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MISSISSIPPI FLOODING

17 May

In May 2011, all eyes from Illinois to the gulf have been on the mighty Mississippi River and the flood waters rushing southward, pushing back the river’s tributaries into the towns along its banks, sending residents scattering toward higher ground and approaching levels it has not reached in over 70 years.

In Cairo, Ill., the rain-swollen river crested to an all-time high in early May as it surged past the city, exceeding the 1937 record by 2 feet. Government engineers were left with two choices: Let Cairo flood or explode a levee to save the town. They blew up the levee. But while Cairo was saved, other communities may not be so lucky.

In Memphis, the Mississippi crested on May 10, 2011, flooding low-lying neighborhoods in the city but falling short of record levels that would have caused far more damage. The river topped out at 47.8 feet early in the day, far above flood stage but 4 inches lower than the predicted crest of 48 feet and almost a foot lower than the record crest of 48.7 feet in 1937.

The flood waters were expected to stay at or near that level for several days before receding as the crest moves downriver, said Susan Buchanan of the National Weather Service.

Officials have already spent days fighting back the White River in Arkansas, where there have been two deaths and hundreds of homes have flooded. Hundreds of residents are being urged to evacuate certain areas in and around Memphis, where tributaries have swelled into parts of the city as well as suburbs and mobile home parks and inundated a small airport.

The river is still a couple of weeks away from cresting in the Mississippi Delta, but experts are predicting all-time records. As it bulges past Natchez around May 22, it is projected to be several feet above the height it reached in the Great Flood of 1927, when the river broke its banks, flooded 27,000 square miles, killed hundreds and displaced thousands.The flood-control system that arose in the wake of that flood has never been put to such a test.

This article was taken from the New York Times:
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/mississippi-river/index.html?scp=2&sq=the%20mississippi%20flooding&st=cse

Earthquake and Tsunami hits Japan

5 May

March 11, 2011, an earthquake struck off the coast of Japan, churning up a devastating tsunami that swept over cities and farmland in the northern of the country and set off warnings as far away the west coast of the United States and South America. Recorded as 9.0 on the Richter scale, it was the most powerful quake ever to hit the country. As the nation struggled with a rescue effort, it also faced the worst nuclear emergency since Chernobyl; explosions and leaks of radioactive gas took place in three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station that suffered partial meltdowns, while spent fuel rods at another reactor overheated and caught fire, releasing radioactive material directly into the atmosphere. Japanese officials turned to increasingly desperate measures, as traces of radiation were found in Tokyo’s water and in water pouring from the reactors into the ocean. A month after the quake, nuclear officials put the crisis in the same category of severity as the Chernobyl disaster.

As of April 25, the official death toll had been raised to 14,133, and more than 13,346 people were listed as missing, although there may be some overlap between the two groups. The final toll is expected to reach nearly 20,000. More than 130,000 people remained housed in temporary shelters; tens of thousands of others evacuated their homes due to the nuclear crisis.
story taken from the New York Times:
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/japan/index.html?scp=1-spot&sq=japan%20tsunami&st=cse

Osama bin Laden’s Death

3 May

WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world, was killed in a firefight with United States forces in Pakistan, President Obama announced on Sunday.
In a late-night appearance in the East Room of the White House, Mr. Obama declared that “justice has been done” as he disclosed that American military and C.I.A. operatives had finally cornered Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, who had eluded them for nearly a decade. American officials said Bin Laden resisted and was shot in the head. He was later buried at sea.

The news touched off an extraordinary outpouring of emotion as crowds gathered outside the White House, in Times Square and at the ground zero site, waving American flags, cheering, shouting, laughing and chanting, “U.S.A., U.S.A.!” In New York City, crowds sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Throughout downtown Washington, drivers honked horns deep into the night.

By PETER BAKER, HELENE COOPER and MARK MAZZETTI of the NEW YORK TIMES

Video of the report can be found at:
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Osama_Bin_Laden/

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