China Says more than 3 Million Hectares of Land Too Polluted to Farm
A Chinese Cabinet official says about 3.33 million hectares of the country's farmland is too polluted to grow crops.
Wang Shiyuan, vice-minister of land and resources, told a news briefing on Monday that the government is working on a long-range plan and expects to spend billions of dollars a year on a cleanup effort.
The growth of Chinese industry, overuse of farm chemicals and lax environmental enforcement have left swathes of the countryside tainted by lead, cadmium, pesticides and other toxins.
This year, inspectors found dangerous levels of cadmium, a cancer-causing metal, in rice sold in the southern city of Guangzhou. The rice was grown in Henan, a major heavy metal-producing region.
Japan Markets Close at 4 Decade High
On the last trading day of 2013, Japanese shares closed at a 57 percent annual gain, their best annual performance since 1972.
Analysts attribute the record to foreign investors jumping into the Japanese market after the government and central bank initiated policies that sent the yen plummeting against the dollar, making Japanese exports very popular. The Japanese currency has lost about a fifth of its values against the dollar since the start of the year.
The benchmark Nikkei average rose for a ninth day (to end 0.7 percent higher at 15,291.31) Monday, its longest winning streak since July of 2009.
The big gains follow an aggressive economic stimulus by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
As a country, Japan has the world's third-largest economy, behind the United States and China.