Comments Off on Thursday October 18

18 October 2012

Thursday October 18

Central American crops battling pests and drought, Argentine students overweight, and sea lions nursed back to health in Peru

ARGENTINA

37% of schoolchildren in Argentina are overweight and 18% of those are obese, says a review of 57 studies done across 13 of Argentina’s provinces. The studies include around 120,000 children and were undertaken in the last two years, says Esteban Carmuega of the Center for Child Nutrition Studies. Carmuega points out that childhood obesity in Argentina is in line with a tendency being seen in the rest of Latin America.

    Sea lions in Peru are sharing coastal waters with commercial fishing boats and their nets. Credit: Indrik myneur via Flickr.

CENTRAL AMERICA

Central American countries lose 30% of their crop harvests due to pests and diseases, announced Guillermo Alvarado, director of the International Regional Organization for Agricultural Health (OIRSA). Potato, chile and tomato farms are facing infestations from pests like the potato psyllid, or paratroiza. Another problem facing the region is drought, which costs Central America between $500 million and $1 billion dollars, says Carlos Perez of the United Nations Development Programme.

GUATEMALA

While removing plaster from the walls of his kitchen, a farmer in rural Guatemala discovered a colonial-era mural depicting scenes of Europeans playing drums and flutes. They are believed to have been painted in the 17th century.

PERU

Three sea lions in Peru have been released into the wild after being found on separate beaches in poor health and rehabilitated by the environmental organization ORCA. The sea lions had been injured by fishing nets trawling the coast near Lima.

A landslide in Peru has killed at least 11 people. Heavy rains in the northern jungle region of San Martin have washed away the banks of a river in El Porvenir, Peru.

URUGUAY

Uruguay is the only country that electronically tags each head of cattle it raises, reports the BBC. This identification system was established in response to foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in 2000 and 2001. The system demonstrated transparency in the Uruguayan beef industry. Now, a central database tracks each animal and respond quickly to a disease outbreak. The country has 11 million head of cattle.

VENEZUELA

A computer virus launched after the Oct. 7 Venezuelan presidential elections aims to steal online credentials in Venezuela. The malicious file is named ‘listas-fraude-electoral.pdf.exe’ and when clicked, downloads to the victim’s computer and steals banking and online credential information. Digital security company Kaspersky Lab said the virus was most likely designed to gain access to Venezuelan’s CADIVI accounts to use their dollars.