Monday, April 7, 2014

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Rare Sight - Earth Aligns With Mars And The Sun In A Space Event Known As "An Opposition"!

April 07, 2014 - SPACE - Mars will be exactly opposite the sun in the sky in a rare cosmic alignment set to take place Tuesday (April 8).

Called an opposition, this happens with Mars from Earth's perspective every 778 days, or 2 years, 1 month and 18 days. Think of Earth and Mars as two cars racing on circular tracks. Because Earth is closer to the sun, it travels faster, completing a circuit in 365 days. Mars is farther from the sun and takes longer, 687 days.

By the time Mars has completed one circuit, Earth has a lot of catching up to do to get to a point between the Red Planet and the sun. This is complicated by the fact that the two racetracks are not exact circles. As Johannes Kepler discovered in the 16th century, the planets follow slightly elliptical paths around the sun, sometimes closer to the Sun (perihelion), sometimes farther away (aphelion).

Seen from above the sun's north pole on April 8, Mars, Earth and the Sun will lie in a straight line, called "opposition."
Credit: Starry Night software

Some planets, like Venus and Earth, follow paths that are almost perfect circles. Other planets, like Mercury and Mars, follow more elliptical orbits, which are described as being more eccentric, or differing from a circle.

On the day of opposition, Mars, Earth and the sun fall on a straight line. Six days later, both planets will have moved a little along their orbits, but, because of the eccentricity of its orbit, Mars will be slightly closer to Earth than it was before.

If you look at the complete orbits of the four inner planets, you can see how Venus and Earth follow almost perfect circles centered on the sun. The orbits of Mercury and Mars are slightly askew.

Six days later on April 14, 2014, Mars will actually be slightly closer to the Earth because of Mars' elliptical orbit.
Credit: Starry Night Software

If you look closely at Mars' orbit around the 4 o'clock point, you'll see a little tick mark, which indicates Mars' perihelion, the point when it's closest to the sun. If Earth is somewhere in the same quadrant, Mars will be much closer to Earth than it is right now, when it's on the far side of its orbit from perihelion.

This is where we get the idea of "favorable" and "unfavorable" oppositions of Mars. When Earth passes Mars when Mars is close to perihelion, as it did in August 2003, we have a favorable opposition. When Earth passes Mars when it is close to aphelion, as it did in March 2012, we have a very unfavorable opposition. The opposition next week is slightly more favorable than two years ago, and oppositions will gradually get better until July 2018, when Mars will be close to perihelion and we get a very favorable opposition.

 WATCH: NASA's ScienceCasts - The Opposition of Mars.


But how much difference does this make? In March 2012, Mars was 62.7 million miles (100.9 million kilometers) from Earth. On April 14, it will be 57.4 million miles (92.4 million km) away. But back in August 2003, it was only 34.6 million miles (55.8 million km) from Earth.

From a practical point of view, Mars appears as a very tiny object in most amateur telescopes, almost always a disappointment to a beginner looking at it. The detailed images you see online are almost always made by combining hundreds of individual frames by a process called stacking, which minimizes the "noise" caused by the turbulence in Earth's atmosphere.

To see that sort of detail at the eyepiece requires tremendous patience, waiting for the rare instants when the Earth's atmosphere steadies, allowing the fine detail to pop into view. At those instants of clarity, you will see Mars' polar cap and traces of its subtle differences in terrain. - SPACE.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Guinea Raises Death Toll Due To Ebola Epidemic To 95 - With 151 Total Cases; Suspected Cases In Mali, Liberia And Sierra Leone!

April 07, 2014 - WEST AFRICA - Guinea's government raised the death toll in the Ebola epidemic raging through its southern forests and capital to 95 on Monday.

Photo credit: AFP

The health ministry added nine deaths to the toll of 86 given before the weekend, saying that 52 cases had been confirmed in laboratories to be the killer tropical virus.

"Up to now, the Guinean authorities have registered 151 suspect cases and 95 deaths," the ministry's chief disease prevention officer Sakoba Keita told AFP, without specifying the locations of the new deaths.

A number of patients have been discharged from Ebola treatment centres after beating the virus, however, medical charity Doctors Without Borders, which goes by its French initials MSF, said in a statement.

"When the first patient came out from the treatment centre, I was so happy and the whole team was cheering," Marie-Claire Lamah, a Guinean doctor working in MSF's treatment centre in Conakry, was quoted as saying by MSF.

Various studies -- including a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year -- have demonstrated some immunity in survivors from the particular strain to which they were exposed, but life-long immunity has not been demonstrated.

MSF said it was working with local communities to ensure that discharged patients who have beaten the virus can return home safely, and that everyone understands they are no longer contagious.

"We explain to the families and neighbours that the patient is now negative and doesn't present any risks to anyone -- they can be kissed, touched and hugged without any risk of contagion," says MSF health promoter Ella Watson-Stryker.

MSF has some 60 international staff working in Guinea, and has flown in more than 40 tons of supplies to tackle the epidemic.

Ebola leads to haemorrhagic fever, which causes muscle pain, weakness, vomiting, diarrhoea and, in severe cases, organ failure and unstoppable bleeding.

The tropical virus can be transmitted to humans from wild animals, and between humans through direct contact with another's blood, faeces or sweat.

Sexual contact, or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses, can also lead to infection.

Mali has become the latest of Guinea's neighbours to announce suspected cases of Ebola, saying on Thursday that three victims had been placed in isolation while test samples were sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With Liberia and Sierra Leone also reporting suspected cases, MSF has described the outbreak as an "unprecedented epidemic" and warned the unusual geographical spread of cases complicates the task of containing it "enormously". - NDTV.

PROTESTS & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Monumental Crisis In Ukraine - Clashes Erupt As Kharkov Protesters Declare Independence From Kiev! [PHOTOS+VIDEOS]

April 07, 2014 - UKRAINE - Police have clashed with anti-coup protesters in Kharkov in an effort to push the crowd back from the administration building. Earlier, activists in the second-largest Ukrainian city followed those in Donetsk and proclaimed a People’s Republic of Kharkov.

Харьковская администрация.

Clashes erupted near the Kharkov administration on Monday evening after police reportedly tried to vacate the building, which was partially occupied by pro-independence protesters. Kharkov demonstrators took control of the building earlier in the day, after proclaiming independence of the region from Kiev.

Police reportedly used fire-hoses, stun grenades, and tear gas to push the crowd back from the building. In response, protesters threw several Molotov cocktails at the building and set a pile of tires on fire. The blaze soon spread to the first floor of the building.

Activists at the scene said the law enforcement officers who used force against protesters had been deployed from western Ukraine. According to some witnesses, the violence was initially triggered by a group of provocateurs. Earlier in the day, pro-EU demonstrators clashed with supporters of the federalization of Ukraine.

WATCH:  Violence erupts in Kharkov as opposing factions collide.


WATCH:  Kharkov crowds face off against riot police.


WATCH:  Activists gather in Kharkov.

Eventually, a group of local police outside the administration building moved in to push protesters back, allowing fire crews to extinguish the blaze. The building was slightly damaged by the blaze, and several windows were broken in scuffles.

Witnesses at the scene reported that demonstrators were still in control of the government building after the tensions eased.

Earlier on Monday, speaking through a loudspeaker in the hall of the city’s regional administration building, an activist could be heard saying that the issue of Kharkov becoming a sovereign state independent from Ukraine will be decided by a regional referendum. A crowd of demonstrators responded to the statement with cheers.

Police have cordoned off admin building @RT_com

Kharkov protesters erected barricades around administrative buildings and the regional headquarters of the Security Service of Ukraine on Monday. Brief clashes between supporters of the federalization of Ukraine and pro-EU demonstrators were reported in downtown Kharkov. Protesters on both sides reportedly used firecrackers and stun grenades.

Anti-coup protesters in Donetsk proclaimed on Monday the creation of a People’s Republic of Donetsk after seizing the local administration building on Sunday night.

The situation remains tense in the port city of Mariupol in the Donetsk region, where pro-Russian activists on Saturday stormed the Prosecutor’s Office building, demanding the release of detained “people’s mayor” Dmitry Kuzmenko.

WATCH:  Activists declare independence of Donetsk, call for Russian assistance.


A demonstration against political repression in Ukraine is also being held in the southern regional center of Odessa.

In a rare incident, Dnepropetrovsk city authorities moved to negotiate with the anti-government activists. According to the region’s vice governor, Boris Filatov, both the “left-wing” and the pro-Russian protesters agreed to refrain from “calls for separatist actions.” In return, the authorities said they will let the activists use some cabinets in the administrative buildings for their “meetings and work,” as well as provide them with “free access” to local printed media. - RT.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Volcano Report For April 5-7, 2014 - Lava Flows Continue To Enlarge Nishino-Shima, The New Volcano Island In Japan; Explosions Sends Ash Plume Up To 20,000 Feet High At The Shiveluch Volcano In Kamchatka; Explosions And Emissions Increase In Frequency At The New Lava Dome At Peru's Ubinas Volcano; Continuous Strombolian Activity Follows Violent Explosion At Tungurahua Volcano In Ecuador! [PHOTOS]

April 07, 2014 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Nishino-Shima (Izu Islands, Japan): The ongoing eruption continues to add new land to the island with what seems a relatively steady effusion of lava flows.

Enlarged section showing the active vent (cone 2, left) and the now inactive vent 1 (right cone)

A new overflight by the Japanese Coast Guard shows that at least the second vent that appeared in late January is still active, feeding lava flows that continue to spread and currently have active fronts all along the eastern coast.

The first original vent (cone 1, right in the picture) that build the new island and grew to a nice, symmetrical cone, seems to be inactive at present.

The other vent is still active and has grown a bit since the previous overflight, with a crater that emits an ash and steam plume, presumably from mild explosive activity caused by infiltrating sea water that becomes in contact with the magma. Bluish gas on the pictures shows areas where active lava flows near their vents. 

Landsat 8 infrared images from 30 March show that there are active flow fronts all along the eastern coast, while only 2 lobes are active towards the west.

Ubinas (Peru): Ash emissions and small explosions originating at the new lava dome in the crater seem to increase in frequency. The resulting ash plumes have all been relatively small (so far).

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): An explosion occurred at the volcano this morning (Kamchatka time). An ash plume rose to approx. 20,000 ft (6 km) altitude (VAAC Tokyo).

Tungurahua (Ecuador):  The violent vent-clearing explosion on Friday evening has been followed by mild to moderate near-continuous strombolian activity.

Strombolian activity at Tungurahua volcano observed during the early morning of April 5, 2014.
Source : F. Vásconez - OVT / IGEPN

Seismic activity decreased from about 23:00 (local time) 4 April, but remains still at levels considered high with a near-constant tremor signal suggesting the continuous rise of magma to the crater of the volcano.

View of the volcano this evening - steam and ash column is rising from the crater at the top (IGPEN webcam)

The observatory reported ejections of incandescent blocks that landed on the upper outer flanks and a steady steam and ash column rising 1-2 km. No significant ash fall occurred since Friday's eruption.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for April 7, 2014.

- Volcano Discovery.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - CEO Of Liechtenstein Bank Frick MURDERED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT!

April 07, 2014 - GLOBAL ECONOMY - Over the weekend the world was gripped by the drama surrounding the mysterious murder-homicide of the former CEO of Dutch bank ABN Amro and members of his family, and whether there is more foul play than meets the eye.

However, that is nothing compared to what just happened in the tiny, and all too quiet Principality of Lichtenstein, where moments ago the CEO of local financial institution Bank Frick & Co. AG, Juergen Frick, was shot dead in the underground garage of the bank located in the city of Balzers.

Based on preliminary reports, the murder is the result of a disgruntled fund manager, Juergen Germann, who had previously been embroiled in a "bitter dispute" with the government and the bank.

Bloomberg has more:
A 48-year-old man was shot dead in the underground garage of a financial institution in Balzers at 7:30 a.m. local time, the principality’s police said on its website. The suspect, Juergen Hermann, fled the scene in a Smart car with Liechtenstein number plates, according to police. Neither the victim nor the institution were identified in the statement.

The deceased was Juergen Frick, CEO of Bank Frick & Co. AG, Switzerland’s Radio 1 said in an e-mailed statement, citing employees of the bank. Calls to Bank Frick were answered by a voice-mail message saying the company is closed because of “a death.” It gave no further details.

Hermann is a fund manager who has been embroiled in a dispute with the Liechtenstein government and Bank Frick for many years, Switzerland’s Radio 1 said.

The Liechtenstein government and the country’s Financial Market Authority “illegally destroyed my investment company Hermann Finance and its funds, depriving me of my livelihood,” according to a website registered under the name Juergen Hermann of Hermann Finance AG.

He has filed lawsuits seeking recovery of 200 million Swiss francs ($225 million) from the government and 33 million francs from Bank Frick, according to the website. The lender “illegally enriched itself,” among other alleged crimes, it said.

A representative of Hermann’s lawyer declined to comment when reached by telephone. A call to Hermann Finance’s office was answered by an employee of a law firm who said his company isn’t related to Hermann Finance.
The narrative against the "publicly hostile" alleged shooter has already been flushed out.
Hermann has been “publicly hostile” to the country’s Financial Market Authority and some of its employees, forcing it to take security measures in consultation with the police, FMA spokesman Beat Krieger said in an e-mail today.

The escape vehicle was later found in the village of Ruggell, 25 kilometers (16 miles) north of Balzers, police said.

“The area is being searched by police with dogs and helicopters,” the 120-member police force said. Zurich police are helping to document the crime scene, spokesman Mario Cortesi said.
Here is the update form the local police station:
On Monday morning, it came in Balzers a homicide, the suspect is currently volatile.

Against 07.30 clock in an underground garage of a financial institution is a homicide in which a 48-year-old man was shot occurred. When volatile suspects are Jürgen Hermann from the Moors. He is armed and dangerous, according to police reports, the investigation of the National Police is in full swing.

Notes on a possible whereabouts of the suspects are requested immediately to the police landing +423 / 236 71 11. Upon encountering the suspect, it is important to exercise extreme caution.
Below is the profile of the murdered CEO, still on the bank's website:

As CEO Jürgen Frick is closely involved in all business activities of the bank with a special focus lying on client advisory, financing and financial product development. As well he supervises all real estate development projects of the Bank.

Jürgen is also Chairman of the Board at Crystal Fund Management AG, a subsidiary of Bank Frick & Co.       

As for the bank itself:
Bank Frick is active in modern wealth management and provides a range of advisory services. As well it specializes in fund development and fund administration.

Our Bank entertains close ties to an efficient network of fiduciaries, insurers, tax experts, investment funds and law firms around the world.

We are completely independent. Our advice and our services cater exclusively to the individual needs and requirements of our clients.

Combinvest Establishment serves as holding for all bank shares. Family Frick is the majority stake holder.

After a successful career in international banking and fiduciary services, Kuno Frick senior founded in December 1998 Bank Frick & Co. AG. Due to his wide experience and excellent connections, Bank Frick proved an immediate success.

Since then, the bank’s assets under management have risen steadily. New business segments are continuously being added to the bank’s service portfolio, while existing ones are constantly being refined.

In autumn 2011, Bank Frick’s international presence was significantly enhanced with the opening of Bank Frick UK Branch in Mayfair, London.
Up until now it was mostly banker suicides. With the first open bank CEO murder, one wonders if there will be a change in the pattern. - Zero Hedge.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Train Derailment In El Paso, Texas - Sparks Fire During Windy Day; Businesses Evacuated!

April 07, 2014 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES - The El Paso Fire Department is trying to contain a three-alarm fire after a train derailed on a windy Monday afternoon.

Fire crews responded to an area near the intersection of Doniphan Drive and Talbot Avenue around 12:50 p.m.

It is not known what caused the train to derail, but fire officials said no chemicals were involved and the train was upright but off the track.

According to the EPFD, a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train went off the tracks at Doniphan and Talbot around 3 p.m. CDT.

WATCH: Train derailment in El Paso, Texas.

Although, there aren't any chemicals on fire, scrap metal and vegetation around the area is in flames.

The scrap metal and brush caught fire, sending large plumes of black smoke into the area visible across El Paso.

Here are several images from the scene, courtesy of social media:

A spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said people in the nearby area were evacuated as several commercial businesses in the area caught fire. El Paso Fire Department officials said 18 units are at the scene, and no injuries were reported.

The dry, windy weather is conducive to fires. According to meteorologist Nick Wiltgen, wind gusts were well above 40 mph with humidity at a low 12 percent at the time of the fire.

No injuries were reported, but says the smoke could be seen from miles away.

Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.


ELECTRIC UNIVERSE: Humanity Is Waking Up To The Intelligence Of Nature - Bees Seek Flowers For Mutual Charge Exchange By Sensing The Electric Fields They Generate!

April 07, 2014 - ELECTRIC UNIVERSE - Last year, scientists from the University of Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences announced an important discovery: bees, specifically bumble bees, carry a positive electric charge that they use to sense negative electric fields surrounding flowers.

Left to right: Geranium magnificum, Gerbera hybridaottom, Clematis armandii before and after the application
of charged powder paint, revealing their electric fields. Credit: Dominic Clarke and Daniel Robert.

According to Professor Daniel Robert: “The co-evolution between flowers and bees has a long and beneficial history, so perhaps it’s not entirely surprising that we are still discovering today how remarkably sophisticated their communication is.”

Since plants are anchored in the ground, they acquire negative charge—they are “grounded”. Bumble bees, on the other hand, beat their wings about 200 times per second, on average, causing a positive charge to build-up on their bodies. This happens because friction with air molecules reduces their negative charge, in the same way that walking across a nylon carpet reduces the negative charge on a human body, resulting in a spark when a grounded metal object is touched. Sparks are not generated between bees and flowers, but the researchers think that fine hairs on a bumble bee’s body “stand up” when it approaches the electric field of a flower.

Somehow, the electrostatic force between bee and flower improves a bee’s memory. It is better able to distinguish over time those flowers that will provide it with the greatest payoff. When the electric fields are reduced in flowers, bumble bees are not as good at determining which flowers to visit.

Bumble bees use many senses to detect flowers that are ripe with pollen and nectar. They are sensitive to ultraviolet light, which is emitted most strongly when a flower is ready for pollination. They can also sense a flower’s fragrance. However, those signals are the primary attractors. What tells a bee that a particular flower will continue to provide nectar? How does it know if other bees have depleted the supply?

Robert and his colleagues discovered that when a bumble bee lands on a flower, there is a mutual charge exchange. A flower’s electric field is reduced by a small amount with each contact. The weaker the electric field, the more bees have landed, so an individual bee might be sensing the difference in potential, thereby knowing how many bees have visited a particular flower. A reduced electric field means that the reward will not be as great, so it does not waste energy trying to feed on flowers with less nectar.

Since flowers are not good electrical conductors, charges accumulate slowly in their structures, possibly in accordance with the replenishment of their nectar supplies. Therefore, a bee “sees” the recharge process, and understands when it is time to revisit a flower.

Perhaps electric charge exchange is going on between plants and other animals, as well—even human beings. It is becoming more obvious to nutritionists that a largely plant-based diet is far healthier for human consumption than meat, dairy and grains. It could be that eating the negatively charged plants helps to reduce the overall positive charge that human beings accumulate because of exposure to air pollution, or positive electric fields from computers and other electronic equipment.

One of the presentations at the Electric Universe conference in 2013 was by Dr. James Oschman. In it, he advised that human beings ought to be more connected to the ground because Earth is connected to the ionosphere. Lightning strikes distribute negative charge into the ground, and walking barefoot helps reduce the positive charge in the body. Eating negatively charged green plants might also be beneficial in the same way. Wheat gluten, on the other hand, is positively charged, so may not be as advantageous to human nutrition.

The Electric Universe is omnipresent. From deep space to atomic interactions, everything is electrical in nature. Galaxies transact with their neighbors along Birkeland current filaments that could be billions of light-years long. The cells in our bodies carry electric charges more powerful than a lightning stroke. It is not surprising that new discoveries reveal new ways that electricity governs the world. - Thunderbolts.

THEATRE OF WAR: Escalating Tensions On The Korean Peninsula - Japan Vows To Strike Any North Korean Missiles It Deems A Threat - U.S. Send Ballistic Missile Destroyers To Counter North Korean Threat After Pyongyang Announces "New" Nuclear Test!

April 07, 2014 - KOREAN PENINSULA - Japan will strike any North Korean ballistic missile that threatens to hit Japan in the coming weeks after Pyongyang recently fired medium-range missiles, a government source said on Saturday.

 In this July, 2013 photo, military trucks carry Rodong missiles during a military parade at
Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang. Kyodo News/AP

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera issued the order, which took effect on Thursday and runs through April 25, the day that marks the founding of North Korea's army, the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Following the order, meant "to prepare for any additional missile launches," a destroyer was dispatched to the Sea of Japan and will fire if North Korea launches a missile that Tokyo deems in danger of striking or falling on Japanese territory, the source said.

North Korea fired shells across a disputed sea boundary, according to South Korean officials. South Korean
troops returned fire into North Korean waters. CBS News' Seth Doane reports.

Tensions have been building between North Korea and its neighbors since Pyongyang - in an apparent show of defiance - fired two Rodong missiles on March 26, just as the leaders of Japan, South Korea and the United States were sitting down to discuss containing the North Korean nuclear threat. That first firing in four years of mid-range missiles that can hit Japan followed a series of short-range rocket launches over the past two months. The Rodong ballistic missiles fell into the sea after flying 650 km (400 miles), short of a maximum range thought to be some 1,300 km, Japan said.

Since then, North Korea has rattled sabres by firing artillery rounds into South Korean waters, prompting the South to fire back; South Korea has test-fired a new ballistic missile with a range of 500 km; and Pyongyang has threatened an unspecified "new form" of nuclear test.

South Korean protesters try to burn a North Korean flag and a picture of the North's leader Kim Jong Un
during an anti-North Korea rally against North Korea's recent launch of short-range rockets,
 in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

North Korea launched two medium-range missiles recently while its rivals, South Korea,
Japan and the U.S., were holding a summit to discuss security threats from the North.

At the same time, Japan and North Korea resumed talks - suspended since Pyongyang test-launched a long-range missile more than a year ago - over the North's nuclear and missile programs, as well as the fate of Japanese abducted in the 1970s and 1980s to help train North Korean spies.

Onodera has avoided publicly announcing the new missile-intercept order so as not to put a chill on those talks, Japanese media said.

Japan's Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera (C) reviews troops from the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force 1st
Airborne Brigade during an annual new year military exercise at Narashino exercise field in Funabashi,
east of Tokyo January 12, 2014. REUTERS/Issei Kato

He also did not deploy Patriot missile batteries that would be the last line of Defense against incoming warheads, the source told Reuters.

Japanese Aegis destroyers in the Sea of Japan are equipped with advanced radar equipment able to track multiple targets and carry missiles designed to take out targets at the edge of space. - Yahoo.

U.S. Send Ballistic Missile Destroyers To Counter Threat After Pyongyang Announces "New" Nuclear Test
This picture taken by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 1, 2014 shows North Korean
leader Kim Jong-Un delivering a speech before the commanding officers of the combined units of the
Korean People's Army (KPA) in Samjiyong in North Korea's Ryaggang province.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered a two-pronged warning to Asia Pacific nations Sunday, announcing that the U.S. will send two additional ballistic missile destroyers to Japan to counter the North Korean threat, and saying China must better respect its neighbours.

In unusually forceful remarks about China, Hagel drew a direct line between Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region and the ongoing territorial disputes between China, Japan and others over remote islands in the East China Sea.

“I think we’re seeing some clear evidence of a lack of respect and intimidation and coercion in Europe today with what the Russians have done with Ukraine,” Hagel told reporters after a meeting with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera. “We must be very careful and we must be very clear, all nations of the world, that in the 21st century this will not stand, you cannot go around the world and redefine boundaries and violate territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations by force, coercion and intimidation whether it’s in small islands in the Pacific or large nations in Europe.”

Hagel, who will travel to China later this week, called the Asian nation a “great power,” and added, “with this power comes new and wider responsibilities as to how you use that power, how you employ that military power.”

He said he will talk to the Chinese about having respect for their neighbours, and said, “coercion, intimidation is a very deadly thing that leads only to conflict. All nations, all people deserve respect no matter how large or how small.”

Still, he said he looks forward to having an honest, straightforward dialogue with the Chinese to talk about ways the two nations and their militaries can work better together.

The announcement of the deployments of additional destroyers to Japan came as tensions with North Korea spiked again, with Pyongyang continuing to threaten additional missile and nuclear tests. - National Post.

PROTESTS & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Pro-Russian Donetsk Activists Storm Government Buidings In Eastern Ukraine - Proclaim Region's Independence From Kiev! [PHOTOS+VIDEOS]

April 07, 2014 - UKRAINE - In the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, a group of activists have declared their region independent from Kiev. This comes after protesters stormed a local government building last night.

Pro-Russian activistshold a rally in front of Ukraine's regional security service of Ukraine in Lugansk
on April 6, 2014.(AFP Photo / Igor Golovniov )

Mass demonstrations against the country's new leadership started peacefully on Sunday, but the situation quickly escalated.

Pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk have seized the local power building, including the headquarters of the Security Service of Ukraine and proclaimed the creation of a People’s Republic of Donetsk.

Ukraine’s police and security services have not interfered, although officials in Kiev are threatening punishment for the rioters.

Protesters have erected barricades around the Council building.

Pro-Russian activists guard a barricade set at the Ukrainian regional Security Service building on the
eastern city of Donetsk on April 7, 2014.(AFP Photo / Alexander Khudoteply)

Today at 12:20 local time, a session of the people's Council of Donbass (Donetsk region) took place in the main hall of the Regional Council and unanimously voted on a declaration to form a new independent state: the People’s Republic of Donetsk.

The Council proclaimed itself the only legitimate body in the region until the regions in southeast Ukraine conduct a general referendum, set to take place no later than May 11.

“The Donetsk Republic is to be created within the administrative borders of the Donetsk region. This decision will come into effect after the referendum,” the statement said.

The Council in Donetsk issued an address to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking for deployment of a temporary peacekeeping force to the region.

“Without support it will be hard for us to stand against the junta in Kiev,” said the address.

“We are addressing Russian President Putin because we can only entrust our security to Russia,” the statement said.

Screenshot from user artem77

Rallies in support of the federalization of Ukraine continue in a number of cities in southeast Ukraine. Thousands of citizens have joined the protests, demanding the earliest possible federalization of the country.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Interior said that last night unknown persons stormed the Security Service of Ukraine building in the city of Lugansk and seized a weapons warehouse there. During the night’s clashes, nine people were reportedly injured.

WATCH:  Pro-Russian activists storm government buildings in eastern Ukraine.


In the city of Kharkov protesters erected barricades around the buildings of the city and the regional administrations and the regional headquarters of Security Service of Ukraine.

There were brief clashes between supporters of the federalization of Ukraine and pro-EU demonstrators in downtown Kharkov. Protesters on both sides used fire crackers and stun grenades.

A demonstration against political repression in Ukraine has also being held in the southern regional center of Odessa.

Pro-Russian activists near the Kharkov city administration.(RIA Novosti / Chekachkov Igor)

The chiefs of security agencies of Ukraine are reportedly heading to the cities engulfed in protests.

The interim secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Andrey Parubiy, together with acting head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Valentin Nalivaichenko, are set to visit Lugansk. Interim Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Yarema will visit Donetsk and acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has reportedly already arrived in Kharkov.

The coup-appointed acting president, Aleksandr Turchinov, has threatened that counter-terrorist measures could be taken against those who take up arms against the Kiev authorities, RIA news agency reported. On Thursday, the Ukrainian parliament will tighten laws regarding separatism and could possibly ban certain parties and organizations , Turchinov warned.

“What happened yesterday is the second stage of the special operation of the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” announced Turchinov in an address televised on Monday, sharing that an “anti-crisis command was set up last night” to deal with the crisis, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

Ukraine’s interim Foreign Minister Andrey Deschitsa announced on Monday that if the situation in the eastern regions escalates, the coup-appointed government in Kiev will take “much harsher” measures than those on the reunion of the Crimea with Russia. Deschitsa gave an assurance that members of the government are already working with local authorities. - RT.

MAJOR GLOBAL VOLCANISM ALERT & DISASTER PRECURSORS: Yellowstone Volcano Eruption - Scientists Proven Wrong About Supervolcano As Elk Flee The Park?! [VIDEO]

April 07, 2014 - YELLOWSTONE, UNITED STATES - A fairly large number of people believe that the Yellowstone volcano–also known as the supervolcano–might blow soon, signaled, they say, by animals appearing to flee the park.

First it was bison. Now some bloggers have been posting analysis on a video that they say shows a herd of elk sprinting out of the park, including over a fence.

“A massive herd of elk, sprinting and jumping the gate away from Yellowstone. This is huge,” said one blogger.

“Oh they’re going to their summer locations, we’re told. But wouldn’t they stay within the gate. They’re restricted to that gate, but still the herds run away. This is another huge sign of mass animal movements. Look at the size of the herd.”

WATCH:  Elk running away from Yellowstone.

The video of bison seemingly leaving the park went viral online and sparked suspicion over what was happening, although a man who goes by “Yellowstone Leo” claims to be the source of the video and says that the video actually shows the bison running deeper into the park.

 WATCH: Bison running away from Yellowstone.


Park spokesman Dan Hottle confirmed to the Jackson Hole Daily that they are actually running toward the park’s interior and the volcano.

Other scientists and agencies chimed in, such as Ilya Bindeman, an associate professor of geological sciences at the University of Oregon.

“Yellowstone is one of the biggest supervolcanos in the world,” he said in an analysis released by the university. “Sometimes it erupts quietly with lava flow, but once or twice every million years, it erupts very violently, forming large calderas,” which are very large craters measuring tens of kilometers in diameter.

If a huge eruption happened again, similar to three big ones over the last two million years, he says that the eruption would obliterate the surroundings within a radius of over 100 miles and cover the rest of the United States and Canada with multiple inches of ash. A volcanic event of such magnitude “hasn’t happened in modern civilization,” he said.

A diagram shows the potential range of destruction if the supervolcano was to explode.
(University of Wisconsin Eau Claire)

However, Bindeman said he doesn’t think that this kind of eruption will happen anytime soon. He says it won’t happen for at least another million years.

“Our research of the pattern of such volcanism in two older, ‘complete’ caldera clusters in the wake of Yellowstone allows a prognosis that Yellowstone is on a dying cycle, rather than on a ramping up cycle,” he said.

Bloggers, many of whom tend to lean toward conspiracy theories, don’t believe the analysis.

“First it was bison running from Yellowstone, now its elk, and soon probably people. We see the signs. The writing is on the wall,” said one of the bloggers on

“This is such a big situation, that not only did the herd of Bison running away make it to mainstream news, but around that time the American based news agencies came out and said that Yellowstone has gone extinct. Just as they always tell us, nothing to worry about. Move a long sheeple nothing to see here. Wake up! When they have to come out and cover up a simple video of Bison running you know something is up.” - The Epoch Times.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Seismic Swarm - Series Of Small Quakes Rock Oklahoma In RECORD Seismic Activity!

April 07, 2014 - OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES - Earthquakes rattled residents in Oklahoma on Saturday, the latest in a series that have put the state on track for record quake activity this year, which some seismologists say may be tied to oil and gas exploration.

USGS earthquake location map.

One earthquake recorded at 3.8 magnitude by the U.S. Geological Survey rocked houses in several communities around central Oklahoma at 7:42 a.m. local time. Another about two hours earlier in the same part of the state, north of Oklahoma City, was recorded at 2.9 magnitude, USGS said.

Those two were preceded by two more, at 2.6 magnitude, and 2.5 magnitude, that also rolled the landscape in central Oklahoma early Saturday morning. A 3.0 magnitude tremor struck late Friday night in that area as well, following a 3.4 magnitude hit Friday afternoon.

Austin Holland, a seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey who tracks earthquake activity for the USGS, said the earthquake activity in the state is soaring.

"We have had almost as many magnitude 3 and greater already in 2014 than we did for all of 2013," Holland said.

Last year's number of "felt" earthquakes - those strong enough to rattle items on a shelf - hit a record 222 in the state. This year, less than four months into the year, the state has recorded 253 such tremors, according to state seismic data.

"We have already crushed last year's record for number of earthquakes," Holland said.

Most earthquakes occur naturally. But scientists have long linked some small earthquakes to oil and gas work underground, which can alter pressure points and cause shifts in the earth.

Oil and gas exploration has increased in recent years across the country, spurred by U.S. efforts for energy independence. Modern hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is one particularly controversial technique.

For bigger quakes, so far this year the state has recorded 106 at 3.0 magnitude and above, according to Holland. For all of last year the state had 109 at 3.0 and above.

In November 2011, Oklahoma suffered a 5.6 magnitude quake that damaged more than a dozen homes and several businesses.

Wastewater disposal related to the fracking is suspected by many scientists to contribute to the earthquake activity. Millions of gallons of wastewater are typically trucked from a fracking site to wells where the water is injected thousands of feet underground into porous rock layers. That work, if done near a fault, can trigger larger quakes, according to several recent scientific studies.

Oklahoma recorded 278 earthquakes from 2008 through 2013 that have registered on the Richter scale at a magnitude of 3.0 or greater, a level that can shake objects inside a home.

Before that, from 1975-2008, the state on average recorded less than six earthquakes a year. - NBC.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - Former Top Dutch Banker, Ex-CEO Of ABN Amro, Found Dead With Wife And Daughter!

April 07, 2014 - GLOBAL ECONOMY - A mere two weeks since former JPMorgan banker, Kenneth Bellando jumped to his death, Bloomberg reports that the former CEO of Dutch Bank ABN Amro (and his wife and daughter) were found dead at their home after a possible "family tragedy."

Bloomberg | Getty Images

This expands the dismal list of senior financial services executive deaths to 12 in the last few months. The 57-year-old Jan Peter Schmittmann, was reportedly discovered by his other daughter when she arrived home that morning. Police declined to comment on the cirumstances of his (and his wife and daughter's) death. This is not the first C-level ABN Amro banker to be found dead. In 2009, former CFO Huibert Boumeester was discovered with (assumed self-inflicted) shotgun wounds.

As Bloomberg reports,
Former ABN Amro Group NV Netherlands Chief Executive Officer Jan Peter Schmittmann, his wife and a daughter were found dead at their home today after a possible “family tragedy,” Dutch police said.

The bodies of a father and mother and their daughter were found at the property in the town of Laren, 32 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of Amsterdam, Dutch police said in a statement on their website today. Leonie Bosselaar, a police spokeswoman, said in a telephone call with Bloomberg News that the deceased were Schmittmann and two family members.

The police received a call around 10:30 a.m. local time from a family acquaintance who said something may be wrong at the property, according to the statement. Bosselaar declined to comment further on what may have happened.

The Dutch newspaper AD reported, without citing anyone, that the family was discovered by Schmittmann’s second daughter when she arrived home this morning. She was scheduled to travel to India with her parents, where she had an internship lined up, the newspaper said.

Schmittmann, 57, joined ABN Amro in 1983 as assistant relationship manager and was named head of the lender’s Dutch unit in 2003. He stepped down from the Amsterdam-based bank in December 2008, after the company was nationalized earlier that year.
Sadly, given recent trends, the default assumption is that it is suicide until proven otherwise which is just as disturbing from a sociological perspective. (on the bright side, at least as far as we know, we was not involved in HFT) but further to that, this is not the first ABN Amro seniot executve to be found dead. In 2009, Schmittmann's former CFO was found dead from shitgum wounds:
The former chief financial officer of Dutch bank ABN Amro has been found dead with shotgun wounds near his home in Surrey, the BBC has reported.

Huibert Gerard Boumeester was found dead yesterday, Sunday, with shotgun wounds, one week after being reported missing and “vulnerable”. Reports claim he was found with two shotguns which he had brought from his home, though Thames Valley Police say his death is currently being treated as "unexplained".

Boumeester, 49, left his role as CFO encompassing responsibility for group-wide finance, risk management, investor relations, communications and strategic decision support in March 2008 citing "personal reasons" six months after ABN Amro was bought by Fortis, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander. The Dutch government now owns Fortis Bank and has taken direct ownership of its stake in ABN Amro. The British government owns most of RBS.

There are suggestions that Boumeester took his own life...
Schmittmann owned 2phase2 (apparently an asset management company) and was a co-founder of 5 Park Lane (what appears to be a private equity / management consultancy) according to his LinkedIn profile:

This brings the sad list of senior financial services exectives who have died in the last few months to 12:

1 - William Broeksmit, 58-year-old former senior executive at Deutsche Bank AG, was found dead in his home after an apparent suicide in South Kensington in central London, on January 26th.

2 - Karl Slym, 51 year old Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym, was found dead on the fourth floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok on January 27th.

3 - Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old JP Morgan employee, died after falling from the roof of the JP Morgan European headquarters in London on January 27th.

4 - Mike Dueker, 50-year-old chief economist of a US investment bank was found dead close to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State.

5 - Richard Talley, the 57 year old founder of American Title Services in Centennial, Colorado, was found dead earlier this month after apparently shooting himself with a nail gun.

6 - Tim Dickenson, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG, also died last month, however the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown.

7 - Ryan Henry Crane, a 37 year old executive at JP Morgan died in an alleged suicide just a few weeks ago.  No details have been released about his death aside from this small obituary announcement at the Stamford Daily Voice.

8 - Li Junjie, 33-year-old banker in Hong Kong jumped from the JP Morgan HQ in Hong Kong this week.

9 - James Stuart Jr, Former National Bank of Commerce CEO, found dead in Scottsdale, Ariz., the morning of Feb. 19. A family spokesman did not say whatcaused the death

10 - Edmund (Eddie) Reilly, 47, a trader at Midtown’s Vertical Group, commited suicide by jumping in front of LIRR train

11 - Kenneth Bellando, 28, a trader at Levy Capital, formerly investment banking analyst at JPMorgan, jumped to his death from his 6th floor East Side apartment.

12 - Jan Peter Schmittmann, 57, the former CEO of Dutch bank ABN Amro found dead at home near Amsterdam with wife and daughter.

- Zero Hedge.