golden danger: The fragile eco-system of Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana's largest natural lake, is in danger. Ghana's mineral commission has reportedly permitted a Canadian exploration and development company, Norcan Resources Limited, to explore the area around the lake for gold deposits. The company now needs only the clearance of Ghana's environmental protection agency to go ahead with its work. Lake Bosumtwi supports many threatened bird species and unique plant and fish varieties. Local communities depend on it for their livelihood.
trapped: The Manipur government's attempt to replicate the Delhi urban planning model has run into rough weather. Despite the Centre releasing Rs 3 crore in 2003 for constructing a multi-storey tribal market complex in a tribal area in the heart of Imphal, the state government remains undecided about going ahead with the work. Some groups complain that the market will adversely affect the area's residents by necessitating the conversion of the whole area into a commercial area, leading to tax hikes. Others allege that the government's indecision stems from its desire to place the lucrative market in some other area, to benefit some other tribe.
gulf war syndrome: For the first time, Lord Lloyd, head of the inquiry into illnesses among veterans of the 1991 Iraq conflict, has acknowledged the existence of a Gulf War syndrome among over 6,000 troops. The findings, still not official, could prove politically harmful for the US government. According to Lloyd's team, possible reasons for health problems include vaccinations given to the troops, indiscriminate spraying of tents by pesticides, low level exposure to nerve gas and depleted uranium dust from the Allied Forces' tank-busting weaponry.
finning ban: In an unprecedented move, more than 60 countries have agreed to ban the killing of sharks for their fins in the Atlantic Ocean. The agreement was formulated in a recent meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), which looks after the management of many fish species. It bans the practice of shark finning, in which fins are sliced off the body of sharks and the remaining carcass is thrown away. Shark fins are in great demand in many Asian nations, where they are considered a delicacy.