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UK government plan to kill 100,000 badgers to protect cows heads to court

The bitter battle over the government’s plan to kill thousands of badgers reaches the high court on Monday, when the Badger Trust will tell a judicial review that the action is neither legal nor scientifically justified. Caroline Spelman, the secretary of state for environment, believes the cull is necessary to…

Age-old practice of eating placenta after birth also on the rise in China

After Wang Lan delivered, she brought home a baby girl and her placenta, which she plans to eat in a soup — adopting an age-old practice in Chinese traditional medicine. The health-giving qualities of placenta are currently creating a buzz in Western countries, where some believe it can help ward…

Male blue tits start stepping out when female partners lose their looks

Not unlike some among their human counterparts, male blue tits lose interest when their mates’ beauty starts fading, staying out longer and neglecting their offspring, a report said Monday. Scientists who dulled the bright blue head tinge that crowns the female of the species, subsequently noticed the males skulking off…

Runaway ‘Penguin No. 337′ to finally receive a name from Tokyo aquarium

A penguin whose break-out from an aquarium in Japan gave him a following around the world is to be formally named after months of being known just by his number, an official said Monday. Humboldt penguin No. 337 spent 82 days at large in and around Tokyo Bay after bolting…

Last survivor of species of Galapagos tortoise dies, aged over 100

QUITO — Lonesome George has died, leaving the world one species poorer. The only remaining Pinta Island tortoise and celebrated conservation icon passed away Sunday, the Galapagos National Park Service said in a statement. Estimated to be more than 100 years old, the creature’s cause of death remains unclear and…

Gulf Coast readies for impact of Tropical Storm Debby

MIAMI — The US Gulf Coast braced Sunday for a hit from Tropical Storm Debby, as it pounded parts of the coast with strong winds and heavy rain, forecasters said. The Federal Emergency Management Agency urged Gulf Coast residents to be prepared and monitor Debby’s progress, amid a tropical storm…

China achieves nation’s first manual space docking

A Chinese spacecraft on Sunday successfully completed the country’s first manual docking in orbit, a milestone in an ambitious programme to build a space station by the end of the decade. The Shenzhou-9 spacecraft linked with the Tiangong-1 module just over a week into a manned space mission which includes…

Richard Dawkins in furious spat with EO Wilson over theory of evolution

Book review sparks war of words between grand old man of biology and Oxford’s most high-profile Darwinist A disagreement between the twin giants of genetic theory, Richard Dawkins and EO Wilson, is now being fought out by rival academic camps in an effort to understand how species evolve. The learned…

CERN to give update on search for ‘God-particle’

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research said Friday it may announce next month whether tests with its atom-smasher have found the elusive “God particle”. Known formally as the Higgs boson, the particle is the theoretical missing link in the standard model of physics and is believed to be what gives…

Study: Sea-level rise two or three times higher than expected

Global sea levels could rise two to three times higher over the next century than previously estimated, according to a study released Friday by the US National Research Council. A committee of experts evaluated that latest UN estimates and updated them with new data on polar ice-cap melting that is…

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