News A man in Kenya has woken up in a morgue after he was pronounced dead

The man's family had started making funeral arrangements when he awoke

Euro-MPs back tough new pesticide rules

Euro-MPs today backed tough new rules restricting the use of pesticides in crops - despite warnings that food prices would rise and production fall.

<i>IoS</i> letters, emails & messages (28 December 2008)

Nick Mole of the Pesticides Action Network says that the new European pesticide proposals are "... a landmark, the biggest ever crackdown on poisonous chemicals" ("Massive crackdown on the use of scores of toxic pesticides", 21 December). Yet all pesticides are hazardous, and not all pesticides are going to be ruled out, only 22 substances out of 507.

Massive crackdown on the use of scores of toxic pesticides

New EU rules, opposed by Gordon Brown, will phase out use of cancer-causing compounds in Britain

Nature: Save the hedgehog &ndash; and save the world

After a vintage year in 2007 for nature books, 2008 has been, by comparison, quiet. The late Roger Deakin's Notes from Walnut Tree Farm (Hamish Hamilton, £20) is a diary of thoughts and impressions from his private world, a few acres of field and copse around a farmhouse in Suffolk. While a Gilbert White would have pushed maniacally around his estate observing, asking why, Deakin is the opposite. He is an alert but passive recorder of life's small dramas, always exquisitely described.

The cursed children of Bhopal

A girl born deaf. A young man with severe diabetes. They were not even alive when a deadly cloud of chemicals escaped from the Union Carbide plant. But the suffering goes on. By Andrew Buncombe

Pills blamed for Gulf War syndrome

A landmark investigation into the causes of Gulf War syndrome has concluded that the illness was caused by troops being given nerve gas pills and exposed to pesticides.

Insecticide! (An ecological disaster that will affect us all)

While the plight of mammals and birds commands the world's attention, insects are quietly but rapidly disappearing. Michael McCarthy explains why their loss is bad news for the planet

Top autumn tip: Get a head start with the latest, hardy asparagus varieties

I find it hard to restrain myself from ordering optimistically in autumn. One of my most premature orders (so some may think) is 20 crowns of asparagus. Some gardeners might splutter, "Planting asparagus in autumn?", but these days, several companies offer asparagus crowns specifically for autumn planting. Newer varieties such as Pacific 2000 and Guelph Millennium are well suited to being tucked into summer-warmed soil in early October, gaining them six months' growth over plants started off next spring – and thus making any planted now ready to harvest come summer 2010, a whole season early.

English clubs give Hadden a headache

Scotland Rugby is up in arms after their England-based players were refused permission to attend a training session at Murrayfield yesterday. Frank Hadden, the Scotland coach, was deprived of 10 of his leading players after Premier Rugby, which represents the Guinness Premiership clubs, instructed their teams not to release players.

Message Board: Is the environment to blame for those excess pounds?

Last week's report on a groundbreaking study that links chemical contamination in the womb with the worldwide obesity crisis triggered views from across the spectrum...

Exposure to lead speeds ageing by up to six years

Studies show that toxic metal remains in the body years after it was banned from fuel, contributing to dementia and other disorders

Peter Melchett: Don't believe the GM apologists

Arguments about genetic modification, often wrongly characterised as science versus irrational nature-worshippers, have lost none of their passion. On one side are those who yearn for simple, high-tech solutions to complex problems. Against GM, there are ecological realities and scientific evidence. There is overwhelming evidence that farming took a wrong turn after the last war, with widespread use of artificial nitrogen fertilisers and sprays.

Urban Gardener: Organics anonymous

An allotment committee member made the politest suggestion recently that my plot was getting out of hand. "You can't expect those with full-time employment to keep on top of their allotment," he said. "Well, can you?" It was in between the words "allotment" and "Well, can you?" that the faintest of hand gestures (involuntary I think) was aimed towards my couch- and bindweed-infested herb border. I'd been meaning to tackle it for the past three years but somehow there's never been the time and it shows. I did think of saying that I was doing a study for the Royal Horticultural Society on the shade tolerance of rosemary, lavender and other herbs, and that if I cleaned up the bed now it would spoil three years' work, but decided it would be best to nod and throw in the old "doing Chelsea messed us up" excuse. His knowing smile suggested that such get-outs are wearing a bit thin. I used the same excuse two years ago and last year, four weeks touring India and Nepal in June (and another four trying to evict a squatter in my liver) put the kibosh on everything but the spuds.

Grubs up! Scientists keen to get us eating bugs

Fancy a bluebottle butty or a spider sarnie? Scientists, keen to get us eating bugs, say they're nutritious, delicious and environmentally friendly

The great organic myths rebutted

Rob Johnston argued that organic foods are not as good as supporters claim. His article sparked heated debate. Now Peter Melchett of the Soil Association puts the case for their defence
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