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Wednesday April 23rd 2014

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Environment News Headlines – Yahoo! News UK

All at sea: global shipping fleet exposed to hacking threat

By Jeremy Wagstaff SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The next hacker playground: the open seas – and the oil tankers and container vessels that ship 90 percent of the goods moved around the planet. Somali pirates help choose their targets by viewing navigational data online, prompting ships to either turn off their navigational devices, or fake the data so it looks like they’re somewhere else; While data on the extent of the maritime industry’s exposure to cyber crime is hard to come by, a study of the related energy sector by insurance brokers Willis this month found that the industry “may be sitting on an uninsured time bomb”. Globally, it estimated that cyber attacks against oil and gas infrastructure will cost energy companies close to $1.9 billion by 2018.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 9:01 pm

U.N. should have done more to prevent South Sudan massacre – Uganda

Civilians flee from renewed attacks in BentiuBy Elias Biryabarema KAMPALA (Reuters) – Uganda's army, backing its neighbour South Sudan against a four-month-old rebellion, said on Wednesday U.N. peacekeepers should have done more to stop insurgents slaughtering hundreds of civilians there last week. Uganda sent troops into South Sudan shortly after fighting broke out between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar in mid-December. In the latest major violence in the increasingly ethnic conflict, rebels hunted down men, women and children taking refuge in a mosque, church and hospital in oil town Bentiu where the U.N. has a base, according to a report from the global body. The White House said it was horrified.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 2:53 pm

China to allow private investment in 80 projects

China will allow private investment in 80 projects spanning the energy, information and infrastructure sectors as part of reforms to increase privatisation, Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday. In future, other sectors such as utilities, airports and oil and gas exploration will also be open to more private investment, he told a weekly cabinet meeting. His comments were posted on a government website and no further details were provided. Allowing more private investment in China’s centrally planned economy is part of government’s plans to reduce state intervention and let market forces play a bigger role in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 12:11 pm

Pirates raid oil tanker off Malaysia, take away three crew

The Japanese oil tanker which was raided by armed pirates sails at Port KlangBy Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah and Keith Wallis KUALA LUMPUR/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Armed pirates raided an oil tanker off the coast of Malaysia and took three crew members with them, Malaysian maritime officials said on Wednesday, underscoring increasing threats to shipping in one of the world's busiest waterways. The incident in the Malacca Strait, a route for about a quarter of the world's seaborne oil trade, has fuelled fears piracy could be on the rise in the area and drive up ship insurance premiums. "We are very concerned," said Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau's Malaysia-based Piracy Reporting Centre, who added the ship was hijacked while sailing near the Malaysia town of Port Klang. "It's the first time this has happened so far north in the Malacca Strait, and the first time they have kidnapped the crew.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 10:15 am

Drax sues UK government over U-turn on biomass conversion support

A generator is seen inside Drax power station in DraxBritish electricity producer Drax said on Wednesday it had commenced legal proceedings against a government decision not to support the conversion of one of its coal units to biomass under a new subsidy scheme. The government's move is a blow to Drax's plans to modernise its polluting coal plant in Yorkshire, northern England, to burn more environment-friendly biomass after two units were shortlisted to receive investment contracts in December. We have, therefore, commenced legal proceedings to challenge the decision," Drax Chief Executive Dorothy Thompson said. Shares in Drax opened 10 percent lower on Wednesday.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 8:05 am

Chairman of Lanzhou Veolia apologises after water pollution in China

The logo of Veolia Environnement is seen during the company's 2008 annual results presentation in ParisThe chairman of the Chinese unit of French utility Veolia Environment has apologised to the public after a cancer-inducing chemical was found in tap water supplied by the company, the Xinhua news agency said. Benzene was found in tap water supplied by the Lanzhou Veolia Water Company in the northwestern city of Lanzhou on April 10, forcing the city of 3.6 million people to turn off supplies in one district. Last week, China blamed Veolia for failing to maintain water quality.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 7:10 am

Chairman of Veolia unit in China apologises after water pollution

The logo of Veolia Environnement is seen during the company's 2008 annual results presentation in ParisThe chairman of the Chinese unit of French utility Veolia Environment has apologised to the public after a cancer-inducing chemical was found in tap water supplied by the company, the Xinhua news agency said. Benzene was found in tap water supplied by the Lanzhou Veolia Water Company in the northwestern city of Lanzhou on April 10, forcing the city of 3.6 million people to turn off supplies in one district. Last week, China blamed Veolia for failing to maintain water quality.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 5:49 am

Russia holds snap military drills in Caspian Sea – report

Russia’s navy launched snap military exercises involving its fleet in the Caspian Sea, Interfax reported the Defence Ministry as saying on Wednesday. The Caspian Sea is bordered by Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, and the region is crisscrossed by oil and natural gas pipelines. Russia has boosted the number of snap military drills since tensions have risen with neighbour Ukraine. NATO has said Russia’s military exercises in its western military district have boosted its troop presence to around 40,000 near the border with Ukraine, where Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich fled from power in February.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 5:37 am

Pirates raid Japanese oil tanker off Malaysia, kidnap 3 crew

Armed pirates raided a Japanese oil tanker off the coast of Malaysia and abducted three crew members, Malaysian maritime police said on Wednesday, underscoring increasing threats to shipping in one of the world’s busiest waterways. The incident in the Malacca Strait, a route for about a quarter of the world’s seaborne oil trade, has fuelled fears piracy could be on the rise in the area and drive up ship insurance premiums. Six pirates in a speedboat boarded the Naninwa Maru 1 at 1.00 a.m. local time on Wednesday off the coast of west Malaysia, Maritime Police Commander Abdul Aziz Yusof told Reuters. The Japanese tanker, headed for Myanmar from Singapore, had Indonesian, Thai, Myanmar and Indian crew members.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 2:32 am

Damages phase of BP Gulf spill trial set for January

File photo of fire boat response crews battling the blazing remnants of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon off LouisianaThe high-stakes penalty phase of BP's trial over its role in the 2010 U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil spill will start next January, court officials said on Tuesday, and billions of dollars could be on the line. Fines under the Clean Water Act could top $17 billion (10.1 billion pounds), an amount more than BP's profit in 2013, which after items was $13.4 billion. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans has considerable leeway and could assess a much smaller fine after the third and likely final stage of the trial, which will assess the environmental impact of the largest offshore spill in U.S. history.

Posted on 22 April 2014 | 11:17 pm

Green News – Environment and climate change news

Earth news from Telegraph Earth – your source for environment and green news and environment and green issues, with information on farming, climate change, global warming, pollution, green living and recycling, and all other environment issues.

Strongest sandstorm in decades sweeps China

Sand envelopes Gansu Province in northwest China reducing visibility to less than 65ft, in the strongest sandstorm since 1996






Posted on 23 April 2014 | 8:57 pm

Leopard steals GoPro camera

A GoPro camera set up to film a leopard and her cub captures some amazing footage as the animal decides to take the piece of equipment for a walk






Posted on 23 April 2014 | 5:36 pm

Giant panda adapts to new life in the wild

A female giant panda, who was released into the wild in China last year, is said to be adapting well






Posted on 23 April 2014 | 1:45 pm

Pictures of the day: 23 April 2014

A curious cheetah, a hungry chameleon and Spiderman meets Spider-man






Posted on 23 April 2014 | 9:54 am

Can Ukraine survive without Russian gas supplies?

Christopher Granville, co-founder & managing director at Trusted Sources, examines the role Russian gas plays in the Ukraine crisis and how both sides could be hurt if supplies are cut off

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 6:01 am

Earth Day 2014: changing attitude to climate change is urgent, says Ban Ki-moon

Earth Day 2014 is being celebrated across the world with tree planting and city clean-ups to raise awareness of the need for conservation






Posted on 22 April 2014 | 12:19 pm

Pictures of the day: 22 April 2014

Coachella Festival, British bluebells and Singapore’s starry sky






Posted on 22 April 2014 | 9:01 am

Life On Earth crew on keeping David Attenborough camera-ready in the wild

The crew of the legendary 1979 BBC programme reunite to reveal stories of its filming, including the challenges of keeping Sir Attenborough cleaned and combed for camera






Posted on 21 April 2014 | 6:03 am

Noisy parakeets ‘drive away’ native birds

Britain’s booming ring necked parakeet population is pushing out the country’s other wildlife, warn scientists






Posted on 20 April 2014 | 6:30 am

A fifth of gardeners throw snails and slugs into neighbour’s garden

One in five Britons admits to throwing slugs and snails over the garden fence, polling by the Royal Horticultural Society found






Posted on 18 April 2014 | 5:30 pm

Earth & Climate News — ScienceDaily

Conservation priorities released for several protected areas along U.S.-Mexico border

The CEC releases its conservation assessment for priority conservation areas in a region straddling the United States-Mexico border that includes 11 different protected areas in the states of Texas, Coahuila, and Chihuahua. This region features highly diverse arid and semi-arid habitats inhabited by endangered plants and animals, and provides a vital migratory stopping point for many species of birds and animals.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 6:30 pm

Increased infrastructure required for effective oil spill response in U.S. Arctic

A changing climate is increasing the accessibility of U.S. Arctic waters to commercial activities such as shipping, oil and gas development, and tourism, raising concern about the risk of oil spills. The Arctic poses several challenges to oil spill response, including extreme weather and environmental settings, limited operations and communications infrastructure, a vast geographic area, and vulnerable species, ecosystems, and cultures.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 6:30 pm

Picky male black widow spiders prefer well-fed virgins

New research shows that male black widow spiders prefer their female mates to be well-fed virgins — a rare example of mate preference by male spiders. The study found they can tell whether a potential mate is well-fed and unmated by pheromones released by females.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 5:26 pm

Scientists identify source of mysterious sound in the Southern Ocean

Scientists have conclusive evidence that the source of a unique rhythmic sound, recorded for decades in the Southern Ocean and called the ‘bio-duck,’ is the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). First described and named by submarine personnel in the 1960s who thought it sounded like a duck, the bio-duck sound has been recorded at various locations in the Southern Ocean, but its source has remained a mystery, until now.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 5:26 pm

Odds of storm waters overflowing Manhattan seawall up 20-fold

Maximum water levels in New York harbor during major storms have risen by nearly two and a half feet since the mid-1800s, making the chances of water overtopping the Manhattan seawall now at least 20 times greater than they were 170 years ago, according to a new study.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 5:26 pm

Predicting drift of floating pumice ‘islands’ can benefit shipping

A new technique will aid in predicting the dispersal and drift patterns of large floating ‘islands’ of pumice created by volcanic eruptions at sea. Known as pumice rafts, these large mobile accumulations of pumice fragments can spread to affect a considerable area of the ocean, damaging vessels and disrupting shipping routes for months or even years. The ability to predict where these rafts will end up could give enough advance warning for protective measures to be put in place on shipping routes or in harbours where the presence of pumice is hazardous.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 5:25 pm

Late freeze kills fruit buds, study shows

The recent late cold snap could mean less fruit this year. A horticulturist explains how to check if your fruit buds survived the late burst of cold weather. Fruit buds are usually damaged when it is 28 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. However, this researcher says that while the fruit may be lost, the trees will survive so there should be plenty of fruit next year.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 5:24 pm

Fiction prepares us for a world changed by global warming

Climate fiction, or simply cli-fi, is a newly coined term for novels and films which focus on the consequences of global warming. New research shows how these fictions serve as a mental laboratory that allows us to simulate the potential consequences of climate change and imagine other living conditions.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 2:27 pm

How to avoid water wars between ‘fracking’ industry and residents

The shale gas boom has transformed the energy landscape in the U.S., but in some drier locations, it could cause conflict among the energy industry, residents and agricultural interests over already-scarce water resources, say researchers. They add that degraded water quality is a potential risk unless there are adequate safeguards.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 2:27 pm

New discovery helps solve mystery source of African lava

Floods of molten lava may sound like the stuff of apocalyptic theorists, but history is littered with evidence of such past events where vast lava outpourings originating deep in the Earth accompany the breakup of continents. New research shows that the source of some of these epic outpourings, however, may not be as deep as once thought. The results show that some of these lavas originated near the surface rather than deep within the mantle.

Posted on 23 April 2014 | 2:21 pm