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Half of all wetlands ‘destroyed since 1900,’ threatening human welfare

An alarming 50 percent of the world’s wetlands have been destroyed in the last 100 years, threatening human welfare at a time of increasing water scarcity, a new report said. Wetlands serve as a source of drinking water and provide protection against floods and storms, yet they have been decimated…

World ministers meet for crunch biodiversity talks

More than 70 environment ministers meet in India on Wednesday for key talks on halting the depletion of Earth’s natural resources, under pressure to put up money to match their political pledges. The high-level gathering comes two years after UN countries agreed at a conference in Japan to reverse by…

Earth-sized planet found orbiting nearest star

European astronomers on Wednesday reported they had detected a planet with about the mass of Earth which orbits the closest star to the Sun. The observation breaks new ground in the hunt for exoplanets — worlds that exist in other solar systems — although the planet itself is not “another…

Survival reflex sparks male perception bias: study

PARIS — You glimpse a stranger standing in the street. The light is hazy and the person’s face and clothing are indistinct. Who is it? Chances are you will think it is a man — and the reason for this is a survival reflex, according to an unusual study published…

Menopause increases belly fat but no overall weight gain

Contrary to popular perception, menopause does not cause weight gain, although it does increase fat around the waist, a specialist journal reported Tuesday. Scientists working for the International Menopause Society carried out a review of the evidence, looking at published studies into the impact of menopause on body weight. Where…

Court rejects German woman’s claims Higgs boson experiment posed danger

A German woman who feared the Earth would be sucked into oblivion in a black hole has failed in her court bid to stop the work of the world’s most powerful atom smasher. The higher administrative court in Muenster, western Germany, rejected her claims, ruling there was no evidence the…

Smoking in cars higher than UN pollution threshold

Smoking in cars raises levels of dangerous fine-particle pollutants to many times the limit recommended by the world’s health agency, a study published on Monday said. Doctors in Britain measured concentrations of fine particles in cars driven by 17 people, 14 of them smokers, using an electronic monitor on the…

Planet with four suns discovered 5,000 light years from Earth

WASHINGTON — An international team of amateur and professional astronomers announced the discovery of a planet with four suns — the first reported case of such a phenomenon. The planet, located about 5,000 light years from Earth, has been dubbed PH1 in honor of Planet Hunters, a program led by…

Researchers solve giant eyeball mystery

A mysterious giant eyeball found on a Florida beach last week had scientists scratching their heads. Now researchers believe that the softball-sized eye most likely came from a swordfish. The large fish is common in south Florida so the guess would make sense. A fisherman probably caught the fish at sea, cut…

‘Smart e-Pants’ underwear deliver electric shocks to comatose patients to prevent bed sores

Scientists have developed underwear with built-in electrodes that deliver small electric shocks to combat bed sores in patients who are in a coma or who have injuries that have immobilised them. At the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans on Monday, they reported results from a trial of the “Smart-e-Pants” system, a…

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