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U.S. oil giant tried to cover up spill: China paper

BEIJING — One of China’s most influential newspapers on Monday accused the US oil giant behind a huge spill off the country’s east coast of trying to cover up the disaster. The strongly-worded article in the People’s Daily — the mouthpiece of the Communist Party — said ConocoPhillips had displayed…

Stemcell breakthrough could save species from extinction

PARIS — Scientists said Sunday they had produced the first stemcells from endangered species, a breakthrough that could potentially save dozens of animals teetering on the brink of extinction. “The best way to manage extinction is to preserve species and habitats but that is not always working,” Oliver Ryder, director…

Study concludes birds have a thumb — sort of

PARIS — It is the kind of question that keeps biologists up at night: from an evolutionary standpoint, is the innermost digit of a bird’s three-pronged wing more like a thumb or an index finger? A study published online Sunday by Nature says it’s a bit of both. The stemcells…

60% of deforested Amazon used for cattle: study

More than 60 percent of deforested areas of the Brazilian Amazon forest are used for grazing cattle, while only five percent is used for agriculture, a new government study said. From research of satellite imagery, Brazilian officials found of the 719,000 square kilometers (277,000 square miles) cleared up to 2008,…

Happy Feet the penguin begins long swim home

Happy Feet, the lost penguin who became a worldwide celebrity after he washed up on a New Zealand beach was released back into the Southern Ocean on Sunday to begin a long swim home to Antarctica. “It’s an indescribable feeling to see a patient finally set free. It?s definitely the…

Wind and rain warnings for Alabama and Mississippi ahead of Lee

MOBILE, Ala (Reuters) – Heavy rains and strong wind gusts pressed across southern Alabama and Mississippi on Saturday as the center of Tropical Storm Lee neared coastal Louisiana to the west. The National Hurricane Center extended the tropical storm warning, already in effect from Mississippi to Texas, further east to…

Sixty percent of Gulf oil production shut down by Tropical Storm Lee

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Sixty percent of crude oil production and more than half of natural gas output were shut in U.S.-regulated areas of the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday as Tropical Storm Lee hammered the Louisiana Coast, the U.S. government said. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said 844,190…

Prosthetics runner wins silver at track and field world champs.

Oscar Pistorius will receive a historic world silver medal on Saturday but the moment will be tinged with bitterness after he was left out of the 4x400m relay team for the final. The controversial ‘Blade Runner’, who runs with carbon fibre prosthetic running blades, was a member of the South…

Obama withdraws smog regulation, overruling EPA

President Barack Obama Friday announced that he would overrule the Environmental Protection Agency’s controversial anti-smog regulations. Business leaders and Republicans had voiced strong objections to the new smog standards, and they count Obama’s decision as a victory. Obama cited a desire to avoid costly regulations as his reason for telling…

Tsunami warning lifted after 6.8 Alaska quake

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – A 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck on Friday in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska, the U.S. Geological Survey reported, prompting a tsunami warning for a portion of Alaska’s coast that was lifted after an hour. There were no reports of damage or injury from the quake and…

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