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  China's First Regulations On Trade Of Endangered Species Comes Into EffectAugust 31, 2006 11:12 Applause for China's attempt at endangered species protection.

China's first regulation on the trade of endangered wild fauna and flora comes into effect on Sept. 1, and Chinese officials say it will be strictly enforced.

The rules cover wildlife listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). China joined the international convention in 1980.

Chen Jianwei, deputy director of the Office of State Endangered Species Trade Management, said the rules forbid trading of wildlife and related products that are banned by the convention.

Under the rules, approval from the Chinese Government is required for export and import wildlife or wildlife products for non-commercial purposes, such as scientific research, breeding, or exchanges.

Zhang Jianlong, deputy director of the State Forestry Administration, said the rules, known as the Regulations on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, will play an important role in protecting endangered species, safeguarding the ecology and help sustain the species.

  Evidence Of 'Dark Matter' ClaimedAugust 22, 2006 08:58 Astronomers used an array of powerful telescopes and cosmological measuring techniques to capture images that are the first direct evidence of "dark matter," the unseen material believed to comprise most of the mass of the universe, researchers announced Monday.

The breakthrough came from observing the aftermath of the collision of two massive galaxies - together known as the bullet cluster because of the shape of its cloud.

The cosmic crash separated the gas clouds that normally surround the galaxies from the stars within the galaxies, researchers from several universities said in a conference call.

Knowing that gravity follows mass, astronomers mapped the concentration of gravity and found it had separated from the gas clouds and remained with the swirling collection of billions of stars moving through space at millions of miles per hour. The gravity of the stars themselves wouldn't account for the gravity the astronomers detected.
  Space Pioneer Van Allen DiesAugust 10, 2006 11:23 James Van Allen, a pioneer in space physicst who helped propel the United States into the space race and discovered the Earth-circling radiation belts that now bear his name, died Wednesday at 91.

Van Allen died of heart failure at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, said Stephen Pradarelli, the spokesman for the University of Iowa, where Allen has worked for years.

Van Allen helped blaze the trail into space for America in the panicky weeks after the launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik on Oct. 4, 1957.

Four months after Sputnik, America launched its first successful space mission, Explorer 1, which carried in its payload a small Geiger counter developed by Van Allen. The instrument detected two belts of intense radiation surrounding Earth, later named as the Van Allen Belts.