Loch Ness monster sightings down

Fewer people are reporting sightings of the legendary Loch-Ness monster in Scotland, prompting a big concern that skepticism about its existence could threaten tourism in the region.

There have only been just two reports of sightings this year, compared to three in 2006 and much lower than a decade ago, when the annual number sightings was consistently in the double digits, The Times newspaper said Saturday.

“It’s becoming a potential crisis,” said Mikko Takala, 39, a founding member of the Loch Ness Monster Fan Club who runs four webcams on the lake’s north-shore.

Is the monster dead?

Aliens caused Sicily fires

Aliens were responsible for a series of unexplained fires in fridges, TV’s and mobile phones in an Italian village, according to an Italian government report.

Canneto di Caronia, in northern Sicily, drew attention three years ago after residents reported everyday household objects bursting into flames.

TV news footage at the time showed electrical appliances as well as cookers, a pile of wedding presents and furniture smouldering.

Now in an interim leaked report published by several Italian newspapers it has emerged that the Civil Protection Department has concluded the most likely cause was “aliens”.

The report was ordered by the Italian government and brought together dozens of experts including a NASA scientist. Their two year investigation has cost an estimated £1 million.

According to the report the fires were “caused by a high power electro magnetic emissions which were not man made and reached a power of between 12 and 15 gigawatts.”

The report also detailed a possible UFO landing close to the village, citing “burnt imprints which have not been explained were found in a field.”

Francesco Mantegna Venerando, Sicily’s Civil Protection chief who coordinated the report, said: “This is not the final report. We are still working on our conclusions and this has been leaked.

“We are not saying that little green men from Mars started the fires but that unnatural forces capable of creating a large amount of electromagnetic energy were responsible.

“This is just one possibility we are also looking at another one which involves the testing of top secret weapons by an unknown power which are also capable of producing an enormous amount of energy.”

Scientists Create New Life Form in Lab

A scientist who built a synthetic chromosome from laboratory chemicals is expected to announce the creation of a new species, the first new artificial-life form on Earth, British newspaper The Guardian reported Sunday.
The new species is a form of bacteria, and the announcement, which could come as early as Monday, is expected to provoke a substantial ethical debate about the manufacturing of life forms in a test tube, as well the dangers posed by introducing a new species, The Guardian reported.

Craig Venter, the genetics specialist who spearheaded the landmark breakthrough and heads the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Md., where the research was conducted, said the new species could lead to new energy sources and new methods for combatting global warming.

“We are going from reading our genetic code to the ability to write it,” Venter told The Guardian. “That gives us the hypothetical ability to do things never contemplated before,” he said.

For example, the bacteria could be capable of absorbing carbon monoxide, a possible solution to global warming, Venter said.

According to The Guardian, a team of 20 elite scientists assembled by Venter at his institute has already constructed a synthetic chromosome from lab chemicals—also a landmark acheivement. The man-made chromosome will be transplanted into an existing bacterial cell and is expected to take control of the cell. When the synthetic DNA takes over, the cell will be a new species.

While critics acknowledge that artificially manufactured life forms could lead to such positive developments as new drugs or treatments for disease, the potential dangers could be equally unlimited.

“It could be a contribution to humanity such as new drugs or a huge threat to humanity such as bio-weapons,” Pat Mooney, director of ETC Group, a Canadian bioethics organization, told The Guardian.

Venter has provoked additional controversy by applying for a patent for the synthetic bacterium, The Guardian reported.