Saturday, January 11, 2014

MASS FISH/BIRD/ANIMAL DIE-OFF: The Latest Incidents Across The Globe - Apocalyptic Die-Off Of Hundreds Of Fish In A Pond In Varbina, Bulgaria; 150 Ducks Die From Outbreak Of Bird Flu In Redwood City, California, U.S.; Thousands Of Fish Die Of Pollution In A River In Durban, South Africa; 35 Turtles Wash Ashore Dead Along The Coast Of Chennai, India; Hundreds Of Dead Ducks In Alberta, Canada; 40 Bald Eagles Now Dead From "Virus" In Utah, United States; Massive Fish Kill Due To Pollution In A River In Kurger Park, South Africa; Tons Of Dead Fish Found In A River In San Martino In Rio, Italy; 20,000 Birds Killed Since November Due To Disease Around Great Salt Lake, U.S.; Hundreds, Maybe Thousands, Of Fish Die In A Lake In New South Wales, Australia; And 10,000 Birds Killed Due To Avian Flu In Bac Ninh, Vietnam!

January 11, 2014 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest incidents of mass animal, bird and fish die-offs across the globe:

Apocalyptic Die-Off Of Hundreds Of Fish In A Pond In Varbina, Bulgaria.

Hundreds of dead fish have near Varbinski bridge warned Fishermen are whistleblowers worried that upstream of Arda leaking poisons in industrial quantities."We came to go fishing near the village Varbina.

Piles of dead fish in there.We tried to contact RIEWs but no one picked up the phone. Or upstream of Arda leaking poisons in industrial quantities, or poachers poured something into the river, "have shared fishermen.According RIEWs Smolyan, data on contamination of river waters will, cause fish kills clear.In examining expert inspection was found dead barbell. Is suspected poachers fishing with electricity.73-foot-long stone bridge is located on the border of Madan Municipality. This is a favorite place for fishermen in Kardzhali and Smolyan. - iNews. [Translated]

150 Ducks Die From Outbreak Of Bird Flu In Redwood City, California, United States.
SBSA’s Popular Bird-Watching Pond to Be Drained after Apparent Attack of Avian Cholera Kills 150 Ducks
Photo: South Bayside System Authorit

Citing a serious threat to wildlife, the South Bayside System Authority (SBSA) wastewater facility in Redwood City will drain its popular bird-watching pond beginning Friday because an apparent outbreak of avian cholera has killed nearly 150 ducks since Friday, January 3.  A U.S. Fish & Wildlife official is reporting news of avian cholera in Hayward and now, possibly in Redwood City. At this time the cause of the ducks death at the Radio Road site has not been confirmed but is suspected to be the spread of avian cholera from the East Bay.

“Please note that this does not pose a threat to humans, but can cause death to waterfowl, gulls, and other species,” said Melisa Amato, Wildlife Refuge Specialist & Hunt Program Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  She is asking the public to “please report any large numbers of dead birds (more than 10) to or, especially if these birds appear to be fresh and have no obvious signs of death or there are more on a regular basis.”     The popular SBSA “pond” that greets visitors to the plant at 1400 Radio Road, Redwood City – at the southeast end of Redwood Shores – is technically called a landscape impoundment. It was created in 1998 on the west side of the treatment plant to eliminate dust from the dry barren dirt in the area.  “Over the years this body of water has met the goal of eliminating dust from the dry, bare land next to the treatment plant and has become a popular spot for bird watchers, The dust proved detrimental to the lifespan of the plant’s equipment, especially the electrical system and instrumentation devices ”  noted SBSA Manager Dan Child.

On its website, the Sequoia Audubon Society says that SBSA’s landscape impoundment “is a perpetual favorite among local birders, for its fabulous numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds, and the constant hope, often fulfilled, of rarities. It is not uncommon to see over 10,000 birds from the security of your car, all close enough to be identified with binoculars (although a scope is a spectacular asset at this location).  Radio Road has it all: easy access, constant numbers of birds, rarities, opportunities for study of breeding and of vagrancy, a variety of habitats in a small space, no barriers for those with disabilities, and, for birders who have canine companions, there is a dog park right here!”  The pond is kept fresh by a flow of fresh recycled water from the treatment facility to replace water lost by evaporation and by allowing a certain amount to overflow back to the treatment plant. Peak water flow to the pond in the hot season can reach over 100,000 gallons per day of water from the recycled water system. - Belmont Patch.

Thousands Of Fish Die Of Pollution In A River In Durban, South Africa.
The polluted mouth of the iSipingo River. Picture: Marilyn Bernard

The eThekwini municipality has been criticised for its refusal to name the Prospecton factory that has been polluting the iSipingo River, where thousands of dead fish washed up earlier this week.  Amanzimtoti ward councillor André Beetge said those responsible needed to be named and shamed.  “If the city knows for sure who it is, if they have proof, they should not protect them.”  The factory had to be held accountable to the public.  City spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said on Thursday that “action” had been taken against the factory, but he would not disclose its name, the type of pollutant or the nature of the action taken.

The fish washed up on the banks of the river mouth, in the south of Durban, on Tuesday.  The river water had taken on a black colour and a strong smell permeated the area.  Mofokeng said investigations found the factory had been “illegally discharging” into the river.  Adding to this problem was that a 400mm sewer pipe, feeding the Joyner Road sewage pump station, in Jeffels Road, Prospecton, had failed. This was apparently due to the theft of a steel bracket that had been holding up the pipe.  “The pollution was compounded by a dry-ish period, followed by rainfall, which generally generates poor quality run-off,” he said.  A number of departments, including health, were working on the issue. Mofokeng said most of the dead fish had been taken to a landfill site.  “The city has started repairs to the sewer line, but this will take some time to rectify,” said Mofokeng.  Attempts would be made to remove the remaining fish and to aerate part of the lagoon today.  “If this fails we will approach Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife and the Department of Environmental Affairs to breach the lagoon and flush the pollution out,” Mofokeng said.

As a health precaution people have been advised not to swim or fish in the area until the matter has been resolved.  Beetge said the fish kill was not an isolated incident. Such problems plagued the whole south Durban area.  “A pump station failed in Amanzimtoti in December and we had dead fish in the Winklespruit River,” he said.  “The infrastructure here is rotten. It is not being maintained and those who are supposed to maintain it seem to lack the necessary knowledge.”  Beetge said it was time for someone to “take ownership” of the problem.  Controversy has surrounded the area over the past decade. In September 2004, it was reported that fish had died. This followed an oil leak from the Sapref offshore oil pipeline, but the authorities said there was no connection.  In September 2012, the media reported a study by the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology that analysed industrial plastic pellets on beaches around the world and found that those collected on Isipingo Beach had the highest concentration of hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), a toxic substance that is used as an insecticide. - IOL.

35 Turtles Wash Ashore Dead Along The Coast Of Chennai, India.
For turtle enthusiasts, 2014 began on a tragic note with 23 dead Olive Ridleys being washed ashore between Napier Bridge and Neelankarai in the last two days.
In the last week, 35 dead turtles were found on the same stretch and this is just the tip of the iceberg. "Studies show that only 5% to 7% of the carcasses wash ashore," said Akila Balu, convener of Students' Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN).

Olive Ridleys are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act and are considered keystone species, which means they play a critical role in the health of their environment. They keep the population of jelly fish in check and by feeding on sponges, they let coral reefs flourish. "It was very depressing to see so many turtles bloated and bleeding on the beach," said R Nishant, a volunteer from SSTCN who scouted the beach on Monday night between Srinivasapuram and Napier Bridge. The female turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on the beach. - Times of India.

Hundreds Of Dead Ducks In Alberta, Canada.
A retired scientist took this photo of what appears to be dead ducks underneath a transmission line
being built in the Pincher Creek area. (Submitted by David McIntyre)

AltaLink is investigating reports about dozens of dead ducks near one of its transmission lines in southwest Alberta. Retired scientist David McIntyre raised concerns after he found duck carcasses under a newly-built transmission line north of Pincher Creek.

McIntyre estimates the deaths may be in the hundreds based on a 10-minute walk along the line he took on Dec. 31.  Judging from the damage to ducks, he thinks they may be hitting the line in bad weather when they can't see it.  The company is sending workers to an area near Pincher Creek and may install "flappers" to help make the lines more visible.  Director Scott Schreiner says it appears it happened near an existing line and not near one of the new transmission lines under construction.

"We've sent a team of environmental experts from AltaLink and external providers down to investigate. Normally, what we try to do is mitigate any impact on the environment of our facilities. That includes bird contacts."  The team will walk up and down the transmission lines in the area and may also do a bird count. While the company performs environmental assessments and can use some techniques to divert birds, Schreiner admits some conflict with birds is unavoidable.  "Whether it's a phone line or a telephone tower or a house, birds have collisions with those aerial facilities."  AltaLink will need a few days to investigate the reports. The company has notified Alberta Environment about the incident. - CBC.

40 Bald Eagles Now Dead From "Virus" In Utah, United States.

Utah wildlife officials say the number of bald eagles that appear to have died from West Nile Virus has climbed to 40.  Leslie McFarlane, a wildlife disease coordinator with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, reports say that besides the 40 dead birds, there are five others in rehabilitation centers.  McFarlane says the number of dead eagles should start to drop off as the spread of infection appears to have slowed.  Wildlife officials first started finding the birds on Dec. 1 with head tremors and signs of weakness and paralysis.  They were not sure what was killing the animals until last week, when they received test results.  They suspect the animals contracted West Nile by eating dead aquatic birds that were infected with the disease. - KUTV.

Massive Fish Kill Due To Pollution In A River In Kurger Park, South Africa.
Underground mine acid flows into a dam after rains. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO

National Park river, killing a "massive" number of fish, after heavy rains contributed to the overflow of a tailings dam in the Phalaborwa region, South African National Parks (SANParks) said on Monday.  Acid mine water contains high levels of heavy metals and salts. It has affected vast areas of South Africa and is an urgent problem in the Witwatersrand, where it is projected that if the problem is not addressed in Africa and South Africa’s economic hub, it will lead to shortages of usable water from this year.  Department of Water Affairs compliance monitoring and enforcement director Nigel Adams said criminal charges had been laid against the Bosveld Phosphate mining operation, and the department was also taking administrative action against the miner.  The incident was detected by Kruger National Park staff after a tip-off by a local fisherman on December 30. The fisherman had seen the dead fish.

The spill polluted the Selati River, an important tributary of the Olifants River, a significant shared watercourse with Mozambique.  In 2013, a team of 30 scientists found that mining, industrial, agricultural and sewage pollution had caused a toxic soup that threatened the future of the Olifants River — estimated by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research as South Africa’s third hardest-working river — and the health of the people and animals living in its catchment basin.  SANParks said in a statement that investigations into the environmental impact of the latest spillage continued and would be made public once concluded. There is also continuous monitoring of the rivers affected to assess their condition.  Mr Adams said the pollution had been contained and the river’s acidity level was tested every three hours.  Water had been released from the Blyde Dam to dilute the pollution, he said.  "The situation is improving," he added.  SANParks said it had taken "immediate precautions" to ensure safe water supply to tourist camps in the park.  Camps dependent on water from the Olifants River were switched to back-up borehole water, with associated water-use restrictions to ensure that demand could be met. - BD Live.

Tons Of Dead Fish Found In A River In San Martino In Rio, Italy.

It will take a week to receive the results on the sample of contaminated water made by ARPA in the areas of Reggio and Rubiera Gazzata and figure out what caused the deaths of tons of fish in the cable Tresinaro New Year's Eve. Doubts about the causes seem very few and the hypothesis that a spill of sewage may have resulted in a mortality of so many fish is almost certain.
Meanwhile, the cable has been cleared by a specialist company and the dead fish were disposed of. First to notice the disaster were some residents of Gazzata, Molino, where it was found the highest concentration of dead fish. The spillage of sewage would be carried out not far away, near the Tassarola, then the liquid would expand along the cable up to San Martino in Rio and close to San Biagio di Correggio.

Thanks to the painstaking work of volunteers and fishermen, nearly three tons of fish, mostly of large size, were saved even though it will be hard to restore the original fauna tract Tresinaro. The police investigations are continuing and increasingly gaining the hypothesis that lead to the disaster has not been a local farmer but a tanker. - Gazzetta Di Reggio. [Translated]

20,000 Birds Killed Since November Due To Disease Around Great Salt Lake, United States.
Utah wildlife officials have linked the recent rise in bald eagle deaths to the West Nile virus.
Photo credit:

Wildlife officials confirmed on Tuesday the West Nile virus is responsible for at least 27 bald eagles deaths near the Great Salt Lake area in the month of December. The birds of prey contracted the virus after feeding on infected water birds called eared grebes. Approximately 20,000 of the grebes have died since November outside Salt Lake City, making the outbreak one of the biggest North America has ever seen. Continue reading below to find out what this could mean for the United States’ recently recovered bald eagle population.

An unprecedented wintertime outbreak of West Nile virus has killed more than two dozen bald eagles in Utah and thousands of water birds around the Great Salt Lake, state wildlife officials said on Tuesday.  At least 27 bald eagles have died this month in the northern and central parts of Utah from the blood-borne virus, and state biologists reported that five more ailing eagles were responding to treatment at rehabilitation centers.  The eagles, whose symptoms included leg paralysis and tremors, are believed to have contracted the disease by preying on sick or dead water birds called eared grebes that were infected by the West Nile virus, said Leslie McFarlane, Utah wildlife disease coordinator.  Some 20,000 of the water birds have died in and around the Great Salt Lake since November in an outbreak that may be a record in North America, McFarlane said. Initial testing suggested an infectious bacterial disease such as avian cholera caused the deaths, but findings released on Tuesday showed West Nile virus was the culprit, McFarlane said.  The dead birds do not pose a risk to people, Utah Health Department epidemiologist JoDee Baker said in a statement. Yet Baker urged those who find sick or dead birds to avoid handling them.  Utah wildlife specialists said bird deaths tied to West Nile virus were unusual in wintertime in Utah since mosquitoes – the primary vector – are not usually active during colder months.

McFarlane said Utah had an unusually warm fall that extended the breeding season for mosquitoes to late October. But scientists may ultimately be unable to determine if grebes infected by West Nile virus migrated to Utah or if they contracted it there, she said.  West Nile virus, which was first detected in North America in 1999 and has since spread across the continental United States and Canada, can live for a few days in carcasses of infected birds. It can be transmitted to birds of prey and scavengers that feed on them, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  But the epidemic in Utah may be unprecedented in North America for the masses of birds killed over a broad geographic area and for the number of bald eagles affected, said McFarlane.

“This is really kind of undocumented. Eagles have been known to feed on birds infected with West Nile virus but the transmission hasn’t happened on this large of a scale. And the total number of birds we’re talking about is on a grand scale that may not have been seen before,” she said.

Additional testing of grebes and eagles is underway to shed more light on the mix of factors that converged to trigger the extensive die-off and to determine how much of a risk it might pose to other types of birds.More than 2 million eared grebes stage at the Great Salt Lake amid a yearly winter migration from Canada and U.S. states west of the Mississippi River, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York.The water birds are expected to end their stopover in Utah and fly to the Southwestern United States and Mexico the second week of January, reducing the disease risk to bald eagles, McFarlane said.From 750 to 1,200 bald eagles migrate to wintering grounds in Utah each year, she said.Bald eagles, the national symbol of the United States, were removed from the federal threatened and endangered species list in 2007 after they soared back from near extinction. - Global Animal.

Hundreds, Maybe Thousands, Of Fish Die In A Lake In New South Wales, Australia.
DOWN A NOTCH: The warm weather has seen the water level around the Chinese Tribute Gardens
and Chinaman’s Dam decline (left), affecting life below more than above the water (right).

The Chinese Tribute Gardens are a place of peace, pagodas and, in recent weeks, rotting fish.Young local Linda Hwang visits the gardens daily and was surprised to find familiar ducks, swans and cranes swimming with a smelly new friend.

"One of my dogs, who I walk here everyday, had sussed it out," she said. "He was probably drawn by the smell more than anything.""He wanted to get it and was dragging on the lead.”The fish, an orange two-footer bleached by the sun, is one of the 500 to 1000 estimated to have died in the waters of the gardens and nearby Chinaman's Dam.Ms Hwang spotted the scaly mess on Monday morning, flipping it with a stick and sending it from the shore."I didn't want somebody else, maybe a child, to touch it," she said. "It could be dreadfully full of bacteria."Young Council Director of Planning, Environment and Strategic Services Craig Filmer said the sudden deaths were likely due to a spike in water temperature.

"We couldn't see any pollutants and don't know of any incidents that could have caused it," he said. "We've had a chat with the fisheries doctor, who supplies the area, and it seems a quick temperature change can cause things like this to happen."Mr Filmer said most of the affected fish were small, with only a handful of larger breeds succumbing to the heat."The majority of them were two to four inches," he said. "[But] it's affecting fish from the smallest shrimp to bigger fish like carp."The heat has also seen the water-level around the gardens and dam rapidly decline, something Mr Filmer said was far from unexpected."It's not uncommon for that billabong (pictured) to dry up in summer," he said. "The spring water that naturally feeds that dam probably isn't replenishing as fast as the evaporation is depleting it."

Council fished most of the dead from the water early last week, Mr Filmer affirming the shire's commitment to the area."We are constantly looking at ways of improving the gardens," he said. "It's one of our top tourist draws, as well as a respectful tribute to our sister-city relationship with Lanzhou [in China]." - Young Witness.

10,000 Birds Killed Due To Avian Flu In Bac Ninh, Vietnam.
See the full statistical report HERE. Courtesy of  information received on 10/01/2014 from Dr Dong Pham Van, Director General, Chief Veterinary Officer, Department of Animal Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Hanoï, Vietnam.

RATTLE & HUM: Mysterious Loud Bang Heard In East Yorkshire, United Kingdom - People Baffled After Being Awoken By Sound "Like Single Explosion"?!

January 11, 2014 - UNITED KINGDOM - Baffled families were woken by a mysterious loud bang heard across East Yorkshire early this morning. Dozens of people from Hull to Withernsea took to social media after hearing the noise echo through the skies at about 3.30am.

The mysterious sound woke people up across Hull and East Yorkshire.

Others posted about the sound from as far away as Cleethorpes and Derby. Many believed a thunderclap was to blame but the Met Office said there was no storm in the area at the time.

Writing on the Mail's Facebook page, Alan Key said the noise "woke us up and scared us to death. People say it was thunder but to me it sounded more like an explosion."

Friends in Beverley and west Hull told Mr Key they also heard the sound. Karen Holdstock, who lives in the Greatfield estate, said it woke her too.

Martin Hardcastle said it sounded like "amazingly loud thunder" at his house in Withernsea and Ruth Clarkson reported it in Patrington.

Michelle Ketley posted saying she was frightened by how sudden it was.

She wrote: "I've been thinking about it all morning. I was shaking when it woke me up and I'm not scared of thunder at all. It was very bizarre."

Twitter users have also been discussing the sound today.

Sharing her experience with a friend, Corrine in Derby wrote: "I think it was just the one time but it was unreal. Never heard anything like it in my life."

Tony Hamilton in Cleethorpes on the south bank of the Humber took to Twitter after the noise shook him awake.

He said: "That's why I'm awake at this silly hour. Heard something that sounded like a bang."

Met Office forecasters reviewed satellite images for the Mail and said although cloud cover at the time suggested there had been rain, there was no evidence of stormy weather or lightning strikes.

A spokeswoman said: "I can't really see anything that would indicate a thunderstorm. The satellite shows banks of cloud going over but I can't see anything that would cause a loud bang." - Hull Daily Mail.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Global Volcano Report For January 11, 2014 - Updates On Sinabung, Kawah Ijen, Etna, Shiveluch, Cleveland And Pacaya! [STUNNING PHOTOS + VIDEO]

January 11, 2014 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): Mount Sinabung, a volcano in Indonesia's North Sumatra province, erupted 24 times on Friday, shooting a column of ash about 4,000 metres to the sky and forcing further evacuation, an official said.

A mother holds her son as they watch the eruption of Mount Sinabung at Berastepu village in
Karo district, Indonesia’s North Sumatra province, January 10, 2014. More than 22,000
villagers have been evacuated since authorities raised the alert status for Sinabung
to the highest level in November 2013. (REUTERS/Beawiharta)

A woman looks on as Mount Sinabung spews ash, as pictured from Sibintun village in Karo district,
Indonesia’s north Sumatra province on November 18, 2013. Mount Sinabung continued to spew
volcanic ash, throwing a plume 8,000 meters into the atmosphere as thousands of residents
remained in temporary shelters fearful of more eruptions. (REUTERS/Roni Bintang)

This stunning picture shows Mount Sinabung spewing volcanic ash and lava on the
island of Sumatra in Indonesia, south-east Asia.

Powerful burst of ash spread from the crater of rumbling volcano, located in Karo district, reported Xinhua citing Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesperson of national disaster management agency.

WATCH: Sinabung volcano activity on January 11, 2014.

The 2,457-metre Mount Sinabung has rumbled to life since September after being dormant for 400 years. It has erupted on and off since then, but went into overdrive frequently in November and December.

A dead dog lies on a street covered in ash from Mount Sinabung volcano at Tiga Pancur village in
Karo district, Indonesia’s North Sumatra province, January 8, 2014. (REUTERS/YT Haryono)

The hot ash slid off to the southeast, scaling up the number of people fleeing the eruption to 24,949 on Friday from 22,708 a few days ago, the official added. "It is expected that the volcano is going to persist eruption in days to come."

Evacuation zone has been declared at 7 kilometre from the crater of the volcano, the official said, adding the authorities will proceed to send emergency relief aids to affected-areas.

A mother holds her child as Mount Sinabung spews ash and hot lava during an eruption in Perteguhan
village in the Karo district of Indonesia’s north Sumatra province on September 17, 2013. Mount
Sinabung threw more volcanic ash into air, covering the surrounding areas as authorities
prepared more temporary shelters for evacuees. (REUTERS/Roni Bintang)

Pyroclastic flow at Sinabung this morning. The volcano continues to be very active with viscous lava 
extruded at the new dome, which frequently collapses to form hot avalanches (pyroclastic flows)
that generate ash plumes rising up to a few km. The direction of the path of the latest pyroclastic
flows has shifted a bit to the east (right) of the previous flow path, possibly due to the obstacle
formed by the accumulated latest deposits themselves. These are the gray areas visible on the
flank and at the base of the volcano, where a broad delta of hot deposits has formed (that has
destroyed everything that used to be there - farmland, scattered houses etc).

See more images HERE and HERE.

The Mount Sinabung is among the 129 active volcanoes in the vast archipelago country, which is prone to seismic upheaval as it lays on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" encircling the Pacific Ocean.

Kawah Ijen (Indonesia): At first glance you might think the otherworldly light in these pictures comes from a nebula or another planet deep in outer space.

In fact it is made by burning sulphur which pours from the side of the Kawah Ijen volcano on planet Earth, which is part of the Ijen volcano complex in East Java, Indonesia.

Out of this world: While these pictures may appear to be from another planet, they are
in fact produced by burning sulphur here on Earth.

The molten chemical comes from the sides of the Kawah Ijen volcano in Indonesia and is directed
through pipes by miners to collection points in a nearby crater.

The sulphur appears bright red during the day, but as the sun sets the blue flames -
which can reach up to five foot in height - start to become visible.

Miners have run ceramic pipes from vents in the side of the mountain to collection points inside a large crater where the molten chemical is left to cool before being broken up and carried away.

While the sulhpur appears bright red during the day, at night it gives off an eerie blue light with flames that can reach up to five foot in height.

The miners who rely on the sulphur for their livelihoods work in treacherous conditions at the bottom of the crater. They wear nothing other than t-shirts and trousers as they collect the yellow material, despite toxic fumes being given off and the fact that the molten sulphur is heated to more than 240F.
They must also avoid the deadly turquoise-blue lake which takes up most of the crater floor, as it is made up of almost pure sulphuric acid, and would instantly kill anyone unlucky enough to fall in.

They must also move solid blocks of sulphur weighing up to 220lb up a very steep slope in order to sell them, using nothing more than a basket and their bare hands.

Photographer Olivier Grunewald, who captured some of these amazing shots, had to wear a gas mask during his expedition into the crater, and lost two lenses and a camera while trying to capture the mysterious pictures.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Activity remains unchanged. The Northeast crater produces a weak ash plume currently drifting east. Tremor levels are fluctuating, but generally low.

Ash plume from Etna's NE crater seen from Giarre.

Interestingly, a few shallow (6-7 km) earthquakes of magnitudes around 1.7-1.8 occurred along a W-E line over the past days.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): The volcano continues to extrude viscous lava, generating explosions and hot avalanches. An ash plume to estimated 23,000 ft (7 km) altitude and drifting east was detected on satellite imagery yesterday. Cloud cover prevents more detailed observations.

Cleveland (Aleutian Islands, Alaska): No new volcanic activity has been observed at the volcano since the 3 brief explosions on December 28 and 30 and January 2. Satellite views since January 2 suggest that no new lava has effused at the summit crater. AVO lowered the Level of Concern Color Code to YELLOW and the Alert Level to ADVISORY. (AVO / USGS)

Pacaya (Guatemala): A strong increase in activity began last night at the volcano. Accompanied by steeply rising tremor, the so-far mild strombolian activity picked up to become intense enough to produce pulsating lava fountains that eject glowing material to several hundred meters height and is visible from tens of kilometers distance (e.g. the Pacific coast at 50 km to the west).

Seismic signal from Pacaya yesterday night and this morning (PCG station, INSIVUMEH)

The new surge of lava (or paroxysm) has also generated a new lava flow, which for the time being is confined to the inside of the Mackenney crater, but might soon be able to pour outside of the cone.

As a response, CONRED has closed access to the park and civil aviation authority has limited the number of flights in and out of Guatemala airport because of the presence of ash plumes.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for January 11, 2014.

SOURCES: Volcano Discovery | Daily Mail | NDTV | Baltimore Sun | BBC.

RELIGIOUS LITERALISM: Kaduri, The Ariel Sharon Prophecy, The Blood Moon Tetrad And End Times Eschatology - Former Israeli Prime Minister's Death Opens Up Prophetic Timeline For Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri's Prophecy?!

January 11, 2014 - ISRAEL - The death of former Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon opens up speculation about a prophecy offered by Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri before his own death in 2006.

The “Ariel Sharon Prophecy” states that the Messiah, whom Kaduri claims to have met, will not appear to the world until Ariel Sharon had died.

Sharon fell into a coma after a stroke on January 4, 2006. Kaduri died 24 days later and left a note that was not to be opened until one year after his death.  One year is the traditional mourning period, during which certain privileges are accorded the family out of respect for the deceased.

WATCH: Ex-Israeli PM Ariel Sharon dies at 85.

More importantly, condemnation of actions of the dead cannot be placed on the family after this time period, so Kaduri was likely protecting his family from the backlash he thought might come from his note.
In it, he stated:
Concerning the letter abbreviation of the Messiah’s name, He will lift the people and prove that his word and law are valid.

This I have signed in the month of mercy,

Yitzhak Kaduri
In Hebrew, the letter abbreviation spells Yehoshua, the Hebrew name of Jesus.

It is impossible to know if Kaduri’s prophecy was inspired or if it has any accuracy. Technically speaking, the fact that the Messiah has not appeared means that he was correct, but does it mean that Jesus will return now? In a week? A month? A year? A decade? All is still unclear.

Kaduri was one of the most respected Rabbis and Jewish scholars of modern history, well known for his memorization of the Bible. As with all situations of signs, they are intended to show us when to watch and for what to watch.

We know that there are many strange things happening in the world today that coincide with inspired Bible prophecy; Kaduri’s role is unknown until the events that he predicted come to pass. From a our perspective, it’s easy to see Kaduri’s note, Sharon’s passing, the upcoming Jewish Holy Day Blood Moon Tetrad, and everything else happening today as sign of monumental changes ahead. - JCC. [Edited]

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: The War On Mother Nature - Dead Cows Are Mysteriously Washing Ashore In Denmark And Sweden Puzzing Everyone; 11 Dead; Cattle Found With Their Ears Cut Off?!

January 11, 2014 - DENMARK & SWEDEN - The carcasses of almost a dozen cows have washed ashore in Denmark and Sweden, puzzling police in the Scandinavian countries.

A Holstein carcass lies washed up on a beach Denmark's Zealand island. Scandinavian police are puzzled
by at least 11 dead cows that have washed ashore in Sweden and Denmark’s southern coasts. 
AP Photo / Polfoto / Niels Hougaard

Since Dec. 29, eight dead cows have been found by people strolling on beaches in southern Sweden and three in Denmark. All the animals had parts of their ears cut off. Investigators suspect this was done to remove the identification tags used to trace the cows.

Danish and Swedish police said Thursday the cows were probably dumped from a ship in the Baltic Sea. They are trying to pinpoint which livestock transports have passed through the waters separating the two countries in recent weeks.

Dumping livestock like that is illegal in both countries. It’s unclear, however, whether the cows were thrown overboard in Danish, Swedish or international waters.

Some of the cows had their back legs tied together with a blue rope, Danish police officer Boje Joergensen said, adding it was probably done to be able to lift the animals up with a crane.

Veterinarians in Sweden found no traces of disease in the animals washed ashore there, Swedish police said.

Police believe the cases are related as the cows were all black-and-white Holsteins. - National Post.

DELUGE: Historical Flooding Hits Florida - Nearly TWO FEET Of Rain In JUST 24 HOURS Hits Palm Beach County; 2 Dead; Meteorologists Are Stunned At The Rainfall Rate!

January 11, 2014 - UNITED STATES - A torrential downpour lashed Florida's Palm Beach County before dawn Friday, shuttering schools, flooding an interstate and causing at least two deaths.

Andre Francois wades through knee deep flood water in Boynton Beach, Fla., on Friday to get back to his house.
J Pat Carter / AP

More than 22 inches of rain fell on Boynton Beach over a 24-hour period, according to the National Weather Service. The Sun Sentinel newspaper said the most rain was around Interstate 95 and Gateway Boulevard, while between 12 and 18 inches fell over just a few hours in Lantana and Delray Beach.

"An incredible rainfall rate," said Robert Molleda, a meteorologist with the NWS. "There is no way we could forecast that much rain in that short a time."

Historical overview for through the overnight hours.

The first of the two deaths occurred just after 7 a.m. Friday in West Delray: Elsa Marquez, 56, steered her Toyota Rav 4 through a flooded intersection at Heritage Park and Via Flora into a lake, and her vehicle quickly sank.

Elsewhere in Delray Beach, a man died after drowning in a flooded ditch, according to NBC affiliate WPTV in West Palm Beach.

Several roads were closed and water gushed into homes and businesses, according to the National Weather Service in Miami. The rushing floodwater also forced the closure of Palm Beach County schools Friday, the Weather Channel reported. - NBC.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Flu Season Getting WORSE - CDC Says Illness Has Now Spread To At Least 35 American States!

January 11, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Flu season is ramping up in the United States, with the illness now widespread in at least 35 states, up from 25 in the previous week, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

FILE: Oct. 17, 2012: A flu shot is administered in Jackson, Miss. (AP)

Lyn Finelli, a flu expert with the CDC, said the agency's weekly report shows "We're in the thick of flu season." She told The Associated Press that the season likely hasn't peaked, but that it's too soon to know if it will be worse than normal.

The numbers aren't as high so far as last year, when flu season started early. The number of people seeking medical care for the flu climbed to more than 4 percent of all doctor visits last week, a near doubling from two weeks earlier.

State health officials in North Carolina reported Thursday that the death toll from the seasonal flu outbreak had risen to 21, 19 of which were young and middle-aged adults, most of whom had underlying medical conditions. Only two deaths have been reported in persons over 65.

Health officials said flu activity has been widespread in North Carolina since mid-December. Flu season typically peaks during January and February.

In Washington, health officials said Friday there have been 11 flu deaths in the state this season. Five of the deaths have been in King County, which can be expected as the population center of the state. There were 54 official flu deaths in the state last season.

Washington Health Department Spokesman Marqise Allen said the number is not unusual, but the department urges everyone over the age of 6 months to have a vaccination. The swine flu has been the most common strain, and the current vaccine available covers the H1N1 virus.

In Nevada, five people have died in Washoe County, and the Southern Nevada Health District reported that two middle-aged people and one elderly person have died in Clark County.

"These deaths serve as a stark reminder of what a serious illness flu can be and the importance of taking preventive measures," said Dr. Joe Iser, chief health officer of the Southern Nevada Health District.

Health officials say it's not too late to get a flu vaccination. Flu season generally peaks in January or February, but it can continue well into spring. Besides being vaccinated, they recommend frequent hand-washing and covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough to stem the spread of germs.

People who are healthy should avoid close contact with someone who is sick, and those who do fall ill should stay home to prevent spreading the virus to others. - FOX News.