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Maple sap collecting in North Amherst.

Earth Matters: Trees are nature’s hydraulic wonders

Friday, January 30, 2015

Every year when maple sugaring time rolls around, I try to figure out when to tap the trees to make the most out of our short sugar season. It largely depends on the weather, and how the trees respond to it. The latter is actually quite complicated. Trees have a remarkable ability to pump water very high with very little effort. Trees are amazingly complex beings and nowhere is this more evident than in their hydraulic system. Although we now understand how they do it, we humans cannot build any comparable structure. Usually, tree sap is raised by the evaporation of water from the leaves, …

Obama looks for 7% boost in budget plan

Thursday, January 29, 2015

WASHINGTON — Declaring an end to “mindless austerity,” President Barack Obama called for a surge in government spending Thursday, and asked Congress to throw out the sweeping budget cuts both parties agreed to four years ago when deficits were spiraling out of control. Obama’s proposed $74 billion in added spending — about 7 …

Senate OKs Keystone bill; veto looms

Thursday, January 29, 2015

WASHINGTON — After three weeks and nearly 50 amendment votes, the Senate on Thursday approved legislation to expedite construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Passage secured not only a top Republican policy victory, but a political success for new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who made Keystone his priority. The issue also became the first test of his promise to return the Senate …

Gas blast wrecks Mexican hospital

Thursday, January 29, 2015

MEXICO CITY — Injured and bleeding, mothers carrying infants fled from a maternity hospital shattered by a powerful gas explosion Thursday, and rescuers swung sledgehammers to break through fallen concrete hunting for others who might be trapped. At …

AG nominee gains backing

Thursday, January 29, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch won two key Republican endorsements Thursday en route to likely confirmation as the first black woman in the nation’s top law enforcement job. “I believe she’s not only qualified but …

Malaysia declares crash of MH370 an accident

Thursday, January 29, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia’s government formally declared still-missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 an accident on Thursday and said all those on board were presumed dead, paving the way for compensation claims but angering victims’ families still waiting …

Treasure hunter eluded police with cash, tradecraft

Thursday, January 29, 2015

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A deep-sea treasure hunter who vanished during a court fight over his $50 million haul of gold bars and coins eluded capture by hiding in a two-room hotel suite under a fake name, …

As Romney weighs ’16 bid, past donors commit to Jeb Bush

Thursday, January 29, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa — Closing in on a decision about whether to again run for president, Mitt Romney is finding that several past major fundraisers and donors in key states have defected to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. …

Teen with fake gun storms Dutch broadcaster

Thursday, January 29, 2015

HILVERSUM, Netherlands (AP) — A 19-year-old brandishing a fake weapon threatened a security guard to gain access to the headquarters of Dutch national broadcaster NOS and demand airtime Thursday night before police stormed a TV studio to arrest …

Colleges seek economic diversity in students abroad

Thursday, January 29, 2015

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Widely regarded overseas as places only for children of the rich and powerful, top American universities like Yale and Harvard are increasing efforts to attract the best international students, regardless of their financial backgrounds. …

Most of Hawaii’s coral recover from mass bleaching

Thursday, January 29, 2015

HONOLULU — Coral rely on algae for food and their survival. So when the stress of warmer-than-average ocean temperatures prompted many of Hawaii’s corals to expel algae last year — a phenomenon called bleaching because coral lose their …

Senate grills Obama’s attorney general pick

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WASHINGTON — Confronting skeptical Republicans, attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch pledged a new start with Congress and independence from President Barack Obama Wednesday, even as she defended the president’s unilateral protections for millions of immigrants in the country …

Civil rights convictions tossed in SC, 54 years on

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

ROCK HILL, S.C. — For a moment, Clarence Graham’s heart raced. Fifty four years after he and eight fellow black men served a month of hard labor for sitting at a whites-only lunch counter, a judge declared that …