Monday, December 26, 2011

CELESTIAL CONVERGENCE: Memes of a Second Sun / Planet X / Nibiru / Brown Dwarf Star - Astronomers Declare That Earth Has More Than One Moon?! UPDATE: First Low-Mass Star Detected in Globular Cluster and Earth is Threatened by "Dark Comets"?!

Image of two suns, from the movie "2010: The Year We Make Contact".
Several months ago, we were told that the star Betelgeuse was expected to explode as it enters the late stage of stellar evolution and that this cosmic phenomenon could result in the Earth having a second Sun. Brad Carter, Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, claimed that the galactic blast could happen before 2012 – or any time over the next million years. ‘This old star is running out of fuel in its centre,’ Dr Carter told the Australian news website AU. ‘This fuel keeps Betelgeuse shining and supported. When this fuel runs out the star will literally collapse in upon itself and it will do so very quickly. This is the final hurrah for the star. It goes bang, it explodes, it lights up - we’ll have incredible brightness for a brief period of time for a couple of weeks and then over the coming months it begins to fade and then eventually it will be very hard to see at all,’ he added.

We were also told that, several weeks earlier, that a giant hidden planet, Tyche, about four times the size of the planet Jupiter, may exist in our Solar System. According to astrophysicists John Matese and Daniel Whitmore from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, scientist may soon be able to prove the existence of the gas giant. 'You'd also expect it to have moons. All the outer planets have them,' Whitmore declared. The two men declared that the hypothetical planet may be used to explain the change in path of comets entering the solar system.

Next, it was revealed that planet Earth is in a orbital companionship with a giant asteroid on its path around the Sun. Scientists said that Asteroid 2010 SO16 could pursue Earth for anywhere between the next 120,000 to a million years. And at a few hundred metres across, it is the largest space rock ever discovered so close to earth. SO16 orbits the sun in a horseshoe shape, playing a constant game of catch up with Earth, they say. The closer to the sun an object is, the faster it will orbit. So when SO16 entered the sun's orbit, it was further away than Earth and therefore slower. When Earth finally caught up with the asteroid, instead of overtaking it, its gravitational pull drew it closer to the sun sending it back round at a faster pace. Now quicker than Earth, SO16 speeds round its shorter orbit until it catches Earth again and is this time pulled away from the sun, slowing it down.

Three examples of stories coming out of various scientific circles subtly hinting at a second celestial star in our skies. Now we are being told that Earth has more than one moon.
Researchers at Cornell University say that what we know as the Moon is in fact not the only one orbiting our planet at any given time. Smaller objects regularly inhabit the Earth's orbit, usually leaving after a few months to continue on their celestial journeys. The discovery is considered a major breakthrough for space research because scientists had been working toward visiting asteroids outside of Earth's orbit for research. While these temporary moons are too small for a shuttle landing, they are prime for research from a relatively close distance. However, it's still to be determined whether the announcement will capture the public's attention like previously revealed New Moons. Either way, it should be a decidedly more pleasant experience for all involved.

The new paper titled "The population of natural Earth satellites," from Cornell University's Mikael Granvik, Jeremie Vaubaillon and Robert Jedicke states that these "secret moons" enter and exit the Earth's orbit without notice. "At any given time, there should be at least one natural Earth satellite of 1-meter diameter orbiting the Earth," Granvik writes. Scientists have confirmed at least one such temporary moon, discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona in 2006. "Our results are consistent with the single known natural [temporarily-captured orbiter] 2006 RH120, a few-meter diameter object that was captured for about a year starting in June 2006," the report says. - Yahoo.
This idea of a twin planet or binary Sun is at the centre of the overarching story of the Fox television series Fringe, where the planet from a parallel universe is rapidly converging on the prime one. As a result of this imminent convergence, cataclysmic events are set in motion at areas where there is a conjunction, resulting in weak points in the fabric of each world. The repercussions of which are the sudden and mysterious death of people and animals, the extinction of various species of animals such as sheep, the destruction of a large section of western California due to a San Andreas Fault-type event, worldwide coastal submergence, destructive voids and vortexes, and various other weather anomalies.

If all of that sounds familiar to you, then it should be, it might not just be the creation and production from the mind of producer J.J. Abrams, but something we are currently experiencing now, that will escalate further in the coming weeks, months and years.

UPDATE: First Low-Mass Star Detected in Globular Cluster and Earth is Threatened by "Dark Comets"?!

It is seems that something is unraveling here, and moreso at a quickening pace, as 2012 approaches. Take a look at the following two articles and carefully read between the lines:

First Low-Mass Star Detected in Globular Cluster.

This is the globular cluster M22 with the low-mass star.
Even the most powerful high-tech telescopes are barely able to record remote low-mass and thus faint stars. Together with researchers from Poland and Chile, an astrophysicist from the University of Zurich has now detected a low-mass star in globular cluster M22 for the first time through microlensing. The result indicates that the overall mass of globular clusters might well be explained without enigmatic dark matter.

Until now, it was merely assumed that low-mass and therefore extremely faint stars must exist. However, in view of the vast distances and weak luminosity of low-mass stars, even the most modern telescopes fail. Together with a Polish-Chilean team of researchers, Swiss astrophysicist Philippe Jetzer from the University of Zurich has now detected the first low-mass star in the globular cluster M22 indirectly. As their recent article published in Astrophysical Journal Letters reveals, it involves a dwarf star that has less than a fifth of the mass of our sun and is 3.2 kiloparsecs from it (one kiloparsec corresponding to 3,210 light years). The evidence, which enables the mass to be determined highly accurately, is based upon so-called gravitational microlensing and requires the highest technical standards available. The measurements were carried out on the ESO VLT 8-meter telescope with adaptive optics at the Paranal Observatory in Chile.
This is the Milky Way and the globular cluster M22, in which the first low-mass star has now been detected.
In August 2000 Polish astronomers discovered that the brightness of a star located at about two arcminutes from the center of the globular cluster M22 increased for twenty days. They suspected that the phenomenon was due to so-called gravitational microlensing, which is based on the fact that light spreads along a curved path near large masses as opposed to in a straight line. The brightness of the star increases briefly through the gravitation of an object crossing in front of it, which acts as a lens. The star – the source, in other words – appears brighter for a short time before fading again after passing by the lens. In order to confirm this supposition, the astronomers turned to gravitational microlensing specialist Philippe Jetzer from the University of Zurich. The control measurement carried out on July 17, 2011 at the Paranal Observatory confirmed the hypothesis. "The detailed analysis revealed that the source was outside M22," explains Jetzer. "A low-mass star acted as a lens within the globular cluster itself."

The first evidence of a low-mass star in a globular cluster is extremely important for astrophysics as it sheds new light on the structure of globular clusters. Until now, the overall mass of globular clusters could not be explained other than with dark matter, the existence of which, however, is also unproven. "The overall mass or at least a significant proportion of globular clusters can now be explained through the presence of previously undetected low-mass, faint stars," says Jetzer. - PHYSORG.
Earth Threatened by “Dark” Comets?

The vast majority of the detected still space objects are rocky asteroids. Comets and asteroids that pose a threat to the Earth, are under scrutiny, thanks to the International Monitoring Program Spaceguard. However, astronomers from the UK claim that many comets could remain undetected. Under certain circumstances it may be that these dark, dormant comets may become invisible and deadly threat to Earth.

Scientists have suggested that periodic solar system crossing the galactic plane pushes the comet in our direction. And it seems that these periodic comet showers are correlated with the dates of ancient craters found on Earth. This implies that most of the space objects crashing into the past, our Planet, were comets, not asteroids. British astronomers have warned that some of these comets may still be worn in the solar system. At the current pace the appearance of bright comets in the solar system, they should be around 3000. To date, only 25 are known. Perhaps we just do not see them simply because they are too dark.

Such dark comets – are nothing new. Comet dark when reflecting light water ice evaporates, leaving behind an organic crust that reflects very little light. For example, in 1983, Comet IRAS-Araki-Alkoka (IRAS-Araki-Alcock) flew past Earth at a distance of five million kilometers, which is the closest distance you approached any known comet for 200 years. It was noticed only two weeks before approaching the Earth at very small distance. Only 1 percent of its surface was active, the rest of it was covered with very dark spots that do not reflect light. However, some scientists are skeptical about the discovery by British scientists. They believe that the dark comet should have a good absorb sunlight and, therefore, can be found on their radiated heat. - Science Ray.

EXTREME WEATHER: Christmas Wild Weather Strikes Victoria and Melbourne in Australia With Tornado and Huge Hailstones - Tens of Millions of Dollars in Damage to Cars, Homes and Businesses!

Hundreds of emergency workers will begin mopping up the mess brought by the wild weather that ripped through parts of Australia on Christmas Day.

Storms pelted Victorians with hailstones as big as billiard balls during a wild Christmas Day barrage. The damage bill could run into tens of millions of dollars after hundreds of cars were bombarded, windows in homes and businesses were smashed and roofing was torn away. The State Emergency Service was called to more than 2500 jobs when a series of storm cells intensified dramatically in Melbourne in the afternoon. The worst was a tornado that hit Fiskville, near Bacchus Marsh, west of Melbourne. Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for many parts of Victoria throughout the afternoon and evening, but the weather was expected to improve ahead of today's Boxing Day Test at the MCG. Early this morning, a severe weather warning remained current for parts of southern New South Wales, including Orange, Dubbo, Parkes, Griffith, Broken Hill and Brewarrina.

Around Melbourne yesterday, most calls to the SES were from Keilor Park, Keilor Downs and Taylors Lakes. Parts of Eltham and Greensborough were hit more than once and planes were grounded at Melbourne Airport. Lightning hit the 3AW transmission tower, knocking out its analogue signal and putting it off air to most listeners. About 77 passengers on a flight out of Darwin spent almost four hours at Sale airport after Qantas decided it was unsafe to fly into Melbourne. Metro warned commuters to expect major train delays, with most lines disrupted, and advised passengers to defer non-essential travel. The storm blacked out more than 5000 homes in Port Melbourne, Ballarat, Armadale, Toorak and South Melbourne as families sat down to Christmas dinner.

A family in Apollo Rd, Taylors Lakes, had nine cars damaged and roof tiles and outdoor lights broken when the storm hit about 3.30pm. Robyn Sullivan said the hailstones had been almost as big as tennis balls. "It was like a roar as it came through," she said. "I've never heard anything like it." Jim Egan was at the house for Christmas lunch when his car was pelted with hailstones. "I had nine holes in the back window," he said. "One had come through the window, bounced around the car, and it was lodged between the console and the front windscreen." A couple in Montmorency arrived home from Christmas lunch to find almost a metre of water running through their garage. Michel Long said his Mercedes-Benz, caravan, bikes and other items were damaged. "It's come in through the back of the garage from the next street and it's pushed the caravan through the door of the garage and there's debris everywhere ... the car has damage on the side of it where it's pushed a big cupboard out of the garage" Mr Long said. "I estimate it's probably $25-30,000 damage." SES spokesman Lachlan Quick said hundreds of volunteers had made big sacrifices to help residents. "It's a pretty remarkable effort to drag yourself away from your turkey," he said. - Herald Sun.
WATCH: Eye-witness reports.

Meanwhile, rough surf from ex-tropical Cyclone Fina has forced the closure of half the beaches in New South Wales.
Dean Storey from Surf Life Saving NSW says the large swells are extremely dangerous. "At this stage it's looking likely like at least half of the beaches across the state are closed. The swell is affecting most of the New South Wales coastline," Mr Storey said. "The beaches that are exposed to the north-east are copping the swell the biggest, but the key message today is the whole coastline is affected by a large swell, very strong rips, very strong current. "The north coast has been copping it the last couple of days, but it's now affecting pretty much the whole state." He says swimmers should only swim between the flags at patrolled beaches. - Yahoo Australia.
Queenslanders will have to give Christmas Day picnics on the beach a miss this year as swells as high as four metres take over many popular spots. The Queensland Weather Bureau has issued a severe weather warning for dangerous surf conditions and abnormally high tides for coastal areas. Areas affected include Sandy Cape to Point Danger as well as the Fraser, Sunshine and Gold Coasts. "We've got a low pressure system south of the Coral Sea, we have a high pressure system near New Zealand," forecaster Gavin Holcombe told AAP. "And as a result those systems are producing large swells moving on to those beaches south of Fraser Island. "Those swells are up top the four metre mark and may even get higher. "They are long period swells and as a result when they break on the beach they're particularly strong and pretty dangerous. "As a result those beaches have closed." - Yahoo Australia.
Cyclone Grant has moved on after whipping a remote island in Australia.
Police at remote Croker Island in the Northern Territory say the local community has escaped serious damage from a category two cyclone. Tropical Cyclone Grant intensified into a category two system late on Christmas Day and came within kilometres of Croker Island. The Bureau of Meteorology says the storm brought winds of 130 kilometres per hour and torrential rain. Residents of the island's community of Minjilang, about 230 kilometres north-east of Darwin, took shelter in their homes, and about 70 weathered the storm at a cyclone shelter. But Minjilang police station sergeant Jeff Pickering says conditions have now begun to ease and there have been no reports of major damage.

"Our initial assessment shows there has been no structural damage to any buildings," he said. He says some power lines have fallen and most of the community's trees are down. The local power station was shut earlier today and will remain closed until power lines are restored. Earlier, the weather bureau's director of emergency services, Peter Davies, said the cyclone has caused some damage to Croker Island. - Yahoo Australia.
On the western front of Australia, a bushfire is threatening many lives and homes.

An out-of-control bushfire is threatening lives and homes in Western Australia's mid-west. A bushfire watch and act has been issued for people at Marrilla Station, in the Shire of Carnarvon, and Giralia and Yanrey Stations, in the Shire of Exmouth, including Burkett Road. The fire started near Marrilla Station and crossed Burkett Road last night. It is now burning towards Yanrey Station. The Fire and Emergency Services Authority says there is a risk to lives and homes as conditions are changing. Authorities say residents in the area have been notified and are believed to be safe. - Yahoo Australia.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Tonga!

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake rattled Tonga today, but there were no immediate reports of damage and no tsunami warning was issued.

The undersea earthquake struck at a depth of 33 kilometres, about 126 kilometres from the capital, Nuku'Alofa. Officials at the country's national emergency office were not immediately available to comment.

Tonga, almost 2000 kilometres northeast of New Zealand, lies on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", where continental plates collide, causing frequent volcanic and seismic activity. Nine people died in Tonga in an earthquake-triggered tsunami in October last year that also killed 143 people in Samoa. - Herald Sun.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Mysterious Light Seen in the Skies Over Germany - Meteorite, Fireball or the Reentry of the Russian Soyuz Rocket!

In far parts of Germany humans at Christmas eve observed a mysterious light tail in the sky. Excited for example and reported of the phenomenon with the radio station antenna many listeners called Thuringia. Eye-witnesses said, they would have three glowing strips against 17.30 o'clock seen with a broad tail, which had then scattered itself into several parts.

The timing could hardly be more spectacular: On Christmas Eve at around 17.30 clock watching people in many parts of Germany a bright trail of light in the sky . Also on Belgium and the Netherlands, the phenomenon was visible, woke up associations with the Star of Bethlehem, some also mentioned a speeding Santa Claus in his sleigh.

Was it a meteorite , which has entered the Earth's atmosphere? Parts or provided to a Russian "Soyuz" rocket for the lights? The rocket was on Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan lifted - she has three new crew members to the International Space Station , where they docked on Friday.

In various Internet forums, people described and discussed the Christmas sky phenomenon. "It looked like a lot of shooting stars would be seen in one place," such as a user writes in the forum of the working group meteors eV In Astrotreff is described, inter alia, that the tail was yellow-green and contained bright red dots. Even in an international forum , there are numerous reports in which the object as red, white and blue times, sometimes as is described in yellow or orange. One pilot wrote that he had seen the phenomenon shortly before landing at Frankfurt airport and can be observed for several minutes. It had looked as if something happen in the atmosphere and break apart.

Soyuz upper stage is the most likely explanation. The German Centre for Aerospace (DLR) stops the re-entry of the "Soyuz" upper stage for the most likely explanation. This rocket stage was removed about nine hours after launch. However, it will probably take until Tuesday to this statement could not be confirmed officially, said the DLR.

Some scientists are already one hundred percent sure that the upper ejected the Russian "Soyuz" rocket that caused the lights. Marco Langbroek of the Dutch scientist wrote in his blog that the published time agree the re-entry of the rocket stage into the atmosphere with the observed luminosity of the well. Langbroek refers to information from the United States Strategic Command, which also monitors the re-entry of all objects produced by humans into the atmosphere. The data are, however, to view only available to registered users. - Spiegel [Translated].
WATCH: Eye-witness captures of the light show.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Earthquake Renders Parts of Christchurch Liquid - Aftershocks Continue to Rock the New Zealand City!

A number of Christchurch residents want their neighbourhood to be condemned, as liquefaction following yesterday's earthquake forced another clean-up.

Residents try to free a car stuck in a liquefaction sink hole in Christchurch after a series of quakes hit the city.
Aftershocks continued to rock Christchurch today after quakes measuring 5.8 and 6.0 shook the nerves of many residents on Friday. The quakes cut power to about 26,000 homes and caused issues with water supply and wastewater, though most of those services were back to normal by late Saturday. But cleaning up huge amounts of silt caused by liquefaction was the biggest problem for many residents in the suburb of Parklands, who have already faced this issue twice before. Soil liquefaction describes a phenomenon whereby a saturated soil substantially loses strength and stiffness in response to applied stress, usually earthquake shaking or other sudden change in stress condition, causing it to behave like a liquid.

“We've had enough. We can't keep doing this. This will happen again and again." The area was zoned orange at one point but later switched back to green, or inhabitable. But with further liquefaction, they called for it to be hoarsened red, or uninhabitable. A reassessment may be necessary. “It's possible that some of those boundaries might change and go into red, but wall need to take a closer look at that when we can properly assess it, which will probably be early in the new year," he said.

Mr Key also said that he didn't expect the latest quakes would impact on the bill forecast.  “We’ll have to go and do a full assessment later on but it's likely that most of the damage has taken place in areas that are already damaged.” Electronic transactions operator Epimere said transactions in Christchurch were down 17.5 per cent yesterday compared to the same day last year in the wake of many mall closures, though there was a significant increase today as shoppers tried to catch up. The number of homes without power was down to about 50 this afternoon and Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker hoped most of the emergency repairs could be finished soon. “It has been a hellish year. I am determined to get as much as we can fixed by tonight so that our staff, apart from a skeleton team, can spend Christmas with their families.” - The Australian.
Christmas is off to a shaky start for Christchurch residents, with no sign of aftershocks easing up for the festive season. Ten quakes measuring between 2.9 and 3.7 which rocked the New Zealand city this morning were among almost 60 aftershocks since it was jolted by two quakes measuring 5.8 and 6.0 on Friday. The quakes cut power to about 26,000 homes and caused issues with water supply and wastewater. The city's council and service providers worked through yesterday to restore most services and repair roads in time for Christmas. The Christchurch City Mission ran a Christmas lunch at Christchurch East School for those who didn't want to spend the day alone. Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said it had been a "hellish" year for the city and its residents. He had been determined to get as many repairs as possible completed, so most staff could spend Christmas with their family.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he didn't expect the latest quakes would impact on the bill forecast by Treasury to be between $NZ20 billion ($15.3 billion) and $NZ30 billion ($23 billion), as most of the damage occurred in already-damaged areas. However, the new quakes would result in a reassessment of whether some areas should revert to the red zone, where damage is such that building repair is judged uneconomical. Reassessment has been welcomed by many Parklands residents, who spent much of yesterday cleaning up silt brought to the surface by liquefaction. The Friday quakes had a huge impact on Christmas shopping, with electronic transactions operator Paymark saying transactions were down 17.5 per cent on the same day last year in the wake of many mall closures. But there was a significant increase yesterday as shoppers tried to catch up. - Herald Sun.
Here are the additional aftershocks, continuing from the last update:

SATURDAY 24th Dec 2011

   • 18:55 UTC - 3.1 Magnitude - Depth 7 km - 20 km Southeast of Christchurch
   • 20:26 UTC - 2.9 Magnitude - Depth 7 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
   • 23:47 UTC - 3.5 Magnitude - Depth 10 km - 20 km East of Christchurch
   • 23:53 UTC - 3.5 Magnitude - Depth 8 km - 20 km East of Christchurch


   •  00:50 UTC - 3.3 Magnitude - Depth 7 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
   •  01:11 UTC - 3.4 Magnitude - Depth 7 km - 20 km East of Christchurch
   •  03:05 UTC - 2.9 Magnitude - Depth 7 km - 10 km Northeast of Christchurch
   •  04:00 UTC - 4.1 Magnitude - Depth 8 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
   •  05:49 UTC - 3.4 Magnitude - Depth 11 km - 10 km Northeast of Christchurch
   •  06:32 UTC - 3.1 Magnitude - Depth 8 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
   •  07:49 UTC - 3.3 Magnitude - Depth 8 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
   •  10:55 UTC - 3.0 Magnitude - Depth 8 km - 20 km Northeast of Christchurch
   •  11:32 UTC - 4.0 Magnitude - Depth 9 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
   •  11:35 UTC - 3.8 Magnitude - Depth 11 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
   •  12:26 UTC - 3.7 Magnitude - Depth 11 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
   •  13:40 UTC - 4.1 Magnitude - Depth 15 km - 20 km East of Christchurch
   •  14:29 UTC - 4.1 Magnitude - Depth 10 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
   •  17:16 UTC - 2.9 Magnitude - Depth 8 km - 10 km East of Christchurch

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Giant Shrimp Raises Big Concern as it Invades the Gulf of Mexico - Asian Tiger Prawn Has Scientists Worried!

A truly jumbo shrimp is causing big worries about the future of the Gulf of Mexico's ecosystem.

The Asian tiger prawn, a foot-long crustacean with a voracious appetite and a proclivity for disease, has invaded the northern Gulf, threatening prized native species, from crabs and oysters to smaller brown and white shrimp. Though no one is sure what the ecological impact will be, scientists fear a tiger prawn takeover could knock nature's balance out of whack and turn a healthy, diverse marine habitat into one dominated by a single invasive species. "It has the potential to be real ugly," said Leslie Hartman, Matagorda Bay ecoystem leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "But we just do not know." The tiger prawns from the western Pacific - which can grow up to 13 inches long - have been spreading along the Gulf Coast since 2006, but their numbers took off this year. Shrimpers pulled one from Texas waters for the first time in June. In all, shrimpers have found three tiger prawns in Aransas Bay, one in Sabine Lake near the Louisiana border and one in Gulf waters about 70 miles from Freeport, according to the Texas Sea Grant program at Texas A&M University. Marine scientists will conduct genetic studies on the shrimp to determine their origin. Hartman said they will need at least 60 prawns for an accurate analysis.

Some speculate that the Gulf invasion began with an accidental release of farmed prawns in South Carolina in 1988. Another theory: The prawns may have escaped from flooded industrial shrimp ponds in the Caribbean Sea during recent hurricanes. The threat underscores concerns about large-scale fish farming, also known as aquaculture, in the Gulf. The federal government opened the waters to fish farms in 2009 despite fears from environmental and fishing interests over how to protect wild stocks. Disease normally would exist in relatively low levels in fish around the Gulf but can run rampant in densely packed fish farms. Tiger prawns are a known carrier of at least 16 viruses, such as white spot, which can be lethal to shrimp. The Gulf policy calls for only native species to be farmed, but it does not have the force of law, said George Leonard, who leads the Ocean Conservancy's aquaculture program. "We need to be really, really cautious," Leonard said. "There has to be rules and regulations."

Texas allows industrial-scale shrimp ponds, but requires permits for the cultivation of non-native species. No one in the state is farming tiger prawns, said Tony Reisinger, a marine and coastal resources expert for the Texas Sea Grant program. Marine scientists have yet to find any juvenile tiger prawns in Texas waters, a sign that the species is breeding. It is a difficult assignment because they look similar to native white shrimp at a young age. Tiger prawns weigh more than a half-pound and have distinctive black and white stripes on the tail. They eat the same types of food as native shrimp species, but also prey on their smaller cousins, as well as crabs and young oysters. "It's a large, competitive species," Reisinger said. It's also tasty, fetching a higher market price than native brown shrimp on the New York market this month. Some shrimpers have wondered if the large prawns could become the fourth harvestable shrimp species off the Texas coast. Hartman, of Texas Parks and Wildlife, is skeptical. "It could be another crop, but at the expense of our native crop," she said. - Chron.

DELUGE: Huge 5 Metre High Wave Sweeps Away Houses in Southern Thailand - Mass Evacuations in 3 Sub-Districts, as the Seawater Wreck Havoc! UPDATE: Thai Flood Death Toll Rises to 708 With 3 Missing!

About one hundred people in southern Thailand were evacuated on Sunday and several tourists were stranded when a large wave flooded a coastal village, said a local official.

A Thai man takes a photo of a wave in Prachuap khiri khan province southern Thailand.
The 10-to-13 feet high wave inundated a shore on the Gulf of Thailand, causing floods of one metre deep and damaging houses in a village in Chumphon province, according to Provincial Governor Pinich Charoenpanich. He said officials helped evacuate about a hundred people to a safe place farther inland, and were expected to return home when the waters had subsided and the wind dropped. There were no casualties reported.

“This high wave would be normal for fisherman out at sea but this time it happened near the shore, so it caused flooding on the land,” Mr. Pinich told AFP. “There were a dozen local tourists stranded when the high wave hit this morning. They were staying at homestays in village houses located on the shore, but they were safe,” he added later. The country was battered by an Indian Ocean tsunami on December 26, 2004 that killed an estimated 5,400 people in Thailand alone. The tsunami, triggered by an earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, sent giant waves crashing into countries around the Indian Ocean, killing more than 220,000 people. - The Hindu.

Five meter waves hit three sub- districts in Thailand's southern Chumpon province's Langsuan district on Sunday noon, destroying several houses, bungalows and restaurants and forcing local residents to flee their homes. The seawater also flooded Hua Lame village in Langsuan district with approximate height of 70 centimeter, forcing people to evacuate to a temple seen as a safe shelter.

According to chief of Bangmaprao Tambon Administrative Office, huge waves lashed many villages in three sub-districts slightly before noon. As a result, several bungalows and restaurants were devastated while some people's houses swept away. Chumpon Meteorological Station director-general Decha Sukgaeo said that the intense high pressure from China has moved to cover the southern region, causing rain storms and high waves in the area during Dec. 25-28. Small fishing trawlers should remain onshore, he warned.  - Xinhuanet.
Meanwhile, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department reported on Wednesday that floods still prevail in nine provinces in central region while the accumulated nationwide flood toll now reaches 708 deaths with three people missing.
A total of 3,652 villages in 80 districts of nine provinces in the central part of the country -- Bangkok, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Suphan Buri, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Samut Sakhon -- are still suffering from the ongoing floods. In the South, flooding has hit 2,057 villages in 65 districts of eight provinces -- Phatthalung, Trang, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Songkhla, Yala and Pattani -- causing damage to 118,358 rai (189 square kilometers) of farmland, 783 roads and 113 bridges.

Thailand's most severe inundation has so far swamped a total of seven industrial estates and parks in central Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani provinces in October, putting more than 1 million people at the risk of losing their jobs and causing initial loss of about 3. 3 billion U.S. dollars. Floods inflicted by heavy monsoon rains and back-to-back tropical storms have ravaged almost 90 percent of the whole country since late July, affecting more than 13 million nationwide. In total 36 out of 50 districts in the capital city were also submerged and the country's second airport under flood waters. - Xinhuanet.

EXTREME WEATHER: Class 2 Warning Issued for Sweden - Storm Dagmar Approaches From the West!

A Class 2 warning has been issued for Sweden as a storm, dubbed Dagmar, approaches from the west.

"We have issued Class 2 warnings and the most powerful winds are expected in the southern peaks of Norrland. There's a risk of 25 or 30 metres per second. That's almost hurricane strength," said Alexandra Ohlsson of the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, SMHI, to news agency TT. According to the forecasters, regions of the counties Jämtland and Västernorrland look to be particularly in danger of being hit by the storm, although much of the country can expect strong winds.

During the afternoon on Sunday the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket), announced that all rail traffic to and from Norrland would be halted from 8pm onwards in anticipation of the storm approaching from the west. "The reason is that we are worried trains will be left standing following fallen down cables and other obstacles," said Peter Behrman of the agency to TT. SMHI had already issued a Class 1 warning on December 23d and there were widespread problems on the roads throughout Christmas Eve as the weather progressively got worse across Sweden. With Dagmar believed to be one of the most powerful storms of the past 30 years, Norway has been most seriously affected so far.

The Norwegian coast seems worst affected, with a Hurtig Ruten cruise liner having to postpone its trip between Bergen and Tromsø on Christmas Eve. Parts of Iceland have also been hit by the gales. A Class 2 warning is classified as weather which could pose a danger to the public, cause major damage to property and major disruptions in essential services. People in Sweden intending to go out or travel have been advised to find out the latest information from the radio or on the internet before setting out, especially later on in the day. There were already numerous reports of accidents on the roads on Christmas Eve and conditions in many parts could get even worse. This is in marked contrast to the mild weather in the Stockholm area, where residents in Södermalm, in the southern part of the capital, reported seeing wild strawberries growing in the unseasonably warm conditions for the season. Despite being disruptive to people planning to be out and about over the Christmas weekend, the storm is expected to blow through quickly as it makes its way further east over Finland. - The Local.