Monday, May 18, 2015

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Second Eruption Of 2015 At Piton de la Fournaise On Reunion Island - More Intense Than The One In February; Large Lava Flow Heading Towards Coastal Flats!

The two active vents with lava flows yesterday (photo: Planétaire974)

May 18, 2015 - REUNION ISLAND
- The new eruption continues, although only the lowest vent seems to be still active by now.

It continues to feed a large lava flow now headed towards the vast coastal flat to the east. In the course of today, it reached the steeper section of the Enclos, the "Grandes Pentes" and started to descend there.

At this point, the lava flow, approx. 4-5 km long could be seen from the popular "lava road" (which might be closed off soon).

The lava flow descending on the Grandes Pentes (photo: JPL / Fournaise Info)

The lower fissure vent opened shortly after the first eruptive fissure had opened higher up on the flanks of Dolomieu crater, near the 1948 cinder cone "Chateau Fort". As is typical, the lower vent produced the more significant lava fountaining and lava flow effusion.

Compared to the last eruption in February, the current one seems to be much more intense. This could be explained if the eruption is fed by a deeper reservoir instead of a shallow pocket of magma (as was the case in February).

May 17 Update: A new eruption, so far small, began this Sunday at 13:45 from a fissure vent at the the southeast slopes of the Dolomieux crater inside the Enclos next to the Château Fort cone.

An intense seismic crisis with 5-7 earthquakes per minutes started 55 minutes before the onset of the eruption, as magma pushed its way to the surface. A few minutes after the beginning of the quakes, significant deformation of the Dolomieu crater rim could be measured as well.

The prefecture of La Réunion triggered alert phase 2 and closed access to the Enclos.

Fissure eruption at Piton de la Fournaise today

The new eruption seems to be similar in its (small) size and vent location as the last one that occurred between 4-16 February this year. Both probably originate from a same shallow magma reservoir that by early 2015 had grown enough to produce eruptions at the surface.

Frequent (several per year), but generally small eruptions have been a typical feature of Piton de la Fournaise during much of the volcano's recent past decades. - Volcano Discovery.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Massive Sinkhole Suddenly Appears In Drammen, Norway - Measures 16 Times 16 Feet; Two Trees Disappeared; Geologist Investigating The Ground Around Hole!

The sinkhole in Drammen

May 18, 2015 - NORWAY
- Two trees disappeared one and a half meter into the ground as a sinkhole suddenly appeared outside the entrance to the college BI at Greenland in Drammen Thursday night.

The sinkhole outside the building Papirbredden, which includes the economic college BI and the college of Buskerud and Vestfold, was five times five meters (sixteen times sixteen feet).

The depth is estimated to be one and a half meters as two trees at the site fell one and a half meters into the ground.It was the police themselves who discovered the sinkhole when a police car passed the place just before 22.30pm, writes the local newspaper Drammen Tidende

.An eyewitness informs local newspaper that the ground just collapsed while the paper's own reporter mentioned that the hole was several meters deep- It looks like a big mud pool and several meters deep.

The lapping in this deep pool, the newspaper said. Emergency services created first major security roadblocks but narrowed later in the evening the size.

Police kept watch at the site until Friday, when a geologist will investigate the ground around the hole.Southern Buskerud Police District Operations leader Trond Egil Groth says to the newspaper VG that Drammen river are very close and that there may be water there which trickles into the hole, but that it is too early to say anything about what has happened.

According to police, there is a well that is 90 meters below ground at the site, and there is also a moraine area. This may have created the hole, said the police. - Norway Today.


DELUGE: Heavy Rainfall, Widespread Flooding And Severe Lightning Hits Guangxi, China - Three People Killed; Over 60,000 People Affected; At Least 152 Houses Collapse And Nearly 700 Others Damaged!

Residents clear debris from a river in Ronghsui county.  © Xinhua

May 18, 2015 - GUANGXI, CHINA
- Three people died from lightning strikes in mainland China's Guangxi area and an unknown number of others were missing in floods as heavy rain hit the autonomous region, state media reported.

More than 60,000 people in 11 counties were affected by the storms, Xinhua reported.

The "six horses" statue - an attraction in the Li River - has been almost completely submerged by floods, according to reports.

WATCH: Heavy rainfall hit southern China.

Local governments had evacuated more than 2,400 people, Xinhua reported. At least 152 houses collapsed and nearly 700 were damaged, it said. Twelve rivers had high water levels and traffic was blocked in remote regions. - SCMP.


GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Dump Truck Hangs Over Edge Of Huge Sinkhole In Niagara Falls, New York; And Sinkhole Closes Street In Belhaven, Mississippi!

May 18, 2015 - UNITED STATES - Here are several of the latest reports of sinkholes across the United States as monumental planetary transformations continue.

Dump truck hangs over edge of huge sinkhole in Niagara Falls, New York

Sinkhole in Niagara Falls. © Scott Lasker

Scott Lasker sent WKBW this incredible picture of a sinkhole in Niagara Falls.

Lasker says the roughly 8-by-12-foot hole opened up right by Rt. 104. The truck is one in his fleet. Lasker is employed by Mallare Enterprises and is working on a state construction job at De Veaux Woods State Park.

There were no injuries.

State Parks officials say the hole opened over an old water cistern that was buried.

The area around the sinkhole has been secured and crews are working to free the dump truck. - WKBW.

Sinkhole closes street in Belhaven, Mississippi


A sinkhole closes a busy street in Belhaven raising concerns after several days of rain.

The ground gave way at the intersection of Poplar Boulevard and Kenwood Place Friday.

Carey Armstrong tells us she saw the pavement dipping when she drove over it on her way to the grocery store, and 15 minutes later she returned and saw the gaping hole.

That's when she notified the city.

A creek runs beneath the hole and residents who ventured over to take a look say it's about 10 feet deep.

Andy and Amy Forbes and their family were taking a walk in the area Sunday but learned about the sinkhole while driving through Friday.

"Honestly it makes me a little bit nervous driving around I find myself planning how do I get out of the car if it goes in a hole and that kind of thing, got a sunroof happily," said Andy Forbes.

"At this point we've been a little cynical and we joke with the children about 'ok what's the safest route out of our neighborhood and the way to school today where we might not fall into a hole'," said Amy Forbes.

Jackson City officials said the roadway will be closed for at least two weeks. - WLBT News.


MASS SHOOTINGS & HUMAN DEVOLUTION: White Biker Bloodbath In Texas - At Least 9 Dead In Waco Gang Fight; Over 100 Weapons Recovered; 170 Arrested; "The Most Violent And Gruesome Scene" In 35 Years; Revenge Attacks Feared!

The police charged about 170 people on Monday in the shootout among rival motorcycle gangs at a busy shopping plaza in this
Central Texas city on Sunday that left at least nine bikers dead and 18 others wounded.
May 18, 2015 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES - Gunfire erupted Sunday among rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, leaving at least nine people dead, according to police.

Authorities had anticipated trouble and pre-positioned officers.

"There were at least three rival gang groups here this morning for whatever reason. As they were here, we had officers on scene. We expected issues," said Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, a police spokesman. He later said there were at least five gangs.

The fight broke out at Twin Peaks restaurant and spilled into the parking lot. It quickly escalated from hands and feet, as weapons, to gunfire, Swanton said.

WATCH: Police report multiple fatalities in Waco, Texas, shooting.

"In my nearly 35 years of law enforcement experience," he said, "this is the most violent and gruesome scene that I have dealt with."

Bikers shot at each other and at officers, who returned fire.

Swanton expressed anger at Twin Peaks, which he claims had been less than helpful in dealing with gangs in the past. He declined to identify the specific groups involved in Sunday's shooting.

"Are we frustrated? Sure. Because we feel like there may have been more that could have been done by a business to prevent this," he said.

Corporate management at Twin Peaks released a statement saying it was reviewing the circumstances of the shooting. The Waco restaurant is franchised.

Law enforcement officials said the midday gun battle was primarily between the Bandidos and Cossacks gangs, a continuation of a long-running feud between the two groups,
though members of the Scimitars — a gang affiliated with the Cossacks — and two other motorcycle clubs were also involved.

The people arrested after the shootout at the Twin Peaks restaurant, in south Waco, were charged with engaging in organized crime linked to capital murder, said Sgt. Patrick
Swanton, a Waco Police Department spokesman. It will be up to prosecutors and a grand jury to decide what charges they will ultimately face,
but capital murder charges can carry the death penalty.

The gang members were appearing before two magistrates, who were setting bond at $1 million each, said Sue Tweedle, the McLennan County
booking supervisor. None of the gang members had posted bond as of yet.

"We are thankful no employees, guests or police were injured in this senseless violence outside the restaurant, and our sympathies are with the families of those killed," the statement said.

To escape the fight, some restaurant customers and employees took cover in the freezer, according to CNN affiliate KWTX. The station reported that more than 100 weapons were recovered, and Waco police said officers were continuing to arrest people arriving with weapons.

WATCH: Police - 5 gangs involved in Texas biker shooting.

Swanton told reporters that eight people were dead on the scene and another was pronounced dead at an area hospital. A total of 18 people were taken to the hospital. It was not immediately clear whether that figure included the person who died. All those injured or dead are believed to be bikers.

No officers were hurt, Swanton said, praising their response.

"Their action has saved lives in keeping this from spilling into a very busy Sunday morning," the spokesman said. "Thank goodness the officers were here, and took the action that they needed to take to save numerous lives." - CNN.


RATTLE & HUM: Mysteriously Strange Sound Coming From The Sky As The Black Celestial Event Nears - Sounds Like A TRUMPET; Noise Heard Across The Globe For Nearly A DECADE, But Nobody Has An Explanation?!

May 18, 2015 - SKY
- A mysterious noise from the sky is continuing to baffle people all over the world - as well as giving those who hear it sleepless nights.

LISTEN: Can YOU work out what the sound coming from the sky is?

Sounding like a trumpet or a collective from a brass section of an orchestra, a selection of videos shot from the Canada to Ukraine, via the U.S., Germany and Belarus show strange goings on above us.

And the eerie sounds have been continuously heard at all different times and locations for almost a decade.

This recording of the trumpet-like sound shot in Germany shows a child in the street frozen with terror

This is the sound wave captured from the noise in Germany, that appeared to leave a child frozen in shock

The first video posted on YouTube recording the unusual, unearthly sounds, was in 2008 when a user recorded the strange sounds in the sky from Homel, in Belarus.

That same year another anonymous user shared the 'ear-deafening' sounds that they insisted 'were not a hoax,' from a quiet neighbourhood believed to be in the U.S.

Kimberly Wookey from Terrace, British Columbia in Canada first captured the alien sound in June 2013, and since then she has managed to capture several recordings of the noise with her most recent being on May 7 this year.

Writing on YouTube, where she posted the videos, Ms Wookey writes: 'On the morning of August 29, 2013 at approximately 7:30am I was awoken by these sounds.

'I shot out of bed realizing it was the same sounds I had heard before and I ran looking for a camera to try to capture them with. I came out into the living room to find my seven-year-old son awake and scared wondering what was going on. He had said the noises woke him up as well and shook his window.

As the wind shook the huge trees in British Columbia, the eerie sounds were recorded by one quick-thinking resident

This wave form shows how the sound was recorded when captured in Canada

'I managed to record three clips showing almost five minutes of these strange sounds. After it was over and I sat down at the computer to upload the video. After checking my Facebook I noticed a lot of locals had heard the same sounds again but this time it was far more widespread.

'I have no idea what these sounds are but it is pretty strange and I am glad that I was able to catch them this time and share what I heard. The sounds were heard again on Sept 8th at 6:30am so far we have confirmed reports of it being heard from town to the lake, 25km away.'

So what does the mother of four think the noises are?

'I personally do not believe this has any religious connection, nor do I believe it is aliens, graders, trains, construction, etc,' she added.

'I do believe it could be a geophysical phenomenon.'

Kimberly Wookey was so intrigued by the noise that she contacted her local construction company, but it wasn't them

Kimberly was so spooked by the sound coming from the sky she contacted her local construction company to try and get an answer.

Her efforts hit a dead end when the company replied informing her that none of their machines could make such a noise (see screenshot above).

Another recording of the sound was captured in Kiev, Ukraine in August 2011. An eyewitness said: 'The sound was extremely loud, with some people 30-40km from the recording also hearing it in other cities

'It was in the news with the investigation with specialists and scientists, but there is still no exact explanation.'

A quiet landscape in Kiev, Ukraine, was shattered when brass section-like sounds reverberated around

Encounters with the noise has even caused some people to have vivid nightmares for days after the event.

Aaron Traylor captured a recording in Montana in the U.S. on February 18, 2012, and said: 'I've had vivid nightmares ever since I posted the very eerie strange sounds that has Missoula talking and looking towards the sky; awful, awful nightmares.

'My wife woke me from a dream last night where she says I was screaming like she's never heard me scream before.

'I was taking my daughter out for her daily exercise along with my dog. I started to hear the sounds early on in our little adventure and the first time it was heard my dog perked her ears up and my daughter stopped in her tracks.

'That sound was identical to the one I had taped later, and lasted just as long. Now since I've been following this worldwide strange sounds phenomenon for some time, the whole 'End of the world' thing popped instantly into my head.

'What if this was one of those sounds? I had my phone ready to capture the next one just in case. Sure enough, five minutes later the sound had returned.'

Aaron doesn't subscribe to the theory that the noise is made by trains or aeroplanes.

'The Missoula rail system is one very loud and unpredictable beast. Trains connecting their loads to another is a sound very familiar to locals. Loud bangs and screeches can be heard from nearly 10 miles away at any given point throughout the day,' he added.

'Still, that doesn't explain the fan-like whirring sound that can be heard at the start of the recording.'

'I've lived in this neighbourhood for nearly four years and have heard all kinds of planes coming and going overhead and on the runway. I've never heard a plane sound like this before.

'My neighbourhood is very quiet and we were about three blocks away from any busy intersection during the incident. Can't say I've ever heard an automobile of any kind with that kind of noise.'

A video from Germany taken from a window pans onto a street and shows a child frozen still as the chilling sounds echo over the landscape. And in Salzburgh in Austria the noise is magnified across the Eastern Alps.

What people are speculating the sounds are online... Possible theories include:

Tectonic plates grinding - Tectonic plates are pieces of the Earth's crust and uppermost mantle, together referred to as the lithosphere. The plates are around 100 km (62 mi) thick and consist of two principal types of material: oceanic crust (also called sima from silicon and magnesium) and continental crust (sial from silicon and aluminium).

Atmospheric pressure - Atmospheric pressure is defined as the force per unit area exerted against a surface by the weight of the air above that surface.

Trains shunting - Self explanatory - noise comes from trains in reaction to the track and overhead wires.

Construction - Building works, especially if going on at the same time across a specific area, can led to similar sounds.

Aliens - Can this be an alien lifeform in the sky, perhaps scouring out Earth?

HAARP weapon - Rumours persist that the U.S. government uses secret weapons in the sky for defence and weather modifying, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP). This wouldn't explain the sounds in other countries however...

The Apocalypse and the Seven Trumpets of Heaven - Seven trumpets are sounded, one at a time, to cue apocalyptic events that were seen in the vision of the Revelation of Christ Jesus, by John of Patmos. Somewhat more worrying as it would signal the end of the world...

In Allen, Texas, U.S. back in 2012, the mysterious noise had a group of people stop what they were doing in a car park and look towards the sky, with one exclaiming: 'It's weird, I've never heard anything like that.'

Geoscientist David Deming from the University of Oklahoma has previously written about a phenomenon called The Hum – ‘a mysterious and untraceable sound that is heard in certain locations around the world by two to ten per cent of the population’.

Writing in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, he said that sources of The Hum could include telephone transmissions and ‘aircraft operated by the U.S Navy for the purpose of submarine communications’.

Aaron Traylor's calm walk out with his daughter and the family dog were interrupted by the chilling sounds

Visitors on Texas, the U.S stopped what they were doing to peer into the sky

A group of people were united in their disbelief at the strange sounds they heard in a Texan car park

According to Nasa, the Earth has ‘natural radio emissions’.

The Agency said: ‘If humans had radio antennas instead of ears, we would hear a remarkable symphony of strange noises coming from our own planet. Scientists call them "tweeks," "whistlers" and "sferics."

'They sound like background music from a flamboyant science fiction film, but this is not science fiction. Earth's natural radio emissions are real and, although we're mostly unaware of them, they are around us all the time.’

For instance lightning can produce eerie-sounding radio emissions, Nasa added.

Earthquakes can also produce sub-audible sounds, according to seismologist Brian W Stump from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas. - Daily Mail.


GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Greece Will DEFAULT On June 5 Without Deal - IMF Leaks!

May 18, 2015 - GREECE
- Another week came and went with no breakthrough in negotiations between Greece and its creditors. The IMF is now fed up and has reportedly refused to be a part of any new bailout program for Greece, after Athens drew down its SDR reserves to makes its latest payment to the Fund. That money will now need to be repaid and in a move that surely marks the new gold standard for absurd circular funding schemes, Greece will likely look to use the next tranche of IMF money to payback its IMF SDR reserve which it tapped to pay the IMF. The country’s public sector employees live in limbo, not knowing from one week to the next whether they will be paid and commuters are now subjected to a 50 second looped highlight reel of the Nazi occupation meant to rally the country behind the government’s quarter trillion euro war reparations claim (they might as well just ask for a 'gagillion') on Germany which has now become the symbol of tyranny and debt servitude for many Greek citizens.

Given the situation, one would be inclined to think that Alexis Tsipras would be falling all over himself to cut a deal with creditors because while giving up on campaign promises to voters isn’t ideal, it’s better than going down in history as the PM who sent the country careening into a drachma death spiral, and besides, giving up on campaign promises is something most politicians do all the time (it’s a job requirement for the US presidency). Alas we were back to the now ubiquitous ‘red line’ rhetoric on Friday as Tsipras continued to employ the “tell EU officials one thing behind close doors and tell the public the exact opposite a day later” negotiating technique. Here’s more from Bloomberg:
Greece won’t cross its red lines in negotiations with international creditors just because time is pressing to close a deal, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said.

“Those who think that our red lines will fade as time goes on would do well to forget it,” Tsipras said at a conference in Athens late Friday. “I want to assure the Greek people that there’s no way the government will back down on the issue of pension and wage cuts,” he said. “A deal must be reached but it must be mutually beneficial.”
Europe is once again set to take the stalled negotiations down to the wire as it now appears the next serious round of talks will come in Riga (the site of an epic Varoufakis meltdown that saw the FinMin tweeting out melodramatic FDR quotes after he was forced to have dinner by himself while his EU counterparts attended a gala) when Tsipras will try to close a deal by the end of the month.
Tsipras will address the standoff in bailout negotiations on the sidelines of a meeting of European Union leaders to be held May 21-22 in Riga, Latvia, according to a Greek government official who asked not to be identified as the diplomacy is not public.
If a deal isn’t struck by the end of May, it is truly game over. Here’s the ECB’s Yves Mersch:
“We are in an end game in Greece where the situation is grave. This situation is not tenable. There has been an accord between Europe and Greece to go through a program. This hasn’t been the case since December last year, because the new government said it doesn’t want to have anything to do with the program. But then they can’t demand money that was attached to that program either. In the meantime, they haven’t managed to bring other measures to the table that could lead to the same goal as foreseen in the first program. Greece is convinced it can play along the line of other rules than” the other 18 euro-area members.”
Despite the obviously dire circumstances, the Syriza government still insists it will somehow scrape together cash to meet its obligations...
“Greece Will Pay Wages, Pensions, Varoufakis Tells Skai TV”
...while EU officials (who one imagines are at this point completely amazed at how obtuse the Greek government has proven to be) are left with no option but to remind Greece that Brussels is still waiting on a list of reforms…
“Dombrovskis Reminds Greece to Submit Reform List, Bild Reports”
….and at the end of the day, here is the reality (via Bloomberg)…
"Greece won’t be able to make IMF repayments, beginning with a June 5 payment, unless an agreement is reached with international partners, U.K.’s Channel 4 reports, citing a leaked IMF memo dated May 14."
*  *  *
As a reminder, here is the IMF procedure for a default and a matrix which outlines what a missed IMF payment would mean in terms of accelerated payment rights for Greece's other creditors:

- Zero Hedge.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Military Plane Crashes At U.S. Base In Hawaii - Killing One Marine And Injurying 21 Others!

Screenshot from a video by M. Raquinio

May 18, 2015 - HAWAII
- One US marine has been killed and all other 21 aboard an MV-22 Osprey have been injured after their aircraft experienced a “hard-landing mishap” at Bellows Air Force Base in Waimanalo, Hawaii, US Marine Corps confirmed.

Honolulu fire crews responded to the military aircraft crash at Bellows on Sunday afternoon, after locals reported heavy black smoke rising from the area.

“An MV-22 Osprey from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit experienced a hard-landing mishap while conducting training aboard Marine Corps Training Area – Bellows at approximately 11:00 a.m., Hawaii time,” the US Marine Corps said in a statement.

WATCH: One marine dead, 21 injured in Hawaii plane crash.

Emergency services were deployed to the scene and local hospitals were ready to receive the injured as initial reports indicated several people might have been critically injured.

“The Marines were conducting routine sustainment training at the time,” the Marine corps said about the mission. “The cause of the incident is under investigation.” - RT.

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!

May 18, 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.

Thousands of dead fish found in a lake in Sakha Republic, Russia

The fish - believed to be carp and grouper - were seen dead en mass on 14 May. Picture: local residents

Shocked locals have posted pictures of the dead fish amid suspicions they were killed by explosions as officials melted winter ice to prevent flooding.

The disturbing scene was at Lake Khatyng, in the Sakha Republic, the coldest region in Russia. The fish - believed to be carp and grouper - were seen dead en mass on 14 May.

Locals in Tulagino village blamed the dynamiting of local rivers to prevent ice causing dams on rivers, so leading to flooding of villages. But representatives of the Ministry of Emergencies in the republic, also known as Yakutia, denied being responsible for the dead fish.

A spokesperson said: 'On 13 May we did blow up the ice, but the work was near the village of Namtsy, almost 100 km from Tulagino. Even if we assume that fish died because of the explosion, it is unlikely that they were carried such a distance.'

None of the dead fish showed signs physical damage which can occur among those close to river explosions. But experts say that
river explosions mainly cause internal damage to the fish. Pictures: local residents

The Emergencies Ministry even expressed doubts about the authenticity of the pictures.

Village official Anna Neustroyeva said: 'The photos are real. Yesterday, on the surface of the lake, there were a large number of dead fish.'

She claimed the likely cause was not explosions but 'a lack of oxygen' under the winter ice, with temperatures having fallen to minus 50C during the winter.

While fish survive under annual harsh conditions, it seems that this year the frost was so strong that there were no breaks in the ice, depriving them of oxygen. Head of the regional nature protection inspectorate Kirill Alchin also supported this theory.

None of the dead fish showed signs physical damage which can occur among those close to river explosions. But experts say that river explosions mainly cause internal damage to the fish.

Others have demanded tests for poisoning in the lake. The water need to be checked,' said one. 'There can be pollution. They need to check the water.' - Siberian Times.

Hundreds of dead fish found in a canal in Aiea, Hawaii, United States

The death of hundreds of fish in Aiea has sparked a health department investigation.

Officials gave KHON2 new information after a viewer alerted us to the problem through the Report It feature on our website.

Health officials say they found more than 500 dead fish along a canal by a bike path.

WATCH: Hundreds of dead fish found in Oahu canal.

“The species that we found. Some were native. But primarily guppies and talapia,” said environmentalist Carroll Cox.

Water testing confirmed the presence of a solvent or cleaning solution in the canal.

So now officials are working to find out who is responsible by checking storm drains and talking to nearby businesses. - KHON2.

Dozens, maybe HUNDREDS of turtles washing up dead along Flanders Bay in New York, United States

Dozens of dead turtles have been washing up on beaches along Flanders Bay— with little explanation as to what is killing them.

The bloated bodies of dozens of diamondback terrapins, a species of turtle that can be found in coastal wetlands along the East Coast, have been found scattered across the shores of several Jamesport and Flanders beaches since late April.

“A woman called who said her daughter had seen a hundred turtles dead on the beach,” said Jim Divan, Riverhead Town Bay Constable. “I was like — a hundred turtles? That sounds crazy.”

But when he arrived at the beach, residents there told him they’d taken “about 100 of them” from the beach over the weekend.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Divan said. “They were all dead.”

“We’ve just been getting more and more calls every single day,” said Karen Testa, executive director of Jamesport-based Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons. Testa has collected the bodies of at least 50 terrapins since April 21, when the first report came in.

“And that’s just the ones that happen to wash up, the ones we happen to find,” Testa said. “People don’t walk the entire shoreline of the island. These turtles could be dying in the middle of the bay, and they just float down to the bottom and no one ever finds them.

“It was a horrendous sight,” she added sadly. “All those animals just washed up on the beach.”

Nick Mancuso, a state wildlife technician, collects bodies of dead turtles from Iron Point in Flanders this morning. Photo: Peter Blasl

New York State DEC wildlife technician Nick Mancuso collects bodies of dead turtles to send back for necropsies. Photo: Peter Blasl

Diamondback terrapins are named for the distinctive diamond-shaped
growth rings on the face of their shells. Photo: Peter Blasl

Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons has collected at least 50 bodies of dead turtles since April 21. Photo: Peter Blasl

Testa’s all-volunteer organization has been collecting any bodies that have been reported, sending them off to a pathologist at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County to be necropsied. “Their bodies are in perfect condition,” Testa said. “No lacerations, nothing. They’re bloated when we find them, but that could be due to drowning.”

Just today, another report of dead turtles at the Iron Point sandbar in Flanders drew the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to the area.

“I’ve never seen them die in piles like this,” said William Caldwell, the bayman who transported a DEC technician to Iron Point this morning.

Iron Point is a long sandbar that juts out into Flanders Bay, the main body of water where the turtles seem to be dying off. The sandbar is inaccessible by car, so Caldwell ferried DEC wildlife technician Nick Mancuso to the area this morning in a motorboat.

Together, they brought two of about a dozen turtle bodies from the beach to send back to the DEC for necropsies.

“This place isn’t healthy anymore,” Caldwell said. “This used to be a great spot for clams. We could come in here and catch hundreds of bushels of steamers a day, but there hasn’t been a single one around for years. Something’s out of whack somewhere.”

Diamondback terrapins have one of the largest ranges of North American turtles, spanning from Florida to Massachusetts. After they were hunted almost to extinction in the 20th century due to their popularity as a delicacy in turtle stews and soups, they are now recognized as an endangered species in Rhode Island, a threatened species in Massachusetts and a species of concern in six other states — but not including New York.

New York does regulate the harvesting of terrapins, however; in 1990, an open season for hunting terrapins was established between August 1 and April 30.

The DEC is investigating the cause of this massive die-off, but Kevin McAllister, former head of Peconic Baykeeper organization and founder of Defend H20, speculates it might have something to do with a contaminated food source.

WATCH: Massive turtle die-off in Flanders Bay.

“I’d have to say that would have to be the main factor in a die-off this large,” he said.

Last week, the DEC found elevated levels of the marine biotoxin saxitoxin in local shellfish, prompting the state to close Shinnecock Bay, Meetinghouse Creek and Terry Creek to shellfish and gastropod harvesting. High levels of saxitoxin in shellfish, when consumed by humans, can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning, an acute and potentially severe illness.

Shellfish and gastropods are a main food source for diamondback terrapins.

“It’s very likely that by consumption of the shellfish, the turtles are being poisoned and dying off,” McAllister said.

Saxitoxin is produced mainly by harmful algal blooms, commonly known as “red tides” or “brown tides,” according to the DEC. It causes paralytic shellfish poisoning in humans who have consumed shellfish contaminated by the biotoxin.

Algal blooms have become “almost an annual occurrence” in the Flanders Bay area, according to McAllister.

“It might not be occurring at a density to pose a public health risk,” he said, “but lower densities taken up by the shellfish, which take the toxin in through filter-feeding, could potentially threaten the turtles.”

He emphasized the significance of what 50 dead turtles could mean to the diamondback terrapin population. “That’s a lot of animals, when you consider the population size,” he said. “It’s somewhat rare when you’re out in the field to see a group of them together, so the occurrence of seeing groups of them like that — dead— well, that’s very disturbing news.” - River Head Local.

2 MILLION birds to be killed due to avian flu in Minnesota, United States

The bird flu has struck another Rembrandt Enterprises farm, marking the state’s single largest outbreak of the deadly virus. Two million egg-laying chickens will be destroyed over the next four weeks at the company’s Renville operation, officials said Saturday.

One barn holding around 200,000 birds was infected, but the entire flock will be killed as a precaution.

Chickens at the farm have tested “presumptive positive” for the disease “despite the herculean efforts of Rembrandt’s employees to keep our facilities virus-fee,” said Jonathan Spurway, the company’s vice president of marketing.

Rembrandt Enterprises, one of the nation’s largest egg producers, suffered an outbreak in its Rembrandt, Iowa, facility May 1, contaminating one barn housing about 250,000 hens. Its third plant, in Thompson, Iowa, has not been affected.

“We’re doing everything we possibly can [to protect flocks], and we don’t know of anyone who’s doing anything we’re not already doing,” ­Spurway said. “The industry is lost for words.”

Spurway said it’s too early to tell if the outbreak will affect staffing at the farm.

Minnesota businessman Glen Taylor owns Rembrandt, as well as the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis.

As of Friday, the number of afflicted Minnesota farms had risen to 88, affecting 21 different counties, according to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.

The agency announced Friday the cancellation of all exhibits featuring birds at the Minnesota State Fair this year to stem the spread of the H5N2 virus.

The directive also prohibits exhibitions at county fairs, swap meets, petting zoos and sales.

The ultimate source of the bird flu is believed to be wild waterfowl, but health experts are puzzled as to how exactly it’s creeping into enclosed barns.

While it is deadly to poultry, the bird flu poses a low risk to human health. - Star Tribune.

Escaped bull goes on rampage in Spain, injuring 11 people

A rampaging bull has injured at least 11 people, one of them seriously, after breaking loose from a festival in the Spanish town of Talavera de la Reina. Its mad dash for freedom was halted by police officials.

Ruptly video shows the wild animal hitting a person in a wheelchair, with frightened passers-by trying to escape.

A 30-year-old man was gored and had to undergo surgery, reported Spanish media. He is now recovering in hospital. Also a nine-year-old boy received facial injuries, while the rest of the wounded received bruises.

The bull managed to escape on Friday while it was being transported in the town, before it was scheduled to take part in a bullfight during celebrations in honor of San Isidro.
But despite the animal's crazy rush for freedom, it didn't stand a chance. Police killed it by running it over.

Law enforcers have opened an investigation into the case.

WATCH: Rampaging bull gores wheelchair user, injuries 11 in violent frenzy in Spain.

- RT.

One third of Europe's birds under threat, says most comprehensive study yet

Turtle dove populations have fallen by 90% or more since
1980 in Europe.  © David Tipling/Alamy Add caption
One in three European birds is endangered, according to a leaked version of the most comprehensive study of Europe's wildlife and natural habitats ever produced.

The EU State of Nature report, seen by the Guardian, paints a picture of dramatic decline among once common avian species such as the skylark and turtle dove mainly as a result of agricultural pressures, and also warns that ecosystems are struggling to cope with the impact of human activity.

The report will embolden campaigners opposed to plans by the European Commission to review two key pieces of environmental legislation - the birds and habitats directives. They act as a brake on development where it threatens the natural world, but the report adds weight to the case that the laws should not be watered down.

The State of Nature report found that turtle dove populations have plunged by 90% or more since 1980 and could soon be placed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) 'red list' of threatened species. Numbers of skylark and ortolan bunting, a songbird illegally hunted and eaten whole in France, have fallen by around half.
Of 804 natural habitats assessed by the European Environment Agency for the report, 77% were deemed to be in a poor condition, with almost a third having deteriorated since a study in 2006. Just 4% were found to be improving.

The wide-ranging technical survey made use of data compiled by 27 EU countries between 2007-2012, and will be released by the European Commission later this year.

"The report clearly shows that Europe's wildlife and natural habitats are in crisis," said Andreas Baumueller, the head of WWF Europe's natural resources unit. "Our habitats are slowly dying and our natural capital - reflected by species such as birds and butterflies - is being put under enormous pressure from unsustainable agriculture and land use policies."

The study finds that intensive farming and changes to natural terrain pose the greatest threat to Europe's flora and fauna, even though biodiversity loss costs the EU an estimated €450bn (£325bn) per year, or 3% of GDP.

Ortolan bunting numbers have fallen by around half.
© Roger Tidman/Corbis
Agriculture accounts for two-thirds of EU land use. The destruction or conversion of grasslands, heathlands and scrub to grow more crops - often using pesticides - has decimated many bird populations. Monoculture farming, changes in grazing regimes, and the removal of natural vegetation and landscape have added to the pressure.

The report also lists changes to waterways, fragmentation of habitats and human activities such as hunting, trapping, poisoning and poaching as specific threats to birdlife.

One bright spot has been the recovery of many threatened wild bird populations, such as bearded vultures, great bustards and the common crane, due to projects linked to the EU's birds directive.

"We don't just welcome the report," a commission official said. "We organised this. It clearly shows the effectiveness of the birds and habitats directives and also illustrates that there is still a lot of work to do."

The commission is currently in the throes of a review of the two directives, which will deal with enforcement as well as concerns about cost-effectiveness and potential administrative burdens.

WWF Europe is one of 100 NGOs supporting an EU-wide campaign against the review, and argues that the new report highlights how the directives have been able to shelter many bird populations, as well as large mammals such as brown bears and wolves.

Baumueller said: "The first reason for these successes is enforcement of the directive and implementation of governmental commitments. Protecting biodiversity requires thought about the needs of specific species and changes to agriculture and land use policies."

Coordination between Austria, Italy, France and Switzerland had helped to revive Alpine bearded vulture populations, he noted.

The Alps region is identified as a relatively well-conserved area in the 182-page draft report. But the 'Boreal' (Norway, Finland and the Baltics) and 'Atlantic' (UK, Western France, Denmark and Benelux countries) emerge as danger spots for biodiversity.

In the Atlantic, Boreal and Steppic (southern Moldova, Ukraine, Russia and western Kazakhstan in Europe), no forest ecosystems were found to be well-tended, although 80% of such habitats across Europe were also judged unfavourably.

The EU has six biodiversity targets for 2020 covering legislative enforcement, ecosystem protection, improved sustainability of agriculture and forestry, controls on invasive species and prevention of global biodiversity loss.

Some of the targets have already been met according to the report's snapshot picture. Half of all Europe's bird populations are considered to be secure, and a quarter of animals have a positive conservation status.

But the same can only be said for a fifth of habitats - compared to the 2020 target of 34% - while 86% of agricultural ecosystems received an inadequate rating. - The Guardian.

Odd animal behaviour: A beaver walks into a hardware store in Fairbanks, Alaska

A beaver pauses in the middle of an aisle at the Lowe's store in Fairbanks,
Alaska, Friday, May 15, 2015.  © Angelesa Ward
Sometimes driftwood just isn't enough, one beaver decided when it took an impromptu trip to Lowe's early Friday morning.

The beaver wandered into the parking lot of the Lowe's construction and home improvement store on the Johansen Expressway at about 7 a.m., triggering the automatic doors and strolling inside.

Once inside the store, the beaver made its way to the plumbing department, where store employees attempted to provide assistance to the wild animal.

A cellphone video of the incident shows employees asking the beaver if there is anything they can help it find in the store. However, the beaver — like many construction store shoppers — seemed to prefer to wander aimlessly through the store instead of asking for help.

One witness in the video observed that the beaver appeared to be injured.

Eventually, employees were able to trap the beaver under a cardboard box until a technician with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game could arrive to remove the animal from the store and bring it to wildlife biologist Tony Hollis, who had received a wake-up call about the beaver from the Alaska State Troopers dispatchers.

"Oftentimes it's usually something like there's a bear in town or an ornery moose or something, but this was a little different," Hollis said.

Hollis took the beaver for a ride down to the Chena Pump Boat Launch, where he released it into the Tanana River. He said he chose the location because it seemed like a place at which the beaver wouldn't become too much of a nuisance.

It's not exactly clear where the beaver came from since there is no open water in the direct vicinity of the Lowe's store, but Hollis guessed it may have come from the wetlands several blocks to the north and come south across the Johansen.

Ironically, the beaver was actually most likely looking for home-building supplies.

The beaver was about the age where it would typically be kicked out of the house and head out to build its own lodging, according to Hollis.

"I'm not really sure what he was thinking, but he was the age class that's dispersing out of the house," Hollis said. "Whether he got confused or who knows what happened in his mind that he ended up at Lowe's."

According to Assistant Store Manager Adam Vanhoveln, this is the first time an animal has triggered the store's automatic doors. Vanhoveln said the beaver didn't cause too much of a disruption to the store's operation.

Luckily for Lowe's, the beaver was unable to locate the lumber department. - Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Rare tropical bird found in Scott State Park, Kansas

The piratic flycatcher found in Scott State Park. 
© Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
Chris Lituma, a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Tennessee's Institute of Agriculture, had no idea a fleeting trip to Kansas would result in a monumental discovery. Lituma, according to a media release from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, was leading a group of students through a multi-state field study, including a stop in Scott City. Friend, and Kansas-native, Mike Hudson, had recommended Scott State Park just north of Scott City to Lituma as a good place to go birdwatching - a hobby of Lituma's for the past 11 years. Upon arrival, Lituma began helping students identify the various birds, but one bird in particular was no ordinary migrant.

"The students asked me 'hey, what's this bird?' and I briefly looked at it and assumed it was a black-headed grosbeak," said Lituma.

Students then looked up the grosbeak in a field guide to find it was not the same bird they were looking at.

"At that point, I took another look at the bird and almost immediately realized this was no grosbeak, this was something very special; something rare.

Lituma thumbed through one of his field guides but was unable to find the family of birds he thought the bird belonged to. He then grabbed a National Geographic field guide and was able to narrow his identification down to three birds. After a brief discussion with the students, everyone was in agreement that they were looking at a piratic flycatcher.

Hailing from as far as Argentina, piratic flycatchers are tropical birds belonging to the genus Legatus and are the only species to hold this classification. They are strongly migratory birds, and have been known to fly out of range, but rarely as far as North America. According to the American Birding Association (ABA), less than 10 of these birds have been recorded in the U.S. If Lituma's sighting is accepted by the ABA, it will be the first record for Kansas and the farthest northerly record of the bird, as well.
Scott State park manager, Greg Mills, said the sighting has brought in nearly 75 birders from 13 states, including Virginia.

Although the bird has yet to be seen at the park again since its last sighting at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 10, experts believe the bird could still be in the Sunflower State. - Salina Post.

5 people treated for wolf bites in Israel

An illustrative photo of a gray wolf. © Carlos Delgado/Wikimedia Commons

Five people were lightly wounded on Saturday when a wolf suspected of carrying rabies attacked three groups of hikers in separate incidents in northern Israel.

The five who were bitten by the canine were given rabies shots, as were another two people as a precautionary measure, according to Ynet.

The she-wolf first attacked a group of hikers in the Golan Heights. Although bystanders were eventually successful in chasing the wolf away with rocks, three individuals were bitten, including a father and his nine-year-old son.

The victims were transferred to the nearby Ziv Medical Center and were listed in good condition.

"The father is suffering from cuts and scratches on his hands and arms," said Majid Abu Janev, a nurse who treated the victims.

Three more people later arrived at the medical center; a man suffering from scratches and a fractured ankle he sustained while trying to escape the wolf and a woman suffering from a bite and deep scratches. The woman's husband was also given a rabies vaccine after coming into contact with her open wounds.

"We thoroughly washed, disinfected and bandaged the wounds and administered rabies vaccines," Janev said.

Later, a family from Kibbutz Neot Mordechai in the Upper Galilee was attacked by the same wolf near the Nimrod Fortress, a 13th century castle on the southern slopes of Mount Hermon.

Said one of the wolf's victims, Amir Menkes, 21: "Our family went for a walk near the area of the Hermon by the Nimrod Fortress. We went down from the parking lot towards a spring. We originally did not notice that a wolf emerged from a thicket, but she ran at us once we saw her. We started to run away but she chased us and bit me in the thigh. She also went after my brother, but then somehow got lost," Menkes said, adding that the family managed to film the wolf while driving to the hospital.

Park rangers launched an extensive search for the wolf. Authorities believe the wolf is rabid, as healthy wolves do not normally approach humans, particularly when they are in groups.

Rangers said they have also considered the idea that the female wolf may have had young pups by her and may have felt threatened by the presence of others.

This marks the third reported incident of a wolf attack in Israel in the past year. Last December, a group of children in the city of Katzrin in the Golan Heights were attacked, and in March a wolf attacked a passerby in the northern city of Tiberias and was later shot after being tracked down to nearby Kibbutz Ginosar.
The Agriculture Ministry has recorded five incidences of rabies in animals throughout the country this year, including one wolf. Last year, the ministry said its goal was to rid the country of rabies with mandatory vaccinations for all dogs over the age of three months and recommended vaccinations for cats and ferrets.

In addition, efforts are being taken to track down stray animals and administer oral vaccinations, with specific emphasis on jackals and foxes.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, most incidents of rabies are found in the north, as the borders of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan are popular transit points for animals carrying the disease.

At least 50,000 people die from rabies worldwide on an annual basis, with half of the victims being children under the age of 15, according to a Ynet report. - Times of Israel.

Student gored by bison in Yellowstone Park

Charging bison. © Salvatore Wugange

A 16-year-old girl has been gored by a bison in Yellowstone National Park while posing for a picture near the animal.

The National Park Service says the unidentified girl's injuries were serious but not life-threatening.

The agency described her as an exchange student from Taiwan who was visiting the park with her host family.

The incident occurred shortly after noon Friday in the Old Faithful area.

The Park Service says she and others were between 3 and 6 feet from the bison when she turned her back to the bison to have her picture taken. The bison took a couple steps and gored her.

The girl was airlifted to an area hospital.

The Park Service advises visitors to stay at least 25 yards away from bison in the park. - Yahoo.

Swedish man's roar scares off charging bear

A Scandinavian brown bear.  © Håkan Vargas S/

Ralph Persson, a hunter in Jämtland, northern Sweden, scared off a charging bear by roaring at the animal as it attacked him, it has emerged.

While out training a new hunting dog, Persson sensed a change in the animal's bark. Seconds later a brown bear came charging at him from the woods. "I screamed as much as I could and made myself very big," Persson told Sundsvall Tidning newspaper, in an interview which has gone viral over the past week.

The bear quickly veered off back into the trees, utterly surprised by Persson's ferocity. Both Ralph and his wife Lena filmed the encounter which can be seen on the newspaper's website.

Swedish man's roar scares off charging bear.

Persson has come across many bears over his years as a hunter and it's this experience that helped save his life. But he didn't take the passive approach many advise. "To lie down and play dead? I do not believe in that," he told the newspaper.

His trick was to be more adversarial, a tactic he rather surprisingly credits to birds.

"I have seen in the past how even cranes have chased bears by folding up their wings."

Most bear experts agree that many more bears have seen humans in Sweden than humans have seen bears, so shy is the Scandinavian brown bear. They tend to steer clear of us. But Persson admits he may have got too close. "This time, I went over the limit. You have to have respect for the animals."

There have been at least three bear attacks in northern Sweden in the last 12 months, although none have been fatal. Hundreds of brown bears are killed in Sweden every year as part of an annual cull.

Bear attacks on humans are relatively rare in Sweden, compared to the US, where on average two people a year die as a result of an encounter with a bear. By contrast, there have only been two fatalities caused by bear attacks over the last century in Sweden.  - The Local.

Rats, rubbish & dirt: NYC subway ravaged by rodents

It's a network New Yorkers couldn't do without. The subway shuttles people across the sprawling city day-in day-out. And it has spawned a whole series of myths.

After Hurricane Sandy hit, some say rats in the subway morphed into giant rodents, several times larger than normal.

WATCH: NYC ravaged by rodents.

However as Marina Portnaya explains, a recent investigation into the state of the subway suggests the reality is almost as terrifying as the myths. - RT.

ICE AGE NOW: Weather Anomalies - More Snow In Autumn Shows That South Africa Is In For A Very Cold Winter!

Snow on the mountains in Elliot, Eastern Cape

May 18, 2015 - SOUTH AFRICA
- Warnings of a bitterly cold winter this year is fast becoming a reality for South Africans, as snow fall was reported again this weekend in the higher parts of the country and Lesotho on Sunday, 10 May.

Snow fall was reported to Snow Report SA's Facebook page by travellers on the Sani Pass in KwaZulu-Natal, and from Lesotho's AfriSki Mountain Resort.

Snow fall was also reported from the Letseng Diamond Mine plant in Mokhotlong, Lesotho, and in Elliot in the Eastern Cape.

Snow at Sani Mountain Lodge

Snow at Letseng Diamond Mine

Snow in South Africa

The South African Weather Service, in their seasonal weather report, warned that below-normal maximum and minimum temperatures are to be expected until the end of May this year.

After May, a colder than usual winter is expected to be felt especially in the Eastern Cape of SA, among other regions. Traveller24 reported earlier that a longer than usual winter with bitterly cold, dry conditions, and plenty of heavy frost and sub-zero temperatures can be expected in these areas.

- Traveller 24.