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Coral reefs going through ‘extremely alarming’ decline in the Caribbean

Coral reefs in the Caribbean are producing less than half of the key ingredient that makes their calcium skeleton compared to pre-industrial times, scientists said on Tuesday, describing the findings as “extremely alarming.” The amount of new calcium carbonate being added by coral reefs is at least half, and in…

Ecologists: Hedgehog population in dramatic decline

Once common sightings of hedgehogs are becoming rare in the UK’s gardens, parks and hedgerows, say ecologists The once common sight of hedgehogs in gardens could become a thing of the past, with the spiny species having suffered a dramatic decline in recent years on a par with the loss…

U.S. soldier receives rare double arm transplant

A US soldier who lost all four limbs in a 2009 roadside bomb attack in Iraq has successfully received a rare double arm transplant, Johns Hopkins hospital said Monday. The infantryman, whose name and age were not released, is one of just seven people in the United States who have…

Climate change increases risk of severe flu epidemics: study

Warmer than average winters could result in more severe flu epidemics, according to research published Monday in PLOS Currents: Influenza. The study mathematically analyzed climate patterns and cases of influenza in the U.S. from 1997 to the present. Though mild winters tended to reduce the spread of influenza, the following…

EU drug agency to review new birth control pills for blood clot risk

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Monday said it would review safety data for third- and fourth-generation birth control pills, responding to French concern that these contraceptives may cause dangerous blood clots. The agency, describing contraceptive pills as carrying only “a very rare risk” of clots, said a special panel…

Author of climate change report: ‘I got it wrong on climate change – it’s far, far worse’

by Heather Stewart Lord Stern speaks out in Davos on danger to economies as planet absorbs less carbon and is ‘on track’ for 4C rise Lord Stern, author of the government-commissioned review on climate change that became the reference work for politicians and green campaigners, now says he underestimated the…

Cities affect weather thousands of kilometers away: study

Heat from large cities alters local streams of high-altitude winds, potentially affecting weather in locations thousands of kilometres (miles) away, researchers said on Sunday. The findings could explain a long-running puzzle in climate change — why some regions in the northern hemisphere are strangely experiencing warmer winters than computer models…

Experts warn obesity will soon reach pandemic proportions

Obesity has become a global pandemic that could leave more than half of all adults worldwide overweight within two decades, experts said, calling for urgent action beyond just blaming people for lacking willpower. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, health, nutrition and fitness experts said the world’s increasingly…

FDA panel pushing for new limits on access to Vicodin

Citing concern over increasing reports of addiction and overdoses, a Food and Drug Administration safety panel has recommended new restrictions on access to the commonly-used painkiller Vicodin and other products. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the panel voted 19-10 to suggest that Vicodin and other products containing…

Malaysian biologist named head of U.N. biodiversity panel

A prominent Malaysian biologist on Saturday was named first chief of a UN scientific panel which aims to turn the world’s spotlight on species loss, as a Nobel-winning counterpart has done for climate change. In their first plenary meeting, members of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, or…

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