• 29/11/2005

Army contractors halted operations at the Newport Chemical Depot, in western Indiana, as nearly 500 gallons of caustic wastewater containing hydrolysate, leaked into a sealed area at the facility. This plant is used for destroying Cold War era chemical weapon VX.

A regional conference on sustainable transportation and air quality held in Bangkok warned that Asia's cities, boosted by economic prosperity, were facing increasing gridlock. It proposed to take up urgent measures to promote mass transit systems. Bus and underground railways were possible solutions though they involved high cost and low returns.

The Spanish fisherfolk's agitation, demanding US $0.11 a litre increase in subsidies, ended. The blockades affecting Spanish ports were to be lifted immediately. A demand for a new package of tax breaks was also made. The meeting had representatives from the ministry of agriculture and fisheries and the fishing brotherhoods.

South Africa's main port, Durban underwent clean-up operations after 80 tonnes of bunker fuel spilled into the harbour. The spill happened when a ship was damaged off the coast of neighbouring Namibia, while berthing at a flocking dock for repair. However there were no major disruptions to traffic at Africa's busiest harbour.

Japan recently rebuffed USA's demand to ease its stand on US beef imports. Japan had banned US beef in December 2003, after the country's first case of mad-cow disease (believed to cause fatal brain disorder in humans). Japan wants to import cows less than 21 months old, while the US insists cows less than 30 months old are safe from this disease.

The Burton coal mine near Mackay, in north Queensland, Australia, has had an uncontrolled release of contaminants from its storage facility. The release was contained but a quantity of the material still reached Anna Creek, which though dry presently, flows into the Isaac River. The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the incident but no environmental change has been reported so far.

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