| THE SHOWSTOPPER
The volcano on Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland erupted on April 14, spewing a large ash plume that shut down airports in 20 European countries. Travellers worldwide were stranded for a week. As the volcanic activity began to subside on April 21, scientists warned of larger and frequent eruptions in Iceland in coming decades. The thawing of ice caps due to global warming may trigger eruptions as it would remove a vast weight and free magma from deep below ground.
The combination of land and ocean temperatures across the world resulted in the warmest March since record keeping began about 130 years ago, said the US National Oceanic and Atm-ospheric Administration. The world’s mean temperature was 13.5oC in March, 0.77oC above the global average in the 20th century.
As China celebrated the 30th anniversary of its one-child policy, the authorities in southern China launched a campaign to sterilize about 10,000 people as part of a crackdown on parents who violate family-planning rules. It also detained about 1,500 people who refused the surgical procedure.
Japan has proposed to cut its hunt target for Antarctic minke whales by half if the International Whaling Commission allows it commercial whaling off its coast.
Russia asked Iran to help it revive the population of Persian leopard along the Black Sea. The region will host the 2014 Winter Olympics. Hunting caused the leopard to disappear from the region near Cauca-sus mountains in the 1920s.
Montenegro plans to build four dams on Moraca River that feeds the Skadar —the biggest lake in the Balkans. Green groups urged the government to abandon the plan as the dams would affect the lake’s water level and its rich fish stocks.
Zimbabwe’s squabbling coalition government said it has suspended a new law that required all foreigners and white Zimbabweans to cede at least 51 per cent of their property and business shares to non-white Zimba-bweans by 2015. President Robert Mugabe’s supporters insist the law is in force.
A Wales court rejected a lawsuit challenging the government’s plan to mass cull badgers in an attempt to control bovine TB. The Badger Trust, which had objected the order, says wiping out the burrowing animal is not the solution.
A survey by charity group, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, found 83 per cent people are affected by light pollution caused by street lighting and neon signs; 50 per cent said light pollution disrupts sleep.
Legislators of Nunavut, a Canadian Arctic territory, voted to remove EU-made beer and wine from its liquor stores, in retaliation to European Commission’s decision to ban seal products because of cruel hunting. Inuits say sealing is part of their tradition and an important earning source.
A Brazilian court sentenced land baron Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura, the mastermind of the 2005 murder of environmental activist Dorothy Stang, to 30 years in prison. Stang had worked to defend landless peasants in the Amazon against exploitation by industry, loggers and farmers.
Caribbean countries adopted an accord to stop dumping of toxic waste like oil and sewage in the sea. The ban, which takes effect in 2011, will protect the region’s sensitive ecology.
Peru’s farmers protested against US’ Southern Copper—the world’s largest copper mining company—and demanded an end to its projects in southern region. They said years of mining has depleted their water resources and polluted farmlands. Peru has the world’s largest copper reserve.
Farmers of southwestern Bolivia seized silver, zinc and lead mines operated by Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. They overturned containers of mineral ore and blocked the railway, demanding a share of its revenue for development of the region.
Australia said it is expanding protection along the 3,000-km Great Barrier Reef after a Chinese coal carrier ran aground in mid-April, damaging a portion of the World Heritage-listed area.
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