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Illinois – On Friday, April 18, 2008, a 5.2 magnitude earthquake occurred. The quake, which started around 4:37 a.m. local time, was centered roughly six miles from the town of West Salem, Ill. Shaking was felt in Des Moines, Iowa, Milwaukee, Wis. and Atlanta, Ga. Although earthquakes of this strength are very unusual for the region, only minor damage occurred, and no major injuries have been reported.

Buenos Aires, Argentina – Argentina’s capital city was covered by thick smoke on Friday, April 18, 2008, from brush fires that have consumed thousands of acres of the provinces of Buenos Aires and Entre Riós. Portions of several major highways in and around the capital have been closed down because of the blinding smoke. The fires, which cover at least 170,000 acres, are believed to have been deliberately set by farmers trying to clear their land for grazing. So far, eight people have been killed in traffic accidents, and dozens more have been admitted to hospitals for respiratory problems.

Sateek, India – Approximately 1 million people in India’s northern state of Mizoram are facing the threat of famine after rats ate virtually all of the region’s rice paddy crops. The rats had already feasted on the fruits of wild bamboo, which flowers every 48 years. After the fruit was gone, the rats turned their attention to local crops. Mizoram requires about 16,000 tons of rice but has only one-fifth that amount remaining. A similar situation occurred in 1959, the last time the bamboo flowered. Local residents refer to the flowering as mautum, or “bamboo death.”

Sources: CNN.com, Foxnews.com, MSNBC.com, Timesonline.co.uk

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