Friday, January 25, 2013

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Monumental Financial Crash Imminent - United States Banks Shaken By The Biggest Deposit Withdrawals Since 9/11, $114 Billion Withdrawn In Just The First Week Of January?!

January 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - US Federal Reserve is reporting a major deposit withdrawal from the nation’s bank accounts. The financial system hasn’t seen such a massive fund outflow since 9/11 attacks.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images / AFP.
The first week of January 2013 has seen $114 billion withdrawn from 25 of the US’ biggest banks, pushing deposits down to $5.37 trillion, according to the US Fed. Financial analysts suggest it could be down to the Transaction Account Guarantee insurance program coming to an end on December 31 last year and clients moving their money that is no longer insured by the government.

The program was introduced in the wake of the 2008 crisis in order to support the banking system. It provided insurance for around $1.5 trillion in non-interest-bearing accounts with a limit of $250,000. It was aimed at medium and small banks as the creators of the program believed bigger banks would cope with the crisis themselves.

So the current “fast pace” of withdrawal comes as a surprise to financial analysts because the deposits are slipping away from those banks which supposedly were safe. Experts expected savers in small and medium banks would turn to bigger players come December 31.

There are a number of reasons behind this unpredicted fund outflow. Some experts believe it has to do with the beginning of the year when the money is randomly needed here and there. Others have concluded the funds are getting down to business and being invested.

Another set of data from the US Federal Reserve shows some deposits may have moved within the banking system from one type of account to another. - RT.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Volcano Discovery Report For January 25, 2013 - Lokon-Empung, Ambrym, White Island, Agrigan, San Cristobal, San Miguel, Reventador And Copahue!

January 25, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing report from the Volcano Discovery Group.

Ash emission from Lokon (VSI webcam).
Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): Following the moderately large explosion yesterday, small ash emissions continue from the crater, as seen on this webcam image today.

SO2 over Ambrym today (NOAA).
Ambrym (Vanuatu): A large SO2 plume is seen on NOAA satellite data today, indicating that fresh lava continues to arrive inside the lava lakes of the caldera vents.

White Island (New Zealand): New Zealand scientist undertook a gas measurements flight and found values of CO2 and SO2 emissions at similar levels as in December. Observations during the flight revealed that the mud geysering in the main crater lake is still vigorous. Tremor and seismic activity also remain high and eruptions could occur with no or little warning.

Current seismogram from San Cristobal
(CRIN station, INETER).

Agrigan (Mariana Islands, USA): In a satellite image from January 22, NOAA's Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center spotted a possible volcanic plume from Agrigan volcano, located on the next volcanic island north of Pagan (Mariana Isl).  Neither USGS nor NOAA have received confirmation of a volcanic source for this anomaly and it is likely the cloud was weather-related.

San Cristobal (Nicaragua): Volcanic earthquakes and low-level volcanic tremor continue at fluctuating levels within the volcano.

San Miguel (El Salvador): Volcanic tremor and earthquake numbers increased slightly yesterday, but dropped again today.

Current seismic signal from Reventador (CONE station, IG).

Reventador (Ecuador): IG reported lava flows descending from the summit area and continuous emissions creating a 2 km tall plume yesterday (24 Jan). Several hot spots are visible on MODIS images.

Today, the seismic signal alternates between periods of strong tremor with quieter phases, suggesting that activity has been occurring in pulses.

Copahue (Chile/Argentina border): Intense internal (seismic) unrest continues. Sernageomin reported 25 volcano-tectonic and 106 long period events as well as episodes of tremor during 19 hours between 22-23 Jan.

An explosion signal was recorded at 23:55 local time (22 Jan) that corresponded to a brief increase of the height of the gas plume to 1500 m above the crater. No ash emissions or incandescence, or other signs of surface activity other than a moderate slow increase in degassing have so far been observed. - Volcano Discovery.

SHADOW WARS: "Declaration Of War" On The Korean Peninsula - North Korea Threatens To Attack South Korea!

January 25, 2013 - NORTH KOREA - North Korea threatened to attack rival South Korea if Seoul joined a new round of tightened U.N. sanctions, as Washington unveiled more of its own economic restrictions following Pyongyang's rocket launch last month.  In a third straight day of fiery rhetoric, the North directed its verbal onslaught at its neighbor on Friday, saying: "'Sanctions' mean a war and a declaration of war against us."  The reclusive North this week declared a boycott of all dialogue aimed at ending its nuclear program and vowed to conduct more rocket and nuclear tests after the U.N. Security Council censured it for a December long-range missile launch.  "If the puppet group of traitors takes a direct part in the U.N. 'sanctions,' the DPRK will take strong physical counter-measures against it," the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said, referring to the South.  The committee is the North's front for dealings with the South.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers a New Year address in Pyongyang in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency on January 1, 2013. Credit: Reuters/KCNA.
The North's official name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).  Speaking in Beijing, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies said he found North Korea's rhetoric "troubling and counterproductive," and that he and his Chinese counterparts had agreed a new nuclear test would be harmful.  "We will judge North Korea by its actions, not its words. These types of inflammatory statements by North Korea do nothing to contribute to peace and stability on the peninsula," he said.  "What North Korea has done through its actions, in particular through the launch on December 12 of a rocket in contravention of Security Council resolutions, is they have made it that much more difficult to contemplate getting back to a diplomatic process."  In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland urged North Korea's young leader Kim Jong-un to choose a different path, rather than "continue to waste what little money the country has on missile technologies and things while his people go hungry."  The U.N. Security Council unanimously condemned North Korea's December rocket launch on Tuesday and expanded existing U.N. sanctions.

On Thursday, the United States slapped economic sanctions on two North Korean bank officials and a Hong Kong trading company that it accused of supporting Pyongyang's proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  The company, Leader (Hong Kong) International Trading Ltd, was separately blacklisted by the United Nations on Wednesday.  Seoul has said it will look at whether there are any further sanctions that it can implement alongside the United States, but said the focus for now is to follow Security Council resolutions.  The resolution said the council "deplores the violations" by North Korea of its previous resolutions, which banned Pyongyang from conducting further ballistic missile and nuclear tests and from importing materials and technology for those programs. It does not impose new sanctions on Pyongyang.  The United States had wanted to punish North Korea for the rocket launch with a Security Council resolution that imposed entirely new sanctions against Pyongyang, but Beijing rejected that option. China agreed to U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang after North Korea's 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests.  Nuland declined to speculate whether the United States thinks the U.N. steps would change North Korea's behavior.  "What's been important to us is strong unity among the six-party talks countries; strong unity in the region about a positive course forward; and the fact that there will be consequences if they keep making bad choices," she said.  Long-dormant six-nation talks brought together the United States, China, Russia, Japan and the two Koreas in negotiations to try to induce Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear arms quest in exchange for economic aid and diplomatic normalization. - Reuters.

WATCH:  'N. Korea rattles nuclear saber on cue but still a wildcard'.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole - As Crew Works On Project For Sinkhole Vent System, Bubbling Is Seen Around New Pad Near The Hole?!

January 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A dump truck poured yards of earth on top of a dirt pad being built up amid flooded swamplands in northern Assumption Parish.  A bulldozer smoothed out the pile, pushing it to the watery edge of the pad just west of an 8.5-acre sinkhole near the Bayou Corne community.  An excavator scooped up water from the flooded swamp and spread it over the newly leveled dirt. The bulldozer then gave the wet-down pad a final smoothing pass.  Dump, spread, compact. The process continued in that order Wednesday while workers and earthmovers set out to form the pad. As the day wore on, heavy dump trucks waited near La. 70 South for their turns to deposit more fill to build the pad.  A few hundred yards away from this noisy, diesel-fueled ballet, the fresh earth ended abruptly and a flooded road stretched into an inundated swamp, the long path ahead for Texas Brine Co. LLC’s contractors and Bayou Corne.  Dubbed colloquially “the Rig Road,” the unnamed oilfield track is seen as the means of providing access for as many as seven more vent well sites in the swamps. The wells would be placed in an H-like formation partially tracking the road and a gas pipeline right of way perpendicular to the road, officials said.

Advocate staff photo by ADAM LAU -- A bulldozer and excavator work together to fill flooded swampland near the Bayou Corne community in Assumption Parish on Wednesday. The contractors for Texas Brine Co. LLC of Houston work to elevate an existing road and build a new pad for use as a hub for construction work related to drilling natural gas vent wells and installing other infrastructure in response to an 8.5-acre sinkhole nearby.
The area is west of the sinkhole.  After weeks of delays over landowner access issues and public criticism for the slow pace of vent well installation, the seven wells — mandated in an order that state Conservation Commissioner James Welsh issued — are part of a push by Texas Brine to deploy 12 new vent wells in the area, company and parish officials said.  Texas Brine officials announced Jan. 12 that some land agreements were in hand and preparatory work would begin at well sites in the swamp Jan. 18. Once finished, the number of potentially working vent wells will total 16, parish and company officials said.  “We just had this issue of not being able to access a lot of these sites, and now that we’re trying to complete that (access process), it has opened a floodgate of activity,” Sonny Cranch, spokesman for Texas Brine, said Thursday.  Parish officials said the Rig Road and an accompanying dirt pad also were being raised to handle installation of a new 1,000-foot-deep seismic well and a separate well to test water in an underground aquifer.  Rig Road, along with the new pad, will serve as the hub needed to support sinkhole response and construction of a containment berm to isolate the briney slurry hole from the surrounding freshwater swamps. 

Cranch added Thursday that company officials did not have a timeline for when the site preparation would be finished. He said 9,000 cubic yards of earth had been moved into the swamp through Wednesday.  Part of the earthen containment berm will do double duty as a stretch of the elevated Rig Road. Cranch said that a portion of the road must be engineered to serve both as a road and as a berm segment.  While Texas Brine is planning to drill 16 vent wells, there is no guarantee, as in the oil business itself, that all new planned wells will wind up flaring off gas. In the past months, some vent wells have not hit gas while others have filled with sand or hit hydrogen sulfide and been abandoned.  The Rig Road actually may be situated on prime territory for striking underground gas, however. A string of 11 new gas bubble sites obscured in the woods just west of the road was recently found, and bubbling sites could be seen in several locations just off the edge of the pad where contractors worked on Wednesday.  All of the vent wells are expected to reach about 160 feet deep and tap into the Mississippi River Alluvial Aquifer, where gas is trapped as a suspected consequence of the failed Texas Brine salt cavern collapse in the Napoleonville Dome, parish officials said.  The failure of the cavern’s side wall deep underground led to a subsurface scrambling that not only released crude oil and gas but also caused the sinkhole to form, scientist have said.  The sinkhole’s discovery Aug. 3 prompted an evacuation of 150 residences in the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities, while the discovery of the gas has further re-enforced the need for the nearly six-month-old evacuation order to remain in place. 

Seismic Monitoring Locations: Enlarged mapshowing where the shallowwell Geophone is located, where the old helicorders are located, and where the 2 deep 6000 foot seismic geophone wells will be. The helicorders are surface monitors.The geophones are deep in ground monitors.
Four vent wells are now removing 34,000 cubic feet per day of natural gas from a reservoir of 50 million to 100 million cubic feet of gas underlying the communities.  As of 3 p.m. Thursday, a variety of wells, including the four now venting and some no longer operating, have removed a combined total of nearly 5.6 million cubic feet of gas, parish officials said.  John Boudreaux, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, told the parish Police Jury on Wednesday in Napoleonville that Texas Brine has plans to install five other vent wells while the Rig Road is under construction.  Two are partially finished on existing well pads on Texas Brine’s lease. Two more are planned north of La. 70 near two existing vent wells. A fifth is planned south of La. 70 closer to the Bayou Corne community, he said.  “Their reasoning for doing this is until they get that road built up, the Rig Road built up, they don’t have access to get a rig in and start vent wells that have been planned in the commissioner’s orders, so they’re actually doing these (wells) in preparation for that road to be completed,” Boudreaux said.  The incremental progress has offered little respite for some, with a few Bayou Corne residents telling jurors Wednesday they were ready to move on and wanted buyouts.  “I don’t care if they ever fix the damned sinkhole. It could go all the way to China as far as I care. I want to get on with my life,” said evacuee Kenny Simoneaux, 56, a truck driver who is living with his wife in a camper in Pierre Part.  Cranch said Thursday all of Texas Brine’s efforts and resources are currently directed toward the variety of steps required for sinkhole response, but added the company is “very aware of the buyout issue.” - The Advocate.

See the following websites for information on

Helicorder Data (PDF).

Recent Helicorder Displays - The University of Memphis.

Bayou Corne Sinkhole (Facebook).

PLANETARY TREMORS: Major Disaster Precursors - Earthquake Swarm Reported Near Nevada’s Topaz Lake And Oregonians Feel Small Quake Swarm Near Waldport!

January 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Sixteen small quakes hit an area near Topaz Lake early Thursday, but there have been no reports of damage or injury.

The quakes hit an area southwest of the lake between midnight and 5AM. They ranged from 1.1 to 3.7 in magnitude, and were between three and nine kilometers deep. Another handful of small quakes hit several hours later, in the afternoon and evening.

The remote area is about 45 miles southeast of Gardnerville.

Another small swarm hit an area about 20 miles west northwest of Donner Lake between 5:45AM and 6:15AM Thursday. They ranged between 0.5 and 2.1 in magnitude, with no reports of damage or injury. - KOLO.

WATCH: Quake Swarm Hits Topaz Area.

Oregonians Feel Small Quake Swarm Near Waldport.
A small cluster of modest earthquakes has been recorded off the central Oregon coast with the largest a magnitude 3.4. 

A handful of people reported feeling the 3.4 quake that hit shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday. 

Geophysicist Randy Baldwin of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo., says small quakes in that area would not be expected to cause any damage on land. 

The quakes were centered about 30 miles west of Waldport. Others included a magnitude 3.0 and a 2.6. 

Baldwin says such quakes are fairly common. - Oregon Live.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: United Kingdom Heads For Triple Dip Recession As GDP Contracts By 0.3 Percent, And Bank Of America Issues "Bond Crash" Alert On Fed Tightening Fears?!

January 25, 2013 - UNITED KINGDOM - The British economy slipped back into reverse in the final quarter of 2012, raising the prospect of a third recession since the financial crisis and increasing pressure on the government to ease up on its austerity drive.  Gross domestic product for the U.K. fell by 0.3% in the fourth quarter, a weaker performance than many economists were expecting. The economy emerged from recession in the third quarter with growth of 0.9%, but one-off factors such as the London Olympics were largely responsible for the economic boost.

The UK may be headed for its third recession since the financial crisis.
Output in the dominant services sector was flat, but industrial production fell by 1.8% in the last three months of 2012. Meanwhile, the construction sector saw growth of 0.3%.  The International Monetary Fund this week shaved its 2013 growth forecast for the U.K. economy to 1%. Its chief economist Olivier Blanchard said Thursday that the time was right for Britain to consider adjusting its program of fiscal consolidation -- a call rejected immediately by U.K. finance minister George Osborne.  Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Osborne said his plan to reduce the U.K. budget deficit had created credibility with investors allowing the country to borrow at very low rates.  "Credibility is very hard won and easily lost," he said. "And I think it would be a huge mistake to put that at risk."  But a fall back into recession could put the country's AAA credit rating in doubt, risking an increase in borrowing costs.  "Another contraction in Q1 -- and thus a 'triple-dip' recession -- seems worryingly easy to deliver," stated economists at Nomura in a research note.  Government cuts, falling real disposable incomes and recession in the eurozone are depressing activity in the U.K. Three big retailers have already collapsed this year, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

 The government said last month that the belt tightening would have to continue into 2018, a year longer than expected, due to low revenues. National output remains about 3% below pre-recession levels.  Evidence that the world's sixth largest economy is still going nowhere comes as a debate rages around its membership of the European Union.  Prime Minister David Cameron this week said he would offer the British people the chance to vote on whether the country should remain within the EU if his party wins the next election in 2015.  Some business leaders have given him their support, arguing that Britain should take the opportunity presented by the eurozone crisis to push for a less bureaucratic and more competitive and flexible single market in the EU.  Others, however, have warned that the risk of the U.K. voting to leave the EU could have a chilling effect on investment.  "It's at best neutral, at worst negative," Martin Sorrell, CEO of advertising group WPP, told CNN. "You just added another reason why people are going to postpone investment decisions. And the last thing we need is people postponing more." - CNN Money.

WATCH: Nouriel Roubini - "Dr. Doom's" Risks For The Global Economy.

Bank of America said the “Great Rotation” under way from
bonds into equities closely tracks the pattern of 1994, with
bank stocks leading the way. Photo: AFP.
Bank Of America Issues "Bond Crash" Alert On Fed Tightening Fears.
The US lender said investors face a treacherous moment as central banks start fretting about inflation and shift gears, threatening a surge in bond yields.  This happened in 1994 under Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan when yields on US 30-year Treasuries jumped 240 basis points over a nine-month span, setting off a “savage reversal of fortune in leveraged areas of fixed income markets”.  A similar shock this year is “likely” if the US economy continues to gather strength. “The moment we hear the first rhetorical talk of exit strategies by central banks this could turn,” said chief investment strategist, Michael Hartnett. There was already a whiff of this in the most recent Fed minutes.  “The period of Maximum Liquidity is close to an end. Yes, the Japanese reflation is gaining steam in 2013 but we regard this as the last of the great reflations. The big picture is a transition from deflation to normal growth and rates,” he said.  The 1994 bond shock - and seared in the memories of bond-holders - ricocheted through global markets. It bankrupted Orange Country, California, which was caught flat-footed with large bond positions. It set off the Tequila Crisis in Mexico as the cost of rolling over `tesobonos’ linked to the US dollar suddenly jumped. Most emerging markets now raise debt in their own currency but the effect of a worldwide tightening cycle could expose a host of problems. “Frontier markets are attracting tremoundous capital inflows and this new carry trade could reverse quite violently. The risk of local bubbles bursting is high,” said Mr Hartnett. - Telegraph.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Incoming Comet - Comet PanSTARRS Will Soon Cross The Orbit Of Mercury And Become Visible In Our Skies - It Could Brighten 100-Fold On March 10th, Becoming As Bright As A 3rd Magnitude Star!

January 25, 2013 - SPACE - In little more than a month, Comet PanSTARRS will cross the orbit of Mercury and probably brighten to naked-eye visibility as it absorbs the heat of the nearby sun. Sky watchers around the world will be looking for it in the sunset skies of early March, when it passes closest to the sun and to Earth. Until then a telescope is required; here is the view last night through a 0.3-meter-diameter reflector in Argentina:

A team of astronomers led by Martin Masek took the picture using the remotely-controlled F(/Ph)otometric Robotic Atmospheric Monitor--"FRAM" for short. "The stars are trailed in this 9x120s exposure, which tracked the comet," explains Masel.

Currently, the comet ranks about 8th magnitude, dimmer than the human eye can see, but it could brighten 100-fold on March 10th when it makes its closest approach to the sun (0.3 AU). The latest curves suggest that PanSTARRS will emerge glowing about as brightly as a 3rd magnitude star, similar to the stars in the Big Dipper.

There might, however, be surprises in store. Comet PanSTARRS has never been to inner solar system before. It is falling in from the Oort cloud, a great swarm of comets beyond Neptune and Pluto unaltered by the warmth of the sun. When Comet PanSTARRS dips it toe inside the orbit of Mercury for the first time, almost anything could happen ranging from an anticlimatic "bake-out" to a spectacular disruption. Stay tuned for updates. - Space Weather.

The Orbital Diagram.

Click HERE for more on the Orbital Diagram.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole - Seismic Activity Rose, Then Dropped After Sinkhole "Burp", Flyovers Show New Access Road Being Built On Edge Of Subsidence Zone, And Oxy 3 Wellpad Has Major Cracks And Has Been Evacuated?!

January 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Scientists have noticed a recent increase in seismic activity near the 8.5-acre sinkhole at Bayou Corne, and worry that it might grow again, Assumption Parish officials say. The increase was first noticed about two weeks ago, John Boudreaux, director of the Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, told The Advocate.

Scientists noticed more than 80 such events on Jan. 18, but activity dropped after the sinkhole “burped” crude oil, debris and hydrocarbon to the surface the next morning, he said. Boudreaux says officials worry that something may be shifting in salt deposits just east of the failed Texas Brine Co. LLC cavern that scientists believe caused the sinkhole. Company officials don’t know of any seismic activity since Jan. 19, spokesman Sonny Cranch told the Associated Press. The movement appears to have cracked a concrete drilling well pad directly above the failed cavern and on the eastern side of the sinkhole. Cracks 1 inch wide and 14 inches deep stretch from the pad’s north side to the southwest side, he said. Louisiana Department of Natural Resources scientists have said they believe that when the Texas Brine cavern failed, the brine it held gushed out, opening the sinkhole sometime between the night of Aug. 2 and the morning of Aug. 3. Residents of 150 homes in the two communities were ordered on Aug. 3 to evacuate their homes and camps. The order remains in place. - Insurance Journal.

Links to the Charts:

WATCH: Bayou Corne Sinkholes Oxy 3 Wellpad Has Major Cracks And Has Been Evacuated!

WATCH: Flyover - January 24, 2013.

WATCH: Flyover - January 24, 2013.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong Magnitude 5.0 Quake Rattles North-Central Italy - Felt In Milan, Florence!

January 25, 2013 - ITALY - An earthquake has shaken parts of northern Italy, forcing some residents onto the streets. The magnitude-5.0 quake struck at a depth of 15.5km (9.6 miles) 35km north of the city of Lucca, officials said. The tremor was felt as far away as Milan and Florence, Italian media say. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Italy is prone to earthquakes. In 2009 almost 300 people died in a quake in L'Aquila in the central Abruzzo region. Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology said the quake struck at 15:48 (14:48 GMT), with its epicentre in Garfagnana. Several aftershocks of lower magnitude were felt across a large area. In Milan, top floors of tall office blocks shook and the quake was also felt in the cities of Bologna and Modena. In Lucca, people poured out into the streets, Italian news agency Ansa reports. Last May, two earthquakes in northern Italy left more than 20 people dead. The strongest tremor was magnitude-6 and there was significant damage.

Italy is still trying to recover from the aftermath of the deadly earthquake in L'Aquila. Six scientists and an ex-official were convicted of multiple manslaughter in October 2012 for giving a falsely reassuring statement. The group, all members of the National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Serious Risks, were accused of having provided "inaccurate, incomplete and contradictory" information about the danger of the tremors felt ahead of the 6 April 2009 quake.

At a meeting a few days before the deadly quake, they had told officials in L'Aquila that, while a major earthquake was not impossible, it was not likely. On the night of the quake, many people are said to have remained in their homes and died because of the advice, while others who had decided to remain outside in the street survived. - Standard Digital.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: European Vampirism - Deadly Genetically Modified Flu Research That Could "Wipe Out Significant Portion Of Humanity" Set To Restart By Scientists?!

January 25, 2013 - THE NETHERLANDS - Scientists last night ended a voluntary ban on creating mutant forms of bird flu, despite warnings that an accidental release could kill millions of people.  Research into H5N1 transmission stopped a year ago amid fears information about how to create potentially dangerous viruses could be used for bioterrorism.  The self-imposed moratorium came after two teams independently discovered how to mutate the virus so that it could be transmitted through the air between humans.

However, other leading scientists condemned the decision to go ahead with the research, with one warning an 'accidental release could wipe out a significant portion of humanity.'  Forty of the world's leading flu researchers voluntarily halted investigations into the airborne transmission of the H5N1 avian flu strain last January, following public outrage over the work.  Announcing the decision to resume studies in a letter published in the journals Science and Nature last night, they said the work would only be carried out in the most secure sites in countries that agree it can go ahead.  That will allow work to start again in key laboratories in the Netherlands and elsewhere but not yet in the U.S or U.S.-funded research centres, pending further safety and security guidelines there. Flu experts said they have recognised the fears over their risky studies of the pathogen and worked hard to calm them, and now it is time to push on.  They say the studies are essential for a deeper understanding of H5N1, which many fear could one day spark a lethal pandemic in humans.  'We want the world to be better prepared than we currently are when an H5N1 virus causes a pandemic,' said Yoshihiro Kawaoka of Tokyo University, a leading researcher on avian flu.  'We understand the risks associated with our research and we take every precaution to conduct H5N1 virus experiments safely.'  

Deadly: The H5N1 strain of bird flu can currently pass from birds to
birds, and from birds to humans, but not between humans. When 
it does infect a human, it is usually fatal.
He told reporters on a teleconference the research would boost efforts to develop global flu 'biosurveillance', early warning systems, as well as better flu drugs and vaccines.  But other scientific experts warned that the potential risks of going ahead with the research outweighed the possible benefits.  Former government chief scientist Professor Lord May told The Independent: 'As this research become more widely known and disseminated, there is the opportunity for evil people to pervert it.  'My other concern is the statistics of containment are not what they ought to be.'  Genetic engineering expert Sir Richard Roberts, who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1993, said the decision had been 'made by a small group of self-interested scientists' and made 'a mockery of the concept of informed consent'.  'Should we be trying to engineer in the laboratory a virus so dangerous that an accidental release could wipe out a significant portion of humanity?' he asked. 'I vote no.'   In the open letter announcing the lifting of the ban, flu researchers from the U.S., China, Japan, Britain, the Netherlands, Canada, Hong Kong, Italy and Germany admitted their research was not without risks.  'However, because the risk exists in nature that an H5N1 virus capable of transmission in mammals may emerge, the benefits of this work outweigh the risks,' they added.  Wendy Barclay, a flu virologist at Imperial College London and one of the letter's signatories, said lifting the moratorium would lead to scientific discoveries that would have 'direct consequence for human and animal health'.  All research into H5N1 transmission was halted last January after teams at the University of Wisconsin and the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam made mutant forms that can be transmitted directly among mammals, meaning they could in theory also pass between people.  

Currently, bird flu can be transmitted from birds to birds, and birds to humans, but not from humans to humans.  When it does pass from birds to humans, it is usually fatal. Scientists are concerned the same mutations needed to make it transmissible among mammals in a lab could one day happen in nature.  When news of the work emerged late in 2011, it prompted the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity to call for the scientific papers about it to be censored to prevent details falling into the wrong hands.  The censorship call sparked a fierce debate about how far scientists should be allowed to go in manipulating infectious agents in the name of research.  Professor Barclay said this had been a 'knee-jerk response from certain quarters previously naive of this approach, expressing horror that scientists were brewing up deadly diseases.'  During the moratorium, the World Health Organisation recommended that scientists explain the biological and other security measures they use to contain the virus and make more effort to show why the research is so important.  'The laboratories have expanded on their containment and security system ... and I think the value of the results has been recognised,' said John McCauley, director of the WHO collaborating centre for flu research at Britain's National Institute for Medical Research.  Ron Fouchier, from the Rotterdam lab which led one of the studies, said his team would start fresh research on H5N1 viruses 'in the next few weeks'.  'We really need to understand how these viruses become airborne,' he told reporters in the teleconference, saying that was the primary goal of the work. - Daily Mail.

PLANETARY TREMORS: The Mount Enterprise Fault - Strong Magnitude 4.1 Earthquake Shakes East Texas Overnight!

January 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The U.S. Geology Survey confirms a 4.1 magnitude earthquake hit East Texas around 1:01 a.m. Friday morning with an epicenter 2 miles from Timpson, Texas. KSLA News 12 phone lines started ringing after numerous people felt the 'quake from Shelby County all the way to Bossier City.

USGS earthquake map.
"It woke me up out of a dead sleep," said Amanda Jones who lives on Highway 7 E between Center and Joaquin. Jones tells us it felt stronger than the last earthquake that hit East Texas last summer. Jones says she is unsure about damage but will wait until the sun comes up to check. Jamie Ward in Center, TX tells us her house shook for at least 20 seconds. A man from Carthage, TX who was working the night shift at a gas plant says "it felt like it was coming from the bottom of my feet up." He described what he felt "like the wind was shaking the travel trailer." He tells us he looked for damage but didn't see any.

A woman who lives on W. 70th in Shreveport tells us she was laying in bed when "stuff started shaking."
Bossier City resident Sarah Rains, who lives off of Sligo Rd., says she and her roommate felt their trailer shake and thought it might have just been heavy winds. Katy Cash of Keatchie says she felt her house shake but thought she was just imagining it when her chandelier over the dining table started swaying. Katy tells us her mom in Florien, Louisiana also felt it.

We want to hear from you if you have any reports to share. Please email us You can also send pictures or video to Make sure you have the KSLA News 12 Weather app on iPhones and iPads to use our earthquake tracker. According to the United States Geological Survey, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Texas was a magnitude 5.8, which struck near the tiny West Texas town of Valentine in August of 1931. - KSLA.

SHADOW WARS: The Kashmir Conflict - India Warns Kashmir Residents To Prepare For Nuclear War!

January 25, 2013 - KASHMIR - Following a series of skirmishes between Pakistan and India over the line of control in Kashmir, officials in Indian-controlled Kashmir are telling residents to prepare for a possible nuclear attack, the Associated Press reported today.

The directive was published on Monday in a major local newspaper, and explained how people should stay safe after nuclear weapons are unleashed. It advised people to build toilet-equipped basements or to construct bunkers in their front yards. Residents should also stock their shelters with candles, battery-operated lights, radios, and non perishable foods, the newspaper said, according to AP. The inspector general at the Civil Defense and State Disaster Response Force told AP that the notice in the newspaper was a "normal exercise." However, tensions between India and Pakista are so high that villagers living by the border on the Pakistan side of Kashmir are rebuilding bunkers without having received any notices.
GlobalPost's India correspondent Jason Overdorf cast doubt on that explanation. "If the officials' claim that these advisories are routine were indeed true, presumably every resident of Indian-administered Kashmir would already be the proud owner of a nice, comfortable fallout shelter," Overdorf said. "That said, I wouldn't hold my breath, waiting for the bombs to start falling. This has the whiff of the ludicrous about it — and is most likely part of a local effort to further discredit Pakistan with people who hold no great love for those many consider their Indian occupiers," he said.
An Indian Border Security Force soldier keeps watch at an
outpost along the India-Pakistan border in Suchit-Garh.
According to the AP, many of them had bunkers before 2005, when a large earthquake destroyed their shelters. Now, they're being forced to rebuild these structures. Both India and Pakistan claim rights over Kashmir, a Himalayan region that's divided by the two nations. A cease-fire along the border, known as the line of control, has existed since 2003. Though low-level shelling has existed on both sides of the border, tensions have been escalating. On Jan. 6, Indian soldiers fired across the border, killing a Pakistani solider. India said its soldiers fired in response to Pakistani shelling. Two days later, India claimed Pakistani troops killed two of its soldiers, beheading one of them post-mortem. Though Pakistan denied the allegations, on Jan. 10 Pakistani troops claimed Indian troops fired across the border, killing another soldier. In the days that followed, political rhetoric from both sides intensified. India's prime minister used especially harsh words while chiding Pakistan, saying the treatment of the Indian solider was "inhuman." Since a truce was called last Wednesday, the countries have enjoyed relative calm. - Global Post.

ICE AGE: Global Cooling Across The World - United States And Canada Register Record Temperature Lows As Arctic Blast Sweeps North America!

January 25, 2013 - NORTH AMERICA - Arctic air sweeping through Canada and parts of the United States sent temperatures plunging to record lows on Wednesday with a wind chill of minus 40 degrees (Celsius and Fahrenheit).  Canada was the coldest nation in the world at the start of the day with with temperatures as low as minus 43.1 degrees Celsius (-45.6 Fahrenheit) in the Northwest Territories, according to public broadcaster CBC.  In Ottawa, buildings cracked in the cold, making sounds like the crash of a wrecking ball.  No significant damage was reported, and only one death has been linked to the cold, a man found dead in Toronto with signs of hypothermia.

Firefighters work to extinguish a massive blaze at a vacant warehouse on January 23, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. More than 200 firefighters battled a five-alarm fire as temperatures were in the single digits. © Reuters.
In Rouyn, Quebec, temperatures dropped to -40,3 Celsius (-40.5 Fahrenheit), lower even than in Yakutsk, Siberia, which came in at -38,8 Celsius (-37.84).  "Low pressure in southern Canada brought a cold air mass from the north," causing a deep freeze, Environment Canada meteorologist Andre Cantin told AFP.  The cold snap was being felt as far south as the US states of Virginia and Ohio where severe cold warnings pointed to risks of hypothermia and frostbite, as well as carbon monoxide poisoning from poorly ventilated heating sources.  The cold air is expected to linger until at least the end of the week, weather forecasters said.  Bundled up pedestrians walk through Times Square January 23, 2013 in New York. Arctic air sweeping through Canada and parts of the United States sent temperatures plunging to record lows with a wind chill of minus 40 degrees (Celsius and Fahrenheit).  In the Canadian capital, dogs resisted going out for their morning walk, and many bureaucrats stayed home.  American singer Miley Cyrus and her fiancee actor Liam Hemsworth, underdressed in sweatshirts for a trek to a downtown bookstore, reportedly said they were "freezing" after just coming from Costa Rica.  Hemsworth, who starred in "The Hunger Games," was in town working on a film.  Schools were closed across eastern Canada, and 5,000 homes were without electricity in Quebec province. 

A bundled up man waits to cross the street on January 23, 2013, in New York. The cold air is expected to linger until at least the end of the week, weather forecasters said.  In Montreal and Toronto, shelters offering a bed and a hot meal quickly filled up overnight.  New York City opened scores of warming centers, where anyone can go and thaw out during daytime hours. In neighboring Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy urged similar measures.  "Overnight temperatures over the next few days are expected to range from 0 to 10 degrees (Fahrenheit). Factor in the wind chill, and it will feel like 0 to -15 degrees," he wrote on his Facebook page.  "We are also encouraging local communities to consider opening warming centers or other facilities to help people in need," he said.  The cold was most painful in areas of New York where electric power and other infrastructure remains battered in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.  "It's cold, like we're outside, because once the generator's cut, that's it: no power, no lights, anything. No heat," Sandra Green, a resident in the badly hit coastal Rockaways neighborhood, told WCBS 880 radio.  "What I will do if it go that way without the heat, I'll set the house on fire and I will stand beside it and stay warm," another resident of the devastated area told the radio.  Washington was still far from its all-time record low of minus 26 degrees Celsius (minus 15 Fahrenheit) set on February 11, 1899, the day of a severe cold wave from Maine to Florida that preceded the Great Blizzard of 1899.  But it was enough to send a shiver through the US capital two days after the public inauguration of President Barack Obama's second term -- an event that saw an estimated one million people brave the winter chill.  By late morning the temperature in Washington was minus six Celsius (21 degrees Fahrenheit), but a 15 kilometer per hour (10 mile per hour) wind from the northwest made it feel more like minus 11 (12 degrees Fahrenheit) under partly sunny skies. - AlterNet.

WATCH: Arctic outbreak across U.S. northeast.

WATCH: 25-foot ice shoves take over street.

DELUGE: Mozambique Floods Displace 70,000 People - Heaviest Rainfall In 13 Years! UPDATE: About 15,000 Crocodiles On The Loose In Limpopo, South Africa Following Floods!

January 25, 2013 - SOUTHERN AFRICA - Floods in southern Mozambique have displaced up to 70 000 people and cut power exports to energy-hungry neighbour South Africa in half, officials said on Thursday.  The south and centre of the country have been placed on red alert after experiencing the heaviest rainfall since devastating floods killed some 800 people in 2000.  In some places current water levels are higher than they were during that disaster.  As the Limpopo River raged through the southern town of Chokwe, people slept in the open, many by the roadside, local media reported. The record flood levels submerged houses in some places, emergency officials said.  "We are sending seven days of food for 70 000 people," the country's international humanitarian head Lola Castro told AFP.  But she added: "Our in-country stocks are limited. We are requesting donor support."  Nine rivers in six water systems were still above disaster levels on Thursday. The waters were predicted to drop in Chokwe, but rise at the Limpopo River's mouth in Xai-Xai on the Indian Ocean.  Helicopters would start rescuing people stranded on rooftops from Friday, said Castro.  Meanwhile convoys of cars packed with people's belongings were leaving Xai-Xai, capital of southern province Gaza, as the city braced for the deluge, an AFP correspondent reported. 

A road washed away by torrential rainfall in Maputo, Mozambique. © AFP / Stringer.
Emergency supplies 
Flood waters could hit the coast as early as Thursday night and authorities earlier issued a 48-hour evacuation order.  Onlookers crowded the banks of the swollen Limpopo River watching evacuations. Authorities say most people heeded the warning to move to higher ground.  Aid agencies are sending trucks with food and emergency supplies to emergency shelters near Chokwe, where people are still arriving on foot or the back of trucks.  Most are women, children and the elderly. So far very little food has reached them since they fled their homes early Tuesday.  Locals were slow to evacuate the town, which complicated humanitarian programmes, said Castro.  Mozambique remains one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 184th out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Index.  Heavy rains are predicted to pelt the south until next Tuesday. 

Image by: Benchill / Wikimedia commons. File photo.
In South Africa 15 000 crocodiles escaped from a farm as the Limpopo flooded upstream from Mozambique.  Key power lines to South Africa were also damaged by the flooding of the Limpopo, Hilary Joffe, spokesperson for Eskom, told AFP.  "That has meant the supplies from Mozambique have been reduced. We are getting much less than 650MW... which is less than half of what it should be," she said.  Eskom imports between 1 300 and 1 500MW of electricity from Mozambique's Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), the operators of one of Africa's largest hydro-electric projects.  Work is underway to fix the transmission line, and South Africa is helping its impoverished neighbour with the repair works, the Eskom spokesperson said.  In the meantime, the group is getting electricity from other providers to avoid brownouts. - News 24.

THE SHADOW WARS: Sabotage - Key Iranian Nuclear Facility Hit, Explosion Destroyed Much Of The Underground Installation!

January 25, 2013 - IRAN - An explosion deep within Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility has destroyed much of the installation and trapped about 240 personnel deep underground, according to a former intelligence officer of the Islamic regime.  The previously secret nuclear site has become a center for Iran’s nuclear activity because of the 2,700 centrifuges enriching uranium to the 20-percent level. A further enrichment to weapons grade would take only weeks, experts say.  The level of enrichment has been a major concern to Israeli officials, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly has warned about the 20-percent enriched stockpile.  The explosion occurred Monday, the day before Israeli elections weakened Netanyahu’s political control.  Iran, to avoid alarm, had converted part of the stockpile to fuel plates for use in the Tehran Research Reactor. However, days after the recent failed talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iranian officials announced the enrichment process will not stop even “for a moment.”  The regime’s uranium enrichment process takes place at two known sites: the Natanz facility with more than 10,000 centrifuges and Fordow with more than 2,700. The regime currently has enough low-grade (3.5 percent) uranium stockpiled for six nuclear bombs if further enriched.

However, more time is needed for conversion of the low-grade uranium than what would be needed for a stockpile at 20 percent. It takes 225 kilograms of enriched uranium at the 20-percent level to further enrich to the 90-percent level for one nuclear bomb.  According to a source in the security forces protecting Fordow, an explosion on Monday at 11:30 a.m. Tehran time rocked the site, which is buried deep under a mountain and immune not only to airstrikes but to most bunker-buster bombs. The report of the blast came via Hamidreza Zakeri, formerly with the Islamic regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and National Security,  The blast shook facilities within a radius of three miles. Security forces have enforced a no-traffic radius of 15 miles, and the Tehran-Qom highway was shut down for several hours after the blast, the source said. As of Wednesday afternoon, rescue workers had failed to reach the trapped personnel.  The site, about 300 feet under a mountain, had two elevators which now are out of commission. One elevator descended about 240 feet and was used to reach centrifuge chambers. The other went to the bottom to carry heavy equipment and transfer uranium hexafluoride. One emergency staircase reaches the bottom of the site and another one was not complete. The source said the emergency exit southwest of the site is unreachable.  The regime believes the blast was sabotage and the explosives could have reached the area disguised as equipment or in the uranium hexafluoride stock transferred to the site, the source said. The explosion occurred at the third centrifuge chambers, with the high-grade enriched uranium reserves below them.  The information was passed on to U.S. officials but has not been verified or denied by the regime or other sources within the regime.  Though the news of the explosion has not been independently verified, other sources previously have provided WND with information on plans for covert operations against Iran’s nuclear facilities as an option before going to war. The hope is to avoid a larger-scale conflict. Israel, the U.S. and other allies already have concluded the Islamic regime has crossed its red line in its quest for nuclear weapons, other sources have said.

However, this information was not revealed for security reasons until several days ago when sources said the regime’s intelligence agency, through an alleged spy in the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, had learned of the decision to conduct sabotage on Iran’s nuclear sites on a much larger scale than before. As reported, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called an urgent meeting Tuesday with the intelligence minister, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization and other officials to discuss the threat, and now it’s clear the meeting included the sabotage at Fordow.  Several Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated in recent years. Last year, saboteurs struck the power supply to the Fordow facility, temporarily disrupting production. And a computer worm called Stuxnet, believed to have originated in the U.S., set Iran’s plans for nuclear weapons back substantially.  The 5+1 (the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) hope to resume talks with Iran over its illicit nuclear program. The talks ended last year after regime officials refused to negotiate.

Sources in the Islamic regime previously have revealed exclusively to WND the existence of:
- WND.

ICE AGE: Global Cooling Across The World - Shimla, India, Witnesses 8-Year Record Breaking Snowfall In A Single Day, As The Homeless Battle The Brutal Cold In Latvia!

January 25, 2013 - INDIA - The "Queen of Hills" was witness to the record breaking single day highest snowfall in the month of January in the last eight years.  The heavy snowfall continued on second consecutive day on Friday till late night and recorded a total of 63.6 cms of snow in two days in Shimla.  In the last 24 hours, there was 38.6 cms of snow recorded making it a record breaking single day snow after 2004 in the month of January.  The January of 2004 had recorded a 38.6 cm snow in a single day.  The heavy snowfall brought life to a standstill traffic and power supply was disrupted across Shimla town.  Most part of Shimla plunged into darkness at 11.00pm because to falling trees and electricity poles that snapped power.  The communication services were also affected with snapping of telephone lines. 

Shimla, India, Witnesses 8-Year Record Breaking Snowfall In A Single Day.
Daily supplies and newspaper services were affected and the residents had to make do without milk and bread supply that was affected owing to transport disruption.  Deputy commissioner of Shimla, Dinesh Malhotra, said that efforts were on to bring life to normal.  Electricity supply was being restored across the town and by 6.00pm it would be completely restored.  "Snow excavators to clear snow on the roads were being used since morning to normalize vehicular traffic. Roads leading to hospitals like Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) were also being cleared on priority. Besides, supply of essential commodities is also being restored," he said.  Meanwhile reports of heavy snowfall were also reported from high hills in Shimla district and other parts of the state.  In Shimla district Chopal , Rohru, Jubbal- Kotkhai remained cut off for the third consecutive day from the capital town owing to road blockade.  Meanwhile traffic on the roads in the tribal belt of Kinnaur and Lahaul Spiti continued to be disrupted.  With the road blocked at Khara-Pathar due to heavy snow no HRTC buses were plied for Rohru and Chopal for the third consecutive day.  Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) had no buses plying to the upper region of Shimla district and Kinnaur. - Hindustan Times.

Homeless Battle The Brutal Cold In Latvia.
Latvia is hit by a cold spell with frigid temperatures forcing an increasing number of homeless people to search refuge in shelters to avoid frostbites or even death caused by the cold. Social workers from Riga social shelters drive around the city and invite homeless people to spend the nights in shelters. But the social workers also admit that many homeless are resilient to leave their accommodations in abandoned buildings and garages. They go to the shelters only as a very last resort. According to the Latvian weather forecast, temperatures are expected to rise in late January with another cold front due in February. - Reuters.

WATCH: Brutal Cold in Latvia.