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  1. #9181

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Heaven knows we need some.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  2. #9182

    Re: World News Random, Random

    There are plenty of good news if you look for them. Something close to many of you - lower Potomac river is now clean enough to host more than a thousand bottlenose dolphins. They had been gone for almost a century.

    Read elsewhere that from 2025 water quality will likely be good enough to swim in Washington DC. In Basel you already can safely swim in the Rhine.
    Roger forever

  3. #9183

    Re: World News Random, Random

    This story is finally being reported here in the States.

    Hundreds of billions of locusts — fueled by conflict and climate change — are swarming East Africa

    By Max Bearak
    FEBRUARY 12, 2020

    BORENA ZONE, Ethi*o*pia — From a distance, it looks like billowing smoke. But as it nears, the swarm of locusts comes into focus: billions upon billions of them, thick as a blizzard, uncountable as raindrops, a jaw-dropping procession of the ravenous creatures of biblical infamy, flailing and flapping in the air, blocking out the sun like a bad omen.

    The pests, known and feared by the world’s most ancient civilizations, are invading southern Ethi*o*pia and neighboring parts of Kenya in numbers not seen in generations.

    They breed freely in areas outside government control in conflict-ravaged Yemen and Somalia, and they reach their voracious adolescence while migrating west toward the feeding grounds of lusher inland Africa. Unseasonable rain, linked to a climate-change-driven event in the Indian Ocean, has turned the region into a buffet for locusts.

    A major humanitarian crisis looms. Locusts can decimate cropland, crippling farms and leaving markets empty and livestock with nothing to eat. Around 19 million people already face high levels of food insecurity in East Africa.

    “Our only option is to try to kill them all,” said Bayeh Mulatu, a pest control expert at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. A similar surge of locusts in northern Ethi*o*pia in 1954 devoured nearly 100 percent of green-leaf plant cover and, along with a drought, caused a year-long famine, Bayeh said.

    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as of Feb 10


    Despite technological improvements, the prospects of control remain slim. Hundreds of swarms have hatched in the sandy soil of Yemen and Somalia’s coastal plains, where little to nothing is being done to control them. Ethi*o*pia has only three operational planes to spray insecticides, and Kenya has five. Meanwhile, the biggest of the swarms are getting closer every day to Ethiopia’s breadbasket in the Great Rift Valley, where smaller swarms are already stripping some farms.

    “There is no such thing as containment of locusts,” Bayeh said. “There is only control. Only killing.”

    The United Nations says $76 million is needed immediately to increase spraying capacity.

    The funding is “required by, actually, now,” said FAO chief Qu Dongyu at a recent news briefing. “If after April the money has come, it’s somehow useless.”

    Ethi*o*pia is likely to be hit the hardest by the infestation, which began last June but is only now reaching epic proportions. While giant swarms have been reported in Kenya, and smaller ones in Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia, Ethi*o*pia is the only country among them where adolescent or “gregarious” swarms are expected to descend en masse on cropland. The locusts moved into Uganda this week and may move into South Sudan, the United Nations warned.

    “Our resources are not enough,” said Zebdewos Salato, director of plant protection at Ethiopia’s Agriculture Ministry. “Soon we may see the locusts passing over the whole country, into the major crop-growing regions.”

    Years of drought have led to widespread dependence on food aid in the region, and sudden rains have sparked deadly flash floods. In a cruel twist, an unusual, prolonged rainy season has alleviated some of the pressure on food supplies but also provided the ideal conditions for locust reproduction.

    Farmers in southern Ethi*o*pia were lucky that the biggest swarms didn’t show up here until January, after the harvest season. But now new seeds of corn and wheat are in the ground — as are hundreds of billions of locust eggs.

    The weather anomaly is caused by an El Niño-like event in the Indian Ocean that once occurred about every 10 years but that studies show has become more frequent, as well as more intense. The events lead to heavy rainfall in East Africa — which saw eight cyclones off its coast last year — and dry conditions in Australia, exacerbating bush fires there.

    Rainy conditions are expected until at least June, setting the stage for those swarms-in-waiting to devour the coming harvest.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  4. #9184

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Boris Johnson has canceled his planned trip to the White House after Trump slammed the phone down on him in a moment of 'apoplectic' fury
    Adam Bienkov

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has canceled a planned trip to meet with President Donald Trump next month after a furious row between the two men.

    Johnson had been due to visit Washington shortly after his election victory in December.

    The visit has been repeatedly delayed, however, amid a series of disagreements between the two leaders.

    Trump slammed the phone down on Johnson last month after the prime minister defied him on the issue of Huawei's involvement in the UK.

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has canceled a trip to the US planned for next month after a furious phone call from President Donald Trump in which Trump slammed down the phone on the prime minister.

    Johnson had been due to visit Washington last month but repeatedly delayed the trip after a series of rows with the president over Iran, Huawei, and a rejected request by the prime minister to extradite the wife of a US diplomat.

    The disagreements culminated in a phone call last month in which Trump hung up on Johnson, according to officials with knowledge of the conversation.

    Johnson has now canceled his trip altogether, and is not planning on visiting the country until the G7 summit in June.

    A Downing Street source confirmed that the trip had been cancelled due to fears of further clashes with the president.

    However, Downing Street insisted on Thursday that Johnson would concentrate instead on his domestic agenda over the coming months.

    "When the Eye of Sauron is off the Whitehall machine, things stop working," one source told The Sun newspaper.

    "That is why he has stripped down all his foreign travel this year to get his agenda done."

    The prime minister had been one of Trump's few close international allies, with the president labeling Johnson "fantastic," a "good man," and "Britain Trump."

    Relations broke down in recent weeks, however, following a series of high-profile threats from Trump and a series of pointed interventions against Trump by Johnson and senior members of his government.

    The call last month, which one source described to the Financial Times as "very difficult," came after Johnson defied Trump and allowed the Chinese telecom company Huawei the rights to develop the UK's 5G network.

    Johnson backed Huawei despite multiple threats by Trump and his allies that the US would withdraw security cooperation with the UK if the deal went ahead. The US fears that Huawei's technology could have backdoors for the Chinese government.

    Trump's threats reportedly "irritated" the UK government, with Johnson frustrated at the president's failure to suggest any alternatives.

    Following the call, US Vice President Mike Pence said the Trump administration had made its disappointment with the UK "very clear to them."
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

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