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China drought threatens more than 34 million people

BEIJING (AFP) – A debilitating drought along China’s Yangtze river has affected more than 34 million people, leaving farmers and livestock without water and parching a major grain belt, the government said Saturday. More than 4.23 million people are having difficulty finding adequate drinking supplies, while more than five million…

Raising ‘good’ cholesterol has little impact: Study

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Raising the blood levels of good cholesterol does nothing to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients already taking statins to lower their bad cholesterol, a federally-funded study has determined. Scientists at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which led the study of some…

Nuclear radiation leads to more boy babies than girl babies

A new study carried out in Germany has concluded that parents who have been exposed to low-level sources of nuclear radiation give birth to more boys than girls. Two German scientists have found a male-female gap associated with global nuclear fallout from atomic tests in the 1950s and early 60s,…

Moon may have more water than believed: study

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The moon may have a lot more water than imagined, perhaps as much as on Earth in some parts, a study said Thursday, in a discovery that has cast doubt on long-held theories about how it was formed. The moon was long thought to be a dusty,…

Scientists doubt methane from BP oil spill is ‘nearly all gone’

WASHINGTON – Scientists on Thursday cast doubt on a study that claimed bacteria ate nearly all the methane that leaked after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, saying its methods were flawed. Describing the findings as “ambiguous” and “unconvincing,” marine scientist and lead author Samantha Joye and…

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…

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