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Take the case of Alexandre Di Domenico, who grows soybeans on about 16,000 hectares (40,000 acres) in the northeastern part of Mato Grosso. "We’re in a different place than a few years ago," Domenico said in an interview during a farmers’ meeting in Querencia municipality.
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan troops will remain stationed along the country's borders to prevent territorial violations, the defense minister said on Tuesday, ahead of the opposition's plan to bring in humanitarian aid to alleviate an economic crisis. President Nicolas Maduro has rejected offers of foreign food and medicine, denying there are widespread shortages and accusing opposition leader Juan Guaido of using aid to undermine his government in a U.S.-orchestrated bid to oust him. Guaido has said that aid will enter Venezuela from neighboring countries by land and sea on Saturday. ...
Rosneft, which is headed by Igor Sechin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, has long sought to rent the Ropsha Palace southwest of St Petersburg as part of a long-term deal. The once lavish palace, set in parkland, served as a residence for Russia's imperial Romanov dynasty before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and was later nationalized. Deputy Culture Minister Alla Manilova, who championed the bill in parliament on Tuesday, said she would discuss the possibility of a concession deal with Rosneft for the palace.
Customs Letter About a Long-Lost Suitcase Leads to Artifacts from Desert with Early 'Jesus' Painting
The ancient desert village of Shivta in southern Israel made headlines when archaeologists discovered a wall painting there that is thought to show the baptism of Jesus Christ, the earliest representation of Christ known in Israel.Now, they have found about 140 long-lost artifacts from the village, which showed up in an archive in Jerusalem, after they were left behind in a suitcase more than 80 years ago.The artifacts from ancient Shivta, in Israel's southern Negev Desert, were rediscovered last year, after researchers investigated a letter from a customs official about a "lost and found" suitcase left at the port of Haifa in 1938. [Photos: The Ancient Ruins of Shivta in Southern Israel]The researchers found that the suitcase had been filled with small items from archaeological excavations at Shivta in the 1930s. And they tracked down its contents to the shelves of a museum archive in Jerusalem, where they had been overlooked for decades.One of the rediscovered Shivta artifacts is a ring with an embedded gemstone, carved to represent a whale, dating to between the second and fourth centuries A.D. Hecht Museum/Israel Antiquities AuthorityThe artifacts, which consist of small items like jewelry, door hinges, nails, pieces of glass, objects made from bone, ivory and wood, and shards of pottery inscribed with Arabic and Greek writing, are now on display at the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa.Most of the rediscovered artifacts are thought to date from Shivta's Byzantine period, about 1,500 years ago.They were thought to have been destroyed in a fire at Shivta in October 1938, but the letter from the customs official showed they had already been removed from the site several months before that fire, said University of Haifa archaeologist Michael Peleg, one of the researchers who rediscovered the artifacts.The director of the 1930s excavations, American archaeologist Harris Dunscombe Colt, had apparently left the suitcase behind at the port of Haifa when he departed the British mandate of Palestine on a ship in January 1938, Peleg told Live Science.Colt eventually published research on his other excavations in the Negev, but he never published anything about Shivta, Peleg said. Forgotten treasuresThe small artifacts from the excavation have been essential to the research by modern archaeologists site."If you want to date any building where you want to do an excavation, you have got to have objects, you have got to have the artifacts," he said. "Basically, the only thing that was left in Shivta was the buildings -- but all the finds, what happened, how the excavations were dug, what they found ... nothing was known, until now." [10 Fascinating Biblical-Era Discoveries]This Maltese cross pendant is from between the first and seventh centuries from Shivta; the Shivta pottery shard inscribed with early Arabic script, dates to the eighth or ninth century. Hecht Museum/Israel Antiquities AuthorityShivta was originally a Nabatean trading post that became a Christian settlement during the Byzantine era. At a later period, Christian and Muslim communities lived there together, until Shivta was abandoned to the desert sands sometime in the ninth century.The ancient site was investigated by several foreign archaeologists, including Thomas Edward Lawrence -- better known as Lawrence of Arabia -- who led an Arab uprising against the Ottoman rule during World War I.Shivta is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it is the subject of renewed excavations and research led by two famed Israeli archaeologists, Yotam Tepper -- one of the researchers who recently located the long-lost artifacts -- and Guy Bar Oz, both of the University of Haifa. * Photos: The Ancient Ruins of Shivta in Southern Israel * Photos: Biblical-Era Fortress Discovered in Israel * The Holy Land: 7 Amazing Archaeological FindsOriginal article on Live Science.
Humans Crossed the Bering Land Bridge to People the Americas. Here’s What It Looked Like 18,000 Years Ago.
During the last ice age, people journeyed across the ancient land bridge connecting Asia to North America. That land is now submerged underwater, but a newly created digital map reveals how the landscape likely appeared about 18,000 years ago.In fact, the map shows all of Beringia -- the sprawling region that includes parts of Russia, known as western Beringia; Alaska, called eastern Beringia; and the ancient land bridge that connected the two.The timing was nigh for a new Beringia map, said Jeffrey Bond, who studies the geology of ice age sediments at the Yukon Geological Survey in Canada. The 2008 map at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre was out of date, and he wanted visitors, who come to learn about Beringia's ice age humans and animals, to get a better sense of what the region used to look like. [10 Extinct Giants That Once Roamed North America]Moreover, two new datasets recently became available that helped Bond create the new map: Global satellite imagery from World Imagery, and a topography of the region's sea floor, produced by the University of Alaska Fairbanks."These two freely available datasets, along with the glacial limits (distribution of ice during the last glaciation), combined for a fantastic set of base layers to create a new map," Bond told Live Science in an email.Although it's gone now, the Bering Land Bridge persisted for thousands of years, from about 30,000 years ago to 16,000 years ago, according to global sea level estimates, said Julie Brigham-Grette, a professor and department head of geosciences at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Brigham-Grette, who advised Bond on sea levels and geography, was one of the many scientists who offered helpful information to Bond during the making of the map."The drop at 30,000 years ago was very rapid with the build up of ice sheets over North America," Brigham-Grette told Live Science in an email. "So for most of the time from about 30,000 to 18,000 years ago, the land bridge was nearly 1,000 kilometers [620 miles] wide in the north-south direction."That's why, in part, Bond chose to portray Beringia at 18,000 years ago, he said. After that, the ice began to recede and sea levels began to rise.At 18,000 years ago, Beringia was a relatively cold and dry place, with little tree cover. But it was still speckled with rivers and streams. Bond's map shows that it likely had a number of large lakes."Grasslands, shrubs and tundra-like conditions would have prevailed in many places," Bond said. These environments helped megafauna -- animals heavier than 100 lbs. (45 kilograms) -- thrive, including the woolly mammoth, Beringian lion, short-faced bear, grizzly bear, muskox, steppe bison, American scimitar cat, caribou, Yukon horse, saiga antelope, gray wolf and giant beaver, according to the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre.A modern-day photo of Wrangel Island in the East Siberian Sea. Perhaps central Beringia looked similar to this during the last ice age. Julie Brigham-GretteThis vast, open region allowed megafauna and early humans to live off the land, Brigham-Grette said. However, it's still a mystery exactly when humans began crossing the land bridge. Genetic studies show that the first humans to cross became genetically isolated from people in East Asia between about 25,000 to 20,000 years ago. And archaeological evidence shows that people reached the Yukon at least 14,000 years ago, Bond said. But it's still unclear how long it took the first Americans to cross the bridge and what route they took."The fact that this land bridge was repeatedly exposed and flooded and exposed and flooded over the past 3 million years is really interesting because Beringia, at its largest extent, was really a high latitude continental landscape in its own right," Brigham-Grette said.Now that the Bering Strait is filled with water, it's a gateway linking the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans through the Arctic Basin. "There are few places like it on our planet that have such a complex paleo geography," Brigham-Grette said.To download a free digital version of the new map, visit here. * Photos: Is Ice Age Cat Mummy a Lion or a Lynx? * Photos: Ice Age Mammoth Unearthed in Idaho * Photos: Ice-Age Animal Bones Unearthed During LA Subway ConstructionOriginally published on Live Science.
> MUST WATCH > Very rare NEW footage of GIANT PANGOLINS in the wild. > Pangolins - the world's most trafficked mammals - are being pushed to extinction. But zoo conservationists are conducting the FIRST pangolin study in Uganda. Vital data could help us prevent their extinction. pic.twitter.com/lkEPRmNL3O> > -- Chester Zoo (@chesterzoo) February 13, 2019New video of giant pangolins shows these bizarre scaly creatures in their natural (nocturnal) habitat in Uganda.In the videos, the blunt-nosed creatures -- which are the only mammals with scales -- are seen meandering about the undergrowth, sniffing for food and danger. In one clip, a baby pangolin rides on its mother's back. In another, a pangolin shimmies partway up a tree trunk. Another pangolin gets (rather adorably) tangled in a stick and marches off with the vegetation wrapped around its torso. [Pangolin Photos: Scaly Mammals Threatened with Extinction]The videos were collected by researchers from Chester Zoo in the United Kingdom, alongside Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU). Though, as the name implies, that organization works to protect rhinoceroses in Uganda, rangers working for RFU kept running across giant pangolins while on patrol. When the Chester Zoo approached the organization about studying the creatures, the RFU staff jumped at the opportunity, according to a statement. Rare, scaly sightAside from their shared habitat, giant pangolins (Smutsia gigantea) have something else in common with rhinos: Their scales are made of keratin, the same stuff that makes up rhinoceros horn (and human hair and fingernails). The scaly mammals are found mostly across central Africa and can weigh as much as 77 lbs. (35 kilograms).A giant pangolin is caught on camera in Uganda. Chester ZooBut pangolins are threatened: The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the animals as "vulnerable." That's in part because climate change is altering their habitat and in part because humans hunt the animals both for food and to sell on the black market. (In traditional Chinese medicine, pangolin scales have long been used to treat a laundry list of ailments.)Giant pangolins eat insects; they slurp up creepy-crawly meals with their long, anteater-like tongues. But other than that fact, little is known about pangolins' habits, given their secretive, nocturnal lifestyles. The Chester Zoo and RFU have now installed 70 motion-sensor cameras in Uganda's Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to detect giant pangolin movements. Researchers are also on the lookout for footprints, burrows and dung. The scientists are collecting the latter to study the animals' genetics and diet. Amazing animals"These rare glimpses into the lives of giant pangolins are very exciting for those of us dedicated to protecting Uganda's rich wildlife, and [it] challenges us to ensure that we protect and conserve this highly threatened species for future generations," Sam Mwandha, the executive director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, said in the statement.The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the only area in Uganda where rhinoceroses (specifically, the southern white rhino subspecies) roam free. Other animals that call the sanctuary home include parrots, cranes and the fearsome shoebill stork (Balaeniceps rex), which grows as tall as 55 inches (140 centimeters) and sports a massive, bone-crushing beak. * Image Gallery: Evolution's Most Extreme Mammals * In Images: 100 Most Threatened Animals * 10 Species Success StoriesOriginally published on Live Science.
"A resolution on trade would remove a major headwind for the market," said J.J. Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago. The consumer staples sector rose 0.53 percent, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors, helped by a 3.8 percent rise in shares of Walmart Inc. Shares of fellow retailers were also higher, with Costco Wholesale Corp gaining 1.2 percent and Target Corp 1.6 percent.
We humans like to flatter ourselves and imagine that we have what it takes to survive here on planet Earth, but our reign pales in comparison to that of sharks. Sharks like the great white have been dominating the seas for millions of years, and they didn't reach the pinnacle by chance.Sharks have incredible biological abilities that give them an edge over many other species, including humans. Now, new research into shark DNA could potentially hold the key to cures for human diseases like cancer, but first scientists have to understand exactly what is going on in the animals' genes.In a new study conducted by researchers from a number of different institutions, the genome of the great white shark was pieced together and then compared against that of other species including humans. What the team found was the shark's genome is about 50% larger than our own, and has built-in defenses that dramatically boost the survivability of the animal itself.One of the more incredible features of the great white's DNA is that it is more resistant to damage than our own. DNA damage has been linked to cancer as well as other diseases and conditions in humans, but sharks have a built-in resistance that protects them. On top of that, shark DNA can actually repair itself, which human DNA simply isn't capable of.It's this increased genetic stability that makes sharks so hearty, and has helped the species thrive for millions of years."Not only were there a surprisingly high number of genome stability genes that contained these adaptive changes, but there was also an enrichment of several of these genes, highlighting the importance of this genetic fine-tuning in the white shark," co-author Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D., said in a statement.By studying the mechanisms by which the great white shark's genes defend themselves against damage and repair existing damage, the researchers hope to come up with new strategies for combating cancer risk and other age-related ailments.
Israeli researchers have found that ascidians - round, palm-sized animals also known as sea squirts can thrive in dirty industrial areas and pristine waters alike, allowing them to detect and analyze waste and its impact in various regions. The United Nations says it is as if a garbage truck full of plastic was dumped into the water every minute, a rate some estimates show could lead to oceans carrying more plastic than fish in 30 years. "[Sea squirts] just sit in one place all their life and filter the water, like a pump," said Gal Vered of Tel Aviv University, and who co-published the researchers' findings in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.
While the 600-mile (966-kilometer) project is facing several setbacks, one element, a planned compressor station, is drawing particularly heated backlash for its proposed location in Union Hill, a community west of Richmond that was founded by freed slaves after the Civil War. Environmental groups and social activists are hoping to capitalize on the attention generated by the state’s political turmoil to further their efforts to block the project. Pipelines, particularly those slated for the Northeast, are facing an unprecedented pushback as environmental groups find increasing success in court.
Taking a common oral antifungal drug during pregnancy linked with higher rates of miscarriage: study
New Canadian research has found that fluconazole, a medication commonly used to treat vaginal yeast infections, may increase the risk of miscarriage if used during pregnancy. The researchers then linked the data with filled prescriptions for oral fluconazole listed in the Quebec Prescription Drug Insurance database, looking at the effect of exposure to both high (> 150 mg) and low (≤ 150 mg) doses of fluconazole during pregnancy on the risk of miscarriage, major congenital malformations and stillbirths.
The New York-based drugmaker announced Tuesday that its medicine Ocaliva is the first to succeed in a final stage trial for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a liver disease that many drugmakers are targeting for potentially lucrative treatments. The drug may be the only available treatment for NASH for more than a year if it wins FDA approval. Intercept’s drug has side effects, and NASH is shaping up to be an especially tricky market.
NIH Funding Opportunities
- Development, Implementation, and Management of a Funding System to support the Grade A Milk Safety Program and National Shellfish Sanitation Program (U18)
- Notice of Correction to RFA-CA-19-008 "The Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network (ETCTN) Pharmacokinetic Resource Laboratories (U24 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)"
- Development of Standard Core Clinical Outcomes Assessments (COAs) and Endpoints (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Optional)
- Notice of Removal of Matching Requirement Instructions for RFA-EB-18-003 "HEAL Initiative: Translational Development of Devices to Treat Pain (U18 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)"
- Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Trans-Agency Blood-Brain Interface Program (R61/R33 - Clinical Trials Not Allowed)