toxicity unleashed: In a controversial move, the EU has legalised the herbicide paraquat even as the bloc's own risk classification and labelling lists the chemical as acutely toxic. The US, too, has taken a similar step, with the federal government announcing that it would not impose new restrictions on atrazine. The commonly used herbicide has been associated with low sperm counts and prostate cancer.
licence to fell: Premising its argument on not-so-sound logic, a committee constituted by the Orissa government has recommended the installation of 70 more sawmills in the state. This would be over and above the nearly 150 units that are currently in operation. The panel has justified its suggestion, claiming that more sawmills would boost afforestation. The fact is that the move could lead to the decimation of Orissa's remaining forest cover.
furore over eyesore: The Jammu and Kashmir government's decision to construct an amusement park in the picturesque hill resort of Pahalgam has left environmentalists anything but amused. They allege that the authorities have wrought havoc on a lush-green tract by installing rides, which are run by generators. The activists are planning to go to court to have the park closed. While the state's house panel on environment is taking up the issue, the project promoter claims that the land was already barren.
health hazard: An alert has been sounded at the radiotherapy department of New Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital over violation of safety norms. A radiation threat came to light after an inspection conducted by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. All new admissions for cancer treatment have been halted in the department. It has been given three months to comply with the rules.
birth pangs: Right at the outset, the controversial ban on late-term abortions in the US has run into trouble. Three judges around the country have stayed its implementation. They ruled that the law seemed unconstitutional since it provided no exceptions for late abortions to protect the life or health of the mother. The measure prohibits a particular procedure in which foetuses in the final stages of pregnancy are aborted by partially delivering them and then puncturing their skull with a sharp object.