Red River Flooding In Louisiana: Homes Submerged In Shreveport As Residents Evacuate Published Jun 9 2015 03:06 PM EDT weather.com Red River at Its Highest Levels in 70 Years A devastating scene in Louisiana, where streets have been turned into lakes, and hundreds of homes have been flooded, some completely underwater. As the Red River continued to rise, Shreveport resident Donald Bailey feared for his home, but even more for his family.”If it gets any worse, we’re going to have to get the kids out of here,” he told KTBS.com. „We have three, four kids in the house.” Payne Kuntz watches the high water in the Les Maisons Sur La Rouge subdivision. (Henrietta Wildsmith/The Shreveport Times via AP)Weeks of heavy rainfall has waned across the Southern Plains, but there’s only one place for those billions of gallons of water to go: downstream. On its way to the Mississippi River, the Red flows past Shreveport, and the runoff from the Texas and Oklahoma floods have all funneled into one big stream, causing big problems for the city’s residents.(MORE: Major U.S. Rainfall Record Broken In May)The river peaked Sunday at 7 feet above flood stage andjust a foot below a historic peak in 1945, CBS News reported. The National Guard filled sandbags as residents worked tirelessly to save their homes from going underwater, though some were only doing so in vain. Over the weekend, the water invaded many homes in the town, including that of Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator.”The glass is beginning to break from the pressure of the water,” he told CBS News. „It’s devastating.”Like Page Sky Pixel La Camera/Photo · 2,600 LikesJune 8 at 12:00am · Downtown Shreveport River WalkAnd there’s even more bad news for this swamped area: the flooded river isn’t expected to recede back to normal levels this week.”In Shreveport, the river level should remain above major flood stage (33 feet) through this weekend,” said weather.com meteorologist Chris Dolce. „The floodwaters will continue to move through Louisiana and eventually make their way into the Mississippi River with their final destination being the Gulf of Mexico.”Some have been forced from their homes, but others are barely keeping the encroaching floodwaters from entering their homes, the Shreveport Times reported. While speaking with the Times, resident Kellie Simpson – whose home, on a hill, is now surrounded by water – summed up the helplessness that consumed Shreveport’s citizens over the weekend.”We’re literally holding back the Red, and the Red is mighty.”MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Flooding In The Southern Plains In this aerial photo, people prepare to launch a canoe from a flooded parking lot near Bear Creek Park Saturday, May 30, 2015, in Houston. The Colorado River in Wharton and the Brazos and San Jacinto rivers near Houston are the main focus of concern as floodwaters moved from North and Central Texas downstream toward the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) …Show More
Monsoon Rains Hit Southern India, Flooding Spurs Farming Resurgence By Zain Haidar Published Jun 9 2015 12:08 PM EDTweather.comA flood affected villager with his sheep on a boat tries to move towards a higher region at Bamuna village about 75 miles west of Gauhati, India, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. (AP Images) Much to the relief of farmers in southern India, monsoon season started last week, although experts say the rains will likely fall short. Reuters reports that monsoon rains arrived at Kerala coast in southern India on Friday, but there are fears that the season’s rainfall could underwhelm and trigger a devastating drought. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts that the 2015 southwest monsoon season will be deficient.(MORE: Slow Hurricane Seasons Don’t Mean We’re off the Hook)Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the country needs to prepare for its first drought in six years if dry conditions continue and the IMD’s forecasts prove correct. „The monsoon is a seasonal wind shift and India is famous for having the most pronounced monsoon in the world. Southwest winds from the Indian Ocean feed moisture into the country from late spring through summer, fueling heavy rains at times. The other months of the year, winds are typically from the northwest off the dry continent,” weather.com digital meteorologist Chris Dolce said.As the Wall Street Journal says, hundreds of millions of farmers in India rely on the water supply from monsoon season to grow crops and maintain irrigation systems. India has faced major issues in recent weeks as a heatwave killed thousands across the country. „It’s not uncommon for a period of intense heat to precede the start of the monsoon, and that’s what we’ve seen this year with India’s deadly heatwave,” Dolce said. However underwhelming the season may be, then, the monsoon’s rains come at a crucial time for India. MORE ON WEATHER.COM: India Monsoon, June 9, 2015 Indian youths gather at the sea-front during high tide in Mumbai on June 9, 2015. (Unit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images) MERS death toll rises to nine in South Korea 13 minutes agoRelated Stories
Seoul (AFP) – South Korea on Wednesday reported two more deaths from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), bringing to nine the total number of deaths in the current outbreak.Thirteen new cases were also confirmed, expanding the list of known cases to 108 following the diagnosis of the first infected patient on May 20, the health ministry said.The two latest fatalities include a 75-year-old woman and a 62-year-old man, both victims of the largest outbreak of the virus outside Saudi Arabia.The pair contracted the virus at Samsung Medical Centre, a major hospital in southern Seoul which has seen the greatest number of total infections and where 10 of the 13 new patients were also infected.The three other new victims had their diagnoses confirmed at three different hospitals, including two in the central city of Daejeon and one near a southern suburb of Seoul.All the infections were limited to hospitals and health authorities stressed that the outbreak had not spread to communities outside hospital settings.The nine dead people had pre-existing health conditions, the ministry said.The virus is considered a deadlier but less infectious cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed hundreds of people when it appeared in Asia in 2003.There is no vaccine or cure for MERS which, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data, has a fatality rate of around 35 percent.
6 Climate Triggers That Could Completely Change Our World By Ilissa Ocko, climate scientist at Environmental Defense Fund7 hours ago Ilissa Ocko, climate scientist at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), contributed this article to Live Science’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.One of the biggest fears about climate change is that it may be triggering events that would dramatically alter Earth as we know it.Known to scientists as „tipping events,” they could contribute to the mass extinction of species, dramatic sea level rise, extensive droughts and the transformation of forests into vast grasslands — among other upheavals our stressed world can ill afford.Here are the top six climate events scientists worry about today.1. The Arctic sea ice melts The melting of the Arctic’s summer ice is considered to be the single greatest threat, and some scientists think we’ve already passed the tipping point. As sea ice melts and the Arctic warms , dark ocean water is exposed that absorbs more sunlight, thus reinforcing the warming. The transition to an ice-free Arctic summer can occur rapidly — within decades — and this has geopolitical implications as nations compete for the newly opened space and petroleum resources. Added to all that will be the damage that would result from the disruption of an entire ecosystem.The dark teal waters of the melt ponds atop Arctic sea ice stand in stark contrast to the bright whi …2. Greenland becomes ice free The warming of the Arctic may also render Greenland largely ice free. While Greenland’s ice loss will likely reach the point of no return within this century, the full transition will take at least a few hundred years. The impacts of the Greenland ice melt is expected to raise sea levels by up to 20 feet. Half of the 10 largest cities in the world, including New York City, and one-third of the world’s 30 largest cities are already threatened by this sea-level rise. Today, those cities are home to nearly 1.8 billion people. Other vulnerable American cities include Miami, Norfolk and Boston. 3. The West Antarctic ice sheet disintegrates.On the other side of Earth, the West Antarctic ice sheet is also disintegrating . Because the bottom of this glacier is grounded below sea level, it’s vulnerable to rapid breakup, thinning and retreat as warm ocean water eats away at the ice. Scientists expect the West Antarctic ice sheet to „tip” this century, and there is evidence that it already began happening in 2014. However, the entire collapse of the glacier, which would raise sea level by 16 feet, could take a few hundred years.4. El Niño becomes a more permanent climate fixture.The Colorado River (upper left) connects with a high tide from the Gulf of California on May 15.The oceans absorb about 90 percent of the extra heat that is being trapped in the Earth system by greenhouse gases. This could affect the ocean dynamics that control El Niño events. While there are several theories about what could happen in the future, the most likely consequence of ocean heat uptake is that El Niño, a natural climate phenomenon , could become a more permanent part of our climate system. That would cause extensive drought conditions in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, while some drought-prone areas such as California would get relief. While the transition to a world with more El Niños is expected to be gradual and take around one hundred years, the event could be triggered during this century.5. The Amazon rainforest dies back Deforestation, a longer dry season and rising summer temperatures are threatening the amount of rainfall in the Amazon. At least half of the Amazon rainforest could turn into savannah and grassland. Once that event is triggered, the changes could happen over just a few decades. This would make it very difficult for the rainforest to reestablish itself and would lead to a considerable loss in biodiversity. However, the reduction of the Amazon ultimately depends on what happens with El Niño, along with future land-use changes from human activities.6. Boreal forests are cut in halfIncreased water and heat stress are taking a toll on the large forests in Canada, Russia and other parts of the uppermost Northern Hemisphere. So are their vulnerability to disease and fires. This could lead to a 50 percent reduction of the boreal forests — an event from which they may never be able to recover. Instead, the forest would gradually transition into open woodlands or grasslands over several decades. This would have a huge impact on the world’s carbon balance because forests can absorb much more carbon than grasslands can. As the forest diminishes, the climate will be affected — as will the Earth’s energy balance. However, the complex interaction between tree physiology, permafrost and fires makes the situation tricky to understand.This photos shows Qajaa, a grass-covered deep-frozen midden in West Greenland with remains from Earl …Other concerns …As if that’s not enough, there are a few other tipping events that scientists are also concerned about, but they are even more complex and harder to predict. Examples of such events include the greening of the Sahara and Sahel deserts, the development of an Arctic ozone hole and a chaotic Indian summer monsoon.How do we keep from tipping over?We know from measurements that the Earth has had many climate-related tipping events throughout its history. Today’s situation is different, because humans are now driving these changes and the warming is occurring at a faster rate.But as humans we also have the power to change the trajectory we’re on — and possibly turn the situation around in only a few years.Follow all of the Expert Voices issues and debates — and become part of the discussion — onFacebook, Twitter and Google+. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on Live Science.
Honolulu homeless families respond after canal banks cleared By CATHY BUSSEWITZ1 hour ago HONOLULU (AP) — Homeless families in Honolulu are figuring out where to go after the city swept the banks of a canal where they were living in tents.Crews cleaned up the area along the Kapalama Canal on Tuesday. The cleanup came less than a week after the City Council finalized a ban on sitting and lying down in the area.But the cleanup was enforcing a stored property ordinance, not the sit-lie ban, said Jesse Broder Van Dyke, spokesman for Mayor Kirk Caldwell.Single mom Stefanie Sanchez, who was living in a tent by the canal with her 5-year-old daughter, waited with their friends and belongings on a side street. They planned to move right back to the canal bank after the cleanup was complete.”There’s a lot of community here, as well as a feeling that we’re home. We know what to expect here,” Sanchez said. „We’re just sort of hoping, praying for the best.”Under the stored property ordinance, crews are required to give 24 hours’ notice so people can remove their belongings.The city spends $15,000 a week for crews to perform similar sweeps throughout the island, Broder Van Dyke said.”Usually people will return after they’re gone,” Broder Van Dyke said. „If they enforced it every single day, it would probably be more effective, but right now we’re spending $15,000 a week on it, and the crew has to get to all over the island, so they end up getting to Kapalama about once a month.”To enforce the ordinance, a crew from the city’s Department of Facility Maintenance goes out five days a week to locations from Hawaii Kai to Waianae, and Chinatown to the North Shore. Workers remove, on average, 4 to 8 tons of garbage per week, not including the personal property items they store for later retrieval, Broder Van Dyke said.
Climate scientists criticize government paper that erases ‘pause’ in warming By Maxim Lott Published June 09, 2015FoxNews.comFile photo. (REUTERS/Peter Andrews/Files)Until last week, government data on climate change indicated that the Earth has warmed over the last century, but that the warming slowed dramatically and even stopped at points over the last 17 years.But a paper released May 28 by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has readjusted the data in a way that makes the reduction in warming disappear, indicating a steady increase in temperature instead. But the study’s readjusted data conflict with many other climate measurements, including data taken by satellites, and some climate scientists aren’t buying the new claim.“While I’m sure this latest analysis from NOAA will be regarded as politically useful for the Obama administration, I don’t regard it as a particularly useful contribution to our scientific understanding of what is going on,” Judith Curry, a climate science professor at Georgia Tech, wrote in a response to the study.And in an interview, Curry told FoxNews.com that that the adjusted data doesn’t match other independent measures of temperature.“The new NOAA dataset disagrees with a UK dataset, which is generally regarded as the gold standard for global sea surface temperature datasets,” she said. “The new dataset also disagrees with ARGO buoys and satellite analyses.”The NOAA paper, produced by a team of researchers led by Tom Karl, director of the agency’s National Climatic Data Center, found most of its new warming trend by adjusting past measurements of sea temperatures.Global ocean temperatures are estimated both by thousands of commercial ships, which record the temperature of the water entering their engines, and by thousands of buoys – floatation devices that sit in the water for years.The buoys tend to get cooler temperature readings than the ships, likely because ships’ engines warm the water. Meanwhile, in recent years, buoys have become increasingly common. The result, Karl says, is that even if the world’s oceans are warming, the unadjusted data may show it not to be warming because more and more buoys are being used instead of ships. So Karl’s team adjusted the buoy data to make them line up with the ship data. They also double-checked their work by making sure that the readjusted buoy readings matched ships’ recordings of nighttime air temperatures.The paper came out last week, and there has not been time for skeptical scientists to independently check the adjustments, but some are questioning it because of how much the adjusted data vary from other independent measurements.First, it disagrees with the readings of more than 3,000 “ARGO buoys,” which are specifically designed to float around the ocean and measure temperature. Some scientists view their data as the most reliable.The ARGO buoy data do not show much warming in surface temperature since they were introduced in 2003. But Karl’s team left them out of their analysis, saying that they have multiple issues, including lack of measurements near the Arctic.In an email, Karl told FoxNews.com that the ARGO buoy readings may be added to his data “if scientific methods can be found to line up these two types of temperatures together … (of course after correcting the systematic offsets) … This is part of the cumulative and progressive scientific process.”Karl’s study also clashes with satellite measurements. Since 1979, NOAA satellites have estimated the temperature of Earth’s atmosphere. They show almost no warming in recent years and closely match the surface data before Karl’s adjustments.The satellite data is compiled by two separate sets of researchers, whose results match each other closely. One team that compiles the data includes Climate Professors John Christy and Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, both of whom question Karl’s adjusted data.“The study is one more example that you can get any answer you want when the thermometer data errors are larger than the global warming signal you are looking for,” Spencer told FoxNews.com.“We believe the satellite measurements since 1979 provide a more robust measure of global temperatures, and both satellite research groups see virtually the same pause in global temperatures for the last 18 years,” he said.Karl said satellite data also have issues, including “orbital decay, diurnal sampling, instrument calibration target temperatures and more.”Spencer said he agreed that those are issues, but they are less problematic than using data from thousands of ships and buoys. He added that there are a couple of satellites monitoring temperature at any given time, and that they are used to check each other.Skeptics say there are yet more measurements, including those coming from balloon data, that line up with existing data more than with Karl’s newly adjusted data. They also note that even with Karl’s adjustments, the warming trend he finds over the last 17 years is below what U.N. models had predicted.Some climate scientists applaud Karl’s adjustments and say they debunk the idea that the Earth has stopped warming.“[This] points out just how small and fragile a notion that was,” Peter Frumhoff, director of science & policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told FoxNews.comAsked about the contradiction with satellite data, he said he trusted the new paper.“I trust the process of legitimate scientific peer review that this paper has undergone, as well as the care that its authors bring to their respected work,” he said, adding that, “the faux debate over a so-called ‘hiatus’ has been an unfortunate diversion from meaningful dialogue about how best to address the broadly recognized serious problem of climate change.”But skeptics say Karl’s adjusted data is the outlier that conflicts with everything else. “Color me ‘unconvinced’,” Curry wrote.Maxim Lott can be reached at www.maximlott.comor at email@example.com
Scientists Find Surprising Link Between Birth Month And Disease Risk The Huffington Post | By Carolyn Gregoire Posted: Updated: Scientists may make fun of astrologers for saying that your birth month exerts a profound effect on your personality and direction in life, but a new study finds them singing a similar refrain.Data scientists at Columbia University Medical Center uncovered a surprising correlation between the month you’re born and your risk of developing various health problems, including heart disease, viral infections and ADHD.While the idea that your birth month can predict your health destiny might seem outlandish, the scientific community has welcomed the findings.”The great thing about working in science is that scientists are incredibly open-minded people — as long as you have the data to back up your claims!” Dr. Nicholas Tatonetti, assistant professor of biomedical informatics at the university and the study’s lead author, said in an email to The Huffington Post. „When we present these results we are always careful to point out that birth month is a proxy variable for environmental exposures. It is well known that environment can be a very important factor in early development, especially when in the context of some particular genetic variants.”For the study, the researchers analyzed a sample of 1.7 million people, taken from New York City medical databases, for more than 1,600 diseases.They found that 55 of those diseases were „significantly dependent” on birth month. Why? The time of year that you’re born dictates many of the environmental factors you’re exposed to during birth and early development, the researchers explain.”Seasonality is a proxy for variable environmental factors present at the time of your birth, and we are learning more about the very large role that environment, and gene-environment interactions, plays in our development,” Tatonetti said. „This could be one way to start mapping out those gene-environment effects.”Here’s a rundown of some of the most important findings:
- Overall, babies born in October had the highest risk of disease, and those born in May had the lowest risk.
- Asthma risk was highest for July and October babies.
- November babies were at the highest risk for developing ADHD.
- Babies born in March faced the highest risk for heart problems including atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure and mitral valve disorder
- Winter babies were at a higher risk of neurological problems.
But before you schedule a visit to the doctor, the researchers caution that the risks identified aren’t great enough to cause concern or warrant taking preventive action.”The most exciting aspect of our research is that it may open up new research opportunities into what the exact environmental exposures are that lead to increased risk of certain diseases,” Tatonetti said. „Once we have those mechanisms, then we may be able to make lifestyle and diet recommendations.”The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.Check out the video below for a more detailed explanation of the research.ALSO ON HUFFPOST:Seasonal Ways To De-Stress
Growing nostalgia in Turkey for the glory days of the Ottoman Empire By 6/9/15 at 5:48 PMWikipedia Beams of sunlight cut through the steam like lasers, while bathers loll contentedly in the warm, mineral-rich water under a magnificent domed roof. Built in the 16th century, the Rudas Baths in Budapest is one of Europe’s last functioning Ottoman hamams, an enduring legacy of empire on the northernmost fringe of the Sultan’s domains.At the height of their power, the Ottomans ruled over one of the greatest empires in history. Their lands and vassal states reached from present-day Algeria to Azerbaijan, Kosovo to Kuwait. Defeated by the Allies in the First World War, the empire was dismembered and the Caliphate abolished.The empire was divided under the terms of the Sykes-Picot agreement, a secret pact drawn up in 1916 between France, Britain and Russia. Sykes-Picot was further adjusted at the 1920 San Remo conference, which conferred League of Nations mandates for the conquered Ottoman lands. Sykes-Picot and San Remo were a colonialist project that imposed nation-states, such as Syria and Iraq, with arbitrary borders.Try Newsweek: subscription offers But the modern nation-state fitted poorly in the Balkans and the Middle East. It ignored the ethnic, religious and tribal mosaic in favour of an invented national identity. Multi-ethnic Yugoslavia proved a fragile construct, easily smashed on the nationalist anvil. Syria and Iraq too have fractured along ethnic and religious lines. Post-Ottoman national identities are collapsing, and almost a century later, the consequences of the break-up of the Sultans’ empire still shape our world.Turkey’s election results have put paid to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s grandiose plans to further cement his grip on power. But his legacy endures. Turkey is now much a more Muslim country, where there is a growing nostalgia for the glory days of the Ottoman conquests. The capture of Constantinople is now seen as a epoch-making moment in Turkish history, says Caroline Finkel, author of Osman’s Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire. „The year 1453 is a far more significant part of Turkish identity than it was twenty years ago, as a key factor in the legacy of conquest.”The Kurds and the Albanians, two peoples at either end of the Ottoman empire, were split across several states, says Tim Judah, author of The Serbs. „Issues that were solved in the context of an empire do not work in nation states with arbitrary borders. The Albanians got a state, but are also spread across Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro. The Kurds did not get a state and were spread across Syria, Iraq and Turkey.” The legacy of Ottoman governance still shapes Balkan politics today, says Judah, combined with the mentality of the Communist era. „It’s an unhealthy mixture of back-room dealing, pay-offs, nepotism and the use of the secret police, combined with rumours and conspiracy theories.”The collapse of Iraq, Syria and the extreme stresses in Lebanon stem from the failure to implement democracies that take account of the region’s ethnic and religious diversity, says Eyad Abu Shakra, Middle East commentator at Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. „All the new entities born out of Sykes-Picot have a multitude of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities but very few have acknowledged this. The failure – due to both internal and external reasons – to devise a representative democracy with proper checks and balances, that accommodates diversity, respects human rights and is based on institutional and constitutional democracy will lead to what we are witnessing in Iraq, Syria and even Lebanon.”In Raqqa, Syria, the de-facto capital of the Islamic State, Isis has pledged to destroy Sykes-Picot, remove the borders between Arab lands and rebuild the Caliphate. The world is horrified by Isis’s brutality, but perhaps the Sultans’ pan-nationalism still has something to teach. A pan-Arab commonwealth, modelled in part on the Ottoman empire and the European Union, with open borders, freedom for minorities, independent institutions and protection under the rule of law could bring stability. „Trying to create common institutions across a region as huge as the Arab world would be a tremendous challenge,” says Dr Fred Anscombe, of London University, an expert on the Ottoman empire. The region is resource-poor, apart from oil, which has warped economic conditions. „An Arab Union or Commonwealth is potentially a good idea but it would take a long time to build.”
33 gorgeous photos from the massively popular Instagrammer who follows his wife around the worldBusiness Insider Sarah SchmalbruchBack in 2012, photographer Murad Osmann (@muradosmann) started an Instagram account, and hispictures went viral.It became known as the „follow me” Instagram, because in every picture Murad — the photographer — is being led by his gorgeous girlfriend — Natalia Zakharova — to some exciting destination.Osmann just married Zakharova in a gorgeous ceremony which he broadcast to his 2.7 million Instagram followers. But the couple is still traveling the world together, and Zakharova is still leading her now husband by the hand.From Paris’s Eiffel Tower to Jordan’s Dead Sea, here are 33 gorgeous photos from the world-traveling couple. Here’s Murad, the photographer, as captured by his wife, Natalia.Instagram Embed:http://instagram.com/p/hlqKEHGsye/embed/Width: 1200px And here’s Natalia in front of the Louvre on her birthday last year. Natalia also has her own Instagram account (@yourleo) with plenty of followers — 474,000 to be exact.Instagram Embed:http://instagram.com/p/se-idhmszQ/embed/Width: 1200px In July of last year, Murad proposed to Natalia, and happily reported in the caption, „She said YES!!!”Instagram Embed: http://instagram.com/p/qMxPevGs-Q/embed/Width: 1200pxAnd in June of this year, the couple tied the knot at a romantic ceremony outside of Moscow. In his caption Murad said: „I promise to hold your hand and tell you I love you every day for the rest of our lives.” Instagram Embed: http://instagram.com/p/3ovCsPGs1X/embed/Width: 1200px Natalia leads Murad everywhere from churches — here they are at the Santa Maria in Aracoeli Basilica in Rome, Italy.Instagram Embed:http://instagram.com/p/jPHV3FGs6R/embed/Width: 1200px
Alaska’s Wolves Face CatastropheBy Taylor Hill | Takepart.comJune 8, 2015 7:46 PMAlaska’s Wolves Face CatastropheSoutheast Alaska’s isolated wolf population has declined by 60 percent in just one year, dropping from an estimated 221 individuals in 2013 to 89 wolves in 2014, according to the U.S. Forest Service.Those numbers are already outdated. Another 29 wolves were reportedly killed in the 2014–2015 hunting and trapping season.The figures were reported in a brief written by U.S. Forest Service officials who worked with Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game to update the region’s wolf population estimates.The final report is expected to be released by the end of the week, but the early summary has prompted conservationists to call for an expedited endangered species listing for the reclusive subspecies.“You’re talking about an animal that is so hard for the researchers to find that they’ve only radio collared two in the past two years to study,” said Larry Edwards, forest campaigner with Greenpeace in Sitka, Alaska. “They need protections now, before it’s too late.”The Alexander Archipelago wolf range includes the entire 500-mile-long, 120-mile-wide Alaskan panhandle, and the animals mostly stay in the dense tree cover provided by the 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest. A majority of the wolves live on Prince of Wales Island. Some scientists believe they could be their own genetically distinct wolf subset.Instead of trapping and counting the wolves, researchers placed hair trap snags—wood boards with barbed wire attached—in a section of the Tongass to determine the population. The scented boards attract the wolves, which rub against them and leave hair follicles behind. Scientists retrieve the hair and extrapolate how many wolves are in the area based on how many different hair samples are left behind and how frequently the wolves return.RELATED: Billionaire’s Bid to Save Rare Wolves Ends Up on the Brink of ExtinctionIn 1994, an estimated 900 wolves roamed southeast Alaska, and the Prince of Wales Island population was estimated to be 300 to 350. Today, the population is estimated at 60.The news comes as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service studies whether the Alexander Archipelago wolf should be listed as an endangered species. The agency is expected to make a decision by the end of 2015. If the wolf is listed, stronger protections for its habitat will go into effect, and hunting and trapping will be restricted.Wayne Owen, a U.S. Forest Service regional director, said a listing would mean more regulatory hurdles for future development and logging operations in the national forest.So, Why Should You Care? The Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups sued the U.S. Forest Service for not adequately protecting the old-growth forests in Tongass from logging. Wolves den in the root systems of 800-year-old western hemlock, Sitka spruce, and Alaska cedar trees. The wolves’ main prey—Sitka black-tailed deer—rely on the trees for shelterfrom heavy snow during the winter.“What the report shows is that the habitat is not the issue—the issue right now is the undocumented take,” Owen said. “People are hunting and trapping [the wolves] and not reporting that.”In 2012, Alaskan game officials reduced the percentage of wolves that could be killed for hunting and trapping from 30 percent of the population each year to 20 percent.But that hasn’t reversed the decline.“We definitely see these figures having an impact on the upcoming hunting season,” said Ryan Scott, Alaska Fish and Game’s southeast regional director. “These are estimates based on a sample study area, so you have to take it with a grain of salt; we don’t know if it means declines across the whole range.”But for Edwards at Greenpeace, waiting is no longer an option. “We’ve been trying to get this wolf listed as endangered since 1994. There’s no more time to waste,” he said.
Cervical cancer vaccine might work after just 1 shot, not 3 By MARIA CHENG4 hours agoFILE – In this Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2007 file photo, Lauren Fant, left, winces as she has her third and final application of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine administered by nurse Stephanie Pearson at a doctor’s office in Marietta, Ga. Protecting girls from cervical cancer might be possible with just one dose of the HPV vaccine rather than the three that are now recommended, a new analysis has suggested on Wednesday, June 10, 2015. The study isn’t convincing enough to change vaccination strategies but if the results are confirmed, requiring just one dose of the vaccine could have a big impact on how many girls in both developed and developing countries get immunized. (AP Photo/John Amis, File)LONDON (AP) — Protecting girls from cervical cancer might be possible with just one dose of the HPV vaccine rather than the three now recommended, a new analysis suggests.The authors of the study acknowledged it isn’t convincing enough to change vaccination strategies immediately. But if their results are confirmed, requiring just one dose of the vaccine could have a big impact on how many girls around the world get immunized.Cervical cancer is the fourth-most common cause of cancer death in women worldwide and is estimated to kill more than 260,000 every year.Researchers from the U.S. National Cancer Institute and elsewhere looked at data from previous trials covering more than 24,000 young women to see how much protection they got from one, two or three doses of the HPV vaccine, Cervarix. They estimated vaccine effectiveness after about four years to be between 77 percent and 86 percent for all the young women, regardless of how many shots they received.If fewer doses could be used, „the potential is huge to prevent the deaths of millions of women,” said Julia Brotherton, medical director of the National HPV Vaccination Program Register in Australia.The study was paid for by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and others including the vaccine’s maker, GlaxoSmithKline PLC. It was published online Wednesday in the journal Lancet Oncology.Brotherton authored an accompanying commentary and said in an email the results were „really promising and so strong that it is difficult to imagine” there could be a confounding factor to explain the finding. She said it wasn’t clear why one dose appeared to be so effective, but suggested the „virus-like” particle used to make the vaccine might have provoked a particularly strong response from the girls’ immune systems.Besides Glaxo’s Cervarix, a similar vaccine, Gardasil, is sold by Merck & Co. It’s unclear if that vaccine would also work with fewer doses, although experts said that was possible since Gardasil is also made with virus-like particles.Glaxo welcomed the findings but said in a statement „at this time, we have no plans to file for a single-dose license.”In Britain, health officials changed their recommendation last year to advise young girls only get two doses of the HPV vaccine instead of three.In the U.S., no HPV vaccine is licensed as a two-dose regimen and the top vaccine advisory committee hasn’t discussed data from using only one dose. Young girls typically start getting vaccinated around age 11 to 12 and each dose of the HPV vaccine costs about $100.Aimee Kreimer of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, one of the study’s authors, said determining how long girls would be protected with a single dose was essential.”The vaccine will need to provide at least 10 years and ideally 20 years of protection against cervical HPV infections to have the greatest impact of reducing cervical cancer,” she wrote in an email._AP Medical Writer Mike Stobbe in New York contributed to this report._Online:http://press.thelancet.com/HPV.pdf
Vanuatu villagers wait for eternal life _ from Prince Philip By NICK PERRY21 hours ago YAKEL, Vanuatu (AP) — Standing under his sacred banyan tree, Albi Nagia sings as he cracks open a coconut with a few deft strikes from his bush machete. He chews the meat inside and spits it out in a shower, to the delight of the gathering chickens.He is praying to Prince Philip. Yes, that Prince Philip: the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, who celebrates his 94th birthday on Wednesday.In England, the former naval officer is known as a sports enthusiast who’s a bit cantankerous at times and prone to saying the wrong thing. To several hundred people living in a handful of remote villages on Tanna island in the tropical Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu, he’s much more.”Here in Tanna, we believe that Prince Philip is the son of our God, our ancestral God who lives up in the mountain,” says Nako Nikien, who prefers to go by the name Jimmy Joseph.Joseph said it’s become a tradition to talk, or pray, to Philip each evening, when villagers from Yaohnanen and Yakel gather in their meeting places and share an intoxicating brew made from kava plants.”We ask him to increase the production of our crops in the garden, or to give us the sun, or rain,” Joseph says, pausing. „And it happens.”In this Sunday, May 31, 2015 photo, Albi Nagia poses with photographs of Prince Philip in Yakel, Tan …Those prayers became more pressing after Cyclone Pam ripped through Tanna in March, killing at least five on the island of 30,000 and destroying homes and crops.Both Nagia and Joseph are members of the Prince Philip movement, an unusual cult that developed in a place where people still choose to live as they have for centuries, in simple thatch huts and wearing nothing but grass skirts or a penis shield called a nambas.Known as kastom, it’s a traditional way of life that’s under threat from the spread of Western civilization. Down a winding, rutted dirt track far from anywhere, people feel free to live this way, but when they make the trek to the island’s main town to sell the coffee beans they grow or buy rice, they usually put on clothes.Joseph says he believes that the spirit of Philip, who was born in Greece, comes from Tanna and that one day he will return. On that day, he says, the fish will leap from the sea and life will become eternal. He says he’s not worried that Philip is aging and may soon die.”The movement will always continue,” he says. „And, from my opinion, or from what we believe, the spirit in Prince Philip won’t die.”In this May 31, 2015 photo, Albi Nagia points toward the mountain that he says he believes is the ho …It’s unclear how the movement began. It appears to have grown in the 1960s as an offshoot or rival to another unusual island movement, the John Frum cargo cult. That cult began around the 1930s and got a boost when U.S. servicemen were posted to Vanuatu during World War II.Followers believe the mysterious John Frum will one day return from afar and bring spiritual and material wealth. They have adopted symbols like the American flag and once a year they march, drill-style, while carrying imitation rifles fashioned from bamboo sticks.Joseph said the John Frum movement grew at a difficult time, as elders tried to cling to traditional beliefs and prophecies but were mocked and imprisoned for them as Christianity took hold.The Prince Philip movement got a boost when Philip and the queen visited Vanuatu in 1974 on the royal yacht Britannia, although the prince never set foot on Tanna island. Elders later sent Philip a club from Tanna, and he sent them back a photograph showing him holding it, which the elders took as a further sign that he was The One.Lamont Lindstrom, an anthropology professor at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, said people on Tanna traditionally talk to a variety of spirits and can increase their stature in society through storytelling and prophecy.In this May 31, 2015 photo, villagers maintain a way of life that has changed little over the centur …”The people believe in everything and nothing,” he says.Lindstrom said that while the Prince Philip movement might have begun organically enough, it may have been encouraged by British officials stationed in Vanuatu who saw it as a counterpoint to the John Frum movement, which drew inspiration from France and the United States.In recent years, the Prince Philip movement may again have been bolstered by the west. Nagia and Joseph were among five locals who in 2007 were flown to England by the British reality show „Meet the Natives.” The five met Philip privately at Windsor Castle.”Meeting him was just wonderful,” says Joseph. „It’s just like being in a spiritual world.”He said the village chiefs wanted the five to ask Philip a specific question in the form of an allegory, but they ended up asking the wrong one. They asked: Was the pawpaw ripe? Joseph says Philip responded: It’s too cold in England.In this May 31, 2015 photo, coffee beans dry in the village of Yakel, Tanna island, Vanuatu. The vil …Joseph says only the chiefs can decipher what the allegory about the tropical fruit, also called a papaya, really means. But if he was to guess, he says, it’s that it was not yet time for Philip to visit Tanna.A trickle of curious outsiders continues to visit these remote villages, which may be helping to sustain the movement and to encourage the ancient way of living. One such outsider is Jerzy Grebosz, a Polish computer scientist and nuclear physicist who often spends his vacation time living in Yakel, wearing nothing but slip-on shoes and a nambas.”For me, travel in space is obvious, I’m from Europe. But travel in time — I’m just like going back 2,000 years with this experience,” he says. „Meeting these people, talking to them, sharing their problems, helping them sometimes. You really touch the culture, inside. So I’m very happy that they considered me as a friend.”However, the one Westerner many here really want to see has never come.”Philip, your father lived there,” says Nagia, pointing to the mountain. „We came to England to visit you. You must come. We love you.”