Wednesday, April 8, 2015

THE GATHERING: Major Global Military Manuevers Ahead Of The Coming Black Celestial Event - Pentagon Aerospace Command Moving Comms Gear Back To COLD WAR BUNKER... EMP Attack Proof...; China Deploys Nuclear Missile Subs Capable Of Striking The U.S.; Russian Military Aircraft Nears U.S. Shores, Intent Remains Unclear; U.S. Launches Polar Growl, Long-Range Bomber Drills Over An Area Russia Wants; And Iran Sends Navy Vessels To Waters Off Yemen, Raising Stakes!

April 8, 2015 - EARTH - Here are several reports of unprecedented military gatherings and manuevers across the globe, in what seems to be either preparedness for World War III or a well-coordinated theatrical distraction ahead of a cataclysmic celestial event.

Pentagon aerospace command moving comms gear back to Cold War bunker... EMP attack proof...

The North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) shift to the Cheyenne Mountain base in Colorado is designed to safeguard the command's
sensitive sensors and servers from a potential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack (AFP Photo/)

The US military command that scans North America's skies for enemy missiles and aircraft plans to move its communications gear to a Cold War-era mountain bunker, officers said.

The shift to the Cheyenne Mountain base in Colorado is designed to safeguard the command's sensitive sensors and servers from a potential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, military officers said.

The Pentagon last week announced a $700 million contract with Raytheon Corporation to oversee the work for North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command.

Admiral William Gortney, head of NORAD and Northern Command, said that "because of the very nature of the way that Cheyenne Mountain's built, it's EMP-hardened."

"And so, there's a lot of movement to put capability into Cheyenne Mountain and to be able to communicate in there," Gortney told reporters.

"My primary concern was... are we going to have the space inside the mountain for everybody who wants to move in there, and I'm not at liberty to discuss who's moving in there," he said.

The Cheyenne mountain bunker is a half-acre cavern carved into a mountain in the 1960s that was designed to withstand a Soviet nuclear attack. From inside the massive complex, airmen were poised to send warnings that could trigger the launch of nuclear missiles.

But in 2006, officials decided to move the headquarters of NORAD and US Northern Command from Cheyenne to Petersen Air Force base in Colorado Springs. The Cheyenne bunker was designated as an alternative command center if needed.

That move was touted a more efficient use of resources but had followed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of modernization work at Cheyenne carried out after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Now the Pentagon is looking at shifting communications gear to the Cheyenne bunker, officials said.

"A lot of the back office communications is being moved there," said one defense official.

Officials said the military's dependence on computer networks and digital communications makes it much more vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse, which can occur naturally or result from a high-altitude nuclear explosion.

Under the 10-year contract, Raytheon is supposed to deliver "sustainment" services to help the military perform "accurate, timely and unambiguous warning and attack assessment of air, missile and space threats" at the Cheyenne and Petersen bases.

Raytheon's contract also involves unspecified work at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. - Yahoo.

China's nuclear missile subs 'threaten USA'...

William Gortney / AP
The Chinese Navy has deployed three ballistic missile submarines at sea capable of striking the United States with nuclear missiles, the commander of the U.S. Northern Command said Tuesday.

Adm. William Gortney, the commander, said the submarines are a “concern” and will be able to strike the United States when fully deployed with missiles and warheads.

The missile submarines are deployed in the South China Sea at a base on Hainan Island, according to a defense official.

“They’ve not loaded their missiles or begun strategic patrols,” the official said. “But we believe they are likely to begin this year.”
Gortney also stated explicitly that U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that North Korea is capable of mounting a small nuclear warhead on its new road-mobile KN-08 intercontinental missiles.

In a wide ranging interview with reporters at the Pentagon, the admiral also disclosed that Russia is engaged in political “messaging” by sending long-range nuclear bombers near the United States and will probably follow through with promises to fly Tu-160 Blackjack bombers near the southern U.S. coast.

On the Chinese sea-based nuclear threat, Gortney said: “They have put to sea their sea-launched ballistic missile submarines. I believe they have three in the water right now.”

Gortney said any time a nation has nuclear weapons and delivery systems that can reach the U.S. homeland, “it’s a concern of mine.”

It was the first time a senior U.S. military official voiced worries about Chinese nuclear missile submarines.

The four-star admiral in charge of the Colorado-based Northern Command in charge of homeland military defense said Chinese missile submarines are watched very closely.

“And you know, their very long-range capability is a function of how far do they reach,” he said. “So even from their own waters, they can reach part of our homeland. Hawaii is part of our homeland and they can reach Hawaii. And then the farther east they go, they can reach more and more of our nation.”

Asked if they have conducted sea patrols near U.S. coasts, Gortney suggested Chinese submarines could conduct underwater operations near U.S. shores in the future.

“We haven’t seen those patrols just yet, but it doesn’t mean that those patrols can’t exist in the future,” he said.

China in January conducted a flight test of the new JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile that is deployed on what the Pentagon calls China’s new Jin-class submarines.

A congressional commission reported that the JL-2 appears to have reached initial operating capability.

“The JL-2’s range of approximately 4,598 miles gives China the ability to conduct nuclear strikes against Alaska if launched from waters near China; against Alaska and Hawaii if launched from waters south of Japan; against Alaska, Hawaii and the western portion of the continental United States if launched from waters west of Hawaii; and against all 50 U.S. states if launched from waters east of Hawaii,” the U.S.-China Economic Security and Review Commission stated in its latest annual report.

Jin-class submarines can carry up to 12 JL-2 missiles, each of which is expected to have multiple warheads.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the House Armed Services Committee Feb. 3 that the first missile submarine patrols were expected this year.

“In 2014, China twice deployed submarines to the Indian Ocean,” Stewart said. “The submarines probably conducted area familiarization to form a baseline for increasing China’s power projection.”

Gortney said he is not alarmed at the evolution of Chinese nuclear forces from silo-based ICBMs to road-mobile missiles and now missile-firing submarines.

“It doesn’t surprise me that they’re doing it,” he said. “We do the same thing. We’ve done that for years.”

China also has adopted a policy of not being the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict that Gortney said “gives me a little bit of a good news picture there.”

Rick Fisher, a China military affairs expert, said that Chinese missile submarine patrols have been expected for years. The missile submarine patrols, when launched, will mark “the end of China’s 40-year quest to build a submarine-based nuclear second-strike capability,” said Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Fisher said China also is building more advanced missile submarines and possibly a longer-range version of the JL-2.

“It is conceivable that China eventually will deploy six to 10 SSBNs with slightly less than or over 100 submarine-launched ballistic missiles,” he said. SSBN is the acronym for a ballistic missile submarine.

On North Korea’s nuclear missile threat, Gortney provided the most detailed explanation to date of U.S. assessments of Pyongyang’s nuclear missile capability.

“Our assessment is that they have the ability to put a nuclear weapon on a KN-08 and shoot it at the homeland,” Gortney said, referring to North Korea’s six road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“We haven’t seen them test the KN-08 yet and we’re waiting to do that,” he added.

Asked if the assessment was based on excess caution, he said: “No, I think it’s a prudent decision by my assessment of the threat, and the threat to the nation.”

The assessment that the KN-08 could be armed with a nuclear warhead was made in the last one or two years, he said.

Gortney voiced confidence that U.S. missile defenses currently deployed on ships in Asia and at bases in Alaska and California can stop a North Korean missile attack.

“As the person that owns the trigger … I have high confidence that it will work against North Korea,” he said.

Gortney said he is “very concerned” by North Korea’s new KN-08 truck-mounted ICBM that can be moved on roads and hidden in shelters and caves.

“It’s a re-locatable target set that really impedes our ability to find, fix, and finish the threat,” he said.

“And so, as the targets move around, if we don’t have the persistence there and the persistent [intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance], which we do not have over North Korea at this time, that re-locatable nature makes it very difficult for us to be able to counter it.”

However, if the North Koreans fire one of the missiles at the United States, “I’m confident that we’ll be able to knock it down,” he said.

The KN-08 is deployed on Chinese-made transporter-erector launchers that were shipped to North Korea in violation of U.N. missile sanctions.

The Northern Command is preparing for Russia to conduct provocative strategic bomber flights along U.S. southern coasts.

Moscow announced last year that it would begin conducting bomber flights in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

“The one that we expect would be either Blackjack bombers or large jet bombers, not the Bears that we see them flying elsewhere,” Gortney said.

“It wouldn’t surprise me that they do that,” he said. “We’re prepared for it, you know, to intercept them, should we need to, should we choose to.”

The Russians are conducting the flights as part of nuclear forces exercises and as political signals, he said.

“They’re messaging us, showing us that they have a long-range conventional reach or nuclear reach with their manned bombers,” he said.

Gortney said Russia under Putin has developed a far more capable military than the very large military of the former Soviet Union, and has a new military doctrine to go along with the buildup.

“You’re seeing that bear out. You’re seeing them employ that capability and that doctrine in the Ukraine,” he said. “At they same time they are messaging us … that they’re a global power.”

The aggressive flights were conducted with great frequency following the downing of a civilian airliner over Ukraine in July. At the time, Russian bombers were conducting flights near Canada, Alaska, and the English Channel.

Two Russian naval vessels also have been sailing near the United States. An intelligence gathering ship recently left Venezuela and another logistics ship sailed to Cuba.

Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic affairs policymaker, said the admiral is correct about Russia planning Blackjack flights for political messaging.

“The Russian message is nuclear intimidation,” Schneider said. “There is no reason to fly bombers that far south when they carry nuclear cruise missiles with ranges of thousands of kilometers. They do this because they know the intimidation factor will be higher if the bombers come close to the United States.”

The same rationale is behind recent, large-scale Russian nuclear forces exercises near Crimea and Kaliningrad, where Moscow is deploying nuclear-capable Iskander M short-range missiles and Backfire bombers, along with recent nuclear threats by a Russian ambassador directed at Denmark, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threatening language regarding Ukraine.

“They want to scare us but not so much that we take measures to enhance our nuclear deterrent,” he said. “As long as we do little or nothing in response, these threats will continue to escalate.”

On the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group, Gortney said the threat that IS fighters will infiltrate through porous U.S. borders is less a worry than the current “very sophisticated” social media campaign being used by the group to recruit terrorists here.

“That’s how they are trying to attack us,” he said.

U.S. borders could be used, however by enemies that seek “seams” in defenses.

Gortney also said he is not in favor of building a third ground-based missile defense interceptor on the U.S. East Coast. He would prefer to spend the limited money available for missile defenses on other elements of missile defenses, such as sensors and other equipment.

“Our current approach is on the wrong side of the cost curve,” he said.

UPDATE 5:38 P.M.:
An earlier version of this article stated that the Chinese missile submarines had begun patrols. Though defense officials report that they have been deployed at sea, the submarines have not yet loaded missiles or begun strategic patrols. - Free Beacon.

Russian Military Aircraft Near US Shores, Intent Remains Unclear

Air Force Col. Frank Flores uses binoculars to look across the Bering Strait toward Siberia from Tin City, a long-range radar station in remote Alaska. 
Michael Dinneen / For The Times

The air is frigid and the wind is howling as Air Force Col. Frank Flores lifts a pair of foot-long binoculars and studies a hazy dot about 50 miles west across the Bering Strait.

"That's the mainland there," he shouts above the gusts.

It's Siberia, part of Russia, on the Asian mainland.

Named for an old mining camp, Tin City is a tiny Air Force installation atop an ice-shrouded coastal mountain 50 miles below the Arctic Circle, far from any road or even trees. The Pentagon took over the remote site decades ago and built a long-range radar station to help detect a surprise attack from the Soviet Union.

At least from this frozen perch, America's closest point to Vladimir Putin's Russia, the Cold War is turning warm again.

U.S. F-22 fighter jets scrambled about 10 times last year — twice as often as in 2013 — to monitor and photograph Russian Tu-95 "Bear" bombers and MiG-31 fighter jets that flew over the Bering Sea without communicating with U.S. air controllers or turning on radio transponders, which emit identifying signals.

The Russian flights are in international airspace, and it's unclear whether they are testing U.S. defenses, patrolling the area or simply projecting a newly assertive Moscow's global power.

"They're obviously messaging us," said Flores, a former Olympic swimmer who is in charge of Tin City and 14 other radar stations scattered along the vast Alaskan coast. "We still don't know their intent."

U.S. officials view the bombers — which have been detected as far south as 50 miles off California's northern coast — as deliberately provocative. They are a sign of the deteriorating ties between Moscow and the West since Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in March of last year and its military intervention to support separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Similar Russian flights in Europe have irked leaders in Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Norway and elsewhere. In January, British authorities were forced to reroute commercial aircraft after Russian bombers flew over the English Channel with their transponders off.

In all, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization says its jets scrambled to monitor Russian warplanes around Europe more than 100 times last year, about three times as many as in 2013. Russian air patrols outside its borders were at their highest level since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, NATO said.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a statement in November, as tensions heightened over Ukraine, that Russia's strategic bombers would resume patrols in both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

"In the current situation we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico," he said.

Although the Arctic draws less attention, Russia is flexing muscles there after years of decline. President Vladimir Putin's government has announced plans to reopen 10 former Soviet-era military bases, including 14 airfields, that were shuttered along the Arctic seaboard after the Cold War.

A shipyard in Severodvinsk, the largest city on the Russian Arctic Coast, has begun building four nuclear-powered submarines for the first time in decades, according to Russian news reports. The Pentagon says the reports are accurate.

The Pentagon has responded by spending $126 million last year to upgrade Tin City and other coastal radar stations in Alaska. It also has added military exercises with northern allies — including flying U.S. strategic bombers over the Arctic for the first time since 2011.

Last week, four B-52s flew from bases in Nebraska and Louisiana on simultaneous, round-trip sorties to the Arctic and North Sea regions, the Air Force announced. Along the way, the bomber crews engaged in "air intercept maneuvers" with fighter jets from Canada, England and the Netherlands.

The Air Force has said it may base the first squadrons of next-generation F-35 fighter jets at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska starting next year.

The buildup comes as melting ice caps are opening valuable new sea lanes, sparking a scramble for oil and other untapped natural resources by the eight nations with territorial or maritime claims in the far north.

"We're experiencing a reawakening of the strategic importance of the Arctic," said Navy Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of the Pentagon's Northern Command and of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

"Is this a second Cold War? It doesn't matter what we think," Gortney said. "Maybe they think the Cold War never ended." - LA Times.

Polar Growl: US Held Long-Range Bomber Drills Over An Area Russia Wants

Two pairs of B-52H Stratofortress bombers, from Barksdale AFB and from Minot AFB, streaked north last week on a long-range exercise dubbed “Polar Growl.” One set of bombers would end up over the far reaches of the North Sea, while the other would cruise high above the Polar Icecap, both areas where Putin's Russia is increasing its presence. This doesn't seem like a coincidence.

The whole affair had three main objectives. First, to test and see how US Strategic Command could handle two separate missions, heading into two separate areas, at the same time. Second, to inter-operate with allied air forces and give crews familiarity with mock foreign intercepts. And third, to give B-52 crews experience navigating the extreme northerly latitudes. STRATCOM boss Admiral Cecil Haney described the value of the exercise:
“These flights, demonstrating the credible and flexible ability of our strategic bomber force in internationally-recognized flight information regions, are the culmination of months of planning and coordination... They are one of many ways we demonstrate interoperability, compliance with national and international protocols, and due regard for the safety of all aircraft sharing the air space.”
Such a statement is somewhat of a slap in the face to the Russians who have become increasingly brazen when it comes to their near constant long-range strategic aircraft drills, even turning off their transponders when flying in dense international airspace.

Such a statement is somewhat of a slap in the face to the Russians who have become increasingly brazen when it comes to their near constant long-range strategic aircraft drills, even turning off their transponders when flying in dense international airspace.

Although flying a quartet of bombers from the continental US to the northern reaches of the globe and coordinating aerial refueling and mock-intercepts along the way undoubtedly represents a lot of work, it is a far cry from the Cold War era's near constant B-52 patrols over the same regions. In some ways, the fact that doing so is labeled a banner exercise is telling in itself as to how far the USAF's strategic readiness has decayed since the end of the Cold War. Additionally, it pales in comparison to the volume of long-range aviation assets Russia puts in the air to execute similar sorties on a near regular basis. This fact is made clear via a comment made by 5th Operations Support Squadron's nuclear operations chief at Minot AFB:

"There are a rare number of opportunities to practice Polar Navigation. The training that the crews received from the Polar Growl mission was invaluable... We continue to update the knowledge base of the crew force through squadron and operation discussions of these events to share experiences and techniques to keep the sword sharp in the many mission sets the B-52 Stratofortress is responsible for."
And those "many missions" that he references, along with ever decreasing crew flight hours, may be hindrances to the B-52 force's ability to stay in top readiness condition for their nuclear strike role. The truth is that for the past decade and a half they have been busy bombing the Taliban in Afghanistan from tens of thousands of feet up in the air, employing their Sniper targeting pods, which were designed for fighter aircraft, and laser and GPS guided bombs. This is a very different mission than patrolling the arctic as a deterrent towards potential Russian aggression. - Foxtrot Alpha.

Iran sends navy vessels to waters off Yemen, raising stakes

Iran dispatched a destroyer and another naval ship to waters off Yemen on Wednesday, raising the stakes amid a Saudi-led air campaign targeting Iranian-backed Shiite rebels fighting forces loyal to the country's embattled president.

The Iranian maneuver came as the U.S. deepened its support for the Saudi-led coalition, boosting weapons supplies and intelligence-sharing and carrying out the first U.S. aerial refueling mission of coalition fighter jets.

The Iranian warships were sent to the strategic Bab al-Mandab strait as part of an anti-piracy campaign to "safeguard naval routes for vessels in the region," Iranian Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari was quoted as saying by the English-language state broadcaster Press TV.

Securing navigation in the narrow strait was a key reason for the Saudi-led air and maritime blockade that began after Yemen's internationally recognized president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, fled the country two weeks ago as the rebels closed in on Aden, Yemen's second-largest city where he was based.

The fighting has pitted forces loyal to Hadi against the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, and allied military units who back ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Critics say Shiite powerhouse Iran backs the Houthis, though both the Islamic Republic and the rebels deny any direct military assistance.

On Wednesday, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani condemned the Saudi government, accusing it of committing crimes against humanity in Yemen during airstrikes that hit civilian areas. His comments, carried by the official Iran news agency, came as Iranian diplomats worked to erode support among Sunni nations for the air campaign, visiting Pakistan and Turkey, both supporters of the Saudi-led coalition, and Oman, the only Gulf country that has abstained from participating in the military operation.

Pakistan's parliament is debating a Saudi request to send soldiers to join the Saudi-led coalition.

Speaking in Islamabad, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the Islamic Republic was ready to facilitate peace talks in Yemen to form a broad-based government and called for a cease-fire to allow for humanitarian assistance.

"We need to work together to put an end to the crisis in Yemen. The people of Yemen should not suffer from aerial bombardment," Zarif said.

In Washington, meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters Wednesday that the U.S. had conducted its first military intervention in support of the Arab coalition, the aerial refueling of Emirati F-16s and Saudi F-15s. He did not provide details, except to say the refueling did not take place over Yemeni airspace.

Speaking a day earlier in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken blamed the violence in Yemen on the Houthis and forces loyal to Saleh, saying the U.S. was committed to defending Saudi Arabia.

"We have expedited weapons deliveries, we have increased our intelligence-sharing, and we have established a joint coordination and planning cell in the Saudi operations center," he said after meeting with Saudi royals and Hadi, the Yemeni president who fled to Saudi Arabia two weeks ago.

Intelligence-sharing includes making available raw aerial imagery the coalition can use to better strike anti-Hadi forces, said a U.S. defense official who was not authorized to comment publicly.

Warren said the munitions, mostly "bombs and guidance kits," were in the pipeline but had not yet been delivered.

Analysts said Wednesday's move by Iran to send warships to Yemeni waters was posturing by the regional powerhouse.

"The Iranian navy has regularly sent warships to the Gulf of Aden to protect its ships from pirates," Iranian political analyst Davoud Hermidas Bavand said. "But given the timing, the dispatch of a destroyer is seen as ... muscle-flexing by Iran."

Mustafa al-Ani, a Gulf security expert with closes to the Saudi government, said the Iranian destroyer had been in the area before, as part of an anti-piracy force. But with its dispatch Wednesday, the Iranians were signaling that they have seaborne capabilities, he said.

"They are sending messages that we are going to be involved sooner or later if the war is going on. We have the capability to do that," he said.

In Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, a leading partner in the Saudi-led coalition, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said Iran's meddling in several Arab countries, including Yemen, left little hope for cooperation. He characterized the conflict as part of a broader pattern of Iranian efforts to expand its influence in the region.

"It's not about sectarianism. It's about Iran believing in exporting the revolution. It's a part of their regime, a part of their ideology. Until they choose to deal with us country to country, we will have suspicions," he said.

The U.S. says the chaos in Yemen has allowed the local al-Qaida branch, which it considers the world's most dangerous wing of the group, to make "great gains" on the ground, causing Washington to rethink how it prevents it from launching attacks in the West.

Speaking in Tokyo, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the collapse of the central government in Yemen makes it harder to conduct counterterrorism operations against al-Qaida, which has ambitions to strike Western targets, including the United States.

On Wednesday, al-Qaida in Yemen, a staunch rival of the Houthis, posted a video offering a bounty of 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of gold for whoever captures or kills the rebel leader and his prime ally in Yemen, ousted president Saleh.

Along with the ongoing military campaign, Arab countries have lobbied members of the U.N. Security Council to adopt a draft resolution that would ban arms shipments to the rebels and their allies. The draft calls on all parties to resolve their differences through dialogue and accelerate U.N.-brokered negotiations on a political transition.

Meanwhile, the first boats carrying medical aid to Yemen since the March 26 start of the Saudi-led bombing campaign arrived in the southern port city of Aden on Wednesday.

The head of Doctors Without Borders in Yemen, Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, said the ship carried some 2.5 tons of supplies from Djibouti for its hospital in Aden.

The Geneva-based spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Sitara Jabeen, said another boat carrying five of its staff and five medical workers as well as hundreds of pounds of medicine also made it into the embattled city.

Jabeen said a plane carrying tons of medical supplies has been held back by complicated negotiations for securing a safe landing in the capital, Sanaa.

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that at least 643 civilians and combatants have been killed in the fighting since March 19. - AP.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Latest Report Of Volcanic Eruptions, Activity, Unrest And Awakenings – April 8, 2015!

April 8, 2015 - EARTH CHANGES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): The volcano entered a phase of increasing activity again. New ash emissions, tremor episodes and increased SO2 output occurred during the past days and suggest that a new pulse of magma is on its way. This could lead to a new, possibly intense eruptive phase in the near future.

Ash emission from Tungurahua on April 6,  2015 (IGPEN)

Because the last significant activity occurred more than 6 months ago, the upper conduit of the volcano is likely blocked by a plug under which pressurized gasses accumulate. This in turn could lead to a sudden, strong vent-clearing explosion, a potentially very dangerous eruption.

The first signs of new unrest at Tungurahua had already been noted in February this year, when seismicity increased and a small eruption occurred on Feb 19. The earthquakes had afterwards decreased again, but a new pulse started 3 days ago.

Starting 03h56 local time on April 6, a volcanic tremor signal associated with ash emissions occurred in the sectors of Chacauco and Manzano and in the area of ​​Alto Punzupal. A strong smell of sulfur was also noted west of the volcano.

Turrialba (Costa Rica): A new phase of explosive activity occurred at the volcano during the past days. It has calmed down again since yesterday, but new eruptions could (and are likely to) occur any time. Steaming and incandescence are visible from the crater.

Eruption at Turrialba on April 5, 2015

Following some weeks of calm, the volcano began again to erupt small plumes of ash again on April 3, followed by more intense explosions on Easter Sunday, producing dense ash plumes of approx. 500 m height.

Abundant ash fall occurred on the western slope of the volcano and light dusting occurred in up to 35 km distance. Access to the volcano has been closed.

Reventador (Ecuador):  A larger explosion seems to have occurred about an hour ago. On the thermal webcam, the upper cone is seen covered with incandescent ejecta.

Incandescent material on Reventador volcano, presumably from an eruption this morning

Cloud cover prevents visible imagery to show more details.

Dukono (Halmahera):  Ash plumes were detected at the volcano during the past days, suggesting that activity is relatively intense at the moment.

- Volcano Discovery.

FUK-U-SHIMA: "Time And Space Is Running Out For TEPCO" - Japan Considers Evaporation, Storage Of Tritium-Laced Fukushima Water, As An Alternative To Releasing It Into The Ocean?!

A woman offers a bouquet of flowers towards the sea in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, in this photo taken by Kyodo March 11, 2015.

April 8, 2015 - JAPAN
- Japan is considering evaporating or storing underground tritium-laced water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant as an alternative to releasing it into the ocean, Tokyo Electric Power Co's chief decommissioning officer told Reuters on Wednesday.

The removal of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of water containing tritium, a relatively harmless radioactive isotope left behind in treated water is one of many issues facing Tokyo Electric as it tries to cleanup the wrecked plant.

Tokyo Electric wants to release the tritium laced water to the ocean, a common practice at normally operating nuclear plants around the world, but is struggling to get approval from local fisherman, who are concerned about the impact on consumer confidence and have little faith in the company.

With the release to the ocean stalled, the government task force overseeing the cleanup is looking at letting the water evaporate or storing it underground, chief decommissioning officer Naohiro Masuda, told Reuters at the close of a seminar on decommissioning.

Masuda said he didn't know when the discussions would be completed and a decision made.

Time and space is running out for Tepco, which has been forced to build hundreds of tanks to hold contaminated and treated water.

The evaporation method was used after the Three Mile Island disaster but the amounts were much smaller, Dale Klein, an outside adviser to Tepco told Reuters last week.

"They have huge volumes of water so they cannot evaporate it like they did at Three Mile Island," Klein said. "If they did it would likely be evaporated, go out over the ocean, condense and fall back as rainwater. There's no safety enhancement."

Tepco has been fighting a daily battle against contaminated water since Fukushima was wrecked by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 and three reactors underwent meltdowns.

Water flushed over the wrecked reactors to keep them cool enough to prevent further radioactive releases is treated but current technology can't remove tritium.

"They really do need to make a decision," Klein said. "Storing it in all those tanks, you are just asking for failure."

Missteps and leaks have dogged the efforts to contain the water, slowing down the decades-long decommissioning process and causing public alarm.

"I think they will need to make that decision," U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Stephen Burns, said when asked should Japan release the tritium laced water at a media briefing at the U.S. Embassy on Wednesday. - Yahoo.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Oklahoma Shaken By 4.3 Magnitude Earthquake! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

- As Oklahoma prepares for severe weather Wednesday, the metro was shaken by a 4.3-magnitude earthquake.

According to a report by the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake started 2 miles south of Guthrie.

USGS shakemap intensity

The earthquake could be felt Edmond, Warr Acres, Bethany, Oklahoma City and other parts of the metro. - Koco.

Tectonic Summary - Earthquakes in the Stable Continental Region

Natural Occurring Earthquake Activity
Most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains has infrequent earthquakes. Here and there earthquakes are more numerous, for example in the New Madrid seismic zone centered on southeastern Missouri, in the Charlevoix-Kamouraska seismic zone of eastern Quebec, in New England, in the New York - Philadelphia - Wilmington urban corridor, and elsewhere. However, most of the enormous region from the Rockies to the Atlantic can go years without an earthquake large enough to be felt, and several U.S. states have never reported a damaging earthquake.

Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains, although less frequent than in the West, are typically felt over a much broader region than earthquakes of similar magnitude in the west. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area more than ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. It would not be unusual for a magnitude 4.0 earthquake in eastern or central North America to be felt by a significant percentage of the population in many communities more than 100 km (60 mi) from its source. A magnitude 5.5 earthquake in eastern or central North America might be felt by much of the population out to more than 500 km (300 mi) from its source. Earthquakes east of the Rockies that are centered in populated areas and large enough to cause damage are, similarly, likely to cause damage out to greater distances than earthquakes of the same magnitude centered in western North America.

Most earthquakes in North America east of the Rockies occur as faulting within bedrock, usually miles deep. Few earthquakes east of the Rockies, however, have been definitely linked to mapped geologic faults, in contrast to the situation at plate boundaries such as California's San Andreas fault system, where scientists can commonly use geologic evidence to identify a fault that has produced a large earthquake and that is likely to produce large future earthquakes. Scientists who study eastern and central North America earthquakes often work from the hypothesis that modern earthquakes occur as the result of slip on preexisting faults that were formed in earlier geologic eras and that have been reactivated under the current stress conditions. The bedrock of Eastern North America is, however, laced with faults that were active in earlier geologic eras, and few of these faults are known to have been active in the current geologic era. In most areas east of the Rockies, the likelihood of future damaging earthquakes is currently estimated from the frequencies and sizes of instrumentally recorded earthquakes or earthquakes documented in historical records.

Induced Seismicity
As is the case elsewhere in the world, there is evidence that some central and eastern North America earthquakes have been triggered or caused by human activities that have altered the stress conditions in earth's crust sufficiently to induce faulting. Activities that have induced felt earthquakes in some geologic environments have included impoundment of water behind dams, injection of fluid into the earth's crust, extraction of fluid or gas, and removal of rock in mining or quarrying operations. In much of eastern and central North America, the number of earthquakes suspected of having been induced is much smaller than the number of natural earthquakes, but in some regions, such as the south-central states of the U.S., a significant majority of recent earthquakes are thought by many seismologists to have been human-induced.

Even within areas with many human-induced earthquakes, however, the activity that seems to induce seismicity at one location may be taking place at many other locations without inducing felt earthquakes. In addition, regions with frequent induced earthquakes may also be subject to damaging earthquakes that would have occurred independently of human activity. Making a strong scientific case for a causative link between a particular human activity and a particular sequence of earthquakes typically involves special studies devoted specifically to the question. Such investigations usually address the process by which the suspected triggering activity might have significantly altered stresses in the bedrock at the earthquake source, and they commonly address the ways in which the characteristics of the suspected human-triggered earthquakes differ from the characteristics of natural earthquakes in the region.


GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Iceland Volcano Creating Field Of Lava And A Surreal Looking Landscape - Changes The Course Of A Nearby River; Leaving Craters 100 FEET DEEP That Will Last THOUSANDS OF YEARS; Causing Environmental Issues!

The lava has created a truly surreal look on the landscape in Iceland. (NBC)

April 8, 2015 - ICELAND
- An erupting volcano in Iceland is creating a surreal looking landscape a field of lava.

The volcano is sending out a steady stream of lava, causing a nearby river to start running straight through the lava.

It's creating an area with deep craters that scientists say will last thousands of years.

However, it's causing some environmental issues.

WATCH: Erupting volcano causes environmental issues in Iceland.

Scientists said the fiery hot lava is producing heavy gas pollution in the air.

That thick sulfur is being monitored very closely by experts right now.

The entire area is being heavily guarded, to make sure curious tourists don't try to get close. - KRISTV.

ICE AGE NOW: Heavy Snowfall And Blizzard In Mongolia - Leaves One Dead And 98 Others Lost; Numerous Livestock Killed!

Cars stuck in snow, Mongolia.

April 8, 2015 - MONGOLIA
- Heavy snowfall and blizzard left 98 people lost, 140 cars and more households covered in snow, and numerous livestock dead nationwide last week.

A total of 98 people were reported missing
in Arkhangai, Dundgovi, Uvurkhangai, Tuv, Uvs and Bulgan Provinces. From them, 96 were found safe while one was found dead and one is still missing.

Dundgovi Province Police reported that the last missing person to be found is a 50-year-old herder of Erdenedalai soum, who was reported missing during a blizzard while herding. He was found far from his home in another soum, Luus.

The herder said he found a winter quarter of another herder and took shelter until the blizzard died.

Tsenkhermandal soum of Khentii Province is still scouring to find the last missing person, who is reportedly a 55-year-old man from Baganuur District and went missing in the soum when he was driving during the blizzard.
A team of 27 rescuers are searching for the man, with four vehicles. The man's car was found in Tsenhermandal soum on Saturday.

A 26-year-old man who was reported missing after leaving home on Sunday in Ulziit soum, Uvurkhangai Province was found dead after the blizzard. A rescue team found his body below an accumulated snow after searching for him on the following day.

Many roads in provinces and near Ulaanbaatar have been blocked by snow, leaving around 140 vehicles with 750 people stuck on the road. The vehicles managed to arrive at their destination without the help of the National Emergency Management Agency rescue teams and neighborhood residents.

A group of five members of the Mongolian Land Cruiser Club voluntarily headed from Ulaanbaatar to Arkhangai road close to the city and rescued people in 11 cars.

One of the rescued was D.Mainbayar, director of Motort Khulgiin Master LLC. He reported that the passengers in the stuck cars were close to freezing when the rescuers arrived.

Traffic between provinces and Ulaanbaatar were halted temporarily from 10:00 a.m. Sunday to 07:30 a.m. Monday to prevent traffic accidents and blocked cars.

Snow in Mongolia.

The blizzard cut power in four soums in Bulgan Province.

Uvs Province had the worst time during the blizzard according to province heads.

D.Ulziit, acting chief of Uvs Province Emergency Management Agency, reported, "Two working groups are giving logs and hay to herders blocked in snow, while another group is clearing accumulated snow from roads to open up traffic. Several livestock died in our province, but we haven't set the number yet."

Road cleaning works are lagging behind in Uvs Province and the acting chief explained, "We don't have enough workers for snow clearing, and the snow amount is very high. Accumulated snow reached one meter in height in the areas affected by the blizzard, while average snow height in the province is 30 centimeters now."

A total of 91 households have been blocked by snow since Friday in mountainous regions of Uvs Province.
"Two snow plows are working to make a drive path to reach those households in three soums. It is impossible to drive trucks to them. Livestock of the blocked households are in a very dangerous condition as they haven't grazed for five days," added D.Ulziit.

Condition in Ulaanbaatar

The traffic accident rate has risen three folds since the heavy snow fall on Friday and Saturday in Ulaanbaatar, reported the General Traffic Police Department.

Central roads have seen three to nine-car collisions near the Mongolian National Broadcaster, in 3rd micro-district and in 13th micro-district. No major injuries related to the collisions were reported.

Public servants are still clearing ice and snow from roads and sidewalks. - UB Post.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Peru's Ubinas Volcano Explodes - Spreads Ashes Over Nearby Village!

The Ubinas volcano erupted this morning at 4:24 a.m. (Photo: Perú21/USI)

April 8, 2015 - PERU
- The Ubinas volcano erupted early this morning, sprinkling ashes over villages only minutes later.

Nearly on the anniversary of the evacuation of 28 thousand camelids from its pastures, the Ubinas volcano erupts once again.

The Ubinas volcano of the Moquegua region erupted this morning at 4:24 a.m. causing a layer of ash to fall over nearby villages minutes later, according to Perú21.

On March 31, 2014, the volcano’s eruption caused Querapi residents to be evacuated as it sits just five kilometers from the volcano. Days later on April 21, Peru ordered the evacuation of the camelid animals, as the volcano posed a threat following further activity.

Today the Ubinas volcano erupted after about four months of calm. The National Service of Meteorology and Hydrology of Peru (SENAMHI) calculated that the 2.5 km column of ash above the crater could reach more than 15 kilometers to the southeast.

Escacha and Ubinas Valley therefore will be receiving a layer of ash on their homes, cars, sidewalks, and buidlings today following the eruption.

Scientific institutions advise that the local populations protect themselves with masks and goggles and to protect water resources and food to prevent contamination.

For about 40 years the volcano had been inactive, until 2006 when it began to register more activity. Since then, seismic activity, small eruptions, rocks and ash spewing from its crater have been a common occurrence. - Peru This Week.

PARADIGM SHIFT: Global Awakening And Precursors To The End Of Organized Religion - European Churches Struggle To Attract Worshippers; "More Visible Evidence Of The Decline Of The Christian Religion"; "Churches Now Surreally Turned Into Museums, Skate Parks, Pizzeria, Banks"!

April 8, 2015 - EUROPE
- As millions of Christians celebrate Easter, statistics show grim prospects for the faith in Europe, challenged by a decline in population, growing numbers of Muslims, and people who do not affiliate themselves with any religion.

Europe can still boast pompous ceremonies at holy sites, gathering thousands of people. Yet, more and more claim that they don’t belong to any confession, and tiny local churches are resorting to any measures to bring the flock back.

RT’s Peter Oliver has found more visible evidence for the decline of the Christian religion – in European churches now surreally turned into museums, or even – in one case – a skate park.

WATCH: Skatepark, bank, pizzeria - Churches in Europe get creative to draw worshippers.

This church was in the Netherlands and witnessed days when it was attended only by a couple of people, after which the sacred place was turned into a skate park. Statistics reflect this nonattendance; more than 40 percent of the country’s population does not see itself as belonging to any religious denomination.

Screenshot from RT video

Germans are marginally more conservative, with just under a quarter of non-believers constituting part of the total population, but some of the churches in the rural areas there are left unlocked 24 hours a day – only to attract all possible visitors. Another way to remind people of their own existence all-year-round is to draw a congregation by adding an unusual Christmas scene – with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus made of tree trunks – or an installation of the Last Supper.

“All the churches have a guest book. I saw in there a suicide note, someone who had decided they were going to take their own life,” Sonja Hahn, chairwoman of the Determined Churches Foundation told RT’s Peter Oliver. “Then a while later, in the same handwriting, that person was saying that being able to come to this place had convinced them otherwise. I think that says just why they should remain as places of prayer.”

It’s hard for statisticians to remain optimistic, as the latest data reveals a trend of religiosity growing around the world – yet in the US and in Europe it is atheism that is on the rise. The number of atheists, agnostics and people who do not identify with any religion in Europe is projected to rise by some 16 percent by 2050, according to recent Pew Research Center study.

Europe is the only region projected to see a decline in its total population between by the middle of the 21st century, which would also affect the number of Christian church goers. Overall, the number of European Christians is projected to decrease by some 100 million, falling almost 18 percent from 553 in 2010 to 454 million in 2050.

Europe’s Jewish population also is expected to shrink, from 1.4 million in 2010 to 1.2 million. But the remaining religious groups in Europe are projected to grow in number due to a combination of higher fertility, younger populations and net gains via migration and religious switching.

Still globally, the ranks of all major religions, except Buddhism, are likely to expand, with the number of Muslims nearly reaching the number of Christians – and surpassing it by 2070, according to Pew study.

“If current demographic trends continue, Islam will nearly catch up by the middle of the 21st century,” the Washington-based think tank said in the study. “Between 2010 and 2050, the world’s total population is expected to rise to 9.3 billion, a 35 percent increase."

"Over that same period, Muslims – a comparatively youthful population with high fertility rates – are projected to increase by 73 percent. The number of Christians also is projected to rise, but more slowly, at about the same rate as the global population overall.” - RT.

MASS FISH DIE-OFFS: Plummeting Sardine Populaiton Along The U.S. West Coast - Could Prompt COMPLETE Fishing Ban!

A picture taken on February 26, 2015 shows fresh sardine fish during the Paris international agricultural fair at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris,.
AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images) | LOIC VENANCE via Getty Images

April 8, 2015 - U.S. WEST COAST
- Plummeting sardine populations could lead to a complete ban on harvesting the small oily fish off the U.S. West Coast starting later this year, officials with the Pacific Fishery Management Council said on Tuesday.

Decimated by overfishing, sardine numbers in U.S. waters have dropped by about 90 percent in less than a decade, estimates the council, which regulates fishing within 200 miles of the California, Oregon and Washington coasts.

The decline has harmed predators that feed on sardines, contributing to mass starvation of sea lions, which have washed ashore by the thousand in southern California.

It has also led to starvation deaths of brown pelicans and other fish-eating birds, said Ben Enticknap of Portland-based environmental advocacy group Oceana, which is urging regulators to adopt a long-term plan for boosting sardine populations.

The council is due to meet on Sunday, and not everyone wants the limits on fishing that Enticknap would like to see.

Ed Johnstone of the Quinault Indian Nation in Washington state has submitted testimony to council members asserting his tribe's treaty-backed rights, and stating its plans to fish for 1,000 metric tons of sardines in the upcoming fishing season, which begins on July 1.

Regulators estimate that fewer than 150,000 metric tons of the fish are present in U.S. waters, down from 840,000 metric tons as recently as 2007.

Restrictions could also pose challenges for fishermen, said Kerry Griffin, a staff officer with the Pacific Fishery Management Council.

"Most sardine fishermen also fish for other species such as mackerel, anchovy, or squid. But not having sardines available as one of their staples could be difficult," Griffin said.

It is also not clear if the globe's other major sources of sardines, off the west coasts of South America and southern Africa, will be able to meet global demand in the absence of a U.S. harvest, Griffin said. - Huffington Post.

EXTREME WEATHER: Severe Thunderstorms Strike Bangladesh - At Least 41 People Killed; Hundreds Injured; Thousands Of Homes Destroyed!

Bangladeshi villagers inspect the scene after tropical storms damaged houses in Gabtoli area, in northern Bogra district, Bangladesh.  (AP Photo/Shafiq Islam)

April 8, 2015 - BANGLADESH
- Severe thunderstorms struck Bangladesh last weekend and killed at least 41 people, leaving hundreds injured.

Reuters reports that high winds and heavy rain took down walls, felled trees and capsized boats, which led to a high death toll in the northern part of the country. Officials say the storm left over 200 people injured and thousands of homes destroyed.

Infrared satellite imagery from April 4-5, 2015 shows a squall line of thunderstorms erupting over Bangladesh Saturday,
with additional thunderstorm clusters flaring up mainly in southern Bangladesh again Sunday.

"It appears a squall line of severe t-storms erupted over Bangladesh and far eastern India Saturday. Another round formed over central and southern Bangladesh Sunday," senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman said. "Unfortunately, these severe thunderstorms were deadly in Bangladesh due to trees fallen by high winds, poorly-constructed homes damaged or destroyed by high winds."

But why now, and why here?

Bangladeshi men, women and children walk in the ruins of their city on April 30, 1989, in Saturia, as the houses were reduced to scraps during a
severe tornado on April 26. Image credit: David L. Nelson/AFP/Getty Images 

A Bangladeshi man sits on April 30, 1989, in Saturia, as the huts of his village were reduced to scraps during a severe tornado on April 26. Bangladesh.
Image credit: David L. Nelson/AFP/Getty Images 

Bangladeshi villagers arrive to look at a tornado destroyed village at Haluaghat union in Mymensingh district April 15, 2004, north of the capital Dhaka.
Image credit: Fariana K. Godhuly/AFP/Getty Images 

A Bangladeshi man carries empty petrol cans and a mountainous stack of wood on April 30, 1989, in Saturia, as the huts of his village were reduced to
scraps during a severe tornado on April 26. Image credit: David L. Nelson/AFP/Getty Images 

Bangladeshi villagers gather to look at the damage left by a tornado at Haluaghat union in Mymensingh district, April 15, 2004,
north of the capital Dhaka. Image credit: Fariana K. Godhuly/AFP/Getty Images 

Bangladeshi villagers gather in the remains of a house following a tornado at Haluaghat union in Mymensingh district, April 15, 2004,
north of the capital Dhaka. Image credit: Fariana K. Godhuly/AFP/Getty Images 

Bangladeshi villagers walk past houses destroyed by a tornado in Brahmanbaria 100 km east from Dhaka on March 23, 2013. A powerful tornado ripped through
more than a dozen rural villages in eastern Bangladesh late March 22. Image credit: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images 

A Bangladeshi woman cooks in her home destroyed by a tornado in Brahmanbaria 100 km east from Dhaka on
March 23, 2013. Image credit: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images 

A Bangladeshi girl walks through a destroyed house in Brahmanbaria 100 km east from Dhaka on March 23, 2013.
Image credit: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images 

As Erdman explains, India and Bangladesh suffer from rashes of severe thunderstorms in the months leading up to the wet phase of the monsoon season, which starts in mid-June and runs until the end of September.
Bangladesh, with its proximity to the Bay of Bengal's humid air and simultaneous dry air from the north and northwest, is particularly vulernable to the formation of tornadoes.

One such tornado struck Bangladesh in 1989 and went on to become the world's single deadliest documented tornado, claiming an estimated 1,300 lives.  - The Weather Channel.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crashes Near Portland Municipal Airport In Tennessee - Pilot Has Minor Injuries!

The plane crashed near Overlook Court near the airport's north runway.

- Aviation officials are investigating why a plane went down in a Sumner County field near the Portland Municipal Airport.

The pilot was the only person on board the Cessna 182 when it crashed just after 9 p.m. Monday near the airport's north runway.

Sumner County Sheriff Sonny Weatherford said the plane went through a fence, which did some serious damage to the plane's wings and caused a fuel leak.

The pilot was spotted walking down the road back toward the hangar.

Witnesses said they knew something was wrong and ran over to help.

Small plane crashes near Portland airport.

"We did talk to one or two that saw him flying, said he was low, which was, to them, not unusual because it's close to the airport. But when he missed the airport, they got concerned and they couldn't see him anymore, and that's when they started looking for the airplane," Weatherford said.

The pilot was taken to the hospital for some injuries to his face but is expected to be OK. - WSMV.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFFS: Disaster Precursors And Warnings From Mother Nature – The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior, Migratory Patterns, Attacks, Deaths, And Appearance Of Rare Creatures!

April 8, 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.

At least 5,000 birds killed by hailstorm in Bangladesh

A large number of birds lie dead at Moukori village in Shailakupa upazila under Jhenidah district as hailstorm lashed the area yesterday.  © Star

20 hurt, 500 houses damaged, 5,000 birds also killed as the seasonal storm hits Kushtia, Jhenidah

Nor'wester lashed Kushtia and Jhenidah districts yesterday, leaving two people killed and 20 others injured.

The deceased are Nisarunnesa, 55, of Baghdanga village, and Rahela Khatun, 65, of Afzalpur in Kushtia Sadar upazila, reports our correspondent.

Locals said the two died when the sheds of their houses collapsed on them during the storm that lashed Baghdanga and Afzalpur villages at around 3:30am.

Deputy Commissioner Syed Belal Hossain visited the areas in the morning.

A number of houses in the areas were also damaged by the storm, said the DC.

Away in Jhenidah, a storm hit over 50 villages in Shailakupa upazila of the district early yesterday, leaving at least 20 people injured and damaging around 500 houses.

Of the injured, 11 were admitted to the upazila health complex while the rest given first aid, reports our correspondent.

The affected villages include Mirzapur, Diknagar, Kacherkool, Sarutia, Hakimpur and Monohorpur.

At least 5000 birds of different species also died during the storm that lasted for about 30 minutes from 4:00am, said locals.

Golam Mostofa, a farmer of Monohorpur village, said "The storm destroyed banana and paddy on my two and three bighas of land at midnight."

Upazila Nirbahi Officer Sandip Kumar Sarkar said the storm swept though the areas, leaving at least 5,000 birds dead and damaging around 500 homesteads. - The Daily Star.

Baby melonhead whale found stranded near Yamba, Australia

This whale calf was found stranded near Yamba at the weekend

Staff from Dolphin Marine Magic were called to assist in the treatment and care of a stranded whale calf on a beach south of Yamba.

DMM staff travelled to the beach and worked with volunteers from ORRCA to stabilise the whale for several hours on Saturday until veterinary assistance arrived. Veterinary inspection of the whale revealed that it was an extremely young Melonhead Whale calf and therefore unable to be released back into the ocean.

"The size of the whale and its lack of developed teeth indicates that this was a young calf still highly dependent on its mother for survival," DMM Veterinarian Dr Duan March said.

"The animal was heavily emaciated and in very poor body condition which suggests it had been separated from its mother and had not been feeding for some time.

"Unfortunately in cases like this the kindest option to the animal is humane euthanasia rather than starvation in the ocean."

In related news, a mother and calf pair of Dwarf Sperm Whales washed up dead on a beach near Byron Bay earlier that morning. The bodies of the whale calves from both Byron Bay and Yamba are being transported to Coffs Harbour for post-mortem examinations by DMM staff.

"Although these two situations had a sad outcome, we can still learn a lot from these whales,"Dr March said.

"The information gained from the post-mortem examinations will increase our knowledge and understanding of these stranding events as well as giving us an indication of the health of whale populations off the coast of Eastern Australia.

"This knowledge can also be used to assist us in saving other whales and dolphins in the future. - The Daily Examiner.

Aggressive coyote attacks man in Saddle River, New Jersey

Coyote.  © Stephen W. Oachs

A man working in his garden in the Twin Brooks area of the borough was attacked Monday by a coyote that was then hunted down and euthanized, authorities said.

The man, whose identity was not released, was taken to a hospital for treatment and then released for recovery at home, according to a report on the Saddle River Police Department's Facebook page.

The man was attacked from behind by the animal and managed to escape, the police report said.

Officers who investigated the incident learned that the same coyote had attacked a neighbor's dog last week, requiring the dog's owner to have it treated at a veterinarian's office, police said.

In addition, the police report said, workers in the area reported having seen the coyote several times on Monday, acting aggressively toward other dogs.

Officers who responded to the attack saw the coyote running through a neighbor's yard during daylight and called a local pest control company, which arrived, along with officers from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.

The coyote was found in a wooded area and put down, police said. The animal's body was removed by the Fish and Wildlife officers for testing and analysis.

Police asked any resident who has had an encounter with the coyote to call 201-327-5300, to document the event. Police also are reminding local residents to report aggressive wildlife behavior immediately, to head off the chance of another attack. - The Record.

Strange animal behaviour: Giraffe is gored to death by an antelope at Norwegian zoo

Dozens of children witnessed a giraffe being gored to death by an antelope at a Norwegian zoo on Easter Monday.

Melvin the giraffe had got his head stuck in a fence when he was attacked by an eland antelope walking in the same enclosure at Kristiansand zoo, around 200 miles south of Oslo.

Zoo vets rushed to the scene, but were unable to save the five-year-old giraffe, who died in front of shocked families.

Around 30 people witnessed the unprovoked attack at Dyreparken Kristiansand on Monday.

Melvin was a firm favourite among young visitors, having been named in a readers' competition in a national newspaper when he was born at the zoo in 2010.

Witness Øivind Hansen, who was visiting the zoo with his family and photographed the event said even his 23-year-old daughter had come home crying after the incident.

Tragedy: Melvin the giraffe was attacked by an antelope walking in the same enclosure at Kristiansand Zoo in southern Norway

Around 30 people, many of them children, witnessed Melvin, who was born at the zoo in 2010 and named in a local newspaper competition, die in the enclosure

'It was very traumatic. People were crying everywhere,' he told Verdens Gang.

Melvin had gotten his horns stuck in the enclosure's fence when suddenly the eland, the second largest antelope in the world, suddenly attacked.

'He was panicking and tugged and tore to free himself, and then came a rather large animal with sharp horns and ran right into him,' Mr Hansen adds.

Around 30 people, many of them children, witnessed Melvin, who was born at the zoo in 2010 and named in a local newspaper competition, die in the enclosure
'It is incredibly sad,' Dyreparken's chief executive told

'He was alive when our veterinarian came to the scene, but died while he tried to save him.'

'Melvin was gored right near his lungs and heart, and the injuries were so serious that they killed him,' veterinarian Rolf Arne Ølberg, who was called to the scene, said.

Mr Ølberg added that the two animals have been walking in the same enclosure since Melvin's birth in 2010 and has no idea why the antelope launched the deadly attack on the young giraffe.
- Daily Mail.

Bee swarms interrupt Obama storytelling

Obama is disrupted from story telling as bees cause chaos

A group of unwelcome bees disrupted US President Barack Obama's storytelling session for children at the launch of the White House Easter egg roll on Monday.

As the president was reading from 'Where the Wild Things Are', bees began buzzing around the children seated on the South Lawn.

Mr Obama told the panicked children, "Bees are good. They won't land on you. They won't sting you. They'll be OK."

The US president used this year's Easter egg roll event to support first lady Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move!' initiative to encourage children to exercise and eat healthily.

WATCH: Obama is disrupted from story telling as bees cause chaos.


The theme of this year's egg roll was 'Gimme Five', with participants encouraged to identify five ways they plan to be more active and live healthier lives.

The Easter egg roll draws tens of thousands of people to the White House South Lawn each year. - Telegraph.

Man killed by bull in Hoschton, Georgia


Jackson County authorities say a man was killed in a bizarre accident in Hoschton Friday night.

According to Steve Nichols, the director of Jackson County EMS, the man was gored to death by a bull grazing on his property on Highway 332. He said emergency responders arrived at the scene just after 8 p.m.

"They kept the bull at bay until the first responders could remove the victim from the field," said Nichols.

Nichols said the victim owned the property and he owned the animal. He did not know what prompted the animal to attack. The bull was not euthanized; family members will decide what to do with the animal, according to Nichols.

Nichols was unable to release the victim's identity because of HIPPA regulations. - Access WDUN.

Long harsh winter in Nova Scotia hard on predators like bobcat, foxes

A pair of malnourished bobcats under the care of Hope For Wildlife in Seaforth are seen among trees in their enclosure Tuesday. © Tim Krochak/ Staff

It's been a long, harsh winter for all local wildlife, but the top of the food chain is suffering most.

Andrew Hebda, the Nova Scotia Museum's curator of zoology, said the recent heavy snowfall is leaving predators hungry.

"It's been especially difficult for foxes, bobcats and coyotes," Hebda said Tuesday. "Anything that relies on rodents, rabbits or any small mammal for food is stressed."

According to Hebda, small mammals are hibernating longer this year, leaving carnivores at risk of starvation.

"We've had quite a few reports of saw-whet owls being found dead," he said. "If you make your living catching things that move, then there's a problem. They just don't have access to food."

Hope Swinimer, director of the Hope for Wildlife Society, has been rehabilitating wild animals for 20 years. So far this winter she's treated eight bobcats, two minks and countless other owls and rodents for starvation.

"I've been doing this a long time, and I've never seen anything quite like this," said Swinimer. "These animals were so close to death. Bobcats are even wandering into people's backyards, just desperate for food."

It hasn't been easy for the migrating bird population either.

"Woodcocks and robins are arriving in large numbers now," said Hebda. "And they require access to the ground for food. This snow we've been getting in the last 24 hours is a challenge for those birds looking for that first nibble."

"Just this morning, I left my desk for an hour," said Swinimer. "When I got back, I had over 30 calls about dead or dying robins."

Much like the birds, deer are also wandering farther from the forest to find food.

"Their birthing season is soon, so the does need to be in the best shape possible," said Hebda. "That's why they're moving in, scavenging on the sides of the highways where the snow melts."

Even though this spring is off to a late start, he expects the ecosystem to bounce back.

"There's not much ground frost under those masses of snow. So once the snowpack goes, I think we'll find that heat is driven into the ground much faster. Once that's gone, I think we'll see a fairly rapid onset of growth." - The Chronicle Herald.