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‘Storm of epic proportions’ hits Alaska coast

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – A storm experts compared to a Category 3 hurricane lashed the western coast of Alaska on Wednesday, ripping roofs from buildings and pushing water and debris into communities, authorities said. The storm, which began hitting Alaska late on Tuesday after building over the northern Pacific Ocean,…

Living, and coughing, downwind of Texas smoke stacks

When the black smoke pours out of the Texan oil refinery across the road in yet another unplanned discharge, Erma Lee Ellas has just one way to try to keep the cloud of chemicals from reaching her asthmatic lungs: “I close the door.” Port Arthur, Texas has some of the…

EEG scan helped contact patients in vegetative state

PARIS — Electro-encephalography (EEG) helped doctors realise that several patients diagnosed as being in a permanently vegetative state were in fact aware, according to a study published on Thursday in The Lancet. The technique could be developed as a portable, cheaper way of helping doctors make more accurate diagnoses and…

Supreme Court voting patterns surprisingly predictable: study

The ideal judge is completely rational and free of consistent bias, making their judicial decisions completely unpredictable. But the decisions of Supreme Court justices in real life may actually be quite predictable, according to a new study published in the Nov. 9 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE. For…

U.S. climate study group gets big oil funds

A reputable US think-tank that sought solutions for climate changehas lost most of its charitable donations and will now take funding from big oil and energy interests, it said Wednesday. Formerly known as the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, theCenter for Climate and Energy Solutions will be funded by Shell,General Electric, Bank of…

Climate to widen sleeping sickness risk to southern Africa

Sleeping sickness could threaten tens of millions more people as the tsetse fly which transmits the disease spreads to southern Africa as a result of global warming, a study published on Wednesday says. By 2090, an additional 40 to 77 million people could be at risk of exposure to the disease, the study concludes.…

Russian spacecraft fails to head for Mars moon

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s first planned interplanetary mission in more than two decades went wrong on Wednesday when a $163 million unmanned spacecraft failed to take the proper course toward Mars soon after its launch. Russian space agency chief Vladimir Popovkin said an engine failed to fire on the Phobos-Grunt probe after it reached Earth’s orbit,…

NASA plans 2014 test-flight of deep-space capsule

WASHINGTON — NASA said Tuesday it will launch in 2014 an unmanned test flight of its Orion deep space capsule, made by Lockheed Martin to someday carry astronauts to the moon, an asteroid or Mars. The test launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida aims to send the capsule into orbit, where…

AstraZeneca, Targacept drug fails depression test

LONDON (Reuters) – An experimental antidepressant fromAstraZeneca Plc and Targacept Inc failed to meet the goal of changing a key depression rating score in the first of a series ofpivotal clinical trials, in a setback for both firms. The result, announced by the companies on Tuesday, relates to the so-called Renaissance 3 Phase III study into TC-5214,…

Australia passes controversial carbon pollution tax

Australia’s parliament approved a controversial pollution tax on Tuesday, after years of bitter debate over the reform which is aimed at lowering carbon emissions blamed for climate change. Cheers and applause broke out as the upper house Senate passed the Clean Energy Act, requiring Australia’s coal-fired power stations and other major emitters to “pay…

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