Saturday, January 17, 2015

ICE AGE NOW: "It's As If We Placed 1,000 Cars Onto The Roof,... People Older Than Me Have Never Seen So Much Snow Before,..." - Record Snowfall Of Two Meters In Western Norway Leads To Widespread Infrastructure Collapse; Several Buildings And Roofs Destroyed; More Snow On The Way! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

Shoveling on the roof of Sundve School in Vossestrand. It was 1.6 meters of snow on the roof this morning. PHOTO: Rune Sævig

January 17, 2015 - NORWAY
- Some buildings in Voss have collapsed under the weight and several municipal buildings are in danger of collapsing.

On Tuesday, civil defense authorities asked for assistance in shoveling massive amounts of snow from roofs on municipal buildings.

As if 1,000 cars on the roof

According officials, the Vossestrand omsorgstun, which has a roof surface of 2,500 square meters, was covered by a half to two meters deep snow.

"Our calculations show that it is 400 kilograms per square meter of snow. It is as if we were placed 1,000 cars onto this roof," said operations Eivind Hovden in civil defense.

WORK HARD: The snow on this roof weighed about as much as 1,000 cars, according to Civil Defense. Pictured is clear snow Tuesday. PHOTO: Civil Defence

Shoveling on the roof of Sundve Skule Vossestrand. The custodians Arvid Indent (front) and Jan Neset (rear). PHOTO: Rune Sævig

There is so much weight that you have trouble opening doors and windows. There is immense power, he adds.

Believes it is a snørekord (snow record)

Snow plow driver Magnar says Jordalen Voss Municipality has never experienced so much snow before. On Wednesday morning the snow measured 2.45 meters, and still continues to snow.

"I've talked to people who are older than me, and they have never seen so much snow before Christmas as they saw this year," says Naas.

WATCH: Record snowfall in Norway.

More snow on the way

Vossings can expect more snow throughout the day Wednesday, said meteorologist Trond Thorsteinssontern.

- Ice Age Now.

CELESTIAL CONVERGENCE: "Planet X Might Actually Exist, And So Might Planet Y" - Mysterious Planet X May Really Lurk Undiscovered In Our Solar System; Astronomers Are Predicting At Least TWO MORE LARGE PLANETS In Our Region Of Space?!

Two or more unknown planets could exist beyond the orbit of Pluto in our solar system, new research suggests. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

January 17, 2015 - SPACE
- "Planet X" might actually exist — and so might "Planet Y."

At least two planets larger than Earth likely lurk in the dark depths of space far beyond Pluto, just waiting to be discovered, a new analysis of the orbits of "extreme trans-Neptunian objects" (ETNOs) suggests.

Researchers studied 13 ETNOs — frigid bodies such as the dwarf planet Sedna that cruise around the sun at great distances in elliptical paths.

Theory predicts a certain set of details for ETNO orbits, study team members said. For example, they should have a semi-major axis, or average distance from the sun, of about 150 astronomical units (AU). (1 AU is the distance from Earth to the sun — roughly 93 million miles, or 150 million kilometers.) These orbits should also have an inclination, relative to the plane of the solar system, of almost 0 degrees, among other characteristics.

The presently known largest small bodies in the Kuiper Belt are likely not to be surpassed by any future discoveries.
This is the conclusion of Dr. Michael Brown, et al. (Illustration Credit: Larry McNish, Data: M.Brown)

But the actual orbits of the 13 ETNOs are quite different, with semi-major axes ranging from 150 to 525 AU and average inclinations of about 20 degrees.

"This excess of objects with unexpected orbital parameters makes us believe that some invisible forces are altering the distribution of the orbital elements of the ETNOs, and we consider that the most probable explanation is that other unknown planets exist beyond Neptune and Pluto," lead author Carlos de la Fuente Marcos, of the Complutense University of Madrid, said in a statement.

"The exact number is uncertain, given that the data that we have is limited, but our calculations suggest that there are at least two planets, and probably more, within the confines of our solar system," he added.

The potential undiscovered worlds would be more massive than Earth, researchers said, and would lie about 200 AU or more from the sun — so far away that they'd be very difficult, if not impossible, to spot with current instruments.

The discovery images of 2012 VP113. Each one was taken about two hours apart on Nov. 5, 2012. Behind the object, you can see background stars and galaxies that remained still (from Earth’s perspective) in the picture frame. Credit: Scott S. Sheppard: Carnegie Institution for Science

The new results — detailed in two papers in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters — aren't the first to lend credence to the possible existence of a so-called Planet X.

In March 2014, Chadwick Trujillo and Scott Sheppard announced the discovery of 2012 VP113, an ETNO that never gets closer to the sun than 80 AU. 2012 VP113 thus joined Sedna as the two known denizens of the "inner Oort Cloud," a far-flung and largely unexplored region of space beyond the Kuiper Belt (where Pluto lies).

Trujillo and Sheppard suggested that the orbits of 2012 VP113 and Sedna are consistent with the continued presence of a big "perturber" — perhaps a planet 10 times more massive than Earth that lies 250 AU from the sun.

However, the pair also stressed that other explanations are possible as well. For example, Sedna and 2012 VP113 may have been pushed out to their present positions by long-ago interactions with other stars in the sun's birth cluster. The objects may also have been nabbed from another solar system during a stellar close encounter.

Astronomers are discovering trans-Neptunian objects belonging to the Oort Cloud, the most distant
region of Earth's solar system. See how the dwarf planets of Sedna and 2012 VP113 stack up
in this infographic. Credit: By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist

De la Fuente Marcos and his colleagues acknowledge the possibility of such alternative scenarios as well. The picture should get clearer as researchers study the orbits of more and more distant, icy objects, he said.

"If it is confirmed, our results may be truly revolutionary for astronomy," de la Fuente Marcos said. - SPACE.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: UK-France Channel Tunnel Close Services After Lorry Fire - Closure Triggered Widespread Travel Chaos With Hundreds Left Stranded In Britain And France!

A high-speed Eurostar train exits the Channel tunnel in Coquelles, near Calais (Reuters / Christian Hartmann)

January 17, 2015 - FRANCE
- Eurotunnel services are expected to resume in the coming hours after a lorry fire forced the closure of the Channel Tunnel.

Eurotunnel's 'Le Shuttle' car service will restart as soon as French firefighters give the all-clear, a company spokesman said.

However Eurostar, which runs passenger services linking St Pancras in London with Paris and Brussels, said trains won't resume until Sunday.

Thousands of passengers were left stranded when dozens of services were cancelled on both sides of the Channel after smoke was detected on the French side of the tunnel.

Eurotunnel spokesman John O'Keefe said a "smouldering load" was found in the trailer of the lorry which had been travelling through the north tunnel, but said there was "no major fire". No injuries were reported.

Travel chaos as tunnel closes

Mr O'Keefe said Eurotunnel services will travel through the south tunnel this evening, while firefighters continue to assess damage to the north tunnel.

"It doesn't look like anything significant at this stage. We hope we will be running a full service tomorrow," he said.

Eurostar also said it would run a full service on Sunday, but only "for passengers who have an existing reservation for this date."

It advised those whose trains had been cancelled not to go to stations unless they had already been re-booked.

"If you were on a cancelled train today and need to travel urgently tomorrow, please call our contact centre on 03432 186 186 after 8am GMT tomorrow and we will try to re-book you on a service departing after 12pm GMT," it said.

Those who are travelling were warned to expect delays of between 30 to 60 minutes.

Information board shows cancelled trains at Gare du Nord station

"Services are expected to run tomorrow Sunday, with delays - stations will be *very* busy so if you can postpone then that is advisable," it tweeted.

Earlier Eurotunnel tweeted that the alarm was triggered after CO2 detectors were activated in one tunnel.

A Kent Police spokesman said: "A lorry fire has led to the closure of both bores of the Channel Tunnel.

"The fire was at the French end of the tunnel and is being dealt with by the French authorities. There are no reported injuries.

WATCH: Eurostar travel chaos follows lorry fire.

"However, rail passengers are advised to expect significant delays whilst the vehicle is being recovered and fumes are cleared from the tunnels."

In March, hundreds of Eurostar passengers were delayed after a lightning strike triggered a fire in a building close to the entrance to the tunnel in Kent.

Although there was no damage to the track, four trains in and out of England were affected.

Three eventually reached their destination but the fourth, which had been heading to Paris, was forced to turn back to London. - SKY News.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Something Amazing Happening At Jupiter - An "Extraordinary Sequence Of Events" Will See Its Moon Executing A Complex Series Of Mutual Eclipses And Transits!

January 17, 2015 - SPACE
- Jupiter and Earth are converging for a (relatively) close encounter in early February when the giant planet is at opposition--that is, directly opposite the sun in the midnight sky.

This sets the stage for an extraordinary sequence of events. For the next couple of months, backyard sky watchers can see the moons of Jupiter executing a complex series of mutual eclipses and transits. Astrophotographer "Shiraishi" Kumagaya-shi, Saitama, Japan, captured this example on Jan. 17th:

"First, Ganymede partially eclipsed Callisto; then Europa partially eclipsed Io," says Shiraishi. "I did not need a telescope. To photograph this double mutual event, I used a Nikon Coolpix P510 digital camera set at ISO 800 for a series of 1/10s exposures."

The moons of Jupiter will be passing in front of one another and in front of Jupiter with fair frequency through March 2015 and beyond.

This is happening because Jupiter's opposition on Feb. 6th coincides almost perfectly with its equinox on Feb. 5th (when the Sun crosses Jupiter's equatorial plane). It is an edge-on apparition of the giant planet that lends itself to eclipses, occulations and transits.

The next big event is right around the corner. On Jan. 24, 2015, beginning at approximately 06:26 UT (1:26 AM EST), the three moons Io, Callisto and Europa will simultaneously cast their inky shadows on Jupiter's cloudtops.

This is called a "triple shadow transit," and it is rare. The timing favors observers in North America where the planet will be shining high in the sky in the constellation Leo.

Anyone with a backyard telescope is encouraged to watch this easy-to-observe event. (Advice: Start watching at least 30 minutes ahead of time.) - Space Weather.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Societal Collapse - Venezuela's "Protest City" On Edge As Economic Crisis Worsens; "We're Expecting A SOCIAL EXPLOSION"; Is This A Sign Of What's To Come For The Rest Of Planet In 2015?! [PHOTOS]

Students block a street as they clash with national guards during a protest against the government in San Cristobal January 14, 2015.
REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez

- Masked youths are once again blocking streets and burning tires in the Venezuelan city of San Cristobal, the epicenter of last year's massive anti-government protests.

The groups are small and the unrest contained, but dissent is rising in this volatile Andean city, a barometer of frustration with nationwide shortages that are putting pressure on the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro.

Students, who also accuse the government of corruption and repression but whom Maduro labels "coupsters," are threatening to unleash larger demonstrations again.

"It's time," Deiby Jaimes, 21, said from behind a barricade of burning trash as police gazed down from their hilltop perch. "There's a social, economic and political crisis. Economically we're completely lost and in a delirium."

But Jaimes and other students said they were restraining themselves to see if other Venezuelans also take to the streets.

Last year's protests split the opposition and failed to attract widespread support from Venezuela's poor, meaning mainstream anti-government leaders like Henrique Capriles are calling for less radical tactics including peaceful rallies and a good showing at an upcoming parliamentary vote.

"People are scared," said Jaimes, an accounting student, as dozens around him knocked rocks together menacingly. "But fear is disappearing due to shortages. We're expecting a social explosion."

Masked students block a street as they clash with national guards during a protest against the government in San Cristobal January 14, 2015.
REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez

Students clash with national guards during a protest against the government in San Cristobal January 14, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez

National guards control the entrance of a private supermarket as people line up to enter in San Cristobal January 15, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez

High demand and a Christmas lull in distribution have aggravated shortages across the nation of 30 million people. Queues sometimes snake around entire blocks, prompting isolated scuffles for coveted milk or diapers

Although there has been scattered violence around the OPEC nation, many eyes are once again on the opposition hotbed of San Cristobal, where clusters of demonstrators have been facing off with security forces since the New Year.

It was here that the attempted rape of a student last year prompted protests that spread into a wave of national demonstrations.

Major General Efrain Velasco Lugo, who is in charge of security for the western Andean region, called the protesters misguided delinquents. "They want to torch the city again."

Their motto, he added, can be boiled down to "because I think differently to you, I'm going to topple you."

Indeed, Maduro says right-wing foes, encouraged by the United States and compliant foreign media, are plotting an "economic coup" to topple his socialist government. Protesters retort they are decrying flawed policies, like currency controls that have crimped imports and led to shortages.

Army officials said on Thursday 18 protesters had been arrested in San Cristobal, capital of Tachira state, in the last 10 days, with six currently behind bars.

Rights group Penal Forum said 56 demonstrators were arrested nationally this year, with most now released.

A national guard shot a protester in the chest on Thursday night during clashes in San Cristobal, a student leader said. Reuters could not immediately verify the information.

The situation remains a far cry from unrest between February and May that left 43 dead and hundreds injured during the biggest disturbances in more than a decade. Victims included demonstrators, government supporters and security officials.


Still, the mood is increasingly combative in San Cristobal, traditionally known as the "cordial city," as life becomes a series of queues.

Taxi driver Luis Perez wakes up around 5 a.m. to wait in line for gasoline.

"We produce so much oil, and look how we're suffering," he said as he finally filled up his creaking blue 1982 Chevrolet.

"We need a change of government," he added before paying less than 2 cents a liter for the world's cheapest gasoline.

Roughly 15 percent of fuel in Tachira is smuggled out of the state, estimates Nellyver Lugo, a ruling party state legislator who heads a commission on gasoline. Lack of spare parts for trucks and tricky contract negotiations reduced supplies this year, she added.

Up to 25 percent of food is smuggled out for sale at a hefty profit in Colombia, the army says, citing discoveries of subsidized flour stashed in tires or rice in engines.

Even once-fervent "Chavistas" are becoming skeptical as inflation and shortages threaten anti-poverty advances under the late Hugo Chavez's 1999-2013 rule.

People line up to buy basic goods at a supermarket in San Cristobal January 14, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez

A man is detained by police during a protest against the government in San Cristobal January 15, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez

Masked students block a street during a protest against the government in San Cristobal January 14, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez

"There was a lot of hope, but things didn't pan out the way we wanted," Ronald, a government employee who would not give his last name, said as he stood in line clutching scarce toilet paper. "Now we're paying the price. I hope they implement changes."

But Maduro, whose approval levels have steadily eroded since his 2013 election, has so far balked at implementing pressing but unpopular measures such as raising gasoline prices or unifying a baffling three-tiered currency control system.

Sinking oil prices have compounded Venezuela's cash crunch, prompting fears that the nation may have to default. An impending national parliamentary election has raised the stakes further.

With Maduro out of the country for the last 10 days on an apparently unsuccessful trip to lobby for an oil supply cut, Venezuela's perennially fragmented opposition is scrambling to unite and call for peaceful protests.

"The government is weaker," 24-year-old student leader Reinaldo Manrique said, standing next to a charred bus near the University of the Andes.

"It won't survive an explosion like last year's." - Yahoo.

GLOBAL FOOD/WATER CRISIS: The Biggest Reservoir For Brazil's Largest City Is Running Dry - HALFWAY THROUGH THE RAINY SEASON!

FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2014 file photo, the frame of a car sits on the cracked earth at the bottom of the Atibainha dam, part of the Cantareira System responsible
for providing water to the Sao Paulo metropolitan area, in Nazare Paulista, Brazil. Halfway through the rainy season, the key reservoir for the hemisphere's
largest city, the Cantareira water system, holds just 6 percent of its capacity, and experts warned Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 that authorities must take
urgent steps to prevent the worst drought here in more than 80 years from drying it out. (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)

January 17, 2016 - SAO PAULO, BRAZIL
- Halfway through the rainy season, the key reservoir for the hemisphere's largest city holds just 6 percent of its capacity, and experts warned Friday that Sao Paulo authorities must take urgent steps to prevent the worst drought in more than 80 years from drying it out.

The system of reservoirs and rivers that provide water to millions in this city have received less rainfall than hoped during the first weeks of the wet season, raising fears they won't be replenished as hoped. Rainfall during the first two weeks of January totaled just 2.9 inches (7.1 centimeters), well below the historic average for the month of 10.7 inches (27.1 centimeters).

The biggest problem is in the Cantareira water system, which is the largest of six reservoirs that provide water to some 6 million of the 20 million people living in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo city. Cantareira is now down to 6 percent of its capacity of 264 billion gallons (1 trillion liters), the water utility Sabesp said on its website.

Of the remaining five systems, Alto Tiete is at 11 percent of capacity, Rio Claro 25 percent, Alto Cotia 30 percent, Guarapiranga 40 percent and Rio Grande 70 percent.

"The water supply situation is critical and could become even more critical if the lack of rain and hot weather continue and effective demand management techniques are not created," Mario Thadeu Leme de Barros, head of the University of Sao Paulo's hydraulic engineering and environmental department, said by phone.

Although declining water supplies have been a concern since last year, authorities have resisted rationing water. But Leme de Barros said officials need to consider a range of steps, among them implementing water rationing but also encouraging the use of more efficient appliances, lowering water pressure in the system and doing better at repairing leaks.

"Sao Paulo's water situation is in the intensive care unit and the worse will only be avoided if these measures are adopted and, of course, if it starts raining more," he Barros said.

The Sao Paulo state government said its measures to conserve water are working, such as offering discounted water bills for those who limit usage and reducing water pressure during off-peak hours. The government also has said it will double the bills of some customers who increase consumption above monthly averages.

Earlier this week, Sabesp's president, Jerson Kelman, said that to help prevent Cantareira from drying up, the utility would reduce the flow of water out of the reservoir. - AP.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crashes On Takeoff From Tacloban Airport - As Tropical Storm Mekkhala, Packing Winds Of 62 Miles Per Hour, Hit The Philippines; Ferry Services Suspended; Thousands Stranded!

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) confirmed reports that a Philippine-registered Bombardier GL5T type aircraft with a seating
capacity of 19 and with tail number RP-C9363 operated by Challenger Aero swerved upon takeoff and rolled due to the effect of crosswind.
It is now parked 50 meters from the grassy portion of the runway.

January 17, 2015 - THE PHILIPPINES
- A plane carrying top aides of Philippine President Benigno Aquino that was following Pope Francis overshot a runway as it tried to take off in stormy weather at Tacloban airport on Saturday.

Police told local media that the plane had difficultly while attempting a take off but no one was injured in the incident.

Two more planes on the Pope's entourage were not able to take off at press time as the Bombardier was obstructing the runway. Airport ground
personnel are trying to extricate the aircraft from its spot to bring it to the remote parking bay to normalize airport operations.

CAAP ground personnel who immediately responded to the accident said all passengers are safe and air accident investigators are now looking into the matter.

Pope Francis on Saturday left the typhoon-hit region four hours ahead of schedule because of the approaching storm.

Tropical Storm Mekkhala, packing winds of 62 miles per hour, suspended ferry services to Leyte province and stranded thousands of travellers including some who wanted to see the Pope.

WATCH: Plane overshoots Tacloban runway with Filipino govt officials onboard.

WATCH: One dead and a plane crash - Tropical Storm Mekkhala / Amang makes landfall.

- Telegraph.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: The Price Of Meat, Chicken, Fish, Eggs And Electricity Hit Record High In The United States - Despite Decline In The Overall Consumer Price Index And Crude Oil!

A basket of grocery goods. (AP)

January 17, 2015 - UNITED STATES
- Despite a decline in the overall Consumer Price Index (CPI) in December, the food index increased and the price index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs hit a record high, according to data released today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

According to the BLS, “The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) declined 0.4 percent in December on a seasonally adjusted basis. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 0.8 percent before seasonal adjustment.”

“The gasoline index continued to fall sharply, declining 9.4 percent and leading to the decrease in the seasonally adjusted all items index,” said the BLS.

“The fuel oil index also fell sharply, and the energy index posted its largest one-month decline since December 2008, although the indexes for natural gas and for electricity both increased,” said the BLS.

“The food index, in contrast, rose 0.3 percent, its largest increase since September.”

AP Photo

“The food index rose 0.3 percent in December after a 0.2 percent increase in November,” stated the BLS. “The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 0.3 percent as the index for beef and veal continued to rise, advancing 0.7 percent.”

In addition to rising 0.3 percent over the month, the index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs also hit a record high in December.

In January 1967, when the BLS started tracking this measure, the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs was 38.1. As of last December 2013, it was 239.151. In November 2014 it hit 260.247. And in December 2014 it hit a record high of 261.002, an increase of 9.1 percent in one year.

The price of ground beef, which hit a record high in November of $4.201, declined in December to $4.156.

While the price of beef declined, the price of fresh whole chicken per pound increased 0.5 percent, and grade A eggs hit a record high price.

AP Photo

In January 1980, when the BLS started tracking the price of this commodity, Grade A eggs cost $0.879 per pound. By this December 2014, Grade A eggs cost $2.21 per pound. A decade ago, in December 2004, Grade A eggs cost $1.199 a pound. Since then, the price has increased 84.3%.

Each month, the BLS employs data collectors to visit thousands of retail stores all over the United States to obtain information on the prices of thousands of items to measure changes for the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI is simply the average change over time in prices paid by consumers for a market basket of goods and services.

Price of Electricity Hit Record High in U.S. in 2014

Even as gasoline prices plummeted and the overall energy price index calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics declined, electricity prices bucked the trend in the United States in 2014.

Data released today by the BLS indicates that the electricity price indexes hit all-time highs for the month of December and for the year. 2014 was the most-expensive year ever for electricity in the United States.

The annual price index for electricity, published by BLS today, was 208.020. That was up from 200.750 in 2013.

The seasonally adjusted electricity price index for the month of December was 210.151, according to the BLS. That sets an all-time record for the seasonally adjusted monthly electricity price index. The previous high was 209.341 in March of this year. In December 2013, the seasonally adjusted electricity price index was 203.740.

The average price for a kilowatt hour of electricity in the United States was 13.5 cents in December. That is the highest average price for KWH of electricity in the month of December since the BLS started recording the December monthly price for a KWH in 1978. In December 2013, the average price for a KWH was 13.1 cents.

The average price for a KWH of electricity tends to hit its annual peak in the summer months, decline in the fall, hit its nadir in the winter and rise in the spring. In 2014, the average price for a KWH hit a record high for that particular month in each month of the year. In June, July and August of this year the average price of a KWH hit 14.3 cents—its all-time high for any months on record.

By contrast, the overall Consumer Price Index declined by 0.4 percent in December with particular help from the decline in the price of gasoline.

“The gasoline index continued to fall sharply, declining 9.4 percent and leading to the decrease in the seasonally adjusted all items index,” said the BLS in its press release on the CPI. “The fuel oil index also fell sharply, and the energy index posted its largest one-month decline since December 2008, although the indexes for natural gas and for electricity both increased.”

The BLS’s price indexes measure relative change in prices against a baseline of 100. The annual electricity price index exceeded 100 between 1983 and 1984, when it rose from 98.9 to 105.3. In the past two decades, the price of electricity in the United States has roughly doubled.

Rising electricity prices have not always been the norm in the United States. In 1913, the BLS annual electricity price index was 45.5. By 1946, it had dropped to 26.6. In 1974, it was still only 44.1—less than it had been six decades before in 1913.

The net production of electricity in the United States peaked in 2007, according to data published by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. That year, the United States generated 4,156,745 million KWH of electricity.

In 2013, that latest full year on record, the United States generated 4,058,209 million KWH of electricity—or about 2.4 percent less electricity than in 2007

The latest data from the Energy Information Administration, published in December, includes electricity generation numbers through the first nine months (January through September) of 2014. In those nine months of 2014, more electricity was generated (3,117,501 million KWH) than in the first nine months of 2013 (3,077,418 million KWH) or 2012 (3,095,504 million KWH), but less than in the first nine months of 2007 (3,166,614 million KWH).

The composition of the sources of electricity generation also changed between 2007--when the nation produced its peak volume of electricity--and 2014.

In the first nine months of 2007, the U.S. produced more electricity with coal (1,523,714 million KWH) than in the first nine months of 2014 (1,231,795 million KWH).

The U.S. also produced more electricity in the first nine months of 2007 with nuclear power (607,846 million KWH) and petroleum (53,802 million KWH) than it did in the first nine months of 2014, when it produced 596,174 million KWH and 24,953 million KWH from those source respectively.

By contrast the U.S. produced more electricity in the first nine months of 2014 than it did in the first nine months of 2007 by means of natural gas (844,743 million KWH to 688,035 million KWH), conventional hydroelectric (200,614 million KWH to 199,261 million KWH), wood (31,668 million KWH to 28,729 million KWH), waste (14,499 million KWH to 12,723 million KWH), geothermal power (12,170 million KWH to 10,967 million KWH), solar (14,271 million KWH to 532 million KWH), and wind (133,495 million KWH to 23,522 million KWH).

In the first nine months of 2014, solar power equaled about 0.46 percent of total electricity generation. Wind power equaled about 4.3 percent of total electricity production.

- CNS News.

EXTINCTION & THE WAR ON MOTHER NATURE: Scientists - Human Activity Has Pushed Planet Earth BEYOND Four Of Nine "Planetary Boundaries"!

Clmate change: A severe drought plagued a third of Queensland, Australia in 2013. Destabilizing the global environment
could make Earth less hospitable for humans. (David Gray/Reuters)

January 17, 2015 - EARTH
- At the rate things are going, the Earth in the coming decades could cease to be a “safe operating space” for human beings. That is the conclusion of a new paper published Thursday in the journal Science by 18 researchers trying to gauge the breaking points in the natural world.

The paper contends that we have already crossed four “planetary boundaries.” They are the extinction rate; deforestation; the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; and the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous (used on land as fertilizer) into the ocean.

“What the science has shown is that human activities — economic growth, technology, consumption — are destabilizing the global environment,” said Will Steffen, who holds appointments at the Australian National University and the Stockholm Resilience Center and is the lead author of the paper.

Forest cover and land system change: Farming, mining and infrastructure projects are consuming the Amazon rainforest. According to data from Brazil’s space
agency, deforestation increased by more than a third in 2013, wiping out an area more than twice the size of Los Angeles. (Nacho Doce/Reuters)

These are not future problems, but rather urgent matters, according to Steffen, who said that the economic boom since 1950 and the globalized economy have accelerated the transgression of the boundaries. No one knows exactly when push will come to shove, but he said the possible destabilization of the “Earth System” as a whole could occur in a time frame of “decades out to a century.”

The researchers focused on nine separate planetary boundaries first identified by scientists in a 2009 paper. These boundaries set theoretical limits on changes to the environment, and include ozone depletion, freshwater use, ocean acidification, atmospheric aerosol pollution and the introduction of exotic chemicals and modified organisms.

Beyond each planetary boundary is a “zone of uncertainty.” This zone is meant to acknowledge the inherent uncertainties in the calculations, and to offer decision-makers a bit of a buffer, so that they can potentially take action before it’s too late to make a difference. Beyond that zone of uncertainty is the unknown — planetary conditions unfamiliar to us.

“The boundary is not like the edge of the cliff,” said Ray Pierrehumbert, an expert on Earth systems at the University of Chicago. “They’re a little bit more like danger warnings, like high-temperature gauges on your car.”

Pierrehumbert, who was not involved in the paper published in Science, added that a planetary boundary “is like an avalanche warning tape on a ski slope.”

The scientists say there is no certainty that catastrophe will follow the transgression of these boundaries. Rather, the scientists cite the precautionary principle: We know that human civilization has risen and flourished in the past 10,000 years — an epoch known as the Holocene — under relatively stable environmental conditions.

No one knows what will happen to civilization if planetary conditions continue to change. But the authors of the Science paper write that the planet “is likely to be much less hospitable to the development of human societies.”

The authors make clear that their goal is not to offer solutions, but simply to provide information. This is a kind of report card, exploiting new data from the past five years.

Atmosphere aerosol loading: Emissions spew from smokestacks at a Kansas coal-fired power plant. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

It’s not just a list of F’s. The ozone boundary is the best example of world leaders responding swiftly to a looming environmental disaster. After the discovery of an expanding ozone hole caused by man-made chemicals, chlorofluorocarbons, the nations of the world banned CFCs in the 1980s.

This young field of research draws from such disciplines as ecology, geology, chemistry, atmospheric science, marine biology and economics. It’s known generally as Earth Systems Science. The researchers acknowledge the uncertainties inherent in what they’re doing. Some planetary boundaries, such as “introduction of novel entities” — CFCs would be an example of such things — remain enigmatic and not easily quantified.

Better understood is the role of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. The safe-operating-zone boundary for CO2 had previously been estimated at levels up to 350 parts per million. That’s the boundary — and we’re already past that, with the current levels close to 400 ppm, according to the paper. That puts the planet in the CO2 zone of uncertainty that the authors say extends from 350 to 450 ppm.

At the rate CO2 is rising — about 2 ppm per year — we will surpass 450 ppm in just a couple of decades, said Katherine Richardson, a professor of biological oceanography at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and a co-author of the new paper.

Biogeochemical flows: Rows of corn wait to be harvested in Minooka, Ill. Fertilizer makes its ways to the ocean
via surface runoff or seeping into the ground and groundwater. (Jim Young/Reuters)

Humanity may have run into trouble with planetary boundaries even in prehistoric times, said Richard Alley, a Penn State geoscientist who was not part of this latest research. The invention of agriculture may have been a response to food scarcity as hunting and gathering cultures spread around, and filled up, the planet, he said. “It’s pretty clear we were lowering the carrying capacity for hunter-gatherers 10,000 years ago,” Alley said.

There are today more than 7 billion people, using an increasing quantity of resources, turning forest into farmland, boosting the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and driving other species to extinction. The relatively sudden efflorescence of humanity has led many researchers to declare that this is a new geological era, the human age, often referred to as the Anthropocene.

Species extinction: 14-week-old twin polar bear cubs play in Munich. Polar bears, the largest predator on Earth, are struggling to survive due to melting ice and
depletion of its food source — seal blubber. (Alexandra Beier/Getty Images)

A baby mountain gorilla in the Sabyinyo Mountains of Rwanda: Mountain gorillas are an endangered species found only in the border areas of Rwanda,
Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Ivan Lieman/AFP/Getty Images)

A kaleidoscope of Monarch butterflies clings to tree branches in the Piedra Herrada, near Valle de Bravo, Mexico.
Unusually cold temperatures and the threat to its food supply — milkweed — worry scientists. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

The Earth has faced shocks before, and the biosphere has always recovered. Hundreds of millions of years ago, the planet apparently froze over — becoming “Snowball Earth.” About 66 million years ago, it was jolted by a mountain-sized rock from space that killed half the species on the planet, including the non-avian dinosaurs. Life on Earth always bounced back. “The planet is going to take care of itself. It’s going to be here,” Richardson said.

“There’s a lot of emotion involved in this. If you think about it, the American ethic is, ‘The sky’s the limit.’ And here you have people coming on and saying, no it isn’t, the Earth’s the limit,” she said.Technology can potentially provide solutions, but innovations often come with unforeseen consequences. “The trends are toward layering on more and more technology so that we are more and more dependent on our technological systems to live outside these boundaries,” Pierrehumbert said. “. . . It becomes more and more like living on a spaceship than living on a planet.” - Washington Post.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Connecticut Officials Tell Residents To Make Earthquake Response Plans And Preparations - Questions And Worry As Numerous Small Quakes Strike Region!

USGS earthquake locations

- After daily earthquakes in eastern Connecticut over the past week, officials have met to discuss ways the state can respond and residents can prepare.

Officials from several state agencies said at a meeting Friday they want to make sure Connecticut is ready.

About a dozen earthquakes have been recorded in the Plainfield area in little more than a week. No significant damage was reported.

The Weston Observatory of Boston College says that while the greatest earthquake activity in the United States is in the west, earthquakes are "quite common" in many areas of the east.

Officials say residents in areas that are prone to earthquakes should identify a safe place for shelter, secure heavy or tall furniture to walls and know how to turn off gas and water supply valves. - MYFOXNY.

Questions and Worry in Eastern Connecticut as Numerous Small Quakes Strike Region

A wire from a seismometer is attached to a water valve outside a home in Plainfield, Conn. Scientists are trying to find the epicenter of earthquakes that have
rumbled through the eastern part of the state. Credit Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times

Connecticut has been feeling a bit of stress lately.

For people, relief can sometimes be found in a massage, a trip to the beach or a bottle of wine. For the earth itself, however, it is not so simple.

In the eastern part of the state, stresses buried deep underground for hundreds of millions of years have been causing a bit of a stir.

Over the last seven days, 11 small earthquakes have been measured in and around the town of Plainfield, on the border with Rhode Island, the most recent on Thursday morning.

Jessica Lyon said she was sleeping in her Plainfield home and sat up suddenly the other morning, thinking a snow plow had just come tearing past her house. “I never knew we have fault lines and stuff like that around here,” she said.

The subsequent shakes have not bothered her much, or disturbed anything in her home, but she did call her agent to add earthquake insurance to her policy.

The quakes have not been big. The strongest measured only 3.3 magnitude, and the rumbling has done little more than cause a few pictures on the walls to rattle and fall. But the rapid succession of small events in a place unaccustomed to earthquakes has people on edge and asking a lot of questions.

The top of the list: Are the earthquakes a harbinger of something worse?

Rob Williams, a geophysicist at the United States Geological Survey, said the answer was almost certainly no.

The term used for these events, he said, is a swarm. And earthquake swarms are somewhat common, at least in geological terms. So common in Connecticut that, before the first European settlers arrived, the American Indians referred to an area near Plainfield as Machimoodus, which has been translated to mean “place of bad noises.” It is how the town of Moodus got its name.

To understand what is happening in Plainfield this week, Mr. Williams said, it is necessary to understand how the Connecticut of today came to be.

More than 300 million years ago, most of the land on earth was part of a single supercontinent, Pangea.

Connecticut sat in the middle of this massive body of land. Then, about 200 million years after Pangea was formed, it began pulling apart. As the world began to take the shape, tectonic plates were colliding and breaking apart with tremendous force, creating huge faults. One of those faults — extending from near New Haven north to Keene, N.H. — helped create the Connecticut Valley. Although that fault has been inactive for 140 million years, residual stresses still exist and can set off earthquakes.

Since 1980, there have been swarms of several hundreds of earthquakes in and around Moodus, and scientists believe the Indian name was the result of the small tremors that would shake the lands.

 Plainfield, in eastern Connecticut, an area that has faced a swarm of small earthquakes in recent days. Officials have planned an information session on Friday
at Plainfield High School. Credit Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times

But those quakes were mostly only detectable by machines. Not so the most recent swarm.

Dino Chrisovechotis said that he lived through earthquakes as a child in Greece but that his neighbors could use some basic information.

“Nobody here knows anything about earthquakes,” said Mr. Chrisovechotis, standing in Gus’s Pub & Pizzarama in Plainfield, the restaurant of which he is a co-owner. “It’s crazy.”

Mr. Chrisovechotis said he told his children to climb under their desks in school if the ground started shaking again.

Town leaders have organized an information session for residents on Friday night at Plainfield High School. A scientist from the Weston Observatory at Boston College will explain about the quakes, and emergency planners will fill residents in on what they can do to stay safe. But since earthquakes do not happen frequently in the area, there is a paucity of data, and many questions cannot be answered.

“In this case, the quakes are too small to produce surface rupture,” Mr. Williams said. With no surface rupture, scientists cannot determine the epicenter of the quakes.

Without knowing the epicenter, they could not say for sure what was causing the rumblings.

 Scientists from the Weston Observatory at Boston College placed a seismometer in a garage in Plainfield to measure earthquakes.
Credit Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times

Still, Mr. Williams said the quakes had so far fit the pattern of other swarms.

In places like California, where quakes result from the friction between tectonic plates, a big event tends to be followed by smaller aftershocks. Earthquake swarms, however, tend to be characterized by several small events that build to a large event and then taper off again.

In this case, the large event would be the 3.3 quake measured on Monday. Mr. Williams said it was unlikely that there would be “a larger or more damaging earthquake.”

But to make certain, the Geological Survey has been working with local experts to monitor the situation.

Scientists from Weston have placed four temporary seismometers in the area, all in private homes, to pinpoint the locations and details of each temblor more accurately.

Because the equipment is costly and people are curious, the scientists are determined to keep the sites of the temporary seismometers a secret.

They agreed to show a reporter and photographer on the condition that no names, addresses or identifying information be used.

On a slab of concrete, in a plastic storage bin, was a machine the size of a car battery, sprouting wires and plugged into a wall outlet.

As the machine sat ready to record additional rumblings, the homeowner said he was trying not to work about more earthquakes. “I just go about my daily activities,” the homeowner said. “What can you do? I just hope it’s not the big one.” - NY Times.

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

January 17, 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.

14 whales and 16 turtles washed up dead in Baja California, Mexico

Gray whales are 14 and 16 dead sea turtles in BCS.Add caption

The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection detected the stranding of 14 gray whales (13 calves and an adult) and 16 sea turtles "prietas" after two separate tours surveillance on the shores of Laguna Scammon, Black Warrior, town of Mulege, Baja California Sur.

Specialists from the Federal Office for the agency and the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas in Baja California Sur, estimated that the death of the whales, which have an advanced state of decomposition, could be due to natural causes.

This, because in this area foster that kind of marine mammal, the calves are commonly lost or are abandoned by the mother, so do not receive adequate nutrition and tend to die, since they consume on average total of 200 liters of breast milk per day.

It should be noted that cetaceans found no rips or injury caused by ships or entanglements that might have caused his death. Also, most of the bodies of these cetaceans are intact and have only two shark bites.

In a second action taken in the area of marshes Scammon Lagoon, Profepa inspectors detected 16 copies of "brown" turtle (Chelonia midas agassizii) in an advanced state of decomposition. The turtles found no rips or wounds on their bodies, although some of these were dismembered by scavengers (mainly coyotes). - Azteca Noticias. [Translated]

100 cows die after falling through lake ice in South Dakota

Fell through: Mike Carlow (left) and Bob Pille (right) use a shovel and a prying tool to free a dead cow from the ice on White Clay Reservoir south of Pine Ridge,
South Dakota on Tuesday. Last week an estimated 100 of Carlow and his brother Pat's cows wandered onto the ice, broke through and died

These images of drowned cattle are enough to make meat eaters and vegetarians alike shed a tear over the mistake that caused their mass death.

Last week, about 100 cattle wandered onto a South Dakota reservoir covered in six-inch-thick ice while seeking shelter in a severe windstorm.

Their hunt for rest turned tragic when the ice collapsed under their enormous weight of more than 1,000 pounds.

Loss: Mike Carlow looks over the scene at White Clay Reservoir. He estimates that he lost $300,000 worth of cattle and
is uncertain how his business is going to recover

Loss: Mike Carlow looks over the scene at White Clay Reservoir. He estimates that he lost $300,000 worth of cattle and is uncertain how his business is going to recover
Most of the cows that fell through drowned, leaving their owners out hundreds of thousands of dollars and also heartbroken at the gruesome accident.

Brothers Mike and Pat Carlow own the herd on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and discovered the horrific scene on January 8th during the morning feeding time.

Pat had a hard time finding the cattle at first, but then eventually found a group feeding near the reservoir where there were several floating masses of dark brown.

He was sickened when he realized the masses were his cows, drowned.

Breaking through: Oglala Sioux Tribe solid waste director Bob Pille uses a prying tool to break ice on White Clay Reservoir on Tuesday. It's rare for cows to stray onto frozen over bodies of water

'I've been ranching over 40 years,' Mike told the Casper Star-Tribune, 'and I don't ever remember cattle walking out on ice or falling through.'

The Carlows say that most of the cows that wandered out onto the ice were prized 2-year-old bred heifers. The older ones apparently knew better than to walk out onto the ice.

Breaking through: Oglala Sioux Tribe solid waste director Bob Pille uses a prying tool to break ice on White Clay Reservoir on Tuesday.
It's rare for cows to stray onto frozen over bodies of water

They say the ice was about as thick as a slice of bread, collapsing easily when forced down with 1,100 pounds of cattle.

The Carlows, who are members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, estimate that the incident cost them $300,000 and they don't know how that's going to impact their business yet.

'I don't know what the hell is going to happen,' Mike said, adding that the ranching business 'was starting to really pay off. Hopefully we can stay in business.

This week the Carlows have been working to extract their dead cows from the body of water, which has been a complicated job. - Daily Mail.

Pack of Dhol wild dogs kill 7-yr-old girl in India

Dhol - Indian wild dog. © Tarique Sani
A seven-year-old girl was mauled and killed by a pack of feral dogs in Bhidiya Rasoolpulpur village on Thursday afternoon.

According to reports, the minor, daughter of a brick kiln worker, was attacked by the pack while she was on her way home after giving lunch to her father.

Hearing her cries, villagers and passersby rushed to the spot and tried shooing the pack away but to no avail. The girl, after some time, started bleeding profusely and fell unconscious on the spot.

The dogs did not leave the spot despite many attempts by the locals. It was only when some villagers armed with sticks rushed to the place, that the dogs left.

By then, the girl had already died due to extensive bleeding and deep injuries, said inspector Bachchu Singh of Sheshgarh police station.

"This is the first time that such an incident has been reported. Though the pack inhabits the forest area, it rarely ventures into the village to attack the locals," said Singh. The girl's body was taken away by her parents who refused to allow the police to conduct a postmortem and instead cremated her body quietly.

According to Dr Abhijit Pawde, veterinary scientist at Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) the wild dogs, also known as 'Dhols', start feeding on carcasses of dead animals lying on the outskirts of villages and usually develop killer instincts. They are classified as feral dogs. They possess a strong sense of smell and can sense whether the person or animal in front of them can withstand the attack. They move in packs and attack.

"In this particular case, it can be assumed that the girl was walking alone. She was not mentally and physically strong enough to ward off the group. These dogs cannot be categorized with the stray dogs moving around in urban areas as their behavioural pattern is quite different from them," said Pawde.

However, Mohammad Ehsan, former chief wildlife warden (Uttar Pradesh) said, "Presence of 'Dhols' - during the last few years - has been reported mainly from jungles in South India. They have not been sighted in Bareilly region from a long time. The incident which has occurred is difficult to understand."

"As per my experience, the group of dogs who attacked and killed the girl was presumably a group residing on the outskirts of the village and one or two among them were rabid or rabies affected dogs," Ehsan added. - The Times of India.

Woman finds python in her bathroom in Sharon, Pennsylvania

Patrolman Troy Widmyer holds the ball python that Sharon
police removed from the bathroom of a city resident
early Tuesday morning.
Movie fans might think a snake in an apartment wouldn't have the shock value of the thriller "Snakes on a Plane." Just don't expect Debbie LaMotte to agree.

The Sharon woman said she had just answered the call of nature at about 4 a.m. Tuesday when "something on the floor" she hadn't noticed on the way into the bathroom caught her attention.

"At first I thought it was a scarf because it had such a beautiful pattern," the resident of Riverview Manor said. "I use a cane, so I reached out to touch it and that's when I saw its head move."

At that point, the 62-year old said, she found she could still move pretty fast and close the door in a hurry if she had to.

"It started poking its nose under the door while I was calling 911," LaMotte said, describing the snake she saw as "at least 4 feet long, and probably longer."

"They (dispatcher) told me to try to keep it contained until the police got here so I used my cane to do that," said the retiree who formerly worked in a medical billing office.

Three responding police weren't eager to use their hands to pick up the snake. One of them told LaMotte it was a constrictor. Police later identified it as a ball python, a snake that constricts, or squeezes, prey to kill it before swallowing its meal.

"I gave them my old lady grabber that I use to reach things in the closet and they used it to put the snake into a bag," LaMotte said.

She said she was startled at first but that her heart "really started racing" because of the shock of seeing a snake that shouldn't have been on the fifth floor of an apartment. - The Sharon Herald.

Otters across the world are threatened with extinction says new report

The International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) has become increasingly concerned about the decline of many species of otter in different countries with many little or no government conservation support.

As recently as 2012, the Japanese Otter was officially declared extinct, and of the 13 species across the world, nine are declining in numbers.

In the IUCN Red List, five species are classed as Endangered and two as Vulnerable, meaning that they are facing a high or very high risk of extinction in the wild.

The Eurasian otter, the only species which we have in the UK, is overall classed as Near Threatened, despite recent rises in UK populations, but in Asia it is believed to be critically endangered.

Asia forms about 80 per cent of the geographical range of the Eurasian otter. In parts of China it is almost extinct and in the Changbaishan Mountain Reserve numbers went down from 1.2 million in 1975 to just 4 in 2012 - a decline of over 99 per cent.

There have been no sightings of the species since the early 1990s in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam and most of India.
Even in Europe it is declining in some areas.

Conservation of otters depends on creating a greater awareness of their importance in the ecosystem and demonstrating how vital they are in wetland habitats, says IOSF. They are the ideal environmental indicator species - they use both the land and water habitats and so it is essential that both are in pristine condition.

This is important not just for otters but for all wetland species.

The IOSF is holding a series of training workshop for students, park rangers and government officials to encourage the next generation of otter workers to gather reliable data, encourage enforcement of legal protection and develop effective education/public awareness programmes within local communities.

The most recent workshop was held in Bangladesh in December 2014, where there is an urgent need for conservation as a result of an oil spill in the Sundarbans, home to Asian small-clawed otters.

In that region, 350,000 litres of oil were emptied into this pristine environment killing the small crabs and mudskippers that are prey for the otters.

Dr Paul Yoxon of IOSF says: "The Sundabans is a truly wonderful environment with tiger, crocodile, the rare Ganges and Irrawaddy river dolphins, eagles, kites and egrets.

"The need for conservation has clearly increased with the oil spill and the increasing human pressure, but until now no-one had been looking at the otters.

"Now this will change and with the care of the Bangladeshi people the three species of otter that inhabit this truly remarkable place will continue to survive.

"There is now a Bangladesh Otter Network to take things further and encourage more students to study otters and work on their conservation."

For more information go to

- Wild Life Extra.

Coyote conflicts with pets, police and people increase in Westchester, NY

Officials in New Castle and Greenburgh have issued warnings about coyotes, and are starting to develop plans and policies to curtail them.

Police and wildlife experts in Westchester and Putnam counties say sightings of coyotes -- and increasingly aggressive conflicts -- are on the rise.

Dean Renzi, a bow hunter from Yonkers, said, "The population has definitely grown. I've seen them in just about every location I've hunted. Both Westchester and Putnam counties have large populations."

Renzi, who hunts deer for food in the area, said, "I've heard (coyote) packs howling while on (deer) stand, which is a strong indicator that numbers are flourishing. I think the population has grown, because not many people hunt, or trap for them."

A 6-year-old Rye girl was attacked in her front yard by a pair of coyotes in June 2010. She got bites on her shoulder, thigh and ear as well as scratches on her back. Her mother scared the coyotes off. The girl was treated and released from a local hospital. Two months earlier, a 10-year-old toy poodle was attacked and killed by coyotes in Rye.

In March 2014, a Rockland County woman had to be vaccinated against rabies after a coyote stalked and then attacked her dog and her. Orangetown police killed the coyote which tested positive for rabies.

In November 2014, Village of Mamaroneck police shot and killed a coyote because it was acting aggressive. No one was attacked or injured, however.

Most recently, officials in New Castle and Greenburgh have issued warnings about coyotes, and are starting to develop plans and policies to curtail them.

Residents of the Crest neighborhood in the town of Greenburgh have complained about many more cats disappearing in recent months.

Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner said, "Some residents have contacted me recently to express concern about coyotes on or near their property. ... In recent years there have been more coyote sightings in our town."

The coyote population has been rising 5 to 10 percent annually, according to state wildlife experts. The most specific solution they offer is to eliminate a coyote's food source. Don't place dog or cat food outside. Keep all trash in sealed containers and make it inaccessible to all wild animals. Finally, clean up any fallen fruit and bird seed.

"They tend to move more when it's cold, because they need the calories,'' Renzi said. "They say the best temperature to hunt them is 20 to 50 degrees." - The New Rochelle Daily Voice.

Spate of rare deep sea tropical fish found on Norfolk beaches, UK

The ocean sunfish on Blakeney Point, spotted by Ajay Tegala, coastal ranger for the National Trust on the north Norfolk coast.  © Ajay Tegala

Nature lovers are surprised at a spate of tropical fish sightings on the north Norfolk coast over the New Year period.

Washed up dead ocean sunfish, known as mola mola, have been spotted on Blakeney Point, Cley and Holkham and Sheringham beaches.

Identified by its distinctive fins, Mola Mola prefer water over 13C - the water around Blakeney Point is around 7C.

The last time this particular fish was spotted on Cley beach and Blakeney Point was two and three years ago, respectively.

A giant sunfish was washed up on Overstrand beach in 2012 and another mola mola was spotted on Sea Palling beach in 2010.

Ajay Tegala, coastal ranger for the National Trust on the north Norfolk coast, saw the rare fish which was just under one metre long by the lifeboat house on Blakeney Point this month.

He said: "It was a bit of a surprise because it was the first time I have seen one. It is not something you commonly see.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we see more fish like this because we are getting more species in our waters."

A sunfish was spotted on Sheringham beach before Christmas and another was seen on Cley beach on December 21.

At the start of this year there were sightings on Holkham beach on January 3, Blakeney beach on January 4 and the Blakeney Point lifeboat house on January 8.

Christine Pitcher, display supervisor at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre, said the fish off north Norfolk could have been blown off course from warmer waters.

She said: "It could be down to strong currents or wind. We could have more sightings of this kind of fish if the waters warm up or currents change. Mola mola are fairly rare around the UK and especially rare around north Norfolk because the sea is not warm at this time of year."

Sunfish facts

■ The ocean sunfish is the heaviest known bony fish in the world and has an average adult weight of 1,000kg.

■ The species is native to tropical and temperate waters around the world and prefer swimming in open water.

■ Sunfish can be as tall as they are long when their dorsal and ventral fins are extended.

■ They live on a diet consisting mainly of jellyfish.

■ Adult sunfish range from brown to silvery-grey or white, with a variety of mottled skin patterns. Some of these patterns may be region-specific.

■ Records show that some sunfish can swim 26km in a day, at a top speed of 3.2km/h. They also swim with ocean currents.

Sunfish swim at depths of up to 2,000ft and adults spend a large portion of their lives submerged at depths greater than 660ft.

■ When sunfish spend a long time in water at temperatures of 12C or lower it can lead to disorientation and death.

- Eastern Daily Press.

Group of sharks, including the 'biggest' ever seen off Australian coast, force closure of Sydney beaches

The coast of Newcastle, Australia has been the home to a group of sharks over the past seven days, including the
'biggest' shark ever seen off that part of the country.  PETER HARRISON/Getty Image

Several large sharks, including the "biggest" ever spotted off the Australian coast have forced the closure of beaches north of Sydney for seven days in a row.

The huge shark is thought to be more than 16 feet long and weight over 3,700 pounds, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Several sharks have been caught on film chasing dolphins close to the town of Newcastle.

The massive shark has also been spotted in the same area as well.

Peter Withers, Newcastle council's aquatic service coordinator, said: "We've consistently seen the big one every day. Certainly it's the biggest shark we've ever had and it's hung around longer than any other shark."

Last year, five people were killed in shark attacks in Australia, one of the worst years for attacks on record.Authorities, reported the Times of London, would wait for a 24-hour period without a shark sighting before reopening the beaches. - NY Daily News.

10,000 fish have died 'due to algae' in Lake Mission Viejo, California, United States

It's a wonderful day for sailing ... and flying, on Lake Mission Viejo, where the Yacht Club opens its season with regatta. Not for fishing, however, as an
outbreak of toxic algae has killed almost all fish at the lake. An estimated 10,000-plus bass, catfish, sunfish and blue gill have died in the past
few months at the man-made recreational lake FILE: MINDY SCHAUER, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

An outbreak of toxic algae has killed almost all fish at Lake Mission Viejo, a world-class bass fishery.

An estimated 10,000-plus bass, catfish, sunfish and blue gill have died in the past few months at the man-made recreational lake, said Kevin Frabotta, general manager of the Lake Mission Viejo Association, the homeowners association that owns the lake.

Lake staff discovered dead fish in early November and lab tests showed they were dying as a result of a toxin produced by prymnesium parvum, also known as the golden algae, the HOA website stated. HOA employees have been treating the lake with algae suppressor and testing water samples twice a week since then, Frabotta said.

“Our golden algae counts are going down,” Frabotta said last week. “That’s a good thing, but it’s not gone yet.”

Staff stock Lake Mission Viejo with trout every winter, but the association has been delaying restocking until the lake condition recovers. They’ve released about 15 sample trout to test the water, but all died within two hours, Frabotta said.

The next water sample test result was expected this week, he said. Until then, the association can’t decide its next step.

Surrounded by homes and condominiums, the 124-acre Lake Mission Viejo opened in 1976. The lake is currently open for all recreational activities, including fishing, Frabotta said, though there may not be any fish in the lake. Golden algae toxins have little effect on wildlife and humans, researchers say, but dead or dying fish should not be eaten.

The lake became known among bass anglers in 2006 when George Coniglio caught a 19.7-pound largemouth bass, the 13th largest of all time, according to the Bassmaster Magazine website.

“I think it’s possible for the bass fishery to come back, but it will take multiple years,” Frabotta said.

Golden algae were discovered in the United States for the first time in Texas in 1985. They are primitive plants that produce toxins lethal to fish, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department website states.

Golden algae tend to explode in population during the winter months when the water is cold, which gives them a competitive edge over the normal green algae, the website states.

“Usually, when summer comes and the temperature warms up, they go away,” said Richard Chamberlin, a chemical biology professor at UC Irvine.

Frabotta said he’s not sure what brought golden algae to Lake Mission Viejo. The algae may be transmitted by migratory waterfowl, boats and trailers, researchers say. - OC Register.

Thousands (8 TONS) of fish wash up dead along beaches in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Thousands of dead fish are taking the Long Island beaches, tourist town on the southern coast of São Paulo. The carnage occurring since last week, spans 18 kilometers of sand.

The city has collected eight tons of fish only on the beaches of the central region, as informed the press office. The stench bothers tourists seeking the quiet beaches.

The dead fish are examples of corvina, hake, swordfish and even shark pups. The presence of dogs and vultures attracted by the carnage bother residents.

Environmentalists relate the death of the fish to the heavy traffic of fishing boats near the coast. In trawling for catching shrimp, boats rule the fish of little commercial interest that are caught in the net.

Many specimens die and end up being taken to the beach by the tide. The Environmental Police said it would intensify fiscalizaão the fishing activity in the region.  - Diario de Pernambuco. [Translated]

200,000 chickens killed due to avian flu in Okayama, Japan

Public health workers began a cull of roughly 200,000 chickens Friday morning at a farm in Okayama Prefecture, western Japan, where an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5 bird flu was confirmed.

The prefectural government said the cull would take four days, with roughly 50,000 birds killed each day. The dead hens will be incinerated.

Self-Defense Forces personnel and local government staff are taking part in the work.

Authorities have banned farmers moving chickens and eggs at six farms within 3 km of the farm in Kasaoka, and 15 other farms within 10 km have been ordered not to ship their products.

The 21 farms account for nearly 1 million birds in all.

It is the fourth case of avian influenza detected at a poultry operation in Japan this winter.

The previous three cases this winter have resulted in the killing of thousands of chickens, ranging from 4,000 to 42,000 in each case.

Late Thursday night, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the agricultural ministry and other offices to implement epidemic prevention measures without delay.

The farm ministry said senior vice minister Toshiko Abe will travel to the prefecture to oversee the response.

The hatchery in Kasaoka filed a report to the local livestock health center Thursday morning after it found 28 birds dead from Wednesday.

A preliminary check confirmed infection in four of the dead birds and one live chicken. A further genetic test confirmed that it was the feared virus.

Okayama is the fourth-largest chicken egg producing prefecture nationwide. Its farms have around 10 million birds, figures from last February show.

The latest case comes after bird flu cases at two farms in Miyazaki Prefecture and another in Yamaguchi Prefecture in December.In 2007, Okayama Prefecture culled around 10,000 chickens after a highly pathogenic virus was detected in the city of Takahashi. - Japan Times.