The Stream, January 29: Iraq Mosul Dam Could Collapse, U.S. General Says

Aerial view of the Mosul Dam, Iraq. Creative Commons photo by Rehman Abubakr

Aerial view of the Mosul Dam, Iraq. Creative Commons photo by Rehman Abubakr

The Global Rundown

The Mosul Dam, Iraq’s largest dam, could collapse and cause a catastrophic flood, a top U.S. general said. Employees of an aluminum oxide plant on trial for a 2010 flood of toxic sludge in Hungary were acquitted, and Michigan extended a state of emergency for the city of Flint over contaminated drinking water. India identified 20 cities that will get uninterrupted water supplies and other services as part of its smart cities initiative. Floods in Myanmar last fall contributed to a rise in malnourished children. Scientists in Europe are designing swarms of robots to monitor Venice’s water quality.

“When it goes, it’s going to go fast, and that’s bad.” — Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland, the top U.S. general in Iraq, on the deteriorating state of Iraq’s Mosul Dam. The American-led coalition in Iraq has raised concerns about the dam’s structural integrity, warning that it could kill hundreds of thousands of people if it collapses. (Associated Press)

By The Numbers

20 cities Number identified by India Thursday to be part of a smart cities project launched by the government. The project aims to provide each city with constant supplies of water and electricity, among other services, by 2022. Reuters

$28 million Amount approved by the Michigan state legislature to address a lead-contaminated drinking water crisis in the city of Flint. The state’s governor extended a state of emergency for the city until April 14. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Swarms of more than 100 small, underwater robots designed to look like fish and aquatic plants are being developed to monitor water quality in Venice waterways. The $US 4.4 million project is backed by the European Commission. Bloomberg

On The Radar

Rates of malnutrition among young children in Myanmar’s Rakhine state have increased dramatically since last fall, according to the European Union Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department. The increase is linked to floods that hit the region in October, which destroyed crops and contaminated water supplies. Reuters

A court decision in Hungary acquitted 14 employees and the former director of an aluminum oxide plant that released a flood of toxic sludge in 2010, killing 10 people and polluting nearby rivers. The employees and director had been facing charges of negligence, waste management violations, and damages to the environment for their involvement in the disaster. Agence France-Presse

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