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Rare Albino Sparrow Spotted in Australia

A rare pure white sparrow has been spotted in Australia, leaving ornithologists all aflutter Monday.

The albino was photographed at Sanctuary Lakes near Melbourne, but it is not expected to survive long with its snowy white plumage making it stand out to birds of prey.

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Japan to Give $400 mn to Pacific Islands to Fight Climate Change

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday pledged $453 million in aid to Pacific island nations to help them combat climate change and natural disasters.

Abe made the pledge as leaders of 14 Pacific island nations gathered for a two-day meeting, which began on Friday in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, to discuss their development needs.

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Is it a UFO? Sun Halo Sparks Fear and Jokes in Mexico

Was it a UFO? A sign that the end is nigh?

A rainbow-like halo surrounded the sun over Mexico City on Thursday, an optical phenomenon that triggered a social media frenzy of pictures and jokes about the end of the world.

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Back Home on Earth: SpaceX Craft Returns from Space Station

A SpaceX Dragon capsule is back on Earth with a full load of cargo, after a quick trip home from the International Space Station.

The capsule, containing more than 3,000 pounds (1,360 kilograms) of experiments and equipment, splashed into the Pacific just off the Southern California coast Thursday less than six hours following its station departure.

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World of Diversity Discovered in Tiny Ocean Creatures

A world of diversity has been discovered in plankton, the tiny plants, viruses and embryonic fish that are a favorite food of whales and supply much of the planet's oxygen, researchers said Thursday.

Plankton are important because they serve as the base of the marine food chain and provide half the oxygen generated on Earth by photosynthesis.

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Alaska's Popular Walrus Cam Streams again after a Decade

A popular webcam showing large male Pacific walruses lying on the beach with a Hitchcockian number of seabirds flying overhead is once again streaming to the Internet.

The high-definition stream from Alaska's remote Round Island had been dormant for nearly a decade after private funding ran out, but a version is back now, thanks to a philanthropic organization that operates a series of nature webcams from around the planet. The walrus cam, part of the Pearls of the Planet series, can be viewed at:

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Earliest Tools Dated to 3.3 Million Years Ago

Anthropologists said Wednesday that stone tools found in northwest Kenya dating back 3.3 million years challenge the mainstream story of mankind. 

The tools are an astonishing 700,000 years older than the first known implements, which have been attributed to Homo habilis, a forerunner of modern humans.

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Scientists Reveal Washington State's First Dinosaur

Scientists say they've discovered Washington state's first dinosaur fossil, an announcement that marks a unique find for the state and a rare moment for North America's Pacific coast.

Paleontologists at Seattle's Burke Museum said Wednesday that the 80 million-year-old bone fragment probably belonged to an older, smaller cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex.

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Governor Declares Emergency as California Cleans Oil Spill

The governor of California declared an emergency as crews scrambled to contain an oil slick and clean up popular beaches after a pipeline rupture dumped thousands of gallons of oil into the ocean.

A day after the spill near Santa Barbara, northwest of Los Angeles, the U.S. Coast Guard said helicopter overflights had shown the slick stretched some nine miles (14 kilometers) along the Pacific Ocean coast.

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U.S. Air Force: Secretive Space Plane Back in Orbit

The U.S. Air Force launched its robotic space plane into orbit for a fourth flight on Wednesday aboard an Atlas 5 rocket, in a mission aimed at testing a new engine to steer satellites, officials said.

The rocket carrying the X-37B successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida and officials said the scheduled return of the unmanned plane had yet to be determined.

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