Earth Changes

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Eleven killed and 30 injured when North Korean sinkhole collapses

Farmers in a field on North Korea's west coast, April 8, 2012
Eleven people—most of them women—were killed and around 30 injured in North Korea when earth they were plowing collapsed beneath them, according to a source inside the country.

The workers had been mobilized to plow at the October 18 Jonghap Farm in Yanggang province, along the border with China, on Feb. 3 as part of an annual bid by the Kim Jong Un regime to improve acidic soil for farming, an area resident told RFA's Korean Service on condition of anonymity.

Due to low temperatures during the winter, much of the earth had been turned to ice, and the workers—from the Baek-du Youth Team, and the Baek-am Tile Works and Rural Construction Unit—had been ordered to dig until they found unfrozen soil, the source said.

However, a sinkhole had developed beneath the ice and when the workers pierced through the frozen layer of soil, the ground collapsed, burying them alive, according to the source.

Snowy Owl seen in Hungary for the first time since 1891

© Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society/József Mészáros and Dénes Laczik
Snowy owl
A snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) has been photographed in Hungary's southern Baranya county for the second time since records began, the Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society has said. The only previous occasion the cold-loving animal has been spotted in Hungary was in 1891.

The owl was photographed at the settlement of Bóly in Baranya county, after which bird-watchers from the ornithological society travelled to the scene to verify the sighting. Subsequently, several observers arrived to the area and a large number of good-quality photographs were taken.

Mystery surrounds the death of 20 mute swans in Chester-le-Street, UK

© PA
Mystery: At least 20 swans have been found dead
At least 20 swans have died mysteriously of illness or poison on the river Wear in Chester-le-Street, Co Durham, in the last month.

The RSPCA has asked the public to be vigilant after swans died on a stretch of river in the past few weeks.

It is unclear whether the birds that live on the River Wear in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, have been being deliberately or accidentally poisoned, or if they have succumbed to natural illness.

There are about 100 swans on that section of the Wear which passes through Riverside Park, and it is popular for children to feed the inquisitive swans.

Lead shot legacy: Estimated 50 trumpeter swans poisoned in Carnation, Washington

© King
Trumpeter swan
What started as a few reports of dead trumpeter swans in the Snoqualmie Valley has turned into much more. Dozens of birds are dead and many more are terminally ill in an area near Carnation along the Snoqualmie River.

Experts believe it to be a massive case of lead poisoning.

A lone trumpeter swan appears perfectly fine as it floats in a Snoqualmie River side channel, but it's in serious trouble.

"The only good news is, it's not raining," said Martha Jordan, coordinator with Washington Swan Stewards.

Jordan is going after that swan like she has dozens more just like it since a lead poisoning die off began late last month.


800 dead Olive Ridley turtles found on Odisha coast, India

Dead Oliver Ridley turtles
The Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Odisha's Kendrapara district, considered to be the largest rookery of the endangered Oliver Ridley turtles, has turned into a mass graveyard of these endangered species as hundreds of carcasses were spotted ashore.

Around 800 Olive Ridley turtles were found dead along Barunei, Pentha, Satabhaya, Gahirmatha, Babubali river mouth and other places during the ongoing mass nesting season by February 15, a forest department official said.

However, unofficial estimates put the toll over 5000, raising concern among environmentalists.
Snowflake Cold

America struck by 'Siberian Express' high-pressure system

© Kiichiro Sato/AP

Ice and snow lead to record freeze in the USA
Temperatures plummet up to 40 degrees below their normal February levels across much of eastern America

A bitterly cold chill known as the "Siberian Express" has enveloped much of eastern America, sending temperatures plummeting up to 40 degrees below their normal February levels to record lows in at least 100 places.

Southern states such as Tennessee and Kentucky suffered some of the most extreme drops on the thermometer as bone-chilling air from Siberia settled on the region after snowstorms passed through.

The relentless cold has blanketed the country's north-east for weeks, alternating heavy snowfall with spells of clear but gnawingly chilly skies.

In New York's Central Park, temperatures were expected to fall to -17C, but that was before a windchill factor with gusts that made it feel another 10 degrees colder. The city is on course for its coldest February in history.

Record snowfall traps İstanbul with more flights and ferries cancelled

Turkish Airlines cancelled all domestic flights in and out of Istanbul Atatürk International Airport on Thursday morning, due to heavy snowfall.
The heavy snowfall began on Tuesday, continued into Wednesday and caught over 14 million Istanbulites off guard.

Turkey's largest city İstanbul was hit by a storm that has dumped up enormous amounts of snow in some areas, wreaking havoc on roads. The depth of the snow reached its deepest on İstanbul's European side neighborhood of Çatalca at 70 centimeters.

Turkey's national carrier, the Turkish Airlines (THY), canceled its some flights on Thursday, both domestic and international, due to the two-day snowstorm. A list of canceled flights is available on the THY website. İstanbul authorities also closed some ferry lines on Thursday.

Monster snowfall completely buries cars and streets on Prince Edward Island, Canada

© Kathryn Reed-Garrett
Summerside PEI
OMGosh!!!! - this is Summerside PEI this morning!! photo from CBC New Brunswick
Snow always makes driving more difficult, but in Prince Edward Island, so much of it has fallen many people can't even find their cars.

A winter storm has dropped almost a metre of snow in the past few days, and it's often hard to see where the road ends and the ditch begins. On some rural roads, snowbanks are piled three times higher than the people standing next to them.

The Journal Pioneer reported that some residents dug an eight-metre-long tunnel to try to find their car under white stuff piled two storeys high. The island itself is nearly invisible when viewed from space, as satellite images show.

Boar kills woman in Kerala, India

Wild boar.
A woman has died after being attacked by a boar at Kubdaje near Badiadka.

The deceased person is Ayesha (55), wife of late Abdul Rahiman.

As per reports, at around 7.30 am on Tuesday, February 13, Ayesha was attacked by a boar when she ventured out from her house. When she reached the front side of the house, the boar jumped into her. Mohammed, her son managed to chase the boar.

Ayesha was given first aid in the Badiyadka hospital and was immediately rushed to a hospital in Mangaluru. But she breathed her last on the way due to grave injuries inflicted on her.

The boar which went to a nearby shed later belonging to Prakash also attacked a buffalo there. The baffalo sustained deep injuries on its shoulder. When villagers came to the shed, the boar ran into the nearesr forest.

Wild boar presence in the locality has created problems for the villagers who cannot move out freely these days.
Cloud Lightning

Double cyclones to strike Northeastern Australia

queensland cyclones
© Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology/courtesy of Japan Meteorological Agency
A Bureau of Meteorology map on Thursday morning. Parts of Northern Territory and Queensland are preparing for the approach of tropical cyclones Lam and Marcia.
Two cyclones bearing down on northeastern Australia dramatically intensified on Thursday as emergency officials warned residents to take shelter on higher ground ahead of torrential rain and flooding, destructive winds and massive seas.

Cyclone Marcia is predicted to intensify to a category 4 system --- the second highest rating - as it crosses the northeast Queensland coast on Friday morning with destructive winds up to 270 kmh (170 mph) expected near the core of the system, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

"This very dangerous cyclone is now at category four intensity and continuing to intensify extremely rapidly," the weather bureau's latest tropical cyclone advice said.

Meteorologists also expect Cyclone Lam, with winds near the center of 140 kph (85 mph) and gusts up to 195 kph (120 mph), is forecast to make landfall in the remote Northern Territory late Thursday or early Friday.