41 are killed as troops clash in Southern Sudan
Clashes spread across a key border region in Southern Sudan on Saturday following a wave of mutinies among Southerners in the northern army, leaving at least 41 dead as Sudan begins to divide into two nations following a Southern referendum on independence last month. Official results show that Southerners voted 99 percent for forming their own country, and full independence is set to take effect in July this year. The recent violence broke out on Thursday in Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state, as the northern army, the Sudan Armed Forces, began withdrawing its remaining contingents in the south. Former Southern militiamen in the northern army mutinied against other Southern soldiers and northern commanders, refusing to relocate to the north with all their weaponry.
Gulf seafood gets boost from military
Sales of Gulf of Mexico seafood are getting a boost from the military after being hammered by last year's BP oil spill, which left consumers fearing the water's bounty had been tainted. Milt Ackerman, president of Military Solutions Inc., says 10 products including fish, shrimp, oysters, crab cakes, and packaged Cajun dishes such as jambalaya and shrimp etouffee are being promoted at 72 base commissaries along the East Coast. Military Solutions is supplying seafood to the businesses. Seafood sales fell sharply after the spill began in April. Consumers feared that seafood could be tainted by oil and chemicals used to fight the spill, even though extensive testing has discounted the risk.
Cold weather kills 35 zoo animals
Thirty-five animals at a zoo in the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua have frozen to death during the region's coldest weather in six decades. Serengeti Zoo owner Alberto Hernandez said Saturday that 14 parrots, 13 serpents, five iguanas, two crocodiles and a capuchin monkey died. Temperatures have dropped to 9 degrees in the area, the coldest weather in 60 years. Schools have been closed in Chihuahua state but are expected to open Tuesday as the weather warms.
GRANTS PASS, Ore.
Ban on plastic bags considered
Oregon lawmakers will consider whether the state should become the first to pass a ban on plastic bags, a measure recycling advocates believe would trigger a domino effect among other states. A bill co-sponsored by two Republicans and two Democrats would outlaw throwaway plastic check-out bags at all retail stores in a state that is already a leader in passing green legislation. Shoppers would be forced to bring their own bag or pay a nickel apiece for recycled paper bags under SB536. A hearing is set for Tuesday on the proposed ban, which is supported by the Northwest Grocers Association. Supporters expect a fight with the chemical industry.