Summit diary: Highs and lows from Johannesburg

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The Independent Online

Street hawkers were moved on 'for own safety'

Johannesburg's street hawkers, plying a trade in everything from fruit and soft drinks to handmade wire curios, have mysteriously disappeared from around the lavish Sandton summit venue. Wayne Minnaar, chief superintendant of the Johannesburg metropolitan police department, said there was no mystery. The vendors had been moved for their own good. "People with the wrong motives could mingle with the hawkers," he said.

Ford pulls the plug

The car maker Ford said yesterday it was pulling the plug on its Think electric vehicle division due to poor customer demand and lack of government support. "The bottom line is we don't believe that this is the future of environmental transport for the mass market," a spokesman said.

Going piggyback

Invasive species are making their way around the globe, piggybacking on the world's shipping fleet. Guy Preston, who heads South Africa's Working for Water programme, revealed that the biggest threat to the black rhino is now not poaching but habitat loss caused by the massive invasion of triffid weed, Chromalaena.

Save the planet (and clean up after yourself)

Earth Summit delegates are too busy saving the planet to clean up the mess they leave in South Africa. Only seven governments (Britain, Sweden, Canada, Norway, Monaco, Switzerland and Austria) have coughed up for a novel fund to offset the pollution caused by the conference.