Saturday, July 9, 2011
A magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck in the Tonga Region at a depth of 28.7 km (17.8 miles). The quake hit at 06:53:48 UTC Saturday 9th July 2011. The epicenter was 69 km (42 miles) east of Nuku'Alofa, Tonga. This earthquake was quickly followed by a 5.3 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 23.7 km (14.7 miles) at 07:08:21 UTC Saturday 9th July 2011. The epicenter was 58 km (36 miles) east of Nuku'Alofa, Tonga. No tsunami watch, warning or advisory is in effect. There are no reports of any damage as yet.
The first fatality in the United States associated with the outbreak of E. Coli O104:H4 in Europe was an Arizona man who had traveled to Germany, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Friday.
The CDC had been investigating whether the man's death in June was related to the outbreak. In its update on the investigation, the CDC said the sprouts-linked outbreak centered in Europe includes six cases of O104:H4 infection in the U.S. Five of the U.S. patients were exposed to the pathogen in Germany and one had close contact with a patient in Michigan. In addition to Arizona and Michigan, the illnesses were reported in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and North Carolina. Five of the U.S. patients, including the Arizona man who died, developed the severe kidney-damaging complication, hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS. European public health authorities have said the likely cause of the outbreak was a single lot of Egyptian fenugreek seeds imported to Europe and used to grow sprouts that were consumed in Germany and France. The European Union has ordered a recall and temporary ban of fenugreek seeds.
"Given the possible severe health impact of exposure to a small quantity of contaminated material, and in the absence of information regarding the source and means of contamination and possible cross-contamination, all lots of fenugreek seeds from the identified exporter should be considered suspect," the CDC report stated. The CDC update reinforced earlier reports, which have said the O104:H4 strain of E. coli, while rare, is not unlike various strains of E. coli in nature. "E. coli, like many other bacteria, exchange genetic material and there is no evidence to think that this strain has been modified intentionally," the CDC stated. "Because of minimal person-to-person transmission associated with this strain, there is also no evidence to indicate that it will cause a pandemic or spread around the world." On Thursday, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control revised its outbreak toll downward, explaining that the EU had adjusted the numbers to include only probable and confirmed cases. Given that, the latest total from the World Health Organization was 3,941 illnesses and 52 deaths in a dozen European countries and North America. - Food Safety News.
East Africa is in the midst of its worst drought in more than 60 years, with as many as 10 million people at risk.
The drought has led to crop failures and food shortages in parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia, and now a refugee crisis looms as people leave their homes to escape hunger. The U.N. says thousands of Somalis are leaving their country, ending up in parched and overcrowded refugee camps. Dadaab in Kenya is the world's largest refugee camp. Intended for 90,000 people, the U.N. says there are now more than 380,000 there. And things look set to get worse. "All the predictions show seasonal rains are far away and the situation will deteriorate -- we have not even reached the peak of the crisis," said Dr. Unni Krishnan, disaster coordinator for children's development organization Plan International. He says failed rains, high food prices and regional conflict have conspired to create a "deadly combination" for the region. Rainfall in the Horn of Africa has declined steadily over the past 10 years, according to the U.N. World Food Program (WFP), but recent years have been especially dry. "The rains just didn't come," said Judith Schuler, of the WFP in Ethiopia. "Normally there are big rains in November-December and then again in the spring, but neither really came," she added. - CNN.
Thousands of dead fish are washing up on the shores of Lake Michigan.
"It brings back the horror stories we used to have in Milwaukee with the enormous populations of alewives would wash up and destroy our beaches," said Dan Steininger, of Milwaukee. Experts said small, shiny fishes, called alewives, have been dying off and showing up on beaches around Lake Michigan in recent weeks. WISN 12 News found them at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee and at Doctor's Park in Fox Point. "Usually, when they die off, it creates a layer of fish in the water and stuff. You can see some in their last throws in the lake, but it's not too bad," said Chris Reed-Waddell, of Milwaukee. These fish are invasive species, local experts said, and it's not unusual for them to die off and wash up on shore. Dr. Harvey Bootsma of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Water Institute said alewives have made their way to the Great Lakes from the Atlantic ocean, but conditions there are a little rougher than what they're used to in the marine environment."And usually around this time of year when they're spawning, and there's rapid temperature changes in the lake. We do get die-offs," Bootsma said.Experts said they believe the die-offs this year look larger than usual because alewives had a successful spawn last year."So they produced a lot of young last year. Those young are about 1-year-old now, and so we're probably just seeing more die-offs this year just because there were more fish in the lake this year," Bootsma said.Experts said there's no reason for concern because the die-off could be over within a couple of weeks as wind and currents push the fish off the shore. - WISN.
A magnitude 5.5 earthquake has struck of the coast of the North Island of New Zealand at a depth of 18.3 km ( 11.4 miles). The quake hit at 14:40:45 UTC Saturday 9th July 2011. The epicenter was 303 km (188 miles) northeast of Rotorua, New Zealand. No tsunami watch, warning or advisory is in effect. There are no reports of any damage as yet.
A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the Kermadec Islands Region at a depth of 20.4 km ( 12.7 miles). The quake hit at 12:54:22 UTC Saturday 9th July 2011. The epicenter was 156 km (96 miles) east of Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands. No tsunami watch, warning or advisory is in effect. There are no reports of any damage as yet.
A tornado has torn through the Kapiti Coast putting a person into hospital, damaging houses and causing chaos on roads.
Several other people were wounded with lacerations and blood visible. The twister and a hail storm hit at around 4pm just north of Waikanae, inflicting most damage on three rural houses on Huia Road Extension. In one home seven people were briefly trapped when the storm sent a tree crashing across it. The injured person, believed to be a woman, was in a caravan knocked over by the tornado. Vehicles on nearby State Highway One were knocked about by the tornado. Acting Sergeant Nathan Dickey, of Kapiti Police, said a young man in the second car suffered cuts and was in shock. He said cars were "sledging all over the place''. Firefighter John Arthur told Radio New Zealand he saw a large amount of damage. "There was one car on its side lying in a ditch and there were three other cars which had a fair bit of damage. "The big, historic woolshed was quite badly damaged and I could see another building, possibly a shed, had been demolished." Local Hector Sharp said it was “bloody scary” with at least 20 trees knocked down. "One van picked up and thrown five metres into paddock, two or more sheds taken out and one Linkhouse all windows smashed, corrugated iron sheets flying 20 metres in air missing cars narrowly.'' Waikanae resident Joshua Tabor said the weather bomb came in from the south. - Stuff.
Another Oklahoma lake is stricken with a poisonous algae. The Army of Corps of Engineers has closed Taylor's Ferry Swim Beach at Ft. Gibson Lake because of a blue green algae bloom discovered there.
The Corps closed the beach until further notice as a precaution Friday. "We do get quite a few people come out here and just enjoy the beach because it's one of our biggest ones that we have," Josh Mathis, a Park Ranger at Fort Gibson, said. Park Rangers put up signs and locks to keep people out of the water. Official signage went up Friday afternoon warning swimmers that these parts aren't safe for diving in. "We had at Grand Lake, but we didn't know about it here, so we just came to go swimming at this beach and it was closed," Abbie Tiffany said. - News On 6.
WATCH: Report on the algae bloom.
Giant swarms of locusts are said to be threatening the food supply for nearly 20 million people in Russia.