Tuesday, November 12, 2013

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Hundreds Of Tilapia, Eel And Carp Found Dead In A Lake In Moka District, Mauritius?!

November 12, 2013 - MAURITIUS - A miraculous catch? There are fish in abundance, of course. But the positive side of the story ends there. Hundreds of dead tilapia and carp piling up on the shores of a lake ... It's enough to give chills in the back. A vision of horror, in fact. The inhabitants of a small village located in the district of Moka, there a few days. And even if, very quickly, the bodies were removed a few days later, still an unpleasant odor emanating from the lake Valetta.

File photo.

This large expanse of water, surrounded by beaches of grass grow where magnificent trees, is where villagers gather to fish, pray or just take a breath of fresh air. But in recent days, officers of the Ministry of Environment and Fisheries officers were dispatched to prevent the inhabitants of this region do not fish in the pond or consume water. Samples were sent for analysis at the beginning of the week.

In this corner of the island, everyone - or almost - has its own ideas about what happened. Industrial pollution, fish disease, stroke of fate, bad omen ... Everyone has their own "mwa ki mo to think." But discreetly, of course. The explanations are always preceded by a "mo pa kone kinn arive." Any opinion is not good to share. Especially in this small village ... desert in the early afternoon on Wednesday, November 6. Some buses travel the main road. A family does not live in the village came to see the famous basin. And Jean Clency Nibat prepares to go prepare instant noodles.

The dead fish, it's not that he did not care. But this is not the first time it happens, he said. So he does not really care. Moreover, it is not fishing and does not consume water from the lake: "There is tap water," he says, looking a little vague. A few steps away, Devanand Luckeeram works in his snack. He cares.

"Show disappointing"

He was one of the first on the scene after the news of the discovery of the bodies in the lake is spread throughout the community or almost: "There was a really big fish, eels ... It was a really sad sight. "For him, it is a disaster:" I wonder if there is still fish in the lake! I do not believe we can fish again. Or, at least not for years. "The unpleasant smell not escape him. Then he asked if the locals do not breathe a "bad air", ". All this is very strange," He hopes that things will return in the order very quickly.

And he is not alone, it seems. Daya Apadoo Santa Ramdoyal and Damountee Bassodersing do not like this kind of thing happens in the locality. They like the quiet days, the good life, routine and reassuring look. Moreover, they found, that Wednesday, as every day also in Daya. This last clip brushes and made ​​a chat. She admits she does not really stand out ". Thanks to my daughter, who came from Goodlands, I knew there was a problem" Yet she lives less than two minutes basin.

His children do not fish. Grandchildren do not play near the lake. And by dint of being around a place for decades, do not forget to enjoy it, as beautiful as it is. Solange Troubadour is in the same situation. While the weather is cooling slightly, waiting for the bus to walk a little. She passes the basin regularly without really paying attention. Dead fish? As she has no health problems and did not drink water, it's okay, "I do not mind this kind of thing." Like her, other people the village are not interested in the problem. A rain of "naked pa konn nanye" falls, while gray clouds invade the blue sky. The rain will not delay.

Gashen Pillay, he finds dead fish in such large quantities, it is very disturbing. Then, he hoped that explanation "natural" is found in this unnatural situation: "Some people say it's just an accident." He would like to believe

Results soon

An increase in the temperature of the water? Poisoning? Pollution? What caused the death of hundreds of fish this? Samples were collected for analysis. If the results should be known this week, it has obviously not been the case. For its part, the District Council of Moka said he had no documents in his possession. However, it seems that the test results will be known soon. - 5 Plus Ltd. [Translated]

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: "Quite Mysterious And Was Not Predicted By Current Theories" - New "Black Hole-Quasar" Discovery Baffles Astronomers?!

November 12, 2013 - SPACE - The most luminous objects in the universe keep getting more mysterious.

Astronomers have discovered a new type of quasar — an incredibly bright galactic core powered by a supermassive black hole — that current theory fails to predict.

One theory of a newly discovered type of black-hole quasar suggests gas flows into a central black hole.
More frequent particle collisions close to the black hole make the gas hot in regions that are closer to
the center (shown in blue and white). Regions further away are cooler (yellow and orange).
York University/Patrick Hall

Models predict that a quasar's light and heat should push nearby gas out from the center and toward the fringes of the host galaxy. The newly found quasars do demonstrate this behavior, but, surprisingly, some of the gas also appears to be falling back to the center, researchers said. 

"Matter falling into black holes may not sound surprising," study lead author Patrick Hall, an astronomer at York University in the United Kingdom, said in a statement. "But what we found is, in fact, quite mysterious and was not predicted by current theories."

So far, astronomers have found 17 of these objects, which are thought to make up just 0.01 percent of all quasars.

Gas flow in and around quasars can be calculated by examining its Doppler shift, or the change in the wavelengths of light that are produced as the gas moves. On Earth, humans can hear the Doppler shift in action when a car toots its horn as it zooms by. As it comes towards you, the sound waves are compressed and the horn's pitch sounds higher. After it passes, the sound waves lengthen and the pitch drops.

Particles of gas in a distant galaxy emit light at expected wavelengths. This changes as the gas moves toward Earth or away from it. Gas receding from Earth is shifted to the red edge of the light spectrum (which has longer waves), while gas moving toward Earth appears more blue.

Quasar light is easy to track because it is astonishingly bright, producing "enough light to be seen across the observable universe," York University officials said in a statement. The appearance of these newfound quasars, however, generated a mystery.

"The gas in the disk must eventually fall into the black hole to power the quasar, but what is often seen instead is gas blown away from the black hole by the heat and light of the quasar, heading toward us at velocities up to 20 percent of the speed of light," Hall said.

"If the gas is falling into the black hole, then we don't understand why it's so rare to see infalling gas," he added. "There's nothing else unusual about these quasars. If gas can be seen falling into them, why not in other quasars?"

One theory suggests the gas is not descending into the black hole but instead is circling it after the quasar pushes it away. This means that some particles of gas in the galaxy would be moving toward Earth, while others are moving away.

"To make an analogy: Imagine an ant on a spinning merry-go-round, crawling from the center to the edge," Hall said. "You will see the ant moving toward you about half the time and away from you about half the time. The same idea could apply to the gas in these quasars. In either case, the gas in these quasars is moving in an unusual fashion."

Astronomers found the quasars using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III), which examines large swaths of the sky. Scientists expect quasar models will have to be revisited, so the researchers plan follow-up surveys using the Gemini Observatory.

The research was published Sept. 1 in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. - Huffington Post.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Super Typhoon Haiyan Pushed The Limit, But Bigger Storms Are Coming; Haiyan Was Among The Biggest Ever Recorded, Peaking Over 200mph With 20-Foot Storm Surge, More Powerful Than Hurricane Katrina!

November 12, 2013 - PHILIPPINES - Experts say Typhoon Haiyan was about as strong as it could theoretically get when it swept through the Philippines, killing thousands of people and driving hundreds of thousands from their homes. But intensity limits have been rising over decades past — and climate models suggest they will keep rising over the decades to come, with the potential for bigger and more devastating storms.

Super typhoon Haiyan at 17:30 UTC or 12:30 p.m. EST Wednesday (NOAA)

"The tragedy of this particular storm is that it reached its limit just about the time it made landfall," Kerry Emanuel, a climate scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told NBC News.

Based on satellite imagery, the U.S. military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center estimated that Haiyan's winds reached a sustained peak as high as 195 mph shortly before it made landfall, with gusts rising to 235 mph. Estimates from Philippine weather officials were lower, suggesting that the storm packed sustained winds of 147 mph and gusts of 170 mph when it hit land. Either way, the typhoon ranks among the world's strongest tropical storms and appears to have been more powerful than Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

If the higher estimates are correct, the warning center said Haiyan's maximum strength would exceed that of its previous record-holder: Hurricane Camille, which hit the northern Gulf Coast in 1969 with sustained winds of 190 mph.

"This is at the top end of any tropical system that we've seen on our planet," said Bryan Norcross, The Weather Channel's hurricane specialist.

WATCH: Typhoon Haiyan may be among the biggest ever recorded, peaking at more than 200 mph with a 20-foot storm surge. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

The definition of that top end has been shifting, Emanuel said. He was part of a team of researchers who predicted climate change could make tropical storms more intense, particularly in the Pacific.

"That part of the ocean, the Western Pacific, in November is pretty juicy," he said. "It has a high thermodynamic limit. That limit has been going up in time, perhaps in response to global warming. It's a little hard to say that for sure."

Although the maximum intensity of tropical storms is projected to rise, the climate models suggest a scenario that's more complex than merely turning up the dials. "It doesn't mean there'll be more storms," Emanuel said. "In fact, the weaker storms might be less frequent, but it's not the weaker storms that do the damage. In the end, we're much more concerned about what happens at the high end. It's those guys that do all the terrible destruction."The tale of Typhoon Haiyan's destructive power has turned the world's attention from the Atlantic hurricane season, which has been much weaker than average, to the less understood Pacific front.

WATCH:  Here are answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions:

What's a typhoon?
Typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones are just different names for the same type of storm. "The ingredients for these storms include a pre-existing weather disturbance, warm tropical oceans, moisture and relatively light winds," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says. "If the right conditions persist long enough, they can combine to produce the violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains and floods we associate with this phenomenon."

Such storms are called hurricanes when they're in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, cyclones in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, and typhoons in the Northwest Pacific. A "super typhoon" like Haiyan has maximum sustained surface winds of at least 150 mph, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. That's equivalent to a Category 4 or 5 hurricane.

What factors made Typhoon Haiyan so deadly?
Some experts have said Haiyan was skimming so quickly across the Pacific that it didn't suck up the deeper, cooler ocean water that might otherwise have reduced the storm's energy before landfall.

Another factor is that Haiyan followed a track that was outside the typical "Typhoon Alley" for the Philippines. "The high pressure to the north was a little farther south," Norcross explained. "That pushed the storm track farther to the south, into the central Philippines, as opposed to the northern Philippines where they get most of the storms. The central Philippines are much more vulnerable, because people haven't moved to places that are safe from typhoons."

To put the storm's enormity into perspective, check out this map via the Red Cross.

When the storm passed over the hard-hit coastal city of Tacloban, the area's funnel-shaped bay turned the storm surge into a 20-foot-high wall of water. Norcross said some U.S. coastal areas could suffer similar effects during a hurricane. "Around the coast in the U.S. — the Florida Keys, the western coast of the state of Florida, up in the panhandle, Louisiana — all are susceptible to this kind of storm surge," he told NBC News.

How frequently do storms like Typhoon Haiyan come along?
"In the current climate, a storm of this intensity is probably a once-in-a-decade thing," Emanuel said, "but a storm of that intensity hitting land would be a much rarer thing." That coincidence might occur once in a century, he said. Climate models suggest that the landfall-at-maximum phenomenon may occur more frequently in the future — but to verify that hypothesis, Emanuel said you'd have to collect data over the next 100 years or so. "I hope it's at least 100 years," he said.

Why is it so hard to be precise about the storm's strength?
Both Emanuel and Norcross bemoaned the fact that Pacific typhoons aren't being studied as closely as Atlantic hurricanes. The U.S. military discontinued up-close typhoon monitoring in 1987, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center now relies primarily on satellite and radar data. That's why it was so hard to pin down precisely how strong the storm was as it headed for the Philippines.

"Was it better developed than Hurricane Wilma in 2005, or Katrina at its peak? We really can't say, because we didn't have any hurricane hunters flying in this to actually measure the winds," Norcross said.

In addition to the Hawaii-based warning center, China, Japan and Taiwan have typhoon-monitoring agencies, "but there's no coordinated effort," Emanuel said. He recommended setting up an international center and using typhoon-hunting airplanes — or robotic drones, for that matter — to keep track of the typhoons of the future. - NBC News.

DELUGE: Sudden Flooding And Severe Ice Jams Western Alaska - Homes Damaged In Several Communities, Displacing Many Families! [PHOTOS]

November 12, 2013 - ALASKA - Sudden flooding and severe ice jams in the village of Kotlik -- a coastal Yukon River Delta town of about 630 people south of Norton Sound -- damaged sewage systems, closed the community's school, displaced families and cut off the community’s access to any running water over the weekend. And the village is bracing for another wave of nasty winter weather expected to bring more flooding.

ce buildup from coastal flooding in the Western Alaska community of Kotlik. Nov. 11, 2013
Patricia Okitkun photo

Other communities in the region, from Scammon Bay to Unalakleet, also suffered damage as a result of severe weather that accompanied a Bering Sea storm sweeping through the area late last week.

"The town was actually a part of the ocean," Kotlik Mayor Thomas Sinka said Monday. "I mean everything was underwater, and our rescue teams were trying to get to all of these people, but the flooding happened so fast we just couldn't."

He added that sea ice was pushed into the town and surrounding rivers, making it more challenging to perform search and rescue operations.

Sinka said the water from Pastol Bay came rushing into the Yup’ik village on Saturday. He said more than 100 people, families and their pets headed to the local school for shelter.

Although the worst seems to be over, Sinka said, it has left the town with immense damage.

He said the townspeople are just now able to survey the damage, but the list of needed repairs is already long. Damage at the fueling station caused diesel to spill into the village, he said. Sewage pipes floated away and the sewage water was in the streets. The playground equipment at the school was taken away with the current, and the school had no heat or running water. People have lost their homes. And multiple people posted on the Kotlik Facebook page claiming that much of the Alaska Native subsistence food that was hunted and gathered over the summer has been destroyed.

Alaska Department of Homeland Security spokesman Jeremy Zidek confirmed that the community’s water system had been knocked out and the water plant damaged.

“They have about 2 weeks of water within their water tanks,” Zidek said. “It can’t be distributed (by the system), but they can haul it.” He added that Kotlik would have to resort to using honeybuckets for their sewage needs, at least for the time being.

No Homeland Security officials were on scene Monday, but the agency was monitoring the still-developing situation. Sinka said Monday evening that the community had been talking with a number of state and federal agencies, including FEMA.

 Ice buildup from flooding in the community of Kotlik. Nov. 11, 2013.
Patricia Okitkun photo

Flooding in the community of Kotlik, Alaska, November 2013.
Velvet McCambridge photo

Bethel residents have been trickling to the town to help out, said Sinka, but fixing a majority of the damage will be challenging because of the ice jams that built up throughout the community. The village of Kotlik will meet Monday afternoon to further discuss the amount of damage.

Sinka said the two things they need most right now is fresh water, and honey buckets to help while the sewage system remains offline.

"It is just heartbreaking to see this happening," said Sinka. "But we are lucky no one was hurt."

Meanwhile, other communities have also seen damage from the storm. Zidek said that coastal erosion had been reported in Golovin and Shaktoolik. Unalakleet, meanwhile, was in much the same state as Kotlik, with the main water line offline, and about two weeks of water available in that coastal community of about 700.

Despite the damage, the communities had mostly weathered the flooding relatively well, Zidek said.

The power is on, and we’ve been in communication with (the affected communities),” Zidek said. “We haven’t had any critical requests for life safety needs, medical emergencies, communications, or power at this time.”

Planning ahead

But more storms appear to be on the way. The National Weather Service reported Monday that rough weather was expected to continue for much of the week.

“A series of storms developing over the Bering and Chukchi Seas will sweep across Northern Alaska Tuesday night through Thursday. Although there is some uncertainty in the forecast details ... another round of stormy weather is likely across much of Western Alaska,” the NWS wrote.

The storm systems were expected to bring high winds that could cause more coastal flooding, the agency reported.

Flooding in the community of Kotlik, Alaska, November 2013.
Velvet McCambridge photo.

Flooding in the community of Kotlik, Alaska, November 2013.
Velvet McCambridge photo

Sinka reported Monday evening that the community had been able to clear its runway and a boardwalk, enabling people to move around in the ice-clogged village. He said they were focused on getting some people who live across the river from Kotlik onto the other side and into the main community, where they might be better able to ride out the upcoming bout of bad weather.

Kotlik held a town meeting on Monday, and some people were surprised to find out that there could be more flooding on the way. Sinka said that some people only had VHF radio and hadn't heard about the new storm systems headed toward Western Alaska. He said that the recent flooding will hopefully make the community better prepared for such an event in the future. A new warning system was discussed at Monday's meeting.

"We talked about a siren for the whole community, like if there’s a storm warning, there’d be a siren we could set off," Sinka said.

Such a plan is for the future. For now, the community will likely have to hunker down as best it can until the next storm passes -- and then begin to rebuild. - Alaska Dispatch.

MASS OYSTER DIE-OFF: "Everywhere You Look, It's Just Dead Oysters" - Massive Oyster Kill In Beaufort County, South Carolina?!

November 12, 2013 - UNITED STATES -  The oyster population in parts of Beaufort County has been nearly wiped out by a massive die-off, and the area's oyster farmers are feeling the pain, according to environmental officials and fishermen.

It's difficult to say exactly how many oysters have died, but fishermen in Beaufort County are reporting as much as 75 to 90 percent of the oysters they find in the areas they harvest are dead, said Lee Taylor, S.C. Department of Natural Resources commercial shellfish coordinator.

Craig Reaves, owner of Beaufort's Sea Eagle Market looks over the hundreds of dead single oysters at an
area of oyster beds Nov. 5 on the Broad River.
SARAH WELLIVER — Sarah Welliver

Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/2013/11/10/2785027/summer-rain-blamed-for-massive.html#storylink=cpy

"We don't have official numbers right now because it varies even from one side of the river to another," Taylor said.

It's likely that heavy rain over the summer caused the deaths by inundating the estuaries where oysters grow with fresh water and lowering salinity levels, he said.

Along the banks of the Broad River, 80 to 90 percent of the oysters are dead, according to Craig Reaves, owner of Sea Eagle Market in Beaufort.

"Everywhere you look it's just dead oysters," he said. "Everything in that area is wiped out."

Reaves has tested salinity levels in the river and gotten results near zero, he said. Where his fishermen once picked 1,000 single oysters in a day, they're finding only about 100 living oysters now, Reaves said.

"It was during the summer that we had so much rain that our salinities got very out of whack," he said. "But I've never seen so much rain that it would affect the oysters."

Technically the state is at normal rain levels, but the rain fell hard enough and in a short enough span to have a lasting effect on salinity levels, Taylor said.

"We haven't done an extensive survey yet, but there's really not a whole lot we can do about it," Taylor said.

"We can't increase salinity."

WATCH:  Craig Reaves, owner of Sea Eagle Market in Beaufort talks Nov. 7, 2013, about the hundreds of dead single oysters along the Southern shore of the Broad River from heavy summer rains this year.

Fisherman Jon Dusenberry picks clusters of oysters near Whale Branch and has seen between 75 and 90 percent of the oysters in the area near the Coosaw River dead. In the past, he's sold his oysters to eight restaurants in Myrtle Beach, but he's had to cut back to supplying just three this year, he said.

"That's the first that's happened to me in this area," he said. "It's kind of wiped us all out right here."

It appears the worst of the deaths are in Reaves and Dusenberry's areas along the Broad and Coosaw rivers, Taylor said. He has also heard from fisherman in one area near Charleston, but that die-off is not as large as in Beaufort County.

Although there is little DNR can do to stop the deaths, Taylor is documenting the event for study.

Of the oysters he has observed so far, Taylor said he's found many with juvenile oysters attached to the inside of the shells, which means the oysters were able to reproduce at least once before they died.

However, it will still take some time for the population to recover, he said.

"It could have a long-term impact up to two or three years, but it's hard to project," Taylor said. - Island Packet.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Fireballs Over California - Meteor Lights Up Bay Area For Third Night In A Row; And New Video From Security Camera Shows Meteor Explosion Over Slab City!

November 12, 2013 - SPACE -  A bright meteor lit up the Bay Area sky on Friday night.

A bright meteor lit up the Bay Area sky for a third night in a row.
(photo courtesy Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) (KGO Photo)

Bay Area News Group photographer Ray Chavez snapped pictures of it from San Lorenzo and then tweeted them.

This is the third night in a row that large meteors have been spotted. Right now we are in the midst of the South Taurids meteor shower. It peaked last month, but can still produce stunning shooting stars. - KGO.

A Slab City Resident caught the 2013 Southern California Meteor Fireball Explosion on his security camera in the desert. This video shows that there were two explosions. The interesting part of this film is that it shows how bright the two flashes were. They lit up the whole desert like it was daytime.

WATCH:  Meteor over Slab City.

This is from a camera filming the Security Cam TV as the owner did not know how to save and convert the file. It was filmed as the owner clicked frame by frame the action.

Read a Slab City Resident's Meteor eye-witness experience. - Slab-City.

EXTREME WEATHER: Brrrrrr - Fierce Arctic Blast Brings January-Like Temperatures To Much Of The United States; Arctic Air Brings First Snowflakes To Philly, NYC!

November 12, 2013 - UNITED STATES - With the start of astronomical winter still a little over a month away, it will feel a lot more like December than November across a large part of the Northeast into midweek.

A bitter cold air mass that has been building across Canada has become dislodged from the Arctic, and the bulk of this air is sweeping across the northeastern United States.

The coldest temperatures will be on Tuesday and Wednesday as the winterlike chill spills into the Northeast behind an arctic cold front.

High temperatures from Washington, D.C., northward to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston will fail to get out of the 40s, and areas farther inland will not even make it out of the 30s. On Tuesday night, the first below-freezing temperatures are likely from Washington, D.C., to New York City.

In addition to the cold temperatures, I-95 cities from Boston and New York City to Philadelphia saw the first snowflakes of the season on Tuesday. Some snow even mixed in as far south as Baltimore, while snow also reached the coast. A trace of snow fell in Atlantic City, N.J.

Gusty northwest winds will accompany this cold air mass and make it feel even colder, especially on Tuesday. AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures will not get above 30 degrees from the Appalachians to northern New England.

To put this air mass into perspective, consider the normal high temperature for New York City on Tuesday is 55 degrees F. AccuWeather is forecasting an afternoon high in the low 40s, similar to the average for Dec. 21 (the first day of winter).

Similarly in Philadelphia, the average high temperature on Tuesday is 58 degrees F. AccuWeather is forecasting an afternoon high of only 42 degrees F, which is the average high temperature on Dec. 24.

This winter chill will not be sticking around for very long, as temperatures will warm back toward more seasonable levels for the start of the weekend. - AccuWeather.

A fierce arctic blast swept from the Midwest to Maine early Tuesday, lashing a long arm of the U.S. with freezing temperatures and blanketing some cities in snow and sleet, meteorologists said.

The strong cold front sent temperatures plunging across the East Coast and Gulf Coast as the forecast showed January-low lows in the single digits and teens in the Great Plains and the Upper Midwest and into the 20s from Texas to the mid-Atlantic states, the National Weather Service said.

Even the Southeast is expected to see unseasonable low temperatures that could hit the teens and low 20s.

In all, temperatures across nearly a third of the country were expected to be 10 to 20 degrees below normal temperatures for this time of year.

Pablo Avila clears snow from a table in Millennium Park in Chicago, Ill., on Monday.
The snowfall was the first of the season for the city. Scott Olson / Getty Images

“If you haven’t gotten your winter coat out down here it’s time to do so,” said Tom Niziol, a winter weather expert at the Weather Channel, directing his remarks to southerners.

Following the cold front is a light band of clouds and rain that could turn to snow in some portions of the region.

Parts of the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, the Appalachians, upstate New York and northern New England could see some light snowfall early Tuesday, according to Weather Channel meteorologists.

A weather advisory was issued for parts of the Ohio River Valley.

However, Weather Channel meteorologist Chis Dolce sent a message to kids: "No snow day" was likely on Tuesday.

WATCH: A strong cold front started the winter season a bit sooner than expected for some states, including Michigan. The Weather Channel's Mike Seidel reports.

He added: "While this time of year is notorious for major Great Lakes snowstorms, that's not what we're forecasting with this moisture-starved Arctic cold front."

A dusting of snow was possible in New Jersey and some of New York’s northern suburbs into Tuesday morning, and could add to the frustration of the morning commute, NBCNewYork reported.

Light snow could stick to grassy areas and the tops of cars but was not forecast to accumulate on the roads and highways.

The worst of the weather system could come during the morning rush hours on Tuesday in Chicago and New York, severely reducing the visibility for some commuters. - NBC.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Alaskan Village Faces Extinction From Coastal Erosion - Residents Who Must Move To Higher Ground Are Stuck In Limbo Over Tribal Dispute!

November 12, 2013 - ALASKA - The flood-prone village of Newtok near Alaska's storm-battered coast is running out of time as coastal erosion creeps ever closer to the Yup'ik Eskimo community.

As residents wait for a new village to be built on higher ground nine miles away, a dispute over who is in charge has led to a rare intervention by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Wooden boards connect houses in Newtok, Alaska - the flood-prone
village near Alaska's storm-battered coast.

The bureau ruled that the sitting tribal council no longer represents the community of 350 as far as the agency is concerned.

 Council leaders are appealing the BIA's decision, which gave the funding-administrative power to a new group that claims it is the rightfully elected council.

Until the matter is resolved, millions of dollars in government funds for the relocation effort have been halted, as nature's relentless erosion continues, oblivious to who is in charge.

'Who's suffering here is the community members,' said Scott Ruby, director of the state agency that administers the relocation grants.

Newtok is one of Alaska's most eroded coastal villages and the only one that has begun a physical move, with the raging Ninglick River steadily inching toward homes.

Officials estimate Newtok, 480 miles west of Anchorage, has until the end of the decade before erosion causes severe damage.

Government funds have been used over the last seven years to build six homes, a barge landing, roads and five storage structures at the site of the new village.

Now those structures sit as reminders that a community's dreams of a rebirth are still unrealized.

'We're just falling way back,' said Stanley Tom, a longtime tribal administrator who is part of the group whose authority is no longer recognized.

In its ruling, the BIA said required elections were purportedly not held for more than seven years, so the old council had been operating on expired terms. The old council denies the allegations.

Bureau of Indian Affairs has ruled that the sitting tribal council no longer represents the
community of 350 residents in Newtok, Alaska

The new council members were first elected in October 2012. The following month, members of the old council held another election.

The resulting dispute reached a boiling point in June when the new council got more votes during a community meeting attended by both sides.

That victory carried significant weight in the BIA's decision, which said its decision applies to such purposes as bureau funding.

Members of the new council have not responded to requests from The Associated Press for comment.

The state, which is not bound by the BIA decision, has been sitting on $6.5 million in reimbursable grant funds for the relocation effort, including proceeding with building out an evacuation center at the new location called Mertarvik.

Any payout has been delayed by the dispute and failure of the new faction to establish an official bank account until recently.

The state expects to soon issue $51,000 in revenue sharing funds to the new council that should have been distributed last summer.

Relocations funds probably won't be disbursed until next spring at the earliest.

Adding to the complication, recent audits by the state concluded that the old faction mismanaged the administration of other relocation grants, such as changing the architectural design of the evacuation center after it took over the project from the state in 2011.

The audit also noted apparent payroll improprieties, including exorbitant compensation for certain employees.

The audit recommends that the tribe return about $300,000 to the state for alleged improprieties including duplicate payments on invoices and retroactive wages for employees.

Officials have denied any mismanagement.

At the same time, members of the new council failed to hold a required election last month, saying they wanted to wait until the dispute was resolved, according to Ruby of the state Division of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.

He would have liked to have seen an election held so that anyone who wanted to run, including members of the old faction, could have done so. He said the issue will have to be revisited later.

For now, there is no time to waste, so the state is recognizing the new council, Ruby said.

The Ninglick River is swallowing more and more bank each year just south of the village.

Sinking permafrost continues to subject the area to flooding from intensifying storms blamed on climate change.

'There's a real need out there,' he said. - Daily Mail.

MASS MAMMAL DIE-OFF: Unusual Mortality Event - Extremely Unprecedented Dolphin Die-Off Witnessed Along Eastern U.S. Coast?!

November 12, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced unsettling and unfortunate news this week centered on the bottlenose dolphin and Cetacean populations on the east coast of the United States. We are witnessing the most unprecedented stranding and die-off of these creatures in our recorded history.

Image Credit: Thinkstock.com

The last major incidence of stranding and die-off of these populations occurred in 1987-88 and was responsible for an estimated 30 percent decimation of the coastal population. This current scourge, with data collected between July of this year and November 3, has exceeded the total of the previous epidemic.

According to Teri Rowles, coordinator of the federal fisheries and marine mammal health and stranding response team, “We’re less than halfway through that [1987-88] time frame and we have surpassed the number of Cetaceans in that die-off.”

The east coast, from New York to Florida, has, since July, seen a total of 753 bottlenose dolphins stranded. In a typical year authorities claim the average strand rate rests at 74 dolphins. Of this record number of strandings, a full 95 percent that have washed ashore are dead. Those still alive typically die a short time later.

Worst of all, while experts have identified the cause, there is nothing they can do to abate the tragic consequences. And the strandings and deaths are only expected to continue to rise as the coastal population continues its southward migration into warmer coastal waters.

“There is no vaccine that can be deployed for a large bottlenose dolphin population or any cetacean species,” Rowles said. “Currently there is nothing that can be done to prevent the infection spreading, or prevent animals that get infected from having severe clinical disease.”

This most recent mass die-off has been better monitored than the die-off that occurred in the late 80s thanks in great part to a broad marine mammal stranding, rescue and monitoring network created as a result of the earlier event.

The cause of the current die-off has been attributed to an infection — known as dolphin morbillivirus — that works to suppress the dolphin’s immune systems, leaving the creatures vulnerable to both bacterial and fungal infections. Dolphin morbillivirus is believed to have been the same cause responsible for the die-off 26 years ago.

The source of the virus is, as yet, unknown. Federal officials and local stranding networks believe it has originated in large whale populations where it is eventually passed on to the bottlenose dolphins. However, this is still an untested theory as officials claim there is still uncertainty regarding where the virus originated and how it came to infect the dolphin population.

“There are still a lot of unanswered questions,” Rowles said. “We wish we knew why outbreaks occur.”

To date, a total of 5 types of morbillivirus have been identified among marine mammal populations. While there is no proven link to human infection from the dying and dead dolphins, human-specific forms of morbillivirus have been shown to be a cause for measles in humans.

Officials stated they have identified morbillivirus in a few stranded humpback and pigmy sperm whales as well. What is unclear, according to Rowles, is whether that strain is the same strain found to be responsible for the massive die-off of bottlenose dolphins. As of now, they cannot say, with certainty, whether or not they are identical or if there is a separate outbreak affecting the two whale species as well.

The current population of coastal mammals has, in recent years, been shown to be exhibiting a significant decrease in immunity to the illness responsible for the late 80s outbreak. This has been especially true among the population of younger dolphins.

As the team notes, however, suppressed immunity alone is not enough to trigger a significant mortality event.

NOAA and the stranding network are seeking the assistance and cooperation of citizens residing and vacationing on the east coast. As these animals wash ashore, many are already dead. Those still alive will be in severe distress and will require immediate medical attention. “What we’re trying to prevent people from doing is push them back out,” Rowles concluded.

Citizens who come across a stranded whale or dolphin are urged to contact the local stranding coordinator or call the NOAA hotline at 877-WhaleHelp. Additionally, the federal administration has developed a downloadable app entitled ‘Dolphin & Whale 9-1-1′, which is currently available for Android and iOS6 devices.

Perhaps most important for citizens to know is that NOAA requests and suggests the following when coming into near contact with one of these stranded animals: do not touch the dolphin; don’t allow your pets to approach the animal; and maintain a safe distance of at least 100 yards from which you can observe the beached creature.

Rowles vaguely and ominously concluded her statement saying, “We don’t yet know how this is going to play out.” - Red Orbit.

MASS MAMMAL DIE-OFF: Experts Are Worried Over The Appearance Of 35 Dead Turtles Washed Ashore Off The Northeast Coast Of Italy?!

November 12, 2013 - ITALY - It is becoming truly amazing and is growing almost exponentially the mortality of turtles, many also large, who ended up stranded in Grado within a few days.

Until yesterday, the total number has reached 35 units, but probably there are still others that have not yet been identified or that the sirocco wind is carrying earth in those days.

Only between Friday and yesterday have been found, in fact, five more, some Pineta to the other along the beach up to the main bag.

The situation is becoming really worrying at the time but no one has yet managed to establish what was the cause of the deaths, although the hypothesis that is the most popular is that of food poisoning.

The first indication of the number of turtles found (thirty) has emerged in the course of a meeting that took place in recent days to the Office circondariale sea of ​​Grado, commanded by Lieutenant Ottavio Cilio.

It was a meeting which was attended by all the entities involved in the problem. On the contents of the reserve is maintained, pending the publication of a press which will be released in the coming days.

It is known only that the meeting was attended by all relevant bodies, technicians ARPA, the experts of the reserve of Miramare, the OGS of Trieste, by the company health for Civil Protection, the City Council, veterinary services, the regional managers of the Ministry of the Environment and others, including experts from various institutes also the Veneto region.

Until last week, were given to some 14 finds. In fact, after it emerged that a further ten of these reptiles was over beached on the Tour d'Orio and others in the area of ​​Fossalon.

The meeting, therefore, served to take stock of the situation, though, as we saw with the findings of these last days, will have to be updated.

A meeting still important, especially to see if the first investigations carried out on dead animals have yielded some results.

But this fundamental aspect has not yet been clarified. To understand what might have happened will have to await the results of the analysis of the drawings made.

An important consideration is that, in broad terms, rejected the hypothesis of pollution, because in that case you would almost certainly occurred even a die-off of fish that instead it looks like there has not been.

Almost certainly the plague took place at a precise point, but not yet determine, perhaps not even in Italian territorial waters.

The strong wave motion caused by several days when the south wind blew in an intense, he then meant that the tortoises were transported up on the beaches of Grado. - Il Piccolo. [Translated]

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Indonesia's Mount Sinabung Spits Powerful Burst Of Ash - Thousands Flee As The Volcano Cover Nearby Vilages In Thick Ash; Reports Emerging Of Respiratory Difficulties And Other Severe Health Problems; Government Fear Outbreak Of Diseases!

November 12, 2013 - INDONESIA - Authorities in Indonesia’s westernmost province have told the people that remain in their homes on the slopes of Mount Sinabung that it is time to leave.

Sinabung volcano erupted twice on Nov. 10 with no casualties. About 1,710 people have been evacuated since
Mount Sinabung in western Indonesia spectacularly erupted, according to Indonesia’s
Disaster  Mitigation Agency. (AFP Photo)

“The increased activity of Mount Sinabung provides a strong reason for evacuating people — getting them away from the mountain,” Tonny Sembiring, the head of the Payung subdistrict said on Monday.

Police and the armed forces (TNI) continue to work to evacuate residents from four villages within a four-kilometer radius of the crater, Tonny said, identifying the villages as Guru Kinayan in Payung subdistrict, as well as Gugung, Kuta and Sigarang Garang in the subdistrict of Naman Teran.

Monday’s eruption, Tonny said, was the most severe since October, 2010.

“The eruption included heat clouds descending down the slope up to 1,500 meters,” he said. “This situation is prompting all personnel to work together to evacuate people for the sake of the safety of these resident themselves.”

He said that the sense of urgency to remove people from harm’s way had taken on new significance since the beginning of the week.

North Sumatra Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Raden Heru Prakoso said that police and the military were guarding villages that had been evacuated.

“Our personnel are also ready to conduct further evacuation if we are asked,” Raden added.

Motorists wear masks while passing through an area covered by thick ash as Sinabung volcano continues
spewing volcanic materials and thick smoke into the air in Karo on November 9, 2013. About 1,710 people
have been evacuated since Mount Sinabung in western Indonesia spectacularly erupted, according
to Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency. (AFP Photo)

Sutopo Yuwono, the spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), called on residents to leave the danger zone.

“We hope that people heed the call, so that if a major eruption takes place, there will be no victims,” Sutopo said.

Reports have, however, emerged of health problems beginning to establish themselves in shelters set up for evacuees. Respiratory difficulties and diarrhea have been reported, while conditions at the shelters have been described as cramped.

“The local district government should be sending a medical team to help with medicine,” said 40-year-old Lusiana Boru Ginting, an evacuee staying at a shelter.

Lusiana said that most of those suffering signs of health problems were children.

“They are more vulnerable to diseases because they are sleeping on mats on an open tent,” she said, adding that there was a shortage of blankets, medicine, food and drink.. “They are too cold — the weather is really cold at the moment.”

The 2,460 meter-high Mount Sinabung has four craters. On Nov 3, the agency raised its alert status to the third rung of a four-level alert system, which signifies that the likelihood of a major eruption had grown significantly. - The Jakarta Globe.

MAJOR ALERT: Monumental Convergence On Earth And In The Heavens, Will The Lights Go Out On November 13, 2013 - United States Government Plans Major Drill On Wednesday To Simulate A Knockout Blow; Cyber Attack 'War Game' To Test London Banks Today; And "Cannibal Coronal Mass Ejection" Heads For The Earth, Solar Storm Warning In Effect?!

November 12, 2013 - UNITED STATES/UNITED KINGDOM - There are very dark storm clouds gathering around the United States and the entire Earth as a whole. Things are about to get dark, very dark in just a few hours. On November 13-14, 2013, the lights are about to go out.

Huge Electric Grid Failure Drill Scheduled For November 13 -14.

Power grid vulnerabilities are finally garnering some attention by government officials.

An electrical grid joint drill simulation is being planned in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Thousands of utility workers, FBI agents, anti-terrorism experts, governmental agencies, and more than 150 private businesses are involved in the November power grid drill.

The downed power grid simulation will reportedly focus on both physical and cyber attacks. The antiquated electrical system in the United States has been one of the most neglected pieces of integral infrastructure.

The EMP Commission, created by Congress, released a report in 2008 calling for increased planning and testing, and a stockpiling of needed repair items.

The SHIELD Act, which is stalled in Congress, is the first serious piece of legislation in many years to attempt to address the vulnerabilities of the power grid in. As previously reported by Off The Grid News, a recent American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) report gave the power grid a “D+” when grading various pieces of infrastructure and public services in the United States.

The disaster drill is being described as a crisis practice unlike anything the real power grid has ever experienced. The GridEX II drill Nov. 13-14 will focus primarily on how governments will react if the electrical grid fails and, for instance, the food supply chain collapses.

American utility companies are responsible for running approximately 5,800 power plants and about 450,000 high-voltage transmission lines, controlled by various devices which have been put into place over the past decades. Some of the utility companies which oversee the power grid reportedly use “antique computer protocols” which are “probably” safe from cyber hackers,” The New York Times reported.

The Times said experts call the power grid the nation’s “glass jaw.” Even the military gets 99 percent of its power the same way everyday citizens get it – from commercially run companies

“If an adversary lands a knockout blow, [experts] fear, it could black out vast areas of the continent for weeks; interrupt supplies of water, gasoline, diesel fuel and fresh food; shut down communications; and create disruptions of a scale that was only hinted at by Hurricane Sandy and the attacks of Sept. 11,” The Times said.

Former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman Curt Hebert stated that if the nation fails at electricity, “we’re going to fail miserably” at everything else.

Hebert also noted that during prior power grid drills, the scenario assumed the system would be up and running again relatively quickly after an attack. This drill will assume it’s out much longer.

If the power grid fails, a lack of electricity and food delivery are only the first wave of troubles facing the American people. Police could face major problems with civil unrest. Of course, there also would not be any electric heating or cooling, which easily could lead to many deaths depending on the season.

A 2012 report by the National Academy of Science said terrorists could cripple the nation by damaging or destroying hard-to-replace components, some of which aren’t even made in the United States.

“Of particular concern are giant custom-built transformers that increase the voltage of electricity to levels suited for bulk transmission and then reduce voltage for distribution to customers,” The Times said in a summary of the report. “… Replacing them can take many months.”

Said Clark W. Gellings, a researcher at the Electric Power Research Institute, “I don’t think we pay quite enough attention to the technology fixes that would allow us to make the power system more resilient.” - Off The Grid News.

New York City during a blackout in 2003. More than 150 companies and groups will take part
in a drill that will simulate attacks on the power grid.
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The electric grid, as government and private experts describe it, is the glass jaw of American industry. If an adversary lands a knockout blow, they fear, it could black out vast areas of the continent for weeks; interrupt supplies of water, gasoline, diesel fuel and fresh food; shut down communications; and create disruptions of a scale that was only hinted at by Hurricane Sandy and the attacks of Sept. 11.

This is why thousands of utility workers, business executives, National Guard officers, F.B.I. antiterrorism experts and officials from government agencies in the United States, Canada and Mexico are preparing for an emergency drill in November that will simulate physical attacks and cyberattacks that could take down large sections of the power grid.

They will practice for a crisis unlike anything the real grid has ever seen, and more than 150 companies and organizations have signed up to participate.

“This is different from a hurricane that hits X, Y and Z counties in the Southeast and they have a loss of power for three or four days,” said the official in charge of the drill, Brian M. Harrell of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, known as NERC. “We really want to go beyond that.”

One goal of the drill, called GridEx II, is to explore how governments would react as the loss of the grid crippled the supply chain for everyday necessities.

“If we fail at electricity, we’re going to fail miserably,” Curt H├ębert, a former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said at a recent conference held by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Mr. Harrell said that previous exercises were based on the expectation that electricity “would be up and running relatively quick” after an attack.

Now, he said, the goal is to “educate the federal government on what their expectations should or shouldn’t be.” The industry held a smaller exercise two years ago in which 75 utilities, companies and agencies participated, but this one will be vastly expanded and will be carried out in a more anxious mood.

Most of the participants will join the exercise from their workplaces, with NERC, in Washington, announcing successive failures. One example, organizers say, is a substation break-in that officials initially think is an attempt to steal copper. But instead, the intruder uses a USB drive to upload a virus into a computer network.

The drill is part of a give-and-take in the past few years between the government and utilities that has exposed the difficulties of securing the electric system.

The grid is essential for almost everything, but it is mostly controlled by investor-owned companies or municipal or regional agencies. Ninety-nine percent of military facilities rely on commercial power, according to the White House.

The utilities play down their abilities, in comparison with the government’s. “They have the intelligence operation, the standing army, the three-letter agencies,” said Scott Aaronson, senior director of national security policy at the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association of investor-owned utilities. “We have the grid operations expertise.”

That expertise involves running 5,800 major power plants and 450,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, monitored and controlled by a staggering mix of devices installed over decades. Some utilities use their own antique computer protocols and are probably safe from hacking — what the industry calls “security through obscurity.”

But others rely on Windows-based control systems that are common to many industries. Some of them run on in-house networks, but computer security experts say they are not confident that all the connections to the public Internet have been discovered and secured. Many may be vulnerable to software — known as malware — that can disable the systems or destroy their ability to communicate, leaving their human operators blind about the positions of switches, the flows of current and other critical parameters. Experts say a sophisticated hacker could also damage hard-to-replace equipment.

In an effort to draw utilities and the government closer, the industry recently established the Electricity Sub-Sector Coordinating Council, made up of high-level executives, to meet with federal officials. The first session is next month.
Preparation for the November drill comes as Congress is debating laws that could impose new standards to protect the grid from cyberattacks, but many in the industry, some of whom would like such rules, doubt that they can pass.

The drill is also being planned as conferences, studies and even works of fiction are raising near-apocalyptic visions of catastrophes involving the grid.

A National Academy of Sciences report last year said that terrorists could cause broad hardship for months with physical attacks on hard-to-replace components. An emerging effort led in part by R. James Woolsey, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is gearing up to pressure state legislatures to force utilities to protect equipment against an electromagnetic pulse, which could come from solar activity or be caused by small nuclear weapons exploded at low altitude, frying crucial components.

An attack using an electromagnetic pulse is laid out in extensive detail in the novel “One Second After,” published in 2009 and endorsed by Newt Gingrich. In another novel, “Gridlock,” published this summer and co-written by Byron L. Dorgan, the former senator from North Dakota, a rogue Russian agent working for Venezuela and Iran helps hackers threaten the grid. In the preface, Mr. Dorgan says such an attack could cause 10,000 times as much devastation as the terrorists’ strikes on Sept. 11, 2001.

Despite the growing anxiety, the government and the private sector have had trouble coordinating their grid protection efforts. The utility industry argues that the government has extensive information on threats but keeps it classified. Government officials concede the problem, and they have suggested that some utility executives get security clearances. But with hundreds of utilities and thousands of executives, it cannot issue such clearances fast enough. And the industry would like to be instantly warned when the government identifies Internet servers that are known to be sources of malware.

Another problem is that the electric system is so tightly integrated that a collapse in one spot, whether by error or intent, can set off a cascade, as happened in August 2003, when a power failure took a few moments to spread from Detroit to New York.

Sometimes utility engineers and law enforcement officials also seem to speak different languages. In his book “Protecting Industrial Control Systems From Electronic Threats,” Joseph Weiss, an engineer and cybersecurity expert, recounted a meeting between electrical engineers and the F.B.I. in 2008. When an F.B.I. official spoke at length about I.E.D.’s, he was referring to improvised explosive devices, but to the engineers the abbreviation meant intelligent electronic devices.

And experts fear government-sponsored hacking. Michael V. Hayden, another former C.I.A. director, speaking at the Bipartisan Policy Center conference, said that the Stuxnet virus, which disabled some of Iran’s centrifuges for enriching uranium, might invite retaliation.

“In a time of peace, someone just used a cyberweapon to destroy another nation’s critical infrastructure,” he said. “Ouch.” - NY Times.

WATCH:  National Geographic's "American Blackout".

Cyber Attack 'War Game' To Test London Banks

Thousands of staff across dozens of London's financial firms will be put through a "war game" scenario on Tuesday to test how well they can handle a major cyber attack.

In one of the largest exercises of its kind in the world, the test dubbed "Waking Shark II" will bombard firms with a series of announcements and scenarios, such as a major attack on computer systems hitting stock exchanges and unfolding on social media.

It will be co-ordinated from a single room housing regulators, government officials and staff from banks and other financial firms, people familiar with the matter said.

Hundreds more people are expected to be involved from their own offices as the exercise plays out, they said.

The Canary Wharf financial district is seen in east London February 28, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

Simulations are likely to include how banks ensure the availability of cash from ATM machines or deal with a liquidity squeeze in the wholesale market and how well firms communicate and coordinate with authorities and each other.

There will be a particular focus on investment banking operations, one of the sources said.

Regulators and companies are growing increasingly concerned about the threat of cyber crime to the banking system, including the impact of coordinated online assaults or hacking attacks on specific banks. The Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee has already told banks to strengthen their defenses.

The London event will be co-ordinated by the Bank of England, the Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority and follows a similar exercise two years ago.

London is not alone in testing its preparation. New York staged "Quantum Dawn 2" a few months ago to simulate how firms would cope with a cyber attack in markets. - Reuters.

 In addition to this, a solar storm warning is in effect for the planet:

"Cannibal Coronal Mass Ejection" Heads For The Earth.

A 'cannibal CME' might be en route to Earth. NOAA analysts suspect that two CMEs propelled into space by the X-class flares of Nov. 8th and 10th have merged into a single cannibalized cloud.

The new CME prediction model released by the Goddard Space Flight Center is calling for a direct Coronal Mass
Ejection (CME) impact by late November 12th. The plasma cloud was flung into space and towards Earth
by the X1 solar flare. Geomagnetic storming will be possible once the plasma cloud arrives.

Updated look at region 1897 after rotating into view off the southeast limb. Rapid spot growth is being
observed in the circled location. Will this active region become the next big flare producer?
Imagery by SDO/HMI.

It could deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on Nov. 13th, producing minor geomagnetic storms. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. - Space Weather.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: South Africa Shock Over Bus Collision In Mpumalanga - 29 People Killed; Scores Of Other Passengers Taken To Hospital!

November 12, 2013 - SOUTH AFRICA - Twenty nine people have been killed after a bus collided with a truck in South Africa's Mpumalanga province north-east of the capital, Pretoria.

Scores of passengers were also taken to a nearby hospital after the collision on Monday night, officials said.

The Department of Transport has ordered an investigation into the crash.

President Jacob Zuma said he was shocked by the death toll: "This carnage must stop. It is completely unacceptable."

South Africa has one of the highest numbers of road accidents in the world.

The BBC's Milton Nkosi in Johannesburg says the accident happened on the notorious Moloto Road.

Details are sketchy but it is believed that a bus ferrying passengers collided head-on with a truck which had veered into the opposite lane, he says.

The accident occurred in low visibility conditions when it was pouring with rain.

The accident happened near the town of Kwaggafontein near Pretoria.

According to South Africa's Eyewitness news website, two other vehicles piled into the bus and truck.

Transport Minister Dipou Peters has ordered a high-level investigation to determine the exact cause of the crash.

Around 50,000 people commute to work in Pretoria daily along the narrow and potholed route, the AFP news agency reports. - BBC.

EXTREME WEATHER: Powerful Tropical Cyclone Unleashes High Wind Speeds And Flooding In Somalia - As Many As 100 Dead; Scores Injured Along The Coast Of Puntland State; National Disaster Emergency Declared!

November 12, 2013 - SOMALIA - As many as, 100 people are believed dead in Somalia's northeastern region of Puntland after a powerful tropical cyclone storm unleashed high wind speeds and flooding that washed away hundreds of houses and livestock across its path along the vast coast of Puntland State, Garowe Online reports.

FILE PHOTO: Previous Somali flooding.

Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole who Monday held a press conference in Puntland Capital of Garowe has declared, a "Natural Disaster Emergency" in the worst-hit areas of the state and called for immediate response to the calamity, urging the international aid agencies to organize emergency supply delivery via airdrops.

He said, as the storm pattern is expected to expand further inland and continue up to Wednesday, there would be substantially more casualties if the much-needed relief efforts are not coordinated properly soon.

The government said in statement that many people are without access to food, water and medical care, endangering more lives in the aftermath of the tropical cyclone storm.

According to the government press statement, the storm made landfall in the vast coastal area of Puntland, particularly between Eyl, Beyla, Dangorayo and Hafun districts along the eastern coast to Alula district at the tip of the horn of Africa.

Local reports add that faraway Bari regional district of Alula and a number of nearby fishing villages have been witnessing massive destruction and loss of life since Saturday when cyclones with life-threatening flooding began to wreak extraordinary damages in Somalia's northeastern coastal towns and villages along the Indian Ocean.

Reliable sources tell Garowe Online News Agency that nomadic communities remain most affected by the storm and Puntland government has began to deploy teams who would handle the victims amid struggle for survival and set up makeshift evacuation shelters and command posts for the people displaced by the storm surge.

Puntland Disaster Management and Rescue Committee which has been appointed today by President Farole and International NGO's have not confirmed the latest death toll and GO was unable to independently confirm the accurate number of casualty figures. - All Africa.

HUMAN DEVOLUTION: North Korea Publicly Executes 80 People - Some For Videos Or Bibles, Report Says?!

November 12, 2013 - NORTH KOREA - As many as 80 people were publicly executed in North Korea earlier this month, some for offenses as minor as watching South Korean movies or possessing a Bible.

South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported that the so-called criminals were put to death in seven cities across North Korea on Nov. 3, in the first known large-scale public executions by the Kim Jong-un regime.

July 27, 2013 - FILE photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, waving to war veterans during a mass military
parade celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP)

A source, who is familiar with internal affairs in the North and who recently visited the country, told the paper that about 10 people were killed in each city.

Eight people -- their heads covered with white bags -- were tied to stakes at a local stadium in the city of Wonsan, before authorities shot them with a machine gun, according to the source.

Wonsan authorities gathered a crowd of 10,000 people, including children, at Shinpoong Stadium and forced them to watch the killings.

“I heard from the residents that they watched in terror as the corpses were (so) riddled by machine-gun fire that they were hard to identify afterward,” the JoongAng Ilbo source said.

Most of the Wonsan victims were charged with watching or illegally trafficking South Korean videos, involvement in prostitution, or possessing a Bible.

Relatives or accomplices of the execution victims implicated in their alleged crimes were sent to prison camps.

There is no clear reason for the executions. One government official noted they occurred in cities that are centers of economic development. Wonsan is a port city that Kim is reportedly planning to make a tourist destination by building an airport, hotels and a ski resort on Mount Masik.

Simultaneous executions in seven cities could suggest an extreme measure by the North Korean government to quell public unrest or any capitalistic inclinations that may accompany its development projects.

The common theme of the persecution was crimes related to South Korea -- like watching South Korean films -- or corruption of public morals, especially sexual misconduct. North Korean law permits executions for conspiring to overthrow the government, treason and terrorism. But the country has also been known to order public executions for minor infractions such as religious activism, cellphone use and stealing food, in an effort to intimidate the public.

Some experts questioned whether the executions were related to earlier executions of members of the Unhasu Orchestra, a state-run orchestra that First Lady Ri Sol-ju used to participate in, according to the report.

“As the news that people were brutally killed in public executions spread in the countryside, the people have been spreading rumors that say that Kim Jong-un has started a terror campaign in response to the Ri Sol-ju’s pornography scandal,” the source told JoongAng Ilbo.

There were no executions in the capital of Pyongyang, where Kim depends on the support of the country’s elite. The young leader continues to build luxury and recreational facilities in the capital, including a new water park. - FOX News.