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Tuesday, april 30, 2013 cook Islands News

worldneWS nuti no teiA nei Ao

Bee killing pesticide banned BruSSeLS – the european

Commission will enact a twoyear ban on a class of pesticides thought to be harming global bee populations. neonicotinoids are among the world’s most effective and widely used insecticides, and there is significant disagreement as to how much they are contributing to the crisis that has devastated global wild and domesticated bee populations. the european Commission says the pesticides should be restricted to crops not attractive to bees and other pollinators. But many farmers and crop experts argue that there is insuficient data. Fifteen countries voted in favour of a total ban – not enough to form a qualiied majority. But according to eu rules the Commission will now have the authority to impose a two-year restriction on neonicotinoids – and those who voted against the decision cannot opt out. the Commission says it wants the moratorium to begin no later than December 1 this year. the uK did not support a ban – it argues that the science behind the proposal is inconclusive. it was among eight countries that voted against, while four abstained. Wild species such as honey

bees are said by researchers to be responsible for pollinating around one-third of the world’s crop production. the un Food and Agriculture organisation notes that 71 of the 100 crops that provide 90 per cent of human food are pollinated by bees. estimates of the value to those crops run to as much as $200 billion annually. there is heated debate about what has triggered the widespread decline in bee populations. Besides chemicals, many experts point to the parasitic varroa mite, viruses that attack bees and neglect of hives. After monday’s vote the eu Health Commissioner, tonio Borg, said “the Commission will go ahead with its text in the coming weeks”. “i pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over 22 billion euros annually to european agriculture, are protected.” Greenpeace eu agriculture policy director marco Contiero said the vote “makes it crystal clear that there is overwhelming scientific, political and public support for a ban. “those countries opposing a ban have failed.” Some restrictions are already in place for neonicotinoids in

France, Germany, italy and Slovenia. the three neonicotinoids are clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam. A report published by the european Food Safety Agency (eFSA) in January concluded that the pesticides posed a “high acute risk” to pollinators, including honeybees. However, it added that in some cases it was “unable to inalise the assessments due to shortcomings in the available data”. neonicotinoid pesticides are new nicotine-like chemicals and act on the nervous systems of insects, with a lower threat to mammals and the environment than many older sprays there was ferocious lobbying both for and against in the runup to monday’s vote,. nearly three million signatures were collected in support of a ban. Campaign organiser Andrew pendleton of the environmental group Friends of the earth said “leading retailers have already taken action by removing these pesticides from their shelves and supply chains – the uK government must act too”. Chemical companies and pesticide manufacturers have been lobbying just as hard – they argue that the science is inconclu-

Stunt takes man’s life

SiLiGuri – An indian Guinness World record holder who attempted to cross a river suspended from a zip wire, or lying fox, attached to his ponytail has died during the stunt. Sailendra nath roy, 48, was performing the feat in West Bengal when he apparently suffered a heart attack half way across the river. Hundreds of spectators watched his last moments in horror. in march 2011, mr roy was named a Guinness World record holder for travelling the farthest distance on a zip wire attached to his long hair. roy was trying to cross the teesta river alongside a bridgenear Siliguri town suspended from a zip wire 180-metres long

at a height of 20 metres. A large number of people had gathered on the bridge to watch the feat. Witnesses said that roy appeared to make no progress after covering about 90 metres. “He was desperately trying to move forward. He was trying to scream out some instruction. But no one could follow what he was saying. After struggling for 30 minutes he became still,” said Balai Sutradhar, a photographer, who was covering the stunt. police said he was hanging for nearly 45 minutes before he was brought down. Doctors at the hospital said he had suffered a “massive heart attack”. Roy, an oficer with West Bengal police home guard, had ar-

rived at the riverside on Sunday morning and set up the zip wire from the bridge with help from friends. He was wearing a life jacket, but there were no doctors or emergency services on the spot. police said that roy had not got permission to do the stunt. A friend, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: “His wife used to urge him to quit doing these dangerous stunts. roy convinced her that crossing the teesta river would be his last.” in 2008, roy pulled the Darjeeling toy train with his ponytail. in 2007, his ponytail tied to a rope, he lew from one building to another in front of television cameras to claim another obscure stunt record. - BBC

Stressful new disorder pAriS – A new strain of travel sickness has been identiied. A dozen or so Japanese tourists a year have to be repatriated from the French capital, after falling prey to what’s become known as “paris Syndrome”. that is what some polite Japanese tourists suffer when they discover that parisians can be rude or the city does not meet their expectations. the experience can apparently be so stressful for some that they actually suffer psychiatric breakdowns. Around a million Japanese travel to France every year. many of the visitors come with a deeply romantic vision of paris – the cobbled streets, as seen in the ilm ‘Amelie’, the

beauty of French women or the high culture, the high fashion and the art at the Louvre. the reality of what the actually confront in paris can come as a shock. An encounter with a rude taxi driver, or a parisian waiter who shouts at customers who cannot speak luent French, might be laughed off by those from other Western cultures. But for the Japanese – used to a more polite and helpful society in which voices are rarely raised in anger – the experience of their dream city turning into a nightmare can simply be too much. this year alone, the Japanese embassy in paris has had to repatriate four people with a doc-

tor or nurse on board the plane to help them get over the shock. they were suffering from “paris Syndrome”. it was a Japanese psychiatrist working in France, professor Hiroaki Ota, who irst identiied the syndrome some 20 years ago. on average, up to 12 Japanese tourists a year fall victim to it, mainly women in their 30s with high expectations of what may be their irst trip abroad. the Japanese embassy has a 24-hour hotline for those suffering from severe culture shock, and can help ind hospital treatment for anyone in need. However, the only permanent cure for “paris Syndrome” is to go back to Japan – and never to return to paris. - BBC

Beekeepers demonstrate at the EU headquarters’ doors in Brussels to confront lawmakers as they decided to vote on whether to ban bee-killing pesticides. AFP sive, and that a ban would harm food production. the uK government seems to agree with the industry lobby. it objected to the proposed ban in its current form. the chief scientiic adviser, Sir Mark Walport, has said restrictions on the use of pesticides should not be introduced lightly, and the idea of a ban should be dropped. the eu moratorium will not apply to crops non-attractive to bees, or to winter cereals. it will prohibit the sale and use of seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides. And there will be a ban on the sale of neonicotinoids to ama-

teur crop growers. there have been a number of studies showing that the chemicals, made by Bayer and Syngenta, do have negative impacts on bees. Bayer CropScience called the commission’s plan “a setback for technology, innovation and sustainability,” and warned of “crop yield losses, reduced food quality and loss of competitiveness for european agriculture.” the two-year ban will allow commission officials to re-examine the scientiic studies that were submitted for approval of the pesticides in the irst place and “to take into account rel-

evant scientific and technical developments.” “this gives bees a bit of breathing space to recover,” said paul de Zylva, an environmental campaigner in London with Friends of the earth. “the time should be used to come up with a comprehensive plan to address the bee crisis,” he said, with civil organisations, governments, farmers and companies working together. the european ban “doesn’t solve all the problems, though, we never said it did,” de Zylva added. “you’ve got to look at all the problems facing bees, it’s not just pesticides.” - PNC

Altercation on Everest KAtHmAnDu – police in nepal are investigating an alleged ight between two famous European climbers and their nepalese mountain guides on mount everest. Switzerland’s ueli Steck and Simone moro from italy were at 7470 metres when the brawl occurred. the pair allegedly ignored orders to hold their climb and triggered an icefall which hit the Sherpas laying ixed ropes. The climbers deny this. Both sides have since reached a peace deal, reports say. Steck told the BBC that their three-man team was nearing Camp three on Saturday, when the “conlict” broke out. He said they had been keeping a respectful distance so as not to disturb the work of the Sherpas laying ropes. the climbers continued to Camp three but later descended to Camp Two to “inish the discussion” and were met by more

than 100 angry Sherpas, who began to beat them and throw rocks, Steck said. He said the Sherpas threatened to kill the climbers if they did not leave the camp. one of the Sherpas threw a pocket knife at moro but “luckily it just hit the belt of his backpack”, Steck said, adding that they escaped with no serious injuries. Steck said the conlict was the symptom of a long-term problem of “cultures”, but did not elaborate. Ang tshering Sherpa, the former president of the nepal mountaineers Association, told the BBC that climbing leaders of various teams at base camp helped broker a peace deal on Sunday. exact details are not very clear, but the two sides clearly had a misunderstanding, Sherpa Ang said. in a statement, moro said that “getting hit by chunks of

ice is a very natural occurrence” on an ice face. “As it stands, no Sherpa has come forward to show any injury.” “the climbers believe that the lead Sherpa felt that his pride had been damaged as the climbers were moving unroped and much faster,” the statement added. When they returned to their tents, moro said a mob of guides had grouped together to attack them. “the guides became instantly aggressive and not only punched and kicked the climbers, but threw many rocks as well,” said moro. more than 3000 people have scaled mount everest since it was irst conquered by Edmund Hillary and tenzing norgay in 1953. Straddling nepal and China, the world’s highest mountain has an altitude of 8848 metres. - BBC

YouTube video puts dad in court KerALA – Charges have been

iled against an Indian man who allowed his nine-year-old son to drive his Ferrari the man’s wife filmed the boy driving the sports car on his ninth birthday two weeks ago, with his seven-year-old brother in the passenger seat. the vid-

eo went viral on youtube and caused outrage across india, causing police to ile charges. india’s economic boom has created a class of super-rich, whose excesses are frequently in the news. police said the boy’s father, who has a thriving tobacco and

real estate business, owns a stable of 18 cars worth an estimated $uS4 million. mohammed nisham was charged with endangering the life of a child and allowing a minor to drive, said police spokesman, inspector mv verghese. - AAP

Tuesday 30 April  
Tuesday 30 April  

News, Sports and Opinion from the Cook Islands News for Tuesday, April 30, 2013