Saturday, January 26, 2013

ICE AGE: Global Cooling Across The World - Drivers Stranded And Planes Grounded As Snow Grips Britain!

January 26, 2013 - BRITAIN - A snowbound Britain is captured in the following photograph taken by NASA’s Modis satellite as it passed over the country on Saturday.  The photograph was taken at around 11.30am, just hours after hundreds of motorists on the M6 were forced to abandon their cars overnight when more than a foot of snow brought vehicles to a standstill.Police gave out hot drinks to those who decided to remain in their cars, while snow ploughs struggled throughout the night to clear routes and keep roads open. 

Snow coats Britain on Saturday in this satellite photo taken by NASA's Modis satellite at
11.30am, 26th Jan Photo: NEODAAS/University of Dundee.
Many drivers became stuck along the stretch of motorway between Wigan and Standish, after struggling to make it up inclines in the treacherous conditions, while a number of accidents, including jack-knifed lorries, also blocked lanes.  Parts of the country now face now the threat of flooding as rising temperatures bring rapid thaw of the snow and ice that has built up over the last two weeks.  The Highways Agency closed the M6 overnight in both directions between junctions 25 and 27 near Wigan, after cars and lorries became stuck in the snow.  David Cameron took to Twitter yesterday to express his sympathy for those caught up in the snow, writing: “Huge sympathy for those affected by heavy uksnow. Govt working closely with transport operators to minimise impact on everyone.”

 Among those stuck for seven hours on the M6 in Lancashire as he made his way from Aberdeen was Ryan Murray, who said: “The snow got worse and then started to come in sideways. You could not see at all. The motorway became an absolute car park. What was making it worse was once all the articulated lorries stopped they struggled to get moving again.  “I was stuck from about 11pm to 6am. I was sitting there for seven hours. A couple of people got out and made snowmen.”  Neil Turner, another motorist stuck on the same road as he made his way from Glasgow to Gravesend, said: “By the time I got to junction 25, it was just a standstill.  “I spent three and half hours just sitting there not moving. It was horrible. I think a couple of lorries must have jack-knifed and blocked traffic.”  Mountain rescue workers were called in to check on the condition of drivers along the stricken stretch of the M6 overnight.  A diabetic man was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital, and an ambulance taking a female patient to Royal Preston Hospital had to be dug out of the snow by Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue team.  Ch Insp Mike Adamson, of Lancashire Police, said: “We realised at about 11pm [Friday night] that this was going to be a major incident. Some of the drivers and passengers have been stuck for hours - it has been a very difficult night for them.”  Also caught up in the chaos was the Conservative MP for Morecambe & Lunesdale, David Morris, who was stuck on the southbound carriageway. Speaking from his car in the early hours of yesterday morning, he said: “We’ve ground to a halt on both sides. Nothing is really moving.  - Telegraph.

DISASTER IMPACT: The Great Deluge In Mozambique - Flooding Kills At Least 36 As Over 70,000 Flee Their Homes!

January 26, 2013 - SOUTHERN AFRICA - At least 36 people have been killed and about 70,000 displaced by flooding in Mozambique, according to figures released by the UN, as the African nation braces for renewed storms.  "A total of 26 persons have died in [the worst affected southern province of] Gaza alone, with the nationwide death toll at 36," the UN in Mozambique said in a statement on Saturday.  The number of displaced people now stands at 67,995 while nearly 85,000 have been affected by the raging waters in recent days, the UN said. 

The UN urged donors to urgently make more funds available "to help deal with this emergency" in the impoverished nation.  A reporter for the AFP news agency on the scene saw thousands of residents who had fled their homes stuck on road sides leading out of devastated towns, surviving on scarce aid and in some cases forced to eat grasshoppers.  In the tourist coastal city of Xai-Xai, spared until Friday, up to eight metres of water was expected to hit.  "The water is coming into the city. It is just starting. Some roads in the lower part of town are under water," said Joao Carlos, government spokesperson.  Severe flooding in Xai-Xai would sever the main road connection between the north and south of the country.  "Private and commercial services have been evacuated from the lower parts of the city to higher areas," said Sylvia Paolo, police spokeswoman.

Humanitarian workers are now racing to provide food and shelter before cholera, malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea grip those left homeless by the floods.  Agencies are also rushing to supply three mobile hospital tents, 15,000 mosquito nets and various other provisions.  According to the National Water Directorate, nine rivers in five basins were above alert levels, including the Zambezi and the Limpopo.  In the capital Maputo several bridges, roads and schools were seriously damaged.  Meanwhile, severe flooding continued to spread across the south of the country, with international agencies and neighbouring South Africa scrambling to ease the humanitarian disaster. 

The floods are a result of week-long torrential rains in South Africa and Zimbabwe that swelled the Limpopo river forcing an orange alert on January 12, when the toll began.  But the full impact of the rains were only now being felt.  Initial evacuations of around 30,000 people in the southern region who did not hear or ignored flood warnings were under way.  South Africa, where the flood waters have killed at least 12 people in the past week, dispatched two military helicopters and divers on Friday to assist with the evacuations.  A South African Hercules C-130 military transport plane was also due to take off late on Friday with a contingent of doctors, nurses and social workers to attend to the flood victims.  Towns such as Chokwe in the province of Gaza were submerged, with thousands of homes destroyed and key services such as banks, shops, schools and hospitals affected.  The price tag from the flood devastation in the capital alone is expected to be around $30m, according to UN agencies.  The deluge also wreaked havoc in South Africa where some 15,000 crocodiles escaped after flood gates were opened at a breeding farm in the Limpopo area. - Al Jazeera.

WATCH: Deluge in Mozambique.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: The Sydney Norovirus Strain - United States Hit By New Stomach Bug Spreading Around The Globe!

January 26, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A new strain of stomach bug sweeping the globe is taking over in the U.S., health officials say.  Since September, more than 140 outbreaks in the U.S. have been caused by the new Sydney strain of norovirus. It may not be unusually dangerous; some scientists don't think it is. But it is different, and many people might not be able to fight off its gut-wrenching effects.  Clearly, it's having an impact. The new strain is making people sick in Japan, Western Europe, and other parts of the world. It was first identified last year in Australia and called the Sydney strain. 

In the U.S., it is now accounting for about 60 percent of norovirus outbreaks, according to report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Norovirus - once known as Norwalk virus - is highly contagious and often spreads in places like schools, cruise ships and nursing homes, especially during the winter. Last month, 220 people on the Queen Mary II were stricken during a Caribbean cruise.  Sometimes mistakenly called stomach flu, the virus causes bouts of vomiting and diarrhea for a few days.  Every two or three years, a new strain evolves - the last was in 2009. The Sydney strain's appearance has coincided with a spike in influenza, perhaps contributing to the perception that this is a particularly bad flu season in the U.S.  Ian Goodfellow, a prominent researcher at England's University of Cambridge, calls norovirus 'the Ferrari of viruses' for the speed at which it passes through a large group of people. 

"It can sweep through an environment very, very quickly. You can be feeling quite fine one minute and within several hours suffer continuous vomiting and diarrhea," he said.  Health officials have grown better at detecting new strains and figuring out which one is the culprit. They now know that norovirus is also the most common cause of food poisoning in the U.S.  It's spread by infected food handlers who don't do a good job washing their hands after using the bathroom. But unlike salmonella and other foodborne illnesses, norovirus can also spread in the air, through droplets that fly when a sick person vomits.  "It's a headache" to try to control, said Dr. John Crane, a University of Buffalo infectious disease specialist who had to deal with a norovirus outbreak in a hospital ward a couple of years ago.  Each year, noroviruses cause an estimated 21 million illnesses and 800 deaths, the CDC says.  For those infected, there's really no medicine. They just have to ride it out for the day or two of severe symptoms, and guard against dehydration, experts said.  The illness even got the attention of comedian Stephen Colbert, who this week tweeted: "Remember, if you're in public and have the winter vomiting bug, be polite and vomit into your elbow." - MyFOXdc.

WATCH: New Norovirus strain, tied to 140 recent outbreaks, arrives in Tampa Bay.

WATCH: Sydney 2012 virus makes mark in new year.

BIG BROTHER NOW: The Rise Of The Global Police State - NYPD Places Full Body Scanners On The Streets, Researchers Have Develop "Electronic Tattoo" To Track Patients, And U.S. Defense Dept. Are Using Your Own Body Parts To Track You!

January 26, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The New York Police Department has received a large scanner that is able to detect, from a distance, whether people are carrying weapons. The scanner can sit on a street corner or a truck and analyze passersby a few yards away, the Wall Street Journal reported. It detects terahertz radiation, which human bodies emit. The so-called T-rays pass through clothes, paper, wood and masonry, but not metal. T-ray imagers should work fine in fog. At a Police Foundation event yesterday (Jan. 23), Commissioner Raymond Kelly presented a sample scanner image of a police officer standing about 30 feet away, dressed in street clothes with a gun hidden in his waistband. The Wall Street Journal and the New York Daily News published copies of the image. It shows the officer's body glowing bright green, with his gun appearing as a black shape at his side. 

Image of a terahertz scanner's ability to detect weapons under clothes, from research at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The New York Police Department has acquired a commercial version of such a scanner. CREDIT: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.
 The scanner may reduce the New York Police Department's practice of stopping people they suspect of committing a crime and physically patting them down to check for weapons. The department says the stop-and-frisk policy helps it pull illegal weapons off the street; opponents say it disproportionately targets men of color and affects innocent people the great majority of the time. Civil rights groups have had mixed reactions to the new terahertz technology, as the Wall Street Journal reported.   The New York Police Department is still working with lawyers to determine in what situations officers can legally use the terahertz scanner, the Wall Street Journal reported.   Police spokesman Paul Browne told the financial newspaper that the scanner was a "multimillion" dollar device, but did not specify its exact cost. The U.S. Department of Defense paid for the scanner. - Live Science.

WATCH: NYPD places full body scanners on the streets.

Researchers Develop "Electronic Tattoo" To Track Patients.
An "electronic tattoo" could revolutionize medical sensing, computer gaming and even render the super slick James Bond movie gadgets antiquated. Researchers have developed a super-thin "skin-patch" that mounts onto the skin like a temporary tattoo and has an array of electronic components that allows researchers to track key vital signs from patients. The patches are already able to monitor the heart, various other muscles and brain activity. The micro-electronics technology, called an epidermal electronic system (EES), was developed by an international team of researchers from the United States, China and Singapore, and is described in the journal Science, reports the Associated Press. "It's a technology that blurs the distinction between electronics and biology," said co-author John Rogers, a professor in materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  "Our goal was to develop an electronic technology that could integrate with the skin in a way that is mechanically and physiologically invisible to the user." - IBT.

Defense Researchers Are Using Your Own Body Parts To Track You.
Cell phones that can identify you by how you walk. Fingerprint scanners that work from 25 feet away. Radars that pick up your heartbeat from behind concrete walls. Algorithms that can tell identical twins apart. Eyebrows and earlobes that give you away. A new generation of technologies is emerging that can identify you by your physiology. And unlike the old crop of biometric systems, you don't need to be right up close to the scanner in order to be identified. If they work as advertised, they may be able to identify you without you ever knowing you've been spotted. Biometrics had a boom after 9/11. Gobs of government money poured into face and iris recognition systems; the Pentagon alone spent nearly $3 billion in five years, and the Defense Department was only one of many federal agencies funneling cash in the technologies. Civil libertarians feared the worst as face-spotters were turned on crowds of citizens in the hopes of  catching a single crook. But while the technologies proved helpful in verifying identities at entry points from Iraq to international airports, the hype -- or panic -- surrounding biometrics never quite panned out. Even after all that investment, scanners still aren't particularly good at finding a particular face in the crowd, for example; variable lighting conditions and angles (not to mention hats) continue to confound the systems. Eventually, the biometrics market -- and the government enthusiasm for it -- cooled off. The technological development has not. Corporate and academic labs are continuing to find new ways to ID people with more accuracy, and from further away. - WIRED.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Large Sinkhole Forces Chairlift Closure At Boyne Mountain, Northern Michigan!

January 26, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A large sinkhole has forced officials to close a chairlift that covers about 10 percent of Boyne Mountain Resort’s skiable acres.

The Superbowl chairlift at the resort, located in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula, is closed after a snowmaking water pipe failed, “causing significant erosion and the collapse of one tower on the chairlift,” according to a message on the resort’s website, The failure took place before the slopes opened on Tuesday. No injuries were reported.  “Superbowl is located on the southernmost side of the slopes, and no other area of terrain has been affected by this occurrence,” the message reads.

“Superbowl accounts for approximately 40 skiable acres of the resort’s 415 total acres. Boyne Mountain is working to repair the chairlift and reopen the lift and terrain as soon as possible.”  The message states that a timeline for reopening is not yet available.  The areas that are not affected by the sinkhole remain open, according to Erin Ernst, director of communication for Boyne Mountain Resort.  The Superbowl is the first trail on the southern side of the slopes and is not as integrated into the main trail system as some other trails might be, Ernst said.  “We’re working with our engineers and the state of Michigan and will reopen (the Superbowl) as soon as possible,” Ernst said. - The Oakland Press.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Wild Rabbits Wreaking Havoc ON Cards At Denver International Airport?!

January 26, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Travelers have a warning for drivers who park their cars near Denver International Airport (DIA). Rabbits are chewing the wires under many cars costing owners a lot of money. The rabbits get in and chew the brake lines, the clutch lines and other wiring. Local car repair shops estimates they can do thousands of dollars in damage. 

“When I had the trouble with the oil light coming on, the dealer told me the wires that controlled the air conditioning were chewed,” said Ken Blum, one car owner who knows all about the not so funny bunny business at DIA.  Blum has had to have repairs done on his car twice due to rabbit damage and he estimates the cost at approximately $700.Travelers have a warning for drivers who park their cars near Denver International Airport (DIA). Rabbits are chewing the wires under many cars costing owners a lot of money. The rabbits get in and chew the brake lines, the clutch lines and other wiring. Local car repair shops estimates they can do thousands of dollars in damage.  “When I had the trouble with the oil light coming on, the dealer told me the wires that controlled the air conditioning were chewed,” said Ken Blum, one car owner who knows all about the not so funny bunny business at DIA. 

Blum has had to have repairs done on his car twice due to rabbit damage and he estimates the cost at approximately $700. “I saw no signs…nothing to tell me, ‘Hey, beware’,” Blum told CBS4. “My insurance didn’t cover it, the manufacturer didn’t cover it.”  This isn’t a new problem at the airport. CBS4 first started covering hungry hares in 1999. They were munching on the wires of de-icing equipment. Now it seems they’ve moved to the outlying parking lots.  CBS4 contacted airport officials about the problem. They said that only a small percentage of the people who park out there ever complain of rabbit caused car problems. They also told CBS4 that United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services agents patrol the parking lots and remove rabbits when they see them. Hungry hares are not just a problem at DIA, other private parking lots are having trouble too. Lot owners tell CBS4 that they’re trying to deter the rabbits with extra fencing and coyote urine. - CBS Denver.

WATCH: Rabbits Wreaking Havoc On Cars At DIA.

ELECTRIC UNIVERSE: Mysterious Pulsar Baffles Astronomers - Able To Dramatically Change The Way It Shines, Without Warning?!

January 26, 2013 - SPACE - A pulsar that is able, without warning, to dramatically change the way in which it shines has been identified by an international team of astronomers. Using a satellite X-ray telescope combined with terrestrial radio telescopes the pulsar was found to flip on a roughly half-hour timescale between two extreme states; one dominated by X-ray pulses, the other by a highly-organised pattern of radio pulses.The emission of X-rays and radio waves by these pulsating neutron stars is able to change dramatically in seconds, simultaneously, in a way that cannot be explained with current theory. It suggests a quick change of the entire magnetosphere. In their research the team combined observations from the X-ray space telescope XMM-Newton and the radio telescope LOFAR.

The research was led by Professor Wim Hermsen from The Netherlands Institute for Space Research and the University of Amsterdam. * Researchers from Jodrell Bank Observatory, as well as institutions around the world, used simultaneous observations with the X-ray satellite XMM-Newton and two radio telescopes; the LOw Frequency Array (LOFAR) in the Netherlands and the Giant Meter Wave Telescope (GMRT) in India to reveal this so far unique behavior.* Pulsars are small spinning stars that are about the size of a city, around 20 km in diameter. They emit oppositely directed beams of radiation from their magnetic poles. Just like a lighthouse, as the star spins and the beam sweeps repeatedly past the Earth we see a brief flash. Some pulsars produce radiation across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, including at X-ray and radio wavelengths. Despite being discovered more than 45 years ago the exact mechanism by which pulsars shine is still unknown. Enlarge An international team has made a tantalizing discovery about the way pulsars emit radiation. It has been known for some time that some radio-emitting pulsars flip their behaviour between two (or even more) states, changing the pattern and intensity of their radio pulses. The moment of flip is both unpredictable and sudden. It is also known from satellite-borne telescopes that a handful of radio pulsars can also be detected at X-ray frequencies. However, the X-ray signal is so weak that nothing is known of its variability.

To find out if the X-rays could also flip the scientists studied a particular pulsar called PSR B0943+10, one of the first to be discovered. It has radio pulses which change in form and brightness every few hours with some of the changes happening within about a second. "The behaviour of this pulsar is quite startling, it's as if it has two distinct personalities," said Dr Ben Stappers from The University of Manchester's School of Physics and Astronomy. "As PSR B0943+10 is one of the few pulsars also known to emit X-rays, finding out how this higher energy radiation behaves as the radio changes could provide new insight into the nature of the emission process." Since the source is a weak X-ray emitter, the team used the most sensitive X-ray telescope in existence, the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton on board a spacecraft orbiting the Earth. The observations took place over six separate sessions of about six hours in duration. To identify the exact moment of flip in the pulsar's radio behaviour the X-ray observations were tracked simultaneously with two of the largest radio telescopes in the world, LOFAR and the GMRT. What the scientists found was that whilst the X-rays did indeed change their behavior at the same time as the radio emission, as might have been expected, in the state where the radio signal is strong and organized the X-rays were weak, and when the radio emission switched to weak the X-rays got brighter.

"To our surprise we found that when the brightness of the radio emission halved, the X-ray emission brightened by a factor of two!," said project leader Wim Hermsen. "Furthermore the intense X-rays have a very different character from those in the radio-bright state, since they seem to be thermal in origin and to pulse with the neutron star's rotation period." Dr Stappers says this is an exciting discovery: "As well as brightening in the X-rays we discovered that the X-ray emission also shows pulses, something not seen when the radio emission is bright. This was the opposite of what we had expected. I've likened the changes in the pulsar to a chameleon. Like the animal the star changes in reaction to its environment, such as a change in temperature. Our observations strongly suggest that a temporary "hotspot" appears close to the pulsar's magnetic pole which switches on and off with the change of state," observed Geoff Wright from the University of Sussex. "But why a pulsar should undergo such dramatic and unpredictable changes is completely unknown." The next step for the researchers is to look at other objects which have similar behavior to investigate what happens to the X-ray emission. Later this year there will be another round of simultaneous X-ray and radio observations of a second pulsar. These observations will include the Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory. For more information: Synchronous X-ray and Radio Mode Switches: a Rapid Transformation of the Pulsar Magnetosphere will be published in Science on Thursday 24 January. Journal reference: Science. - Daily Galaxy.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: 40,000 Fish Suddenly Die In Yanzhou City, China?!

January 26, 2013 - CHINA - The morning of 23rd, new taxes, town of Yanzhou city farmers like Mr Wang Wenxing village always visits when their fish ponds, 40,000 fish fry into the bottom somehow were found dead. Mr King described, each had more than one meter deep in fish ponds, two fish ponds are used well water for fish, water about once a week. This Jining January 24 (Xinhua Yue Yinyin) 23rd morning, the new station of Yanzhou city prosper village, farmers like Mr Wang always visits when their fish ponds, 40,000 fish fry into the bottom somehow were found dead. FRY had been fasting for more than a month, the recent cold weather is the cause of fish deaths? wonder Mr Wang. The morning of 24th, contacted the local Fisheries Department to the scene view, initially speculated that Mr King fish death is caused by virus infection.

The morning of 24th, journalists came to Mr King's fish pond. Mr Wang had two fish ponds, surrounded with barbed wire of how high a person around. Seen, most of the dead are more than one or two fish, all sinking in the bottom, how many fish live in shallow waters swimming only sporadic. Journalists noted that the FRY have died compared with another fish pond water in the pond is obviously not the same, dead fish in the water is so clear, another looks mixed water some fish at all. Mr King described, each had more than one meter deep in fish ponds, two fish ponds are used well water for fish, water about once a week. "Yanzhou rarely SNAKEHEAD, I might be the first. Here is my experimental plots. "Talking about these two fish ponds, Mr Wang was very proud, black fish prices have been higher in recent years, black fish is profit, he often encourages his friends to also raise black fish. But he did not expect snake head on unexpected things happening for the first time. Mr Wang told reporters, the morning of 23rd, he visited on as usual to fish ponds, one exception is clear water in the ponds, several dead fish floating on the water, carefully watching had surprised him. "Pond fish died, sea bed, I was unaware of.

"He quickly ran home to tell his wife. Reporters learned, Mr Wang and his wife just to appear in the evening of the 19th issue of fish ponds for water, after which you hadn't come, until the 23rd. He said that these fish are put last spring, there are 40,000. "When buying fish fry is a kilo of 24, one is a dollar, wanted this year after year to Tianjin to make money selling fish, these fish that can grow to tens of thousands of pounds less, catty 18 is able to make a hundred thousand of, this is all over. ” Mr King said that he had a dozen years of fish, but this is the first time black fish. These fish were last spring, and Wei Shan bought a farmers in rongcheng, feed is "ice fish", but Wei Shan fish farmers are all right, and the pond all the way apart from another fish pond was fine, just that the fish in the fish pond is dead. "Starting from last July to feed ' ice fish ' feeding 140 pounds a day, summer water is black, fasting until December what dead now?" Mr King was puzzled. Subsequently, the reporter contacted agricultural experts from the fisheries station of Yanzhou city. Half an hour later, fishery station Liu Kun took two experts rushed to the scene. After their initial investigation, eliminate the possibility of human poisoning, water contamination. Liu Kun webmasters said: "Snakehead tolerance to low oxygen, eating small fish, to disease. Mr King to feed in the summer is the ' ice-fish ', which itself is most likely infected, and he was not ready for this technology. Initial postulate that feed on the bottom of corruption breeding ground for bacterial infections in fish, a few days ago of a water erosion under water, may make fish infections worse. Cause there are many reasons for this result, specific reason to test water samples and fish fry, Jining, needs to further checks. ” - SD News [Translated].

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Millions Of Oysters Wiped Out By Virus In New South Wales, Australia?!

January 26, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - When the news came through, the fourth-generation oyster farmer Rob Moxham said it made him feel sick to his stomach.  Tests this week confirmed that the Pacific oyster mortality syndrome had reached the Hawkesbury's tributary, Mullet Creek, the local industry's nursery for juvenile stock.  ''We were hoping it wouldn't get here but we were half expecting it,'' he said. 

On the Hawkesbury ... an infected Pacific oyster (foreground) and a non-infected Pacific oyster (background).
Photo: Sahlan Hayes.
With no resistance to the virus, oysters that had been healthy on Monday were felled - in their millions - virtually overnight. With them went hopes that many of the Hawkesbury's 15 growers would have any produce by the end of this year.  Mr Moxham said mature stocks could run out sooner, especially if the infection spread before they could reach the market. ''In 24 hours it wiped out probably about 90 per cent of the oysters over a 50-hectare area,'' he said. ''It's just so devastating.''  The outbreak, which poses no health risk to humans, comes less than a decade after the Hawkesbury's Sydney rock oyster crop was obliterated by the QX disease in 2005.  Some growers who, as a result, had switched to the ''spawnless'' fast-growing Pacific oysters were talking of calling it quits this time.  ''I'll try to stay on,'' Mr Moxham said. ''I can't see myself being able to sustain all my staff.''  The Department of Primary Industry's aquaculture manager, Ian Lyall, said it would meet farmers on Tuesday to discuss assistance.  The Hawkesbury produces more than 300,000 dozen oysters a year, about half the state's Pacific oysters, worth about $2.4 million. 

The president of the Broken Bay Oyster Association, John Stubbs, said the outbreak would cost farmers a ''substantial amount'' of money. ''There's several million oysters in Mullet Creek,'' he said.  About 20 per cent of the local industry's 245 hectares has been affected by the virus. A quarantine is in place to try to prevent its spread.  The Sydney Fish Markets said the price and availability of Pacific oysters were not expected to be affected by the virus, which was first detected in NSW in 2010 when it hit crops in the Georges River. An outbreak was found in Sydney Harbour soon after.  Richard Whittington from the University of Sydney's faculty of veterinary science, has been working with the industry to reduce the risk from the virus.  He said it was unknown what triggered an outbreak but there was a ''very strong possibility'' that unusual seasonal conditions - such as last week's heatwave - had reduced the oysters' immunity.  It might also have spread naturally in ocean currents, he said, or have been transported on the hulls of pleasure boats or in the ballast of commercial ships.  Government and industry groups were working to develop disease-resistant varieties of the Sydney rock and Pacific oysters.  But Mr Moxham said some farmers would have to give those solutions time to work.  ''I'm trying to make it so there's a fifth generation,'' he said. - SMH.

WATCH: Virus wipes out millions of oysters overnight.

ICE AGE: Global Cooling Across The World - Ice Storm Brewing For Chicago, Detroit, And St.Louis!

January 26, 2013 - UNITED STATES -  Prior to the return of warmer weather, an ice storm will affect areas from northern and eastern Missouri to Michigan, southern Ontario and the mid-Atlantic spanning this weekend into the start of next week. A storm which will produce rain in the Desert Southwest this afternoon and tonight will roll eastward into a zone of departing Arctic air and cold ground over the Midwest.

On the southern and western fringe of the ice/wintry mix area, the ice is likely to be brief, but even a thin coating can lead to a few hours of dangerous travel. Farther north and east, an extended period of freezing rain and sleet is possible. If mostly freezing rain occurs, widespread icy roads are likely and the risk of power outages will increase.
As Staff Writer Grace Muller alluded to on Thursday, a broad area of freezing rain and sleet is in store, lasting from a couple of hours in some locations to an entire day in others. Major cities that have the potential for a period of freezing this weekend include Omaha, Neb.; St. Louis, Mo.; Des Moines, Iowa; Madison, Wis.; Chicago, Ill.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Detroit, Mich.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; and London, Ontario. A serious ice storm is possible from central and northern Illinois to southern Michigan with this setup. There is the potential for 0.25-0.50 of an inch of buildup of freezing rain on exposed surfaces in some locations.  According to Meteorologist Andy Mussoline, "Even in areas where the air temperature manages to get a bit above the 32-degree mark, the ground is very cold and will cause some of that rain to freeze on contact."  Freezing rain is much more dangerous than sleet.  According to Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "In many cases, the road or sidewalk appears wet, but in fact it can be covered with a thin sheet of ice, called clear ice or black ice. "

"For travel and power considerations, sleet would be a better outcome than freezing rain," Abrams added.

Pockets of sleet, freezing rain and freezing drizzle are possible farther east late Sunday night into Monday morning from Buffalo, N.Y., to New York City, Philadelphia, Pa., Washington, D.C., and Roanoke, Va. In part of the Northeast, the period of ice can begin as a bit of snow.  The same problems may then advance across portions of upstate New York and New England later in the day Monday into Monday night.  The ice storm will precede a brief warmup for a several-day period next week, before arctic air makes a comeback from the northern Plains into the Midwest and Northeast during early February.
will continue to update the potential ice storm situation throughout the weekend. - AccuWeather.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Tonnes Of Freshwater Fish Found Dead Due To Lakes Drying Up In Victoria, Australia!

January 26, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - Tonnes of freshwater fish are being left to die as shallow lakes across Victoria dry out in the summer heat.  Lake Boort, 1km south of Boort, is coated in a stinking layer of dead and dying carp, but neither the Department of Primary Industries, the Department of Sustainability and Environment nor the North Central Catchment Management Authority was prepared to take responsibility for preventing the fish deaths.  A DPI spokesman told The Weekly Times to contact the DSE.  A DSE spokesman said the Environmental Protection Authority was responsible for the clean up and CMAs managed carp though ''regular carp musters, proactive removal of carp from areas where they are affecting threatened species and in some areas the installation of structures to limit movement of carp through river systems''. 

Putrid: Dead and dying carp float to the surface at Lake Boort last week. Picture: Paul Hawes.
But North Central CMA community engagement executive manager Mal Brown said the CMA did no carp control, other than waiting for them to die once environmental water had been pulsed through regulators to Gunbower Creek.  ''We don't get involved in carp control, there's no electro fishing or targeted destruction of carp. That would be (up to) DPI Fisheries.  ''In terms of fish death, that's an EPA responsibility.''  An EPA spokeswoman said the  EPA's role in fish kill events was to investigate pollution as a cause and advise on clean up as required.  ''In relation to Boort, the local catchment management authority has advised EPA that clean-up of the non-native fish species, carp, is in progress and no native species were identified,'' she said.  Carp also have been dying in the hundreds at Reedy Swamp, near Shepparton, which the spokesman said was being cleeaned up as required by Parks Victoria.  Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber said action was needed to stop dead carp from fouling the state's ephemeral lakes. 

Mr Barber called on the government to enact a carp control plan, as NSW did in 2010, which he said should have been developed after the fish was declared a noxious pest under the Fisheries Act.  Mr Barber said a carp control plan would outline the responsibilities of all agencies and the trigger points for them to act.  ''We know from 2008 at Lake Colac that nobody wants to take responsibility,'' he said.  ''People call the council, council says it's the EPA, EPA says it's the CMA and then they all end up saying 'You've got rotting fish in an inch of mud, there's no practical cleanup option'. It's too wet for a bulldozer, it's too dry, too bloody everything.  ''We want action to be taken now before we get to the point where it's physically impossible to access the site (at Lake Boort).''  In the meantime, Lake Boort resident Paul Hawes is trying to get used to the smell and hoping the wind will stay out of the west.  Mr Hawes said pelicans had snapped up many of the smaller live fish, but thousands of large specimens had suffocated in the increasingly shallow water.  He estimated there was about 50 tonnes of dead fish in and around the lake, which was previously dry from 2002 until 2010.  ''The wetting-drying cycle is a normal process, but the carp are ruining the Loddon wetlands,'' he said.  ''I'm disappointed that departments don't see carp as a problem .. it's disappointing they don't take them seriously.'' - Weekly Times Now.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Bright Fireballs Seen Across North America - "Flash In The Sky" Above Mexico, "Great Ball Of Fire" Over Montreal, And "Bright Fireball" Over Northern Pennsylvania!

January 26, 2013 - NORTH AMERICA - Just before midnight on Monday, a bright flash occurred, lighting up the entire sky."It was a bright fireball," said Thomas Cupillari, director of the Thomas G. Cupillari '60 Observatory at Keystone College.The all sky camera at the observatory caught footage of the fireball."They graze the top of the atmosphere and can stay for quite awhile," Cupillari said. "This fireball was so bright it lit up the entire sky around it.

"Flash In The Sky" Above Mexico.
They usually burn up within one to three seconds. There was one I saw years ago that lasted for 5-20 seconds. It's very unusual for them to be so bright and last that long."The all sky camera caught 3-4 seconds of the fireball, but Cupillari predicts it actually lasted 5-6 seconds.The all sky camera is a fish eye lens that is pointed straight up into the air and can see 360 degrees around.The camera is in a network with Sandia National Laboratory through New Mexico State University. They are set up at various locations so common events that overlap can be tracked."The information from the cameras allows the laboratory to track where it came from, how high it was, and more," Cupillari explained. "It helps separate nature from manmade events."The nearest location to the observatory is 80 miles south in Ottsville, which overlaps coverage."Regular meteors can be seen on clear nights and sometimes you can see several in one night, but fireballs aren't very common," Cupillari said. "One night our camera picked up 32 meteors and none of them were fireballs."He added that when virtually all meteors are captured, the sky is black, but the one on Monday night lit up the sky.For more information on the Thomas G. Cupillari '60 Observatory visit here. - Wayne Independent.

Great Ball Of Fire Over Montreal.
Many early risers looking skyward this morning, spotted a ball of fire streaking across the sky over the Montreal region.  The CJAD and Astral newsroom received calls from places as widely seperated as St-Constant on the south shore, Two Mountains, and Laval. There were also calls from Boucherville, Saint-Laurent, and Ile-Perrot.  Claude Comeau called from Ile-Perrot to describe what he saw.  "I took it as when you see fireworks, and the spark lands towards the ground, but I didn't think anything of it."  Another caller described it as a white comet with a blue tail.  So what was it? Andrew Fazekas, spokesman for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, also known as the "night sky guy" tells CJAD news it had to be a meteor.  "While most meteors tend to be the size of a grain of sand, what we know as shooting stars, this one was probably anywhere from the size of a basketball or a living room sofa."  And while shooting stars can be spotted every 15 minutes or so on a clear night, what we saw this morning is rare.  - CJAD.

"Bright" Fireball" Over Northern Pennsylvania.
Just before midnight on Monday, a bright flash occurred, lighting up the entire sky.It was a bright fireball," said Thomas Cupillari, director of the Thomas G. Cupillari '60 Observatory at Keystone College. "They graze the top of the atmosphere and can stay for quite awhile," Cupillari said. "This fireball was so bright it lit up the entire sky around it. They usually burn up within one to three seconds. There was one I saw years ago that lasted for 5-20 seconds. It's very unusual for them to be so bright and last that long."The all sky camera is a fish eye lens that is pointed straight up into the air and can see 360 degrees around. The camera is in a network with Sandia National Laboratory through New Mexico State University. They are set up at various locations so common events that overlap can be tracked."The information from the cameras allows the laboratory to track where it came from, how high it was, and more," Cupillari explained. "It helps separate nature from manmade events."The nearest location to the observatory is 80 miles south in Ottsville, which overlaps coverage."Regular meteors can be seen on clear nights and sometimes you can see several in one night, but fireballs aren't very common," Cupillari said. "One night our camera picked up 32 meteors and none of them were fireballs."He added that when virtually all meteors are captured, the sky is black, but the one on Monday night lit up the sky. - Wayne Independent.

DELUGE: Big Freeze Is Over In The United Kingdom, But Heavy Rain And Thawing Snow Could Bring Floods!

January 26, 2013 - UNITED KINGDOM - The big freeze will come to an end today, with snow and ice giving way to heavy rain and strong winds, forecasters said.  However, this does not spell the end of weather-related disruption as further icy conditions are expected this morning and there is a risk of flooding as the snow thaws.  The AA warned that the combination of one of the wettest years on record in 2012 and the recent cold snap had left Britain’s roads facing a “pothole storm”. 

A snow plough makes its way down the A68 in Scotland Photo: GETTY IMAGES.
Although temperatures will now move above freezing, and could even hit double figures in places next week, it will still feel cold because of the wind and rain.  A final heavy snowfall swept the country yesterday, hitting Scotland and northern England first before spreading further south. The Met Office warned that sub-zero temperatures in some areas overnight meant there was a risk of ice on the roads this morning and urged people to check travel updates before they go out. Today will be dry and bright in most places before a band of heavy rain pushes in from the west, starting in the late afternoon and continuing into the early hours of tomorrow morning.  A Met Office spokesman said: “Heavy rain and milder temperatures mean the snow will thaw pretty rapidly in most areas, although it may take a while in places with a big accumulation.”  The Environment Agency has warned there is a risk of minor localised flooding caused by melting snow and ice in some areas, in particular south-west England, Wales, the West Midlands and northern England.  The weather is likely to remain unsettled, with strong winds and heavy rain at times, until at least the middle of next week, although temperatures could reach as high as 10-11C (50-52F) in southern areas on Tuesday. 

The icy conditions claimed a number of lives, including BBC employee David Cox, 42, who died after his car skidded off a narrow path and plunged into a river in Derbyshire as he and his wife took their children to school on Thursday.  Tim Davie, the BBC’s acting director general, yesterday paid tribute to Mr Cox, saying he played a key role in the success of the corporation’s coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games.  Meanwhile, Darron Burness, the AA’s head of special operations, warned motorists to resist the urge to speed up once the ice and snow is gone.  He said: “Unfortunately, this cold snap followed the second wettest year on record so, quite understandably, the roads are showing some ill-effects with a ‘pothole storm’ on the horizon. “As the snow melts, the temptation is to drive that bit faster but you need to keep a look out for potholes and other hazards like flooding.” The snow and ice cost British businesses an estimated £318 million over the past week as employees took 51.4 million hours off work, according to new research.  Nearly one in five adults said they could not work their full contracted hours because of the recent adverse weather.  More than 3.8 million people missed at least one full day of work in the last week as a result of the freezing conditions, and over 590,000 missed two or more days of work, a survey for Green Flag Breakdown found.  Some analysts have suggested that the disruption caused by the snow has had such a major impact that it could tip the British economy into a triple-dip recession.  Almost one in five people were too afraid to drive during the cold snap, and a further one in 20 tried to take to the roads but could not do so because of the icy conditions.  Miranda Schunke, from Green Flag, suggested that the recent travel problems might lead to more British drivers buying winter tyres and snow chains to help them cope in the cold weather.  She added: “It is not only the roads that have been frozen in the last week, for millions work commitments have been put on ice.” - Telegraph.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Deformed Dolphin Accepted Into New Whale Family In Germany; And A Bottle-Nose Dolphin Stuck On Fishing Line In Hawaii, Pushed Itself Toward Scuba Instructor... And Waited Patiently To Be Freed!

January 26, 2013 - GERMANY - In 2011, behavioral ecologists Alexander Wilson and Jens Krause of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Germany were surprised to discover that a group of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) - animals not usually known for forging bonds with other species - had taken in an adult bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). The researchers observed the group in the ocean surrounding the Azores (map) - about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) off the coast of Lisbon, Portugal - for eight days as the dolphin traveled, foraged, and played with both the adult whales and their calves. When the dolphin rubbed its body against the whales, they would sometimes return the gesture.

A bottlenose dolphin, with an S-shaped spinal deformity, is seen here rubbing against a sperm whale.
© Photograph courtesy Alexander Wilson and Aquatic Mammals.
Among terrestrial animals, cross-species interactions are not uncommon. These mostly temporary alliances are forged for foraging benefits and protection against predators, said Wilson. They could also be satisfying a desire for the company of other animals, added marine biologist John Francis, vice president for research, conservation, and exploration at the National Geographic Society (the Society owns National Geographic News). Photographs of dogs nursing tiger cubs, stories of a signing gorilla adopting a pet cat, and videos of a leopard caring for a baby baboon have long circulated the Web and caught national attention.

A Rare Alliance
And although dolphins are known for being sociable animals, Wilson called the alliance between sperm whale and bottlenose dolphin rare, as it has never, to his knowledge, been witnessed before. This association may have started with something called bow riding, a common behavior among dolphins during which they ride the pressure waves generated by the bow of a ship or, in this case, whales, suggested Francis. "Hanging around slower creatures to catch a ride might have been the first advantage [of such behavior]," he said, adding that this may have also started out as simply a playful encounter. Wilson suggested that the dolphin's peculiar spinal shape made it more likely to initiate an interaction with the large and slow-moving whales. "Perhaps it could not keep up with or was picked on by other members of its dolphin group," he said in an email.

But the "million-dollar question," as Wilson puts it, is why the whales accepted the lone dolphin. Among several theories presented in an upcoming paper in Aquatic Mammals describing the scientists' observations, they propose that the dolphin may have been regarded as nonthreatening and that it was accepted by default because of the way adult sperm whales "babysit" their calves. Sperm whales alternate their dives between group members, always leaving one adult near the surface to watch the juveniles. "What is likely is that the presence of the calves - which cannot dive very deep or for very long - allowed the dolphin to maintain contact with the group," Wilson said. Wilson doesn't believe the dolphin approached the sperm whales for help in protecting itself from predators, since there aren't many dolphin predators in the waters surrounding the Azores. But Francis was not so quick to discount the idea. "I don't buy that there is no predator in the lifelong experience of the whales and dolphins frequenting the Azores," he said. He suggested that it could be just as possible that the sperm whales accepted the dolphin for added protection against their own predators, like the killer whale (Orcinus orca), while traveling. "They see killer whales off the Azores, and while they may not be around regularly, it does not take a lot of encounters to make [other] whales defensive," he said. - National Geographic.

Bottle-Nose Dolphin Stuck On Fishing Line In Hawaii, Pushed Itself Toward Scuba Instructor... And Waited Patiently To Be Freed.
A dolphin tangled in fishing line sought help from a diver in the waters of Hawaii. The amazing encounter on January 11 was captured on video and the diver, Keller Laros, spent the better part of eight minutes tending to the needy mammal who readily accepted the help. Mr Laros was leading a group of snorkelers for a manta ray dive experience off the Big Island's Kona International Airport when the dolphin squealed out. The diver explained, 'The way he came right up and pushed himself into me there was no question this dolphin was there for help.'

WATCH: Dolphin Rescued by a Diver in Hawaii.

The group were enjoying the aquatic sights when suddenly they heard a dolphin cry and the bottlenose dolphin swam in their direction.  Mr Laros told KITV how he soon noticed that the dolphin's movements were inhibited because it was entangled in fishing line and a hook was lodged in its pectoral fin.  The mammal allowed the human to work to help the dolphin break free.  'I was trying to unwrap it, I got the line fishing hook out of the pectoral fin. There was a line coming out of his mouth. But, the line wrapped around his pectoral fin was so tight and he had cuts both front and aft,' said Laros.  'I was worried if I tugged on it, it might hurt him more. I was able to cut the fishing line and unwrap it.'  The diver said that the animal patiently and calmly allowed him to work to remove the fishing line.  'I've had bottlenose dolphins approach me a lot of times and they are really smart animals,' Laros, Laros, a professional scuba instructor and Manta Ray researcher, explained.  Mr Laros did remove the fishing hook and clipped the line that was near the mouth but as other divers joined Laros and tried to remove more fishing line, the mammal swam off and did not return. - Daily Mail.

AUSTRALIAN WEATHER ANOMALIES: Several Tornadoes Strike Queensland Causing Major Damage, Tropical Cyclone Oswald Batters The Coast, New South Wales Told To Prepare For Widespread Flooding And Strong Winds!

January 26, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - Several 'mini-tornadoes' have hit the Queensland coast as the state is battered by severe weather and flooding caused by the remnants of cyclone Oswald. Ex-cyclone Oswald refused to budge from central Queensland and whipped up three mini-tornadoes that injured at least 17 people, damaged scores of homes and forced the evacuation of towns around Bundaberg on Australia Day.  To the north, floods in Gladstone led to the city being declared a disaster zone and was the biggest concern for authorities on Saturday evening. 

Several mini-tornadoes have hit the Queensland coast. (AAP).
Torrential rain topped a metre in 48 hours and has swollen the Boyne River to two metres higher than the previous record.  About five metres of water is pouring over the spillway of the Awoonga Dam into the Boyne, just south of Gladstone.  Tannum Sands and Boyne Island, at the mouth of the Boyne River, narrowly escaped inundation on Saturday.  But they may not be so lucky when an extraordinarily high tide hits on Sunday morning.  "We're now getting ready for the next time when we think we'll have the biggest problem and that's at the high tide on Sunday morning," Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers told AAP.  About 2000 people have been asked to evacuate.  Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said a saddle dam off the Awoonga Dam is close to overflowing, which would put 500 homes in peril.  He said the government is considering mandatory evacuations.  "That's my main concern," he said.  Mini-tornadoes that tore through the costal townships of Bargara and Burnett Heads struck after 1pm AEST, damaging homes, shops, a bowling club and government buildings. 

Both townships were declared disaster areas.  A man and woman in a parked car on the Esplanade at Bargara were critically injured when a huge pine tree toppled onto the car's roof.  At least 15 other people were treated for minor injuries after being hit by flying glass and other debris.  Queensland emergency services minister Jack Dempsey, who lives in Bundaberg, said 150 homes were damaged at Burnett Heads - and two completely destroyed - by one of three tornadoes to strike the Bundaberg district.  "There are a number of small towns and suburbs that were hit by the mini-tornadoes," Mr Dempsey said.  "We are still trying to assess the extent of the damage."  The third and final mini-tornado badly damaged a home when it hit the coastal town of Coonarr, about 20km south of Bundaberg, at about 4.30pm (AEST).  Mr Newman, who addressed a press conference shortly after the first of the mini-cyclones had struck Bargara, said the Callide and Kroombit Dams, west of Gladstone, were experiencing unprecedented outflows.  Residents at Jambin and Goovigen have been ordered to take refuge on higher ground.  Flood warnings have been issued for the Calliope, Boyne, Baffle and Kolan Rivers.  In Rockhampton, floodwaters have inundated barbecues and car parks along the Fitzroy River.  The river continues to rise as it absorbs about half a metre of rain dumped on the city this week.  Mr Dempsey said the SES has received more than 650 requests for assistance since Friday morning, including more than 130 for Rockhampton, and more than 35 jobs each for Gladstone and Yeppoon. 

Residents in northern NSW are being told to prepare for floods and damaging winds as the remnants
of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald begin to affect the region. (AAP).
There were also six swift-water rescues.  "Thankfully they were all very successful outcomes," he told ABC Radio.  A 60-year-old fisherman was found on Balaclava Island on Saturday afternoon, surviving more than 40 hours lost at sea.  His 38-foot fishing vessel began taking on water off Port Alma on Thursday.  Authorities are still searching for the second fisherman on board.  The rain depression is expected to finally mobilise southward overnight to begin tormenting the southeast.  In the next few days about 300mm of rain is expected in Wivenhoe Dam catchment, upstream of Brisbane, and coastal areas could get as much as 500mm.  Mr Newman said controlled releases from the dam are continuing and there is no doubt it will be able to cope with the influx of rainwater in the coming days.  "We can absorb that flood," he said.  The biggest risk will come from suburban creeks in the Gold and Sunshine Coast and greater Brisbane area.  "With all that heavy rain, flash flooding is definitely expected," Ken Kato from the Bureau of Meteorology told AAP.  The Moreton Bay Regional council is warning residents to prepare for tidal surges expected to cause flooding in low lying areas on Saturday and Sunday. - SBS.

WATCH: Caught on camera - Teen's dramatic rescue from floodwater torrent in Australia.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Fish Kill On The Shores Of Anna Maria Island, Florida?!

January 26, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Red tide is being blamed for a Jan. 16 fish kill on parts of the Anna Maria shoreline, but there is no official confirmation of the cause.  According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Kevin Baxter, FWC believes the kill is red tide-related.  “Basically we have a lot of new reports of fish kills associated with red tide and we believe the one on Anna Maria Island also is related to the other kills,” said Baxter. “We’ve had fish kills throughout this bloom, which started around the end of September.” 

Dead fish, mostly mullet, line the Holmes Beach-Anna Maria shoreline
the morning of Jan. 16. Islander Photo: Bonner Joy.
Baxter said the heaviest concentration of red tide is in Sarasota County and moderate levels of the bacteria that causes the appearance of red tide have been reported in Manatee County.  While the Anna Maria fish kill did contain a variety of species, the majority of the dead fish found north of the Manatee Public Beach in Holmes Beach were mullet. The kill coincides with the annual mullet run and boats swarmed the waters near shore of where the dead fish were found the following morning.  Some locals believe the fish kill is related to the mullet run — a concerted effort by commercial fishers to catch roe-filled mullet — saying the consistency in size of the dead mullet may relate to the net size. There also is some suspicion a fisher may have used an illegal gill net to catch large quantities of mullet.  Karen Bell of A.P. Bell Fish House, Cortez, said Mote Marine Laboratory is telling her there is no red tide in the area where the dead fish were found, but she is siding with FWC in its findings. 

“I rode down the beach with my windows down and started coughing and I don’t have a cold,” she said. “Also, fishers who are pulling up mullet are reporting the fish are gasping for air as they come up, which is indicative of what happens during red tide.”  The prize of the mullet run is females. The female’s roe is more valuable than the fish itself, so male mullet are often discarded.  Bell said that’s another reason why the fish kill on Anna Maria is likely caused by red tide.  “The county called me and asked if fishers were throwing fish overboard, and I told them absolutely not,” she said. “I saw those fish and there were both male and female involved in the kill. There is no way fishers would throw females away.”  Baxter said it’s not the first report of a mullet kill.  “We’ve had calls on mullet,” he said. “It appears that the mullet are spawning in areas that have been impacted by the red tide. Fish kills are being reported all along the Southwest coast.”  When asked if FWC would test the fish to confirm the cause of the kill, Baxter said it can be difficult to assign blame to a single cause.  “A lot of the fish have been dead for a while before they wash ashore, so they are already decomposing,” he said. “We have had reports of multiple species in the Anna Maria kill, but it is difficult to determine the exact number of species for that same reason.”

FWC confirms red tide in Manatee County 
According to the Jan. 16 FWC red tide update, a bloom of the organism Karenia brevis, which makes up the red tide algae, ranges from low to high along the shore of Manatee County.  Baxter said testing is ongoing as scientists try to keep up with the outbreak.  “It’s really hard to predict the length of an outbreak or even where it’s going,” said Baxter. “We can do pretty good estimating within a three-day period with our satellite imagery, but long-term forecasting is difficult.”  Concentrations of red tide exist in Manatee County southward through Lee County, and low concentrations have been found offshore in Collier County.  The algae bloom, which has been growing in mass, extends from southern Manatee County through Lee County, with patches now present off the Florida Keys.  Baxter said fish kills have increased throughout the red tide areas in recent weeks and respiratory issues in humans are increasing. - The Islander.

ICE AGE: Global Cooling Across The World - Snow And Ice Blanket Germany - 3.5 Billion Tons Of Snowfall In Just One Day!

January 26, 2013 - GERMANY - Winter weather threw travel across Germany into turmoil early this week. Snow blanketed much of the country, causing hundreds of cancelled flights and road closures. Conditions began to improve on Tuesday, but not before skiers at ice skaters could have a little fun.

Jack Frost continued to bite at Germany's nose on Tuesday, with snow still falling across many parts of Germany on Tuesday, following heavy snowfall on Sunday and Monday, the German Weather Service (DWD) reported.

A commuter train battles snow to reach Munich's airport. © Spiegel Online International.
The service said that 3.5 billion tons of snow fell in the country on Sunday alone. With winter weather continuing, that figure could rise to 6 billion tons by Wednesday.

Winter weather conditions led to frustrating travel conditions across the country. At Frankfurt's airport, Germany's largest, about 543 or 1,190 planned flights were cancelled Monday, according to German news agency DPA. In Munich another 200 flights were grounded. Delays affected air traffic at every German airport as crews de-iced planes and snow-removal equipment was used to clear gates.

Icy conditions also shut down a major stretch of highway in northern Germany around Berlin, affecting Monday morning commuters. And a 70-kilometer-long (44 miles) traffic jam formed on the A4 autobahn near the border between the states of Thuringia and Hesse.

Trains didn't fare much better either, with travelers facing long delays.

With lighter snowfall on Monday, night, conditions eased on Tuesday. By midday, only 54 of the planned daily 1,200 flights arriving or departing from the Frankfurt airport had to be cancelled.

While the weather might have created hassles for some, it also created pleasures for others. In forests and mountain areas, skiiers took to the paths, and in some places ice skaters could even be seen cutting figures on ice-covered roads. - Spiegel.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: 15 Donkeys Found Dead From "Mysterious Disease" In Sudanese Refugee Camp?!

January 26, 2013 - SUDAN - Sudanese refugees living at the Djabal camp in eastern Chad revealed that 15 donkeys have died in the past month due to a "mysterious disease" while many others are infected with it.

A camp's activist told Radio Dabanga on Friday that an organization that had been providing veterinary care at the site for the last years halted its work and closed the clinic.

As a result, refugees are currently not able to prevent their animals from contracting this "mysterious disease".

The activist appealed to international organizations working on veterinary care to address the issue at Djabal camp "before it is too late".

He stressed that donkeys are the only way refugees have to travel from camps to their farms and to collect firewood. - Radio Dabanga.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Amoebic Gill Disease (AGD) - Many Tonnes Of Salmon Killed Due To "New Disease" In Shetland Islands, Scotland?!

January 26, 2013 - SCOTLAND - Shetland's biggest salmon producer lost one third of its predicted harvest during the last three months of 2012 due to the impact of a new disease which only arrived in the islands last summer.  Amoebic gill disease (AGD) is the main cause for Grieg Seafood Hjaltland to write down 2,400 tonnes of salmon during the quarter, costing the company more than £5 million. 

The losses include a combination of dead fish and salmon which have had or will have to be harvested early before they have reached their expected average weight of 4.5kg.  The Shetland salmon industry is planning a pre-emptive strike over six weeks from next month with every salmon farm in the isles being treated.  David Sandison, general manager with the trades body Shetland Aquaculture, said AGD is carried by a sea-borne amoeba and was first found in Tasmania and Chile.  It is believed the northern hemisphere outbreak began at a fish farm in northern France, from where it travelled via Ireland to the west of Scotland.  There it grew extensively during the dry summer experienced in that part of the world. How it came to Shetland remains unknown, but it could have been transported in ballast water, Sandison said. 

“AGD has been widespread throughout Scotland and was first confirmed in the north of Shetland in August last year and between August and November it has been recorded at quite a number of different sites in different areas at varying degrees,” he said.  “It is going to mean there will be a dent in the outturn in production and most companies will be affected to a greater or lesser extent, but there are one or two companies in Scotland that have reported no problem at all.  “We will be treating every single site in Shetland from the second week of February until the end of March on an area by area basis.”  Despite the scale of the problem, Sandison said it would be wrong to describe this as a “crisis”.  “I think the fact that we have managed through collective action of the industry to get control of the situation is the main thing and the fact that we now have a plan in place to do a pre-emptive treatment this year should ensure it doesn’t happen again.  “But we can’t deny it’s had a big impact on the industry’s performance at the tail end of the year.”  Farmed salmon is Shetland’s biggest industry valued at around £140 million a year. - SHET News.

RATTLE & HUM: Violent Shakes Rattle Residents In Corbin, Kentucky - Was It An Earthquake, Thunder Roll, Explosion Or Crash?!

January 26, 2013 - UNITED STATES -  It's been described as an explosion, an earthquake, a thunder roll, or even as small as a car crash. Some say there was one tremor, others say two, one resident said they felt three violent shakes, and yet some say they didn't feel anything at all.  While the reports vary, the reality is something rattled Corbin around midday on Wednesday.

"Just a couple of seconds, it didn't last long," described Christopher Day, "I thought it was thunder and I looked up in the sky and, of course, it was sunny and cold out. It couldn't be thunder."  But Day wasn't the only one to feel it, Deanna Rains said dishes began falling into her sink. "I actually had my coffee pot break from my refrigerator," said Rains, "I was thinking oh my god, is my trailer going to fall apart? Or is the ground going to split open or something? I mean it was horrible!"  The Whitley County 911 Call Center made a map estimating the locations of callers to 911 centers in their county as well as in Laurel, Knox and McCreary counties. The tremors were that widespread.  "We've yet to determine what this was. It sounded like a minor earthquake, but we can't get it verified," answered Sheriff Colan Harrell. 

So, was it an earthquake? If anyone would know it'd be the UK Geological Survey.  "I took a look through our records and so far I haven't seen anything that does not look uncharacteristic. There's a of activity but that's normal," explained Seth Carpenter, adding he believes it was likely a mine blast on the surface level, and did not register on their seismology readouts.  So was it an explosion?  I called several mining companies to see if they were blasting in the area that could explain the shaking. They all denied it, saying their blasts are typically smaller and kept to a mile-wide radius.  Danny Moses, the Whitley County Emergency Management Director, said he began trying to solve the mystery as soon as it happened. He checked every possible blasting site, and said he still had not found the answer.  So the mystery continues.  "There could also be something else going on," estimated Carpenter.  "I still have no idea. It was definitely something," stated Day.  Moses said he has not found any major damage to the area. Still, those who felt the tremors want answers, but for now they'll have to wait. - WKYT.

WATCH: What caused the ground to shake - Confusion in Corbin over fake "quake".