News 360

Published: Saturday 15 August 2009

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A residential building and a road on the shoreline of a lake in a German village, Nachterstedt, collapsed on July 19. Three people are missing. Officials said the area had received some rain, but it is more likely that opencast coal mining in the past had made the land unstable. The lake was formed after the mine closed in 1991.
Down to Earth The governor of Egypt's port city Suez ordered the prosecution of bird flu patients on the charges of raising the birds and harming themselves as well as others. If children are infected, their family will be prosecuted, he said.

Down to Earth who has launched clinical trials for moxidectin drug that could halve the treatment period for river blindness. Existing treatment for the disease, which threatens 100 million people mostly in Africa, goes on for 14 years.

Down to Earth Benin declared a state of emergency after heavy rains displaced thousands of people in the country. Heavy rains also pounded Namibia, which has appealed for international food aid.

Down to Earth China's health ministry banned the use of electric shock therapy for treating Internet addiction, after a study raised doubts about the therapy's efficacy. Ten per cent of the 40 million Chinese children using the Internet are hooked to it.

Down to Earth Russian mini-submarines studying Siberia's Baikal Lake have discovered a reserve of gas hydrates-- possible alternative to oil and gas. Scientists said it is the largest deposit found yet.

Down to Earth A Kuwaiti company plans to buy up farmland in Cambodia. Unlike the wealthy Gulf states that are acquiring land in poor countries to produce food at a low cost for their own people, the company said it would sell produce to anyone who can pay for it.

Down to Earth Vietnam police seized a frozen young tiger from a taxi in the capital Hanoi. They also seized 11 kg of limb bones believed to be from two tigers. This is the third such seizure this year.

Down to Earth Mongolia suspended licences of several foreign companies, mostly from Canada, for violating environmental laws. The prime minister said he wanted countries like Japan to invest as their technologies do not harm the environment.

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Down to Earth Authorities of Killarney national park in Ireland banned horse-drawn carts after their owners refused to use diapers to deal with the dung fouling park roads.

Down to Earth Ten mobile phone manufacturers of the EU, including Apple, LG, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, agreed to make phones that can be charged using a standard charger. The effort, they said, is to be environment friendly.

Down to Earth Twelve European blue chip firms formed a consortium, Desertec, to set up a giant solar thermal power plant in Africa's Sahara desert and transport the electricity to Europe. The US $570 billion project would meet 15 per cent of the EU's power needs. Critics say the project is not cost effective.

Down to Earth Venezuela's education ministry opened 1,104 classrooms to provide education to 18,000 disabled citizens. This is the first time the government doled out funds for special education. About 336,000 people in the country are disabled.

Down to Earth Thirty of the 33 mummies discovered in Peru in 2007 are those of girls, said Utah Valley University professor Haagen Klaus who has been examining the remains. The girls were most likely killed 600 years ago in the belief to bring fertility to the farmlands, Klaus said.

Down to Earth The US Department of Agriculture received 17,000 public comments rejecting a plan to conduct field trials of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees across seven states. Opponents said the government must carry out an environmental impact study of the plan.

Down to Earth About 17,000 people in Canada's British Columbia province fled homes after wildfires engulfed the city of Kelowna on July 19.

Down to Earth An amateur Australian astronomer discovered that a rare comet or asteroid had crashed into Jupiter, leaving a crater as large as Earth. nasa has confirmed it.

Down to Earth People in Asia witnessed the longest solar eclipse of this century on July 22. It was visible along a 250 km-wide corridor from India to China. It lasted a maximum of 6 minutes, 39 seconds over the Pacific, said nasa.

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