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oceans

Mystic Aquarium

Three beluga whales have been spotted off Rhode Island's coast in Narragansett Bay, a bizarre diversion for a species generally found much farther north. 

The European Union has presented a proposal to the United Nations aiming to stem the flood of migrants from the Middle East and Africa to Europe. The plan includes seizing and destroying the boats that smugglers are using to transport the migrants across the Mediterranean Sea. The EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, briefed the U.N. Security Council on the proposal Monday morning. "We need to count on your support to save lives," Mogherini told council members.

A 110-pound silver ingot thought to be from the treasure of Capt. William Kidd — the notorious 17th century Scottish pirate who was ultimately hanged for his misdeeds — has been brought up from the shallows off Madagascar's eastern coast.

The discovery was made by the American underwater explorer Barry Clifford near the island of Sainte Marie, which itself lies just off Madagascar.

The United States issued licenses for ferry service between the United States and Cuba for the first time in five decades.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports the Treasury Department issued at least four licenses to companies that want to establish ferry service to Cuba from Key West, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and perhaps even Tampa.

The paper reports:

The European Union is holding an emergency meeting Monday about the deadly capsizing of a boat crowded with would-be migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. With 28 survivors reported and 24 bodies recovered, only a fraction of the hundreds of people who were reportedly on board are accounted for.

Seven named storms, three hurricanes — one of them major.

That's the early prediction for the 2015 Atlantic basin hurricane season by Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Sciences. If the forecast pans out, it would be one of the quietest seasons in decades.

Updated at 9:35 a.m. ET

In late January, Louis Jordan sailed away from the South Carolina coast aboard his 35-foot sailboat. More than two months later, almost given up for dead, he was rescued 200 miles off Cape Hatteras.

In 66 days at sea, Jordan survived by catching fish and drinking rainwater, he told his rescuers after being spotted by and taken aboard the German-flagged container ship Houston Express.

Some of the seafood that winds up in American grocery stores, in restaurants, even in cat food may have been caught by Burmese slaves. That's the conclusion of a yearlong investigation by The Associated Press.

The AP discovered and interviewed dozens of men being held against their will on Benjina, a remote Indonesian island, which serves as the base for a trawler fleet that fishes in the area.

The Antarctic is far away, freezing and buried under a patchwork of ice sheets and glaciers. But a warming climate is altering that mosaic in unpredictable ways — research published Thursday shows that the pace of change in parts of the Antarctic is accelerating.

Officials in Vanuatu are still assessing damage from what President Baldwin Lonsdale says was "a monster" — Cyclone Pam, a strong storm that hit the small nation in the South Pacific with winds that damaged or destroyed 90 percent of the buildings in the capital, Lonsdale says.

"This is a very devastating cyclone in Vanuatu. I term it as a monster, a monster," he said. "It's a setback for the government and for the people of Vanuatu. After all the development that has taken place, all this development has been wiped out."

Evan Schuurman / Save The Children

Two Connecticut-based agencies are responding to Cyclone Pam. The monster storm is believed to have left widespread destruction and killed an unknown number of residents on the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu. 

A ship full of marine scientists is floating over the deepest part of the world: the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. They're sending down probes to study life in one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

This week the researchers are targeting the two deepest spots in the trench — the Sirena Deep and the Challenger Deep — which each extend down about 7 miles beneath the ocean's surface.

The latest word from scientists studying the Arctic is that the polar region is warming twice as fast as the average rise on the rest of the planet. And researchers say the trend isn't letting up. That's the latest from the 2014 Arctic Report Card — a compilation of recent research from more than 60 scientists in 13 countries. The report was released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it has found the remains of a 19th century passenger steamer that sank near the present-day Golden Gate Bridge at the entrance to San Francisco Bay, killing 128 people, mostly immigrants from China and Japan.

Inbound from Hong Kong, the City of Rio de Janeiro, which came to be known as the "Titanic of the Golden Gate," went down in dense fog after hitting submerged rocks early on the morning of Feb. 22, 1901.

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