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Chinese Ivory Smuggler Gets Record Sentence after Kenya Trial

A court in Kenya on Tuesday slapped a record sentence on a Chinese ivory smuggler, the first person to be convicted under tough new laws designed to stem a surge in poaching.

Tang Yong Jian, 40, was ordered to pay 20 million shillings (170,500 euros, 233,000 dollars) or else go to jail for seven years.

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Conservationists: Whale Shark Factory Found in China

A factory which processes around 600 whale sharks annually has been found in southern China, a conservation group said Monday, calling it the world's biggest slaughterhouse for the endangered species.

Hong Kong-based conservation group WildLifeRisk said it discovered the factory in the town of Pu Qi in Zhejiang province after a four-year investigation.

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Philippines Seizes 1,000 Rare Sea Snail Shells

Philippine authorities said Tuesday they had seized a huge haul of more than a thousand helmet shells from a protected species of sea snail which were being shipped for sale.

Police and fisheries bureau personnel seized 106 boxes, each containing at least 15 of the shells, on the poverty-stricken southern island of Jolo on Saturday following a tip-off, the fisheries bureau said.

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Food in the Sky? Highrise Farming Idea Gains Ground

Imagine stepping out of your highrise apartment into a sunny, plant-lined corridor, biting into an apple grown in the orchard on the fourth floor as you bid "good morning" to the farmer off to milk his cows on the fifth.

You take the lift to your office, passing the rice paddy and one of the many gardens housed in the glass edifice that not only heats and cools itself, but also captures rainwater and recirculates domestic waste as plant food.

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Something Old, Something New... Grand Canyon Surprises

The Grand Canyon as we know it was formed between five and six million years ago, which is youthful in geological terms, but parts of it could be as old as 70 million years, scientists said Sunday.

Experts have debated for nearly 150 years about the age of the canyon, wrangling over how long it took for the grandiose feature to be gouged out by the Colorado River and its tributaries.

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Dark Skin and Blue Eyes: How Europeans Once Looked

The DNA of a hunter-gatherer who lived in Spain some 7,000 years ago suggests that Europeans were dark-skinned until much more recently than previously thought, researchers said Sunday.

Genetic material recovered from a tooth of La Brana 1, an ancient man whose skeleton was dug up in a deep cave system in Spain in 2006, revealed a strange combination of dark skin and blue eyes, according to a study in the journal Nature.

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'Goodnight, Humans': China's Jade Rabbit Moon Rover Posting

Chinese Internet users flooded the country's social media networks on Monday with condolences for the troubled Jade Rabbit moon rover, which experienced a "mechanical control abnormality" over the weekend.

State-run media reported on Saturday that the country's first moon rover had run into trouble due to "the complicated lunar surface environment". By Monday afternoon, "Jade Rabbit lunar rover" had shot to the top of the most-searched terms list on Sina Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter.

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Bangladesh Releases First GM Food

Authorities in Bangladesh have released the country's first ever genetically modified crop to farmers amid criticism from environmental groups, officials said Friday.

Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) has begun distributing the seedlings of four types of genetically modified aubergine following approval from the government's biosafety regulator.

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British Scientists Bid for Trial of GM Fish Oil Plants

British scientists said Friday they have applied to the government for permission to carry out a field trial of genetically-modified plants that can produce fish oil.

Agronomy company Rothamsted Research has engineered Camelina plants -- also known as false flax -- to produce two key omega-3 fatty acids contained in the oil.

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Xinhua: China's Jade Rabbit Moon Rover has 'Abnormality'

China's Jade Rabbit moon rover has experienced a "mechanical control abnormality", state media said Saturday, in what appears to be a setback for a landmark mission in the country's ambitious space program.

The abnormality occurred due to "the complicated lunar surface environment," the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND).

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