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Wednesday, Apr 23rd

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China Admits That One-Fifth Of Its Farmland Is Contaminated

China's toxic farmlandUnbridled industrialization with almost no environmental regulation has resulted in the toxic contamination of one-fifth of China's farmland, the Communist Party has acknowledged for the first time.

The report, issued by the ministries of Environmental Protection and Land and Resources, says 16.1 percent of the country's soil in general and 19.4 percent of its farmland is polluted with toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, nickel and arsenic. It was based on a soil survey of more than 2.4 million square miles of land across China, spanning a period from April 2005 until December 2013. It excluded special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau.

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At least 12 killed in avalanche on Mount Everest

Mt. EverestAt least 12 Sherpa guides were killed and three seriously wounded Friday in the single deadliest avalanche on Mount Everest.

Nearly a 100 Sherpas and climbers are now trapped above the avalanche site, which is above base camp but just below “Camp 2″. The avalanche which came crashing down the slopes, along a particularly hazardous route, swept away 25 people. Authorities have rescued eight people and are still looking for five missing Sherpas.

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Ukraine crisis: Deal to 'de-escalate' agreed in Geneva

Ukrain agreementRussia, Ukraine, the US and the European Union have said that all sides have agreed to steps to "de-escalate" the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

Their foreign ministers were speaking at the end of talks between Russia, Ukraine, the EU and US in the Swiss city of Geneva.  Analysts say the outline agreement could stay economic sanctions the West was preparing to impose on Russia.

Ukraine has been in crisis since the toppling of its pro-Moscow president.

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Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine

Ukranian JewsJews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to "register" with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Israeli media.

Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city's Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee "or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated," reported Ynet News, Israel's largest news website.

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Parents and principal say more than 100 Nigerian girls still missing

Nigeria armyThe principal of the Nigerian school and parents have refuted the military's claims that 121 of the 129 girls have been found, after being abducted on April 14.

Asabe Kwambura, the principal of the state-run school from which Islamist militant group Boko Haram abducted over a 100 school girls earlier this week, said that only 14 out of 129 students had escaped. Managing director of Borno Urban Development Board Yahaya Chibok also confirmed that only 14 girls were free.

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Kiev's grip on eastern Ukraine weakens as pro-Russians seize army vehicles

eastern UkraineFor Kiev's beleaguered army it was meant to be a display of strength. Early on Wednesday a column of six armoured personnel carriers trundled through the town of Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine. Some 24 hours earlier Ukrainian soldiers had recaptured a small disused aerodrome. Their next target appeared to be Slavyansk, the neighbouring town, occupied by a shadowy Russian militia. Was victory close?

The column didn't get far. At Kramatorsk's railway junction, next to an open-air market and a shop selling building materials, an angry crowd caught up with it. Next armed separatists dressed in military fatigues turned up too. Within minutes the Ukrainian soldiers gave up. Without a shot being fired they abandoned their vehicles. The pro-Russian gunmen grabbed them. They raised a Russian tricolour. They sat on top and went for a victory spin.

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Mexican mobile phone operator sues IBM for $2.5 billion

IBM suedMexican mobile phone operator Iusacell SA de CV sued IBM Corp on Wednesday, accusing the U.S. technology giant of making fraudulent representations that caused it to lose $2.5 billion in profits.

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in New York, was heavily redacted, leaving many of the claims unclear. But the complaint centered on a contract that Iusacell said IBM induced it to enter into in Mexico.

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