Thursday, June 14, 2012

GLOBAL ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE: Nigel Farage - “The Euro Titanic Has Now Hit The Iceberg”!

In an epic rant, trumping Biderman, UKIP’s Nigel Farage appears to have reached the limit of his frustration with his ‘peers’ in the European Parliament after the Spanish bailout.

Rajoy’s proclamation that this bailout shows what a success the euro-zone has been, sends Farage over the edge as he sees the Spaniard as just about the most incompetent leader in the whole of Europe (up there with favorites like Van Rompuy and Barroso). The erudite Englishman notes that by any objective criteria “The Euro Has Failed” expanding on the insane farce of Italy funding Spain’s banking bailout at a loss (borrowing at 6% to fund a loan at 3% as we discussed here).

“This ‘genius’ deal makes things worse not better”
as it merely drives other nations towards needing bailouts themselves and while his socialist colleagues in the room are mumbling and checking their blackberries, he reminds them that Spanish national debt will surge and that 100 billion does not solve the problem, and that if Greece leaves, the ECB is failed, is gone, and to rectify this there will be a cash call from the very same PIIS (Ex-G) that are tumbling towards the abyss. Blood pressure surges as he screams “you couldn’t make this up” concluding that 
“the Euro Titanic has now hit the Iceberg and sadly there simply aren’t enough lifeboats.” - Zero Hedge.
WATCH: Farage speaks on the "genius of mutual indebtedness".

THE GREAT DELUGE: A "Once in 50 Years" Storm - More Flood Misery as UK is Set to be Hit by 70mph Winds and Month's Worth of Rain in the Next 24 Hours!

Britain is braced for yet more flood misery as a "once in 50 years" storm is set to hit the UK tomorrow.  Flood warnings have been issued in parts of England and Wales with a month's worth of rain and winds of up to 70mph expected in the next 24 hours.  After a dry period of respite for many parts of Britain yesterday, the wet weather is set to return this evening and get worse going into tomorrow as a slow-moving area of low pressure brings thundery showers and strong winds.  The Met Office has issued a new warning of wet and windy weather with periods of persistent heavy rain for parts of Wales and south-western England from late today until Saturday. 

 Storm brewing: Terra satellite took this stunning image of the 70pmh Atlantic storm. © NASA.
The Weather Channel also predicted up to 110mm of rain in 48 hours, with a 50 per cent chance of a once-in-50 years 80mm downpour in just 12 hours.  Forecaster Leon Brown reportedly said: "There's a 50 per cent possibility of extreme downpours seeing over 80mm of rain in 12 hours in south and east Wales, which is a once-in-50 years event.  "The greatest intensity of rain will be early Thursday night and again on Friday daytime. Overall, up to 110mm is expected in Wales in just over 48 hours to midnight Saturday.  This rainfall will be widespread across river catchment areas and could completely overwhelm rivers downstream.  There is a high risk of flooding, with the situation made even worse by ground being saturated from previous rain this week."  Many parts of the country will be affected by rain as the system moves north, with winds of up to 55mph in parts of the South East and East Anglia, according to MeteoGroup.  The Environment Agency urged people in the South West and most of Wales to remain vigilant and prepared for flooding.  There are concerns the rain could lead to surface water flooding particularly in upland areas and places already at risk of floods after heavy rain earlier this week. 

The Environment Agency has two flood warnings for rivers in place, where flooding is expected, and 12 less serious flood alerts.  The government agency has also issued direct flood alerts to more than 32,500 properties this week.  Pumping equipment has been deployed in several areas in West Sussex to pump out water following flooding earlier in the week.  The Environment Agency said river levels across the South East were being monitored closely amid forecasts of more wet weather, with potentially up to 20mm of rainfall tomorrow and into the weekend.  In preparation, teams were out closing flood gates, operating flood storage areas, clearing debris from known hotspots and warning local communities about the possibility of flooding.  Peter Quarmby, the Environment Agency's South East flood and coastal risk manager, said: "We have seen exceptional rainfall in the region over the past few days and have seen the devastating effects that flooding can cause. Our thoughts are with those who have been affected.  "We are focusing all efforts in working in areas that have been affected by flooding over the past few days to lower river levels and will continue to work alongside our emergency partners to assist flooded communities with immediate response and recovery.  "Latest forecasts indicate that heavy rainfall is again expected to cross the South East on Friday and into the weekend. We urge everyone to remain vigilant ahead of further rainfall tomorrow and over the weekend.  "We are monitoring the weather forecasts very closely and the possibility remains that we could issue further flood alerts in response to any significant rainfall." - Mirror.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: The Septicemic Plague - The "Black Death" Comes to Oregon; A Man is Infected With the Same Plague That Wiped Out 60 Percent of Europe in the Middle Ages!

A man in Oregon has been infected with the plague, the same disease that wiped out up to 60 percent of Europe in the Middle Ages.  He caught the rare, but deadly, strain of the bacteria after he was bitten on the hand trying to pry a dead mouse from the jaws of a stray neighborhood cat.

Deadly: In the 14th century, the plague killed up to 200 million people, mostly in western Europe.
The man, whose name was not released, is currently fighting the most horrific form of the disease, septicemic plague, which can cause victims to bleed from the mouth, nose and rectum, according to health officials.  The bacterium behind the plague that ravages Europe in the 14th century, Yersinia pestis, is still carried by fleas that infect animal across the world, mostly rats.  However, treatment with modern antibiotics can usually defeat the infection before it becomes deadly.  The latest victim, who is only the fifth case of plague in Oregon in 20 years, has already had two of the three types of plague infection, the Oregonian newspaper reports. 

After he was bitten, the man, who is from rural Crook County in central Oregon, developed swollen lymph nodes, a sign of bubonic plague.  In the hospital, it developed into septicemic plague, infecting his bloodstream.  The third type of plague infection is pneumonic, which affects the lungs.   The man is currently undergoing intensive treatment at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, after he was transferred there from a smaller regional hospital.  Health officials say the have caught the cat that bit the man and are running tests to confirm that it was indeed the source of the plague infection.  In April the Food and Drug Administration approved Levaquin as both a vaccine and a treatment for the plague.  The federal government is likely to begin stockpiling the drug in the event of an outbreak of the disease.  A variation of the plague was responsible the Black Death, which wiped out up to 200 million people in Europe and parts of Asia.  Experts say it wiped out as much as one quarter of the world's population and 30 to 60 percent of Europeans. - Daily Mail.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Indonesia's Mount Gamkonora Erupts - Spewing Towering Columns of Ash and Smoke to Nearly 10,000 Feet High, Hundreds Fled Their Homes, Alert Level Moved to the Second-Highest State!

Hundreds of residents in northeastern Indonesia fled their homes on Wednesday after a brief eruption at Mount Gamkonora, spewing towering columns of ash and smoke and prompting officials to raise the volcano’s alert level to the second-highest state. 

The 1,635-meter (5,364 feet) tall volcano, which is located on the west coast of Halmahera island in the Maluku Islands and is part of North Maluku province, began to erupt on Wednesday afternoon and sent thick ash clouds up to 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) high, although no lava flows were seen.     The Antara news agency reported that hundreds of residents living on the volcano’s slope evacuated the area following the eruption, but they returned hours later after officials determined their communities are not currently at risk. New evacuations could be ordered if activity at the volcano continues to increase.  Following Wednesday’s eruption, the country’s Volcanology and Geology Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) decided to raise the volcano’s alert status to Siaga (level 3), the second-highest level.

The agency uses a warning system with four levels of alert, with level 1 being the lowest and level 4 being the highest.  PVMBG said activity at Mount Gamkonora has been increasing for months, with more frequent volcanic earthquakes and an increase of magma activity near the surface. Authorities are still uncertain whether the current eruption will lead to a major event, but past eruptions at the volcano have nearly all been explosive.  Mount Gamkonora last erupted in July 2007, forcing the evacuation of nearly 10,000 people but causing no known casualties. The most notable eruption at the volcano took place in May 1673, when a massive eruption caused significant damage in the area and resulting tsunami waves which flooded nearby villages. An unknown number of people were killed.  Indonesia has more active volcanoes than any other country in the world and sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a belt of intense volcanic and seismic activity.  One of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes is Mount Merapi, which is located on the island of Java near Jogjakarta, the country’s second-most visited area after Bali. Between October and November 2010, a series of eruptions took place at the volcano, killing at least 353 people and displacing more than 300,000 others. - Channel News Asia.

EXTREME WEATHER: Apocalyptic-Like "Multimillion-Dollar" Hail Storms Batter Northern Texas - Cars Smashed; Roofs Damaged; Massive Power Outage!

Several strong thunderstorms cut a swath through north Texas late Wednesday, with baseball-sized hail smashing everything from car windshields to the marquee of a landmark East Dallas movie theater.

A storm in Fannin County northeast of Dallas flipped over a mobile home, injuring three people, according to a National Weather Service report.  No serious injuries were reported but property damage was extensive.  Two intense storms that swept through the Dallas area in the late afternoon lasted more than three hours before tapering off, said Jason Dunn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"This was definitely a multimillion-dollar hail storm," said Dunn said. "A lot of car windshields were blown out and roofs damaged in Dallas."  Hail smashed the marquee of the landmark Lakewood Theatre in East Dallas. Several glass sculptures created by nationally renowned artist Dale Chihuly that are on display outdoors at the Dallas Arboretum suffered minor damage, WFAA-TV news reported.  The storms also shredded trees and blanketed streets with downed limbs and leaves. About 6,000 homes and businesses lost power during the storms, WFAA reported. - Chicago Tribune.
WATCH: Apocalyptic-like hail storm in Texas.

See more videos and pictures HERE. Courtesy of Accu Weather.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Election Apocalypse - Greeks Continue to Hoard Canned Food, Now Withdrawing $1.01 Billion Euros Per Day!

Greek citizens fear the ramifications of a return to the country’s previous currency, the drachma, if the radical left-wing party and strong election contender SYRIZA wins this weekend. 

People walk by the Bank of Greece headquarters central Athens yesterday. Picture: AFP.
Bankers said daily withdrawals from the major banks were hitting €500-€800 million ($631.8 million-$1.01 billion), Reuters reported.  Meanwhile, retailers say consumers are stocking up on non-perishable foods like pasta and canned goods.  Latest polls showed the conservative New Democracy party, which supports a €130 billion international bailout, is running neck-and-neck with the leftist SYRIZA party.  SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras is pledging to tear up the bailout deal, saying that the austerity conditions attached to the money are so catastrophic for the country they must be rejected.

If the country renounces its bailout terms, Greece's international partners could stop providing the rescue loans, which would lead it to default and force it out of the eurozone.  Reports overnight said that Greece only had about €2 billion euros ($2.52 billion) left in its coffers, which would only last until July 20.  Greece’s finance minister refused to comment but the country’s labour minister said that Greece should have enough cash to pay pensions at least for July.  If Greece walked away from the euro, the drachma’s value against other currencies would plunge along with the earnings of Greek workers.  Cost of living would spike on the back of rises in interest rates and import prices. - Herald Sun.

ORDER OUT OF CHAOS: Islam & the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood - Egypt's Parliament Dissolved by Court; Election Ruled Unconstitutional!

Egypt's highest court on Thursday ordered the country's Islamist-dominated parliament dissolved and ruled that the last prime minister to serve under Hosni Mubarak could stay in the presidential race, twin blows to the Muslim Brotherhood that could sweep away its political gains since Mubarak's ouster 16 months ago. 

An Egyptian boy peers out of barbed wire, his face painted with the number 25, the date of the Egyptian revolution,
during a protest in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday June 14, 2012. Egypt's highest
court has ruled that Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister can stay in the presidential race. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
The rulings by the Supreme Constitutional Court, whose judges are Mubarak appointees, escalated the power struggle between the Brotherhood and the military, which stepped in to rule after Mubarak's fall. The decisions tip the contest dramatically in favor of the ruling generals, robbing the Brotherhood of its power base in parliament and boosting Ahmad Shafiq, the former Mubarak prime minister who many see as the military's favorite in the presidential contest against the Brotherhood's candidate.  Senior Muslim Brotherhood leader and lawmaker Mohammed el-Beltagy said the rulings amounted to a "full-fledged coup."  "This is the Egypt that Shafiq and the military council want and which I will not accept no matter how dear the price is," he wrote on his Facebook page.   
The Brotherhood and liberal and leftist activists who backed last year's revolution against Mubarak accused the military of using the constitutional court as a proxy to preserve the hold of the ousted leader's authoritarian regime and the generals over the country. Many of them were vowing new street protests.  The ruling means that new elections will have to be held to form a new parliament. In the last election, held over three months starting in November, the Brotherhood came out the big winners, grabbing nearly half the seats. Ultraconservative Islamists known as Salafis won another 20 percent. In the months that followed, the Brotherhood tried to translate those gains into governing power but was repeatedly stymied by the military's grip.  On Saturday and Sunday, Shafiq goes head-to-head against the Brotherhood's candidate, Mohammed Morsi, in the presidential run-off. The race has already deeply polarized the country. The anti-Shafiq camp views him as an extension of Mubarak's authoritarian regime. The anti-Morsi camp fears he and the Brotherhood will turn Egypt into an Islamic state and curtail freedoms if he wins.  In its decisions Thursday, the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that a third of the legislature was elected illegally. As a result, it says in its explanation of the ruling, "the makeup of the entire chamber is illegal and, consequently, it does not legally stand."  The explanation was carried by Egypt's official news agency and confirmed to The Associated Press by one of the court's judges, Maher Sami Youssef. - Huffington Post.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Major Solar System Disturbance - Huge Asteroid, the Size of a City Block, to Fly by Earth Today!

An asteroid the size of a city block is set to fly by Earth today, Thursday (June 14), and you may be able to watch it happen live.

An artist's illustration of a large asteroid headed for Earth. (ESA).
The near-Earth asteroid 2012 LZ1, which astronomers think is about 1,650 feet (500 meters) wide, will come within 14 lunar distances of Earth Thursday evening. While there's no danger of an impact on this pass, the huge space rock may come close enough to be caught on camera. That's what the team running the Slooh Space Camera thinks, anyway. The online skywatching service will train a telescope on the Canary Islands on 2012 LZ1 and stream the footage live, beginning at 8:00 p.m. EDT Thursday (0000 GMT Friday) — the time of closest approach. You can watch the asteroid flyby on Slooh's website, found here:

2012 LZ1 just popped onto astronomers' radar this week. It was discovered on the night of June 10-11 by Rob McNaught and his colleagues, who were peering through the Uppsala Schmidt telescope at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. Researchers estimate that the space rock is between 1,000 and 2,300 feet wide (300-700 m). On Thursday evening, it will come within about 3.35 million miles (5.4 million kilometers) of our planet, or roughly 14 times the distance between Earth and the moon. Because of its size and proximity to Earth, 2012 LZ1 qualifies as a potentially hazardous asteroid. Near-Earth asteroids generally have to be at least 500 feet (150 m) wide and come within 4.65 million miles (7.5 million km) of our planet to be classified as potentially hazardous.
Asteroid 2012 LZ1 is roughly the same size as asteroid 2005 YU55, which made a much-anticipated flyby of Earth last November. But 2005 YU55 gave our planet a much closer shave, coming within 202,000 miles (325,000 km) of us on the evening of Nov. 8. A space rock as big as 2005 YU55 hadn't come so close to Earth since 1976, researchers said. Astronomers have identified nearly 9,000 near-Earth asteroids, but they think many more are out there, waiting to be discovered. - SPACE.

DELUGE: Widespread Flooding and Big Waves Kill 7 in the Philippines - Hundreds Displaced and Many Missing, as New Storm System Approaches!

Big waves swept coastal villages in several provinces in Mindanao and sank a boat in Palawan province, killing at least seven people, as rescuers searched for scores of fishermen out at sea following monsoon rains since Monday.  Floods also occurred in Sarangani, Maguindanao, Bukidnon, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces, and in Cotabato City even before a storm reported by weathermen to be brewing east of northern Mindanao could possibly hit the area in the next two days. 

 Residents keep dry by riding pedicabs in crossing a flooded street at Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao
on Monday. The floods triggered by heavy rains on Sunday displaced thousands of families.
In Davao City, a year-old girl was killed in a landslide at Barangay (village) Marilog on Monday.  Most parts of the country could expect more rains today with the anticipated arrival of the storm, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa). Once it enters the country, it will be named “Buchoy” (international code-name: Guchol).  The approaching storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour and gustiness of up to 80 kph, Pagasa said. As of Wednesday, it was spotted 1,370 km east of Mindanao and was moving west northwest at 15 kph.  The storm may arrive Thursday or early Friday, and is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon which is bringing rains to most parts of the country.  “We already advised all local officials to prepare,” Benito Ramos, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, told a radio station based in Cotabato City Wednesday.  Three people drowned after big waves hit coastal communities at Glan town in Sarangani, according to its mayor, Victor James Yap Sr.  The fatalities were identified as Segapo Cabalinding, Orlando Mata and Primo Ortega.  Floodwaters began to rise Tuesday morning and several roads and bridges were destroyed, Yap said.

Some 500 families took shelter in a gymnasium.  In Maasim town, 118 people were reported missing in eight coastal barangays as of 7 a.m. yesterday. Mayor Arturo Lawa identified the villages as Kamanga (29 missing), Poblacion (24), Kabatiol (19), Kablacan (19), Tinoto (7), Colon (11), Kanalo (7) and Pananag (2).  All the missing persons were fishermen whose fishing vessels capsized on Tuesday due to strong wind and big waves in the Sarangani Bay, Lawa said. “We were able to rescue 27 other fishermen.” Lawa said there were reports that many of the missing fishermen had survived. They did not receive any warning about the bad weather on Tuesday as they were out at sea as early as Monday night, he said.  All over the province, Navy and Philippine Coast Guard personnel have rescued more than 40 fishermen since Tuesday night, Sarangani Governor Miguel Rene Dominguez said. “A rescue mission is going on,” he added.  In northern Palawan, Commodore Alex Lopez, head of the Joint Task Force Malampaya based in El Nido, confirmed four fatalities—two males and two females—in the sinking of the ferry boat MV Joecell 2 after smashing into sharp corals near Tent Island at around 11 p.m. on Tuesday.  Tent Island is a small protrusion of limestone in the picturesque seascape of El Nido.  At least 10 other passengers were still missing, Lopez said. Most of the passengers are residents of the island village of Liminangcong in Taytay town, who were traveling to El Nido or catching another vessel to Manila.  Authorities were unable to provide accurate information on the exact number of passengers but said the manifest indicated 34 people on board, excluding a crew of 12. - Inquirer.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: "Biblical Invasion" and Disaster Precursor - Plague of Locusts Swarm Rural California Town!

Brian and Deborah Campbell’s backyard has been hit by a plague straight out of the Bible. Locusts, thousands of them, are eating through their commercial garden, destroying crops and leaving the once-thriving area nearly completely barren.

“We don’t know what to do,” Deborah Campbell told local station KCRA. “We don’t know how to stop it. We’re just breeding them now.” The locusts have also infested the garden of Brad Lucchese. They have decimated his produce, eating everything but the tomatoes.

Lucchese told KCRA that his chickens are having a field day feasting upon the locusts. However, there aren’t nearly enough chickens to stop the thousands of bugs. As of today, the problem is confined to a relatively small area in the town of Herald, Calif., known as “the grove,” but locals fear that it will grow and spread, infesting more gardens and threatening vineyards in the area. - ABC News.
WATCH: Plague of locusts invades Herald.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Massive Landslide Closes Highway in Costa Rica - 6.400 Cubic Metres of Mud Covered 25 Feet of Roadway!

Ruta 32, the route that connects San José with Guapiles and Limón, is once again closed due to a landslide occurring at kilometre 30 in the area of the Zurquí, some 10 km east of the tunnel. The road is expected to remain closed for most of the day today Thursday, as work crews clean up the debris strewn across the road.  The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (CONAVI) says it is in the process of removing some 6.400 cubic metres of mud and other materials that covers some 8 metres (25 feet) of roadway.  The CONAVI says that the road will be re-open today if the weather conditions allow the work to continue and no new landslides occur. - Inside Costa Rica.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: The Streptococcus and Staphylococcus Aureus - Sacramento Woman Dies After Contracting Flesh-Eating Bacteria, 6th Case in America!

A long-serving and well-loved pastor has been killed by a flesh-eating bacteria infection that has already left five others seriously ill.  Linda Snyder, from Sacramento, who is a preacher at city's United Methodist Church, died this morning following a six-month battle with the deadly germ called necrotizing-fasciitis. 

She was the sixth person to have developed a flesh-eating infection over the course of the last two months.  At the beginning of June South Carolina grandmother Louise Thompson underwent emergency surgery to remove infected flesh from her leg and was in a coma for five days.  And last month student Aimee Copeland from Georgia College had to have her leg, her foot and both hands amputated and is still in intensive care after bacteria got into a cut she developed following a fall.  Mrs Snyder contracted the deadly disease on January 6 after bacteria got into a wound, possibly an abscess, she had developed in December. 

Doctors tried to contain the spread of the bacteria, but her daughter Karen told Fox 40 that her mother had developed lots of complications and medical staff were unable to contain it.  The horrible infection scarred her lungs and  caused her to develop pneumonia.  Mrs Snyder, who has given the sermons at the United Methodist Church for the last decade, was a popular figure and her daughter described her as her 'best friend.'  'She was a woman of faith and that gave her strength and passion to live her life,' she said.  Mrs Snyder had been married to her husband Chuck for 37 years and was said to adore her grandchildren.  The bacterial infection is called flesh-eating because of its particularly aggressive nature - skin rapidly disappears when the germ takes hold.  Family and friends of Mrs Snyder will gather at Japanese United Methodist Church on June 30 to say their final goodbyes. - Daily Mail.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: The Streptococcus and Staphylococcus Aureus - Sacramento Woman Dies After Contracting Flesh-Eating Bacteria, 6th Case in America!