Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.2 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.1 Earthquake hits south of the Kuril Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits northwestern Sakha, Russia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

Hurricane Simon is located about 120 mi…195 km WNW of Socorro island and about 295 mi…475 km SW of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…85 mph…140 km/h. Present movement…WNW or 290 degrees at 12 mph…19 km/h.

Hazards affecting land – rainfall…Simon is expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches with isolated amounts around 15 inches over the next several days across Baja California Sur. These rains could cause flash flooding and mudslides. Surf…swells generated by Simon are affecting portions of the southwestern coast of Mexico. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Typhoon 18w (Phanfone), located approximately 474 nm south of Iwakuni, Japan, and is tracking northwestward at 10 knots.

Typhoon 19w (Vongfong), located approximately 211 nm northeast of Chuuk, Fsm, and is tracking west-northwestward at 14 knots.

NewsBytes:

Trinidad – Street flooding was reported in several areas across south and central Trinidad, as heavy rainfall persisted throughout Friday morning.

Wildlife

Global Food Companies Are Dumping Animal Cruelty

Consumers today are increasingly demanding food that does not originate from animals that have experienced cruelty. An American Farm Bureau poll found 95 percent of consumers say they want farm animals to be treated well, but the reality is most animals raised for food today grow up inside crowded factories, not farms, and most are victims of inhumane agricultural practices.

But dietary concepts that adhere to higher animal welfare standards, like the Three Rs (“reducing” or “replacing” consumption of animal products, while “refining” our diets by switching to products from humane sources) are here to stay. And in response to those concerns, dozens of top food companies are putting policies in place that address animal cruelty — several emerging this summer.

In August, Nestlé announced an industry-leading animal welfare program that will eliminate several controversial, yet currently standard, practices within its global supply system. The eliminated practices will include:

Drugging and breeding chickens to grow so heavy, so fast, that they suffer crippling injuries;

Performing operations on animals by cutting their tails, horns and testicles off without pain relief; and

Locking egg-laying hens, veal calves and mother pigs in tiny cages for their entire lives.

Just a few weeks after Nestlé’s groundbreaking announcement, Heinz announced that it is committed to switching 20 percent of the eggs it uses to cage-free. The announcement aligns with that company’s promise to work with suppliers globally to reduce the use of battery cages — tiny cages used to confine egg-laying chickens.

And earlier this month, Unilever announced it’s going to work with the global egg industry to eliminate the killing of male chicks at hatcheries. Since only female birds lay eggs, the industry has no use for male chicks. Their solution? Shortly after the chicks are born, hatcheries throw them into grinders alive or suffocate them in plastic bags. But now, with new technology, the sex of the embryo can be determined within the egg and eggs that would’ve hatched male chicks can be destroyed before the embryos develop.

The announcements from Nestlé, Unilever and Heinz — among others including Burger King, Safeway and Costco — signify that the days are coming to an end when the largest companies within the egg, meat and dairy industries could shrug off the suffering and pain inflicted by their production methods.

The message from food manufacturers to the factory farming industries is loud and clear: Customers find abuses to animals to be unacceptable, and such practices will no longer be tolerated.

Environment

Palm Oil Industry to Halt Deforestation

Five leading palm oil producers announced they will stop expanding their plantations through deforestation—a move hailed by environmental groups.

The five join other corporations, including Cargill, that had already agreed to stop.

Palm oil is used in cooking and various products. It’s among the consumer items that create the greatest ecological damage.

Deforestation has endangered a third of all mammals in Indonesia, including orangutans.

It’s estimated that the record deforestation accounts for 85 percent of Indonesia’s contribution to global warming.

Neighbouring Malaysia’s deforestation for plantation expansion ranks second-highest in the world.

Last year, pressure from environmental groups and customers forced a major paper supplier to stop its deforestation operations in Indonesia.

This photograph taken on February 25, 2014, during an aerial survey by Greenpeace on the Indonesia portion of Borneo, shows cleared trees in an area being developed for a palm oil plantation.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – British Columbia, Canada

According to the Wildfire Management Branch 1,427 wildfires were sparked across the province, burning nearly 360,000 hectares of forest. The amount of land consumed makes 2014 the third worst year on record in terms of total area burned.