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Fuji Oil gives up reconstructing Philippine plant destroyed by typhoon

Fuji Oil Co., maker of food products based on oil and fat, said Thursday it has decided to give up reconstruction of a plant in Leyte in the central Philippines that was destroyed by Supertyphoon Haiyan. Fuji Oil, based in Osaka Prefecture, plans to use the site of the subsidiary, New Leyte Edible Oil Manufacturing Corp., as a base for marketing and material procurements in the Philippines. The plant, which produced coconut oil for Japanese confectionary and bread makers, was completely destroyed by the typhoon in November.

Spring arrives in Japan with first cherry blossoms

Spring officially arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday when Japan's weather agency announced the start of the cherry blossom season. Forecasters watching trees at the capital's central Yasukuni Shrine said the city's first blossoms had appeared there, marking the beginning of two weeks in which Tokyo's parks, temple grounds, schools and streets will explode in pinks and whites. "Cherry blossom is a good gauge to let us know that spring is here," a Japan Meteorological Agency official said, adding that this year's first blossoms had appeared at the usual time.

Endless torment for Philippine typhoon widow

Jennifer Pulga endured the depths of helplessness as she pumped the last air her husband would breathe into his typhoon-battered body, and her life since has felt barely any more in control. A coconut tree crashed through the thatched roof of the Pulga's tiny home in an isolated farming village of the central Philippines during Super Typhoon Haiyan in November, crushing Richard and igniting a torturous passage to death.

Typhoon hits Philippine coconut oil exports

Philippine coconut oil exports fell 35 percent at the start of this year, driving up global prices, after a super typhoon destroyed millions of trees, an industry group said Tuesday. In normal times the Philippines accounts for more than 40 percent of world exports in the oil, which is used in daily items such as detergents, bath soap and margarine, according to the United Coconut Association of the Philippines.

Typhoon-hit Philippine farmers to reap harvest

Farmers in the Philippines will soon reap a harvest after using emergency seed supplies to grow crops following a devastating typhoon that struck during planting season, the UN food agency said Monday. Super Typhoon Haiyan raked across the central Philippines last November, killing at least 6,200 people with around 2,000 others still missing, while also displacing four million and leaving tens of thousands of farmers without their livelihoods.

Some California almond farmers decide to rip out high-value trees in face of record dry year

FIREBAUGH, Calif. - With California's agricultural heartland entrenched in drought, almond farmers are letting orchards dry up and in some cases making the tough call to have their trees torn out of the ground, leaving behind empty fields. In California's Central Valley, Barry Baker is one of many who hired a crew that brought in large rumbling equipment to perform the grim task in a cloud of dust.

Some California almond farmers decide to rip out high-value trees in face of record dry year

FIREBAUGH, Calif. - With California's agricultural heartland entrenched in drought, almond farmers are letting orchards dry up and in some cases making the tough call to have their trees torn out of the ground, leaving behind empty fields. In California's Central Valley, Barry Baker is one of many who hired a crew that brought in large rumbling equipment to perform the grim task in a cloud of dust.

Book Talk: Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction in latest work

By Billy Cheung NEW YORK (Reuters) - Best-known recently for her nonfiction work on self-discovery and marriage, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the best-selling memoir "Eat Pray Love", returns to fiction with a new novel, "The Signature of All Things." Written 13 years after her last novel, the book follows Alma Whittaker, a brilliant 19th century botanist who lives a privileged but isolated life on a large estate. After her father's death, she relinquishes that world and travels the globe.

Japan's 'Tree Town' sculptors make living art

With a deft clip here and a gentle tug there, Makoto Ishibashi sculpts trees with the skill of an artisan whose work is far more than just a job. The heir to a centuries-old family business, he creates masterpieces that can turn a pine tree into a work of art that could fetch $40,000. "This tree is a woman -- the leaves are soft," the arborist says of the pine into a triangle at his farm in the city of Sosa. "Trees are my family -- they don't say what they want but they are sending messages about how they want to be shaped.

Haiyan to hit Philippine coconut oil exports: industry official

Global coconut oil supplies will likely fall next year, an industry official said Friday, after the killer typhoon that struck leading exporter the Philippines last month destroyed millions of trees used to produce the commodity The Philippines provides more than 40 percent of the world's coconut oil and the areas hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan account for 10-15 percent of the country's output, said Yvonne Agustin, executive director of the industry group United Coconut Association of the Philippines (UCAP).
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