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An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 pm Paris time.

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Latest update : 2012-10-26

Italy's Ilva factory: your job or your health?

An Italian court has ruled in favour of closing Europe's biggest steel works on environmental and health fears. But the plant's managers are fighting to keep it open. Determined not to let that happen, citizens and workers have formed a united front.

The chimneys of the Ilva factory, in Taranto, in the Apulia region of Italy, can be seen for miles around. For a long time, they were the pride of the region. A third of Italy's steel output is produced here and it is the biggest steel works in Europe.

But there is a less glorious reality, which has long been hidden. The plant alone is responsible for 92% of the dioxin emissions in Italy and 9% of those in Europe. The air and soil of the town are contaminated by lead, nick and iron ore. For years, residents have been breathing in these toxic particles.

In Taranto, the mortality rate is 10 to 15 percent higher than the national average, while the cancer rate is over 30 percent higher. Cases of tumours, leukaemia and respiratory diseases are also abnormally high.

By Tristan Dessert

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Archives

2014-12-19 Argentina

Argentina: The Kirchner era

The woman dubbed by some the new Eva Perón is a divisive figure. Cristina Kirchner succeeded her husband, Nestor, as president of Argentina back in 2007. A year ahead of...

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2014-02-14 Cameroon

Central African Republic and the 'convoy of hope'

Despite the presence of French troops and an African Union-led peacekeeping force, the situation in the Central African Republic remains extremely volatile. Clashes between the...

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2014-12-12 China

China: An 'Africatown' in Guangzhou

With twelve million inhabitants, Guangzhou, in southern China, is the third largest city after Shanghai and Beijing. Like the rest of globalised China, it attracts people from...

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2014-12-05 France

Do French Jews have reason to fear?

"For the first time in 70 years, France has become a country of Jewish emigration". This is how the Chairman of France’s Central Consistory, Joël Mergui, gloomily sums up the...

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2014-11-28 Lebanon

Lebanon's Shebaa, a village caught in the crossfire

It’s just another small Sunni village in southern Lebanon. But Shebaa, a Hezbollah stronghold on the crossroads of Israel and Syria, is now a flashpoint in a spreading war. With...

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