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Lowering the tone
29 Jun 2010 source: bbc.co.uk

One of the greatest operatic tenors of his age, Placido Domingo, is making his British debut as a baritone in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra at London's Royal Opera House. It is but the latest move in the Spaniard's long and glittering career. One of the great difficulties in opera is managing the balance between popularisation and artistry. Everyone who sings or who cares about it (not to mention the conductors) wants to extend the reach of the music, in th ...


Believer vs denier
28 Jun 2010 source: bbc.co.uk

Climate change is often presented in religious terms - believers versus deniers disputing the fate of mankind. In the last year it really felt as though the gods unleashed a plague of events to test the faith. Dodgy e-mails gave us "climate-gate", the shifting jetstream gave us a freezing winter, United Nations-backed climate scientists gave us crass errors of glacial proportions and Copenhagen gave us, well, virtually nothing. Those who never believed we were changing the weather ...


Mystery gray whale sighted again
9 Jun 2010 source: bbc.co.uk

A mysterious gray whale sighted off the coast of Israel in the Mediterranean Sea has been seen again off the north east coast of Spain. The second sighting, made 23 days and 3000km after the first, has continued to perplex whale experts. Gray whales were thought to be extinct across the Atlantic Ocean, so the appearance of an individual within the Mediterranean Sea was a major surprise. Now it is not clear where the whale is heading or why. Once, three major populations of gray (also spelt ...


Man-made 'noise pollution' threatens fish
1 Jun 2010 source: bbc.co.uk

Fish are being threatened by rising levels of man-made noise pollution. So say scientists who have reviewed the impact on fish species around the world of noises made by oil and gas rigs, ships, boats and sonar. Rather than live in a silent world, most fish hear well and sound plays an active part in their lives, they say. Increasing noise levels may therefore severely affect the distribution of fish, and their ability to reproduce, communicate and avoid predators.  ...


Secret files shed light on ballerina Fonteyn's 'plot with Castro' ...
28 May 2010 source: bbc.co.uk

By Sanchia Berg Today programme Dame Margot Fonteyn, one of Britain's most famous ballerinas, was "up to her neck" in a coup plot in Central America - along with Fidel Castro, according to government files released today at the National Archives. Margot Fonteyn thanked mini ...


Madagascar bird confirmed extinct
26 May 2010 source: bbc.co.uk

The Alaotra grebe is extinct, according to the latest assessment of the world's rarest birds. The last known sighting of the bird was in 1985 and experts have now confirmed its demise, killed off by a combination of poaching and predatory fish. The Malagasy species, which lived in Lake Alaotra, is the first confirmed bird extinction since 2008. However, fortunes have improved for rare birds such as the Azores bullfinch and Colombian yellow-eared parrot. No escape The Alaotra grebe (Tachyb ...


New rules to aid ash flight chaos
18 May 2010 source: bbc.co.uk

New rules to allow planes to fly at higher ash densities for a limited time will be introduced at noon on Tuesday, the Civil Aviation Authority has said. To fly in the ash zone, airlines will need to get agreement from their aircraft and engine manufacturers. The authority's move has been welcomed by airlines, regulators and manufacturers. It comes after heavy criticism of the current no-fly zone system by airline chiefs. Thousands of passengers have been stranded by the latest raft of fli ...


3D images of live honeybee colony gives insight into decline
17 May 2010 source: bbc.co.uk

Preliminary studies have revealed that DR can be used to identify individual bees within the colony, and even keep track of the movements of the queen bee, including her location and where in the colony she prefers to spend the most time. Crucially, "the approach is non-invasive and does not modify their normal behaviour," Mr Greco told the BBC. "We can accurately assess the number of bees and where they are at the time of scanning." New scans can be performed every 90  ...


Sweatshop girl
11 May 2010 source: bbc.co.uk

"For her work is just a way of living - she doesn't know any other kind of life," he said. "I don't think she understands the safety part of her work - neither she nor her workmates wear any safety gear and she seems totally unaware of the hazards. "It's very saddening to see her working in such terrible conditions, it's also sad that she doesn't know of any alternative life. She has now spent at least a quarter of her life doing this." The government of Bangladesh ...


Forced to work
11 May 2010 source: bbc.co.uk

Mr Olil has to pay 50 taka (70 cents) a day out of his 200 taka ($2.80) earnings to hire his rickshaw in addition to paying 1,000 taka ($14.40) a month to rent their home in Mogh Bazaar. "I feel desperate about it, but I have no choice but to send my son to work. It's a matter of survival. "I used to beat him up when he didn't go to school but felt really guilty about doing so, especially when he was pleading with me to allow him to go to work. "We moved to Dhaka from Bhola  ...

 

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