Sunday, February 7, 2016

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Latest Report Of Volcanic Eruptions, Activity, Unrest And Awakenings – February 7, 2016! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

View of the ash plumes from the explosion and pyroclastic flow from the west (Image: Bomberos Retalhuleu / CONRED)

February 7, 2016 - EARTH - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Santiaguito (Guatemala): A strong explosion occurred from the active Caliente lava dome this morning around 10:30 local time. It genereated a pyroclastic flow that traveled down the southeast flank of the dome complex reaching a length of approx. 2-3 km. No damage or injuries were reported.

Ash plumes from both the explosion and the pyroclastic flow rose to an elevation of 17,000 ft (5.5 km) and produced moderate ash falls in the southern sectors of the volcano, in particular in the village and coffee farm of El Palmar. Authorities ordered preventive evacuations in areas to the S and SE closest to the volcano.

Santiaguito's pyroclastic flow this morning seen from NE near Santa Maria de Jesus (Image: Silverio Zum via Erick Colop/Twitter)

El Palmar under ash fall after the explosion (Image: Stereo100Noticias ‏@stereo100xela / twitter)

At the moment, it is unclear what exactly triggered the pyroclastic flow - collapse of ejected material or partial collapse of the upper parts of the dome itself, or, most likely, a combination of both. Whether the event was (as often) an isolated one or might be a first in a series of stronger explosions and collapses with more pyroclastic flows is impossible to know at the moment.

According to CONRED, this morning's eruption was preceded by 34 small to moderate explosions within 24 hours, a quite unusually high rate, suggesting that magma and/or gas supply into the dome has been elevated at the moment.

Soputan (North-Sulawesi, Indonesia): A larger explosive eruption was reported to have occurred about two hours ago (10:15 UTC). At 11:45 UTC, Darwin VAAC issued alerts to aviation about an ash plume that had risen to estimated 23,000 ft (7 km) altitude and has been drifting NW. Aviation color code was immediately raised to RED.

Picture allegedly showing an ash plume from Soputan today (from the first, smaller eruption; Source: Istimewa/Tribun Regional)

Forecast of ash plume from Soputan's eruption this morning (VAAC Darwin)

According to a local newspaper article, there were two eruptions today: a presumably smaller one (which did not cause any alerts) in the morning at 10:00, and a "terrific" eruption at 18:15 local time (or 10:15 GMT), which sent a large ash plume into the sky. Ash fall was reported from the areas at the feet of the volcano, but there seems not to have been any damage reported.

Alaid (Kuriles Islands, Russia): The most recent eruption of the volcano, which began in October last year, can be regarded as over and the aviation color code was lowered back to green.

Comparison of satellite images from July 2015 and January this year, showing that large parts of the summit crater have been filled by new lava
(Images: Nasa, annotations: Culture Volcan)

MODIS thermal signal from Alaid (MIROVA)

Satellite data compiled by Culture Volcan show no more heat emission from the volcano since January and visible satellite imagery now show that the crater has been partially filled with fresh lava from the eruption.

Pagan (Mariana Islands): Satellite data and ground-based observations from a field crew and local residents near Pagan indicated that steam-and-gas emissions have significantly decreased since March 2015. The Aviation Color Code and Volcano Alert Level were lowered to Unassigned on January 30.

Cotopaxi (Ecuador): On January 29, IG reported that in recent weeks superficial activity at Cotopaxi was characterized by minor steam emissions from the crater and sporadic gas emissions with minor amounts of ash.

The volcano's last eruption in November, 2015.

Sulfur dioxide emissions were less than 1,000 tons per day (pre-eruptive levels) and seismicity had almost returned to baseline levels. At 1843 on 24 January a plume with low-to-moderate levels of ash rose 700 m above the crater and drifted W. The emission coincided with a hybrid earthquake.

Chirpoi  (Kurile Islands, Russia): Satellite images detected a thermal anomaly over Snow, a volcano of Chirpoi, during 25, 27-28, and 30-31 January. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.

Macdonald (Austral Islands): Scientists and crew aboard CSIRO’s (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Marine National Facility research vessel Investigator observed a plume rising from McDonald Island (the largest island) during the last week of January. Visual observations of the McDonald Islands are very rare due to its remote location.

Egon (Flores Island, Indonesia): Volcanic unrest has decreased at the volcano, making the likelihood of an impending eruption smaller. The volcano's alert level was lowered from 3 to 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

"During 20 January-1 February seismicity at Egon was dominated by signals indicating emissions; shallow volcanic events had decreased.

RSAM values increased on 25 January but did not exceed values detected during the previous peak on 12 January; overall seismicity had declined. The Alert Level was lowered to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) and residents were advised to stay at least 1.5 km away from the crater."

Bardarbunga (Central Iceland): Over the past few months, seismic activity at the volcano, mainly under the volcano's large, ice-covered caldera has been increasing again, suggesting that magma might be filling the volcano's reservoir underneath the caldera.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 300 shallow earthquakes of magnitudes up to 3.8 on the Richter scale were recorded, clustered in areas near the southern and northeastern caldera rim.

Earthquakes under and near Bardarbunga volcano since January 2016 (yellow circles = older than 2 days, red = past 48 hours)

Time vs depth of earthquakes since January 1, 2016

Another cluster of small earthquakes concentrates along the 2014-15 eruptive dyke 20 km to the NE of the volcano.

Whether or not, and if so, when the observed earthquake activity under the caldera could lead to another eruption of the volcano, now considered one of, if not even THE most active in Iceland, is impossible to predict.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): After several months of unusual calm, the volcano had a moderately strong vulcanian explosion from the Showa crater this morning. An ash plume rose to approx. 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude.

Eruption of Sakurajima volcano this morning (NHK)

Until the end of Sep 2015, Sakurajima had been producing such explosions, of varying intensity, at rates of typically 3-5 or more per day. This activity ceased around 28 Sep 2015 and until now, the volcano had only manifested surface activity in the form of minor ash emissions, degassing, as well as, very rarely, minor explosions. Whether the volcano is back to its previously typical behavior with more frequent and stronger explosions, as it had been during most of the recent years, remains to be seen.

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): Recently, explosions from the active summit lava dome have become more frequent, producing ash plumes that rose 1-2 km above the summit.

Explosion at Sinabung volcano yesterday (Image: Endro Lewa / Facebook)

Extrusion of viscous lava also continues at slow pace, generating small to moderate pyroclastic flows from time to time.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity at the volcano is again increasing and seems to be heading towards another (the 3rd in 2016) paroxysm.

Glowing avalanches after an explosion of Fuego.

Explosions have become stronger, and possibly, one or several short lava flows are active on the upper flanks. The thermal output of the volcano, measured by NASA's satellite-based MODIS spectroradiometer, also shows a clear increasing trend.

- Volcano Discovery.

PARADIGM SHIFT: Precursors To The End Of The Petrodollar, The United States Corporation And The White Supremacy Paradigm - Iran Abandons The U.S. Dollar, Wants Euro Payment For New And Outstanding Oil Sales!

February 7, 2016 - IRAN - Iran wants to recover tens of billions of dollars it is owed by India and other buyers of its oil in euros and is billing new crude sales in euros, too, looking to reduce its dependence on the U.S. dollar following last month's sanctions relief.

A source at state-owned National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) told Reuters that Iran will charge in euros for its recently signed oil contracts with firms including French oil and gas major Total, Spanish refiner Cepsa and Litasco, the trading arm of Russia's Lukoil.

"In our invoices we mention a clause that buyers of our oil will have to pay in euros, considering the exchange rate versus the dollar around the time of delivery," the NIOC source said.

Lukoil and Total declined to comment, while Cepsa did not respond to a request for comment.

Iran has also told its trading partners who owe it billions of dollars that it wants to be paid in euros rather than U.S. dollars, said the person, who has direct knowledge of the matter.

Iran was allowed to recover some of the funds frozen under U.S.-led sanctions in currencies other than dollars, such as the Omani rial and UAE dhiram.

Switching oil sales to euros makes sense as Europe is now one of Iran's biggest trading partners.

"Many European companies are rushing to Iran for business opportunities, so it makes sense to have revenue in euros," said Robin Mills, chief executive of Dubai-based Qamar Energy.

Iran has pushed for years to have the euro replace the dollar as the currency for international oil trade. In 2007, Tehran failed to persuade OPEC members to switch away from the dollar, which its then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called a "worthless piece of paper".

The NIOC source said Iran's central bank instituted a policy while the country was under sanctions over its disputed nuclear program to carry out foreign trade in euros.

"Iran shifted to the euro and canceled trade in dollars because of political reasons," the source said.


Iran has the world's fourth-largest proved reserves of crude oil, and expects to quickly increase production, which could lead to tens of billions of euros worth of new oil trade.

Iran's insistence on being paid in euros rather than dollars is also a sign of an uneasy truce between Tehran and Washington even after last month's lifting of most sanctions.

U.S. officials estimate about $100 billion (69 billion pound) of Iranian assets were frozen abroad, around half of which Tehran could access as a result of sanctions relief.

It is not clear how much of those funds are oil dues that Iran would want back in euros.

India owes Tehran about $6 billion for oil delivered during the sanctions years.

Last month, NIOC's director general for international affairs told Reuters that Iran "would prefer to receive (oil money owed) in some foreign currency, which for the time being is going to be euro."

Indian government sources confirmed Iran is looking to be paid in euros.

Tehran has asked to be paid using the exchange rates at the time the oil was delivered, along with interest for those payment delays, Indian and Iranian sources said.

Indian officials are working on a mechanism that could involve local banks United Commercial Bank (UCO) and IDBI Bank for handling payments to Iran, one Indian government source said.

UCO CEO R.K. Takkar said the bank is involved in payments to Iran, but did not say if there were any plans to change the payment mechanism. IDBI CEO Kishor Kharat could not be reached for comment.

India could also try to resume payments through Turkey's Halkbank, a channel it stopped using in 2012, or by direct transfer to Iranian banks through the global SWIFT transaction network.

With Iran now again linking to international lenders through SWIFT, the NIOC source said it was easy for Tehran to be paid in any currency it wants, adding: "And we want euros." - Reuters.

ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Continues Relentlessly - "We're Totally Snowed In", Most Roads In The West Fjord In Iceland Remain Closed After Heavy Snowfall; Four Feet Of Snow In Korea; Emergency And Closed Highways In South China Due To Heavy Snowfall! [VIDEO]

Heavy snowfall in Iceland.

February 7, 2016 - EARTH - The following articles constitutes several of the latest reports on heavy snowfall, low temperatures and snow storms as global cooling continues across the Earth.

"We're Totally Snowed In", Most Roads In The West Fjord In Iceland Remain Closed After Heavy Snowfall

Most roads in the West Fjords are now closed after the heavy snowfall overnight. Snow ploughs will not be sent out until the weather improves.

Our photgrapher Páll Stefánsson is traveling in the north and just sent us this picture from Víkurskarð, east of Akureyri, where about 60 cars are waiting for the road to open.

Many roads in East Iceland are impassable, while roads in the rest of the country are either icy or snow-covered.

Always check road conditions on before your travel. - Iceland Review.

Waiting for the road over Víkurskarð to open. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Waiting in Víkurskarð. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The balcony of the director of the town council Ásthildur Sturludóttir this morning.

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

All schools are closed in Patreksfjörður in the West Fjords due to heavy snowfall last night. An avalanche alert is still on in the small town. “We’re totally snowed in,” says director of the town council Ásthildur Sturludóttir. “I am tall but the snow reached up to my waist.”

The snow was very wet and heavy making it difficult to traverse. “This is going to be complicated to clear,” she said to

Here approaching snow depth up to one meter

Parts of Trondelag have not had as much snow as of February 5th in 22 years.

In Åfjord and Lierne snow depth is approaching a meter. - Adressa. [Translated]

Four Feet of Snow In Korea & Emergency And Closed Highways In South China Due To Heavy Snowfall

Korea set a snow record again for the second time in five years, over four feet of snow falling in parts of the Southern Peninsula. Also Jeju Island airport closed for three days and received most snow in 32 years. China's wheat growing area @ -42C and southern roads at the Tropic of Cancer closed due to a snow emergency stranding 200,000+ passengers at Guangzhou Train Station during Chinese New Year travel period.

WATCH: Heavy snowfall in Korea and China.

- Adapt 2030.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Cracked Plan - "Frozen" Lake Swallows Up Parked Cars In Wisconsin! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

Twitter: Ben Hutchison

February 7, 2016 - WISCONSIN, UNITED STATES - The Iceman cometh to the US city of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on Saturday - and he took a few vehicles with him.

Visitors to the Winterfest in the resort town near Chicago decided to ignore warnings and park on what they thought was a frozen lake.

In a victory for Joni Mitchell fans everywhere, 15 unlucky festival goers found their cars and trucks partially submerged in the eight-square-mile freshwater body.

 Instagram:  doggydaddy9

No one reported injured in incident involving more than a dozen vehicles falling into lake
Twitter: Daniel Gaitan

Welcome to Lake Geneva. Park on ice at your own risk.
Twitter: Pete

One of the owners Laurie Oberhelman told WDJT: "We were coming in and there were a lot of cars and not a lot of parking spots, and we looked and I said oh look there's plenty of cars parked on the lake. People park on the lake all the time from what I understand so let's do it. It was a bad choice."
The cars were removed by the local fire department with 10 of the 15 cars deemed a total loss.

WATCH: Cars sink into Lake Geneva.

Good luck claiming that off your insurance.

"Fortunately it's only a property issue right now, and nobody was injured or in the vehicles when they started to submerge. So it's a bad day, but a good day at the same time," Lieutenant Ed Gritzner told WDJT.

Those who lost their cars stuck around anyway to watch the US National Snow Sculpting Competition at Winterfest. Maybe Princess Elsa could sculpt them a new car.Lake Geneva was once a playground for the rich and (in)famous. Al Capone and Hugh Hefner spent many summers around the glacial lake. - RT.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFFS: "This Is An EXTRAORDINARY AMOUNT,... We're ALARMED,..." - 35 Brown Pelicans Found Dead On Grand Isle, Louisiana?!

The brown pelican, Louisiana's state bird.
© Times-Picayune

February 7, 2016 - LOUISIANA, UNITED STATES - As many as 35 brown pelicans have been found dead on Grand Isle in the past two weeks, prompting an investigation by scientists with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. They've dismissed suspicions that the birds were shot but have yet to determine the cause of death.

The dead pelicans were first reported to the Grand Isle Police Department, which asked state officials to investigate. "In the wintertime, we always get some calls about dead pelicans, but this seems to be an extraordinary amount," said Cheryl McCormack, secretary to Police Chief Euris DuBois. "We're alarmed about the number of them."

The brown pelican, Louisiana's state bird, was removed from the federal list of endangered and threatened species in 2009, but it is still protected under federal law. The birds had largely vanished from Louisiana's coast by the mid-1960s, after exposure to the pesticide DDT resulted in too-fragile eggshells.

More than 1,200 pelicans were imported from Florida in 1968. But the time of delisting, there were more than 12,000 breeding pairs in Texas and Louisiana.

Several dead brown pelicans collected by the Grand Isle Police Department in recent days have been turned over to wildlife officials, and others were being collected on Wednesday (Feb. 3) for testing, said Michael Seymour, a non-game ornithologist with Wildlife and Fisheries.

He said there have been several estimates of the number of dead birds, including 14 along several miles of beaches and 20 in a single mile of beach. A survey by a Wildlife and Fisheries employee found 15 or more birds over several miles.

Seymour said officials already have dismissed early reports that some of the pelicans might have been shot. A veterinarian with the department will conduct a necropsy, an animal version of an autopsy, on better-preserved carcasses, he said.

"Hopefully, we'll have an answer in the next few days, but we're not entirely sure," Seymour said. If the necropsies are unsuccessful, bird carcasses might be sent to a federal wildlife disease research center out of state for a more comprehensive review.

Seymour said it's not unusual to find dead pelicans washing up on beaches or elsewhere during cold, winter months, especially juvenile birds that starved to death before learning the best hunting skills. Some winter pelican deaths are the result of parasites, he said. Still others can die in the aftermath of winter storms, the result of being caught in cold rain, having their feathers become waterlogged then succumbing to hypothermia.

"It's not necessarily unusual to see pelicans dying in the winter," he said. "What may or may not be unusual is the number of dead birds. We don't have a baseline of what to expect each year; we don't have anybody counting dead birds every year." - NOLA.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Massive Sinkhole Opens Up Near San Pedro, Paraguay - Swallows Up Bus With 60 Passengers! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

February 7, 2016 - PARAGUAY - A bus transporting 60 people was swallowed by a giant sinkhole near San Pedro, Paraguay.

Intense rainfall is responsible for the collapse of the road on January 31, 2016. Luckily, nobody has been injured.

WATCH: Massive sinkhole opens up in Paraguay.

- Strange Sounds.

PARADIGM SHIFT & THE AGE OF OBAMA: The Precursors To The End Of The United States Corporation And The White Supremacy Paradigm - A RECORD NUMBER Of U.S. Citizens And Green-Card Holders Cut Ties And Renounce Citizenship In 2015; 560 PERCENTAGE Increase From The Bush Administration; President Obama Launches New Effort To Help More Immigrants Become U.S. Citizens!

(Photo credit: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

February 7, 2016 - UNITED STATES - Once again, the number of Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship has gone up, up 560% from its Bush administration high. In 2015, there were approximately 4,300 expatriations according to the published names of individuals who renounced. The name and shame list is published quarterly, with the most recent three-month total being 1,058. That brings the total to 4,279 for 2015.

These numbers seem tiny compared to the influx of immigrants. Yet expatriations have historically been much lower. Moreover, the published list is also incomplete, with many not counted. Surprisingly, no one seems to know exactly how big the real number is, even though the IRS and FBI both track Americans who renounce citizenship. There is no single explanation, though with global tax reporting and FATCA, the list of the individuals who renounce keeps increasing,

2014 was also a record year with 3,415 published expatriates. The reasons that Americans renouncing citizenship is at an all-time high can be over family, tax and legal complications. Dual citizenship isn’t always possible, as this infographic from MoveHub shows. Some countries make citizens pay a fee to hand in their passport. Some countries have no fee, but America’s $2,350 fee is more than twenty times the average level in other high-income countries.

Many now find America’s global income tax compliance and disclosure laws to be a burden, some say downright oppressive. No group is more severely impacted than U.S. persons living abroad, who can be pariahs shunned by banks for daily banking activities. For those living and working in foreign countries, it is almost a given that they must report and pay tax where they live. But they must also continue to file taxes in the U.S.

What’s more, U.S. reporting is based on their worldwide income, even though they are paying taxes in the country where they live. Many can claim a foreign tax credit on their U.S. returns, but it generally does not eliminate all double taxes. These rules have long been in effect, but enforcement was historically less of a concern with expats. Today, enforcement fears are palpable. Moreover, the annual foreign bank account reports known as FBARs carry civil and criminal penalties all out of proportion to tax violations. Even civil penalties can quickly consume the balance of an account.

FATCA has ramped up worldwide and requires an annual Form 8938 filing if foreign assets meet a threshold. Foreign banks are sufficiently worried about keeping the IRS happy that many simply do not want American account holders. Still, leaving America can be costly. To exit, you generally must prove 5 years of IRS tax compliance. Plus, if you have a net worth greater than $2 million or have average annual net income tax for the 5 previous years of $160,000 or more, you can pay an exit tax.

It is a capital gain tax as if you sold your property when you left. Long-term residents giving up a Green Card can be required to pay the exit tax too. No one wants to pay an exit tax if they can avoid it. Sometimes planning and valuations can reduce or even eliminate the tax. But taxed or not, many still seem to be headed for the exits. Last year, dual citizens in Canada trying to shed their U.S. citizenship created a backlog at the U.S. consulate in Toronto. President Obama has joked about his birth certificate, but accidental American status is no joke. Many end up in untenable financial situations.

The U.S. has been criticized for hiking its fee to renounce by 422% to $2,350. Previously, there was a $450 fee to renounce, and no fee to relinquish. But the precise difference between the two procedures was often confused. Presently, the $2,350 fee is supposed to apply either way. That was a hike from $450 to $2,350 for renouncing, and an even steeper hike–from zero to $2,350–for relinquishment. The U.S. State Department said raising the fee was about demand and paperwork, but American expatriations still grew even after the increase. - Forbes.

Obama Has Launched a New Effort to Help More Immigrants Become US Citizens

Immigrants take the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony in Washington DC on August 28, 2015. (Photo by Michael Reynolds/EPA)

A federal task force created by President Barack Obama to increase the number of immigrants that become naturalized US citizens just kicked off a national tour in Los Angeles, launching a politically controversial effort seen by some conservatives as a way to enroll more Democratic-leaning Hispanic voters for upcoming elections.

Senior White House advisors and members of the Task Force on New Americans met on Friday with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and local leaders who have been trying to help 750,000 eligible immigrants across the greater LA area gain citizenship.

The task force was created in November, 2014, as part of the president's executive actions on immigration, with the stated goals of increasing funding for programs that help naturalize immigrants, working with city and state governments to increase their ability to help with the process, and to "celebrate 'New Americans,'" according to a 2015 White House report.

The visit to LA comes amid a push by the task force to highlight how some cities and states across the country have opened government offices specifically to help "integrate" immigrants. New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Michigan have all opened Offices for New Americans, while Chicago, LA, New York, and Boston are among the cities that have local offices devoted to the cause, according to the report.

Jared Sanchez of the University of Southern California's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration said the task force is, in some ways, looking to follow the lead of the cities who have already started this work. The meeting Friday in California will highlight efforts to expand access to healthcare, driver's licenses, and college for immigrants, as well as non-profit programs in LA that help individuals apply for citizenship and study for the test, the mayor's office told the Los Angeles Times. The office did not respond to VICE News' request for comment.

"The groundswell is really coming from city level," Sanchez said. "For the federal government, the most important thing to notice is these city offices and groups on the ground already doing the work."

City workers and non-profit groups have stepped up their efforts to reach out to immigrants to explain the benefits of naturalizing: earnings increase 8 to 11 percent after the first three years of citizenship, and individuals can find a more stable sense of place, as well as earning the right to vote in their community, Sanchez said.

"Of course there are the civic benefits: increasing voting, increasing the electorate, especially around upcoming elections, which explains why there's such a focus on naturalizing immigrants now," he added.

Immigrants with lawful permanent resident status — meaning they hold a green card — are eligible to become citizens after five years, or three years if they are married to a US citizen. The programs do not apply to the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants estimated to be living in the United States illegally. Obama has taken executive actions to shield as many as 5 million undocumented individuals from deportation, but the move has been challenged by 26 states in a lawsuit that will be heard by the Supreme Court later this year.

Total deportations in the US have dropped 42 percent since 2012 under the Obama administration, a reversal from Obama's first two years in office, when more immigrants were deported than in any year under George W. Bush. Recently, however, US immigration authorities began rounding up dozens of Central American families who had arrived since May 2014 and who were denied asylum after claiming to have fled violence in their homeland.

Activists suggested that the raids — which were highly publicized and widely criticized by many on the left — were intended to show that the Obama administration is not soft on immigration ahead of the 2016 presidential election, in which Republican candidates have lambasted their Democratic counterparts for their stances on immigration. In particular, GOP candidates and other party leaders have slammed Obama's executive actions.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz called Obama's program to shield young immigrants from deportation "lawless" and "wrong," and claimed that the president has "no legal authority to do what he's doing." Florida Senator Marco Rubio said he "would love to defund the immigration order," while frontrunner Donald Trump has vowed to deport all of the undocumented people in the US and build a giant wall along the US-Mexico border, a project he claims would be paid for by Mexico.

The GOP's bluster has largely ignored the fact that there are millions of legal immigrants in the US, including many that will gain citizenship and become voters in the coming years. The US issues about 1.1 million green cards each year, and the Census Bureau found that by the year 2023, there will be 51 million immigrants in the US, accounting for one in seven US residents.

In LA, task force officials and the mayor met with immigration experts from USC to learn how to effectively reach out to immigrants and help them begin the citizenship process. Sanchez and other researchers at USC have found that a lack of clear information, language barriers, and an ambivalence about putting down roots in the US can often prevent immigrants from initiating the naturalization process, as well as the $685 naturalization fee.

The federal government's infusion of cash into local and state programs could help them waive the fee as well as increase awareness and accessible information, Sanchez said. The task force will meet with other cities around the country to discuss funding and support in during the spring of 2016, according to its 2015 report. - Vice.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Gaping Sinkhole Opens Up In Cornwall, UK - "Appears To Be Widening"! [VIDEO]

The edge of the sinkhole. © Newsflare/Ocean-Image

February 7, 2016 - UNITED KINGDOM - Footage shows a sinkhole which has appeared in the ground after an old mine shaft caved in near the Botallack Mine in St Just, Cornwall.

According to the filmer, "the hole appeared last month and appears to be widening".

Botallack Mine features as a filming location in popular BBC drama Poldark.

According to the person who filmed the sinkhole, the collapse of an old mineshaft left a gaping hole in a clifftop field.

Cornwall was once rich from the trade in tin, and the area is now dotted by hundreds of old mine stacks, engine houses and unmapped mineshafts.

WATCH: Gaping sinkhole opens up in Cornwall.

- Telegraph.

WAR DRUMS: Escalating Tensions On The Korean Peninsula - North Korea Claims Successful "Observation Satellite" Launch Aboard "LONG-RANGE MISSILE"; Prepares 5th Nuclear Test; South Korea Agrees To Begin Talks On U.S. Missile Defense; UN Security Council To Meet To Discuss Launch Event! [VIDEOS]

February 7, 2016 - KOREAN PENINSULA - North Korea has claimed that it successfully deployed an earth observation satellite into orbit, after its “long-range missile test” on Sunday was widely criticized as provocative and in breach of UN resolutions.

The rocket took off at around 12:30am GMT, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which was tracking the flight path of the ballistic target. The US Strategic Command also detected and tracked the missile launch into space, Reuters reports.

“NORAD determined that at no time was the missile a threat to North America,” the Strategic Command's statement said.

Several hours after the launch, the North announced that it had succeeded in placing a“newly developed earth observation satellite Kwangmyongsong-4” into orbit, KCNA reports.

The satellite was launched aboard a “carrier rocket Kwangmyongsong” that blasted off from the Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County. The agency said that the satellite entered its preset orbit nine minutes and 46 seconds after the lift-off at 9:09am Korean time.

The North says that it is “legitimately exercising the right to use space for independent and peaceful purposes” and plans to send more satellites into space.


The first stage of the rocket had been calculated to fall into the West Sea, according to North Korea's prior warning to the UN, and according to Seoul’s military no damage from rocket “debris or other parts” was reported on South Korean territory.

WATCH: North Korea launches long-range rocket believed to be front for missile test.

While the rocket seems to have successfully separated its first and second stage boosters with debris falling in somewhat designated areas, the launch is still considered a failure by Seoul, according to Yonhap. According to the agency the rocket “burned up” southwest of Jeju, the largest island off the south coast of the Korean Peninsula.

The missile “disappeared from radar” during the fairing separation stage, the agency added.


A senior US defense official also confirmed the launch, saying that the flight trajectory “does not pose a threat to the US or our allies.”

However, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice called the launch “a serious threat” to American interests.

"North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons programs represent serious threats to our interests – including the security of some of our closest allies–and undermine peace and security in the broader region," Rice said.

Pyongyang is acting against the norms of international law, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“It is obvious that such actions aggravate the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia as a whole,” said the ministry, adding that the course of action chosen by Pyongyang can only prompt strong protest.

The Chinese Defense Ministry also criticized the rocket launch as being a “second violation” of UN resolutions by North Korea in just over a month. “The launch threatens the international system of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, leading to further deterioration of the situation on the Korean Peninsula,” the ministry’s statement said.

North Korea previously notified the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) about a potential rocket launch to put an earth observation satellite into orbit, claiming a launch window of February 8 to February 25.

The launch however triggered international concern as a potential long-range missile test. The North is banned from using ballistic missile technology under UN Security Council resolutions.

No anti-ballistic missiles were fired as the rocket passed over the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, broadcaster NHK reports. Meanwhile Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has immediately condemned the launch, telling reporters that "we absolutely cannot allow this.”

''We will take action to totally protect the safety and well-being of our people," Abe said.

An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council is reportedly set to take place later on Sunday to discuss the event. South Korean bodies are already convening emergency meetings on different levels.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye termed the launch an “unacceptable provocation” as he called on Washington to “take all necessary measures” in response to the threat.

Sunday's launch is the sixth long-range missile test by the North. Last month North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a thermonuclear bomb. While many experts doubt that the nuclear device was indeed an H-bomb, the move prompted the US and its regional allies, Japan and South Korea, to seek tougher UN sanctions against Kim Jong Un.

N. Korea preparing 5th nuclear test - S. Korea spy agency

North Korea is preparing for its fifth nuclear test, the South's intelligence services have said, as cited by Yonhap agency. The news come hours after Pyongyang claimed it had successfully put an earth observation satellite into orbit.

Earlier the agency reported that the South Korean military found suspected fragments of the North’s rocket.

The metal object believed to be a part of the rocket's fairing (the nose cone which houses the payload) was discovered southeast of South Korea's Jeju Island by a navy ship, an official from the country's Defense Ministry said.


Yonhap cited a Seoul lawmaker, who said the North has the technology for an intercontinental ballistic missile.

“The satellite is presumed to weigh 200 kilograms, two times heavier than the satellite launched in 2012," the lawmaker said, after being briefed in a closed-door session by the National Intelligence Service. A proper satellite usually weighs at least 800 to 1,500 kilograms, the agency wrote.

The North Korean satellite was launched on a “carrier rocket” that blasted off from the Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County. The KCNA news agency said the satellite entered its preset orbit nine minutes and 46 seconds after lift-off at 9:09am Korean time.

Russia’s Interfax agency has cited the North Korean embassy in Moscow as saying that Pyongyang is planning to continue to launching rockets carrying satellites into space.


The launch triggered international concern as a potential long-range missile test. The UN Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss the situation. South Korean bodies are already convening emergency meetings at different levels. The UNSC has been working on sanctions against Pyongyang for its January nuclear test.

"North Korea has committed an unacceptable provocation by launching a long-range missile after conducting a fourth nuclear test,” South Korean President Park Geun-hye said. "The [UN] Security Council should quickly come up with strong sanctions."

S. Korea agrees to begin talks on US missile defense after North's rocket launch

South Korea has agreed to start negotiations with the US on the possible deployment of a missile defense system on its territory, Seoul officials said.

The announcement of the possible deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) was made by Yoo Jeh-seung, South Korean deputy minister for policy at a meeting with Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal, the commander of USFK's Eighth Army.

"The US and South Korea have decided to start official discussions on the possibility of US Forces Korea's deployment of THAAD as part of measures to upgrade the South Korea-US alliance's missile defense position against North Korea's advancing threats," Yoo Jeh-seung said, as cited by the Yonhap news agency.

According to General Vandal, the decision to deploy THAAD was made on the recommendation of United States Forces Korea Commander General Curtis Scaparrotti.

“It’s time to move forward on the issue,” Vandal said.

The news comes hours after North Korea claimed it had successfully put an earth observation satellite into orbit.

The launch, however, triggered international concern as a potential long-range missile test. The North is banned from using ballistic missile technology under UN Security Council resolutions.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said: "North Korea has committed an unacceptable provocation by launching a long-range missile after conducting a fourth nuclear test.”

"The [UN] Security Council should quickly come up with strong sanctions," she added.

An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council is scheduled to take place later on Sunday to discuss the event. South Korean bodies are already convening emergency meetings at different levels. The UNSC has been working on sanctions against Pyongyang for its January nuclear test.

Seoul is also planning to expand anti-North propaganda loudspeaker broadcasts at the border, Yonhap added.

China said THAAD missile systems, should they be deployed in South Korea, are a serious threat to China's interests in the region, AP reported.

However, South Korea says the missiles will only be aimed north. "If THAAD is deployed to the Korean peninsula, it will be only operated against North Korea," Yoo Jeh-seung said, as cited by Reuters.

France and the UK have condemned North Korea’s rocket launch. UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the missile test was a "clear and deliberate" violation of UN security council resolutions.

"I strongly condemn North Korea's ballistic missile technology test. This is a clear and deliberate violation of a number of UN Security Council resolutions. North Korea's actions continue to present a threat to regional and international security," Hammond said.
- RT News.

WORLD WAR Z: Plagues & Pestilences - Over 3,100 Pregnant Women In Colombia Infectd With The Zika Virus!

A 6-week-old baby born with microcephaly is treated at the Lessa de Andrade polyclinic during a physical therapy session in Recife, Brazil. In Colombia, over 3,000
pregnant women have been diagnosed with Zika, and authorities are watching to see if their babies have microcephaly. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

February 7, 2016 - COLOMBIA - Zika virus is spreading like a bushfire across South America with Colombia announcing that it has registered more than 25,000 infected people nationwide with some 3,100 of them being pregnant women, whose fetuses risk developing microcephaly.

Overall, 3,177 of those 25,645 people infected with the virus in Colombia are pregnant, President Juan Manuel Santos announced Saturday.The Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. However, a recent study suggests that it can also spread through sexual intercourse and saliva. The most common symptoms of Zika virus are disease are a fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis.

While most cases of the decease are hardly ever noticed, pregnant women fall into a special category of risk. If infected, their newborn children could be prone to microcephaly, a neurological disorder that results in abnormally small heads, leading to developmental issues and sometimes death. No remedies for the virus exist.

While noting that Zika-linked microcephaly cases have not been registered in Colombia, Santos warned that the number of Zika-infected people might rise over twenty fold in the near future.

“The projection is that we could end up having 600,000 cases,” Santos said. The president also warned that up to 1,000 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome cases could soon surface.

Some scientists have linked Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks your nerves, to the Zika infection. On Friday, Colombia’s health officials announced that three people died from the Zika virus, noting that patients developed the rare syndrome.

“We have confirmed and attributed three deaths to Zika,” Martha Lucia Ospina, head of Colombia's National Health Institute, said. “In this case, the three deaths were preceded by Guillain-Barre syndrome.”

To battle the outbreak, authorities are working on ways to tackle the mosquito population by fumigating. The government has urged women to delay pregnancy for six to eight months.

The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency on Monday. The virus has spread to more than 30 countries since the outbreak began in northeastern Brazil last year. - RT.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 4.0 Earthquake Near Trinidad, Colorado - USGS! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

February 7, 2016 - COLORADO, UNITED STATES - The United States Geological Survey reported an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.0 near Trinidad Saturday afternoon.

The quake hit 26 miles west-southwest of Trinidad around 4:09 p.m., according to the USGS.

USGS shakemap intensity.

  1. 2016-02-06 23:09:10 (UTC)
  2. 2016-02-06 18:09:10 (UTC-05:00) in your timezone
  3. Times in other timezones

Nearby Cities
  1. 42km (26mi) WSW of Trinidad, Colorado
  2. 134km (83mi) SSW of Pueblo, Colorado
  3. 142km (88mi) S of Pueblo West, Colorado
  4. 152km (94mi) S of Canon City, Colorado
  5. 177km (110mi) NNE of Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Denver Post.

Earthquakes in the Stable Continental Region

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

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

USGS seismic map.

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

USGS seismic hazard map.

Induced Seismicity
As is the case elsewhere in the world, there is evidence that some central and eastern North America earthquakes have been triggered or caused by human activities that have altered the stress conditions in earth's crust sufficiently to induce faulting. Activities that have induced felt earthquakes in some geologic environments have included impoundment of water behind dams, injection of fluid into the earth's crust, extraction of fluid or gas, and removal of rock in mining or quarrying operations. In much of eastern and central North America, the number of earthquakes suspected of having been induced is much smaller than the number of natural earthquakes, but in some regions, such as the south-central states of the U.S., a significant majority of recent earthquakes are thought by many seismologists to have been human-induced. Even within areas with many human-induced earthquakes, however, the activity that seems to induce seismicity at one location may be taking place at many other locations without inducing felt earthquakes. In addition, regions with frequent induced earthquakes may also be subject to damaging earthquakes that would have occurred independently of human activity. Making a strong scientific case for a causative link between a particular human activity and a particular sequence of earthquakes typically involves special studies devoted specifically to the question. Such investigations usually address the process by which the suspected triggering activity might have significantly altered stresses in the bedrock at the earthquake source, and they commonly address the ways in which the characteristics of the suspected human-triggered earthquakes differ from the characteristics of natural earthquakes in the region.

For More Information
Additional earthquake information for Colorado


MONUMENTAL DISASTER IMPACT: Update On The Powerful Taiwan Quake - At Least 23 Killed As Death Toll Rises; Over 130 Others Still Trapped Under Collapsed Building Rubble! [VIDEO]

Rescuers search for dozens missing in the collapsed apartment building in Tainan on Sunday.© Wally Santana/AP

February 7, 2016 - TAIWAN - Rescuers in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan were fighting against the clock on Sunday to save more than 100 people still trapped beneath rubble of an apartment block 24 hours after a strong earthquake shook the island.

A 20-year-old man was pulled alive from of the wreckage on Sunday but the city's mayor admitted that emergency teams face a "very difficult" challenge to rescue dozens of other people who remain trapped.

At least 23 people were killed when the 6.4-magnitude quake struck early on Saturday morning, many of them in a collapsed 16-storey apartment complex which contained almost 100 homes packed with families gathering for the Chinese new year.

"Of the 132 people desperately waiting for rescue, 103 people are buried very deep, there's no way to get to them direct, it's very difficult," said Tainan mayor William Lai on SundayFirefighters, police, soldiers and volunteers were combing through the ruins, some using their hands, and being watched anxiously by dozens of the victims' family members wearing thick jackets, woollen hats and scarves on a cold morning.

"She's not answering my phone calls ... I am trying to hold my emotions and stay strong. I'll do that until I find her," said a woman surnamed Chang, 42, waiting to hear from her 24-year-old daughter who lived on the fifth floor of the complex.

Rescuers in the collapsed building in Tainan.
© Wally Santana/AP

"Nothing matters but to get her out. The lady living across the hallway was rescued yesterday. I know they will find her, but I have also planned for the worst. It's been more than 20 hours now."

Lai told reporters that efforts were focusing on 29 people who are closest to the rescuers, with lighter equipment like drills being used.

"The other 103 are believed to be at the lower floors of the building, and we can't find an accessible route to those areas at the moment."

The lower floors of the Wei-guan Golden Dragon building pancaked on top of each other in the quake and then the whole structure toppled, raising immediate questions about the quality of materials and workmanship used in its construction in the 1990s. Liu Shih-chung, Tainan city government deputy secretary general, said television footage of its ruins suggested the possibility of structural problems related to poor-quality reinforced steel and cement.

However, city officials have said it is too early to say for certain if poor construction was a factor in the collapse.

WATCH: Several killed, hundreds rescued from collapsed buildings.

The dead taken from the collapsed apartment block on Saturday included a 10-day-old girl who was found in her dead father's arms, media reported.

Authorities said the building had 96 apartments and 256 registered residents, though more people were inside when it collapsed.

Rescuers wearing red and yellow overalls pulled more than 240 survivors from the ruins and inserted huge supports under slabs of leaning concrete as they searched for additional survivors.

Buildings in nine other locations in the city of 2 million people had collapsed and five were left tilting at alarming angles, a government emergency centre said.

Many residents of the city were without water on Sunday and had to queue to receive supplies. - The Guardian.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Meteorite Lands In Tamil Nadu, India - Killing One And Injuring Three Others!

The crater formed after the object, believed to be a meteorite, fell on the campus of Bharathidasan Engineering College, near Natrampalli, in Vellore on Saturday. © The Hindu

February 7, 2016 - INDIA
- One person was killed and three others were injured when an object believed to a meteorite fell on the campus of a private engineering college near Natrampalli in Vellore district in northern Tamil Nadu early on Saturday.

According to police sources, a loud blast was heard near a water tank shortly after midnight on the Bharathidasan Engineering College premises in K.Bandarappalli village. Kamaraj, a college employee, who had gone to drink water suffered serious injuries and was declared dead when taken to the Vaniyambadi Government Hospital.

Three others suffered minor injuries. Window panes and wind screens of buses parked nearby and the water tank were broken in the impact of the blast. A crater was formed at the site of blast.

Though there was suspicion that it was a bomb blast, preliminary investigation by forensic and bomb experts showed no sign of any explosive substance at the scene. Pieces of a rare kind of stone were found and samples taken for analysis by scientists.

"We can rule out the possibility of any terror angle or sabotage. Not a single ingredient pertaining to any kind of explosive was found at the site. We suspect it to be a meteorite fall," a top police official told The Hindu on Saturday. After a similar blast was reported in a paddy field at Alangayam in the same district on January 26, a senior Astrophysicist of the National Physical Laboratory, Ahmedabad, came to the district for a study.

"The scientist was camping nearby and rushed to the college soon after hearing the news of the blast. We are convinced that it is a meteorite that fell with high velocity. In the earlier incident, local people remember having seen an object falling from the sky in the field," the official said.

A special team of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad, led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Asir Vijay Kumar, inspected the scene and ruled out the use of grenades. Vellore Superintendent of Police Senthilkumari also visited the spot. Investigators were trying to check if the college had any CCTV camera covering the disturbed area. - The Hindu.