Published: Monday 31 July 2006

In the last week of June, Japan and China resorted to importing American beef, putting an end to the ban that the two countries had imposed in the wake of mad cow disease. Soon after the ban was lifted, a case of mad cow disease was detected in a crossbred beef cow in Prairie province of Manitoba, Canada.

Exxon Mobil Corporation, a major oil company of the US, faces another lawsuit over a big underground oil spill in New York's Brooklyn area. The oil spill is seeping sticky sludge into the city waterway, even decades after the leak was first noticed. Irked over the slow pace of cleanup, residents have launched a series of lawsuits against the company in the past year.

India and Pakistan failed to release hundreds of fishermen languishing in each other's jails following a quarrel over the number of prisoners to be released. The two countries had vowed to release the fishermen by June 30.

The Tea Board of India will finance five tea-processing factories in Assam exclusively for the state's small tea planters, said the Union minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh after a recent visit to several plantations in upper Assam. The proposed factories will be managed by small planters through cooperatives or self-help-groups. "The project will be an experimental one and more factories will come up if it clicks," says Ramesh.

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