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In Africa's 'cradle,' an old fossil site yields new finds

KROMDRAAI, South Africa (Reuters) - Crouched in a shallow square grid dug into the red African earth, American graduate student Sarah Edlund uses a hand brush to scrape soil into a dustpan.

She is uncovering scraping tools of a different kind -- implements fashioned from quartz that were used …


Insulin resistance may boost risk of memory loss

The fact that obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers is well known. A new study suggests that memory loss—and …

Dengue vaccine protects people nine years or older — but harms younger kids

A vaccine for dengue, a leading cause of illness and death among children in some Latin American and Asian countries, protects people nine years old and older from the infection, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. There’s a catch, though: children vaccinated before age nine …


Milestone In Nigeria: One Year Polio-Free

It’s cause for excitement, but there’s more work ahead

One year ago today, health officials announced the last case of polio in Nigeria. Since then, the country has remained polio-free—one step of many toward an official certification of eradication from the World Health Organization.

As of 1988, …


Crop attack discovery lets team bounce back

When disease-causing bacteria invade disease-resistant rice, a small protein produced by the bacteria betrays the invader. When the rice plant …

Life Sciences

A single-molecule transistor is now a reality

The physical limits of how small a transistor can be has been tested following the creation of a single-molecule transistor, but not without great …

Scientific Research

Alaskan villages imperiled by global warming need resources to relocate

The Arctic is warming at a rate almost twice the global average, making climate change’s effects there far more intense and rapid than any other ecosystem in the world. While nature photographs of polar bears and melting ice dominate media narratives, the top of the world is home to 4m people who …

Climate Change

A nurse’s letter from Gallipoli: from the archive, 27 July 1915

From a letter received by an Australian woman in London from a nurse in the Dardanelles:-

I am doing transport duty to Gaba Tepe, where we take on wounded Australians and New Zealanders direct from the field dressing stations. We take all the serious cases. The slightly wounded and the medical cases …


Turkey agrees plan for 'Isis-free zone' along Syrian border

Turkey and the US have agreed on the outlines of a plan to drive Islamic State out of a strip of land along the Turkish-Syrian border, according to reports, in a landmark deal that will draw Turkey further into Syria’s civil war and looks likely to increase the intensity of the US air war against …

Middle East

What my pro-regime family think of Iran's nuclear deal

In 2003, I went to Iran for the first and, so far, only time. I’d waited years to go with my mother since she hadn’t been back since the revolution, but then decided to stop waiting and just go by myself. I was living in Afghanistan at the time, and flew from Kabul to Mashhad on Mahan Air, and then …

Middle East

How Changing Your Reading Habits Can Transform Your Health

Reading doesn’t just improve your knowledge, it can help fight depression, make you more confident, empathetic, and a better decision maker.

My favorite book is War and Peace.

And I know what you're thinking: "Oh, another writer wanting people to think he’s all intellectual and highbrow."

But it …


How Laura Trott became the face of the Women's Institute

Olympic cyclist Laura Trott tells Anna Tyzack about being proposed to in her pyjamas and her ambition to inspire more women to take up cycling

Armed with a teapot, double Olympic medal winning cyclist Laura Trott is working the room at a Women’s Institute tea party in Wimbledon, south-west London. …

Women's Sports

10 terrifying stories about riding trains in Japan

We’ve all heard stories about Japanese trains, such as about the white-gloved attendants who push passengers into crowded rush-hour trains in Tokyo, tales of lost property returned, or even the occasional gripe about women who put on their make-up or men who use electric shavers while riding to …


Some first results from the new, higher-energy Large Hadron Collider

The European Physical Society High Energy Physics conference is taking place now in Vienna. This is the first big chance for the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to show off what they have managed to extract from the new data they have recorded since 3 June, when the LHC restarted …


Syrian president admits military setbacks, in first public speech for a year

The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, has admitted to a shortage of soldiers and military setbacks, in his first public speech for a year.

Assad also hailed “positive” changes in western attitudes to the conflict in the country – suggesting the US and its allies now understood they share an …

UK Politics

Obama in Ethiopia for key talks with regional leaders

President Barack Obama is in Ethiopia on the second leg of his African tour - the first serving US leader to visit the country.

He is due to hold talks with government officials and discuss the civil war in South Sudan with regional leaders.

President Obama will also be the first US president to …

UK Politics

Struggling to remember something? Have a good sleep, as researchers find it boosts memory

Scientists show for first time that sleep makes it easier to retrieve nuggets of information that may have got lost in a corner of the brain

If you are trying to remember something vital you have forgotten, get a good night's sleep.

It is well known that sleep boosts memory, but scientists have shown …


Disastrous Sea Level Rise Is an Issue for Today's Public -- Not Next Millennium's

In 2005, I argued that ice sheets may be more vulnerable than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated, mainly because of effects of a warming ocean in speeding ice melt. In 2007, I wrote "Scientific Reticence and Sea Level Rise," describing and documenting a phenomenon that …

Sea Level

Yemen clashes reported despite truce

Five-day ceasefire plan fails to take hold, with reports of ongoing clashes in third-largest city of Taiz.

Clashes in Yemen are reportedly continuing in spite of a fragile five-day truce declared by the pro-government Arab-led coalition coming into effect.

At least 10 Houthi rebels were killed after …

Middle East

Tensions run high in Rome's suburbs as Italy struggles with migration crisis

The wealthy suburb of Casale San Nicola on the outskirts of Rome, where well-off Italians escape the chaos of the capital and retreat into their multi-million euro villas nestled between cypress trees, seems like an unlikely flashpoint for the migrant crisis in Italy.

But this month, more than a …


Europe just invested over $380 million in an alien-hunting space mission to Jupiter

Illustration of the European Space Agency's JUICE mission to Jupiter and its moons.

In the ultimate quest for life beyond Earth, some of Jupiter's largest moons hold great potential, and Europe plans to explore that potential in the coming years. What's more, their mission just hit a major milestone.


Zimbabwean authorities hunt Spaniard accused of killing Cecil the lion

Authorities in Zimbabwe are trying track down a Spaniard who allegedly paid park guides €50,000 (£35,000) for the chance to kill Cecil, one of Africa’s most famous lions, who was the star attraction at the Hwange national park. The creature was found skinned and headless on the outskirts of the …


French farmers block Spanish and German borders in foreign food protest

French farmers blocked roads from Spain and Germany on Sunday to stop foreign products entering the country, the latest protest against a fall in food prices that has brought them to the brink of bankruptcy.

Farmers in the north-eastern Alsace region used tractors to obstruct six routes from Germany …

Food (UK)

Life's big surprises: The Vital Question and Life's Greatest Secret

Summer is here and brings for many a welcome opportunity to spend time on the beach immersed in the pages of a good thriller. Well, if you’re off to the coast let me recommend two crackers from the ‘underworld’ of science. Both spin yarns full of unlikely twists and turns about brilliant detective …


Can Breadfruit Overcome Its Past to Be a Superfood of the Future?

An unusual crop that was once a staple across the tropics seems to be making a comeback. Starchy and packed with nutrients, breadfruit isn’t a typical fruit. And while this cousin of the mulberry may not be at the top of anyone’s dream menu, it could be the key to food security in part of the world.


Making contact with alien worlds could make us care more about our own

The scientific search for extraterrestrial civilisations has languished for more than a decade, as the hunt for habitable planets and simpler forms of life has thrived. Nasa’s stunningly successful Kepler mission has discovered a thousand new worlds orbiting other stars. Astrobiology is a …


New study shows yet another reason not to overuse antibiotics

Scientists have been warning for decades that we use too many antibiotics, both in people to treat relatively mild infections and in agriculture to bulk up farm animals and keep them free of disease.

The consequences, they caution, are dire—and already emerging in hospitals with bacteria that can’t …


Obama challenges Kenya on gay rights, corruption

US President Barack Obama (L) and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta leave after a press conference following their talks at the State House in Nairobi on July 25, 2015

Nairobi (AFP) - US President Barack Obama wraps up a two-day landmark visit to Kenya on Sunday marked by aid on business and …


Barack Obama tells African states to abandon anti-gay discrimination

The US president, Barack Obama, has launched an unprecedented defence of gay rights in Africa, telling Kenya’s president that the state has no right to punish people because of “who they love”.

Obama, visiting his late father’s homeland for the first time as US president, confronted Uhuru Kenyatta …


How One Woman Helped Light Rural India With Solar Lamps

She grew up in an affluent New York town but soon after college, Ajaita Shah went to her parents’ native India to work with the poor.

“I saw a 5-year-old die in five seconds,” says Ajaita Shah, recalling the Indian girl enveloped by a kerosene fire at home. “There was nothing we could do.”

Not then. …