Saturday, June 20, 2015

JulyGlobe GEO News (July 2015)

The Earth has entered a new period of extinction, a study by three US universities has concluded, and humans could be among the first casualties.

The report, led by the universities of Stanford, Princeton and Berkeley, said vertebrates were disappearing at a rate 114 times faster than normal............Earth 'entering new extinction phase' - US study



  1. China vows to curb carbon emissions by 2030...

    Unfazed by the recent economic slide, China on Tuesday formally pledged to reduce carbon intensity of its industries while committing itself to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the next 15 years.

    The commitment came from the world's biggest emitter ahead of the United Nations climate talks in Paris in November end. "China's carbon dioxide emission will peak by around 2030 and China will work hard to achieve the target at an even earlier date," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in a statement after meeting French President Francois Hollande in Paris.

    China's self cleaning programme may impose stiff challenge on India, which might find it difficult to cut down its coal burning energy resources to meet international commitments. Presenting its intended nationally determined contributions (INDC), an action plan, to the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, China promised to go a step beyond its earlier commitment. It had earlier promised to cut greenhouse emissions by 40-45% by 2020. On Tuesday, Beijing said it would reduce emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 60-65% from 2005 levels by 2030. The action "represent its (China's) utmost efforts in addressing climate change," the Chinese INDC said.

  2. Russian gas firm Gazprom has confirmed it has halted gas supplies to Ukraine after a breakdown on pricing talks...

    It comes a day after Ukraine's state energy firm Naftogaz announced it was suspending gas purchases from Russia.

    That announcement came after EU-brokered talks aimed at keeping supplies running for three to six months broke down without agreement.

    Gazprom said it halted the supply because Ukraine did not make an "advance payment" for July's delivery.

    CEO Alexei Miller said Russia stopped delivering gas to Ukraine at 10:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

    "Gazprom won't deliver gas to Ukraine at any price without prepayment," he was quoted by Russian media as saying....BBC

  3. BP has reached an $18.7bn (£12bn) settlement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill...

    It comes as a US federal judge was expected to rule on how much BP owed in Clean Water Act penalties following the environmental disaster.

    Over 125 million gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf after an explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in 2010.

    The settlement is the largest paid by a single company in US history .

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill as one of the worst environmental disasters in US history and claimed the live of 11 people.

    BP has already paid out $2.3bn in so-called business economic loss claims out of a total of $4.25bn in compensation claims to individuals and businesses, according to Patrick Juneau, the administrator appointed by the courts to handle claims.

    The settlement process is also separate from other court proceedings relating to the spill, including environmental and criminal penalties.

    BP has said its costs associated with the oil spill have already exceeded $43bn even without the Clean Water Act fine.....BBC

  4. 6.1-magnitude earthquake in China's Xinjiang: USGS...

    BEIJING: An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 struck China's far western region of Xinjiang on Friday (Jul 3), the US Geological Survey said.

    The epicentre was 164km northwest of the city of Hotan, it said. The China Earthquake Network Centre gave the magnitude as 6.5 and 131km southeast of Shache, known as Yarkand in Uighur, the language of the local mainly Muslim minority.

    The location given by USGS put it on the edge of the Taklamakan desert, a vast and uninhabited region. The China Earthquake Network Centre gave the magnitude as 6.5.

    USGS gave the estimated depth at 10km, a default setting for mid-continental tremors when data is limited. China is regularly hit by earthquakes, particularly in its southwestern provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan.

    Neighbouring Nepal, on the other side of the Himalayas, was hit by a devastating tremor in April which killed more than 8,800 people.

    In May 2008, a 7.9-magnitude quake rocked Sichuan, killing more than 80,000 people and flattening swathes of the province in China's worst earthquake for more than three decades.

    Last October, hundreds of people were injured and more than 100,000 displaced after a shallow 6.0-magnitude tremor hit Yunnan province, close to China's borders with Myanmar and Laos.

    And last August, a 6.1-magnitude quake struck Yunnan, killing more than 600 people.
    - AFP/rw

  5. Earthquake Kills 4 in China's Xinjiang ...

    A Chinese state-run news outlet says at least four people were killed Friday when a strong earthquake hit the country's northwest region of Xinjiang.

    The Xinhua news agency says the magnitude 6.5 earthquake injured at least 48 others and damaged or destroyed an unspecified number of homes.

    Communications have been disrupted and an airport was forced to close following the quake, which was followed by several aftershocks, according to Xinhua.

    China's Earthquake Networks Center says the temblor hit at a depth of 10 kilometers and was centered in the Hotan region of Xinjiang.

    The sparsely populated area is about 1,800 kilometers from the regional capital, Urumqi, and is mostly home to members of the Uighur ethnic minority.

    1. China's air force dispatched a drone to the site of an earthquake in the far western region of Xinjiang on Friday to help in monitoring work, in what it said was the first time it had used an unmanned aircraft for such a task....

      China is developing an ambitious drone programme for use at home, and also for export, as part of modernisation efforts for the world's largest armed forces.

      The air force said in a statement on the Defence Ministry's website that the single drone was dispatched to the southern part of Xinjiang shortly after the quake struck and it "got a timely understanding of disaster relief needs".

      It flew for 100 minutes over the quake zone, sending back accurate "scientific facts" about the situation on the ground.

      The ministry gave no other details.

      The quake hit a remote and mostly rural region, killing at least six people. Southern Xinjiang is the heartland of the Muslim Uighur people who call the region

  6. Thousands more evacuated as wildfires spread in Western Canada...

    New evacuation orders in northern Saskatchewan have forced several thousand more people from their homes, as wildfires continue to rage through Western Canada.

    Saskatchewan has been hit hard in recent days, with officials in La Ronge, Air Ronge and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band issuing evacuation orders on Saturday afternoon as flames drew nearer.

    Saskatchewan fire Chief Duane McKay told The Canadian Press that about 7,900 people could be affected.

    The Red Cross and the Alberta government plan to accept up to 5,000 evacuees in Cold Lake starting Saturday afternoon.

    Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said that the local Canadian Forces base will also offer up its facilities.

    Wall has briefed Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the situation, and Harper has offered his

  7. Indonesia closes five airports as Mount Raung erupts...

    Five airports in Indonesia have been shut, including in the tourist hotspot Bali, because of a volcanic eruption, transport officials say.

    Mount Raung in East Java has been spewing ash into the air for nearly a week obscuring visibility at Bali's Denpasar airport.

    For a second day, many flights between Bali and Australia have been cancelled, stranding travellers.

    The island is a top holiday destination for Australians.

    A spokesperson for state airport operator Angkasa Pura told BBC Indonesian that Denpasar would be closed until at least 21:30 local time (13:30 GMT).

    However Indonesian transport ministry official JA Barata said the re-opening of the airports would be based on Mount Raung's activity.
    Closely monitoring

    The four other affected airports are the International Airport in Lombok, Selaparang Airport also in Lombok, Blimbingsari Airport in Banyuwangi, East Java and Notohadinegoro Airport in Jember, East Java................

  8. Eruption volcanique en Indonésie : les vols annulés se multiplient, un millier de personnes bloquées à Bali...

    (Belga) Une éruption volcanique dans le centre de l'Indonésie a entraîné la fermeture vendredi de cinq aéroports, dont celui de Bali, et l'annulation de 250 vols, bloquant des milliers de vacanciers. Ces fermetures d'aéroports interviennent en pleine haute saison à Bali, une destination paradisiaque qui attire chaque année des millions de touristes étrangers.

    "Des centaines de personnes campent sur le gazon des pelouses à l'extérieur de l'aéroport. Il y a une file de centaines de gens qui attendent de parler au service des passagers", a confié vendredi un témoin présent à l'aéroport international Ngura Rai de Bali. Selon un journaliste de l'AFP sur place, un millier de personnes sont bloquées dans cet aéroport..................

  9. At least three elderly people died and more than 800 people, including four schoolchildren, were taken to the hospital Tuesday, apparently suffering from heat stroke or heat exhaustion, as the Japanese archipelago continued to bake under scorching temperatures...

    It was the sixth day in a row that temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius or higher were registered in some parts of the country.

    In Okutama, a town in western Tokyo, a 92-year-old man was found collapsed in a field in the early afternoon. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

    The four schoolchildren were taken to a hospital after becoming ill in the morning while playing soccer at an elementary school in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward. They were not in serious condition.

    The mercury topped 35 degrees in some parts of the country Tuesday, with the Meteorological Agency warning people to take measures to prevent heat

  10. Peru to make contact with isolated tribe for first time...

    Peru will try to make contact for the first time with an Amazonian tribe that largely lives isolated in the jungle, part of a bid to ease tensions with nearby villages after a bow-and-arrow attack in May, authorities said yesterday (July 21).

    Government anthropologists will try to talk with a clan of Mashco Piro Indians to understand why they have been emerging from the forest, said Deputy Culture Minister Patricia Balbuena.

    In recent years the Mashco Piro have increasingly been spotted seeking machetes and food outside their jungle enclaves in the Manu National Park in south-eastern Peru.

    Villagers, Christian proselytisers and tourists have all interacted with the tribe, often giving them clothes and food.

    "The only ones who haven't been in contact with them are representatives of the state!" said Ms

  11. Major eruptions at five volcanoes in Indonesia have darkened skies with ash over a large swath of the archipelagic nation and three airports have closed...

    Government volcanologist Surono said Mount Raung on Java island erupted again Wednesday, blasting ash and debris up to 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) into the air after rumbling for several weeks.

    Eruptions of Gamalama and Dukono mountains on the Moluccas islands chain and the Sinabung volcano on Sumatra island have darkened skies and forced the evacuation of more than 10,000 people. Mount Karangetang on Siau island also erupted.

    Transport Ministry spokesman Julius Adravida Barata said Jember and Banyuwangi airports closed late Tuesday and Bali's international airport was closed for several hours on Wednesday, disrupting flights.

    Indonesia has 130 active volcanoes.

  12. Découverte d’une nouvelle exoplanète, la plus similaire à la terre jamais observée...

    Une nouvelle exoplanète présente des caractéristiques très similaires à celles de la Terre, selon une annonce de la Nasa.

    La Nasa a fait une annonce, jeudi 23 juillet, qui devrait ravir tous les amoureux d'astronomie. Selon l’agence spatiale américaine, des astronomes ont découvert une nouvelle exoplanète, baptisée Kepler 452b, qui pourrait être la plus similaire à la Terre jamais observée.

    Cette planète est située en orbite autour d'une étoile lointaine. Elle est à la même distance de son étoile que la Terre du Soleil : il pourrait donc être possible d'y trouver de l'eau à l'état liquide qui permettrait l'existence de la vie.

    Située à 1 400 années-lumière de la Terre, Kepler 452b orbite une étoile dont les caractéristiques sont aussi très similaires à celles du Soleil. Cette étoile est seulement 10 % plus grosse et 10 % plus brillante que la nôtre, mais elle est 1,5 milliard d'années plus ancienne.

    Peu de chance toutefois d’y poser le pied un jour : chacune des 1 400 années-lumières qui nous séparent de Kepler 452b représente 9 460 milliards de kilomètres. En revanche, la découverte de cette exoplanète "nous permet de progresser pour savoir combien de planètes habitables pourraient exister" dans notre galaxie, explique Joseph Twicken, le responsable scientifique de la mission Kepler et chercheur au SETI, l'Institut de recherche d'intelligence

  13. Pakistani authorities say flash floods, triggered by monsoon rains, have killed 12 more people across the country, bringing the overall death toll since early last week to 15, as rescuers struggle to move those stranded to safer places...

    Friday's statement by the National Disaster Management Authority says seven of the deaths were reported in flood-hit areas in the southwestern Baluchistan province while three people died in the eastern Punjab province. Floodwaters also killed two people in the northern Gilgit Baltistan region.

    It says 194,137 people in the district of Layyah and other regions in the eastern Punjab province have been affected.

    Meanwhile, the situation was returning to normalcy in the northern city of Chitral, where floods earlier this week killed three people and destroyed roads and bridges.

  14. The strange discovery of mutated flowers near the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster may have nothing to do with radiation at all, experts have claimed...

    Many people dismissed photos of the daisies as fake when they emerged on social media but botanical experts say there is a logical explanation for their bizarre appearance.

    A Twitter user called San Kaido photographed the flowers in Nasushiobara city in May, showing them with multiple stems, conjoined centres and oddly-shaped petals.

    A tweet described: "The right one grew up, split into two stems to with two flowers connected to each other, with four stems of flowers tied belt-like".

    "The left one has four stems that grew up to be tied to each other and it had a ring-shaped flower."...............

  15. NASA has released new images of Pluto, including a photo that suggests evidence of exotic ice flows across the dwarf planet's surface...

    The photos, released Friday, are the latest from the New Horizons spacecraft, which made its closest approach to Pluto on July 14.

    The grey-and-white closeup photo shows signs of recent geologic activity, NASA said in a

  16. China has successfully tested the power system of a fifth generation carrier rocket scheduled for flight next year carrying twice the capacity of the payload by the present carrier...

    Development of the rocket, the fifth-generation Long March-5 launch vehicle of the Long March family, has entered a "runoff" phase, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence.

    The rocket will have a payload capacity of 25 tonnes to low Earth orbits, or 14 tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit, about twice the current capacity.

    The would-be capacity will be equivalent to that of mainstream carrier rockets now in use around the world.

    The rocket will serve the final chapter of China's three-step - orbiting, landing and returning - lunar program and the building of manned space stations, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.

    The Long March rocket family has completed more than 200 missions since 1970, when a Long March-1 rocket sent China's first satellite, Dong Fang Hong 1, or "the East is Red", into Earth orbit.

  17. Lancement de deux satellites pour le rival chinois du GPS...

    (Belga) La Chine a lancé samedi dans l'espace deux nouveaux satellites dans le cadre de son programme de développement du système de navigation Beidou destiné à concurrencer le GPS américain, a annoncé l'agence officielle Chine nouvelle.

    La fusée qui a placé les satellites sur orbite a été lancée à partir du centre de lancement de satellites Xichang dans la province du Sichuan (sud-ouest) à 20H29 (12h29 GMT), a précisé l'agence. Ces satellites sont les 18e et 19e lancés par la Chine dans le cadre de son programme de développement du système de navigation Beidou (compas). Leur lancement porte à trois le nombre de satellites lancés en 2015 dans le cadre de ce programme. Le système Beidou est actuellement déjà opérationnel dans la région Asie Pacifique, mais il est prévu qu'il couvre le monde entier d'ici 2020. "Le succès du lancement constitue un nouveau pas important en avant vers un système de navigation avec une couverture mondiale", s'est félicité le centre de lancement cité par l'agence. Le sytème Beidou, dont la mise en service a été annoncée en 2012, a rejoint ainsi le GPS américain, le russe GLONASS et le futur Galileo europé

  18. Στην Ινδονησία, σεισμός μεγέθους 7 βαθμών στην κλίμακα Pίχτερ σημειώθηκε τα ξημερώματα...

    Δεν υπήρξαν αναφορές για θύματα ή ζημιές, ούτε εκδόθηκε προειδοποίηση για τσουνάμι.
    Το επίκεντρο του σεισμού ήταν 248 χιλιόμετρα δυτικά της πόλης Τζαγιαπούρα, στη δυτική Νέα Γουϊνέα.
    Ο σεισμός έγινε ιδιαίτερα αισθητός σε ορισμένες περιοχές και δημιούργησε πανικό στους κατοίκους, που ξεχύθηκαν στους δρόμους.

  19. Fukushima: délicate opération en préparation sur un des réacteurs les plus saccagés...

    (Belga) La compagnie japonaise Tepco s'apprête à mener une délicate opération au-dessus de l'un des réacteurs les plus saccagés du complexe atomique de Fukushima ravagé par le tsunami de mars 2011, selon un porte-parole.

    Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) va tenter "dans un avenir extrêmement proche" de retirer du haut du réacteur numéro 3 l'équipement de plus de 20 tonnes servant en temps normal à déplacer le combustible, "une opération difficile", a expliqué à l'AFP un responsable de la compagnie. "L'intervention se fera via des équipements télécommandés, la radioactivité au-dessus du réacteur 3 rendant impossible l'accès à des hommes", a-t-il précisé...............

  20. Turkey’s Privatization Administration (ÖİB) has opened tenders for the privatization of a total of 10 hydropower plants, the Official Gazette said on July 29. ..

    The power plants will be privatized in three groups.

    The bid security for the first group of power plants, Karacaören 1 and 2, was set at 25 million Turkish Liras; for the second group, Kepez 2 and Manavgat, at 20 million liras; for the third group, Fethiye, at 10 million liras; for the fourth group, Kadıncık 1 and 2, at 30 million liras; and for the fifth group, Doğakent, Kürtün and Torul, at 50 million liras.

    The bids will be submitted until Oct. 27 for the first group, Oct. 14 for the second group, Oct. 5 for the third group, Nov. 10 for the fourth group, and Nov. 20 for the fifth group.

    Only legal persons and consortiums can bid. Real persons and private equity funds can bid only if they are a member of a consortium in which there is at least one legal person.-

  21. The unbearable heat wave had claimed four lives in South Korea in the past three days as the sweltering weather swept across the country, the disease control agency said Friday...

    Two people died of heatstroke Thursday, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The 70-year-old man and the 79-year-old woman passed out from sunstroke when they did farm work under the sun.

    The first death was reported Tuesday as a 34-year-old man died of heatstroke at a construction site.

    On Wednesday, a woman in her late 80s died of sunstroke while working in the fields.

    The number of deaths from sunstroke increased from six in 2011 to 15 in 2012 and 14 in 2013, but it declined to one in 2014. The number jumped this year to four as of Thursday.

    Adding to the scorching heat, the humidity deepened after a spell of showers from last week to early this week.

    The number of patients suffering from heat wave-related diseases rose to 446 Thursday, over a third of which was caused in the past five days.

    The agency advised people to avoid drinks containing liquor and caffeine to prevent dehydration and drink more water than usual. It also recommended shunning outside activities from noon to 5 p.m. .

    The hot weather would continue for the time being, with the day's highs ranging from 30 to 36 degrees Celsius nationwide, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

    The KMA said "tropical nights" would last as the mercury will hover above 25 degrees Celsius at night.

  22. Birmanie: au moins 27 morts et 150 000 personnes touchées par des inondations ...

    D'importantes inondations ont tué au moins 27 personnes en Birmanie et des centaines de villages et de champs sont sous les eaux, a indiqué vendredi un responsable des secours alors que les fortes pluies persistent.

    "Depuis jeudi, 27 personnes sont mortes dans l'ensemble du pays et quatre sont portées disparues dans la région de Mandalay" a déclaré M. Chumrhe, le directeur du département d'aide et de réinstallation du ministère des affaires sociales.

    Environ 150 000 personnes ont été déplacées ou ont vu leur moyens de subsistance affectés par les inondations, a-t-il ajouté

    La montée des eaux et les glissements de terrain ont détruit de nombreuses routes, ponts et maisons, rapporte dans son édition de vendredi, le journal officiel Global New Light of Myanmar.

    Les précipitations se sont abattues principalement à Kalay, ville du nord du pays et Sittwe, la capitale de l'Etat Rakhine à l'ouest, où les vols ont été suspendus.

    Selon un habitant du village de Bumay, proche de Sittwe, "les gens sont contraints de fuir" et "certains sont maintenant réfugiés dans des écoles".

    L'Etat Rakhine accueille déjà près de 140 000 déplacés, principalement des Rohingyas, minorité musulmane persécutée en Birmanie...............

  23. The world is on the verge of being able to protect humans against Ebola, the World Health Organization said on Friday, as a trial in Guinea found a vaccine to have been 100 percent effective...

    Initial results from the trial, which tested Merck and NewLink Genetics’ VSV-ZEBOV vaccine on some 4,000 people who had been in close contact with a confirmed Ebola case, showed complete protection after 10 days.

    The results were described as “remarkable” and “game changing” by global health specialists.

    “We believe that the world is on the verge of an efficacious Ebola vaccine,” WHO vaccine expert Marie Paule Kieny told reporters in a briefing from Geneva.

    The vaccine could now be used to help end the worst recorded outbreak of Ebola, which has killed more than 11,200 people in West Africa since it began in December 2013.

    WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said the results, published online in the medical journal The Lancet, would “change the management of the current Ebola outbreak and future outbreaks”...............


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