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La Nina blamed for weather upset, but climate link unclear

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:11 am

PARIS, Jan 7, 2011 (AFP) – Experts pin the floods that have ravaged northeastern Australia on a weather phenomenon known as La Nina but are cautious whether the peril could be amplified by climate change.


La Nina, or “girl child,” is the counterpart of El Nino, or “boy child,” together comprising a pendular swing of extreme weather that affects the Pacific Rim but can be disruptive as far as the coast of southern Africa.


El Nino occurs when the trade winds that circulate surface water in the tropical Pacific start to weaken.


A mass of warm water builds in the western Pacific and eventually rides over to the eastern side of the ocean.


The outcome is a major shift in rainfall, bringing floods and mudslides to usually arid countries in western South America and drought in the western Pacific, as well as a change in nutrient-rich ocean currents that lure fish.


Eventually, El Nino peters out, sometimes when a cold phase — La Nina — starts to dominate.


At that point, the reverse happens: countries in the eastern Pacific face drier weather and those on the west, such as Australia’s Queensland, get drenched.

An Army Chinook helicopter leaves Australia’s Rockhampton transporting an electricity generator to the flood disaster area of Theodore on January 6, 2011. More heavy rains were forecast for Australia’s northeast, threatening to worsen flooding after besieged Rockhampton cut supplies to “irresponsible” residents refusing to leave. AFP

“2010 began with El Nino conditions in the Pacific followed by a rapid transition into La Nina during (the southern hemisphere’s) autumn,” Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology says on its website.


“(…) By July, La Nina conditions were well established and most areas of Australia experienced very much above average rainfall. The second half of the year (July to December) was the wettest on record for Australia.”


In the 20th century, scientists identified 25 moderate or strong El Ninos and 17 episodes of La Nina. The toll to human life and property, in droughts and floods, has sometimes been huge.


The back-and-forth cycle — formally known as the El Nino/La Nina-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO — occurs every two to seven years.


Because sea temperature plays such an important role, some climate experts are keen to determine whether man-made global warming might make it more frequent or vicious.


Prudence, though, is the watchword. ENSO is a complex mechanism and reliable oceanographic data reaches back only a century or so, which is minute given that climate history spans billions of years.


“There is no consistent indication at this time of discernible changes in projected ENSO amplitude or frequency in the 21st century,” the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) crisply announced in its Fourth Assessment Report in 2007.


In an interview with AFP, Baylor Fox-Kemper, an oceanographer at the University of Colorado, explained: “Many models indicate that there is a link between El Nino and climate change, but they don’t agree as to what that change should be.


“Furthermore, El Nino is so noisy [a term meaning complex] that it takes many centuries of data to be sure that a change has occurred.


“Since we have only a limited amount of trusted real-world data, we are unable to validate which of these models is closest to the truth.”


Others say that despite the unknowns, logic dictates that global warming is bound to have an impact on ENSO.


“With a warmer world, one would expect the atmosphere to hold more moisture, so that when it does rain, it is heavier,” said New Zealand specialist Jim Salinger.


“So La Nina rainfall events are expected to be more intense… (although) at this stage, it is not known whether La Nina events will become more frequent.”

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Source: SGGP

Catholics attend La Vang festival

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2010 at 3:24 pm




Catholics attend La Vang festival


QĐND – Saturday, August 14, 2010, 20:50 (GMT+7)

Catholic followers flocked to a church in the central province of Quang Tri on August 13 to attend the opening ceremony of their annual La Vang festival.


The authorities of Hai Phu commune where the two-day event is taking place have created favourable conditions for local Catholic dignitaries and followers to practice their faith.


They have mobilised forces to ensure security, food hygiene and traffic safety for the festival.


Source: VOV

Source: QDND

La Nina to bring heavy rain to Vietnam

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 at 8:51 am




La Nina to bring heavy rain to Vietnam


QĐND – Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 20:56 (GMT+7)

The La Nina weather phenomenon that is developing in the Pacific region will not only drop temperatures but also cause more rain and storms in Asia, including Vietnam, said the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.


The WMO said that La Nina is characterised by unusually cool ocean temperatures in the east Pacific and the weather is expected to get harsher on a much larger scale in the coming months.


In late 2008, La Nina was blamed for icy conditions that claimed dozens of lives across Europe and brought torrential rain to Indonesia , Malaysia and Australia.


In Vietnam, La Nina made the summer of 2008 much cooler than previous summers and Hanoi and neighbouring areas also record the heaviest downpours in 40 years in late October with an approximate rainfall of 1m.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

Warhol’s sports superstars stolen from LA home

In World on September 13, 2009 at 3:16 am

A multimillion dollar collection of Andy Warhol portraits of Muhammad Ali and other sports superstars was stolen from a Los Angeles home, police said Friday.


The 11 color screenprints were taken from businessman Richard Weisman’s home sometime between Sept. 2 and 3, said Detective Mark Sommer of the Los Angeles Police Department’s art theft detail.


Ten of the 40-inch-square portraits feature famous athletes of the 1970s, including golfer Jack Nicklaus, soccer star Pele and figure skater Dorothy Hamill. The other is of Weisman, likely a commissioned portrait.


A $1 million reward was being offered for information leading to the return of the artwork.


The original prints were on display in Weisman’s dining room and his house was locked up. It wasn’t clear exactly when the silk screen paintings were taken or how the thieves got into the home.








This image provided by the Los Angeles Police Department on Friday Sept. 11, 2009 shows a reward poster issued for stolen works of art by Andy Warhol in Los Angeles

The theft was discovered by the family’s longtime nanny who arrived at the home to find the large prints missing from the walls. She immediately went to a neighbor’s to call police, Sommer said.


“This was a very clean crime,” Sommer said. “(The home) wasn’t ransacked.”


It wasn’t known exactly how much the prints were worth but Weisman tried to sell the collection in 2002 for $3 million.


Weisman’s home contained other valuable artwork but the rest of his collection was untouched.


“The theft of Warhol‘s ‘Athlete Series’ represents a profoundly personal loss to me and my family,” Weisman said in a statement. Weisman, who published a book about his art collection called, “From Picasso to Pop,” declined to comment further, saying he did not want to interfere with the investigation.


A neighbor saw a maroon van in the driveway of Weisman’s home around the time of the robbery, and police are seeking more information about that, Sommer said.


Warhol became internationally famous in the 60s for his iconic image of a Campbell’s soup can, his avant-garde films and his parties that mixed celebrities, artists, intellectuals and other beautiful people at his New York studio called “The Factory.”


According to a catalog of Warhol’s work, Weisman commissioned the artist in 1977 to create portraits of sports figures, including Chris Evert, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Nicklaus, Pele, Hamill, and Ali, said Brenda Klippel, the director of Martin Lawrence Galleries in Los Angeles, which has a large collection of Warhols.


“Warhol was always a portraitist and fascinated with anyone of fame or fortune, anyone in the public eye,” Klippel said. “He wanted all of his imagery to be instantly recognizable. If Weisman was in his circle and had the money, he could commission what he wanted.”


Detective Don Hrycyk said the weeklong delay in announcing the theft was to allow detectives to confirm the reward and gather descriptions and photographs of the missing artworks.


Source: SGGP

Son La urged to step up fight against smuggling

In Uncategorized on December 4, 2008 at 2:25 pm

– State President Nguyen Minh Triet has asked authorities in the northern mountainous province of Son La to be more vigilant in preventing cross-border smuggling and trade fraud to ensure the stability of the Vietnam-Laos border region and increase levels of trans-border cooperation.

Whilst working alongside local officials on Dec. 2, the state leader suggested that the province investigate new development models that play to its strengths, as Son La is a relatively poor region beset by a number of difficulties.

Son La authorities should focus their attention on improving the area’s investment environment, preparing investment projects and developing human resources to lure investors more effectively, the President said.

He praised the province’s work in performing site clearance in readiness for the construction of the Son La hydro-electric power plant and requested that the resettlement programme be completed next year.

Construction of the 2,400 MW power plant commenced on Dec. 2, 2005 and is expected to be completed in the latter half of 2012, three years ahead of schedule.

Son La recorded a GDP growth rate of 13.2 percent and posted a poverty rate of 33 percent for 2008.

The province has set the target of achieving a GDP growth rate of 14-15 percent or more and reducing its poverty rate to 29 percent in 2009.-