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Updated: 28 min 8 sec ago

'Generation climate' to occupy huge German coal mine

9 hours 35 min ago

Thousands of European environmental activists are readying to blockade a huge open-pit coal mine in Germany, backed for the first time by the student climate movement launched by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg. The sixth protest of its kind, from Thursday to Monday, comes after Greens parties made strong gains in European Parliament elections and in Germany are for the first time polling neck-and-neck with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives. As in years past, the "Ende Gelaende" (EG) movement will try to blockade and occupy operations in one of energy giant RWE's huge lignite pits, the new ground zero in an intensifying environmental battle.


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Will humans really be back on the moon by 2024? A Q&A with space experts

9 hours 42 min ago

What can we gain from going back to the moon? We hosted a live chat on Reddit with space industry experts about the new race to the moon.


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EU leaders converging on goal of zero carbon emissions in 2050

9 hours 56 min ago

There is a growing number of European Union leaders who support the goal of making the EU economy neutral in terms of carbon emissions by 2050, but there is no unanimity yet, a senior EU official said on Wednesday. "I hope that of the trend continues and we get unanimity on Thursday," the official said. The European Union has agreed to substantial reductions of carbon emissions by 2030 and its executive, the Commission, wants the bloc to reduce them to zero by 2050 to help stop global warming, the rise of average worldwide temperatures.


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Samurai Text Tells Secrets of Sword-Fighters' 'Supernatural Powers'

10 hours 18 min ago

A newly translated samurai text called "Twelve Rules of the Sword" reveals the secrets of a sword-fighting school that mastered a technique that seemed to give supernatural powers.Dating back to the 17th century, the text contains knowledge passed down from a samurai named Itō Ittōsai (born around 1560), who fought and won 33 duels in Japan. Researchers aren't sure when he died, but historical records suggest he may have lived to be over age 90. Ittōsai never wrote down his "Twelve Rules of the Sword," and instead passed them on orally to his students at the One Cut sword-fighting school. The descendants of his students later recorded them in writing.The text describes rules for beating an opponent as well as two magical prayers to enhance a samurai's spirit and mind, according to Eric Shahan, who recently translated the text. Shahan is a Japanese translator who specializes in translating Japanese martial-arts texts. He also holds a San Dan (third-degree black belt) in Kobudō, a Japanese martial art. [In Photos: The Last Century of Samurai Swordsmen]The two magical prayers are vague and hard to understand. One of them states that a samurai should draw several Sanskrit characters on their palms, including a character that represents Oni, a type of demon. The samurai then joins their palms together, says a prayer, and rotates their hands one time while making a loud "Un!" sound, before clapping their hands once and rubbing them together, the prayer indicates. Observing with your spiritOne of the rules in the text is called "eyes of the heart"; it says, in Shahan's translation, that "you should not look at your opponent with your eyes, but view them with your spirit … If you look with your eyes you may get distracted, however by looking with your mind you remain focused." Two magical prayers that may have helped samurai of the One Cut school to view opponents with their "spirit" and "mind" were also translated into English in the text.People living in 17th-century Japan who saw a samurai who had mastered the "eyes of the heart" rule may have been stunned. "At the time, it may have seemed to an observer that someone who had mastered this technique had supernatural powers," Shahan said. However there is a scientific explanation for how they used their "mind" and "spirit," rather than eyes, to watch their opponent. [Photos: 19th-Century Martial Arts for Cops]According to Shahan, "[The] explanation is you react faster to things moving in your peripheral vision as opposed to your center of focus. Looking directly at an opponent's sword, consciously registering a movement and then trying to respond will not end well for you in a sword duel."Shahan added, "Conversely, allowing your opponent to be in your field of vision without focusing on any one part allows your peripheral vision to react to any movement or attack," and "you will react faster than you could by staring directly at the enemy."The magical prayers in the text were likely some type of self-hypnosis or meditation ritual: "If your mind is in a jumble before battle, defeat would be certain. There could certainly be a connection to the eyes of the heart in the sense that you need to allow your body to react freely and unconsciously to the opponent's attack," Shahan said. Heart of the foxAnother rule, called "heart of the fox," warns samurai against being overly cautious. The rule notes that foxes are cautious and suspicious by nature, something that can get them killed. "Instead of fleeing in one direction, they stop here and there checking what is behind them. During one of these delays, the hunter circles around and kills the fox. The lesson here is that an excess of caution lead to the fox's downfall," the rule states.If a samurai thinks about what they should do and hesitates, "the opponent will choose that moment to strike" according to that rule. "Therefore, it is essential that you remove all doubt from your technique. You must vigorously train yourself so that you are empty, the void."The other rules include "pine tree in the wind," which teaches samurai not to get trapped by the opponents' rhythm, but to use no rhythm at all. Another, called "cutting down," involves achieving split-second timing and "preventing extraneous thoughts."Shahan said that samurai who learned the One Cut school of sword-fighting techniques "trained all their lives in the sword arts so the techniques were ingrained into their bodies; they needed the mental fortitude to allow their body to respond without their mind second guessing the situation." * Photos: 1914 Martial Arts Book for Women in Japan * Image Gallery: Combat Sports in Ancient Rome * In Photos: China's Terracotta Warriors Inspired by Greek ArtOriginally published on Live Science.


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Cancer/Gene Therapy Biotechs in Focus After Pfizer-Array Deal

10 hours 39 min ago

A few biotechs focused on oncology or gene therapies are potential acquisition targets following the announcement by Pfizer to acquire Array BioPharma.


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Another Cancer-Causing Chemical Found in Popular Blood Pressure Medication

10 hours 39 min ago

Another Cancer-Causing Chemical Found in Popular Blood Pressure Medication


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EPA Rollback of Obama-Era Rule for Coal-Fired Plants: What Happens Next

10 hours 44 min ago

EPA Rollback of Obama-Era Rule for Coal-Fired Plants: What Happens Next


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Watchdog criticizes rising costs, delays of NASA's next Moon rocket

10 hours 45 min ago

The giant rocket NASA plans to use to return to the Moon by 2024 has been beset by delays and spending has overrun by almost 30 percent, an official audit said Wednesday. The delays threaten the timetable set by President Donald Trump's administration to place astronauts on lunar soil five years from now, testing the next generation of spacecraft ahead of an eventual crewed mission to Mars. The report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said the cost of the first, single-use Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which is being built by Boeing, had risen from $6.2 billion to $8 billion, or 29 percent.


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The Latest: Rollback of Obama-era rule for coal-fired plants

11 hours 10 min ago

The Trump administration has rolled back a landmark Obama-era effort targeting coal-fired power plants and their climate-damaging pollution. It's replacing the Obama rule with a less ambitious one that gives states more discretion in regulating those power plants. Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler calls it a sign that "fossil fuels will continue to be an important part of the mix" in the U.S. energy supply.


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Trump Deals Final Blow To Clean Power Plan, Obama’s Signature Climate Policy

11 hours 12 min ago

The EPA unveiled its final proposal for the Affordable Clean Energy rule.


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Schwarzman, Never an Oxford Student, Gives School $188 Million

11 hours 13 min ago

(Bloomberg) -- Stephen Schwarzman gave the University of Oxford its largest donation since at least the Renaissance, even though the Blackstone Group LP co-founder never studied there.The 150 million pounds ($188 million) contribution will help pay for a new humanities building and the creation of an institute to study the ethics of artificial intelligence, Oxford said in a statement. The Schwarzman Centre will be within the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, just north of the city center, and will feature a 500-seat concert hall and 250-seat auditorium.The ethics institute “won’t just use the humanities, which are an unusual asset of Oxford,” Schwarzman said in a Bloomberg TV interview Wednesday. “We’ll use the other major parts of the university. If you can bring all that to bear, we’ll have better outcomes.”The private equity billionaire studied at Yale University and then got an MBA from Harvard Business School. He emerged as a major philanthropist in 2008 with a $100 million gift to the New York Public Library. In October, he gave $350 million to help establish a college of computing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His name also will be on a campus center at Yale, and he created the Schwarzman Scholars program at Tsinghua University in Beijing to educate future global leaders about China.Fundraising EffortsThe size of the donation is unusual for U.K. universities, whose fundraising efforts trail their counterparts in the U.S. When hedge fund manager David Harding gave 100 million pounds to Cambridge University in February, it was at the time the biggest single private gift to a U.K. college from a British philanthropist. The nation’s universities have collectively received about $1 billion a year on average from donors since 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Schwarzman’s gift exceeds the 75 million pounds that British venture capitalist Michael Moritz donated to Oxford in 2012. Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, hold the title for the biggest private donation to a U.K. university after giving $210 million to Cambridge in 2001 to fund a scholarship program.Schwarzman, 72, is worth $15.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Since founding Blackstone in 1985 with former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. boss Peter Peterson, he’s collected more than $5 billion alone from a combination of stock sales, dividends and compensation. Blackstone had more than $500 billion of assets under management at the end of March, according to its website.Oxford HistoryTeaching in Oxford dates back to at least 1096, according to the university’s website. It was formally recognized by the early 13th century and has educated 27 British prime ministers, including Theresa May and her potential successor Boris Johnson. Oxford has an endowment fund with almost 3.5 billion pounds of assets under management.The donation is designed to also launch a fundraising campaign. Schwarzman said Brexit won’t affect the work his gift is intended to foster.“Things in the short term are not nearly as important as what we’re trying to do in the long term,” he said. “From my perspective on this gift, what’s important is we set up the right structure for 100 years, 200 years.” \--With assistance from Francine Lacqua.To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Stupples in London at bstupples@bloomberg.net;Heather Perlberg in Washington at hperlberg@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Pierre Paulden at ppaulden@bloomberg.net, Patrick Henry, Steven CrabillFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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Biotech Stock Roundup: Amgen Gets FDA Nod for Kanjinti, Regeneron Presents Data

11 hours 30 min ago

Key highlights of the past week include regulatory approvals, collaborations and pipeline updates.


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Thousands of big energy reps at UN climate talks: monitor

11 hours 34 min ago

Lobby groups representing some of the world's biggest polluters have sent thousands of delegates to negotiations aimed at limiting global warming since UN climate talks began, according to data obtained by AFP. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) brings together nations, environmental groups, scientists and policymakers to work on measures to stave off the worst social, economic and ecological threats posed by runaway temperatures. Trade associations that represent oil and gas majors are entitled under the convention's own rules to attend annual UNFCCC talks and inter-sessional meetings as observers.


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Merck's Keytruda Gets 2nd Label Expansion Approval in June

11 hours 38 min ago

Merck (MRK) receives FDA approval for Keytruda's label expansion in small cell lung cancer indication, marking the drug's first approval in this indication.


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Tiny Earthquakes Shake Southern California Every 3 Minutes

11 hours 40 min ago

Southern California is a lot shakier than ever before realized. According to a new study, a tiny earthquake rumbles through the southern portion of the Golden State every 3 minutes.These temblors won't knock down walls or send palm trees swaying. In fact, they're too small for even typical seismic instruments to regularly detect. But their discovery reveals seismic activity that scientists couldn't previously detect. Understanding the full pattern of activity should help seismologists understand how larger earthquakes get started and how quakes can trigger one another."The Earth is failing all the time," said study author Zachary Ross, a postdoctoral researcher in geophysics at the California Institute of Technology. "What really starts to come out is that these events, they're really communicating with each other in space and time." [13 Crazy Earthquake Facts]Missing piecesHumanity is naturally most interested in large, damaging earthquakes, Ross told Live Science, the kind that take lives and bring cities to a standstill. But those quakes don't happen on the same time scale as human lifetimes. On a single fault, one big quake might occur every century, or even every thousand years.Smaller quakes are a lot more frequent. For each drop in unit of magnitude, there are 10 times more quakes, Ross said -- so for every magnitude 7.0 temblor, for example, there are 10 magnitude 6.0 quakes, 100 magnitude 5.0 quakes and so on.Even seismometers don't easily differentiate the smallest of these shakes from the background noise of the environment, Ross said. The standard catalog of Southern California quakes put out by Caltech and the U.S. Geological Survey catches everything of magnitude 1.7 and above, he said.Now, Ross and his team have found a way to tease out quakes as small as magnitude 0.3 from that same data. The trick, Ross said, is that two quakes with similar epicenters will show almost the same pattern of shaking on a seismogram, even if one is much larger than the other. The researchers used known earthquakes as templates, searching for smaller but otherwise identical squiggles in the earthquake record.Revealing new patternsThe method turned up a whopping 1.8 million tiny twins to known quakes over a period of 10 years. From 2008 to 2017, Southern California experienced an average of 495 tiny quakes a day, one every 174 seconds, Ross and his colleagues reported today (April 18) in the journal Science.As staggering as those numbers are, they're exactly what you'd expect given the rule of thumb of 10 times as many quakes per unit of magnitude, Ross said."We get ten times as much information now, and it should be allowing us to test out all sorts of new things that we couldn't have done in the past," he said.One example: In 2012, California's Imperial Valley experienced a series of earthquakes known as the Brawley Earthquake Storm. There were hundreds of tiny quakes, and two slightly damaging ones reaching magnitudes of 5.3 and 5.5. Using the newly fleshed-out data set, Ross and his team found that this earthquake swarm actually began with 10 additional hours of subtle, previously unnoticed shaking.The team also used the data to investigate the aftermath of the 7.2-magnitude El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake that shook Baja California, Mexico, in 2010. There was a noticeable spike in extremely low-level quakes for the week after that shock at distances up to 170 miles (275 kilometers) away from the fault, the researchers found. These nearly undetectable shifts could explain how quakes affect each other over long distances, Ross said.The same template-matching technique could be useful far beyond Southern California, Ross added. Any region or country with a good seismic network and high-quality data record could search their own history for tiny quakes, he said."I think this is going to really lead to a whole new wave of scientific analysis," he said. * Image Gallery: This Millennium's Destructive Earthquakes * Northridge Earthquake: 20th Anniversary in Photos * Deadliest Earthquakes in HistoryOriginally published on Live Science.


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Explainer: U.S. dependence on China's rare earth - Trade war vulnerability

12 hours 3 min ago

Rising tensions between the United States and China have sparked concerns that Beijing could use its dominant position as a supplier of rare earths for leverage in the trade war between the two global economic powers. China supplied 80% of the rare earths imported by the United States from 2014 to 2017. China is home to at least 85% of the world's capacity to process rare earth ores into material manufacturers can use, according to research firm Adamas Intelligence.


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Elliott Plans Vivendi Compromise to End Telecom Italia Feud

12 hours 3 min ago

(Bloomberg) -- Elliott Management Corp. is preparing to compromise with Vivendi SA on board representation at Telecom Italia SpA to end their battle for influence over the indebted phone carrier, people familiar with the matter said.The agreement between two of Telecom Italia’s biggest shareholders will come with a pledge to pursue a common strategy, said the people, who asked not to be named as the plans are not public. The board changes are slated to be discussed by Telecom Italia’s directors later this month, they said.Telecom Italia shares were briefly suspended from trading after rising as much as 5.6%, their biggest intraday gain in four months. The stock was up 2% as of 3:54 p.m. in Milan.Details of the agreement have not been finalized and could still change, the people said.“We do not wish to comment apart from advising extreme caution on any such rumors,” Vivendi said in a statement. Representatives of Elliott and Telecom Italia declined to comment.Elliott’s allies wrested control of the board from top shareholder Vivendi in May last year and in November they forced out the company’s CEO, a Vivendi appointee. The French media company spent the following months publicly attacking Paul Singer’s New York-based activist fund in an attempt to regain control.Elliott hit back by criticizing Vivendi’s governance record and Vivendi backed down in late March when it became clear it lacked support for another boardroom coup.Since then, the two have sought privately to align around a common approach and turn the uneasy truce into a lasting peace, said a person familiar with the matter.Depressed SharesTen out of Telecom Italia’s 15 board directors are aligned with Elliott and the rest with Vivendi. Elliott wants to maintain its overall influence on the board, the person said.There is no clear answer to Telecom Italia’s problems. Competitive threats to both its legacy fixed-line network and wireless business are undermining the profits it needs to service one of the European industry’s biggest debt loads. The Milan-based carrier’s shares, which haven’t paid a regular dividend for the past six years, tumbled to a record intraday low in January.The biggest strategic flashpoint has been Elliott’s call for a full spinoff of the landline network to help pay down debt, an idea that Vivendi resisted. Chief Executive Officer Luigi Gubitosi has focused for now on cutting costs and doing deals to share the burden of new network spending, and results in May showed those efforts were starting to pay off.The CEO has pushed for some form of tie-up with fixed-line rival Open Fiber SpA to shore up the landline business. Any combination or spinoff of the landline business is fraught with regulatory and political risks.(Adds Vivendi response in fifth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Tommaso Ebhardt and Daniele Lepido.To contact the reporters on this story: Angelina Rascouet in Paris at arascouet1@bloomberg.net;Scott Deveau in New York at sdeveau2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Penty at rpenty@bloomberg.net, Thomas Pfeiffer, Ben ScentFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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Explainer: Mysterious 'brain fever' killing children in Bihar

12 hours 43 min ago

More than 110 children in India, most from poor rural families, have died this month from encephalitis, a type of brain disease that has afflicted the eastern state of Bihar for more than two decades. Health experts have long been dumbfounded by the root of the encephalitis outbreak, commonly known as brain fever, in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district. Recent studies have suggested that natural toxins in lychees could harm undernourished children by blocking their ability to produce enough blood sugar, which can lead to death.


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World’s Best Bar Winner Alex Kratena Opens His First Solo Project in London

12 hours 45 min ago

Will Tayēr + Elementary be the next world’s best bar? It very well could be.


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Explainer: Mysterious 'brain fever' killing children in India

12 hours 45 min ago

More than 110 children in India, most from poor rural families, have died this month from encephalitis, a type of brain disease that has afflicted the eastern state of Bihar for more than two decades. Health experts have long been dumbfounded by the root of the encephalitis outbreak, commonly known as brain fever, in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district. Recent studies have suggested that natural toxins in lychees could harm undernourished children by blocking their ability to produce enough blood sugar, which can lead to death.


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