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ENN Weekly: June 11th - 15th

ENN rounds up the most important and compelling environmental news stories of the week. In the news June 11th - 15th: Rainforest products, coral protections, the global deforestation crisis, a carbon-neutral Capitol, and much more.

Top Ten Articles of the Week
In the news June 11th - 15th: Rainforest products, coral protections, the global deforestation crisis, a carbon-neutral Capitol, and much more.

1. Are You Eating Dinner on a Piece of Rainforest?
Love your new dining room table ... but did you ask the salesman whether it's made from chopped up rainforest trees? A growing number of furniture shoppers are doing just that when they buy new home decor, concerned about the effects of shrinking rainforests on global warming and the extinction of rare species of flora and fauna that inhabit these forests.

2. Red and Pink Corals Get U.N. Trade Protection
Trade in red and pink corals prized as jewellery for 5,000 years will be restricted to try to help the species recover after drastic over-exploitation, a U.N. wildlife conference agreed on Wednesday. Countries at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) voted 62 to 28 to start regulating export of corals, now harvested mainly in the Mediterranean and Western Pacific in a business worth millions of dollars.

3. Chinese Demand Drives Global Deforestation Crisis
rom outside, Cameroon's Ngambe-Tikar forest looks like a compact, tangled mass of healthy emerald green foliage. But tracks between the towering tropical hardwood trees open up into car park-sized clearings littered with logs as long as buses. Forestry officers say the reserve is under attack from unscrupulous commercial loggers who work outside authorised zones and do not respect size limits in their quest for maximum financial returns.

4. Reducing Environmental Risks Could Save Millions of Lives Annually
Tackling air pollution, contaminated drinking water and other environmental problems could save millions of lives annually around the world, the World Health Organization said in a report Wednesday. The study said that Afghanistan and the African nations of Angola, Burkina Faso and Mali are among the countries most affected by environmental troubles.

5. Democrats Struggle To Resolve Impasse Over Renewable Energy Proposal
Senate Democrats, eager for a vote on energy legislation, ran into staunch Republican resistance Thursday to requiring that utilities use more wind, solar and other renewable sources to produce electricity. The impasse over renewable fuels came as Democrats said they would seek nearly $13.7 billion in tax breaks to promote clean energy, biofuels, more fuel efficient vehicles and conservation.

6. Salvage Logging, Replanting Worse
Contrary to the conventional wisdom, scientists have found that logging big dead trees after a wildfire and planting young ones makes future fires worse, at least for the first 10 or 20 years while the young trees create a volatile new source of fuel. The findings raise questions about the long-standing practice of salvage logging on national forests at a time when global warming is expected to increase the size and numbers of wildfires and the annual cost of fighting them is running around $1 billion.

7. Past Contaminated Water at Lejeune Suspected in Death and Illness
Thousands of Marines and their families went to serve their country at North Carolina's Camp Lejeune. Instead, many wound up fighting it, blaming the government for failing to protect them from an enemy that invaded their lives in a most intimate way: through the water that quenched their thirst, cooked their food and filled their bathtubs every day.

8. Populations of 20 Common Birds Declining
The populations of 20 common American birds -- from the fence-sitting meadowlark to the whippoorwill with its haunting call -- are half what they were 40 years ago, according to an analysis released Thursday. Suburban sprawl, climate change and other invasive species are largely to blame, said the study's author Greg Butcher of the National Audubon Society.

9. Tibet To Ban Gold Mining To Protect the Environment
Local officials in Tibet plan to ban the mining of gold, mercury, arsenic and peat to preserve mineral resources and protect the environment, state media reported Wednesday. "Mercury and arsenic mining can pollute water supplies, peat mining can destroy wetlands and gold mining can ruin grasslands and rivers," Wang Baosheng, director of Tibet's Land and Resources Department, was quoted as saying by the Xinhua News Agency.

10. Lawmakers Pledge To Make Capitol Complex Carbon Neutral in Battle Against Climate Change
Congress says it is going to join the war against global warming by cleaning up its own backyard, now cluttered with a coal-burning power plant, a fleet of fuel-inefficient vehicles and old-fashioned lights. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set a goal of making House operations carbon neutral during this session of Congress, meaning the House would remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it adds by the end of next year.

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