Here are 7 hard facts we all need to swallow about antibiotics

The global public health crisis of antibiotic resistance is in the spotlight. What’s at stake is the impending loss of antibiotics that threatens modern medicine as we know it.

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What is quantitative easing?

AMERICA'S Federal Reserve surprised markets in December by starting to "taper" its programme of monthly purchases of government and mortgage bonds—a process known as "quantitative easing", or QE—from $85 billion a month to $75 billion. Some worry…

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If Nelson Mandela was not a saint, then who is a saint?

In many of the tributes paid in recent days to Nelson Mandela, it has been observed, approvingly, that he was no saint. Most know what it means, in ordinary language, to say of somebody with affection that he or she was not a saint. It suggests that…

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Straw houses are making a comeback in Europe

Flammable, prone to rotting when wet and usually weathering badly when exposed to the elements, straw is not an obvious material to use for building a house. It can even attract hungry animals—cows supposedly ate a Nebraska schoolhouse made of the…

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How did graffiti become respectable?

For old school graffiti taggers, it may prove the final proof that commercialism is destroying their proud culture. Justin Bieber, the Canadian singer, has been accused of spray-painting the wall of a hotel in Rio de Janeiro. But even before the baby…

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Palaeontologists explore 'survival of the simplest'

WHEN a meteor hit Earth near the end of the Cretaceous, around 66m years ago, the planet lost nearly three-quarters of its species. The dinosaurs were famously wiped out yet plenty of turtles, crocodiles, birds and mammals survived. How some groups…

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Why won't more Americans ride trains?

AMERICA has by far the largest rail network in the world, with more than twice as much track as China. But it lags far behind other first-world countries in ridership. Instead of passengers, most of America's massive rail network is used to carry freight…

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Japanese anime film 'Castle in the Sky' sets new record for largest number of tweets per second

STUDIO Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio renowned for its hugely successful anime films, the best known of which is “Spirited Away”, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, which won the Oscar for best animated feature in 2003. Earlier this month the studio…

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How organized crime has adapted to globalization

“THEY were my partners in crime. They were my best friends. They were my children’s godfathers.” So said John Martorano, a former hitman known as “The Executioner”, of his fellow mobsters in a gang led by James "Whitey" Bulger (pictured),…

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