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crunch time for la

Los angeles - Forces in the earth's crust are moving downtown Los Angeles toward the San Gabriel Mountains, possibly making the region more susceptible to earthquakes, researchers say. Using satellite surveying techniques, researchers found that the downtown area is edging toward the mountain range by about 1/5th inch each year. The crunched area responds by slowly building up mountains, said the study, which was published in the August issue of the journal Geology.

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Itchy nose, itchy antenna

HOuston - Circadian rhythms - the daily cycles of activity and behavior controlled by a gene-based mechanism - are often referred to as the brain's clock. But in some creatures, there are clocks outside the brain as well. Like those inside the head, these "satellite" mechanisms act through the expression of proteins by specific genes, known as clock genes.

In fruit flies, one center of circadian control has been found to be in cells in the antennas. Just what behavior this satellite mechanism controls, however, had been a mystery. Now, researchers from the University of Houston have determined that it controls the flies' sense of smell.

In a study published in the journal Nature, the researchers reported that normal fruit flies had heightened sensitivity to odors from certain chemicals depending on time of day.

RELIGION

Power sharing in churches

LONDON - An interdenominational women's synod has written to the heads of the churches in Britain and Ireland calling for women to be allowed half the places "on all decisionmaking committees and commissions." The WISE - from Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and England - church women also seek the ordination of women priests in the Roman Catholic Church and women bishops in the Anglican churches of Britain and Ireland, according to Ecumenical News International.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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