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Wed, 21 Oct 2020
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Snowman

At least 5 dead in Plains, Midwest storm

AMARILLO, Texas - A blinding snowstorm blew from the Plains to the Midwest on Saturday, causing at least 5 deaths and dozens of injuries in numerous multi-car pileups and forcing authorities to close portions of several major highways.

In Texas, one person died in a chain-reaction pileup involving more than 50 vehicles, including several tractor-trailer rigs, on Interstate 40, police said. Authorities said it would take a few days to determine exactly how many were involved.

Clock

Holiday travelers delayed in Chicago

Dense fog and a low cloud ceiling forced airlines to cancel more than 200 flights at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Friday at the start of the busy holiday travel season.

Travelers also encountered weather-related delays at airports in the New York City area.

Bell

16 dead in Tajikistan avalanche

At least 16 people died in an avalanche that swept across a road linking Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe with the north of the Central Asian state, the interior ministry told AFP.

A ministry spokesman said "rescue work is continuing and we don't know how many vehicles and people could still be under the many metres thick avalanche".

©Unknown

Bizarro Earth

China reels from worst drought in a decade



©Unknown

China is suffering its worst drought in a decade, which has left millions of people short of drinking water and has shrunk reservoirs and rivers, state media said on Friday.

Hardest hit are large swathes of the usually humid south, where water levels on several major rivers have plunged to historic lows in recent months.

Star

Squirrels Use "Snake Perfume" to Fool Predators



©Video stills courtesy Barbara Clucas
Video stills show a ground squirrel chewing on a rattlesnake's shed skin and then licking its body to apply the masticated mush. The act most likely persuades serpents that another snake, not a squirrel, is in the area. A new study suggests that this behavior is part of a host of tricks the squirrels have evolved to use to avoid predation.

To mask their odor from rattlesnakes, California ground squirrels and rock squirrels chew on sloughed-off snake skin and smear it on their fur, according to a new study.

The act most likely persuades the predators that another snake, not a squirrel, is in the area.

Bulb

U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007

Over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming. These scientists, many of whom are current and former participants in the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), criticized the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore.

The new report issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's office of the GOP Ranking Member details the views of the scientists, the overwhelming majority of whom spoke out in 2007.

Heart

Most Endangered Duck Finds Refuge on Midway Atoll

The most highly endangered duck species, the Laysan teal, had a very successful 2007 breeding season at a refuge that was once part of its historic range, according to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists. This year's total tally of adult and fledgling Laysan ducks, now residing on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), rose during 2007 to approximately 200 ducks.

This is only the third year since these highly endangered birds, also known as Laysan teal, were trapped in the wild and carefully transported by ship from their only remaining population on Laysan Island to re-establish a second population.

"These rare, wild ducks could not co-exist with rats, migrate, or disperse away from Laysan Island, so a few birds were translocated by ship to restore the species to a larger range," USGS wildlife researcher Michelle Reynolds, coordinator for the project, explained. "Now Laysan ducks are found on three rat-free islands for the first time in hundreds of years and are flying between islands at Midway Atoll."

©unknown
Map of study sites: Laysan Island Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge and Midway Atoll, NWR. The source population occurs on Laysan and the translocated population on Midway Atoll NWR.

Binoculars

Study reveals severe decline of Europe's common birds

Almost half of common European birds are heading towards "continental extinction", a new report warns today.

The alarming rate of decline revealed in the report has fuelled fears for the future of many of the continent's birds, including the grey partridge, lesser spotted woodpecker and crested lark.

Almost half (45%) of Europe's common birds have declined over a 26-year period according to the report, the State of Europe's Common Birds 2007.

Bell

Update: Aftershocks rock New Zealand city after major quake



©Agence France-Presse
Penny Walsh checks the damages in the local library following a powerful earthquake in Gisborne, New Zealand, 21 December 2007. A state of emergency was declared for the centre of the eastern New Zealand city of Gisborne after a powerful 6.8 earthquake flattened buildings and caused widespread damage.

Aftershocks continued to rattle the eastern New Zealand city of Gisborne Friday after a powerful 6.8 earthquake smashed buildings and left a gaping hole in a street.

Better Earth

Powerful Volcano Eruption in Kamchatka

An eruption of the most northern active volcano in Kamchatka - Shiveluch occurred this night and appeared to be one of the most powerful eruptions of the recent years. Powerful flows of ash were coming from the volcano crater along with gas flows and fragments of magma substances with the temperature reaching 800 degrees Centigrade.