Saturday, June 14, 2014

THE THEATRE OF WAR: As Iraq Spirals Into Chaos - U.S. Pentagon Deploys Aircraft Carrier To Persian Gulf In Case Of Military Operation!

June 14, 2014 - PERSIAN GULF -  US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered that the USS aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush be moved to the Persian Gulf in case Washington decides to use military force in Iraq following the rise of attacks by an Al-Qaeda offshoot movement.

The aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) (Reuters/U.S. Navy/Lt. Juan David Guerra)

"The order will provide the Commander-in-Chief additional flexibility should military options be required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq," the Pentagon said in a statement on Saturday.

The carrier USS George H.W. Bush will be accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun, the Petagon added. The Bush is a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, the largest warships in the world, according to the US Navy. The ships are powered by two nuclear reactors and can carry a crew of about 6,000 people.

Iraq has seen a surge of violence in recent weeks as radical Sunni militants of an Al-Qaeda offshoot, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL), have been advancing and capturing cities in the north of Iraq. The militants have already captured the cities of Mosul and Tikrit, and earlier declared that their top objective was the capture of the capital Baghdad.

On Friday, President Barack Obama said the US may begin providing military assistance to the Iraqi government to battle the insurgents within days.

Obama noted that he discussed the crisis in Iraq with his National Security Council earlier in the day, and will soon reveal what action, if any, the US will take.

On Thursday, Obama said that if US interests become threatened, a response will be warranted.

“The basic principal obviously is that we, like all nations, are prepared to take military action whenever our national security is threatened,” he said.

A senior US official said earlier in the week that Iraq has privately indicated to the Obama administration that it would welcome airstrikes with either drones or manned aircraft that target Al-Qaeda offshoot militants, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to experts, the United States can take steps to decrease the violence and tensions in Iraq. However, they have to scale back Washington's aggressive support for Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's exclusive government.

"The United States has to change its tactics, as do other Western nations, in militarily supporting the Maliki government and deepening the war situation as opposed to trying to move all parties towards a process of national reconciliation," anti-war analyst Eugene Puryear of the ANSWER Coalition told RT.

Iraq saw one of its bloodiest days last Saturday, with a string of car bombings killing an estimated total of 60 people in Baghdad. A further 59 people were killed in the country’s north. Around 800 people were killed in sectarian violence in May alone. - RT

MONUMENTAL WAR ON MOTHER NATURE: "Out Of Control" - USDA's Wildlife Services Killed FOUR MILLION Animals In 2013?!

June 14, 2014 - UNITED STATES - For years, the massive toll of wild animals exterminated by the federal government as a service to everything from airports to ranches has bounced up and down like a yo-yo. Last year it was up again.

A coyote keeps pace with a car (not seen) as it runs down the road in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

The more than 4 million animals shot, poisoned, snared or trapped by the Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services in fiscal year 2013 included 75,326 coyotes, 866 bobcats, 528 river otters, 3,700 foxes, 12,186 prairie dogs, 973 red-tailed hawks, 419 black bears and at least three eagles, golden and bald.

Though there's a list of animals killed, there's little data showing the cause for each killing, the methods used and the reasons behind mistakes that lead to massive kills of animals that aren't targeted.

At least two members of Congress have called Wildlife Services secret and opaque for failing to provide more information, and there are mounting calls for an investigation into how it operates.

Wildlife Services says that it responds to requests by government agencies nationwide and works to "resolve human/wildlife conflicts" in a strategic way. "As wildlife damage increases, requests for assistance also increase," said spokeswoman Carol Bannerman. Ranchers and farmers pay half the agency's costs of killing animals that they view as a threat.

But the agency provided no explanation for why the kill total can be 1.5 million in one year and 5 million the next.

Starling. Killed/Euthanized: 1,485,449
Freed/Released/Relocated: 285
Dispersed: 5,914,756

Brown- headed cowbird. Killed/Euthanized: 850,505
Freed/Released/Relocated: 0
Dispersed: 211,332
Gray Kramer /USFWS

Near the turn of the century, it hit a staggering 4 million. Two years later, in 2001, it fell to about 1.5 million and stayed relatively low for six years. But in 2008, the number of kills rocketed to 5 million before trending downward to 3 million over the next four years.

Now it's back up, well past 4 million in the most recent count, and critics are pressing for a better explanation for why.

Wildlife Services' primary purpose is to eradicate invasive creatures introduced from other parts of the world. They include greedy feral hogs, giant swamp rats called nutria, big aggressive Argentine lizards called tegus and swarms of hungry starlings that destroy the habitats of animals native to the United States.

But the agency also kills native animals en masse, sometimes based solely on a homeowner's or farmer's perception of a threat.

Birds that invade airports and swipe cattle feed at farms contribute to the high totals. Non-native European starlings, sparrows, pigeons and such accounted for 87 percent of animals killed. Birds in general are singled out as a nuisance.

The rise in the number of exterminated animals came despite growing scrutiny and protest.

Last December, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition demanding that the agency explain the exact reasons why it makes each kill of a native animal, for whose benefit and the methods used. The petition called Wildlife Services "a rogue agency" that was "out of control."

USDA, Center for Biodiversity.

At the time, a Wildlife Services spokeswoman, Lyndsay Cole, responded that it kills birds at 800 airports nationwide so they won't gum up the works of airplanes. Cole said the department kills some animals that are a threat to endangered animals. Other animals, such as raccoons, are eliminated as part of the National Rabies Management Program.

Cole said the agency is guided by a science-based decision-making model. For example, wolves are killed to "lessen the negative impacts of expanding wolf populations," even though those populations are still recovering from earlier government programs that aimed to exterminate them.

Red- winged blackbird. Killed/Euthanized: 306,203
Freed/Released/Relocated: 0
Dispersed: 2,587,755
Toby Talbot /AP

Pigeons. Killed/Euthanized: 91,181
Freed/Released/Relocated: 54
Dispersed: 117,543

Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) has railed against the secret methods of Wildlife Services, at one time calling it "one of the most opaque and obstinate departments I've dealt with." DeFazio has asked to know what goes into poisons used by the agency that are a danger to people and harmless animals but hasn't gotten an answer. "We're really not sure what they're doing."

Wildlife Services has been around under different government names for more than a century. It essentially cleared away wildlife for America's westward expansion.

In a 2012 report, Wildlife Services relied on a National Agricultural Statistics Service survey to show that wildlife caused $944 million in agricultural damage in 2001.

Atwood dismissed the "science-based model" Cole mentioned as a document that "basically says they can use whatever methods at their disposal whenever they want."

Her organization's petition called on the USDA and the Obama administration to develop a policy based on ecological science, showing how removing animals from the wild affects the natural balance of the habitats.

In the Northeast, for example, the elimination of red wolves led to a proliferation of coyotes, which the wolves rarely tolerate in their range. Coyotes push away foxes, which prey on deer mice, which spread ticks.

The execution of wolves and other predators, such as bears, allows deer to proliferate across the country, destroying trees that serve as habitat for other animals.

Atwood described Wildlife Services' work as "a staggering killing campaign, bankrolled by taxpayers" and happening "beyond the view of most Americans."  - Washington Post

DISASTER PRECURSORS: The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior And Warnings From Mother Nature - Huge Humpback Whale Washes Up Dead Near Pajaro Dunes, California; Thousands Of Dead Fish Wash Up On Samos Beach In Karlovasi, Greece; Dead Humpback Whale Found On Buffalo Beach, Western Australia; 17 Dead Sea Birds Found Along Beaches In Iquique, Chile; Thousands Of Dead Crabs Found On Phuket Shore, Thailand; Over 90 TONS Of Fish Die During A Storm In Kampong Thom, Cambodia; Massive Die-Off Of Fish Suddenly Hits Ponds In West Godavari, India; Mass Die-Off Of Fish Along 20km Of River In Pizhou, China; And Thousands Of Dead Fish Found Floating Around The Coast Of Sabang, Indonesia! [PHOTOS]

June 14, 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.

Humpback Whale Washes Up Dead Near Pajaro Dunes, California
Beach-goers examine a dead humpback whale near Pajaro Dunes on Friday. (Tom Farmer -- Contributed)

Researchers try to determine cause of death

An adult humpback whale was found dead on the beach near Pajaro Dunes Thursday night, and researchers are trying to determine its cause of death.

The roughly 45-foot whale was spotted after dark near the waterline at Palm Beach, said Teri Sigler, the marine mammal stranding coordinator at Long Marine Laboratory in Santa Cruz.

"It's a rare strander," Sigler said Friday.

She said the whale appeared "moderately decomposed" and had an odor. It was not immediately clear how it died, and a necropsy was expected to be performed on the beach Friday.

A man stands near a dead humpback whale on Friday near Pajaro Dunes. (Tom Farmer -- Contributed)

Results could take a day or longer, in part because the tide has been washing the animal south and making it difficult for researchers to get to it. Friday afternoon, the whale drifted to the beach in front of the Pajaro Rivermouth, authorities said.

After the necropsy, a team could bury it or tow it out to sea, Sigler said.

Humpback whales typically feed in Monterey Bay this time of year, she said.

The whale did not appear to have shark bites and it's not known if sharks followed it to the waterline in hopes of feeding on it, she said.

Authorities said another whale that was not a humpback was found this week near Marina, south of Palm Beach. Other researchers are handling that whale and a necropsy has not yet been done - but it does not appear that the deaths are related, Sigler said.

"It's still early and we don't have a lot of information yet," she said.

Bill Wolcott, supervising ranger at Sunset State Beach, advised people to stay away from the humpback whale. The beach is snowy plover habitat that is sensitive to human contact, and the nearest parking lot is more than 1 mile from it.

"We're discouraging people from going out there," said Wolcott.

Tom Farmer, a 53-year-old from Watsonville, was walking on Palm Beach on his lunch break Friday.

A male humpback whale was found stranded near Pajaro Dunes on Thursday night. (Tom Farmer -- Contributed)

Farmer said he spotted the whale as a "speck" in the distance. He kept walking and saw that the humpback lying lifeless. It was larger than a car but smaller than a bus, he said.

He snapped pictures with his cellphone and marveled.

"I always like going down there (to the beach)," said Farmer, who lives in San Martin. "You never know what you're going to see."

Researchers advised people to stay away from the whale for scientific purposes. The beach remains open.

Stranded whales, dolphins, porpoises and sea turtles can be reported to Long Marine Laboratory by calling 831-212-1272. - Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Thousands Of Dead Fish Wash Up On Samos Beach In Karlovasi, Greece

Thousands of dead fish that washed up on the beach at Karlovasi on the northern Aegean island of Samos last Friday were still there on Monday, despite the smell.

An investigation launched by the Greek coast guard was under way in order to determine whether the fish had been poisoned or killed as a result of illegal fishing practices.

However, local fishermen claimed that the fish were too small to be caught in their nets. - Ekathimerini.

Dead Humpback Whale Found On Buffalo Beach, Western Australia
The dead whale was spotted on Buffalo Beach on Saturday. Picture by Kirk Davies.

A humpback whale carcass has been sitting on Buffalo Beach near Australind since Saturday and the department of parks and wildlife is still weighing up options of how to deal with its removal.

A department spokeswoman urged the public to steer clear of the 10-metre long carcass because it posed health and safety issues.

"It's a dead whale so it's not very pleasant to be around - in saying that, it's in a very remote location which can only be accessed by four-wheel-drive so there's not too much chance of people going up to it," the spokeswoman said.

She said the whale had several bite marks on it and at least one shark has been spotted in the area recently.

Removal of the carcass will prove difficult as it is sitting in the shallows at the beach and the department is taking a "wait and see" approach to its removal.

The public can report any shark sightings to Water Police on 9442 8600. - The Advocate.

17 Dead Sea Birds Found Along Beaches In Iquique, Chile
Photo Kaitieki Twitter @ SCKaitieki

The week just passed, the death of Koi had generated a number of challenges to those responsible in Iquique. Now, in the Playa Brava, were found dead birds of 17 species Guanay Cormorant.

Guanay Cormorant is a seabird that inhabits the coasts of Peru and our country, belongs to the family of the famous "Ducks Yecos" that abound in Iquique. Representatives Kaitieki Conservation Society came to the site after receiving alert people who saw dead birds in the sand.

After verifying the deaths of about 16 cormorants on Playa Brava, Kaitieki reported facts through its platforms on social media, "We went to the place and soon we go was not difficult to find one which was effectively dead, but showed no injury. Touring the place we started meeting with a total of 16 dead birds in different states, and some whole other half eaten by dogs. "

"Near the end of the tour we found a live one obviously weak and sick, and unfortunately despite all the care that was provided died overnight," said Conservation Society Kaitieki.

They filed a complaint at the SAG this morning, presenting even a dead bird, to request the autopsy and figure out what could attract the death of cormorants. Made an important addition to the community called, "If you see any live by the beach or dead please do not take it, could transmit a disease." - El Boyaldia.[Translated]

Thousands Of Dead Crabs Found On Phuket Shore, Thailand
Thousands of dead crabs wash ashore in Phuket on World Oceans Day

Tens of thousands of dead sea crabs were spotted this morning on the shore of Pa Lai Beach in Phuket's Chalong sub-district.

Today happens to be World Oceans Day, a day first designated in 2002 to honour the world's oceans and celebrate the products the ocean provides. More information here.

To this point there have been no official statements or tests conducted to clarify the cause of the crabs' mass exodus.

Thousands of dead crabs wash ashore in Phuket on World Oceans Day

In related news, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) this week began the construction of an underwater ice wall to staunch massive amounts of contaminated groundwater that have been flowing into the sea from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex. Read more here.

Whether there is a link with the dead crabs found in Phuket this morning has yet to be confirmed or dismissed. - The Phuket News.

Over 90 TONS Of Fish Die During A Storm In Kampong Thom, Cambodia
More than 90 tons of fish died after gale-force winds hit the Tonle Chhmar Fish Conservation Center in Kompong Thom province Wednesday, according to local officials.

The gale started around 2:30 p.m. and lasted for approximately half an hour, said Korn Chanseiha, the Ministry of Agriculture administrator for Stong district.

“Yesterday we had a gale storm and a huge amount of fish died,” Mr. Chanseiha said.

He said the fish are believed to have died after water was blown out of the lake as huge gusts of wind enveloped the conservation center.

A local official said that while fish have been killed in similar circumstances before, this is the most extreme example he has ever witnessed.

“The most amount of fish I have witnessed killed was 40 tons, this is over 90,” said Khun Bunh, district military police commander.

Local villagers Wednesday attempted to collect the dead fish at the conservation center for selling and eating, Mr. Bunh said. Fishing is usually forbidden at the conservation center. - Cambodia Daily.

Massive Die-Off Of Fish Suddenly Hits Ponds In West Godavari, India
Tonnes of fish lying dead in a villages under Undi mandal in West Godavari District.
The Hindu

Hundreds of fish have fallen prey to intense heat wave and sudden fluctuation in temperature in West Godavari district. Heaps of dead fish dumped on wayside and bunds of ponds are greeting visitors to aqua-rich villages in the district. The fish markets at Akiveedu and Eluru city, flooded with huge quantities of dead fish, bear tell-tale signs of the calamity which has struck the growers across the district in the last two days.

The fish, ready for harvesting, died for want of dissolved oxygen in the ponds overnight. The vast expanses of the ponds were dotted with the lifeless fish floating on the surfaces. Although there was no official data available yet on the extent of loss in aquaculture, rough estimates revealed that around 5,000 tonnes of dead fish arrived to the Akiveedu market alone from West Godavari and Krishna districts in a single day on Tuesday.

The price fell from Rs. 30 per kg previous day to Rs 5 and even Re. 1. Some farmers abandoned the produce on the road side and returned home crestfallen for want of takers. Fisheries Development Officer Lakshmana Kumar told The Hindu that he observed 16 tonnes of fish dead in four villages under Undi and Kalla mandals alone during a visit.

Apart from drop in the day temperatures, high density of stocking, low water level in the ponds and late harvesting were the causes for the calamity, he said. The farmers delayed harvesting till June hoping for better prices as against the normal schedule from January to March. A kg of fish fetched them Rs 90 during the January-March period, but fell to 30 by June first week, dashing their hopes. Ramachandra Raju, Delta Fish Farmers Association, put the loss to around Rs. 300 crore caused by the calamity.

Dhatla Rama Raju from Rajulapet in Akiveedu mandal said he had buried four tonnes of fish killed in his ponds in the nearby fields. He invested Rs 75,000-80,000 on fish farming per acre and suffered a loss of Rs. 3 lakh. Venkannababu, another farmer from Akiveedu, said he had spent Re 1 on each seedling which he purchased from hatcheries and he failed to recover even that in the market. - The Hindu.

Mass Die-Off Of Fish Along 20km Of River In Pizhou, China
Full of dead fish floating in the river shining white.
90 cage fish breeding in the room pavilion river of death, half time ten thousand kilos of fish all died. According to farmers introduced, 20 kilometers room pavilion River pizhou eight-defined set of great promise soil Town and Copper Mountain Town Village Reach Reach dozen farmers damaged. Pizhou fishery department, said the water quality will be detected and registered accounting of dead fish farmers. House Pavilion river was not high, the water has tens of meters wide, lined with river fish cages. The river looked around, almost all cages, cages of dead fish floating in shining white, big ten kilos, there are a couple of pounds smaller. These have all been rotting dead fish, an unpleasant odor. Close to the river, the river is almost full stench people can not breathe.

This year 50-year-old picked up a farmers Guo Yunjun weighs 5 kilos of carp, the fish had rotted, cut off a few.  Guo Yunjun said June 1 in the morning, when the pouring rain, he did not go out, there is a neighbor told him that the room pavilion river has been polluted. 郭允军 did not eat the meal went to the river, he smelled an odor, also found that the flow from upstream to an Blackwater, muddy water, then the fish appeared strange, turn on the water, and even jumped out of the cage to begin large number of deaths. Dead fish floating in the water, and dead fish floating up more and more.  Guo Yunjun say no to noon, he was 90 cages in ten thousand kilograms of fish all died. The other villagers raised river fish could not survive.  Guo Yunjun introduced fish within eight TOWN, wangzhuang, Dadun reach the villages of farmers are all dead. In addition, the town 20 kilometers nianzhuang pizhou territory, town and big promises town soil copper mountain territory, room pavilion river reaches, hundreds of kilograms of dead fish.

Fish farmers: dead fish every year from the year before

Starting 10 years ago, Guo Yunjun start running fry, installed 90 cages. Eve of Spring Festival this year, he put in more than 10,000 yuan worth of fish, fish'll be able to grow into the market, thought there would be a good harvest this year, I did not expect all the fish died. 郭允军 said that from the year before, for three consecutive years are dead.  郭允军 said dead fish floating cages where only a small part of most of the dead fish submerged in water, after the stink to float to. Villagers saw so many dead on both sides, have come to salvage. These dead fish have bighead, silver carp, carp, grass carp and other big ten kilos, one such fish can sell tens of dollars.  Several villagers said the site over the past three years, housing pavilion in mid-river to drip water from upstream, mid-dead fish. According to their understanding, the sewage is discharged from upstream, and last year they had to go JIAWANG environmental protection department approached, but so far no results.

Relevant departments will help farmers rights

For a large number of dead fish farmers, Zhou Yi, deputy mayor Pizhou eight town is also very sad. She explained that the previous room pavilion really crystal clear river, upstream companies continue to pollute later became like this now. For three consecutive years, the fish farmers continue to death inside, they also went to the scene to see, and to help farmers rights.  Pizhou City Environmental Protection Bureau, said after receiving the reflected, for room pavilion river pollution caused fish deaths, they will be involved in the investigation, tracing upstream polluters, severely punished. As to the issue of compensation of dead fish, the fishery sector may reflect resolved.  Relevant personnel Pizhou fishery station, said farmers for town justice set eight dead fish and other water pollution incident reflects that they have received a reflection of fishery officers to the scene to take a water sample, then commissioned the relevant departments to identify and the number of dead fish farmers registered accounting. They will investigate the reasons for the death of fish evidence, look sewage companies, sewage companies to coordinate related claims. If coordination is not, they will provide evidence of farmers, farmers hope through legal channels. - Shuichan. [Translated]

Thousands Of Dead Fish Found Floating Around The Coast Of Sabang, Indonesia
Thousands of reef fish in the last two weeks was found dead floating in the sea Sabang. Not yet known causes of death of these fish, but most people call it the fish died due to poisoning. The floating dead fish float up to parairan reported Pulo Aceh.  Commander laot Lhok Meulee Ie, District Suka Jaya, Sabang, Saiful to the Porch, Monday (9/6), said fishermen in the region of Upper Town, West Town, Ie Meulee, Edge Kareung, and that all incoming ITAM Anoi eastern region, in the period the last three weeks time often find fish floating on the shoreline and at sea.  It turns out that the case was not only found in the eastern region, but in almost all waters of Pulau Weh, as justified Commander laot Sabang town, M Ali.  According to M Ali, who was found dead fish events since May 24, 2014 that spread to the waters of the western region, namely Beurawang, Jaboi, Iboih, Keunekai, Paya Keunekai, and Balohan. "This is the first case occurred in Sabang waters," said M Ali.  According to information, the condition of rotting fish with skin peeling. Not even a little bit ahead of the flounder was found dead, so many fishermen bring home for sale.  Ie laot Commander Meulee mention, the floating dead fish are reef fish that settled in the shallow reef.

Types of reef fish that died were, among others, grouper, Jabung / lubing, spinach, chilli and fish. Not only reef fish, but at the same time the fishermen also found some dead turtles on the beach.  Saiful do not yet know the cause of death of the reef fish. It also can not say dangerous or not eating dead fish. This condition is very disturbing fishermen. Even some residents have started to reluctantly eat fish that are sold by the fishermen, especially people who live in coastal areas Sabang city.  "There are people who call the fish died due to poisoning, but we can not conclude that the fish was poisoned. Kapastiannya wait for the results of DKP, "said Commander laot Lhok Meulee Ie.  Saiful very much hope to the Department of Marine and Fisheries (DKP) to immediately find out the cause of the fish deaths. Therefore, if left unchecked, dead reef fish will continue to grow and have an impact on reef fish populations, including coral reefs which are already visible white.  "Samples of dead fish have been submitted to the DKP on June 5 in accordance with the collective agreement with the fishermen. However, until now there has been no answers on the cause of death of fish, as well as whether the dead fish may be consumed, "said Commander laot Lhok Meulee Ie.  Another report received Porch said dead fish in the waters of Pulau Weh drift down to the waters of Pulo Aceh, District of Pulo Aceh, Aceh Besar. Society and the traditional institutions of Pulo Aceh laot find a lot of dead fish floating in the water and is believed to drift from Sabang waters. - Atjeh Post. [Translated]

MONUMENTAL WAR ON MOTHER NATURE: Despite Global Pressure, Japan Continues Its Grotesquely Savage Hunting Practices - Kills 30 MINKE WHALES In "Research" Campaign Following International Court Ban?!

June 14, 2014 - JAPAN - Japan has caught and killed 30 minke whales in the country’s annual northwest Pacific “research” whaling campaign, officials said on Friday. The trip is the first since an international court banned such activities earlier this year.

Workers butcher a Baird's Beaked whale at Wada port in Minamiboso, southeast of Tokyo (Reuters/Toru Hanai)

The minke whales were caught off Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture as part of the country's annual northwestern Pacific hunt – which takes place form April to June – according to Japan's Fisheries Agency. A second group of whalers is still at work.

In March, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found that Japan’s Southern Ocean efforts in the Antarctic whale hunt were illegal under international law. It was ruled that no further permits should be issued under Japan’s scientific whaling program, saying that the campaign produced little actual research. The ruling also urged Japan to re-examine the program.

Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in April that it would submit a new plan for Antarctic whaling to the International Whaling Commission in 2015 for the purpose of resuming whaling in the region.

Japan has been conducting whaling research in three areas – the Antarctic Ocean, off the coast of the northwestern Pacific Ocean, and along the coast of the northwestern Pacific. The latter two are not as widely known as the Antarctic hunt and were not specifically mentioned in the court ruling.

Wholesaler (L) examines whale meat with a customer at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo (Reuters/Kiyoshi Ota)

Japanese whaling is a centuries old tradition which dates back to the 12th century. The Japanese whaling fleet departs twice a year. During the North Pacific campaign, whalers can kill up to 200 minke whales, 50 Brydes, 100 sei whales, and 10 sperm whales, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Japan has hunted whales under a loophole in a 1986 global moratorium that allowed it to conduct lethal research on the mammals. Meat from the whales usually ends up in food markets.

Tokyo said it intends to prove that the whale population is large enough to sustain commercial hunting. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated on Monday that the country aims to restart commercial whaling.

"I want to aim for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research in order to obtain scientific data indispensable for the management of whale resources," he said at a parliamentary commission meeting. "To that end, I will step up efforts further to get understanding from the international community."

Australia, Melbourne : A protester sits on a Japanese flag covered in fake blood as members of Animal Liberation
Victoria protest outside Japan's consulate over Japan's hunting of nearly 1,000 whales in the Southern Ocean, in
Melbourne 03 January 2008. (AFP Photo)

Sixty percent of Japan's residents said that research whaling should continue – despite an international court order to halt the hunt, and the fact that few Japanese regularly eat whale meat, according to an Asahi Shimbun newspaper survey conducted in April. Another survey by the newspaper in March 2002 showed that four percent said they were occasional consumers of whale meat, while nine percent said they have eaten it on rare occasions.

Environmental organizations have been staging various protests against whaling, which is also popular in Norway and Iceland. - RT.

EXTREME WEATHER: More Signs Of Magnetic Polar Migration - Lightning Strikes Leave Hundreds Of Homes In Oxfordshire And Berkshire Without Power In The United Kingdom!

June 14, 2014 - UNITED KINGDOM - Hundreds of homes have been left without power in Berkshire and Oxfordshire following a bout of torrential rain, thunder and lightning.

Three buildings in Oxfordshire were set on fire after being hit by lightning.

Transport was also disrupted for trains between Didcot Parkway and Reading when storms hit both counties in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Scottish and Southern Energy told the BBC lightning strikes to overhead cables had knocked out power supplies to 400 homes in Reading and 144 in Oxford.

Earlier today a lightning strike caused delays for hundreds of passengers at Gatwick Airport after causing electrical trips to the airport's systems.

Fire crews spent three hours extinguishing two roof fires caused by lightning strikes in Wokingham, while a property in Reading was also hit. A number of drivers had to be rescued after breaking down during floods.

Three buildings in Oxfordshire were set on fire after being hit by lightning strikes. There have been no reported injuries.

Engineers said they expected to restore power to all of the affected properties by the end of today. - Independent.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Civil War In Ukraine Spirals Into Chaos As 49 Ukrainian Troops Are Killed As Transport Plane Goes Down In Lugansk! [PHOTOS+VIDEOS]

June 14, 2014 - UKRAINE - Forty-nine Ukrainian troops were killed when their military Il-76 transport jet was taken down by local militia forces just before it started its descent toward Lugansk Airport. Some military hardware and supplies were lost as well.

Self-defense forces search for ammunition at the site of the crash of the Il-76 Ukrainian army
transport plane in Luhansk, June 14, 2014.(Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov)

The death toll was confirmed by the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s office on Saturday morning in a statement, which said nine crew members and 40 troops were killed.

Earlier the Defense Ministry said the troops were being transported to the Lugansk Airport for rotation along with military equipment and supplies.

Lugansk self-defense forces confirmed that they were behind the downing of the transport aircraft.

“It was hit with a rocket. We believe there were military troops on board,”
a spokesman for the militia HQ told RIA Novosti.

Self-defense forces gather ammunition at the site of the crash of the Il-76 Ukrainian army
transport plane in Luhansk, June 14, 2014. (Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov)

Self-defense forces search for ammunition at the site of the crash of the Il-76 Ukrainian army
transport plane in Luhansk, June 14, 2014. (Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov)

A Ukrainian military Il-76 jet (RIA Novosti / Natalia Seliverstova)

The Il-76 is a heavy military transport aircraft that usually has a crew of seven and can transport up to 167 soldiers with weapons.

The downing of the plane overnight Friday was apparently the biggest single loss of Kiev loyalist forces, which has been waging a military crackdown on defiant eastern provinces for three months.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared Sunday, June 15, a day of mourning for servicemen and border guards who died during the military operation. Poroshenko expressed condolences to the families of those who were killed on June 14 in the transport jet crash, saying that "Ukraine is mourning, but it will determinately continue its fight for peace."

"All those involved in the cynical act of terrorism of such scale will be definitely punished. Ukraine needs peace. But terrorists will get a proportionate response," said Poroshenko.

The president also ordered the meeting of the National security and defense council to be convened.

Meanwhile in Donetsk region, shooting resumed in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk late on Friday as the Ukrainian military continued its crackdown on self-defense forces in the country's east, a self-defense representative said.

 WATCH: Ukraine military Il-76 plane downed by self-defense forces in Lugansk.


 WATCH: Moment Ukraine Il-76 military transport jet shot down in Lugansk.


 WATCH: Scenes of the destroyed plane.

Kiev’s military operation in eastern Ukraine has been intensifying. On Thursday, the Ukrainian military reportedly dropped phosphorous bombs on the town of Slavyansk.

Much of the village of Semyonovka, located in the Slavyansk suburbs, was set ablaze. Local residents told RT that the ground didn't stop burning for some time.

The use of incendiary bombs – designed to start fires using materials such as napalm, white phosphorus or other dangerous chemicals – is strictly prohibited by the UN.

Moscow demanded an immediate investigation into the reported use of incendiary bombs in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday. - RT.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: The Celestial Flower - Flower Said To Bloom Once In 3,000 Years, Spotted Across The Globe!

June 14, 2014 - MOTHER NATURE - The udumbara flower is said in Buddhist legend to bloom only once every 3,000 years, the last time being before the birth of Buddha. Spotted again across the world in the past 20 years or so, some say the udumbara could herald the coming of a great sage or enlightened being.

Udumbara flower. (Edward Dai/Epoch Times)

This very tiny, fragrant flower rests atop a thin stem and is surprisingly resilient. People who’ve found the udumbara in recent years have reported keeping it for long periods of time without it decaying or withering, and even watching it spring back after being crushed.

It was first sighted on a Buddha statue in a South Korean temple in 1997. In 2010, Chinese state-run media surprisingly reported on sightings of the flower, calling it celestial. This is surprising, because the regime is officially atheist and would not usually suggest a great spiritual ruler could arrive on Earth. All articles on state-run media were removed shortly after they were published, but not before they spread across Chinese Internet networks.

Udumbara flowers on a pine needle photographed under a microscope by Mr. Li of Malacca, Malaysia.

Green lacewing eggs under a microscope. (Mr. Li)

The alleged udumbara flowers have been seen blossoming on Buddha statues. (Epoch Times)

The regime has since stated that the udumbara is an insect egg, the egg of a green lacewing. Though the lacewing eggs and the udumbara are similar in appearance, the eggs have been seen to wither and die shortly after hatching whereas the flowers are fragrant and long-lasting.

Udumbara is a word from the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit, meaning “an auspicious flower from heaven.”

According to Buddhist legend, its appearance heralds the arrival of the Holy King Who Turns the Wheel, rectifying the Dharma in the world. This King is said to accept anyone of any religious affiliation, offering salvation to all through compassion.

WATCH:  Rare udumbara flowers blossom in Korea.

Volume 8 of the Buddhist scripture “Huilin Phonetics and Interpretation” states: “The udumbara flower is the product of propitious and supernatural phenomena; it is a celestial flower and does not exist in the mundane world. If a Tathagata or the King of the Golden Wheel appears in the human world, this flower will appear due to his great virtue and blessings.” - The Epoch Times.

POLICE STATE: Precursors To Martial Law In The United States - Pentagon Spending Millions To Prepare For Mass Civil Unrest!

June 14, 2014 - UNITED STATES - The Pentagon is pumping millions of dollars annually into programs that set out to explore the factors responsible for creating civil unrest around the world, The Guardian reported this week.

AFP Photo / Adem Altan

An article by journalist Nafeez Ahmed published by the paper on Thursday this week acknowledges that the little-known United States Department of Defense program — the Minerva Research Initiative — has since 2008 partnered with universities “to improve DoD's basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US.”

According to the program’s website, it has recently awarded millions of dollars to be divvied up among 12 proposals from colleges that have launched projects relevant to the Pentagon’s interest, including a Cornell University study called “Tracking Critical-Mass Outbreaks in Social Contagions” as well as others involving state stability, social disequilibrium and, in one instance, “Understanding American Muslims Converts in the Contexts of Security and Society.” The funding all comes entirely from the Dept. of Defense.

“Understanding the Origin, Characteristics and Implications of Mass Political Movements,” a study out of the University of Washington, was among those selected as well. In Lowell, Massachusetts, researchers there will use $2 million from the Pentagon to study terrorist behavior.

“This research is intended to identify precisely how children get involved and how to interrupt and stop the process,” UMass Lowell Professor Mia Bloom told the Lowell Sun of her Initiative-accepted project. “The research will contrast children in terrorist groups with child soldiers and children in gangs to better understand how they are alike and how they differ."

Jonathan Moyer of the Pardee Center for International Futures in the School of International Studies at the University of Denver told a campus publication at that school last month that a project he is involved with — one that will also now receive Pentagon funding — will “hopefully help us understand instability in middle-income countries, not just the low-income countries.”

“Trying to pull out the Tunisias and the Libyas and the Ukraines,” he told the Pardee Center, “and why they might be unstable."

“The total funds awarded for this set of projects is expected to be around six million dollars in the first year and $17 million over three years,” the Minerva Initiative acknowledged on its website.

Writing for The Guardian, Ahmed investigated these programs further and determined that many are directly involved in mass protests and other acts of civil unrest witnessed by the world in recent years. The Cornell project, for example, will determine "the critical mass (tipping point)" of social contagians by studying their "digital traces" in the cases of "the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey,” Ahmed wrote. To accomplish as much, researchers say they will examine social media conversations such as Twitter posts "to identify individuals mobilized in a social contagion and when they become mobilized."

Another project, Ahmed added, is managed by the US Army Research Office and focuses in "large-scale movements involving more than 1,000 participants in enduring activity” across 58 countries around the globe.

The Pentagon’s overseeing of academic projects like these have raised eyebrows before, and even earned the ire of the American Anthropological Society due to its concerns with where the funding comes from.

"The Department of Defense takes seriously its role in the security of the United States, its citizens, and US allies and partners,” Dr Erin Fitzgerald, the Minerva Initiative’s director, told The Guardian. “While every security challenge does not cause conflict, and every conflict does not involve the US military, Minerva helps fund basic social science research that helps increase the Department of Defense's understanding of what causes instability and insecurity around the world. By better understanding these conflicts and their causes beforehand, the Department of Defense can better prepare for the dynamic future security environment." - RT.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong Magnitude 6.4 Earthquake Strikes South Indian Ocean - Shallow Tremor Prompted Tsunami Warning For The Cocos Islands! [MAPS+TECTONIC SUMMARY]

June 14, 2014 - INDIAN OCEAN -  A shallow 6.4-magnitude earthquake hits the southern Indian Ocean on Saturday, US seismologists said, prompting Australia to issue a tsunami warning.

USGS earthquake location map.

The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at a depth of seven kilometres (4.4 miles) at 1110 GMT, almost 700 miles northwest of Australia's Cocos Islands, also known as the Keeling Islands.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, but the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre (JATWC) issued an alert and advised people not to swim in the sea, and to move away from beaches, harbours, marinas and coastal estuaries. Evacuations from the area were unnecessary, it said.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

The JATWC put the quake at a magnitude of 6.6.

The Cocos Islands are located 2750 kilometres northwest of Perth in Western Australia. - Times of India

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Sumatra Region.
The plate boundary southwest of Sumatra is part of a long tectonic collision zone that extends over 8000 km from Papua in the east to the Himalayan front in the west. The Sumatra-Andaman portion of the collision zone forms a subduction zone megathrust plate boundary, the Sunda-Java trench, which accommodates convergence between the Indo-Australia and Sunda plates. This convergence is responsible for the intense seismicity and volcanism in Sumatra. The Sumatra Fault, a major transform structure that bisects Sumatra, accommodates the northwest-increasing lateral component of relative plate motion.

Relative plate motion between the Indo-Australia and Sunda plates is rapid, decreasing from roughly 63 mm/year near the southern tip of Sumatra (Australia relative to Sunda) to 44 mm/year north of Andaman Islands (India relative to Sunda) and rotating counterclockwise to the northwest, so that relative motion near Jakarta is nearly trench-normal but becomes nearly trench-parallel near Myanmar. As a result of the rotation in relative motion along the strike of the arc and the interaction of multiple tectonic plates, several interrelated tectonic elements compose the Sumatra-Andaman plate boundary. Most strain accumulation and release occurs along the Sunda megathrust of the main subduction zone, where lithosphere of the subducting Indo-Australia plate is in contact with the overlying Sunda plate down to a depth of 60 km. Strain release associated with deformation within the subducting slab is evidenced by deeper earthquakes that extend to depths of less than 300 km on Sumatra and 150 km or less along the Andaman Islands. The increasingly oblique convergence between these two plates moving northwest along the arc is accommodated by crustal seismicity along a series of transform and normal faults. East of the Andaman Islands, back- arc spreading in the Andaman Sea produces a zone of distributed normal and strike-slip faulting. Similar to the Sumatran Fault, the Sagaing Fault near Myanmar also accommodates the strike-slip component of oblique plate motion. Plate-boundary related deformation is also not restricted to the subduction zone and overriding plate: the subducting Indo-Australian plate actually comprises two somewhat independent plates (India and Australia), with small amounts of motion relative to one another, that are joined along a broad, actively-deforming region producing seismicity up to several hundred kilometers west of the trench. This deformation is exemplified by the recent April 2012 earthquake sequence, which includes the April 11 M 8.6 and M 8.2 strike-slip events and their subsequent aftershocks.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Paleoseismic studies using coral reefs as a proxy for relative land level changes associated with earthquake displacement suggest that the Sunda arc has repeatedly ruptured during relatively large events in the past, with records extending as far back as the 10th century. In northern Simeulue Island, the southern terminus of the 2004 megathrust earthquake rupture area, a cluster of megathrust earthquakes occurred over a 56 year period between A.D. 1390 and 1455, resulting in uplift substantially greater than that caused by the 2004 event. Studies that look at large sheeted deposits of sand on land interpreted as the transport of debris from a tsunami wave also indicate that this region has experienced significant tsunamis in the past centuries, albeit infrequently.

Prior to 2004, the most recent megathrust earthquakes along the Sumatran-Andaman plate boundary were in 1797 (M 8.7-8.9), 1833 (M 8.9-9.1) and 1861 (M8.5). Since 2004, much of the Sunda megathrust between the northern Andaman Islands and Enggano Island, a distance of more than 2,000 km, has ruptured in a series of large subduction zone earthquakes - most rupturing the plate boundary south of Banda Aceh. The great M 9.1 earthquake of December 26, 2004, which produced a devastating tsunami, ruptured much of the boundary between Myanmar and Simeulue Island offshore Banda Aceh. Immediately to the south of the great 2004 earthquake, the M 8.6 Nias Island earthquake of March 28, 2005 ruptured a 400-km section between Simeulue and the Batu Islands. Farther south in the Mentawai islands, two earthquakes on September 12, 2007 of M 8.5 and M 7.9 occurred in the southern portion of the estimated 1797 and 1833 ruptures zone, which extends from approximately Enggano Island to the northern portion of Siberut Island. Smaller earthquakes have also been locally important: a M 7.6 rupture within the subducting plate caused considerable damage in Padang in 2009, and a M 7.8 rupture on October 25, 2010 occurred on the shallow portion of the megathrust to the west of the Mentawai Islands, and caused a substantial tsunami on the west coast of those islands.

In addition to the current seismic hazards along this portion of the Sunda arc, this region is also recognized as having one of the highest volcanic hazards in the world. One of the most dramatic eruptions in human history was the Krakatau eruption on August 26-27, 1883, a volcano just to the southeast of the island of Sumatra, which resulted in over 35, 000 casualties.

Subduction and seismicity along the plate boundary adjacent to Java is fundamentally different from that of the Sumatran-Andaman section. Relative motion along the Java arc is trench-normal (approximately 65-70 mm/year) and does not exhibit the same strain partitioning and back-arc strike- slip faulting that are observed along the Sumatra margin. Neither has the Java subduction zone hosted similar large magnitude megathrust events to those of its neighbor, at least in documented history. Although this region is not as seismically active as the Sumatra region, the Java arc has hosted low to intermediate-magnitude extensional earthquakes and deep-focus (300-700 km) events and exhibits a similar if not higher volcanic hazard. This arc has also hosted two large, shallow tsunami earthquakes in the recent past which resulted in high tsunami run-ups along the southern Java coast. - USGS.

EXTREME WEATHER: Powerful Hurricane Rips Through Sakhalin Region In Russia's Far East - Tore Off Roofs, Knocked Out Trees And Power Lines, Cutting Electricity For Nearly 2,000 Residents; State Of Emergency Declared! [VIDEOS]

June 14, 2014 - RUSSIA - As Friday the 13th’s (bad) luck would have it, a devastating hurricane hit the Sakhalin Region in Russia’s Far East, ripping off roofs, knocking down trees and power lines, cutting electricity for nearly 20,000 residents.

Still from YouTube video

Repair works are now under way on more than 300 sites of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the administrative center of Sakhalin Region, which storm unexpectedly hit late afternoon on Friday.

The hurricane in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk toppled over 1, 500 trees.

WATCH: Hurricane damage in Russia - Video 1.


Some of them crushed cars flat, making this Friday the 13th truly unlucky for their owners.

WATCH: Hurricane damage in Russia - Video 2.


Violent wind gusts of over 75mph (121kph), ripped tiles off roofs.

WATCH: Hurricane damage in Russia - Video 3.


 …dumping roof fragments on roads and cars.

 WATCH: Hurricane damage in Russia - Video 4.


An emergency situation regime was introduced in southern Sakhalin after the hurricane. - RT