End of Europe? Berlin, Brussels’ shock tactic on migrants

Migrants queue to enter a tent that serves as a waiting room at the the Berlin Office of Health and Social Affairs (LAGESO), in Berlin, Germany, January 5, 2016. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Migrants queue to enter a tent that serves as a waiting room at the the Berlin Office of Health and Social Affairs (LAGESO), in Berlin, Germany, January 5, 2016. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

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Yemen turmoil escalates as Arab states plan ground invasion

Yemeni Houthi rebels and members of the security forces loyal to the Shiite movement inspect the damage at the scene of a Saudi airstrike targeting the group, which controls Sanaa near the airport in the Yemeni capital, on March 26, 2015. (photo credit: Mohammed Huwais/AFP)

Yemeni Houthi rebels and members of the security forces loyal to the Shiite movement inspect the damage at the scene of a Saudi airstrike targeting the group, which controls Sanaa near the airport in the Yemeni capital, on March 26, 2015. (photo credit: Mohammed Huwais/AFP)

Exiled president appears on TV in Saudi Arabia; Riyadh accuses Iran, Hezbollah of fighting for Houthis

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Lebanese army advances in border battle with Islamists

Lebanese army soldiers ride on a military pick-up truck at the entrance of the Sunni Muslim border town of Arsal, in eastern Bekaa Valley, as smoke rises in the background during clashes between Lebanese army soldiers and Islamist militants August 4, 2014.  REUTERS/Hassan Abdallah

Lebanese army soldiers ride on a military pick-up truck at the entrance of the Sunni Muslim border town of Arsal, in eastern Bekaa Valley, as smoke rises in the background during clashes between Lebanese army soldiers and Islamist militants August 4, 2014. REUTERS/Hassan Abdallah

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Giant Asian Hornets Invade America!

Giant Asian Hornets Are Killing People In China, Breeding In Larger Numbers: Reports (UPDATED)

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 10/01/2013

What’s the buzz about giant Asian hornets? They’ll kill you painfully and thoroughly — and they’ve been reported in the U.S.

Climate change might be contributing to a global rise in insect numbers. As if that weren’t bad enough, some of the bugs that appear to be benefitting from that population surge are giant Asian hornets that are killing people unfortunate enough to disturb them.

UPDATE: Oct. 4, 7:45 p.m. — Citing Chinese government sources, CNN reports that at least 42 people have died and 1,675 have been injured as a result of giant Asian hornets in Shaanxi province since July.

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Madagascar battling worst locust plague since 1950s

Locusts threatening livelihood of 60% of population, and have already destroyed a quarter of Madagascar’s food crops

MDG Locusts in Madagascar

A locust swarm in Madagascar’s Isalo national park. Photograph: Tiphaine Desjardin/FAO

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At least 1.5m hectares (3.7m acres) could be infested by locusts in two-thirds of the country by September, warns the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Findings from a damage assessment indicate that rice and maize crop losses due to locusts in the mid- and south-western parts of Madagascar vary, on average, from 40% to 70%, reaching up to 100% in some plots.

Madagascar’s agriculture ministry declared a national disaster in November. The food security and livelihoods of 13 million people are at stake, about 60% of the island’s population. Around 9 million people depend directly on agriculture for food and income.

“We don’t have enough funds for pesticide, helicopters and training,” said Alexandre Huynh, the FAO’s representative in Madagascar. “What is extremely costly is to run helicopters [needed to spray pesticides]. We have to start in September, and we have two to three months to prepare. We need $22.4m [£15.1m] but we are quite short of that. Discussions are going on with donors.”

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Giant Mosquitoes Look Set To Invade Florida

The rainy season could bring a bumper crop of gallinippers – coin-sized, aggressive pests that cause more than a little pain.

 
A gallinipper is compared to a normal-sized mosquito

A gallinipper and a normal-sized mosquito (Marisol Amador/UF IFAS)

By Sky News US Team

Florida is bracing for a summer invasion of giant mosquitoes whose bite has been compared with “being knifed”.

University of Florida scientists say the half-inch insects, called gallinippers, are likely to swarm the Sunshine State after recent tropical storms made it the species’ perfect breeding ground.

“I wouldn’t be surprised, given the numbers we saw last year,” said entomologist Phil Kaufman, a professor at the university’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

At the size of a US 25-cent piece, the notoriously aggressive gallinippers are 20 times the size of a common mosquito.

And with their bigger size also comes a bigger bite.

“The bite really hurts, I can attest to that,” Professor Kaufman said.

Gallinippers – whose scientific name is Psorophora ciliate – are not considered an invasive species as they are native to the eastern half of North America.

A gallinipper biting a human
A gallinipper’s bite is said to be “fearsome” (Sean McCann/UF IFAS)

They have attained almost mythical status in the Deep South, featuring in folk tales and even blues songs that mention their “fearsome bite”.

And they are a particularly hearty bug.

Adult females lay their eggs at the edges of streams and ponds, and the eggs can lay dormant for years until the water rises with heavy rains and causes them to hatch.

Last year saw a sharp increase in their numbers after Tropical Storm Debby brought torrential rains to the state, scientists say.

“When we hit the rainy cycle we may see that again,” Mr Kaufman said.

On the up side, the insects are not major transmitters of diseases such as malaria, as common mosquitoes are.

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