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MISCELLANEOUS
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, ...

Scientists Search Mexico's Galapagos for Quake, Volcano Clues

Mexico City, 24 Apr (ONA) --- Located in the Pacific Ocean several hundred kilometers from the Mexican coast, the Revillagigedo Islands are known as "Mexico's Galapagos" due to their isolation and biodiversity. This is where scientists headed to find answers to question such as: Could a volcanic eruption off Mexico’s coast unleash a tsunami like the one that devastated Tonga? What really causes tectonic plates to shift and trigger earthquakes?One of the archipelago's volcanos, Barcena, last erupted spectacularly in 1953, and another Evermann, in 1993. Both remain active ...

Study Sheds New Light on Theories of Early Human Arrivals in Americas

Wyoming, US, 21 Apr (ONA) --- A new analysis of archaeological sites in the Americas challenges relatively new theories that the earliest human inhabitants of North America arrived before the migration of people from Asia across the Bering Strait. Conducted by University of Wyoming Professor Todd Surovell and colleagues from UW and five other institutions, the analysis suggests that misinterpretation of archaeological evidence at certain sites in North and South America might be responsible for theories that humans arrived long before 13,000-14,200 years ago.The researchers' ...

Dust Travels Across Oceans: Researchers

Pennsylvania, 21 Apr (ONA) --- The sunset over the Atlantic or an orangey glow in some other areas in Texas may be caused by dust from West Africa, according to researchers who are looking at the paths of particulate matter in the skies over the Sahara Desert and the semi-arid Sahel. Gregory S. Jenkins, Professor of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, Geography and African Studies in Penn State said that their research looked into how much dust is being transported into West Africa in the winter and across the Atlantic in the summer, “In the winter, it is low in the atmosphere ...

Coal Mine Blasts Kill 4 in Poland

Warsaw, 20 Apr (ONA) --- Methane explosions at a coal mine in southern Poland today killed four people and injured 19, local authorities said. Seven others were missing. The blasts took place at about 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) under the surface at the Pniowek mine in Pawlowice. The immediate rescue operation by 13 units of rescuers had to be suspended because of a fire and the need to protect the rescuers. Contact with seven of the rescuers has been lost during the operation, mine authorities said. --- Ends/Khalid ...

Climate Change Fueled Extreme Rainfall During Record 2020 Hurricane Reason

Washington, 20 Apr (ONA) --- Human-induced climate change fueled one of the most active North Atlantic hurricane seasons on record in 2020, according to a study published in the journal Nature.The study analyzed the 2020 season and the impact of human activity on climate change. It found that hourly hurricane rainfall totals were up to 10% higher when compared to hurricanes that took place in the pre-industrial era in 1850, according to a news release from Stony Brook University."The impacts of climate change are actually already here," said Stony Brook's Kevin Reed, who led the ...

Scientists Plan to Send Probe to Uranus for First Time

Washington, 20 Apr (ONA) --- Uranus has been sadly neglected. Probes have visited Mars, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury. The ice giants Uranus and Neptune, in the distant reaches of the Solar System, have not had a single dedicated visitor. In a new report laying out the top priorities for planetary science and astrobiology, a panel of experts from the US National Academies advises that this omission be rectified. For initiation within the next decade, the committee put a Uranus probe at top priority as the next planetary flagship mission. The report is titled Origins, ...

Strong Tides, Vanishing Lakes May Prove Beneficial to Antarctic Ice Shelf

Pennsylvania, 19 Apr (ONA) --- The lakes that form on Antarctica's ice shelves can drive vertical cracks deep within the ice, increasing the chance of ice shelf collapse and sea level rise. However, if meltwater accumulates in certain areas and drains fast enough, it may temporarily stabilize the ice shelf despite increased warming, according to researchers."Antarctica's ice is the largest potential source of sea level rise," said Luke Trusel, assistant professor of geography at Penn State. "A significant percentage of the global population lives along the coastline in many of the ...

Area Covered by Antarctic Sea Ice Falls to Lowest Recorded Level

Guangzhou, 19 Apr (ONA) --- The area covered by sea ice in Antarctica fell to its lowest level in 2022, according to records that began in the late 1970s. The record set this year is the second sharp drop in ice coverage in just five years, Chinese researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou and the Laboratory of Southern Marine Science in Zhuhai report in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. They have been investigating ocean currents and weather phenomena behind the melting, but are still faced with mysteries. While ice in the Arctic is rapidly decreasing ...

Search for More Than 60 Missing People After South Africa Floods

Cape Town, 18 Apr (ONA) --- Search operations are continuing for 63 people still missing following the devastating floods that swept through South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province last week.More than 440 people have died.Some of them swept away by swollen rivers and mudslides.The government has declared KwaZulu-Natal a disaster area after officials described the floods as some of the worst to ever hit the province.Nearly 300 schools and some health facilities have also been damaged.Weather experts have said that climate change may be contributing to changing patterns and making such ...

Destructive Wildfires Rage in New Mexico, Colorado

New Mexico, 14 Apr (ONA) --- Firefighters scouted the drought-stricken mountainsides around a New Mexico village in the US as they looked for opportunities to slow a wind-driven wildfire that a day earlier had burned at least 150 homes and other structures while displacing thousands of residents and forcing the evacuation of two schools. Homes were among the structures that had burned, but officials did not have a count of how many were destroyed in the blaze that torched at least 6.4 square miles (16.6 square kilometers) of forest, brush and grass on the east side of the ...

South Africa Floods Kill More Than 250

Cape Town, 13 Apr (ONA) --- The death toll in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal has reached more than 250, after devastating floods wreaked havoc in the area. Local authorities are calling for a state of disaster to be declared, after some areas saw months-worth of rain fall in one day. Local officials have called it one of the worst weather storms in the history of the country. Photos from the area's main city, Durban, show wrecked homes and cars submerged in water. Mudslides have brought traffic to a standstill. Some motorways are so submerged that only the ...

Dutch Horticultural Expo Opens Near Amsterdam

Amsterdam, 13 Apr (ONA) --- Tulips herald the advent of spring — and the Dutch believe they can also highlight ways to fight climate change. Thousands of tulips are in bloom this week to welcome visitors to the opening of the once-in-a-decade Dutch horticultural exhibition called Floriade, which seeks to showcase horticultural innovations that can make urban areas more sustainable and healthier as people around the world increasingly shift to cities. A new university building on the 60-hectare (148-acre) site on the edge of this modern city close to Amsterdam has plants ...

17 Dead in Overloaded Truck Crash in Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia, 13 Apr (ONA) --- An overloaded truck carrying 29 people today hit a cliff and flipped over near a gold mine in Indonesia’s West Papua province, killing 17 people and leaving others injured, police said. Survivors said the truck’s engine apparently lost power while going up a hill and rolled backward before hitting a cliff, killing 13 people instantly. The other 16 were taken to two hospitals, some in critical condition, and four died while in treatment. --- Ends/Khalid ...

Flooding, Landslides Kill at Least 25 People in Philippines

Manila, Philippines, 12 Apr (ONA) --- Heavy rains caused by a summer tropical depression killed at least 25 people in the central and southern Philippines, mostly due to landslides, local officials said. Twenty-two villagers died in landslides in four villages in Baybay city in central Leyte province. At least six other people were reported missing in the landslides and a search was underway. Three other storm-related deaths were reported by the government’s main disaster-response agency in the southern provinces of Davao de Oro and Davao Oriental. Nearly 200 floods were ...

Invasive Fire Ants Take to Australian Flood Waters to Colonise New Areas

Brisbane, Australia, 12 Apr (ONA) --- Invasive fire ants have used recent flooding in Queensland to expand their Australian invasion, teaming up and forming floating rafts with their bodies to allow them to survive for weeks at a time.Eradication officers in Queensland have captured photos of the dangerous ants forming the rafts in flood waters.It’s one of the pest’s most impressive survival tricks. Thousands of ants lock their bodies tightly together, trapping air bubbles in the process to keep them afloat.Colonies can survive for weeks this way, with the multi-layered ...

Cities with Permeable Surfaces Better Able to Mitigate Floods

London, 12 Apr (ONA) --- Soft and full of holes, sponges absorb and retain water. With heavy rainfall and storms predicted to increase due to climate change, cities that are equipped with plenty of permeable surfaces such as parks, trees and lakes that soak up water like sponges, will be better able to mitigate floods.To measure how well urban spaces can manage excess water, Arup, a global architectural firm, surveyed seven major cities at risk of heavy rainfall and severe floods using an artificial intelligence and land use analysis system called Terrain. In March 2022, it published ...

Fossil of Dinosaur Killed in Asteroid Strike Found

Washington, 7 Apr (ONA) --- Scientists working at the Tanis dig site in North Dakota, USA, have discovered an almost perfectly preserved leg from a Thescelosaurus, complete with skin.Those working at the site believe it was killed and entombed on the day of a giant asteroid strike 66 million years ago that brought about the end of the dinosaurs. That impact is believed to have taken place in the Gulf of Mexico, some 2,500 miles away from Tanis, but was still powerful enough to cause a surge of water that buried all those living in what is now the Upper Midwest state."It's ...