In Short

Thursday 31 July 2003

sellafield 'safe': An international tribunal has rejected Ireland's plea to shut down the UK's Sellafield nuclear plant due to lack of evidence to show that it poses any "serious risk of irreparable harm". The plant also got a clean chit from the UK's Food Standards Agency, which declared that alleged traces of radioactive waste found in salmon sold in the country were below permitted levels. The waste was said to be from the Sellafield unit.

hellhole: Seventeen miners died recently following the flooding of a mine in the state-owned Singareni Collieries Company Limited's Godavarikhani coalfield in Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh. Four senior officials of the company were suspended after a preliminary probe found them guilty of not adhering to safety norms.

sprouting threat: The dispute over genetically modified (GM) crops is set to intensify with the reported evolution of "superweeds", which are resistant to powerful herbicides that transgenic crops were engineered to withstand. A research paper reveals that in the past seven years, up to five wild plant species have been found to be immune to the weed-killer glyphosate (best known by the Monsanto trade name Roundup).

belated cleansing: After a 25-year-long battle, environmentalists and residents of Teshima Island in Japan have finally tasted success. They managed to secure a cleanup of the region, which has for decades served as an illegal dumping ground for trash and toxic waste of Japan's powerful industries.

dietary precaution: Future mums should reduce their consumption of dairy products and fatty meats long before they plan pregnancy to protect their foetuses from dioxins. This was revealed by the Institute of Medicine (which is part of the Washington DC-based National Academy of Sciences). Dioxins, produced by industrial incineration, contaminate air, water and soil, and then build up in the fatty tissues of humans and animals.

feeble follow-up: After 18 years of the gas leakage incident at Union Carbide's Bhopal plant, India has finally asked the US to hand over the then chief executive officer of the company, Warren M Anderson. A non-bailable warrant has been pending against Anderson since April 1992. But it is unlikely that the US will accede to the request.

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