News 360

Published: Tuesday 15 December 2009

Down to Earth
Taxis queued to fill tanks in southwest Chinas Chongqing city on November 17. Several provinces faced a natural gas crisis in years as China National Petroleum Corporation diverted its deposits to meet the demand in snowstorm-hit northern China. Authorities said the snowfall, worst in 55 years, collapsed 15,000 buildings and damaged 300,000 ha winter crops.
Down to Earth The Dalai Lama appealed to China to join hands with Tibetans in saving the Yangtze and Mekong rivers. The rivers, originating in Tibets glaciers and flowing across China, could dry up in 15-20 years.

Down to Earth As a Japanese whaling fleet left for Antarctic waters on November 17 despite an international moratorium on whaling, Japans fisheries agency urged activists to refrain from confrontation.

Down to Earth After years of drought, Afghan farmers harvested a bumper wheat crop this year. It was a seven-fold increase over last year.

Down to Earth Saudi Arabia lifted a ban on the import of livestock from Somalia imposed a decade ago to prevent the spread of Rift Valley fever.Somalia said the ban has hurt its economy that depends on livestock export.

Down to Earth Russia gained 4.5 sq km after an earthquake on Sakhalin Island lifted part of the sea floor and a volcanic eruption created new land on uninhabited Matua Island in 2007, said its Academy of Sciences.

Down to Earth Kenya launched a campaign to circumcise 1.1 million men by 2013 to reduce hiv risk. The campaign follows three random trials in South Africa, Kenya and Uganda that showed 60 per cent results in reducing the risk. Health experts doubt.

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Down to Earth who conducted the largest round of yellow fever vaccination, for 12 million people, in Benin, Liberia and Sierra Leone. About 30,000 people in West Africa die from the mosquito-borne viral disease every year.

Down to Earth Norway has pledged US $280 million by 2015 for saving Guyanas unspoiled rainforests, the largest in the world. The tiny South American country is campaigning for donations from developed countries so that its economy can grow without losing the forest.

Down to Earth With its nuclear reactors aging, Frances electricity production hit a record low in October. For the first time in two decades, the country imported 458 gigawatt hours from Germany and the UK.

Down to Earth Airbus is developing new Sharklet wingtip devices for its A320 aircraft that are expected to cut fuel burn by 3.5 per cent and reduce 730 tonnes of CO2 emissions per plane annually.

Down to Earth Lithuania wants to sell 50 million tonnes of emission rights from its 2008-2012 period quota. The government said of the 221.3 million tonnes of emission rights, it would emit 142-161 million tonnes.

Down to Earth Hungary declared an epidemic after more than 20,000 swine flu cases and seven deaths within a week in mid-November. It has launched a voluntary vaccination campaign.

Down to Earth To diminish Ukraines influence over gas supply from Russia to EU, Finland has allowed the construction of Nord Stream, 1,220km pipeline from Russia to Germany, through its Baltic waters. Earlier, Finland had said the project would harm its marine ecosystem.

Down to Earth Brazilian police have arrested a London pet-shop owner trying to smuggle 1,000 live spiders out of the country in his suitcases.

Down to Earth Ninety-five Colombian farmers sued British Petroleum in a London court for damage to their land, crops and animals during the laying of a crude oil pipeline in 1995. The 720km pipeline crossed 192 villages and most of the land was owned by small farmers.

Down to Earth Thirty million litres of sewage spilled into the Ohio river in Kentucky, usa, after its treatment plant failed. Authorities have asked to stay away from the river.

Down to Earth The population of Australias koalas has plunged from 100,000 to 43,000 in the past six years due to climate change, disease and over-development, said the Koala Foundation.

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