Environment

Sahara Dust

One of the strongest in a series of powerful winter storms raging across parts of Europe drew in a massive plume of Saharan dust, which coated Pyrenees and Alpine ski resorts with an orange hue. The airborne particles also triggered respiratory problems in humans from Barcelona to southern France. Originating in Algeria, the dust turned skies red as far north as the German city of Stuttgart. The dust contained particles of calcite, ferric oxide, quartz and clay.

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Rodent Invasion

Parts of southeastern Australia have been overrun by a massive infestation of mice, with untold numbers of the ravenous rodents swarming into people’s homes and threatening crops.

The center of the infestation is in rural New South Wales, but the pests have also spread into parts of Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. Researcher Steve Henry blames abundant rainfall and a good harvest for allowing mice to spike in numbers starting last year. He says all that is needed to start killing the mice off is a cold, heavy rain to flood their nests in the ground.

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