Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits the Azores.

5.0 Earthquake hits off the east coast of Kamchatka, Russia.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Izu Islands off Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Eastern Pacific Tropical Storm Celia is located about 1555 mi (2500 km) W of the southern tip of Baja California. Weakening, there are no watches or warnings in effect.

Hurricane Darby becomes the third hurricane of the east Pacific season, located about 570 mi (920 km) SSW of the southern tip of Baja California. No watches or warnings in effect.

Newsbytes:

Wisconsin, USA – Update – At least two people have died in the flooding caused by powerful storms that damaged homes, washed out roads and stranded motorists in Wisconsin.

South Sudan – The residents of Aweil are furious at the government for not constructing dikes that would have prevented the current flooding caused by heavy rainfalls. Over 3000 households are said to be affected by the floods in Aweil town. The poor drainage system in the State has left Aweil experiencing floods every year. The rainy season is just beginning and is expected to peak in August and September.

Environment

Florida’s waterways have been chocked with toxic algae

A thick and toxic algae has spread throughout the waterways of Florida and continues to bring certain industries and residents in the US state to their knees.

The putrid algal blooms, which have been described as “guacamole-like”, have plagued the state’s waterways since last month.

The toxic sludge can cause rashes and respiratory problems in humans, is killing wildlife and dramatically impacting on the area’s tourism industry.

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Space Events

In Cosmic First, Scientists Spy a Star’s Snow Line

For the first time, astronomers have caught a glimpse of the water snow line around a star — the point in the young star’s orbiting disk of debris where snow and ice first appear.

Normally, that boundary huddles too close to the star for astronomers to see it, but this particular star had a sudden burst of brightness that superheated its disk, obliterating ice further out than usual.

Researchers are excited to spot their first stellar snow line because of the vital part it plays in the formation of planets around young stars: The rocky section forms planets like Earth and Mars, while the snowy outskirts sprout gaseous worlds like Jupiter and Saturn.

A newborn star is surrounded by an orbiting pancake of gas, dust and debris — the raw materials from which its complement of alien planets will eventually form. Most stars are hot enough to evaporate the water in that disk up to about 280 million miles (450 million kilometres) from the center, which is three times the distance from Earth to the sun, allowing ice to coat the debris beyond. (The water skips its liquid phase because of the extremely low pressure in space.)

The star V883 Orionis, found 1,350 light-years from Earth in the constellation Orion, burns quite a bit hotter than usual — it is in the midst of a burst of brightness and heat from a sudden influx of new material. That let the star vaporize ice all the way out to 3.7 billion miles (6 billion km), or the average distance at which Pluto orbits the sun, catching researchers by surprise.

V883 orionis snow line illustration

Disease

Texas, USA: 1st Zika related microcephaly case

Harris County Public Health (HCPH) has confirmed the first Zika related microcephaly case in Harris County and in the State of Texas. HCPH received a positive Zika test result for an infant who has been diagnosed with microcephaly at birth. The mother, who traveled from Latin America, was tested for Zika, but had received inconclusive results.

Olympic Games – Zika Virus

With the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil less than a month away, concerns are mounting that the international event may spread the Zika virus to more countries around the world.

Visitors to the Games are expected to have a low probability of mosquito-borne Zika infections because the Games will occur during the winter season in Rio de Janeiro (August 5-21 and September 7-18, respectively) when the cooler and drier weather typically reduces mosquito populations. CDC conducted a risk analysis to predict those countries at risk for Zika virus importation exclusively attributable to the Games.

Whereas all countries are at risk for travel-associated exportation of Zika virus, CDC estimated Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Yemen as having unique risk attributable to their travel for the Games. These four countries do not have substantial travel to any country with local Zika virus transmission, except for their participation in the Games, and have environmental conditions and population susceptibility to sustain mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus.

Prevention recommendations for athletes and all other visitors to the Games include that: – Pregnant women should not travel to the Games. – All visitors should take steps to prevent mosquito bites, both during travel and for 3 weeks after returning home. – All visitors should take measures to prevent sexual transmission.

H5N1 avian influenza: Six African countries battle the bird flu

Countries across West and Central Africa are on alert as the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 continues to spread across the region, with Cameroon becoming the latest African country to detect the disease. The strain can infect and cause death in humans and kills poultry at a high rate.

The latest H5N1 outbreaks were recently confirmed on chicken farms in Cameroon putting the poultry production in the country and its neighbours at high risk. This is the first time the disease has been found in Central Africa since 2006.

This brings the number of countries that have battled bird flu in West and Central Africa to six, also including Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger and Nigeria.

Nigeria continues to be most affected with the total number of outbreaks exceeding 750 with nearly 3.5 million birds dead or culled. The newly recorded outbreaks in Cameroon raise significant concerns that the disease may be advancing southward, triggering national and global emergency responses to contain the disease, and health screenings of poultry workers.