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At least 367 people have been killed and some 1,300 injured by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in south-west China, state news agency Xinhua says.BBC
The US Geological Survey said the quake struck about 11km (seven miles) north-west of Wenping in Yunnan province at 16:30 local time (08:30 GMT).
A major rescue and relief operation is under way.
State broadcaster CCTV said the earthquake was the strongest to hit the province in 14 years.
Xinhua said about 12,000 homes had collapsed in Ludian, a county of some 439,000 people, north-east of Yunnan province's capital, Kunming.
All of the casualties reported so far are in Qiaojia County of the Zhaotong region, which appeared to be the hardest hit.
Ma Liya, a resident of Zhaotong, told Xinhua that the streets there were like "battlefield after bombardment", adding her neighbour's house, a new two-storey building, had collapsed.
UN warns of 'tragedy' as militants take over Iraq towns
The UN has warned that up to 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes after militants took over more towns in northern IraqBBC
Islamic State (formerly known as Isis) militants are reported to have taken over the town of Sinjar near Syria.
It follows the IS takeover of the town of Zumar and two nearby oilfields from Kurdish Peshmerga forces on Saturday.
IS seized large parts northern Iraq from government control in a major offensive in June.
The UN special envoy to Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, said that a "humanitarian tragedy is unfolding in Sinjar".
"The United Nations has grave concerns for the physical safety of these civilians" he said.
"The humanitarian situation of these civilians is reported as dire, and they are in urgent need of basic items including food, water and medicine" he added.
The UN said many of those who fled are in exposed areas in mountains near the town.
Ebola outbreak: US experts to head to West Africa
The US has announced plans to send at least 50 public health experts to West Africa to help fight the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola.Raw Story Pretty blatant.
A senior US health official said the outbreak was out of control but insisted it could be stopped.
Ebola has claimed 728 lives in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone this year. The current mortality rate is about 55%.
Meanwhile, an American doctor infected with the virus is improving in hospital after returning to the US from Liberia.
Dr Kent Brantly arrived at a military base in Georgia on Saturday before being driven to Emory University Hospital.
NYC man who filmed police choke hold arrested on weapons charge
(Reuters) – A man who filmed a New York City police officer use a choke hold on a suspect who later died has been arrested on weapons charges, law enforcement officials said on Sunday.Raw Story
Ramsey Orta, 22, and a 17-year-old female were spotted on Saturday outside a known drug location on Staten Island by narcotics officers who saw Orta put a handgun in his companion’s waistband, the New York Police Department said.
Orta, who has a previous criminal conviction, faces two charges of criminal possession of a weapon.
At some point during his arrest, Orta told officers, “You’re just mad because I filmed your boy,” an NYPD spokeswoman said.
The comment was apparently in reference to the July 17 cellphone video shot by Orta during the arrest of Eric Garner, who was placed in a choke hold by a police officer while being detained for peddling illegal cigarettes.
Sovereign citizen movement seen by US law enforcement as top terrorist threat: study
In a new study conducted by researchers tasked with studying of the root causes and consequences of terrorism in the U.S. and abroad, the sovereign citizen movement was perceived to be the gravest terrorist threat, rivaling Islamist extremists and militia/patriot groups.USA Today
According to National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism —better known as START— sovereign citizens were the top concern of law enforcement, even as a belief that some domestic groups including the KKK, Christian Identity, and neo-Nazis represent less of an actual terrorist threat when compared to a previous study.
The report, complied by START researchers David Carter, Steven Chermak, Jeremy Carter and Jack Drew, is drawn from surveys with more than 364 officers representing 175 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies. Those surveys asked respondents to to gauge their perception on the threat of terrorism, the nature of information-sharing, and their belief as to whether their agencies are prepared to deal with terrorist attacks.
Ohio drinking water emergency 'not over yet'
A toxin discovered in a northwestern Ohio treatment plant left 500,000 people scrambling for drinking water for a second day Sunday.Reuters
Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins said preliminary testing showed toxin levels were improving at the city's plant, but he said officials were waiting for federal officials to analyze more samples before determining if the water is safe to drink.
"All of the results continue to improve, which gives us hope," Collins said Sunday. "But this is not over yet."
Results of the latest tests, expected to be announced Sunday night, were delayed until after 1 a.m., The Blade of Toledo reported. "We're doing new testing," the mayor told the newspaper.
Residents of Toledo, its suburbs and small areas of southeastern Michigan began lining up for water Saturday after news of the contamination surfaced. Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared a state of emergency for Lucas, Wood and Fulton counties and deployed the National Guard to make water available to the area.
Censured over shelter deaths, Israel declares seven-hour Gaza truce
Reuters) - Israel said it would unilaterally hold fire in most of the Gaza Strip on Monday to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid and allow some of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced by an almost four-week-old war to go back to home.Reuters
The announcement, made first to Palestinian media, met with suspicion from Gaza's dominant Hamas Islamists and followed unusually strong censure from Washington at the apparent Israeli shelling on Sunday of a U.N.-run shelter that killed 10 people.
An Israeli defense official said the ceasefire, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, would apply everywhere but areas of the southern town of Rafah where ground forces have intensified assaults after three soldiers died in a Hamas ambush there on Friday.
"If the truce is breached, the military will return fire during the declared duration of the truce," the official said.
The official said east Rafah was the only urban area in which troops and tanks were still present, having been withdrawn or redeployed near Gaza's border with Israel over the weekend.
Israel is winding down its offensive in the absence of a mediated disengagement deal with Hamas. It says the military is close to completing its main objective of destroying cross-border infiltration tunnels from Gaza and prepared to resume strikes in response to any future attacks by the Palestinians.
Electronics giant Panasonic wants Singaporeans to eat its veg
(Reuters) - Japan's Panasonic Corp, best known for its television sets and home theater systems, wants to feed Singaporeans its radishes and lettuce.Al Jazeera America
A unit of the electronics conglomerate last week started selling to a chain of Japanese restaurants in Singapore fresh produce grown in what it says is the first licensed indoor vegetable farm in the island state.
The move ties Panasonic's deeper push into farming technology with land-scarce Singapore's ambition to reduce its near-total reliance on food imports.
"We foresee agriculture to be a potential growth portfolio, given the global shortage of arable land, climate change and increasing demand for quality food as well as stable food supply," Hideki Baba, managing director of Panasonic Factory Solutions Asia Pacific, told reporters.
The facility, which presently has a small production capacity of 3.6 tonnes annually, produces 10 types of vegetables such as mini red radishes and baby spinach.
Indoor farming has found favor with other hi-tech Japanese companies as well. Fujitsu Ltd is growing lettuce at its Fukushima province plant, while Sharp Corp is testing growing strawberries indoors in Dubai.
Two more California wildfires ignite
A pair of wildfires burning without restraint about 8 miles apart in northeast California became the focus of state and federal firefighters Sunday as authorities reported that one of the blazes had destroyed eight homes and prompted the precautionary evacuation of a small long-term care hospital.Christian Science Monitor
The two fires in Lassen National Forest erupted the day after California's governor declared a state of emergency amid an extremely aggressive fire season.
California Governor Jerry Brown issued the emergency declaration on Saturday, saying the state's extreme drought has made fire conditions particularly dangerous.
The declaration called for the state's National Guard to mobilize in response to the blazes.
California is in the midst of one of its most severe droughts on record, a factor that fire officials say has contributed to the growing number and intensity of wildfires across the state this year.
The declaration allows various state agencies to cooperate while battling at least 14 significant fires currently burning in California, including the Oregon Gulch fire, which started in Oregon last week then spread over the border.
Setting rivers free: As dams are torn down, nature is quickly recovering
With the removal of many dams, conservationists are seeing the return of the natural bounty that fed Native Americans and astonished European settlers.S F Gate Just for fun.
BENTON FALLS, MAINE — “Look underneath you,” commands Nate Gray, a burly biologist for the state of Maine. He reaches down to the grate floor of a steel cage perched on a dam straddling the Sebasticook River, and pulls back a board revealing the roiling river 30 feet below. “All you see is fish.”
Below, undulating in swift current, are the silver backs of thousands of small, sleek river herrings called alewives.
Six years ago, there were no alewives here. This summer, Mr. Gray expects 3 million. The fish arrive here, awaiting a lift over the 27-foot high hydroelectric dam in a $1 million hydraulic fish elevator, because two dams downstream have been demolished. The first “class” of alewives that hatched in lakes upstream after the dam removals are now returning by the millions after four years at sea, eager to spawn. “What you are looking at is a change in the mind-set of humanity toward what wealth is,” says Gray.
The demolition of the two downstream dams at Winslow and Augusta, opening a 63-mile run to the sea from Benton Falls, is part of a profound shift of priorities in the United States. Dams, celebrated as a triumph of modern engineering and symbol of man’s call to redesign nature, are gradually being torn down. Some are safety hazards; others are too costly to maintain. But the catalyst for most of the demolition is to restore rivers to a wild state.
Nearly 900 dams, erected to power the country’s machinery, store water, irrigate fields, or generate hydroelectric power, have come down in the past 25 years.
Hot new trike from Polaris — you’re five inches off the ground
Motorcycles are fun, way fun. But things can happen on two wheels that probably won’t if you’re in a four-wheel car. A car has bumpers to fend off the world. A friend once watched me get on my bike (Honda ST1100) and said, “just remember — your legs are the bumpers.”
In between, there’s a trike and I’d think the safer trikes are the ones that have the two wheels in the front rather than in the rear. To that end, Polaris, a longtime maker of powersports toys, has come up with a new trike that has a lot of promise in the Dept. of Having Fun.
Polaris calls it the Slingshot and if you blank out the single rear wheel, it looks more like a traditional sports car. It has a steering wheel and what Polaris describes as a 2.4-liter, 173 horsepower (presumably Ford) Ecoboost engine and a five-speed manual transmission. It even has such current automobile attributes as electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes (in fact, some motorcycles have ABS brakes.)
The Slingshot weighs 1,700 pounds and is skedded to be in showrooms this fall. Prices range from about $20,000 to $24,000. More here at this story on Gizmag.com.