Saturday, October 01, 2005

Paris Hilton, Greek Heir End Engagement

Paris Hilton, Greek Heir End Engagement

By Associated Press
Sat Oct 1, 1:21 AM

LOS ANGELES - Paris Hilton has ended her five-month engagement to a Greek shipping heir. The celebutante-turned-model broke off the wedding plans with Paris Latsis, according to a report posted Friday on Us Weekly's Web site, which quoted a statement it said Hilton released to the magazine.

"I'm sad to announce that I've called off my engagement. Over the last couple months I've realized that this is the right decision for me. We remain best of friends, and I'll always love him. I hope people will respect my privacy during this emotional time," Hilton told the magazine.

Hilton's publicist did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press.

Hilton, 24 and Latsis, 22, became engaged in the spring.

"I'm so in love and grateful to have found such an honest and loyal person," she told Us Weekly at the time. "I feel like we were meant to be, and I'm happy to have found someone to spend the rest of my life with. He's amazing in every way."

Latsis gave the 24-year-old hotel heiress a 24 carat, $5 million diamond engagement ring. It was not immediately clear what would happen to the ring.


On the Net:

Roberts Starts Work at Supreme Court

Roberts Starts Work at Supreme Court

Fri Sep 30,11:08 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Chief Justice John Roberts was getting ready for his first bench appearance and dealing with personnel matters on Friday, his first day on the job.

Roberts, 50, was confirmed by the Senate a day earlier as the nation's youngest chief justice in two centuries.

His new office suite in the Supreme Court faces away from the Capitol. The space had also been used by William H. Rehnquist, the chief justice who died on Sept. 3 after a yearlong battle with thyroid cancer.

Roberts has asked Rehnquist's staff to stay, and he has hired Rehnquist's three law clerks. In addition, he will bring two law clerks and a secretary from his previous job as an appeals court judge.

Roberts, who had been a Supreme Court law clerk in 1980-81, made the rounds of the court on Friday, greeting employees.

One of his first actions was to make public his policy for dealing with cases in which a relative is a lawyer. Roberts, whose wife is a partner at a Washington law firm, said he would follow the recusal practice used by most of the other justices. The justices stay out of cases if they have a direct financial interest, through the relative.

Among Roberts' first duties Monday will be presiding over arguments in two cases.


On the Net:

Supreme Court:

Carson Desk to Head for Auction Block

Carson Desk to Head for Auction Block

Thu Sep 29, 7:53 AM ET

DALLAS - The rosewood desk Johnny Carson sat behind for countless celebrity interviews is among several "Tonight Show" items headed for the auction block.

"If the microphone was his pen and sword, the desk was his field of battle," said Doug Norwine, director of Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers' music and entertainment memorabilia. "This is a desk with a story."

In April, Heritage Galleries sold Carson's on-air microphone at auction for $50,787.

Among the unique features of the gold-colored, inlaid top desk: a hidden, sliding ashtray holder Carson used to conceal his lit cigarettes; a trash bin; and a lining of orange shag carpet with a burn mark from the time Carson set fire to his index cards after his jokes kept tanking.

Carson, who hosted "The Tonight Show" from 1962 to 1992, used the desk between 1974 and 1981. He died in January at age 79.

The auction will be held on Oct. 8. A minimum reserve won't be announced until seven days before the auction.

Other memorabilia up for grabs: a studio clock, a 3-foot-square section of flooring Carson stood on to deliver his monologue from August 1985 to May 1992, and audio recordings he made in 1949 at the University of Nebraska for his senior thesis, "How to Write Comedy for Radio."

Norwine said the items were consigned by "someone connected to the entertainment industry" who wants to remain anonymous.


On the Net:

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Overdue Credit Card Bills Hit Record High

Overdue Credit Card Bills Hit Record High

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer
Wed Sep 28, 7:01 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Charge it! That familiar refrain is producing an unwanted response for more Americans: Your bill is overdue! Surging energy prices, low personal savings and the higher cost of borrowing have combined to produce a record level of overdue credit card bills.

The American Bankers Association reported Wednesday that the percentage of credit card accounts 30 or more days past due climbed to an all-time high of 4.81 percent in the April-to-June period. It could grow in the months ahead, experts said.

The previous high of 4.76 percent came during the first three months of the year, in keeping with a generally steady rise over the past several years.

"The last two quarters have not been pretty," said Jim Chessen, the association's chief economist.

Chessen and other analysts mostly blamed high prices for gasoline and other energy products, but said that low savings and higher borrowing costs also played a role.

"The rise in gas prices is really stretching budgets to the breaking point for some people," Chessen said. "Gas prices are taking huge chunks out of wallets, leaving some individuals with little left to meet their financial obligations."

Pump prices were high before hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast. After Katrina, prices jumped past $3 a gallon. Prices have moderated since but remain high.

The personal savings rate dipped to a record low of negative 0.6 percent in July. The negative percentage means that people did not have enough left over after paying their taxes to cover all of their spending in July. As a result, they dipped into savings to cover the shortfall.

When people have less money available money to pay for energy costs or emergencies such as a big car repair, many resort to credit. That option is getting more expensive, too.

The Federal Reserve has been tightening credit since June 2004. That has caused commercial banks' prime lending rate to rise to 6.75 percent, the highest in four years. These rates are used for many short-term consumer loans, including credit cards and popular home equity lines of credit.

Late payments may be bad news for consumers, but credit card companies do not necessarily mind them because late fees are a source of revenue.

"Credit card companies are increasingly addicted to their fees," said Daniel Ray, editor-in-chief at, an online financial service. "Six years ago, all fees — including late fees — contributed only a minor portion to overall revenue. Today it accounts for more than 30 percent."

About half of all credit problems stem from poor money management. Credit problems due to the loss of a job, sickness or divorce play less of a role, said personal finance expert Susan Tiffany, director of consumer publishing at the Credit Union National Association.

"That tells us people have some ability to do a better job. They are not completely helpless in the situation, and that's good," said Tiffany, whose trade group also is involved in efforts to improve people's financial literacy.

Getting back on the road to financial health takes discipline and hard choices about what can be cut back or eliminated. If credit card problems are plaguing a family, all the members should work together to come up with a plan and pare down spending.

From an economic perspective, the current rise in delinquent credit card payments is not overly worrisome. But if the trend were to continue for a sustained period, it could spell trouble for the overall economy, said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Bank of America's Investment Strategies Group.

"It's a flashing yellow light that we need to watch," she said.


On the Net:

American Bankers Association:


Bill's Comment: DUH!

Brown Blames 'Dysfunctional' Louisiana

Brown Blames 'Dysfunctional' Louisiana

By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer
Tue Sep 27,12:30 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Former FEMA director Michael Brown aggressively defended his role in responding to Hurricane Katrina on Tuesday and blamed most coordination failures on Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

He also said that in the days before the storm, he expressed his concerns that "this is going to be a bad one" in phone conversations and e-mails with President Bush, White House chief of staff Andy Card and deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin.

And he blamed the Department of Homeland Security, the parent agency for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for not acquiring better equipment ahead of the storm.

His efforts to shift blame drew sharp criticism from Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike.

"I'm happy you left," said Rep. Christopher Shays (news, bio, voting record), R-Conn. "That kind of look in the lights like a deer tells me you weren't capable of doing that job."

Rep. Gene Taylor (news, bio, voting record), D-Miss., told Brown: "The disconnect was, people thought there was some federal expertise out there. There wasn't. Not from you."

Brown appeared before a special congressional panel set up by House Republican leaders to investigate the catastrophe.

"My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional," two days before the storm hit, Brown told the panel.

Brown, who for many became a symbol of government failures in the natural disaster that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, rejected accusations that he was too inexperienced for the job.

"I've overseen over 150 presidentially declared disasters. I know what I'm doing, and I think I do a pretty darn good job of it," he said.

Brown resigned as the head of FEMA earlier this month after being removed by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff from responsibility in the stricken areas. Brown will remain on the FEMA payroll for two more weeks, advising the agency, said Russ Knocke, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security.

Brown, who joined FEMA in 2001 and ran it for more than two years, was previously an attorney who held several local government and private posts, including leading the International Arabian Horse Association.

Brown's testimony drew a scathing response from Rep. William Jefferson (news, bio, voting record), D-La.

"I find it absolutely stunning that this hearing would start out with you, Mr. Brown, laying the blame for FEMA's failings at the feet of the governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans."

And in a testy exchange, Shays compared Brown's performance unfavorably with that of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"So I guess you want me to be the superhero, to step in there and take everyone out of New Orleans," Brown said.

"What I wanted you to do is do your job and coordinate," Shays retorted.

"I'm happy to be called not a Rudy Giuliani...a scapegoat ... if it means that FEMA that I knew when I came here is going to be able to be reborn," Brown said.

Criticized by Shays for not acquiring better equipment in advance that would have let different emergency agencies communicate with each other, Brown blamed the Department of Homeland Security.

"We put that money in our budget request and it was removed by the Department of Homeland Security" before the budget was finalized, he said.

Brown also said he was "just tired and misspoke" when a television interviewer appeared to be the first to tell him that there were desperate residents at the New Orleans Convention Center.

Brown testified that he had already learned, one day before the interview, that people were flocking to the center.

Brown in his opening statement said he had made several "specific mistakes" in dealing with the storm, and listed two.

One, he said, was not having more media briefings.

As to the other, he said: "I very strongly personally regret that I was unable to persuade Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin to sit down, get over their differences, and work together. I just couldn't pull that off."

Both Blanco and Nagin are Democrats.

In Baton Rouge, La., Blanco's press secretary, Denise Bottcher, ridiculed Brown's line of attack. "Mike Brown wasn't engaged then, and he surely isn't now. He should have been watching CNN instead of the Disney Channel," Bottcher said.

"The people of FEMA are being tired of being beat up, and they don't deserve it," Brown said.

The hearing was largely boycotted by Democrats, who want an independent investigation conducted into government failures, not one run by congressional Republicans.

But several Democrats from the stricken region, including Jefferson and Taylor, attended.

Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., cautioned against too narrowly assigning blame.

"At the end of the day, I suspect that we'll find that government at all levels failed the people of Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama and the Gulf Coast," said Davis.

He pushed Brown on what he and the agency he led should have done to evacuate New Orleans, restore order in the city and improve communication among law enforcement agencies.

Brown said: "Those are not FEMA roles. FEMA doesn't evacuate communities. FEMA does not do law enforcement. FEMA does not do communications."

In part of his testimony, Brown pumped his hand up and down for emphasis.

Brown said the lack of a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans before the storm was "the tipping point for all the other things that went wrong." Brown said he had personally pushed Louisiana Gov. Blanco to order such an evacuation.

He did not have the authority to order the city evacuated on his own, Brown said.

When asked by Rep. Harold Rogers (news, bio, voting record), R-Ky, whether the lack of an ordered evacuation was "the proximate cause of most people's misery," Brown said, "Yes."

Monday, September 26, 2005

Don Adams of 'Get Smart' Dies at 82

Don Adams of 'Get Smart' Dies at 82

By BOB THOMAS, Associated Press Writer
Mon Sep 26, 6:46 PM ET

LOS ANGELES - Don Adams, the wry-voiced comedian who starred as the fumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart in the 1960s TV spoof of James Bond movies, "Get Smart," has died. He was 82.

Adams died of a lung infection late Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his friend and former agent Bruce Tufeld said Monday, adding that the actor broke his hip a year ago and had been in ill health since.

As the inept Agent 86 of the super-secret federal agency CONTROL, Adams captured TV viewers with his antics in combatting the evil agents of KAOS. When his explanations failed to convince the villains or his boss, he tried another tack:

"Would you believe ... ?"

It became a national catchphrase.

Smart was also prone to spilling things on the desk or person of his boss — the Chief (actor Edward Platt). Smart's apologetic "Sorry about that, chief" also entered the American lexicon.

The spy gadgets, which aped those of the Bond movies, were a popular feature, especially the pre-cellphone telephone in a shoe.

Smart's beautiful partner, Agent 99, played by Barbara Feldon, was as brainy as he was dense, and a plot romance led to marriage and the birth of twins later in the series.

"He had this prodigious energy, so as an actor working with him it was like being plugged into an electric current," Feldon said from New York. "He would start and a scene would just take off and you were there for the ride. It was great fun acting with him."

Adams was very intelligent, she said, a quality that suited the satiric show that had comedy geniuses Mel Brooks and Buck Henry behind it.

"He wrote poetry, he had an interest in history ... He had that other side to him that does not come through Maxwell Smart," she said. "Don in person was anything but bumbling."

Adams had an "amazing memory" that allowed him to take an unusual approach to filming, Feldon said.

Instead of learning his lines ahead of time he would have a script assistant read his part to him just once or twice. He invariably got it right but that didn't stop people from placing bets on it, she recounted.

Adams, who had been under contract to NBC, was lukewarm about doing a spy spoof. When he learned that Brooks and Henry had written the pilot script, he accepted immediately. "Get Smart" debuted on NBC in September 1965 and scored No. 12 among the season's most-watched series and No. 22 in its second season.

"Get Smart" twice won the Emmy for best comedy series with three Emmys for Adams as comedy actor.

CBS picked up the show but the ratings fell off as the jokes seemed repetitive, and it was canceled after four seasons. The show lived on in syndication and a cartoon series. In 1995 the Fox network revived the series with Smart as chief and 99 as a congresswoman. It lasted seven episodes.

Adams never had another showcase to display his comic talent.

"It was a special show that became a cult classic of sorts, and I made a lot of money for it," he remarked of "Get Smart" in a 1995 interview. "But it also hindered me career-wise because I was typed. The character was so strong, particularly because of that distinctive voice, that nobody could picture me in any other type of role."

He was born Donald James Yarmy in New York City on April 13, 1923, Tufeld said, although some sources say 1926 or '27. The actor's father was a Hungarian Jew who ran a few small restaurants in the Bronx.

In a 1959 interview Adams said he never cared about being funny as a kid: "Sometimes I wonder how I got into comedy at all. I did movie star impressions as a kid in high school. Somehow they just got out of hand."

In 1941, he dropped out of school to join the Marines. In Guadalcanal he survived the deadly blackwater fever and was returned to the States to become a drill instructor, acquiring the clipped delivery that served him well as a comedian.

After the war he worked in New York as a commercial artist by day, doing standup comedy in clubs at night, taking the surname of his first wife, Adelaide Adams. His following grew, and soon he was appearing on the Ed Sullivan and late-night TV shows. Bill Dana, who had helped him develop comedy routines, cast him as his sidekick on Dana's show. That led to the NBC contract and "Get Smart."

Adams, who married and divorced three times and had seven children, served as the voice for the popular cartoon series, "Inspector Gadget" as well as the voice of Tennessee Tuxedo. In 1980, he appeared as Maxwell Smart in a feature film, "The Nude Bomb," about a madman whose bomb destroyed people's clothing.

Tufeld said funeral arrangements were incomplete.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Natural hazards


damaging earthquakes occur in Hindu Kush mountains; flooding; droughts


destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought


mountainous areas subject to severe earthquakes; mudslides and floods in rainy season

American Samoa

typhoons common from December to March




locally heavy rainfall causes periodic flooding on the plateau


frequent hurricanes and other tropical storms (July to October)


katabatic (gravity-driven) winds blow coastward from the high interior; frequent blizzards form near the foot of the plateau; cyclonic storms form over the ocean and move clockwise along the coast; volcanism on Deception Island and isolated areas of West Antarctica; other seismic activity rare and weak; large icebergs may calve from ice shelf

Antigua and Barbuda

hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October); periodic droughts

Arctic Ocean

ice islands occasionally break away from northern Ellesmere Island; icebergs calved from glaciers in western Greenland and extreme northeastern Canada; permafrost in islands; virtually ice locked from October to June; ships subject to superstructure icing from October to May


San Miguel de Tucuman and Mendoza areas in the Andes subject to earthquakes; pamperos are violent windstorms that can strike the Pampas and northeast; heavy flooding


occasionally severe earthquakes; droughts


lies outside the Caribbean hurricane belt

Ashmore and Cartier Islands

surrounded by shoals and reefs that can pose maritime hazards

Atlantic Ocean

icebergs common in Davis Strait, Denmark Strait, and the northwestern Atlantic Ocean from February to August and have been spotted as far south as Bermuda and the Madeira Islands; ships subject to superstructure icing in extreme northern Atlantic from October to May; persistent fog can be a maritime hazard from May to September; hurricanes (May to December)


cyclones along the coast; severe droughts; forest fires


landslides; avalanches; earthquakes



Bahamas, The

hurricanes and other tropical storms cause extensive flood and wind damage


periodic droughts; dust storms

Baker Island

the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard


droughts, cyclones; much of the country routinely inundated during the summer monsoon season


infrequent hurricanes; periodic landslides

Bassas da India

maritime hazard since it is usually under water during high tide and surrounded by reefs; subject to periodic cyclones




flooding is a threat in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes


frequent, devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south)


hot, dry, dusty harmattan wind may affect north from December to March


hurricanes (June to November)


violent storms from the Himalayas are the source of the country's name which translates as Land of the Thunder Dragon; frequent landslides during the rainy season


flooding in the northeast (March-April)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

destructive earthquakes


periodic droughts; seasonal August winds blow from the west, carrying sand and dust across the country, which can obscure visibility

Bouvet Island



recurring droughts in northeast; floods and occasional frost in south

British Indian Ocean Territory


British Virgin Islands

hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October)


typhoons, earthquakes, and severe flooding are very rare


earthquakes, landslides

Burkina Faso

recurring droughts


destructive earthquakes and cyclones; flooding and landslides common during rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts


flooding, landslides, drought


monsoonal rains (June to November); flooding; occasional droughts


volcanic activity with periodic releases of poisonous gases from Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun volcanoes


continuous permafrost in north is a serious obstacle to development; cyclonic storms form east of the Rocky Mountains, a result of the mixing of air masses from the Arctic, Pacific, and North American interior, and produce most of the country's rain and snow east of the mountains

Cape Verde

prolonged droughts; seasonal harmattan wind produces obscuring dust; volcanically and seismically active

Cayman Islands

hurricanes (July to November)

Central African Republic

hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds affect northern areas; floods are common


hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds occur in north; periodic droughts; locust plagues


severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis


frequent typhoons (about five per year along southern and eastern coasts); damaging floods; tsunamis; earthquakes; droughts; land subsidence

Christmas Island

the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard

Clipperton Island


Cocos (Keeling) Islands

cyclone season is October to April


highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts


cyclones possible during rainy season (December to April); Le Kartala on Grand Comore is an active volcano

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

periodic droughts in south; Congo River floods (seasonal); in the east, in the Great Rift Valley, there are active volcanoes

Congo, Republic of the

seasonal flooding

Cook Islands

typhoons (November to March)

Coral Sea Islands

occasional tropical cyclones

Costa Rica

occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season and landslides; active volcanoes

Cote d'Ivoire

coast has heavy surf and no natural harbors; during the rainy season torrential flooding is possible


destructive earthquakes


the east coast is subject to hurricanes from August to October (in general, the country averages about one hurricane every other year); droughts are common


moderate earthquake activity; droughts

Czech Republic



flooding is a threat in some areas of the country (e.g., parts of Jutland, along the southern coast of the island of Lolland) that are protected from the sea by a system of dikes


earthquakes; droughts; occasional cyclonic disturbances from the Indian Ocean bring heavy rains and flash floods


flash floods are a constant threat; destructive hurricanes can be expected during the late summer months

Dominican Republic

lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding; periodic droughts

East Timor

floods and landslides are common; earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones


frequent earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity; floods; periodic droughts


periodic droughts; frequent earthquakes, flash floods, landslides; hot, driving windstorm called khamsin occurs in spring; dust storms, sandstorms

El Salvador

known as the Land of Volcanoes; frequent and sometimes very destructive earthquakes and volcanic activity; extremely susceptible to hurricanes

Equatorial Guinea

violent windstorms, flash floods


frequent droughts; locust swarms


sometimes flooding occurs in the spring


geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts

Europa Island


Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

strong winds persist throughout the year

Faroe Islands



cyclonic storms can occur from November to January




flooding; avalanches; midwinter windstorms; drought; forest fires in south near the Mediterranean

French Guiana

high frequency of heavy showers and severe thunderstorms; flooding

French Polynesia

occasional cyclonic storms in January

French Southern and Antarctic Lands

Ile Amsterdam and Ile Saint-Paul are extinct volcanoes



Gambia, The

drought (rainfall has dropped by 30% in the last 30 years)

Gaza Strip







dry, dusty, northeastern harmattan winds occur from January to March; droughts



Glorioso Islands

periodic cyclones


severe earthquakes


continuous permafrost over northern two-thirds of the island


lies on edge of hurricane belt; hurricane season lasts from June to November


hurricanes (June to October); Soufriere de Guadeloupe is an active volcano


frequent squalls during rainy season; relatively rare, but potentially very destructive typhoons (June - December)


numerous volcanoes in mountains, with occasional violent earthquakes; Caribbean coast extremely susceptible to hurricanes and other tropical storms




hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season


hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season; brush fires


flash floods are a constant threat during rainy seasons


lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding and earthquakes; periodic droughts

Heard Island and McDonald Islands

Mawson Peak, an active volcano, is on Heard Island

Holy See (Vatican City)



frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast

Hong Kong

occasional typhoons

Howland Island

the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard


earthquakes and volcanic activity


droughts; flash floods, as well as widespread and destructive flooding from monsoonal rains; severe thunderstorms; earthquakes

Indian Ocean

occasional icebergs pose navigational hazard in southern reaches


occasional floods, severe droughts, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, forest fires


periodic droughts, floods; dust storms, sandstorms; earthquakes along western border and in the northeast


dust storms, sandstorms, floods




sandstorms may occur during spring and summer; droughts; periodic earthquakes


regional risks include landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding; land subsidence in Venice


hurricanes (especially July to November)

Jan Mayen

dominated by the volcano Haakon VII Toppen/Beerenberg; volcanic activity resumed in 1970


many dormant and some active volcanoes; about 1,500 seismic occurrences (mostly tremors) every year; tsunamis; typhoons

Jarvis Island

the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island poses a maritime hazard



Johnston Atoll



droughts; periodic earthquakes

Juan de Nova Island

periodic cyclones


earthquakes in the south, mudslides around Almaty


recurring drought; flooding during rainy seasons

Kingman Reef

wet or awash most of the time, maximum elevation of about 1 meter makes Kingman Reef a maritime hazard


typhoons can occur any time, but usually November to March; occasional tornadoes; low level of some of the islands make them very sensitive to changes in sea level

Korea, North

late spring droughts often followed by severe flooding; occasional typhoons during the early fall

Korea, South

occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods; low-level seismic activity common in southwest


sudden cloudbursts are common from October to April; they bring heavy rain which can damage roads and houses; sandstorms and dust storms occur throughout the year, but are most common between March and August




floods, droughts




dust storms, sandstorms


periodic droughts


dust-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to March)


hot, dry, dust-laden ghibli is a southern wind lasting one to four days in spring and fall; dust storms, sandstorms









Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of

high seismic risks


periodic cyclones




flooding, landslides, forest fires


low level of islands makes them very sensitive to sea level rise


hot, dust-laden harmattan haze common during dry seasons; recurring droughts; occasional Niger River flooding



Man, Isle of


Marshall Islands

infrequent typhoons


hurricanes, flooding, and volcanic activity (an average of one major natural disaster every five years)


hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind blows primarily in March and April; periodic droughts


cyclones (November to April); almost completely surrounded by reefs that may pose maritime hazards


cyclones during rainy season


tsunamis along the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes in the center and south, and hurricanes on the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coasts

Micronesia, Federated States of

typhoons (June to December)

Midway Islands



landslides (57 cases in 1998)




dust storms, grassland and forest fires, drought, and "zud", which is harsh winter conditions


severe hurricanes (June to November); volcanic eruptions (Soufriere Hills volcano has erupted continuously since 1996)


northern mountains geologically unstable and subject to earthquakes; periodic droughts


severe droughts; devastating cyclones and floods occur in central and southern provinces


prolonged periods of drought


periodic droughts

Navassa Island



severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons



Netherlands Antilles

Curacao and Bonaire are south of Caribbean hurricane belt and are rarely threatened; Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are subject to hurricanes from July to October

New Caledonia

cyclones, most frequent from November to March

New Zealand

earthquakes are common, though usually not severe; volcanic activity


destructive earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides; extremely susceptible to hurricanes


recurring droughts


periodic droughts; flooding



Norfolk Island

typhoons (especially May to July)

Northern Mariana Islands

active volcanoes on Pagan and Agrihan; typhoons (especially August to November)


rockslides, avalanches


summer winds often raise large sandstorms and dust storms in interior; periodic droughts

Pacific Ocean

surrounded by a zone of violent volcanic and earthquake activity sometimes referred to as the "Pacific Ring of Fire"; subject to tropical cyclones (typhoons) in southeast and east Asia from May to December (most frequent from July to October); tropical cyclones (hurricanes) may form south of Mexico and strike Central America and Mexico from June to October (most common in August and September); cyclical El Nino/La Nina phenomenon occurs in the equatorial Pacific, influencing weather in the Western Hemisphere and the western Pacific; ships subject to superstructure icing in extreme north from October to May; persistent fog in the northern Pacific can be a maritime hazard from June to December


frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe especially in north and west; flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August)


typhoons (June to December)

Palmyra Atoll



occasional severe storms and forest fires in the Darien area

Papua New Guinea

active volcanism; situated along the Pacific "Ring of Fire"; the country is subject to frequent and sometimes severe earthquakes; mud slides; tsunamis

Paracel Islands



local flooding in southeast (early September to June); poorly drained plains may become boggy (early October to June)


earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, landslides, mild volcanic activity


astride typhoon belt, usually affected by 15 and struck by five to six cyclonic storms per year; landslides; active volcanoes; destructive earthquakes; tsunamis

Pitcairn Islands

typhoons (especially November to March)




Azores subject to severe earthquakes

Puerto Rico

periodic droughts; hurricanes


haze, dust storms, sandstorms common


periodic, devastating cyclones (December to April); Piton de la Fournaise on the southeastern coast is an active volcano


earthquakes, most severe in south and southwest; geologic structure and climate promote landslides


permafrost over much of Siberia is a major impediment to development; volcanic activity in the Kuril Islands; volcanoes and earthquakes on the Kamchatka Peninsula


periodic droughts; the volcanic Virunga mountains are in the northwest along the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo

Saint Helena

active volcanism on Tristan da Cunha

Saint Kitts and Nevis

hurricanes (July to October)

Saint Lucia

hurricanes and volcanic activity

Saint Pierre and Miquelon

persistent fog throughout the year can be a maritime hazard

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

hurricanes; Soufriere volcano on the island of Saint Vincent is a constant threat


occasional typhoons; active volcanism

San Marino


Sao Tome and Principe


Saudi Arabia

frequent sand and dust storms


lowlands seasonally flooded; periodic droughts


lies outside the cyclone belt, so severe storms are rare; short droughts possible

Sierra Leone

dry, sand-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to February); sandstorms, dust storms






flooding and earthquakes

Solomon Islands

typhoons, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earth tremors; volcanic activity


recurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer; floods during rainy season

South Africa

prolonged droughts

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

the South Sandwich Islands have prevailing weather conditions that generally make them difficult to approach by ship; they are also subject to active volcanism

Southern Ocean

huge icebergs with drafts up to several hundred meters; smaller bergs and iceberg fragments; sea ice (generally 0.5 to 1 meter thick) with sometimes dynamic short-term variations and with large annual and interannual variations; deep continental shelf floored by glacial deposits varying widely over short distances; high winds and large waves much of the year; ship icing, especially May-October; most of region is remote from sources of search and rescue


periodic droughts

Spratly Islands

typhoons; serious maritime hazard because of numerous reefs and shoals

Sri Lanka

occasional cyclones and tornadoes


dust storms and periodic persistent droughts




ice floes often block the entrance to Bellsund (a transit point for coal export) on the west coast and occasionally make parts of the northeastern coast inaccessible to maritime traffic




ice floes in the surrounding waters, especially in the Gulf of Bothnia, can interfere with maritime traffic


avalanches, landslides, flash floods


dust storms, sandstorms


earthquakes and typhoons


earthquakes and floods


flooding on the central plateau during the rainy season; drought


land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts


hot, dry harmattan wind can reduce visibility in north during winter; periodic droughts


lies in Pacific typhoon belt


cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafo'ou

Trinidad and Tobago

outside usual path of hurricanes and other tropical storms

Tromelin Island





very severe earthquakes, especially in northern Turkey, along an arc extending from the Sea of Marmara to Lake Van



Turks and Caicos Islands

frequent hurricanes


severe tropical storms are usually rare, but, in 1997, there were three cyclones; low level of islands make them very sensitive to changes in sea level





United Arab Emirates

frequent sand and dust storms

United Kingdom

winter windstorms; floods

United States

tsunamis, volcanoes, and earthquake activity around Pacific Basin; hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts; tornadoes in the midwest and southeast; mud slides in California; forest fires in the west; flooding; permafrost in northern Alaska, a major impediment to development


seasonally high winds (the pampero is a chilly and occasional violent wind which blows north from the Argentine pampas), droughts, floods; because of the absence of mountains, which act as weather barriers, all locations are particularly vulnerable to rapid changes from weather fronts




tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April); volcanism causes minor earthquakes; tsunamis


subject to floods, rockslides, mudslides; periodic droughts


occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding, especially in the Mekong River delta

Virgin Islands

several hurricanes in recent years; frequent and severe droughts and floods; occasional earthquakes

Wake Island

occasional typhoons

Wallis and Futuna


West Bank


Western Sahara

hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind can occur during winter and spring; widespread harmattan haze exists 60% of time, often severely restricting visibility


large areas subject to severe weather (tropical cyclones), natural disasters (earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions)


sandstorms and dust storms in summer


destructive earthquakes


tropical storms (November to April)


recurring droughts; floods and severe storms are rare