Tuesday, March 20, 2012

800 houses collapse as massive quake rocks Mexico; 50% of all houses in area suffered significant damage



Hundreds of houses collapsed after a strong earthquake that rattled residents in southern Mexican resort towns and the nation's capital Tuesday, officials said.

The quake had a magnitude of 7.4, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Its epicenter was about 15 miles (25 kilometers) east of Ometepec, Guerrero, the USGS said, and its depth was about 12.4 miles (20 km).

In the nearby town of Igualapa, officials reported that at least 800 houses had collapsed, the Guerrero state government said in a statement. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or deaths.

More than an hour after the quake, residents in Ometepec were feeling aftershocks, said Francisca Villalva Davila, the city's comptroller.

"There are many cracked ceilings, many houses that collapsed," she told CNN en Español. more

U.S. lacks "proof" on Afghan shooting: suspect's lawyer

(Reuters) - U.S. authorities lack proof of what occurred the night a U.S. soldier is suspected of killing 16 villagers in Afghanistan, the lawyer representing the serviceman said on Tuesday.

"I'm very concerned now they don't have much proof of anything," attorney John Henry Browne told Reuters after meeting with U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales on Tuesday for a second day in a military detention center in Kansas.

Browne said he has now spent 11 hours with Bales discussing the events of Sunday, March 11, when Bales allegedly walked off his base in southern Afghanistan and gunned down the 16 civilians, including nine children and three women, in a massacre that damaged U.S.-Afghan relations.

Bales, 38, a four-tour combat veteran, has not yet been charged, but an official from his home base near Tacoma, Washington, has said that charges would likely be filed by the end of this week.

Browne described his time with Bales at the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, facility as "debriefings" and a time of "getting him to trust me." He was speaking at his nearby hotel in Lansing, Kansas, after his latest session with Bales. Read More

U.S. exempts Japan, 10 EU nations from Iran sanctions

(Reuters) - Japan and 10 European Union nations will be spared severe U.S. financial sanctions because they have significantly reduced purchases of Iranian crude oil, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday.

The decision is a victory for the 11 countries, whose banks have been given a six-month reprieve from the threat of being cut off from the U.S. financial system under new sanctions designed to pressure Iran over its nuclear program.

The EU nations, which had already decided to stop buying Iranian oil, include Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.

The list did not, however, include China and India, Iran's top two crude oil importers, nor U.S. allies South Korea and Turkey, which are among the top 10 consumers of Iranian oil. Read More

Gemma McCluskie Arm Found In Canal

Police believe an arm found floating in a London canal is connected to the murder of the EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie whose headless torso was found in the same stretch of water.

The limb was spotted in the Regent's Canal in Hackney by a British Waterways employee on Monday - two weeks after the 29-year-old's mutilated body was found.

Divers have been searching the water in a bid to find her remaining missing body parts.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Police were called at 9.35am yesterday to reports of an arm found in the Regent's Canal in Hackney.

"Officers attended and recovered the limb close to the Broadway Market stretch of the canal.

"We await further tests to determine identity, but at this stage it is believed to be connected to the murder of Gemma McCluskie." Read More

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake OAXACA, MEXICO - 20th Mar 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck Oaxaca, Mexico at a depth of 10.5 km (6.5 miles), the quake hit at 20:14:39 UTC Tuesday 20th March 2012
The epicenter was 23 km (14 miles) North from Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, Mexico
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake KALIMANTAN, INDONESIA - 20th Mar 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck Kalimantan, Indonesia at a depth of 17.9 km (11.1 miles), the quake hit at 19:43:28 UTC Tuesday 20th March 2012
The epicenter was 143 km (89 miles) South from Tarakan, Kalimantan, Indonesia
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake OAXACA, MEXICO - 20th Mar 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck Oaxaca, Mexico at a depth of 18.7 km (11.6 miles), the quake hit at 19:34:12 UTC Tuesday 20th March 2012
The epicenter was 15 km (9.3 miles) WSW from Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, Mexico
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE OAXACA, MEXICO - 20th Mar 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck Offshore Oaxaca, Mexico at a depth of 13.1 km (8.1 miles), the quake hit at 19:19:51 UTC Tuesday 20th March 2012
The epicenter was 36 km (22 miles) WSW from Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, Mexico
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Herbie Hide Home Stabbing: Third Arrest Over Stabbing At Boxer's Home

A third man has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the stabbing of a man at a party at the home of former world champion boxer Herbie Hide.

The 20-year-old man is from the Norwich area and has been detained for questioning, Norfolk Police said.

Earlier on Tuesday an 18-year-old man was also arrested in connection with the incident and remains in custody.

The first person arrested on Monday, a 16-year-old boy also from the Norwich area, has been released on bail.

The stabbing victim, Tafadzwa Kahn, was from St Giles Street in Norwich. Read More

TORNADO WARNING FOR NORTHWESTERN CALCASIEU PARISH IN SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA

TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LAKE CHARLES LA
246 PM CDT TUE MAR 20 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LAKE CHARLES HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHWESTERN CALCASIEU PARISH IN SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA...
THIS INCLUDES VINTON...

* UNTIL 315 PM CDT

* AT 241 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 7 MILES
SOUTHWEST OF VINTON...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 20 MPH.

* THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
VINTON BY 305 PM CDT...
EDGERLY AND LUNITA BY 315 PM CDT...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RADAR INDICATES A TORNADO MAY FORM AT ANY
TIME. TAKE COVER NOW! ABANDON MOBILE HOMES AND VEHICLES. MOVE TO AN
INTERIOR ROOM OR HALLWAY ON THE LOWEST FLOOR AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 500 PM CDT TUESDAY AFTERNOON
FOR SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA AND SOUTHEAST TEXAS.

PLEASE REPORT SEVERE WEATHER TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AT
337-477-5285 EXTENSION 1. Source

Tornado Watch for CENTRAL AND EASTERN ARKANSAS

TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 93
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
255 PM CDT TUE MAR 20 2012

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A

TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

CENTRAL AND EASTERN ARKANSAS


EFFECTIVE THIS TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 255 PM UNTIL

1000 PM CDT.

TORNADOES...HAIL TO 1 INCH IN DIAMETER...THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS

TO 70 MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS.

THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 55 STATUTE

MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 75 MILES NORTH NORTHEAST OF
LITTLE ROCK ARKANSAS TO 45 MILES SOUTH SOUTHWEST OF MONTICELLO
ARKANSAS. FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE
ASSOCIATED WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU3).

REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR

TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.

OTHER WATCH INFORMATION... CONTINUE...WW 92...

DISCUSSION...COMPOSITE OUTFLOW BOUNDARY CURRENTLY ROUGHLY BISECTING

AR WILL SERVE AS A FOCUS FOR INCREASING TSTM DEVELOPMENT THROUGH
LATE AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING AS IT SLOWLY PROGRESSES EASTWARD...WITH
OTHER TSTMS POSSIBLE IN THE ADJACENT WARM SECTOR. A RELATIVELY
WARM/MOIST BOUNDARY LAYER IN CONJUNCTION WITH STRONG/DEEP SOUTHERLY
FLOW MAY YIELD STRONGER/SEVERE UPDRAFTS WITH THE QLCS...INCLUDING
EMBEDDED BOWING STRUCTURES AND A FEW SUPERCELLS. ISOLATED DAMAGING
WINDS AND A COUPLE OF TORNADOES MAY BE POSSIBLE IN ADDITION TO HEAVY
RAINFALL. Source

Egypt reports third bird flu death of 2012‎

A confirmed case of H5N1 avian influenza in Egypt has taken the life of a woman from Dakahlia Governorate according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO said Monday; the Ministry of Health and Population of Egypt notified the global health body about the new case of human infection with bird flu.

According to the WHOs Global Alert and Response, the victim was a 40-year-old female who developed symptoms on 6 March 2012, was hospitalized on 12 March 2012. She was in critical condition and received oseltamivir upon admission. She died on 15 March 2012.

Like so many avian influenza patients, the woman was exposed to sick backyard poultry according to the investigation into the case.

Laboratory confirmation of H5N1 avian influenza was performed by the Central Public Health Laboratories(NIC).

This is the sixth case of human infection with bird flu in Egypt this year, and the third case to be fatal. Source

Santorini caldera the Greek volcano gathers magma‎

GEORGIA TECH (US) — After more than 60 years of inactivity, the magma chamber of a Greek volcano is filling up again.

A picturesque island in the Aegean Sea, Santorini is a tourist magnet, famous for its breathtaking, cliff side views and sunsets. Until now, the volcanic island has been relatively calm since its last eruption in 1950.

The Santorini caldera is awake again and rapidly deforming at levels never seen before.
“After decades of little activity, a series of earthquakes and deformation began within the Santorini caldera in January of 2011,” says Andrew Newman, a geophysicist at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Newman, who has studied Santorini since setting up more than 20 GPS stations on the island in 2006, reports his findings in Geophysical Research Letters.

“Since then, our instruments on the northern part of the island have moved laterally between five and nine centimeters. The volcano’s magma chamber is filling, and we are keeping a close eye on its activity.” Read More

Big earthquake hits Mexico, no major damage reported

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A major earthquake struck Mexico on Tuesday, damaging buildings, scaring residents and prompting evacuations across the capital, although there were no early reports of serious damage.

Office buildings shook and office employees fled into the street when the 7.6-magnitude quake rattled Mexico City. Cell phone lines went down and traffic snarled in the capital moments after the quake, which lasted for more than a minute.

"I swear I never felt one so strong, I thought the building was going to collapse," said Sebastian Herrera, 42, a businessman from a neighborhood hit hard in Mexico's devastating 1985 earthquake, which killed thousands.

Television images showed part of a bridge collapsed onto a vehicle on Tuesday. It wasn't immediately clear if anyone was injured.

Some buildings in the trendy district of Condesa were cracked, though mayor Marcelo Ebrard said via his twitter account there was no sign of major damage to the city from the air after conducting a helicopter flyover. Read More

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake OAXACA, MEXICO - 20th Mar 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck Oaxaca, Mexico at a depth of 25 km (16.1 miles), the quake hit at 19:02:44 UTC Tuesday 20th March 2012
The epicenter was 34 km (21 miles) SSE from Ometepec, Guerrero, Mexico
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Dead coyotes found dumped in Belchertown‎

BELCHERTOWN, Mass. (WHDH) -- Environmental police are investigating a disturbing discovery after more than a dozen coyotes were found dead in Belchertown.

The bodies of 13 coyotes were found dumped on a lumber property in Belchertown. The landowner, Janis Sugrue says her neighbor was out riding his horse when he noticed the dead animals.

“It looks like somebody possibly killed the dogs and threw them into the bush here,” she said.
Officials say coyote hunting season ended on March 8, and the dumping of animals is illegal.
So far no arrests have been made. Source

Four white rhinos die at Dubbo Zoo‎, Australia

OUR white rhinoceroses, including a calf, have died of a mystery virus at Dubbo’s Taronga Park Western Plains Zoo.

The rhinos reportedly died in recent days after showing neurological abnormalities, such as stumbling, sparking an urgent veterinary investigation and the immediate quarantining of three remaining white rhinos.

The four dead animals were either imported, or the progeny of, rhinos imported from South Africa’s Kruger National Park in 2003.

No other animals, including the zoo’s display of nine black rhinos, have been affected by the virus.

Veterinarians at the zoo are in round-the-clock contact with rhinoceros specialist in Africa and North America.

Tests to date reportedly have ruled out Hendra virus, exposure to toxins, snakebite and bacterial infection as among the causes of death. Source

Thousands of dead fish seen in Pasir Ris‎, Singapore

Thousands of small dead fish were found today along Sungei Api Api, which flows along an HDB estate and Pasir Ris Park.

Thousands more were also found along the banks of Pasir Ris Beach, reported The Straits Times.

National water agency PUB said the marine fish seems to have been washed in at the tide. According to the paper, it found out about the incident this morning.

Workers have already started cleaning up, and were seen scooping up the dead fish into black plastic bags for disposal.

The incident has no impact on Singapore's drinking water, said a PUB spokesman, as the river is not part of Singapore's drinking water supply.

The cause of the incident is being investigated by the NEA. Source

Northern Minnesota river fish kill: Low oxygen levels blamed

Thousands of fish, including many game fish, have died in a fish kill on the Pelican River near Orr, said Kevin Peterson, Department of Natural Resources area fisheries supervisor at International Falls.

"It was a substantial fish kill. It's an unfortunate loss of our fisheries resource," Peterson said.

The kill, probably caused by low oxygen levels in the water, occurred in an approximately 2-mile stretch of the Pelican River from the dam at St. Louis County Highway 23 and downstream past U.S. Highway 53, Peterson said. The fish kill was first reported Thursday, March 15, Peterson said. A fisheries crew visited the site Monday and traveled the river by canoe to assess the extent of the kill.

"They saw a lot of northern pike, one smallmouth bass, lots and lots and lots of black crappies - probably thousands from 3 inches and up,"

Peterson said. "They saw some larger bluegills up to 10 inches, lots of yellow perch and bullheads and suckers."

Tom Burri, assistant area fisheries supervisor at International Falls, was part of the crew that checked out the kill. Read More

Toulouse killer could strike again - French prosecutor

The gunman who killed seven people in three shootings in the south of France could strike again, the prosecutor leading the investigation has said.

All the victims were shot in the head at point-blank range, Francois Molins told a news conference in Paris.

But he downplayed the significance of a camera which the gunman may have been carrying when he killed four people at a Jewish school in Toulouse on Monday.

Three soldiers of North African descent were also shot dead on 11 and 15 March.

Schools across France observed a minute's silence on Tuesday morning. Read More

Daniel Robert Lehi Ferry was detained yesterday after an investigation sparked by Annie Kasprzak's being pulled out of the Jordan River, Utah

A 31-year-old man who allegedly killed a 15-year-old girl because she refused to have sex with him has been arrested on suspicion of her murder.

Daniel Robert Lehi Ferry was detained yesterday after an investigation sparked by Annie Kasprzak's bloody and bruised body being pulled out of the Jordan River, Utah, last week.

The Riverton teenager was last seen on March 10, when she left home following an argument, and her body was found the following day.

A witness has claimed she saw Ferry physically assault his alleged victim in a home after she refused to have sex with him, Draper police wrote in a report to Salt Lake County jail.

The same witness also said they saw him take her unconscious body out of the home and place her in a vehicle. Read More

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake OAXACA, MEXICO - 20th Mar 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck Oaxaca, Mexico at a depth of 10.1 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 18:35:40 UTC Tuesday 20th March 2012
The epicenter was 25 km (15 miles) NNW from Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, Mexico
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake OAXACA, MEXICO - 20th Mar 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck Oaxaca, Mexico at a depth of 18 km (11.2 miles), the quake hit at 18:22:34 UTC Tuesday 20th March 2012
The epicenter was 18 km (11 miles) West from Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, Mexico
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Astronomers find extraordinary rectangular galaxy

A rare rectangular galaxy with a striking resemblance to an emerald cut diamond has been discovered by astronomers.

The star gazers - from Australia, Germany, Switzerland and Finland - discovered the quirky cosmic phenomenon within a group of 250 galaxies some 70 million light years away.

‘In the Universe around us, most galaxies exist in one of three forms - spheroidal, disc-like, or lumpy and irregular in appearance,’ said Associate Professor Alister Graham from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.

He said the rare rectangular-shaped galaxy was a very unusual object.

He added: ‘It's one of those things that just makes you smile because it shouldn't exist, or rather you don't expect it to exist. Read More

7.9 Magnitude Earthquake OAXACA, MEXICO - 20th Mar 2012

A magnitude 7.9 earthquake has struck Oaxaca, Mexico at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 18:02:53 UTC Tuesday 20th March 2012
The epicenter was 52 km (32 miles) Northeast from Ometepec (population 17.801), Guerrero, Mexico
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

More to follow....

Note: USGS has just downgraded the earthquake to a 7.6 Magnitude with a depth of 17.5 km

Reports from Mexico are putting this earthquake at a 6.5 Magnitude lasting as long as 5 Minutes - Thousands have been evacuated from buildings and homes.

Power outages have been reported in the City, first reports from authorities indicate no reports of casualties or visible damage.

Marcelo Ebrard, head of the Government of Mexico reported via twitter that he went in the air in a helicopter and can not see any visible damage at the moment.

6.2 Magnitude Earthquake PAPUA, INDONESIA - 20th Mar 2012

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake has struck Papua, Indonesia at a depth of 66.9 km (41.6 miles), the quake hit at 17:56:19 UTC Tuesday 20th March 2012
The epicenter was 154 km (96 miles) SSW from Jayapura, Irian Jaya, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Robert Bales scammed Gary Liebschner of more than $800,000 in a stock scam just before he enlisted in the army and Slaughtered 16 Civilians

The U.S. soldier accused of gunning down 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, was more than $1million in debt and had defrauded a pensioner out of his life savings, it has been claimed.

Federal documents show how Staff Sgt Robert Bales scammed pensioner Gary Liebschner of Carroll, Ohio, of more than $800,000 in a stock scam just before he enlisted in the army.

Financial regulators found in 2003 how Bales 'engaged in fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, churning, unauthorised trading and unsuitable investments'.

Liebschner claims the then stock broker, working for Ohio brokerage firm MPI, took his life savings of $852,000 in AT&T stock and reduced its value to nothing through a series of trades.

Alongside his associates, Bales was ordered to pay his victim $1,274,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. But he has not yet done so.

Liebschner told ABC News he recognised 'smooth talker' Bales after news reports about the massacre. Read More

Anne Jeevarajah and her Husband jailed after telling pensioner his winning lottery ticket was worthless... then trying to claim the £156,000 prize

A newsagent has been jailed after she stole a winning lottery ticket taken to her shop by a loyal customer - and her husband tried to claim the £156,000 prize.

Shopkeeper Anne Jeevarajah, 38, kept the lucky ticket when winner Gwyn Badham-Davies, 73, took it to her store to see if he had won.

She checked it on her machine at the family's shop in Hingham, near Watton, Norfolk, but did not tell the pensioner he had won a small fortune.

Her husband, Alfred Jeevarajah, 45, then brazenly rang up lottery organisers Camelot and told them he had won.

The couple were jailed for 14 months each at Norwich Crown Court yesterday. Read More

Croydon Police Station Explosions: Police officers evacuated from station as explosion rips through armory injuring Seven

A police station has been evacuated in south London after seven people were injured in an explosion this morning, including an officer.

A fire is believed to have broken out shortly after the blast at Croydon police station's armoury, leading to fears that there could be further explosions.

Ten fire engines and 50 firefighters were sent to the scene and were this afternoon dealing with the incident in the basement of the building.

A Met Police spokesman said that four of the injured are building contractors who were carrying out work within the station which currently has scaffolding around the outside.

Another two people were civilian staff while the seventh person was a serving officer.

Two and a half hours after the fire started, London Fire Brigade confirmed that they had contained the blaze. Read More

Police issue warning to internet daters after woman is raped and beaten by man she met online, South West London

Internet daters have been warned after a legal secretary was raped by a man she met on a popular dating website.

Peter Ramsey, 26, beat the woman to the ground, ripped off her tights and had sex with her when she refused him a goodnight kiss at her front door.

Ramsey punched the 27-year-old repeatedly knocking out one of her front teeth and left her with 21 injuries.

Her facial wounds were among the most shocking detectives investigating the case had ever seen.

The sex attacker was caught after using the victim's Oyster travelcard to board a nightbus within minutes of the attack in Clapham, south west London.

Ramsey and the woman had spent four days chatting on plentyoffish.com site which claims on its homepage to be 'responsible for more dates and more relationships than any other dating site'. Read More

Maria Ángeles Molina killed friend then used semen from brothel to make it look as though she'd been raped and murdered

A Spanish businesswoman killed her workmate and then injected the semen of male prostitutes into her mouth and vagina to make it look as if she had been raped and murdered.

María Ángeles Molina was jailed for 22 years yesterday for the grisly crime committed to cover up identify theft and plot to steal €1million in an insurance scame.

The killer, known as Angie, lured her friend Ana Páez to a Barcelona apartment she had fraudulently rented in her victim's name just three days before.

She sedated her friend before placing a plastic bag over her head and sealing it with gaffer tape.

To make it look like her victim had been raped, Molina then injected the semen, which she had obtained from a brothel.

The elaborate cover-up came after Molina had stolen Páez's identity and used it to take out bank loans and insurance policies worth €1million in her name.

She was pictured on CCTV entering a bank, wearing a wig, to withdraw €600 from an account in her victim's name. Read More

Aaron Wilkinson a Army veteran 'shot landlady dead at point blank range because he didn't kill anyone while serving in Afghanistan'

A former soldier who wanted to see what it was like to shoot someone after returning from Afghanistan without firing a single shot gunned down his landlady, a court heard today.

Aaron Wilkinson, 24, from, Woodlesford, Leeds, is accused of murdering 52-year-old Judith Garnett by shooting her in the chest and head in her home in January 2011.

A jury at Bradford Crown Court heard that Wilkinson seemed disappointed at not having fired a single shot while in Afghanistan and had a fascination with what it was like to shoot someone.

Opening the trial, prosecutor Richard Mansell QC said Wilkinson was diagnosed with 'post-traumatic stress reaction' by an Army doctor and had since also been found to suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome, or a similar condition. Read More

Crocodile skull found on Jurassic coast is from a previously unknown species

The prehistoric creature – a forerunner of modern saltwater crocodiles – would have measured 3.5 metres from nose to tail

The fossilised skull of an ancient beast that snapped at dinosaurs from the swamps of Swanage belongs to a previously unknown species of crocodile.

A passing expert chanced upon the well-preserved skull – somewhat flattened from 130m years in limestone – when it was exposed by a rock fall on the Dorset coast in 2007. In the five years since, researchers at Bristol University have pored over the specimen and compared it with other fossils, before finally declaring the creature a species new to science.

The metre-long skull was the dangerous front end of a forerunner of modern saltwater crocodiles, measuring 3.5 metres from nose to tail. The reptile fed on fish, turtles and other creatures in the warm swamps and lagoons that dotted tropical forests stalked by dinosaurs, Read More

Tornado Touches Down Near San Antonio, Causing Damage And Injuries

(CNN) -- A suspected tornado touched down in south-central Texas on Monday, the National Weather Service said, as a slow-moving line of storms brought high winds, heavy rains and large hail as it swept eastward.

The Medina County, Texas, Sheriff's Office "received over 300 calls indicating there is damage or injuries" due to the storm, said a woman from the sheriff's office who identified herself only as Heather.

This came after one twister landed around 8 p.m. Monday near Natalia, a town of about 1,400 residents that is in the county.

"It struck us pretty hard," she said from the county, which is about 30 miles west of San Antonio. "At this point, we have unknown (amount) of injuries, but we have a lot of damage."

Charlie's Ice House, a bar in Devine, was in shambles after potent winds barreled through, ripping off its roof.

"It happened so fast and everyone was getting away from the doors ... and then it was over," said co-owner Marilyn Banks, adding that none of the 20 to 25 people inside suffered much more than a few scratches. Read More

Cargo ship runs aground off Uist, Scotland

A cargo vessel has been escorted to Stornoway after it ran aground off North Uist on Monday night.

The 112m-long (367ft) Dutch-registered MV Flinterspirit became stuck on Flodday Mor Island on its way from Sweden to Belfast at about 22:45.

All 10 people on board were safe and well and the crew managed to successfully refloat the 4,500-tonne vessel at high tide at about 05:00.

RNLI lifeboats from Barra and Stornoway had escorted the vessel.

It will be inspected in Stornoway on Lewis before being allowed to continue its journey.

The accident came just days after the emergency coastguard tugboat was withdrawn from the Minch as part of a cost-cutting drive by the UK government. Read More

One killed, two missing in Kashmir avalanche, India

Srinagar: One person was killed while two others were trapped under heaps of snow as two avalanches struck Gurez area near the Line of Control in Bandipora district of Kashmir.

A civilian vehicle with five persons on board including the driver were caught in the avalanches which struck at around 7 PM last evening on Kanzalwan road in Gurez, 124 kms from here, a defence spokesman said.

He said three persons were pulled out alive from the avalanche by a joint rescue team of civil administration and army while two persons were still trapped.

One of the rescued persons succumbed to injuries later, the spokesman said; adding efforts were on to trace the other two persons.

Air force helicopters have been kept on standby for evacuating the injured, an official of the Natural Disaster Management Cell said. He said heavy rains in the area were hampering the rescue efforts. Read More

New Zealand: North Island hammered by winds, Bringing down trees - More to come

Heavy winds battering the North Island have brought down trees and caused havoc on the roads as forecasters warn of more bad weather to come.

The storm that hammered Northland yesterday spread further south overnight, with heavy rain lashing the top of the North Island and winds gusting to 120km/h in the central and lower North Island.

The Fire Service said trees had fallen in Taranaki and the central North Island, while Gisborne police said there had been some surface flooding and felled trees south of the city.

Trees have blocked State Highway 5 between Taupo and Napier, and have also fallen on SH47 near Turangi and SH1 between Taupo and Turangi. Read More