Age (Australia)

  • Uranium outlook bright: ERA

    The world's third-largest uranium producer, Energy Resources of Australia, expects future demand for the fuel to remain strong thanks to growing need for electricity. ERA, which is majority owned by Rio Tinto, produced almost 10% of the world's uranium in 2007 from its Ranger mine in the Northern Territory.

  • Life returns to normal after 18 years

    Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) yesterday demanded introducing rationing system and effective steps against hoarders and syndicates responsible for price hike of essentials, says a press release. CPB Dhaka Committee observed a five-hour token hunger strike at the party's central office at Paltan in the city protesting police intervention in the human chain programme on April 17.

  • State 'soft' over plastic bags

    The Victorian Government has been accused of letting industry decide environment policy after replacing a promised compulsory plastic bags levy with a system run voluntarily by retailers. Victorian Environment Minister Gavin Jennings this week announced a pilot scheme by the Australian National Retailers Association representing major supermarket chains that will charge up to 25 cents a bag at the checkout. This followed federal and state environment ministers failing to agree on a national scheme to phase out plastic bags by the end of the year.

  • Critical dredging begins on contaminated river deposits

    ONE of the most contentious aspects of Melbourne's channel-deepening project begins today, when contaminated sediment around the mouth of the Yarra River is disturbed. The vessel Goomai will begin dredging the top layer of Yarra riverbed above crucial underground infrastructure, including a Melbourne Water sewer that runs to the Werribee Treatment Plant. The dredging will move sediments that are contaminated with lead, mercury, zinc, DDT and other chemicals dumped over many decades of industry in Melbourne's west.

  • Brazil at odds with UN over biofuels

    BRAZIL'S President has blamed rising oil prices for the current global food crisis, saying biofuels are not the problem. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said rising oil prices were pushing up freight costs which, in turn, affected world food prices. "Ethanol production has not contributed in any way to the food price crises," Mr da Silva said yesterday in Accra, Ghana, where he was attending a three-day UN Conference on Trade and Development. "It is the oil prices that have brought about high freight charges on the transportation of food."

  • Melbourne's hazy shade of autumn

    Early-morning fog and controlled fire burn-offs around the state have blanketed Melbourne's inner suburbs with a thick haze that is expected to hang around for the next few days, the Bureau of Meteorology says. Senior forecaster Terry Ryan told The Age online a lack of wind over the weekend and controlled fire burn-offs had contributed to the thick haze.

  • Rudd asked to repeal nuclear dump laws

    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been urged to fulfil an election promise to repeal legislation paving the way for a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory. The region was chosen by the Howard government for Australia's first waste facility because of its geological stability and remote terrain, far from population centres. Four sites were being considered, including Muckaty Station, about 120km north of Tennant Creek, and commonwealth defence land at Harts Range, Mount Everard and Fishers Ridge.

  • Recycled water 'too clean' for Yarra, say critics

    A VICTORIAN Government proposal to divert billions of litres of recycled sewage into the Yarra River could hurt the waterway because the water could be "too clean", environmental groups have warned. The Government is searching for the best way to use the 100 billion litres that will be recycled annually at the Eastern Treatment Plant plant at Bangholme once an upgrade is completed in 2012. The Yarra proposal is one of two that have been under consideration since late last year. The second is piping the recycled water to the Latrobe Valley for use at power stations.

  • Getting rid of plastic bags is a good start

    Reusable material being dumped into landfill is the real problem. IF YOU'RE left holding a handful of plastic bags after you do the big supermarket shop and you don't feel guilty, then you might be as impervious as the plastic bag itself is to breaking down in the environment. Images of distressed penguins and sea turtles wrapped in plastic bags should come to mind. In political terms, ridding supermarkets of the bags was a "no brainer", even though the question of who pays hasn't been easy going for federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett.

  • $18bn later, Beijing still lies shrouded in smog

    BEIJING'S unveiling of drastic measures, including a two-month freeze on all construction, is an admission that despite spending about $A18.3 billion in the past decade to reduce smog, the Chinese capital's air quality remains a formidable challenge. The tacit admission comes as a University of California report to be published next month suggests that China's carbon dioxide emissions have been underestimated and China probably overtook the US as the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2006-07.

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