In effect: Palau's ban on reef-toxic sunscreen
KOROR (Palau) • Palau's pioneering ban on "reef-toxic" sunscreens took effect yesterday as the tiny Pacific island nation put in place strict environmental measures for one of the world's largest marine sanctuaries.
Palau, which lies in the western Pacific about halfway between Australia and Japan, is regarded as one of the world's best diving destinations.
Palau President Tommy Remengesau said there was scientific evidence that the chemicals found in most sunscreens were toxic to corals, even in minute doses.
Thailand kicks off 2020 with plastic bag ban
BANGKOK • Thailand began the year with a ban on single-use plastic bags at major stores, continuing a campaign launched by the government and retailers towards a complete ban in 2021 to reduce waste and debris in the sea.
Public awareness of the risk to animals and the environment from such waste was raised last year in a series of incidents in which animals, including a deer and a baby dugong, were found dead, with plastics in their digestive systems.
Fire kills animals at zoo in western Germany
BERLIN • A fire at a zoo in western Germany killed a large number of animals in the early hours of the new year, the authorities said.
They did not comment on local media reports that the blaze was started by celebratory fireworks.
The Krefeld zoo near the Dutch border said the entire ape house burned down and all the animals inside are dead.
The other dead animals included chimpanzees, orangutans and two gorillas, as well as fruit bats and birds.
India plans another shot at moon landing
NEW DELHI • India will try to land a mission on the moon this year, after a previous attempt in September failed just minutes before a scheduled touchdown, in a bid to restore its credentials as an ambitious space power.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission to the moon will consist of a lander and a rover, and will use inputs from an orbiter from the previous mission, Dr K. Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, said yesterday. It has also made progress on India's first manned space mission by identifying four astronauts, he added.