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Reuters Select: Greece’s dark age
April 6, 2017 / 3:31 PM / 8 months ago

Reuters Select: Greece’s dark age

Greece's dark age: how austerity turned off the lightsDeepening poverty in Greece following seven years of austerity that was demanded by the country's international creditors is causing many families to owe so much to the country’s power utilities that they cannot use electricity in their homes. The state-controlled Public Power Corporation has 2.6 billion euros ($2.8 billion) in unpaid bills. People in poor neighborhoods are also increasingly turning to energy fraud, meaning that the problem for PPC is much higher than the mountain of unpaid bills suggests. Power theft is costing PPC around 500-600 million euros a year in lost income, an industry official said, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized to divulge the numbers.here

Commentary: The worrying lessons of Syria’s chemical attack

In terms of raw casualty numbers, Tuesday’s apparent nerve gas attack near the Syrian city of Khan Sheikhoun – believed to have killed at least 70 – should hardly be significant against the backdrop of a war that has left hundreds of thousands of people dead. But that was never the point of chemical weapons, writes Peter Apps. Since European powers first used them over a century ago at the height of World War One, they have held a psychological and political shock value in many ways out of proportion to their physical or military effect. here

Destructive weed threatens U.S. corn

A U.S. government program designed to convert farmland to wildlife habitat has triggered the spread of a fast-growing weed that threatens to strangle crops in America's rural heartland. The weed is hard to kill and, if left unchecked, destroys as much as 91 percent of corn on infested land, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is spreading across Iowa, which accounts for nearly a fifth of U.S. corn production and in 2016 exported more than $1 billion of corn and soy.here

Zara owner takes step to keep company in the family

Amancio Ortega, the reclusive 81-year-old founder of the world’s biggest clothing retailer Inditex and Europe’s richest man, has put a majority stake in the firm that owns the Zara fashion chain into a holding company to ensure family control remains unassailable after he dies. Ortega’s heirs will now inherit stakes in Pontegadea, which groups assets worth around 57 billion euros, rather than Inditex shares which potentially could be sold, muddying prospects for the company’s direction.

here

How artificial life spawned a billion-dollar industryScientists are getting closer to building life from scratch and technology pioneers are taking notice, with record sums moving into synthetic biology,a field that could deliver novel drugs, materials, chemicals and even perfumes. Despite ethical and safety concerns, investors are attracted by synthetic biology's wide market potential and the plummeting cost of DNA synthesis, which is industrializing the writing of the genetic code that determines how organisms function.here

Reuters photo of the day

Just five more minutes

here artiste is reflected in a mirror as he applies make-up backstage before taking part in a celebration to mark Hindu festival of Ramnavami inside the premises of a temple in Bengaluru, India April 5, 2017. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa

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