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Starry dwarf frog unknown for millions of years found | UK News

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A tiny frog unknown to science for millions of years has been discovered.

Around the size of a thumb, the starry dwarf frog is so called because of the star-like pattern on its body.

The frog has never been studied by scientists before and is the sole survivor of an ancient line of frogs that existed millions of years ago.

The starry dwarf frog, which is dark brown with a bright orange underbelly and covered with pale blue dots, was discovered on a remote mountain range in India.

Named Astrobatrachus kurichiyana in recognition of its star-like markings and the region it was found in, it is a camouflage expert that hides in leaves on the floor.

Starry Dwarf Frog is around the size of a thumb
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Starry Dwarf Frog is around the size of a thumb

Dr David Blackburn, from the Florida Museum of Natural History and a member of the team behind the discovery, said: “This is an oddball frog, it has no close sister species for maybe tens of millions of years.”

The amphibian is from a previously unknown frog sub-family, whose nearest relatives belonged to a group of nearly 30 species native to India and Sri Lanka which existed tens of millions of years ago.

Scientists almost overlooked the starry dwarf frog when they stumbled across it during a series of expeditions to the Western Ghats, a 1,000 mile-long mountain range along India’s south-western coast.

The frog was photographed along with 30 different species of frogs, lizards and snakes in one evening.

The next morning expedition leader Dr Seenapuram Vijayakumar, from George Washington University in America found anther starry dwarf frog.

“I picked it up and said, ‘hey, this is the same guy I photographed in the night,” he said.

“As a greedy researcher, I kept it, but at that point in time, it wasn’t too exciting for me.

“I didn’t realise it would become so interesting.”

Years later, researchers turned their attention to it and realised how important their discovery was and published their findings in the journal PeerJ.

Its life cycle, sound of its call and population is still unknown.

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EU elections: Europeans head to polls in last day of voting as UK awaits results | World News

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Europeans are voting in the final day of the EU’s parliament elections, as the UK waits to see which of its candidates have been successful.

Germany, France, Spain and Italy are among 21 countries where voters go to the polls today after voting concluded in seven nations, including the UK.

The results will be announced on Sunday evening when the last polling station closes on the continent at 10pm UK time.

Voters queue at a polling station in Malta
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Voters queue at a polling station in Malta
A man votes during the EU elections in Brussels
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A man votes during the EU elections in Brussels

The populist right-wing party of Italian deputy premier Matteo Salvini may pip the Christian Democrats of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to become the biggest single party in the 751-seat chamber.

Mr Salvini – Italy’s anti-migrant, anti-Islam interior minister – has been campaigning hard to boost the League to become the number one party in Italy and possibly Europe.

For Mrs Merkel’s party, it is the first test for new leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer since Germany’s long-time chancellor gave up her party’s leadership last year.

Meanwhile, France is looking at an epic battle between pro-EU centrist President Emmanuel Macron and anti-immigration, far-right flagbearer Marine Le Pen in the European Parliament vote.

A loss for Mr Macron’s Republic on the Move party would cripple the French leader’s grand ambitions for a more united Europe.

He wants EU countries to share budgets and soldiers and work even more closely together to keep Europe globally relevant and prevent conflict.

Matteo Salvini is Italy's interior minister
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Matteo Salvini’s League in Italy might become the single biggest party in the 751-seat chamber
Election officials arrange the ballots of Italian parties
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Election officials arrange the ballots of Italian parties

Right-wing populist parties are expected to bolster the nationalist representation in the house, which would reduce the influence of traditional pro-EU parties.

The result would put a potential brake on the EU’s collective action in economic and foreign policy.

Prime Minister Theresa May had repeatedly promised she would take Britain out of the EU before the elections, but her failure to get her Brexit deal through meant the UK voted in the elections on Thursday.

Both the Conservatives and Labour are braced for a backlash from voters over Brexit, while Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and the Liberal Democrats are expected to pick up votes.

:: Sky News will being airing a special EU election programme from 9pm to 2am.

:: Check the website and app for live updates as all of the results are announced.

The elections have come as Europeans are preparing to remember events that shaped the bloc.

It is 75 years since Americans landed in France to defeat Nazi Germany, and since Russian forces let the Germans crush a Polish bid for freedom.

In November, Europeans will also be marking 30 years since Germans smashed the Berlin Wall to reunite east and west Europe.

But memories of wars have not sufficed to build faith in a united future.

Sara Hobolt, professor of European politics at the London School of Economics, told Sky News: “Less is at stake in European elections than in national ones.

“As a result, voters are more likely to use them as protest votes to signal their dissatisfaction with their national government and to vote for parties with more extreme and more eurosceptic positions.

“Almost 30% of members of the current Parliament (MEPs) can be described as eurosceptic.”

Elected MEPs will sit in the new parliament from the beginning of July but it is uncertain how long UK representatives will sit because of the new Brexit deadline of 31 October.

The results will usher in weeks of bargaining among parties to form a stable majority in the parliament, and among national leaders to choose successors to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other top EU officials.

Many expect a clash as early as Tuesday, when leaders meeting in Brussels are likely to snub parliament’s demands that one of the newly elected politicians should run the EU executive.

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Russia launches nuclear icebreaker in bid to tap Arctic reserves | World News

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Russia has launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker as part of ambitious plans to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.

It is part of a programme to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels, and the ship is one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.

Russia has launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker
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The icebreaker is one of a trio set to be launched

The ship, called the Ural, was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg on Saturday.

Designed to be crewed by 75 people, the Ural will be able to slice through ice up to around three metres (almost 10ft) thick.

Russia has launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker
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It was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg this weekend

Russia is building new infrastructure and overhauling its ports as, amid warmer climate cycles, it readies for more traffic via what it calls the Northern Sea Route (NSR) which it envisages being navigable year-round.

The Ural is due to be handed over to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service.

Russia has launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker
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The ship is designed to be manned by 75 crew members

Moscow is trying to strengthen its hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States and Norway, as well as newcomer China.

By 2035, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia’s Arctic fleet would operate at least 13 heavy-duty icebreakers, nine of which would be powered by nuclear reactors.

Russia has launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker
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The vessel is nuclear-powered

The Arctic holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion barrels of oil, about 22% of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas, the US Geological Survey estimates.

Moscow hopes the route which runs from Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska could take off as it cuts sea transport times from Asia to Europe.

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Man dies after being attacked by shark in Hawaii | World News

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A man has died after reportedly being attacked by a shark in Hawaii.

The 65-year-old from California was killed after being bitten by the animal, Hawaii NewsNow reports.

First responders are said to have performed CPR on the man but he was unresponsive.

Authorities say shark warning signs were being posted in the Ka’anapali Beach Park area on the Hawaii island of Maui.

The victim’s name has not been released.

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