Vampire killing spree in Peru
August 18, 2010 01:08 PM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM

At least four children died after rabid vampire bats attacked Awajun indigenous communities in a remote part of Peru, reports the BBC. Peru's health ministry sent emergency teams to vaccinate villagers in the affected area of Urakusa, which is located close to the border with Ecuador. More than 500 people were reportedly bitten by vampire bats. Most have now been vaccinated.

Most Canadians carry BPA in their blood
August 17, 2010 06:51 AM - Solarina Ho, Reuters

Bisphenol A, a widely used chemical that Canada is banning from baby bottles, is present in the bodies of 91 percent of Canadians, according to a report that shows just how prevalent the controversial chemical is in daily life. Statistics Canada said Monday's report was the first time it has measured the extent that the industrial chemical, known as BPA, has been absorbed by people exposed to it. "The real value in this is...for the very first time (we) have baseline information against which we can study trends and track what is happening with respect to bisphenol A exposure," said Tracey Bushnik, of Statscan's Health Analysis Division.

Louisiana shrimp season opens amid spill concern
August 16, 2010 01:30 PM - Anna Driver, Reuters

Commercial fishermen can now trawl Louisiana's waters for white shrimp as the season opened on Monday, but questions linger about the effects BP Plc's Gulf of Mexico oil spill will have on the harvest. Some state waters have been open for brown shrimping since the well ruptured on April 20, but the overall catch has been down from previous years partly because a number of boats are signed up with BP's oil spill clean-up program. The plump, sweet white shrimp are typically larger than brown shrimp and more desired by chefs. The U.S. government has said that seafood pulled from the areas of the Gulf of Mexico that is open to fishing is safe to eat despite all the oil that gushed into the ocean. More than a fifth of federal waters in the Gulf remain closed due to fear of oil contaminating the seafood.

Few Chernobyl radiation risks from Russia fires
August 14, 2010 08:01 AM - Kate Kelland, Reuters

Fears that fires scorching forests polluted by Chernobyl fallout may propel dangerous amounts of radioactivity into the air are overblown, scientists say, and the actual health risks are very small. Even firefighters tackling the blazes, which officials say have hit forests in Russia's Bryansk region tainted by radioactive dust from the 1986 Chernobyl reactor disaster, are unlikely to run any added nuclear contamination risks. The amount of radiation in smoke would be only a fraction of the original fallout, they say. "Of the total radioactivity in the area, much less than one percent of it will be remobilized," said Jim Smith, an expert on Chernobyl and a specialist in Earth and Environmental Sciences at Britain's University of Portsmouth. Radioactive contamination in the area has substantially diminished in the almost two and a half decades since explosions at Chernobyl's reactor No. 4 caused the world's worst civil nuclear disaster on April 26, 1986.

7 Hours Sleep Just Right
August 10, 2010 10:43 AM - Karin Zeitvogel, Discovery News

People who sleep more or fewer than seven hours a day, including naps, are increasing their risk for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, a study published Sunday shows. Sleeping fewer than five hours a day, including naps, more than doubles the risk of being diagnosed with angina, coronary heart disease, heart attack or stroke, the study conducted by researchers at West Virginia University's (WVU) faculty of medicine and published in the journal Sleep says.

Floods strand 300 foreigners in India's Ladakh
August 9, 2010 06:29 AM - Reuters

More than 300 foreign tourists are stranded in India's Himalayan region of Ladakh, three days after flash floods killed at least 150 people and ravaged the main town of Leh, officials said on Monday. Floods triggered by unexpected heavy rains destroyed houses, uprooted telephone towers and deposited boulders and mud up to 15 feet high on highways and destroyed all communication networks, authorities and witnesses said. At least 300 people are still missing and 25,000 people affected by the floods, army officials said. At least 7,000 soldiers were deployed to rebuild roads and bridges, they said.

Towns submerged as 7 killed in central Europe floods
August 8, 2010 09:15 AM - Reuters

Heavy rain in central Europe has caused floods which killed at least seven people, cut off towns and forced the evacuation of residents from submerged villages by helicopter, authorities and local media said Saturday. The Polish town of Bogatynia was cut off after a river overflowed its banks, covering the main bridge leading into the town and sweeping away several smaller bridges. "At this moment we need everything," said Andrzej Grzemielewicz, mayor of the town of 18,000. "We need helicopters. People are on their roofs. The situation is dramatic." Several buildings had collapsed in the town and local media reported one person was killed. In the Czech Republic, the news agency CTK reported three people had been killed by floods in the north of the country.

Prayer and Health
August 6, 2010 12:25 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

There has always been a desire in the spirits of human beings to hope and sometimes believe in the effects of prayer in healing. Belief and the subsequent proof has always been hard to find or to do. Findings from a new international study of healing prayer suggest that prayer for another person's healing just might help -- especially if the one praying is physically near the person being prayed for. Candy Gunther Brown, an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University Bloomington, led the study of proximal intercessory prayer for healing.

New Findings on the H1N1 Virus
August 6, 2010 09:56 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Does anybody still remember swine flu? It caused a big uproar last winter and sent millions of people to their doctors to request the Tamiflu vaccine. New findings on the virus have been uncovered by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They found that the H1N1 virus used a new biochemical trick to spread rapidly among humans and cause an epidemic. The structure of the virus evolved to allow it to interact with the cellular structure of mammals.

Devastating Pakistan floods threaten food crisis
August 4, 2010 06:36 AM - Michael Georgy, Reuters

Parts of northwest Pakistan inundated by the worst floods in 80 years face life-threatening food shortages, creating another crisis for the politically fragile president and a government perceived as inept. President Asif Ali Zardari and his government have been hit by a barrage of criticism for their handling of the catastrophe which has so far killed at least 1,400 people. Zardari left for Europe earlier this week, at the height of the disaster. World Food Program (WFP) spokesman Amjad Jamal said the organizations' workers were urgently trying to reach flood areas in the northwest cut off from food supplies, which a U.N. aid agency said devastated the lives of over 3 million people.

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