Intermediate Word:  culottes (a) salad preparation implements  (b) ice tongs  (c) women's trousers cut to resemble a skirt  (d) convent initiates
Difficult Word: - tabaret  (a) moiré/satin-striped upholstery cloth  (b) a small, tall drum  (c) a low stool  (d) a belly dancer's costume

Investment In Energy R&D Declines Despite Soaring Prices, Supply Problems - SpaceDaily  Despite the current administration's expressed concern about the nation's energy problems, the 2005 federal budget reduced energy research and development by 11 percent below the 2004 level, Kammen and Nemet note. Equally worrisome is the 50 percent decline in U. S. companies' investments in energy research and development between 1991 and 2003. "An increase in federal energy R&D spending by a full factor of 5 to 10, or from $3 billion to $15-to-$30 billion would act as an economic and employment stimulus package, and is a small investment in our future that contrasts dramatically with the hundreds of billions we are spending fighting wars over oil or addressing the early effects of global warming," Kammen concluded. Research and development in the pharmaceutical industry, for example, is over 10 times that in the energy industry.   
Flu virus 1918 killer flu 'came from birds'  - BBC  US scientists have found the 1918 virus shares genetic mutations with the bird flu virus now circulating in Asia. Writing in Nature, they say their work underlines the threat the current strain poses to humans worldwide. Many experts believe it is only a matter of time before H5N1, or a similar strain, causes many deaths in humans - possibly after combining with a human flu strain. Crucially, the mutations identified by the US researchers were found in genes which control the virus' ability to replicate in host cells. "This study gives us an extra warning that H5N1 needs to be taken even more seriously than it has been up to now."  

Xena and Gabrielle (WM Keck Obs)

'10th planet' has moon companion  - BBC  Currently, the planet has been dubbed Xena; the moon will be called Gabrielle until official names are agreed. Xena (it also has the designation 2003 UB313) has a highly elliptical orbit. It is currently 14.5 billion km (9 billion miles) away, about 97 times further away than the Earth is from the Sun. The orbit is also tilted roughly 45 degrees above the orbital plane of the other planets. There are many scientists who believe that both Xena and Pluto are merely two largish objects in a huge population of rock-ice bodies orbiting the Sun in the far-distant region of the Solar System known as the Kuiper Belt.

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