Thursday, May 3, 2012

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Earthquake Swarm Southwest of Santorini Volcano!

Earthquake swarm between 28 and 30 April southwest of Santorini (Inst. of Geodynamics).
During the past weeks, Santorini has been relatively calm. A few earthquakes occurred mainly SW and NE of the island recently, showing that unrest continues. Notably another small seismic swarm occurred in the area of the early January swarm at a tectonic fault line located 50 km SW of the island between 28 and 30 April. The quakes were at depths around 5-15 km and included 3 quakes around magnitude 3, the largest quake being a 3.7 magnitude at 10 km depth on 30 April. - Volcano Discovery.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Massive Sinkhole Opens up Behind a Home in Orange County, Florida - Hole Has Grown to 100 Feet Wide by 50 Feet Deep and it is Still Growing?!

Crews in Orange County are working to stop a large sinkhole from growing behind a Windermere home.
The sinkhole opened up in the backyard of a home on Indian Deer Road, in a subdivision off County Road 535 at Tilden Road.

The hole has grown from 34 feet wide to about 100 feet wide. That's about the length of a basketball court, and officials said it's still growing.  Crews said the hole is about 50 feet deep, and has swallowed up three oak trees, which look like bushes in the bottom of the massive hole.  Only a few feet separate the sinkhole from the back of the home. The family renting the home has been safely evacuated, including four children, a cat and a dog.  Lou Lambros said he and his family had only been living in the home for two months.

"The ground was just falling into the hole, and the trees were gone," he said. "It was happening very rapidly, too. So I immediately ran back in and said, 'Get the kids out of the house.'"  Firefighters have begun helping the family move their belongings.  Family members said a hammock their son was lying on just Wednesday night is now at the bottom of the sinkhole, tied to two trees.  Officials said a geologist is on the way to the home to investigate. - 13 News.
WATCH: Massive sinkhole in Florida.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: 50 Thousand Fish Mysteriously Found Dead in Shenzhen, China - Environmental Agency Investigating?!

Over 50 thousand fish in a pond near an industrial area in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen died overnight on Monday, CRI Online reports.

The fish pond covered with dead fish, located near a building site in the Mai Ke
industrial area of Shenzhen, on May 1, 2012.
The dead fish are mostly concentrated in the northern corner of the pond, and half of the body of water is now covered with rotting fish.  Located in the Qiangxiaxin Village at the junction of the Guangming New District and Dongguan in Shenzhen, the fish pond is larger than two basketball courts in area.  "We have invested a total of 350 thousand yuan (about 56 thousand USD) in the form of 60 thousand fish; now it's all over," said Ms. Liu, the fish pond owner. "These fish have been raised for one year, and could have been sold at market three months later." 
Liu said she will not sell the dead fish at market despite suffering great financial losses as a result. She also suspects that heavy rain may have led to the pond being contaminated by toxic and harmful substances from a nearby building site in the Maike industrial area.  A manager surnamed Wen at the building site said that he is willing to cover any losses but stated that he is unaware of the presence of toxic materials at the site.  The Guangming New District environmental protection office has already begun investigating the case. - CRI English.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Number of Dead Sea Turtles in Mississippi Hits 99 for 2012 - Experts Baffled by Mysterious Deaths?!

Dead sea turtles and dolphins continue to wash up along Mississippi beaches.  MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports scientists are still trying to determine the cause of death. 

There are a number of factors that could be affecting the sea turtles.
"We’ve been responding to quite a few animals. In the last few days, we’ve had at least four live animals now, and then we’ve had a dead dolphin."  That’s Moby Solangi, president of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport. The institute has a hotline for reporting stranded turtles and dolphins. Solangi is on the beach at the end of Mockingbird Lane in Gulfport documenting a dead sea turtle.  "This animal has been dead for quite some time now. He is in pretty deteriorated condition."  He’s with biologist Alicia Carron.  "38 even..notch to tip 38 even, notch to notch 37.8."  This is the 99th dead turtle found this year in Mississippi, compared to 186 turtles that washed up in the state during the first four months of 2011. 

According to Connie Barclay, spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there are many possible reasons for the deaths.  "Fishing activities that may result in turtle bicatch or mortality, biotoxins such as harmful algablooms, and, of course, possible impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill."  Whatever the cause, Stacy Baer of Gulfport is disturbed. She’s lived on the Gulf Coast for 20 years and never saw a dead sea turtle until after the oil spill.  "It’s very disheartening. I’ve got lots of friends who are very concerned about it that ive down in long Beach and Bay Saint Louis, because we’re not going to know the ramifications of what happened for many, many, many years, especially the environmental damages."  In 2011, NOAA reported 525 sea turtles stranded, most of them dead, in Mississippi,  Alabama, and Louisiana. Of the  total, 283 were in Mississippi. - MPB Online.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: The New Dawn of Biological Terrorism - Bird Flu Paper That Raised Bioterrorism Fears Have Been Published?!

The journal Nature has published the first of two controversial papers about laboratory-enhanced versions of the deadly bird flu virus that initially sparked fears among U.S. biosecurity experts that it could be used as a recipe for a bioterrorism weapon.

The publication of the paper by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, on Wednesday follows months of acrimonious debate that pitted the need for science to be free of censorship against the obligation to protect the public from a potentially devastating flu pandemic.  Bird flu is lethal in people and spreads among those who are in close contact with infected birds, but so far, the virus known as H5N1 has not had the ability to pass easily among humans through sneezing and coughing, and some scientists had begun to doubt that that was possible.  The studies by Kawaoka and Dr. Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical College in the Netherlands changed that view by proving that with a few genetic mutations, the virus could pass easily among ferrets, which are used as a close approximation of how a virus might behave in people. 

"There are people who say that bird flu has been around for 16, 17 years and never attained human transmissibility and never will," said Malik Peiris, virology professor at the University of Hong Kong.  "What this paper shows is that it certainly can. That is an important public health message, we have to take H5N1 seriously. It doesn't mean it will become a pandemic, but it can," said Peiris, who wrote a commentary accompanying Kawaoka's paper in Nature.  The impending publication of the two papers last December prompted the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity to recommend that sensitive information be redacted, a first for the group which was formed after a series of anthrax attacks in the United States in 2001.  The group advises the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies about "dual use" research that could serve public health but also be a potential bioterrorism threat. - FOX News.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 5.1 Magnitude Earthquake Triggers Panic in Western Turkey - Series of Moderate Tremors Rattles the Mediterranean Region!

A 5.1-magnitude earthquake jolted Kutahya province in western Turkey on Thursday, the Istanbul-based Kandilli seismology center reported. The tremor was the sixth magnitude 4.0 or over to hit the country over the last two days.

The quake occurred at 18:20 local time (GMT 1520), with its epicenter in Tokat village of Hiharcik town in Kutahya, according to the seismology center affiliated to Bogazici University.
The epicentre, with a depth of 3.1 km, was felt in some towns near Hiharcik and many citizens ran out of their houses in the province with panic. Mustafa Koc, and official from Hiharcik said that they felt this quake was "strong", but no casualty was reported yet.

Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, an earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale hit western Turkey Thursday at GMT 15:20:27.
Turkey has been frequently hit by earthquakes. A 7.2-magnitude quake in October last year and a 5.6-magnitude quake in November flattened some 2,000 buildings, killed 644 people and left thousands homeless in Turkey's eastern province of Van. - China Daily.
In Southern Greece, a magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck at a depth of 22.3 km (13.9 miles). The quake hit at 15:17:03 UTC Thursday 3rd May 2012. The epicentre was 11 km (6.8 miles) East of Zakynthos, Greece.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: About 150 Fish Have Been Found Dead in Perry County, Arkansas - Officials Are Perplexed by the Physical Abnormalities?!

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is investigating the deaths of about 150 white bass in a lake in Perry County.

File Photo.
Officials say a property owner on the 1,200-acre Harris Brake Lake reported seeing 10 fish floating near his dock on Tuesday. Game and Fish Commission officials say biologists investigated the report and found more fish floating and along the lake's shoreline.
Several fish have been collected for tests, which may take up to 30 days to complete. Officials say water quality parameters appear to be within the normal ranges for the lake, and the only physical abnormalities on the fish were redness around the base of the fins and inflamed and eroded gills. Officials say there's no concern with the eating or handling of live fish in the lake. - The North Western.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report - New Activities and Unrest From April 25th - May 01st!

The following constitutes the new activity and unrest report from the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, a cooperative project between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program.

Batu Tara, Komba Island, Indonesia.
BATU TARA Komba Island (Indonesia) 7.792°S, 123.579°E; summit elev. 748 m
Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 25-26 April ash plumes from Batu Tara rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 37 km W and SW. During 30 April-1 May ash plumes again rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. then drifted 37-55 km NW.

Geologic Summary
. The small isolated island of Batu Tara in the Flores Sea about 50 km north of Lembata (formerly Lomblen) Island contains a scarp on the eastern side similar to the Sciara del Fuoco of Italy's Stromboli volcano. Vegetation covers the flanks of Batu Tara to within 50 m of the 748-m-high summit. Batu Tara lies north of the main volcanic arc and is noted for its potassic leucite-bearing basanitic and tephritic rocks. The first historical eruption from Batu Tara, during 1847-52, produced explosions and a lava flow. Map

CLEVELAND Chuginadak Island 52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m
AVO reported that elevated surface temperatures were detected over Cleveland in satellite imagery during 25-29 April and possibly on 30 April. Observations showed that a small lava dome, 25 m across, had recently been emplaced.

Geologic Summary. Symmetrical Mount Cleveland stratovolcano is situated at the western end of the uninhabited dumbbell-shaped Chuginadak Island in the east-central Aleutians. The 1,730-m-high stratovolcano is the highest of the Islands of Four Mountains group and is one of the most active in the Aleutians. Numerous large lava flows descend its flanks. It is possible that some 18th to 19th century eruptions attributed to Carlisle (a volcano located across the Carlisle Pass Strait to the NW) should be ascribed to Cleveland. In 1944 Cleveland produced the only known fatality from an Aleutian eruption. Recent eruptions from Mt. Cleveland have been characterized by short-lived explosive ash emissions, at times accompanied by lava fountaining and lava flows down the flanks. Map

IOTO [IWO-JIMA] Volcano Islands (Japan) 24.754°N, 141.290°E; summit elev. 161 m
According to a JMA report on 2 May, an eruption at Ioto (Iwo-jima) caused water discoloration to the NE. A new fumarole was also confirmed.

Geologic Summary. Ioto (also known as Iwo-jima) in the central Volcano Islands portion of the Izu-Marianas arc lies within a 9-km-wide submarine caldera. Ioto, Iwo-jima, and Io-jima are among many transliterations of the name, which means "Sulfur Island;" the volcano is also known as Ogasawara Io-jima to distinguish it from several other "Sulfur Island" volcanoes in Japan. The triangular, low-elevation, 8-km-long island narrows toward its SW tip and has produced trachyandesitic and trachytic rocks that are more alkalic than those of other Izu-Marianas arc volcanoes. The island has undergone dramatic uplift for at least the past 700 years accompanying resurgent doming of the caldera. A shoreline landed upon by Captain Cook's surveying crew in 1779 is now 40 m above sea level. The Moto-yama plateau on the NE half of the island consists of submarine tuffs overlain by coral deposits and forms the island's high point. Many fumaroles are oriented along a NE-SW zone cutting through Moto-yama. Numerous historical phreatic eruptions, many from vents on the west and NW sides of the island, have accompanied the remarkable uplift. Map

LOKON-EMPUNG Sulawesi 1.358°N, 124.792°E; summit elev. 1580 m
According to the Darwin VAAC, ash plumes from Lokon-Empung, that rose to an altitude of 3.7 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 75 km N, were detected in satellite imagery and reported by ground-based observers.

Geologic Summary. The twin volcanoes Lokon and Empung, rising about 800 m above the plain of Tondano, are among the most active volcanoes of Sulawesi. Lokon, the higher of the two peaks (whose summits are only 2.2 km apart) has a flat, craterless top. The morphologically younger Empung volcano has a 400-m-wide, 150-m-deep crater that erupted last in the 18th century, but all subsequent eruptions have originated from Tompaluan, a 150 x 250 m wide double crater situated in the saddle between the two peaks. Historical eruptions have primarily produced small-to-moderate ash plumes that have occasionally damaged croplands and houses, but lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows have also occurred. Map

POPOCATEPETL México 19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5426 m
CENAPRED reported that gas-and-steam plumes, occasionally containing ash, rose from Popocatépetl during 25-29 April. Gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.5 km above the crater on 25 and 27 April. On 28 April incandescent fragments ejected from the crater landed on E flank as far as 1 km. The next day steam-and-gas plume rose from the crater. On 1 May gas-and-steam plumes, that occasionally contained low amounts of ash, and rose 1 km above the crater. The Alert Level remained at Yellow Phase Three.

Geologic Summary.
Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, towers to 5,426 m 70 km SE of Mexico City and is North America's second-highest volcano. Frequent historical eruptions have been recorded since the beginning of the Spanish colonial era. A small eruption on 21 December 1994 ended five decades of quiescence. Since 1996 small lava domes have incrementally been constructed within the summit crater and destroyed by explosive eruptions. Intermittent small-to-moderate gas-and-ash eruptions have continued, occasionally producing ashfall in neighboring towns and villages. Map

For the complete list of ongoing volcanic activity and additional geological summary, click HERE or select the specific volcano name below for additional details:

ONGOING ACTIVITY:  Bulusan, Luzon | Etna, Sicily (Italy) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) | Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia | Sakura-jima, Kyushu | Santa María, Guatemala | Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Soufrière Hills, Montserrat | Tungurahua, Ecuador

GLOBAL ECONOMIC CONTAGION: The Euro Zone Crisis - Joblessness Hits Record High as Single Currency Crisis Escalates!

Unemployment in the Eurozone hit a new high this spring as the single currency crisis escalated.  The Eurostat statistics agency said the jobless total in the 17-member bloc increased by 169,000 in March to 17.4million – a record 10.9 per cent of the workforce. 

The gap between unemployment in the eurozone and the United States is now at its widest since the end of 2007. US unemployment is 8.2 per cent.  ‘The figures clearly highlight the diverging economic paths of the eurozone and the US where unemployment is falling’, said Martin van Vliet, an economist at Dutch bank ING.  Youth unemployment in the single currency region hit 3.3million, or 22.1 per cent. The jobs crisis is worst in Spain where a quarter of people are out of work including more than half of youngsters under 25.  It came as the eurozone manufacturing sector slipped further into recession, suffering from the downturn in the struggling periphery spreading to France and Germany.

The closely-watched Markit index of activity in the sector – where anything below 50 represents decline – fell from 47.7 in March to 45.9 in April. It has been below 50 for nine months.  ‘The latest crop of data from the euro area offers a bleak picture of a region slowly sliding deeper into recession,’ said James Nixon, an economist at Société Générale.  In Britain, where unemployment is 8.3 per cent, a report by the CBI today warns that the economy will not start growing again until the second half of the year after zero growth in the currrent quarter.  The UK economy shrank 0.3 per cent in the final quarter of 2011 and 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 – signalling the first double-dip recession since 1975. - Daily Mail.
WATCH: Eurozone unemployment still rising.

MONUMENTAL SOLAR SYSTEM CHANGES: NASA's Cassini Orbiter Captures Strange Objects Punching Holes in Saturn's Outermost Ring?!

New images from the Cassini spacecraft reveal rogue kilometre-sized objects punching through Saturn's F-ring as the source of 'mini-jets' seen emanating from the ring. 

Saturn's narrow F-ring is already known to host a variety of dynamic features including channels, ripples and 'snowballs' that are created by the gravitational influence of nearby moon Prometheus. While some snowballs are likely broken up by collisions and tidal forces, the new images reveal five hundred separate cases where small surviving fragments punch through the F-ring, dragging icy ring particles with them. 

The objects collide with the ring at low speeds of around two metres per second, resulting in 'mini-jets' that extend between 40 and 180 kilometres from the ring. In some cases the snowball impacts occur in groups, creating exotic patterns as they drag through the ring.  The new results were presented yesterday on 24 April 2012 the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna, Austria. - ESA.
WATCH: Cassini movie shows blazing trails in Saturn's F-ring.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Surprising Threat From Mexico's Awakened Volcano - The Popocatépetl Volcano Has the Power to Wreak Widespread Havoc!

North America's second-tallest volcano recently rumbled to life, putting authorities on edge. Big eruptions of Mexico's massive Popocatépetl volcano are "few and far between," as one geologist says. Yet even without any dramatic fireworks, 17,800-foot (5,425-meter) "Popo" has the power to wreak havoc.  Geologist Mike Sheridan, a professor emeritus at the University at Buffalo, said that Popo and, in fact, many other volcanoes around the world harbor a means of destruction that many people may not associate with volcanoes: mudflows.   "And they don't even require an eruption, so they are less predictable," Sheridan told OurAmazingPlanet.

Mexican National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) issued an update about the eruption on
April 23, noting that seven small-to-moderate-sized ash emissions had occurred within an 11 hour period.
Popocatépetl lies about 40 miles (70 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City. The mountain  reawakened in December 1994 after five decades of silence. Yet in the nearly 20 years since, the volcano has rarely exhibited the kind of vigorous activity that began the week of April 12. Minor earthquakes have rocked the mountain, it has spewed out plumes of gas and ash, and multiple explosions have shot glowing rocks from the summit. [Images of Popocatépetl in action.] The mountain has the potential to erupt magnificently once every 2,000 or 3,000 years. "It has big eruptions, but they are so few and far between," Sheridan said. "But they have been pretty big. So that is the scary part." Hidden threat: Mudflows, also called debris flows and lahars (an Indonesian word), occur when water suddenly mixes with volcanic ash near a volcano's summit. The water can come from a multitude of sources — an explosive eruption that melts a mountaintop glacier, a sudden deluge of rain — with equally devastating results. They are a big ongoing hazard, said Ben Andrews, a research geologist at the Smithsonian's Global Vulcanism Program.

"Thinking about them as mud is technically accurate, but conceptually it's more like a wall of cement flowing," he told OurAmazingPlanet, "and it destroys pretty much everything in its path." As a flow rushes down a mountainside, it typically picks up large boulders and anything else that lies in its way. Sheridan and colleagues mapped out possible scenarios for debris flows from snow-topped Popo the last time the mountain rumbled in its sleep, in 2000. They showed that flows could affect surrounding population centers. Popocatépetl's current activity has triggered a few small debris flows, but it isn't likely to produce any large ones, Sheridan said. However, it has done so in the past. In one large eruption about 11,000 years ago, Popocatépetl produced mudflows that inundated surrounding valleys, wiping out towns and villages, Sheridan said. Both Sheridan and Andrews pointed to a 1985 eruption of Colombia's Nevado del Ruiz volcano to illustrate the insidious danger posed by debris flows.

"That eruption was fairly small," Andrews said. Yet it melted glaciers atop the mountain, producing a moving wall of debris that thundered down. The town of Armero — a full 45 miles (74 km) from Nevado del Ruiz — was essentially wiped away a full two hours after the eruption. One girl's horrific case came to symbolize the tragedy. Thirteen-year-old Omayra Sanchez was buried up to her neck and hands in muck. For three days, volunteers struggled to free her as water slowly rose, but Sanchez died, held fast by the debris around her. In total, the 1985 mudflow killed more than 23,000 people. A way out: Such tragedies are avoidable. "Mudflows can be detected and there can be a warning of up to a half-hour in advance," Sheridan said. "It's definitely an escapable hazard if there's a warning," Andrews said. "These flows will knock down pretty much everything in their path, but they're restricted to valleys. And they're not moving at hundreds of miles per hour, they're moving at tens of miles per hour." If warnings come in time and people move up to high ground, they can stay safe. The important thing is maintaining an accurate warning system so that people heed them, the scientists said. "By the time you see it coming at you, it's probably too late," Andrews said. - Our Amazing Planet.

EXTREME WEATHER: Spring Weather and Rising Mercury Sparks Wildfires in Southern Finland!

A rash of minor wildfires has caused headaches for rescue workers this May Day holiday.

Specialist helicopters may be used to fight flames.
While no serious damage has been reported, emergency officials have issued warnings for people to be careful using fire, especially near dry hay.

In Laukaa, near Jyväskylä, a hay fire engulfed several hundred square metres of fallow land. Meanwhile trash burning in Saarijärvi, also near Jyväskylä, sparked a blaze that spread over a 100 square metres of land.

Brush fires were also reported on Monday in the towns of Forssa (Hämeenlinna), Asikkala (Häme), Akaa (Pirkanmaa) and Eura in southwestern Finland. - YLE.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mount Lokon Volcano Erupts, Spraying Volcanic Ash Across 2.5 Kilometer Area - Expert Says That the North Sulawesi Airport Should be Closed!

North Sulawesi's Sam Ratulangi Airport should be temporarily closed as the Mount Lokon volcano erupted again on Tuesday, Indonesia's top volcanologist said.

Mount Lokon in Tomohon, North Sulawesi, is seen spurting ashes when it erupted in October last year.
The picture is taken from Manado, about 10 kilometers away from the volcano.
The volcano, located in Tomohon — about 10 kilometers south of Manado, erupted at 11:55 a.m. on Tuesday, spraying volcanic ash across an area 2.5 kilometers from Mount Lokon's Tompaluan crater. The eruption was bigger than last week's, said Surono, the head of the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry. “I cannot force Sam Ratulangi Airport to be closed, but I’ve recommended the closing,” Surono said.

He also urged the government to prepare alternative ways to connect Manado and Tomohon, stating that past eruptions had left the town isolated. Anyone living within 2.5 kilometer radius from the mountain’s crater should be evacuated Surono said. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency sent disaster aid, including dozens of relief tents and food packages to Tomohon. No casualties or injuries were reported following Tuesday's eruption, and it remains unclear how many people have been evacuated from the area around the volcano. - The Jakarta Globe.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Rare April Freezing Rain in Brazil?!

Residents of Morro Grande, São José dos Missing, reported that at 10am on Monday there was rain for about a minute of white ice grains (granular snow).

This was verified by the MetSul Meteorology, whose survey indicated freezing rain in Bento Goncalves, Caxias do Sul, San Marcos High Happy, Cinnamon, Capon Beautiful South, Ipe and Vacaria, San Joaquin in Santa Catarina, and possibly in Aparados and Serra Gaucho.  In the case of freezing rain, which looks like a kid sleet, precipitation leaves the cloud like snowflakes on a cold portion of the atmosphere. Then it goes through an intermediate layer of warmer air, but because it is not thick enough, it just melts part of the flakes.

Before reaching the surface, however, the flakes are melted by a new layer of cooler air and they freeze yet again, precipitating in the form of ice.  The conditions were thus very conducive to the occurrence of winter precipitation (snow or freezing rain) with cold air temperatures and negative between 1500 and 2000 meters altitude, and the presence of a trough (an area of ​​lower pressure) on the River Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. It is one of the classic models for snow in southern Brazil: a continental high-pressure trough or cyclone ensuring moisture flow. - Ice Age Now.

WORLD WAR III: Countdown to Armageddon - Russia Warns of Pre-Emptive Strike on European Missile Defense Systems if U.S. Refuses Dialogue and NATO Goes Ahead!

Russia is ready for a pre-emptive strike on European missile defense systems if the US refuses dialogue, stated Russia’s Chief of General Staff Nikolay Makarov at the Moscow ABM conference.

“Considering the destabilizing nature of the [American] ABM system, namely the creation of an illusion of inflicting a disarming [nuclear] strike with impunity, a decision on pre-emptive deployment of assault weapons could be taken when the situation gets harder,” Gen. Makarov told the audience.  The NATO delegation present at the conference rushed to disagree with the Russian general, saying that the ABM system would never target Russia.  NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Wershbow said that Russia’s arguments do not convince him.  Among other measures, Russia already promised to deploy short-range Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad Region if NATO fails to reach agreement with it on missile defense.  Russia has concerns that the ultimate aim of America’s global ABM shield in the works is the gradual depreciation of Russia’s nuclear arsenal. Moscow says no country possesses any militarily significant quantity of nukes to pose a vital nuclear threat to the US other than Russia.  Moscow's proposition to develop a joint European missile defense system has been turned down.  Also, the Obama administration refused to give cast-iron guarantees that the new ABM is not going to be deployed against Russia. 

The Russian Defense Ministry has organized a representational international conference called “Missile Defense Factor in Establishing New Security Environment” on May 3-4 in Moscow to correlate positions of many interested states on the burning issue of missile defense.  Over 200 experts from military departments of 50 countries, including 28 NATO states, have gathered in the Russian capital to share opinions.  Opening the conference, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov stated that so far no mutually-acceptable solution to the issue of ABM has been found.  “The situation is practically heading towards a dead end,” acknowledged Servdyukov.  At the same time, the Russian president sent an address to the conference, sharing hope that a solution can be found.  “I believe we can find a formula which could help us avoid the division into those who win and those who lose,” President Medvedev insists.  The conference consists of several working groups. Russia’s Ministry of Defense is going to present a computer model of how the American ABM in Europe is going to influence Russia’s forces of nuclear containment.  Besides Russia and NATO member countries, experts from China, South Korea, Japan and CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) member states will participate in the Moscow conference.  As a goodwill gesture, Russia wants to make an excursion for the delegates to the heart of Moscow’s A-135 ABM system near the Russian capital.  No official documents are going to be signed as a result of the ABM conference in Moscow. - RT.
WATCH: Russia warns U.S. of Pre-Emptive Strike on Europe Missile Defense Systems.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Forget The Floods And Get Ready To Shiver in Britain - Warnings and Alerts For "Unseasonable Frost and Sub-Zero Temperatures"!

After a mini heatwave and the wettest April on record, now parts of Britain are braced for a taste of some wintry weather. Forecasters say it will be turning much colder as we head towards the weekend, with some areas seeing unseasonable frost and sub-zero temperatures.

Flood warnings and alerts remain in place after the recent heavy rainfall.
Sky weather presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar said: "It's all thanks to a cold front slowly moving southwards across the UK on Friday. This will bring with it colder air into northern areas. It'll be chilly for Scotland and Northern Ireland and northern Scotland could see a few wintry showers. "On Saturday again some wintry showers are likely over the hills of Scotland." Flood warnings and alerts remain in place after the recent heavy rainfall, with some rivers set to reach their peaks. The Environment Agency is urging people to keep away from swollen rivers and not attempt to walk or drive through flood waters. On Monday, a mental health tribunal judge died when his car was swept away by 5ft of fast-flowing water at a ford in Headley, Hampshire.

Although the wettest April on record has started to restore water levels below ground, experts say it will take a lot more time and rain to undo the effects of two dry winters and bring swathes of England out of drought. Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has even raised the possibility of standpipes returning to UK streets if the country is hit by a third dry winter in a row. "Whereas it's most unlikely we would have standpipes this year, if we have another dry winter that becomes more likely. "We really do need a wet winter to get back to normal conditions," Mrs Spelman said. See all the Environment Agency alerts here  One in four Britons have been using their hosepipes in spite of the ban, a survey claims. A poll of more than 1,000 people living in drought-affected areas for Gardeners' World magazine found that 25% had been totally or partially ignoring the ban imposed by seven water companies on April 5. - SKY News.