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‘Planetary emergency’ due to Arctic melt, experts warn

Experts warned of a “planetary emergency” due to the unforeseen global consequences of Arctic ice melt, including methane gas released from permafrost regions currently under ice. Columbia University and the environmental activist group Greenpeace held separate events Wednesday to discuss US government data showing that the Arctic sea ice has…

Mars rover to launch first rock study

WASHINGTON — NASA’s Curiosity Rover will study its first martial rock Friday, more than a month after landing on the Red Planet, mission officials said. Mars Science Laboratory project scientist John Grotzinger said the rover drove for another 100 feet (30 meters) last night, for a total travel distance of…

Arctic sea ice shrinks to lowest level on record

WASHINGTON — Arctic sea ice has shrunk to its smallest surface area since record-keeping began, taking the world into “uncharted territory” as climate change intensifies, US scientists warned Wednesday. Satellite images show the ice cap had melted to 1.32 million square miles (3.4 million square kilometers) as of September 16,…

France orders probe after study links genetically-modified corn to cancer

PARIS — France’s government on Wednesday asked a health watchdog to carry out a probe, possibly leading to EU suspension of a genetically-modified corn, after a study in rats linked the grain to cancer. Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll, Ecology Minister Delphine Batho and Health and Social Affairs Minister Marisol…

Astronomers find galaxy born at dawn of the universe

PARIS — Astronomers in Europe and the United States said on Wednesday they had spotted the farthest and oldest galaxy ever found, a star cluster 13.2 billion light years away. Light reaching Earth today from galaxy MACS 1149-JD is truly ancient, they reported in the British journal Nature. The rays…

Marine park ‘the size of the Moon’ planned for Pacific

An ambitious plan to link marine parks across a vast swathe of ocean — whose surface area would equal that of the Moon — is slowly coming together piece by piece, say conservationists. Former international rugby league player turned environmentalist Kevin Iro is a driving force behind the part of…

Space shuttle ‘Endeavour’ on final flight to museum

US space shuttle Endeavour departed Wednesday morning on its final voyage, heading cross-country from Florida to California, riding piggyback on a specially fitted Boeing 747. The shuttle took off several minutes behind the scheduled 7:15 am (1115 GMT) departure. The transfer had previously been postponed twice because of bad weather.…

Snake venom could unlock cancer, diabetes cures: study

Snakes are able to convert their venom back into harmless molecules according to new research published Wednesday that scientists said could have important implications for diseases like cancer. The joint British-Australian study of venom and tissue gene sequences in snakes showed that venom not only evolved from regular cells but…

Scientists use $40 million camera to search for ‘dark energy’

Dark energy: Can $40m camera help solve its mystery? (+video) Using a cosmic looking glass that would dazzle Sherlock Holmes, an international team of astronomers has taken the first major step in a five-year observing project to help crack a case you could call The Sign of Dark Energy. The…

Study finds link between childhood obesity and soda can’s BPA chemical

US scientists say they have established for the first time a link between overweight and obese children and a common chemical found in everyday consumer products such as soda cans. The substance is Bisphenol A (BPA), a manufactured chemical, and the study found that in a sample of nearly 3,000…

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