In Short

Published: Wednesday 30 April 2003

flawed trials: Yet another controversy has erupted over genetically modified (GM) crops -- this time in the UK. Green groups have alleged that farm trials of transgenic crops in the country are flawed. A recent report of the international environmental group, Friends of the Earth, states that the trials fail to offer conclusive evidence about the kind of harm GM plants can do to farmland life.

behemoth goes bust: It's curtains for the world's oldest industrial-scale nuclear power station. Calder Hall, the 196-megawatt plant located in the northwest part of the UK, is to shut down because of weak domestic power prices. The unit was opened in 1956 at British Nuclear Fuels Limited's Sellafield nuclear site. In spite of being small by today's standards, it still produces about five per cent of the UK's electricity.

ripple effect: The water supply of seven cities of Brazil was severely disrupted by a chemical spill at a wood-pulping factory at Cataguazes in Minas Gerais state. Officials have declared the incident an "ecological disaster". More than 5,50,000 people are affected by water shortage. Fish have also died in massive numbers. People living around the contaminated rivers Pomba and South Paraiba have been cautioned not to drink the water or to use it for bathing.

stepping on the gas: The sales of diesel models have zoomed past those of petrol utility vehicles in India. While industry players had estimated that petrol variants would contribute to 10 per cent of total sales, the figure has dipped to less than three per cent.

farm waste norms: China has issued the first national standards to control polluting discharges such as sewage from farms. According to a State Environmental Protection Administration report, vast quantities of animal sewage produced by livestock have become a major source of pollution in rural areas. Significantly, 80 per cent of China's population lives in villages.

alarming trend: The Marshlands of Mesopotamia, considered by some as the Biblical location of the Garden of Eden, continue to disappear at an alarming rate. A recent study revealed that out of the 10 per cent existing marshlands, one third have disappeared in the past two years. This also poses a threat to many endangered species such as the Sacred Ibis and African darter.

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