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Norway Scraps Controversial Seal Hunting Subsidy

Norway's much-criticised commercial seal hunt could grind to a halt following parliament's decision to scrap a hefty subsidy for the controversial practice.

A majority of lawmakers voted late Thursday to cull a 12-million-kroner (1.3-million-euro, $1.6-million) subsidy for the seal hunt from the 2015 budget.

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Defense Satellite Launches from California Coast

A U.S. defense satellite launched from California's central coast on Friday after weather delays caused by a major storm that drenched the state.

An unmanned Atlas V rocket carrying a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office blasted from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 7:19 p.m. and lit the dark, cloudy sky.

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Climate Talks Run into Overtime as Nations Clash

UN climate talks spilled into an extra day Saturday as negotiators battled in Lima to end a standoff between rich and developing nations on the underpinnings of a world carbon-cutting pact.

A years-old dispute over sharing responsibility for curbing greenhouse gases reemerged to drive the 12-day negotiations into a familiar end-phase of poker-like holdout, clouding prospects for the ambitious environmental accord.

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Approaching Storm Scrubs California Rocket Launch

An approaching storm has delayed the launch of a U.S. defense satellite from California's central coast.

An Atlas V rocket carrying a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office was scheduled to lift off Thursday from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

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Odd Couples Emerge in Bird Family Tree

Birds use essentially the same genes to sing as humans do to speak. And flamingos are more closely related to pigeons than they are to pelicans.

These are some of the unusual discoveries that have emerged from the largest, most sophisticated mapping of the bird family tree, published in more than two dozen separate papers, eight of which are in the December 12 issue of the US journal Science.

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Rhino Horn Trafficking up 30-Fold: Wildlife Group

The trafficking of African rhinoceros horn on the black market has surged 30-fold in the past 13 years and is now running "out of control," animal protection advocates said Thursday.

"In 2013, more than 2,000 rhinoceros horns from Africa were trafficked, which is 30 times more than in 2000," Celine Sissler-Bienvenu, director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for France and French-speaking Africa, told reporters in Paris.

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Bangladesh Begins Oil Clean-Up with Sponges and Sacks

Bangladeshi fishermen using sponges and sacks began cleaning up a huge oil spill in a protected area that is home to rare dolphins on Friday, after environmentalists warned of an ecological "catastrophe".

Thousands of liters of oil have spilled into the protected Sundarbans mangrove area, home to rare Irrawaddy and Ganges dolphins, since a tanker collided with another vessel on Tuesday.

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Rosetta Suggests Earth's Water Came from Asteroids, not Comets

Water on Earth is more likely to have come from asteroids that hit our planet billions of years ago than comets, European researchers said on Wednesday.

Mankind's first-ever probe of a comet came last month when the European Space Agency's Philae lander touched down on the duck-shaped 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet, but the latest report in the journal Science comes from an instrument aboard the Rosetta spacecraft that has been studying the comet's interior since August.

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Study: 270,000 Tons of Plastic Floating in Oceans

A new study estimates nearly 270,000 tons of plastic is floating in the world's oceans. That's enough to fill more than 38,500 garbage trucks.

The plastic is broken up into more than 5 trillion pieces, said the study published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

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Bangladesh Oil Spill 'Threatens Rare Dolphins'

Bangladesh officials warned Thursday that an oil spill from a crashed tanker is threatening endangered dolphins and other wildlife in the massive Sundarbans mangrove region, branding the leak an ecological "catastrophe".

The tanker carrying an estimated 350,000 liters (75,000 gallons) of oil collided on Tuesday with another vessel and partly sank in the Sundarbans' Shela river, home to rare Irrawaddy and Ganges dolphins.

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