Published: Wednesday 15 February 2006

The European Union has banned imports of untreated feathers from countries close to or neighbouring Turkey, where cases of avian flu have been recently reported. The countries affected by the ban are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

The Chinese government has ordered an end to the restriction on the sale of smaller cars. It has called for developing smaller and cleaner vehicles powered by diesel and alternative fuels.

Norway plans to build a 'doomsday vault' hewn out of an Arctic mountain to store two million crop seeds in the event of a global disaster. The store is designed to hold the seeds representing all the world's crops and is being built to safeguard future food supplies if a widespread environmental collapse occurs.

Hwang Woo Suk of South Korea, who claimed to have cloned human stem cells, had fabricated evidence for research, say reports. The incident forced the South Korean president's scientific adviser to resign and led prosecutors to open a criminal investigation.

Japan's image as a nation of workaholics who rarely take holidays could change if the government enacts a proposed law that would force companies to encourage people to take vacations. At present, heavy workloads and pressure from bosses mean less than half the average paid leave of 18 days is ever used.

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