Friday, February 27, 2015

ICE AGE NOW: "It Was Like The Most Sick Month You Can Think Of" - February Is The Coldest Month In New York City In 80 YEARS!

 Thomas Mangrum bundled up in his Statue of Liberty costume as he held a sign advertising Liberty Tax Service on Thursday in Brooklyn.
"It's been brutal out here," Mr. Mangrum said. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

February 27, 2015 - NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- It will end. Allegedly.

It will get warmer. One day. Someday.

Won’t it?

We have reached the 69th day of winter. It seems like the 6,669th. Pretty much the same nonsense is reprised day after day. Miserable, punishing, obnoxious, teeth-rattling, bone-numbing weather. Unmitigated, merciless, are-you-kidding-me cold.

New Yorkers cannot recall the last time they walked with their eyes trained forward, rather than watching for ice patches waiting to send them flying, which leaves them vulnerable to ice sliding off buildings from above. And in the evenings the snowplows screech past, drowning out the television in the middle of a Letterman cold joke.

WATCH: Winter doesn't want to end.

Throughout the parks, on the edges of sidewalks, ice just sits with defiant, assertive permanency. It will not melt, just keeps getting icier and more discolored. The whole city feels like a giant ice cube. People lean into the wind, pull hard to get doors open, to get out of this weather already, as the whistling wind pushes back.

As it limps away, February will not be missed. With the average temperature for the month lingering around 24 degrees, some 11 degrees shy of normal by the National Weather Service’s calculation, this insult of a month looks as though it will clock in as the coldest recorded February in New York City since 1934. That is 81 years of weather. That is all the way back to the Depression, when there were so many more dire things to worry about than whether 7-Eleven had salt or whose turn it was to walk the dog.

That year, February averaged 19.9 degrees and included the lowest daily reading ever registered for New York: On Feb. 9 the mercury sank to a ridiculous 15 degrees below zero.

“It was like the most sick month you can think of,” said Jay Engle, a meteorologist with the Weather Service who was well aware that this February had been particularly ill. Aside from 1934, he said the only other chillier February on record than the present one was in 1885, when the temperature averaged 22.7 degrees and when people did not yet have hand warmers.

Sure, the entire East Coast has been beaten up. Sure, Boston was slammed. But it’s still give-me-a-break cold in New York.

Shawn Nicholls, 34, who works in book publishing in the financial district, spoke for much of the populace when he declared understatedly, “I’m getting tired of it.”

The numbing weather has extinguished his night life. A resident of Kensington, Brooklyn, Mr. Nicholls customarily is found in restaurants on weekends. “But this winter I’m giving the delivery guys a workout,” he said.

It has been so cold that it is cold in places where it is not usually cold. Like subway platforms. It has been so cold people feel as if they are under house arrest on their days off. It has been so cold that you need so much time to pile on the layers of clothing and then time to remove the layers when you get there that you need to factor in extra hours for all the body enclosure work. It has been so cold that children want to be home-schooled.

It is warmer in a meat locker.

Every day, another war against hat hair, the pathetically flattened nest that makes you look really weird when you give your PowerPoint presentation before the boss.

There is positive news. It appears that alternate-side-of-the-street parking regulations have been abolished. And, of course, some people actually relish the cold. It pumps them up. Makes them feel alive.

The North Pole still has room for them.

So, while huddled cross-legged before the space heater, everyone has a story to tell, something dusted with snow or icicles or sinful cold.

The woman in Midtown Manhattan who was wearing four hats, topped by a sombrero, presumably willing to accept an onset of hat hair.

The toddler walking mitten in mitten with her mother, inquiring, “Mommy, why isn’t the heat working outside?”

The couple on their way to a restaurant for dinner.

He: “Why are we going out in this weather?”

She: “Because there’s no food in the house, smart guy. It’s too cold to shop.”

He: “So why isn’t it too cold to go out to eat?”

 A seagull walking along a pier next to a frozen portion of the East River this week. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

She: “Don’t start.”

The cold brings about peculiar decisions. Ariadna Urbina, 21, of Corona, Queens, is a student who has been hunting for work. Her preference had been an art gallery, but she found it impossible to put on nice clothes and then add the multiple layers necessary to combat the cold. So the other day she was on her way to apply to be a waitress.

“People ask you to dress professionally, but you can’t dress professionally,” she said. “I’m sick of it.”

Stories happen in emergency rooms, one place where winter shows its malevolence.

Dr. John Marshall, the head of emergency medicine at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, said his hospital was averaging 336 patients a day this winter, 20 more than last winter. On Jan. 19, he saw something unlike anything he had seen before. In a single hour, 30 people showed up after having slipped on ice, most of them with wrist and arm fractures, with some ankles thrown in.

“We had a whole family of seven come in with carbon monoxide poisoning,” Dr. Marshall said. They are all right.

Add to it flu patients, pneumonia patients, people with psychiatric issues linked to the cold. Sledding accidents. Heart attacks from shoveling snow.

An alcoholic who is a “frequent flier” at the emergency room, ranking as one of its top three visitors, was brought in a few weeks ago nearly frozen to death, his body temperature down to 82 degrees. The hospital thawed him out. He has since returned several more times. He might lose a toe.

“I don’t know that I’ve seen any snowball lacerations this year, but we get them,” Dr. Marshall said. “And I haven’t seen any icicle stabbings.”

As for himself, Dr. Marshall is unfazed by the weather. He is from Michigan. “I’ve always liked a good winter,” he said. “It’s my favorite season. I only wish there was a bit more snow.”

Has he made any concessions to the cold? “I’ve worn a scarf a couple of times,” he said.

Want an awful winter job? Talk to Ralph Valdez. He shivers on sidewalks for hours at a time, hawking tickets for bus tours of Manhattan.

Mr. Valdez, 36, has been at this for a decade. This crushing winter has really done a number on him. Since Christmas, he has called in sick, he believes, something like seven times. Last winter, which was hardly balmy, he called in sick three times.

“I have a torn rotator cuff, and it really, really starts to hurt when it gets cold,” he said, standing in downtown Manhattan. He wore a scarf and jacket over a hooded sweatshirt, and also remembered thermal underwear.

“If you’re going to be outside, you got to go for the thermals,” he pointed out, unnecessarily.

Bogdan Lekan, 50, a pediatrician, tossed salt chunks on the ice in front of his office door on 67th Avenue in Queens. Stethoscope dangling around his neck, he kicked at the crumbling ice with his leather shoes, which instantly became soaked.

“If this happens through April — wow,” he said. “I have a 3-year-old in the house who is anxious to go out.”

Now a new month beckons. March, often a roller-coaster month, is not always charitable with its weather either. But it represents a dash of hope. The forecast for Monday in New York City is for the temperature to crawl into the 40s. It has to get warmer someday. - NY Times.

RATTLE & HUM: "Bombs Or Birdshot" - Mysterious Booms Fill The Skies Over Central North Texas?!

February 27, 2015 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES
- After earthquakes and ice storms, what’s next for North Texans who’ve seen just about everything?

Booms, it turns out. Big, mysterious booms that filled the sky from south Grand Pairie to Southlake on Tuesday afternoon. And while they may have been nothing more than building demolition, they made for a dramatic diversion from the cold weather.

Dogs howled, cats freaked out and Facebook feeds exploded about 4 p.m., when what sounded like a half-dozen distant bombs echoed around the suburbs.

In her north Irving dining room, Judy Howard had flashbacks to the city’s recent spate of earthquakes, which could cause booms when seismic waves collided.

But Irving’s last quake was over a month ago, and Howard’s floor wasn’t shaking. So like many others, she could only wonder.

“I’m used to the roar of the jets,” she said, speaking from her house, which is just a few miles Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. “But those were not jet engines, unless one was backfiring.”

If not earthquakes, how about ice quakes? Scientists have pinned mysterious booms in other frigid cities on cryoseisms — a phenomenon in which quickly falling temperatures cause the ground to crack. But North Texas’ deep freeze came hours before the booms, and National Weather Service officials doubted the theory.

As the afternoon dragged on with no official answers, residents started making their own. So did some pets.

“Dogs have been going crazy thinking that people keep slamming doors,” Joy Goodrum wrote to an Irving Facebook group. “Sounds like a cannon going off or big power boxes exploding.”

Residents eventually tracked the noise to Arlington, where police dismissed a popular theory that they were training at a bomb range.

“There was a guy getting rid of birds in a neighborhood on the north side of town,” a police spokeswoman said in an email, by way of alternative explanation. “He was hired to do so.”

But birdshot in Arlington could hardly startle dogs in Las Colinas. By evening, police dispatchers who kept hearing about the booms were honing in on a more likely suspect: heavy demolition at a National Semiconductor plant in north Arlington.

Although that seemed a logical answer, the company couldn’t be reached for comment after hours. Residents were happy to keep guessing.

“Probably our collective minds exploding from all this snow and ice,” Cameron J. Smith quipped on Facebook.  - Dallas Morning News.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Massive Sinkhole Opens Up In St. Petersburg, Florida; Swallows Street Corner And Part Of A Building!

Photo: Twitter/St Pete PD

February 27, 2015 - FLORIDA, UNITED STATES
- A water main leak caused a road in downtown St. Petersburg to erode, creating a large hole, which also led to the partial collapse of a nearby building's wall. The west part of the building is used by Underground Ministries.

The original plan was to cut off the damaged area and demolish it. But now engineers will survey the building. 
"Our ultimate goal in the morning is going to be try to salvage the rest of the building versus cutting into it, so they're not going to be doing all the sawing," Fire Rescue Lt. Steven Lawrence said.
The large hole formed on Central Avenue at 7th Street South in St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg Police have closed Central Avenue between 6th and 8th Streets due to the hole.

The street closure and lack of water  affected Max Hagyan's small deli.

"I can't prepare food and wash my hands. I can't wash my hands and prepare food. I've got to wash dishes and I can't wash prep area so I can serve people and I can't do that," Hagyan said.

Photos: Twitter/St Pete PD

The collapsed wall is having an even greater impact on Underground Ministries.

"We don't have very much money. I mean, when you do this type of work you don't have a bank account that's full," Associate Director Jeremy Stephens said.

Underground is a coalition of ministries that helps a variety of people in St. Petersburg.

"Some people work with the homeless, some people have mentorship with middle school girls, some people work with the sexually abused and some people work with the sex industry, trying to help people get away from the sex industry," Stephens said.

WATCH: Water main leak erodes road, collapses building wall in St. Pete.

Two  large forklifts are in place to make the building stable. The lead is no longer spewing water. Utility crews bypassed it and dirt has been placed into the hole.

Water was restored during the afternoon.

Police say they were alerted to the collapse around 8 a.m. The building was unoccupied at the time of the collapse and there are no injuries.  - WFLA.

MONUMENTAL GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Geological Upheaval - New Volcano Island Getting Bigger In Japan; Erupting SIX TIMES A MINUTE; Now At 2.46 SQUARE KILOMETRES, The Size Of 345 FOOTBALL PITCHES! [VIDEO]

The newly created volcanic Nishinoshima island at the Ogasawara island chain, 1000 km south of Tokyo. (Japan Coast Guard, AFP)

February 27, 2015 - JAPAN
- Famously crowded Japan is getting a bit more space as a newly-formed volcanic island just keeps on growing.

New footage of the remote Nishinoshima, some 1 000km south of Tokyo, shows a volcano erupting up to six times a minute, spewing huge volumes of magma, and scientists say there is plenty more still to come.

A tiny islet emerged in November 2013 right next to the original Nishinoshima, when molten rock cooled and began to poke its head just above the water.

That speck of land grew as the volcano kept going, and soon engulfed its once larger neighbour.

A remote Japanese island in the Pacific Ocean has grown more than 11 times its size in 15 months. (Source: CNN)

The new super-island is now a respectable 2.46 square kilometres, the Japan Coast Guard says -- roughly the size of 345 football pitches, while the still-spewing volcano is now a healthy 100m tall.

Kenji Nogami of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, who helped conduct the latest of the coastguard's monthly observations, said volcanic activity is likely to continue for the time being.

"There have not been any significant changes at the volcanic vent of the pyroclastic cone, where eruptions of lava are seen several times a minute," he said in a statement.

WATCH: New volcano island getting big in Japan.

"Magma has risen to shallow areas of the vent, and lava flows to the east have continued to stretch out.

"Therefore, I conclude a stable supply of magma is continuing," he said.

The coastguard has asked sailors to stay away from the island.

Japan sits on the Pacific ring of fire, where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are relatively commonplace. - News24.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Major Motor Vehicle Collision In St. Catherine, Jamaica - 11 People Injured, Rushed To Hospital In Serious Condition!

People look at what is left of the Hiace bus after the crash yesterday morning.

February 27, 2015 - JAMAICA
- Eleven people were yesterday rushed to hospital following an early morning motor vehicle collision in Christian Pen, Portmore, St Catherine.

Police report that about 5:45 am a Hiace bus with several passengers was travelling along the Christian Pen main road, heading towards Spanish Town, when it collided with a Jamaica Urban Transit Company bus travelling in the opposite direction.

People alleging to be eyewitnesses said the driver of the Hiace swerved to avoid a pothole in the road.

The impact of the crash caused the Hiace bus to overturn, pinning the driver and several other passengers inside for several hours.

It took the combined effort of residents, firefighters, and police to remove the injured from the mangled wreck.

Leroy Tomlinson, whose mother was trapped in the bus, was one of the residents who responded to the desperate cries for help.

"I was in my house preparing to go on the road and I heard the loud collision; when I ran out to look I saw the people trapped in the bus. I did not hesitate, I just started to do what I could to help," said Tomlinson.


Damage to the JUTC bus that was involved in yesterday’s early morning crash on the Christian Pen main road in Portmore, St Catherine.

A woman points to a section of the overturned Hiace bus after the crash yesterday morning. (PHOTOS: GARFIELD ROBINSON)

It was while he was trying to save lives that Tomlinson learnt that his mother was among the trapped victims.

"When mi go over there and look and see the people them I could hardly stand, but what made it worse was when I saw my mother among the injured," Tomlinson said.

"When mi look and see how mi mother stay I couldn't hold back," said Tomlinson, as he broke down in tears.

Yesterday, police said the crash was the second to take place in the area since the start of the year.

Earlier this year, a girl was struck down by a motor vehicle while she was on her way to school.

Residents yesterday said they have been calling on the authorities for months to fix the pothole that has been causing problems for motorists travelling in the area. - Jamaica Observer.

ICE AGE NOW: Denver Breaks 103-YEAR February Snowfall Record - 22.2 INCHES Recorded At Denver International Airport!

Dave Blanton of Arvada digging out his truck. (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

February 27, 2015 - COLORADO, UNITED STATES
- Snow overnight Thursday in Denver led to a new snowfall record for the month of February with 22.2 inches recorded at Denver International Airport in 2015, breaking a 103-year-old mark.

The National Weather Service in Boulder announced overnight the new mark surpassed the previous record of 22.1 inches set back in February of 1912.

The weather service recorded 3.3 inches at DIA on Thursday to break the record.

The snow left roads slick and snow-covered for another day, which could lead to problems during the morning commute.

Denver International Airport says airlines will be deicing on Friday though all operations are normal.

With two days left this month, there is a chance to pad the new record. Forecasters are calling for a 10 percent chance of light snow Friday in Denver, mainly before 8 a.m., the weather service said.

Snow piles up on the swings at South Lakewood Elementary School in Lakewood, February 26, 2015. Schools in Jefferson County were canceled due to the
storm. Forecast are calling for a chance of snow the rest of the week. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

The sun rises over a snow covered field in Lakewood, February 26, 2015. Forecast are calling for a chance of snow the rest of the week.
(Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

Traffic moves slow along 6th Ave. in Lakewood, February 26, 2015. Forecast are calling for a chance of snow the rest of the week.
(Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

A strong band of snow moved through downtown Denver just before 9 a.m., but forecasters say it wasn't expected to last very long, likening it to an anomaly.

Skies are expected to be partly sunny with a high near 20 degrees Friday, 29 degrees colder than the seasonal average.

"Overall we're not really expecting much in terms of snow (Friday)," said Frank Cooper, a weather service meteorologist. "Most of it is going to be just winding down."

Overnight on Friday, there's a 10 percent chance of snow with lows dipping near 5 degrees.

On Saturday, the chance for additional snow increases to 50 percent, mainly after 11 a.m. Skies are expected to be cloudy with a high near 22 degrees. Less than an inch of new accumulation is expected. - Denver Post.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCE: "Cases Continue To Arise From Unknown Chains Of Transmission" - WHO Says 99 Ebola Cases In The Past Week, Nearly Two-Thirds In Sierra Leone; Emergency Responders Investigate Possible Case In Virginia, United States!

In this Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 file photo, healthcare workers load a man suspected of suffering from the Ebola virus onto an ambulance in Kenema, Sierra
Leone. Sierra Leone imposed a quarantine in a fishing district of the capital city, Freetown, after at least five new Ebola cases were confirmed there,
an official said Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/ Tanya Bindra, File)

February 27, 2015 - THE EBOLA OUTBREAK
- Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone reported 99 new confirmed Ebola cases in the week to Feb. 22, down from 128 the previous week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

Sierra Leone accounted for the bulk of the latest infections with 63, signalling a halt to a steep decline recorded from December through January, followed by Guinea with 35 and Liberia just a single case, the U.N. agency said in its weekly report.

"Cases continue to arise from unknown chains of transmission," the WHO said. Sixteen of the new cases were identified in Guinea and Sierra Leone after post-mortem testing of people who died in the community "indicating that a significant number of individuals are still either unable or reluctant to seek treatment."

In all, more than 23,500 cases have been reported in the three West African countries, with more than 9,500 deaths, since the world's worst outbreak began in December 2013.

Emergency responders investigate possible Virginia Ebola case

Medics, firefighters and a hazardous materials team investigated a possible case of the deadly Ebola virus in a Virginia suburb of Washington on Thursday, an official said.

Emergency crews transported a patient from an apartment in the Clarendon section of Arlington County to Virginia Hospital Center using Ebola precautions, said Lieutenant Sarah-Maria Marchegiani of the county's fire department.

Marchegiani said the patient had recently traveled to a country affected by Ebola and exhibited symptoms of the disease.

The patient was unlikely to be suffering from the disease, Marchegiani said.

Nearly 10,000 people have died from Ebola in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three countries hit hardest by the outbreak.

At least 10 people are known to have been treated for Ebola in the United States, and two people are known to have contracted the virus in the United States.

Calls to the hospital were not immediately returned. - Yahoo.

Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak

FIRE IN THE SKY: Meteor Event Or Thundersnow - Spectacular Flashes And Mysterious Booms In The Arctic Sky Over Alaska?!


February 27, 2015 - ALASKA
- Facebook lit up almost as brightly as the sky over Kotzebue and other areas of the Arctic last Sunday morning, as people speculated about what the bright flashes in the sky were.

More than a dozen people reported seeing several bright flashes in the sky, unexplained by air traffic or other human activity. One thought neighborhood children were pulling a prank at first. Another suggested a meteor had split into three parts. Another reported hearing booms.

Then came a post showing a Chicago-based meteorologist on The Weather Channel standing in a blinding snowstorm with the sky flashing behind him. The ecstatic reporter hooted as he and his camera man captured "thundersnow" on camera several times in the course of a few minutes.

Though rare, thundersnow is a real phenomenon, a snow thunderstorm that occurs under circumstances similar to a thunderstorm as a cold or warm front moves into an area. The thunder is often muffled by the snow, but the flashes may still be visible.

"It's pretty rare, but it's not out of the question in the winter," said John Lingaas, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Fairbanks. "The conditions have to be just right."

According to Lingaas, thundersnow occurs when warm, moist air is trapped below colder air at the upper levels. That produces cumulonimbus clouds and the two air masses turn over, producing lightning.

Lingaas said conditions in Kotzebue and surrounding areas did include some warmer air moving north that could have created enough instability to give rise to thundersnow.

"It doesn't happen every day, even in the Lower 48," he said. "It's pretty remarkable."

Lingaas said thundersnow is typically short-lived. It's not surprising that many theories existed about its source given the rareness of the event.
"I'm sure there was all kind of wondering," he said, adding that the weather service doesn't monitor meteor events, so he couldn't rule that out as a possible source of the early morning flashes. 
- Alaska Dispatch News.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Very Strong 5.4 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Northwest Pakistan - Damaging Several Houses; Injurying 5 People!

USGS earthquake location

February 27, 2015 - PAKISTAN
- A 5.4-magnitude earthquake struck northwest Pakistan early on Friday, injuring at least five people and causing minor damage, officials and seismologists said.

The quake hit 37km (23 miles) north-northeast of the city of Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, at a depth of 28.9km, the US Geological Survey said.

It was followed by two aftershocks with a magnitude of 3.2 and 4, Pakistan's meteorological department said.

The quake was also felt in surrounding towns and districts, including the capital Islamabad and in parts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Zarif Ul Maani, a senior official in Batgram district neighbouring Mansehra told AFP that at least five people were injured and taken to hospital.

USGS shakemap intensity

USGS population exposure map

Two houses were also damaged, Maani said. Pakistan straddles part of the boundary where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, making the country susceptible to earthquakes.

It was hit by a 7.6-magnitude quake on October 8, 2005 that killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

A 7.7-magnitude earthquake devastated several areas in southwestern Baluchistan province in September 2013, killing at least 370 people and leaving 100,000 homeless.  - Times of India.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Himalaya and Vicinity

Seismicity in the Himalaya dominantly results from the continental collision of the India and Eurasia plates, which are converging at a relative rate of 40-50 mm/yr. Northward underthrusting of India beneath Eurasia generates numerous earthquakes and consequently makes this area one of the most seismically hazardous regions on Earth. The surface expression of the plate boundary is marked by the foothills of the north-south trending Sulaiman Range in the west, the Indo-Burmese Arc in the east and the east-west trending Himalaya Front in the north of India.

The India-Eurasia plate boundary is a diffuse boundary, which in the region near the north of India, lies within the limits of the Indus-Tsangpo (also called the Yarlung-Zangbo) Suture to the north and the Main Frontal Thrust to the south. The Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone is located roughly 200 km north of the Himalaya Front and is defined by an exposed ophiolite chain along its southern margin. The narrow (less than 200km) Himalaya Front includes numerous east-west trending, parallel structures. This region has the highest rates of seismicity and largest earthquakes in the Himalaya region, caused mainly by movement on thrust faults. Examples of significant earthquakes, in this densely populated region, caused by reverse slip movement include the 1934 M8.1 Bihar, the 1905 M7.5 Kangra and the 2005 M7.6 Kashmir earthquakes. The latter two resulted in the highest death tolls for Himalaya earthquakes seen to date, together killing over 100,000 people and leaving millions homeless. The largest instrumentally recorded Himalaya earthquake occurred on 15th August 1950 in Assam, eastern India. This M8.6 right-lateral, strike-slip, earthquake was widely felt over a broad area of central Asia, causing extensive damage to villages in the epicentral region.

The Tibetan Plateau is situated north of the Himalaya, stretching approximately 1000km north-south and 2500km east-west, and is geologically and tectonically complex with several sutures which are hundreds of kilometer-long and generally trend east-west. The Tibetan Plateau is cut by a number of large (greater than 1000km) east-west trending, left-lateral, strike-slip faults, including the long Kunlun, Haiyuan, and the Altyn Tagh. Right-lateral, strike-slip faults (comparable in size to the left-lateral faults), in this region include the Karakorum, Red River, and Sagaing. Secondary north-south trending normal faults also cut the Tibetan Plateau. Thrust faults are found towards the north and south of the Tibetan Plateau. Collectively, these faults accommodate crustal shortening associated with the ongoing collision of the India and Eurasia plates, with thrust faults accommodating north south compression, and normal and strike-slip accommodating east-west extension.
Along the western margin of the Tibetan Plateau, in the vicinity of south-eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan, the India plate translates obliquely relative to the Eurasia plate, resulting in a complex fold-and-thrust belt known as the Sulaiman Range. Faulting in this region includes strike-slip, reverse-slip and oblique-slip motion and often results in shallow, destructive earthquakes. The active, left-lateral, strike-slip Chaman fault is the fastest moving fault in the region. In 1505, a segment of the Chaman fault near Kabul, Afghanistan, ruptured causing widespread destruction. In the same region the more recent 30 May 1935, M7.6 Quetta earthquake, which occurred in the Sulaiman Range in Pakistan, killed between 30,000 and 60,000 people.

On the north-western side of the Tibetan Plateau, beneath the Pamir-Hindu Kush Mountains of northern Afghanistan, earthquakes occur at depths as great as 200 km as a result of remnant lithospheric subduction. The curved arc of deep earthquakes found in the Hindu Kush Pamir region indicates the presence of a lithospheric body at depth, thought to be remnants of a subducting slab. Cross-sections through the Hindu Kush region suggest a near vertical northerly-dipping subducting slab, whereas cross-sections through the nearby Pamir region to the east indicate a much shallower dipping, southerly subducting slab. Some models suggest the presence of two subduction zones; with the Indian plate being subducted beneath the Hindu Kush region and the Eurasian plate being subducted beneath the Pamir region. However, other models suggest that just one of the two plates is being subducted and that the slab has become contorted and overturned in places.

Shallow crustal earthquakes also occur in this region near the Main Pamir Thrust and other active Quaternary faults. The Main Pamir Thrust, north of the Pamir Mountains, is an active shortening structure. The northern portion of the Main Pamir Thrust produces many shallow earthquakes, whereas its western and eastern borders display a combination of thrust and strike-slip mechanisms. On the 18 February 1911, the M7.4 Sarez earthquake ruptured in the Central Pamir Mountains, killing numerous people and triggering a landside, which blocked the Murghab River.

Further north, the Tian Shan is a seismically active intra-continental mountain belt, which extends 2500 km in an ENE-WNW orientation north of the Tarim Basin. This belt is defined by numerous east-west trending thrust faults, creating a compressional basin and range landscape. It is generally thought that regional stresses associated with the collision of the India and Eurasia plates are responsible for faulting in the region. The region has had three major earthquakes (greater than M7.6) at the start of the 20th Century, including the 1902 Atushi earthquake, which killed an estimated 5,000 people. The range is cut through in the west by the 700-km-long, northwest-southeast striking, Talas-Ferghana active right-lateral, strike-slip fault system. Though the system has produced no major earthquakes in the last 250 years, paleo-seismic studies indicate that it has the potential to produce M7.0+ earthquakes and it is thought to represent a significant hazard.

The northern portion of the Tibetan Plateau itself is largely dominated by the motion on three large left-lateral, strike-slip fault systems; the Altyn Tagh, Kunlun and Haiyuan. The Altyn Tagh fault is the longest of these strike slip faults and it is thought to accommodate a significant portion of plate convergence. However, this system has not experienced significant historical earthquakes, though paleoseismic studies show evidence of prehistoric M7.0-8.0 events. Thrust faults link with the Altyn Tagh at its eastern and western termini. The Kunlun Fault, south of the Altyn Tagh, is seismically active, producing large earthquakes such as the 8th November 1997, M7.6 Manyi earthquake and the 14th November 2001, M7.8 Kokoxili earthquake. The Haiyuan Fault, in the far north-east, generated the 16 December 1920, M7.8 earthquake that killed approximately 200,000 people and the 22 May 1927 M7.6 earthquake that killed 40,912.

The Longmen Shan thrust belt, along the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, is an important structural feature and forms a transitional zone between the complexly deformed Songpan-Garze Fold Belt and the relatively undeformed Sichuan Basin. On 12 May 2008, the thrust belt produced the reverse slip, M7.9 Wenchuan earthquake, killing over 87,000 people and causing billions of US dollars in damages and landslides which dammed several rivers and lakes.

Southeast of the Tibetan Plateau are the right-lateral, strike-slip Red River and the left-lateral, strike-slip Xiangshuihe-Xiaojiang fault systems. The Red River Fault experienced large scale, left-lateral ductile shear during the Tertiary period before changing to its present day right-lateral slip rate of approximately 5 mm/yr. This fault has produced several earthquakes greater than M6.0 including the 4 January 1970, M7.5 earthquake in Tonghai which killed over 10,000 people. Since the start of the 20th century, the Xiangshuihe-Xiaojiang Fault system has generated several M7.0+ earthquakes including the M7.5 Luhuo earthquake which ruptured on the 22 April 1973. Some studies suggest that due to the high slip rate on this fault, future large earthquakes are highly possible along the 65km stretch between Daofu and Qianning and the 135km stretch that runs through Kangding.

Shallow earthquakes within the Indo-Burmese Arc, predominantly occur on a combination of strike-slip and reverse faults, including the Sagaing, Kabaw and Dauki faults. Between 1930 and 1956, six M7.0+ earthquakes occurred near the right-lateral Sagaing Fault, resulting in severe damage in Myanmar including the generation of landslides, liquefaction and the loss of 610 lives. Deep earthquakes (200km) have also been known to occur in this region, these are thought to be due to the subduction of the eastwards dipping, India plate, though whether subduction is currently active is debated. Within the pre-instrumental period, the large Shillong earthquake occurred on the 12 June 1897, causing widespread destruction.

MASS SHOOTINGS: Gunman Goes On A Shooting Rampage In Missouri - Killing Seven People, Before Turning The Gun On Himself?!

February 27, 2015 - MISSOURI, UNITED STATES
- A man has gone on a shooting spree in rural Missouri, killing seven people before turning the gun on himself, local media report.

The rampage occurred in the rural Missouri community of Tyrone, which is located roughly 40 miles north of the Arkansas border in Texas County.

According to a statement released by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, at 10:15 p.m. on the evening of February 26, the Texas Country Sheriff’s Department received a phone call from a female juvenile indicating she was in a residence in Tyrone and had heard gunshots. When police responded to the call, they found two bodies. The girl, meanwhile, had fled to a neighboring house.

“Further investigation revealed five additional victims who were deceased and one additional victim who was deceased and one additional victim who was wounded in three additional residences. All three residences were in Tyrone,” the statement read.

One of the crime scenes in Tyrone

Multiple killings under investigation in southern Missouri

An elderly female who had died of natural causes was also found at another residence. A total of nine deceased individuals, including the shooter and the elderly female, were discovered. The individual who sustained injuries in the rampage was taken to an area hospital, AP reports.

Texas County Sheriff James Sigman told the Houston Herald there are four confirmed crime scenes in Tyrone. A fifth and six location have also been identified in nearby Shannon County.

A Missouri State Highway Patrol confirmed the death of the alleged shooter to the paper. The 36-year-old assailant was reportedly found dead in a parked car in Shannon County, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Staff at schools in the area were told to arrive early to provide counseling to students.

Authorities have yet to identify the victims or the gunman.

The Missouri Highway Patrol is set to hold a news conference on Friday to provide further details.
A motive behind the killings or any potential connection between the shooter and his victims remains unclear.
- RT.

PARADIGM SHIFT: BRICS Rising And Precursors To The End Of The Petrodollar And The Ultimate Collapse Of The White Supremacy Paradigm - India Follows Russia, Ratifies $100 BILLION BRICS Development Bank!

Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd R) poses for a group photo with Russian President Vladimir Putin (1st L), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2nd L),
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (C), and South African President Jacob Zuma during the sixth BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, July 15, 2014 [Xinhua]

February 27, 2015 - INDIA
- After the Russian Parliament ratified it last week, the Indian government has also cleared the establishment of the new $100 billion development bank and the $100 billion BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA).

The BRICS Bank launched last year will fund infrastructure projects in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and challenge the dominance of the Western-led World Bank and the IMF.

“The new development bank will mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, to supplement existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development,” read an Indian government statement on Wednesday.

“The establishment of the bank would also reflect the close relations among BRICS countries, while providing a powerful instrument for increasing their economic cooperation,” it said.

The Agreement will enter into force and the Bank will begin operations only after all member countries deposit their instruments of ratification with Brazil.

Central Banks of the member countries will also have to finalize an Inter-Central Bank Agreement containing the operational details of swap transactions and the Standing Committee’s Operational Procedures (SCOP) before the arrangement can be operational.

Russia has agreed to provide $2 billion dollars from the federal budget for the bank over the next seven years.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov is likely to become the bank’s first Chairman of the Board of Governors while India will nominate the first President of the BRICS Bank.

The first board meeting is supposed to take place in April in the Russian city of Ufa and the Bank is expected to start fully functioning by the end of 2015, according to the Russian Finance Ministry.

South African Trade and Industry Rob Davies said last year that although the capital of the New Development Bank and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement had been set at $100 billion each, this did not mean that this capital would necessarily be held in US dollars.

“We want to move away from the same old, same old way of doing things. What currencies the capital will be held in is something that will be part of the Sherpa process with the pace set by Brazil, but we expect substantive progress by the time of the next BRICS summit in Russia in June 2015,” he said.

The BRICS combined GDP grew 300 per cent in the last decade as opposed to 60 per cent growth registered by the developed world.

BRICS launched a $100 billion development bank and a currency reserve pool in July this year in their first concrete step toward reshaping the Western-dominated international financial system.

“For the past 15 years, the BRICS have been seen as the world’s best hope for sustainable growth. These five countries, representing 40 per cent of the world’s population and 25 per cent of its GDP in 2013, recorded growth rates 4 to 5 times greater than those of the US, Europe and Japan, and threatened to displace them as the world’s most important economic powers in another 20 years or so,” say Prof. Ingo Walter and Prof. Roy C. Smith of the New York University, writing for The BRICS Post. - The BRICS Post.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Powerful Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake Strikes The Flores Sea, Near Indonesia - No Tsunami Warning! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

February 27, 2015 - FLORES SEA, PACIFIC OCEAN
- A powerful magnitude 7.0 earthquake has just hit the Flores Sea region, 132km north of Nebe, Indonesia according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The tremor occurred at 13:45:05 UTC and was located at 7.277°S 122.534°E.

The depth was 547km. Due to the depth of the hypocenter, preliminary depths are varying in between 550 and 600 km, this earthquake will normally not be damaging. Therefore, no tsunami warning was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

USGS shakemap intensity

Google Maps

Google Maps

Light to moderate shaking will be felt over a wide area of a couple of thousand km, but no damage will be inflicted.

USGS initially measured the temblor as a 6.6 magnitude, but later upgraded it.

Indonesia lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Java Region

The Sunda convergent margin extends for 5,600 km from the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, both located northwest of the map area, towards Sumba Island in the southeast, and then continues eastward as the Banda arc system. This tectonically active margin is a result of the India and Australia plates converging with and subducting beneath the Sunda plate at a rate of approximately 50 to 70 mm/yr. The main physiographic feature associated with this convergent margin is the Sunda-Java Trench, which stretches for 3,000 km parallel to the Java and Sumatra land masses and terminates at 120° E. The convergence of the Indo-Australia and Sunda plates produces two active volcanic arcs: Sunda, which extends from 105 to 122° E and Banda, which extends from 122 to 128° E. The Sunda arc results solely from relatively simple oceanic plate subduction, while the Banda arc represents the transition from oceanic subduction to continental collision, where a complex, broad deforming zone is found.

Based on modern activity, the Banda arc can be divided into three distinct zones: an inactive section, the Wetar Zone - bound by two active segments, the Flores Zone in the west and the Damar Zone in the east. The lack of volcanism in the Wetar Zone is attributed to the collision of Australia with the Sunda plate. The gap in volcanic activity is underlain by a gap in intermediate depth seismicity, which is in contrast to nearly continuous deep seismicity below all three sections of the arc. The Flores Zone is characterized by down-dip compression in the subducted slab at intermediate depths and late Quaternary uplift of the forearc. These unusual features, along with GPS data interpretations, show that the Flores Zone marks the transition between subduction of oceanic crust in the west and the collision of continental crust in the east.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

The Java section of the Sunda arc is considered relatively aseismic historically when compared to the highly seismically active Sumatra section, despite both areas being located along the same active subduction margin. Shallow (0-20 km) events have occurred historically in the overlying Sunda plate, causing damage to local and regional communities. A recent example was the May 26, 2006 M6.3 left-lateral strike-slip event, which occurred at a depth of 10 km in central Java, and caused over 5,700 fatalities. Intermediate depth (70-300 km) earthquakes frequently occur beneath Java as a result of intraplate faulting within the Australia slab. Deep (300-650 km) earthquakes occur beneath the Java Sea and the back-arc region to the north of Java. Similar to other intermediate depth events these earthquakes are also associated with intraslab faulting. However, this subduction zone exhibits a gap in seismicity from 250-400 km, interpreted as the transition between extensional and compressional slab stresses. Historic examples of large intraplate events include: the 1903 M8.1 event, 1921 M7.5 event, 1977 M8.3 event, and August 2007 M7.5 event.

Large thrust earthquakes close to the Java trench are typically interplate faulting events along the slab interface between the Australia and Sunda plates. These earthquakes also generally have high tsunamigenic potential due to their shallow hypocentral depths. In some cases, these events have demonstrated slow moment-release, and have been defined as ‘tsunami’ earthquakes, where rupture is large in the weak crustal layers very close to the seafloor. These events are categorized by tsunamis that are significantly larger than predicted by the earthquake???s magnitude. The most notable tsunami earthquakes in the Java region occurred on June 2, 1994 (M7.8) and July 17, 2006 (M7.7). The 1994 event produced a tsunami with wave run-up heights of 13 m, killing over 200 people. The 2006 event produced a tsunami of up to 15 m, and killed 730 people. While both of these tsunami earthquakes were characterized by rupture along thrust faults, they were followed by an abundance of normal faulting aftershocks. These aftershocks are interpreted to result from extension within the subducting Australia plate, while the mainshocks represented interplate faulting between the Australia and Sunda plates.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

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

February 26, 2015 - 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.

Masses of dead fish found floating in Guanabara Bay, Brazil

Flagrant of dead fish in the Guanabara Bay (Photo: Ricardo Moraes / Reuters)

A day after the governor of Rio, Luiz Fernando Bigfoot, say that the clean-up program of Guanabara Bay for the 2016 Olympics reached 49%, images showed hundreds of dead fish in the region on Tuesday (24).

In press on Monday (23), Bigfoot also said it will rely on the understanding of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who is in town this week for meetings with municipal and state governments, if the target of 80% of the pollution is not attained.

Guanabara Bay dawned with dead fish (Photo: Ricardo Moraes / Reuters)

Dead fish in Guanabara Bay (Photo: Ricardo Moraes / Reuters)

According Bigfoot, the question of Guanabara Bay, which will receive the sailing events of the Olympic Games should not shake the list of authorities with the IOC.

According to the State of the Environment (INEA), technicians found the presence of dead yellowtail in Fundão Canal.
Water samples were collected and the results should be out in seven days. - Globo. [Translated]

Deadly winter takes toll on waterfowl in Michigan

Ducks sit on a shelf of ice Monday along the St. Clair River in Port Huron. © Andrew Jowett / Times Herald

Harsh weather is taking a toll on the waterfowl concentrated in the St. Clair River.

Terry McFadden, a wildlife biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said waterfowl across the state are dying because of the extreme cold and growing ice cover.

Below-zero temperatures have caused rapid ice formation, blocking ducks from food sources in the water and sometimes trapping the birds in the ice.

"Most likely it's going to be similar to last year, we lost quite a few last year," McFadden said. "We don't have a really good estimate, but it was in the thousands."

McFadden said waterfowl, including long-tailed and canvasback ducks, are concentrated in the St. Clair River, where some of the region's only remaining open water is located.

That large concentration of birds depletes available resources as the ice forms.

WATCH: Deadly winter takes toll on waterfowl in Michigan.

"I don't know if we're going to lose as many (ducks) this year, but it's hard to say, we got hammered with these conditions fast," McFadden said.

While it is tough to see, he said people need to leave the ducks alone. The ice is unstable, and even if a duck is freed, he said its fate may already be sealed.

"It's a terrible way for any wild animal or any animal out there to go. It's unfortunate," McFadden said. "There's not much you can do at this point."

But John and Chelsea Borkovich of Fort Gratiot couldn't stand to watch the birds die Monday.

The Fort Gratiot father and daughter had originally ventured down to the river in Port Huron to see some of the migratory diver ducks that fly in from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northern Michigan.

With camera and binoculars, the two discovered something unexpected along the icy shoreline of the river near where the Coast Guard cutter Hollydock docks.

"We found probably seven dead ducks, all different types," Chelsea said. "We found three that were still alive. We came back and saved a couple others stuck in the ice."

John Borkovich, who worked as a Michigan conservation officer for 27 years, said he knows it can be all too common in Michigan waters.

"Last year we lost thousands of ducks in the state," he said. "It's important to save anything that can't fend for itself."

The two began freeing the ducks by pulling the still-attached feathers out of the ice. They also used a 20-foot aluminum pole to test and later break up the ice that surrounded the ducks.

Afterward, they brought the ducks up the bank to their van to warm up. The ended up freeing five ducks.

The female redhead was one of the last they brought up to get warm.

"Probably within 10 minutes, she would have been dead," Chelsea said. "She was sideways and her eyes were closed."

Minutes after being released back into the St. Clair River, the bird could be seen diving down for food once more.

"Some people would say, 'It's just a duck,'" John said. "But that's not fair. It's still a living creature." - The Times Herald.

Thousands of dead fish wash up along Runmaro Island, 'never seen this before' in Sweden

Per Åkerlund took a photo of the dead fish.

Last Thursday Per Åkerlund on the island Runmarö in the Stockholm archipelago to watch the in-laws' house.

During a walk along the eastern part of the island, he began to see how it was dead fish along the shore.

But the dead fish was just the beginning.

- I went on a mountain and looked smaller collections of fish everywhere. I walked along the water and came to a bay where it had blown into drifts of fish, he says.

The thousands of dead herrings as Per Åkerlund captured image was washed up from the sea and was only a few feet from the shore.

Never seen anything like it

He has some experience of the archipelago and fish, but it is the first time he sees something similar.

- It looks a little nine-spined stickleback sometimes, but I've never seen this kind of fish, he says.

With the dead fish came a certain odor, he says:

- It did not smell so good. I took the picture and held my nose and walked away.

Afterward, he alerted the provincial government about the incident that has said they will return if they get some clarity in what herring death depends.

Sture Hansson, Professor of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, says that it occasionally wash ashore large amounts of dead fish, and that there may be a number of explanations as to why.

- It is very difficult to say what caused it. One can only speculate and it gets the imagination to grow.

If the event on Runmarö not repeat itself, it's nothing to worry about over a larger perspective, says Sture Hansson.

Freezing water

He mentions several possible explanations why the fishermen's death.

- It could be such a trivial thing as a fishing boat that had been out since not received the entire beam. Or that it has become a hole in the beam, he says.

During the winter, the water can be supercooled and so cold that the fish are unable to survive in it. Under normal circumstances keep the fishes to warmer water, but if a stressor occurs, it may cause them to go astray, says Sture Hansson.

- We have a lot of seals in the archipelago now. If a herring shoals chased by a seal, they can behave foolishly and end up in very cold water that they can not do, he says. - Expressen. [Translated]

Battling Bald eagles crash down onto tree in Tuckerton, New Jersey

Two bald eagles interlocked, injured and hanging from a tree in Tuckerton, NJ.  © Ben Wurst

On Tuesday, February 17, 2015 we got a call about a couple injured bald eagles from our colleagues with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program. They were reported hanging from a pine tree off a road in Tuckerton, NJ by some local residents. We didn't know how long they were there, but we knew that we needed to respond quickly if a bird had a chance to survive. We arrived at the scene to find two adults that were indeed, hanging from a tree. Luckily the local residents on the scene knew someone who worked for AC Electric (he also lived on the same road the birds were off of) and had a truck with a cherry picker on it. After the cherry picker arrived I went up to free the two birds.

WATCH: Bald eagle rescue.

One eagle was alive and one had unfortunately died. The two were likely engaged in a territorial dispute and fell to where they hung on that skinny tree branch. Eagles are extremely territorial to their nest sites and even fight over food when it is scarce. Eagles also often lock feet while performing courtship displays, but this was certainly NOT a courtship display. Each had a foot that was totally locked with the other. The dead eagle had its "death grip" on the surviving eagle and if no one saw these birds then both would have died.

After assessing the situation, I realized I needed some kind of a pole or hand saw to cut a branch to slide the dead birds leg off the branch, which would free both birds. I called down to the local residents who gathered below and asked if any had a saw. One did, so I went back down, grabbed the saw and proceeded back up to cut the branch and free the hanging eagles.

After bringing the birds down to the ground, watch as it took three grown men to pry their feet apart.

The survivor was banded (although the federal band was missing) with a green auxiliary band, C/58, and she was ID'd as a female that was produced at a nest near Merrill Creek Reservoir in 2008.

I had no idea how I would carry the surviving bird home. She was wrapped in a blanket to keep her calm. I was considering driving her to my house (10 min away) on my lap or on the floor of my truck (wrapped up). Luckily neither was needed! Another local resident had a large dog crate in his truck so we put the bird in the crate. After talking over options for care of the bird with Kathy Clark, ENSP Zoologist, we decided to transport her to the Mercer County Wildlife Center last night. I met Diane Nickerson, Director of MCWC, who stayed late to help give this bird the urgent care that it most desperately needed. It was alert and feisty, which were both good signs. It was given fluids, medications, and was placed in an incubator to stay warm for the night. We're anxious to hear how the bird is doing today.  - The Gloucester City News.

World’s Largest Falcon Species, Arctic Gyrfalcon, Spotted In Chicago Area

A gyrfalcon lands on a man’s hand. (Credit: JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Chicago's hosting an extremely rare visitor which is good for bird watchers but tough on other birds, reports WBBM's John Cody.

Wildlife biologist Chris Anchor with Cook County Forest Preserve District says the same conditions that brought snowy owls to Chicago have also brought Chicago the biggest falcon in the world.

The Gyrfalcon has a wing span up to 4 and 1/2 feet and weighs three or four pounds. Anchor says they can kill other birds as large as ducks and geese.

He says the Gyrfalcon, spotted at Navy Pier and also in Barrington northwest of Chicago, has a maximum air speed of 120 miles an hour.

Anchor says this is only the fourth one he's seen in his 30-year career as a wildlife biologist. - CBS Chicago.

Rhino attacks car at West Midland Safari Park, UK

A mum has demanded tighter safety controls at West Midlands Safari Park after a charging rhino smashed into her vehicle – with her screaming toddler inside.

The two tonne beast caused £500-worth of damage to Vicky Liggins’ Mitsubishi Warrior during the heart-stopping attack at the tourist attraction in Bewdley, Worcestershire.

Vicky Liggins from Halesowen whose 4x4 vehicle was damaged after it was attacked and lifted up by a rhino
Vicky Liggins from Halesowen whose 4x4 vehicle was damaged after it was attacked and lifted up by a rhino

And as the Northfield bank worker fled the scene, with her sister Beth Rees and 19 month-old daughter Evelyn in the car, she says the Asian rhino gave chase.

Thankfully, a ranger came to the rescue, but the beast gave chase as Vicky drove away.

The Mitsubishi suffered a smashed back light, crumpled rear and dents to the driver’s side.

The safari park has apologised to Vicky and sent her a £250 goodwill gesture.

But Vicky, aged 26 from Halesowen wants barriers erected to prevent rhinos wandering in front of vehicles.

Rhinos at West Midlands Safari Park
Rhinos at West Midlands Safari Park

“We were absolutely petrified. I dread to think what would’ve happened if we’d been in a smaller, lighter vehicle,” Vicky told the Birmingham Mail.

“As we drove past the three rhinos, I thought they were too close. These animals are two ton – they weigh more than a car, they’re dangerous animals.

“I didn’t notice the rhino behind my car until it hit the vehicle with its horn.

“We were all really frightened. It then shunted us from behind with such force, the back wheel lifted off the floor.

“We were absolutely petrified. I thought the rhino was going to pierce the back panel and smash through the rear windscreen. We couldn’t drive away because of the rhinos in front.

“My daughter was in tears and the sad thing is that she loves animals.”

“It was one very scary and expensive day,” said Vicky. “As a member of the public you don’t expect to be hit by a massive animal like that.

“I want the public to understand the dangers of safari parks. Even with so called ‘rangers’ on site, it isn’t safe.”

Vicky has criticised the way park top brass handled the attack, which happened three weeks ago. “I received no immediate apology and was referred to the ‘terms and conditions’.

In an official statement to the Birmingham Mail, the safari park has said sorry, but declined to go into detail about the incident.

A spokeswoman said: “The highlight of a visit to West Midland Safari Park is to drive amongst free roaming animals and to get the chance to feed some of them.“In addition, we also offer a guided minibus tour for a small extra charge. We welcome many, many thousands of visitors during the course of a year without mishap and, therefore, we are very sorry that wasn’t so on this particular occasion”. - Birmingham Mail.

Rogue owl terrorizing Dutch town

A European eagle owl in Portugal is shown in captivity. One of its breed has been wreaking havoc in the Dutch town of Purmerend.
Wikimedia Commons/Alvesgaspar

The northern Dutch town of Purmerend has advised residents to arm themselves with an umbrella when going out at night after a mysterious spate of bloody rogue owl attacks.
Over the last three weeks, the European eagle owl has silently swooped on dozens of residents of the usually peaceful town, with many victims requiring hospital treatment.

The latest aerial assault on Tuesday evening saw two members of a local athletics club attacked, with one runner requiring stitches for six head wounds caused by the nocturnal bird of prey's talons.

The club has cancelled all training until further notice.

Residents and workers at Prinsenstichting home for the handicapped have been left terrified following at least 15 attacks, spokeswoman Liselotte de Bruijn told AFP.

"During the day there's no problem, but at night we now only venture outside armed with umbrellas, helmets and hats, anything really, to protect ourselves," said De Bruijn.

"The problem is that you don't hear the owl before it strikes. Its claws are razor-sharp," she said.

"We hope the city will soon catch this rogue bird."

Purmerend city council said it was trying to find a solution.

"We want to catch the owl as our city's residents are in danger," it said on its website, noting however that the European eagle owl is a protected species that requires special permission to be trapped.

"These procedures can still take some time. Meanwhile, we are advising people to stay away from the owl," the city said, telling night strollers in the area to shield themselves with umbrellas.
Gejo Wassink of the Netherlands' OWN owl foundation said the bird's behaviour was unusual.

"Either the owl was reared in captivity and released into the wild and now associates humans with food -- meaning it's not really 'attacking' people."

"Or it may have heightened hormone levels as the breeding season starts, which influences its behaviour and makes it defend its territory," Wassink told AFP, saying the bird "appears to be a female".

He pointed to the wider problem of people hand-rearing owls and then releasing them into the wild when they become too big to handle, potentially leading to an increase in attacks.

The European eagle owl is one of the largest owl species, with a wing-span of up to 1.80 metres (almost six feet) and weighing up to three kilos (seven pounds).  - Discovery News.

Moose went "out of its way" to trample woman in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

A dog walker found herself on the wrong side of a bull moose last weekend when she was struck and trampled by one in Colorado.
A dog walker found herself on the wrong side of a bull moose last weekend when she was struck and trampled by one in Colorado.

The popular ski resort town of Steamboat Springs is well-known for its hot springs, skiing festivals, and abundant moose population. Visitors are often warned to give the area's resident moose a wide berth, but sometimes the animals have ideas of their own. According to CBS4, a dog walker was injured on Sunday when she was trampled by a spooked moose.

The victim, who has been identified by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) as Katharine Hash, sustained serious injuries during the encounter and was later airlifted to a Denver hospital.

Witnesses told investigators that the bull moose had struck Hash from behind, despite having ample space to run around her, and some even said that the animal deliberately crossed the road to trample the dog walker.

"At this point, our best guess is something else happened on an adjacent property and caused the moose to run (into Storm Mountain Ranch), and for whatever reason it came across the woman and ran over her," CPW wildlife manager Jim Haskins told the Steamboat Pilot. "Whatever happened probably didn't have anything to do with the dogs."

Hash later told investigators that she did not know the bull was nearby until she turned around at the last second and was headbutted by the animal. Getting hit by a moose running at full speed is not unlike getting hit by a truck, and Hash suffered multiple facial and skull fractures. Despite the injuries, Hash has since been released from the hospital and is now recovering. Conservation officers were able to track the animal to Emerald Mountain, even picking up shed antlers that are believed to belong to the bull. CPW spokespeople say that it is the policy of the department to euthanize moose that aggressively attack humans, but also added that officers have a low probability of locating the animal.

It is not the first time the CPW has been on the trail of an unruly moose. Hash's encounter marks the fourth moose attack in the Steamboat area since 2013, and also the fourth dog walker to be confronted by one of the large animals.

"In the wake of several people being injured by moose [in 2014], Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding outdoor enthusiasts that moose can be aggressive when dogs and humans get too close. Since early spring, wildlife officers have responded to three human/moose conflicts, including two recent incidents in Grand Lake. In all three instances, dogs—both on and off-leash—reportedly spooked the moose before it charged and seriously injured the dog's owner." stated the CPW on its website. "Moose in Colorado have very few natural predators and they are not generally frightened by humans. However, state wildlife officials caution that the large ungulates see dogs as a threat due to their similarities with wolves, their primary predator. Wildlife officials caution that dogs should never be allowed to approach a moose."  - Outdoor Hub.

Aggressive eagle owl terrorizes residents in Wotton-under-Edge, UK

This eagle owl could be one of the biggest in the world
This eagle owl could be one of the biggest in the world Photo: N/A
An eagle owl has been terrorising residents in Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire.

It's thought the owl has been hand reared, and so is attracted to people.

The bird, which may have escaped from a private collector, is one of the biggest owls it the world - and expert Jemima Parry-Jones says that during the breeding season people do need to take care.

One woman broke her arm as she tried to run away from him.
It's not vicious. It's not nasty. But it is an accident waiting to happen. These are one of the largest owls in the word. They are large enough to kill a 5 pound rabbit. They take other birds of prey and may well be killing other owls in the area, and they have been known to kill small cats as well. They have feet almost the size of my hand, with talons over an inch long, and if it lands on someone who is frightened, and they try to brush it away, or if it lands on a child and they scream and try to run off they can get hurt.
- Jemima Parry-Jones, International Centre for Birds of Prey

- ITV.

The canary in the coal mine? Nesting wading bird population crashes by 28% in a year, Florida Everglades

Low water conditions because of the drought in Everglades Conservation area 2B west of Markham Park in Sunrise provide easy pickings for wading birds.Blue Herons, egrets, white herons, woodstorks, black crowned night herons and cormorants are several of the species of birds that are enjoying the feast in the area on April 28,2011.Here woodstorks gather on the dike on the south side of the conservation area.
Low water conditions because of the drought in Everglades Conservation area 2B west of Markham Park in Sunrise provide easy pickings for wading birds.Blue
Herons, egrets, white herons, woodstorks, black crowned night herons and cormorants are several of the species of birds that are enjoying the feast in the area
on April 28,2011.Here woodstorks gather on the dike on the south side of the conservation area. Credit Joe Rimkus Jr. / Miami Herald Staff

It's not a canary or a coal mine in Florida, but the idea from Audubon of Florida is the same. Wading birds hold the same function as the canary, and in this case the coal mine is the Everglades. Tabitha Cale with the society says things are dire.

The 20th anniversary of the Wading Bird Report is out and there's some bad news. Everglades restoration is not going well. The report shows that in 2014 there were 34,714 wading bird nests in the Greater Everglades. That's 28 percent fewer than in 2013.

The biggest drops included little blue herons, 83 percent, tricolored herons, 42 percent, and snowy egrets, 47 percent.

Counting wading bird nests is an indicator of where water flows are improving. The report shows the area with great progress is the Kissimmee River Basin. Meanwhile, Everglades National Park still needs improvement.

There's promise on the legislative side. Last month Governor Rick Scott set aside $150 million in his budget for the Everglades. It's part of a 20-year plan to pump $5 billion into protecting and restoring the ecosystem. This week President Barack Obama proposed in his budget for another $195 million for the Everglades.

Twenty-years after the first wading bird report, things are not all bad news. Cale says, "I think we're getting there in terms of getting important projects finished, like the Central Everglades Planning Project. That's something that really will improve a lot of the conditions in the Central Everglades and allow to move water into the Southern Everglades."

Cale adds, "As we restore those water flows, not only will we protect these beautiful birds, it will also push back against sea water intrusion as well protect coastal habitats and reduce land loss."

We are halfway through the Everglades Restoration Plan set back in 2000. It's an effort to restore and protect the natural ecosystem of the Everglades. It covers 18,000 square miles over sixteen counties at a cost of more than $10 billion dollars.  - WLRN.

Two women mauled by packs of feral dogs in Bareilly, India

 The stray dog menace in Baheri tehsil has taken on a new dimension as the canines have now started targeting adults as well. Two women, aged 37 and 50, were reportedly mauled by dogs in separate incidents in the district on Tuesday.

According to reports, Reshamvati, 37, was attacked by a pack of ten dogs while she was collecting fodder in a field in Faizganj Kamthena village. She received injuries on stomach, legs and hands. Locals rushed to the spot after hearing her cries and rescued her. The villagers attacked the dogs with bamboo sticks and shooed them away. The woman has been admitted to community health centre (CHC) in Baheri where she is undergoing treatment.

In a similar incident, 50-year-old Heerakali, 50, was attacked by a pack in Nazarganj village when she had gone to the outskirts of the village for some work.
However, with timely intervention of locals, the woman managed to escape with minor injuries. She is also being treated at a CHC.

The team set up by the district administration has not been able to trap these dogs, the district authorities are now claiming that it appears that a few mad dogs are also part of the pack which are attacking the locals.

Baheri sub-divisional magistrate Rameshwarnath Tiwari said, "We are sure that the dogs are stray and not wild, but it appears now that a few mad dogs are also part of the group which is mauling the locals." He added that the joint team of forest department and Nagar Palika are combing the forest to trap the dogs.

Meanwhile, members of All India Jan Sewa Committee, on Wednesday, submitted a memorandum to the divisional commissioner, demanding compensation for the families whose children were injured in stray dog attacks.

"The children who have been attacked belong to poor families and they are not in a position to bear the cost of treatment. The district administration has failed to tackle the dogs menace but at least they should provide compensation to the families for treatment on humanitarian grounds," said Nadeem Qureshi, All India Jan Sewa Committee president.

In the past 40 days, the pack of stray dogs have killed five children and injured at least 10 children. According to the district administration, the dogs are attacking locals living in nearly 20 villages situated in and around two rivers - Babul and Kicha.  - The Times of India.

Massachusetts animal shelters report large numbers of suffering wildlife due to record cold weather

A screech owl sat on a perch mending a fractured wing at the New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth.  © John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The casualty list is wide ranging: possums with frostbite, a turtle frozen in a block of ice, a swan hit by a plow, a fox hit by a car.

If this month's record cold and snowfall have taken a toll on human residents in Massachusetts, they have also wreaked havoc on the animal population, particularly wildlife. Animal shelters are beyond capacity with weather-related injuries.

"This is the worst winter that we've seen in terms of straight-up starving animals coming in," said veterinarian Maureen Murray, who practices and teaches at the Tufts University Wildlife Clinic in North Grafton. "With this historic amount of snow and extremely low temperatures, animals need more energy to stay warm, but they're not able to find food sources for that energy, so it's a really big strain on them."

Although it's difficult to determine whether wildlife populations have suffered permanent damage, local experts say it's clear the animals are under extreme stress.

In response, animal shelters are working overtime. At New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth, the staff is tending to creatures they rarely see, including ocean birds blown off course by the recent storms and brought into the shelter emaciated and battered.

The Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, one of the largest in the Northeast, has more than 90 patients in care now, nearly triple the average number for this time of year, said director Deborah Millman.

At the New England Wildlife Center, Dr. Greg Mertz cared for a malnourished mallard duck that was rescued in the snow. © John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

At the New England Wildlife Center, Dr. Greg Mertz cared for a malnourished mallard duck that was rescued in the snow.

"I cannot think of a wild species that is not at risk in this weather," said Dr. Greg Mertz, chief executive and "odd pet vet" at the New England center, whose staff has been working around the clock to feed them and mend broken wings and legs. "They're part of the same environment we live in, and the things that affect us are also affecting them."

The patients at the center, the only wildlife hospital in Greater Boston, include an Eastern screech owl brought in by an Abington family who noticed that it was up to its neck in snow. "His body was frozen. We put him in ICU in an oxygen tank, and on top of a heating pad," said executive director Katrina Bergman. Treated for hypothermia, malnutrition, and a broken wing, he is doing well, she said.

Similarly, a turtle found frozen in a snowbank by a Boston family is recovering. "They don't have a car, so they rented a Zipcar and brought it in," said Bergman.

It is not easy treating wildlife under even the best of circumstances. "Domestic animals want to be taken care of, but wildlife want no part of this at all," said Mertz. "These animals are not used to being around people at all."

The MSPCA reports that two starving roosters with frostbitten combs were found abandoned in Shrewsbury, and a Pekin duck was plucked out of a snowbank by the Marblehead animal control officer. "She was probably someone's pet," said MSPCA spokesman Rob Halpin. "She had a little blue ribbon tied around her leg."

Among the most common animals being seen at the shelters are ailing sea birds. The worst of the recent storms have been nor'easters, where the wind rotates onto land from the northeast, driving ocean birds toward shore and onto ice floes or snowbanks, according to the wildlife center.

Mertz held a red-tailed hawk in a towel.  © John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The birds include thick-billed murres, Bufflehead ducks, and horned grebes. Malnourished, too weak to fly, and hundreds of miles from their habitats, they've been treated for broken wings and legs, and fed constantly. Mertz had two black ducks in ICU that had to be tube-fed, so frail were they after being blown from their ocean lair onto land.

"These guys are almost always offshore, and people never come in contact with them," Mertz said.

Beyond the ones he has treated at his clinic, Mertz said he is also concerned about those animals he's not seeing. Take, for instance, chipmunks, groundhogs, squirrels, shrews, mice, and moles. "They're not at risk now because they're buried in hibernation, but when all this snow melts, that changes the story. You worry about the flooding that will affect the hibernating."

Many other animals normally would burrow through the snow to eat buds and seeds, but most are doubtless having trouble both digging through the deep drifts and finding anything to eat these days, he said.

Like the wildlife center, the MSPCA is concerned about those animals that can't reach either the ground or seeds. "It's at this time when backyard bird feeders are most appreciated by animals who otherwise might starve, and we'd ask for everyone who is able to do so to please keep their seed feeders filled until spring comes," said Halpin.

A Canada goose who was brought in malnourished and weak is tube fed.  © John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

A Canada goose who was brought in malnourished and weak is tube fed.
Mertz said he worries that larger animals, like deer, may be frustrated in their attempts to secure food, finding it too difficult to forage. The only animal tracks he has seen in the woodlands are from fisher cats.

"I think that's because they're light enough not to be sinking deep into the snow, but I'm not sure they're getting enough to eat."

Domestic animals are less at risk from the weather. Those who work with them report that the vast majority of pet owners are able to keep their animals safe and comfortable. It's the economy — not the weather — that most affects pet security.

Still, the shelters for domestic animals are facing their own difficulties. At Greyhound Friends Inc. in Hopkinton, two volunteers, Jon Servello and Mickayla Shepard, "ride out the storms overnight with the dogs" to make sure the 30 hounds are safe and sound. "Greyhounds have no fat, no insulation; they're short-haired," said Louise Coleman, who founded the nonprofit in 1983. "We're very careful with this kind of weather."

The fenced-in area for the dogs to roam and relieve themselves is blanked in snowdrifts. "Greyhounds don't like being anything but comfortable," Servello said. "Trying to get them outside when there's disagreeable weather is difficult."

That's where their two-legged friends come in.  - The Boston Globe.

King crab from Arctic waters found on Redcar beach, UK

King Crab on Redcar beach

Red king crab could be first on our shores, crustacean is usually found in icy waters like the Arctic

He's spent his working life beneath the sea but even oceanographer David McCreadie was baffled by a rare visitor to Redcar.

For the formidable-looking red crustacean found by David's fiancee Diane Weinoski looks for all the world like a king crab - and they hardly ever stray from considerably icier waters.

Members of the lithododid family, king crabs are large, tasty and usually found in seas MUCH colder than Redcar's.

And despite having worked and played in oceans across the world since the mid-1960s, David has never heard of one being found this far south.

Oceanographer David McCreadie

His suspicion that the six-legged visitor was a king crab species has now been confirmed by David's friend and world crab expert Dr Norman Sloan, of the remote Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia, Canada. Dr Sloan, who used to work in the Natural History Museum, is now contacting an expert on British crustaceans to discuss it further.

David, 66, who was brought up in Redcar but now lives in Great Ayton, said: "I have dived as an amateur and professional since 1966 and never seen one anywhere near here before.

"I have heard that king crabs have migrated under the Arctic ice cap and been found in Norway, but this is so far south."

In a lifetime devoted to marine matters, after studying oceanography and marine biology in Bangor, North Wales, in 1966, David stayed to do research before starting a successful oyster hatchery, mussel business and lobster tanks.

Since then, he's started a smokery which supplies the Royal Family, worked as a senior offshore inspection rep in Abu Dhabi and is currently senior lecturer at the TWI Techonology Centre on Riverside Park, Middlesbrough.

In other words, when it comes to life under the sea, he knows what he's talking about.

David, a former pupil of Sir William Turner's School in Redcar, said: "I know my crustaceans and when I saw this one, I knew it was special.

"I know king crabs are common in the Arctic, especially around Alaska, and they have turned up in Norway recently, but how on earth this one has got so far south, I have no idea. To my knowledge, this is the first one.

"It could only come from very cold, deep water but we don't have very cold deep water in the North Sea.

"Perhaps it was on its summer holidays!"

Sadly, the king crab's Redcar vacation didn't last long.

It was alive when Diane first came across it last Friday, but a subsequent return to the beach found it dead on the sands. - The Gazette.

Thousands of birds dead due to avian flu in Monywa, Myanmar

Bird flu sa resurfaced in Myanmar, prompting officials to turn to culling chickens
to stem the spread of the H5N1 virus. Fortunately, no human cases have
been reported. (Photo : USAID Afghanistan)
In an effort to prevent H5N1 bird flu from spreading, Myanmar has turned to culling more than a thousand chickens in Monywa.

The country's first bird flu outbreak in 2006 also happened in the same region, around 525 miles northwest of Yangon. The last outbreak in Myanmar was in 2011 in the western Rakhine State. Over 1,400 chickens as well as 10,000 quails have died since the outbreak started in Monywa earlier in the month but it has been brought under control. No infections in people have been reported but 1,500 chickens and over 20,000 quails have been culled since then.

H5N1 is a highly pathogenic bird flu virus that has led to dramatic outbreaks in the domestic poultry industries in the Middle East and some parts of Asia. The first human infection was recorded in Hong Kong in 1997, with almost 650 cases reported since 2003 across 15 countries.

Highly pathogenic means a virus has great ability to cause disease but while H5N1 is one, the virus is mostly easily caught by poultry. People may get infected from coming into contact with sick or dead poultry that have been infected with the virus but once infected people can't pass it to each other. Around 60 percent of cases in humans result into death.

In the United States, no cases of H5N1 have been reported in birds or people. In 2011 though, 62 human cases of infection were recorded, with 34 dying in Indonesia, Egypt, China, Cambodia and Bangladesh. Common symptoms of an infection in people include fever and cough, which may rapidly progress to severe viral pneumonia with hypoxia, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath.

The best way to prevent infection in people is to avoid any form of contact with infected poultry, sick or dead. This means avoiding live poultry markets while traveling as these areas may harbor the virus. At the same time, it is essential to practice good hygiene and proper food handling when preparing raw eggs or poultry. Make sure to wash hands with warm water and soap for minimum of 20 seconds and ensure all cutting boards and utensils are also properly washed. This will prevent raw poultry from contaminating other food items being prepared. Avoid eating raw eggs and make sure poultry is being cooked at an ideal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. A bird flu vaccine is currently underway in Thailand. A nasal spray, the medication has started phase 1 clinical trials. - Tech Times.

Thousands of dead fish found, 'no explanation' in the port of Wolfersdorf, France

Dead fish in the Rhone-Rhine Canal

Since Monday, thousands of dead fish are found in the marina of Dannemarie-Wolfersdorf Sundgau. This pollution causes anger fishermen.

Thousands of dead fish were found in the Rhone-Rhine Canal. Water police went there to take samples because there is no foam, no traces of oil on the surface and yet it probably has a pollution.

Already carried levies on Tuesday by teams of Green Brigades of the General Council of the Upper Rhine are being analyzed at the Veterinary Laboratory to determine the cause of this carnage. It would perhaps "pesticides dumped into the canal or pollution from a battery" explained the specialist. The police opened an investigation. - France3. [Translated]

5,000 Birds killed due to avian flu in Jigawa State, Nigeria

The Jigawa State Government on Tuesday said it has recorded three cases of bird flu outbreak and has culled over 5, 000 birds in the state.

Dr Abdullahi Birniwa, the Director, Veterinary Service, State’s Ministry of Agriculture made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Dutse.

Birniwa said the outbreaks were recorded in three different farms in Hadejia, Taura and Dutse Local Government Areas of the state.

He explained that when the symptoms were noticed in the affected farms, the ministry took a sample to the National Laboratory, Vom in Jos, where it was confirmed.

The director said that the ministry was directed to cull all birds in the affected farms.

According to him, over 5, 000 birds have been culled in the operation.

Birniwas said the affected birds included Turkeys, Ducks, Chickens and Geese.

He further explained that all the affected farms were sprayed with disinfectant to prevent further spread of the disease.

The director said that the operators of the affected farms were directed not put another birds until further notice. - Daily Post.

Snake makes a rare winter appearance in Stephenville, Maryland

Jake Claypoole of Stevenville spotted something unusual when he took his son sledding near the park and ride across from Kent Landing Shopping Center, commonly called Kmart hill, about noon Wednesday, Feb. 18. He noticed a 3-foot snake on top of the ice on the storm water management pond.

Claypoole said he thought the snake was dead at first, but then he noticed its tongue moving and it began slithering toward the snow.

He said he watched and took pictures for about 20 minutes as the snake made its way off the ice, across the snow and into some nearby brush.

He said he had never seen a snake out in the winter on snow or ice before.

WATCH: A snake in winter.

Bill Killen of the Wye Research and Education Center at the University of Maryland Extension in Queenstown identified the snake as a garter snake from the photos on Monday, Feb. 23.

While snakes may sometimes come out in the winter to sun themselves on a warm day, Killen agreed it was unusual for the snake to come out during the frigid arctic temperatures the area experienced last week.

"It's not very often that they do that," he said.

Killen speculated the snake may have been hibernating under the parking lot. Unless it was able to find its way under cover, it likely became lunch for a bird.  - The Star Democrat.