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Wednesday, 18 July

03:05

Lava bomb hits a tour boat in Hawaii, injuring 23 people "IndyWatch Feed Allcommunity"

23 people were injured in Hawaii on Monday morning, July 16, 2018, after a large explosion near one of Kilauea's lava flow ocean entries sent volcanic material flying toward a commercial tour vessel. Captain of the boat said they were about 500 meters (1 640...... Read more

New species of venomous snake discovered by accident in Australia "IndyWatch Feed Allcommunity"

A team of biologists researching sea snakes in the mining town of Weipa in Australias remote Cape York Peninsula have accidentally discovered a venomous snake thats new to science. The black-and-white snake, now named Vermicella parscauda or the Cape York bandy-bandy, belongs to a group of snakes called bandy-bandies that live in burrows and feed on a specialized diet of blind snakes. So far, scientists know of only five species of bandy bandies, all found in Australia. The hoop snake (Vermicella annulata) is the most commonly encountered bandy-bandy, the researchers report in a study published in Zootaxa. Since bandy-bandies are burrowing snakes, the sight of a small one on a concrete block by the sea surprised Bryan Fry, an associate professor at the University of Queensland, and his colleague Freek Vonk from the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands. We later discovered that the snake had slithered over from a pile of bauxite rubble [that was] waiting to be loaded onto a ship, Fry said in a statement. Bryan Fry, an associate professor at the University of Queensland, searching for snakes near Weipa, Queensland. Image courtesy of Bryan Fry. Frys team found another snake of the same kind near Weipa, and spotted another dead individual that had been run over by a car near the bauxite mine. They found two more specimens of the snake in museum collections, resulting in five specimens from the same small area. On examination by my student, Chantelle Derez, the bandy-bandy turned out to be a new species, visually

Peru: A decade-long quest to protect the worlds largest tropical glacier "IndyWatch Feed Allcommunity"

The Quelccaya Ice Cap is perched 5,600 meters (18,400 feet) above sea level in the Peruvian Andes. With a surface area of 44 square kilometers (17 square miles), it was named the worlds largest tropical glacier by U.S. geologist Lonnie Thompson, who has been studying the process of deglaciation on the mountain since 1974. Donato Bermdez, the president of the indigenous Quechua farming town of Phinaya at the foot of Quelccaya, has known Thompson for as long as he can remember. When he was born, the scientist had already started working on the ice cap. Back then, it was almost intact. In the past, it took Bermdez an hour from his doorstep to reach the snow. By his account, he has spent many days sitting and looking at the white mountain, feeling its power. He learned to respect it when he was a child. Its the apu. Its our protector, his mother would repeat. As he grew up, he understood that there was no life without Quelccaya. The water from the ice cap feeds the Vilcanota River and Lake Sibinacocha, the site of a dam that provides energy to a large part of Perus Cusco region, including Machu Picchu. Phinaya hasnt changed much since the 1970s. But its inhabitants have noticed an important difference in the apu: now Bermdez has to walk up to two hours to reach the glacier. And the rivers now flow with a stronger current. That might appear to be positive, but it serves as a

EU demand siphons illicit timber from Ukraine, investigation finds "IndyWatch Feed Allcommunity"

Lax due diligence by European companies is driving the illegal harvest of timber in Ukraine, one of the largest suppliers to the continent, according to a report published July 14. Its a huge source of high-risk timber coming into the EU, said Sam Lawson, who directs the London-based investigative non-profit Earthsight. Ukraine holds some of Europes largest tracts of unspoiled forests. But those forests, home to brown bears (Ursus arctos arctos), wolves (Canis lupus lupus), and bison (Bison bonasus), also supply more high-risk timber to the EU than all countries in the tropics combined, Lawson said. Earthsight carried out a two-year probe into the countrys timber sector, digging through court documents and customs records, interviewing industry staff and government officials, and conducting on-the-ground and under cover investigations. Video  Earthsight. The effort uncovered evidence of corruption on the part of government-run state forestry enterprises and department heads in Ukraine. They also traced the tendrils of that corruption to large sawmills, suppliers and retailers in the EU companies that Earthsight says are falling short of their responsibility to verify that the wood they buy comes from trees cut down in accordance with the law. That means that a significant proportion of the wood found in products around the continent come from illegally harvested sources, Lawson told Mongabay. It gets used in absolutely everything, he said. You can barely look around you without seeing something that could have Ukrainian wood in it. The timber industry is a huge source of income for the

Single-minded determination: Chinas global infrastructure spree rings alarm bells "IndyWatch Feed Allcommunity"

KUCHING, Malaysia  As governments in Southeast Asia target economic growth through infrastructure development, China, the worlds second-largest economy, has emerged as a ready funder for some of the most ambitious and expensive projects. Regional leaders have been quick to seize the opportunity offered by Beijing, but environmental experts warn that many of these projects could cause irreversible environmental damage in highly biodiverse areas. The infrastructure push has come in two waves this past decade, both aimed at establishing new roads, ports and railways across the region in pursuit of improved trade and logistics. In 2010, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) announced its Master Plan for Connectivity, which seeks to boost regional integration among the 10 member countries of the bloc through infrastructure projects. Three years later, China inaugurated its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a $1 trillion transportation and energy infrastructure construction juggernaut aimed to give Beijing a strong presence in markets across the region as well as Africa and Europe. The initiative is slated for completion in 2049. Representatives of governments pose for a photo at the Belt and Road International Forum in May 2017 in Beijing. The BRI has the backing of dozens of nations that are home to billions of people. Image courtesy of the Russian Presidential Press and Information Office (by CC 4.0). Chinas Belt and Road Initiative, showing China in Red the members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in orange. The BRI comprises six proposed corridors of the Silk Road Economic

Meteotsunami floods islands of Mallorca and Menorca, Spain "IndyWatch Feed Allworld"

A meteotsunami formed in the Mediterranean Sea near the coast of Spain early July 16, 2018, and flooded the coasts of Mallorca and Menorca, Spains Balearic islands in the Mediterranean Sea. According to local media, a wave as high as 1.5 meters (5 feet) hit...... Read more

02:09

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