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Scientists stumped as bee population declines further

The decline in the US bee population, first observed in 2006, is continuing, a phenomenon that still baffles researchers and beekeepers.

Data from the US Department of Agriculture show a 29 percent drop in beehives in 2009, following a 36 percent decline in 2008 and a 32 percent fall in 2007.

This affects not only honey production but around 15 billion dollars worth of crops that depend on bees for pollination.

Scientists call the phenomenon "colony collapse disorder" that has led to the disappearance of millions of adult bees and beehives and occurred elsewhere in the world including in Europe.

Thousands of dead fish raise stink at Rio lagoon

Thousands of dead fish washed up on the shores of a popular beachside lagoon in Rio over the weekend, offending joggers' olfactory senses and leading the city to fight the stench with disinfectant.

The official state news service Agencia Brasil said about 100 city employees working full-time cleared nearly 80 tons of fish as of Sunday (local time). There was no immediate estimate of how many died, but several species were involved.

Rio's environmental secretary speculated that increased levels of a harmful algae may be the immediate cause of the sudden die-off Friday.

She told Globo's G1 website that authorities were still investigating, but the problem was not affecting the fish anymore.

The smell of rotting fish dampened runners' and cyclists' usual enthusiasm for leisurely jaunts along the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon's paths.

The 4.5-square-kilometre body of water is just north of Rio's Ipanema Beach. A canal connects it to the Atlantic.

It's raining fish in Australia, again

WHILE the Top End and Central Australia have been battered by torrential rains, a Territory town has had fish falling from the sky.

The freak phenomena happened not once, but twice, on Thursday and Friday afternoon about 6pm at Lajamanu, about 550km southwest of Katherine.

NEWSBREAKER Christine Balmer, who took these photos of the fish on the ground and in a bucket, had to pinch herself when she was told ``hundreds and hundreds" of small white fish had fallen from the sky.

"It rained fish in Lajamanu on Thursday and Friday night," she said, "They fell from the sky everywhere.
"Locals were picking them up off the footy oval and on the ground everywhere.

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