Wednesday, June 25, 2014

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: What's Causing This - Thousands Of Dead Fish Washing Up On A Beach In Milwaukee, United States?! [VIDEO]

June 25, 2014 - MILWAUKEE, UNITED STATES - Dead fish are washing up on Bradford Beach by the thousands! So what’s causing it?

FOX6 News spoke with Baylee and Brooklyn Bates. They’re sisters, and they were amazed by the amount of dead fish on Bradford Beach on Tuesday afternoon, June 24th.

So what, exactly is happening here?

FOX6 News spoke with John Janssen at the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences.

He says the fish are “alewives” — coming to shore to spawn.

Janssen says the fish are dying because they are starving.

Mussels in Lake Michigan are apparently stealing food in the food chain.

Janssen says a big temperature drop can trigger these massive “die-offs.”

WATCH: Dead fish washing up on Bradford Beach by the thousands.

”This is a saltwater fish, and they have difficulty living in fresh water. It just weakens them a bit,” Janssen said.

Janssen says we’ve seen this before, but this die-off is occurring a little later than we’re used to.

Lake Michigan is warming up slowly this year.

Meanwhile, the seagulls are fat and happy. When they see dead fish, it’s like a buffet for them! - FOX6NOW

EXTREME WEATHER: Too Close For Comfort - Lightning Strike Narrowly Misses Fisherman In Barcelona, Spain! [VIDEO]

June 25, 2014 - SPAIN - Lightning narrowly missed a fisherman in Barcelona on June 15 when it struck as few as 50 metres from where he was sitting.

The lightning strike was caught on camera from a nearby parked car. This high-quality, slow motion footage shows the dramatic moment when the bolt of lightning touched down in the water behind a sand-spit that the fisherman was located on.

WATCH: Lightning strike too close.


EXTREME WEATHER: Tornado Rips Through Indianapolis - Severely Damages Homes In Marion And Hendricks Counties! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

June 25, 2014 - INDIANA, UNITED STATES - A tornado tracked through western and northern Indianapolis on Tuesday afternoon. The twister was first spotted near Plainfield, southwest of the city. Spotters near Speedway, which is northwest of downtown, also reported a funnel cloud.

Low-hanging dark crowds are seen northwest on I-65 on Tuesday, June 24, 2014. in Indianapolis. Authorities say a
tornado near Indianapolis has damaged at least three homes. National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Ran
says the tornado struck Tuesday afternoon just southwest of Indianapolis but was no longer on the ground.
(AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Charlie Nye)

In Hendricks County, Plainfield Fire Chief Brian Russel said a few homes have significant damage. Buildings in the city's commercial district were also hit. One house was heavily damaged when a camper was tossed onto a house, destroying most of the roof.

The Wayne Township Fire Department said three homes in the Cameron Meadows subdivision, near the Marion County line, were seriously damaged, while several more sustained less substantial damage.

Storm clouds are seen from Ronald Reagan Parkway, Tuesday, June 24, 2014, in Indianapolis. Authorities say a tornado
near Indianapolis has damaged at least three homes. National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Ran says the
tornado struck Tuesday afternoon just southwest of Indianapolis but was no longer on the ground.
(AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Brent Drinkut )

Low-hanging dark crowds are shown northwest on I-65, Tuesday, June 24, 2014, in Indianapolis. Authorities say a
tornado near Indianapolis has damaged at least three homes. National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Ran
says the tornado struck Tuesday afternoon just southwest of Indianapolis but was no longer on the ground.
(AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Charlie Nye)

Emergency personnel check homes after a tornado touched down on Blackmore Drive, Tuesday, June 24, 2014,
in Indianapolis. Authorities say a tornado near Indianapolis has damaged at least three homes. National
Weather Service meteorologist Mike Ran says the tornado struck Tuesday afternoon just southwest
of Indianapolis but was no longer on the ground. (AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Brent Drinkut )

Photos surfacing over social media show debris on houses, vehicles and trees.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers told the Associated Press no injuries were reported.

Part of roof ripped off home, camper in front.

Tornado damage is seen in Plainfield, Indiana, June 24, 2014. (Steven Penn)

Damaged mailboxes lay in the street in front of homes in Indianapolis after strong storms hit the metro Tuesday.
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

A firefighter walks past storm damage in Wayne Township, just west of Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

People inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, west of the city, were escorted to the basement when the storm hit.

The National Weather Service gave the storm a preliminary EF1 rating, with wind speeds up to 100mph. A storm survey team will officially assign a tornado rating Wednesday after they investigate the damage.

WATCH: Twister Hits Indianapolis Metro.

The storms also brought heavy rain to Indianapolis, prompting flash flood warnings. - TWC

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

ICE AGE NOW: Killing Freeze Predicted For United States Mid-West In The Fall - Cause By Above-Average Volcanic Eruptions For The Last Nine Months!

June 24, 2014 - UNITED STATES -  An early freeze in the Great Plains may cut corn production by 8%, according to Simon Atkins, CEO of Advanced Forecasting Corporation, who presented his long-range forecast in a webinar on Monday.

The Midwest of America, where the Niagara Falls are, experienced temperatures as low as -37C in March of this year.

The cause: above-average volcanic eruptions around the world for the last nine months, including three in the last month - in Eastern Russia, Alaska and Indonesia. The release of sulfur into the atmosphere from volcanic eruptions reflects sunlight back out to space.

The meteorologist predicted cooler-than-normal summer temperatures "because of well-above-normal volcanic eruptions going back to the fall of 2013. We are not going to see many hot periods. Sure, there will be a few days here and there where temperatures reach 100 degrees in Oklahoma, but it's not going to be very common."

"What's going to be more common is more moisture coming in off the Eastern seaboard of the U.S., and it will be pushing frontal boundaries from east to west, cooling down even parts of the Midwest in July and August," he continued. "We think the first two weeks of September will be warmer. But then it will be getting quite a bit colder toward the end of September, and even into October."

These cooler temperatures could damage the corn crop, Atkins explained.

"We think there's going to be an early frost [in the Plains west of Kansas], which could reduce the number of bushels per acre of corn - maybe by around 8%, our current rate of prediction," he said. "It will be a killing freeze, at least 10 to 15 days earlier than normal."

Simon Atkins
Meanwhile, Atkins expects flash flooding in the Midwest this week, from Nebraska down to Arkansas, even reaching into parts of the Tennessee River Valley. "Some of these winds will reach 80 miles per hour with hail, producing lots of flash flooding. Some fields in the Midwest will suffer from too much rain," he said.

The good news in Atkins' forecast is that strong rains during the last month have ended drought conditions in the Great Plains. Although temperatures in the Plains are normal now, Atkins expects temperatures to rise starting as early as this weekend. "It's going back to being hot again until the mid to latter half of July, when it will get rainy again," he said.

Atkins, who offers a subscription forecasting service in conjunction with Brock Associates, predicts drier-than-normal conditions in July in the Upper Midwest from Illinois all the way out to Wyoming. "But it won't be a disaster because of cooler-than-normal conditions," he added. The situation will return to normal when more moisture arrives in September and October.

Atkins had some good news for growers in Texas, where he forecasts above-average precipitation from July through October. "We see more and more moisture coming up from Texas," he said. "This will not allow too much drought to occur on much of the Plains this summer."  - Survival Back Pack.

DISASTER PRECURSORS: The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior And Warnings From Mother Nature - Mass Bees Die-Offs In Portland Area, Oregon And Mass Die-Off Of Fish And Crabs "Panics Fishermen" In Paradip, India; Dad & Son In ICU After Wasp Attack In Altamonte Springs, Florida, United States; 20 Dogs Die From Arizona Heat; Alien Trap-Jaw Ants Spread Along Gulf Coast! [PHOTOS+VIDEOS]

June 24, 2014 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Mass Bees Die-Offs Reported In Portland Area, Oregon
Department of Agriculture inspector Isaac Stapleton examines the honeybee hives of Jon Beaty in Estacada after
they have recently suffered mass bee die off. (Photo: Thomas Patterson / Statesman Journal)

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is investigating at least three Portland-area mass bee die-offs that appear to be linked to pesticides.

Beekeepers in several locations have reported entire colonies dying suddenly.

Estacada beekeeper Jon Beaty checked his hives Wednesday night.

"I noticed that there were hundreds of bees lying on the ground in front of the hives dead, which was shocking to me," Beaty said.

Sandy beekeeper Dena Rash Guzman noticed tens of thousands of dead bees in and around two of her eight hives Wednesday.

"I live in the middle of nowhere on a 60-acre sustainable farm," she said. "We've had beehives here for four years and never have had this happen."

Guzman called expert Matt Reed, owner of Portland's Bee Thinking beekeeper supply store, who came out to take a look.

"When a honeybee colony dies en masse like that, usually it is pesticides," Reed said. "A lot of them were dropping off the combs as I inspected them."

Reed said he's seen a rash of similar reports on Portland-area beekeeping Facebook forums this week.

Beaty and Guzman suspect aerial spraying of nearby nurseries and Christmas tree farms.

An ODA pesticide investigator took samples at the hives Friday morning, ODA spokesman Bruce Pokarney said.

(Photo: Thomas Patterson / Statesman Journal)

(Photo: Thomas Patterson / Statesman Journal)

Eugene pesticide operator has license suspended

The state has suspended a Eugene pesticide operator's licensefollowing an incident this week that left about 1,000 bees dead.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture found that an employee of Glass Tree Care and Spray Service sprayed the neonicotinoid pesticide imidacloprid on 17 flowering linden trees at an apartment complex Tuesday.

Neonicotinoids can harm bees if used improperly.

It's the same situation that caused a highly publicized die-off of 50,000 bumblebees at a Wilsonville Target a year ago.

That incident led to the formation of a legislative task force on pollinator health that will begin meeting this month.

It also led Oregon to require that neonicotinoid pesticides imidacloprid and dinotefuran sold in the state be labeled with instructions prohibiting use on linden trees and other tilia species.

Glass Tree Care was using a product with an old label on it, ODA said. But older labels state the pesticides cannot be used when the trees are in bloom.

WATCH: Mass bee die-offs reported in Portland area.

By law, pesticide applicators must follow label instructions.

Most of the pollinators impacted were bumblebees, ODA spokesman Bruce Pokarney said. Some honeybees also were found dead and dying.

As a condition of license reinstatement, Glass Tree Care and Spray Service must have the applicator retake and pass examinations required for a commercial pesticide applicator; the company must cooperate with ODA, to the department's satisfaction, in preventing or mitigating further harm from incident; and the company must provide to ODA a written plan describing how it will set in place policies or protocols to prevent recurrences of incidents involving pesticide applications to plants in bloom.

ODA is considering additional enforcement action, Pokarney said.

"We've given information to all of our pesticide licensees. We've made a great effort to talk about pollinator protection," Pokarney said. "They should have known better." - Statesman Journal.

Mass Die-Off Of Fish And Crabs "Panics Fishermen" In Paradip, India
A group of people fishing at Puri Canal in Bhubaneswar on Friday.  (Express photo)

Large scale death of marine species including fish and crabs for the last couple of days on Santra Creek here has spread panic among local fishermen. Scientists of State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) have rushed to the spot to collect water samples to ascertain the cause of the mass death of marine species.

The fishermen alleged that discharge of chemical effluents from the proposed Paradip refinery project of IOCL is the main cause of the fish death.

Though the refinery project is yet to be commissioned, IOCL authorities have pressed several contractual agencies for the project’s construction work. The agencies have been discharging chemical effluents into Santra creek and Kadua river leading to the mass death, alleged the fishermen.

Farmers in Paradip area also complained that prawn and other marine species have perished in nearly 11 gheris causing loss to the tune of `4 crore. Prawn farmer Susant Pradhan said marine fishes in a three-acre gheri have died due to release of chemical effluents from the refinery project. The loss is estimated to be around `35 lakh, he added.

Fishermen Madhu Parida, Lalu Patra, Gobind Samal and others said they had cultivated prawn and marine fish by availing loans from private financiers. After the death of the marine species, it is an uphill task to repay the loans, they rued.

On the other hand, a senior officer of the IOCL refuted the allegation of the death of marine fish due to discharge of chemical waste from the refinery project. The project has not yet been commissioned and so there is no question of chemical waste being discharged into Santra creek. Moreover, IOCL collected water samples for testing and found the allegation baseless from the report, he added.

Senior scientist of SPCB Prasant Kar, who visited the spot, said, “Our team has collected water samples which would be tested at the central laboratory in Bhubaneswar. The cause of the death of marine fishes is yet to be ascertained as we are awaiting the laboratory report. Fishes and crabs in around 10 prawn gheris on Santra creek have perished,” he added. - New Indian Express.

Dad, Son In ICU After Wasp In Altamonte Springs, Florida, United States
Neighbors, beekeeper help pair survive
A father and son from Altamonte Springs are both in intensive care units at two separate hospitals after being attacked by a massive swarm of wasps.

David Alvarez and his 7-year-old son, Jordan, were on a walk with their dog last Wednesday evening in a wooded area along the Little Wekiva River near Mahogany Lane when one of them, or the dog, stepped on a yellow jacket nest, disturbing thousands of the wasps.

The pests relentlessly attacked Alvarez and his son.

“Just to see them like that and so swollen and so many marks on them, it's just horrible,” said Jennifer Jones, the man's wife and boy's mother.

Jones has been going back and forth between Florida Hospital Altamonte and Orlando, visiting her husband and son, who are struggling to recover from the attack. She said her husband's grandmother lives in the neighborhood they were in and that he's gone for walks in the same area for the past 30 years.

When the yellow jackets attacked, Jones said her son led his dad, who is allergic to them, out of the wooded area and onto the road, where they flagged down help.

“I was driving down the street and I saw a man and a boy stumbling out of the woods and stumbled across the road covered in bees,” said Brien Schou.

Schou said he rolled down his window to see what they needed and wasps immediately flew into his vehicle. Schou called 911 while other neighbors ran out to help.

“I know he wanted to quit because he said, 'I just wanted to give up because it hurt so bad, but I had to keep going because I seen daddy laying there on the ground.' I just can't believe how strong he is,” said Jones of her 7-year-old son.

To Jones' amazement, a beekeeper who lives nearby also heard people screaming for help. Jim Kunze jumped in his truck and drove around the block, where he found the two suffering.

“It was pretty bad. It was chicken pox times five, at least,” said Kunze.

Kunze threw on his bee outfit, put Jordan in his truck to get some air conditioning and immediately went to work, pulling off and killing the yellow jackets that were still attacking Alvarez.

WATCH: Father, son in ICU after being attacked by wasps in Altamonte Springs.

Kunze said he believes the family's dog was walking ahead of the father and son and may have stepped on the nest.

“They've got guards at their entrance, and once the first one stings, it puts out a pheromone, it alerts the rest and the rest go to that point,” said Kunze.

Alvarez has developed pneumonia and a blood clot. He is still unconscious and heavily sedated. His son was taken out of ICU but was re-admitted Monday due to some difficulty breathing.

“They will be lucky to survive this. They were attacked that viciously,” said Kunze.

Jones said her husband was alert enough to give her phone number to paramedics, who called her to tell her what happened. She said when she got there,  a yellow jacket was crawling out of her son's ear.

The family's dog was also stung and started to have liver failure. She was taken to a veterinarian and seems to be recovering well.

Jones said she's thankful for the first responders and the beekeeper who helped her family.

With kids out of school for summer and playing outside, Jones said she just wants other parents to be aware of what happened to her family.

“It's so nerve-racking because it's kind of by a school and it is summer time and kids go and explore and the main thing is, I don't want this to happen to another kid,” said Jones.

Friends of the family have started a GoFundMe account to raise money for their medical bills. Click here for more information. - Click Orlando.

20 Dogs Die In Arizona Heat

Heat. There's been plenty of it to go around in Arizona these first days of summer -- literally and politically -- after the air conditioning went out at a dog kennel.  Sheriff's deputies found 20 dead dogs piled up in a shed on Friday at Green Acres Dog Boarding Facility in Gilbert. The public shock over their deaths led a U.S. senator to issue a public statement on Monday.  As fate would have it, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake's son, Austin, was minding the kennel, when the dogs died.  Green Acres is owned and operated by two of Flake's relatives, Jesse and Maleisa Hughes, the Maricopa County Sheriff's office said.  The couple was out of town, leaving Austin Flake to dogsit, when a dog apparently chewed through the electric wiring connected to the air conditioning, said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  He called it an accident, but at the same time cast doubt on the kennel owners' account of how the dogs died.

Kennel owners: It was an accident 
"It was a tragic accident," Hughes told CNN. "We are heartbroken, and we're devastated." She doesn't believe anyone could have predicted or stopped what happened.  The air conditioning unit kicked out in the middle of the night, Hughes said.  Austin Flake and his wife slept at the east end of the house, while the temperature climbed to seething heights in the kennel on the west end, Maleisa Hughes said.  The dogs sleep there at night in a large, cooled room, she said.  The two sides of the house have separate air conditioning units, so the Flakes couldn't feel the suffocating heat.  During the day in Gilbert, the mercury has blasted up to over 100 degrees F, easily making it hard to find relief, perhaps even after temperatures dip back down to under 80 at night.  By the time the Flakes discovered the dogs at 5:30 a.m., the temperature was over 100 degrees, Hughes said.  The gnawed wire was still sputtering off sparks.  "It could have burned down our whole house," Hughes said. "My whole house could have burned down and all my children could have died, and then it would have been a tragedy."  One of the dogs that perished was her own.  The Flakes turned a hose and ice on the overheated dogs to try to save them, the sheriff's office said. "But failed to call for emergency assistance before the dogs died."

Sheriff: Story "seems unreasonable" 
Sheriff Arpaio said that his office is investigating and that parts of Hughes' story seems suspicious. "It seems unreasonable that dogs could be healthy at 11 p.m. at night and dead by 5:30 a.m. the next morning as the owners suggest," he said.  A veterinarian he conferred with has corroborated his doubts, Arpaio said.  Deputies arrived to find some of the dogs' owners at Green Acres. A couple cried and hugged, as deputies used a wheel barrow to cart off dogs' carcasses wrapped in cloth.  Pet owners told Arpaio that the Hughes misled them about the number of dogs kept at the kennel.  The Hughes have not been arrested or charged, CNN affiliate KPNX reported. - CNN.

Alien Trap-Jaw Ants Spread Along Gulf Coast
This species of trap-jaw ant, Odontomachus relictus, is only found in Florida. It is a cousin of O. haematodus,
a South American species that has recently taken hold along the Gulf Coast.Magdalena Sorger

An aggressive type of trap-jaw ant with a mighty bite is gaining ground in the U.S. southeast, new research finds.

The species, Odontomachus haematodus, is native to South America, but it seems to have spread recently along the Gulf Coast without attracting much attention until now.

"The fact that some of these species are spreading is interesting, in part because these giant ants have managed to expand their territory without anyone noticing," Magdalena Sorger, a doctoral student at North Carolina State University, said in a statement. "We know very little about these ants, including how they interact with native ant species in the areas they're invading." [See Amazing Photos of the World's Ants]

O. haematodus may have been hiding in the United States unnoticed for more than five decades. The earliest example of the species in the country comes from insect specimens kept in the Smithsonian National Collection: O. haematodus samples were picked up in Alabama in 1956.

Often mistaken for its North American cousins, O. haematodus, when in small groups, likely blended in across the Southeast over the next several decades, but now the population is too big to ignore. Today, the species is common along the Gulf Coast, from the New Orleans area of Louisiana east to Pensacola, Florida, Sorger and colleagues wrote in their study published in the journal Zootaxa.

The ants have a shiny body ranging from yellow to black in color, and they have taken root in a variety of habitats. Their nests have been found in rotting logs in forests as well as in building foundations in urban areas, the researchers wrote.

Trap-jaw ants of the genus Odontomachus are remarkable for their strong set of mandibles. The creatures' spring-loaded jaws open 180 degrees and quickly snap shut to grab prey or propel the ant into the air to escape predators. (The insects had previously been called "leaping ants.") In 2006, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, clocked the jaw-snapping speed of Odontomachus bauri and found this species closes its mandibles at 78 to 145 mph.

While native trap-jaw ants found in the United States do not usually sting humans unless handled, O. haematodus are more aggressive. In defense of their turf, ants of this species will immediately sting intruders who so much as place a hand in the leaf litter near their nests. According to anecdotal reports, the insect sting is painful but doesn't last long, Sorger and colleagues wrote.

The team hopes their research paper will help scientists identify which species of trap-jaw ants they encounter in the future. - FOX News.

MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT: King Adullah II Enters The Fray - Jordanian Air Force Bombs Al Qaeda-Iraq Incursion; ISIS Also Stands At The Saudi Border!

June 24, 2014 - MIDDLE EAST - The Jordanian air force hit ISIS contingents, Monday night, June 23, as they drove into into the kingdom through the Turaibil border crossing which they seized Saturday, debkafile’s military sources report. The jets destroyed 4 Islamist State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) armored personnel carriers, which were already on the move.

Iraq asks Jordan to launch air strikes against ISIS rebels as battle for key oil refinery rages.

Also Monday, ISIS completed its capture of the strategic Tal Afar and its environs in northern Iraq, capping its conquest in the last two weeks of Nineveh Province and Mosul, all but one town (Ramadi) of the western Anbar Province, and Iraq’s key border posts in the north, west and southwest.

Jordan called up military reserves Sunday, after discovering that its capital Amman was to be the Islamist organization’s next prey.

Instead of making straight for Baghdad, ISIS turned west and south for what it saw as softer targets, deploying two forces for shooting into Jordan – one from Syria, for which they also captured Al Walid, through which to head into the kingdom from the north; and one pointing from Turaibil (which the Jordanians call Karame) and aiming for the eastern Jordanian towns of Zarqa, Irbid and Amman.

By seizing Turaibil, the Islamists were able to cut off the main Iraqi-Jordanian artery for trade and travel between the two countries. They may have been stopped for now by the Jordanian air strike, espcially if there is a follow-up.

Their capture of the key town of Rutba Saturday is seen by Western military sources tracking the Iraqi conflict as marking out the Islamists’ next target. That force split in two – one heading southwest toward the Saudi Arabia border and the other heading west to Jordan.

Sunday, June 22, the Islamists put on the world web a new site called “ISIS in Saudi Arabia.”

debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report that the US and Israel have laid on a battery of advanced intelligence-gathering measures in the last few hours, including military satellites, drones and reconnaissance planes for keeping track of the Islamist fighters’ rapid advance.

A 500-km broad expanse of desert separates the Iraqi border from Amman which would be no picnic for the ISIS to navigate without discovery. However, they were counting on al Qaeda cells planted in most Jordanian towns to help them make their way across.

It is important to remember that the US and Israel are both bound by military pacts to defend the throne of the Hashemite King Abdullah II.

As for Iraq’s southwestern neighbor, Saudi Arabia, our sources report that the main topic of conversation between King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi Saturday, June 21 at Cairo airport, was the Iraq crisis and the threat the Islamist extremists threat present to the two kingdoms.

The Saudi king made it his business to stop over briefly at Cairo airport on the way to his summer palace in Morocco, and invite the Egyptian president aboard his plane for that conversation. He wanted to hear El-Sisi promise to reward the oil kingdom and Gulf emirates for the generous financial aid they bestowed on him with a pledge of Egyptian military commando units to the rescue in the event of an al Qaeda invasion.

Interestingly, the Saudi monarch’s companion on the royal flight - he also took part in the conversation with El-Sisi - was Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who five months ago was relieved of his posts as Director of General Intelligence and senior strategist of the Saudi campaigns in Syria and Iraq, the first of which failed in its goal to unseat Bashar Assad.

It looked very much as though the king had a change of heart and decided to restore Bandar to his inner circle of advisers under the looming threat of ISIS and its lightening advances in Iraq.

WATCH: Army liquidates ISIS radicals at Baiji oil refinery.


That threat also drove US Secretary of State John Kerry to pay an unannounced visit to Baghdad Monday, June 23, after discussing the Iraqi crisis in Cairo with the Egyptian president.

His arrival was accompanied by further rapid ISIS territorial gains in Iraq and actions to consolidate its grip. After talking to Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, Kerry said at the US embassy that US support will be “intense, sustained, and effective” – provided Iraq’s leaders came together to form a government representing the rival sects.

debkafile adds: Kerry canvassed Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders for a consensual candidate to lead a government representing all of Iraq’s sects and communities. He had in mind a Shiite prime minister able to gain the endorsement of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

Secretary Kerry planned to visit Irbil Tuesday for talks on this and on Kurdish military aid against the ISIS offensive with the heads of the autonomous Kurdish region. However the Kurds wanted first to hear what they will get from Baghdad for sending their pershmerga militia to fight the Islamists in northern Iraq. Since Maliki is the object of Kerry’s maneuvers to replace him, he is not ready to offer the Kurds any concessions at this point. So Kerry’s Iraq mission has so far struck a high wall. - Debka.

EXTREME WEATHER: Spanish World Cup Team Plane Struck By Lightning Approaching Madrid!

June 24, 2014 - SPAIN - The plane carrying the Spanish national football team home from the World Cup in Brazil was struck by lightning on Tuesday as it approached its landing in Madrid, adding to the streak of bad luck the team seemed to be on after its World Cup defeat.

AFP Photo / Julian Stratenschulte

The team’s flight - Iberia 2907 – was hit as it came into land at Adolfo Suárez-Barajas airport shortly before midday (local time).

However, there were no apparent negative consequences for either the team or the aircraft, a spokeswoman for the airline confirmed to Reuters.

The players, still wearing their black tracksuits with green bands, and their coats, left the airport in vans without talking to the media.

Spain's national football team plane upon its arrival in Brazil on June 8th. When the plane, carrying the team,
returned to Spain the it was struck by lightning. Photo: Getty Images

Despite winning 3 – 0 against Australia on Monday, the team was squarely beaten by both the Netherlands and Chile, guaranteeing their elimination from the competition.

Their defeat has triggered a social media storm, with memes poking fun at the Spanish team flooding Twitter.

Spain’s performance this year has been dubbed “the great disappointment” by the Spanish media. - RT.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: "Sort Of Thing You'd See On An American Documentary Or Something" - Series Of Rare Mini-Tornadoes Stun Southern Norway?!

June 24, 2014 - NORWAY - A succession of rare 'mini tornadoes' have drawn crowds in the city of Arendal as they circled dramatically above the Skagerrak strait between Norway and Denmark.

The mini-tornado hovers over the Skagerrak strait. Photo: Espen Bierud

"It looked like the sort of thing you'd see on an American documentary or something," Espen Bierud from Norway's Institute of Marine Research, which faces onto the sea, told The Local. "Many people standing around me said they'd never seen anything like it Norway."

He said that work at the Institute had ground to a halt as the researchers made their way outside to enjoy the spectacle.

"It didn't take too many seconds before everyone at the Institute was down at the balcony or on the dock taking pictures," he said. "It lasted for about 20 or 30 minutes, and there were at least four different tornadoes."

State Meteorologist Arild Mentzoni told Norway's NRK channel that the phenomenon, which involves a spinning mass of air sucking water off the surface of the sea, was not unheard of in Norway.

"It rotates so powerfully that it pulls in the water surrounding it," he told the channel. "It is not unusual that we have what we call a waterspout, but they are not often as strong as it appears in these photos."

You can see a video of the tornadoes here. - The Local.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Militia Down Chopper Near Slavyansk, Ukraine - 9 People Feared Dead!

June 24, 2014 - UKRAINE -  Nine people are feared dead after self-defense forces in the Donetsk region shot down a Ukrainian army helicopter, which was used for transporting military cargo, a Kiev spokesman said.

RIA Novosti / Mikhail Voskresenskiy

The Mi-8 helicopter was downed “at about 5 pm local time at Karachun Mountain near Slavyansk by a rocket fired from a portable air defense system,” eastern Ukraine military operation spokesman, Vladislav Seleznyov, wrote on his Facebook page.

“There were nine people aboard the helicopter. According to preliminary information, all those aboard died in the crash,” he said, adding that the helicopter was returning to a Ukrainian checkpoint after a cargo delivery mission.

The self-defense troops, who fired the missile, escaped to the nearby village of Bylbasovka, Seleznyov wrote.

The Ukraine’s National Guard fighters told the Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper that the Mi-8 helicopter was downed during takeoff from Karachun Mountain (a strategic high point near Slavyansk where the Ukrainian army’s artillery is deployed).

The place where the shot came from has been established, with troops currently being deployed there, the source in the National Guard added.

The Ukrainian forces continued shelling the village of Semyonovka on the outskirts of Slavyansk on Tuesday night and during the day, the self-defense forces of the People’s Republic of Donetsk told ITAR-TASS news agency earlier.

The heavy artillery fire has prevented the self-defense forces from recovering the bodies of two of its troops killed the previous day, they said.

“There’s no living thing left in the village. Everything is devastated, including factories and railway crossings,” the self-defense forces stressed. “The houses are abandoned. Nobody is harvesting crops from their gardens.”

Meanwhile, the town of Slavyansk remains without a water supply, with the majority of shops and pharmacies staying closed.

Also on Tuesday, a crew from Russia’s Channel One was caught in the shelling outside Slavyansk; the journalists luckily avoided injury.

Also, fighting is currently underway in the suburbs of the city of Donetsk, said Aleksandr Boroday, prime minister of the People's Republic of Donetsk.

“Artillery and armored vehicles are being used,” he told RIA-Novosti news agency, adding people have already been killed and injured in the fighting.

Putin: I've just received report there's fighting unfolding right now near 

President Vladimir Putin has expressed concern over the resumption of hostilities in Slavyansk and urged Kiev to strive to bring about an end to the bloodshed in southeastern Ukraine.

“Unfortunately, now I have relevant information that in one of the most troubled areas – near the city of Slavyansk – the fighting is currently underway; [Kiev's] paratroopers have landed there and there are already victims. It’s sad,” Putin said during a press-conference in Vienna, Austria.

Read more: Putin: Weeklong cease-fire in Ukraine should be extended, accompanied by talks

The fighting in the Donetsk region is continuing despite the seven-day ceasefire announced by Ukraine’s new president, Petro Poroshenko, on June 20, which was agreed to by the self-defense forces on Monday.

Putin stressed that "the declarations should be backed by real actions, otherwise none of the problems will be solved.”

“Simply declaring a ceasefire isn’t enough,” the Russian president said, calling on the sides to begin “substantive negotiations” on the matter as soon as possible.

“Seven days of ceasefire is insufficient,” he added. - RT.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Last Month Was The Hottest May In Recorded History - The 4 Of The 5 Warmest Mays On Record Have Occurred In The Past Five Years; "I Don't Think We've Seen Anything Like This Before"!

June 24, 2014 - EARTH -   This past May was a scorcher. According to a new report, it was the hottest May in recorded history.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that combined average May temperatures on land and sea surfaces were at 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average of 58.6 degrees.

"Four of the five warmest Mays on record have occurred in the past five years," the NOAA also wrote in its report. The previous hottest May on record was in 2010.

The warmest regions last month were reportedly eastern Kazakhstan, central and northwestern Australia and parts of Indonesia, according to The Washington Post.

Scientists believe the higher temperatures are likely a sign of an impending El Niño, a periodic warming of Pacific Ocean waters which brings heavy rainfall but could also be beneficial to parts of the globe experiencing droughts.

The Climate Prediction Center says there is a 70 percent chance of El Niño returning this summer, increasing to an 80 percent chance by fall. The last major El Niño occurred in 1997, resulting in billions of dollars of damage around the world.

Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research who's been monitoring sea levels, told Science magazine a forthcoming El Niño later this year could likely rival the one in '97. “I don’t think we’ve seen anything like this before,” he said. - Huffington Post.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Doctors Are Warning Of A Looming Health Crisis In The United States Due To Flood Of Young Illegal Immigrants - "Cases From South Of the U.S. Border Can Be Very Resistant To Medications"!

June 24, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Many of the thousands of illegal immigrant children and teens crossing the United States border are carrying deadly contagious diseases that could easily create a major health crisis in this country, doctors say.

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Dr. Jane Orient, an internal medicine specialist and the Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), said that by admitting these huge groups of children who come from countries where medical screenings are minimal and hygiene is poor, the United States is at risk for epidemics of serious diseases and viruses that the nation has not seen in years.

“Tuberculosis (TB) is the single most dangerous disease because it is highly contagious and can be easily picked up at the mall, at a school, or on the bus,” Orient told Breitbart News. “Cases coming from south of the U.S. border can be very resistant to medications. They don’t respond to traditional antibiotics, and the few drugs they may respond to are often toxic, with lots of side effects.”

“Legal immigrants have always been required to undergo health screenings,” Orient continued, “but these kids coming have no medical screenings and no vaccine records. They’re likely coming here with a number of infectious diseases that will spread like wildfire.”

Norovirus is also an extremely contagious virus with symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea,” she explained. “All we need is one outbreak of that virus and we would have an overwhelming public health crisis.”

“We use a lot of intravenous fluids to rehydrate people who have these types of illnesses. What if we have a shortage of IV fluids? Our emergency rooms would be overloaded.”

“We no longer have natural immunity against diseases such as measles and chicken pox because we haven’t had them in this country for years,” Orient said. “Many doctors have never even seen these diseases so may not recognize them.”

WATCH: Looming health crisis due to flood of immigrants.

Orient said that while the public health risks are enough of a serious concern, she also is worried about the psychological trauma of these young children sent away from their families at such an early age.

“Despite the reasons we hear about why families are sending babies and toddlers across the U.S. border, there’s no substitute for a mother’s love and closeness, even if you live in a dangerous area, with gangs and drug cartels,” Orient said. “Why not build secure facilities in Guatemala, for example, instead of sending toddlers and children on a dangerous trip where they’ll encounter even more criminals?”

Writing at The Monitor on Friday, Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet, a physician with practices in both Tucson and Dallas, agreed with Orient. She noted that the “invisible travelers” coming across the U.S. border, in addition to TB and measles, include hepatitis, malaria, Chagas disease – a parasitic infection – and dengue fever.

“A public health crisis, the likes of which I have not seen in my lifetime, is looming,” Vliet stated.

Hardest hit by exposures to these difficult-to-treat diseases will be elderly, children, immunosuppressed cancer patients, and patients with chronic lung disease or congestive heart failure. Drug-resistant tuberculosis is the most serious risk, but even diseases like measles can cause severe complications and death.

“Other illnesses, along with scabies and head lice, also thrive as children are transported by bus and herded into crowded shelters – courtesy of the federal government,” wrote Vliet. “And treatment costs are borne by taxpayers.”

Orient affirmed that, in Tucson, school buildings that have not been in use in years are being considered as shelters for the young illegal immigrants.

“Some of these buildings are in total disrepair, having been vandalized for years, and, of course, there is no security,” she explained.

“Our public health departments complain of being overtaxed by a dozen cases of measles or whooping cough,” Vliet wrote. “How will they cope with thousands of patients with many different, and uncommon, diseases? Americans, especially Medicaid patients, will see major delays for treatment.” - Breitbart.

THE THEATRE OF WAR: Russia Test Fires Six New Air-Launched Cruise Missiles - Putin Orders Military Exercises Amid New Ukraine Tensions!

June 24, 2014 - RUSSIA - Russian strategic air forces fired six new, precision-strike cruise missiles in test launches Friday amid new tensions between Moscow and the West over the crisis in Ukraine.

Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Friday that the missile firings took place during exercises involving eight Tu-95 Bear bombers—the same type of strategic bomber recently intercepted 50 miles off the California coast by U.S. jets.

Russian bombers, meanwhile, continued saber-rattling air defense zone incursions against Canada’s arctic and in Europe over the Baltic Sea.

On Monday, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu announced that Russian military forces had launched a large-scale “surprise” readiness exercise that was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

President Obama discussed the Ukraine crisis with Putin by phone on Monday and urged the Russian leader and separatist rebels to implement a peace plan proposed by the Ukrainian government.

“The president called upon President Putin to press the separatists to recognize and abide by the ceasefire and to halt the flow of weapons and materiel across its border into Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement.

Russia also announced last week it will deploy Tu-160 strategic bombers to neighboring Belarus, a key Moscow ally, for a military celebration.

The new cruise missile was not further identified by the ministry statement, other than being described as a “new, high-precision” guided cruise missile.

Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, said the recent testing of Russia’s newest air-launched cruise missile is part of a pattern of nuclear saber rattling by Moscow.

The nuclear missile test firings followed a large-scale nuclear forces exercise in May that Haney said was a cause for concern in light of Ukraine.

“In light of increasing tensions, Russia has also been busy exercising and demonstrating its strategic capabilities, reaping the benefits of decades of modernization,” Haney said during a defense industry breakfast June 18.

The large-scale nuclear exercise May 8 drills involved “significant nuclear forces and associated command and control in just six months since the last one back in October,” Haney told a defense industry breakfast June 18.

“Additionally, we have seen significant Russian strategic aircraft deployments in the vicinity of places like Japan, Korea and even our West Coast,” Haney said. “Russia continues to modernize its strategic capabilities across all legs of its triad, and open source [reporting] has recently cited the sea trials of its latest [missile submarine], testing of its newest air launch cruise missile and modernization of its intercontinental ballistic force to include its mobile capability in that area.”

Russian Air Force Tu-95 bombers fly in formation over Red Square / AP

A former Pentagon official said the new missile was likely an air-launched cruise missile designated KH-101 or KH-102. The Kh-101 is armed with a conventional warhead and the Kh-102 is a strategic nuclear delivery vehicle.

“The Obama administration Defense Department says the KH-102 is operational, and that is consistent with what the Russian press is saying,” said Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic weapons analyst. “There is less Russian press on the KH-101.”

Schneider said the missile also may have been a variant of the Cold War-era KH-55 nuclear cruise missile or its conventional variant, the KH-555.

The Russian Defense Ministry said eight Tu-95s based at Engels airbase in central Russia flew from the Far East airbase called Ukrainka.

“One Tu-95MS strategic missile carrier carried out launches of six new high-precision airborne cruise missiles, using a multi-role launch system, against ground-based targets on the Kura aviation range (Kamchatka),” the Russian ministry said, according to Interfax-AVN.

“The crew precisely fulfilled the tasks set for the flight. Practice targets on the range were hit. While fulfilling the task, the crew of the Tu-95MS spent about seven hours in the air.”

The war games in central Russia mark the second time in recent weeks that short-notice, large-scale military exercises were held.

“In line with [Putin's] orders, the Central Military District’s troops and also units and garrisons deployed on its territory have been put on full combat alert since 11:00 a.m. [Saturday],” Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu said, adding that the maneuvers began June 21 and will continue until June 28.

The war games include airborne forces and will simulate the rapid deployment of forces over long distances using combined road and rail transport between the Ural Mountain area and western Siberia.

The exercises are taking place amid NATO reports of a new buildup of Russian military forces along Ukraine’s eastern border.

The exercises and massing of troops appears to be part of what Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said recently is a Russian campaign of military “coercion, subversion, and misinformation” toward Ukraine.

Canadian government officials expressed new concerns about Russian strategic bomber flights over the arctic that encroached on the country’s air defense identification zone and prompted the scrambling of CF-18 jet fighters to intercept the bombers.

The bombers were detected over the Canadian arctic twice in the past two weeks, Canada’s defense minister said, according to the Toronto Globe and Mail.

The Free Beacon first disclosed June 11 that two Bear bombers flew within 50 miles of the California coast on June 9, the closest the bombers have flown since the Cold War with the Soviet Union. U.S. F-15 jets were launched to intercept and follow the bombers.

Canadian officials told the Globe and Mail the increased Russian bomber flights appear to be “strategic messaging from Moscow” coinciding with tensions over the Ukraine crisis.

The bomber flights were disclosed by Canadian Defense Minister Rob Nicholson in comments to parliament June 19. He said the flights showed the need for “ongoing vigilance” in monitoring Canada’s northern borders.

“We continue to see Russian military activity in the Arctic. The Canadian armed forces remain ready and able to respond,” he said.

The expressions of concern by Canada are a change in policy. Three months ago, the Ottawa government had played down competition with Russia over the arctic.

Also last week, British jet fighters were dispatched to intercept Russian warplanes over the Baltic Sea.

British Typhoon fighters were sent to meet four groups of Russian aircraft over air defense zones in the Baltic Sea. The jets included Su-27 fighters, a Tu-22 Backfire bomber, an A-50 airborne warning and control aircraft, and an An-26 transport plane.

“The Russian aircraft were monitored by the [Royal Air Force] Typhoons and escorted on their way,” the British Defense Ministry said in a statement, Sky News reported Thursday. - Free Beacon.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick - Very Strong 6.6 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes East Of Buldir Island, Alaska! [MAP+TECTONIC SUMMARY]

June 24, 2014 - ALASKA - The Pacific "Ring of Fire" has certainly come alive with a series of powerful earthquakes and Alaska, is one area that is currently being bombarded by these tremors.  Following the magnitude 8.0 temblor and strong aftershocks that rocked southeast of  Little Sitkin on Monday, a 6.6 earthquake struck Buldir Island today.

USGS earthquake location map.

The epicenter was located approximately 1220 km (758 miles) east of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia. The quake had a depth of 35.0 km (21.7 miles)

There were no significant injuries or damage reported at this point.

According to the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center, there is no tsunami threat to Alaska, Hawaii, or the Russia region.

No tsunami threat exists for other coastal areas in the Pacific, although some other areas may experience small non-destructive sea level changes for several hours, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

According to the Associated Press, following yesterday's mega-quake, the town of Adak evacuated its 150 residents to a shelter about 600 feet above sea level after the initial tsunami warning. There were no initial reports of quake damage in Adak or on Shemya Island, said Ian Dickson, website manager for the Alaska Earthquake Information Center.

Dickson said there were dozens of measurable aftershocks in the first two hours after the quake. First estimates put the quake at magnitude 8.0. The strength was subsequently set by the U.S. Geological Survey at 7.9 magnitude.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of Alaska.
The Aleutian arc extends approximately 3,000 km from the Gulf of Alaska in the east to the Kamchatka Peninsula in the west. It marks the region where the Pacific plate subducts into the mantle beneath the North America plate. This subduction is responsible for the generation of the Aleutian Islands and the deep offshore Aleutian Trench.

The curvature of the arc results in a westward transition of relative plate motion from trench-normal (i.e., compressional) in the east to trench-parallel (i.e., translational) in the west, accompanied by westward variations in seismic activity, volcanism, and overriding plate composition. The Aleutian arc is generally divided into three regions: the western, central, and eastern Aleutians. Relative to a fixed North America plate, the Pacific plate is moving northwest at a rate that increases from roughly 60 mm/yr at the arc's eastern edge to 76 mm/yr near its western terminus. The eastern Aleutian arc extends from the Alaskan Peninsula in the east to the Fox Islands in the west. Motion along this section of the arc is characterized by arc-perpendicular convergence and Pacific plate subduction beneath thick continental lithosphere. This region exhibits intense volcanic activity and has a history of megathrust earthquakes.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

The central Aleutian arc extends from the Andreanof Islands in the east to the Rat Islands in the west. Here, motion is characterized by westward-increasing oblique convergence and Pacific plate subduction beneath thin oceanic lithosphere. Along this portion of the arc, the Wadati-Benioff zone is well defined to depths of approximately 200 km. Despite the obliquity of convergence, active volcanism and megathrust earthquakes are also present along this margin.

The western Aleutians, stretching from the western end of the Rat Islands in the east to the Commander Islands, Russia, in the west, is tectonically different from the central and eastern portions of the arc. The increasing component of transform motion between the Pacific and North America plates is evidenced by diminishing active volcanism; the last active volcano is located on Buldir Island, in the far western portion of the Rat Island chain. Additionally, this portion of the subduction zone has not hosted large earthquakes or megathrust events in recorded history. Instead, the largest earthquakes in this region are generally shallow, predominantly strike-slip events with magnitudes between M5-6. Deeper earthquakes do occur, albeit rather scarcely and with small magnitudes (Magnitude less than 4), down to approximately 50 km.

Most of the seismicity along the Aleutian arc results from thrust faulting that occurs along the interface between the Pacific and North America plates, extending from near the base of the trench to depths of 40 to 60 km. Slip along this interface is responsible for generating devastating earthquakes. Deformation also occurs within the subducting slab in the form of intermediate-depth earthquakes that can reach depths of 250 km. Normal faulting events occur in the outer rise region of the Aleutian arc resulting from the bending of the oceanic Pacific plate as it enters the Aleutian trench. Additionally, deformation of the overriding North America plate generates shallow crustal earthquakes.

The Aleutian arc is a seismically active region, evidenced by the many moderate to large earthquakes occurring each year. Since 1900, this region has hosted twelve large earthquakes (Magnitude greater than 7.5) including the May 7, 1986 M8.0 Andreanof Islands, the June 10, 1996 M7.9 Andreanof Islands, and the November 17, 2003 M7.8 Rat Islands earthquakes. Six of these great earthquakes (M8.3 or larger) have occurred along the Aleutian arc that together have ruptured almost the entire shallow megathrust contact. The first of these major earthquakes occurred on August 17, 1906 near the island of Amchitka (M8.3) in the western Aleutian arc. However, unlike the other megathrust earthquakes along the arc, this event is thought to have been an intraplate event occurring in the shallow slab beneath the subduction zone interface.

The first megathrust event along the arc during the 20th century was the November 10, 1938 M8.6 Shumagin Island earthquake. This event ruptured an approximately 300 km long stretch of the arc from the southern end of Kodiak Island to the northern end of the Shumagin Islands and generated a small tsunami that was recorded as far south as Hawaii.

The April 1, 1946 M8.6 Unimak Island earthquake, located in the central Aleutian arc, was characterized by slow rupture followed by a devastating Pacific-wide tsunami that was observed as far south as the shores of Antarctica. Although damage from earthquake shaking was not severe locally, tsunami run-up heights were recorded as high as 42 m on Unimak Island and tsunami waves in Hilo, Hawaii also resulted in casualties. The slow rupture of this event has made it difficult to constrain the focal mechanism and depth of the earthquake, though it is thought to have been an interplate thrust earthquake.

The next megathrust earthquake occurred along the central portion of the Aleutian arc near the Andreanof Islands on March 9, 1957, with a magnitude of M8.6. The rupture length of this event was approximately 1200 km, making it the longest observed aftershock zone of all the historic Aleutian arc events. Although only limited seismic data from this event are still available, significant damage and tsunamis were observed on the islands of Adak and Unimak with tsunami heights of approximately 13 m.

The easternmost megathrust earthquake was the March 28, 1964 M9.2 Prince William Sound earthquake, currently the second largest recorded earthquake in the world. The event had a rupture length of roughly 700 km extending from Prince William Sound in the northeast to the southern end of Kodiak Island in the southwest. Extensive damage was recorded in Kenai, Moose Pass, and Kodiak but significant shaking was felt over a large region of Alaska, parts of western Yukon Territory, and British Columbia, Canada. Property damage was the largest in Anchorage, as a result of both the main shock shaking and the ensuing landslides. This megathrust earthquake also triggered a devastating tsunami that caused damage along the Gulf of Alaska, the West Coast of the United States, and in Hawaii.

The westernmost Aleutians megathrust earthquake followed a year later on February 4, 1965. This M8.7 Rat Islands earthquake was characterized by roughly 600 km of rupture. Although this event is quite large, damage was low owing to the region's remote and sparsely inhabited location. A relatively small tsunami was recorded throughout the Pacific Ocean with run-up heights up to 10.7 m on Shemya Island and flooding on Amchitka Island.

Although the Aleutian arc is highly active, seismicity is rather discontinuous, with two regions that have not experienced a large (Magnitude greater than 8.0) earthquake in the past century: the Commander Islands in the western Aleutians and the Shumagin Islands in the east. Due to the dominantly transform motion along the western arc, there is potential that the Commander Islands will rupture in a moderate to large strike-slip earthquake in the future. The Shumagin Islands region may also have high potential for hosting a large rupture in the future, though it has been suggested that little strain is being accumulated along this section of the subduction zone, and thus associated hazards may be reduced.

East of the Aleutian arc along the Gulf of Alaska, crustal earthquakes occur as a result transmitted deformation and stress associated with the northwestward convergence of the Pacific plate that collides a block of oceanic and continental material into the North America plate. In 2002, the Denali Fault ruptured in a sequence of earthquakes that commenced with the October 23 M6.7 Nenana Mountain right-lateral strike-slip earthquake and culminated with the November 3, M7.9 Denali earthquake which started as a thrust earthquake along a then unrecognized fault and continued with a larger right-lateral strike-slip event along the Denali and Totschunda Faults. - USGS.

ICE AGE NOW: A Year Without Summer - First June Snowfall In Tromso, Norway Since Records Began?!

June 24, 2014 - NORWAY - The northern Norwegian city of Tromso experienced a freak summer snowfall on Monday after freezing wind from the North Pole saw temperatures plummet.

It was the first time since records began that the city had seen snowfall in June. Local meteorologist Trond Lien said that sleet and snow showers hit the city on Monday night, and there has even been some snow lying on the ground. He said that the situation was "very rare", noting that it must have been a long time since it snowed on 16 June. He added that he had found records showing that Tromso had experienced snowfall in July, but he could find nothing to indicate snow in June.

Motorist Odd Arne Thomassen told reporters that he was driving over roughly four centimetres of snow when he was in Kvaenangsfjellet, in North Troms, early on Monday morning. He explained that it was not bad enough to make him feel he needed his chains on, but that there was certainly about four centimetres lying on the ground., the weather forecasting venture between the Meteorological Institute and TV station NRK, predicted that other areas of the country would also experience snowfall. It said that high-lying areas of western and southern Norway would likely see snow, despite the fact that the capital Oslo is lapping up temperatures in excess of 20C. - IceNews.

TERMINATOR NOW: The Rise Of The Machines - Japan Unveils "World's First" Android Newscaster!

June 24, 2014 - JAPAN - Japanese scientists on Tuesday unveiled what they said was the world's first news-reading android, eerily lifelike and possessing a sense of humour to match her perfect language skills.

The adolescent-looking "Kodomoroid" -- an amalgamation of the Japanese word "kodomo" (child) and "android" -- delivered news of an earthquake and an FBI raid to amazed reporters in Tokyo.

She even poked fun at her creator, telling leading robotics professor Hiroshi Ishiguro: "You're starting to look like a robot!"

The pitch-perfect Kodomoroid was flanked by a grown-up fellow robot, who caught stage fright and fluffed her lines when asked to introduce herself.

"Otonaroid" -- "otona" meaning adult -- excused herself after a quick reboot, saying: "I'm a little bit nervous."

Both androids will work at Tokyo's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, interacting with visitors to collect data for Ishiguro's studies into human reactions to the machines.

"We will have more and more robots in our lives in the future," Ishiguro told AFP.

"You can take my androids on planes -- the torso in the suitcase and the head in carry-on."

Ishiguro has a humanoid version of himself which he sends overseas to give lectures.

"It cuts down on my business trips," he said. "Technical advances mean robots look and act more human, and that makes us think about our worth."

Otonaroid looked as if she could need rewiring before beginning her new role as the museum's science communicator, her lips out of sync and her neck movements symptomatic of a bad night's sleep.

But Ishiguro insisted both would prove invaluable to his continued research as museum visitors get to have conversations with the 'droids and operate them as extensions of their own body.

"This will give us important feedback as we explore the question of what is human," said the 50-year-old. "We want robots to become increasingly clever."

A chatty humanoid called Pepper designed by SoftBank as a household companion is set to go on sale for around $2,000 in Japan next year after a successful debut earlier this month.

"That's the same price as a laptop computer," said Ishiguro. "It's incredible."

As the line between humans and machines continued to blur, Ishiguro's mechanical newscaster performed tongue-twisters, to the amazement of their human counterparts.

"My dream is to have my own TV show in the future," Kodomoroid said. - Breitbart.

ICE AGE NOW: A Year Without Summer - Minnesota Still Has Snow On The Ground From Last Winter?!

June 24, 2014 - MINNESOTA, UNITED STATES - There is still snow on the ground in southern Minnesota.

Chris Kuball, ABC 6

You read that correctly. ABC 6 Meteorologist Chris Kuball tweeted a photo of a snow pile, that looks more like a rock, at Marcusen Park in Austin, Minnesota, Monday morning.

The park is a dumping site for snow in the area, Kuball says, and on June 23 there was still a pile of snow that was about 10 feet tall, 50 feet long and 30 feet wide, Kuball said in a Facebook post.

Check out this then-and-now photo:

Kuball says the bottom of the snow pile was undercut by last week's flooding.

Marcusen Park isn't the only place in Minnesota where there's still snow - the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has a little snow left:

Kuball was surprised that the snow pile is still there. He told BringMeTheNews that the snow piles usually melt away by this point in June. For some comparison: In 2011, a giant snow pile that reached the top of the light posts in the Sear's parking lot in St. Paul melted by June 8.

How long these snow piles stick around depends on how much snow the area gets and how warm the spring is, Kuball notes. Austin, Minnesota, got somewhere around 60 inches of snow this winter, Kuball says, and temperatures were cooler than average for much of April and May.

Because of the cooler-than-average spring, snow and ice seemed to stick around Minnesota a little longer this year. Despite record-setting heat in Duluth over Memorial Day weekend, ice was still floating on Lake Superior, which gave Melissa Ellis and her friend Brigitta Keyler an idea for a photo (to the left), that went viral.

Chunks of ice were floating around Lake Superior until the beginning of June, which wasn't really a surprise because of the record-setting winter Minnesotans endured this year. More than 90 percent of the Great Lakes' surface was covered in ice during this past winter, WCCO reports.

In April, there were sure signs of spring when the "Granddaddy" snowman, built by a Minnesota farmer, started to melt. The current status of the snowman is not known.

Minnesota isn't the only Midwestern state that's seen the long-lasting effects of the harsh winter. Michigan's Rocks National Lakeshore, located on Lake Superior, still had snow piles on June 16. - BMTN.