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Extinction of large animals could destroy soil fertility: study

The mass extinction of large animals in the Pleistocene era caused today’s dearth of soil nutrients, scientists said Sunday, and warned of further damage if modern giants like the elephant disappear. The Pleistocene epoch, which dated from about 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago, saw large animals dubbed megafauna take…

VX nerve agent scare at JFK Airport in New York

Two customs inspectors became sick after inhaling fumes from a package at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Sunday morning, according to local media reports. FBI HAZMAT and Port Authority police are investigating the incident at the U.S. Postal Service facility. The item initially tested positive for VX,…

Snowden’s father has visa to visit his son in Russia: lawyer

The father of fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has obtained a visa to visit his son in Russia, the family lawyer said Sunday. Attorney Bruce Fein said he and Lon Snowden will both visit Russia very soon, but would not say when. “We have visas. We have a date which…

A Texan tragedy: Plenty of oil, but no water

Beverly McGuire saw the warning signs before the town well went dry: sand in the toilet bowl, the sputter of air in the tap, a pump working overtime to no effect. But it still did not prepare her for the night last month when she turned on the tap and…

Nelson Mandela making ‘a slow but steady improvement’

Nelson Mandela is making “slow but steady” progress back to health, although he remains critically ill, the office of the South African president said Sunday. The 95-year-old former president and anti-apartheid icon has been in hospital for more than two months with a recurring lung infection. “Former President Nelson Mandela…

Poland is getting fracked

In recent years, the fiercely independent people of Poland have found themselves caught up in the global hunt for natural resources. In this case, it’s natural gas, and the chemical fracking that companies are using to…  …

‘Deep Throat’ owners fight on: ‘We’re sending a cease and desist to iTunes’

Hours earlier, a New York judge had refused to grant his injunction against Harvey Weinstein to halt the release of the movie “Lovelace.” The judge — an 83-year old veteran of the bench, first appointed by Nixon — was concerned that blocking the “Deep Throat” biopic would fall afoul of…

Three U.S. soldiers killed in eastern Afghanistan

KABUL (Reuters) – Three U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan’s eastern borderlands on Sunday, U.S. and NATO officials said, the first NATO combat deaths this month. The soldiers, from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), were killed by insurgents in Paktia province, a U.S. official told Reuters. The last…

Buddhist mob injures four during attack on mosque in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan police deployed commandos and imposed a curfew on a Colombo neighbourhood Saturday after a Buddhist-led mob attacked a mosque, wounding four people and reviving simmering religious tensions, officials said. Two police constables guarding the disputed mosque in Colombo’s Grandpass area were among those wounded and hospitalised, Colombo National…

Indonesia evacuates islanders as volcano erupts

Indonesian rescuers battled Sunday to evacuate thousands from an island where a volcanic eruption killed six people the previous day, with the volcano still spewing out rocks and ash at “dangerous levels”. Mount Rokatenda, on tiny Palue island in East Nusa Tenggara province, was sending large clouds of red-hot ash…

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