International Update Volume 43, Issue 8

<p>Japan announced that it successfully extracted natural gas from frozen methane hydrate, a world first. The gas field, off Japan's central coast, could provide an alternative energy source for a nation that imports all of its fuel needs. The supply of methane gas could be enormous, but extraction raises environmental concerns as the geology containing it is unstable in some places. Production tests will continue for the next few weeks, but government officials have said they plan to establish technologies for practical use within the next five years.


<p>The European Union failed to reach a decision on whether to ban three pesticides linked to the decline of honey bee populations. Sources indicated that 13 governments voted in favor of a two-year moratorium, first proposed in January, while nine countries voted against and five countries abstained.

<p>Energy company EDF dropped a $7.6 million lawsuit against a group of 21 activists who occupied a gas-fired power plant, claiming that they had reached a "fair and reasonable solution." Supporters of the demonstrators, who EDF claimed caused millions of dollars in production delays, called the result a "humiliating climbdown" and an "unmitigated defeat" for EDF.

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