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Russia-Europe Rocket Blasts off on Mission Seeking Life on Mars

Two robotic spacecraft on Monday began a seven-month journey to Mars as part of a European-Russian unmanned space mission to sniff out leads to life on the Red Planet. 

Russia's Proton rocket carrying the spacecraft launched into an overcast sky at the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in the Kazakh steppe at 0931 GMT according to plan, the Russian space agency Roscosmos and the European Space Agency (ESA) said. 

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Human Go Champ Scores Surprise Victory over Supercomputer

A South Korean Go grandmaster on Sunday scored his first win over a Google-developed supercomputer, in a surprise victory after three humiliating defeats in a high-profile showdown between man and machine.   

Lee Se-Dol thrashed AlphaGo after a nail-biting match that lasted for nearly five hours -- the fourth of the best-of-five series in which the computer clinched a 3-0 victory on Saturday. 

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Europe, Russia Embark on Search for Life on Mars

Europe and Russia are set to launch an unmanned spacecraft Monday to smell Mars' atmosphere for gassy evidence that life once existed on the Red Planet, or may do so still.

ExoMars 2016, the first of a two-phase Mars exploration, will see an orbiter hoisted from Kazakhstan at 0931 GMT Monday on a Russian Proton rocket.

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African Scientists Say More Needed to Keep Brightest at Home

Is Africa ready to take on the war against malaria, HIV, Ebola and the like? Not yet, said some of the continent's brightest scientific minds at a landmark gathering this week in Senegal.

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Israel Transfers Sickly Lion Out of Gaza

Israel said it transferred an ailing lion from the impoverished and blockaded Gaza Strip to a Palestinian zoo in the West Bank on Thursday.

The lion was taken from a zoo in Rafah to the Erez crossing into Israel, said COGAT, a defense ministry body which coordinates Israeli activity in the Palestinian territories.

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AI Beats Human Go Grandmaster... Again

A Google-developed supercomputer bested a South Korean Go grandmaster again Thursday, taking a commanding 2-0 lead in a five-game series that has become a stunning global debut for a new style of "intuitive" artificial intelligence (AI).

After shocking the world by defeating Lee Se-Dol -- one of the greatest modern players of the ancient board game -- in their opening match on Wednesday, the AlphaGo computer proved it was no fluke with another victory after a gruelling four-and-a-half-hour encounter.

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Tunisia Fights Palm-Killing Bugs Threatening its Dates

Armed with insecticide and an awareness campaign, date-exporting Tunisia is battling a bug that devours and kills palm trees and whose spread threatens an environmental and economic disaster.

Originally from Asia, the red palm weevil was first spotted three years ago in the north of Tunis after infested ornamental palms were imported into the country, according to experts.

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Russian Military Seeks Five Combat Dolphins

Russia's defense ministry is looking to buy five dolphins, the government revealed on Wednesday, as the country strives to revive its Soviet-era use of sea mammals for military tasks. 

The military has opened the bidding on a 1.75 million ruble ($24,000) contract to deliver dolphins to the military in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol by August 1, according to a document uploaded Wednesday to the government's procurement website. 

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Finland Probes Mystery Spike in Radioactivity

Finnish authorities are investigating a mysterious "highly exceptional" spike in levels of radioactive cesium-137 detected over Helsinki, officials said Tuesday.

Nuclear safety regulator STUK said that while the radioactive surge last week posed no danger to human health, it was keen to get to the bottom of the cause.

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Australia's 'Ugly' Animals Attract Less Study

Koalas and kangaroos are subject to more scientific study than Australia's twitching rodents and bats, according to new research which finds 'ugly' animals attract less funding and investigation.

The bias towards more attractive creatures means that while 'ugly' animals make up 45 percent of Australia's native fauna, they are rarely subject to intense scientific scrutiny, said a study to be published in Mammal Review this week.

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