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U.S. joins anti-mercury pollution Minamata Convention

The United States signed an anti-mercury pollution convention Wednesday named after a Japanese city where industrial emissions of the toxic substance caused a poisoning disease affecting thousands of people. "The Minamata Convention represents a global step forward to reduce exposure to mercury, a toxic chemical with significant health effects on the brain and nervous system," the State Department said in a statement.

Texas gas company must pay for several environmental projects in RI for environmental crime

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A Texas gas company was ordered Tuesday to pay for several environmental programs in Rhode Island under a criminal sentence handed down by a judge who took the unusual step of asking the community for punishment ideas. U.S. District Judge Williams Smith was forced to resentence Southern Union Co. after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down his original penalty of $18 million.

UPDATE 2-U.N. clinches global deal on cutting mercury emissions

* Global trade in some mercury products to be banned by 2020 * NGO criticises "soft language" of convention (Recasts, adds detail throughout) By Tom Miles and Emma Farge GENEVA, Jan 19 (Reuters) - More than 140 countries have agreed on the first global treaty to cut mercury pollution through a blacklist of household items and new controls on power plants and small-scale mines, the United Nations said on Saturday.

Financing arguments put global mercury deal on brink

By Tom Miles GENEVA, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Agreement may be near on a global treaty to reduce the use of toxic mercury, but arguments about a few tens of millions of dollars are taking the talks to the brink, a U.N. official involved in the Geneva negotiations said on Thursday. Another official predicted that the talks were likely to bring a deal late on Friday or in the early hours of Saturday, but it was still unclear whether the eventual text would be "a Swiss cheese" - full of holes.
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