Wednesday, April 3, 2013

WORLD WAR III: "Moment Of Explosion Imminent" - North Korea Army Says It Now Has ‘Final Approval’ For 'Merciless' Nuclear Attack Against The United States, As U.S. Pentagon Moves Advanced Missile Defense System To Pacific Island Of Guam!

April 03, 2013 - KOREAN PENINSULA - The North Korean army said it would launch "merciless" military strikes on the United States, involving the possible use of "cutting-edge" nuclear weapons.  In a statement published by the official KCNA news agency, the General Staff of the Korean People's Army said it was formally informing Washington that US threats would be "smashed by... cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means".  "The merciless operation of (our) revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified."  The declaration came minutes after the United States announced it would deploy a land-based missile defence system to Guam to counter North Korean threats.  The United States Department of Defense issued a statement saying the truck-mounted launcher and radar system will be moved in next few weeks.  The land-based missile defense system includes a truck-mounted launcher, tracking radar, interceptor missiles, and an integrated fire control system. The Pentagon said the system will boost defenses for American citizens in Guam, a United States territory, and US forces stationed there.

Forces deployed on the Korean Peninsula.

Deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System is just the latest step the US has taken to bolster forces in the region in a far-reaching show of force aimed at countering the North Korean threat. The missile system joins two destroyers deployed to the region in the past few days. The ships are also capable of shooting down intercontinental ballistic missiles.  Stealth bombers and stealth fighters have also been sent to the region.  North Korea has been making increasingly hysterical threats against South Korea and the United States in recent weeks. However, the United States Department of Defense says it has not detected any unusual military movements or activity around missile sites within the rogue country.  North Korea's threats and recent actions represent a "real and clear danger" to the United States as well as its allies South Korea and Japan, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said. "They have nuclear capacity now, they have missile delivery capacity now," Hagel said after giving a major strategy speech at the National Defense University, calling Pyongyang's "bellicose dangerous rhetoric" problematic.  "We take those threats seriously, we have to take those threats seriously," he added.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile during a test. The United States is to deploy a THAAD missile defense battery to defend its bases on the Pacific island of Guam.
"We are doing everything we can, working with the Chinese and others to defuse that situation on the peninsula.  "I hope the North will ratchet its very dangerous rhetoric down."  North Korea on Wednesday blocked access to the key Kaesong joint industrial zone with South Korea - the only surviving example of inter-Korean cooperation and a crucial source of hard currency for Pyongyang. 

An anti-missile defence system.

The move represented a sharp escalation of a military crisis that has also seen the North threaten missile and nuclear strikes against the United States and its ally South Korea in response to UN sanctions and joint military drills.  Tensions have been soaring on the Korean peninsula since the North launched a long-range rocket in December and conducted its third nuclear test in February.  In a rare show of force in the region, Washington has deployed nuclear-capable US B-52s, B-2 stealth bombers and two US destroyers to South Korean air and sea space.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) sailing in the waters off the Korean Peninsula.

The Sea-based, X-band Radar (SBX 1) transits the waters of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The United States has deployed a sophisticated sea-based radar to the ocean east of Japan to track any North Korean ballistic missile launches.
"We've been trying to work with the North Koreans to try to persuade them it's not in their interest, and certainly not in the Korean peninsula interest... to pursue nuclear weapons," Hagel said.  Hagel told an audience at the National Defense University that there is a path to peace on the troubled Korean peninsula, but it doesn't include making nuclear threats or taking provocative actions.  "There is a pathway that is responsible, for the North to get on the path to peace, working with their neighbours... but they've got to be a responsible member of the world community." - Daily Telegraph.

North Korea Warns 'Moment Of Explosion' Nears.
North Korea stirred up fresh unease in Northeast Asia early Thursday, threatening attacks by a "smaller, lighter and diversified" nuclear force and warning, "The moment of explosion is approaching fast."  The new threat came after the North Koreans locked South Korean workers out of a joint factory complex and announced plans to restart a nuclear reactor it shut down five years ago. Meanwhile, the United States announced it was sending ballistic missile defenses to Guam, a Pacific territory that's home to U.S. naval and air bases.  "The moment of explosion is approaching fast. No one can say a war will break out in Korea or not and whether it will break out today or tomorrow," North Korea's state news agency KCNA declared in its latest broadside. "The responsibility for this grave situation entirely rests with the U.S. administration and military warmongers keen to encroach upon the DPRK's sovereignty and bring down its dignified social system with brigandish logic."  DPRK is short for Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the official name for North Korea. 

Most observers say the North is still years away from having the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead on a missile. U.S. officials have said they see no unusual military movements across the Demilitarized Zone that splits the Korean Peninsula, despite weeks of bombastic rhetoric from Pyongyang, and many analysts say the increasingly belligerent talk is aimed at cementing the authority of the country's young leader, Kim Jong Un.  But the North does have plenty of conventional military firepower, including medium-range ballistic missiles that can carry high explosives for hundreds of miles. And U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that the North Korean threats to Guam, Hawaii and the U.S. mainland have to be taken seriously.  "It only takes being wrong once, and I don't want to be the secretary of defense who was wrong once," Hagel told an audience at Washington's National Defense University.  But Hagel also said there was still a "responsible" path for the North to take.  "I hope the North will ratchet this very dangerous rhetoric down," Hagel said. "There is a pathway that is responsible for the North to get on a path to peace working with their neighbors. There are many, many benefits to their people that could come. But they have got to be a responsible member of the world community, and you don't achieve that responsibility and peace and prosperity by making nuclear threats and taking very provocative actions." - CNN.

WATCH: North Korea warns 'moment of explosion' nears.

US To Move Missile Defense To Guam.
The US has announced it is moving an advanced missile system to the Pacific island of Guam as North Korea steps up its warlike rhetoric.  The latest statement from Pyongyang "formally informs" the Pentagon it has "ratified" a possible nuclear strike.  North Korea has threatened to target the US and South Korea in recent weeks.  Its latest statement came amid warnings from US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel that North Korea is a "real and clear danger" to the US and its allies.  The US Department of Defense said on Wednesday it would deploy the ballistic Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (Thaad) in the coming weeks.

The Thaad system includes a truck-mounted launcher, interceptor missiles, and AN/TPY-2 tracking radar, together with an integrated fire control system.  The Pentagon said the missile system would be moved to Guam, a US territory with a significant US military presence, as a "precautionary move to strengthen our regional defence posture against the North Korean regional ballistic missile threat".  "The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and stands ready to defend US territory, our allies, and our national interests," the Pentagon added.  The US had already planned to send a Thaad system to Guam, but not under these circumstances, analysts say.  Riki Ellison, chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Group, told the BBC that the Pentagon's decision to speed up the transfer underlines how seriously Washington is taking Pyongyang's threats, but it should be viewed as a purely defensive move, not an escalation.  He said the Thaad system would only protect Guam and the surrounding area, and would not cover South Korea or Japan.

Also on Wednesday, a statement carried by the official North Korean news agency said: "We formally inform the White House and Pentagon that the ever-escalating US hostile policy towards the DPRK [North Korea] and its reckless nuclear threat will be smashed by the strong will of all the united service personnel and people and cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means of the DPRK and that the merciless operation of its revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified."  It warned war could break out on the Korean peninsula as early as "today or tomorrow".  The BBC's Damian Grammaticas in Seoul says few observers believe North Korea has rockets or miniaturised weapons that could hit the US mainland.  Pyongyang could be seeking to pressure Washington to open fresh talks, hoping for a formal peace treaty, he adds.  In recent weeks, North Korea has mentioned military bases in the US territory of Guam and the US state of Hawaii as possible targets.  "As they have ratcheted up her bellicose, dangerous rhetoric, and some of the actions they've taken over the last few weeks present a real and clear danger," said Mr Hagel, in his first major speech on Wednesday since taking up his post.  He added that Pyongyang had also threatened the interests of South Korea and Japan.  The North has apparently been angered by UN sanctions imposed after a recent nuclear test. Pyongyang has escalated its rhetoric amid the current round of US-South Korea military drills.  The US has recently made a series of high-profile flights of stealth fighters and nuclear-capable B-52 bombers over South Korea.  Officials have also confirmed that the USS John McCain, a destroyer capable of intercepting missiles, has been positioned off the Korean peninsula.

A second destroyer, the USS Decatur, has been sent to the region. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry called recent North Korean actions "dangerous" and "reckless".  China, the North's only powerful ally, said it had despatched officials on Tuesday to hold talks with ambassadors from North Korea, South Korea and the US.  The Pentagon's announcement comes hours after North Korea closed a border crossing that allowed South Koreans to work at a jointly run industrial park - the first time such action has been taken since 2009.  The border into the Kaesong industrial zone is the last functioning crossing between the two Koreas, and the complex is the last significant symbol of co-operation.  Kaesong is a key revenue source for North Korea. It has not indicated how long the entry ban will last. - BBC.

MASS ANIMAL/BIRD/FISH DIE-OFF IN THE UNITED STATES: Spike In Sick Sea Lions Along The California Coast Puzzles Scientists; Dying Arctic Birds Have Been Found On North Carolina's Crystal Coast; Record Dolphin, Sea Turtle Deaths Since Gulf Spill; ‘Flow Of Hundreds Of Dead Fish’ In Rock River Brings Illinois DNR Inquiry!

April 03, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Sickly, emaciated sea lion pups have been turning up on California's coastline in unusually high numbers since January - with live strandings nearly three times higher than the historical average.

Officials say the strandings have intensified this month, and they're starting to investigate the possible causes, while marine mammal rehabilitation centers in the area have been overwhelmed with starving, hypothermic and dehydrated pups.

Sea lions in rehab. © Pacific Marine Mammal Center

Spike In Sick Sea Lions Along California Coast Puzzles Scientists.
The problem is most pronounced in Los Angeles County, where 395 sea lion strandings have been reported this year as of March 24, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). During the same period in 2012, just 36 strandings were reported.

Stranding rates are also high in Orange County, where 189 sickly sea lions have come ashore, compared with 20 last year. And in San Diego County, strandings stood at 214, compared with 32 last year.

Last week, NOAA declared an "unusual mortality event," from January to the present and has launched an investigation, which will involve testing blood and tissue samples from both live and dead sea lion pups for bacterial, viral and other infectious agents as well as radioactive traces.

Officials from the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, Calif., told the Los Angeles Times that they are treating about 100 animals and have seen as many cases since January that they would normally see in a year.

The goal is to get these sea lions healthy and rehabilitated so that they can be safely released back into the wild. But sometimes the animals strand themselves again and again and then go on to become research subjects.

Take Ronan, for example, a California sea lion that stranded three times before she was taken in to the Pinniped Cognition and Sensory Systems Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She made headlines this week when researchers published the results of a study that showed the sea lion had learned how to headbang to songs like the Backstreet Boys' "Everybody." Ronan might be the first non-human mammal to prove she can dance. - Live Science.

Dying Arctic Birds Being Found On North Carolina's Crystal Coast.
An unusual bird is making its way to our Crystal Coast and dying, and scientists are trying to figure out why.

Dovekies are usually found further north in the arctic. While they are not related to the penguin, they look like a miniature version of one. They wobble around on the sand walking on their two feet, but they are used to living full-time in the sea. They don't do well on land. Possumwood Acres in Onslow County has had about 15 come in the past couple weeks. Unfortunately they are young, hurt, and haven't been able to survive. Many people are finding them stranded on our beach.

"They're really not supposed to be here. When we get them they are very compromised and they need some help. We're not exactly sure what is going on with them. They come in, they seem bright eyed and bushy tailed, very, very healthy and well, and within a couple days we tend to see problems and a lot of them pass," said volunteer Megan Tetreau.

Tetreau says one of the reasons they could be down here is because of an abnormal migration.

If you see a dovekie having a hard time on our shores, experts say call your local bird rescue-like Possumwood Acres. That number is 910-326-6432. - WITN.

WATCH: Arctic Birds Being Found On Crystal Coast Dying.

Record Dolphin, Sea Turtle Deaths Since Gulf Spill.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened in the Gulf of Mexico nearly three years ago, but the estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil that it released are still killing dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life in record numbers, according to new research.

The report, "Restoring a Degraded Gulf of Mexico: Wildlife and Wetlands Three Years into the Gulf Oil Disaster," found that dolphins were among the hardest hit animals. As of just earlier this year, infant dolphins were dying six times faster than they did before the spill. Scientists aren't even yet sure of the extent of the massive spill, given that it was impossible to fully clean up the chemical-laden, carcinogenic oil.

The damaging effects of oil spills are not just measured in how many gallons of oil involved. That's part of it, but where the oil was spilled, how fast it was cleaned up and how it affected or still affects the surrounding wildlife and communities all have to be considered. If we were to measure the worst oil spills in history just in how many gallons spilled, the Exxon Valdez disaster of 1989 would not make the list. However, adding in environmental impacts and clean-up efforts, it is still recognized as one of most damaging spills to date. Debate continues over what qualifies as an oil "disaster," but here we show several that would certainly make the list.

"Three years after the initial explosion, the impacts of the disaster continue to unfold," Doug Inkley, senior scientist for the National Wildlife Federation and lead author of the report, said in a press release. "Dolphins are still dying in high numbers in the areas affected by oil. These ongoing deaths - particularly in an apex predator like the dolphin - are a strong indication that there is something amiss with the Gulf ecosystem."

An infographic summarizes some of the findings.

The NWF also highlighted these findings:

* Dolphin deaths in the area affected by oil have remained above average every month since just before the spill began. (The infant dolphin data was gathered in January and February of 2013.)

* NOAA called the dolphin die-off "unprecedented" - a year ago. While NOAA is keeping many elements of its dolphin research confidential pending the conclusion of the ongoing trial, the agency has ruled out the most common causes of previous dolphin die-offs.

* More than 1,700 sea turtles were found stranded between May 2010 and November 2012 - the last date for which information is available. For comparison, on average about 240 sea turtles are stranded annually.

* A coral colony seven miles from the wellhead was badly damaged by oil. A recent laboratory study found that the mixture of oil and dispersant affected the ability of some coral species to build new parts of a reef.

* Scientists found that the oil disaster affected the cellular function of the killifish, a common baitfish at the base of the food web. A recent laboratory study found that oil exposure can also harm the development of larger fish such as mahi mahi.

"The oil disaster highlighted the gaps in our understanding of the Gulf of Mexico," said Ian MacDonald, professor of Oceanography at Florida State University. "What frustrates me is how little has changed over the past three years. In many cases, funding for critical research has even been even been cut, limiting our understanding of the disaster's impacts."

BP and other companies responsible for the disaster are now on trial in federal court for violations of multiple environmental laws. BP on its website says it has a "commitment to sustainability worldwide" and that it has been meeting the challenges of the spill.

"Despite the public relations blitz by BP, this spill is not over," said David Muth, director of the National Wildlife Federation's Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program. "In 2012 six million pounds of tar mat and contaminated material from the BP spill were cleaned up from Louisiana's coast." - Discovery News.

‘Flow Of Hundreds Of Dead Fish’ In Rock River Brings Illinois DNR Inquiry.
State conservation officials are checking reports of hundreds of dead fish in the Rock River. “They were bobbing like bobbers on the water,” Jerry DalSanto said. “The whole river was full of them, up and down both sides.” DalSanto and his girlfriend, Kim Hill, counted more than 150 dead bluegill, catfish, carp and drum in 15 minutes around noon Sunday. “We were at the Auburn Street bridge watching the flow of dead fish — lots and lots of them — just coming down the river,” he said.

Chris McCloud, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said a state biologist was going to check the river today for evidence of a fish kill. Fisheries biologist Ken Clodfelter said such species as gizzard shad are susceptible to cold weather and die, often showing up in the spring. Sometimes fish are trapped in small pools under the ice and die, then are washed back into the river when ice melts and the water rises in spring. Fish kills also can be caused by industrial or agriculture waste that is discharged or runs off into the river. Investigating reports of river fish kills and their causes becomes more difficult over time for a simple reason: fish float. “The problem is, if its two days or three days ago, they might be in Byron by now,” Clodfelter said. - RR Star.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Dangerous Developments At The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole - Latest Bayou Corne Flyover Shows Rainbow Oil Sheen Virtually Covers The Sinkhole, As More And More Gas Presence Found Beneath Residence?!

April 01, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Based on the following information, I would personally advise anyone residing or working near the giant Louisiana sinkhole to get out of there now, as the situation has worsened to dangerous levels.

Photo: On The Wings Of Care.

Latest Bayou Corne Flyover Shows Rainbow Oil Sheen Virtually Covers The Sinkhole.
Our sixth flyover of the Bayou Corne sinkhole since last August revealed a site much worse than we could have imagined last summer. Unlike previously, rainbow sheen now covers virtually the entire visible sinkhole. Many trees on the west side have now disappeared, as has quite a large corner of a dirt work pad at the southeast corner.

Photo: On The Wings Of Care.

Photo: On The Wings Of Care.

Photo: On The Wings Of Care.

Photo: On The Wings Of Care.

While the close-up photos are dramatic, the distant photos that include the community and surroundings are most compelling. In those we see a beautiful, neatly maintained neighborhood of homes in startlingly close proximity to peril.  All around are wetlands and forests of cypress, the uniquely beautiful signature of Louisiana. Who could blame people for settling here and staying for generations on generations? But what now?

WATCH: On Wings Of Care - Bayou Corne Flyover.

More And More Gas Presence Found Beneath Residence.
Texas Brine contractors have reported and verified that a home on a slab, located on Sauce Piquante Lane, has the presence of gas under the slab of both the home and the shed. Monitoring will continue to check for gas presence at this location. It has now been reported to Assumption Parish officials that a second home located on Sauce Piquante Lane has had the presence of gas found under the slab of the home.

The Office of Conservation, in consultation with Assumption Parish Incident Command, is advising the public that Conservation-ordered under-slab sampling by Texas Brine under three Bayou Corne community properties Wednesday indicated that two of the properties had concentrations of natural gas below the structure foundations that were above normal background levels. The sampling was conducted by installing quarter-inch tubing through a hole drilled through each structure’s concrete slab to draw a gas sample from the soil immediately underlying the home or building. The gas samples taken Tuesday are being sent on for testing to verify their makeup. Indoor air monitors installed at the locations where the under-slab soil was sampled did not indicate indoor concentrations of natural gas within the structures.

These initial under-slab results, combined with observations of natural gas working its way to surface at low pressure in the area through even shallow surface penetrations, appear to verify the need for Conservation’s previous and standing directives to Texas Brine requiring not only installation of indoor monitoring for all property owners who allow it, but testing of under-slab areas and crawlspaces below structures for natural gas and installation of ventilations systems for all property owners who allow it. The Office of Conservation and Assumption Parish Incident Command continue to advise property owners who have not allowed installation of monitoring equipment or under-slab ventilation systems to do so.

Assumption Parish Police Jury.

The link below accesses an updated map (above) in high resolution, providing distance information from the sinkhole to LA-70 and the Bayou Corne Community.

Distance Map, 04/03/2013

- Assumption Parish Police Jury.

Gas-Like Smell Reported Across Metro Area.
Reports of a gas-like smell continue to surface around the area. FOX 8 has received several calls from residents in Jefferson and Orleans Parish who have smelled a strong odor of oil or gas.

Officials in both Orleans and Jefferson Parishes are looking for the source of the odor as well as Louisiana's Department of Environmental Quality and the Coast Guard.

A spokesman with Mayor Landrieu's office say they don't believe the smell is coming from Orleans Parish, however, officials continue to look into the matter.

A fire chief in Jefferson Parish tells FOX 8 that the Jefferson Parish Fire Department has not been able to locate a source of the smell and is unsure if the smell originated in Jefferson Parish. - FOX8.

The helicorder continues to show anomalous seismic activity. Please see the following images:

Graphs provided courtesy of the University of Memphis' Center for Earthquake Research and Information. See additional images HERE.

MASS ANIMAL/BIRD/FISH DIE-OFF IN AUSTRALIA: Gulf St. Vincent To Be Tested To Explain Dead Penguins, Fish And Dolphins On Adelaide Beaches In South Australia! UPDATE: 60 Turtles Found Dead In A Creek In Sarina, Australia!

April 03, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - SWIMMERS and fishers have been reassured that they have nothing to fear from the water in Spencer and St Vincent gulfs in the wake of mass fish and dolphin deaths off the state's coastline.
Some of the dead fish washed ashore at Moana. Picture: Andy Sintome

SA Health told The Advertiser algal blooms, found across the state's coastline most likely due to March's prolonged hot weather and heavy winds, did not affect human health in any way.  "Consumption of fish caught alive do not represent health concerns, however SA Health advises fish caught dead should not be eaten due to concerns over decomposition and spoilage," a spokeswoman said yesterday.  The assurance comes as a taskforce of experts today start testing water to help solve the mystery of the thousands of dead fish and 16 dead dolphins.  The Fisheries Department, Environmental Protection Authority and SA Water will lead the taskforce, which will also conduct tests on the fish and some of the dolphins.  Several other nations around the world have also experienced unexplained mass sea deaths in recent months.

Dead fish on Seaford beach . Picture: Roger Wyman

Scientific experts from SA Museum conducted autopsies on two dead dolphins yesterday, but said they were still stumped as to how and why such large numbers died in recent weeks.  SA Museum senior researcher of mammals Dr Catherine Kemper said the dolphin samples would be sent to pathology for further analysis. She said preliminary analysis showed one of the dolphins was heavily bruised. 

WATCH: Gulf St. Vincent To Be Tested To Explain Dead Penguins, Fish And Dolphins.

"It had lots of bruising on it which means for some reason something bumped it or it bumped itself very badly," she said.  Pathology results on a dolphin autopsy conducted last week found E coli near the dolphin's blowhole, which Dr Kemper said was an unusual spot to find the bacteria.  Biosecurity SA manager of aquatic pests Vic Neverauskas said yesterday he believed algal blooms were most likely the cause of toxins in the water, which affected the small fish.

A dead penguin washed ashore at Seacliff, along with hundreds of dead fish. Picture: Bec Deighton

Greens MLC Mark Parnell said he believed the State Government needed to determine the cause of the deaths as soon as possible.  "We need to quickly discover if human action - be it through the desal plant or dumping waste water and dirty stormwater - is in any way to blame, and swiftly respond," he said.  Fisheries Minister Gail Gago, Biosecurity SA and the EPA ruled out any possible link to the desalination plant.  The Dolphin Trauma Group did not have the resources to carry out the extra tests and Dr Kemper planned to ask State Government agencies for help to investigate the cause.

Dead penguins like this one at Holdfast Shores are being found along the metropolitan Adelaide coastline. Picture: Stefaan van Damme/Newsforce

Biosecurity SA had paid for bacterial testing for three dolphins found at KI, but because the samples were frozen, the results were inconclusive, she said.  Dr Kemper said three post-mortems of dolphins found at Maslin Beach, North Haven and Outer Harbor would be conducted this week.  Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society science and education manager Dr Mike Bossley urged the State Government to set up a cross-departmental taskforce to investigate.  He said there was not enough co-operation between those investigating dolphin deaths, algal blooms and washed-up fish.  Dr Bossley said the cost to perform tests - particularly for dolphins - also was a problem.

Nathan Mabikafola with a dead snapper washed ashore on Aldinga Beach. Picture: Nathan Mabikafola/Newsforce

"I'm concerned for two reasons - one is that the (deaths) are quite high and secondly, that we still don't have any real idea of what's causing it," he said.  "There must have been 10 different species washed up at Adelaide beaches to the south."  State Government scientists are testing dead fish for signs of algae to prove their suspicions it has caused the spate of dead marine life washing up on Adelaide beaches.  The majority of dead fish have been found at Moana, Moana South, O'Sullivans Beach and Christies Beach. Others have washed up at Semaphore, Seacliff and on the Eyre Peninsula.  Sunday Mail fishing columnist Jon Huie described the spate of deaths at southern beaches as the worst he had seen in his 40 years along the coastline.

This large fish is among the dead marine life being washed ashore along the Adelaide metropolitan coastline. Picture: Stefann van Damme/Newsforce

Mr Neverauskas said he retrieved "fresh" samples on Monday and hoped results would be in over the coming days.  Scientists are also taking water samples.  Mr Neverauskas said the fact the majority of dead fish were small, shallow-water species - coupled with signs of irritated and swollen gills - strongly suggested an algal bloom was to blame.  Algal blooms - caused by a hotter-than-usual March - deplete oxygen in the water and cause fish to die.  Flinders University marine biology expert Professor Peter Fairweather said the odd fish being washed up along a stretch of coastline was not unusual.

A dead leafy sea dragon washed ashore at Maslin Beach. Picture: Gillian Rayment

But he said speculation had risen due to the rare clusters of smaller dead fish, causing beachgoers to send in anything they saw.  "It is not unusual to find dead penguins around - they're always under stress," he said.  Mr Fairweather said he had heard similar reports interstate.  "It's not just in the Gulf here so I'd be really, really surprised if it was the desalination plant," he said.  However, oceanographer Jochen Kaempf said it was possible increased oxygen and salinity levels caused by discharge from the desalination plant could be responsible for the deaths.

This dead young dolphin washed ashore on Seacliff beach last week. Picture: Newsforce

He said discharge from the plant was not adequately monitored and that he had previously warned the State Government desalination discharge had the potential to create "death zones" of several kilometres.  Adelaidenow readers have engaged in a spirited debate over the cause of the deaths.  Many have voiced suspicions the newly opened desalination plant at Port Stanvac is to blame.  Others have suggested sea pollution, an underwater volcano or irradiated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. - Adelaide Now.

Dead fish have washed ashore across Adelaide beaches - this is at Seaford. Picture: Roger Wyman

60 Turtles Found Dead In A Creek In Sarina.
RESIDENTS of Sarina have raised concerns after more than 60 fresh water turtles were found dead in a creek.

The turtles were found at a popular swimming hole, Neilson's Crossing.

Fisherman Wally Keating said he believed something in the water killed the much loved animals.

"I've never seen a fresh water turtle dead and I've lived in the creek, I grew up there," he said.

"Something's got to be in the water."

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has been contacted and the Daily Mercury is awaiting a response. - Central Telegraph.

WORLD WAR III: Escalation Towards Armageddon - North Korea Refuses To Allow South Koreans Into Factory Park; Vows To Expand Nuclear Arsenal, Signaling End Of Talks; Rep. Peter King Declares That U.S. Could Make Preemptive Strike On North Korea; Military Buildup In China Near North Korean Border Continues!

April 03, 2013 - KOREAN PENINSULA - North Korea on Wednesday barred South Korean workers from entering a jointly run factory park just over the heavily armed border in the North, officials in Seoul said, a day after Pyongyang announced it would restart its long-shuttered plutonium reactor and increase production of nuclear weapons material.  The move to block South Koreans from going to their jobs at the Kaesong industrial complex, the last remaining symbol of detente between the rivals, comes amid increasing hostility from Pyongyang, which has threatened to stage nuclear and missile strikes on Seoul and Washington and has said that the armistice ending the 1950s Korean War is void.  Seoul's Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk said Pyongyang was allowing South Koreans to return home from Kaesong. Three workers returned Wednesday morning; dozens more were scheduled to return later. But Kim said about 480 South Koreans who had planned to travel to the park Wednesday were being refused entry.  North Korean authorities cited recent political circumstances on the Korean Peninsula when they delivered their decision to block South Korean workers from entering Kaesong, Kim said without elaborating.  It's the latest sign of deepening tensions on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea said Tuesday that it will quickly begin "readjusting and restarting" the facilities at its main Nyongbyon nuclear complex, including the plutonium reactor and a uranium enrichment plant. Both could produce fuel for nuclear weapons.

North Korea Refuses To Allow South Koreans Into Factory Park.
Analysts saw the statement as Pyongyang's latest attempt to extract U.S. concessions by raising fears of war. Experts estimate reactivating the reactor could take anywhere from three months to a year.  The rising tide of threats in recent weeks are seen as efforts by the North to force new policies in Seoul, diplomatic talks with Washington and to increase domestic loyalty to young North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by portraying him as a powerful military commander.  North Korea is angry about ongoing South Korea-U.S. military drills and new U.N. sanctions over its Feb. 12 nuclear test, its third. The Korean Peninsula technically remains in a state of war because a truce, not a peace treaty, ended the Korean War. The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea as a deterrent to North Korea.  The North's plutonium reactor began operations in 1986 but was shut down as part of international nuclear disarmament talks in 2007 that have since stalled. Tuesday's nuclear announcement underscores worries about North Korea's timetable for building a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach the United States, although it is still believed to be years away from developing that technology.  The North's rising rhetoric has been met by a display of U.S. military strength, including flights of nuclear-capable bombers and stealth jets at the annual South Korean-U.S. military drills that the allies call routine but that North Korea claims are invasion preparations. 

South Korean vehicles turn back their way as they were refused for entry to North Korea's city of Kaesong, at the customs, immigration and quarantine office in Paju, South Korea, near the border village of Panmunjom, Wednesday, April 3, 2013. North Korea on Wednesday barred South Korean workers from entering a jointly run factory park just over the heavily armed border in the North, officials in Seoul said, a day after Pyongyang announced it would restart its long-shuttered plutonium reactor and increase production of nuclear weapons material.
(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

The Kaesong industrial park started producing goods in 2004 and has been an unusual point of cooperation in an otherwise hostile relationship between the Koreas.  North and South Korea do not allow their citizens to travel to the other country without approval, but an exception had previously been made each day for the South Koreans working at Kaesong.  About 120 South Korean firms run factories in the border town of Kaesong, with 53,000 North Koreans working there. Using North Korea's cheap, efficient labor, the Kaesong complex produced $470 million worth of goods last year.  Pyongyang threatened last week to shut down the park, which is run with mostly North Korean labor and South Korean know-how. It expressed anger over South Korean media reports that said North Korea hadn't yet shut the park because it is a source of crucial hard currency for the impoverished country.  In 2009, North Korea closed its border gate in anger over U.S.-South Korean military drills, leaving hundreds of South Korean workers stranded in Kaesong for several days. The park later resumed normal operations.  "I feel worried that I'm unable to do business and also feel anxious," Joe In-suk, a 54-year-old South Korean who had planned to travel to Kaesong on Wednesday, said at a border checkpoint in Paju, South Korea. About a dozen South Korean trucks were lined up at the checkpoint leading into North Korea.  If North Korea continues to deny entrance to South Korean workers, it could be tantamount to a shutdown because Kaesong factories cannot operate production lines without supplies of raw materials sent regularly by truck from the South to the North.  A South Korean manager whose company runs a factory in Kaesong was worried that buyers would drop future orders if North Korea continued to block workers and supplies from the South.  "For some companies, today's move must have already dealt them a blow," the manager said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to the media. "We cannot produce goods without raw material."  Seoul's Unification Ministry urged Pyongyang to "immediately normalize" cross-border traffic in and out of Kaesong.  The U.S., meanwhile, called for North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions, saying it would be "extremely alarming" if Pyongyang follows through on a vow to restart its plutonium reactor.  White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. is taking steps to ensure it has the capacity to defend itself and its allies.  But Carney noted that a string of threats from North Korea toward the U.S. and South Korea so far have not been backed up by action, calling the threats part of a counterproductive pattern. He called on Russia and China, two countries he said have influence on North Korea, to use that influence to persuade the North to change course. 

South Korean Marine K-55 self-propelled howitzers are on positions during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, Wednesday, April 3, 2013.
(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called North Korea's development of nuclear weapons a growing threat. In a telephone call Tuesday evening to Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan, Hagel said Washington and Beijing should continue to cooperate on North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.  China, North Korea's only major economic and diplomatic supporter, expressed unusual disappointment with its ally.  Hwang Jihwan, a North Korea expert at the University of Seoul, said the North "is keeping tension and crisis alive to raise stakes ahead of possible future talks with the United States."  "North Korea is asking the world, 'What are you going to do about this?'" he said.  The North's nuclear statement Tuesday suggests it will do more to produce highly enriched uranium. The technology needed to make highly enriched uranium bombs is much easier to hide than huge plutonium facilities. North Korea previously insisted that its uranium enrichment was for producing electricity — meaning low-enriched uranium.  Kim Jin Moo, a North Korea expert at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in South Korea, said that by announcing it is "readjusting" all nuclear facilities, including the uranium enrichment plant, North Korea "is blackmailing the international community by suggesting that it will now produce weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium."  The North's plutonium reactor was disabled under a 2007 deal made at now-dormant aid-for-disarmament negotiations involving the North, the U.S., South Korea, Japan, China and Russia.  In 2008, North Korea destroyed the cooling tower at Nyongbyon in a show of commitment, but the deal later stalled after the North balked at allowing intensive international fact-checking of its past nuclear activities. North Korea pulled out of the talks after condemnation of its long-range rocket launch in April 2009.  North Korea is believed to have exploded plutonium devices in its first two nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009.  There had long been claims by the U.S. and others that North Korea was also pursuing a secret uranium program. In 2010, the North unveiled to visiting Americans a uranium enrichment program at Nyongbyon.  Analysts say they don't believe North Korea currently has mastered the miniaturization technology needed to build a warhead that can be mounted on a missile, and the extent of its uranium enrichment efforts is also unclear. Some experts estimate North Korea may have enough plutonium for perhaps four to eight rudimentary bombs. - Yahoo News.

WATCH: North Korea blocks South Koreans from joint factory zone.

North Korea Vows To Expand Nuclear Arsenal, Signaling End Of Talks.
Escalating the stakes of a standoff with Washington and its allies, North Korea is signaling that it will abandon two decades of negotiations to constrain its nuclear program and will close the door on any deal over its atomic weapons and production facilities.   The regime said Tuesday that it would expand all parts of its nuclear arsenal, including reactivating a plutonium-producing reactor complex at Yongbyon shut in 2007 as part of a disarmament agreement. Although restarting the Soviet-era facilities could take more than six months, the announcement sparked concern among world leaders that a miscalculation could lead to military confrontation. North Korea also said it would bolster its "nuclear armed forces in both quantity and in quality." The statement came two days after its untested young leader, Kim Jong Un, described North Korea's nuclear weapons program as a "treasure" that would not be abandoned or traded "for billions of dollars."  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a former South Korean foreign minister, said he was "deeply troubled" that the crisis has "gone too far." He called for urgent talks with North Korea.  "Things must begin to calm down," Ban said. "There is no need for the DPRK [North Korea] to be on a collision course with the international community. Nuclear threats are not a game."  U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, after meeting South Korea's foreign minister at the State Department, said it would be a "provocative act" for the North to restart its reactor, which produces spent material that can be reprocessed into nuclear bomb fuel.  "The bottom line is very simply that what Kim Jong Un has been choosing to do is provocative, it is dangerous, reckless, and the United States will not accept the DPRK as a nuclear state," he said.  Kerry will visit Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing next week in a trip aimed at persuading China to sharpen pressure on its neighbor and ally, officials say.  A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, said Beijing regretted North Korea's latest move and called for restraint on all sides. LA Times.

WATCH: US Warns North Korea on Reckless Provocations.

Rep. Peter King Declares That U.S. Could Make Preemptive Strike On North Korea.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Tuesday that the United States had the right to take preemptive military action against North Korea if there was "solid evidence" that Kim Jon Un planned to attack the U.S. or South Korea.  "If we have good reason to believe there's going to be an attack, I believe we have the right to take preemptive action," King said on CNN's "Erin Burnett Outfront." "I don't think we have to wait until Americans are killed or wounded or injured in any way," he continued. "I'm not saying we should be rushing into war, don't get me wrong, but if we have solid evidence that North Korea's going to take action, then I think we have a moral obligation and an absolute right to defend ourselves."  Tensions in the region have deteriorated in recent weeks, with Pyongyang announcing Wednesday that it had barred South Korean workers from a jointly run industrial zone on the border between the two countries. That announcement came just a day after officials declared their intention to restart a shuttered nuclear reactor. North Korea has escalated tensions in recent weeks, declaring a "state of war" against South Korea and threatening to attack the United States.  North Korea's actions are thought to be driven by additional United Nations sanctions that resulted from its recent nuclear test. The United States has responded to Pyongyang's posturing with a series of military drills in the region, as well as a repositioning of naval ships in waters off the Korean peninsula. - The Hill.

WATCH: Rep. Peter King - US could make preemptive strike on North Korea.

Military Buildup In China Near North Korean Border Continues.
Chinese Internet photo of a truck carrying a tank
en route to an area near North Korea
China continued moving tanks and armored vehicles and flying flights near North Korea this week as part of a military buildup in the northeastern part of the country that U.S. officials say is related to the crisis with North Korea.  The Obama administration, meanwhile, sought to play down the Chinese military buildup along the border with Beijing’s fraternal communist ally despite the growing danger of conflict following unprecedented threats by Pyongyang to attack the United States and South Korea with nuclear weapons.  According to U.S. officials with access to intelligence reports, both intelligence and Internet reports from the region over the past week revealed the modest military movements in the border region that began in mid-March and are continuing.  The buildup appears linked to North Korea’s March 30 announcement that it is in a “state of war” with South Korea after the United Nations imposed a new round of sanctions following the North’s Feb. 12 nuclear test and because of ongoing large-scale joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises.  The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troop and tank movements were reported in Daqing, located in northeastern Heilongjiang Province, and in the border city of Shenyang, in Liaoning Province.  Officials said one key military unit involved in the mobilization is the 190th Mechanized Infantry Brigade based in Benxi, Liaoning Province. The brigade is believed to be the PLA’s frontline combat unit that would respond to any regional conflict or refugee flows. Troops and tank movements also were reported in Dandong, in Liaoning Province.  Fighter jets were reported flying in larger numbers in Fucheng, Hebei Province, and in Zhangwu and Changchun, Liaoning Provinces.  One of China’s Russian-made Su-27 jets crashed on Sunday in Rongcheng, a city directly across the Yellow Sea from the Korean peninsula. The accident may have been part of the increased warplane activity related to the military mobilization, officials said. - Free Beacon.

WATCH: Korean Course - 'Any small mistake can turn into catastrophe'.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For April 03, 2013 - Updates On Seismic Swarm At El Hierro; The 9th Paroxysmal Eruption At Etna; Elevated Activity At Ijen; First Eruption In 162 Years At Mount Guntur; And "Volcanic Material" Eruption At Mount Lokon!

April 03, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Current seismic signal (IGN).
El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): A series of stronger earthquakes has occurred earlier today, including two felt quakes at about 20 km depth of magnitudes 4.2 and 4.5.

Current seismic swarm (IGN).

The epicenters were in the same area as previously, about 10-15 km to the west of the island.

Lava fountain from Etna's New SE crater during the 9th paroxysm (RadioStudio7 webcam).

Etna (Sicily, Italy): The 9th paroxysmal eruption from Etna's New SE crater in 2013 has occurring this afternoon and is currently at its peak phase it seems.

It is producing lava fountains and lava flows from the fissure vent of the New SE cone that descend into Valle del Bove.

Ijen (East Java, Indonesia): Authorities have decided to close access to Kawah Ijen. The decision was based on elevated seismic and degassing activity observed since 20 March. Gas plumes often reach more than 100 m in height.

Guntur (West Java)
: Elevated seismic activity has been detected at the volcano and VSI raised the alert level to 2 on a scale of 1-4 ("Waspada", "watch"). It is recommended not to approach the crater within 2 km. The last eruption of the volcano dates back to October 1847.

Garut Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) chief Zat Zat Munazat has instructed Garut residents, especially those living close to Mount Guntur, to stay calm after the volcano’s alert level was raised to waspada (caution) or level 2 from normal or level 1.

“Mount Guntur is still at a level that poses no danger; so we ask people not to panic,” Zat Zat told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Tuesday evening. Mount Guntur spewed lava and pyroclastic materials, such as hot gas, volcanic ash and rocks, between 1840 and 1847.

“Mount Guntur has not erupted for 162 years,”
said Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) head Surono via text messages.

The PVMBG recorded an increase in volcanic activity at Mount Guntur from January to March. “There has been an increase in seismic activity since 7 a.m. local time on Tuesday in which volcanic tremors have been recorded,” said Surono.

Based on the results of seismic, visual and deformation (the change in shape of the volcano) monitoring, the PVMBG increased the status of Mount Guntur to caution starting at 5 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

“We will continue to intensively monitor volcanic activities while at the same time coordinate with the local disaster mitigation agency,” said Surono.

Mount Lokon (Indonesia): Mount Lokon in Indonesia’s central North Sulawesi province erupted Wednesday, spewing ash to the sky and volcanic materials around the slope, an official said.

The volcano in Tomohon city erupted at 12:28 local time (0428 GMT), said Surono, head of national volcanology agency. The agency has issued a 2.5-kilometer evacuation zone, according to Surono.

“Volcanic materials were spread and fell around the slope, but the height of the ash could not be assessed as it is covered by cloud,” the told Xinhua by phone.

But the agency did not recommend evacuation after the eruption, said Surono. The archipelago country Indonesia is homed by 129 active volcanoes. 

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for April 3, 2013.

Photo of the Day:

Lava fountain and flow from the Tolbachik eruption in 2012-13, Kamchatka, Russia.

SOURCES: Volcano Discovery | Jakarta Post  | Xinhaunet | IGN.

DELUGE: Persistent Rainfall And Floods Wash Away Bridge In Central Spain - Three Dead!

April 03, 2013 - SPAIN - Three people died this Monday after a bridge over the river Yeguas in central Spain was washed away by flooding waters.

© EFE.
The three victims, including a couple and a young man, were on board two separate vehicles, a car and a lorry, driving along the N-420 road between the cities of Ciudad Real and Cordoba.

Persistent rainfall over the closing days of March has led to rising water levels in many of the country's rivers and reservoirs, according to data supplied by the Automatic Systems of Hydrological Information.

The Pisuerga river has seen its water level grown by a meter in less than 24 hours in the latest rainfall, putting the city of Valladolid in the province of Castilla-Leon, which has around 500,000 inhabitants, under threat.

Meanwhile the city of Zamora, which is the smallest provincial capital in Spain, is also threatened by the rising water levels of the River Duero, while the N-113 main road between Pamplona and Madrid has been cut for several days as a result of the nearby river Ebro bursting its banks.

Spain's Civil Protection organization has advised drivers to try and avoid areas with flooding. -

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mount Etna Erupts Violently, For The Eighth Time In 2013 - Town Buried In Ash, No Visibility, State Of Emergency Declared!

April 03, 2013 - ITALY - Zafferana Etnea – a small tourist town in the province of Catania with 9,450 residents — was blanketed by thick black volcanic dust after the eruption.

Eruption ... the eighth in 2013

Locals said they heard the explosions and felt violent shaking. They said the air was humid, the sky went dark and there was no visibility.

The town’s residents are used to frequent volcanic eruptions – this is the eighth this year alone.

Dust ... ash swirls up in the air as worker cleans up street

Buried by ash ... square outside church is covered in soot
Caters News Agency.
The Italian locals now have a massive clearing job to do as roads, gardens and rooftops were covered in up to ten centimetres of ash and stones.

Workers use special equipment to blow away the ash and collect solidified lava.

The damage was assessed “incalculable” and the region and the neighbouring municipalities have declared a state of emergency.

Black hills ... woman sweeps ash into little mounds

Bags ... plastic sacks are filled with swept up ash

'Mildly radioactive' ... locals says ash is bad for health

When the ash gets wet it takes on a cement-like quality and turns waterproof — causing flooding in streets and houses.

Giuseppe Patti, a geologist and teacher, said that the ash is moderately toxic if inhaled and has a mild degree of radioactivity. - The Sun.

WATCH: Residents capture the latest eruption of Mount Etna.

DELUGE: Nine People Swept Away, Feared Dead Following Unprecedented Kenya Flash Floods - Thousands Displaced!

April 03, 2013 - KENYA - Nine people are feared dead after their matatu was swept away by flash floods in Narok South.

Three people in a vehicle crossing a bridge at Ole Polos in Ololulung'a area survived after they swam to safety.

© Felix Kavi/Standard.

The overloaded vehicle, according to Narok South DC Chimwaga Mongo, was swept away at the swollen Ole Polos Bridge.

"The overloaded vehicle was swept away by raging waters as it was crossing the bridge. The six were trapped inside it. The survivors swam to safety," said Mongo who added it was difficult for police divers and the public to locate the ill-fated vehicle because of poor visibility occasioned by heavy rains and high water levels. Rescue operations resume today.

Engine went off

A witness, who declined to be named, said the driver tried to navigate through the bridge whose water level was high but the engine went off.

Narok police boss Peterson Maelo asked people living in flood prone areas to move as rains continue to pound.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 people in Kisumu County have been displaced by floods, a preliminary report by the Kenya Red Cross Society shows.

The findings indicate 330 households have been affected by floods in the last three days.

"We are on a high alert as there is imminent high rainfall this month in several areas of west Kenya," Regional Health Officer Benson Simba said.

Mr Simba said they expect more than the usual rains in Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, Homa Bay, Nyamira, Kisii, Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga counties. He expressed fear over 7,000 people would be displaced.

In Kisumu, four schools have been marooned including Kassagam primary and secondary schools, St Alloys Primary and St Joseph Secondary.

Unprecedented damage

"Several rivers like River Auji and Nyamasaria in Kisumu have broken their banks causing unprecedented damage. Several houses have been marooned and many people affected," the report said.

The official said no deaths have been reported in western, but there has been destruction of infrastructure and farmlands.

He said they are setting up camps to assist displaced families. In addition, the organisation is providing basic items such as s food, medicine and blankets.

KRC has already issued an alert to motorists plying Kisumu-Ahero road due to fears that a temporary bridge at Nyamasaria River might collapse. - Standard Media.

9 People Swept By Floods In Narok.