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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.

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

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