Monday, December 15, 2014

DISASTER IMPACT: Mass Evacuations As Storm Strikes Southern California Last Week, Mudslides Bury Homes - Two Additional Storms Move Inland, Threatening More Flooding And Geological Upheavals! [PHOTOS + VIDEO + MAPS]

Rocks reach the roof of a home after a mudslide overtook at least 8 homes during heavy rains in Camarillo Springs, California, December 12, 2014
(Reuters / Jonathan Alcorn)

- Authorities are still on the lookout for mudslides after a major storm hit draught-suffering Southern California on Friday, causing floods and burying homes. Tens of thousands were left without power and dozens of evacuations were ordered.

WATCH: Evacuations as storm strikes Southern California, mudslides bury homes.

The storm moved in from Northern California with five inches of rain falling down, causing random landslides and debris. At least 10 homes were completely wrecked, according to AP.

No power, strong winds, flooding

Up to 50,000 people lost power as the wind speed reached up to 60 mph in some areas and street flooding was reported.

A mudslide coming from a hillside around 50 miles (80 km) from Los Angeles, in the city of Camarillo, covered up dozens of homes with debris, including silt, sticks, and rocks – some of them as big as a table. Some of the houses were covered up to their rooftops with debris.

Dozens of evacuations ordered

Local authorities ordered at least 124 mandatory evacuations from the area, according to Ventura County Sheriff's Capt. Don Aguilar. Meanwhile, 40 people were displaced following the storm’s damage and two people taken to hospital.

The landslide was so powerful that two large earthmovers used as a barrier were knocked over and one of them was almost completely buried.

Rocks traveling down streets

The suburb of Glendora, located east of Los Angeles, witnessed rocks and bricks flowing down the streets, police Lt. Matt Williams told AP.

Fire rescue teams were involved in saving two people from the Los Angeles River on Friday.

A parked automobile is surrounded by water as a winter storm brings rain and high winds to San Diego, California December 12, 2014 (Reuters / Mike Blake)

Los Angeles Fire Department personnel stand by next to the Los Angeles river during a rescue operation in Los Angeles, California December 12, 2014
(Reuters / Mario Anzuoni)

A woman watches waves roll in near a damaged house in Washaway Beach, Washington December 11, 2014 as
a Pacific winter storm hits the western United States (Reuters / David Ryder)

High waves crash under the Ocean Beach Pier as a winter storm brings rain and high winds to San Diego, California December 12, 2014 (Reuters / Mike Blake)

A group of houses are pictured after boulder-strewn rivers of mud swept down hillsides during a winter storm,
in Camarillo Springs, California December 12, 2014 (Reuters / Mario Anzuoni)

TV news crews set up across from a damaged home after a mud slide overtook at least 18 homes during heavy rains
in Camarillo Springs, California December 12, 2014 (Reuters / Jonathan Alcorn)

Mudslide alert in effect

California has been suffering from a draught, so the rain was welcomed. But as the sudden downpour caused mudslides, authorities called on people to remain vigilant.

Rescuers remain worried about hills affected by wildfires in the past, fearing that the soil, which is no longer supported by roots, could be swept away.

Weather forecasts project that the storm will move east and head towards Nevada and Arizona. - RT.

Rain Soaks California Threatening More Flooding and Mudslides

After a wild week of weather across the Pacific states, more rain and wind will affect the West coast as two additional storms move inland.

The main storm track will send the bulk of the energy into California, the site of last week's worst weather.

This means another round of drenching rainfall, gusty winds and snow in the higher terrain, although the intensity is not expected to reach that of last week's storm.

"This next Pacific storm looks less severe than the previous storm," said AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Alex Avalos.

Despite this storm being slightly weaker, the threat for flooding and mudslides will be renewed.

"Heavy rain will pose the threat for mudslides in the higher elevations where loose soil from the previous event and burn scars are prevalent," added Avalos.

Travel delays will also be quite common through this week. Mudslides will not only bring the threat for debris-filled roadways, but flooding could washout some roadways also. Folks will want to be on alert for road closures and should have alternative routes planned.

For those taking to the air, some of the major hubs on the West Coast will be under delays due to the rain and wind.

The first round of heavy rain will target the Bay area, as well as much of central and northern California through Monday night.

San Francisco
was hit hard with rain this past Thursday, measuring 3.43 inches. Thursday's rainfall surpassed the amount of rain that the city received all of last year (3.38 inches).

The first storm this week could bring another couple of inches to San Francisco and areas northward into northern California.

Episodes of rain will also push south into Los Angeles and San Diego Monday night into early Wednesday.

This storm system will likely last longer than last week's storm keeping the rain around through the middle of the week. Part of the reason will be because of a second pulse of moisture that will move through.

"Most regions will get 1 to 3 inches of rainfall, with any accumulating snow generally above 5,000 feet," said Avalos.

Know when the snow will affect your location by using AccuWeather's MinuteCast®. It has the minute-by-minute forecast for your exact location. Type your city name, select MinuteCast, and input your street address. On mobile, you can also use your GPS location.

That snow could cause disruptions across some of the higher passes, including Donner Pass. Parts of the Sierra may get over a foot of snow.

Gusty winds will accompany the rain and may put some communities in the dark, although widespread power outages are not expected.

Another storm system will arrive towards the end of the week, entering the region farther north across Washington and Oregon and eventually diving down into California late Friday and into Saturday.

The storm track will continue to push farther north through the weekend and into next week, which will keep the bulk of the storms north of California and mainly into Oregon, Washington and British Columbia for Christmas week.

Despite flooding and mudslides, this stretch of unsettled weather will have helped the region in some ways as well.

"Before the rainy pattern takes a break, cumulative rainfall will have taken a huge slice out of the long-term drought," said Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. - AccuWeather.

PARADIGM SHIFT: The Rise Of The BRICS, Precursors To The End Of The Petrodollar, The U.S. Corporation, And Ultimately, The Collapse Of The White Supremacy Paradigm - United States Isolated, BRICS To Get Greater Voting Power At The IMF!

December 15, 2014 - PARADIGM SHIFT - Months after the formation of new financial institutions like the $100 billion BRICS Bank and the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said Friday that the organization is ready to discuss IMF voting reforms without the United States to give BRICS and emerging countries greater voting power.

Lagarde said the IMF is disappointed with the US inaction to ratify the governance and quota reforms and will now move forward without Washington.

“The IMF’s membership has been calling on and was expecting the United States to approve the IMF’s 2010 Quota and Governance Reforms by year-end. Adoption of the reforms remains critical to strengthen the Fund’s credibility, legitimacy, and effectiveness, and to ensure it has sufficient permanent resources to meet its members’needs,” Lagarde said in a statement.

“I have now been informed by the U.S. Administration that the reforms are not included in the budget legislation currently before the U.S. Congress. I have expressed my disappointment to the U.S authorities and hope that they continue to work toward speedy ratification,” she said.

“As requested by our membership, we will now proceed to discuss alternative options for advancing quota and governance reforms and ensuring that the Fund has adequate resources, starting with an Executive Board meeting in January 2015,” she added.

Earlier in September this year, in her opening address at the United Nations General Assembly, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff warned that international financial institutions are in danger of losing legitimacy if developing countries like BRICS are not given proper representation.

“It is also imperative to eliminate the disparity between the growing importance of developing countries in the global economy and their insufficient representation and participation in the decision-making processes of international financial institutions, such as the Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The delay in the expansion of voting rights of developing countries in these institutions is unacceptable,” Rousseff said.

“These institutions are in danger of losing legitimacy and efficiency,” she added.

The IMF reforms will hand more IMF voting powers to BRICS, a long-standing demand of the group and will also reduce the concentration of representative power of Western Europe at the IMF board.

China and other emerging economies, including BRICS, have long protested against their limited voice at global financial platforms, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank.

The IMF quota reform calls for a 6 per cent shift in quota share to emerging economies. It will lift China, which still has less voting power than the Benelux countries ( Belgium, Holland and Luxemburg), to the third largest shareholder. Shares for Russia, India and Brazil will also see hefty rise.

The reforms, however, have been delayed for four years owing to a block by the US Congress as the US retains a veto. IMF chief Lagarde hinted at a “Plan B” in April if the US fails to endorse the reforms by year-end. - The BRICS Post.

DISASTER PRECURSORS: Omen – The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior, Mass Animal Die-Offs, Appearance Of Rare Creatures And Warnings From Mother Nature!

December 15, 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.

White rhino on verge of extinction: Second-last male dies

Photo from

The white rhino is one step closer to extinction with the death of Angalifu at the San Diego Zoo Safari. Only five members of the heavily-poached species exist now, including one male and four females.

The animal, estimated to be 44 years old, died from age-related ailments, park officials announced. Angalifu was in decline for some time and had refused food for several days.

"Angalifu's death is a tremendous loss to all of us,"
Rancy Reiches, curator of mammals at the Safari Park, told the Los Angeles Times.

The rhino is survived by elderly female Nola, who is living at the US zoo. Conservation scientists had been trying for years to coerce the pair into mating and producing progeny, but the attempts were futile.

Angalifu was transferred to the San Diego Zoo in the late 1980s from a zoo in Khartoum, Sudan.

The Ol Pejeta Conservancy in central Kenya has three more white rhinos, one male and two females, although attempts to breed the near-extinct animal there were not successful either.

Angalifu passed away. 5 northern white rhinos remain Please share condolences. Photo: Helene Hoffman

The effort is a gamble, since the females are both from the northern variety of the species while the male is a southern white rhino.

A male white rhino died in the Kenyan preserve earlier in 2014.

And an elderly female lives in Czech Republic’s Dvur Kralove Zoo, the same one that loaned Nola to its American colleagues.

White rhinos are the biggest in the family and have been heavily poached for their horns. Buyers value them as dagger handles and for their supposed medicinal properties – a superstition disproved by scientists, but persistent in many Asian cultures.

The San Diego Zoo Institute stored semen and testicular tissue from Angalifu for possible use in a project to revive the species, if the technology to do so is ever developed. - RT.

18 turtles found dead along the coast of Rimini, Italy

In Pictures: Repertoire

Unfortunately continue to increase the occurrence of turtles that are stranded on the coast of Rimini.
Today, four of which were 18 in Riccione, two in Torre Pedrera, two in Rimini and in Igea, where a second reported was not found again.

Numbers away from November 2013, when in a single day in Rimini is spiaggiarono 42 turtles, but worrying.
These are animals that died at different times - says the president of the Foundation Cetacea Sauro Pari - whose concentration "is a plausible explanation in the heavy seas of these days."

A Cervia, a few steps from a large tortoise, was also a baby dolphin beached in an advanced state of decomposition.
Thanking the people for the messages that are helpful for the work of the Harbor and the Regional Network of Marine Turtles, on whose behalf the Cetacean Foundation intervenes, Pari also highlights how animals beached not go absolutely touched "and for health reasons , may cause the onset of serious illnesses, which for legal reasons: Sea turtles are protected species in the CITES list. Who should trafugarli or hold them, living or dead, is punishable by fines very salty. " - Newsremini. [Translated]

Cops kill cow after wild chase through Pocatello's north side

Police fatally shot a 1,000-pound cow Friday afternoon that had led them on a lengthy chase through the city’s north side.

The heifer eventually died after being shot by a Pocatello police officer in the backyard of a residence at Henderson and Jessie Clark lanes around 1:30 p.m.

Police had shot the animal earlier in the pursuit but the wounded cow kept running.

Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand said the two shots his officers took at the cow were fired because of the safety risk the animal posed.

During the pursuit, the cow rammed a Pocatello animal control truck and two police cars in residential neighborhoods.

The heifer also nearly caused motor vehicle accidents on Hawthorne Road and had run through a playground. Police felt like the animal might trample someone as it charged through the residential neighborhoods on the city’s north side.
A Pocatello police officer prepares to shoot a cow that had escaped a butcher shop Friday afternoon and led police and animal control units on
a long chase through the city's north side. The cow was shot twice by police during the chase before it died in the
back yard of a residence at Henderson and Jessie Clark lanes.

The cow that escaped from a butcher shop in Pocatello Friday afternoon tries to evade pursuing police units.

Pocatello police corner the escaped cow on the city's north side on Friday afternoon.

A Pocatello police officer chases a cow in the Henderson Lane area on Friday afternoon. The animal had escaped from a butcher shop.

A Pocatello police officer prepares to shoot a cow on Friday afternoon in the Henderson Lane area. The animal had escaped from a butcher shop.

Pocatello police and animal control officers along with Anderson butcher shop employees in the back yard of a house on the city's north side moments
after a police officer fatally shot a cow on Friday afternoon. The animal had escaped from the butcher shop.

Marchand said he’s very thankful the pursuit ended with no injuries to people.

The incident began around 12:40 p.m. at Anderson Custom Pack, a meat processing business at Garrett Way and North Main Street. When an Anderson employee prepared to slaughter the cow, it jumped over a 6-foot fence and ran across Garrett Way and then north up Hawthorne Road.

Anderson employees dialed 911 and within minutes the cow was being pursued by Pocatello police and animal control units on Hawthorne.

Police officers and witnesses said that at one point the cow was running up the middle of Hawthorne Road, nearly causing accidents.

The cow eventually left Hawthorne and headed west on Quinn Road where it retreated to a resident’s backyard on the road’s south side.

A police officer then shot the cow in the head, but instead of succumbing, the animal bolted past the police cars that were supposed to block its path out of the yard. The cow crossed
to the north side of Quinn and ran through OK Ward Park.

With several police and animal control officers in pursuit on foot and in vehicles, the cow emerged onto Henderson Lane from the park and headed north.

Police and animal control officers spent the next several minutes chasing the cow on Henderson and adjoining streets.

They eventually cornered the cow in the backyard of a house at Henderson and Jessie Clark lanes. A police officer shot the cow again in the head, and this time the animal died instantly.

Several residents in the Henderson Lane area emerged from their houses because of the sound of the gunshot.

The damage to the police cars that were rammed by the cow during the chase was minimal. A side-view mirror on the animal control truck was destroyed when the vehicle was struck by the animal.

After the cow died, Anderson employees loaded it onto a truck and took it back to the meat processing business.
- ISJ.

Raccoon attacks woman in Monroe, Louisiana

One Monroe family is concerned for their safety, and the well-being of their pets after a raccoon attacked them this weekend. Now, they're speaking out so others know of the danger.

Ruth Ulrich never expected to spend her Saturday afternoon warding off a diseased raccoon.

"It was during the daylight, it's laying around as though it were a cat or something, all stretched out. Then it would wake up from that state and would have something that appeared to be like seizures," said Ulrich.

Ulrich says it was hissing and charging at her.
She wasn't sure what to do, so she called the police.

"The policeman said if there's any problems, call me back, but he needed to go on and do other things," said Ulrich.
At that point she hit the raccoon in the face 3 times with a shovel--and that still didn't stop it.

"When it did not get scared off when it got hit that hard with a shovel. There was a problem," said Ulrich.

WATCH: Raccoon attacks Monroe family.

If you see an animal like a raccoon out at a strange time of day, and it doesn't run away, don't go near it.

"If that animal does not run from you or try and hide or try and get in a position that it can't be seen or try to get away. Then there's an issue," said Joe Clawson, director of Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo.

The raccoon Ulrich was dealing with tested positive for distemper when Wildlife and Fisheries was finally able to pick it up. No area is off limits for a raccoon, or any other wild animal.

"Even the most densely populated areas of the City of Monroe and the City of West Monroe. There are raccoons," said Clawson.

Ulrich says this seems to be a problem in the Garden District. Her neighbor dealt with a similar situation last week. They want people to be aware of the threat.
"So many have been picked up lately with the same actions that they're doing, that apparently distemper is going through the raccoon population very fast," said Ulrich.

The disease is very contagious and can infect your pets. So, how can you keep them and yourself safe? Make sure they're fully vaccinated, don't leave your pet's food outdoors, and make sure it's stored so other animals can't get into it. - KNOE.

Residents complain of 'rotten fish' smell in Santa Rosa, Florida

Local officials can't confirm the source of a strange stench that has area residents complaining on social media.

Area residents are complaining on social media about a strange smell that stretches from Pace to Gulf Breeze and the beaches. But local officials can't confirm what the smell is or where it's coming from.

"We haven't had any reports of any issues," said Joy Tsubooka, the public information officer for Santa Rosa County. "It's hard to say what it is because on very clear, very cold days like this, odors can travel very far."

Residents have described the stench as smelling like spoiled milk and dead fish.

"Why does it smell of rotten fish all over #Pensacola this morning?" one resident asked on Twitter.

"Man it smells bad outside," Pensacola beach resident Sean Rogan posted on his Facebook page. "They were talking about a nonhazardous gas that had Pace smelling yesterday. Guess north wind has brought it to us."

After Rogan's post, people from Santa Rosa County and parts of Escambia reported smelling the odor.

Gulf Breeze officials have fielded several calls from residents complaining about the smell and inquiring about the source, City Clerk Stephanie Lucas said.

"It's nothing we're doing ... or from us," she said. "People are smelling it all down the highway (U.S. 98)."

Tsubooka ruled out possible sources such as the Taminco gas supplier plant in Pace, and Tiffany Cowie, press secretary for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, said the smell definitely wasn't caused by the oil leak that erupted Wednesday in Jay.

"The smells (residents are describing) are not consistent with the smells coming from the oil leak at the actual site," Cowie said. "The odor isn't coming from there."   - PNJ.

Thousands of dead fish found floating in a river in Pelalawan, Indonesia

At least thousands more fish tail was found dead floating along the Kampar River, starting from the village of Kuala Tolam, Stimulation and Sungai Ara Village, District Pelalawan.
Not yet known, the exact cause of death of the fish.

From the information summarized by, the death of the fish incident flow along the Kampar River, which crosses the village of Kuala Tolam, Stimulation and Sungai Ara village began on Wednesday (12/10/2014) then.

"To this day there is still a dead fish float, although the amount is not as much as yesterday. Kejadianya's been four days and we do not know what the exact cause flotation of these fish," said village chief stimuli, Khairat, Sunday (12/14/2014 ).

Described Khairat, from all kinds of fish were found floating dead in the Kampar River are the types of fish that lives at the bottom of the river.

"The fish that died this kind of fish that lives in the river or fishing grounds," he explained.

Khairat further mention, some basic types of fish found floating dead fish that include such Wajang, Senggarat, Tapa and fish Botot.

"This includes a very unusual occurrence. It has never been anything dead fish in this river, but not this bad," he said.

More or less the same thing delivered by Jefri, the village head Ara River.
Jefri's knowledge, the number of dead fish floating in the Kampar River flow allegedly due to river water contaminated by waste.

"This could be the result of waste. Yes, if the computed-ditung, residents have been getting hundreds of pounds of fish were floating in the river," said Jefri.

According to him, the dead fish incident allegedly due to waste, because it does not usually happen in this peritiswa Ara River.
The incident is the first time this has happened in their village.

"So it's like a fish die, sir, but when we caught was still alive. But many fish we found dead in the river," he said. - Goriau. [Translated]

FIRE IN THE SKY: Researchers - EIGHT BILLION "DARK ASTEROIDS" May Lurk In The Oort Cloud!

December 15, 2014 - SPACE
- When a telescope atop Hawaii's Haleakala swept up a fast-moving object in August 1996, astronomers didn't know what to make of it. Designated 1996 PW, the little interloper had the highly elongated orbit of a comet that had ventured inward from the Oort Cloud, at the solar system's outermost fringe.

But it had no tail or coma — visually and spectroscopically, it looked like an asteroid.

At the time, dynamicists Paul Weissman (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and Hal Levison (Southwest Research Institute) proposed that 1996 PW might actually be a rare hybrid: an asteroid from the Oort Cloud. Their suggestion ran completely counter to the consensus notion that only comets existed in that vast, distant reservoir. But Weissman and Levison had run the numbers: they calculated that, along with a trillion or so comets, roughly 8 billion asteroids could have been flung out into the Oort Cloud by close planetary encounters early in solar-system history.

When discovered, the object 1996 PW looked like an asteroid but had the elongated, 5,900-year-long orbit of an Oort Cloud comet.
JPL / Horizons

When other researchers suggested that 1996 PW was probably just an "extinct" comet, having depleted the volatile ices that create a coma or tail, the notion of asteroids in the Oort Cloud got shelved — but not completely forgotten.

In the decades since, dynamicists have radically altered their views of the early system. Now it's widely believed that the orbits of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune must have moved around — and maybe a lot. In one scenario, dubbed the "Grand Tack," Jupiter dove inward to about where Mars orbits today before retreating (thanks to a resonance with Saturn) to its current location.

In any case, this gravitational chaos must have flung small bodies everywhere — into each other, into planets or the Sun, and out of the solar system entirely. The ones that just fell short of escaping into interstellar space ended up in the Oort Cloud.

An artist's concept of the 8.4-meter Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which should being scanning the sky from
the summit of Cerro Pachón in Chile in 2019.LSST Corp.

Now dynamcists led by Andrew Shannon (University of Cambridge) have taken a fresh look at what-went-where in the early solar system. Their computer simulations, published October 29th in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, confirm that lots of rocky bodies originally within 2½ astronomical units of the Sun should be lurking among the Oort Cloud's half trillion comets. It's a tricky calculation, because astronomers can only guess the assorted sizes of those distant bodies. (Observers now have data on three of them: C/2013 A1, which skirted by Mars last month; C/2013 P2; and C/2014 S3.)

Shannon and his colleagues find that Oort Cloud asteroids are a minority, perhaps 4% of all the bodies out there. But that's still 8 billion objects (eerily matching the Weissman-Levison estimate), totaling perhaps a third of Earth's mass. "The Oort Cloud has more asteroids than the asteroid belt does!" they point out. In fact, it's even possible that chunks of debris from the postulated Moon-forming impact might have been hurled out there.

So how come interlopers like 1996 PW aren't more common? They're small, likely dark, and lack a typical comet's large, bright coma, so they're too faint to see. Even the powerful Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which might be ready by 2019, will be challenged to spot them. Shannon's team estimates that the LSST might sweep up a dozen Oort Cloud asteroids over a decade.  - Sky and Telescope.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Ice Age Now - 30 Leading Scientists Predict Global Cooling!

December 15, 2014 - EARTH
- The Earth is about to begin a steep drop in global temperatures off its present global temperature plateau.

This plateau has been caused by the absence of growth in global temperatures for 18 years, the start of global cooling in the atmosphere and the oceans, and the end of a short period of moderate solar heating from an unusually active secondary peak in solar cycle #24.

Average global atmospheric and oceanic temperatures will drop significantly beginning between 2015 and 2016 and will continue with only temporary reversals until they stabilize during a long cold temperature base lasting most of the 2030's and 2040's.

The bottom of the next global cold climate caused by a "solar hibernation" (a pronounced reduction in warming energy coming from the Sun) is expected to be reached by the year 2031.

The predicted temperature decline will continue for the next fifteen years and will likely be the steepest ever recorded in human history, discounting past short-duration volcanic events.

Global average temperatures during the 2030's will reach a level of at least 1.5° C lower.

WATCH: 30 Top Scientists Predict Global Cooling 2015-2050.

WATCH: Unusual Phenomenon in the Seas off Greenland.

- Adapt 2030 Channel.

EXTREME WEATHER: Heavy Snowfall Wreak Havoc In Japan - Causes Power Blackouts And Stranded Train Passengers!

December 15, 2014 - JAPAN
- Over 1,300 passengers spent the night trapped in trains stranded due to power blackouts caused by heavy snowfalls in Japan's northern Niigata Prefecture.

Some 1,350 passengers found themselves spending the night on trains stranded in Japan's northern Niigata Prefecture on Sunday, according to The Japan Times.

The trains were stranded by a power outage resulting from heavy snowstorms.

The blackout occurred on Sunday evening and power was resumed only on Monday morning.

But as the stations and trains draw power from different sources, the trains' heaters remained working, and passengers were supplied with food and drinks.

Railway station workers shove snow from the street in Yokohama, Japan, Saturday. © AP Photo/ Eugene Hoshiko

The outage also prompted West Japan Railway Co. to call back a train that had departed for Echigo-Yuzawa Station from Kanazawa.

Upon the train's return to Kanazawa Station, the 85 passengers were moved to another train in which to spend the night and were given rice balls and blankets.

Heavy snow in the area has disrupted train services along a section connecting Kanazawa and Niigata Prefectures, which remained suspended on Monday morning. - Sputnik News.

SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Terrorism Strike Australia - Up To 40 Hostages Held Inside Sydney Cafe, Islamic Flag Held Up; Police Declare "The Siege Is Over"!

Police rescue personnel carry an injured woman from the Lindt cafe, where hostages are being held, at Martin Place
in central Sydney December 16, 2014. (Reuters/Jason Reed)

December 15, 2014 - SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
- Heavily armored police units have stormed Lindt Café and brought an end to a day-long hostage standoff in the heart of Sydney. Gun fire and stun grenades were heard at the scene, with four civilians and one police officer reportedly injured.

WATCH: Police storm Lindt cafe in Sydney.

Witnesses have reported the sound of automatic gunfire at the scene, with police deploying flash bangs before storming the premises. Paramedics wearing bulletproof vests were seen entering Lindt Cafe, where over 40 people were taken hostage on Monday.

More gun shots and loud bangs are coming from #MartinPl as heavily armed police stormed café. #SydneySiege #9News

Police have now formed a line in front of media. #sydneysiege

Live shot from #sydneysiege now on @7NewsPerth some hostages injured, gunman is down, siege over

Police officers position themselves at a corner near Lindt cafe in Martin Place, where hostages are being held,
in central Sydney December 15, 2014.(Reuters / Jason Reed)

#BREAKING: Man Monis has been named as the gunman behind the #SydneySiege. #9News

Public urged to go about its business as usual - Martin Place siege

Hostages held in Sydney cafe forced to hold an 'Arabic flag' at the window - #sydneysiege

"The exchange was started by three discrete bangs. The first brought about five people from the building. A space followed between the subsequent two and then a near-continuous volley rang out. Dozens of shots,"
James Robertson, a reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald, reported at the bottom of Martin Place; about 150 metres from the scene.

One woman was seen being carried out with blood running down her leg. Paramedics have been seen carrying at least 4 stretchers into the building. Unconfirmed reports say that eleven additional hostages have been freed, with four people injured. One police officer was reportedly injured in the operation.

The dramatic scene follows a 16 hour standoff, after Iranian-born Sheik Man Haron Monis, took over 40 people hostage. Monis, who refers to himself as “the Brother”, is apparently a supporter of the radical militants from the Islamic State, an Iraq and Syria-based terrorist organization aiming to create a fundamentalist nation, or a caliphate in the region. - RT.

MASS SHOOTINGS: Five People Killed In Montgomery County, Pennsylvania - Suspect In Standoff With SWAT Team!

Souderton neighborhood under siege. Heavily armed officers and armored vehicle looking for gunman.

- Police say a suspect in five killings at three separate locations in Pennsylvania is believed to be barricaded inside a home in Souderton.

Police also say the suspect is believed to be alive inside the home and SWAT teams are taking position outside.

This, after police were called to Franklin and Garfield streets in Souderton where two people were found dead.

Police add that two children who were reportedly taken from Lower Salford Twp. during this incident have been found safe.

Road blocked off Broad Street in Souderton.

Sources told the ABC affiliate that all the victims had been shot at close range. The gunman is believed to be a military veteran, police say.

Meanwhile, the Souderton Area School District, which includes schools in the Souderton, Pa. and Harleysville, Pa. are are under a shelter-in-place. The district says all students are safe and are secured in their classrooms. Visitors will not be allowed in the schools until further notice.

The first shooting was reported at 3:55 a.m. in the 100 block of Main Street in Lower Salford. Police arrived to find a woman shot to death.

A second call came in half an hour later, at 4:25 a.m., for another shooting 100 block of West 5th Street in Lansdale. Officers arrived at that location to find two more people shot and killed.

Sources say all the victims shot a close range.

They believe he is a military veteran.  - ABC13.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Bigger Than Apophis - Dangerous 370 Meter Asteroid To Cross Earth's Orbit EVERY THREE YEARS; If 2014 UR116 Collides With Earth, The Explosion's Energy Could Be A THOUSAND TIMES GREATER Than The Impact Of The Chelyabinsk Meteorite!

December 15, 2014 - SPACE
- Scientists have calculated that 2014 UR116 asteroid will fly in dangerous proximity to Earth every three years. If it collides with the planet the energy of the explosion could be a thousand times greater than the impact of the Chelyabinsk meteorite.

Vladimir Lipunov, a leading scientist on the team which discovered the asteroid this October, says the scientists now know its orbit and its period which is 3 years, but they cannot say precisely when the asteroid will approach the Earth.

“We should track it constantly. Because if we have a single mistake, there will be a catastrophe. The consequences can be very serious,”
he said in the documentary “Asteroids attack” posted on Roscosmos website.

The new asteroid, called 2014 UR116 is about 370 meters in diameter. Its size exceeds the famous Apophis which the Earth can meet in the next decade. The exact trajectory of 2014 UR116 is yet to be determined, but theoretically it may collide with the Earth, Mars or Venus. Its trajectory can fluctuate because of the gravitational pull of these planets.

Some specialists believe we can be sure for a certain period of time that no collision will happen. Viktoria Damm from the Siberian Geodesic Academy Planetarium told TASS news agency that when the asteroid flies near Mars, its trajectory may change. That’s why the time of approach is unknown but she believes it will not happen in the coming two years.

Orbit of asteroid 2014 UR116 as of November 3 (Image credit: JPL/NASA)

In case of a collision with the Earth the energy of the explosion could be a thousand times greater than the Chelyabinsk meteorite. When a meteorite burst above the city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013, the impact was estimated to be equivalent to 440-500 kilotons of TNT. But the Chelyabinsk meteorite was relatively small, about 17 meters in diameter and it disintegrated with a blast at an altitude of over 20 kilometers.

It is also important to define the composition of an asteroid. If it consists of stone it generally breaks into small parts, but metal asteroid can reach the surface of Earth, according to Stanislav Korotky, Ka Dar observatory scientific director. The famous Arizona crater is the track of a metal asteroid.

The Chelyabinsk meteorite prompted the scientists to fully engage in projects of space security. Russian space agency Roscosmos plans to work out a special system to stand against dangerous asteroids by 2025. The agency wants to use new technologies to change the orbits of asteroids, including different kinds of robots, for instance, robots-cleaners to take away the space rubbish from Earth orbit.

Meanwhile, NASA is working on projects Orbita@home and Spacewatch and plans to deploy The Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) in 2015.

The asteroid 2014 UR116 was discovered with the help of Russia's network of robotic telescopes which perform the sky survey without human direction and can create its own data bases. - RT.

FUK-U-SHIMA: "We Have To Dispose Of The Water" - Japan's Nuclear Watchdog Says Radioactive Fukushima Water Must Be Cleaned And Dumped Into Pacific Ocean; Sparking Concern From Local Fishermen?!

AFP Photo / Kimimasa Mayama

December 15, 2014 - JAPAN
- Japan’s nuclear watchdog says the radioactive water that has accumulated at the battered Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant must be decontaminated and dumped into the ocean, local media reported. The news has sparked concern from local fisherman.

“We have to dispose of the water,”
Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), told a media conference after visiting the crippled nuclear power plant on Friday, Asahi Shimbun reported.

The NRA chief was referring to the contaminated water stored in tanks on the premises of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant. He added that the water – which is tainted with radioactive material – poses a risk to the safety of the decommissioning work.

Tanaka has previously stated that the radioactive water at the site needs to be decontaminated so it falls under safety standards – and then it must be released into the sea.

This is aimed at battling growing amounts of toxic water accumulating in the plant’s buildings, and at reducing the volume of groundwater that is flowing through the premises and becoming contaminated.

“We also have to obtain the consent of local residents in carrying out the work, so we can somehow mitigate [the increase in tainted water],” he added on Friday. “While [the idea] may upset people, we must do our utmost to satisfy residents of Fukushima.”

Local fishermen have expressed concern over the contaminated water and other issues linked with water management at the Fukushima plant.

Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations submitted a petition that calls on the government and Tokyo Electric Company (TEPCO) – the nuclear plant's operator – to make sure that the water released into the Pacific is safe and below the required radiation levels.

Plans to dump the water from the crippled nuclear plant into the ocean after removing the most dangerous radioactive elements were voiced as early as March. However, TEPCO’s initial efforts failed and the plan was indefinitely suspended after malfunctions crippled the water purification process and recontaminated thousands of tons of already cleaned liquid.

Some 400 tons of untainted groundwater are believed to be seeping into the buildings of the Fukushima plant on a daily basis. It is then mixing with the toxic water generated in the process of cooling the crippled reactors. TEPCO collects the radioactive groundwater and stores it at the site of the plant. However, storing the groundwater becomes more difficult each day, as the water quantity continues to increase.

Following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, three reactors at the plant suffered nuclear meltdowns, causing a radioactive fallout. The catastrophe was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. TEPCO is engaged in a cleanup process at the site, which has been dogged by delays and setbacks. In January, the company started erecting a controversial underground frozen wall which is planned to stop radioactive water from seeping into the sea. - RT.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Tornadoes - The Quietest Three Years On Record For Twisters; Meteorologists Aren't Sure Exactly Why?!

Twister, a vortex on the move. ©

December 15, 2014 - UNITED STATES
- The U.S. experienced fewer tornadoes in the past three years than any similar span since accurate records began in the 1950s. Yet meteorologists aren't sure exactly why.

As this year comes to a close, about 150 fewer damaging tornadoes than average have hit the U.S., according to data from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). Explanations for the decrease in twisters the past three years range from unusual cold to unusual heat, or just coincidence.

Despite the calmer than average years, deaths due to twisters remain near the average of 60 each year, with 68 killed in 2012, 55 in 2013 and 42 so far this year, according to the SPC. That pales in comparison with the 553 Americans killed by tornadoes in 2011.

So far this year, just 348 EF-1 or stronger tornadoes have touched down across the country, marking the third-lowest number on record. An average year sees about 500 EF-1 or greater tornadoes. A total of 364 EF-1 or stronger tornadoes touched down in 2012 and 404 in 2013.

EF refers to the Enhanced Fujita Scale of tornado intensity, which runs from EF-0 to EF-5. Most twisters that cause damage and deaths are EF-1 or higher, with wind speeds of at least 86 mph.

Harold Brooks, a meteorologist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla., said there's no consistent reason for the three-year lull - the calmest stretch since a similar quiet period in the late 1980s - because weather patterns have varied significantly from year to year.

While 2012 tornado activity was likely suppressed by the warm, dry conditions in the spring, 2013 was on the cool side for much of the prime storm season before cranking up briefly in late May, especially in Oklahoma, SPC meteorologist Greg Carbin said. Then, activity quickly quieted for the summer of 2013.

"(This year) the area of the country usually most productive for tornadoes again experienced below-normal temperatures but not as extreme as 2013," Carbin said. "The last two years, it seems, have more in common with one another than the extreme heat of 2012."

In addition to cooler weather, which limits instability, the past two years also lacked the stronger, large-scale weather systems that bring together the ingredients necessary for widespread severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreaks, Carbin said.

So what can we expect next year? No one can predict that.

"There is no such thing as a long-range severe storm or tornado forecast," the SPC said. "There are simply too many small-scale variables involved which we cannot reliably measure or model weeks or months ahead of time."  - USA Today.