Monday, January 16, 2012

DELUGE: Cyclone Heidi Dumps Large Mass of Water on the Pilbara Coast of Australia - A World of Water to the Karajini National Park, Modifying the Dry Gorges Overnight!

The mass of water that Cyclone Heidi dumped on the Pilbara has rushed through Karajini National Park and changed the dry gorges overnight to rushing torrents of swirling brown water.

The roads into Karajini National Park have been closed due to flooding, but Alex Bowlay from DEC has sent these images to us. Karijini has had around 230mm of rainfall in the past week. Following the recent rain many gorges and falls are flowing which never usually have water in them.
Every year the wet reveals the stark contrast between the arid desert country above the gorges, and the cool lush ravines that plunge into the earth. These gorges carry many thousands of litres of water and can be very dangerous. Karijini remains closed as DEC waits for the water to subside. Rangers will thoroughly check that the park is safe to reopen, especially the roads. They're expecting to reopen the park by the end of this week. - ABC Australia.

RATTLE & HUM: "Sounds Of the Apocalypse" - Mysterious Humming Noise Phenomena Continues - Strange Sounds Heard in Canada, Hungary, America, New Zealand, the Czech Republic and Sweden!

Yesterday, I posted a video of strange sounds out of Conklin in Alberta, Canada. Today, several readers of the website forwarded a link to another video of these mysterious noises out of Edmonton in Alberta, as well as others from around the world.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Budapest, Hungary.


Auckland, New Zealand.

Czech Republic.

Southern Sweden.

THE MARK OF THE BEAST, TERMINATOR NOW: Rise of the Machines and the Coming Global Police State - International Business Machines (IBM) Predicts Mind-Reading Machines!

IBM, the powerful computer company that once formulated a strategic alliance with Hitler's Nazis in the provision of the requisite technology for the Holocaust, is now celebrating recent progress toward the realization of the Revelation 13 blueprint of the Mark of the Beast system.

Today IBM formally unveiled the sixth annual “IBM 5 in 5"  – a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and interact during the next five years:  People power will come to life, You will never need a password again, Mind reading is no longer science fiction, The digital divide will cease to exist, and Junk mail will become priority mail.

The next IBM 5 in 5 is based on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s research labs around the world that can make these transformations possible.  At IBM, we’re bridging the gap between science fiction and science fact on a daily basis. Here are how five technologies will define the future:

People power will come to life.

Anything that moves or produces heat has the potential to create energy that can be captured. Walking. Jogging. Bicycling. The heat from your computer. Even the water flowing through your pipes.  Advances in renewable energy technology will allow individuals to collect this kinetic energy, which now goes to waste, and use it to help power our homes, offices and cities. Imagine attaching small devices to the spokes on your bicycle wheels that recharge batteries as you pedal along. You will have the satisfaction of not only getting to where you want to go, but at the same time powering some of the lights in your home. Created energy comes in all shapes and forms and from anything around us. IBM scientists in Ireland are looking at ways to understand and minimize the environmental impact of converting ocean wave energy into electricity.

You will never need a password again.

Your biological makeup is the key to your individual identity, and soon, it will become the key to safeguarding it.  You will no longer need to create, track or remember multiple passwords for various log-ins. Imagine you will be able to walk up to an ATM machine to securely withdraw money by simply speaking your name or looking into a tiny sensor that can recognize the unique patterns in the retina of your eye. Or by doing the same, you can check your account balance on your mobile phone or tablet.  Each person has a unique biological identity and behind all that is data. Biometric data – facial definitions, retinal scans and voice files – will be composited through software to build your DNA unique online password. Referred to as multi-factor biometrics, smarter systems will be able to use this information in real-time to make sure whenever someone is attempting to access your information, it matches your unique biometric profile and the attempt is authorized. To be trusted, such systems should enable you to opt in or out of whatever information you choose to provide.

Mind reading is no longer science fiction.

From Houdini to Skywalker to X-Men, mind reading has merely been "wishful thinking" for science fiction fans for decades, but their wish may soon come true. IBM scientists are among those researching how to link your brain to your devices, such as a computer or a smartphone. If you just need to think about calling someone, it happens. Or you can control the cursor on a computer screen just by thinking about where you want to move it. Scientists in the field of bioinformatics have designed headsets with advanced sensors to read electrical brain activity that can recognize facial expressions, excitement and concentration levels, and thoughts of a person without them physically taking any actions.  Within 5 years, we will begin to see early applications of this technology in the gaming and entertainment industry. Furthermore, doctors could use the technology to test brain patterns, possibly even assist in rehabilitation from strokes and to help in understanding brain disorders, such as autism. 

The digital divide will cease to exist.

In our global society, growth and wealth of economies are increasingly decided by the level of access to information. And in five years, the gap between information haves and have-nots will narrow considerably due to advances in mobile technology. There are 7 billion people inhabiting the world today. In five years there will be 5.6 billion mobile devices sold – which means 80% of the current global population would each have a mobile device. As it becomes cheaper to own a mobile phone, people without a lot of spending power will be able to do much more than they can today. For example, in India, using speech technology and mobile devices, IBM enabled rural villagers who were illiterate to pass along information through recorded messages on their phones. With access to information that was not there before, villagers could check weather reports for help them decide when to fertilize crops, know when doctors were coming into town, and find the best prices for their crops or merchandise. Growing communities will be able to use mobile technology to provide access to essential information and better serve people with new solutions and business models such as mobile commerce and remote healthcare.

Junk mail will become priority mail.

Think about how often we’re flooded with advertisements we consider to be irrelevant or unwanted. It may not be that way for long.  In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem spam is dead. At the same time, spam filters will be so precise you’ll never be bothered by unwanted sales pitches again. Imagine if tickets to your favorite band are put on hold for you the moment they became available, and for the one night of the week that is free on your calendar. Through alerts direct to you, you’ll be able to purchase tickets instantly from your mobile device. Or imagine being notified that a snow storm is about to affect your travel plans and you might want to re-route your flight? IBM is developing technology that uses real-time analytics to make sense and integrate data from across all the facets of your life such as your social networks and online preferences to present and recommend information that is only useful to you.  From news, to sports, to politics, you’ll trust the technology will know what you want, so you can decide what to do with it. - IBM.
WATCH: The "IBM Next 5 in 5: 2011" video.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Massive Land Subsidence in China - 10 Acres of Rice Fields Collapse in Xiaogan Yunmeng County?!

For sometime now, I have been reporting on the extraordinary reports of sinkholes and landslides in China; now comes another story of a major land subsidence in the Hubei Province.

Yesterday afternoon, Xiaogan Yunmeng county estates across the Po Tanzhen what happened six groups of land subsidence, collapse area of about 10 acres, 580 villagers, local government transfers, set the point of a settlement, now no casualties and property losses. What is the estate of six groups of macro Casino salt brine area. After the incident, the local government staff on-site rescue organization, set up the warning line, to avoid further expansion of the accident. Relevant experts to carry out inspections, cause of the accident investigation continues, the current local people emotional stability. 7 pm yesterday, the reporter to the scene to interview.

Spray the ground 10 meters from 'black water column.'

Local villagers said Chen Mei-embroidered, 14:30 the same day, she was upstairs cleaning when I heard someone shout out, 'something went wrong, something went wrong.' Her on to the roof and saw a sight that stunned: far at the rice fields constantly filled with black water, straight to the sky spraying. 'Water column 10 meters high.' Embroidered Mei Chen said, the rice fields everywhere to spray the water column, simply to count the number of high column of water three stories high. Water at the same time, the rice fields of poles, cotton stalks and other things to sink, about to be flooded large areas of rice fields has become an instant Blackpool. Seeing the situation, Chen quickly went down the open space outside the house there are many villagers ran out, the village cadres also arrived at the scene, and the organization of the evacuation.

Last night, reporters at the scene saw the incident to have been martial law, Yunmeng county government related to leadership experts are on-site survey to cause subsidence. According to Tan Zhen-related personnel across the Po, the cloud collapse should be located about 200 meters east of the road, what the former estate of six groups of about 40 meters through field visits, an area of about 10 acres of land subsidence, collapse at a large gush of water . from the group appeared in the recent housing cracks, subsidence and cracks near the village of danger to life and property safety, but no casualties. After the accident, wind up the local power outage the power sector in a timely manner to avoid secondary disasters.

580 villagers in the village safe transfer.

After the accident, Yunmeng county government launched the emergency response plan, quickly organize public security, health and other departments to the scene for disaster relief, immediately set up warning, evacuation and resettlement of villagers. Relevant staff across the Po Tan Zhen said, the town government staff responsible for the evacuation and resettlement of villagers. Time of the incident many villagers ran out, but after some villagers see the house all right, want to stay home, there are people who want to move Some valuable items out, but because the incident did not find the reason, there are security risks, they are strictly prohibited personnel inside.

'One must not carry out.' Local government has also set up a number of group day and night duty, village inspection once every half hour, to prevent some villagers Chenhei back village. At 8:00, the reporter with the inspectors into the village, some villagers found to stay in the village now has transferred 580 people were evacuated, mostly relatives and friends, the town set up a school in the town settlements, arrangements did not places people spend the night.

Overnight at ease within the village settlements.

Xu 9 o'clock last night, the reporter saw in the town high school student dormitories, students have a holiday, just for the village dormitory settlement, the civil affairs department sent a quilt. Settlements in the beginning to more than 100 people, then more people to relatives spend the night, only six villagers to stay overnight. Villagers Xushuang Dong said that the incident was, just outside his home to see the collapse, and underground water flooded out, he immediately ran home, two children still at home sleeping, one of which was 1 year old for three months, he holds from the two children ran out, his parents sat at the door, he shouted on the two old quick, quickly went to a five security zones.

Xushuang Dong after the family settled, and call back to the village of the villagers who still do not know the danger , then at home, the villagers have to escape from the dangerous place. Overnight in the village settlements, said, grateful to the Government to provide them with shelter, but also very worried about things at home, 'New Year approached, the family has a lot of New Year, and now no one at home, fear of being stolen.' Relevant person in charge of this county said it has arranged staff day and night duty, the town police station will be four inspections, the villagers to protect the property of absolute safety.

Wrecked a wedding emergencies.

Xushuang Dong said yesterday his nephew had TSUI wedding day, the family prepared a banquet. By Liu Shuixi village rules to open from noon to eat at night. The villagers are ready to take to drink at noon Dayton wedding night and stir the bridal chamber. Everyone at noon meal than later, the results banquet has not yet begun, subsidence took place, the wedding was canceled. - F-Paper.

"Thick column of water suddenly emerge from the field, six or seven meters high." Yunmeng county unitary housing estates across the Po Tanzhen 63-year-old Jin-Xiang Xu to see this scene, stunned and almost out of the hands of the cigarette to the ground. 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon, the temperature is low, combined with rain, after lunch, nothing to master Xu smoking in the house outside. Suddenly, the feeling of hundred meters from the fields like some strange, seems to have dug up the water column in slowly. First thought is to look tired, he would go forward ten meters. Suddenly, the calm surface of the water column was washed coarse to open, followed by raging muddy flood began to leak, red cabbage on the ground were uprooted. And the water column around the ground seemed to slow down, and soon became a near ten acres of land have a large pond.

4 pm, reporters rushed to the scene, the police have been on the cordon around the incident, and persuade the villagers to disperse onlookers, to prevent accidents. In the two local villagers under the leadership of the reporter gradually penetrated into spewing point of collapse area, the ground can be seen everywhere along the way been washed cracks open, and some thick deep tank hole. Subsidence of the middle poles have been wrecking. Moreover, spewing point around, you can still clearly see the water over a large vortex generated, although the water potential has been reduced, but still a steady stream of water poured out. Flow of water into the ravines, the taste is very salty. The villagers described, near the village are many underground salt mine field, this may be the nearby Salt mining, salt was mined to a large number of recharge water to inhibit subsidence, there appears to be what this accident. A few years ago, a similar place near the thing, but not this severe, but also a little far away from the village, it did not particularly care.

Safe evacuation of more than 150 starry night.

Influenced by the collapse of the main unitary housing estates yaowan of dozens of families. Yesterday, the reporter in the village 64 years Lee's home through a second floor bedroom window, you can see tens of meters outside the collapse zone, an ocean, her family has been classified in the warning line, should not be living. Immediately to the New Year, what time to slip out longer. Lee recall her mother with two daughters tricycle drag on for several quilts, cotton two pack a change of clothes, a bag of bacon and other leave. "First daughter, who lives a few days, so in stable condition to come back." Lee said her mother. At 7:00, the reporter came to the village again, still see villagers walking hurriedly to hold blankets, wash basins and other belongings out of the village, home to friends and family lodging. After the incident, the relevant departments have been asked all potential safety hazard to residents living in the home temporarily not, can not find accommodation for the government to coordinate. As of last night, the village has a total of 35 150 people safe transfer.

The local government launched emergency plans.

Reporters in the incident to see that collapse on the ground, a large variety of cabbage, beetroot sprouts and other vegetables, and many are listed to the harvest season. This was because the cold weather, with scattered light rain the next, working in the fields with fewer people, so no casualties. After the incident, emergency led immediately Yunmeng county leaders do, safety supervision, land, fire and other related departments to the scene, according to "geological disaster contingency plan" to set up emergency field headquarters, emergency work, first make sure that people's lives and property security. Station of Hubei Province geological experts are sent first rushed to the scene, assess the identification, take the water to explore the reasons for subsidence. According to the county communications, the collapse area of ​​ten acres. Currently, relevant departments Yunmeng county area in the incident who has arranged 24 hours a day, closely monitoring progress collapse. People emotional stability, and orderly living arrangements. - CN Hubei [Translated].

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Heavy Snowfall Cripples Kashmir, Cutting it off From the Rest of the Country - Avalanche Warning Issued!

Kashmir remained cut off from the rest of the country for the second day today as snowfall blocked the vital Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and delayed all scheduled flights to the Valley. Life across Kashmir was hit for the second consecutive day Monday as moderate to heavy snowfall continued, cutting off the valley from the rest of the country. The Srinagar-Jammu highway was blocked due to heavy snowfall in the Banihal and Patnitop sectors. The over 300 km long highway is Kashmir's only road link with the rest of India. No civilian flights could operate from Srinagar International airport Sunday because of bad weather.

Although authorities moved snow clearance machines in Srinagar and other district headquarters early morning, there was little traffic on the roads because of continuing snowfall and highly slippery road conditions. The trans Line of Control (LoC) bus service Karvan-e-Aman between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad was also cancelled because of heavy snowfall on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway. The Kashmir University has cancelled all examinations in the valley scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. The disaster management cell has issued an avalanche warning for the higher reaches of Khilanmarg, Machil, Keran, Gurez, Tangdhar, Chowkibal and Uri.

People living in these areas have been advised not to move out of their homes. "They must remove accumulated snow from their rooftops to avoid any mishap due to roof collapse," said Amir Ali, in charge of the disaster management cell. The state police has joined relief efforts in the valley. Hundreds of local policemen were seen removing snow from roads in Srinagar and other places of the valley Monday as well as Sunday. "In order to mitigate the problems of the people, ambulances would remain available in all police stations of the valley. In case of any emergency, people are requested to approach the nearest police station," a senior police officer said here. Despite claims by officials that enough stocks of cooking gas and essential supplies were available in the valley, people in Srinagar and other places have been complaining of an acute shortage of cooking gas cylinders here.

"The fact that cooking gas is in short supply has been proved by the administration's decision asking gas companies to sell cylinders filled with just five kg of gas to the consumers till the Srinagar-Jammu road is reopened," said Bashir Ahmad War, a resident of Ganderbal. People living in Srinagar and other towns of the valley have, however, appreciated the efforts of the local power development department which has been maintaining a steady supply of electricity here since the present snowfall started. "The electricity department has been doing a commendable job. We are getting electric supply as per the announced schedule since the present snowfall started. It is a great effort. You know how much difference this makes, especially in the winter months," said Junaid Ahmad Kawoos, a resident of Omar Colony in Srinagar.

"The minimum temperature was minus 2.2 degrees in Srinagar today while it was minus 5.3 in Pahalgam and minus 6.7 in Gulmarg. Snowfall equivalent to 14 mm of rain was recorded in Srinagar since yesterday, it was 16.8 mm in Qazigund, 18.4 mm in Pahalgam, 40.1 mm in Kupwara, 21.0 mm in Gulmarg, 14.4 mm in Kokernag and 50.4 mm in Banihal. "The western disturbance active over the valley is likely to weaken by today evening and there would be decrease in precipitation from today evening onwards," Sonam Lotus, director of the local met office, said here. - Times of India.
WATCH: Heavy snowfall cripples Kashmir - Avalanche warning issued.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: "The Gateway to Hell" - Iceland's Super-Volcano Katla Threatens To Erupt!

Volcanic eruptions in Iceland are capable of affecting air traffic across Europe, as the Eyjafjallajokull volcano showed by grounding flights for a week in 2010.

The Icelandic volcano that was hilariously mispronounced by every non-Icelandic news reporter but wreaked grim havoc with airlines and airports? Well, Katla, the more bigger (its magma chamber is easily ten times bigger than the one in Eyjafjallajökull) and easily pronounceable volcano supposedly named after an evil, mythological troll, could produce such disruptive havoc on a bigger scale..funnily enough, in a similar manner to an Internet troll. When Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010, many were worried that Eyjafjallajökull's eruption could trigger either the biggest Icelandic volcano (Katla) or the stratovolcano Hekla to erupt. That year, neither erupted.

However as 2010 turned into 2011, many monitoring the Katla volcano worried that, due to the historical tendency of Katla volcano erupting following a Eyjafjallajökull eruption and the fact it historically occurred almost every 50 years, the question of the biggest volcano in Iceland erupting is a matter of "when" and not "if". In 2011, there was an increase in the strength of the earthquakes occurring underneath Katla, the strongest being a 4.1 on the Richter scale.

Though the seismic data and other observations gave no indication of an exact date or time of an eruption, scientists say that there is no need for alarm while also saying in the same breath that the situation could change "abruptly". And now, the situation could very well change "abruptly". Other scientists are arguing that Katla's behavior is unpredictable and erratic, which makes it difficult to ascertain if the eruptions could be big, small or if the quakes underneath are just another phenomena.

The last major Katla eruption occurred in the year 1918. The eruption lasted over a month as plumes of ash actually blocked out the sun in the most affected areas. This introduced harsher winters and effectively killed off crops and even livestock due to the shortage of food. If Katla is to erupt again in a similar manner, the eruption could lead to mass flooding and yet another disruption of air travels all over the world. - iNEWP.
WATCH: Katla threatens to erupt.

TERMINATOR NOW: Rise of the Machines and the Coming Global Police State - DARPA is Developing Cyborg Insects for "Microbotic Missions"!

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing technology to control the insects by attaching electronics to them during the early stages of metamorphosis.

One of the cyber-beetles involved in DARPA's Hybrid Insect Micro Electromechanical System program.
The insects will be controlled by the Hybrid Insect Micro Electromechanical Systems (HI-MEMS), attached to the muscle or neural systems. The HI-MEMS will run off the insect’s own body cells, enabling then be sent off to perform “microbotic missions”.

“The basic technology developed in this program will also serve as a biological tool to understand and control insect development, opening vistas in our understanding of tissue development and providing new technological pathways to harness the natural sensors and power generation of insects,” the website says. While olfactory training of bees has been used in the past, the program aims to control the insects more effectively.

An image of a bee involved in DARPA's Hybrid Insect Micro Electromechanical System program.
The news comes as scientists at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland successfully created a cockroach that runs on an electric current. Researchers were able to transform the way the insects creates fuel into electrical energy by implanting an electrode. “It takes chemicals that the insect produces when it feeds itself,” Case Western Reserve University chemist Daniel Scherson said. “We’re using these chemicals as fuel to convert chemical energy into electrical energy.” - News Australia.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Mass Stranding and Mass Die-Off in Australia - 53 Dead Fur Seals Found on Port Lincoln and Wanna Beach!

More than 50 New Zealand fur seals have washed up dead on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula and will be examined at Adelaide University to determine how they died.

New Zealand fur seals are found all along Australia's south coast
as well as along the coast of New Zealand's South Island. 
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said the bodies of 51 juveniles and two young adults were found near Port Lincoln and at Wanna Beach in the Lincoln National Park. Dr Lucy Woolford from Adelaide University says three seals have been collected for post-mortem examinations, which will be conducted on Tuesday morning.

"These seals appear to have died a few days ago, so they're in a state of decomposition so we're trying to see how much information we can gain from those," she said. "[We have found] no immediate signs of injury from the seals we've looked at so far." New Zealand fur seals are a protected species found along Australia's south coast and along the coast of New Zealand's South Island. They can grow to weigh up to 250 kilograms, but males usually average about 125kg and are considered docile, although they will attack if provoked. - ABC Australia.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Nyamuragira Volcano in DR Congo Update - Eruption Continues With Lava Fountains and Lava Flow!

The eruption at Nyamuragira volcano (DR Congo) continues with lava fountains 50-150 m high, ejections of incandescent bombs reaching up to 600 m, and the emission of an aa lava flow from the second (eastern) vent. - Volcano Discovery.

Lava fountain and the active lava flow emerging from the breach of
the erupting flank cone of Nyamuragira volcano (8 Jan 2012).

Lava fountains from Nyamuragira volcano (8 Jan 2012).

The Volcano Discovery group at the erupting flank cone of Nyamuragira volcano (8 Jan 2012).
According to the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report from the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program:
Satellite imagery acquired on 3 January from the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's EO-1 satellite showed an active lava flow to the NE of the central vent over the fissure located 11-12 km ENE of Nyamuragira's main crater. A sulfur dioxide-rich plume was also detected. Geologic Summary. Africa's most active volcano, Nyamuragira (Also spelled Nyamulagira) is a massive basaltic shield volcano N of Lake Kivu and NW of Nyiragongo volcano. Lava flows from Nyamuragira cover 1,500 sq km of the East African Rift. The 3058-m-high summit is truncated by a small 2 x 2.3 km summit caldera that has walls up to about 100 m high. About 40 historical eruptions have occurred since the mid-19th century within the summit caldera and from numerous fissures and cinder cones on the volcano's flanks. A lava lake in the summit crater, active since at least 1921, drained in 1938. Twentieth-century flank lava flows extend more than 30 km from the summit, reaching as far as Lake Kivu.
WATCH: Nyamuragira volcano erupts.

GEOLOGICAL ANOMALIES: Unusual & Stunning Occurrence - Rare Caterpillar-like Horizontal Earthquakes Have Been Discovered!

Imagine that, as you sit at your desk or in your living room reading this story, your entire city suddenly snaps a foot to the south. That's what happened to the city of Kohat, Pakistan, in 1992. A magnitude-6.0 earthquake moved a 30-square-mile (80-square-kilometer) swath of land one foot (30 centimeters) horizontally in a split second, leveling buildings and killing more than 200 people.

Mount Everest in the Himalayas.
The area hadn't experienced many temblors before, making the earthquake an unusual occurrence. Now, 20 years later, geologists have used satellite and seismic data to track down the cause of that rare quake - an equally rare type of fault.  "The pattern we saw was absolutely a dead ringer for a horizontal fault," said Roger Bilham, a geophysicist at the University of Colorado at Boulder. "But here's the problem: How do you get a horizontal earthquake?"

Perfectly horizontal.

Most earthquakes occur at near-vertical faults, such as the strike-slip San Andreas Fault or the thrust fault that caused the 2011 Japan earthquake. The Kohat Plateau earthquake occurred on a horizontal fault - something that scientists have rarely, if ever, seen before. "The fault is like the contact layer between a carpet and the floor beneath it - perfectly horizontal," Bilham told OurAmazingPlanet.

To understand what happened at Kohat, you need to picture a waterbed, Bilham explained. If the waterbed is sitting on concrete, it's nearly impossible to push. But if you put the waterbed on a slippery surface - say, an ice rink - it becomes a little easier to move. It may crumple up at one end, and some patches may get a little stuck, but if you push slowly and surely, you can move the waterbed.

Now imagine that waterbed is the Kohat Plateau, a 3,800-square-mile (10,000-square-km) slab of earth that lies just southwest of the Himalayas. As the Eurasian plate pushes the plateau southward, it slides along (or creeps) on its own sort of ice rink, a lubricating layer of salt separating the plateau from the underlying layer of rock.

Every once in a while, though, a patch of the plateau sticks against the bedrock below. And while the rest of the plateau slides southward, "the surrounding creep loads up around the one stuck patch, then boom! Earthquake," Bilham said. Because this type of earthquake is so unusual, Bilham and colleagues used interferometric synthetic aperture radar, a type of satellite data, to confirm their suspicions. This type of radar uses microwaves to map a section of the Earth's surface at different times (in this case, the images were taken nearly 20 years apart), and then compares the two maps to very accurately measure seismic deformation and movement in the area. "That sewed it up very nicely," Bilham said. His team's findings will appear in the February issue of the journal Nature Geoscience.

A caterpillar's crawl.

The Kohat Plateau is creeping south at a speed of about 1 to 2 millimeters per year, Bilham said. Over the course of about 200 years, patches of the plateau can build up enough stress to cause localized earthquakes, like the one in 1992. Over time, the plateau's movement is much like a caterpillar's crawl - a combination of slow gliding and sudden jerks.

This type of earthquake will likely become more frequent in the region, Bilham said, as the plateau slowly squeezes out its underlying layer of lubricant. Although Bilham thinks this layer is likely salt, he says no one will know for sure until scientists drill below the plateau to take samples. But whatever it turns out to be, residents of the Kohat Plateau should hold on tight. - Our Amazing Planet.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Pacific Ocean is Doomed as Japan's Nuclear Dead Zone Spreads Far And Wide - Over 20,000 Deaths in the U.S., Radioactive Iodine Found in Canada's Rainwater, Radiation in 65% of Japan-Caught Fish, and Radioactive Gravel Shipped to Over 200 Companies in Japan, as Hazardous Debris Approaches North American West Coast!

Almost nothing to see here, move along. Almost a year after Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s six reactor Daichi Fuskuhima complex was rocked by an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale and subsequent tsunami, both Tokyo and TEPCO maintain that the effects of the disaster have been contained. However, the following story seems to indicates differently.

Dr. John Apsley joins George Noory on the U.S.’s number one late night radio program Coast to Coast AM to report on increased deaths in North America that he believes are associated with the Fukushima catastrophe, and the leaking of radiation. There was a spike in infant mortality rates within the first 10 weeks of the catastrophe in cities across the US, and the radiation contamination likely came through rainfall, he said, adding that infants were particularly susceptible because of their reduced thyroid function.

LISTEN: Apsley's discussion with Noory.

Apsley and nuclear engineer Arnold Gundersen appeared on a radio program together in July. Listen HERE.

Scientists now believe that the true figure might be closer to 20,000 excess deaths. Interview with  Dr. Janette Sherman  and Joseph Mangano,  co-authors of the medical journal article  on 14,000 excess U.S. deaths following Fukushima.

Download the program HERE.

SOURCE: Nuclear Hotseat

Meanwhile, in Canada, radioactive Iodine has been found in the rainwater and the public was left in the dark. not notified by health authorities.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident, Canadian health officials assured a nervous public that virtually no radioactive fallout had drifted to Canada. But last March, a Health Canada monitoring station in Calgary detected an average of 8.18 becquerels per litre of radioactive iodine (an isotope released by the nuclear accident) in rainwater, the data shows. The level easily exceeded the Canadian guideline of six becquerels of iodine per litre for drinking water, acknowledged Eric Pellerin, chief of Health Canada's radiation-surveillance division. "It's above the recommended level (for drinking water)," he said in an interview. "At any time you sample it, it should not exceed the guideline." Canadian authorities didn't disclose the high radiation reading at the time. In contrast, the state of Virginia issued a don't-drink-rainwater advisory in late March after iodine levels in rain in a nearby city spiked to 3.4 becquerels per litre on a single day. That was less than half of the level seen in Calgary during the entire month of March. Radioactive iodine also appeared in smaller amounts in March in Vancouver (which saw an average of 0.69 becquerels per litre in rainwater, up from zero before Fukushima), Winnipeg (which got 0.64 becquerels per litre) and Ottawa (which had 1.67 becquerels per litre), the data shows. These other levels didn't exceed the Canadian limit for drinking water.

But the level in Ottawa did surpass the more stringent ceiling for drinking water used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The data still isn't posted on Health Canada's web page devoted to the impacts of Fukushima. Pellerin said he doesn't know why Health Canada didn't make the data public. "I can't answer that. The communication aspect could be improved." The rainwater data also raises questions about how Ottawa monitors radiation after a nuclear crisis: Some of Health Canada's numbers are much lower than those reported by other radiation researchers. Simon Fraser University nuclear chemist Krzysztof Starosta found iodine levels in rainwater in Burnaby, B.C., spiked to 13 becquerels per litre in March - many times higher than the levels Health Canada detected in nearby Vancouver. Rain was tested only at the end of each month, after a network of monitoring stations sent samples to Ottawa. This meant the radiation spikes last March were only discovered in early April, after rainwater samples were sent to Ottawa for testing - too late to alert the public, including those who collect rain for drinking and gardening. In contrast, the EPA tested the rain for radiation every day and immediately reported the data on its website. - Montreal Gazette.
In addition to this, radiation has also been found in 65% of Japan-caught fish.

After the world’s worst nuclear accident in 25 years, authorities in Canada said people living here were safe and faced no health risks from the fallout from Fukushima. They said most of the radiation from the crippled Japanese nuclear power plant would fall into the ocean, where it would be diluted and not pose any danger. Dr. Dale Dewar wasn’t convinced. Dewar, a family physician in Wynyard, Sask., doesn’t eat a lot of seafood herself, but when her grandchildren come to visit, she carefully checks seafood labels. She wants to make sure she isn’t serving them anything that might come from the western Pacific Ocean. Dewar, the executive director of Physicians for Global Survival, a Canadian anti-nuclear group, says the Canadian government has downplayed the radiation risks from Fukushima and is doing little to monitor them.

“We suspect we’re going to see more cancers, decreased fetal viability, decreased fertility, increased metabolic defects – and we expect them to be generational,” she said. And evidence has emerged that the impacts of the disaster on the Pacific Ocean are worse than expected. Since a tsunami and earthquake destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant last March, radioactive cesium has consistently been found in 60 to 80 per cent of Japanese fishing catches each month tested by Japan’s Fisheries Agency. In November, 65 per cent of the catches tested positive for cesium (a radioactive material created by nuclear reactors), according to a Gazette analysis of data on the fisheries agency’s website. Cesium is a long-lived radionuclide that persists in the environment and increases the risk of cancer, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which says the most common form of radioactive cesium has a half-life of 30 years.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which monitors food safety, says it is aware of the numbers but says the amounts of cesium detected are small. “Approximately 60 per cent of fish have shown to have detectable levels of radionuclides,” it said in an emailed statement. “The majority of exported fish to Canada are caught much farther from the coast of Japan, and the Japanese testing has shown that these fish have not been contaminated with high levels of radionuclides.” But the Japanese data shows elevated levels of contamination in several seafood species that Japan has exported to Canada in recent years. In November, 18 per cent of cod exceeded a new radiation ceiling for food to be implemented in Japan in April – along with 21 per cent of eel, 22 per cent of sole and 33 per cent of seaweed.

Overall, one in five of the 1,100 catches tested in November exceeded the new ceiling of 100 becquerels per kilogram. (Canada’s ceiling for radiation in food is much higher: 1,000 becquerels per kilo.) “I would probably be hesitant to eat a lot of those fish,” said Nicholas Fisher, a marine sciences professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Fisher is researching how radiation from Fukushima is affecting the Pacific fishery. “There has been virtually zero monitoring and research on this,” he said, calling on other governments to do more radiation tests on the ocean’s marine life. “Is it something we need to be terrified of? No. Is it something we need to monitor? Yes, particularly in coastal waters where concentrations are high.” Contamination of fish in the Pacific Ocean could have wide-ranging consequences for millions.

The Pacific is home to the world’s largest fishery, which is in turn the main source of protein for about one billion people in Asia alone. In October, a U.S. study – co-authored by oceanographer Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at the non-profit Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., – reported Fukushima caused history’s biggest-ever release of radiation into the ocean – 10 to 100 times more than the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. “It’s completely untrue to say this level of radiation is safe or harmless,” said Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. Edwards, who is also a math professor at Vanier College, said Fukushima has highlighted how lackadaisical Canadian authorities are about radiation risks – the result, he says, of the influence of Canada’s powerful nuclear industry. “The reassurances have been completely irresponsible. To say there are no health concerns flies in the face of all scientific evidence,” said Edwards, who has advised the federal auditor-general’s office and Ontario government on nuclear-power issues. - Montreal Gazette.
Read more on this extensive report HERE.

To compound the matter even further, the approaching debris from Japanese tsunami may contain hazardous materials.

Seaview beachcomber Matt Mulvey is eager for debris from the Japanese tsunami to wash up on the Long Beach Peninsula. He hopes to find real glass fishing floats and buoys among the sea-trash swept into the Pacific Ocean after the massive March 11 earthquake off the coast of Japan and which now is floating slowly, inexorably toward North America. "I'm not worried about radioactivity. We've got more radioactivity coming out of Hanford than we're gonna get from Japan," Mulvey said Tuesday, referring to radiation leaks the earthquake caused at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant. However, scientists are cautioning beachcombers that they might get more than they bargained for when the debris starts washing ashore. The approaching debris likely will contain hazardous materials and objects.

Radiation is not considered among the hazards, but it is possible the flotsam that washes ashore could include skeletal human remains. The first big wave of debris is not expected for another year, but officials are holding a series of public safety meetings on tsunami debris next week in three Pacific County locations. In addition to warning about hazards, officials also are asking the public to be respectful of what they find on the beaches and be on the alert for information that can help Japanese families track down missing relatives. - TDN.

The Fukusima Diary is reporting that radiation level increased double within 20 days after decontamination.
From 12/6/2011 to 12/20/2011, Japanese self defense force went to Fukushima to decontaminate. 900 members were sent to the town halls of Narahamachi, Tomiokamachi, Namiemachi, and Iidatemura. As expected, they successfully proved decontamination is meaningless.

Self defense force struggled to decontaminate the flags of the Iidatemura town hall on 12/20/2011.

12/20 : 1.57 microSv/h

12/29 : 2.87 microSv/h

1/10 : 3.26 microSv/h

Between the stones of the path, dead leaves were already put.

Experts and house makers are warning about high-pressure washing to decontaminate the roofs because it may hurt the roof but doesn’t decrease the radiation level. Some of the local governments are starting to remove it from the decontamination options.
Fukushima local government tried to decontaminate the roof of a house in Oonami Fukushima, 8/2011.
However, the radiation level of 1cm above the roof (Concrete) only decreased by less than half.(2.4 microSv/h→1.6 microSv/h).
When it comes to slate, it was only 2.4 microSv/h → 2.0 microSv/h, and in the case of tiled roof, it was only 1.2 microSv/h → 1.1 microSv/h.
What's worst, it has now been discovered that radioactive gravel was likely shipped to over 200 companies in Japan.

Radioactive gravel thought responsible for high radiation readings in a new apartment complex in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, was likely shipped to over 200 companies, making its way into apartments, bridges, and possibly temporary homes for evacuees, according to government investigators. The gravel was kept in a part of the town of Namie, in an area near the disaster-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. From the time the nuclear disaster began to the establishment of the area as an evacuation zone on April 22, the company owning the gravel had shipped 5,200 metric tons of it to 19 companies, according to national and local government sources.

Two of the receiving companies were ready-mix concrete companies and the rest were construction companies. However, the gravel was then reportedly sent on to over 200 other companies, where it was used in building materials. On Jan. 16, Fukushima Prefectural Government officials agreed at a meeting to work to help move residents from the homes affected by the radioactive gravel, investigate the source of the contamination, and check for other places where contaminated building materials may have been used. - MDN.

DISEASE OUTBREAK: India Reports Completely Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis - Disease is Totally Untreatable, New Cases Are "Just the Tip of the Iceberg"!

Well, this is a bad way to start the year. Over the past 48 hours, news has broken in India of the existence of at least 12 patients infected with tuberculosis that has become resistant to all the drugs used against the disease. Physicians in Mumbai are calling the strain TDR, for Totally Drug-Resistant. In other words, it is untreatable as far as they know.

News of some of the cases was published Dec. 21 in an ahead-of-print letter to the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, which just about everyone missed, including me. (But not, thankfully, the hyper-alert global-health blogger Crawford Kilian, to whom I hat-tip.) That letter describes the discovery and treatment of four cases of TDR-TB since last October. On Saturday, the Times of India disclosed that there are actually 12 known cases just in one hospital, the P. D. Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Centre; in the article, Hinduja’s Dr. Amita Athawale admits, “The cases we clinically isolate are just the tip of the iceberg.” And as a followup, the Hindustan Times reported yesterday that most hospitals in the city — by extension, most Indian cities — don’t have the facilities to identify the TDR strain, making it more likely that unrecognized cases can go on to infect others.

Why this is bad news: TB is already one of the world’s worst killers, up there with malaria and HIV/AIDS, accounting for 9.4 million cases and 1.7 million deaths in 2009, according to the WHO. At the best of times, TB treatment is difficult, requiring at least 6 months of pill combinations that have unpleasant side effects and must be taken long after the patient begins to feel well.

Because of the mismatch between treatment and symptoms, people often don’t take their full course of drugs — and from that (and some other factors I’ll talk about in a minute) we get multi-drug resistant and extensively drug-resistant, MDR and XDR, TB. MDR is resistant to the first-choice drugs, requiring that patients instead be treated with a larger cocktail of “second-line” agents, which are less effective, have more side effects, and take much longer to effect a cure, sometimes 2 years or more. XDR is resistant to the three first-line drugs and several of the nine or so drugs usually recognized as being second choice.

As of last spring, according to the WHO, there were about 440,000 cases of MDR-TB per year, accounting for 150,000 deaths, and 25,000 cases of XDR. At the time, the WHO predicted there would be 2 million MDR or XDR cases in the word by 2012.

That was before TDR-TB.

The first cases, as it turns out, were not these Indian ones, but an equally under-reported cluster of 15 patients in Iran in 2009. They were embedded in a larger outbreak of 146 cases of MDR-TB, and what most worried the physicians who saw them was that the drug resistance was occurring in immigrants and cross-border migrants as well as Iranians: Half of the patients were Iranian, and the rest Afghan, Azerbaijani and Iraqi. The Iranian team raised the possibility at the time that rates of TDR were higher than they knew, especially in border areas where there would be little diagnostic capacity or even basic medical care.

The Indian cases disclosed before Christmas demonstrate what happens when TB patients don’t get good medical care. The letter to CID describes the course of four of the 12 patients; all four saw two to four doctors during their illness, and at least three got multiple, partial courses of the wrong antibiotics. The authors say this is not unusual:

    The vast majority of these unfortunate patients seek care from private physicians in a desperate attempt to find a cure for their tuberculosis. This sector of private-sector physicians in India is among the largest in the world and these physicians are unregulated both in terms of prescribing practice and qualifications. A study that we conducted in Mumbai showed that only 5 of 106 private practitioners practicing in a crowded area called Dharavi could prescribe a correct prescription for a hypothetical patient with MDR tuberculosis. The majority of prescriptions were inappropriate and would only have served to further amplify resistance, converting MDR tuberculosis to XDR tuberculosis and TDR tuberculosis.

As their comment suggests, the other TB challenge is diagnosis, especially of resistant strains, and here again the news is not good. The WHO said last spring that only two-thirds of countries with resistant TB epidemics have the lab capacity to detect the resistant strains. As a result, only one MDR patient out of every 10 even gets into treatment, and when they do, cure rates range from 82 percent down to 25 percent. That’s for MDR. None of the TDR patients have been recorded cured, and at least one of the known Indian patients has died.

Meanwhile, health authorities estimate that one patient with active TB can infect up to 15 others. And thus resistant TB spreads: XDR-TB was first identified just in 2006, and it has since been found in 69 countries around the world. - WIRED.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Sindh Province in Pakistan Experiences Wettest Ever Monsoon in 2011 - Record-Breaking 247% Above Normal, 1100mm in Some Areas?!

The climate-based data compiled by World Meteorological Organization (WMO) revealed that the Sindh province experienced wettest monsoon season on record (247% above normal) with some of its areas receiving more than 1,100mm from mid-August to early September in 2011.

The preliminary report compiled by WMO is based on three complementary datasets including Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

“For the second year in succession, Pakistan experienced severe flooding in 2011. The floods were more localised than in 2010, being largely confined to the southern part of the country,” the report said.

The local data showed that all of a sudden, torrential downpours in 2011 across Sindh caused devastating floods affecting over 7 million people (42% of whom are women). The floods killed over 200 people, damaged nearly one million houses and destroyed 4.2 million acres of productive lands.

The latest reports by the United Nations and Islamic Relief said that the affected people of the flashing floods in Sindh have been continuously struggling to come to terms with the normal as majority of them still lack proper shelter even in severe winter season.

Referring to flash floods in other areas the report stated that in terms of loss of life, the most extreme single event occurred in Brazil on 11-12 January, when a devastating flood, caused by rainfall that exceeded 200mm in a few hours, in mountainous terrain about 60km north of Rio de Janeiro caused at least 900 deaths. This was one of the worst natural disasters in Brazil ‘s history.

The report stated that global climate in 2011 was heavily influenced by the strong La Nina event that developed in the tropical Pacific in the second half of 2010 and continued until May 2011. This event, which on most measures was one of the strongest of at least the last 60 years, was closely associated with many of the year’s notable regional climate events, including drought in east Africa, the central equatorial Pacific and the southern United States, and flooding in southern Africa, eastern Australia and southern Asia.

It said monsoon rainfall was also well above average in western border areas of India, with some flooding, but below average in the north-east; June-September rainfall for India as a whole was 2% above average.

“Global tropical cyclone activity was again below average in 2011, although not to the same extent as in 2010, which had the lowest number of tropical cyclones since satellite records began in the late 1960s. As of 22 November there had been 69 tropical cyclones in 2011, compared with the long-term full-year average of 84,” it said.

It was an exceptionally quiet season in the Southwest Indian Ocean (west of 90°E), with only 2 cyclones in 2011, and 3 in the full 2010-11 season, the second-lowest number of the last 50 years. Over the full South Indian Ocean there were 7 cyclones, about half the average number. - The News.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Blizzard Batters Seattle, on Deck for Historic Snowstorm - Midwest Braces for Snow, Two Months Later Than Expected!

Has winter finally woken up? The northwest took a pounding at the weekend as a low pressure system from the Gulf of Alaska brought the first major snowfall of the season to the Seattle area. The mideast, meanwhile, is braced for a cold start to the week with rain and snow on the way. The Seattle storm is moving east with two and five inches of snow in parts of Idaho and Montana.

In the midwest rain is developing across Missouri, the Ohio Valley and the southern Great Lakes on Monday. But parts of South Dakota and Nebraska can expect up to three inches of snow, reports. Lows will range from near 0 degrees in northern North Dakota to 40 degrees in southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri. In the midwest rain is developing across Missouri, the Ohio Valley and the southern Great Lakes on Monday. But parts of South Dakota and Nebraska can expect up to three inches of snow, reports. Lows will range from near 0 degrees in northern North Dakota to 40 degrees in southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri.

By afternoon and evening, light rain or snow  will spread into the interior Northeast. Light snow may swing out of the Rockies Monday into the Plains and Upper Midwest by Monday night. On Tuesday, low pressure tracks into the Great Lakes.  Forecasters predict accumulating snow in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes into northern New England and Upstate New York.  But Tuesday evening, six inches or more snow may have fallen in the Lake Ontario snowbelt to northern Vermont., northern New Hampshire and northwest Maine. The Lake Erie snowbelt, Mohawk Valley of New York and central Maine can expect two to inches of snow. The western Great Lakes will get one to inches of the white stuff. - Daily Mail.

An arctic cold front slicing south across the Northwest will usher in the latest round of arctic chill into the country. The cold air will support snow in the region over the next several days before a major storm could wallop the region by the middle of next week. Arctic air will slice into the Northwest into early next week. The cold air pouring south will set the stage for a potentially historic snowstorm in the Seattle area. Initially, intermittent snow will fall across Washington and Oregon and areas farther east across the Interior West through Tuesday. Snow can accumulate a couple of inches from Seattle, Wash., to Portland, Ore., through Monday. Despite the occasional snow early this week, our attention will be focused on the region for some wild weather next week. A powerhouse storm will slam into the Northwest later Tuesday night into Wednesday, sending a surge of heavy rain and snow into the Pacific Northwest. "Snow, perhaps a serious snowfall, is likely somewhere in western Washington. Whether it is in north of Seattle to Bellingham or in and even south of Seattle will be determined by where the storm moves ashore and how much the cold air wants to hold on, said Expert Senior Meteorologist and Western Expert Ken Clark.
"Single day snowfall of six inches or greater has occurred on only 15 days since 1950, none since 1996," said Climatologist Jim Rourke. "The top Seattle snowstorm was Feb. 1, 1916 when 21.5 inches piled up," added Rourke. The greater Seattle area has the potential to pick up over a foot of snow, with the majority falling Tuesday night into Wednesday should all the ingredients fall into place. Despite the risk for a historic snowstorm early next week, the most serious concern follows for the late-week period. Major flooding and mudslides could result late next week as a series of warmer, moisture-laden storms pound the region. "Despite the exact outcome of the snow in the middle of the week, a parade of warmer storms late next week that follow will deliver heavy rain, putting the Seattle area at risk for major flooding," said Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydnowski. Thus, residents across the Pacific Northwest are urged to prepare for the wild weather set to hit the region next week. Stay tuned to for the latest information on what to expect. - Accu Weather.
WATCH: Seattle Snowstorm.

EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT: Climate Change Models Are Flawed - Extinction Rate Is Likely Higher Than Expected!

As climate change progresses, the planet may lose more plant and animal species than predicted, a new modeling study suggests. This is because current predictions overlook two important factors: the differences in how quickly species relocate and competition among species, according to the researchers, led by Mark Urban, an ecologist at the University of Connecticut.

Already evidence suggests that species have begun to migrate out of ranges made inhospitable by climate change and into newly hospitable territory. "We have really sophisticated meteorological models for predicting climate change," Urban said in a statement. "But in real life, animals move around, they compete, they parasitize each other and they eat each other. The majority of our predictions don't include these important interactions." These are important because some species may not be able to move fast enough to survive, or they may have to compete with new species or species better able to adapt to the shifts during and after the move.

To test how competition and variation in dispersal ability would affect species' success at shifting to new habitats when faced with climate change, Urban and his colleagues created a mathematical model. The researchers found that diversity decreased when they took these factors into account, and that new communities of organisms, which do not exist today, emerged. Not surprisingly, the results favored organisms that could tolerate a wider range of habitats and were well equipped to move when necessary. Meanwhile, species with small ranges, specific needs and difficulty dispersing lost out.

Overall, competition slowed everyone down in the pursuit of habitat; however, the strongest dispersers were able to overcome this and displace others, the researchers found. "It's not about how fast you can move, but how fast you move relative to your competitors," Urban said. "The species that face the greatest extinction risks might not be limited to those that disperse less than climate change absolutely requires, but also those that disperse poorly relative to their warm-adapted competitors," they write in a study published in the Jan. 4 online edition of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. - CS Monitor.

DISEASE OUTBREAK: High Alert And Mass Culling Across India Following Two Major Outbreaks - Japan and Holland Creates "Novel" Viruses' WHO Tries to Sort Out the Science Research Controversy as Fears of a Bio-War Heightens!

Despite some poultry owners hiding their chickens and eggs either in their homes or away from the coops, all 192 chickens at the camp in Changedaphu (Kalabazar), Thimphu was culled by yesterday. The “operation” team also destroyed 283 eggs and 34 coops at the camp to contain the spread of bird flu (H5N1) that hit the capital three days ago.

Adult birds were culled by pulling and twisting their necks while the eggs and chicks were thrown straight into the polythene bags. "Its more to do with attachment than because of the economic value that they hid the birds and eggs,” livestock division’s spokesperson for bird flu Dr Tashi Dorji said. Although owners were told that they would be “adequately compensated,” Dr Tashi Dorji said some owners argued with them saying their birds were not sick and so should not be culled.

The culled birds and eggs belonged to 31 poultry owners. Dr Tashi Dorji said the culling operation was focused on two places, Kalabazar and the area that goes towards Kuenselphodrang. The area falls within a kilometer radius from the point of outbreak. Three surveillance teams, who are spread across the city for risk assessment, found 34 poultry owners with 2,885 chickens and two ducks in 14 areas. - Kuenesl Online.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it will take a role in helping sort through an international scientific controversy over two bird flu studies that the U.S. government says are too dangerous to publish in full.
The scientific and biosecurity communities have been mired in heated debate over the issue and many have been calling on the WHO to take a lead role in the discussions, saying any solution must be international in scope. In an interview Sunday, a senior WHO official said the agency will pull together international talks aimed at fleshing out the short-and long-term issues that need to be addressed and then work to resolve them.

"It’s the right organization to bring . . . balance to the discussion to make sure that the technical and scientific and the political and the public health concerns are all brought together," Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health security and environment, told The Canadian Press. But he insisted thoughtful deliberations will be needed to ensure that short-term solutions don’t cause more problems over the long run. "It’s genuinely a set of difficult and very important questions," said Fukuda, a leading influenza epidemiologist. "And I just very, very much want to make sure that we don’t go off on one tangent or an-other, pulled by one loud voice saying ’this is the issue’ when in fact there are several different issues. And that we do a good job about addressing them all." - Chronicle Herald.
One of these studies involves a Dutch lab that created a deadly bird flu virus. The scientists behind that research are now calling the U.S. censorship, "a danger to science".

America should not be allowed to dominate the debate over who controls sensitive scientific information that could be misused in biowarfare terrorism, say the scientists who created a highly dangerous form of bird-flu virus in a study that has been partially censored by the US government. Ron Fouchier and Ab Osterhaus of Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam accept recommendations by the US government's National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, which said key details of their US-funded research should not be published because bioterrorists may use the information to cause a bird-flu pandemic.

"But we do question whether it is appropriate to have one country dominate a discussion that has an impact on scientists and public-health officials worldwide," Fouchier and Osterhaus write in the journal Nature. "It is not clear whether an international discussion would lead to different recommendations ... We don't know the worldwide opinion until a group of experts from all parts of the globe is formed. An issue this big should not be decided by one country, but all of us," they say. As The Independent reported in December, Dr Fouchier and colleagues created a strain of H5N1 bird-flu virus that can be spread by airborne transmission between laboratory ferrets, the standard animal "model" for human influenza. They did it to see how easy it would be for the virus to mutate into a form that could cause a pandemic. - Independent.
Meanwhile, a lab at the Kobe University in Japan has created a 'novel' H5N1 in 'secret' experiment.

Kobe University lab creates 'novel' H5N1 in 'secret' lab --Emails from Kobe virologist and H5N1-H1N1 virus creator, Teridah Ernala Ginting -

-Story in e-mails: Kobe University PhD student Teridah Ernala confesses to creating H1N1-H5N1 "novel" viruses; Kawaoka's virus thief Akiko Makino lies to Indonesian authorities to avoid arrest for attempted smuggling of H5N1 out of Indonesia, gives authorities another university as research facility she works for By Robert S. Finnegan 05 Jan 2012

This young Indonesian "scientist" through the years of our contact revealed to me the inner-workings of her "secret" lab at Kobe University and a new BSL-4 in Tokyo that was working on H5N1 and H1N1 viruses, among others. Kobe University does NOT officially have a BSL-4 lab, and yet this microbiologist was assigned by her professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka to work on recombinant H5N1 and H1N1 in a "secret" (her words) lab at their facility. - Legitgov.

DELUGE: The Sinking of Thailand - Fifteen Districts in the Southern Province of Nakhon Si Thammarat Have Been Declared as Disaster Zones!

Fifteen districts in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat have been declared disaster zones after mountain runoff hit on Saturday night.

A flash flood struck following days of heavy rain in Gulf-side southern provinces, said governor Wiroj Chiwarangsan, who declared the emergency. Mr Wiroj has contacted soldiers from the Fourth Region Army and officials to help flood-hit communities left cut off from several main roads. Of the 15 districts, Sichon, Cha-uat, Lan Saka, Ron Phibun, Phra Phom, Muang and Nop Phi Tham were hit hardest. In Sichon, Cha-uat and Phra Phom, many roads were made impassable as they were submerged in water, while hundreds of residents in tambons Khun Thale, Khao Kaew and Thadee of Lan Saka district were badly affected by the flood and had to move to higher ground.

In Ron Phibu, a main road to the district was cut off as several sections of the road were inundated. Nakhon Si Thammarat municipality provided temporary shelters for flood-hit residents in Muang district and issued warnings for those living in low-lying areas to move to safe places as more runoff was expected to hit the district last night. Water pumps were installed in Muang district to ease flooding. A bridge in tambon Krung Ching of Nop Pi Tham district was damaged by the floods, leaving many residents cut off from the outside world. They urged authorities to help fix the bridge as soon as possible.

Phatthalung province was also hit by the heavy rainfall. Mountain runoff struck Pa Phayom, Si Banphot and Si Nakharin districts, causing sudden flash floods. More than 1,000 families in the three districts had to move to higher ground. The level of floodwater in the three areas was between 40cm and 1m. Phatthalung governor Winyu Thongsakul issued urgent orders to all district chiefs to warn residents living along the coast, on river banks and on the mountains to prepare for possible disasters resulting from the protracted heavy rainfall. Many areas of Pattani and Narathiwat were also affected. More than 500 people living along the Pattani River in tambon Pakaharang of Muang Pattani district have been hit by floods, while the Sungai Kolok, Bang Nara and Sai Buri rivers overflowed their banks and flooded farming and residential areas in Narathiwat. - Bangkok Post.

EXTREME WEATHER: Flash Flood Warning for the Queensland Coast in Australia - From Rockhampton to New South Wales!

A flash flood warning has been issued for the Queensland coast, from Rockhampton to the New South Wales border.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for Tuesday, predicting that 150mm of rain could fall in some areas in a 24-hour period. It warned that Gladstone, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Maryborough, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast may experience localised flash floods. A surface trough off the Capricorn coast is producing the heavy rainfall. It is expected to intensify and move south along the Wide Bay and southeast Queensland coasts on Tuesday. - 9 News.

It was an anxious night for towns from Rockhampton to the NSW border on flood alert. Residents who saw their homes inundated last year would take little comfort in weather warnings predicting intense rain in some areas, leading to flash flooding. The coastal strip is expected to be drenched with 24-hours of rainfall of up to 150mm today and tomorrow. Heavy falls are expected to develop along the Capricornia coast and inland areas between Gladstone and Brisbane, with Gladstone, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Maryborough, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast in the line of fire. Beaches on the Gold and Sunshine coasts that had been packed a week ago as the state sweltered through a heatwave were abandoned yesterday. Weather bureau forecaster Matthew Bass said it was difficult to predict exactly which places would get the heaviest falls.

"The position of (a low pressure system) coming through is the critical thing,'' Mr Bass said. "I expect the hardest-hit places will be near the coastal ranges on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast hinterland.'' A flood warning has been issued for coastal rivers and streams from Noosa to Caboolture and adjacent inland catchments. Emergency Management Queensland last night was warning people to avoid driving, walking or riding through floodwaters. Mr Bass said a low forming offshore from Gladstone, and combining with two other weather systems extending from off Cairns to the southeast, would be good news for parched southeast Queensland backyards.
Dayboro, northwest of Brisbane, had the best of the rain in the 24 hours to 9am yesterday with 102mm, but most suburbs received relieving showers. Wivenhoe Dam was at 74.9 per cent after being boosted with 39mm. Falls also were recorded to 100mm inland from Home Hill, Innisfail and Mackay in north Queensland while rain continued on the Sunshine Coast, with falls to 40mm. Southeast temperatures will rise from today, with storms possible today, tomorrow and Thursday. Showers and thunderstorms will continue today from the tropics south. - Courier Mail.