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Indian Railways launches first solar-powered train
22 July 2017 - Indian Railways on July 14 launched first solar-powered DEMU (diesel electrical multiple unit) train from the Safdarjung railway station in Delhi. The train will run from Sarai Rohilla in Delhi to Farukh Nagar in Haryana. A total of 16 solar panels, each producing 300 Wp, are fitted in six coaches. The railways are planning to introduce nearly 50 more such coaches in the coming days. Solar power would be introduced first in urban trains and later in long-distance trains as well. (more)

Indian Railways creates history: Launches first solar powered train in India
22 July 2017 - Indian Railways introduced its first solar powered train this month which promises to save almost 21,000 litres of diesel every year. This newly launched, first solar-powered train in India is government's initiative to start an eco-friendly transportation system plying to the of widest networks of trains. The solar panels have been installed on the top of the trains to get charged by the sunlight during the day time. The new solar powered train has become operational from Delhi, which is the medium of transport of over 23 million passengers every day. (more)

German factory growth reaches 74-month high in June: PMI
22 July 2017 - German manufacturing growth reached its highest level in more than six years in June, driven by a sharp increase in orders, a survey showed on Monday [3 July], suggesting factories will contribute to an expansion in the second quarter. Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for manufacturing, which accounts for about a fifth of the economy, rose to 59.6 from 59.5 in May to reach its highest level in 74 months. (more)

Living healthily, learning more could cut dementia cases by a third
21 July 2017 - Learning new things, eating and drinking well, not smoking and limiting hearing loss and loneliness could prevent a third of dementia cases, health experts said on Thursday, 20 July. In a wide-ranging analysis of the risk factors behind dementia, the researchers highlighted nine as particularly important. (more)

Hints that lifestyle changes might guard against dementia
20 July 2017 - Seek a good education. Control blood pressure and diabetes. Get off the couch. There are some hints, but no proof yet, that these and other lifestyle changes just might help stave off dementia. A report in the British journal Lancet Thursday [20 July] raised the prospect that a third of dementia cases around the world could be delayed or even prevented by avoiding key risks starting in childhood that can make the brain more vulnerable to memory loss in old age. (more)

Researchers in Cambodia find nest of rare riverine bird
20 July 2017 - Wildlife researchers in Cambodia have found a breeding location for the masked finfoot bird, one of the world's most endangered, raising hopes of its continuing survival, the researchers announced Thursday, 20 July. The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said its scientists, along with conservationists from Cambodia's Environment Ministry and residents along the Memay River in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, discovered the only confirmed breeding location in Cambodia for the very rare species. (more)

US: Miami suburb will require solar panels for all new homes
19 July 2017 - Rooftop solar panel installations will be required for all new residential construction, along with some home renovations, in a Miami suburb. The South Miami ordinance that takes effect September 18 was modeled after similar ordinances recently passed by San Francisco and three other California cities. (more)

Peru government expects economy to expand 2.8 percent this year
18 July 2017 - Peruvian Prime Minister and Finance Minister Fernando Zavala said on Tuesday [18 July] that the economy will likely grow 2.8 percent this year before expanding by between 3.8 percent and 4 percent in following years. Zavala told a press conference that the centrist government of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski expects the nation's economy to eventually reach a 5 percent annual rate of growth. (more)

Samsung to recover rare metals, components in Galaxy Note 7s
18 July 2017 - Samsung Electronics plans to recover gold and other metals and components from recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to reduce waste. The South Korean company said Tuesday that it expects to retrieve 157 tons of gold, silver, cobalt, copper, and other metals from millions of smartphones that were recalled and discontinued last year after their batteries were found to be prone to catching fire. In another effort to reduce waste, Samsung has begun selling 400,000 units of Galaxy Note FE phones in South Korea made from unused parts of recalled Note 7 smartphones. (more)

US: South Portland's major solar array project begins
18 July 2017 - Construction has started on what is expected to be Maine's largest municipally owned solar array. The Portland Press Herald reports installation began at South Portland's capped landfill Tuesday, 18 July. The one-megawatt solar array will be composed of 2,944 solar panels. Officials expect the array to generate 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of energy per year. (more)

Tourists flock to Cambodia's new world heritage site
17 July 2017 - Tourists flocked to Cambodia's newest world heritage site on the weekend, the 16th and 17th century forest temple of Sambor Prei Kuk after it was recently added to the U.N. cultural organization's heritage list. Cambodia attracts tourists from around the world who often make a beeline for the Angkor Wat temple complex, another world heritage site. On July 8 UNESCO added Sambor Prei Kuk or 'temple in the richness of the forest' in the Khmer language to its heritage list. Located 206 km (128 miles) north of the capital Phnom Penh, it is home to numerous temples, 10 of which are octagonal. (more)

River roll call as 'swan upping' gets under way on Britain's Thames
17 July 2017 - Six old-fashioned skiffs interrupted the sleepy pace of life on a stretch of the river Thames on Monday as teams embarked on the annual 'upping' -- a combined census and health visit for swans. The upping sees three teams, one representing Queen Elizabeth and one each representing the old trade associations of the Vintners and Dyers livery companies, patrol the river for five days, and capture, tag, and then release any families of swans with young. (more)

Royal tradition: Counting the swans on the River Thames
17 July 2017 - The annual count of swans belonging to Queen Elizabeth II has begun on the River Thames. The five-day event known as Swan Upping dates back to the 12th century . . . Now it is more about conservation. Data from the census is collected to assess the growth of the swan population. Swan Uppers -- a team of dedicated boaters -- are tasked with finding swans on a specific stretch of the River Thames. When a group of cygnets [young swans] is spotted, they cry 'All Up,' then mark the young birds and check them for disease or injury. (more)

70-year-old YouTube hit redefining beauty in South Korea
14 July 2017 - One of South Korea's most popular YouTube stars is a 70-year-old grandmother whose cool, undaunted style and hilarity are a breath of fresh air in a social media universe that exalts youth and perfect looks. Park Makrye's videos are all about showing off her wrinkles and her elderly life in the raw. Young South Koreans find her so funny and adorable that big companies like Samsung Electronics and Lotte are banking on her popularity. (more)

Peru: Old-school camera captures Andean festival (+ AP video)
13 July 2017 - One by one, Associated Press photographer Rodrigo Abd positioned the traditional dancers, musicians, and vendors in front of an old-fashioned box camera in Peru's Sinakara Valley as a colorful Andean festival exploded all around them. The men, women, and children were among the tens of thousands of pilgrims representing some eight nations who came to this sacred place in Quispicanchis province in Peru's Cuzco region for the annual Snow Star Festival ... (more)

US: New partnership makes it easier to prove Pilgrim ancestry
13 July 2017 - The number of people trying to determine whether they are descended from a Mayflower passenger is surging as the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims' arrival in the New World approaches in 2020. Now, a partnership announced Thursday [13 July] between the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants is making it easier to figure out. The Boston-based genealogical society is digitizing and indexing authenticated Mayflower Pilgrim genealogies and 50 years' worth of the 'Mayflower Quarterly' magazine, and making them available at its research site, www.americanancestors.org. Thanks to several television shows, genealogical research is now America's second-most popular hobby after gardening, said Lea Filson, governor general of the Plymouth-based General Society of Mayflower Descendants. (more)

Study: Ravens can see ahead
13 July 2017 - ...Scientists are reporting that real-life ravens think about the future. In a series of tests, ravens showed signs of a general planning ability that previously had been documented only in people and great apes. Even monkeys have failed to show it. Ravens showed they could plan by setting aside a tool that they suspected would get them a tasty treat later. And they prepared for future bartering, too. Swedish researchers Can Kabadayi and Mathias Osvath of Lund University ... reported the results in a paper released Thursday by the journal Science. (more)

US: Lotus flowers blooming just in time for Los Angeles festival
13 July 2017 - Pink and white lotus blossoms are blooming just in time for a Los Angeles festival named after the aquatic flowers. The Lotus Festival -- the 37th annual at the city's Echo Park Lake -- kicks off Friday and runs through the weekend. The celebration traditionally honors Asian cultures. Food, art and music from Bangladesh will be featured this year. (more)

US: Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit looks at Japan's fine craft of bamboo basketry
12 July 2017 - Bamboo is getting attention these days as a versatile and sustainable material for housewares, so the timing is good for a Metropolitan Museum of Art [in New York City] exhibit that explores Japan's ancient craft of basketry. 'Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection' is devoted to masterworks, including a half dozen works by two artists designated as Living National Treasures in Japan. To highlight the works' virtuosity and context, they have been displayed alongside paintings, ceramics, bronzes, kimonos, and other pieces from different genres. (more)

Tips for taking better photos of your garden and wildlife
12 July 2017 - It's so easy these days to pull out a phone and take pictures of anything anytime, but a little time and thought can produce better garden and wildlife photos. 'There's a big difference between that for-the-record shot that preserves a memory and getting a really nice image,' says Brenda Tharp, author of the new book 'Expressive Nature Photography' (The Monacelli Press). [In this article The Associated Press gives] some tips from Tharp and other nature photographers: (more)

New electric London cabs to make foreign debut in Amsterdam
11 July 2017 - A new electric version of London's classic cabs will be exported to Amsterdam next year, its first overseas market, and the firm could source the batteries in Britain, the head of the Chinese-owned London Taxi Company (LTC) told Reuters on Tuesday, 11 July. Chief Executive Chris Gubbey said the firm had picked the Netherlands as its first export market due to its receptiveness to new technology and the new model's compatibility with the needs of disabled people, including its ramp and high roof. 'It is a city that is very progressive in terms of protecting and improving its air quality,' he told Reuters. (more)

US: Colorado joins 'climate alliance' of states fighting global warming
11 July 2017 - Colorado's governor signed an executive order on Tuesday (11 July) making his state the latest to join a 'climate alliance' of U.S. states and governors seeking to meet the goals of the Paris accord . . . The order calls for Colorado to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 26 percent from 2005 by 2025 and lower carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 25 percent, among other goals. 'Coloradans value clean air and clean water,' Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper said in a written statement. 'Our strong economy is a reflection of how our exhilarating outdoors attracts young entrepreneurs and the talent they need for their businesses.' (more)

Washington, D.C. hidden gem ready to shine as Lotus and Water Lily Festival begins
11 July 2017 - Every spring, millions of tourists and locals alike flock to see Washington, D.C.'s cherry blossoms in full bloom. But there's another national park tucked away in a corner of D.C. that offers spectacular blossoms over acres of gardens, and that's the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens -- the only U.S. national park dedicated to aquatic gardens. July is when the aquatic gardens shine. And this weekend [15 July], the park will kick off the Lotus and Water Lily Festival, a weeklong event featuring hands-on activities for the kids, gardening demonstrations for the grown-ups, and natural beauty on display for everyone. Visitors from all over the world come to see the exotic water lilies and lotus plants. (more)

UNESCO awards Lake District in England World Heritage site status
9 July 2017 - The Lake District in England has joined the likes of the Grand Canyon, the Taj Mahal, and Machu Picchu by being awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) committee praised the area's beauty, farming, and the inspiration it had provided to artists and writers. About 18 million people visit the Lake District each year . . . It is home to England's largest natural lake -- Windermere -- and highest mountain -- Scafell Pike. (more)

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