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  • Moose Die-Off Alarms Scientists

    Across North America — in places as far-flung as Montana and British Columbia, New Hampshire and Minnesota — moose populations are in steep decline. And no one is sure why.

     Twenty years ago, Minnesota had two geographically separate moose populations. One of them has virtually disappeared since the 1990s, declining to fewer than 100 from 4,000.

    The other population, in northeastern Minnesota, is dropping 25 percent a year and is now fewer than 3,000, down from 8,000. (The moose mortality rate used to be 8 percent to 12 percent a year.) As a result, wildlife officials have suspended all moose hunting.

    Here in Montana, moose hunting permits fell to 362 last year, from 769 in 1995.

    “Something’s changed,” said Nicholas DeCesare, a biologist with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks who is counting moose in this part of the state — one of numerous efforts across the continent to measure and explain the decline. “There’s fewer moose out there, and hunters are working harder to find them.”

    What exactly has changed remains a mystery. Several factors are clearly at work. But a common thread in most hypotheses is climate change.

    Winters have grown substantially shorter across much of the moose’s range. In New Hampshire, a longer fall with less snow has greatly increased the number of winter ticks, a devastating parasite. “You can get 100,000 ticks on a moose,” said Kristine Rines, a biologist with the state’s Fish and Game Department.

    In Minnesota, the leading culprits are brain worms and liver flukes. Both spend part of their life cycles in snails, which thrive in moist environments.

    Another theory is heat stress. Moose are made for cold weather, and when the temperature rises above 23 degrees Fahrenheit in winter, as has happened more often in recent years, they expend extra energy to stay cool. That can lead to exhaustion and death.

    In the Cariboo Mountains of British Columbia, a recent study pinned the decline of moose on the widespread killing of forest by an epidemic of pine bark beetles, which seem to thrive in warmer weather. The loss of trees left the moose exposed to human and animal predators.

    In Smithers, British Columbia, in April, a moose — starving and severely infested with ticks — wandered into the flower section of a Safeway market. It was euthanized.

    Scientists and officials say other factors could still emerge. Because most moose die in the fall, the next few months may provide insight.

    “It’s complicated because there’s so many pieces of this puzzle that could be impacted by climate change,” said Erika Butler, until recently the wildlife veterinarian at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

    The stakes go beyond the moose themselves. The animals are ecosystem engineers; when they browse shrubs, for example, they create habitat for some nesting birds.

    And moose contribute to the economy. In New Hampshire, for instance, moose-watching tourism is a $115-million-a-year business, according to Ms. Rines. Hunting permits also generate revenue.

    Moose deaths are hard to study, scientists say. The moose is a member of the deer family, but unlike deer it is a solitary animal that does not run in herds, so it can be hard to track. Moreover, moose have such high levels of body fat that they decompose rapidly; after 24 hours, a necropsy has little value.

    In January, Minnesota started an unusual $1.2 million study using advanced monitoring technology to find moose as soon as they die. Live animals are captured and fitted with collars that give their location every 15 minutes, and they are given feed containing a tiny transmitter that remains in the body and monitors heart rate and temperature. Then the moose are released back into the wild.

    “If the heart stops beating, it sends a text message to our phone that says, ‘I’m dead at x and y coordinates,’ ” said Dr. Butler, who leads the study. The messages are monitored around the clock; when a moose dies, a team on call rushes to the scene by car or helicopter.

    The winter tick problem in New Hampshire is particularly vexing. The animals lose so much blood they can become anemic. Worse, the ticks drive the moose crazy; they constantly scratch, tearing off large patches of hair.

    Some moose lose so much hair they look pale, even spectral; some people call them “ghost moose.” When it rains in the spring, the moose, deprived of their warm coats, then become hypothermic.

    Winter ticks hatch in the fall and begin to climb aboard their host. They are dormant until January or February, when they start to feed, molt into adults and then drop off.

    Moose spend a lot of time feeding in lakes, but wading in water doesn’t drown the ticks, which form an air bubble that allows them to survive immersion in water.

    New Hampshire’s winter tick problem is a relatively recent phenomenon. But then, so are moose. The animals were hunted out of existence during Colonial times; they returned to the state only in the 1970s.

    Telangana row Chandrababu Naidu begins fast in Delhi against Telangana

     Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday began an indefinite fast in the capital against the Congress government's proposal to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh and create a Telangana state.

    The former Andhra Pradesh chief minister termed the centre's move "political match fixing".

    "The Congress party did not follow any procedure. It took this decision for political gains. The Congress party is responsible for what is happening in Andhra Pradesh," Naidu told reporters.

    Earlier Sunday, in coastal Andhra and the Rayalaseema regions of the state, several towns and hundreds of villages plunged into darkness, and several trains were cancelled as electricity employees launched an indefinite strike to protest against the decision to carve out the separate state.

    North West Photo Shared By Kim Kardashian On Instagram Proves She Might Be Hollywood's Cutest Baby

    Kim Kardashian took a trip to France for Paris Fashion Week for a few days, leaving her 3-month-old daughter, North West, at home for the first time.

    There's nothing like the bond between a mother and child, and not surprisingly, the 32-year-old reality star missed her baby. On Friday, Kardashian shared the second known photo of North with the public via Instagram and wrote, "I missed waking up with my little angel."

    North is just too cute with those humongous eyes, and we can't wait to see her in all those adorable designer outfits her parents were gifted last week.

    The first photo of Nori, as she's been nicknamed, was shared by Kanye West when he appeared on Kris Jenner's talk show in August.

    Madonna Was Raped At Knifepoint Soon After Moving To New York, She Tells Harper's Bazaar

    Madonna penned an essay in Harper's Bazaar's "Daring Issue" for November, and in it, she recounts a horrifying story about her early years in New York.

    In the essay, Madonna conjures up her early years as a daring nonconformist, attests to her "strangeness" and says she didn't have very many friends. She then explains she moved to New York to become a "REAL artist ... To be able to express myself in a city of nonconformists. To revel and shimmy and shake in a world and be surrounded by daring people."

    What followed was something more horrible than she had ever expected:

        New York wasn't everything I thought it would be. It did not welcome me with open arms. The first year, I was held up at gunpoint. Raped on the roof of a building I was dragged up to with a knife in my back, and had my apartment broken into three times. I don't know why; I had nothing of value after they took my radio the first time.

    Though she admits nothing in her Rochester, Mich., upbringing had prepared her for her experiences at the time, Madonna says that in New York she "felt like I had plugged into another universe. I felt like a warrior plunging my way through the crowds to survive. Blood pumping through my veins, I was poised for survival. I felt alive."

    She recaps her essay by coming full circle with the Big Apple. "[H]ere I am, divorced and living in New York," Madonna writes. "I have been blessed with four amazing children. I try to teach them to think outside the box. To be daring. To choose to do things because they are the right thing to do, not because everybody else is doing them."

    Surprisingly, this isn't the first time Madonna has chosen to relive that difficult story. In a 1995 interview with New Musical Express, Madonna revealed for the first time that she was raped at the beginning of her music career, according to the Chicago Tribune. "Although it was devastating at the time, I know that it made me a much stronger person in retrospect. It forced me to be a survivor," she told the British magazine.

    Katy Perry on her future ‘I’ll probably turn into more of a Joni Mitchell’

    Katy Perry has said that she will “turn into more of a Joni Mitchell” as her career progresses.

    The singer is set to release her new album ‘Prism’ on October 28 but, in an interview with Billboard, she claimed she was planning on swapping her trademark pop sound for a folkier direction in the future.

    “I love Madonna to death, but she’s never going to give me that damn baton,” she said. “I’ll probably turn into more of a Joni Mitchell. As I inch towards my 30s, I think my fourth record will be more of an acoustic guitar album. That’s where I started when I was first discovered by Glen Ballard and got my first record deal.”

    She added: ‘We’ll see ‘I can’t get ahead of myself. I’m still doing the work: I’m a good balance of left and right brain, and to be an artist with a long career, you’ve got to have both. One thing John [Mayer] said to me was, ‘It’s harder maintaining success than finding it.’ I’ve got a few records under my belt, and I still feel like a brand new artist. People still want that truth to cut through.”

    Perry is expected to debut new material from ‘Prism’ this evening, as she plays the closing night of this year’s iTunes Festival at London’s Roundhouse. Previously, she has unveiled the lead single from the LP, ‘Roar’, which spent a fortnight at Number One on the UK’s Official Singles Chart, and she recently previewed another track from the album called ‘Dark Horse’

    Gene Simmons On Kurt Cobain And Amy Winehouse: 'What, Just 'Cause You Died, That Makes You An Icon?'

    Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse are often hailed as music legends whose lives were taken from us far too soon. Gene Simmons begs to differ.

    The Kiss frontman says just because Cobain and Winehouse were acclaimed musicians who died young does not mean they're icons. His remarks, made during an interview with UK's Team Rock Radio, were part of a larger tirade bemoaning the state of rock music.

    "Let me see -- Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and just on and on," Simmons said, listing name he feels qualify as legends. "And through the '70s, Aerosmith, Kiss, Led Zeppelin. Now from 1984 until today, name one superstar that's bigger than their music, and not just somebody that's recorded one or two records, but another Queen or another AC/DC? None, you can't name one.

    "Kurt Cobain -- no, that's one or two records. That's not enough. Amy Winehouse -- that's one or two records. That's not enough. What, just 'cause you died, that makes you an icon?

    Box office update 'Gravity' blasts off with $17.5 million Friday, could hit $50 million for the weekend

    Warner Bros.’ $80 million thriller Gravity demonstrated some major pull on its opening day at the box office. The film, which stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as stranded astronauts, scored a tremendous $17.5 million on its first day, which puts the film on pace for a weekend in the $50 million range.

    Gravity will almost certainly become the best opening weekend ever for both of its stars, surprassing Bullock’s $39 million start for The Heat earlier this year and Clooney’s $42.9 million debut for Batman & Robin in 1997. It looks like Warner Bros.’ bold, stylish ad campaign has paid off.

    Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 held up alright in second place, dipping 49 percent from its first Friday. The former box office champion grossed $4.7 million, which puts it on pace for a $20 million sophomore frame and a $59 million total by Sunday night.

    Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake’s crime drama Runner Runner didn’t inspire many crowds to run to the theater. Fox’s $30 million film grossed an awful $2.8 million from 3,026 theaters, yielding a sad $909 location average. The poorly reviewed title will finish the weekend with about $7.5 million.

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    Prisoners and Don Jon rounded out the Top 5, grossing $1.7 million and $1.4 million respectively. Prisoners may add another $5.5 million to it’s cume, while Don Jon may have to settle for an underwhelming $4.2 million.

    1. Gravity – $17.5 million
    2. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 – $4.7 million
    3. Runner Runner – $2.8 million
    4. Prisoners – $1.7 million
    5. Don Jon – $1.4 million

    Sony Xperia C with 5-inch display, dual-SIM available online for Rs. 20,490

    Sony seems to be geared up to officially launch another mid-range smartphone, the Xperia C for the Indian market. The device is currently available online for Rs. 20,490 on Saholic, while it is up for pre-order on Flipkart with the same pricing. Both the ecommerce sites have mentioned that the device will be available from second week of October. The Xperia C was officially unveiled earlier this year at the Mobile Asia Expo.

    The Sony Xperia C is the first smartphone from the Japanese handset giant to be based on quad-core MediaTek MTK6589 processor; clocked at 1.2GHz. It comes with 5-inch TFT LCD qHD (540x960 pixel) display and runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. It includes 1GB of RAM and 4GB of inbuilt storage, which can be further expandable up to 32GB via microSD card. The Sony Xperia C is a dual-SIM smartphone (GSM+GSM) with dual standby.

    The Xperia C sports an 8-megapixel rear camera with Exmor R sensor. The rear camera comes with features like face detection and Sweep Panorama, and is also capable of shooting videos in full-HD (1080p) mode. There is a 0.3-megapixel front camera onboard also. Connectivity options include 3G, Wi-Fi, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS. The smartphone will be available in White, Black and Purple colour options.

    Other features on the Sony Xperia C include motion-gaming, FM radio with RDS, Walkman app and 'screen mirroring'. The device is backed by a 2330mAh battery, which the company claims can deliver up to 10 hours of talktime and up to 588 hours of standby time.

    Casey Kasem Family Feud Erupts, Kids Claim Stepmom Is Banning Them From Seeing Ailing Father

    The 81-year-old icon, who rose to fame as the host of the "American Top 40" countdown, has not had contact with family and friends in ages, according to TMZ. Kasem's children, Kerri, Mike and Julie, have purportedly tried to get in touch with him for three months, but to no avail. His wife, Jean, is reportedly behind the issue.

    On Tuesday, Oct. 1, Kasem's kids staged a protest outside his Holmby Hills, Los Angeles estate with his brother, friends and former business associates, KABC reported. Kerri told the network Jean refuses to answer their calls and tells them to go away when they try to visit the home, despite the fact that their father's condition is "deteriorating."

    "I've got a feeling I might not see him again, and that's why I'm here," Kasem's brother, Mouner, who hasn't seen the star in a year, told KABC.

    Kerri told the New York Daily News that she and her siblings aren't interested in money, although they are not named as beneficiaries in their dad's will. They have good jobs and personal trust funds, and are only concerned about Kasem's well-being.

    "My dad is very sick, and we have been completely shut off from him for the last three months," the 41-year-old told the Daily News. "There is no money issue here, we just want to see our dad. We love him, and everyone knows his kids and grandkids are a source of joy for him."

    Jean allegedly called police on Tuesday in an attempt to get the protesters away from the house, TMZ reported.

    Danielly Silva Bikini Pictures Drop a Load of Brazilian Sextastic on Miami Beach

    Perhaps no other beach in the world plays host to so much worldwide hotness as Miami Beach. I remain committed to getting my lazy, but avariciously ogling self down to the South of Florida quite soon to take in these international sights through my eye owns. Feast the peeps upon the likes of Brazilian model Danielly Silva preening about in her bikini on Miami Beach.

    She is just so wicked fine, a prime example of the Brazilian hot model factory works that seems to push out greater and greater looking women, year after year.

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