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HIV trial scrapped after gel found ineffective

In a major setback for AIDS prevention research, a clinical trial of a new vaginal gel supposed to reduce HIV infections has been suspended after studies showed it to be ineffective. Researchers from the Microbicide Trials Network, set up by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), expressed surprise at…

Russia launches Chinese satellite

A Russian Proton-M rocket completed the successful launch Saturday of an advanced Chinese communications satellite that should help expand television coverage in parts of Southeast Asia. The Roscosmos space agency said the AsiaSat 7 satellite was placed in its designed orbit at 0423 GMT after being launched from the Baikonur…

Heart patients prefer longevity over quality of life

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – When an elderly person’s chronic disease is impossible to cure, many doctors might assume that patient would chose to improve the quality of his or her remaining life rather than to extend it as is. Those doctors would be mistaken most of the time, according…

NASA in high gear for Mars rover launch

The US space agency is poised to launch the most powerful and advanced robotic rover ever built to explore Mars and hunt for signs that life may once have existed on the red planet. The Mars Science Laboratory, a six-wheeled vehicle powered by nuclear fuel, is scheduled to begin its…

Wind power to make up half of Danish energy use in 2020

Denmark aims to have wind power supply half of the country’s electricity needs in 2020, under a new programme presented by Climate and Energy Minister Martin Lidegaard on Friday. “Denmark must use a lot more renewable energy and we will have to become much better at using energy efficiently,” Lidegaard…

Australia plans world’s largest marine reserve

The Australian government has said it plans to establish the world’s biggest marine protection zone to safeguard a huge swathe of the Coral Sea, a biodiversity hotspot brimming with life. The proposed Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve off the northeast coast of Australia would cover about 990,000 square kilometres (380,000…

Oil sands digger uncovers dinosaur

OTTAWA — A heavy equipment operator unearthed what appears to be a nearly complete plesiosaur while digging in Canada’s oil sands, Syncrude announced Thursday. The fossil was discovered on November 14 and is now being examined by Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology scientists who aim to have it removed by…

Global warming rate less than feared: study

WASHINGTON — High levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may have less of an impact on the rate of global warming than feared, a study said Thursday. The authors of the study funded by the US National Science Foundation stressed that global warming is real, and that increases in…

Russia ‘makes first contact’ with stranded Mars probe

MOSCOW — Russia on Thursday announced its scientists had for the first time made contact with its stranded Mars probe Phobos-Grunt, a day after the European Space Agency said it had received a signal. “A signal from the probe has been received and some telemetry data. At the moment our…

U.S. approves drug for middle-of-the-night insomniacs

The US Food and Drug Administration, for the first time, approved Wednesday medication specifically designed for those who wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall back to sleep. Intermezzo, manufactured by Transcept Pharmaceuticals of California, is a lower-dose formulation of zolpidem, first approved in the United States in…

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