UN Report: Earth ecosystem in peril

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UN Report: Earth ecosystem in peril

Thursday, March 31, 2005A report Tuesday from a United Nations-backed project, consulting more than 1,300 scientists from 95 countries, and written over the last four years, warns that 60 percent of the basics of life on Earth — water, food, timber, clean air — are currently being used in ways which degrade them. Furthermore, fisheries and fresh water use-patterns are unsustainable, and getting worse.

“The harmful consequences of this degradation could grow significantly worse in the next 50 years,” according to a press release from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), a massive four-year study begun in 2001.

“We’ve had many reports on environmental degradation, but for the first time we’re now able to draw connections between ecosystem services and human well-being,” Cristian Samper, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington and a chief architect of the study, told the Christian Science Monitor.

The project’s Synthesis Report, first in a series of eleven documents and published yesterday, explains the objective: “to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and to establish the scientific basis for actions needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems and their contributions to human well-being.”

It then goes on to report on four main findings:

  • Changes over the last 50 years to meet rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber and fuel, have effected substantial and largely irreversible loss in the diversity of life on Earth.
  • Net gains in human well-being and economic development are offset by growing costs, in the form ecosystem degradation, the possibility of abrupt and unpredictable ecosystem changes, and worsened poverty for some groups. Unless addressed, these problems will substantially diminish the benefits that future generations obtain from ecosystems.
  • Ecosystem degradation could grow significantly worse over the next 50 years, presenting a barrier to meeting UN Millennium Development Goals.
  • The challenge of reversing the degradation while meeting increasing ecological demands can be partially met under some scenarios, but only with significant changes in policies, institutions and practices — changes that are not currently under way.

Walter Reid, the study’s director, speaking at yesterday’s London launch of the report said it shows that over the last 50 years “humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable time in human history.”

“This has resulted in substantial and largely irreversible loss in the diversity of life on Earth,” he said.

It is unclear what this will mean to future generations or the possible emergence of new diseases, absence of fresh water and the continuing decline of fisheries and completely unpredictable weather.

With half of the urban populations of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean suffering from several diseases associated with these problems, the death toll is reaching 1.7 million people a year. Entire species of mammals, birds and amphibians are disappearing from the planet at nearly 1,000 times the natural rate, according to the study. Oxygen-depleted coastal waters and rivers result from overuse of nitrogen fertilizer – an effect known as “nutrient loading” which leads to continuing biodiversity loss.

With the United States’ non-participation in the Kyoto Treaty, former U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth, president of this U.N. Foundation, says “U.S. leadership is critical in providing much-needed expertise, technological capabilities and ingenuity to restore ecosystems.

“We can take steps at home to reduce our nation’s adverse impact on the global environment.”

“At the heart of this assessment is a stark warning,” said the 45-member board.

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Rescue workers search wreckage of Brazilian air crash

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Rescue workers search wreckage of Brazilian air crash

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907 crashed 1,750km (1,100 miles) north-west of Rio de Janeiro killing all people onboard, on Friday September 29. National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) has confirmed that the crashed Brazilian airplane did crash into a smaller aircraft. Rescue workers and air force personnel are searching the wreckage for bodies

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No people or animals hurt in rural Australian fire

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No people or animals hurt in rural Australian fire

Saturday, January 30, 2010

According to local police chief Craig Van Breugel there were no injuries or loss of life to animals or local residents in the recent fire in the rural Australian town of Toongabbie. “There was no injury to persons or animals. That is all I have for you,” Detective Acting Sergent Van Breugel said in response to queries from Wikinews.

The fire began about 2:20 pm local time (UTC+11) between Humphrey and Eagle Hawk roads, north of the township proper. The local Country Fire Authority brigade managed to contain the blaze to approximately three to five hectares.

Victoria Police have recently indicated that the area around where the fire was started is only accessible by four wheel drives (4WD) or off-road motorcycles; it is popular with dirt bike riders and 4WD enthusiasts.

The local Country Fire Authority brigade managed to contain the blaze to approximately three to five hectares between Humphrey and Eagle Hawk roads.

Det.Act.Sgt Van Breugel confrimed that there wer some off road motor cyclists in the are that day. “[Police] know there was a number of off road motorcyclists in the area on the day. Some of [them] have already been spoken to by the Police” Det.Act.Sgt Van Breugel said.

The fire is being treated as suspicious and people with infomation that may help the investigation are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers or the local police.

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Scores feared dead in Indonesian landslides after heavy rain

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Scores feared dead in Indonesian landslides after heavy rain
Published by
May 21

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Heavy rains in western Indonesia have triggered landslides across the region that have killed dozens of people. Meanwhile, other areas were devastated by major flooding, with water reaching two metres high in some locations.

Search and rescue chief Eko Prayitno in Java told reporters that police, soldiers and volounteers were working together to attempt to reach survivors, some digging with their hands or traditional tools. Heavy equipment is available and efforts are underway to get it into place, he said, but blocked roads are making such efforts difficult.

Prayitno also said that a single landslide in the Karanganyar region buried 61 people who were attending a dinner to celebrate a successful clean up of a house affected by another landslide, which had caused no injuries. “They were having dinner together when they were hit by another landslide… At least 61 people were buried.” Landslides affected the region over a four hour period from 01:00 a.m. to 05:00 a.m. local time. Meanwhile, seventeen people are feared dead in the neighbouring district of Wonogiri, which has also been hit by landslides after twelve hours of nonstop torrential rain.

Andi Mallarangeng, spokesperson for president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, told reporters “The president sends his deep condolence, and has ordered Home Minister [Mardiono] to inspect the scene [in Karanganyar] and monitor the emergency responses.”

Many fleeing residents have attempted to salvage their possessions, with some using tyres to float television sets and refrigerators to dry ground. Another single massive slide in Tawangmangu, a mountainous resort, buried 37. Metro TV News was told by an eyewitness, identified only as Karsidi, that “Those people were gathering for a tea break during communal works after the rains, and suddenly the land collapsed onto them.”

The affected regions spread across Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi. The population distribution in Indonesia has worsened the situation, with many people living on river flood plains to utilise the fertile soil and many more living in inaccessible mountain regions. The total death toll is estimated at up to 81 people, and eyewitnesses and local media report that thousands of homes are affected.

Landslides are common in Indonesia, where large-scale rainfall is a regular occurrence. This is often exacerbated by deforestation. However, Heru, head of the local disaster coordinator agency in Karang Anyar, commented that “The forest in the area is thick,” and consequently he did not believe deforestation was a causal factor. The region he is responsible for has recorded 36 deaths and 30 more buried in thick mud near the banks of the Bengawan Solo river. Meanwhile Julianto, another provincial government official, said “The landslides took us by surprise. This is the first time in the last 25 years anything of this scale occurred here in Central Java.”

Julianto also commented that thousands of people displaced from their homes by flooding and landslides have been forced into temporary accommodation in buildings and tents provided by emergency response teams.

Today’s disasters coincide with the third anniversary of the Asian tsunami, which killed an estimated 230,000 people. A tsunami drill on Java was unaffected as the seasonal poor weather did not have an adverse affect on the area of the drill.

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Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans graduate students

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Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans graduate students
Published by
May 21
See the discussion page for instructions on adding schools to this list.Tuesday, September 13, 2005

NAICU has created a list of colleges and universities accepting and/or offering assistance to displace faculty members. [1]Wednesday, September 7, 2005

This list is taken from Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans students, and is intended to make searching easier for faculty, graduate, and professional students.

In addition to the list below, the Association of American Law Schools has compiled a list of law schools offering assistance to displaced students. [2] As conditions vary by college, interested parties should contact the Office of Admissions at the school in question for specific requirements and up-to-date details.

The Association of American Medical Colleges is coordinating alternatives for medical students and residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina. [3]

ResCross.net is acting as a central interactive hub for establishing research support in times of emergency. With so many scientists affected by Hurricane Katrina, ResCross is currently focused on providing information to identify sources of emergency support as quickly as possible. [4]

With so many scientists affected by Hurricane Katrina, ResCross is currently focused on providing information to identify sources of emergency support as quickly as possible.

Physics undergraduates, grad students, faculty and high school teachers can be matched up with housing and jobs at universities, schools and industry. [5] From the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Society of Physics Students, the American Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society.

If you are seeking or providing assistance, please use this site to find information on research support, available lab space/supplies, resources, guidelines and most importantly to communicate with fellow researchers.

The following is a partial list, sorted by location.

Alabama |Alaska |Arizona |Arkansas |California |Colorado |Connecticut |Delaware |District of Columbia |Florida |Georgia |Hawaii |Idaho |Illinois |Indiana |Iowa |Kansas |Kentucky |Louisiana |Maine |Maryland |Massachusetts |Michigan |Minnesota |Mississippi |Missouri |Montana |Nebraska |Nevada |New Hampshire |New Jersey |New Mexico |New York |North Carolina |North Dakota |Ohio |Oklahoma |Oregon |Pennsylvania |Rhode Island |South Carolina |South Dakota |Tennessee |Texas |Utah |Vermont |Virginia |Washington |West Virginia |Wisconsin |Wyoming |Canada

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State of emergency declared in New York over H1N1 swine flu virus

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State of emergency declared in New York over H1N1 swine flu virus
Published by
May 21

Thursday, October 29, 2009

According to US health officials, New York state governor David Paterson has declared a state of emergency in the state as a result of the H1N1 swine flu outbreak.

The Associated Press news agency reports that the six-page declaration was issued because at least 75 people have died of H1N1 related illnesses in New York since April. Three have died from H1N1 related illnesses just this past week. The declaration also says that human cases of the virus are on the rise.

Paterson says he issued the declaration because “a disaster has occurred throughout New York State, for which the affected local governments are unable to respond adequately.”

The declaration will allow health officials more access to the H1N1 vaccine and the seasonal flu shot. It will also allow for an increase in the number of vaccine doses available in the state and will allow more health care facilities to administer the vaccine, including dentists and pharmacists. Schools with health centers will also be allowed to administer both vaccines.

Despite the declaration, officials stressed that there is no reason to worry. A spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Health, Claire Pospisil, said that “it [the declaration] helps us to be more prepared.”

The order came shortly after US president Barack Obama declared a national emergency last Saturday, a response to the spreading of the virus, which has now been circulated in 46 states.

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Early morning fire kills four New York group home residents

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Early morning fire kills four New York group home residents
Published by
May 19

Sunday, March 22, 2009

After an early morning fire began, four out of the nine people living at the Riverview Individual Residential Alternative group home located in Wells, New York were killed by the blaze. The Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office, which supervises the home, told the media that the fire started at approximately 5:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time. Two staff members were at the home at the time, who safely evacuated four of the five survivors.

The names of the residents killed in the fire were not able to be released due to New York’s Mental Hygiene Law, but are able to be identified as two adult men, aged 32 and 52, and two adult women, aged 43 and 60. A 71-year-old male was injured in the fire, and was taken to a hospital in Utica, a nearby city. The other four residents have been relocated to an unnamed group home. Both staff members are also being examined at the hospital.

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the families, loved ones and friends of the four victims and to continue to pray for the full recovery of those five people and two staff members who survived this incident. I also want to express my thanks and appreciation for the first responders and volunteers who worked swiftly and diligently to respond to this tragedy,” David Patterson, the governor of New York, said to the media.

The exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined. However, the New York Civil Liberties Union stated that “the blaze appears to have been an electrical fire and the sprinkler system was knocked out immediately.” They also called for “an immediate investigation into the causes of and contributing factors of the fire.”

The New York State Department of State Office of Fire Prevention and Control is currently investigating the causes of the blaze, with help from New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the New York State Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities.

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Judge declares mistrial in Bill Cosby sexual assault case

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Judge declares mistrial in Bill Cosby sexual assault case
Published by
May 19

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

On Saturday, Judge Steven O’Niell of Norristown, Pennsylvania declared a mistrial in the trial of U.S. actor Bill Cosby for sexual assault because the jury had become deadlocked, unable to arrive at a unanimous guilty or not guilty verdict. Prosecutors immediately announced plans to retry the case.

Brian McMonagle, one of Cosby’s lawyers, addressed the jury, “We came here looking for an acquittal but like that Rolling Stones song says, ‘You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes you get what you need.'”

It would be reasonable, based on the evidence presented, for the jurors to agree that Cosby is a sexual predator and still disagree on a verdict as to the assault of Constand.

The jurors had deliberated for a total of 53 hours, longer than the testimony of all witnesses combined. They had already declared themselves deadlocked Thursday morning, at which time Judge O’Niell told them to return to deliberations and try again. On Friday, they emerged to request copies of previous testimony and phone transcripts.

During their deliberations, the jury asked to review the testimony of alleged victim Andrea Constand, particularly her testimony about the 2004 night the alleged assault took place, which produced over 300 pages of transcripts. Constand claims that, in 2004 when she was working for Temple University, Cosby invited her to his home, where he gave her pills that left her “immobilized” and unable to speak and then touched her breasts and genitals and placed her hand on his exposed genitals. Cosby claims their contact was consensual and that the pills he gave her were ordinary Benadryl, though he has admitted on-record that he gave women quaaludes for sex in the 1970s. Cosby was accused of three charges of aggravated indecent assault, these being assaulting Constand without her consent; whilst she was unconscious; and after using drugs to impair her ability to give consent. On each charge, a guilty verdict could have placed Cosby, now 79, in prison for up to ten years. Many other women have claimed that Cosby assaulted them as well, with specifics ranging from inappropriate touching to rape, but the statute of limitations for many of these complaints has expired, meaning that the crime happened too long ago for the government to legally prosecute Cosby. However, Pennsylvania law does allow for the testimony of such victims in other sexual assault trials, and one of these women, Kelly Johnson, testified in last week’s proceedings.

Constand did file a complaint with police in 2005, and the district attorney at the time, Bruce Castor, decided against charging Cosby. Constand then sued Cosby in civil court and the matter was settled with an undisclosed sum. However, during his deposition for this civil case, Cosby admitted on the record to giving women quaaludes.

When asked why he thought the jury was unable to come to a unanimous verdict in this case, former Philadelphia prosecutor Kevin Harden Junior said that the jurors probably had doubts regarding Constand’s credibility and cited the fact that only one of Cosby’s other accusers had been allowed to testify: “By limiting evidence of other accusers, the Court focused the jury on whether the prosecution presented enough credible evidence to convict Cosby of this particular assault. […] It would be reasonable, based on the evidence presented, for the jurors to agree that Cosby is a sexual predator and still disagree on a verdict as to the assault of Constand.”

University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias commented on the prospects for a new trial: “The fact that the case turned substantially on one person’s testimony may have made it difficult to win and the defense counsel made many efforts to undercut her testimony. The retrial happens next, and the prosecution may try to call other accusers.”

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Why Consider Ac Service In Port St. Lucie, Fl

Published by
May 19

byadmin

While some people try to wait until the hottest part of the year to turn on their air conditioners, others prefer to stay as comfortable as possible when temperatures outside climb. Regardless of your preferences, you want the system to work when you turn it on and routine AC service in Port St. Lucie, FL can help you achieve that. However, getting the air conditioner serviced also does a lot more for you and the system.

Reduce Repair Needs

Preventative maintenance is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of having high repair bills. You keep the system clean and a professional checks to ensure that all the components are functioning correctly. You also ensure that there is no leaks present.

Longevity

Getting a tune-up on the air conditioner may seem like a cost that doesn’t give back, but it’s an investment that helps promote the health of your air conditioner. These systems cost money, and it makes sense to keep them working correctly for as long as possible. It’s much more expensive to buy a new system than it is to care for the current one. Of course, some situations may require you to install a new air conditioner, such as when yours requires repairs frequently or when it is less efficient because of age.

Save Money

It is amazing how most people don’t think about the easiest way to save money. You may turn off the lights, turn the heat way down or the air conditioner up, or unplug all the appliances, but the fact is that most of the energy used is from the HVAC system. When everything is working correctly, less energy is used to do the work. Therefore, your system isn’t overtaxed, and you don’t waste energy and money. Visit A/C Medics for more info.

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Recalled pet food found to contain rat poison

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Recalled pet food found to contain rat poison
Published by
May 19

Friday, March 23, 2007

In a press release earlier today, New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker, along with Dean of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine Donald F. Smith, confirmed that scientists at the New York State Food Laboratory identified Aminopterin as a toxin present in cat food samples from Menu Foods.

Menu Foods is the manufacturer of several brands of cat and dog food subject to a March 16, 2007 recall.

Aminopterin is a drug used in chemotherapy for its immunosuppressive properties and, in some areas outside the US, as a rat poison. Earlier reports stated that wheat gluten was a factor being investigated, and officials now state that the toxin would have come from Chinese wheat used in the pet food, where it is used for pest control. Investigators will not say that this is the only contaminant found in the recalled food, but knowing the identity of the toxin should assist veterinarians treating affected animals.

The Food Laboratory tested samples of cat food received from a toxicologist at the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University. The samples were found to contain the rodenticide at levels of at least 40 parts per million.

Commissioner Hooker stated, ““We are pleased that the expertise of our New York State Food Laboratory was able to contribute to identifying the agent that caused numerous illnesses and deaths in dogs and cats across the nation.”

The press release suggests Aminopterin, a derivative of folic acid, can cause cancer and birth defects in humans and can cause kidney damage in dogs and cats. Aminopterin is not permitted for use in the United States.

The New York State Food Laboratory is part of the Federal Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) and as such, is capable of running a number of unique poison/toxin tests on food, including the test that identified Aminopterin.

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