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Japan groups alarmed by radioactive soil

TOKYO — Soil radiation in a city 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Japan’s stricken nuclear plant is above levels that prompted resettlement after the Chernobyl disaster, citizens’ groups said Tuesday. The survey of four locations in Fukushima city, outside the nuclear evacuation zone, showed that all soil samples contained caesium…

World needs $1.9 trillion a year for green technology: UN

The world needs $1.9 trillion in green technology investments a year, with over half of that sum necessary for developing countries,” the UN said Tuesday. “Over the next 40 years, $1.9 trillion (1.31 trillion euros) per year will be needed for incremental investments in green technologies,” the UN Economic and…

Studies: Autism may be triggered in the womb

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) – Environmental factors may play a greater role in autism than previously thought, tipping the scale away from a strict focus on genetics, two studies released on Monday suggest. In one, a team at Stanford University compared cases of autism in identical and fraternal twins…

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday. In what they described as the largest study of its kind, doctors looked at sperm samples from 1,940 men and…

Pfizer’s quit smoking drug raises heart risks by 72 percent: study

LONDON (Reuters) – Healthy, middle-aged smokers who take Pfizer’s Chantix or Champix, one of the most popular quit-smoking drugs on the market, have a higher risk of suffering heart attacks or other serious heart problems, a study found on Monday. British and American scientists analyzed 14 clinical trials of Champix,…

Late talkers do fine as they grow up: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – In good news to parents of late talkers, an Australian study shows a slow start on language is unlikely to have lingering effects on kids’ mental health. Researchers followed late talkers into their teens and found the kids were no more likely to be shy,…

Huge rare mineral deposits found in Pacific

TOKYO (Reuters) – Vast deposits of rare earth minerals, crucial in making high-tech electronics products, have been found on the floor of the Pacific Ocean and can be readily extracted, Japanese scientists said on Monday. “The deposits have a heavy concentration of rare earths. Just one square kilometer (0.4 square…

Russia gains edge in space race as US shuttle bows out

As the United States winds down its shuttle programme in a symbolic twist in a long-running space rivalry, Russia will gain complete control of access to the International Space Station. The Russian space agency plays down any triumphalism, but US astronauts will remain dependent on Russia for access to the…

IVF and Down’s syndrome: New test raises questions

A test designed to spot chromosome abnormalities in eggs could be a “revolution” in fertility, helping older women determine their chances of having an IVF baby, doctors said on Monday. But in developing the test, they added, worrying evidence emerged that in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) may boost the risk of a…

Nearly 200 rhinos killed this year in South Africa: WWF

Nearly 200 rhinos were killed in South Africa in the first half of 2011, with most slaughtered in the world-famous Kruger National Park, environmental group WWF said. South Africa lost 193 rhinos in the first six months of the year, with 126 of them killed in Kruger, one of South…

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