Wednesday, June 20, 2012

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Noticeable Numbers of Fish Are Dying Off at Buffalo Pound Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada?!

Noticeable numbers of fish are dying off at Buffalo Pound Lake.  But while the cause of the die-off is yet to be determined, Canadian Co-operative Wildlife Health Centre (CCWHC) regional director Trent Bollinger told the Times-Herald humans and their pets should not be in danger due to the ongoing situation.

“It’s not a threat to people,” he said on Tuesday. “This is a fish issue.”  Most heavily impacted seems to be yellow perch, which Bollinger said are washing up along the shoreline of the local lake. This is the second year in a row the local lake has experienced a fish die-off event, and researchers are taking samples, testing, and trying to diagnose the cause. 

“It looks like there’s a couple of different things,” Bollinger said, adding the likely culprit is a bacterial organism causing Columnaris Disease.  “This is a bacterial disease that impacts a range of fish species.”  Sampled fish at the lake have lesions, and cultured samples suggest Columnaris is the likely cause of death. - MJ Times.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Nevado Del Ruiz Volcano About to Erupt - Colombia Closes Second Airport Due to Volcanic Ash Clouds!

Colombia's government has closed a second airport after the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center in Washington issued an ash cloud advisory for the Nevado Del Ruiz Volcano, which Colombian authorities have been saying for weeks is probably getting ready to erupt.

Nevado del Ruiz volcano. Photo: Ingeominas.
An official with the civil aviation authority Aerocivil said the Matecana Airport in the city of Pereira was closed Wednesday "as a precaution" due to continued ash clouds in Colombia's central, coffee-growing region, located just west of the volcano. The nearby Nubia airport in Manizales has been closed since the beginning of June after the Ruiz Volcano began rumbling and spewing gas and ash.  Hundreds of flights have already been canceled, suspended or diverted due to closing of the airport in Manizales.  Airlines affected by the airport closures include Avianca, the main carrier in the airline group AviancaTaca Holding SA (PFAVTA.BO), Lan Colombia, part of the Chilean flagship carrier LAN Airlines SA (LFL, LAN.SN), and Copa Colombia, part of the Panamanian airline group Copa Holdings (CPA). 

For the past few weeks, Avianca and Lan Colombia had been flying their Manizales-bound passengers to Pereira, then shutting them by bus to their final destination. A representative at Avianca reservations department said the new plan is to send all Manizales and Pereira passengers to an airport in the town of Armenia, and then put them on buses.  Armenia, also in a coffee-growing region, is about a two-hour drive to Manizales.  Last week, Avianca's press office said the costs to the airline stemming from the volcanic ash have been "significant," but declined to disclose a dollar-figure estimate. Representatives at the press office were unavailable for comment Wednesday.  The 17,800-foot Ruiz volcano, located west of Bogota, hasn't erupted since the 1980s. After it began rumbling in late May, the government's mining and geology institute Ingeominas issued an "orange" alert, which means it will "probably" erupt in a matter of days or weeks. Tens of thousands of face masks have been distributed free of charge to residents in the area.  In 1985, an eruption caused hot volcanic flows to melt the ice- and snow-covered summit area. This unleashed a cascade of debris down the volcano's eastern slope, which wiped the town of Armero off the map, killing 25,000 people. Another 2,000 people were killed in nearby areas. - The Wall Street Journal.

EXTREME WEATHER: Severe Heat Wave Causing the Concrete to Buckle on Roads and Sidewalks in the U.S. Midwest!

The Midwest heat wave is causing headaches for the Department of Transportation, as roads around the area are giving way.  Not only does this heat have an effect on people but the streets and pavement can only take so much.

A curb at 33rd Street and Dakota Avenue in Sioux Falls buckled from the heat Tuesday afternoon. The DOT says these buckle problems can strike any patch of concrete at anytime.  For many Interstate-29 travelers, Monday's trip had an unexpected bump that led to flat tires and delays. A section of the roadway buckled under the heat. An unpredictable occurrence, but not a rare one for our area.  "It all depends on how hot it gets, quite often we see them in late July and August but yesterday and today temperatures are in the low 90's, it's not uncommon to see that." Said Greg Aalberg.  

Aalberg is the engineering supervisor for the South Dakota Department of Transportation and says there's not much you can do to prevent buckling.  Aalberg says all concrete has the potential to buckle, sometimes it's streets others it's sidewalks or medians. When the temperatures rise it forces the concrete to expand and in most cases the only place it can go is up.  like the old adage, something's gotta give, and when it does Aalberg's team is ready to roll.  "We get some asphalt in there for a temporary fix and then come back later and saw it all out and replace it with new concrete." Said Aalberg.  Unfortunately for Monday's travelers, they're responsible for covering the damage to their vehicles. So when you're out driving this summer, whether it be on the interstate or just around the block, remember these buckling buggers can strike at anytime.  "You can go through a day where it can get to 90 degrees and you may not have a blow up it's just an unknown thing and we try and be as prepared as we can so that if it does happen we can respond." Said Aalberg.  One of the DOT's repair trucks was hit by a car while they were trying to patch the I-29 buckle. So it's just another reminder to slow down when crews are on the roads. - KSFY.

MONUMENTAL SOLAR SYSTEM CHANGES: High Level of Activity on the Sun - Double Sunspot Flare Which Flattened Earth's Magnetic Field Leads to Aurora Borealis Spotted Over the U.S. as Far South as Nebraska and Iowa!

The sun is entering an unusually heavy period of solar activity, and the poor planet Earth is bearing the brunt of it.  Luckily for us earthlings, any disturbance we experienced from the latest outbursts were simply an extraordinary display of the aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights.  The spectacular lights display, caused by radiation hitting the upper reaches of our atmosphere, are not being true to their name after being seen as far south as Iowa, Nebraska and Maryland in the United States which, relative to Europe, are about as far South as southern Spain and the Mediterranean. 

Solar flares: A European visitor to the Badlands, South Dakota, took these pictures of the aurora,
much further south than they should be 
In the early hours of Saturday morning, the combined effects of two coronal mass ejections from a sunspot which NASA named AR 1504, passed NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft on the way toward Earth's protective magnetic bubble, the magnetosphere.  ACE is approximately 900,000 miles from Earth and can detect such incoming shocks about 30-45 minutes before they hit the magnetosphere - a handy early-warning system.  Simulations performed at NASA Goddard's Space Weather Center indicate that the disturbance strongly compressed the magnetopause, ultimately to a minimum of approximately 24,000 miles from Earth's surface at 6:28 PM EDT.  This is an altitude some 2,000 miles lower than spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit. The changing shape of Earth's magnetopause also influenced the aurora, causing bright aurora to be seen at lower latitudes than normal.  An active region on the sun, numbered AR 1504, rotated into view over the left side of the sun on June 10, 2012.  The region fired off flares and two coronal mass ejections on June 13 and June 14, 2012.
The Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of an M1.2 class flare on June 13, 2012. The sun is
shown here in teal as this is the color typically used to represent light in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, a
wavelength particularly good for observing flares.
The first flare lasted for a relatively long three hours, peaking on June 13, 2012.  The associated CME traveled at approximately 375 miles per second and is directed toward Earth.  The second M-class flare was also a long-duration flare, and it peaked on June 14, 2012.  The CME associated with this flare travelled much faster - preliminary analysis at Goddard's Space Weather Center indicated it was traveling at speeds of approximately 800 miles per second. The longest and highest-energy light ever emitted from a solar blast was detected earlier this year.  NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope recorded the powerful eruption on the surface of the sun on March 7.  The flare produced such an outpouring of gamma rays - a form of light with even greater energy than X-rays - that the sun briefly became the brightest object in the gamma-ray sky.  The powerful March 7 flare, which earned a classification of X5.4 based on the peak intensity of its X-rays, is the strongest eruption so far observed by Fermi's Large Area Telescope (LAT).  Nicola Omodei, an astrophysicist at Stanford University in California, said: 'For most of Fermi's four years in orbit, its LAT saw the sun as a faint, steady gamma-ray source thanks to the impacts of high-speed particles called cosmic rays.  'Now we're beginning to see what the sun itself can do.'  The sun's activity waxes and wanes on a roughly 11-year space weather cycle.  This cycle began in 2008 and is expected to hit its peak in 2013. - Daily Mail.

PROJECT BLUE BEAM: False Flag Alien Invasion - The Nobel Prize Winner and Economist Paul Krugman Argues AGAIN For Fake Aliens to Attack the Earth as a Solution to Fix the Global Economic Crisis?!

Economist Paul Krugman has a simple solution to America's economic woes: Prepare for an alien invasion. Arguing that the United States successfully ended the Great Depression with government spending, he provided an interesting idea about how to replicate that economic feat on Tuesday at the Take Back the American Dream conference in Washington, D.C.

Scene from the 1996 alien invasion movie, where extraterrestrials attack the Earth.
"If you actually look at what took us out of the Great Depression," the Princeton University professor said in an interview with Chris Hayes of MSNBC. "It was Europe's entry into World War II and the U.S. buildup that began in advance. So if we could get something that could cause the government to say, ‘Oh, never mind those budget things; let’s just spend and do a bunch of stuff.' So my fake threat from space aliens is the other route,” Krugman said before a laughing crowd. “I’ve been proposing that.”

The Princeton professor and New York Times columnist is a well-known fan of science fiction, which might explain his imaginative plan to spur an economic recovery.  Krugman has offered up his space alien proposal before. Last year he told CNN about a "Twilight Zone" episode in which "scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace." He told CNN, "Well, this time ... we need it in order to get some fiscal stimulus." - Huffington Post.
WATCH: In a 2011 interview on CNN, Krugman says that an alien invasion would fix the economy.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Three Killed, Ten Missing in Indonesia Landslide! UPDATE: Death Toll Rises to Fourteen!

Three people were killed and 10 missing on Tuesday after they were buried in a landslide caused by heavy rain in eastern Indonesia, a rescue official said.

File photo shows rescuers searching for landslide victims in Ciwidey district, West Java, Indonesia, Feb. 24, 2010.
Heavy rain prompted the landslide, killing more than a dozen people and destroying scores of homes.
“Heavy rains in Ambon city, Maluku province, triggered a landslide early this morning,” Ambon city search-and-rescue chief Brory Tjokro told AFP. “Three people were killed and two were rescued safely. Ten people are still missing and rescuers are still looking for them.” Two houses were destroyed, Tjokro said. - Inquirer News.
UPDATE: Death toll rises to fourteen!
Workers searched mud filled homes for survivors and bodies on Wednesday, after a landslide caused by torrential rain hit a residential area in Ambon, Indonesia. It is reported that the landslide was triggered by two days of continuous rain. Soldiers, with the help of local residents found two more bodies, bringing the number of people killed to 14. Officials believe one more resident is still buried under the thick mud. Two survivors were pulled out alive during the search and rescue operation on Wednesday, adding to the four found alive on Tuesday. Tropical rainfall, deforestation and little vegetation to hold the soil means that landslides are frequent in Indonesia. - IBT.
WATCH: Death toll rises in Indonesia.

DELUGE & GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: State of Emergency Declare in Duluth - Extremely Heavy Rains Cause Major Flooding and Sinkholes in Eastern Minnesota!

Duluth Mayor Don Ness says he plans to declare a state of emergency because of serious flooding in his northeastern Minnesota city.  Ness tells The Associated Press he plans to issue the order later Wednesday morning. He says it will help communicate the severity of the problem to the public and start the process of obtaining federal disaster aid.  The mayor says the city is encouraging people to stay home, both because of the amount of standing and rushing water from heavy rains overnight, and the difficulty in spotting hidden hazards.  

A car is stranded in floodwaters rushing down a hillside in Duluth, Minn., early Wednesday, June 20, 2012.
(Andrew Krueger,AP Photo/The Duluth News-Tribune)
He says they're also discouraging anyone from traveling into the city and through the city, both for their personal safety and so that they stay out of the way of emergency and maintenance crews.  ''We have a coordinated response with city, county, state patrol, coast guard, red cross, and the feds ready to help," said the mayor, as reported by CBS affiliate KDLH Duluth. "I've been very impressed with the coordinated effort to this point. Thank you to the leaders from across the state offering their help and support.''  Meanwhile, residents evacuated their homes and animals escaped from their pens at a zoo, officials said Wednesday.  Police officers helped track down a polar bear that got out of its enclosure overnight at the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth.  "Even though it's a large white object, it's pretty nerve racking," police spokesman Jim Hansen said of the chase for Berlin, the female polar bear.

Zoo officials said she was darted by the zoo's vet and placed in quarantine.  Several sheep, goats and a donkey were killed by the flooding, said Susan Wolniakowski, director of guest services.  "Sadly the zoo experienced the loss of several animals, among them many of the barnyard residents," the zoo said in a statement.  Peter Pruett, the zoo's director of Animal Management, said the "entire staff is devastated."  Wolniakowski said no animals left the zoo grounds and all have been secured.  "I think it's probably been the worst flooding we've ever had at the zoo," Wolniakowski said. A train depot was completely underwater, she said.  Up to 8 inches of rain fell on the area overnight and the soaking continued Wednesday.  Elsewhere in Duluth, Interstate 35 and downtown tunnels were closed and police and the Carlton County Sheriff's Department recommended emergency travel only, warning that numerous sinkholes and washouts were making driving dangerous.  "It's a mess. There are too many intersections to even list that are closed," Hansen said.  Authorities asked residents of the Fond du Lac neighborhood in Duluth to leave their homes because of concerns about the rising level of the St. Louis River. Hansen said about a dozen homes were evacuated. Police have received about 100 calls for assistance since early Wednesday, he said.  The University of Minnesota Duluth campus closed Wednesday because of the floods. - CBS News.

RATTLE & HUM: "The Sounds of the Apocalypse" - Mystery Sound in Upper Gwynedd, Puzzles Residents?!

Heidi Lucas says she is not sure when she started hearing the sounds. At first she would notice it at night, then quickly disregard it. Last June, Lucas says the noise struck her as becoming more invasive. So she started keeping records of when it was audible.  “It started to become persistent and consistent,” said Lucas, who lives in the 600 block of Park Road in the West Point Village, Her house is about three roads away from Merck & Co. Inc.’s West Point plant. On April 17, Lucas and her husband, Tim, appeared at the Upper Gwynedd Township Board of Commissioners workshop meeting to discuss the situation.

 Exiting the township building at 1 Parkside Place, Lucas said she noticed the same sound, which she described as a loud roar with a mechanical vibration. “The sound permeates the village,” she said. Lucas said the noise, which reminds her of a jet engine or a large power washing system, has led her to drive through the township several times during the night searching for the source. Following eight months of contact with state Rep. Kate Harper, R-63rd District, as well as individual meetings with township and Merck officials, Lucas called her appearance at the commissioners meeting a last resort. She struck a conciliatory tone with the elected officials, asking them to help find the source of the noise. “We’ve lived here for more than 30 years,” she said during the meeting. “We’ve had no need to complain about anything.”

According to Lucas, neighbors have expressed similar complaints during casual conversation. She said another told her in an e-mail that sound has been an annoyance for two years. “Two other people said ‘why bother saying anything at all,’” Lucas said last week. A municipal ordinance permits sounds not to exceed 65 decibels during the day and 60 decibels at night, according to township Manager Len Perrone. Multiple sound studies conducted by Merck at the intersection of West Point Pike at Jones Avenue — the location identified by the couple as the source of the sound — have delivered readings below the township’s decibel requirements, according to company spokesperson Colleen Lange. In May, the Board of Commissioners voted to approve a sound study of five locations in the township. The municipality’s sound engineer is currently collecting samples, according to Commissioner Jim Santi. He said the firm GAI Consultants will be paid $4,000 to complete the work. According to Santi, three of the locations will be on Merck property, one at the industrial park on Jones Avenue and one near residental properties on Park Avenue. No one has confirmed Merck’s manufacturing plant as the source of the sound, according to Lucas. “I would like for someone to try to help us work this out,” she said.  - TRO.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Major Solar System Disturbance - International Space Station Damaged by Meteor!

Everyone knows what a pain it is when you get a chip on your car's windshield from a bit of flying grit. But on Earth it is usually fairly easy to call someone in to repair it.  NASA are currently evaluating a similar spot of damage to one of the viewing windows on the International Space Station to see if that needs to be replaced.  The chip that left a visible scar on the outer pane was caused by a tiny meteoroid or scrap of space debris travelling many times faster than a bullet. It hit one of seven panes in the orbiting outpost's European-built Cupola - the space equivalent to a conservatory. 

A meteor photographed burning up in the atmosphere in August 2011 by an astronaut aboard the ISS.
© ISS - Digital Camera, ESA.
This particular impact is not thought to put the six astronauts on board in any danger. But it is a reminder that space is a dangerous place.  Astronauts aboard the ISS use the zone as a place to relax and watch the views of Earth and sky. It has provided some stunning images and videos recently of aurora displays and other spectacles including the recent Transit of Venus.  A protective shutter was quickly closed over the damaged window, which has four layers of glass. The outer pane on the Cupola, which was carried into orbit by space shuttle Endeavour in February 2010, can only be replaced with a spacewalk.  The astronauts currently on the ISS - Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Sergei Revin, Gennady Padalka, Joe Acaba, Don Pettit, and Andre Kuipers - took photos of the impact scar on Window Two of the Cupola and beamed them to mission control for analysis by experts.  NASA are monitoring the orbits of the thousands of larger pieces of space junk left by satellite collisions and "star wars" tests in space. But smaller fragments plus natural meteoroid fragments flying through space are a constant hazard. 

Space debris expert Dr Lucy Rogers told Sen: "Space is full of tiny pieces of debris - both man-made and natural. It is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of pieces of space debris, smaller than a cherry, travelling at speeds of up to 17,500 km/hr.  The space station is protected in many ways from damage by these pieces of debris. The windows of the ISS cupola are made from fused silica and borosilicate glass and are therefore much more resiliant than normal windows on Earth. However, a small piece of space debris can still cause it to chip, in the same way a car windshield will chip if hit by a small stone on the motorway.  "Any chips that are seen on the cupola are reported directly to NASA, and the shutters of the orbital Debris Protection System (MDPS) on the Cupola will close. These shutters are made from aluminium and Kevlar/Nextel sheets, and will protect the astronauts should the pane of glass fail. NASA will carry out extensive investigations to ensure the integrity of the glass, before allowing the shutter to be opened again."  Dr Rogers added: "There are equations used to predict penetration depth of projectiles - these can be used to calculate the size and speed of the debris that hit the window. The scientists will also be interested to see if they can work out what it was that hit the window - was it a broken part of another satellite, or was it small natural meteoroid?  "This type of data helps the scientists and engineers calculate the probability of future micro-meteoroids and orbital debris (MMOD) strikes, and so precautions and safety measures can be taken to protect both astronauts and spacecraft. If a similar sized piece of debris had hit an astronaut on a spacewalk, the consequences may have been fatal." - SEN.

MAJOR STORM ALERT: 150mph Syper Typhoon Guchol Targets Japan - Highest Category Storm Intensifies as it Tracks Near the Fukushima Nuclear Radiation Zone! UPDATE: Guchol Lands on Mainland Japan! UPDATE: Typhoon Weakens After Hitting Japan - 1 Killed and 1 Missing!

Guchol, a tropical cyclone in the western Pacific, is maintaining Super Typhoon status, and has its sight set on Japan. Winds currently exceed 150 mph, with even higher gusts, making Guchol a super typhoon, the highest classification for tropical cyclones in the western Pacific. 

If Guchol were an Atlantic Hurricane, it would be considered a strong Category 4 storm.  While Guchol is currently bringing minimal impacts to civilization in its current location in the Philippine Sea, this is likely to change as Guchol continues to head north over the next few days.  Not only will Guchol continue to head towards more populated islands, but the storm is also expected to intensify further, or at the very least maintain it intensity over the next 24 hours.  Conditions for Guchol have been favorable over the past 24 hours, with low wind shear and warm ocean waters feeding the storm. These conditions should remain favorable until the system moves farther north, where the storm will eventually begin to deteriorate.

Guchol will still likely be a very powerful tropical cyclone upon reaching the Ryukyu Islands of Japan on Monday night. Powerful winds, torrential rain and intense surf will be among some of the problems expected for the islands.  Farther north, Guchol has to possibility of making landfall along the east coast of Japan before it recurves. Even if Guchol makes landfall, it should have weakened some while in the vicinity of the Ryukyu Islands, and the storngest winds usually occur on the right side of the storm track, meaning only places in and southeast of the eye would see the storms strongest winds.  Instead, the main threat the storm poses to the main island of Japan will be its torrential rains. Heavy rain could lead to mudslides and flash flooding, especially in the mountains just west of Tokyo.  Stay tuned to the Tropical Weather Center for the latest information on this potent storm. - Accu Weather.

UPDATE: Powerful Typhoon Guchol Could Land by Wednesday.
A powerful typhoon was moving toward the archipelago Monday with sustained strength and could make landfall by Wednesday, the Meteorological Agency said.  The agency warned of thunderstorms, strong winds and high waves in southwestern and western Japan as Typhoon Guchol, the fourth of the year, was around 450 km south of Naha, Okinawa, at 9 a.m. Monday and moving northward at about 25 kph.  The typhoon was expected to approach Okinawa and threaten Shikoku Tuesday night. It could land in areas ranging from western to eastern Japan by Wednesday, the agency said.  With an atmospheric pressure of 950 hectopascals at its core, the typhoon was packing winds of up to around 160 kph near its center and 90 kph or more in areas within a 150-km radius, likely bringing strong winds to southwestern, western and central Japan on Tuesday. - Japan Times.
WATCH: Typhoon Guchol blow past Okinawa, next on to mainland Japan.

UPDATE: Guchol Pushes on Shore Across Western Japan - First Video!
Typhoon Guchol is pushing on shore across Western Japan today. Already short time heavy rain topping 50mm an hour has been reported in some areas of Shikoku and the Kii Pennisula. Expect this to continue to increase througout the day today. Meanwhile Tokyo will be expecting heavy rainfall and gusty winds through the overnight hours as Guchol Pushes just west of the Metro area. The main threat here will be travel concerns in relation to Train Delays and low lying urban flooding. - Western Pacific Weather.
WATCH: Typhoon Guchol makes landfall in Japan.

WATCH: Latest video footage from Japan and track forecast.

UPDATE: Typhoon Weakens After Hitting Japan - 1 Killed and 1 Missing!
Weakening Typhoon Guchol passed from Japan into the Pacific on Wednesday, leaving one person dead and one missing and bringing heavy rainfall and strong gusts to many areas mainly in eastern and northeastern regions, including Tokyo, authorities said.  Hourly rainfall reached record highs for June early Wednesday in locations such as Kitaibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, at 56.0 millimeters, while wind speeds also broke records for the month in cities including Chiba at 137.2 kilometers per hour, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.  The typhoon moved off the Pacific coastline of northeast Japan Wednesday morning, the agency said, adding that another typhoon, called Talim, is moving eastward toward Japan over the South China Sea.  In Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, Kentaro Yamamoto, 53, was killed under a prefabricated building that collapsed due to the strong winds, police said.  A 16-year-old girl went missing in Nirasaki, Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo, around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday near a swollen river. - Mainichi.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Bright Blazing Fireball Shoots Across Oamaru - Unusual Sight Over Australia and New Zealand!

A bright blaze shooting across the night sky has been caught on camera by Oamaru man Gary Brooker. 

Rare Sight: Oamaru man Gary Brooker, near Moeraki at the time,
captured this image of a bright object in the sky on June 3.
Mr Brooker was driving north along State Highway 1, near Moeraki, when he spotted the bright trail at 6pm on June 3.  ''I was coming home along the main road and I spotted it going down so I stopped and took a photo.  I didn't think it was a plane because the vapour trail would have been white, but this was burning.''  He said there was an obvious object leading the trail, which he believed was a piece of ''junk''. 

''I wouldn't have a clue (how fast it was going). I was doing 100km on the main highway, but I had enough time to put my foot on the brake, stop and take a photo and then it was gone.  ''Somebody said it could have been out near Australia. It could have been miles and miles away, but it was so bright.''  It was the first time Mr Brooker had witnessed such an event. He has since shared his discovery with other people, including a friend who has researched the sighting online.  And it turns out Mr Brooker was not the only one who witnessed the rare event over New Zealand.  Another sighting, believed to be the same object, was recorded on the internet, along with another photo, Mr Brooker said. - Stuff.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Large "Green" Fireball Streaks Across the Sky in Southern England!

'A green fireball' streaked across the sky above Beaconsfield on Friday night, according to motorist Graham Lee.  The freelance photographer thinks he might have seen a meteor while driving home on the M40 and discovered several others had reported the sighting online. 

File Photo.
Graham, from Whiteleaf near Princes Risborough, told the BFP: "I was on the M40 coming to the Beaconsfield junction at about 11.30pm and it came from left to right....  "It only lasted a few seconds and I thought it was a firework, but thought crickey that's far too large and far too fast.  It was as bright as the sun and looked like a green fireball. I felt quite privileged to have seen it.

A website called The Latest Worldwide Meteor Reports lists several sightings of 'fireballs', 'flashes' and 'green lights' at about the same time, in various locations around Oxfordshire.  Ralph Campbell, Chairman of Aylesbury Astronomical Society, said Graham had probably seen a meteor, which is also known as a shooting star.  He said: "They are not very frequent but occasionally you do see them. It's basically a lump of material from outer space coming into the earth's atmosphere. Because it's going so fast it heats up and melts away.  Very occasionally they will reach the earth and make a big hole in the ground, but fortunately we've avoided any really big ones up till now." - BFP.

WORLD WAR III: The Countdown to Armageddon - U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Unit Based in Port Clinton on Lake Heads to Middle East Duty!

About 60 Coast Guard reservists with an Ohio unit have deployed for service with a Navy task force in the Middle East.

Members of Port Security Unit 309 based in Port Clinton on Lake Erie left Tuesday night from the Air National Guard base in Mansfield. The unit protects ports and shipping channels.
To prepare for the deployment, reservists trained with the Navy at Coronado, Calif., and the Army at Fort Dix, N.J.

The unit has deployed in recent years for service in the Gulf of Mexico, Kuwait and Sicily. - Newsnet5.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: The Euro Zone Debt Crisis - EU Poised For $943 Billion Bailout For Spain and Italy!

European leaders are poised to outline what is expected to be a $943 billion bailout deal for Spain and Italy, U.S. and other Group of 20 officials said.  "Nothing has been decided yet," a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said as officials from other countries started talking about the pending deal for eurozone bailout funds to buy up the bonds of crisis-hit governments. 

Euro banknotes are seen in Paris on June 7, 2012. The currency, used by the Eurozone countries, has come under
pressure lately with government debt concerns plaguing Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy. UPI/ David Silpa  
Merkel, who has long opposed such a deal, is under intense pressure, along with other European countries -- pressure that was increased Monday and Tuesday at a summit of the Group of 20 leading industrial and developing economies in Los Cabos, Mexico -- to take radical action to stem the growing euro crisis.  The deal outline is expected to be announced when the 27 European Union leaders meet for a summit in Brussels June 28-29 -- a summit that will be "critical" to shoring up the eurozone's single currency, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said Tuesday at the close of the G20 summit.  Other officials said the move -- representing a substantial shift in policy for Merkel -- will send a strong signal to financial markets that Europe's biggest economy is finally prepared to back its weaker neighbors, the British newspapers The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian reported. 

Under the proposed deal, the two European rescue funds -- the permanent $634 billion European Stability Mechanism and its predecessor, the $317 billion European Financial Stability Facility -- will buy bonds issued by Spain and Italy, the newspapers reported.  The bailout funds could buy bonds from other crisis-hit countries later.  The deal would mark the first time the funds are used directly to purchase sovereign debt.  The idea is to drive down the cost of Spanish and Italian bonds by showing that the eurozone is prepared to stand behind the debts of its members, officials said.  Experts said it was a step toward establishing shared eurobonds, where debt from across the 17-country euro area is shared -- and effectively underwritten by Germany.  Eurozone finance ministers are expected to discuss the plan in Luxembourg Thursday and Friday.  Some European leaders are to meet in Rome Friday ahead of next week's summit.  The rescue-deal outline comes after 10-year Spanish bond yields increased sharply to more than 7 percent this week -- levels many analysts say is unsustainable.  Twelve- and 18-month Spanish bond auctions yielded 5.1 percent Tuesday. A similar debt sale in May saw a rate of 3 percent.  Spain has scheduled an auction of up to $2.5 billion in the 10-year bonds Thursday. - UPI.

HIGH STRANGENESS: Weird Aerial Anomalies Continue in China - Mysterious Yellow Haze Shrouds Central China?!

A strange yellow haze has shrouded cities in central China. Residents from Henan, Anhui and Hubei provinces are all wary of the haze, which some experts describe as harmful. Last week a dark yellow haze enveloped Wuhan city. Days later, the weather forecasting agency issued a yellow alert, and medical face masks quickly sold out. 

Authorities say the haze is caused by farmers burning straw. Slogans now hang along the country roads in Henan province warning farmers against the practice. Farmers say they don't know what to do now, because historically they have burned straw to clear their fields.  [Farmer from Henan Province]: "All the straw is still in the field. Nobody here dares to burn it. Nobody."  Zhuang Guoshun, Director of the Atmospheric Chemistry Research Center at the Department of Environmental Engineering at Fudan University disagrees with the authorities. He has a different answer as to what's causing the haze.

[Zhuang Guoshun, Director of Atmospheric Chemistry Research Center at Fudan]: "As to the cause of the haze I have said in many meetings that there are mainly three reasons: first are emissions from motor vehicles and from factories; second are emissions from burning biomass; and the last one is from sand dust. Normally in big cities, the main reason is from emissions of motor vehicles."  Experts warn that the yellow haze may be harmful. It may contain particles that can enter the throat and stick in the respiratory tract and lungs. Patients with respiratory diseases are advised to stay indoors. - NTDTV.
WATCH: Mysterious haze over China.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Nevado Del Ruiz Ash Emissions Hurt Economy in Central Colombia - Airport Closure, Flights Cancelled, Tourism Down!

Ashes emitted by Colombia's volcano Nevado del Ruiz has negatively affected tourism, transport and agriculture in the central-eastern region, local media reported Tuesday.  A May 29 earthquake sent plumes of ash 4,000 feet above the volcano's crater, forcing nearby La Nubio airport in Manizales to shut down. Since then, Nevado del Ruiz has continually emitted ash due to tremors within the volcano, located on the border of the central departments of Caldas and Tolima. Nearby park and tourist attraction Los Nevados has also been closed.  The recent closures, particularly that of the airport, have resulted in a severe drop in tourism, forcing many hotels in the area to lay off employees.

Nevado del Ruiz volcano. Photo: El Pais.
According to Carlos Uriel Zapata Aguirre, manager of hotel Carretera, the airport closure caused a drop of 80 to 90 percent in tourism from the period of when the emissions started in late May until June 1. Since June 3 the situation has reportedly improved as corporate tourists have been traveling to the region via Pereira, another city in the region less affected by the emissions, added the hotel manager.  Zapata says solutions are needed quickly, as Manizales is scheduled to host several congressional meetings in coming months.  Besides causing troubles for the hotel sector, the active volcano is also affecting those in the transportation sector, such as taxi drivers and porters who worked at the airport, local media reported. Milk production in the area has also fallen by 30 percent, as cattle refuse to eat in ash-covered pasture, local media reported. 

"The animals have problems in the mouth and do not like the grass because it is filthy and has a different flavor," explained Victor Manuel Jarmillo of Livestock Palestina, a major livestock equipment provider.  For now, the local direction of Cotelco, an association of hotels and tourism in Colombia, is focusing its attention on assuring the rest of the country that the city is functioning as normal despite the volcano's activity and that all necessary precautions have been taken.  Earlier this month the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Manizales released a handbook for residents on how to deal with ongoing ash emissions. The document, compiled by experts at England's University of Cambridge and the U.S. Geological Survey, provided recommendations on the ash management, including wearing protective masks and avoiding the use of water to remove volcanic material.  An estimated 25,000 people were killed when the volcano erupted in 1985. - Colombia Reports.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 60 Aftershocks Felt in Victoria and Melbourne After Rare Quake - The Largest Tremor in Victoria Since 1982, the State's Third Largest in 100 Years!

Up to 60 aftershocks have been felt across Victoria and in Melbourne following last night's 5.3-magnitude earthquake.  The quake struck just before 9pm (11pm NZ time) with the epicentre between Traralgon and Moe in the state's southeast. 

The shaking lasted around 30 seconds but could be felt from Gippsland to metropolitan Melbourne and as far as Swan Hill in the state's northwest.  Seismologist at Geoscience Australia, Marco Maldoni, said the aftershocks were minor but may continue to be felt for weeks.  "These are a lot smaller than the initial earthquake, the vast majority below a two or three (magnitude),'' he told AAP.  "Quite a number of them could only be felt within the noise of the signal.  "We're talking about magnitude 1, so very small.''  Mr Maldoni said the quake was the largest in Victoria since 1982 and the state's third largest in 100 years. 

In terms of earthquakes this is a minor earthquake, but let's keep in mind the 1989 Newcastle earthquake was 5.6 magnitude and people died,'' he said.  "It is certainly significant for Australia and particularly for Victoria.''  Mr Maldoni said Gippsland was one of three areas in Australia where you could experience an earthquake of significant size, including the Flinders Rangers and Western Australia.  "People around Korumburra in Gippsland have been feeling earthquakes for the past few years. That's indicative of the fact there's a number of fault-lines in that part of the state,'' he said.  "These are basically cracks in the earth's crust where stress is much more easily released then other parts of the state.''  Victoria has experienced an earthquake of comparative size on average once every 15 years since 1900. - NZ Herald.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Long-Grumbling Cleveland Volcano Has Explosive Ash Burst - Sends Ash up to 35,000 Feet High Over Alaska!

A remote Aleutian volcano that has been restless for the past year rumbled to life on Tuesday, shooting a thin cloud of ash several miles into the sky, which could pose a slight hazard to aircraft, Alaska scientists said.  Cleveland Volcano, a 5,676-foot (1,730 meter) peak on an uninhabited island 940 miles southwest of Anchorage, had an explosive eruption at about 2:05 p.m. local time, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported.  A pilot flying in the area estimated that the ash cloud rose to 35,000 feet above sea level, reported the observatory, which is a joint federal-state organization that monitors Alaska's numerous active volcanoes. 

An aerial photograph shows the Cleveland Volcano during the time a small lava flow, or dome,
was accumulating in the summit crater as the 660 foot wide summit crater emits a white,
largely steam condensate cloud in this August 8, 2011 file photo.
Credit: Reuters/Kym Yano, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Handout
However, satellite imagery shows only a weak ash signal, suggesting a thin cloud that dissipated quickly, said Stephanie Prejean, a U.S. Geological Survey seismologist at the observatory in Anchorage  "It was just one explosion, which was very typical of the thing Cleveland has been doing in the last year," Prejean said. It is possible that the cloud rose to less than 35,000 feet, as the height was just one pilot's estimate, she said.  Pilots have been advised of potential risks from Cleveland, which might explode again, Prejean said. "It could do that any time," she said.  Cleveland has been in an off-and-on eruptive phase since last summer. The volcano has at times oozed lava out of its summit crater, punctuated by occasional small explosions, none of which had created clouds reaching above 20,000 feet until Tuesday.  Although Cleveland is one of the most active of Alaska's scores of volcanoes, there is no on-site seismic monitoring equipment.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory must rely on satellite imagery, records of lightning strikes, witness reports and other evidence to determine if an eruption has taken place, Prejean said.  That is in contrast to volcanoes closer to Anchorage, where the observatory has set up seismic-monitoring networks that allow scientists to see signals before eruptions happen, she said.  Before Tuesday, there had been an apparent slowdown in activity at Cleveland. The Alaska Volcano Observatory three weeks ago lowered the alert level for the volcano to a "yellow" advisory from the more urgent "orange" watch status.  "Obviously, it has some oomph left in it," said Tina Neal, an Alaska Volcano Observatory geologist.  Meanwhile, two moderate earthquakes rattled the western Aleutians on Tuesday.  The first, registered at magnitude 6.0, hit Tuesday morning about 90 miles northwest of Attu, the westernmost island in Alaska's Aleutian chain, according to the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center. The second, at about noon, measured at magnitude 5.7 and was centered about 65 miles northwest of Attu, the center said.  There were no reports of damage in the largely uninhabited region, and no tsunami warning was issued, said David Hale, a senior watch stander at the center. - Reuters.