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Sat, 18 Sep 2021
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Bell

Bird flu comes to Nepal, confirms UK laboratory

There has been an outbreak of bird flu for the first time in the country today. The deadly H5N1 strain of virus has been detected at Kakarbhitta, which shares a border with West Bengal in India, in Jhapa district.

An emergency cabinet today meeting declared the affected zone 'bird flu crisis-hit area'.

"No bird flu symptoms in human have been detected till now. But we are planning to monitor the health of the people in the affected area. Preliminary estimates suggest that the virus will be eliminated within a month," said Tek Bahadur Thapa, secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC).

Bizarro Earth

US: Quakes rattle western, south-central Wyoming

Cheyenne -- A minor earthquake jolted the western Wyoming town of Alpine, startling people and pets. No damage was reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude 3.7 quake struck about 9:15 p.m. Thursday. The quake was centered in the Snake River Canyon about seven miles east of Alpine.

John Bellini with the Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., says the quake had nothing to do with the recent swarm of small earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park roughly 100 miles north of Alpine.

Better Earth

Arctic Heats Up More Than Other Places

Temperature change in the Arctic is happening at a greater rate than other places in the Northern Hemisphere, and this is expected to continue in the future.

As a result, glacier and ice-sheet melting, sea-ice retreat, coastal erosion and sea level rise can be expected to continue.

A new comprehensive scientific synthesis of past Arctic climates demonstrates for the first time the pervasive nature of Arctic climate amplification.

The U.S. Geological Survey led this new assessment, which is a synthesis of published science literature and authored by a team of climate scientists from academia and government. The U.S. Climate Change Science Program commissioned the report, which has contributions from 37 scientists from the United States, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom and Denmark.

Attention

Russia issues tsunami warning after quake-RIA

Russia has issued a tsunami warning in the Far Eastern coastal city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky after a large earthquake off the Kuril Islands, RIA news agency reported.

The news agency did not immediately give details.

A Reuters witness in the city said he had felt the earthquake.

Butterfly

Genetically Modified Crops Implicated in Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder

As the disappearance of honeybees continues, researchers are trying desperately to discover the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). General concensus at this point is that there is more than once cause and the latest culprit may be genetically modified crops. This is one area of research being neglected as mainstream scientists insist GM crops are safe.

For the last 100 years, beekeepers have experienced colony losses from bacteria, (foulbrood), mites (varroa and tracheal) and other pathogens. These problems are dealt with by using antibiotics, miticides and and other methods of pest management. Losses are slow and expected and beekeepers know how to limit the destruction. This new mass die-off is different in that it is virtually instantaneous with no warning of the impending collapse.

John McDonald, a bee keeper in Pennsyvania with a background in biology, speculated that genetically modified crops could play a role in CCD. Although the government constantly reassures us that these genetic manipulations are safe for both humans and the environment, his hope is that looking more closely at these issues might raise questions about those assumptions.

Fish

Sharks, Not Humans, Most at Risk in Ocean

Three shark attacks in Australia in two days this week sparked a global media frenzy of "Jaws" proportions, but sharks are more at risk in the ocean than humans with man killing millions of sharks each year.

Sharks are the top of the marine food chain, a powerful predator which has no match in its watery realm, until man enters the ocean.

Commercial fishing and a desire for Asian shark fin soup sees up to 100 million sharks, even protected endangered species of sharks, slaughtered around the world each year, says the Shark Research Institute (Australia).

Yet in contrast, sharks, apparently, do not like the taste of humans. Very few shark attacks involve the shark actually eating the human, unlike a land-based predator like a lion or tiger.

Cow Skull

Texas Drought Worsens, Cattle Dying

Drought conditions in Texas are so bad cattle are keeling over in parched pastures and dying.

Drought conditions worsened significantly in the past week, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday. Seventy-one percent of the state is now in some stage of drought, up from 58.3 percent last week.

A week ago the two worst drought designations - extreme and exceptional - covered 9.1 percent of the state. This week the two categories cover 15.1 percent of the state, with a circle near San Antonio and Austin widening in all directions. Only the eastern and southeastern parts of Texas are without any drought status.

Question

Mystery of the British penguins that are marching towards oblivion

An endangered species of penguin is mysteriously disappearing from a remote British island in the South Atlantic at a rate of 100 birds every day. About two million northern rockhopper penguins have vanished from Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island, part of the British overseas territory of St Helena, in half a century.

The once huge penguin populations on the islands have dwindled so dramatically that they are now threatened with extinction, and the British Government was accused yesterday of contributing to the decline.

Cloud Lightning

A Rare Deep Freeze Warms the Dutch Soul

NYT dutch skaters
© Michael Kooren/Reuters
Canals in the Netherlands no longer freeze every winter, so the chance to ice-skate outdoors created a frenzy in Kinderdijk and elsewhere in the south. “Everybody took days off,” said one mayor.

Nieuwerkerk Aan Den Ijssel, the Netherlands - For the first time in 12 years, the Netherlands' canals froze this month, bringing the Dutch, who like their tulips in neat rows, a heady mix of pandemonium and euphoria.

Hundreds of thousands of skaters, their cheeks as red as apples in the subzero temperatures, took to the ice, and hospital wards were filled with dozens of people with fractured arms, sprained ankles and broken legs.

Train engineers were ordered to go slowly to avoid hitting skaters who clambered over railway tracks to get from one frozen canal to another. Even the minister of defense, an avid skater, fell and broke his wrist. His ministry announced that the national defense remained in safe hands, even if one of them was in a cast.

Bizarro Earth

5.1 magnitude earthquake in south west China

An earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale on Thursday hit China's Wenchuan County, which was the epicentre of the May 12 earthquake last year that left more than 87,000 people dead or missing, an official said.

According to the National Earthquake Network Center, the earthquake took place in Wenchuan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province at 2.23 am on Thursday. No casualties or geological disasters have been reported, said Liao Min, head of Wenchuan County.

The epicentre was located at 31.3 degrees north latitude and 103.3 degrees east longitude. The quake took place about 22 km underground.