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Arctic ‘greening’ seen through global warming

Land within the Arctic circle is likely to experience explosive “greening” in the next few decades as grass, shrubs and trees thrive in soil stripped of ice and permafrost by global warming, a study said on Sunday. Wooded areas in the Arctic could increase by as much as 52 percent…

Removing military assets from Afghanistan to cost at least $5 billion

The US operation to remove military hardware and vehicles from Afghanistan as troops withdraw after 12 years of war will cost between five and six billion dollars, officials said Sunday. Among statistics released by the military about the process known as a “retrograde” was that 25,000 vehicles have been shipped…

Archbishop of Canterbury warns of hero worship in first Easter Sunday sermon

The new Archbishop of Canterbury warned against “pinning hopes on individuals” to solve all of society’s problems in his first Easter Sunday sermon. Justin Welby said a “hero leader culture” in which all trust was placed in one person only led to false hope. Failing to recognise human failure in…

Tech giants all plan to release smartwatches later in 2013

Amid much speculation on the future of the “smartwatch,” the consensus is growing: the time is right. In recent weeks, reports have surfaced about plans for smartwatches from tech giants Apple, Samsung and Google, with launches possible later this year. “I think we have reached a tipping point,” said Avi…

Scientists find evidence of nearly-extinct Sumatran rhinos in Borneo

Footprints thought to be from the critically endangered Sumatran rhino have been found on Borneo island, where the species was believed to have been extinct for 20 years, environmental group WWF said Thursday. The Sumatran rhino population has dropped by 50 percent over the past two decades and there are…

Catholic Cardinal Dolan: Our opposition to same sex marriage can’t be ‘reduced to an attack on gay people’

A leading US cardinal defended Catholic opposition to gay marriage during an Easter Sunday interview, saying that sometimes the church by its nature must be “out of touch”. The interview came days after the US Supreme Court held oral arguments on the question of same-sex marriage, which is legal in…

Excavation of Cologne’s medieval Jewish quarter shows ‘long phases of peace’ with Christians

After long being sidelined for Roman excavations, an archaeological dig in western Germany has unearthed myriad traces of daily life in one of Europe’s oldest and biggest Jewish communities. From ceramic dishes and tools to toys, animal bones and jewellery, some 250,000 artefacts have so far shed light on various…

Natural gas extraction causing frequent quakes, property damage in northern Netherlands

Farmers living atop Europe’s largest gas field in the isolated northern Netherlands are angry at increasingly frequent earthquakes caused by extraction. Freezing winds and a glimmer of cold light pass through the three-foot by two-inch (one metre by five centimetre) crack in Martha and Jan Bos’s stable in Middelstum, a…

U.S. finally removes minesweeper from UN-protected coral reef

The Philippines on Sunday welcomed the removal of a US minesweeper that had been stuck on a protected coral reef for 10 weeks, but stressed that compensation must be paid for the environmental damage. Salvage crews contracted by the US Navy Saturday extracted the last remaining piece of the USS…

Two dead after H7N9 avian flu strain makes jump to humans

Two people in China have died after being infected with H7N9 avian influenza — a sub-type that had not previously been transmitted to humans — the government said Sunday. An 87-year-old man in Shanghai fell ill on February 19 and died on March 4, while a man aged 27 in…

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