In Short

Published: Wednesday 31 August 2005

sonia's take: While the Centre plans to move the National Rural Employment Guarantee Bill in the current session of Parliament, Congress president Sonia Gandhi recently suggested four amendments to it. She said employment should be guaranteed to anyone who offers to work for the prescribed wage, not merely to the below poverty line people. Also, once applicable, the guarantee shouldn't be open to withdrawal. The Centre and state governments should bear the financial burden and panchayats should have a central role in selecting the works, implementation and monitoring.

ddt in breastmilk: Despite DDT being banned in Hong Kong and China, high levels of the pesticide have been found in the breastmilk of mothers in Hong Kong in a study conducted by researchers of Hong Kong's Baptist University. The persistent organic pollutant can be fully absorbed by infants from breastmilk. The findings indicate that DDT is used illegally in mainland China, from where Hong Kong gets most of its food supplies, the study says. "When you compare it with similar studies in other countries, Hong Kong's DDT problem is serious," a biology associate professor at the university was quoted as saying.

milk gone bad: The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration recently busted a major racket of adulterated milk in Mumbai. It seized 58,765 litres of such milk being brought into the city, chiefly from Mehsana (Gujarat) and Chalisgaon (Maharashtra). The milk was adulterated with urea and baking soda, both banned items. Most samples also reported very low fat content due to addition of too much water. It is the responsibility of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to check contamination in food items, but BMC acts only on specific complaints.

eu tobacco ad ban: The fate of an EU directive that provides for a ban on tobacco advertising in the print media, radio and the internet with effect from July 31, 2005, is still unclear. The directive was passed by the European Parliament and Council in 2003, but was contested in the European Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance. It also prohibits tobacco sponsorship of cross-border cultural and sporting events. Advertising in cinemas, on television and billboards and tobacco sponsorship of local events are outside the directive's purview.

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