Monday, November 4, 2013

EXTREME WEATHER: Windstorm In Seattle Rocks Floating Bridge - Knocks Out Power To 135,000 And Hurts Two!

November 04, 2013 - UNITED STATES - More than 135,000 people were without power, two were injured and motorists abandoned their cars on a floating bridge Saturday as a fast-moving windstorm swept the Seattle area, officials said.

Puget Sound Energy, which serves counties around Seattle, told NBC News that 95,000 customers were without electricity in the afternoon. The storm knocked down several distribution lines early Saturday.


Windblown waves coming in off Puget Sound close to high tide batter waterfront homes in
Seattle's West Seattle neighborhood on Saturday.  Elaine Thompson / AP

"We expect the situation to worsen in the next few hours," Ray Lane of Puget's communications department said.

Gusts in Seattle and the region around it hit 60 mph or more.

The Washington State Department of Transportation closed the State Route 520 floating bridge across Lake Washington for two hours because of high winds and large waves.

Troopers said as many as 50 cars were abandoned on the westbound lanes of the bridge. Troopers on foot escorted the people back to their vehicles.

A 48-year-old man was seriously injured when a tree fell on his car and a 2-year-old was hurt when a branch broke from a tree and hit her near the University of Washington, NBC station KING 5 of Seattle reported.

Seattle City Light, another main energy distributor, said that 40,000 customers suffered power failures in its service territory within Seattle and suburbs around it.

As the storm moves through the area, elevations above 2,500 feet were expected to get between 6 and 11 inches of snow in a 12-hour period.

The National Weather Service issued a wind warning for much of Saturday covering coastal areas in Washington and Oregon. - NBC News.


WEATHER ANOMALIES: Rare Tornadoes Strike Arnhem And Other Netherlands Cities Sunday!

November 04, 2013 - NETHERLANDS - At least three tornadoes struck the Netherlands Sunday as a storm system swept through northwestern Europe. One tornado struck Arnhem in Gelderland province while the other struck Wijk bij Duurstede, Utrecht province. Here are some videos and photos of the storms from social media.


Arnhem tornado:
Photo: Edwin Rijkaart.


WATCH: Arnhem tornado. 









Temperatures were only in the lower 50s at the time of the tornadoes, but very cold air in the upper atmosphere made the atmosphere just unstable enough for thunderstorms.


Photo: Richie van den Bosch.

Photo: Reinier van den Berg.

Winds in the lower atmosphere over the Netherlands on Sunday were aligned in a way that is typically associated with the potential for tornadoes when thunderstorms are present.


Photo: Reinier van den Berg.


Wijk bij Duurstede tornado and damage photos:
Photo: Reinier van den Berg.


WATCH: Wijk bij Duurstede tornado. 






Photo: Breaking Nieuws NL.

Photo: Breaking Nieuws NL.

Photo: Helga van Leur.

A third tornado was reported late Sunday afternoon in Beneden Leeuwen, Gelderland province, as seen toward the end of this time-lapse video:



WATCH: Time lapse of the Beneden Leeuwen tornado.






- TWC.




GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Most Dangerous Volcano In The United States Is Roaring To Life - More Earthquake Swarms Reported In Yellowstone During October, 2013!

November 04, 2013 - UNITED STATES - According to Yellowstone Volcano Observatory monthly update, University of Utah reported 168 earthquakes in the Yellowstone National Park region during October 2013. The largest event was a minor earthquake of magnitude 2.9 on October 30, 2013 at 06:58 UTC, located about 11.2 km (7 miles) north of Lake, WY.


The largest of the quakes shook the ground near Old Faithful Geyser.

Comparing earthquake activity in October to the previous month, it seems seismicity returned to relatively normal background levels.


October seismicity in Yellowstone was marked by three distinct clusters of episodic earthquakes:

  1. A swarm of 54 earthquakes, ~12 km (7.5 miles) north of Old Faithful, WY, occurred on October 5th, the largest earthquake in the swarm (magnitude 2.8) occurred at 15:09 UTC ~12 km north of Old Faithful, WY.
  2. A small swarm of 16 earthquakes, ~21 km (13 miles) east-northeast of Island Park, ID took place October 20 - 23, the largest earthquake (magnitude 2.1) occurred October 20th at 08:28 UTC.
  3. A small swarm of 15 earthquakes, ~9.6 km (6 miles) north of West Yellowstone, MT occurred October 12, the largest earthquake (magnitude 2.3) occurred at 07:35 UTC.

During September 2013, there were 469 earthquakes reported in the Yellowstone National Park region. The largest event was a minor earthquake of magnitude 3.6 on September 15, 2013 at 16:53 UTC, located about 11.2 km (7 miles) north of Old Faithful, WY.



September seismicity in Yellowstone was marked by five distinct clusters of episodic earthquakes:

  1. A notable swarm of 246 earthquakes, ~8km (5 miles) north of Old Faithful, WY, began September 13 and tapered off September 20th, including the largest event of the month on September 15 (magnitude 3.6).
  2. 81 events occurred in an episodic swarm ~27.3 km (17 miles) east-northeast of West Yellowstone, MT, with swarm activity occurring September 13 and again from September 24, through September 30. The largest earthquake of the swarm (magnitude 3.5) occurred September 13, at 13:56 UTC~25.7 km (16 miles) south-southwest of Mammoth, WY.
  3. A small swarm of 27 earthquakes, ~9.6 km (6 miles) north of West Yellowstone, MT, took place on September 27 and 28, with the largest event (magnitude 2.3) occurring September 27, at 16:40 UTC.
  4. A small swarm of 23 earthquakes, ~14.4 km (9 miles) north-northeast of Old Faithful, WY, began September 3 and ended September 5. The largest earthquake (magnitude 2.2) occurred September 4, at 13:10 UTC ~14.4 km north-northeast of Old Faithful, WY.
  5. The southernmost September 2013 swarm of 21 earthquakes, ~11.2 km (7 miles) south-southwest of West Thumb, WY, occurred September 10. The largest earthquake (magnitude 3.3) took place in the center of the swarm at 13:46 AM MDT.
Yellowstone earthquake activity in September was at elevated levels during the above swarms but, has returned to a relatively normal background level by October 1, 2013.

Slow subsidence of the caldera, which began in early 2010, continues. Current deformation patterns at Yellowstone remain within historical norms.

Read more: Repeating earthquakes suggest volcanic and tectonic origins of Yellowstone seismic swarms

Click HERE for the Yellowstone Webcam.

- The Watchers.


GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking Developments At The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole - New Seismic Activity At Sinkhole And Resulting Contamination Tied To Collapse Of The Salt Cavern Owned By Texas Brine!

November 04, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Two cracks have appeared in a containment berm around a huge Louisiana sinkhole tied to a Houston-based company.


In this undated photo provided by the Louisiana State Police via The Advocate, shallow wells will be drilled in the
vicinity of the sinkhole that emerged Aug. 3 in Assumption Parish swamplands in Bayou Corne, La.. The wells will
be used to monitor the amount of natural gas being carried by an underground aquifer atop the Napoleonville
Dome near Bayou Corne. (AP Photo/Louisiana State Police via The Advocate)

Diesel sheen is seen on the water in an aerial view of the sinkhole, left, at at Bayou Corne near Pierre Part, La.,
Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012. State officials said Monday that small amounts of diesel hydrocarbons were found in
swamp water where an acre of swampland liquefied over the weekend, while experts try to determine whether
the occurrence was natural or man-made.Texas Brine Co. LLC facility, is seen at top left; a well pad for a
plugged and abandoned salt cavern is at top right. (AP Photo/The Baton Rouge Advocate, Bill Feig)

Bubbles come to the surface where pipelines come across Bayou Corne near Pierre Part, La., Tuesday Aug. 7, 2012.
A pipeline sign is seen at right. State officials said Monday that small amounts of diesel hydrocarbons were found
in swamp water where an acre of swampland liquefied over the weekend, while experts try to determine whether
the occurrence was natural or man-made.Texas Brine Co. LLC facility, is seen at top left; a well pad for a
plugged a nd abandoned salt cavern is at top right.

In this Tuesday Jan. 22, 2013 photo, an aerial of the Assumption Parish Sinkhole is shown in Bayou Corne, La.
Neighbors in tiny Bayou Corne face a wrenching decision after a huge sinkhole opened up near their community:
Do they stay put or should they pack up and move. The sinkhole resulted from a collapsed underground salt dome
cavern about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. After oil and natural gas came oozing up and acres of swampland
liquefied into muck, the community of 350 residents were advised to evacuate. Texas Brine Co., the operator of
the salt dome, is negotiating buyouts of residents who have not joined lawsuits against the company.
(AP Photo/The Advocate, Bill Feig)

The cracks, reported Oct. 30, have halted activity at five or six wells that were put on the berm to help ventilate the sinkhole and provide observation spots, said John Boudreaux, director of the Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

"The (observation) work outside of the immediate sinkhole continues," Boudreaux said Friday. "There's 40-some vent wells but only five or six on the containment berm."

The wells also offer a means of sampling for contamination, he said.

Texas Brine Co., whose corporate headquarters is in Houston, is named as a defendant in a class-action lawsuit filed in August by residents who had to evacuate their homes last year because of the sinkhole.


In this Tuesday Jan. 22, 2013 photo, an aerial view of the Assumption Parish Sinkhole is shown, in Bayou Corne,
La. Neighbors in tiny Bayou Corne face a wrenching decision after a huge sinkhole opened up near their community:
Do they stay put or should they pack up and move. The sinkhole resulted from a collapsed underground salt dome
cavern about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. After oil and natural gas came oozing up and acres of swampland
liquefied into muck, the community of 350 residents were advised to evacuate. Texas Brine Co., the operator of
the salt dome, is negotiating buyouts of residents who have not joined lawsuits against the company.
(AP Photo/The Advocate, Bill Feig)

In this Thursday, June 27, 2013 photo, Kenny Simoneaux looks out the door of the camper he is living in, in a
campground in Pierre Part, La., after being displaced by the mandatory evacuation from the approximate
22-acre sinkhole in Bayou Corne. Neighbors in tiny Bayou Corne face a wrenching decision after a huge
sinkhole opened up near their community: Do they stay put or should they pack up and move? The
sinkhole resulted from a collapsedunderground salt dome cavern about 40 miles south of Baton
Rouge. After oil and natural gas came oozing up and acres of swampland liquefied into muck,
the community of 350 residents were advised to evacuate. Texas Brine Co., the
operator of the salt dome, is negotiating buyouts of residents who have not
joined lawsuits against the company. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

In this Thursday, June 27, 2013 photo, contractors use a vacuum truck to clean up crude oil that has risen to the
surface of an approximate 22-acre sinkhole in Bayou Corne, La. Neighbors in tiny Bayou Corne face a wrenching
decision after a huge sinkhole opened up near their community: Do they stay put or should they pack up and
move? The sinkhole resulted from a collapsed underground salt dome cavern about 40 miles south of Baton
Rouge. After oil and natural gas came oozing up and acres of swampland liquefied into muck, the community
of 350 residents were advised to evacuate. Texas Brine Co., the operator of the salt dome, is negotiating
buyouts of residents who have not joined lawsuits against the company. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

In this Thursday, June 27, 2013 photo, the original wellhead is seen next to an approximate 22-acre sinkhole in
Bayou Corne, La. Neighbors in tiny Bayou Corne face a wrenching decision after a huge sinkhole opened up
near their community: Do they stay put or should they pack up and move? The sinkhole resulted from a
collapsed underground salt dome cavern about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. After oil and natural gas
came oozing up and acres of swampland liquefied into muck, the community of350 residents were advised
to evacuate. Texas Brine Co., the operator of the salt dome, is negotiating buyouts of residents who
have not joined lawsuits against the company. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

According to the suit, a sinkhole measuring 422 feet deep and 273 feet wide appeared Aug. 3, 2012, in the wooded swamp near Bayou Corne in Assumption Parish.

The suit alleges that the sinkhole and resulting contamination were the result of the collapse of a salt cavern owned by Texas Brine.

The hole's last observable growth was in August of this year, when Boudreaux shot a video showing a pond swallowing whole trees.


In this Thursday, June 27, 2013 photo, Texas Brine, Inc. spokesperson Sonny Cranch highlights work being done
to remediate the approximately 22-acre sinkhole, seen behind him, in Bayou Corne, La. Neighbors in tiny Bayou
Corne face a wrenching decision after a huge sinkhole opened up near their community: Do they stay put or
should they pack up and move? The sinkhole resulted from a collapsed underground salt dome cavern
about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. After oil and natural gas came oozing up and acres of swampland
liquefied into muck, the community of 350 residents were advised to evacuate. Texas Brine Co., the
operator of the salt dome, is negotiating buyouts of residents who have not joined lawsuits
against the company. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

In this Thursday, June 27, 2013 photo, a truck hauling dirt rides along a berm set up to contain an approximate
22-acre sinkhole in Bayou Corne, La. Neighbors in tiny Bayou Corne face a wrenching decision after a huge
sinkhole opened up near their community: Do they stay put or should they pack up and move? The sinkhole
resulted from a collapsed underground salt dome cavern about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. After oil and
natural gas came oozing up and acres of swampland liquefied into muck, the community of 350 residents were
advised to evacuate. Texas Brine Co., the operator of the salt dome, is negotiating buyouts of residents who
have not joined lawsuits against the company. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

In this Thursday, June 27, 2013 photo, an approximate 22-acre sinkhole is seen in Bayou Corne, La. Neighbors in
tiny Bayou Corne face a wrenching decision after a huge sinkhole opened up near their community: Do they stay
put or should they pack up and move? The sinkhole resulted from a collapsed underground salt dome cavern
about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. After oil and natural gas came oozing up and acres of swampland liquefied
into muck, the community of 350 residents were advised to evacuate. Texas Brine Co., the operator of the salt
dome, is negotiating buyouts of residents who have not joined lawsuits against the company.
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Since then, the visible growth has stopped but seismic activity, measured by underground instruments placed at depths as low as 3,000 feet, has increased, Boudreaux said.

It's unclear what the significance of the seismic activity is, he said.

A blog site maintained by the Assumption Parish Police Jury posts regular updates from both Boudreaux's office and Texas Brine.

"We try to give them the best we can in layman's terms," Boudreaux said. "That's one of the things we committed to the residents here - to try to give them what we know."

Boudreaux, who said he has been working seven days a week for the past 18 months, said he also is committed to seeing the incident through to the end.


In this Thursday, June 27, 2013 photo, contractors use a vacuum truck to clean up crude oil that has risen to the
surface of an approximate 22-acre sinkhole in Bayou Corne, La. Neighbors in tiny Bayou Corne face a wrenching
decision after a huge sinkhole opened up near their community: Do they stay put or should they pack up and move?
The sinkhole resulted from a collapsed underground salt dome cavern about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. After
oil and natural gas came oozing up and acres of swampland liquefied into muck, the community’s 350 residents
were advised to evacuate. Texas Brine Co., the operator of the salt dome, is negotiating buyouts of residents who
have not joined lawsuits against the company. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

In this Thursday, June 27, 2013 photo, houses under a mandatory evacuation order, due to an approximate 22-acre
sinkhole are seen along Bayou Corne, La. Neighbors in tiny Bayou Corne face a wrenching decision after a huge
sinkhole opened up near their community: Do they stay put or should they pack up and move. The sinkhole
resulted from a collapsed underground salt dome cavern about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. After oil and
natural gas came oozing up and acres of swampland liquefied into muck, the community of 350 residents were
advised to evacuate. Texas Brine Co., the operator of the salt dome, is negotiating buyouts of residents who
have not joined lawsuits against the company. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

In this Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 photo, crews install vent wells and geo probes at a site on the Triche property,
west of the Bayou Corne, La. sinkhole. (AP Photo/The Baton Rouge Advocate, Adam Lau)

"It's still an ongoing incident," he said. "We don't know when promising results will occur, but we continue to be on task."

Texas Brine's website has a section titled the Bayou Corne Incident 2012 Response Site (http://www.texasbrine.com/response/). It includes regular updates about the sinkhole as well as contact information for Texas Brine's Houston office and Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness. - Chron.


GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Global Volcano Report For November 4, 2013 - Small Ash Plume Rise To 12,000 Feet High At The Shiveluch Volcano In Kamchatka; And Strong Explosion At Indonesia's Sinabung Volcano Sends Ash Plume To 23,000 Feet High! [PLUS: COMPLETE VOLCANO ACTIVITY SUMMARY]

November 04, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe, courtesy of  Volcano Discovery.


Bright glow from a likely collapse event at Shiveluch this morning (KVERT webcam).



Shiveluch (Kamchatka): An small ash plume rising to 12,000 ft (3,6 km) was detected at 11:00 UTC by VAAC Tokyo this morning (20:00 local time), suggesting another eruption (likely partial collapse from the dome). Video data show increased incandescence at that time, confirming this interpretation.

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): Another relatively strong explosion occurred this morning, producing an ash plume rising to 23,000 ft (7 km) altitude, the Indonesian Met Office reported to VAAC Darwin.
According to press articles, about 1500 people living in nearby areas were evacuated from their homes.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for Novermber 4, 2013.


Volcano Activity Summary for 4 November 4, 2013:

Currently erupting:

Ambrym (Vanuatu): active lava lakes in several craters (updated 16 Sep 2013)
Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): ash explosions (updated 3 Oct 2013)
Barren Island (Indian Ocean): new eruption in mid October 2013 (updated 17 Oct 2013)
Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): strombolian explosions, ash plumes up to 500 m, extrusion of a small lava dome with rockfalls (updated 10 Oct 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 23 Oct 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)
Etna (Sicily, Italy): paroxysm at New SE crater on 26 Oct 13 (updated 26 Oct 2013)
Fuego (Guatemala): lava flow on upper southern flank, small to moderate explosions (updated 3 Nov 2013)
Ibu (Halmahera, Indonesia): growing lava dome, seismic unrest (updated 23 Oct 2013)
Jebel Zubair (Red Sea): submarine eruption started 28 Sep 2013 (updated 3 Nov 2013)
Karymsky (Kamchatka): occasional small explosions, thermal anomaly (updated 3 Nov 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 15 Oct 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 3 Nov 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 1 Oct 2013)
Reventador (Ecuador): ash explosions, occasional pyroclastic flows (updated 3 Nov 2013)
Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): constant ash emissions and strong explosions (updated 3 Nov 2013)
Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Santiaguito volcano (Guatemala): lava flow on south flank of dome becomes more active (updated 3 Nov 2013)
Semeru (East Java, Indonesia): growing lava dome, ash venting and small to moderate explosions (updated 18 Oct 2013)
Shiveluch (Kamchatka): slow dome growth, occasional explosions and pyroclastic flows (updated 4 Nov 2013)
Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): ash emissions and explosions (updated 4 Nov 2013)
Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): continuing lava overflows (updated 3 Nov 2013)
Suwanose-jima (Ryukyu Islands): Mt Ontake volcano of Suwanose-jima Island, Japan (updated 12 Sep 2013)
Telica (Nicaragua): normal (low) seismic activity (updated 26 Sep 2013)
Tungurahua (Ecuador): strombolian activity, strong ash emissions (updated 3 Nov 2013)
Ulawun (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): steaming, degassing (updated 1 Oct 2013)
Yasur (Tanna Island, Vanuatu): strong strombolian activity (level 3), crater currently closed (updated 10 Sep 2013)
Zhupanovsky (Kamchatka, Russia): new explosive activity since 23 Oct (updated 24 Oct 2013)

Eruption warning / minor activity:

Bezymianny (Central Kamchatka Depression): slow lava flow extrusion from dome (updated 13 Oct 2013)
Chirpoi (Kurile Islands, Russia): hot spot visible on satellite imagery (updated 14 Oct 2013)
Dieng (Central Java): increased degassing (updated 28 Mar 2013)
Heard (Australia, Southern Indian Ocean): likely lava lake in summit crater (updated 3 Oct 2013)
Iliwerung (Lesser Sunda Islands): possible submarine eruption from Mt Hobal on 20 August (updated 20 Aug 2013)
Karangetang (Siau Island, Sangihe Islands, Indonesia): lava extrusion at summit crater, strombolian activity, glowing avalanches (updated 4 Sep 2013)
Kerinci (Sumatra): occasional ash explosions (updated 5 Jun 2013)
Ketoi (Kurile Islands, Russia)
Kirishima (Kyushu): degassing, slightly increased seismic activity (updated 30 Jul 2012)
Langila (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): occasional ash explosions (updated 24 Oct 2013)
Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): small explosions, lava flow? (updated 24 Sep 2013)
Manam (Papua New Guinea): occasional explosions (updated 12 Sep 2013)
Merapi (Central Java): moderate gas and ash plume on 22 july (updated 3 Oct 2013)
Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): seismic unrest (updated 7 Oct 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 3 Nov 2013)
Raung (East Java): strombolian activity in summit crater (updated 5 Aug 2013)
Tangkubanparahu (West Java): occasional phreatic explosions (updated 15 Oct 2013)
Turrialba (Costa Rica): ash venting, strong degassing (updated 24 Jul 2013)
White Island (New Zealand): strong degassing, volcanic tremor (updated 13 Oct 2013)






WAR DRUMS: Iran's Charm Offensive Wanes And Israel Must Face A "Fateful Decision" - Khamenei Calls Israel "Illegitimate Bastard Regime" And Iran Parliament Erupts In "Death To America" Chants!

November 04, 2013 - IRAN - Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei put a wrinkle in his country’s “charm offensive” on Sunday, saying Israel was an “illegitimate and bastard regime.” His comments, posted on his Twitter account, came just a few days before a second round of talks in Geneva between his nuclear negotiators and the P5+1, made up of the US, Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain.

Khamenei Calls Israel "Illegitimate Bastard Regime."


Even before Khamenei’s tweet, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, speaking at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting, said, Iran was “openly and directly” calling for Israel’s destruction. “Iran is continuing to try and arm itself with nuclear weapons; it has not changed its goal – the method maybe, but not the goal – and it has not changed its ideology,” he said. Netanyahu pointed out that Monday is the 34th anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran, a day celebrated in Iran as “Death to America Day.” “This makes it clear that pressure on the Iranian regime must be continued,” Netanyahu said. “The pressure has brought them to the negotiating table. I am convinced that if the pressure is maintained and not relaxed, Iran will dismantle its military nuclear capabilities, and if the pressure is relaxed, Iran will advance toward this goal. We are committed to ensuring that it does not reach its realization.” Outgoing National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror, speaking at a going-away reception on his last day in office, said Iran is Israel’s one “clear existential threat.” He said Israel must do everything it can to remove that threat, “if possible, through negotiations, and if not possible through negotiations, then by other means.” Amidror’s position will now be filled by Mossad veteran Yossi Cohen. Netanyahu was not the only one highlighting that Monday marks the anniversary of the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran; Khamenei also underlined this in a number of tweets posted on his account. Iran’s supreme leader tweeted that he was meeting with leaders of students who 30 years ago called the US Embassy a “den of spies.”


Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei at NAM Summit. Photo: REUTERS


Furthermore, referring to the scandal engulfing the US National Security Agency for spying on both allies and rivals, Khamenei said that today, US embassies in countries that are its closest allies were being called spy dens, meaning that “our young revolutionaries are 30 years ahead.” Just five days before negotiations begin with the West, those running Khamenei’s account tweeted messages reflecting the intense internal debate in Iran regarding the meetings. He sent out a dual and somewhat contradictory message of not trusting the US negotiators on the one hand, but at the same time not criticizing those negotiating with the US and labeling them “compromisers.” “No one should consider our negotiators as compromisers, they are our own children and the children of the revolution,” his Twitter account read. “Our negotiators are in charge of a difficult task and no one should weaken an agent who is engaged doing work.” Khamenei tweeted that he was not optimistic about the outcome of the negotiations, and that even if they failed, it would increase Iran’s selfreliance. He advised against “trusting an enemy who smiles” and “expresses a desire for talks,” while on the other hand says “all options are on the table.” One Israeli official, referring to Khamenei’s comments about Israel being a “bastard regime,” said his words “reveals the true mindset of the regime.” “This should be a wake-up call for people who have the illusion that the Iranians have become more moderate,” he said. “This represents the policy goals of the regime, and it means Israel was born illegitimately and therefore should not be here.” - JPOST.


WATCH: Frosty Reception - Rouhani's thaw doing little to rid skepticism of US.





Iran Parliament Erupts In "Death To America" Chants.
The Iranian Parliament (Photo credit: CC-BY Parmida76/Flickr)


The Iranian parliament on Sunday rang out with chants of “Death to America” after the vice speaker delivered an impassioned speech defending the country’s continued use of the expression ahead of the 34th anniversary of the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran. Vice Parliamentary Speaker Mohammad Hossein Aboutorabifard commended the November 4, 1979, attack on the US embassy as a symbol of “resistance of righteousness against falsehood,” Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported. At the conclusion of Aboutorabifard’s speech to the parliament, MPs joined in a collective chant of “Death to America.”

Not satisfied with one legislative chorus of “Death to America” chants, approximately 200 MPs — over two-thirds of the assembly – said they would voice their strong opposition to Washington by participating in a collective “Death to the US” shouting match on Monday, the anniversary of the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran. The Iranian Defense Ministry also vowed that there would be massive rallies nationwide to mark the November 4 attack, emphasizing the Iranian people’s commitment to the motto “Death to America.” “The Iranian nation will show on November 4 that it has never forgotten the ‘Death to the US’ slogan as the symbol of its resistance and uncompromising” nature, the Defense Ministry said in a statement quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency.

A member of the Assembly of Experts, the religious council responsible for electing and removing Iran’s supreme leader, also voiced his staunch opposition to the United States Saturday, saying that “the Iranian people are determined to continue their struggle with the global arrogance [the United States] until the US administration is forced to change its behavior,” the semi-official Islamic Republic news agency reported. Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Asghar Dastghaib said that so long as the US “continues its antagonistic policies toward the Iranian nation, the Iranian people will follow up the recommendation of their supreme leader while chanting ‘Death to America.’” The incident at parliament occurred a day after Iranian hardliners unveiled two new “Death to America” songs at the former US embassy in Tehran, hoping to keep anger high ahead of nuclear talks with Western powers. They performed the songs Saturday ahead of the planned massive protest Monday to mark the anniversary of the US Embassy takeover in 1979. The anniversary this year is drawing greater attention due to hardline opposition to moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s outreach to the West as talks over the country’s contested nuclear program continue. Conservatives also criticized Rouhani’s historic telephone conversation with US President Barack Obama in September, a gesture aimed at ending three decades of estrangement between the two countries. - Times of Israel.




Bolton Says Israel Must Make "Fateful Decision" On Iran Strike.
Israel does not have much time to make a “fateful decision” about whether to strike Iran’s nuclear sites, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton said Sunday in a radio interview. “Israel, I think, now faces the fateful decision whether it will allow Iran to get nuclear weapons, thus constituting a true existential threat to Israel,” he said. “Or whether they will strike as the Israelis have done twice before against nuclear programs in the hands of hostile states,” Bolton told WABC Radio’s Aaron Klein.

“I don’t think Israel has much time,” Bolton continued. “Frankly, they should have done this years ago because we all know intelligence is imperfect and Iran may have a more developed capacity than we know about, perhaps in cooperation with North Korea.” Bolton spoke amid U.S. outreach to Iran and amid reports Iran’s Revolutionary Guard announced Saturday they are committed to the slogan, “Death to America.” The former U.N. ambassador reacted to a statement by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who said Thursday the while U.S. has “implemented unprecedented sanctions and pressure on Iran, we may very well have to use military force to back up our policy.” Bolton retorted: “If there is anybody left in Israel who thinks that the U.S. will use military force against Iran’s program, they really need to seriously re-examine their basic values. It isn’t going to happen under the Obama administration. I’ll just say it again. It isn’t going to happen.” - WND.



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: "Sticky Mess, ... The Most Bees I've Ever Seen,..." - Beehive Truck Crash In Georgia; Hundreds Of Insects Released; Interstate 75 Closed For Several Hours!

November 04, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A tractor-trailer tire blowout created a sticky situation Sunday morning on Interstate 75 southbound in Monroe County.


Beekeepers, suited up for a war, survey the damage along I-75 where a shipment of bees wrecked just
south of the Ga. 18 bridge.BEAU CABELL/THE TELEGRAPH — bcabell@macon.com


The truck was carrying bee hives, said Allison Selman-Willis, public information officer for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Two lanes of traffic were closed for several hours so the broken boxes containing the hives and honey combs could be moved to the grass alongside the interstate, said Monroe County Emergency Agency Director Matthew Perry.

Local beekeepers assisted the Monroe EMA officials with the cleanup.

“That’s the most bees I’ve ever seen,” said Perry, who estimated the number was in the millions.

The accident happened near the Ga. 18 bridge in Forsyth.


WATCH: Georgia beehive truck crash - Hundreds of insects released.





Beekeepers painstakingly took the honeycombs out of the broken hives to salvage the bees’ homes. The bees stayed near the hives.

The cleanup effort was estimated to take all day Sunday.

“That was a sticky mess,” Perry said. - The Telegraph.



GLOBAL VOLCANISM: "Giant, Big, Horrific Silicic Volcanic Eruptions" - Maine Volcanoes (Yes, Maine) Among World's Biggest?!

November 04, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Maine has supervolcanoes. Wait, Maine has volcanoes? Yes, and their eruptions could have been among the biggest ever on Earth, geoscientist Sheila Seaman reported Tuesday at the Geological Society of America's annual meeting.

"Long before there were these things called supervolcanoes, we've known about giant, big, horrific silicic volcanic eruptions," said Seaman, of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The most massive of these blasts in recent history was Toba, which blew up an island in Indonesia 2.5 million years ago. The explosion heaved 700 cubic miles of magma out of the Earth's crust.


Mount Desert Island in Maine's Acadia National Park as seen from across the Mount Desert Narrows.
(Edwin Chase)


Around 420 million years ago, a series of super-eruptions dropped thick piles of ash and lava fragments along the proto-East Coast. There are at least four volcanoes spread out along 100 miles of Maine's coast, Seaman said. [Countdown: History's Most Destructive Volcanoes]

The huge volcanic rock piles are consistent with caldera-forming eruptions, Seaman said. These explosions empty a magma chamber, leaving a gaping wound in the Earth think Yellowstone National Park, or the San Juan volcanic field in Colorado.

Since they formed, the ancient volcanic layers have been tilted up by tectonic forces, providing a top-to-bottom slice through a supervolcano. For example, Isle au Haut, part of Acadia National Park, exposes the heart of a volcano. "The whole magma chamber is lying on its side," Seaman said.

Building on years of geologic mapping and tectonic reconstructions by other researchers, Seaman has traced a direct connection between the cooled and crystallized magma chambers, called plutons, and their enormous ash deposits.

Volcanic rock layers on Maine's Cranberry Island have a 2,300-foot-thick  layer of welded tuff, a rock formed from volcanic ash. The welded tuff from Toba's most recent blowout is 2,000 feet thick, Seaman said. On the remote Isle au Haut, part of Acadia National Park, the volcanic rocks are more than 3 miles thick, Seaman said. They're capped by an immense ash flow, more than 3,200 feet thick.

Seaman estimates the caldera at Mount Desert Island would have been about 15 miles long and 15 miles wide. For comparison, Toba's caldera is 62 miles long and 18 miles wide.

"The coast is so serene and so beautiful and has such a terrible, violent past," Seaman told LiveScience's OurAmazingPlanet.

Seaman thinks the super-eruptions struck between 424 million to 419 million years ago, in the Silurian period, after islands the size of Japan slammed into the eastern edge of Laurentia, the continental core of North America. Afterward, tectonic forces stretched and tore Earth's crust behind the collision zone, making space for magma to rise from the mantle, the layer beneath the crust.

She plans further work to better understand the conditions that caused the super-eruptions, such as mixing of different kinds of magma. - FOX News.



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: North Korea Navy Ships Sink In Collision - At Least 20 Sailors Killed!

November 04, 2013 - NORTH KOREA - Reclusive North Korea has taken the rare step of admitting one of its own naval vessels sunk during "combat duties" off the country's east coast last month.


North Korean leader Kim-Jong-un visits the graves of sailors who died in a naval incident (KCNA)

Pictures released by the rogue state's government-controlled news agency, KCNA, show leader Kim Jong-un visiting a memorial to the dead sailors from the vessel, thought to number at least 20.

It is extremely rare for North Korea's leadership to divulge details of any military operation, let alone one that ends in failure, humiliation and the loss of its own forces.

The KCNA report said "submarine chaser No 233 fell while performing combat duties in mid-October", adding that Kim "took a measure for finding out all (the crew's) bodies and holding a solemn funeral for them."


North Korean leader Kim-Jong-un visits the graves of sailors who died in a naval incident (KCNA)

The report didn't specify what kind of operation the vessel was engaged in. It is thought to have sunk in the days after drills involving US and South Korean forces in waters to the south of the Korean peninsula concluded.

South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper - which often carries lurid stories from the north side of the Korean border - reported that two North Korean vessels had sunk last month killing "scores of sailors".

Citing a military source, the paper said the vessels - a submarine chaser and a patrol boat - sunk off Wonsan in separate incidents a few days apart in mid-October. The report said South Korea had spotted North Korean forces trying to salvage the hulls of the two vessels.

"The Hainan-class submarine chaser probably sank because it's old. It was built in China in the 1960s and the North bought it in the mid-70s," the source was quoted as saying.

Other South Korean reports suggested that two vessels sunk, but in a collision. Chinese media reports suggested that 30 sailors died in the incident or incidents.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un visits the cemetery of fallen fighters of the KPA Navy Unit 790 at an
undisclosed location in North Korea in a photo released on Nov. 2, 2013. (KCNA / AFP / Getty Images)

It is difficult to clarify such information as the secretive North doesn't confirm such details and seldom reports on these things in its own media.

This time, though, KNCA showed the young leader Kim kneeling before a headstone with a young sailor's face and name engraved on it to accompany the report detailing the submarine chaser's sinking.

It's not known why KNCA was allowed to report what, at face value, appears an embarrassing failure by the North's naval forces.

Although the North has one of the largest armed forces in the world, its troops operate with increasingly obsolete equipment as arms embargoes and the country's failing economy combine to prevent modernisation.

It also prioritises its nuclear and missile programs above everything else.

The North has often used its ageing fleet of patrol boats and torpedo boats in skirmishes with South Korean forces. - The Australian.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Another Earthquake, New 4.9 Magnitude Tremor Hits Near Fukushima - The Slightest Disturbance Could Risk A Catastrophe Greater Than Chernobyl!

November 04, 2013 - JAPAN - A 4.9 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter close to Fukushima Prefecture has struck the eastern coast of Japan, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.




The tremor was registered at a depth of 20 km. There have not been immediate reports of damage or injuries. No tsunami warning has been issued.

It is the second earthquake to hit Fukushima neighboring prefecture in the past two days. A 5.0 earthquake was registered on Japan’s east coast, with Sunday’s tremors felt as far away as Tokyo.


Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Okuma town in Fukushima prefecture
(AFP Photo / Toshifumi Kitamura)

The news comes amid preparations for a tough and dangerous cleanup operation to remove fuel rods from Unit 4 at Fukushima Daiichi plant.


Scheduled to start in mid-November, it will involve the careful, manual removal of 400 tons of spent nuclear fuel rods.


Should the attempt fail, horrific quantities of radiation could be released into the atmosphere, or cause an explosion many times worse than the original disaster.


Image from maps.google.com


Even the slightest tremor during the operation would risk a catastrophe greater than Chernobyl.


The mid-November fuel removal operation will be just the first step in a decommissioning process that is expected to take decades. - RT.




THE AGE OF OBAMA & CHILDHOOD'S END: Precursors To The End Of The U.S. Corporation And The Collapse Of The FAILED White Supremacy Paradigm - Food Banks Are Now Bracing For A Run On Supplies, “Panicking” Over Demand Following Welfare Cut; And Fed Gives Banks New Dire Scenarios For 2014 Stress Tests!

November 04, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Food banks across the country, stretched thin in the aftermath of the recession, are bracing for more people coming through their doors in the wake of cuts to the federal food stamp program.

Food Banks Brace For A Run On Supplies.


Food stamp benefits to 47 million Americans were cut starting Friday as a temporary boost to the federal program comes to an end without new funding from a deadlocked Congress.

Under the program, known formally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, a family of four that gets $668 per month in benefits will find that amount cut by $36.

"It may not sound like a lot but to a person like me, it is," says Annie Crisp, 30, a single mother of two girls in Lancaster, Ohio. "It's not just a number."

She says she received a little less than $550 a month in food stamps and now will receive $497. Crisp, a babysitter who brings home about $830 a month, says the food stamps help her buy her family fresh fruits, vegetables and meat.

Crisp worries now that she may end up trying to supplement her family's groceries by going to a food bank or cutting into her electric or gas money for the month. The cut, she says, also means she will have to buy more canned fruits and vegetables, forgoing her daughters' favorite fruit, kiwi, and buying packaged meat.


Volunteers gather food at the New Hampshire Food Bank in Manchester, N.H., on Oct. 1, 2013, to be
delivered around the state.
(Photo: Jim Cole, AP)

"Our network is already overburdened with a a tremendous increase in need," says Maura Daly, a Feeding America spokeswoman.

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, says the cuts will hurt more than 1.8 million Ohioans. "This is taking food off the plate and out of the mouths of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors," she says.

She says seniors, children, people with disabilities and veterans will be among the groups hardest hit by the cuts because they are the groups most reliant on food stamps.

The saving grace, she says, is that the holiday season is approaching in November and December, the time of year when most food banks receive more than half of their donations during the year. The flip side is that more people turn to food banks for help during that time.

Michael Flood, CEO of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, says the full impact is still too soon to tell, but he says the cuts are immediate, which means that the 656 agencies that run pantries and soup kitchens in his county may start to see more people in the next few weeks. The problem, he says, is that food banks will not have sufficient food to meet a great demand.


Volunteers at St. Ignatius food pantry restock items as Larry Bossom, left, 41, who lost his job a few month ago,
visits the facility Friday, in Chicago.(Photo: M. Spencer Green, AP)



He says agencies will do one of two things when their food supply runs low: They will serve a set number of people and cut off the line when they run out of food baskets or they will put less food in the baskets so they can make more of them.

Diana Stanley, CEO of the Lord's Place, which runs job and housing programs for the homeless in West Palm Beach, Fla., says the clients her agency work with do not have any discretionary income. Even the smallest cuts can cause major upheaval in their lives, she says.

"The food stamps help as our families move into independence," she says. "So these cuts are scary for us." She says more than 80% of the 250 people a day the agency works with receive food stamps.

SNAP, which benefits one in seven Americans, is administered by the Department of Agriculture and is authorized in a five-year omnibus farm bill covering all agricultural programs. Congress is currently debating the bill, which has additional cuts to the program totaling up to $40 billion. A cut that size, say advocates, such as Hamler-Fugitt and Flood, would be devastating. - USA Today.





Food Banks “Panicking” Over Demand Following Welfare Cut.
Volunteers working for food banks are “panicking” over the demand they are likely to face later this month from Americans on food stamps who have seen their benefits slashed.

From today, $5 billion will be wiped off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as a result of a planned stimulus withdrawal. Almost 50 million Americans who are supported by the program, 21 million of them added to the rolls since 2008, will suffer an average loss of $36 dollars a month, which equates to a deficit of about one week of meals per month.

The impact of the cut won’t really begin to be felt until three weeks into the month of November since that’s when most people have typically exhausted their food stamp credit.

According to Margaret Purvis, the CEO of the largest food bank in America, members of her Food Bank for New York City organization, are “panicking” over the decrease in benefits, fearing a rush of hungry Americans

“We’re telling everyone to make sure that you are prepared for longer lines,” Purvis told NBC News.


WATCH: Families brace for cuts to food stamp program.



Purvis invoked the threat of the food stamp cut causing unrest earlier this week when she told Salon.com, “If you look across the world, riots always begin typically the same way: when people cannot afford to eat food.”

Her comments were echoed by Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, who stated, “It’s going to send people into a charitable system that’s already overwhelmed and screaming for help itself.”

A bipartisan group of Democrats and Republicans voted to end the stimulus program that paid for the temporary food stamp increase, preferring to spend the money on education and school nutrition programs.

The cut won’t just affect those who are unemployed since over half of food stamp recipients have jobs but don’t make enough money to be able to pay all their bills and cover groceries.

“It’s always, ‘I’ve got to get something for my kids.’ They’re not coming in and asking for snacks or this or that. They’re asking for things like milk and cereal,” said Purvis, adding that parents are struggling to feed their children breakfast.

The cuts “will be close to catastrophic for many people,” Ross Fraser, a spokesman for Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief charity, told CBS News.

As we saw earlier this month, a glitch in the system which temporarily halted EBT purchases for just a few hours led to looting and mini-riots at several Walmart stores.

Reacting to the downtime, food stamp recipients warned that if the glitch was to re-occur it would lead to Rodney King-style riots, a reference to the 1992 L.A. riots which resulted in 53 deaths, 2,000 injuries and over $1 billion dollars in property damages.

Fox News’ Neil Cavuto suggested that the Department of Homeland Security’s recent $80 million dollar outlay on armed guards to protect government buildings in upstate New York was related to potential food stamp riots.

As we reported on Wednesday, the DHS has also purchased half a million dollars worth of fully automatic pepper spray launchers and projectiles that are designed to be used during riot control situations. - Info Wars.




Fed Gives Banks New Dire Scenarios For 2014 Stress Tests.
The six banks with large trading operations -- JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp.,
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co. -- will be required to test how their
portfolios would perform against a global shock to financial markets. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Lenders including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Citigroup Inc. (C) will have to show they can survive the demise of a trading partner or a plunge in value of high-risk business loans in the 2014 version of U.S. stress tests.

The scenarios for the annual tests, outlined by the Federal Reserve in a statement yesterday, reflect some of the most pressing threats seen by regulators as they gauge the ability of the U.S. financial system to withstand economic shocks. Bankers will have to show what would happen to the value of leveraged loans they hold, the impact of another housing bust and how they’d fare if a firm that owes them substantial sums collapses.

The test was designed in part to build resiliency against what some see as emerging asset bubbles, said a Fed official who spoke on a conference call with reporters. The counterparty failure test aims to prevent a repeat of the 2008 crisis, when distress at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and American International Group Inc. threatened to destroy their biggest trading partners.

Counterparty credit risk “has been a very big concern since the crisis,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics Inc., a Washington regulatory research firm whose clients include the world’s largest banks. “This is an intervening supervisory step while the broader rules are pending.”

The Fed is using the tests -- based on hypothetical adverse conditions and not forecasts -- to encourage the 30 biggest banks to build capital cushions against economic turmoil. Twelve banks will be subject to the capital review for the first time.

Global Shock

The six banks with large trading operations -- JPMorgan, Citigroup, Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) -- will be required to test how their portfolios would perform against a global shock to financial markets. Details of that scenario will be released “soon,” the central bank said. New York-based JPMorgan is the biggest U.S. bank by assets, followed by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America and New York-based Citigroup.

Those six banks, as well as Bank of New York Mellon Corp. and State Street Corp. (STT), also will have to test against a scenario in which one of their counterparties experiences an “instantaneous and unexpected” default. Previous tests focused merely on incremental defaults as the economy eroded, a Fed official said on the conference call.

Weak Support

The test shows Fed officials remain concerned that banks might still rely too heavily on a single counterparty to hedge potential losses, a practice that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.

In the “adverse” scenario, banks will be tested against global flight from long-term debt that pushes the U.S. into a recession, with unemployment rising to 9.25 percent. The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury note jumps to 5.75 percent by the end of 2014, and corporate bond and mortgage rates also rise.

In the Fed’s “severely adverse” scenario, the jobless rate peaks at 11.25 percent, stocks fall almost 50 percent and U.S. housing prices slide 25 percent, while the euro area sinks into recession. Developing economies in Asia also experience a “sharp slowdown,” the Fed said.
The Fed said the larger drop in U.S. house prices in this year’s severely adverse scenario is “particularly relevant for states or metropolitan statistical areas that have experienced brisk gains in house prices over the past year.”

Wider Spreads

The wider corporate borrowing spreads featured in both tests are “intended to represent a corresponding widening in spreads across all corporate borrowing rating tiers and instruments, particularly those instruments -- such as high-yield corporate bonds and leveraged loans -- that are at present experiencing particularly narrow spreads,” the Fed said.

Top banking regulators in the U.S. are recommending lenders strengthen underwriting standards for leveraged corporate loans as borrowing of the high-risk debt approaches levels not seen since before the financial crisis, nine people with knowledge of the matter said last month.

Some bankers and economists have said stresses may emerge when the central bank decides to end its current economic stimulus program that has kept rates near historic lows. The program involves buying $85 billion a month in bonds to suppress borrowing costs. Speculation about the timing earlier this year sent interest rates soaring in a matter of weeks.

“They seem to be avoiding the biggest risks in the stress scenarios,” said Chris Whalen, managing director at Carrington Investment Services LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut. “The Fed itself has created this interest-rate risk by bringing rates down to zero, so maybe that’s why it’s not able to stress too much.”

Bubble Trouble

Morgan Stanley (MS) Chief Executive Officer James Gorman, 55, said yesterday he doesn’t see evidence of market bubbles developing and that investors should celebrate when the Fed begins to taper its support program because it will signal the economy is healthy.

Gorman, whose New York-based company runs the world’s largest brokerage, was responding to remarks by BlackRock Inc. CEO Laurence D. Fink, 61, who said Oct. 29 that the Fed’s effort to boost the economy by holding down interest rates has fueled “bubble-like markets.” His firm is the world’s biggest money manager.

Banks have argued in past years that they can mitigate risks in their business deals by purchasing protection, such as credit-default swaps, from counterparties.

AIG’s Collapse

In the years leading up to the 2008 crisis, financial firms bought protection from AIG, the New York-based insurer, allowing them to subtract the CDS on their books from their reported subprime mortgage-debt holdings because losses would theoretically be covered by AIG.

When prices of mortgage securities started falling in 2008, the contracts required AIG to post more collateral to its CDS counterparties. The demands drained AIG’s cash, and the U.S. government took over the company when it was hours away from bankruptcy.

If AIG had collapsed, the protection that its clients had counted upon for their mortgage portfolios would have disappeared, leading to billions of dollars in losses and perhaps a cascade of bank failures.

The Fed, seeking to reduce the chance that one failing company would topple others, proposed in December 2011 to cap how much counterparty credit risk a bank could have with any systemically important trading partner. The limit would be 10 percent of regulatory capital.

Lobbying Limbo

The proposal has been stuck in limbo without being finalized after heavy lobbying by banks. JPMorgan, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley were among lenders arguing that the limit was poorly constructed, overstated risk and would restrain the economy. It could cut U.S. economic growth and destroy 300,000 jobs, New York-based Goldman Sachs warned last year.

“The regulators have been looking for a way to get counterparty risk into the scenarios,” said Mark Levonian, a former senior deputy comptroller at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Levonian, now a managing director at the consulting firm Promontory Financial Group LLC in Washington, said the stress tests also show regulators’ concern that “recent price gains in some regional housing markets might not hold up under stress.”

Companies will have until the first week of January to submit their capital plans, and the results will be released in March.

Capital Increases

The 18 bank holding companies tested previously have increased their aggregate Tier 1 common capital to $836 billion in the second quarter of 2013 from $392 billion in the first quarter of 2009, according to Fed data. Their Tier 1 common ratio, which compares capital to risk-weighted assets, has more than doubled to a weighted average of 11.1 percent from 5.3 percent, the Fed said.

The eight banks with more complicated scenarios have been through the Fed’s stress test and capital-planning process before, as have Ally Financial Inc. (ALLY), American Express Co. (AXP), BB&T Corp. (BBT), Capital One Financial Corp. (COF), Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), KeyCorp (KEY), PNC Financial Services Group Inc., Regions Financial Corp. (RF), SunTrust Banks Inc. (STI) and U.S. Bancorp.

Twelve banks will be participating in the process for the first time. Those banks are BMO Financial Corp., BBVA Compass Bancshares, Inc., Comerica Inc. (CMA), Discover Financial Services (DFS), HSBC North America Holdings Inc., Huntington Bancshares Inc., M&T Bank Corp. (MTB), Northern Trust Corp. (NTRS), RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc., Santander Holdings USA, Inc., UnionBanCal Corp., and Zions Bancorp. - Bloomberg.



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Skydivers Jump To Safety After 2 Planes Collide Over Wisconsin - Impact And "Flash Fireball" Threw Divers From Plane!

November 04, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A carefully coordinated skydive in the US almost ended in disaster on Saturday when two planes flying in formation crashed in mid-air.


An FAA investigator examines the wreckage of a plane that crashed in Superior, Wis.,
after a midair collision with another plane


Between them the aircraft were carrying nine highly-experienced skydivers, who were seconds away from jumping when the impact occurred.

Skydiving instructor Mike Robinson described the “big flash fireball” which engulfed one side of his plane at an altitude of 12,000 feet (3,650 metres), when the aircrafts’ paths crossed and one came down onto the other.

The force of the impact hurled many of the skydivers from their positions on their planes’ steps, while two others still inside managed to get to the door and escape.

Mr Robinson said that as the planes hit each other, “the wing [on his aircraft] separated”.

“All of us knew we had a crash,” he said. “The wing over our head was gone, so we just left.”

Once all the skydivers were clear, the pilot of Mr Robinson’s plane was able to eject – but the danger to the whole group was not yet over.

“Looking around, we're seeing the wing that came off. We're seeing it's on fire, and there are just parts of the airplane floating in the air with us,” he said.

“We were falling faster than those parts ... So the concern was we get away from the crash area.”

He added that as he was falling, he became worried that there was only one emergency parachute –indicating an ejected pilot – in the sky with him.

He was relieved to found out later that the pilot of the second plane was able to stay with the aircraft and land it.

Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration were in the area yesterday talking to those involved, and spokesman Roland Herwig said the cause of the incident was still being investigated.


WATCH: Skydivers Jump To Safety After 2 Planes Collide Over Wisconsin.




All of the skydivers were instructors or coaches and had hundreds, if not thousands, of jumps under their belts. It was Mr Robinson's 937th jump.

“We do this all the time,” he said. “We just don't know what happened for sure that caused this.”

The nine skydivers were all able to steer their parachutes to the designated landing site, near Lake Superior in Wisconsin, and at worst suffered bruises and muscle injuries. The pilot who ejected could not steer his emergency chute, and suffered some minor injuries which required medical treatment.

“It might've been a lot worse,” Mr Robinson said. “Everybody, to a person, responded just as they should, including the pilots.”

Despite the scare, he said he would not hesitate to skydive again.

“Whenever the clouds and winds allow us to be up, we'll be jumping,” he said, although the company, Skydive Superior, is now without aircraft. - Independent.