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Climate change pioneer James Hansen to retire

Pioneering NASA climatologist James Hansen, one of the first scientists to raise the alarm about global warming, is retiring after 46 years, a colleague confirmed to AFP on Tuesday. Hansen, 72, who headed the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, announced his departure in an email to the…

Economist: World headed towards climate change catastrophe

The author of an influential 2006 study on climate change warned Tuesday that the world could be headed toward warming even more catastrophic than expected but he voiced hope for political action. Nicholas Stern, the British former chief economist for the World Bank, said that both emissions of greenhouse gas…

Arkansas opens probe into Exxon Mobil spill

CHICAGO — Arkansas opened an investigation into an ExxonMobil pipeline that unleashed thousands of barrels of crude and forced the evacuation of 22 homes, the state’s attorney general said Tuesday. The spill comes weeks before what is expected to be a raucous public hearing on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline,…

Vienna firefighters abseil down buildings to owl’s rescue

Special Viennese firefighters flew to the rescue and abseiled down buildings Tuesday after they received an emergency call to save a distressed… owl caught in a net. Residents alerted the fire department after noticing the bird trapped upside down in a net meant to ward off pigeons, in the courtyard…

Czech pharmacies begin selling medical marijuana

Medical marijuana legally went on sale Tuesday in pharmacies across the Czech Republic for patients suffering from cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or psoriasis. The new law does not foresee health insurance coverage for marijuana, touted by some as a medical miracle drug. The prescription-only drug formally became legal on…

Dutch police forced to explain they fell for ‘Top Gear’ April Fools joke

Dutch police were forced on Tuesday to explain why one of their number announced that a vital section of motorway would be closed for Britain’s “Top Gear” television programme, in what turned out to be an April Fool’s joke. “He acted on his own initiative for April 1,” Amsterdam police…

U.S. deploys sea-based radar amid North Korea crisis

WASHINGTON — The United States has deployed a sophisticated sea-based radar to the ocean east of Japan to track any North Korean ballistic missile launches, a Pentagon official said Tuesday. The Sea based X-Band Radar (SBX) looks like an enormous balloon mounted on a large ocean oil rig. The large…

Italy bans minors from buying electronic cigarettes

Italy on Tuesday announced plans to raise the legal limit for buying electronic cigarettes to 18 years from a previous 16, citing the high dose of nicotine inhaled when using the smokeless product. The new rules will go into effect on April 23 and follow a study ordered by the…

Norwegians reschedule exams so they won’t conflict with Bieber concerts

Norwegian schools have moved exams that clashed with Justin Bieber’s concerts in the country, fearing some fans would rather cut class than miss out on an evening with the Canadian heart throb. “We find it regrettable, but we preferred to move forward the Norwegian exams to avoid problems,” Roar Aasen,…

Obama launches $100 million brain-mapping project

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced a $100 million project to map the intricate inner mysteries of the human brain, targeting cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s. “The most powerful computer in the world isn’t nearly as intuitive as the one we’re born with,” Obama said at the White House.…

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