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Cambodian girl killed in land row: official
by Staff Writers
Phnom Penh (AFP) May 16, 2012

A Cambodian girl was shot dead on Wednesday when security forces clashed with protesters demonstrating over an alleged land grab, an official said, in the latest territorial dispute to end in violence.

The teenager was killed as hundreds of villagers involved in a long-running conflict with a private firm squared off against military officers and police in the eastern province of Kratie.

"The authorities fired shots and a bullet ricocheted and killed a 15-year-old girl," acting Kratie governor Sar Chamrong told AFP.

The Cambodian government has faced mounting criticism this year from the UN and campaigners over a string of violent land conflicts, with security forces accused of using live rounds against activists in at least four other cases.

Last month, high-profile environmental activist Chhut Vuthy was killed by a military policeman as he tried to document illegal logging, according to a government investigation.

The United Nations human rights office in Phnom Penh confirmed the death of the teenage girl.

The Kompong Domrey residents have long been embroiled in a disagreement with the Casotim company, which owns a concession to produce rubber in the area, with both sides laying claim to the forest land.

Government security forces on Wednesday fought back after being confronted by villagers wielding axes and bows and arrows as they tried to illegally occupy the contested land, according to Sar Chamrong.

But rights groups accused over one hundred armed police and military officers of opening fire on residents being forcibly evicted from their homes.

Prime Minister Hun Sen last week announced a temporary suspension of land grants to companies for private development in an attempt to rein in forced evictions and rampant deforestation.

Land titles are a murky issue in Cambodia where land ownership was abolished during the 1975-1979 rule of the communist Khmer Rouge and many legal documents were lost.

Fake pig ears latest China food scandal: report
Shanghai (AFP) May 16, 2012 - Police in China are investigating after the discovery of a batch of "fake" pigs' ears reportedly made from gelatin, state media said Wednesday, in yet another food safety problem to hit the country.

The bogus ears were discovered in a market in Ganzhou city in the eastern province of Jiangxi in late March after a customer complained of a strange smell when cooking them, the state-run China Daily newspaper reported.

Food safety officials tested the "ears" and found they had been made from gelatin and the chemical sodium oleate, commonly used in the production of soap.

China's government has repeatedly vowed to improve food safety as people grow increasingly alarmed about the quality of what they eat, but scandals still occur due to weak enforcement and unscrupulous business practices.

Photos circulating online showed local officials examining a box of the fake ears, which appeared light-brown in colour with a plastic-like texture.

The China Daily quoted an expert as giving a sure-fire method for telling real ears -- a popular delicacy -- from fake, saying the genuine article should have hair and small blood vessels.

The Jiangxi provincial health department could not be reached for comment on the latest case.

Pigs' ears are a common ingredient in China. One recipe from the northern province of Shanxi containing them is called "cengcengcui", which literally means "layer upon layer of crunch."

The investigation into the fake ears comes as authorities launched a probe into vegetable sellers in the eastern province of Shandong for spraying cabbages with harmful formaldehyde to keep them fresh.

Last year authorities arrested more than 30 people over the sale of cooking oil made from leftovers scooped out of gutters.

And in 2008, milk was at the centre of one of China's biggest food safety scandals when the industrial chemical melamine was found to have been illegally added to dairy products to give the appearance of higher protein content.

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Oldest Mediterranean island farm uncovered
Klimonas, Cyprus (UPI) May 15, 2012 - Researchers say the remains of the oldest known agricultural settlement in the Mediterranean islands have been found on Cypress.

Previously, the team of French archaeologists said, it was believed that due to the island's geographic isolation the first Neolithic farming societies did not reach Cyprus until a thousand years after the birth of agriculture in the Middle East around 9500 to 9400 B.C.

The discovery of Klimonas, a village that dates to around 9000 B.C., proves early cultivators migrated to Cyprus from the Middle Eastern continent just shortly after the emergence of agriculture there, bringing with them wheat as well as dogs and cats.

Archaeological excavations at Klimonas yielded the remnants of a half-buried mud brick communal building, 100 feet in diameter and surrounded by dwellings, that must have been used to store the village's harvests, researchers said.

The findings were reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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Wasted milk is a real drain on our resources
Edinburgh UK (SPX) May 16, 2012
Milk poured down Britain's kitchen sinks each year creates a carbon footprint equivalent to thousands of car exhaust emissions, research shows. Scientists say the 360,000 tonnes of milk wasted in the UK each year creates greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 100,000 tonnes of CO2. The study by the University of Edinburgh says this is the same as is emitted by about 20,000 cars annually. ... read more

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