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Sat, 06 Feb 2016
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Attention

Young beached gray whale rescued in Mexico

© Profepa
Beached gray whale
Federal environmental officials have rescued a young gray whale stranded on a beach in Baja California Sur.

The environmental protection agency Profepa said the whale was found during a routine inspection at El Mariscal on the Laguna Ojo de Liebre in Guerrero Negro near the city of Mulegé.

A roll-and-tow technique was used to rescue the whale, which was found to be in good condition, and release it back into the sea. Officials said it might have been separated from its mother, become disoriented or caught by a low tide.

The Ojo de Liebre is one of two lagoons in the El Vizcaino Whale Sanctuary and are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Source: Notimex

Cow Skull

Drought: Zimbabwe declared a state of disaster

© www.cityfarmer.info
Slim pickings as drought overtakes Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has declared a state of disaster as a severe drought has been ravaging most rural areas in the South African country. "The president has declared a state of disaster in regard to severely affected areas," Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said in a statement on Friday.

The declaration is expected to trigger a response from the international community to provide food aid to Zimbabwe. Currently, 26 percent of the population - comprising some 2.44 million people - is in need of food aid, said Kasukuwere. Villages in southern Zimbabwe have lost cattle and crops in the drought.

"The seasonal outlook indicated from the outset that the 2015-2016 rainfall season for Zimbabwe was likely to experience normal to below normal rainfall throughout the country," Kasukuwere explained. "This weather condition has been brought about by the El Nino phenomenon."

The El Nino weather phenomenon sparked a dramatic rise in the number of people going hungry in Africa. It is characterized by the warming of surface waters in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean, which is connected to drought in Southeast Asia, Africa and Australia and heavy rains in South America.

Attention

Body of sperm whale that died on Norfolk beach to be tested; 29th to die in Europe within 4 weeks

© Matthew Usher
Investigations have started on the second whale which has washed up on Old Hunstanton Beach, the second in the area within a week.
Tests are to be carried out on a sperm whale that died after washing up on a Norfolk beach in an attempt to explain a spate of recent deaths.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue said the bull died shortly after 8pm on Thursday. It had been stranded at Hunstanton since that morning.

Stephen Marsh, operations manager at the rescue organisation, said: "We're very sad to confirm that the whale has died but it is a bit of a relief because it had been in quite a lot of suffering." He added that work would now be carried out to establish the circumstances surrounding the beaching.

The whale is the 29th to have died after becoming stranded on beaches in northern Europe and the east coast of England.

Last month, three dead whales washed up on the Lincolnshire coast and another was found at Hunstanton.


Arrow Down

Huge sinkhole opens up on road in Wildwood, Missouri


Sinkhole
Beware of a massive sinkhole in Wildwood; the hole is about 20' around and looks to be up to 40' deep in spots.

Both Rose Newell and her granddaughter Sophia had ridden over the stretch of Melrose Road near Highway 100 not long before the hole opened late Tuesday afternoon. Sophia on the bus coming home from school.

"We drove it over this and we were perfectly fine," she said.

A short time later the hole opened after an SUV drove over it.

"Safety is the biggest concern. It's a rural road. It just happened to be at the right spot and the right time to open up underneath the roadway," said Wildwood Mayor, Tim Woerther.


Blue Planet

Japan's Sakurajima volcano erupts some 50km from nuclear plant

© Kyodo / Reuters
Volcanic lightning is seen at an eruption of Mount Sakurajima, in this photo taken from Tarumizu city, Kagoshima prefecture, southwestern Japan, February 5, 2016.
Japan's Sakurajima volcano, situated about 50km from the Sendai nuclear station, has erupted with the country's meteorological agency issuing an orange warning not to approach it.

Residents in the area were evacuated in August last year after an alert for the volcano was raised to its second highest level. When Sakurajima erupted in 1914, it was Japan's most powerful of the 20th century. The lava flows filled the strait separating the island from the mainland, turning the area into a peninsula.

Question

Dozens of dead and dying starlings found on road in Wichita, Kansas


Starling
About 40 Starlings were found dead on a street and in a neighborhood in West Wichita on Wednesday.

"It's kind of weird," said Seth Dugan, who works nearby.

The birds were found dead on Carr Avenue, south of Kellogg and Maize Road.

"Completely clear and then come back out 20 minutes later and there was a ton of birds laying out here and people were stopping and taking pictures on their cell phones," said Dugan.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Wichita Fire Department responded to the scene and gathered the dead birds. The Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism also responded and investigated the cause of death.

Wildlife Biologist Charlie Cope has ruled out poison and guns as the cause of death.



Snowflake

10 Indian soldiers feared dead in Himalayan avalanche

© AP
The Siachen Glacier, which traverses the Himalayan region dividing India and Pakistan, about 750 km (469 miles) northwest of Jammu, India, is seen in 2005. An avalanche hit the Siachen Glacier in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir early Wednesday, trapping 10 Indian army soldiers in the snow.
Officials say 10 Indian soldiers are feared dead after an avalanche hit a military post on the Siachen Glacier in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences to the families of the soldiers on Twitter Thursday night.

The avalanche hit the military post on Wednesday in the northern part of the glacier, trapping the soldiers under a mass of snow.

Since then, army and air force teams have been searching for the soldiers, army spokesman Col. S.D. Goswami said. He said the chances of finding survivors are "very remote."

The army is yet to retrieve their bodies.

Avalanches and landslides are common in Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both.

Bizarro Earth

Ozone hole forms over the UK

For the past week, sky watchers in the UK have witnessed a rare apparition of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs). Normally restricted to the Arctic Circle, the fantastically colorful clouds have appeared over the British Isles almost every day since Jan. 31st. Colin Fraser photographed the display over Edinburgh, Scotland, on Feb. 2nd:
© SpaceWeather
PSCs form in the lower stratosphere when temperatures drop to a staggeringly-cold -85ºC. High-altitude sunlight shining through tiny ice particles ~10µm wide produce bright iridescent colors by diffraction and interference.

But there is more to PSCs than ice. Some polar stratospheric clouds contain very small droplets of naturally occurring nitric and sulphuric acids. These droplets destroy ozone. Indeed, atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley points out that a temporary ozone hole has formed over Ireland and the UK. It is the blue patch in this Feb. 1st ozone map from NASA's Arctic Ozone Watch:

Roses

Demonic dog attack: 6-year-old boy fighting for his life following pit bull mauling in Wilmer, Alabama


Michael Bulger, of Eight Mile, says his 6-year-old son Andrew was attacked by a pit bull Monday night at approximately 6:30 p.m.
A six-year-old boy is fighting for his life in the hospital after a vicious pit bull attack in Wilmer. This is the second pit bull attack on a child in our area in a week. As we reported, 13-year-old Hunter Sharman was attacked in his front yard in Mobile.

Six-year-old Andrew Bulger is in critical condition undergoing his third surgery in two days at the UAB children's hospital in Birmingham. His first two surgeries were at Springhill Medical Center in Mobile, but his injuries were so bad, he was transferred for specialized treatment.

"The worst is watching him suffer," said Andrew's grandmother, Rene Bulger. "That's the hardest part, you know?"

Andrew can't talk, he can barely move and he can't breathe on his own. Family members say they can't believe their fun-loving little boy is now fighting for his life. Doctors say there is an unknown amount of surgeries ahead and there is no guarantee he will ever talk again.

"What they're going to try and do in the surgery is repair the trachea check out the voice box," said Bulger. "It's very hard, especially when we first came. They restrained him because of the tubes."


Cloud Precipitation

More flooding hits Queensland, Australia

© Queensland Police
Flooding in Dajarra, Queensland
More flooding hit Queensland earlier today, 03 February, this time in the the state's remote north west. Last week, one man died and several were rescued after floods in the Bundaberg area on 31 January.

More heavy rain this week affected communities in the Mount Isa area. On 03 February, Urandangi recorded 162mm of rain in 24 hours, with most of it falling in around 3 hours. This is just short of its highest ever of 164mm, recorded in December 1984. Surrounding areas also received large amounts of rain.

Local police reported that flooding in the township of Dajarra has led to several people being evacuated from homes this morning. Police also reported that a number of vehicles in the area have been impacted by flood waters. At least person had to be rescued after he was stranded in his car by floodwater. Several roads across the region were closed.