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ENVIRONMENT El nio polishes its image WASHINGTON - El Nio may not have been as detrimental as once thought, notes a study by Stanley Changnon, a leading climatologist.

The weather phenomenon produced only a mild winter in the Northern states and blocked Atlantic Coast hurricanes. El Nio is a periodic warming of the water in the eastern Pacific Ocean that shifts weather patterns and can affect the climate worldwide. Other climatologists say La Nia, a cooling of the Pacific ocean's surface, is worse for America because it causes more hurricanes and tornadoes that spread over a wider region.

Selling rain forest oxygen

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS - Honduras is joining other poor nations that "sell" oxygen to industrialized countries and use the money to protect tropical forests. An agreement with Canada will be signed next week.

The deal stems from developed nations' large production of carbon dioxide, the gas believed to cause global warming. Therefore, some think, these countries are morally responsible to pay for the protection of endangered carbon dioxide-consuming ecosystems, such as the Honduran tropical rain forests.

With the agreement, Canada will establish a joint office in Honduras to monitor forest conservation efforts. Experts estimate the Honduran forests absorb between 5 million and 10 million tons of carbon dioxide a year. The country will charge between $10 and $30 a ton.

SCIENCE Can I get sushi with that? LUBBOCK, TEXAS - Researchers at Texas Tech University say a two-year research project indicates cattle might be better off eating seaweed than grass. Researchers say cattle fed with seaweed meal are more resistant to disease, gain more weight, and are more likely to be of a higher grade. Seaweed contains high concentrations of vitamins A, D, and E, but beyond that, researchers aren't sure why it's good for cattle.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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