No sign of end to Korea talks

Australian Financial Review reports:

“Talks between North Korea and South Korea on how to lower tensions continued into the early hours of Monday, as Kim Jong Un stepped up the mobilisation of his forces.

Neither side showed any indication of when the meeting between Kim’s top military aide Hwang Pyong So and South Korean President Park Geun Hye’s chief security adviser Kim Kwan Jin, which began at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, might end. It follows a 10-hour session between the officials earlier in the weekend.

As the dialogue went on at the border village of Panmunjom, a South Korean military official said North Korea had dispatched more than two thirds of its submarines from ports and doubled its front-line artillery forces.”

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Typhoon Goni hits the Philippines, killing 4 and displacing hundreds

The Daily Mail reports:

“Four people died and hundreds fled their homes on Friday when a category three typhoon bore down on the northern Philippines, disaster officials said.

(Break)

Civil defence and regional police officials said four people died, one by drowning and three buried by landslides. Three others were injured and another was unaccounted for.

“We evacuated more than 400 people in Cagayan and Batanes provinces, which bore the brunt of the typhoon,” Norma Talosig, civil defence regional director, told reporters. “They were moved to higher and safer ground because of rising floodwaters and possible storm surge.”

More than 300 people were also evacuated in the mountainous Cordillera region, which was threatened by landslides.”

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Germany expecting 800,000 migrants this year, 4 times as many as 2014

The Star reports:

Germany expects to receive 4 times as many migrants by the end of this year as 2014. Image by: taesmileland

Germany expects to receive 4 times as many migrants by the end of this year as 2014.
Image by: taesmileland

“Germany may receive as many as 800,000 people fleeing war and poverty this year, about quadruple last year’s number, as Europe’s refugee crisis forces policy-makers to shift attention from Greece’s debt woes.

With Syria and the Balkans accounting for most of the increase, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government on Wednesday almost doubled its estimate of the inflow of asylum seekers and refugees compared with projections in May. All European Union countries need to help stem the crisis, said Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who presented the numbers.

“We have to accept this challenge and master it together,” de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin. “We have to be prepared for high refugee numbers for several years.”

(Break)

Almost 340,000 migrants tried to enter the European Union in July compared to 123,500 a year earlier, the EU border- management agency Frontex said Tuesday. The biggest number was reported in the Aegean Sea, mainly on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Kos.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy with about 16 per cent of the EU’s population, can’t take in 40 per cent of asylum seekers arriving in the 28-nation bloc indefinitely, de Maiziere said.”

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Marketplace air strikes ‘kill 80’ in Syria

The BBC reports:

“Syrian activists say at least 80 people have died in government air strikes on a marketplace in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus.

Around 200 people were reportedly injured in the attack.

Government forces have been regularly attacking Douma and its surrounding areas in recent months with air strikes and helicopter barrel bombs.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed alongside opposition fighters.”

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Global Seabird Populations Have Declined Over 69%

This report on Truthdig discusses the decline in seabird populations over the past 6 decades:

Seabird populations around the world have declined greatly over recent decades, according to new research. Image credit: Witthaya Phonsawat on freedigitalphotos.net

Seabird populations around the world have declined greatly over recent decades, according to new research.
Image credit: Witthaya Phonsawat on freedigitalphotos.net

“A grim decline of seabird populations, native trout being driven out because of the warming of Canadian lakes, and the destruction of an entire ecosystem in the US are all highlighted in new research.

The combined evidence shows that climate change offers a part-explanation for all three observations—but human pressure and human destruction of habitat are mostly to blame.

The world’s seabirds—such as terns, albatrosses, cormorants, gulls and petrels—are quietly flying away to nowhere.

In the lakes of Ontario, the warm water-loving bass is beginning to drive out the native trout.

And in the Great Basin of the United States, a whole ecosystem has become impoverished as the flow of energy through the vegetation and its animal populations has dwindled.

(Break)

This monitored population added up to about 19% of the global count of seabirds and showed a grim decline. Overall, seabird counts had fallen by more than 69%—which adds up to 230 million birds—in the past six decades, and those seabirds that ranged the widest seemed to fare the worst.”

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Russia hit by wildfires

Euronews reports on wildfires raging across Siberia(original report includes video):

Parts of Siberia have been hit by wildfires. Image credit: Ivan Simochkin

Parts of Siberia have been hit by wildfires.
Image credit: Ivan Simochkin

“More than 5,000 Russian emergency workers are battling wildfires in forests across Siberia.

More than 1,250 square kilometres of woodland have been affected in six eastern regions.

More than 60 fires raged around the eastern shore of Lake Baikal.

A probe has been launched to determine whether the fires were caused by negligence.”

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Egypt faces a growing water crisis

This Guardian column outlines the challenge faced by Egypt as the stress on its water supply increases:

Egypt faces a growing water crisis, which, by 2025, could become extreme, according to the UN. Image credit: Haitham Alfalah on Wikimedia Commons.

Egypt faces a growing water crisis, which, by 2025, could become extreme, according to the UN.
Image credit: Haitham Alfalah on Wikimedia Commons.

“Egypt, once celebrated as the “gift of the Nile”, is in the grips of a serious water crisis. With a rising population and a fixed supply, the country has less water per person each year.

The country’s annual water supply dropped to an average of 660 cubic metres a person in 2013, down from over 2,500 cubic metres in 1947, according to official figures. Egypt is already below the United Nations’ water poverty threshold, and by 2025 the UN predicts it will be approaching a state of “absolute water crisis”.

(Break)

In June, the Delta city of Bilqas, with a population of 50,000, was suffering from a severe drought. “We can’t find water to drink, wash, clean or anything. We woke up to find we have moved to the desert and our taps are dry,” said Hossam Megahed, a city resident.

The same week, the city of Fayoum suffered a water cut so severe that even hospitals found themselves dry. A few days later, residents in Ismailia threatened to cut off the commercial highway from the Suez Canal after living for a week without water. Similar crises have struck Kafr al-Sheikh, Sohag, Qena and other cities throughout the summer.”

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Kabul hit by bomb attacks

The BBC reports on recent violence in the Afghan capital:

“At least 35 people have died and hundreds more have been wounded in separate bomb attacks over the last 24 hours in the Afghan capital Kabul.

A suicide bomber blew himself up near the city’s police academy on Friday evening, killing about 20 recruits.

A short while later a large explosion was heard north of the airport.

In the early hours of Friday, a truck carrying explosives was detonated near an army base in the Shah Shahid area, claiming 15 lives.

The Taliban has claimed only one attack – the suicide bombing of the police academy.”

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Alberta faces melting glaciers and drought

The CBC reports on the problems faced by Alberta due to glacial melt:

Alberta faces a dry winter and drought due to glacial melt. Phot by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/laszlo-photo/

Alberta faces a dry winter and drought due to glacial melt.
Phot by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/laszlo-photo/

“Receding glaciers and lack of rain are already having an impact on local waterways, but there’s more bad news to come.

“Up in the Athabasca Glacier, we measured three metres of ice melt already this year, up until July,” said hydrologist John Pomeroy.

“If you look at the glaciers down in K-Country and up through the Bow Valley, they tend to have very limited or no snow at all at the higher elevations, which means that there won’t be any recharge of the glaciers this year from the snow accumulating at the top, which is very bad news for them.”

(Break)

Those receding glaciers help feed Alberta’s rivers, and combined with a lack of rain in many parts of the province, it creates a troubling picture, with the Bow River at 40 per cent of normal in Calgary and some mountain streams bone dry.

“It’s record drought, still, over parts of the prairies, and some areas in the mountains are over 120 millimetres below normal this year,” says Pomeroy.”

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Flooding in Myanmar leaves dozens dead

The BBC reports on flooding in Myanmar:

“At least 47 people have died and tens of thousands of people have been affected by flooding in Myanmar.

A state of emergency has been declared in the four worst-hit regions in the west, and the UN has warned the death toll is likely to rise as remote areas are reached by aid agencies.

Some areas have seen 1,000mm (3.3ft) of monsoon rain in the past week.

Floodwaters brought by the same weather system have also killed at least 100 people in India in the past week.”

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