COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - Sri Lanka's government says the death toll from flash floods and mudslides following three days of heavy rain across the country has climbed to 25, with another 14 people missing.
The Disaster Management Center said in a report Thursday that the floods have also destroyed more than 300 homes and displaced nearly 20,000 people.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - One of the most endangered whales in the world has washed up dead on a beach in northeast Florida. Marine officials said Wednesday that the 26-foot-long North Atlantic right whale washed up overnight on a beach near Palm Coast, about 65 miles south of Jacksonville. Federal marine official Barb Zoodsma says biologists aren't sure what caused the death.
A necropsy will be conducted on the beach since the 1-year-old whale is too large to move. The whale will then be buried on the beach. There are less than 400 North Atlantic right whales left in the world. The whales are found from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia. Pregnant females travel to waters off the southeast coast to give birth. Zoodsma says the dead whale wasn't old enough to reproduce.
BERLIN (AP) - German utilities say this year's share of renewable energies in the country's electricity production is forecast to rise some 15 percent on the year, largely on the back of a continuing solar-power boom.
Utilities' industry association BDEW said Tuesday the share of wind, solar and biomass power is expected to rise from 20 percent in 2011 to 23 percent this year.
Strong growth in new solar power installations - helped by subsidies - is expected to lead to a solar output surge of 47 percent to 28.5 billion kilowatt hours in 2011.
Germany decided last year to phase out nuclear power by 2022 and replace it with renewable energies. They're expected to produce 40 percent of the country's energy by then, and 80 percent by 2050.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York and six other states plan to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over methane emissions from oil and gas drilling. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman claims in a news release Tuesday that the EPA is violating the Clean Air Act by failing to address the emissions. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Other major sources come from landfills and livestock.
Howard Feldman, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, says the lawsuit "makes no sense" since the EPA has already passed rules on methane emissions. Federal climate researchers say they haven't yet seen signs that increased drilling is affecting global methane levels, but they're worried about the threat. Schneiderman says Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont joined in sending a required 60-day notice to EPA.
ATLANTA (AP) - Environmental regulators in Georgia are holding another meeting on how to speed up the issuance of environmental permits. A law passed this year requires the Environmental Protection Division to create a process to expedite permits for entities willing to pay a special fee.
The system takes effect July 1. Sen. Ross Tolleson, the bill sponsor, has said the measure will help alleviate a backlog. To speed up the process, the review of permits could be conducted by outside firms. Some environmental watchdog groups fear that will lead to conflicts of interests. The EPD's air protection branch plans to hold a meeting Tuesday on how to implement the law. The workshop is free, but registration is required.
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