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Astronomers find water vapor in atmosphere of distant planet

But planet HR8799c unlikely to harbour life, as surface temperature exceeds 1,000C Astronomers have detected water vapour and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere of a planet 130 light years away from Earth. However, the planet, known only as HR8799c, is devoid of methane, a gas that can indicate life, the researchers…

Scientists: Mexican monarch butterfly numbers at record low

By Jo Tuckman, The Guardian This year’s 59% drop in the wintering population in central Mexico marks the sixth decline in the past seven years The colonies of migrating monarch butterflies that spend the winter in a patch of fir forest in central Mexico were dramatically smaller this season than…

Border patrol moves focus to Texas to combat Mexican drug cartels

Success in tightening border in Arizona means people- and drug-smuggling gangs increasingly look to remote Texas for route into US US border protection officials are preparing to shift their attentions from Arizona to Texas in a bid to combat the evolving efforts of Mexican gangs to smuggle people and drugs…

Greek unemployment reaches 26 percent

Greek unemployment surged to 26 percent of the workforce in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with 20.7 percent in the corresponding period a year earlier, the state statistics agency said on Thursday. The jobless rate was 24.8 percent in the third quarter, the national statistics authority Ase added in…

Russian man takes four hostage to demand pizza

A man in southern Russia took four people hostage for several hours on Thursday in a bizarre abduction where his only demand was a takeaway pizza and a fizzy drink, police said. A man, apparently armed with a pistol and explosives, burst into a college in the city of Astrakhan…

Unemployment claims fall for the third week in a row

New claims for US unemployment benefits fell last week for the third week in a row, signaling continuing improvement in the troubled jobs market, Labor Department data released Thursday showed. Jobless claims, an indicator of the pace of layoffs across the country, totaled 332,000 in the week ending March 9,…

New data ‘strongly indicates’ particle is Higgs boson

New data unveiled on Thursday strengthens the belief that a subatomic particle discovered last year is the elusive Higgs boson, European physicists said. Analysis of two characteristics, teased from experiments at the world’s biggest particle smasher, aligns with theories that the discovery is a Higgs, the European Organisation for Nuclear…

TSA chief to defend knives-on-planes rule today at Congressional hearing

Copyright ImageClick to View TSA Administrator John Pistole, shown here testifying before Congress in 2010, will be back at the Capitol this afternoon to defend his decision to allow knives on planes during a hearing convened by a House Homeland Security subcommittee. Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images…  …

Google tosses RSS feed Reader as house cleaning continues

Google said it was tossing its Reader service and seven other products under a house cleaning campaign that has closed 70 of the Internet giant’s features in the past two years. “These changes are never easy,” Google senior vice president of technical infrastructure Urs Holzle on Wednesday said in a…

Europe and Russia ink deal on double mission to Mars

The European Space Agency (ESA) said it signed a deal on Thursday with its Russian counterpart to launch two unmanned missions to Mars, a quest that was rocked by a US pullout last year. Called ExoMars, the scheme entails sending an orbital probe to the Red Planet in January 2016…

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