Monday, July 29, 2013

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For July 29, 2013 - Updates On Shiveluch, Sakurajima, Karangetang, Ambrym, White Island And Tungurahua!

July 29, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Shiveluch volcano.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Activity has been elevated during the past days. Several explosions and / or dome collapse events have sent ash plumes to about 20,000 ft (6 km) elevation during the past days.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): Activity remains high - explosions occur at more-than-usual frequency from the Showa crater. An eruption on 27 July produced an ash plume rising to 18,000 ft (5.7 km) altitude, i.e. an eruption plume about 4.5 km tall.

Karangetang (Siau Island, Sangihe Islands, Indonesia): VSI has decreased the alert level from 3 (Siaga, Alert) (since 8 August 2011) back to 2 (Waspada, watch). No lava emissions/ejections have been observed since 7 July and seismic actity has been decreasing over the past weeks. No hot spot is visible on satellite imagery.

Ambrym (Vanuatu): A seismic swarm at the volcano was detected on 26 July, but no evidence of unusual activity at the surface has been detected. The lava lakes inside Benbow and Marum remain active.

White Island (New Zealand): The seismic crisis ended on 28 July with no eruption. Degassing remains elevated and incandescence is still visible from the dome in the crater.

Seismic signal from White Island on 28 July (GeoNet)

Tungurahua (Ecuador): During the past days, a further increase in activity of the volcano occurred, characterized by the generation of large explosions and a constant ash eruption column, and several small to big explosions that generated strong vibrations and rattled windows in villages near the volcano. An eruption at 07:23 (local time) on 28 July generated a small pyroclastic flow that affected the upper north and north east flank of the volcano.

Constant ash emissions produce a an ash column of up to 1.5 km height, drifting westwards. Ash fell in the town of Mocha... [read more]

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for July 29, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Train Collision In Switzerland - At Least 40 Injured, As Two Trains Collide Head-On?!

July 29, 2013 - SWITZERLAND - Two passenger trains collided in Switzerland early Monday evening, leaving dozens injured. Local media reported that at least 40 people are among the wounded, four of whom are in serious condition. Train services in the area have been halted.

Photo from user @matig.

The accident occurred in the municipality of Granges-Marnard, near the city of Lausanne, in the western French-speaking region of the country. The trains crashed approximately 100 meters away from a rail station, as one headed towards Lausanne, according to local commuter newspaper 20 Minutes.

WATCH: Train crash in Switzerland.

“Many passengers were injured and were taken care of by rescue services,” one witness told the paper. Local paper the Geneva Tribune reported 40 injured, with other Swiss media sources placing the number closer to 44.

Swiss television newscast SF1 reported the high casualty numbers, adding that the incident happened at approximately 7pm local time.  Firefighters, ambulances, helicopters, and police are on site. State police spokesman Jean-Christophe Sauterel told AP just over an hour after the incident that rescue operations were still underway in the area.

Photo from user @OzgurFirat27

Photo from user @GHulsens

The French RER train service has temporarily halted transportation between the two western municipalities of Moudon and Payerne, between which the crash took place. A replacement bus service has been established. The distance between the two areas spans just over 20 kilometers.

Europe has witnessed a spate of devastating public transport accidents over the past month, and this marks the third train crash in as many weeks. The most recent disaster was last Wednesday’s high-speed train crash in Spain, in which 79 people died. - RT.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Latest Reports Of Mysterious Fish Kills Across Europe - Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dead Fish Found Floating In River Dender, Ath, Belgium; Most Mysterious Mass Mortalities Of Fish In Skane, Sweden; "Cause Unknown" In A Large Fish Kill In The Bahlui River, Romania; Another Massive Fish Die-Off In A River In Moscow, Russia; 25,000 Dead Fish Is A "Mystery" In Pittville Lake, Gloucestershire, England; Mass Fish Kill Washes Up In Venice Lagoon, Italy; Hundreds Of Fish Found Dead In A Park Pond In Birmingham, In England; Large Oyster Die-Off Due To Virus In Carlingford Lough, In Northern Ireland; Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dead Fish In Lake Bulwell Shocks Nottingham, England; Masses Of Dead Fish Found In River Lea, England!

July 29, 2013 - EUROPE - Here are several of the latest incidents of mass fish die-offs across the Europe:

Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dead Fish Found Floating In River Dender, Ath, Belgium.

Hundreds, even thousands of dead fish floating in the river Dender in Ath, height lock Bilhée. Involved, the heat of recent weeks. The oxygen in the water becomes increasingly scarce. Fish do have enough to survive.

When you come up to the lock Bilhée is first smell that takes nose reeks of not fresh fish. Then hundreds of white spots floating on the water surface can be seen.

Jean, a septuagenarian Lessines, just go back to bike along the Dender. He saw a lot of dead fish. He is not happy. "It should not happen. Fishermen pay for their fish. Yonder, further downstream, there are much more, ten times more."

For a few days the fish are dead, but they only begin to rise to the surface. This carnage is due to the scorching weather. "Oxygen is already dissolved in water more difficult because of the heat," said Baudouin Vervaeke, the fire chief of Ath. "And green microalgae are formed on the surface of the river. To grow, they consume oxygen at the expense of fish. "

The only way to limit the damage is to bring more oxygen through a machine. "Waterways have placed a machine in the river, an aerator, which will circulate the water in a violent manner. The air is incorporated into the water, and also oxygen. "

For its part, the Civil Protection will recover all the dead fish to destroy them. - RTBF. [Translated]

Mysterious Mass Mortalities Of Fish In Skane, Sweden.
The trout floating lifeless in the river that runs through Mörarp in Helsingborg. It is still unclear
what caused fish death.
Photo: Christopher Beach

Large quantities of dead fish have been found in a river outside Mörarp. The cause of fish death is not clear, but Christopher Strand who live nearby think there is a discharge that has choked the fish.

- The water was milky white in the morning, he says.

It is mainly brown trout that are now floating lifeless in the river, which runs through the village Lydestad outside Mörarp in Helsingborg municipality. During the morning went Christofer Beach down to the river to inspect the fish death.

- There is certainly more than a thousand dead trout. Some weigh up to one kilogram, he said.

Police on the way

Rescue Service were called to the scene but has since turned the case over to the police, who will visit the place during the day.

- A police patrol is coming. They will talk to people, take water and shoot, says Marcus Andersson, assistant internal command at Helsingborg police.

What happens to the fish is unclear.

- There is nothing that we will pick it up anyway.
The reason unclear

It is also settled law what has caused fish death. But Christopher Strand's theory is that in the case of a spill.

- There is a factory about a kilometer upstream.

Christopher Beach think it's about a hundred percent fish mortality in the affected leg and feel that something must happen to prevent fish die in a similar way again.

- It was a release for seven, eight years ago, when there was no penalty. We want something going now.

The river drains into the nearby Vegeå. Environment in Helsingborg is engaged in the matter. - Expressen. [Translated]

"Cause Unknown" In Large Fish Kill In The Bahlui River, Romania.

Myriad of dead fish can be seen in the waters Bahlui the past two days. The cause of death appears bizarre one at least as long as it was not a hot weather. So far no one knows what causes that led to this situation, but authorities announced that they would be taken to remedy the problem.

"Yesterday (No - Thursday), around noon, a team went to the spot and found that indeed there were dead fish in the river Bahlui. So they collected samples were brought to the laboratory for water quality under the Water Basin Administration Prut-Barlad. Were taken of the fish recovery and install a floating dam upstream of the confluence with Ciric Bahlui, to be held all the fish and that they do not reach and downstream, "said spokesman Water Basin Administration Prut-Barlad, Dan Weed.

At the same time, they also took other measures to prevent the occurrence of such incidents in the future. "It was also maneuvered stavilelor opening from accumulating Ciric 3, or Venice, to achieve the Bahlui dilution. In other words, the amount of water was increased Ciric and increased flow to a similar situation does not arise in the downstream. From initial estimates, it appears that it was an amount of about 100 pounds of fish, "said Dan Weed. - Ziaruldeiasi. [Translated]

Mass Fish Die-Off In A River In Moscow, Russia.
The exact cause of fish death is still unknown. Photo: Elina Ibragimov, "Evening Moscow"

On Friday, the environmental prosecutor's office of Moscow began checking on the information about the mass death of fish in the Moscow River. Recall that the mass death of fish was noted in the south-east of the capital - in Bataysk passage in Marino . The exact cause of fish death is still unknown. The experts are inclined to short-term chemical or toxic water pollution. It is unknown the number of dead fish, but for such a massive loss of Moscow - the fish was observed on the segment almost a kilometer - a rare case. Last similar incident occurred exactly two years ago in the river at Jauze ELEKTROZAVODSKAYA bridge. The correspondent of "BM" visited the place of death of fish.

Marino. Along the Moscow River for a morning jog lovers healthy lifestyle. In the park near the river are seen families with children, slowly strolling in the shade of the trees. It is quite usual morning for residents of the city. But if you look closely, you will notice that people are not suited to the water and along the shore of the river dotted with signs "No Swimming". Bitter smell of rotten draws the invisible frontier: you approach closer to the water, and there will be nothing to breathe. And lately, along the river for many kilometers have seen dead fish that did not survive the pollution.

Faina Trifonov, a local resident, I am sure that the cause of contamination of the river - the result of our relationship to the environment, "The water is contaminated, because each body of water should always be cleaned and not cleaned our one hundred years. Near still Refinery "Kapotnya." Every Saturday and Sunday, they spew black clouds into the air, and during the weekdays they do not, if someone looks after them. "

Near the river goes Oleg Makarov with a large garbage bag. Oleg task - to maintain the cleanliness of the park and along its territory but is hard to believe that one hand can clean the river. "Maybe it's in the sewers, which flow rivers fall into our area, or because of the abundance of machines - suggests Oleg. - In any case, swim here no one wants."

Silence. Even barely heard the noise of cars to park. In the water rhythmically swaying discarded bottles of water in the green paint is difficult to distinguish the same color lilies and algae. So quiet only happens when someone is ill or died. This is what happens to people, but why it can not be with nature? - VM Daily.

25,000 Dead Fish Is A "Mystery" In Pittville Lake, Gloucestershire, England.
Pittville Park opened in 1825 and is the largest ornamental park in Cheltenham Photo: Alamy

Theories for the deaths include thunderstorms and a deadly form of algae, after environment officials found oxygen levels in the lake at Pittville Park, Cheltenham, were unusually low.

It thought that thunderstorms in the early hours of Tuesday morning could have stirred up silt, making the lake thick with muck.

While it is not thought that the water had been deliberately tampered with, a bloom of blue green algae could also have had a dramatic impact on water oxygen levels.

Dog walkers have been warned to keep their pets out of the toxic water while experts carry out tests into why the fish – mainly young roach with a handful of pike – were killed.

Janice Peacey, a community ranger, said: "We know that oxygen levels are low but at this stage we don't know more than that.

"We are monitoring the situation closely and await advice from the Environment Agency about any action that we need to take.

"In the meantime, I strongly urge people to remain cautious and to avoid coming into contact with the water in case it contains anything toxic.

"Please also remember to keep dogs on leads so that they are not tempted to jump in for a swim.

"The majority of the dead fish are thought to be roach but a handful of large pike are known to have perished too."

Results of the Environment Agency’s tests are expected in the next few days.

A spokeswoman added: "We're currently monitoring oxygen levels in the water, and initial samples have shown low readings.

“The low oxygen levels could be due to a number of factors linked to environmental conditions such as thunderstorms causing pressure changes, rainwater washing pollution off roads, or algal growth."

Pittville Park opened in 1825 and is the largest ornamental park in Cheltenham.

The park has grade two listing under the English Heritage register of historic parks and gardens, with the pump room being a grade one historic building. - Telegraph.

Massive Fish Kill Washes Up In Venice Lagoon, Italy.

"L` lagoon ecosystem is under stress for global reasons and factors locali.Abbiamo need maximum clarity - that we have invoked from the first moment - about the causes and consequences of the crisis which these days has resulted in, among other `, the die-off of a `large quantity of fish in the lagoon." This was underlined by Gianfranco Bettin, Deputy Mayor of the City of Venice in relation to fish kills affecting the Venetian lagoon area. Only yesterday were collected 50 tons of dead fish due to the proliferation of algae due to the heat.

"That's why we look with great interest all` open investigation by prosecutors in Venice - continues Bettin - which, we are sure, will help to shed light on vicenda.C `is, in any case, an overall look of concern, and is the stress state that the `entire ecosystem manifested by time, due to global factors (such as climate change in progress) and of purely local factors (the modifications of the morphology, the changes of the currents, the environmental quality of certain areas, the effects of these systemic changes)."

For the deputy "particular phenomena, such as heat waves or the persistence of high temperatures, can be aggravating circumstances, just as other circumstances, such as the flush in the lagoon, due to continuous rains in recent months, nutrient that may have produced an abnormal algal bloom and, therefore, with the heat and rot, have accentuated the `anoxia and the plague deipesci.Naturalmente, any episodes of pollution guilty must be severely prosecuted," he concluded. - Meteo Web. [Translated]

Hundreds Of Fish Found Dead In A Park Pond In Birmingham, England.

Environment experts fear the heatwave has taken its toll after hundreds of fish have died at a Birmingham park.  The Environment Agency and animal welfare officers from Birmingham City Council were called to Edgbaston’s Cannon Hill Park after distraught members of the public spotted the dead fish floating on the surface of its lake.  A spokesman for the council said the hot weather could have sparked the incident, which was caused by oxygen levels in the water dropping “considerably”.  He said it was too early to establish how many fish had died, but the incident involved “large amounts” of roach and bream. 

“We know from tests that the oxygen levels in the lake had dropped considerably, so the Environment Agency is re-circulating water and oxygenating the lake in an effort to stabilize oxygen levels,” he added. “Low oxygen levels could be due to a number of factors linked to environmental conditions, such as decomposing algae or sediment stirred up by recent storms.  “The surviving fish now have areas which are oxygenated and we will continue to work with the Environment Agency to make sure that oxygen levels stay at the required level.”  The park is a popular venue for families enjoying the sunshine during the school summer holidays and the lake is a regular haunt for anglers during the fishing season.  Shocked visitors at the park yesterday took to social networking website Twitter after seeing the dead fish.  @jumpylegs wrote: “Lovely run this morning but very sad to see so many dead fish in Cannon Hill park lake... even the heron looked shocked. 

Environment experts fear the heatwave has taken its toll after hundreds of fish have died at a Birmingham park.  The Environment Agency and animal welfare officers from Birmingham City Council were called to Edgbaston’s Cannon Hill Park after distraught members of the public spotted the dead fish floating on the surface of its lake.  A spokesman for the council said the hot weather could have sparked the incident, which was caused by oxygen levels in the water dropping “considerably”.  He said it was too early to establish how many fish had died, but the incident involved “large amounts” of roach and bream. 

“We know from tests that the oxygen levels in the lake had dropped considerably, so the Environment Agency is re-circulating water and oxygenating the lake in an effort to stabilize oxygen levels,” he added. “Low oxygen levels could be due to a number of factors linked to environmental conditions, such as decomposing algae or sediment stirred up by recent storms.  “The surviving fish now have areas which are oxygenated and we will continue to work with the Environment Agency to make sure that oxygen levels stay at the required level.”  The park is a popular venue for families enjoying the sunshine during the school summer holidays and the lake is a regular haunt for anglers during the fishing season.  Shocked visitors at the park yesterday took to social networking website Twitter after seeing the dead fish.  @jumpylegs wrote: “Lovely run this morning but very sad to see so many dead fish in Cannon Hill park lake... even the heron looked shocked. 

“Thanks to @BhamCityCouncil for sealing off the lake to clear the dead fish.”  A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency added: “We are supporting the council in any way we can.  “At this stage it’s too early to know whether the low oxygen levels were caused by the heat, but the hot weather has been creating problems elsewhere.”  She urged anglers and other watercourse users to help protect fish stocks this summer.  “Increased temperatures and low rainfall can combine to make challenging conditions for migratory fish,” she added. “Oxygen levels in the water can become dangerously low, placing the fish at risk, and salmon have been dying in the Tyne estuary over the past week as a result of these conditions.  “Anglers and other people enjoying the riverside environment are therefore being asked to promptly report any signs of diseased or dead fish to us.”  Meanwhile, the council also reminded residents not to play in water in public places in Birmingham.  The spokesman added: “We would reiterate advice about the dangers of swimming in ponds and lakes across the city.  “It may seem like a good idea when the sun is shining but water that looks inviting on the surface may have hidden dangers underneath and it will be much colder than you think.” - Birmingham Mail.

Large Oyster Die-Off Due To Virus In Carlingford Lough, Northern Ireland.
A virus present in Carlingford Lough, and flourishing due to the recent warm weather, has killed off stocks of oysters to the concern of those working in the industry. DARD has confirmed that positive test results have been returned for the Ostreid Herpes Virus.  The virus, which officials say originated in France, has been widely detected in Lough Foyle, Carlingford Lough, Killough Bay and Strangford Lough.  "Research to date has not identified any method to combat the mortalities, which appear to be linked to rising water temperatures," a DARD spokesperson said.  "The virus appears to lie latent until water temperatures reach 15-16C, at which stage the oysters begin to die very quickly."

Water temperatures have risen to 20C in recent days, which has reduced oxygen levels.  South Down SDLP MLA Seán Rogers says it is a devastating situation for oyster farmers.  "One farmer has lost 80% of his stock in just two days, which is essentially three years of hard work - in often very difficult conditions - gone," he said.  "These farmers need assistance and they need it fast in order to begin re-building their livelihoods. I have made urgent representations to the Minister in support of these farmers."  DARD has confirmed that there are no measures available for compensation or restocking, either through DARD or under European funding.  The department says that, through the European Fisheries Fund, it has assisted the taking forward of a project which aims to investigate possible farming techniques to limit the spread of the virus.

WATCH: Oysters "decimated" by warm weather.

The Pacific oyster industry produced 136.68 tonnes in 2011 and was valued at around £545,600.  The shellfish industry as a whole was estimated to value approximately £6.3m.  Invertebrate viruses are not known to affect humans and the Food Standards Agency is not aware of any reports of human illness associated with this virus.  "DARD is committed to maintaining our high fish health status and operates comprehensive disease control measures," a spokesperson added. - U TV.

Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dead Fish In Lake Bulwell  Shocks Nottingham, England.

Fishermen are in shock after finding thousands of dead fish in a popular lake.The fish were found on Monday morning at one of the Bulwell Hall Park Lakes, off Sandhurst Road, Bulwell.  The cause of the problem is thought to have been a lack of oxygen in the water due to the hot weather.Fisherman Grant Mackenzie, 48, of Bulwell Hall Estate said: "It was about 6.30am on Monday morning when I found them.

"It looked like Armageddon in fishing terms."In the past I have seen the odd fish floating in the water but nothing like this."It is really shocking that this has happened but I do not think anyone is to blame."The heat has caused the oxygen levels to drop in the lake which has killed the fish."In hindsight the council should have come and oxygenated the lake before it got too hot."Among the dead fish were pike, hake, bream and carp.Shop fitter Lee Corner, 48, of Hazel Street, Bulwell, added: "I think that this was avoidable because there were fish in there gasping a few days before and nothing was done."There must be 8000 fish dead and that is terrible."I have been coming to the lake since I was 12-years-old and I am shocked this has happened."Michael Wright has been fishing at the lake for 20 years and has never seen anything like it before.The resident of Norwich Gardens, Bulwell, added: "I could not believe my eyes when I realised what was floating in the water."At first I thought that it was pollen but then I realised they were fish."Some people have been trying to clear the lake of the fish with nets.Fisherman Jamie Moore, 36, of Squires Avenue, Bullwell, said: "I have been trying to clean up the mess with my son.

"The smell is already getting bad and if they are left in the lake to rot they will infect it."The council should have done something to clear the area as soon as the fish were found."If they are just left they will spread disease."Son Carter Moore, 10, of Squires Avenue, Bullwell, added: "I was really shocked when I saw them all floating there."I have been helping to try and get the fish out the water but I don't think we will be fishing here again for a while."There are two main fishing lakes in the area and the Environment Agency has now oxygenated both.A spokeswoman from the Environment Agency said: "We were called to the site to investigate, help and give advice. There are two ponds, upper and lower and we started oxygenating both ponds at midday on Monday, July 22."The lower pond reached the required oxygen levels by 2pm and we continued to aerate the upper pond until 5pm when it reached the required level."A Nottingham City Council spokesman said:“We have spoken to the Environment Agency about this matter and a combination of the number of fish and the weather led to a lack of oxygen in the lake."We have now reoxygenated the lake and we are talking to the Environment Agency about the best way to dispose of the fish that have died.” - This Is Nottingham.

Masses Of Dead Fish Found In River Lea, England.
This picture was taken just south of Lea Bridge Road, Walthamstow.

A large amount of fish found dead in the lower Lea river and surrounding waterways were starved of oxygen.  The fish were spotted at various locations along the river, including Springfield Marina and Lea Bridge Weir pool in Walthamstow.  Recent hot weather reduced oxygen levels in the river, the Environment Agency said.  And storms on Monday night, which swept toxins from nearby roads into the river, meant oxygen levels were further depeleted.  Fisheries officers from the agency worked through the night carrying out work to return levels to normal by running water through locks and pumping oxygen into the water at Three Mills Boatyard.

 The agency reported that oxygen levels have risen around 25 per cent in the area, creating a refuge for fish including bream, perch, pike and roach  A spokesman said: "We received reports of fish that have died in the Lower Lea river this morning. "Our monitoring equipment showed oxygen levels had dropped.  "Environment officers are at the scene to monitor peroxide and oxygen levels." - Guardian.

EXTREME WEATHER: Thunderstorms To Rage Across Much Of The United States - After Two Deaths In North Carolina, "Hazardous Weather" Could Hit From Florida To Maine And As Far As Colorado!

July 29, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Thunderstorms were set to hit much of the country Monday, bringing more rain after two people - including a girl - drowned in a swollen river in North Carolina.

Catawba County deputies survey a washed out section of road near Newton, N.C. following flooding Saturday.
Todd Sumlin / The Charlotte Observer via AP

The National Weather Service warned late Sunday and early Monday that “hazardous weather” could hit from Florida to Maine and as far west as Colorado.

Delilah Lovett, 10, and Juan Alberdi, 48, died in Wilson’s Creek, N.C., late Saturday, NBC station reported Sunday.

Delilah, of Charlotte, had gone swimming in the river which was swollen by heavy rain. Alberdi’s wife said that he had drowned trying to save the girl after she got into difficulty.

And in Arizona, a tour bus carrying 33 people to Las Vegas after a trip to the Grand Canyon was swept away by floodwaters as the driver attempted to cross a wash near Kingman. No one was injured.

"It was a really strong storm dumping quite a bit of rain ... and it caused flash flooding," Chris Stumpf, a National Weather Service forecaster in Las Vegas, told The Associated Press. "They were driving on a portion of the road where they shouldn't have tried to drive across. They should not have been driving through there."

Rhonda Ho, operations manager for Canyon Coach Lines, said its driver Joseph Razon saw a car right in front of him go through a section of the highway covered by some water, and "he thought, if a car can go through it, I can go through it."

"Then he got slammed by a rushing current of water that came out of nowhere," she told the AP. "He was driving in almost neck-deep water and trying to control the bus while it was floating."

A Las Vegas-bound tour bus lies on its side near Dolan Springs, Ariz., Sunday, after it was caught
by floodwaters in a desert wash. Patrick Moore / AP

She said Razon intentionally tilted the bus against an embankment so it would stop and passengers could escape through its roof.

This kind of weather will remain a problem. said
that “thunderstorms will continue to affect large swaths of the country, and flash flooding will be a significant concern.”

“The best chance for a severe storm or two will be over portions of eastern Colorado and western Kansas,” it said.

“However, flash flooding will be a more widespread concern from southern Nevada east across the Four Corners region and into the Central Plains, including much of Kansas and western Missouri,” added. “Localized flash flooding will linger in parts of the I-95 Northeast corridor from Philadelphia to New York as well from heavy rainfall on Sunday.”

In Philadelphia, the National Weather Service recorded a record all-time daily rainfall of 7.99 inches at the Philadelphia International Airport. More than 7 inches fell during a 4-hour period, reported. said the Plains states could see localized rainfall of more than 3 inches. It said this could lead to flash floods, given that the ground was already wet. In the West, the rain and rugged terrain could create the potential for flash flood.

“While the West will see that flash flood threat diminish on Monday, it will continue – and perhaps even worsen – over parts of Kansas, Missouri, northern Oklahoma and northern Arkansas,” said. - NBC News.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Beemageddon - Scientists Discover What's Killing The Bees And It's MUCH WORSE Than You Thought!

“If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live.” - Albert Einstein.

July 29, 2013 - UNITED STATES
- As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.

Outlawing a type of insecticides is not a panacea. AP Photo/Ben Margot

Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition.

But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.

When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae.

The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.

Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.

“There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, told Quartz.

Labels on pesticides warn farmers not to spray when pollinating bees are in the vicinity but such precautions have not applied to fungicides.

populations are so low in the US that it now takes 60% of the country’s surviving colonies just to pollinate one California crop, almonds. And that’s not just a west coast problem—California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, a market worth $4 billion.

In recent years, a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids has been linked to bee deaths and in April regulators banned the use of the pesticide for two years in Europe where bee populations have also plummeted. But vanEngelsdorp, an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland, says the new study shows that the interaction of multiple pesticides is affecting bee health.

“The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have led to be believe,” he says. “It’s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.”

The study found another complication in efforts to save the bees: US honey bees, which are descendants of European bees, do not bring home pollen from native North American crops but collect bee chow from nearby weeds and wildflowers. That pollen, however, was also contaminated with pesticides even though those plants were not the target of spraying.

“It’s not clear whether the pesticides are drifting over to those plants but we need take a new look at agricultural spraying practices,” says vanEngelsdorp. - Quartz.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Japan's Nuclear Disaster Spreads Far And Wide - Water Samples Reveal That Fukushima Radiation Levels Is As Alarmingly High As 2011, As Nuclear Experts Blast TEPCO Over Toxic Leaks!

July 29, 2013 - JAPAN - Water samples taken at an underground passage below the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant contain alarming levels of radiation which are comparable to those taken immediately after the catastrophe.

Fukushima Radiation Levels As High As 2011.
AFP Photo / Pool / Toshifumi Kitamura

According to a Saturday statement by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the tested water contains 2.35 billion becquerels of cesium per liter, and the radioactive water is now seeping into the sea. The findings were also evident from samples taken within a 50-meter radius around the plant.

TEPCO’s specialists have hit a wall trying to solve the problem of the leaking groundwater, which has persisted since 2011. However, unlike then, they cannot tell what the source of the newfound radioactivity is. The current explanation is that the radioactive water that had been left in the underground trench some two years ago is now mixing with the groundwater, which is in turn contaminating the sea.

The current investigation started back in May, when specialists registered a 17-fold hike in radiation levels compared to December 2012. More tests immediately followed.

In July, scientists found high tritium levels – 20 per cent higher than just two months before. At the beginning of the month, cesium levels also went up by an astonishing 22 per cent from the previous day. The legal limit of 90 becquerels per liter was exceeded by around 22,000 becquerels.

On July 10, scientists warned about possible sea contamination, although they had no evidence at the time.  
On Monday, however, TEPCO discovered that radiation levels were rising and falling together with the tide.

This has led them to their latest theory - that the leftover trench water from 2011 is indeed mixing with the underground water that flows straight into the Pacific.

The only theoretical solution at this point is to build a wall of liquid glass between the nuclear reactors and the sea, siphoning off contaminated water from the underground trench.

Steam has also been seen emerging from one of the damaged reactors on three occasions, sparking further fears about the state of the wrecked plant.

Meanwhile, TEPCO has had to sustain bad publicity after it was revealed that it delayed publishing the summer study which sparked these newfound fears - which were realized just days after TEPCO reassured the public that the water was safely enclosed. The government has labeled the company’s behavior as “deplorable.” - RT.

Nuclear Experts Blast TEPCO Over Toxic Leaks.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) officials inspect radioactive underground reservoirs at the Fukushima
Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, on April 13, 2013. Foreign nuclear experts on Friday blasted
the operator of Fukushima nuclear plant, with one saying its lack of transparency over toxic water
leaks showed "you don't know what you're doing".
Foreign nuclear experts on Friday blasted the operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, with one saying its lack of transparency over toxic water leaks showed "you don't know what you're doing".

The blunt criticism comes after a litany of problems at the reactor site, which was swamped by a quake-sparked tsunami two years ago. The disaster sent reactors into meltdown and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents in the worst atomic accident in a generation.

Earlier this week, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) admitted for the first time that radioactive groundwater had leaked outside the plant, confirming long-held suspicions of ocean contamination from the shattered reactors.

"This action regarding the water contamination demonstrates a lack of conservative decision-making process," Dale Klein, former head of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), told a panel in Tokyo.

"It also appears that you are not keeping the people of Japan informed. These actions indicate that you don't know what you are do not have a plan and that you are not doing all you can to protect the environment and the people."

Klein was invited to attend the TEPCO-sponsored nuclear reform monitoring panel composed of two foreign experts and four Japanese including the company's chairman.

The utility had previously reported rising levels of cancer-causing materials in groundwater samples from underneath the plant, but maintained it had contained toxic water from leaking beyond its borders.

But the embattled company has now conceded it delayed the release of test results confirming the leaks as Japan's nuclear watchdog heaped doubt on its claims.

"We would like to express our frustrations in your recent activities regarding the water contamination," Klein said.

"We believe that these events detract from the progress that you have made on your clean up and reform for the Fukushima (plant)."

Barbara Judge, chairman emeritus of Britain's Atomic Energy Authority, said she was "disappointed and distressed" over the company's lack of disclosure.

"I hope that there will be lessons learned from the mishandling of this issue and the next time an issue arises -- which inevitably it will because decommissioning is a complicated and difficult process -- that the public will be immediately informed about the situation and what TEPCO is planning to do in order to remedy it," she said.

Decommissioning the site is expected to take decades and many area residents will likely never be able to return home, experts say. - France24.

EXTREME WEATHER: "Black Sunday" - Seven People Drown In Seas Off France's Mediterranean Coast As 80mph Winds & Unpredictable Currents Cause Treacherous Conditions!

July 29, 2013 - FRANCE - Seven people died yesterday on a series of beaches in the south of France which are hugely popular with British tourists.

High winds which reached speeds of up to 80mph and unpredictable currents were blamed for the so-called ‘Black Sunday’ in the Herault department, which is on the Mediterranean coast.

Tragedy: Seven people drowned at a number of resorts across the Mediterranean coast of France yesterday,
including at Carnon (file picture).

At least three other people were tonight in a ‘serious condition’ after escaping from the sea.

Like the deceased, they had been enjoying high summer temperatures on the beaches of  Palavas-les-Flots, Carnon, La Grande-Motte, Valras  and Vendres.

‘Conditions were hugely treacherous, yet many people did not seem aware of this,’ said a spokesman for the local lifeguards.

‘Swimmers who ventured out too far found themselves swept further out by high winds and big waves.’

Four of the victims died on the beaches, at sea or inland after resuscitation attempts failed, while three others died in hospital. None have yet been named, and no nationalities are yet available.

Popular: Another victim died at the Palavas Les Flots beach, a resort that is often chosen by British tourists.

‘People have been venturing into the sea and never returning,’ said a spokesman for the emergency services in Vendre.

‘We get bad days every summer, but what happened today is absolutely exceptional. It has been a terrible day.’

The spokesman said ‘dozens’ of successful rescues were also carried out following emergency calls.

The body of 16-year-old Kieran Knight, a British swimmer who disappeared off the southwest coast of France last Wednesday was found on Saturday.

It was found by a fisherman close to Messanges Beach, south of Bordeaux, where Kieran had been swimming with his father.

The teenager was apparently caught by a strong undercurrent and was unable to get back to shore. - Daily Mail.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Methane Release - Research Finds That Subduction Zone Earthquake Is A Potential Trigger Of Submarine Hydrocarbon Seepage!

July 29, 2013 - PAKISTAN - Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is abundant in marine sediments.

Submarine seepage of methane-dominated hydrocarbons is heterogeneous in space and time, and mechanisms that can trigger episodic seep events are poorly understood.

Fig. 1 - a,b, The Hydrate Site features an anomalously hummocky topography (a) and gas bubble discharge from sediment fissures into the water column (b). c, Local bathymetric map and basic tectonic setting. The ~ 3km long, north–south-oriented seismic line GeoB 07-384 (Fig. 4) is located approximately 123m east of the Hydrate Site. The epicentre location of the 1945 earthquake is marked according to its first scientific description.

For example, critical gas pressures have been predicted to develop beneath impermeable sediments that bear gas hydrates, making them susceptible to mechanical failure and gas release.

Gas hydrates often occur in seismically active regions, but the role of earthquakes as triggers of hydrocarbon seepage through gas-hydrate-bearing sediments has been only superficially addressed.

Here we present geochemical analyses of sediment cores retrieved from the convergent margin off Pakistan.

Fig. 2 - a,b, The depth profiles of dissolved barium (Ba2+), sulphate (SO42−) and methane (CH4), as well as solid-phase diagenetic barium (Ba(diagenetic), total barium (Ba(total)) and barium/aluminium ratios (Ba/Al) for the Hydrate Site (a) and the Non-Hydrate Site (b). The kink-type sulphate profile at the Hydrate Site suggests seawater irrigation into the sediment due to bubble ascent and eddy diffusion. The concave-up type sulphate profile at the Non-Hydrate Site points to an increase in methane flux. Red solid lines mark the sulphate/methane transitions (SMTs). Blue solid lines mark the gradients used for Ba2+ flux calculations (Supplementary Equation S2). Red stippled lines indicate the average background barium contents (Supplementary Information). Barium contents above background represent diagenetic barite enrichments (Ba(diagenetic)).

Fig. 3 - a, The best fit of the simulated to the measured sulphate profile at the Non-Hydrate Site is achieved 60–65yr after the 1945 earthquake at Nascent Ridge. b, At the Hydrate Site steady-state conditions were already reached 5–7 yr after the event. Thus, the evolution of the sulphate profile is shown for only T=0, 2, 5 and 62yr. c, Extrapolated slope of the upper 1.5mbsf of the sulphate concentration profile at the Non-Hydrate Site indicating the approximate pre-event depth of the SMT at ~ 21mbsf (ordinate intercept in c, ref.). For a detailed model description see Supplementary Information.

We find that a substantial increase in the upward flux of gas occurred within a few decades of a Mw 8.1 earthquake in 1945—the strongest earthquake reported for the Arabian Sea.

Our seismic reflection data suggest that co-seismic shaking fractured gas-hydrate-bearing sediments, creating pathways for the free gas to migrate from a shallow reservoir within the gas hydrate stability zone into the water column.

Fig. 4 - a, Interference of seafloor returns with a reversed polarity reflection (black lines) suggests the occurrence of free gas capped by gas hydrates at 5mbsf. b, Sub-bottom architecture: violet (solid)—trapped gas at ~ 21.5mbsf (south), violet (stippled)—assumed pre-earthquake gas accumulation (north). Gas accumulations at ~ 14mbsf (blue), ~ 6mbsf (orange). Selected seismograms are shown as variable area plots (red—positive amplitudes, blue—negative amplitudes). Synthetic seismograms (indexed 1–3) were calculated for an impedance increase of 30% at the sea floor and a 1-m-thick gas layer: (1) 20% velocity decrease (1,200ms−1) at 21.5mbsf, (2) 20% velocity decrease at 6mbsf, (3) 10% velocity decrease (1,350ms−1) at 14mbsf. VE,vertical exaggeration.

We conservatively estimate that 3.26×108 mol of methane have been discharged from the seep site since the earthquake. We therefore suggest that hydrocarbon seepage triggered by earthquakes needs to be considered in local and global carbon budgets at active continental margins. - Nature.

DELUGE: Raging Floods Flips Tour Bus In Arizona - Sweeping It 300 Yards Downstream After The Driver Tries To Cross Submerged Roadway!

July 29, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A group of tourists on their way back from sightseeing at the Grand Canyon are lucky to be alive after their tour bus was swept away by flood waters in northern Arizona this afternoon. The water then carried the bus 300 yards before it flipped onto its side in the flooded wash.

Swept Away: A flash flood in Arizona swept this tour bus 300 yards downstream before flipping it over.

In all, 33 people were on the bus when it flipped. Thankfully, none of them were injured.

A spokesman for the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District said the incident happened just before 2 p.m. He said the bus approached a low-lying area and was swept away by a flash flood.

The passengers and the driver managed to escape the bus by climbing through windows and swimming to dry land.

By the time the passengers had escaped, the water had risen to 8 feet in some areas.

 Lucky: nobody was hurt when this bus flipped over after get swept away by a flash flood.

Arizona is in the middle of its monsoon season, when flash-floods are common in some of the low-lying areas and mountain passes.

 In many cases, what appears to be little more than a few inches of rain covering a section of a roadway is actually a fast-moving stream capable of sweeping away things as large and heavy as a bus.

For decades, state and local officials in Arizona have urged motorists to not attempt to cross flooded roadways, regardless of how shallow the water appears. But people continue to do it, and frequently end up with a fate similar to the bus that was swept away this afternoon.

 Aftermath: The road is dry after a flash flood swept a tour bus 300 yards downstream.

Emergency responders then would be forced to assist these motorists - rescue efforts that were paid for by state and local municipalities.

In 1995, Arizona passed a law dubbed 'The Stupid Motorist Law,' which allows the state to hold people financially responsible for any rescue efforts that are needed to save them if they attempt to cross a flooded roadway and get swept away.

Tourists: The group on the bus was headed back to Las Vegas after spending the visiting the Grand Canyon.

The law states that a stupid motorist 'may be liable for expenses of any emergency response that is required to remove from the area the driver or any passenger in the vehicle that becomes inoperable in the area or the vehicle that becomes inoperable in the area, or both.'

 In addition to covering the expenses of the rescue effort, motorists can be fined up to $2,000.

Monsoon: Arizona's monsoon season creates flash floods across the state - and gets plenty of 'stupid motorists' swept away by fast-moving streams.

Arizona rescue official Pat Moore told Phoenix's ABC15 that he thinks the driver of the bus should be cited for driving the bus across standing water.

However, it will be up to the Mojave County Sheriff's Office to determine whether the driver will be cited. - Daily Mail.

SOLAR WATCH: NASA Spacecraft Sees Giant "Hole" In The Sun - Covers Nearly A Quarter Of The Star!

July 29, 2013 - SUN - A space telescope aimed at the sun has spotted a gigantic hole in the solar atmosphere — a dark spot that covers nearly a quarter of our closest star, spewing solar material and gas into space.

The European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO,
captured this image of a giant hole on the Sun.

The so-called coronal hole over the sun's north pole came into view between July 13 and 18 and was observed by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO. NASA released a video of the sun hole as seen by the SOHO spacecraft, showing the region as a vast dark spot surrounded by solar activity.

Coronal holes are darker, cooler regions of the sun's atmosphere, or corona, containing little solar material.

In these gaps, magnetic field lines whip out into the solar wind rather than looping back to the sun's surface.

Coronal holes can affect space weather, as they send solar particles streaming off the sun about three times faster than the slower wind unleashed elsewhere from the sun's atmosphere, according to a description from NASA.

"While it’s unclear what causes coronal holes, they correlate to areas on the sun where magnetic fields soar up and away, failing to loop back down to the surface, as they do elsewhere," NASA's Karen Fox at the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., explained in an image description.

WATCH: Giant hole on the Sun.

These holes are not uncommon, but their frequency changes with the solar activity cycle. The sun is currently reaching its 11-year peak in activity, known as the solar maximum. Around the time of this peak, the sun's poles switch their magnetism. The number of coronal holes typically decreases leading up to the switch.

After the reversal, new coronal holes appear near the poles. Then as the sun approaches the solar minimum again, the holes creep closer to the equator, growing in both size and number, according to NASA.

The $1.27-billion (1 billion euros) SOHO satellite was launched in 1995 and is flying a joint mission between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).

It watches solar activity from an orbit about the Lagrange Point 1, a gravitationally stable spot between Earth and the sun that is about 932,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) from our planet. - SPACE.

DELUGE: Record Rainfall For Philadelphia, Flooding For Entire Region - 7.38 Inches Of Rain In Just 6 Hours, Highest Since 1872!

July 29, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A Sunday afternoon deluge turned roads into rivers in South Jersey, submerging cars and stranding drivers, and set a record for one-day rainfall in Philadelphia.

Late-day flash floods hit Camden, Bellmawr and Paulsboro leading to sporadic road closures, according to police dispatchers and scanner reports. In Gloucester City, a stretch of Route 130 under Route 295 was
"completely flooded" and had cars submerged, the Breaking News Network said. (Staff photo) 

During a six-hour period from 2 to 8 p.m., 7.38 inches of rain fell at the Philadelphia International Airport, according to the National Weather Service.

NWS meteorologist Patrick O'Hara confirmed that the rain total this afternoon set the city's daily record since record tallying began in 1872. A portion of Terminal A at the airport lost power for a few hours in the early evening and backup generators didn't immediately turn on, according to reports.

Airport officials were still working to restore power at 9 p.m., reports said. And the rain wasn't over just yet.

The heaviest rain passed shortly after nightfall, forecasters said, but flash flood warnings remained in effect until 10:45 p.m. Sunday evening for Philadelphia, southeastern Delaware County, and northwestern parts of Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties in New Jersey.

Late-day flash floods hit Camden, Bellmawr and Paulsboro leading to sporadic road closures, according to police dispatchers and scanner reports. In Gloucester City, a stretch of Route 130 under Route 295 was "completely flooded" and had cars submerged, the Breaking News Network said.

No injuries were reported. By 7 p.m., the National Weather Service reported minor flooding of the Cooper River. - Philly.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Helicopter Crash In Pennsylvania - 5 Dead, Including Child!

July 29, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Moments after a pilot told air traffic controllers he was losing altitude, his helicopter crashed in a rugged, wooded area of northeastern Pennsylvania, killing five people including a child.

A helicopter crash in a remote, wooded area of northeastern Pennsylvania claimed the lives of five people,
state police said Sunday July 28, 2013. (Aimee Dilger/The Times Leader/AP Photo)

Wyoming County coroner Thomas Kukuchka said the pilot contacted a nearby tower around 10:30 p.m. Saturday saying he would attempt to return to another airfield nearby.

"That's when he went off radar," Kukuchka said Sunday.

The names and ages of those on board have not been released, but Kukuchka said three men, a woman and a child were on board.

"It appears to be a father and son, a father and daughter and the pilot," he said.

He said his office was trying to reach family members of the deceased in Leesburg, Va., Ellicot City, Md. and Kintnersville, Pa.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the helicopter took off from Greater Binghamton Airport in New York but officials there said it had actually originated at a smaller airfield nearby, Tri Cities Airport in Endicott. A phone message left at Tri Cities Airport was not immediately returned Sunday night.

The helicopter was bound for Jake Arner Memorial Airport in Lehighton, the FAA said.

State police and FAA personnel were still on the scene Sunday evening, according to Trooper Adam Reed, a state police spokesman. He said additional details would be released as the investigation progresses.

Kukuchka said there were severe thunderstorms in the area Saturday night, although it was not clear if weather played a role in the crash. The coroner and police said rough weather contributed to the difficulty of the search; the wreckage was located shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday.

The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation, the FAA said. - ABC News.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Disaster Precursors - Horror As Texas Couple Are Attacked By Swarm Of Around 30,000 Bees Who Kill Their Two Horses, Five Hens And Dog?!

July 29, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A swarm of around 30,000 bees attacked a couple in Texas as they exercised their miniature horses, stinging the animals so many times they died.

Kristen Beauregard, 44, was stung about 200 times and her boyfriend around 50 times as the insects chased and followed them in Pantego, north Texas.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Kristen Beauregard had noticed bees near her home and had tried in vain to get rid of them.

On Wednesday evening, as she was exercising one of her two miniature horses, thousands of bees attacked her and her boyfriend. According to reports the horses, Chip and Trump, were so covered in bees they shimmered. Neither could be saved.

"They were chasing us down, they were following us," Beauregard told the newspaper. "We swept up piles and piles of them. ... It was like a bad movie."

Firefighters were forced to spray a foam substance to clear the bees before dragging the minature horses to a pasture. Chip. the 6-year-old show horse died before a veterinarian arrived, and Trump, the Shetland pony, spent a night sedated at a veterinary clinic but also died.

"He was so overwhelmed by bites that his body could not handle it," equine veterinarian Patricia Tersteeg said.

"That's way too much for any 250-pound mammal to survive."

The bees are being tested to see whether they are Africanized or "killer" bees. It is unclear what prompted them to leave the hive.

Speaking of her horror following the incident Kristen Beauregard said: "It got all dark, like it was nighttime there were so many bees."

"We were trying stand up in the water but every time we stuck our heads out for air, they would cover us and start stinging us. We were trying to breathe and they were stinging us in the face and in the nose."

The bees also killed five hens, and stung the couple's dog. - Independent.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: 10,000 Chickens Dead From Bird Flu In Bhaktapur, Nepal!

July 29, 2013 - NEPAL - Bird flu has resurfaced in Bhaktapur in a space of less than eight months, triggering culling of more than 4,500 chickens in the infected poultry farm after 5,500 chickens died there in two days.

Dr Bijay Kant Jha, chief of the Directorate of Animal Health, confirmed H5N1 infection in layer chickens at the Himal Hatchery in Sipadole- 2 and 9. Last October, bird flu had surfaced in a Bode-based poultry farm of Om Bahadur Khadka.

Dr Jha informed that Tripureshwor-based Central Veterinary Laboratory conducted a test on samples collected from the hatchery on Monday, and found the chickens to be H5N1-infected.

Khagendra Raj Bhatta, chief of the Bhaktapur District Veterinary Office, said officials destroyed chickens and poultry products of the hatchery today as per a decision reached at a meeting of the District Avian Influenza Control Technical Committee. Officials said they culled around 4,500 chickens, egg crates, chicken feed and eggs at the hatchery. The technical committee under CDO Himnath Dawadi had formed two teams of veterinary doctors to deal with the situation.

Bhatta said some chickens had started falling sick and dying since July 21, prompting officials to collect samples and conduct lab tests to establish the facts on the basis of a complaint that Prabhat Paskhala, the hatchery owner, had lodged. Paskhala told officials around 5,500 chickens had died in two days. With the confirmation of the bird flu strain, Bhaktapur DVO has kept other poultry farms in the district under surveillance. With 342 poultry farms operating in the district, Bhaktapur comes second after Chitwan in terms of scale of poultry farming.

According to the DVO, the district produces an average of 5,100 metric tonnes of chickens and 11,23,290 eggs every year. Officials say porous border, cross-border movement, traditional slaughtering practices and handling of meat, migratory birds and contact between domestic and wild birds are major reasons behind bird flu outbreak. - The Himalayan Times.