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Popemobile ‘to become green machine’: report

BERLIN (AFP) – Mercedes-Benz is making a greener hybrid Popemobile for Benedict XVI, the Wirtschaftswoche weekly paper said Saturday. However a Vatican spokesman denied the paper’s prediction that it should be ready for Benedict’s visit to his native Germany in September. According to the report, the new Popemobile will be…

Star-eating black hole sends flash from distant galaxy

WASHINGTON — A bright gamma-ray flash seen in March came from a distant galaxy nearly four billion light years away where a Sun-sized star was being eaten by a black hole, US astronomers said Thursday. The energy from the cataclysmic blast is still being observed two and a half months…

Is the focus on HIV treatment distracting from the search for a cure?

The introduction of combination anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in 1996 dramatically reduced the severity and high mortality rate associated with HIV infection and yielded the added benefit of reducing mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy. Each “class” of antiretroviral drugs in the cocktail targets a different step of the virus’s replication cycle. So,…

First patients enroll in stem cell trials on blindness

WASHINGTON — The first clinical trials that examine the use of stem cells to treat two forms of blindness are ready to begin now that patients have been enrolled, a US company announced on Thursday. A total of 24 patients have entered two separate trials at an eye institute in…

Iran to put a monkey into space: report

TEHRAN — Iran plans to send a live monkey into space in the summer, the country’s top space official said after the launch of the Rassad-1 satellite, state television reported on its website on Thursday. “The Kavoshgar-5 rocket will be launched during the month of Mordad (July 23 to August…

Olive oil could lower stroke risk: study

WASHINGTON — Older people who eat olive oil have a lower risk of stroke than those who do not, suggested a study of more than 7,000 French people that was published Wednesday in the United States. Researchers at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux, France followed…

Japan finds radiation traces in whales

TOKYO (AFP) – Japanese whale hunters have found traces of radioactive caesium in two of the ocean giants recently harpooned off its shores in the Pacific Ocean, a fisheries agency official said Wednesday. Two minke whales culled off the northern island of Hokkaido showed readings of 31 becquerels and 24.3…

Illegal spread of GM rice alarms Chinese officials

Genetically modified rice has been spreading illegally for years in China, officials have admitted, triggering a debate on a sensitive aspect of the food security plan in the world’s most populous nation. Two strains of GM rice were approved for open-field experiments but not commercial sale in 2009. In January,…

Group: Hundreds of thousands of Chinese children suffer from lead poisoning

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese children suffering lead poisoning from polluting smelters and factories have been denied testing, effective treatment and even basic information by officials who downplayed health threats, a human rights advocacy group said on Wednesday. The report from Human Rights Watch comes after China’s latest lead pollution outbreak,…

TV-watching boosts risk of diabetes, heart problems and early death

WASHINGTON — A review of published studies in the past 40 years has shown a higher risk of diabetes, heart problems and early death among people who watch lots of television, US researchers said Tuesday. The results of the meta-analysis performed by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health…

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