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Attention

Death toll of rare saiga antelope reaches 85,000 in Kazakhstan

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Saiga antelope
Authorities in Kazakhstan says around one-third of the endangered saiga antelope population in this Central Asian nation has mysteriously died off in the last few days.

Kazakhstan's agriculture ministry said Friday the number of saiga that have died may have reached 85,000.

The ministry says it suspects the animals, which are recognizable for their distinctive humped snout, may have been struck by an epidemic of pasteurellosis caused by a bacterial infection. Officials say international veterinarian experts have been flown to Kazakhstan to study other possible causes for the catastrophic die-off.

The number of saiga plummeted in the 1990s as a result of poaching. At the latest Kazakh government count in 2014, the saiga population stood at 257,000.

Saiga are also found in smaller numbers in parts of Russia.

Source: The Associated Press

Cloud Precipitation

Rain deluge brings floods to Texas and Oklahoma, killing 2 and forcing thousands to evacuate

© AP
Police officers make an emergency water rescue of a stranded motorist after heavy rain showers flood much of Amarillo, Texas, May 23, 2015.

A deluge of rainfall has burst rivers and brought flood warnings to several southern US states, with Texas and Oklahoma the worst hit so far.


Two people died in weather-related accidents in Oklahoma and a man died in San Marcos, Texas.

Parts of Texas saw up to 10 inches (25cm) of rain over a 24-hour period, with more predicted across the region.

There were numerous rescues on Sunday after banks burst, and hundreds of homes were destroyed in central Texas.

Warnings and alerts stretch from Colorado through to Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and eastern Kansas.

© AP
The Blanco river basin in Texas is one of the worst hit areas

'Worst I've seen'

One of the worst hit rivers was the Blanco in Texas.

At one point it crested at 43ft (13m) - some 30ft above the designated flood stage and 7ft higher than the 1929 record.


Attention

Magnitude 5.6 earthquake rattles Tokyo

No immediate reports of damage, tsunami after magnitude 5.5 quake

© Getty Images
An aerial view of the Tokyo.
TOKYO - A powerful earthquake shook central Tokyo on Monday afternoon, causing the temporary suspension of some bullet trains and the closure of airport runways at one of the capital's air hubs.

There was no danger of a tsunami and no initial reports of any damage, according to national broadcaster NHK.

The magnitude 5.6 quake, centered north of Tokyo, struck at 0528 GMT. It measured a lower 5 on Japan's earthquake intensity scale in southern Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of Tokyo. The intensity scale has a highest reading of 7.

Narita International Airport temporarily closed its two runways following the quake, but Haneda airport, located closer to the center of Tokyo, was running flights as scheduled, according to NHK.

Some bullet shinkansen train services were temporarily suspended following the temblor, NHK also said.

There were no reports of irregularities at the Tokaimura nuclear plant in southern Ibaraki, the national broadcaster said.

Family

Crews in Wagoner County, Oklahoma rescue families stranded by sinkhole

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© Fox23
  • There is a sinkhole in Wagoner County on Front Street.
  • About a dozen homes are on the other side.
  • Wagoner County Emergency Management is working to rescue families.
Wagoner County Emergency Management told FOX23 that they are working to rescue families stuck because of a giant sinkhole on Front Street near 11th and the Creek Turnpike.

They are bringing a crane to help make the road passable for families stuck on the other side.

There are about 12 homes on the other side of the hole. There are no other roads out.

They are bringing in emergency vehicles to further assess the situation.

There are no reports of injuries right now.

Cloud Lightning

Worst torrential rain in 40 years hits six provinces in China causing floods, mudslides

Heavy rain that caused mudslides and flooding in southern and central China has left at least 35 people dead and another 13 missing, reports say.

Torrential rain - the worst for 40 years in some parts of the country - has hit at least six provinces, Xinhua news agency and the government say.

But relief could be on the way for some areas as China's National Meteorological Centre said the weather would start to weaken on Sunday.

The southwest province of Guizhou is among the worst affected with 11 people dead and eight missing as of Friday, the government's ministry of civil affairs said in a separate statement.

Sun

Intense heatwave bakes Telangana, India; 67-year-old heat record broken

Situation was equally alarming in Andhra Pradesh where commercial capital Vijayawada recorded 47 degrees Celsius on Saturday

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© Times of India
As Telangana and Andhra Pradesh continue to reel from intensifying heatwave, Khammam recorded an unprecedented 48 degrees Celsius on Saturday breaking almost 67 year old record. The highest ever temperature 47.2 was recorded there in 1947. Nalgonda, Karimnagar and Nizamabad districts followed at second place with 47 degrees Celsius temperature today breaking past records.

Situation was equally alarming in Andhra Pradesh where commercial capital Vijayawada recorded 47 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

With the situation worsening with each passing day, the Indian Meteorological Centre at Hyderabad upgraded the situation to severe heatwave and warned of higher temperatures for another 48 hours as hot winds were sweeping in from the North-West and northern India. The temperature in Khammam was a whopping ten degrees above normal.

Khammam which has the reputation of being the hottest place in Telangana, had recorded 47 degrees on Friday along with Nizamabad, Nalgonda and Ramagundam in Karimnagar district. The updated figure for Hyderabad on Friday evening was 44 degrees Celsius, but the situation was slightly better on Saturday.

Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.3 - Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

© USGS
Time
  1. 2015-05-24 04:53:22 (UTC)
  2. Times in other timezones
Nearby Cities
  1. 910km (565mi) W of Jamestown, Saint Helena
  2. 2436km (1514mi) ESE of Sao Jose da Coroa Grande, Brazil
  3. 2437km (1514mi) ESE of Tamandare, Brazil
  4. 2438km (1515mi) ESE of Maragogi, Brazil
  5. 2585km (1606mi) S of Monrovia, Liberia
Scientific Data

Sun

Solar halo over Mexico City

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A solar halo in Mexico City
A solar halo appeared in Mexico City on Thursday - prompting dozens of calls from worried locals to meteorologists.

The phenomenon, which is actually an optical illusion, is caused when sunlight passes through ice crystals, causing the light to bend into a colourful ring.

Not satisfied with this scientific explanation, locals on social media claimed that an alien invasion was nigh, while other conspirators suggested the government was attempting to blind voters ahead of an election.

The halo was spotted in three cities, most notably above the capital's most famous landmark, the Angel of Independence.


Attention

Gray whale found dead on Portuguese Beach, California

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© Damien Jones / California State Parks
A young gray whale washed up on Portuguese Beach in Sonoma County early May 23, 2015.
A dead, juvenile gray whale washed up on the Sonoma Coast this weekend at Portuguese Beach.

The 28-foot whale appeared to have been dead for some time and was in a state of obvious decomposition, according to California State Parks Ranger Damien Jones.

He said the carcass came ashore Friday night or Saturday morning. The Marine Mammal Center took a tissue sample in an attempt to determine cause of death, but it did not to appear to be from trauma, he said, such as being struck by a ship.

Jones said State Parks did not plan to remove the whale from the beach, which is about halfway between Jenner and Bodega Bay. He said the tide could carry it out to sea again.

"Generally we leave dead and sick animals where they are and let nature take its course," he said.

Blue Planet

California coast: Unprecedented mass die-offs as the Pacific Ocean turns into a 'desert'


“Ocean’s dying, plankton’s dying… it’s people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They’re making our food out of people. Next thing they’ll be breeding us like cattle for food. You’ve gotta tell them. You’ve gotta tell them!”
It was the dying cry of Charlton Heston in the creepy 1973 film Soylent Green... and it could resemble our desperate near future.

The ocean is dying, by all accounts - and if so, the food supply along with it. The causes are numerous, and overlapping. And massive numbers of wild animal populations are dying as a result of it.

Natural causes in the environment are partly to blame; so too are the corporations of man; the effects of Fukushima, unleashing untold levels of radiation into the ocean and onto Pacific shores; the cumulative effect of modern chemicals and agricultural waste tainting the water and disrupting reproduction.

A startling new report says in no uncertain terms that the Pacific Ocean off the California coast is turning into a desert. Once full of life, it is now becoming barren, and marine mammals, seabirds and fish are starving as a result. According to Ocean Health:

Comment: For more on the desertification of the Pacific Ocean see: Don't discount the effects of undersea volcano activity: