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International Update Volume 42, Issue 1

AFRICAN RHINO POACHING HITS RECORD ON ASIAN DEMAND

South Africa

A record number of rhinos were poached this year in South Africa, home to the greatest number of the animals, as rising demand in Asia for their horns led to increased killings of the threatened species. At least 443 rhinos have been killed in South Africa in 2011, up from 333 last year, the national park service and conservationists said.

CHINESE COURT ACCEPTS OIL SPILL-RELATED COMPENSATION CLAIMS

China

A maritime court in the northern coastal city of Tianjin accepted a case of compensation claims last Friday from aquaculture farmers who believe oil leaked from ConocoPhillips-operated oil field platforms in Bohai Sea resulted in their business losses. The Tianjin Maritime Court took up the lawsuit filed by a group of 29 aqua-farmers against ConocoPhillips China and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). The Penglai 19-3 oil field, where the leak had first been reported in June from platforms B and C, is being operated by ConocoPhillips China, a subsidiary of the U.S.

TOKYO ELECTRIC POWER WANTS GOVERNMENT BAILOUT TO HELP PAY VICTIMS OF MELTDOWNS

Japan

Tokyo Electric Power Co asked a government-backed bailout body for an additional 690 billion yen ($8.8 billion) last week to help compensate victims of the nuclear crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi power plant. To help Japan's biggest utility, known as Tepco, meet costs running into trillions of yen for compensation and cleanup, the government had already agreed in November to provide 890 billion yen ($11.4 billion) through a bailout fund.