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Legumes rise to meet the challenge of deforestation

Researchers now report in Nature that one variety of plants plays a critical role in helping a pulled-down forests in Panama make a comeback.(Mary Knox…  …

Pynchon’s ‘Bleeding Edge’ recreates the lost world of NYC in the months before 9/11

Thomas Pynchon, the most infamous reclusive American author not named J.D. Salinger, on Tuesday released what’s being called his “9/11 book,” Bleeding Edge. The novel begins not with a screaming across the sky, but with a prosaic and ominous statement-of-the-obvious: “It’s the first day of spring 2001.” It follows Maxine…

Founder of Los Angeles ‘celebrity friendly’ Kabbalah center ‘Rav’ dies

The founder of the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre, whose celebrity devotees include Madonna and Demi Moore, has died aged 86, the center announced. Rabbi Philip Berg — known as Rav to his followers — had been ill since suffering a stroke in 2004, the Los Angeles Times reported. “The Kabbalah…

1,000 tonnes of polluted Fukushima water dumped in sea after Typhoon Man-yi

The operator of the leaking Fukushima nuclear plant said Tuesday that it dumped more than 1,000 tons of polluted water into the sea after a typhoon raked the facility. Typhoon Man-yi smashed into Japan on Monday, bringing with it heavy rain that caused flooding in some parts of the country,…

UN fears ‘deteriorating’ human rights in Afghanistan

The UN human rights chief on Tuesday expressed fears that progress made in Afghanistan since the fall of the hardline Taliban regime in 2001 was draining away as NATO-led troops withdraw. Navi Pillay said on a visit to Kabul that she had heard growing evidence of a sharp reversal in…

Chinese demand fuels record soy crop production in South America

Soy fields stretch as far as the eye can see in South America’s fertile plains, boosted by a jump in demand from China and Europe. With more than 82 million tonnes harvested this year, Brazil is jostling for first place as a producer with the United States, hit by a…

Pakistani activist Malala and whistleblower Edward Snowden nominated for EU’s Sakharov prize

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen shot by the Taliban for championing girls’ education, and US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden have been nominated for the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize. Malala, who has become emblematic of the fight against the most radical forms of Islamism, is backed by the…

‘Technical glitch’ brings down Iranian censorship firewall

A technical glitch allowed some Iranians temporary access to banned social networking websites Facebook and Twitter, an Iranian Internet official said on Tuesday. Surprised Internet users in Iran Monday night were able to log onto their accounts without using illegal software that enables them to circumvent a widespread state-run filtering…

Brachiaria ‘super grass’ could vastly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, say scientists

Brachiaria grasses inhibit the release of nitrous oxide, which has a more powerful warming effect than carbon dioxide or methane Scientists will call for a major push this week to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture through the use of a modified tropical grass. Brachiaria grasses have…

Colbert: ‘Throw the disabled in the river, see if they float’

During “The Word” segment on last night’s Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert discussed the case of an Oregon man who’s posting threatening fliers on the homes of people he believes to be disabled. The man, who goes by “Artemis of the wildland,” believes that people on disability are “a threat to…

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