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EARTH NEWS: WEEK ENDING OCTOBER 20, 2006

Indian Health Crisis
Indian health authorities
stepped up their efforts to
curb an outbreak of
mosquito-borne dengue
and chikungunya, which have
infected more than 6,000 people and
claimed 92 lives. Several thousand
officials went door-to-door, spraying
insecticides in an effort to halt the
breeding of mosquitoes. Dengue has
been responsible for all of the fatalities
while all those infected with
chikungunya have recovered. With
more than 1,350 cases of dengue,
New Delhi and its neighboring states
have been the worst hit by the viral
infection, which is transmitted to
humans through bites of the female
Aedes mosquito.



Earthquakes
Almost all of the Hawaiian
Islands were blacked
out by a magnitude 6.7
temblor that caused at
least $73 million in damage. There
were no deaths or serious injuries
from the initial quake, or from any of
the moderate aftershocks.
• Earth movements were also felt
in south-central Alaska, Washington
state, northwest California, southern
Missouri, northern North Carolina,
northern Ecuador, central Greece,
central Java, metropolitan Tokyo and
New Britain Island.



Icelandic Whaling
The decision by Iceland
to resume whaling operations
after a 16-year
break was slammed by
whale-friendly countries like New
Zealand and Australia. But other
whaling nations, led by Norway and
Japan, hailed the country’s decision.
The Icelandic government
announced that it would allow its
ships to harpoon 30 minke whales and
nine fin whales, primarily for what it
describes as “export purposes.” Both
of those marine mammals are on the
endangered species list drawn up by
the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora. Norwegian whalers
this summer caught only about half
the number of their targeted 1,052
minke whales. They blamed high
fuel prices, not low demand for whale
meat, as the cause of the shortfall.



Volcanoes
El Salvadoran officials put
the area around the Chaparrastique
volcano on
alert after the mountain’s
peak began rumbling ominously.The
approximately 45,000 people living
within 1.5 square miles of the crater
were warned to be prepared for possible
evacuations.
• Indian geologists announced
that the volcano on Barren Island in
the Andaman archipelago appears to
be ending its latest eruptive phase.
The mountain has been spewing
smoke and molten rock since it roared
back to life shortly after the devastating
December 2004 Sumatra
quake and resulting tsunami.




A Snowless Africa
A leading environmental
group in East Africa
warned that the continent’s
two highest mountains
will lose their glacial caps
within the next 25 to 50 years.
Fredrick Njau of the Kenyan Green
Belt Movement says the ice will disappear
from Mount Kilimanjaro,
Africa’s highest mountain, and
Mount Kenya, the second highest, if
industrial pollution and deforestation
are not halted. Kilimanjaro has
already lost 82 percent of its ice cover
during the past 80 years, while Mount
Kenya has lost 92 percent over the
past 100 years. The Green Belt Movement,
in cooperation with the French
Agency for Development, plans to
plant 2 million trees around Mount
Kenya and the Kenyan range of
mountains known as the Aberdares to
offset earlier deforestation.



Bird Flu Fatality
Indonesia announced the
country’s 55th human
death due to avian
influenza. The virus has
spread rapidly across Asia and parts
of Europe during the past three years.
The death of a 27-year-old woman in
Central Java came shortly after the
head of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture
Organization expressed
“relief” over the successful global
containment of bird flu in recent
months. But Jacques Diouf warned
that several countries still remain vulnerable
to further outbreaks. He noted
that the disease remains a potent
threat in Indonesia, Africa, Eastern
Europe and the Caucasus.


Prehistoric Mouse
A new species of mouse
found on the Mediterranean
island of Cyprus
is being called a “living
fossil” by scientists who used DNA
testing to determine its uniqueness.
The mouse is the first new European
terrestrial mammal species to be discovered
in decades, and has a big
head, ears, eyes and teeth. The Mus
cypriacus, or Cypriot mouse, is identical
in structure to mouse fossils
found on Cyprus that predate the
arrival of humans by several thousand
years. The discovery indicates
the mouse survived man’s arrival on
the island and now lives alongside
common European house mice,
whose ancestors went to Cyprus during
the Neolithic period, according to
researchers at Durham University.


Distributed by: UPS
Earth News: A journal of the Planet
© 2006, Earth Frenzy Radio.com

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