Published: Monday 31 January 2005

Pollution has killed several hundred fish in Tickenham Rhine river between Nailsea and Tickenham in Somerset in the UK, according to the country's Environment Agency. "The river is covered in white foam up to one metre high and hundreds of coarse fish, including roach, dace, and bream have been killed," said an agency spokesperson. She added that although the source of pollution was not yet known, it could be a "fairly strong concentration of detergent".

Five people were killed and 14 were injured when an illegal gem quarry collapsed in Andhra Pradesh's Vishakhapatnam district recently. The accident occurred when some workers were leaving the quarry after digging a 20-metre long tunnel without any technical assistance. The tunnel collapsed. An ex-gratia assistance of Rs 50,000 each to the families of the deceased has been announced.

The Anguli Nur lake in China's Hebei province has dried up. It was one of the largest in north China. Almost 10,000 hectares of nearby grasslands and many rare aquatic birds and fish are now in danger, the Xinhua news agency said. Prolonged drought and over-exploitation of water by the Zhangjiakou city is said to have caused the water scarcity.

People staying near the Botany Industrial Park in south Sydney, Australia, were recently warned about possible contamination of their private bores by chemicals from Orica company's site in the vicinity. The company has been trying to prevent chemicals, that spilled many months ago, from reaching the Botany Bay. It has also warned that since Botany has been an industrial area for long, the waters could be contaminated by pollutants from other industries too.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed the country's second case of mad cow infection. It said the infected Alberta dairy cow was infected before new restrictions on animal feed were imposed in 1997. The disclosure came soon after the US said it will resume conditional imports of live Canadian cattle. An earlier case of mad cow in Canada had led to blockage of such imports. However, even after the disclosure, the USsaid it will not change its plans.

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