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newswire reports

Spielberg to direct Jurassic Park sequel
 UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif, Nov 9 (Reuter) - Steven Spielberg will direct "The
Lost World," a sequel to "Jurassic Park," the highest-grossing film of all time,
Universal Pictures said on Thursday.
 "The Lost World," based on the current best-selling novel of the same name
by Michael Crichton, will be a co-production of Amblin Entertainment and
Universal Pictures. The film is expected to be released by Universal in 1997.
 Jurassic Park has grossed worldwide ticket sales of more than $913 million
since its 1993 release.
 "We are extremely pleased that Steven Spielberg will be directing 'The Lost
World,"' said Casey Silver, president of Universal Pictures.
 "There is no other filmmaker who can provide the level of creative
brilliance and unprecedented vision necessary to bring 'The Lost World' to the
screen," he said. "We can now be assured that this film will not only be a
follow-up to Jurassic Park, but a unique and tremendously exciting motion
picture event in its own right."
 "The Lost World" will be executive produced by Spielberg and Kathleen
Kennedy and produced by Gerald Molen and Colin Wilson. David Koepp, who co-wrote
the screenplay for "Jurassic Park" with Michael Crichton, will write the
screenplay for "The Lost World."
Origins of the Red Sea uncovered by scientists
 While too late for dinos, may provide insights into tectonics
 WASHINGTON, Nov 23 (Reuter) - Scientists on Thursday said they now
understood how the Red Sea was formed 34 million years ago, a finding that gives
insight into how continents break apart.
 In an article appearing on Friday in the journal Science, researchers
outline evidence that Africa and Arabia tore apart in two rapid "pulses."
 That finding by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia
University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Laboratory contradicts the long-held view that
a small tear in the African continental crust bit by bit moved northward,
creating a separation with what became Arabia.
 Penn's Gomaa Omar and Columbia's Michael Steckler found by studying the
geology of the region that the great rift threw up steep cliffs on either side
of what became the Red Sea.
 At the same time, it set off volcanism -- a massive swelling of molten rock
from the earth's interior at the south end of the sea.
 The same process is thought to have created the Atlantic Ocean starting 200
million years ago as the supercontinent Pangea rifted and became Africa, North
America and South America.
 "Fission track analyses indicate that the Red Sea initially opened
simultaneously along its entire length. Two distinct pulses of uplift and
erosion characterised the early stages of rifting in the Red Sea throughout
Egypt and in southwestern Saudi Arabia," Omar and Steckler wrote.
 Their geological research shows the first large-scale rift occurred about 34
million years ago, and the second "pulse" took place about 25 to 21 million
years ago.
Two million-year-old human remains found in China
(Not dino, but of interest)
 LONDON, Nov 15 (Reuter) - Scientists said on Wednesday they had found the
first firm evidence that primitive man lived in Asia almost two million years
ago, much earlier than previously believed.
 They based their conclusions on the lower jaw of an adult hominid and some
ancient tools found in the Longgupo cave in the Sichuan province of China.
 Tests had dated the teeth and artefacts found in the cave at at least 1.9
million years old, the scientists' leader, Russell Ciochon of the University of
Iowa, said in an article in the scientific journal Nature.
 The oldest signs of human life in Asia had previously been remains of Homo
Erectus in Java, Indonesia, which had been tentatively dated as 1.8 million
years old.
 But scientists said those remains were difficult to date because of the
circumstances surrounding their recovery.
 Commenting on the Longgupo find, Bernard Wood and Alan Turner of Britain's
Liverpool University said: "Until recently there has been little compelling
evidence to suggest that any of the Asian hominid sites were yielding hominids
more than one million years old."
 Archaeologists believe that man originated in Africa, where remains dating
from between three and 3.5 million years ago have been found in the Rift Valley
and in South Africa.
 The remains found at Longgupo, known in China as the Wushan hominid site,
were dated using three separate scientific methods and this evidence was backed
up by the presence of pygmy giant panda remains in the same geological levels.
 "The new evidence suggests that hominids entered Asia before two million
years ago...clearly the first hominid to arrive in Asia was a species other than
true homo erectus, and one that possessed a stone-based technology," Ciochon
 Another article in Nature announced that a team of scientists had found
three million-year-old human remains in Chad, 2,500 kilometres (1560 miles) west
of the Rift Valley.