tampabay.com

Climate change affecting bird migration

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 14, 2007


BONN, GERMANY

Disoriented by erratic weather, birds are changing migration habits and routes to adjust to warmer winters, disappearing feeding grounds and shrinking wetlands, says Robert Hepworth, executive secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species, a treaty under the auspices of the U.N. Environment Program. Failure to adapt risks extinction. Birds face starvation when they arrive too early or too late to find their normal diet of insects, plankton or fish. In the north, some birds have stopped migrating altogether, leaving them at risk when the next cold winter strikes. "We don't know how many will survive. We will lose species, " he said in an interview Saturday on the sidelines of a climate change conference. Bird watchers and conservationists in dozens of countries marked World Migratory Bird Day over the weekend.

JERUSALEM

Four die as violence erupts in Palestine

In the deadliest internecine violence in months, armed Palestinian factions clashed in the streets of the Gaza Strip on Sunday, leaving four people dead, more than a dozen wounded and the future of a unity government in peril. Running gun battles sent residents scurrying for cover and shut down shops as members of the Fatah party and Hamas militant group attacked each other. There also were reports of kidnappings. It was the worst outbreak of violence since the two rival organizations agreed to a cease-fire at a meeting in Saudi Arabia in February that paved the way for a Palestinian unity government in March, a reconciliation that has proved rocky at best.

BEIJING

Man who tried to burn Mao portrait detained

A man threw a burning object at a portrait of Mao Zedong that hangs over Tiananmen Square in central Beijing, slightly damaging it and prompting police to close the nearby imperial palace, a news report said Sunday. The man, identified as Gu Hai'ou, from the northwestern city of Urumqi, tried to burn the portrait of communist China's first leader on Saturday afternoon, the Xinhua News Agency said. Early Sunday, authorities replaced the portrait, which had a small scorch mark in the lower left corner. Gu, who is 35 and unemployed, was detained and being questioned by police. He was treated last year in a mental hospital, Xinhua said.

BELEM, BRAZIL

Rancher on trial in killing of U.S. nun

A rancher goes to trial today in the killing of an American nun. Vitalmiro Bastos Moura is one of two ranchers accused of ordering the 2005 killing of Dorothy Stang, 73, a naturalized Brazilian originally from Dayton, Ohio. She spent the last 23 years of her life in Anapu, on the edge of the Trans-Amazon Highway, where she helped build schools, taught settlers to defend their rights and to respect the rain forest. She was slain by six bullets at close range on a muddy patch of road deep in Para state. The gunman, his accomplice and an intermediary have been convicted in Stang's death, but Moura is the first alleged mandante - mastermind - to stand trial.

Elsewhere

CRICKET COACH'S DEATH: Scotland Yard investigators have concluded that Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer died of natural causes and was not strangled as local police have said, the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper reported in Kingston, Jamaica, on Sunday. In London, Scotland Yard declined to comment on the report that Woolmer died of heart failure and said it would not discuss an analysis of toxicology tests that a British government lab conducted.

WAVES BATTER ISLAND: Waves reaching 36 feet high thrashed France's Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, leaving two fishermen missing and flooding homes and hotels, authorities in Saint-Denis, Reunion, said Sunday.