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Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

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One thousand indigenous Brazilians came together at Belem, on the banks of the Amazon estuary, on January 27 to draw attention to the critically depleted Amazon rainforests. The ninth World Social Forum provided them the platform to reach out to the world.
Down to Earth Yellow fever outbreaks have shot up across Africa in recent years; 13 cases were reported in 2008. This could be because of climate change that has expanded mosquito breeding grounds, said who.

Down to Earth Chadians protested against a ban on charcoal, which they say is their only source of fuel. The government imposed the ban to fight desertification.

Down to Earth Nigeria is losing about 600 metres of arable land to desertification every year, said the country's environment ministry.

Down to Earth At least 40 people have died in a meningitis epidemic in western and northern Uganda. The government has started mass vaccination and banned public gatherings in the affected areas.

Down to Earth Burkina Faso has called for a new birth control policy since its population balance has tipped. The current population growth, 3.1 per cent a year, is cancelling out the country's economic growth, the government said.

Down to Earth While central Asia is experiencing unprecedented cold, Uzbekistan's capital city Tashkent is enjoying unusual warmth. Citizens are amazed to see dandelions flowering in winter this year.

Down to Earth China plans to buy clean energy vehicles for public transport in 13 cities to support its automobile industry develop green technology.

Down to Earth Japan launched the first satellite to monitor greenhouse gases worldwide. Named Ibuki, its optical sensors will measure reflected light from the Earth to determine the density of global warming emissions.

Down to Earth Israel's recent bombardment has further damaged Gaza's sewage system. The city's water scarcity could get worse if there is a leak, warned its water utility.

Down to Earth Air pollution in Kabul kills 3,000 people every year, said the public health ministry. The city has turned into a centre of old vehicles that use substandard fuel.

Down to Earth EU initiated legal proceedings against 10 member states--Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK--for failing to comply with its air quality standards.

Down to Earth Iceland said it would continue killing endangered fin and minke whales for another five years. Conservationists say stocks are low after decades of over-hunting.

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Down to Earth In a bid to lower their carbon footprints, hospitals across the UK are cutting meat dishes from their menu, said the National Health Service.

Down to Earth Germany will now tax new vehicles according to their CO2 emissions. The EU has long been urging member countries to implement emissions-based tax systems for vehicles.

Down to Earth Brussels has invited the Obama administration to join its carbon trading scheme. This, Brussels believes, would help extend the scheme to other industrialized and big developing countries and create a global carbon market by 2020.

Down to Earth Soon after assuming office, US President Barack Obama announced measures to lower the country's dependence on fossil fuels. He also promised to tighten regulations on fuel efficiency and vehicular emissions.

Down to Earth A major snow storm in the northern US and Canada lasted more than a week, disrupting air travel and power supply. At least 55 people have died.

Down to Earth Canada declared two chemicals--siloxanes D4 and siloxanes D5--used in lipstick and other personal care products to be toxic to the environment. It plans to set limits for the chemicals.

Down to Earth Guatemala established a task force for enforcing its existing environmental laws. The government said there are 3,500 such laws and 200 international treaties, but people and authorities are unaware of these.

Down to Earth Mexican farmers protested against President Felipe Calderon's move to freeze the price of petrol but not of diesel. Many rely on diesel to run farm equipment.

Down to Earth Mexico supplied sterile parasitic flies to Uruguay to help combat the cattle screw worm fly whose larvae feed on healthy tissues of animals and humans. The US eradicated it in 1982 using a similar bio-technique.

Down to Earth Global food production, under strain from the ongoing credit crunch, must double by 2050 to tackle mass hunger, said fao. The crisis pushed another 40 million people into hunger in 2008.

Down to Earth World economic growth is set to fall to 0.5 per cent this year, its lowest rate since World War II, said International Monetary Fund.

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