Monday, January 28, 2013

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: The "Bombogenesis" - Ferocious Storm Set To Explode Over The North Atlantic, Dropping Bombs Of Weather Hazards!

January 28, 2013 - NORTH ATLANTIC - Some of the most powerful storms on earth form in the North Atlantic Ocean during wintertime, spelling peril for sailors unfortunate enough to encounter them. For the past few days, the meteorologists at the Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) in College Park, Md., whose job it is to warn vessels of weather hazards, have been highlighting the likelihood of a treacherous storm event that is taking place in the open ocean, to the south of Iceland.

Satellite image of the intense North Atlantic storm, taken by the NASA MODIS imager on Saturday Jan. 26.
Credit: NASA. 
A storm that was rather inoccuous when it affected the U.S. is exploding, through a process known to meteorologists as “bombogenesis,” into a ferocious storm over the North Atlantic. The storm has intensified enough to become stronger than Hurricane Sandy was, as measured by the minimum central air pressure. That storm devastated the northern Mid-Atlantic coast in late October and the lowest pressure recorded during it was 940 mb. The current storm intensified all the way to 933 mb, if not even lower than that, based on information from the OPC on Saturday.  In a Facebook post on Friday, the OPC said the storm is expected to undergo “incredible, explosive cyclogenesis” during the next 24 hours, with the central pressure plummeting from 988 mb on Friday down to 927 mb by late Sunday. (In general, the lower the central air pressure, the stronger the storm.)  At its maximum intensity, the storm will be capable of producing winds to 90 mph, and waves of greater than 50 feet, the OPC said.  Fortunately, the storm is expected to weaken considerably before it interacts with northwestern Europe, but it could still produce strong winds in Ireland and parts of the U.K.

Computer model forecast for early Sunday of significant wave heights over the N. Atlantic. (Some waves will actually be higher than indicated here, since this shows the average of the top one-third of waves.) Credit: Facebook/Stu Ostro.

Satellite image of the storm system captured by NOAA/EUMETSAT satellite on January 26, 2013 at 13:00 UTC
(Credit: Iceland Meteorological Office/NOAA/EOEMS).
The storm comes about 10 days after a different storm underwent a similar process of rapid intensification over the North Pacific Ocean, pummeling the western Aleutian Islands of Alaska with hurricane force winds and high waves, but sparing the rest of the state from any major impacts. The North Pacific storm's minimum central pressure plunged by 48 to 49 mb in just 24 hours, making it one of the most rapidly intensifying storms at a mean latitude of 34°N since 1979, according to a data analysis by Ryan Maue of Weatherbell Analytics. As strong as the upcoming Atlantic storm is expected to get, it is not likely to set any records. The strongest extratropical storm on record in the North Atlantic occurred in 1993, when a minimum central pressure of 913 mb was recorded near Scotland’s Shetland Islands, according to Weather Underground. That was the lowest sea-level adjusted barometric pressure reading observed on the earth’s surface, with the exception of lower readings measured during tropical cyclones and tornadoes. Climate studies have shown that extratropical storms in the Northern Hemisphere are shifting their paths northward as the climate warms, and there has been a trend toward stronger Arctic storms in recent years. However, the question of whether characteristics of storms like the one this weekend are changing in response to the warming climate is unclear, given the fact that these events have a long history in the region. - Climate Central.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Human Devolution - North Korean Parents Eat Their Children After Being Driven Mad By Hunger In Famine-Hit Pariah State, Many "Forced To Dig Up Corpses To Eat"!

January 28, 2013 - NORTH KOREA - There are fears some famine-stricken North Koreans are being forced into cannibalism following claims a man was executed for murdering his two children for food. The incident was reported by the Asia Press and published in The Sunday Times. The same investigation also contains details of a man who dug up his grandchild's corpse for food, and another who boiled his child and ate the flesh. The Sunday Times refers to a "hidden famine" in the notoriously secretive country, which could be responsible for up to 10,000 deaths in the last year alone.

A malnourished North Korean boy is fed a vitamin and mineral-enriched porridge supplied by the
United Nations World Food Programme in 2004 (file picture).
The reports, which have been picked up by other major news outlets too, are described as "credible". The Independent reports the claims of one "citizen journalist" who said a man in his village was executed by firing squad after trying to eat his children. The source said: "While his wife was away on business he killed his eldest daughter and, because his son saw what he had done, he killed his son as well. When the wife came home, he offered her food, saying: 'We have meat.' But his wife, suspicious, notified the Ministry of Public Security, which led to the discovery of part of their children's bodies under the eaves." Fears of cannibalism in the country surfaced in 2003 too, amid testimony from refugees who claimed poor harvests and food aid sanctions had resulted in children being killed and corpses cut up for food.

Farming communities, such as these pictured outside the capital Pyongyang last year, have been desperately hit by drought which has led to reports of people turning to cannibalism in a bid to ward off starvation. One official said the fields are in such a bad state from drought that he had to avert his eyes.
According to The Telegraph, requests by the United Nations World Food Programme to access "farmers' markets" where human meat was said to be traded, were turned down by Pyongyang, citing "security reasons". Those caught selling human meat face execution, but one source told the North Korean Refugees Assistance Fund: "Pieces of 'special' meat are displayed on straw mats for sale. People know where they come from, but they don't talk about it." In June last year the United Nations said two-thirds of the country's 24 million people were facing chronic food shortages. It added nearly a third of children under the age of 5 showed signs of stunting, particularly in rural areas. According to the Associated Press:
"The report paints a bleak picture of deprivation in the countryside, not often seen by outsiders, who are usually not allowed to travel beyond the relatively prosperous Pyongyang, where cherubic children are hand-picked to attend government celebrations and a middle-class with a taste for good food have the means to eat out."
It also bolstered criticism of the government, which critics say should be spending money on food security instead of military strength. North Korea claims strong military and nuclear deterrents are necessary against the perceived joint threats from the US and South Korea. Tensions rose even further in December following a long-range rocket launch. - Huffington Post.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Unnerves Kazakhstan's Largest City!

January 28, 2013 - KAZAKHSTAN -  A magnitude 6.0 earthquake has hit southeastern Kazakhstan, causing apartment buildings to sway in the country's largest city, Almaty.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the temblor hit at 22:38 p.m. local time (1638 GMT; 11:38 a.m. EST) Monday and that the epicenter was in a remote mountainous area near the border with Western China and Kyrgyzstan.

The shallow tremors were also felt in the capital of neighboring Kyrgyzstan. No damage had been reported by late Monday.

Central Asia is a seismically active area.

A powerful earthquake in July 2011 killed at least 14 people across the heavily populated Ferghana valley shared by Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. - ABC News.

SHADOW WARS: Escalating Towards World War III - Henry Kissinger Says Iran Nuclear Crisis Is Close And That It Would Be A "Turning Point In Human History"?!

January 28, 2013 - SWITZERLAND - Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has warned that a crisis involving a nuclear Iran is in the "foreseeable future".  The Nobel Peace laureate, 89, was speaking about prospects in the Middle East at the World Economic Forum.  He said nuclear proliferation in the region triggered by an armed Iran would increase the chances of an atomic war - "a turning point in human history". 

He also urged the US and Russia to co-operate in resolving Syria's conflict.  "There has emerged in the region, the current and most urgent issue of nuclear proliferation. For 15 years, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have declared that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable, but it has been approaching," he said.  "In a few years, people will have to come to a determination of how to react, or the consequences of non-reaction.  "I believe this point will be reached in a very foreseeable future," he added.

'Nuclear war'
In his assessment of the stand-off between Iran and Western powers over its nuclear programme - which Tehran argues is for peaceful and civilian purposes - Mr Kissinger called for "serious" negotiations on both sides to look for solutions.  "Unilateral intervention by Israel would be a desperate last resort, but the Iranians have to understand that if they keep using the negotiations to gain time to complete a nuclear programme then the situation will become extremely dangerous."  The consequences of Tehran's programme, he said, would be that other countries in the region would also want nuclear arms. 

"The danger is that we could be reaching a point where nuclear weapons would become almost conventional, and there will be the possibility of a nuclear conflict at some point... that would be a turning point in human history," he said.  "If Iran acts as a nation and not as a revolutionary cause, there is no reason for America or other permanent members of the UNSC to be in conflict with it, nor any countries in the region. On that basis I would hope that a negotiated solution would be found in a measurable time."  Meanwhile, Mr Kissinger advocated a US-Russia understanding over the conflict in Syria, while opposing military intervention.  "The Syrian problem would best be dealt internationally by Russia and America not making it a contest of national interests," he said.  "I would hope that the undertaking of the US foreign policy will not be be characterised by the divisions that we see in [its] domestic policy." - BBC.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Stunning Images Of Rivers Of Molten Lava Flow From Kamchatka's Plosky Tolbachik Volcano In Russia!

January 28, 2013 - KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA - A volcano erupting in Russia’s Far East has sent plumes of gas, ash and molten lava into the sky. Footage filmed on Friday shows rivers of molten lava flowing in the remote area of the Plosky Tolbachik volcano, in Kamchatka peninsula.

“The hot materials have erupted to the height of up to one hundred meters,” said Yuri Demyanchuk, a volcanologist who has made several visits to the site. According to authorities, there is no immediate threat to residential areas, but officials have advised residents to ensure they have access to protective masks. The nearest town is around 60 kilometers away. The volcano started erupting in November, after lying dormant for almost 40 years. - Telegraph.

WATCH: Rare Glimpse Of  Lava Flows From Russian Volcano.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Gold Bank Run Is Now Accelerating - First Venezuela; Then Germany; The Netherlands; And Now Switzerland Want Their Gold Back, All 1040 Tons Of It!

January 28, 2013 - SWITZERLAND -With last week’s announcement by the Bundesbank of the repatriation of 674 tons of German gold from Paris and NY over the next 7 years, we predicted that an avalanche of gold repatriation requests would soon be made to the BOE and the NYFed.  It appears that Switzerland may be next to the game, much to the dismay of the SNB.  The Swiss gold initiative, an initiative to Secure the Swiss National Bank’s Gold Reserves, launched in March 2012 by four members of the Swiss parliament, has grown to 90,000 supporters.  Once 100,000 supporters are achieved, the Swiss Parliament must take up the referendum.   The initiative asserts that the Swiss people should have a right to vote on 3 things, none of which will please the banking cartel:

1. To keep Swiss gold physically in Switzerland (ie repatriate Switzerland’s gold)
2. Preventing/forbidding the SNB from selling any more of its gold reserves
3. Requiring the SNB to massively increase their gold holdings to a minimum of 20% of its reserves within 5 years, held within Switzerland.

Not surprisingly, the Swiss National Bank doesn’t wish to disclose where it’s physical gold is held, but it may soon be forced to once the initiative achieves 100,000 supporters. 674 tons repatriated here, 1040 tons repatriated there, pretty soon we’re talking real money! 

From the Post Finance, via google translate:

Gold initiative prepares the SNB headache
by Lukas Hässig – Home to Switzerland must get their gold from abroad? The SVP initiative calling for the missing, only 10,000 signatures. The SNB could get into trouble.

“Already in March 2013 is the deadline for the submission of Gold initiative,” wrote the St. Gallen SVP National and co-founder Lukas ReimannAlthough it was with some 90,000 signatures on its way. “But to crack the necessary 100’000, now the use of all is needed.” Where are the 1,040 tonnes of gold the Swiss National Bank? The question is now being seriously discussed with us. The response of the SNB remains nebulous. Most of it is here, but some lie abroad, said the central bank. “We do not want to be precise,” says SNB spokeswoman Silvia Oppliger. “Maybe we will express more precisely, should the gold initiative come about.”

German gold repatriation provides in USA for red heads
The German Bundesbank initially thought that she needed to accept the emotional issue any further. But so are a growing number of applied citizens and politicians were not satisfied. They put the central bank so long under pressure until it gave way recently. Now bring the Germans back 674 tonnes of gold from the U.S. and from France to England. This corresponds to a value of 27 billion euros currently. The large gold repatriation of our northern neighbor provides worldwide headlines. «Germany Moving Its Gold Back Home To Satisfy The Paranoid”, headlines the U.S. Internet newspaper Huffington Post; pure populism to appease a population that is seeing ghosts. In Germany, had previously taken hold doubt the actual existence of the gold that is stored in the gold vaults of the Americans. The bars may indeed be covered with a thin layer of gold and otherwise consist of inexpensive iron was feared.

SNB would have to buy up to 100 billion gold
Interestingly, Switzerland has been a long time before the Germans and taken without public vertebral the topic. Circles from the People’s Party launched 16 months ago, the gold initiative. Because the project in parliament remained chance would just started as the last remaining means an initiative, the initiators said then. By referendum, they want to force the SNB to store all the gold in Switzerland and sell no single ton more. In addition to the SNB within 5 years after voting to increase their gold holdings massively so that it accounts for a fifth of the minimum in the whole balance. At current prices, the rest would go into the money. Currently, the share of gold in all the assets of the National Bank is only at 10 percent. If the SNB reduced its balance sheet is not strong, then it remains a possible adoption of the initiative no other choice than double its gold reserves to 2000 tonnes. A ton of gold currently costs about $ 55 million. Now can be expected: 2000 tons came to 110 billion dollars, equivalent to about 100 billion francs. By comparison, the SNB now has a capital of 62 billion francs. This does not include higher gold prices that could arise due to the demand of the SNB.

Headache at the guardian of the currency
Where did all that money to come for gold purchases is not clear. It would be nice to reduce the mountain of about 170 billion euros in order to buy gold bars. Only it would take for the many Euros first buyer, and the single currency would yet remain so stable that billion-sales of the SNB would not immediately strengthen the franc against the euro again. This consideration alone makes it clear that the gold initiative although many.
- Silver Doctors.

AUSTRALIAN WEATHER ANOMALIES: The Great Deluge - Premier Campbell Newman Warns There's More To Come As Queensland Now Faces Monster Flooding, Three Dead, Hundreds Stranded, Dramatic Rooftop Rescues!

January 28, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - Helicopters plucked dozens of stranded Australians to safety in dramatic rooftop rescues Monday as severe floods swept the northeast, killing three people and inundating thousands of homes.  The body of one man carried off by rising waters was found in the Queensland state capital Brisbane and another further north at Gympie, following the earlier discovery of an elderly man who died near the city of Bundaberg.  A pregnant woman and her three-year-old son were hospitalised after a large tree fell on them as they were walking Monday morning in Brisbane. They were reported to have head injuries, with the child in critical condition.

An aerial view of East Bundaberg. PIC: Paul Beutel The Courier-Mail.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman announced that an acute emergency was unfolding in Bundaberg, home to about 50,000 people some 360 kilometres (220 miles) north of Brisbane, with people scrambling to get out as the river hit a record peak.  One family zipped their infant son into a waterproof bag to be winched to safety by helicopter as floods surrounded their car on Sunday at Biloela, west of Bundaberg, with the 14-month-old too small for the airlift harness.  Newman said authorities were now in "uncharted territory", with debris-laden floodwaters roaring through the town at such speeds that water rescues were no longer viable.  There were fears homes could be ripped from foundations and police issued a mandatory evacuation order, warning there was an "imminent danger of people being killed and drowned".  Some 60 patients at the local hospital were shifted to upper floors, with more than 2,000 houses flooded and "many thousands" of residents affected.  Newman said a "significant number" of people were soon to be trapped indoors.  "We are at a point where we've never seen floodwaters like this before," he told reporters.  "We're very concerned that the velocity of the water and the rise in water levels means that literally houses... could be swept away. This is a very real prospect."

Fourteen helicopters, including two army Black Hawks, would fly rescue missions until nightfall and Newman said the government was scrambling to find extra aircraft.  "We've got to pull all stops out to do this before it gets dark," he said.  Thousands have evacuated their homes across Queensland and neighbouring New South Wales with widespread flood warnings in the southern path of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald.  Pounding whipped up huge ocean froth on the Gold and Sunshine Coast regions, with foam up to one metre deep in some areas of the shore.  Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the "wild weather had broken a lot of hearts", with some Queensland residents experiencing their third flood in two years, including the devastating 2011 inundation which killed 35 people.  "As this weather moves into New South Wales can I reiterate to everyone, it is very important you keep yourself safe," said Gillard.  "We have seen three fatalities and... we have got grave concerns for a number of others."  Floodwaters were rising in Brisbane, home to some two million people, though Newman said the Brisbane River was expected to peak seven metres lower than in 2011, when flooding brought the city to a standstill for several days.  Rural towns were isolated by floodwaters in neighbouring New South Wales state, where hundreds of millimetres of rain and strong winds were expected in the coming hours, including in Sydney.  Cyclones and floods are common in Australia's northeast during the warmer summer months. A series of huge storms wreaked havoc across Queensland in early 2011, devastating large agricultural districts and major coal mines. - Times of India.

WATCH: Floods worsen in eastern Australia.

WATCH: Foam fills Australian town during wild weather after tropical cyclone Oswald.

DELUGE: Flood Warnings Remain In UK, As Further Rain Set To Sweep In - Nearly 60 Flood Warnings And Nearly 240 Alerts In Place!

January 28, 2013 - BRITAIN - The UK faces further risk of serious flooding this week, as forecasters predict more heavy rain from Monday.  Nearly 60 flood warnings and nearly 240 alerts are in place across Britain, with south-west England and south Wales expected to be worst hit by showers.  It comes after days of disruption from heavy snow, followed by a rapid thaw that led to widespread flooding.

A motorist negotiates flood water on a road near to Boulby in East Cleveland Photo: LNP.
On Sunday, a canoeist in North Yorkshire died after he was pulled from the swollen Arkle Beck, near Reeth. The Environment Agency said rain falling on already saturated ground was likely to lead to more disruption this week.  It also warned that properties could flood, particularly in the south-west of England on Tuesday.
It said some river levels were yet to peak. Spokesman Innes Thomson told the BBC: "We've already got flooded fields, we've got localised flooding, we've got high ground water, we've got spring tides this week coming. So we've actually got a complete cocktail of issues and concerns for us to keep an eye on." In England and Wales, there are 58 flood warnings - meaning flooding is expected with "immediate action required" - and 239 flood alerts, which mean flooding "is possible - be prepared".

There are no flood warnings in Scotland, although there are 13 flood alerts. The BBC's Peter Gibbs said spells of rain and strong winds would remain the key weather themes for the UK in the week ahead. On Monday, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland would see early showers, while other parts of the UK - including northern England, the Midlands, East Anglia, south-east England, and Wales - would have a relatively clear start. However, heavy rain could cause problems in south-west England and Wales later in the day, falling on saturated grounds, he said. Rain is then forecast for most of the UK by Monday evening and into Tuesday. The Met Office has a issued yellow "be aware" warning - for Monday afternoon and evening - for heavy rain in south-west England. A further yellow warning for heavy rain has been issued for the whole of Tuesday for south-west England, the West Midlands and parts of Wales. - BBC.

WATCH: Flooding in England as snow melts.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Rock Fracturing And Magma Movement Causing Hybrid Volcanic Quakes At The White Island Volcano, New Zealand!

January 28, 2013 - NEW ZEALAND -  Hybrid earthquakes recorded at White Island in recent days are thought to be the result of some kind of rock fracturing, and are often attributed to magma movement within a volcanic system, a scientist said today.  "The really high levels of tremor that we've seen over the last couple of weeks, and then coupled with these new hybrid earthquakes means that our concern right now is quite high," GNS Science head of volcanology Dr Gill Jolly told a briefing for journalists. 

The latest activity captured by a GNS camera.
Yesterday afternoon the aviation colour code at White Island was raised to orange, the third-highest of four codes. It indicates heightened unrest at the volcano with increased likelihood of an eruption.  Jolly warned that visitors to the island were now at the highest level of risk since the start of eruptions last August.  Hazards could include the health effects of volcanic gas exposure, including respiratory issues, and skin and eye sensitivity to acidic gases.  "Explosive eruptions can occur at any time with little or no warning," she said.  "We advise a high level of caution should be taken, if visiting the island."  Jolly said hybrid earthquakes were so-called because they had a mixture of different frequencies, with very high frequency at the start – a kind of impulsive start – and a kind of wobble afterwards.  "It's a bit like striking a bell," she said.  "The initial impulse is high frequency and then you have the resonance of the bell."  It was hard to tell what might happen in the next few weeks, but it was possible White Island could become more active if a significant batch of new magma came up through the volcano.  Geysers at a crater lake could get more vigorous, and there could be more volcanic explosive activity such as the venting which happened in August, or it could perhaps be even more vigorous.  Between 1976 and 2000 some of the larger explosions ejected blocks of magma on to the crater floor, with some even reaching the sea.  "But with all volcanoes there is a lot of uncertainty, a bit like trying to forecast the weather with your eyes closed because you can't actually specifically see what's happening under the surface," Jolly said.  "They often look like they're building up to something and then nothing happens at all."  If the amount of gas measured over the volcano went up it could indicate more magma was coming up into the system.  If there were a lot more earthquakes it would suggest something was pushing from below, probably magma being forced into the near subsurface in the volcano. More heat in the system could also indicate a new batch of magma coming close to the surface.  White Island had been active between 1976 and 2000, with regular ash venting, small explosions, and larger explosions throwing blocks out about every three to four months on average, Jolly said. Since 2000 it had been relatively quiet, with no surface activity.

ACTIVE: The volcano at White Island.
  The most-recent episode started last July, when scientists were alerted by a rapid change in the lake at the crater, with the level moving by five to seven metres over one night.  Then in early August there were some weak eruptions of ash, which was found to be new magma. It was the first ash erupted on White Island since 2001.  A mass of material was extruded producing a lava dome, probably in late November.  Jolly said no huge changes had been found in regular gas measurements at the volcano, suggesting that even if there was new magma the volume was not large.  Then in late December and early January White Island appeared to be quiet.  "We actually sat down and met in here on January 14 and were reasonably comfortable that the hazard had decreased," she said.  "Within 24 hours of meeting the volcano decided to do something different and it started to ramp up."  Volcanic tremor, a vibration in the volcanic system, increased and small explosions were seen in the remains of the lake at the crater.  "Now, we know there's magma very close to the surface because we have the fresh magma erupted in August and then the dome extruded in November," Jolly said.  "What we think is actually happening is that the dome extruded and that's almost like a plug on that part of the hydrothermal system. So there may well be heat still coming up through with the magma.  "That's effectively expanding the steam zone around the dome, and that might be what's increasing the tremor and producing this geysering at the lakelet which is some distance away from the dome."  Nearly all eruptions on White Island only affected the island itself. Rocks had been ejected up to a few hundred metres offshore in the past, she said.  Depending on the wind direction, a light ashfall was possible on the mainland in a larger scale eruption, but it was unlikely to have a big impact. - Stuff.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Honduras On The Brink Of Bankruptcy - Suspends Public Services!

January 28, 2013 - HONDURAS - Street surveillance cameras in one of the world’s most dangerous cities have been turned off because the government of Honduras has not paid millions of pounds it owes.  The operator which runs them in the capital Tegucigalpa is now threatening to suspend police radio services as well.  Teachers have been demonstrating almost every day as they have not been paid in six months, while doctors complain about the shortage of essential medicines, gauze, needles and latex gloves.

Honduras opposition leader Rasel Tome speaks at an anti-Government rally outside parliament in Tegucigalpa (AP).
The Central American country has been on the brink of bankruptcy for months, as politicians put off passing a budget necessary to pay for basic government services. Honduras is also grappling with five billion dollars (£3.16 billion) in foreign debt, a figure equivalent to last year’s entire government budget.  “There are definitely patients who haven’t been able to get better because of this problem,” said Dr Lilian Discua, a paediatrician. “An epileptic who doesn’t take his medicine will have a crisis. This is happening.”  The financial problems add to a general sense that Honduras is a country in meltdown, as murders soar, drug trafficking overruns cities and coasts and the nation’s highest court has been embattled in a constitutional fight with the congress.

Many streets are riddled with potholes, and cities are not replacing stolen manhole covers.  Soldiers are not receiving their regular salaries, while the education secretary says 96% of schools close several days every week or month because of teacher strikes. Experts say a mix of government corruption, election-year politics and a struggling economy has fuelled the crisis.  The local branch of the international watchdog group Transparency International issued a study last month that alleged some politicians had spent money on plane tickets to a tennis tournament in Spain, Mother’s Day gifts and other personal expenses. The study’s author, Ludin Ayala, said the country’s congress is the most expensive in Central America, although Honduras is the poorest country in the region.  Former presidential candidate Olban Valladares claimed that much of the public money has gone into campaigns ahead of November’s elections, in which the president, mayors and 128 congressional representatives will be elected.  Mr Valladares said: “”Sadly, we have a great number of candidates who are state officials and their tendency is to abuse state resources that they control to fund their campaigns.” - StratRisks.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: "Unusual Trek" - Lost Dolphin Dies In Polluted New York Canal!

January 28, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The carcass of a dolphin that died after becoming mired in a notoriously toxic New York City canal has been removed and will be sent for a necropsy, a marine research group said Saturday.  The animal was first spotted in Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal on Friday morning, where it was described as looking disoriented and unwell as it struggled to avoid getting bogged down in the canal's muddy floor.

A man reaches down to pat a dolphin as it struggles along a bulkhead in the headwaters of the Gowanus
Canal as others look on in Brooklyn, New York on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013.
Biologists from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, who monitored the dolphin with police and a crowd of onlookers, hoped the animal might be able to free itself and head back out to the harbor as waters rose. It died Friday evening before high tide.  "The option that gave the animal the best chance for a positive outcome was waiting," Robert DiGiovanni, Riverhead's executive director and senior biologist, said Saturday. "If an animal wasn't going to be able to survive through the next tide cycle then it was an animal that was compromised and wouldn't make it."  Approaching the dolphin by boat would have been difficult in the shallow, polluted canal and may have achieved little besides adding to the animal's distress, he said.

The disoriented dolphin ended up in a canal laced with heavy metals, coal tar wastes and other pollutants.
A necropsy will be performed on the adult dolphin, estimated to weigh about 200 pounds, on Sunday at Riverhead's laboratory on Long Island, he said. The findings and tissue samples will be shared with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Common dolphins are social animals that travel in groups known as pods. To see a solitary common dolphin, especially so far inland, is unusual, and is a sign that the animal is sick or dying, biologists and other marine officials said.  The dolphin's unusual trek into Brooklyn – DiGiovanni could not recall a dolphin coming so far into New York City in at least two decades – brought wide attention to one of the city's dirtier and most malodorous corners.  The Environmental Protection Agency declared the Gowanus Canal a Superfund site in 2010, calling it one of the country's "most extensively contaminated water bodies." Mayor Michael Bloomberg had opposed the designation, arguing the city's own plan would have cleaned the canal in less time.  The canal is laced with heavy metals, coal tar wastes and other pollutants from the factories and tanneries that have lined its banks, the EPA says.  The EPA is still working on its plan, which is currently open to public comment, to spend an estimated $300 million to $400 million of federal money to clean up the canal. - Weather.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Japan May Shutter World's Largest Nuclear Plant Over Earthquake Threat!

January 28, 2013 - JAPAN - The world’s largest nuclear power plant may be forced to shut down under stricter rules proposed by Japan’s new nuclear watchdog. The measures are intended to safeguard against future natural disasters following the 2011 tsunami.  The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in the heart of Japan is now facing permanent closure following a move by the country’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to expand the definition of an active fault – a crack in the earth's crust.

Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant (Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon).
The operators of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power are the same company which powered the stricken Fukishima plant.  The watchdog hopes to redefine an active fault as one that has moved any time within the last 400,000 years, as opposed to the current 120,000 to 130,000-year limit, an official told AFP. The reclassification would effectively shut Kashiwazaki-Kariwa down.  Two faults designated alpha and beta run under the plant’s No. 1 reactor.  TEPCO had previously maintained that neither fault line had moved for between 120,000 and 240,000 years, though geological experts doubted their conclusions. Prior to 2006, only faults that had moved in the last 50,000 years were considered active.  TEPCO opted to conduct another study to date the fault lines, the results of which will be released next month.  "The new guidelines will be put into effect in July, and then we will re-evaluate the safety of each of Japan's nuclear plants," said the NRA official, who added that no final decisions would be taken until the new rules were implemented. 

The measures include the installation of vents capable of filtering out radioactive gases, the use of mobile back-up electrical generators, as well as set criteria for evacuating areas around nuclear power plants in case of an emergency.  Plants must also have back-up control rooms located away from reactor buildings, reducing the risk of plant workers being irradiated in emergency situations. Protective barriers would also be set up to bolster the facilities against potential terrorist attacks.  All of Japan's nuclear plants were shut down after an magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 claimed over 19,000 lives and wrecked the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing widespread radiation contamination. Public concerns regarding nuclear safety has left all but two of the country’s 50 plants offline.  The Kashiwarazaki-Kariwa plant may be susceptible the same type of cataclysmic event which led to Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, as the plant itself is situated in an active fault zone.  The plant was damaged during the 2007 Chūetsu offshore earthquake, which triggered a fire and radiation leaks. All seven of the plants reactors reportedly sustained damage, and critics warn a magnitude 8.0 earthquake along nearby fault lines could spark a major disaster no matter what safety measures are implemented.  Three of its reactors were still being repaired and were not operational at the time of the Fukushima disaster. - RT.

SHADOW WARS: Escalating Towards World War III - India Test Fires Missile From Under Sea, Completes Nuclear Triad!

January 28, 2013 - BAY OF BENGAL - After a smooth countdown at 1.40 pm on Sunday, India's missile, named BO5, emerged effortlessly breaking the balmy waters of the Bay of Bengal. The missile was launched from an approximate depth of about 50 metres, simulating exactly the conditions as would prevail during an operational launch from India's indigenously made nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant. The missile whose name has been variously given as Sagarika or at times K-15 or even Dhanush has finally been christened as BO5 and is a medium-range ballistic missile.

After emerging from the water, the missile followed a copy book track of its trajectory and hit its target about six minutes after launch in a very precise manner. The trajectory was tracked using several cameras and radars specially deputed for this launch. This is the fourteenth consecutively successful launch of this potent weapons system which has till now always been done in complete secrecy. This was the last developmental launch and now the weapons system is ready to be integrated with the Indian submarines, says AK Chakrabarty, the man who designed and perfected this naval missile system and is also the director of the Defence Research and Development Laboratory, Hyderabad.

He spoke exclusively to NDTV on board the ship which controls the missile launch. This sophisticated technology has been mastered only by the USA, Russia, France and China. India has now joined this select club of five, and has now completed what is called the nuclear triad, which essentially gives India the capability to launch at will its nuclear weapons from air, land and sea. The indigenously made missile has been perfected after more than 15 years of development by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Mr Chakrabarty, who had tears of joy in his eyes, described the mission as "perfect and could not have been any better." A young team of about 200 DRDO scientists and personnel from the Navy and a flotilla of ships took part in today's mission. The NDTV team of Pallava Bagla and Alphonse Raj were the only journalists allowed to witness the launch live from the middle of the Bay of Bengal. - NDTV.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Dozens In Virginia Report "Fireball" Streaking Across The Sky - Also Seen Over New Jersey, New York, And North Carolina!

January 28, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Dozens of viewers, nearing over 100 as of Sunday Night, report seeing a very bright "fireball" streak across the night sky.

Courtesy: Sky and Telescope - a fireball from 1998.
Witnesses report a vivid tail of fire-like red particles extending from the fireball.

The fireball was likely a large, or close meteor. These events are more common than many people think.

Debris from space enter Earth's atmosphere all of the time and burn up in our sky as meteors. Occasionally, a meteor will be vivid or large enough to be described as a "fireball".

For more on "fireballs", click here. - WSET.

Initial Reports:
January 27, 2013 - Daniel Phillips Williams Township, PA USA 9:45 pm, EST approx. 20 seconds Object moving Right to Left in the West (we were facing West) Red ball with long yellow tail brightness like a larger Mars, as the fireball was reddish, not star-bright not that we saw was much more prominent than any meteors we have previously seen, and the red color with yellow tail was unique to us.

January 27, 2013 - Will Krepps Over Richmond VA 2130 20 sec S Yellow Orange less than moon more than venus flame trailer horizontal to ground

January 27, 2013 - Krepps Midlothian, VA 2130 20 sec South Yellow orange - silent Brighter than venus trail of fire moving horizontal to horizon - Lunar Meteorite Hunters.

WATCH: Meteorologist Jay Webb talks about possible meteor sighting.