Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits northern Alaska.

5.2 Earthquake hits Veracruz, Mexico.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Afhganistan – According to the Governor of Badakhshan, more than 2,100 people have been killed and more than 300 homes are buried under rocks and mud due to a major landslide hat was triggered by torrential rain in northern Badakhshan province.

Afghan officials gave up hope on Saturday of finding any survivors from a landslide in the remote north-east, putting the death toll at more than 2 100, as rescuers turned their attention to helping the over 4 000 people displaced.

Officials expressed concern the unstable hillside above the site of the disaster may cave in again, threatening the homeless as well as the UN and local rescue teams that have arrived in Badakhshan province, which borders Tajikistan.

Disease

Middle respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – update

The first case of the deadly virus that surfaced in Saudi Arabia in 2012 has been reported in the United States, officials at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention announced today (May 2).

Call for action on antibiotic resistance

A UN report released Thursday draws on data from 114 countries and focuses on antibiotic resistance to bacteria that cause common but serious diseases such as sepsis, diarrhoea, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and gonorrhoea “Without urgent, co-ordinated action, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era in which common infections can once again kill.”

About half of all antibiotic prescriptions are estimated to be unnecessary, which is driving the development of drug-resistant “super-bugs”.

In India, Thailand and Vietnam people can buy antibiotics without a prescription.

Resistance to carbapenem, the last resort for treating Klebsiella pneumonia, has been recorded throughout the world. Klebsiella pneumonia is a major cause of hospital-acquired infections such as pneumonia, sepsis, infections in newborns and intensive-care unit patients.

“Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating.”

This report is kick-starting a global effort led by WHO to address drug resistance. This will involve improved collaboration to track drug resistance, measure its health and economic impacts, and design solutions.

Ordinary people can help by using antibiotics only when prescribed by a doctor, completing the full prescription, even if they feel better, and never sharing antibiotics with others.

Wildlife

Chernobyl Disaster Zone Birds Thriving with Radiation

Some species of birds living in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster zone appear to be thriving, and maybe even benefiting, from long-term exposure to radiation.

Since the 1990s, researchers have captured and examined 16 different bird species and measured for radiation levels, oxidative stress and DNA damage.

They also checked levels of pigments in the feathers and found that birds with the most red pigments had the greatest problems in coping with radiation.

The findings were published in the British Ecological Society’s journal Functional Ecology.

“Previous studies of wildlife at Chernobyl showed that chronic radiation exposure depleted antioxidants and increased oxidative damage,” said lead author Ismael Galván. “We found the opposite — that antioxidant levels increased and oxidative stress decreased with increasing background radiation.”

The Chernobyl disaster occurred just over 28 years ago in northern Ukraine, contaminating a wide area of Europe and forcing authorities to establish an exclusion zone around the wrecked nuclear plant.

But it has also provided a working laboratory for scientists to study how long-term radiation affects wild animals and plants.

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Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Etna (Sicily, Italy): A seismo-volcanic event occurred this night at 23:00 (local time) most probably from the Bocca Nuova crater. It wasn’t visible on webcams but only on the seismic tremor and infrasound signals.