Tuesday, January 13, 2015

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 - China And Russia To Launch New Credit Rating Agency In 2015!

Reuters/How Hwee Yong

January 13, 2015 - RUSSIA/CHINA
- The new Universal Credit Rating Group (UCRG) is being set up to rival the existing agencies Moody's, S&P and Fitch, and its first rating will be issued this year.

The setting up of UCRG is in its final stages, ready to challenge the ‘Big Three’ that currently dominate the industry, the Managing Director of RusRating Aleksandr Ovchinnikov told Sputnik News Agency on Tuesday.

"In our opinion, the first ratings [will] appear … during the current year,"
Ovchinnikov said, adding that accreditation with the local regulator is already underway.

The news comes on the heels of Fitch’s decision to follow S&P in downgrading Russia’s sovereign credit rating to BBB-, a step above junk level and on par with India and Turkey.

The new agency will be based in Hong Kong, and provide a check on the ‘Big Three’, which some analysts say don’t provide an accurate reading of economic situations.

Many securities and bonds in the US that had triple-A ratings in 2008 and were considered ‘safe’, turned out to be a bubble, revealed by the subprime mortgage crisis.

"When the issue of creating an agency alternative to the ‘Big Three’ [Standard & Poor's, Moody's, and Fitch Group] was raised, we in fact offered [a] project that was ready to be launched and was supported by the governments of Russia and China,"
Ovchinnikov said.

Developed economies are often given a free credit rating pass, whereas developing economies are assigned more risky ratings, the RusRating analyst said.

UCRG was officially created in June 2013 by China’s Dagon, Russia’s RusRating and America's Egan-Jones Ratings. Each member will hold an equal share in the venture, with an initial investment of $9 million. - RT.

ICE AGE NOW: Heavy Tropical Snowfall In Vietnam - Caused Traffic Jam Over Many Kilometres In Several Provinces!

January 13, 2015 - VIETNAM
- Heavy snowfall caused a traffic jam that extended several kilometers in Sa Pa town in the northern province of Lao Cai from Friday night to Saturday morning. Tourists from other provinces have flocked to the area for a taste of tropical snowfall.

The temperature at O Quy Ho Mountain Pass in Sa Pa town dropped to below 0 Celsius degree from 9pm on Friday to past midnight on Saturday, causing snow to fall heavily in many areas, according to Nguyen Van Thanh, a forest ranging official of the province's Hoang Lien National Park.

The snowfall seriously limited drivers' visibility and caused a several-hour traffic jam on National Highway 4D from Sa Pa to neighboring Lai Chau province and the other way around.

Many roads, trees and vegetables gardens in Sa Pa Town and neighboring areas have been blanketed by 5 to 15cm thick snow.

Around 40 container trucks waited in line for the traffic to be cleared, said Senior Lieutenant Bui Tuan Anh, a local traffic policeman.

Local traffic police were deployed to direct the traffic flow.

The truck congestion persisted until 2pm on Saturday, with only cars being able to go through.

Many roads, trees and vegetables gardens in Sa Pa Town and neighboring areas have been blanketed by 5 to 15cm thick snow.

Heaviest snow is seen at Bac Waterfall and the peak of O Quy Ho Mt Pass.
Locals have worked hard to remove the snow from their roofs, gardens and cattle sheds and cushion them from damage.

Influxes of tourists and photographers from Hanoi and other provinces have flocked to the area for a taste and snapshots of the snowfall. - Tuoitren News.

CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS & NEW WORLD DISORDER: Societal Collapse And Civilizations Unraveling In Europe - Radical Cleric Choudary Calls Charlie Hebdo Cartoon Of The Prophet Muhammad An "ACT OF WAR"!

Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary (AFP Photo/Leon Neal)

January 13, 2015 - BRITAIN
- Radical Islamist cleric Anjem Choudary has declared the decision to print a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on the cover of Charlie Hebdo’s first issue since Wednesday’s massacre an “act of war.”

The controversial cleric made the statements days after claiming Muslims did “not believe in freedom of speech” following last week’s terror attack in Paris, in which 17 people were killed by Islamist gunmen.

Among those killed were journalists and cartoonists working for the controversial magazine, which printed images of the Prophet Muhammad.

According to the Islamists, depicting images of the Prophet was an act that warranted capital punishment under Sharia (Islamic) law.

Choudary claimed the magazine’s decision to print the cartoon was “attacking the honor of the Prophet,” and that ridiculing the Prophet of Islam is “extremely serious.”

He also described the decision as an act of “blatant provocation” that would be tried as an “act of war” in a Sharia court.

However, self-styled Sharia law judge Choudary did not directly declare that Muslims would react to the decision violently.

Charlie Hebdo’s latest edition features a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on a green background, holding a placard reading “Je Suis Charlie” – the slogan widely used to express solidarity with the deceased journalists.

The magazine also features a strapline saying “All is forgiven.”

While the image has been shared numerous times online, the British press remain divided over whether to publish it. So far, only The Independent has decided to print the cover image.

The magazine is expected to sell over three million copies on Tuesday. - RT.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Colorado Sinkhole Nearly Swallows Car; 15-FEET-DEEP; Repair Could Take Months!

A SUV teeters on the edge of a sinkhole that opened above an old mine shaft under East Cleveland Street between Foote and Burlington
avenues in Lafayette on Monday. (Courtesy Coyocihault Carbone)

January 13, 2015 - COLORADO, UNITED STATES
- It could take months for crews to repair a sinkhole that opened above an old mine shaft on East Cleveland Street early Monday morning, nearly swallowing a SUV whole.

The sinkhole opened in the pre-dawn hours on East Cleveland between between Foote and Burlington avenues, above what used to be the main shaft of the Simpson coal mine — leaving a 15-foot-deep hole filled with water and debris in the middle of the street.

A car and its driver were perilously close to also ending up at the bottom of the sinkhole. The man told police he was driving through what he thought was a pothole at 5 a.m. Monday when he felt the asphalt suddenly "collapse around him," according to Debbie Wilmot, a spokeswoman with the city of Lafayette.

Police responded to the scene and stabilized the vehicle long enough for the driver to get out without any injury. The SUV was then towed from its precarious perch.

Members of Lafayette's public works and police departments look over a large sinkhole that opened Monday on East Cleveland Street between Foote
and Burlington avenues. City officials say it could take months to repair. (Mark Leffingwell / Daily Camera)

Don Kinney lives just yards from the hole and said he was awakened by a loud "thump."

"I came out to look at it and thought I was dreaming," Kinney said of the gaping hole in the street. "I've lived here 30 years and it's the first time I've seen this."

Wilmot said the sinkhole opened up over the main shaft of the old Simpson mine, which was shut down 88 years ago. She said the shaft had been filled in, but it appears recent rains had caused the fill to erode away.

"The combination of weather and conditions were just right for it to happen at this point," Wilmot said. "It was not any one overarching event that caused it."

Crews said no gas or water lines were damaged when the sinkhole opened.

Wilmot said the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety will arrive on scene Tuesday to fill the hole, but crews must also inspect the area around the collapse, and permanent repairs may not be done for months.

WATCH: A 15-foot sinkhole nearly swallows a SUV and the person inside it in Lafayette, Colorado. Weather's Matt Sampson has the details. 

"It depends on what they find," Wilmot said. "They don't want to do a permanent fix unless they are confident what they've done in the interim is what they need to do."

Dick Schillawski with the Lafayette Miners Museum said that neighborhood was built over the Simpson coal mine, which was closed in 1927 and was then filled in over the next few years.

Wilmot said another sinkhole opened into an air shaft in an alley just north of Monday's sinkhole about 30 years ago. Daily Camera archives also show a sinkhole due to a coal mine at a trailer Park on South Public Road in 1974 that was 30 feet deep.

But Wilmot said there is no reason for residents to be concerned, and none of the houses near the sinkhole will need to be moved, and crews will likely even open up one lane of the street near the sinkhole.

"The collapse is just confined to the street," Wilmot said. - Daily Camera.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Tonga's Underwater Volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai Erupts - Sends Volcanic Ash Up To 30,000 Feet Into The Air; Causing Ocean To Turn Blood Red; Cancelling Airline Flights!

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai underwater volcano, located about 65 km (40 miles) north of the capital Nukualofa,
was sending volcanic ash up to 4,500 metres (14,765 feet) into the air.

January 13, 2015 - TONGA
- An underwater volcano off Tonga was spewing ash high into the air on Tuesday, causing several carriers to suspend air travel to the South Pacific island nation and turning the surrounding ocean blood red, residents and officials said.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai underwater volcano, located about 65 km (40 miles) north of the capital Nuku‛alofa, was sending volcanic ash up to 4,500 meters (14,765 feet) into the air, the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) said.

The volcano, which first erupted in 2009, had been rumbling in recent weeks before exploding violently in the past few days, The New Zealand Herald newspaper reported.

An Air New Zealand flight between Auckland and Nuku‛alofa on Monday was diverted to Samoa and later returned to New Zealand because of the volcano, the airline said in a statement.

A return service had been scheduled to fly on Tuesday, the airline said, but had been canceled because of volcanic activity. The volcano was not disrupting flights to other regions, it said.

Regional carrier Fiji Airlines also turned around a flight to Tonga on Monday, citing safety concerns, and domestic flights were grounded in Tonga.

Residents in Tonga described a spectacular sight, with the enormous plume from the volcano shooting high into the sky and a muddy discharge underwater turning areas of the sea off the island blood red.

"I feel it is healthily letting off steam but it is growing ... the base has doubled in size since December 24 when we first saw it again. And it's getting higher," resident Chris Egan told the Stuff.nz website.

"This one will not give up."

There was no damage reported and New Zealand's VAAC said the ash cloud was expected to dissipate by the end of Tuesday.  - Reuters.

Tongan volcano eruption puts flights on alert

The ash cloud as seen from the main island. Photo / Andrew Allison

A large ash cloud from a volcano in Tonga is starting to affect flights in the region and aviation authorities have issued an alert.

Air New Zealand said the volcanic activity had caused the cancellation of some services between New Zealand and Tonga.

Flight NZ970 operating between Auckland and Nuku'alofa yesterday was diverted to Samoa and later returned to Auckland. The return leg - flight NZ973 - from Nuku'alofa to Auckland was also cancelled, the airline said in a statement.

An additional return service which was due to operate today has also been cancelled.

Today's scheduled return service NZ970 Auckland - Tonga and NZ973 Tonga - Auckland had also been cancelled, the statement said.

The airline had scheduled additional services later in the week.

"The airline apologises for the disruption and will continue to monitor the situation closely," it said.

"The volcanic conditions in Tonga are not currently affecting Air New Zealand services to other destinations."

Andrew Allison, who is in Tonga on holiday, said his flight had been cancelled twice due to the ash cloud.

The Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre shows the reach of the plume. Photo / VAAC Wellington

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai underwater volcano - about 30km southeast of Falcon Island volcano - has been having small eruptions over the past few weeks, but a larger eruption in the past few days has resulted in a huge plume of ash covering the area.

An advisory has been put out by the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Wellington.

New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority is keeping a close eye on the volcanic activity.

Meteorological manager Peter Lechner said: "Looking at the advisory, they've still got an ash cloud extending from the southeast.

"From the ocean surface, the plume is up to 30,000 feet (9km) high."

The volcano is about 63km north of the island kingdom's main island and capital city: Nuku'alofa.

The advisory says it is expected the ash cloud will dissipate by about midnight (NZT) tonight. - NZ Herald.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Russian Economy In Crisis Mode - Goldman Sachs Slashes Forecast For The Ruble, As It Falls Further As Oil Price Tumbles; Fitch Downgrades Russia's Credit Rating To 1 Notch Above Junk Level!

January 13, 2015 - RUSSIA
- Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday all government hands were called upon to help an economy damaged by low oil prices and sanctions. The Russian currency, the ruble, was trading near historic lows Monday at 61 per U.S. dollar. Dual strains from Western sanctions imposed in response to the Kremlin's policies in Ukraine and the low price of oil is pushing the Russian economy toward recession.

Russian economy in crisis mode. Situation is "quite problematic," Russia's prime minister says.

Medvedev told his deputies there should be regular meetings to discuss the looming economic crisis.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signals economy
is on the verge of a major crisis. Photo: Anatoli Zhdanov/UPI
"The economic situation is quite problematic to say the least," he said. "Therefore, all of the members of the government must hold key meetings in the areas that they coordinate, as we have already agreed," Medvedev said.

Analysis from the World Bank in December finds the Russian economy will face difficulties through 2016 because of the decline in global oil prices.

Using an average price of $78 per barrel for 2015, about 35 percent higher than the current price, the bank finds real gross domestic product should contract by 0.7 percent for Russia.

In early December, the Russian prime minister said the economy never fully emerged from the global economic crisis six years ago.

By mid-December, the Russian Central Bank was forced to raise its key interest rate by 6.5 percent to 17 percent in an effort to arrest the decline of the nation's currency.

An annual report from the European Commission said the Russian economy was entering a period of stagflation. - UPI.

Goldman Sachs Just Slashed Its Forecast For The Ruble

Goldman Sachs has sharply cut its 2015 outlook for the ruble after revising its oil forecasts.

Goldman now expects the ruble to fall to 70.0 rubles per dollar over the next three months, down from its previous forecast for 46.2 rubles per dollar.

In twelve months, Goldman expects the ruble be at 60 against the dollar, down from its previous outlook for 49.6.

"We now expect Brent oil prices to fall further below forwards (and consensus expectations) to $42 per barrel by Q2 2015 before gradually recovering to a medium-term equilibrium of $70 per barrel in early 2016," writes Kamakshya Trivedi in the Goldman report. "Such a shift likely to affect EM currencies substantially," including the Russian ruble.

"For commodity exporters [such as Russia], a weaker currency serves to absorb some of the pressure from the sharp decline in oil prices and reorient the economy towards non-commodity producing areas," Kamakshya writes.

Earlier on Monday, we highlighted a recent note out from Goldman's Jeff Currie, who cut his view on oil prices significantly, notably taking his 6-month West Texas Intermediate forecast to $39 from $75 a barrel and the 6-month view on Brent to $43 from $85.

The ruble fell approximately 40% against the dollar over the course of 2014, a decline that has been primarily attributed to the declining price of oil. The ruble is currently trading around 63 to the dollar.

T he Russian economy is hanging on the edge of its first recession since 2009, following plunging oil prices and sanctions imposed by the West.

Additionally, Russia's recent PMI survey suggests that " the probability of a deep recession in Russia in 2015 has increased," according to Alexander Morozov, the chief economist of Russia, CIS, and the Baltics at HSBC.  - Yahoo.

Russian ruble falls further as oil price tumbles

A man walks past an exchange office on a snowy Moscow street in Russia, Monday, Jan. 12, 2015. The Russian ruble is edging further down amid a
continuing slump in oil prices. The government has predicted that the economy will drop by more than 4 percent this year if
oil prices remain at their current level. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

The Russian ruble accelerated its fall on Tuesday amid a renewed decline in the price of the country's valuable oil exports.

The currency was down more than 4 percent in afternoon trading in Moscow, at around 66 rubles per dollar. The ruble hit a record low of 80 per dollar in mid-December before recovering a bit, but it has been steadily falling since the start of the year.

The sale of oil is Russia's main revenue earner, so the months-long slump in energy markets has weighed on the country's economic outlook and markets. The price of Brent crude, an international variety of oil, has plunged from $115 a barrel in June to around $47 a barrel on Tuesday.

Western sanctions over Russia's involvement in the conflict in Ukraine have also hurt the country's markets, with the currency's fall among the more striking developments. Last year, the ruble was the world's worst performing currency along with the Ukrainian hryvnia.

Russia's central bank has tried to shore up the ruble by sharply raising its key interest rate. Higher rates tend to support a currency by enticing foreign investors with higher returns. It has intervened outright in currency reserves, by selling foreign currencies and buying the ruble. Its foreign currency reserves have dropped below $400 billion for the first time since August 2009.

The central bank has meanwhile also offered dollar and euro loans to banks so they can help companies that need foreign currencies to finance operations. The move is intended to help cushion the impact of Western sanctions that locked many Russian companies out of global capital markets.

In another attempt to support the ailing currency, the government encouraged major exporters to more regularly sell their Byearnings of foreign currencies to help meet market demand.

Despite all these measures, investors remain concerned about the impact of slumping oil prices. Russia's economy is expected to contract by more than 4 percent this year if oil prices remain at their current level.

President Vladimir Putin said last month that Russia would overcome the current crisis in no more than two years, but he so far hasn't offered any specific plan for an economic restructuring that would ease the nation's heavy reliance on oil and gas revenues. - Yahoo.

Fitch downgrades Russia’s credit rating to 1 notch above junk level

RIA Novosti / Kirill Kallinikov

The international ratings agency has knocked Russia’s credit rating down a peg, while warning that ‘growth may not return until 2017,’ as the national economy struggles amid sanctions and tumbling oil prices.

Fitch Ratings Inc, with dual headquarters in New York and London, downgraded Russia’s credit rating to BBB- from BBB, which is just one step away from the non-investment field.

While not yet the worst rating, Fitch nevertheless predicted a rough road ahead for the Russian economy, which has witnessed a dramatically weakened ruble together with steadily declining oil prices.

Fitch said Russia’s Gross Domestic Product will decrease by four percent this year, which is significantly worse than the 1.5 percent decline it had anticipated.

"Growth may not return until 2017," Fitch warned.

A storm of factors, including plummeting oil prices, turbulence with the national currency and sanctions slapped against the country in the aftermath of the Ukrainian debacle, have made the Russian economy particularly vulnerable.

In June, Brent crude was trading at more than $111; on Friday, it was less than $50 a barrel, while the ruble was trading at 63 against the dollar. In an intervention effort to offset the declining ruble, Russia’s dollar reserves took a hit, tumbling from $511 billion to $388 billion over the course of a year.

"Plunging oil prices have exposed the close link between growth and oil price [in Russia]," Fitch added.

It then lectured on Russia’s overdependence on natural resources: "Commodity dependence is high: energy products account for almost 70 percent of merchandise exports and 50 percent of federal government revenue, exposing the public finances and the balance of payments to external shocks."

The ratings agency also warned that Russian inflation, which hit 11.4 percent at the end of 2014, would remain stuck in the double-digits before dropping to 8.5 percent next year.
"The prospects of the [Russian Central Bank] realizing its end-2015 inflation target of 4.5 percent now look remote, particularly if the exchange rate falls further, potentially leading to still higher interest rates," Fitch predicted.

There were some silver linings, however, in the cloudy report with the ratings agency predicting that oil prices will increase to about $70 a barrel this year.

In the event that oil stays at its present historic lows, "it could precipitate a deeper recession and put further strain on public finances, severely limiting the authorities' room for maneuver."

Russia’s economic woes aren’t limited to the country itself. Europe, Russia’s largest trading partner, is feeling the pressure from loss of trade with its huge neighbor.

This week, French President Francois Hollande expressed deep concern over what sort of impact Russia’s economic downturn might have on Europe, going so far as to demand an end to the sanctions.

“If Russia has a crisis, it is not necessarily good for Europe,” Hollande said during a two-hour interview with radio station France Inter. “I'm not for the policy of attaining goals by making things worse, I think that sanctions must stop now.” - RT.

SOLAR WATCH: Sunspot 2257 Erupts With M5.6 Solar Flare - Pulse Of Extreme UV Radiation Ionizes Earth's Atmosphere; Brief Radio Blackout; More Flares Are In The Offing!

January 13, 2015 - SPACE
- Sunspot AR2257 erupted on Jan. 13th, producing an M5-class solar flare at 04:24 UT. A pulse of extreme UV radiation from he flare ionized Earth's upper atmosphere over Australia and the Indian Ocean. Mariners and ham radio operators may have noticed a brief communications blackout at frequencies below about 10 MHz. This map from NOAA shows the affected region:

We do not yet know if the flare also produced a coronal mass ejection (CME). If so, the plasma cloud will probably miss Earth because of the sunspot's off-center location on the solar disk.

More flares could be in the offing. AR2257 has an unstable 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that seems poised to explode again. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of M-class flares and a 10% chance of X-flares on Jan. 13th.


Here is an updated look at the visible solar disk on Tuesday. Solar activity during the past 24 hours reached high levels.

Region 2257 was responsible for a pair of moderately strong solar flares. The first event, an M5.6 flare peaked at 04:24 UTC and was associated with a short duration radio burst (TenFlare) measuring 290 solar flux units (SFU). This was followed up by an M4.9 flare at 04:58 UTC. A noteworthy coronal mass ejection was not produced by either of these flares. Region 2257 will remain a threat for an additional moderate to strong solar flare as it begins to turn out of direct Earth view.

On Monday, a filament eruption began just after 15:00 UTC and was located in close proximity to region 2261.

All other numbered regions are currently stable.

- Space Weather | Solar Ham.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Venezuela Supermarket Lines Swell As Shoppers Scramble To Buy Basics - National Troops Dispatched To Maintain Order! [PHOTOS]

January 13, 2015 - VENEZUELA - Lines are swelling at Venezuelan supermarkets, with some shoppers showing up before dawn in search of products ranging from chicken to laundry detergent, as a holiday slowdown in deliveries sharpened the nation's nagging product shortages.

National Guards control access as people line up outside a state-run Bicentenario supermarket in Caracas. Business leaders have assured Venezuelans the
situation will improve in the coming days as distributors return from the often extended Christmas holidays, though many consumers blamed the socialist
economic policies of President Nicolas Maduro.

A woman stands with oil and detergent next to empty shelves inside a Makro supermarket in Caracas. "The truth is I don't know what the government is doing.
It gets worse every day," said Elizio Velez, 65, a delivery man who arrived at 5 a.m. at a large supermarket on the east end of Caracas in search of chicken and
toilet paper. "This is insane, it's like the end of the world," he said, noting that troops had fired shots in the air as scuffles broke out in the line.

People line up outside a state-run Bicentenario supermarket in Caracas. Venezuela's 12-year-old exchange control system has for several years struggled to
provide enough hard currency to ensure adequate levels of imports, leading to intermittent shortages of raw materials, machine parts and consumer goods.

People pick up groceries in a state-run supermarket in Caracas. President Nicolas Maduro, who blames the situation on an opposition-led "economic
war," said in December he was planning to make changes to that system, without offering details.

People line up outside a state-run Bicentenario supermarket in Caracas. Grocery store lines in the border city of San Cristobal this week have started as early as
3 a.m. and continued until 10 p.m., while consumers in the coastal city of Punto Fijo have started sleeping in hammocks outside the main shopping mall.

A woman pulls a cart with bags of rice outside Makro supermarket in Caracas. The supermarket industry association did not immediately respond to requests
for comment, although the group's president this week said supplies should normalise by the third week of the month.

National Guards control access as people line up outside a state-run Bicentenario supermarket in Caracas. Economists believe Maduro's economic reforms will
include a devaluation of the bolivar currency, which makes imported goods more expensive and has historically pushed the inflation rate higher.

Customers walk carrying oil among empty shelves inside a Makro supermarket in Caracas.
Consumer prices in Venezuela rose 64 percent in the 12 months to November.

People walk past shelves mostly filled with the same product at a state-run supermarket in Caracas. Food Minister Carlos Osorio has acknowledged
distribution problems, but he urged citizens not to be confused by "campaigns that seek to destabilise." On Thursday he visited
a branch of a state-run store to show packed shelves

Queues snaked around the block at grocery stores and pharmacies around the country on Friday, with consumers in some cases gathering before dawn under the gaze of National Guard troops posted to maintain order. - Yahoo.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: 100 Firefighters Battle 3-Alarm Blaze At New York City's Penn Subway Station - Causing Delays To Some Trains, No Injuries Reported; This Occurs Several Hours After Smoke Mysteriously Fills Washington D.C. Metro Station!

Still from Instagram video/@___ninoblak___

January 13, 2015 - NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - A fire has broken out at New York’s Penn Station, with 100 firefighters working on extinguishing the flames.

Some trains have been delayed, but no one has been reported injured so far.It’s a 3-alarm blaze, the NYC Fire Department reported, tweeting on the situation.

A video posted by Kenyel (@___ninoblak___) on

New York subway A and E trains have been instructed not to stop at Penn Station due to the fire.

The fire is inside the station, located at West 33rd Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan, according to the Fire Department.

There are reports that the fire started at a construction site for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR).

Firefighters have sealed off roads around Penn Station, leading to traffic problems in the morning rush hour.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire. - RT.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - Crude Oil Plummet, Dives Below $45 For The First Time Since 2009!

January 13, 2015 - GLOBAL ECONOMY
- Brent crude and WTI have continued their headlong plunge in early trading Tuesday, hitting record six-year lows.

Brent crude futures fell 2.64 percent to $46.12 in trading on London’s ICE exchange, while WTI dropped by 2.41 percent, plunging below $45 to $44.96 (10:00 MSK). Brent and WTI prices are now at their lowest levels since spring 2009.

The ruble was quick to react to the news, losing more than 2 percent in early trading on the Moscow Stock Exchange. The Russian currency was trading at 64.93 to the dollar and 76.94 to the euro at 11:00 am local time.

On Tuesday, UAE Oil Minister Suhail Mohammed Faraj Al Mazroui said OPEC was no longer able to “protect” oil prices.

“[OPEC] cannot continue protecting a certain price. That is not the only aim of OPEC,”
he said at a Gulf Intelligence energy event in Abu Dhabi.

“We are concerned about the balance of the market, but we cannot be the only party that is responsible to balance the market,”
Al Mazroui said.

extends selloff on UAE minister’s comments. WTI below, Brent near $45/bbl. http://on.wsj.com/1Bg8uq5 

Mazouri said the UAE was not planning to alter its output, adding that all oil producers should demonstrate awareness of global economic development and regulate their production accordingly.

"The key factor of hydrocarbon overproduction has become the extraction of shale oil,”
he said. “And this should be corrected."

Iranian President Khassan Rouhani says he is sure other oil producers such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will suffer along with Iran should it be hit by the crisis.

"Those that have planned to decrease the prices against other countries, will regret this decision,"
Rouhani said in a speech broadcast on state television Tuesday.

"If Iran suffers from the drop in oil prices, know that other oil producing countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will suffer more than Iran,"
he added.

Arab bourses have reacted to the news and started to slide Tuesday. The Dubai Financial Market is down 2.1 percent, Qatar has slipped 1.9 percent and the Saudi Arabian Tadawul index has lost 1.6 percent.

On Monday, Goldman Sachs halved its 2015 oil forecast to about $40 a barrel for the next six months. The bank’s analysts said the low oil price will likely persist to curb oversupply, mostly from US shale. - RT.

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

January 13, 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.

Fin whale found dead on beach in Cornwall, UK

Surfer and dog walker stumbled across what is believed to be a Fin Whale on Saturday

A local walker was left stunned after he discovered the carcass of a huge 60ft whale washed up on a beach in Cornwall.

Beach cleaner and surfer Ado Shorland stumbled across the massive mammal on Wanson Beach near Bude on Saturday.

Marine biologists are now examining the carcass, which is believed to be an endangered fin whale - although the state of decay means that this has not yet been confirmed.

"I found it yesterday morning. It measures around 20m and the lower jaw has been detached and alone it is about 5m. It is a very large whale," he told the Western Morning News.

"From a distance I thought it to be a large tarp or mesh netting. When I realised it was a whale I was excited and saddened at the same time.

"I felt humbled to be honest, the sheer size suggests it to be an adult, and alive it would have been such a majestic mammal."
Huge Fin Whale found by WTF organiser Ado shorland. See more on Facebook page. pic.twitter.com/UCXzGDH0tc

- Widemouth Task Force (@WidemouthTaskFo) January 10, 2015
Fin whales are the second largest whale species after the Blue Whale, and can grow to up to 90ft in length and weigh between 40 and 80 tonnes.

Solitary mammals, they travel the world's oceans, only avoiding the highest and lowest polar climates where there is a danger of ice.

Fin whales are still hunted in Greenland, and under limited controls in the seas surrounding Japan. - Independent.

Elephant runs amok in Thailand, attacks cars and shops

A shop and restaurant at Khao Yai National Park in Thailand were damaged in an elephant attack today; two days after another elephant rammed a car.

A wild elephant stomped the grocery shop and shattered window glasses with its trunk, park officials say.

The incident happened after an eight-year-old male elephant attacked a car on a road in Khao Yai on Saturday.

Amateur video shows the elephant put its front feet on the car, causing a dent on the car hood and fractures on the windscreen.

The elephant put its front feet on the car, causing a dent on the car hood and fractures on the windscreen

Another vehicle sustained minor damage. No one was injured in the incidents.

Officials did not confirm that it was the same elephant, but Khao Yai National Park chief Kanchit Srinoppawan said the aggressive behaviours were results of the mating season.
He said male elephants are forced to leave their herd to prevent them from mating with blood relatives.

These lone and stressful pachyderms could behave like in the two encounters, Mr Kanchit added.

The rare elephant attacks prompted the National Park to warn visitors to be careful of the pachyderms. - RTE.

Dozens of birds found dead in Sultanpur National Park, India

Gurgaon: As many as 45 birds have been found dead in the Sultanpur National Park, around 15 kms from the city, following which the sanctuary has been closed, a forest official said on Monday.

"The Sultanpur Sanctuary was closed on January 10 after the department found 45 birds dead. However, it is too early to comment whether the birds died due to avian influenza virus (H5N1)," District Forest Officer Kulwinder Singh said.

He, however, said no more dead birds have been found in the sanctuary or nearby areas in the last two days.

The carcasses of the birds have been sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal for avian flu tests, Singh said, adding that the report will come after 10 days.

He said the cause of death of the birds will be clear only after the report comes.

However, sources in the sanctuary claimed that the birds died as they had eaten pesticide-infested crops at a nearby field.

Of the 45 dead birds, 35 are Eurasian coots, eight are common moorhen, one spot-billed duck and one jungle babbler.The Sultanpur National Park is located on Gurgaon-Jhajjar Road. - ZEE News.

Elephant gores vet to death in India

A veterinarian was today killed by a tusker while he was attempting to tackle the pachyderm after it ran amok at Vaypur in Pathanamthitta district, police said.

The victim identified as Dr Gopakumar (52) was a veterinarian and a member of the Elephant Squad which is specialised in containing elephants that turn violent, police said.

The tusker kicked the vet and then gored him while he was trying to administer a tranquilizer shot in its rear. The elephant created panic in the area by running amok for several hours.

Police and local people rushed the doctor to a hospital in Tiruvalla but he died soon after reaching there, police said, adding, the elephant was later brought under control.

The animal had started showing signs of uneasiness in the morning
and later managed to slip free from its chains and ran amok. The elephant squad at nearby Konni was alerted as efforts of the mahout with local people failed to contain it. - Mathrubhumi.

Thousands of fish dead 'due to pollution' in a canal in Leicestershire, England

Attempts are being made to rescue thousands of fish from a Leicestershire canal after it became polluted.
Farm slurry was washed into the Grand Union Canal Leicester line last month, polluting a four mile stretch between Kilby and Foxton.

The Environment Agency said an estimated 2,000 fish had been killed and they were now working to contain the pollution and remove the dead fish.

Staff are trying to move thousands more live fish away from the area.

The Canal and River Trust, which is helping the Environment Agency and Natural England with the rescue attempt, said the waterway was currently closed to boaters.

The Canal and River Trust said the fish killed by the pollution included pike, roach and perch

Three organisations are working together to rescue the fish and contain the pollution

Three organisations are working together to rescue the fish and contain the pollution

Waterway manager for the trust, Neil Owen, said: "It's really sad that we've had so many fish die from the careless actions of an individual which allowed slurry to enter our waterway.

"Fortunately we have managed to move many thousands of fish away from the pollution plug but we still have a busy task ahead of us in trying to break down the pollution."

Matthew Gable from the Environment Agency said: "Unfortunately there has been some environmental damage already done."Our efforts now are aimed at trying to reduce that and limit it to where it currently is and stop it from spreading further down the canal and into the River Soar." - BBC.

Hundreds of pigeons are 'falling dead out of the sky' in Antrim, Northern Ireland

A killer disease is taking a disastrous toll of wood pigeons in North Antrim.

At the time of writing the disease has not been definitively identified, but farmers and shooters have told me that in a three miles pigeon flightpath between Glenann and Glendun hundreds of dead pigeons can be found lying in the fields.

On Tuesday of this week I found a pile of pigeon feathers in Paddy McCurday’s field a couple of hundred yards from my home on the Clady Road near Cushendun and when I was walking home my neighbour John McAuley told me he had found a similar pile of feathers in a field behind his house.

I would say that the pigeon which came down in Paddy’s field was taken by a fox: I could tell by the saliva on the feathers and it would seem that the bird in John’s field was also taken by a fox.

Another regular hill walker told me that two miles to the North of Cushendun he had found two peregrine falcons lying dead among dead pigeons in a field close to Cushleake moor where the shooting rights are held by the National Trust. When he went back next day to collect the dead peregrines, they were gone – with fox again the prime suspect.

I first heard about the tragic loss of wood pigeons on New Year’s eve but nobody, except locals, seemed to be interested in the details.

I am long past the stage where I can walk up the steep hill to the flightpath but men who have been there since the start of the year tell me they have seen, not only dead pigeons lying around in profusion, but they have watched as pigeons, coming in to roost or feed on holly berries, could not hold on to the branches and fell to the ground to die a short while later.

They said they had watched as pigeons, coming in on their normal flightpath, just ‘fell out of the sky like flies.’ The man who first told me of the wildlife disaster said some of the dead or dying pigeons had a greenish substance on their beaks.

My granson Daniel said he had seen a wood pigeon staggering about on the road at Coskib near Cushendall in what looked like a drunken state; it was unable to fly away.

When I asked another person – not a shooter – if he would bring in some of the dead birds so that I could send them off for scientific examination, he said with a hint of malevolence:

“I’ll not be touching any dead birds; if the buzzards and falcons pick them up and pay the price I’ll not be shedding any tears. These raptors take a heavy toll of our own wildlife every year and we could do with a rest from them.”

I am indebted to www.wildlife –rescue.dot.org.uk and www.bto.org for information which might be helpful in determining the cause of the deaths. I have calls out to several other experts but at the time of writing I have not had the information I require.

The sources mentioned above say: “Alternatively known as frounce or canker, this ailment is caused by an organism called Trichomonas gallinae, a mobile single celled protozoan that lives in the sinuses, mouth and throat of birds and which, under certain conditions, can multiply out of control. It has become a well known garden disease after the noticeable effect it has had on greenfinches in recent years.

“Rescue centres tend to see it more in pigeons and doves, as well as the birds of prey that feed on birds, such as sparrowhawks, kestrels and tawny owls. It is most prevalent in warm, damp weather, particularly late summer/early autumn.

“Characteristic lesions in the mouth of a juvenile wood pigeon characterised by yellow/white lesions in the mouth and throat of the bird, a thick, mucoid saliva and swellings around the eyes, the organism will grow until eventually the bird cannot feed properly and dies of starvation or predation. The more advanced the disease is, the more difficult it is to treat.

“Other signs of the disease that would be noticeable to members of the public would be birds that have dirty looking beaks with patches of wet feathers around the beak area and swollen eyes. Any birds that have difficulty swallowing food are fluffed up, lethargic and slow to fly off will also need help. It should be noted that this is a disease of birds only and cannot be passed on to cats, dogs, rabbits or humans.

“It is believed that the increase in the spread of this disease in recent years is due partly to a lack of hygiene around bird feeding and watering stations. A bird with trichmoniasis drinking from a bird bath is likely to pass the disease on to others and so continue the spread of the disease.

“Disinfectants are all very well but the only definitive way to kill trichomonas gallinae is by desiccation, i.e. drying out. Leaving feeders and especially bird baths to dry out after washing them is vital. A recommended drying time is 48 hours or at the very least (when regularly cleaned, i.e. weekly) 24 hours.”

The above sources also mention Chlamydiosis which, they say is most commonly recognised as a disease of pets. They say affected birds may appear to have difficulty breathing and/or have discharge from their mouth, nose or eyes. Affected wild birds may also simply be found dead.They say: “Chlamydia psittaci bacteria can persist in the environment for months in a resistant form. Transmission can occur through direct contact between infected birds, ingestion of infected secretions (faeces, ocular and respiratory secretions), and/ or inhalation of contaminated dust or aerosols.” - Farming Life.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Mystery Mile-Wide Ring In Antarctica May Be Crater From House-Sized Meteorite - Scientists Estimated That It Had Exploded With The Force Of 12,000 TONNES OF TNT!

The 2km (1.24 miles) wide ring above is thought to have been caused by a meteorite that smashed into the ice. © Tobias Binder / Alfred Wegener Institute

January 13, 2015 - ANTARCTICA
- An enormous impact crater thought to have been created by a meteorite the size of a house smashing into Earth has been discovered in the Antarctic ice sheet.

Scientists conducting a routine aerial research flight above East Antarctica noticed a strange ring-like structure in the normally flat and featureless ice.

It appeared to be a series of broken 'icebergs' surrounded by a 2km (1.24 miles) wide circular scar, surrounded by a few other smaller circular scars in the ice.

The researchers later found two separate studies reporting that a meteorite fell in the area in 2004.

One reported a series of infrasound - low frequency sound capable of traveling huge distances below the limit of human hearing - detected on 2 September 2004.

Six detectors around the world detected this infrasound thrown out by the exploding meteorite, allowing scientists to pinpoint it somewhere over East Antarctica.

In a separate study, scientists at Davis Station, Australia's permanent base off the coast of East Antarctica, reported seeing a dust trail high up in the atmosphere around that time.

They estimated that the falling object would have landed on the ice shelf.

The findings suggests that a house-sized meteorite broke up in the atmosphere over Antarctica before the remains smashed into the ice sheet.

Dr Christian Müller, a geophysicist from surveying company Fielax, was the scientist who first spotted the impact crater.

He said: 'We were on a routine measuring flight near to the coast and we were flying above a small ice bluff.

'I looked out of the window and saw some unusual structures in the surface of the ice that were some broken ice looking like icebergs that is very unusual on a very flat ice shelf surrounded by a large wing shaped circular structure.

'I've never seen something like that before. My first thoughts were that it might be an impact structure from something from space like a meteorite.'

The researchers, who are part of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, had been flying on a Basler BT-67 aircraft called Polar 6 over an area that is known as the Princess Ragnhild Coast of Queen Maud Land in Antarctica as part of a survey to study the rock beneath the ice.

The aircraft, which was flying from the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Research Station, is equipped with ice penetrating radar that can map the geology beneath the ice sheet.

They were also using magnetometers to measure small disturbances in the magnetic properties of the bedrock to help determine more about the terrain.

As they flew over the Antarctic coast on 24 December 2014, Dr Müller spotted the large circular scar on the King Baudoin Ice Shelf, which forms over the ocean.

The team then later returned to the site on 26 December, taking photographs and video of the site as well as using a laser to create a topographical map.

They also used radar to help build up an image of the interior of the ice shelf beneath the circular structure in the hope of seeing what lies beneath it.

The remains of the impact site was found on an ice shelf off the Princess Ragnhild Coast of East Antarctica. The researchers had flown from Princess Elisabeth
Research Station while scientists at the Australian Davis Research Station had spotted debris from a suspected meteorite heading towards the area in 2004.
© Leo Delauncey / MalOnline

Six infrasound stations (marked by black triangles, detected the noise waves created by the meteor as travelled around the world, allowed scientists to pinpoint
the source above East Antarctica as can be seen where the lines cross in the diagram above from a research paper in the Journal Earth Moon Planet.  
© Stephen Arrowsmith et al / Earth Moon PLanet

The scientists were flying in a Basler BT-67 aircraft called Polar 6 (above) from the Princess Elisabeth Station. 
© Jos Van Hemelrijck / International Polar Foundation

The remains of the impact site was found on an ice shelf off the Princess Ragnhild Coast of East Antarctica. The researchers had flown from Princess Elisabeth Research Station while scientists at the Australian Davis Research Station had spotted debris from a suspected meteorite heading towards the area in 2004.

Six infrasound stations (marked by black triangles, detected the noise waves created by the meteor as travelled around the world, allowed scientists to pinpoint the source above East Antarctica as can be seen where the lines cross in the diagram above from a research paper in the Journal Earth Moon Planet.

They are still processing detail but Dr Graeme Eagles, a geophysicist and leader of the Alfred Wegener Institute's geophysical survey team at Princess Elisabeth Station, said that it appeared the ice and snow on the top part of the ice shelf had been disturbed.

He said that this data should help to confirm that it was a meteorite that had caused the crater.

He said: 'We can't say that with any confidence at this point. We can say we've found something very unusual.

WATCH: Have scientists discovered a new meteorite impact site in Antarctica?

'However, there are two very promising prior results - the infrasound data and the observed dust trail in 2004 - which support the hypothesis that this structure could have been created by a meteorite impact and certainly support the decision to collect more data for further analysis and investigation.

'The Australian study estimates that the body that left the debris they measured would have likely been about the size of a house and that it may have broken up on its way though the atmosphere.

'Interestingly enough, when we flew out to the circular structure in the ice on December 26th, we also spotted a number of smaller circular and sub-circular structures in the ice as well, which is consistent with the conclusion of the Australian study.'

An image from NASA’s Aqua satellite of the meteor’s dust trail one hour after it is thought to have exploded above Antarctica in September 2004.
The dust was spotted by Australian researchers in Antarctica at the time.  © A. Klekociuk / AAD/NASA

An image from NASA’s Aqua satellite of the meteor’s dust trail one hour after it is thought to have exploded above Antarctica in September 2004. The dust was spotted by Australian researchers in Antarctica at the time.

Research by the Australian scientists after they saw the meteorite debris above Antarctica in 2004 suggested that it was around seven to ten meters (23 to 33 feet) wide and weighted between 600 and 1,900 tonnes.

They estimated that it exploded in the sky above Antarctica with the force of 12,000 tonnes of TNT and was traveling at a speed of 29,080 mph.

The debris created by the explosion would then have crashed to Earth, smashing into the ice.

Dr Eagles said that the team were now considering drilling down into the ice beneath the crater to see if they can find out more about what caused it.

Dr Eagles added: 'if this object did break up before hitting the ice shelf, that perhaps some of the pieces were not traveling with enough energy to penetrate the ice shelf, and may have settled on or within it.

'We may find evidence of a dust layer in the ice surrounding the crater beneath 10 years of snow accumulation. I think that would be worth having a look at.'  - Daily Mail.