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James Webb Space Telescope confirms its first exoplanet

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James Webb Space Telescope confirms its first exoplanet
GLOBALTIMESPAKISTAN

The James Webb Space Telescope has discovered its first exoplanet — a planet orbiting another star outside our solar system. Scientists say it is roughly the same size as Earth.

The rocky exoplanet could be seen easily and clearly with just two transit observations, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., announced Wednesday at the 241st meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.

“There is no question that the planet is there. Webb s pristine data validate it,” said Jacob Lustig-Yaeger, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. “With this telescope, rocky exoplanets are the new frontier.”

The exoplanet, which has been labeled LHS 475b, measures 99% of the diameter of Earth and is located 41 light-years away in the constellation Octans, according to researchers who reviewed data from NASA s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS.

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LHS 475b is closer to its star than any planet in our Solar System, according to scientists. Given the exoplanet s red dwarf star is less than half the temperature of the Sun, researchers believe it could support an atmosphere.

While Webb is the only operating telescope that is capable of detecting atmospheres of Earth-sized exoplanets, more precise measurements are needed for the team to determine whether there is a pure carbon dioxide atmosphere or no atmosphere at all. Researchers expect to gather more data this summer.

“The telescope is so sensitive that it can easily detect a range of molecules, but we can t yet draw any definitive conclusions about the planet s atmosphere,” said Erin May, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

“There are some terrestrial-type atmospheres that we can rule out,” said Lustig-Yaeger. “It can t have a thick methane-dominated atmosphere, similar to that of Saturn s moon Titan.”

“Counterintuitively, a 100% carbon dioxide atmosphere is much more compact that it becomes very challenging to detect,” Lustig-Yaeger added.

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Despite the additional research needed, scientists said Webb has already revealed that LHS 475b is a few hundred degrees warmer than Earth and that it completes its orbit in just two days.

Since launching into space in December of 2021, Webb has been beaming back clear and stunning images of the universe.

In November, the $10 billion telescope captured images of two of the farthest galaxies seen to date, located several billion light years behind the giant galaxy cluster Abell 2744, and captured images of a new star forming.

For LHS 475b, it is Webb s first sight of an exoplanet.

“These first observational results from an Earth-sized, rocky planet open the door to many future possibilities for studying rocky planet atmospheres with Webb,” said Mark Clampin, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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“Webb is bringing us closer and closer to a new understanding of Earth-like worlds outside the Solar System, and the mission is only just getting started.”

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ByteDance confirms layoff plan at its Indonesian unit

ByteDance confirms layoff plan at its Indonesian unit

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ByteDance confirms layoff plan at its Indonesian unit

China’s ByteDance will lay off staff at its Indonesian unit following a deal where it bought a local e-commerce firm and combined it with its TikTok operation, a spokesperson said on Friday.

ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, did not say how many employees would be affected. Bloomberg had earlier reported there would be 450 jobs cut.

In January ByteDance completed a deal to buy a majority stake in Tokopedia, an Indonesian e-commerce firm, from the GoTo group.

ByteDance spokesperson Nuraini Razak told Reuters in a statement the company would “make necessary adjustments” as a result of the combination of TikTok and Tokopedia.

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“We identified areas to strengthen our organisation and better align our teams with company goals,” she said, adding the company would “aim to support employees throughout this transition”.

ByteDance had its own e-commerce operation in Indonesia via its TikTok app, but that was banned under an Indonesian rule that social media applications could not operate as an e-commerce platform.

Tokopedia is one of the leading e-commerce platforms in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

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Indonesia minister threatens to shut down X over adult content

Indonesia minister threatens to shut down X over adult content

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Indonesia minister threatens to shut down X over adult content

Indonesia is prepared to shut down social media platform X if it does not comply with a regulation barring adult content, the country’s communications minister said on Friday. Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, has strict rules that ban the sharing online of content deemed obscene.

Minister Budi Arie Setiadi told Reuters he had sent a warning letter to X related to this matter.

“We will certainly shut its services down,” he said, pointing to Indonesia’s electronic information and transaction (ITE) law that can carry a six-year jail sentence if someone spreads pornographic content.

His comments in an interview come after the social media platform recently updated its policies to permit consensually produced adult content.

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X, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, has not responded to Indonesia’s warning letter, Budi said, adding the government would send more letters before deciding on a potential closure.

X, formerly known as Twitter, did not immediately respond to a request by Reuters for comment.

Indonesians are big users of social media and X has 24.85 million users in the country, according to data gathering business Statista.

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Japan watchdog recommends action on MUFG units over sharing of client data

Japan watchdog recommends action on MUFG units over sharing of client data

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Japan's securities watchdog recommended on Friday that the banking and securities units of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group opens new tab (MUFG) be penalised for what it said was unauthorised sharing of client information. The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) made the recommendation to the banking regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), which hands out such punishments in Japan. The recommendation, which was widely expected, followed the SESC's investigation into MUFG's banking arm, MUFG Bank, and its two brokerage ventures with Morgan Stanley (MS.N), opens new tab. The investigation found that confidential client information had been shared between MUFG Bank and one of the two securities firms on at least 26 occasions between 2020 and 2023. MUFG Bank also illegally offered preferential lending rates to clients that did business with the group's two securities brokerages, the SESC said. Japan's "firewall" regulations prohibit banks and securities companies in the same group from sharing customer data with one another without the customer's consent. The investigation found no evidence of insider trading, but monitoring and internal controls were lacking, the SESC said. MUFG group companies will make every effort to strengthen control systems in light of the recommendation and will take measures to prevent recurrence, the parent company said in a statement. The two brokerages were established in 2010, two years after MUFG invested in Morgan Stanley at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008. MUFG owned around 23% of Morgan Stanley as of March 2024.

Japan’s securities watchdog recommended on Friday that the banking and securities units of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group  opens new tab (MUFG) be penalised for what it said was unauthorised sharing of client information.

The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) made the recommendation to the banking regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), which hands out such punishments in Japan.

The recommendation, which was widely expected, followed the SESC’s investigation into MUFG’s banking arm, MUFG Bank, and its two brokerage ventures with Morgan Stanley (MS.N), opens new tab.

The investigation found that confidential client information had been shared between MUFG Bank and one of the two securities firms on at least 26 occasions between 2020 and 2023.

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MUFG Bank also illegally offered preferential lending rates to clients that did business with the group’s two securities brokerages, the SESC said.

Japan’s “firewall” regulations prohibit banks and securities companies in the same group from sharing customer data with one another without the customer’s consent.

The investigation found no evidence of insider trading, but monitoring and internal controls were lacking, the SESC said.

MUFG group companies will make every effort to strengthen control systems in light of the recommendation and will take measures to prevent recurrence, the parent company said in a statement.

The two brokerages were established in 2010, two years after MUFG invested in Morgan Stanley at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008. MUFG owned around 23% of Morgan Stanley as of March 2024.

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