The center gets more rain than Saharan areas to the north, causing the Niger river to flood its banks and provide fertile ground for growing rice and other staples. Officials fear Islamist attacks and the collapse of the state in rural parts are hurting Mali's food supply. Some 400,000 Malians are in need of food aid, U.N. statistics show.
But our food-and-water woes go well beyond the Sunshine State's latest precipitation patterns, as this new Nature study from a global team of researchers--including two from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies--shows. The paper notes that the globe's stores of underground water, known as groundwater--the stuff that accumulates over millennia in aquifers--is vanishing at an "alarming" rate, driven mainly by demand for irrigation to grow crops. You can think of such reserves as "fossil" water, since it takes thousands of years to replenish once it's pumped out. Once it's gone, some of the globe's key growing regions--the breadbaskets for much of Asia and the Middle East--will no longer be viable. Here in the United States, we rely heavily on California's Central Valley for fruit, vegetables, and nuts--which in turn relies on some of the globe's most stressed aquifers for irrigation.
The Broward Sheriff's Office told the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission at its first meeting Tuesday that teachers couldn't lock their classroom doors from the inside as they tried to lock down their students Feb. 14. They had to open their doors and use a key to lock them from the outside.
PARIS – Europe's beleaguered Galileo satellite navigation system has suffered another setback, with clocks failing onboard a number of satellites in space, the European Space Agency said Wednesday. Designed to render Europe independent from America's GPS, the €10 billion ($11 billion) project may experience further delays as the cause of the failure is investigated, ESA Director General Jan Woerner told journalists in Paris. Eighteen orbiters have been launched for the Galileo constellation to date, a number that will ultimately be boosted to 30 operational satellites and two spares. Early, initial services were launched in December, and the failure of nine clocks out of 72 launched to date has not affected operation, Woerner said. No satellite has been declared "out" as a result of the glitch.
Defense officials said they will lay out Thursday how the mission unfolded and led to the gruesome ambush, and then explain what is being done to correct the problems brought to light by the incident. Families of the fallen troops have been briefed on the investigation, including details of their loved ones' final moments as they battled as many as 100 insurgents in a fierce firefight.