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Drought emergency declared in vital California farmland

Schwarzenegger earlier Thursday declared a state of emergency in a coastal county south of San Francisco as wildfires threatened thousands of homes in the state's rain-starved north.
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) June 12, 2008
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Thursday to help the state's Central Valley farm region deal with a severe drought.

"Central Valley agriculture is a 20-billion-dollar a year industry," Schwarzenegger said in a statement. "If we don't get them water immediately the results will be devastating."

"Food prices, which are already stretching many family budgets, will continue to climb and workers will lose their jobs -- everyone's livelihood will be impacted in some way," he said.

The emergency declaration allows the governor to direct state resources to deliver much-needed water to nine countries in the central region, which extends from the state capital Sacramento to Bakersfield.

Schwarzenegger earlier Thursday declared a state of emergency in a coastal county south of San Francisco as wildfires threatened thousands of homes in the state's rain-starved north.

Wednesday, he made a similar declaration for another jurisdiction, Butte County, as brush and forest fires burned toward hundreds of homes there.

Another fire was burning in Monterey county just south of Santa Cruz.

On June 4 Schwarzenegger declared that the state was in a serious drought, raising the danger of fire outbreaks. That declaration allowed officials to mandate water cutbacks and rationing.

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EU to shut down industrial bluefin tuna fishing early
Brussels (AFP) June 13, 2008
The European Commission said Friday it would close the industrial tuna fishing season early, provoking a wave of protest from Europe's leading fishing nations.

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