LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
5.0 FIJI REGION
5.0 BALI SEA
5.4 PAGAN REG., N. MARIANA ISLANDS
5.4 REGION METROPOLITANA, CHILE
5.0 RAT ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
5.0 SULAWESI, INDONESIA
Yesterday, 3/5/14 -
5.6 NEW IRELAND REGION, P.N.G.
5.0 OFF W. COAST OF BAJA CALIFORNIA
TROPICAL STORMS -
Current tropical storms - maps and details.
No current tropical storms.
SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -
New Zealand - Tuesday's massive storm has been another disaster for people struggling with the aftermath of recent damaging rains. Residents in Shirley and St Albans have been hit by floods several times since the earthquakes due to changes in ground levels. Floods 'worse than quake' for some - "This is the worst. This is worse than the quake."
Temporary fixes such as pumping solutions are being worked on over the next two weeks. "If we can get the temporary solution in place, then what happened last June won't happen again. It may not resolve flooding in the streets but it will at least stop flooding in their houses." While immediate fixes are likely to be in place soon, a longer term fix at present would be five years away.
"We can't wait for five years for a solution. And essentially, if the rules were changed so that the consenting issues or the legal issues, if all of those could be resolved, then we could bring that forward so it would be under two years." Around 400 homes have had the risk of flooding dramatically increase since the earthquakes altered ground levels. "What our engineers have been doing is having long discussions about what potential role they could play in terms of an engineering solution. There hasn't been any discussion between the council and the Government with respect to further redzoning."
"One option is a pumping station with a significant bypass, and the other option is significant upgrades to the channel, also improving a lot of the structures that are in place along that whole waterway." Once a proposal has been put together by the end of the month, legislation to fast track to work will be developed.
Businesses in flood-hit Christchurch say the damage is far worse than what they suffered in the earthquakes. Workers were doing their best to mop up silt that had caked entire floors. "We've been hit bad over the last few years in this area, that's for sure. "This is the worst. This is worse than the quake - we haven't had a clean-up like this."
Parts of flood hit Christchurch may have to be abandoned. Homeowners in the east of the city have called for answers from the Government and the Christchurch City Council. 'They have been hit with floods several times since the earthquakes and claim it is due to the land dropping significantly. "What ultimately created the red zone was an assessment that the land wasn't stable enough to rebuild a house on. That's always an issue to consider if something is essentially, structurally, in the wrong place."
Britain - Thames Barrier closes for RECORD-BREAKING 50th time this winter, marking a milestone during the recent "extraordinary" weather it has faced .
HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD -
Canada - Boom could have been "frost quake". It's plausible that a loud cracking noise and shaking sensation detected byCalgary residents late Tuesday afternoon was a so-called frost quake.
HEALTH THREATS -
RECALLS & ALERTS
Sugar intake 'should be halved' - People will be advised to halve the amount of sugar in their diet, under new guidance from the World Health Organization. The recommended sugar intake will stay at below 10% of total calorie intake a day, with 5% the target.
The suggested limits apply to all sugars added to food, as well as sugar naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. UK campaigners say it is a "tragedy" that the WHO has taken 10 years to think about changing its advice. The recommendation that sugar should account for no more than 10% of the calories in the diet, was passed in 2002. It works out at about 50g a day for an adult of normal weight. However, a number of experts now think 10% is too high, amid rising obesity levels around the world.
Sugar found naturally in whole fruit is less likely to cause tooth decay than juices or blends because the sugar is contained within the body of the fruit. Public Health England said its scientific advisory committee on nutrition was reviewing evidence on sugar in the UK diet. : "Our surveys show that the UK population should reduce their sugar intake as average intake for adults is 11.6% and for children is 15.2%, which is above the current UK recommendation of 10%. "
The WHO guidelines are based on a review of scientific evidence on the health impact of sugar, including damage to teeth and the effect on obesity. The obesity study found while sugar did not directly cause obesity, those who consumed a lot of it, particularly in sweetened drinks, tended to put on weight as sugary food did not make them feel full. A review of the link between sugar intake and tooth decay, carried out by UK researchers, found cases of tooth decay were lower when sugar made up less than 10% of daily calories.
The 5% target is "challenging". A leading doctor called for a tax on sugar to help combat growing levels of obesity. "We may need to move toward some kind of sugar tax, but I hope we don't have to."
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