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Major 7.8 magnitude earthquake strikes off Indonesia

earthquake near indonesiaThe quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometres, triggering a tsunami alert for parts of Sumatra [EPA]

A powerful and shallow earthquake struck off Indonesia's Sumatra island, sending panicked residents rushing from their homes in a region hit hard by quakes and tsunamis in the past.

The quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometres on Wednesday, triggering a tsunami alert for parts of Sumatra, including West Sumatra, North Sumatra and Aceh, the local BMKG quake monitoring agency said.


Dwindling bee, butterfly populations pose global agriculture threat

bee and butterflu population dwindlingImportant invertebrate pollinator species, like the honeybee and butterfly, are under a threat of extinction due to a number of environmental pressures, many of them man-made, a new study found.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services released a detailed assessment regarding pollinators Friday during its fourth plenary in Malaysia. Results come from a two-year, United Nations-sponsored study conducted by the panel.


Severe storm outbreak spawns deadly tornadoes in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi

Storms in FloridaA significant severe weather outbreak will continue through Wednesday across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic.

Three people were killed as a result of the storms on Tuesday, including two at a Louisiana mobile home park that was torn apart by a tornado. More than two dozen tornadoes were reported on Tuesday.

Jacksonville, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia, will face the risk of tornadoes early in the day. By the afternoon, the storms could spawn tornadoes as far north as Richmond, Virginia.


Seared by climate change, Nicaragua’s small farmers face food crisis

climate change brings drought and hunger to NicaraguaAs Olman Fuzez turned over a bucket of millet, an old fan on full blast separated out small leaves and rocks. Nearby stood a small rusty silo that once stored maize. “It has been empty for three years,” said Fuzez.  “We didn´t eat millet before, but now we have no choice.”

For two years straight, Fuzez has lost his entire corn crop due to a prolonged drought. For dinner his extended family of six will eat millet tortillas with a small portion of beans — they have enough beans to last only three more months, and not enough money to buy seeds for the next planting season.


Earth's oceans are rising at fastest rate in past 28 centuries

seas rising at fastest rate in 28 centuriesThe oceans are rising faster than at any point in the past 28 centuries, and human emissions of greenhouse gases are primarily responsible, scientists reported Monday.

They added that the flooding that is starting to make life miserable in many coastal towns — like Miami Beach, Florida; Norfolk, Virginia; and Charleston, South Carolina — was largely a consequence of those emissions, and that it is likely to grow worse in coming years.


Second NY town tests positive for PFOA in water supply

NY town tests positive for PFOAA second municipal water supply has tested positive for PFOA in upstate New York.

Tests of the water for the town of Petersburgh in Rensselaer County came back positive for elevated levels of PFOA, the toxic chemical linked to cancer and other serious health conditions, town officials announced Saturday. The state Department of Health has warned local residents not to consume the water and bottled water is now being distributed.


295,000 US deaths may be prevented by 2030 with cuts to greenhouse gas

cuts to greenhouse gases America’s international climate obligations carry a significant public health benefit, with new research finding that about 295,000 premature deaths could be prevented in the country by 2030 if deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions are achieved.

At a summit in Paris in December, 196 nations, including the US, agreed to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels in order to prevent the worst effects of climate change. The agreement, the first to demand all countries slash emissions, will require major emissions reductions given that the world has already warmed by 1C during the past century.


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