On Thursday, the world's highest third generation (3G) mobile network services base station was set up at the bottom of Mount Everest.

Ncell, a mobile phone and internet operator in Nepal, said it set up a 3G base at an altitude of 5,200 meters (17,000 feet) near the village of Gorakshep, according to Aigars Benders, the chief technical officer of Ncell. "The speed of the 3G services will be up to 3.6 MB per second," Aigars said. "But we could have it up to 7.2 MB if there is demand."

A total of nine stations, with the lowest at 2,870 meters (9,400 feet) at Lukla where the airport in the Everest region is situated, came into operation on Thursday.

The service is mainly aimed at the approximately 30,000 tourists who come to trek in Nepal's Himalayan region every year.

A few hundred mountaineers attempt to climb Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain at 8,848 meters (29,028 feet) and it is estimated that the annual total number of mountaineers in the region number several hundred. Although Ncell has not tested its 3G services from the top of Everest, Aigars said it is theoretically possible.

Four of the base stations are run by solar power with a back-up battery that can power the stations for up to three days.

Sweden-based Teliasonera, the fifth largest mobile company in Europe, has the controlling and operating stake in Ncell.

"Teliasonera also has the world's lowest 3G base station in the world," said Teliasonera's CEO Lars Nyberg. He said that the lowest one is at 1,400 meters (4,595 feet) below sea level in a mine in Europe.

A 20 year old man, who can fit a soft drink can sideways in his flexible mouth, has won the World's Widest Mouth title at the "Big Mouth" competition.

Francisco Domingo Joaquim, from Angola, was discovered by researchers for the Guinness Book of World Records on YouTube. They spent two years tracking him down, UK media reports.

Joaquim, whose mouth is 17cm wide, shot to stardom on the streets of Luanda, the capital of Angola, performing jaw-dropping tricks. He has even performed on Italian TV, popping a can in and out of his mouth 14 times in a minute.

At the Big Mouth competition, Joaquim competed alongside others who crammed saucers, coffee cups and beer bottles into their mouths.

Joaquim said it was a "dream come true" to be honored as a Guinness World Record-holder.

The world's longest snake “Fluffy” at 24 feet and 300 pounds – has died at a zoo in Ohio.

Fluffy, a reticulated python recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's longest snake, died Tuesday night. A necropsy found a tumor on her ovary, according to a press release from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Fluffy was 18 years old and had lived since 2007 at the Columbus Zoo, which had built a special habitat for her.

"She was greatly loved here by the staff, mainly because she was a gentle snake," zoo spokeswoman Carrie Pratt told CNN affiliate WBNS-TV.

Reticulated pythons are non-venomous constrictors found in tropical forests in Southeast Asia, according to the zoo's website. They are the world's longest snakes, averaging 10 to 20 feet in length. They live on small mammals like rodents but sometimes eat wild pigs, deer and primates.

James Cameron will begin writing the scripts for 2 sequels to his blockbuster movie "Avatar" early next year, aiming to land the first one in theaters by the end of 2014.

Executives at 20th Century Fox publicized Wednesday that Mr. Cameron has settled on two sequels as his next film projects with plans to begin production in late 2011.

Mr. Cameron had been up in the air on what he would do next, telling reporters as recently as last week that he had not decided whether to shoot another film before returning to the "Avatar" story.

"Avatar," a science-fiction adventure movie that was ground-breaking in its use of 3-D technology, pulled in $2.8 billion at the box office world-wide, making it the biggest theater draw ever. Higher prices for 3-D tickets helped propel the revenue. The movie took years to make and is estimated to have cost over $300 million.

The studio expects to have the first of the as-yet-untitled sequels in theaters in December 2014, with the third movie in the franchise following in December 2015.

The insects – bees, termites, spiders, and flies – had been entombed in the vast Cambay deposit in western India for around 50 million years. Scientists had long assumed that India was for a time an isolated island-continent, and consequently expected that the insects found in the amber would differ significantly from that elsewhere in Asia.

But researchers wrote in their study appearing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the insects were not unique as would be expected.

"We know India was isolated, but when and for precisely how long is unclear," says David Grimaldi, curator in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History. "The biological evidence in the amber deposit shows that there was some biotic connection," he wrote.

Rather than finding evolutionary ties to Africa and Madagascar – land masses geologists say India was most recently linked to – the researchers found relatives in Northern Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. "The amber shows, similar to an old photo, what life looked like in India just before the collision with the Asian continent," says Jes Rust, professor of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Universitaet Bonn in Germany.

"The insects trapped in the fossil resin cast a new light on the history of the subcontinent," said Michael Engel, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and curator of entomology at the University of Kansas. "What we found indicates that India was not completely isolated, even though the Cambay deposit dates from a time that precedes the slamming of India into Asia," he said. "There might have been some linkages."

Paul, the oracle octopus who shot to fame in the World Cup this summer for his eerie ability to foresee the results of Germany's soccer matches, has died at his home in Oberhausen at the age of two.

English-born Paul made headlines across the globe after he correctly forecasted that Germany would fare in seven matches, before his psychic powers were tested again for the final. After Germany's semi-final defeat, Paul tipped Spain to beat the Netherlands in the final. Paul's prediction duly came true: Spain won.

Staff at the Oberhausen Sea Life Center in western Germany said in a statement they were "devastated" to learn of Paul's death when they returned to work on Tuesday. "He appears to have passed away peacefully during the night, of natural causes, and we are consoled by the knowledge that he enjoyed a good life," said the centre's manager Stefan Porwoll.

Before matches, two containers of food were placed in the eight-legged creature's tank, each one bearing the flag of one of the teams about to compete for their chance to become world champions. The container Paul picked first was seen as his pick.

A Russian newspaper said in July it had got Paul to predict who would be Russia's next president -- but that the results would be kept secret until the election year of 2012.

Indonesian authorities in Central Java have begun evacuating thousands of inhabitants living in the slope of Mount Merapi since the top red alert of eruption was issued, officials said on Tuesday.

Mount Merapi which is 2,968 meters high, located in densely populated area of Central Java, has shown increased seismic activity, including hundreds of tremors and spewing lava, since the warning was raised to the highest level on Monday. Over 10,000 people live in the slope of the mountain and 40,000 others near the volcano, the official said.

Volunteers, soldiers and officials have helped women, children, elderly to leave the dangerous zone at radius of 10 kilometers from the volcano, while others escaped the area by themselves, said Teguh Raharjo, an official at Disaster and Mitigation Management Agency in Yogyakarta.

Mount Merapi last erupted in 2006 killing two people, after eruption in 1994 that left 60 dead. Some 1,300 people died in an eruption in 1930.

Indonesia, which lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a zone with tense volcanic and seismic activities, has 129 active volcanoes.

A 26-year-old member of the U.S. national swimming team died during an open-water race in the United Arab Emirates Saturday, according to event officials.

Fran Crippen died during the last leg of the 10-kilometer Marathon Swimming World Cup in Fujairah, said the International Swimming Federation, or FINA. The cause of death is under investigation, FINA said. Swimming World magazine reported that Crippen fell unconscious during the event and was found by deep-sea divers two hours later near the race's final buoy.

The U.S. Olympic Committee issued a statement Saturday saying it was "extremely saddened" to learn of Crippen's death. Crippen won bronze in the 10-kilometer event at the 2009 FINA World Championships and was the gold medalist in the same event at the 2007 Pan American Games, according to USA Swimming.

Crippen graduated in 2006 from the University of Virginia, where he was twice named Atlantic Coast Conference Swimmer of the Year.

Coral reefs around the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia are dying at rates that may be the worst ever recorded, scientists said this week. Death rates as high as 80% have been recorded for some species, according to the study performed by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University.

“It is certainly the worst coral die-off we have seen since 1998. It may prove to be the worst such event known to science,” said Andrew Baird, a principal research fellow for James Cook University in Australia.

The coral bleaching extends from the Seychelles in the middle of the Indian Ocean to the Philippines in Southeast Asia and encompasses much of the Coral Triangle, an area scientists refer to as the “Amazon rainforest of the seas” or the most diverse marine ecosystem on Earth.

A mass of abnormally hot water which moved into the Indian Ocean several months ago is behind the bleaching, according to the ARC report. The hot water caused the corals to shed microscopic algae which help nourish them. The algae also give color to the corals, so when the algae are gone, the corals starve and appear white or bleached. Dive operators reported water temperatures were 4 degrees Centigrade higher than average during the die-off, according to the ARC report.

Baird blamed “human-induced global warming” for the decline of the corals and said action must be taken to reduce carbon emissions that help retain heat in the atmosphere.

Every year there are hundreds of contests held around the United States to see who can grow the largest pumpkin. This year it seems the winner is a couple from Stillwater Minnesota. Their pumpkin weighs in 1810 pounds, earning it the world record for heaviest pumpkin. The previous record was only 1725 pounds, so this new record pumpkin is 85 pounds heavier than the previous record holder.

Chris and Amy Stevens are the couple who grew this world record pumpkin; and they are currently on their way to New York City for making an appearance popular television show Live with Regis and Kelly.

During the show the couple will officially be given the world record by the Guinness Book of World Records; thereafter the massive pumpkin will be put on display at the New York Botanical Gardens. As is tradition, the pumpkin will be carved the day before Halloween by a master pumpkin carver. Following the carving it will remain on display for approximately a week, depending on how long the pumpkin holds its form.

Reports say the couple used manure, seaweed, rotting fish, and numerous other unique fertilizers to help grow such a massive pumpkin.

A 300-pound chimpanzee escaped from its owner Tuesday afternoon and ran wild through a Kansas City neighborhood, scaring walkers, pounding on passing cars and breaking a police car’s windshield.

The 21-year-old ape, named Sueko, also pointed and laughed at residents and flipped off an animal control officer near 78th Street and Indiana Avenue, witnesses said.

The chimp started her adventure by trying to get into neighbours' vehicles and front doors. She then climbed up a tree.

Initial efforts to shoot the animal with a tranquilizer dart failed and the chimp climbed on to a patrol car and struck the passenger-side window with its fist before running off.

Officers were prepared to shoot Sueko dead if she approached a member of the public, but that extreme measure was not called for and her owner was eventually able to coax her into a cage.

Police Capt. Rich Lockhart said that the owner has been cited for having a dangerous animal within city limits.

It is illegal to have a chimp — caged or uncaged — within the city limits of Kansas City, city officials said.

The death toll in the Philippines from Typhoon Megi rose to 11 as the powerful storm moved away from the country.

According to civil defense officials, four people died in Pangasinan province: Three were killed by a falling tree and the fourth by lightning.

Three more died in a storm surge in Isabela province, and one person drowned while trying to cross a river in Nueva Ecija province.

Additionally, the National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council reported that one person drowned in the town of Cagayan, one was killed by a falling tree in Kalinga province, and one was killed by another tree in the city of Baguio.

On Tuesday, Megi carried sustained winds of about 167 kph (104 mph) off the coast of the Philippines in the South China Sea, CNN meteorologist Jennifer Delgado said. But parts of the Philippines could still be vulnerable to mudslides and landslides.

The otter has made a significant comeback from the brink of extinction, the Environment Agency has said.

In the 1970s, Otters almost disappeared from England, as pesticides which were routinely used three decades ago brought their numbers to near extinction levels. Now many of those chemicals have been banned and the creatures are present once again in rivers across England.

In many watercourses in the south-west and along the River Wye otter numbers are at maximum capacity. Their numbers are being limited not by pollution but their own territorial behaviour. That recovery is rapidly being matched elsewhere, and otters are now found in every English county except Kent.

There are also healthy populations in Northumbria, Cumbria, Wessex and the Upper Severn.

Paul Raven, head of conservation and ecology at the Environment Agency, said: "The otter is at the top of the food chain, and as such is an important indicator of the health of English rivers.

"The recovery of otters from near-extinction shows how far we've come in controlling pollution and improving water quality."

The agency foresees the species will fully recover in numbers across England in less than 20 years.

A Nepalese fruit seller's son with the body of a toddler turned 18 on Thursday and was officially declared the world's shortest man by Guinness record officials.

Khagendra Thapa Magar measured in at 26.4 inches, displacing the former record holder, Edward Nino Hernandez of Colombia, who measures 27 inches.

Cheers went up when Magar was handed a world record certificate by Guinness official Marco Frigatti.
"I can confirm that as of today Khagendra Thapa Magar is officially the shortest man in the world," Frigatti announced as he handed over the certificate. Magar's family has campaigned for years to get him the crown, but earlier requests to Guinness were rejected because of the possibility he might grow.

"We had to wait till he was 18 and became an adult," Frigatti said.

Magar, who weighs 12 pounds, 5 ounces, was tiny even at birth, weighing just 1.3 pounds.

A humpback whale has broken the world record for travel by any mammal, swimming at least 9,800 kilometers (6,125 miles) from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean in search of a mate, marine biologists reported in Biology Letters.

Her incredible journey was more than twice as far as humpbacks usually manage on a single migration.

The whale was first photographed by researchers from a boat as she cruised off the east coast of Brazil in 1999.

Just over two years later, in 2001, she was one of a trio of whales spotted in the Indian Ocean off Madagascar’s east coast by a commercial whale watch boat, and identified by the distinctive markings on her tail.

Scientists as yet do not know whether the female's incredible journey was intentional or the result of a navigational error.

Aisha was the girl who shocked the world in a Time Magazine cover that hoped to reveal the condition of many women in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

Aisha, 19, was given to her husband’s family by her father as a payment of a debt. It was here that she experienced ill-treatment and was forced to sleep in the stable with the animals. Upon being caught trying to escape, her nose and ears were chopped by her husband as punishment. Then, She was left in the mountains to die.

Able to crawl to her grandfather’s house, she was taken to an American medical facility where she was cared for ten weeks. After that she was moved to a secret place and she was flown in August to U.S. by the Grossman Burn Foundation to stay with an American family.

Yesterday TV cameras broadcasted her bravely smiling with a prosthetic nose as she received the Enduring Heart award of the foundation that helped her.

She had a prosthetic nose fitted at the West Hills Hospital. Dr Peter H Grossman said they hoped to give Aisha a more "permanent solution". This might involve rebuilding her nose and ears using bone, tissue and cartilage from other parts of her body.

Virgin Galactic's space tourism rocket SpaceShipTwo achieved its first solo glide flight Sunday, another step in the company's eventual plans to fly paying passengers.

SpaceShipTwo was carried aloft by its mother ship to 45,000 feet and released over California's Mojave Desert. After the separation, SpaceShipTwo, manned by two pilots, flew freely for 11 minutes before landing at an airport runway, followed by the mother ship.

The entire test flight lasted about 25 minutes. "It flew beautifully," Virgin Galactic chief executive George Whitesides said.

Until now, SpaceShipTwo has flown attached to the wing of its special jet-powered mother ship, dubbed WhiteKnightTwo. Sunday was the first time the spaceship flew on its own. Whitesides said SpaceShipTwo will make a series of additional glide flights before rocketing to space.

Tickets to ride aboard SpaceShipTwo cost $200,000. About 370 customers have plunked down deposits totaling $50 million, according to Virgin Galactic.

Due to its inability to convert the latest Harry Potter movie into a worthwhile 3D presentation, Warner Bros is going to release the first part of The Deathly Hallows in 2D.

The studio, rife with pressure to get the movie out for its scheduled November 19 premiere date, said it did not want to keep fans waiting just because it couldn't do the 3D conversion in time.

"We do not want to disappoint fans who have long anticipated the conclusion of this extraordinary journey, and to that end, we are releasing our film day-and-date-on November 19, 2010, as planned," said Warner Bros in a statement.

Because it doesn't want to close out a cash cow movie series before it has to, Warner is splitting up the movie version of Harry Potter's final book into two separate releases.

The final-final Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is set for a theatrical release of July 15. Warner Bros says that project is still expected to be released in 3D. So, half of The Deathly Hallows will be in 3D and half won't.

Hollywood heartthrob Johnny Depp made a surprise visit to a school in London dressed as his most popular silver-screen character, pirate Jack Sparrow.

Depp made the trip after a nine-year-old pupil wrote to the star asking for help staging a 'mutiny' against the teachers while he was filming the fourth installment of the 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' franchise nearby.

The school was told just 10 minutes before that Depp would be arriving and two blacked out cars swept through the school gates.

An onlooker said she heard the most "incredible screams of joy" as the actor entered the school.

In 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides', Depp stars alongside Penelope Cruz who plays an old flame of the crazy ship captain who heads off on a journey to find the fountain of youth.

Beatrice Delap who had written to the star's alter-ego asking for help, was then asked by the star to make herself known from the assembled pupils once he arrived, and gave her a hug.

Scores of animal adopters and their furry friends will gather at Bonython Park this weekend in a bid to set a world record for the largest reunion of adopted shelter animals.

The Animal Welfare League (AWL) is holding its first Animal Reunion on Sunday to rejoice shelter animals and their owners, while also attempting a Guinness World Record. Entertainment on Sunday will include pet information stalls, face painting, dog grooming, food and drinks, animal behavior shows and a police dog demonstration.

AWL state communications officer Brenda Champion says the reunion aims to highlight what it means to adopt a lost or abandoned animal from a shelter and give them a second chance.“We want people to bring their pets, even if they didn’t adopt from us,” Ms Champion says.

“It’s about celebrating owning a pet and adopting from a shelter.”

Animal Reunion, Bonython Park, October 10, from 9am. All money raised on the day will help the AWL care for animals now in the shelter.

Around two dozen environmentalists and civic leaders are taking part in a daylong tour of New York's Plum Island.

The tour Wednesday is a sort of a real estate "open house," as the federal government proceeds with plans to close an animal disease lab there and sell the 840-acre property off eastern Long Island.

Many environmentalists are hoping that a majority of the island is retained as a wildlife refuge. They say some development of the area near where the animal lab is located, might be acceptable.

The U.S. General Services Administration has responsibility for selling the island. It is compiling a draft environmental impact statement, a preliminary step necessary to proceed with any sale.

Some estimate the property could fetch $50 million.

A new system that will help scientists to monitor the impact of climate change in the Himalayas using images from NASA satellites was launched in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu on Tuesday.

Nearly 1.3 billion people depend on the water that flows down from the Himalayan glaciers, which experts say are melting at an alarming rate, threatening to bring floods and later drought to the region.

The web-based system, called SERVIR, will allow scientists, governments and aid agencies to access satellite images of the Himalayas, giving them early warning of floods and other disasters and aiding research on climate change.

A NASA statement said SERVIR, launched in partnership with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu, could be used to address threats to biodiversity as well as risks from flooding, forest fires and storms.

"The whole of the Himalayan region is something of a black hole for scientists and we hope to use this system to bridge the data gap," said Basanta Shrestha, a senior ICIMOD executive. "We can use this to monitor the dynamics of the cryosphere (ice systems) in the light of climate change, which is very important in terms of both disaster management and future water availability."

A pet alligator pulled from a Long Island liquor store by Suffolk County SPCA, even surprised its owner, who thought the reptile was just a large lizard.

The 3-foot gator had been living in a storage room for about two months at Alpine Wine & Liquor in Wading River - where workers fed the beast about 45 goldfish a day, officials and the owner said.

"We didn't know it was an alligator," said owner Nancy Corcione. "I didn't think it was illegal. We had no clue."

An employee brought in the creature, which can reach up to 1,000 pounds, shortly after it was born, saying he needed a temporary home for it until he found a new apartment, Corcione said.

The 1m (3ft) animal has been sent to a sanctuary, while two employees of the store have been issued tickets for illegally possessing an animal.

The remains of Tropical Storm Nicole, as it moved from the Carolinas to New England on Friday, battered the U.S. Atlantic Coast like a hurricane.

Nicole was a minimal tropical storm for just six hours on Wednesday, but the broad, ragged system poured heavy rain on Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, south Florida and the Bahamas before continuing its northern path.

On Thursday, the death toll from the storm rose to 12 in Jamaica and four in the United States. The storm's remnants were moving up the U.S. East Coast and brought gusting winds, pounding surf and coastal flooding to the region.

Flood watches and high wind warnings remained in effect for much of the U.S. Northeast through Friday morning. Four people died in eastern North Carolina after their vehicle hydroplaned on a highway and went into a canal, according to the Washington County Sheriff's department.

In mountainous Jamaica, three days of torrential rain from the system caused flash flooding that killed a dozen people. Eight more were missing and feared dead.

Schools were closed for a second day on Thursday and villages across the Caribbean island reported serious damage to roads, houses, bridges, crops and livestock. Nicole was the 14th named storm of the six-month Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season, which runs through November 30.

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