Ten new species found this year : The secret life of plants

Plant collectors have searched for the hidden wonders of the plant world for centuries. Yet plants that are new to science are still being described, at a rate of about 2,000 a year. Scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, discovered and named more than 100 new plants in 2018. Their list of the top new plants includes carnivorous pitcher plants, exotic orchids and climbers with untapped medicinal powers. Herb found in a waterfall Prof Aiah Lebbie discovered an unusual plant clinging to rocks near a water fall in Sierra…

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Fight air pollution and save your lungs with this plant which can clean indoor air

Researchers have genetically modified a common indoor plant – pothos ivy – to remove pollutants inside the house including chloroform and benzene that have been linked to cancer, according to a new study. The modified plants express a protein, called P450 2E1 or 2E1, that transforms these compounds into molecules that the plants can then use to support their own growth. “People have not really been talking about these hazardous organic compounds in homes, and I think that is because we could not do anything about them,” said Stuart Strand, Professor at…

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GST council slashes tax on TVs, cinema tickets; leaves cement untouched

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council today brought down prices of goods such as TV sets, cinema tickets and video games from the top 28 percent rate, which now only be levied at only 28 items like air conditioners, cement, and sin items such as pan masala, aerated drinks and tobacco products. Announcing the decision after the GST Council meeting, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said that monitors and TV screens, tyres, power banks (of lithium-ion batteries) have brought down from 28% to 18% slab, while accessories for carriages…

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27 killed in US airstrikes on Syria’s Dayr al-Zawr

The US and its allies have conducted air raids on Syria’s eastern Dayr al-Zawr province, killing more than two dozen people, including eight children. The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that the deadly strikes hit the village of al-Sha’afa, situated on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, on Friday. “At least 27 people were killed this morning in al-Sha’afa,” SOHR head Rami Abdel Rahman said, adding that several people were seriously injured in the US-led coalition attacks. He further noted that eight children were among the civilian victims of the airstrikes.…

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Moscow to investigate BBC’s ‘biased’ coverage of Russia, Syria

Russia says it has launched an investigation into the activities of BBC World News channel and BBC websites over the broadcaster’s “biased” and “unfair” coverage of events in Russia and Syria. Russia’s media regulator said on Friday it had opened a probe into the activities of the British public broadcaster to see if it “complied with Russian law.” It explained that the investigating is being carried out in response to decision by British media regulator Ofcom, which accused Russian broadcaster RT of breaking rules in some of its news and…

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US, Canada call for ‘immediate release’ of detained Canadians

The United States has waded into a dispute between Canada and China over the detention of two Canadian citizens in the East Asian country. Washington sided with Ottawa on Friday in ramping up pressure on China for the “immediate release” of two Canadians detained in what they claim as retaliation for the arrest of a top Chinese tech executive on a US warrant in Vancouver earlier this month. China last week detained two Canadians – Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat and an adviser with the International Crisis Group (ICG) think…

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