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America’s gun culture in 10 charts

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There has been another mass shooting in the United States – at least 26 people were killed in an attack on a Texas church. The attack comes just one month after the worst mass shooting in the US, and has again raised questions about gun ownership and whether there should be tougher controls.

How does the US compare with other countries?

About 40% of Americans say they own a gun or live in a household with one, according to a 2017 survey, and the rate of murder or manslaughter by firearm is the highest in the developed world. There were more than 11,000 deaths as a result of murder or manslaughter involving a firearm in 2016.

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41488081

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Former ‘heaviest woman’ Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty dies

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An Egyptian woman once believed to be the world’s heaviest has died in the United Arab Emirates.

Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty had travelled to India earlier this year for bariatric weight loss surgery.

Local media reported that she had lost more than 300kg (660lb) of her 500kg but had died from complications from other health conditions.

A hospital statement said the 37-year-old had heart disease and kidney dysfunction.

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Former ‘heaviest woman’ Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty dies – BBC News

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Atmosphere found around Earth-like planet GJ 1132b

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Scientists say they have detected an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet for the first time.

They have studied a world known as GJ 1132b, which is 1.4-times the size of our planet and lies 39 light years away.

Their observations suggest that the “super-Earth” is cloaked in a thick layer of gasses that are either water or methane or a mixture of both.

The study is published in the Astronomical Journal.

Discovering an atmosphere, and characterising it, is an important step forward in the hunt for life beyond our Solar System.

But it is highly unlikely that this world is habitable: it has a surface temperature of 370C.

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http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39521344

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Facebook to tackle fake news with educational campaign

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Facebook is launching an educational tool as part of measures it is taking to counter fake news.

For three days, an ad will appear at the top of users’ news feeds linking to advice on “how to spot fake news” and report it.

The campaign, which will be promoted in 14 countries, is “designed to help people become more discerning readers”, the social media firm said.

But experts questioned whether the measure would have any real impact.

“Until Facebook stops rewarding the architects of fake news with huge traffic, this problem will just get worse,” Tom Felle, a lecturer in digital journalism at City University told the BBC.

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http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39517033

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World wildlife ‘falls by 58% in 40 years’

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Global wildlife populations have fallen by 58% since 1970, a report says.

The Living Planet assessment, by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and WWF, suggests that if the trend continues that decline could reach two-thirds among vertebrates by 2020.

The figures suggest that animals living in lakes, rivers and wetlands are suffering the biggest losses.

Human activity, including habitat loss, wildlife trade, pollution and climate change contributed to the declines.

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forjamesworldwildlife1African elephants numbers have fallen dramatically as poaching has increased

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http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37775622

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Lost sleep leads to loss of brain cells, study suggests

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Sleep loss may be more serious than previously thought, causing a permanent loss of brain cells, research suggests.

In mice, prolonged lack of sleep led to 25% of certain brain cells dying, according to a study in The Journal of Neuroscience.

If the same is true in humans, it may be futile to try to catch up on missed sleep, say US scientists.

They think it may one day be possible to develop a drug to protect the brain from the side-effects of lost sleep.

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FBI on the hunt for eBay car ‘fraudster’

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The FBI has issued wanted posters for a man they say is behind an eBay car scam that has netted $3m (£1.8m).

Authorities in the US also want to track down six other fugitives in relation to the charges.

The gang were described as “masters of illusion” who convinced people to pay for cars that did not exist.

“They thought their distance would insulate them from law enforcement scrutiny. They were wrong,” said US attorney Loretta Lynch.

Convincing schemeThe FBI put out a wanted poster for 33-year-old Romanian Nicolae Popescu, charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.

“They siphoned funds from victims to fuel their greedy desires and created false identities, fake websites and counterfeit certificates of title in order to make the scheme more convincing,” said FBI Assistant Director, George Venizelos.

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Sleep ‘boosts brain cell numbers’

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Scientists believe they have discovered a new reason why we need to sleep – it replenishes a type of brain cell.

Sleep ramps up the production of cells that go on to make an insulating material known as myelin which protects our brain’s circuitry.

The findings, so far in mice, could lead to insights about sleep’s role in brain repair and growth as well as the disease MS, says the Wisconsin team.

The work is in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Dr Chiara Cirelli and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin found that the production rate of the myelin making cells, immature oligodendrocytes, doubled as mice slept.

The increase was most marked during the type of sleep that is associated with dreaming – REM or rapid eye movement sleep – and was driven by genes.

In contrast, the genes involved in cell death and stress responses were turned on when the mice were forced to stay awake.

Precisely why we need to sleep has baffled scientists for centuries. It’s obvious that we need to sleep to feel rested and for our mind to function well – but the biological processes that go on as we slumber have only started to be uncovered relatively recently.

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Milestone Study Probes Cancer Origin

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Scientists are reporting a significant milestone for cancer research after charting 21 major mutations behind the vast majority

of tumours.

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Tiny stem-cell livers grown in laboratory

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Tiny functioning human livers have been grown from stem cells in the laboratory by scientists in Japan.

They said they were “gobsmacked” when liver buds, the earliest stage of the organ’s development, formed spontaneously.

The team, reporting their findings in Nature, hope that transplanting thousands of liver buds could reverse liver failure.

Experts welcomed the findings, describing them as “exciting”.

Scientists around the world are trying to grow organs in the lab to overcome a shortage of organ donors.

Some patients already have bladders made from their own cells, but dense solid organs such as the liver and kidneys are much harder to produce.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23158955

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