- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 5, 2006


Athens breeds super mosquitoes

ATHENS — Cramped housing conditions and air pollution in Athens have given rise to a “super breed” of mosquito that is larger, faster and more adept at locating human prey, a Greek daily has reported.

Athens-based mosquitoes can detect humans at a distance of 25 to 30 yards and distinguish colors, unlike their color-blind counterparts elsewhere in the country that smell blood only up to 20 yards, Ta Nea daily reported.

The “super mosquitoes” of the Greek capital also beat their wings up to 500 times a second — compared with 350 beats for other variations — and are larger by 0.3 micrograms on average, the paper said, citing a study conducted by Aristoteleio University in the northern city of Salonika.


Chavez displays Russian weapons

CARACAS — President Hugo Chavez marked Venezuela’s independence day yesterday by showing off Russian fighter jets that his government is planning to buy and new helicopters and rifles that it purchased after Washington blocked U.S. arms sales to Caracas.

Two Sukhoi Su-30MK fighters sent from Russia roared overhead as troops, tanks and vehicles filed past Mr. Chavez and his counterparts from Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay who were visiting for a summit of the Mercosur trade bloc.

Mr. Chavez, a former army officer, is seeking to buy 24 of the high-performance Sukhoi fighters to replace his government’s F-16 jets in a deal that analysts estimate would cost nearly $1 billion. He already has bought Kalashnikov rifles and attack helicopters from Russia.


Vaccines cleared as cause of autism

MONTREAL — Common childhood vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella do not cause autism, said a study published yesterday in the scientific journal Pediatrics.

Researchers at the Montreal Children’s Hospital dismissed suspicions that mercury-based thimerosal, once used as a preservative in some vaccines, was behind increased rates of the disorder after looking at 28,000 children in Canada’s province of Quebec.

“There is no relationship between the level of exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines and rates of autism,” lead researcher Eric Fombonne said.


Financial hub under water

BOMBAY — Large tracts of India’s western financial hub of Bombay were under water yesterday as the weather bureau warned further heavy rains and the death toll from the monsoon deluge rose to nine.

Police said that since the rains began lashing the teeming city of 18 million people on Saturday, two persons have been fatally shocked, two have been hit by lightning and two were crushed by a falling tree.

The deaths brought to at least 234 the number who have been killed across India since the arrival of the monsoons in May.

Bombay received 17 inches of rain on Tuesday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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