Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

China floods 75 villages to ease swollen river

Local residents check a bridge which is partially submerged by the floods in southwest China's Chongqing municipality

China flooded dozens of evacuated villages on Tuesday to ease pressure from a swollen river after torrential rains that have killed more than 100 people nationwide.


Switzerland experiences unseasonably cold weather

Heavy rain and unseasonably low temperatures have marred the beginning of the summer holiday period in many parts of Switzerland, the official Swiss info website reported on Tuesday.

While the mixed weather appears to have had no major impact on tourism, the authorities issued warnings as the levels of several lakes reached a critical point, according to the report.


Mega-mushroom in Mexico

A more than 20-kilo (41-lb) mushroom has been picked in a forest in Mexico's southernmost state of Chiapas, university officials said Tuesday.



Jellyfish swarms threaten Mediterranean beach bums

Unusual concentrations of the mauve stinger jellyfish, Pelagia noctiluca, have been discovered off Spain's Balearic Islands, as well as elsewhere in the Mediterranean. It is feared the creatures, which can give a painful sting, will show up on tourist beaches in August.

Pelagia noctiluca grows up to 10 centimeters wide, and is sometimes also called the nightlight jellyfish because it produces a blue-green luminescent mucus, most often seen as a glow in ships' wakes. But its more common name, mauve stinger, reflects the species' most noticeable effect on people.

Mauve stingers normally live in the open ocean, so they are often seen around offshore islands such as the Balearics. But they approach mainland beaches in late summer when rainfall drops, and freshwater runoff into coastal seas diminishes, making inshore waters more salty and suited to jellyfish.


Giant squid washes up in Australia

A rare giant squid measuring eight metres (26 feet) in length and weighing in at more than 250 kilogrammes (550 pounds) has washed up on an Australian beach, scientists said Wednesday.

The massive sea monster was found on the island state of Tasmania late Tuesday by a member of the public near the town of Strahan, Tasmanian Museum invertebrate expert Genefor Walker-Smith said.

"It's a whopper," Walker-Smith said. "The main mantle of the squid is about one metre across and its total length is about eight metres.

"It's a very exciting discovery."

The giant squid, Architeuthis Dux, is one of the world's largest invertebrates, although little is known about the creatures because they live at depths of about a kilometre.

A group of Japanese zoologists made the first recording of a live giant squid in 2005, showing the animals were far faster and more active predators than previously thought.

The creatures are a legend among seafarers, the source of tales of tentacled monsters able to grab a ship and pull it down to its doom.

Light Sabers

Floods in China leave more than 130 dead

Heavy rain and storms have caused flooding in the south and east of China leaving 131 people dead and 31 missing, with a further 1.2 million people being forced from their homes, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

The rain and storms raging since the end of June have affected around 36 million people, causing damage to 99,000 homes and buildings, as well as devastating more than 2.5 million hectares of farmland, the local media said citing the ministry.

Life Preserver

Australia: The shoal must go on as 20 dolphins hit the surf

This is the spectacular sight of 20 bottle-nosed dolphins in a line crashing through the waves and frolicking off the Australian coast.


NYC Wildlife Haven Dying Off

NEW YORK - The scene from Dan Mundy's living room window is worlds away from the normal urban views of New York City. The sky is a brilliant blue, and the waters lapping at the stone wall just a few feet away are clear and calm. A duck paddles off, and even a jellyfish looks more peaceful than dangerous as it undulates near Mundy's dock. Welcome to Jamaica Bay, a wildlife haven just next door to John F. Kennedy International Airport, reachable by subway from Manhattan's skyscrapers some 15 miles away.

Cloud Lightning

Sudanese lament loss of homes as flood waters rise

Asad Ali Fadla was sitting down to dinner with his family when a wall of water swept down his street and smashed into his compound in Sennar town on the banks of the Blue Nile in southeastern Sudan.

Minutes after he had rushed out to check the damage, the flash flood started tearing away at the bricks of the outer wall. Just over an hour later, more than half his home had been reduced to a mass of surging mud and rubble.

Cloud Lightning

New Zealand: Northland savaged by storm

Up to 100,000 households and businesses were without power in the north of the country tonight following stormy weather which also caused flooding, slips and road closures.

The Far North district declared a state of emergency after widespread rain and strong winds caused damage on a par with what the region suffered in March.

©Signs of the Times
The Kerikeri River rages under the Stone Store bridge as emergency plans are put in place to save historic treasures at the Stone Store and Kemp House.