Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Drought and Climate Change Posted by Hello

World Water Day

World Water Monitoring Day - October 18th

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World Water Day

Thailand warns of worst drought in 7 years

The Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives says the drought in Thailand this year might become the most severe in seven or eight years.

The drought will certainly affect the country's farming sector, said Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives Newin Chidchob, adding the water supply may not be sufficient to cover second crop cultivation this year.
As part of the efforts to end the drought problem, the government will soon ask the Royal Thai Air Force to reserve about a dozen C-130 airplanes to help with an artificial rain plan which will cover drought-affected provinces in the country, Business Day reported.

"I expect only 10 percent of the country's arable land may have enough water to produce a second crop this year," Newin said.
Despite the worst-case scenario of drought and oil price hikes, Prime Minister Thaksin Shiwanatra recently said rising oil prices and the drought may have only a limited impact on Thai economic growth this year. He remained optimistic the country's economy would grow at a record 5 percent or six percent this year.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International
19 March, 2005 by


Farmers brace for worst drought in 28 years
By DEAN BRICKEY and TERRY MURRY of the East Oregonian

TOP: McKay Reservoir south of Pendleton is more dirt than water. Normally it’s nearly full this time of year. BOTTOM: Boat owners are already finding it hard to launch their boats at McKay Reservoir. Staff photos by Don Cresswell

PENDLETON — Farmers and other water users are facing the worst drought in 28 years, according to Chet Sater of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Umatilla Field Office in Hermiston.

It’s been the third-driest winter in 75 years, according to scientists at the Columbia Basic Agricultural Research Center on Tubbs Ranch Road, northeast of Pendleton.

Steve Petrie, superintendent of the Oregon State University facility, said the winter of 2005, with just 5.32 inches of precipitation from Sept. 1-Feb. 28, is the driest since 1977, when just 3.45 inches of precipitation had fallen through the winter. And it’s the third driest since records began at the center in 1930. The second-driest year was 1937, when just 5.2 inches of precipitation was recorded from September through February.


No Drought Relief in Northwest Seen -- NOAA
Fri Mar 18, 2005 5:53 AM GMT


Ore. gov. tries to lessen drought impact

MAR. 22 2:20 A.M. ET With Oregon irrigation reservoirs at 50 percent of normal and snowpack even less, Gov. Ted Kulongoski announced measures he hopes will lessen the threat to farmers and fire-prone forests from one of the driest winters on record.

The dry spell "has serious implications for the state's economy as our summer months are critical to agriculture, fishing and recreation," Kulongoski said Monday at a news conference.

Barry Norris, technical services chief for the state Water Resources Department, said the state is facing a water year nearly as dry as 1977, which had set records for low snowpack.

Kulongoski said the state Forestry Department will assemble a plan by April 1 -- a month earlier than usual -- for rounding up extra firefighting crews and obtaining equipment, such as air tankers for water drops.

The governor also said he will consider whether to declare a statewide drought emergency next week after getting a recommendation from the state Drought Council, a technical panel.

He already has declared emergencies in Baker County, in Eastern Oregon, and Southern Oregon's Klamath County, a move that can give water users more flexibility to tap emergency water supplies.

Similar requests for declarations are pending from several other counties.

The governor urged the public to take steps to conserve water, even such small ones as planting spring flowers that don't need a lot of water and washing cars less often.

Kulongoski said the state is hampered by having all nine of its large Chinook National Guard helicopters, often used to battle forest fires, assigned to duty in the Middle East. The state's potential firefighting force also is reduced, he said, by having more than 1,000 Guard members serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

"Oregon has and continues to make great contributions to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," Kulongoski said. "But if the safety of our forests, our citizens and our economy become threatened because we do not have the flight tools or the people-power to fight fires, I expect the federal government to take whatever steps necessary to make sure Oregon doesn't pay twice for our contributions."
On the Net:
Drought Monitor:

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Women operated 6 percent of Nebraska's farms in 2002, up from 5.4 percent in 1997, according to the 2002 Census of Agriculture

The increase comes as the overall number of farms in the state dropped from 54,539 to 49,355, the Nebraska Agricultural Statistics Service said Friday.

Women ran 3,005 farms in Nebraska in 2002, up from 2,948 in 1997 for an increase of two percent, the report said.

Women posted a 2 percent decrease in the total amount of land they operated in the same time frame, the agency said, going from 1.99 million acres to just over 1.95 million in 2002.

Nebraska ranked 29th in the nation in the number of women as principal farm operators. Women ran farms in each of the state's 93 counties. Women farm operators were older than the average farm operator, 59.7 years compared to 53.9 years, the report said.


Drought prompts King County to begin water-saving actions
King County Executive Ron Sims today formally activated King County's Drought Response Plan and directed facilities and fleet managers to immediately begin using less water in county operations.


Drought impact predicted to be long lasting
A major welfare agency has warned the social and economic impacts of the drought in western Queensland will last for up to 15 years.

Anglicare says it has grave concerns about the social effect of the prolonged dry on rural communities in the area.
Drought coordinator Barbara Anderson says it is taking a huge toll on families.
"From my investigations there's a very high use of anti-depressants, particularly among the women, but even more concerning for me is that lately there is an increased use by many of our men and that I find is an extremely worrying factor...and really when our men and women have lost the desire to fight, our rural life really is in crisis," she said.
"We've had a number of properties that have run out of water...I know of women now who are actually having to take their washing into town because they don't have enough house water.
"Fancy having to take a basket of washing into a town to do your washing...so the drought is taking a huge toll on these women apart from the fact of the financial stress they're suffering."


Drought Will Scuttle RBZ's Inflation Target
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
March 20, 2005
Posted to the web March 21, 2005
Allen Chifokoyo
THE prospect of another drought and the severe foreign currency crunch are going to make it harder for the country to achieve the inflation rate target set by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), economic analysts said.


Drought Report

Western South Dakota ranchers know they need rain so grass will recover for their livestock. A federal report shows just how dry conditions are across the state.

The US Drought Monitor shows the middle part of the state around the Missouri River to be abnormally dry.
Farther west, the drought intensities change to moderate and then to severe. The Black Hills and other counties at the western edge of South Dakota are in extreme drought.

State Agriculture Secretary Larry Gabriel says ranchers will need to worry not only about growing grass but also about having enough good quality water to support their cattle.


Drought to boost CPO, rubber prices
THE prolonged drought in the region will have a positive impact on the prices of commodities like crude palm oil (CPO) and rubber, but production will be lower.


Storms help dry state
Star-Tribune environmental reporter Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Five-year-old Alanna Matthews pauses before the steps of her family's home near Casper College while playing in the rain on Monday afternoon. Today's high in Casper is expected to be 50, with partly cloudy skies, the National Weather Service said. Photo by Sarah Beth Barnett/Casper Star-Tribune.

Unless those in the northeast part of the state get significant moisture in the next week, the state climatologist will recommend that area be considered in an "exceptional" drought -- the most dire classification.

Jan Curtis, state climatologist, said areas around Newcastle are "really, really hurting" and currently considered in "extreme" drought conditions.

"In the northeast part of the state, they are about as bad as they can get," Curtis said.

The "exceptional" classification, if approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will likely mean water restrictions and a difficult summer for ranchers with widespread crop and pasture losses. It could also mean some government assistance.


Rare drought hits Brazil's southern breadbasket, damaging crops
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Associated Press
March 21, 2005
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) - A rare drought has hit southern Brazil, forcing hundreds of towns to declare an emergency and destroying billions of dollars (reals) of crops in the country's traditional breadbasket, officials said Monday.
With no rain since December, 440 cities and towns have declared a state of emergency in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil's southernmost state and a major producer of wheat, soy beans, corn, grapes and beef.
"The economic damage is irreversible. Even if it starts to rain now, it's too late to harvest before winter comes," Maj. Gilberto Lippert of the Rio Grande do Sul civil defense department said by telephone from Porto Alegre, 700 miles (1,100 kilometers) south of Rio de Janeiro.

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Researchers: 2005 Could Be Dangerous Fire Year In SW Idaho
By Associated Press

NAMPA, Idaho -
Even in southwestern Idaho, it's usually a little damp this time of year.
Not in 2005.
Already in Canyon County, there have been a couple of fires on grass and farmland.
Federal researchers say that could be a precursor for a bad fire year -- not just in Idaho, but in the entire drought-plagued Pacific Northwest.
Ronald Neilson, a bioclimatologist with the U-S Forest Service, says conditions could reach levels last seen during the famous Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
He says the drought severity in the northwestern states will only get worse in the coming months. Recent light rains have done little to dent the water crisis.
The Treasure Valley is still more than two inches behind the average.


Calamity state declared in drought-hit areas of S. Kudarat
Posted 05:44am (Mla time) Mar 21, 2005
Inquirer News Service
Editor's Note: Published on page A19 of the Mar. 21, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato, Philippines -- The mild dry spell experienced in many areas in southwestern Mindanao is taking its toll on farmers.


Water shortage a threat to 14,000
Cheyenne River Indian Reservation may run dry
Associated Press
published: 03/21/05
About 14,000 residents of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation could run out of water this summer because of a continued drought along the Missouri River basin, according to tribal and other officials.
Based on water-level predictions for the Missouri River, Wayne Ducheneaux and other tribal officials think the reservation could be out of water by August. And they fear the worst.
“It will be more than just running out of water for a couple of days. There will be 14,000 people that have no water whatsoever,” Ducheneaux said last week. He is a member of a task force working to come up with a water plan.


Gregoire prepares for drought
David Ammons, The Associated Press
OLYMPIA - Gov. Christine Gregoire, stepping up efforts to ease the impact of the region's drought, on Friday called on citizens to curtail their water use, asked the Legislature for $12 million, and girded for a record fire season.

The Tivoli Fountain, popular with visitors to the Capitol campus, will be turned off April 1, state cars will be washed less frequently and state agencies will be asked to cut their water use by 25 percent.

The governor also urged development of new water storage projects as a longer-term fix to shortages.

Gregoire declared a statewide drought emergency last week as the Pacific Northwest prepares for possibly the worst drought since 1977. Precipitation is at or near record lows across the state, and mountain snow pack averages are running 26 percent of normal.


Zambia Drought: minor emergency No. 05ME015
The Federation’s mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world’s largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries.

In Brief


The situation

Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture has issued a drought alert following erratic and poor distribution of rainfall in many parts of the country, particularly the low-veldt areas of the southern, western and north-western provinces. According to press reports quoting Government sources, Zambia will face a crop failure of up to 65% this year due to ongoing drought in the current farming season. Last week the Zambian government banned exportation of maize meal to neighbouring countries in a bid to forestall the looming food deficit. The government's food reserve agency (FRA) disclosed that there were only 120,000 metric tones of maize in the state shells countrywide. This falls far short of the country's total maize requirement of 600,000 metric tons.



Floods kill over 200 in Afghanistan
[World News]: Kabul, Mar.21 : Floods caused by torrential rains and melting snow have killed more than 200 people and destroyed thousands of homes in several parts of Afghanistan over recent days, officials said on Sunday.
After the worst winter for a decade, there were always fears that the spring thaw would result in flooding from rivers running down from Afghanistan's mountain ranges.
Several hundred people were killed by the severe winter weather and the unlucky country had earlier suffered almost six years of drought.


Military comes to rescue in rainy Afghanistan
Kent Harris, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Monday, March 21, 2005

Rick Scavetta / U.S. Army
Sgt. Ryan Garfield, UH-60 Black Hawk crew chief, holds a child rescued from rising floodwaters near the southern Afghanistan area of Deh Rawod. Garfield is a member of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, from Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

Michael Abrams / S&S
Rain in the last couple of days has left Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan wet and muddy. But unlike other areas of the country, there is no danger of flooding at U.S. military posts.
Weather patterns
are hard to track
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan — How does recent precipitation — both snow and rain — compare with other periods in Afghan history?

Capt. Laura Maddin, the officer in charge of the Air Force weather detachment in Bagram, said it’s hard to tell. The Taliban compared meteorology with sorcery and destroyed a lot of records when they were in power, she said.

Some records have been found in Kabul and the military is currently using those — adjusted somewhat for the lower altitude in Bagram — as a basis for historical averages.

Lt. Col. Kevin Kille, civil-military operations officer for CJTF-76, said countries in Southwest Asia historically suffer through five to seven years of drought every few decades.

Military officials also hear comments from local residents about the weather from time to time. “We’ve heard from some that when the Taliban left, they took the drought with them,” Kille said.
— Kent Harris

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan — To recent arrivals, it might seem as if there are only two types of weather in Afghanistan: rain and the brief periods between rain.


Flash floods kill 41 in Pakistan

[World News]: ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 20 (UPI) : Flash floods have killed at least 40 people in southwestern Pakistan, officials said Sunday.
The floods followed heavy rains in the Suleman mountains that divide the provinces of Balochistan and Punjab.

On Friday, the floods swept away a truck carrying 69 pilgrims returning from a local shrine in Dera Ghazi Khan district.Only 28 pilgrims could jump to safety.

Since the torrent washed away the truck along with the passengers, it took local authorities two days to assess the damage.By Sunday, they had discovered 41 bodies.

- -- Copyright 2005 by United Press International.


200 missing in Afghan floods; 24 killed
By Noor Khan, Associated Press Writer March 20, 2005

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- More than 200 people were missing in a former Taliban stronghold Sunday after days of torrential rain sparked floods that have killed at least 24 people in other parts of Afghanistan.



1638, Religious dissident Anne Hutchinson is banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1763, To raise revenue in the American colonies, the British Parliament passes the Stamp Act, levying a direct tax on colonial legal and commercial documents. The tax was repealed the following year.
1882, Congress outlawed polygamy.

1933, during Prohibition, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a measure to make wine and beer containing up to 3.2 percent alcohol legal.

1941, the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state went into operation.

1945, The Arab League is formed in Cairo, Egypt.

1963: The Beatles' first album Please Please Me is released in Britain; it is soon number one on the pop chart.

1972: The Equal Rights Amendment is passed by the Senate and sent to the states for ratification; it ultimately fails to win enough states to become part of the U.S. Constitution. (It fell three states short of the 38 needed for approval.)

Missing in Action


The Wilmington Star News

Talk about a new low
Congress and President Bush ignored the Constitution when they whipped up a law that would take a legal dispute out of Florida courts and put it into a federal court, where some people hope it might be settled differently.
That seems doubtful; the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to accept the Terri Schiavo case, which suggests it believes Florida's courts have handled it properly.


The Bemidji Pioneer

10 killed at Red Lake Shooter dead at scene after killing 7 at school and his grandparents; community in shock

Monday, March 21, 2005
By Molly Miron Pioneer Editor

At about 3 p.m. on Monday a young man entered Red Lake High School and opened fire in a deadly shooting rampage.

According to reports from students on the scene at the school, the boy, a 17-year-old student named Jeff Weise, gunned down the security officer at the school door. He then apparently went through the school until he reached a classroom where he began shooting students and a teacher. As of 8:20 p.m., FBI Special Agent Paul McCabe confirmed that 10 people were dead as a result of the shooting, including a security guard, a teacher and several students.

McCabe said no names of victims have been released.

He said late Monday night that at some point during the shooting rampage, Red Lake Police officers arrived at the scene and exchanged gunfire with the shooter in the hallway. The shooter then retreated to a classroom.

“Preliminary investigation leads us to believe the shooter’s cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” McCabe said.

He said it is too early in the investigation to speculate on motives for the shootings, but a search brings up the name of Jeff Weise of Red Lake on a Web site
www.nazi.org. Students said he was teased because he dressed in gothic style. A tribal elder said the boy was on medication.

Red Lake Police Chief Pat Mills said that before going to the school, the shooter apparently went to the home of a 30-year veteran Red Lake Police officer and shot him and his wife. The couple, who lived in the Back of Town neighborhood, later died.

According to Red Lake Fire Chief Roman Stately, the police officer and his wife were the alleged shooter’s grandparents.

The Red Lake Net News, a Web site supported by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, identified the alleged shooter’s grandfather as Daryl “Dash” Lussier.

In addition to the 10 dead, about 12 students were injured. McCabe provided no details about the sequence of the shooting, but said most of the dead at the school were found in one room. However, he added that he believes the alleged shooter acted alone.

The injured were taken to Red Lake Hospital, North Country Regional Hospital in Bemidji and MeritCare Hospital in Fargo, N.D.

“This is, without doubt, the darkest hour in the history of our tribe,” said Red Lake Chairman Floyd Jourdain. “Our community is in shock and dismay. It’s extremely painful. The community is in utter shock. Our hearts go out to the families.”

Law enforcement shut down the Red Lake Reservation with roadblocks at about 5 p.m. Monday.

Student Sondra Hegstrom said she was with her class in the room next door to the shootings.

“You could hear a girl saying, ‘No, Jeff. Quit! Quit! Leave me alone. Why are you doing this?’ Boom, boom, boom, and then no more screaming,” she said.

Hegstrom said she saw the alleged shooter carrying a gun before he opened fire. She said he aimed at one boy, then smiled and waved before shooting another student.

“I looked him in the eye and ran in a room and that’s when I hid,” she said. “I called 911 from a cell phone and they said, ‘Just sit there and wait until the cops come.’”

Teacher Diane Schwanz was in the school’s Culture Room with her class when she heard the shooting. “I got on the floor and said, ‘Kids, down on the ground, under the benches,’ and I called the cops,” she said.

Student Ashley Morrison was in the Culture Room when the gunshots started. At first, she said she thought something had fallen over to make the loud sound. Then, she said, the alleged shooter came to the door of the Culture Room.

“He started banging on our door,” Morrison said.

Wendy Johnson, Ashley’s mother, said that was when she received the phone call from her daughter.

“She was hiding and he was shooting the door she was in, trying to get in,” Johnson said. She said she remembers Ashley saying, “Mom, he’s trying to get in here and I’m scared.”

Hegstrom said teacher Keith Lussier come into their room and told them to run. The school was evacuated and law enforcement began combing the building. The students were directed to walk to the Drug Rehabilitation Center, about one block from the school, where school buses picked them up.
By then, groups of students, teachers and parents were trying to comfort each other in the area around the school.

Johnson left work when she received her daughter’s cell phone call.

“Seeing the kids running out crying, like Littleton,” said Johnson, referring to the 1999 Columbine High School Shooting.

“We’re just traumatized,” said Robin Isham, who left her work at the Early Childhood Center when she heard of the shootings. “I had four children in that building. I found them all.”

“You read about it happening other places, but not at our school,” said Hegstrom. “I thought our school was safe.”

Gov. Tim Pawlenty issued a statement Monday night: “With profound sorrow, the First Lady and I extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the families who lost loved ones in this senseless tragedy. We ask Minnesotans to help comfort the families and friends of the victims who are suffering unimaginable pain by extending prayers and expressions of support.”

Monday’s shooting was the second major school shooting in Minnesota in recent years. In September 2003, two students were shot at Rocori High School in central Minnesota. The Littleton, Colo., Columbine High School cost 12 lives.

Red Lake High School has about 355 students in grades 9-12.


Evidently there is a 'Citizen Paper' - IT IS A LITTLE ODD.

The Northern Herald

Minn. teen kills 7at school, 2 at home, and himself
Knight Ridder Newspapers
RED LAKE, Minn. - (KRT) - A towering young loner who always wore a dark trench coat to Red Lake High School went on a shooting spree Monday, killing nine people, including his grandfather and a woman at their home and five students, a teacher and a security guard on campus before turning a gun on himself.


Michael Moore Today

"Bowling for Columbine"

A Grieving Father Struggles to Understand


Looking for Logic Amid the Pain; Grieving Father Struggles to Understand
By Stephanie McCrummen /
Washington Post
Khizr Khan is a lawyer by training and demeanor, an articulate man, a careful and methodical thinker who is trying at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday to make sense of the fact that his 27-year-old son is gone forever.
It's a workday, so he finds someplace quiet, an empty conference room on the 13th floor of the office building where he works near the White House. He shuts the door, sits at a big empty table, picks up a pen.


George nominated John D. Negroponte as the nation's first 'intelligence czar'--but what intelligence did Mr. Negroponte have about
Honduras death squads when he was ambassador there in the 1980s?


Progess in Middle East Peace

Israel hands over Tulkarem to PNA
www.chinaview.cn 2005-03-22 10:34:44
BEIJING, March. 22 -- The Israeli army has handed over the security of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), after a few hours' delay.
After signing on the security protocol, Tulkarem governor Izzedin al-Sharif told reporters that the disputes that delayed the handover were related to the Israeli insistence on keeping troops in the village of Ramin, to the east of Tulkarem.


Four nations seek Security Council seats
By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press Writer March 22, 2005
UNITED NATIONS -- Four countries seeking permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council -- Brazil, Germany, India and Japan -- want the General Assembly to adopt a resolution to that effect by this summer. But Pakistan, Italy and other mid-size countries are still pushing a rival plan to expand the U.N.'s most powerful body.


Palestinians restrict militants' weapons
Associated Press
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian officials took a tentative first step toward disarming militants, banning them from carrying guns in public and requiring all weapons to be registered, according to a new directive.
According to senior Palestinian security officials, the Interior Ministry distributed letters outlining weapons restrictions to militants in the West Bank. The AP obtained a copy of the letter Monday.


Tulkarem handover agreed


Jeers: Crusade too late
Monday, March 21, 2005
Two years ago the novel, “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown, hit the best-sellers lists. The story, a historical fiction/mystery story/code breaker, delves into the origins of Christianity. Now, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, a former Vatican official, and currently archbishop of Genoa, Italy, is calling for a boycott of the book. He claims the book is heresy, as in the premise that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, she was pregnant when Jesus was crucified, and they have descendants. Considering that “The Da Vinci Code” was published in 2003 and has been translated into 44 languages, with at least 29 million copies in print, the protest from Archbishop Bertone seems, surely, apocryphal.


The weather across Earth (Crystal Wind Chime) is:

Warmed - Globally and Dry or Saturated depending on logistics.