Thursday, January 17, 2013

THE ANCESTRAL SPIRIT: The Rise Of The Indigenous Peoples - The Canadian Ministry Of Justice's Anti-Aboriginal Policies Exposed!

January 17, 2013 - CANADA - The Idle No More movement took a decisive step on January 14, applying some of its key contentions in a juridical venue. Because Idle No More is focusing particular attention on the illegalities of Omnibus Bill C-45, and especially on the Harper government’s efforts to to change Canada’s constitution through dubious legislative measures calculated to remove all federal obstacles to the quick construction of pipelines across Canada’s myriad configurations of inland waters, the Aboriginal fishing trial of Kwitsel Tatel has taken on added significance. Kwitsel Tatel’s most fundamental contention is that Canada’s Ministry of Justice is systematically violating the the supreme law of Canada by refusing to adhere to the provisions in Canada’s constitution that pertain to the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. This larger contention was personalized in Kwitsel Tatel’s application that the federal Crown prosecutor in her case should be removed as she attempted to lead the evidence in the constitutional phase of her eight-years-and-running trial. The judge agreed to hear Kwitsel Tatel’s request. This sequence of events opened the way for Mr. Finn Jensen, a federal Crown prosecutor and Queen’s Counsel, to make history in a small court room in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley. There he was compelled by Judge Thomas Crabtree to answer the charge that both he and the federal Ministry of Justice are in a conflict of interest when it comes to their treatment of Kwitsel Tatel. The trial arises from the Crown’s seizure and immediate sale of this Aboriginal fisher’s salmon in July of 2004.

The Canadian Government Is Put on Trial for Violating Section 35. Idle No More Makes a Breakthrough in Court. Finn Jensen, a Queen’s Counsel and Federal Crown prosecutor, takes the stand to try to defend himself from allegations that he and his colleagues regularly break Canadian law when they deny and negate, rather recognize and affirm, the existence Aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada.
In Canada all federal prosecutions emanate from the federal Ministry of Justice. Its Minister since 2007 is the Hon. Mr. Rob Nicholson, the Attorney General of Canada. The Minister and Ministry of Justice are in a systemic conflict of interest when it comes to prosecutions of those Aboriginal peoples who engage in activities that might be exercises of existing Aboriginal and treaty rights. According to section 35 of Canada’s Constitution Act, 1982, “the existing Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.” As Kwitsel Tatel and many others in the Idle No More movement have emphasized, the Ministry of Justice has never gone into court with the intention of recognizing and affirming the existence of Aboriginal and treaty rights as the US government once did in the early 1970s in an Aboriginal fishing case entitled USA versus the state of Washington. Instead, the Canadian Ministry of Justice has consistently set itself up as the adversary to any and all assertions of Aboriginal rights and titles. Moreover the Ministry of Justice has never tried to come to terms with the responsibilities that fall on this strategic Crown agency as a result of the existence of some 90 or so Crown-Aboriginal treaties in Canada. Thus the Ministry of Justice has consistently denied and negated rather than recognized and affirmed existing Aboriginal and treaty rights as Canada’s highest law requires it to do. Moreover the Ministry of Justice has consistently refused to live up to its specific fiduciary responsibilities to Aboriginal peoples which arise from the period when the registered Indians were treated as wards federal authority.

Rob Nicholson is the Harper Government’s Minister of Justice
and the Attorney-General of Canada. That makes Mr. Nicholson
one of Canada’s Chief Indian Fighters in leading the Litigious
Assault of the Settler State of Canada on the First Nations.
By his actions and decisions in this case and in his unrelenting zeal to criminalize over decades hundreds of other indigenous Sto:lo people in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley, Finn Jensen has made himself an obvious example of the Ministry of Justice’s systemic refusal to respect section 35 of Canada’s Constitution Act, 1982. Mr. Jensen has made himself notorious among many Sto:lo people for his personal animus aimed especially at those Aboriginal fishers who have attempted to maintain their traditional harvesting of salmon, often in the face of violent repressions by heavily-armed Crown officials. In the process Mr. Jensen, who is a private contractor, has reaped millions in federal patronage dollars for his get-tough-on-Indians campaign. This campaign tends to play very well politically in the Fraser Valley area. The Fraser Valley is hot real estate market, a zone of many right-wing churches, and a bastion of electoral support for the Harper Conservatives.  In his effort to defend his own personal record from the allegations pointed his way by Kwitsel Tatel, Finn Jensen demonstrated very well why he is indeed in a conflict of interest. The fact that Mr. Jensen has such a strong personal stake in defending his personal reputation in this eight-year and running matter bathed all his comments in an aura of self-referencing self-justification. It was impossible to know when Mr. Jensen was genuinely representing the government of Canada and when he was speaking to defend himself as the primary protagonist in his well-funded efforts to criminalize Kwitsel Tatel for possessing fish. 

Mr. Jensen’s half-hour presentation embodied a classic display of the Ministry of Justice’s pathological unwillingness to uphold Canadian law by recognizing and affirming Aboriginal and treaty rights. Strangely the Crown’s prosecutor insisted Kwitsel Tatel has not been criminalized but only subjected to a process arising from the charge that she violated “a regulation.” Mr. Jensen’s claim drew an astonished response from Kwitsel Tatel, who has been repeatedly jailed, subjected to cavity searches, and had her picture published in the RCMP’s Crime Stoppers for selling, purchasing and possessing fish.  Repeatedly throughout the proceedings Kwitsel Tatel referred to Mr. Jensen as the Queen’s failed fiduciary who never addressed, let alone resolved, the conflict of interest implicit in his dual roles as the supposed protector and the adversary of the Aboriginal fisher’s Aboriginal and treaty rights. Kwitsel Tatel accused the Queen’s Counsel of consistently dishonouring the Crown and all the promises given Aboriginal peoples that that the imperial sovereign would protect the First Nations from settler incursions. She made repeated references to the principles of Idle No More, including to the insistence of the hunger striking chief, Theresa Spence, that the time has come to make a reckoning with the role of the Crown and the Crown’s promises in bringing the Canadian government’s relationship with Aboriginal peoples into the twenty-first century.  Mr. Jensen denied that he had any role in having the picture of Kwitsel Tatel, whose Christian name is Patricia Kelly, published in the RCMP’s Crime Stoppers publications. Mr. Jensen refused to deal with the inconsistency between his claim that Kwitsel Tatel was never been charged with selling and purchasing fish and the details of the alleged crime as published by the Chilliwack RCMP’s Crime Stoppers. As Kwitsel Tatel pointed out, the RCMP’s disinformation has been replicated again and again as recently as October of 2012 in a slanderous smear piece by Greg Renouf. Apparently Mr. Jensen made no effort to pick up the phone to ask who it is among his tight circle of friends and colleagues in the law enforcement establishment of the Fraser Valley that opted to publish the disinformation again and again and again.

Mr. Jensen seemed especially uncomfortable in addressing Kwitsel Tatel’s charge that the Crown prosecutor had purposely manipulated the charge to protect non-Aboriginal owners of fish packing operations in the Vancouver area that regularly purchase salmon from Aboriginal fishers. Kwitsel Tatel’s fish were seized from her at the Sundance Sea Food Company of Mr. Mike Denike. The issue of the Ministry of Justice’s special protections for some, and zealous criminalization for others, came up after Kwitsel Tatel explained in court her unease with a question put to her years ago by her son, Kwiis Hamilton, now aged 19. Kwiis had asked his mom why the force of the criminal justice system in Canada had so aggressively intervened in the life of his family, limiting the life chances of him and his sister, whereas Mr. Denike had apparently been exempted altogether from any legal consequences for his role as a major beneficiary of the Aboriginal fisheries of the Fraser Valley.  On July 25 Mr. Hamilton was punched in the jaw by a BC sheriff after he verbally protested the assault on his mother by a many BC sheriffs when the second and constitutional phase of the trial of Kwitsel Tatel was supposed to have started. He was then briefly incarcerated in the Chilliwack Court House. I personally witnessed when the badly bruised Kwiis Hamilton was turned down by the RCMP in his effort later on July 25 to enlist the support of the Mounties in having the Crown press charges against that provincial Crown official that assaulted him in the stairwell of the Chilliwack Law Courts.. 

“PIGGY’S PALACE” WHERE DOZENS OF ABORIGINAL SEX TRADE WORKERS WERE SLAUGHTERED There have been many manifestations of the failure of federal protection for Aboriginal peoples. One of the most gruesome examples has been expressed in British Columbia when police long shielded from prosecution the proprietor of “Piggy’s Palace.” Pig farmer Robert Pickton went on a more-or-less public killing spree devouring in his pork packing/late night party emporium dozens of mostly-Aboriginal sex trade workers. There are reports of snuff films that record these made-in-Canada atrocities. Many prominent Vancouverites, including important figures in the criminal justice system, frequented this notorious establishment known widely in Vancouver as Piggy’s Palace. Who were police, including the federal RCMP, protecting and who were they willing to see sacrificed? Accordingly, the failure of the federal Crown to protect the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada goes far beyond abstractions. The failure to protect the human rights of Aboriginal peoples, but especially of Aboriginal women, extends to the failure to protect the very persons of Canada’s original title holders. Many hundreds of Aboriginal women across Canada have gone missing without proper investigations by a criminal justice system that seems allied with those private and corporate interests that feed on the consumption of stolen Aboriginal resources, wrecked and snuffed Aboriginal lives.
There was much discussion on January 14 about the alleged constitutional violations entailed in putting all these questions before a BC judge. The key questions Judge Crabtree must address pertain to the federal government’s jurisdictional responsibilities for fish, inland waters, Indians, lands reserved for the Indians, and the federal Crown’s fiduciary obligations to the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Given this configuration of jurisdictional issues, surely the trial should have started in a federal court. Ultimately these matters will all have to be dealt with in international courts given the systemic conflicts of interest that prevent the domestic judiciary from providing true third-party adjudications whenever Aboriginal peoples contend that their rights to land, resources, and sovereign self-determination have been illegally appropriated. When lawyer Bruce Clark raised this contention formally in a Canadian court he was notoriously sent away for a mental examination and later disbarred.  Judge Crabtree said he would publish on or about March 15 a written ruling on Kwitsel Tatel’s allegations that Mr. Finn Jensen, QC, and the federal Ministry of Justice, are in a conflict of interest in her case and in many others like it in Canada. Like the United States, Australia, and Israel, Canada has yet to follow the lead of South Africa in coming to grips with its true identity as a settler state built on the dispossession and systematic violations of the fundamental human rights of Indigenous peoples. - Veterans Today.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Warmest Springs On Record Bring Earliest Flowers Ever - Earliest Bloom Since 1852?!

January 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - During the exceptionally warm springs of 2010 and 2012, plants bloomed earlier in the eastern U.S. than they have since the American writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau started keeping records near Walden Pond in 1852.  Many plants now flower several weeks earlier than they did in the 19th century, a response linked to increasingly warmer springs due to global climate change.   For example, in Massachusetts, plants are flowering 20 days earlier now than they were during Thoreau’s time. In Wisconsin, where data on flowering dates was recorded by environmentalist and writer Aldo Leopold in the 1930s, flowering dates are, on average, 24 days earlier.

This viola is one of many plants flowering earlier than when long-term observations began with Henry
David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold. Richard Primack / Boston University.
So far, plants are adjusting to the earlier flowering without any major complications. But scientists are concerned a shortened winter will rob them of the time they need to undergo the physiological changes that allow them to reproduce come spring.  To find out if this threshold was near, Harvard University evolutionary biologist Charles Davis and colleagues turned to the warmest two springs in the eastern U.S. on record. In Massachusetts, where Walden Pond lies, plants flowered on April 24 in 2010 and April 25 in 2012. They did just fine.  "My fear is that people will see, like wow, there is some built-in resiliency here that was unexpected — namely that plants are able to continue to push their flowering times earlier with warming temperatures," Davis told NBC News.   "But I think the jury is still out on whether or not this is clearly a good or clearly a bad thing."  The concerns are many. An earlier flowering date raises the odds that a late spring frost will kill the flowers before they have a chance to attract the birds and bees needed for pollination and reproduction.
A pink lady's slipper orchid is among the earlier
flowering plants. Richard Primack / Boston University.
If the birds, bees and other insects can’t pollinate the flowers, the creatures that eat the pollinators too will run into a lack of food.   Earlier flowering plants also mean an earlier start to the cycle of plants taking up and transpiring water and absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via photosynthesis, and turning it into plant biomass.  "You end up with the whole ecosystem being affected," Libby Ellwood, a biologist at Boston University and co-author of a paper describing the finds published online Wednesday the journal PLoS One, told NBC News.  She expects there will be some winners and losers due to the earlier flowering. For example, some plants may take good advantage of a longer growing season, but might also have a greater chance of being impacted by drought.  A particular charm of the study comes from its dataset stretching back to records of Thoreau and Leopold, noted the researchers.  Without their data, the context for how much the flowering dates have changed in recent years would be lost.  What’s more, the length of the dataset allowed the researchers to create a model that predicts a plant's response to warming temperatures. Plug in a temperature variable and out comes a range of possible flowering dates. “These recent years fell into that equation,” noted Ellwood.  Davis, too, sees the charm in the data.   “In a funny sort of way, Thoreau and Leopold are being acknowledged as modern climatologists,” he said. - NBC News.

EXTREME WEATHER: Sudden Hailstorm Carpets Malta - Midday Downpour Was As White As Snow But Hard As Rocks, Considerable Damage To Property And Food Produce!

January 17, 2013 - MALTA - Parts of Malta’s landscape yesterday looked like something out of a Christmas postcard as an accumulation of hail blanketed the roads and fields. Excited children donned their boots and gloves and gleefully rushed outdoors to play and snap photos in the snow-like surroundings. Some schools took a break to allow pupils to experience the unusual moment.

The fields in Burmarrad were covered in a white carpet of ice yesterday afternoon after a sudden hailstorm
pummelled the island, ruining crops, smashing window panes and leaving dented cars and dead pigeons
in its wake. Photo: Mary Attard (
But not all was white and cheerful. The brief but violent hailstorm which hit Malta dented cars, damaged solar water heaters, shattered window panes and caused traffic to grind to a halt. Despite the suddenness of the hailstorm taking many by surprise, the stormy weather conditions had been forecast, the Met Office said. “The hail was violent but we had been expecting heavy downpours since Sunday. Thundery clouds bring about the possibility of hail,” a spokesman said. The worst affected area was central Malta, especially the localities of Mġarr, Naxxar, Mosta, Għargħur and Burmarrad. Readers reported hailstones “the size of golf balls” pummelling their homes, shattering window panes and mirrors. A convertible car even had its canvas roof pockmarked with the hailstones. One reader reported removing six big buckets of water from her house, as the hail, which reached a foot in depth, blocked her yard door, forcing her to exit through the window. Another said: “These hailstones have turned my skylight into Swiss cheese.”

A convertible’s canvas roof wrecked by precipitation.
Others reported pigeons being killed and the discomfort of being pelted by hailstones, while some were vocal about their dented cars. Farmers saw their tents damaged and their harvested produce gone to waste. “We still have to survey the full extent of our losses but our potato crop has suffered considerable damage,” agricultural scientist Charles Zahra told The Times. “Lettuce and unprotected strawberries may have also been wiped out. Crops of young cauliflowers were severely damaged; that will negatively affect the harvest of two months’ time. “The tents at the farmers’ market at Ta’ Qali were also ripped and broken. The hailstorm destroyed everything like a lawnmower. “In Malta, we have no insurance system for weather-damaged crops.” The Civil Protection Department assisted as heavy traffic built up in Burmarrad and Mġarr, a result of the hail blanketing the roads. Members of the CPD shovelled hail from in front of San Anton School in Mselliet and helped drivers trapped in the sudden rush of rainwater in Rabat. According to the Met Office, a trough of low pressure from the Gulf of Genoa to the central Mediterranean is slowly moving north-eastwards. Thundery showers are expected today and throughout the next two days, with the possibility of more hail. - Times Of Malta.

DELUGE: Mass Evacuations As Most Severe Flooding Paralyze Indonesian Capital - Jakarta Swamped By Heavy Monsoonal Rains! UPDATE: Stunning Scenes Of Flooding In Jakarta - Four Dead!

January 17, 2013 - INDONESIA - Heavy monsoonal rains have triggered severe flooding across the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, with many government offices and businesses forced to closed because staff could not get to work. Authorities said four people were killed and 20,000 had to evacuate.

Heavy rains bring capital to a standstill, with downpours expected to continue. People try to get their scooters
through monsoonal floodwaters in Jakarta. Photograph: AP/Achmad Ibrahim.
Weather officials warned the rains could get worse over the next few days and media reports said that thousands of people in Jakarta and its satellite cities had been forced to leave their homes because of the torrential downpours this week.

"For the next two or three days it is estimated that there may be increasing activity of the Asian monsoon which could increase weather activity in southern Sumatra and Java," said Soepriyo, an official at the Indonesian meteorological agency.

This year's rainy season has brought some of the heaviest downpours in five years. In the centre of Jakarta, overflowing with cars at the best of times, traffic was brought to a near standstill by waist-high floodwaters.

The city's main airport remained open but many roads leading to it were reportedly blocked. Most commuter train services and the bus system were closed.

The Jakarta Stock Exchange did open but trading was light.

The presidential palace, the finance and agricultural ministries and the central bank were all open, spokesmen said. The trade ministry said it was forced to close because of a power cut triggered by the flooding. - Guardian.

WATCH: Thousands evacuated amid Jakarta floods.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Kilauea Volcano's Current Activity - Ocean Entry Widens, Lava Lake Rising Again!

January 17, 2013 - HAWAII - For most of December 2012, lava from Kīlauea was visible erupting onto the coastal plain and continued flowing over the sea-cliff into the Pacific Ocean. As each different lobe of the 0.6mi/1km wide flow reached the ocean, it created a small ocean entry for several days before losing its volume to a neighboring lava flow.

Multiple ocean entry points for Kīlauea lava in December 2012.
This pattern continues today, with typically 3 to 6 different lava ocean entry points reported by our guides, as well as active lava flows visible just inland where they can be more safely approached. The ~5mi/8km round-trip hike takes an average person 2 hours each way, coming from the upwind and shorter direction.  There is also a big breakout of lava flows on the coastal plain closer to the base of the pali, with more vigorous action but at a farther distance for those willing and able. This activity has persisted for almost a week amidst a general pattern of inflation and more lava on the volcano over the recent month.  In fact this renewed pressure has caused the Halema`uma`u lava lake to rise within 30m/100ft of spilling onto the 1974 crater floor, close to our record high for the current eruption of 27m/89ft on October 26, 2012. Frequent cracking & booming sounds are audible from the Jaggar Overlook in the National Park, with very strong glow from dusk to dawn.

Pu`u `O`o thermal webcam capture on January 16, 2013 showing lava lake overflows.
Previous estimates indicate the lava lake would be directly visible from Jaggar Overlook if it rises to within 20m/65ft, so stay tuned for the inevitable!  High pressure has also played a part in a persistent lava lake present within Pu`u `O`o crater spilling out and continuing to repave the crater floor, as well as actually overflowing the eastern crater walls on several occasions during the past week! A string of clear nights on the typically cloudy side of the island has allowed views of glow from that area from a distance.  Earthquake counts are also increased as the volcano strains over the magmatic pressure, with a M4.6 widely felt across the island on January 5, 2013 at the beginning of the sequence. The summit GPS line shows a similar uptick since about the same time, leading us to speculate that once again more magma is entering the volcano from below than is leaving it from above through lava flows.  This brings us back to an increasingly common situation of wondering how the volcano will relieve this new pressure, with its options being more abundant and more vigorous lava flows, lava lakes spilling over from both craters, or a new fissure eruption in the months to come. We've already had 3 new fissures and 2 major increases in lava flows in the last 2 years, Pu`u `O`o has spilled over or out several times, and the Halema`uma`u lava lakes inches ever closer. What will happen next?? Come join us on the volcano and find out! - Volcano Discovery.

ICE AGE NOW: Panic Buyers Strip Shelves After Met Office Issues Blizzard Alert For Wales - Britain Braces For Blanket Of Up To 12 Inches Of Snow!

January 17, 2013 - BRITAIN - Shops were stripped of essential items yesterday as panic buyers stocked up in advance of a predicted 40 hours of snowfall.  Shelves were left bare as families snapped up bread, milk and other basics following forecasts of blizzards dumping up to a foot of snow.  The scramble began as fears spread about being snowed-in by the whiteout, which could cripple road and rail networks for days.  

Keeping Britain moving: A gritter and snow plough tends to the A4067 between Brecon and Swansea.
There were frantic scenes at a Tesco store in Aberdare, South Wales, where hundreds of people turned up after the Met Office issued a rare red warning for the area, meaning travel should be attempted only if absolutely necessary.  Rhiannon Griffiths, 38, said: ‘It was a real scrum. People were grabbing loaves and milk and dashing to the tills. I managed to get two small loaves and some pitta breads – but that was all that was left.’   A member of staff at another supermarket in Newbury, Berkshire, described scenes that were ‘busier than just before Christmas’. ‘It’s almost a sort of mass hysteria,’ she said. ‘People are rushing in and blindly grabbing what they can see, frightened there will be nothing left.  ‘The shelves are emptying as fast as we can fill them – they’re after bread, milk, dairy produce, fruit, vegetables and lots of people seem to be stocking up on the tinned stuff, like soup.’  Amber warnings – recommending caution and careful planning before venturing out – are in place for the Midlands, North West, South West, Yorkshire and Humber where up to ten inches (25cm) of snow could fall.  Snow was expected to begin to fall at around 3am in Wales, moving across the country to reach London by around 9am. Snow showers and sleet will continue until around 6pm on Saturday.  Most of the country can expect at least four inches (10cm) of snow.

Blizzard Britain: A snow map shows how many centimetres will
blanket every area of the UK today, with freezing winds and
sub-zero temperatures making families across the country shiver.
Only Cornwall and parts of Devon look likely to avoid it – but they will shiver under rain and sleet instead.  Those who do brave the outdoors today face daytime temperatures of 1C (34F), but it will feel as cold as -7C (19F) because of 30mph winds. Temperatures will drop to -5C (23F) tonight. Lighter snowfall is expected in most areas over the rest of the weekend but freezing temperatures mean much of what settles today could fail to clear.  The Met Office has, of course, got its predictions wrong before. Just last week, warnings of up to a foot of snow in a three-day period failed to materialise.  Preparations were being made last night for the gridlock expected to hit the transport network. Rail firms were bracing themselves for disruption. Some planned to run ‘ghost trains’ through the night to keep tracks clear ahead of today’s predicted commuter chaos.  Trucks were out last night spreading some of the record stockpile of grit councils have amassed ready for a big freeze.

In pictures believed to be taken yesterday, shoppers stocked up on
food as they fretted about the blizzards predicted to fall today.
Steve Crosthwaite, head of the agency’s National Traffic Operations Centre, urged drivers to allow more time for travel. Breakdown services were expecting patrols to be stretched to the limit, with at least 30,000 calls from stranded motorists anticipated.  Airports warned passengers to contact their carrier before leaving home to check whether flights had been delayed or cancelled. Heathrow said 130 snow clearing vehicles and 500 workers were at the ready to ensure runways are clear.  Schools and nurseries are expected to shut their gates, adding to the disruption for families. Forecaster Sean Penston, of MeteoGroup, warned venturing outside would be ‘treacherous’. ‘There will be a lot of disruption to travel. Roads will be gritted but this will be covered by further snowfall,’ he said.  The cold weather has already claimed the life of a pensioner this week as he cleared his driveway of snow. Graham Clark, 73, is thought to have suffered serious head injuries after slipping on ice in Buxhall, near Stowmarket, Suffolk.  
Stunning: Icicles extend their fingers
downwards in Teesdale.
David Rogers, of the Local Government Association, warned elderly people were particularly at risk from the cold.  He said: ‘Highways staff and street-cleaners are being drafted in to help deliver hot meals, collect prescriptions and help carry out basic maintenance.  ‘But council staff can’t be everywhere. We need residents to work with us, be our eyes and ears and help us get the support to where it’s most needed.’  Shops in the South Wales valleys said there had been a sudden rush on bread, milk and other essentials.  BBC Wales meteorologist Derek Brockway said: 'We can expect blizzards on the mountains and on higher ground.  'This could be the worst snow to hit Wales in some years with severe disruption likely.  'A red warning from the Met office is rare and means take action.'  A photo taken yesterday, believed to be from a store in north Worcestershire, showed that one supermarket had to tape a notice to its empty shelves warning customers they were limited to how many loaves they could buy.  Three mountain roads in the Valleys were shut to traffic in preparation for severe driving conditions.  A spokeswoman for Rhondda Cynnon Taff council said: 'This snow is expected to be particularly severe between 3am and 9am and is likely to lead to widespread accumulations of four inches with six to eight inches over higher ground.'  Widespread disruption to travel and other services is likely, with drivers and transport users advised to avoid dangerous areas and have back-up plans.  There were four accidents on the roads in Dover yesterday morning and many more across the country, while firefighters have attended two serious fires this week caused by people trying to stay warm.  Two people were stranded when their van edged into a flood-swollen ford in Bucklebury and a schoolboy is recovering after he was buried up to his chest in a huge mound of freezing mud at Tilgate Forest Golf Centre in Sussex.  The heaviest snowfall of the winter will spread east after morning rush-hour tomorrow, while Cornwall, far West Wales and Northern Ireland are likely to face driving rain instead. - Daily Mail.

WATCH: Extreme weather worsens across the country as the week goes on.

EXTREME WEATHER & GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Potent, Dangerous Winter Snowstorm Iago Ahead For The South And Mid-Atlantic America; As More Landslides, Flooding Threaten The Southeast!

January 16, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Winter Storm Iago will spread both snow and rain across the South and into the Mid-Atlantic Thursday into Thursday night and early Friday. The primary mechanism for this storm is a potent area of low-pressure aloft that will move through the Deep South Thursday and head into the Atlantic Ocean by early Friday.

Ahead of this system, heavy rain and flooding will be a concern in parts of the Appalachians and Southeast. For more on that story, click here. As for the wintry side, we will see rain changing to snow from parts of Mississippi, northern Alabama, northern Georgia and eastern Tennessee to the Southern Appalachians, northern North Carolina and Virginia Thursday morning through Thursday evening. We expect the heaviest accumulations, 6 inches or more, to be in the higher elevations of the Southern Appalachians. Parts of Mississippi, northern Alabama and far northern Georgia could see anywhere from a dusting to a few inches. Wet pavement could freeze into patches of ice (black ice) on roadways Thursday night into Friday morning. Up to 4 inches of snow was reported in central Mississippi on Thursday morning.

To the east of the Appalachians, a wide area of 1 to 3 inches of accumulation is possible from North Carolina to much of the southern half of Virginia and the southern Delmarva Peninsula. Embedded in this swath will be higher totals of 3 to 6 inches. We expect the 1"+ accumulating snow to remain south of Washington, D.C. The southern fringe of possible snow accumulations may reach as far south as Raleigh, N.C. and Greensboro, N.C. This wet snow could affect the afternoon and evening commute Thursday in some areas. In many of these areas outside mountain locations, this will be the first measurable snow of the season. Though snowfall with this system will be of short duration, it could also be heavy at times. At first, due to mild temperatures recently, initial snow accumulations in the lower elevations outside the Appalachians will be on grassy and elevated surfaces. However, it won't take long for heavier snowfall rates to accumulate on road surfaces as well. As the storm shifts out to sea early Friday, it may move close enough to the Northeast coast to bring some snow to parts of the southern New Jersey coast, eastern Long Island and far southeastern New England. - Weather.

More Landslides, Flooding Threaten The Southeast.
Heavy rainfall over the past several days have pushed rivers over their banks from the Deep South to the Southern Appalachians and Ohio Valley. Tuesday's heavy rainfall triggered flooding from Alabama to western North Carolina.

  • Several homes were flooded in Pigeon Forge and Walland, Tenn.  
  • Water rose to the foundations of buildings in Waynesville, N.C.  
  • Numerous roads were flooded and impassable near Vernon, Ala. Monday.
According to TWC Facebook fan Donna Kirkland Adkins, there were 3 landslides in her neighborhood, one of which had trapped 3 people in their cabin near Maggie Valley, N.C. For what is typically one of the drier times of year, due to intrusions of Arctic air, these rainfall totals are quite impressive:
  • Chattanooga, Tenn.:  6.22" of rain from Jan. 9-16.  
  • Knoxville, Tenn.:  6.51" of rain from Jan. 13-16.
  • Huntsville, Ala.:  4.64" of rain from Jan. 13-16.
As of Thursday morning, roughly 120 river gauges were at or above flood stage from Louisiana to the Ohio Valley to Virginia and North Carolina. Unfortunately, more locally heavy rainfall is likely. Parts of north Georgia, east Tennessee, the Upstate of South Carolina, western North Carolina and southwest Virginia could see an additional 1 to 2 inches of rain before changing to wet snow later Thursday and ending. Additional flash flooding and landslides are possible due to this additional rainfall. - Weather.

UFO SIGHTINGS: An Encounter On The Dark Side Of The Moon - "UFO" Spotted Soaring Above The Lunar Surface; Scientists, Astronauts And YouTube Users Report Strange Sightings?!

January 17, 2013 - THE MOON - People claim to videotape UFOs in the sky above Earth. They also spot unusual-looking objects in NASA camera feeds at the International Space Station. Now, a growing number of individuals insist they're using their telescopes and cameras to reveal UFOs around the moon, according to the International Business Times.

This image reportedly shows a group of UFOs heading from space toward the moon.
Many odd things have been seen by amateur and professional astronomers on the moon over decades, and YouTube affords the opportunity to look at alleged UFOs flying across, toward and away from our nearest astronomical neighbor. Part of the problem with most videos like these is the lack of specific, helpful information to accompany the visual "evidence," so it's difficult to know what's real and what was created from a clever software app. But, lunar anomalies are not new phenomena. They've been reported by astronomers going back to the 1700s. Strange things seen by the scientists of centuries past included mysterious bright lights or glowing spots on the moon. In 1869, Great Britain's Royal Astronomical Society conducted a study of unusual moving lights.

WATCH: Lights moving rapidly, slowly and changing directions - Jan. 2013.

After numerous observations of this activity, the lights just turned off. On July 29, 1953, New York Herald Tribune science editor John J. O'Neill noticed, through his telescope, a huge bridge-like object spanning 12 miles in the lunar area known as Mare Crisium. Other observers, including Hugh Percy Wilkins of the British Astronomical Association, confirmed O'Neill's sighting on the lunar surface. The object that became known as O'Neill's Bridge, was eventually thought to be nothing more than a combination of lights and shadows. The history of the Apollo flights to the moon in the late 1960s into the 1970s included countless tabloid stories of supposed UFO encounters experienced by the astronauts. - Huffington Post.

WATCH: Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin describes a UFO that accompanied them en route to the moon in 1969.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Fish Near Japan's Damaged Fukushima Plant "May Be Inedible For A Decade" - Farmers Still Suffering From Radiation Fears!

January 17, 2013 - JAPAN - A marine scientist has revealed that levels of radioactivity in fish near Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear plant are higher than expected. He warns the fish could be too radioactive to eat for a decade, as samples show that radioactivity levels remain elevated and show little sign of coming down.

According to a paper published in the journal Science, large and bottom-dwelling species carry most risk, which means cod, flounder, halibut, pollock, skate and sole. Ken Buesseler, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US, wrote the paper titled Fishing For Answers Off Fukushima and said his findings showed how difficult it was to predict the outcome of a nuclear incident. The Fukushima nuclear reactors suffered a series of radiation leaks when their cooling systems failed following the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011. It is the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, in Ukraine in 1986. - PBW.

Removing the risk: An employee for the Becquerel Center,
a firm that rents machines that check for radiation levels,
demonstrates how to use a scintillator to measure radiation
levels in a sample of mashed persimmon at its shop
in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Oct. 21, 2011. AFP-JIJI.

Farmers Still Suffering From Radiation Fears.
Mayumi Kurasawa's seaweed company saw seven of its factories swept away by the 2011 tsunami. Nearly two years later, sales continue to be eroded by consumer fears over nuclear contamination from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. "Our seaweed is checked every day, and I guarantee you that it's safe," she said during a recent visit to Tokyo to promote the company she works for, Kawashu. "But we are selling two-thirds less than before Fukushima."  Like many farmers in the Tohoku region, Kurasawa is struggling to sell her produce to a wary population that remains unconvinced by reassurances of food safety.  Even though the Kawashu company's production sites are in Iwate Prefecture, 300 km from the nuclear plant, it is struggling to sell its "wakame" seaweed.  "Many clients prefer produce from South Korea or from China over us. They think it's safer," Kurasawa said.  Previously lauded for their quality, Tohoku products from wasabi, mushrooms, fruit and grains to salmon and sake are now regarded with suspicion by a large number of Japanese customers.  The problems started, of course, when the Fukushima No. 1 plant was swamped by the March 11, 2011, tsunami and three of its reactors went into meltdown after their cooling systems were knocked out.
People affected by Japan’s nuclear crisis.
Click HERE for an Interactive look at the fallout.

he reactors spewed radioactive contamination into the atmosphere, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.  Sales for Tohoku products have dropped 60 to 70 percent on average against what they were before the crisis.  After the disaster started to abate, the legal limit for radioactive cesium in food was raised in line with international emergency procedures before returning to normal in April last year.  This return to "normal" should have reassured consumers, but the stigma has lingered from temporary bans imposed on beef, milk, mushrooms, vegetables and rice from Fukushima Prefecture after they were found to contain levels of radioactive cesium above government safety limits.  Public faith that certain foods were safe has also been hit by instances of fraud, in which wholesalers have attempted to sell Fukushima produce under the labels of other regions.  The products in question were found not to be dangerous, but the deception, along with doubts over government food screening measures cobbled together after the crisis started, has made life even harder for farmers.  Consumers and experts have also voiced suspicions that officials are understating potential health risks due to worries about the possible economic fallout and the complications should compensation come into play.  Grocery stores, skeptical about the government's legal limit of 100 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram for food, have begun their own testing regimens.  The country's largest supermarket chain, Aeon, has been enforcing a zero-risk policy.  "If we detect radioactive cesium in a product over measurable limits, we stop procuring it from the area it is produced in," Aeon spokesman Norihito Ikkai said. "As a result, it enables customers to buy our products free from anxiety."  In the area around the power station, the majority of produce is now well below the legal limit for radiation, and most produce, plants and animals raised in other prefectures in Tohoku pass inspections. - Japan Times.

RATTLE & HUM: Unexplained Loud "Booms" Heard Over Kentucky And Indiana?!

January 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - For some time now, people have reported strange sounds and booms, right across the USA. The latest incident happened in Indiana and Kentucky, and no one knows what caused it. According to 14 News, the Vanderburgh Sheriff said that it happened near Green River and Lynch on Monday, and that they had received several calls about the strange boom sound.

A graph showing the loud boom - happening in Indiana and Kentucky. Video screen capture.
Image uploaded by Anne Sewell.
The sheriff said that crews had investigated but it is still unknown what caused the loud sound. Resident Stacy Lowery said that "The sound was like a war bomb." Lowery said she had just put her children to bed and was relaxing on the couch when she heard the sound. "A huge explosion, like definitely knew it wasn't a firecracker going off. I've never heard anything like it, very disturbing," Lowery said. Apparently she was not the only one to hear it and the Evansville Dispatch also received several calls on Monday night between 9.30 and 11.00. Sheriff Eric Williams told 14 News, "We obviously dispatched cars. I believe the EFD dispatched crews, the EPD. At the end of the day, we're not able to find anything." "It had to be something a little bit different than the typical explosion," he added. Some people thought it might be an earthquake, but USGS had no reports of any activity in the area.

14News interviewed USI Professor of Geology, Paul Doss who has been watching the seismometer just lately. "Earthquake energy is an acoustic energy, but it would not be transmitted out of the crust and into the atmosphere. When I look over the last few days, at these times, nothing, nothing," Doss said. Others thought it might be from a nearby mine, but Vigo, who are opening a mine in the area, said that their permit does not allow blasting between dusk and dawn. Officials checked with the Air Force, but Lt. Mark Weaver of the Air Guard in Ft. Wayne said, "We didn't have any training events. The State of Indiana and the Air Guard, they have A10s based out of Ft. Wayne and they're not capable of executing that type of activity." Yet others thought that maybe a meteorite had come in to land. However, Professor Jeff Braun told 14 News in the video above that there is a lack of visible evidence to prove this theory. "Meteors can cause sonic booms when they come in, but almost always they're accompanied by a visible fireball," he said. Sheriff Williams said, "We're going to write it off as the unexplained at this point until somebody gives us an explanation." And so unexplained sounds continue all over the country, and no one knows why. "At this point, nobody seems to know. The geologists say it's not in the ground, the Air Force says it's not in the air, the astronomers say it's not from space, so we're running out of options," Braun said. - Digital Journal.

WATCH: Unexplained loud 'booms' heard over Kentucky and Indiana.

WATCH: Apparently strange sounds were also heard in Northern Indiana during September 2012.

THIRD SINO-JAPANESE WAR: China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Told To Prepare For War!

January 17, 2013 - CHINA - As tensions between China and Japan escalate, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been told to prepare for war in a training directive issued by the General Staff Headquarters, which oversees the entire PLA. 

Chinese sailors march during a parade at a training base of China's North Sea Fleet in Qingdao in east
China's Shandong province on Monday, March 5, 2012.
“The PLA and the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force (APF) should focus closely on the objective of being able to fight and winning battle, vigorously strengthen real-combat-like military training, practice and innovate the training mode under information-based conditions and intensify efforts to cultivate new-type and high-caliber military personnel,” according to a reference to the directive on the English version of the People’s Liberation Army Daily, the official newspaper of the PLA. The directive was issued in Chinese and is entitled “Instructions on the PLA’s Military Training in 2013.”  Past directives have largely focused on coordination among the various PLA branches, in contrast to the strong language of this year’s version.  “What has attracted attention is that the directive has called on Chinese forces to be prepared to fight using a particular Chinese term,” said Taylor Fravel, an expert on Chinese foreign policy and security at MIT.  The term, according to a report in the South China Morning Post, is dazhang, which means “fighting wars.” The phrase did not appear in last year’s directive.  While the official directive does not mention Japan, a commentary about the directive also appearing in the People’s Liberation Army Daily makes clear that Japan is the would-be adversary. 

Citing escalating tensions with Japan over the ongoing dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, the commentary claims the new administration of Japanese  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is working to “draw” Vietnam, the Philippines and other East Asian countries together “to contain China.”  “Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have held very frequent drills focused on the Diaoyu Islands for the past days, and boasted of firing warning shots at China’s marine surveillance ships,” according to the commentary, which is signed by Guo Jianyue, a senior reporter at the newspaper. “This confrontation between China and Japan, which has been so rare since World War II, has escalated from the original air force mutual monitoring over the waters around the Diaoyu Islands to the verge of war.”  Despite the rhetoric, Allen Carlson, an associate professor of government at Cornell University, said China could be merely sabre rattling.  “I still think, and perhaps I am wrong, that most of this is bluffing, an extreme form of such an action, and not one that is not without the risk of escalation, but still falls short of an actual declaration of war, and from direct military engagement,” he said.   Carlson added that China has not engaged in direct military conflict of any sustained kind since 1979 with Vietnam.  “Now, past performance is no guarantee of future outcomes, but until this line is crossed, I will continue to think that Beijing is likely to want to stop short of it,” he said. - VOA.

EXTRATERRESTRIAL MEMES: Polonnaruwa Meteorite - Evidence Of Life From Outer Space, Described As The Most Important Find In Over 500 Years?!

January 17, 2013 - SRI LANKA - A meteorite that Landed recently, close to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka has been described as the most important scientific discovery in the last 500 years as it carried “compelling evidence of life” from outer space. The scientists who discovered the contents of the meteorite said, “we report here the first compelling evidence for life existing outside the earth.’

Polonnaruwa meteorite under electronic microscope.
Following extensive lab work in the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka four scientists in a paper said , “We report the discovery for the first time of fossilized diatoms in a carbonaceous meteorite that fell on 29 December 2012”. Diatoms are a variety of algae. They very firmly said contamination, a hazard scientists face when examining things fallen from the sky on the ground is excluded in the meteorite they have named Polonnaruwa. The four scientists, Chandra Wickramasinghe, J. Wallis, D.H.Wallis, and Anil Samaranayaka said, there are also structures in the meteorite similar to the red rain cells that fell within days in the area. The team in a paper to be published in the Journal of Cosmology added, “The new data on fossil diatom provide strong evidence to support the theory of Cometary Panspermia” -a theory that says life came to our planet earth and other worlds hitchhiking on comets from far corners of the universe.

The leader of the team, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe from the Buckingham Center for Astrobiology in UK told this correspondent, “”I think the discovery of an unequivocal microbial structure such as a diatom deeply trapped in the rock matrix proves beyond doubt that this life existed in the parent comet from which the meteorite was derived. The highly intricate and woven patterns on the outer shells of diatoms are impossible to generate by any other process than biology. This could ultimately turn out to be the most important scientific discovery in 500 years. The cosmic ancestry of humans becomes ever more securely established.” “People might try to say that what we found were terrestrial contaminants. Contamination after landing on Earth is ruled out absolutely because of the way the diatoms are woven between the rock matrix. In any case we found many diatom types that are not known to be present on the soil where the meteorite landed.” The scientists said minutes after a large fire ball seen by a large number of people in Sri Lanka on 29 December 2012 a large meteorite disintegrated and fell in the village of Araganwila located few miles away from the historic city of Polonnaruwa. At the time of entry into the earth’s atmosphere on 29 December 2012 the parent body of the Polonnaruwa meteorite would have had most of its interior porous volume filled with water , volatile organics and possibly viable living cells. The scientists said a remarkable coincidence was the red rain.

They said the red rain analyzed at the Medical Research Institute in Colombo contained red biological cells that show spontaneous movement and the ability of reproducing. Abnormally high in arsenic and silver they are connected to a non territorial habitat , possibly connected with a cometary asteroidal body. The four scientists said the Polonnaruwa meteorite was a result of a fragmentation of such a body. The electron microscopic studies of the Polonnaruwa meteorite had been done at the School of Earth Sciences of the Cardiff University, in the United Kingdom. The scientists said in the meteorite microfossils rather than living cells were seen . The scientists said in the meteorite the donut shaped structure seen has a striking similarity to Kerala red rain cells and the cells contained in the red rain that followed the meteorite fall in the Polonnaruwa area. The scientists said contamination is decisively ruled out in the meteorite since the structure is deemed to be fossilized and fossil diatoms were not present on the surface of the ground where it fell.The scientists said , contamination is excluded by the circumstance that the elemental abundances within the structures match closely with those of the surrounding matrix. There is also evidence of structures morphologically similar to red rain cells that may have contributed to the episode of red rain that followed within days of the meteorite fall. They said , “We conclude therefore identification of the fossilized diatom of the Polonnaruwa meteorite is firmly established and unimpeachable.” They also said,” Since this meteorite is considered to be an extinct cometary fragment , the idea of microbial life carried within comets and the theory of cometary panspermia is vindicated.” The paper said , “The universe , not humans must have the final say to declare what the world is really like.” - Lanka Web.

EUROPEAN VAMPIRISM: The Pervasively Savage War On Africa - Preplanned Mali Invasion Reveals France's Neo-Colonialistic Agenda!

January 17, 2013 - MALI - Indeed, such is the careful choreography of this salient military development that one could say that the French have finally given themselves a green light to execute a plan they had been pushing over several months. That plan is nothing less than the neocolonial re-conquest of its former colony in the strategically important West African region.

Within hours of the Malian government requesting military support to counter an advance by rebels from the northern territory, French warplanes began carrying out air strikes on Friday. The attack sorties have reportedly been conducted for at least three consecutive days. Media reports said that French Mirage and Rafale fighter jets had struck across a wide belt of the remote Sahelian country, from Gao and Kidal in the northeast, near the border with Algeria, to the western town of Lere, close to Mauritania.  The warplanes were dispatched from France and also reportedly from Chad. The French government claimed that it had been granted over-flight permission by Algeria. Both North African neighboring countries are also former French colonies.  The air strikes by the French jets on at least six widely dispersed target areas within Mali cover an operational distance of nearly 2,000 kilometers, from east to west. This level of co-ordination indicates several weeks of planning and belies the appearance that the French government was responding in an impromptu fashion to a sudden call for assistance from the Paris-aligned Malian authorities.  In addition, over the weekend some 500 French troops arrived in the southern Malian capital of Bamako and the strategic town of Mopti, which is situated near the rebel-held northern territory.
The dramatic French intervention has all the hallmarks of a meticulous plan that was on a hair-trigger for action. The taking over by rebels last Thursday of the town of Konna, 45 kilometers from Mopti, near the de facto north-south frontier, and the subsequent alarm call from the Malian government in Bamako can therefore be seen as merely a green light for the detailed French plan to swing into action.
Furthermore, the French government has received swift support from other European countries and the United States. Britain has sent RAF CI7 cargo planes from a base in East England to Paris in order to help with French supply of troops, helicopters, trucks other heavy equipment. Washington has said it will provide logistics and communications. Both American and French surveillance drones have been operational in Mali and adjacent countries for months now.  France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was quick to hail the weekend air strikes a success in halting Malian “terrorists.” Fabius said the French military involvement would be for a “matter of weeks.” However, the extensive mobilization of troops and warplanes and the geopolitical backdrop to the development suggest otherwise. Perhaps mindful of this, Fabius was keen to emphasize that the Mali intervention would not turn out to be “another Afghanistan.”  Officially, Paris, London and Washington have up to now been pushing for an African-led intervention force to take the military lead in assisting the Malian government to quash a separatist rebellion in the northern half of the country. The northern region was taken over last April by Tuareg rebels in league with Islamist militia belonging to Ansar Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa. The rebels have managed to consolidate their control over the vast and largely desert region around the main city of Timbuktu. Northern Mali covers an area the size of France and is sparsely populated with less than two million people.  West African states, including Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger, are charged with assembling an intervention force at the behest of the Western powers. Last month, the United Nations Security Council gave final approval for the West African military mission to shore up the shaky government that is based in Bamako in the far south of the country, thousands of kilometers from the upper northern region.  Following the Security Council vote, diplomats at the UN and in West African capitals were talking about the combined African mission of some 3,500 troops being deployed much later this year, in September at the earliest. This was a view held by Romano Prodi, the UN’s top envoy to Mali, which was reported only days before the French military intervention.
The abrupt side-stepping of the African forces points up the real agenda of the Western powers and France in particular. What we are seeing now, with the rapid, large-scale French deployment, is the true neocolonial nature of this agenda. All the previous talk by Paris, London and Washington on the importance of intervention having “an African face” can be seen as cynical cover for direct Western action.
Only three months ago, President Francois Hollande vowed to French media that there would be “no French boots on the ground” in Mali. Evidently, official calculations have changed.  France and its Western allies have been assiduously taking up the international security threat allegedly posed by the rebels in Mali. Much is being made of alleged links between the Islamist militants and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb. President Hollande has repeatedly warned that French and European security is at risk if the rebels in Mali strengthen their control.  A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said at the weekend: “Both leaders [Cameron and Hollande] agreed that the situation in Mali poses a real threat to international security given the terrorist activity there.”  American politicians, military chiefs and media have also been waxing lyrical for months on how Mali represents the globe’s new “terror central” and that Western governments must act decisively to defeat the danger.  However, the precise nature of this “Islamist threat” from Mali is never spelled out or evidenced. We are expected to accept the word of Paris, London and Washington - the rogue states that have and are conducting illegal wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
What we do know, however, is that the half century post-colonial borders of Mali are an alien imposition on nomadic peoples in the northern region - cultures that date backed thousands of years. Their rebellion against a remote and up to now indifferent colonialist-appointed administration in Bamako is probably a just cause. The French and its Western allies are therefore maligning an internal dispute within Mali with another specious “war on terror” narrative and in that way these powers are giving themselves a mandate to meddle in that country.
France being the former colonial master and with decades of covert military assets in the region is the “natural” choice among the Western powers to lead a neo-imperialist adventure in this strategically important region.  Mali has abundant riches in natural resources of metals and minerals. It is a major source of gold and uranium, as well as iron, copper, tin and manganese, and also versatile minerals such as phosphates, salt and limestone.  Moreover, the West Africa region has awesome potential for agriculture and oil. The Gulf of Guinea off Ghana and Nigeria is earmarked to become a leading oil and gas supply region to world markets in the coming years.  Military intervention by France and the other Western powers in Mali - under the guise of “defeating terrorism” - is a bridgehead for Western capital and corporations, not only into a resource-rich country, but into a large chunk of the entire African continent. In 2011, NATO’s bombardment of Libya and French subversion of elections in Cote D’Ivoire marked a new beginning of Western neo-imperialism in Africa. Mali is proving to be continuation of that dynamic and to be another staging post in this modern Scramble for Africa by Western powers. - Press TV.

WATCH: Mali Mayhem: 'French post-colonial ambition to spark African anger'.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Lava Lake On Hawaii's Mount Kilauea Hits A Record High - 80 Feet Below Crater Floor, Highest Since 2008!

January 17, 2013 - HAWAII -  The orange glow atop Hawaii's Mount Kilauea was a little stronger Tuesday than it has been in recent weeks. The volcano's lava lake lapped over the inner ledge of its vent, reaching a new high and bring molten rock closer than ever to the floor of Halema'uma'u crater.

The lava lake in Halemau'ma'u crater at the summit of Kilauea volcano on Jan. 10.  Tim Orr  /  USGS.
The level was about 80 feet (25 meters) below the crater floor, the highest level reached since the summit vent blasted open in March 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey reports. The lava lake last surged on Oct. 23, 2012, when the high mark was measured at 100 feet (31 m) below the crater floor.

Since fresh lava appeared atop Kilauea in 2008, the lake level has varied from near the crater to out of sight, more than 650 feet (200 m) beneath the crater floor. The lake sits in a vent, which is actually a pipelike crater within the smaller crater called Halema'uma'u. And Halema'uma'u is also a crater within a crater — the giant Kilauea caldera, the bowl left behind when the volcano blew its top about 1500 A.D.

The USGS also reports that activity is up at Pu'u 'O'o crater, 12 miles (19 kilometers) from the summit in the volcano's East Rift Zone. The crater was awash with lava flows in recent days, and lava overflowed from its northeast lava lake and north spatter cone, the USGS said in a statement. At the coast, oozing flows continues to slowly drop into the ocean.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the eruption at Kilauea's East Rift Zone. The volcano's longest continuous rift zone eruption since the 15th century, the massive upwelling has created more than 500 acres of new land. - MSNBC.

SOLAR WATCH: Sunspot 1654 Has Beta-Gamma-Delta Magnetic Field, Harbors Energy For X-Class Flares - Incoming Coronal Mass Ejection Expected To Create Polar Geomagnetic Storms!

January 17, 2013 - THE SUN - According to Space Weather, Sunspot AR1654 has a beta-gamma-delta magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares, as an incoming coronal mass ejection sets to hit the Earth.

RESTLESS SUNSPOT: The magnetic canopy of sunspot AR1654 is in a state of unrest, relentlessly shifting, reconnecting, and crackling with minor flares. This movie from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows six days (Jan. 9-15) of action:

WATCH: Tracking Sunspot 1654.

The sunspot's magnetic field, illuminated above by the extreme UV glow of hot plasma and flares, has a 'beta-gamma-delta' configuration. That means it harbors energy for powerful X-class eruptions. So far, however, the sunspot has failed to produce a major eruption. Perhaps the tension is being relieved prematurely by restless fidgeting. NOAA forecasters estimate a 5% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours.

INCOMING CME BOOSTS ODDS FOR AURORAS: NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% to 45% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Jan. 17th when a CME is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. The impact could spark bright auroras around the Arctic Circle.

Even before the CME's arrival, auroras are already arcing across the skies of northern Scandinavia. Entitle this photo Reflections:

Rune Bjørkli took the picture on January 15th from Porsanger, Norway. "For this 60 second exposure I used an Olympus E-M5 set at ISO 1600," says Bjørkli. "The long exposure revealed the lights in the water as well as the sky." - Space Weather.

LONG DURATION C-CLASS ERUPTION AND CME: A long duration eruption registering as a C2.2 solar flare took place on Wednesday afternoon around region 1650 which is currently approaching the southwest limb. A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is now visible in the latest STEREO Ahead COR2 imagery. Because of the location, it should be directed mostly away from Earth. The exact size of the CME should be known within the next several hours once more images are released. Image below by SDO:

CME UPDATE: All of the latest imagery suggests a CME heading mostly away from Earth. The latest CME prediction released by the Goddard Space Flight Center has been updated to show a westward trajectory with a possible glancing blow impact on January 20th. - Solar Ham.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Big Aftershocks Continue In Southeast Alaska - More Than A Week After 7.5 Magnitude Earthquake!

January 17, 2013 - ALASKA - After a massive earthquake rocked Southeast Alaska just before midnight on Jan. 4, sizeable aftershocks continue to resonate in the area 10 days later.

USGS map of the earthquake that hit west of the Alaska coast on January 5.
At about 5:55 a.m. Monday, a magnitude 5.5 shaker struck almost the same area, according to the Alaska Earthquake Information Center.

The most recent Southeast earthquake struck 68 miles from the small community of Craig. The larger quake 10 days earlier originated from the same region, known as the Queen Charlotte fault system. This was surprising to geologists and seismologists who have seen little activity in the area in recent years, much less activity on such a large scale.

The area has seen hundreds of aftershocks, some quite sizeable, including several greater than 4.0 in magnitude. Monday's 5.5 quake may be the largest aftershock yet, though. Previously, the strongest aftershock was a 5.1 that rattled teeth in Southeast just hours after the initial quake.

Prior to the 7.5 shortly after the new year, the Queen Charlotte fault system had last seen a big temblor more than 40 years ago -- a 1972 quake measured at a 7.6. - Alaska Dispatch.

RATTLE & HUM: Mysterious "Explosion" Sound, Heard For At Least The Last Three Months In Montauk, New York?

January 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Police are investigating a mysterious exploding sound that has been occurring intermittently in Montauk for months. Investigators believe someone is setting off a large mortar fireworks, but they have no arrests have been made since officially beginning an investigation in October.

The explosions, about a half-dozen or so, mainly occur in the evening, on weekends, sporadically, and only once on any given day. The most recent sound was reported on Sunday, police said. They are reported being heard in various areas around the hamlet, making it that much more difficult to pinpoint who is behind them. They've mainly been coming from around the golf course and Second House, according to East Hampton Town Police Chief Ed Ecker, who lives in Montauk and heard the sound for himself two weeks ago. He described it as "a whizzing noise" when it's going up in the air, and then "a big bang." He said, "It sounds just like big fireworks that you would use at Fourth of July." Officers have observed a flash of light in the sky, coupled with a big bang. Some residents have said they sound like utility transformers exploding.

Anecdotally, some residents tell East Hampton Patch the sounds rattle windows and shake the ground. Lt. Chris Hatch, the Montauk precinct commander, said it has been difficult to develop information, as people haven't reported them to police right away. Some residents in Montauk report that the explosions have been happening for much longer than three months. Hatch said it is difficult to say since some cases may have been logged differently, such as gunshots from hunters or transformer explosions. Plus, without any location, "The evidence is gone before its started," he said. Officers have canvassed neighborhoods. "We've been chasing this for three months now," he said. Hatch said they've found no damage - no burn marks in the streets, no burnt mailboxes or garbage cans. "My concern is that someone is going to have an accident with the fireworks, or they are going to land on a house," he said. Rumors that someone is setting off a bomb or trying to make a bomb have not been substantiated, Hatch said. "All indications right now are that these are commercially prepared fireworks." - East Hampton Patch.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Mystery Light Flashes Through Winnipeg Sky In Canada?!

January 17, 2013 - CANADA - Many Winnipeggers were stunned by a sudden whitish-green flash in the night sky Tuesday.

File Photo.
It happened at about 10 p.m. and the mystery light was gone as suddenly as it appeared.

Scott Young at the Manitoba Museum said he's not 100 per cent certain about it, but all signs point to the light being a meteorite.

"They slow down so quickly and they heat up so quickly that often they just explode in what's called a terminal burst and that's often a greenish colour," he said.

"So the colour sort of tips me off and also just the speed that this comes over."

If it was a meteorite, it would only be the 14th time in Manitoba history that one has come through the atmosphere in this province, Young said. - CBC News.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Mysterious Dolphin Deaths Continue In The Gulf Of Mexico?!

January 17, 2013 - GULF OF MEXICO - An unusually high number of dolphin deaths that began three years ago in the northern Gulf of Mexico is continuing though the number of deaths in Florida peaked in 2011. From February 2010 to Sunday, the bodies of 830 marine mammals, nearly all bottlenose dolphins and a few whales, have been found along the coast from Louisiana to Apalachicola, Fla., according to figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Dolphins frolic in the wake of a cruise boat just offshore from Fort Pickens State Park in the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola Beach, Fla. © Bruce Graner, Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal.
Of those, almost 150 dolphins found dead on beaches or in marshes were premature, stillborn or neonatal bottlenose.  In the seven years before 2010, the northern Gulf each year saw an average 63 bottlenose dolphin strandings, incidents where injured or sick marine mammals come ashore.  That the number of dolphin deaths continues to be higher than before 2010 worries Teri Rowles, who heads NOAA's investigation team.  "This is the longest unusual mortality event nationally," she said of the dolphin deaths.  The dolphin deaths began their climb before the Deepwater Horizon disaster April 20, 2010, but the oil spill is being considered as a cause. Bacteria and biotoxins, such as red tide, also are being investigated as factors contributing to the deaths.  Scientists don't know the full scope of the die-off because they rely on field reports of deaths. Not all dead dolphins wash up on populated beaches and waterways where they can be recovered, so many deaths may be going uncounted.

Bacteria culprit 
In fall 2011, NOAA scientists confirmed that brucella bacteria killed five dolphins found off of the coast of Louisiana.  And as of Dec. 9, some 13 out of 56 stranded dolphins tested positive or suspected positive for brucella.  Many of the dolphins found dead are too decomposed to test for the bacteria, Rowles said.  Scientists are looking deeply into whether brucella, a common bacteria also found in livestock, has become more lethal in dolphins in the northern Gulf.  Brucella in marine mammals was first recognized in the 1990s and seems to be endemic in many marine mammal populations globally, according to NOAA scientists. But the significance of the bacteria that causes miscarriages, brain infections, pneumonia, and skin and bone infections, is still unknown.  In a search for answers, NOAA recently began working with other federal and state agencies in 12 coastal states to compare their brucella samples with the strain in the Gulf.  "We're trying to find out if the animals in the Gulf were more susceptible or was brucella more virulent," she said. "To do that, we need to compare history in the Gulf with other strains in the United States not associated with large numbers of deaths."  A marine-mammal version of canine distemper that has been a factor in past die-offs in the Gulf has been ruled out, Rowles said.

Stranding network 
Dolphin calving season is beginning, and Rowles said NOAA is relying heavily on Marine Mammal Stranding networks across the northern Gulf coast to watch closely and respond to dolphin strandings.  Three dolphins already have been found dead recently that were stillborn or died at birth, she said. One was found near Navy Point here.  "The (stillborn, premature) deaths peaked in February 2011 and the deaths lasted to April," she said. "We're heading into the calving season - the months of February, March and April. Typically, we see a peak in the deaths in March."  Steve Shippee, marine mammal stranding and research coordinator for the four westernmost Panhandle counties, said his team recovered the premature dead dolphin near Navy Point during the holidays.  And they responded to two adult dolphins found dead in the past two weeks.  In all three cases, he thinks the deaths are what normally would be seen this time of the year.

Bottlenose dolphin strandings
To report dead, injured or entangled marine life, including stranded dolphins from the Gulf of Mexico to North Carolina to the NOAA Fisheries Service, call 877-WHALE-HELP. (The easy-to-remember phrase works even though it has more than seven digits.)
  • 2002-09 average: 63
  • 2010: 228
  • 2011: 330
  • 2012: 153
- USA Today.