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Tue, 29 Sep 2020
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Red Flag

Spain hit by plague of blood-sucking black flies

A plague of black flies has prompted authorities in north-eastern Spain to issue warnings on TV and fliers advising people to cover up and avoid riverside areas in the early morning and dusk.

The insect has been quickly breeding - and sucking blood - along the rivers and reservoirs of Catalonia and Aragon, causing alarm in small towns.

Only two to three millimetres long, the fly is much smaller and harder to spot than most mosquitoes, but its voracious bite sent more than 2,000 people to hospital last year in Catalonia alone. Its vigorous jaw, which releases a cocktail of chemicals, can produce allergic reactions.

Attention

Wildfire Update: State of Emergency Declared for Lake Tahoe Area

California officials declared a state of emergency Monday in the area near Lake Tahoe where firefighters battled a raging forest fire that has destroyed 225 buildings and forced the evacuation of hundreds more.

Better Earth

Antarctic Icebergs Act As Hotspots Of Ocean Life

Global climate change is causing Antarctic ice shelves to shrink and split apart, yielding thousands of free-drifting icebergs in the nearby Weddell Sea. According to a new study in this week's journal Science these floating islands of ice - some as large as a dozen miles across - are having a major impact on the ecology of the ocean around them, serving as "hotspots" for ocean life, with thriving communities of seabirds above and a web of phytoplankton, krill, and fish below.

Cloud Lightning

Tornadoes leave trail of destruction in Manitoba; 'It kept getting bigger and bigger'

Residents in the small town of Elie woke Saturday morning to the devastation caused by one of three tornadoes that ripped through southern Manitoba.

Battery

The Great Biofuel Hoax

Biofuels invoke an image of renewable abundance that allows industry, politicians, the World Bank, the United Nations and even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to present fuel from corn, sugarcane, soy and other crops as a replacement for oil that will bring about a smooth transition to a renewablefuel economy.

Myths of abundance divert attention from powerful economic interests that benefit from this biofuels transition, avoiding discussion of the growing price that citizens of the global South are beginning to pay to maintain the consumptive oil-based lifestyle of the North. Biofuel mania obscures the profound consequences of the industrial transformation of our food and fuel systems -- the agro-fuels transition.

Health

Two swans die from bird flu in Bavaria

Two swans have died from the deadly strain of bird flu in Bavaria, Germany, the press service of the European Commission said Monday.

The press service said German authorities had informed the European Commission that tests in Bavaria had revealed the H5N1 virus in the birds' bodies.

Cloud Lightning

Stricken Pakistan braces for possible cyclone

Pakistan evacuated thousands of people from southern coastal areas ahead of a possible cyclone, two days after a storm killed at least 235 people in the port city of Karachi, officials said.

The meteorological department issued an alert saying that a tropical storm forming in the Arabian Sea 150 kilometres (90 miles) south of Karachi was likely to intensify into a cyclone in the next six to 12 hours.

Crusader

Captive Indian crocodiles turn protectors

Dozens of crocodiles bred in captivity in eastern India have been enlisted to protect their endangered counterparts in the wild and are being released in forests to scare away poachers, authorities said on Monday.

Illegal fishing in mangrove forests and habitat destruction in the states of Orissa and West Bengal had led to a steep fall in crocodile numbers, from several thousand a century ago to less than 100 in the early 1970s, they said.

But the same reptiles were breeding rapidly in captivity. Orissa's Bhitarkanika sanctuary has more than 1,400 crocodiles now.

"The swelling number of released crocodiles in the wild is working as a deterrent and keeping people away from the mangrove as villagers are more cautious before venturing into the forests," said Rathin Banerjee, a senior wildlife official.

Red Flag

Wildfires ravage Lake Tahoe homes

MEYERS, California - A wind-whipped forest fire in the popular resort area of Lake Tahoe destroyed 50 homes Sunday and threatened 500 others, a U.S. Forest Service official said. No injuries were reported.

Cloud Lightning

Torrential rain leaves four dead, displaces 20,000 in China

At least four people died, two were missing and over 20,000 displaced due to landslides and floods triggered by torrential rain in Yichang city in central China's Hubei Province. Incessant rains have hit Yichang, southern Hubei, since June 17.

By Saturday, the area had reported 167 millimetres of rain, a local official said. Around 450,000 people in 71 townships have been affected and nearly 8,000 houses have been damaged or even destroyed, Xinhua news agency reported, adding that rural roads, bridges and dams have been hit. Over 1,16,127 acres of farmland has also been affected.