Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cyclone Hudhud blasts India's east coast

Cyclone Hudhud blasted India's eastern seaboard on Sunday with gusts of up to 195 kilometres an hour (over 120 mph), uprooting trees, damaging buildings and killing at least three people despite a major evacuation effort.

The port city of Visakhapatnam, home to two million people and a major naval base, was hammered as the cyclone made landfall, unleashing the huge destructive force it had sucked up from the warm waters of the Bay of Bengal.

Upended trees and wreckage were strewn across Visakhapatnam, known to locals as Vizag. Most people heeded warnings to take refuge, but three who ventured out were killed, officials said.

The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, the state that bore the brunt of Hudhud's onslaught, said the extent of damage would only become known after the storm abates.

"We are unable to ascertain the situation. Seventy percent of communication has totally collapsed ... this is the biggest calamity," N. Chandrababa Naidu told Headlines Today television.

"We are asking people not to come out of their houses," Naidu said, adding that damage assessment would start on Monday. "We are mobilising men and material immediately."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Naidu and promised "all possible assistance in relief and rescue operations", his central government said in a statement.

The low toll reported so far followed an operation to evacuate more than 150,000 people to minimise the risk to life from Hudhud - similar in size and power to cyclone Phailin that struck the area exactly a year ago.

After a lull as the eye of the storm passed over the city, winds regained massive potency. Forecasters warned Hudhud would blow strongly for several hours more, before wind speeds halve in the evening.

"Reverse windflow will be experienced by the city, which will again have a very great damage potential," L.S. Rathore, director-general of the state India Meteorological Department (IMD), told reporters in New Delhi.

The IMD forecast a storm surge of 1-2 metres above high tide that could result in flooding of low-lying coastal areas around Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam.


A Reuters reporter in Vizag said the storm had smashed his hotel's windows and flooded the ground floor. It was difficult even to open the door of his room, he said, as wind rushing through the corridors drove it shut again.

"I never imagined that a cyclone could be so dangerous and devastating," said one businessman who was staying in the hotel. "The noise it is making would terrify anyone."

An operations centre in state capital Hyderabad was inundated with calls from people seeking help, including 350 students stranded in a building with no food or water, said K. Hymavathi, a senior disaster management official.

Vizag port suspended operations on Saturday night, with its head saying that 17 ships which had been in the harbour were moving offshore where they would be less at risk from high seas.

The city airport was closed and train services suspended.

The IMD rated Hudhud as a very severe cyclonic storm that could pack gusts of 195 km/h and dump more than 24.5 cm (10 inches) of rain.

The cyclone was strong enough to have a "high humanitarian impact" on nearly 11 million people, the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS), run by the United Nations and the European Commission, said.

The evacuation effort was comparable to one preceding Cyclone Phailin, credited with minimising fatalities to 53. When a huge storm hit the same area 15 years ago, 10,000 people died.

Hudhud was likely to batter a 200-300 km stretch of coastline before losing force as it moves inland, forecasters said.

According to the IMD, peak wind speeds will drop to 60 km/h by Monday afternoon. Hudhud is expected to continue to dump heavy rains in northern and northeastern India and, eventually, snow when it reaches the Himalayan mountains.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Keep Your Hair Healthy and Strong


As hair is made of protein, ensuring you have enough protein in your diet is crucial for making hair strong and healthy. If you are not consuming enough protein in your diet, your hair is likely to become dry, brittle and weak. Extremely low protein diets may result in hair loss. Choose chicken, turkey, fish, dairy products and eggs as excellent sources of protein along with vegetarian sources such as legumes and nuts.


Iron is an especially important mineral for hair and too little iron (anaemia) is a major cause of hair loss. The hair follicle and root are fed by a nutrient rich blood supply. When iron levels (serum ferritin) fall below a certain point, you may experience anaemia. This disrupts the nutrient supply to the follicle, affecting the hair growth cycle and may result in shedding. Animal products such as red meat, chicken and fish provide iron with a high bioavailability, meaning the iron is readily available to the body. Vegetarians can raise their iron stores by including lentils, spinach and other leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and salad greens.

Vitamin C aids the absorption of iron so foods high in vitamin C are good to eat in conjunction with iron-rich foods. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant so is used readily by the body. The best sources are blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes. Vitamin C helps in the production of collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the hair shafts.


Omega-3 fatty acids are important fats our body cannot make itself, and therefore must be obtained through our diet. Omega-3s are found in the cells that line the scalp and also provide the oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated. Look out for oily fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, trout and mackerel and plant sources including avocado, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.

Vitamin A is needed by the body to make sebum. Sebum is an oily substance created by our hairs sebaceous glands and provides a natural conditioner for a healthy scalp. Without sebum we may experience an itchy scalp and dry hair. Include animal products and orange/yellow coloured vegetables which are high in beta-carotene (which makes vitamin A) such as carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes.

Zinc and selenium

Scalp protection involves other important minerals, notably zinc and selenium. A lack of zinc can lead to hair loss and a dry, flaky scalp. Fortified cereals and wholegrains are a good source of zinc along with oysters, beef and eggs.

Vitamin E

The sun can damage our hair just like it can damage our skin so ensure you eat foods rich in vitamin E to provide protection for your hair. Nuts are nutritional powerhouses, providing zinc and selenium as well as vitamin E so try to include them as part of a balanced diet.


Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin. Too little biotin can cause brittle hair and may lead to hair loss. Include biotin rich foods such as wholegrains, liver, egg yolk, soy flour and yeast.

Natural treatments

Make your own hair mask for a deep, nourishing treatment every two weeks. Whisk an egg yolk and mix with half a mashed avocado and a spoonful of honey. Massage onto damp, clean hair and leave for 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tips To Maintain Good Hair Hygiene

Do you want a stylish hair? Then get a new hair style. Try straightening, curling or colouring you hair for a makeover. But if you want to have healthy hair, then you should give prime importance to hygiene. Sebum produced by sebaceous glands in the hair follicles are beneficial as it keeps the hair healthy. However, excess production or accumulation of sebum is not desirable as it cause hair loss. We all worry about various hair problems, but with a habit of good hygiene, most of this can be solved. Healthy hair definitely has an important role in keeping your confidence level high. No matter how appealing you are, a bad odour from your hair is strong enough to make you feel embarrassed. Now stop worrying about your hair problems, and follow these simple steps to maintain a good hair hygiene. Washing your hair: It is the first and foremost need to keep your hair and scalp clean. Washing your hair and massaging your scalp will resolve most of your hair complaints. But it is important to select a mild shampoo which is formulated for your hair type.
Use conditioners: Frequent drying, colouring, straightening, and usage of chemical products can affect your hair health. Hair conditioners are usually helpful to maintain proper hair hygiene, as they will form a light layer over the hair and keep it protected.
Clean your scalp: Massaging your hair with warm oil will help to clean your scalp. Massaging will help remove dandruff or dirt from the scalp. Oil can act as a conditioner and will protect your hair from getting rough and dry. 
Remove excess oil: While applying oil is healthy for hair, keeping excess oil on hair without washing will affect the health of your hair. It will accelerate the accumulation of dirt on the scalp. Always remember to wash off the excess oil with a mild shampoo. 
Clean your hair accessories and tools: Washing your comb is very important to maintain hair hygiene. Do not share your comb. Clean your hair accessories like hair clips or hair bands. 
Do not use expired hair products: The composition of these can change over time which will eventually result in hair fall. To keep your hair and scalp hygienic and clean, use quality products only. 
Treat dandruff: Dandruff occurs mainly due to poor hygiene of your hair, which can further cause hair fall. Take necessary measures to resolve dandruff and treat hair fall. You can try natural remedies and if it is not working, consult a doctor. 
Wash off sweat: Washing your hair whenever sweaty is important to remove the dirt and dead skin of scalp which are accumulated due to sweat. Excessive sweating will cause bad odour as well. Keep hair clean and neat to maintain hygiene and reduce hair problems like hair fall and itching. 
Not loose, not tight: Keeping hair loose will settle dirt and dust. Loosened hair is more prone to hair splitting. Tying hair too tight may cause excess sweating. So, do tie your hair too tight or loose. 
During travel: Always keep a mini pack of oil, shampoo and conditioner with you if you are travelling for several days. Try to keep your hair oil free while travelling. Do not let sweat stay on scalp for a long time.
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Where to Find Good Tattoo Supplies

It is important to the tattoo artist to find tattoo kits that will work the best with their specific style of art. There are tons of different tattoo supply kits and tattoo guns available at which can be a great help for a beginner. The art of tattooing is an ancient one, and also a very fascinating art form. 

We don’t know exactly why human beings decided to start basically carving designs into their skin, but it has transformed into a profession that affects many people today. More and more people are getting tattooed for various reasons, and the art is getting much more complicated as well as beautiful. No more simple tribal designs (although they are still around), instead, people are opting for colorful scenery and complicated images that reveal parts of their part. 

A tattoo is almost like a little secret that you carry around on your body and almost no one else knows the meaning behind it. Some people get only one tattoo, some a few, and some more people get their entire arms and legs covered in them. It is a matter of personal preference, and although it is not too widely accepted yet (especially in the workplace), it is becoming more and more popular. 

Soon there will be grandparents covered in tattoos! Usually the age that you must be in order to get a tattoo is eighteen, but in some places it can be younger as long as a parent is present and approves. No one knows why tattooing is so fascinating, we just know that it is. It is not for the light hearted though, as tattooing involves usually hours of work where a vibrating needle is being pressed to your skin. It hurts differently depending on where you are getting the tattoo. Some places, especially if there is a lot of fat, may not hurt very much at all, while others such as the chest plate and abdomen may be harder for some who do not have much fat protecting those areas.

Friday, February 8, 2013

2014 Mazda 6 First Diesel-Fueled Car in Rolex 24 Endurance Race

The Rolex 24 endurance race is set to see the 2014 Mazda 6 become the very first diesel-fueled car to participate at Daytona. This was announced by Mazda North America, as its Mazda 6 (powered by a Skyactiv-D clean diesel engine) will be a part of the all-new Grand-Am GX class. 

This announcement coincides with Mazda’s announcement that the 2014 Mazda six will offer an optional Skyactiv diesel engine. The unique engine will also be available in 13 of the company’s car models.

Recently, the Rolex 24 race series added the GX class, which currently consists of a limited number of car brands and models including the Lotus Evora GX, Porsche Cayman, and now the Mazda 6. The purpose of the class of cars is to promote and nurture emerging car technologies – some of which utilize alternative fuels.

The Rolex Company is fully committed to the 2013 Rolex 24 event, with its Rolex Daytona timepiece at the forefront. New and used Rolex Daytona watches are highly sought after by avid Rolex collectors because of their high degree of rarity. In fact, the Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman” is the ultimate prize for collectors and have been known to sell for $20,000 and more. The Rolex Daytona is the perfect watch for timing laps on the racetrack and keeping precise time.

According to John Doonan, motorsports director for Mazda North America, the company has been eager to announce the Mazda 6’s entry into the Rolex 24, but has been forced to wait until a production car is ready to be revealed to the public. 

In an effort to successfully develop the GX racing version of the Mazda 6 SpeedSource and Mazda Engineers have worked around the clock. The team is expected to ready two cars for competition at Daytona. The engine will offer 400-plus horsepower and be prepared to run for more than 50 hours. 

Mazda’s commitment to precision, durability and versatility can be likened to that of the Rolex collection of watches, which have been built to last the test of time. The GX will take part in Daytona Prototype and GT classes, both which are put on by Grand-Am Racing. 

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5 things to watch for in Obama vs. Romney sequel

Ready for Round Two? President Obama and Mitt Romney square off Tuesday night in their second debate, this time answering questions posed by undecided voters.

The town hall-style debate will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Moderator Candy Crowley of CNN will select the questions from the 80-member audience, who were picked in advance by Gallup.

USA TODAY will have full coverage on all of its platforms. Check your local listings on where to catch the action, starting at 9 p.m. ET. Our guide to the five things to watch:

A second chance for Obama: The president said he was too polite in his first face-to-face meeting with Romney, who got a boost in public opinion polls because of his strong debate performance two weeks ago. Obama's advisers promise he will be "aggressive" and "energetic." But if Obama swings too hard in challenging Romney's assertions, will he come off like a bully?

The wind at Romney's back: The Republican's team says the momentum belongs to Romney after the Oct. 3 debate in Denver. Romney has been practicing the same way he did for the Denver debate, by focusing on what he wants to do if elected and why the time is right for America to change course. Can he build on the gains he has already made?

The challenge of speaking directly to voters: The people posing the questions want to be persuaded, which means Obama and Romney have to be engaging, empathetic, believable, likable and presidential -- sometimes all at the same time. It's a danger to appear disengaged, as George H.W. Bush did when he looked at his watch in the 1992 town hall debate. Or to get in your opponent's face, as Al Gore did in 2000 when he walked right up to George W. Bush.

Apple iPhone 4, 4S prices slashed in India again

In an unprecedented move, Apple India has slashed the prices of iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S within a week of lowering their retail prices, say media reports. Industry sources have stated that an Apple spokesperson confirmed the second price cut of the last two iPhones. Moreover, the spokesperson also said iPhone 3GS has been discontinued in India, just like in the global market.

After the recent price cut, the 8GB model of Apple iPhone 4 will cost Rs 26,500, whereas the 16GB variant of Apple iPhone 4S will be retailed at Rs 38,500. During the price revision of last week, the prices of iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S were Rs 28,300 and Rs 41,500.

The Apple spokesperson also said the company will retail its smartphones through Ingram Micro and Redington in India now onwards, as reported previously. The former will be responsible for distributing the iPhones for large format retails, while the latter will sell the same via regional channels. This is a shift in gears from its earlier strategy of distributing iPhones via Aircel and Airtel, who bundled it with their own data and call packages.

This means that many cellular operators in India will keep nano sim cards in stock, which are only used in iPhone 5.

Apple is expected to launch iPhone 5, the fastest selling smartphone ever, in India on October 26. It was earlier reported that the 16GB variant of iPhone 5 will cost around Rs 46,000 to 48,000 in India, while the 32GB model is expected to be rolled out at Rs 51,000 and Rs 53,000. The price of the top end 64GB variant of the latest iPhone is expected to range from Rs 58,000 and Rs 61,000.

Maruti's new Alto gets 10K pre-orders

India's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India today launched the new Maruti Alto in petrol and CNG options priced between Rs 2.44 lakh to Rs 3.56 lakh.

The petrol variant of the new Alto has been priced at Rs 2.44 lakh and would go up to Rs 2.99 lakh and promises a fuel efficiency of 22.74 kmpl.

While, the CNG variant has been priced at Rs 3.19 lakh to Rs 3.56 lakh with a fuel efficiency of 30.46 km/kg.

"We have started the booking for this new Alto since late September and before the launch we have received over 10,000 bookings," Maruti Suzuki India Managing Director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi told reporters here.

Nakanishi further said that: "Around 200 engineers from Suzuki Motor Corporation and Maruti Suzuki were jointly involved in development of this vehicle for over four years".

The Alto was first launched in September 2000 and has registered sales of over 2 million units so far.

The price of the existing alto (petrol) ranges between Rs 2.49 and 3 lakh while the CNG variant is priced in the range of Rs 2.97 to RS 3.48 lakh.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Obama’s second chance

By Eugene Robinson,

First, he has to show up. Then, in his second debate with Mitt Romney, President Obama needs to offer not just history lessons and dire warnings but also a hopeful vision for the next four years.

It would be hard for Obama to turn in a worse performance Tuesday night at Hofstra University than he did at the first debate in Denver. All he has to do is show a little energy and enthusiasm, and the next morning’s headlines will surely be full of “comeback” metaphors. But that’s not enough.

Obama’s passivity in the first debate was so striking, and so surprising, that it overshadowed all the other ways in which the president failed. Romney came with a story to tell — a fraudulent story, to be sure, since it so contradicted the tale he told during the Republican primaries, but a well-crafted story nonetheless. Obama came, apparently, with a handsome necktie.

Romney now seeks to portray himself as an unthreateningly moderate technocrat, as opposed to the “severely conservative” ideologue we met earlier this year. One of Obama’s more easily achievable goals Tuesday night should be to remind voters — and perhaps Romney himself, who seems to forget — of previous Romney positions such as “self-deportation” for undocumented immigrants.

In the first debate, Romney’s worst moment was when he tried, and failed, to explain how he would cut income tax rates by 20 percent without adding a penny to the deficit. Obama tried to note the inconsistency, but Romney bulled his way through by simply insisting that up was, in fact, down. “Strong and wrong” shouldn’t trump “weak and right,” but in a debate it often does. I’d suggest the president think about perhaps raising his voice every once in a while, especially when Romney says things that cannot possibly be true.

I’d also suggest that the president prepare — and practice, in front of an audience or at least a mirror — his closing statement. Wrong approach: “I said that I’m not a perfect man and I wouldn’t be a perfect president.” Right approach: anything else.

And please, no looking down at the podium, even to take notes. If necessary, aides should confiscate any writing implements before the president takes the stage. He can look at Romney, at the moderator, at the audience, at the camera — anywhere but down.

Body language is important. Millions of Americans are proud of the accomplishments of the Obama administration. The president should look as if he is, too.

These are relatively easy fixes. The bigger and more important task is demonstrating to Americans they will have a brighter future with Obama in the White House for four more years.

This was Obama’s biggest failure of the first debate — or rather, Romney’s biggest success. Romney promised to lead the nation to a Valhalla of jobs and prosperity. It was a cynical, empty promise because he offers nothing more than a repackaging of the trickle-down policies that have brought us to this parlous state. But Romney was forceful, hopeful and optimistic, and my reading of the post-debate polls is that substantial numbers of undecided voters were impressed.

It’s necessary — but not enough — for Obama to call him on this deceit. Obama also needs to make his own promises to the American people. And unlike Romney’s, they can even be genuine.

In Denver, Obama pledged to fight for the middle class. That’s an admirable sentiment, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Obama needs to explain how the policies he has implemented, and those he plans to pursue, will make our lives better.

Under his administration, the economy has created more than 4 million private-sector jobs. The nation has taken a huge step toward universal health insurance, and soon will come a day when Americans don’t face bankruptcy just because they become ill. We are more sensibly exploiting our reserves of oil and natural gas while actively seeking to develop the energy sources of the future. We’re engaged in an ambitious program of nation-building here at home — in education and infrastructure, especially — to ensure that we enjoy another American Century.

Romney’s real success in the first debate was to look past the challenges the nation faces and focus on the opportunities he sees ahead. Obama has to do more than explain why Romney’s vision is a mirage. The president has to tell us what he sees on the horizon and why that’s the direction we must go.

Microsoft turns on new Xbox music service

New Xbox Music service brings streaming, subscription and music store to Xbox 360 and Windows 8 PCs, tablets and phones with cloud-based storage.

 October 15. 2012 - Microsoft is pushing the play button on a new music initiative to take on iTunes and streaming services, such as Spotify.

Under the umbrella of Xbox Music, Microsoft will launch a streaming service, that is free on Windows 8 PCs and tablets, a music subscription service and a pay-as-you-go music store that sells individual tracks and albums.
Microsoft's music play coincides with the Oct. 26 launch of its Windows 8 operating system for computers and Windows RT for tablets and the arrival of new Windows phones later this fall.
As the service expands over the coming weeks — from the Xbox 360 to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 — its cloud-based connectivity will allow access to playlists and music collections across devices. "We went from saying, 'Let's not do a device-specific thing, (to) let's really create an all-in-one solution," says Jerry Johnson, Microsoft's general manager for Xbox Music.
Despite Microsoft's attempts with its Zune devices and music player and, before that, MSN Music, Apple remains dominant in digital music sales. In the second quarter of 2012, Apple accounted for 64% of digital music sales, according to market research firm NPD Group. Apple also sells nearly one-third (29%) of all music, digital or physical. While Amazon commands 16% of the digital market, Microsoft and others, including Google Play, had market shares of 5% or lower, NPD says.
Digital music sales are expected to increase 10% this year, NPD estimates, while interest in streaming and on-demand music is on the rise.
ITunes, Internet radio services such as Pandora, and on-demand music purveyors such as Spotify all are "strong players," says Johnson, but none represents a one-stop musical shop. Integration of music across Windows devices, he says, "really solves a consumer problem that exists out there."
When Xbox Music hits the Xbox 360 video game console Tuesday as part of an overall system update, users can apply for a free 30-day trial of Xbox Music Pass (after that it's $9.99 monthly). That will give them access to on-demand streaming playback of a library of 18 million songs in the U.S. That's comparable to streaming services such as Spotify, Rdio and MOG, which top out at about 18 million.
Owners of computers and tablets upgraded to Windows 8 – and new Windows 8 device purchasers – will have an ad-supported free Xbox Music streaming on-demand program on board. Upgrading to the $9.99 monthly service allows ad-free streaming across devices and offline play.
Playlists and music bought through the new Xbox Music store, which launches on PCs and tablets Oct. 26 (tracks cost 99 cents to $1.29), are also stored in a cloud-based music locker. The store will also be found on new Windows phones.
Also hitting that day (Oct. 26) is Microsoft's Smartglass app that lets you move music from Windows computers, tablets and phones to the Xbox 360 to see on the TV and hear on a home stereo. The tablet then offers a second screen experience with artist information, art, photos, lyrics and related artists. Microsoft plans to develop music apps for iOS and Android devices, too.
Establishing Xbox as its entertainment brand is a good move for Microsoft because in the past "it has been all over the place," says Michael Gartenberg of tech research firm Gartner.
The free streaming service that appears on Windows 8 computers and tablets is "a way for Microsoft to break into the music market in a way that consumers understand," he says. "Once you have someone using the service, you have a better chance of getting them into the subscription services and buying music from there. This looks like a pretty complete and thought-out service that encompasses the entire Microsoft ecosystem."


Polls: Obama, Romney in tight race

 October 15. 2012 - Another poll, another close result between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

Obama leads by a single point -- 49%-48% -- in the latest Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll released Monday morning, well within the margin of error.

On the other hand, Romney leads 50%-48% in the poll's 10 top "battleground states:" Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll gives Obama a 49%-46% lead among likely voters.

Various polls also show a tossup race in the Electoral College.

Obama once led most polls, but things have tightened in recent days for one major reason: The first debate on Oct. 3, perceived by many as a Romney victory.

Obama and Romney debate again Tuesday night in New York, and a third time a week from tonight in Boca Raton, Fla.

Some other highlights of the Politico-GWU Battleground Poll:

-- Of the 86% of voters who watched the first presidential debate, three in four declared Romney the winner; only 16% thought Obama prevailed.

-- Romney leads with independents by 8 points, 49%-41%.

-- Obama still leads with women, 54%-43%.

-- Regardless of whom they're supporting, only 53% of voters now believe Obama will win the election (down from 61% before the first presidential debate).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Earthquake rattles northern Japan

A MAGNITUDE 7.3 earthquake has struck wide areas of northern and north-eastern Japan, the Meteorological Agency says.

No immediate casualties or damage were reported and no tsunami warning was issued. The quake occurred at 12:01pm (1.01pm AEST) today with its epicentre in the Sea of Okhotsk, off Japan's northern island of Hokkaido at a depth of 590km, the agency said. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 quake and tsunami hit north-eastern Japan, leaving nearly 19,000 people dead or missing.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rising sea level predictions: 'This isn't Chicken Little,' Peconic Baykeeper says

Long Island is smack in the middle of a "hot spot" for sea-level rise, where the sea is rising at a rate three to four times faster than it is globally, according to a report released late last month by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Rates of sea-level rise along a 600-mile stretch of the Atlantic Coast from Cape Hatteras, N.C. to north of Boston, Mass. are increasing three to four times faster than sea level rise globally, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report published June 24.

The USGS says sea levels globally will increase two to three feet by the end of this century.

A state task force created by the legislature in 2007 to study the issue found that "sea- level rise and coastal flooding from storm surge are already impacting and will increasingly affect New York’s entire ocean and estuarine coastline" and issued a call for action.

Chaired by the state environmental conservation commissioner, the task force included state emergency management, insurance, health and transportation officials, as well as representatives of NYC, Nassau and Suffolk county governments. It issued a report to the legislature in December 2010 identifying numerous hazards associated with the predicted increases and recommending steps to be taken by state and local governments to better understand the risks and prepare for the consequences.

But that report "went over like a lead balloon," according to Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister.

"There has been almost no discussion of it," McAllister said.

The report said rising sea levels will result in septic system failures due to higher groundwater tables, increased flooding, increases in permanent inundation, loss of tidal wetlands, greater storm surges, increased coastal erosion and and damage to crucial infrastructures such as energy facilities, transportation networks, wastewater management systems and drinking water supplies.

The task force recommended immediately identifying and mapping vulnerable areas, so that land use planning decisions can take sea level rise into account. Those decisions should include discouraging continued development in coastal areas and imposing new, much stiffer penalties for violations of the state's coastal erosion hazard areas act — increasing penalties from $500 to $10,000 per violation, according to the report. The task force also said the government should discontinue its subsidy of low-cost flood insurance for vulnerable coastal areas, because such subsidies encourage development in areas where it should be discouraged.

"This is not Chicken Little," McAllister said. "This is a very serious issue we have completely ignored," he said.

A request to the state DEC public information office in Albany for information on the status of the task force recommendations elicited the following email response on Friday:

"DEC is working with other state agencies to develop information necessary to incorporate sea-level rise considerations into agency decision-making and to assist local governments in planning for hazards associated with sea-level rise and enhanced storm surge," DEC spokesperson Emily DeSantis said in the email.

"One example is an ongoing project to acquire more accurate elevation data, which can then be used to assess vulnerability to coastal hazards. The agencies are also developing a tool that would allow coastal communities to voluntarily assess the status of local resiliency planning."

The Nature Conservancy has already produced a coastal resiliency mapping tool for Long Island and coastal Connecticut. It depicts areas of predicted inundation in the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s, based on a sea-level rise of one meter by the end of this century, as originally forecast by the USGS.

According to the TNC mapping tool, the entire parking lot on the south side of East Main Street will likely be under water 70 years from now, as will much of the town's coastline along the river and bay.

But sea-level rise isn't even on the radar as far as local land-use planning is concerned, according to Riverhead Town planning director Rick Hanley. It was not part of the discussion in the comprehensive plan developed a decade ago, he said.

That's typical of local governments, according to McAllister.

"We absolutely have had our heads in the sand," he said.

And when local governments do take action, it's "totally reactionary," he said.

"Our response is always to fortify the coast, whether bay or Sound or ocean," McAllister said. "We're headed down a path we'll really regret, because ultimately we're going to destroy these beaches with the armory we're installing."

But calls to back off coastal development — or even regulate it more stringently — meet with strong opposition from private property rights advocates, many of whom argue that global warming is not backed by scientific evidence, and theories about global warming and sea-level rise are, at best, speculative.

"Personally I think it's a cycle," said Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who says she's not convinced on the subject of human-induced climate change and the effects, such as sea-level rise, believed to be caused by global warming.

"We have very harsh winters, then we have very warm summers," she said. "There are arguments both ways."

"There's clear evidence we are seeing sea level rise locally," McAllister says. "I've seen it in the field. There's no question the bays have expanded over the last 10, 20 or 30 years," he said.

"There are oak trees dead as a doornail with high tide at their feet," Mcallister said. "They can't live in a moist substrate. When you have mature oak trees now standing dead in the water, that's physical evidence of rising sea levels. Those oaks grew there when they were high and dry."

"The state has revised the flood maps and put stricter flood plains restrictions in place," Giglio said.

More regulations impede private property rights and hurt businesses, according to the councilwoman, who also operates a permit expediting firm.

"You have to look at the effect of every law you put in place," she said.

Malaria-carrying mosquitoes rendered harmless after scientists use GM bacteria to kill off parasite in stomach

Malaria could be stopped by infecting mosquitoes with genetically engineered bacteria.

The modified bug destroys the parasite that causes the disease - meaning their bites will only be itchy, not deadly.

Known as Pantoea agglomerans, it was altered to secrete proteins poisonous to the malaria organism - but not harmful to mosquitoes or humans.

A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed the new bacteria virtually wiped out the malaria parasite in the insects.

Professor Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, said: 'In the past we worked to genetically modify the mosquito to resist malaria, but genetic modification of bacteria is a simpler approach.

'The ultimate goal is to completely prevent the mosquito from spreading the malaria parasite to people.'

P agglomerans is found in the midguts of Anopheles gambiae, the most important malaria carrying mosquito species in Africa.

The engineered strain inhibited development of the deadliest human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum by up to 98 percent within the mosquito.

After the insects were infected with the bacteria by feeding them with cotton pads soaked in sugar the proportion carrying parasites decreased by up to 84 percent.

Prof Jacobs-Lorena said: 'We demonstrate the use of an engineered symbiotic bacterium to interfere with the development of P. falciparum in the mosquito.

'These findings provide the foundation for the use of genetically modified symbiotic bacteria as a powerful tool to combat malaria.'

Malaria is one of the most widespread and dangerous insect-transmitted human disease in the world.

It infects more than 500 million people - about one in twelve humans - and causes between one and two million deaths each year.

It is found in large areas of Central and South America, Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Singer Cheryl Cole fell seriously ill with the disease in 2010 after picking it up on holiday in Tanzania.

The incidence of malaria is increasing and new measures to combat it are desperately needed.