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Houston gears up for record-smashing Texas primary

Still digesting the advent of $100/bbl oil, the US Gulf chemical industry is about to be hit with another first – a primary election in Texas on 4 March that will actually matter in terms of deciding the candidates in the November 2008 presidential election. 2008 is a one-of-a-kind, with the Republican front-runner John McCain still dogged by a conservative opponent who won’t quit and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton locked in a titanic struggle for the Democratic nomination.

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Banish the Bags – UK newspaper campaign

The UK’s mass-circulation conservative Daily Mail newspaper has today launched a “Banish the Bags” campaign to rid the country of plastic bags. The front cover of the paper has a photo of a photogenic family laden down with orange carrier bags after a supermarket shop, followed by an equally large photo of a sea turtle drowning after swallowing a plastic bag.

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Revenge of the Tap Water

Across Europe, restaurant diners are baulking at the exorbitant and unnecessary expense of bottled water. Office workers have tap water filtered through water coolers. And Friends of the Earth tells us that the single most effective act that individuals can do to improve the environment is to stop drinking bottled water. What will this mean for the petrochemical industry, where polyethylene and PET bottles are significant drivers of demand?

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Top Chemical Adverts No.1 – the BASF Baby

This is the first in a new and undoubtedly short series of adorable chemical advertisements. Plasticisers and a newborn baby – you gotta love it.

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Murder by Glycol Anti-freeze

A British woman has just been found guilty of attempted murder by antifreeze (writes my colleague Nel Weddle). She used Google to research the best ways to kill him and settled on lacing his curry with ethylene glycol. The poor man was in a coma for 16 weeks and has been left blind, deaf and […]

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Biology will replace the petrochemical industry

US scientist Craig Venter believes he is close to creating synthetic life through artificial genomes, and that this will eventually provide the fuels of the future, he said this morning on BBC radio, after publishing a paper yesterday in Science. “The entire petrochemical industry including fuels has the potential to be replaced by biology. In […]

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South Africans joke through power cuts

What’s the difference between the Titanic and South Africa?

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At last something interesting about white spirit

The spot market for white spirit moves about once a month, so ICIS pricing reporters do not consider covering this market very exciting. Only now a reader of the New Scientist blog has inspired quite a debate because he has discovered a new use for white spirit: to attract flies. Blog readers who are keen […]

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Like some chemicals with your mozzarella?

Top Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli told BBC Radio 4 news that burning refuse in Naples was resulting in dioxins ending up in local milk and buffalo mozzarella, I heard on the radio as I was driving home on Thursday evening. The refuse collection crisis in Naples has been running for three weeks and the streets […]

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World’s Cheapest Car Costs $2,500

The world’s cheapest car was unveiled today by India’s motor giant Tata Group. The 624cc five-seater Tata Nano will cost $2,500 (£1,277, €1,700), and will hit the roads later this year. At the ICIS Aromatics Conference in November 2007 we heard how increased car ownership in India and China, along with diminishing oil reserves were […]

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