In Short

Published: Monday 31 March 2008

>> Virgin Airlines owner Richard Branson recently claimed to have made history by launching the first biofuel-powered commercial flight from London to Amsterdam. The debatable point is it took 150,000 coconuts and some babassu palm oil from the Amazon rainforest to power 20 per cent of one of four tanks of the airliner.

>> Authorities have arrested more than 200 illegal miners in Linfen, a coal-rich city in north China's Shanxi Province, since December when a blast in a coal mine killed 105 people in the city. Officials also destroyed 900 illegal mining sites and reprimanded 26 mine administrators for failing to fulfil their duties.

>> A federal appeals court in the US has rejected White House's efforts to exempt the US navy from laws intended to protect whales and other marine mammals off the California coast. It has asked the navy to take precautions during the sonar training to minimize harm to marine life.

>> Congo, Rwanda and Uganda have launched a 10-year trans-boundary project to protect rare mountain gorillas. Only 720 of the primates are believed to exist in the wild, which roam around the remote Virunga hills. The animals are currently facing threats from poaching, militia groups, ebola virus and destruction of mountains and forests.

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