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Tue, 07 Feb 2023
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Bizarro Earth

Alaska salmon may bear scars of global warming

Tanana, Alaska -- With a sickening thud, another hefty and handsome salmon lands in the waste barrel, headed for the dogs.

"See, it's all of the biggest, best-looking fish," said Pat Moore, waving a stogie at the pile of discards. "It breaks my heart. My dogs cannot eat all that. The maggots will get them first."

Alaskan salmon
©Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times
Faith Peters and Haley Brigham, 12, help Kathleen Zuray cut king salmon into strips at a fish camp on a stretch of the Yukon River called the Rapids. Eagerly awaited each year, king salmon are the biggest and most prized fish migrating upriver to spawn in the Yukon's headwaters, in Canada

Snowman

Arctic sea ice melt 'even faster'



arctic seal
©Getty Images
A widespread Arctic melt would have major impacts on wildlife

Arctic sea ice is melting even faster than last year, despite a cold winter.

Data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) shows that the year began with ice covering a larger area than at the beginning of 2007.

But now it is down to levels seen last June, at the beginning of a summer that broke records for sea ice loss.

Cloud Lightning

Bangladesh: Heavy rain paralyses life in Chittagong City



Chittagong flood
©Zobaer Hossain Sikder
Vehicles slog through knee-deep water on the main thoroughfare at Bahadderhat in Chittagong after deluge throughout yesterday swamped much of the port city. Photo: Zobaer Hossain Sikder

Life became paralysed in Chittagong yesterday as major parts of the port city were submerged in knee-deep water following heavy rains throughout the day.

Besides, two walls collapsed at Lalkhan Bazar and Surson Road in the morning due to the downpour, but none was hurt.

According to the Met Office at Patenga, over 202 millimetres (8 inches) of rainfall was recorded in last 24 hours till 3:00pm yesterday.

Black Cat

Arsonists caused the blaze in Cyprus

Wednesday's huge fire that devastated 14 kilometres of brush land in the Larnaca and Limassol districts was the work of arsonists, it emerged yesterday.

Despite initial reports that suggested the fire was a result of a re-ignition of a small fire in the area, the Fire Services yesterday said that the blaze appeared to be an arson attack.

Bizarro Earth

US: Illinois levee buckles under rising waters



Image
©AFP
Workers examine the closed memorial bridge as water crosses it from the flooding Mississippi River June 18, 2008 in Quincy, Illinois. Rising waters burst through an overtaxed levee on the Mississippi River Tuesday, sending gushing torrents into an Illinois town as the sodden US midwest reeled from days of epic flooding. The levee break left Highway 34 at Gulfport, on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, under water, prompting officials to close a bridge to the neighboring town of Burlington and creating havoc for commuters.

Chicago -- Rising waters burst through an overtaxed levee on the Mississippi River Tuesday, sending gushing torrents into an Illinois town as the sodden US midwest reeled from days of epic flooding.

The levee break left Highway 34 at Gulfport, on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, under water, prompting officials to close a bridge to the neighboring town of Burlington and creating havoc for commuters.

More than 1,000 Illinois National Guard troops were working alongside hundreds of inmates from the state's prisons to shore up levees throughout the state, a spokeswoman with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency told CNN.

The New York Times said people in dozens of Mississippi towns facing flooding were working Tuesday to shore up about 30 levees.

Cloud Lightning

Rainy season halts quake search in Japan

TOKYO -- The search for people still missing after a deadly earthquake in northern Japan was halted Thursday amid fears of mudslides as a rain front moved in, officials said.

Eleven people are still unaccounted for in the northern part of Japan's main Honshu island, which was hit on Saturday by a powerful 7.2 Richter-scale earthquake that also killed 11 people.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the rainy season was believed to have started in the region, raising concerns that small dams formed naturally by the quake would break and trigger mudslides. The region has experienced very little heavy rain since the disaster.

Rescuers searching for the missing had to pull out before sunset due to worries over mudslides, said a local official in the hard-hit town of Kurihara. "It started drizzling shortly after noon today (Thursday)," said the official. "We have to carefully study the weather forecast to decide what we can do tomorrow."

No Entry

Japan police arrest Greenpeace members over whale meat

TOKYO -- Japanese police on Friday arrested two Greenpeace activists on allegations of stealing whale meat as part of the environmentalists' campaign against whaling.

Police raided five places including the environmental group's Japan headquarters in Tokyo's bustling Shinjuku district, officials said.

Police arrested Junichi Sato, 31, a prominent voice in the media against whaling, and fellow Greenpeace member Toru Suzuki, 41, a police spokesman said.

Greenpeace, along with Western countries led by Australia, is strongly opposed to Japan's whaling programme, which kills some 1,000 of the ocean giants a year.

The Japanese government, which says whaling is part of the culture, carries out the hunt using a loophole in a 1986 international moratorium that allows "lethal research" on whales.

Bizarro Earth

Active Submarine Volcanoes Found Near Fiji

Several huge active submarine volcanoes, spreading ridges and rift zones have been discovered northeast of Fiji by a team of Australian and American scientists aboard the Marine National Facility Research Vessel, Southern Surveyor.

Image
©Richard Arculus, Australian National University
A multibeam sonar three-dimensional image of the recently discovered volcano named Lobster.

On the hunt for subsea volcanic and hot-spring activity, the team of geologists located the volcanoes while mapping previously uncharted areas. Using high-tech multi-beam sonar mapping equipment, digital images of the seafloor revealed the formerly unknown features.

The summits of two of the volcanoes, named 'Dugong', and 'Lobster', are dominated by large calderas at depths of 1100 and 1500 metres.

During the six-week research expedition in the Pacific Ocean, scientists from The Australian National University (ANU), CSIRO Exploration & Mining and the USA, collaborated to survey the topography of the seafloor, analysing rock types and formation, and monitoring deep-sea hot spring activity around an area known as the North Lau Basin, 400 kilometres northeast of Fiji.

Cloud Lightning

Dust envelops UAE, reducing visibility and triggering breathing problems



Image
©Ravindranath/Gulf News
Dust engulfed most parts of the Gulf, including Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and parts of Saudi Arabia.

Al Ain: A layer of fine dust has enveloped the emirates and parts of the Arabian Gulf, reducing visibility and creating problem for people with breathing difficulty.

The condition may last for two more days, said weathermen.

The dust has been coming from Iraq and the eastern Saudi Arabian deserts. Sand and dust storms in Iraq have laden the winds with dust that is now pushing across the Gulf.

Dust engulfed most parts of the Gulf, including Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and parts of Saudi Arabia.

Roses

Desert plant may hold key to surviving food shortage

The plant, Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi, is unique because, unlike normal plants, it captures most of its carbon dioxide at night when the air is cooler and more humid, making it 10 times more water-efficient than major crops such as wheat. Scientists will use the latest next-generation DNA sequencing to analyse the plant's genetic code and understand how these plants function at night.

The project will generate a genome sequence database that will be used as an Internet resource for plant biologists throughout the world.

The research comes at a time when farmland across the globe normally used for growing food such as rice and wheat is being taken over by bio-fuel crops used for bioethanol production as a petrol substitute. Scientists believe that the novel genes found in Kalanchoe could provide a model of how bio-fuel plants could be grown on un-utilised desert and semi-arid lands, rather than on fertile farmland needed for producing food.

Comment: Although the current food shortage due to expanding bioethanol production is nothing but a fraud, this research and discovery of Kalanchoe's properties may become useful when human population will have to withstand harsh environmental conditions as a result of Comet bombardment or dusting in the atmosphere.