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Time for Change? GMT Could be History

Leading scientists from around the world are meeting in Britain from Thursday to consider a proposal that could eventually see Greenwich Mean Time relegated to a footnote in history.

For more than 120 years GMT has been the international standard for timekeeping, but it is now under threat from a new definition of time itself based not on the rotation of the Earth, but on atomic clocks.

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New Look at Fossils Yields Oldest Modern Europeans

A fresh look at fossilized remains has turned up a surprise: the earliest modern people in Europe.

From stone tools and other artifacts, scientists have long suspected that the earliest populations of Homo sapiens, or modern humans, settled the continent between 42,000 and 44,000 years ago.

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Whales Off California Coast Draw Crowds, Warning

The U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday monitored the waters off Santa Cruz, where a pod of whales has settled unusually close to shore drawing crowds and threatening the safety of kayakers and other boaters trying to get a look at the creatures.

The humpback whales, each measuring about the length of a school bus, have come about a mile from land in search of food.

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China Completes Nation's First Space Docking

China took a crucial step towards fulfilling its ambition to set up a manned space station on Thursday by completing its first successful docking high above Earth, state media reported.

The Shenzhou VIII spacecraft joined onto the Tiangong-1 experimental module just after 1.36 am (17:36 GMT Wednesday), silently coupling more than 343 kilometers above the Earth's surface, the Xinhua news agency said.

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English Tremors Blamed on Shale 'Fracking'

The only company in Britain using hydraulic fracturing to release natural gas from shale rock said Wednesday that the controversial technique probably did trigger earth tremors in April and May.

But a report commissioned by Cuadrilla Resources, which is drilling for gas in the area outside the northwestern English coastal resort town of Blackpool, cautioned that the tremors, measuring 1.9 and 2.8 on the Richter scale — were due to an unusual combination of geology and operations and were unlikely to happen again.

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Bangladesh, Russia Sign Nuclear Power Plant Deal

Bangladesh and Russia signed a deal Wednesday to build a nuclear power plant in the energy-starved South Asian nation.

Bangladesh's junior Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman said he and Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation Director-General Sergei Kiriyenko signed the agreement to build the nation's first such plant at Rooppur in Pabna district, 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of the capital, Dhaka.

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U.S. Increases Agriculture Opportunities through Innovative Approaches

On November 1, 2011, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) held a workshop under the Lebanon Business Linkages Initiative (LBLI) to highlight the nearly 700 successful value chain connections between growers, manufacturers, packers and exporters in Lebanon, announced the U.S. Embassy in statement on Wednesday.

The workshop recognized seven farms for starting the GLOBAL G.A.P. (Good Agriculture Practices) certification process, which guarantees the high quality products of these farms and opens European and international markets for their products, it said.

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Panel Says Wild Weather to Worsen

Freakish weather disasters — from the sudden October snowstorm in the Northeast U.S. to the record floods in Thailand — are striking more often. And global warming is likely to spawn more similar weather extremes at a huge cost, says a draft summary of an international climate report obtained by The Associated Press.

The final draft of the report from a panel of the world's top climate scientists paints a wild future for a world already weary of weather catastrophes costing billions of dollars. The report says costs will rise and perhaps some locations will become "increasingly marginal as places to live."

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Sing Beatles Songs in Shower 'to Save Planet'

A British water company has urged customers to sing in the shower and recommends Beatles songs as they are short and so can help save water and cut energy bills.

Thames Water says singing as you lather makes you feel better and provided the right songs are sung you use less water. It wants people to sing "short, water-efficient" songs, lasting four minutes or less in to order meet its "four-minute shower challenge".

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China Spacecraft Goes on Key Mission

China said it successfully launched an unmanned spacecraft on Tuesday to carry out a key docking mission, taking its next step towards the goal of building its first space station by 2020.

The Shenzhou VIII blasted off from the Gobi desert in China's northwest at 5:58 am (2158 GMT) before separating from its carrier rocket about 200 kilometers (120 miles) above the Earth, the state Xinhua news agency said.

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