Wednesday, November 7, 2012

DISASTER IMPACT: Deadly Quake - Powerful Tremor Off Guatemala Kills 18, Over 100 Missing, Landslides Block Roadways, and 40 Houses Severely Damaged! UPDATE: Guatemalan President - 39 Dead in 7.4 Magnitude Quake!

November 7, 2012 - GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA - A strong earthquake off the coast of Guatemala shook buildings in the capital and killed at least 18 people On Wednesday, trapping others under rubble and triggering evacuations as far away as Mexico City. 

The 7.4 magnitude quake hit at 10:35 a.m. local time (11:35 EDT). A local fire chief said the dead were buried under rubble in two different Guatemalan towns in the mountainous region near the Mexican border.  Landslides were blocking roads in some areas, authorities said, and about 40 houses were severely damaged.  It was the strongest earthquake to hit Guatemala since a 7.5 magnitude quake in 1976 that claimed more than 20,000 lives.  President Otto Perez said that as many as 100 people were unaccounted for, based on reports from relatives.  "These are preliminary figures and we don't have them confirmed," Perez said in Guatemala City. "Our priority is to focus on lives, rescuing people and treating the wounded."  He said there had been five aftershocks. Local fire chief Cecilio Chacaj said the bodies of the 18 dead had been pulled from rubble in the towns of San Marcos and Quetzaltenango. 

The quake struck off Guatemala's Pacific coast, 15 miles south of Champerico and 101 miles west-southwest of the capital, the U.S. Geological Survey said.  Evacuations in Guatemala City filled the streets with office workers calling friends and relatives on their cell phones, but people soon returned to work.  "It was really big; I felt quite nauseous," said secretary Vanessa Castillo, 32, who was evacuated from her 10th floor office in Guatemala City.  Building janitor Jorge Gamboa said: "I was in the bathroom. When I came out the office was empty and I thought, what's happening? They didn't even say goodbye."  The epicenter was 26 miles below the surface, according to the USGS, which initially reported the quake as magnitude 7.5.  The quake was also felt in El Salvador and more than 765 miles away in Mexico City, where some people also fled offices and homes. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said the quake was felt strongly in a large part of the city of 20 million people.  The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a very small tsunami was registered on Guatemala's coast, adding there was a risk of localized damage within a 62 mile radius. - Reuters.
Here are several images of the damage done in Guatemala:

UPDATE:  Guatemalan President: 39 Dead in 7.4 Magnitude Quake!

A 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the Pacific coast of Guatemala Wednesday morning, killing 39 people according to preliminary reports from the country's president. President Otto Perez Molina told a news conference earlier in the day that not all deaths had been confirmed, but others reported of people buried in some of the 30 houses that collapsed in the town of San Marcos near the northwestern border with Mexico, where most of the damage was reported. Ovidio Perez, spokesman for the fire department in San Cristobal Cochu in the state of San Marcos, told the radio station Emisoras Unidas that the 10, including a 4-year old, were buried. At least a dozen were reported injured in the same area. The magnitude-7.4 quake, about 20 miles deep, was centered about 15 miles off the coastal town of Champerico and about 100 miles southwest of Guatemala City, shaking buildings as far away as Mexico City and El Salvador. Survivors by radio and social media talked of widespread landslides and people trapped. But the accounts of deaths and people trapped were difficult to independently confirm as communication and roads were cut off to the area believed most affected, the mountainous state of San Marcos on the northwest border with Mexico.  - CBS News.

EXTREME WEATHER: "Winter Storm Athena" Begins To Slam American Northeast - Brings Strong Winds and Snowfall to Region Battered by Hurricane Sandy!

November 7, 2012 - UNITED STATES - Winds were kicking up, temperatures were dropping and wet snow was falling Wednesday in parts of the Northeast as Winter Storm Athena laid siege, little more than a week after Superstorm Sandy devastated the Eastern Seaboard.  "Mother Nature is not cutting us a break along the East Coast," said Tom Niziol, winter weather expert for The Weather Channel. "After (Hurricane) Sandy's wrath and destruction, this isn't what we want," Niziol said. While damage equaling Sandy's is not expected, forecasters warned Wednesday that Winter Storm Athena would pack a powerful punch.  "It's not going to be a weak storm. It's a potent storm," said Tom Moore, meteorologist with The Weather Channel.  Officials in vulnerable shore towns whose beaches and dunes were wiped out were concerned. Some schools were closing early Wednesday. Flights were cancelled by the hundreds.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie warned residents that high winds may mean some homes and businesses that regained power will lose it again, and the wind could also slow efforts to restore power.  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered police to use their patrol car loudspeakers to warn vulnerable residents about evacuating, one of a number of measures that the beleaguered city was taking. While officials strongly encouraged residents of storm-ravaged communities to seek higher ground, some refused, choosing to stick close to the belongings they have left.  "Those strong winds have turned a little bit more to the north with the system being a little bit further to the east," said Gary Conte, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in New York City. "That's a blessing in disguise with the coastal flooding we do have ongoing at this particular point."  By mid-morning Wednesday, snow was falling in Manhattan, parts of New Jersey and coastal Connecticut. A wintry mix was reported across Long Island. Wind gusts reached 54 mph in Nantucket.  Mike Seidel, meteorologist for The Weather Channel, reporting from Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., said stinging rains had arrived by mid-morning there.  "Winter is back. We've got temperatures in the 30s with stinging rains and ice mixed in," Seidel said. "It's not Labor Day anymore on the Jersey shore."  Niziol said that by Wednesday afternoon snow could change to rain and then back to heavy snowfall. He said Philadelphia could see heavy snow during rush hour.

Storm surges along the coasts of New Jersey and New York are expected to reach perhaps 3 feet, only half to a third of what Hurricane Sandy caused last week. While that should produce only minor flooding, it will still likely cause some erosion problems along the Jersey coast and the shores of Long Island, where Sandy destroyed some protective dunes.  Forecasters say that 1 to 3 inches of snow could fall in northeastern Jersey, and a coating is possible in other areas of the state. They also are concerned about Wednesday's two high tides -- one at 1 p.m. -- because the damage Sandy caused to the state's dune system could make effects from coastal flooding more severe.  High winds, which could reach 65 mph, could extend inland throughout the day as well, which would likely bring down tree limbs weakened by Sandy, stall power restoration efforts and potentially cause further outages.  "Our house is already in shambles. What worse can happen?" said a resigned and overwhelmed Lilly Wu. During Sandy, her family huddled upstairs as the flood rose 10 feet inside their four-story Staten Island home. Atlantic County, in the southern part of New Jersey, activated its emergency operations center and told residents to restock their emergency supplies.  "We have almost everyone who possibly can be reconnected back on. The idea we could now be facing power outages again does not come at a good time," said county spokeswoman Linda Gilmore said.  Police Chief Kevin O'Hara of the Point Pleasant, N.J. Police Department said flying debris from what has been collected and piled up from Sandy cleanup efforts is his biggest concern.  "Our fear is that if people are out and about they could be hit by flying debris," O'Hara said. "We would urge people to stay in their houses, stay home and let the storm pass."  Elizabeth Benton, director of communications for New Haven, Conn., was trying to find a silver lining in further recovery efforts.  "Whatever happens today, it will be easier to reactivate because people are already there." - The Weather Channel.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Powerful Magnitude 7.5 Quake Strikes Off the Coast of Guatemala - Possibility of a Local Tsunami!

November 7, 2012 - GUATEMALA - A magnitude-7.5 earthquake has struck off the Pacific Coast of Guatemala, the USGS reports, shaking buildings in nearby cities including Mexico City, Guatemala City and San Salvador.

Population Exposure: Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are mud wall and concrete/cinder block masonry construction. Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as tsunamis, landslides, and fires that might have contributed to losses - USGS.
The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was a possibility of a local tsunami, but issued no warning for a larger region. The earthquake was about 20 miles deep and was centered 28 miles off the city of Champerico.

A reporter in the town of San Marcos, about 80 miles north of the epicenter, told local radio station Emisoras Unidas that houses had collapsed onto residents and smashed televisions and other appliances had been scattered into the streets.

The local fire department said on its Twitter account that a school had collapsed and eight injured people had been taken to a nearby hospital. The mayor of Mexico City said no serious damage or injuries had been reported in the city, although many people had fled their offices and homes during the quake. - FOX News.

Seismotectonics of the Caribbean Region and Vicinity.
Extensive diversity and complexity of tectonic regimes characterizes the perimeter of the Caribbean plate, involving no fewer than four major plates (North America, South America, Nazca, and Cocos). Inclined zones of deep earthquakes (Wadati-Benioff zones), ocean trenches, and arcs of volcanoes clearly indicate subduction of oceanic lithosphere along the Central American and Atlantic Ocean margins of the Caribbean plate, while crustal seismicity in Guatemala, northern Venezuela, and the Cayman Ridge and Cayman Trench indicate transform fault and pull-apart basin tectonics.

Along the northern margin of the Caribbean plate, the North America plate moves westwards with respect to the Caribbean plate at a velocity of approximately 20 mm/yr. Motion is accommodated along several major transform faults that extend eastward from Isla de Roatan to Haiti, including the Swan Island Fault and the Oriente Fault. These faults represent the southern and northern boundaries of the Cayman Trench. Further east, from the Dominican Republic to the Island of Barbuda, relative motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate becomes increasingly complex and is partially accommodated by nearly arc-parallel subduction of the North America plate beneath the Caribbean plate. This results in the formation of the deep Puerto Rico Trench and a zone of intermediate focus earthquakes (70-300 km depth) within the subducted slab. Although the Puerto Rico subduction zone is thought to be capable of generating a megathrust earthquake, there have been no such events in the past century. The last probable interplate (thrust fault) event here occurred on May 2, 1787 and was widely felt throughout the island with documented destruction across the entire northern coast, including Arecibo and San Juan. Since 1900, the two largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the August 4, 1946 M8.0 Samana earthquake in northeastern Hispaniola and the July 29, 1943 M7.6 Mona Passage earthquake, both of which were shallow thrust fault earthquakes. A significant portion of the motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate in this region is accommodated by a series of left-lateral strike-slip faults that bisect the island of Hispaniola, notably the Septentrional Fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault in the south. Activity adjacent to the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault system is best documented by the devastating January 12, 2010 M7.0 Haiti strike-slip earthquake, its associated aftershocks and a comparable earthquake in 1770. - USGS.

LOOMING FISCAL CLIFF & THE POST-ELECTION RIPTIDE: US Markets Tumble After Obama Win - Stocks Dive 2%, Dow Skids 300, and S&P Breaks 1400!

November 7, 2012 - WALL STREET, NEW YORK - Stocks took a nosedive in a post-election selloff Wednesday, triggered by worries over the looming "fiscal cliff" and as fears over Europe's economy reemerged.  The Dow tumbled below 13,000, while the S&P 500 broke 1,400, both for the first time since early September.  “It’s now how quickly we can focus on the ‘fiscal cliff’ and coming up with a resolution—that's certainly the next item on the agenda for the market,” said Art Hogan, managing director of Lazard Capital Markets. "And you still have Europe."

 The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 300 points in its biggest one-day loss in nearly a year, dragged heavily by Bank of America [BAC  9.376    -0.564  (-5.67%) ] and JPMorgan [JPM  40.82    -2.06  (-4.8%)].  The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were also sharply lower. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, spiked above 19.  All key S&P sectors were firmly in the red, led by energy and financials.  Apple [AAPL  563.79    -16.4095  (-2.83%)] fell more than 3 percent, pushing the tech giant down a jaw-dropping 20 percent from its all-time high of $705.07 in mid-September. The stock is now trading in bear market territory.  Obama was re-elected president Tuesday night, put over the top by the crucial battleground state of Ohio following the most expensive election in U.S. history. Meanwhile, ratings agency Fitch said Obama needs to move quickly to avoid the "fiscal cliff" that is threatening the country's economic recovery, adding that failure to address the issue would likely result in a downgrade in 2013.
Meanwhile, European shares reversed their gains to close lower following ECB President Mario Draghi's negative comments on the region's economy. Draghi said economic activity in the euro zone area is expected to remain weak and the slowdown may have reached Germany.  And the members of Greece’s parliament are expected to vote on a new package of austerity measures with the government’s majority under threat. If the bill doesn’t pass, Greece will not receive its next financial aid installment of 31.5 billion euros ($40.2 billion) on Monday.  “The U.S. election temporarily flipped worries over Europe, but Europe still has an important role in global markets,” said Quincy Korsby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. “They’ve obviously been a chronic condition, but it’s flare ups like today that grab attention.” - CNBC.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Seismic Swarm - Seven Earthquakes Hit Lima, Peru in 5 Days?!

November 7, 2012 - LIMA, PERU - A light earthquake shook Lima early on Monday morning, the latest in a series of mild earthquakes that have shaken the capital over the past few days.

According to Peru’s Geophysical Institute (IGP) the quake measured 3.9 degrees on the Richter scale, and occurred at 3:08 am.

The earthquake’s epicenter, the IGP said, was located 58 kilometers southeast of the capital, 50 kilometers underground.

According to local radio RPP, Lima has experienced 7 earthquakes in the past 5 days. - Peru This Week.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: The Meningitis Outbreak in America - More Health Woes For Patients Affected by the Meningitis Outbreak!

November 7, 2012 - UNITED STATES - Some patients who developed fungal meningitis in an outbreak linked to a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy are experiencing more health woes, officials said.  Patients are not only developing meningitis, inflammation of the thin tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord; some are also developing an epidural abscess, which is a collection of pus between the outer covering of the brain and spinal cord and the bones of the skull or spine.  Meningitis is a known complication of an epidural abscess, but what's puzzling some health experts is that some patients were first diagnosed with and treated for meningitis and then developed an abscess.  "This is not typical for fungal disease," says Dr. Tom Chiller, who serves as deputy chief of the CDC's Mycotic (fungal) Diseases Branch. While he and other health officials have been hearing about epidural abscesses since the beginning of the outbreak, it is unclear how many patients have had the abscesses.

Bottles containing injectable steroids distributed by the New England Compounding Center.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now lists meningitis, epidural abscess and stroke among the 409 cases of fungal infection; it also says 10 people have suffered peripheral joint infections from New England Compounding Center products. As of Monday, the total number of illnesses linked to tainted steroid injections produced by the NECC had risen to 419. One more person has died, bringing the total fatalities to 30.  Abscesses are usually found using an MRI. Some meningitis patients underwent an MRI where no abscesses were found, and then two or three weeks later, another MRI detected an abscess after patients reported back pain.  In Michigan, which has the most illnesses connected to the tainted NECC medications, nearly half of the patients have developed an abscess.  As of Monday, the state health department is reporting a total of 119 cases -- 61 cases of meningitis, 51 cases of epidural abscesses, six peripheral joint infections and one stroke. All seven of Michigan's deaths were reported in meningitis patients.  All of the epidural abscesses in Michigan were diagnosed before some patients developed meningitis, according to Angela Minicucci, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Community health. She says none of the Michigan cases developed meningitis first and abscesses later.  Tennessee has the second-highest case count, with 79 cases and 12 deaths. However, health officials there have not yet tallied how many patients had epidural abscesses and when.  The fungal infection cases are unprecedented, said the CDC's Chiller, because usually fungal infections caused by black mold usually trigger sinusitis or skin infections -- the fungus isn't injected into the central nervous system with a steroid.  "We're learning as we go," he says, adding that patients are presenting with illness in completely new ways.

According to the CDC, symptoms have appeared between one and four weeks after an injection. Since the NECC products were recalled just about a month ago, one would think that window would be closing.  But given that some patients are developing secondary infections such as abscesses and others are reporting symptoms after longer periods of time, Chiller says patients need to be vigilant for at least several months.  Bottom line: If patients know they've been given injections from the three tainted lots of the preservative-free steroid methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) distributed by NECC, they need to see their doctor with any new symptoms or concerns.  In the meantime, lawmakers are continuing to look for answers about how the outbreak occurred.  On Monday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced that the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will convene a hearing on November 14 to further investigate what went wrong at the NECC and why the company, which had a history of problems, was able to continue to function.  Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg is scheduled to testify. James Coffey, director of Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy, and Barry Cadden, owner and director of the New England Compounding Center, have also been invited. - CNN.

DELUGE: Severe Flooding in Southern India Kills 25 - Displaces Thousands!

November 7, 2012 - NEW DELHI, INDIA - Flooding in southern India in the wake of a tropical cyclone has killed 25 people in the past few days and driven tens of thousands of others from their homes, authorities said Tuesday. 

Indian residents wade through flood waters in Visakhapatnam in the coastal district of
Andhra Pradesh on November 5, 2012.
The severe weather has caused flooding affecting 5,250 square kilometers (2,000 square miles) of agricultural land in the state of Andhra Pradesh, according to Vinod Kumar, an official at the state's disaster management department.  Cyclone Nilam roared into India's southeastern coast last week, killing at least 15 people in the state of Tamil Nadu and running a large oil tanker aground on the shore near Chennai. 

The storm had already been drenching coastal areas with rain as it loitered over the sea north of Sri Lanka before it made landfall. It brought more than a month's rainfall in just a few of days, according to CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera.  The "high impact, long duration" nature of the downpours "overwhelmed the rivers and streams" and led to the disastrous flooding, Cabrera said.  About 70,000 people in Andhra Pradesh, which is north of Tamil Nadu, have been relocated to temporary shelters, Kumar said Tuesday. The flooding has killed 25 people in the state, he said.  The full extent of the damage to crops won't be known until after the flood waters recede, according to authorities.  Tropical cyclones tend to occur in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea during the April-to-June and September-to-November periods.  A violent tropical storm killed at least 23 people in southeastern Bangladesh last month. And a powerful cyclone that hit India and Bangladesh in May 2009 killed at least 180 people. - CNN.

EURO-ZONE MELTDOWN: Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel - Euro Crisis to Last Another 5 Years at Least!

November 7, 2012 - BERLIN, GERMANY - German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europe’s sovereign debt crisis will last at least five more years.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel told a regional meeting of her Christian Democratic Party on Saturday that the
time had come for "a bit of strictness." Otherwise, she says, Europe won't be able to attract international investment.

Merkel says the continent is on the right path to overcome the crisis but “whoever thinks this can be fixed in one or two years is wrong.”

Two years ago some heavily indebted European countries were dragged into the turmoil that first gripped global financial markets in 2007.

Greece in particular has been struggling with the austerity conditions imposed on it by countries such as Germany.

But Merkel told a regional meeting of her Christian Democratic Party on Saturday that the time had come for “a bit of strictness.”

Otherwise, she says, Europe won’t be able to attract international investment. - Financial Post.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Canada Earthquake - 4.2 Magnitude Quake Shakes Ontario-Quebec Border Region!

November 7, 2012 - OTTAWA, CANADA - Authorities at Canada’s Department of Natural Resources say a 4.2 magnitude earthquake rattled parts of Quebec early this morning, the second such incident in the past month.

 According to the agency, the temblor struck at 4:05 am, lasted 10 to 15 seconds, and was centered in the Gatineau region, 30 kilometers (18 miles) east of Buckingham, Quebec.  It was also felt in several suburban Ottawa neighborhoods including Barrhaven, Orleans, and Cumberland, CTV reports.  “If you’re close to the epicenter, you probably would have no doubt whatsoever that it was an earthquake. You would feel shaking, possibly hear some rattling,” said seismologist Allison Bent, pointing out that about 200 small earthquakes typically occur in the area between Montreal and Ottawa known as the Western Quebec Seismic Zone. 

Bent added there were no immediate reports of any injuries or damage.  The Ottawan Sun notes that Tuesday’s temblor is the fourth quake in the region in recent months, but all have been relatively minor. A 3.1 quake occurred on September 22, also near Buckingham, and another 3.1 quake occurred in April in the Wakefield area.  A somewhat larger quake — registered at 4.5 — had been felt across the region less than a month ago. It struck at 12:19 am October 10. Following that temblor, officials said the Champlain Bridge and other federal spans had passed inspections.  On the west coast, aftershocks of about the same magnitude are still occurring in the Queen Charlotte Islands after a 7.7 earthquake hit that region on October 27. - The Inquisitr.

HIGH STRANGENESS: Mysteriously Chaotic Magnetic Field and Increase in High-Energy Particles - NASA's Voyager1 Detects "Weirdness" At Solar System Edge?!

November 7, 2012 - NASA - Voyager 1 is the most distant man-made object and is thought to have recently escaped the sun's sphere of influence. The probe, launched 35 years ago, is therefore mankind's first interstellar vehicle careening into the vast expanse of space between the stars.  Needless to say, as one of two deep space probes launched in 1977, Voyager 1 has explored previously unknown regions of the solar system, making groundbreaking discoveries as it went. Now, in a new paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, scientists analyzing data streaming from the spacecraft have uncovered a small mystery right at the solar system's magnetic boundary with the interstellar medium. She may be old, but you can't keep a good probe down.

Image credit: NASA.
As the sun travels through the galaxy, it carries its magnetic field with it, creating a magnetic "bubble" -- the heliosphere -- that all planets, spacecraft and people live inside. Until recently, Voyager 1 (and her sister probe Voyager 2) have also existed completely inside the sun's environment. Both probes could detect the high energy particles streaming from the sun and they 'felt' the solar magnetic field. At time of writing, Voyager 1 is nearly 122 AU from the sun (over three times the average Pluto-sun distance) and it takes over 17 hours for a signal to travel from the probe to Earth.  So, in an effort to detect when the Voyager probes might exit the heliosphere, scientists have kept a watchful eye on two key pieces of data -- particle energy counts and magnetic field strength (and orientation).

Charts exhibiting the rapid increase in high-energy particles (upper) and the rapid decrease in low-energy particles (lower) -- both occurred late-August, 2012:
In 2004, scientists realized that Voyager 1 had traveled through the "termination shock" -- a region where the solar wind begins to interact with the interstellar medium. Then, in 2010, the probe crossed into a stagnation region just beyond the termination shock known as the "heliosheath" -- this is where the solar wind slows to zero and the magnetic field becomes compressed and begins to fluctuate.  According to theory, as the magnetic field begins to fluctuate, the number of high-energy cosmic rays should decrease inside the heliosheath -- charged cosmic rays entering the solar system should become scattered by the magnetic fluctuations, decreasing the number of detections by Voyager 1. Looking at data through 2010, the researchers actually found the opposite to be true -- as the magnetic field became more chaotic, the number of high-energy particles increased.  What's the reason for this weirdness? According to an AGU press release, the researchers suspect that these magnetic fluctuations are somehow energizing charged particles within the heliosheath, boosting the number of high-energy particle detections. This research comes during a very important year for Voyager 1. 2012 particle data from the probe suggest a profound change in its surroundings. The number of high-energy particle detections (from interstellar space) have increased, whereas the number of lower-energy particle detections (from the solar wind) have dropped off a cliff (see graphs below). So now everyone is asking the question: has Voyager 1 officially entered interstellar space? We probably won't have to wait too long to find out. - Discovery.

MASS UFO SIGHTINGS: Symbols of an Alien Sky - Over 100 UFOs Sighted Along China Border in Just Three Months?!

November 7, 2012 - NEW DELHI, INDIA - The Army troops deployed along the China border from Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh in northeast have reported more than 100 sightings of "Unidentified Flying Objects" (UFOs) in the last three months. 

Agencies including the Army, DRDO, NTRO and the ITBP have not yet been able to identify these luminous flying objects.  The 14 Corps, which looks after military deployment along Kargil-Leh and looks after the frontiers with China, has sent reports to the Army Headquarters about the sightings of UFOs by an ITBP unit in Thakung near the Pangong Tso Lake, Army officials said here. Reports suggested that these yellowish spheres appear to lift off from the horizon on the Chinese side and slowly traverse the sky for three to five hours before disappearing. 

The officials confirmed that these UFOs were not Chinese drones or satellites.  They said Army had also moved a mobile ground-based radar unit and a spectrum analyser to verify the identity of the object but could not detect the object that was being tracked visually, indicating it was non-metallic.  Army officials expressed concern over the inability of agencies to identify the object which some believed could be a Chinese surveillance equipment. Sources said similar reports had emerged about five-six years ago about sighting of such objects but the matter was not taken up at higher levels.  Reports suggested that a group of mountaineers had seen a UFO in 2004 in Lahaul and Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh and investigations were launched into the incident by various agencies. - ZEENEWS.

THE GREAT DELUGE: Nigeria Floods Kill 363 - Injuries 18,000 and Displaces 2.1 Million Persons!

November 7, 2012 - LAOS, NIGERIA - Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency says 363 people died over months of flooding across the West African nation and 2.1 million others were displaced.

In this file photo from October 2011, makeshift homes lie submerged in floods in Lagos, Nigeria, where
more than 360 people have lost their lives in floods over the past several months.
The agency made the announcement Monday as Nigeria's annual rainy season is coming to an end. The report covered July through the end of October.

The agency said Adamawa and Kogi state suffered the worst casualties, with more than 18,000 people being injured.
Heavy seasonal rains typically cause flooding across Nigeria, as drainage can be poor in areas and people live in floodplains. However, the flooding this year was exacerbated by heavier than normal rains that cause officials in both Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon to open strained dams. - The Weather Channel.

ELECTRIC UNIVERSE: Monumental Earth Changes - Leaks Found in Earth's Protective Shield!

November 6, 2012 - NASA - Our planet's protective magnetic bubble may not be as protective as scientists had thought. Small breaks in Earth's magnetic field almost continuously let in the solar wind — the stream of magnetic, energized plasma launched by the sun toward the planets — new research has found.

When Earth’s magnetic field and the interplanetary magnetic field are aligned, for example in a northward orientation as indicated by the white arrow in this graphic, Kelvin–Helmholtz waves are generated at low (equatorial) latitudes.
"The solar wind can enter the magnetosphere at different locations and under different magnetic field conditions that we hadn't known about before," Melvyn Goldstein, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement.  Charged particles in the solar wind can interrupt GPS signals and power systems, as well as create dazzling auroras.  The magnetosphere is the planet's first line of defense against the solar wind. Scientists knew that this plasma stream occasionally breached the magnetosphere near the equator, where the Earth's magnetic field is roughly parallel to the magnetic field in the solar wind. The new study, published Aug. 29 in the Journal of Geophysical Research, found that these breaks can happen under a wider range of conditions.  "That suggests there is a 'sieve-like' property of the magnetopause [the outer edge of the magnetosphere] in allowing the solar wind to continuously flow into the magnetosphere," Goldstein said.
When the interplanetary magnetic field, indicated by the white arrow, is oriented westward (dawnward) or in the opposite, eastward (duskward) direction, magnetopause boundary layers at higher latitude become most
subject to Kelvin–Helmholtz ins
 Plasma swirls break magnetic field 
The European Space Agency's Cluster mission, a set of four satellites that fly in close formation through the Earth's magnetic field, gathered the data that show how the solar wind can get through. Equipped with state-of-the-art instruments for measuring electric and magnetic fields, the Cluster satellites fly in and out of the magnetosphere and document the microscopic magnetic interactions between the Earth and the sun.  From 2006 Cluster observations, scientists found that huge swirls of plasma along the magnetopause could help the solar wind penetrate the magnetosphere when the terrestrial and solar wind magnetic fields were aligned. Those swirls of plasma are known as Kelvin-Helmholtz waves, and they can be 24,850 miles (40,000 kilometers) in diameter.  As Kelvin-Helmholtz waves slide past the magnetopause, they can create giant vortices, similar to how wind blowing across the ocean causes waves. The huge waves can spontaneously break and reconnect magnetic field lines, creating openings that let the solar wind slip through.

 'Not a perfect magnetic bubble' 
The new findings suggest that these magnetic field line breaks can also occur where the terrestrial and solar wind magnetic fields are perpendicular, at high latitudes near the poles.  The alignments of the solar wind magnetic field and Earth's magnetic field are key factors. A perpendicular alignment makes the boundary between the two fields less stable and likely generates more Kelvin-Helmholtz waves — and more magnetic field breaches. "We found that when the [solar wind] magnetic field is westward or eastward, magnetopause boundary layers at higher latitude become most subject to Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities, regions quite distant from previous observations of these waves," Kyoung-Joo Hwang, a researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center who led the study, said in a statement.  "In fact, it's very hard to imagine a situation where solar wind plasma could not leak into the magnetosphere, since it is not a perfect magnetic bubble," Hwang said. - Yahoo.

MASS UFO SIGHTINGS: Symbols of an Alien Sky - UFO Sightings in Ladakh, India Spook Soldiers?!

November 7, 2012 - LADAKH, INDIA - Units of the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) have reported Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOS) in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. An ITBP unit based in Thakung, close to the Pangong Tso Lake, reported over 100 sightings of luminous objects between August 1 and October 15 this year. In reports sent to their Delhi headquarters in September, and to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), they described sighting "Unidentified Luminous Objects" at day and by night. The yellowish spheres appear to lift off from the horizon on the Chinese side and slowly traverse the sky for three to five hours before disappearing. These were not unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), drones or even low earth-orbiting satellites, say Army officials who have studied the hazy photographs taken by ITBP.

Robot-like airborne figure photographed by scientific team in 2004 at Samudra Tapu.   

Drone sightings are verified and logged separately. The Army has reported 99 sightings of Chinese drones between January and August this year: 62 sightings were reported in the western sector, the Ladakh region, and 37 in the eastern sector in Arunachal Pradesh. Three of these drones intruded into territory claimed by India along the 365-km-long border with China in Ladakh, manned by ITBP. Such mysterious lights have been sighted before in Ladakh, a barren, 86,000 sq km heavily militarised zone wedged between Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Chinese-occupied Aksai Chin. The persistent sightings by the ITBP this year, however, worried the Army's Leh-based 14 Corps. The ITBP, did not respond to a detailed India Today questionnaire.  In September, the Army moved a mobile ground-based radar unit and a spectrum analyser-that picks up frequencies emitted from any object-to a mountaintop near the 160-km-long, ribbon-shaped Pangong Lake that lies between India and China. The radar could not detect the object that was being tracked visually, in dicating it was non-metallic. The spectrum analyser could not detect any signals being emitted from them. The Army also flew a reconnaissance drone in the direction of the floating object, but it proved a futile exercise. The drone reached its maximum altitude but lost sight of the floating object.  In late September this year, a team of astronomers from the Indian Astronomical Observatory at Hanle, 150 km south of the lake, studied the airborne phenomena for three days. The team spotted the flying objects, Army officials say, but could not conclusively establish what they were. They did, however, say that the objects were "non celestial" and ruled out meteors and planets.  Scientists however say, the harsh geography and sparse demography of the great Himalayan range that separates Kashmir Valley from Ladakh, lends itself to unusual sightings. "The region is snowbound in winter, has few roads and is one of the most isolated places in India," says Sunil Dhar, a geologist at the government Post Graduate College in Dharamshala, who has studied glaciers in the region for 15 years. 

Yet, none of the experts from the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO)-in charge of technical intelligence-and Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), has been able to identify the objects. This has caused embarrassment rather than fear in the establishment. "Something is clearly wrong, if our combined scientific resources can't explain the phenomena," says a senior Army official in Delhi. Intelligence officials say these objects could be a crude psychological operation by China, or sophisticated probes attempting to ascertain India's defences in Ladakh. "We can't ignore these sightings. We need to probe what new technology might have been deployed there, says former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal (retired) P.V. Naik. In 2010, the IAF probed and dismissed Army sightings of such luminous objects as Chinese lanterns. UFO sightings have been endemic to Ladakh over the past decade. In late 2003, 14 Corps sent a detailed report on sightings of luminous objects to Army headquarters. Army troops on posts along Siachen had seen floating lights on the Chinese side. But reporting such phenomena risks inviting ridicule. When told about them at a northern command presentation in Leh, the then army chief, General N.C. Vij, had angrily dismissed the reports as hallucinations. Scientists say the mysterious objects are not necessarily from outer space.  There is no evidence of UFOS being of extra-terrestrial origin, says reputed Pune-based astrophysicist Jayant Narlikar. The implication of them being alien objects is fancy, not fact, he says.

There is still no explanation, however, for what is believed to be the clearest UFO sighting yet, in the Lahaul-Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh less than 100 km south of Ladakh in 2004. A five-member group of geologists and glaciologists led by Dr Anil Kulkarni of the ISRO's Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad were on a research trip through the barren Samudra Tapu Valley. They filmed a fourfoot tall robot-like figure, that walked along the valley, 50 m away from them. The humanoid object then rapidly became airborne and disappeared. The encounter lasted 40 minutes.  It was seen by 14 persons including the six scientists. Kulkarni then interviewed each expedition member separately to verify what the team had seen. Copies of his detailed report were circulated to the PMO, ISRO, the Army and several intelligence agencies. Kulkarni established his team hadn't seen natural phenomenon. The matter, however, was buried soon after.  Sunil Dhar, who was part of the 2004 expedition, terms the sighting of the unidentified object an unforgettable experience. Locals, he says, have reported sighting mysterious objects for many years.  These are unsolved mysteries that need more intensive study, he says. Left unexplained, the Ladakh sightings risk slipping into the crack between fact and science fiction. - India Today.