Thursday, June 2, 2011

KILLER GERM: E. COLI Superbug - First Outbreak of 'Rare' Microbe?!

With an increase in the daily death toll and thousands of new cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared today, that the strain of a lethal bacteria that has killed 18 people in Europe is "very rare" and had never been seen in an outbreak form before.

"This strain isolated from cases in the infection outbreak in Germany has never been seen in an outbreak before," Gregory Hartl, the WHO spokesman, said. "It has been seen in sporadic cases and is very rare," he added. The European Union's watchdog for disease prevention said Thursday that lab tests had identified the strain of a lethal E. coli germ that had caused an amplifying food scare. In a statement, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said the "causative agent" was a member of a group of bacterial strains called Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, or STEC. Eighteen people have been killed in Europe -- 17 of them in Germany and one in Sweden -- and more than 2,000 have fallen sick from the bug since Germany first sounded the alarm on May 22, according to a toll compiled by AFP on Thursday from national health authorities. Roughly two thirds of confirmed cases have been found in women and the bacteria has not yet been detected in anyone under younger than 20 years. Health officials have so far failed to pinpoint the origin of the outbreak. Initial speculation that cucumbers from Spain were the culprit has been discarded and Spain on Thursday demanded a payback for its farmers. Farmers across Europe face have been dealt a death blow amid official warnings that to avoid raw vegetables. Britain reported seven cases of the mysterious lethal bacteria on Thursday, including three people who had recently travelled to Germany and four German nationals. Russia meanwhile blacklisted vegetable imports from Europe in a moved slammed as "disproportionate" by the European Commission. - Univision.

Russia announced a ban Thursday on fresh vegetable imports from the European Union in the wake of a deadly outbreak from a possibly new E. coli strain that has swept across parts of Europe. Scientists at the Beijing Genomic Institute said the outbreak of infection in Germany is caused by a new "super-toxic" E. coli strain, though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the strain has been seen before. The CDC said the strain is very rare and added that while it is not aware of any cases reported in the United States, it is aware of a few reports of the strain from other countries. Britain's Health Protection Agency has said that the strain suspected in the outbreak is "rare" and "seldom seen in the U.K." - CNN.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Tornado in Central Mexico - First Time Ever!

Here's another stunning weather anomaly, coming out of Central Mexico, of a tornado seen for the first time ever.

A rare tornado recorded in the community of Santiago Yéchar, Jocotitlán municipality, which caused severe damage to 12 houses, overturned vehicles and tore three more than 15 trees also caused hundreds of animals to go astray. Local people say that this phenomenon had never been presented and the direction of Civil Protection reported that the town asked the state government helps to explain what caused the presence of natural phenomena, mainly in case they come back. - Gabehash
WATCH: Tornado in Central Mexico.

EARTH CHANGES: Unstable Hawaii - Snow, Rain & Thunderstorms!

Unstable air conditions are bringing snow to Big Island summits, rain to all Hawaiian islands and the possibility of thunderstorms, forecasters say.

The National Weather Service predicts wet and gusty weather as tradewinds blow rain over leeward areas from the windward side and afternoon heating creates the possibility of thunderstorms as cold, moist and unstable air moves over the state. Forecasters say thunderstorms and lightning are possible, especially in the leeward areas of the Big Island. A winter weather advisory is in effect for Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea summits, where 1 to 3 inches of snow is expected. A small craft advisory is also in effect for channels and waters around the Hawaiian Islands because of strong tradewinds and rough seas. Forecasters say cold air in the upper atmosphere is creating unstable conditions. The weather system should move past the islands by Friday, but the chance of heavier than usual showers will continue into Saturday. - Star Advertiser.  

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Canada's Tormented Spring of Fires & Rains!

The violent tornadoes, thunderstorms and flooding witnessed in the United States of America this year, has now become the new normal, a pervasive deluge of severe and extreme weather systems pulverizing cities and towns with uncontrollable destruction. This pattern has also been observed in Canada, where this season of spring, was both the wettest and driest.

Floods continued to ravage parts of southern Quebec this week while forest fires engulfed northern Saskatchewan. The weather extremes were typical of the contrasting conditions that Canada has been seeing this spring — sometimes in the same province. asked Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips to weigh in on these opposing weather patterns and put them in the context of what a usual spring looks like in Canada. "What's really different about this spring is the fact that there are these amazing contrasts from one part of the country to the other and within regions," Phillips said. "We've seen forest fires in Alberta; we've seen floods in Alberta. We've seen terrible floods in Quebec and also southern Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan. "We've seen some of the coldest spring ever in parts of coastal British Columbia. We've seen wet weather generally over many parts of the country." As Phillips says, it's rare for different parts of the country to set such diverse records, at the opposite ends of the weather spectrum, in the same season. "If you look at the map of precipitation, there are two basic colours that show up: deep brown showing drier than normal and bright green showing wetter than normal, and very few shades in between," he said. Although Environment Canada's official analysis of our recent weather won't be out until later this month, it's clear the season was not your typical spring. While the region stretching from Windsor, Ont., to Quebec City known as the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands had its wettest spring in the 64 years that records have been kept, parts of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the northern Prairies had the driest spring on record. "That's really an enormous kind of thing," said Phillips. "Typically, you'd say one was the wettest and the other was within a tenth of the driest but it didn't make it to No. 1." Prairie provinces such as Saskatchewan and Alberta saw both extremes: drought and floods. Spring flooding in the southern parts of the provinces damaged infrastructure and delayed seeding while dry conditions in the North set off dozens of forest fires that devastated communities such as Slave Lake in Alberta and Wollaston Lake in Saskatchewan. - CBC.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Thousands of Starfish on Talacre Beach!

Thousands of dead starfish and other sea creatures washed up on the Talacre Beach, Flintshire, in North Wales.

But the creatures, which have now been washed away, did not die in suspicious circumstances at Talacre Beach, a county coastal ranger told the Chronicle. Alistair Hemphill said: “It’s not a natural disaster. It’s not a sudden beaching of starfish. “It could be that they have just come to the end of their life cycle, died after mating and spawning and have lain dead in the sea for a long time. “Strong winds and bad weather have then washed them ashore. You see it with jellyfish as well sometimes.” The coastal rangers left the starfish on the beach as a picnic for seagulls, before the tide washed them back out to sea. - The Flintshire Chronicle.

EARTH CHANGES: Hundreds Evacuated from Saskatchewan Fires!

The Canadian military has airlifted most of the 1200 residents of two northern Saskatchewan communities as a forest fire rages nearby.

Military transport planes and helicopters are airlifting the last of about 1,100 residents escaping a massive forest fire in the remote Saskatchewan communities of Wollaston Lake and Hatchet Lake First Nation. The massive airlift began about 9:45 p.m. CST Wednesday, after three Hercules planes and four Griffon helicopters arrived in the area in the northern part of the province. The communities are about 800 kilometres north of Saskatoon and only accessible by air. The airlifts continued Thursday morning. Despite concerns of smoke and shifting winds hampering evacuation efforts, the operation has gone "really, really smoothly, and we're very grateful for the Canadian Forces assistance; we would not have been able to do this overnight," Duane McKay, Saskatchewan's director of emergency response, said early Thursday from Regina in an interview with CBC News. A federal government news release says the Public Health Agency of Canada is supplying beds, blankets and other essentials for more than 1,100 evacuees. - CBC.

The wildfire threatening the community of Wollaston Lake has continued to rage, and has now multiplied to 8 times the size since just yesterday, now covering more than 10 thousand acres. According to Linda Korney with the Ministry of Social Services, the evacuation of the 12 hundred residents was completed this morning, just after 6 o'clock. She says, 3 hundred evacuees are now at SIAST in Prince Albert, 2 hundred and 25 at Saskatoon's Cosmo Civic Centre, and 6 hundred, 75 people at the Hank Ruys Soccer Centre. 15 people have stayed behind, a mixture of R-C-M-P, Northern Rangers, and people to help maintain infrastructure. - Saskatoon.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: The Lake Taal Fishkill Is Now Affecting Other Marine Species - Shrimps, Biya, Crabs & Eel Have Started to Float?!

Yesterday, I told you that something quite monumental is happening at Lake Taal in the Philippines and the following stories seems to be providing evidential confirmation, as the massive fishkill of milk fish (bangus) has now spread to other marine species.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said today that more dead marine species in Taal Lake have started to float, an indication that the oxygen level in the lake is getting worse. Esmeralda Manalang, BFAR's regional director in Calabarzon, said dead shrimps, biya, crabs, eel, and marine species locally called as mu-ang and pauto have also started to float. Manalang said that based on their last monitoring, the lake's oxygen level has dropped to 3.71 parts per million, way below the normal level of 6 PPM. The BFAR official said that the fishkill in the lake may continue until the next two months. At least 700 metric tons of bangus and tilapia have been affected in the fishkill, but BFAR said that it will not affect the minimum supply requirement for the whole country, which is 5.56 million metric tons. “The supply of fish in Metro Manila will not be affected as large volumes of fish supply from Region VI and other adjacent areas,” BFAR said. The agency has advised an early harvest to fish cage owners in Taal Lake to avoid being affected by the fishkill. It said that as soon as the oxygen level in the lake normalizes, it will release free fingerlings to authorized fish cages to ease the impact of the fishkill to local businessmen. - PhilSTAR.
Meanwhile, seven towns surrounding the Lake are currently under a state of calamity.

Milkfish (bangus) growers and wholesalers in this city and in the neighboring towns of Binmaley and Mangaldan have been losing at least 80 percent in sales since a massive fishkill hit two western Pangasinan towns on May 29, officials said on Thursday. In Batangas City, Vice Gov. Jose Antonio Leviste III said seven towns surrounding Taal Lake had been placed under a state of calamity following a massive fishkill. The move authorized the release of P10 million to assist the stricken residents of Talisay, Laurel, Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Alitagtag, Cuenca and Sta. Teresita towns. Malacañang blamed the disaster in Batangas to asphyxiation as a result of overstocking—a charge local officials denied—and said that Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo was poised to order the dismantling of illegal fish cages in Taal Lake. Julie Ann Perez, president of the Malimgas-Aliguas Dagupan Vendors’ Federation, who is also a milkfish grower and wholesaler, said consumers were not buying for fear of contaminated products from fishkill-hit areas. “Bangus producers and us, wholesalers, are really affected... despite the fact that there is no fishkill in Dagupan, Binmaley and Mangaldan,” Perez said in a local radio interview. Milkfish harvested in western Pangasinan are usually transported to Dagupan, where wholesalers sell them, along with those produced in this city and neighboring towns, to bulk buyers from Ilocos and Cagayan Valley, and exporters. As of 8 a.m. on Thursday, at least 10 truckloads of rotting milkfish from Anda and Bolinao had been seized by agriculture, health and police officials. - Inquirer News.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Alert Level 3 for Mt Yasur Volcano, Vanuatu!

Vanuatu’s department of geohazards has closed access to the Mount Yasur volcano on Tanna Island, after a lift in volcanic activity from the beginning of this year.

A geohazards team investigated the volcano earlier this week and says there were strong explosions and emissions from all three active vents. They have lifted the hazard rating to level 3, which closes access to the volcano. The officials say there’s significant ash fall on nearby villages but there are currently no plans to evacuate the inhabitants. - RNZI

The levels are as follows:

Level 0 - Low activity, access to the crater allowed;
Level 1 - Normal activity, access to the crater allowed;
Level 2 - Moderate to high activity, lava bombs may land beyond the crater rim, access to the crater is closed;
Level 3 - Severe activity with loud explosions, lava bombs ejected up to hundreds of metres outside the crater and large plumes of smoke and ash, access to the summit zone is closed;
Level 4 - Major eruption affecting large areas around the volcano and possibly other parts of Tanna and even neighbouring islands, all access closed.

EARTH CHANGES: Deadly Rare Tornadoes Rips Into Massachusetts!

A cluster of tornadoes has hit the U.S. state of Massachusetts, killing at least four people. They left a trail of destruction across 24 towns, ripping off roofs, uprooting trees, scattering debris, frightening workers and residents. Worst hit was Springfield, the third largest city.
Rescue workers went house-to-house, building-to-building early Thursday searching for survivors after tornadoes cut a deadly and destructive path through western Massachusetts, officials said. At least four people were killed and 40 injured when at least two tornadoes touched down in portions of Springfield, Mayor Domenic Sarno said.  Officials were investigating reports at least two more tornadoes touched down in and around the city, which is the third largest in Massachusetts. "We are in triage right now," Sarno told reporters late Wednesday. "We are in life-saving mode."

As many as 19 communities reported tornado damage by Wednesday night, said Gov. Deval Patrick. At least one person was killed in Springfield, two in nearby Westfield and one in Brimfield, about 20 miles east, he said. The governor declared a state of emergency as the storm system that spawned the tornadoes moved east, prompting storm watches all the way to the Atlantic coast. By early Thursday morning, it was unclear how much of Springfield and its neighboring communities had been damaged, though there were reports of destruction coming in from every corner of the city, officials said. "I can tell you the damage is extensive. It is very difficult getting around the city," Fire Commissioner Gary G. Cassanelli said.

"The fire crews are having a tough time." Up to 1,000 National Guard soldiers were expected to be on the streets of Springfield by daybreak to assist in search and rescue efforts and provide security on the streets, Patrick said... Up to 1,000 National Guard soldiers were expected to be on the streets of Springfield by daybreak to assist in search and rescue efforts and provide security on the streets, Patrick said. Additional fire crews from Connecticut and New Hampshire were being dispatched to help with search and rescue efforts, the mayor said... Springfield, Monson, Westfield and seven other towns -- Agawam, Charlton, Oxford, Palmer, Sturbridge, West Springfield and Wilbraham -- reported severe damage, said Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Michael Popovics. State and federal officials hoped to be able to get their first aerial view of the damage at daybreak.

- CNN.
WATCH: Raw video of tornado striking Springfield, Massachusetts.

WATCH: Tornadoes cause heavy damage in Massachusetts.

WATCH: Governor Deval Patrick declares state of emergency.

WATCH: Tornado damage in Springfield.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Another 200 Tons of Fish near Taal Volcano?

It seems quite obvious that something monumental is happening in, around or near the Taal volcano in the Philippines. On Saturday, I told you of the 375 tons of dead milk fish (bangus) seen floating on the Taal Lake in Talisay, in Batangas. On Monday, that total dramatically increased to 800 tons, leaving wildlife experts baffled by the sudden deaths. Today, news of another 200 tons of fish. Now, according to the United Kingdom's unit of measure, one ton is equal to a weight or mass of 2,240 pounds or 1,016 kg. Which means that if the total amount of dead fish is 1,000 (800 + 200), then the total poundage is 2,240,000. Two million, two hundred and forty thousand pounds?! Incredible!

Another 200 tons of fish have died in Talisay, Batangas Tuesday night after a sharp decrease in oxygen levels in Taal Lake, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said. A BFAR study showed that the oxygen level in Taal was depleted in half due to the transition to rainy season. BFAR said it may take several more days before conditions at the lake normalize. BFAR is now advising the harvesting of the remaining milkfish in Taal Lake. Meanwhile, the Provincial Health Office is studying if the illnesses acquired by residents in the area are caused by the foul smell emitted by the dead fish or merely due to the change in weather. The Department of Health (DOH) earlier warned the public against eating "double dead" fish. Some people in Batangas province are reportedly eating double-dead fish instead of disposing them. - ABS-CBN News.