Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Swiss join UN disaster risk debate - Feb 9th 2011

Swiss diplomat Toni Frisch is taking part in a debate on disaster risk prevention at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.

Frisch, head of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit, is participating in round table discussions on how to better incorporate disaster risks in development and investment activities, and on urban planning measures.

There are indications that the number of natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions flooding, drought and storms is rising, and developing countries are often particularly affected.

Switzerland has a long tradition of aiding countries prevent and prepare for disaster events through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

In 2010, the SDC sponsored risk management and prevention programs in some 13 countries including in Central and South America, Morocco, Bangladesh, South Caucasus and Central Asia.

swissinfo.ch and agencies Source

Former military officials present evidence of UFOs at Valley conference

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Organizers say former American, Canadian and British military officials will present evidence of the existence of UFOs at a Valley conference this month.

The International UFO Congress (IUC) will hold its 20th convention in Scottsdale at the end of February.

Maureen Elsberry, Marketing Director for Open Minds Production, said the event moved to Arizona this year because the group wanted to expand the audience.

Open Minds Production is a group dedicated to investigating and reporting extraterrestrial phenomena, according to their news release.

“We wanted to expose the event to everyone, not just UFO buffs,” Elsberry told ABC15.

Since the organization was established in 1991, it has hosted an annual conference in Laughlin, Nevada. This year UFO enthusiasts will descend on Fort McDowell Resort & Casino near Scottsdale, February 23-27. Read More

For more information call 480-302-2147 or visit ufocongress.com

The price of freedom: Southern Sudan minister Jimmy Lemi Milla shot dead

A minister in the government of Southern Sudan has been shot dead inside his ministry building in Juba.

Co-operatives and Rural Development Minister Jimmy Lemi Milla was killed by a former employee, said Philip Aguer of the Sudan People's Liberation Army.

The assailant also killed a bodyguard and was then arrested.

The incident comes only days after referendum results confirmed that Southern Sudan would become the world's newest independent state on 9 July.

Nearly 99% of southerners voted for secession in last month's poll. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has said he will accept the outcome.

Officials in the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) believe the motive for Wednesday's shooting was personal rather than political.

But the BBC's Peter Martell in Juba says it is a clear sign of the security challenges ahead for Southern Sudan as it moves toward its full independence.

Read more

Keep it in the family: Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and London Stock Exchange in potential operations merger

The TMX Group, operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Toronto Venture Exchange, has agreed to merge with the London Stock Exchange Group.

"The merger will create a world-leading organization and is unanimously being recommended by the boards of both LSEG and TMX," the TMX Group said in a statement.

The merger would create the world's biggest exchange operator for mining and energy stocks, which have been key drivers of growth for both companies. Shares in TMX were halted Tuesday.

(And by the way, the article goes on to say how the New York Stock Exchange has been mulling buying the TSX entirely - how few pairs of hands clutch on to everything?)

Read more

Inflation danger: China raises interest rates for third time in four months

With the Shanghai Composite Index due to reopen on Wednesday after a week of rest, the Chinese central bank signalled its determination to keep inflation in check by raising the one-year lending rate to 6.06pc from 5.81pc and the deposit rate to 3pc from 2.75pc.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong, which reopened on Monday, responded by dipping slightly to 23,484.3 points, a drop of 0.3pc.

The latest interest rate rise was widely expected. Chinese policymakers have tightened policy around the Chinese New Year holiday five times in the last six years, either by hiking the reserve ratio requirements of banks or by raising interest rates.

This year, Chinese banks have again flooded the economy with liquidity, doling out 500 billion yuan (£47 billion) in new loans in the first week of January alone.

Read more

10,000 Demonstrators clash with Italian police during protest calling for PM Berlusconi's resignation (Gallery)

Demonstrators clash with police during the 'Liberta e Giustizia' (Justice & Freedom) protest against Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, at Palasharp on February 5, 2011 in Milan, Italy. Liberta e Giustizia is an Italian Movement who call for the resignation of Berlusconi. Some 10,000 people attended the protest.

Source - View the protest gallery here

Korea Foot and Mouth disease update: Concerns rise that cull may cause disaster

Minister Lee says reckless burial of infected livestock may result in widespread contamination

The reckless burial of cattle in an attempt to prevent the further spread of foot-and-mouth disease could trigger a massive environmental disaster, Environment Minister Lee Maan-ee said.

The minister called for a thorough examination of the effect of the burials on the surrounding soil and environment to avoid economic and environmental damage.

In his interview with the Chosun Ilbo on Monday, Lee expressed his concern that torrential rain, frequent between spring and summer, could wash away unstable soil.

Read more

10% grow fat while 90% starve: 'More than half a billion' obese

More than half a billion men and women - nearly one in nine of all adults around the world - are clinically obese, a report backed by the World Health organisation (WHO), says.

The figures, released on Friday, are nearly double those of 1980, leading doctors to warn that a "tsunami of obesity" is unfurling across the world.

In 2008, the latest year for which statistics were available, nearly one woman in seven and one man in 10 were obese, the study by Imperial College of London and Harvard University found.

According to the WHO, obesity causes three million premature deaths each year from heart disease, diabetes, cancers and other disorders.

The researchers described the tableau as "a population emergency".

Read more

Britain echoes Germany: Multiculturalism has 'failed in UK'

"State multiculturalism" has failed and left young Muslims vulnerable to radicalisation, David Cameron, the British prime minister, has said, arguing for a more active policy to heal divisions and promote Western values.

Cameron, in a speech to a security conference in Munich on Saturday, said that Britain and other European nations needed to "wake up to what is happening in our countries" as well as tackling terrorism through military operations overseas.

"Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream," Cameron said.

Read more

Clinton warns of 'perfect storm'

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has warned of a "perfect storm" enveloping the Middle East if leaders do not implement political and social reforms to meet the demands of their people.

Clinton was speaking on Saturday at a high-level security conference in Munich, where EU leaders have appeared divided in their response to events in Egypt.

The secretary of state urged European nations to join the US in pressing for broad political and economic reform in the Middle East.

She said half measures were "untenable" as they would only breed further discontent.

Read more

7000 Mallards die South Dakota - Cause of dead ducks moldy grain?

As many as 7,000 mallards have died in a small pond near Pierre, S.D., the apparent result of the birds ingesting moldy grain from a feedlot.

The congregation of mallards had remained in South Dakota despite severe cold and snow this winter, gathering in a small pond, apparently kept open by an artesian well.

The well can't be easily shut off, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service memo.

The fear at first was that the birds died of cholera. Instead, toxicology reports indicate a fungal infection as the cause, likely caused by the moldy grain.

The service was concerned that an eagle die-off might also occur in the area because the big birds -- hundreds had been wintering there -- were seen feasting on the dead ducks.

The die-off was in western Sully County, not far from Lake Oahe.

A Fish and Wildlife Service crew, along with workers from the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Department, recovered the birds, placed them 20 to a bag and double-bagged them before loading them onto flat-bed trailers.

A sample of the birds was sent to a national wildlife laboratory, which determined the cause of infection and death.

The mallard die-off is one of the largest of its kind that wildlife officials can recall. Hearty birds, many mallards will stay north in winter, almost no matter the weather, if they have food and open water.

Fish kill stinks up Sebastian Inlet - Florida 8th Feb 2011

Visitors coming to Sebastian Inlet State Park are being greeted with a pungent fish smell.

Biologists said it's all the result of a large fish kill.

"Try to see some dolphins, and instead, dead fish," said Lynn Try, a visitor.

Dead fish are dotting the shoreline.

Some observers have claimed there are millions of them, and even on Tuesday, people were still calling the state hotline to report the dead fish.

FWC biologists said they first began getting reports of dead Menhaden, or bait fish, late last week.

These fish are small in size, ranging from three to five inches long.

Their numbers are staggering, and they are piling up along the shoreline.

"I noticed the smell even before we got here," Try said.

With any mass fish kill comes the rotten air, which was noticed immediately by RVers staying at the park.

"We've lived through fish kills before in the Keys last year," said Chris Christensen. "So we kinda knew what it was all about. But this is a surprise for sure."

"Came up here the other day, a week or so ago, there was no smell. What happened, I don't know," said visitor Joe Petrozelli.

Biologists theorize with all the fish, the oxygen in the water became depleted, which resulted in the large fish kill.

They have taken water samples to the lab for testing. It's a possibility some type of algae bloom may be responsible for the lack of oxygen.

Meanwhile, park goers will have to deal with the smell until the fish wash away or are eaten by insects or birds. Source

Dead Cow Washes Up on Seattle Shore - Sat 5th Feb 2011

SEATTLE -- Authorities in Seattle say bovine met the shoreline when beachfront residents found the body of a 400-pound cow washed up by the surf.

Seattle Animal Shelter enforcement supervisor Ann Graves says animal control officers received a report Thursday that the carcass of an adult cow had beached in West Seattle.

The tide later moved it in front of a home.

A Seattle Police Department Harbor Patrol vessel towed the cow to a boat ramp Saturday, where it was loaded onto a rendering truck. Graves say it had no ear tag or other identification.

It's not clear how it got in the water. Graves say it could have been dumped by owners after it died naturally.

Monster 3ft Squid beached on Delray Beach

A 3 foot squid made an appearance Tuesday morning (8th Feb 2011) on Delray Beach, Florida to the surprise of lifeguards and beachgoers who rushed to help the creature back into the ocean.



Note : The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservative commission said squid populate the Florida waters year round. But seeing one on land is another story.

"in the past there've been a few octopuses that came on to shore" Said Ocean Rescue supervisor Robert Black, who's worked at the beach for 6 years. "I'd say a squid sighting is very unusual" Source