Official: paradise on Earth

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FORGET ALL that angst about global warming. The Earth enjoys a charmed existence that makes life here more comfortable than it probably would be for life forms on any other planet.

Ian Morison, of the Jodrell Bank observatory, who searches for extra- terrestrial radio signals, told the European Radio Astronomers conference that the Earth is "a bit special",thanks to our Sun and Moon.

We might curse the endless summer rain, he said, but since our Moon is "quite big" it stabilises the Earth's rotation, keeps season change consistent and reduces violent temperature changes.

"We don't know how many other life forms have nice, suitable planets like our own," Mr Morison told the conference in Cheshire. "I'm convinced simple life forms are widespread,though how often they develop into technical civilisations is harder to say."