Wednesday, November 13, 2013

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Freak Wave Kills 8, Injures 8 In Taiwan - Safety Precautions Tightened Along Northeastern Coast!

November 13, 2013 - TAIWAN - Safety precautions will be tightened along Taiwan's northeastern coastal area after a rogue wave killed eight people in Gongliao District in New Taipei, the Tourism Bureau said Monday.

(CNA file photo)

The patrols will ask tourists to leave areas prone to rogue waves when waves reach an average of six meters high and wind speeds hit 62 kilometers per hour, the bureau said.

Authorities will also post more signs warning against freak waves, and fishermen will be required to wear life jackets and skidproof shoes in those areas.

The areas in question might also be closed off when the weather is bad, the bureau said, adding that it will discuss other potential precautionary measures with the New Taipei government.

The precautions are being taken after a 26-member group from Shulin Community University encountered the rogue waves on Nov. 9 while on a field trip at Longdong Geopark, a coastal park known for its bizarre rock formations.

The waves swept 16 people out to sea, leaving eight dead and eight injured.

Other coastal scenic areas around Taiwan will also review their safety measures to prevent similar accidents in the future, the bureau said.

In Taiwan, rogue waves are most likely to occur between October and January in the northeast and the south due to the combined effects of winds and the topography of the ocean floor. - Focus Taiwan.

DAWN OF THE AGE OF AQUARIUS: Precursors To The End Of Christian Dominionism And The Piscean Age Of Belief - [Non]Mass Movement Of Atheist Mega-Churches Are Taking The Western World By Storm!

"There is no place in our world for an ideology that seeks to close minds, force obedience, and return the world to a paradise that never was. Students should learn that the universe can be confronted and understood, that ideas and authority should be questioned, that an open mind is a good thing. Education does not exist to confirm people's superstitions, and children do not learn to think when they are fed only dogma." - Tim Berra, Evolution and the Myth of Creationism.

November 13, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Singing songs, clapping hands, praising acts of giving and community work – all the things present in a Church have now found an official home in so-called ‘atheist mega-churches’, a quirky idea spreading like wildfire across the Western world.

One of the latest countries to come into contact with the trend is the United States, with dozens of gatherings by those sharing in their non-belief in God planned ahead. A similar situation can be seen happening in Australia and Canada. But it all started in the United Kingdom in January 2013, when two popular comedians started seeking an outlet for their feelings on the subject.

Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans then embarked on a quest to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars to help atheists the world over connect with each other, do good deeds and laugh in the kind of community atmosphere a Church would offer – except without God.

The Associated Press reported from Los Angeles on Sunday, where several hundred people gathered to do just that – as they had been doing more and more in places like New York, San Diego, Nashville and others.

Jones and Evans have dedicated an entire comedy tour around the US and Australia – called ‘40 days, 40 nights’ – to raise $800,000 to establish such congregations around the globe. They have just passed the $50,000 mark.

What is perhaps unexpected of Jones’ and Evans’ atheism is their refusal to crucify believers in God. In fact it is just the opposite. Jones remembers being very moved six years ago by the feeling of a Christmas carol concert, which, sadly for him, was just short of what he was looking for.

"There was so much about it that I loved, but it's a shame because at the heart of it, it's something I don't believe in," Jones explains to his 'disciples'. "If you think about church, there's very little that's bad. It's singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people. And doing that in a community with wonderful relationships. What part of this is not to like?”

British comedians Sanderson Jones (L) and Pippa Evans (R) co-founders of The Sunday Assembly,
an atheist service held at a converted church, pose for pictures after a service in north London.
(AFP Photo / Leon Neal)

He told RT at one of the group's London congregations that "I think that, just because you don't believe in God, doesn't mean you don't want to hear really interesting talks, to think about improving yourself, to sing with others and have a cup of tea with them at the end. This is really all the best things about Church, but without the one thing I'm uncomfortable with - which is the religion part."

Although the Sunday Assembly – as its founders christened it – is a godless place and not an official religious institution, it is marked by a uniquely religious atmosphere. Evans would enter, followed by a band playing classic rock hits. Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ is the anthem. There is a ‘service’, with reading, discussion, moments for reflection, and activities directed at engaging the members in getting to know each other. But a lot of this has a very serious mission – to engage in community work and the setting up of projects.

Just like a real Church, there is a sermon. But it is dedicated to questions about the universe and things like quantum theory and anti-matter, all very tongue-in-cheek.

All this is then tied up with Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’, with everyone standing up to sing.

 “The Sunday Assembly is a godless congregation that celebrates life. Our motto: live better, help often, wonder more. Our mission: to help everyone find and fulfill their full potential. Our vision: a godless congregation in every town, city and village that wants one.”

So says the homepage of the organization set up to promote Jones’ and Evans’ atheist congregations. Founded in January this year, it went from its cradle in an East London community center to sending out press releases containing expansion plans, coupled with a 3,000 percent growth in the several months the movement was in operation.

British comedians Sanderson Jones (R) and Pippa Evans.(AFP Photo / Leon Neal)

Jones and Evans are confident that the world is looking at “the fastest growing church in the world,” as Alternet cites them as saying. And this was before the giant fund-raising campaign-slash-comedy-tour was launched.

And the duo’s initiative is far from a joke, as the rise of their movement coincides with the increasing view that there are more atheists in America than previously thought. So claims the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, after discovering that the percentage of atheist responders to their survey has risen by 5 percent in the course of five years, to 20 percent. That group was further broken down into categories that view themselves as either ‘spiritual’, or believers – but not in an organized religion.

In Britain, a quarter describe themselves as having no religion at all, and that figure is going up by about 750,000 people each year. Meanwhile, Christianity is losing believers at an incredible pace - more than half a million followers annually. At those speeds, the number of atheists is projected to overtake the number of believers by 2030, RT's Polly Boiko reported from London.

 "The congregations are getting older and older. And I think we're getting now to the stage where there are second and third generations of people who've just never been to a Church. More and more people are finding that the Church is not relevant, particularly when the leaders of Churches taking positions on women's rights and gay rights, which are totally [different] from what people in the congregation think," said Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director at the National Secular Society.

Each place where the movement takes root also has its own reasons for allowing it to flourish, explained Phil Zuckerman, professor of secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, US.

WATCH:  Godless Gatherings.

"In the US, there's a little bit of a feeling that if you're not religious, you're not patriotic. I think a lot of secular people say, 'Hey, wait a minute. We are charitable, we are good people, we're good parents and we are just as good citizens as you and we're going to start a church to prove it… it’s still a minority, but there’s enough of them now.”

Naysayers of course exist, even among the atheist camp. Some of them flat-out do not believe a movement so closely resembling religion should be set up for anything indicating a lack of belief. Others are pessimistic about the movement’s growth because they think atheism for many is the exact opposite of community.

Roy Spekchardt, executive director of the America Humanist Association, told Alternet that the one strong challenge he sees to the movement is that "it tends to overlook the fact that the majority of involved atheists and humanists aren’t actually interested in personally being involved in a congregation atmosphere.”

But as criticism continues to pour in – and is expected – the Sunday Assembly continues to grow at a rapid rate. - RT.

THE AGE OF OBAMA & CHILDHOOD'S END: Precursors To The End Of The U.S. Corporation And The Collapse Of The FAILED White Supremacy Paradigm - President Obama Is Presiding Over The End Of America's Superpower Status; Purging Senior Military Officers By Building A "Compliant Officer Class"!

"So far have they [the United States] strayed into wickedness in those [future] times that their destruction has been sealed by my [father]. Their great cities will burn, their crops and cattle will suffer disease and death, their children will perish from diseases never seen upon this Earth, and I reveal to you the greatest [mystery] of all as I have been allowed to see that their [the United States] destruction will come about through the vengeful hands of one of our very own sons." - Kenyan Prophet Johanwa Owalo, 1912.

November 13, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The extraordinarily large number of senior military officials being relieved of duty under the Obama administration – nine generals and flag officers this year alone and close to 200 senior officers over the last five years – is part of the creation of a “compliant officer class,” according to a U.S. Army intelligence official.

In WND’s ongoing coverage of what some top generals are openly calling a “purge” of senior military officers who run afoul of Obama or his agenda, some military personnel have been speaking out.

According to a veteran Army intelligence official who spoke to WND on condition of anonymity, there is within the armed forces a major concern that a “compliant officer class” is being created by the Obama administration. So much so, he said, that it’s becoming harder to find “senior officers with a pair of balls in there [the military] now that would say no to anything.”

“Maybe at the rank of major or below, and possibly there are some in SOF (Special Operations Forces), but to make colonel and higher is all politics,” he said.

Underscoring the point, the official said almost no public concern was expressed by officers to the recent repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy or the decision to allow women into front-line combat.

“I didn’t read one piece of resistance to the DADT repeal, and I haven’t seen one peep about females in the infantry,” he said.

His comments echo those of retired generals who have expressed alarm over the high rate of dismissals of high-ranking officers in the Obama administration.

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, a recipient of the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, told WND that Obama’s agenda is decimating the morale of the U.S. ranks to the point that members no longer feel prepared to fight or have the desire to win.

“There is no doubt [Obama] is intent on emasculating the military and will fire anyone who disagrees with him” over such issues as “homosexuals, women in foxholes, the Obama sequester,” said Brady, former president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Not only are military service members being demoralized and the ranks’ overall readiness reduced by the Obama administration’s purge of key leaders, but colonels – who are lined up in rank to replace outgoing generals – are quietly taking their careers in other directions.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, who was a founding member of Delta Force and later deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence under President George W. Bush, says it is worrying that four-star generals are being retired at the rate that has occurred under Obama.

“Over the past three years, it is unprecedented for the number of four-star generals to be relieved of duty, and not necessarily relieved for cause,” Boykin said.

“I believe there is a purging of the military,” he said. “The problem is worse than we have ever seen.”

Boykin said the future of the military is an increasing concern because of the departure of key leaders.

“I talk to a lot of folks who don’t support where Obama is taking the military, but in the military they can’t say anything,” Boykin said.

As a consequence, he said, the lower grades have decided to leave, having been given the signal that there is no future in the military for them.

The Army intelligence official told WND that as far as women in combat is concerned, he is “pretty sure” Army officers will “cheat to make sure one gets through basic training, as opposed to the Marine Corps which tends to be the last to lower its standards.”

As a consequence, he said, the Army is reevaluating physical fitness test standards that will “accommodate all genders, meaning lowering the standards.”

The point has been debated hotly as Obama moves women into all parts of the military. Obama supporters call for equal-effort assessments for women and men doing the same physical stress tests., while critics call for equal results, which is crucial in war.

“Without going too far down the rabbit hole,” he said, “I can tell you, having been in the infantry, that basic training isn’t a big deal. Where the females are going to get damaged is during the field training exercises and/or combat deployments.”

He also pointed out that the Army is pushing to “get rid of ‘toxic leadership.’”

“They’re even talking about a 360-degree evaluation system for officers, where the troops get a say on the officers’ performance,” he said.

That type of evaluation could prompt the departure of many more officers.

He said “toxic leadership” has been viewed as a result of the wartime environment in which people were promoted too fast or their performance wasn’t scrutinized very closely.

“I guess that’s the long way of saying probably a lot of officers need to be relieved,” he said.

The concept was outlined in a 2005 “Strategy Research Project” paper at the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks in Carlisle, Pa. The paper examined the issue of “destructive leadership styles,” which apparently the Army believes continues to exist in the officer ranks and would be subject to purging.

The paper, authored by Col. Denise F. Williams, identified characteristics of toxic leadership to include incompetence, malfunctioning, maladjusted, sense of inadequacy, malcontent, egotism, arrogance, selfish values, avarice and greed.

The Army Times recently cited “toxic leadership” in reference to cases of misconduct and abuse of authority by military leaders, which have “proliferated across the services in recent years.”

In one case, which it called bizarre, a Navy commander was fired after subordinates complained that he poked them in “appallingly inappropriate places with his flashlight.”

One reader retorted: “I would never make it in this kinder, gentler Army. I wonder what happened to mission first. We won our war and a war hasn’t been won since. The only thing toxic in my day was gas.”

Boykin has told WND that the rate of dismissals has approached 200 in the past five years and that officers were dismissed on suspicion of disloyalty or suspected disagreement with the Obama administration on policy or force-structure issues.

He added that a number of officers have been relieved of duty for no given reason.

“Morale is at an unprecedented low,” Boykin said.

“Officers want to train for war but are not allowed to” because of other distractions such as allowing openly homosexual personnel in the military, the integration of women into the infantry and rules of engagement that favor “political correctness over our ability to fight to win.”

The sentiment was echoed by a Coast Guard Reserve member who told WND he will be retiring soon.

“I spend most of my ‘drills’ doing online training on things like ‘diversity’ and ‘preventing sexual harassment’ these days,” he said. “It’s becoming a joke. This country is in trouble.”

WND for weeks has reported on the problems faced by the nation’s military officers.

The reports include confirmation from Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, who says Obama has done “great damage” to the military by taking away resources and imposing “heavy burdens of social experimentation.”

“But most flag and general officers are following orders, keeping their heads down and, in my opinion, letting down the troops,” she said.

In the Reagan administration, Donnelly was appointed by Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. In 1992, President George H. W. Bush appointed her to the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces.

This year alone, nine commanding officers and generals have been removed from their posts. Several retired generals have accused the Obama administration of a “purge” and have linked the removals to political and social agendas.

Former Florida Congressman Allen West is calling for congressional oversight hearings into what he calls an “alarming trend” of dismissals and firings of high-ranking military officers by the Obama administration.

Valerie Jarrett.
West, who served on the House Armed Services Committee, said he recently had been in contact with Committee Chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon. West is calling for hearings “to determine exactly why” so many officers, especially senior officers, are being given the boot.

“McKeon needs to look at this problem,” West told WND. “There needs to be transparency. It is important to get the truth.”

In a recent interview with WND, Retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, who was the deputy commanding general of the Pacific Command, similarly accused Obama’s close adviser, Valerie Jarrett, of orchestrating the imposition of “political correctness” throughout the military, affecting everyone from top generals to the ranks of the enlisted.

In pinning the blame on Jarrett, reportedly Obama’s most influential adviser, Vallely suggested her far-left, politically correct influence is forcing senior officers to watch everything military personnel say and do.

According to Vallely, Obama is “intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged.”

Vallely served in the Vietnam War and retired in 1993 as deputy commanding general, Pacific Command. Today, he is chairman of the Military Committee for the Center for Security Policy and is co-author of the book “Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror.” - WND.

FIRE IN THE SKY: A New Threat From Space - Small Fireballs With Diameters Between 10 And 50 Meters Poise A Significant Threat To Earth; Scientists Estimate MILLIONS Not Yet Detected!

November 13, 2013 - SPACE - On February 15, 2013, the world was awakened with the fear of a new space threat. The Chelyabinsk meteor entered Earth's atmosphere over Russia at about 0920 local time with an estimated speed of 18.6 km/s (66,960 km/h).

It quickly became a super-bright fireball over the southern Ural region. In fact, the light from the meteor was brighter than that of the sun. Observers felt intense heat from the fireball.

The Chelyabinsk meteor's shallow angle of entry almost allowed it to skip off the upper atmosphere and continue in heliocentric orbit. However, the angle of entry was just steep enough to allow atmospheric friction to slow its initial velocity below the earth escape speed of 11 km/s and below Earth orbital speed of 7.9 km/s.

This resulted in the object exploding in an air burst over Chelyabinsk Oblast, at a height of about 23.3 km.

The explosion generated a great deal of heat and a bright flash. In addition the event produced many small fragmentary meteorites and a powerful shock wave. Fortunately, the atmosphere absorbed most of the energy, estimated as the equivalent of approximately 440 kilotons of TNT. This is 20 to 30 times more energy than released at Hiroshima at the end on WW II.

Prior to the Chelyabinsk event experts thought near Earth asteroids had to be at least one kilometer in
diameter to be a significant threat to Earth. The unexpected explosive force of the Chelyabinsk meteor
has shifted more of the concern to smaller bodies with diameters between 10 and 50 meters.

This event demonstrated that a small asteroid could pose a bigger danger than previously thought. Astronomers have mapped about 1,000 such objects-between 10 meters and 50 meters in diameter in near-earth orbit, similar to the 20-meter-dimater asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk. However, astronomers think there are a million of these rocks that have not yet been detected.

Prior to the Chelyabinsk event experts thought near Earth asteroids had to be at least one kilometer in diameter to be a significant threat to Earth. The unexpected explosive force of the Chelyabinsk meteor has shifted more of the concern to smaller bodies with diameters between 10 and 50 meters.

This reassessment has increased the threat to human life from asteroids. Furthermore, small asteroids cannot be detected in advance of Earth encounter. - Space Daily.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Thousands Of Dead Fish Found In A Lake In Gavirate, Italy?!

November 13, 2013 - ITALY - Thousands of dead fish in the lake by asphyxiation in Gavirate . Blame the wind gusts on Sunday night. This is the bitter surprise who have found themselves before the eyes of fishermen and residents of the area yesterday morning.

The dead fish have surfaced and are left to float on the water.

The discovery was made at the height of Rowing : hundreds and hundreds of copies surfaced from the water, with other fish resting on the bottom , were crushed beneath the slime .

To cause the deaths of fish it was, according to experts, the strong wind that between Sunday night and Monday morning , with gusts violent beat the whole area of Lake Varese.

The wind has indeed stirred the waters of the basin , stirring the lake bottom , thus concentrating the pollutants in the lake and pushing them in Lido . A fish trap , which in a short time have died . For the lake of Varese is a very serious environmental damage. - La Provincia. [Translated]

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: More Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Massive Sinkhole Threatens South Side Homes In Chicago!

November 13, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A Chicago sinkhole has opened up on the city’s South Side, causing city officials to warn nearby residents that the sinkhole may be growing dangerously close to their homes.

A Chicago sinkhole, measuring 20 by 80 feet, appears to have started when a pipe servicing the house with
a small leak in eroded over time and washed out the drain and support from under the road.

ABC News reported Monday that the sinkhole swallowed up part of the street at 124th Street and Wentworth, and that the hole was initially caused by an underground water main break that flushed out a pocket under the street and caused flooding in a handful of basements near the rupture.

Crews worked to repair the water break, and area residents were told they can once again use water, but were cautioned that it may be a few days until the repair crew can rule out any further danger and begin patching the street.

"Depending on what's underneath it, we're hoping by the end of the week we should have the street repaired," said Deputy Commissioner Bill Bresnahan of the Chicago Water Department on Monday. "We will have water on to these people before we leave here, hopefully by the end of the day."

A huge sinkhole opened up in a South Side neighborhood is still growing and
moving dangerously close to houses.

Though water service was reported, crews are still working to judge the danger of the sinkholes, which currently stands at 20 feet by 80 feet.

Residents said that at the time of the break, water could be seen gushing from cracks in the street 20 to 30 feet in the air. Officials told those affected to boil water for use until the break was repaired.

No one was injured and no cars were damaged when the ground opened up in the street. The city's water department and People's Gas are working on repairs, which are expected to take at least a week. - The Examiner.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Hundreds Of Dead Fish Found Floating In A Lake In Kazan, Russia?!

November 13, 2013 - RUSSIA - In the newspaper Metro approached by residents of the street Hadi Taktasha : they are outraged environmental situation in the area of ​​Lake Average Boar . Strolling along the lake in the afternoon , in front of the Kazan Zoo Gulnara Yakupova her husband saw a school of dead fish that floated to the surface.

This scandalous situation is repeated in the body of water is not the first time . Especially on weekends and public holidays. We are confident that the fish died because the waste into the lake merges one of the nearby industrial plants - says the girl .

Gulnara Yakupova affected - which looks environmental police? A district administration?

I would encourage citizens to apply to the Ministry of Ecology , RPN or environmental prosecutor's office. These agencies need to be experts , specialists who can take measurements of water and find out the nature of the phenomenon - told Metro activist Nelia Biktimirova .

Kazan environmentalists is not the first time faced with a similar situation .

Information about Events does not appear anywhere . Although the long-suffering Lake Kaban constantly going through similar experiences . Should apply to the fishing control , rybinspektsiyu . Experts departments have made the report will determine the species composition and the environmental damage caused , - said the head of the Republican Metro Nature Protection Society Sergei Mukhachyov . - In practice, of course it is better to knock on every door - environmental prokuratutu , the Ministry of Environment . This will help keep the pond , lake Kaban make a living .

Experts see the cause of the ecological disaster discharges of hazardous waste or breach of urban sanitation , posledovavschy for this lack of oxygen and as a result - fish kills . Apparently, certain organic pollutants killed lake. Although environmentalists do not rule out other causes freeze .

Despite the proximity to the lake of industrial enterprises in recent years, the situation with the pond began to come back to normal, tyazhellyh discharges of metals has not happened for a long time.

On such a long time no hear . But the problem for the ecology of the city cabana there , - said Sergey Mukhachyov . - Residents of the city can rely on the publication and photographs , as is the date of the incident and eyewitness accounts. - Metro News. [Translated]

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mount Marapi In West Sumatra Erupts Again - Local Villagers Have Been Told To Stay Away; Status Raised To Second Alert Level!

November 13, 2013 - INDONESIA - Mount Marapi, which is located in the Tanahdatar and Agam districts in the West Sumatra Province, erupted again on Wednesday morning.

"The eruption occurred at 09:01 a.m. Western Indonesian Standard Time (WIB). The volcano produced thick gray smoke, which reached a height of up to 350 meters from the top towards the eastern direction," Warseno from the Bukittinggi Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency, revealed.

The status of Mount Marapi has been declared now and its volcanic alert level has been marked at the second level.

Local villagers have been told to stay away from within a radius of three kilometers from the volcanos crater.

Mount Marapis volcanic activities have intensified since August 3, 2011. It had earlier spewed volcanic ash to a height of up to 1,000 meters, affecting several districts, such as Agam, Tanah Datar, Padangpariaman and Padang Panjang.

Mount Marapi is situated next to Mount Singgalang and Mount Tandikek.

The Mount Marapi area was declared a nature reserve and a tourist attraction in West Sumatra. It is one of the very active volcanoes and has erupted multiple times. - Antara News.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Monumental Signs In The Heavens - Comet ISON Now Sprouts A Triple Tail As It Brightens; Possible Disconnection Event In Its Plasma Tail?!

November 13, 2013 - SPACE - Astronomers are getting a better look at Comet ISON as it dives toward the sun for a November 28th close encounter with solar fire. As the heat rises, the comet brightens, revealing new details every day.

Here are the latest images, that show the comet sprouting three distinct tails, as it continues to brighten.

Imaged with an ASA 10N astrograph and STL11000 CCD.

Imaged with an ASA 10N astrograph and STL11000 CCD.

Probably disconnection event in the plasma tail of Comet ISON.
PENTAX 75 mm f6,7 - CCD SBIG ST8XME - BIN 2X2

Probably disconnection event in the plasma tail of Comet ISON.
PENTAX 75 mm f6,7 - CCD SBIG ST8XME - BIN 2X2

Meanwhile, a super hi-vision video camera captured footage of the comet's approach to the sun.

Staff from Japanese broadcaster NHK attached a super hi-vision camera and a single-lens reflex to a telescope at an observatory in western Japan.

The camera took video that appeared to show Comet ISON dragging its wispy tail across the night sky.

There have been indications that the sun's heat is accelerating the evaporation of the comet's core. The comet was first spotted in September 2012.

WATCH:  Comet ISON caught approaching on camera.

It's expected to reach its closest approach to the sun on Thanksgiving Day on Nov. 28. This will be Comet ISON’s first trip around the sun.

Scientists say it could be broken apart by the sun's gravity and baked by its heat, or there could be a bright and beautiful sky-show.

SOURCES: Space Weather Gallery | WAVY.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Syria's Polio Outbreak Is Now A Global Public Health Emergency - 332 Cases This Year, Almost 50 PERCENT Higher Than Last Year's Total!

November 13, 2013 - SYRIA - As if the children of Syria had not suffered enough, the news of an outbreak of polio (poliomyelitis) signals that even more suffering lies ahead. The polio virus invades the nervous system and can kill or cause lifelong paralysis.

The trivalent oral polio vaccine produces immunity in the gut.  Credit: RIBI Image Library.

Wild poliovirus had not been detected in Syria since 1999. But on 17 October a cluster of 22 cases of “acute flaccid paralysis”, the signature symptom of clinical polio, was reported from Deir Al Zour province.

Since then, wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) has been found in ten of the cases under investigation, all in children under the age of two years.

So close

The world has come tantalisingly close to eradicating polio. In the 1980s, the virus killed or paralysed around 350,000 people annually. Then Rotary International launched a global vaccination campaign, in partnership with the World Health Organization and UNICEF and more recently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In 2012, there were just 223 cases in five countries. Only three countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan – have never interrupted transmission of the wild poliovirus.

But this year, there have been severe setbacks in the endeavour to eradicate a human disease for just the second time in history – the first being smallpox.

In Somalia, 180 cases of polio have been reported so far this year in areas controlled by the Islamic militants Al Shabab, which has banned vaccination. That outbreak has spilled into neighbouring countries with 14 cases in Kenya and seven in Ethiopia.

Worldwide, there have already been 332 cases this year – almost 50% higher than last year’s total.

Types of vaccinations

There are three types of wild poliovirus: 1, 2, and 3. There have been no cases of WPV2 since 1999 and the last case of WPV3 occurred in Nigeria almost 12 months ago. All cases of polio this year have been caused by WPV1. In theory, this trend makes it easier to control the disease.

Armed conflict remains the major obstacle to ridding the world of this devastating disease.
Credit: James Gordon, Los Angeles.

The most commonly used vaccine is trivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) which produces immunity in the mucosa (soft tissue) of the gut to all three types, preventing the virus from entering the bloodstream. But newly developed monovalent vaccines more efficiently induce immunity against a single type.

The downside is that on rare occasions the live vaccine virus mutates into a paralytic form, is excreted from the gut, and may circulate in communities where immunity is low. This is called circulating vaccine-derived poliomyelitis and is the reason why most developed countries such as Australia have switched to inactivated polio vaccine (IPV). This injectable vaccine induces immunity in the bloodstream but not in the gut.

Latest outbreaks

Final genetic sequencing results are pending to determine the origin of the viruses isolated in Syria. The big surprise is that the source may be Israel.

Since February 2013, more than 100 samples of sewage have been positive for WPV1 in southern and central Israel, and more recently samples have tested positive in Gaza and the West Bank. There have been no cases of paralytic disease during this “silent” outbreak.

A stool survey in southern Israel found that almost 5% of Bedouin children and almost 1% of Jewish children tested positive for WPV1.

More than 95% of children in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank have been vaccinated with IPV which explains the absence of clinical disease. But if children with WPV in their gut come in contact with children who do not have adequate immunity, they may transmit the virus which may then cause paralytic disease. Given the mobility of the Bedouins, the virus may spread through Jordan, northern Egypt, and quite possibly Syria.

This spread has implications for Australia, where the anti-vaccination lobby has led to many parents not vaccinating their children, making them vulnerable to virus.

Other than Israel, the remaining reservoirs of WPV are all in conflict-affected countries: Afghanistan, Northwest Pakistan (where the Taliban has banned polio vaccination in North and South Waziristan), Somalia, Northwest Nigeria (where the militant Boko Haram has murdered vaccinators), and now Syria.
One step forward, two steps back

Afghanistan has employed innovative methods to reach children in insecure areas and has had just eight polio cases this year, all in the Eastern region neighbouring Northwest Pakistan. While President Hamid Karzai has exhibited strong leadership holding provincial governors accountable for vaccination campaign performance, he has maintained a low public profile to avoid opposition to vaccination by anti-government elements.

The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo (the Sunni equivalent of the Vatican) has issued fatwas demanding that Islamic mullahs remind parents that vaccinating their children is an obligation. This has had some effect on countering the anti-polio vaccination propaganda of the armed militants.

Nevertheless, armed conflict coupled with negative propaganda remains the major obstacle to achieving the goal of ridding the world of this devastating disease. We are facing a global public health emergency that demands action at the highest level of the world’s diplomatic community. - Live Science.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Series Of Violent Volcanic Eruptions At Indonesia's Mount Sinabung - More Than 5,000 Flee Sumatra Island From Red-Hot Ash, Volcanic Rocks And Torrents Of Glowing Lava!

November 13, 2013 - INDONESIA - More than 5,000 people have fled their homes in western Indonesia in recent days following a series of violent volcanic eruptions, an official said Tuesday.

Mount Sinabung on the north of Sumatra island has been hurling out red-hot ash, rocks and torrents of glowing lava up to seven kilometres (four miles) into the air since the start of the month.

Villagers from nearby Karo district are being evacuated as the volcano, which erupted in September for the first time since 2010, continues to spew ash and rocks.

"So far, 5,265 people have been evacuated from seven villages," local government spokesman Robert Peranginangin told AFP.

"They were all very scared as the volcano has not shown signs of slowing down."

Although the government has called for people living within three kilometres (1.9 miles) of the volcano to be evacuated, Peranginangin said those living beyond the danger zone were also fleeing their homes.

"They just don't feel safe and are panicking. They prefer to stay in shelters, like mosques and churches," he said, adding the number of evacuees was expected to go up.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the volcano erupted again early Tuesday, spewing clouds of hot gas, although the eruption was smaller than on previous days.

Indonesia has dozens of active volcanoes and straddles major tectonic fault lines known as the "Ring of Fire" between the Pacific and Indian oceans.

In August five people were killed and hundreds evacuated when a volcano on a tiny island in East Nusa Tenggara province erupted.

The country's most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of violent eruptions in 2010. - Space Daily.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Vast Antarctic Iceberg "Could Threaten Shipping" - Researchers Granted Emergency Grant To Track Iceberg, Estimated To Be About 700 Square Kilometres!

November 13, 2013 - ANTARCTICA - UK researchers have been awarded an emergency grant to track a vast iceberg in Antarctica that could enter shipping lanes.

Latest images show several kilometres of water between the iceberg, estimated to be about 700 sq km (270 sq miles), and the glacier that spawned the block.

UK researchers will closely monitor the movement of the iceberg as it travels through the Southern Ocean

The £50,000 award will fund a six-month project that will also predict its movement through the Southern Ocean.

The icy giant broke away from the Pine Island Glacier (PIG) in July.

"From the time it had been found that the crack had gone all the way across in July, it had stayed iced-in because it was still winter (in Antarctica)," explained principal investigator Grant Bigg from the University of Sheffield.

A Nasa aircraft was the first to detect the expanding crack across the Pine Island Glacier in 2011

"But in the last couple of days, it has begun to break away and now a kilometre or two of clear water has developed between it and the glacier.

"It often takes a while for bergs from this area to get out of Pine Island Bay but once they do that they can either go eastwards along the coast or they can… circle out into the main part of the Southern Ocean.

Prof Bigg told BBC News that one iceberg was tracked going through The Drake Passage - the body of water between South America's Cape Horn and Antarctica's South Shetland Islands.

If the iceberg did follow this trajectory, it would bring the Singapore-size ice island into busy international shipping lanes.

Eyes in the sky

The team of scientists from Sheffield and the University of Southampton will use data from a number of satellites, including the German TerraSAR-X, which first alerted researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute to the July calving.

PIG is described as the longest and fastest flowing glacier in the Antarctic, with vast icebergs being calved from ice shelf every 6-10 years. Previous notable events occurred in 2007 and 2001.

Scientists first noticed a spectacular crack spreading across the surface of the PIG in October 2011.

See how the giant berg took shape:

As well as tracking the movement of the iceberg, Prof Bigg explained that the team also planned to predict its path through the Southern Ocean.

"Part of the project is to try to simulate what we think the berg might do, given the... wind fields being experiencing in the region recently.

He added that the team would attempt to predict possible tracks into the coming 12 months or so.

If the berg did move towards or into shipping lanes then a warning would be issued via the services of numerous ice hazard agencies around the world. - BBC.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Monumental Signs In The Heavens - Comet Lovejoy Shines Almost TEN TIMES Brighter Than ISON; Its Atmosphere Is Almost TWICE As Wide As Planet Jupiter!

November 13, 2013 - SPACE - Comet ISON is getting all the press, but another comet is outshining the media-favorite by nearly an order of magnitude. Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) is almost 10 times brighter than Comet ISON as it passes just outside the orbit of Earth in mid-November: 3D orbit.

Rolando Ligustri took this picture of Comet Lovejoy on November 12th using a remotely-controlled telescope in New Mexico:

The comet's pale green atmosphere is almost twice as wide as the planet Jupiter, and there are no fewer than three tails streaming behind the comet's nucleus. Sky watchers in dark sky sites say that can now see this lovely comet as a faint smudge using averted vision--no optics required. A telescope is, however, recommended.

Comet Lovejoy is one of four comets now rising in the east before dawn. The other three are exploding Comet LINEAR X1, sungrazing Comet ISON, and short-period Comet Encke, and the brightest of them all. All four are easy targets for backyard optics.

Dates of special interest include Nov. 15-18 when Comet LINEAR X1 passes by the bright star Arcturus, Nov 17-18 when Comet ISON has a close encounter with Spica, and Nov. 18-20 when Comet Encke buzzes Mercury. These stars and planets make excellent naked-eye guideposts for finding the comets.

Meanwhile, bright Comet Lovejoy is approaching the Big Dipper; if you can't see it with your unaided eye, a quick scan with binoculars will reveal it.

Sky maps:
Nov. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.

Comet ephemerides:
Comet ISON, Comet Lovejoy, Comet Encke, Comet LINEAR X1. - Space Weather.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 6.1 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes The Scotia Sea Region!

November 13, 2013 - SCOTIA SEA - According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a strong 6.1 magnitude earthquake jolted the Scotia Sea at 23:45:48 UTC.

The coordinates were 60.261°S 47.196°W.

The tremor had a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles).

USGS earthquake location.

The epicentre was initially determined to be at 924 km (574 miles) southwest of Grytviken, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; 1394 km (866 miles) southeast of Ushuaia, Argentina; 1641 km (1020 miles) southeast of Punta Arenas, Chile; 1666 km (1035 miles) southeast of Rio Gallegos, Argentina; and 1159 km (720 miles) southeast of Stanley, Falkland Islands.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center confirm that no tsunami threat is in place. Therefore, no destructive widespread tsunami threat exists based on historical earthquake and tsunami data. No word of damage or expanded threat has been issued at this time.

However, earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within a hundred kilometers of the earthquake epicentre. Authorities in the region of the epicentre should be aware of this possibility and take appropriate action.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

The USGS states that the region near the Scotia Sea in the southern Atlantic Ocean is a complex area of marginal basins bordered by the South America and Antarctic plates. The boundary motion between these two larger plates is predominately strike-slip. The South America-Antarctic plate motion is left lateral at about 15 mm/yr, with the Scotia Plate twisting between the two. There does not appear to be any north-south compression of the Scotia Plate. However, pure strike-slip earthquakes do not represent all the motion between the Scotia Sea and Antarctic plates. Partitioning occurs on one or both of the Scotia Sea boundaries. Modeled motions are consistent with the existence of a rigid Scotia Sea Plate.

USGS earthquake seismicity for the region.

Beyond the eastern end of the Scotia Sea plate, the Sandwich Plate is moving rapidly eastward, at rates from 65 to 90 mm/yr. This forms an eastern flank of the spreading system behind the South Sandwich Arc.

There are no land-based observations within the Scotia Sea or Sandwich plates to measure plate motion; all reported plate motions are derived from remote earthquake recordings.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Hundreds Of Dead Fish Wash Up In The Bay Of Puerto Montt, Chile?!

November 13, 2013 - CHILE - A massive fish varazón was recorded early Monday between Pichi and Angelmó Pelluco in the Region of Los Lagos.

The early Monday National Emergency Network confirmed that there are hundreds
of fish stranded in the bay of Puerto Montt.

The phenomenon was first recorded at 2200 hours on Sunday, lasting until the early hours of Monday.

Affected fish are hake, sardines and mackerel, which were left in large numbers along the coast.

The authorities expressed concern and called on people not to consume southern these fish, and they do not know if you have some degree of contamination.

The fishermen say that what happened is because changes in the tides and currents.

The investigation to indicate if the fish were contaminated will be announced on Monday. - 24 Horas. [Translated]

MASS SHOOTINGS: Infrastructure & Societal Collapse - Three Students Shot Near Pittsburgh High School!

November 13, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Police are investigating a shooting that occurred Wednesday afternoon outside a high school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Local outlets confirmed that shots were fired Wednesday afternoon just before 3 p.m. local time near Brashear High School, a public school of around 1,500 students. Class was dismissed at the school only minutes before the first shots were heard.

WPXI News reported that three male students - two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old - were shot two blocks from the school, although all information at this time is still preliminary.

Pittsburgh Brashear High School (Image from

One of the victims was reportedly rushed into surgery at a nearby hospital after a shot hit him in the neck. Another was grazed in the head, while the third victim was shot in the hand and foot. None of the injuries are thought to be life-threatening. Police spokeswoman Diane Richard told reporters that each of the three victims were male.

At least one man was apprehended after a SWAT team surrounded a home near the school, according to Richard. Helicopters flew overhead as police surrounded the house and armed officers waited in position on nearby roofs.

Five other people were reportedly taken into custody for questioning.

Two of the victims were found hurt outside and the third was found in the school locker room. Spokeswoman Richard said that two of the victims were not cooperating with police and the third was found inside the building because a school administrator pulled the young man to safety. She did not disclose how many gunmen were involved, but did say the shooting did not occur on school grounds.

“One of the victims did run back to the school so hence when the call came out we all thought the incident happened at Brashear school,” Richard told WTAE. “With all the things happened now at different schools in different states this is the last thing we wanted...The victims who were shot are now in the hospital and it is my understanding that they are not being cooperative at this time.”

Local media speculated that as many as three gunmen were involved in the incident. The suspect arrested at a home near the school was "likely connected" to the shooting but may have not acted alone. 

One of the suspects taken into custody in Brashear shooting moments ago.

The shooters are thought to have emerged from a wooded area before opening fire and fleeing the scene, either by heading back into the brush or by running to a waiting vehicle.

“Everyone just started running,” Brashear student Krystal Henson told WXPI. “I thought it was just kids playing around,” but then saw police on the scene and knew it was something much more. She also reported seeing one of the victims laying on the ground in pain.

Several area networks have reported that police are scouring woods in the Beechview area of Pittsburgh for a possible gunman or gunmen. Local reporters have speculated that this incident may be related to an investigation into a nearby bank robbery.

Parents were gathered outside when the school lockdown was lifted just before 4:00 p.m. local time, as the search for the gunmen continued.

Brashear is the largest public school in the Pittsburgh Public School District.  - RT.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Blazing Fireball Seen Over Alabama, SIX TIMES BRIGHTER Than Venus At Its Peak - NASA Says Was Part Of A "Jupiter Family Comet"?!

November 13, 2013 - SPACE - NASA says the fireball that streaked across Alabama Sunday night was a piece of a comet about as wide as a can of soda. The comet was caught on four of NASA's sky watch cameras about 7:22 p.m. CT.

A NASA camera at the Marshall Space Flight Center captured this image of the Nov. 10, 2013 meteor.
(NASA/MSFC/Bill Cooke)

"It was picked up at an altitude of 55 miles moving east of south at 51,000 miles per hour," Dr. Bill Cooke, director of NASA's Meteoroid Environments Office at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, said today in an email. "It burned up at an altitude of 27 miles just south of Anniston."

Based on the "light curve" created by the fragment's passing, Cooke said it was "about 2.5 inches across and weighed about 5 ounces. It was six times brighter than Venus at its peak."

The Nov. 10, 2013 meteor seen from a NASA camera in Chickamauga, Ga. (NASA/MSFC/Bill Cooke)

The cameras that spotted the fragment were in Huntsville and three towns in Georgia: Chickamauga, Cartersville and Dahlonega.

The fireball was not a part of the Taurid meteors the Earth usually encounters in November, Cooke said, but rather a "Jupiter family comet" - called that because their "aphelia," or furthest points from the Sun, are near the planet Jupiter.

WATCH: Meteor over Alabama.

"They generally take less than 20 years to complete and orbit (of the sun);" Cooke said. "Our visitor took about 4.7 years to go around the sun." - AL.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Global Volcano Report For November 13, 2013 - Weak To Strong Strombolian Explosions At Italy's Mount Etna And Small Eruption At The Marapi Volcano In Indonesia!

November 13, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe, courtesy of  Volcano Discovery.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Intense strombolian activity continues at the New SE crater. When observed this afternoon and evening, mild to strong explosions have occurred at intervals of few seconds to minutes. Sometimes, they could be described as spattering, while at other times, large and noisy detonations caused by large bursting bubbles sent glowing lava bombs into circular paths several hundreds meters height and distance. An effusive vent remains weakly active at the upper eastern flank of the cone.

Large explosion lava bubble at Etna's New SE crater on November 11.

Tremor levels had rapidly decreased at the end of the fountaining of the paroxysm, but not completely dropped. (often at intervals)

Current tremor signal on November 11. (ESLN station, INGV Catania)

Weak explosive activity has resumed yesterday evening (or, more likely, continued from November 11th) at the New SE crater. Weather conditions are currently very bad, but the webcams occasionally show this activity. Tremor has picked up a bit, suggesting that another paroxysm could occur in a near future.

Weak explosion from Etna's New SE crater on November 13

The latest paroxysm has greatly enlarged the field of young lava flows south of the SE cone, including the upper sections of the access road. Unfortunately, the Torre del Filosofo seismic station (ETFI) of INGV was buried under lava from the 10-11 Nov paroxysm and several other monitoring stations might face a similar fate if similar eruptions continue to occur.

Current tremor signal on November 13. (ESLN station, INGV Catania)

Current tremor signal on November 13. (ESLN station, INGV Catania)

Strombolian activity at the NSEC ceased during the night, and the lava flows from the last paroxysm are no longer active today. Tremor has returned to low levels.

Marapi (Western Sumatra, Indonesia): A small eruption occurred this morning (9 am local time), producing an ash plume that rose about 350 m according to local news.

Marapi has been showing increased activity since August 2011. VSI keeps the volcano at level 2 alert (out of 4) and recommends not to approach the summit within a radius of 3 km, as stronger eruptions could occur any time.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for November 13, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: 8 Killed As Mob Storms Rice Shop In Tacloban As Deadly Clashes Rage With Survivors Fighting For Food - Shortage Of Food, Drinking Water, Clothes And Everything Else In Typhoon-Ravaged Philippines; 90 Percent Of Tacloban Destroyed; 673,000 Displaced; 22,000 Missing; Death Toll At 2,275; Cost Of Destruction Is $19 BILLION!

November 13, 2013 - PHILIPPINES - Driven to despair, survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines turned to looting in search for food, water and medicine amid reports of warehouses and shops attacked in the aftermath of one of the strongest storms ever recorded.

As essential supplies dwindled, tensions rose. Since the storm hit the islands five days ago, residents have broken into homes, shops and warehouses, where they have drained shelves of food, water and other vital goods.

Residents watch as others throw items taken from a warehouse after super typhoon Haiyan hit Guiuan town,
eastern Samar province, central Philippines November 11, 2013. (Reuters)

In the latest incident, Philippines security forces exchanged fire with armed looters in the village of Abucay, part of the worst-hit Tacloban in Leyte province, local ANC television reported on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, eight people were crushed to death after thousands of typhoon survivors stormed a government rice warehouse. Police and soldiers were helpless when the looting took place, National Food Authority spokesman said. The looters in Alangalang municipality carted away over 100,000 sacks of rice.

WATCH:  Aid is slow to arrive in storm-devastated Philippines.

Warehouses owned by food and drinks company Universal Robina Corp and drug company United Laboratories in the storm-hit town of Palo, along with a rice mill in Jaro, were also ransacked.

"We have restored order," director of the Philippine National Police special action force, Carmelo Espina Valmoria, told AP. "There has been looting for the last three days, [but] the situation has stabilized."

"The looting is not criminality. It is self-preservation," Tacloban city administrator John Lim told Reuters. Tacloban, the principal city in Leyte province which has also become the main relief hub, currently lies in ruins, with communications and transport cut off in many areas.

Typhoon survivors queue up to receive relief goods being distributed at the Tacloban airport in
Tacloban, on the eastern island of Leyte on November 10, 2013 after Super Typhoon Haiyan
swept over the Philippines. (AFP Photo / Ted Aljibe)

 According to Lim, 90 percent of the coastal city of 220,000 people had been destroyed, with only 20 percent of residents receiving aid. Houses there are looted there because warehouses are empty, the official says.

Some survivors carried signs reading "Help us". Others dug up water pipes in a desperate bid for water.

"We sourced our water from an underground pipe that we have smashed. We don't know if it's safe. We need to boil it. But at least we have something," Christopher Dorano, told Reuters.

One of the survivors, Rachel Garduce, said the minimal aid - 3 kg of rice and 1 liter of water per household a day - was not enough in her ravaged Tacloban neighborhood.

Islands of Leyte and Samar appear to concentrate most of the death and destruction from Typhoon Haiyan which swept through six central Philippine islands. In Leyte province alone, thousands are feared dead or missing.

Over 11 million people may have been affected and some 673,000 displaced by the typhoon, according to the UN. The preliminary number of those missing, according to the Red Cross, is 22,000.

Philippines President Benigno Aquino said however, that the death toll could be lower than initially thought. It was allegedly closer to 2,000 or 2,500 than the widely-reported figure of 10,000 killed.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, official confirmed deaths stood at 2,275 on Wednesday, with another 3,665 injured.

Residents loot water damaged sacks of rice from a rice warehouse in the aftermath of Super Typhoon
Haiyan in Tacloban in the eastern Philippine island of Leyte on November 11, 2013.
(AFP Photo / Noel Celis)

Meanwhile, relief operations are only starting to gain momentum, with two more airports in the region reopening, allowing for more aid flights.

While thousands of survivors have been looking for a flight out, makeshift clinics have been set up at the damaged airport in Tacloban. Teams from Belgium, Japan, Israel and Norway had arrived in the Philippines to set up field hospitals. One doctor, Victoriano Sambale, told AP supplies of antibiotics and anesthetics arrived Tuesday for the first time. Until then, patients had to endure the pain, he said.

The US and UK have dispatched warships to the typhoon-ravaged islands to help facilitate relief efforts. Japan is also set to deploy troops to the country to aid affected areas. The ships are expected to arrive in the next two to three days.

"There is a huge amount that we need to do. We have not been able to get into the remote communities," UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said on Tuesday in Manila, launching an appeal for $301 million to help those affected by the deadly storm.

Rescuers have managed to reach some previously cut off regions, such as Guiuan, a city of 40,000 people that was spared the storm surge. Local officials say 85 people died in Guiuan, with 24 missing.

The overall financial cost of the destruction is hard to assess so far. One report from the German-based CEDIM Forensic Disaster Analysis has put the total at $8 billion to $19 billion. - RT.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Thousands Of Dead Fish In Deschutes River In Oregon?!

November 13, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The recent fish kill on the upper Deschutes River is deplorable. Thousands of fish, including large brown trout, rainbow trout and other species died due to poor water-management practices.

State water managers, those responsible for the flow of the river, say nothing was done differently in the reduction of river flows than in the past. However, in previous years there were not fish kills of this magnitude.

Fish need clean, cold water to survive. Many conservation groups have worked diligently to improve the health of our streams and rivers. Climate change will adversely impact stream flows in the future, as will efforts by the city of Bend to take surface water instead of ground water.

Our rivers, and the fish and wildlife that inhabit them, are what make Oregon a special place to live and recreate. Therefore, every effort should be made to protect and enhance these ecosystems. Unfortunately the Deschutes has been managed primarily as an irrigation ditch.

Hopefully, this fish kill will be a wake-up call to those in charge to manage the Deschutes in a more balanced and responsible way. This tragedy was completely avoidable. The city of Bend’s choice to take surface water from Bridge Creek (which provides essential cold, clean water to the Deschutes) is also avoidable, and unnecessary. - The Bulletin.