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Rainfall in the Amazon may drop by 20 percent because of deforestation

Deforestation may cause rainfall in the Amazonian basin to decline disastrously, British scientists said in a study published on Wednesday by the journal Nature. Rainfall across the vast basin could lessen by 12 percent during wet seasons and 21 percent during dry seasons, potentially inflicting astronomical costs on farmers and…

Smart phone users more and more wary of invasion of privacy by apps

Users of mobile devices are rejecting or uninstalling some apps because of concerns about how much personal and private information is collected, a US survey showed Wednesday. The Pew Internet Project survey found that 54 percent of mobile users who download apps have decided to not install a cell phone…

Bill Clinton to make economic case for Obama’s reelection tonight at Democratic Convention

Bill Clinton, the last two-term Democratic president, will urge US voters Wednesday to let Barack Obama lead America back to prosperity, in a highly-anticipated convention speech. The hugely popular figure who presided over a period of strong growth, low unemployment and budget surpluses will make the economic case for re-electing…

Palestinian man attempts self-immolation after denied money to visit sick daughter

A man upset over not being given money to visit his sick daughter in Jordan tried to immolate himself on Wednesday during one of several demonstrations against rising prices in the West Bank, Palestinian sources said. Gaza Strip resident Hussein Qahwaji, aged 37, was stopped from setting himself on fire…

Officials probe video showing Russian ‘Top Gun’ stunt near major highway

- Russian military prosecutors said Wednesday they would probe flight records and safety measures after a video showing a fighter jet zooming low over a highway became an Internet hit. A spokesman for military prosecutors in the southern military district told the Interfax news agency that they had “begun a…

Unusual weather means champagne harvest will be smallest in two decades

First the bad news: there is going to be a lot less champagne to go round this year. The good news: what there is could be outstanding. After one of the worst spring growing seasons on record, producers of the world’s most celebrated bubbly are bracing themselves for one of…

Dems move Obama’s convention speech to smaller indoor space in face of weather woes

Bad weather has forced President Barack Obama to move Thursday’s major re-election pitch away from a 70,000-seater stadium to a much smaller indoor venue, organizers said. “We have been monitoring weather forecasts closely and several reports predict thunderstorms in the area,” the Democratic National Convention Committee said Wednesday. “Therefore we…

Geologists report a 7.9 quake off Pacific coast of Costa Rica

A 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica Wednesday, the US Geological Survey reported. A tsunami warning was issued for parts of the Pacidic sides of Central and South America after the major quake, it added. The agency said the center of the quake, which hit at…

Fighting ‘summer learning loss’ could close achievement gap

One tactic to shrink achievement gap: tackle 'summer learning loss' (via The Christian Science Monitor) On a sweltering August day, student Hendrick Estrella sits on a sailboat, dragging his hand through the waves and reveling in the coolness of Boston Harbor. The day before, he had touched – and tasted…

South Korean lawmakers seek castration for repeat sex offenders

A group of 20 South Korean lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday that would allow for the physical castration of repeat sex offenders, amid public outrage at a spate of brutal sex crimes. If the bill is adopted, courts could order the testicular castration of recidivist sex offenders who fail to…

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