Chunks of Smashed Moon Detected in Saturn's Rings
October 25, 2007 08:19 AM - Reuters
WASHINGTON - Big chunks of a moon that was smashed long ago perhaps by a comet have been detected in Saturn's outermost ring, shedding light on the formation of the planet's grand ring system, scientists said on Wednesday. A camera on NASA's Cassini spacecraft spotted wakes ahead of and trailing behind these fragments, where other ring material has been affected by the gravitational forces exerted by the pieces, they said.
Huge Ash Cloud as Indonesia's Mount Soputan Erupts
October 25, 2007 08:13 AM - Reuters
JAKARTA - Mount Soputan volcano on the northern tip of Indonesia's Sulawesi island has erupted, throwing columns of ash 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) into the air, an official said on Friday. Saut Simatupang, of Indonesia's Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, said that the eruption did not appear to pose an immediate threat to residents, although ash had reached the nearest town.
Bird-flu May Become Endemic in Parts of Europe
October 25, 2007 08:10 AM - Reuters
MILAN - Bird flu virus may become endemic in parts of Europe, with ducks and geese more of a vector for spreading it than previously thought, the U.N. said on Thursday.
"It seems that a new chapter in the evolution of avian influenza may be unfolding silently in the heart of Europe," Joseph Domenech, chief veterinary officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said in a statement.
Survery: Housing Crisis Stress a Major Health Problem in the U.S.
October 24, 2007 05:59 PM -
NEW YORK, Oct. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One-third of Americans are living with extreme stress and nearly half of Americans (48 percent) believe that their stress has increased over the past five years. Stress is taking a toll on people -- contributing to health problems, poor relationships and lost productivity at work, according to a new national survey released today by the American Psychological Association (APA).
Money and work continue as the leading causes of stress for three quarters of Americans, a dramatic increase over the 59 percent(1) reporting the same sources of stress in 2006. The survey also found that the housing crisis is having an effect on many, with half of Americans (51 percent) citing rent or mortgage costs as sources of stress this year.
Smoking, family alcohol history alter taste buds
October 24, 2007 05:43 PM -
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Cigarette smoking and a family history of alcoholism both alter how women perceive sweet foods and what foods they crave, according to studies conducted by two researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.
Marta Yanina Pepino and Julie A. Mennella found that women who smoked were less sensitive to sweet taste than women who never smoked. Women who smoked needed higher concentrations of sugar to detect a sweet taste, and the more years a woman smoked, the less she was able to perceive a sweet taste.
"Smoking dulls sweet taste sensitivity," Pepino and Mennella noted in a joint email to Reuters Health. "Whether this reduced sensitivity for sweets helps smokers control their weight is an important question that is not addressed in the current study."
U.S. "Undoubtedly In Recession", Says Expert
October 24, 2007 05:27 PM -
LONDON (Reuters) - The United States has entered a recession, according to highly-regarded investor Jim Rogers, who told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper on Wednesday he was switching out of the dollar and into yen, the yuan and the Swiss franc.
The veteran investor, who predicted the 1999 commodities rally, also said he was still bullish about surging Chinese stock markets despite worries over a bubble.
Fears are growing over the health of the U.S. economy after the fallout from the subprime mortgage market crisis and the global credit crunch it triggered.
The U.S. Federal Reserve has already slashed borrowing costs by 50 basis points to 4.75 percent to try and shore up the world's biggest economy and is widely expected to lower interest rates again next week.
Australian farmers face bankruptcy from drought
October 24, 2007 04:41 PM - Michael Byrnes
WEST WYALONG, Australia (Reuters) - Farmer John Ridley won't be harvesting so much as a bag of wheat this season from fields that stretch to the horizon as Australia's worst drought in 100 years takes its toll on the country's grain belt.
Beneath a cloudless sky, 60-year-old Ridley, a descendant of one of Australia's pioneering farming families, pulls a clump of brittle stubble from the dusty earth.
"It should be this high, waving green in the breeze," he says. "Farmers are in a stunned state at the moment. In a state of disbelief, shock, helplessness."
Ridley's farm is in the epicenter of devastation from the drought, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) west of Sydney. Prime wheat growing territory, the district normally grows much of the wheat that makes Australia the world's second-biggest exporter. Yet this year the district will produce almost nothing.
Winds wane as 18 wildfires burn in California
October 24, 2007 04:36 PM - Adam Tanner, Reuters
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Dying winds gave California firefighters their first big break on Wednesday after four days battling wildfires, but San Diego faced more calamity as blazes there burned out of control and kept more than half a million evacuees from returning home.
The skies over much of the region were filled with thick, acrid smoke, forcing residents to stay indoors or wear masks.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said 18 fires burned on Wednesday and threatened 25,000 structures. Nearly 1,500 homes had already been lost. San Diego bore the brunt of the damage and officials there put losses in excess of $1 billion.
More than 500,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in the biggest mass evacuation in California's modern history.
Six deaths have been reported, while 40 people suffered injuries, many of them firefighters.
Countrywide, Non-Profit Partner to Help Homeowners
October 24, 2007 09:54 AM - Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Countrywide Financial Corp, the largest U.S. mortgage lender, and non-profit group Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America said on Tuesday they are partnering to help borrowers stay in their homes.
Under the plan, which aims to stem further worsening of the U.S. housing slump, homeowners would have options including a payment plan, or ways to modify, refinance or restructure their mortgages.
CNN's "Planet in Peril" Confronts Tough Issues
October 24, 2007 08:23 AM - Reuters
LOS ANGELES - This Halloween season, if you want to watch something truly scary, try "Planet in Peril," a two-night, four-hour special that aired Tuesday andtonight on CNN This is not to say that correspondents Anderson Cooper, meteorologist Sanjay Gupta or Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin try to frighten viewers. Far from it. They report from around the world in a straightforward, even restrained, fashion. It's just that what they have to say about what's happening to the planet is very unsettling.