Published: Thursday 15 September 2005

US president George W Bush has signed the country's energy bill that provides billions of dollars of tax subsidies to energy companies. Despite this, the high gasoline prices in the US won't reduce. "This bill is not going to solve our energy challenges overnight," said Bush. "Most of the serious problems...have developed over decades. It's going to take years of focused effort to alleviate those..." The bill will also provide tax breaks and loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants, clean coal technology and wind energy.

A mystery illness, a symptom of which is bloody diarrhoea, has killed 23 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over 990 were affected by the disease when reports last came in. The epidemic broke out at Kabongola in the central Maniema province. Most of the deceased worked at a diamond mine near Kabongola. The bloody diarrhoea is accompanied by fever, throat pain and vomiting, followed by breathing problems.

Farmers in Australia, officially considered GM-free currently, worry that their credibility might be damaged in overseas markets. Government officials in Western Australia (WA) recently confirmed that low levels of genetically modified (GM) canola had been found in a batch of non-GM canola seeds -- the second such finding in the country in as many weeks. The seeds were to be exported to Japan. As advocacy groups blame lines of commercial seeds, WA agriculture minister is pushing for national guidelines on GM contamination liability.

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