Earth’s rotation is going to slow down next year – and it could unleash dozens of devastating earthquakes in heavily populated areas, scientists have warned.
Researchers believe that tiny variations in the speed of Earth’s rotation can release huge amounts of energy beneath the ground – triggering intense earthquakes.
Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado said, ‘The correlation between Earth’s rotation and earthquake activity is strong and suggests there is going to be an increase in numbers of intense earthquakes next year.’
Bilham and his colleague Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana analysed earthquakes going back to 1900.
The researchers found that periods where Earth’s rotation slowed coincided with a rise in intense earthquakes from around 15 a year to 25-30, the Guardian reports.
Bilham said, ‘It is straightforward. The Earth is offering us a five-year heads-up on future earthquakes.’
‘The inference is clear. Next year we should see a significant increase in numbers of severe earthquakes.
‘We have had it easy this year. So far we have only had about six severe earthquakes. We could easily have 20 a year starting in 2018.’
Mugabe’s body brought home to Zimbabwe
The body of Zimbabwe’s founder Robert Mugabe arrived at the country’s main airport on Wednesday, but his final resting place remained a source of mystery amid a dispute between some family members and the government.
Mugabe, one of the last “Big Men” of African politics who ruled the southern African nation for 37 years until he was ousted by his own army in November 2017, died in a Singapore hospital five days ago.
He is proving as polarizing in death as he was in life, as the fight over where he will be buried threatens to embarrass his successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and deepen divisions in the ruling ZANU-PF party.
The former president’s body arrived at Harare’s Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport shortly after 1330 GMT. A military guard of honor stood at attention as the casket was removed from the aircraft, draped in the national flag and accompanied by security chiefs.
“The entire nation of Zimbabwe, our people, across the board are grieved and are in mourning because the light which led us to independence is no more, but his works, his ideology will continue to guide this nation,” Mnangagwa said.
“On the day we shall lay him to rest, on Sunday, I appeal to you in your hundreds, in your thousands, in your millions to show your love of our great leader who has left us,” he added.
Mugabe’s wife Grace, dressed in black with a black veil, was next to Mnangagwa at the airport. Also present were Mugabe’s daughter Bona and Savior Kasukuwere, a former Mugabe cabinet minister and staunch ally who has been living in self-imposed exile in South Africa since early this year.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, the former general who led the coup that overthrew Mugabe, was conspicuous by his absence at the airport. He has been receiving treatment in China since July for an unknown illness
Crowds had gathered at the airport well before the scheduled arrival time, with some wearing T-shirts bearing Mugabe’s face and others with Mnangagwa’s image, while music blared from loudspeakers.
A convoy of 4×4 vehicles with number plates bearing the letters “RG Mugabe” and the former leader’s signature were also on the runway.
DJ Arafat: Thousands pay tribute at Abidjan concert
Thousands of fans have gathered in Ivory Coast’s capital Abidjan to pay tribute to musician DJ Arafat.
The 33-year-old Ivorian, whose real name was Ange Didier Huon, died in a motorcycle accident earlier this month.
Hundreds of Ivorian artists took part in a stadium concert, with President Alassane Ouattara among its attendees.
Huon’s coffin was then brought to the stadium before being carried away to a local cemetery for burial.
The concert was organised after a successful online petition which called on the government to allow the use of Félix Houphouët Boigny stadium, which seats 35,000 people.
The government also pledged $250,000 (£205,000) towards the event and said it would pay for Huon’s funeral ceremony.
DJ Arafat was one of the most popular African musicians in the Francophone world, and had been referred to as the “king” of coupé-décalé (cut and run), an Ivorian form of dance music.
The musical genre was born in the early 2000s during Ivory Coast’s civil war and emphasised that young people still wanted to have fun despite the conflict.
DJ Arafat came to symbolise the flashy, well-dressed lifestyle associated with the music, which features fast percussion, deep bass and hip hop-style vocals.
The singer was also known for his love of motorcycles and featured them in his most recent hit, Moto Moto, released in May, which has had more than 5m YouTube views.
He released 11 albums over his 15-year career, and was named artist of the year at the Coupé-Decalé Awards in 2016 and 2017.
He was posthumously nominated for two All Africa Music Awards.
Off stage, DJ Arafat was known for controversy, having faced accusations of domestic abuse.
The music star also regularly lashed out at other artists on social media.
“The clashes started because I wanted to show I was number one on the Ivorian music scene,” Huon told Jeune Afrique magazine last year.
“Above all it helped me to invent new sounds, I needed competition to find inspiration. When the music scene is sleeping, you have to wake it up.
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