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.
BEIJING - A draft energy law that may lay the groundwork for an energy ministry will be submitted to China's cabinet by late this year or early 2008, an official presentation showed, as Beijing seeks to bolster efficiency and control. China, the world's number two energy consumer, has made resource efficiency and security top priorities because of concerns about a growing reliance on foreign oil and massive pollution problems.
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.
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.
TOKYO - Japan will see mostly average to milder-than-average winter weather from November to January, the official forecaster Japan Meteorological Agency said on Thursday. Japan's North, East, and West regions each stand a 40 percent chance of having average or milder-than-average weather in the three months from November, the agency said in its three-month outlook.
BEIJING - Beijing's air pollution remains a concern for the 2008 Olympics, even though the city is well on its way to fulfilling the environmental pledges made when it bid to host the Games, a United Nations report said on Thursday. The 163-page report, by the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP), highlighted some "concerns and missed opportunities" but said the Chinese capital had made "significant strides" towards hosting a "Green Olympics."
BOGOR, Indonesia - An informal meeting of environment ministers in Indonesia has accepted the need for negotiations on a new treaty to fight climate change to be wrapped up by 2009, a U.N. official said on Thursday. The gathering of environment ministers and officials from about 40 nations this week comes ahead of a key meeting in Bali in December aimed at hammering out a new global climate deal to curb carbon emissions after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
LOS ANGELES- California wildfires that have destroyed 1,300 homes and forced the evacuation of 500,000 people raged into a fifth day on Thursday but firefighters seized on a break in the weather to largely halt the march of destruction.
Some 15 fires still blazed across the southern part of the state, lighting up the night sky, but officials said cooler temperatures and weaker winds allowed them to win a measure of control for the first time and that the worst was behind them.
SAN DIEGO, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- As the hundreds of thousands San Diegans flee the flames, they're trying to make sense of what happened and deal with the stress of the situation. These wildfires have created a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety for those directly and indirectly affected. In the days and weeks to come, many may begin to have some of these common reactions:
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