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Crunch U.N. Climate Talks Enter Fraught Final Day

Frustrated negotiators enter the final day Friday of a halting round of crunch U.N. talks to forge a workable draft for a climate rescue pact to be inked by the year's end.

Diplomats have lamented the "snail's pace" of this week's haggle in Bonn, accusing one another of rehashing well-rehearsed positions and holding up the real work of line-by-line text bartering.

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New NASA Soil Moisture Satellite Loses 1 Science Instrument

A NASA satellite launched just seven months ago has lost the use of one of two science instruments, but the space agency said Wednesday that the mission to map global soil moisture will continue.

The radar instrument aboard the Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite stopped transmitting on July 7 due to a problem with a high-power amplifier. An anomaly team was formed at Jet Propulsion Laboratory to determine if normal operation could be restored, NASA said.

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Indonesia to Cut Emissions by 29 Percent in 2030

Indonesia has unveiled an ambitious new target for reducing carbon emissions, promising to slash its greenhouse gas output by 29 percent by 2030, the government said Wednesday.

The increased commitment by one of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters will be officially submitted to the United Nations later this month ahead of a major climate change summit in December.

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From above Arctic Circle, Obama Presses for Climate Change Action

President Barack Obama blazed a new trail as U.S. leader on Wednesday, becoming the first to head above the Arctic circle, to urge Americans to take swift action against climate change.

"There is one thing no American president had done before and this is travel above the Arctic circle," Obama said at the school gym in Kotzebue, a small Alaskan town of 3,000.

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World on Track for Warming 'far above' 2C Target

Inadequate national targets for curbing climate-altering greenhouse gases meant emissions would be "far above" the level required to stave off disastrous global warming, analysts warned Wednesday.

Instead of the U.N.-targeted ceiling of two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) of average warming over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, the world was on track for 2.9-3.1 C by 2100, according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a tool developed by a consortium of four research organisations.

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Soyuz Rocket with Three Astronauts Launches towards ISS

A Soyuz spacecraft with three astronauts successfully launched towards the International Space Station on Wednesday, marking the 500th manned launch in space travel history. 

The trio -- including the first Danish citizen ever to fly into space -- blasted off in the Soyuz TMA 18M rocket on schedule at 0437 GMT from the same launchpad that Yuri Gagarin used for his historic entry into the cosmos in 1961. 

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IAEA: Misguided Safety Assumptions Were Key Factor in Fukushima

A misguided faith in the complete safety of atomic power was a key factor in Japan's 2011 Fukushima accident, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in its most comprehensive report on the disaster.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) pointed to numerous failings, including unclear responsibilities among regulators along with weaknesses in plant design and in disaster-preparedness.

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Report: Gas Could Mitigate S.Africa's Electricity Crisis

Natural gas power generation should be prioritized to help tackle South Africa's dire energy crisis that has hobbled growth and led to rolling black-outs, said a report released Tuesday.

Africa's second biggest economy relies on coal for most of its electricity and has plans to expand its nuclear capacity.

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Boxing Orangutans a Throwback as Thailand Warms to Animal Rights

Boxing gloves raised, two orangutans enter a ring at a Thai zoo, a spectacle that fascinates locals and foreigners alike but sits increasingly at odds in a nation slowly embracing animal welfare.

Every morning hundreds of tourists visit Safari World, a large zoo on the outskirts of Bangkok, to see apes perform a show parodying human behavior -- in particular our predilection for violence, sex and alcohol.

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SpaceX Delays Next Launch after Blast

SpaceX said Monday it has delayed by a couple of months the return to flight of its Falcon 9 rocket, following an explosion on the way to the space station in June.

The company's chief executive, Elon Musk, had said previously that the rocket would launch no earlier than September, after a failed strut was blamed for the rocket's demise just minutes after takeoff on June 28 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. 

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