Sunday, August 25, 2013

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Volcanic "Geyser" Erupts Close To Rome Airport - Italian Experts Are Puzzled?!

August 25, 2013 - ITALY - Italian experts have been puzzled by the overnight appearance of a geyser crater spraying clouds of gas 15 feet in the air, yards from the end of the runway at one of Europe’s busiest airports.

 The crater measured about six feet wide and three feet deep.

Motorists on Saturday were alarmed to notice hot, stinking gas spurting from a newly formed crater in the middle of a roundabout close to the perimeter fence of Rome’s Fiumicino airport -- less than 900 yards from the end of a runway.

Spectators gathered around the smoking crater, which measured about six feet wide and three feet deep, before firefighters and vulcanologists arrived to seal off the roundabout to prevent inhalation of the gas, suspected to be a cocktail of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and methane.

Tests are now underway.

While initial reports suggested the gas came from rotting organic matter trapped underground, one expert said volcanic activity was more likely.

“From Mount Etna in Sicily up to the Alban hills around Rome there is a good deal of underground volcanic activity,” Alberto Basili, a seismologist at the Italian National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology, told the Daily Telegraph.

“Gas underground can remain hot for tens of thousands of years after volcanoes erupt, and every now and then it can rise to the surface from miles underground,” said Mr Basili.
“We have seen things like this elsewhere around Rome, with farm animals being killed after they breath in the gas,” he said.

Despite being a stone’s throw from the end of a main runway at Fiumicino, Europe’s sixth largest airport, which handles 37 million passengers a year, Mr Basili said there was no cause for fear over flight safety. “This is a limited phenomenon – it will not have created alarm at the airport,” he said. - Telegraph.

WORLD WAR III: The Ball Of Fire In The Middle East - US Navy Sends Extra Missile Warship To The Mediterranean; American Special Forces And CIA Commandos Enters Syria; Hagel Says U.S. Prepared For "All Contingencies"; Iran Warn U.S. Against Syria Strike; And Putin Responds To Syria Escalation By Indicating That Russia May "Reinforce Naval Grouping In Mediterranean" Following U.S. Buildup!

August 25, 2013 - SYRIA - The US Navy has sent an extra missile warship to the Mediterranean as President Barack Obama considered his options for a possible military strike on Syria in response to a gas attack that has killed hundreds. Syria hasd sought to avert blame by saying its soldiers had found chemical weapons in rebel tunnels.

U.S. Navy Sends Extra Missile Warship To The Mediterranean.

A senior UN official arrived in Damascus to seek access for inspectors to the site of last Wednesday's attack, in which opposition accounts say between 500 and well over 1000 civilians were killed by gas fired by pro-government forces. In the most authoritative account so far, the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said three hospitals near Damascus had reported 355 deaths in the space of three hours out of about 3600 admissions with nerve gas-type symptoms.

The accounts and video footage of the victims - men, women and children - have heightened Western calls for a robust, US-led response after 2-1/2 years of international inaction on a conflict that has killed 100,000 people. US military and national security advisers met Obama at the White House on Saturday to consider options for a response, the day after Washington said it was realigning forces in the Mediterranean to give him the option of attacking Syria.

WATCH: Leaders mull response to Syria allegations.

Obama, long hesitant to intervene, said in a CNN interview broadcast on Friday that the United States was still gathering information about the attack. He noted, however, that chemicals weapon use on a large scale would start "getting to some core national interests that the United States has, both in terms of us making sure that weapons of mass destruction are not proliferating, as well as needing to protect our allies, our bases in the region".

In a development that could raise pressure on him to act, American and European security sources said U.S. and allied intelligence agencies had made a preliminary assessment that chemical weapons had been used by pro-Assad forces this week.


Among the military options under consideration are missile strikes on Syrian units believed to be responsible for chemical attacks or on Assad's air force and ballistic missile sites, US officials said. Such strikes could be launched from U.S. ships or from combat aircraft capable of firing missiles from outside Syrian airspace, thereby avoiding Syrian air defences.

Major world powers - including Russia, Assad's main ally which has long blocked UN-sponsored intervention against him - have urged the Syrian leader to cooperate with U.N. chemical weapons inspectors already in Damascus to pursue earlier allegations.

Syria accuses rebels of staging the attack to provoke intervention. State television said soldiers had found chemical weapons on Saturday in tunnels that had been used by rebels. A presenter said five blue and green plastic storage drums shown in video footage, along with rusty mortar bombs, grenades, domestic gas canisters and vials labelled "atropine", a nerve gas antidote, were proof that rebels had used chemical weapons.

One of the child victims of the alleged gas attack. Médecins sans Frontières has said hospitals it
supports in Damascus treated thousands of patients for neurotoxicity.

Separately, the state news agency SANA said soldiers had "suffered from cases of suffocation" when rebels used poison gas "as a last resort" after government forces made "big gains" against them in the Damascus suburb of Jobar. It said clashes were still raging in the area but that the army had advanced and found "chemical agents" in rebel tunnels.  The leader of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, Ahmad al-Jarba, and the head of the rebel Free Syrian Army, General Salim Idriss, denied on Saturday that rebels had used chemical weapons.

At a press conference in Istanbul, Idriss said the rebels would respond, but not with "similar crimes". Jabra said the "most important cause" of the attack was the silence and inaction of the international community, especially the West.

A scheduled Aug. 25-27 conference of military chiefs of the United States, Jordan, its main Western allies and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, intended to help contain the fallout of a war spilling beyond Syria's borders, has been given added urgency by the gas attack.


"We had been expecting to talk mainly about stabilising Jordan," said a European defence source. "Instead, it will be dominated by Syria. It's all really waiting on the Americans and what they decide they want to do ... "There have been discussions, but so far they have been very inconclusive. As the scale of what happened in Damascus becomes clear, that may change."

UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane arrived in Damascus to press for access to the scene. "The solution is obvious. There is a United Nations team on the ground, just a few kilometres away. It must very quickly be allowed to go to the site to carry out the necessary tests without hindrance," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said during a visit to the Palestinian territories.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Berlin expected Russia to "raise the pressure on Damascus so that the inspectors can independently investigate".  While some of the United States' NATO allies, including France, Britain and Turkey, have explicitly blamed Assad's forces for the chemical attack, Russia said the rebels were impeding an inquiry and that Assad would have no interest in using poison gas for fear of foreign intervention.

WATCH: Syrian army finds chemical agents as US navy expands presence in region.

"Assad does not look suicidal," senior pro-Kremlin lawmaker Igor Morozov told Interfax news agency. "He well understands that in this case, allies would turn away from him and ... opponents would rise. All moral constraints would be discarded regarding outside interference."

Alexei Pushkov, pro-Kremlin chairman of the international affairs committee in Russia's lower house of parliament, said: "In London they are 'convinced' that Assad used chemical weapons, and earlier they were 'convinced' that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It's the same old story."

Russia said last month that its analysis indicated a projectile that hit the city of Aleppo on March 19 contained the nerve agent sarin and was most likely fired by rebels.  President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Assad's most powerful Middle Eastern ally, acknowledged for the first time on Saturday that chemical weapons had killed people in Syria and called for the international community to prevent their use. - Stuff.

CIA Commandos, US Special Forces Enters Syria.
Syrian militants attend a training session in Idlib, Syria, Dec. 17, 2012.

US special operations and CIA teams, along with Israeli and Jordanian troops, have entered Syria to command members of the militant groups fighting against the Syrian government, according to a French newspaper.

“According to our information, Le Figaro reported on Thursday, “The regime's opponents, supervised by Jordanian, Israeli and American commandos have been moving towards Damascus since mid-August.”

US and Jordanian teams have set up a training camp in Jordan where special operations units are training members of the militant groups in Syria.

According to Le Figaro, the first group of these specially trained militant fighters, commanded by American special forces, crossed the border into Syria on August 17 along with a number of CIA operatives. A second group joined them two days later, the report said.

The newspaper cites military sources saying the operation began in the southern Syrian region of Deraa.

DEBKAfile, an Israeli website, also reported that up to 250 US-trained rebels entered an area of Syria near the Israeli border this past Saturday and were joined by an additional 300 on Monday.

The US troops and intelligence officers reportedly made their way into Syria a few days before reports emerged that hundreds of men, women and children were killed by an alleged chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus. - Press TV.

Hagel Says U.S. Prepared For "All Contingencies".
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has said that President Obama has asked the military to "prepare options for all contingencies" as the crisis in Syria deepens following reports of a chemical weapons attack by that country's government earlier this week.

Speaking in Malaysia Sunday, where he was starting a planned one-week tour of Asia, Hagel said that the administration was still weighing whether or not to use military force against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Among the factors being discussed, Hagel said, were an intelligence assessment of the attack as well as possible international support for a military operation and what he described as legal issues.

"President Obama has asked the Defense Department to prepare options for all contingencies. We have done that and we are prepared to exercise whatever option -- if he decides to employ one of those options,'' Hagel said. - FOX News.

Iran Warn U.S. Against Syria Strike.
Iran has warned the US not to cross “the red line” on Syria threatening it would have “severe consequences” for the White House. This follows a statement from Syrian officials who said a strike would create “very serious fallout” for the whole region.

"America knows the limitation of the red line of the Syrian front and any crossing of Syria's red line will have severe consequences for the White House," the Iranian Fars news agency quoted deputy chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, Massoud Jazayeri, as saying. Syrian authorities also warned the United States against any military intervention, saying this would "inflame the Middle East".

"US military intervention will create very serious fallout and a ball of fire that will inflame the Middle East," Information Minister Omran Zoabi told the Syrian state news agency, SANA. The warning comes as Western officials stated they are considering “a serious response” from the international community to the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Arab state.

On Saturday, British PM David Cameron’s spokesperson said that both the UK and the US have tasked officials to examine all the options. At the same time, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that the Defense Department is “prepared to exercise whatever option - if he [Obama] decides to employ one of those options".

Earlier on Friday Hagel suggested the Pentagon might move naval forces closer to Syria in case Obama decides to proceed. However, US media reports that four US Navy Destroyers – USS Ramage, USS Gravely, USS Barry and USS Mahan – are being pre-positioned in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, although officials stress that the US Navy has received no orders to prepare for military action.
All four warships are said to have been equipped with cruise missiles. - RT.

Putin Responds To Syria Escalation By Indicating That Russia May "Reinforce Naval Grouping In Mediterranean" Following U.S. Buildup.
Newton's third law strikes again.

Yesterday, when describing the latest US developments in the Syrian "liberation" and "WMD elimination" we pointed out that the "use of war as a culmination point to end a depression is nothing new. Just look at the first Great Depression. And just like then, the only cost to perpetuate the myth of the Keynesian and monetarist religion and the pillaged wealth of the 0.01% status quo elite, will be a few hundred thousand innocent men, women and children. Or, as they are known in the Beltway, collateral damage. That is, unless, Putin decides to retaliate."

Moments ago Interfax reported that Russia is starting to pre-emptively, for now, retaliate.

Russia can increase its military presence in the Mediterranean in the case of the possible enlargement of the U.S. naval grouping in the region in the event of the aggravation of the situation in Syria, President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems Leonid Ivashov believes.

“Russia can increase its naval grouping in the Mediterranean as a reply measure. I think that nothing else remains to prevent the development of the factor of aggression,” he said to Interfax-AVN on Saturday commenting on media reports of the possible increase in U.S. naval presence in the Mediterranean.

In his opinion, Russia should point out to the world the most crying violations of the UN Charter concerning Egypt and especially Syria.

“We should be speaking more strongly of noninterference in the internal affairs of Syria,” Ivashov said.

He said that deliveries of Russian defense systems to the Syrian armed forces could become a lever of influencing the United States and of averting the threat of an attack on Syria.
Will Obama's misreading of the "New Normal" geopolitical balance of power, in which America is rapidly relegating itself from global superpower status and in which Putin most certainly does not see himself as inferior to the US, yet in which there is no actual game theoretical winner if everyone defects (but lots and lots of losers, except for the Fed) force America into a milltary confrontation from which there is no easy and simple way out?

We will find out over the next several days. - Zero Hedge.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: "There Is Something Fishy Going On In Brazil" - TEN TONS Of Dead Fish Found In Rio Lake And Thousands Of Fish Found Dead In A Creek In Itajai?!

August 25, 2013 - BRAZIL - There is something fishy going on in Brazil.

TEN TONS Of Dead Fish Found In Rio Lake.

Ten tons of dead fish have been found floating in a Rio de Janeiro lake.

Biologists said it was likely that the fish deaths were caused by sewage finding its way into the water which sits next to the Olympic park under construction for the 2016 games.

A local resident who once fished in what he described as clear waters blamed the city officials.

“In reality, they say that it’s rain water, but the truth is only sewage dumped in here, not counting sewage from other areas that ends up here without treatment. They said they would have sewage treatment, but up until today they haven’t done anything,” explained Denildo Barcalo, a former fisherman and now assistant to biologist Mario Moscatell.

WATCH: Ten tons of dead fish found in Rio lake.

Rio is often bogged down with sanitation problems. The building housing athletes for the 2007 Pan American Games had plans for a sewage treatment plant, but none was built.

However, the city’s Olympic Park website claims to be committed to cleaning up its act before the Games in three years time. - Euro News.

Thousands Of Fish Found Dead In A Creek In Itajai.
Chemical may have caused the death of fish
Photo: Mark Porto / Agencia RBS

An environmental crime may have caused the death of thousands of fish in a creek in rural Itajaí. The animals were found dead on the morning of Thursday. Many have washed away, but some were in the margins.

Locals noticed changes in the water still in the creek late Wednesday. Hermelindo Lourenço Gomes noted that on the same day was too much foam in the creek. One of the suspicions of the population is that the domestic sewage that is dumped daily in the stream may have caused the death of fish.

According to the Environment Foundation, the reason this is certainly not, otherwise there would be dead fish every day, which is not true. For technical coordinator Famai, Carlos Alberto Rebelo, some chemical must have caused the damage. If proven environmental crime, the official will have to pay a fine and suspend the activities that caused the damage. - Osoldiario. [Translated]

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: State Of Emergency Has Been Declared For San Francisco As The Yosemite Wildfire Explodes Into One Of California's Largest Ever Wildfires - Nearly 200 Square Miles (128,000 Acres) Burned; Threatens Over 5,000 Residents, The Yosemite National Park & The City's Power Grid; 16 Buildings Destroyed; 5% Contained!

August 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A giant wildfire raging out of control grew to nearly 200 square miles and spread into Yosemite National Park on Friday, as California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the city of San Francisco 150 miles away because of the threat to the city's utilities.

Wildfire approaching Yosemite National Park late last week. The blaze is now less than four miles from
San Francisco's main reservoir. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The week-long fire on the slopes of the western Sierra Nevada mountains is burning across nearly 200 sq miles, threatens 5,500 homes and could push deeper into Yosemite – one of the country's most treasured
national parks as well as one of California's most popular tourist destinations.
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The fire hit the park at the height of summer season, as officials geared up for a busy Labor Day weekend. It has closed some backcountry hiking but was not threatening the Yosemite Valley region, one of California's most popular tourist destinations that features such iconic sights as the Half Dome and El Capitan rock formations and Bridalveil and Yosemite falls.

The blaze did, however, pose a threat to the lines and stations that pipe power to the city of San Francisco, so Brown, who had declared an emergency for the fire area earlier in the week, made the unusual move of extending the emergency declaration to the city across the state.

WATCH:  126,000 acre blaze in California on Saturday.

San Francisco gets 85 percent of its water from the Yosemite-area Hetch Hetchy reservoir that is about 4 miles from the fire, though that had yet to be affected. But it was forced to shut down two of its three hydroelectric power stations in the area.

The city has so far been able to buy power on the open market and use existing supplies, but further disruptions or damage could have an effect, according to city power officials and the governor's statement.
The declaration frees funding and resources to help the city and makes it eligible for more federal funds to help with power shortages and outages or water problems.

With more than 2,600 firefighters struggling to contain the blaze, Brown said the fire had caused damage
to electrical infrastructure serving San Francisco's 2.6 million residents.
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Hazy smoke from a wildfire more than 150 miles away near Yosemite National Park descended Thursday.
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The weeklong blaze on the timbered slopes of the Western Sierra Nevada has spread to 196 square miles and was only 5 percent contained. It continued to grow in several directions, although "most of the fire activity is pushing to the east right into Yosemite," said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Smoke blowing across the Sierra into the state of Nevada forced officials in several counties to cancel outdoor school activities and issue health advisories, especially for people with respiratory problems.
Authorities urged more evacuations in nearby communities where thousands have already been forced out by flames.

The fire was threatening about 5,500 residences, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The blaze has destroyed four homes and 12 outbuildings in several different areas. More than 2,000 firefighters were on the lines and one sustained a heat-related injury.

While the park remained open, the blaze closed a 4-mile stretch of State Route 120, one of three entrances into Yosemite on the west side. Two other western routes and an eastern route were open.
Within the park, the blaze was burning on about 17 square miles in a remote area around Lake Eleanor, Yosemite spokeswoman Kari Cobb said.

WATCH: Wildfire on Edge of Yosemite National Park.

Backcountry permits are required to hike in that area, Cobb said. The park was no longer issuing those and had contacted every person who had received a permit to go there. Two roads into that area were closed and occupants of a campground near the Route 120 west entrance were relocated.

"We don't have anybody we know of in that area based on the permits we have out now," she said.

The fire was more than 20 miles from Yosemite Valley and skies there were "crystal clear," Cobb said.

"Right now there are no closures, and no visitor services are being affected in the park," he said. "We just have to take one day at a time depending on fire activity."

Colorado Rural Protection firefighter Molly McGee fights the Rim Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest in
California, Thursday, August 22, 2013. (Andy Alfaro/Modesto Bee/MCT)

On Friday, officials issued voluntary evacuation advisories for two new towns — Tuolumne City, population 1,800, and Ponderosa Hills, a community of several hundred — which are about five miles from the fire line, Forest Service spokesman Jerry Snyder said.

A mandatory evacuation order remained in effect for part of Pine Mountain Lake, a summer gated community a few miles from the fire.

"It feels a little bit like a war zone, with helicopters flying overhead, bombers dropping retardant and 10 engine companies stationed on our street," said Ken Codeglia, a retired Pine Mountain Lake resident who decided to stay to protect his house with his own hoses and fire retardant system. "But if the fire gets very hot and firefighters evacuate, I will run with them."

The Rim Fire burns through the Stanislaus National Forest in the Stanislaus National Forest in California,
Thursday, August 22, 2013. (Andy Alfaro/Modesto Bee/MCT)

A DC-10 drops fire retardant over the Rim Fire east of Ferretti Road in the Stanislaus National Forest in
California, Thursday, August 22, 2013. (Andy Alfaro/Modesto Bee/MCT)

Officials previously advised voluntary evacuations of more than a thousand other homes, several organized camps and at least two campgrounds in the area outside the park's boundary.

More homes, businesses and hotels are threatened in nearby Groveland, a community of 600 about 5 miles from the fire and 25 miles from the entrance of Yosemite.

Usually filled with tourists, the streets are now swarming with firefighters, evacuees, and news crews, said Doug Edwards, owner of Hotel Charlotte on Main Street.

WATCH: California wildfire edges in on Yosemite National Park.

"We usually book out six months solid with no vacancies and turn away 30-40 people a night. That's all changed," Edwards said. "All we're getting for the next three weeks is cancellations. It's a huge impact on the community in terms of revenue dollars."

Park fire crews are working to clear brush and other fire fuels from the Merced and Tuolumne Groves of Giant Sequoias as a precaution.

The fire is raging in the same region where a 1987 fire killed a firefighter, burned hundreds of thousands of acres, and forced several thousand people out of their homes. - Yahoo.

GREAT DELUGE: Precursors To A Global Coastal Event - Besieged City Of Khabarovsk In Russia Faces Another Ten Days Before Reaching The Peak Of Flooding Nightmare?!

August 25, 2013 - RUSSIA - Russian army in battle to erect dikes to hold back the swirling Amur River as evacuations begin in low-lying areas.

The Far East of Russia is hit by the worst flooding in history.  Picture from Khabarovsk: Alexander Golovko 

Satellite maps released by NASA show the phenomenal swelling of rivers in the Russian Far East after heavy cyclonic rainfall, causing the worst flooding since records began with Khabarovsk - population 578,000 - literally in the eye of the storm.

The expected rise in the water level, to a depth of 8.3 metres, is now expected on 2 to 3 September, a full week later than previously forecast. The level of the river early on Saturday was 7.2 metres, with an expected 8.3 metres by early next month.

Normally, the river - which is prone to flooding - is 3.4 metres deep so the current level, graphically highlighted by the satellite pictures, is more than double its normal depth. Reports say around 1,200 people, including 229 children, have been evacuated so far from three districts.

Aerial views of Amur river, pictures taken in years 2008 and August 2013. Pictures: NASA

A total of 709 houses, 948 yards and around 4,000 country houses are deluged.

A rise of over 7.8 metres - now predicted on 28 August - could trigger mass evacuations by the authorities, though the huge efforts by troops and emergency workers to dike the Amur in key places, and pump out floodwater, may lessen the need for evacuations.

WATCH: Flooding may get worse as Russia's Far East destroyed in deluge.

Acting governor Vyacheslav Shport said: 'Today we are proceeding with dike construction; we are pouring down sand along the central embankment of the city. 'We are working to save historical monuments. The dikes are being worked on around the clock. The temporary barriers that we are erecting now are supposed to prevent the water from entering the city', he said.

Around the region, 708 houses, 948 farms and about 4,000 cottages were flooded. Elsewhere, in the Jewish Autonomous Region the Amur is also causing severe problems. Deputy chairman of the region's government Dmitry Prokhodtsev said: 'The situation is complicating. In the last 24 hours the water level has risen up to 15 centimetres. We're erecting dams'.

WATCH: Aerial video of floods swamping Russia's Far East.

In total, 832 houses have been flooded in the region, reported Itar-Tass.

The major highway from Khabarovsk to Komsomolsk-on-Amur was flooded this week. - Siberian Times.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Zombie Pigeons Invade Moscow - Pigeons With Twisted Necks Walking Backwards In Circles Or Standing Completely Still With Their Heads On The Ground?!

August 25, 2013 - RUSSIA - This summer, zombie birds have come to Russia’s capital.

In what some might compare to a horror film–or even a sign of the apocalypse–the streets of Moscow have been littered with dead and sick pigeons in the past week.

Videos posted on the Internet show pigeons twisting their necks, walking backward in circles or standing completely still with their heads on the ground.

Muscovites are calling them “zombie pigeons.” Corpses of those that don’t survive have been spotted across the city.

WATCH: Zombie Pigeons Invade Moscow.

Russia’s chief sanitary official, Gennady Onishchenko, said Friday that veterinarians had concluded the pigeons were suffering from salmonella poisoning. Earlier, reports had suggested the birds were suffering from Newcastle disease, which can be passed to humans.

Mr. Onishchenko, known for his colorful pronouncements on the state of the nation’s health and food supply, said he wasn’t particularly concerned that the birds were suffering, as long as people are all right.

“The grubbiest and one of the stupidest birds,” Mr. Onishchenko said of the creatures at a press conference Wednesday, Interfax news agency reported. - WSJ.