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Climate change could rain on Saudi Aramco's IPO parade

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 01:26

LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco's biggest asset could also be a liability. In the three years since Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman first proposed a stock market listing, climate change and new green technologies are putting some investors, particularly in Europe and the United States, off the oil and gas sector. Aramco, for its part, argues oil and gas will remain at the heart of the energy mix for decades, saying renewables and nuclear cannot meet rising global demand, and that its crude production has lower greenhouse gas emissions than its rivals.


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Climate change could rain on Saudi Aramco's IPO parade

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 00:14

LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco's biggest asset could also be a liability. The state energy giant's vast oil reserves – it can sustain current production levels for the next 50 years – make it more exposed than any other company to a rising tide of environmental activism and shift away from fossil fuels. In the three years since Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman first proposed a stock market listing, climate change and new green technologies are putting some investors, particularly in Europe and the United States, off the oil and gas sector.


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Foreign trash 'like treasure' in Indonesia's plastics village

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 20:18

His weathered face breaks out in a big grin as Keman explains how sifting through rubbish paid for his children's education, one of many in his Indonesian hometown basking in a waste-picking boom. Governments around the world are grappling with how to tackle the scourge of single-use plastic, but for the people of Bangun trash equals cash. Around two-thirds of the town's residents eke out a living sorting and selling discarded plastic bottles, wrappers and cups back to local companies, and after China blocked imports of foreign garbage early this year -- the pile is growing.


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Space telescope offers rare glimpse of Earth-sized rocky exoplanet

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 19:19

The research, published in the scientific journal Nature, also shows the distant planet's surface is likely to resemble the barren exterior of the Earth's moon or Mercury, possibly covered in dark volcanic rock. The planet lies about 48.6 light years from Earth and is one of more than 4,000 so-called exoplanets identified over the past two decades circling distant stars in our home galaxy, the Milky Way. Known to astronomers as LHS 3844b, this exoplanet about 1.3 times the size of Earth is locked in a tight orbit - one revolution every 11 hours - around a small, relatively cool star called a red dwarf, the most prevalent and long-lived type of star in the galaxy.


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ULA’s Vulcan rocket selected for launches of moon lander and mini-shuttle in 2021

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 18:08

United Launch Alliance's next-generation Vulcan rocket – and Blue Origin's next-generation BE-4 rocket engine – have been chosen to send Astrobotic's Peregrine moon lander as well as Sierra Nevada Corp.'s Dream Chaser mini-shuttle to the final frontier in 2021. Neither of the past week's announcements is all that surprising, because Astrobotic and SNC both had previous agreements to use ULA's current-generation Atlas 5 rocket. But both announcements underscore the importance of holding to the current schedule for rolling out the BE-4 as well as the Vulcan, which is designed to use two BE-4 engines on its first-stage booster. Blue Origin,… Read More


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Click-and-collect is too much hassle for shoppers as new study finds one in seven items are not collected

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 17:01

Click-and-collect is becoming too much hassle for shoppers, with a new study finding that one in seven items are never collected. Consumers have left around £228 million worth of items over the past year, research suggests, with many citing frustration over poorly staffed collection points and long waiting times.  Despite the complaints, the service is becoming increasingly popular, and is seen by high street retailers as a way to capitalise on the online shopping boom.  More than 70% of British consumers now order goods through click-and-collect an average of twice a month, according to a Barclaycard survey. But a third of the 2,000 respondents described the process as a "hassle", saying it was easier to ask for a refund and wait for a home delivery. The Amazon advantage: Why its quest for dominance doesn't stop at online shopping - NOA Among those who decided to leave their items, a quarter were put off by long waits and 15% were annoyed at having to pay a fee for the service. Nearly two in five shoppers said they would visit shops more often if click-and-collect was improved. Experts said that could provide a vital boost to a high street shops struggling to cope with rising taxes, the economic downturn and the continued march of online-only rivals such as Amazon. Kirsty Morris, director at Barclaycard Payment Solutions, said: "Brands have the opportunity to not only increase the number of shoppers through their doors but also to reduce costs and returns, while generating revenue from 'Click & Collectors' purchasing additional items in-store. "Enhancing the Click & Collect experience is a potentially lucrative way for retailers to ward off the unprecedented challenges of the high street and bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping." Patrick O’Brien, a retail analyst at GlobalData, said click-and-collect is expected to grow by 9% to £7.3bn this year and to £10bn by 2024. He said: "For shoppers it's about convenience, go in very quickly and leave the store.  "There's a lot of talk about driving footfall [the number of people visiting shops] but it doesn't always work for retailers."  Shop with mother: two generations, one problem solved Next is among the retailers to expand its click-and-collect service with a new deal that will allow customers to pick up their Amazon orders from its 500 high street shops. Lord Wolfson, boss of Next, previously said that the "Amazon Counter" service would help to "contribute to the continued relevance and vibrancy of our stores". The deal will allow Amazon to increase its physical footprint across the country, as around 90% of the UK population lives in proximity to a Next store. The majority of Next shoppers already choose to collect online orders bought through its Directory service - which sells brands including Ted Baker, Adidas and Bode - from its shops. According to official figures, click-and-collect is growing in popularity among pensioners, who are increasingly using it to do their clothes shopping. Just over half of over-65s made a purchase online in the past year, compared with just one in five a decade ago, the Office of National Statistics revealed last week. Elderly shoppers using tablets are believed to be behind the surge.


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New lawsuit seeks protection zone for Northwest orcas

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 16:00

A new U.S. lawsuit filed Monday seeks to establish a whale protection zone for endangered orcas in the Pacific Northwest. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Orca Relief Citizens' Alliance sued NOAA Fisheries in U.S. District Court in Seattle, saying the agency has failed to act on a petition it filed in 2016. The petition sought to bar vessels from a 10- to 12-square-mile (26- to 31-square-kilometer) area west of San Juan Island where the orcas, called southern resident killer whales, feed from April through September each year.


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Meet the Icelandic Composer Who Wrote Haunting Scores for ‘Chernobyl’ and ‘Joker’ at the Same Time

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 15:19

Emmy-nominated composer Hildur Gudnadóttir created a radioactive "Chernobyl" score by recording sound at a decommissioned power plant in Lithuania.


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‘Red flag’ gun laws can help prevent mass shootings, UC Davis study says

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 15:00

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, have found that, in the three years since California implemented the nation’s first law allowing guns to be taken from individuals who pose an extreme risk, the so-called red flag orders have prevented at least 21 mass shootings.


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Canada election rules cast chill on climate talk

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 14:51

Election officials have warned Canadian environmental groups that lobbying on climate change during the upcoming election campaign could be deemed an outlawed partisan activity, activists complained on Monday. Green organizations say they have been told presenting the issue as an emergency, or even a reality, could be seen as taking sides against politicians such as People's Party leader Maxime Bernier, who has said there is "no climate change urgency" in Canada. Campaigners can get around the regulation by simply registering with Elections Canada as third-party advertisers and limit spending to about Can$500,000 (US$375,000).


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Controversial study links fluoridated water during pregnancy to lower IQ

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 14:32

A study published Monday linked consumption of fluoridated tap water during pregnancy to lower IQ scores in infants, a finding at odds with decades of public health messaging extolling the mineral's benefits in reducing cavities. "We realized that there were major questions about the safety of fluoride, especially for pregnant women and young children," Christine Till, an associate professor at Canada's York University and the paper's senior author told AFP, adding it was important to base decisions on evidence. After controlling for other toxins in their analysis, they found that an increase in concentration of fluoride in pregnant mother's urine of one milligram per liter was associated with a 4.5-point lower IQ score in boys -- but not girls -- at age three or four.


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What it's like to see a blinking, breathing 'Jurassic World' dinosaur up close

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 14:00

Ahead of the traveling stage show "Jurassic World Live Tour," we met with the lifelike dinosaurs at Dino Headquarters. We thought we might get eaten.


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Controversial study links fluoridated water during pregnancy to lower IQ

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 13:57

A study published Monday linked consumption of fluoridated tap water during pregnancy to lower IQ scores in infants, a finding at odds with decades of public health messaging extolling the mineral's benefits in reducing cavities. "We realized that there were major questions about the safety of fluoride, especially for pregnant women and young children," Christine Till, an associate professor at Canada's York University and the paper's senior author told AFP, adding it was important to base decisions on evidence. After controlling for other toxins in their analysis, they found that an increase in concentration of fluoride in pregnant mother's urine of one milligram per liter was associated with a 4.5-point lower IQ score in boys -- but not girls -- at age three or four.


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Romney says climate change happening, humans contribute

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 13:47

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney said Monday that he believes climate change is happening and human activity is a significant contributor. During a speech at the conservative Sutherland Institute in Salt Lake City, the senator acknowledged that the position is rare among his fellow Republicans, but one that younger people seem to respond to more strongly than older conservatives. The former GOP presidential nominee has acknowledged climate change before, and said during his 2018 campaign for U.S. Senate in Utah that "climate realities" will make wildfires more common and destructive in the West.


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New planet discovered in orbit of young Milky Way star

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 13:23

"We talking about a giant planet about 3,000 times more massive than Earth, situated 2.7 times further from its star than the Earth is from the Sun," said Anne-Marie Lagrange, an astronomer at France's National Centre for Scientific Research and lead author of a study in Nature Astronomy.


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New planet discovered in orbit of young Milky Way star

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 12:45

A second planet has been discovered circling Beta Pictoris, a fledgling star in our own galaxy offering astronomers a rare glimpse of a planetary system in the making, according to a study published Monday. "We talking about a giant planet about 3,000 times more massive than Earth, situated 2.7 times further from its star than the Earth is from the Sun," said Anne-Marie Lagrange, an astronomer at France's National Centre for Scientific Research and lead author of a study in Nature Astronomy. Like its big sister b Pictoris b, discovered by Lagrange and her team in 2009, it is a gassy giant.


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Plans detailed for first U.S. mission to land on moon since Apollo

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 12:41

The first American spacecraft expected to land on the moon in nearly 50 years will be an unmanned robotic lander built by closely held Astrobotic Technology Inc and launched in two years by United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket, the companies told Reuters on Monday. Astrobotic was one of nine companies chosen in November to compete for $2.6 billion to develop small space vehicles and other technology for 20 missions to explore the lunar surface over the next decade. Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic picked Vulcan, being developed by a joint venture of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp , to launch its Peregrine lander from Florida's Cape Canaveral in summer 2021.


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Plans detailed for first U.S. mission to land on moon since Apollo

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 12:26

The first American spacecraft expected to land on the moon in nearly 50 years will be an unmanned robotic lander built by closely held Astrobotic Technology Inc and launched in two years by United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket, the companies told Reuters on Monday. Astrobotic was one of nine companies chosen in November to compete for $2.6 billion to develop small space vehicles and other technology for 20 missions to explore the lunar surface over the next decade. Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic picked Vulcan, being developed by a joint venture of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp, to launch its Peregrine lander from Florida's Cape Canaveral in summer 2021.


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