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International Update Volume 41, Issue 24

CONSERVATION OF CARIBBEAN CORAL TIED TO SEWAGE

Coral reef ecologists have determined that the cause of the last decade's 90% decline in the Caribbean's most abundant reef builder may be human waste. Elkhorn coral, named after its resemblance to antlers, has suffered serious losses to white pox, a disease that kills the coral's tissues and causes disease in human beings. For years scientists could only speculate that the diseases were related, but recent analysis has indicated that the same disease present in human waste is responsible for the coral's decline.

CHINESE DEMONSTRATION LEADS TO PLANT SHUT DOWN

China

A march of 12,000 demonstrators against a chemical plant in the port city of Dalian caused China to shut down a plant that generates 2 billion yuan in local taxes every year. Calls to relocate the plant, which was called a "time bomb" by one protestor, mounted after a tropical storm caused a wave to breach a dike built to protect the plant from floodwaters. The plant produces paraxylene, a highly toxic chemical used in fabric manufacturing, and residents expressed concern that future flooding may cause a spill.

WIND POWER CHEAPER THAN EXPECTED, FARES WELL IN BRAZIL AUCTION

Brazil

Wind was cheaper than hydropower and natural gas in a government-organized auction in Brazil last week and is becoming the cheapest source of energy in the country. Wind farm developers agreed to sell power to utilities at an average price of 99.58 reais ($62.91) per megawatt hour, below the overall auction average of 102.07 reais. The costs promised by the wind-farm owners were 24% lower than developers agreed to in a similar auction a year ago.