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. China to spend more on cutting pollution: report

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) March 25, 2008
China plans to spend 27 billion yuan (3.8 billion dollars) this year on reducing pollution and saving energy, state media said Tuesday, a rise of 14.9 percent from a year ago.

In addition, the central government will earmark 14.8 billion yuan for environmentally friendly construction projects, the China Daily said, citing a statement by the finance ministry.

"This year is crucial for accomplishing the targets for energy use and pollution cuts during the 2006 to 2010 period," said the statement, which was posted on the ministry's website on Monday.

China has set a target for the period 2006 to 2010 of reducing energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent, and cutting sulfur dioxide emissions and chemical oxygen demand by 10 percent each from the levels in 2005.

The statement said the government is considering launching tax policies to reduce energy consumption and pollution.

The country may also seek to regulate pollution via the market by making waste-discharge and emission rights tradable, it added.

The drive has encountered stubborn resistance in the booming industrial sector and local officials who consider economic growth and job creation a more important priority than environmental protection.

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Albania sitting on communist-era powder keg
Bardhaj, Albania (AFP) March 25, 2008
Friends of 12-year-old Daniel Malashi have placed flowers at his Albanian school bench each day since he was killed while collecting abandoned military ammunition for resale.

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