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Earth News: Week Ending Feb 2, 2007

Earth News
Week of February 2, 2007

Icelandic Whale Dump
Greenpeace says it has
discovered more than
170 tons of rotting
whale meat in an Icelandic
dumpsite just months after the
country reopened commercial whaling
and killed seven endangered fin
whales. The environmental group
says another 200 tons of whale meat
remains unsold in cold storage. “The
Icelandic market has not proved to be
what whalers expected,” said Frode
Pleym, a group spokesman for the
Nordic region. “Iceland claims their
commercial whaling is sustainable,
but how can they justify it when they
are hunting endangered species,
without domestic demand, and an
oversupply of whale meat in Japan?”

Rift Valley Fever
Rift Valley Fever has
been detected for the first
time in areas frequented
by tourists along Kenya’s
picturesque coast, according to German
travel health researchers. The
viral infection is spread by
mosquitoes and causes influenza-like
symptoms, which can escalate to
inflammation of the brain or hemorrhagic
fever. At least 150 people have
died since the disease emerged in
mid-December. The Kenyan government
said the country has started
manufacturing livestock vaccines for
the virus. The World Organization for
Animal Health said thousands of cattle,
sheep, goats and camels had
already fallen sick, and thousands
more are in jeopardy.

Indian Ocean Cyclone
A cluster of storms in the
central Indian Ocean
strengthened into Tropical
Cyclone Dora. The
storm peaked at category-2 strength
as it wobbled, nearly stationary, in a
series of small loops far from land.

Lahar Hazard
The wall of a crater lake on
northern New Zealand’s
Ruapehu volcano is on the
verge of collapse, threatening
to send a burst of water, mud and
stone cascading down the mountain.
The Department of Conservation told
the media that a lahar, or mudflow
composed of volcanic debris and
water, is inevitable as warm summer
weather causes the mountain’s snowcap
to melt and fill the lake. On
Christmas Eve 1953, a lahar from
Ruapehu rushed down the
Whangaehu River, destroying a railway
bridge and causing a passenger
train packed with holiday travelers to
plunge into the river, killing 151 people
on board.

Deadly Cold
The bitter winter chill that
blankets much of North
America has also spread
deep into Mexico, where a
series of cold fronts has claimed the
lives of more than 75 people. The
greatest number of fatalities occurred
in the state of Chihuahua. At least 34
people there have perished from the
prolonged cold spell — many due to
carbon monoxide poisoning caused
by leaks from heaters or stoves. The
cold has also killed more than 5,000
head of cattle and hundreds of goats.

A moderate quake near the
eastern Turkish town of
Karakocan caused the
walls of some homes to
crack. No injuries were reported.
• Scientists in Chile say that thousands
of small quakes shaking the
country’s southern coast are being
caused by volcanic activity rather
than tectonic plate movement.
• Earth movements were also felt
in southern Norway and islands of
northeast Indonesia’s Maluku Sea.

Rabid Attacks
At least 11 people have
died of rabies during the
past month and a half in
Peru’s Amazonia region
after being bitten by rabid vampire
bats, according to health officials. All
of the victims were said to have been
sleeping in the open, which left them
vulnerable to being bitten by the
small flying mammals. Carlos Contreras,
regional health director in
Madre de Dios, said that residents of
the region have now been instructed
to avoid bat bites by sleeping under
mosquito netting. Peru’s Canal N
television reports that deer meat, a
common staple in the affected rain
forest region, may also pose a threat
since numerous deer have been found
dead after receiving bites from
rabies-infected bats.

Muted Spring
The deep freeze that
recently ended an unusually
warm early winter in
the northern United States
and southern Canada could mean a
spring with far fewer colorful blossoms.
Some flowers and trees had
begun to bud early due to the record
warmth of December and early January.
But the subsequent prolonged
freeze quickly killed that early
growth. Commercial fruit producers
are concerned about next season’s
yield, while some gardeners fear they
will be disappointed in the appearance
of their flowering plants when
spring arrives. Cornell University
horticulture and landscape plant
expert George Good believes the
switch to typical winter conditions
was gradual enough not to have produced
any long-term damage.

Earth News: A Journal of the Planet
Week Ending February 2, 2007
Distributed by: UPS
© 2007-Earth Frenzy Radio

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