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Saturday August 1st 2015

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Environment News Headlines – Yahoo! News UK

Serious Fraud Office investigating oil firm Soma

A sign is displayed in an unmarked Serious Fraud Office vehicle parked outside a building, in Mayfair, central LondonBy Michael Holden and Drazen Jorgic LONDON/NAIROBI (Reuters) – Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has launched a criminal investigation into the British exploration firm Soma Oil and Gas, which has been searching for oil in Somalia. The SFO did not outline the corruption allegations against the company, whose London headquarters were searched on Wednesday. The United Nations last year called for a moratorium on any new exploration deals in Somalia, warning such agreements could fuel tensions and potentially spark new conflicts as rivals fight for resources in the fragile Horn of Africa nation.

Posted on 1 August 2015 | 1:54 pm

Tumbling oil prices slam profit at Exxon Mobil, Chevron

A sign advertising gas prices is seen at a Chevron station in Los AngelesWeak oil prices shriveled quarterly profit at Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp on Friday, compelling both companies to rethink operations and plan for what many expect to be a sustained period of cheap crude. Earnings at U.S. oil majors Exxon, which were the worst in a decade, and Chevron missed analysts' expectations, adding to concerns that perhaps executives had not acted quickly enough to mitigate the impact of an over-50-percent drop in oil prices since last summer. The results highlight how smaller and more nimble U.S. shale oil companies have slashed costs faster and more aggressively than global majors.

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 11:01 pm

Regulators close case questioning California reactor repairs

FILE - In this June 7, 2013 file photo, surfers pass in front of the San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Onofre, Calif. Federal regulators have closed a case that questioned whether Southern California Edison violated government rules when it installed faulty equipment at the now-closed San Onofre nuclear power plant. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal regulators have closed a case that questioned whether Southern California Edison violated government rules when it installed faulty equipment at the now-closed San Onofre nuclear power plant.

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 10:14 pm

Seven Libyan soldiers killed in clashes with Islamic State

By Ayman al-Warfalli BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Seven Libyan soldiers were killed on Friday when Islamic State militants stormed a checkpoint manned by forces loyal to the official government, military officials said. Five soldiers were killed and 15 have been missing since the Islamic State fighters attacked the checkpoint outside the eastern town of Ajdabiya, near the oil port of Brega, one military official said. Two more soldiers were killed when the government sent reinforcements.

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 9:18 pm

Shell resumes offshore oil drilling in Arctic

A ShellNo flotilla participant paddles in a kayak during demonstrations on May 16, 2015 in Seattle, WashingtonOil giant Shell has resumed offshore drilling operations in Alaskan waters, the company said Friday, after one of its icebreakers was delayed for nearly two days by protesters dangling from a bridge.

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 8:15 pm

OPEC oil output hits new high in market share push – survey

The OPEC logo is seen at OPEC's headquarters during a meeting of OPEC oil ministers in ViennaBy Alex Lawler LONDON (Reuters) – OPEC oil output reached the highest monthly level in recent history in July, a Reuters survey found on Friday, as Saudi Arabia and other key members show no sign of wavering in their focus on defending market share instead of prices. The latest boost from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries adds to excess supply in the market without the significant rise in demand OPEC hopes will happen in the second half of the year and in 2016. OPEC supply has risen in July to 32.01 million barrels per day (bpd) from a revised 31.87 million bpd in June, according to the survey, based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants.

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 2:00 pm

China, Southeast Asia to set up hotline for South China Sea issues

Still image from a United States Navy video purportedly shows Chinese dredging vessels in the waters around Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly IslandsChina and Southeast Asian nations have agreed to set up a foreign ministers' hotline to tackle emergencies in the disputed South China Sea, a senior official of the ASEAN grouping told Reuters on Friday. China claims most of the potentially energy-rich sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year, and rejects the rival claims of Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan. The hotline will be announced at next week's meeting of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said the senior ASEAN official, who has knowledge of the discussions.

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 1:08 pm

Brazil corruption probe threatens Rio Olympics preparations

By Stephen Eisenhammer RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil’s largest-ever corruption scandal threatens to slow down preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next year as it engulfs construction companies responsible for the lion’s share of projects worth around $12 billion.     Prosecutors investigating the scandal at state-run oil firm Petrobras have implicated more than 20 companies, including five that are working on Olympics venues and infrastructure.     The investigation, dubbed “Operation Car Wash”, has pushed the companies into a tight spot as their credit lines dry up and top executives are in jail awaiting trial. Scrambling to limit the fallout, Rio’s city government is at times being forced to act like a bank, lending companies money to prevent a slowdown in construction, a senior city government source told Reuters.     ”We are giving companies the money in advance and when the funds are freed up at the federal level they are passed to City Hall,” the source said.      Of the five firms, Odebrecht [ODBES.UL] is involved in over half of all Olympics projects by value.

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 1:05 pm

Cecil the Lion: Do Paid Hunting Permits Help Save Wildlife?

Cecil the Lion: Do Paid Hunting Permits Help Save Wildlife?An American dentist who shot a famous 13-year-old lion, named Cecil, in Zimbabwe spent about $54,000 in permits to kill the top carnivore, according to news sources. Money from sports-hunting permits can fund protected parks that shelter wildlife and engage local communities in animal management, but does paying such exorbitant fees actually help or hurt wildlife conservation? In Cecil's case, Dr. Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, traveled to Zimbabwe to hunt big game.

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 12:42 pm

BG Group’s record output limits oil price fallout

By Ron Bousso LONDON (Reuters) – BG Group’s oil and gas production hit record levels in the second quarter, limiting the damage of a near-halving in profits due to persistently weak crude prices. Britain’s BG, which has accepted a $70 billion (45 billion pounds) takeover bid from Royal Dutch Shell , on Friday reported a 48 percent drop in core earnings from a year earlier to $1.372 billion – but this nevertheless beat analysts’ forecast of $1.328 billion. This assertion was supported by a 19 percent rise in BG’s output during the quarter to 703,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) – driven by Australia and Brazil – which helped cushion the company’s sharp drop in income.

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 8:59 am

Green News – Environment and climate change news

Earth news from Telegraph Earth – your source for environment and green news and environment and green issues, with information on farming, climate change, global warming, pollution, green living and recycling, and all other environment issues.

Cabbage White butterfly holds secret to better solar panels

The Cabbage White butterfly holds its wings at 17 degrees, which is the also best angle to solar panels, scientists have discovered

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 2:48 pm

Animal pictures of the week: 31 July 2015

All creatures great and small in our ever popular animal gallery

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 1:51 pm

Pictures of the day: 31 July 2015

A polar bear underwater, Helen Mirren in wax and a blue moon

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 7:50 am

Baby sloth gets teddy as replacement mum at London Zoo

Edward the seven-week-old baby sloth has been given a toy to clamber over while he is building up his strength

Posted on 30 July 2015 | 11:01 pm

Pictures of the day: 30 July 2015

Today: Tandem surfing, white lion cubs and ‘Frankenstein’ mountain

Posted on 30 July 2015 | 12:00 pm

Volcanic island so new it doesn’t have a name, in pictures

Volcanic outcrop so new it doesn’t have a name

Posted on 30 July 2015 | 10:40 am

Fish tanks lower blood pressure and heart rate

Higher numbers of fish also helped to hold people’s attention for longer and improve their moods

Posted on 29 July 2015 | 11:01 pm

Cecil the lion: from king of the pride to the hunter’s bow

The GPS tag conservationists fitted to Cecil the lion has provided us with unprecedented insight into the life and brutal death of the magnificent creature

Posted on 29 July 2015 | 4:55 pm

Pictures of the day: 29 July 2015

Today: Kazan Kremlin, Victoria’s Secret and Spanish treasure

Posted on 29 July 2015 | 8:30 am

Pictures of the day: 28 July 2015

A wind-swept dog, a seagull selfie and the Hulk made from sand

Posted on 28 July 2015 | 8:10 am

Earth & Climate News — ScienceDaily

New insights on hurricane intensity, pollution transport

As tropical storm Isaac was gaining momentum toward the Mississippi River in August 2012, researchers were dropping instruments from the sky above to study the ocean conditions beneath the storm. The newly published study showed how a downwelling of warm waters deepened the storm’s fuel tank for a rapid intensification toward hurricane status. The results also revealed how hurricane-generated currents and ocean eddies can transport oil and other pollutants to coastal regions.

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 2:52 pm

Scientists warn an entire eco-system is under threat from climate change

Birds, bugs and blanket bogs — scientists warn an entire eco-system is under threat from climate change.

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 11:04 am

Butterflies heat up the field of solar research

The humble butterfly could hold the key to unlocking new techniques to make solar energy cheaper and more efficient, pioneering new research has shown. By mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by Cabbage White butterflies to heat up their flight muscles before take-off, the amount of power produced by solar panels can increase by almost 50 per cent, scientists say.

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 11:02 am

California ‘rain debt’ equal to average full year of precipitation

A new study has concluded California accumulated a debt of about 20 inches of precipitation between 2012 and 2015 — the average amount expected to fall in the state in a single year. The deficit was driven primarily by a lack of air currents moving inland from the Pacific Ocean that are rich in water vapor.

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 2:00 am

Research explores future energy security of China

China needs to reduce its dependence on coal and improve the range of fuels it uses if it is to have long term energy security, according to new research. The study looks at the future of electricity supply in China and the issues it faces in reducing its carbon emissions — nationally China’s electricity sector accounts for more than half its total greenhouse gas emissions.

Posted on 31 July 2015 | 2:00 am

Research spotlights a previously unknown microbial ‘drama’ playing in the Southern Ocean

A team of marine researchers has discovered a three-way conflict raging at the microscopic level in the frigid waters off Antarctica over natural resources such as vitamins and iron. The competition has important implications for understanding the fundamental workings of globally significant food webs of the Southern Ocean, home to such iconic Antarctic creatures as penguins, seals, and orcas.

Posted on 30 July 2015 | 9:23 pm

Root radar: How parasitic plants know when to attack

Researchers have discovered how parasitic plants evolved the ability to detect and attack their hosts. Their findings could lead to new techniques to control the thieving weeds.

Posted on 30 July 2015 | 8:28 pm

Bering Sea hotspot for corals and sponges

North of the Aleutian Islands, submarine canyons in the cold waters of the eastern Bering Sea contain a highly productive ‘green belt’ that is home to deep-water corals as well as a plethora of fish and marine mammals.

Posted on 30 July 2015 | 8:22 pm

Nature has more than one way to grow a crystal

New findings have implications for questions regarding how animals and plants grow minerals into shapes that have no relation to their original crystal symmetry, and why some contaminants are difficult to remove from stream sediments.

Posted on 30 July 2015 | 8:22 pm

Earth’s magnetic shield is much older than previously thought

Since 2010, the best estimate of the age of Earth’s magnetic field has been 3.45 billion years. But now a researcher responsible for that finding has new data showing the magnetic field is far older.

Posted on 30 July 2015 | 8:20 pm