Tuesday, March 25, 2014

ICE AGE NOW: A Year Without Spring - Record Cold, Biting Winds To Sweep U.S. East In Wake Of Blizzard?!

March 25, 2014 - UNITED STATES - As a storm develops into a powerful blizzard along the New England coast, frigid air will pour in across the Midwest, South and mid-Atlantic into Wednesday.




The cold air will make for yet another painful morning in many communities.

The unusually cold air for late March will challenge record low temperatures Wednesday morning from Detroit to Cleveland; Cincinnati; Pittsburgh; London, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; Charlotte and Columbia, S.C.; Charlottesville; Va.; Beckley, W.Va.; and Harrisburg, Pa.

Freezing temperatures will dip into the Deep South Wednesday morning to Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and northern Florida. The cold could damage some tender plants and blossoms.




As a major blizzard focuses over Atlantic Canada on Wednesday, the circulation around the storm will create gusty winds and low AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures along the coast from North Carolina to Maine.

Motorists and pedestrians are urged to use caution in areas that received rain, wet snow or a wintry mix from Tuesday. Plunging temperatures can cause some surfaces to turn icy Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Winds can top 40 mph from the mid-Atlantic to New England coast for a time.




In some cases the combination of wind, temperatures and other atmospheric conditions will make if feel 20 degrees lower than the actual temperature. In some cases, this will translate to RealFeel Temperatures in the single digits, teens and 20s.

Little wind is in store on Wednesday for most areas from the central Appalachians to the Midwest.

While the March sunshine will allow temperatures to recover a bit during the midday and afternoon hours on Wednesday in the Midwest, Northeast and South, actual temperatures will still average 10-20 degrees below normal.

Temperatures will take another dip Wednesday night.




A more substantial temperature rebound is forecast for Thursday into Friday, when temperatures are predicted to reach or exceed normal levels for late March. However, some showers are in the offing. - AccuWeather.



EUROPEAN VAMPIRISM: Aborted Babies Incinerated In Massive Ovens To Heat UK Hospitals - The Ultimate Hellish Disgrace Of Modern Medicine Unveiled!

March 25, 2014 - UNITED KINGDOM - UK hospitals have incinerated over 15,000 aborted babies to heat their buildings while telling mothers their aborted babies were "cremated," an investigative report has shockingly uncovered.


Image: Natural News.

The aborted babies were shoveled into "waste-to-energy" ovens that combust biomass to generate heat in the same way that heating oil or coal generates heat. This was all apparently done with the full knowledge of hospital administrators, government regulators and medical doctors.

"The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals," reports The Telegraph. "At least 15,500 fetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts over the last two years alone, Channel 4's Dispatches discovered."

"Health officials in the U.K. face scrutiny after it came to light that state run hospitals have been incinerating fetuses along with their garbage," reports the International Business Times.

Stillbirths also incinerated in giant ovens to heat hospitals

It's not just aborted babies that are combusted to generate heat, either: there are over 4,000 stillbirths each year in the UK, and those babies are also incinerated in large ovens to generate heat for hospitals.

In addition to babies, these "waste-to-energy" programs also incinerate other tissues, organs and even limbs removed during surgery. Anything removed from a patient during surgery or an abortion becomes fair game tissue that surgeons can toss into the "incineration" pile. From there, hospital workers feed the body parts into massive ovens.

The absolute disgrace of modern medicine: babies as fuel for the furnace

What this practice shows is that, to the conventional medical system, the value of a living human baby is no more than that of a lump of coal.

An institution that claims to help save lives is actually in the business of routinely terminating them and shoveling the dead bodies in massive ovens to lower their own heating bills. This must make hospital administrators especially happy, knowing they can lower their operating costs (and boost profits!) by incinerating aborted babies to turn skin, bones, brain tissue and once-beating hearts into BTUs. Christmas bonus, anyone?

Just like Nazi crematoriums

If the image of bodies being incinerated in massive ovens seems familiar, that's because the same atrocity took place during another dark era of human history: the Nazi-run Holocaust and attempted extermination of the Jews.

In concentration camps like Auschwitz, human bodies were incinerated in massive ovens, just like it has long been done in UK hospitals:


Auschwitz crematorium, or UK hospital? They look the same and accomplish the same task.

Massive ovens have long been used to dispose of bodies after they were murdered. The "innovation" of modern medicine is to make the process of murder and incineration more "green" by turning dead bodies into heat so that the very doctors who perform these procedures can carry out their procedures in the comfort of a warm room.

Yes, burning aborted babies is a "green energy" practice, didn't you know? Burning babies is clean energy, we are supposed to believe. The mental derangement necessary to justify such grotesque atrocities is beyond explanation.

This practice makes my soul scream out in justified anger against the mass murderers of babies

Of course, if it's heat these cretins are after, they won't have to wait long. Hell is even hotter than a baby-combusting oven, and there' no escaping that because unlike human bodies, souls are eternal.

Such philosophical discussions seem to be of no concern to those who run the UK conventional medical system, of course. They just want to keep their hospitals comfy, and they have no hesitation whatsoever using aborted babies as a source of convenient fuel. Besides, it's not only "green" it's also "renewable" as long as women keep having abortions! GREEN AND RENEWABLE! Sounds like utopia!

By the way, if you are reading this article and do not feel extreme anger and disgust, you are simply not human. A living human baby is a sacred being. A medical system that treats these once-living beings as nothing more than fuel for the ovens is a system of pure evil that knows no bounds.

Modern medicine is a life-destroying institution of pure evil

We already know the medical system is pure evil, of course. It exists primarily to destroy life, not to save it: Toxic pharmaceuticals, mercury-laced vaccines, the psychiatric drugging of children, brain-destroying chemotherapy treatments and radiation-emitting mammograms all have one thing in common: they destroy life and create disease, suffering and death.

If our medical system were truly interested in helping people achieve lasting health, it would be based on nutrition, patient empowerment and education, the removal of all toxic heavy metals from vaccines, and the nurturing of healthy children through healthy childbirth, breastfeeding and responsible parenting.

But that's not at all what we see in modern medicine. Instead, we see a system so infected with the incessant worship of profit that it routinely puts patients at risk in order to sell more high-profit treatments. How many breast cancer cases being treated today are false positives? How many patients are dying from unnecessary wisdom teeth extraction surgery? How many babies are spontaneously aborted by mercury in vaccines given to expectant mothers? How many people are killed by Big Pharma's deadly drugs?

Hitler's Holocaust reportedly killed six million innocents, yet today's medical system kills over 780,000 people each year in America alone! Globally, conventional medicine kills millions each and every year, dwarfing even the Holocaust in terms of lives destroyed and bodies disposed.

And yet it is one of the most profitable industries on the planet, largely because the medical system is able to figure out all sorts of creative ways to turn bodies into profit. False cancer diagnosis is one of the primary ways this is done, but burning aborted babies to save money on heating fuel is yet another.

What we are witnessing in today's medical system is beyond sick. It is beyond derangement. It is a reflection of nothing less than pure, destructive evil and an intense desire to desecrate all life.

We deserve better. We deserve a medical system that holds life sacred and exercises compassion toward expectant mothers. We will only get such a system when we finally expose the true evil of conventional medicine and replace it with a system that serves life rather than destroying it.  - Natural News.




GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - S&P Cuts Credit Rating In Blow To President Rousseff As Brazil Scrambles To Avoid Power Rationing As Costs Soar!

March 25, 2014 - BRAZIL - Standard & Poor's cut Brazil's sovereign debt rating closer to speculative territory on Monday in a blow to President Dilma Rousseff, whose efforts to stir the economy from a years-long slump have eroded the country's finances.




Brazil had its long-term debt rating downgraded to BBB minus, the agency's lowest investment-grade rating. S&P changed its outlook to stable from negative, meaning further downgrades are unlikely for now, which will come as a relief for both politicians in Brasilia and financial markets.

The move was widely expected but the timing surprised some investors.

As it came ahead of an October election in which Rousseff will seek a second term, the downgrade will expose her left-leaning government to further accusations that it has squandered the goodwill built during a long economic boom last decade.

Brazil has suffered from slow growth that averaged about 2 percent in recent years. Rousseff has tried to revive the economy with tax cuts and social spending but has been widely criticized for intervening too much and resorting to sometimes opaque accounting moves to meet budget targets.

 "The downgrade reflects the combination of fiscal slippage, the prospect that fiscal execution will remain weak amid subdued growth in the coming years, a constrained ability to adjust policy ahead of the October presidential elections, and some weakening in Brazil's external accounts," S&P said.

The agency said that fiscal credibility had been "systematically weakened" following cuts in the government's main budget target, and that loans by state-run banks had "undermined policy credibility and transparency."

The Brazilian finance ministry rejected S&P's arguments and said the downgrade contradicted Brazil's solid economic fundamentals and healthy standing compared with other major economies.

"The Brazilian economy has low external vulnerability because it holds the fifth largest volume of international reserves among G20 nations," it said in a statement.

The short-term effect of the move on financial markets was unclear, analysts said. Some investors could sell Brazilian assets because of policies forcing them to hold higher-quality stocks and bonds, while others may focus on the fact that S&P is unlikely to downgrade Brazil any further.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff speaks during the first meeting of the
newly-formed CIASN, an interministerial committee for simplifying tax
collection, at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, February 12, 2014.
REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
S&P's move could prompt peers Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings to signal they may follow with a downgrade of their own.

"The natural tendency for markets tomorrow is the fear that there could be a chain reaction and other agencies may do the same," said Ariovaldo Santos, manager of floating-rate assets at H.Commcor in Sao Paulo.

Moody's and Fitch, which still rate Brazil two notches into investment-grade territory, have indicated, however, that they do not intend to downgrade Brazil before the elections.

Rousseff's government has worked to restore its credibility on budget targets in recent months, but investors are worried that she will resort to more unorthodox accounting moves and raise spending as she seeks re-election.

The downgrade is unlikely to undermine Rousseff's popularity among voters, but potential rivals blamed her management of the economy for Brazil's fall from grace on financial markets.

Opposition leader A├ęcio Neves said the downgrade was due to the "manipulation" of fiscal accounts by her government, "exorbitant" public spending and "leniency" with inflation.

"Brazil is going through a sad moment of loss of confidence and ruined credibility," he said in a statement.


Brazil Scrambles To Avoid Power Rationing As Costs Soar.
Electricity transmission towers stand over a coffee farm in Santo Antonio do Jardim February 6, 2014.
REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker


Brazil is fighting against time to avoid crippling power blackouts and electricity rationing as a drought prevents the world's most water-rich nation from recharging its hydroelectric dams.

 A decade of growth has diversified the electricity system away from hydropower, but policymakers, industrial companies and investors in the world's seventh-largest economy may find little cause to relax.

Rio de Janeiro-based energy consultancy PSR puts the odds of rationing at nearly 1 in 4.

"Rationing or not, the drought's impact on Brazil will be large," said PSR Director Jose Rosenblatt. "There's no way to avoid it."

Hydro reservoirs, which generate two-thirds of Brazil's power, are at near-record lows. To keep the lights on and factories open, all of the country's main thermal power plants are running full throttle as an estimated 600,000 visitors prepare to arrive for the June start of the soccer World Cup.

The situation is already testing the government of President Dilma Rousseff as October's presidential election nears.

The risks of rationing and costs associated with the drought threaten growth and investment in the country, Standard & Poor's said on Monday when it downgraded the credit rating on Brazil's foreign currency debt.

The administration said on March 13 that it will cost 12 billion reais ($5.2 billion) in 2014 to rescue utilities forced to pay record-high prices to replace cheap hydro with more-expensive power from natural gas, coal and oil plants.

That will probably drive up inflation this year and next. At nearly 6 percent, the rate is close to the top of the government's target band. If the 2001-2002 drought is any guide, Brazil's expected 1.7 percent 2014 growth rate could fall to 1 percent or less, according to Brazilian bank BTG Pactual SA.

Rationing, the bank says, is the worst option, but higher power prices for a steel mill or mine would cut corporate profit almost as surely as assembly lines or shops shut by rationing.

For Rousseff, even more is at stake. Without rain, her re-election chances may narrow despite a strong early lead in polls.

"The credibility of the government rests on Rousseff's handling of the drought," said Guilherme Schmidt, an energy industry lawyer and partner at L.O. Baptista in Rio de Janeiro "For Rousseff, this is personal."

 The government blames the problem on "Sao Pedro", which is Portuguese for St. Peter, the heavenly agent Brazilians associate with rain. But many analysts say the problem has as much to do with government policy as it does with precipitation.

"Rain is a factor, but not the only one," said Joao Carlos Mello, president of Sao Paulo energy consultancy Thymos Energia. "It's also failed policies and poor management."

THE ENERGY PRESIDENT

Since the 2001-2002 crisis, energy policy has been a major issue for the government, and no major Brazilian politician is more linked to the issue than Rousseff.

The last crisis forced the government to order consumers to cut electricity use by 20 percent or face blackouts. Anger at rationing helped Rousseff's predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, win the first of two terms as president.

As Lula's energy minister and then his chief of staff, Rousseff was determined to avoid another rationing crisis. Images of new power lines and massive hydroelectric plants figure prominently in her campaign to win a second four-year term in October.

In September 2012, she added another goal: to cut residential electricity costs by 20 percent. Hydro-dam operators were allowed to renew expiring leases on key assets early, but only if they slashed prices. The move, popular politically, caused electricity shares to plunge. Many now worry that state-run Eletrobras and other utilities will not have the cash to finance investments needed to meet rising demand.

While Rousseff's cuts are still in place, the timing of annual rate reviews means the higher cost of replacement power will hit utility bills after the election.

Rates could rise up to 20 percent, which would wipe out the popular 2012 cuts that were part of Rousseff's efforts to expand consumption, especially for poorer Brazilians.

On one level, she has succeeded. The system is more robust than in 2002, when about 80 percent of Brazil's electricity capacity was hydro. Today, hydro makes up 68 percent, a share that is still one of the world's highest.

"We have been building new capacity at a rate faster than growth in demand," said Mauricio Tomalsquim, president of the EPE, the government's energy planning and research company. "This has been a bad year for rain, but our simulations for rainfall show that rationing is highly unlikely."

RATIONING RISK RISING

Without the new gas, coal and oil capacity built since 2002, Brazil would already be turning off the lights.

In February, reservoirs in Brazil's Southeast and Central West, the country's top industrial and agricultural regions, were only 35 percent full, compared with a 15-year average of 66 percent for the month. More than halfway through normally rainy March, water levels are still at 35 percent.

To ease the shortfall, the Southeast-Central West region, home to 60 percent of Brazil's demand, put an average of 6,260 megawatts of thermal power onto the grid in February, enough for 9 million people.

But that may not be enough. Thirty percent of the government's planned capacity is behind schedule, and some plants sit idle for lack of transmission lines, PSR says.

Without more rain, Brazil ought to order a 5 percent power cut between May and October, a period covering the World Cup and elections, BTG Pactual said in a March 17 report.

"Adjusted for days of hydro demand, the situation of Brazil's reservoirs is worse than in 2001, when rationing was unavoidable," the report said. Steelmakers Gerdau SA and Usiminas SA are among the most likely to suffer from higher electricity costs or rationing.

In a worst-case scenario, putting off a 5 percent cut soon could lead to cuts as much as 20 percent later, the report said.

But even without rationing, the cost of replacement power would probably exceed the combined cash flow of the country's distribution utilities, said Paulo Pedro, executive president of Abrade, Brazil's large power users association. Consumers and taxpayers would help pay the bill.

The government, though, shows little concern. The energy minister rates the rationing risk at "zero." Even government critics say Brazil has a good, if falling, chance to avoid cuts. In January, PSR put the risk of a cut of 4 percent or more at 17.5 percent. In February that rose to 23.8 percent.

"What should be a technical problem is now an economic and political problem," said Sylvie D'Apote, partner and director of Prysma, a Rio de Janeiro energy research group. "Rousseff will do everything to put off the impact until after elections."

($1 = 2.3249 Brazilian reais) - Yahoo.



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Metro Train Derails At Chicago's O'Hare Airport - 32 People Injured!

March 25, 2014 - CHICAGO, UNITED STATES - A passenger train crashed through the end of the line early Monday at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and barreled up an escalator and stairs, leaving 32 people with non-life threatening injuries, officials said.


A derailed commuter train rests on an escalator at O'Hare international airport in Chicago March 24, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/NBC Chicago via Reuters


The Chicago Transit Authority train, a mass transit train that ran on electricity, is expected to remain in place for at least a day while investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board try to determine how it jumped a bumper at the end of the line.

"The train is not going to go anywhere for the foreseeable future - it's not going anywhere today," NTSB investigator Tim DePaepe told a news conference.

Investigators will review station video of the train arriving and an outward-facing video recorder at the front of the electrified "L" train, along with signals and the train's condition, he said.

It was not immediately clear how fast the train was moving, but authorities were looking at speed as a possible factor, said transit authority spokesman Brian Steele.

"It's evident the train was going faster than it should," he said at the scene.

Neither the female train operator nor any of the passengers faced life-threatening injuries, said Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.


A worker puts up a tarp to cover the scene where a Chicago Transit Authority subway train crashed into a
platform at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago March 24, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Jim Young

Credit: REUTERS/Jim Young

Credit: REUTERS/Jim Young

DePaepe said the operator had been on duty for about six hours at the time of the crash. She was still being examined at a local hospital and had not yet been interviewed by investigators, DePaepe said.

Robert Kelly, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 that represents the operators, said the woman had worked more than 60 hours during the last seven days.

"The operator might have dozed off. She did indicate to me that she was extremely tired," said Kelly, who spoke to the operator after the crash.

"She doesn't have an explanation of how this happened."


WATCH:   Chicago metro crash footage - Train climbs escalator.



WATCH:   Investigators Look for Cause in Chicago Train Derailment.




Langford said the eight-car train jumped a bumper at the end of the line just before 3:00 a.m. Chicago time (0800 GMT).

It was not immediately clear how long train service on that part of the line will be suspended. Buses were shuttling passengers from O'Hare to the next train station, according to CTA officials.

Passersby gawked at the crash scene, with some people saying the incident made them a little more nervous about traveling by train.

"I feel like there's accidents all the time with the trains, but not this bad," said Meghan Cassin, 25, a Chicago resident who was heading to work after a trip to Florida. "They take corners really fast."

In September, an unmanned Chicago Transit Authority train collided with a standing train at a station in a western suburb of Chicago during the morning rush hour, injuring at least 33 people.- Reuters.



PROTESTS & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Chaos In Venezuela - President Nicolas Maduro Arrests Three Generals For Alleged Coup Plot; As Forest Fire Blacks Out Downtown Caracas, Paralyzing Transportation And Crippling Businesses!

March 25, 2014 - VENEZUELA - Venezuela has arrested three air force generals suspected of plotting an uprising against the leftist government, President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday.


Members of the National Police look at anti-government activists during a protest against Venezuelan President
Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, on March 20, 2014 (AFP Photo/Juan Barreto)

Maduro told a meeting of South American foreign ministers that the three generals, who were not identified, had been in contact with the opposition and "were trying to rise up against the legitimately constituted government."

"This group that was captured has direct links with sectors of the opposition and they were saying that this week was the decisive week," Maduro said.

He said the generals had already been summoned before a court martial, adding that the plot was discovered because other officers had come forward to say they were being recruited.

The disclosure comes amid a broadening government crackdown against Maduro's opponents after weeks of street protests that have left at least 34 dead.

On Monday, National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello announced that a prominent opposition deputy, Maria Corina Machado, had lost her seat and parliamentary immunity, and could be arrested at any moment.

At a news conference in Lima, a defiant Machado said she would return to Caracas on Wednesday, adding she feared she would be arrested on her arrival.


An opposition supporter watches a protest against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas
March 22, 2014. Two Venezuelans died from gunshot wounds during protests against Maduro, witnesses and local
media said on Saturday, pushing the death toll from almost two months of anti-government protests to 33.
REUTERS/Christian Veron (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

An anti-government activist is arrested by the National Guard during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas
Maduro in Caracas on March, 14, 2014 (AFP Photo/Leo Ramirez)

She said she was returning "because I am a Venezuelan deputy and I will enter Venezuela as such to continue fighting in the streets without rest until we achieve democracy and freedom."

Machado angered the government by going before the Organization of American States last week as a guest of Panama to discuss the crisis in Venezuela.

Panama's representative to the OAS, Arturo Vallarino, said the move to take away Machado's seat was "proof of the arbitrary acts being committed in Venezuela."

Last week, two opposition mayors were arrested, and another prominent opposition leader has been in jailed for a month, accused of inciting violence.


Forest Fire Blacks Out Downtown Caracas
Public employees stand outside their office buildings as they wait for power to be restored, in downtown Caracas,
Venezuela, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. A forest fire cut electricity to most of Venezuela's capital and officials were still
struggling to restore power to some areas Tuesday, 14 hours after the lights went out. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

A forest fire cut electricity to most of Venezuela's capital and officials were still struggling to restore power to some areas Tuesday, 14 hours after the lights went out.

The blackout paralyzed subway stations, forced workplaces to close and snarled traffic. Downtown, workers killed time in front of their office buildings while they waited for power to return even as officials' midday deadline to solve the problem passed.

The blackout started late Monday night after a fire destroyed transmission lines, according to Electricity Minister Jesse Chacon. Officials believe the fire was set intentionally, in part because it began at 10 p.m., not in the heat of the afternoon like most wildfires.

The fire was still raging Tuesday in the dry brush of Waraira Repano National Park, which is a half-hour drive north of downtown Caracas.

"We are very sorry for the inconvenience, but that is what happens when these fires, apparently started on purpose, affect a public service," Chacon said.

The socialist country suffered major blackouts in 2012 and 2013. The administration blamed the power outages on sabotage, while opponents said they were the result of government incompetence.  - Yahoo.



GLOBAL ALERT: Obama's Top Worry - A Nuclear Weapon Going Off In Manhattan!

March 25, 2014 - THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS - Speaking at a brief news conference in the Hague, President Obama said he's more worried about a nuke being detonated in Manhattan than he is about Russia.




"With respect to Mr. Romney's assertion that Russia is our number one geopolitical foe, the truth of the matter is that America has a whole lot of challenges," said the president.

"Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neigbors, not out of strength, but out weakness.

"Ukraine has been a country which Russia had enormous influence for decades, since the break-up of the Soviet Union, and we have considerable influence on our neighbors, we generally don't need to invade them in order to have a strong cooperative relationship with them. The fact that Russia felt compelled to go in militarily and laid bear these violations of internationl law indicates less influence not more.

"So my response then continues to be what I believe today, which is: Russia's actions are a problem. They don't pose the number one national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan," said Obama. - The Weekly Standard.


WATCH: Obama comments at the Hague Summit.





PLANETARY TREMORS: More Seismic Stress Along The Nazca Plate Region - Experts In Chile Fear Catastrophe As 300 Quakes Hit In One Week!

"A big earthquake could strike in a number of years or it could strike sooner - the only thing we can be certain of is that it will strike."

March 25, 2014 -
CHILE - Chile's northern coast has been hit by more than 300 earthquakes in the past week in what seismologists warned Tuesday could be the precursor to a long-overdue disaster.


A screenshot of a United States Geological Survey (USGS) map showing earthquakes in the past seven
days stronger than magnitude-4.5 off the northern coast of Chile.

Most of these quakes have been too small to be felt on land, but people living near the city of Iquique have experienced the rumbling of up to a dozen tremors per day.

Experts analyzing this flood of data are worried the increased seismic activity could be a sign the region is about to experience its first devastating quake in 137 years. The last event, a magnitude-8.5 quake in 1877, killed thousands of people and created a deadly tsunami that reached Hawaii and Japan.

"It is very unusual activity and we are trying to find out what is causing it," said Mario Pardo, deputy head of the seismology center at the University of Chile.

"We usually get around 10 earthquakes per day in this area [many of them very small], but now we have been getting up to 100 per day," he told NBC News via telephone from the country's capital Tuesday.

Pardo told NBC News that seismologists are particularly concerned about this cluster of quakes because press reports following the 1877 event said there was a similar "swarm" of tremors beforehand.

"We have been waiting for a big one in this area for some time - this is a place where we are expecting an earthquake of over 8.5 magnitude," he said.


Residents in Chile gather at the Tsunami Safety Zone after a powerful earthquake hit the northwestern coast last week.


Paulina Gonzalez, an expert at the University of Santiago, backed up this analysis. "The latest string of quakes is noteworthy because the last one happened in this seismic zone more than 130 years ago. It's a zone where quakes should happen more often, and they haven’t in a very long time," she told The Associated Press.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said its own analysis showed that in the past seven days there had been 41 quakes in the area stronger than magnitude 4.5.

Janan Purstey, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center, part of the USGS in Denver, said seismologists in Chile would be better placed than anyone to assess the threat of the current activity.

Chile is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries, with its 2,500-mile coastline tracing where the Nazca tectonic plate meets the South American plate.

In 1960 it was hit by the largest earthquake ever recorded: The Valdivia earthquake, also known as the Great Chilean Earthquake, was a catastrophic magnitude-9.5 event that killed up to 6,000 people and created an 80-foot tsunami that reached as far as Hong Kong.

But this, along with a magnitude-8.8 earthquake in 2010, hit much farther south than the region affected by the current cluster. The major worry for northern Chile is that the 1877 quake created what is known as a seismic gap - a fault line likely to produce earthquakes because it has been quiet for some time.

Men and women on a main street in Concepcion, Chile, look up toward building tops as
an earthquake hits the country on May 21, 1960.

The recent northern flurry began on March 16 with a magnitude-6.7 tremor off of Iquique, home to 180,000 people. People living in low-lying areas evacuated their homes to higher ground (shown in the full-bleed image above) but no tsunami materialized.

Since then, Pardo and his peers have seen the needles on their seismographs barely take a rest. They are still unsure of what it means, but they have given a series of hypothetical situations to state and government officials.

"We are working with all our authorities and they now have immediate access to our information in real time," he said. "We just want to make sure people are prepared."

"A big earthquake could strike in a number of years or it could strike sooner," he added. "The only thing we can be certain of is that it will strike." - NBC News.




MONUMENTAL GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: The Hope For Survivors Of Washington State Landslide Dims As List Of Victims Grows - Land Subsidence Was About 4,400 Feet Wide; Debris 40 Feet Thick; 14 Dead; 176 Others Missing; 49 Structures Damaged Or Destroyed! [PHOTOS+VIDEOS]

March 25, 2014 - WASHINGTON STATE, UNITED STATES - Brenda Neal was still at the fire house at midnight, watching as rescuers caked with mud returned from the search for survivors of a massive landslide in rural Washington state.


A destroyed home is stranded atop mud and debris on Highway 530 near Oso on Sunday, March 23.
Groundwater saturation, tied to heavy rainfall in the area over the past month, was blamed for the landslide,
which authorities say measured at least 45 yards wide.


But they had no answers for her about her missing husband, Steven.

There was despair on their faces, she said.

Rescuers on Tuesday continued to battle mud and debris -- with the consistency of quicksand in some places -- in the search for survivors, but hopes dimmed as no one has been rescued since the slide on Saturday.

The death toll stood at 14 with 176 others missing or unaccounted for. Officials have stressed those unaccounted for are not necessarily all victims of the disaster. They believe many names are duplicated.

Steven Neal's family holds out hope, despite discouraging signs.

Neal is a plumber who was on a service call in the area where the landslide hit.

"None of us feel like he's gone," Brenda Neal said.

Her daughter, Sara, agreed: "I think if anyone had a chance to getting through, it would be him."

Monday's effort yielded a grim result -- six bodies.

"I'm very disappointed to tell you that we didn't find any sign of any survivors, and we found no survivors today," Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots told reporters Monday night.

The landslide covered about a square mile and was caused by groundwater saturation tied to heavy rain in the area over the past month. It affected Oso, with a population of about 180, and Darrington, a town of about 1,350.


The remains of a massive landslide are seen near Oso, Washington, on Monday, March 24. The landslide
on Saturday blocked the highway and the Stillaguamish River.

A search and rescue team carries the body of a victim on March 24.

A helicopter flies over on March 24 surveying the damage from the landslide.

An intact house sits at the edge of the landslide on March 24.

Downed power lines and parts of a destroyed house can be seen in the debris blocking the road near Oso.

U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene tweeted out this photo of the devastation that a landslide caused in Snohomish County.

President Barack Obama, in the Netherlands on Tuesday, asked "all Americans to send their thoughts and prayers to Washington state and the community of Oso."

Obama said he had spoken with the state's governor and signed an emergency declaration.

Early hopeful signs, like a 4-year-old boy who was rescued on the day of the landslide, have faded for some.

One survivor, Robin Youngblood, cared for the rescued boy immediately after he was pulled out.

"They brought him to us in the ambulance. I took all his clothes off because he was freezing," she told CNN affiliate KCPQ.

She comforted him, but foreshadowed that this could be a life-altering event.

"I wrapped him up and held him and told him I was a grandma and couldn't find the rest of his family," she said.

More and more stories of those unaccounted for continue to emerge.

Nicole Webb Rivera is missing her parents, daughter and her daughter's fiance.

The last communication Rivera had with them was a Facebook comment that her daughter posted Saturday morning.

When she was unable to reach them, she knew that her worst fear was realized. She believes her daughter and her fiance were at Rivera's parents' home in Darrington.


This image, released by the Washington State Department of Transportation, shows the hillside that
gave way in the upper left. It also shows the blocked highway and river.

Officials warned residents of possible flooding both upstream and downstream of the collapse.

The landslide cut off the small town of Darrington and prompted an evacuation notice
for fear of a potentially "catastrophic flood event," authorities said.

The first Washington State Patrol trooper arrives on the scene, according to the patrol's Twitter feed.

Add caption

"This is catastrophic for our community and all of us who are waiting for word on our family members," Rivera told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "It's such beyond the scope of my four missing family members. It's grief for our whole town."

Some 49 structures were impacted or destroyed by the landslide, Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington told CNN.

Geologists say the area impacted by the slide is not unstable, but rescuers face great challenges.

"The best analogy, I think, is a microcosm of Mount St. Helens," Pennington said. "This went down, it went hard, it went fast, and the debris is deep."

Peering across the devastated landscape, Cory Kuntz just shakes his head.

"When you look at it, you just get in shock," he told CNN affiliate KING. "You kind of go numb."

Kuntz lost his aunt and his home in Oso.

Thanks to the efforts of friends and neighbors, his uncle's life was spared, though he was nearly buried alive.


WATCH: Over 100 missing in Washington landslide.



WATCH: Death toll continues to rise.



WATCH: Families still hopeful.




"They heard him pounding on that roof. He had a little air pocket and a stick. He said he was poking up on it, banging on it," Kuntz said. "My neighbors and my friends came and started digging him out and just couldn't get to my aunt in time."

The first reports of the landslide came in about 10:45 a.m. Saturday (1:45 p.m. ET), the sheriff's office said.

Dave Norman, a Washington state geologist, said the landslide was about 4,400 feet wide with a wide debris field. In some places, the debris is 30 to 40 feet thick.

"This is one of the biggest landslides I have ever seen," Norman said. - CNN.



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Deadly Bus Crash In Tak, Thailand - At Least 30 Killed, 22 Injured! Bus, Bus Crash, Earth Changes, Tak, Thailand, Infrastructure Collapse, Magnetic Field, Magnetism, Pole Shift, Societal Collapse, Western Thailand, Steep Road, Laos, Municipal Workers, Traffic Accidents

March 25, 2014 - THAILAND - Officials say a double-decker bus carrying municipal workers on a field trip plunged off a steep road into a ravine in western Thailand, killing at least 30 people.


Thailand bus crash kills 30 people
The bus was carrying Thai local government workers on a field trip to Laos [AP]

The accident happened on Monday evening in Tak, which borders Myanmar, as several buses ferried Thai local government workers for a field trip to Laos.

Tak’s provincial governor Suriya Prasatbunditya said 22 people were injured in the crash that occurred when the driver tried to pass other cars on a steep, winding mountain road.

The driver, who survived the accident with a broken rib, said he tried to slow down but claimed the brakes stopped working, according to Suriya.

"The brakes failed as the bus came downhill on a hilly road and it crashed through the concrete barrier and fell into a 150-metre deep ravine," a local police captain, Sittichai Panyasong, told the AFP news agency.

Suriya said there were more than 300 accidents on the same road last year.

Thailand's roads are among the world's deadliest and accidents are common, especially on buses travelling late at night.

A recent report by the World Health Organisation said Thailand saw about 38 road deaths per 100,000 people in 2010, behind only the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean and the South Pacific island of Niue.

That compares with an average of 18.5 per 100,000 in Southeast Asia as a whole.

In December, dozens of people were killed when a bus carrying New Year travellers plunged off one of Thailand's highest bridges in the country's northeast.

Officials say roughly 60 percent of traffic accidents in Thailand are caused by human error, with poor road and vehicle conditions posing additional hazards. Alcohol also plays a significant role. - Al Jazeera.



BIG BROTHER NOW: The Rise Of The Global Police State - What's The Point Of Being Afraid Of The Zombie Apocalypse, When You're Already A Zombie; Forget RFID And Check Out Our Super Trendy Tracked And Traced Future!

March 25, 2014 - TECHNOLOGY & SURVEILLANCE - RFID tags are so last season. Google Glass isn’t even as potentially invasive as the new tech that’s coming out now.

Between infinitesimally small cameras that allow you to take high definition 3-D “selfies” of your insides and electronic tattoos or pills that authenticate your body the way a password does, the future is turning out to be more than just a tad bit creepier than Back to the Future II said it would be.

The world is bad enough with vast swaths of disconnected people wandering through it like techno zombies, faces constantly down in their smart phones.

It’s a lot like this:




Go to dinner, half the tables are filled with people who aren’t spending nearly as much time with each other as they are with their smart phones. Go to a concert, people aren’t watching and listening to the actual concert while they are there: they are recording it on their smart phone instead.

This lady was so busy doing something on her phone as she walked through the mall that she tripped and fell face down into a water fountain. But that is nothing compared to the new “Android Wear” smart watch that was just announced.

Check out the commercial for yourself:


WATCH:  Android Wear - Information that moves with you.




Android Wear is a watch-like device that features Google Now. The commercial shows people literally talking to their wrists all day as the little smart watch feeds them information about every thing they are doing as they go about their daily lives.

Wired
is calling it “Google Now for your Body.” Google Now is an electronic “smart” personal/social assistant that, according to the Wikipedia entry on it, “uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of web services. Along with answering user-initiated queries, Google Now passively delivers information to the user that it predicts they will want, based on their search habits.”

You won’t just be interacting with the Internet anymore…it will be interacting with you. Preemptively. In real time.

Remember a few weeks back when stories came out that “Google will know you better than your intimate partner”? The idea (read: goal) is that computers will be so advanced within a mere 15 years, they will surpass humans and be able to literally read our minds (so says futurist and Google Director of Engineering Ray Kurzweil).

As if technology hadn’t invaded our lives enough by now, if this trendy new tech catches on, the Aldous Huxley phrase “learn to love your servitude” will take on a whole new meaning. Call me crazy, but this seems like every far-reaching implication about the potential horrors of our ever-growing surveillance state all rolled into one little high tech Dick Tracy gadget.

Maybe it’s just because I didn’t grow up in a time when everybody (even five-year-olds) had their own cell phones and we were all constantly communicating electronically with one another, but I’m nostalgic for the good old days when no one — and especially no robots — knew me better than I knew myself.

Then again, ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the guy who chalks the enormity of the NSA spy program down to just “the nature of our society,” told us this was coming back in a September 2008 interview with McKinsey Quarterly:
“When people have infinitely powerful personal devices connected to infinitely fast networks and servers with lots and lots of content, what will they do? There will be a new kind of application and it will be personal. It will run on the equivalent of your mobile phone. It will know where you are via GPS, and you will use it as your personal and social assistant. It will know who your friends are and when they show up near you. It will remind you of their birthdays. [...] When you go to school it will help you learn, since this device knows far more than you ever will.
Consider that last line when you are getting fitted for your super cool new mind reading, life tracking Google smart watch. -  TSM.



MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT: Highly Suspicious - In An Unprecedented Move, Israel Closes Embassies All Over The World As "Diplomats Go On Indefinite Strike," Just Days After Allocating 10 BILLION SHEKELS (US$2.89 Billion) In Preparation For Possible Military Strike On Iran!

March 25, 2014 - ISRAEL - Employees of Israel's Foreign Ministry went on an all-out strike Sunday for the first time in the country’s history over a dispute surrounding workers' salaries and conditions.




The dispute has been going on for nearly two years. Seven months of negotiations ended on March 4, when workers rejected a proposal by the Finance Ministry.

Israeli ambassadors abroad will not go to work, no consular services will be available, and Israel will not be represented at any international gatherings during the strike. Even the Foreign Ministry’s political leadership and management will be locked out.

The strike is indefinite and will affect everyone, including employers bringing foreign workers to Israel for work, immigrants, and anyone who wants to travel to Israel – including foreign dignitaries.

“Today, for the first time in Israel’s history, the foreign ministry will be closed and no work will be done in any sphere under the ministry’s authority,” a statement by the ministry's workers' committee reads.

It added that the strike would be “open ended” because of the “employment conditions for Israeli diplomats and because of the draconian decision by the Treasury to cut workers’ salaries.”

A number of visits have already been canceled or put on hold, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned trip to Mexico, Panama, and Colombia next month, as well as Pope Francis’ planned visit to Israel in May.

Avigdor Lieberman said the worker’s committee has “lost its head” in what was a “miserable decision.”

“This move has no benefit, and will only cause more damage to the ministry’s workers. I’m sorry that these irresponsible steps will come at the expense of the country’s citizens,” he said.

The diplomats are demanding an increase in their monthly salaries and want compensation for their spouses who have to quit jobs because of foreign postings. They say that one-third of Israeli diplomats have already quit over the past 10 years because of low salaries.

“The Treasury is determined to destroy the foreign ministry and Israeli diplomacy,” said Yacov Livne, a spokesman for the Israeli diplomats' union.

Yair Frommer, the head of the worker's committee, implied that the Treasury does not value the crucial work that diplomats do.

He said the Treasury will not be able to “prevent boycotts of Israel, will not foster business transactions that yield huge economic benefits and will not raise our voices at the UN Security Council.” - RT.



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Shuttle Bus Crash On Interstate 95, Virginia, United States - 1 Dead, 16 Hospitalized!

March 25, 2014 - VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES - A shuttle bus transporting a group back from a birthday party collided with a car and overturned before dawn Sunday along a highway south of the nation's capital, leaving one person dead and sending 16 others to the hospital, Virginia State Police said.


Shuttle Bus Crash On Interstate 95, Virginia
This photo provided by the Virginia State Police, police investigate the scene of a bus accident on Interstate 95,
early Sunday, March 23, 2014 in Fairfax County, Va.


The bus was headed south on Interstate 95 when witnesses reported seeing a speeding white sedan swerve into the bus's lane. Virginia State Police initially said the bus swerved to avoid the car and then overturned, but later said the two vehicles collided, causing the bus driver to lose control, drive off the road and overturn.

The driver of the white sedan did not stop but was arrested later Sunday and charged with one felony count of hit-and-run, the Virginia State Police said. State Police identified him as 31-year-old Raphael Manuel Barrientos of Dumfries, Va. A woman who answered at a telephone listing for his home declined to comment.

The crash occurred on the interstate in northern Virginia's Fairfax County and police were called at 3:28 a.m. Sunday, State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

Geller said the man who died was one of two people flown to a northern Virginia hospital. He was identified as 24-year-old David Alberto Sanchez of Woodbridge, Va.


This image provided by WTOP shows a bus overturned on Interstate 95 on early Sunday, March 23, 2014 in Fairfax
County, Va. The shuttle bus struck a guardrail and overturned before dawn Sunday just south of the nation's capital,
leaving at least one person dead and sending 16 others to the hospital, Virginia State Police said.


Sanchez's father, Federico Hernandez, told The Associated Press that his son, who worked in the office of an auto body shop in Virginia, was attending a birthday party for a co-worker. He said he believed his son had left around 11 p.m. Saturday for a trip into Washington to celebrate. Hernandez said his son was also studying computers at a community college.

State Police confirmed the bus had been to Washington for a birthday party and was returning to Prince William County, where all the passengers were from.

The State Police said nine people were ejected from the bus during the accident. One person was being treated for life-threatening injuries Sunday. Two others, the driver and a passenger, were being treated for serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. The remaining 13 passengers suffered minor injuries.

State Police identified the crashed vehicle as a shuttle bus operated by America Transportation. An answering service dispatcher for that company said America Transportation had no information to release. A person who replied to an email sent to the company's address referred questions to the Virginia State Police.

News photographs taken at the site early Sunday showed police had erected orange safety cones at the site and used floodlights to illuminate the overturned bus. It was on its right side in a grassy area, its rear pointed away from a crumpled guardrail. Crews were visible using a tall crane trying to right the bus. Its windshield was shattered and much of its right side crumpled from the right front bumper backward. - Yahoo.



PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: California Polio-Like Virus Still A Mystery - After Another Child Is Sickened With The Disease, Doctors Are Searching For The Cause?!

March 25, 2014 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - Doctors are trying to learn more about a mysterious "polio-like" illness that sickened a new victim in Southern California.




A 2-year-old boy from Moorpark in Ventura County recently contracted the virus that has left as many as 25 children with paralyzed limbs. The cases have popped up from San Diego to the Bay Area.

The San Diego County Health Department says the illness is not a public health emergency, but they're watching for new cases and sharing tips on how to prevent it.

Researchers now say it is probably caused by a variant of a common virus.

"It's known to be something that can cause respiratory disease in people, a cold perhaps, a common cold," said Dr. Erc McDonald with the county health department.

Two cases were reported in San Diego in late 2012, and the victims were a teenager and an adult.

According to McDonald, it’s important to remember that while the disease can paralyze its victims, it is not polio.

"The other message is that we do have these rare, tragic instances that our state public health department is really doing a diligent effort to find the causes for,” said McDonald.

Good hygiene is the best way to avoid contracting the disease, McDonald recommends. That includes hand washing – especially after using the restroom – and not sharing food or drink with others. When you’re stick, stay home and don’t share the virus with others.

Local health agencies are being asked to report potential cases of the little-known virus to the state health department'


WATCH: After another California child is sickened with the disease, doctors are searching for the cause.




"But the numbers are very, very low. Certainly not something that is on the scale of some of the other public health threats. Something like influenza,” said McDonald. “We've had something like 50 deaths this season from influenza, and that puts it in a little perspective."

McDonald said the virus that causes that disease was first discovered in California in the 1960s. It is also linked to polio-like disease among children in Asia and Australia. - NBC Bay Area.



GLOBAL WATER CRISIS: United Nations Warn That Water-Energy Crisis Threatens Earth's Future - Nearly 768 MILLION People Are Without Access To Safe Water And 2.5 BILLION Live Without Proper Sanitation!

March 25, 2014 - EARTH - Craving for water and energy will swell in the near future, amid surging populations and economies. This increase could badly strain earth's limited resources, says the UN.


Reuters / Mahmoud Hebbo


"Demand for freshwater and energy will continue to increase over the coming decades," said a UN report published on the eve of World Water Day, "This increase will present big challenges and strain resources in nearly all regions."

This time the UN is drawing attention to both water and energy resources as they, according to the report, are “tightly interlinked and highly interdependent.”

“To obtain water requires energy, and to produce energy requires water,” it says.

According to the report, nearly 768 million people worldwide remain without access to safe water and 2.5 billion live without proper sanitation. It also adds that the number of people “whose right to water is not satisfied” could be nearly 3.5 billion. In addition, globally more than 1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity and around 20 percent of the world's aquifers today are depleted.

The report also makes predictions about the future influence of water on the global population.

Global water demand will be increased by some 55 percent by 2050 mostly due to growing demands from manufacturing (400 percent), thermal electricity generation (140 percent) and domestic use (130 percent) as farming, construction, drinking, cooking, washing and sewerage will require more potable water.

Also by 2050 more than 40 percent of the global population will be “living in areas of severe water stress.”

Asian countries will be the biggest hotspots where water and extraction will be at a high level.

"Areas of conflict include the Aral Sea [a dried lake between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan] and the Ganges-Brahmaputra River [between India and Bangladesh], the Indus River [Pakistan] and the Mekong River basins [Southeast Asia]," said the report.


Reuters / Mohamed Azakir


Energy demand will also be increased by more than one-third over the period to 2035. Those “culprits” which would account for 60 percent of the increase will be China, India and the Middle Eastern countries. Electricity demand is expected to grow by 70 percent by 2035, with again India and China accounting for more than half that growth.

According to the International Energy Agency, over 66 billion cubic meters of fresh water was consumed in 2010, but by 2035 this consumption could rise by 85 percent. This might be explained by the fact that in the future more power plants will use cooling systems that operate with water. Power plant cooling is responsible for nearly 50 percent of total freshwater withdrawals in in Europe and the USA.

“A relatively fixed path” will belong to renewable sources like solar and wind energy that use less water the report said; these sources of energy were responsible for nearly a fifth of global electricity output in 2011.

According to the UN, hydro-electric power will have a lot of potential in the future; however, the use of hydro-electric dams, that use the energy of water, has been extremely controversial. They produce a high amount of power but critics say they are ecologically damaging and prone to massive cost overruns.

The report says that improving water and energy efficiency is imperative for every country’s policies.

“The challenge for 21st century governance is to embrace the multiple aspects, roles and benefits of water, and to place water at the heart of decision-making in all water-dependent sectors, including energy,” said the statement.

The World Water Development Report (WWDR) is an annual report that focuses on different water issues and aims to provide decision-makers with the tools to implement sustainable use of our water resources. Its fifth publication has been released ahead of World Water Day, which has been celebrated on March 22 since 1993. - RT.



TERMINATOR NOW: The Rise Of The Machines - Robot Writes Los Angeles Times Breaking News Article About An Earthquake!

March 25, 2014 - TECHNOLOGY - The Los Angeles Times was the first newspaper to publish a story about an earthquake on Monday - thanks to a robot writer.


The LA Times posted its earthquake story within three minutes, journalist Ken Schwencke said

Journalist and programmer Ken Schwencke created an algorithm that automatically generates a short article when an earthquake occurs.

Mr Schwencke told Slate magazine that it took around three minutes for the story to appear online.

"Robo-journalism" is increasingly being used in newsrooms worldwide. The LA Times is a pioneer in the technology which draws on trusted sources - such as the US Geological Survey - and places data into a pre-written template.

As well as the earthquake report, it also uses another algorithm to generate stories about crime in the city - with human editors deciding which ones need greater attention.

Other news organisations have experimented with algorithm-based reporting methods in other areas, particularly sports.

The generated story does not replace the journalist, Mr Schwencke argued, but instead allows available data to be quickly gathered and disseminated.

"It's supplemental," he told the magazine.

"It saves people a lot of time, and for certain types of stories, it gets the information out there in usually about as good a way as anybody else would.

"The way I see it is, it doesn't eliminate anybody's job as much as it makes everybody's job more interesting." - BBC.



FUK-U-SHIMA: Neverending Setbacks And Radiation Forever - Fukushima Cleanup Suspended After Worker's Death!

March 25, 2014 - JAPAN - The water decontamination process at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has once again been halted, only about six hours after the plant’s operator TEPCO announced it was resuming the purification process following a previous failure.


Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) employees wearing protective suits and masks visit inside the central control room
for the Number 1 and Number 2 reactors at TEPCO's tsunami-crippled Daiichi nuclear
power plant in Fukushima prefecture (AFP Photo / Toru Hanai)

Six days ago, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) detected a failure in what is known as the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS). The company said that up to 900 tons of water, which had not been sufficiently cleaned in the ALPS equipment, flowed into a network of 21 tanks that were holding 15,000 tons of treated water. Not only have the 21 tanks been rendered unusable, but all 15,000 tons of previously cleaned water has to be retreated.

TEPCO said it restarted two of three lines used to clean toxic water at around 04:00 GMT on Monday. A third line remained offline while crews examined a filter defect, AFP reported.

Yet shortly before 10:00 GMT, TEPCO suspended the ALPS of the two units after finding about a half liter of leaked water at a tank designed to measure levels of radioactive materials in the processed water, according to Jiji Press. TEPCO said in a press release that there were no new leaks outside the system, though.

The difficulties only mark the latest challenges TEPCO has faced since March 2011, when a 9.0 megathrust earthquake triggered a subsequent tsunami that resulted in a badly-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The ALPS system was developed to dramatically curb the radiation level of highly contaminated water that is accumulating at the plant. The ALPS consists of 14 steel cylinders through which the contaminated water is filtered. After the filtering, waste materials like the absorbent and remaining sludge are transferred to high-integrity containers (HICs) that are transported to a temporary storage facility.

The ALPS can remove 62 different types of radionuclides, including strontium and cobalt, from contaminated water. While the system cannot remove tritium – a radioactive isotope of hydrogen – the purification of water through the system is expected to reduce damage levels if water leaks from storage tanks.

The equipment, which is supposed to be able to treat up to 750 tons of contaminated water a day, has been undergoing trial runs since March 2013. The system, however, has been plagued with problems from the outset. The latest glitch and subsequent recontamination was caused when one of the three ALPS lines failed to remove radioactive substances to a sufficient level.

In mid-January, TEPCO warned that nuclear radiation at the boundaries of the damaged facility had jumped to eight times the government safety guidelines, while only a week into the new year, plant operators once again had to stop using its systems to decontaminate radioactive water. Compounding their problems at the time, a crane used to get rid of the container from the ALPS ceased functioning.

TEPCO has struggled to manage a growing volume of contaminated water at the plant. About 436,000 cubic meters of contaminated water is stored at the site in about 1,200 tanks. - RT.