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Super typhoon Haiyan just broke all scientific intensity scales

November 8, 2013 Comments off

gizmodo.com

Writing for Quartz, meteorologist Eric Holthaus says that the super typhoon Haiyan about to hit the Philippines is the worst storm he has ever seen. With sustained winds of 190mph (305km/h) and staggering gusts of 230mph (370km/h), its “intensity has actually ticked slightly above the maximum to 8.1 on an 8.0 scale.” Updated: It broke 235mph. Videos of the impact added.

Holthaus says that Yolanda—its Filipino name—beats “Wilma (2005) in intensity by 5mph—that was the strongest storm ever in the Atlantic,” which makes it a member of the select club of Worst Storms Ever in the Planet. Only three other storms since 1969 have reached this intensity.

That’s certainly foreboding enough, but the humanitarian disaster that may Read more…

Military spending in South-East Asia

March 23, 2012 Comments off

economist.com

THE tiny island-state of Singapore, home to just over 5m people, has a well-deserved reputation as a quiet, clean-cut hub for banking, lawyering and golf. Yet beyond the fairways it bristles with weapons.

According to a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Singapore is now the fifth-largest arms importer in the world, bested only by some obvious behemoths—China, India and Pakistan—plus South Korea. Singapore accounts for 4% of the world’s total spending on arms imports. Its defence spending per head beats every country bar America, Israel and Kuwait. This year $9.7 billion, or 24% of the national budget, will go on defence.

These are striking figures, but then Singapore has been one of the Read more…

Asia is hit with mutated bird flu virus

August 30, 2011 Comments off

bigpondnews.com

The UN says a mutant strain of the deadly H5N1 virus could be spreading in Asia.

The UN says a mutant strain of the deadly H5N1 virus could be spreading in Asia.

Bird flu is showing signs of returning, and a mutant strain of the deadly H5N1 virus could be spreading in Asia, the United Nations has warned.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) issued a warning on Monday that a mutant strain of bird flu could be spreading to previous virus-free countries by wild bird migrations, CBS News reports.

The FAO says the new strain can apparently dodge existing avian Read more…

Surging Food Prices Could Thrust Millions Into Poverty In Emerging Europe: World Bank

April 16, 2011 Comments off

WASHINGTON, April 16 (Bernama) — The recent price hikes in food and energy could push more than five million people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia into poverty, reports the China’s Xinhua news agency, quoting World Bank’s official.

Yvonne Tsikata, the director for Poverty reduction and economic management of the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia region said: “The poorest people in the region will suffer the most from the high food and energy price inflation, which reduces their purchasing power’.

She said that the region’s poor often spend half of their income on food, and Read more…

Avian influenza continues to spread across Asian countries

March 10, 2011 Comments off

worldpoultry

Across Japan a total of 22 cases of avian flu have been reported as the infection continues to spread. On Sunday, 33,000 more chickens were culled in the Miyazaki Prefecture, bringing the total chickens culled to around 990,000 birds since the first infection was reported on Jan 22, 2011.

In India, further cases have been confirmed on a Tripura farm where the culling process has started to take place. This is the second time bird flu has been detected in the state following an outbreak in February this year. Health and veterinary workers had then culled more than 4,000 chickens.

South Korea has also had 12,400 birds test positive for avian flu last week, marking the 49th outbreak since December 29. The latest outbreak is a poultry farm in Cheonan, 92 km south of Seoul, the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service (NVRQS) said. All ducks on the farm will be culled with quarantine authorities asking nearby farms to be vigilant and protect their birds.

This is the second case of the highly pathogenic avian influenza reported in the country this month although the number of AI cases has started to fall off in recent weeks.  The government has culled more than 6.04 million birds in six provinces across the country.

China cracks down on call for ‘Jasmine Revolution’

February 19, 2011 Comments off

By CARA ANNA

The Associated Press
Saturday, February 19, 2011; 10:05 AM

BEIJING — Chinese authorities cracked down on activists as a call circulated for people to gather in more than a dozen cities Sunday for a “Jasmine Revolution.”

The source of the call was not known, but authorities moved to halt its spread online. Searches for the word “jasmine” were blocked Saturday on China’s largest Twitter-like microblog, and the website where the request first appeared said it was hit by an attack.

Activists seemed not to know what to make of the call to protest, even as they passed it on. They said they were unaware of any known group being involved in the request for citizens to gather in 13 cities and shout “We want food, we want work, we want Read more…

“War Without Borders”: Washington Intensifies Push Into Central Asia

February 3, 2011 Comments off

By Rick Rozoff

A recent editorial on the website of Voice of America reflected on last year being one in which the United States solidified relations with the five former Soviet republics in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

One or more of the five nations border Afghanistan, Russia, China and Iran and several more than one of the latter. Kazakhstan, for example, adjoins China and Russia.

The U.S. and Britain, with the support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, invaded Afghanistan and fanned out into Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in October of 2001, less than four months after Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan founded the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to foster expanding economic, security, transportation and energy cooperation and integration in and through Central Asia. In 2005 India, Iran and Pakistan joined the SCO as observers and Afghan President Hamid Karzai has attended its last five annual heads of state summits. [1]

Now the U.S. and the NATO have over 150,000 troops planted directly south of three Central Asian nations.
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are also on the Caspian Sea, a reservoir of oil and natural gas whose dimensions have only been accurately determined in the past twenty years and where American companies are active in hydrocarbon projects.

After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the Pentagon and its NATO allies deployed military forces to, in addition to Soviet-constructed air bases in Afghanistan, bases in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The first two countries Read more…

WikiLeaks: tension in the Middle East and Asia has ‘direct potential’ to lead to nuclear war

February 3, 2011 1 comment

Tension in the Middle East and Asia has given rise to an escalating atomic arms and missiles race which has “the direct potential to lead to nuclear war,” leaked diplomatic documents disclose.

By Heidi BlakeRogue states are also increasing their efforts to secure chemical and biological weapons, and the means to deploy them, leaving billions in the world’s most densely populated area at risk of a devastating strike, the documents show.

States such as North Korea, Syria and Iran are developing long-range missiles capable of hitting targets outside the region, records of top-level security briefings obtained by WikiLeaks show.

Long-running hostilities between India and Pakistan – which both have nuclear weapons capabilities – are at the root of fears of a nuclear conflict in the region. A classified Pentagon study estimated in 2002 that a nuclear war between the two countries could result in 12 million deaths.

Secret records of a US security briefing at an international non-proliferation summit in 2008 stated that “a nuclear and missile arms race [in South Asia] has the Read more…

Mutant mosquitoes: Malaysia release of genetically modified insects sparks fears of uncontrollable new species

January 27, 2011 Comments off

Malaysia has released 6,000 genetically modified mosquitoes into a forest in the first experiment of its kind in Asia aimed at curbing dengue fever.

The field test is meant to pave the way for the official use of genetically engineered Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes to mate with females and produce offspring with shorter lives, thus curtailing the population.

Only female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes spread dengue fever, which killed 134 people in Malaysia last year.

Malaysia has released 6,000 genetically modified Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes into a forest in the first experiment of its kind in Asia aimed at curbing dengue feverMalaysia has released 6,000 genetically modified Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes into a forest in a bid to curb rates of dengue fever 

However, the plan has sparked criticism by some Malaysian environmentalists, who fear it might have unforeseen consequences, such as the inadvertent creation of uncontrollable mutated mosquitoes.

Critics also say such plans could leave a vacuum in the ecosystem that is then filled by another insect species, potentially introducing new diseases.

A similar trial in the Cayman Islands last year – the first time genetically modified mosquitoes Read more…

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