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UK unveils emissions trading

Britain launched the world's first national emissions trading program this week as part of its drive to cut greenhouse gas pollution, seen by many scientists as an important contributor to global warming. Under the voluntary scheme, companies set themselves targets to cut their emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, and will be given cash incentives by the government if they meet their pollution goals. Firms will either reduce their own emissions, or buy the right to pollute from other companies that have exceeded their targets. The program starts April 2002, and will save a reported 7 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2010.

Religion may affect mortality

There has been a lot of research suggesting that being religious is good for a person's health. Now, a study suggests that struggling with religious beliefs during an illness diminishes the chances of recovering. Kenneth Pargament of Duke University and colleagues questioned and followed 596 older patients from 1996 to 1997. Patients who reported that they "felt alienated from or unloved by God and attributed their illness to the devil" had a 19 to 28 percent increase in the risk of dying, the researchers reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

They offered a variety of reasons for the findings, such as individuals alienating themselves from the support and care of family, friends, clergy, and health professionals.

Share a laugh with Fido

Pet owners may be planning to share a walk or a jog with their beloved canines this evening, but few might know they can share a laugh with their dogs as well. Researchers from the Lake Tahoe-based Sierra Nevada College showed that 15 puppies responded to hearing a recording of a dog laugh by tossing chew toys and romping around one another. When scientists tried a few chuckles themselves, the dogs continued to act out enthusiastically.

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