Indonesian mob slaughters ‘hundreds’ of crocs in revenge attack

SORONG, Indonesia (AFP)–An angry mob has slaughtered nearly 300 crocodiles in Indonesia after a local man was killed by one of the reptiles, authorities said Monday. The revenge killing happened Saturday in Papua province following the funeral of the man, who perished when he fell into an enclosure at a crocodile farm while looking for grass to feed his livestock, police and conservation officials said. The victim, identified as 48-year-old Sugito, was bitten on the […]

Trash piles up in US as China closes door to recycling

  by Ivan Couronne Agence France-Presse   WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — For months, a major recycling facility for the greater Baltimore-Washington area has been facing a big problem: it has to pay to get rid of huge amounts of paper and plastic it would normally sell to China. Beijing is no longer buying, claiming the recycled materials are “contaminated.” For sure, the 900 tons of trash dumped at all hours of the day and night, […]

Starbucks to phase out plastic straws by 2020

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) – Global coffee giant Starbucks announced Monday it is to eliminate all plastic straws from its 28,000 stores by 2020, becoming the latest corporate giant to take steps to combat pollution from disposable plastic. After months of tests, many of them carried out in Britain, the firm announced the news on Twitter. The plastic straws will be replaced by recyclable lids that have a small raised opening allowing consumers to sip […]

Sanofi shuts down factory over toxic waste outcry

by Etienne Balmer Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) – French pharmaceuticals group Sanofi announced late Monday an immediate halt in production at a chemical factory in southwest France, in the wake of media reports that toxic waste emissions exceeded the norms. “Sanofi Chemical has decided from today to stop production at its Mourenx site and to carry out the announced technical improvements needed to return to normal,” the group said in a brief statement. It […]

First quolls born in Australian wild in half a century

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP)–The first eastern quolls in 50 years have been born in the wild on the Australian mainland, with the rice grain-sized pups offering hope to a species of marsupial devastated by foxes. Eastern quolls — a furry carnivore that grows to about the size of a domestic cat — disappeared from the mainland in the 1960s but clung on in the island state of Tasmania. Twenty of them were returned to their native […]

Electricity potential answer to the mystery of ‘flying’ spiders

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Cloudy with a chance of… spiders? The phenomenon of “flying” spiders gliding into the air and traveling like balloons for hundreds of miles (kilometers) has a new possible explanation: the air’s natural electric charge. Aerial spider journeys — often known as “ballooning” — have long been observed, notably by biologist Charles Darwin, who documented the spectacle in his diary in the 19th century. One closely studied hypothesis suggested that spiders […]

UAE further delays launch of first nuclear reactor

  ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AFP) — The United Arab Emirates (UAE) said Wednesday that its first nuclear reactor would come online in late 2019 or early 2020, further delaying the launch of the Arab World’s first atomic power station. Construction of the first of four reactors at the $20 billion (17 billion euro) Barakah plant has been completed ahead of “operation by the end of 2019 (or) early 2020,” Emirates Nuclear Energy Corpation said, quoted […]

Seattle bans plastic straws, but US still has a long way to go

by Ivan Couronne © Agence France-Presse Seattle has become the first major US city to ban plastic straws and utensils in its eateries, a victory for environmentalists that will be tough to replicate elsewhere in the United States. After targeting plastic bags, environmentalists have set their sights on plastic drinking straws as a public enemy, highlighting the gap between their brief moment of utility and the enduring impact they have on marine creatures, which often […]

I.Coast to invest 1 billion euros to replenish forest cover

  ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AFP)–The world’s top cocoa producer Ivory Coast said Monday it would invest nearly one billion euros over 10 years to replace forests that were razed to grow the bean. The West African country supplies two million tonnes of cocoa to the world market annually and the commodity is a mainstay of the economy. Mighty Earth, an NGO, had alleged in an October report that “many of the country’s national parks and […]

Saving the koala, with science

by Mariëtte Le Roux © Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) – Australia’s iconic koala, its very existence imperilled by disease, bushfires, car strikes, and dog attacks, faces a more hopeful future thanks to scientists cracking its genetic code, a study said Monday. A mammoth effort by more than 50 researchers in seven countries uncovered 26,558 koala genes, yielding vital DNA clues for vaccines against diseases such as sexually transmitted chlamydia, which blinds the cuddly critters […]

UNESCO marks Colombian national park for conservation

MANAMA, Bahrain (AFP) – Colombia’s massive Chiribiquete National Park has made UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the United Nations body announced Sunday. “Congratulations,” the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization announced on Twitter. With an area of ​​2.7 million hectares (6.7 million acres) covering five Amazonian municipalities in the southern Guaviare and Caqueta regions, Colombia’s largest natural park has rich biodiversity and is a sacred place for indigenous people. This is the ninth world heritage listing […]

War on plastic leaves manufacturers clutching at straws

  by Pierre Donadieu and Marie Heuclin © Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP)–For decades, plastic straws have been essential props for cocktail makers, smoothie lovers and fast food addicts. But that may be starting to change, thanks largely to vigorous environmental campaigning. Under pressure from activists, the European Union, Britain, India and even fast food giants like McDonald’s have all made some headway towards bringing the use of plastic straws to an end. And with […]