Thursday, January 28, 2016

DOOMSDAY: The Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists - The Threat Of OBLIVION Pits Humanity At 'THREE MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT" On Doomsday Clock!

6th November 1952: Characteristic mushroom shaped cloud begins formation after the first H-Bomb explosion (US) at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific
Three Lions/Getty Images

January 28, 2016 - UNITED STATES - Humanity is still terrifying close to wiping itself out, according to one of the world's most senior group of experts.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which sets the widely-respected "Doomsday Clock", said that it was making no change to the time of three minutes to midnight. When that time was set in a meeting last year, it became the closest to oblivion that humanity has ever been.

The group of senior scientists, formed in the wake of the Second World War and the threat of nuclear oblivion, said that nobody should take solace in the fact that humanity has moved no closer to oblivion.""Three minutes (to midnight) is too close," a statement from the Bulletin read. "Far too close."We, the members of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, want to be clear about our decision not to move the hands of the Doomsday Clock in 2016: That decision is not good news, but an expression of dismay that world leaders continue to fail to focus their efforts and the world's attention on reducing the extreme danger posed by nuclear weapons and climate change.

"When we call these dangers existential, that is exactly what we mean: They threaten the very existence of civilization and therefore should be the first order of business for leaders who care about their constituents and their countries."

Experts at The Bulletin noted the success of deals with Iran on nuclear weapons, and in Paris on climate change. But they said that continuing and new threats from countries like North Korea served as a balance to that progress.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board have since published an open letter to the governments of the world
announcing that the clock will remain at 11:57 for another year.

"Even as the Iran agreement was hammered out, tensions between the United States and Russia rose to levels reminiscent of the worst periods of the Cold War," The Bulletin wrote. "Conflict in Ukraine and Syria continued, accompanied by dangerous bluster and brinkmanship, with Turkey, a NATO member, shooting down a Russian warplane involved in Syria, the director of a state-run Russian news agency making statements about turning the United States to radioactive ash, and NATO and Russia repositioning military assets and conducting significant exercises with them.

"Washington and Moscow continue to adhere to most existing nuclear arms control agreements, but the United States, Russia, and other nuclear weapons countries are engaged in programs to modernize their nuclear arsenals, suggesting that they plan to keep and maintain the readiness of their nuclear weapons for decades, at least -- despite their pledges, codified in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to pursue nuclear disarmament."

The Paris climate talks offered some hope, the experts wrote. But they did little about the already dire effects of climate change on the environment.

"Promising though it may be, the Paris climate agreement came toward the end of Earth's warmest year on record, with the increase in global temperature over pre-industrial levels surpassing one degree Celsius," The Bulletin's statement says. - Independent.

TERMINATOR NOW: The Rise Of The Machines And A Post-Human Future - Google-Powered Artificial Intelligence Beats Human Champion In Ancient Chinese Game Go! [VIDEOS]

January 28, 2016 - TECHNOLOGY - Google’s Artificial Intelligence program, AlphaGo, has achieved a breakthrough in human-machine relations, becoming the first AI to beat a European champion in the highly-complicated Chinese game of Go, based on intuition and feel.

The intelligent machine created by Google’s DeepMind team first competed with other programs and managed to win all but one of its 500 games, Google writes in its blog.

The next step was to invite an actual human to challenge the AI. This is where reigning three-time European Go champion Fan Hui stepped in. Google describes him as “an elite professional player who has devoted his life to Go since the age of 12.”

WATCH: Ground-breaking AlphaGo masters the game of Go.

The intellectual battle between the human and the system took place in October and AI didn’t leave any chance to Fan Hui. The report on the epic Go battle was released only on Wednesday in the journal Nature.

“In a closed-doors match last October, AlphaGo won by 5 games to 0. It was the first time a computer program has ever beaten a professional Go player,” Google said.

The game of Go, which originated in China more than 2,500 years ago, was not just picked by chance to test the AI.

WATCH: The computer that mastered Go.

According to Google, Go is a game of “profound complexity” and played “primarily through intuition and feel.” Also there are billions and billions of possible positions—“that’s more than the number of atoms in the universe.”

“This complexity is what makes Go hard for computers to play, and therefore an irresistible challenge to artificial intelligence (AI) researchers, who use games as a testing ground to invent smart, flexible algorithms that can tackle problems, sometimes in ways similar to humans.”

However, AlphaGo is not going to stop. Next time it will face one more Go guru – the legendary Lee Sedol, “the top Go player in the world over the past decade.”Google says that the company is “thrilled” to have mastered legendary Go and “thus achieved one of the grand challenges of AI.”

“Because the methods we’ve used [in AlphaGo] are general-purpose, our hope is that one day they could be extended to help us address some of society’s toughest and most pressing problems, from climate modeling to complex disease analysis.”

The first game ever mastered by a computer was noughts and crosses (tic-tac-toe) back in 1952. Some forty-five years later, in 1997, computer Deep Blue beat famous Russian Grandmaster Garry Kasparov at chess. - RT.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: WHO Says Zika Virus "SPREADING EXPLOSIVELY," Level Of Alarm "EXTREMELY HIGH" - Organization Will Convene EMERGENCY MEETING To Find Ways To Stop Transmission Of The Infection; U.S. Scientists Says The Disease Could Become "EXPLOSIVE PANDEMIC"; And Brazilian Experts Investigate If "Common Mosquito" Is Transmitting Zika!

Local workers disinfect the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  Photo: EPA/MARECELO SAYAO

January 28, 2016 - HEALTH -  The World Health Organization announced Thursday that it will convene an emergency meeting to try to find ways to stop the transmission of the Zika virus — which officials said is "spreading explosively" across the Americas.

WHO: Zika virus ‘spreading explosively,’ level of alarm ‘extremely high’

"The level of alarm is extremely high, as is the level of uncertainty. Questions abound. We need to get some answers quickly, " Margaret Chan, director general of the WHO, said in Geneva during a briefing for member countries.

The WHO said the pathogen, which was virtually unheard of in the region a year ago, is spreading so fast that it could infect as many as 3 million to 4 million people within 12 months. Chan said those numbers and the severity of the possible complications being reported -- from a brain abnormality called microcephaly in children to paralysis in adults -- make the situation dramatically different than what epidemiologists have seen with past outbreaks of the virus.

Health officials said 23 countries and territories are affected by mosquitoes that are transmitting Zika locally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the United States has 31 confirmed cases in 11 states and the District of Columbia. All are travel-related, said Lyle Petersen, director of CDC’s vector-borne disease division, and "this number is increasing rapidly." There also are 20 additional cases because of local transmission in U.S. territories — 19 in Puerto Rico and one in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In a separate briefing with reporters Thursday, U.S. officials said all states are now required to report Zika cases. As a result, they expect to see a sharp increase in cases involving a traveler infected while abroad who becomes symptomatic after returning home. But local outbreaks are unlikely here, officials said.

Global health authorities have already been criticized for not moving quickly enough to call an emergency meeting on Zika. Some public health experts accused the WHO of failing to learn lessons from the Ebola epidemic of 2014, when the organization delayed sounding the alarm for months.

Lawrence O. Gostin, a global health law professor at Georgetown University, said Chan needs to "urgently mobilize international resources" to curb Zika's spread. "It is far better to be over-prepared than to wait until a Zika epidemic spins out of control," he said in a statement.

"If the association between microcephaly and Zika virus is confirmed, there will be an ethical imperative to protect women of childbearing age from contracting the infection," Gostin added.

At his daily briefing, White House press secretary Josh Earnest was asked if the U.S. and international response to the Zika virus was too slow.

“What you have seen from this administration is a response consistent with the kind of threat that could be out there. At this point, here in the United States, the risks of disease spread by mosquitoes are quite low," he said. "The temperatures in North America right now are inhospitable to the mosquito population. Eventually that will change, and we have to be mindful of any possible risk here in the United States.”
Earnest noted that President Obama on Tuesday convened a group of scientists and public health officials to discuss efforts to combat the disease and noted travel warnings issued by the CDC and a public information campaign by CDC and NIH.

“We are in a stage right now where we want to educate the public about what the risks are," he said. "For most people, the risks of the Zika virus are minimal.”

Brazil is the epicenter of Zika, and public health officials are investigating the suspected link between the virus and the rare condition that affects fetal brain development,  as well as a possible association between the pathogen and, in adults, a syndrome known as Guillain-BarrĂ© that can lead to paralysis.

During a briefing to the WHO executive board on Thursday, Brazil’s health minister, Claudio Maierovitch, said the country is investigating 12 confirmed deaths of babies born with microcephaly for potential linkage with Zika virus infection. The country has more than 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly, and while some have turned out to be other conditions, many have been confirmed through ultrasound, he said. He did not provide a figure.

Pregnant women who tested positive for the Zika virus and later had babies with microcephaly had experienced a rash and fever during the “first and second parts of their pregnancy,” he said.Several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have been so shaken by the reports that they have taken extreme measures by advising women of childbearing age to wait six months to two years before trying to become pregnant. Bruce Aylward, assistant director-general of the WHO, said its position is that women who are pregnant should engage in "an abundance of caution" to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
Marcos Espinal, director of communicable diseases and health analysis for the Pan American Health Organization, said Zika is likely to spread to the same areas where dengue exists and predicted that “we can expect 3 to 4 million cases of Zika virus disease.”

That reach includes parts of the southern United States, according to a map he presented at the briefing.

The WHO said Zika appears to be spreading so rapidly for two reasons: One, because it is a new disease to the region and so the population does not have immunity, and two, because the Zika virus is primarily transmitted by a mosquito species known as A. aegypti, which lives in every country in North and South America except Canada and Chile.

Previous outbreaks of Zika occurred primarily in areas with small populations -- a distinction from the situation in Brazil, where the virus is circulating in densely populated urban areas.

CDC deputy director Anne Schuchat told reporters Thursday that living conditions in the United States, such as better air conditioning, more window screens and less crowding, are factors that make it much less likely for a widespread outbreak of Zika. But mosquito control is difficult even in this country, and she said state and local authorities need to be vigilant to "jump in" if there are locally transmitted cases.

She said the Food and Drug Administration is also looking into whether any additional guidance is necessary regarding blood donations. Zika virus stays in the blood for only a few days, and "most people have cleared it by about a week," she said.

The FDA is assessing whether travelers who have visited affected regions should defer donating their blood, a spokeswoman said. The agency is also working on recommendations to help maintain a safe blood supply in U.S. territories where the virus is present. "We cannot speculate on specific implementation timing at this point," said FDA spokeswoman Tara Goodin.

WHO officials said that this type of mosquito also has been simultaneously carrying a host of other viruses — dengue, Chikungunya, yellow fever, West Nile — to those regions in recent years. Among the hypotheses scientists are looking into are whether the recent severe reactions may be related to co-infection with Zika and another virus, or previous exposure to one.
Aylward said some of the women who gave birth to children with microcephaly had been tested, and some of them had other infections. "We don't have an answer as to what is actually going on," he said.
There has been one reported case that the virus could have been transmitted through sex, and another case in the medical literature where the virus was found in semen two weeks after symptoms of infection, according to the CDC's Schuchat.

"But the science is clear that Zika is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito," she said. "That is really where we are putting our emphasis."

Part of the challenge with Zika is that it is often "silent," with up to 75 percent of infected patients having no symptoms, said Sylvain Aldighieri, who works in epidemic alert and response for the WHO/PAHO. "We have big gaps in terms of confirmation of the real situation."

Representatives from several countries raised concerns about whether we’re seeing a potentially more virulent mutated virus in the Americas, but WHO officials said tests so far show that it’s “very similar” to what was circulating in the Pacific region several years ago.
WHO officials said that better diagnostic tests are in the works, as well as possible antiviral therapies and vaccines, but that any of these could take months to develop. Meanwhile, efforts are focused on controlling the spread of the virus by eliminating mosquito populations.

In some countries, health officials have been going door to door to spray for mosquito breeding grounds and have launched public education campaigns to urge people to wear repellent clothing or use sprays. In a controversial experiment, a British company has announced it would release genetically modified mosquitoes whose larvae don't make it to adulthood to see if they can help stop the spread of the virus.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday that investigators may be able to start a clinical trial for a vaccine as early as this year.

The WHO's Chan urged “every community, every family and individual” to do their part by, for example, taking care not to leave stagnant collections of water on their properties. She emphasized that every person in the world could be vulnerable to the virus.

“The mosquito is ubiquitous,” she said. “You don’t need to travel to get the disease.”

The WHO special session on Zika is scheduled to take place on Monday, and delegates will discuss whether to declare it global public health emergency -- a designation that could help mobilize a more coordinated response. The WHO has only done this three times before: in 2009 during the H1N1 influenza epidemic, in August 2014 with Ebola and in May 2014 regarding the reemergence of polio.

The declaration typically comes with a list of global recommendations to nations regarding everything from international travel and trade to scientific targets for diagnosis and treatment of a disease and has been considered critical to convincing convincing wealthier countries to send more health workers and supplies to to fight the outbreaks. - Washington Post.

U.S. scientists says Zika virus could become 'explosive pandemic'

US scientists have urged the World Health Organisation to take urgent action over the Zika virus, which they say has "explosive pandemic potential".

Writing in a US medical journal, they called on the WHO to heed lessons from the Ebola outbreak and convene an emergency committee of disease experts.

They said a vaccine might be ready for testing in two years but it could be a decade before it is publicly available.

Zika, linked to shrunken brains in children, has caused panic in Brazil.

Thousands of people have been infected there and it has spread to some 20 countries.

The Brazilian President, Dilma Roussef, has urged Latin America to unite in combating the virus.

She told a summit in Ecuador that sharing knowledge about the disease was the only way that it would be beaten. A meeting of regional health ministers has been called for next week.

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Daniel R Lucey and Lawrence O Gostin say the WHO's failure to act early in the recent Ebola crisis probably cost thousands of lives.

They warn that a similar catastrophe could unfold if swift action is not taken over the Zika virus.

"An Emergency Committee should be convened urgently to advise the Director-General about the conditions necessary to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern," Mr Lucey and Mr Gostin wrote.

They added: "The very process of convening the committee would catalyze international attention, funding, and research."

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday the US government intended to make a more concerted effort to communicate with Americans about the risks associated with the virus.

No cure
There is no cure for the virus and the hunt is on for a vaccine, led by scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

The researchers have visited Brazil to carry out research and collect samples and are now analysing them in a suite of high-security laboratories in Galveston, Texas. - BBC.

Brazilian experts investigate if 'common mosquito' is transmitting zika virus

A common 'culex' mosquito Photo: Alamy
Brazil could be facing a greater fight against the zika virus than previously feared as researchers investigate whether the common mosquito is transmitting the disease.

The Aedes aegypti species of mosquito was thought to be solely responsible for spreading the virus. But scientists are now studying whether the “culex” mosquito – the variety most commonly found in Brazil - could also be passing on the infection. "This may be the reason for the virus replicating faster,” said Constancia Ayres, the research coordinator of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation. “The interaction of the mosquito with the virus may explain the epidemiological profile of disease transmission.”

The study is expected to last three weeks and aims to understand precisely how quickly the epidemic is spreading. Mrs Ayres pointed out that the culex mosquito “transmits other viruses close to zika” and asked: “What's to say that it could not transmit Zika?"

The disease caused by the zika virus is linked to a large number of cases of cranial malformations in babies, especially in north-eastern Brazil, known as microcephaly.

A government report revealed more than 4,000 suspected cases where babies have been born with a brain deformity since last year. President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil promised that her government would wage war against the mosquitos responsible for spreading the virus. - Telegraph.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mysterious Burning Crack In The Earth Releases Gas In Chimborazo, Ecuador - Area Evacuated; Crack Located 45km From The Chimborazo Volcano?! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

This mysterious crack appeared in the ground of Columbe, Ecuador and baffles scientists. Photo: El Universo @eluniversocom

January 28, 2016 - ECUADOR - A mysterious burning crack is releasing gases since two weeks in a small village named Columbe situated in the Ecuadorian Andes.

The steam started coming out of the earth about 15 days ago after a controlled burn of weeds.

A column of steam and gas continues to emanate from a mysterious crack that opened up in a hill near Columbe, in Chimborazo, Ecuador.

The area has been evacuated because it is still unknown if toxic gases are released by the unexplained underground emanation. Investigations are ongoing.

Officials are baffled and want to rule out a possible volcanic origin. Photo: El Commercio

Incandescent material burning underground. Photo: Metro Ecuador

Is this strange phenomenon liked to the activity of a nearby volcano? Photo: Tele Amazonas

45 km to the next active volcano. Photo: Google Earth.

Soil and gas samples have been taken by technicians of the Geophysical Institute of the National Polytechnic School.

The strange phenomenon has most probably a volcanic origin as the burning crack and the gas emanations are located approximately 45 km from the Chimborazo volcano.

WATCH: Mysterious burning crack releases gas in Chimborazo, Ecuador.

But officials try to rule out a volcanic origin saying the burning crack was created by the controlled burn.

According to them the underground remains incandescent and emanates gases since 2 weeks because the soil is full of organic matter, which is considered a good fuel. - Strange Sounds.

DELUGE: Severe Storm Systems Hit Geelong, Australia - Drops TWO MONTHS OF RAINFALL IN AN HOUR; Results In Flash Floods; Described As A "ONCE IN A CENTURY EVENT"! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

Flash floods in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, January 2016.

January 28, 2016 - GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - A storm in Geelong, Victoria, Australia on 27 January 2016 dumped more than double the January monthly average rain on parts of the city in just 1 hour.

Avalon, a suburb of the city, recorded 72 mm of rain between 16:00 to 17:00 local time on 27 January. Geelong Racecourse recorded over 40 mm of rain between 15:00 and 17:00.

The rain caused severe flash flooding throughout the city and suburbs. Emergency services responded to over 500 requests and had to carry out 15 flood rescues.The City of Greater Geelong said that "Yesterday's storm was considered a 1 in 100 year event with double the January monthly average rain falling in just 1 hour".

Stefan Delatovic, Manager of Emergency Management Communications for Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) said:
"This dramatic storm has been characterised as a "once in a century event", but it's important to say that this is a measure of magnitude, as in 'a storm this severe has a one-in-100 chance of occurring in any given year'. It doesn't mean another storm like this isn't expected for another 50 years. More rain is forecast for today, another storm like this could pop up anywhere in Victoria with little warning".

7 People Trapped in Cars

Victoria State Emergency Service personnel were praised for their efforts during the storm by Geelong's mayor.

Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) responded to over 520 requests. Amongst these calls for help were 15 people rescued from floodwater, including seven people who were trapped in cars.

Stefan Delatovic, said that "volunteers from around Victoria flooded in to help their Geelong peers to clear these incidents overnight. We're indebted to their service".

Stay Away from Floodwater

Throughout the storm and in the aftermath, VICSES stressed the importance of staying away from flood water, especially for those in vehicles. Via social media they said:
"If you can't seen the road, you can't guarantee that it is safe. Never drive through floodwater".
The photos below were taken in North Geelong on 28 January, after the floodwater had receded. Photo credit: VICSES In a statement earlier today, Mr Delatovic said:
"If you only do one thing, make it an easy one: commit to never entering floodwater. Floodwater moves quickly, picking up dirt and debris as it goes. Television news coverage of Geelong's storms shows vehicles being swept away. Imagine if you were in them and how scary that would be. Our volunteers will try to save you if you're trapped in a vehicle being tossed around by floods at obvious risks to themselves, but don't put their lives in danger by entering it willingly.

TV coverage of last night's storm included footage of people driving through floodwater, with many neglecting to warn of the severe risk.. Of chief concern to emergency managers is footage of a man surfing on floodwater which often cropped up as a light-hearted end to bulletins, characterised as a bit of fun. Obviously the man in question was having fun, and it's not the media's job to do anything more than accurately depict what is occurring, but flood stories including images of "locals enjoying the water" are common, and they normalise this activity.

Floodwater can include fast-moving sheets of corrugated iron, or a concealed storm drain creating an inescapable current. If you cut yourself, you're prone to infection because the water is filthy. Current images of the receding floodwater in Geelong demonstrate how damaged roads can become. If you can't see the road, you can't guarantee that it's safe.

The media shouldn't stop broadcasting images of people playing in floodwater, or driving through it, but we all need a reminder of how dangerous it is.

Floods, storms and fires are unpredictable and they will inflict tragedy upon us. Let's not give them any help".
Melbourne Avoids Storm Damage

For a while yesterday it looked like storms were also going to hit Melbourne and other areas east of Geelong. Australia Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) warned that very dangerous thunderstorms were detected on weather radar near Pakenham and the area north of Pakenham. These thunderstorms are moving towards the southeast. Destructive winds, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and large hailstones are likely.

WATCH: Heavy rainfall and widespread flooding deluge Geelong.

Fortunately the threat passed and BoM cancelled a severe thunderstorm warning on Thursday afternoon (local time).

"A more general severe thunderstorm warning remains current for the West and South Gippsland and parts of the Central, Northern Country, North Central and North East districts," the BoM said. - Floodlist.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Man Survives Shark Attack In Hawaii?!

File photo.

January 28, 2016 - HAWAII - In this week's WDAZ Animal Watch, a story that's taking social media by storm: a Minnesota man was attacked by a shark in Hawaii, and lived to tell the tale.

The man describes the situation as 'nuts,' fighting off a 14-foot tiger shark that attacked him while paddle boarding in Maui over the weekend.

48-year-old Matt Mason was boarding about 150 yards off Wailea Beach late Saturday morning.

His wife, who was paddling about five feet behind him, saw the shark swim underneath her, poke its head out of the water, and attack her husband's board.

Mason said the shark clamped its jaws to the back of the board, gave a twist, and it threw him off.

His wife was yelling instructions at him that she learned from watching Shark Week.

Mason punched the shark somewhere in the midsection and floated back to shore on his board.

Mason ended up buying the board for $500. He plans to hang it over his bar at home, or take it out on the lakes in Minnesota where the waters are shark-free. - WDAZ.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: One Of Azerbaijan's Largest Volcanoes Erupts - Akhtarma Pashali's Fire Rose Up To 150 Meters, With Lava Spill To 250 Square Meters; Last Eruption Was In 1963!

January 28, 2016 - AZERBAIJAN - One of the largest volcanoes of Azerbaijan, Akhtarma Pashali awoke in the country's Hajigabul region on the night of January 25.

The first eruption occurred at 07:20, when the fire rose to 120-150 meters in the air. The second was fixed 10 minutes later, when the fire rose to a height of 20 meters. The total area of the lava spill was 200-250 square meters.

The mud volcano has ceased erupting, according to the Chairman of the regional emergency commission Sahib Aslanov. No victims were reported, as no settlements are located around the area.

Akhtarma Pashali is located in 35 kilometers of the city of Shirvan. The diameter of the crater is approximately 10 square kilometers.

Aslanov emphasized the last eruption of this mud volcano occurred in 1963, while the first eruption of the volcano was reported in 1948.

Mud volcanoes are a fairly widespread geological phenomenon and over a thousand mud volcanoes are known to exist in the world.

The dissemination of mud volcanoes usually indicates the existence of large oil and gas basins, therefore oil and gas-rich Azerbaijan ranks first in the number of mud volcanoes in the world. The territory of Azerbaijan places 344 mud volcanoes and 133 of them are located in the country's Caspian Sea section.

The world's largest mud volcanoes such as Boyuk Khanizadagh and Turaghai are both located in Azerbaijan. Boyuk Khanizadagh, the diameter and height of which are 10km and 700 meters respectively, erupted in 2001, shooting out flames 300 meters in the air. It was the highest record for flames shot from a mud volcano.

Azerbaijan's rich fields of oil and gas condensate such as Lokbatan, Garadagh, Oil Rocks, and Mishovdag were discovered near mud volcanoes. The lava, mud, and liquid spewed by mud volcanoes are used as raw materials for chemical and construction industries, as well as pharmacology. - AzerNews.

ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Continues Relentlessly - Incredible Photos Of Fishing Boats STUCK IN ICE In China!

Fishing boats trapped in sea ice in China.

January 28, 2016 - CHINA - Fishing boats trapped in sea ice in a port at Xikou Village in Yantai City, East China's Shandong province.

Under the influence of a strong cold wave, sea ice appeared around the Yantai sea area and affected maritime transportation.

- Ice Age Now.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Peru's El Misti Volcano Awakens, Emitting Magmatic Gases Up To 500 Meters - Last Eruption Of Great Magnitude Was Over 2,000 YEARS AGO!

Misti, also known as Putina or Wawa Putina (Guagua Putina) is a stratovolcano located in southern Peru near the city of Arequipa.

January 28, 2016 - PERU - The last eruption of great magnitude at Misti was 2,000 years ago, informs Peru's volcano authority.

The iconic symbol of Arequipa, the Misti volcano, that gazes over the southern Peruvian city has long been considered 'asleep.'

However, studies by the Southern Volcano Observatory (OVS, Spanish acronym), reveal that it is awake and emitting gases, informs Publimetro.

It is currently considered the greatest risk in the South American country, as thousands of habitants reside near its crater.

Location of the volcano. Wikipedia.

"The gases that Misti emits are magmatic. This confirms that the volcano is active and is not sleeping, as many people think," VS engineer, Luisa Macedo, told AFP over the phone from Arequipa, according to Publimetro.

The volcano is located only 17 kilometers from the city.

The engineer informed that four weeks ago a group of researchers from OVS took images of the Misti crater. With their investigation were able to identify magmatic activity.

Arequipa's majestic Misti volcano.
© Publimetro/USI

"The gases reach 500 meters and contain sulfuric acid, carbon and calcium," said Macedo. He informed that the distance prevents the nearby communities being affected by the emissions.

Another OVS specialist, Domingo Ramos, explained that although the volcano is active, it does not necessarily mean there is danger of a hazardous eruption.  - Peru This Week.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Is This The Hand Of God - Incredible Cloud Formation Above Portugal Looks Like A Fist From Heaven?! [PHOTOS]

The unusual cloud formation that was spotted over the Portuguese island of Madeira, which has been compared to the 'Hand of God'

January 28, 2016 - PORTUGAL - An incredible cloud formation which appeared over the skies of Portugal has been dubbed the 'hand of God'.

The cloud took the form of a fist from Heaven with a hand holding a fireball as it dominated the skyline across the island of Madeira on Monday. 

And weather blogger Rogerio Pacheco, 32, could not believe his luck when he looked up at the clouds while commuters made their way to work in the morning rush hour.

Weather blogger Rogerio Pacheco could not believe his luck when he looked up at the cloud while commuters made their way to work in the morning rush hour

Amazed onlookers have compared the bright orange cloud to everything from a flaming fist of fury to the iconic
comet featured in the classic video game Final Fantasy VII

The awe-inspiring snaps have since been shared online after Mr Pacheco opted to post them on his blog.

Amazed onlookers have compared the bright orange cloud to everything from a flaming fist of fury to the iconic comet featured in the classic video game Final Fantasy VII.

Mr Pachero said: 'As soon as I saw the sky, I was immediately intrigued and I just had to grab my camera to take photo.'  - Daily Mail.

GLOBAL ALERT: Precursors To The Black Celestial Event - U.S. Senate To Declare "International Martial Law" And Give President Obama "Unlimited" Military Powers Just Days After The Major Discovery Of Planet X And The Same Week As The Announcement Of The Setting Up Of A Earthquake Resilience Summit To Prepare For Imminent Mega-Quake Along The Pacific Northwest?!

Poster for the 1998 movie "Deep Impact"

January 28, 2016 - UNITED STATES - The U.S. Senate is poised to give President Obama and the next president unprecedented war powers that amount to declaring martial law upon the entire world. Majority leader Mitch McConnell surprised almost everyone last week by saying he has a war resolution ready to be voted on at any time.

The resolution is a new authorization for use of military force (AUMF) for declaring war on ISIS. It would give the president even more power than the AUMF granted to Bush after 9/11, which is still in place today.
“The AUMF put forward by McConnell would not restrict the president’s use of ground troops, nor have any limits related to time or geography. Nor would it touch on the issue of what to do with the 2001 AUMF, which the Obama administration has used to attack ISIS despite that authorization’s instructions to use force against those who planned the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”
Considering what Bush and Obama did with the 2001 AUMF—invading and occupying countries in “pre-emptive” war, CIA black sites, extrajudicial killings, inventing the term “enemy combatants” to bypass international law, new forms of torture, drone bombing women and children, and assassinating U.S. citizens—the specter of a new and expanded AUMF is truly frightening.

 WATCH: US Senator Warns that the Federal Govt is About to Declare "International Martial Law".

“This resolution is a total rewrite of the War Powers Clause in the U.S. Constitution,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn). “It is essentially a declaration of international martial law, a sweeping transfer of military power to the president that will allow him or her to send U.S. troops almost anywhere in the world, for almost any reason, with absolutely no limitations.”

McConnell’s resolution is more than what Obama asked for last year, but this is of little relevance since Obama has been carrying out a war against ISIS, including the use of special forces, with no authorization. The administration has refused to put forward a legal framework, insisting that the 2001 AUMF is enough.

As the New York Times pointed out, ISIS was created long after 9/11 and is actually a competitor to al Qaida, which means that Obama’s war on ISIS is not justified under the 2001 AUMF. Even members of Congress recognize that current military operations have no legal basis.

Using this rationale, Kaine and others in Congress are thrilled to know that a new AUMF could be voted on at any time. Some would prefer more restrictions, but the bottom line is that it represents and abdication of constitutional duties that would give vast military powers to one person.

Sen. John Cornyn expressed the usual platitudes in cheering for the vote, saying “the people we send in harm’s way need to know that the country is behind them” and “we also don’t need to tie the hands of the next president by restricting what the president can do.”

For some lawmakers, it’s more about giving the next president unlimited power than it is about Obama. McConnell’s about-face from December, when he expressed no interest in voting on an AUMF, may also be a ploy to make the issue a major talking point in the presidential election. There’s nothing like talk of war to whip up fear in the masses and distract them from substantive issues.

It is no coincidence that just days ago, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said about the fight against ISIS, “We’re looking for opportunities to do more and there will be boots on the ground and I want to be clear about that.

Since ISIS is partially a product of American intervention in the Middle East, being cultivated from the Salafist sect to foment regime change in Syria, “boots on the ground” would complete another cycle for the merchants of death and destruction. The Hegelian Dialectic—create the problem, stoke the reaction, offer the solution—is a tried and true method for endless war.

We have already seen the extremely tenuous connections that war-makers use to justify their death and destruction waged around the world and on their own people. McConnell’s AUMF would clear away any feeble barriers that still stand in the way of a military dictatorship. - FTP.

 WATCH: Presidential address declaring martial law in the movie Deep Impact.