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10 worst man-made environmental disasters

NEW YORK — The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is now about the size of Puerto Rico. It's already reached the marshes of Louisiana. Oil-covered wildlife are starting to show up along the shores. Shrimp, fish and oyster harvest areas have been closed. Residents of Mississippi and Alabama are just waiting for the oil to hit. As environmental calamity for the Gulf Coast appears imminent, GlobalPost looks at 10 other man-made environmental disasters — both forgotten and infamous — that could have been prevented.

Workers in Iran could be the new face of opposition

Last summer, I listened as the owner of a small car-parts factory near Isfahan complained about the growing problems facing his business. Cheap Chinese imports took up most of the market space. The government had introduced policies to increase workers’ insurance, promising to pay the difference, but had failed to do so. In the end, he explained, many struggling factories had to resort to mass layoffs and closure.

ElBaradei says sanctions on Iran will fail

MEDFORD, Mass. — Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, believes it is likely the international community will move to impose tougher sanctions on Iran. But the genteel, bespectacled diplomat, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for his tireless efforts to control the spread of nuclear weapons, is just as convinced that sanctions will fail.

Suburbanization of Cairo

Calls for rallies in Iran

Iranian opposition leaders Mir-Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi have called for new rounds of demonstrations as the anniversary of last year's June 12 presidential election approaches. The two met on Monday to discuss the country’s political issues as well as problems of prisoners, according to Sahamnews, Karoubi’s main Web site.

Good times and danger signs in the West Bank

Editor's note: Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East has arrived in the region to broker indirect talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. Washington hopes that former senator George Mitchell — the man largely attributed with bringing peace to Northern Ireland — can produce a handshake between the Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

Deconstructing Iraq

Iraq: breaking up is never easy

FORWARD OPERATING BASE QAYYARAH WEST, Iraq — The “consolidation yard” at Contingency Operating Base Qayyrarah West, better known as Q-West, is the size of a football field, and surrounded by steel shipping containers stacked two high, their paint fading under the desert sun. The base is slated to be closed this summer and transferred to the Iraqi government, as the U.S. cuts its number of troops in Iraq by nearly half, from 95,000 to 50,000, by Sept. 1.

Attack calls US Yemen strategy into question

SANA'A, Yemen — A failed suicide attack on the British ambassador’s convoy Monday morning shattered windows, terrified passersby and left debris and broken glass scattered on the sidewalks of the capital. Only the bomber was killed and damage was minimal, but the incident seemed to demonstrate the continued strength of Al Qaeda in Yemen despite American and Yemeni counterterrorism efforts.

Rocket attacks, fears of Israeli kidnappings mark Sinai Liberation Day

Three Israeli soldiers stand guard in the sand-camouflaged bunker, hovering near a 155-millimeter howitzer pointed directly at the Egyptian city of Suez. The men are over six foot tall, dressed in full uniform, and heavily armed with rifles, extra canon shells, and even a bazooka. But that firepower is no match for young Omar, a four-year-old from Cairo who, with a big boost from his father, slaps the lead officer on the back of his neck.
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