• 14/12/2004

smokescreen: As per a study by UK-based London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Philip Morris, the world's leading tobacco manufacturer, studied the effects of smoking 30 years ago, but it did not reveal the dangers of passive smoking.

powered at last: The first wind power plant of the Arabian Peninsula was inaugurated recently. The US $2.5 million power plant, located on the Sir Bani Yas Island off Abu Dhabi, will generate 850 kilowatts of electricity everyday to power a seawater desalination operation.

not kidding: Malnutrition is very high in Meghalaya, with about 37.9 per cent of the children below three years being moderately underweight and 11.3 per cent severely underweight. These are the findings of a study by the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai. Infant mortality rate is also high at 39 deaths per 1,000 children; in Kerala, it is 16.3 deaths per 1,000 kids. About 64 per cent of the households in Meghalaya do not have access to safe drinking water. This implies outbreaks of diarrhoeal diseases.

clipped wings: Almost half of Europe's 524 native species of birds face an uncertain future due to intensive agriculture, as per a new report by BirdLife International, a UK-based alliance of conservation groups. After assessing bird population data from 52 European countries, researchers of the organisation found that the status of 45 species was worse than what it was 10 years ago, when their first Birds in Europe report was published.

unexpected projection: A study by Australian scientists shows the country's overall average rainfall has increased by about 10 per cent in every decade since 1952 due to climate change. "The wetter conditions have occurred in the more sparsely populated regions in the western, northern and central parts of the country,' says Ian Smith, the lead researcher from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

feasible explanation: The illnesses suffered by veterans of the first Gulf War is linked to exposure to toxins such as chemical nerve agents, according to a report of the US veteran affairs department. It states that stress or mental illness alone cannot explain the veterans' health problems such as acute headaches and tremors.

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