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A new version of the avian (bird) flu with characteristics not previously seen has emerged in China over the past several weeks. The avian flu typically causes both animals and humans infected to be quite ill, while the new H7N9 strain appears to be more benign. Of the 82 documented cases as of mid-April, 17 have died, compared with mortality…

The worst drought in fifty years is threatening to severely disrupt life in Hubei, Jiangxi and three other southern Chinese provinces, which traditionally have abundant water resources. Emergency rationing of drinking water is in place for over four million people. At the same time, reduced river flow has hampered hydroelectric power production resulting in rolling blackouts and brownouts. High demand…

Source: Associated Press Dominican physicians report that cholera has been reported in 28 of the country’s 32 provinces, and the number of new cases has risen about 50% over the last two weeks, according to the Dominican Health ministry. Since the outbreak began in November, there have been over a thousand cases and fourteen deaths, and there are fears that…

Widespread flooding in Queensland is now affecting an area about the size of California, Nevada and Oregon combined.  For you geography aficionados, that is about the same as France and Germany or just over half of Queensland – Australia is a big place. The prevailing atmospheric conditions known as  La Nina produced the third-wettest year on record for Australia in 2010,…

London is bracing for its third subway strike in as many months over planned cuts to London's transit network, according to reports on November 2nd. The 24-hour strike by Transport for London, which runs the subway system, will restrict train service and close some stations. The previous strike cut services by 40%. Another strike by transport workers is scheduled for…

There’s buzz this week about the recent terrorism warnings for Europe issued by government authorities: can travelers put them to use? If not, what’s the point? A quick sampling of the blogosphere seems to indicate that while security experts support the step, travelers are not altering any plans. My take is that we are witnessing a behavior common among those…

A 24-hour strike on October 7th conducted by civil servants will disrupt flights and paralyze state services, shutting down schools, ministries, and local authority offices, and leaving hospitals to run on emergency staff. A four-hour work stoppage by air-traffic controllers joining the action will ground flights between 3:00pm-7:00pm. Cancellations and delays have been announced by Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air,…

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