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Missing French girl found, man arrested

A 15-year-old French girl whose disappearance had triggered a Europe-wide alert was found safe and sound Friday and the much older man she disappeared with was arrested, judicial sources said. Laureelen Wavelet, 15, had not been seen since she left her school in the northern city of Lens on April 10 in the company of Christophe Lamarre, 48. Her father, Sylvain Wavelet, was informed on Friday that the teenager and Lamarre had been apprehended in Lens. Lamarre was taken into custody and was expected to appear before a judge later Friday on charges of abducting a minor.

Signs of healing in Texas town a year after deadly plant blast

By Lisa Maria Garza WEST, Texas (Reuters) - Still healing from multiple broken bones after the force of a deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant lifted him out of his boots a year ago, one first responder has begun to address the anguish of losing his team members. Volunteer firefighter Robert Payne said there were challenges that went far beyond physical rehabilitation in recovering from the April 17, 2013, blast that killed 15 people, most of them first responders.

China says one-fifth of its farmland polluted, mostly with toxins from industrialization

BEIJING, China - Faced with growing public anger about a poisonous environment, China's government released a yearslong study that shows nearly one-fifth of the country's farmland is contaminated with toxic metals, a stunning indictment of unfettered industrialization under the Communist Party's authoritarian rule. The report, previously deemed so sensitive it was classified as a state secret, names the heavy metals cadmium, nickel and arsenic as the top contaminants.

Signs of healing in Texas town a year after deadly plant blast

By Lisa Maria Garza WEST, Texas (Reuters) - Still healing from multiple broken bones after the force of a deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant lifted him out of his boots a year ago, one first responder has begun to address the anguish of losing his team members. Volunteer firefighter Robert Payne said there were challenges that went far beyond physical rehabilitation in recovering from the April 17, 2013, blast that killed 15 people, most of them first responders.

Info may prompt seniors to taper off sleeping pills

By Anne Harding NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Older people are willing and able to get themselves off medications like sleeping pills once they're informed of the potential harms, according to a new Canadian study. "Even among patients who have been taking sleeping pills for 30 years, many of them in their 80s and 90s were able to get off the sleeping pills once they realized that these pills could cause falls, memory problems and car accidents," lead author Dr. Cara Tannenbaum of the University of Montreal told Reuters Health.

Sotheby's plans auction of huge yellow diamond in May

One of the world's largest yellow diamonds will go under the hammer in Geneva next month, with the Sotheby's auction house hoping to rake in up to $25 million for the gem. The Graff Vivid Yellow, the colour of a daffodil and weighing 100.09 carats, figures among a wide range of pieces for sale at Sotheby's spring Magnificent Jewels and Nobel Jewels auction in the Swiss city on May 13. The rock, one of the world's largest cut diamonds of any colour, is mounted as a ring and sparkles with "extraordinary fire and brilliance," the auction house said Wednesday.

Signs of healing in Texas town a year after deadly plant blast

By Lisa Maria Garza WEST, Texas (Reuters) - Still healing from multiple broken bones after the force of a deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant lifted him out of his boots a year ago, one first responder has begun to address the anguish of losing his team members. Volunteer firefighter Robert Payne said there were challenges to recovering from the April 17, 2013 blast that killed 15 people, most of them first responders, that went far beyond physical rehabilitation.

China government survey shows 16 percent of its soil is polluted

BEIJING (Reuters) - A nationwide investigation has shown that as much as 16 percent of China's soil contains higher-than-permitted levels of pollution, the environment ministry said on Thursday. China is desperate to tackle the impact of rapid industrialization and urbanization on its food supplies, with the aim of maintaining self-sufficiency and reducing its dependence on grain imports amid soaring demand.

US Coast Guard seize $110 million worth of cocaine

The US Coast Guard said Tuesday it had seized an estimated $110 million worth of cocaine during two recent operations in the Caribbean. The combined bust of 3,300 kilos (3.63 tons) is "one of the largest in a long time," Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney told AFP. The first seizure occurred south of Jamaica on March 15, where the Coast Guard found about 97 bales containing some 2,400 kilos of cocaine floating near a fishing boat suspected of smuggling drugs. The estimated wholesale value of the find is $80 million.

Sweet gas, ski resorts get a pass from province on environmental reviews

VANCOUVER - The B.C. government is exempting about 99 per cent of the natural gas produced in the province from automatic environmental assessment reviews. Under orders in council passed without public debate or fanfare on Monday, natural gas processing plants that produce less than two tonnes of sulphur emissions per day — "sweet" natural gas, as opposed to higher-emission "sour gas" — will no longer face the assessment as of April 28.
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