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U.S. report spreads blame for BP oil spill

A key US government report spreads the blame for the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday, citing a bad cement job and poor management decisions by BP and its subcontractors. The finding by the agency that regulates offshore drilling could strengthen BP’s legal case for recovering some…

Do lazy mammals live longer?

PARIS — Small furry mammals partial to a daily dose of hibernation in winter are probably extending their lifespan at the same time, according to a study published Wednesday. Experiments with Djugarian hamsters native to Siberia showed that when the tiny rodents temporarily lower their metabolism and body temperatures, a…

Astronomers discover more than 50 new planets

PARIS — Astronomers on Tuesday unveiled a haul of more than 50 planets orbiting other stars, including a “super-Earth” which inhabits a zone where, providing conditions are right, water could exist in liquid form. It is the biggest single tally in the history of exoplanet hunting since the very first…

IBM supercomputer Watson to assist doctors

WASHINGTON — Dr. Watson will see you now. Watson, the television game show-playing supercomputer from IBM, is teaming up with health insurer WellPoint to assist medical professionals in diagnosing and treating patients. IBM and WellPoint announced on Monday they have agreed to develop the first commercial application for the computer…

Penn. township challenges fracking with ballot initiative

A small township in western Pennsylvania is fighting back against fracking and attempting to write a ban on the practice into their local Bill of Rights, but they may be thwarted by their own town council. Peters Township in Washington County, population 21,213, is home to the Peters Township Marcellus…

Al Gore launches 24-hour broadcast to convert climate skeptics

LONDON (Reuters) – Former President Al Gore will renew his 30-year campaign to convince skeptics of the link between climate change and extreme weather events this week in a 24-hour global multi-media event. “24 Hours of Reality” will broadcast a presentation by Al Gore every hour for 24 hours across…

Explosion rocks French nuclear waste site, killing one

CODOLET, France — At least one person was killed and four injured in a blast at a nuclear site in the south of France on Monday as the government sought to play down fears of a radioactive leak. France’s state nuclear regulator had said earlier that there was a risk…

Smoking orangutan goes cold turkey in Malaysia

An orangutan that amused visitors to her Malaysian zoo by smoking cigarette butts thrown into her cage is being forced to go cold turkey, a keeper said Monday. Authorities seized the orangutan, named Shirley, along with a tiger and other animals from a state-run zoo in the southern state of…

Happy Feet the penguin missing in Southern Ocean

Scientists tracking Happy Feet, the wayward penguin who became a worldwide celebrity after washing up on a New Zealand beach, said Monday they had lost contact with the giant bird. Researchers said they had received no transmissions since last Friday from a satellite tracking device that was attached to the…

Fresh crews, light winds help fight Texas wildfires

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) – More than a thousand firefighters, aided by lighter winds, on Saturday began to beat back raging wildfires that have scorched Texas for the past six days torching 1,600 homes and killing four people. “We’ve had quite a bit of success today,” Bill Paxton of the Texas…

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