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Earth News: Week Ending Feb 16, 2007

Earth News
Week of February 16, 2007

Vanishing Bees
American beekeepers in
22 states report huge
losses of their colonies in
recent weeks, possibly
due to a mysterious disease that
threatens to disrupt the pollination of
a wide range of crops. Dave Hackenberg,
a Pennsylvania beekeeper who
reported the so-called Colony Collapse
Disorder to researchers at Pennsylvania
State University in November,
says he has lost about 2,000
hives. State and federal agricultural
researchers have been frustrated in
their search for a cause because the
affected hives are often found empty
except for the queen and a few bees.
But researchers say they are seeing
evidence in the dead bees of an
unknown pathogen and a high number
of known viruses. Beekeepers are
being advised to irradiate their equipment,
including boxes and combs, to
kill any possible pathogens.
Meteor Deaths
Nomads in the northern
Indian state of Rajasthan
told police that an explosion
from a meteor impact
killed three members of their group.
Four others were found injured at a
crater that police describe as being
caused by some kind of blast. The
Press Trust of India reports the victims
were sitting with some iron scrap
in an open field when an “object” fell
from the sky and hit them on the
evening of Feb. 8. A team of forensic
scientists has been called to the
scene to investigate the incident.

Tropical Cyclones
Tropical Storm Enok
formed just east of Madagascar,
then lost force
over the cooler waters
south of Rodrigues Island. Tropical
Storm Favio was approaching Madagascar
from the east late in the week.

Flood Rescue
The Zambia Wildlife
Authority launched an
operation to rescue wild
animals that had become
trapped by flash flooding in the South
Luangwa National Park. Local media
report that some of the animals had
drowned before the rescue efforts
began. Many flood-trapped wildlife
were moved to higher ground in a
hovercraft, but others were in such
remote areas that rescue efforts were
impossible, according to the stateowned
Zambia Daily Mail. Flooding
from unusually heavy seasonal rains
has killed scores of people across the
southern half of Africa in recent
weeks. Tens of thousands of others
have been forced from their homes.

Earthquakes
Thirty-five people in
southeastern Turkey were
injured as they panicked
during a magnitude 5.3
quake in Elazig province. The shaking
also cracked some buildings.
• Earth movements were also felt
widely across the Iberian peninsula
and northern Morocco, and in eastern
Romania, northern Pakistan, India’s
southern Andaman Islands, Indonesia’s
Sulawesi Island and central
Oklahoma.

Kathmandu Snow
The capital of Nepal
experienced its first snowfall
in 62 years as severe
wintry conditions killed at
least three people across the
Himalayan country. The meteorological
department said that the temperatures
in Kathmandu Valley were not
low enough for the snow to accumulate.
Many districts in western and
central Nepal reported unprecedented
levels of snowfall, blocking
roads and forcing schools to close.
Volcanoes
Indonesia’s Mount Semeru
exploded with a column of
ash that soared high above
the densely populated East
Java province. A nearby town was
blanketed with volcanic debris, but
officials say no injuries were
reported.
• About 45 households near
Montserrat’s Soufriere Hills volcano
were warned that they may be asked
to relocate on short notice if a lava
dome on the mountain’s northwest
flank shows further signs of impending
collapse. Scientists studying the
volcano say a collapse of the dome
could send superheated gas, ash and
rocks cascading into the area where
evacuation is being considered.

Marine Sentinels
The U.S. Navy says it is
considering the use of
dozens of trained dolphins
and sea lions to
patrol a key military base in coastal
Washington state from underwater
enemy intruders. The navy published
a notice in the Federal Register that it
needs to beef up security at the Kitsap-
Bangor base on Puget Sound near
Seattle. The notice said the use of
marine mammals is the most effective
way to do it. Because of their
extraordinary sonar abilities, dolphins
are excellent at patrolling for
swimmers and divers, said Tom
Lapuzza, a spokesman for the Navy’s
San Diego-based Marine Mammal
Program. One plan is for the dolphins
to drop a tag near any discovered
intruder. Another is for trained seals
to clamp a tethered cuff around any
invader’s leg or arm so the individual
can be reeled in for questioning.

Earth News: A Journal of the Planet
Week Ending February 16, 2007
Distributed by: UPS
© 2007-Earth Frenzy Radio

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