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Children kept indoors as Beijing fog turns to smog
October 26, 2007 12:17 PM -

BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing's weather office warned children and the elderly to stay indoors on Friday as heavy fog blanketed the host city of the 2008 Olympics, exacerbating its chronic air pollution, Chinese state media reported.

Fog caused severe delays at Beijing airport and reduced visibility in the centre of the city to less than 200 meters.

"The fog will not only affect the traffic but also harm humans' respiratory system. I suggest old people and children avoid going outdoors or wear a mask," Sun Jisong, the city's chief weatherman, told the official Xinhua news agency.

With fires waning, California assesses the damage
October 26, 2007 12:13 PM - Dan Whitcomb, Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Four burned bodies found in the path of California's fierce wildfires raised the death toll to at least 12 people, even as firefighters won the upper hand and officials turned on Friday toward assessing the damage.

Though more than 20 fires raged across Southern California into a sixth day, some 8,000 firefighters had brought most of them under control and no more homes were in imminent danger.

Some lost everything to the flames but most of the 500,000 people forced to flee in California's largest evacuation were expected to be back in their homes by the weekend.

A Carbon Neutral Olympic Torch?
October 26, 2007 10:58 AM - , Environmental Graffiti

Officials for the 2012 Olympics made an eyebrow raising announcement today when they declared the London Olympic flame will be carbon neutral. Previous games have used high-carbon fuels such as paraffin to fuel the torch so that the flame was more visible. Organizers plan to abandon this, and French company EDF, a major London 2012 sponsor, is assisting the games organizers in finding a low-carbon fuel for the torch.

Toyota to Halve Hybrid Price, Size for Next Prius
October 25, 2007 07:51 PM - Chang-Ran Kim, Reuters Asia Auto Correspondent

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp will slash the price and size of its hybrid system by around half for the next-generation Prius model, and use a nickel-metal hydride battery instead of lithium-ion, a top executive said.

"When we went from the first-generation Prius to the second-generation, we did the same thing," Executive Vice President Kazuo Okamoto, in charge of Toyota's research and development, told reporters in Tokyo.

Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, has not publicly disclosed a timeframe for the introduction of the third-generation Prius model. Some media reports have speculated the planned late-2008 launch would be delayed because of concerns over the safety of lithium-ion batteries.

Study: Mercury Pollution Threatens Idaho Children
October 25, 2007 03:37 PM -

Reno, Nevada - New emissions data, obtained from the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection (NDEP), show that northern Nevada gold mines are still under-reporting substantial amounts of mercury air pollution. It also reveals that a number of mines that were previously considered small sources of mercury air pollution are actually very large sources, yet these mines have few pollution controls in place. Until 2006, mines were not required to actually measure mercury releases, only estimate mercury emissions.

Mercury exposure is a serious pubic health concern, particularly for children. Exposure to mercury can cause significant neurological and developmental problems such as attention and language deficits, impaired memory and impaired vision and motor function.

 

Bird flu Finds Children's Lungs Faster
October 25, 2007 08:43 AM - Eureka Alert

New findings, reported in today in the online open access journal Respiratory Research, about how the virus binds to the respiratory tract and lung suggest children may be particularly susceptible to avian influenza,. The results also mean that previous receptor distribution studies may have to be re-evaluated.

Goodwill Revolutionizing Used Clothing
October 25, 2007 08:40 AM - Nick Aster, Triple Pundit

Buying used clothing is a great way to go green and get an interesting wardrobe at the same time. But it's still hard to get the mainstream to accept it. Goodwill has never been sexy. That may be about to change.

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.

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