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Coral reefs going through ‘extremely alarming’ decline in the Caribbean

Coral reefs in the Caribbean are producing less than half of the key ingredient that makes their calcium skeleton compared to pre-industrial times, scientists said on Tuesday, describing the findings as “extremely alarming.” The amount of new calcium carbonate being added by coral reefs is at least half, and in…

U.S. consumer confidence drops sharply in January

US consumer confidence dove sharply for the second straight month in January, the Conference Board said Tuesday, with rising taxes cited as a likely reason for the surge in gloom. The board’s consumer confidence index sank to 58.6 in January from 66.7 in December, far below the 2012 peak of…

Microsoft rolls out Office as a cloud subscription

Microsoft on Tuesday began letting people subscribe to Office as a service in the Internet cloud, shedding the need to buy the popular productivity software on a disk. “It’s kind of a reflection of how most of us live nowadays,” said company official Oliver Roll. “The same way you get…

Apple unveils iPad with twice the storage capacity

Apple Tuesday unveiled a new iPad with twice the storage capacity as the existing model in an effort to score business with companies that share large amounts of data. Apple’s new iPad will have a capacity of 128 gigabytes compared with the current model, which comes with different memory capacities…

Ecologists: Hedgehog population in dramatic decline

Once common sightings of hedgehogs are becoming rare in the UK’s gardens, parks and hedgerows, say ecologists The once common sight of hedgehogs in gardens could become a thing of the past, with the spiny species having suffered a dramatic decline in recent years on a par with the loss…

Egyptian defense minister: Country on the verge of collapse

Egyptian Defence Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi warned on Tuesday that the political crisis rocking Egypt could lead to the collapse of the state. Failure to resolve the situation “could lead to grave repercussions if the political forces do not act” to tackle it, Sissi said in comments posted on…

World Trade Organization holds elections for top spot

Candidates from nine mainly developing nations face off this week for the job of reviving stalled global trade talks as the new head of the World Trade Organization. Six men and three women, many of them current or former government ministers, have thrown their hat into the ring to replace…

South African thieves steal man’s dreadlocks

A Zimbabwean man was recently robbed of his dreadlocks at a South African night club to feed a growing demand for human hair extensions, a local paper reported Tuesday. The Times said Mutsa Madonko had his long locks that he has grown for 10 years, cut off while partying at…

India’s top court rejects bid to move gang-rape trial

India’s Supreme Court rejected on Tuesday an application to move the trial of five men accused of the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi. A three-judge bench dismissed the petition, which argued that the men could not get a fair trial in the capital, because…

Military called in as deadly floods batter Australia

Australia ramped up its military response to deadly floodwaters rising in the country’s sodden northeast Tuesday which have killed four people and displaced or isolated tens of thousands. Storms triggered by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald have claimed four lives — the most recent a three-year-old boy killed by a falling tree…

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