Earth ChangesS


Tokyo Area Shaken by Magnitude 4.8 Earthquake; No Tsunami Alert

June 20 (Bloomberg) -- An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.8 jolted Tokyo and surrounding areas of eastern Japan at 6:47 this morning, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. No tsunami warning was issued.

The tremor was centered 80 kilometers (50 miles) underground in Chiba, east of Tokyo. It registered 3 on the Japanese agency's seismic intensity scale, the agency reported on its Web site.


New bird flu outbreak in northern China

Another outbreak of bird flu has been reported in China.

The latest outbreak is at poultry farms in the northern province of Shanxi.

The official Xinhua news agency reported Monday the local government has quarantined the area and experts and veterinarians have started disinfection and culling.


Violent storm blacks out 24,000 Ottawa homes

A severe thunderstorm swept through Ottawa Monday night, knocking out power to more than 24,000 homes.

Cloud Lightning

Monsoon rains flood northeastern Bangladesh

DHAKA - Large swathes of northeastern Bangladesh were under water following heavy monsoon rains in neighbouring India.

Around 100 square kilometres (40 square miles) and an estimated 76,000 people were affected in seven sub-districts of the northeastern Sylhet region, said district relief officer Mohammed Mosao-Ir on Friday.

Cloud Lightning

Hundreds evacuated from flood-hit Poland and Slovakia

WARSAW - Hundreds of people were evacuated from areas of Poland and Slovakia as torrential rain caused flooding, local authorities said.

Some 500 people were forced to leave their homes in the southeastern Polish town of Jaslo, mayor Andrzek Czarnecki said on Polish television station TVP.

Several farms and thousands of hectares of agricultural land were flooded when rivers burst their banks.


Monsoon leads to flooding, rough seas in south India

Mumbai - Three people died and two were missing at sea as annual monsoon rains Tuesday caused floods in India's south that saw parts of Kerala state flooded and fishing in the Arabian Sea curtailed, reports said.

Two women were killed after a coconut trees uprooted by the heavy rains fell on them and a man was killed when a tree landed on a passenger bus in Kerala, Press Trust of India reported.

Elsewhere in the state, hundreds of families were moved to relief camps as villages in low-lying districts were flooded after the monsoon hit Friday, a week earlier than expected PTI said.


Java earthquake toll passes 5,800

Indonesia has upped the death toll from the earthquake which hit the island of Java on Saturday to more than 5,800.

Large quantities of aid started flowing into affected areas, and the UN spoke of "enormous progress" being made.

But many survivors spent a fourth night without shelter or supplies, as congested roads hampered access to more remote areas.


Netherlands must boost flood defences

The Hague - Dutch authorities will have to boost their already significant flood protection measures to cope with increasingly warmer, wetter winters and summer droughts, according to forecasts released Tuesday.

Four possible future climate scenarios for 2050 presented by the official Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI) show global warming continuing apace and sea levels rising.

For the Netherlands, the next four and a half decades will bring milder but wetter winters and drier summers interspersed with sudden extreme rainfall.


Big Rodents Overrun Washington Seniors

"The marmots are coming, the marmots are coming." Seniors living in Wine Country Villa probably wish they had gotten such a warning.

Residents say the oversized rodents are swarming through the 75-unit development of manufactured homes near the airport of this Eastern Washington town, burrowing under homes, fouling front porches with their droppings and - according to some unconfirmed accounts - attacking people.

Many species of marmots, including some known as woodchucks and groundhogs, are found across North America. They are closely related to ground squirrels and are among the largest of rodents, some reaching 30 pounds.

Comment: Ha! That's nothing. Have you seen the giant rodents that have invaded Washington, DC?


As Hurricane Season Looms, States Aim to Scare

MIAMI - Convinced that tough tactics are needed, officials in hurricane-prone states are trumpeting dire warnings about the storm season that starts on Thursday, preaching self-reliance and prodding the public to prepare early and well.

Cities are circulating storm-preparation checklists, counties are holding hurricane expositions at shopping malls and states are dangling carrots like free home inspections and tax-free storm supplies in hopes of conquering complacency.

But the main strategy, it seems, is to scare the multitudes of people who emergency officials say remain blas