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British astronomers complete largest-ever map of local universe

British astronomers announced Wednesday they had completed the largest-ever map of the local universe using a type of lens and filter that sees light differently than conventional telescopes. Researchers at the University of Portsmouth called the image, formally titled the 2MASS Redshift Survey, one of their greatest accomplishments yet, noting…

Greenpeace warns of radioactive sea life off Japan

TOKYO (AFP) – Environmental group Greenpeace warned Thursday that marine life it tested more than 20 kilometres (12 miles) off Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear plant showed radiation far above legal limits. The anti-nuclear group, which conducted the coastal and offshore tests this month, criticised Japanese authorities for their “continued inadequate…

NASA plans to send satellite to asteroid in 2016

WASHINGTON — The US space agency on Wednesday announced plans to send the first unmanned spacecraft to an asteroid to collect samples and return them to Earth for further study. The spacecraft, known as Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, will launch in 2016 and will then travel four years…

NASA bids farewell to frozen Spirit rover on Mars

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US space agency said it is giving up on trying to contact its Spirit rover on Mars, saying the robot explorer likely froze to death in the Red Planet’s harsh winter. “NASA is ending attempts to regain contact with the long-lived Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, which…

U.S., Bill Gates call on rich nations to back poor farmers

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Microsoft billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates joined a top US official Tuesday in urging rich nations to invest in the world’s poor farmers to help end hunger — a move he said would also help improve food security. “Looking at the food prices we’ve got — at…

Google invests $55 million in California wind energy

SAN FRANCISCO — Google on Tuesday said it is investing $55 million into a California wind energy farm, raising to $400 million the amount of money the technology giant has pumped into clean energy projects. “The Mojave Desert might be best known for its scorching sun and scary sidewinders,” said…

U.S. weather experts: Climate change not directly linked to deadly tornadoes

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States is experiencing the deadliest year for tornadoes in nearly six decades, but top US weather experts said Monday there is no link between the violent twisters and climate change. Instead, the reasons for the spiking death tolls are more likely due to the rise…

Leaping roach, ‘T-rex’ leech among new species discovered

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A jumping cockroach, a glow-in-the-dark fungus, a rust-eating bacterium and a leech named “T-rex” were among the top 10 new species discovered in the world last year, US scientists said Monday. The creatures were uncovered in Brazil, Madagascar, South Africa, Peru, the Philippines, West Africa, the US…

Elephant countries form ‘E-8′ conservation group

NEW DELHI (AFP) – Eight countries with the largest number of elephants met for the first on Tuesday in New Delhi to plot new strategies to protect the animal. “Delegates here represent two-thirds of the world’s wild elephant population,” Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told the inaugural gathering of the…

Japan’s TEPCO admits further nuclear reactor meltdowns

TOKYO (AFP) – The operator of Japan’s tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant on Tuesday said it believed fuel had partially melted inside three reactors, as long suspected by experts. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said new readings on water gauges indicated that the fuel had dropped to the bottom of…

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