NATO airstrikes at an oil refinery and petrochemical complex near Belgrade, Yugoslavia, early this morning unleashed a torrent of black smoke and toxic fumes into the air. Some 50 people were reportedly treated for gas poisoning. Serb officials said that to avoid further explosions, they were compelled to dump chlorine-based, carcinogenic chemicals into the Danube River. Oil has also been spilled in the river, causing slicks several miles long. Some international nuclear weapons inspectors are concerned that an errant NATO missile could hit a plant outside Belgrade that houses 132 pounds of highly enriched uranium.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.