Nova Scotians should be mindful of blue-green algae blooms that may appear in rivers and lakes across the province during warm weather. Also known as pond scum, blue-green algae can be identified by its blueish green, grassy or soupy appearance on the water’s surface, and it may also produce a distinct odour. Although many forms of blue-green algae are harmless, some produce toxins which may pose a health risk for humans and animals. People should not swim in, drink from, or eat fish from water sources where the algae is present. Water contaminated with algae should not be used to prepare or cook food, and boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins. Algae blooms can occur naturally in the right conditions, or be caused by human activities that add nutrients to lakes or rivers. “The risk to health is fairly low, but if you develop symptoms that persist, you should consult a physician,” said Dr. Richard Gould, medical officer of health. If water containing algae is swallowed, symptoms may include stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Direct contact with skin from swimming may cause skin, nose, throat or eye irritations. Nova Scotians who suspect an algae bloom can report it to the provincial Department of Environment. For more information, visit the departments of Environment and Health and Wellness web sites at www.gov.ns.ca/nse/water/docs/BlueGreenAlgae.pdf and www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/environmental/ .
“Hostage-taking, torture and murder are war crimes,” said the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) in a briefing note released today. “Those responsible for committing, ordering or failing to prevent such crimes when in a position to do so are criminally liable, including in front of the International Criminal Court.”The note said that those abducted are usually at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, and are frequently denied any contact with their families. Some have died in custody, possibly summarily executed or tortured to death. “Abductions of civilians are perpetrated against the backdrop of ongoing fighting, deepening political crisis, terrorist attacks, the spread of the so-called Islamic State and other extremist groups, lawlessness and the breakdown of the criminal justice system, leaving victims and families with few avenues for redress,” the note said.The Mission underlined the commitment made by parties to the Libyan political dialogue to address the issue of those illegally detained and the mission, noting that a number of prisoner exchanges have taken place in recent days and months and calling on all those with effective control on the ground to refrain from abducting civilians, to immediately release all those held and to ensure the well-being of anyone deprived of their liberty.