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Fri, 03 Feb 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes

Cloud Lightning

Rain deepens Myanmar misery; death toll spikes

YANGON - Torrential rain lashed victims of Cyclone Nargis on Friday as Myanmar's junta admitted more than 130,000 people were dead or missing, putting the disaster on a par with a 1991 cyclone that killed 143,000 in neighboring Bangladesh.

In a shock update to a death toll that had consistently lagged behind international aid agency estimates, state television in the army-ruled former Burma said 77,738 people were dead and another 55,917 missing.

village hit by Cyclone Nargis
A boy watches as a man builds a shelter in a village hit by Cyclone Nargis, near the Myanmar capital Yangon, May 16, 2008.

The May 2 storm has left another 2.5 million people clinging to survival in the delta, where thousands of destitute victims are lining roadsides, begging for help in the absence of large-scale government or foreign relief operations.

In the storm-struck town of Kunyangon, around 100 km (60 miles) southwest of Yangon, men, women and children stood in the mud and rain, their hands clasped together in supplication to the occasional passing aid vehicle.

Bizarro Earth

New rumbling from Chilean volcano worries experts

Santiago - Chile's Chaiten volcano groaned, rumbled and shuddered on Thursday, raising new concerns among authorities, as lightning bolts pierced the huge clouds of hot ash hovering ominously above its crater.

Chile's National Emergency Office, ONEMI, said heavy ash kept shooting from the volcano in southern Chile as it generated small tremors.

On the ground, heavy flooding hit the area around Chaiten as falling ash swelled rivers, overflowing their banks.

"There's been additional volcanic activity that we're really worried about," regional governor Sergio Galilea told reporters.

The Chaiten volcano, 760 miles south of the capital Santiago, started erupting on May 2 for the first time in thousands of years, spewing ash, gas and molten rock into the air.


Post-quake Beichuan: a vision of hell

Beichuan was a town of 160,000 nestling in one of the world's most beautiful valleys. When rescuers arrived yesterday, they found a scene of unimaginable devastation and despair

Reaching Beichuan is a long march into hell. When you finally emerge scrabbling through the dirt into the town, what lies before you is a breathtaking vision of horror. Official estimates say China's worst natural disaster in 30 years has claimed 50,000 lives so far, but looking at the devastation here, it is hard not to imagine the final toll will be much, much higher.

Beichuan county in Sichuan province used to be home to 160,000 people, and most of them lived in the now-forsaken town of the same name, nestling in one of the world's most beautiful valleys. But everyone is gone, either dead or having abandoned their flattened home.


Recovery effort turned disaster for desert tortoises


In an $8.7-million relocation effort, 760 California desert tortoises were moved out of an Army training center and onto safer ground. But even the best-laid plans sometimes go awry. What federal biologists did not foresee was an unexpected predator: hungry coyotes. Times staff writer Louis Sahagun reports:


German Beehives Hit by Mass Die-Off

Beekeepers are pointing the finger at a Bayer CropScience pesticide marketed under the name Poncho, but government tests aren't conclusive

In Germany's bucolic Baden-Württemburg region, there is a curious silence this week. All up and down the Rhine river, farm fields usually buzzing with bees are quiet. Beginning late last week, helpless beekeepers could only watch as their hives were hit by an unprecedented die-off. Many say one of Germany's biggest chemical companies is to blame.

Life Preserver

Why China's buildings crumbled

Survivors blame corruption, shoddy construction and cost cutting for the collapse of so many 'tofu buildings' - and even state media outlets are asking questions

The bodies of the children were lined up in a long row in the mud of a basketball court, just outside the flattened school. Every few minutes, another corpse was brought out of the rubble, carried on a wooden door, covered in rags.


Scientists Investigate Recent Coyote Attacks on Children in California

Los Angeles - The coyote was limping as it approached a girl in a sand box at a public park - but it was still dangerous. It snapped its jaws on the girl's buttocks and her nanny had to pry the toddler from the wild animal.

Cloud Lightning

India: Toll in Uttar Pradesh storm rises

The number of people killed in a storm in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday has risen to 94, the state's relief commissioner says.

GK Tandan told the BBC that most deaths were caused by the uprooting of trees, phone and electricity wires as well as fires and collapsing houses.

Bizarro Earth

Giant sinkhole swallows up part of Texas town

Daisetta, Texas - A large sinkhole swallowed up oil field equipment and some vehicles Wednesday in southeastern Texas and continued to grow. There were no reports of injuries or home damage.

"Right now we're not concerned about any kind of explosion or any kind of hazard," said Tom Branch, coordinator of the Liberty County Office of Emergency Management.

"We are monitoring some other things around the area to make sure everyone's OK."

Life Preserver

Over 5,500 people pulled alive from rubble in quake-hit China

Over 5,500 people have been rescued from under rubble following a devastating earthquake that hit southwest China three days ago, the Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.

The quake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, was the worst to hit the country in more than three decades, and affected eight provinces, killing around 15,000 people and devastating buildings and infrastructure.

"Over 5,500 people had been pulled out alive from under rubble by 8:00 a.m. [midnight GMT] on Thursday," the agency quoted a police source as saying.

Some 25,000 people are believed to still be trapped under collapsed buildings.