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Research: Asian economies most at risk for natural disaster crisis

Asian countries dominate a league table of economies most at risk from earthquakes, floods, storms and other natural hazards, according to research published on Wednesday. In an assessment of 197 countries, British risk consultancyMaplecroft said six Asian countries were among the 10 countries whose economies were most vulnerable to catastrophes. The list is headed…

Researchers: Infant drug tests for marijuana are unreliable

The most commonly used drug testing methods for detecting marijuana exposure are unreliable when used on infant babies and “should not be reported” without additional testing and followup by hospital staff and social workers, according to new research published recently in the scientific journal Clinical Chemistry. While infant drug testing…

Solar-powered toilet wins sanitation prize

A solar powered toilet that breaks down water and human waste into hydrogen gas for use in fuel cells has won first prize in a competition for next-generation toilets to improve sanitation in the developing world. The California Institute of Technology in the US received the $100,000 (£64,000) first prize…

India to launch Mars mission: PM

India plans to launch a space probe that will orbit Mars, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh confirmed on Wednesday after press reports that the mission was scheduled to begin late next year. The project would mark another step in the country’s ambitious space programme, which placed a probe on the moon…

Addiction to morphine and heroin can be blocked: research

Addiction to morphine and heroin can be blocked, according to research released on Wednesday which could prove a major breakthrough in treating addicts and in pain relief treatments. Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia worked with colleagues at the University of Colorado in the United States to pinpoint…

ISS crew to embark on two spacewalks in August

LOS ANGELES — Four International Space Station crew members will embark on two spacewalks to install new equipment and replace defective installations, the US space agency NASA said Tuesday. Russia’s Gennady Padalka and Yury Malenchenko will carry out a six-hour spacewalk on August 20, the lead flight director for the…

Dutch gynecologist finds golden ratio in uteruses

The golden ratio is a scientific nugget that that has, for at least two thousand years, belonged as much to mysticism as to mathematics. It is just a number – 1.618 – but to its devotees the ratio expresses aesthetic perfection, and can be found wherever there is beauty. For…

Study: Americans fatter in the South

Fried chicken, fried okra and other fried cliches of US southern cuisine may be making their mark: a new study Tuesday shows that rates of obesity are highest in the US south. Just about one of every three adults in Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia and Alabama is considered obese, based…

Report: Fukushima disaster ’caused mutant butterflies’

Genetic mutations have been found in three generations of butterflies from near Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, scientists said Tuesday, raising fears radiation could affect other species. Around 12 percent of pale grass blue butterflies that were exposed to nuclear fallout as larvae immediately after the tsunami-sparked disaster had abnormalities,…

Study casts doubt on human-Neanderthal interbreeding theory

When scientists discovered a few years ago that modern humans shared swaths of DNA with long-extinct Neanderthals, their best explanation was that at some point the two species must have interbred. Now a study by scientists at the University of Cambridge has questioned this conclusion, hypothesising instead that the DNA…

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