Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

8.0 earthquake hits the Gulf of Alaska.

A tsunami warning was in effect along a large stretch of coastline, from Canada’s British Columbia province to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, but was later cancelled.

6.1 earthquake hits the Bougainville region in Papua New Guinea.

6.0 earthquake hits a Java, Indonesia.

5.6 earthquake hits the Gulf of Alaska.

5.1 earthquake hits the Gulf of Alaska.

5.0 earthquake hits the Gulf of Alaska.

5.0 earthquake hits the southern East Pacific rise.

5.0 earthquake hits the central mid-Atlantic Ridge.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

France – As rain keeps pouring around Paris and the level of the River Seine continues to rise – already over its banks at various points – the Paris government has issued warnings to the public and closed its quays until further notice. The swollen river has almost reached the famous Paris bridges, rendering normal navigation impossible. The companies running the Bateaux-Mouches, the large, open excursion boats that offer visitors unparalleled views of the city from the river, have suspended service. A number of rail lines are flooded as well, as are some major streets.

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New Zealand – Motorists were stranded in swamped vehicles and more than a dozen homes were awash after a storm cell unleashed a torrent of rain on an Auckland suburb this morning. The storm cell, which hit Rosedale on the North Shore just after 8am, caused an hour of chaos as roads turned to rivers and spilled into business and homes.

Britain – Homes were evacuated and roads were damaged as heavy rainfall caused landslides and flooding. Flood warnings were issued in Northampton, Wiltshire, Cornwall, Herefordshire and Somerset. In some areas, the floodwater was 5ft deep. The water level also neared 5ft in Charvil, Berkshire, as a ford became dangerously flooded. An early morning train was derailed at Loch Eilt, in the West Highlands, after a landslide smashed into the tracks. No one was hurt in the incident. Trains are unable to operate between Porth and Treherbert in south Wales due to a landslip, National Rail said.

Wildlife

Hawksbill turtle eggs hatched successfully in Singapore

More than 100 infant turtles got successfully hatched on a Singapore beach before entering the sea, according to reports. The baby turtles are known as Hawksbill turtles, and at present, the Hawksbill turtle is a critically endangered species. Hence, the latest hatching of more than 100 Hawksbill turtles has given some good news for the scientists and environmental enthusiasts who were worried about the dwindling Hawksbill turtle population.

The latest hatch marked for the third time that the Hawksbill turtle eggs hatched on the beaches of Singapore since August. But the important thing is that after a gap of eight years, the Hawksbill turtles hatched on Sentosa again.

Due to the increasing human-made activities like pollution, coastal developments poaching and fishing, the natural habitat of the Hawksbill turtles have been damaged, and the population has decreased significantly. These turtles are an easy target for hunters and poachers. They use their body parts to make turtle soup, and also their shells are used in powered form In Jelly dessert.

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Disease

Lassa Fever – Benin

The World Health Organization (WHO) is reporting a Lassa fever outbreak in Benin in four individuals who developed symptoms while residing in Nigeria and subsequently travelled to Benin. Three of the cases were fatal.

Botulism – Nigeria

Three family members contracted foodborne botulism, resulting in the deaths of the father and mother, according to the the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Fish appears to be the common food source.

Volcanos

Philippines

Intense lava fountains shot like fireworks up to 700 metres into the air above Mayon, the Philippines’ most active volcano, on Tuesday as showering debris turned morning skies dark and spread fear among anxious residents.

More than 40,000 people have already fled since smoke and ash started spewing from the mountain, with scientists warning of the danger of an explosive eruption and authorities urging people not to be complacent.

Mayon shot out a five-kilometre-high (three-mile) ash column early Tuesday as a rain of fine debris brought daytime darkness in some areas, volcanologists and local authorities said. One person is believed to have been killed while 11 were injured.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

England – Devon and Cornwall Police said heavy rainfall had caused landslides, flooding and road damage. A number of properties have been evacuated and people are being urged “not to travel” as bad weather hits the south-west of England. Numerous rivers burst their banks across Devon and Somerset, with trains across the South West facing severe delays and cancellations.

Wildlife

Ganga River Dolphins

Gangetic river dolphins, primarily found in the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers and their tributaries in Bangladesh, India and Nepal, are categorised under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and have been placed on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which signifies that the species is on the verge of extinction. These dolphins are one of the three surviving freshwater dolphin species in the world. The other two are found in the Indus in Pakistan and the Amazon in South America. A fourth species, the Yangtze river dolphin in China, has gone extinct.

The Gangetic river species are blind and find their way and prey in the river waters through sonar echoes. They live by echolocation and sound is everything to them. They navigate, feed, flee from danger, find mates, breed, nurse babies and play by echolocation alone.

The Gangetic river dolphins are being pushed to extinction due to increased pollution, decreased water flow and shrinking fish populations in the Ganga.

The already endangered Gangetic river dolphins are facing a clear and present danger from climate change, which has adversely affected their habitat. With their population registering a steady decline, the Gangetic dolphins in different parts of the eastern state of Bihar are now fighting for survival. Climate change has impacted the population of fish in the river, thus reducing the food supply of the dolphins.

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Disease

Measles – Ukraine

In the first two weeks of 2018, The Ukraine Health Ministry (computer translated) has already put the case tally at 1285 adults and children (856).

The highest number of cases was recorded in Ivano-Frankivsk (275), Chernivtsi (274), Transcarpathian (194) and Odesa (157) oblasts. In the city of Kiev (Kyiv) during this period 84 patients were registered.

Yellow fever – Brazil

The government of Minas Gerais state in southeastern Brazil decreed Saturday a public health emergency situation in three regional state for six months because of yellow fever. The measure covers the regional health units of the municipalities of Belo Horizonte, Itabira and Ponte Nova – 94 cities in total. From July last year to the beginning of this year, 22 cases of the disease were confirmed in the state. According to the State Department of Health, of these, 15 resulted in death. During this period, 40 suspected cases were ruled out, and 46 cases were investigated in 24 municipalities.

Lassa Fever – Nigeria

A fresh case of Lassa fever in Lokoja claimed the life of a seven-month-old baby. The medical doctor, who was said to have had contact with the patient has apparently contracted the disease and has been placed on the danger list.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

France – Winds of up to 160 kilometres per hour hit the Mediterranean island of Corsica on Saturday night, with winds of up to 130 kilometres per hour in the Alps, the Pyrenees and parts of Provence. Flood warnings were issued for the Meuse, Haute-Marne and Vosges départements in the east of France. Snow and ice, in some areas heavy enough to disrupt traffic and business, have been forecast in the Alps.

Wildlife

Monarch Migration

A large number of Monarch butterflies have been seen in their migratory funnel in Cape May. N.J. instead of across the Texas-Mexico border. This delayed migration is not normal, and it alarmed monarch researchers across the country. The Cape May stragglers were only a sliver of the record number of monarchs reported in the Northeast in November and December — news that sounded good initially to conservationists. But seeing butterflies so far north so late in the year suggested that few of these latecomers would reach their Mexican wintering grounds. Scientists fear that climate change is behind what they’re calling the latest monarch migration ev er recorded in the eastern United States, and they worry that rising temperatures pose a new threat to a species that saw its population hit record lows in recent years.

Known for their complex, improbable migrations, most monarchs embark on 2,000-mile journeys each fall, from breeding grounds as far north as Canada’s maritime provinces to the Sierra Madre mountains in central Mexico. (A separate western population heads mostly to Southern California.) They mate in Mexico, then fly back north to lay their eggs (and die) in the spring.

Because they’re so delicate — each weighs less than a gram — monarchs are particular about the conditions they’ll fly in, and especially vulnerable to extreme weather systems. Major storms, high winds, early freezes — all pose large-scale dangers, and the butterflies faced all of those this year. But more pernicious than that, scientists believe, are the warmer temperatures, probably a sign of climate change, which manipulated the monarchs’ instincts and pushed their migration back.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the number of monarchs has dropped from a billion in their heyday to about 33 million in 2014 — or more than 80 percent since the mid-1990s.

For decades, scientists have focused on two main causes to explain what was happening to the monarchs: loss of their habitat to development in the United States and in the Mexican winter grounds and widespread agricultural use of pesticides, which destroy milkweed, their favorite plant. But now they are looking at climate change as a new threat to this icon of conservation.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

New South Wales – Rural properties near Bowral in the Alders and Crees Road areas in Bannaby may come under threat from a grassfire, the NSW Rural Fire Service says.

The 634-hectare blaze is at watch-and-act alert level with firefighters and an aircraft on scene to try to slow its spread.

A watch and act alert has also been issued north of Tamworth, where there’s an out of control 3500-hectare fire. The RFS is concerned isolated rural properties may be threatened 10km southwest of Bundarra.

Victoria – MORE than 30 fire trucks and seven water bombers have brought a bushfire in central Victoria under control. An emergency warning issued for the towns of Campbelltown, Cotswold, Glengower, Moolort, Smeaton, Strathlea, and Ullina has been downgraded to an alert message as a result.

Disease

Influenza – San Diego, USA

San Diego County health officials have recorded a record number of influenza deaths this season and a California deer mouse caught in routine trapping in the Santa Ysabel area has tested positive for hantavirus. Flu deaths A total of 142 flu deaths have been reported through Jan. 13, 2018, the highest ever since the County began keeping records.

Guinea Worm Disease

The provisional reports for 2017 totaled 15 cases in Chad and 15 cases in Ethiopia, the only remaining countries reporting ongoing cases of the disease. All of the cases in Ethiopia occurred in migrant workers from Oromia region on an industrial farm in Abobo district of adjacent Gambella region, where in 2016 individuals drank unfiltered water from a contaminated pond, resulting in an outbreak from September through December 2017. (It takes 12-14 months for the worm to emerge after contaminated water has been consumed.)

This image depicts a method used to extract a Guinea worm from the leg vein of a human patient.

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