Sunday, March 9, 2014

WORLD WAR III: Russian Flags Flood Lenin Square In Crimea As Thousands Back Takeover - Nucear Power India Backs Russia’s ‘Legitimate Interests’ in Ukraine!

March 09, 2014 - UKRAINE - Russian flags flooded Lenin Square in the centre of Crimea's capital Simferopol Sunday as thousands rallied in support of Moscow's takeover of the peninsula -- vastly overwhelming a smaller pro-Ukraine demonstration nearby.

People wave Russian and Crimean flags during a pro-Russia rally in Simferopol's Lenin Square
on March 9, 2014 (AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte )

The rival rallies in Simferopol were peaceful, in contrast to the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, where about 100 pro-Russians with clubs and whips attacked some 20 people who were guarding a pro-Ukraine rally.

Some 10,000 people joined the pro-Russia rally in Simferopol, chanting "Russia! Russia!" as a navy band played patriotic Russian songs and dancers twirled on stage.

"We will overcome all adversity, all obstacles and we will restore historic justice," the newly installed pro-Russian prime minister of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, told the crowd.

"Together with Russia we will build our future!" he cried, prompting shouts of "Hurrah! Hurrah!" from the crowd.

Standing amidst signs reading "Crimea is not in Ukraine" and "With Russia, Peace in Crimea," 60-year-old Olga said restoring Crimea to Russian rule would undo a historical injustice.

"We don't want to be with those Ukrainian fascists any more," said Olga, who declined to give her surname.

A few kilometres (miles) away, a much smaller crowd of about 1,000 gathered for a more sombre demonstration in support of Crimea remaining within Ukraine.

Standing under a bronze bust of Taras Shevchenko -- the Ukrainian poet and national hero whose birth 200 years earlier was marked on Sunday -- the demonstrators read poetry and sang the national anthem, many with their hands on their hearts.

"We are here to honour the great Shevchenko and Ukraine," said Svyatoslav Regushevsky, a 46-year-old who brought his two-and-a-half-year-old son, wearing a ski jacket with the Ukrainian flag colours, to the unity rally.

"They cannot seize Crimea, (it's an) illegal occupation," he said, as around him unity supporters waved yellow-and-blue balloons marked: "We are for peace in Ukraine".

- 'Kalashnikov democracy' -

The atmosphere was peaceful, with several dozen police keeping watch on the edges of the crowd.

A convoy of about 30 cars tooting their horns and waving Russian flags drove by the rally, prompting shouts of "Shame! Shame!" from participants.

Asked why so many more people were at the pro-Russia rally, 32-year-old Anton Vlasenko said they were afraid to stand up to Moscow.

"They are scared of the Russian soldiers, they think they have no choice," he said.

He said the referendum planned for March 16 on making Crimea part of Russia -- announced after pro-Moscow lawmakers seized control and Russian forces flooded into the region -- was a farce.

"The Kalashnikov is the symbol of Russian democracy," Vlasenko said.

Attempts to hold a similar pro-unity demonstration in Sevastopol met with violence, with the pro-Russian activists attacking some 20 people who were guarding a 200-strong rally in an outer district of the city.

The attackers destroyed a car and blocked the vehicles of the security men guarding the crowd, at least five of whom were detained by police.

It was unclear whether anybody was seriously injured in the clashes at the rally, which also saw protesters waving the Ukrainian flag and singing the national anthem. - Yahoo.

 WATCH: Crimea's Fait Accompli.

India Backs Russia’s ‘Legitimate Interests’ in Ukraine
Image Credit: Secretary of Defense

On Thursday a senior Indian official appeared to endorse Russia’s position in Ukraine in recent days, even as Delhi urged all parties involved to seek a peaceful resolution to the diplomatic crisis.

When asked for India’s official assessment of the events in Ukraine, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon responded:

“We hope that whatever internal issues there are within Ukraine are settled peacefully, and the broader issues of reconciling various interests involved, and there are legitimate Russian and other interests involved…. We hope those are discussed, negotiated and that there is a satisfactory resolution to them.”

The statement was made on the same day that Crimea’s parliament voted to hold a referendum for secession from Ukraine.

Local Indian media noted that Menon’s statement about Russia’s legitimate interests in Ukraine made it the first major nation to publicly lean toward Russia. As my colleague Shannon has reported throughout the week, many of China’s public statements could be interpreted as backing Russia in Ukraine, despite Beijing’s own concerns about ethnic breakaway states and its principle of non-interference.

However, at other times, including at the UN Security Council, Beijing has appeared to be subtly rebuking Moscow by suggesting that its unilateral path threatened regional and global stability. At the very least, however, Beijing has characteristically not gone as far as the U.S. and the West in publicly scolding Vladimir Putin for the military intervention in Crimea.

Ukraine certainly appeared to interpret India’s endorsement of Russia’s legitimate interests as far more hostile than Beijing’s position on Russia’s actions. According to the Telegraph India, a Ukrainian embassy spokesperson stationed in Delhi responded to Menon’s comments by saying: “We are not sure how Russia can be seen having legitimate interests in the territory of another country. In our view, and in the view of much of the international community, this is a direct act of aggression and we cannot accept any justification for it.”

The larger question, of course, is why India decided to take such a relatively pro-Russian stance on the Ukraine issue? There are a number of possibilities.

First, India and Russia have long-standing ties and Moscow is Delhi’s top arms provider. Moreover, Russia and the former Soviet Union has been nearly alone in the international community in continue to back India during crucial moments such as following its 1974 and 1998 nuclear tests.

It’s also possible that Delhi believes Russia’s intervention offers the best chance of stabilizing Ukraine. India’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday also released a statement noting that there are “more than 5,000 Indian nationals, including about 4,000 students, in different parts of Ukraine.” At the same time, India’s overall interest in Ukraine is fairly negligible—certainly less than China’s, for instance—and thus Delhi might assess that it has more to gain by publicly sticking by Moscow at a time when it desperately needs support.

India also has plenty of interests in certain regions along its peripheral, and at certain times—such as during the Sri Lanka Civil War—has intervened to protect various societal groups with strong ties to India. Unlike China, then, India may assess it has an interest in an international precedent in which major powers can intervene in countries along their borders. At the same time, such an international precedent could be used by Pakistan to justify intervening in Kashmir.

Telegraph India offers another reason. According to the report cited above, Indian officials have told Telegraph India that, in the newspaper’s words, Delhi is “convinced that the West’s tacit support for a series of attempted coups against democratically elected governments — in Egypt, Thailand and now Ukraine — has only weakened democratic roots in these countries.”

This rationale would be consistent with India’s long-standing, deep-seated abhorrence to anything that merely resembles Western imperialism. At the same time, India has not historically made supporting democracy abroad a central tenet of its foreign policy. - The Diplomat.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Southwest Of Santiago Pinotepa Nacional, Mexico!

March 09, 2014 - MEXICO - A strong magnitude 6.3 quake hit southwest of Santiago Pinotepa Nacional  in southwestern Mexico, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Sunday.

USGS earthquake location map.

The quake was centered 10 miles northwest of Oaxaca, at a depth of 21.7 miles, the USGS said.

Emergency services said there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage and it was not yet clear how the quake had affected Baja California Sur.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity map.

USGS earthquake uncertainty ratio map.

A tsunami warning has not been issued.

Mexico is located atop three large tectonic plates and is one of the world's most seismically active regions.

USGS earthquake population exposure map.

USGS earthquake estimates and losses data.

On August 21, 2013 two strong 6.0 magnitude quakes hit central and southern Mexico, causing extensive damage. One of the earthquakes affected the capital of Mexico City and the resort city of Acapulco, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of people. Numerous injuries were reported.

The country’s deadliest natural disaster occurred in September 1985 when an 8.1 magnitude earthquake killed more than 9,500 people in Mexico City.

Tectonic Summary And Seismotectonics of Mexico.
Located atop three of the large tectonic plates, Mexico is one of the world's most seismologically active regions. The relative motion of these crustal plates causes frequent earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions. Most of the Mexican landmass is on the westward moving North American plate. The Pacific Ocean floor south of Mexico is being carried northeastward by the underlying Cocos plate. Because oceanic crust is relatively dense, when the Pacific Ocean floor encounters the lighter continental crust of the Mexican landmass, the ocean floor is subducted beneath the North American plate creating the deep Middle American trench along Mexico's southern coast. Also as a result of this convergence, the westward moving Mexico landmass is slowed and crumpled creating the mountain ranges of southern Mexico and earthquakes near Mexico's southern coast. As the oceanic crust is pulled downward, it melts; the molten material is then forced upward through weaknesses in the overlying continental crust. This process has created a region of volcanoes across south-central Mexico known as the Cordillera Neovolcánica.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

The area west of the Gulf of California, including Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, is moving northwestward with the Pacific plate at about 50 mm per year. Here, the Pacific and North American plates grind past each other creating strike-slip faulting, the southern extension of California's San Andreas fault. In the past, this relative plate motion pulled Baja California away from the coast forming the Gulf of California and is the cause of earthquakes in the Gulf of California region today.

Mexico has a long history of destructive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In September 1985, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake killed more than 9,500 people in Mexico City. In southern Mexico, Volcán de Colima and El Chichón erupted in 2005 and 1982, respectively. Paricutín volcano, west of Mexico City, began venting smoke in a cornfield in 1943; a decade later this new volcano had grown to a height of 424 meters. Popocatépetl and Ixtaccíhuatl volcanos ("smoking mountain" and "white lady", respectively), southeast of Mexico City, occasionally vent gas that can be clearly seen from the City, a reminder that volcanic activity is ongoing. In 1994 and 2000 Popocatépetl renewed its activity forcing the evacuation of nearby towns, causing seismologists and government officials to be concerned about the effect a large-scale eruption might have on the heavily populated region. Popocatépetl volcano last erupted in 2010. - USGS.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: The Reign Of Terror In Iraq Continues - Suicide Bomber Kills 45 And Wounds 157 In Iraqi City Of Hilla! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

March 09, 2014 - IRAQ - A suicide bomber driving a minibus packed with explosives killed at least 45 people and wounded 157 on Sunday in the southern Iraqi city of Hilla, police and medical sources said.

A picture taken on March 9, 2014 shows burnt out vehicles at the site of a suicide bombing that killed at least 45 people at a checkpoint near Baghdad, northern entrance to Hilla (AFP Photo / STR)

The attacker approached a main checkpoint at a northern entrance to the largely Shi'ite Muslim city and detonated the minibus, a police officer said on condition of anonymity.

At least 50 cars were set ablaze with passengers trapped inside and part of the checkpoint complex was destroyed, the officer said.

Sunni Islamist insurgents linked to al Qaeda have been regaining ground in Iraq over the past year, particularly in the western province of Anbar bordering Syria.

No one claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack, but the deputy chairman of Hilla provincial council, Aqeel al-Rubaie, accused al Qaeda of being behind the bombing.

Rubaie said the local government had received tips that al Qaeda-affiliates hiding in farmland north of Hilla were plotting a strike.

He said the violence was a spillover from fighting in neighboring Anbar, where the Shi'ite-led government has been battling the al Qaeda faction the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) around the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.

"We have evidence that al Qaeda terrorists are standing behind the suicide attack today and since the breakout of fighting in Anbar, al Qaeda has stepped up attacks in Hilla," Rubaie told Reuters.

"We can't separate today's attack from Anbar's fight."

The scene of the attack was strewn with debris from the checkpoint, and the shells of burnt out cars littered the road.

"I was sitting inside my kiosk when suddenly a horrible blast threw me outside and hurled my groceries up in the air. I saw cars set ablaze with people burning inside," said Abu Nawar, owner of a makeshift kiosk made of palm tree leaves near the checkpoint.

Police were using cutting equipment to break into the blackened vehicles and lift out the bodies, the police officer said.

People look at the site of a car bomb attack in the neighbourhood of al-Qahera in northern Baghdad, March 9, 2014 (Reuters / Thaier al-Sudani)

A general view of the site of a car bomb attack in the neighbourhood of al-Qahera is seen in northern Baghdad, March 9, 2014 (Reuters / Thaier al-Sudani)

People look at the damage and wreckage at the site of a suicide attack in the city of Hilla March 9, 2014.
Credit: REUTERS/Habib

People push a damaged car at the scene of a suicide attack in the city of Hilla March 9, 2014.
Credit: REUTERS/Habib

People gather at the site of a car bomb attack in the neighbourhood of al-Qahera in northern Baghdad, March 9, 2014.Credit: REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani

Firefighters inspect the site of a suicide attack in the city of Hilla March 9, 2014.
Credit: REUTERS/Habib

Iraqi security forces and firefighters inspect the site of a suicide attack in the city of Hilla March 9, 2014.
Credit: REUTERS/Habib

"A policeman thought the minibus was suspicious and he asked the driver to pull over for a check, but the vehicle exploded," the officer said.

Bombings and other attacks killed almost 8,000 civilians in Iraq in 2013, the deadliest year since 2008. Violence has not abated in the early months of 2014.

Relatives of the casualties lined up outside the Hilla morgue to claim the bodies of their loved ones. Inside, family members cried and wept as they struggled to recognize the bodies.

"I want to keep my son's shoes forever, I loved him so much, they broke my heart," said Um Muthanna, who identified the charred body of her son, Muthanna Abdul Hussein, a cameraman for state television, from his shoes and socks.

Muthanna was killed along with a second cameraman from Iraqiya state television, Khalid Abid.

The death toll rose as some of the wounded died in hospital and more bodies were discovered at the bomb site, police said.

In a separate incident, on the border of Anbar province and western Baghdad, a group of gunmen attacked an army check point in the Sunni area of Abu Ghraib, killing four soldiers, police and medical sources said.

In northern Iraq, three North Oil Company employees were killed and seven wounded when gunmen in a car fired at a bus ferrying NOC employees near Tuz Khurmatu, close to the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, according to a police official.

ISIL militants and other armed groups linked to the fight in Anbar have been carrying out attacks in northern Iraq as they try to divert government troops from Anbar and exploit openings made by the concentration of security forces in the west. - Reuters.

WATCH: Deaths in suicide car bombing in Iraq.

PROTESTS & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Venezuela Divisions Deepen As Protest Over CHRONIC Food Shortages Is Halted; National Guardsmen Prevent "EMPTY POTS" March From Reaching Food Ministry As Maduro Government Denounces United States; Panama Demands Venezuela Pay ONE BILLION DOLLAR Debt; U.S. Vice President Joe Biden Says Situation Is "ALARMING"!

March 09, 2014 - VENEZUELA - Hundreds of National Guardsmen in riot gear and armoured vehicles prevented an “empty pots march” from reaching Venezuela’s food ministry on Saturday to protest against chronic food shortages.

Marchers in Caracas bang pots in protest at food shortages. Photograph: Jesus Gil/Demotix/Corbis

President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist government, meanwhile, celebrated an Organisation of American States (OAS) declaration supporting its efforts to bring a solution to the country’s worst political violence in years, calling it a diplomatic victory. The United States, Canada and Panama were the only nations to oppose the declaration.

“The meddling minority against Venezuela in the OAS, Panama, Canada and the US, is defeated in a historic decision that respects our sovereignty,” government spokeswoman Delcy Rodriguez tweeted.

Later on Saturday, several hundred student protesters trying to block streets with barricades skirmished with riot police who fired tear gas in the wealthy Caracas district of Chacao, in what has become a near daily ritual.

There were no immediate reports of injuries as motorcycle-mounted riot police, taunted from apartment buildings, chased protesters through darkening streets.

Earlier, more than 5,000 protesters banged pots, blew horns and whistles and carried banners in the capital to decry crippling inflation and shortages of basics including flour, milk and toilet paper. Similar protests were held in at least five other cities.

All over Venezuela, people spend hours every week queuing at supermarkets, often before dawn, without even knowing what may arrive.

“There’s nothing to buy. You can only buy what the government lets enter the country because everything is imported. There’s no beef. There’s no chicken,” said Zoraida Carrillo, a 50-year-old marcher in Caracas.

The capital’s government-allied mayor had refused the marchers a permit to hold the “empty pots” rally, leading opposition leader Henrique Capriles to accuse authorities of trying to “criminalise” peaceful protests.

“Nicolas [Maduro] is afraid of the empty pots of our people. He mobilises hundreds of soldiers against empty pots,” he said of the man who defeated him by a razor-thin margin in April presidential elections.

Capriles also reiterated opposition complaints that the government is sending “functionaries and groups of paramilitaries which they have armed to put down protests”.

Maduro has faced several weeks of daily student-led protests across the nation, which he claims are an attempt by far-right provocateurs to overthrow him. They have been joined by mostly middle-class Venezuelans fed up with inflation that reached 56% last year and one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Late on Friday in Washington, the OAS approved a declaration that rejected violence and called for justice for the 21 people the government says have died in street protests since 12 February. The declaration offered “full support” for a government peace initiative that the opposition has refused to join until dozens of jailed protesters and an opposition leader are freed.

Twenty-nine countries voted in favor of the declaration after 15 hours of debate spread over two days. After Panama sought discussion of the crisis in the body, Venezuela broke off relations and expelled its ambassador and three other diplomats.

The objections from Washington and Panama attached to the declaration were longer than the declaration itself. They argued that it violated OAS rules by taking sides.

“The OAS cannot sanction a dialogue in which much of the opposition has no voice and no faith,” the US objection said. “Only Venezuelans can find the solutions to Venezuela’s problems, but the situation in Venezuela today makes it imperative that a trusted third party facilitate the conversation as Venezuelans search for those solutions.” - Guardian.

 Panama Demands Venezuela Pay $1bn Debt
Panama's FM expressed astonishment at Venezuela's decision, and rejected accusations of interference [AFP]

Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli has called on Venezuela not to use its decision to break ties with his country as an excuse not to pay back a debt that tops $1bn.

"Venezuela is, it appears, practically bankrupt and this shouldn't be because it is a rich country," Martinelli said, in a speech expressing dismay at the recent diplomatic rupture.

On Wednesday, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro announced that he was breaking diplomatic relations with Panama over its push for an Organization of American States-sponsored mediation in the country's crisis.

Maduro accused Panama's president of conspiring with the United States to intervene in Venezuela's affairs. During a rally on Thursday, he gave the Panamanian ambassador and three other diplomats in Venezuela 48 hours to leave the country.

Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said Venezuela had also suspended debt negotiations over $1bn owed to Panamanian exporters.

"We want to express and reiterate the astonishment caused to the government of Panama by the decision of the Venezuelan government of breaking diplomatic relations with Panama. As we have shown, we find this measure lamentable and disproportionate," said Panama's Foreign Minister Francisco Alvarez de Soto.

"We don't accept accusations of interference. We find them inadequate and not based on reality," he added. - Al Jazeera.

Biden Says Venezuela Situation Is 'Alarming'
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says Venezuela's political and social situation is alarming and accuses Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of inventing conspiracies by Washington to distract attention from the South American country's troubles.

Maduro has faced several weeks of nationwide student-led protests that he claims are an attempt by far-right instigators to overthrow him. The demonstrations have been joined by mostly middle-class Venezuelans fed up with inflation that reached 56 percent last year and one of the highest murder rates in the world. The government says 21 people have died in the street protests since Feb. 12.

"The situation in Venezuela is alarming. The Venezuelan government has a basic responsibility to respect universal rights, which include freedoms of expression and assembly; to protect people from violence, and to engage in genuine dialogue in a deeply divided country," Biden said in an interview published Sunday in the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.

Biden's remarks coincided with U.S. objections to a declaration of solidarity for Venezuela issued by the Organization of American States that Washington said contradicted the OAS charter because it was not unanimous and because it stressed non-intervention in Venezuela's affairs above protesting infringement of human rights and free speech. Twenty-nine states voted in favor of the declaration with only the United States, Canada and Panama objecting.

"The situation in Venezuela reminds me of previous eras, when strongmen governed through violence and oppression; and human rights, hyperinflation, scarcity, and grinding poverty wrought havoc on the people of the hemisphere," Biden told El Mercurio.

"President Nicolas Maduro has thus far tried to distract his people from the profound issues at stake in Venezuela by concocting totally false and outlandish conspiracy theories about the United States. Instead, he should listen to the Venezuelan people ... ."

A statement by Venezuela's government published Sunday rejected Biden's criticism, calling it disrespectful to Venezuela's sovereignty and "a direct aggression to its people, which have suffered the attacks by a fascist sector" that wants to carry out a coup.

They're "receiving financing from the United States to make an attempt on the tranquility of the Venezuelan people in order to injure a solid democracy that has had the popular backing in 18 elections over 15 years," the statement said.

Biden and Maduro are both scheduled to attend Tuesday's swearing-in of Michelle Bachelet as Chile's president. Bachelet, who was also Chile's president in 2006-10, recently said her administration will support Maduro's government and the Venezuelan people so they can "search for the democratic means to social peace." - ABC News.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Magmatic Intrusion Uplift - Continued Inflationary Tilt Over The Past 2.5 Days At Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano; Persistent Lava Glow As Pu`u `O`o Erupts With No Significant Changes! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

March 09, 2014 - HAWAII - The following is an update on the Kilauea volcano from the U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

The lava lake in the Overlook Crater, within Halema'uma'u Crater, at Kilauea's summit remains active. On March 7, winds carried the plume towards the north, provideing a clear view of the persistent spattering area in the southeast portion of the lake. Photo courtesy of USGS/HVO

Recent Observations of the middle east rift zone vents:
The tiltmeter at Pu`u `O`o cone recorded continued inflationary tilt over the past 2.5 days. The Pu`u `O`o eruption continued with no significant changes. Spatter cones on the floor of Pu`u `O`o crater displayed persistent glow with an open lava pond within the collapsed northeast spatter cone.

Recent Observations of the Kahauale`a 2 flow:

The northeast spatter cone complex continued to feed the Kahauale`a 2 lava flow; HVO geologists on a March 07 overflight mapped the most distant active breakout at 7.9 km (4.9 mi) northeast from Pu`u `O`o; this is the farthest advance of the Kahauale`a 2 lava flow since mid-January when the flow extended to 7.8 km (4.6 mi) northeast of Pu`u `O`o before stalling. Camera views showed smoke during the day from lava-induced fires along the north edge of the flow front and, overnight, distant glow from several active breakouts.

Thermal image shows area of the Kahauale'a 2 flow near the flow front. This area consists of numerous small, scattered pahoehoe lobes. Areas which are white and yellow are active, flowing pahoehoe lava, while red and purple areas are recently active, but still warm, surfaces. Photo courtesy of USGS/HVO

The northeast spatter cone has has a small (10 meters, or 30 feet, wide) lava pond, which experiences a cyclic rise and fall of the lava surface called "gas pistoning", driven by the buildup and release of gas in the pond. This photograph captured the moment of gas release, which involved vigorous spattering. In the upper left, the plume from Kilauea's summit lava lake can be seen in front of Mauna Loa, and in the upper right Mauna Kea is visible. Photo courtesy of USGS/HVO

The Kahauale'a 2 flow remains active, and the active flow front is moving through thick forest northeast of Pu'u O'o. The flow front today was 7.9 km (4.9 miles) northeast of the vent on Pu'u O'o. Pu'u O'o is visible in the upper left of the photograph, and is partly obscured by fume. Photo courtesy of USGS/HVO

Map showing the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow in relation to the eastern part of the Big Island as of March 7, 2014. The front
of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow was 7.9 km (4.9 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō and advancing very slowly. The area of the
Kahaualeʻa 2 flow as of February 20 is shown in pink, while widening of the flow since then is shown in red.
Older lava flows are distinguished by color: episodes 1–48b flows (1983–1986) are shown in gray; episodes
48c–49 flows (1986–1992) are pale yellow; episodes 50–55 flows (1992–2007) are tan; episodes 58–60 flows
(2007–2011) are pale orange, and episode 61 flows (2011–2013) are reddish orange. The active lava
tube is shown with a yellow line (dashed where position is poorly known).

In general, this slow-moving lava flow has made erratic progress over the past few months. Breakouts reappear well behind the stalled flow front and take some time to reach the front again. In this way, the flow front has not advanced more than 600 m (2,000 ft) since the first time it stalled in early November, 2013.

WATCH: Kīlauea’s summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. A persistent spatter source is active on the lake margin and lava pond in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, which was undergoing “gas pistoning”. Gas pistoning is the cyclic rise and fall of the lava surface, driven by the buildup and release of gas in the lava pond. This sequence shows the drop of the lava level, which corresponds with vigorous spattering and agitation of the pond surface. Video courtesy of USGS/HVO.

The eruption in Kilauea’s middle east rift zone started with a fissure eruption on January 3, 1983, and continued with few interruptions at Pu`u `O`o Cone, or temporarily from vents within a few kilometers to the east or west. A fissure eruption on the upper east flank of Pu`u `O`o Cone on Sept. 21, 2011, drained the lava lakes and fed a lava flow (Peace Day flow) that advanced southeast through the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision to the ocean within Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park in early December 2011.

The flows stalled and re-entered the ocean starting on November 24, 2012 until activity started to decline and the ocean entry ceased in August 20, 2013; the flow was dead by early November, 2013. The Kahauale`a flow, which started from the spatter cone/lava lake at the northeast edge of the Pu`u `O`o crater floor in mid-January, 2013, was dead by late April, but a new flow (informally called Kahauale`a 2) became active in the same general area in early May. In general, activity waxes with inflation and wanes with deflation. - Hawaii 24/7.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea - Deadly Pig Virus Cases On The Rise In The United States!

March 09, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Cases of the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, a highly contagious pig disease, are increasing across the U.S. farm belt, a group of animal health researchers said.

Confirmed cases of PEDv increased by 252 in the week ending March 1, bringing the total number to 4,106 in 26 states, according to data released on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

While one case can represent an individual animal or an entire herd at a single site, swine specialists estimate PEDv has killed at least 4 million U.S. hogs since it was discovered in May 2013.

Pork processors were finding it more difficult to purchase hogs for slaughter due to the virus, which is starting to affect the pork supply and could eventually boost pork prices for consumers, industry sources said.

The Canadian Swine Health Board has confirmed that four provinces also have cases of the virus. The provinces are Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.

PEDv causes diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration in pigs. While older pigs have a chance of survival, 80 to 100 percent of piglets that contract it die.

The virus does not affect humans and is not a food safety risk. - Yahoo.

MASS BEES/FISH/ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Latest Incidents Across The Earth - Thousands Of Bees Found Dead In Front Of Hives In Boggabri, Australia; Over 15,000 Catfish Die From Disease In Bangka-Belitung, Indonesia; 290,000 HEAD Of Cattle Killed By Flooding In Beni, Bolivia; And Thousands Of Bees Found Dead In And Around Hives In Haarlemmermeer, Holland!

March 09, 2014 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest incidents of mass fish, bees and animal die-offs across the Earth:

Thousands Of Bees Found Dead In Front Of Hives In Boggabri, Australia.

The owner of Nelson’s Honey Factory at Boggabri is demanding answers after losing thousands of bees that she believes may have died from a cotton insecticide.

Marlene Nelson is devastated after finding the bees dead in front of their hives during a routine inspection several weeks ago.

She and her son John have been running the factory since the death of Marlene’s husband Michael in 2007, however they have since downsized their operation.

Around the time of the deaths, Marlene said she had noticed cotton spraying in the area and contacted the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to investigate.

In a statement to the Namoi Valley Independent, the EPA’s investigation was unable to determine the exact cause of death of the bees, however due to the current drought conditions, it is possible that bees travelled from their hives to flowering irrigated cotton crops which, in this instance, had been sprayed with insecticide.

“An insecticide which is harmful to bees was sprayed on two properties within a 10km radius of the hives between January 31 and February 7 this year,” EPA Director North, Gary Davey said.

“Residue from this particular insecticide can last up to 28 days.”

Marlene Nelson, however, doesn’t accept the findings that her bees were foraging in crops and weren’t killed by spray drift.

She said the hives were  in three different locations, approximately seven kilometres apart.

“The funny thing is that one load of bees was much closer to another cotton crop that was not sprayed with deadly spray, so if the bees were foraging, I don’t think they would fly past the closer crop to go to further ones,” Marlene said.

“But as I said before, I was told the spray would not have drifted.”

Marlene also said her bees were dead in handfuls at the entrance of the hives, and questioned that if it wasn’t spray drift that killed the bees and they were “foraging” in crops elsewhere, how were they well enough  to fly back to the hives?

She added that a staff member from the EPA had told her that because “they didn’t know which one did the damage, there was nothing that we could do”.

“It seems funny that there is one rule for some and a different rule for other primary producers. Normal farmers are not allowed to use a hand spray for  killing weeds anywhere near a cotton crop because the drift might kill their cotton and they are telling me that there would be no drift from their aerial spraying,” Marlene said.

“We have been operating our Honey Factory at the same location here in Boggabri for 47 years and in all that time we have always had some bees in town.

“We were here long before cotton was here so you would think they would check before using deadly spray.

“Unfortunately because of the drought, we had all our bees in and around town.

“There are bee-friendly sprays and some cotton farmers do the right thing.

“A lot of people ask me why they have no bees in their vegie gardens to pollinate them, but sprays would be killing native bees too. Besides the loss of our bees I am very concerned about our health. What is this doing long term?”

Mr Davey said the EPA investigation did not identify any breaches of the Pesticide Act 1999 or the Pesticide Regulation 2009, and that all apiarists have a responsibility to advise landholders of exactly when and where they put the hives. - NVI.

15,000 Catfish Die From Disease In Bangka-Belitung, Indonesia.
Catfish Sangkuriang

Thousands of farmed catfish farmers in Pangkalpinang, Bangka Belitung Province, died of fungal disease during the dry season towards this transition.

"During the dry season, approximately 15 thousand catfish harvest is almost dead so we lose because the cost of feed and seed purchase is quite high," said Romel, power Pembudi catfish in Pangkalpinang Thursday.

He said not only catfish that almost harvest disease, but also about 20 thousand seedlings catfish aged two to three weeks also died.

"We've been trying to prevent the spread of the fungal disease, but the effort was in vain because every day there are hundreds of dead catfish," he said.

According to him, every year leading up to and during the transition into the catfish breeding season dead due to changes in water temperature.

"At present, we can not do anything and can not do anything else because the efforts to prevent the disease in vain," he said. - Republika. [Translated]

290,000 HEAD Of Cattle Killed By Flooding In Beni, Bolivia.

The president of the Federation of Livestock Beni and Pando (FEGABENI), Mario Hurtado, reported today that two days ago the quantification of dead livestock product rains and floods reached 290 thousand heads. Including travel and supplies for raising cattle, he said, the economic loss exceeds 220 million.

"The losses so far and amount to 290 thousand head of cattle, with more than 220 million won and we lost every day (...) and then starting the waters begin to lose diseases, problems of pasture; continues dying cattle, "Hurtado said in telephone contact with Erbol.

These amounts are lower if losses are projected to continue to happen, once you lower the water level and dry soils.

"We estimate that up to the end of the flood here 45 days, reaches 500 thousand cattle losses and more than $ 300 million, that is the estimate made by the technical department of the federation of farmers," said representative.

On Friday, representatives of the livestock sector and the government signed an agreement to address losses in the region of Beni. The government granted a trust of $ 30 million for restocking livestock.

"We signed an agreement with 70 percent of what we requested. Also we address issues related to the legal security of land, "he said.

Other points covered pause social economic function of the land of 2-4 years. Authorization to remove up to 10 percent of the areas that were not allowed before. Cessation of penalty for burning and controlled burning expand to 2,000 hectares whereas before it was up to 500 hectares and livestock insurance.

Hurtado said a further meeting with the Executive to address the pending order to extend the trust to $ 70 million more to cover the construction costs of livestock infrastructure.

"We have applied for and is pending $ 70 million trust for the reconstruction of the rooms, ie fences, pastures, houses, yards, height, embankments. That is a total of 100 million ASFI trust and had to see the funding system, "he said. - Erbol. [Translated]

Thousands Of Bees Found Dead In And Around Hives In Haarlemmermeer, Holland.
Photo: ANF.

For a beekeeper near Heemstede-Cruquius spring is dramatically bad start. He found thousands of his bees dead yesterday in and around the hive. They exhibit symptoms of possible contact with pesticides. The House recently debated still using it.
In all dead bees tongue hangs out of the mouth, the legs are cramped and there is pollen on their legs, so told the distraught beekeeper to his colleague Pim Lemmers. He is Holland's most famous beekeeper with cupboards at the prime minister's residence and the courtyard and is considered an authority on bee area.

The victim asked him if he had any idea what caused the massive and sudden death of the colony could be. The symptoms did the BI'er (known beekeeper) ring a bell. "They indicate possible damage to spray some pesticide," explains Haarlem opposite the AD.

By way of appeal to any other beekeepers duped, he posted a picture of dead bees on Twitter. "We are hoping for a response so that we get an idea of ​​the extent of the damage."

The owner of the dead hive will not talk to the media. He is too excited, says Lemmers. "He imkert nine years and have never experienced anything like it. It is very unpleasant to in droves to see fall to the hive. Bees kill you A bee folk although only costs a few hundred dollars, but the sentimental value is much greater."

"Horrible to face"
Lemmers speaks from experience. He once lost a part of his hive that was in hives at a fruit grower. "Those growers used purely biological pesticides to protect his fruit trees but a colleague three plots away not. The next day, I found hundreds of dead bees on the fly my shelf. A horrible to face, "he sighs.

The victim beekeeper does today reported the massive bee mortality in NVWA (Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority). Required by law, Lemmers know. "Thus, the inspectors take samples. If it appears that the bees slachtofer have become poison following an investigation into the guilty."

Spray Damage
Spraying damage to bees is caused by (incorrect) use of pesticides. Often involves indirect damage resulting after bee pollen and / or nectar have collected on crops sprayed with a poisonous plant protection product for them, teaches an article in the monthly magazine for beekeepers .

Spraying with pesticides toxic to bees should only take place when bees are not flying. These funds may not be used on blooming crops or crops that can be inspired by bees.

Abnormally high mortality
Beekeepers in the Netherlands and the rest of the world have been affected in recent years by an abnormally high mortality . That would be caused by a combination of too little flowers and therefore pollen, pesticides and pathogens that they carry with them. "Does it seem just a little better deal, you get this," sighs Lemmers. - Parool. [Translated]

FUK-U-SHIMA: "I'm Not Trying To Be Alarmist,... But,... How Will We Know It's Safe" - Radiation From Fukushima To Hit West Coast Of United States Next Month; Will Reach Seattle First, Then Move Down The Coast?!

March 09, 2014 - WEST COAST, UNITED STATES - Very low levels of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster likely will reach ocean waters along the U.S. West Coast next month, scientists are reporting.

Fukushima Radiation to Hit West Coast.
In this September 2013 photo, members of a prefectural committee on the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant inspect
tanks holding toxic water at the tsunami-crippled plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan.(Photo: AP)

Current models predict that the radiation will be at extremely low levels that won't harm humans or the environment, said Ken Buesseler, a chemical oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who presented research on the issue last week.

But Buesseler and other scientists are calling for more monitoring. No federal agency currently samples Pacific Coast seawater for radiation, he said.

"I'm not trying to be alarmist," Buesseler said. "We can make predictions, we can do models. But unless you have results, how will we know it's safe?"

The news comes three years after the devastating Japan tsunami and resulting nuclear accident.

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Japan, triggering a tsunami with waves as high as 133 feet. More than 15,000 people died and about 6,000 were injured.

The earthquake and tsunami knocked out power to cooling pumps at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant complex, causing meltdowns at three reactors.

Last July, Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the plant, acknowledged for the first time that the reactor was leaking contaminated underground water into the ocean.

Since then, the news has gotten worse, and there is widespread suspicion that the problem is underreported.

There are three competing models of the Fukushima radiation plume, differing in amount and timing. But all predict that the plume will reach the West Coast this summer, and the most commonly cited one estimates an April arrival, Buesseler said.

A report presented last week at a conference of the American Geophysical Union's Ocean Sciences Section showed that some Cesium 134 has already has arrived in Canada, in the Gulf of Alaska area.

Cesium 134 serves as a fingerprint for Fukushima, Buesseler said.

"The models show it will reach north of Seattle first, then move down the coast," Buesseler said.

By the time it gets here, the material will be so diluted as to be almost negligible, the models predict. Radiation also decays. Cesium 134, for example, has a half-life of two years, meaning it will have half its original intensity after that period.

Fukushima Radiation to Hit West Coast.
Crewmembers from Ballard Diving and Salvage rake sand looking for pieces of the dock from Japan that washed up
on Agate Beach, near Newport, in August 2012.(Photo: Timothy J. Gonzalez, (Salem, Ore.) Statesman Journal)

In Oregon, state park rangers take quarterly samples of surf water and sand at three locations along the coast. The water is analyzed for Cesium 137 and iodine 131. Both of those already exist in the ocean at low levels from nuclear testing decades ago.

The monitoring began in April 2012, when tsunami debris began arriving along the Oregon coast. So far, all of the tests have shown less than "minimum detectable activity," or the least amount that can be measured.

Results of the most recent samples, taken in mid-February, won't be available until mid-March, Oregon Health Authority spokesman Jonathan Modie said.

Washington does not test ocean water for radiation.

"We have none happening now and we have none planned," said Tim Church, communications director for the Washington State Department of Health. "Typically that would be something that would happen on the federal level."

California regularly samples seawater around the state's nuclear power plants to determine whether the plants are impacting the environment. Those results all are below minimum detectable activity.

Some citizens and scientists are taking sampling into their own hands.

Cal State Long Beach marine biologist Steven Manley has launched "Kelp Watch 2014," which will partner with other organizations to monitor kelp all along the West Coast for Fukushima radiation.

And Buesseler recently offered the services of his lab at Woods Hole in Massachusetts.

His project — titled "How Radioactive Is Our Ocean?" — will use crowd-sourced money and volunteers to collect water samples along the Pacific Coast, then ship them across the country to be analyzed.

So far, results are in for two locations in Washington and three in California. They show that the plume has not yet reached the coast.

Meanwhile, West Coast states are winding down their tsunami debris response efforts.

Oregon's coastline is seeing less debris from the tsunami this winter than in the past two years, Oregon State Parks spokesman Chris Havel said.

If that doesn't change, officials likely will disband a task force that was mobilized to deal with the debris.

Last year, Washington suspended its marine debris reporting hotline. - USA Today.

EXTREME WEATHER: The Global Food Crisis - Queensland's Drought Is Most Widespread On Record; Almost 80 PERCENT Of The State Facing Drought-Stricken Conditions!

March 09, 2014 - AUSTRALIA - It is official - this drought is Queensland's most widespread on record, with almost 80 per cent of the state now drought-declared.

Photo: Drought-stricken cattle on Goodwood Station at Boulia, Western Queensland. (Peter Lewis)

Queensland's Agriculture Minister has announced the largest drought-stricken area ever for the state, with 15 new shires added to the list.

This takes the number of drought-declared shires to 38, and it is the first time large sections of the Queensland coast have been included.

Shires of Banana, Bundaberg, Cherbourg, Fraser Coast, Gladstone, Goondiwindi, Gympie, Moreton Bay, Noosa, North Burnett, South Burnett, Southern Downs, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and Western Downs have been added to the already long list, effective from March 1.

Minister John McVeigh says the failed wet season is the reason so many shires have been declared at once.

"It's really only that coastal strip of Queensland of roughly Rockhampton through to Cape that is not in drought, bar some other small locations around the state, so that does confirm that this is a more significant drought event than Queensland has ever seen before," he said.

Photo: 79 per cent of Queensland is now drought-declared
(Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry)

"The wet season in these newly declared shires has been very poor with many areas missing out altogether. February, normally one of the wettest times of the year, has been particularly dry.

"The Burnett and coastal areas from Gladstone to Caboolture have not received any useful rain since Cyclone Oswald.

"Darling Downs shires have also had a very hard summer, with a well below average dryland crop that failed for many producers, and to date no rain for winter crop planting."

About half of the newly declared shires are in the Wide Bay Burnett region, which was flooded 14 months ago, setting a new precedent in drought evaluations.

Mr McVeigh says they do not even factor in the possibility of a flood at one end of the 12-month assessment period and drought at the other.

Bundaberg mayor Mal Forman says the announcement is overdue, but shows the people have been heard.

"Many of our farmers are hurting and struggling and we do need rain and assistance badly... I think it (the declaration) will help from an emotional perspective firstly."

Canegrowers CEO Brendan Stewart says production could be down by 30 to 40 per cent in the drought-affected areas in the Wide Bay Burnett area.

"It's hard to imagine that 14 months ago these areas were devastated with floodwaters. Now they are being devastated again by natural disaster, being drought," he said.

"It is unchartered territory for us, but we are out there fighting for our growers and our members."

Mr Stewart says there is some water around for irrigation, but the cost of electricity bills is crippling growers.

"They have certainly gone up, six times was one of the quotes I've heard," he said.

"What we have at the moment is a situation, in Bundaberg and Isis, further south into Maryborough, where we have dams full of water but growers have decided to turn off the pumps because they simply can't afford the energy bills.

"So today's announcement from the Minister is certainly going to help and that is the sort of announcement we have been looking for."

Roma stock agent Cyril Close says he has never seen the country looking so bad at this time of year and he says producers are doing it really tough.

"People in their 60s and 70s are looking to wind down now. They used up all their resources, trying to keep their cattle alive, waiting for summer rain, but it never came," he said.

"They are just wondering how much further they can go, and do they go?

"I have two people in their 70s who are selling all their cows. They know the market is no good, but they just have to get rid of them and they don't want to go on."

Drought declaration means landholders are eligible for Queensland's Drought Relief Assistance Scheme DRAS, including fodder and water assistance schemes.

Producers wanting to apply for DRAS, including the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate, should contact the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on 13 25 23.

Access to DRAS claim forms and IDP applications can be found at

Council areas currently drought declared:
  • Balonne
  • Banana
  • Barcaldine
  • Barcoo
  • Blackall-Tambo
  • Boulia
  • Bulloo
  • Bundaberg
  • Burke
  • Carpentaria
  • Central Highlands (part declared)
  • Charters Towers (part declared)
  • Cherbourg
  • Cloncurry
  • Croydon
  • Diamantina
  • Doomadgee
  • Etheridge
  • Flinders
  • Fraser Coast
  • Gladstone
  • Goondiwindi
  • Gympie
  • Isaac (part declared)
  • Longreach
  • Maranoa
  • McKinlay
  • Moreton Bay
  • Mt Isa
  • Murweh
  • Noosa
  • North Burnett
  • Paroo
  • Quilpie
  • Richmond
  • South Burnett
  • Southern Downs
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Toowoomba
  • Western Downs
  • Winton
  • Woorabinda (part declared)
- ABC Australia.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Disaster Precursors - Mass Stampeding Of Dolphins Off Dana Point, California Filmed By Drone! [VIDEO]

March 09, 2014 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - Drone footage has captured some breathtaking footage of stampeding dolphins and a baby humpback whale.

This incredible footage of a mega-pod dolphin stampede was captured off the Californian coast by drone

Captain Dave Anderson of Capt Dave's Dolphin and Whale Safari in Dana Point, California, recently filmed a five-minute video with a drone of a huge mega-pod of thousands of common dolphins stampeding off Dana Point, three gray whales migrating together down the coast off San Clemente, California, and heartwarming close-ups hovering over a newborn humpback whale calf snuggling with its mum as an escort whale stands guard nearby, in Maui.

According to the information uploaded by Dolphin Safari with the video on YouTube, Southern California has the greatest density of dolphins in the world. It has pods up to 10,000 strong "stretched out for miles like the wildebeests of Africa". There are over 400,000 common dolphin alone, and it's also home to the largest concentration of blue whales on earth.

Capt Dave wrote: "This is the most beautiful and compelling five minute video I have ever put together. I learned so much about these whales and dolphins from this drone footage that it feels like I have entered a new dimension!

"I have not been this excited about a new technology since we built our underwater viewing pods on our whale watching boat. Drones are going to change how we view the animal world."

He filmed off a small inflatable boat, launching and catching the quadcopter drone by hand, risking injury from the four propeller blades or loss of the drone.

He actually lost one drone in January on takeoff when it nicked his small VHF radio antenna on the 14-foot rigid inflatable he was filming from and it went into the water.

WATCH: Dolphin stampede off Dana Point.


Alone, six miles offshore, Capt Dave jumped into the cold waters off Dana Point to retrieve the footage he'd taken on a flight a half hour earlier that morning.

He said: "I had my hat and glasses on, I was fully clothed with long-johns on to keep warm and my cell phone and wallet in my pocket. It was a stupid move, but the copter started sinking so fast it was my only hope to get the amazing footage I had just shot.

"I get so nervous every flight over the water now, after the accident, my hands start shaking. My wife says no more drones if I lose this one. But she said that before I lost the other one. Now that she's seen what it can do, I think she's just as hooked as I am."

He added: "This technology, that offers such steady footage from the air for such a low price and is so easy to fly, is new. This was a ten or twenty thousand dollar copter a few years ago and flying those took a great deal of skill.

"I can't wait to see what footage this year will bring with this drone, getting a different perspective on the amazing sightings we already have off Dana Point.

"There is debate in many states right now about making use of these drones illegal. People are justifiably concerned about invasion of privacy. But it would be a shame to have this new window into a whale's world taken away." - Travel AOL.