Countries around the world are trying to cope with climatic catastrophe, as a big freeze chills Europe and North America, Brazil recovers from torrential rains, bushfires blaze in an Australian heatwave and Saudis pray for rain. North America was plunged into an intense cold front that buried Buffalo and sent 3 feet of snow to New York.

In Europe, the chill has claimed hundreds of lives. A winter cold snap in Poland has killed 178 people since October, well above the 112 killed by the cold last year. Authorities in Bulgaria declared a state of emergency after the worst snowfalls in 30 years. Moscow authorities said three people died in the sub-zero temperatures, bringing to 250 the number to perish in the city?s chill this winter.

The National Audubon Society?s annual Christmas Bird Count shows that birds are being spotted in places hundreds and even thousands of miles from their traditional habitats. It may be due to the changing weather, but scientists can?t really explain it. ?It?s shaping up to be very interesting,? says Geoff LeBaron, the national coordinator for the annual Christmas-time tally.

The Christmas Bird Count, now in its 102nd year, tracks changes in the continent?s bird populations over the years by using local birders who look for birds in 15-mile diameter circles between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5. So far this year, more than 50,000 participants have logged more than 1.8 million birds from the Caribbean Islands to Nome, Alaska.

The U.S. Marines have a new nonlethal weapon: spray-on slime. The Mobility Denial System consists of a milky-white, non-hazardous anti-traction gel that is sprayed out over the desired area in a 1/8-inch thickness to form an impenetrable barrier.

The military is always looking for new ways to handle situations without deadly force, Marine Corps Major Guillermo Canedo says, and this can help with crowd control, riots, protesters, and guarding buildings and sensitive areas, such as embassies.

Scientists at San Antonio?s Southwest Research Institute were hired by the Marines to develop the anti-gravity goo. ?The idea is to put it on surfaces like walkways, stairs, banisters, buildings…there?s no limit,? says Ronald Mathis, principal engineer on the project.

In 1999, Shaun Arrigo, a producer of underwater documentaries, along with the German archaeologist Hubert Zeitlmair, discovered what may be underwater temples off the northeast coast of Malta. He can?t understand why the Museums Department of Malta has ?totally ignored? his discovery and has left it ?unprotected.?

Despite this official disinterest, the Malta Tourism Authority has sponsored a seminar on the underwater temples called Discovering the Mysterious Past of Ancient Malta, with the participation of top international experts in the field.

The National Museum of Archaeology has received a report by author Anton Mifsud, saying that these are man-made. Mifsud is the author of ?Malta: Echoes of Plato?s Island,? which shows that Malta could be Atlantis.