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Australian solar power at record high
27 April 2017 - The Australian Photovoltaic Institute, with data from the Clean Energy Regulator, says the country has hit a new solar record, with Queensland leading the charge for energy generation. The figures show there are now 6GW of solar power installed across the country, enough to meet the electricity needs of 1.3 million households. (more)

Bahamas: BAMSI signs contract with organic farm
27 April 2017 - The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) continues to be an open door to opportunities for local entrepreneurs. Executives of the Institute on Thursday [20 April] signed a contract with proprietor of Rosa Organic Farms Errington Thompson. The contract signals the first organic farm to join the ranks of BAMSI's Associated Farmers Programme (AFP). (more)

Baby humpback whales 'whisper' to mums to avoid predators
26 April 2017 - The humpback whale is known for its loud haunting songs, which can be heard 20 miles away. However, new recordings show mothers and calves 'whisper' to each other, seemingly to avoid attracting predators. The quiet grunts and squeaks can be heard only at close range. (more)

Oslo, London, Amsterdam lead push for greener transport: study
26 April 2017 - Oslo, London, and Amsterdam are leading a shift by major cities to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from transport, helped by new technologies that will help to curb climate change and reduce air pollution, a study showed on Tuesday, 25 April. European cities filled eight of the top 10 spots, along with Tokyo and Seoul, in the ranking of 35 cities by the independent London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), sponsored by smartphone chip maker Qualcomm. (more)

Uganda's private sector activity expands in March - PMI
26 April 2017 - Private sector activity in Uganda expanded in March compared to the previous month, with companies reporting a boost in production and sales volumes, the inaugural results of a new survey index showed on Wednesday, 26 April. The Markit Stanbic Bank Uganda Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 53.5 last month, up from 50.9 in February, the survey report said. Markit collected data for 10 months prior to launching the PMI. (more)

Turkey's Galata Lokum to invest 2 mln euro in organic farming in Bosnia's Federation
25 April 2017 - Turkish company Galata Lokum plans to invest 4 million marka ($2.2 million/2 million euro) in an organic farming project in Bosnia's Federation, where it will employ 150 people, the entity's government has said. The project, named Galata Garden, will be focused on greenhouse organic production of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and strawberries, which will be exported to the region and the EU. 'Organic production is a very promising sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has comparative advantages such as fertile land and water wealth,' the Federation's agriculture minister Semsudin Dedic explained. 'There will always be a demand for these products on the EU market.' (more)

Exercise 'keeps the mind sharp' in over-50s, study finds
25 April 2017 - Doing moderate exercise several times a week is the best way to keep the mind sharp if you're over 50, research suggests. Thinking and memory skills were most improved when people exercised the heart and muscles on a regular basis, a review of 39 studies found. Physical activity has long been known to reduce the risk of a number of diseases, including type-2 diabetes and some cancers, and it is thought to play a role in warding off the brain's natural decline as we enter middle age. (more)

India: Organic farming begins in Kaziranga areas
25 April 2017 - The dream of turning the north-eastern region into a full-fledged organic hub, which was actually the brainchild of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would see the light of the day soon in parts of Assam including Golaghat and Kaziranga along with other States of North-east India. (more)

Researchers find unique US Declaration of Independence copy
24 April 2017 - A unique copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence has been discovered in an unexpected place -- England. The copy, similar to the one viewed by millions each year at the National Archives in Washington has been locked away in a local records office in southeastern England forgotten by historians. ... The document is 24-inches-by-30 inches -- the same size as the one housed at the National Archives. Also like the one at the archives, it is written by hand on parchment -- the only two of their kind known to exist. But there are also key differences. (more)

Thailand 'well suited' to host global tourism conference
22 April 2017 - Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, talks with The Nation on Thailand's readiness to host the World Travel Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit, which will take place in Bangkok from Tuesday to Thursday next week. The summit will be a platform for Thailand to present itself as a hub for tourism and sports before the eyes of more than 700 top executives from 140 companies, representing 30 per cent of the entire travel and tourism sector. Key speakers at the forum include former British prime minister David Cameron, WTTC president and chief executive officer David Scrowsill, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general Taleb Rifai, Thai Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, and Siam Piwat CEO Chadatip Chutrakul. (more)

Euro zone economy races into second-quarter with bumper growth: PMI
21 April 2017 - The euro zone economy bounded into the second quarter with strong broad-based growth, according to a survey showing businesses increased activity at the fastest rate for six years as new orders stayed robust. (more)

US: Hillbillies who code: the former miners out to put Kentucky on the tech map
21 April 2017 - 'A hillbilly is someone who is hardworking, thoughtful, and loyal,' says Garland Couch, a miner turned coder. His employer's ambition? To turn coal country into 'Silicon Holler.' Rusty Justice...hauled his first truck of coal in eighth grade. Justice and his business partner, Lynn Parish, prayed for a business idea that would not just pay, but pay people what they had been making before in the mines. Their breakthrough came when Justice and Parish visited a workforce retraining expo in 2014 in Lexington, where they learned about coding. Each year, 600,000 US tech jobs go unfilled, jobs that ultimately go overseas but could be on-shored if more Americans had the right skills. Even better, the job paid the same as the mines. Justice had seen first-hand how miners employed logic to solve life or death problems underground. Still, he wondered, could a coalminer really code? He called his computer-savvy friend Justin Hall with that question. 'I don't see why not,' Hall said. 'Great, you're hired,' Justice told him. (more)

GREEN Tool offers evidence-based guidance for school garden success
20 April 2017 - Researchers [in the US] ... have come up with a planning tool that can help ensure school gardens thrive and endure. School gardens have a host of health and educational benefits, from getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables to boosting academic achievement in science, math, and reading, the study team writes in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (more)

On your bike: Cycling to work linked with large health benefits
20 April 2017 - People who cycle to work have a substantially lower risk of developing cancer or heart disease or dying prematurely, and governments should do all they can to encourage more active commuting, scientists said on Thursday. (more)

US beekeeper: Keeping backyard hives benefits bees, humans
20 April 2017 - Generally, adding honey bees will increase the yield of blueberries by 1,000 pounds of berries per hive per acre. Commercially managed honey bee colonies -- which make up more than three quarters of the 2.75 million honey bee colonies in the country -- face many more stresses than we backyard beekeepers do. ... During the past four years, I have been giving many beekeeping classes at my Hampden honeybee farm and in adult education program. In fact, last month I taught my 1,000th student. ... It is very gratifying to know that while not everyone can be beekeepers to help the honeybees, there are those prepared to help with their generosity and inspiration. (more)

Bluebell flowers decorate Belgian forest floor
19 April 2017 - Each spring, the ground of the forest Hallerbos trades in its brown and green hues for vibrant blue, when a burst of bluebell flowers bloom. The protected forest, located south of Brussels near the town of Halle, draws locals and tourists to witness a landscape that looks plucked from a fairy tale. (more)

Physicists observe 'negative mass'
19 April 2017 - Physicists have created a fluid with 'negative mass', which accelerates towards you when pushed. ... in theory, matter can have negative mass in the same sense that an electric charge can be positive or negative. Prof Peter Engels, from Washington State University (WSU), and colleagues cooled rubidium atoms to just above the temperature of absolute zero (close to -273C), creating what's known as a Bose-Einstein condensate. In this state, particles move extremely slowly, and following behaviour predicted by quantum mechanics, acting like waves. They also synchronise and move together in what's known as a superfluid, which flows without losing energy. ...This heightened control also gives researchers a tool for exploring the possible relationships between negative mass and phenomena observed in the cosmos, such as neutron stars, black holes, and dark energy. (more)

US: California utility launches first hybrid power systems
17 April 2017 - A California utility has launched unique systems combining a hybrid battery and gas turbine to produce and store electricity for use during hot summer months and other times when power demand soars. The new Hybrid Electric Gas Turbines are the first of their kind in the world, officials with Southern California Edison and manufacturer General Electric said during an event Monday near Los Angeles. The new systems will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution by 60 percent and save millions of gallons of cooling water annually, Edison said. (more)

US: On Florida courthouse lawn, yoga instructor is the judge
17 April 2017 - One day a month, [a Florida] judge wears yoga clothes under her black robes, making for an easy transition when she heads to her open-air yoga studio: the big grassy lawn in front of the Duval County Courthouse. There ... County Judge Eleni Derke leads a yoga [asana] class. It's free, open to anyone, though for now it's heavy on those in the legal profession. (more)

A dark matter 'bridge' holding galaxies together has been captured for the first time
13 April 2017 - The first image of a dark matter 'bridge', believed to form the links between galaxies, has been captured by astrophysicists in Canada. Researchers at the University of Waterloo used a technique known as weak gravitational lensing to create a composite image of the bridge. Gravitational lensing is an effect that causes the images of distant galaxies to warp slightly under the influence of an unseen mass, such as a planet, a black hole, or in this case, dark matter. Their composite image was made up of a combination of combined lensing images taken of more than 23,000 galaxy pairs, spotted 4.5 billion light-years away. This effect was measured from a multi-year sky survey at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. (more)

These are the first images of the web of dark matter that holds galaxies together
13 April 2017 - Picture the Universe, and you might imagine a dark emptiness speckled with maybe trillions of galaxies, each containing many billions of stars. The truth is a little weirder, with apparently separate galaxies connected into vast intergalactic webs by invisible filaments of dark matter. If you find it hard to imagine, at least now we can actually see some of those threads thanks to some clever use of gravitational lensing. A team of astronomers at the University of Waterloo in Canada used the space-bending effects of dark-matter to see the unseeable, combining catalogues of galaxy groups that act as lenses with catalogues of data on the light-sources behind them to create a visual of their 'dark' features. (more)

German economy gained momentum at start of 2017 - economy ministry
12 April 2017 - The German economy, Europe's largest, picked up speed at the beginning of this year, lifted by a robust industrial sector and rising employment that is supporting private consumption, the Economy Ministry said on Wednesday [12 April]. (more)

California's solar energy set renewable record in March
11 April 2017 - California met its goal to produce about half the state's electricity from renewable sources for three hours on March 11, a new estimate from the U.S. government shows. The record was set when almost 40 percent of the electricity flowing across the grid came from large-scale solar power plants. Factor in electricity produced by area homes and businesses, and solar met about half the overall electricity demand in the middle of the day. (more)

Iowa town's editor wins Pulitzer for taking on farm groups
11 April 2017 - The owner of a small-town Iowa newspaper who took on powerful agricultural groups for allowing nitrogen runoff to pollute lakes and streams and wrote that the state 'has the dirtiest surface water in America,' won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing on Monday. (more)

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