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Winds hampering oil cleanup efforts

Wed., Nov. 14, 2007

Fierce winds Tuesday hampered crews struggling to clean up in the wake of a storm that sank at least 11 ships and split an oil tanker in two, spilling tons of petroleum in waters near this southern Russia seaport.

Officials called the breakup of the tanker an environmental disaster and warned that the 560,000 gallons of spilled fuel oil, which has killed an estimated 30,000 birds, could cause long-lasting damage.

The bodies of three crew members from the freighter have been found, and crews were searching for five missing crewmen.

High winds have prevented teams from launching an effort to sweep the oil off the water’s surface, officials said, allowing patches of the slick residue to drift to the seabed, where it could linger for years.


Officials confirm bird flu outbreak

An outbreak of bird flu at a poultry farm in eastern England was confirmed Tuesday as H5N1 – the same virulent strain that has killed scores of people around the world.

Bird flu’s return to Britain is a yet another blow to Britain’s farmers, already struggling after livestock herds were hit this year by foot-and-mouth and bluetongue.

Thousands of free-range turkeys, ducks and geese were being slaughtered at a farm in Redgrave, about 80 miles northeast of London.

The source of the outbreak has not been identified but was closely related to the strains found in the Czech Republic and Germany earlier this year, acting Chief Veterinary Officer Fred Landeg said.


Coalition faces asylum decision

Danes re-elected the governing coalition to a third term Tuesday, endorsing its economic and tough immigration policies. But the group must now decide whether to seek support from a Muslim leader’s party that wants better treatment for asylum-seekers.

With 100 percent of votes counted, unofficial results gave the center-right governing bloc 95 of the 179 seats in Parliament, compared with 84 opposition seats.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s coalition’s total includes five seats won by the New Alliance party headed by Syrian-born Naser Khader. Without the Alliance, the governing bloc would still have a slight majority. But the group now faces tough talks on whether to formally expand to include Khader.

New Alliance has been calling for a more humane response by the government toward migrants seeking asylum.


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