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Fewer Americans smoking, survey finds

WASHINGTON — Fewer American adults are smoking, and those who still do are lighting up less, suggests a nationwide survey from the US Centers for Disease Control released on Tuesday. Using data from 2005 to 2010, researchers with the US government agency reckoned that 19.3 percent of American adults —…

NASA mulls ‘what-ifs’ of unmanned space station

WASHINGTON — NASA is mulling the worst-case scenarios of leaving the $100 billion International Space Station unstaffed for a period of time following the crash of a Russian rocket, US astronauts said Tuesday. Two Americans aboard the ISS, Ron Garan and Mike Fossum, told reporters in a video press conference…

UN chief vows ‘real results’ on climate change

TARAWA, Kiribati — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday vowed to the leader of Kiribati, a low-lying Pacific nation threatened by rising seas, to keep pressing for “real results” against climate change. Ban described the small Pacific nation, where some villagers have already had to relocate to escape rising sea…

U.S. oil giant tried to cover up spill: China paper

BEIJING — One of China’s most influential newspapers on Monday accused the US oil giant behind a huge spill off the country’s east coast of trying to cover up the disaster. The strongly-worded article in the People’s Daily — the mouthpiece of the Communist Party — said ConocoPhillips had displayed…

Stemcell breakthrough could save species from extinction

PARIS — Scientists said Sunday they had produced the first stemcells from endangered species, a breakthrough that could potentially save dozens of animals teetering on the brink of extinction. “The best way to manage extinction is to preserve species and habitats but that is not always working,” Oliver Ryder, director…

Study concludes birds have a thumb — sort of

PARIS — It is the kind of question that keeps biologists up at night: from an evolutionary standpoint, is the innermost digit of a bird’s three-pronged wing more like a thumb or an index finger? A study published online Sunday by Nature says it’s a bit of both. The stemcells…

60% of deforested Amazon used for cattle: study

More than 60 percent of deforested areas of the Brazilian Amazon forest are used for grazing cattle, while only five percent is used for agriculture, a new government study said. From research of satellite imagery, Brazilian officials found of the 719,000 square kilometers (277,000 square miles) cleared up to 2008,…

Happy Feet the penguin begins long swim home

Happy Feet, the lost penguin who became a worldwide celebrity after he washed up on a New Zealand beach was released back into the Southern Ocean on Sunday to begin a long swim home to Antarctica. “It’s an indescribable feeling to see a patient finally set free. It?s definitely the…

Wind and rain warnings for Alabama and Mississippi ahead of Lee

MOBILE, Ala (Reuters) – Heavy rains and strong wind gusts pressed across southern Alabama and Mississippi on Saturday as the center of Tropical Storm Lee neared coastal Louisiana to the west. The National Hurricane Center extended the tropical storm warning, already in effect from Mississippi to Texas, further east to…

Sixty percent of Gulf oil production shut down by Tropical Storm Lee

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Sixty percent of crude oil production and more than half of natural gas output were shut in U.S.-regulated areas of the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday as Tropical Storm Lee hammered the Louisiana Coast, the U.S. government said. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said 844,190…

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