Browsing articles from "August, 2014"

Most Of California Reported To Be In ‘Extreme Drought’

Aug 1, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Most Of California Reported To Be In ‘Extreme Drought’

A dried-out lawn is seen in the city of Glendora, east of Los Angeles, this week. About 58 percent of California is now under the most extreme drought conditions, a new report says.i i

hide captionA dried-out lawn is seen in the city of Glendora, east of Los Angeles, this week. About 58 percent of California is now under the most extreme drought conditions, a new report says.


Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

A dried-out lawn is seen in the city of Glendora, east of Los Angeles, this week. About 58 percent of California is now under the most extreme drought conditions, a new report says.

A dried-out lawn is seen in the city of Glendora, east of Los Angeles, this week. About 58 percent of California is now under the most extreme drought conditions, a new report says.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The latest Drought Monitor report from U.S. agriculture and weather experts finds 58 percent of California in the worst of its four drought levels, in conditions normally seen only once every 50-100 years.

For our Newscast unit, Nathan Rott reports:

“The U.S. Drought Monitor measures drought in five levels. The most benign is called Abnormally Dry. The worst is labeled Exceptional Drought. As of this week, roughly 58 percent of California is considered to be afflicted by that last category. Three months ago, only a quarter of the state was.

“The report also says that the state is short more than a year’s worth of water in its reservoirs and that the state’s topsoil reserves are nearly depleted.

“State officials are asking for residents to reduce their water usage by 20 percent. New regulations are going into effect this week that allow authorities to fine people up to $500 a day for wasting water.”

In central and northern parts of California, conditions have worsened to the most extreme level, driven by hot weather and wildfires, according to the report.

Because of its persistent drought, California’s governor declared the state to be under a state of emergency in January; the situation has only grown worse since then.

The dire conditions are making drought experts consider creating a new category — a “D5” that would surpass its current most-extreme level, D4. But as member station KPCC, they’re hampered by having only 120 years’ worth of records.

“We would never use it, because we don’t have the database to support it,” KPCC quotes Department of Agriculture meteorologist Brad Rippey, an author of the drought report. “But something in the order of a 1-in-100 to 1-in-200-year drought would be the equivalent of what we would call this theoretical D5.”

News of the drought’s severity comes as member station KQED reports that there is an “alarming lack of information” about California’s biggest water source: the state’s underground reservoirs.

3-Day Gaza Cease-Fire Goes Into Effect After Heavy Fighting

Aug 1, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on 3-Day Gaza Cease-Fire Goes Into Effect After Heavy Fighting

Flares light up the night sky over Gaza City early Friday, Aug. 1. Leaders of Hamas and Israel have agreed to begin a cease-fire Friday at 8 a.m. local time, the U.N. says.

An Israeli Merkava tank near the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip border in southern Israel, on Thursday. The Pentagon confirms that Israel tapped a U.S. weapons stockpile for tank rounds.

A three-day cease-fire in the Gaza Strip has gone into effect following heavy Israel-Hamas fighting.

The cease-fire, announced hours earlier by the U.S. and the U.N., took effect at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) Friday. Secretary of State John Kerry cautioned that there were “no guarantees” that the lull would bring an end to the Gaza war, now in its fourth week.

Israel and Hamas both said they would respect the cease-fire but would respond to attacks.

At least four short humanitarian cease-fires have been announced since the conflict began, but each has been broken within a few hours by renewed fighting.

Hours before the cease-fire was to take effect, 17 Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes. Israel’s military said five soldiers were killed along the Gaza border the previous evening.

Ebola Patient Will Be Treated In Atlanta Hospital

Aug 1, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Ebola Patient Will Be Treated In Atlanta Hospital

An isolation unit at Emory University’s hospital in Atlanta will be used in the coming days to house and treat a patient infected with Ebola, the virus that has killed more than 700 people in a recent outbreak in West Africa.

Announcing the pending transfer of the patient Thursday, Emory, which like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is based in Atlanta, issued a statement saying it will use “a specially built isolation unit set up in collaboration with the CDC to treat patients who are exposed to certain serious infectious diseases.”

The unit is one of four such facilities in America, Emory said, describing it as being “physically separate from other patient areas.”

Officials at Emory University Hospital say they don’t know when the patient will arrive.

They also didn’t give any details about the patient — but the person being treated could be an American who was infected with Ebola while working in Africa, according to a report by CNN that cites an anonymous source as saying a charter plane has been sent from Georgia to retrieve two patients.

As NPR reported this week, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol are among three Americans who contracted the disease while working with the charity Samaritan’s Purse. CNN says at least one of the two (the third patient has died) could be taken to the Emory facility.

Health experts are calling this Ebola outbreak large, complex, and difficult — and it still hasn’t slowed down.

“In only four days, the total number of cases has risen by 122, or about 10 percent,” NPR’s global development blog Goats and Soda said of the Ebola outbreak today.

On Thursday, the CDC issued an advisory against non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, urging Americans to avoid potential exposure to the disease in West Africa.

And CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden says he’s sending 50 more health experts to help fight the outbreak.

“The bottom line is that Ebola is worsening in West Africa,” he said. “CDC, along with others, are surging to begin to turn the tide. It’s not going to be quick, it’s not going to be easy. But we know what to do.”

U.S. officials are also hoping to develop a vaccine to fight Ebola. CNN reports that the National Institutes of Health’s infectious disease unit is working to test a vaccine on humans in coming months that has shown signs of successfully treating primates.

Congress Approves $16.3 Billion VA Health Care Bill

Aug 1, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Congress Approves $16.3 Billion VA Health Care Bill

With a 91-3 vote in the Senate Thursday, Congress has passed a massive $16.3 billion bill to address problems with health care for veterans and other problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The bill now moves forward to the White House for President Obama’s signature. The House voted overwhelmingly to approve the bill on Wednesday.

As we reported, the deal, unveiled on Monday, provides $10 billion for veterans to see private doctors if they live far away from VA facilities or have to wait more than two weeks to get an appointment.

The package would also provide $5 billion to hire additional medical staff to address crowding problems at VA facilities themselves, with $2 billion more devoted to opening new offices and expanding existing programs.

Voting against the bill Thursday were Republican Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Sessions of Alabama, saying they were concerned the legislation will increase future budget deficits.

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