Technology • Internet & Web
Australian government pulls health ads from Facebook after news ban
Facebook logo
Facebook logo Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via Facebook (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Australian government in Canberra announced on Sunday that it will no longer run ads on Facebook. The announcement came at the launch of Australia's vaccination campaign against the coronavirus. Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government would advertise vaccinations on the internet, just not on Facebook.

The dispute is triggered by a planned law to regulate the digital news market. The bill had been passed by the Australian lower house last week. The Senate is scheduled to vote on it by the end of this week.

Regional News • Oceania
Google threatens to shut down search in Australia if digital news code goes ahead
Google logo
Google logo Credit: Google

Google has threatened to remove its search engine from Australia and Facebook has threatened to remove news from its feed for all Australian users if a code forcing the companies to negotiate payments to news media companies goes ahead.

The move would mean the 19 million Australians Google users would no longer be able to use Google Search.

At a Senate hearing in Canberra on Friday, Google Australia Managing Director Mel Silva said the draft legislation "remains unworkable," and would be "breaking" the way millions of users searched for content online.

Science • Nature
Scientists discover new mammals in Australia
Scientists discover new mammals in Australia
Credit: Mark Gillow, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Australian scientists have discovered two new mammal species. They belong to the marsupials and are assigned to the type of the Great Gliders. The marsupials are different in their size, fur color, distribution and physiology, which is why research teams of the James Cook University and the University of Canberra examined DNA-samples of Flugbeutler from 5 populations and found considerable differences in the genetic material.

Science • Space
NASA has managed to contact Voyager 2 after repairs and upgrades to radio antenna
NASA has managed to contact Voyager 2 after repairs and upgrades to radio antenna
Credit: CSIRO / via Wikimedia Commons

NASA has successfully contacted the Voyager 2 spacecraft for the first time since March. The Deep Space Station 43 in Canberra, Australia, is the only radio antenna that is able to contact and command the Voyager 2, which is now 43 years old, and has been under maintenance to receive repairs and upgrades since March. Now it has successfully re-contacted the spacecraft and Voyager 2 has confirmed the signal and executed the commands that had been sent.

Work on the radio antenna is expected to wrap up in February.

Science • Space
Rocket Lab carries payload for NASA and NRO into orbit
Rocket Lap - Electron Rocket Launch
Rocket Lap - Electron Rocket Launch Credit: Screenshot Rocket Lab YouTube

The spacetravel company Rocket Lab has successfully resumed its operations and carried a payload for NASA, the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office and the University of New South Wales Canberra into orbit. Being pushed back due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Electron rocket has been successfully launched from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.