Thursday, May 22, 2014

MONUMENTAL MASS FISH DIE-OFFS: Disaster Precursors - Millions Have Been Found Dead All Over The World In The Past Month?!

May 22, 2014 - EARTH - Millions of fish are suddenly dying all over the planet.  In fact, there have been dozens of mass fish death events reported in the past month alone.  So why is this happening?  Why are fish dying in unprecedented numbers all over the world?  When more than six tons of fish died in Marina Del Ray over the weekend, it made headlines all over the United States.  But the truth is that what just happened off the southern California coast is just the tip of the iceberg.


A sheriff's deputy said that this incident is nowhere near the scale of a massive die-off at King Harbor
in Redondo Beach in 2011. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

In 2014, mass fish die-offs have pretty much become a daily event globally.  Individually, each event could perhaps be dismissed as an anomaly, but as you will see below when they are all put together into one list it truly is rather stunning.  So is there a reason why so many fish are dying?  Is there something that connects these mass fish death events?  Has something about our environment changed?

The following are just a few examples of the mass fish death reports that have been coming in day after day from all over the globe…

*In April, 500,000 carp were found "floating belly-up in Kentucky’s Cumberland River".

*Over the weekend, thousands upon thousands of fish died just off the southern California coastline

California Fish and Wildlife workers are still scooping dead sea life from the surface of the harbor Monday after thousands of dead anchovies, stingrays and even an octopus died and floated up over the weekend.
So far officials have cleaned up 6 tons of dead fish, and they still have a long way to go.

*The death of approximately 35,000 fish up in Minnesota is being blamed on a "lack of oxygen".

*The recent die-off of thousands of fish in the Shark River near Belmar, New Jersey is also being blamed on "oxygen depletion".

*Officials in Menifee, California are still trying to figure out what caused the death of thousands of fish in Menifee Lake a few weeks ago…
Authorities continued testing the water in Menifee Lake Friday after thousands of dead fish have been seen floating since last weekend.
Menifee city officials first heard reports Saturday of floating fish at the lake, which is located on private property about a half-mile east of the 215 Freeway.
*In the Gulf of Mexico, dolphins and sea turtles are dying "in record numbers".

*Maryland officials are still puzzled by the death of 7,000 Atlantic menhaden last month…
State environmental scientists are investigating the cause of a fish kill that left about 7,000 dead Atlantic menhaden in waters that include the Inner Harbor and Fells Point.
Jay Apperson, spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment, said that biologists went by boat on Tuesday to the area of Monday’s fish kill. He says the area extended from the mouth of the Patapsco River, up the Baltimore Harbor to Fells Point and Fort McHenry.

*Mass fish die-offs in Lake Champlain up in Vermont are being called “the new normal” by government officials.

*Along the coast of northern California, seals and young sea lions are dying "in record numbers".

*Three months ago, farmers in Singapore lost 160 tons of fish to a mass die-off event.

*Back in September, approximately 40 kilometers of the Fuhe River in China "was covered with dead fish".

*Also during last September, close to ten tons of dead fish were found floating on a lake near the town of Komotini, Greece.

The following are some more examples of mass fish death events from just the past several weeks:


17th May 2014 – Masses of fish turn up dead in a marina in Pultneyville, New York, America. Link

16th May 2014 – Mass die off of fish in a river in Aragatsotn, Armenia. Link

15th May 2014 – Hundreds of fish dying off ‘due to pollution’ in the wetlands of Rewalsar, India. Link

14th May 2014 – Thousands of dead fish washing ashore in Cootes Paradise, Hamilton, Canada. Link

13th May 2014 – Tens of thousands of dead fish wash up along coast of Tasmania, Australia. Link

12th May 2014 – Mass death of fish in the river Eden ‘is a mystery’ in Cumbria, England. Link

11th May 2014 – Thousands of dead Puffer Fish, also dead turtles washing up on various beaches in Colombia and Costa Rica. Link and here

11th May 2014 – Hundreds of dead fish found in a pond is ‘a mystery’ in Southborough, England. Link

10th May 2014 – Thousands of fish dead due to pollution in spring in Sikkim, India. Link

9th May 2014 – Die off of Fish ’causes panic’ in the Luda Yana River in Bulgaria. Link

8th May 2014 – Thousands of dead fish appear in a lake ‘shock residents’ in Mangalore, India. Link

8th May 2014 – 12 TONS of dead fish removed from lakes in Chisago County, Minnesota, America. Link

7th May 2014 – Massive die off of fish in reservoirs in Quanzhou, China. Link

7th May 2014 – Thousands of fish found dead on the shores of Roatan, Honduras. Link

5th May 2014 – Hundreds of dead fish wash up on a beach ‘a mystery’ in San Antonio Oeste, Argentina. Link

5th May 2014 – Mass death of fish found in lakes in Almindingen, Denmark. Link

4th May 2014 – Mass die off of fish in a river in Fujian, China. Link

3rd May 2014 – 1,000+ dead fish wash ashore along a lake in Ontario, Canada. Link

2nd May 2014 – 40,000 fish die suddenly in a dam in Piaui, Brazil. Link

30th April 2014 – Mass fish kill ‘worst I’ve seen in 26 years of working here’ in Iowa, America. Link

30th April 2014 – Large amount of dead fish found floating along a river in Xiasha District, China. Link

29th April 2014 – Dozens of sea turtles are washing up dead in South Mississippi, America. Link

29th April 2014 – Thousands of dead fish washing up along the shores of Lakes in Wisconsin, America. Link

28th April 2014 – Turtles and other marine life continue to wash up dead in Bari, Italy. Link

28th April 2014 – Large fish kill found in the Mogi River in Brazil. Link

25th April 2014 – Large fish kill found in a reservoir in Nanchong, China. Link

24th April 2014 – Large amount of fish wash up dead along a river in La Chorrera, Panama. Link

23rd April 2014 – 2 Million fish found dead in a dam in Tehran, Iran. Link

23rd April 2014 – Mass die off of fish in Island lake in Ontario, Canada. Link

23rd April 2014 – Thousands of dead fish appear in a lake in Mudanjiang, China. Link

22nd April 2014 – 1,000 fish found dead in Oona River, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Link

21st April 2014 – Large amounts of fish washing up dead along the Panchganga River in India. Link

19th April 2014 – MILLIONS of dead fish found floating in Thondamanaru Lagoon, Sri Lanka. Link

And remember, this list represents events that have happened in just a little over the past month.

So what is causing all of these mass fish death events? - Activist Post.



MONUMENTAL SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Military Coup In Thailand - Constitution Suspended, All TV And Radio Broadcasts Halted!

May 22, 2014 - THAILAND - Thailand’s army has taken over control of the country, suspending the constitution and imposing a curfew. TV and radio stations were also ordered to broadcast only army material. The coup follows months of political stalemate and turmoil.


Thai soldiers run as they take their positions during a coup at the Army Club where Thailand's army chief held
a meeting with all rival factions in central Bangkok May 22, 2014.(Reuters / Athit Perawongmetha)

"All radio and television stations, satellite and cable, must stop normal programming and broadcast army content until told otherwise," Winthai Suvaree, a deputy army spokesman, said in a televised statement.

Winthai also demanded the protesters disband, while several leaders had been detained. Gatherings of more than five people are now banned with one year prison term for violators. A 10pm to 5am curfew has been proclaimed.

While national TV and radio stations are now allowed to broadcast only army-approved material, global news outlets are being taken off air, according to some reports. CNN and the BBC are unavailable at the moment, users on Twitter said.

No internet censorship has been reported as of yet.


WATCH: Thailand military seizes power.



Several hours after the initial announcement, the military started arresting former government members. An ex-Labour Minister, Chalerm Ubumrung, was taken into custody, as was his son.In recent times, Ubumrung was a deputy prime minister of former PM Yingluck Shinawatra.

In an earlier announcement, the country’s army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha proclaimed he takes control of the government to restore order.

"In order for the situation to return to normal quickly and for society to love and be at peace again ... and to reform the political, economic and social structure, the military needs to take control of power," Prayuth said.

The army chief will head the military council which takes charge of Thailand. The prime minister and cabinet ministers were summoned to report to the military. At the same time, the Senate’s upper house and all courts will continue to function.

A general election in August has been proposed as the best way forward, with proposed date of August 3 still to be finalized.

While Prayuth did not use the term ‘coup’ himself, Thursday marks the country’s 19th coup in 82 years.


Nation wide 10pm-5am curfew in Thailand... Only Thai Army approved TV shows can be broadcast on Thai TV @phillytokorea

: This is what's showing on Thai TV now, after army imposed new rules on media outlets
(Pic: @softpowerTR) @ChannelNewsAsia

At The Nation. RT @Pongz_NOW: (Pic: @natty_tang_ntv)
@tulsathit


However, the move by the military has prompted international concern.

The UN has issued a reminder directed at Thai authorities stating that international law “strictly limits” the implementation of emergency powers and has urged that fundamental rights be respected within the country.

The Pentagon has been reassessing its military assistance to and engagement with Thailand in the wake of the coup, the Pentagon stated on Thursday. The review included an ongoing naval drill in Thailand which includes 700 US Marines and sailors, Reuters was told.

Brad Adams, director of the Asia division at Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera that “while there has been sporadic violence in recent months, nationwide martial law was not necessary to prevent further violence.” He added that the military has taken a 100-year-old law “off the shelf” which makes the civilian administration “subordinate to the military, effectively rendering the executive, legislative and judicial branches powerless.”

Thailand’s Martial Law Act of 1914 states that military commanders possess broad powers to suppress unrest, including the capacity to censor media and ban public gatherings.

Implications for travelers

The Russian consular service warned the imposed curfew affects all parts of Thailand.

“It is better not to leave your hotel during the curfew. If you are at the airport at night, you’d better stay there,” the service told ITAR-TASS, initially urging tourists to comply with the new authorities’ recommendations.

The curfew in Thailand does not apply to travelers arriving or leaving the country, according to a later military announcement, the agency reported.

“If you need to get to the airport during curfew hours by private transport, prepare your ticket and passport for the authorities to check. If you use public transportation, try to arrive at the airport early,” Airports of Thailand said in a statement.

Thailand has seen over six months of unrest as anti-government protesters, who want to rid the country of the influence of Thaksin Shinawatra, were locked in a power struggle with opponents.

Thaksin was a prime minister since 2001 till 2006 when he was overthrown in a military coup. Since 2008 he has been living in self-imposed exile in order to avoid a jail term for graft. His opponents accuse him of cronyism and corruption as well as using taxpayers' money to buy votes with populist giveaways.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is Thaksin's sister and is believed to be much affected by him in her policies. She was dismissed from her office on May 7, but her caretaker government had remained nominally in power.


WATCH: Pepe Escobar - Thailand's coup in four minutes.

 


The protesters have been demanding a "neutral" interim prime minister to oversee the electoral reform.

Last week, tensions escalated after gunmen started firing at a ‘yellow shirt’ protest camp, killing three and wounding a further 23.

‘Red shirts’ and ‘yellow shirts’ are the identifying symbols of the two camps – those dressed in red are supportive of the government that until recently held power, whereas the yellow shirts oppose Thaksin Shinawatra's role in Thai politics.

Shortly before the coup was announced, hundreds of soldiers gathered at Bangkok's Army Club and forcibly removed the leader of the protests against the pro-Thaskin government, Suthep Thaugsuban. Soldiers unleashed gunfire into the air to disperse the pro-government activists who had been rallying in the west of the captial, said a ‘red shirt’ spokesperson. - RT.



MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Global Food Crisis - Drought Could Cost California's Central Valley Farms $1.7 BILLION And 14,500 JOBS!

May 22, 2014 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - The Central Valley’s 7 million acres of irrigated farmland are best known as the richest food-producing region in the world.


Central Valley fields near San Joaquin are parched by drought conditions. (Gregory Urquiaga / Gregory Urquiaga)

But a new study by UC Davis researchers forecasts severe socioeconomic impacts ahead in the area where many of the nation’s fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables are grown.

The drought could cost the region’s farm industry $1.7 billion in 2014 and cause more than 14,500 workers to lose their jobs, according to preliminary results of the study, which also predicts that Central Valley irrigators will only get two-thirds of their normal water deliveries.

Additional pumping of groundwater to replace those shortages will cost farmers about $450 million. About 410,000 acres, or 6%, of the irrigated cropland in the Central Valley will be fallowed this year.

“The impacts would be a lot worse if we didn’t have access to groundwater,” said coauthor Jay Lund, director of the Center for Watershed Sciences and a UC Davis professor of civil and environmental engineering. “That groundwater may not be available if the drought lasts two or three more years.”


Dry fields and bare trees in California's drought-stricken Central Valley. (Gregory Urquiaga /)


The hardships imposed on Central Valley farming communities and the environment are not expected to threaten California’s overall economy.

“Overall, the state economy will be much less affected by the drought,” Lund said in an interview. “That’s largely because California is not an agricultural economy. Back in the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s, agriculture accounted for about 30% of the jobs in California. Today, it’s less than 5%.”

The researchers used computer models and data from the State Water Project, the federal Central Valley Project and local water districts to chart the economic impacts of the 2014 drought in the Central Valley.

The $140,000 study was conducted at the request of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and co-funded by the University of California.

“These estimates will help the state better understand the economic impacts of the drought and target its drought relief,” California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross said. “The research confirms where emergency drought assistance will be needed most, and efforts are already underway.”

Later this year, the researchers plan to release a more comprehensive report of the drought’s economic impacts that will include coastal agriculture and updates on the Central Valley. - LA Times



DISASTER PRECURSORS: The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior - Never-Before-Seen Purple Jellyfish Has Been Discovered On Australia's Sunshine Coast; Dead Humpback Whale Found In Half Moon Bay, Off The California Coast; Dead Sperm Whale Is The Latest Beaching Incident In Bali, Indonesia; "Vicious" New Praying Mantis Discovered In Rwanda; Dead Beached Whale Found At Point Loma Cove, California; Transparent Snails, "Fairy" Wasps, Ice-Clinging Anemones Among New Species Discovered; Massive Fish Die-Off In The Caspian Sea Off The Coast Of Kazakhstan! [PHOTOS]

May 22, 2014 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Never-Before-Seen Purple Jellyfish Discovered On Australia's Sunshine Coast


Lifeguard Jamie Smith says a local fisherman alerted him and his partner to the discovery after pulling the sea creature up on to the beach to avoid getting stung.  "The thing that struck me was how long the tentacles [are] and the colour," Mr Smith said.  "It was so vibrant and pure."  Jellyfish expert Lisa Gershwin says it is probably a new species.  "I've never seen anything like it," she said.  "And honestly, being purple it alerts me to the fact that it might be a new species.  "I think it's a better than even chance that it's new to science."  Ms Gershwin, from CSIRO marine and atmospheric research centre, warned even though the jellyfish was dead, it can still sting.  "It can still give you a wallop, although this guy's probably not a real major stinger," she said.  "He's not in a really stingy group."  Ms Gershwin says the jellyfish belongs to the Genis Thysanostoma group, which are not common in Australian waters. 




"To see a Thysanostoma is a real treat because they're not really common, we get reports of them maybe a couple a year," she said.  "I've never seen it in purple."  Ms Gershwin says this type of jellyfish is recognised by their unique metre-long tentacles, which they use to feed.  "Believe it or not those little arms are covered on all sides with tiny mouthlettes," she said.  "Thysanostoma doesn't have one mouth like other jellyfish, it has thousands of tiny microscopic mouths and each of those mouths will eat as much plankton as it can catch."  Ms Gershwin had trouble containing her excitement when she first saw the photos.  "To see one in purple, come on, how cool is that," she said.  "They're usually kind of brownie-beige sort of.  "This is technicolor."  SEA Life Mooloolaba and Ms Gershwin are analysing the jellyfish. - ABC Australia.


Dead Humpback Whale Found In Half Moon Bay, Off The California Coast


A small dead Humpback whale washed up in Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay Wednesday afternoon. The whale is now beached at Surfers Beach near an RV park, according to a deputy at the harbor. Large crowds gathered Wednesday evening to marvel at the massive dead marine mammal that was reported to be around 30 feet long.

Marine biologists will investigate what caused the whale to die while authorities decide how to get rid of the dead animal.  Twitter user @carolsuestories snapped a picture of the bloated carcass shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday.
A dead whale is floating in ocean in front of our RV in Pillar Point Half Moon Bay, CA http://t.co/yBBZAk7Vdo pic.twitter.com/lBqTHL4w6e

- CarolSueStories (@carolsuestories) May 22, 2014
  - SF Gate.


Dead Sperm Whale Is The Latest Beaching Incident In Bali, Indonesia
Aerial view of sperm whale.Tim Cole, NMFS (NOAA)

A beached whale died on Mengiat Beach in front of the Ayodya Resort in Nusa Dua earlier this month, adding to the number of whales and dolphins that have suffered a similar fate in Bali.  Found in a state of decay by a lifeguard, the dead sperm whale was 10.2 meters long and weighed 3 tons.  According to the Nusa Dua Reef Foundation (NDRF), Nusa Dua was no stranger to incidents of beached marine mammals because the southern coast of the island sat along a migratory route for several species.  "This is the sixth case of beached whales or dolphins in Nusa Dua since 2003," said Pariama Hutasoit, founder of NDRF.  She said that the first of those cases was a Gervais' beaked whale beached in front of the Grand Hyatt resort in 2003. In 2010, there were three separate incidents of beached Pigmy killer whales. The next case occurred in 2012, when a rough-toothed dolphin was found in front of The Laguna Resort and Spa.  The recent beached sperm whale is the fourth to have died on Bali's shore in the last 10 years.

According to data from the Bali Network of Stranded Sea Mammals, the first occurred in Nusa Penida in 2005, and was followed by similar cases in Batubelig in North Kuta in 2009 and on Gilimanuk Beach in 2010.  "Whales are migratory species. They migrate together in couples or in groups led by the oldest female. In Indonesia, the migration route has been identified as passing through the waters off Sumatra, Bali, East Kalimantan, Java, Maluku, Papua, Nusa Tenggara, Timor and Sulawesi," Pariama said.  Whales are protected animals under a 1999 government regulation. Killing or using any parts of a whale violates the 1990 law on conservation of natural resources and the 2009 law on fisheries.  Pariama further said that cases of beached whales or dolphins had to be handled immediately, particularly when the animal had been found dead because carcasses could spread disease in the surrounding environment.  She said the latest case early this month had been handled properly, thanks to the awareness of the lifeguards, who had been trained by the NDRF on how to react when they encountered such a case, and to good coordination among stakeholders.  "As we know cases of beached sea mammals frequently occur in Nusa Dua, we need to improve our readiness, including in preparing necessary heavy equipment to move the animal's carcass and bury it on the beach," she added.  According to data from whalestrandingindonesia.com, the species of 25 percent of the whales and dolphins that had been recorded as having beached in Indonesia could not be identified.  The most common species found stranded are the Irrawaddy dolphin, sperm whale and short-finned pilot whale. - The Jakarta Post.


"Vicious" New Praying Mantis Discovered In Rwanda
The female wingless "bush tiger mantis" (Dystacta tigrifrutex) from Nyungwe National Park
in southwestern Rwanda.Gavin Svenson

On a cool and rainy night in a dense, mountainous forest in Rwanda, insect-surveying scientists discovered a new species of praying mantis, one whose wingless females are "vicious hunters" that prowl for prey as if they were marauding tigers. The researchers have named the newfound praying mantis species which was discovered in Nyungwe National Park Dystacta tigrifrutex, or "bush tiger mantis." "The new species is amazing, because the fairly small female prowls through the underbrush searching for prey, while the male flies appear to live higher in the vegetation," stated Riley Tedrow, a Case Western Reserve University evolutionary biology student who led the research.

Researchers found out about the species after a winged male was attracted to a light trap the scientists had set up to study the local insects. After fortuitously trapping a female from the leaf litter, the scientists got another lucky break: She laid an egg case (called an ootheca). This allowed the scientists to study the nymphs and adults in one three-week field session, which is a rarity in insect science for one field trip. The researchers compared the new specimens with those found in museums and described in scientific papers; the scientists also looked at various measurements of the bush tiger mantis' bodies, such as color and length. Through these analyses, the researchers concluded the species belongs to the genus Dystacta; until now, this genus had consisted of just one species, D. alticeps, which is spread all over Africa. One feature could have provided a big help in identifying the species, the male genitalia. This, however, was missing, as ants had gobbled up these vital parts while the male dried up in the Rwandan heat, the researchers noted. The scientists also tracked down a dozen species that were previously not known to live in Rwanda, and urged that conservation authorities place the park under protection so as not to endanger the new finds. A follow-up expedition is planned in June to gauge the size of the bush tiger's habitat. A study based on the research will be published in the open-access journal ZooKeys. - FOX News.


Dead Beached Whale Found At Point Loma Cove, California
The carcass was first spotted near the San Diego Bay's mouth Saturday

The carcass of a 40-foot whale that washed up at San Diego's Point Loma Cove earlier this week is set to be hauled away from the rocky shoreline by authorities Wednesday and disposed of in the ocean. According to Lee Swanson of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, the towing attempt is expected to begin around 4 p.m. and will be spearheaded by The Marine Conservation Science Institute (MCSI) and San Diego lifeguards. Swanson said the plan will involve lifeguards towing the whale about a half-mile offshore, and then transferring the tow to a MCSI boat waiting to take the reins. The boat will then take the carcass out to sea to properly dispose of the whale, a process that could take several days. It is unclear if MCSI members will sink the whale or leave it to float at sea. The MCSI has a permit to remove and dispose of marine mammals, Swanson said.


 WATCH: Dead fin whale removed from Point Loma.




The whale was first spotted near the mouth of the San Diego Bay on Saturday, according to Susan Chivers, a research fisheries biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Officials kept an eye on the dead animal as it moved closer to shore. By late Sunday, tides pushed it onto Point Loma, not far from the wastewater treatment plant. An NOAA crew tried to reach the whale Monday morning, but the low tide posed challenges and the crew was unable to get to it because it was still floating. At that point, researchers weren't sure what type of whale it was because its body was too bloated. Removing the whale is quite the task. In 2011, scientists were faced with a similar dilemma when a 67-foot fin whale was beached in almost the same location.  In that situation, lifeguards towed the animal to Fiesta Island, where scientists performed a necropsy. Crews then took it out to sea and sank it to create what's called a "whale fall." That allowed scientists to watch the carcass decompose and see what kind of deep-sea ecosystem grew around it. However, Chivers said whale falls are expensive and logistically challenging, so it's unlikely this new whale will be used for such research. - NBC San Diego.


Transparent Snails, "Fairy" Wasps, Ice-Clinging Anemones Among New Species Discovered
The snail lacks pigmentation and has no eyes, thanks to its pitch-black cave habitat.Alexander M. Weigand

A fuzzy-faced, tree-living carnivore, a transparent snail and ice-clinging anemones are among the top new species discovered in the last year.  The 2014 top 10 list, put together by the International Institute for Species Exploration at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, highlights the most amazing species discovered in 2013. According to the institute, this year's Top 10 New Species come from a field of 18,000 newfound species named in 2013.  "The top 10 is designed to bring attention to the unsung heroes [who are] addressing the biodiversity crisis by working to complete an inventory of Earth's plants, animals and microbes," Quentin Wheeler, the president of the college, said in a statement. "Each year a small, dedicated community of taxonomists and curators substantively improves our understanding of the diversity of life and the wondrous ways in which species have adapted for survival."

Beautiful beasties
The species honored with a place on the top 10 list range from plant to animal to fungus. Perhaps the cuddliest is the olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina), a mini-carnivore that lives in the trees of Andean cloud forests. The animal had been known for decades and even shown in zoos, but it wasn't until researchers did a thorough examination of the skulls of this creature and its relatives that the scientists noticed they had a new species on their hands. Meanwhile, in Antarctica, scientists with the Antarctic Geological Drilling Program (ANDRILL) stumbled upon something bizarre while piloting remotely operated underwater vehicles beneath the ice sheet: The underside of the ice looked fuzzy. A closer look revealed sea anemones, their bodies burrowed into the ice and tentacles extended to filter-feed from the water below.


Aug. 15, 2013: The Smithsonian announced that the olinguito, which they had previously mistaken for an olingo,
is actually a distinct species.AP Photo/Smithsonian Institution, Mark Gurney

The species, dubbed Edwardsiella andrillae, is the first-ever anemone known to live on ice. Transparency is a theme for two other new species. The itsy-bitsy shrimp Liropus minusculus was found in a cave on Santa Catalina Island off the coast of California. The males of the species are only about an eighth of an inch long, and females are less than a tenth of an inch (2.1 mm). The shrimp have translucent bodies, and creep like inchworms along rocks in shallow tidal zones. Another top species, the domed land snail, looks like a slow-moving ghost: Its body and shell are see-through. The snail, Zospeum tholussum, lives almost 3,000 feet inside the Earth, in the Lukina Jama-Trojama cave system of Croatia. Pigmentation is unnecessary in this pitch-black habitat; so are eyes, which the snail also lacks. Even for a snail, Z. tholussum is slow. It moves only a few centimeters a week at most, and mostly in circles, Goethe University taxonomist Alexander Weigand told Live Science in September.

Dragons, fairies and giants, oh my
The list of top new species also includes some that seem to come out of a fairy tale. The "mother of dragons" tree (actually known as Keweesak's Dragon Tree) is a gorgeous, 40-foot-tall monster found in Thailand. Dracaena kaweesakii grows on limestone in the country's mountainous Loei and Lopburi provinces. The tree has elongated leaves and creamy, white flowers with orange filaments reminiscent of dragon fire. A world away, but seemingly from the same tale, is Tinkerbella nana, an unbelievably small parasitoid wasp with feathery, delicate wings. The wasp measures only 0.00984 inches long and is part of a family called fairyflies. Tinkerbella nana comes from Costa Rica. Rounding out the fairy tale triumvirate is a true giant at least for a single-celled creature. Spiculosiphon oceana, an amoeboid protist, is between 1.5 and 2 inches (4 to 5 cm) tall, despite consisting of only one cell. The creature scavenges spikey structures from sea sponges and builds a shell out of them, then extends armlike appendages out to feed on tiny invertebrates. S. oceana, like any respectable giant, lives in a cave. The first specimens were discovered off the coast of Spain, in the Mediterranean Sea. Scientists found another new species, a mysterious microbe, living where it shouldn't have been. Tersicoccus phoenicis was discovered in clean rooms, which are frequently sterilized to prevent microbial life. Electronics and spacecraft parts are manufactured in clean rooms, the latter because scientists would rather not find life on Mars only to learn humans put it there. T. phoenicis resists the temperatures, UV light, hydrogen peroxide and other measures used to scrub clean rooms of their microbes.
Another mini-newcomer is a Penicillium fungus, Penicillium vanoranjei, so named because its colonies are bright orange, and to honor the Dutch Prince of Orange (some of the researchers involved with the identification were Dutch). Researchers found the fungus in soil in Tunisia. Finally, Australia provides a home for the last new creature on the list, the leaf-tailed gecko (Saltuarius eximius). The new creature lives in the remote, mountainous rainforests of northeastern Australia. It was discovered, along with a new golden skink and a frog that live in boulder fields, during a National Geographic-sponsored expedition. The nocturnal gecko has large eyes and slender limbs, and lurks on rocks and trees during its nighttime hunts. - FOX News.


Massive Fish Die-Off In The Caspian Sea Off The Coast Of Kazakhstan
Photo ©lada.kz

Eco Mangystau, a non-governmental agency, reported a mass fish die-off in Kazakhstan's section of the Caspian sea, Tengrinews reports.  According to Lada the incident occurred in Karazhanbas region, 214 km away from Aktau in western Kazakhstan.  “A local resident reported that on the weekend he found several hundreds of dead fish floating on the surface and on the bottom of the sea. We filed a report to the environmental prosecutor’s office,” Kirill Osin of Eco Mangystau said.  The prosecutor’s office said that the die-off of fish in the sea was not connected to any production induced accident. “On the photos published in the media there are only dead carps. So the question arises why only carps died? It is more than likely that is has something to do with poachers activities, not some technology-related accident,” the prosecutor’s office said.  The Fish Inspection Department, Department of Ecology and local Sanitary and Epidemiology Station will investigate the causes for the massive die-off of fish in the Caspian Sea.  The prosecutor’s office has requested water, soil and fish corpses tests. The prosecutor’s office said that the results would be released after May 23rd. - Tengrinews



PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: "You Feel It In Your Bones, Fingers And Hands" - Rapid, Painful Chikungunya Virus Sweeping The Caribbean; Fourth Case In Florida; Spread By Mosquitoes!

May 22, 2014 - CARIBBEAN - They suffer searing headaches, a burning fever and so much pain in their joints they can barely walk or use their hands. It's like having a terrible flu combined with an abrupt case of arthritis.




Hospitals and clinics throughout the Caribbean are seeing thousands of people with the same symptoms, victims of a virus with a long and unfamiliar name that has been spread rapidly by mosquitoes across the islands after the first locally transmitted case was confirmed in December.

"You feel it in your bones, your fingers and your hands. It's like everything is coming apart," said 34-year-old Sahira Francisco as she and her daughter waited for treatment at a hospital in San Cristobal, a town in the southern Dominican Republic that has seen a surge of the cases in recent days.

The virus is chikungunya, derived from an African word that loosely translates as "contorted with pain." People encountering it in the Caribbean for the first time say the description is fitting. While the virus is rarely fatal it is extremely debilitating.

"It is terrible, I have never in my life gotten such an illness," said Maria Norde, a 66-year-old woman confined to bed at her home on the lush eastern Caribbean island of Dominica. "All my joints are in pain."

Outbreaks of the virus have long made people miserable in Africa and Asia. But it is new to the Caribbean, with the first locally transmitted case documented in December in French St. Martin, likely brought in by an infected air traveler. Health officials are now working feverishly to educate the public about the illness, knock down the mosquito population, and deal with an onslaught of cases.

Authorities are attempting to control mosquitoes throughout the Caribbean, from dense urban neighborhoods to beach resorts. There have been no confirmed cases of local transmission of chikungunya on the U.S. mainland, but experts say the high number of travelers to the region means that could change as early as this summer.

So far, there are no signs the virus is keeping visitors away though some Caribbean officials warn it might if it is not controlled. "We need to come together and deal with this disease," said Dominica Tourism Minister Ian Douglas.

One thing is certain: The virus has found fertile ground in the Caribbean. The Pan American Health Organization reports more than 55,000 suspected and confirmed cases since December throughout the islands. It has also reached French Guiana, the first confirmed transmission on the South American mainland.

The Pan American Health Organization says seven people in the Caribbean with chikungunya have died during the outbreak but they had underlying health issues that likely contributed to their death.

"It's building up like a snowball because of the constant movement of people," said Jacqueline Medina, a specialist at the Instituto Technologico university in the Dominican Republic, where some hospitals report more than 100 new cases per day.

Chikungunya was identified in Africa in 1953 and is found throughout the tropics of the Eastern Hemisphere. It is spread by two species of mosquitoes, aedes aegypti and aedes albopictus. It's also a traveler-borne virus under the right circumstances.

It can spread to a new area if someone has it circulating in their system during a relatively short period of time, roughly 2-3 days before the onset of symptoms to 5 days after, and then arrives to an area with the right kind of mosquitoes.

For years, there have been sporadic cases of travelers diagnosed with chikungunya but without local transmission. In 2007, there was an outbreak in northern Italy, so health authorities figured it was just a matter of time before it spread to the Western Hemisphere, said Dr. Roger Nasci, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"With the increase in travelers the likelihood that something like this would happen goes up and eventually it did," said Nasci, chief of a CDC branch that tracks insect-borne diseases. "We ended up with somebody at the right time and the right place infecting mosquitoes."

The two species of mosquitoes that spread chikungunya are found in the southern and eastern United States and the first local transmissions could occur this summer given the large number of U.S. travelers to the Caribbean, Nasci said. Already, the Florida Department of Health has reported at least four imported cases from travelers to Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Dominica.

"What we're seeing now is an increase in the number of infected travelers coming from the Caribbean, which is expected because there's a lot of U.S. travel, a lot of vacation travel, a lot of work travel," he said.

Around the Caribbean, local authorities have been spraying fogs of pesticides and urging people to remove standing pools of water where mosquitoes breed.

An estimated 60-90 percent of those infected show symptoms, compared to around 20 percent for dengue, which is common in the region. There is no vaccine and the only cure is treatment for the pain and fluid loss.

One consolation for those suffering from the illness is that unlike dengue, which has several variants, people only seem to get chikungunya once.

"The evidence suggests that once you get it and recover, once your immune system clears the virus you are immune for life," Nasci said. - Breitbart.


Palm Beach County Man Diagnosed With Chikungunya
A 66-year-old man became the first person in Palm Beach County — and the fourth in Florida — to come down with chikungunya fever after contracting the mosquito-borne virus in the Caribbean, the county Health Department announced Wednesday.

The unidentified man began feeling ill on May 15, shortly after returning home from a trip through the island of Hispaniola, Health Department spokesman Timothy O'Connor said. He was treated at a county hospital the following day and is recovering at home, where he is protecting himself from mosquitoes so as not to spread the virus.


WATCH: Palm Beach County man diagnosed with chikungunya.




Test results confirmed the chikungunya diagnosis late Tuesday. Last week, the Florida Department of Health confirmed three other imported cases of the disease in women in Broward, Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties. All of them had been traveling in the Caribbean when infected.- Sun Sentinel.



GLOBAL AWAKENING: Embracing Of Mother Nature And Detaching From European Vampirism - Oregon Counties Ban Cultivation Of GMO Crops!

May 22, 2014 - OREGON, UNITED STATES - Despite the flood of corporate money poured into two small Oregon counties, local residents voted on Tuesday to ban genetically engineered crops from being planted within their borders.


Reuters/Ints Kalnins

Although Jackson County itself is home to less than 120,000 registered voters, the measure to ban genetically modified crops (GMOs) made headlines around the nation when it was revealed that large biotech companies like Monsanto were pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the area in order to affect the vote’s outcome.

As RT reported previously, Monsanto and five other corporations spent at least $455,000 in an attempt to defeat the initiative, and opponents of the GMO ban had gained an eight-to-one spending advantage as of April. According to the Associated Press, nearly $1 million of the $1.3 million spent during the campaign was used by opponents.

When the results were tallied, however, 66 percent of Jackson County residents voted in favor of the ban.

"We fought the most powerful and influential chemical companies in the world and we won," local farmer and anti-GMO advocate Elise Higley told the Oregonian.

"It's a great day for the people of Oregon who care about sustainability and healthy ecosystems," added the group GMO Free Oregon on its Facebook page.

As noted by Reuters, the newly approved measure mandates that people "harvest, destroy or remove all genetically engineered plants" no later than 12 months after the ordinance goes into effect. The process of getting the proposal to a vote has taken about two years, and began over concerns that GMO crops planted by some farmers would drift onto other, non-GMO farms and contaminate them.

Opponents of the ban, however argue there is nothing wrong with GMO crops and that science has been unable to prove that they have negative consequences for health. Additionally, they claimed the measure would be too expensive to enforce.

"Regrettably ideology defeated sound science and common sense in Jackson County," said Barry Bushue, of the Oregon Farm Bureau and spokesman for Good Neighbor Farmers, as quoted by the Oregonian.

"We respect the voice of the voters," he added, "but remain convinced Measure 15-119 – the crop ban – is bad public policy. While this election is over, this debate is not. We will continue to fight to protect the rights of all farmers to choose for themselves how they farm."

Meanwhile, a similar measure in Josephine County passed with 57 percent of the vote, despite the fact that a new Oregon law labeled the state itself as the only regulator of seeds. Jackson’s proposal had already qualified to be on the ballot then, so it was granted an exemption. The initiative in Josephine did not qualify for an exemption since it was proposed later, but residents went ahead with their own vote anyway and have decided to let the courts determine its legality.


WATCH: Oregon counties defeat Monsanto, ban genetically modified crops.

 


The two votes in Oregon come as the debate over GMO crops and food labeling continues across the United States. Numerous states have considered slapping a marker on food products made with GMOs, but the results have been mixed despite nationwide polls showing Americans generally support the idea.

As RT reported earlier this month, Vermont will become the first state to require GMO labels on its food. That regulation is expected to go into effect in July 2016, but is sure to face legal challenges from opponents.

In other states, initial polling support for labeling cratered under what was reported to be heavy spending by the likes of DuPont and Monsanto. Both California and Washington state considered labels last year, but the proposals ultimately failed after millions of dollars of corporate spending entered the equation.

Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo (Kan.) has introduced a bill in Congress that would prohibit all states from implementing their own labeling laws, on the grounds that having each state create its own rules would result in “a patchwork” of requirements “that makes it enormously difficult to operate a food system.” - RT.



THEATRE OF WAR: Escalating Tensions On The Korean Peninsula - North And South Korea Exchange Fire Near Disputed Sea Boundary!

May 22, 2014 - KOREAN PENINSULA - North and South Korean warships exchanged artillery fire Thursday in disputed waters off the western coast, South Korean military officials said, in the latest sign of rising animosity between the bitter rivals in recent weeks.




Officials from the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defense Ministry said a South Korean navy ship was engaged in a routine patrol near the countries' disputed maritime boundary in the Yellow Sea when a North Korean navy ship fired two artillery shells. The shells did not hit the South Korean ship and fell in waters near it, they said.

The South Korean ship then fired several artillery rounds in waters near the North Korean ship which also did not hit it, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of office rules.

South Korea was trying to determine if the North Korean ship had attempted to hit the South Korean vessel but missed, or if the shells were not meant to hit the ship.

Officials said that residents on the frontline Yeonpyeong Island were evacuated to shelters, and fishing ships in the area were ordered to return to ports. In 2010, North Korea fired artillery at the island, killing two civilians and two marines.

Kang Myeong-sung, a Yeonpyeong resident, said in a phone interview that hundreds of residents were in underground shelters after loudspeakers ordered them there. He heard the sound of artillery fire and said many people felt uneasy at first but later began to stop worrying.

Both Koreas regularly conduct artillery drills in the disputed waters. The sea boundary is not clearly marked, and the area has been the scene of three bloody naval skirmishes between the rival Koreas since 1999.

North Korea has in recent weeks conducted a string of artillery drills and missile tests and has unleashed a torrent of racist and sexist rhetoric at the leaders of the U.S. and South Korea.

On Tuesday, South Korean navy ships fired warning shots to repel three North Korean warships that briefly violated the disputed sea boundary. On Wednesday, North Korea's military vowed to retaliate.

North Korean military ships and fishing boats have routinely intruded into South Korean-controlled waters that the North doesn't recognize. The Yellow Sea boundary was unilaterally drawn by the U.S.-led U.N. Command at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. - Yahoo.