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Skywatch-Media Update

From the Editor's Desk
June 12, 2007

Hello to Everyone. I'm back from my glorious trip to the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. What a wonderful and beautiful part of the world it is! This region along with the upper midwest will be pivitol to the survival of mankind as the world continues to progress into climate change and a shifting of the poles. Mass migration will follow along these routes as millions will eventually be forced to leave the sun belt and the Southwest due to drastic storms, drought and sea level rise in the years ahead.

I know you have been missing your daily updates as there is so much to report on these days and so little time.

I'm glad to be back to providing your daily dose of earth news.

Steve Shaman

Steel dam proposed to choke Indonesia's 'mud volcano'

Breaking Earth News
Indonesia
Photo: The sludge has inundated some 600 hectares (1,500 acres), including many homes and factories, leaving 15,000 people homeless. Photo courtesy AFP.

A massive concrete dam 15 storeys high would be built around Indonesia's disastrous "mud volcano" under the latest proposal to stop toxic sludge spewing from its core. Under the plan, the mud building up in the dam would eventually be so heavy that it could act as a counterweight to the sludge trying to emerge from the crater, blocking off the flow. "If this technique is successful, the area will be ready to be rebuilt into a new city. This is the future for the area, according to the civil engineers." The wall encircling the volcano would be 10 metres thick and 120 metres in diameter. The wall itself would consist of two separate fences of thick steel pipes encased in concrete up to 48 metres high. The dam would also have a machine to extract water from the mud, with the liquid moving down a massive chute for piping to a nearby river. Expected to take eight months to build, the dam would also feature a geology museum and a park, estimated to cost US$5.6 million. The plan comes after engineers spent two months trying to plug the volcano by dropping concrete balls on chains into its yawning crater. That initiative has been suspended and the mud building up behind dirt and rock embankments is being channelled to the river nearby.

Piste off - balmy May weather just too warm for skiers

New Zealand
May 27, 2007

The balmy May weather is threatening to delay the start of the ski season. Most fields are due to open in early June, but say they have only a thin or non-existent snow base. "Traditionally we have opened in the first or second week of June but this may be a different year for us." Snowmakers are on standby for the temperature to fall low enough to start the snow-making machines. Most parts of New Zealand are over a degree warmer than average this month, with parts of Canterbury and Otago two degrees warmer than usual. If the warm weather continues, May will be on track to be the warmest in 20 years or even the warmest on record. By mid-May last year, a biting southerly had brought hail and snow. This year the southerlies have yet to really arrive and warmer northwesterly winds are dominating. Sea temperatures are also above average and the difference between actual and normal May temperatures is growing daily. It is UNUSUAL that no region is experiencing below average temperatures. Bug exterminators are in demand for fly removal, which is not usually needed by this time of year. More UNUSUALLY, in the last fortnight there has been demand for killing cockroaches, not normally a problem in the far south. Electricity demand is also significantly below last May, with demanding actually falling week by week so far this month, whereas electricity demand normally increases from Easter through to the middle of winter.

Warm spring 'affecting wildlife'

Britain
May 25, 2007

A warm spring has brought about the early arrival of some UK wildlife. Over the past few months, amateur naturalists have logged more than 24,000 first sightings of six key species of plants and animals. Members of the public were asked to record the dates they have first seen red-tailed bumblebees, frogspawn, flowering hawthorns, seven-spot ladybirds, peacock butterflies and swifts. The Woodland Trust said it was worried "because the changes are so rapid"...This has been our earliest Springwatch year, well ahead of the normal time we would have expected to see these events 30 years ago."

Buy oceanview 'property' in Hawaii, move in 10,000 years from now

Hawaii, USA
May 28, 2007

Buy oceanview 'property' in Hawaii, move in 10,000 years from now - Lo'ihi Development Co. will soon start offering oceanview lots that speculators won't even be able to stand on for many millennia. That's because they're currently submerged more than 900 metres below sea level - on an underwater volcano called Lo'ihi, located about 32 kilometres southeast of the Big Island. For an introductory price of $39.95, buyers will receive a brochure and a "deed," but much like Internet groups that claim to sell stars, they probably can't call themselves owners. A photo of the sales office is a raft in the middle of the ocean. Scientists don't really know when, or if, Lo'ihi volcano will break the surface of the Pacific Ocean. Many guess about 10,000 years, but it could be much longer than that.

Magicians banned from mud volcano

Photo: The crater of the "mud volcano" on Java (Sept. 19): A wound in the geological bowels of the earth.

Breaking Earth News
Indonesia

Magicians and others performing spiritual rites have been banned from throwing amulets and sacrificial animals into Indonesia's massive "mud volcano" for fear of making the disaster worse. Hundreds of people have visited the ocean of mud devastating Sidoarjo, in heavily populated East Java, in a bid to end the seemingly unstoppable flow of thick sludge since it first broke through the earth a year ago. People who came to pray and conduct rituals to try and halt the mud - sometimes from as far away as Australia, France and China - usually ended up making things worse. "Really, whenever they throw the head of a bull, or goat, or cow, the embankments surrounding the place will leak. Rituals of magic-filled things, or amulets, or things like that are prohibited now. Not long after they throw things in, the embankments would leak." People also need to seek permission before they cast spells over the mud. "Even the Indonesia Paranormal Association came here. But none of the rituals had any effect, it just made it worse. Experts have raised fears mud sediment could eventually choke the river mouth and trigger flooding in Indonesia's second largest city, Surabaya, during future rain seasons. Surabaya, which lies north of the disaster zone, could face flooding within in the next two years if nothing was done to reduce the sedimentation


SLIDESHOW: INDONESIA'S BUBBLING "MUD VOLCANO"

UFO pictures getting detailed and frequent

May 23, 2007
Argentina, S.A.

With the 'capitola' , 'california', 'Lake Tahoe, 'Guernsey' and 'O'hare' UFOs coming hot on the heels of each other, now we have an astonishing picture and witness report coming from Argentina
The photo was taken in Buenos Aires, Argentina on May 2, 2007 at approximately 5 p.m. local time. The entire sighting lasted 7 to 10 seconds. The photographer is confident the image is not of an aircraft but in all truthfulness he is not sure what it is. The photo was enhanced and examined to depict if it was a fraud and it was determined to be an authentic.

Scientists concerned about effects of global warming on infectious diseases

May 22, 2007
As the Earth’s temperatures continue to rise, we can expect a signficant change in infectious disease patterns around the globe. Just exactly what those changes will be remains unclear, but scientists agree they will not be for the good.
"Environmental changes have always been associated with the appearance of new diseases or the arrival of old diseases in new places. With more changes, we can expect more surprises," says Stephen Morse of Columbia University, speaking May 22, 2007, at the 107th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Toronto.
In its April 2007 report on the impacts of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that rising temperatures may result in "the altered spatial distribution of some infectious disease vectors," and will have "mixed effects, such as the decrease or increase of the range and transmission potential of malaria in Africa." "Diseases carried by insects and ticks are likely to be affected by environmental changes because these creatures are themselves very sensitive to vegetation type, temperature, humidity etc. However, the direction of change – whether the diseases will increase or decrease – is much more difficult to predict, because disease transmission involves many factors, some of which will increase and some decrease with environmental change. A combination of historical disease records and present-day ground-based surveillance, remotely sensed (satellite) and other data, and good predictive models is needed to describe the past, explain the present and predict the future of vector-borne infectious diseases," says David Rogers of Oxford University, also speaking at the meeting.

Earth News Journal: Week Ending May 18, 2007

Earth News Journal
Week of May 18, 2007

A More Silent Spring
A new study says that
the dramatic drop in the
number of birds across
parts of North America
is likely due to the West Nile virus,
which arrived on the continent only a
decade ago. A trio of researchers led
by Shannon LaDeau, of the Smithsonian
Migratory Bird Center, determined
that crows, blue jays and the
American robin have all experienced
sharp drops in population at the same
time and in the same places that the
mosquito-born tropical disease
emerged. Writing in the journal
Nature, biologist Carsten Rahbek
concluded that their studies .suggest
that West Nile virus could potentially
change the composition of bird communities
across the entire continent.

Philippine Ash Cloud
Bulusan volcano spewed
ash high over the eastern
Philippines, forcing nearby
residents to use face masks
and wet handkerchiefs to avoid
breathing the volcanic debris. The
Philippine Institute of Volcanology
and Seismology said 11 villages were
blanketed by falling ash, but the
activity did not prompt any evacuations.
Periodic ash emissions have
occurred at Bulusan since last October.
The mountain has erupted at least
15 times since 1886, with the most
recent occurring in 1995.

Cyclone Akash
A long stretch of the Bay
of Bengal coast was raked
by high winds and stormsurge
tides as Cyclone
Akash moved ashore. The storm initially
struck western Myanmar,
where several buildings were either
damaged or destroyed by hurricaneforce
winds. Akash later left three
fishermen dead and 50 other people
missing along the Bangladesh coast.


Rogue Waves
A string of large waves
that lashed the Indian
Ocean islands of Mauritius
and Rodrigues left at
least four people drowned, destroyed
several piers and swamped many
homes and other buildings along
south-facing shores of Mauritius. The
10-foot waves originated south of
Cape Town, South Africa, and traveled
for nearly 2,500 miles over a
period of three days before slamming
into the two islands. Scientists who
detected the waves on satellite-based
radar sensors say their observations
will help to provide warning of similar
waves in the future.

Uruguay Flood Disaster
Ongoing heavy rains have
produced the highest river
levels since 1959 across
parts of Uruguay, contaminating
public water supplies and
threatening a public health crisis.
Authorities say that 5,300 people
have been evacuated across the central
province of Durazno, where the
Yi River surged nearly 10 feet above
its normal level. Health Minister
Jorge Basso warned against outbreaks
of diarrhea while ordering that
children between the ages of 2 and 5
be vaccinated for hepatitis. He
advised everyone to get a flu shot.

Earthquakes
A powerful 6.3 magnitude
quake centered in western
Laos rocked a wide area of
Southeast Asia from
Bangkok to Hanoi. Residents in the
Thai and Vietnamese capitals, as well
as in other cities across the region,
rushed out of buildings during the
one-minute shaking.
Earth movements were also felt
in western Japan, the Indonesian
island of Sumatra, southern Arkansas
and eastern Pennsylvania.

Antarctic Melt
A team of NASA and university
scientists
announced that a sudden
rise in temperature during
2005 caused a California-sized area
of snow in Antarctica to suddenly
melt. NASA described the findings
as the most significant melting ever
observed by satellites. Antarctica
has shown little to no warming in the
recent past with the exception of the
Antarctic Peninsula,. said Konrad
Steffen, director of the Cooperative
Institute for Research in Environmental
Studies at the University of
Colorado. But now, large regions
are showing the first signs of the
impacts of warming..

Urban Relocation
The last members of several
monkey troops that
had roamed for centuries
the area that became
South Africa's capital were relocated
outside the city after development
encroached on their only remaining
habitat. Pretoria's famed vervet monkeys
were well known for communications
skills similar to humans, and
for their unique facial expressions.
The relocation came after recent construction
of a shopping center cut the
monkeys. last surviving habitat to
just 3,000 square yards. Most of the
last of two troops, totaling nearly 70
monkeys, were captured and released
on private land about 25 miles northeast
of Pretoria. The vervet was classified
as vermin in South Africa after
one bit the daughter of the country.s
finance minister in 1937. But the
species was listed as threatened in
1976 by the Convention on International
Trade and Endangered
Species.




Earth News: A Journal of the Planet
Week Ending May 18, 2007
Distributed by: UPS
© 2007-Earth Frenzy Radio





Plague kills monkey at Denver Zoo

Colorado, USA
May 22, 2007

Officials at Denver Zoo in the US state of Colorado are taking precautions to avoid an outbreak of plague after a monkey at the zoo died of the disease.
The zoo's 17 remaining capuchin monkeys have been put into an isolated cage and are being treated with antibiotics.
Zoo officials suspect the monkey caught the disease from the carcass of an infected squirrel it may have eaten.
Several squirrels and a rabbit have been found dead of the disease in recent weeks near the zoo. Veterinarians say there is little risk of the plague spreading to humans but visitors are being warned to avoid squirrels and rabbits.
None of the zoo's other monkeys or animals have shown symptoms of the plague.

Big Dry takes toll on Australia's farmers

Australia
May 22, 2007

Malcolm Adlington has been farming his land for over 30 years and never has he known it so bad.
His should have been a rich inheritance: a dairy farm close to the mighty Murray River on some of the finest pasture land which Australia has to offer.
But then came the "Big Dry" - the most severe drought in a century.
"Normally at this time of the year the paddocks would be green, and the grass would be six or eight inches high, and we'd have more feed than the cows can do with.
"Now it looks like scrubland," says Malcolm, wearily. "It's useless."
Recently, he's had to sell off two-thirds of his herd and is saddled with so much debt that he's going to have to put his farm on the market.
He can barely afford the straw to feed his bony cattle.

Rainy season arrives, but critical areas stay dry

Breaking Earth News
Florida, USA



Rejoice, drought-weary Floridians: The rainy season has begun.
In fact, it began May 14 - the earliest start since the torrential year of 1995, the National Weather Service's office near Miami announced Monday.

But that doesn't mean South Florida's drought will end any time soon. In fact, water managers say the shortage could extend through the summer of 2008 unless the next four to six months bring a powerful drenching. So far, they say, the past week and a half of near-daily rainfall hasn't hit where the region needs it most: Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River valley to the north, the headwaters of South Florida's water supply.

"There are parts of our district over the past week that haven't gotten a drop of rain," said Eric Swartz, a meteorologist at the South Florida Water Management District, which extends from Orlando to Key West.

Bubonic Plague Killing Squirrels In Denver

May, 2007
Denver, CO (AHN) - Residents of Denver, Colorado are being warned that a spate of squirrel deaths is being caused by "Black Death" the common name for Bubonic Plague, which killed millions of people in the 14th Century. So far, no humans have been infected. However, the plague is inside one of the city's most popular parks, the site of youth soccer games and a place people go to walk their dogs and picnic.

Plague bacteria are carried by fleas that get on squirrels, rodents, pets and people and spread the disease by biting. This bout has killed 13 squirrels found in or near City Park, and two squirrels and a rabbit found in Denver suburbs.

Usually the plague is confined to the foothills or remote areas of Colorado and it kills a few dozen rodents and pets every year.

Residents are being instructed to take some common sense measures to avoid squirrels and don't feed them, keep pets away from squirrels and treat pets for fleas.

Some 58 people in Colorado have contracted plague since 1957, with nine of them dying. The last human death there was in 2004. One human case of Bubonic Plague has been reported this year, it was in New Mexico and the victim is recovering.

In Photos: Snow hits Inner Mongolia in summer

Inner Mongolia
May 18, 2007
View all photos: 1 2 3 >>
Tourist takes pictures in snow on the Bashang scenic spot in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region May 17, 2007. A snowfall hit Bashang on Thursday, an unusual phenomenon in May in the area. (Xinhua Photo)

Huge waves that hit Reunion Island tracked from space

May 16, 2007
Satellite observation of the storm winds at the origin of the huge waves that thrashed Reunion Island. The left panel shows the satellite wind speed in colour, and the right panel shows the corresponding atmospheric model wind speed at the same location and time. (Credit: ECMWF, NASA Quikscat)

The origin and movement of waves reaching up to 11 metres that devastated France’s Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean on Saturday evening have been detected with ESA’s Envisat satellite.

The waves that thrashed the southern port of Saint Pierre, leaving two fishermen missing, causing several piers to collapse and flooding several homes and businesses, originated south of Cape Town, South Africa, and travelled northeast for nearly 4000 km over a period of three days before slamming into Reunion Island.

Dr Bertrand Chapron of IFREMER, the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, and Dr Fabrice Collard of France's BOOST Technologies in Brest located and tracked the swells using standard processed Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) ESA products.

"Swells are still surprise factors, which can unfortunately be deadly," Chapron said. "The SAR Wave Mode product allows us to locate and systematically track swells globally. In the near future we anticipate using SAR wave data to predict their arrival time and intensity."

CHILE’S AYSÉN QUAKE, A POSSIBLE ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER

Chile, S.A.
May 16, 2007

Neither the press nor the government has paid proper attention to what may over time prove to be a devastating and long-term environmental effect of the April quake: escaped salmon. At the time of the earthquake, 14 salmon farms operated within the Aysén Fjord. Together the farms may have housed as many as 14 million fish. As a result of the quake, which caused serious physical damage to the farms, some of those 14 million salmon must certainly have escaped. “Even if just 10 percent of (the fish) escaped, we could be looking at the worst environmental disaster to have yet taken place in the fjords of Aysén. Because salmon is a carnivorous species, (the escape) could, among other associated problems, affect the area’s native fish stocks.”

West Nile Virus Devastates Many US Bird Species

Epidemics
May 16, 2007
PARIS (AFP) - West Nile virus, unknown in North America a decade ago, is the likely culprit in the dramatic, continent-wide decline of several bird species, according to a study released Wednesday.

Crows, blue jays and even that beloved herald of spring, the American robin, have all suffered sharp drops in population that correspond in time and place with human outbreaks of the mosquito-born tropical disease, the study shows.

The American crow was hit hardest, loosing 45 percent of its numbers across the United States.

In all, 13 of 20 species studied reached 10-year population lows after a wave of West Nile virus infections among humans in 2002 and 2003, says the study, published in the British journal Nature.

Only two of the seven worst-affected species have since recovered to their previous levels.

Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis

Skywatch-Media Public Announcement
May 18, 2007

'What Is Live Earth?'Learn more about the concerts now
watch video



Inspired by Live Earth, Madonna has written a new song titled "Hey You," which is available exclusively on MSN, free of charge, for seven days. "Hey You" was produced by Pharrell Williams and Madonna and recorded in London. Madonna will perform "Hey You" as one of the headliners for Live Earth U.K., joining the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Genesis, the Beastie Boys and other performers at Wembley Stadium in London on July 7, as part of the 24-hour, seven-continent Live Earth concert series.
As the exclusive online destination for Live Earth, MSN is pleased to offer this song in conjunction with Madonna and is proud to donate 25 cents for each of the first 1 million downloads to the Alliance for Climate Protection, in support of Live Earth.

Download the exclusive free Madonna Song Here!



Join LiveEarth.org and become part of the solution
Live Earth will bring together more than 150 of the world's top musicians for 24-hours of music from 9 concerts across all 7 continents. Live Earth will bring together an audience of more than 2 billion at the concerts and through television, radio, film, and the Internet. That audience, and the proceeds from the event, will create the foundation for a new, multi-year global effort to cotmbat the climate crisis led by Vice President Al Gore. Kevin Wall, Worldwide Executive Producer of Live 8, is producing Live Earth.






© 2007 Skwatch-Media. All Rights Reserved



















Earth's natural defences against climate change 'beginning to fail'

Breaking Earth News
Earth's natural defences against climate change 'beginning to fail - The earth's ability to soak up the gases causing global warming is beginning to fail because of rising temperatures, in a long-feared sign of "positive feedback," new research reveals. Climate change itself is weakening one of the principal "sinks" absorbing carbon dioxide - the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. As a result, atmospheric CO2 levels may rise faster and bring about rising temperatures more quickly than previously anticipated. Stabilising the CO2 level, which must be done to bring the warming under control, is likely to become much more difficult, even if the world community agrees to do it. "The climate clock is beginning to tick faster...The shift that has been detected in a four-year study...is ONE OF THE MOST OMINOUS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CLIMATE CHANGE. It implies a breach in the planet's own defences against global warming." Human society has hugely benefited from the earth's natural carbon absorption facility, which means oceans and forests take up roughly half of the CO2 pumped into the atmosphere. Although supercomputer models of the climate have for some time predicted the weakening of the ocean and terrestrial sinks, no example of it happening has actually been detected - until now. Now the research team has found the vast Southern Ocean, which is the earth's biggest carbon sink, accounting for about 15 per cent of the total absorption potential, has become effectively CO2-saturated. The level of the gas it is absorbing has remained static since 1981 - but in that time the amount emitted has grown by 40 per cent, so it has stopped keeping pace and much more CO2 is left over to trap the sun's heat. Stormier weather and stronger waves are churning up the sea and bringing natural CO2 stored there closer to the surface - which reduces the ability of the surface to absorb the gas from the air.

Volcanic bulge could pinpoint next eruption

Hawaii, USA
Radar satelite images show the swelling in Mauna Loa's flanks(Image:University of Miami)
May 17, 2007
The world's largest volcano is bulging and the swelling could help pinpoint where the Hawaiian volcano will erupt next, researchers say.
The finding could save lives by helping officials to plan evacuations of residents living on the volcano's flanks, although the researchers are no closer to predicting when an eruption will occur.
Falk Amelung at the University of Miami, US, and colleagues used satellite radar imagery to monitor two bulges on the flank of Mauna Loa in Hawaii between 2002 and 2005. They tried to pinpoint what was causing the swelling using computer models of the volcano.
Mauna Loa is a shield volcano, meaning it erupts from rifts in its flanks, rather than out through a crater at the top.
The volcano has two long fractures in its crust that extend down from the summit around the south-west rift zone, from which magma can flow during eruptions. The bulges, which have been swelling since May 2002, are 15 kilometres across and 20 centimetres high.

'Five Years Left to Save the Planet'

May 15, 2007

Our planet is just five years away from climate change catastrophe - but can still be saved, according to a new report.The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) warns governments have until 2012 to "plant the seeds of change" and make positive moves to limit carbon emissions.

News Source: The Great Red Comet


Wrong-way whales draw a crowd

Breaking Earth News
Photo: One of two whales surfaces along a busy delta river channel. Experts were at a loss to explain the whales' behavior, which continues to draw a growing audience.
(Robert Durell / LAT)


WEST SACRAMENTO, Ca. — Two lost humpback whales continued their four-day odyssey up a busy delta river channel Wednesday as hundreds looked on with amusement and concern.The mother and calf apparently suffered wounds inflicted by a boat propeller, scientists said at a packed news conference. They said the injuries occurred after the pair entered the Sacramento River Delta on Sunday and do not explain why the whales veered into inland waters.Rescue workers also announced an ambitious plan to coax the rare whales back toward the ocean, beginning today. The strategy will use pipe-banging noises to prod the whales from behind and recordings of feeding humpbacks in front to lure them southward.

Bill Clinton unveils energy-saving plan for 15 cities

05/17/2007
NEW YORK -- Former US president Bill Clinton on Wednesday announced a five-billion-dollar program to make buildings in 15 of the world's largest cities more energy efficient and help combat global warming.
The so-called energy efficiency building retrofit program involves Clinton's private foundation, four of the world's largest energy service companies and five of the biggest banks.
"Climate change is a global problem that requires local action,” Clinton said in a statement, unveiling the initiative.
"The businesses, banks and cities partnering with my foundation are addressing the issue of global warming because it's the right thing to do, but also because it's good for their bottom line," he said.
The program would provide funding for cities and private building owners to introduce energy-saving solutions that should cut energy use by 20 to 50 percent, according to Clinton's foundation.

Earth News Journal: Week Ending May 11, 2007

Earth News Journal
Week of May 11, 2007

Tornado Swarms
A string of tornadoes
raked the American Midwest
from Texas to South
Dakota, with the most
destructive killing at least 12 people
and virtually wiping out an entire
Kansas town. The twister that nearly
obliterated Greensburg was 1.7 miles
wide and the most powerful to strike
the United States in eight years. It
remained on the ground for 30 minutes
while creating a 22-mile-long
path of damage. Survivors say it was
so massive that there was a brief
period of calm as the center passed
overhead . similar to what occurs in
the eye of a hurricane. A separate
twister caused extensive damage in
Sweetwater, Okla.
A town in the North African
nation of Chad was nearly destroyed
by a violent and rare tornado that
killed at least 14 people. A district
official said that about 95 percent of
Bebedjia, in southeastern Chad, sustained
severe damage.

Vulture Starvation
Farmers in southern
Spain are alarmed over
recent attacks on their
livestock by starving
vultures. The state news agency EFE
reports that about 100 vultures
recently killed a cow and her newborn
calf. Ranchers say attacks on live animals
have increased since a vulture
feeding station set up for farmers to
dump their animal carcasses was
closed several months ago. Concerns
over mad cow disease have prompted
officials to ban the dumping of dead
livestock at such feeding troughs. A
spokesman for a union called the
Farmers and Ranchers Coordinator
says this has resulted in vultures
becoming so hungry that they have
lost their wariness of humans, and
now swoop down on farms to feast on
live animals such as cattle and pigs.

Tiger Heat Death
A pre-monsoon heat
wave currently baking
Bangladesh appears to
have caused the first
recorded death due to heat stroke
among the country's Royal Bengal
tiger population. The big cat was
found dead beside a pond in the
southern Sundarbans forest, where it
apparently came to quench its thirst.
The Independent newspaper reports
the dead tiger was examined by a veterinary
officer, who determined that
it died of excessive heat. The divisional
forest officer of the Sundarbans
Forest Division, Shahidullah,
told the newspaper that such a death
among tigers had never been seen
before. A 2004 census found about
280 Royal Bengal tigers in
Bangladesh. An estimated 2,500 live
in neighboring India, where conservation
efforts have allowed their
numbers to more than double since
the 1970s.

Etna Lava Flow
A large fracture developed
on the side of Sicily.s
Mount Etna, allowing
streams of lava to spill
down the mountain. The activity was
similar to eruptions in March and
April, but not nearly as intense as that
which forced the closure of a nearby
airport last December. Frequent lava
flows since then have attracted
tourists and volcano enthusiasts from
around the world.

Subtropical Cyclone
A springtime disturbance
that moved off the southeastern
coast of the United
States rapidly intensified
into Subtropical Storm Andrea. The
storm picked up some tropical features
as it spun over the warm waters
off Georgia, and was predicted to
slowly drift southward off the Florida
coast late in the week. Such storms
share characteristics of both middle
latitude low pressure areas and tropical
storms, but high winds often
occur much farther from the center
than in tropical storms. Andrea developed
tropical characteristics more
than two weeks before the official
start of the Atlantic hurricane season,
which is predicted to be much more
active than normal.

Earthquakes
A moderate quake that
rocked a wide area of
southwestern Montana
damaged an apartment
building and knocked bricks off
buildings in downtown Sheridan.
Shaking was also felt in neighboring
parts of Idaho.
Earth movements were also felt
in El Salvador, northern Colombia,
western Greece, southwestern Pakistan,
eastern Tibet, metropolitan
Tokyo and the northern Philippines.

Prairie Plague
A gopher population
explosion across parts of
the Canadian Prairies has
farmers blaming the government
for banning what they say is
the only effective poison to keep them
under control. The use of liquid
strychnine was banned in the early
1990s because it also killed the birds,
foxes and weasels that ate the dead
gophers. Farmers say the only available
replacement doesn.t even make
a dent in the burgeoning gopher population.
Farmers have organized
shooting competitions to see who can
shoot the most gophers. But
Saskatchewan farmer Roland
Schafer told the CBC that the burrowing
pests are multiplying faster
than he can reload his gun.


Earth News: A Journal of the Planet
Week Ending May 11, 2007
Distributed by: UPS
© 2007-Earth Frenzy Radio

Prime Minister urges Australians to pray for rain

Breaking Earth News
Australia

This is a transcript from PM. The program is broadcast around Australia at 5:10pm on Radio National and 6:10pm on ABC Local Radio.Reporter: Sabra Lane

Almost a month has passed since the Prime Minister warned that unless there were substantial inflows to the Murray-Darling Basin, there would be zero water allocations to farmers from July.Today, Mr Howard renewed his plea to the nation to pray for rain: he said recent rainfall across the basin just hadn't been enough.Bureaucrats are drawing up contingency plans in preparation for the July deadline, with farmers warning that there's no precedent for what's about to happen. Full Transcript Here


Listen to Broadcast using REAL AUDIO and WINDOWS MEDIA and MP3 formats.




Meteor impact, extinction linked

Canada
May 14, 2007

A comet or some other extraterrestrial object appears to have slammed into northern Canada 12,900 years ago and triggered an abrupt and catastrophic climate change that wiped out the mammoths, mastodons and sloths that once roamed North America. Evidence of the ecological disaster exists in a thin layer of sediment that has been found from Alberta to New Mexico. The sediment layer contains high concentrations of iridium, fullerenes and other compounds associated with space rocks and impacts. "We have evidence for distribution of impact debris over several thousands of miles over the North American continent." The sediment layer formed 12,900 years ago coincides with both the extinction of the animals and the onset of a mini-ice age that lasted more than 1,000 years.

NASA Robot to Explore 'Bottomless' Pit

NASA
May 15, 2007
A robotic yellow submarine will journey this week to the world's deepest sinkhole, which already has taken the life of one diver who sought to reach its bottom and discover the life that might exist there.


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Others have tried to reach the end of this seemingly bottomless pit in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, known to be at least 925 feet deep, but no one has ever succeeded.


The self-automated "DEPTHX" (Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer) will search the depths of the El Zacaton cenote, or geothermal sinkhole, for life and also study its dimensions and look for the vents that feed it.




FYI
El Zacatón, a vertical cave about 100 meters (328 feet) wide and more than 300 meters (1,000 feet) deep, has been called an “upside down Mount Everest.” It could easily swallow New York’s Chrysler Building. No one has ever reached the bottom, so it’s true depth is unknown.

Russia warns AIDS epidemic is worsening

Breaking Viral Alert
MOSCOW - Russia’s AIDS epidemic is worsening, with as many as 1.3 million people infected with HIV as the virus spreads further into the heterosexual population, Russia’s top AIDS specialist said on Tuesday.
Russia has registered 402,000 people with HIV, of whom 17,000 have died, but the real figure is much higher, said Vadim Pokrovsky, head of Russia’s federal AIDS centre.
“Not only is the number of Russians infected with HIV rising but there is an increase in the rate at which the epidemic is spreading, also a rise in the number of newly infected,” Pokrovsky told reporters.

Freak of Nature Down Under

Breaking Earth News
Australia
Massive storm clouds clashed to unleash a spectacular tornado near the You Yangs yesterday. The storm front developed about 3pm at the foot of the mountains and gained momentum as it sucked up dirt from dusty paddocks surrounding Lara. The tornado spanned almost two kilometres and reached heights up to 700m before it died down after an eight-minute afternoon spectacle. Residents were amazed by the size of the tornado, which produced a black twisting haze above the mountains.

Source: skywatch-media.com

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