Sea transport experiencing boom in ships that fly ‘fake’ flags, pollute environment

Sea transport experiencing boom in ships that fly ‘fake’ flags, pollute environment

Ships transport 90 per cent of the world’s traded cargo, so are crucial to the global economy. But when tankers and other large vessels are demolished, they generate huge amounts of marine pollution, particularly if it happens in countries where environmental regulations for ship-breaking yards are lax. Research now shows...

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How cartoonist shifted to bioinformatics on his way to doctorate in plant genetics

Ed Himelblau was a cartoonist before he learnt to write code. Now, the geneticist hopes his drawings will help others who embrace bioinformatics later in their careers. Here is his story: My career began in the early 1990s, when computers were just a convenience in the biological sciences. Now, they’re...

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Wastewater gives clue of public health, South Africa narrowing it to unit area

Wastewater gives clue of public health, South Africa narrowing it to unit area

The ability of wastewater testing technology to identify coronavirus hotspots is governed by the service area of the treatment plant: the wider the spread, the harder it is to pinpoint small outbreaks and at least one facility serves more than 850,000 people. The technology can provide an unbiased snapshot of...

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How mysterious microbes might have triggered evolution of life on Earth

How mysterious microbes might have triggered evolution of life on Earth

At some point in evolution, scientists say some archaea assigned the cell-division job to a different set of proteins. This is where cell biologist Buzz Baum’s latest work comes in. Evolutionary biologist David Baum’s group has been studying the archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius – a protein. In this case, the scientific...

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Hearts of darkness: Tales of well-paid UN staff preying on poor Congolese women

Hearts of darkness: Tales of well-paid UN staff preying on poor Congolese women

Months of media investigations into the vulturous behaviour of United Nations humanitarian corps deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo has brought to the fore the rot in philanthropy for people in distress in Africa. According United Nations media agency The New Humanitarian and Thomson Reuters Foundation World Health Organization’s...

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Why has Kenya president obscured details of $3.8 billion railway contract with China?

Why has Kenya president obscured details of $3.8 billion railway contract with China?

As you are aware, in May 2014, the government of Kenya signed a $3.8 billion contract with China Roads and Bridges Corporation (CRBC) for the construction of the standard gauge railway from Mombasa to Nairobi and on to Naivasha. According to news reports, 85 per cent of the construction cost...

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Uganda legislature bans same-sex unions with a new law after 8 years of haggling

Uganda legislature bans same-sex unions with a new law after 8 years of haggling

The Ugandan Parliament has enacted a sexual offenses law that criminalises same-sex relationships and unions, bringing to an end a controversial a standoff that has lasted eight years. Now people who violate the new law risk up to five years in jail if President Yoweri Museveni assents to it. The...

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China’s Covid vaccines go global: If no option is offered, they’re a good choice

China’s Covid vaccines go global: If no option is offered, they’re a good choice

The World Health Organization (WHO) is considering approving two of China’s Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use, potentially opening the door to wide distribution in lower-income nations through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) initiative. A successful outcome in the coming weeks might boost global confidence in these vaccines, say scientists....

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Trade: Under 1752 Murder Act, anatomists in UK accessed corpses of murderers only

Trade: Under 1752 Murder Act, anatomists in UK accessed corpses of murderers only

At the height of the French Revolution in the late 1700s, a boy sat on the steps of the Notre-Dame cathedral playing a lilting tune on his wooden recorder. Parisians hurried by, occasionally casting a glance towards the child, perhaps throwing a few coins his way. But what may have...

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Mars lift off: First flight on another planet as Ingenuity drone takes off

Mars lift off: First flight on another planet as Ingenuity drone takes off

NASA has pulled off the first powered flight on another world. Ingenuity, the robot rotorcraft that is part of the agency’s Perseverance mission, lifted off from the surface of Mars on April 19, in a 39.1-second flight that is a landmark in interplanetary aviation. “We can now say that human...

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