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Warmer air caused ice shelf collapse off Antarctica

Warmer air triggered the collapse of a huge ice shelf off Antarctica in 2002, according to a report on Thursday that may help scientists predict future break-ups around the frozen continent. Antarctica is a key to sea level rise, which threatens coastal areas around the world.. It has enough ice to raise seas by 57 meters (190 feet) if it ever all melted, meaning that even a tiny thaw at the fringes is a concern. Until now, the exact cause of the collapse of the Larsen-B ice shelf, a floating mass of ice bigger than Luxembourg at the end of glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula, had been unknown.

Man pleads not guilty to fraud in 2012 U.S. meningitis outbreak

By Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - A pharmacist who worked for the Massachusetts company that sparked a 2012 U.S. Glenn Adam Chin, 46, said in U.S. District Court in Boston that he was "not guilty" of charges he knowingly shipped a tainted steroid that sickened 700 people in 20 states. He has been confined to his Canton, Massachusetts, home since officials pulled him off a plane last week at the start of what was to be a family trip to Hong Kong for a wedding.

Boko Haram under scrutiny over foreign fighters claim

Cameroon's claims this week that two Tuareg fighters were among the dead when troops bombarded Boko Haram positions have sparked fresh interest in the group's links to the wider jihadi network. Boko Haram was designated an Al-Qaeda-linked terror group earlier this year while its recent land grab in Nigeria's northeast has prompted comparisons to Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq. Andrew Noakes, co-ordinator of the Nigeria Security Network of analysts, said it was "plausible" that Boko Haram had fighters from beyond the lands populated by its Kanuri tribal base. "There is most likely a relationship of convenience between Boko Haram and AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), which may stretch to sourcing militants from outside the insurgency's traditional area of recruitment," he told AFP by email.

Stringent new abortion rule in Missouri

Missouri women seeking abortions will face one of the nation's most stringent waiting periods, after state lawmakers overrode the governor's veto to enact a 72-hour delay that includes no exception for ...

Islamic State kidnaps 20 Iraqi villagers

Islamic State jihadists kidnapped Thursday 20 people in a northern Iraqi village suspected of forming a local group to fight them, a security official and witnesses said. The kidnappings were carried out in Kirkuk province by dozens of fighters from IS, which led a major offensive that overran large areas of Iraq in June. According to rights group Amnesty International, IS kidnapped thousands of civilians as it overran minority-populated northern villages last month.

Obama, victims' families pause to remember September 11 victims

By Sebastien Malo NEW YORK (Reuters) - Politicians, dignitaries and victims' relatives gathered in New York City, at the Pentagon and in rural Pennsylvania on Thursday to remember the nearly 3,000 people killed in al Qaeda's attack on the United States 13 years ago on Sept. 11. In what has become an annual ritual, relatives began slowly reciting the names of the victims at a ceremony in lower Manhattan, from Gordon Aamoth, Jr., to Igor Zukelman. Readers would occasionally pause as a silver bell was rung to herald moments of silence marking the times when each of the four planes hijacked by Islamist militants crashed and the World Trade Center's twin towers fell. President Barack Obama spoke at the Pentagon during a private ceremony for relatives of the 184 people killed in the attack on the headquarters of the U.S.

Gbagbo facing trial for crimes against humanity

The International Criminal Court on Thursday confirmed that Ivory coast's former president Laurent Gbagbo will face trial for crimes against humanity, throwing out an appeal by the defence. "Preliminary Chamber I rejected the defence's request to appeal against the decision relative to the confirmation of the charges," the court based in The Hague said in a statement. No date has yet been set for the trial of Gbagbo on four counts of crimes against humanity, allegedly committed at the end of his 10-year rule over the troubled west African country, once he refused to accept defeat in an election in November 2010. His supporters clashed for five months mainly in the economic capital Abidjan with those of President Alassane Ouattara, who was proclaimed winner of the vote by the electoral commission, at a cost of at least 3,000 lives.

Score one for sharks: New curbs on threatening trade

The 178 members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) agreed in March 2013 to tighten regulations on the trade of the three types of hammerhead shark, the porbeagle and oceanic whitetip shark, and two types of manta ray. "The listing was a victory for science over politics," Andy Cornish, who heads a shark preservation initiative backed by WWF and wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic, said in a statement. More than 70 million sharks are killed worldwide every year, according to WWF, with high demand for shark fins in Asia the biggest driver of the overfishing. Traffic has estimated the total value of the shark fin trade at more than $480 million per year, with the fish hunted for their meat, leather, liver oil and cartilage.

Florida's new insurance sector may be 'accident waiting to happen'

By Barbara Liston ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) - As Florida seeks to revive its private home insurance market after almost a decade without a hurricane, homeowners are pouring $6 billion a year in premiums into a new generation of small, in-state insurance companies with an unproven record of withstanding a major hurricane. A consumer-oriented rating agency, Weiss Ratings, recently awarded the companies a median grade of C-minus, and even without a major storm to drive up claims, 11 of them have already failed in Florida since 2006, according to state records. “This is an accident waiting to happen," said Gavin Magor, senior financial analyst with Weiss, a national agency with a reputation for tough ratings based in Jupiter, Florida. Responding to the Weiss ratings, Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, a trade association, said all the companies meet state regulations, noting that other rating agencies gave higher grades.

For Democratic candidates, there's a lot in a name

In states where the president’s standing has plummeted, a bunch of Democratic senators have managed to at least stay close into this last phase of the campaign, raising hopes among party leaders that somehow they may yet be able to ride this one out.

Judgement day for Oscar Pistorius

By Ed Cropley JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - After 41 days of tears, anguish and at times gruesome testimony in the Pretoria High Court, Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee who became one of the biggest names in athletics, will learn this week whether he will spend the next 25 years behind bars. In a fitting reminder of how South Africa has changed in the 20 years since apartheid, the fate of Pistorius, a wealthy white man from privileged roots, rests in the hands of a 66-year-old black woman from Soweto, Judge Thokozile Masipa. Throughout the on-off six-month trial, Masipa - only the second black woman to rise to the bench in South Africa - has remained calm and impassive, seemingly impervious to the global interest in a case that has drawn comparisons to the 1995 murder trial of American football star OJ Simpson in California. For Pistorius, the options when Masipa starts delivering her judgement on Thursday, winding up probably on Friday, are stark.

Former FBI director Mueller to lead probe of NFL's handling of Ray Rice case

By Steve Ginsburg (Reuters) - A former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert Mueller III, will lead a probe into the National Football League's handling of former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice's domestic violence case, the league said on Wednesday. The announcement comes within hours of a report by the Associated Press that a law enforcement official sent a video to the league in April that showed Rice knocking out his then-fiancee in an elevator. ...

Highway shutdown averted at Ferguson protests

Authorities arrested protesters who were planning to block part of Interstate 70 on Wednesday near the St. Louis suburb where an unarmed black 18-year-old was fatally shot by a white police officer.