Monday, November 26, 2012

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Yellow Status - Alert Level Raised For Tolbachik Volcano, Kamchatka, Russia!

November 26, 2012 - RUSSIA - In a special notice by the KVERT (Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team)on 27 November, the Alert Level was raised from GREEN to YELLOW. The volcano's last eruption was in 1975 with a large basaltic fissure eruption from its SSW flank dubbed 'the great Tolbachik fissure eruption'.


Starting on the 7 November, several episodes of volcanic tremor were detected beneath Tolbachik's summit caldera.

The number of shallow volcanic earthquakes increased to 250 on November 26. According to data from seismic stations, a strong seismic event occurred at 5:52 (UTC) on November 27. The KVERT noted that magma intrusion may be already occurring. The Alert Level was raised from GREEN to YELLOW.

The KVERT have yet to detect any other signs of activity, such as strong gas and steam activity and thermal anomalies. - Volcano Discovery.


Tolbachik is a volcanic complex on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east of Russia. It consists of two volcanoes, Plosky (flat) Tolbachik (3,085 m) and Ostry (sharp) Tolbachik (3,682 m), which as the names suggest are respectively a flat-topped shield volcano and a peaked stratovolcano.  As Ostry is the mountain's highest point, the entire mountain is often referred to as "Ostry Tolbachik", not to be confused with Ostry a separate volcano to the north also on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Its eruptive history stretches back thousands of years, but the most notable eruption occurred in 1975, commonly known as "The Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption". It was preceded by an earthquake swarm, which led to a successful prediction of the eruption by scientists from the Russian Institute of Volcanology. The eruption created several new cinder cones, and in terms of volume of lava emitted was Kamchatka's largest basaltic eruption in historic times. - Wikipedia.

WEATHER PHENOMENON: Blood Red Sea in Australia - Bondi and Clovelly Beaches Close as Red Algae Moves in!

November 26, 2012 - AUSTRALIA - Several popular Sydney beaches, including the iconic Bondi, resembled scenes out of a apocalyptic film today after an algae bloom turned the water blood red.

Patches of the red algae, a natural phenomenon that can be exacerbated by certain weather conditions, were sighted between Bondi Beach and Maroubra Beach this morning.

Karina Newmarch and her daughter Isabella check out the algal boom at Clovelly Beach.
Picture: Craig Greenhill Source: The Daily Telegraph.

Both Bondi Beach and Clovelly Beach were closed while authorities conduct tests in the water. Gordon's Bay was also closed due to the algal bloom, with Beachwatch posting a photograph on Twitter showing water the colour of tomato juice.

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Waverley head lifeguard Bruce Hopkins said the bloom was spotted drifting off the north side of Bondi Beach at around 6.30am. "It has got quite a fishy smell to it,'' Mr Hopkins told AAP.

"It can irritate some people's skin but generally not much more than that.'' Mr Hopkins said the bloom has a "reddy-purple'' tinge and sits on the surface like oil sheen.

The bloom was dissipating off Bondi, with hopes the beach might be reopened by this afternoon, he said.

The New South Wales Office of Water carried out a series of tests to determine what caused the bloom. Some believe that the algae-stained water was caused by an upwelling of colder, nutrient-rich water.  A NSW spokesman said the blooms are more common around spring and autumn when the water temperature is higher and there are greater movements in ocean currents.





A local council spokesman said in a statement red algae could be dangerous to some humans. Reports also claim a large number of fish have died from the phenomenon. “It is potentially dangerous, it produces toxins and varies from people to people,” Marine biologist Fred Gurgel declared that “It should clear up in less than a week.” Bondi reopened in the afternoon after the bloom broke up. A spokeswoman for the Waverley Council said most of the algae had either washed up or broken up in the water.

NSW said the reddish substance had a similar consistency to fairy floss and could appear to be phosphorescent at night. With the weekend in Sydney predicted to be one of the warmest of the year, experts hope the bloom will continue to break up.

Red algae was uncommon but not unheard of at Bondi, Mr Hopkins added. - Daily Telegraph.

WATCH: Blood Red Sea in Australia.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Climate Change and Water Extraction - The World's Rivers Are Running On Empty!

November 26, 2012 - AUSTRALIA - The multi-author study - led by ANU researchers Professor Quentin Grafton, Dr Jamie Pittock, Professor Tom Kompas and Dr Daniel Connell of the Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University - examined the threats from water extractions and climate change on four of the world's iconic river systems; the US Colorado River, the South African Orange River, the Chinese Yellow River and the Murray.

Four of the world's great rivers, including the Murray Darling, are all suffering from drastically reduced flows as a
direct result of water extraction, according to new ANU research. Credit: Mike Russell, http://bit.ly/WqPg9e
The researchers found that in all four basins, over a long period of time, outflows have greatly reduced as a direct result of increased water extractions, and that urgent changes in governance of water are needed to ensure the systems remain healthy and viable. "While climate change will aggravate changes in flows in river systems, current high levels of water extractions remain the principal contributor to reduced flows and degradation of these rivers," said Dr Pittock. "Changes in governance, including sharing the variability between the environment and consumptive users, are urgently required if the health of these rivers is to be maintained," added Dr Connell. The researchers said that the key to securing the future of the world's rivers lies in plans to share water use between users and the environment, and water markets to manage allocations.

They added that, although the management of the Murray Darling Basin was favourable when compared to other places in the world, there was much more that could be done to ensure a healthy future for the system. "Many sound frameworks are being established in water management throughout the world, but in many cases their implementation needs to be greatly improved," said Professor Kompas. "Stronger action is needed to ensure that in dry times, the rivers get a fair share of the available water," said Dr Pittock. The work was conducted with researchers from the University of Queensland, the University of Canberra and international collaborators from universities in the USA, China, and South Africa. The paper, "Global insights into water resources, climate change and governance," is published today in Nature Climate Change. - PHYSORG.

Journal reference: Nature Climate Change Provided by Australian National University

GREAT DELUGE: 200, 000 United Kingdom Homes "May Become Uninsurable" Over Flood Risk!

November 26, 2012 - BRITAIN - The Association of British Insurers is in talks with ministers about replacing a deal expiring next year which ensures people whose homes are threatened by flooding can get insurance. The ABI says the government is refusing to provide a temporary overdraft facility to a proposed not-for-profit special insurance fund for high-risk households. Unless the government backs down, these 200,000 homes will struggle to get affordable household insurance when the current arrangements come to an end next year, the association says.

People use canoes to travel through floodwaters in Malmesbury on Sunday. Some 200,000 British homes could
become uninsurable from next year due to flood risks unless a deal is struck with the government, insurers
said Monday, as yet more rain teemed down on much of the country.
"The severe floods experienced by many areas of the UK this year are a reminder of the rising flood risk facing the UK," said Nick Starling, the ABI's director of general insurance. "It is therefore vital that insurers and government tackle this issue together—this is not just a problem for insurers." Floods Minister Richard Benyon said the government remains "really determined" to reach a deal and that the issue was an "absolute priority" for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). He criticised the ABI for airing its concerns at the height of the crisis, saying: "I think it is actually rather demeaning at this particular moment in time to be talking about this." Roads and railways were disrupted in many areas of Britain on Monday and 480 flood warnings and alerts remained in place after the weekend's downpours.  

More than 900 homes have been flooded during the latest period of bad weather, according to the Environment Agency, which has has issued flood warning messages to over 93,000 households in the past few days. "Communities across north east England and North Wales are urged to remain vigilant as further heavy rainfall is expected over the next 24 hours with the Met Office forecasting up to 30mm for parts of North Yorkshire, Teesside, County Durham and Conway," the agency said. Heavy showers were predicted in Wiltshire, Dorset and central southern England, while gale-force winds were likely to hit the northern coast of Cornwall, the north-east coast of England and parts of Wales, forecasters added. - PHYSORG.

WATCH: Widespread across Britain.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Novovirius, Vomiting Virus Sweeps Britain - Hospital Wards Shut as Cases Soar 50 Percent to Five-Year High!

November 26, 2012 - BRITAIN - Britain is in the grip of a winter vomiting outbreak which has already seen many thousands fall victim to the debilitating virus. Cases of the bug have surged to a five-year high and the health service has reported outbreaks at dozens of hospitals. Front-line health workers are being struck down by the virus, leaving overstretched departments badly under-staffed. Experts say the norovirus bug has arrived early this year and have warned the problem will worsen over the winter. Figures from the Health Protection Agency show the number of confirmed reports of the virus – where samples have been sent by hospitals or GPs to laboratories for tests – is up 52 per cent on last year.

Norovirus: The bug causes violent vomiting and severe diarrhoea.
There have been 1,975 cases since July – compared to 1,301 this time last year. However, this is a just a tiny fraction of the real number because the vast majority of victims do not report their symptoms to their GP. In addition, there have now been 53 outbreaks at NHS trusts across the country. This includes 45 hospitals which have been forced to close off wards and find space for patients elsewhere while they carry out a deep clean of the wards. Last night microbiologist Professor Hugh Pennington, based at the University of Aberdeen, said: ‘This year it seems to have taken off earlier than in previous years. ‘No-one can predict what it’s going to do except that we are going to have a reasonably hard time of it, I am sure. It would be grossly optimistic to suggest otherwise. ‘It’s a nightmare because wards are closed, it’s a nightmare because staff are off, who are essential. And it’s obviously a nightmare for any patients in hospital who get it who are already pretty sick.’ The HPA figures show the number of wards closed because of the virus is a third higher compared to this time last year, when 33 were shut. Norovirus is normally brought into hospitals by patients, visiting relatives or even staff. It is also linked to outbreaks at schools and is responsible for many hospital admissions for young children. The elderly are also vulnerable because they can become dehydrated quickly and end up requiring more hospital treatment. It is extremely contagious and is often spread by touching the same doors or stair rails as someone with the virus. Experts also say that when a patient vomits, there is a strong chance anyone else in the room will be infected.

It puts the NHS under huge strain because hospitals have to close wards – which limits the number of patients that can be admitted. Hospitals then have to find space elsewhere in the hospital for all those patients on the ward while it is thoroughly cleaned. Staff must also ensure that any patient with the virus is kept in isolation. One of the worst-hit is Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital which has closed four wards and is advising visitors to stay away. It confirmed it was aware of four members of staff off-sick with the virus. Warwick Hospital also confirmed six wards were affected – although not all were closed – and said that three nurses had the illness. It has banned visits to the six wards. Other hospitals which have outbreaks include Solihull in the West Midlands, East Surrey Hospital, Weston General Hospital in Weston-super-Mare, and Hinchingbrooke in Cambridgeshire. John Harris, an expert in norovirus at the HPA, said: ‘Everyone can help to minimise the risk of outbreaks at their local hospital by not going if they have the typical symptoms of a norovirus infection.’ He said one of the reasons behind the 2012 surge may be that laboratory techniques are better at detecting norovirus. Experts do not know why norovirus has arrived early but its spread is extremely unpredictable. Although it is known as the winter vomiting bug, it can be caught all year round. Scientists say it is more prevalent in colder, wetter months because people spend more time closer together indoors. - Daily Mail.

BIG BROTHER NOW: The Global Police State - United Nations to Seek Control of the Internet!

November 26, 2012 - UNITED STATES - Next week the United Nations' International Telecommunications Union will meet in Dubai to figure out how to control the Internet. Representatives from 193 nations will attend the nearly two week long meeting, according to news reports.


"Next week the ITU holds a negotiating conference in Dubai, and past months have brought many leaks of proposals for a new treaty. U.S. congressional resolutions and much of the commentary, including in this column, have focused on proposals by authoritarian governments to censor the Internet. Just as objectionable are proposals that ignore how the Internet works, threatening its smooth and open operations," reports the Wall Street Journal. "Having the Internet rewired by bureaucrats would be like handing a Stradivarius to a gorilla. The Internet is made up of 40,000 networks that interconnect among 425,000 global routes, cheaply and efficiently delivering messages and other digital content among more than two billion people around the world, with some 500,000 new users a day.

Arthur Herman explains "The UN's Internet Grab" here.

"Proposals for the new ITU treaty run to more than 200 pages. One idea is to apply the ITU's long-distance telephone rules to the Internet by creating a 'sender-party-pays' rule. International phone calls include a fee from the originating country to the local phone company at the receiving end. Under a sender-pays approach, U.S.-based websites would pay a local network for each visitor from overseas, effectively taxing firms such as Google and Facebook. The idea is technically impractical because unlike phone networks, the Internet doesn't recognize national borders. But authoritarians are pushing the tax, hoping their citizens will be cut off from U.S. websites that decide foreign visitors are too expensive to serve." And even Google has already come out against the ITU. "The ITU is the wrong place to make decisions about the future of the Internet," says Google. "Only governments have a voice at the ITU. This includes governments that do not support a free and open Internet. Engineers, companies, and people that build and use the web have no vote." "The ITU is also secretive. The treaty conference and proposals are confidential," adds Google. - The Weekly Standard.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Tracking the Kilauea Volcano - Lava Flows Continue Into the Pacific Ocean, 11 Seismic Tremors Beneath the Volcano!

November 26, 2012 - HAWAII - Activity Summary: Eruption continued at two locations: At the summit, very weak inflation and lava lake level fluctuations continued. At Pu`u `O`o, glow was generally visible from the usual sources. Lava flows on the coastal plain were observed entering the ocean yesterday afternoon and Webcam views show a weak plume this morning. Seismic tremor levels were low, and gas emissions were elevated. Recent Observations at Kilauea summit: The summit tiltmeter network recorded continued very weak inflation. The lava lake level slowly fluctuated but there was no net change. The most recent (preliminary) sulfur dioxide emission rate measurement was 600 tonnes/day on November 20, 2012; this value is at the low end of measurements made between rise/fall events but still constitutes a background level of emissions. A very small amount of ash-sized tephra (including fresh spatter bits and Pele's hair) was carried out of the vent in the gas plume and deposited on nearby surfaces. Seismic tremor levels remained steady at low values. Eleven earthquakes were strong enough to be located beneath Kilauea: 1 just east of the summit caldera, 1 within the middle east rift zone, and 9 on south flank faults, including a magnitude-3.8 quake and several aftershocks that occurred yesterday afternoon. The GPS network recorded neither net extension nor contraction across the summit caldera since November 2.

This first ocean entry of 2012 is already creating a small lava delta, a.k.a. bench, growing the island..
Image: Volcano Discovery.
BACKGROUND: The summit lava lake is deep within an ~160 m (520 ft) diameter cylindrical vent with nearly vertical sides inset within the east wall and floor of Halema`uma`u Crater. Its level fluctuates from about 40 m to more than 200 m (out of sight) below the floor of Halema`uma`u Crater. The vent has been mostly active since opening with a small explosive event on March 19, 2008. The surface level of the lava lake has again dropped below the inner ledge (~31 m or 100 ft below the floor of Halema`uma`u Crater on October 29, 2012) and has not risen above and flooded the ledge since October 28. The lake level responds to summit tilt changes with the lake receding during deflation and rising during inflation. Recent Observations at the middle east rift zone vents: Lava flows remained active in two branches on the coastal plain; the eastern branch was observed entering the ocean yesterday afternoon east of the easternmost boundary of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park; a weak wispy plume is visible from the ocean entry point this morning in one of the three Webcams with a view of that location suggesting that lava continued to flow into the ocean overnight. The shorter western branch was weakly active.

HAZARD ALERT: Lava entering the ocean builds lava deltas. The lava delta and adjacent areas both inland and out to sea are some of the most hazardous areas on the flow field. Frequent delta/bench collapses give little warning, can produce hot rock falls inland and in the adjacent ocean, and can produce damaging local waves. The steam plume produced by lava entering the ocean contains fine lava fragments and an assortment of acid droplets that can be harmful to your health. The rapidly changing conditions near the ocean entry have been responsible for many injuries and a few deaths. At Pu`u `O`o, glow could be seen from the spatter cone on the north edge and the lava lake at the northeast edge of the crater floor with weaker glow from both sources in the south part of the floor. The tiltmeter on the north flank of Pu`u `O`o cone recorded weak inflation; GPS receivers on opposite sides of the crater recorded neither net extension nor net contraction since late October. Seismic tremor levels near Pu`u `O`o were low and decreasing. The most recent (preliminary) sulfur dioxide emission rate measurement was 300 tonnes/day on November 20, 2012, from all east rift zone sources. - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory / USGS Volcano Hazards Programs.

SOLAR WATCH: The Fast Growing Behemoth Sunspot AR1620 - Harbors Energy For Strong Earth Directed Flares!

November 26, 2012 - SUN - Fast growing sunspot AR1620 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. NOAA/SWPC forecasters estimate 30% chances of M-class and 5% chances for X-class activity.


CME IMPACT:
A CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Nov. 26th at approximately 0500 UT (November 25th @ 9 PM PST). The weak impact did not cause a geomagnetic storm.

PRESTO! A HUGE SUNSPOT: Yesterday, sunspot AR1620 was barely visible. Today it is a behemoth wider than a half-dozen planet Earths. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the sunspot's rapid growth in a period of less than 20 hours on November 25-26. AR1620 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for strong flares. Because of the sunspot's proximty to the center of the solar disk, Earth would be in the line of fire of any eruptions. NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of M-class solar flares in the next 24 hours. - Spaceweather.

SOLAR UPDATE: The ACE Spacecraft detected a sudden increase in solar wind speed at 04:37 UTC. A fairly minor incoming shock measuring 8 nT at the Boulder, Colorado magnetometer site, swept past Earth at 05:14 UTC. Only minor geomagnetic disturbances resulted at very high latitudes. Several low level C-Class flares have been detected around Sunspot 1620 this morning. There will remain a chance for an isolated M-Class event around this region. Elsewhere, Sunspot 1618 is stable as it rotates towards the northwest limb. - Solar Ham.

ANALYSIS OF SOLAR ACTIVE REGIONS: Activity from 25/2100Z to 26/2100Z has been at low levels for the past 24 hours. The largest solar event of the period was a C2 event observed at 26/1526Z from Region 1620 (S13W28). The region grew significantly overnight and is now considered an Esi-type region with a beta-gamma magnetic configuration. Region 1618 (N08W69) continued to decay, however, it maintained a weak delta in its trailing spot. There are currently 4 numbered sunspot regions on the disk. A filament eruption was observed south of Region 1620 in SDO/AIA 304 imagery beginning at 26/0343Z. A model run is in progress to determine geoeffectiveness.

Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is expected to be at low to moderate levels on days one, two, and three (27 Nov, 28 Nov, 29 Nov).

Geophysical Activity Summary 25/2100Z to 26/2100Z: The geomagnetic field has been at quiet to unsettled levels for the past 24 hours. A shock passage was observed at 26/0437Z indicating the possible early arrival of the 23 November CME followed by an 8 nT Sudden Impulse (SI) observed at the Boulder magnetometer at 26/0514Z. Solar wind speed, as measured by the ACE spacecraft, reached a peak speed of 558 km/s at 26/0709Z. Total IMF reached 12.8 nT at 26/0749Z. The maximum southward component of Bz reached -7.8 nT at 26/0729Z although it has remained positive since about 26/1000Z.

Geophysical Activity Forecast: The geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet to unsettled levels with a chance for isolated active periods on day one (27 Nov) as CME effects begin to wane. Mostly quiet conditions are expected on days two and three (28 Nov, 29 Nov). - NOAA/SWPC.

LORD OF WAR: Pentagon Announces Expansion of Drone and Commando War in Africa - Obama "Drone-Warfare Rulebook" Condemned by Human Rights Groups!

November 26, 2012 - PENTAGON - Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, said during a speech last week at the Center for a New American Security that the drone and commando war waged by the United States will intensify and expand outside the declared combat zone over the next few years. Panetta declared the “campaign against al Qaeda will largely take place outside declared combat zones, using a small-footprint approach that includes precision operations, partnered activities with foreign Special Operations Forces, and capacity building so that partner countries can be more effective in combating terrorism on their own.” In addition to increasing the number of Predator and Reaper drones, Panetta said the Pentagon will add 8,000 commandos to its Special Operations Forces over the next five years. The Pentagon boss said “to truly protect America, we must sustain and in some areas deepen our engagement in the world – our military, intelligence, diplomatic and development efforts are key to doing that.” Targets include Boko Haram Islamic militants in Nigeria, Ansar Dine extremists in Mali, and al-Qaeda affiliates in Libya (the anti-Gaddafi rebels supported by the U.S. in Libya admitted they were members of al-Qaeda). Panetta placed the blame for the murder of the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi squarely on al-Qaeda. The U.S. is suspected of running clandestine Special Forces in other African nations, including Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Sudan.


IMF Riots and the Specter of al-Qaeda

The oil exporting nation of Nigeria experienced national strikes and IMF riots earlier this year after the country’s government removed fuel subsidies and doubled the prices of transportation and commodities. As if on cue, the threat posed by yet another al-Qaeda spin-off, Boko Haram, emerged and dutifully followed the script: it wants to implement Sharia Law and eventually establish an Islamic State in Northern Nigeria.
On January 1 of this year, the bankster IMF loan sharking operation led Christine Lagarde ordered an end to the Nigerian subsidies following similar orders handed down to Guinea, Cameroon, Ghana and Chad.
“The people of Nigeria have been one of the world’s most vocal against IMF-induced austerity measures, student protests have been met with heavy-handed repression since 1986 and several times since then, resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths,” Nile Bowie writes.

Boko Haram’s Unlikely Homeland Threat

The Department of Homeland Security recently underscored the threat of Boko Haram by issuing a report linking the group to al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb and the Somalian militant group al-Shabaab. “Although the document admits that Boko Haram poses a low threat to the US homeland, it cites the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to detonate a bomb in his underwear during a Christmas day flight on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as an instance where seemingly obscure terrorist organizations thought to lack capability to deploy militants to the United States were nearly successful, thus requiring increasing vigilance to combat an ever-increasing threat,” Bowie writes. In February, 2010, historian Webster Tarpley explained that the underwear bomber, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was allowed to board Northwest Airlines flight 253 and attempt the detonation of a PETN bomb in order to produce a “large-scale political effect.” It also served as a theatric pretext for the implementation of radioactive naked body scanners in U.S. airports and the expansion of the police state on the home-front.

Job One: Destabilizing Africa

The destabilization of Nigeria was road-tested by Africom, the State Department, the Rand Corporation and Israeli military personnel. “The scenario envisioned rebel factions vying for control of the Niger Delta oil fields (the source of one of America’s top oil imports), which would potentially be secured by some 20,000 U.S. troops if a US-friendly coup failed to take place,” writes Bowie. Panetta’s recent speech at the Center for a New American Security – a Democrat-centric national security think-tank embedded within the Obama administration – signals the next phase in a largely covert war in Africa as the global elite continue to expand their domination and control under the hyped-up rubric of the global war on terror. In order to mask the threat posed by the natives – Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “vassals” and “barbarians” – who naturally react to the severe structural readjustment mandates imposed by the banksters, the intelligence apparatus has unleashed a tried and true boogieman, al-Qaeda and its various affiliates, a boogieman that begs for a response from Panetta and the Pentagon. - Info Wars.

Obama "Drone-Warfare Rulebook" Condemned By Human Rights Groups.
President Barack Obama's administration is in the process of drawing up a formal rulebook that will set out the circumstances in which targeted assassination by unmanned drones is justified, according to reports.
The New York Times, citing two unnamed sources, said explicit guidelines were being drawn up amid disagreement between the CIA and the departments of defense, justice and state over when lethal action is acceptable. Human-rights groups and peace groups opposed to the CIA-operated targeted-killing programme, which remains officially classified, said the administration had already rejected international law in pursuing its drone operations. "To say they are rewriting the rulebook implies that there isn't already a rulebook" said Jameel Jaffer, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Center for Democracy. "But what they are already doing is rejecting a rulebook – of international law – that has been in place since [the second world war]." He said the news was "frustrating", because it relied on "self-serving sources". The New York Times piece was written by one of the journalists who first exposed the existence of a White House "kill list", in May. The ACLU is currently involved in a legal battle with the US government over the legal memo underlying the controversial targeted killing programme, the basis for drone strikes that have killed American citizens and the process by which individuals are placed on the kill list. Jaffer said it was impossible to make a judgement about whether the "rulebook" being discussed, according to the Times, was legal or illegal. - Guardian.

WEATHER PHENOMENON: The "Frozen Wave" - Stunning 50 Foot Tall Blue Ice Monolith is Captured in the Antarctic!

November 26, 2012 - ANTARCTICA - At first glance these beautiful images from the Antarctic appear to show 50-ft tall waves that have been instantly frozen as they break. Some people have posted the pictures online, taken by scientist Tony Travouillon at Dumont D'Urville, with a description claiming they are a tsunami wave which was frozen. But although email chains and internet forums back this claim up, what is really pictured is the natural phenomenon of blue ice.

Hard work: Mr Travouillon travelled to the Antarctic while studying for his PhD from the Australian
university of New South Wales, between 2001-2004. Image: Tony Travouillon.
These freezing blue towers were created when ice was compressed and the trapped air bubbles were squeezed out. During the summer the surface ice melts and new ice layers compress on top. The ice appears blue because when when light passes through thick ice, blue light is transmitted back out but red light is absorbed. If the bubbles were not compressed they would scatter the light, meaning it would all be reflected back out and it would appear white.

Imposing: Although this is not, as widely rumoured, a wave frozen while breaking, it is still an incredible
phenomenon. Image: Tony Travouillon.
Larry Gedney wrote about blue snow and ice on the Alaska Science Forum. He explained: 'It takes an appreciable thickness of pure ice to absorb enough red light so that only the blue is transmitted. You can see the effect in snow at fairly shallow depths because the light is bounced around repeatedly between ice grains, losing a little red at each bounce. 'You can even see a gradation of colour within a hole poked in clean, deep snow. Near the opening, the transmitted light will be yellowish. 'As the depth increases, the corer will pass through yellowish-green, greenish-blue and finally vivid blue. If the hole is deep enough, the colour and light disappear completely when all the light is absorbed.' - Daily Mail.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.5 Magnitude Quake Strikes Western China - Several Buildings Damaged!

November 26, 2012 - CHINA - A 5.5-magnitude earthquake struck the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China and caused some damage Monday, officials said. No casualties were reported. Local officials said the earthquake damaged some houses in the Mongolian prefecture of Bayingolin, Xinhua reported. "Although the quake was strongly felt in the township, no casualties have been reported so far," Liu Wenchun, secretary of the township committee of the Communist Party of China, told the state-run news agency by telephone. He said government workers were inspecting the damage. The quake had a depth of nearly 5 miles. - UPI.

USGS map.
Chinese says a strong earthquake has damaged buildings in the northwestern region of Xinjiang. The magnitude-5.5 quake struck at early Monday afternoon near the town of Ruoqiang in the vast but lightly populated region. Homes were damaged, but there were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Only about 1,000 people live in the area, Xinhua said. Xinjiang is one of China’s most seismically active regions, although the country’s deadliest quake in recent years struck to the south in the province of Sichuan in 2008. That massive magnitude-7.9 quake left 90,000 people dead or missing, including thousands of students whose schools collapsed. - Yahoo.

THE MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT: Fragile Cease-Fire - Fresh Shipment Of Iranian-Made Rockets Already En Route To Gaza, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak Quits Politics as Protest Over Morsi 'Power Grab' Turns Deadly in Egypt!

November 26, 2012 - MIDDLE EAST - Less than a week after the conclusion of Operation Pillar of Defense, and with Hamas boasting of an imminent increase in military aid from Iran, Israeli satellites have spotted a ship at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas being loaded with rockets and other military supplies ostensibly bound for Gaza, the British Sunday Times reported. The report cites Israeli intelligence sources who surmised that the cargo, loaded a week ago, would be shipped to Sudan and from there smuggled over land to Gaza.

A military exhibition displays the Shahab-3 missile under a picture of the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, in 2008 (photo credit: AP/Hasan Sarbakhshian).
According to the report, the cargo may include Fajr-5 rockets of the likes already fired by Hamas during the recent conflict, and whose stocks were reportedly depleted by Israeli bombings. Also possibly included: components of Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, which could be stationed in Sudan and used as a direct threat to Israel. “With a lot of effort, Iran has skillfully built a strategic arm pointing at Israel from the south,” an Israeli source was quoted as saying. In late October, Khartoum blamed Israel for an apparent air strike on the Yarmouk Complex, a Sudanese military factory, in which two people were killed. Israeli officials have neither confirmed nor denied involvement in the attack. In the past, Israel has accused Sudan of serving as a conduit for arms shipments from Iran through Egypt to Hamas in Gaza. The attack on the Yarmouk Complex was believed to be connected to this suspicion. - Times of Israel.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak Quitting Politics.
Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak, 70, is quitting political life
after a decades-long career that also saw him serve as prime minister.
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Monday abruptly announced he was quitting politics, shaking up the country’s political system just weeks ahead of general elections. Barak, a decorated former general and one-time prime minister, said he would stay on in his current post until a new government is formed following the Jan. 22 balloting. “I didn’t make this decision without hesitating, but I made it wholeheartedly,” he told a hastily arranged news conference, saying he had been wrestling with the decision for weeks. Barak’s resignation could mean the departure of the most moderating influence on hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is expected to retain his job after the election. Barak, who heads a small centrist faction in parliament, had often served as Netanyahu’s unofficial envoy to Washington in order to smooth over differences with the Obama White House.

Barak, 70, made the surprise announcement even after polls showed his breakaway Independence party gaining momentum after Israel’s recent military offensive in the Gaza Strip. “I feel I have exhausted my political activity, which had never been an object of desire for me. There are many ways for me to serve the country, not just through politics,” he said, adding his decision was spurred in part by his desire to spend more time with his family. Barak and Netanyahu, who enjoyed a close working relationship for most of the past four years, reportedly have fallen out over whether to defer to the U.S. on any attack against Iranian nuclear facilities. Barak’s detractors in Netanyahu’s Likud party wanted him replaced. Barak evaded repeated questions about whether he might agree to serve as a Cabinet minister in an upcoming government, leaving open the possibility that he might still retain an impact on Israeli politics. While most Cabinet ministers also hold parliamentary seats, small numbers have been appointed as “professional” ministers without winning election. - The Star.

Hamas TV Airs 'Death To Israel!' Music Video Day After Agreeing To Ceasefire.
The day after Hamas agreed to a ceasefire with Israel, the terrorist group's TV station aired "Death to Israel!" on its station according to Palestinian Media Watch. "Destroy the throne of Zion, the house of absolute evil," the music video goes. "Raise the banner of victory. Be like the fire of a volcano. Repeat in the name of your Jihad: Death to Israel! With blood and fire, resist until freedom. Defeat the soldiers of aggression the enemies of humanity." The video is illustrated with scenes of rockets being launched from Gaza, presumably, into Israel, along with other images of war. - Worthy News.

WATCH: Hamas broadcasts "death to Israel" music video.


Protest Over Morsi 'Power Grab' Turns Deadly In Egypt.
Mass protests across Egypt against what's seen as a power grab by President Mohammad Morsi have now turned deadly. A teenager was killed on Sunday and dozens injured during the clashes. Police fired tear gas at rallying crowds with the opposition staging a sit-in at Tahrir Square. Cairo-based journalist Bel Trew has the details. - RT.

WATCH: Protests turn deadly in Egypt.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: "The Twilight Zone" - Morgan Stanley’s Doom Scenario, Expect a Major Recession in 2013!

November 26, 2012 - UNITED STATES - The global economy is likely to be stuck in the “twilight zone” of sluggish growth in 2013, Morgan Stanley has warned, but if policymakers fail to act, it could get a lot worse.


The bank’s economics team forecasts a full-blown recession next year, under a pessimistic scenario, with global gross domestic product (GDP) likely to plunge 2 percent. “More than ever, the economic outlook hinges upon the actions taken or not taken by governments and central banks,” Morgan Stanley said in a report. Under the bank’s more gloomy scenario, the U.S. would go over the “fiscal cliff” leading to a contraction in U.S. GDP for the first three quarters of 2013. In Europe, the bank’s pessimistic scenario assumes a failure of the European Central Bank (ECB) in cutting rates and a delay of its bond-buying program. But the bank says investors should also be nimble, in case policy action is “convincing and decisive,” leading to a big uptick in growth. “Importantly, investors should keep an open mind and be prepared to switch between the scenarios as policy developments unfold.” The bank’s most optimistic scenario forecasts GDP growth of 4 percent in 2012 compared to around 3.1 percent this year.

Morgan Stanley isn’t alone in warning about a recession next year. Noted bear, Nouriel Roubini warned on Monday that certain key developments would exacerbate the downside risks to global growth in 2013. “Until now, the recessionary fiscal drag has been concentrated in the euro zone periphery and the U.K.. But now it is permeating the euro zone’s core,” Roubini wrote. “And in the U.S., even if President Barack Obama and the Republicans in Congress agree on a budget plan that avoids the looming “fiscal cliff,” spending cuts and tax increases will invariably lead to some drag on growth in 2013 – at least 1 percent of GDP.” Roubini said the rally in global markets that begun in July was now running out of steam as global growth slows and valuations look stretched. “Price/earnings ratios are now high, while growth in earnings per share is slackening, and will be subject to further negative surprises as growth and inflation remain low. With uncertainty, volatility, and tail risks on the rise again, the correction could accelerate quickly. - CNBC.

WATCH: Marc Faber - Bigger financial crisis is on the way.


NOTE: Thanks to Jacqui Chasson for contributing to this article.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking Developments at the Louisiana Sinkhole - "Monster Sinkhole Sparks Catastrophe Worries", Acres of Forest Swallowed Up, While Residents Fear Gas Explosion!

November 26, 2012 - UNITED STATES - Southern Louisiana is in danger of experiencing an environmental calamity rivaling the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, thanks to a massive, expanding sinkhole that is gobbling up the forest and lighting up YouTube with videos of this startling phenomenon.  In southern Louisiana, about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge in Assumption Parish, is the town of Bayou Corne. The town is in the middle of the oil rich area of the coastal United States and is near the nation’s Strategic Oil Reserve.


On May 31 of this year, parish residents began to notice bubbles percolating up from both Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou. This is not unusual for the area known for its “swamp gas,” the product of decaying organic matter. The amount of the gas emanating from the water, however, was unusual. Dennis Landry, who owns guest cabins about half a mile from the hole, said that the number gas bubbles were growing in size, and in some areas they made the bayou look like “a boiling crawfish pot.”  On June 22 state officials began monitoring the gas coming up from the bayou for hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide and the explosive levels of natural gasses.  Residents within the community then experienced and reported tremors and the parish enlisted the aid of the United States Geological Service in locating the origin and cause of the seismic activity. Immediately after the USGS began monitoring the area, they detected seismic activity, but no probable cause was able to be detected at that time.  The early in the morning of August 3, reports started to come in of a sinkhole having formed overnight in the swamp in the area. The hole was discovered after a strong diesel smell was experienced in the area.  John Boudreaux, director of the Office of Homeland Security in Assumption Parish stated that initial measurements of the sinkhole found it to be 324 feet in diameter and up to 422 feet at its deepest part. The sinkhole was swallowing trees up to 100 feet tall in its wake. The most current reported estimates suggest it has since grown to over 6 acres in size.  Scientists believe a Texas Brine salt cavern inside the Napoleonville Dome near Bayou Corne failed and initiated a chain of events that created the sinkhole and released methane and crude oil.  Area residents were evacuated from the area, fearing a toxic gas release and possible explosion.

WATCH: An aerial video of the sinkhole.


Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources ordered the Texas Brine Company, the company that mines the salt cavern, to drill a well into the cavern to see whether it caused the dark gray slurry-filled hole nearby.  The main concern was that the sinkhole was close to an underground storage facility containing 63 million gallons of liquid butane, a highly volatile liquid that turns into a flammable gas when released into the atmosphere. If the butane was allowed to escape, there could be catastrophic consequences.  Aerial reconnaissance of the area showed that an oil slick had developed on top of the water along with a layer of sludge. Fallen trees and other debris were also floating on the surface. Methane gas is percolating to the surface as well. Louisiana Department of Natural Resources officials, private industry scientists and contractors have been setting up vent wells to burn off the gas in an effort to get evacuees back in their homes and camps. People who live in the area must now decide whether they want gas monitors inside their homes to help reduce the risk of exposure to natural gas at the site.  The salt cavern is part of the Napoleonville salt dome formation that lies under the area. Salt domes are large underground formations of salt in the ground that are used for the commercial mining of petroleum, salt and sulfur, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Texas Brine mines three salt domes to produce brine, a salt-filled water solution used to make raw materials used in products ranging from paper to pharmaceuticals. The Texas Brine cavern has been mined by the company for over 30 years. Salt caverns are what are left from the brine being removed from the salt dome. 

DNR scientists said they think an underground Texas Brine Co. salt cavern failed, allowing earth to partially fill the 2,250-foot-long cavern, causing the sinkhole to form about 200 feet northwest of the top of the cavern.  In early September 2010, Texas Brine began renovating the cavern well, increasing the height of the cavern roof, to determine if the salt closer to the surface could be mined. It is this work the DNR suspect caused the sinkhole.  A breech in the salt cavern is the source of the sinkhole. A hole in the cavern ceiling allowed water and soil to migrate into the cavern, depositing soil into the cavern and undermining ground above it. There is a fear that a further collapse could enlarge the sinkhole and endanger a wider area.  There are other fears that have arisen from the sinkhole, namely that natural gas is migrating from other salt domes being used as storage and could cause a massive explosion.  According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, local residents and the sheriff of Ascension Parish say the Louisiana DNR “knew for months” that the Texas Brine well had integrity problems but didn’t tell local authorities.  Landowners near the sinkhole have filed a lawsuit against the DNR and Texas Brine, claiming that the drinking water has now been contaminated by a problem both the department and company allegedly knew about.  “They’re trying to make this something to deal with one well. It’s not just one well, it’s the whole system of Grand Bayou. They just ignored it,” said John Carmouche, a partner with Talbot, Carmouche and Marcello in Baton Rouge who represents the landowners.  Parish officials are concerned that the sinkhole has not stopped growing. Underground tests have shown that the volume of the brine-filled sinkhole is much smaller than the 2.7 million cubic yards of displaced material that was found in the salt cavern, prompting concerns that there are other underground voids in the area that could lead to an ever growing sinkhole.  Texas Brine removed 1,320 barrels of oil from its failed cavern between Tuesday afternoon and Thursday evening and replaced the oil with an equal amount of brine to keep the cavern formation stable.  The company plans to finish a mandated vent well on its property to remove natural gas from the underlying aquifer early this week, while scientists working for DNR are trying to get gas to flow from two finished vent wells north of La.-70.  DNR scientists have presented a worst-case scenario for the sinkhole. Under that model, which was based on a complete collapse of the Texas Brine cavern and a displacement of its entire volume, scientists estimated the existing sinkhole would reach 1,400 feet in diameter.  While the situation seems to have stabilized, the worst may not be over. Hydrocarbons and toxic gasses still lurk beneath the surface and still pose a present danger to the members of the community and the area at large. - WND.