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Dutch student Boyan Slat is only 19 years old, but he already has 100 people working on his revolutionary plan to scoop thousands of tonnes of damaging plastics from the oceans. The world's "plastic soup", much of it swirling around in five main gyres or rotating oceanic currents, costs billions of euros (dollars) to the fishing and tourism sectors every year.

A therapist pours alcohol over a patient and sets him alight - for some in China, playing with fire is a treatment for illness. So-called "fire therapy", which proponents claim can cure stress, indigestion, infertility and even cancer, has been used for hundreds of years and recently garnered a blaze of attention in Chinese media. There is no orthodox medical evidence that it is effective, a fact that matters little to one of China's most prominent fire therapists.
Japanese scientists say they have found a way to slow down the ageing process in flowers by up to a half, meaning bouquets could remain fresh for much longer. Researchers at the National Agriculture and Food Research Organisation in Tsukuba, east of Tokyo, said they had found the gene believed to be responsible for the short shelf-life of flowers in one Japanese variety of morning glory. "Morning glory" is the popular name for a hundreds of species of flowering plants whose short-lived blooms usually unfold early in the day and are gone by nightfall.
"Lost for Words" by British writer Edward St Aubyn is a merciless send-up of Britain's literary "Oscars", which stir up a media frenzy every year over which novel should win and a backlash if the favourite doesn't. The Man Booker prize winner is assured fame and fortune and increased sales at least in the short term. But the judges seem to have trouble trying to balance the promotion of new writers with rewarding established authors.
A few months ago, Argentine scientists found the remains of a giant dinosaur. Now they look forward to digging up hundreds more fossils, but what they really want is the big one's head. In recent years, the discovery of fossils of such sauropods - giant plant-eaters with thin necks and a long tail - in Argentina's Patagonia region confirmed that the remote area was once home to the largest dinosaurs to roam the Earth.
It's not easy playing an ape, even a highly intelligent one, but if Andy Serkis succeeds in captivating moviegoers, he will be thanking the obscure world of "motion capture," a digital technology that accurately translates performance into animation.
Fictional boy wizard Harry Potter made his first appearance in seven years on Tuesday, featuring as a nearly 34-year-old with grey hairs in a new short story by author J.K. Rowling. In an article on the "Pottermore" website written in the form of a gossip column, Harry and his friends reunite at a tournament of the broomstick-riding game quidditch.

 



 
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Annual2012/13
Foreign Debt $60.9bn
Per Cap Income $1,368
GDP Growth 3.6%
Average CPI 7.5%
MonthlyMay
Trade Balance $-1.558 bln
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Imports $3.675 bln
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