Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.1 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits Tonga.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

USA – Severe storms loom across central US this weekend – Forecasters are predicting a significant chance of strong tornadoes this weekend across a large part of the central U.S.

Wildlife

Storks Nest in Britain After 600-Year Absence

Wild storks observed nesting in eastern England could be the first pair to breed in Britain for nearly 600 years.

The BBC reports the birds are nesting on a chimney at Norfolk’s Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, near Great Yarmouth, and are engaging in mating rituals.

The last stork to be documented breeding in Britain was at St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, back in 1416.

Conservation efforts elsewhere in Northern Europe have resulted in a modest return of the birds, which now appear to have ventured across the North Sea to raise a proper English brood.

“We gave the storks a helping hand by building a structure for their nest on the hall’s front chimney,” said Ken Sims, director of the wildlife gardens. ”But they turned their back on our handiwork and have built their own nest on one of the rear stacks.”

Sims said the gardens had been trying to get storks to nest there for many years.

The storks nest in North Africa, across Europe and into Asia. They are known throughout the world as a symbol of fertility.

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Dolphins Put Sponges on Snouts to Snag Elusive Snacks

Dolphins apparently use sponges as tools to snag food they could not otherwise grab.

This is the first direct evidence that dolphins can use tools to carve out unique places in the food chain.

Dolphins are often ranked among the smartest members of the animal kingdom. They engage in complex forms of communication, may recognize themselves in mirrors, can understand sign language, and can learn to poke an underwater keyboard to request toys to play with.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 113.9 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 degrees Celsius) at Linguere, Senegal.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 97.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 72.0 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok Antarctic research station.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Disease

Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – update

On 23, 20 and 17 April 2014, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of 6 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus.

Measels in USA

Measles has infected 129 people in 13 states so far this year, the most in the first four months of any year since 1996, officials from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Reventador (Ecuador): A new phase of intense activity with possible lava fountains and new lava flows began at the volcano yesterday. Over the past weeks, the volcano had been in a state of mild intermittent strombolian explosions, but experienced a rapid increase in activity yesterday after around 15:00 local time. Infrared webcam images (collected by Culture Volcan) suggest that a phase of lava fountaining or much stronger strombolian explosions took place. The apparent surge in lava emission also seems to have produced a new lava flow about 3-400 m long. This increase in activity is clearly visible in the corresponding seismic signal and likely continues at the moment.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): While surface activity has been fluctuating at generally low levels with only sporadic small steam and ash emissions, IGPEN reports that there are signs that suggest that a new batch of magma might be on its way to the surface. During the past days, there had only been sporadic steam emissions of up to 500 m height and 3 small ash explosions on 22 April with no explosion sounds and ash plumes not exceeding 2 km.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.5 Earthquake hits Vancouver Island, Canada.

5.3 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.2 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits offshore Tarapaca, Chile.

5.0 Earthquake hits offshore O’Higgins, Chile.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands off New Zealand.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits Vancouver Island, Canada.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Bougainville Region, Papua New Guinea.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity has decreased at the volcano, although the volcano observatory doesn’t rule out that this is only a temporary pause and a new phase of lava fountaining and flows could occur in the near future. Strombolian explosions at the summit vent have been weak and moderate, at typical levels, over the past days.

Disease

Yellow fever in the Democratic Republic of Congo

On 12 March 2014, 2 events of yellow fever were reported in the North and in the South of DRC. Six laboratory-confirmed cases with yellow fever virus infection were reported. Of these, 3 were from Bondo health zone, Orientale Province, 2 from Buta health zone, Orientale Province and 1 from Kikondja health zone, Katanga Province. In total 139 suspected, probable and confirmed cases, including 6 death were reported.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – update

On 22 April 2014, the Ministry of Health of Jordan reported an additional laboratory-confirmed case of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits the Bougainville Region, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Bougainville Region, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Bougainville Region, Papua New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Bolivia – Torrential rainfall sparks flash flooding in Bolivia, leaving motorists stranded and turning city streets into rivers. At least 59 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands impacted by devastating floods in Bolivia this year.

Oman – A number of governorates in Oman received heavy rainfall on Tuesday, which led to flooding in some wadis. Flash floods were reported in the wadis of Al Kahla and Al Faleej as the wilayats of Ibra and Al Mudhaibi in North Al Sharqiyah received heavy rainfall.

USA – A large storm will form over the eastern half of the nation next week and will bring a swath of unsettled conditions that lasts for days. Millions of people looking for a long period of sunny, warm weather from the Midwest to the South and the Northeast will need to look elsewhere next week. The unsettled pattern will stretch from Chicago and Detroit to Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston.

Disease

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

As of 18:00 on 20 April, the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Guinea has reported a cumulative total of 208 clinical cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), including 136 deaths. To date, 169 patients have been tested for ebolavirus infection and 112 cases have been laboratory confirmed, including 69 deaths. In addition, 41 cases (34 deaths) meet the probable case definition for EVD and 55 cases (33 deaths) are classified as suspected cases. Twenty-five (25) health care workers (HCW) have been affected (18 confirmed), with 16 deaths (12 confirmed).

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – update

On 21 April 2014, 18 April 2014 and 16 April 2014, the Ministry of Health of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reported an additional 9 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Sleeping Sickness in Zambia

An outbreak of the deadly parasitic disease, African sleeping sickness, or African trypanosomiasis has been reported in Rufunsa District in Lusaka.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits Luzon in the Philippines.

5.4 Earthquake hits the Bougainville Region, Papua New Guinea.

5.3 Earthquake hits offshore Tarapaca, Chile.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Bougainville Region, Papua New Guinea.

5.3 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.2 Earthquake hits Tonga.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the South Indian Ocean:

Tropical cyclone Jack is located approximately 350 nm southwest of Cocos Island, Australia.

Tropical cyclone Jack was threatening to hamper the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on Monday, as a submarine drone neared the end of its search for the missing Malaysian jetliner in a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean. The search has entered the 45th day.

NewsBytes:

Europe – Three people, including a 13-year-old boy, have drowned and two are missing in floods that hit Romania over the weekend.

Philippines – Flash floods affected more than a thousand families in Carmen, Davao del Norte over the weekend. Waters quickly rose at around 6:30 a.m. Sunday, forcing 1,302 families to flee to higher ground.

Disease

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

As of 18:00 on 17 April, the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Guinea has reported a cumulative total of 203 clinical cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including 129 deaths. To date, 158 patients have been tested for ebolavirus infection and 109 cases have been laboratory confirmed, including 61 deaths. In addition, 41 cases (34 deaths) meet the probable case definition for EVD and 53 cases (34 deaths) are classified as suspected cases. Twenty-four (24) health-care workers (HCW) have been affected (18 confirmed), with 15 deaths (11 confirmed).

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – update

On 18 April 2014, the Ministry of Health of Greece reported 1 laboratory-confirmed case of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Update on polio in central Africa – polio confirmed in Equatorial Guinea, linked to outbreak in Cameroon

In Equatorial Guinea, three new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases have been reported on 14 April 2014, the first polio in the country since 1999. Genetic sequencing indicates these cases are linked to an ongoing WPV1 outbreak in Cameroon which has subsequently been detected in Equatorial Guinea. The cases had onset of paralysis on 28 January 2014, 19 January 2014 and 24 March 2014, from Centro Sur, Bioko Norte and Litoral. Outbreak response in Equatorial Guinea is currently being planned, including National Immunization Days (NIDs) with bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) on 21-24 April 2014. An estimated 40% of children are fully immunized against polio in the country.