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Daily Archives: June 27, 2009

Wadden Sea, Dolomites are new World Heritage sites

The tidal flats and wetlands of the Wadden Sea, off the coast of Germany and the Netherlands, and Italy's Dolomite mountains have been added to UNESCO's World Heritage List, it was announced in Madrid yesterday.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) also announced that the Tubbataha Reefs National Park, an existing World Heritage Site in the Philippines and which includes a number of endangered species, has been "significantly extended."
The announcements were made on the fifth day of a meeting of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee in Seville, in southern Spain.
The committee, which is meeting until June 30, is deciding which of 27 sites deserved to be added to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's World Heritage List.
Yesterday's decisions were based on the recommendations of the IUCN.
"The Wadden Sea is the largest unbroken system of inter-tidal sand and mud flats in the world," it said.
"It is one of the most important areas for migratory birds, with up to 6.1 million birds present at any one time more than 400,000 breeding pairs and an average of 10-12 million birds which pass through every year."
It said the Dolomites in Italy were chosen "due to their outstanding natural beauty and the geological significance of their limestone formations.
"Some of the rock cliffs rise more than 1,500 metres (1,640 yards) and are among the highest vertical limestone walls in the world.
"The fossil record of the Dolomites provides an insight into the recovery of marine life after near extinction more than 200 million years ago."
The Tubbataha Reef Marine Park in the Philippines, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1993, is now "three times bigger than the original" in line with IUCN recommendations.
"Its reefs harbour more than 350 species of coral and almost 500 species of fish."

Russian tycoon jailed for 13 years in absentia

A Russian court yesterday handed a 13-year jail sentence in absentia on embezzlement charges to the anti-Kremlin tycoon Boris Berezovsky, who now lives in Britain, news agencies reported.
The court in the town of Krasnogorsk outside Moscow had found Berezovsky guilty of embezzling 58 million rubles (around 2 million dollars) from carmaker Avtovaz and car dealership Logovaz in the 1990s.
The case is one of many brought against him by Russian prosecutors since Berezovsky, an influential power broker in the early post-Soviet years, fell out with the Kremlin after Vladimir Putin became president in 2000.
In 2007 Berezovsky was found guilty of millions of dollars of theft from state airline Aeroflot and sentenced to six years in prison. He dismissed the case as politically motivated.
Berezovsky was granted political asylum in Britain in 2003. Moscow has repeatedly sought his extradition but London has refused.