• 30/07/2004

Bird flu has afflicted Vietnam again. As per official reports, the country's southern Mekong Delta region has been affected the most. The outbreak in the southern province of Bac Lieu has killed many chickens. Initial tests conducted in the Ho Chi Minh City, 280 kilometres from Bac Lieu, have confirmed that the chickens tested positive for an H5 strain of bird flu. Further tests are being run to determine whether it is the dangerous H5N1 variant that swept through Asia earlier this year.

With natural calamities hitting Orissa very frequently, students of the state will now get to learn the intricacies and coping mechanism of disasters. From the current educational year, the Class VIII geography textbooks will have a chapter on natural and human-made disasters. Emphasis would be laid on cyclones.

Swiss chemicals giant Syngenta will close its genetically modified (GM) crop research operations in the UK and move to the US. The UK division will concentrate only on agrochemical research. Europe has resisted the introduction of GM crops in contrast to the US. Syngenta was the last company to have a significant biotech crop research capability in the UK, following decisions by companies such as Monsanto, DuPont and Bayer Cropscience to scale down operations.

The US hardware company, International Business Machines (IBM), has settled a compensation claim with 50 workers and retirees in California who allegedly developed cancer due to exposure to toxic chemicals at the firm's plants. However, the terms were not disclosed and IBM refused to offer any details about the same.

A severe drought enveloping eastern Cuba has eroded 40 per cent of the farmland, starved thousands of heads of cattle and has close to 4 million people counting every drop of water they consume. Cuba's Civil Defense has declared a state of alert in four provinces.

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