While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 12


Novel coronavirus named 'Covid-19': WHO

The UN health agency on Tuesday announced that "Covid-19" will be the official name of the deadly virus from China, saying the disease represented a "very grave threat" for the world but there was a "realistic chance" of stopping it.

"We now have a name for the disease and it's Covid-19," World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.

Tedros said that "co" stands for "corona", "vi" for "virus" and "d" for "disease", while "19" was for the year, as the outbreak was first identified on Dec 31.

Tedros said the name had been chosen to avoid references to a specific geographical location, animal species or group of people in line with international recommendations for naming aimed at preventing stigmatisation.


Mike Pompeo reports 'notable progress' in US-Taleban talks, says Afghan president

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Tuesday he was told by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that "notable progress" had been made in talks between the United States and the Taleban on an agreement for a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

In a post on Twitter, Ghani that Pompeo had informed him in a telephone call that the Taleban had made a proposal "with regards to bringing a significant and enduring reduction in violence."

Ghani's tweet indicated a possible breakthrough in talks between US and Taleban negotiators, who have been deadlocked in part over a US demand that the insurgents agree to significantly reduce violence as part of any American troop withdrawal accord.


Space explorers wanted: Nasa seeks next generation of US astronauts

Wanted: The next generation of astronauts to walk on the Moon and journey to Mars.

You will need a relevant master's degree, be prepared to live and work 400km above Earth on the International Space Station, and be a US citizen.

Nasa announced on Tuesday it was seeking to boost its astronaut corps, which currently stands at 48 active personnel, as part of plans to dramatically expand its crewed space missions in the coming years.


Samsung doubles down on foldable devices, unveils Z Flip and S20 series

Samsung unveiled its second foldable smartphone on Tuesday, marking a doubling down on foldable devices which analysts said could fuel the next smartphone revolution.

The newly-launched Z Flip's foldable clamshell design is a departure from Samsung's first foldable phone the Galaxy Fold, launched last September (2019) after months of postponement due to initial screen problems.

At its Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco's Palace of the Fine Arts, the South Korean tech giant also announced three new models to its Galaxy series - the S20, the S20+ and the S20 Ultra - each improving on their S10 predecessors in three key areas: display, cameras and being 5G-ready.


Formula One: Ferrari show off new SF1000 car with a touch of theatre

Ferrari showed off their 2020 Formula One car with a theatrical show of pride and passion on Tuesday, assuring success-starved fans that it was also very different under the skin to last year's model.

The SF1000 car, marking the Italian team's 1,000th race this year, is the car Ferrari hope will end six years of Mercedes domination and dash Lewis Hamilton's bid to equal Michael Schumacher's record seven titles.

If the red car looks superficially similar to the 2019 challenger, team principal Mattia Binotto said appearances were deceptive.