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Monday, Nov 24th

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Hazardous Waste and History Mix On D.C. Tour

The manicured lawns and beautiful brick homes that line the streets of Spring Valley look like those in most affluent District neighborhoods.

But the area looked much different during World War I, when the Army was using it as a testing ground for chemical weapons.On Sunday, visitors on a tour of the neighborhood heard how, 90 years after scientists ended their experiments, the remnants of toxic munitions remain.

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Firm agrees Ivory Coast waste payouts

An oil trading firm has agreed to pay more than $46m (£28m) compensation to people in Ivory Coast who say they were made ill by dumped waste in 2006.

Trafigura, with offices in London, Amsterdam and Geneva, said 30,000 people will each receive $1,546 (£950). The money is in addition to the nearly $200m that the company paid the Ivorian government in 2007.

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Can condoms combat climate change?

Yes, and they should, argues an editorial in the new issue of the medical journal the Lancet.

In addition to boosting the health, standard of living and human rights of women, encouraging the use of contraception also will help save the planet, the journal argues. The calculus is simple: preventing unwanted pregnancies -- especially in the developing world -- translates into reduced demand for increasingly scarce and energy-intensive resources like food, water and shelter.

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How UK oil company Trafigura tried to cover up African pollution disaster

The Guardian can reveal evidence today of a massive cover-up by the British oil trader Trafigura, in one of the worst pollution disasters in recent history.

Internal emails show that Trafigura, which yesterday suddenly announced an offer to pay compensation to 31,000 west African victims, was fully aware that its waste dumped in Ivory Coast was so toxic that it was banned in Europe.

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Mafia 'sank nuclear waste ship'

A shipwreck that could contain nuclear waste is being investigated by authorities in Italy amid claims that it was deliberately sunk by the mafia.

An informant told a judge the ship was one of a number he blew up as part of an illegal operation to bypass rules on the disposal of toxic waste.
The sunken vessel has been found 30km (18 miles) off the south-west of Italy. Murky pictures taken by a robot camera show the vessel intact and alongside it are a number of yellow barrels. Labels on them say the contents are toxic.

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Arctic Reverses Trend, Is Warmest in Two Millennia

The Arctic is warmer than it's been in 2,000 years, even though it should be cooling because of changes in the Earth's orbit that cause the region to get less direct sunlight. Indeed, the Arctic had been cooling for nearly two millennia before reversing course in the last century and starting to warm as human activities added greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

''If it hadn't been for the increase in human-produced greenhouse gases, summer temperatures in the Arctic should have cooled gradually over the last century,'' said Bette Otto-Bliesner, a National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist.

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Verizon Sponsoring Anti-Climate Rally Backed By Coal Giant Massey Energy

On Labor Day, tens of thousands of people will be gathering for the coal-powered “Friends of America Rally” in Holden, WV. The point of the gathering is to rail against the Waxman-Markey clean energy legislation. It will feature right-wing guests such as Sean Hannity and Ted Nugent (who once ranted about killing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton), and is being pushed by mountaintop-removal mining company Massey Energy.

The sponsors for the rally are mostly regional oil, gas, and coal companies. However, the list also includes the Science and Public Policy Institute — a fringe climate-denial organization — and Verizon Wireless.

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