Weekly news update. Weekly update just for you.


  1. Safety Mode will flag accounts using hateful remarks, or those bombarding people with uninvited comments, and block them for seven days. The feature will work automatically once enabled. It will initially be tested on a small group of users. The feature can be turned on, and the system will assess both the tweet’s content and the relationship between the tweet author and replier. Accounts that are followed by the user or frequently interacted with, will not be autoblocked.
  2. The number of weather-related disasters to hit the world has increased five-fold over the past 50 years, says the World Meteorological Organization. However, the number of deaths because of the greater number of storms, floods and droughts has fallen sharply. Scientists say that climate change, more extreme weather and better reporting are behind the rise in these extreme events. But improvements to warning systems have helped limit the number of deaths.
  3. There is now no country in the world that uses leaded petrol for cars and lorries, the UN Environment Programme has announced. The toxic fuel has contaminated air, soil and water for almost a century. It can cause heart disease, cancer and stroke, and has been linked to problems with brain development in children. Most high-income countries had banned the fuel by the 1980s, but it was only in July that Algeria – the last country still to use leaded petrol – ran out.
  4. The report issued by the office that oversees the nation’s 18 spy agencies did conclusively determine that it was not developed as a biological weapon. Experts warn that time is running out to gather evidence of its beginnings. China’s foreign minister has dismissed the report as “anti-science”. The report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the intelligence community remains divided on Covid’s most likely origin.
  5. The UK’s independent data authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office, introduced the Age Appropriate Design Code in September 2020, allowing companies a year to comply. Without regulation the way in which social-media and gaming platforms and video- and music-streaming sites use and share children’s personal data could cause physical, emotional and financial harm, it said. It had concerns around: privacy, inappropriate advertising, tactics to keep children online for long periods of time.
  6. A new tool which could help detect breast cancer has been trialled at Nottingham University Hospital. The artificial intelligence known as MIA was trained using historical scans to see if it would make the same diagnosis as humans. In the UK mammograms are reviewed by two specialists and it is hoped the artificial intelligence (AI) could eventually become the second reader in screening clinics potentially speeding up the process.

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