News 360

Published: Thursday 15 October 2009

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Hit by drought, livestock farmers in Kenya have camped at the meat commission to sell their emaciated animals. Animals are dying there every day even before the commission's overburdened meat processing plants can slaughter them. As part of drought relief measures, the government had asked the commission to buy the livestock for KES 8,000 (US $108) per live animal. Beef is a major foreign exchange earner for Kenya.
Down to Earth The UN appealed to Israel to relax its two-year blockade of the Gaza Strip and allow urgent repairs to the crumbling water and sewage systems in the Palestine territory. Gaza releases 50 million litres of raw and partially-treated sewage into the sea every day. This poses health and environmental hazards to Gaza and to Israel too, said the UN.

Down to Earth Green groups and indigenous communities in Malaysia are opposing a government plan to set up 12 hydel dams across the rainforests in the Sarawak region by 2020. The dams will produce 7,000 MW--more than half the country's current power potential.

Down to Earth An undercover investigation by conservation group Endangered Species International has found that at least two gorillas are killed and sold as bushmeat every week in the Republic of Congo.

Down to Earth Farmers from seven villages in northern Ghana said they were forced out of their land after the local government offered it to a foreign company, Biofuel Africa Ltd, for jatropha cultivation. The farmers were not consulted. Over 20 companies from across the world are acquiring land in Ghana to produce biofuel.

Down to Earth Kenya asked for US $400 million aid to save the Mau forest, a major catchment in eastern Africa. The forest has lost a quarter of its 400,000 ha in the past two decades because of illegal settlement and logging.

Down to Earth The European Commis-sion said the EU should offer 2-15 billion (US $3-22 billion) a year to help poor countries adapt to climate change. The move is likely to spark tough bargaining ahead of the climate talks in Copenhagen in December. The UN estimates poor countries will need over US $147 billion a year for climate adaptation.

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Down to Earth UN suspended the UK branch of one of the world's largest clean energy auditors, SGS United Kingdom, over irregularities in technical reviews and verification of projects that qualify for carbon credits. A Norweigian company was suspended last year for similar violations.

Down to Earth Iceland is working on a pilot project, CarbFix, which will use CO2 to convert its volcanic rocks into limestone. CarbFix will help the natural resource-scarce country to earn revenue through limestone production, while using up CO2.

Down to Earth In a decade-old trade dispute between US aircraft manufacturer Boeing and its European rival Airbus, wto found that European countries had doled out billions in illegal subsidies to Airbus.

Down to Earth Venezuela joined hands with Russia to develop oil fields in its Orinoco Belt, believed to hold the world's largest petroleum reserves, about 235 billion barrels. Russia will own rights to 40 per cent of the reserve.

Down to Earth Argentina eliminated export taxes on wheat and maize after millers pledged to ensure adequate supplies for the domestic market. Argentina is a major wheat and maize exporter, but a two-year drought has shrunk harvests.

Down to Earth Brazil plans to use satellites to monitor cattle in the Amazon and punish ranchers who destroy the rainforest. The government has asked ranchers to install electronic markers along the boundary of their properties to enable monitoring.

Down to Earth Fisheries in Chile have begun inoculating farm-raised salmon against infectious salmon anaemia. The viral disease, detected in 2007, has reduced catch from 400,000 tonnes to 250,000 tonnes. Authorities plan to inoculate 10-12 million fish while they are in the freshwater phase. The vaccine was developed in 2008.

Down to Earth US approved swine flu vaccines prepared by four pharma companies and said mass immunization could start within a month. The flu could infect two billion people, according to who.

Down to Earth Cholera has hit Papua New Guinea for the first time in 50 years. Many do not even know what cholera is. Aid agencies have expressed concern as the country has high incidence of hiv/aids and its healthcare system is in a shambles.

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