In short

Published: Saturday 15 January 2005

too demanding: The Uttar Pradesh government decided on December 14, 2004, to constitute an Irrigation Development and Flood Control Commission. The move is allegedly aimed at merely including Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) member of parliament Anuradha Chowdhary in the government. The state already has a Flood Control Board and some functions of the two bodies will overlap. RLD, an ally of the Mulayam Singh-government, had been pressuring Singh to include Chowdhary in his government ever since she resigned from her membership to the legislative assembly and her post as the state irrigation minister after being elected to the Lok Sabha. She is likely to be nominated as the new commission's chairperson.

coal greedy: China's massive coal consumption is expected to increase the commodity's global price by 50 per cent this year. The country, the world's largest coal producer, will cut down coal exports next year due to increased domestic demand for the mineral which meets over 70 per cent of its energy needs. Besides, the crackdown over unsafe mining activities in Chinese coal mines this year will lead to less production. China's combined imports of thermal and coking coal has increased by 64 per cent this year.

poor earth: Nearly 50 per cent of the world's workforce is reeling under poverty, according to a recent study by the International Labour Office (ILO). These workers belong to families who are below the poverty line of Rs 88 per day. To improve the situation, the ILO's World Employment Report 2004-2005 urges governments to frame policies for employment generation and improving labour productivity. The report says while the number of unemployed in 2003 was 185.9 million, more than seven times the number were earning poor wages.

protection promised: The European Commission on December 8, 2004, adopted a list of 7,000 nature sites in the EU's Atlantic and Continental regions for protecting them. These sites will become part of NATURA 2000, the EU's network of protected nature sites. The move makes NATURA 2000 the largest network of protected areas in the world. Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said the step is aimed at helping EU reach its objective of halting the decline of biodiversity by 2010.

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