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Wildfires rage in southern California

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - At least nine wildfires stoked by gusting winds burned out of control in southern California on Sunday, killing one person in San Diego and forcing hundreds to evacuate the wealthy enclave of Malibu where five homes went up in flames.

The Malibu fire burned 1,250 acres by 4:30 p.m. and destroyed at least seven buildings, including a landmark castle-like house and a Presbyterian church, officials said. No injuries were reported.

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Bangladesh needs farm growth to cut poverty: World Bank

Bangladesh should aim for growth in its agricultural sector of at least 4 percent a year if it is to achieve the objective of halving extreme poverty by 2015, the World Bank said.

"Achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty to 26.5 percent by 2015 will require a growth rate of at least 4.0 percent in agriculture and 7.0 percent in the non-farm sector," it said in its latest World Development Report.


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Sarkozy seeks a "greener" France at policy congress

Green politics in France, long the domain of anarchic protests over genetically modified crops and hamburgers, moves mainstream next week at a congress billed as one of President Nicolas Sarkozy's showpiece reform measures.

Sarkozy stressed his concern over global warming in the first statement he made after winning the presidency in May and pledged a radical overhaul of environmental policy.

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California cities asked to switch off lights

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Barbara residents are being urged to switch off their lights for one hour on Saturday in the first such organized bid in the United States to promote energy saving.

Much of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Los Angeles International Airport will go dark between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., apart from essential safety lighting. Lights in city buildings will be switched off and millions of residents in the three cities are being asked to follow suit.

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Oceans seen soaking up less CO2

LONDON (Reuters) - The world's oceans appear to be soaking up less carbon dioxide, new environmental research has shown, a development that could speed up global warming.

A 10-year study by researchers from the University of East Anglia has shown that the uptake of CO2 by the North Atlantic ocean halved between the mid-1990s and 2002-2005.

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California To Sue EPA next week on Carmaker Emissions Waiver

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California will sue the Environmental Protection Agency next week in the state's bid to crack down on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, a spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Saturday.

California will file a lawsuit against the EPA demanding the right to set its own limits on vehicle emissions that are stricter than national standards, spokesman Aaron McLear said.

California, which has become a leader on environmental issues in the United States, passed a state law in 2005 that would require new vehicles to meet progressively tighter standards for greenhouse gas emissions starting with 2009 models.

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Space shuttle crew arrives in Florida for liftoff

The crew of space shuttle Discovery arrived at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday for the countdown ahead of next week's launch on a construction mission to the International Space Station.

Discovery, hauling a key connection node to the space station, is scheduled for liftoff at 11:38 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.

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U.N. climate chief looks for Bali breakthrough

Global warming talks in Bali in December need to make a breakthrough or international efforts to limit greenhouse gases could be in "deep trouble," the top U.N. climate official said on Friday.

"If we're not on the eve of a breakthrough in Bali, we can spend the next six years waiting for the next report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, public interest will slip away and we will be in deep trouble," said Yvo de Boer, who heads the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


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Sustainable Projects Compete for Millions, International Competition

Waltham, Ma. – Construction projects from all across North America are invited to compete for the widely recognized Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction. The Holcim Awards will recognize projects that meet current needs for housing and infrastructure without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The Holcim Awards, an international competition, is an initiative of the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction to celebrate innovative, future-oriented, and tangible sustainable construction projects from around the globe. The Holcim Awards are supported in the North America region by the Holcim Ltd Group companies Holcim (US) Inc., St. Lawrence Cement, and Aggregate Industries. The North American region includes the US, Canada, Bermuda and the Bahamas. >> Read the Full Article

A Sustainable Holiday Spirit, in Mason, Michigan

Ingham County, Michigan - The city of Mason, in Michigan has decided the spirit of the holidays includes the spirit of sustainability. And you'll see it brightly displayed on their holiday tree on the Ingham County Courthouse’s west lawn. For starters the city is replacing its incandescent holiday lights with energy-efficient LED Christmas lights. The 1200 new LED lights replace 500 old incandescent ones, draw a quarter of the power, 864 watts compared to the previous 3276 kilowatt hours; use professional weatherproof connectors and durable epoxy plastic, not glass bulbs. And, all 1200 lights can be plugged into one standard outlet. This will save the City about $250 each year while adding over 700 lights to its tree. >> Read the Full Article