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Scientists puzzled over a hundred dead seals wash up on Baikal shore

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, November 6th, 2017

Local environment officials reported that over 140 carcasses of Baikal seals have washed up on the shores of the world’s deepest lake in Russia’s Siberia over the last week.

According to the scientists, the seals had died in water and their carcasses did not have any injuries or signs of disease or starvation.

Russian media reported that according to the country’s veterinary watchdog, the seals have had died of heart attack, the cause of which remains unclear to the experts.

Dozens of dead seals were found ashore at the end of last month and more carcasses were found later by local residents and rangers. Many of the dead seals were pregnant females.

Irkutsk Regional Environmental Prosecutor’s Office is investigating several possible causes of seals’ mass death, but according to the scientists, it can be natural selection.

“At the moment the prosecutor’s office is looking into various versions [of what happened to the seals] including disease of Baikal seals, an attempt of illegal hunting on seals as well as human-caused disturbance. But taking into consideration earlier incidents of seal mass death, the main version is naturally occurring wildlife cycles,” said West Baikal District Asst. Environment Prosecutor Ivan Zolotukhin.

Baikal seals as species are not currently considered under threat, according to biologists. Despite hunting and pollution of Lake Baikal, the seal population is believed to be equalling the carrying capacity of the lake.— Reuters


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Over 70 injured during clashes at protest in Georgia

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

Protesters clashing with riot police outside of parliament building | Courtesy : Reuters

At least 70 people were injured after protesters rallying against the visit of a Russian lawmaker tried to storm Georgia’s parliament building on Thursday (June 20) night, Georgian Ministry of Health said.

Riot police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon after protesters pushed against lines of riot police, throwing bottles and grabbing riot shields from some officers and tearing off their helmets.

The scenes in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, flared up suddenly after public anger over the visit and speech of a member of the Russian lower house of parliament triggered big street protests.

After hours of confrontation between protesters and the police dozens had been taken to hospitals with injuries from rubber bullets or stones, thrown by protesters, as well as tear gas poisoning.

The majority of protesters left the area outside the parliament, but dozens of them remained at adjoining streets, while police continued to use tear gas to disperse them.

Russian influence in Georgia remains a politically sensitive subject. The small country, a U.S. ally, fought and lost a short war against Moscow in 2008. (REUTERS)

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Three dead after blast on oil tanker in Russian Caspian port

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Three people were killed and two were injured on Tuesday (June 11) after a blast on an oil tanker caused a fire while it was pumping oil in the Russian Caspian port of Makhachkala, Russia’s Transport Ministry said.

Russian news agency RIA said five got injured, citing the Russian Ministry of Health.

“By this moment fire spreading in lower holds and compartments has been stopped. Engine room is still on fire. High temperature complicating fire-fighting. That is why the operation is running slow,” said Martin Mammayev, head of Deputy of Dagestan Ministry of Emergencies.

The fire occurred on the VF-Tanker 16 vessel, which is owned by the Volga shipping agency, part of the UCL Holding transport group’s shipping division.

“We cannot see what is burning yet. We suggest it could be electric cables, engine units, etc. There is no danger of oil, fuel or other such liquids spilling,” Mammayev said.

Transneft oil company said that the oil transfer has been suspended because of the incident. (REUTERS)

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DFA: No Filipino casualty in Aeroflot plane crash in Russia

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday (May 7) reported that no Filipino casualty was recorded in a passenger plane mishap in Moscow, Russia.

“The Philippine Embassy in Moscow reported that there were no Filipinos among the 76 passengers onboard the plane,” the DFA said in a bulletin on Tuesday.

According to reports, at least 41 people on board Aeroflot SU 1492 were killed, including two children.

Meanwhile, 14 others received outpatient treatment and nine people were hospitalized after the crash.

The aircraft crash-landed in Sheremetyevo Airport before it burst into flames.

On his official social media page, Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta confirmed that no Filipino was hurt in the incident.

“We would like to confirm that there were no Filipinos on board flight SU1492 from Moscow to Murmansk which caught fire at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday,” he said.

“We wish to reiterate our expression of sympathy to the families and friends who lost their loved ones and pray for the safe recovery of those injured,” he added. –

According to authorities, the plane was forced to return to the Sheremetyevo Airport due to technical problems. It suffered engine fire after it crash-landed on the runway. – Marje Pelayo

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