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Wednesday, Nov 26th

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Europe's secret plan to boost GM crop production

Gordon Brown and other EU leaders in campaign to promote modified foods

Gordon Brown and other European leaders are secretly preparing an unprecedented campaign to spread GM crops and foods in Britain and throughout the continent, confidential documents obtained by The Independent on Sunday reveal.

The documents – minutes of a series of private meetings of representatives of 27 governments – disclose plans to "speed up" the introduction of the modified crops and foods and to "deal with" public resistance to them.

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2 greenhouse gases on the rise worry scientists

Carbon dioxide isn't the only greenhouse gas that worries climate scientists. Airborne levels of two other potent gases — one from ancient plants, the other from flat-panel screen technology — are on the rise, too. And that's got scientists concerned about accelerated global warming.

The gases are methane and nitrogen trifluoride. Both pale in comparison to the global warming effects of carbon dioxide, produced by the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels.

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Tokyo demands action on climate change

Tokyo's outspoken governor berated national leaders on Wednesday for their "foolish" failure to halt global warming as the world's biggest cities met to plan action on the climate.

Mayors or senior officials from 36 of the world's largest cities were gathering for two days of talks in Tokyo on how to fight global warming in the latest meeting of the so-called C40 climate initiative.

Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, in an opening address, lashed out at Russia and the United States for disputing rights to the North Pole, noting that the polar ice cap was melting at a record pace.

"Such is the ego of human beings. It's such a foolish tale," Ishihara said.

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EBay to ban sales of ivory goods

EBay has announced a worldwide ban on the sale of ivory products on its auction websites from next year.

An eBay spokesman said the move was the best way to help African and Asian elephants. The endangered animals are often hunted for their ivory tusks.

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EPA has been overstating penalties against polluters, congressional investigators say

Accounting practices at the Environmental Protection Agency have helped mask how much the Bush administration has slashed penalties against polluters, according to congressional investigators.

A Government Accountability Office report to be released Tuesday says the agency has overstated its enforcement of environmental violations to the public and to Congress by including fines that may never be paid when it tallies penalties.

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Alarm sounded after steep fall in tally of common seals around UK

Marine biologists have warned of significant and serious changes in the seas around Britain after detecting a steep and "frightening" fall in the numbers of common seals around the coast.

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U.S. moves toward new dumping rules for mining waste

U.S. officials have moved closer to finalizing rules on the disposal of mining waste, a plan environmentalists said gives mountaintop mining companies more freedom to dump debris near rivers and streams.

The current rules were put in place in 1983 but needed to be clarified because of conflicting interpretations, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) said in a statement released on Friday.

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