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Global Warming Link To Hurricanes Dean And Felix, Possible But Unknown

MIAMI - Despite growing consensus that global warming may spawn stronger tropical cyclones, weather experts believe it is too soon to blame climate change for the unprecedented punch of back-to-back monster hurricanes. Hurricane Felix, a top-ranked storm on forecasters' Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity, slammed into Central America on Tuesday. Hurricane Dean, also a Category 5, battered Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on August 21. It was the first time on record that two Atlantic hurricanes had made landfall as Category 5 storms in the same season, and only the fourth time since records began in 1851 that more than one Category 5 had formed in a year. >> Read the Full Article

Breastfed Babies May Sleep Less When Mothers Smoke

NEW YORK - Nursing mothers who smoke may be cutting their infant's nap times short, a new study shows. Babies whose mothers smoked shortly before breastfeeding napped about 20 minutes less over the following three and a half hours than those whose mothers had abstained from cigarettes for several hours, Dr. Julie A. Mennella and colleagues found. >> Read the Full Article

Protests, Heavy Security, Bush Arrives Australia For Asia-Pacific Summit

SYDNEY - After a lightning visit to Iraq where he hinted at possible U.S. troop cuts, President George W. Bush arrived in Australia on Tuesday for an Asia-Pacific leaders' meeting amid heavy security and anti-war protests. Trade and climate change will top the agenda at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, and Bush wants the forum's 21 economies to agree to a strongly worded pledge to reinvigorate the Doha round of world trade talks. >> Read the Full Article

New Data: Growth In Carbon Emissions Slowing

LONDON - Growth in global emissions of the heat-trapping greenhouse gas carbon dioxide slowed slightly last year, preliminary data from the U.S. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) suggest. CDIAC is the primary source of climate-change data and information analysis for the U.S. Department of Energy. In the past, its preliminary emissions estimates have been subsequently revised upwards. "It is hard to put too much emphasis on the last number in a time series, it is always the most subject to revision," said Gregg Marland, senior scientist at CDIAC and at Austria's International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. >> Read the Full Article

England's Dying Sherwood Forest Needs Money

LONDON - Sherwood Forest, home to Britain's legendary Robin Hood who took from the rich and gave to the poor, needs money -- 50 million pounds ($100 million) to be precise. Nearly half of Sherwood's remaining oak trees are dead or dying and the rate of death is accelerating from an average of one a year for the past 20 years to five a year now mainly because of old age. >> Read the Full Article

Retailers Push Packagers To Think "Green"

NEW YORK - Growing demand from retailers and manufacturers for smaller, eco-friendly packages is pushing box makers and chemical companies to create compact packaging that is bio-based and recyclable. Most initiatives, although still in their infancy, are being spurred by increasing environmental awareness and looming legislation. But companies exploring smaller and 'greener' packaging options are also doing so with a keen eye on profits. "I would say that the balance is still probably weighted more toward cost control," but the significance of environmental benefits is growing, said Wachovia analyst Ghansham Panjabi. >> Read the Full Article

China Plans $265 Billion Renewables Spending

BEIJING - China plans to invest 2 trillion yuan ($265 billion) in renewable energy by 2020, most of it corporate cash, to wean itself off polluting coal as it aims for cleaner growth, a top energy planner said on Tuesday. Chen Deming, vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, added that China aimed to be using domestically made and designed equipment by then, which could cut prices for clean energy worldwide. "We expect the majority of the funds to come from companies," Chen said when asked about the 2 trillion yuan forecast. >> Read the Full Article

Unique Grape Skin Extract Inhibits Prostate Cancer Cell Growth

WASHINGTON - Laboratory experiments show that an extract of the skin of muscadine grapes can inhibit growth of prostate cancer cells in the laboratory. Investigators found that muscadine grape skin extract produced this result even though it does not contain significant amounts of resveratrol, another grape skin component that has been widely studied and shown to be of potential benefit in preventing prostate cancer growth. >> Read the Full Article

China to use more non-grain biofuels to replace oil

China plans to expand its use of biofuels to reduce its reliance on petroleum, utilizing 2 million tonnes of bioethanol from non-grain feedstocks and 200,000 tonnes a year of biodiesel by 2010, a senior official said on Tuesday. Beijing's plan also seeks to move away from corn, now the feedstock for most Chinese biofuel, amid concerns over supply security and food price inflation. >> Read the Full Article

Plug and Play Algae Production for Biofuels?

The US seems to be closing in on the bust end of another of its usual boom-bust economic cycles. (This time too many less-than-wealthy buyers were duped by greedy mortgagers into buying overpriced homes. The last boom-bust was what, overvalued dot-coms?) Anyway chin up, we’ll survive and the next boom could begin late in the current president’s term, and the next man or woman behind the desk in the Oval Office will get all the credit for the economic upturn. (Which, too, will eventually go sour. It’s the American way.) >> Read the Full Article