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New Mouse in The House: Brazil Unveils Species

A new species of mouse has been discovered in Brazil, the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation announced Tuesday


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Geophysicist Says Iceland's Hekla Volcano 'Ready to Erupt'

One of Iceland's most feared volcanoes looks ready to erupt, with measurements indicating magma movement, Icelandic experts said Wednesday, raising fears of a new ash cloud halting flights over Europe.

The Hekla volcano is close to the ash-spewing Eyjafjoell, which last year caused the world's biggest airspace shut down since World War II, affecting more than 100,000 flights and eight million passengers.

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Bahamas Bans Shark Fishing

The Bahamas on Tuesday announced a ban on shark fishing, becoming the latest country to protect the ancient sea predator which is considered at risk due to demand for its fins in Chinese cuisine.

The Atlantic Ocean archipelago said it was banning the commercial fishing of sharks in its 243,000 square miles (630,000 square kilometers) of water, along with the sale, import or export of shark products.

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Mass Tourism Threatening Venice Lagoon, Say Ecologists

An Italian environmental group warned on Monday that mass tourism is slowly eroding the Venice lagoon, which it said is also threatened by major real estate development and an inadequate transport network.

Architect Cristiano Gasparetto said a 1988 study indicated that while the acceptable maximum number of tourists for Venice is 33,000 daily, today the average figure is 59,000.

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Key Color Pigment Found in Ancient Birds

An international team of researchers using sophisticated x-ray technology has found chemical traces of a key color pigment in 100-million year old fossilized birds that once formed their feather patterns.

The study, reported Thursday in the journal Science, provides a glimpse into the biochemistry of prehistoric animals and greater understanding of their diets and environment.

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Bright Galaxy Sheds Light on Early Universe

Astronomers said on Wednesday they had snared light from a bright, ancient galaxy with a super-massive black hole at its core, a finding that would help explain aspects of the young Universe.

The phenomenon is called a quasar, which are very bright but very distant galaxies with a mighty black hole at their heart.

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Gene Analysis Drives Effort to Save Tasmanian Devils

Modern conservationists could use gene analysis to better select endangered Tasmanian devils to capture in order to save the species from extinction, said a study on Monday.

The furry marsupials have been hit hard by a contagious cancer called devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) that has wiped out 70 to 90 percent of the population in some areas of its native Australia since it surfaced 15 years ago.

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Spectacular Discoveries in New Guinea

A frog with fangs, a blind snake and a round-headed dolphin are among more than 1,000 new species recently found on the incredible Melanesian island of New Guinea, environment group WWF said.

Scientists made the astounding discoveries, which also included a river shark and dozens of butterflies, on New Guinea at a rate of two a week from 1998 to 2008, WWF said in a new report on the island's natural habitat.

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Small Asteroid to Zip Harmlessly Past Earth Monday

NASA says a newly discovered asteroid will have a close encounter with Earth on Monday, but there's no need to worry.

The space agency's Near-Earth Object Program Office says the small space rock — dubbed 2011 MD — will pass 7,500 miles (12,000 kilometers) above Earth's surface over the southern Atlantic Ocean at about 6:30 a.m. PDT (1330 GMT).

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Sunflowers to Clean Radioactive Soil in Japan

Campaigners in Japan are asking people to grow sunflowers, said to help decontaminate radioactive soil, in response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster that followed March's massive quake and tsunami.

Volunteers are being asked to grow sunflowers this year, then send the seeds to the stricken area where they will be planted next year to help get rid of radioactive contaminants in the plant's fallout zone.

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