Saturday, December 12, 2015

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Dead Grey Whale Calf Washes Ashore In Del Mar, California; Warning Issued Over Buffalo Herd Running Loose In Tisdale, Saskatchewan; And Cuvier's Beaked Whale Found Dead On The Coast Of Malaysia?!

Members of the National Marine Fisheries Service examine the dead calf. © Chris Stone

December 12, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes several of the latest reports on strange animal behavior across globe.

Dead grey whale calf washes ashore in Del Mar, California

Lifeguards closed off beach access to Del Mar Shores Friday morning after a dead, newborn gray whale washed ashore, officials confirmed.

The decomposing whale was discovered at the Del Mar Shore access point, near Solana Beach, around 8:10 a.m.

According to Jim Gilpatrick with the NOAA Fisheries, the calf is about three to four weeks old.

"It may have been separated from its mother and was unable to nurse because they'll nurse all the way down to the lagoons," said Gilpatrick. Biologists are not sure why the whale died. There was no sign of foul play or fishing lines, and Gilpatrick speculated the animal may have been born weak. They took samples to try to determine the cause death.

WATCH: Baby whale washes ashore in Solana Beach.

Strong winds hit the beach throughout the morning. The whale was tossed back and forth in choppy water as lifeguards worked to surround the animal. They used a long rope and chain to secure the calf.

Eventually, lifeguards hoisted the 2,000-pound carcass onto a flatbed truck at lifeguard headquarters in Fletcher Cove. From there, it was transported to the Miramar landfill.

This is the time of year gray whales migrate south to give birth. Gilpatrick said some three to four newborn calves die every year during the southern migration.

"Well, it's not the kind of whale watching you really want to have," said Adam Carruth, a Solana Beach resident, "but it's unfortunate, whale died and washed up on the beach." - NBC San Diego.

Buffalo herd running loose

People in the Tisdale, Sask., area are being told to watch out for a large herd of buffalo that's running loose. A Yukon herd is shown here. (Government of Yukon)

The Mounties are warning the public about "a herd of buffalo" running loose near Tisdale, Sask.

On Friday, a herd of as many as 100 animals was seen crossing Highway 35, about 30 kilometres south of the east-central town.

The buffalo, or bison as they are more properly called, have also been spotted on grid roads in the area in the rural municipality of Barrier Valley.

The RM says it's working on a plan to corral them to eliminate the risk to the public and motorists.

It's asking the public not to chase or scare the animals, as it will make capturing them more difficult.

Instead, people who spot any loose bison are asked to call the RM at (306) 323-2101.

Drivers are also being warned to drive with care and take extra precautions until the situation is resolved.

There was no immediate word on where the bison came from. - CBC News.

Cuvier's beaked whale found dead on coast of Malaysia

A sad end for the whale, as the carcass was found not far from where it was beached a day after it was pushed back into the sea. © Bintulu Fire and Rescue Department

A courageous attempt to save a beached whale turned tragic when it was found dead hours after its rescue.

The Fire and Rescue Department team despatched to Tanjung Batu beach at 7.30pm on Friday, managed to bring it back to sea after a three-hour attempt despite choppy waters.

Expressing disappointment, Bintulu Fire and Rescue Department chief William Baheng said the whale had been alive and well when they managed to bring it back to the sea, but the discovery of its carcass by the public earlier today was saddening.

"We did our best to save it despite bad weather. But to hear about the discovery of the carcass in the morning is sad news for us," said Baheng when contacted by The Rakyat Post.

A Sarawak Forestry Corporation spokesperson identified the carcass as the Cuvier's Beaked Whale or Ziphius Cavirostris, among the world's threatened marine mammal species, as listed under International Union for Conservation of Nature.

"They are widely distributed in offshore waters from the tropics to the polar regions in both hemispheres.

"Native within the waters of this region, they are also found in many enclosed seas, such as the Gulf of California, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, Sea of Japan, and the Sea of Okhotsk," said the spokesperson.

The Cuvier Beaked Whale is also the only species of beaked whale regularly found in the Mediterranean. - The Rakyat Post.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Massive Sinkhole Threatens To Swallow Homes In Ocala, Florida; Measures 60-By-50 Foot Wide And 15-Feet Deep!

A water main break in Ocala, Fla. on Dec. 9, 2015, resulted in a massive sinkhole. © Marion County Fire Rescue

December 12, 2015 - FLORIDA, UNITED STATES
- A massive 60-by-50-foot sinkhole 15-feet deep opened up overnight in Ocala, Florida, and is threatening to swallow homes in the town's Oak Run neighborhood, according to the Marion County office.

Homeowners who live near the sinkhole were evacuated Tuesday night, and all other residents in the immediate area "were advised to be prepared to evacuate," Marion County Public Information Officer Elaine McClain told ABC News today.

An roadway was damaged and closed off, but no one was hurt, she added.

Investigators have found a "12-inch water main break," but since "no one was present in the area when the sinkhole opened up, it's not possible to say if the sinkhole activity or the water main break occurred first," McClain explained.

WATCH: Huge sinkhole in Florida.

"Under normal circumstances, when a sinkhole opens, the water pipe will break, since it loses the support of the soil underneath it and it can't handle the burden of the soil on top of it," she added.

A Marion County building inspector has been called to the scene to determine the safety of homes by the sinkhole, McClain said.

Other county authorities responded to the scene Tuesday night, including the county's fire rescue, sheriff's office, utilities department, risk management department and building department, according to McClain. - ABC News.


DELUGE: Flash Floods Hits Singapore For Second Day In A Row - 3 Inches Of Rain In Under 2 Hours!

Flash flood along Thomson Road, opposite Thomson Medical Centre

December 12, 2015 - SINGAPORE - For a second day in a row, roads clogged up with traffic after heavy downpours triggered flash floods in several parts across the island this afternoon (Dec 11).

Flash floods were reported in areas at Thomson Road, Balestier Road, Cambridge Road and at several junctions, including Mandalay Road/Balestier Road and Boon Keng Road/Bendemeer Road, although these cleared up by 2.50pm, according to national water agency PUB's Twitter posts.

© Lucas/ Twitter

On social media, users posted pictures of ankle-deep waters at bus stops, and traffic congestion on flooded roads. A tree came crashing down outside Orchard Central while parts of Junction 8 shopping mall in Bishan were flooded.


— Lucas (@lucas34990) December 11, 2015
#SGFLOOD: Part of Orchard Rd blocked after heavy rain caused tree to collapse

— Channel NewsAsia (@ChannelNewsAsia) December 11, 2015
Tree down in front of Orchard Central & a kind soul redirecting traffic #OrchardCentralTreeDown

— Maha (@mahabornfree) December 11, 2015
J8 is getting flooded LOL

— David ﺕ (@DunkinDavid_) December 11, 2015

PUB's director of catchment and waterways Ridzuan Ismail said the heaviest rainfall was recorded at Beatty Secondary School's rain gauge station, with 80.4mm of rain falling from 1.05pm to 2.45pm. The bulk of the rain beat down in the first 30 minutes of the skies opening up.

PUB said it is investigating the flooding incidents but Mr Ismail said certain locations are more prone to flooding as they are situated in low-lying areas or have localised depressions, citing the examples of Cambridge Road and Thomson Road.

The junctions at Mandalay Road/Balestier Road, Boon Keng Road/Bendemeer Road and Boon Lay Way/Corporation Road are also "known hotspots", he added.

WATCH: Flooding in Singapore.

Mr Ismail said drainage upgrading works in areas like Novena Rise/Thomson Road and Balestier Road/Mandalay Road are set to be completed by the third quarter of next year and the second quarter of 2017, respectively.

Drainage upgrading works at the junctions of Boon Lay Way/Corporation Road and Boon Keng Road/Bendeemer Road have been planned to start in the first quarter next year.

According to information posted on the National Environment Agency's website, thundery showers in the afternoons and evenings are forecast for the next four days.

PUB advised the public to exercise caution as flash floods may occur in the event of heavy storms. - Today.

RATTLE & HUM: Mysterious "Loud Bangs" And "Explosion Noises" In Scottish Town - Leaves Residents Baffled?!

Police were called by numerous members of the public reporting 'loud bangs' or 'explosion noises' in East Kilbride, Scotland. © Google Maps

December 12, 2015 - SCOTLAND - Speculation has grown rapidly online after a succession of loud bangs were heard across the town on Monday and Tuesday night.

Mystery surrounds a succession of loud bangs heard across East Kilbride and beyond this week.

Baffled members of the public reported hearing explosion noises near to the Kelvin Industrial Estate on Monday and Tuesday night.

Speculation grew rapidly online as to what the source of the noise was with locals suggesting thunder, fireworks and even a meteorite hitting the town.

Andrew Whitelaw posted on the News Facebook page: "Whats the loud booms comin from EK tonight?"

Jennifer Stewart wrote: "People are hearing it all over EK. All very odd."

Many people had suggested the noise could be sonic booms from fighter jets flying overhead.

The News asked the Royal Air Force operations centre to check what aircraft they may have had in the East Kilbride area at the time of the reported incidents.

However the RAF have ruled out this theory.

A spokeman said: "There was no RAF or US Air Force activity that corresponds with the reported incidents."

Police told the News the nature of the noise remains unexplained.

A spokeswoman said: "At around 8.40pm on Monday, December 7 police were called by numerous members of the public reporting loud bangs or explosion noises in the East Kilbride area near to Kelvin Industrial Estate.

"Numerous enquiries were carried out to establish the circumstances including checks with utility companies.

"Enquiries are ongoing to establish the nature of the noises but there were no reports of anyone having been injured." - Scottish Daily Record.

MONUMENTAL DELUGE & GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Oregon Besieged By Extreme Winter Storms - Days Of Severe Winds, Heavy Rainfall, Widespread Flooding, Massive Landslides, And Huge Sinkholes Results In The Declaration Of State Of Emergency For 13 Counties! [PHOTOS]

December 12, 2015 - OREGON, UNITED STATES - Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in 13 counties late Thursday after days of extreme winds and rainfall caused flooding and landslides in the northwestern part of the state.

The affected counties include: Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington, and Yamhill.

The declaration allows the counties to apply for state funding to repair damage, in addition to providing them with emergency response personnel that can respond to communities if local resources are stretched too thin.

A series of powerful storms and record rainfall have slammed the state since Monday, causing widespread flooding that has closed roads from Portland to the coast.

At least two storm-related deaths have been confirmed by officials.

Here are few more images, courtesy of Twitter:

"Heavy rains and wind have required the evacuation of residences, and mudslides and high water have severely damaged or blocked major roadways in these areas of the state,” Governor Brown said in a statement.

"The emergency declaration ensures state resources, emergency response personnel, and equipment can be activated to respond to communities in need if their local resources are exhausted."

The deluge set a daily record in Portland, which saw 2.75 inches of rain on Monday alone, CNN affiliate KOIN said.

The storms also brought lightning strikes, and an F1-rating twister that reached maximum wind speeds of 15 miles an hour.

The state of emergency will remain in effect until the governor’s office lifts it. - RT.


GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - Jitters Send Financial Markets Plummeting Across The Globe!

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

December 12, 2015 - GLOBAL ECONOMY -  Freefalling oil prices have created an environment of uncertainty across financial markets but turbulence should not impede the Fed from hiking interest rates Wednesday for the first time in nine years.

The Fed is expected to lift its target fed funds rate off of zero, ending a seven-year era of historic, crisis-level rate policy. The central bank Wednesday will also provide economic and interest rate forecasts that could help shape the view of interest rates in 2016.

Both the pending Fed action and the plunge in oil, down 18 percent since Dec. 4, have come together as markets are increasingly worried that widening spreads in the junk bond market could be signaling a weakening economy and a rougher time for stocks. Credit markets became even more nervous Thursday over the liquidation of distressed debt fund — Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund, which halted redemptions.

"Escaping zero — it's a big deal. Even up to the last minute, people have doubts because things are happening, markets are moving. The odds went down," said Tony Crescenzi, portfolio strategist and senior vice president at Pimco. "The period of stress and turbulence would happen whenever the first rate hike occurs." Crescenzi said the market is still pricing in odds of a rate hike of more than 70 percent, but he said there is little doubt the Fed will move to hike rates.

"Whatever comes out Wednesday, even if it seems not as dovish as some hope, the harm that could come from it could seem minimal," said Crescenzi, noting the markets do not expect rapid rate hikes and slowish global growth does not justify very high yields.

"A 25 basis point policy rate should not change any valuation model," he said. Crescenzi said that should not be enough to sway investors from risk assets, as long as they continue to expect growth. Crescenzi said some retail investors could get anxious by the Fed move, and that could trigger some initial selling of bonds.

But some credit strategist say they do not know what to expect next week when the Fed moves to hike rates. One reason is the markets are less liquid at this time of year and the credit markets get very quiet ahead of year end.

"You don't have a lot of trading days left in the year. We were concerned about December anyway. The Fed goes on Wednesday. You have Thursday, Friday and then maybe Monday and Tuesday. Not a lot happens around Christmas," said Gregory Peters, Prudential Fixed Income senior portfolio manager.

The S&P 500 lost 3.8 percent to 2012 in the past week, while the Dow fell 2.5 percent to 17,265. Stocks were tethered to the volatile moves in oil, which fell to 2008 and 2009 lows. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell through the key $40 per barrel level, and closed at $35.62 per barrel, a 10 percent decline and its worst weekly performance in a year. From a technical perspective, energy traders are watching a level for WTI of around $32.50, the low reached during the financial crisis.

Nuveen Asset Management's Bob Doll said the oil shock is making it difficult to make a call on the stock market for next year. Doll, Nuveen chief equity strategist, expects oil to settle down in the next couple of weeks, but for now it's a problem though the market volatility it's causing should not stop the Fed from raising rates.

Oil has been plunging since midday Dec. 4, when OPEC announced it would not cut production and would instead leave in place its hands-off policy of allowing the heavily oversupplied oil market to find its own price.

"In my view, we've got to stabilize the commodities market. If it keeps going down, stocks will keep going down," said Doll. "Credit widening will stop stocks from going up, but I do not think it will cause them to go down, as oil does. It's a yellow light, not the red light oil is." Doll said that if credit spreads continue to widen, the Fed will be very slow to raise rates a second time.

Treasury yields in the past week edged lower as stocks sold off. The policy sensitive two-year was at 0.88 percent Friday, and the five-year yield fell Friday by 12 basis points to about 1.55 percent. The fall out from energy was apparent in the stock market with the S&P 500 energy sector down 6.5 percent for the week, and energy high yield debt saw spreads widen sharply.

"I think most people thought it would not break that barrier. When it was north of $40, there was an expectation or a belief that by the end of next year, we could crawl back up to $50 again. There are a number of oil companies that would survive at $50," that would have problems with $40 crude, said Amundi Smith Breeden's head of global high yield, Ken Monaghan.

The selling in junk bonds is expected to continue, and while energy and commodities are at the heart of the selling, other sectors are also an issue.

"In the last week, we've seen over $3 billion in retail outflows (from high yield). It think it's very concerning, and you've had one fund in particular that had a hard time returning money to investors," said Michael Contopoulos, head of high yield strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He said the Third Avenue fund specialized only in distressed debt, unlike most funds.

"But the fear is investors see poor liquidity and start to withdraw their funds on the back of poor performance. That's going to affect the market pretty dramatically." So far, high yield has a negative return this year of 3.6 percent. Contopoulos expects a negative return of 2 to 3 percent in 2016 though BoA expects positive returns of 3 to 4 percent in investment grade bonds and a higher stock market next year.

More energy bankruptcies are expected next year. Contopoulos said he expects 33 percent of the market value of the commodities, CCC-rated debt to default, and 16.5 percent of the higher rated B-rated commodities companies.

Doll said the markets are particularly troubled by oil's decline because of what it may be saying about the economy. "It's because oil is connected to the broader deflation story. Markets, risk assets in particular have to be convinced that we've conquered the deflation risk that's been with us since 2008. When you get oil selling off double digits in a few days, it raises those fears again, and it's not good for risk assets. My guess is … in two weeks, oil will be up a few bucks and it'll feel OK."

Because inflation is one of the mandates of the Fed, the worry about deflation is even greater as the Fed looks set to move on interest rates.

"Without a lot of confidence, my main line scenario is stocks are doing OK, the job market is OK, consumers have much improved balance sheets. They're going to spend some money. The corporate sector is in good shape, excluding the resources. Government spending is going to be up, and that's going to contribute to the economy. China's slowing down, I think it's going to be OK. It's not going to be ripping to the upside. I think stocks will beat bonds in this environment," he said. Doll said as long as the economy is growing, stocks should be able to move higher.

China could also be a big story for markets in the week ahead. Besides retail sales and industrial production data on the weekend, traders will be focused on an announcement from the People's Bank of China on its currency.

Crescenzi said it will also be important to see how the news is received that China's central bank would like the yuan's exchange rate to be measured against a group of currencies, rather than just the dollar. The announcement did not include any firm plans or timing for such a move.

"That will be an important part of the news of the week – how markets react to the news from China about that basket rather than a dollar peg," he said. "The super secular notion is that it would reduce the dollar's status as a reserve currency. The dollar is dominant followed by the euro. The Chinese currency, depending on how it stands economically, will be an increasing part of currency baskets that institutions own, but it won't be immediate. It doesn't have a vast bond market to store those reserves like the U.S. does." - CNBC.

EARTH CHANGES: Monumental Signs Of The Times - SOTT Earth Changes Video Summary For November, 2015!

Enormous meteor fireball over Bangkok, Thailand, November 2nd, 2015. ©

December 12, 2015 - EARTH - November 2015 was another month of extreme weather events, with several major tornado outbreaks in the US causing widespread damage from Iowa to Texas. These devastating storm systems brought record early (and record amounts of) snow to many places, with Chicago experiencing its snowiest November in "more than 100 years." Further south, Oklahoma went from experiencing - in the space of two weeks - raging wildfires to ice-storms. Elsewhere, northern China saw record cold temperatures and Japan saw its heaviest November snowfalls in over 60 years.

In the southern hemisphere, 'summer' storms dropped giant hailstones that turned streets in northern Argentina into rivers of ice, while an enormous multi-vortex tornado destroyed over a thousand homes in Brazil. The October deluges that washed away cars and homes across the Middle East continued throughout November, with Qatar receiving more than its entire annual rainfall average in just one day. Parts of Israel, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen were also inundated with unprecedented rainfall. For the second month running, intense hailstorms led to ice flowing through the Arabian Desert.

The spate of meteor fireballs seen around the world in late October continued into November, with a spectacular sighting in Bangkok, Thailand - the city's second such event in two months. In this month's SOTT Summary video, we also have footage of meteor fireballs visiting Ireland and South Africa twice; another one that rattled windows after it exploded above Saskatchewan, Canada; and don't miss the one that literally screamed over New Mexico...

WATCH: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - November 2015.


GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Two Houses Collapse On Busy Road After Landslide In China - Caused By Torrential Rainfall! [VIDEO]

December 12, 2015 - CHINA - A landslide has caused two houses to collapse in the middle of a road in Guizhou province in southwest China.

The cars luckily had a few seconds to react to what was happening, as the façades crumbled and the whole construction cascaded down.

No one was hurt, partly thanks to bystanders, who rushed ahead to warn the motorists not to proceed further.

Thankfully, no one was inside the buildings, as the residents were told to relocate earlier.

The collapse was caused by torrential rains.

WATCH: Landslide causing house crash onto road in China.

- RT.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Rare Winter Tornado Batters Homes In Battle Ground, Washington, United States - Damaged Homes And Downed Trees; Many Stores And Businesses Evacuated!

File photo.

December 12, 2015 - WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado with maximum sustained winds of 104 mph damaged dozens of buildings in Battle Ground, Wash.

The EF-1 tornado touched down late Thursday morning. Downed trees, broken fences and damage to at least 36 homes were reported, though there were no injuries.

Battle Ground tornado path. © National Weather Service

The town of about 18,000 people is located 160 miles south of Seattle in southwestern Washington. Stores and businesses were evacuated, and students were ordered to shelter in place in schools.

The Weather Service warned of a significant weather event affecting Clark County, Wash., that morning, with isolated thunderstorms expected. The area had already been affected by heavy rains since last week, and Wednesday Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in the state.

WATCH: Tornado in Battle Ground, Washington.

More rain was expected, as were wind gusts of up to 50 mph.

During the cleanup after the tornado in Battle Ground, utility crews responded to reports on a possible gas leak in the Tukes Mountain area. Power was shut off in the area. - UPI.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Another Earthquake Swarm Shakes Idaho, United States - More Than 40 Tremors Recorded This Week!

December 12, 2015 - IDAHO, UNITED STATES - More than 40 small earthquakes have been recorded in east-central Idaho this week in what experts say is another earthquake swarm in the region.

Officials in the Challis area on Friday reported no damage from the micro-quakes that started Tuesday and have mostly gone unnoticed or unreported in an area experienced with more vigorous shaking.

But the temblors ranging up to 2.9 magnitude have perked up scientists trying to understand the fault system in the area where a 5.0 magnitude quake struck in January.

Idaho's largest recorded earthquake rocked the same area in 1983 when a 6.9-magnitude quake occurred near 12,667-foot Borah Peak, Idaho's tallest peak.

University of Idaho research geologist William Phillips says scientists aren't sure if the current earthquake swarm could lead to something bigger. - KTVB.


EXTREME WEATHER: Deadly Lightning Strikes In Australia - Three Horses Killed In Warwick!

December 12, 2015 - AUSTRALIA - A lightning strike has killed three horses this afternoon as a thunderstorm ripped through Warwick.

Owner Terryanne Kalms is mourning the loss of the horses that were struck while grazing in their paddock near the Victoria St Bridge.

"There were people driving past who knew who owned them," Ms Kalms said.

"They called us saying 'these guys have been hit, they're not moving and the others are afraid of them'.

"It's definitely a shock - they're like family."

The paddock in which three horses were killed by a lightning strike.

A severe thunderstorm warning is still current for Warwick, Dalby, Kingaroy, Oakey, Jondaryan and Yarraman.

The Bureau of Meteorology says the storm may produce damaging winds, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and large hailstones in the warning area over the next several hours.

A tree at Slade Park was one casualty of the thunder and lightning show during today's, which also brought down hailstones the size of 10 cent pieces.

The tree was destroyed when struck by lightning. - Warwick Daily News.

FIRE IN THE SKY: The Latest Fireball Sightings - Meteor Filmed Over Northern Italy And Fireball Seen Over Valais, Switzerland! [VIDEOS]

December 12, 2015 - SPACE
- The following constitutes several of the latest reports of fireballs, seen in the skies, across the globe.

Meteor fireball filmed over Valais, Switzerland

#‎Meteor of 12/07/2015, 01:31 UTC over Valais. Recorded at #‎ValTerbi, #‎Jura.

 WATCH: Fireball over Switzerland.

- YouTube.

Meteor fireball filmed over northern Italy

# Meteor from 07.12.2015 , 05:42 UTC over northern Italy . Recorded in # ValTerbi , # Jura.

 WATCH: Fireball over Italy.

- YouTube.