Thursday, 7 March 2013

desert locust swarm

Israel Escapes Locust Plague — For Now

MITZPE RAMON, Israel — A menacing swarm of locusts that entered southern Israel earlier this week has been largely smitten, according to the Israeli government and local reports. But some of the insects' ilk may be back later this week.
Officials sprayed the flying insects with pesticide early this morning (March 6), greatly reducing the number of living, flying insects, according to a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
However, there's a "moderate risk" that another, small swarm could reach this region, in Israel's Negev Desert, later this week or on the weekend, said Keith Cressman, a senior locust-forecasting officer in Rome for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
The desert locusts, whose scientific name is Schistocerca gregaria, arrived a couple weeks before Passover, the weeklong festival that recounts the biblical exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt. According to the Bible, swarms of locusts were the eighth plague sent into ancient Egypt as a punishment for suppressing the Jews, said Hendrik Bruins, a researcher who studies the archaeology and environmental aspects of desert peoples, at Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
"This [current swarm] fits very well with the seasonal timing of the exodus in the bible," Bruins said.
But could the plague be a divine punishment this time around? "This, we cannot say," Bruins told LiveScience. "Because there have been so many plagues throughout history, not every locust plague can be classified in that way," he said, laughing.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

lost tribe?

Abuja, Nigeria (CNN) -- A Shabbat service is underway at the Ghihon Hebrew Research synagogue in the Jikwoyi suburb of Nigeria's federal capital territory.
Fourteen year-old Kadmiel Izungu Abor heads there with his family. They walk alongside stray goats on a road covered in red dust and potholes, lined with open sewage. They are nearly 20 kilometers away from the modern multi-story office buildings and sprawling mansions in Nigeria's capital city of Abuja.
About 50 people gather in the synagogue. They pray from the Siddur, they read from the Torah and as they chant, Abor's mellow alto begins to rise.
In a country of 162 million people tensions often lead to violent uprisings between Christians and Muslims and being part of the religious minority can be an issue. But Abor wears his kippah and his identity with pride.
"I am a Jewish Igbo," he says.

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