Wednesday, June 11, 2014

SOLAR WATCH: Monumental Events In The Heavens - The Sun Erupts With 3rd Huge Solar Flare In Two Days; Sunspot 2087 Produces X1.0 Flare; Faint CME Generated; "Cannibal CME" From Yesterday's Double X-Flares Will Reach Earth On June 13 And Could Spark Polar Geomagnetic Storms! [IMAGES+VIDEOS]

June 11, 2014 - THE SUN - The sun is hitting its stride. Earth's closest star shot off yet another powerful solar flare today (June 11) after producing a pair of major solar storms Tuesday.

An X1 solar flare bursts off the left limb of the sun in this image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory
on June 11, 2014, at 9:05 a.m. EDT. Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard

The X1-class flare reached its peak at 5:06 a.m. EDT (0906 GMT) and came from Region 2087 near the southeastern limb of the sun's disk, the same region of the star that produced the two powerful solar flares yesterday. NASA captured an amazing video of the X1 solar flare using its space-based Solar Dynamics Observatory.

WATCH:  Major X-Class Solar Flare - June 11, 2014.


Today's solar tempest did cause a brief radio blackout on Earth, but officials with the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center based in Boulder, Colorado, don't think that the flare has an associated coronal mass ejection — a burst of hot plasma sent out from the sun during some solar flares.

Three X-class flares erupted from the left side of the sun June 10-11, 2014. These images are from NASA's Solar
Dynamics Observatory and show light in a blend of two ultraviolet wavelengths: 171 and 131 angstroms.
Credit: NASA/SDO

While officials with the SWPC didn't initially think that
Tuesday's flares produced a coronal mass ejection — a burst of plasma associated with some solar flares — later analysis shows that the flares did produced two CMEs. The first solar flare produced a relatively small CME, with the second merging with it shortly after, according to astronomer Tony Phillips at

The CME is expected to give Earth a glancing blow, when it reaches our part of the solar system Friday (June 13). It's possible that the incoming CME could create polar geomagnetic storms, according to Phillips.
The sun is in the active phase of its 11-year solar cycle, called Solar Cycle 24.

Impulsive X1.0 solar flare detected.

An impulsive solar flare measuring X1.0 was observed around region 2087 at 09:06 UTC.
At nearly the same time, a smaller flare took place around region 2080.

NASA officials now think the sun is in its maximum, which they have dubbed the "mini max." Although the sun's activity is on the upswing, this solar max is still quite weak by comparison to other solar maximums on record, NASA officials have said. Scientists expected that the solar maximum (the peak in the sun's activity for the cycle) would occur in 2013.

WATCH: Sun releases massive solar flare on June 10, 2014.


"It's back," Dean Pesnell, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a NASA statement Tuesday (June 10) on the sun's weather cycle. "Solar max has arrived."

Yesterday's double X-flare may have produced a geoeffective CME after all. At first it appeared that Earth was
outside the line of fire, but a closer look at the CME reveals an Earth-directed component.

Solar activity during the past 24 hours was high with three X-Flares, two M-Flares and several C-Class flares detected.
Most of the activity was centered around magnetically unstable region 2087 which continues to rotate into a more
geoeffective position in the southeast quadrant.

Wednesday's solar flare is the eighth documented X-flare shot out from the sun in 2014. The most powerful flare of the year — a monster X4.9-class flare — occurred in February. X2 flares are two times as intense as X1 flares. If aimed toward Earth, X-flares can damage the planet's power grids and put satellites and astronauts in space in danger.

The sun also shoots out other, less powerful classes of solar flares. M-class flares can produce incredible auroras, and our nearest star also emits weaker C-class flares.

NASA has a fleet of sun-monitoring satellites in orbit today. The Solar Dynamics Observatory, the space agency's twin STEREO probes and the joint U.S.-European SOHO spacecraft all keep watch on the sun from space.

SOURCES: SPACE | Space Weather | Solar Ham | Solar Watcher.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Tikrit Falls To The ISIS Islamist Terrorists As Iraq Spirals Further Into Chaos - Hundreds Of Thousands Flee As Second Iraqi City Is Seized By Extremist Warlord Adu Dua, Who Is More "VIRULENT AND VIOLENT THAN BIN LADEN," And Building An Empire! [PHOTOS]

June 11, 2014 - IRAQ - The Iraq government teeters on the brink of collapse this evening as Islamic jihadists led by a warlord considered 'more virulent and violent than Osama bin Laden' took control of a second city in as many days.  In a spectacular blow to the Shiite-led government, the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also known as Isis) and their allies seized oil-rich Mosul and surrounding Nineveh province followed by Tikrit where they freed hundreds of prisoners.

Warlord Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has seized control of another Iraqi provincial capital just a day of gaining power in the
country's second biggest city Mosul. Pictured: A propaganda video uploaded by jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq
and the Levant today allegedly shows ISIL militants gathering at an undisclosed location in Iraq's Nineveh province

There is now growing panic that Isis will move to take Baghdad, just 80 miles to the south.  The offensive sparked a massive exodus of soldiers and civilians, with as many as half a million Iraqis fleeing their homes and entering in neighbouring Kurdish-controlled zones sparking a major refugee crisis.  Behind the attacks is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, 43, also known as Abu Dua, who has emerged as one of the world's most lethal terrorist leaders in the space of a year - the U.S. has a $10million bounty on his head.  Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked parliament to declare a state of emergency to give him more powers as he called on the international community for help.  The sense of unravelling chaos in the country, from which American troops pulled in 2011, was compounded this evening by a suicide bomber killing 16 in a Shi'te slum in the country's capital Baghdad.   As night fell, several hundred gunmen were in Tikrit, with clashes still taking place between the insurgents and military units on its outskirts, said Mizhar Fleih, the deputy head of the municipal council of nearby Samarra.  Two Iraqi security officials confirmed that Tikrit, the capital of Salahuddin province, was under the control of Isis, and said the provincial governor was missing.

Tikrit is 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad.   The major oil refinery in Beiji, located between Mosul and Tikrit, remained in government control, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.  While the West has so far refused to assist with military support, the US has said it will come to the aid of the 500,000 people who have fled fierce fighting in Iraq.   Denouncing ISIS as ‘one of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the world, Stuart Jones, the nominee to be the next US envoy to Baghdad, told US politicians the United States ‘will continue to monitor the situation closely, and will work with our international partners to try to meet the needs of those who have been displaced’.  Today UK Foreign Secretary William Hague played down any suggestion of sending troops to support the Iraqi military and the White House National Security Council said: 'President Obama promised to responsibly end the war in Iraq and he did'.  A country into which America poured so much blood and money faces the prospect of dealing with this major new military threat by itself in light of Western governments' insistence that the matter is not their concern. 

However, international momentum appeared to  Militants seized 48 Turks from the Turkish consulate Mosul today including the consul-general, three children and several members of Turkey's special forces.  Tonight Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned it will retaliate if any of its citizens and diplomats are harmed.  'Right now we are engaged in calm crisis management, considering our citizens' security. This should not be misunderstood. Any harm to our citizens and staff would be met with the harshest retaliation,' he said.  It comes a day after 28 Turkish truck drivers were abducted by Isis militants while they were delivering diesel to a power plant in the city.  The rampage through Mosul - which is near the Turkish and Syrian border - by the black banner-waving insurgents was a heavy defeat for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as he tries to hold onto power, and highlighted the growing strength of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.  The group has been advancing in both Iraq and neighboring Syria, capturing territory in a campaign to set up a militant enclave straddling the border.  This afternoon the Al Qaeda-inspired militants have seized control of Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit.  Iraqi security officials confirmed Tikrit was under the control of Isis and said the provincial governor was missing. 

'All of Tikrit is in the hands of the militants,' a police colonel said of the Salaheddin provincial capital, which lies roughly
half way between Baghdad and Iraq's second city Mosul which fell on Tuesday

The body of a member of the Iraqi security forces lies on a street after radical Sunni Muslim
insurgents seized control of the city of Mosul yesterday

As many as 500,000 Iraqis have been forced to flee the country's second biggest city of Mosul
after militants from an al-Qaeda splinter group seized control

Tikrit, the capital of Salahuddin province, is 80 miles north of Baghdad.  The insurgents expanded their offensive closer to the Iraqi capital as soldiers and security forces abandoned their posts following clashes.  A woman in Baghdad said: 'People are buying up food and may not come to work tomorrow because they think the situation is getting to get worse.'  A Mosul businessman who has fled the city of Mosul told the Guardian: 'The city fell like a plane without an engine.'  Another resident explained that after government forces began to desert the city they felt compelled to leave in case the government started to bomb the city to force out the militants.   Today the governor of an Iraqi province says authorities are determined to recapture the northern city.  The Ninevah province governor, Atheel al-Nujaifi, said authorities have a plan to restore security and defeat the militants raiding government buildings, pushing out security forces and capturing military vehicles as thousands of residents fled.  Al-Nujaifi also accused senior commanders of the security forces of providing Baghdad with false information about the situation in Mosul and demanding that they should stand trial.  He also says smaller armed groups joined the al Qaeda breakaway group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant during the fight for control the city. 

his morning Iraq's foreign minister said Baghdad will cooperate with Kurdish forces to flush out militants from Mosul.  'There will be closer cooperation between Baghdad and the regional Kurdistan government to work together and flush out these foreign fighters,' Hoshyar Zebari said on the sidelines of a EU-Arab League meeting in Athens.  He called on all Iraqi leaders to come together to face the 'serious, mortal' threat to the country.  'The response has to be soon. There has to be a quick response to what has happened,' he said.    Militants have seized the Turkish consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and efforts are under way to ensure the safety of diplomatic staff, according to two Turkish government sources.  'Certain militant groups in Mosul have been directly contacted to ensure the safety of diplomatic staff,' a Turkish government source said, adding there was no immediate information on the status of the diplomats.  Last night militants advanced into the oil refinery town of Baiji, setting the court house and police station on fire and today they are unconfirmed reports that the town 'in flames'.  They said around 250 guards at the refinery had agreed to withdraw to another town after the militants sent a delegation of local tribal chiefs to persuade them to pull out.  Baiji resident Jasim al-Qaisi, said the militants also warned local police and soldiers not to challenge them.  'Yesterday at sunset some gunmen contacted the most prominent tribal sheikhs in Baiji via cellphone and told them: 'We are coming to die or control Baiji, so we advise you to ask your sons in the police and army to lay down their weapons and withdraw before (Tuesday) evening prayer'.'  Militants entered Baiji late on Tuesday evening in around 60 vehicles, releasing prisoners in the town.  Baiji refinery is Iraq's biggest, supplying oil products to most of the country's provinces. A worker there said the morning shift had not been allowed to take over and the night shift was still working.  The United States condemned the siege 'in the strongest possible terms.'

The shadowy leader of thousands of Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq, many of them Westerners, appears to be surpassing Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri as the world’s most influential jihadist.  'For the last 10 years or more, [Zawahri] has been holed up in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area and hasn’t really done very much more than issue a few statements and videos,' said Richard Barrett, a former counterterrorism chief at MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence service.  'Whereas Baghdadi has done an amazing amount – he has captured cities, he has mobilized huge amounts of people, he is killing ruthlessly throughout Iraq and Syria.  'If you were a guy who wanted action, you would go with Baghdadi,' said Barrett. noting the ISIS leader’s challenge to Zawahri was 'a really interesting development.'  'Where that goes will determine a lot about how terrorism is [carried out],' Barrett said.  The ISIS leader, who was born in 1971 in Baghdad, is touted as a battlefield commander and tactician, a crucial distinction compared with Zawahri.  Baghdadi, who has a degrees in Islamic studies, apparently joined the insurgency that erupted in Iraq soon after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.  He was taken as a prisoner of the Americans in Camp Bucca between 2005 and 2007 - it was here that one of the only two photos know to be in existence was taken of him.  He is known as 'The Ghost' to members of the pro-Assad Lebanese Shi-ite militia Hizballah.  'Only a few people know the face of Baghdadi,' Sheik Ahmad, the Hizballah official in charge of investigating ISIS in Syria, told TIME last year.  The secretive Baghdadi talks with a scarf covering his face even when dealing with close allies, according to militants who worked with him in Iraq.  He addresses his ISIS followers through audio recordings posted to the internet, rather than in public places.  In October 2005, American forces said they believed they had killed him in a strike on the Iraq- Syria border.  But that appears to have been incorrect, as he took the reins of what was then known as the Islamic State of Iraq in May 2010 after two of its chiefs were killed in a U.S.-Iraqi raid. Since then, details about him have slowly trickled out.  In October 2011, the U.S. Treasury designated him as a 'terrorist' in a notice that said he was born in the Iraqi city of Samarra in 1971.  And earlier this year, Iraq released a picture they said was of Baghdadi, the first from an official source, depicting a balding, bearded man in a suit and tie.  Lt. Gen. Abdel-Amir al-Zaidi, who heads a northern security command centre, says his forces believe Baghdadi is hiding in Iraq’s Diyala province, but other officials contest this.  He is a renegade within al-Qaeda and it was his maverick streak that eventually led its central command to sever ties, deepening a rivalry between his organization and the global terror network  Zawahri has urged ISIS to focus on Iraq and leave Syria to Nusra, but Baghdadi and his fighters have openly defied the Al-Qaeda chief and, indeed, have fought not only Assad, but also Nusra and other rebel groups.  He is 'more violent, more virulent, more anti-American [than Osama Bin Laden]'  a senior U.S. intelligence official told the Washington Post.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest deplored 'despicable' acts of violence targeting civilians in Mosul.  Mr Earnest said the group has gained strength from the situation in neighbouring Syria.  But the White House is not saying what additional military assistance the US might provide Iraq in response to the siege.  Mr Earnest said the US is committed to its partnership with Baghdad but is urging Iraq's government to take steps to be more inclusive of all Iraqis.  There were no immediate estimates on how many people were killed in the four-day assault, a stark reminder of the reversals in Iraq since U.S. forces left in late 2011.  Earlier this year, Islamic State fighters took control of Fallujah, and government forces have been unable to take it back.  Mosul is a much bigger, more strategic prize. The city and surrounding Ninevah province, which is on the doorstep of Iraq's relatively prosperous Kurdish region, are a major export route for Iraqi oil and a gateway to Syria.  'This isn't Fallujah. This isn't a place you can just cordon off and forget about,' said Michael Knights, a regional security analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 'It's essential to Iraq.'  


Al-Maliki pressed parliament to declare a state of emergency that would grant him greater powers, saying the public and government must unite 'to confront this vicious attack, which will spare no Iraqi.'  Legal experts said these powers could include imposing curfews, restricting public movements and censoring the media.  State TV said lawmakers would convene Thursday.  Parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni from Mosul, called the rout 'a disaster by any standard.'  Regaining Mosul poses a daunting challenge for the Shiite prime minister.  The city of about 1.4 milliion has a Sunni Muslim majority and many in the community are already deeply embittered against his Shiite-led government.  During the nearly nine-year American presence in the country, Mosul was a major stronghold for al-Qaeda. U.S. and Iraqi forces carried out repeated offensives there, regaining a semblance of control but never routing the insurgents entirely.   'It's going to be difficult to reconstitute the forces to clear and hold the city,' Knights said. 'There aren't a lot of spare forces around Iraq.'   Today UK Foreign Secretary William Hague told ITV News the civilian population of Mosul must be protected.  He added: 'We left Iraq in the hands of elected Iraqi leaders with armed forces, with their own security forces, so it is primarily for them to deal with.'  'It’s very important that Iraqis take the leadership and responsibility of dealing with this, working with neighbouring countries.  National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said the U.S. would continue to help the Iraqi government fight ISIS.  'President Obama promised to responsibly end the war in Iraq and he did,' she said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest deplored what he called the 'despicable' acts of violence against civilians in Mosul.  He said Washington is committed to its partnership with Baghdad but is urging the government to take steps to be more inclusive of all Iraqis.  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attacks across Iraq in recent days 'that have killed and wounded scores of civilians.'  He urged all political leaders 'to show national unity against the threats facing Iraq, which can only be addressed on the basis of the constitution and within the democratic political process,' according to U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.  Insurgents and Iraqi troops have been fighting for days in Mosul, but the security forces' hold appeared to collapse late Monday night and early Tuesday.  Gunmen overran the Ninevah provincial government building - a key symbol of state control - Monday evening, and the governor fled the city.  The fighters stormed police stations, bases and prisons, capturing weapons and freeing inmates. Security forces melted away, abandoning many of their posts, and militants seized large caches of weapons.  They took control of the city's airport and captured helicopters, as well as an airbase 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of the city, the parliament speaker said.  

 Later Tuesday, Islamic State fighters took over the large town of Hawija, 125 kilometers (75 miles) south of Mosul, according to officials there.  On Tuesday, the militants appeared to hold much of the eastern half of Mosul, which is bisected by the Tigris River. Residents said fighters were raising the black banners that are the emblem of the Islamic State.  Video taken from a car driving through the streets of Mosul and posted online showed burning vehicles in the streets, black-masked gunmen in pickup trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns, and residents walking with suitcases. ISIL supporters posted photos on social media showing fighters next to Humvees and other U.S.-made military vehicles captured from Iraqi forces.  The video and photos appeared authentic and matched Associated Press reporting of the events.  A government employee who lives about a mile from the provincial headquarters, Umm Karam, said she left with her family Tuesday morning.

A woman carries a child as families fleeing the violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul wait at a checkpoint
on the outskirts of Arbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region

Iraq's prime minister Nouri Maliki asked parliament to declare a state of emergency to grant him more powers.

'The situation is chaotic inside the city and there is nobody to help us,' she said 'We are afraid. ... There is no police or army in Mosul.' She spoke on condition she be identified only by her nickname for fear of her safety.  An estimated 500,000 people have fled Mosul, according to a U.N. spokesman in New York, citing the International Organization for Migration.  The spokesman said aid organizations hope to reach those in need with food, water, sanitation and other essential supplies as soon as the volatile security situation permits.  The Islamic State has ramped up its insurgency over the past two years, presenting itself as the Sunni community's champion against al-Maliki's government  The group was once al-Qaida's branch in Iraq, but under its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi it has escalated its ambitions, sending fighters into Syria to join the rebellion against President Bashar Assad. Its jihadists became notorious as some of the most ruthless fighters in the rebellion - and other rebels turned against it, accusing it of trying to hijack the movement. Al-Qaida's central command, angered over its intervention in Syria, threw the group out of the terrorist network.  But it has been making gains on both sides of the border. In Syria, it took control of an eastern provincial capital of Raqqa, and in the past month it has launched an offensive working its way toward the Iraqi border.  Islamic State fighters in eastern Syria crossed into Iraq to help their brethren in the Mosul area, activists on the Syrian side said.  They tried to take the border crossing itself, but Kurdish fighters on either side fended them off. The militants were able to seize the nearest Iraqi town to the border, Rabeea, the activists said. 

The group earlier this year took over Fallujah and parts of Sunni-dominated Anbar province, and has stepped up its long-running campaign of bombings and other violence in Baghdad and elsewhere.  The Mosul crisis comes as al-Maliki is working to assemble a coalition after elections in late April, relying even more on Shiite parties. Sunnis and Kurds have grown increasingly disillusioned with al-Maliki, accusing him of dominating power.  The autonomous Kurdish region in the north has its own armed forces - the peshmerga - and on Tuesday, the region's prime minister suggested his willingness to intervene beyond the formal borders of the self-ruled enclave.  That could be politically explosive, since the Mosul region lies on Kurdistan's doorstep, has a significant Kurdish population, and the Kurds claim parts of the area.  Militant gains in territories the Kurds consider theirs could push them 'to send in their own troops to protect communities they consider as part of their jurisdiction,' said Jordan Perry, an analyst at risk analysis firm Maplecroft.  Kurdistan's prime minister, Nechirvan Barzani, sharply criticized Baghdad's handling of the Mosul crisis, saying the Kurds had tried unsuccessfully to work with Iraqi security forces to protect the city.  'Tragically, Baghdad adopted a position which has prevented the establishment of this cooperation,' he said in a statement.  Barzani urged the Kurds to aid those displaced from Mosul and called on the U.N. refugee agency to help with the relief effort.  He said the peshmerga are prepared to handle security in areas outside the regional government's jurisdiction - presumably referring to parts around Mosul inhabited by Kurds that are disputed with the central government.  Kurdish official Razgar Khoushnaw said about 10,000 Mosul residents took refuge Tuesday in the Kurdish province of Irbil, while security officials in neighboring Dahuk province said 5,000 displaced people were let in there.  Far larger numbers of people are believed to have fled Mosul for other communities in the Ninevah countryside. - Daily Mail.

THE AGE OF OBAMA: U.S. Border Patrol, Immigration Of Illegal Aliens, Societal Collapse And The End Of The United States Corporation - Children's Surge Of Illegal Aliens Is Overwhelming The U.S. Southwest Border And Threatens To Transform The Nation; Border Sheriff Likens Influx Of Illegal Immigrants To Hurricane Katrina; Influx of Illegal Alien Minors A Disaster, Overcrowded Shelters, Diseases, Sexually Active Teens; And Crisis Leaves 'Vast Swaths' Of Border Unprotected, Cartels 'in Control'!

June 11, 2014 - UNITED STATES - There’s a surge on the border. This is a surge far different from George W. Bush’s dispatch of armed might to win the day in Iraq. This is a mass movement of immigrants that threatens to transform the nation.

Children's Surge Of Illegal Aliens Is Overwhelming Southwest Border And Threatens To Transform The Nation

Children are walking hundreds of miles across a hostile environment with little more than the clothes on their backs, accompanied by neither a parent nor other responsible adult. The numbers of these children making the treacherous journey are much higher than the Obama administration has acknowledged, according to reporting by our Stephen Dinan. The deputy Border Patrol chief, Ronald Vitiello, said in an internal memo on May 30 that border agents caught 40,000 unaccompanied children last year. They expect to apprehend 90,000 children this year, and 142,000 in 2015. Americans are a kind and generous people, and photographs of a sea of small, frightened and hungry faces in U.S. shelters along the southern border are enough to break a million hearts. President Obama, whatever he intended, is largely responsible. Lured by lax immigration enforcement and the promise of citizenship as “dreamers,” the Obama children’s hour is changing the mission at the border from ensuring security to providing emergency assistance. Last week, the president declared the border an “urgent humanitarian situation.” He assigned the handling of the influx of children to Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which customarily provides relief following natural disasters. This is a disaster, sure enough, but it’s a man-made disaster.

Untended children leaving their homes in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to head north is anything but natural. On June 2, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte pinned the blame squarely on Mr. Obama’s broken border policies. “Word has gotten out around the world about President Obama’s lax immigration-enforcement policies and it has encouraged more people to come to the United States illegally, many of whom are children from Central America.”  Coming to America now means getting free citizenship, free health care, welfare benefits and even an Obamaphone. Illegal aliens crossing the border into Texas say news reports in their Central American homelands encourage them to risk the journey northward with the promise that if they make it to the U.S. border, they won’t be turned away.  Undeterred by the refusal of Congress to enact the Dream Act, the president substitutes an administrative equivalent in the form of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which enables those who arrive illegally as children and are in school or the military to remain for two years, subject to renewal. Nearly 600,000 children have benefited from the program since 2012. On Friday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. announced the administration would pay for 100 lawyers to help young illegals remain in the United States.  Generosity doesn’t require that everybody who wants to come to America can come to America. The children’s surge is another consequence of the president making good on his vow to “fundamentally transform” America. He is endangering the lives of thousands of children south of the border. - Washington Times.

Border Sheriff Likens Influx Of Illegal Immigrants To Hurricane Katrina
U.S. Border Patrol agents (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Officials say that nearly a thousand illegal immigrants a day are crossing into Texas from Mexico, an anomaly that is now being compared to Hurricane Katrina. “How do you prepare for that?” says Don Ray, the Executive Director of the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition. “You can’t have an influx of people like that without having an impact; I think we saw that after Katrina. It’s relocation services that are really taking place. In the case of Katrina, most of them were United States citizens or people that were here lawfully, and now you have people that aren’t here lawfully.” Ray says that with that sort of influx of people crossing illegally into Texas from various parts of Mexico and Central America, there are public health concerns. “You have that many people in one place — you have the potential for illnesses that could spread that could have an impact on the local community.”

It’s a concern that’s shared in Nogales, Arizona, where most of the illegal immigrants captured in Texas are being shipped to temporary housing and processing facilities.  “When you put 1,000 or 1,500 people in just some little facility and they just came from another country, you never know what they’re bringing into the country,” says Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Recently the consul of Honduras to Arizona said that illegal immigrants have been complaining about getting sick from the food they’ve been receiving in detention at the facilities in Nogales.  “They’re complaining yeah, but why don’t they compare whats going on here to the country they came from,” says Sheriff Arpaio. “That’s why they’re coming here because of the bad conditions in other countries like Honduras and Guatemala.” - CBS DFW.


Influx of Illegal Alien Minors A Disaster; Overcrowded Shelters, Diseases, Sexually Active Teens
AP Photo.

e barrage of illegal immigrant minors entering the U.S. through Mexico in recent weeks has created an out-of-control disaster with jam-packed holding centers, rampant diseases and sexually active teenagers at a Nogales facility, according to information obtained by Judicial Watch from a Homeland Security source.

The Obama administration blames the sudden influx on persistent violence in Central America, but a veteran Border Patrol agent who heads the agency’s Tucson sector union, says rumors of amnesty are responsible for the unforeseen bombardment. When agents ask the illegal border crossers what drove them, “we are hearing a lot of amnistía (amnesty),” said Art Del Cueto, the Tucson Border Patrol Union president. There are almost 1,000 minors at the Nogales facility, according to Del Cueto.

The Obama administration is scrambling to open up shelters that can accommodate the storm of mostly Central American minors that are said to be fleeing violence in their homeland. At an informational White House press call monitored by Judicial Watch today senior administration officials insisted the situation, which President Obama says is a humanitarian crisis, is under control. The officials also assured that all of the illegal alien minors will be put in removal proceedings and that none qualify for the president’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which grants amnesty to those who came to the U.S. as children “through no fault of their own.”

But the tens of thousands of Central American youths will likely never be deported and many will be released in the U.S. while they are being “processed.” American taxpayers will fund their stay in specially created shelters and military facilities. The Obama administration has also launched a special program called Justice AmeriCorps to give them free legal help. The administration has asked Congress for more than $2 billion, the senior administration officials revealed at today’s press call. The minors are coming mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and some may have criminal backgrounds.

“They’re not all little kids,” Del Cueto, points out. “Some are 17 years old and they have possible ties to gang members yet they will be relocated in the U.S. with family.” A U.S. Senator who sits on the powerful Judiciary Committee says an unprecedented crisis is unfolding at the border. “This crisis is a direct and predictable result of the President’s sustained and deliberate campaign to dismantle immigration enforcement,” Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions says, adding that the administration has announced to the world that immigration laws won’t be enforced and, in particular, won’t be applied to foreign youth.

Media outlets in the Central American countries where the youths are coming from tell a different story than the administration’s official version. Honduras’s largest newspaper reports this week that the minors will spend three to four months in federal camps until they can be turned over to family in the U.S. Besides receiving food and shelter, the Honduran newspaper article says, kids will receive English classes, participate in sports and other programs while their relatives are tracked down in the U.S.

The Homeland Security source cited earlier in this piece says “it’s all over the news in Central America that if you bring your kids north you have a free pass.” Most are entering the U.S. through the Rio Grande region in Texas. “The entire thing can be pinned squarely on the Obama administration and its policies,” the DHS source said. “It’s going to get much worse.” That’s probably accurate considering the news in these Central American countries. For instance, El Salvador’s largest newspaper reported just a few days ago that DHS officials confirmed that the amnesty offered to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors under DACA could be extended two more years. The article quotes DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson saying that everyone agrees that a minor who crossed the border illegally in search of a parent or a better life is not breaking our laws. - Judicial Watch.

Crisis Leaves 'Vast Swaths' Of Border Unprotected, Cartels 'in Control'
U.S. Border Patrol

The massive influx of adults and minors crossing into the U.S. from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador has brought the Customs and Border Protection agency (CPB) past its capacity to provide security at the U.S./Mexico border, according to the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC).

In an interview with Breitbart Texas, NBPC Vice President Shawn Moran revealed that the Mexican cartels control the flow of illegal immigrants across Mexico through the monopoly on coyotes, otherwise known as human smugglers. “Mexican cartels are exploiting this crisis to get their shipments through. They know our schedules, our shifts, our manpower, and how we react to these situations,” said Vice President Moran.

“The cartels control the flow of people from south of our border. The coyotes are mostly at the employ of the cartels. They rent the smuggling routes that are protected by the cartel enterprises. We are being completely reactive and chasing the cartel activity.

"Today they are using the RGV sector [Rio Grande Valley], but they could begin using another sector instead at any moment.” Moran was referring to the mass re-assignment of Border Patrol agents to Texas from western states like Arizona.

The fact that the CPB has taken so much time to reorganize federal assets to handle the crisis along the Texas border with Mexico indicates an inability to preempt the Mexican cartels and be ready for their next move, according to Vice President Moran. He stated, “The CPB is unable to quickly react to the changing trends in illegal immigration and drug smuggling.”

He said the Border Patrol agents were exhausted and overwhelmed, but still doing their best to keep Americans safe and enforce our laws. He stated, “Even though our pay has been cut and we are working in horrible conditions, Border Patrol agents are doing their best in a phenomenally difficult situation. We are trying to balance providing enough personnel to handle the influx in the holding facilities while still trying to keep enough agents on the line.”

“Since the CPB started reducing the hours agents can work, we have seen an overall increase in smuggling and illegal alien crossing,” he said. “The CBP is controlling the number of hours agents can work and we are desperately trying to keep enough agents in the field and still handle the processing of the illegal aliens we catch, but we are leaving vast swaths of the border unprotected.” He added, “The cartels know our limitations and our weak points and they are taking full advantage of them.” - Breitbart.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome - Mysterious Brain Illness In Philadelphia Causes Terrifying Psychotic And Violent Outbursts?!

June 11, 2014 - PHILADELPHIA, UNITED STATES - It’s a mysterious brain illness that triggers psychotic and violent behavior.

It is rare, and it is often misdiagnosed.

One desperate family grabbed a video camera to document what was happening.

In the tape, seven-year-old Paul Michael Nelson can be seen yelling uncontrollably while being restrained.

He started to experience the episodes in 2009.

“In the night, he was tearing up the flooring, he took a knife to the office door,” recalls his mother, Mary Nelson.

His family started recording the outbursts because some doctors didn’t believe them.

“He was flopping around on his knees barking like a dog,” Paul Michael’s mother says.

Over five years, Paul Michael was hospitalized 50 times and even occasionally removed from his home by police.

No one could figure out what was wrong.

“All of a sudden, our kid goes from, he’s an angel in the Christmas play, looking cute as could be, to what you just saw,” Mary explains.

A blood test finally revealed PANS – Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome. It’s marked by sudden and dramatic outbursts and obsessive behavior, and it’s unusual.

We discovered that he actually had an autoimmune disease attacking his blood and blood vessels,” explains Dr. Jennifer Frankovitch.

WATCH: Mysterious Brain Illness Causes Terrifying Outbursts.

It was also attacking the brain, triggering psychiatric problems.

A lot isn’t known about the newly identified syndrome.

“Maybe about 14 to 40 percent of the cases, we think strep triggers it…we just don’t know yet,” Dr. Frankovitch says.

Paul Michael, who has one of the more severe cases, is 12 now and doing much better with treatment that can include antibiotics.

Doctors say that while strep is infectious, PANS is not. It’s not known how or why some infections trigger the syndrome. - CBS.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Satellite Spies Congo's Nyiragongo Volcano - Could Warn Of Eruption!

June 11, 2014 - CONGO, AFRICA - Italian scientists have successfully used data from an orbiting satellite six miles above the Earth to measure the temperature, thickness and volume of the lava in a fiery lake inside the 11,400-foot summit of the Nyiragongo volcano at in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They say the technique could be used to monitor volcanoes in remote spots across the planet.

Photo: The lava lake bubbling inside Nyiragongo. Credit: Cai Tjeenk Willink, via Wikimedia Commons.

The researchers, from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Catania, Italy, compared data collected from space by Meteosat, a weather satellite operated by a European research consortium.

The information was collected by an instrument called the Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI), and it matched the results from data collected by a ground-based thermal camera.Their methods are detailed in this article in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

The lava temperature inside Nyiragongo’s lake can reach 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

The researchers previously used the same method in 2011 to measure the temperature of a lava fountain inside Mount Etna in Italy, but this was the first time the Congolese volcano had been measured from space. The ability to monitor Nyiragongo and spot an eruption early is important because the city of Goma and its million inhabitants are just 7.5 miles away.

Amazingly, intrepid researchers actually have climbed the volcano and visited the lava lake. Back in 1960, documentary filmmaker Haroun Tazieff made a a documentary, The Devil’s Blast, that revealed for the first time the glowing inferno. In 2010, the summit was visited by a team that included photographer Olivier Grunewald, who got to within a few feet of the lake to take these close-up images. - Discovery News.

THE AGE OF OBAMA & CHILDHOOD's END: Mass Shootings, Human Devolution, Societal Collapse And Gun Control - President Obama Demands Adoption Of Australian-Style Gun Confiscation Laws!

June 11, 2014 - UNITED STATES -  Even as police were still on the scene of yet another American school shooting – the 74th since the massacre of primary school children in Newtown – President Barack Obama praised Australia’s gun laws in an online question and answer session.

US President Barack Obama has singled out Australia's response to gun violence for praise
- the US gun lobby disagrees. Photo: Reuters

“Couple of decades ago, Australia had a mass shooting, similar to Columbine or Newtown. And Australia just said, well, that’s it, we’re not doing, we’re not seeing that again, and basically imposed very severe, tough gun laws, and they haven’t had a mass shooting since,” said the president in a pre-arranged session held to discuss his plans to help cut student debt.

“Our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There’s no advanced, developed country that would put up with this.”

 WATCH:  Obama 'frustrated' by lack of action on gun control.


He said he was stunned that Congress had not managed to pass laws on new regulations after the Newtown massacre in 2012.

“Most members of Congress — and I have to say to some degree this is bipartisan — are terrified of the NRA. The combination of, you know, the NRA and gun manufacturers are very well financed and have the capacity to move votes in local elections and congressional elections. And so if you’re running for office right now, that’s where you feel the heat,” he said.

The President’s comments, his most direct since his efforts to pass gun control legislation failed, came hours after a gunman shot dead a 14-year-old student at a junior high school in Oregon.

Mr Obama’s comments were quickly condemned by conservative media. The Washington Times noted that he praised “a country that had outright banned and imposed a mandatory buyback on almost all long guns, including semi-automatic weapons and shotguns".

A comment piece in the National Review Online thundered: “In other words, the President of the United States just praised a government for forcefully removing all semi-automatic firearms (ie. a remarkable number of the guns in America and the majority of those sold today) from its citizenry.

“Let me be clear, as Obama likes to say: You simply cannot praise Australia’s gun laws without praising the country’s mass confiscation program. That is Australia’s law. When the Left says that we should respond to shootings as Australia did, they don’t mean that we should institute background checks on private sales; they mean that they we should ban and confiscate guns. No amount of wooly words can change this. Again, one doesn’t bring up countries that have confiscated firearms as a shining example unless one wishes to push the conversation toward confiscation.”

In the wake of the Newtown massacre gun control activists backed by Mr Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden backed reforms that would have included increased background checks but not widespread bans and buybacks, which are generally considered too radical a move in the United States. - SMH

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mild Strombolian Activity Continues At The New Southeast Crater At Italy's Mount Etna Volcano!

June 11, 2014 - ITALY - Mild strombolian activity is still continuing at the new southeast crater.

Strombolian activity at Etna's NSEC seen from Catania

Seismic signal this morning at ECPN station ( by courtesy of INGV-OE Catania)

A short sequence of more energetic seismo-volcanic events occurred this morning most probably at Bocca Nuova crater.

It wasn't visible on webcams but only on the seismic signal. Tremor is currently low. - Volcano Discovery

DISASTER PRECURSORS: The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior And Warnings From Mother Nature - Mystery Disease Turns Oregon's Sea Stars To Goo; Marine Mammals Mysteriously Dying In Record Numbers Along The West Coast; Deep Water Alien Fish Hauled Out Of The Gulf By Houston Fisherman; Thousands Of Plaice And Eels Found Dead At The Mouth Of A River In Galicia, Spain; Thousands Of Fish Appear Dead In Rivers, Ponds And Lakes In Ha Nam, Vietnam; And Death Toll Mounts For Harbor Porpoises On San Juan Island Shores! [PHOTOS]

June 11, 2014 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Marine Mammals Mysteriously Dying In Record Numbers Along The West Coast

More sick and dying animals are washing up on the coast of California, with new reports indicating record numbers of young sea lions, seals, and other marine mammals being admitted to care shelters for rehabilitation. The Orange County Register reports that the only facility in the county licensed to care for marine mammals is now at capacity, and that other facilities all along the coastline are being similarly inundated.

The normally pudgy and active creatures are increasingly turning up emaciated and dehydrated, a mysterious phenomenon that the Sausalito-based Marine Mammal Center (MMC) has monitored across a 600-mile area of coastline that stretches from Mendocino to San Luis Obispo. After washing ashore, many of these sick marine mammals are too week to even get back in the water, let alone survive on their own.

"We thought it was going to be a nice calm year; in the last month it's just spiked," stated Melissa Sciacca, the director of development at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) in Laguna Beach. Hundreds of ailed sea lions turned up last year as well, but the early part of this year was mostly quiet, that is until recently. "The rescues just keep coming in at a steady pace."

Sharp uptick in injured sea animals following Fukushima
According to reports, this is only the third time ever that the PMMC has been at capacity with sick animals, the first time having occurred in 2009 and the second time last year. Like in years past, the animals being rescued today exhibit the same strange symptoms, almost as if something attacked or infected their bodies, preventing them from developing normally.

"Once we get them nourished, they do fine out there," added PMMC executive director Keith Matassa, as quoted by the OC Register. In his assessment, the sea lions' mothers may not be producing enough milk, or they themselves may be getting exposed to toxins or some other damaging factor. "It's all circling around food issues."

Dr. Shawn Johnson, director of the MMC's veterinary sciences department, seems to agree. He told that most of the sick marine mammals being admitted to the center appear to be starving to death, either from a dearth of available food or from an inability to capture and consume it. Either way, the animals are suffering and nobody seems to know why.

"The ones we are seeing are basically starving to death," he told "It's definitely a mystery. We're hoping it's not the new norm."

Sick, dying animals turning up all across Pacific Coast
Similar events are occurring elsewhere along the Pacific Coast, including in Alaska where dozens of sea lions, whales and other creatures recently turned up dead. Researchers there believe that radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster may be responsible, especially since many of the dead creatures are exhibiting signs of radiation poisoning, including unusual baldness and skin sores.

A 2011 symposium on Fukushima radiation and its effects on marine life essentially predicted these outcomes, having modeled how radiation accumulation on sea ice might harm sea lions, for instance. It explained how radiation exposure in these areas represents an ongoing immunotoxic threat to these innocent creatures, not to mention the damage it can inflict on the thyroid gland and skin.

"Marine transported Fukushima radionuclides... may represent a new stressor to the ecosystem," reads a poster for the meeting. - Natural News.

Deep Water Alien Fish Hauled Out Of The Gulf By Houston Fisherman
Meet Cullen Greer, the man who caught a 300-lb alien fish

A Houston fisherman's latest catch is going viral after after photos came out of a massive Warsaw Grouper he caught off the Louisiana coast.

Cullen Greer caught the huge 267-pound fish at the end of May and is looking to get into the state record books. His 6' 6" long giant would be the fifth largest ever caught in this species.

KETK report that Greer hopes the ugly grouper will also rank as the third largest caught on a hand crank.

The current record with the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association stands at 359.10 pounds caught in November 2008.

Warsaw groupers are the only grouper with 10 dorsal spines according to Texas A&M at Galveston. They live in deep waters in the Gulf and on rocky ledges or sea mounts. The Texas state record is listed with Texas Parks and Wildlife as a 302.7 pound fish caught in October 2006. - CHRON.

Thousands Of Plaice And Eels Found Dead At The Mouth Of A River In Galicia, Spain
Thousands of dead fry plaice and eel appear in Cee

Not one vivo. Throughout the course of the river channeled through the central Cee, from the La Marina to the mouth at sea impossible to see yesterday at noon one fish alive.

Thousands of copies, the vast majority of juvenile plaice (flounder) and eel, but also had a prisoner, pawn and adult mullet, still lay dead at the bottom of concrete late in the afternoon.

A notice of a particular 112, about 12.00, sounded the alarm and moved to the point the Local Police, Civil Protection, Civil Guard Corcubión, agents Seprona A Coruna, specialists District Environment and forestry technicians Augas of Galicia. Even inquired at the Regional Police happened, but late in the afternoon no one had yet found the possible cause.

The logic of these cases pointed to a possible release of a lethal chemical for these species yet to be developed, but in the river there was no trace of oil floating in the water any more odors than the usual flow where several pipelines sanitation.

The agents checked pipes, workshops that are in the vicinity of the runway and even the works of the Mercadona roundabout, where it also crosses the river, but any search was fruitless.

Not seen in the river remains lethal chemicals to fish

At this point two possibilities opened. Some argue that police could deal with a spill point, which lasted just minutes from there that could not be detected, but veteran fishermen in the area, ensuring that already happened more times, suggest that the fall of the tide could cause excess fresh water in the channel and the death of these intertidal species. In fact, this theory fits with who has almost single fry and adult specimens lograsen escape, while those that appear dead are broken in some cases several days, but nothing confirmed.

For technicians Augas is not significant given the low mortality involvement in adults, but in any case, sources Environment took samples from the river and built a record of what happened in case it is necessary to establish responsibilities .

The oddest thing about this case is that mújeles, which practically have taken over that stretch of the river, due to the large amount of waste received and feeding yesterday disappeared completely. There was not one to get to the sea itself, where hundreds swirled itself around the wastewater stream. For some agents can be a symptom of perceived something strange in the water and decided to flee, although the fishermen consider that this may be their regular tidal movements. - La Voz De Galicia. [Translated]

Thousands Of Fish Appear Dead In Rivers, Ponds And Lakes In Ha Nam, Vietnam
Dead fish too drips, people do not dare to carry out salvage boat.

Many today, Threshold river, as it passes through the territory of Japan Tuu commune (Kim Bang, Ha Nam) appearing in mass mortalities, smelly concentration anonymously make people's lives are seriously affected. According to some residents living near the riverside, said status of mass mortalities occurred on (5/6). "At first, not many dead fish, people still take the boat out with fish that bury into the tree, but after one night, the dead fish in dense areas, river floating white. Seeing so many dead fish, who also shivered so no one would dare river fished out again. " Ms Mai, the people said. Mr. Nguyen Van Son, near the pumping station, said Xue dead and moribund fish, averaging about 10 a day picked sacks ca. Dead fish in the river drift into the area near the pumping station and water accumulation in here can not smell the smell, not the house he lives that affected all people in the surrounding areas were severely affected important.

Tons of dead fish on the river Threshold anomaly.

Dead fish mainly tilapia.

Not only fish on Threshold river, fish in the ponds of people also die series.

According to Mr. Son, the number of dead fish in a few days here estimated to need tons. Present at the Threshold River region, according to the reporter's record, a 1km stretch of the river on a series of dead fish appear white river float river. Most areas of dead fish are near the pump station and bridges around Japan Achievement. The dead fish like tilapia, carp, crucian carp. Not just a river in nghue, area, in people's ponds, lakes and white dead fish floating. Unusual phenomenon of dead fish on the river Threshold area has yet to determine the cause. However, in the judgment of the people, may be due to contaminated river water is too heavy, the extra hot weather the past few days, causing many fish to die unbearable series. - Xaluan. [Translated]

Death Toll Mounts For Harbor Porpoises On San Juan Island Shores
A Stranding Network volunteer takes notes on a harbor porpoise. Stranding Network

An uptick in harbor porpoise strandings has local biologists scratching their heads, looking for clues and wary that mid-May's unusually high death toll may signal something other than the natural die-off of a population on the rise.

Although, that just might be the case.

"We've also heard there's been an increase in the number of strandings in the (British Columbia) area," said The Whale Museum's Jennifer Olsen, coordinator of the San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network. "But we're not sure of what the total is or exactly where they were found. We didn't have a single stranding a year ago in May."
A total of eight harbor porpoise carcasses were recovered from beaches on the westside of San Juan Island between May 19 and May 29. All are similar in length, 4-6 feet, suggesting they were adults, and a series of necropsies are slated to be conducted on three bodies that were not picked apart by scavengers, beginning June 5, Olsen said. The term "stranding" applies to dead animals and to live ones that for some reason are stranded on a beach or rocks and cannot get back into the water.

Although it stands as the second-highest stranding total in the month of May, since 2006, eight is not necessarily cause for alarm, not by itself (12 strandings were recorded in May 2012, the highest total for the month in the last eight years).

In fact, according to Dr. Joe Gaydos of the Orcas Island-based SeaDoc Society, spring is the time of year when harbor porpoise typically migrate en masse from the mouth of Juan de Fuca Strait into the heart of the Salish Sea and strandings are not uncommon at that time. Still, Gaydos, who will perform the early June necropsies, said the spate of strandings warrant examination to find out if an infectious disease or virus, such as pneumonia, may be responsible or contributed to the deaths.

"Right now we really don't know what's going on," he said.

Stranding Network

The smallest of marine mammals, the harbor porpoise generally stays close to coastal waters or river estuaries, tend to be solitary foragers and feed primarily on small schooling fish, such as herring, pollock, hake, as well as squid and other cephalopods. Adults typically measure 4-6 feet in length, average between 135-170 pounds (females tend to be heavier) and have an average lifespan of about 24 years.

The harbor porpoise shares the name but is an entirely different species than the somewhat larger and vastly heavier harbor seal, a pinniped, a far more abundant animal worldwide, and common as well in the Salish Sea.

However, the population of harbor porpoise appears to be on the rise in greater Puget Sound and the Salish Sea.

In fact, according to Gaydos, the cause of an exceptionally large number of harbor porpoise strandings and deaths in 2006 turned out to be largely the result of an increase in the overall population. Whether due to age, competition or limited food supply, death is ever-present in the natural world and casualties can tend to spike in step with an increase in population, he said.

"It wasn't that they were dying from a disease" he said. "The harbor porpoise population was just increasing."

To report a stranding, call the Marine Mammal Stranding Network Hotline, 1-800-562-8832. - San Juan Journal.

Mystery Disease Turns Oregon's Sea Stars To Goo
The leg of this purple ochre sea star in Oregon is disintegrating, as it dies from sea star wasting syndrome.
(Photo: Elizabeth Cerny-Chipman/Oregon State University)
A mysterious disease that is turning sea stars to goo has taken off along the Oregon coast, with up to half or more of the creatures being infected in just the last few weeks, scientists say.
Until now, Oregon was the one state along the U.S. West Coast essentially spared from the disease. In April, researchers estimated less than 1 percent or so of the purple ochre sea stars (Pisaster ochraceus) living within 10 sites along Oregon's intertidal zones — which provide an easily accessible place to monitor sea stars — were affected by the wasting disease. By mid-May that percentage had gone up slightly, and then after that it seemed to skyrocket.
"The percentages we saw last week, they were as high as 40 to 60 percent of the population that's showing signs of wasting," said Bruce Menge, a marine biologist at Oregon State University, who is studying the wasting disease in Oregon.

Turning sea stars to goo
Sea star wasting syndrome causes a sea star's body to disintegrate, ultimately leading to death.
The disease tends to progress from no outward signs to behavior changes in which the sea stars cross their arms and seem to collapse on themselves. Then white lesions appear on the surface of the sea star's body that turn into holes; those lesions are typically followed by the disintegration of skin around the lesion and the loss of a limb or several limbs, and in extreme cases the animal's entire body is affected by the syndrome. Some of the creatures physically tear their bodies apart in the process, scientists say.
"We've seen a number of cases where all that's left is a puddle of their skeletal parts and a bunch of bacteria eating away at the tissue," Menge told LiveScience. "It's a pretty gruesome thing to see."
The current outbreak of sea star wasting syndrome was first reported in June 2013 along the coast of Washington by researchers from Olympic National Park. Since that report, die-offs have been documented everywhere from California to Alaska and even along the East Coast from Maine through New Jersey.
"Wasting has been known for a long time, but usually it's very localized to a single site or single region," Menge said. When that's the case, as it was last August just north of Vancouver, British Columbia, the chances for recovery are high since the plankton, or floating forms, of the sea stars from healthy, nearby populations can recolonize those areas that were hit. 
"The thing that is worrisome now is that it's happening pretty much all along the West Coast, even up into Alaska," Menge said.
In this widespread outbreak, Oregon seemed to be a lucky outlier. "We were hoping that for some weird reason we were going to miss out on it. We were optimistic," Menge said. "It finally did hit, and we really have no idea what the pathogen is, what the mode of transmission is. "
Mystery disease
The cause of the wasting disease is unknown, though scientists working on the mystery are testing whether an underlying virus or bacteria is to blame, along with some environmental stress, such as water temperature or salt content, making the organisms more vulnerable to it.
"We are finding correlations between certain microorganisms and viruses present in the lesions," Gary Wessel, of Brown University in Rhode Island, told Live Science in an email. "We are now testing whether these organisms are causative (by infecting healthy animals and seeing if they replicate the wasting phenotype) or just associated."
Wessel added that his lab is also looking into the impacts of environmental stressors.
"In our challenge experiments to test infectivity, we are stressing the animals with salt conditions and temperature to determine if this environmental stress makes them more susceptible," Wessel said.
Since sea stars can act as keystone predators, meaning their predatory activities shape an ecosystem, their loss could have far-reaching impacts, the researchers say. By eating mussels on the low shores in Oregon, sea stars keep those populations in check so the bivalves don't explode in numbers, at the expense of other organisms. Menge said it's too early to say whether the sea stars' mussel-munching could be compensated by whelks in the area.
In addition to leaving a void in a finely tuned ecosystem, the loss of sea stars would also disrupt a seeming iconic shoreline organism.
"The aesthetics of the rocky shore are going to be quite a bit less," Menge said. "They are charismatic beasts." - MNN.

MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT: Militants Fire Rocket From Gaza Strip Into Israel - First Since Installment Of Palestinian Unity Government!

June 11, 2014 - ISRAEL - Militants fired a rocket from the Gaza Strip at Israel on Wednesday, a first since a Palestinian unity government headed by Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas was put in charge of Gaza — at least formally — after seven years of Hamas rule.

No one was hurt, but Israel has warned it would hold Abbas responsible for any attacks from Gaza after he established a technocrat government last week. The 17-member Cabinet is to administer both Gaza and parts of the West Bank. Hamas, which remains the de facto power in Gaza, backs the unity government but has no members in it.

Abbas' office condemned the rocket fire and urged Gaza militants to abide by previous cease-fire deals with Israel.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev dismissed the condemnation as "empty rhetoric," saying Abbas must instead disarm Gaza's militants.

Those militants, including members of Hamas, have fired thousands of rockets at Israel over the years, though Hamas mostly observed an informal truce in recent years. The West considers Hamas a terror group because of scores of deadly attacks on Israel, though Abbas has said the new Cabinet will follow his pragmatic program.

Israel's deputy defense minister, Danny Danon, called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to retaliate for Wednesday's rocket attack by withholding transfers of taxes Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinians.

An Israeli border policeman holds a Palestinian
protester by the neck during a demonstration. 
(AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
"This rocket fire is the direct result of the Hamas-supported government" Danon said.

The unity government was meant to end a crippling split between Abbas and Hamas, but the road to reconciliation has been bumpy, with many issues unresolved.

Salary payments for more than 40,000 government employees hired by Hamas during the past seven years are a key point of contention. Hamas wants them to be paid by the unity government, though donor countries would likely balk at the idea of seeing aid go for salaries for members of the Hamas security forces.

Hamas kept Gaza's banks closed for the past week in an attempt to pressure Abbas to find a solution, but allowed the banks to reopen Wednesday amid rising public anger against the group. Long lines formed at cash machines as people rushed to withdraw their salaries.

Tens of thousands of Abbas loyalists who worked for his Palestinian Authority in Gaza before the Hamas takeover have continued to receive salaries since 2007 on condition they not work for the Hamas administration.

Hamas officials said no solution to the problem has been found and suggested the opening of the banks is temporary.

Meanwhile, Palestinian protesters in the West Bank found a timely way to show support for dozens of Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli jails. A day before the start of the World Cup in Brazil, they dressed up in the jerseys of the Palestinian football team and kicked a ball around outside Ofer, an Israeli lockup in the West Bank.

A group of helmeted soldiers prevented them from advancing. Troops fired stun grenades and pushed some of the protesters who dribbled and kicked the ball over the heads of soldiers.

Some of the Palestinian prisoners began their hunger strike on April 24, with others joining later, and more than 70 have been hospitalized. The hunger strikes demand that Israel end the practice of administrative detention in which nearly 200 Palestinians are currently held without charges.

A Palestinian protester plays football during a demonstration in support for dozens of Palestinian hunger strikers in
Israeli jails, outside Ofer military prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, June 11, 2014.
(AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Also Wednesday, pathologists performed an autopsy on the exhumed body of a 17-year-old Palestinian who was killed May 15 during a lull in a confrontation between Israeli troops and Palestinian stone-throwers.

The Israeli rights group B'Tselem said at the time that security camera footage and witness testimony raised grave suspicions he was killed in a wilful shooting.

Nawara's body was exhumed early Wednesday and taken to a Palestinian forensics institute. The autopsy was conducted by the chief Palestinian pathologist, but was also attended by two Israeli pathologists and two from abroad, said Sarit Michaeli of B'Tselem. - Yahoo.