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Electrocuted man gets new face

BOSTON (AFP) – A young man horrifically injured by an electric shock while working in a cherry picker has successfully received the United States’ first full face transplant, a Boston hospital said Monday. Dallas Wiens, 25, can look forward to a new life with a donated face attached last week…

Polar bear Knut’s autopsy begins in Berlin

BERLIN – Vets began Monday an autopsy on Berlin Zoo’s superstar polar bear Knut after his untimely and unexplained death aged just four, as fans left flowers, candles and poignant messages at his former home. However, it remained unclear when the results from the examination of Knut, who was found…

Taiwan builds first undersea earthquake sensor

TAIPEI (AFP) – Taiwan began building its first undersea earthquake sensor on Sunday in a project aiming to give earlier warnings of the quakes and tsunamis that frequently hit the region. In the wake of the 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami that have devastated northeastern Japan, the head of Taiwan’s…

Tokyo at risk: Can megacities cope with disaster?

PARIS (AFP) – The cascade of catastrophe that has befallen Japan highlights the vulnerability of megacities to disaster, including fallout from a nuclear accident, say experts on urban risk. Greater Tokyo, home to 35 million people, mostly escaped the devastation wrought by the March 11 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that…

‘Hydro-diplomacy’ needed to avert Arab water wars

OSLO (Reuters) – The United Nations should promote “hydro-diplomacy” to defuse any tensions over water in regions like the Middle East and North Africa where scarce supplies have the potential to spark future conflicts, experts said Sunday. They said the U.N. Security Council should work out ways to bolster cooperation over water in shared lakes or rivers, from the Mekong to…

Boeing’s new 747 successfully completes first test flight

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Boeing Co’s 747-8 Intercontinental, the new passenger version of its legendary jumbo jet, completed its maiden flight without a hitch on Sunday, marking a key milestone for the aircraft model more closely associated with Boeing than any other plane. The behemoth began its first test flight from Boeing’s…

Coast Guard investigating possible new Gulf spill

The Wall Street Journal and several other sources are reporting that the Coast Guard is investigating a 100-mile sheen of a substance that may be oil floating on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Reports began to come in on Saturday morning of a rainbow slick that began off…

Japan reports progress at Fukushima plant

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan saw some success in its race to avert disaster at a tsunami-damaged power plant, though minor radiation leaks underlined perils from the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl 25 years ago. Three hundred engineers have been battling inside a danger zone to salvage the six-reactor Fukushima…

Less tax for taps? Tax breaks for small breweries in the works

SOUTH DEERFIELD, Massachusetts (Reuters) – Help may be on tap for independent beer brewers, who say a tax break could keep their businesses from running dry. A new congressional measure would cut taxes for the nearly 1,700 small craft breweries that pump out far fewer barrels of suds than do the multinational…

Japan mulls Fukushima food sale ban

VIENNA (Reuters) – Japan is considering whether to halt sales of food products from near a crippled nuclear plant because of contamination by a radioactive element which can pose a short-term health risk, the U.N. atomic agency said. “There is an investigation into the possible need to stop food sales,” Graham Andrew, a senior…

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