Archive | April 8, 2017

Syrian Military Fires On U.S. Spy Aircraft Over Qamlishi

Only two days after the United States barely avoided World War Three as a result of its illegal and immoral missile strikes on the Syrian military, the situation in Syria is heating up yet again.
Reports coming from Lebanon-based news outlet, al-Masdar News, are suggesting that the Syrian military and the U.S. military have yet again been involved in a direct clash in Syria.
A military source confirmed to al-Masdar on April, 8, that a Syrian Special Forces unit targeted a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft that was flying over northeast Syria.
The plane was allegedly hovering over Syrian military positions, specifically the Syrian Army’s Regiment 54 Base in Qamilishi.
The Syrian military personnel opened fire on the plane and the aircraft allegedly fled the area after it “came into contact with the Syrian Arab Army” stated the source.
It is unclear what kind of weaponry was used to fire at the plane or whether the plane sustained any damage.
This incident now marks the second time since Thursday night the United States and Syrian forces have clashed.
Because the Russians have canceled the “non-aggression pact” with the United States as the result of American aggression in al-Sha’aryat Thursday night, U.S. planes are now potential targets for the Syrian military.
Courtesy of


Depth: 2 km

Distances: 205 km NE of Prague, Czech Republic / pop: 1,166,000 / local time: 00:23:12.5 2017-04-09
54 km SE of Zielona Góra, Poland / pop: 119,000 / local time: 00:23:12.5 2017-04-09
11 km N of Polkowice, Poland / pop: 21,600 / local time: 00:23:12.5 2017-04-09
6 km W of Grębocice, Poland / pop: 1,500 / local time: 00:23:12.5 2017-04-09

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Thousands of dead fish wash up in a lagoon in San Luis, Argentina

(Photo The Diary of the Republic)
Thousands of dead fish appeared floating in a lagoon located south of Villa Mercedes, San Luis. According to the semi-arid site , the owner of the field where the water mirror is located said that this is not the first time it has happened.
In that sense, El Diario de la República recalled that something similar happened five years ago, under similar climatic conditions, very hot, although with the level of the lagoon lower than now due to lack of rain.
The causes so far are unknown but could be an overpopulation of fish combined with an alga that removes oxygen, others attribute it to the lightning fall over the lagoon.
The owner of the place also said that there are more ponds in the countryside, but this is the only one that has fish, does not allow fishing, but sometimes they get smuggled.
Courtesy of

Hundreds of dead birds found along Zihuatanejo beach, Mexico

Hundreds of dead birds died in the strip of sand of La Ropa beach, as well as in planters, ridges, restaurants and houses bordering that spa, this port of the Costa Grande. Tourists and restaurant owners located on the beach were surprised to see a large number of dead birds, especially zanates and magpies. They explained that some animals were found alive, but died minutes later, while others showed difficulty to fly. They indicated that the area had not been fumigated, so they ruled out intoxication as the possible cause of massive mortality. In addition, they noted that birds feed mainly on what people give them. José Antonio Solís Bucio, a taxi driver at the La Ropa beach site, reported that, very early on, public service workers were preparing to collect all dead birds before tourists arrived. “I counted in a space of the entrance to the beach like 35 dead birds,” he said. So far no authority on Ecology or Environment has made any statement about the situation.
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Yellow fever killing thousands of monkeys ‘unprecedented’ in Minas Gerais, Brazil

In a vulnerable forest in southeastern Brazil, where the air was once thick with the guttural chatter of brown howler monkeys, there now exists silence. Yellow fever, a virus carried by mosquitoes and endemic to Africa and South America, has robbed the private, federally-protected reserve of its brown howlers in an unprecedented wave of death that has swept through the region since late 2016, killing thousands of monkeys.
Yellow fever, a virus carried by mosquitoes and endemic to Africa and South America, has robbed the private, federally-protected reserve of its brown howlers in an unprecedented wave of death that has swept through the region since late 2016, killing thousands of monkeys.
Karen Strier, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of anthropology, has studied the monkeys of this forest since 1983. She visited the reserve — her long-term study site near the city of Caratinga — in the state of Minas Gerais, in January of 2017. “It was just silence, a sense of emptiness,” she says. “It was like the energy was sucked out of the universe.”
Using what in some cases are decades of historical data, Strier and a team of Brazilian scientists focused on studying primates in Brazil’s patchwork Atlantic Forest are poised to help understand and manage what happens next. They have never seen monkeys perish in such numbers, so quickly, from disease.
With her Brazilian counterpart Sérgio Lucena Mendes, a professor of animal biology at the Universidade Federal de Espirito Santo, and their former postdoctoral researcher, Carla Possamai, Strier is ready to census the monkeys that remain at the reserve, comparing the new data to prior censuses performed in the forest. They also plan to study how the surviving brown howler monkeys regroup and restructure their societies, since their existing social groups have been destroyed.
Strier’s study forest, just 4 square miles in size, is a land-locked island of green surrounded by agricultural and pasture lands. How yellow fever showed up here is a mystery, and the monkeys in the forest have nowhere else to go. Less than 10 percent of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest remains intact and much of it exists only as small patches in a fragmented landscape.
“I am very surprised at the speed with which the outbreak is advancing through the landscape and by how the virus can jump from one patch of forest to another, even if they are hundreds of meters apart,” says Mendes. “It is also surprising that it is spreading across such a large geographic region.”
The way yellow fever has spread also concerns Brazilian health officials. As of mid-March 2017, they have confirmed more than 400 human cases of the disease, mostly in Minas Gerais, causing nearly 150 human deaths. The Brazilian Ministry of Health is investigating another 900 possible cases and concern is mounting that it will spread to cities, threatening many more people.
Brazilian authorities also want to protect the monkeys from people who fear the animals may be spreading the disease. “We need to show that they help inform when the virus arrives in a region, because being more sensitive than humans, they die first,” Mendes explains.
A dead monkey is like a canary in a coal mine, alerting public health officials that a pathogen may be present, mobilizing preventative and precautionary efforts. So, what does it mean when so many have perished?
“No one really knows the consequences for the other primates or the forest when nearly the entire population of an abundant species dies from disease in just a few months,” says Strier. “We are in a position to learn things we never knew before, with all the background information that we have collected.”
Nearly two decades ago, Strier helped expand and secure protection for the primates at her study forest, which include four monkey species: the brown howler, the black capuchin, the buffy-headed marmoset and, Strier’s animal of interest, the critically-endangered northern muriqui.
It is too soon to say whether the howler monkey population can recover but Strier remains optimistic, in large part because of a career spent studying and helping conserve the brown howler’s main competitor, the muriquis. “The muriquis have shown us that it’s possible for small populations of primates to recover if they are well-protected,” says Strier.
When she first arrived at her study forest, known as RPPN Feliciano Miguel Abdala, there were just 50 muriquis. By September 2016, there were nearly 340, representing one-third of the species’ total known population. The animals reside in just 10 forests in southeastern Brazil and nowhere else in the world. Strier’s efforts and those of her colleagues have helped restore their numbers.
She is relieved that, so far, the muriquis appear to be less susceptible to yellow fever. “It was really tense — scary — to go into the forest, knowing the howlers were gone but not knowing how bad things might also be for the muriquis,” Strier recalls.
Her long-term studies have revealed that muriquis have a lifespan of more than 40 years and she has known some of the individual muriquis in the forest their entire lives. Strier can recognize individuals based on natural differences in their fur and facial markings.
Now, in the face of ecological tragedy, she and her colleagues have an opportunity to study how the muriquis adapt in a forest nearly devoid of their competitors.
“It’s like a controlled natural experiment, but one you would never plan to do,” Strier says. “My happy hypothesis is that the muriquis are out foraging, feasting on all the best fruits and leaves that the howlers used to eat. Will they eat more of their favorite foods, or travel less? Will their social order change? Will they form smaller groups?”
She has documented that kind of behavioral flexibility before. In the late 1980s and early 90s, the muriquis began splitting into smaller groups. In the early 2000s, as their population grew, they began spending more time on the ground, rather than in the trees, often consuming fallen fruits and even half-eaten “leftovers” under the trees.
“I feel like I am 20 years old again” she says. “I have so many questions that are important to answer, for the primates, their Atlantic forest habitat, and for the people that share their world.”
Courtesy of

Thousands of dead fish washing up on beaches in Victoria and NSW, Australia

Thousands of dead fish have been washing ashore on Mallacoota beaches and parts of the NSW and Victoria east coast since the weekend.
Leatherjackets measuring up to 10cm were sprawled across Quarry Beach, while small numbers of whiting have also been reported.
Environment Protection Authority Victoria said the fish kill was likely caused by recent changes in current patterns and drops in water temperatures measuring 6 to 7 degrees over the past week.
EPA Gippsland manager Stephen Lansdell said Fisheries Victoria and Parks Victoria were in Mallacoota on Wednesday to confirm fish kill estimates.
“It’s definitely not a trawler dump due to the spread, location and the way they’re appearing on the beach,” Mr Lansdell said.
“From an EPA perspective the fact it’s not regarding pollution lowers our main concern, but any fish kill event is still concerning.”
Mr Lansdell said he was first notified of the event about 5pm on Tuesday from a local authority.
“It ​would have helped us to understand what was going on if we found out earlier,” he said.
“We rely on eyes and ears from the community.”
A similar fish kill event happened on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast last month when thousands of beached leatherjackets were found between Coolum and Cooloola.
Mr Lansdell said it was likely the big drops in water temperature have been tracking south along the Australian east coast.
Mallacoota residents reported some fish were still alive and carrying eggs, while a turtle was also found.
Beached leatherjacket sightings have also been spotted as far north as Tura Beach.
Mallacoota and District Angling Club president Col Gilchrist said it was the largest local report of fish kill he had heard of.
Courtesy of

22,000 hens killed due to bird flu in Kentucky, USA

Bird flu has now been confirmed in three Southern states, but officials say the nation’s poultry supply isn’t at risk.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture said Tuesday that it’s temporarily banning the transportation of poultry after a form of the disease was found in a commercial flock of 22,000 hens in western Kentucky. The state says the farm was placed under quarantine and the birds were killed.
The announcement came as the state of Alabama confirmed the presence of the same form of bird flu in two flocks there. Another form of the poultry illness was previously detected in Tennessee.
Officials say none of the infected birds have entered the food chain. They say temporary measures limiting the movement of birds should help prevent the spread of the disease.
Courtesy of




***BE ALERT***

Suspect held as ‘bomb-like device’ found in Oslo, Norway

Police in Oslo, Norway
Police in Oslo, Norway. Pic: File
A “bomb-like device” has been discovered in central Oslo, according to Norwegian police.
A suspect has been arrested and is in custody.
A large area has been cordoned off following the security alert, reports say.
The incident comes a day after Sweden was hit by a terror attack, when a lorry was driven at shoppers in the capital Stockholm, killing four people.
“We have cordoned off a large area when we have found a bomb-like object. We’ll be back with more,” Oslo police wrote on Twitter.
They later updated with: “We have no control on the spot, and are now awaiting until necessary investigations are concluded.”
“We have control of a person with a status of a suspect,” they added.
Courtesy of Sky News