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Peru says 5,000 birds and nearly 900 dolphins dead, could be due to climate change

The Peruvian government said Wednesday that 5,000 birds, mostly pelicans, and nearly 900 dolphins have died off the country’s northern coast, possibly due to rising temperatures in Pacific waters. The country’s northern beaches were earlier this week declared off-limits as scientists scrambled to pin down what was causing such a…

Colourful birds quicker to evolve, says study

Birds with multiple versions of their colour patterns evolved into new species more quickly than those with uniform plumage, Australian researchers revealed in a significant genetic study published Thursday. The University of Melbourne research, published in “Nature”, found that birds with more than one version of its markings such as…

Europe writes off biggest environment satellite

PARIS — The European Space Agency (ESA) on Wednesday declared the official end of Envisat, the Earth-monitoring satellite that went offline last month after operating for twice its predicted lifespan. Designed to operate for five years, Envisat was launched in March 2002, carrying instruments to monitor the Earth’s oceans, ice,…

FDA committee urges approval of new Pfizer arthritis treatment

An advisory committee to the US Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday urged US regulators to approve a new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis made by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Tofacitinib, taken orally, could serve as an alternative approach to treating moderate to severe patients who did not respond to one…

Study: Testosterone shots can help older men lose weight

Obese older men with low testosterone levels can lose weight by taking supplements of the male hormone, according to the findings of a study released Wednesday. In a test group of 115 testosterone-deficient men with a mean age of 61, hormone injections over five years yielded an average weight loss…

Japan bails out plant that caused worst-ever nuclear accident

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the company at the centre of Japan’s worst-ever nuclear accident, has been saved from collapse after the government in effect nationalised the firm by agreeing to inject 1 trillion yen ($12.5bn) in fresh capital. Japan’s biggest utility has received at least 3.5tn yen in state support…

Stiletto-wearing women and ostriches help prosthetic leg development

Women in stilettos and ostriches have unwittingly contributed to scientific advancement by showing researchers how to design aprosthetic leg better adapted for walking, said a study published Wednesday. The best prosthesis for above-knee amputees, and for humanoid robots, would work nothing like the human leg, scientists found, — but like that of an…

Scientists: Mini-mammoths lived on Crete

The smallest-ever mammoth roamed Crete up to 3.5 million years ago, measuring some four feet (just over a metre) at the shoulder, the size of a baby elephant today, said a study published Wednesday. Mammuthus creticus weighed in at about 310 kilogrammes (680 pounds) and probably had no woolly coat unlike some of its…

Paralyzed woman makes marathon history in bionic suit

A paralysed woman became the first person to complete a marathon in a bionic suit as she crossed the finishing line in London 16 days after the race began. Claire Lomas was in tears but said she was “over the moon” as she completed the 26.2-mile (42.2 kilometre) course in…

Pacific plastic waste has grown 100-fold

The vast swirl of plastic waste floating in the North Pacific has grown 100-fold over the last 40 years, according to a research paper published Wednesday. And scientists warned the killer soup of microplastic — particles smaller than five millimetres (0.2 of an inch) — threatened to alter the open…

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