US: Raw sewage is continuously released into rivers, streams

America’s aging sewer systems continue to dump human waste into rivers and streams, despite years of fines and penalties targeting publicly owned agencies responsible for sewage overflows, a Gannett News Service analysis shows.

The analysis of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data found that since 2003, hundreds of municipal sewer authorities have been fined for violations, including spills that make people sick, threaten local drinking water and kill aquatic animals and plants.

Local governments across the USA plan to spend billions modernizing failing wastewater systems — some of which are more than 100 years old — over the next 10 to 20 years, EPA, state and local sewer authority officials said.

(If any disaster happens in your area you will have no drinking water. Store a lot of food and water.
I have also highly recommended to have a water filter and there are a million good reasons for that. – The Infinite Unknown)

Read moreUS: Raw sewage is continuously released into rivers, streams

Rotting corpses pile up as Myanmar stalls on aid

(CNN puplished this article (check the title with google) but has it entirely rewritten just a few minutes ago. – The Infinite Unknown)

YANGON, Myanmar (CNN) — Myanmar’s cyclone survivors have insufficient fuel to burn the rotting corpses of the dead as the ruling military junta is accused of being too slow in letting aid groups into the country.

Relief agencies say decomposing corpses litter ditches and fields in the worst-hit Irrawaddy delta area as survivors try to conserve fuel for transporting much-needed supplies.

The international community is growing increasingly frustrated with the junta’s lack of progress in granting visas for relief workers and giving clearance for aid flights to land.

They are concerned the lack of medical supplies and clean food and water threatens to increase the already staggering death toll.

Read moreRotting corpses pile up as Myanmar stalls on aid

36% of bee hives lost in the U.S. last year

A survey of bee health released Tuesday revealed a grim picture, with 36.1 percent of the nation’s commercially managed hives lost since last year.

Last year’s survey commissioned by the Apiary Inspectors of America found losses of about 32 percent.

As beekeepers travel with their hives this spring to pollinate crops around the country, it’s clear the insects are buckling under the weight of new diseases, pesticide drift and old enemies like the parasitic varroa mite, said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, president of the group.

This is the second year the association has measured colony deaths across the country. This means there aren’t enough numbers to show a trend, but clearly bees are dying at unsustainable levels and the situation is not improving, said vanEngelsdorp, also a bee expert with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

“For two years in a row, we’ve sustained a substantial loss,” he said. “That’s an astonishing number. Imagine if one out of every three cows, or one out of every three chickens, were dying. That would raise a lot of alarm.”

Read more36% of bee hives lost in the U.S. last year

Chile volcano blasts ash 20 miles high, forcing evacuations

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — The long-dormant Chaiten volcano blasted ash some 20 miles (30 kilometers) into the Andean sky on Tuesday, forcing the last of thousands to evacuate and fouling a huge stretch of the South American continent.

A thick column of ash climbed into the stratosphere and blew eastward for hundreds of miles (kilometers) over Patagonia to the Atlantic Ocean, closing schools and a regional airport. Chilean and Argentine citizens were advised to wear masks to avoid breathing the dangerous fallout.

Chilean officials ordered the total evacuation of Chaiten, a small provincial capital in an area of lakes and glacier-carved fjords just six miles (10 kilometers) from the roiling cloud.

Interior Minister Edmundo Perez said anyone still in the area should “urgently head to ships in the bay to be evacuated.”

More than 4,000 people were evacuated over the weekend and 350 more headed out Tuesday.

Also emptied was the soot-coated border town of Futaleufu, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the volcano.

The five-day-old eruption is the first in 9,370 years, said Charles Stern, a volcanologist at the University of Colorado-Boulder who has studied Chaiten.

He said the nearby town could end up buried, much like the Roman city of Pompeii following Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 A.D. Volcanic material from Chaiten’s last eruption measured up to 5 feet in places.

“What happens after today is anybody’s guess,” Stern said.

Read moreChile volcano blasts ash 20 miles high, forcing evacuations

Myanmar – Official: Storm toll could be 100,000


Officials say corpses are floating in the water as Myanmar disaster grows
YANGON, Myanmar – Bodies floated in flood waters and survivors tried to reach dry ground on boats using blankets as sails, while the top U.S. diplomat in Myanmar said Wednesday that up to 100,000 people may have died in the devastating cyclone.

Hungry crowds stormed the few shops that opened in the country’s stricken Irrawaddy delta, sparking fist fights, according to Paul Risley, a spokesman for the U.N. World Food Program in neighboring Thailand.

Shari Villarosa, who heads the U.S. Embassy in Myanmar, said food and water are running short in the delta area and called the situation there “increasingly horrendous.”

“There is a very real risk of disease outbreaks as long as this continues,” Villarosa told reporters. Some 1 million people were homeless in the Southeast Asian country, the U.N. said.

Read moreMyanmar – Official: Storm toll could be 100,000

Iraq, U.S. move to avert Baghdad water shortage

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Baghdad’s crumbling roads, burst sewage pipes and chronic water shortages are casualties of war that get little attention amid the daily litany of gunfights, bombs and bloodletting in Iraq.

As summer approaches, the city is facing an acute shortage of drinking water despite the efforts of officials like Sadiq Shumari, its director of water services.

Temperatures are set to reach 50 Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) and demand for the precious commodity will outstrip supply.

“We have a huge task to rehabilitate the water system, which has been neglected for decades, but it’s a challenge with such poor security,” Shumari told Reuters on a trip to the eastern neighborhood of New Baghdad, one of the city’s poorest.

Read moreIraq, U.S. move to avert Baghdad water shortage

EPA might not act to limit rocket fuel in drinking water

An EPA official said Tuesday there’s a “distinct possibility” the agency won’t take action to rid drinking water of a toxic rocket fuel ingredient that has contaminated public water supplies around the country.

Democratic senators called that unacceptable. They argued that states and local communities shouldn’t have to bear the expense of cleansing their drinking water of perchlorate, which has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states – or the risk of not doing so.

The toxin interferes with thyroid function and poses developmental health risks, particularly to fetuses.

Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the Environmental Protection Agency, told a Senate hearing that EPA is aware that perchlorate is widespread and poses health risks.

Read moreEPA might not act to limit rocket fuel in drinking water

Myanmar cyclone survivors desperate for aid

YANGON, Myanmar (CNN) — Bodies are being thrown into rivers by Myanmar cyclone survivors in desperate need of help.

The government-run radio station said Tuesday that 22,464 are confirmed dead and 41,000 are missing, and the United Nations says that up to 1 million could be homeless.

CNN’s Dan Rivers is the first Western journalist to reach Bogalay township, where China’s state-run Xinhua news agency says 10,000 died. He reported miserable conditions.

Rivers said that bodies were being dropped into rivers and that survivors had only small amounts of eggs and rice. The area’s rice mills are destroyed, leaving Bogalay with a five-day supply. Water pumps were also ruined, and fuel was scarce.

Read moreMyanmar cyclone survivors desperate for aid

Multinationals make billions in profit out of growing global food crisis

Speculators blamed for driving up price of basic foods as 100 million face severe hunger

Giant agribusinesses are enjoying soaring earnings and profits out of the world food crisis which is driving millions of people towards starvation, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. And speculation is helping to drive the prices of basic foodstuffs out of the reach of the hungry.

The prices of wheat, corn and rice have soared over the past year driving the world’s poor – who already spend about 80 per cent of their income on food – into hunger and destitution.

The World Bank says that 100 million more people are facing severe hunger. Yet some of the world’s richest food companies are making record profits. Monsanto last month reported that its net income for the three months up to the end of February this year had more than doubled over the same period in 2007, from $543m (£275m) to $1.12bn. Its profits increased from $1.44bn to $2.22bn.

Cargill’s net earnings soared by 86 per cent from $553m to $1.030bn over the same three months. And Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world’s largest agricultural processors of soy, corn and wheat, increased its net earnings by 42 per cent in the first three months of this year from $363m to $517m. The operating profit of its grains merchandising and handling operations jumped 16-fold from $21m to $341m.

Similarly, the Mosaic Company, one of the world’s largest fertiliser companies, saw its income for the three months ending 29 February rise more than 12-fold, from $42.2m to $520.8m, on the back of a shortage of fertiliser. The prices of some kinds of fertiliser have more than tripled over the past year as demand has outstripped supply. As a result, plans to increase harvests in developing countries have been hit hard.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation reports that 37 developing countries are in urgent need of food. And food riots are breaking out across the globe from Bangladesh to Burkina Faso, from China to Cameroon, and from Uzbekistan to the United Arab Emirates.

Read moreMultinationals make billions in profit out of growing global food crisis