Chosen: End Times Newsletter – Issue 68

The Minister’s Corner
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Be Still
By Johanna

My husband and I were talking about having no work the other night and how hard it is effecting millions of people including us at this time. He is starting to go out of his mind worry about how he is going to take care of his family and pay the bills. The stress is taking a toll on him. I repeatedly tell him to hand it over to Father. He finds it hard to do sometimes. Both of us have seen Father working miracles many times in the past as I have written about.

Proverbs 10:4 “Idle hands make one poor, but diligent hands bring riches.”

Anyway he was sitting here trying not to cry with helplessness and worry so I told him that idle hands are the devils playground. He informed me that I had that saying wrong. He said that it is suppose to be idle minds are the devils playground. Well I find both sayings which ever you want to use to be correct. When we are idle whether it is our hands or our minds Satan can work through us to ask against Father and what we believe in.

My husband told me that his mind wasn’t the problem because it was going a mile a minute. I stopped and looked at him and said yes that is the problem. If you don’t be still and order your mind under control then again Satan will try to work his way in to confuse you. It is important to pray and then listen to Father through your heart up through your mind. If you think about it when you are prayer and having a conversation with Father is your mind idle at that time? No it isn’t because you are opening it even further for Father to speak to you. We should always take the time to pray and ponder on what Father wants from us and what She wants us to do next in our lives.

Psalm 13:2 “How long will I store up anxious concerns with me, agony in my mind every day? How long will my enemy dominate me?”

It is so much easier sometimes to just push Father aside and let our worry run our lives. Who do you think will actually benefit from you doing this? That’s right. Satan looks for these kinds of opportunities to step up and whisper things into our ears to try and pull us farther from Father and closer to him.

Even though my family is physically falling into the economic downfall that many people have faced in the past year we keep our faith in Father everyday by praying. Father will always provide what we need as long as we keep our faith in Her.

Proverbs 23:19 “Listen, my son, and be wise; keep your mind on the right course.”

Without You
By Regina

Without Your Direction
I am Lost

Without Your Knowledge
I am Ignorant

Without Your Understanding
I am Immature

Without Your Wisdom
I am Foolish

Without Your Protection
I am Vulnerable

Without Your Guidance
I am Hopeless

Without Your Strength
I am Weak

Without Your Compassion
I am Misunderstood

Without Your Love
I am in Darkness

Without Your Patience
I am Unforgiven

Without Your Forgiveness
I am No More

Without You
I am Nothing

You Are
I Am

Never Give Up, But Instead Endure
By Deborah

There are days, weeks, months and even years when it seems we just can’t get things together. We may trip, stumble and even fall as we try to be footstep followers of Christ. It can be frustrating, disappointing and disheartening to say the least. Sometimes it can feel like each thing we do that lets our Father and Savior down literally digs us deeper into a hole. Sometimes it can feel like you couldn’t possibly live up to their standards.

Acts 11:23 When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he encouraged all of them to remain true to the Lord with a firm resolve of the heart —

But that isn’t true. What is important is your intention and your integrity. What is important is your obedience to, faith in, loyalty to, and love for Father Yahweh. We can’t control other people and we can’t control the world, but we CAN control our thoughts, actions and reactions. Sometimes it can be as simple as just slowing down and being more mindful of what we are doing. Taking more care and consideration. Thinking about what the consequences of our thoughts, actions and reactions may be.

Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints—and you continue to serve them.

We don’t always get things right the first time, but we are given the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, seeking forgiveness from Father for our sins and try again. Sometimes it takes multiple tries before we master something. But Father is patient and knows that putting on the new man is the undoing of the influence of Satan and this sinful world on you. An entire lifetime of soil and stain.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

So when you feel so heavy and downtrodden. When you feel the hope our Lord has placed in your heart leaking out where it has cracked under strain, stop and give thanks for all the blessings you have been given. And know that you are loved.

1 Chronicles 16:34 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.

One final thing to look forward to…

Revelation 6:11 So a white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer until [the number of] their fellow slaves and their brothers, who were going to be killed just as they had been, would be completed.

Revelation 7:9 [ A Multitude from the Great Tribulation ] After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands.

Revelation 7:13-14 Then one of the elders asked me, "Who are these people robed in white, and where did they come from?"

I said to him, "Sir, you know." Then he told me: These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

For me personally, those scriptures replace and renew any and all hope previously lost.

Inspired Writings

Indecency

Having a mild understanding for what it really means to be or for something to be indecent, it would probably be best to bring up its definition (Dictionary.com).

1. offending against generally accepted standards of propriety or good taste; improper; vulgar: indecent jokes; indecent language; indecent behavior.
2. not decent; unbecoming or unseemly: indecent haste.

At first, when the concept of indecency came to mind, what mostly sparked was the eye-opening aspect of it. Often, one's perspective of what is indecent can be a little narrow, perhaps because only a few things may be attributed to being indecent based on personal experience or what one has been taught. However, if this perspective is broadened such that everything may be “stress tested” for indecency, it could really open one's eyes as to how much everything is really just…out of place.

Taking the first definition given by Dictionary.com of the word “indecent,” one can see the phrase “generally accepted standards.” What may initially come to mind are the “generally accepted standards” that this generation of humanity may place on different things. Yet, these standards vary from person to person, with what seems like no real set guidelines. For example, in the United States, it is generally acceptable for ladies to walk in public without a veil or shroud, while in the Middle East, a lady would probably be horribly punished for not wearing a shroud. Is either standard right or wrong? Which one is indecent and which one is not? What more, who is to say which is indecent?

It is simple to say that Father is the One who determines whether or not something is decent. The reason for this, though, may be a little deeper in the definition of what indecency is. In this, indecency can be seen as a contagion that wreaks havoc and destruction, the eventual degradation of society as one would see it (as can be easily observed today). In order to determine exactly what is going to tear society and all other things apart in a direct or indirect degradation, a person would have to have an immense amount of knowledge and understanding, and especially wisdom. Who else, other than the very founder of anything anyone in this universe knows, than Father?

With this in mind, one may further come to see that it is very, very important to have a strong bond of communication with Father, or indecency would take over, thus dismantling control and overall peace. If it weren't for Christ as our Mediator, and all that Father has provided to help, there wouldn't be a shred of untainted decency at all. For this, there can be a continual thanksgiving and praise to Father, because, as sinful beings, peace is not something that may be deserved.

And so now seeing how very important Father is, and also now defining the word “indecent,” one may be able to more clearly examine the different things around them, namely looking for indecency. On a personal level, I have no idea what sort of impact the very computer screen I am looking at may have on the environment now, as I am using it, nor how it will impact the environment when it is destroyed. The computer emits electromagnetic signals that, although may seem harmless, could be silently and slowly degrading the floor beneath it. Much more, even the thoughts that may come from my own heart may be not very good energies, as thought is energy. Indecency can go beyond morality, and be exemplified in the very objects that we see with physical eyes. And the less that Father has a say in something, the more indecent it will be. As well, Father's inspired writings hold what Father says about indecency and impurity.

In scripture, the word “indecency” comes up eight times, and of those eight times, all eight of the occurrences are in Ezekiel, and six of them occur in the twenty-third chapter of Ezekiel. An interesting combination also comes about when reading the first occurrence with the last occurrence of this word:

Ezekiel 16:58 – “You yourself must bear the consequences of your indecency and abominations" —the LORD's declaration.”

Ezekiel 24:13 – “Because of the indecency of your uncleanness— since I tried to purify you, but you would not be purified from your uncleanness— you will not be pure again until I have satisfied My wrath on you.”

It is quite something that indecency would be mentioned with its consequences, as well as purification. The interesting thing about a declaration, as well, is that it is in effect throughout time, especially Father's.

The Way – Part 3
This week we continue looking at Wrong Attitudes to be Avoided. We will be sharing what has been given to us, but in groups of 3. Before our Ministry holds Bible Study each week, we pray to Father Yahweh for guidance and help in understanding Her Word. We pray the wisdom imparted will find its way to your heart where it may be written up on it. Amen

www.biblegateway.com can be used as a reference tool with the Holman Christian Standard Bible as the recommended version.

Wrong attitudes to be avoided

Avoid Cowardice

2 Timothy 1:7

Revelation 21:8

 

Avoid Disrespect

3 John 1:9-10

Jude 1:8-10


Avoid Egotism

Galatians 5:26

Philippians 2:3




Nourishment From The Throne
“For the LORD gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6

Cherubic Commander: Satan is working nonstop in an attempt to save his prized number one beast from sinking on down into the pit of despair laid below it by Father. But President-Elect Obama is to late to save what cannot be saved. No amount of money printed, no amount of tax relief, nothing offered for relief will stop the down-slide motion that the United States is feeling as it slowly descends into the pit of despair prepared by our Father.

When the United States is recognized by the other world governments as being at the point of complete and irreversible bankruptcy, Israel will no longer be in a position to dictate its terms in the Middle East. Israel, backed by the present beast chosen by Satan, but not withstanding that the other governments also represent beasts in their own right, and Israel, supplied in sophisticated weaponry by the United States will find itself without future support as the United States falls into anarchy. The European Union will step in to pick up the pieces of the present beast and will act as the image of the beast in a capacity that will appear to offer relief and security for those that survive the troubled waters that are just ahead. Meantime, the State of Israel will be surrounded by its enemies and brought to its knees for its past conduct against innocent casualties of Israel's plight to control the areas around her homeland. They will be completely overrun and the city of Jerusalem will be in the hands of its enemies with the USA powerless to lend her any support.

What will be the final straw that breaks the camel's back is that of a massive earthquake that will soon hit the United States. The devastation will be of such a magnitude that the present amount of funds spoken of to try and fix the economy will be a drop in the bucket to what would be required to repair this nation. The loss of life added to the equation will be great in number. All part of Father's plan to bring down the beast to the full limit of the pit of despair. As Satan will someday descend into the pit of oblivion, this is played out with the decent of his present powerful beast in symbolic likeness, because the USA will not again be able to arise out of the pit of its own decevious cause for having shunned its Creator. When desperation sets in, violent behavior follows. All will add to the misery that is the future of this beast. It's power will be taken, and its people will come in under the image of the beast that is in waiting. Satan will be forced to abandon his vain attempt to try and alter prophecy.

Dreams & Visions
“And it will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. I will even pour out My Spirit on My male and female slaves in those days, and they will prophesy.” Acts 2:17-18

I was in the Middle East, I don’t know where exactly or which country. So I was talking to this other guy, and while I was talking I realized I was trying to talk him to get him to join our side, why and about what I did not know. We were standing on a roof, all around us there were some houses and a lot of sand and some kind of river. Suddenly all hell broke loose and this guys eyes changed completely red, like they were some kind of blood eyes or whatever. I just realized in my guts that me trying to talk him to the good side didn’t work and he was one of Satan’s angels. We started fighting. Everywhere around me angels were fighting each other. Suddenly I left the rooftops and went to the river. All around me people, angels I guess, were heading towards the river too.

There was a corpse lying there, well, not a corpse, just a skeleton with some bluish light around it. Suddenly I knew this was the skeleton of Jesus and we had to fight to keep the bad guys away from it. Suddenly the skeleton started to walk and regenerate back into a normal body again and we kept fighting for it to complete its transformation. That’s when the dream ended.
-    Anonymous

Signs From Above
“He rescues and delivers, He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth, for He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” Daniel 6:27

Cherubic Commander: Job 37:4 "Then there comes a roaring sound; God thunders with His majestic voice. He does not restrain the lightning when His [rumbling] voice is heard."

Psalm 93:4 "Greater than the roar of many waters— the mighty breakers of the sea— the LORD on high is majestic."

Father can be heard roaring from Her Majestic Throne all the way to the barrier of holy angels encasing evil. Literally so. A sign that the thin veil is starting to diminish and that Father is becoming more active Herself.

Isaiah 42:13 "The LORD advances like a warrior; He stirs up His zeal like a soldier. He shouts, He roars aloud, He prevails over His enemies."

Father advances like what? Father's "zeal" means what?

Dictionary
zeal >noun great energy or enthusiasm for a cause or objective.
-ORIGIN Greek z_los.

Father's great energy is directed to obtain Her objective. Father shouts and roars aloud so that not only will She prevail over Her enemies, but will also give warning that Her great powerful energy is coming forth for the promised day of judgment.

Jeremiah 5:22 "Do you not fear Me? [This is] the LORD's declaration. Do you not tremble before Me, the One who set the sand as the boundary of the sea, an enduring barrier that it cannot cross? The waves surge, but they cannot prevail. They roar but cannot pass over it."

Everyone left behind on this planet will tremble with fear when Father's roar finally reaches them from Her throne. They will also roar, but will not be permitted to pass over to the promised kingdom. They will be like the seas of water that are trapped by the boundary set by Father. An enduring barrier that ends in eternal death that prohibits them from ever crossing over to the prospect of eternal life.

Mystery Roar Detected From Faraway Space
Friday, January 09, 2009
By Andrea Thompson
Space.com

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Space is typically thought of as a very quiet place. But one team of astronomers has found a strange cosmic noise that booms six times louder than expected. The roar is from the distant cosmos. Nobody knows what causes it. Of course, sound waves can't travel in a vacuum (which is what most of space is), or at least they can't very efficiently. But radio waves can.

Argentina: UFOs over lake seen by multiple witnesses

1-8-09
All News Web

Argentina is in the middle of a massive UFO flap, with sightings occurring virtually on a daily basis. Much of this activity centres on the town of Victoria in the Entre Rios province. One of the most recent sightings occurred on January 2 2009 starting at around 11pm. Witnesses are reported to have seen at least three UFOs. The first emerged from the body of water known as Laguna Del Pescado and then sped towards the fields surrounding the regional city of Victoria. A second large white light then appeared in the sky, parallel to the moon, before turning west and speeding upwards away from earth. Finally another light then appeared and did the same-the lights ranged in colour from white, blue, red orange and yellow.

Close Encounters Of The Jersey Kind?
MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CBS)
Reporting: John Slattery
Jan 6, 2009

Was it a UFO or is there an explanation for it? Strange, red, blinking lights could be seen across Morris County on Monday night, and officials thought they had figured out what caused them. Now, they're not so sure. Between 8:30 and 9 p.m., the Hurley family in Whippany captured images of a bizarre object in the sky and contacted WCBSTV.com.

UFOspotted over Ifield?
Crawley Observer
05 January 2009

Residents have spotted strange lights floating in the night sky over Ifield. Spooked Sarah Carter, couldn't believe her eyes when she saw a series of eight flashing orbs blinking in the sky above her home on Saturday January 3 at 9.40pm.

UFO spotted in Dedworth?
2nd January 2009
Slough Observer

STARGAZERS in Windsor were left stunned after mysterious bright lights illuminated the night sky, believing they may have seen a UFO. Gobsmacked residents in the Dedworth area of Windsor were among the first to witness the unidentified flying object as it hovered above houses before flying off towards Slough.

Alaska Town Abuzz Over Mystery Sky Explosion
Friday, January 02, 2009
Associated Press

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Was it a meteor falling from space? Officials think that might be what residents saw shooting through the Alaska sky near Tok on Monday afternoon. A tremendous explosion, like a sonic boom, drew some people outside, where they watched irregular contrails scribe a path in a clear sky.

Signs Down Below
"But know this: difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of religion but denying its power."  2 Timothy 3:1-5

Orange drinks with 300 times more pesticide than tap water
Daily Mail
by Sean Poulter
January 5, 2009

Fizzy drinks sold by Coca-Cola in Britain have been found to contain pesticides at up to 300 times the level allowed in tap or bottled water. A worldwide study found pesticide levels in orange and lemon drinks sold under the Fanta brand, which is popular with children, were at their highest in the UK.

Drug from genetically engineered goats a first
Physorg
by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
January 7, 2009

(AP) — You've heard of making cheese from goats' milk, but prescription drugs? In what would be a scientific first, an anti-clotting drug made from the milk of genetically engineered goats moved closer to government approval Wednesday after experts at the Food and Drug Administration reported that the medication works and its safety is acceptable.

UPDATE 1-US recession more severe than thought-Fed's Rosengren

Reuters
by Kristina Cooke
January 9, 2009

WEST NEWTON, Massachusetts, Jan 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. recession looks to be longer and more severe than originally thought, but there are signs that the economy will improve in the second half of 2009, a top Federal Reserve official said on Thursday. "It appears the economy contracted quite significantly in the final quarter of 2008 and may continue contracting over at least the first half of 2009. We are seeing businesses retrenching and unemployment rising," Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren told the Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association's Annual Meeting.

Israel warns Gaza of escalation
BBC
January 11, 2009

Israel has dropped leaflets on the Gaza Strip warning residents that it is to escalate its military action. There is speculation the leaflets may mean Israel will adopt new tactics in its battle with Palestinian militants. Israel says it has attacked dozens more Hamas targets, including what it says were rocket-launching sites, weapons stores and smuggling tunnels.

Europe's economy contracts at rates not seen since 1930s
Telegraph
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
January 9, 2009

German exports and industrial orders have both plunged at the steepest rate since modern records began and Spain's unemployment has surged above three million, capping one of the most disastrous days for Europe's economy since the Second World War.

Signs in Humanity

Human mole dies of thirst … lost in his own tunnels of trash
By JAMIE PYATT
The Sun
08 Jan 2009

AN eccentric loner hoarded so much rubbish he had to BURROW through it to get around his home — then got lost in the maze of tunnels and died of thirst. Human mole Gordon Stewart, 74, had filled his rooms up to the ceiling with ten years’ worth of garbage and clutter, making it impossible to walk around.

12-year-old killed mum over chores
From correspondents in Phoenix
Agence France-Presse
January 06, 2009

A 12-YEAR-old boy has been found guilty of murder after shooting his mother following an argument over chores.
A judge in Cochise County Superior Court in the small Arizona town of Bisbee found the boy guilty after a hearing on Friday, according to court records.

Baltimore mayor indicted on theft, perjury charges
By BEN NUCKOLS, Associated Press Writer Ben Nuckols, Associated Press Writer – Fri Jan 9, 6:21

BALTIMORE – Mayor Sheila Dixon was indicted Friday on charges that she accepted illegal gifts during her time as mayor and City Council president, including travel, fur coats and gift cards intended for the poor that she allegedly used instead for a holiday shopping spree.

Porn Industry Seeks Federal Bailout
San Diego News
January 7, 2009

LOS ANGELES — First it was the banking industry, then the auto makers. Will the adult entertainment industry be next? Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt and "Girls Gone Wild" chief Joe Francis announced Wednesday that they have sent a joint request to Congress asking for a $5 billion federal bailout to help the adult entertainment industry weather difficult financial times.

Wash. teen charged with drowning newborn in toilet
Jan 7, 2009
The Associated Press

PORT ANGELES, Wash. – A 16-year-old girl suspected of drowning an infant boy in a toilet and throwing the body in the trash was charged with murder Wednesday. Lauryn Louise Last, of Port Angeles, was charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the death of the infant believed to be her son.

Arks of Safe Haven
www.arksofsafehaven.org
"Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and to not ignore your own flesh [and blood]?" Isaiah 58:7

The mission of Arks of Safe Haven is to connect via an extensive network and online message board forum, those individuals and families who have been affected by recent economic downfalls and are in need with those individuals who are ready, willing and capable of providing assistance to those in need with employment, shelter, work, food, clothing and other necessities.

Coupled with our primary mission of delivering the Kingdom Message of Salvation, the assistance of Arks of Safe Haven is available to all who are in need. Our purposeful intention is to follow in the footsteps of Christ as our example, by providing hope to the hopeless and answering the prayers of those who have been forced to live outside of society.

How You Can Help?

In order to provide for those whose outcry of prayers have reached our heavenly Father's ears, Arks of Safe Haven is seeking out those who are able to provide shelter, whether it be an extra bedroom, empty rental property or a work for room and board agreement. Additionally, we also act as a liaison in connecting those with tangible items to donate to those in need like Food, Water, Clothing, & Other Personal Items. We pray that your heart is motivated to make a contribution, no matter how small.

Below are current cases that we are working on for people who are in need. If you're able to help these families in ANY WAY please visit the Arks of Safe Haven forum and let them know!

#25 – Edward – Springfield, Illinois – Single Father of 2 In Need: My name is Edward in July I was laid of my job, in such I fell behind on my rent and now about to be evicted. I am a hard work man that have always provided. I have sought work and recently found a job. I hold a Double BS and Master's with 2 years into my PhD. I need some help paying my due rent $5400. Pride does come before destruction and I am stepping out on faith believing there are people out there that will help. If you have any questions or will to help please call me at 773-252-0191/ I will provide you with the documents and Landlord information. Thank You

#26 – Jennifer – Cottage Hills, IL – Hello my name is Jennifer and I have 5 small children. Alexis 5, Makayla 3, Branden 2, Braeden 2, and Ashton 1, and as of January 21st we are going to be homeless. the house we are currently renting in cottage hills, from family is going to be sold in a foreclosure auction. and there is nothing I can do I work but I don’t make very much money and my credit is horrible so I can’t buy a house so really I need somewhere to rent or something where the payment won’t be very high. and I don’t really care where it is but I think the only place around here is Bethalto and Cottage Hills because everywhere else has an occupancy permit and i have too many kids. thank you so very much for taking the time to read our story.

Signs in Natural Disasters
“You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” Matthew 24:6-7

Strong Costa Rica quake kills two girls
Jan 8, 2009

(CNN) — Two girls died in a landslide Thursday triggered by a 6.1-magnitude earthquake that struck near Costa Rica's capital of San Jose, the National Emergency Commission of Costa Rica said. Relatives of two girls who died Thursday in a quake in Costa Rica mourn their deaths.

Extreme Alaska cold grounds planes, disables cars
By STEVE QUINN, Associated Press Writer Steve Quinn, Associated Press Writer – Jan 8, 2009

JUNEAU, Alaska – Ted Johnson planned on using a set of logs to a build a cabin in Alaska's interior. Instead he'll burn some of them to stay warm. Extreme temperatures — in Johnson's case about 60 below zero — call for extreme measures in a statewide cold snap so frigid that temperatures have grounded planes, disabled cars, frozen water pipes and even canceled several championship cross country ski races.

5.9-magnitude earthquake hits West Papua, Indonesia
http://www.chinaview.cn
2009-01-08

Jan. 8 (Xinhua) — An earthquake measuring 5.9 degree on Richter scale hit Manokwari in West Papua province of Indonesia on Thursday morning, the Indonesian meteorology and geophysics agency (BMG) reported.

Is Yellowstone's 'super volcano' about to blow up? – UPDATED

by Thijs Westerbeek van Eerten
Radio Netherlands Worldwide
Jan 8, 2009

The super volcano in Yellowstone Park, which includes parts of the states of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, is making its presence felt. On New Year's Day, the situation was so alarming that geologists called for an immediate evacuation of an area within a radius of 325 kilometers around the national park. At a rate of four tremors per hour, an eruption appeared imminent. The tremors have subsided slightly since 1 January, but it would appear the beast is slowly coming awake.

Catanduanes floods, slides affect 46,000

By Fernan Gianan
Southern Luzon Bureau
First Posted 18:04:00 01/08/2009
Filed Under: Weather, Disasters (general), Flood, Landslide

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Philippines—The Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council reported Thursday that a total of 9,240 families or about 46,000 people in eight towns in Catanduanes have been affected by floods and landslides caused by torrential rains since January 6.

Natural Disaster Update
Source: http://home.att.net/~thehessians/disasterwatch.html

QUAKES  

1/4/09 –
5.9 HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN
5.0 MARIANA ISLANDS REGION
5.0 MINAHASA, SULAWESI, INDONESIA
5.4 NICOBAR ISLANDS, INDIA REGION
5.0 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.0 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.0 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.0 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.2 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
6.0 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.3 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.0 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.0 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.3 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.2 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.0 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.4 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.5 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA

1/5/09 –
5.2 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.4 KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION
5.1 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.3 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.1 KEP. MENTAWAI REGION, INDONESIA
5.6 GULF OF CALIFORNIA

1/7/09 –
5.0 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.0 TIMOR REGION, INDONESIA
5.3 HALMAHERA, INDONESIA
5.3 FIJI REGION
5.1 GUAM REGION
5.1 SOUTH OF KERMADEC ISLANDS

1/8/09 –
5.5 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.0 NIAS REGION, INDONESIA
5.1 NEW IRELAND REGION, P.N.G
6.1 COSTA RICA

1/9/09 –
5.2 NEAR THE NORTH COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.2 KEPULAUAN MENTAWAI REGION, INDONESIA
5.0 OFFSHORE ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE
5.0 NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
5.1 LUZON, PHILIPPINES
5.5 CARLSBERG RIDGE

COSTA RICA – The number of people killed from an earthquake in Costa Rica rose to 34 on Saturday, most died in landslides.

Rescuers intensifed searches in mountainous areas of central Costa Rica after the 6.1 earthquake. The quake occurred on Thursday at Poas Volcano National Park north of the capital, San Jose, and caused landslides to block roads and damage buildings. At least 40 people are still missing, and hundreds have sought refuge. The quake, reported to be ONE OF THE STRONGEST TO HIT COSTA RICA IN 150 YEARS, was felt across the country and knocked down homes in San Jose. (photo)

2008 saw notable increase in moderate Southern California earthquakes – There were 267 quakes of magnitude 3 or greater in 2008 in Southern California and the northern portion of Baja California, up from 125 in 2007. 2008 had the highest number of such quakes of any year since 1999. Seismologists say such clusters could indicate a bigger temblor to come — but then again, maybe not. It appears Southern California is waking up from a steep drop-off in seismic activity so far this decade. "It looks more like we're returning to a more normal rate. The last 15 years was one of the quietest times we've had in terms of [magnitude] 3's, 4's and 5's." But the shift underscores one of the more perplexing elements of seismology: That quakes tend to happen in clusters, but not in any patterns that are easy to understand. The clusters often come and go cyclically, but it's not clear whether they are laying the groundwork for a major quake.

COSTA RICA – A strong 6.1 earthquake on Thursday killed at least two people. Two sisters were buried in a landslide triggered by the tremor, centred some 35km (22 miles) north-west of the capital San Jose. Reports say the quake – which hit at 1321 (1921 GMT) – left several people injured in villages north of San Jose. The earthquake cut off electricity in parts of the capital and officials reported damage to roads and houses. At least five strong aftershocks were felt or reported after the first tremor.

MEXICO – A 5.6-magnitude earthquake that rattled northern Mexico on Monday has produced a small separation of the peninsula from the continent, a Mexican scientist said Tuesday. "Though the earthquake was not related to the telluric movements reported in Indonesia, it generated a small peninsular separation." A great part of the peninsula continues to separate from the rest of the continent at a pace of even six centimeters per year. The earthquake occurred at 4:59 local time (1059 GMT) Monday, and its epicenter was in Cortes Sea, 115 km northwest to San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur at a depth of 18 km. The earthquake was also felt on the northern coast of Sinaloa and slightly in south Sonora. Authorities from Baja California Sur, Sinaloa and Sonora, did not report casualties or major damages, but inspection work was going on.

Earthquakes killed 88,070 people in 2008, the highest figure since 2004. The year's strongest quake was in Sichuan, China, on May 12. At least 69,185 people were killed, 18,467 left missing and presumed dead, and 374,171 injured as a result of the magnitude-7.9 quake. In 2008, killer quakes hit 14 countries on four continents, including China, Algeria, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, and Rwanda. The strongest quakes in the USA struck Alaska's Aleutian Islands on April 15 and May 1. Both were magnitude 6.6. Because the islands are sparsely populated, there was no damage. The next-largest was a magnitude-6.0 quake on Feb. 21 near Wells, Nevada, which injured three people and heavily damaged 20 buildings. A magnitude-5.4 temblor struck southeastern Illinois on April 18. It caused little damage but was felt throughout the central USA. The deadliest quake in the past four centuries was on Aug. 7, 1976, in Tangshan, China. Although the official death figure was 255,000, the estimated toll has been put as high as 655,000.

YELLOWSTONE – The recent earthquake swarm underneath Yellowstone National Park appears to be slowing down considerably. Yellowstone Volcano Observatory monitored close to 500 small earthquakes in the area during a six-day stretch. It had been THE MOST INTENSE SWARM OF EARTHQUAKES IN YELLOWSTONE SINCE 1985. Yellowstone National Park normally sees at least 1,000 earthquakes every year. "We saw half of a year's earthquakes in less than a week."

GREECE – Woman killed as wall collapses after tremor. An 18-year-old Romanian woman was killed and her 20-year-old boyfriend injured when the storage room where they had made their home in Messenia, the Peloponnese, collapsed on Sunday following a mild earthquake in the area. Pressure had built up on the wall after heavy rain in recent days had caused a large volume of debris to be washed up against it. The 4.0-magnitude earthquake struck at 7:10 am (0510 GMT) Sunday at sea off the Peloponnese, 195 kilometers (122 miles) southwest of Athens.

INDONESIA – the series of powerful earthquakes have killed at least four people and injured dozens more in remote eastern Indonesia, cutting power lines and destroying buildings. One of the quakes – a 7.3-magnitude tremor – sent small tsunamis into Japan's south-eastern coast, but there were no reports of damage there and no tsunami in Indonesia's impoverished Papua area. Quakes were felt as far away as Darwin, Australia, but caused no damage there. The first 7.6-magnitude quake struck at 4.43am (0643 AEDT) on Sunday on land about 135km from Manokwari, Papua, at a depth of 35km. It was followed by 10 aftershocks. At least four people died in Papua, and the airport runway nearest the epicentre was cracked. Distressed residents ran out of their homes as the quake rattled Manokwari. Thousands of residents including children and the elderly could be seen thronging the roads of the town in the darkness of a blackout and heading away from the sea despite the tsunami warning being lifted. "The quake was quite strong and we felt it for about three minutes."

CANADA – Vancouver Island mini-earthquakes – Water trapped along the fault line running beneath Vancouver Island may be what's responsible for mini-earthquakes that hit the region every year or so, according to a new study. Vancouver Island lies atop the Cascadia megathrust fault line, which runs from the Island down to northern California. The Cascadia fault can be subject to extremely powerful earthquakes, but only rarely, about once every 500 years or so. The most recent occurred in January 1700. While the Island has not suffered a major earthquake in centuries, it is hit with tiny tremors – none of which are strong enough to be felt by people – about once every 14 months. The most recent such tremor occurred last May and continued for about a month. Seismic measurements taken by scientists suggest there is water trapped in the portion of the fault area that lies below the Island. Occasionally, after enough pressure builds up, some of that water escapes, which lubricates the tectonic plates and makes them more susceptible to slipping.

VOLCANOES

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – A puffing volcano in Papua New Guinea has forced a local airport to abandon operations. A rumbling crater means hundreds of people have not been able to leave, or fly into East New Britain province. Ever since the huge eruption in 1994, Mt Tavurvur has continually spewed ash, smoke and rocks from its crater. A north-west wind is pushing plumes of thick black smoke in the direction of Tokua airport 20 kilometres away. Air Niugini has cancelled all flights to Tokua until further notice because of the danger the ash poses to aircraft engines.

YELLOWSTONE – Is Yellowstone's 'super volcano' about to blow up? The super volcano in Yellowstone Park, which includes parts of the states of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, is making its presence felt. On New Year's Day, the situation was so alarming that geologists called for an immediate evacuation of an area within a radius of 325 kilometres around the national park. At a rate of four tremors per hour, an eruption appeared imminent. The tremors have subsided slightly since 1 January, but it would appear the beast is slowly coming awake. The volcano's caldera, which accounts for much of the park's terrain, measures about 40 by 60 kilometres. About 10 kilometres beneath the surface, a giant reservoir is slowly filling up with magma. Through cracks and fissures, some of its heat rises to the surface in the form of steam and gas, creating the geysers the park is so famous for. Since a few days ago, it has become abundantly clear this volcano is no longer dormant. "Yellowstone sits atop a reservoir filled with a highly viscous sort of magma, which can not simply flow away through cracks, which means that the gases produced by the magma cannot escape and the pressure keeps building. Also, the magma wants to rise up; after all, the gases it contains reduce its specific gravity, and at some point in time the layers of rock on top the reservoir will simply be blown away in a gigantic explosion." In the week prior to 28 December, the number of tremors in the area steadily increased to a maximum of 103 a day. In the week after, the number was still 10 a day. Park rangers and visitors could feel the tremors for miles around. Similar series of tremors have been registered before. In 1985, and also in 2004, the tremors came so hard and so fast, they were nearly impossible to count, and the ground in the park was so hot, that it melted the soles on people's shoes. Three thousand moose did not live to tell the tale. But the tremors eventually subsided. The next major alert was raised in 2007: the bottom of the volcano's bowl-shaped caldera was rising by seven centimetres a year, clear evidence of mounting pressure in the magma chamber underneath.

Volcanoes cool the tropics, say researchers – but global warming may have helped override some recent eruptions. Big volcanic eruptions over the past 450 years have temporarily cooled weather in the tropics – but such effects may have been masked in the 20th century by rising global temperatures. Higher latitudes can be even more sensitive to volcanism. Some corresponding drops in northern regions following volcanism were up to three times greater. Higher latitudes' greater sensitivity appears to come from complex feedback mechanisms that make them vulnerable to temperature shifts. Scientists already agree that large eruptions have lowered temperatures at higher latitudes in recent centuries, because volcanic particles reflect sunlight back into space. For instance, 1816, the year following the massive Tambora eruption in Indonesia, became known as "The Year Without a Summer," after low temperatures caused crop failures in northern Europe and eastern North America. Data show that the most sustained cooling followed two events: an 1809 eruption that probably took place in the tropics, but whose exact location remains unknown; and the 1815 Tambora eruption, one of the most powerful recorded in human history.

ANTIGUA – An increase in activity at Montserrat’s Soufrière Hills Volcano has led to the evacuation of approximately 70 people and has sent a considerable amount of ash across to Antigua. Activity of the volcano increased drastically last Thursday when it emitted more explosions than normal. However, because the instruments used to monitor the volcano give very little in the way of warning, no overnight warning was issued to prepare inhabitants for the increased activity that occurred last Friday. Then, early last Saturday morning, two very explosive eruptions took place, one at 5 a.m. and the other at 7 a.m., local time. Both eruptions sent ash 12 to13 kilometres (approximately 356, 000 feet) high. The ash has travelled island wide and is particularly heavy in the south. “They are used to it to a certain extent. The most worrying thing is that we have to clean the ash." Since the 7:30 a.m. eruption, the volcano, which has been given a hazard level of four, has remained quiet. A few days of observation are needed in order to make any predictions on further activity. The Antigua and Barbuda Meteological Services confirmed that last Saturday’s ash fall was considerable. It was due to the high pressure system in the area at the time.

TSUNAMI / FREAK WAVES / ABNORMAL TIDES / RISING SEA LEVELS

Experts predict tsunami along Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast – Meteorological pundits in Pakistan have warned against a strong possibility of a tsunami-generating earthquake in the Mekran belt of the country’s coastline along the Arabian Sea, which is an active seismic zone, overlooking the Gulf region. However, they fear no major damage from jolts having their epicentres in the Hindu Kush range, like the ones Pakistan experienced twice last week. With a depth of around 173 km, the quakes measured 5.7 and 5.9 on the open-ended Richter Scale. “Shallow quakes cannot be ruled out, with their epicentres lying at the coastal areas of Balochistan province, causing a tsunami, as this seismic region has been silent and inactive since 1945." Such earthquakes, often having a depth of around 10km, are much more destructive for Pakistan than those originating from the Hindu Kush range. The last shallow earthquake in Balochistan waters, an 8.0 in 1945, caused a tsunami wave reaching a height of 40 feet in the Mekran fishing ports, killing more than 4,000 people in Pasni.The Mekran coast, covering almost the whole division and parts of Sindh province, can be badly hit by cyclones, because energy has continuously been piling up there without any discharge for the last 64 years. “We need not worry about the recent chain of the Hindu Kush earthquakes, though these were abnormal. But, definitely, we are concerned about the Mekran coast that needs the attention of the disaster management authorities."

AUSTRALIA – lifesavers have warned Gold Coast holidaymakers to beware of dangerous swimming conditions as unpredictable king tides arrive. High tides between 2.4 metres and 2.8 metres are expected between Friday, January 9 and next Thursday, January 15, while low tides could dip to 0.16 metres. Large tidal changes can cause stronger rips, increase the risk of being injured by exposed rocks or floating debris, as well as bringing a higher chance of being swept out to sea due to larger volumes of quickly moving water. Swimmers need to be careful on all Gold Coast beaches over the coming week, but Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin Creek are likely to be the worst affected.

Tsunami-sensing birds – pheasants can sense coming earthquakes and tsunami disasters. Pheasants, one of the most beautiful pet birds in the world, are of Chinese origin. They have genetic links to the Indian Peafowl. The most significant feature of pheasants is their ability to sense the minutest movements in nature. In view of its faculty in sensing earthquakes and tsunamis, geologists install micro-chips on its heads to predict tsunamis and earthquakes.

SPAIN – FREAK Weather Causes Devastation in the North. Four people have died as a result of severe weather conditions, which battered the north and east of the country. Cataluña was one of the areas which was worst affected by the storms, where two people were washed out to sea by enormous waves, the first whilst walking through the Port in Barcelona, and the other a man who was driving along the breakwater when his car was dragged into the sea. The fourth death occurred when a lady was washed off some rocks by a massive wave in the port of Gandía, Valencia. Meanwhile, strong winds and heavy snow fall also caused chaos on Spain's roads. Some 54 cars were involved in a multiple pile-up on the A8 in Muskiz in Vizcaya, when a FREAK HAIL hail storm impaired visibility. Fallen rocks close to the Montserrat monastery in Barcelona blocked the access road and resulted in 1,500 having to be evacuated by cable car, whilst seven further mountain passes were forced to remain closed to traffic because of the snow in Asturias and Burgos, and four in Cantabria. Roads were also affected by snowfall in Ávila and Girona. Finally, as many as 15 boats sank in the rough seas that battered the Catalan coast. Six boats were lost at Portbou in Girona and three more in L'Escala, where 1,500m of the Paseo Maritime also disappeared.

AUSTRALIA – Freak wave injures woman. A woman has been air-lifted to hospital after a giant wave pounded her onto the beach at the same spot a boy was injured last week. The woman was swimming at Guilderton beach near Moore River, 95km north of Perth, when a strong wave picked her up and dumped her onto the shore. The surf was kind of rough the whole morning and then it just got rougher and rougher and then this one big wave came through that was really strong." Last week a boy was air-lifted to Royal Perth Hospital after he was dumped by a wave and began convulsing on the beach.

Japan's Pacific coast was lapped by minor tsunami waves on Sunday after the string of powerful earthquakes off Indonesia. Waves up to 40 centimetres (1.3 feet) reached the Pacific coasts of islands from the Okinawan chain to the main island of Honshu. The tallest of the waves were measured in Chichijima, about 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) south of Tokyo. There was the possibility of a tsunami repeating and overlapping into a larger scale four or five hours later.

WASHINGTON – Indian village moves to higher ground to escape flood, tsunami danger. Flooding used to be a problem every five or 10 years for the tiny Hoh Indian Reservation. These days it's an annual event. Sandbags permanently surround the tribal center and many homes because the nearby Hoh River has meandered dangerously closer over time. Meanwhile, most of the 443-acre reservation is less than 40 feet above sea level, and could be devastated by a major tsunami. So the Hoh Indians are trying to move to higher ground. "We're literally moving the village. We've known for a long time this has had to happen."

TROPICAL STORMS

AUSTRALIA – Sodden north Queensland is bracing itself for its first cyclone of the season this weekend. After years of drought, the big wet has arrived, and most of state's north-west is under water. Forecasters say the low system in the Gulf of Carpentaria is not yet a cyclone but warn it could develop by Sunday. Cyclone or not, the system will dump heavy rain on Cape York, causing flooding before it moves into the Coral Sea. The rainfall will coincide with ABNORMALLY high tides along the Gulf of Carpentaria coastline. The system is expected to bring falls of several hundred millimetres of rain from Townsville to Cooktown.

AUSTRALIA – Queensland is in the midst of the "best looking cyclone set-up for a number of years". The first one could strike in the gulf as early as next week, with another possible over the Coral Sea. A low pressure system in the Gulf of Carpentaria could intensify in coming days. The system was already bringing heavy rainfalls to the area – 223 millimetres was recorded at Aurukun since yesterday – but it is unlikely to develop into a full-blown cyclone. "We definitely don't need another cyclone of Larry's intensity [2006], because in many ways we're still recovering…We had men coming in crying for months after, blokes who had been crushed by the cyclone. There were a number of suicides, families were torn apart and things were truly terrible. There has been a real downturn in the farming industry since then, especially cane farming, and a lot of the little guys got out of it completely." According to one long-range weather forecaster, Queensland's far north will be battered by three strong cyclones before the end of March and one will be on par with Larry, which tore through the region in 2006. In the coming weeks, residents in regions including Cairns, Townsville and Mackay should expect at least one strong cyclone. The forecast is based on sun spot activity, or solar flares, as well as analysis of past weather activity across the state. "Sun spots are like volcanoes on the sun's surface and they affect the earth's atmosphere, so high activity brings flood rains and low activity results in drought conditions." Recent increased solar flare activity, "colossal" humidity across much of the state's north and recent strong storm activity points to a "above normal" cyclone season. Mr Walker says his track record – he claims he gets it right about 80 per cent of the time – should silence skeptical meteorologists who question his methods. "I predicted Larry and the wild storm activity in South-East Queensland late last year … I forecast those severe storms as early as August and even upped my prediction as time went on and sun spot activity increased. The proof is in the pudding – our record is strong. I'm not too worried about what some pundits think – I don't play into politics." The Bureau of Meteorology, however, said it is only ever prepared to issue cyclone warnings up to three days at a time.

PHILIPPINES – The country’s first tropical storm of the new year Sunday changed course after threatening Eastern Visayas and was moving away and over the Pacific Ocean at 7 kph. . Code-named “Auring,” the storm is expected to be barely felt in Metro Manila, which will only experience partly cloudy skies with occasional rainshowers. The storm also enhanced the northeast monsoon (locally known as the amihan), contributing to the cold weather the past few days. Nineteen “or less” storms and typhoons could hit the Philippines this year.

EXTREME HEAT / WILDFIRES / DROUGHT / CLIMATE CHANGE


Half the world's population could face food crisis by 2100
as soaring temperatures cripple staple crops, scientists warn. Rapid warming is likely to reduce primary food crop yields in the tropics and subtropics by 20-40%. The most extreme summers of the last century will become the norm. We must urgently create crops tolerant to heat and drought if we are to adapt in time. "The stresses on global food production from temperature alone are going to be huge. And that doesn't take into account water supplies stressed by the higher temperatures." They calculate there is greater than 90% probability that by 2100, the average growing-season temperatures in the tropics and subtropics will be HIGHER THAN ANY TEMPERATURES RECORDED THERE TO DATE. "We are taking the worst of what we've seen historically and saying that in the future it is going to be a lot worse unless there is some kind of adaptation." Crop failures would not be limited to the tropics. "I think what startled me the most is that when we looked at our historic examples there were ways to address the problem within a given year. People could always turn somewhere else to find food. But in the future there's not going to be any place to turn unless we rethink our food supplies. You can let it happen and painfully adapt, or you can plan for it. You could also mitigate it and not let it happen in the first place, but we're not doing a very good job of that." "We do have long enough to adjust to these kinds of temperature increases – they are well within our capabilities. But it requires a huge effort – much bigger than we are making currently – and it requires us to start now. We don't know where the tipping points are – they could come quite quickly." As the summers get hotter, "We can't just move all our crops north (or south) because a lot of crops are photosensitive. Flowering is triggered by day length – so you would run into all sorts of problems if you tried that. And even if Russia and Canada turn out to be the world's bread baskets, the cost of transporting the food to Africa will be too much. People in these areas can't afford food now."

COLORADO – 11000 residents of Boulder, Colo. evacuated yesterday amid raging wildfires that have scorched at least 1000 acres.  

HEAVY RAINS / FLOODING / LANDSLIDES / UNUSUAL & OUT-OF-SEASON WEATHER

FIJI – severe storms brought widespread flooding with at least six people feared dead. Thousands were evacuated from their homes and those living in low-lying areas were advised to move to higher ground as rivers burst their banks. More than 2340 people are sheltering in evacuation centres. The Fiji Meteorological Service warned of further heavy rain and strong winds for the northern parts of the country.

AUSTRALIA – Cattle up trees, roads swept away in Northern Territory flooding. In the Northern Territory's Barkly region, eight times more rain has fallen in one downpour than fell in the whole of last year. They've had about 450 millimetres since Saturday. In the 14 months previous, the area had received only 55 millimetres. The rain has devastated the region because of the dry conditions leading up to it. "There have been cattle swept away in the flood waters. Because we've had such a volume of rain in such a short period of time, although this country is very flat, the water's been very fast and that's where we've copped the most losses because there's cattle tangled in trees." The monsoonal rain is UNUSUALLY HEAVY, with massive falls in the Rankin and James River catchment areas. The Barkly Highway has been closed since Saturday and is likely to be cut off for some time.

VIETNAM – Central Vietnam reeling as unseasonal floods wreak havoc. Five people were swept away by floods in the central provinces of Binh Dinh and Quang Nam Saturday, bringing the death toll from unseasonal flooding to nine.

BRAZIL – Heavy rain has hit Santa Catarina state in southern Brazil since Friday, forcing 1,052 people to leave their homes and five towns to declare a state of emergency. The number of towns to declare a state of emergency is likely to increase, as 18 have already reported incidents caused by the rain. The municipalities of Nova Veneza and Ararangua were the most affected, and the level of the Ararangua River was 3.8 meters above normal. The rain has also affected the BR-101 federal highway, which is likely to remain blocked for another three to four days. Santa Catarina is still recovering from huge floods caused by a week of rain in late November. A total of 135 people died, six were reported missing, and more than 78,000 were forced to leave their homes.

PHILIPPINES – The floods that hit three cities in Northern Mindanao have now affected at least 67,000 people. As of Sunday morning, at least 5480 families from 13 barangays (villages) were displaced by the flooding.

SOUTH AFRICA – The death toll of a "monstrous" overnight storm that devastated various parts of KwaZulu-Natal has risen to eight. "It's a very sad New Year for those affected and it's devastating to see the little food these people had being covered by mud. Many people have lost everything." The FREAK storm was described by residents and officials as ONE OF THE WORST THEY HAVE SEEN. Trees were uprooted, roofs caved in, walls and houses collapsed, and in some areas water mains had burst. "It's estimated that more than 300 households were affected which in essence means over 2,000 people." In recent months several similar storms had struck different parts of the province and destroyed homes, leaving thousands homeless. "This is not the first, and it might happen again. It's the climate change. Now we are planning ahead and we will work towards building human settlements that have more stable structures."

CLIMATE CHANGE

In matters of climate, the unusual is becoming routine, as higher temperatures make weather patterns more unstable. "As a result of climate change, what would have once been an exceptionally unusual year has now become quite normal." The past year was the coolest year since 2000, but still is likely to rank as the 10th warmest year on record since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850. Last summer was relatively cool world-wide, while global land temperatures in October were the warmest for that month in more than a century. Taken together, the result was a year that ran slightly less than one degree warmer than the 20th century mean. Despite the ups and downs of annual temperature swings, though, the planet has grown steadily warmer in recent decades, affecting everything from New England winters and the Siberian spring to western droughts and tropical cloud cover. Almost all of the warming in North America has taken place since 1970. Looking beyond the variations of any single year, studies chronicle growing evidence of climate changes and suggest the effects of rising temperatures are accelerating. "I do believe we are entering a new state. Ice loss is happening faster than the climate models are showing." Since 2003, for instance, more than two trillion tons of land ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted, adding enough water to oceans to raise global sea level by one-fifth of an inch. Alaska's low-lying ice fields are disappearing at two to three times the rate of a decade ago. Greenland's 32 largest glaciers lost three times as much ice last year as the year before. In another sign of polar thaw, researchers have detected new seeps of methane bubbling up from formerly frozen seafloor lodes along the Siberian coast. High-altitude tropical storm and rain clouds are increasing. At the present rate of warming, tropical storms can be expected to increase by 6% every 10 years. Last year, the Atlantic hurricane season was the fourth most active in 64 years and the first to have a major hurricane in each month from July through November. There also were 1,700 tornadoes catalogued in the U.S. from January through November, ranking last year just behind 2004 for the most twisters recorded in a year. The tornado records date back to 1953. All in all, solar heat is the energy that drives the world's weather, and rising levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are allowing more of that energy to build up in the atmosphere every year. Many subtle changes in so many different places, building up decade after decade, add up to something more than the weather's natural variation. To a seasoned eye, day-to-day weather patterns now seem chaotic. "I wouldn't run for the hills. But it might be time to start walking."

HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD

WYOMING – Another avalanche hit a restaurant building at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort but caused no damage. The avalanche occurred Wednesday morning and was triggered by resort ski patrollers after more than a foot of new snow fell the previous day. On Dec. 29, a slide swept into the same building at the top of a gondola lift, causing some damage to the building and briefly trapping five ski patrol members. No one was injured.

WASHINGTON – A Pineapple Express roared into Washington State Tuesday, shooting the freezing level up to peak tops, dropping heavy rains, and battering resorts with high winds. Mountain passes closed due to flooding, washouts, mudslides, avalanches, and extreme potential for even more avalanches. Ski areas were closed, and one suffered damage from a slide. Most of the Cascades received 24-50 inches of snow in January's first few days. But freezing levels on Monday skyrocketed, ushering in heavy rains and strong winds. A foot of rain pelted mountain passes and ski resorts – water that seeped through snow layers, significantly increasing the avalanche danger by Wednesday. "We had UNUSUAL snow pack structure develop this year with its weakest point at the base of the snow pack. Really cold mountain temperatures just piled up more and more snow on top of that weakness. That set the stage. We don't often develop that weakness to this extent, and we've been concerned about that deeper instability for some time." Avalanche and flooding danger had mounted to extreme by Tuesday, forcing the Washington Highway Department to close all mountain passes for safety. Most ski resorts were further isolated by Wednesday evening, cut off by avalanches and mudslides. Water flooded onto roadways, and pavement eroded away in washouts. Mission Ridge was the only resort whose access road remained open, but the resort closed Thursday due to winds. The storm, which pounded other ski areas with rain, hit hurricane-force gusts of 121 mph Tuesday night at Mission Ridge. "Winds sheered off a light tower and snapped off a dozen trees blown onto runs."

Flooding throughout the Puget Sound region cut off nearly all rail connections on Thursday.

WASHINGTON – A massive avalanche of dirt, snow and trees slammed debris into about eight houses and took out power lines and at least one ski lift on the east side of the Snoqualmie Pass summit Wednesday. "Three-quarters of the face has slid down the mountain." Two people were rescued from a home severely damaged in the slide. There were no reports of serious injuries.

ALASKA – Alaskans are accustomed to subzero temperatures but the prolonged conditions have folks wondering what's going on with winter less than a month old. High pressure over much of central Alaska has been keeping other weather patterns from moving through. New conditions get pushed north or south while the affected area faces daily extremes. "When it first started almost two weeks ago, it wasn't anything abnormal. About once or twice every year, we get a good cold snap. But, in this case, you can call this an EXTREME EVENT. This is RARE. It doesn't happen every year." Temperatures are so extreme in the statewide cold snap that frigid temperatures have grounded planes, disabled cars, frozen water pipes and even canceled several championship cross country ski races. In Stevens Village residents have endured close to two weeks of temperatures pushing 60 below zero. The cold has kept planes grounded. Food and fuel aren't coming in and they're starting to run low in the village, about 90 miles northwest of Fairbanks. In Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, residents are used to lows of about 10-degree temperatures in January — not 19 below zero, which is what folks awoke to Wednesday morning. Alaska is experiencing the third longest cold snap in its history with temperatures in some parts of in the interior dipping to -65 Fahrenheit.

EUROPE – Sub-freezing temperatures and EXCEPTIONAL SNOWFALL caused problems across much of Europe on Wednesday, temporarily closing Milan's two airports, halting trains in the normally sunny south of France and pressing into service ice breakers in the Dutch port of Rotterdam. A rare snowfall in France's normally sunny Cote d'Azur sent the national railway into crisis mode, halting trains in Provence as well as the Alps. Authorities stopped all buses in the port city of Marseille and closed surrounding highways, urging drivers to stay home.

CHINA – Freezing China is preparing to tackle paralyzed roads and railways if icy weather seizes the south and centre in a possible repeat of last year's gridlock just as millions head home for the Lunar New Year holiday. The prospect of millions of migrant workers stuck in Guangdong and other big manufacturing provinces is especially worrisome this year amid the global financial crisis. State media have warned the abrupt economic slowdown could leave crowds of jobless and angry rural migrants milling around cities. And a transport shutdown would intensify those worries. Freezing rains and snow over past days have blocked some roads in the south, and officials have been ordered to brace for spreading harsh weather. Early last year, unusually icy weather hit stretches of the southern half, trapping millions of workers heading home for the Lunar New Year holiday and choking off power and transportation in regions that produce much of China's food and exports. Chaotic scenes of tens of thousands of frustrated workers stranded at railway stations and whole cities plunged into darkness from power cuts for days on end prompted criticism of the ruling Communist Party's disaster recovery. Highways in Hunan and Hubei provinces have again been disrupted by snow and ice in past days. Many parts of Henan, Anhui and Guizhou provinces had also been hit. This year may not see a full repeat of last year's sweeping freeze.

UNITED KINGDOM – Warnings issued amid Arctic chill – Severe weather warnings have been issued as temperatures in the UK dipped towards -10C (14F) overnight. Arctic weather continued its grip with lows of -10 forecast in Scotland and -9C (15.8F) in southern England. Severe weather warnings are in place for this morning for parts of south-east England and northern Scotland. The freezing conditions affected flights and closed some schools on Monday. Water firm Severn Trent has asked its eight million customers across the Midlands and Wales to protect their water systems, after it was reported pipes were freezing even while heating was on. The current freezing conditions have been caused by an outbreak of Arctic air which has swept across Scandinavia and over the North Sea. Temperatures are still a long way off the record low of -27C (-16.6F) in northern Scotland 14 years ago, and the current cold period is expected to ease later in the week.

POLAND – Extreme winter brings death to Poland. As the thermometer drops to -23 degrees Celsius in some parts of Poland, the casualty rate is increasing due to faulty heaters and gas fittings. Two men – a father and son – were discovered dead in Bytom, central Poland on Sunday and the condition of a female is said to be serious after falling victim to carbon monoxide poisoning. In Radomsko, central Poland, six people were seriously injured in an explosion due to poor gas connections. And a 71 year old man has died due to the extreme cold temperatures in Augustow, eastern Poland. He was found in an unheated attic by a social worker. The temperature was below -20 degrees Celsius in the city. Due to heavy snowfalls and extreme frost conditions on Polish roads are very difficult. Forty five people have died in road accidents and 383 injured in the last four days. In the north-western city of Szczecin low temperatures led to cracks appearing in water infrastructure pipes. Emergency services warn that similar failures are likely to occur any time under such extreme weather conditions. Temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius are to hold in Poland until Wednesday. The worst weather is to be expected in southern parts of the country.

SPACE WEATHER

A rare but not unprecedented "space weather Katrina"
could cost the global economy $1 trillion to $2 trillion in the first year afterward as society's dependence on space and terrestrial networks that are vulnerable to solar weather continues to grow. "Because of the interconnectedness of critical infrastructures in modern society, the impacts of severe space weather events can go beyond disruption of existing technical systems and lead to short-term , as well as to long-term collateral socioeconomic disruptions. Although the probability of a wide-area electric power blackout resulting from an extreme space weather event is low, the consequences of such an event could be very high, as its effects would cascade through other, dependent systems." Among those "collateral effects" could be "disruption of the transportation, communication, banking and finance systems, and government services; the breakdown of the distribution of potable water owing to pump failure, and the loss of perishable foods and medications because of a lack of refrigeration." It will be difficult to sustain support for advances in prediction and mitigation because severe coronal mass ejections that hit Earth are so rare, yet they will occur again as they have in the past.

Scientists hear mystery boom from space – Strange radio noise from distant cosmos is six times louder than expected. The roar is from the distant cosmos. Nobody knows what causes it. Radio waves are not sound waves; they are electromagnetic waves, situated on the low-frequency end of the light spectrum. Many objects in the universe, including stars and quasars, emit radio waves. But the newly detected signal is far louder than astronomers expected. There is "something new and interesting going on in the universe." The signal is measured to be six times brighter than the combined emission of all known radio sources in the universe. For now, the origin of the signal remains a mystery. Not only has it presented astronomers with a new puzzle, it is obscuring the sought-for signal from the earliest stars.

HEALTH THREATS

Ebola alert shuts Angolan borders – The authorities have closed the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. The outbreak in DR Congo was the first in Africa in several months and the fourth in DR Congo since 1976. It is believed to have infected at least 40 people of which more than ten have died. Ebola is a highly infectious fever which causes vomiting, diarrhea, and internal and external bleeding. The disease kills 80% of those it infects and there is no known cure.

China alert over bird flu death – Chinese authorities shut down and clean poultry markets in Hebei province, after the first human death in nearly a year.

Concern for California's pelicans – Wildlife experts are concerned about a mysterious illness affecting brown pelicans from San Diego to San Francisco. Dozens of the birds – bruised and disoriented – have been landing on highways, airport runways, farm fields and house backyards. The pelicans have been coming down many kilometres from their normal habitats. The cause is unknown. "Typically this time of year we would see a significant die-off of young brown pelicans. We are seeing a larger than normal die-off of adults." Sometimes this behaviour has been associated with domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced by marine algae (phytoplankton). The birds would take in the acid by eating fish and shellfish that have themselves ingested the algae. But the pelicans were not exhibiting the other symptoms typical of this problem. One theory is that the birds may have ingested chemicals from fire retardants used widely by emergency services recently to tackle severe blazes that ravaged the state. "By the end of the week, we'll have information that should tell us whether or not these animals test positive for phytoplankton toxins."

Signs in False Shepherds & False Religion
"For among them are those who worm their way into households and capture idle women burdened down with sins, led along by a variety of passions, always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men who are corrupt in mind, worthless in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress, for their lack of understanding will be clear to all, as theirs was also." 2 Timothy 3:6-9


MalaysianCatholic weekly has to await verdict on use of 'Allah'

Bignewsnetwork
Jan 7, 2009

Malaysian authorities have cleared a Catholic weekly's publication but have stipulated that it must await a court verdict on the use of the word 'Allah' on its masthead before it can resume printing. The weekly, Herald, must say it is meant for Christians only and must be distributed only in churches. It should also not publish in the official language Bahasa Malaysia, the Home Ministry said while approving its annual printing permit.

Voodoo priests pray for Israel peace

Jan 11 2009
Reuters

Voodoo priests in Benin have offered sacrifices and prayers to gods and ancestors to seek an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to other wars in Africa and elsewhere in the world. The small West African state sandwiched between Togo and Nigeria is the home of the ancient Voodoo religion, which was later carried by slaves to the Americas where it survives in different forms in countries like Brazil, Haiti and Cuba.

God and the Oath of Office
Newsweek
Jan 10, 2009

Why shouldn't Barack Obama say "so help me God" when he takes the oath of office on Jan. 20? That's what I wondered when I learned of the lawsuit, to be heard by a federal judge this week, which aims to prevent him from doing so. Obama is a religious man who has spoken often and eloquently about God. It seemed to me reasonable that he would want to ask for divine guidance on this, the most momentous day of his life—at such a critical time for our country and the world.

'Beware, we are coming!'

Islamic rule 'from Alaska and Chile to South Africa'
WorldNet Daily
Jan 12, 2009

Radical Muslims in Somalia are promising Islamic rule from Alaska and Chile to South Africa and from Japan to Russia, issuing the warning "Beware, we are coming," according to a media monitor. The Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, cites excerpts from television reports on the Somali terror organization Shabab al-Mujahideen that aired on Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya in recent weeks.

Inaugural stage door dedicated to Jesus
'In thy sovereignty Thou hast permitted Barack Obama to lead us at this hour'
World Net Daily
Jan 9, 2009

Atheists may want prayer banned at Barack Obama's inauguration, and Muslims may appreciate the Islamic influence in his past, but the walkway the president-elect will take to the stage on which he will take the oath of office has been dedicated to Jesus Christ.

Faith under Fire
“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  Matthew 5:11-12

“You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endured to the end will be delivered.” Matthew 10:22

Persecution Lite: The modern persecution of Christians

Examiner
Jan 9, 2009

Throw them to the Lions! Let them have their fill of Christian flesh! Those must have been terrifying words to hear as one then stared at the Lion face to face! But still today, Christians are being shortchanged because of their beliefs, their songs, their jewelry, or because their faith is offensive to some other group. That’s called persecution! Oh….you thought that went out when they stopped throwing Christians to the Lions?

Negroponte visits China, urged to discuss religious freedom

OneNewsNow
Jan 9, 2009

A ministry that highlights the conditions for Christians living in China is encouraging a high-level U.S. government official to address the topic of human-rights abuses when he visits the communist nation. U.S. Deputy Secretary John Negroponte is on a visit to China in celebration of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two superpowers. China Aid Association (CAA) has sent a letter to Negroponte, urging him to discuss the subject of religious freedom.

Military no place for Christianity, lawsuit claims
OneNewsNow
Jan 9, 2009

A former evangelical Navy chaplain says it's crazy that an anti-Christian group is suing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the Department of Defense for including the value of Christianity in an Army manual dealing with suicide prevention. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is co-plaintiff in the federal lawsuit that contends the military is openly promoting Christianity. Recently The Public Record reported that the suit was amended to include a complaint about a PowerPoint presentation called "Suicide Awareness for Soldiers 2008."

Palestinian Christians face even more trouble in Gaza

MNN online
Jan 6, 2009

Israel (MNN) ? The casualties continue to rise in Gaza as Israel continues to retaliate for the dozens of Hamas-fired missiles that broke a cease-fire more than 10 days ago. It is believed that nearly 500 people have been killed in the violence, with over 2,000 wounded.

With a protection order in place, a ministry moves to replace lost Bibles in India

MNN Online
Jan 9, 2009

India (MNN) ? Because India is a secular state, the Supreme Court says they won't allow minority persecution. They've ordered Orissa State to protect Christians in Kandhmal district, or step down. They also chided the state government for a slow response in checking the violence against Christians after the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on August 23, 2007.

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