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Tue, 07 Apr 2020
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Precursor to a Weird Summer? What's up with the birds in North Dakota?

In the last two weeks, birders have seen, and in some cases, photographed, eight different species of birds not seen in the states for years or decades or, as it turns out, ever.

These include sightings of a mountain plover (not seen in North Dakota since the 1930s), a Eurasian wigeon, two great black-backed gulls, an anhinga, a mountain chickadee, a gray jay, a red-shouldered hawk and an eastern meadowlark.

Eight accidentals in two weeks is remarkable. "Typically, maybe one or two a month over a year. To see eight in two weeks is pretty unusual," Corey Ellingson, president of the Bismarck-Mandan Bird Club and the reporter for the North Dakota Birding Society, said to the local media.

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Wild Tornado Season: Expect More

Tornadoes can occur almost anywhere in the world, but the United States is the country with the highest frequency of tornadoes.

Each year there are about 1,200 tornadoes in the United States, causing about 65 fatalities and 1,500 injuries nationwide.

As of Friday, April 7 there had been 445 so far this year.

This is the fastest start for the first three months of the year since 1999, and it is in sharp contrast to last year when only 96 tornadoes had formed by April 3. Yet last year ended with exactly 1,200 twisters, according to NOAA. June was the busiest month in 2005.

Expect more.

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Greens Happy As EU Tightens GMO Testing

Brussels - In a move hailed by environmentalists, the European Commission agreed Wednesday to tighten rules on testing genetically-modified foodstuffs before they can go on EU shelves.

But militants against biotech foods, who claim they threaten both human health and the environment, said that the European Union's food safety agency must be even more strict in policing food coming into the continent.

Comment: Comment: Did you catch how those opposed to GM foodstuffs were labeled "militants"? Interesting choice of words, eh? Nevermind that despite the fact that no one has conducted a thorough, long-term study of the health effects of the consumption of GM foods, such "frankenfoods" have spread like wildfire across the globe.


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Tornadoes Rip Through Eastern Iowa; 1 Dead

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Severe storms ripped through eastern Iowa on Thursday night, spawning tornadoes that crushed homes and cars and killed one person.

The National Weather Service said the fatality occurred in Muscatine County, where a tornado toppled the victim's mobile home in Nichols. The victim's name was not released.

Twisters, high wind and hail toppled trees and cut off power to thousands across the region. No other injuries were immediately reported.

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Egypt reports fourth bird flu death

CAIRO - An 18-year-old Egyptian girl died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, the fourth fatal case in the country, a health official announced.

"It was an 18-year-old woman from the Menufiya governorate. She was already in bad heath when she arrived to hospital," said Nasser Kamel, a spokesman for the Supreme National Committee to Combat Bird Flu.

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Flood threat in Serbia and Germany

BERLIN - The swollen Elbe river rose to record levels in parts of northern Germany, while in Serbia authorities declared a maximum alert as the Danube edged up to the danger zone.

But German authorities said the worst of recent flooding would soon be over, and a Serbian official said there was "no need to panic."

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Red River flooding reaches high point in Fargo

FARGO, North Dakota (AP) -- The Red River crested at Fargo and began receding, but many property owners were still struggling with overflowing tributaries and water-covered roads.

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Rising rivers flooding parts of central Europe

Central Europe is fighting floods after heavy rain and melting snow pushed rivers over their banks in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The Danube River in Budapest reached a 120-year peak late Tuesday night, and is expected to take more than a week to fall back from the 8.6 metres above its normal level.

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STRONG EARTHQUAKE EAST OF ZAKYNTHOS

Geodynamic Institute seismologist Gerasimos Houliaras appeared cautious when asked to comment on the progress of the seismic activity in the sea region east of the Ionian Sea island of Zakynthos after the strong earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale that was recorded at 01.05am and the 4.8 magnitude tremor recorded in the same region two days ago.

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Bird flu kills 12-year-old in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH - Bird flu has killed a 12-year-old boy in Cambodia, the impoverished Southeast Asian nation's sixth victim, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

The boy, from the southeastern province of Prey Veng, abutting Vietnam, died on Tuesday night, said Michael O'Leary, the WHO representative in Phnom Penh.