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Posted Mon Aug 9 2010: from PhysOrg:
Moscow's toxic smog fails to shift as anger, heat grows
The toxic smog smothering Moscow showed little sign of abating Monday as media accused officials of covering up the scale of the disaster and the authorities raced to put out a fire near a nuclear site. Amid Russia's worst heatwave in decades, the raging wildfires and burning peat bogs in central Russia have choked Moscow for several days and even sent plumes of smoke as far as neighbouring Finland.... "Authorities do not release statistics in order to conceal their incompetence," the Kommersant daily quoted an unidentified head of an enterprise in the funerals industry as saying. "Morgues and crematoria are overcrowded."... "We have been strictly forbidden to hospitalize people barring the most extreme cases," he said, complaining of hazardous working conditions.... "Air conditioners work only on the floor of the administration, temperatures reach 30 degrees C (86 degrees F) in the operating room," he told Kommersant on conditions of anonymity. "It's hard to work in these conditions."... The heatwave created a national catastrophe which has affected all areas of life, with 10 million hectares (25 million acres) of agricultural land destroyed and the government ordering a controversial ban on grain exports.
[Read more stories about: weather extremes, food crisis, drought]

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