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Fri, 02 Dec 2022
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Life Preserver

Chinese wonder if animals can predict earthquakes

Beijing - First, the water level in a pond inexplicably plunged. Then, thousands of toads appeared on streets in a nearby province. Finally, just hours before China's worst earthquake in three decades, animals at a local zoo began acting strangely.

Ambulance

Update: China quake death toll could reach 50,000



China earthquake victim
©Getty images
A rescue team attends to a quake victim at the Zipingpu Dam Wednesday.

China's state TV has said that the death toll from this week's massive earthquake could reach 50,000, news agencies have reported. The official death toll in southwestern China has now topped 19,500, Sichuan provincial government officials said Thursday, according to state-run media.

Bizarro Earth

Proof found of man-made climate change, Scientists fear public won't care after a comet falls on their head

Scientists have been able to say with virtual certainty for the first time that the climate change observed over the past four decades is man made and not the result of natural phenomena.

Phoenix

Etna volcano rumbles back to life in Sicily



Image
Mount Etna

The Etna volcano in Sicily rumbled back to life on Tuesday with a "seismic event" followed by a burst of ash, volcanologists said three days after minor eruptions shook the cone.

A "seismic event provoking a strong explosion was recorded Tuesday at 0424 GMT (6:42 am local) in parts of the peak of the volcano," the National Geophysics and Vulcanology Institute in Sicily's Catania region said in a statement.

Cloud Lightning

Dozens die in Bangladesh ferry sinking during storm

Kishoreganji, Bangladesh - A crowded ferry sank during a tropical storm in northern Bangladesh, killing at least 36 people and leaving 50 more missing, officials said Tuesday.

The death toll from the accident late Monday could rise because some of those missing were feared trapped inside the sunken ferry, said local government administrator Sultan Ahmed.

Better Earth

Shrimp can see beyond the rainbow

LONDON - A giant shrimp living on Australia's Great Barrier Reef can see a world beyond the rainbow that is invisible to other animals, scientists said on Wednesday.

Mantis shrimps, dubbed "thumb splitters" by divers because of their vicious claws, have the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom, capable of seeing colors from the ultraviolet to the infrared, as well as detecting other subtle variations in light.

Mantis shrimp
©REUTERS/Roy Caldwell/Handout
A Mantis shrimp (Gonodactylus smithii) is seen in this undated handout photograph released in London May 14, 2008.

Bizarro Earth

New storm heads toward cyclone-devastated Myanmar

YANGON - Another powerful storm is headed toward Myanmar's cyclone-devastated delta and the U.N. is warning of a second wave of deaths.

Thailand's prime minister says, however, that Myanmar officials told him they are in control of the cyclone relief operations and doesn't need foreign experts.

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej says the Myanmar junta guaranteed that there are no disease outbreaks and no starvation among the estimated 2 million survivors.

X

Thousands of Mongolian gazelles die trying to enter Russia

Thousands of Mongolian gazelles, or zerens, who have been forced north by years of drought, have died after being caught up in barbed wire lining the Russian border, a popular tabloid reported on Wednesday.

Komsomolskaya Pravda said over 20,000 zerens, a species of antelope, have managed to cross the fence on the Mongolian side but have become entangled in the three-meter-high fence on the Russian side, and have died of injuries and thirst.

The animals have been trying to reach Russia's Daursky nature reserve just across the border, which is rich in vegetation and water.

Bizarro Earth

Molten rock on the move in New Zealand volcano

Vulcanologists say molten rock appears to be moving higher inside New Zealand's Mt. Ruapehu. They say elevated gas output, high lake temperatures and tremors continue to indicate unrest at Ruapehu, but say it is not clear whether an eruption is imminent.

Eruptions in 1995 and 1996 wrecked the ski seasons in those years and were economically disastrous for the area, driving the Turoa ski resort into receivership. Scientists have been monitoring the mountain closely since a moderate-sized steam eruption in the crater lake last September.

No further eruptions have occurred, but skiers were warned last month that the increase in gas output and the higher temperature of the volcano means there is ongoing activity.

Fish

Jumbo squid swims north, imperilling British Columbia hake

Persistent sightings have some calling for an expedition to determine how many of the predatory creatures exist in Canadian waters.

VANCOUVER - When British Columbia's hake fleet sets off to trawl the deep ocean off the West Coast later this month, the crews will be on alert for a strange, voracious squid that is invading the north Pacific.

The Humboldt, or jumbo squid, is usually found off Mexico, but there is a heightened alert on the B.C. fishing grounds this year because the species has been making its way up the coast of North America, devastating hake stocks as it goes.

"I don't know much about them but they sound like quite a predator," said Brian Mose, director of the Deep Sea Trawlers Association of British Columbia.

Mr. Mose is sending a message to all fleet members, asking them to report any encounters they have with the large squid, which has been expanding its range both north and south.