Year of the Tiger ends with roadmap to save species

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Year of the Tiger in the Chinese lunar calendar comes to an end on Wednesday having yielded big results for its namesake – an unprecedented swell of public and government support to save tigers in the wild, including a historic global recovery programme.

Malay scientists use tropical fruits to make batteries

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysian engineers are harnessing the country's biodiversity to find alternative raw materials for high-tech electronic products such as electric vehicle batteries. They have discovered that bamboo, coconut shells and durian fruit skins can be converted into an activated form of carbon used to make the components of electric batteries known as 'supercapacitors'.

From Seashore to Surgical Suite: Medicine Learns From Mollusks

...Well, maybe not mollusks, but actually muscles, those black bivalves better known for their culinary attributes (and especially delicious when prepared with white wine and garlic).

J&J, Calvert, BMW & Others Found Sustainable Action Council

Last week a new multi-stakeholder group was formed, dubbed the Stewardship Action Council, to provide a cross-functional collaboration space for the business, investment, governmental and NGO communities to come together and drive sustainable business practices forward. The group’s main goals are to create a multi-stakeholder learning network, creating collaborative partnerships to address local and regional environmental, social and economic challenges, advancing sustainability performance and recognizing and sharing outcomes. To achieve those goals, the SAC has set up six working groups for its members:

Torrential rain in Sri Lanka kills 11

Heavy rain triggered flooding in Sri Lanka that killed at least 11 people and is threatening up to 90 percent of the staple rice crop, heightening concern about supply shocks and inflation, officials said on Sunday. Heavy monsoon rain caused flooding across the Eastern, Northern and North Central provinces for the second time in less than a month. More than 250,000 people have been forced into temporary shelters by this latest inundation. "A large amount is destroyed. More than 90 percent of the crop will be destroyed this time, " Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene told Reuters, referring to the rice crop.

Iran pipeline rupture causes Gulf oil slick

A pipeline rupture in Iran has caused a 20-kilometre oil slick along the shores of the Gulf, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Sunday. The spill was caused by an explosion in a corroded pipeline at the port city of Daylam in Bushehr province, Mehr said. "The pipeline blast and the subsequent discharge of crude oil has created large spills in the sea, some of which stretch 20 km (12 miles) along the shoreline going 8 km (5 miles) into the sea," said Amir Sediqi, a local official of the Environmental Organization.

Russia poised to breach mysterious Antarctic lake

For 15 million years, an icebound lake has remained sealed deep beneath Antarctica's frozen crust, possibly hiding prehistoric or unknown life. Now Russian scientists are on the brink of piercing through to its secrets. "There's only a bit left to go," Alexei Turkeyev, chief of the Russian polar Vostok Station, told Reuters by satellite phone. His team has drilled for weeks in a race to reach the lake, 3,750 meters (12,000 ft) beneath the polar ice cap, before the end of the brief Antarctic summer. It was here that the coldest temperature ever found on Earth -- minus 89.2 Celsius (minus 128.6 Fahrenheit) -- was recorded. With the rapid onset of winter, scientists will be forced to leave on the last flight out for this season, on Feb 6.

Oysters

The word oyster is used as a common name for a number of distinct groups of bivalve molluscs which live in marine or brackish habitats. A new, wide-ranging survey that compares the past and present condition of oyster reefs around the world finds that more than 90 percent of former reefs have been lost in most of the bays and ecoregions where the prized molluscs were formerly abundant. In many places, such as the Wadden Sea in Europe and Narragansett Bay, oysters are rated "functionally extinct," with fewer than 1 percent of their former reefs persisting. The declines are in most cases a result of over harvesting of wild populations and disease, often exacerbated by the introduction of non-native species. Oysters have fueled coastal economies for centuries, and were once astoundingly abundant in favored areas.

U.S. farmers get approval to plant GMO alfalfa

KANSAS CITY/WASHINGTON, Jan 27 (Reuters) - The United States said on Thursday farmers could proceed with planting genetically altered alfalfa without any of the restrictions that opponents say are crucial to protect organic and conventional farm fields from contamination.The decision, closely watched by supporters and protesters around the world for its potential implications on biotech crop regulation, was seen as a boon to biotech crop developers and comes as research into additional biotech crops accelerates.

The Alarming Amazon Droughts of 2005 and 2010

When thinking of the wettest place on land, most people think about rainforests such as the Amazon, which can get up to 78 inches of rain per year. All this precipitation supports the Amazon's rich plant life which helps moderate carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. It is then quite alarming to learn that the Amazon has suffered two devastating droughts in the last five years. Researchers fear a continuation of this disturbing trend.