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US-ENVIRONMENT Summary

Sep 25, 2011, 9:58 p.m.

Kenya Nobel laureate Maathai dies in hospital: group

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmentalist Wangari Maathai has died in hospital where she was undergoing treatment for cancer, her organization the Green Belt Movement said on Monday. Maathai, who won the 2004 Nobel Prize, was the founder of Green Belt Movement, a civil and women rights activist and also served as a Member of Parliament.

Tropical Strom Ophelia swirls toward Caribbean

MIAMI (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Ophelia swirled across the open Atlantic toward the Caribbean on Saturday on a path likely to take it well off the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico, U.S. forecasters said. Ophelia, the 15th named storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, is expected to weaken slightly over the next 48 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Atlantic storm seen becoming short-lived hurricane

MIAMI (Reuters) - The Atlantic's latest tropical storm is likely to strengthen soon into a short-lived hurricane while staying far from land, U.S. hurricane foresters said on Sunday. Tropical Storm Philippe, the 16th named storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, came to life on Saturday as forecasters tracked another tropical storm, Ophelia, which was approaching the Caribbean.

Insight: Chasing high corn prices, U.S. farmers skip rotations

CHENOA, Illinois (Reuters) - Farmer Brian Schaumburg has planted corn for five straight years in some of the thousands of acres he tends in central Illinois. Farmers who eschew crop rotations that help to replenish the soil with nutrients take a risk that yields will decline. But corn prices soared to a record earlier this year, making so-called corn-on-corn crops a worthwhile bet for many farmers in Illinois, the No. 2 U.S. corn state after Iowa.

China to invest 2 trillion yuan in low-carbon economy

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will invest 2 trillion yuan (about $313 billion) to promote a green, low-carbon economy in the next five years, a senior economic planning official was quoted on Sunday as saying. The government will promote low-carbon development with a variety of projects during China's current five-year plan which began this year, Xie Zhenhua, vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission was quoted by the China Daily newspaper as saying.

Japan finds rice needing thorough radiation test

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan found the first case of rice with radioactive materials far exceeding a government-set level for a preliminary test of pre-harvested crop, requiring thorough inspection of the rice to be harvested from the region, the farm ministry said late on Friday. The ministry said radioactive cesium of 500 becquerels per kg was found in a sample of the pre-harvested rice in Nihonmatsu city, in Fukushima Prefecture, 56 km (35 miles) west of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant which was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, triggering the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

Solyndra gave bright forecasts as it ran out of cash

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Just before solar panel maker Solyndra scrambled in August to get more cash from private investors and better loan terms from federal bureaucrats, top company officials went on a political road show. Brian Harrison, Solyndra's CEO who on Friday refused to answer questions posed by a House panel, met in July with congressional Republicans who were skeptical about how much money the Obama administration had sunk into the company's factory. He also met Democrats eager to support clean energy.

"Poor" start to jungle protection plan: Ecuador

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rich nations are failing to do enough to compensate Ecuador for not tapping billions of dollars worth of oil from the biologically diverse Yasuni jungle reserve, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said on Friday. Ecuador launched its Yasuni project last year to protect the area's rich flora and fauna, seeking some $3.6 billion in donations by 2024 from developed nations and foundations for leaving an estimated 846 million barrels of oil in the ground.

Brazil farming revolution may slow Amazon demise

REDENCAO, Brazil (Reuters) - Cassio Carvalho do Val is about to invest nearly $2 million to add 10,000 cattle to his ranch on the edge of the Amazon. But instead of burning down forest for his growing herd to graze freely he will break with tradition, reducing his pastureland and adding grain to their diet.

Hurricane Hilary moves away from Mexico's west shore

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Hurricane Hilary, a major Pacific storm off the southwestern coast of Mexico, pushed further out to sea on Friday without threatening coastal cities. Three fishermen who had gone missing in the hurricane were rescued, media reported.

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