Sunday, November 30, 2014

PLANETARY TREMORS: 3 Earthquakes, Including A 4.2 Magnitude, Rattle And Shake Oklahoma - Also Felt In Kansas! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location map.

November 30, 2014 - OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES
- The U.S. Geological Survey reports three earthquakes in Oklahoma, including one with a preliminary magnitude of 4.2.

Sheriff's officials say there are no reports of injury or of significant damage, although there were reports of people being jolted awake by the temblors.

The USGS says the 4.2 magnitude quake occurred at 4:24 a.m. Sunday about 16 miles southeast of Medford in north-central Oklahoma.

USGS shakemap intensity.

A 3.8 magnitude quake was recorded at 12:59 a.m. about four miles northwest of Prague and a 3.5 magnitude temblor occurred at 6:18 a.m. five miles northeast of Edmond.

Geologists say quakes of magnitude 2.5 to 3.0 are generally the smallest that are felt by humans and that damage is not likely in earthquakes with magnitudes below 4.0. - WSET.

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.

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.

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. - USGS.

BEAST TECH: You'll Buy All Your Holiday Gifts With A Wave Of Your Hand Or The Scan Of Your Head Within Five Years - Banking Experts Predict This Beastly System Will Be The Global Business Model Within 60 Months!

November 30, 2014 - TECHNOLOGY
- The checkbook is dead. While we’re at it, let’s write an obit for card readers too.

And if you’ve ever worried about who might be looking over your shoulder at the ATM machine, or the exorbitant fee that money transfer will cost you, don’t fret.

In years to come — not even that many — these problems won’t even exist as the way we bank and control our finances will change vastly. It already has in many ways.

“We’re in this unprecedented space where technology is moving so quickly it’s starting to scare everyone,” said Gi Fernando, founder and investor of Free:Formers, a company which helps businesses and unemployed young adults with digital training.

“It’s sooner than you think,” said Fernando, who claims in five years from now the technology behind how we manage our banking and finances will be unrecognizable.

Here are five things you most likely won’t need in five years to keep your finances ticking along.

Pin numbers and card readers

As biometrics become the choice of more companies, outdated PIN numbers and clumsy card readers will be a thing of the past, said Fernando.

Fingerprints, retina readers, belt buckles, watches and even contact lenses will replace good old-fashioned pin numbers and card readers in our modern day transactions.

“We will see much more use of biometric data,” agrees Steven Lewis, global lead banking analyst at Ernst & Young. “Fingerprints and eye scanners will replace signatures and become more prevalent,” he said.

“For buying stuff it’s going to be pretty frictionless and seamless,” said Fernando, who described a scenario whereby shoppers walk into a store, pick up what they’re after, pay via their device or wearable, and walk out.

Banks — as you know them

Though there will continue to be physical banks, many of them won’t exist as we know them today. Some of them will appear in supermarkets, cafes and coffee shops, and in pop-up stores and concessions, says Fernando.

Like 14th-century coffee houses in Venetian society where business deals were done, these new banking environments will serve a similar purpose. “People have a need to meet face-to-face,” added Fernando.

So while there still will be bank branches, many of them will look and feel more like an Apple store, he suggests.

Cash and checks

There will always be cash despite what advocates of a cashless society may predict. It’s quick, easy, accepted almost anywhere and can keep your paper track simple.

“Cash will take longer to die out,” said Fernando. In the meantime, smartphones and contactless payment methods will grow in popularity as a way to purchase our groceries, clothes, train and bus tickets and more.

The same can’t be said of checks though. “Over the last few years, the check is pretty much dead,” said Lewis. “We’re using digital technology to transmit that check,” he said.

“We’re going to have a suite of different technologies. The early adopters will be very keen to use their phones. Others will still have cash, checks and cards,” added Lewis.

Traditional loans

Want to borrow money but your bank won’t provide the loan? Never fear, there are many different models of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending groups and websites who will lend money directly to individuals and businesses without going through a traditional financial institution.

Lending Club and Prosper are the two largest P2P lenders in the United States. They issued $2.4 billion in loans in 2013, up significantly from $871 million in 2012. And a recent report by venture capital firm Foundation Capital predicts the global market for P2P lending could be worth over $1 trillion by 2025.

Another example — Funding Circle, in the United Kingdom, is projecting massive growth. While banks still provide the majority of lending in the United Kingdom — over 85% — Funding Circle says it hopes to gain a large chunk of that market over the next five to 10 years.

“We’ve seen significant growth amongst P2P lenders over the last couple of years,” said Lewis. “Although they still represent only a tiny fraction of the overall lending market, their approach is beginning to shake up the traditional bank lending model — so much so that some banks are starting to partner with P2P lenders to offer greater choice to customers.”

Wire transfer companies

The days of trudging down to the bank or money transfer agent to send your hard-earned money back home or abroad may soon be over. Already there are a wide choice of companies online which offer money transfers with lower transaction fees — Transferwise, Kantox, CurrencyFair to name a few.

Social media could broaden the appeal, with financial services company Azimo letting users transfer money through Facebook, as well as via the Azimo website and app. While a commercial bank charges on average 12% to send remittances and a traditional transfer operator charges about 6.5%, Azimo says it charges only 2%.

Azimo is growing rapidly, doubling in size every two-and-a-half months, said the company’s CEO Michael Kent.”We estimate that about 98% of money transfers are still being conducted offline,” said Kent, “but with the numbers moving to us we see that changing rapidly and that there will soon be a tipping point as customers realize the cost savings and benefits that digital brings.”

It won’t be an immediate switch though, warns Lewis. “Certainly additional providers will increase competition, but we’re also seeing a number of banks be more restrictive in the money transfer space as they grapple with increasingly complex and punitive anti money-laundering regulations.” - FOX59.

SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Triple Bomb Blasts Nigeria Mosque - Kills 120 People, 260 Other Worshippers Injured!

Police officers stand near wreckage at a scene of multiple bombings at Kano Central Mosque November 28, 2014. (Reuters)

November 30, 2014 - NIGERIA
- Nigeria suffered one of its bloodiest terrorist attacks on Friday when three bombs exploded outside the Central Mosque in the northern city of Kano, killing at least 120 people.

The assault was timed to coincide with Friday prayers and the blasts injured another 260 worshippers.

No group has claimed responsibility, but the incident bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, a radical Islamist movement linked to al-Qaeda which has killed thousands of people in northern Nigeria and forced over a million to flee their homes.

The Emir of Kano, Mohammad Sanusi II, often attends prayers at the Central Mosque. An outspoken opponent of Boko Haram, he may have been an intended target. However, the Emir was believed to be in Saudi Arabia on Friday.

Three bombs detonated outside the Central Mosque in the heart of Kano as worshippers gathered. Eyewitnesses said that two devices exploded in the courtyard, while a third went off some distance away.

As the blasts tore through the crowd, gunmen opened fire with automatic weapons. "These people have bombed the mosque. I am face to face with people screaming," Chijjani Usman, one of the worshippers, told Reuters news agency.

Bomb detection security personnel inspect the wreckage of a car believed to be used in the bombing Photo: REUTERS

Another eyewitness, Aminu Abdullahi, said: “Two bombs exploded, one after the other, in the premises of the Grand Mosque seconds after the prayers had started.”

Mr Abdullahi told Agence France Press news agency: "A third one went off in a nearby road. The blasts were followed by gunshots by the police to scare off potential attacks."

Officials later said that over 92 bodies had been recovered from the scene.

With almost ten million people, Kano is the biggest city in northern Nigeria and the sixth largest in the Muslim world. This assault on the mosque was the most serious incident in Kano since January 2012, when Boko Haram killed over 200 people during simultaneous attacks on police stations and government offices across the city.

Mr Sanusi became Emir in June after being sacked as governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank. He was removed from that post for daring to expose corrupt transactions by the state oil company.

The Emir of Kano, Muhammed Sanusi II, leads evening prayers at Kano Central Mosque after inspecting the damage (REUTERS)

Unlike some Muslim leaders in northern Nigeria, he is an outspoken critic of Boko Haram. Earlier this month, Mr Sanusi said: “These people, when they attack towns, they kill boys and enslave girls. People must stand resolute.” He urged citizens of Kano to “acquire what they can to defend themselves” and “not wait for soldiers to protect them”.

Nigeria’s corrupt and ineffective army has proved itself incapable of dealing with Boko Haram. Britain is considering whether to send dozens of military trainers to assist the country’s hapless security forces.

But Kano’s heritage as a centre of commerce and Muslim scholarship – along with the city’s sheer size – once drew a succession of foreign dignitaries. As Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher visited Kano in 1988.

The Queen toured the city in 1956 and paid a visit to the Central Mosque, which was the target of Friday's attack. On that occasion, she was welcomed by Emir Mohammad I, the grandfather of Mr Sanusi. - Telegraph.

PARADIGM SHIFT: The Rise Of The BRICS, Precursors To The End Of The Petrodollar And Collapse Of The U.S. Corporation – China Overtakes Japan To Become The World's Second Largest Stock Market!

Reuters/Carlos Barria

November 30, 2014 - CHINA
- The capitalization of the Chinese stock market increased 33 percent in 2014 reaching $4.48 trillion, which makes the market second only to the US.

Japan’s stock market declined 3.2 percent to $4.46 trillion in 2013, according to Bloomberg analysts.

The Chinese market surge came hot on the heels of allowing foreign investors unprecedented access to mainland shares through the merger of the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges.

The decision to spur the Chinese economy has made the country an attractive investment. On November 21 the People's Bank of China reduced its key interest rate for the first time in two years.

Economists predict Chinese authorities will put in place additional measures to support the economy, which slowed to a five-year low in the third quarter this year.

The weakening of the yen against the dollar has played an important part in the falling capitalization of the Japanese market.

After Shinzo Abe’s tight monetary policy proved to be ineffective, the yen has seen a 10 percent decline in 10 months.

China had once been the world’s second largest stock market. In March 2011, it briefly surpassed Japan, which was hit by a devastating earthquake.

The disaster was accompanied by a sharp fall in stock market indices. - RT.

ICE AGE NOW: U.S. Polar Blast To Chill Millions From Minnesota To Texas - Has Already Dropped Temperatures By Nearly 60 DEGREES In Just 24 Hours!

November 30, 2014 - UNITED STATES - A fresh blast of frigid air and bone-chilling winds will continue to expand across the Plains and Midwest through Monday, hitting cities from Minneapolis to Chicago and Oklahoma City.

The frigid blast has already dropped temperatures nearly 60 degrees in a 24-hour period across parts of Montana Friday into Saturday. Some locales went from the mid-50s on Friday to nearly 10 below zero F.

The arctic chill will dive south and east through Monday, hitting Minneapolis, Chicago and Oklahoma City with sharply colder air and drastically plummeting temperatures.

Highs near 40 F in Minneapolis Saturday afternoon will be replaced by teens and single digits Sunday and Monday.

Bone-chilling winds will accompany the cold blast on Sunday, forcing afternoon RealFeel® temperatures into the single digits below zero. Chicago's RealFeels will sit in the single digits above zero throughout the day on Monday.

"This latest cold blast will not be nearly as wide-reaching or long lasting as the one that hit the country in the middle of November," said Meteorologist Mark Paquette. "The Plains and Midwest will be hit the hardest, while the Southeast will avoid much of the chill."

Oklahoma City will be near record highs in the 70s Sunday before highs plummet into the 30s for Monday. Winds will place RealFeel temperatures in the single digits around daybreak Monday.

Residents or visitors set to endure cold wave should prepare to dress warmly and limit any time outdoors. Those traveling home from Thanksgiving travels should put plenty of blankets in the car.

This is especially so across the northern Plains, where RealFeel temperatures will drop dangerously to 20 below zero F Sunday.

An arctic cold front slicing southward will be responsible for the cold wave.

The cold wave will not be accompanied by snow or ice for the most part. However, it may set the stage for an ice threat by midweek.

"Although the chill will not be as harsh across the Ohio Valley and Northeast, the cold air may set the stage for an icy mid- to late-week storm," added Paquette. Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski explains that a fast west-to-east flow across the nation next week will keep the coldest air out of the South but will lead to unsettled conditions in parts of the West, Midwest and Northeast. - AccuWeather.

WATCH: 130 Year Snow and Cold across Canada and USA.

MONUMENTAL SOLAR SYSTEM CHANGES: "Star Trek-Like Shields" - New Radiation Belt Protects Planet Earth From "Killer Electrons"; Scientist Says "It's An Extremely Puzzling Phenomenon"?!

Image by Andy Kale, University of Alberta

November 30, 2014 - SPACE
- Surrounded by radiation belts, Earth is being protected by an invisible shield that stops high-speed “killer electrons,” scientists have found after taking a closer look at the Van Allen belt 7,200 miles above our planet.

“Somewhat like the shields created by force fields on Star Trek that were used to repel alien weapons, we are seeing an invisible shield blocking these electrons,”
the study’s lead author, Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics explained. “It’s an extremely puzzling phenomenon.”

This previously unknown phenomenon has been discovered by probes aimed at examining the so-called Van Allen belts, zones of donut-shaped rings around our planet.

Until March 2013, scientists assumed there were only two belts, filled with high-energy electrons and protons, surrounding Earth.

However, a NASA-launched probe detected that there was a third belt in between the two.

The outer Van Allen belt is about 25,000 miles (40, 000 km) above the Earth, while the inner one can dip as low as 600 miles, close to the plasmasphere. The newly discovered barrier is 7,200 miles or 11, 500 km above Earth. But it seems to fluctuate in response to space weather.

These “killer electrons” travel at near light-speed of around 100,000 miles per second and are capable of damaging space electronics and can put astronauts in danger. But this third belt stops them from moving towards Earth’s atmosphere.

“It’s almost like these electrons are running into a glass wall in space,”
Baker said.

AFP Photo / NASA

Previously the team thought the electrons drifted into Earth’s upper atmosphere, where they were wiped out by air molecules.

Baker’s colleague on the study, co-author and associate director of MIT’s Haystick Observatory, John Foster, says: "It's like looking at the phenomenon with new eyes, with a new set of instrumentation, which give us the detail to say, 'Yes, there is this hard, fast boundary.'"

Scientists have also looked at a number of scenarios that could create and maintain such a barrier.

The team initially thought that the barrier was created by the Earth’s magnetic fields, which exist to send protons and electrons back and forth from one magnetic pole to another. It was mooted that Earth’s manmade communications could be creating some type of scattering effect.

Baker believes both explanations don’t hold any water and that the key to understanding the barrier will lie in closer, thorough studies of the Van Allen belts.

"I think the key here is to keep observing the region in exquisite detail, which we can do because of the powerful instruments on the Van Allen probes. If the sun really blasts Earth's magnetosphere with a coronal mass ejection (CME), I suspect it will breach the shield for a period of time,"
Baker adds.

His work was published in the November 27 issue of the journal Nature. - RT.

EXTREME WEATHER: Hurricane-Force Winds Whip Cody, Wyoming - Knocking Out Power, Breaking Windows!

November 30, 2014 - WYOMING, UNITED STATES
- The small town of Cody, Wyoming, was taken by surprise when hurricane-force winds whipped the area, causing power outages, uprooting a power pole and transformers and blowing out windows.

A neighborhood of about 100 homes experienced power outages that lasted for a few hours, the Associated Press reported.

Power was also cut to businesses and a streetlight downtown for four hours, according to the Cody Enterprise.

A 40-foot Colorado Spruce was downed on the Visitor Center, the Cody Enterprise also noted. Cody Mayor Nancy Tia Brown offered an update on the situtation, "We all have to be respectful of Mother Nature.

We’re taking care of everything as quickly as we can to make sure people are safe and comfortable."

The wind gusts the area experienced were powerful, as meteorologist Linda Lam described, “Chinook winds developed along parts of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains on Friday.

This strong downslope wind brought wind gusts of over 80 mph to some locations.

As the wind comes down the leeward side of the Rocky Mountains the dry air warms.

The warm and gusty winds ahead of an approaching cold front resulted in some record and near-record warm temperatures as well."

The winds were strong enough to knock out two storm windows in a home, the Associated Press said.

The winds also rattled the windows of city hall and interrupted its phone services, the Cody Enterprise reported.

Black Friday shoppers were inconvenienced as Walmart asked shoppers to return carts inside the store in order to avoid damage to cars parked outside, said the Cody Enterprise.

The highest wind gust reported was 117 mph near Clark, Wyoming, and the high wind warnings continue into Sunday for parts of Wyoming and Colorado. - TWC.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

CONTAGION: The Number Of Ebola Infections In West Africa Passes 16,000 And Death Toll Reaches Almost 7,000 - Over 1,000 New Deaths Reported In The LAST TWO DAYS; WHO Warns Figures May Be Significantly Underestimated!

A child suffering from the Ebola virus receives treatment in Makeni, Sierra Leone. Photograph: Tanya Bindra/AP

November 29, 2014 - WEST AFRICA
- The number of people with Ebola in west Africa has risen above 16,000, with the death toll from the outbreak reaching almost 7,000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.

The number of deaths is more than 1,000 higher than the figure issued by the WHO just two days ago, but it is thought to include deaths that have gone unreported in the weeks or months since the outbreak began.

Most of the new deaths were recorded in Liberia.

The WHO has warned that its figures could be a significant underestimation of the number of infections and deaths. Data from the outbreak has been patchy and the totals often rise considerably when backlogs of information are cleared. The latest confirmed data shows that almost half those known to have been infected with Ebola have died.

Meanwhile, two children tested for Ebola after arriving in Britain from Africa are not infected, Public Health England confirmed on Saturday. It said the overall risk to the public of the virus continued to be “very low”.

The children, whose ages and names have not been released, underwent precautionary tests in Newcastle for both the virus and malaria.

The outbreak has been centred on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. They account for the vast majority of the cases reported to date, with about three dozen cases elsewhere.

Liberia has recorded the highest number of cases and deaths, but the rate of infection is slowing there. The disease is now spreading fastest in Sierra Leone.

Mali has started recording infections after sick people crossed over from neighbouring Guinea. It has reported two new cases this week.

This outbreak has been the worst partly because it occurred in a highly mobile region, where Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone meet, and quickly spread to their respective capital cities.

Another UN agency, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, warned that families in the three countries were at risk of both malnutrition and under-nutrition.

Vincent Martin, of the FAO, said 70% of people interviewed in Sierra Leone had been eating only one meal a day since the outbreak, rather than two or three. Restrictions on movement had led to panic buying, food shortages and severe price hikes, the agency said.

The WHO said this week that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo had ended, as it did in Nigeria in late October.

Its guidelines state that a country can be declared free of the virus once 42 days have passed and no new cases have been detected. The 42 days represents twice the maximum incubation period for Ebola.

Scientists said on Thursday that progress towards creating an Ebola vaccine had been made. An experimental vaccine has triggered promising immune responses from 20 healthy volunteers in a preliminary trial, suggesting that it should protect against infection.

Trials of a device that can diagnose an Ebola infection within 15 minutes are about to start in Guinea. The test, which can analyse blood or saliva, is six times faster than those being used in west Africa. - The Guardian.

Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Worst Supercell Thunderstorm In Decades Hits Brisbane, Australia - Injures 39 People; 1 Month's Rainfall In Just AN HOUR; Widespread Destruction; Leaves Over $100 MILLION In Damage!

Carnage in Brisbane

November 29, 2014 - BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA
- Insurance companies are processing more than $27 million worth of initial damage claims after the supercell storm that tore through Brisbane.

But the state government estimates the final bill from Thursday's storm could top $100 million.

Brisbane has been left bruised and battered after the tempest swept across the city, packing wind gusts of up to 140km/h that drove hail the size of golf and tennis balls through roofs, windows and car windshields.

The winds - equivalent to a Category 2 cyclone - peeled roofs from homes and businesses, and toppled huge trees and powerlines across the city.

Parts of Brisbane received a month's rainfall in less then an hour.

The Insurance Council of Australia has declared the storm a catastrophic event, and Premier Campbell Newman has called in the army to help clean up.

About 100 personnel have been deployed from the Enoggera army barracks to clear main roads into the city and aid other aspects of the clean up.

At least 39 people were injured and 12 others taken to hospital.

Carnage in Brisbane

Radar image of the supercell storm that hit Brisbane. © Bureau of Meteorology

Overturned planes at Archerfield airports. © Twitter @C_K_7

Brisbane City Council’s list of suburbs affected by the storm.

A massive cleanup underway in Brisbane after yesterday's super cell storm.

The army called in to help clean up Brisbane.

Huge hail in Brisbane.

Nice little spring storm in Brisbane. Sorry for your Toyota neighbors.

Golf ball-sized hail storms hit glass buildings in Brisbane.

Brisbane storm pelts the Northside

But Premier Newman said none of the 39 were seriously injured, including those who needed hospital care.
"It was a terrible storm, but thankfully no one's been seriously injured or worse," Mr Newman said.

He said one of those injured was an ambulance officer who suffered cuts when a large hail stone smashed through the window of an ambulance while she was out on a job.

Insurance council spokesman Campbell Fuller said the timing of the storm, at peak hour, meant there was a lot of damage to cars because there were more on the roads.

But he said the size of the hail had also done a lot of damage to buildings.

"Not just roofs, also doors, windows and even the facades of buildings," he said.

One of the worst supercell storms Australia has seen

The Bureau of Meteorology said the storm, which hit Brisbane about 4pm on Thursday, was an extreme event and one of the worst supercell storms Australia had seen.

In addition to the hail and ferocious winds, it also dumped close to a month's worth of rain on some parts of the city in a very short period of time.

"We had 72mm of rainfall at Archerfield, over 60mm of that fell in about 20 minutes. Just to put that in context, the average rainfall out there is 78mm for the month of November," the bureau's weather services manager Richard Wardle told AAP.

WATCH: Roofs ripped, planes flipped - Worst storm in 10 years hits Brisbane.

"So pretty much the entire months' rainfall in about half an hour."

He said wind speeds were also extraordinary.

"We recorded wind gusts in excess of 140km/h at Archerfield where we've seen aeroplanes and helicopters overturned on the runway.

"Those sorts of wind gusts are the same strength as those experienced in a category two tropical cyclone, albeit they were felt in a much smaller area than what you would get in a cyclone wall." - SBS.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Ice Age Now - The Latest Reports Of Record Snowfall And Cold Temperatures As Global Cooling Trend Continues Toward A New Mini-Ice Age!

November 29, 2014 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of record snowfall and cold temperatures, as the global cooling trend continues, plunging planet Earth toward a new Mini-Ice Age.

Record snowfall in Pennsylvania; 11.2 inches recorded

© Review/Eric Hrin

The only thing area motorists could be thankful for Wednesday was safely reaching their destinations.

And for some, that didn't happen.

A pre-Thanksgiving snowstorm made roads a treacherous mess, sending vehicles slipping, sliding and some even overturning. The snow set a record.

As of 7:30 p.m. in Towanda, Wayne Vanderpool, National Weather Service Co-Op Observer, reported that he measured 11.2 inches of snow, "with it still snowing lightly."

He said it was "the most snow ever measured in Towanda on any November day, since records began back in 1895."

Also, Vanderpool said Wednesday's total set a 24-hour snowfall record for Nov. 26. The old record was 2.5 inches, which he said was set back in 1898.

The snow kept emergency responders busy with calls.

"It's all over the county," said Alan Painter, an assistant chief with the Troy Volunteer Fire Department. "The departments are getting called everywhere." Painter said that with all the snow, there was "no traction" on the roads.

On Wednesday night, Painter stood beside a truck that lay on its side, following a crash, with no injuries, that occurred on Route 14 in Troy Township. He said it was caused by the bad road conditions. A man, who was the only person in the truck, refused treatment.

"It's pretty slippery, a slippery snow," Painter said. "It's one of the early ones. People aren't used to it yet."

Painter said the crash was the third such one of the day, in which vehicles slid off the road.

Another crash Wednesday, just outside Troy Borough near the Williams propane tanks, on the opposite side of Route 6 in Troy Township, sent a car over an embankment. The Bradford County Firewire Facebook page listed 3:52 p.m. as the time of the call for a "vehicle off the roadway" in the area of Williams Tank Barn on Route 6 in Troy Township.

Meanwhile, on Route 414 in LeRoy Township, the Canton Volunteer Fire Department responded to a crash in which a truck overturned and landed on its roof. The call was received at 3:27 p.m., according to Bradford County Firewire.

Canton Fire Chief J. Scott May said no one was injured in the rollover crash. He said it was his guess that the bad road conditions caused the crash.

"They're terrible," he said of the roads.

The driver, a New Albany man who didn't want to be identified, said that he was following a Fed Ex truck, at 35 mph, before his own truck went over a ditch and flipped over.

State police at Towanda said incidents in which vehicles were slipping off the road, due to the snowy road conditions, were widespread Wednesday throughout the county.

Troy Borough Council President Krystle Bristol said the snow was "very slick" in the borough.

"The borough crew has been working nonstop to keep the roads clear and will continue to do so until it subsides," she said. "It's a very slick snow that is causing some accidents."

Borough Council Vice President Jennifer Malehorn, meanwhile, said "the guys have been out all day and will be out until the storm is finished. I know our guys are ready and more than willing to take care of the borough. In addition, the borough manager has been in communication throughout the day, so we know the status."

On Wednesday afternoon, Canton Police Chief Doug Seeley said the borough's street crew was doing a good job. He said four people were working on the borough streets.

He advised motorists to drive with caution, and have a safe and happy holiday.

A sign for a Thanksgiving Eve service in the borough had a message, noting it was canceled. It was the same story for a planned service in Granville Center.

Snow was everywhere in the county.

© Review/Eric Hrin
And if you didn't have to drive, you could appreciate the fun and beauty of the snow.

The Christmas tree at Canton Borough Hall was covered in a fresh coat of snow, giving it even more of a holiday look.

"I enjoy it, I don't mind snow," said Lindsay Rathbun, as she shoveled snow in Canton Wednesday afternoon. She said it puts a little damper on holiday travel, however. She had to cancel a trip to Maryland, because of the weather.

"They're slippery, but they're right on top of them," he commented.

The sign on the north edge of LeRaysville, along Route 467, stood almost covered in snow Wednesday. The bear mailbox holder outside the home of Chris and Martha Young of LeRaysville, meanwhile, was almost covered in snow as well.

The snow made an impression on employees of the LeRaysville Market: Sara Button, who had been shoveling; Traci Johnson; Krista Histand; and Sarah Mast.

"It's beautiful!" Krista said of the snow. "That's all I care about." She also heard a man say it was a "good day for penguins."

In Stevensville, Maria Hoover and her son Isaiah Hoover, 7, put the finishing touches on a "snow cat."

"We have a solid four to five inches up here already, and it's still coming down hard," said Mallory Babcock of Armenia Mountain, at 3:07 p.m. Wednesday.

"It looks the start of winter."

"I love getting it," she added. "I think it's a difficult time to have it right before Thanksgiving, because people are traveling, that's the bad part of it."

"We've had quite a few cars in ditches on Fallbrook Road," Babcock said.

She said PennDOT workers had to come up, with chains on their vehicles, and clean the road. - The Daily Review.

Nearly 150,000 Still Without Power in New England After Pre-Thanksgiving Snowstorm

The pre-Thanksgiving storm across the Northeast downed tree limbs and power lines across the region, knocking out power to thousands.
(Twitter/Central Maine Power)

Thousands of people across New England had to spend their evening in darkness this Thanksgiving, as a powerful Northeast snowstorm wiped out electricity across the region on Wednesday.

As of 11:15 a.m. Friday morning, 109,000 of people served by the Public Service of New Hampshire remained without power, according to the utility.

An additional 8,900 people in the state served by Unitil were also experiencing outages.

The company encouraged those experiencing outages to seek other arrangements for their Thanksgiving meals.

"While we will be continuing to restore, customers without power this morning should make alternative plans if possible for their holiday dinner," Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O'Meara said Thursday.

"Once the damage assessment phase is complete, we'll have a clear picture as to how long it will take to restore power to all customers, but it is clear we will be working through Thanksgiving in Concord," O'Meara said.

WATCH: Many without power after snowstorm.

In neighboring Maine, the problem is similar. The combination of heavy snow on power lines and car accidents resulting in downed utility poles had left more than 100,000 people served by Central Maine Power in darkness.

By late Friday morning, the utility reported that more than 21,000 remained without power across the state.

"The heavy, wet snow that started around midday has built up on roads, tree limbs and power lines, causing numerous outages across our service area," said Gail Rice, spokesperson for Central Maine Power in a press release Wednesday.

"We know people are eager to get power back, or get an estimate on restoration time, so they can move ahead with Thanksgiving plans. But with widespread storm damage, and snow still creating difficult travel and working conditions for crews, we're not able to provide restoration estimates yet," Rice said.

Though the snow retreated for most areas early Thursday, temperatures through Saturday will hover at or below freezing, preventing much of the snow from melting.

Additional outages may amount as the heavy snow lingers, testing the strength of tree limbs and power lines throughout the region.

The chilly air will also make it more of a struggle for residents who rely on electric heat. - AccuWeather.

U.S. Great Lakes ice cover develops earliest in over 40 years

Here's what Lake Michigan looked like in February 2014. © Chris Clark/

Ice is already starting to develop on Michigan's Great Lakes. This is the earliest ice on some of the Great Lakes in at least 40 years. According to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, on November 20, 2014, three of Michigan's Great Lakes had ice starting to form. Lake Superior and Lake Michigan were one-half percent ice covered, while Lake Huron had one percent ice. Lake Erie was not reporting any ice as of Nov. 20, 2014.

Decent early season ice coverage records date back to 1973. Last Friday was the earliest date that all three Great Lakes already had ice since the better reporting of early season ice began. Lake Superior actually had ice forming on November 15th of this year. That is the earliest ice on Lake Superior in the good data set.

Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron had ice 10 days earlier this year than last year. Lake Superior only had five and a half months without any ice on the lake.


Surprise! Submarine drone finds Antarctic ice a lot thicker than previously thought

© Still from YouTube video/AntarcticSurvey

A new type of 3D mapping revealed Antarctic sea ice could be much thicker than previously estimated, shows a study done with the help of a yellow robotic submarine named SeaBed.

The new study, published in Nature Geoscience, showed that average ice thickness in Antarctica is between 1.4 meters and 5.5 meters. The maximum thickness recorded was 17 meters.

Also, 76 percent of the mapped ice has been tagged as 'deformed,' the study stated, which means that ice crashed together, forming a thicker layers of ice.

"Our surveys indicate that the floes are much thicker and more deformed than reported by most drilling and ship-based measurements of Antarctic sea ice," states the study. "We suggest that thick ice in the near-coastal and interior pack may be under-represented in existing in situ assessments of Antarctic sea ice and hence, on average, Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought."

SeaBed robot has been involved in two expeditions in Antarctica with scientists from the UK, the US and Australia. The yellow robot is an autonomous underwater vehicle (or AUV) equipped with upward-looking sonar to measure and map the underwater sea ice.

WATCH: Underwater robot maping Antarctic sea ice.

The two-meter robot moved in a "lawnmower" pattern so as not to miss any areas and bounced sound waves off the under-surface of the ice to make its estimates.

Two expeditions took place in 2010 and 2012 and included regions of Weddell, Bellingshausen, and Wilkes Land.

Overall, an area of 500,000 meters squared was analyzed by members of the British Antarctic Survey, the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) in Tasmania and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US.

Before the discovery, ice thickness in Antartica could only be measured through the ice breaking ships, which usually stay around the thinner ice regions.

The revelations represent a breakthrough in the field, The Guardian quoted co-author of the study and a member of IMAS, Dr. Guy Williams, as saying.

"Sea ice is an important indicator of the polar climate but measuring its thickness has been tricky," said Williams. "Along with the satellite data, it was a bit like taking an X-ray of the ice, although we haven't X-rayed much of it, just a postage stamp."

"The key thing is that this is a game changer because it was previously very challenging to measure ice depth. We were limited to visual observation from the decks of ships or ice cores and take measures." - RT.

Minnesota reports subzero temperatures; coldest Thanksgiving since 1930

 Minnesotans woke up to subzero temperatures on Thanksgiving Day, and if the mercury doesn't make it up into the double digits, the day could be one for the record books.

As of 8 a.m., it was 2 below in the Twin Cities, and 20 below in Bemidji, in northern Minnesota.

St. Cloud, MN  © Marcia LeVine


Meteorologist Matt Brickman is forecasting a high Thursday afternoon of 10 degrees. And if temperatures don't rise higher than that, it will be the coldest Thanksgiving since Herbert Hoover was president, in 1930.

Snow will fall during the night in some areas, followed on Friday by the possibility of freezing rain.  - CBS Minnesota.

–52C in Siberia: Over 70 passengers 'push' frozen plane to runway

The temperatures in Igarka were 52C below zero (Screenshot from

Freezing temperatures didn’t stop intrepid passengers from “helping out” a Russian plane that couldn’t move, because its wheels were frozen to the ground. The "selfie" won the day in a remote Siberian town beyond the Arctic Circle.

74 passengers, who were on board, offered the seven-member crew and technical staff to help move the frozen Tupolev Tu-134 plane to the takeoff runway on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the UTair company told TASS.

The passengers disembarked to lighten the weight, and then they volunteered to move it,” she said.

WATCH: Over 70 passengers 'push' frozen plane to runway.

The temperatures in Igarka, in the Krasnoyarsk region, hit a low of about -52C. Locals, living some 163 km north of the Arctic Circle, are quite used to cold weather, but machines turn out to be more delicate.

Having spent over 24 hours on the tarmac, the airplane’s wheels simply froze to the ground. However, the brake system wasn’t harmed. According to the company, the ice-covered ground was the reason the plane couldn’t be moved. The incident is currently under investigation, and will involve airport staff, the airline, crew and passengers.

The passengers of the charter flight were rotation workers, heading to Krasnoyarsk. They didn’t regard their activity as anything outstanding. There just was no other way for the plane to take off, they said.

“Planted a tree, built a house, pushed a plane,”
goes a new joke, referring to the three vital actions of a real Russian man, which also includes having a son, according to a local TV.

Nonetheless, the director of the local airport said that “The passengers – rotation workers – must have decided to make some sort of a ‘selfie’. The joke proved right and became a good one in the internet.”

He was doubtful whether people could actually move a 70-ton aircraft. This was backed by the prosecutor’s words, who added that it would be hard to reach its two-meter-high wings, and if you did manage, the cover and flaps could get damaged.

The plane successfully made it to Krasnoyarsk, albeit it with a little delay. - RT.

Thanksgiving Weekend Travel: Icy Spots in Northeast; Stormy in the West

As millions return home from Thanksgiving this weekend, icy roads will be a hazard in part of the Northeast. An onslaught of storms, bringing snow and rain, will disrupt travel in the West.

Watch for Icy Spots in the Northeast

While drier and milder weather will arrive across the Northeast this weekend, refreezing of melted snow remains a concern.

A winter storm plastered the region with piles of wet snow Wednesday and Wednesday night. The storm knocked out power to more than 300,000 customers in the Northeast at the height of the storm. Thousands remained in the dark on Thanksgiving.

As milder weather reaches the snow-packed Northeast, the snow will melt during the day.

"Wet and water-logged roads and sidewalks will freeze up at night this weekend, creating dangerous travel conditions in the region," said Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

The icy roads will be the most prevalent travel threat this weekend, especially across the interior.

"Travel during the daytime hours will be much safer," said Anderson.

Those traveling at night or around dawn this weekend should be prepared for slick spots.

The snowmelt could bring standing water across low-lying and poor drainage areas, but any flooding should be isolated.

A few brief rain showers and even a few flurries will be found over the interior this weekend, but there will be no widespread weather-related threats to ground or air travel.

Wet Weather to End Weekend From Ohio Valley to Lower Lakes

For people heading home late in the weekend into Monday, milder air and moisture sweeping northward ahead of a cool front will lead to some rain in part of the Midwest to the central Appalachians.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, "Motorists will encounter wet roads at times in the swath from Evansville, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky, to Cincinnati, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo, New York, Sunday into Monday."

"Allow extra stopping distance between vehicles on the wet roadways."

The air may turn cold enough to allow some wet snow to mix in at the tail end on Monday in parts of northern Indiana to western New York.

Snow, Freeze-Up for Northern Rockies; Rain to Dampen California

Snow will slow travel across Montana and the northern Rockies, while periods of rain will soak northern California this weekend.

A push of cold air will usher in periods of snow for the northern Rockies and much of Montana this weekend.

Travelers on Interstates 90 and 15 should anticipate snow-covered roadways as several inches of snow piles up in the region. Some passes through the Rockies may become closed for a time.

Drier weather will settle into the region on Sunday, but frigid weather will keep snow and ice on many roads.

The cold weather may even bring some wintry weather across the Pacific Northwest.

"There will be a bit of snow and colder weather in Seattle and Portland during early Saturday," AccuWeather Western Weather Expert Ken Clark said. "There may be some slick roads in spots."

Farther south, periods of rain will visit northern California this weekend, including San Francisco. The rain will make roads slick as it combines with oil buildup, including I-5 from Redding to Sacramento, California, as well.

The rain will not be heavy though, so incidents of flooding and disruptions to air travel should be limited.

Mild, Dry in the South

An expansive area of dry and rather mild weather will encompass nearly the entirety of the southern United States. Sunshine will prevail for the most part as highs soared into the 70s and 80s. - AccuWeather.

Britain to be colder than Moscow with -5°C forecast as flooding hits south east England

© Matthew Hartley
Many Brits woke up to their first winter frost this morning - as more flood warnings were issued for parts of the country. Forecasters are predicting more of the same tonight, with the mercury set to dip as low as -5C in central Scotland and gritters on alert up and down the country, compared to -4C in Moscow.

Central Britain and Scotland is also braced for a blanket of freezing fog tonight before a misty and frosty start to tomorrow morning. Flash floods hit parts of the of the South East of England last night with some roads transformed into rivers by a huge downpour with many areas receiving up to an inch of rain.

In London, the fire brigade tackled 34 separate flooding incidents. The River Ravensbourne in Lewisham, south-east London, burst its banks and water poured on to surrounding roads affecting an area of around 1,800 square metres, the London Fire Brigade said.

Around 21 firefighters and officers pumped the water away from homes and businesses in the area and back into the river but further downstream.

More wet weather is expected with The Environment Agency putting 10 flood warnings in place in England and Wales yesterday - all in the Anglian area.

The agency also issued 65 flood alerts, including 26 in the Anglian area and 28 in the South East.

Flood warnings mean flooding is expected and immediate action required; flood alerts mean flooding is possible and people should be prepared.

Rain is expected to return on Wednesday.

Weather forecasters have also warned that this week's cold spell could herald a snowy and cold winter.

Piers Corbyn, forecaster for Weather Action, said early signals warn of a severe cold snap hitting as soon as next month.

He said: "There are significant cold and snow blasts expected during December thanks to air being allowed to flood in from the Arctic region.

"This is due to a meandering jet stream which is currently blocking this cold flow of air, however a major change will see a dramatic turnaround with sustained cold and snow likely.

"People should be aware of the strong likelihood for disruption, especially as it is still mild so there may be a false sense of security."

James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, added: "A much anticipated colder and more wintry spell of weather is likely as we progress throughout the latter part of November and into December."

However Met Office forecaster Laura Young disputed warnings of a cold snap.

She said: "Actually what we are seeing is an end to what has been a very warm and wet autumn and the return to more normal temperatures for this time of year.

"Many places are likely to reach 13c still with an average across Britain of 9.9c which is actually not bad for this time of year."

The chilly warnings come as the United States is crippled by a major whiteout which killed seven people.

Jim Dale, forecaster for British Weather Services, said: "It is not quite cold enough yet for that to happen but it is getting colder, especially after the mild weather we have seen and what we are expecting is not linked to what is happening in the United States.

"The change is really down to this battleground between high and low pressure, it is a classic situation resulting in mild quickly followed by cold conditions."

Tuesday's UK forecast: A cold and frosty start for most with low cloud, mist and fog which will be slow to lift. Then, it is going to be rather cloudy with rain spreading north into southern and central parts of England. There will also be patchy rain for western and southern Scotland and Northern Ireland. - Daily Mirror.

2015-2035 Mini-Ice Age

WATCH: Winter Wheat Kill-Off From Extreme Cold in November.

WATCH: Record Ice Halts Shipping on Mississippi River.

WATCH: 140 Year Cold in Florida are the Manatees Migrating?

- Adapt 2030.

DISASTER PRECURSORS: Omen – The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior, Mass Animal Die-Offs, Appearance Of Rare Creatures And Warnings From Mother Nature!

November 29, 2014 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Pygmy sperm whale found dead on Anglesey beach, Wales

Gwynedd Council worker Rhys Jones found the young pygmy sperm whale at Dinas Dinlle beach, a week after it had been refloated by rescuers.

A whale that was rescued and freed back into the sea last week has died.

The young pygmy sperm whale was spotted washed up on a beach at Dinas Dinlle today, opposite Newborough beach where it was originally found stranded and rescued, last Thursday, November 20.

It was discovered by Gwynedd council worker Rhys Jones.

A post-mortem will be carried out by the government's Marine Environmental Monitoring body to try to find out what caused the animal's death.

Dr Peter Evans, Director of the Seawatch Foundation, said it was not surprising that the whale had died.

"They have been found increasingly in European waters in the past few years because of climate change.

"It's probably come across from deeper waters into shallower waters.

"It's very sad news as it's only the second strand in Wales of such a rare species."

Last week, the Daily Post reported how volunteers from Sea Watch Foundation found the male mammal stranded at Newborough beach.

They were joined by members of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), coastguards and RSPCA who carried the male mammal from the sand and back into the sea.

There had been fears the whale would strand itself again. - Daily Post.

Manatee from Florida makes rare visit to Texas waters

The manatee is expected to be taken to Sea World San Antonio or a Marine Mammal facility in Galveston.

Authorities in Texas said they are working on a plan to assist an unusual visitor -- the first manatee to visit the Houston area in 19 years.

The Chambers County Sheriff's Office said a deputy spotted the male manatee swimming up a channel Sunday near Baytown and barriers were put in place once the sea mammal settled in a spot next to a warm water outlet.

Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said waters in the area are too cold for manatees this time of year.

"The cold water makes them stressed, it makes them really tired, just like if you or I were out in a snowstorm," he told the Houston Chronicle.

WATCH: Manatee from Florida makes rare visit to Texas waters.

Experts said they were able to identify the manatee using the scar patterns on his back. They said the animal usually spends his time in Tampa, Fla., and they are not sure why he made the swim to the Houston area.

Heidi Whitehead, operations coordinator at the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, said her group is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Sea World San Antonio on a plan to relocate the sea cow before temperatures drop too much.

"He's already showing some signs of cold stress so that is a concern," Whitehead said. "Once the water temperature drops below 68 degrees it's too cold for them to survive. It is necessary for us to relocate it."

Whitehead said the manatee could be pulled from the water before the end of the day Tuesday and will be taken to Sea World if it is found to be in good health or a Marine Mammal facility in Galveston if it requires urgent care.

"We will decide how critical he is once we get him out," Whitehead said.

A manatee was previously rescued from waters near Corpus Christi in 2007. The animal was returned to Florida. - UPI.

Thousands of fish die in fish cages in Wonogiri Regency, Indonesia

The fish were cultured in floating cages in Gajah Mungkur (WGM) died on Wednesday (11/26/2014). The death of thousands of fish affected the
change of seasons or transition that resulted in depleted oxygen content. (Bony Eko Wicaksono / Jibi / Solopos)

Erratic weather conditions at the turn of the season lead to the death of 35 tons of fish were cultured in floating cages Aquafarm Nusantara PT Gajah Mungkur (WGM)

Earlier, thousands of fish die in mid-November.
The majority of fish are farmed tilapia and catfish types. Death of fish in floating cages WGM an annual cycle when the transition.
A manager WGM floating cages fish meal, Slamet, said dead fish found floating cages in 16 Aquafarm Nusantara PT in just a day.

"Water reservoirs shrink despite the rain since a few days ago.
Significantly, the oxygen content in the water to thin, "he said when met, Wednesday (11/26/2014).

According to him, dead fish directly buried in the surrounding area and away from the area WGM floating cages.

A farmer floating fish cages WGM, Wardiman, the number of dead fish belonging to farmers was reduced compared to some time ago.
At that time, the number of dead fish 1-2 tons / day.

Typically, this condition will expire after the reservoir water levels back to normal.

According to him, the death of fish this year is comparable to similar conditions in some previous years.
At that time, the number of dead fish reached more than 30 tons.

"If the number of dead fish is only about 10-20 tons is still relatively mild.
Usually more than 30 tons when entering the transition, "he explained. - Solopos. [Translated]

15,000 birds dead, 200,000 to be killed due to avian flu in Kerala, India

India has found two outbreaks of a highly contagious bird flu virus in the southern state of Kerala, prompting the authorities to cull more than 200,000 birds, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Tuesday.

The virus itself killed about 15,000 infected ducks in Kottayam and another 500 in nearby Alappuzha, the first cases of the disease in the country since February this year, the Paris-based OIE reported on its website, citing data submitted by the Indian ministry of agriculture.

The report said the animals died of an H5 strain of the flu virus but did not specify the exact variant.

Germany, the Netherlands and Britain have been hit this month by the H5N8 bird flu strain which has devastated flocks in Asia, mainly South Korea, earlier this year but has never been detected in humans.

Another strain, the feared H5N1, can be fatal to humans. It caused the deaths of nearly 400 people and hundreds of millions of poultry after it spread from Asia into Europe and Africa in 2005-2006.

"This is not a rare event," OIE Director General Bernard Vallat told Reuters. "India regularly reports cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild and domestic birds."

"The problem in this case is that they have not been able to determine which variant yet, whether it is the same as the one in Korea and elsewhere."

Over 200,000 birds were being culled in the villages where the outbreaks were found and an intensive surveillance campaign had been launched in a 10 km radius around the area to ensure that the virus did not spread further, the Indian ministry said it its report.

Since 2006 India has culled 6.4 million birds due to bird flu, Vallat said, adding that the latest outbreaks were not a particular cause for concern. - Reuters.

Over 30 dead or dying crows found in Portland parks, Oregon

About 30 dead crows were found in downtown Portland parks, Nov. 26, 2014. © K0IN 6 News

ODFW will conduct necropsies, Audobon Society helping to investigate

About 30 dead crows were found along the Willamette River waterfront and some Portland parks, and officials don't have any idea at this time what caused their deaths.

Several crows were seen suffering seizures and flopping on the ground at Waterfront Park, police said, and several dead crows were seen nearby. Other dead crows were found around Chapman and Lownsdale Square parks and the Lovejoy Fountain.

PPB Sgt. Roger Axtelm said the bureau "had a number of phone calls from citizens calling about the blackbirds that were down and apparently ill. Some were deceased."

A few of the birds were alive but in bad shape. Bob Sallinger with the Portland Audobon Society said the ones still alive "were convulsing."

WATCH: Dozens of dead crows found in Portland parks.

He said they don't know what caused them to die, "but it's very possible they got into some kind of toxin. The birds that I took a look at already looked very healthy, good body condition. Good feather condition. They died suddenly from something."

Portlanders who spoke with KOIN 6 News, like Hunter Hesslink, were more than a little curious about the bird deaths.

"I don't think it's healthy at all to be around dead crows," Hesslink said. "I don't think that's safe, and birds carry diseases. So I think they should look into it, at least."

Sallinger said there is no real reason to worry. "As a member of the public, I would not be concerned."

But he said if you see a dead crow, don't touch it. Call the Audobon Society.

He also said it's too early to tell if the birds died a natural death or if it was intentional.

ODFW will conduct necropsies on each of the birds. Anyone coming across dead crows in Portland parks should not move them and should call the Park Ranger Hotline at 503.823.1637.

"Sometimes these things remain mysteries. There are some obvious things that you look for, but it can be a needle in a haystack," Sallinger said. - KOIN.

Third elephant attack within 3 days in Sri Lanka: Two killed in jumbo attack

Two men were killed in a wild elephant attack on Monday night at Ellakattuwa,

The deceased were A. Gunadasa (65) and P. G. Sambarana (62).

The Wildlife officials said that the elephant had emerged from the jungles of Nochchiyagama and moved to Malwathu Oya after killing the two persons.

A team of Wildlife officials had moved to the area to capture the elephant and relocate it, the officials said.

Source: NP

- The Island.

Dozens of bird corpses wash up on Monterey beach, California

Birds recently began washing up on Monterey Municipal Beach.

Over the past few days, the tide has brought in more than just kelp.

Recently, observant beachgoers have reported dozens of bird corpses along the high-water mark of several local beaches. On Wednesday morning, there were over four dozen dead seabirds along a 1.5-mile stretch of Monterey Municipal Beach, including Cassin's auklets, western grebes, northern fulmars and murres.

Seabirds can die during fall migration if they are too old, weak or malnourished. Also, warm near-shore waters may have decreased local populations of krill, a common food for seabirds, according to Raphael Kudela, professor of ocean sciences at UC Santa Cruz. Occasional algal blooms can also kill seabirds.

The causes of death of the birds spotted Wednesday were not known. But, dead seabirds are not an unusual feature of Monterey-area shorelines during autumn, experts with the Audubon Society and the Monterey County chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said.

"This appears to be one of those things that can happen every year around this time," said Jessica Shipman, a spokeswoman with the Monterey County SPCA. - Monterey Herald.

Dog attacks on people triple over a year in Queenstown, New Zealand

DANGEROUS: The number of dog listed as 'menacing' in Queenstown is on the rise. © John Kirk-Anderson

Roaming dogs, the number of menacing dogs and attacks on people are on the rise in Queenstown.

The number of attacks on people increased from six in the 2012/13 financial year to 19 in the last period.

The number of dogs classed as "menacing" more than doubled from eight to 19,
while the number of infringement notices for failing to keep a dog under control leapt from 17 to 37.

Councillors will consider a dog control report during a Queenstown Lakes District Council meeting today.

Council regulatory manager Lee Webster said there was a small increase in the number of dogs registered in the district but the increased number of attacks may also be due to more reporting.

"Over the last year we have seen an increase in the overall number of attacks [on people and animals] from 24 to 46 which has generated significant demand for the animal control service," the report said.

Webster said the increases could be attributed to a combination of changes.

"We've had a small increase in the number of registered dogs. That's only going to increase as we move forward with development in Queenstown and Wanaka.

"Maybe it's more reporting and the attack levels have been the same. People know the council are going to action it. It's a significant increase [in attacks], we have had more attacks on people, thankfully not a huge number. That's still a significant number of attacks, which we don't want."

Overall, across the district the number of registered dogs increased to 3874 and the number of complaints increased by 21 per cent to 900. The increase in complaints continued a trend over the last three years, the council said.

The biggest problem were roaming dogs, prompting 337 complaints.

In the Wakatipu, the council record shows 21 menacing dogs on the register, including two American pitbull types. Of the attacks on people this year, four were classed as serious.

Source: The Southland Times

- Stuff.

Stranded long-finned pilot whale died from starvation on Essex coast, UK

The first long-finned pilot whale to beach in the southern North Sea for 22 years died from starvation, post-mortem tests have found.

The whale, among a 40-strong pod seen along the East Anglian coast, washed up near Goldhanger, Essex, on Thursday afternoon.

Marine experts successfully encouraged most of the whales from the shallow Blackwater Estuary into deeper waters.

But one - a 2.18m female - was found dead.
The whale was found on a beach with "partial rigor mortis", said cetacean experts

The pilot whales became distressed after an ebb tide resulted in shallower waters off Brightling sea

Rescue teams began their operation after the pod was spotted on Tuesday

Rob Deaville, cetacean strandings programme manager at ZSL, said the whale was found on a beach with "partial rigor mortis".

"[This] indicates that the whale is likely to have died that morning, possibly around the time that the pod of whales was observed up the Blackwater River near Osea Island," he said.

"The whale had stranded alive before dying on the beach."

Tests showed the whale was in "very poor nutritional condition" with "no significant evidence of recent feeding".

He said: "The most likely cause of stranding and death at this stage is starvation, although we are waiting for the results from follow-up tests, including several to determine whether the animal had an underlying infection."
Some 12,000 cetacean strandings have been recorded in the UK since 1990.

Mr Deaville said: "In that time, only one long-finned pilot whale has been recorded stranded on the UK coast in the southern North Sea - a single individual in Norfolk in 1992 - indicating how unusual this event is."

The pod of whales has been off the Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex coastlines in recent weeks.  - BBC.

Grey seals kill porpoises and could attack humans, Dutch scientists warn

Grey Seal bulls fight at sunset near the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust's Donna Nook nature reserve in Grimsby.  © Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Swimmers have been warned to keep clear of grey seals after scientists discover that they attack and kill porpoises

Grey seals may be a danger to swimmers after scientists discovered they were responsible for the widespread slaughter and mutilation of North Sea porpoises.
Wildlife experts have long been divided over what caused the horrific injuries seen on the bodies of hundreds of beached harbour porpoises. Some blamed boat propellers while others claimed the animals had become entangled in fishing nets and left at the mercy of scavengers.

Now DNA analysis of their injuries has led to an intriguing conclusion. It seems they are regularly attacked and killed by grey seals which tear strips of nutritious blubber from their bodies.

And scientists have warned that the seals could target human swimmers in a similar way.

Over the past decade more than one thousand severely scarred and wounded porpoises have washed up on North Sea coastlines.

"A substantial proportion of harbour porpoises that stranded on the Dutch coast were mutilated by grey seals," said lead researcher Mardik Leopold of the Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies in The Netherlands.

"Most cases involved active killing and that only a small proportion can be attributed to post-mortem scavenging. This makes predation by grey seals one of the main causes of death in harbour porpoises currently stranding in The Netherlands.

"Many of the mutilated porpoises were found on Dutch shores used frequently by human bathers and surfers and there would appear to be no reason why humans may not be at risk from grey seal attacks."

Grey seals can grow to nearly 11ft in length and weigh 880lbs. There are large colonies in UK waters including at Donna Nook in Lincolnshire, the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast, Ramsey Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire as well as large populations on the Scottish islands of Orkney and North Rona.

Although only a few mutilated porpoises have ever washed up onto British shores, experts say it could be just a matter of time before the behaviour becomes widespread, and pose a real danger to humans.

"Very few have been found, and recognised for what they are, in the UK," added Mr Leopold.

"Yet, most grey seals live in Scotland, and so do many porpoises, and we know that grey seals sometimes swim from the UK to the Continent.

"It could be just a matter of time, of course as this behaviour is now very common here."

Researchers looked back at images of 1,081 dead porpoises which washed up between 2003 and 2013. Of the 721 animals which were fresh enough to look for marks, some 25 per cent showed visible signs of attack by grey seals. They were also compared to three porpoises which had seal DNA in their wounds. The bites and scratches were found to match.

The scientists estimate that at least 17 per cent of animals washed up on shore were killed by the seals adding that many more bodies are likely to have been lost at sea or eaten completely.

Richard Harrington, of the Marine Conservation Society said: "Grey seals can be very territorial and we would always tell people not to approach them. Scuba divers often report being approached by seals.

"I have never heard of any attacks on bathers but you can't rule it out.

"We have had lots of reports of carcasses of harbour porpoises where we have been unable to explain their deaths or their condition and this report gives a feasible explanation."

The authors suggest that grey seals may have originally scavenged the bodies of porpoises which had become entangled in fishing nets and drowned, before moving to actually hunting the animals.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said swimmers should take care when in the water near seals.

"While we would urge people not to be unduly concerned by this study, it is important for people to remember that seals are wild animals and are therefore by their nature unpredictable.

"We would advise members of the public to be cautious around them however its unlikely these animals would pose an immediate threat to humans in the sea.

"Generally, seals do not directly interact with people and are naturally wary of humans. Like many other members of British wildlife they shun human contact.

"If a member of the public find a seal in distress we would urge them to contact rescue organisations such as ourselves where trained handlers can respond."

The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
- Telegraph.

Man injured in wild boar attack in Yamaguchi, Japan

A 71-year-old man was injured by a wild boar while walking near his home in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, police said Monday.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 4 p.m. Sunday. TBS reported that the man suffered injuries to his head, arms and legs.

The boar fled into the garden of a nearby house. About 20 hunters and police captured and destroyed it two hours later.

Police said the boar was 1.2 meters long and weighed about 100 kilograms. - Japan Today.

One person dies and another injured in jumbo attack, India

Elephant charging. © Satish Hanumantha Rao

One person was killed and another injured in an elephant attack on Tuesday evening near Heggadde in Sakleshpur taluk, in the Kempuhole reserve forest area.

The deceased has been identified as Yuvaraj (45) and the injured as Manjaiah (60). The two persons had gone into the forest in search of their cattle when they were attacked by the elephant. While the latter, who fell unconscious, returned to the village later, the former did not. The villagers, who went in search of him on Wednesday morning, recovered his body.

Deputy Conservator of Forests Ganesh S. Bhat told The Hindu on Wednesday that the officers were waiting for the injured person to recover to know how the incident happened. Mr. Majaiah is being treated at Sakleshpur hospital.

The department has not announced compensation for the death. "Since the incident happened in the forest limits, an inquiry has to be conducted to release compensation. The officers will look into why he went into the forest," the officer said. The State government gives a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh to the family of those killed by wild animals. The first instalment of Rs. 2 lakh is paid on the day of the incident if there are no disputes.

The residents of Sakleshpur kept Yuvaraj's body on Bengaluru-Mangaluru Road and staged a protest. They demanded that the government provide compensation to the family immediately. The protesters blocked vehicles on the road for more than an hour. Mr. Bhat said he would take an unbiased decision on the compensation soon after the inquiry was done. - The Hindu.

Temple mutt elephant tramples mahout to death in India

Elephant Maloloan that trampled 21-year-old Ganesan. © Deccan Chronicle

An elephant reared in a temple mutt at Tambaram on Wednesday trampled its mahout. The 21-year-old animal keeper, who joined as the assistant mahout early this month, died at a private hospital."He is 18 years old and had always been an obedient animal. The untoward incident was an accidental reflex action after victim R. Ganesan stepped on the foot of jumbo, while making an attempt to chain the pachyderm. The elephant misjudged Ganesan as some strange object and kicked him", explained eyewitness M. Sivarajan, mahout of Malolan.

"Ganesan joined us recently for a salary of Rs10,000 and was performing as Kaavadi (assistant to mahout). He was taking back the jumbo to its enclosure after the routine morning prayers, "Sivarajan added.Meanwhile, forest department has begun investigations on the animal behaviour and dispatched its Vandalur zoo veterinarian Thirumurugan.

"The animal is healthy and obedient, but the cause of its behaviour is yet to be ascertained. Anti stress prescriptions have been advised for the elephant and it is free from musth", the veterinarian said.

According to Ahobila mutt sources the pachyderm was bought in 2002 from Kerala. This is the first rude behaviour and the animal is usually confined to in-house temple rituals.

Selaiyur police has registered a case of unnatural death and the body sent for postmortem.

"Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) had been campaigning for the ban on elephants at all religious places. And it's time we understood the consequences of domesticating a wild animal," said animal behaviorist F.M. Jerold, animal welfare officer, AWBI. - Deccan Chronicle.

Wildlife officials search for tiger in Russia following rare attack on hunter

Human attacks by Amur tigers are extremely rare, according to the statement.  © Wikicommons

Wildlife officials in the Russian Far East are on a mission to track down a tiger believed to have mauled a 75-year-old hunter to death.

Pavel Fomenko, the coordinator of the Amur branch of the World Wildlife Fund, said in an online statement Monday that tracks near the man's body indicated that he had been killed by a tiger.

"What exactly served as the basis for the wild animal's behavior, whether it had gunshot or other wounds - this is not yet clear," Fomenko said in the statement.

Local hunters have said there are at least two other tigers in the region, a factor that Fomenko said will complicate efforts to find the animal behind the recent attack.

Human attacks by Amur tigers are extremely rare, according to the statement, which says that 90 percent of tiger attacks are somehow provoked by the human.

"But it is not necessarily the human that provoked the tiger that winds up the victim of the attack. It is enough to recall the tragedy in Bikinsk [in the Khabarovsk region], when a tiger wounded by a poacher attacked an innocent hunter and killed him," the statement said.

There are only an estimated 400 Amur tigers left in the wild, with most of them inhabiting Russia's Far East. - The Moscow Times.