Dr Li Wenliang, who was reprimanded by Wuhan police for disclosing the respiratory illness outbreak in December, died on Friday morning. That brought the deathtoll in mainland China to 630. Handout photo.
US drone strike kills Al-Qaeda leader, Deutsche Bank and Softbank get investor boosts, and mobile traffic jams. Delano’s breakfast briefing for Friday.
Wuhan whistleblower dies
Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist who first alerted colleagues about the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, has died. He contracted the virus while working at Wuhan Central Hospital. Dr Li was forced by police to retract his warning before authorities admitted to the crisis. He was 34. Sources: AFP, BBC, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, and South China Morning Post.
Coronavirus clobbering carmakers
Fiat Chrysler warned the Wuhan coronavirus could force one of its (unspecified) factories in Europe to shut down due to supply chain shortages. Sources: BBC, Financial Times and The Guardian. Honda (per Reuters) and Toyota (per Reuters) were among the automakers and parts suppliers who said they would keep their Wuhan plants idle for several more days.
Uber outlines path to profitability
Uber shares rose 5% in afterhours trading after it posted narrower than expected losses in the fourth quarter of 2019 (which were still $1.1bn) and said it expected to start becoming profitable during the fourth quarter of 2020. Sources: CNBC, Financial Times, The Guardian, Marketwatch and Reuters.
Elliott invests in Softbank
Elliott Management, a hedge fund, has taken a $2.5bn stake in Softbank, the technology and telecoms conglomerate. Sources: CNBC, Financial Times and Reuters.
Researchers at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and State Street Associates predicted that here is a 70% chance of a recession within the next 6 months, using a technique previously utilised to analyse human skulls. Sources: Axios, CNBC and UPI.
Thomas Kemmerich of the liberal FDP party resigned as premiere of the German state of Thuringia after one day, because he was voted into office with the support of the far right AfD party. Sources: BBC, Deutsche Welle and France 24.
Here are 7 science & technology stories you may have missed
Possibly the world’s biggest robot: An amusement park in Japan is building “an 18-meter-tall, 25-ton Gundam robot,” per IEEE Spectrum. Renewable energy: Researchers are trying to build “anti-solar panels” that generate electricity at night, per Inverse. Regulation: The California Consumer Privacy Act, the state’s version of the EU’s GDPR, has spawned “nearly 300” Silicon Valley privacy startups, according to NBC News. Computer security: Facebook issued a patch for a bug that potentially let hackers access Whatsapp users’ desktop files, per The Register. Space: Kosmos 2542, a Russian satellite, is apparently shadowing a US spy satellite, for unknown reasons, per MIT Technology Review. Space: Scientists are studying the second known interstellar object observed in our solar system, 2I/Borisov, per Quanta Magazine. GPS: A Berlin artist created a virtual traffic jam on Google Maps by carrying 99 secondhand phones in a little red wagon, per Ars Technica, The Guardian and Vice Motherboard.
The Italian village of Piobbico celebrates ‘ugly people’ per the BBC.