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Japan to Create Underground Ice Wall at Crippled Nuclear Plant

Japan's nuclear regulator on Monday approved a plan to freeze the soil under the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to try to slow the build-up of radioactive water, officials said.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority examined plans by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) to construct an underground ice wall at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant starting in June, regulatory officials said.

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More Whales being Hit by Ships along U.S. East Coast

A cruise ship heading for New York this month struck and killed a whale and dragged it into the Hudson River, part of a higher-than-usual rate of strikes along the Eastern Seaboard for this time of year, a federal agency said.

There were three recent whale strikes recently, including one in which a cruise ship hit a sei whale and did not discover it until it reached port, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

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Study Shows Deep-Buried Carbon May Pose Climate Risk

Stocks of organic carbon buried deep underground could pose a global warming threat if disturbed by erosion, farming, deforestation, mining or road-building, a study warned Sunday.

Scientists from the United States and Germany discovered one such reserve in Nebraska, up to 6.5 metres (21 feet) under the surface, composed mainly of vast quantities of burnt plant material.

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Elephants from Canada Take Up Residence in U.S. Zoo

Three female Asian elephants took up residence at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington on Friday after a 2,500-mile (4,000-kilometer) road trip from western Canada.

Sri Lanka-born Kamala and Swarna, both 39, and Kamala's Canadian-born daughter Maharani, 23, are joining the National Zoo's own four elephants after a week traversing North America in two trucks accompanied by zookeepers and veterinarians.

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Australian Environmentalists Welcome Bank Wariness on Reef Port

Environmentalists on Saturday welcomed Deutsche Bank's reluctance to invest in a major port expansion near Australia's Great Barrier Reef, saying it reflected  global concern about the project.

Australia gave the green light to the major coal port expansion for India's Adani Group at Abbot Point on the Great Barrier Reef coast last year subject to strict environmental conditions.

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Japan Launches New Satellite to Survey Disasters

Japan successfully launched a new mapping satellite on Saturday that will be used to survey damage from natural disasters and changes affecting rainforests.

The Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2) will be able to see scars left by catastrophes such as Japan's 2011 tsunami as well as monitor progress made in reconstruction, officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said.

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Staying Alive: Rescue Mission for Disco-Era Satellite

It's plunging back through space, but also back through time, and a band of veteran scientists are determined to save it: a lonely satellite from the age of disco, floating homewards without a mission.

The International Sun-Earth Explorer, or ISEE-3, was built in 1978 to study the physics of solar winds. 

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NOAA Predicts 'Average' Atlantic Hurricane Season

Forecasters predict the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season will be "near or below average," thanks to an expected El Nino phenomenon, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.

But the U.S. agency said residents in hurricane-prone areas should still be on their guard during the season, which stretches from June 1 to November 30.

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Researchers: New Zealand's Iconic Kiwi no Australian Immigrant

New Zealand's iconic kiwi is most closely related to the extinct elephant bird of Madagascar rather than the Australian emu as previously thought, researchers said Thursday.

The findings stem from a study by the University of Adelaide that was based on ancient DNA analyses of elephant bird bones at the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa.

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Solar Lamps Made from Bike Parts Change Lives in Mali

Mobile solar-powered streetlamps made from old bicycle parts are transforming lives in Mali, where villagers often work by night to escape the heat despite 90 per cent having no mains electricity.

The project is the brainchild of Italian architect Matteo Ferroni, who visited the Segou region, 235 kilometers (150 miles) northeast of Bamako, in 2010 and noticed the locals were mainly sleeping during the searing day and getting up in the evening to work.

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