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    NASA Space Shuttle Contractor Announces Layoffs for 2,800 Workers

    The NASA contractor responsible for most of the work of maintaining the space shuttles announced Friday (April 15) that it will have to lay off almost 50 percent of its employees – up to 2,800 workers – after the shuttle program shuts down this year. The layoffs were already anticipated as a consequence of the looming end of NASA’s shuttle program, which has only two more scheduled missions before...

    .South looks to recover from killer twisters

    SANFORD, N.C. – Lowe’s store manager Michael Hollowell had heard the tornado warnings but his first clue that the danger was outside his front door came when he saw his staff running toward the back of the home improvement store. More than 100 employees and customers screamed in near unison when the steel roof curled off overhead Saturday. The store was becoming part of the wreckage left by a ferocious...

    Sugarcane grown for fuel cools Brazil’s climate

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sugarcane grown to power Brazil’s cars and trucks as an alternative to climate-warming fossil fuels has a beneficial side effect: it also cools the local air temperature, scientists reported on Sunday. Researchers warned that this does not mean replacing Amazon forest or other natural vegetation with sugarcane fields. The benefit comes when sugarcane is introduced into existing...

    New climate change case headed to Supreme Court

    WASHINGTON – The Obama administration and environmental interests generally agree that global warming is a threat that must be dealt with. But they’re on opposite sides of a Supreme Court case over the ability of states and groups such as the Audubon Society that want to sue large electric utilities and force power plants in 20 states to cut their emissions. The administration is siding with American...

    Nuclear still main alternative to oil: ex-IAEA chief

    DUBAI (AFP) – The former head of UN atomic agency voiced confidence Sunday in nuclear energy as the only real alternative to oil despite a potential “setback” in the sector due to Japan’s current disaster. “Today, nuclear power is the only real alternative to fossil fuel as a source of a reliable supply,” said Egyptian Mohamed ElBaradei, speaking at the opening of the Dubai Global...

    Nature reserve set aside for rare Asian ‘unicorn’

    HANOI, Vietnam – A nature reserve has been set aside in central Vietnam for the critically endangered saola, raising hope for the antelope-like species’ survival, a wildlife official said Monday. The saola looks like a small deer or antelope with two horns, but is locally known as an Asian “unicorn.” They are thought to number from a few dozen to a few hundred, and are threatened by poachers...

    Wolves to come off endangered list within 60 days

    BILLINGS, Mont. – Federal wildlife officials say they will take more than 1,300 gray wolves in the Northern Rockies off the endangered species list within 60 days. An attachment to the budget bill signed into law Friday by President Barack Obama strips protections from wolves in five Western states. It marks the first time Congress has taken a species off the endangered list. Idaho and Montana plan public...

    Scientists: Gulf health nearly at pre-spill level

    BAY JIMMY, La. – Scientists judge the overall health of the Gulf of Mexico as nearly back to normal one year after the BP oil spill, but with glaring blemishes that restrain their optimism about nature’s resiliency, an Associated Press survey of researchers shows. More than three dozen scientists grade the Gulf’s big picture health a 68 on average, using a 1-to-100 scale. What’s remarkable...

    Novartis Aims to Resurrect ‘Zombie’ Drug After Four Years

    Novartis AG (NOVN) asked European Union regulators to approve the Prexige pain pill that was pulled off the market four years ago, as the company seeks to revive a drug that once had the potential for $1 billion in annual sales. The medicine, renamed Joicela, has been submitted to the EU regulators for approval, according to the Basel, Switzerland- based company's 2010 annual report. Joicela sales were halted...

    Fishing Halted in Japan's Ibaraki After Radioactive Water Contaminates Sea

    Fishermen in Ibaraki prefecture, Japan's fifth-largest seafood producer, halted operations after tainted fish were detected south of Fukushima, where radioactive water from a stricken nuclear plant contaminated the sea. About 96 percent of fishing off the coast of Ibaraki was suspended after sand lance contaminated with higher-than- acceptable levels of cesium were discovered yesterday, said Tomoki Mashiko,...

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