Added: 4. September 2010
Heavy rains have caused chaos in Australia’s southern states on Saturday, with major flooding in Victoria state, Australian media reported. (Sept. 4)
A senior Pakistan diplomat has accused “powerful” figures of diverting floodwaters into unprotected areas to save their own land.
Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Pakistan’s representative to the UN, has called for an inquiry into a “handful” of cases where influential people took “advantage of these floods and saved themselves” in a disaster that has left more than 1,600 people dead.
Mr Haroon, one of a number of senior officials including a former prime minister who have made the allegations, called for a full judicial inquiry amid claims that unprotected villages had been swamped, forcing the inhabitants to abandon their homes.
However, he said the incidents of embankments being breached by a few influential figures should not hamper the international effort to help the millions affected by the flooding.
The International Monetary Fund said yesterday that it will give Pakistan £290m in emergency aid over the coming weeks. The IMF’s managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, said yesterday that discussions on repayment of a £7.1bn loan would continue.
The announcement came amid continuing pressure on Pakistan over its handling of the unprecedented floods that have affected more than 18 million people and caused nearly £28bn of damage to infrastructure and agriculture, the mainstay of the economy.
The Amazon river has dropped to its lowest level in 40 years in north-eastern Peru, causing severe economic disruption in a region where it is the main transport route.
At least six large boats have been stranded near the port city of Iquitos.
The low water level is the result of a prolonged spell of dry weather, Peru’s national meteorological office said.
The river is expected to fall further before the rainy season begins next month.
Iquitos and other towns in Peru’s rainforest region have no road links to the rest of the country, and depend on the Amazon and its tributaries for transport.
Smoking it does destroy the brain, BUT …
(Watch the video “Hemp For Victory below.”)
They say marijuana is dangerous. Pot is not harmful to the human body or mind. Marijuana does not pose a threat to the general public. Marijuana is very much a danger to the oil companies, alcohol, tobacco industries and a large number of chemical corporations. Big businesses, with plenty of dollars and influence, have suppressed the truth from the people. The truth is, if marijuana was utilized for its vast array of commercial products, it would create an industrial atomic bomb! The super rich have conspired to spread misinformation about the plant that, if used properly, would ruin their companies.
Where did the word ‘marijuana’ come from? In the mid 1930s, the M-word was created to tarnish the good image and phenomenal history of the hemp plant – as you will read. The facts cited here, with references, are generally verifiable in the Encyclopedia Britannica which was printed on hemp paper for 150 years :
1) All schoolbooks were made from hemp or flax paper until the 1880s. (Jack Frazier. Hemp Paper Reconsidered. 1974.)
2) It was legal to pay taxes with hemp in America from 1631 until the early 1800s. (LA Times. Aug. 12, 1981.)
3) Refusing to grow hemp in America during the 17th and 18th centuries was against the law! You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769 (G. M. Herdon. Hemp in Colonial Virginia).
4) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers grew hemp. (Washington and Jefferson Diaries. Jefferson smuggled hemp seeds from China to France then to America.)
5) Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in America, and it processed hemp. Also, the War of 1812 was fought over hemp. Napoleon wanted to cut off Moscow’s export to England. (Jack Herer. Emperor Wears No Clothes.)
6) For thousands of years, 90% of all ships’ sails and rope were made from hemp. The word ‘canvas’ is Dutch for cannabis. (Webster’s New World Dictionary.)
7) 80% of all textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes, bed sheets, etc., were made from hemp until the 1820s, with the introduction of the cotton gin.
8) The first Bibles, maps, charts, Betsy Ross’s flag, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp. (U.S. Government Archives.)
9) The first crop grown in many states was hemp. 1850 was a peak year for Kentucky producing 40,000 tons. Hemp was the largest cash crop until the 20th century. (State Archives.)
10) Oldest known records of hemp farming go back 5000 years in China, although hemp industrialization probably goes back to ancient Egypt.
Antarctic cold snap kills millions of aquatic animals in the Amazon.
With high Andean peaks and a humid tropical forest, Bolivia is a country of ecological extremes. But during the Southern Hemisphere’s recent winter, unusually low temperatures in part of the country’s tropical region hit freshwater species hard, killing an estimated 6 million fish and thousands of alligators, turtles and river dolphins.
Scientists who have visited the affected rivers say the event is the biggest ecological disaster Bolivia has known, and, as an example of a sudden climatic change wreaking havoc on wildlife, it is unprecedented in recorded history.
“There’s just a huge number of dead fish,” says Michel Jégu, a researcher from the Institute for Developmental Research in Marseilles, France, who is currently working at the Noel Kempff Mercado Natural History Museum in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. “In the rivers near Santa Cruz there’s about 1,000 dead fish for every 100 metres of river.”
With such extreme climatic events potentially becoming more common due to climate change, scientists are hurrying to coordinate research into the impact, and how quickly the ecosystem is likely to recover.
The extraordinary quantity of decomposing fish flesh has polluted the waters of the Grande, Pirai and Ichilo rivers to the extent that local authorities have had to provide alternative sources of drinking water for towns along the rivers’ banks. Many fishermen have lost their main source of income, having been banned from removing any more fish from populations that will probably struggle to recover.
The blame lies, at least indirectly, with a mass of Antarctic air that settled over the Southern Cone of South America for most of July. The prolonged cold snap has also been linked to the deaths of at least 550 penguins along the coasts of Brazil and thousands of cattle in Paraguay and Brazil, as well as hundreds of people in the region.
Water temperatures in Bolivian rivers that normally register about 15 ˚C during the day fell to as low as 4 ˚C.
After years of drought, flash floods have destroyed harvests in Niger
Nineteen-month old Amina at Save the Children’s clinic for severely manlnourished children in Aguie, Niger, yesterday. Two of her siblings have already died within the past year HARRIET LOGAN/SAVE THE CHILDREN
Hundreds of thousands of children across central Africa are at risk of death from starvation and disease after flash flooding worsened an already chronic humanitarian crisis caused by drought.
Aid agencies warned yesterday that 10 million people are already facing severe food shortages, particularly in the landlocked countries of Chad and Niger, after a drought led to the failure of last year’s crops. As many as 400,000 children are at risk of dying from starvation in Niger alone, according to Save the Children.
Now unusually heavy rains have washed away this year’s crops and killed cattle in a region dependent on subsistence agriculture. Organisations including Oxfam and Save the Children say that the slow international response to the emergency means that only 40 per cent of those affected are receiving food aid. As many as four out of five children require treatment for malnutrition in clinics.
Such is the shortage of international aid that the United Nations World Food Programme has had to scale back its £57m operation to feed eight million people in Niger and instead concentrate its efforts on the most vulnerable – children under two – according to Oxfam.
Save the Children says the increased malnutrition rate could swiftly be followed by an increase in the number of children dying from disease because of floods in Niger caused by heavy rain over the past few weeks. “Stagnant pools of water have been contaminated by animal carcasses and are a breeding ground for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. This has increased the threat of malaria, respiratory disease and diarrhoea – the biggest killers of young children,” the organisation said.
Volcano erupts in Indonesia forcing thousands from homes
(Reuters) — A volcano has erupted on the Indonesian island of Sumatra for the first time in four centuries, sending smoke 1,500 metres into the air and prompting the evacation of thousands of residents.
There are no reports of casualties so far, and aviation in the area is unaffected.
Mount Sinabung, in the north of Sumatra, began erupting around midnight after rumbling for several days. Lava was overflowing from its crater, the head of Indonesia’s vulcanology centre told Reuters news agency. The agency has placed the volcano on red alert, its highest level.
The FDA is not testing sea food in the Gulf of Mexico:
American lives seem to continuously drop in value:
Former Prof. at the University of Alaska Rick Steiner
I first spoke to Rick Steiner more than three months ago — about two weeks into the Deepwater Horizon disaster — after a source recommended I talk to him for a story I was writing about the spill as a teachable moment. Steiner is a marine conservationist and activist in Alaska who started studying oil spills when the Exxon Valdez ran aground in 1989, and never stopped.
What Steiner said to me during that first interview was blunt, depressing — and struck me as having the ring of truth. Little did I know how true.
“Government and industry will habitually understate the volume of the spill and the impact, and they will overstate the effectiveness of the cleanup and their response,” he told me at the time. “There’s no such thing as an effective response. There’s never been an effective response — ever — where more than 10 or 20 percent of the oil is ever recovered from the water.
“Most of the oil that goes into the water in a major spill stays there,” he said. “And once the oil is in the water, the damage is done.”
Steiner was also one of the first scientists to warn that much if not most of BP’s oil was remaining underwater, forming giant and potentially deadly toxic plumes.
I thought of Steiner last week, as I sat in a congressional hearing room listening to Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Ed Markey question Bill Lehr, a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Lehr was one of the authors of an increasingly controversial federal report about the fate of BP’s spilled oil that Obama administration officials misleadingly cited as evidence that the “vast majority” of the oil was essentially gone.
Markey’s persistent questioning eventually got Lehr to acknowledge that, contrary to the administration spin, most of the spill — including the oil that has been dispersed or dissolved into the water, or evaporated into the atmosphere — is still in the Gulf ecosystem. Then Markey got Lehr to recalculate what percentage of the spill BP had actually recovered, through skimming and burning.
That amount: About 10 percent.
In other words, Steiner was right.
The other part of Steiner’s prediction — that the government and BP would low-ball the volume of the spill — had already played out very publicly. BP and NOAA both opened with a 5,000 barrel a day estimate. NOAA officials stuck to that estimate for weeks, despite the fact that they had access to video feeds from the wellhead clearly showing how far off they were. More than two weeks after some of that video was made public, the government finally, grudgingly, upped its estimates to 12,000 to 19,000 barrels daily; then 20,000 to 40,000 barrels, then 35,000 to 60,000 barrels, before finalizing its estimate in early August at 62,000 barrels a day at the beginning of the spill, declining to 53,000 barrels a day toward the end.
Bob Naman is an analytical chemist with almost 30 years in the field, based in Mobile, Alabama. When WKRG News 5 gave Naman samples of water from the Gulf of Mexico, Naman found oil contamination, and one of his samples actually exploded during testing due – he believes – to the presence of methane gas or Corexit, the dispersant that BP has been using in the Gulf:
But the story only starts there.
A few days ago, Naman was sent a sample of water from Cotton Bayou, Alabama.
Naman found 13.3 parts per million of the dispersant Corexit in the sample:
That’s a little perlexing, given that Admiral Thad Allen said on August 9th that dispersants have not been used in the Gulf since mid-July:
We have not used dispersant since the capping stack was put on. I believe that was the 15th of July.
But I would tell you, there are no dispersants being used at this time.
More imporantly, Naman told me that he found 2-butoxyethanol in the sample.
BP and Nalco – the manufacturer of Corexit – have said that dispersant containing 2-butoxyethanol is no longer being sprayed in the Gulf. As the New York Times noted in June:
Corexit 9527, used in lesser quantities during the earlier days of the spill response, is designated a chronic and acute health hazard by EPA. The 9527 formula contains 2-butoxyethanol, pinpointed as the cause of lingering health problems experienced by cleanup workers after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, and propylene glycol, a commonly used solvent.
Corexit 9500, described by [Nalco’s spokesman] as the “sole product” Nalco has manufactured for the Gulf since late April, contains propylene glycol and light petroleum distillates, a type of chemical refined from crude oil.
Moreover, Naman said that he searched for the main ingredient in the less toxic 9500 version – propylene glycol – but there was none present. In other words, Naman found the most toxic ingredient in 9527 and did not find the chemical marker for 9500.
BEIJING (AP) — Authorities have halted shipping through China’s massive Three Gorges Dam on the upper reaches of the Yangtze river because the dam will experience another flood peak Tuesday.
Water levels at the world’s largest hydroelectric project have been at high levels for weeks from record rains, which have also lashed other parts of the country, triggering landslides and flooding, and causing deaths and billions in damage.