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Tue, 18 Feb 2020
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High Winds in Northeast Blamed in 2 Deaths

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - High winds knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers in the Northeast on Wednesday and wreaked havoc for commuters, blowing trees across railroad tracks, overturning tractor-trailers, and making for wild ferry rides.

More than 440,000 homes and businesses lost power, and several airports reported delays of two hours or more. The wind was blamed for at least two deaths when trees fell on cars.

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Horn of Africa facing famine

Countries in the Horn of Africa, including Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, are facing a famine because a drought is killing livestock and stunting crops.

The United Nations, aid agencies and the countries themselves are warning about a potential disaster affecting more than five million people.

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Russia deep freeze to last, energy concerns grow

MOSCOW - Russia may remain locked in a deep freeze for the rest of the month, forecasters said, as another seven people died overnight in Moscow and concerns over energy supplies in Russia and Europe grew as the bone-chilling cold forced cutbacks.

"Only two such deep freezes have occurred in the past 100 years" in the western, "European" portion of Russia, the daily Gazeta said. "Once in 1940 and once in 1979, when the temperature fell to minus 40 degrees C" (minus 40 F).

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Augustine Volcano: Interpretation and Hazards

Site Includes webcam and latest updates.

Based on our current understanding of Augustine's past eruptions and our analysis of the current episode of unrest, AVO considers the following future scenarios as possible:

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Preliminary volcano-hazard assessment for Augustine Volcano, Alaska

"Augustine Volcano is a 1250-meter-high stratovolcano in southwestern Cook Inlet about 280 kilometers southwest of Anchorage and within about 300 kilometers of more than half of the population of Alaska. Explosive eruptions have occurred six times since the early 1800s (1812, 1883, 1935, 1964–65, 1976, and 1986).

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Augustine erupts sending plume 8 1/2 miles high

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Augustine Volcano erupted Tuesday morning, sending an ash plume 8 1/2 miles into the air, officials at the Alaska Volcano Observatory said.

Comment: Comment: Oddly enough, the following headline "Officials say explosive eruption of Alaska volcano is more likely" (dated 17 Jan 06) shows up on a yahoo news search, but clicking the link leads to a 404 error. Going to the root of the linked site and searching for "volcano" gives us only the story above as the "latest" on the volcano.


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Big Freeze Death Toll Grows in Russia

At least eight people across Russia have died from the frigid weather as Arctic cold from Siberia descended on western Russia, sending night-time temperatures as low as minus 36 Celsius and prompting warnings of power cuts.

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Volcano in Alaska Erupts for Third Day

HOMER, Alaska - Snowflakes laced with fine, gray ash fell on communities south of Anchorage as a series of volcanic eruptions continued early Saturday on an uninhabited island dozens of miles away.

In Seldovia, 15 miles north of Homer, city manager Kurt Reynertson noticed a fine dusting of ash on cars, but he said "That‘s the only way I was able to pick up that there was ash falling." [...]

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Failure of Kenya's rains puts 2.5m at risk of famine

Nomadic farmers in the arid wastelands of northern Kenya are dying with their cattle, as charities warn a famine on the scale of Niger is threatening the region.

So far, scores of people, mainly children, have died and the UN has warned that 2.5 million people are at risk of starvation because seasonal rains failed for the second time in a year. The Kenyan government has declared a national disaster and called for 11 billion Kenyan shillings, about £90m, to be jointly raised by Kenya and the international community.

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Bird flu mutation raises threat to humans

The first sign that the avian flu virus H5N1 may be mutating into a form more infectious to humans has been reported by scientists. Researchers from the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in Mill Hill, north London, have analysed viruses from two children who died of bird flu in eastern Turkey.

In one case, the analysis revealed mutations in the virus that made it more prone to infect humans. In a joint statement, Sir John Skehel, director of the institute, run by the Medical research Council, and the World Health Organisation, said a mutation had been traced in viruses isolated in Hong Kong in 2003 and in Vietnam last year.

"Research has indicated the Hong Kong 2003 viruses preferred to bind to human cell receptors more than to avian receptors, and it is expected that the Turkish virus will also have this characteristic."