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Photovoltaic solar energy conversion can be cost-competitive by 2030

(11/16/2005) Professor Andrew Blakers from The Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems at the Australian National University will today report to the Greenhouse 2000 Conference in Melbourne that photovoltaic (PV) solar energy conversion can be cost-competitive with any low-emission electricity generation technology by 2030.

Australia's freshwater ecosystems threatened by climate change

(11/16/2005) Australia's freshwater ecosystems are increasingly under threat from global warmning and expanding human population according to an interview of an Australian academic by The Age.

World deforestation rates and forest cover statistics, 2000-2005

(11/16/2005) Cambodia has the world's highest deforestation rate, Brazil loses the largest area of forest annually, and Congo consumes more bushmeat than any other tropical country. These are among the findings from's analysis of new deforestation figures from the United Nations. Monday, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released its 2005 Global Forest Resources Assessment, a regular report on the status world's forest resources. Overall, FAO concludes that net deforestation rates have fallen since the 1990-2000 period, but some 13 million hectares of the world's forests are still lost each year, including 6 million hectares of primary forests. Primary forests -- forests with no visible signs of past or present human activities -- are considered the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet.

Rain key to survival of baby lemurs

(11/14/2005) Researchers studying lemurs in Madagascar have discovered a link between tooth deterioration and rainfall amounts that suggests long-lived mammals may be particularly sensitive to changing environmental conditions--and that reproduction and infant survival is linked to tooth wear.

Elite women were alcoholic brewers in pre-Inca Peru

(11/14/2005) If the ancient mountaintop city in southern Peru was the vanished Wari empire's unique imperial showplace, the brewery was its piece de resistance.

Plague could worsen with global warming

(11/14/2005) Warmer, wetter weather brought on by global warming could increase outbreaks of the plague, which has killed millions down the ages and wiped out one third of Europe's population in the 14th century, academics said.

Massive climate change rocked ecosystems, animals 55 million years ago

(11/14/2005) Continued increases in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere from the combustion of fossil fuels could trigger large-scale changes in global biodiversity and require thousands of years of recovery according to recent research on an extreme global warming episode 55 million years ago.

Pictures from Peru

(11/14/2005), a leading rainforest information web site, has launched a new section featuring photographs from Peru. More than 1900 photos from Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, and the Amazon have been added to the site.

Britain has best wind power potential in Europe

(11/14/2005) A survey of wind power in Britain says the island nation has the best wind in Europe because it blowsyear round and peaks when there is greatest demand for electricity. Further, the study found that there has never been a time over the past 35 years when the entire country has experienced a period of no wind.

Americans eating more seafood than ever before -- NOAA survey

(11/14/2005) Seafood consumption rose for the third straight year in 2004, as Americans ate a record 16.6 pounds of fish and shellfish per person, the NOAA Fisheries Service announced today.

Humans hunted giant lemurs to extinction

(11/14/2005) Madagascar's first inhabitants probably hunted the island's largest animals to extinction according to research published in the November issue of the Journal of Human Evolution.

Brazliian environmentalist dies after self-immolation protest

(11/14/2005) A Brazilian environmentalist has died after self-immolation in a protest against the construction of alcohol factories in the Pantanal marsh region. The 65-year-old Francisco Anselmo de Barros wrapped himself in an alcohol-soaked blanket and set it on fire during a protest Saturday in Campo Grande, 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) northwest of Rio de Janeiro.

Global deforestation rates fall, but area the size of Panama still disppears each year

(11/14/2005) Net deforestation rates have fallen, but some 13 million hectares of the world's forests are still lost each year according to a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Satellites map forests of Europe for Kyoto Protocol monitoring

(11/14/2005) A prototype service utilising satellites for mapping forests to aid compliance with the Kyoto Protocol has been endorsed by end users from European countries -- one environmental ministry representative called the baseline carbon stock information provided a "goldmine".

People Eat More Stale Popcorn If Served In A Big Bucket

(11/14/2005) A new Cornell University study found that large portions push people to overeat -- even to when they don't even like a food. The finding comes a month after the National Institutes of Health reported that 90% of American men were overweight or became overweight during the course of a 30-year study.

FAO deforestation stats are bogus

(11/14/2005) The Rainforest Foundation today claimed that new figures released today by the United Nations on the 'state of the world's forests' are misleading, inaccurate and understate the real extent of deforestation and damage to forests globally.

Demise of passenger pigeon linked to Lyme disease

(11/14/2005) Traditionally, the passenger pigeon has been held as one of the more beloved animal species to fall prey to humankind's often relentless expansion into and disregard for the natural world and its creatures. Once abundant, the bird experienced a rapid decline in the late 1800s, due almost entirely to rampant hunting, and the last passenger pigeon died in 1914. In light of new findings however, this image of a naturally plentiful species laid to waste by man is now being tested. Evidence collected over the past few years from a significant number of Native American archeological sites is beginning to upset long-accepted beliefs about one of the most famous extinct species in modern history.

Logging threatens Mayan ruin, forest in Guatemala

(11/13/2005) In the tropical forests of Guatemala, poor rural farmers and loggers are battling environmentalists, archaeologists, and Mel Gibson over the establishment of a 525,000-acre Mayan national park.

Lemur species named after British comedian

(11/12/2005) Researchers from the University of Zurich have named a newly discovered species of lemur after British comedian John Cleese in honor of his work with the primates from Madagascar.

20% of the world's mangroves lost since 1980

(11/11/2005) 20% of the world's mangrove forests have disappeared since 1980 according to a new study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Climate change brought tropical forest to Wyoming

(11/09/2005) Climate change 55 million years ago caused significant changes in forest composition and the distribution of mammals according to a new study in Science. The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, in which temperatures rose by as much as 10 degrees in a relatively short period of time, helped bolster the "Age of Mammals," which included the first appearance of modern primates. After an initial period of increasing aridity in northern latitudes like the study site of Bighorn Basin in northwestern Wyoming, it appears that forests transitioned towards warm tropical ecosystems with closely spaced trees, ideal for the evolution of primates.

Army Corps of Engineers lacks plan for restoring coastal wetlands

(11/09/2005) The Army Corps of Engineers and the state of Louisiana lack an overall plan for restoring coastal wetlands, says a new report from the National Academy of Sciences.

Giant 1,200 pound ape lived alongside humans

(11/09/2005) A gigantic ape, measuring about 10 feet tall and weighing up to 1,200 pounds, co-existed alongside humans, a geochronologist at McMaster University has discovered.

Early warning system for earthquakes could save lives, predict quakes

(11/09/2005) A University of California, Berkeley, seismologist has discovered a way to provide seconds to tens of seconds of advance warning about impending ground shaking from an earthquake.

Africa looks to build scientific expertise at Nairobi conference

(11/09/2005) Stronger African science academies can help save lives or raise the standard of living by settling questions on topics such as malaria prevention and sustainable development, said organizers of this week's first annual international conference of the African Science Academy Development Initiative, being held in Nairobi, Kenya. The initiative is supported by a $20 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and administered by the U.S. National Academies.

conservation groups sue Bush administration over endangered species delays

(11/09/2005) A coalition of conservation groups filed a complaint late yesterday against the Bush Administration for delaying protection of hundreds of wildlife species as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, leaving 283 plants and animals on a perpetual candidate waiting list. Since passage of the Act, at least 24 candidate species have gone extinct waiting for protection.

Aspirin Found to Reduce Skin Cancer Risk

(11/07/2005) Epidemiologists have found that aspirin may assist in reducing the risk of developing skin cancer, reveals a recent scientific publication, following research undertaken at the Suncorp Skin Cancer Laboratories at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR).

Learning and memory can become toxic with neurodegenerative diseases

(11/07/2005) Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center have targeted a new culprit and method of attack on neurologic functions in diseases such as HIV-1-associated dementia and Alzheimer's.

Mauritius PM blocks road threatening endangered forest

(11/07/2005) Work started last year to build a highway through Ferney Valley, primarily to service the island's lucrative tourism industry, but environmentalists say it would wipe out flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world.

Flu pandemic "inevitable" and to cost $800 billion say World Bank, WHO

(11/07/2005) The potential economic cost of a pandemic of human influenza -- which the World Health Organization (WHO) now says is "inevitable" -- would top $800 billion according to a World Bank report released today.

Greenhouse gas emissions will rise by 52% by 2030 warns EIA

(11/07/2005) The International Energy Agency (EIA) today released a report projecting that global greenhouse gas emissions will rise by 52% by 2030, unless the world takes action to reduce energy consumption. Further, the IEA says that oil prices will rise "substantially" unless there is extra investment -- $20.3 trillion in fresh facilities by 2030 -- in oil facilities.

Forests of Michoacan, Mexico disappearing

(11/07/2005) 90% of the tropical forest in Lazaro Cardenas, Aquila y Coahuayana -- municipalities in the state of Michoacan, Mexico -- has been destroyed according to an article in Cambio de Michoacan. Cattle ranching, mining, and the harvesting of precious wood are blamed as the principle causes behind the forest loss.

Vampires kill 23 in Brazil, deforestation blamed

(11/07/2005) Rabid vampire bats killed 23 people and attacked more than 1,000 Brazilian officials confirmed last week. The bats have been displaced from their normal rain forest environment by worsening deforestation in the region. In an attempt to slow deaths, health agencies have treated 1,350 people with anti-rabies medication in the past two months.

Financial investors buying up forest lands, worrying greens

(11/06/2005) Financial institutions are buying up millions of acres of forest land for development across the United States, New Zealand, and South America according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.

Logging can have low impact on Amazon rainforest says FAO

(11/05/2005) The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has issued a response to a study that found selective logging in the Amazon is highly destructive. The research, conducted by scientists from the Carnegie Institution at Stanford University, was published in Science last month. FAO argues that selective logging is not necessarily destructive and can be done with low impact on the remaining forests, if the proper techniques are applied.

Papua New Guinea adds 12 new protected areas

(11/04/2005) The government of Papua New Guinea announced that it will gazette 12 new protected areas covering some of the country's most biologically diverse forests, wetlands and coral reefs.

eBay founder gives $100 million for microfinance to help world's poorest people

(11/04/2005) Ebay Inc. founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pamela, have given $100 million in eBay stock to Tufts University to create a fund that will invest in microfinance.

Illegal timber from Honduras reaching the United States

(11/04/2005) U.S. companies are unknowingly importing illegal Honduran wood, contributing to deforestation, corruption and poverty in the Latin American country, according to a yearlong undercover investigation by the Center for International Policy and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

Medicinal Plants could help poverty alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa -- World Bank report

(11/03/2005) Dryland areas in Sub-Saharan Africa have a niche opportunity to use selected multipurpose medicinal plants to halt land degradation, and at the same time provide culturally acceptable healthcare, food, and a sustainable source of income by developing niche markets, according to the new World Bank report Capitalizing on the Bio-Economic Value of Multi-Purpose Medicinal Plants for the Rehabilitation of Drylands in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Avian flu vaccine under development with help of WCS

(11/03/2005) Avian influenza virus samples collected from wild birds in Mongolia by field veterinarians from the New York City-based Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) have been selected by the World Health Organization to be part of a new human pandemic influenza vaccine currently in development. The samples, collected in the midst of an outbreak in August killing wild ducks, geese and swans in northern Mongolia have unique genetic characteristics which make them a valuable addition to a human vaccine based on a variety of strains of influenza.

Monkeys protected from HIV-like virus using vaginal gel

(11/03/2005) Experiments in female monkeys have for the first time shown that when used in combination, vaginal gels known as microbicides can protect against an HIV-like virus. The research, funded largely by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), suggests that similar combination microbicides could potentially provide a safe, effective and practical way to prevent HIV transmission to women, according to study investigators.

Rainforest conservation worth the cost shows new study

(11/02/2005) The economic benefits of protecting a rainforest reserve outweigh the costs of preserving it, says University of Alberta research--the first of its kind to have conducted a cost-benefit analysis on the conservation of species diversity. "The traditional moral and aesthetic arguments have been made about why we should conserve the biodiversity in rainforests, but little has been done that looks at whether it makes pure economic sense to do so," said Dr. Robin Naidoo, who did his PhD at the U of A in biological sciences and rural economy. "We provide some good evidence from a strict economic side, that yes, it does."

Tamiflu shortage may be overcome by drug combo

(11/02/2005) A report in Nature suggests that the global shortage of the flu drug Tamiflu could be partially overcome by combining it with probenecid, a widely available drug that helps make Tamiflu treatment more effective by slowing the removal of the drug by the kidneys.

14.5 degree increase in Earth's temperature possible finds new model

(11/02/2005) If humans continue to use fossil fuels in a business-as-usual manner for the next few centuries, the polar ice caps will be depleted, ocean sea levels will rise by seven meters and median air temperatures will soar to 14.5 degrees warmer than current day.

Global warming to fuel rise in asthma, malaria

(11/02/2005) The Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, along with co-sponsors Swiss Re and the United Nations Development Programme, today released a study showing that climate change will significantly affect the health of humans and ecosystems and these impacts will have economic consequences.

6.5 earthquake could cut off California's water supply

(11/02/2005) Appearing before a joint legislative committee, Department of Water Resources (DWR) Director Lester Snow today outlined the catastrophic impact a significant earthquake would have on Delta levees. He said failed levees would cause major floods, threaten public safety, damage the water supply infrastructure, and jeopardize the State's economy.

African lakes disappearing find UN survey

(11/01/2005) The dramatic and, in some cases damaging environmental changes sweeping Africa's lakes are brought into sharp focus in a new atlas.

ASEAN nations agree to combat the illegal trade in wildlife, plants

(11/01/2005) In a strategic move to address the persistent criminal activity targeting South-east Asia's unique biological diversity, representatives from the 10 Member Countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed last week to form a regional law enforcement network to combat the illegal trade in animals and plants.

Logging impact worse than thought in the Amazon

(11/01/2005) Research released earlier this month in Science found that Brazil's Amazon rain forest is being degraded twice as fast as deforestation figures suggest. Selective logging, where only one or two valuable tree species are harvested from an area, is driving the forest degradation. The findings have important implications for "sustainable harvesting" schemes that have been promoted as ecologically-sound alternatives to traditional harvesting techniques.

Nature Provides Design Template for Human Problems

(11/01/2005) Copying the ideas of others is usually frowned upon, but when it comes to the work of Mother Nature, scientists are finding they can use nature as a template.

Exotic pet trade controls needed to fight bird flu says Greenpeace

(10/31/2005) A thriving trade, both illegal and legal, in exotic birds like parrots is undermining Mexico's otherwise strict measures against bird flu, Greenpeace said on Thursday. Mexico prohibits imports of all birds and bird products from countries with confirmed outbreaks of the virus, but the environmental group wants a blanket ban, saying the nature of the trade makes it hard to know where birds come from.

Hunting ban threatens Congo forest dwellers

(10/31/2005) A blanket ban on hunting in the Republic of Congo has made life even more difficult for the Baka community, an indigenous hunter-gatherer group living in the rain forests near the timber-concession areas in the north of the country.

China fuels illegal logging in Burma

(10/31/2005) A new report, launched today by Global Witness at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Bangkok , "A Choice for China -- Ending the destruction of Burma's northern frontier forests" , details shocking new evidence of the massive illicit plunder of Burma's forests by Chinese logging companies. Much of the logging takes place in forests that form part of an area said to be "very possibly the most bio-diverse, rich, temperate area on earth."

Timber traffickers arrested in Brazil

(10/31/2005) Brazilian federal police on Wednesday arrested at least 43 people accused of forging and selling permits for the transport of tens of millions of dollars (Euros) worth of illegally cut lumber, authorities said.

Renewable energy supplier becomes first to win EPA and DOE awards

(10/31/2005) Using innovation to drive market demand for renewable energy, 3 Phases Energy proved its leadership in the renewable energy industry at the 10th National Green Power Marketing Conference in Austin, TX held October 24-26. The Industry recognized 3 Phases Energy with two awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy: Renewable Energy Technology Supplier of the Year for general excellence supplying renewable energy, and Green Power Beacon, for the company's ability to originate business sector interest in renewable energy. In the history of the awards, no single renewable energy supplier has been recognized with two awards in the same year.

Congo's Kabila calls for rainforest protection

(10/30/2005) The world's second largest rainforest stands a greater chance of being protected after Congo's president finally backed a largely ignored ban on new logging, conservation group Greenpeace said on Friday.

Biopiracy fears hampering research in Brazilian Amazon

(10/30/2005) Somewhere in the Amazon there may be flora and fauna that hold the key to curing diseases ranging from cancer to multiple sclerosis. That, at any rate, is the dream. But the reality is that the search for the next miracle drugs is being hampered by a deep Brazilian suspicion of "biopiracy."

Pre-Columbian Amazon supported millions of people

(10/18/2005) Controversial evidence uncovered over the past decade suggests that the Amazon rainforest was once home to large sedentary populations of people. Besides the well-known empires of the Inca and their predecessors, the Huari, millions of people once lived in the forests and shaped the environment to suit their own needs.

Madagascar educational resource launched

(10/15/2005), a leading information site on Madagascar, today announced the availability of educational materials to help students learn about the island of Madagascar.

Air medics deliver healthcare in the remote Amazon

(10/13/2005) National Air Mail isn't a letter-carrying service -- it's an airborne medical unit making rounds in the most isolated parts of the jungle.

Invasive species date back thousands of years

(10/13/2005) Much has been made of the economic impacts of recent biological invasions, but what are the implications of invasions in deep time? Luiz Rocha leads geneticists who time travel through ocean environments. The results of their travels, published online in Molecular Ecology, tell us that during warm, interglacial periods, reef-associated fish (goby genus Gnatholepis), leapt around the horn of Africa into the Atlantic, where their range expanded as the world warmed.

Deforestation and erosion starving Malawi

(10/13/2005) Forest loss and erosion could doom Malawi to perpetual food shortages as the country's fertile soil is literally swept down to its rivers and flushed out to sea.

Invasive species may increase with global warming

(10/13/2005) New research published in Molecular Ecology suggests that climate change could trigger the expansion of invasive species into wider ranges. The study looked at the genetic history of a goby species in the Eastern Atlantic which appears to have expanded its range dramatically when the world warmed about 150,000 years ago

Sea turtle first animal returned to New Orleans Aquarium after hurricane

(10/13/2005) King Midas, a 300-pound (136 kg) green sea turtle, was the first animal returned to the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans after the facility was evacuated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Wildlife conservation can be a 'win win' choice of land use -- new book

(10/12/2005) Experts from East and Southern Africa have some grass roots ideas for tackling the immense challenges Africa faces at the wildlife / domestic animal / human health interface-- and they hope the West is listening.

UN launches $272 million earthquake aid appeal for Pakistan

(10/12/2005) The United Nations today launched a $272-million flash appeal to help Pakistan recover from last Saturday's devastating earthquake, which killed more than 30,000 people, injured some 60,000 more and left 1 million others in acute need of life-saving assistance, 2.5 million homeless and 4 million affected.

Innovations in tropical forest research

(10/12/2005) Tropical forest research innovations: the Center for Tropical Forest Science takes a new director, defines new horizons and receives a significant pledge.

Deforestation does not cause flooding says new study

(10/12/2005) Deforestation and logging do not increase the risk of major floods according to a new report from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Center for International forestry Research (CIFOR). The study, citing evidence showing that the frequency and extent of major floods has not changed over the last century despite significant reductions in forest cover, challenges the conventional belief that forest loss causes floods. Instead, FAO and CIFOR say that deforestation does have a role in small floods and topsoil erosion. Further, the report accuses Asian governments of using deforestation as an excuse to deflect criticism over their poor handling of human settlement in areas unsuitable for habitation.

Tropics Play Active Role In Controlling Earth's Climate

(10/12/2005) Researchers from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and Durham University (UK) have discovered that a million years ago, global climate changes occurred due to changes in tropical circulation in the Pacific similar to those caused by El Nino today. Changes in atmospheric circulation caused variations in heat fluxes and moisture transport, triggering a large expansion of the polar ice sheets and a reorganisation of the Earth's climate. The discovery, published in Geology, shows that local climate changes in the tropics can create more global climate changes, and emphasises the hypothesis that the tropics play a more active role than was thought in controlling the Earth's climate.

100 deadliest earthquakes since 1900; Kashmir quake ranks #11

(10/11/2005) Officials said the death toll from Pakistan's earthquake have surpassed 35,000, making the quake the eleventh deadliest since 1900. While the death from the earthquake numbers in the tens of thousands, it does not rank in the top ten deadliest earthquakes since 1900. The Tangshan earthquake that shook China in 1976 may have killed some 650,000 people.

Environmental refugees to top 50 million in 5 years

(10/11/2005) Amid predictions that by 2010 the world will need to cope with as many as 50 million people escaping the effects of creeping environmental deterioration, United Nations University experts say the international community urgently needs to define, recognize and extend support to this new category of 'refugee'.

Africa Heats Up -- climate change threatens future of the continent

(10/11/2005) A series of recent studies have revealed a sobering future for the majority of Africa, a future predicated by undeniable and significant climate change. The threat traverses all levels of the environmental, social, political and economic spheres, from heightened socio-economic disparity to dwindling fish populations, from civil strife to desperate hunger. The greatest and saddest irony of this dark fate projected for the continent is that while Africa has the world's lowest levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, contributing the least to global climate change, it has been forced to bear the brunt of the phenomenon.

NASA Discovers Life's Building Blocks Are Common In Space

(10/11/2005) A team of NASA exobiology researchers revealed today organic chemicals that play a crucial role in the chemistry of life are common in space.

Amazon at record low -- communities isolated, commerce stalled

(10/11/2005) The Amazon River in Peru and parts of Brazil is at its lowest level in 30 years of record keeping. While variable water levels are characteristic of the Amazon river ecosystem, the increasingly extreme fluctuations are of great concern. Low water levels are wreaking havoc on the shipping industry in the region. In Iquitos, a city in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon which is only accessible by plane or boat, ships and barges are having difficulty navigating the river, resulting in serious shipping delays. Local officials in Peru are blaming deforestation of the upper reaches of the Amazon in the Andes for the fall in river levels, although it is likely that larger forces are at least equally important. Warmer ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific and low sunspot activity is also affecting weather in the region, while warming in the north Atlantic -- which has helped trigger an unusually strong and destructive hurricane season -- may be preventing the formation of rain clouds over the Amazon Basin.

Organic solar cells will help spur viability of alternative energy

(10/10/2005) Organic solar cells being developed by a team of scientists from New Mexico State University and Wake Forest University could help spur viability of alternative energy. Unlike existing solar panels made of brittle silicon, these cells are made of plastic that can be wrapped around structures or even applied like paint. This flexibility could revolutionize the solar market.

Map of earthquake-affected region in Kashmir; city news

(10/10/2005) Two days ago a magnitude-7.6 quake struck the border region of Pakistan and India. Afghanistan was also affected. Much of the affected area is extremely remote and virtually impossible to reach by road due to landslides. Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf has appealed to the international community for help, especially for cargo helicopters to reach remote areas cut off by quake damage.

25% probability of 7.0 earthquake hitting San Francisco by 2025

(10/10/2005) There's at least a 25% chance of a magnitude 7.0 or greater quake occurring during the next 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area according to a new computer simulation by researchers at the University of California, Davis. The research is presented in this week's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Harvesting tornados as power plants; renewable wind vortex energy

(10/09/2005) Engineers are working to use artificial tornados as a renewable energy source according to an article in last week's The Economist. Storms release a tremendous amount of energy. Hurricane Katrina, a category 4 hurricane, released enough energy to supply the world's power needs for a year, while the typical tornado produces as much power as a large power station.

Sharks tracked by satellite

(10/09/2005) Electronic tags broadcasting from the dorsal fins of salmon sharks reveal that these top predators migrate from the glacial waters of Alaska to the warm seas off Hawaii, according to a new study in the journal Science.

Earthquake news for cities in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan

(10/09/2005) A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake near the Pakistan-India border Saturday killed more than 20,000 people.

News for earthquake-affected cities in Pakistan, India

(10/08/2005) A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake near the Pakistan-India border Saturday destroyed villages, triggered landslides and killed thousands.

Environment killing millions says World Bank report

(10/07/2005) A new report from the World Bank says millions of deaths can be attributed to environmental factors, including climate change, pollution, unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene. These environmental conditions are significantly affecting health -- responsible for about a fifth of all ill health in poor countries -- and impeding economic development and growth. The report also links cancer to the environment.

Extreme drought drops Amazon river to record low levels

(10/07/2005) The Amazon River in Peru and parts of Brazil is at its lowest level in 30 years of record keeping. While variable water levels are characteristic of the Amazon river ecosystem, the increasingly extreme fluctuations are of great concern. Low water levels are wreaking havoc on the shipping industry in the region. In Iquitos, a city in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon which is only accessible by plane or boat, ships and barges are having difficulty navigating the river, resulting in serious shipping delays. Local officials in Peru are blaming deforestation of the upper reaches of the Amazon in the Andes for the fall in river levels, although it is likely that larger forces are at least equally important. Warmer ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific and low sunspot activity is also affecting weather in the region. Brazilian meteorologists have discounted the theory that the severe hurricane season off the US Gulf coast has impacted the availability of moisture in the Amazon.

Nestle introduces fairtrade coffee, eco-friendly product goes mainstream

(10/07/2005) For coffee drinkers overwhelmed by choice in the coffee aisles, add this: Fairtrade coffee from the world's number one food group, Nestle.

Bush administration sued over forest decision

(10/07/2005) A coalition of 20 environmental groups sued the Bush administration Thursday to block road construction, logging and industrial development on more than 90,000 square miles of the nation's last untouched forests.

Genomes of 200 Human Flu Strains Reveal a Dynamic Virus

(10/06/2005) In the first large-scale effort of its kind, researchers have determined the full genetic sequence of more than 200 distinct strains of human influenza virus. The information, being made available in a publicly accessible database, is expected to help scientists better understand how flu viruses evolve, spread and cause disease. The genomic data already has enabled scientists to determine why the 2003-4 annual influenza vaccine did not fully protect individuals against the flu that season.

Simplified stereotypes of "typical" Americans, Brazilians, Chinese are common but mistaken

(10/06/2005) Simplified stereotypes of "typical" Americans, Brazilians, Chinese, and other groups are common but highly mistaken, according to a National Institute on Aging (NIA) study that examined the accuracy of national character stereotypes in 49 cultures worldwide. The finding has important implications regarding beliefs that characterize groups of people, including the elderly, the researchers said.

Link between ecosystems uncovered as fish in ponds help flowering plants

(10/06/2005) Fish and flowering plants would seem to have as much in common as pigs and beauty soap. But ecologists at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Florida have found an amazing relationship between the different species that provides a new direction for understanding how ecosystems "hook up."

Great White Shark swims 12,400 miles, shocks scientists

(10/06/2005) A female great white shark tagged in waters off South Africa has completed the first known transoceanic trip for an individual shark, traveling farther than any other shark known, more than 12,400 miles (more than 20,000 kilometers) to the coast of Australia and back again, according to the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) and other organizations in the most recent edition of the journal Science.

95% of mahogany from Peru is illegally logged says scientist

(10/06/2005) 95 percent of the mahogany that leaves the rainforests of Peru is logged illegally according to a scientist at the Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon.

Climate change to affect migratory birds and animals

(10/06/2005) Climate change could affect and disrupt breeding, hamper migrations, and increase disease transmission in migratory birds and animals, a new report has warned. The report, Climate Change and Migratory Species, was commissioned by Defra and prepared by a group led by the British Trust for Ornithology, and draws together broad research on the effects of climate change migratory wildlife.

Google, MIT support $100 laptop for the world's poorest children

(10/06/2005) Google, AMD, Brightstar, News Corporation, and Red Hat have signed on to MIT's low-cost laptop initiative which aims to deliver a fully functional $100 machine to the developing world.

Weight of flooded Amazon river causes Earth to sink 3 inches

(10/05/2005) As the Amazon River floods every year, a sizeable portion of South America sinks several inches because of the extra weight -- and then rises again as the waters recede, a study has found. This annual rise and fall of earth's crust is the largest ever detected, and it may one day help scientists tally the total amount of water on Earth.

Satellite monitors health of coral reefs

(10/05/2005) Australian researchers have found Envisat's MERIS sensor can detect coral bleaching down to ten metres deep. This means Envisat could potentially monitor impacted coral reefs worldwide on a twice-weekly basis.

Poor aid response to storm damage in Central America

(10/05/2005) Tropical storm Stan has killed more than 120 people across Central America, including more than 60 in El Salvador and 50 in Guatemala, but international aid has been slow to arrive in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

Python explodes after swallowing 6-foot alligator in Florida Everglades

(10/05/2005) The National Park Service released photos that show the carcass of an American alligator that was almost swallowed by a Burmese python.

Cancer death rates continue to fall according to the National Cancer Institute

(10/04/2005) The nation's leading cancer organizations report that Americans' risk of dying from cancer continues to decline and that the rate of new cancers is holding steady.

Evolutionary history of the origin of potatoes revised -- study

(10/04/2005) Humans have cultivated potatoes for millennia, but there has been great controversy about the ubiquitous vegetable's origins. This week, writing in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, a team led by a USDA potato taxonomist stationed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has for the first time demonstrated a single origin in southern Peru for the cultivated potato.

SUV sales plummet, high gas prices cited

(10/04/2005) High gas prices caused American consumers to spurn sport-utility vehicles in September. Further, resale values for SUVs are falling as demand for the gas-guzzling vehicles softens while interest in smaller, more fuel-efficient models soars.

Oil companies help marine biologists to explore new frontiers in deep-sea oceanography

(10/04/2005) An idea from a young marine biologist at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton is revolutionising oceanography in the deep oceans. Dr Ian Hudson has been getting the oil industry to sign up to a project that has captured the imagination of companies and oceanographers across the world.

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