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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.

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
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

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

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