Friday, January 22, 2016

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Snowmaggedon 2016 - Historic Blizzard Hits U.S. Northeast; Storm System Covers At Least 20 STATES; At Least Seven Deaths; Could Dump 2 Feet Or More Of Snow; Over 85 MILLION PEOPLE In The Path; State Of Emergency Has Been Declared For Pennsylvania; D.C. Mayor Requests Help From The National Guard; Thousands Of Cancelled Flights; Traffic Accidents Galore; Gas Shortages; Snow Levels "ABSOLUTELY STAGGERING"; Full Moon Could Make More Destructive! [MAPS + PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

Water vapor view of storm after 10a Friday, Jan. 22 (NASA)

January 22, 2016 - UNITED STATES - A massive snowstorm that has already turned deadly churned up the East Coast on Friday afternoon, forecast to transform into an angry blizzard that could bury the nation's capital under more than 2 feet of snow.

The weekend whiteout has led to more than 6,000 canceled flights and caused at least seven deaths.

The sprawling storm will blast snow across 15 states beginning Friday afternoon and evening and continuing well into Sunday, forecasters say. That has prompted rare blizzard warnings not only for Washington, D.C., but also Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia, Trenton, New Jersey, and Long Island, New York.

"We see this as a major storm. It has life and death implications. And all the residents of the District of Columbia should treat it that way," Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser said.

Major snowstorm is predicted to impact 20 states, East Coast is bracing.

The main priority, Bowser said, was to keep people safe, from students to commuters to the homeless. Public schools were closed Friday, the Metro will stop operating at 11 p.m. and outreach workers will try to find shelter for people who would otherwise sleep outside. Federal government workers have been told to leave work at noon Friday, just before the front edge of the blizzard is expected to arrive.

The storm has killed at least seven people, including three in North Carolina who died in traffic accidents on icy roads.

WATCH: Ice and Snow Hit Nashville Making Driving Hazardous.

North Carolina Highway Patrol reported 928 crashes from midnight Thursday to 1 p.m. Friday. More than 9,000 people were without power in the state as of 2 p.m. Friday, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety said.

Where there weren't blizzard warnings, there were fears of other dangerous conditions. Various winter weather warnings, watches and advisories were in effect in more than 20 states, from New York to South Carolina to Kansas, the Weather Channel reported. That covers more than 85 million people — more than a quarter of the U.S. population.

The National Weather Service warned of "extremely dangerous travel" conditions and "numerous power outages" across the region. More than 2,500 flights had been canceled as of Friday morning, with thousands likely to follow.

Maximum snowfall could top 30 inches by Sunday evening in large parts of the Mid-Atlantic. National Weather Service

That includes Philadelphia International Airport, which preemptively canceled all Saturday flights in anticipation of up to 18 inches of snow. American Airlines canceled all of its Friday flights out of the Washington, Baltimore and Charlotte, North Carolina, airports.

Gov. Tom Wolf has declared a state of emergency for Pennsylvania ahead of this weekend's winter storm.

That declaration allows state and local authorities to respond as quickly as possible to the impacted areas.

"Declaring a state of emergency allows the commonwealth to deliver state resources wherever they're needed as quickly as possible," said Governor Wolf in a statement. "We have multiple state agencies working at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to monitor weather conditions across the state and we will respond to help local governments and residents in need."

The proclamation authorizes state agencies to use all available resources and personnel, as necessary, to cope with the magnitude and severity of the situation, Wolf said. The time-consuming bid and contract procedures, as well as other formalities normally prescribed by law, are waived for the duration of the proclamation.

It comes hours after a blizzard watch was issued for southeastern parts of Pennsylvania from Friday night through Sunday morning.

Philadelphia could see up to 18 inches of snow, along with strong winds and blowing snow.

PennDOT has started treating major highways in anticipation of the weekend storm.

In D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser requested Humvees from the National Guard to reach isolated people and places if necessary.

“If this is a blizzard and we have sustained winds and people lose power, that would be my biggest concern,” Bowser said at a news conference. “We can move the snow. We will move the snow.”

In the areas where blizzard conditions are possible, the weather service warns that travel will be limited or impossible. The strongest winds and potentially life-threatening conditions are expected Friday night through Saturday night.

Amtrak canceled several national services for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including Crescent service from New York to New Orleans, Cardinal service from New York to Chicago and Silver Meteor service from New York to Miami.

"This is going to be a legitimate blizzard," said Ari Sarsalari, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel. "Some of these [snow] numbers are absolutely staggering."

Saturday will be "an absolute mess," he added, predicting that travel would be "literally impossible anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic region."

By 3:30 a.m. ET Friday, snow was falling across a crescent stretching from Arkansas through Kentucky and down into North Carolina.

One area where the forecast had changed was New England, which now looked likely to miss out on the snow, save for a possible inch in Boston on Saturday, according to Weather Channel lead forecaster Michael Palmer.

"I think the folks up there are probably used to that, anyway," he said.

WATCH: Washington, D.C., taking unprecedented precautions ahead of storm.

A day after a mere inch of snow paralyzed Washington, transit authorities shut down the D.C.-area Metro system — the nation's second-busiest mass transit network — for the entire weekend. No trains will run after 11 p.m. Friday, and buses will be benched at 5 p.m., during the heart of the evening rush hour.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, however, suggested his city is made of sterner stuff and said there were no plans yet to close the subway. Latest forecasts predicted a range of 8 to 12 inches of snow there.

Many areas were under blizzard advisories because of strong winds forecast for the weekend. Forecasters warned that 60-mph gusts could blow wet, heavy snow into trees, power lines and transformers, presaging widespread power failures in the East from North Carolina to New England.

Multiple photos uploaded to social media show the aftermath of sporadic panic buys at various grocery stores, leaving empty milk and bread shelves.

D.C. officials are cautioning residents to have 72 hours' worth of supplies on hand -- but as residents scrambled to get ready, they're ran into trouble at some area gas stations.

And because a full moon will swell tides this weekend, "moderate to major" coastal floods could be in store from Maryland and Delaware to Connecticut — including coastal New York — said Michael Lowry, a storm surge specialist for The Weather Channel.

The storm is expected to reach so far south that it could affect Sunday's National Football Conference championship game between the Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals in Charlotte.

WATCH: Is El Niño to Blame for Brewing Winter Nightmare?

A forecast of freezing rain Friday led the city to cancel a pep rally for the team, and snow up to 3½ inches is forecast for Saturday, when the Cardinals are scheduled to fly to Charlotte ahead of Sunday's game.

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport had canceled almost 400 arrivals for Friday and about 50 so far for Saturday, but the Cardinals said that for now, they didn't expect to be delayed.

But for the team's fans, getting to the game could be tricky.

"I'm a little nervous," Tyler Vasquez of Phoenix told NBC station KPNX. "I have yet to get an email from my airline, [but] a lot of people in our group that we have that are going on this trip have posted, 'I've got this email or my flight's been canceled.'"

If necessary, Vasquez said, he'll fly to Atlanta on Saturday and try to make the 4½-hour drive to Charlotte.

Meanwhile, in Chesterfield County, Virginia, school officials got creative in announcing the cancellation of classes with a district-wide music video.

The weather system produced entirely different effects further south, with a "possible tornado" causing major damage to two homes and downed trees and power lines in Mississippi's Lamar County late Thursday, according to The National Weather Service.

In Florida's Calhoun County, radar detected "tornado debris signature" at 4:50 a.m. ET, although both twisters were yet unconfirmed.

Thunderstorms were also possible across Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, sparked by the same warm air from the Gulf of Mexico that was clashing with cold air further north and producing all that snow.

WATCH: Tornado-Like Conditions Hit Mississippi as Storm System Rages.

- NBC News | 6ABC | CBS | Info Wars.                     

RATTLE & HUM: Mysterious Sounds Heard Across The Planet - Strange Sounds In The Sky Baffle Residents Of São Tomé Das Letras, Brazil?! [VIDEO]

© YouTube/TVS Saotomedasletras

January 22, 2016 - BRAZIL - They were recorded on January 18, 2016 in the city of São Tomé das Letras, Minas Gerais and are kind of terrifying. The mysterious sky sounds filled up the sky of mystic São Tomé das Letras, Brazil.

As you may know, São Thomé das Letras is believed to be one of the seven energy points of the Earth and is thus an attraction for mystics, spiritualists, and alternative societies.

Although this new sound attracted considerable attention, its source remains a mystery.

Some residents and officails believe it was the sound of jet turbine hovering the city.

But the problem with this 'aircraft' hypothesis is that the noise was constantly heard more than five minutes without any interruption.

Moreover, no planes or helicopters were spotted in the sky.

So what might have caused the weird noise heard in São Tomé das Letras, Brazil?

WATCH: Strange sounds in the skies over Brazil.

- Strange Sounds.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Swine Flu Cases Increase In Trinidad And Tobago - Claims Sixth Victim; 68 Other Laboratory Reports Of The Virus!

January 22, 2016 - TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO - A 61-year-old man has become the sixth person in Trinidad and Tobago to die after contracting swine flu.

The Ministry of Health announced yesterday that Jewan Maharaj passed away due to complications from a combination of hypertension and H1N1, after 18 days in the Intensive Care Unit of the Sangre Grande District Health Facility.

In addition to the six confirmed deaths, health officials say there are 68 laboratory reports of the virus in the twin-island republic.

The Ministry of Health has reminded citizens that influenza can cause severe illness in some people, including the elderly, infants, young children and pregnant women, as well as those with chronic medical conditions, such as heart, lung, kidney disease, hypertension and diabetes.

It has therefore advised anyone symptoms of the flu, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, the inability to eat or drink, persistent vomiting, or confusion to seek immediate medical attention.

The ministry said vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of serious complications of influenza and for people who live with or care for high risk individuals.

“Safe and effective vaccines that can prevent influenza or reduce the severity of illness are available at local health centres,” it said, further stressing that after vaccination, people should still take preventative measures to reduce the spread of viruses.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Clive Tilluckdharry said yesterday there are approximately 46,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine available in Trinidad and Tobago.

Influenza can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes and droplets containing viruses get into the air and are inhaled by persons nearby. They can also become infected by touching surfaces such as doorknobs and desks contaminated with flu viruses and then touching their eyes, mouth or nose.

Tips to avoid spreading infectious diseases like influenza include: covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or coughing and sneezing into the crook of your elbow; washing hands with soap and water regularly; and avoiding close contact with people who have flu-like symptoms. - Caribbean 360.

ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Continues Relentlessly - Cold Snap In North Korea Worse Than Usual; Minus 16 DEGREES CELSIUS Recorded!

An aerial view of the frozen Taedong River in Pyongyang on Wednesday © Associated Press Television News

January 22, 2016 - NORTH KOREA - The date known on traditional calendars as the day of the "Big Cold" lived up to its reputation Wednesday in North Korea.

The country has been hit by a severe cold wave sending temperatures plummeting to minus 16 degrees Celsius (3 Fahrenheit) — or about minus 24 (minus 11 F) when the wind chill is calculated.

Wednesday was the coldest day of the year so far, though forecasters said the worst may be yet to come.

Some pedestrians in the capital Pyongyang walked backward to avoid facing into the biting wind, but the cold did not stop intrepid fishermen from squatting on the frozen Taedong River in the center of the city in the hope of catching a local delicacy — a fish called sokari in Korean, golden Mandarin fish in English.

They hack holes through 40 centimeters (16 inches) of ice to send thin lines into the water below.

Pyongyang's indoor ice skating rink has also been teeming with skaters, despite the freezing temperatures inside as well as out.

WATCH: Arctic blast freezes North Korea.

North Korea's power shortages mean that few public buildings, homes, offices or even hospitals have much heating, so it is hard to escape the cold, particularly in the countryside and in rural areas.

Getting from place to place also means walking or riding a bicycle for most people, so thermal underwear, multiple layers, big coats, furry hats and hoods, scarves and gloves to cover any remaining exposed skin are everyday necessities.

North Koreans are accustomed to the severity of their winters — and often take pride in how hardy they are to endure it — but this week's cold snap has been worse than usual.

"This kind of cold can come once or twice a year," said Ri Yong Nam, from North Korea's State Hydro-Meteorological Agency. ". It seems that the "Taehan" (big cold) has not forgotten and now it's here."

Ri said this winter is colder than the last, and temperatures likely would drop further over the weekend.

After that it should get warmer — closer to the freezing point. - Times Daily.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - In Strange Case Of Wrong Time And Wrong Place, A Second Bullock's Oriole Found Wintering In Canada When They Should Be In Mexico?!

Bird enthusiasts from across Nova Scotia have come to the Gosse's backyard to catch a glimpse of the visitor.© Sue King-Gosse

January 22, 2016 - CANADA - An avid birder in Cape Breton is playing host to an unusual visitor this winter. It hails from a much warmer climate — but shows no signs of wanting to leave its new home.

The Bullock's oriole arrived in Sue King-Gosse's backyard in Whitney Pier in mid-December, following a winter storm with strong westerly winds.

At first, King-Gosse thought it was a Baltimore oriole, a bird rare enough in Cape Breton.

But after she posted some photographs on social media, several fellow birders weighed in with their opinion that it is a Bullock's oriole.

The bird's normal habitat is in the western United States, and it usually winters even farther south, in Mexico and Central America.

Bullock's Oriole range map

King-Gosse is thrilled to play host to such an exotic visitor.

"It's very exciting to have something like that, a rare bird," says King-Gosse. "I mean, it's not just a lifer, it's rare, it shouldn't be here, so we didn't even have to travel to see it."

Bird enthusiasts from across Nova Scotia have come to the Gosse's backyard to catch a glimpse of the visitor.

King-Gosse's husband is the former MLA for Whitney Pier, Gordie Gosse. He jokes he's accustomed to rare birds.

"I've seen lots of rare birds in Whitney Pier — and even more rare birds in the legislature," quipped Gosse.

The bird thrives on globe grapes and Smucker's grape jelly. The challenge, says King-Gosse, is making sure the Bullock's oriole gets its share.

"We come out and wave our arms and drive off the starlings," says King-Gosse, pointing to the various bird feeders in her backyard.

"See, they'll take his food — I'll go down and drive them off and then he'll usually come in."

Last month, a Bullock's oriole attracted lots of attention when it was found in Pakenham near Ottawa.

It suffered frostbite and was taken to a wild bird centre to recover.

King-Gosse isn't sure how this oriole will weather the next few months in Cape Breton.

"I don't know if he'll be here all winter — if he'll make it — I have no idea," she says. "But now I feel like, 'Oh gee, I've got to keep this guy alive.'"

So far, her approach is working.

The Bullock's oriole has been in her yard for 32 days — and counting. - CBS News.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Weather Phenomenon - "Fire Rainbow" Photographed Over Lecce, Italy!

'Fire rainbow' caught on camera

January 22, 2016 - ITALY - A multicolor light phenomenon known as a "fire rainbow," or circumhorizontal arc, was caught on camera in the sky over southern Italy.

The video was filmed Jan. 9 over the city of Lecce.

The phenomenon is caused by light from the sun or moon refracting off plate-shaped ice crystals suspended among the clouds in the atmosphere.

It is nicknamed a "fire rainbow" despite being neither a rainbow nor fire-related because the halo sometimes manifests in a way that resembles flames. - UPI.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Massive Sinkhole Swallows Truck In China - Hole Measured 13-Feett-Deep! [VIDEO]

January 22, 2016 - CHINA - An overloaded truck on a road in China's Fujian Province caused the road underneath it to give way into a sinkhole that swallowed the back half of the vehicle.

Video of the scene in Zhangzhou Jan. 12 shows the truck move a short distance on the road before the street beneath its rear-end collapses.

WATCH: Road collapses as overloaded truck passes.

The truck is partially swallowed into the newly-created sinkhole, which was blamed on the vehicle carrying too much weight for the street to handle.

Officials suggested muddy conditions under the road may have also contributed to the 13-foot-deep hole forming under the truck. - UPI.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Monumental Mass Bird Die-Off - Bird Flu Kills 3.3 MILLION Birds In 24 Nigerian States!

Bird flu. Photo: Daily Trust

January 22, 2016 - NIGERIA - Katsina, Adamawa Bayelsa and Ebonyi are the latest states affected by bird flu, bringing the total number of states affected since last year to 24.

According to the latest data obtained from the Department of Veterinary and Disease Control of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, 96 local government areas have recorded the outbreak while estimated 2.5 million birds have been depopulated and buried.

Director-General, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) Mr Onallo Akpa told Daily Trust yesterday that the nation has recorded 556 positive cases noting that 12 live-bird markets across the country are also affected by the current outbreaks.

He stated that as at January 16, the total number of birds that tested positive to the virus is over 2.3 million, adding that 2 million birds have already been depopulated and field activities by veterinary officers across the country was ongoing.

Akpa said PAN has sent out updates on the current state of bird flu to all the states to enable farmers step up bio-security measures in their farms.

Daily Trust gathered that in Kano over 80,000 chickens infected with Avian Influenza have been killed as disease spread to 22 additional farms. - All Africa.

SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Refugee Boats Sink Off Greek Coast - 17 CHILDREN Among 42 Drowned As The Worst Migrant Crisis Since World War II, Continues!

January 22, 2016 - AEGEAN SEA - At least 42 refugees, including 17 children, drowned after two boats sank in the Aegean Sea early on Friday.

A search and rescue operation is underway for potential survivors. The first incident involved a wooden boat carrying 49 people, which sank off the small Greek island of Farmakonisi.

The bodies of eight refugees – six children and two women – were recovered from the sea. Forty people managed to make it safely to shore, and authorities rescued one girl, AP reported.

A few hours later, a wooden sailboat carrying an unknown number of people sank off the island of Kalolimnos, south of Farmakonisi. Thirty-four bodies – 16 women, 11 children, and seven men – were recovered by the coast guard, and 26 people were rescued.

Coast guard vessels, a helicopter and private boats continue to search for other possible survivors from the second boat. It is difficult to determine how many people could be missing, as survivors' estimates of passengers vary from 40 to 70 people.

Greece has become the main gateway for refugees trying to reach the European Union. More than 800,000 people entered the country last year, most of whom arrived on rickety boats from the nearby Turkish coast.

2015 deadliest year for migrants crossing Mediterranean.

More than 700 people died or were reported as missing in the Aegean crossing last year, and another 100 have already perished this month. In December, the International Organization for Migration called the Mediterranean Sea the deadliest place for refugees, stating that 3,770 people died while making the crossing to Europe in 2015. The Aegean Sea is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean.

Turkey is home to nearly three million refugees, most of them from Syria. Many pay smugglers thousands of dollars to make the dangerous crossing to Greece. From there, most of them head north to Germany or Scandinavia.

EU countries are urging Turkey to help control the flow of refugees, and Merkel has pressed the EU to honor its pledge of €3 billion (US$3.3 billion) to improve conditions for those living there.

Europe continues to face the worst refugee crisis since World War II, with the number of asylum seekers expected to increase this year. More than one million refugees entered Europe last year, most of whom came from Syria, where a civil war has taken the lives of 250,000 people and displaced 12 million others since 2011, according to UN figures. - RT.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - IMF Says Venezuela's Inflation Will Blow Past 700 PERCENT This Year!

The shortages reflect the deepening economic troubles in Venezuela, a country with the world’s biggest oil reserves— and the the most crippling oil dependency.
Shoppers waiting in line are often assigned a number, written on their arm or hand. Even once inside, store shelves can look like this.

January 22, 2016 - VENEZUELA - The International Monetary Fund says Venezuela inflation will blow past 700 percent this year.

In a note published Friday, IMF Western Hemisphere Director Alejandro Werner said inflation would more than double in the economically struggling South American country in 2016, reaching 720 percent.

Venezuela already suffers from the world's highest inflation rate.

The IMF estimates that inflation here was running at 275 percent last year.

In Caracas, the shortages have spawned a new profession: some people are actually getting paid for simply standing in line for others.

Last week, Venezuela's Central Bank published economic data for the first time in more than a year.

The bank said inflation reached 141.5 percent by September of last year.

Werner says Venezuela's economic troubles are leading to widespread shortages and "exacting a tragic toll."

WATCH: The shortages have even sometimes sparked stampedes when goods eventually arrive. Here’s what happened when word spread a store received a new stock of diapers.

- AP.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Birth Defects In Latin America Spark Zika Virus Panic - Over 20 Countries In The Americas With Cases; 49 Deaths And 3,893 Cases In Brazil Alone; Virus Could Disrupt Summer Olympic Games In Rio de Janeiro; Couples Advised By Governments To AVOID PREGNANCY; Pregnant Women Told To Postpone Travel To Infected Areas!

Virus linked to birth defects prompts CDC to advise expecting mothers not to travel to certain Latin American countries

January 22, 2016 - AMERICAS STATES - With the sting of a mosquito bite and a fever, many pregnant women may not know that they caught the Zika virus -- until it strikes their unborn child.Now authorities in some Latin American countries are warning women to avoid getting pregnant, after thousands of cases of birth defects linked to the disease over recent months.

Babies across the region, and at least one in the United States, have been born with abnormally smaller heads, a condition doctors call microcephaly, which can cause brain damage.

The scare has struck hardest in Brazil, which hosts the summer Olympic Games in August.

It is one of 14 Latin American and Caribbean countries that the United States has warned pregnant women not to visit because of the Zika risk.

"I am very afraid," said Jacinta Silva Goes, a 39-year-old cleaning lady in Sao Paulo who is expecting her third child.

"For the moment I am not using mosquito repellent because the doctor has not told me to. He has not spoken to me about Zika," she told AFP.

- Pregnancy postponement advised -

Zika used to be thought just a poor relation of dengue, another mosquito-borne virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is transmitted by the same mosquito that spreads dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

But the WHO this week noted a surge in cases of microcephaly in Brazil, the country most affected by the current epidemic.

WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said on Friday there were 3,893 suspected microcephaly cases in Brazil, which included 49 deaths. Before last year there were about 160 cases of microcephaly in Brazil on average.

"The link between the Zika and the microcephaly... is still being investigated," Lindmeier said, but acknowledged that Zika "seems the strongest candidate."

He said there were "about 20 countries in the Americas which are reporting Zika cases, and about 10 in Africa, Asia and the Pacific," but the biggest outbreaks were in Brazil, Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America.

In this Dec. 23, 2015, file photo, 10-year-old Elison nurses his 2-month-old brother Jose Wesley, who was born with microcephaly,
at their house in Poco Fundo, Pernambuco state, Brazil.

Scientists from Brazil's Fiocruz Institute and Parana Catholic University published a study of a case that showed the virus had passed from an infected woman to her baby through the placenta.

Goes says she feels uninformed about how to protect herself against Zika.

"I can't decide by myself to take anything until the doctor tells me to, because it could be dangerous."

But across the vast region of Latin America, citizens and officials have taken a variety of measures in response to the scare.The price of mosquito repellent has risen in Brazil.

In the Peruvian capital Lima, authorities disinfected a big cemetery for fear that Zika-bearing mosquitos were breeding in the flower pots.

Colombia and El Salvador have simply advised couples to avoid pregnancy for the time being. A medical school in Honduras issued the same advice.

- Zika from Brazil to Hawaii -

Originating in East Africa, Zika landed in Latin America last year and has spread across virtually the whole region via Aedes aegypti, a species of mosquito, says the Panamerican Health Organization.

There is no overall figure for the number of cases detected.

Zika has also been reported in the United States: three cases were detected in Florida in people who had recently traveled to Latin America.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that a newborn in Hawaii, was found to have brain damage linked to Zika.

A researcher looks at Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at a lab of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the Sao Paulo University, on January 8, 2016
in Sao Paulo, Brazil as researchers work to combat Zika virus epidemic (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)

The baby was born to a woman who had been living in Brazil early in her pregnancy.

"The virus is spreading fairly rapidly through the

Americas," said Lyle Petersen, director of the CDS's division of vector-borne infectious diseases.

"Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing," said the CDC.

- Olympic disruption threat -

The warning came as many people prepared to travel to and around Brazil for the February carnival -- not to mention months before visitors from around the world will come for the Olympics.

The organizing committee for the Games said it hopes the slightly cooler, dryer weather in August will ease the problem by curbing the breeding of the mosquitos.

But fears over the risk threaten to compound Brazil's misery as the country is forecast to sink deeper into recession this year.

A Health Ministry employee fumigates a home against the Aedes aegypti mosquito to prevent the spread of the
Zika virus in Soyapango, six km east of San Salvador, on January 21, 2016 (AFP Photo/Marvin Recinos)

Stricken by high inflation and political instability, the country is looking to the Olympics to draw in some tourist money.

In Paris, Emilie Goldman, 33, had been planning a holiday to Bahia in northeastern Brazil, but has canceled it at the last minute because she is pregnant with her first child.

"No one was talking about it in France, but I started talking to doctors to know about the possible effects," she told AFP.

"I realized that for a week of holidays, it was not worth the risk."  - Yahoo.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: Thousands Of Birds Found Dead Along Alaskan Shoreline - Estimated Over 100,000 Common Murres Killed; "An Order Of Magnitude LARGER THAN ANY RECORDS"; Ecosystem Troubled By ABNORMALLY Warm Ocean Water?! [VIDEO]

The birds had starved, apparently due to lack of food in abnormally warm ocean water

January 22, 2016 - ALASKA - As he walked on a beach in the western Prince William Sound town of Whittier, seabird biologist David Irons was startled when he saw hundreds of white lumps on the black rock beach.

They were dead seabirds, in what he would discover were likely record numbers, a sign the ecosystem was being troubled by abnormally warm ocean water.

The dead birds, common murres that had starved, were lined up and left where the tide had dropped them on the shore.

"We have never found close to 8,000 birds on a 1-mile long beach before," Irons said of his early January discovery. "It is an order of magnitude larger than any records that I am aware of."

Biologists like Tamara Zeller have been boating around Prince William Sound scanning the beaches for dead and sickly murres. They also count the birds floating in the water, she told CNN affiliate KTVA.

They cannot stop at every beach so they estimate the disturbing total of birds from the ship. When they are able to get to shore, the toll is always much higher.

At Whittier, one day about two weeks ago, she counted 98 of the black and white birds while on the water. On shore she saw 284. The day's total for January 7 was 3,000.

The birds, all of a species known as the common murre, appear to have starved to death, federal wildlife officials say.

The discovery of the dead common murres occurred in early January

Heather Renner, a supervisory biologist at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, said the Whittier die-off is part of a much larger event that started in August.

Renner estimates that 100,000 common murres have died."It's hard to know how many birds have died because Alaska is so big, and there are so many remote areas," Renner said.

The vast majority of the bird deaths are due to starvation. Tests on 100 carcasses revealed almost all the murres were emaciated, and the culprit is likely their lack of a good food supply.

"The fish that they eat tend to have a narrow band of water temperatures they can live in," Irons said. "If the temperature gets too warm or too cold the fish disappear."

And there's plenty of warm water off Alaska's coast right now. Since 2013, an expanse of seawater that's 2 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit above average has stretched from Asia to North America. Scientists have dubbed it "the blob," and they're studying it closely for its effect on wildlife.

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, murres usually spend the winter offshore, diving into the water for fish, crustaceans and mollusks. The average adult murre weighs 2 pounds and eats up to 30% of its body weight per day.

They typically dive as deep as 250 feet, but if they need to, almost 600 feet is possible. Their short wings make them excellent swimmers.

The 8,000 dead common murres that Irons observed doesn't put a dent in the overall population. Neither does Renner's estimation of 100,000 bird deaths. There are approximately 2.8 million murres in Alaska.

Their deaths give clues to a larger picture, Irons said.

WATCH: Thousands of dead seabirds turn up in Alaska.

"Seabird biologists say seabirds are indicators of the health of the ecosystem. Now they're dying and that is telling us something. We should be aware of that. If we don't record they're dying it goes unnoticed," Irons told KTVA.

The scientists also say that die-offs aren't uncommon. One in 1993 was estimated at 100,000 murres. There was one in 1997 -- during an El Niño -- that affected several types of birds. At that time scientists also focused on warm water and the lack of food.

And almost 190,000 murres perished after the Exxon Valdez crashed in the sound in 1989, spilling more than 1 million gallons of oil.

But Irons and Renner say this die-off is different in its scope and the persistence of the warm water blob that may have caused it.

"Scientists tend to get blasé about (die-offs) but this is bigger than I've ever seen," Irons told KTVA.

Renner agreed.

"This is probably one of the larger events and going over a longer period of time and a bigger geographical area," Renner said.

Murres aren't just being found on shorelines. They also have been picked up as far inland as Denali State Park, CNN affiliate KTUU reported.

Being on land means trouble for murres, whose bodies are designed to take off from water. The inland murres are grounded and needed to be taken back to the ocean. Before that they are taken to a rehab facility.

At the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage, staffers usually see a few sick or starving murres each year. So far this season more than 225 have been brought in. - CNN.

SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Civilizations Unraveling - Tunisia Imposes Nationwide Curfew Amid Spreading Unrest And Violent Demonstrations!

Violence on the streets of Kasserine as youth return to protest incomplete revolution. Reuters.

January 22, 2016 - TUNISIA - Tunisia imposed a nationwide overnight curfew Friday in response to growing unrest as protests over unemployment across the country descended into violence in some cities.

The week of increasingly violent demonstrations was triggered Sunday when a young man who lost out on a government job climbed a transmission tower in protest and was electrocuted. The suicide more than five years ago of another unemployed youth set off a popular uprising that overthrew Tunisia's longtime ruler and eventually gave rise to the "Arab Spring" uprisings across North Africa.

Tunisia built the only democracy to survive that movement, which spawned chaos elsewhere in the region. But the country's economy is foundering, and about one in three young people remains without work.

"Are we not Tunisians too? It's been four years I've been struggling. We're not asking for much, but we're fighting for our youth. We've struggled so much for them," said Leila Omri, the mother of an unemployed graduate in Kasserine.

A curfew from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. was declared because the attacks on public and private property "represent a danger to the country and its citizens," the Interior Ministry said.

Overnight into Friday, police stations came under attack and security officers used tear gas to repel protesters armed with stones and Molotov cocktails. In housing projects on the outskirts of the capital, Tunis, roving groups of young people pillaged a bank and looted stores and warehouses.

The previous night, a police officer died after protesters flipped his car, the government said.

Tunisia's prime minister, Habib Essid, cut short a visit to France to deal with the protests. Tunisia's unemployment stands around 15 percent, but is 30 percent among young people.

Tunisia has been under a state of emergency since a suicide bombing in November killed 12 members of the presidential guard in the heart of Tunis - an attack that capped an unusually violent year for Tunisia. That bombing, as well as deadly attacks earlier in the year against the Bardo museum in Tunis and the tourist beach town of Sousse, were claimed by the Islamic State group.

In Paris just before leaving for home, Essid said the problem was not with democracy, but with the economy.

"We have a set of policies to try to solve this issue, which is one of this government's main challenges," he said after his meeting with the French president. "We don't have a magic wand. We can't solve the problem of unemployment in one go."

France promised aid worth 1 billion euros, much of it dedicated to inland regions far from the relatively glamorous coastal areas that include the resort of Sousse. But tourism, the main driver of Tunisia's economy, plummeted after last year's attacks, leaving even the coasts struggling.

"You want a solution? It's easy: give the people jobs, instead of pouring millions into Sousse," said Abid Khadhraoui, another unemployed graduate. "You had five years and nothing happened. All we want are jobs!" - AP.

ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Continues Relentlessly - About 80 Settlements In South Ukraine Remain Without Power Following Heavy Snowfall! [VIDEO]

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

January 22, 2016 - UKRAINE - Seventy-two settlements in the Kherson Region, five in the Mykolaiv Region and one settlement in the Odessa Region currently remain without electricity

A total of 78 settlements in three regions in Ukraine's south remain without electricity, the press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine said on Thursday.

"On Wednesday specialists from utility companies completed works on restoring electricity to settlements that were left without power as a result of complicated weather conditions - gusts of wind, snowfall and icing," the press service said.

Seventy-two settlements in the Kherson Region, five in the Mykolaiv Region and one settlement in the Odessa Region currently remain without electricity.

Repair works are underway.

WATCH: Winter weather leaves hundreds without power in Ukraine.


RATTLE & HUM: Mysterious Sounds Heard Across The Planet - Residents Baffled, Unnerved By Inexplicably Loud Explosion In Fayette County, Pennsylvania?!

Connellsville, Fayette County

January 22, 2016 - PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES - It's a mystery not only in this area, but in communities across the country.

They sound like loud explosions, except there's never any damage. So, what is really going on?

Imagine you're sitting on your front porch when out of nowhere a cataclysmic explosion goes off. You see a bright light, you feel the force, and then, it goes away. Then, when emergency responders go to investigate, they can't find a thing.

Well, it happened in Fayette County recently and it's happening around the United States.

WATCH: Fayette Co. Residents Baffled By Mysterious Explosion.

For Michelle Wiltrout, what happened around 7:45 p.m. Monday is something she'll never forget.

"All I heard was a large explosion," said Wiltrout. "I thought something blew up or a bad car wreck."

Whatever it was, numerous resident around Connellsville heard and felt it, too. For some, it was so intense it rattled the foundations of their homes and knocked pictures off their walls.

Mysterious massive explosions are not exclusive to Fayette County. The phenomena are worldwide and nothing new.

"Back in the 1960s we used to call them 'sky quakes,'" says Stan Gordon, who is a researcher in the field of the unexplained phenomena. "In more recent years, there seems to be an increase in these type of reports."

Explanations abound - sonic booms, meteorites, kids blowing things up - but not all of these earth-shaking, window-rattling events are resolved.

"In March of last year, I received and I know other sources received numerous reports of a very loud shaking and a boom that covered many communities in Fayette County," Gordon said. "Around the same time as the big boom were some unusual lights in the sky and then later a lot of people reporting a lot of helicopter activity in the area. I've never heard an explanation for that one."

Those who have experienced these enormous, mystery explosions say they're unnerving, whatever they are.

"I don't know, but it's scary because it's too close to home," said Wiltrout. - CBS.

PARADIGM SHIFT: Civilizations Unraveling And Precursors To The End Of The White Supremacy Paradigm - Billionaire Financier George Soros Warns That The European Union Is On The "VERGE OF COLLAPSE" Over The Migrant Crisis!

January 22, 2016 - EUROPE - Billionaire financier George Soros has warned that the European Union is on the "verge of collapse" over the migrant crisis and is in "danger of kicking the ball further up the hill" in its management of the issue which has seen more than a million migrants and refugees arrive in the region in 2015.

In an interview with the New York Review of Books, Soros added that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel is key to solving the crisis.

Merkel led Europe's response to the migrant crisis, opening Germany to the refugees that had travelled from the Middle East, in particular Syria, to try and find a new home in Europe. The decision by the German leader marked a sea-change in her policy. In the interview, Soros said he welcomed Merkel's move.

"There is plenty to be nervous about," the financier said.

"As she (Merkel) correctly predicted, the EU is on the verge of collapse. The Greek crisis taught the European authorities the art of muddling through one crisis after another. This practice is popularly known as kicking the can down the road, although it would be more accurate to describe it as kicking a ball uphill so that it keeps rolling back down."

"Merkel correctly foresaw the potential of the migration crisis to destroy the European Union. What was a prediction has become the reality. The European Union badly needs fixing. This is a fact but it is not irreversible. And the people who can stop Merkel's dire prediction from coming true are actually the German people. "

"Now it's time for Germans to decide: Do they want to accept the responsibilities and the liabilities involved in being the dominant power in Europe?"

George Soros.

Soros' comments come as Finland's Finance Minister, Alex Stubb, told CNBC that Germany's open policy on migrants was, "humane, that was probably the right thing to do at the time but the key issue here is that one of the fundamental freedoms of the European Union is under threat and that is the free movement of people and the whole Schengen agreement."

"On top of that, we've had a Euro crisis which is about free movement of money so two of the core pillars of European integration are under threat right now," said Stubb, to CNBC in Davos.

In his interview Wednesday, Stubb denied the idea that the Schengen zone, which allows the free passage of EU citizens through almost all of its members, is a security threat to Europe.

"We shouldn't draw parallels between [the] refugee crisis and terrorism. The roots of terrorism are much, much deeper than that."

"What we need to watch out for is radicalization. What does this mean? It means we need to get these people to work, we need to give these people employment, we need to give them hope, we need to integrate them into our societies, they need to learn our languages," said the Finance Minister, to CNBC.

Stubb, known for his fiscally hardline views, explained to CNBC why he wants to improve competitiveness in Finland.

"We basically need to do what Germany did in the late 1990s, early 2000s. We need to take some hard reforms; basically, I'm looking at a positive circle or a virtuous circle of the economy, that means number one, we become more competitive, number two, we get more exports, number three, we get more jobs, number four, we get more taxes, which I like as finance minister, and then number five, in order to finance our welfare state, we use those taxes."

Stubb also shared his thoughts on the UK referendum vote.

"I think it would be a great travesty both for the UK, economically, politically and otherwise, and a travesty for the European Union if there was a divorce," he said to CNBC. - CNBC.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: CDC - Bizarre Birth Defect Is On The Rise, And Researchers Are Baffled?!

January 22, 2016 - UNITED STATES - Physicians are seeing more instances of a birth defect in which infants are born with their intestines extruding from the stomach wall, with a particularly sharp rise among babies born to young African American mothers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Over the 18 years leading up to 2012, the CDC has documented a 263% increase in the birth defect, called gastroschisis, among children born to black mothers under the age of 20, said a report released Thursday by the agency.

Coleen Boyle, director of the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said it was urgent that researchers find the cause of the defect and determine which women are at greater risk for having babies with the affliction.In gastroschisis, the intestines, and sometimes other visceral organs such as the liver and stomach, protrude through a hole next to a newborn's bellybutton. Nearly 2,000 babies are born with the condition each year in the U.S.

Though the abnormality can be life-threatening, it is often surgically repaired soon after birth. But because the affected organs are irritated by their exposure to amniotic fluid inside a mother's uterus, they can twist, swell, shorten and become infected.

As a result, babies born with the defect can have ongoing digestive and feeding problems. Some also have difficulty staying hydrated and absorbing nutrients from food, which can increase their risk of a range of medical problems, including stunted growth and malnutrition.

If the number of exposed internal organs is large, surgery must sometimes be done in stages. Recovery times can be long. Many babies born with the condition, which can be diagnosed during pregnancy by ultrasound, do not leave the hospital for six weeks or more, and their care in neonatal intensive units is costly.

The increased incidence of the defect has affected babies born to women across the spectrum of age and ethnicity. But most cases of gastroschisis occur in babies born to mothers younger than 20. The CDC said this fact was unchanged by a notable decline in births to teen mothers.

Although researchers do not know what causes gastroschisis, they suspect that environmental factors — a mother's diet, medicines used during pregnancy or exposures to some toxin — may influence the development of a weak abdominal wall sometime early in pregnancy. What those harmful exposures might be, and whether babies born with the defect have some genetic vulnerability, remains a mystery.

CDC epidemiologist Suzanne Gilboa said a number of federally funded studies were tracking pregnant women and their babies “to dig into the ‘why’” of gastroschisis. Researchers have just a few clues to guide their hunt, she said: Mothers who consumed alcohol or used tobacco during pregnancy are at greater risk of having a baby with gastroschisis, as are women who had a sexually transmitted disease during pregnancy or who were underweight before pregnancy.

To discern the trend seen in the latest report, epidemiologists analyzed data from 14 states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas and Utah. They compared rates of gastroschisis in the 1995-2005 period with rates seen during the 2006-12 period. - L.A. Times.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Disaster Precursors - Around 300 Turtles And A Bottlenose Dolphin Found Dead In India?!


January 22, 2016 - INDIA - The Puri Beach in Odisha turned into a graveyard for around 300 Olive Ridley turtles and a bottlenose dolphin. The marine animals were found dead here on 20 January.

Although turtle carcasses are usually found near Pantha Niwas on the beach during winter, the sheer number of the dead animals spooked locals.

According to news reports, the forest and marine fisheries authorities have seized two trawlers for carrying out unauthorised fishing - despite a ban which was put in place due to the nesting season of the turtles.

Collector of Puri, Arabind Agarwal, told the media that a report had been sought from the concerned agencies. He said:

"This is unfortunate that a large number of Olive Ridley turtles died on the beach. It seemed that they were hit by trawlers."
The Beach Protection Council of Odisha (BPCO), a voluntary organisation working for the protection of the beach has given a memorandum to Aggarwal demanding strict implementation of the fishing ban between November and May.

Renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik has created a sculpture of the turtles with message "Give us space to live" on Puri beach.

Recently, around 80 whales were washed ashore on the southern coast at Tiruchendur in Tamil Nadu. At least 40 of the short-finned pilot whales died despite rescue efforts.

WATCH: Dead sea turtles wash up ashore in India.

- Catch News.

ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Continues Relentlessly - Extreme "Cold Wave" Weather Chills 90 PERCENT Of China, As Temperatures Drop To -30C!

Fishing boats frozen by sea ice at the sea area in Qinhuangdao, a port city in north China's Hebei Province © Rex

January 22, 2016 - CHINA - An extreme 'cold wave' has hit most of north and east China, with low temperatures and frost expected to last for around a week

These amazing pictures show the astonishing effects of an extreme 'cold wave' that has hit 90 percent of China.

Parts of China suffered a bitterly cold chill this week as temperatures dropped to the lowest they've been in 30 years.

These pictures show residents in Harbin, the northernmost provincial capital in China, as they battled the elements in -30C.

One image shows a huge clump of ice frozen in mid air above a man's head as he threw water over himself.

Another man's eyebrows collected freezing icicles on them which had twisted into clumps 'growing' from his brow.

And a woman smiled through the cold as ice collected on her wooly hat and the ends of her hair while she wore a face mask in the bitter chill.

A man throws hot water into the air at Songhuajiang river in Harbin© Rex

Fishing boats in Qinhuangdao, a port city in north China's Hebei Province, were stuck in frozen waters after temperatures dropped to below freezing.

Other pictures show huge blocks of ice washed up on the shore as the port was rendered useless by the weather.

Huge icicles collected at a port in Yantai City, in Shandong Province, and stairs in the city were completely covered in snow and ice.

Icicles are seen by the sea in Yantai City, east China's Shandong Province © Rex

The National Meteorological Centre predicted that 90 percent of the country will experience a drop of around 10 degrees over the next four days.

Many schools across the country have suspended lessons while emergency crews are on standby.

And supermarkets in the Hzanghou were ransacked earlier in the week with shoppers stocking up on food and essentials.

- Daily Mirror.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Brown Bears Ditch Hibernation Due To UNUSUALLY MILD WINTER In Pyrenees Mountains?!

Brown bears normally kick off their hibernation at the end of November and only emerge at the start of April

January 22, 2016 - PYRENEES MOUNTAINS - Several brown bears in the Pyrenees mountains that separate Spain from France have ditched their usual hibernation for food as winter temperatures remain unusually clement, environment and animal experts said Thursday.

Earlier in January, workers at the Alto Pirineo Natural Park on the Spanish side of the mountain range watched open-mouthed as footage from cameras placed in a rocky area showed a bear and her three cubs rummaging for food when they should have been snug in their cave.

"It's not normal to find a sow with three cubs not hibernating in winter," Santiago Palazon, head of the biodiversity and animal protection division of Catalonia's regional government, told AFP.

"They had been outside of their cave for at least one week."

These brown bears normally kick off their hibernation at the end of November and only emerge at the start of April, although for males that period can be shorter.

But an unusually mild winter in this corner of northeastern Spain, with temperatures between five and six degrees Celsius (41 and 43 degrees Fahrenheit) above average, appears to have changed the habits of at least some of the bears.

"The conditions in the wild were good, there was almost no snow on the ground, there were a lot of acorns from the autumn that they could still eat, and that could have made them leave the cave," said Palazon.

Native Pyrenean brown bears were almost extinct in the 1990s due largely to hunting and the first attempt to re-introduce them was in 1996 when three bears were brought from Slovenia which has a thriving bear population.

Now, there are around 40 living in the mountain range.

This unusual behaviour had already been detected in 2012 in Spain's northern Cantabrian mountains, where another 250 brown bears live, but this is the first time that it affects those in the Pyrenees,
said Guillermo Palomero, head of the Brown Bear Foundation.

He told AFP that this was not necessarily detrimental for sows, which lose a lot of energy suckling and can compensate their non-hibernation by eating and filling up on calories.

"But that doesn't mean that climate change is good for them," he said, adding that experts were examining how higher temperatures could affect the availability of bear food such as acorns, wild berries or beechnuts.

"We will know if it benefits them or not in the long term." - PHYS.

DELUGE: Widespread Flooding In Tanzania - One Person Dead; Over 400 Displaced!

January 22, 2016 - TANZANIA - Several periods of heavy rainfall in Tanzania since 14 January 2016 have caused flooding in the regions of Mwanza and Dodoma, according to local media.

At least 400 people have been displaced in Dodoma municipality after 70 houses were destroyed or damaged after heavy rain between 17 and 18 January 2016.

In Mwanza region, a young boy died when he was swept away by flood water in the city of Mwanza, after heavy rain between 14 and 15 January.

Some minor flooding was also reported in Dar es Salaam between 20 and 21 January 2016.

Flood Warnings

Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) warned that further heavy rainfall is expected, with over 50 mm in 24 hours possible in some places, including Lindi, Mtwara and southern parts of Pwani and Morogoro regions.

TMA said that due to the heavy rain from previous weeks, additional rains are very likely to cause floods.

Rainfall Figures

Figures according to WMO for a 24 hour period.

20 to 21 January 2016:
Kigoma, Kigoma Region - 90 mm

19 to 20 January 2016:
Zanzibar - 84 mm

17 to 18 January 2016:
Dodoma - 60.9 mm
Tabora, Tabora Region - 72 mm
Mtwara, Mtwara Region - 66.1 mm

- Floodlist.