees for the information technology sector, taking into account its extensive potential.

Amounts of 19 billion and 22 billion rupees, respectively, have been set aside for the Pakistan Software Export Board and the development of IT parks in Islamabad and Karachi.

With SIFC’s assistance, the IT industry is expanding quickly, and a large number of start-ups are making their global debuts.

The nation’s IT exports will increase, as Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif had already promised.

A complete package for the IT industry needs to be prepared, the prime minister stressed while chairing a high-level meeting on the industry’s promotion.

Along with forming a committee to study the issue and instructing it to give recommendations as soon as possible, PM Shehbaz opted to include a fixed tax regime for the IT sector in the budget.

The government would invest a significant sum of money in training young people for careers in the IT industry, according to PM Shehbaz. As of right now, he continued, 45,000 youth nationwide are receiving IT-related training.

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