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MISCELLANEOUS
Mudslide in Northeast India Leaves 7 Dead, 40 Others Missing

Mudslide in Northeast India Leaves 7 Dead, 40 Others Missing New Delhi, 30 Jun (ONA) --- Pounding rain following weeks of heavy downpours triggered a mudslide in northeast India that killed at least seven people and left about 40 others missing, local authorities said today. Disaster response workers, police and local villagers were trying to rescue those buried under the debris in Noney, a town near Imphal, the capital of Manipur state. Continuous rainfall over the past three weeks has wreaked havoc across India’s northeast, which has eight states and 45 million people, ...

EU Countries Approve Climate Measures After Long Talks

EU Countries Approve Climate Measures After Long Talks Brussels, 29 Jun (ONA) --- European Union (EU) countries reached a deal following hard-fought talks that dragged into early today to back stricter climate rules that would eliminate carbon emissions from new cars by 2035. The 27 EU members found agreement on draft legislation aimed at slashing EU greenhouse gases by at least 55% in 2030 compared with 1990 rather than by a previously agreed 40%. The agreement on the five laws proposed by the EU’s executive arm in 2021 paves the way for final negotiations with the ...

Europe Wildfire Risk Heightened by Early Heat Waves, Drought

Europe Wildfire Risk Heightened by Early Heat Waves, Drought Madrid, 22 Jun (ONA) --- Extended drought conditions in several Mediterranean countries, a heat wave last week that reached northern Germany and high fuel costs for aircraft needed to fight wildfires have heightened concerns across Europe this summer. “Much of the continent is in drought,” said Cathelijne Stoof, an environmental science professor at the Netherlands’ Wageningen University, who called the wildfire outlook “very challenging across Europe.” Fires last summer blackened more than 11,000 square ...

Firefighters Battle Wildfire Near Turkish Resort

Firefighters Battle Wildfire Near Turkish Resort Ankara, 22 Jun (ONA) --- Firefighters, aided by water-dropping planes and helicopters, were battling a wildfire today that broke out in southwestern Turkey, local officials and media reports said. The fire erupted last evening in the Bordubet region, near the vacation resort of Marmaris on Turkey’s Aegean coast. It spread rapidly, fanned by strong winds, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Some 30 homes near the region were evacuated as a precaution. The cause of the blaze was under investigation. Anadolu said close ...

Afghanistan Powerful Quake Kills 1,000 People

Afghanistan Powerful Quake Kills 1,000 People Kabul, 22 Jun (ONA) --- A powerful earthquake today struck a rugged, mountainous region of eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 1,000 people and injuring 1,500 more in the country’s deadliest quake in two decades, the state-run news agency reported. Local officials warned that the already grim toll may still rise. In the remote area near the Pakistani border, residents searched for survivors and the dead. The extent of the destruction among the villages tucked among the mountains was still not known. A UNICEF official said ...

UN Biodiversity Summit Moved from China over COVID-19 Policy

UN Biodiversity Summit Moved from China over COVID-19 Policy Beijing, 21 Jun (ONA) --- A United Nations (UN) summit on biodiversity will be held in Canada instead of China, organizers announced today, the second major international event to be moved from China because of its strict anti-coronavirus policies. The UN secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity and China’s environment ministry said in separate statements that the meeting will be held in December 2022 in Montreal, where the secretariat is based. China, which is the chair of this round of meetings, ...

Dozens Dead, Thousands Homeless in Bangladesh, India Massive Floods

Dozens Dead, Thousands Homeless in Bangladesh, India Floods Dhaka, 21 Jun (ONA) --- Villagers in north-eastern Bangladesh crowded makeshift refugee centers and scrambled to meet boats arriving with food and fresh water as massive floods, which have killed dozens of people and displaced hundreds of thousands there and in neighboring India, today continued to wreak havoc. In Sylhet, one of the worst-hit areas in the extreme northeast of the country near the border with India, villagers waded, swam and paddled makeshift rafts or small skiffs to a boat delivering aid that had moored ...

South Asia Floods Hampering Access to Food, Clean Water

South Asia Floods Hampering Access to Food, Clean WaterDhaka, 20 Jun (ONA) --- Days of flooding are challenging authorities in South Asia as they try todeliver food and drinking water to shelters across submerged swaths of India and Bangladesh. The high water brought on by seasonal monsoon downpours has already claimed more than a dozen lives, displaced hundreds of thousands and flooded millions of homes. Those who remain in their homes can be seen wading through streets flooded up to their knees. Flooding also continued to ravage India’s north-eastern Assam state where two ...

Study Finds Sharks Prefer Staying Near Coastal Cities

Study Finds Sharks Prefer Staying Near Coastal CitiesNew York, 19 Jun (ONA) --- A study conducted by the United Nations (UN) predicts that 66% of the world's population will live in urban areas by 2050, and a majority of those cities will likely be near coastlines. As urbanizing coasts continue, it becomes more clear that understanding the adaptation of ocean life with human development is increasingly important. A new study by scientists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science tracked three types of sharks, including 14 great hammerheads, 13 ...

Dozens Dead, Millions Stranded as Floods Hit Bangladesh, India

Dozens Dead, Millions Stranded as Floods Hit Bangladesh, India Dhaka, 19 Jun (ONA) --- Monsoon storms in Bangladesh and India have killed at least 59 people and unleashed devastating floods that left millions of others stranded, local officials said. Floods are a regular menace to millions of people in low-lying Bangladesh, but experts say climate change is increasing their frequency, ferocity and unpredictability. Relentless downpours over the past week have inundated vast stretches of Bangladesh’s northeast, with troops deployed to evacuate households cut off from ...

Shipwrecks Are Rich with Microbial Diversity

Lausanne, Switzerland, 9 Jun (ONA) --- Bacteria have helped lay the foundations for complex life by creating a hospitable atmosphere on our planet, and they continue to support the food web. It seems like microbes have colonized nearly every part of the earth, from the hottest hydrothermal vents to the insides of animals, including us. Now researchers have explored microbial communities that took up residence in old wooden shipwrecks.UNESCO has estimated that there are about three million shipwrecks littering the seafloor, which all impact their local ecosystems, and potentially ...

Train Derailment in East Iran Kills at Least 21

Tehran, 8 June (ONA) --- A passenger train traveling through eastern Iran struck an excavator and derailed nearly half its cars before dawn today, killing at least 21 people and injuring another 47, local officials said. The train carried some 350 people as it traveled from Tabas, some 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Tehran, to the city of Yazd. The route had begun as an overnight train out of Iran’s city of Mashhad. --- Ends/Khalid ...

Nations to Meet in Bonn to Review Climate Targets

Bonn, Germany, 6 Jun (ONA) --- New targets for reducing emissions, cutting back on fossil fuels and ending deforestation were agreed by world leaders at the COP26 summit. Nations are meeting again in Bonn to discuss progress since the Glasgow Climate Pact was signed at COP26. In Glasgow, countries agreed to submit more ambitious climate plans, including cuts to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which causes climate change. Reducing emissions is needed to help keep temperature rises within 1.5C. Above this could cause "climate catastrophe", ...

China Launches Nine Satellites to Space

Xichang, China, 2 Jun (ONA) --- China launched a Long March-2C carrier rocket today to place a group of nine commercial satellites in space. The Geely-01 constellation, which consists of nine satellites, were lifted from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. The satellite constellation will be mainly used to research and validate technology, such as travel services of intelligent connected vehicles, as well as mobile phones and satellite interaction. The constellation will also provide data support for the conservation of the marine ...

Two New Species of Lizards Discovered

Lima, 29 May (ONA) --- One of the newly-discovered lizards, which was named after Optimus Prime from the "Transformers" franchise, was found living in the sanctuary around Machu Picchu, Peru. Officials announced the discovery — and the special names — of two, new lizard species, Peru's Conservation Authority in a statement posted over the weekend. Tucked away in the high altitudes of the Peruvian Andes, the new species are shedding light on the plight of local wildlife threatened by rapid changes due to global warming. Scientists dubbed the new species Proctoporus ...

Explosion Occurs Near High-Level Taliban Meeting In Kabul

Kabul, 22 May (ONA) ---- An explosion has taken place near the grand hall in the capital Kabul where a high-level Taliban ceremony was under way, police confirmed today.In a statement, Kabul police spokesperson Khalid Zadran said the blast has taken place in front of the Isteqlal hotel where the Taliban leaders were commemorating the anniversary of the death of their former supreme leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansour who was killed in a US drone strike in 2016.According to initial information, one civilian was wounded in the blast, Zadran said.He added that security forces were ...

Japan OKs Plan to Release Fukushima Nuclear Plant Wastewater

Tokyo, 18 May (ONA) --- Japan’s nuclear regulator today approved plans by the operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant to release its treated radioactive wastewater into the sea next year, saying the outlined methods are safe and risks to the environment minimal. The plan was submitted by the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings in December based on the government’s decision last year to release the wastewater as a necessary step for the ongoing plant cleanup and decommission. A massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed the Fukushima plant’s cooling systems, ...

UN Floats Plan to Boost Renewables as Climate Worries Mount

Geneva, 18 May (ONA) --- The United Nations (UN) chief today launched a five-point plan to jump-start broader use of renewable energies, hoping to revive world attention on climate change as the UN’s weather agency reported that greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification reached record highs last year. “We must end fossil fuel pollution and accelerate the renewable energy transition before we incinerate our only home,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. “Time is running out.” His latest stark warning about possible ...

Heatwave Sweeps India

Delhi, 16 May (ONA)--- An intense heatwave is sweeping through northern India with temperatures hitting a record 49.2C (120.5F) in parts of the capital, Delhi.This is the fifth heatwave in the capital since March.Local officials in many parts of the country have asked people to take precautions as temperatures are set to remain high. They warned the heat could cause health concerns for the vulnerable, including infants, the elderly and people with chronic diseases.While heatwaves are common in India, especially in May and June, summer began early this year with high temperatures from March, ...

Collisions with Large Vessels May Be Factor in Whale Shark Population Decline

London, 15 May (ONA) --- A new study out of the United Kingdom (UK) is pointing to collisions with large marine vessels as a possible reason for the years-long decline in whale shark populations.Marine biologists from the Marine Biological Association and University of Southampton led the study, started in 2019 and published earlier this month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which tracked the movements of ships and whale sharks around the world.The researchers said lethal collisions are vastly underestimated and that their work shows more than 90 per ...

Omani Adventurer Climbs Mount Everest, Lhotse Summits in Single Journey

Kathmandu, 15 May (ONA) --- The Omani adventurer Sulaiman Hamoud Al Na’abi has managed to climb the summits of Mount Everest, which extends to 8,849 meters above sea level, and “Lhotse”, the 4th highest mountain top in the world, which extends to 8,516 meters above sea level in one single adventure. Al Na’abi said that the adventure began on 4 May 2022 and he reached the summit of mount Everest on 12 May, followed by the summit of “Lhotse” mountain on 13 May. He added that this adventure is part of the “Explorer’s Grand Slam” programme that takes its ...

Ukraine War May Lead to Famines Around the World: Charity Organization Warns

Bonn (Germany), 15 May (ONA) —— German charity Welthungerhilfe chief Mathias Mogge has warned that Russia's war on Ukraine will lead to famines around the World."Countries like Egypt, Kenya, South Sudan, Lebanon and many other states have been heavily dependent on Russian and Ukrainian exports, either directly or indirectly," he told the RND media group during the weekend. "These countries are not receiving the quantities they ordered anymore or have to pay a lot more for them."Food prices have already risen to an all-time high before the war due to factors including climate change, ...

Endangered 4-metre Stingray Discovered in Cambodia

Stung Treng, Cambodia, 12 May (ONA) --- A team of marine biologists have discovered a huge endangered freshwater stingray during a recent expedition to a remote stretch of the Mekong River inCambodia, though they warned the biodiversity of the area was under threat. The stingray was accidentally caught by fishers in an 80-metre deep pool in the Mekong in Cambodia’s north-eastern Stung Treng province. The visiting scientists helped return the animal alive. Zeb Hogan, a fish biologist at the University of Nevada, said finding the 180kg stingray, spanning 4 metres, was ...

Most Australian Great Barrier Reef Coral Studied This Year Was Bleached

Canberra, Australia, 11 May (ONA) —- More than 90% of Great Barrier Reef coral surveyed this year was bleached in the fourth such mass event in seven years in the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, Australian government scientists said.Bleaching is caused by global warming, but this is the reef’s first bleaching event during a La Niña weather pattern, which is associated with cooler Pacific Ocean temperatures, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority said in its annual report released recently that found 91% of the areas surveyed were affected.Bleaching in 2016, 2017 and 2020 damaged ...

NASA Osiris-Rex Probe to Examine Another Asteroid

Washington, 27 Apr (ONA) --- NASA has extended the mission of its Osiris-Rex probe for nine years in order for it to reach a new destination, the US space agency said today. The spacecraft Osiris-Rex is currently on its way back to Earth to deliver samples from asteroid Bennu that it collected in 2020. Renamed OSIRIS-APophis EXplorer (Osiris-Apex), the spacecraft will be redirected to encounter Apophis, an asteroid roughly 370 metres in diameter that will come within 32,000 km of Earth in 2029. "OSIRIS-APEX will enter orbit around Apophis soon after the asteroid's Earth flyby, ...

Forest Microbes Found Able to Survive Megafires

California, 25 Apr (ONA) --- New research of the University of California (UC), Riverside shows fungi and bacteria able to survive redwood tanoak forest megafires are microbial "cousins" that often increase in abundance after feeling the flames.Fires of unprecedented size and intensity, called megafires, are becoming increasingly common. In the West, climate change is causing rising temperatures and earlier snow melt, extending the dry season when forests are most vulnerable to burning.Though some ecosystems are adapted for less intense fires, little is known about how plants or ...

Three Critically Endangered Sumatran Tigers Lost to Animal Traps

Jakarta, 25 Apr (ONA) --- Three critically endangered Sumatran tigers were found dead after being caught in traps on Indonesia’s Sumatra island in the latest setback for a species whose numbers are estimated to have dwindled to about 400, local authorities said today. A female and a male tiger were found dead yesterday with leg injuries caused by a snare trap near a palm oil plantation in East Aceh district of Aceh province, said local police. The body of another female tiger was found hours later about 500 meters (550 yards) away with a snare still embedded in her ...

Malaysia's Palm Oil Board Urges Countries to Reconsider Food Versus Fuel Priorities

Kuala Lumpur, 25 Apr (ONA) --- Malaysia’s palm oil board today said it is time for countries to reconsider their food versus fuel priorities.Palm oil, the most widely used edible oil, is also used as biodiesel feedstock.Malaysia is the world’s second largest producer of palm oil after Indonesia. Its producers have said they cannot meet the global supply gap that will be triggered by Indonesia’s ban on palm oil exports which is due to come into effect on 28 April 2022.--- Ends/Thuraiya/KH ...

Space Tourists Get Ready to Head Back to Earth

Texas, 25 Apr (ONA) --- Four space tourists on the first private mission to the International Space Station undocked from the ISS today ahead of their return to Earth. The journey to Earth has been postponed several times due to weather, explained the private space company Axiom Space confirmed. The capsule is scheduled to touch down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. The Ax-1 mission blasted off from Cape Canaveral inFlorida in a Crew Dragon space capsule on 8 April 2022. The mission has been a joint effort run by Axiom, the USspace agency NASAand SpaceX. ...

10 of 26 People from Sunken Japan Tour Boat Confirmed Dead

Tokyo, 24 Apr (ONA) --- Rescuers said that 10 people who were retrieved today from the frigid sea and the rocky coast of a northern Japanese national park had died, a day after a tour boat with 26 aboard apparently sank in rough waters, triggering questions why it was allowed to sail. The search for the others is still ongoing after the boat sent a distress call yesterday afternoon saying it was sinking. The location, near the Kashuni Waterfall, is known as a difficult place to maneuver boats because of its rocky coastline and strong tide. There were two crew and 24 passengers, ...