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Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

toxicNow toxic sludge spill

A reservoir filled with toxic red sludge in western Hungary ruptured and released 185 million gallons of caustic mud. The 12- foot-high flood of sludge inundated several towns, killing four people and injuring 123. The toxic spill has entered the Danube River. The Danube provides drinking water for about 10 million people and vital transport links

image UAE has gone back on the planned ban on BlackBerry services. In August, the kingdom had said it would block BlackBerry messenger, web browsing and email services because its security agencies cannot crack the smartphone platform’s code to monitor exchanged data.

image Landlocked Paraguay has protested Argentina’s decision to build a canal adjacent to a shared river. It says the canal will suck more water than Argentina’s share of the Pilcomayo River. The river has one outflow each for both countries. Paraguay says the canal will dry up the system.

image The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation has extended the 16-year moratorium on catching cod on the southern Grand Banks for another three years. The Atlantic cod numbers are estimated at 10 per cent of historical levels.

image Britain has become home to the world’s largest offshore wind farm. The site has 100 turbines installed; 341 in total are planned. The farm will produce 300 MW of energy, raising Britain's wind power by 30 per cent.

image Thai custom officials seized 90 kg of ivory being smuggled into the country. Sixteen pieces of cut ivory were packed into the luggage of a man travelling from Ethiopia. Elephant poaching is on the rise in Thailand. In April, 1.4 tonnes of ivory were seized, and 800 kg in July.

image One in five of the world’s 380,000 plant species is threatened with extinction, says a global study. Agriculture, logging and land use for livestock were reasons for it, said scientists from Kew Garden’s and the Natural History museum and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

image US President Barack Obama has agreed to put 20 to 50 solar panels on the White House roof. NASA has also begun installing a 79 KW solar array at one of its centres.

image UAE and Mongolia have signed a deal to protect one of the world’s most endangered species of falcons. As per the £1.5 million (Rs. 91.5 crore) agreement, the UAE’s environmental agency will boost the number of saker falcons by building 5,000 artificial nests on Mongolia’s central steppes. The bird’s global population has dwindled to 2,000-5,000 pairs.

image A Russian contractor for International Space Station has unveiled plans to build space’s first hotel. The hotel would house seven people. It will also provide facilities for scientific research and media projects. The project will start after 2015.

image Environmentalists have criticised the European Commission’s decision to allow Spain to subsidise domestic coal for four more years. They said it will damage efforts of transition to cleaner energy. The country depends largely on solar (annual output 20,000 MW) and wind (annual output 432 MW) sources.

image The US Environmental Protection Agency has said it will propose a rule next year to prevent mercury discharge from dental fillings. US dental offices discharge 3.7 tonnes of mercury each year.

image China has decided to levy anti-dumping duties of up to 105 per cent on US chicken products. In the first half of 2010, American imports rose 6.54 per cent from the previous year. The rise cost the domestic industry US $162 million (Rs. 718.3 crore)

image A Greek shipper was fined US $4 million (Rs. 1.82 crore) for pollution by a US judge. Irika Shipping was sentenced for dumping 6,000 gallons of waste oil and sludge and concealing the discharges from a ship that stopped at Baltimore, Tacoma and New Orleans ports.

image Workers building a substation in California discovered 1,500 bone fragments dating back to 1.4 million years. The fossil haul included remains from an ancestor of the sabre-toothed tiger, large ground sloths and small rodents.

image China denied banning exports of rare earths to Japan following a Chinese trawler captain’s arrest near disputed islands in the East China Sea. Japan is the world’s biggest importer of rare earths, used in devices like hybrid car batteries. China produces 97 per cent of world’s supply.

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