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NASA Spacecraft Nears Encounter with Dwarf Planet Ceres

A NASA spacecraft called Dawn is about to become the first mission to orbit a dwarf planet when it slips into orbit Friday around Ceres, the most massive body in the asteroid belt.

The mission aims to shed light on the origins of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago, from its "rough and tumble environment of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter," said mission director Marc Rayman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

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French Tomb Sheds Light on Iron Age European Trade

A tomb from the fifth century BC, likely that of a Celtic prince, has been unearthed in a small French town, shedding light on Iron Age European trade, researchers said Wednesday.

The "exceptional" grave, crammed with Greek and possibly Etruscan artifacts, was discovered in a business zone on the outskirts of Lavau in France's Champagne region, said the National Archaeological Research Institute, Inrap.

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China Vows to Fight Pollution 'With all Might'

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday renewed pledges to tackle the country's chronic pollution, but did not announce any significant new environmental measures.

The Chinese public are increasingly enraged by hazardous smog that regularly blankets cities, as well as water and soil that are laced with heavy metals and various other toxic pollutants.

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NASA Investigating Short Circuit on Mars Rover Curiosity

The Curiosity rover has temporarily stopped work on Mars while NASA engineers investigate a short circuit.

The space agency said Tuesday that the electrical problem was discovered over the weekend as Curiosity tried to transfer bits of powder from a rock that it had drilled into.

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As Delhi Chokes, Pressure Grows for Indian Climate Action

Smog covers buildings in New Delhi in this aerial photo on May 8, 2014

Torrents of thick black smoke billow up toward the smoggy skies as Kunti Desai feeds a coal-fired furnace to make tar for a Delhi road.

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Hundreds of Starving Koalas Killed in Australia

Close to 700 koalas have been killed off by authorities in southeastern Australia because overpopulation led to the animals starving, an official said Wednesday, sparking claims of mismanagement.

Victoria state Environment Minister Lisa Neville said the koalas were euthanised around Cape Otway near the scenic tourist drawcard the Great Ocean Road, in 2013 and 2014, with a caravan site owner saying the whole area "smelt like death" before they were put down.

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NASA Spacecraft Making First Visit to Dwarf Planet Ceres

A NASA spacecraft is about to reach the end of a nearly eight-year journey and make the first rendezvous with a dwarf planet.

The Dawn craft will slip into orbit Friday around Ceres, a dwarf planet the size of Texas. Unlike robotic landings or other orbit captures, the arrival won't be a nail-biter. Still, Dawn had to travel some 3 billion miles to reach the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

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Report: Europe Still off Mark on Sustainability Goals

Europe could miss several key targets for safeguarding its species, water, air and land, said a study Tuesday that warned economic recovery would add to the pressure on natural resources.

While it has made great strides in recycling and greener energy, the continent has failed to stop habitat destruction, overfishing and pollution, said a five-yearly assessment by the European Environmental Agency (EEA).

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Rare 'Alien of the Deep' Goblin Shark Found in Australia

A rare sea creature described as an "alien of the deep" has been found off Australia and delivered to a museum which Tuesday showed off its fleshy snout, nail-like teeth and flabby pink body.

The prehistoric-looking goblin sharks live on deep sea bottoms and little is known about their lives.

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Chinese Ivory Traders Find Haven Online

China's booming e-commerce websites have carried thousands of advertisements for illegal wildlife products including ivory, rhino horn and tiger bone, a wildlife trade monitoring network said on Tuesday.

More than half of such products offered online in recent months are ivory, the British group TRAFFIC found in a survey of 15 Chinese retail websites over a two year period.

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