The European Union's plan to break up contaminated ships in developing countries may be illegal, according to the EU's own lawyers. The plan to overturn a ban on the practice would exempt ships from the Basel Convention, a treaty requiring wealthy nations to dispose of their own hazardous materials without adding to the pollution of poorer countries. The Shipbreaking Platform, a coalition of environmental and human rights groups, said the move may set a precedent in international law, and other NGOs expressed concern over the measure. "It is absurd to imagine that a huge oil company could legally dump their old rusty tanker full of asbestos in Asia when it would be a criminal act for anybody else to likewise export one single barrel of the same asbestos," said a spokesman for the toxic trade watchdog Basel Action Network. Leaked European Council legal opinion papers express concerns over the move, saying the measure "could amount to a breach of the obligation not to defeat the object and purpose of a treaty." For the full story, see