US appeals: The US has formally appealed against a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that subsidies paid to US cotton farmers are against the rules of global trade. WTO's decision on the US appeal would be final. The process normally takes about three months. In September 2004, the WTO had supported Brazil's allegations that the subsidies given to US farmers were robbing the Brazilian farmers of their income (see 'Torn to shreds', Down To Earth, May 31, 2004).
monitoring births: Concerned about the declining number of girl children in India, the Union government has decided to monitor the country's child sex ratio every month. Suman Prasahar, joint director, office of the registrar-general of India, recently said in New Delhi that the registrar-general has asked the state offices to prepare monthly reports in this regard. "We cannot wait until the 2011 census to check the trend," she said. Registration of births is mandatory under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969. There are about 213,000 registration centres in the country's rural areas and about 40,000 in urban areas.