"KEY WEST -- In Cuba’s North Basin, the Spanish company Repsol has begun risky exploration for oil and natural gas on a semi-submersible rig, now just 77 nautical miles from Key West and even closer to the ecologically sensitive Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. In a month or so, Repsol expects its drilling through 5,600 feet of seawater and about 14,000 feet of layered rock will reach the reservoir. That’s frightening for many who live and work along the island chain."
Central America & the Caribbean
"A mysterious epidemic is devastating the Pacific coast of Central America, killing more than 24,000 people in El Salvador and Nicaragua since 2000 and striking thousands of others with chronic kidney disease at rates unseen virtually anywhere else. Scientists say they have received reports of the phenomenon as far north as southern Mexico and as far south as Panama. ..."
"MIAMI -- The U.S. is not ready to handle an oil spill if drilling off the Cuban coast goes awry but can be better prepared with monitoring systems and other basic steps, experts told government officials Monday."
Two years after the earthquake in Haiti that took at least 250,000 lives and left many camping in the open, the outpouring of several billion dollars in aid from charitable organizations has done little to rebuild the country.
A mysterious kidney disease is killing hundreds of men yearly in Central America. The men are all sugar cane workers. Dehydration and heat stress from strenuous work are key contributing causes, but researchers suspect that exposure to an unknown toxic substance may be an important triggering factor also.
Sasha Chavkin and Ronnie Greene report for iWatch News (Center for Public Integrity) December 12, 2011.
"A federal agency announced Thursday that it had found no evidence that decades of live fire and bombing exercises by the Navy on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques had caused health problems documented among its residents."
"CANCUN, Mexico -- Authorities evacuated fishing communities on Mexico's resort-studded Caribbean coast and some tourists began to leave, as Hurricane Rina took aim at Cancun and the island of Cozumel on Wednesday."
"SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Ricans awoke to flooded and debris-strewn streets Monday following the overnight passage of Hurricane Irene, which next took aim at the Dominican Republic on a path that could take the storm to the U.S. by the end of the week."
"Tropical Storm Emily took aim at Haiti on Wednesday, threatening to add to the misery of a chronically poor nation struggling to recover from last year's devastating earthquake."
EHP is a world-renowned, peer-reviewed research journal with a news section. It's published monthly by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, with select translations for subscribers in China, Brazil, Mexico and Chile.