Sunday, November 17, 2013

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Experts Warn That "Superbugs Could Erase A Century Of Medical Advances" - One Of The Gravest Threats In The History Of Medicine!

November 17, 2013 - ENGLAND - Drug-resistant "superbugs" represent one of the gravest threats in the history of medicine, leading experts have warned.

Doctors issue new warning of devastating effect of over-prescribing antibiotics for trivial ailments

Routine operations could become deadly "in the very near future" as bacteria evolve to resist the drugs we use to combat them. This process could erase a century of medical advances, say government doctors in a special editorial in The Lancet health journal.

Although the looming threat of antibiotic, or anti-microbial, resistance has been known about for years, the new warning reflects growing concern that the NHS and other national health systems, already under pressure from ageing populations, will struggle to cope with the rising cost of caring for people in the "post-antibiotic era".

In a stark reflection of the seriousness of the threat, England's deputy chief medical officer, Professor John Watson, said: "I am concerned that in 20 years, if I go into hospital for a hip replacement, I could get an infection leading to major complications and possible death, simply because antibiotics no longer work as they do now."

About 35 million antibiotics are prescribed by GPs in England every year. The more the drugs circulate, the more bacteria are able to evolve to resist them. In the past, drug development kept pace with evolving microbes, with a constant production line of new classes of antibiotics. But the drugs have ceased to be profitable and a new class has not been created since 1987.

Writing in The Lancet, experts, including England's chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, warn that death rates from bacterial infections "might return to those of the early 20th century". They write: "Rarely has modern medicine faced such a grave threat. Without antibiotics, treatments from minor surgery to major transplants could become impossible, and health-care costs are likely to spiral as we resort to newer, more expensive antibiotics and sustain longer hospital admissions."

Strategies to combat the rise in resistance include cutting the amount of antibiotics prescribed, improving hospital hygiene and incentivising the pharmaceutical industry to work on novel antibiotics and antibiotic alternatives.

However, a leading GP told The Independent on Sunday that the time had come for the general public to take responsibility. "The change needs to come in patient expectation. We need public education: that not every ill needs a pill," said Dr Peter Swinyard, chairman of the Family Doctor Association.

"We try hard not to prescribe, but it's difficult in practice. The patient will be dissatisfied with your consultation, and is likely to vote with their feet, register somewhere else or go to the walk-in centre and get antibiotics from the nurse.

"But if we go into a post-antibiotic phase, we may find that people with pneumonia will not be treatable with an antibiotic, and will die, whereas at the moment they would live.

"People need to realise the link. If you treat little Johnny's ear infection with antibiotics, his mummy may end up dying of pneumonia. It's stark and it's, of course, not direct, but on a population-wide level, that's the kind of link we're talking about."

There are no reliable estimates of what resistance could cost health systems in the future, but the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control believes that €1.5bn (£1.2bn) a year is already being spent on health problems associated with antibiotic resistance in Europe.

Joanna Coast, professor of health economics at the University of Birmingham, said that the problem of resistance had the potential to "affect how entire health systems work".

Professor Coast added: "We don't know how big this is going to be. It's like the problems with planning for global warming. We know what the costs are now but we don't know what the costs will be into the future.

"Much of what we do in modern health system relies on us having antibiotics. We need them for prophylaxis for surgery, for people having chemotherapy for cancer. The worry is that it might make big changes to how we run our health system."

Antibiotics are also used in vast quantities in agriculture, fisheries and by vets, the resulting environmental exposure adding to bacterial resistance, with further consequences for human health.

Experts say that to meet demand without increasing resistance, drug companies will need to find new ways of financing antibiotic development that are not linked to expectations of large volume sales. Global health authorities such as the World Health Organisation have also warned that global drives to reduce antibiotic use must not harm access to life-saving drugs in poorer countries.

Writing in The Lancet, Professor Otto Cars of Uppsala University in Sweden, and one of the world's leading experts on antibiotic resistance, said: "Antibiotic resistance is a complex ecological problem which doesn't just affect people, but is also intimately connected with agriculture and the environment.

"We need to move on from 'blaming and shaming' among the many stakeholders who have all contributed to the problem, towards concrete political action and commitment to address this threat." - Independent.

DELUGE: South Africa's Western Cape Starts Mopping Up After Floods - Over 18,000 People Affected; Flooding Caused Numerous Rockfalls, Mudslides And Landslides; 1 Dead And Two Missing!

November 17, 2013 - SOUTH AFRICA - Mopping up operations have started in parts of the Western Cape affected by heavy flooding, Cape Town disaster management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said on Sunday.

“The improved weather conditions now give us time to repair and clear infrastructure,” he said.

A resident of the Stormhaven Park Retirement Village in Somerset West near Cape Town is taken away on a
gurney after the area was hit by flash floods and the Lourens River burst its banks, causing several roads
to be closed and leaving scores of people stranded. About 100 residents were evacuated from the village,
the manager, Susan Connoway said. As more than 100mm of rain pelted the Western Cape on Friday night,
rescue teams worked hard to evacuate patients from a hospital and flood-stricken
residents from their homes.  Image by: ESA ALEXANDER

Solomons-Johannes said two sub-stations, one in the Strand and one in Somerset West, that were damaged in the floods were now being repaired so electricity could be restored to those areas.

On Saturday, he said more than 18,000 people had been affected by the floods in the province.

He said people had been evacuated from various areas and given shelter in halls.

The affected areas included Delft, Faure, Fish Hoek, Gugulethu, Hout Bay, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein, Kuils River, Macassar, Philippi, Scarborough, Sir Lowry’s Pass, Somerset West, Strand and Valhalla Park.

Staff assist with the evacuation of Vergelegen Medi-Clinic in Somerset West.
(Modern Web Presence via Twitter )

The flooding had caused numerous rockfalls, mudslides and landslides in mountainous areas.

On Friday, a woman died and another was missing when their car was swept away while they were trying to cross a bridge during flooding in Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch.

On Friday night, 129 patients were evacuated from the Vergelegen Mediclinic in Somerset West due to flooding. They were taken to neighbouring hospitals.

In the Eastern Cape, a woman and her two daughters were swept away while trying to cross a river on Saturday, police said.

They were part of a group of nine people who were on their way to church in Tsolo.

A car in Penny Lane that was swept away by floods, Somerset West after a nearby river burst its banks,
the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said.

Lt-Col Mzukisi Fatyela said they had to cross the river to get to the church.

“They entered the river and were swept away by a strong current,” he said.

The body of the 61-year-old mother was later recovered. Police divers were still searching for the two daughters. - Times Live.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Huge Blast Rocks Syria Government Building - 4 Generals Among 31 Dead In Rebel Bomb Attack! [VIDEO]

November 17, 2013 - SYRIA - A rebel bomb attack killed 31 Syrian military troops on an army base near Damascus on Sunday. Four generals were among those killed. The attack came amid a major regime offensive against rebel positions around Damascus and Aleppo, AFP reported.

Screenshot from YouTube video by user Free Syria

"Three generals and a brigadier-general were among 31 troops killed in a bomb attack that caused a building in the army transport base in Harasta to collapse,'' Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdul Rahman said.

The rebel group Direh al-Aasmeh (Shield of Damascus) brigade - which is part of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army - has claimed responsibility for the attack, posting a video of the blast on YouTube. The video shows the military building collapsing.

 "The timing of the attack is significant” since government troops have only just regained several rebel strongholds in the area, Rahman added.

The government forces were reportedly in the midst of an offensive in the town of Qara, located north of the capital near the border with Lebanon. “Warplanes bombarded the town heavily yesterday (Saturday). Regime troops are trying to storm it and to drive the rebels out,” Rahman said.

"There is speculation that rebels could have infiltrated the military base, as the explosive device was probably placed "either inside or beneath the building in a tunnel,” he continued.

Ukrainian journalist Ankhar Kochneva confirmed the attack on her blog. Kochneva was in Harasta when she heard the blast and felt the building she was in shake. She described the blast as a very large one, with many dead and wounded.

WATCH: Rebel bomb attack in Syria.

The two-year conflict has already killed more than 100,000 people and displaced more than one million refugees. Syria’s economy has lost an estimated US$100 billion during the war - the equivalent of two years of normal production, according to Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil.

Moscow and Washington say they are committed to bringing both sides of the conflict to the negotiating table at the Geneva-2 peace conference. An earlier set of talks in Geneva broke up last year after just one day.  - RT.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Swarm Of 1,370 Tremors From New Volcano Discovered Under Antarctica Hints At Fire Below Ice - Large Future Eruption Could Result In A Massive Fire-And-Ice Catastrophe!

November 17, 2013 - ANTARCTICA - A volcano may be stirring more than a half-mile beneath a major ice sheet in Antarctica, raising the possibility of faster base melting that could ultimately affect climate.

Seismologists working in a mountainous area of Marie Byrd Land in western Antarctica detected a swarm of low-magnitude earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 similar to those that can precede volcanic eruptions, according to a study published online Sunday in Nature Geoscience.

Mt. Sidley is the youngest of a chain of volcanoes looms over the ice sheet in Marie Byrd Land in
western Antarctica. (Douglas Wiens / Washington University, St. Louis / December 11, 2011)

The area of activity lies close to the youngest in a chain of volcanoes that formed over several million years, and the characteristics and depth of the seismic events are consistent with those found in volcanic areas of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, the Pacific Northest, Hawaii and Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines, the study concludes.

The tight focus of the 1,370 tremors and their deep, long-period waves helped researchers rule out ice quakes, glacial motion or tectonic activity as causes. So, too, did their apparent depth: At 15-25 miles beneath the sub-glacial surface, they are close to the local boundary between Earth’s crust and mantle.

“At first I had no idea it was something volcanic, and then, as I started putting together all the pieces, it started looking more and more like I’d found a volcano,” said study coauthor Amanda Lough, a seismology graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis.

Chances of a massive fire-and-ice catastrophe are slim, however. Clusters with these wave characteristics have sometimes preceded eruptions, but not always, Lough said. And it would take a staggering release of energy to punch through more a half-mile of ice, she noted.

“Does this mean that something is going to be happening in the next 20 years or so? I have no idea,” she said. “It’s not something that’s going to cause major issues. You’d have to have a huge, huge eruption.”

Still, even a small eruption could increase base melting and lubricate the ice sheet. “If you have a future eruption it’s going to increase the heat flow, so you’re going to have more melting in the surrounding area, which will then lead to more water at the base of the ice sheet and cause the overlying ice flow to increase in velocity because it’s been lubricated.”

How such melting could affect the vast ice sheet remains unknown.

The data came from seismic equipment used to study the interaction of ice with the crust in Antarctica, part of a broader program studying polar ice caps. That data were collected in 2010-2011, but most of the events analyzed occurred in two swarms during the first two months of 2010 and in March 2011.

Radar imaging also revealed a buried ash layer believed to be from an eruption of Mt. Waesche about 8,000 years ago. There also is evidence of small flows of magma on the sub-ice topography, and the surface closest to the swarm appears to be a mound of volcanic material, according to the study.

Lough, who expects to complete her PhD work next year, has been bowled over by reaction to the discovery. “This is my first paper and people keep calling me wanting to know about it,” she said. “This is going to be one of the chapters in my thesis -- probably the most exciting one.”

The study was led by geophysicist and seismologist Douglas Wiens of Washington University, who is supervising Lough's thesis. Other research team members hailed from UC Santa Cruz, Penn State University, New Mexico Tech, Colorado State University, the University of Texas at Austin, Central Washington University and Ohio State. - LA Times.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: "Extremely Dangerous" Tornado Touches Down Near Peoria, Illinois As Severe Storm System Shakes Up The United States Midwest - Widespread Devastation; Neighborhoods Flattened; Hundreds Of Homes Destroyed; Thousands Without Power; 1 Death; Many Injuries; Several Other Large Cities On Tornado Watch; 53 MILLION People At Risk!

November 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Homes and cars were destroyed after an 'extremely dangerous' tornado touched down in Washington, Illinois near Peoria around noon today as a severe storm system makes its way through the Midwest. Already, one death has been confirmed by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and rescuers are looking for survivors in the debris.

At one point, the city of Chicago was threatened leading to the temporary suspension of a Bears-Ravens game and spectators were evacuated from the stadium.

Russell Schneider, a director at the National Weather Service, warned that the storm would move rapidly and might quickly progress from one location to the next. “Fifty three million people over ten states are at severe risk,” said Schneider. “Do not wait for visual confirmation of the threat” he advised residents of the Midwest.

See LIVE and uninterrupted video coverage HERE.

Wiped out: Cars are all that remain in this Washington, Illinois neighborhood after the tornado.

Whirlwind: More tornadoes are forecast today in a 50 mile area between Illinois and Indiana.
The storm is expected to taper off later this evening.

Several people were injured, hundreds of homes and cars were damaged.

Dangerous: A picture on Instagram shows a tornado charging through Washington, Illinois today.

'Attention: Please clear the stadium seating area and relocate to the nearest covered concourse. Please remain calm and leave the seating area in an orderly fashion,' a message on one of Soldier Field's jumbotron's read. The game is expected to resume around 3:30pm.

The tornado warning for Cook County, Illinois but now Indiana and Kentucky are on high alert. In Illinois flights are still grounded at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway Airports and approximately 83,000 are without power in the area.

WATCH: Eye-witnesses capture the tornadoes.

The tornado even caused reporters at the local NBC affiliate in Peoria to seek shelter in the middle of a broadcast, as seen in a video posted online by New York Times reporter Brian Stelter.

The weather service advised that it would affect mainly rural areas, with mobile homes likely to be destroyed and trees likely to be uprooted or snapped.

While the tornado was concentrated in a rural area, pictures posted on Twitter show that it has destroyed several homes and buried cars in debris.

Devastation: Billy Vestal and his 3-year-old daughter Lillian evacuate an area near their home in East Peoria,
Illinois after a tornado touched down there Sunday afternoon.

The aftermath: Homes were torn apart after a tornado passed through Washington, Illinois
- just a few hours southwest of Chicago.

Broken pieces: Debris from damaged homes are scattered around a neighborhood in Washington, Illinois.

Evacuate: Fans are asked to leave the stadium during the Bears-Ravens game in Chicago
which was 'temporarily suspended'.

The tornado emerged out of a large weather system bringing thunderstorms to parts of Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky, the weather service said.

As the storm system moves east, the National Weather Service has issued tornado warnings for southwestern Fountain County, northwestern Parke County, northern Vermillion county and southwestern Warren County in Indiana.

WATCH:  Peoria TV weather coverage interrupted by possible tornado.

After initial reports of the tornado in Washington, Illinois, there have been reports of new tornadoes forming.

A tornado was confirmed near Covington, Indiana at around 2:30pm. The tornado was moving at 75 mph and the storm was producing pea-sized hail.

Tornado damage was also reported in northern Vermillion County, Indiana, near Interstate 74 and State Route 63.

Game over: Baltimore Ravens players walk off Soldier Field in Chicago after their game against the Bears
was temporarily suspended following tornado warnings in the region.

Eye of the storm: The area highlighted in pink will have the highest likelihood of producing tornadoes today.

Seek shelter: A still featured on CNN shows a tornado forming over the area around Washington, Illinois.

Ripped from the ground: An overturned tree threatens the roofs of two houses in Pekin, Illinois.

Other Midwest cities in the line of fire for thunderstorms this afternoon are Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; Nashville, Tennessee; Cincinnati, Ohio; Louisville, Kentucky; Cleveland, Ohio; and Indianapolis, Indiana are also bracing for the storm.

But Indiana is the where the eye of the storm is, and there is a 70 per cent chance of tornadoes in a 50 mile area between the state and Illinois.

WATCH: A tornado outbreak is likely to hit the Chicago area, according to the Storm Prediction Center. The possible tornadoes are part of a storm system that is also expected to bring damaging high winds. The Weather Channel's Mike Seidel and NBC TODAY's Dylan Dreyer report.

'The main issue is going to be damaging winds,' Ron Steve, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service told the Courier-Journal. 'There's still some uncertainty in this forecast...(But) if you see the sun, be worried.'

Warmer weather increases the chance of tornadoes forming.

 The agency says strong winds and atmospheric instability will sweep across the Central Plains during the day before pushing into the Mid-Atlantic states and northeast by evening.

Toppled: The twister made quick work of all the huge trees in its path.

Moving east: The above maps shows the storm system moving through Illinois which produced
the tornado near Peoria around noon today.

Split: Firefighters in Webster Groves, Missouri climb over a tree that fell on a house. The residents
were at home the time the tree crashed but were not injured.

Tornado watch: Severe thunderstorms are expected today in the yellow region highlighted in yellow.
The thunderstorms will be so severe that they could lead to tornadoes around Indiana and Illinois.

It says the potential for strong and long-track tornadoes will center on the Ohio Valley and adjacent Midwestern states.

Many of the storms are expected to become supercells, with the potential to produce tornadoes, large hail and destructive winds.

The severe weather is expected to end later in the evening. Forecasters predict the storm will be over by 6pm in Lafayette, Indiana, by 7pm in Indianapolis and 8pm in Muncie, Indiana.

Showers and thunderstorms will continue until 1am Monday.

The weather service says local and state authorities are monitoring the weather. - Daily Mail.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Europe's Largest And Most Volatile Volcano Mount Etna Erupts Violently - Spewing Molten Lava From The Earth's Core Thousands Of Feet Above The Sicilian Countryside; Forced Officials To Close Airspace; The 16th Paroxysmal Eruption This Year! [STUNNING PHOTOS + VIDEO]

November 17, 2013 - ITALY - Europe's most active volcano Mount Etna has erupted - spewing molten lava thousand of feet above the Sicilian countryside.

The eruption, which was captured on camera from Acireale, near Cantania, sent thick plumes of smoke and ash over the Italian island last night.

Risk: However, staff at Cantania Airport have been forced to close airspace above
Mount Etna, which is the largest and most active volcano in Europe.

Breathtaking: Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, spews molten lava thousand
of feet above the Sicilian countryside during its latest eruption.

Fiery sight: A group of men engage in conversation, seemingly unaware that the volatile
volcano is emitting streams of hot lava from the earth's core.

The breathtaking footage shows the volatile volcano emitting streams of hot lava from the earth's core.

The explosion  - which is the sixteenth paroxysmal eruption recorded this year - did not endanger any of the villages dotted around the slopes of the mountain.

However, staff at Cantania Airport have been forced to close airspace above Mount Etna, which is the largest and most active volcano in Europe.

WATCH: Mount Etna erupts violently.

This is because the vast ash clouds could be hazardous to aircraft, as they could potentially melt and coat moving parts with a layer of glass.

This would ultimately cause the planes' engines to shut down.

Mount Etna's last major eruption was in 1992 - causing a fast-flowing river of molten lava to cascade down the slopes of the mountain.

Despite the town of Zafferana being endangered by the streams of the red-hot liquid, successful diversion efforts saved the town and only one building was destroyed.

Explosive: The eruption was captured on camera from Acireale, near Cantania.
It is the sixteenth paroxysmal eruption recorded this year.

Powerful: The eruption sent thick plumes of smoke and ash over the Italian island last night.

Eruption forced airport officials to close airspace over Mount Etna.

Incredible: The explosion - which lit up the Sicilian sky - did not endanger any of the villages
dotted around the slopes of the mountain.

However, the fiery volcano, currently standing at 10,925 feet tall, is still in constant activity. Astonishingly, it is steadily growing, and has been for 500,000 years, when eruptions began.

Its latest eruption was preceded by a violent tremour on Monday, which sent hundreds of perfect smoke rings into the air.

Experts believe the eruption may have sparked a change in the structure of a vent, perhaps into a particularly circular shape - allowing Mount Etna to spew the unusual smoke-like formations.

The volcano, which came into existence almost one million years ago, has been well-documented since 1500BC, when its eruptions forced civilians to migrate for safety.

Since then, there have been more than 200 eruptions - from the almost undetectable to the catastrophic.

In 122 BC, an explosive eruption spewed so much ash onto the town of Catania - crushing hundreds of houses - that the town's inhabitants were exempted from paying taxes to Rome for ten years.

The most powerful eruption to date was in 1669, when the explosions destroyed part of the summit and the lava flows reached the sea more than ten miles away.

Danger: This is because the vast ash clouds could be hazardous to aircraft, as they could potentially melt
and coat moving parts with a layer of glass. This would ultimately cause the planes' engines to shut down.

No signs of stopping: The fiery volcano is still in constant activity. It is situated on the
geological boundary where the European and African plates collide.

Horrific: Mount Etna's last major eruption was in 1992, pictured, causing a fast-flowing
river of molten lava to cascade down the slopes of the mountain.

Near-miss: The town of Zafferana was endangered by the streams of the red-hot liquid; however,
successful diversion efforts saved the town from much damage.

This disaster prompted town leaders to attempt to control the flows of lava - to no avail.

An extremely violent eruption in 1852 produced more than 2 billion cubic feet of lava and covered more than three square miles of the volcano's base, while the longest eruption began in 1979 and went on for thirteen years.

 Mount Etna's current activity consists of continuous summit degassing, explosive Strombolian eruptions, and frequent basaltic lava flows.

It has proved a constant concern for Sicily - with more than 25 per cent of the island's population living on Etna's slopes.

The volatile volcano is also the main source of income for the island due to a combination of agriculture - stemming from its rich volcanic soil - and tourism. - Daily Mail.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Plane Crash In Central Russia - At Least 52 Feared Dead As Passenger Jet Crashes While Landing In The City Of Kazan!

November 17, 2013 - RUSSIA - Fifty-two people died as a passenger Boeing crashed while landing in the city of Kazan in central Russia on Saturday, according to the Emergencies Ministry.

Boeing 737-500.

The passenger aircraft Boeing 737-500 operated by the regional Tatarstan airline exploded after crash-landing in the airport of Kazan at 15:25 GMT, according to Interfax. The jet’s nose reportedly hit the ground during touchdown. Flight U363 was coming from Moscow Domodedovo airport.

Reports of casualties vary. According to a spokeswoman from the Emergencies Ministry, 52 people were on board the plane and all are feared dead. Another report from the Federal Air Transport Agency said that 50 people - including six crew members - were on board, all of whom were killed.

WATCH: Over 50 dead as Boeing 737 crash lands in Kazan, Russia.

No children were reported to be on board the plane.

The plane caught on fire after the crash landing in Kazan, the capital of the largely-muslim region of Tatarstan. The flames were extinguished less than one hour into the disaster, ITAR-TASS reported.

So far, rescuers have recovered the bodies of all 50 people from the crash site, according to Tatarstan's Disaster Medicine Center.

'One of fuel tanks detonated'

An emergency services source told Interfax that the pilots made a mistake when entering the second lap, causing the plane to crash. However, the source added that there is a possibility that it was a technical failure.

“The plane attempted to land several times. One of the [fuel] tanks detonated while the plane was landing,” said Emergencies Ministry spokeswoman Irina Rossius.

A witness traveling from Kazan to Moscow, who happened to be on the airfield at the moment of the crash, reported hearing a loud bang and feeling some trembling. The shuttle bus he was on was then diverted back to the terminal. The young man did not report any panic and said that he and other passengers were allowed to pick up their luggage within about 15 minutes after the crash.

All the forces of the Volga Regional Emergency Center are on high alert. The Investigation Committee has launched a probe into the crash. A criminal case into the violation of flight rules has been initiated. The Interstate Aviation Committee is dispatching its experts to look into the accident.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed the government to form a commission to investigate the cause of the plane crash in Kazan, said presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Causes under review: Pilot error, technical failure, weather

The head of the Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, said the crash might have been caused by pilot error, technical malfunction, or weather conditions. According to local reports, there were high winds and cloudy skies over the airport in central Russia. Temperatures were above zero.

WATCH: First footage - Boeing 737 crashes at airport of Russia's Kazan.

Probes are expected to be launched on Monday morning.

An expert on air accidents, first-class pilot Vladimir Gerasimov told RT he suspects “an apparent crew error,” as the plane failed to make a precise landing approach on the first try. However, this can be verified only after the flight data recorder of the crashed plane is analyzed, he added.

Boeing 737-500

The Boeing 737-500 is a make of a popular short- to medium-range twin-engine jet airliner, which was introduced in 1987. The series is also known as “Classic,” along with the 300 and the 400 models. The 737-500 can seat from 108 to 132 passengers and has two cockpit crew members. - RT.

MASS BEES DIE-OFF: Global Food Crisis - 1.5 MILLION Bees Found Dead And Dying Near Hives In Orizona, Brazil?!

November 17, 2013 - BRAZIL - "I'm very depressed. You need to hold back tears. " The outburst is the beekeeper Rafael Jacinto Pereira, yesterday afternoon, 24 hours after visiting his apiary, located in the municipality of Orizona. Rafael said she was "ungrounded" after encountering some 1.5 million dead or dying bees near hives. This corresponds to 26% of all production. Rafael suspect the mortality of bees was caused by the use of chemical pesticides in soybean crops in the region.

12 years working with beekeeping, Rafael Pereira says he never saw such destruction in a short time. "I've lost 20 hives adding all my apiaries. But this time, I lost 19 hives only in an apiary. But it could be worse, not yet visited all. "Currently, Rafael has six apiaries, each has between 10 and 20 hives. On average, a hive counts 80,000 bees to produce honey. The loss of each hive represents a loss of R $ 500, totaling a loss of £ 9500.

Rafael believes the spraying of insecticides in neighboring crops to their apiary may have caused the death of bees. "Because of this caterpillar (Helicoverpa), do not know if products are accepted by the Ministry of Agriculture," he says. Therefore, he says, took samples of bees and froze. This is the correct technique for material to be valid for laboratories specializing in this type of analysis.

Technical Trainer for the National Rural Education (Sennar), Paulo Ricardo Dourado Souza Paiva, it is difficult sentencing that occurred in the production of the beekeeper without laboratory data or even without observing the characteristics of the site, such as how to apply the poison or what would be its active ingredient. However, according to information made ​​available to the technician, he believes there is a chance of bees have been victims of some type of contact with pesticides. "But the analysis needs to be done. The problem is that there are no specialized laboratories in Goiás "

Paulo Ricardo raises a second possibility, less likely: the presence of any disease in the apiary. "But disease does not usually kill the whole apiary. Even so, we have to evaluate, "he says.


Paulo Ricardo recalls that, according to the productive vocation of Goiás, such a situation could occur. To avoid, say, beekeepers should be informed and alert crops planted around the production. "They need to be aware of the reality that is happening around them," he says.

The instructor coach Sennar believes it is possible beekeeping and other cultures coexist harmoniously. For this it is necessary that the hives are withdrawn before the local application of pesticides. "They can also be stored for a few days. Therefore, the importance of knowing what is happening around them, "she emphasizes.

Rafael Pereira recalls, however, that he was surprised with the use of pesticides at this time of year.
According to the president of the Beekeepers Association of the State of Goiás (Apigoias), Maria José Oliveira de Faria Almeida, beekeeping is a culture-sensitive.

According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, in 2011, Goiás produced 334 tons of honey, getting 17th in the national ranking. The Rio Grande do Sul leads with 6900 tons.

Proof that the opening of new areas for planting crops such as soybeans and corn may be interfering with the production sector is that, for about four years, these episodes are happening more recurring. "We have no proof, but occurs very near apiaries in areas planted with soybeans and corn," says Jose Maria She points out that such cases have occurred in Piracanjuba, Silvânia, Formosa and Rio Verde. - Portal Radio Rio Vermelho. [Translated]

DELUGE: Deadly Floods And Landslides Hit Vietnam - Over 30 Killed; 11 Missing; 80,000 Displaced; Over 100,000 Houses Damaged!

November 17, 2013 - VIETNAM - Floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains in central Vietnam have killed at least 34 people, left 11 others missing and displaced more than 80,000 from their homes, disaster officials said.

Television footage on Sunday showed inundated houses and streets in the town of Hoi An and the former imperial city of Hue, both classed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, where hundreds of tourists have been evacuated over recent days.

More than 100,000 homes were inundated by the floods, according to Vietnamese officials. [AFP]

At least 34 people have been killed over several days of flooding which were the most destructive since 1999, a regional official told the AFP news agency.

"Eleven other people are missing. More than 100,000 houses have been flooded and transport by road, air and rail has been severely affected across the region," said Nguyen Quang Trung, an official in the coastal city of Danang, adding several central provinces had been hit.

"Rain continued to fall on Sunday morning in the coastal provinces of Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh - where at least 20 people were killed," Trung said, adding damage is initially estimated at around $65 million.

The National Flood and Storm Control Agency said in a statement on Sunday that the loss of life ocurred in five central provinces, where the 11 people were also missing. The death toll was cumulative since the floods began on Friday.

It said the floods had affected 98,000 houses in central Vietnam. But disaster officials said that the flood waters have started to recede in some areas, allowing residents to return and begin digging out their homes.

The worst-hit province was Binh Dinh, where the floods killed 12 people, officials said.

A scene of flood water caused by a tropical depression in central Vietnam on November 15, 2013.

In Quang Ngai province, where nine were killed and four people are missing, flood waters rose above a previous peak measured in 1999, submerging many houses, the official Thanh Nien newspaper reported on Sunday.

Flood waters rose quickly after 15 hydropower plants in the central region opened their sluice gates to release water in reservoir protection, the newspaper reported.

Regular floods

Roads have been closed due to floods and some national train services cancelled.

The central region, incorporating the Central Highlands coffee belt, often suffers from floods and storms between July and October.

Rain since Friday disrupted the coffee harvest and bean drying in central highland provinces, thus delaying the bean flow to sea ports. Vietnam is the world's top robusta coffee bean producer, accounting for around 17 percent of the world's output.

More rain was forecast in the coffee-growing region on Sunday, state forecasters said. - Al Jazeera.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Powerful 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes The Scotia Sea - Third 6.0 Magnitude Or Over In Just 4 Days As Seismic Swarm Develops!

November 17, 2013 - SCOTIA SEA - Another powerful earthquake has just struck the Scotia Sea region, between the furthest tip of South America and Antarctica. The third 6.0 magnitude or over in the last 4 days, as a seismic swarm develops across the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

USGS earthquake location.

Today's quake, which was registered by U.S. Geological Survey as a powerful 7.8 magnitude on the Richter scale, jolted the South American region, and was felt as far away as Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands.

The quake was centred at 893 km (555 miles) southwest of Grytviken, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; 1440 km (895 miles) southeast of Ushuaia, Argentina; 1686 km (1048 miles) southeast of Punta Arenas, Chile; 1709 km (1062 miles) southeast of Rio Gallegos, Argentina;  and 1192 km (741 miles) southeast of Stanley, Falkland Islands.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

The tremor had a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles) and the epicentre was located at 0.3 degrees south latitude and 46.4 degrees west longitude

There is a low likelihood that the quake, which struck at 09:04:55 UTC Sunday, will cause casualties or damage because of its remote location, said the USGS, which monitors earthquakes worldwide.

The Pacific Tsunami Centre issued a bulletin stating that there was no threat of a destructive tsunami based on historical data.

USGS earthquake list for the Scotia Sea region indicating a seismic swarm.

USGS earthquake location for the Scotia Sea region indicating a seismic swarm.

However 'there is a small possibility of a local or regional tsunami that could affect coasts located usually no more than a few hundred kilometres from the earthquake epicentre,' the bulletin read.

On Wednesday, a 6.1 magnitude quake jolted the Scotia Sea at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles) and yesterday (Saturday), a strong 6.8 magnitude undersea quake also hit the region at about the same depth.

Tectonic Summary
The November 17, 2013 earthquake in the Scotia Sea, to the northwest of the South Orkney Islands, occurred as the result of either left-lateral strike slip faulting on an east-west oriented plane, or right-lateral faulting on a north-south plane. The location of the event adjacent to the east-west oriented plate boundary between the Antarctica and Scotia Sea plates implies the left-lateral faulting scenario is most likely. At the latitude of this earthquake, the Antarctica plate moves eastwards with respect to the Scotia Sea plate at a velocity of 6 mm/yr.

USGS earthquake seismicity for the region.

The November 17 earthquake is the latest in a series of moderate-to-large earthquakes to strike the same region over the past several days. The sequence began with a M 6.1 event on November 13 approximately 50 km to the west of the November 17 quake. On November 15, a M 6.8 earthquake struck very close to the preceding M 6.1. Since then, 9 aftershocks have been recorded in the area, ranging from M 4.7 to M 5.4, both near the previous earthquakes and in the same approximate location as the November 17 event.

Though the region surrounding the Scotia Sea is familiar with earthquakes, the majority occur around the subduction zone adjacent to the South Sandwich Islands, to the east of the November 17 earthquake. Just two events of M6 or greater have occurred within 250 km of this earthquake over the past 40 years – a M 6.0 230 km to the west in September 1979, and a M 7.6 160 km to the east in August 2003. These two events involved normal and oblique-normal faulting, respectively, associated with the same plate boundary. Neither is known to have caused damage or fatalities. - USGS.

DELUGE: Unusually Heavy Winter Rains Hit The Middle East - Sparking Widespread Flooding And Traffic Chaos As A Major Snowstorm Approaches! [STUNNING PHOTOS]

November 17, 2013 - MIDDLE EAST - Unusually heavy winter rains have hit the Middle East, forcing the closure of main access routes to Tel Aviv.

A fire engine is deployed to rescue people trapped in their vehicles near the Israeli-Arab town of Kfar Qara
Picture: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images

Torrential rains also swept through desert Jordan, sparking widespread flooding and traffic chaos but bringing welcome water to reservoirs in one of the world's 10 driest countries. Flash floods tore through Lebanon, where several rivers burst their banks cutting highways off. Howling winds have swept away tents in refugee camps - and there are warnings of a major snowstorm approaching.

Here are several pictures of the flooding from across the Middle East:

Rain storms disrupt the road and rail systems in the Israeli Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv
Picture: JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

People drive past vehicles stranded on flooded streets in the Jordanian capital Amman
Picture: KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images

A motorway offramp in Beirut leads into floodwaters caused by torrential rainfall

A Palestinian woman passes keys to a person on the other side of a flooded road in the West Bank of Jenin
Picture: Mohammed Ballas/AP

Israeli soldiers play with the snow on Mt Hermon in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli-Syrian border

Rail tracks are partially submerged in flood waters in Tel Aviv after an enormous thunderstorm
Picture: JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Railway workers stand at a flooded train station in Tel Aviv
Picture: REUTERS/Nir Elias

A Syrian refugee boy runs through flood water at a temporary refugee camp in Al-Faour
near the border between Syria and Lebanon Picture: Hussein Malla/AP

Syrian refugees bail out the Al-Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria
Picture: REUTERS/Ali Jarekji

A family walks through snow in Sawfar village in eastern Lebanon
Picture: REUTERS/ Mohamed Azakir

A rescue team evacuates people trapped in their cars on a flooded road near the town of Kfar Qara,
in central Israel   Picture: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images

Traffic policemen help push a stranded car along a flooded street in Amman, Jordan
Picture: REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

A stranded vehicle is seen on a flooded street after heavy rain in Amman
Picture: REUTERS/Ali Jarekji

A driver sits in his stranded car on a flooded highway, waiting for help, during a storm in Beirut
Picture: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Palestinian men remove a tree that fell overnight in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in Jerusalem's old city
Picture: AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images

A car is driven through floodwater on a highway in Beirut, Lebanon
Picture: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

- Telegraph.