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An owl who escaped from the Central Park Zoo after someone damaged his cage has become New York City’s latest avian celebrity. The owl has been attracting gawkers as he surveys the park from one tall tree or another, but he has been stoking fears that he can’t hunt and will starve. Zoo officials say the Eurasian eagle-owl named Flaco escaped on Feb. 2. Since then, he has been spotted at various locations in the southeast section of the park. Zoo officials say last week that they were seeking to recapture Flaco, but they have not issued any updates on their efforts since then.

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The Biden administration plans changes in federal regulations to encourage voluntary conservation projects on private land, partly by shielding owners from punishment if their actions kill or harm small numbers of imperiled species. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal released Wednesday outlines steps to issue permits for damage that otherwise would be illegal under the Endangered Species Act. The Associated Press obtained details on the proposal prior to its public release. The idea is to make landowners allies rather than adversaries as climate change, urban sprawl and other pressures jeopardize more animals and plants.

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Rescuers are hoping to pull survivors from the rubble before they succumb to the cold two days after an earthquake tore through southern Turkey and war-ravaged northern Syria. The death toll climbed above 7,700 on Tuesday and was expected to rise further. The last two days have brought dramatic rescues, with even some small children rescued from mounds of debris more than 30 hours after Monday’s pre-dawn quake. But there was also widespread despair and growing anger at the slow pace of rescue efforts in some areas, particularly Turkey's hardest-hit province of Hatay. In Syria, residents found a crying newborn still connected by the umbilical cord to her mother, who was dead.

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A magnitude 7.8 earthquake has shaken Turkey and war-torn Syria and killed thousands of people. The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers working in cold and snow look for trapped people in the rubble of toppled buildings. Monday's earthquake is among the world’s deadliest in recent decades. A staggering 316,000 people were killed in 2010 by a magnitude 7.0 quake in Haiti. A magnitude 9.1 quake in Indonesia triggered an Indian Ocean tsunami that killed about 230,000 people in a dozen countries in 2004. A magnitude 9.0 quake off the northeast coast of Japan triggered a tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people.

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A new study finds that as glaciers melt and pour massive amounts of water into nearby lakes, some 15 million people across the globe are living in the danger zone of a sudden and deadly outburst flood. Tuesday's study says that more than half of those living in the shadow of the disaster called glacial lake outburst floods are in just four countries: India, Pakistan, Peru and China. Scientists haven't found these floods increasing in frequency but they say climate change is making the lakes bigger and more unstable. That means the threat is bigger when the floods happen.

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A magnitude 7.8 earthquake has shaken Turkey and war-torn Syria, killing thousands of people. The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers working in cold and snow look for trapped people in the rubble of toppled buildings. Monday's earthquake is among the world’s deadliest in decades. In 2018, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake killed more than 4,300 people in Indonesia. In Nepal in 2015, more than 8,800 people were killed by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake. In 2011, a magnitude 9.0 quake off Japan's coast caused a tsunami, killing nearly 20,000 people. In Haiti, a staggering 316,000 people were killed in 2010 by a magnitude 7.0 quake, according to government estimates.

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A major 7.8 magnitude earthquake centered in Turkey has caused widespread damage across the region. Scientists say Monday's epicenter was in southern Turkey, near the northern border of Syria. Thousands were killed in both countries. More than a dozen significant aftershocks were recorded and shaking is expected to continue for weeks. The earthquake was a strike-slip quake, in which two tectonic plates grind past each other horizontally. It occurred in a seismically active region known as the East Anatolia fault zone, near populated areas. Thousands of buildings were toppled, trapping residents under rubble.

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Rescuers in Turkey and war-ravaged Syria are searching through the frigid night, hoping to pull more survivors from the rubble. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake early Monday killed more than 4,000 people and toppled thousands of buildings. It brought even more misery to a wide region transformed by Syria’s 12-year civil war and refugee crisis. Survivors cried out for help from within mountains of debris as first responders contended with rain and snow. Seismic activity continued to rattle the region, including another jolt nearly as powerful as the initial quake. Several countries pledged aid as first responders raced against the elements to reach survivors.

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A president's State of the Union address has a predictable formula. But what if a computer program were to write it? The Associated Press asked the ChatGPT bot to do just that. AP told the app to produce the speech as some of history's most famous figures might have written it. The results are a far cry from anything people will hear Tuesday from President Joe Biden. ChatGPT generated a Shakespeare version of the State of the Union all in rhyme. AP also asked for versions in the style of Martin Luther King Jr., Cleopatra, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Elvis Presley, Madonna and the Three Stooges.

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Google parent company Alphabet has posted lower profit and a small revenue increase for last year's fourth quarter. A decline in online ad spending and competition from rivals are weighing on the search giant. Alphabet's profit declined 34% in the October-December quarter, while revenue grew only 1%. But while overall revenue grew, advertising revenue fell by nearly 4% and revenue at YouTube declined 8% year-over-year. This appeared to spook investors, who sent the company’s stock lower in after-hours trading.

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Amid a major drought in the Western U.S., a proposed solution comes up repeatedly: large-scale river diversions, including pumping Mississippi River water to parched states. Just this past summer, the idea caused a firestorm of letters to the editor at a California newspaper. In 2021, the Arizona state legislature passed a measure urging Congress to investigate pumping flood water from the Mississippi River to the Colorado River to bolster its flow. Studies and modern-day engineering have proven that such projects are possible but would require decades of construction and billions of dollars. Politics are an even bigger obstacle to make multi-state pipelines a reality. Yet their persistence in the public sphere illustrates the growing desperation of Western states.

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A study has revealed new details about what the ancient Egyptians used to mummify their dead. In 2016, archaeologists found an embalming workshop with a collection of old pottery. Many of the jars still had written instructions for the embalming process, like “to put on his head.” By matching the words on the outside with the chemical traces inside, researchers figured out what substances were used on various parts of the mummies. Some materials came from far-off locations — showing that Egyptians traded with global networks to get what they needed.

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Researchers say that the population of western monarch butterflies wintering along the California coast has rebounded for a second year in a row. The orange-and-black insects saw a precipitous drop in 2020 that put them closer to extinction. Scientists with the Xerces Society said Tuesday that volunteers tallied more than 330,000 butterflies in California and Arizona, a promising rebound after the annual winter count in 2020 recorded fewer than 2,000 butterflies. Researchers say the monarchs are at critically low levels in western states because of destruction to their milkweed habitat due to housing expansion, and pesticides and herbicides. They say they don't know what is helping the insects multiply.

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The world is trying to switch from electricity produced by burning fossil fuels to cleaner wind and solar power, but some people have worried that there aren't enough rare earth minerals to make the green electricity switch. A new study Friday finds that the planet has enough of the 17 different types of materials needed, but will have to ramp up mining. Scientists say it will add a bit to pollution, but be offset by savings in getting rid of dirty power plants. The study doesn't look at minerals, like lithium, for batteries or cars. That's a tougher issue that will be studied next.

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A comet is streaking back our way after 50,000 years. NASA says the dirty snowball last visited during Neanderthal times. It will come within 26 million miles of Earth on Wednesday before speeding away again. And it might not return for millions of years. Discovered less than a year ago, this harmless green comet already is visible in the northern night sky with binoculars and small telescopes. It's expected to brighten in the Northern Hemisphere as it draws closer and rises higher over the horizon. Skygazers in the Southern Hemisphere will have to wait until next month.

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A severe tropical storm which devastated parts of Madagascar this week is set to continue to wreak havoc on the country as it strengthens over the weekend, the United Nations regional weather monitoring service said. The storm has killed 8 people and ten are still missing, according to Madagascar’s National Bureau of Risk and Disaster Management. It has also displaced over 60,000 people and damaged 13,000 houses in northern and central Madagascar. An alert issued by local authorities on Friday warned of heavy rainfall in central and western parts of the country with an imminent risk of flooding and landslides.

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Colorado lawmakers unanimously voted to push forward a bill that would create a $2 million pilot program to use cameras and artificial intelligence technology to help identify fires before they burn out of control. The bill was approved by a Senate committee Thursday, and comes a year after the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history scorched nearly 1,100 homes. The goal is for cameras and an AI algorithm to detect the plume of smoke and alert first responders who can stomp out the blaze before it grows. The proposed pilot program to help quench increasingly drastic wildfires in Colorado will move to the state Senate Appropriations Committee next.

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Rescuers were heading to the site of a magnitude 5.5 earthquake in a region of southwestern China at the base of the Tibetan plateau that is prone to deadly quakes. Roads have been blocked by rockslides, although no casualties or other damage has been reported. The temblor early Thursday was centered 6 miles deep in Sichuan province's mountainous Luding county. Although the quake wasn't particularly strong, shallow temblors are more likely to cause damage. The official Xinhua News Agency said about 100 rescuers were sent, but it gave no details on their work expertise or duties. China typically mobilizes firefighters, paramilitary troops and local volunteers as first responders to earthquakes in remote mountainous regions with limited roads.

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The co-creator of the beloved children’s education TV series “Sesame Street,” Lloyd Morrisett has died. He was 93. Morrisett’s death was announced Monday by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit he helped establish under the name the Children’s Television Workshop. No cause of death was given. Sesame Workshop in a statement hailed Morrisett as a “wise, thoughtful, and above all kind leader.” Morrisett and Joan Ganz Cooney worked with Harvard University developmental psychologist Gerald Lesser to build the show’s unique approach to teaching that now reaches 120 million children. Legendary puppeteer Jim Henson supplied the critters.

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The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists says the world is closer to Armageddon than it has ever been. The science-based advocacy group is moving its famous Doomsday Clock to just 90 seconds before midnight. That's 10 seconds closer to striking 12 than last year. The group Tuesday says the big reason is Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin's veiled threats about nuclear weapon use. The scientists say other existential threats include nuclear weapon increases in China, uranium enrichment in Iran, missile tests in North Korea, bio-threats such as a pandemic or lab accident and worsening climate change. No doomsday has happened yet.

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A popular online chatbot powered by artificial intelligence is proving to be adept at creating disinformation and propaganda. Researchers at NewsGuard asked ChatGPT to create content from the perspective of anti-vaccine activists, conspiracy theorists and foreign propaganda agencies. In most instances the chatbot quickly complied, creating content that made debunked claims about COVID-19, the U.S. Capitol insurrection and other topics. Experts say artificial intelligence offers the potential to revolutionize industries. Yet the experts warn AI's speed, power and creativity could yield opportunities for those willing to use lies or propaganda to further their ends. The San Francisco-based nonprofit OpenAI created ChatGPT and says it's studying the challenge closely.

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Microsoft says it is making a “multiyear, multibillion dollar investment” in the artificial intelligence startup OpenAI, maker of ChatGPT and other tools that can generate readable text, images and computer code. The tech giant on Monday described its new agreement as the third stage of a growing partnership with San Francisco-based OpenAI that began with a $1 billion investment in 2019. It didn’t disclose the dollar amount of its latest investment. OpenAI started out as a nonprofit artificial intelligence research company when it launched in December 2015.

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The head of a U.N. nuclear agency task force assessing the safety of Japan’s plan to release treated water from the wreaked Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea says Japanese regulators have shown their commitment to comply with international safety standards. International opposition to the plan has widened. Last week, the head of the 18-nation Pacific Island Forum expressed concern about any impact of radiation from the water on the livelihoods of people in the region and urged Japan to suspend the plan. Local fishing communities have also fiercely opposed the plan. Japan’s government said last week that the release is likely to begin sometime in the spring or summer and continue for decades.

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Artificial intelligence systems are training themselves on a vast collection of digitized artworks to produce new images that can be conjured in seconds from a smartphone app. But some living artists and photographers are starting to fight back against the AI software companies creating images derived from their works. Two new lawsuits take aim at popular image-generating services such as Stable Diffusion for allegedly copying and processing millions of copyright-protected images without a license. The lawsuits mark the beginning of a backlash against a new generation of tools — some of them introduced just last year — that can generate new images or readable text on command.

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A new study found that the night sky is growing brighter every year, and the stars are looking dimmer. The study published Thursday analyzes data from more than 50,000 amateur stargazers over more than a decade. It shows that artificial lighting is making the night sky about 10% brighter each year. That’s a much faster rate of change than scientists had previously estimated looking at satellite data.  A study author said he hoped that policymakers would do more to curb light pollution. The research was published Thursday in the journal Science.

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A galactic photo shoot has captured more than 3 billion stars and galaxies in one of the biggest sky surveys ever. A dark-energy camera on a telescope in Chile made the observations over two years, focusing on the Southern Hemisphere sky. Results were released this week. Most of these Milky Way objects are stars, shown in stunning detail. The count also includes small, distant galaxies that may have been mistaken as individual stars. With hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way, scientists expect the cosmic catalog to grow.

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A new study says drenchings like those California has been getting since Christmas will only get wetter and nastier with climate change. Already more than 32 trillion gallons of rain and snow have fallen on California. But Thursday's new study says in a worst-case climate change scenario that could grow by another one-third. That's because a warmer world alters what goes on in storms and makes the rain and snow fall harder at its peak and grows the area it falls on. But this study uses a worst-case scenario the world is not quite on track for at the moment.

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The warming of the waters off the East Coast has brought the loss of microscopic organisms that make up the base of the ocean’s food chain. Maine-based scientists who recently reported the results of a years-long, NASA-funded study about the subject say the increasing warmth and saltiness of the Gulf of Maine is causing a dramatic decrease in the production of phytoplankton. The tiny plant-like organisms are vital for ocean health. Potential loss of phytoplankton has emerged as a concern in recent years in other parts of the world's oceans, such as waters off Alaska.

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Researchers say efforts to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere aren’t being scaled up fast enough and can’t be relied on to meet crucial climate goals. A report published Thursday by scientists in Europe and the United States found that new methods of CO2 removal currently account for only 0.1% of the 2 billion metric tons sucked from the atmosphere each year, mostly through planting trees and managing forests. The study concludes that novel carbon removal needs to increase by a factor of 1,300 by 2050 to achieve the emissions reductions required to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius and ideally no more than 1.5 C by the end of the century.

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New ice core data shows Greenland is the warmest it's been in more than 1,000 years. Until Wednesday's study, scientists didn't have recent ice core data. The last ice core was from 1995. This newer data from 2011 shows a spike in temperatures between 1995 and 2011. Scientists say warming in Greenland in the past may have been masked by local weather variability. But not any more. Climate change is blowing that away. The study's lead author says this a clear signal of climate change. It also matches increased ice melt run-off from Greenland.

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Microsoft is cutting 10,000 workers, almost 5% of its workforce, as it joins other tech companies in a scaling back of their pandemic-era expansions. The company said in a regulatory filing Wednesday that the layoffs were a response to “macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities.” The company said it will also be making changes to its hardware portfolio and consolidating its leased office locations. The loss of employees is far less than how many Microsoft hired during the COVID-19 pandemic as it responded to a boom in demand for its workplace software and cloud computing services as people worked and studied from home.

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The latest survey by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources shows gray wolves are holding their own in the state. An analysis of data collected last year produced an estimate of about 630 wolves in the state's Upper Peninsula. That's down from nearly 700 two years ago. But biologists say that the difference is insignificant and that the population has been steady for more than a decade. Wolves were driven from the state in the last century but have come back since getting protection from the Endangered Species Act. None are known to exist in the Lower Peninsula.

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A deep earthquake has shaken eastern parts of Indonesia, but no serious damage or injuries have been reported. The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.1 earthquake was centered 91 miles under the sea south-southeast of Gorontalo. It shook parts of Gorontalo, North Sulawesi, North Maluku and Central Sulawesi provinces. No tsunami warning was issued. Indonesia is frequently hit by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. A magnitude 5.6 earthquake in November killed at least 331 people in West Java. It was the deadliest in Indonesia since a 2018 quake and tsunami in Sulawesi killed about 4,340 people.

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Scientists are transforming pig livers to look and act like human ones, part of a quest to ease the nation's organ shortage. First workers in a suburban Minneapolis lab dissolve pig cells that made the organ function, leaving ghostly semitranslucent scaffolds floating in large jars. To complete the metamorphosis, they infuse those shells with human cells from donated livers that went untransplanted. It's all highly experimental. But manufacturer Miromatrix is making plans for first-step human testing — an experiment outside a patient's body, to see how well a bioengineered liver can filter blood.

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The once-controversial idea of relocating an imperiled species to another island, country or continent for conservation is gaining increasing acceptance among scientists as a measure of last resort. Yet the potential danger — and scientific debate — lies in what humans can’t predict. Recently scientists have moved Tristram's storm petrel chicks from beaches being submerged by rising sea levels to shores they've never bred on, 500 miles away on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Such relocations are still rare, but wildlife officials in the U.S. have drafted a proposal to guide scientists in deciding when it’s appropriate to deliberately move a threatened species outside its historical range.

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Federal biologists have found that a sperm whale beached on Oregon's coast was killed after being struck by a ship. A spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries agency said Monday that biologists came to that conclusion while examining a large gash in the whale's side. They determined that there had been hemorrhaging, indicating that the whale was alive when it was hit. The 40-foot sperm whale was dead when it washed ashore Saturday at Fort Stevens State Park on Oregon's northwestern coast. The agency said the next challenge will be figuring out how to dispose of the carcass.

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Egyptian authorities say archaeologists have unearthed an ancient tomb in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor, known for its treasures dating back to the pharaohs. Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said Saturday an Egyptian-British mission found the royal tomb in an ancient site on the west bank of the Nile River in Luxor, 650 kilometers (400 miles) south of the capital of Cairo. He said initial examinations show that the tomb apparently belongs to the 18th Dynasty of Pharaonic Egypt, which spanned from 1550 B.C. to 1292 B.C.

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Government science teams say that 2022 didn't quite set a record for heat, but it was in the top five or six warmest on record depending on who's doing the measuring. And NOAA, NASA and others say the last eight years have been the warmest eight on record. Thursday's release of global temperature data includes several agencies from around the globe. At least 28 countries, including China and the United Kingdom, set national records for hottest years on record. Scientists expect this year to be even warmer and next year could shatter records. That's because this year was cooled by a La Nina that will likely dissipate.

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Until Wednesday, few travelers had heard of a Notice to Air Missions, or NOTAM. Nor did they know that the system used to generate those notices could cause widespread travel misery. But they found out fast. The Federal Aviation Administration computer system that compiles and distributes essential safety information for pilots went kaput, leading to flights being temporarily grounded nationwide and touching off a cascading air traffic jam. More than 1,300 flights were canceled and 9,000 delayed by early evening on the East Coast, according to FlightAware. NOTAM has been around for more than a half century and it has evolved from paper to computers. It’s in the process of being updated but it failed in the meantime, along with its backup system.

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Russia will send up a new capsule next month to bring back three space station astronauts whose original ride home was damaged. NASA and Russian space officials announced the plan Wednesday. The switch in capsules means the two Russians and one American will remain several extra months at the International Space Station, possibly pushing their mission to a year. The new Soyuz capsule will launch from Kazakhstan on Feb. 20. Because all of the coolant leaked from the astronauts' original capsule, officials say the cabin temperature could top 100 degrees Fahrenheit during reentry. The capsule will come back empty once its replacement is in place.

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The Cayman Islands says it will start culling feral cats to help save a dwindling colony of brown booby birds. The islands’ Department of Environment says the culling will take place in the eastern region of Cayman Brac island. Only 13 brown booby fledglings out of 42 eggs survived there last year. Officials said Tuesday they will launch a humane trap and euthanasia program to help protect a new nesting season that is underway. They say any microchipped cats will be returned to owners. Brown boobies breed in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, building nests only in the ground. They are not considered an endangered species worldwide.

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Hawaii’s new attorney general says more than two dozen elders won’t be subject to another round of prosecutions for blocking a road three years ago to prevent the construction of a new telescope on a mountain summit that many Native Hawaiians consider sacred. Law enforcement arrested 38 mostly Native Hawaiian elders during a 2019 demonstration against the Thirty Meter Telescope planned for Mauna Kea. Of these, 30 had their cases dismissed after a 2021 Hawaii Supreme Court ruling clarified the process for filing criminal complaints and said authorities had been following the incorrect procedure. The attorney general could have refiled charges but says it's not in the best interest of Hawaii’s people to do so.

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U.S. scientists in Puerto Rico have found that forest-dwelling lizards have genetically morphed to survive life in the city. The study focused on the Puerto Rican crested anole, a small brown lizard with a bright orange throat fan. Scientists say it has sprouted special scales to better cling to smooth surfaces like walls and glass, and grown larger limbs to sprint more quickly across open areas. Authors of the study published Monday by the National Academy of Sciences say it's important to understand how organisms adapt as urbanization intensifies around the world, so that humans can design cities in ways that support all species.

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Virgin Orbit says a mission to launch the first satellites into orbit from Western Europe has suffered an “anomaly." The U.S.-based company attempted its first international launch on Monday, using a modified jumbo jet to carry one of its rockets. The rocket was supposed to take nine small satellites for mixed civil and defense use into orbit. But about two hours after the plane took off, the company reported that the mission encountered a problem. Virgin Orbit tweeted that “We appear to have an anomaly that has prevented us from reaching orbit." It said it evaluating the information. The company had previously completed four similar launches from California.