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U.S. Astronaut Misses Fresh Air Halfway through Year-long Mission

Halfway into a year in space -- the longest ever attempted at the International Space Station -- American astronaut Scott Kelly said Monday he misses fresh air but is adapting well.

Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko agreed to double the length of a typical astronaut's mission at the ISS in order to help the world's space agencies study how long-term space travel affects the human body and mind.

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Malaysia Closes Schools as Indonesia Smoke Haze Worsens

Malaysian authorities on Tuesday ordered school closures in Kuala Lumpur and neighboring states as worsening haze from Indonesian forest and agricultural fires enveloped the capital in a smoky grey shroud.

Air quality in Malaysia and Singapore has steadily deteriorated over the past two weeks due to the smog from nearby regions of Indonesia, which on Monday declared a state of emergency in a particularly hard-hit province.

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Fukushima Dumps First Batch of Once-Radioactive Water in Sea

The operator of Japan's Fukushima on Monday began releasing previously radioactive groundwater from the crippled nuclear plant into the sea, saying a filtration process had made the discharge safe.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), which operates the plant in eastern Japan, said that on the first day it had released 850 tons of groundwater, which had become radioactive after flowing near the plant.

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Global Warming to Pick Up in 2015, 2016

Man-made global warming is set to produce exceptionally high average temperatures this year and next, boosted by natural weather phenomena such as El Nino, Britain's top climate and weather body said in a report Monday.

"It looks very likely that globally 2014, 2015 and 2016 will all be amongst the very warmest years ever recorded," Rowan Sutton of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, which contributed to the report, told journalists.

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New Photos Reveal Pluto's Stunning Geological Diversity

New, high-resolution images of the surface of Pluto beamed from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft reveal unparalleled geographical variety -- from soaring mountains to sand dunes to frozen ice floes, scientists said Saturday.

"Pluto is showing us a diversity of landforms and complexity of processes that rival anything we've seen in the solar system," said Alan Stern, principal investigator with the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, who is playing a key role analyzing data sent by the probe.

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U.S. Dig Uncovers 10,000-Year-Old Stone Tools

An archaeological survey to clear the way for construction near a mall has unearthed thousands of stone tools crafted at least 10,000 years ago.

"We were pretty amazed," archaeologist Robert Kopperl, who led the field investigation, told The Seattle Times ( ). "This is the oldest archaeological site in the Puget Sound lowland with stone tools."

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Scientists Expect Hawaii's Worst Coral Bleaching Ever

Warmer-than-normal ocean temperatures around Hawaii this year will likely lead to the worst coral bleaching the islands have ever seen, scientists said Friday.

Many corals are only just recovering from last year's bleaching, which occurs when warm waters prompt coral to expel the algae they rely on for food, said Ruth Gates, the director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. The phenomenon is called bleaching because coral lose their color when they push out algae.

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3 Space Station Astronauts Safely Return to Earth

A Russian space capsule landed safely in Kazakhstan on Saturday, bringing home a three-person crew from the International Space Station, including a record-breaking Russian cosmonaut.

Russia's Gennady Padalka, Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency and Aidyn Aimbetov of Kazakhstan landed on the steppe just two minutes before sunrise and were feeling fine. Their Soyuz TMA-16M capsule touched down on schedule at 0651 local time (0051 GMT) Saturday, 146 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Dzhezkazgan, in what a NASA commentator called a "bull's-eye landing."

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Season's First Dolphins Killed in Annual Japan Hunt

Japanese fishermen on Friday killed the first dolphins of the season in a controversial annual hunt that attracted global attention after it was featured in the Oscar-winning 2009 documentary "The Cove".

An official with the local fishing union in the small town of Taiji said boats left early Friday morning and trapped a dozen dolphins.

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Europe Launches Satnav Orbiters

Europe sent two satellites into space Friday as it pushes to get its beleaguered Galileo satnav program back on track.

Orbiters nine and 10 were launched from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guyana, at 0208 GMT -- bringing the satellite navigation system a third of the way to full deployment.

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