Monday, June 4, 2012

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Sound the Alarm - G7 Finance Chiefs to Hold Emergency Talks on Euro Zone Debt Crisis!

Finance chiefs of the Group of Seven leading industrialized powers will hold emergency talks on the euro zone debt crisis on Tuesday in a sign of heightened global alarm about strains in the 17-nation European currency area.  With Greece, Ireland and Portugal all under international bailout programmes, financial markets are anxious about the risks from a seething Spanish banking crisis and a June 17 Greek election that may lead to Athens leaving the euro zone.

"Markets remain skeptical that the measures taken thus far are sufficient to secure the recovery in Europe and remove the risk that the crisis will deepen. So we obviously believe that more steps need to be taken," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.  Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said ministers and central bankers of the United States, Canada, Japan, Britain, Germany, France and Italy would hold a special conference call, raising pressure on the Europeans to act.  "The real concern right now is Europe of course - the weakness in some of the banks in Europe, the fact they're undercapitalised, the fact the other European countries in the euro zone have not taken sufficient action yet to address those issues of undercapitalisation of banks and building an adequate firewall," Flaherty told reporters.  The disclosure of the normally confidential teleconference came as European Union paymaster Germany said it was up to Spain, the latest euro zone country in the markets' firing line, to decide if it needed financial assistance, after media reports that Berlin was pressing Madrid to request aid. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and leaders of her centre-right coalition said in a joint statement: "All the instruments are available to guarantee the safety of banks in the euro zone."  They effectively ruled out Spanish calls to allow euro zone rescue funds to lend money directly to recapitalise Spanish banks, which are weighed down with bad property debts, without the government having to take a bailout programme.  Berlin is pressing reluctant euro zone partners, including close ally France, to agree to give up more fiscal sovereignty as part of a closer European fiscal union.  A G7 source, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said there were concerns about the risk of a bank run in Spain, which is struggling to recapitalise nationalised lender Bankia and smaller banks stricken by the collapse of a property bubble.  "There's a heightened sense of alarm over developments in Europe, particularly in Spain," the source told Reuters. "There is concern on whether there will be a bank run in Spain that could have repercussions beyond the euro zone."

Spain's borrowing costs have soared to around 6.6 percent for 10-year bonds with the risk premium over safe haven German Bunds reaching a euro era record. Madrid plans to issue 1-2 billion euros in 10-year debt on Thursday in a key market test.  The G7 source said the United States, the current G7 chair, was unwilling to allow International Monetary Fund money to be used to support the euro zone, so there was little prospect of the global community acting as one to contain the crisis... China, another major G20 power, has instructed key agencies including the central bank to come up with plans to deal with potential economic risks of a Greek withdrawal from the euro zone, three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.  "It's very urgent," one source said. "The government has asked every department to analyse measures to cope with a Greek exit from the euro zone and make their own suggestions as soon as possible."  The plans may include measures to keep the yuan currency stable, increase checks on cross-border capital flows and stepping up policies to stabilise the domestic economy, the sources said. - Huffington Post.

SOLAR WATCH: The Sun Awakens With a "Great Solar Event" on the Eve of the Venus Transit - Unleashes "Powerful" Solar Tsunami of Impulsive M3 Class Flare, Geomagnetic Storm is Possible!

According to Space Weather, sunspot complex 1493-1496 poses a threat for M-class solar flares.

SOLAR TSUNAMI: New sunspot 1496 unleashed an impulsive M3-class solar flare on June 3rd at 1755 UT. In New Mexico, amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft was monitoring the sun when the explosion occurred, and he video-recorded a powerful solar tsunami issuing from the blast site. "This was a great solar event!" says Ashcraft. "The blast wave sparked powerful radio emissions as it plowed through the sun's atmosphere, and I recorded the sounds using my shortwave radio telescope."
WATCH: Solar Tsunami.

The explosion also hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space: SOHO movie. The cloud does not appear to be heading for Earth, although this conclusion could be revised by further analysis. - Space Weather.
The impulsive M3.3 class solar flare was produced by the active region, was associated with a tenflare and a 10cm radio burst. A G1 Class geomagnetiic storm has also occurred due to a strong impact on earth's magnetic field, a strong deviation of 185nT sudden impulse signaled a geomagnetic storm potential is about to manifest.

WATCH: G1 Class Geomagnetic Storm - M3.3 Solar Flare.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: The Strawberry Moon - Partial Lunar Eclipse Monday Sets Stage For Venus Transit!

The historic transit of Venus across the sun Tuesday is a must-see for skywatchers, but observers shouldn't overlook another celestial event that comes just one day earlier — a partial lunar eclipse of the June full moon. On Tuesday (June 5), Venus will trek across the sun's face from Earth's perspective, marking the last such transit of Venus until 2117.

In a sort of celestial warmup, the full moon will dive through the Earth's shadow on Monday morning to produce a partial lunar eclipse that will be visible to observers throughout parts of North America, Asia and the Pacific region, weather permitting. The lunar eclipse comes two weeks after the May 20 annular solar eclipse that enthralled skywatchers around the world, and that's no accident.  Solar eclipses are always accompanied by lunar eclipses, either two weeks before or two weeks after. The moon travels halfway in its orbit around the Earth in that time, forming another straight line with our planet and the sun. (In solar eclipses, the moon blots out the sun, while lunar eclipses occur when Earth's shadow covers all or part of the moon.)  The same parts of the world that were treated to the May 20 "ring of fire" solar eclipse will thus be favorably placed for Monday's partial lunar eclipse.

Much of central and western North America should get a good show, as should eastern Asia, Australia and the Pacific region. The full moon of June is konwn as the Strawberry Moon since it occurs during the short strawberry-harvesting season this month. The eclipse begins in earnest at 6 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT), when the moon first contacts the umbra, the dark inner portion of Earth's shadow. The umbra might appear dark and relatively colorless to the naked eye, but binoculars or a telescope may show it glowing dimly orange, red or brown.  The eclipse peaks at 7:04 a.m. EDT (1104 GMT), when 37 percent of the moon will be in shadow, and ends an hour later, at 8:06 a.m. EDT (1206 GMT). Observers in Europe will miss out on Monday's lunar eclipse, as will part of the United States East Coast, where the moon will set before it enters the dark umbra. Most viewers in the Pacific Time Zone, however, should be able to see a considerable portion of the two-hour eclipse.  Places on the other side of the International Date Line — such as Australia, New Zealand and Asia — will see the eclipse on Monday evening rather than Monday morning. - SPACE.

Partial Eclipse of the Strawberry Moon.

WORLD WAR III: Countdown to Armageddon - Defense Secretary Panetta Plots New Strategy For Coming Middle East Conflict, Moves Majority of U.S. Warships to Asia!

The United States will move the majority of its warships to the Asia-Pacific in coming years and keep six aircraft carriers in the region, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Saturday, giving the first details of a new U.S. military strategy.  Speaking at an annual security forum in Singapore, Panetta sought to dispel the notion that the shift in U.S. focus to Asia was designed to contain China's emergence as a global power.  He acknowledged differences between the world's two largest economies on a range of issues, including the South China Sea.  "We're not naive about the relationship and neither is China," Panetta told the Shangri-La Dialogue attended by senior civilian and military leaders from about 30 Asia-Pacific nations. "We also both understand that there really is no other alternative but for both of us to engage and to improve our communications and to improve our (military-to-military) relationships," he said. "That's the kind of mature relationship that we ultimately have to have with China." 

Some Chinese officials have been critical of the U.S. shift of military emphasis to Asia, seeing it as an attempt to fence in the country and frustrate Beijing's territorial claims.  Panetta's comments came at the start of a seven-day visit to the region to explain to allies and partners the practical meaning of the U.S. military strategy unveiled in January that calls for rebalancing American forces to focus on the Pacific. The trip, which includes stops in Vietnam and India, comes at a time of renewed tensions over competing sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, with the Philippines, a major U.S. ally, and China in a standoff over the Scarborough Shoal near the Philippine coast.  The South China Sea is a flashpoint but, with about 90 percent of global trade moving by sea, protecting the teeming shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Malacca is equally vital. "Maritime freedoms cannot be the exclusive prerogative of a few," Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony told the forum. "We must find the balance between the rights of nations and the freedoms of the world community."  Overlapping maritime claims - often fuelled by hunger for oil, gas, fish and other resources - are compounded by threats from pirates and militants, delegates said.  China has downgraded its representation to the Shangri-La Dialogue from last year, when Defence Minister Liang Guanglie attended and met then-U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.  
This year the Chinese military was represented by the vice president of Academy of Military Sciences.  Panetta, by contrast, was accompanied by General Martin Dempsey, the military's top officer as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Admiral Samuel Locklear, the head of the U.S. Pacific Command.  Panetta said he was committed to a "healthy, stable, reliable and continuous" military-to-military relationship with China but underscored the need for Beijing to support a system to clarify rights in the region and help to resolve disputes. "China has a critical role to play in advancing security and prosperity by respecting the rules-based order that has served the region for six decades," he said.  Fleshing out details of the shift to Asia, Panetta said the United States would reposition its Navy fleet so that 60 percent of its warships would be assigned to the region by 2020, compared to about 50 percent now.  The Navy would maintain six aircraft carriers assigned to the Pacific. Six of its 11 carriers are now assigned to the Pacific but that number will fall to five when the USS Enterprise retires this year. The number will return to six when the new carrier USS Gerald R. Ford is completed in 2015.  The U.S. Navy had a fleet of 282 ships, including support vessels, as of March. That is expected to slip to about 276 over the next two years before beginning to rise toward the goal of a 300-ship fleet, according to a 30-year Navy shipbuilding projection released in March. - MSNBC.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Land Subsidence Continues in Florida - Growing Sinkhole Forces Naples Church Services Outdoors!

A Naples church and daycare were forced to be held outside on Sunday. The pastor of Faith Community Church says a growing sinkhole underneath the building is to blame. 

"It's heartbreaking. There's nothing we can do about it," says Pastor Roy Shuck.  Shuck says the sinkhole may be shifting tiles near the church's nursery and splitting walls where they pray. The ground has shifted so much that Shuck says it now slopes four inches down.  On Thursday, Collier County officials deemed the church unsafe for the congregation. That forced Sunday services to be held outside. 

"The church is us together, so we can still have church whether we have a building or not," says church member Christine Schott.  News they couldn't get inside rattled some members, however.  "I felt sad because I don't want it to be destroyed because it will hurt. It will be very bad if it's destroyed," says church member Eli Bickford.  It's too soon to know if the building can be saved.  "We built the church with ideas that we will be expanding someday. I don't know, maybe God, I know he has plans for us," says Schott. - NBC 2 News.
WATCH: Sinkhole forces Naples Church services outdoors.

EXTREME WEATHER: Tornadoes and Heavy Rains Leave U.S. Mid-Atlantic Battered - $4.3 Million Damages in Hampton, Virginia!

High winds, heavy rains and six tornadoes have descended on the mid-Atlantic region, causing at least one serious injury but no deaths and damaging homes, businesses and boats, officials said on Saturday.  The violent storms that struck Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia on Friday collapsed a fabric dome near Pittsburgh, stranded motorists on flooded roads, and ruined homes and boats. 

The National Weather Service said in a post on Twitter late on Saturday that six tornadoes had been confirmed as part of the weather outbreak. No other details were immediately available.  One man in Bel Air, Maryland, near Baltimore suffered broken bones when the concrete block wall of his automotive garage business collapsed on him during the storm. Another man inside the garage had minor injuries, Edward Hopkins of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency said.  An alert employee evacuated 11 others from the fabric golf dome at Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania a minute before winds caused it to collapse on Friday. They escaped unhurt, the university said in a statement.  Tens of thousands of people lost power in Washington and its Maryland suburbs on Friday, but outages were down to around 250 customers by Saturday, said Myra Oppel, a spokeswoman for Potomac Electric Power Company. 

"It was really nasty weather," Oppel said in a telephone interview. "I've never heard so many tornado warnings."  Baltimore Gas and Electric Company also had tens of thousands of customers lose power, though all but roughly 2,500 customers had their power restored, the company said on its website.  Flash flooding along the Interstate 95 corridor inundated roads and stranded motorists, some of whom had to be rescued, said Howard Silverman of the National Weather Service in Maryland.  Experts were out determining whether tornadoes had caused the damage, Silverman said.  Witnesses said it was definitely a tornado that struck Hampton, Virginia, where 100 homes, three businesses and some yachts sustained damage.  The damage in Hampton, a city of 150,000, was estimated at $4.3 million, city spokeswoman Robin McCormick said.  "There are trees on roofs, and tarps, it's really a mess," McCormick said. Boats in a parking lot were tossed off their trailers, she said.  Residents were being kept out of two hard-hit neighborhoods where crews were replacing downed power poles and clearing debris that blocked roads.  Despite the storm, Hampton held its annual "Blackbeard Pirate Festival" for thousands of visitors on Saturday, McCormick said. - Reuters.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Submarine Eruption of the El Hierro Island, Canary Islands - Minor Earthquake Swarm in the Frontera Region!

After weeks of almost no activity, a small earthquake swarm has started yesterday. During the past 36 hours, 12 mostly very small quakes have occurred at depths mostly around 10-20 km in the area NW of Frontera. This possibly indicates that magma is still occasionally moving under the volcano, but unless the intensity of earthquake swarms increases a lot, it is not likely that a new eruption is in the making.

A submarine eruption began south of El Hierro Island in early October, following an intense period of earthquakes starting in July 2011. As of mid February 2012, it is still continuing and still raising speculation about the possibility of the eruption breaking the surface. However, it seems that this scenario is unlikely as there is a trend of decreasing intensity, suggesting the eruption might be approaching an end. However, volcanoes are unpredictable and this eruption could still go on for a very long time as well. - Volcano Discovery.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Winter Hits Europe in Summer - Stockholm Has Coldest Day in 84 Years and Sweden Coldest Temperature In 20 Years!

Parts of Europe are being gripped by unusual cold, even though the calendar says it's meteorological summer. Now children in Sweden are finding out what snow is like - in June! Strangest "warming" I've ever seen. 

Winter pounds Sweden – and it’s summer!
The English language The Local here writes that "Stockholm broke an 84-year-old cold record on Saturday, as the capital's temperature only reached 6 degrees Celsius, the lowest June maximum daily temperature the city has seen since 1928."
"Indeed, you could be excused for thinking that the current chill is more like winter than summer. It was actually colder in the capital yesterday than on Christmas Eve. 'The temperature was a degree lower than it was at Christmas in Stockholm, so it is colder. And it's windier, too,' said SMHI's meteorologist Lisa Frost to newspaper Dagens Nyheter."
Just two days ago The Local here reported that snow blanketed northern parts.
"Residents in northern Sweden were forced to grab shovels rather than sun lotion on what was supposed to be the first day of summer, as much of the region was left covered in a thick blanket of snow on Friday. As much as 20 centimetres of thick, wet snow fell in parts of Västerbotten County, giving residents quite a shock when they woke up Friday morning."
The mercury also dropped to minus 6 degrees Celsius in one town, making it the coldest June Sweden recording in 20 years. The Local adds:
"The weather agency forecasts that the first weekend in June will feel more like the start of winter than the start of summer."
- NTZ.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Massive Landslide in Belud, Malaysia - 3,000 People Isolated; Authorities Have to Build New Alternative Roads!

Public Works Department (PWD) is in an effort to build an alternative road in the village of Kiau to replace the main road into the village which has collapsed in a landslide in the village two weeks ago.  Member of Parliament of August, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said before to improve the main road has collapsed in the village, the PWD is currently in an effort to build an alternative road to facilitate Kiau villagers.

Abdul Rahman, Musbah and Herbert observe the landslide in the village with villagers Kiau.
He said with the completion of the alternative roads in the immediate future at least people in the village to carry out their daily activities as usual.  "At this point there are two alternative road being built, one at a considerable distance slightly less than eight kilometers jalanrayta can only be traveled by four-wheel drive and the other alternative as far as four kilometers of road being constructed by PWD, with no alternative roads can facilitate the transmission of food supplies and travel a population of 3,000 people can be resolved. "  "While the problem of electricity supply cut off due to landslides is the SESB this point in efforts to find a solution, if necessary, a 'gene set' we will discuss with SESB to solve the electricity problem in this area." 

He said this when delivering aid and review the landslide in the village of Kiau, recently.  Participate in the survey among Kadamaian Assemblyman, Datuk Herbert Timbun Lagadan, Tempasuk Assemblyman, Datuk Musbah Jamli, Umno division deputy chief of August, Awadnir Matanggal.  Abdul Rahman, who is also Sabah BN Secretary also informed the office of Member of Parliament Service Centre of August, Kadamaian Assembly office, the office of Assemblyman Tempasuk and Belud District Office has provided food assistance needed by the villagers.  He said currently the JKKK in the village has provided a gathering center for the convenience of residents in the village.  "In addition to the elected representatives may supply the daily food requirement of 600 boxes candles also have been supplied from the office of Member Service Centre Belud temporary residents for electricity can be restored by the SESB." He added. - Sabahkini [Translated].

PLANETARY TREMORS: Very Strong 5.9 Magnitude Quake Rattles Buildings in Indonesia - Several High-Rise Structures Swayed For 10 Seconds!

A strong earthquake off Indonesia's coast caused tall buildings to sway in the capital Monday afternoon, but officials said there was no threat of a tsunami.

Office workers said the swaying was felt for about 10 seconds in high-rise buildings around the city of 9 million people. Even two-story residential homes shook strongly. No damage or casualties were immediately reported. The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.9-magnitude quake hit 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Sukabumi, a town in West Java province.

It was about 171 kilometers (106 miles) from Jakarta and 67 kilometers (41 miles) beneath the floor of the Indian Ocean. Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency had the preliminary magnitude at 6.1. Slight discrepancies are common in the initial measurements. Indonesia has frequent earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin, but it is uncommon for tremors to be felt in Jakarta. - Huffington Post.
According to Wikipedia, the tectonics of Indonesia are very complex, as it is a meeting point of several tectonic plates. Indonesia is located between two continental plates: the Eurasian Plate (Sunda Shelf) and Australian Plate (Sahul Shelf); and between two oceanic plates: the Philippine Sea Plate and Pacific Plate. The Indian oceanic plate subducts beneath the Eurasian continental plate formed the volcanic arc in western Indonesia. This chain of active volcanoes formed Sumatra, Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara islands. The Pacific and Australian plate movements controlled the tectonic of eastern portion of Indonesia. The tectonics processes in Indonesia formed major structures in Indonesia. The most prominent fault in the west of Indonesia is the Semangko Fault, a dextral strike-slip fault along Sumatra Island. The formation of this fault zone is related to the subduction zone in the west of Sumatra.  Palu-Koro fault is another major structural feature formed in the central part of Indonesia. This fault has similar orientation as the Semangko fault, extend from Koro in central part of Sulawesi, to Palu in the west coast of Sulawesi and extend across the Makassar strait to East Kalimantan.

Click HERE for additional Details, Summary, Maps and Scientific & Technical information from the USGS.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Seismic Disturbance Continues in Italy - Strong Magnitude 5.1 Earthquake Hits Novi Di Modena Region!

A strong earth tremor of 5.1 magnitude hit northern Italy late on Sunday, in the same area struck by two deadly quakes in the last two weeks, Italy's Geophysics Institute said.

The latest shock was centred on the town of Novi di Modena, in Emilia-Romagna, the region where the two previous quakes killed more than 20 people and forced more than 14,000 to move out of their homes.

The shock was clearly felt as far away as Milan, some 200 kms (125 miles) to the north. Italian media said the belltower of Novi di Modena had been destroyed and several buildings in nearby towns that had been damaged in the previous quakes collapsed, but none were inhabited and no casualties had been reported . - Huffington Post.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Mediterranean region is seismically active due to the northward convergence (4-10 mm/yr) of the African plate with respect to the Eurasian plate along a complex plate boundary. This convergence began approximately 50 Ma and was associated with the closure of the Tethys Sea. The modern day remnant of the Tethys Sea is the Mediterranean Sea. The highest rates of seismicity in the Mediterranean region are found along the Hellenic subduction zone of southern Greece, along the North Anatolian Fault Zone of western Turkey and the Calabrian subduction zone of southern Italy. Local high rates of convergence at the Hellenic subduction zone (35mm/yr) are associated with back-arc spreading throughout Greece and western Turkey above the subducting Mediterranean oceanic crust. Crustal normal faulting throughout this region is a manifestation of extensional tectonics associated with the back-arc spreading. The region of the Marmara Sea is a transition zone between this extensional regime, to the west, and the strike-slip regime of the North Anatolian Fault Zone, to the east. The North Anatolian Fault accommodates much of the right-lateral horizontal motion (23-24 mm/yr) between the Anatolian micro-plate and Eurasian plate as the Anatolian micro-plate is being pushed westward to further accommodate closure of the Mediterranean basin caused by the collision of the African and Arabian plates in southeastern Turkey. Subduction of the Mediterranean Sea floor beneath the Tyrrhenian Sea at the Calabrian subduction zone causes a significant zone of seismicity around Sicily and southern Italy. Active volcanoes are located above intermediate depth earthquakes in the Cyclades of the Aegean Sea and in southern Italy.

Click HERE for additional Details, Summary, Maps and Scientific & Technical information from the USGS.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Nightmare Scenario - Tokyo Stocks Hit 28-Year Low as "Unprecedented" Investor Flight From Risky Assets Continue Amid Global Rout!

The Tokyo market slumped to a 28-year low on Monday as Asian shares dived on fears of a nightmare scenario of euro-zone breakup, U.S. economic relapse and a sharp slowdown in China.  Tokyo's Topix index lost as much as 2.4 percent to 692.18, a level not seen since late 1983, according to Reuters data, while the Nikkei average of major stocks tumbled 2 percent.

A man is reflected on a window as share prices are seen in the interior of a brokerage in Tokyo June 4, 2012.
The Nikkei last week marked its ninth straight week of losses, the longest such losing streak run in 20 years.  The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell by as much as 2.5 percent to 2012 lows, down 17 percent from this year's peak, continuing a rout of global stocks sparked on Friday by weak U.S. jobs data.  European shares were likely to extend their losses, having wiped out all their 2012 gains on Friday. Spreadbetters tipped major European markets to fall by as much as 1.8 percent when trading resumes on Monday.  And U.S. stock futures also pointed to more selling when investors wake up in North America, with S&P 500 futures down 0.7 percent in Asian trade.  "Investors are just fleeing risk assets," said ATI Asset Management chief investment officer Simon Burge.  "Bond yields are at an all-time low. Even in the global financial crisis we didn't see bond yields at the levels that they have reached now ...

This is a flight from risk assets that is unprecedented," Burge said.  The benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond yield fell below 0.80 percent to its lowest since July 2003. Ten-year JGB futures prices jumped to a 19-month high.  U.S. and German government bond yields had both hit record lows on Friday, with 10-year German yields dipping to 1.127 percent and 10-year Treasury yields touching a historic low of 1.442 percent.  "The jobs number from the U.S. was shocking and Spain is now becoming a big worry. On top of that everyone who thought Q1 would be the bottom for the Chinese economy has realized that this is a real slowdown that could go on," said Larry Jiang, Hong Kong-based chief investment strategist at Guotai Junan Securities.  The CBOE Volatility index, which measures expected volatility in the Standard & Poor's 500 index over the next 30 days, jumped nearly 11 percent to its highest since mid-December on Friday, reflecting mounting risk aversion. - Reuters.