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Post-tsunami, Japan’s pets struggle to survive

SENDAI, Japan (AFP) – Hungry, hurt and separated from owners who are either dead or in evacuation centres, hundreds of family pets are struggling to survive in the desolation of Japan’s tsunami-ravaged northeast coast. Among the many rescue teams sent from around the world to search for survivors and bodies…

Catholic NGO told to halt west Darfur aid

KHARTOUM — Sudan has ordered a Catholic aid agency to close its operations in west Darfur by the end of the month, in a move the organisation says will deprive 400,000 people of emergency food supplies. “The government has asked us to leave Darfur because they said they couldn’t guarantee…

250,000 have fled Libya: UN

UNITED NATIONS – More than 250,000 people have now fled Libya into neighbouring countries since the revolt against Moamer Kadhafi started in mid-February, the UN said Thursday. More than 137,400 have crossed into Tunisia, 107,500 to Egypt, 5,400 to Algeria and 2,200 to Niger, the UN Office for the Coordination…

Eco-farming can double food output by poor: U.N.

OSLO (Reuters) – Many farmers in developing nations can double food production within a decade by shifting to ecological agriculture from use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, a U.N. report showed on Tuesday. Insect-trapping plants in Kenya and Bangladesh’s use of ducks to eat weeds in rice paddies are among…

NYC outdoor smoking extinguished from May 23

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Smoking in New York City’s parks, beaches, boardwalks, pedestrian plazas and other public spaces will be banned from May 23 despite complaints about excessive meddling by government in people’s private lives. Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the legislation on Tuesday after the city council voted 36 to…

50 million ‘environmental refugees’ by 2020, experts say

WASHINGTON – Fifty million “environmental refugees” will flood into the global north by 2020, fleeing food shortages sparked by climate change, experts warned at a major science conference that ended here Monday. “In 2020, the UN has projected that we will have 50 million environmental refugees,” Cristina Tirado, a professor…

Researchers: Earth will be ‘unrecognizable’ by 2050

WASHINGTON — A growing, more affluent population competing for ever scarcer resources could make for an “unrecognizable” world by 2050, researchers warned at a major US science conference Sunday. The United Nations has predicted the global population will reach seven billion this year, and climb to nine billion by 2050,…

FDA urged to ban soda ‘caramel’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some chemically enhanced caramel food colorings used in widely consumed cola drinks could cause cancer and should be banned, a U.S. consumer advocacy group urged the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday. Pure caramel is made from melted sugar; but two other versions approved to color food…

Meat-lovers get food for thought in futuristic US lab

CHARLESTON, South Carolina – A 21st century American cowboy will resemble a worker in a hi-tech plant creating artificial meat in a petri dish, a far cry from cattle ranches, says biologist Vladimir Mironov. The growth of “cultured” or in-vitro meat may be a vital step towards solving the global…

Ghost villages left as 36,000 Afghans flee war

KHAKAI, Afghanistan — There is no-one drinking tea or tending animals outside their homes in Khakai, one of the ghost villages of southern Afghanistan — just lots of collapsed mud walls and an eerie quiet. “It’s totally empty,” said Bryan Baker, a medic accompanying a US-Afghan military patrol searching for…

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