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Archive for June 6, 2011

Local levees threatened by record-setting releases into Missouri River

June 6, 2011 Comments off

columbiamissourian

COLUMBIA — Workers at the city’s water treatment plant in the Missouri River bottoms are getting the boats out of storage.

Two levees protect McBaine from river levels up to 32 feet, and a flood wall at the plant itself can withstand up to 40 feet, said Floyd Turner, Columbia’s manager of water operations.

Extremely high amounts of rainfall and melting snow along the northern sections of the Missouri River are expected to raise river levels enough to possibly overwhelm levees throughout the state. One of those at risk, the McBaine Levee District, protects the Columbia Drinking Water Plant.If the Missouri River overflows the levees along the river, though, plant workers will need their two 14-foot boats to navigate between the nearby wells and possibly transport workers to and from the plant.

The water plant’s staff was stockpiling sand for spot leaks along with other supplies in case floods limit access to the plant, engineer Michael Anderson said Friday. Workers at the plant were also checking on emergency generators in the event the plant loses electricity.

A forecast from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shows the Missouri River overflowing as many as 58 levees between Kansas City and St. Louis by the end of the month.

After a year’s worth of rain in recent weeks and snowpack 140 percent above average in the Read more…

Millions displaced by natural disasters last year

June 6, 2011 Comments off

ap.org

AP PhotoAP Photo/Zhang WuOSLO, Norway (AP) — About 42 million people were forced to flee their homes because of natural disasters around the world in 2010, more than double the number during the previous year, experts said Monday.

One reason for the increase in the figure could be climate change, and the international community should be doing more to contain it, the experts said.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre said the increase from 17 million displaced people in 2009 was mainly due to the impact of “mega-disasters” such as the massive floods in China and Pakistan and the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti.

It said more than 90 percent of the disaster displacements were caused by weather-related hazards such as floods and storms that were probably impacted by global warming, but it couldn’t say to what extent.

“The intensity and frequency of extreme weather events is increasing, and this trend is only set to continue. With all probability, the number of Read more…

Categories: Earth changes, Weather, world

China defends naval actions

June 6, 2011 1 comment

General Liang Guanglie, China’s defence minister, has rejected criticism that his country was acting belligerently in the South China Sea, saying China was pursuing a “peaceful rise”.

“You say our actions do not match our words. I certainly do not agree,” Gen Liang replied to critics at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a high-profile Asia defence forum in Singapore.

Speaking days after Vietnam and the Philippines accused China of aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea, Gen Liang denied that China was threatening security in the strategically important and energy-rich disputed waters, saying “freedom of navigation has never been impeded”.

He was the first Chinese defence minister to participate in the forum, which was attended by Robert Gates, US defence secretary, and other Asian defence ministers. It was Gen Liang’s first big international speech.

Mr Gates expressed “increasing concerns” about China’s recent maritime behaviour. But when asked if Beijing was undermining its “peaceful rise” claim, he replied: Read more…

Who will lead Yemen now?

June 6, 2011 Comments off

csmonitor

Yemen‘s main political opposition accepted a transfer of power to the country’s vice president after President Ali Abdullah Saleh traveled to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment following an attack on his compound Friday. But it’s unclear who will replace President Saleh more permanently if he doesn’t return, and whether Vice President Abdul Rabu Mansoor Hadi will be accepted by the other groups vying for Saleh’s ouster.

Saleh was injured Friday when opposition tribesmen shelled the presidential compound, targeting a mosque during Friday prayers. Saleh’s forces and Yemeni tribesmen, who have engaged in pitched battles for nearly two weeks in the capital, continued fighting this weekend, the Washington Post reports, despite a truce brokered by Saudi Arabia.

The capital erupted in fireworks after his departure, which some saw as permanent, given his injuries and increasingly weak political position. But the government rebuffed the political opposition’s call for the establishment of Read more…