Friday, September 13, 2013

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Massive "Wall Of Water" Deluge Hits Boulder, Colorado - "Biblical" Rainfall Breaks 73-Year-Old Record For The Month; 12 Inches Of Rain Since September; 4 Dead; 4,000 Residents Evacuated; President Obama Approves Federal Disaster Assistance Request; National Guards Dispatched!

September 13, 2013 - UNITED STATES - By air and by land, the rescue of hundreds of Coloradoans stranded by epic mountain flooding was accelerating as food and water supplies ran low.

Meanwhile, thousands more were driven from their homes on the plains as debris-filled rivers became muddy seas inundating towns and farms miles from the Rockies.

Overflowing: The heavy rains have impacted a large stretch of Colorado from Fort Collins near the northern
border with Wyoming, all the way to Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs more than 100 miles south.

The surge: Flash-flooding continues in the Boulder-area of Colorado after three days of record-breaking rainfall.

Overflowing: The heavy rains have impacted a large stretch of Colorado from Fort Collins near the northern
border with Wyoming, all the way to Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs more than 100 miles south.

For the first time since the harrowing mountain floods began Wednesday, Colorado got its first broad view of the devastation - and the reality of what is becoming a long-term disaster is setting in. The flooding has affected parts of a 4,500-square-mile area, almost the size of Connecticut.

 National Guard choppers were evacuating 295 people - plus pets - from the mountain hamlet of Jamestown, which was isolated by flooding that scoured the canyon the town sits in.

Mike Smith, incident commander at Boulder Municipal Airport, said helicopters would continue flying in and out late into the night.

Record-breaking: Over 12 inches of rain has fallen since September 1, which shatters the previous
record set in the 1940s of 5.5 inches.

View from above: Satellite imaging shows the storm system that swept over the eastern Colorado
area on September 11, starting flash-floods that have killed three so far.

Flee: The floods have displaced thousands of human residents, but also the wildlife in Colorado.
Above, a deer jumps over a sidewalk in a flood-damaged area of Boulder.

The outlook for anyone who'd rather stay is weeks without power, cell phone service, water or sewer.

For those awaiting an airlift, Guardsmen dropped food, water and other supplies in Jamestown and other small towns in the winding, narrow canyons that dot the Rocky Mountain foothills.

Thousands of evacuees sought shelter in cities that were nearly surrounded by raging rivers spilling over their banks.

The dayslong rush of water from higher ground has killed four people and turned towns on Colorado's expansive eastern plains into muddy swamps.

Crews used inflatable boats to rescue families and pets from stranded farmhouses. Some evacuees on horseback had to be escorted to safe ground.

Boulder County officials said Friday night that the number of people unaccounted for had risen to 172, according to local television and newspaper reports.

'Wall of water': Around midnight, officials said they were monitoring a wall of water headed
toward the area of Emerson Gulch.

Churning: Boulder Creek is overflowing and threatening the city of Boulder, which it runs right through.

Swept away: The 30-foot wall of water was caused when a drainage gulch burst and swept up debris
and vehicles in it's path.

The officials said earlier that the unaccounted for figure doesn't necessarily represent missing people.

Near Greeley, some 35 miles east of the foothills, broad swaths of farmland had become lakes, and hundreds of roads were closed or damaged by floodwaters. A 70-mile stretch of Interstate 25 was closed from Denver to the Wyoming line.

Rocky Mountain National Park closed Friday, its visitors forced to leave via the 60-mile Trail Ridge Road to the west side of the Rockies.

It will be weeks, if not months, before a semblance of normalcy returns to Lyons, a gateway community to the park. The town, surrounded by sandstone cliffs whose color was reflected in the raging St. Vrain River, consisted of six islands Friday as residents barbecued their food before it spoiled. Several people set up a tent camp on a hill.

Some 2,500 residents were being evacuated from Lyons. Two bridges that led into the area were washed away. 

 'There's so much water coming out of the canyon, it has to go somewhere, and unfortunately it's coming into the city,' said Ashlee Herring, spokeswoman for the Boulder office of Emergency Management.

Survivor: So far, officials have announced three deaths related to the flooding. Above, a man is rescued
by emergency workers after he spent the night trapped on high ground above his home.

Battling the storm: A man in Boulder attempts to make a mud barrier to protect his house from the flooding.

Cut-off: Towns like Magnolia, above, have been completely shut off after the raging waters washed out roads.

Boulder Creek, which runs through the heart of the city, became a raging torrent that burst its banks and flooded adjacent parking lots and streets as warning sirens wailed.

Officials in Boulder announced just before midnight Thursday that they were tracking a large 'wall of water, containing debris and vehicles' headed towards Emerson Gulch from the Fourmile burn area.

The Denver Post reported that the 30-foot wall of water was caused by a drainage gulch that burst and released a large amount of water which swept up debris and vehicles in it's path.

Other towns nestled along the Front Range of the Rockies north of Denver were also hard hit.

In Longmont about 14 miles northeast of Boulder, the St Vrain River jumped its banks, cascading across main thoroughfares and making travel across the city impossible overnight.

Aid: Colorado National Guardsmen help relocate a family trapped at their heavily-flooded home.

Out of control: The heavy rainfalls have turned Boulder Creek into a raging river
with enough power to wash out roads.

'Our city is completely divided,' by the floodwaters, assistant city manager Shawn Lewis told Reuters.

Lewis said 7,000 households were under mandatory evacuation orders. The city opened two emergency shelters for displaced residents.

President Barack Obama approved a federal disaster assistance request, which will release funds to help with emergency protection, Governor John Hickenlooper's office said late on Thursday.

National Guard troops were dispatched with emergency supplies to the remote town of Lyons, north of Boulder, which was virtually cut off from surrounding areas when floodwaters washed out U.S. Route 36, county officials said.

 A dozen major roads in northeastern Colorado remained shut with significant damage from flooding, mudslides, rockfalls and other debris, the Colorado Department of Transportation said late on Thursday.

Heavy summer rains are not unusual for Colorado, but the intensity and duration of the downpour that began on Monday night was unprecedented.

WATCH: Associated Press coverage of the flash flooding in Colorado.

The National Weather Service said at least 12.3 inches of rain have fallen on Boulder since September 1, smashing a 73-year-old record of 5.5 inches for the month.

 One body was found in a collapsed building near Jamestown, an evacuated enclave north of Boulder.

A couple were swept away in floodwaters after stopping their car northwest of the city. The man's body was recovered but the woman was missing and feared dead, said Commander Heidi Prentup of the Boulder County Sheriff's Office.

The body of a third confirmed fatality, a 54-year-old man, was found by police on flood-watch patrols in a Colorado Springs creek, about 100 miles to the south, officials said.

On Friday, a woman who had been swept away was found dead near Boulder, raising the death toll to four.

Nearly 150 people were killed near Boulder in 1976 by a flash flood along the Big Thompson Canyon. - Daily Mail.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking Developments At The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole - Fluctuating Levels Of Seismic Activity Near Oxy 3, Since Slough-In Near North Work Pad! [LATEST FLYOVER VIDEOS]

September 13, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The following constitutes the latest updates from the Assumption Parish Police Jury on the giant Louisiana sinkhole:

Update from the Office of Conservation - September 13, 2013.
Sinkhole Activity Code 1 – lowest level – no detection of significant elevation of seismic activity in area of sinkhole/Oxy 3 cavern

Sub-slab Sampling and Ventilation
- Conducting ambient and in-stack monitoring of all installed ventilation systems
- Measuring probe locations for 1467 and 1469 Sauce Piquante
- Retrofitting new profile blowers on ventilation system at 116 Crawfish Stew
- Connecting ventilation system at 174 Crawfish Stew

- Completing shallow aquifer monitoring well MRAA 5S (south of containment berm)
- Installing pressure monitor equipment in ORW 40 (north of containment berm)
- Installing water pump system in ORW 39 (north of containment berm)
- Installing MIHPT 52 (near Jambalaya intersection with La. 70)
- Completing DPVE wells 47-2 and 47-3 on Maurice Rd. (ORW work road west of containment berm)
- Identifying areas for proposed DPVE wells in Bayou Corne community

Containment Berm/Roads/Sinkhole
- Continuing construction of new northwest access road and pad
- Unloading concrete mats for overflow structure

Gas Mitigation Slides/Sinkhole Survey - September 13, 2013.
Dr. Hecox presented information specific to the gas mitigation program at a meeting held yesterday evening in Bayou Corne. Click here to access the slides that were presented.

Also, the sinkhole survey from August is complete and be downloaded here.

Update from the Office of Conservation - September 12, 2013.
Sinkhole Activity Code 2 – elevated level – indicating detection of increased seismic activity near sinkhole/Oxy 3, no work directly on sinkhole allowed.

Sub-slab Sampling and Ventilation
- Conducting vapor monitoring 134 Sportsman’s Drive, 1422 Jambalaya, and 1402 and 1457 Sauce Piquante
- Measuring probe locations at 127 Sportsmans Drive, 104 Crawfish Stew, and 1467 and 1469 Sauce Piquante.
- Retrofitting new profile blowers on ventilation systems at 1438 Sauce Piquante and 135 Crawfish Stew
- Wiring and connecting ventilation system at 174 Crawfish Stew


- Installing water pumps in ORWs 1 (north of La. 70, west of Texas Brine facility), 9 (west of containment berm), 39 and 40 (north of containment berm)
- Completing aquifer monitoring well MRAA 5M (mid-aquifer), and grouting aquifer monitoring well MRAA 5S (shallow aquifer) – south of containment berm
- Completing DPVE (dual-phase vacuum extraction) well 47-1 and grouting DPVE well 47-3 on Maurice Rd. (ORW work road west of containment berm)
- Installing MIHPTs 66 and 67 (on north side of La. 70 in community)
- Sampling aquifer monitoring wells

Containment Berm/Roads/Sinkhole
- Unloading concrete mats for overflow structure
- Conducting depth survey of sinkhole

Shallow Gas Plan - September 11, 2013.
Review of information gathered in the CPT/MIHPT with through spring and summer to identify gas extent and gathering points in the subsurface in and around the Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou area has revealed an opportunity to provide a barrier to gas migration to surface and reduce the near-term potential for gas concentration below slabs or within home and other structures in the community. That opportunity has led to development of a three-tiered approach to accelerate the effort to cut off the flow of gas below the community – one that could provide observable results within weeks instead of years.

The three-tier effort – simultaneously attacking gas above the aquifer, within the aquifer and below the aquifer – to be carried out by Texas Brine under the oversight and guidance of Assumption Parish Incident Command the state Department of Natural Resources, and the Blue Ribbon Commission, will include intercepting gas in the shallow soil and sands presenting the closest threat to the community, improving the efficiency of vent wells to remove gas from the aquifer, and evaluating potential deeper source(s) of the gas in the area to identify appropriate response actions.

A key component of the new phase of the response will be the use of Dual Phase Vacuum Extraction (DPVE) pumps to intercept gas in the shallow subsurface between the surface and the gas built up in the aquifer. DPVE draws both liquid and gas from the subsurface, which provides the potential to overcome what has been a significant hurdle in removing gas from water-heavy Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou area. The intent is to use the DPVE approach to stop the flow of gas to surface and remove the potential for gas gathering below slabs or within homes or other structures in the community.

DPVE is a proven technology for remediation of gas in shallow soils, and data from CPT and MIHPT probes has provided information needed to accurately target gas pathways and gathering points. The DPVE has already been successfully tested on the Texas Brine facility near they Oxy Geismar 2 well pad, where two established bubble sites ceased bubbling shortly after pumping began.

The shallow DPVE approach is intended to serve as an interim measure to provide for public safety, even as work continues implementing a similar gas/liquid removal approach for existing and future vent wells into the aquifer.

At the same time, work is ongoing to further identify the deeper source of gas that originally charged the aquifer, drawing upon 3D seismic information and the expertise of the Science Work Group and Blue Ribbon Commission, and determine to what degree gas is still flowing and potential for intercepting it.

Initial steps in implementing the shallow DPVE portion of the overall strategy will be discussed with the public at the Assumption Parish OEP Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou Command Center on the 12th.

Update from the Office of Conservation - September 11, 2013.
Sinkhole Activity Code 1 – lowest level – indicating little seismic activity detected near sinkhole/Oxy 3.

Sub-slab Sampling and Ventilation
- Continuing vapor testing of ventilation systems
- Following up with repairs to sub-slab probe at 134 Sportsmans Drive
- Continuing to retrofit new profile blowers on ventilation system at 1438 Sauce Piquante

- Removing water and running pressure logs on ORWs 15 (north of La. 70, west of Texas Brine facility) and 16 (south of La. 70, northwest of containment berm)
- Grouting aquifer monitoring well MRAA 5M (mid-aquifer), and installing MRAA 5S (shallow aquifer) – south of containment berm
- Installing DPVE (dual-phase vacuum extraction) well 47-3 on Maurice Rd. (ORW work road west of containment berm)
- Installing CPT 89 (west of Bayou Corne, south of La. 70)
- Installing MIHPTs 46 and 51 (on Jambalaya Street)
- Sampling aquifer monitoring wells

Containment Berm/Roads/Sinkhole
- Clearing trees and beginning construction of new north access road and pad

Update from the Office of Conservation - September 10, 2013.
Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou Response Activity
Tuesday, Sep. 10 work - Sinkhole Activity Code 1 – lowest level – seismic activity levels low since slough-in on/near north work pad

Sub-slab Sampling and Ventilation
- Continuing ambient and in-stack gas monitoring on sub-slab ventilation systems
- Vapor monitoring at all locations where vent systems exist
- Removing equipment at 116 Crawfish Stew
- Continuing pressure and vapor testing of vent system at 174 Crawfish Stew
- Retrofitting new profile blowers at 1438 Sauce Piquante

- Adjusting chokes on ORWs 28 (west of Texas Brine facility, north of La. 70) and 38 (north of Bayou Corne community, behind Sauce Piquante)
- Installing 66 and 67 (in community, north of La. 70)
- Installing MIHPTs 44 (near intersection of Gumbo and Jambalaya) and 45 (south of Jambalaya)
- Installing DPVE (dual-phase vacuum extraction) well 47-3 and  grouting DPVE 47-2 on Maurice Rd. (ORW work road west of containment berm)

Flyover Videos Uploaded - September 10, 2013.
Here are two videos of the latest flyover of the sinkhole:

WATCH: Latest Flyover - September 10, 2013.

- Assumption Parish Police Jury.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Thousands Of Dead Fish Float Along 10 Miles Of River In Huangpu, China?!

September 13, 2013 - CHINA - The whole creek discolor both sides covered with dead fish, too scary." 6 o'clock yesterday morning, Huangpu District, Guangzhou, Wu Chung Sha Road after another dead fish from underwater leak, about 8:30, even as a dead fish have appeared in the creek on both sides.

Sanitation workers are fishing for dead fish.  Reporter Yang Yao Ye, photo

3 cleaning staff immediately salvage boat on the creek, as 16:00, have been recovered nearly 2,000 pounds of dead fish, the river is responsible for the safety and quality management personnel speculated that because of high chemical plant causes no interception, Currently, Huangpu District, EPA has sent staff on pollution sources Mocha.

First discovered the dead fish creek creek is responsible for the management of Liu aunt, back in 6:30 or so, when she found the creek passers "There are a lot of dead fish floated up from the bottom." She then let a cleaning staff salvage. Wait until 8:30 to return to the creek Liu aunt when she found "a person simply salvage, however, the whole earth is full of dead fish creek." Two cleaning staff take a boat to join the ranks of the salvage .

11 o'clock yesterday morning, the reporter went to the scene found that, after nearly three hours of fishing, could not see what they described as "covered creek on both sides" of the situation, however, there are still many areas on both sides of the creek dead fish flocks of conditions, the largest of floating dead fish are less than 5 cm, white fish, flip float on water. According to the salvage personnel, appeared dead fish creek about 5 km long, 40 meters wide, "dead fish are estimated to be fry."

The creek is responsible for the safety and quality management, Mr. Wang, the creek three times this year, there have been similar cases of mass of dead fish, "the last dead fish have big hands, but also full of rivers like today just salvaged simpler. "he speculated, may be illegal sewage plants upstream, no sewage interception, leading to sewage into the river," I guess all the fish died last night, and today another floating up. - Dayoo. [Translated]

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Deadly Fungal Disease Detected Outside The Pacific Northwest - Sickened Hundreds Of People And Killed Dozens!

September 13, 2013 - PACIFIC NORTHWEST - A rare fungus found in soil and trees has sickened hundreds of people in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest in the last decade -- and killed dozens -- but scientists now say they’re seeing different strains of the potentially deadly bug in additional U.S. states.

Most patients infected with the rare Cryptococcus gattii fungus develop serious brain and lung infections,
like the one shown in this X-ray. CDC.

As of June, 171 cases of infection caused by Cryptococcus gatti, a fungus once confined to tropical climates, had been reported in the U.S. That includes at least 100 cases in Oregon and Washington, where officials have been tracking an outbreak since 2004.

But at least 25 cases have been detected in eight states outside of the Northwest since 2009 -- and six of those patients died, according to a new report in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

No one’s calling it a public health crisis; officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they just want to raise awareness.

“It is really, really rare; very few people get infected by this,” said Dr. Julie Harris, a fungal disease expert with the CDC. “You can still go outside, you can still do your daily activities.”

Of the six patients in the new tally who died, four succumbed to severe lung and brain infections before they were diagnosed. A previously healthy 18-year-old Georgia woman showed up at a community hospital with a headache and fever -- and died within two weeks of getting sick.

Of those who provided travel information, none had been to the Pacific Northwest recently, the study found.

Thirteen of the newest U.S. cases were reported in California, with five more in Georgia, two in New Mexico and one each in Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan and Montana.

The original outbreak was caused by three specific strains of C. gattii, but the new cases, including those in nearby California, were caused by unrelated strains, Harris said.

People are typically infected when they inhale the airborne spores of the fungus that began causing disease and deaths in 1999 in Canada. Since then, 338 cases have been tracked in British Columbia, health officials told NBC News. As of 2010, about 40 people in the U.S. and Canada had died from C. gattii infections, according to latest figures.

The reason the new cases are interesting, and worth documenting, is because they provide evidence that C. gattii isn’t confined to the Northwest and could be an unrecognized source of pneumonia and meningitis across the U.S.

“I think it’s something that has been going on and we haven’t found it because we haven’t looked for it,” said Harris.

Most Cryptococcus infections in the U.S. occur in people with weakened immune systems, such those with HIV or those who’ve recently undergone organ transplants. In many cases, they get C. neoformans, a close cousin to C. gattii, and much more readily recognized. Patients are typically treated with strong anti-fungal medications.

In the newly documented cases, doctors who encountered patients with puzzling fungal infections took their diagnoses a step further and insisted on testing for C. gattii. Because the infections aren't required to be reported outside the Northwest, such sporadic testing provides the only data that scientists have that the fungus is present in an area, Harris said.

Before 1999, C. gatti was mostly found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. But that year, it showed up on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, where it began infecting people and animals. By 2004, it was making people sick in Oregon and Washington and by 2011 it had become a reportable disease in those states.

Scientists don't know why it took hold in the Northwest, though they speculate that climate change may have contributed and that the fungus was then spread by commerce or travel.

C. gattii is alarming because it can strike healthy people and because it has a long incubation period -- from a few days to several months in some cases. Although many people are exposed to it, doctors don’t know why only some are sickened by it.

There’s not really anything hikers and other outdoor-lovers can do to reduce their risk of contracting a C. gatti infection, Harris said. The new information is more of a warning for doctors and health workers to consider the bug when they’re stumped by a puzzling infection.

“We just want them to know that, hey, these infections are not limited to the Pacific Northwest, or to people who travel there,” Harris said. - NBC News.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Olympic Insanity - TEPCO Official Warns That Fukushima 'Not Under Control' And Arnie Gundersen Indicates That Fukushima Unit 4 Fuel Racks Distorted From Quake And Roof Falling Into Pool, Nuclear Rods Likely To Snap And Can't Be Removed!

September 13, 2013 - JAPAN - The Japanese government and TEPCO were scrambling to reassure people Friday that they have a lid on Fukushima after a senior utility executive said the nuclear plant was "not under control".

Fukushima 'Not Under Control' Warns TEPCO Official.

The remarks by Kazuhiko Yamashita, who holds the executive-level title of "fellow" at Tokyo Electric Power, seem to flatly contradict assurances Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave Olympic chiefs a week earlier.

In a meeting with members of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, Yamashita was asked whether he agreed that "the situation is under control" as Abe had declared at the International Olympic Committee meeting in Buenos Aires.

He responded by saying, "I think the current situation is that it is not under control," according to major media, including national broadcaster NHK.

News of his comment prompted a rush by the government and TEPCO to elaborate on Yamashita's remark, saying he was talking specifically about the plant's waste water problem, and not the facility's situation in general.

Nuclear safety experts inspect TEPCO's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, on September 12, 2013. The Japanese government and TEPCO are scrambling to reassure people that they have a lid on Fukushima after a senior utility executive said the nuclear plant was "not under control". (Tepco/AFP)

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, Abe's right-hand man, separately said Yamashita was repeatedly pressed by DPJ lawmakers when he made the remark.

The view of TEPCO as a company does not contradict Abe's statement, Suga added.

TEPCO has poured thousands of tonnes of water on the Fukushima reactors to tame meltdowns sparked by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The utility says they are now stable but need to be kept cool to prevent them running out of control again.

Japanese officials inspect TEPCO's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, on June 18, 2011. The Japanese government and TEPCO are scrambling to reassure people that they have a lid on Fukushima after a senior utility executive said the nuclear plant was "not under control". (Japan Govt/AFP/File)

Much of that now-contaminated water is being stored in temporary tanks at the plant, and TEPCO has so far revealed no clear plan for it.

The problem has been worsened by leaks in some of those tanks that are believed to have seeped into groundwater, which runs out to sea.

The continuing nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima has come under the international spotlight in recent weeks as Tokyo fought off challenges from Madrid and Istanbul for the right to host the 2020 Games. - FOX News.

Arnie Gundersen: Fukushima Unit 4 Fuel Racks Distorted From Quake And Roof Falling Into Pool – Nuclear Rods Likely To Snap And Can't Be Removed.

Former nuclear industry insider Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education paints a clear picture of the current state of problems at Fukushima Daiichi… and then explains what he would do if he were in charge of the disaster site:

Think of a fuel rack as a pack of cigarettes and you try to pull a cigarette out, you pull the cigarette out, it will come out just fine. But if the pack is distorted and you pull the cigarette out, it breaks. Well that’s the problem they’re going to encounter on Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4. The racks are distorted from the earthquake — oh, by the way, the roof has fallen in, which further distorted the racks.

The net effect is they’ve got the bundles of fuel, the cigarettes in these racks, and as they pull them out, they’re likely to snap a few. When you snap a nuclear fuel rod, that releases radioactivity again, so my guess is, it’s things like krypton-85, which is a gas, cesium will also be released, strontium will be released. They’ll probably have to evacuate the building for a couple of days. They’ll take that radioactive gas and they’ll send it up the stack, up into the air, because xenon can’t be scrubbed, it can’t be cleaned, so they’ll send that radioactive xenon up into the air and purge the building of all the radioactive gases and then go back in and try again.

It’s likely that that problem will exist on more than one bundle. So over the next year or two, it wouldn’t surprise me that either they don’t remove all the fuel because they don’t want to pull too hard, or if they do pull to hard, they’re likely to damage the fuel and cause a radiation leak inside the building.  So that’s problem #2 in this process, getting the fuel out of Unit 4 is a top priority I have, but it’s not going to be easy. Tokyo Electric is portraying this as easy. In a normal nuclear reactor, all of this is done with computers. Everything gets pulled perfectly vertically. Well nothing is vertical anymore, the fuel racks are distorted, it’s all going to have to be done manually. The net effect is it’s a really difficult job. It wouldn’t surprise me if they snapped some of the fuel and they can’t remove it.
Download the entire interview HERE (MP3).

- Nuclear Hot Seat.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Move Over Comet ISON - A New Comet Lovejoy Has Arrived For A Grand Lineup Of Celestial Objects In The Winter Skies!

September 13, 2013 - SPACE - Many are anticipating the brightening of Comet ISON, which is now in Earth’s predawn sky, not far from the bright planets Jupiter and Mars, but too faint to see without telescopes and/or photographic equipment.

Comet Lovejoy’s location on the sky’s dome now. It is up in the morning sky, as seen from across the Earth.
Image via Cumbrian Sky.

Confirmation image of Comet Lovejoy from Remanzacco Observatory’s Ernesto Guido and Nick Howes.
Read about their observations in Remanzacco’s blog. Used with permission.

The discovery of C/2013 R1 Lovejoy was announced on Sept. 9 after two nights of photographic
observations by Lovejoy with an 8-inch (20 cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector.

In the meantime, on September 9, 2013, noted comet discoverer Terry Lovejoy of Australia announced another new comet, bringing his total number of comet discoveries to four. The newest Comet Lovejoy will be in the same part of the sky as Comet ISON beginning in November. What a cool photo opportunity!

The new comet has been formally labeled as C/2013 R1 Lovejoy. Terry Lovejoy apparently used a relatively small 8-inch (20 cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain reflecting telescope to photograph the new comet for two nights, as this faint object was located on the sky’s dome in front of the border between our constellations Orion and Monoceros.

Read Terry Lovejoy’s own discovery story here.

Now that the comet has been confirmed by other astronomers, amateur astronomers will be getting excited! Watch this space.

New Comet Lovejoy starts out slow but quickly gains speed as it zips from near Orion in mid-September all
the way to Ursa Major in November, when it will be closest to Earth. Planet positions shown for Sept. 10. 
Created with Chris Marriott’s SkyMap software

Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy photographed on Sept. 10. The comet is visible in larger amateur telescopes in
September but may brighten to small scope visibility in November. Streak at right
is a geostationary satellite. Credit: Michael Jaeger 

Comet Lovejoy has a small, condensed coma (head) about 30 arc seconds across with a faint,
short tail in this photo made on Sept. 8. Credit: Ernesto Guido and Nick Howes  

Both Comet ISON and Comet Lovejoy are faint now. Both will get brighter. Unlike ISON, no one is expecting Comet Lovejoy to become visible to the eye alone. It might not be all that easy to spot through a telescope. So why the excitement? For sure, some will photograph the two comets together on the sky’s dome.

By the way, there will actually be three comets visible in the sky together in early November. Comet Encke will be joining the crowd around then.

Here’s an earlier Comet Lovejoy, also discovered by Terry Lovejoy of Australia. This earlier comet was
became an astounding sight in Southern Hemisphere skies, especially around Christmas 2011.
Photo by astrophotographer Colin Legg on December 22, 2011.

The comet is a faint 14th magnitude object just east of Orion’s Belt in the dim constellation Monoceros the
Unicorn. The map shows its position tomorrow morning Sept. 11 just before the start of
morning twilight. Credit: Stellarium 

Bottom line: Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy has discovered a new comet, his fourth.

The new Comet Lovejoy will be in the same part of the sky as Comet ISON beginning around the start of November 2013. For those with the right equipment, it’ll be a great photo opportunity. - Earth Sky.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: New Orleans- Bound Amtrak Train Collides With 18-Wheeler In Holmes County!

September 13, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Officials are investigating an accident Tuesday involving Amtrak's City of New Orleans train and an 18-wheeler in Mississippi.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the train was headed to New Orleans with 152 passengers and 11 crew members when the accident occurred in Holmes County about 9:30 a.m.

In this Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 photo released by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, a semi-truck sits on the road
after being struck by an Amtrak passenger train in Tchula, Miss. Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the
train was headed to New Orleans with 152 passengers and 11 crew members when the accident occurred in
Holmes County about 9:30 a.m. CDT. Magliari says there were no reports of serious injuries, but a
passenger and crew member were taken to a hospital. (AP Photo/Mississippi Highway Patrol)

Magliari said there were no reports of serious injuries, but a passenger and crew member were taken to local hospitals. He said it wasn't immediately clear if they would be admitted, or treated and released.

Magliari said he had no information on the condition of the driver in the tractor-trailer. The Holmes County sheriff's department, which is investigating the accident, didn't immediately respond to a message Tuesday.

Amtrak chartered buses for the passengers because the train's locomotive was damaged and must be repaired or moved before the train continues to its destination, Magliari said. He said northbound Amtrak rail traffic won't be affected.

In this Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 photo released by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the rear end of a trailer from a
semi-truck sits on the road after being struck by an Amtrak passenger train in Tchula, Miss. Amtrak spokesman
Marc Magliari says the train was headed to New Orleans with 152 passengers and 11 crew members when
the accident occurred in Holmes County about 9:30 a.m. CDT. Magliari says there were no reports of serious
injuries, but a passenger and crew member were taken to a hospital. (AP Photo/Mississippi Highway Patrol)

Magliari said the accident happened at a marked public crossing.

A photograph taken by the Mississippi Highway Patrol shows a heavily damaged trailer near the tracks with corn spilling out. The cab of the 18-wheeler did not appear to have been struck by the train. - Gulf Live.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Very "Unusual" Outbreak Hits Stanhope, New Jersey - Four Foxes Test Positive For Rabies!

September 13, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Four foxes have tested positive for rabies in Stanhope, an unusual occurrence that has prompted health officials to urge residents to get their pets vaccinated immediately.

A fox wearily eyes the camera while out for a walk in this file photo.
Associated Press

The rabies-infected animals were among five foxes destroyed by police and tested after they had charged two police officers and people walking their dogs in the vicinity of Lake Musconetcong.

One woman was bitten on both ankles and her dog was also bitten by a fox today on Musconetcong Road. Her dog was one of two that bitten last week, police said.

“This is unusual, four out of five is unusual. It’s an anomaly” Sussex County health administrator Herb Yardley said.

“People need to have their animals vaccinated for rabies. Even pets that don’t go outdoors. If they get out just once, they could be exposed,” said Yardley, speculating that a single den of foxes could have been exposed in Stanhope after one of its members became rabid.

Ralph D’Aries, chief of the rabies program at the county Department of Environmental and Public Health Services, said the woman who was bitten is undergoing treatment for her injuries and the dogs, who had been vaccinated, are being quarantined for 45 days as a precautionary measure.

Another person was bitten on a shoe and another man was bitten on the back of his jeans, police said.

Had the two dogs not been vaccinated, said D’Aries, they would face a much stricter quarantine regimen, including no exposure to humans or other animals for six months.

“That’s cruel,” he said.

More recently, Stanhope police destroyed a fox on Monday after it was “chasing people around” at a park near Lake Musconetcong, Police Chief Steven Pittigher said.

Police are being especially vigilant about the possibility of rabid foxes in the area, said Pittigher.

“If we see any animal showing signs of disease, we will destroy the animal,” he said.

Hopatcong animal control officer Dale Sloat, who assisted in the Stanhope investigation, said residents should notify police if they see an animal exhibiting the following behaviors:

• Overly aggressive
• Not afraid of people
• Infrequent movement
• It falls over while standing or walking
• It walks or runs in circles

Rabies, a viral disease that causes encephalitis in warm-blooded animals, can be fatal to humans if left untreated and is most commonly transmitted by dog bites. - NJ.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Underwater Wasteland - Thousands Of Fish Dying As 1,400 Tons Of Molasses Ooze Into Honolulu Harbor!

September 13, 2013 - HAWAII - Thousands of fish have died in Honolulu waters after a leaky pipe caused 1,400 tons of molasses to ooze into the harbour and kill marine life, state officials said.

Hawaii department of health deputy director Gary Gill said on Thursday about 2,000 dead fish had been collected in waters near Honolulu harbour.

The fish are dying because the high concentration of molasses is making it difficult for them to breathe, said department spokeswoman Janice Okubo. Television footage shows some fish sticking their mouths out of the water.

The department has warned people to stay out of the area because the dead fish could attract sharks and other predators such as barracuda.

The brown, sugary substance spilled on Monday from a pipe used to load molasses from storage tanks to ships sailing to California. The shipping company, Matson Navigation, repaired the hole and the pipe stopped leaking on Tuesday morning, spokesman Jeff Hull said.

A senior Matson executive said on Thursday the company had not planned for the possibility of a spill. Vic Angoco said Matson had planned only for spills of oil or other chemicals.

As much as 233,000 gallons of molasses leaked into the harbour, Matson said. That's equivalent to what would fill about seven rail cars or about one-third of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Underwater video taken by Honolulu television station Hawaii News Now showed dead fish, crabs and eels scattered along the ocean floor of the harbor and the water tinted a yellowish brown.

State officials expect the spill's brown plume will remain visible for weeks as tides and currents flush the molasses into the nearby Keehi Lagoon and out to sea. Gill said officials believed the best plan was to let currents flush out and dilute the molasses.

There's a possibility the state could fine Matson for violations of the Clean Water Act after the department investigates the circumstances of the spill, Okubo said. The state's focus is currently on public safety, she said.

WATCH: Video by Hawaii News Now shows many fish scattered dead along the floor of the harbor while others stick their mouths out of the water for oxygen.

The state was documenting the fish it collected and keeping them on ice for possible testing. Officials were also collecting water samples. The data will allow the department to estimate the duration and severity of the contamination.

Matson ships molasses from Hawaii to the mainland about once a week. Molasses are a made at Hawaii's last sugar plantation, run by Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. on Maui.

Matson said in a statement it takes its role an environmental steward very seriously. The company is taking steps ensure spills don't occur in the future, it said. - Guardian.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Global Volcano Report For September 13, 2013 - Vulcanian-Type Explosions Rock Japan's Mount Sakurajima, Sending Ash Plumes Up To 14,000 Feet High; And Explosion At Indonesia's Batu Tara Volcano Produces 7,000 High Ash Plumes!

September 13, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following report from the Volcano Discovery team, constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): Activity remains elevated. The volcano produces near-constant ash venting and relatively many (3+ per day) vulcanian-type explosions. Ash plumes have been rising up to 14,000 ft (4.2 km) during the past 2 days.

WATCH: The following video shows activity seen from the webcam this morning:

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): An explosion earlier today produced an ash plume rising to 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude, VAAC Darwin reported.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for September 13, 2013.

Volcano Activity Summary for September 13, 2013:

Currently erupting:

Ambrym (Vanuatu): active lava lakes in several craters (updated 30 Aug 2013)
Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): strombolian explosions, ash plumes up to 500 m, extrusion of a small lava dome with rockfalls (updated 13 Sep 2013)
Chirinkotan (Northern Kuriles): unspecified activity - possibly lava flows (updated 2 Sep 2013)
Cleveland (Aleutian Islands, Alaska): continuous small eruptions (updated 6 May 2013)
Colima (Western Mexico): lava flow on upper eastern flank (updated 19 Jul 2013)
Dukono (Halmahera): thermal anomaly, probably small explosive activity in summit crater (updated 10 Sep 2013)
Erebus (Antarctica): active lava lake in summit crater (updated 21 Jan 2012)
Erta Ale (Ethiopia): active lava lake in northern pit crater, active hornito with intermittend flow in southern crater (updated 11 Jan 2013)
Fuego (Guatemala): frequent moderate to strong strombolian to vulcanian explosions (updated 10 Sep 2013)
Gamalama (Halmahera): ash eruptions since 17 Sep (updated 17 Sep 2012)
Grozny (Iturup Island): fumarolic activity (updated 3 Apr 2013)
Karkar (Northeast of New Guinea): possible ash eruption on 1 February (updated 15 Mar 2013)
Kilauea (Hawai'i): lava lakes in Halemau'uma'u and Pu'u 'O'o, lava flows on coastal flat and weakly active ocean entries (updated 13 Aug 2013)
Kizimen (Kamchatka): growing lava dome and incandescent rock avalanches (updated 6 Sep 2013)
Kliuchevskoi (Kamchatka): strombolian activity at summit crater (updated 10 Sep 2013)
Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): small explosions, lava flow? (updated 12 Sep 2013)
Marapi (Western Sumatra, Indonesia): occasional weak explosions (updated 14 Aug 2013)
Nyiragongo (DRCongo): active lava lake in summit crater
(updated 12 Jun 2013)
Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania): effusion of natrocarbonatite lava inside the crater (updated 8 Jul 2013)
Pacaya (Guatemala): strombolian activity and lava flow (updated 10 Sep 2013)
Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): active growing lava dome (updated 12 Aug 2013)
Rabaul (Tavurvur) (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): explosions and ash emissions (updated 12 Sep 2013)
Reventador (Ecuador): ash explosions, occasional pyroclastic flows (updated 7 Sep 2013)
Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): constant ash emissions and strong explosions (updated 13 Sep 2013)
Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Santiaguito volcano (Guatemala): lava flow on south flank of dome becomes more active (updated 12 Sep 2013)
Semeru (East Java, Indonesia): growing lava dome, ash venting and small to moderate explosions
(updated 25 Jul 2012)
Shiveluch (Kamchatka): slow dome growth, occasional explosions and pyroclastic flows
(updated 12 Sep 2013)
Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): continuing lava overflows (updated 25 Jul 2013)
Suwanose-jima (Ryukyu Islands): Mt Ontake volcano of Suwanose-jima Island, Japan (updated 12 Sep 2013)
Tinakula (Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon Islands): increased activity at the volcano (updated 8 Feb 2013)
Veniaminof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): effusion of lava flows (updated 12 Sep 2013)
Yasur (Tanna Island, Vanuatu): strong strombolian activity (level 3), crater currently closed
(updated 10 Sep 2013)

Eruption warning / minor activity:

Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): ash explosions (updated 26 Aug 2013)
Bezymianny (Central Kamchatka Depression): slow lava flow extrusion from dome (updated 6 Sep 2013)
Copahue (Chile/Argentina): degassing, weak sporadic ash emissions (updated 16 Aug 2013)
Dieng (Central Java): increased degassing (updated 28 Mar 2013)
Etna (Sicily, Italy): steaming, degassing (updated 4 Sep 2013)
Galeras (Colombia): sporadic ash emissions (updated 25 Jul 2013)
Gamkonora (Halmahera): seismic swam, minor ash emissions (updated 27 May 2013)
Heard (Australia, Southern Indian Ocean): likely lava lake in summit crater (updated 10 Sep 2013)
Ibu (Halmahera, Indonesia): growing lava dome, seismic unrest (updated 9 Jun 2013)
Iliwerung (Lesser Sunda Islands): possible submarine eruption from Mt Hobal on 20 August (updated 20 Aug 2013)
Iwo-Tori-shima (Ryukyu Islands): possible small ash eruption on 6 July 2013 (updated 6 Jul 2013)
Karangetang (Siau Island, Sangihe Islands, Indonesia): lava extrusion at summit crater, strombolian activity, glowing avalanches (updated 4 Sep 2013)
Karymsky (Kamchatka): occasional small explosions, thermal anomaly (updated 6 Sep 2013)
Kerinci (Sumatra): occasional ash explosions (updated 5 Jun 2013)
Ketoi (Kurile Islands, Russia)
Kikai (Ryukyu Islands): steaming at summit crater of Iodake, occasional weak glows (updated 5 Jun 2013)
Kirishima (Kyushu): degassing, slightly increased seismic activity (updated 30 Jul 2012)
Krakatau (Sunda Strait, Indonesia): occasional explosions (updated 27 Jun 2013)
Langila (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): occasional ash explosions (updated 11 Feb 2013)
Manam (Papua New Guinea): occasional explosions (updated 12 Sep 2013)
Medvezhia (Kurile Islands, Russia): strong steaming, thermal anomaly (updated 17 Jan 2013)
Merapi (Central Java): moderate gas and ash plume on 22 july (updated 24 Jul 2013)
Nyamuragira (DRCongo): steaming/degassing from pit inside summit caldera (updated 18 Jul 2013)
Papandayan (West Java): strong hydrothermal activity, increased seismicity (updated 6 May 2013)
Poas (Costa Rica): occasional small phreatic explosions from lake (updated 22 Aug 2013)
Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): steam/gas/ash emissions (updated 10 Sep 2013)
Rasshua (Central Kuriles)
Raung (East Java): strombolian activity in summit crater (updated 5 Aug 2013)
Rincón de la Vieja (Costa Rica): small phreatic eruption on 11 April (updated 6 Oct 2012)
Sacabaya (Northern Chile, Bolivia and Argentina)
Sangay (Ecuador): no recent explosions reported (updated 24 May 2013)
Tolbachik (Kamchatka): effusion of fluid lava flows (updated 6 Sep 2013)
Tungurahua (Ecuador): degassing, earthquake swarm and inflation (updated 14 Aug 2013)
Turrialba (Costa Rica): ash venting, strong degassing (updated 24 Jul 2013)
Ubinas (Peru): occasional phreatic explosions (updated 6 Sep 2013)
Ulawun (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): steaming, degassing (updated 12 Sep 2013)
White Island (New Zealand): strong degassing, volcanic tremor (updated 20 Aug 2013)

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: "Complete Mystery Why We Are Seeing This Outbreak Now" - Mysterious Skin-Eating Fungus Threatens To Decimate A Species Of Salamander In The Netherlands?!

September 13, 2013 - NETHERLANDS - A newly discovered fungus that feasts on the skin of amphibians is threatening to decimate a species of salamander in the Netherlands, according to new research.

A fungus is threatening to wipe out fire salamanders such as this one.
Frank Pasmans

Fire salamanders are one of the most recognizable salamander species in Europe, and are characterized by their distinct yellow- and black-patterned skin. Since 2010, fire salamanders have been mysteriously dying off in the forests of the Netherlands.

Now, scientists have identified a deadly fungus, called Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans(the second part of the name translates to "salamander-eating"), that they say is jeopardizing biodiversity and bringing fire salamanders close to the brink of regional extinction.

Previously, a fungus species related to the salamander-eating variety was the culprit behind mass amphibian casualties around the globe. That fungus, named Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd, is thought to have devastated more than 200 amphibian species worldwide, the researchers said. The fungus Bd also causes the disease chytridiomycosis, which has been labeled the most devastating infectious disease in vertebrate animals by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The detection of a new fungus that rapidly kills fire salamanders is an alarming development, said An Martel, a professor in the department of pathology, bacteriology and poultry diseases at the Ghent University in Belgium, and lead author of the new study.

"In several regions, including northern Europe, amphibians appeared to be able to co-exist with Bd," Martel said in a statement. "It is, therefore, extremely worrying that a new fungus has emerged that causes mass mortalities in regions where amphibian populations were previously healthy."

The fungus can be spread between salamanders through direct contact, and although the researchers suspect it can also spread through indirect contact, they have yet to prove this type of transmission. The fungus typically invades the salamander's skin, quickly killing the animal, the scientists said.

Still, much is unknown about the newly identified fungus. Tests to infect midwife toads, which have been threatened by chytridiomycosis, have shown that these toads are not susceptible to the salamander-eating fungus. Nonetheless, the vulnerability of other species of amphibians to the disease is not yet known.

"It is a complete mystery why we are seeing this outbreak now, and one explanation is that the new salamander-killing fungus has invaded the Netherlands from elsewhere in the world," study co-author Matthew Fisher, a professor of fungal disease epidemiology at Imperial College London, said in a statement. "We need to know if this is the case, why it is so virulent, and what its impact on amphibian communities will be on a local and global scale."

By figuring out which species are at risk, scientists may be able to take steps to protect vulnerable populations in the wild, he added.

"Our experience with Bd has shown that fungal diseases can spread between amphibian populations across the world very quickly," Fisher said. "We need to act urgently to determine what populations are in danger and how best to protect them."

To save the fire-salamander population in the Netherlands, the researchers brought survivors into captivity. The scientists have also developed a diagnostic tool to quickly identify the fungus, which they used to test 100 salamanders from Belgium. So far, there are no indications that the deadly fungus has spread outside the Netherlands, the researchers said.

The study findings were detailed Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. - NBC News.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: "Considerable Number Of Dead Fish" - Authorities Investigate Massive Fish Kills In Caimanera, Cuba?

September 13, 2013 - CUBA - A climate has caused panic and concern among the people of Caimanera, Guantanamo, the appearance on Tuesday on the beaches of a considerable number of dead fish.

FILE - Cuban Botes displayed near a lighthouse on the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay.

"There is a massive fish kill here Caimanera beaches of all types and sizes and has created a panic in the population," said Javier who sadly watched the bleak.

Other residents of this eastern region as Yeris Curbelo say that some fish are "half bobos" and people "frightened because it affects both the economy and the food situation."

To confirm the allegations reported by the community, Martí News contacted the specialist of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment in Caimanera, Stephen Castaneda, who on Wednesday morning was meeting at the provincial headquarters of the organization by analyzing the subject.

On Tuesday night "a whole entire team with people Perimeter Border Captain and other authorities in Caimanera we toured in Bay ended about nine of the Night" Castaneda explained and said extracted "samples fish, water, sea bottom "and sent to the laboratory of Water and Sewer, Hygiene and Epidemiology and Fisheries to issue" an opinion owing to the Naval authorities are concerned ".

The specialist shared their hypotheses about the causes of environmental disaster:

"There are some algae that occur on this date are those that cause the death of many fish. We are analyzing why play so large that these algae even normal for this time the river to change up the color of the sea. "

Several residents believe Caimanera besides algae, pollution by sewage discharged into the bay is one of the causes of the problem.

Hundreds of fishermen and people linked to coastal life Caimanera anxiously await the results of the study to resume fishing activities. - Martinoticias. [Translated]

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Peru Government Declares 60-DAY State Of Emergency Near Ubinas Volcano - Authorities Worry Over Potential Effects Of Volcanic Ashes And Gas On Locals And Their Livestock!

September 13, 2013 - PERU - The Peruvian government has declared a 60-day state of emergency in areas close to the Ubinas volcano, located about 70 kilometers outside of Arequipa. Authorities are concerned about the potential effects of volcanic ashes and gas on local villagers and their livestock.

Authorities examine evacuation options. (Photo: Peru21/Heiner Aparicio)

According to Andina news agency, the area covered by the state of emergency are the Moquegua districts of Ubinas, Matalaque, Chojata, Omate, Coalaque, Ichuña, Lloque, Yunga, and the Arequipa district of San Juan de Tarucani.

Furthermore, Peru21 reports today that the village of Querapi will be permanently relocated within a year. Querapi, a small town populated by about 25 families, has been hit hard by the recent eruptions from Ubinas. As a short-term solution, regional authorities are planning on evacuating the residents of Querapi to a safe-zone before deciding on a permanent relocation plan.

Earlier in the week, El Comercio reported that villagers from Querapi had been experiencing a number of worrying symptoms linked to exposure to volcanic ash and gas, including headaches, stomach pain, and vomiting. Scientists are worried that prolonged exposure to the ash, which is largely made of very fine silica particles, could also lead to dermatitis and ocular health problems.

According to Peru21, the Institute of Geology, Mining, and Metallurgy believes that 10 villages near the volcano could be in danger. Scientists are also concerned that any large eruption could cause a rockslide from Ubinas. - Peru This Week.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: The Circoviruses Or DogCV - Mystery Disease Killing Ohio Dogs; Medical Experts See Viruses And Bacteria Evolving And "Jumping" From One Species to Another, And Also To Humans!

September 13, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Veterinarians, health officials and dog owners are alarmed by the mysterious recent deaths of four dogs in Ohio. Some experts suspect the dogs may have died a few days after exposure to a virus that's normally found in pigs.

Several dogs in Ohio have been sickened, and four have died, from a disease that may be caused by a newly
discovered virus. (This is not a photo of one of the sick dogs.) (Ljiljana Jankovic/

Three dogs in the Cincinnati area and a fourth dog near Akron died in August after exhibiting symptoms that included vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

"We feel obligated to make sure pet owners are aware this is happening," Erica Hawkins, communications director for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, told the Dispatch. "Supportive therapies can be helpful if started early enough."

The three dogs from Cincinnati died last month after staying in the same kennel. The Akron dog that died was one of several in the Akron-Canton area that showed the same symptoms. A stool sample from the Akron dog tested positive for canine circovirus, a recently isolated virus.

A new virus emerges

Circoviruses are spherical viruses (grouped within the family Circoviridae) that are commonly found in birds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publication Emerging Infectious Diseases. Until recently, the only mammals known to carry circoviruses were pigs.

But in 2012, a 1-year-old dog in California was brought to the University of California, Davis, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital after being kenneled for three weeks. The dog had bloody diarrhea and was vomiting; because of the poor prognosis, the dog was euthanized and its tissue was sampled to determine the cause of death.

The tissue analysis showed that the dog had a new type of circovirus named DogCV. "Our results indicate that circovirus, alone or in co-infection with other pathogens, might contribute to illness and death in dogs," the report stated. Not all infected dogs died, and the virus has been seen in dogs that appear healthy, indicating that some dogs may have an immunity to the virus.

Zoonosis: Making the jump

Viruses and bacteria that commonly infect just one animal species can evolve and "jump" from that species to another; this process is known as zoonosis. Medical experts believe that influenza, HIV, Ebola and dozens of other zoonotic diseases once only infected pigs, apes or other animals, but these viruses are now common among humans.

Bats, in particular, are known as carriers of viral infections: Recent research suggests bats are reservoirs for more than 60 viruses that can also infect humans, and host more viruses per species than even rodents do.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is continuing to investigate the death of the four dogs in the state. "The laboratory confirmation [of circovirus] is important because the virus is newly isolated, however we are not prepared at this time to confirm that canine circovirus is the cause of the dog illnesses," state veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey said in a statement. "Because the symptoms being exhibited can also be linked to other known illnesses, additional analysis and information is needed to determine if this virus alone or in co-infection contributes to illness and death in dogs."

Dog owners are advised to take normal precautions with their pets such as watching for signs of any disease and to contact their vet if they notice any symptoms of illness. "The most important thing dog owners can do is call their veterinarian if they have concerns about the health of their pets," Forshey said. "Your veterinarian is the best person to help determine if your animal is ill and what steps should be taken to help them recover." - FOX News.

THE SYRIAN CRISIS: Peaceful Diplomacy Or World War III - United Nations Draft Resolution Calling For Removal Of Syria's Chemical Arms Program, As Kerry And Lavrov Engages Each In "Constructive" Talks On Ending Syria's Chemical Weapons Program!

September 13, 2013 - UNITED NATIONS - France submitted on Friday a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council for the deployment of inspectors in Syria to “oversee the dismantlement and destruction of all elements” of the country’s chemical weapons program.

The French draft resolution, obtained by Al Arabiya, demands the Syrian government to provide unfettered
access to its chemical weapons sites and allow international inspectors to make surprise
visits to locations of their choice. (Reuters)

The French draft resolution, obtained by Al Arabiya, demands the Syrian government to provide unfettered access to its chemical weapons sites and allow international inspectors to make surprise visits to locations of their choice.

This, according to the document, is to ensure that there is no more production, use or transfer of chemical weapons.

The draft resolution also calls for deploying a U.N. mission in Syria to investigate the use of chemical weapons and refer the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court.

The draft resolution states that if Syria does not comply with the measures it will be subject to further measures under Chapter VII of the Security Council, which authorizes the use of military force.

A senior U.S. official had said that the resolution would not include the potential use of military force due to Russian opposition.

The officials, who briefed a group of reporters on condition of anonymity, said the United States would instead insist that the resolution include a range of consequences should Syria refuse to give up chemical weapons in a verifiable way, according to Reuters.

Those consequences could include sanctions, one official said.

Independently of the United Nations, U.S. President Barack Obama has threatened the use of force in response to an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria that U.S. officials say killed around 1,400 people. Officials said he still retains that option. - Al Arayiba.

Kerry, Lavrov In 'Constructive' Talks On Syria.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, will meet for a third day Saturday in Switzerland after "constructive" talks on ending Syria's chemical weapons program.

The two diplomats and the U.N. envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, are meeting in Geneva to discuss a Russian plan on how to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control. The move could avert a U.S. military strike in retaliation for the Syrian regime's alleged poison-gas attack on civilians last month near Damascus.

VOA's correspondent at the talks, Scott Stearns, reports that U.S. and Russian negotiators are coming closer to agreement on the scope of Syrian chemical-weapons stockpiles, an issue that is central to identifying and containing the munitions.

Kerry will travel to Israel Sunday for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then to Paris for talks Monday with the foreign ministers of France, Britain and Saudi Arabia.

President Obama said Friday that he is hopeful that the negotiations Kerry is having will "bear fruit."

Speaking in Washington after meeting with Kuwait's leader, Mr. Obama said any agreement to destroy Syria's chemical weapons must be "verifiable."

"I repeated what I've said publicly, which is any agreement needs to be verifiable and enforceable."

Kerry says he and Lavrov have agreed to do "homework" as part of a bid to get Syria's warring factions to a conference on a transitional government.

"We both agreed to do that homework and meet again in New York around the time of the U.N. General Assembly, around the 28th [of September], in order to see if it is possible then to find a date for that conference."

In New York, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said he expects a report from a team investigating the August 21 nerve-gas attack near Damascus will be an "overwhelming report" that shows chemical weapons were used. U.N. officials told VOA the report is expected on Monday.

It reportedly will focus on analysis of biomedical and environmental samples the U.N. team collected from the area of the attack. The team also took statements from medical personnel and survivors.

The team's mandate is to say only whether chemical agents were used, not who used them.

WATCH: US and Russia push for new Syria talks.

The United States says it has confirmed that more than 1,400 people died in the gas attack, and that there is no doubt the Syrian military was responsible. The Assad government contends rebels themselves carried out the gas attack.

Although the U.N. report is not complete, a spokesman for Mr. Ban said the secretary-general has been in touch with the team's experts.

Syria said Thursday it will join an international ban on chemical weapons, but says it will take a month to list all of its chemical weapons stockpile. Until this week, Syria had repeatedly denied possessing any chemical weapons.

President Bashar al-Assad has said he will only transfer his chemical-weapons arsenal to international control if the U.S. drops its threat of military action against him.

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Syria's decision to join the global poison gas ban. He said Friday that the gesture shows the Syrian government's "serious intentions" about resolving the conflict.

Mr. Ban has expressed his continuing concern about the civil war in Syria, which has killed more than 100,000 people and displaced at least six million since early 2011. The U.N. chief did not directly answer questions about whether Mr. Assad should step down, but said:

"What happened is that he has committed many crimes against humanity and therefore I am sure that there will be, surely, the process of accountability when everything is over."

Mr. Ban said the international community must press for a political solution and that it is time for the parties to stop fighting and start talking. - VOA News.