Saturday, January 24, 2015

FIRE IN THE SKY: As Big As Five Football Fields - Massive Asteroid To Be Visible From Earth On Monday!

Reuters / NASA

January 24, 2015 - SPACE
- An asteroid the size five football fields is approaching Earth and is expected to pass by on Monday. It will be visible through strong binoculars – definitely worth getting; the next time such an asteroid could be this close again will be in 2027.

At the closest point to the Earth, asteroid 2004 BL86 will be at a distance of 1.2 million kilometers which – approximately three times the distance from the Earth to the moon. Estimated to be 0.5 km in diameter, it is classified by scientists as potentially dangerous.

A space object is considered “potentially dangerous” if it crosses the Earth's orbit at a distance of less than 0.05 AU (approximately 19.5 distances from the Earth to the Moon), and if its diameter exceeds 100-150 meters. Objects of this size are large enough to cause unprecedented destruction, or generate a tsunami in case they fall into the ocean.

This graphic depicts the passage of asteroid 2004 BL86. (Image credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech)

However, according to astronomers, there is no threat of the object colliding with our planet this time.

“While it poses no threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, it’s a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more,”
Don Yeomans from NASA's Near Earth Object Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement.

It is very rare that such a huge space body comes this close to Earth. The next time an asteroid might be passing by will be in 2027, when 1999 AN10 flies past Earth. As for 2004 BL86 itself, it can be monitored from Earth for another 200 years.

Astronomers strongly recommend trying to catch this unique opportunity to spot an asteroid in the sky. It will be possible on January 26 between 11:07 pm and 11:52 pm ET (04:07 and 04:52 GMT).

It will be best seen in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. Amateur astronomers will be able to observe it with small telescopes and even strong binoculars.

“I may grab my favorite binoculars and give it a shot myself,”
Yeomans said in the statement. “Asteroids are something special. Not only did asteroids provide Earth with the building blocks of life and much of its water, but in the future, they will become valuable resources for mineral ores and other vital natural resources.”

Numerous observatories all over the world will use this opportunity to learn something new about 2004 BL86. NASA's Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will try to procure scientific data and radar-generated images of the asteroid while it is in its closest position to the Earth.

“When we get our radar data back the day after the flyby, we will have the first detailed images,” radar astronomer Lance Benne said. “At present, we know almost nothing about the asteroid, so there are bound to be surprises.”

2004 BL86 was discovered on January 30, 2004, by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR), responsible for the majority of asteroid discoveries from 1998 until 2005, when it was overtaken by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS). The asteroid orbits the Sun every 1.84 years. - RT.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Global Food/Water Crisis - Brazil Suffers WORST DROUGHT IN HISTORY; Full-Scale Rationing About To Be Introduced; Infrastructure Collapsing As Electrical And Internet Blackouts Hit Many Cities!

Ongoing evidence of Brazilian drought...Sao Paulo sleepwalking into water crisis.  ©

January 24, 2015 - BRAZIL
- The taps have run dry and the lights have gone out across swathes of Brazil this week as the worst drought in history spreads from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro and beyond.

More than four million people have been affected by rationing and rolling power cuts as this tropical nation discovers it can no longer rely on once abundant water supplies in a period of rising temperatures and diminishing rainfall.

The political and economic fallout for the world's seventh biggest economy is increasingly apparent. Protesters in dry neighbourhoods have taken to the streets, coffee crops have been hit, businesses have been forced to close and peddle-boat operators have had to cease operations because lakes have dried up.

In São Paulo - the most populous city in South America and the worst hit by the drought - a year of shortages has cut water use in the city by a quarter since last January, but Jerson Kelman, the head of the main water company Sabesp, urged consumers to do more in helping the utility to "prepare for the worst".

"There is a significant part of the population that is not yet aware of the seriousness of the situation and refuses to change habits," he wrote in an op-ed published on Thursday. "They must be convinced to change their behaviour." If the dry spell continues, he warned full-scale rationing would be introduced - something the city government denied would be necessary during last year's elections.

At least six cities have been hit by blackouts due to weak hydroelectricity generation and high demand for air conditioning as temperatures soar over 35C. In response, utilities are burning more fossil fuels, adding to the cost of energy and greenhouse gas emissions. The government acknowledged on Thursday that Brazil is also now importing power from Argentina to try to cover the shortfall.

In São Paulo, subway trains on one line had to be halted for more than a hour. Lights and internet have also been cut in some areas for days, causing substantial inconvenience to residents and hefty losses to businesses.

Brazilian waitress Elisabeth de Souza looks out from a patio at low levels of water, in Nazare Paulista city. Seventeen of
Brazil’s 18 biggest reservoirs are at lower levels than during the last water crisis in 2001. Photograph: EPA

Agriculture is suffering with international impacts.
Production of arabica coffee beans - a commodity that Brazil supplies in far greater bulk than any other country - fell 15% last year pushing up the global price of the commodity by almost half. Growers in Minas Gerais said rainfall was just 900 millimetres last year, about half its usual level. As coffee has a two-year growing cycle, the impacts will be felt next year too even if the rains return. Sugar and ethanol output has also been hit. Last week, Raizen, the country's biggest producer,announced it will lay off 250 workers and cease production at its Bom Retiro mill for two years because of cane shortages caused by the drought.

Seventeen of the country's 18 biggest reservoirs are at lower levels than during the last water crisis in 2001. The southeast is worst affected.

"The region has seen alarming reservoir levels since January 2014. Now in 2015, the levels are very worrying, It's a critical situation," Paulo Canedo, a water management specialist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, said.

In the Jaguari Reservoir, the highest in what is called the Cantareira System, four of five reservoirs are vividly depleted.  ©

Although the authorities hope for relief from the skies, the current rainy season has only added to concerns. In the first three weeks of January - usually the height of the season - rainfall into the main Cantareira reservoir system was less than a quarter of the average for this period. The reservoir is now down to 5.4% of its capacity, according to government monitoring stations.

In Rio, the four reservoirs in the Paraiba system - which supplies the main source of tap water in Rio - are at the lowest level in history - about 1%.

The problem is spreading elsewhere. At least 93 cities have imposed rationing, affecting 3.9 million people. In the northeastern city of Olinda, authorities are cutting water supplies for three days a week.

The shortages are affecting the poor more than anyone. Short of supplies for drinking, cooking and washing, several communities have taken to the streets to protest. Groups of residents have beaten empty buckets and cans to express their frustration in the Madureira district of Rio, which has been without tap water since before Christmas. The city of Guarapari has seen two such demonstrations. The media have reflected such frustrations. "Sem Luz, Sem Agua" (Without Light, Without Water) ran a front-page headline in the Extra newspaper.

The finger of blame has been pointed at national and local governments that have responded slowly and fallen behind in upgrades of pipes, dams and transmission lines. Waste is rife. A recent central government report showed that 37% of tap water is lost due to leaky pipes, fraud and illegal access.

São Paulo's water company Sabesp has begun upgrading, but with 64,000 km of old pipes, this operation is likely to take many years. In the meantime they have extended reductions in pressure, which means many homes suffer water cuts for days on end.

Water authorities counter that they are having to deal with extreme weather and rising demands from a growing and increasingly wealthy population.

"There are a lot of factors behind this - rising population density, higher average temperatures increased water consumption and global warming" said Ian Cardoso from CEDAE, the company responsible for water in the state of Rio.

Climate change, however is denied by the country's new science minister, Aldo Rebelo, who has declared the environmental movement is "nothing less, in its geopolitical essence, than the bridgehead of imperialism".

Scientists think otherwise. As well as global warming, they say Brazil's weather patterns have been disrupted by the loss of Amazon rainforest and the growth of cities.

Antonio Nobre, researcher in the government's space institute, Earth System Science Centre, told the Guardian the logging and burning of the world's greatest forest might be connected to worsening droughts - such as the one currently plaguing São Paulo - and is likely to lead eventually to more extreme weather events.

Augusto José Pereira Filho, a hydrometeorology expert at the University of São Paulo, said the microclimate of the city was affected by population growth and urban expansion, which create a heat-island effect and reduce the amount of low cloud. - The Guardian.

MASS SHOOTINGS: Gunfire Erupts At Crowded Party In Omaha, Nebraska - Three People Killed, Five Others Wounded; Reports Of Multiple Shooters!

A crime lab investigator carries bags of evidence past markers on the road at the scene of a shooting in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015.
Two women were shot to death and six people were wounded early Saturday at a house party in Omaha. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

January 24, 2015 - NEBRASKA, UNITED STATES
- Gunfire erupted during a crowded party in a vacant house in Omaha early Saturday, leaving three people dead and five wounded, and witnesses refusing to help investigators, according to police.

As many as 50 people were in and around the small home when shots were fired "by multiple shooters" around 2 a.m., Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said. No arrests have been made, and police said they were confident the shootings were gang-related.

The vast majority of people at the scene refused to help police, the chief said during a news conference Saturday evening. He said he understood witnesses' fear but pleaded for them to come forward.

"Now that you are away from that scene and have opportunity to be away from any intimidation, I'm asking you for the sake of the community to contact law enforcement," Schmaderer said.

Police said 19-year-old JaKela Foster and 24-year-old Latecia Fox were declared dead at the scene, while 26-year-old Cameron Harris died several hours later.

Foster's mother, Kristina Young, waited for hours outside the small, tan house in the city's northeast side while investigators gathered evidence. She said she wasn't going to leave until the body of her daughter was taken away.

Young said her boyfriend got a call from an aunt shortly before 2 a.m. telling him there was a shooting that may have involved Foster, who had a 1-year-old son. She said a friend later called to say Foster had been shot.

Young said her daughter knew the person throwing the party. She said she asked her daughter not to go, knowing there would be drinking and worried there could be violence.

Two women were shot to death and six people were wounded early Saturday at a house party in Omaha, authorities said. (Chinh Doan/KETV Omaha)

Families talking to Omaha Police after shooting at 2 am near 34th/Parker leaves 2 people dead, 6 injured. (Chinh Doan/KETV Omaha)

A crime lab investigator works the scene of a shooting in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. Two women were
shot to death and six people were wounded early Saturday at a house party in Omaha. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Two women were shot to death and six people were wounded early Saturday at a house party in Omaha, authorities said. (Chinh Doan/KETV Omaha)

"I've been in Omaha long enough to know generally what happens at these parties," she said.

She said her daughter agreed and told her she was going elsewhere Friday night, but that she apparently went to the party anyway.

"To the person who pulled the trigger, I want to say it's just senseless. It just needs to stop. I now have a 1-year-old grandson that has no mother," Young said while fighting back tears.

Five other people who were wounded during the shootings. Schmaderer said they were in stable condition late Saturday afternoon, though other details weren't released.

Douglas County property records list the home as belonging to Alonzetta Stevenson. A phone number for Stevenson at the Parker Street address was disconnected.

Dorothy Wayne, who lives across the street from the home, said she and her husband were asleep when a shot passed through the wall of their front bedroom and lodged in the far wall. Neither was hurt.

"I just immediately hit the floor," Wayne said. "I'm just glad we weren't hurt."

Much of Omaha's violent crime happens in the area, but Wayne said she was surprised by the shootings because it's always been a quiet street.

"There are mostly old people on our block," she said.

Police arrested two people on suspicion of disorderly conduct at the hospital following the shooting, the Omaha World-Herald reported. Officers were called to the hospital after a disturbance among victims' relatives who had gathered at the hospital erupted. - Yahoo.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: 7 Mile Out-Of-Control Fire Rages In New Zealand - Caused By Steam Train; Blaze Wiped Out Farmers' Crops, And Was Threatening Houses!

An excursion steam train is believed to be among the causes of a 12 kilometre long blaze along railway tracks between Dunedin and Oamaru. Lisa Carter

January 24, 2015 - NEW ZEALAND
- An excursion steam train is believed to be among the causes of a 12 kilometre long blaze along railway tracks between Dunedin and Oamaru.

A fire service spokesman said the out of control blaze had taken out farmers' crops and was threatening houses.

He said 16 fire appliances and two helicopters have been fighting the blaze since 2.30 this afternoon.

The series of fires was blazing on both sides of the main trunk line between North Otago towns of Weston and Maheno, just south of Oamaru.

The fires had not been contained and were spreading, the spokesman said.

Houses and farms within the area were threatened. Crops in the fires' path had been destroyed.

There had been no reports of injury. The spokesman believed police were looking at closing SH1 in the affected area as thick smoke drifted across country.

Firefighters from a host of small communities along the south east coast had attended, including those from Hampden, Glenavy, Waitaki, Windsor, Kakanui, and as far south as Waitati just north of Dunedin.

Dunedin Railways chief executive Murray Bond said staff had been in contact with rural fire to take all necessary precautions prior to the steam train trip from Dunedin to Oamaru this morning, and the return journey this afternoon.

It was rare for a steam locomotive to do this journey, he said. It only happened once every two years.

He said the cause of the fire was still unknown at this stage.

Staff was waiting for the steam train to return from Oamaru around 6pm to investigate any potential issue with the steam locomotive, he said.

The whole trip had been without issue at all, he said.

Otago was placed under a total fire ban more than a week ago because of hot, dry conditions in the region.

The use of equipment that could cause sparks in the driest areas has been actively discouraged by authorities and farmers have been restricted from irrigating out of waterways.

"In these conditions any fire is difficult to contain but being able to respond early has made a difference," principal rural fire officer Stephanie Rotarangi said.

The Otago Rural Fire Authority had now taken charge of the incident.  - Stuff.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Microlight Plane Crash Near Timaru, New Zealand - Police Officer And Veteran Pilot Named As Victims!

Microlight crash victim Alfred Jack Mehlhopt trying to fly a bamboo and bicycle tubing aeroplane in 2003. He was described as an experienced pilot.
Photo / Getty Images

January 24, 2015 - NEW ZEALAND
- A senior police officer and a veteran pilot have been named as the two victims of a microlight crash in Canterbury.

Senior Sergeant Hohi "Randel" Tikitiki, 51, and Alfred "Jack" Mehlhopt, 86, had set off on a routine training flight from Richard Pearse Airport, Timaru, at 7pm yesterday, but crashed 30 minutes later.

Their microlight, from the South Canterbury Microlight Club, crashed on farmland 11km north of Timaru.

Civil Aviation Authority investigators have warned it could take months to find out the cause of the crash.

The victims' families and Canterbury Police paid tribute to the two men today.

Canterbury Police District Commander Superintendent Gary Knowles said: "This tragic and sudden loss of life has rocked not only the community in Timaru but everyone at Canterbury Police.

"Randel was a valued friend and colleague to many in New Zealand Police and a respected member of the community in Timaru.

"The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Canterbury Police are with the friends and families of Randel and Jack, two men who made a real difference to so many lives."

Jack Mehlhopt (left) had a lifelong passion for planes. Photo / Getty

Mr Mehlhopt's family said they were extremely upset and that "Jack" would be missed by many.

"Jack was an extremely experienced aviator having held a Pilots Licence since the age of 16. Aviation was his lifelong passion. The fact he is never coming home again is something that is very hard to get your head around."

Mr Tikitiki's family described him as a "loving father of twin girls" and a "dedicated police officer".

CAA spokesman Mike Richards said two safety investigators would be examining the scene today.

Photo / File

"The investigators will concentrate first on gathering as much information as they can from any eye-witnesses and then proceed to form a picture of the environmental conditions at the time of the accident.

"Depending on what they find, the investigation could take many months to complete as it is quite common to require mechanical and electronic parts to be sent to manufactures testing centres.

"If any significant mechanical issues are identified as possible cause of the accident the CAA will issue immediate advice to the aviation community to help prevent a repeat of this unfortunate accident.

"However, it is far too early to speculate on what has happened here."

The owner of the farm where the microlight crashed said emergency services had covered up the scene. "It happened about three of four paddocks back from the house. [The wreck] has been covered over and there are a few cones with a tarpaulin on the outside," Mark Phillips said.

The deaths have been referred to the coroner. - NZ Herald.

GLOBAL AWAKENING: Embracing Of Mother Nature And Detaching From European Vampirism - Russia Passes Even Tighter Restrictions On GMO Imports, Prohibiting The Cultivation Of Genetically-Modified Grain!

January 24, 2015 - RUSSIA
- Russia’s President Vladimir Putin recently signed the Russian Federation Code of Administrative Offences into law which fines those who violate mandatory GMO labeling conditions, and now the Russian’s are stepping up their regulatory laws that previously allowed GMOs to be imported. Will Russia soon successfully ban GMOs fro their country completely?

The Russian government’s Commission on Legislative Activities approved a bill introduced by both the Ministry of Science and Education and supported by the Russian Minister of Agriculture Nikolai Fyodorov that would ban the cultivation and breeding of genetically modified organisms in Russia. That is, except when used for scientific research (likely to prove its dangers) as well as to limit imports of biotech’s products.

President Vladimir Putin met with Russia’s Security Council recently “on the status and problems of national security in connection with the use of genetically modified organisms.” It was following this meeting that the draft federal law was penned. It is a breakthrough in ridding the world of genetically modified crops, and if Russia is able to pass it successfully, then there is hope for other countries in Europe and elsewhere as well.

The bill would strengthen current Federal laws already in place to regulate genetic engineering in order to “minimize risks to humans and the environment.” It would completely ban the cultivation and breeding of GMOs except under strict scientific controls for study, and also impose much stricter controls of any GMO products, forcing them to be registered through a government agency.

Most importantly, the law allows the complete prohibition of GMO imports into Russia based on current and future scientific research which has already defined their deleterious effects. The law further details administrative penalties for violating import and cultivation laws.

A full meeting of the Russian government is to take place at which time the bill will be considered for passage. Though Russia has come close to a complete ban of GMOs already, there are currently 18 different GMO varieties in GMO products currently allowed for import. While this is lower than in other countries, and Russia has banned cultivation from within its borders, this is a new, stricter stance on GMOs overall.

Putin, including a new article establishing liability for the violation of mandatory requirements for the labeling of food products that contain GMOs.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that Russia has no intention to import GMOs in the near future. Will Russia soon be a completely GMO-free country? - Natural Society.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Military Helicopter Crashes In Southern California - Killing Two Marines!

- Two Marines died after their helicopter crashed on a training mission in Southern California, the military said in a statement.

The aircraft went down around 4:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. ET) Friday at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California.

"Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the two Marines we lost in this tragic accident," Maj. Gen. Michael Rocco said Friday.

The names of the Marines will be released after the next of kin are notified.

According to its website, the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center's mission "is to conduct relevant live-fire combined arms training, urban operations, and Joint/Coalition level integration training" for Marines and Navy sailors. It's located in San Bernardino County some 130 miles east of Los Angeles and abuts Joshua Tree National Park.

While missions in combat zones are obviously more dangerous, there are many examples of fatal U.S. military aircraft crashes during training missions as well.

Last March, for instance, a F/A-18C Hornet's pilot died after a crash about 70 miles east of Naval Air Station Fallon in western Nevada. The Navy described the combat jet as a "total loss."

The Marines have had their share of deaths during training missions as well.

In 2012, seven Marines died in a midair collision of two U.S. military helicopters along the Arizona-California border. Six of those killed during what was called a routine training operation were based at California's Camp Pendleton, while the other was out of Yuma, Arizona, the Marine Corps said.

The previous year, the Marines had at least three deadly incidents involving helicopter crashes in noncombat areas -- one off of Hawaii, another in the northern part of Camp Pendleton and the third on that same Southern California base.

The latter two crashes both involved members of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, like the one of Friday. - CNN.

HUMAN DEVOLUTION: New World Disorder, Terrorism And False Flag Events - Islamic Militants Behead Japanese Hostage, Offer Swap For Remaining One!

Haruna Yukawa beheaded by , says another hostage Kenji Goto in video - reports 

January 24, 2015 - MIDDLE EAST
- A video has reportedly appeared on the internet showing one of the Japanese hostages held by jihadists. He claimed his companion was executed and said the Islamic State want him swapped for a female suicide bomber.

Kenji Goto shows a picture of the beheaded body of his fellow captive, Haruna Yukawa, reported the SITE Intel Group, an organization that tracks the online activity of terrorists.

In his message, Goto reportedly blames Japan’s prime minister for Yukawa’s death and says that the Islamic State now wants the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, an alleged attempted suicide bomber, who is believed to be connected to the attack on a hotel in Jordan in 2005.

Sajida al-Rishawi is currently in prison in Jordan. During the 2005 attack in Amman her suicide belt didn’t detonate and she survived. Later she was captured and confessed, but later retracted her confession. She was sentenced to death in 2006, but appealed to the court and the case is still in process of appeal.

Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga has said his country is outraged by the atrocity.

"This is an outrageous and unacceptable act,"
Suga said. "We strongly demand the prompt release of the remaining Mr. Kenji Goto, without harm."

Kenji Goto (Still from Youtube video/SnapcastNews)
Suga also said the government is holding an emergency meeting over the situation. The authorities have started an investigation and verification of the contents of the video.

After the meeting, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Japan “will not give in to terrorism.”

On Tuesday, the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) terrorist group published a video on several extremist websites showing two Asian men wearing orange fatigues standing on their knees alongside a masked man in black holding a knife.

The man said the militant group demanded a $200 million ransom for the hostage’s lives to be paid within 72 hours. This is the same amount of money that Japan had pledged to pay as a contribution to the US-led campaign against IS.

The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated that he will stand by his country’s commitment not to pay ransoms while speaking on the phone with UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday, Kyodo news agency reported.

Abe said multiple times that that he will not give in to terrorism. However, his government vowed to rescue the Japanese nationals, with the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga stating that the government “is doing everything it can, and saving lives is the top priority.”

Meanwhile, Tokyo had failed to contact the militants to negotiate the release in the given time.

The Japanese hostage is the last victim on the list of foreign hostages executed by IS militants in Syria and Iraq, for whom their governments refused to pay ransom. Among them are US aid worker Peter Kassig executed in November 2014, UK aid worker Alan Henning murdered in October 2014, UK aid worker David Haines killed in September 2014 and American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, slain in August 2014. - RT.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Latest Report Of Volcanic Eruptions, Activity, Unrest And Awakenings – January 24, 2015!

January 24, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Colima volcano (Mexico): Eruptive activity continues at moderate levels with effusion of viscous lava at the summit, producing frequent smaller and sometimes larger rockfalls and avalanches.

Explosion from Colima volcano yesterday

WATCH: Small to moderate explosions occur a few times per day at Colima.

Sakurajima volcano (Japan): An unusually strong explosion occurred yesterday at 20:36 local time. VAAC Tokyo reported an ash plume to 16,000 ft (5 km) altitude. Today, the volcano has been much calmer with only a few smaller eruptions and phases of ash emissions.

Mild explosive activity from Sakurajima today

Ash column from an eruption at Sakurajima on January 19

The volcano remains in a comparably active phase (compared to most of past year), producing 1-5 vulcanian explosions per day.

Klyuchevskoy volcano (Kamchatka): Moderate to strong strombolian activity continues at the summit crater, producing a sustained plume that rises approx. 1500 m above the summit and drifts eastwards.

Ash plume and incandescence from strombolian activity at Klyuchevskoy volcano yesterday

MODIS thermal image of Klyuchevskoy over the past 7 days (MODVOLC / Univ. Hawai'i)

Incandescent avalanches descent the southwestern and western flanks. From webcam and MODIS thermal images, it seems, however, that no (or only a shorter) sustained lava flow is currently active.

WATCH: Klyuchevskoy volcanic activity - January 23, 2015.

Bardarbunga (Central Iceland): No significant changes in seismic and volcanic activity have occurred recently at the ongoing Holuhraun eruption, but overall, a slowly decreasing trend of the activity is becoming evident.

The southern end of the rampart; surveillance flight with the Icelandic Coast Guard 21 January 2015. Various
measurements were made and the results will be published shortly. Photo: Morten S. Riishuus.(IMO)

Still, magma effusion remains quite impressive, especially the large lava lake inside Baugur crater on the main part of the fissure.

Although still elevated, the average number of larger earthquakes under the caldera is decreasing slowly.

Fogo (Cape Verde): Mild explosive activity continues from the vent, at least intermittently, but there is no longer significant lava effusion. According to local observers, the eruption continues to decline overall and might be ending in a near future.

Mild strombolian explosion from Fogo on 21 Jan (image: OVCV)

Works have started to reopen the road into the caldera to reach Ilheu de Losna and Portela/Bangaeira.

Karymsky (Kamchatka): Another small ash plume was detected by Tokyo VAAC this morning. The volcano's activity has been characterized by intermittent strombolian to small vulcanian explosions for years.
Clear weather over the past days allowed the detection of more emissions than normally (when most events unless very large go unnoticed due to cloud cover).

Kilauea (Hawai'i): The June 27th lava flow remains active, but its advance has been mainly in form small and slow breakouts along its margins, widening it. The most advanced flow front is still 600 m upslope from Highway 130 near the Pāhoa police and fire stations.

Map of the June 27th lava flow as of yesterday

Shishaldin (United States, Aleutian Islands): The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) reported "strongly elevated" temperatures in the summit crater on satellite data from yesterday. This could indicate lava is present there, possibly strombolian activity. What seems to be light ash fall deposits on the upper snowy flanks was visible on webcam images.

Seismic activity at Shishaldin volcano today (SSLW station / AVO)

Seismic activity has been slightly above background, a phase of elevated activity occurred today. Aviation color code remains orange.

Sabancaya (Peru): A small magmatic intrusion has been taking place under the volcano recently, a report of the Geophysical Institute of Peru (IGP) concludes. Activity at the volcano could increase over the next few days, but no violent explosive activity is currently expected.

Degassing plume from Sabancaya last week (IGP)

An increase in shallow earthquake activity with both characteristics of rock fracturing and disturbance of the hydrothermal system was noted last week. Most quakes occurred at shallow depth in an area few NNE of the volcano and south of the villages Pinchollo and Maca. The strongest quake of magnitude 3.8 on the evening of 19 Jan was felt by the local population.

Intermittent steam and bluish gas (SO2) emissions rose to a maximum of 1300 m above the crater. This and other monitored parameters showed no significant changes compared to the previous weeks.

Ubinas (Peru): No ash emissions or explosions have occurred recently at the volcano.

While overall seismicity has decreased during the past weeks, tremor and long-period earthquakes, indicators of internal fluid movements, along with degassing activity have increased again since 6 January.

Seismic activity at Ubinas volcano during the past weeks (IGP)

Although the general tendency seems to be that the volcano is progressively calming down, the current crisis is not yet over, IGP warns. Explosions could occur again with little or no warning and it is recommended not to approach the summit crater.

Volcano Activity Summary as of January 23, 2015:

Currently erupting:

Ambrym (Vanuatu): active lava lakes in several craters (updated 14 Aug 2013)
Aso (Kyushu): intense strombolian activity from main vent in Nakadake crater (updated 20 Jan 2015)
Bardarbunga (Central Iceland): lava lake, sporadic fountains, lava flow (updated 18 Sep 2014)
Barren Island (Indian Ocean): intermittent activity, likely strombolian-type and/or lava flows (updated 4 Feb 2014)
Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): strombolian explosions, ash plumes up to 500 m, extrusion of a small lava dome with rockfalls (updated 4 Nov 2014)
Colima (Western Mexico): slowly growing lava dome, occasional explosions (updated 21 Jan 2015)
Copahue (Chile/Argentina): ash venting (updated 4 Dec 2014)
Daikoku (Volcano Islands): underwater eruption discovered on 14 Dec 2014 (updated 22 Dec 2014)
Dukono (Halmahera): thermal anomaly, probably small explosive activity in summit crater (updated 21 Jan 2015)
Erebus (Antarctica): active lava lake in summit crater (updated 8 Dec 2014)
Erta Ale (Ethiopia): active lava lake in northern pit crater, active hornito with intermittend flow in southern crater (updated 11 Jan 2013)
Fuego (Guatemala): strombolian explosions from summit crater, intermittent lava flows (updated 19 Jan 2015)
Gamalama (Halmahera): new eruption on 18 Dec 2014 (updated 22 Dec 2014)
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai (Tonga, Tonga Islands): surtseyan activity, growing new island (updated 16 Jan 2015)
Ibu (Halmahera, Indonesia): stromolian and phreatomagmatic explosions (updated 14 Nov 2014)
Karymsky (Kamchatka): occasional small explosions, thermal anomaly (updated 23 Jan 2015)
Kilauea (Hawai'i): new lava flow from vents on NE flank of Pu'u 'O'o (updated 13 Aug 2013)
Kliuchevskoi (Kamchatka): strombolian activity at summit crater, possible short lava flow (updated 20 Jan 2015)
Manam (Papua New Guinea): degassing, occasional ash venting (updated 28 Aug 2013)
Marapi (Western Sumatra, Indonesia): sporadic explosions (updated 27 Mar 2014)
Nasu (Honshu)
Nishino-shima (Volcano Islands, Japan): growing island (updated 19 Jan 2015)
Nyamuragira (DRCongo): active lava lake (updated 29 Nov 2014)
Nyiragongo (DRCongo): active lava lake in summit crater (updated 26 Feb 2014)
Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania): effusion of natrocarbonatite lava inside the crater (updated 8 Jul 2013)
Poas (Costa Rica): phreatic explosions (updated 14 Oct 2014)
Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): degassing, sporadic explosions, slowly growing lava dome (updated 3 Jan 2015)
Rabaul (Tavurvur) (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): lava fountains, ash emissions from Tavurvur cone (updated 12 Sep 2014)
Raung (East Java): mild strombolian activity in summit crater (updated 2 Dec 2014)
Reventador (Ecuador): lava flow on southwestern flank, intermittent explosions (updated 7 Dec 2014)
Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): ash venting, intermittent explosions (updated 20 Jan 2015)
Sangeang Api (Indonesia): growing lava dome & lava flow (updated 7 Jul 2014)
Santiaguito (Guatemala): small explosions from the Caliente dome and active lava flow (updated 19 Jan 2015)
Semeru (East Java, Indonesia): growing lava dome, lava flow, strombolian activity (updated 26 Nov 2014)
Shiveluch (Kamchatka): growing lava dome, incandescent avalanches, occasional explosions (updated 18 Jan 2015)
Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): continuing pyroclastic flows (updated 19 Jan 2015)
Soputan (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): active viscous lava flow, explosions, rockfalls, pyroclastic flows (updated 21 Jan 2015)
Tungurahua (Ecuador): moderate to strong strombolian explosions from central crater (updated 25 Sep 2014)
Yasur (Tanna Island, Vanuatu): ash emissions, weak strombolian explosions (updated 14 Aug 2013)
Zhupanovsky (Kamchatka, Russia): intermittent ash emissions (updated 21 Jan 2015)

Eruption warning / minor activity:

Augustine (Cook Inlet (SW Alaska))
Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): ash emissions, lava dome growth (updated 21 Jan 2015)
Bezymianny (Central Kamchatka Depression): steaming, weak seismic activity (updated 3 Jul 2014)
Chirinkotan (Northern Kuriles): unspecified activity - possibly lava flows (updated 12 Jan 2015)
Chirpoi (Kurile Islands, Russia): hot spot visible on satellite imagery (updated 12 Jan 2015)
Etna (Sicily, Italy): sporadic weak ash emissions from New SE crater (updated 19 Apr 2014)
Fogo (Cape Verde): sporadic small explosions (updated 23 Jan 2015)
Heard (Australia, Southern Indian Ocean): possibly lava lake in summit crater (updated 5 Dec 2014)
Karangetang (Siau Island, Sangihe Islands, Indonesia): incandescent lava dome (updated 24 Oct 2014)
Kavachi (Solomon Islands): no eruption since 2007 (updated 16 Jun 2014)
Kerinci (Sumatra): seismic unrest (updated 5 Jun 2013)
Kirishima (Kyushu): degassing, alert lowered (updated 25 Oct 2014)
Krakatau (Sunda Strait, Indonesia): degassing (updated 31 Mar 2014)
Kuchinoerabu-jima (Ryukyu Islands): explosion on 3 Aug 2014 (updated 5 Dec 2014)
Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): small explosions, lava flow? (updated 13 Sep 2014)
Lopevi (Vanuatu ): eruption warning (updated 16 Dec 2014)
Mayon (Luzon Island): steaming (updated 18 Dec 2014)
Monowai (Kermandec Islands, New Zealand): frequent submarine eruptions, last confirmed during Oct 2014 (updated 14 Nov 2014)
Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): ash emissions (updated 16 Dec 2014)
Ontake-san (Honshu): steaming, low seismic activity (updated 18 Dec 2014)
Pacaya (Guatemala): ash emissions, thermal anomaly in Mackenney crater (updated 15 Jan 2015)
Papandayan (West Java): strong hydrothermal activity, increased seismicity (updated 6 May 2013)
Pavlof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): steaming, elevated seismic activity (updated 22 Dec 2014)
Piton de la Fournaise (La Réunion): short-lived eruption during 21-22 June (updated 4 Dec 2014)
Rasshua (Central Kuriles)
Rincón de la Vieja (Costa Rica): phreatic explosions from crater lake (updated 21 Sep 2014)
Sacabaya (Northern Chile, Bolivia and Argentina)
San Cristobal (Nicaragua): possible ash emission on 11 April (updated 12 Apr 2014)
Sangay (Ecuador): degassing (updated 19 Jan 2015)
Shishaldin (United States, Aleutian Islands): mild explosive activity, intermittent more intense phases (updated 23 Jan 2015)
Slamet (Central Java): intense strombolian explosions (updated 12 Jan 2015)
Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): weak strombolian activity at summit vents (updated 13 Jan 2015)
Suwanose-jima (Ryukyu Islands): strombolian activity in summit crater (updated 21 Jan 2015)
Turrialba (Costa Rica): occasional ash emissions (updated 9 Dec 2014)
Ulawun (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): degassing, ash venting (updated 5 Aug 2013)
Villarrica (Central Chile): deep-seated strombolian explosions in summit crater (updated 18 Dec 2014)

 - Volcano Discovery.

PLAGUES, PESTILENCES & THE GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Fusarium Wilt, The Panama Disease - The World's Most Popular Banana Faces Eradication By Deadly Fungus!

Cavendish bananas.

January 24, 2015 - GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS
- International concern is growing over the spread of Fusarium wilt, known as Panama disease, as there are fears it could destroy entire countries’ plantations of the Cavendish banana – the most popular and exported variety of the fruit in the world.

The destructive fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense Tropical Race 4, or TR4, had been restricted to five Asian Cavendish producing countries as well as Australia, but has now spread to the Middle East and Mozambique.

The fungus blocks water carrying vessels in the plant and produces deadly toxins so that the plant wilts and dies.

It also contaminates the soil around the banana plants for several decades meaning that no Cavendish bananas can be grown there until the land is fungus free. While other crops can be grown and some native banana types are immune to the strain, it remains a serious concern to commercial growers where the Cavendish is grown for Western and domestic markets.

“Bananas are the world’s most consumed and exported fruit. With 85 percent of all bananas being produced for domestic consumption, you can imagine the impact of this disease of food security and livelihoods in developing countries,” said Fazil Dusunceli, a disease expert with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s Plant Protection Division, reported the Telegraph.

Moreover, the Cavendish subgroup composes the absolute majority of bananas that are traded internationally.
In April 2012, an African consortium of international researches and growers met and accumulated their findings in the so-called Stellenbosch Declaration, which aims to curtail the disease as well as raise awareness.

The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) along with 30 other organizations has estimated that it will cost $47 million to implement a plan to contain the disease.

Altus Viljoen, a plant pathologist at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, says the task ahead is massive: “There are no regulations in place at the moment, no common phytosanitary practices and quarantine systems. We have to build all of this together,” he said, as quoted by the Guardian.

The Cavendish banana is popular with growers because of its long “green life” meaning it can be transported by ship. However, cultivated plants, grown by means of vegetative reproduction, do not develop resistance to diseases.

In the early 20th century, Panama disease attacked the then-dominant Gros Michel banana variety, which eventually led to the rise of the Cavendish. But it was later proved that the new market favorite was not immune to the disease as well. - RT.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Societal Collapse - Robbers Target Food Delivery Trucks In Shortage-Hit Venezuela; City That Sparked Protests Braces For More Unrest!

People line up to buy toilet paper and baby diapers as national guards control the access at a supermarket in downtown Caracas January 19, 2015. There's a booming new profession in Venezuela: standing in line. The job usually involves starting before dawn, enduring long hours under the Caribbean sun,
dodging or bribing police, and then selling a coveted spot at the front of huge shopping lines. As Venezuela's ailing economy spawns unprecedented
shortages of basic goods, panic-buying and a rush to snap up subsidized food, demand is high and the pay is reasonable.
Picture taken January 19, 2015. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

January 24, 2015 - VENEZUELA
- Robbers and looters are targeting trucks carrying food across Venezuela in another sign of worsening shortages that have turned basics like flour and chicken into coveted booty.

Crime has long plagued shops and roads in Venezuela, which has one of the world's highest murder rates.

But widespread shortages due to a restriction of dollars for imports have worsened since the New Year.

This has made food delivery increasingly risky even as certain trucks have been fitted with GPS devices and are sometimes protected by private security agents.

"I won't transport food anymore because the streets are too dangerous," said Orlando Garcia, a 37-year-old driver from the western state of Tachira who has been ambushed twice as he crisscrossed the country.

"They put screws on the road (to burst your tires), and when you stop to fix the tire they attack you," said Garcia, who now refuses to work past midnight and will only transport plastics.

Queues that stretch around blocks are now a common sight throughout the OPEC country. Armed National Guard troops have been deployed to maintain order, but frustration mounts quickly during hours-long waits under the Caribbean sun.

"It's become a security problem to bring trucks to big supermarket stores," said Arsenio Manzanares, who heads a Venezuelan truckers' union.

A woman stands next to empty shelves inside a Makro supermarket in Caracas. (Reuters)

"This wasn't a problem before, but now with these queues, people see a truck and they lunge for it."

Local media have reported several food robberies in Caracas this month, including one by four armed thieves who stole canned tuna, corn flour and refined sugar.

President Nicolas Maduro blames the scarcities on an "economic war" waged by right-wing foes trying to topple his socialist government. This week, he announced yet another crackdown on hoarders and contrabandists who sell price-fixed goods in Colombia for a tidy profit.

Industry leaders and drivers say shortages have been exacerbated by the phasing out of night deliveries for security reasons, lack of truck batteries and tires due to the impact of currency controls, and poor roads.

The government did not reply to a request for comment.

Statistics on deliveries are hard to come by, but Manzanares estimates they have dropped by 30 percent.

But despite mounting risks, some truckers are still hitting the road.

"They've robbed me five times already," said driver Jose Alexander Rincon, 39, also from Tachira. "I'm nervous. It's more dangerous by the day, but I don't have an alternative." - Yahoo.

City That Sparked Venezuela Protests Braces for More Unrest

The young men move furtively among the would-be shoppers queued outside a supermarket, passing out pamphlets calling for the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, whose socialist policies they blame for leaving store shelves barren and Venezuela's economy in shambles.

A lookout signals that he's spotted an armed national guardsman approaching, and the group scatters like birdshot. This is not the time to risk being detained, student activist Osmel Garcia explained.

"Nobody wants to get arrested now when things are about to heat up," he said.

One year ago, Garcia was among the thousands of people who staged violent protests in this mountain city in Venezuela's far west. Home to several colleges, San Cristobal was the crucible of student-led unrest that spread to other cities and provoked clashes with authorities and pro-government demonstrators, ultimately leaving 43 people dead and sending hundreds to jail, but failing to unseat Maduro.

The barricades of burning tires and steel manned here by rock-throwing youth only fell after the government sent in tanks, thousands of troops and even scrambled fighter jets to make low, menacing passes over the city of 1 million.

While the streets are calmer now, tension is building again as the anniversary of the February uprising nears.

Venezuela's crisis has only deepened with falling crude prices crippling the oil-dependent economy, leading to a cash crunch that has restricted imported goods to just a trickle. Basic items like flour and diapers are hard to come by even on the black market and the government has had to deploy soldiers to keep peace outside stores where people wait hours for a chance to pick through near-barren shelves.

"Things are as bad as they were a year ago but now, in addition to the crime, there are more shortages in other parts of the country and the lines are longer," says Jose Vicente Garcia, a city councilman who helped lead last year's rebellion. "All the conditions needed to end this government are coming together."

The combination of shortages and spiraling inflation have shaken support for Maduro even among the poor who rely on the social programs launched by his mentor, the late President Hugo Chavez. Polls show Maduro's approval ratings have sunk to 22 percent, a low for his 2-year-old administration and just half the support for opposition leaders Henrique Capriles and the jailed Leopoldo Lopez.

Activists who took part in the 2014 unrest say they've learned from their mistakes and are working hard to counter mistrust of the traditionally elitist opposition.

An anti-government protest called for Saturday in Caracas, the first there in 10 months, seeks to harness anger over the shortages under the slogan "March of the Empty Pots." It's a departure from the previous rally cry that called for Maduro's departure: "La Salida," or "The Exit." Analysts said that phrase helped bolster Maduro's contention he's been the target of a right-wing conspiracy led by the United States.

Activists in San Cristobal appear to be preparing for battle. One student who helped organize the 2014 uprising said protesters are lining up supplies of gunpowder needed to assemble small explosive devices called "potato bombs" and to prepare spike-strips made of nails placed on a hose to stop pro-government motorcyclists. He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of arrest.

WATCH: In shortages-hit Venezuela, lining up becomes a profession.

A small demonstration last week ended in clashes with police firing tear gas and stun grenades at students who'd taken refuge on a college campus. The university has yet to reopen for fear of more disturbances.

Nellyver Lugo, a ruling-party state legislator in San Cristobal, says violence should be expected.

"We know for a fact that the students, who are really criminals, have been preparing for the last year for another round of violence to spur chaos," she said.

Nearly 500 miles southwest of Caracas, San Cristobal long has been a bastion of the opposition. Capriles defeated Maduro here almost two-to-one in the 2013 vote. The 2014 protests cost Mayor Daniel Ceballos his position and he has been jailed since for allegedly instigating the violence.

As the gateway to Colombia, the city is a center for smugglers who load up on goods and gasoline at low government-mandated prices and resell them across the border at a huge profit. The illegal trade has made shortages common here for years.

Now that economic misery is spreading, opposition leaders hope they might do well enough in legislative elections later this year to take control of Congress and push for a referendum to recall Maduro.

Historically, however, the opposition has overestimated its strength and been torn apart by infighting. More importantly, last year's harsh crackdown has left many people too afraid to take to the streets again, said Margarita Maya Lopez, a political analyst in Caracas. Plus, many are too busy standing in line to buy food.

"The sense I get is that it's not the moment for demonstrations," she said.

San Cristobal resident Ruth Molina said that despite working for the government, she's fed up with Maduro's mismanagement of the economy. She spoke Wednesday night while attending the annual state fair, helping her 12-year-old daughter into a bumper car while a televised broadcast of the president's state of the union address flickered nearby.

"It doesn't matter what he says. It's all just a farce to cover up the economic reality," Molina said. "The worst part of Maduro's speech is that inflation is so bad, by the time he finishes, prices will have risen again."  - ABC News.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 8 Earthquakes In 24 Hours Rattle Southern Oregon - Strongest At 4.5 Magnitude!

USGS earthquake locations in Oregon.

January 24, 2015 - OREGON, UNITED STATES
- A series of eight earthquakes shook Oregon's southern border Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The temblors ranged in magnitude from 2.5 to 4.5 and were centered in rural Nevada, between 41 and 48 miles east-southeast of the small town of Lakeview, Oregon.

The strongest of the quakes, at 4.5 magnitude, struck at 1:09 a.m. Thursday. According to the USGS's site for earthquake-reporting, only about four people reported feeling the strongest of the earthquakes.

A remote telemetered broadband seismograph is stationed in the Nevada desert. Since July 12, an earthquake swarm
has been shaking lightly populated northwest Nevada and southern Oregon. (NSL)

Since July 12, an earthquake swarm has been shaking lightly populated northwest Nevada and southern Oregon. As of early December, more than 1,700 quakes had been reported in the area.

Here is a list of earthquakes recorded over the past 24 hours along Oregon's southern border:


6:05 p.m.: 3.8 magnitude
8:23 p.m.: 3.0 magnitude


1:09 a.m.: 4.5 magnitude
1:35 a.m.:  2.6 magnitude
1:49 a.m.:  3.4 magnitude
2:18 a.m.:  3.1 magnitude
2:39 a.m.:  3.0 magnitude
4:39 a.m.:  2.5 magnitude

- Oregon Live.

THE WAR ON MOTHER NATURE: Farm Pollution Triggers Sea Sparkle Luminescence - Amazing Glowing Blue Sea In Hong Kong, Can Be Devastating To Marine Life And Fisheries!

This Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 photo made with a long exposure shows the glow from a Noctiluca scintillans algal bloom along the seashore in Hong Kong.

January 24, 2015 - HONG KONG
- Eerie fluorescent blue patches of water glimmering off Hong Kong's seashore are magnificent, but disturbing and potentially toxic, marine biologists say.

The glow is an indicator of a harmful algal bloom created by something called Noctiluca scintillans, nicknamed Sea Sparkle.

It looks like algae and can act like algae, but is in fact a single-celled organism that technically can function as both animal and plant.  

These type blooms are triggered by farm pollution that can be devastating to marine life and local fisheries, according to University of Georgia oceanographer Samantha Joye, who was shown Associated Press photos of the glowing water.

The plankton and Noctiluca become more abundant when nitrogen and phosphorous from farm run-off increase.

The luminescence, also called Sea Sparkle, is triggered by farm pollution that can be devastating to marine life and local fisheries,
according to University of Georgia oceanographer Samantha Joye.

'Those pictures are magnificent.

'It's just extremely unfortunate that the mysterious and majestic blue hue is created by a Noctiluca,' Joye wrote in an email Thursday.

This is part of a problem that is growing worldwide, said Joye and other scientists.

Noctiluca is a type of single-cell life that eats plankton and is eaten by other species.
The plankton and Noctiluca become more abundant when nitrogen and phosphorous from farm run-off increase.

WATCH: Incredible glowing blue sea in Hong Kong.

Unlike similar organisms, Noctiluca doesn't directly produce chemicals that can attack the nervous system or parts of the body.

But recent studies show it is much more complicated and links them to blooms that have been harmful to marine life. - Daily Mail.