CHOSEN: End Times Newsletter – Issue 169

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Dear Readers: Due to the celebration of our Savior’s birth, Issue 170 will be published on Monday, December 27th.

The Ministers Corner.jpgThe Minister’s Corner

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

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Don’t Be Disobedient, Greedy or Impure

By Johanna

Is this world full of greedy people? People who are disobedient? Does filthy language assault your ears while buying food for your family? This world is full of lust, murder, slander, malice, greed and idolatry. Those things don’t need to be attached to you. Put them out of your life and live the way Father intended you to live. Put on the new man and walk in Christ footsteps. Father’s wrath is fast approaching and you will not be able to run or hide because She sees all.

Colossians 3:7-9 and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. 8 But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices

Colossians 3:5-7 Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient, 7 and you once walked in these things when you were living in them.

Ephesians 5:5-7 For know and recognize this: no sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of the Messiah and of God.

Light versus Darkness
Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient. 7 Therefore, do not become their partners.

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An Obligation

By Regina

Obligation –noun
The act of binding oneself by a social, legal, or moral tie.
A social, legal, or moral requirement, such as a duty, contract, or promise that compels one to follow or avoid a particular course of action.
A course of action imposed by society, law, or conscience by which one is bound or restricted.The constraining power of a promise, contract, law, or sense of duty.

Law A legal agreement stipulating a specified payment or action, especially if the agreement also specifies a penalty for failure to comply.

Law The document containing the terms of such an agreement.
Something owed as payment or in return for a special service or favor.
The service or favor for which one is indebted to another.
The state, fact, or feeling of being indebted to another for a special service or favor received.

Anytime one enters into a contract, or covenant, we also enter into an obligation to the one in which the contract, or covenant was made.

Numbers 30:2-4 When a man makes a vow to the LORD or swears an oath to put himself under an obligation, he must not break his word; he must do whatever he has promised. When a woman in her father’s house during her youth makes a vow to the LORD or puts [herself] under an obligation, and her father hears about her vow or the obligation she put herself under, and he says nothing to her, all her vows and every obligation she put herself under are binding.

Also, there is the a matter of integrity, of being obligated to one’s own word and moral and ethical principles, soundness of character and honesty. This too is an obligation.

Our God is righteous and He is also obligated in His righteousness, which means that He abides by His own laws; laws that He created. And because of this, because of His righteousness and laws and the carrying out of justice in a just way, He is also obligated to carry out judgment against those of disobedience according to His laws and in order to balance the scales of justice.

While the current Tribulation also brings Father’s wrath upon mankind, Yahweh our God and judge will soon deliver the final judgment upon His creation per this obligation. Lives are in the balance of the scales of justice. Yahweh reads all minds and hearts and we are all weighed with an accurate balance.

Job 31:6 let God weigh me with an accurate balance, and He will recognize my integrity.

Psalm 62:9 Men are only a vapor; exalted men, an illusion. On a balance scale, they go up; together they [weigh] less than a vapor.

Proverbs 16:11 Honest balances and scales are the LORD’s; all the weights in the bag are His concern.

Because our God is a God of righteousness, faithfulness and perfect integrity, we may also be assured that we will all be weighed accurately and that when the time for judgment comes that His wrath will also be delivered, the scales of justice will be balanced and all obligations will be met.

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The LORD’s Sword

By Deborah

Christ said at Matthew 10:34 Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

sword
–noun

1.a weapon having various forms but consisting typically of a long, straight or slightly curved blade, sharp-edged on one or both sides, with one end pointed and the other fixed in a hilt or handle.

2.this weapon as the symbol of military power, punitive justice, authority, etc.: The pen is mightier than the sword.

3.a cause of death or destruction.

4.war, combat, slaughter, or violence, esp. military force or aggression: to perish by the sword.

Yahweh states at Ezekiel 29:8 Therefore this is what the Lord GOD says: I am going to bring a sword against you and wipe out man and animal from you.

Further understanding is found in the following scriptures.

Job 19:29  be afraid of the sword, because wrath [brings] punishment by the sword, so that you may know there is a judgment.

Isaiah 66:16 For the LORD will execute judgment on all flesh with His fiery sword, and many will be slain by the LORD.

There can be no doubt what Christ meant in his statement at Matthew 10:34. Father’s sword will be used as His judgment is executed on this planet’s inhabitants. There will be no peace until this is carried out and Christ’s Kingdom is established.

Exodus 15:3 The LORD is a warrior; Yahweh is His name.

We would like to announce the arrival of Book Two, the continuation of Chosen: End Times Truths Revealed.

Book Two starts where the first book left off and includes accounts from ministers Regina, Johanna, Deborah, and Elisha, describing their individual journeys and experiences in their service to Yahweh and Christ over the past several years in autobiographical form.

It is available in .pdf form for free via www.chosen.weebly.com and will be updated monthly.

The Journey Continues

Below is a sneak-peek of each of the books included in Chosen, Book Two

Regina

There are many days in which I feel as though I must stop and focus and just try to get through the next 24 hours, some days even just the next hour, and then that day passes and the next arrives and passes, and arrives until all of a sudden a year has passed, and then two and four and now five. It’s odd how time can seem to pass so slowly and quickly at the same time. Many of these days, the good and the not-so-good, I will recount here and many have receded to the deeper recesses of my mind but what I’m able to remember, I share with you here honestly and openly…

Johanna

On October 2nd or 3rd of 2005, I was on this website were there were camera’s placed through out peoples homes who claimed that they were being haunted. I have always liked supernatural things. I believed in ghost, angels and demons. I started talking to this woman and asked her how she see’s the things that she does. I also told her that I believed in spirit guides. She told me that she couldn’t help me with the guides but that she knew of a website where I could find some answers. She sent me the link to a forum by the name of “Beyond This World”. After looking at a few things and noticing that they had psychic exercises I decided to sign up to become a member…

Deborah

Word came to us toward the end of May 2010 that we were to begin documenting our experiences ending where Chosen left off. Each Minister is to produce a “book” of our own that will be incorporated into Chosen. Its a little daunting to say the least. I have not been journaling as Regina has been (it isn’t something I naturally do). Also, I actually do not have a very good memory. But I trust that those things that Father wishes us to recall we will. We have been guided by Michael to read the book of ACTS to guide us. It seems to focus on events that show times of strong guidance from/interactions with Holy Spirit…

Elisha

In 2006, I was able to reconnect with a long time friend. I found out she had co-authored a book. Considering how we had grown up together I was interested in the fact that she had written one and wanted to read it myself. She, Regina, sent me the book and some more details about it. I found out it was a lot to take in and did so in baby steps with much prayer and guidance from Father. I was blessed to freely ask any question of Regina and felt comfortable in doing so. I read the book with an open mind and while some of it confirmed my deepest suspicions other information provided was such an eye-opener…

Nourishment from the Throne

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

Christian Conduct – Part One

The conduct of Christians is the path to eternal life.

Grasping the understanding that your conduct is not merely a belief but is the Way of life expected of Yahweh’s children to bring eternal bliss to creation. It is a part of the Way. The Way is the path that leads to Yahweh and keeps you firmly planted on the path of righteousness.

Acts 8:1, 2

Acts 18:25, 26

Acts 19:9, 23

2 Peter 2:2

Your conduct should be within the mold you were patterned after by the example given by our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. Molded as though you were re-created and refined within the furnace of Mount Zion, leaving behind the old imperfect attributes of willful sin as though they were smelted away. Carefully follow the pattern set in stone. It is your foundation the truth rests upon. Yahweh supports that truth. Make the Way unshakable in your mind and heart. Try not to stumble. Keep in mind that you’ve entered a narrow door and are walking on a path laid out by commandments.

Luke 20:17

Matthew 21:42

1 Peter 2:4

Job 38:6

Psalm 118:22

Isaiah 28:16

Acts 4:11

Mark 12:10

Ephesians 2:20

1 Peter 2:6-8

1 Peter 2:21

John 13:15

1 Corinthians 11:1

1 John 2:6

Luke 13:24

Psalm 44:18

Psalm 119:35

More guidance to come on your expected conduct. For now, ponder these things also:

Job 28:7 “No bird of prey knows that path; no falcon’s eye has seen it.”

Job 18:10 “A rope lies hidden for him on the ground, and a snare [waits] for him along the path.”

Job 3:23 “[Why is life given] to a man whose path is hidden, whom God has hedged in?”

Job 22:15 “Will you continue on the ancient path that wicked men have walked?”

Psalm 27:11 “Because of my adversaries, show me Your way, LORD, and lead me on a level path.”

Psalm 119:101 “I have kept my feet from every evil path to follow Your word.”

Psalm 107:7 “He led them by the right path to go to a city where they could live.”

Proverbs 1:8 “[ Avoid the Path of the Violent ] Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching,”

And children, who is your Father and your Mother? Yahweh of course, for you are all Her children. He instructs as your Father, and She teaches as your Mother. Fill your minds with that wisdom from above.

Proverbs 4:26 “Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established.”

Proverbs 4:20 “[ The Straight Path ] My son, pay attention to my words; listen closely to my sayings.”

Proverbs 2:9 “Then you will understand righteousness, justice, and integrity—every good path.”

Three things that are unified in guiding you in the Way.

Spiritual War News

The Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness

Some New Things To Share

Joe – While you’re pondering the answer, I’ll give you some update on things. The demons were hatching a plot to kill off all of the criminal element and thus get rid of those they considered vile. Probably in hopes of taming things down in relation to our Mother’s prophecy of worsening world conditions that directly point to the actions by vile people. But when the plot was learned of, the demons were again partially restricted in use if there regained powers. However, they still maintain the plan by thought injections, and so that is the direction they are now taking it. To have other humans kill off the vile, and in some cases to try and drive some of the vile to kill themselves. Pretty much what the Word says anyway about the end times. They are just fulfilling prophecy even if unwittingly.

The other disturbing things presently happening is to do with the other god leeched onto our Mother. It has not only shrank down against Her, but has grown tentacles through Her body. And the prisoners that were being held believed to be from the other god, they have mysteriously vanished. And last but not least, Alpha Command misinterpreted the name of that god. Its name is the same as our Mother’s. At least that’s what they now believe. When I get more I’ll share it with all of you. However I did note hurricane Igor that Deborah posted and I know it is made up of destroyer angels. They hope to do much damage. We shall see if Alpha’s plan pans out.

P.S. Some of the things I noted at first glance. I’m certain there is much more.

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Who is the “God of gods”? Why our Mother of course. She has proven it by the literal destruction of a god that came to invade and pose as Her. Like the other god She destroyed, Mother literally consumed this new god that claimed to have Her name. It rooted its tentacles within and She consumed it within and outside of Her body to nonexistence. What our Mother decrees is accomplished. No other god is like our Mother Yahweh. No other god will be permitted to come between our Mother and Her children. No other god can lay a new foundation.

1 Corinthians 3:11 “because no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid—that is, Jesus Christ.”

Lifting the Veil

Learning How to See and Decipher Spiritual Photos

UFO in NYC

Regina:

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Alderra: I just read the article. I’m pretty sure it’s not a balloon.

Regina: The fact that it was described as a “jellyfish” in nature… that’s what made me wonder, because others like it have been captured on film. Here’s another link where you can watch videos captured of the incident.

http://www.latest-ufo-sightings.net/

Appears there’s been another sighting in El Paso that is identical to the one in NYC…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-….ge-El-Paso.html

Joe: Perhaps this is what Jaddai predicted.

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Now children, the one in El Paso looks like they would have been doing some sky crop circle casts. I’m going to take this one into an editor and see what I can find. I saw a formation like that once upon a visit to the Great Hall in a pic, and they had left Mayan Symbols or Aztec in the sky. My memory of the symbols is vague, but I think it was Mayan. Oh well, I will have to leach the color and use the “Relief ” setting or else sharpen to bring anything there out for us to see.”

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Okay, here it is using Relief to define what is in the background.

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Here it is reversed.

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Well children, I took it back into the editor and did an adjustment on the Brightness/Contrast and this is what I got:

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Cordelia: (Responding to Joe) Exactly what I was thinking, he mentioned that on Oct 4. Since then, at least two UFO sightings made headlines in mainstream media.

Regina: I thought it might be when I first saw it, but then there was a question of it being mylar balloons. I thought they had a more spiritual look to them than physical myself.

Another similar sighting. This time in Russia.

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Deborah: It looks like 3/4 of a cross…….

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

Two Separate Sightings Over Miami Lakes, Florida

Couple See Fighter Jets Chasing 3 White or Silver Objects over Florida

Object shot out of sky above Israeli nuclear plant, military says

Argentina: Unprecedented UFO Wave in Victoria and Sighting over Tupungato

The Atlanta Georgia UFO Sighting and Video

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

Average 30-year fixed mortgage rises to 4.83 pct.

Arizona Sues Bank of America for Alleged Mortgage Fraud

Federal Government Cuts Off Recession Relief Money To States

Bank’s secret plans

Tipping Point: 25 Signs That The Coming Financial Collapse Is Now Closer Then Ever

Signs in Humanity

Ohio pharmacist charged with falsifying tax forms

Authorities Seize $1.4M of Crystal Meth at Arizona-Mexico Border

2 Salvation Army Bell Ringers Disappear With Donations in Arkansas

Police Search for Missing Oklahoma Pastor

Police Surround Colorado Home After Man Shoots Wife

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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. Visit http://www.arksofsafehaven.org and view the many posts from those in need to see if you’re able to help with advice, prayers or goods & services.

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

QUAKES –

12/11/10 –

5.0 FLORES REGION, INDONESIA

5.1 MINAHASA, SULAWESI, INDONESIA

5.3 BISMARCK SEA

5.1 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION

5.0 SOUTH OF FIJI ISLANDS

5.0 PAKISTAN

5.6 FIJI REGION

5.3 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA

12/12/10 –

5.3 KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION

5.4 BALI SEA

5.0 FIJI REGION

5.1 NEW BRITAIN REGION, P.N.G.

5.4 NEW BRITAIN REGION, P.N.G.

5.3 NEW BRITAIN REGION, P.N.G.

5.1 PAKISTAN

12/13/10 –

5.3 FLORES REGION, INDONESIA

5.8 SOUTHWEST OF SUMATRA, INDONESIA

5.4 OFFSHORE O’HIGGINS, CHILE

5.2 TONGA

5.0 RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN

6.2 BOUGAINVILLE REGION, P.N.G.

12/14/10 –

5.0 NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA

5.0 CENTRAL MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE

5.0 FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS

5.3 FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS

5.0 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION

5.3 SOUTH OF KERMADEC ISLANDS

12/15/10 –

5.9 KEPULAUAN BARAT DAYA, INDONESIA

5.1 NEAR EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA

5.0 POTOSI, BOLIVIA

5.0 RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN

5.2 HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION

5.0 HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION

5.0 MID-INDIAN RIDGE

12/16/10 –

5.2 SERAM, INDONESIA

5.0 ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE

5.0 PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION

5.0 NEW BRITAIN REGION, P.N.G.

5.0 SOUTHEAST OF LOYALTY ISLANDS

5.3 CENTRAL PERU

5.1 NEW BRITAIN REGION, P.N.G.

5.6 KERMADEC ISLANDS, NEW ZEALAND

12/17/10 –

5.1 REVILLA GIGEDO ISLANDS REGION

Is Yellowstone losing steam? – A U.S. Geological Survey scientist plans to study trees in Yellowstone National Park to determine whether geysers are losing steam. Some of the trees near Mammoth Hot Springs date back to the 1500s. Determining the amount of carbon dioxide trapped in the trees by taking core samples might tell scientists whether the amount of carbon dioxide being released in the area has fluctuated over time, and whether those fluctuations are associated with earthquakes. It’s possible earthquake swarms in the park might be caused by high-pressure carbon dioxide rather than the intrusion of magma.

NEW ZEALAND – The aftershocks from Canterbury’s earthquake are finally starting to subside but fresh damage is still coming to light. There has been a massive surge in the number of computers rendered useless by vibration damage.
When the September earthquake struck Canterbury early in the morning most of the regions computers were turned off and the subsequent power failure protected those that were not, but that was not the case during the thousands of aftershocks that followed. If a computer is running during an aftershock it can hit the area where all the data is stored – the hard drive, which can scratch it and lead to loss of information. “The computer won’t start is obviously one of the key problems. It’s running slow or it’s freezing up on them.” Private insurance or the EQC will cover the damage for most but they cannot replace the memories so experts are advising people to arrange back up.

CALIFORNIA – A RARE “quake swarm” has set off more than 100 earthquakes in southern California, including Wednesday’s 4.4 magnitude quake that hit east of San Diego. “You could hear the rumble before you felt the earthquake.” More than 130 of them have been recorded in Brawley since Monday with the strongest one Wednesday’s 4.4 quake.”It’s an exciting place to be right now. You don’t go an hour without feeling an earthquake.” A “swarm” doesn’t happen anywhere else in the United States. “Brawley is a very famous area for earthquakes, known worldwide for all its earthquakes.” The last swarm took place in 1975, when Brawley shook for four days with 339 quakes, with the strongest being a 4.7. Brawley is located between the Imperial Fault and the San Andreas Fault and is surrounded by hot magma rocks that heat the water and absorb a lot of the volatile energy. “So we’re getting a different style of earthquakes, numerous small earthquakes in warm rock rather than saving up a lot of energy and having a more violent rupture.”

VOLCANOES –

PHILIPPINES – Bulusan breaks ‘silence,’ 7 quakes recorded Sunday. Breaking its silence from the past days, Bulusan Volcano in Sorsogon province showed signs of renewed activity. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology recorded seven volcanic quakes around BUlusan, and “wispy to moderate” steaming activity. ” Steaming activity at the crater and known thermal vents ranged from wispy to moderate. The average sulfur dioxide flux yesterday was 4 tonnes/day.” Bulusan had been relatively quiet in past days, with the Phivolcs recording only one volcanic quake a day. Residents near valleys and river/stream channels should be vigilant against sediment-laden stream flows and lahars in the event of heavy and continuous rainfall

HAWAII – researchers studying the magma chamber that forms the Hawaiian Island chain say the molten rock lies much closer to the surface than previously thought. The discovery could help in predicting when Hawaiian volcanoes may erupt, and also suggests Hawaii has huge potential for geothermal energy production. Mmagma lies an average of 1.9 miles to 2.5 miles beneath the surface of Hawaii. “Hawaii was already unique among volcanic systems, because it has such an extensive plumbing system, and the magma that erupts has a unique and variable chemical composition. Now we know the chamber is at a shallow depth not seen anywhere else in the world.” While that means the crust beneath Hawaii is much thinner than the crust in any other of the world’s volcanic regions, Hawaiians have nothing to fear. “The crust in Hawaii has been solidifying from eruptions for more than 300,000 years now. The crust doesn’t get consumed by the magma chamber. It floats on top.”
There is one large magma chamber just beneath the entire island chain that feeds the Hawaiian volcanoes through many different channels. “Hawaii has huge geothermal resources that haven’t been tapped fully.” Scientists would have to determine whether tapping that energy was practical or safe. “You’d have to drill some test bore holes. That’s dangerous on an active volcano, because then the lava could flow down and wipe out your drilling rig.”

RUSSIA – Double volcanic eruption in Kamchatka. Residents of Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula have witnessed the eruption of two volcanoes at a time. The volcanoes Shiveluch and Karymsky spewed ash to the altitude of 5 kilometers, causing a breakdown of volcanic rock. Although remaining in a vigorous phase of activity for the last few years, Shiveluch and Karymsky are said to be posing no threat to the nearby settlements.

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

Storms Bring Flood Threat To Washington and Oregon Rivers – RECORD RAINFALL in the Pacific Northwest triggered mudslides on Sunday as it swelled rivers and placed small towns in Washington and areas of Portland under flood threat. Forecasters said storms were expected to dump up to 6 inches of rain in a day, and flooding was expected to be widespread.
“We’re looking at the wettest storm system we’ve had for in almost two years.” Mudslides forced the suspension of Amtrak service between Portland and Seattle until Monday. Slides blocked at least one street in Seattle and closed State Route 11, the scenic Chuckanut Drive, south of Bellingham. The National Weather Service expects the Chehalis, Snohomish, Tolt and Snoqualmie rivers in Washington state to reach flood stage.
In southwest Washington, the Chehalis River near Grand Mound was expected to reach major flood levels Sunday afternoon and was forecast to crest at about 18 feet on Monday morning. The Snohomish River was expected to follow a similar path, cresting at major flood stage around 19 feet on Monday near Snohomish and Monroe. The Snoqualmie River was expected to crest Sunday in Carnation. Officials were also closely watching the Skagit River in Skagit County. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport set a RAINFALL RECORD for the date of 1.42 inches, breaking the old mark for Dec. 11 of 1.32 inches set in 1955. Quillayute on the Pacific Coast also had a record for the date, 2.17 inches. The old record was 1.64 inches, set in 2002.
The storm system was described as a “plume of very moist, warm Pacific air.” Its relative warmth brought rain, not snow into the Cascades, causing large runoff from the mountains, feeding and overwhelming rivers and creeks on the lowlands. Coastal Oregon rivers and tributaries of the Willamette River could rise out of
their banks, but said the flood threat wasn’t as severe as in Washington.

Fierce winds and heavy rain and snow have lashed eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries for a second successive day. The storms have sunk a ship off the Israeli coast, closed ports and disrupted shipping in the Suez Canal. Flights have also been delayed to and from many airports in the region. The storms have ended a long drought in Lebanon, Syria and Israel and come just a week after more than 40 people died in a forest fire.
Shipping has been delayed through the Suez Canal and most Egyptian ports, both on the Red Sea and the Mediterranean – including the country’s largest at Alexandria – have closed, with winds reaching speeds of up to 60km/h (37mph). The fishing industry and shipping have been badly disrupted across the region At least three people died when a factory collapsed in Alexandria, although officials denied earlier reports that it was in part related to the heavy rain.
Waves of up to 10m (33ft) battered coasts, damaging fishing boats in Lebanon. In Syria, snow blanketed the streets of the capital, Damascus, and closed roads. In the Egyptian capital Cairo, there are strong, cold winds in the city and the murky yellow sky of a sand storm. The storms, which caused temperatures to plunge to below freezing in some places, have ended weeks of unseasonably warm and dry weather across the region. Last week a devastating forest fire, fanned by drought and hot weather, killed more than 40 people near Israel’s northern port city of Haifa. Thousands of hectares of forest were destroyed there and in Lebanon by fires.
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AUSTRALIA – Large parts of New South Wales are preparing for more floods as another four areas join the list of natural disaster zones, in the state’s MOST EXPANSIVE FLOODING IN 30 YEARS. The central west town of Forbes remains on high alert, with the Lachlan River expected to peak at 10.4 metres tonight. An evacuation warning is in place for seven streets, with residents told to be prepared to leave. About 5000 people remain isolated statewide and are likely to remain so for up to three weeks. “These are mostly rural communities that are prepared for floods and we probably won’t hear from a lot of them until the floods recede.”
Dry weather gave many parts of the state some respite today, but more flooding is expected over the coming weeks. In the state’s north, the towns of Wee Waa and Coonamble remain isolated, although flood waters are receding. Major flooding is expected at Warren late this afternoon, with the Macquarie River due to peak at 9.7 metres. As clean-up efforts continued across the state, the areas of Goulburn, Mulwaree, Cowra, Coolamon and Tamworth were added to a list of natural disaster zones. These areas have reported significant damage from flooding and heavy rainfall to public infrastructure, including roads, drainage, causeways, sewerage and wastewater treatment works, buildings and dams. The Bureau of Meteorology has warned the flooding could continue for some weeks as the floodwaters move downstream. Areas around the Darling River, including Bourke and Louth, are at risk of flooding in January.

EGYPT – At least 18 people have died in accidents caused by storms in Egypt. Dozens more were injured in road accidents and when buildings collapsed after being battered by sandstorms and rain. Fierce winds, heavy rains and snow have lashed eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries for several days. The storms have sunk a ship off the Israeli coast, closed ports and disrupted shipping in the Suez Canal. Rescue workers pulled the bodies of six workers out of the debris of a factory building that had collapsed in the northern city of Alexandria on Sunday. Rescue workers were still searching for more workers believed to be trapped under the rubble. Several other buildings had collapsed across Egypt, causing more deaths. Sandstorms, rain and poor visibility also led to a number of road accidents which killed and injured dozens.

INDONESIA – Extreme weather causes floods, landslides in Bali. Heavy rains led to floods and landslides on Monday in Sukasada village, and along the main route linking Singaraja to the provincial capital, Denpasar.
The village was inundated as of Monday afternoon. “This has been the WORST FLOODING WE HAVE EXPERIENCED IN THE LAST 10 YEARS. Our village is located on the slope of the hills near Wanagiri and Ambengan, which is high enough. But we’re now threatened by floods and landslides. The weather is so unpredictable. Several houses were ruined and hundreds of villagers were evacuated to refugee camp outside Sukasada. Dozens of trees also fell. Landslides also occurred along the main road between Singaraja and Denpasar, including in Gitgit village, well known for its beautiful waterfalls. The main streets of the coastal city of Singaraja were also flooded. Floods and landslides were also reported in Denpassar, Kuta and in Karangasem, Klungkung and Jembarana regencies.
The Meteorology, Geophysics and Climatology Agency’s Bali office previously said the island would be in a transitional period between November and March. “Strong winds, torrential rains and tropical storms may occur across the island between these months…Sea waves might be three to five meters high in Bali’s waters, especially in the south.” Seawater has penetrated Denpasar’s groundwater reservoir, especially in the densely populated Sesetan and Sidakarya areas. Seawater has polluted the city’s clean water supply. Buleleng and other coastal regencies are also vulnerable to abrasion and sea water intrusion. River ecosystems were also in critical condition due to the development of hotels, restaurants, villas along riverbeds. Only 162 of Bali’s 400 rivers are in good condition, while forests have been reduced from 30 percent to only 22 percent of the island’s total areas.

CALIFORNIA – A series of tropical storms is expected to hit this morning bringing rain, wind and snow to Northern California and with it the possibility of urban flooding and power outages. It’s going to be wet for days, with the inclement weather continuing through the first half of next week. That means lots of snow and tough travel conditions in the Sierra and gusting winds in coastal areas, where trees and power lines could fall.
The National Weather Service said residents should anticipate the possibility of small stream and high wind advisories, as well as power outages.
Another storm forecast to hit late Tuesday or Wednesday was expected to pack a more powerful punch but appeared to be aimed at Central California like “a big hose pointed right at Big Sur.” Tahoe-area resorts are preparing for another big dump of snow on the heels of a welcome Thanksgiving holiday storm. It could be another early exclamation mark on a season that’s off to a running start. “It was THE MOST PRE-THANKSGIVING SNOW WE’VE HAD FOR 15 YEARS and I think this is going to set us up historically to have a pretty huge December.” More than 10 feet of snow is expected between Friday and Wednesday. Power outages were likely because of wind gusts ranging up to 35 or 40 mph. Sonoma County so far has above-average rainfall for the year, with statistics for Santa Rosa showing 133 percent of normal, or nearly 12 inches of rain. (photo)

EXTREME HEAT / WILDFIRES / DROUGHT / CLIMATE CHANGE-

ARIZONA – It was another RECORD-BREAKING DAY on Monday with a high of 79. The record for the date was 78 in 1939. Strong high pressure is in control, bringing this heat, along with mostly sunny skies and dry conditions. High pressure starts to break down today, allowing temps to drop slightly. Even though temps come down a bit, they are still warm and above average, expecting to reach the mid 70s.

CALIFORNIA – A high pressure weather system and Santa Ana wind conditions Sunday brought RECORD SMASHING HIGH TEMPERATURES to Southern California.

No ‘Tipping Point’ for Sea Ice in Polar Bears’ Future – Polar bears may be threatened, but they aren’t yet doomed. While Arctic sea ice will continue to retreat under the glare of rising global temperatures, the ice is unlikely to collapse in spectacular fashion, causing hope that, with aggressive greenhouse gas emissions cuts and wildlife management, polar bears may retain viable habitat into the next century, a team of scientists reports. Several years ago, government scientists projected that two-thirds of the world’s polar bears would go extinct by midcentury under current emissions scenarios. Those estimates, though uncertain in their specifics, remain unchanged by the current work. However, what seems increasingly unlikely is that the retreat of summer sea ice could cascade out of control. Rather, its decline is entirely contingent on controlling human emissions of greenhouse gases. “Conserving polar bears largely seems to be a matter of containing temperature rise.”
The notion that no “tipping point” exists for Arctic ice decline has spread in climate science for several years, supported by deeper examination of the North’s physics. Initially, the media exaggerated fears that the loss of ice, which naturally reflects light, would expose more heat-absorbing water to the sun, causing runaway decline. However, scientists now widely believe this feedback is balanced by a host of other phenomena, like increased flows of hot air from the tropics, improved ice formation efficiency under thinning conditions and the region’s general cloudiness. Despite the growing scientific awareness that ice loss has an inch-by-inch relationship to rising temperatures, though, the public has largely been left with the message that prospects were grim for polar bears, no matter what steps were taken to limit global warming. That message was hardly a call to action and, more importantly from a scientific view, lacked validity. “If people and leaders feel there’s nothing they can do, they will do nothing.”
There’s one thing nearly every model agrees on: that there is a gradual relationship between rising temperatures and ice loss. In 2007, the Arctic lost more than 1.6 million square kilometers of ice, an area larger than Alaska; by September, sea ice covered half the area it had during the early 1950s. However, since that shocking decline, the ice has modestly expanded during the summer, perhaps the best evidence that Arctic ice won’t drop off a cliff. The 2007 loss was “spectacular,” but “one would not expect to see it very often.” Scientists do expect that ice fluctuations will become increasingly steep and difficult to predict, largely thanks to the floes’ declining girth. Simply put, the thinner ice is more susceptible to the weather. Sweltering summers will cause large retreats in sea ice, while chilly years will cause equally large increases. (The mid-1990s saw a one-year ice advance almost as large as the 2007 loss.) The era of Arctic ice impassively gliding through these variations is over.
The lack of a physical threshold for ice loss also does not eliminate a biological threshold for polar bear decline, though. Animals seek to retain their populations until stress forces them into collapse, and while the bears are well-adapted to annual ice fluctuations, the overall retreat will cause stress across the Arctic’s 19 different subpopulations, each of which will respond differently. “We expect to see 19 different responses as sea ice changes.” While models may need to improve, basic physics show that the Arctic ice will decline, scientists said. Polar bears may the most visible creatures harmed, but there are many other species, like the ringed seal, that are at risk. “I hope the public can appreciate the many other species that are potentially threatened.”

HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD

A powerful winter storm in the US roared across the upper Midwest with high winds and mounds of snow closing roads in several states and cancelling more than 1000 flights in Chicago.
At least one weather-related death was reported as the storm system moved east. It dumped nearly 60cm of snow in parts of Minnesota and caused the Metrodome’s inflatable, Teflon roof to collapse.
A blizzard warning was in effect Sunday for parts of eastern Iowa, southeastern Wisconsin, northwestern Illinois, and northern Michigan. Surrounding areas, including Chicago, were under winter storm warnings. The winter weather, with blowing snow that severely limited visibility, wreaked havoc on air and road travel. In the Chicago area, wind gusts of up to 80km/h, temperatures ranging from -11C to -7C, wind chills well below -18C were expected along with up to 20cm of snow. Major highways in several states were closed due to poor driving conditions and accidents.
In Minnesota, snow plough drivers struggled with drifts as high as 1.5 metres and also were hampered by a large number of stalled cars as they worked to open up closed stretches of highways. In Iowa, Interstate 29 from the state line to Sioux Falls, South Dakota remained closed. Although roads were open in Wisconsin, state officials urged drivers to stay home because blowing snow severely limited visibility. The storm had already dropped up to 46cm of snow in parts of northern and central Wisconsin, and light snow continued on Sunday.

The Minneapolis and Saint Paul metro region was hit hard with a RECORD-BREAKING amount of snow on Saturday. The cities just south and east of the metro area received 18 inches to 21.5 inches of snow. The snow caused hundreds of cars in the metro area to spin out and become stuck in the snow along several serious crashes with injuries. Driving was near impossible without a four wheel drive truck and even with a 4×4 truck, it was extremely difficult and dangerous to try and navigate the roadways. Heavy snow and high winds caused the Minneapolis – St. Paul International airport to shut down for a few hours until one of the four runways was able to be opened up for limited use operations.
This major winter storm system stranded everyone. The New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings football game which was scheduled for Sunday, had to be rescheduled for Monday night due to the fact that the New York Giants football team could not fly into Minneapolis due to the blizzard. After the blizzard, extreme cold temperature’s and dangerous wind chills are moving into the region. (In the video there are several clips of people stuck in the snow after losing control of their vehicles, snow plows trying to clear the roads and footage from Minneapolis International Airport of the heavy snow and travelers reading the signs showing all the flights that were canceled.)

TENNESSEE – COLDEST DECEMBER SINCE 1942 grips Nashville. Temperatures struggled to reach 30 and a couple of inches of snow blanketed parts of the city on Sunday. Schools were closed, flights were delayed and traffic slowed to a crawl in some places. Another inch or so of snow was expected to fall overnight. Nashville is experiencing its coldest December since 1942. Sunday’s below-freezing temperatures and snow created black ice conditions on many Middle Tennessee roads. Flights at Nashville International Airport were canceled and delayed because of snowstorms that hit in other parts of the country such as Chicago.

FLORIDA – With still a week to go before winter begins Highlands County faces its second bout with possible RECORD-BREAKING FREEZING TEMPERATURES on Monday night. It was not likely that Avon Park would have a record breaking temperature for tonight, Dec. 14, as that record stands at 21 degrees, set in 1962, but it will be very cold in the mid-20s. However, Wednesday is another story. The Avon Park record stands at 31 degrees for Dec. 15, also set in 1962, and it could get colder than that. Today temperatures will only get into the high 50s. It could get back into the low 70s on Thursday. There was a lake-wind advisory in affect during the day Monday for boaters, advising small craft boaters on large lakes to avoid boating activities due to wind and waves. Sustained winds on Lake Okeechobee were at 25 miles per hour.

CANADA – 237 people had been rescued by late Tuesday afternoon local time from their vehicles on a highway near Sarnia, Ontario, about 104km northeast of Detroit. Others were taken to safety by farmers and snowmobilers helping the effort, though it’s not clear how many. There were no reports of deaths or injuries among the stranded. Police are sweeping the highway again just to be safe. The storm that had plagued the central US for days plodded eastward Tuesday with knifing winds, blowing snow and temperatures below freezing.

GEORGIA – It had not been this cold in Atlanta on a 14th of December in MORE THAN 90 YEARS. The low temperature in Atlanta hit 14 degrees Tuesday morning, breaking the previous December 14th record low of 15 degrees in 1917.
Highs near the freezing mark Tuesday were about 20 degrees below normal. “Protect pipes, pets, plants, and people. The deep freeze continues Wednesday, then the 50’s for Thursday and Friday. But, its not going to last. It turns very cold again for the weekend and next week.”

GERMANY – brought to near standstill by 12 hours of solid snowfall. Not a single train ran without delays in the whole of the country. In the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in the west there were some 700 accidents on the autobahns during 12 hours of snowfall. And even international airports like Dusseldorf had to shut down on Monday night as the snow blew in. Jack-knifed trucks littered the motorway network across the country. Many fellow truckers trying to pull lorries free of snowdrifts found themselves suddenly trapped.
Rising temperatures at the weekend followed by a plunging thermometer on Monday created black ice across the country. The S-Bahn network in Berlin that carries most commuters to work was severely delayed due to frozen points.
Hamburg saw 400 road accidents within 12 hours and in the former British army garrison town of Osnabrueck all public transport was suspended because of the state of the roads. “It is absolute chaos here.” On the A9 autobahn leading into Munich the traffic jam into the city reached 18 miles long. In Nuremberg a sports hall and stadium were closed due to the build up of ice and snow on the roof. Usually Germany is held up as the model to follow when it comes to combating winter. Teams of snowploughs are deployed on autobahns and trunk roads
within minutes of the first flakes of snow dropping from the skies. “But this front came in hard and fast and caught everyone on the hop.” Several people were killed in the accidents and dozens more hospitalised with injuries. The damages bill is already in the double digit millions.

Extreme weather sparks global commodities rally – Around the globe, the weather has turned extreme, driving up prices for commodities running the gamut from sugar and wheat to heating oil and orange juice. Australia, for instance, is suffering from both extremes — with drought in the west and deluges in the east. Heavy snow in Europe and sub-freezing temperatures in the United States are likewise fuelling the weather rally in commodities. Australia typically ranks as second in the league of global SUGAR exporters after Brazil, but rains have forced its top sugar exporter to consider buying raw sugar from its South American rival and from Thailand to keep up with its export commitments to sugar buyers. Brazil too has felt the effects of harsh weather on its sugar. Dryness has hurt yields and cut the volume of cane its crushers expect to process. ICE sugar futures were still hovering near a 30-YEAR HIGH.
Farmers across eastern Australia are assessing the effect of the wettest spring on record. The quality of the waterlogged WHEAT crop is suffering, and much of what is expected to be a record harvest has been downgraded from high-quality wheat used to make noodles in Asia and flat bread in the Middle East to grain fit for animal feed. And in the western part of the continent, drought has cut the annual wheat yield by two-thirds. In China, dry late fall weather may have affected pre-winter development of wheat in some areas. In Europe, snowfall has helped young wheat plants withstand a spell of freezing weather in the European Union’s top two producers, France and Germany, but is contributing to sowing delays that threaten Italy’s next crop.
In the United States, ice on key grain shipping waterways has slowed the flow of CORN AND SOYBEAN barges from elevators in the U.S. Midwest to export terminals at the Gulf Coast. The thickening ice may close northern sections of the Illinois River later this week. U.S. ORANGE juice futures rallied to a 3-1/2 year peak early this week amid fears that frigid weather would damage the orange crop in the top producing state Florida. And earlier citrus growers in Florida said their groves got mauled by sub-freezing weather overnight.
U.S. HEATING OIL futures hovered near 26-MONTH HIGHS as bitter cold descended on the heavily populated U.S. Northeast, the world’s biggest consumer of the wintertime fuel. New snowfalls and frost were expected across Europe from Thursday. French power usage hit an ALL-TIME HIGH Tuesday as temperatures dipped below zero, forcing households to turn up their heating. European spot power prices doubled over the past days with Germany’s spot day-ahead prices reaching a year-high, exceeding last January which was one of the coldest months on record. In France, a new power usage peak was expected Wednesday although spare import capacity and a restart of a number of nuclear reactors would help meet demand. In Britain, where the majority of heaters are fuelled by gas, prices were still not far off the peaks observed during the supply crisis this summer.
In China, some parts of the country could run short of COAL, OIL, POWER or GAS at times during the next few winter months. Australia and Indonesia’s coal miners have lost production due to flooded mines, and rain has also hampered transportation. The La Nina weather anomaly, which is raising concerns over Argentina’s corn and SOY crops, could hit the South American country again next season and cause even worse damage to yields.

Arctic Oscillation Chills US and Europe – The first week of December was a chilly one for much of Europe and parts of the United States. 2010 was cooler than average in northern Europe and the eastern United States. Greenland and parts of northern Canada, however, were exceptionally warm. This temperature pattern was caused by the Arctic Oscillation. The Arctic Oscillation is a climate pattern that influences winter weather in the northern hemisphere. It describes the relationship between high pressure in the mid-latitudes and low pressure over the Arctic. When the pressure systems are weak, the difference between them is small, and air from the Arctic flows south, while warmer air seeps north. This is referred to as a negative Arctic Oscillation. Like December 2009, the Arctic Oscillation was negative in early December 2010. Cold air from the Arctic channeled south around a blocking system over Greenland, while Greenland and northern Canada heated up.
The UNUSUAL cold brought heavy snow to Northern Europe, stopping flights and trains early in December. Cold temperatures and snow also closed roads and schools in the eastern United States and Canada during the first week of December. The diagonal path of a powerful winter storm is visible as a streak of cold across the Upper Midwest of the United States. (image)

U.S. and Europe both dealing with extreme weather; video of tornado in Portugal. Many locations experiencing RECORD SNOW AND COLD. Over the past week to two weeks, both the United States and Europe have been hit with extreme weather. Arctic air has gripped the eastern two-thirds of the nation. Wind chill and freeze warnings have been issued as far south as Miami. Last week, Fort Lauderdale broke a 169 year record low temperature with a morning reading of 40 degrees. Monday, Caribou, Maine recorded a warmer temperature (55 degrees) than Orlando, Florida, where a temperature of just 51 degrees was recorded. Atlanta, GA recorded its coldest high (29 degrees) in 31 years. Duluth, MN recorded its 4th snowiest meteorological autumn (a period from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30) with over 35 inches of snow. Minneapolis, MN experienced its largest snowfall ever for the month of December and its 5th largest snowfall ever with 17.1″ of snow this past weekend. In Chicago, they are off to one of their coldest December opens ever. 10 out of the first 13 days have registered below normal.
Extreme weather affecting several areas in Europe – More than 30 inches of snow fell in Edinburgh, Scotland last week. Last Wednesday, flights had to be suspended, public transportation came to a halt, and even the Eiffel Tower had to be shut down after heavy snow fell in Paris, France. The 11cm or 4.5 inches of snow that fell was the heaviest in a quarter century (since 1987). Authorities there said 66 people had lost their lives since the severe wintry weather began in late November. A rare tornado hit Portugal last Thursday injuring up to 40 people.
Stormy weather with fierce winds, heavy rains and snow is blamed for killing at least 18 in Egypt. The area has been dealing with severe weather over several days.
Blocking pattern to blame – The main reason for the extreme weather conditions has to do with a blocking pattern that has been sending warmer than normal temperatures across parts of Greenland while leaking Arctic air into the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. and into a good portion of Europe. This pattern known as a “Greenland Block” doesn’t seem to be letting go and will continue to persist over the next several days.

FLORIDA – STRONGEST MID-DECEMBER COLD SNAP IN A HALF CENTURY; regional cold records topple for 3rd straight night. Three nights of record-breaking, teeth-chattering, crop-threatening cold marked the most profound such event for mid-December in a half-century. One more round of “very cold,” but not freezing, temperatures early Thursday. “The good news is we are nearing the end of this cold snap.”
It will take awhile to gauge the fallout from the most bitter freeze since a historic one in 1962. Across the region, temperatures were 20 to 25 degrees below normal for this time of year. Wednesday’s low of 35 at Palm Beach International Airport broke the 1962 record of 36. The wind chill was 31. Records fell in Vero Beach, Clewiston and Okeechobee, and were tied in Belle Glade and Okeechobee. The other side of the cold snap, a stressed water supply and high wildfire potential, won’t moderate as rapidly as the chill. “This year is not the typical wildfire year,. We did not receive enough tropical moisture in the summer months. In addition, the cold fronts are not bringing in substantial rain.” And it will be awhile before the extent of damage is known in the interior, where farmers sent helicopters over fields again Wednesday morning in a bid to save crops hit by three cold snaps in as many weeks. Soon, after this latest round of cold, “we’ll know what’s alive and what’s dead.”

SPACE NEWS-

On August 1, 2010, an entire hemisphere of the sun erupted. Filaments of magnetism snapped and exploded, shock waves raced across the stellar surface, billion-ton clouds of hot gas billowed into space. Astronomers knew they had witnessed something big. It was so big, it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity. “The August 1st event really opened our eyes. We see that solar storms can be global events, playing out ON SCALES WE SCARCELY IMAGINED BEFORE.”
Explosions on the sun are not localized or isolated events. Instead, solar activity is interconnected by magnetism over breathtaking distances. Solar flares, tsunamis, coronal mass ejections – they can go off all at once, hundreds of thousands of miles apart, in a dizzyingly-complex concert of mayhem. “To predict eruptions we can no longer focus on the magnetic fields of isolated active regions, we have to know the surface magnetic field of practically the entire sun.” This revelation increases the work load for space weather forecasters, but it also increases the potential accuracy of their forecasts. “The whole-sun approach could lead to breakthroughs in predicting solar activity,. This in turn would provide improved forecasts to our customers such as electric power grid operators and commercial airlines, who could take action to protect their systems and ensure the safety of passengers and crew.”
Researchers broke down the Great Eruption into more than a dozen significant shock waves, flares, filament eruptions, and CMEs spanning 180 degrees of solar longitude and 28 hours of time. At first it seemed to be a cacophony of disorder until they plotted the events on a map of the sun’s magnetic field. “We saw that all the events of substantial coronal activity were connected by a wide-ranging system of separatrices, separators, and quasi-separatrix layers.” A “separatrix” is a magnetic fault zone where small changes in surrounding plasma currents can set off big electromagnetic storms. Researchers have long suspected this kind of magnetic connection was possible. Much remains to be done. “We’re still sorting out cause and effect. Was the event one big chain reaction, in which one eruption triggered another – bang, bang, bang – in sequence? Or did everything go off together as a consequence of some greater change in the sun’s global magnetic field?”
Further analysis may yet reveal the underlying trigger; for now, the team is still wrapping their minds around the global character of solar activity. “Not all eruptions are going to be global, but the global character of solar activity can no longer be ignored.” (video & photos)

Magnetic filaments have been erupting on the sun with uncommon frequency these past two weeks. The latest event occurred On Dec. 16th around 0800 UT when a filament lifted off the stellar surface and propelled a coronal mass ejection into space. Earth was not in the line of fire; no planets were. The cloud is heading up and away from the plane of the solar system where it will dissipate with little effect a week or two hence. Like all the recent eruptions, this one missed our planet, but it is only a matter of time before a scattershot CME reaches Earth. When it does, you’ll want to be alert for auroras.

HEALTH THREATS –

Flu activity in southeastern US states, a region that recently reported increases, declined last week, falling back below seasonal baseline levels. Such rises and falls aren’t unusual, and flu activity typically peaks in January or late. Activity is low across the rest of the nation, with Georgia, Kentucky, and Virginia reporting regional activity. Other flu indicators also pointed to low activity. The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza stayed about the same as the previous week, at 10.8%. Doctor’s visits for flu-like illnesses were below the national baseline, and deaths from flu and pneumonia were below the epidemic threshold. Most of the flu viruses circulating are the influenza A (H3N2) and B strains. Tests show that all three circulating strains match well with those included in the seasonal flu vaccine, including pandemic 2009 H1N1.

BRITAIN – swine flu kills ten. A 32-year-old mother, from Liverpool is the latest swine flu victim. She is the tenth person to have succumbed to the virus this winter. She had been discharged from hospital where she was being treated for asthma. However, her condition deteriorated and she was readmitted. Doctors discovered she had the virus but she died the following day in intensive care.
An outbreak of the virus has claimed up to five lives in a 30-mile radius. The cluster of five cases was reported in the North-West of England. Another 29-year-old woman from Liverpool and three men from Greater Manchester have also died following complications caused by the disease. Experts have been surprised at the fatality rate from swine flu and fear this winter’s outbreak could be worse than predicted. The Health Protection Agency confirmed there had been 12 flu deaths in the past six weeks – ten were H1N1 related and two were influenza B related. Health officials are investigating a serious flu outbreak at a secondary school in Wales.
More than 120 cases of sickness absence have been reported at the private school in Cardiff and test samples have confirmed the presence of swine flu. Swine flu is also known as H1N1 influenza. The virus has been included in this year’s flu vaccine, which is free for high-risk groups. It is spread in the same way as ordinary cold and flu viruses, through droplets expelled during coughs and sneezes. You can reduce your chance of catching it by washing your hands regularly and regularly cleaning surfaces.

About 17% in US get sick from food each year – One in six Americans gets sick from food every year, and about 3000 die from those illnesses.

RECALLS & ALERTS:

Mojave Foods Corporation is initiating a recall of sixty (60) packages of El Guapo Shelled Walnuts 1 OZ because the ingredient has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

-Tropical Nut & Fruit of Charlotte, NC, is voluntarily recalling all its products containing walnuts supplied by Atlas Walnuts, LLC after November 16, 2010 because they have the potential to contain Salmonella.

-McNeil Consumer Healthcare is recalling all lots of ROLAIDS Extra Strength Softchews, ROLAIDS Extra Strength plus Gas Softchews, and ROLAIDS Multi-Symptom plus Anti-Gas Softchews distributed in the United States following some consumer reports of foreign materials in the product, including metal and wood particles.

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Signs in Plagues & Pestilence

Numbers 16:46 Then Moses told Aaron, “Take your firepan, place fire from the altar in it, and add incense. Go quickly to the community and make atonement for them, because wrath has come from the Lord; the plague has begun.

UGANDA (Update)

A total of 13 people have been reported dead in Abim and Agago districts, following an outbreak of a strange disease in Abim. 20 cases have been reported in Abim district, out of whom 8 have already died. In neighbouring Agago district, 5 cases have been reported in the sub counties of Omiya P’Chua and Paimol, which border Abim district. Emmanuel Okech, an official from the Abim district health office, said out of the 20 cases, 8 have died, 2 have been quarantined, and another 10 have been discharged after their conditions improved. According to Okech, the affected persons have high fever, vomit blood, pass bloody stools, and also bleed from other openings like the nose and ears. “The victims usually die between 3 and 5 days and are suspected to be highly contagious,” Okech said. Last week [week ending 14 Nov 2010], a team from the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health went to Abim and are investigating the disease. According to Okech, samples were taken to the Uganda Virus Research Institute, but there is still no clue as to what disease is affecting the people there.

“We were suspecting viral hemorrhagic infection, but results from the Uganda Virus Research Institute have ruled out Ebola, Marburg, and Lassa,” Okech said. He said samples from the affected persons have now been flown to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. On [Tue 16 Nov 2010], the district health officer of Agago district, Dr Emmanuel Otto, announced that 5 people had died in Paimol and Omiya P’Chua from infections similar to those reported in Abim. Dr. Otto said he was also expecting a team of doctors from the World Health Organization and the Health Ministry in Agago to go to the affected sub-counties and conduct tests to ascertain the nature of the disease. According to Emmanuel Okech, more than 10 percent of patients treated in Abim Hospital are from neighboring Agago district, raising suspicions that the 5 who died in Agago could have contracted the disease while they went for treatment in Abim Hospital. Meanwhile, authorities in Abim district have put up an isolation center for those suspected to have contracted the disease.

EGYPT

About 85 workers at Imperial Shams resort in Red Sea’s Safaga suffered food poisoning on Saturday following lunch at a staff cafeteria. They were taken to hospitals in Hurgada and Safaga where they underwent stomach pumping. A report was filed at Safaga’s police department. Authorities confiscated the toxic foods and send samples for analysis at health department labs. Investigators plan to interview the victims.

UNITED KINGDOM

The swine flu virus has claimed the lives of ten adults in the UK in the past six weeks. UK Health chiefs have urged people to take up the flu vaccine after it emerged that the swine flu virus which swept the country last year has claimed the lives of ten adults. A spokeswoman for the HPA has said that the deaths were in younger adults under 65 and that most had underlying conditions but ‘a small proportion’ were healthy before contracting the virus. Professor John Watson, head of respiratory diseases department at the HPA, said: ‘Over the last few weeks we have seen a rise in the number of cases of seasonal flu, including both H1N1 (2009) and flu B, in the community. ‘

INDIA

A two year old baby girl, Masrat Bano, daughter of Mohammad Shafi and three-year-old Mukhtar Ahmad, son of Nazir Ahmad have died due to outbreak of measles in Churunda village of Uri this week. At least twenty eight children, they said were infected due to the disease that broke out earlier this week. “2 kids have died of measles in the last two days. We also have 243 children who’re suffering from acute respiratory infection (ARI) and other diseases. Among them, 28 are infected with measles,” Block Medical Officer (BMO) Uri, Dr Farooq Ahmad told Kashmir Dispatch. Over 200 children were suffering from other respiratory diseases in Tigawadi, Bradgran and Thajal villages of the area. Several teams of doctors have been sent to affected areas to control the disease that has triggered panic among the parents. Farooq, who has been camping in the affected villages from the last three days said teams of doctors from the district were working to control the spread of disease. The doctors, he said have also started a vaccination drive in the villages that are located close to the LoC. Chief Medical officer (CMO), Baramulla Dr Mohammad Shafi Saraf said the department was taking all steps to provide medical facilities in the affected areas. “We have sent team of doctors and paramedics to the affected areas. If need be, more staff will be sent,” Saraf said. “My son was also suffering from measles. However, the efforts of doctors saved his life,” Bashir Ahmad, a local said.

TANZANIA

A mysterious disease has hit 2 journalists here in the Kagera Region — one employed by the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) and the other a free-lancer with Radio Free Africa/Star TV — causing them to be partially paralyzed for more than a month now. The duo reportedly developed symptoms similar to those of a stroke which 1st attacked the Radio Free Africa reporter a few days before the 31 Oct 2010 elections. A few days later the TBC reporter was struck down by the disease, according to close relatives. The duo have since been admitted to Bukoba Regional Hospital where the hospital authorities have been tight-lipped [avoiding] comment on the strange illness.

A stroke, also known medically as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is a consequence of rapidly developing loss of brain function due to blood [clots forming in the brain]. This could be due to ischemia (lack of blood flow) caused by blockage (thrombosis, arterial embolism) or a haemorrhage. As a result the affected area of the brain is unable to function, leading to inability to move one or more limbs on one side of the body, inability to understand or formulate speech, or an inability to see one side of the visual field. The news about the journalists’ unknown disease [illness] has left some people here terrified especially after reports on the outbreak of a mysterious disease in neighbouring Uganda. This disease is reported to have killed 38 people in the Agago, Abim and Kitgum districts in northern Uganda so far, and medical tests have so far failed to identify it. The Ugandan Ministry of Health said the preliminary tests had ruled out ebola [haemorrhagic fever], typhoid and several other diseases. It said some test results suggested it might be plague, but further tests were being carried out. The Ugandan patients complain of a severe headache and dizziness, which eventually give way to diarrhoea and vomiting.

The Ugandan Ministry said that a full recovery was possible if people sought medical help in early stages. It said the results suggesting that it was plague were not consistent with findings by medical workers on the ground. The [Ugandan] Ministry had advised people not to eat meat from sick domestic and wild animals and to take precautions such as washing hands regularly. The illness was 1st reported on 10 Nov 2010, and more than 90 people have been treated. The Ministry said it lasted for between 2 and 10 days, and that the vomit and diarrhoea contained blood. The Kagera Region [of Tanzania] is also on high polio alert following reports that areas neighboring The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) risked a major resurgence of the disease after 63 cases were discovered this year.

The warning came after neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville [Republic of Congo] earlier last month [November 2010] said an epidemic had killed 169 people since October, a decade after the disease was considered to have been eradicated there. Sources at the Kagera Regional Hospital told the ‘Daily News’ that health officials were undertaking 24-hour surveillance at all entry points to check new polio and amoebic dysentery cases. The entry points include Rusumo and Kabanga, in Ngara district, Kaisho and Murongo, in Karagwe district, Kyaka and Mutukula, in Misenyi district. Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. The virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestines. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Among those paralysed, 5 to 10 percent die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.

HAITI (Cholera Epidemic Update)

Dr. Jocelyne Pierre Louis, Director of Promotion of the Department of Public Health and Population (MSPP) said on Friday, expected in the coming days, an outbreak of the cholera epidemic, particularly in Port-au-Prince and the Metropolitan Region due to the unsanitary condition of the city.
The post-election riots that erupted in several parts of the country and particularly in Port-au-Prince have plunged the capital into a state of unhealthiness major. The waste bins were scattered throughout the city, faeces were scattered in the streets, following the reversal of portable toilets, and thousands of protesters have ignored basic rules of hygiene, eating and drinking without any precautions.

Dr. Jocelyne Pierre Louis, noted that these are ideal conditions for an explosion of the epidemic. Stressing the need to take urgent action to avert catastrophe. She recalled that the Cholera Treatment Centers (CTC) located in the hospitals of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the Hospital of the State University of Haiti (HUEH) work as usual and demand citizens to get there very early in suspected cases of diarrhea.

Since the outbreak of cholera has appeared in the country (October 19, 2010), 97.595 people were infected and treated, 46.749 people were hospitalized and 2.193 people died. According to the latest report of the MSPP, dated December 6, 2010. Significant figures, but largely underestimated by the government according to health experts from the UN, who believe that these figures could be the double of those published.

CALIFORNIA (Whooping Cough Epidemic Update)

By Paul Sisson, North County Times

Months after California declared a whooping cough epidemic, the number of new cases being reported has begun to decline, but it’s still far higher than normal, according to county and state public health officials.
“From what we’re seeing through most of November, it’s slowing down, but it’s still very high,” said Karen Waters-Montijo, chief of immunization for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.

According to agency data, there were 136 confirmed whooping cough cases in November, down slightly from the peak of 193 cases tallied in August. By comparison, in November 2009 there were only 16 cases reported, Waters said. The busiest whooping cough month that year was July, with 31 new cases reported.

Dr. John Bradley, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, said his department has definitely noticed a drop in the number of children testing positive for whooping cough, also known as pertussis, over the last three weeks.
“It’s too early to say that it’s for sure going away, but it may give us a chance to catch our breath,” Bradley said.

Whooping cough starts with cold-like symptoms, manifesting severe coughing fits 10 to 12 days later. Patients drawing a rapid breath after a prolonged coughing can make a characteristic whooping sound. The bacterial infection is generally treated with antibiotics.

The California Department of Public Health declared a whooping cough epidemic in late June after the number of cases statewide began to spike.
So far this year, the county has confirmed 943 cases, more than doubling the previous record of 371, set in 2005.

Statewide, there have been 7,297 confirmed, probable and suspect cases, according to a report recently released by the California Department of Public Health, which says the infection rate is the highest seen since 1958.
The disease is most dangerous for infants who can not begin receiving vaccinations until they are two months old. Public health officials are recommending the “cocooning” method of protecting the very young, advising “Tdap” booster shots for anyone who comes into contact with infants. Tdap is the vaccine intended to immunize patients against tentanus, diptheria and pertussis.

WEST AFRICA (Meningitis Epidemic Update)

Meningitis kills 1,720 people in West Africa, says Onyebuchi
Linus Oota, Abuja, Nigerian Compass

The Minister of Health and President of ECOWAS Assembly of Health Ministers, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said that from January 2010 to date, meningitis had hit seven countries of West Africa, causing 1,720 deaths.

“In truth, epidemic-prone diseases have always prevailed in our environment. Cholera alone has caused in 2010, approximately 1900 deaths in 8 countries; meningitis hit 7 countries since January 2010, causing 1,720 deaths; measles a disease placed in test phase, is growing every year, reflecting not only the weakness of our health systems, but also their inability to sustain gains achieved with the mass action through international support,” he said.

Prof Chukwu, who spoke at the weekend in Abuja during the Second Extraordinary Assembly of Health Ministers of ECOWAS, said that the region has the highest rates of epidemic-prone diseases despite the enormous efforts devoted for increased disease surveillance, preparedness and response.
The minister said that despite the outbreaks of diseases recorded in all countries of our community, mortality rates have decreased significantly.

“This fact in itself means that with better organisation and capacity building interventions, we can surely achieve positive results in the control of epidemics,” he said.

He said that WAHO has tried to make the fight easy by developing a 2011-2014 regional support plan for epidemic prone disease control in the ECOWAS region.
Also speaking, Dr. Placido Cardoso, Director General of WAHO said “our mandate requires that we support the efforts of ECOWAS member-states to reduce the burden of morbidity and mortality due to epidemic-prone diseases and their negative impact on socio-economic development in the region
“It is also our responsibility to lead a dynamic regional coordination of preparedness and response to epidemics, in collaboration with states, technical and financial partners.” he said.

RUSSIA

Health authorities in Russia’s southern Kuban region will slaughter hundreds of pigs possibly infected with African Pig Plague, reported on Tuesday. Health experts do not believe African Pig Plague to be dangerous to humans, but pigs and pork infected with the disease are not safe for human consumption. Health inspectors detected presence of the disease in early December, and authorities have placed a five-kilometre quarantine zone around a farm found to contain six infected animals, said Igor Tsokur, an Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman. The destruction of 904 animals at the swine farm near the village Staroshcherbinskiy is necessary to prevent the spread of the disease, Tsokur said. The last outbreak of pig plague in the area was registered in November, at another Kuban province farm. Health officials destroyed more than 5,000 animals. Pig Plague is also known as classical swine fever or hog cholera. African Pig Plague is a strain of the disease thought to have first appeared in the Caucasus region 5 t0 6 years ago, since then spreading to Armenia, Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine.

NIGERIA

No fewer than 100 persons are feared dead as a water borne disease, confirmed to be cholera, ravaged the entire five local government areas of Adamawa Southern Senatorial Zone: Madagali, Michika, Maiha, Mubi North and Mubi South. A similar outbreak in May and June left over 200 persons dead, and the zone declared epidemic disaster area. Local community sources disclosed to Vanguard weekend in Yola that the outbreak of the disease this time around was first noticed penultimate Thursday, and had engulfed the entire five local government areas as at yesterday. According to the sources, the spread of the disease looks was very fast as the epidemic looked like it was being pread by the wind. One source was even of the view that the cholera epidemic might be spreading from the Republic of Cameroon which the five local governments share common borders with. Vanguard further learnt that the casualty figure might be much higher, even as more cases are being recorded while the disease continue to spread from one village to another in the mountainous border towns. It was also learnt that medical supplies provided by basic health centres in the affected areas could not meet the demand caused by the magnitude of the epidemic. Scores of villagers, who spoke to correspondents on condition of anonymity, regretted that as was the case in the previous outbreak, state government intervention came late. Adamawa State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tijjani Maksha, could not be reached for comments. Sources at the ministry, however, told Vanguard that the current outbreak might be the left over of the previous ones which has not been properly handled to prevent the re-occurrence.

UKRAINE (Update)

Flu morbidity hits epidemic threshold in Ukraine’s 6 regions

Flu morbidity has exceeded the epidemic threshold in six regions of the country: Volyn, Dnipropetrovsk, Luhansk, Poltava, Sumy and Chernivtsi regions and in 172 administrative territories (districts, cities).

According to Ukraine’s chief sanitary officer Serhiy Ryzhenko, the epidemic threshold was slightly exceeded in 142 administrative territories. Meanwhile, the vaccination campaign is in progress with over 400,000 people already vaccinated.

JORDAN

H1N1 case detected in Jordan
AMMAN (Petra) – Minister of Health Mahmoud Sheyyab announced Sunday that authorities have detected a new H1N1 case in the Kingdom.

He said that a lady diagnosed with the flu was being treated at a private hospital, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The minister was quoted as saying by the agency that the return of the epidemic is possible in winter, stressing that authorities are ready to deal with the disease, which was declared an epidemic in the Kingdom last year.

Sheyyab said that a complete plan that addresses all aspects of the problem is in place including diagnosis, treatment, medication and preparedness of health facilities to receive patients. He added that the plan will be circulated among all concerned agencies and health institutions.

He said that health authorities are dealing with the possibility of the return of the swine flu as a seasonal occurrence, saying that preventive measures will focus on children and old men and other vulnerable groups.
The official, who was speaking at a meeting of a national committee tasked with fighting swine flu, also said that the ministry is in contact with the World Health Organisation over the development.

HUNGARY

A kindergarten in Budapest’s District XII remained closed on Monday and Tuesday after a serious infection causing vomiting and diarrhea had started to spread among children last week. The local chief medical officer ordered the Táltoscsikó utca kindergarten to remain closed for two days, because by Friday of last week, 60% of children had gotten sick. The cause of the illness is not known, but food poisoning has been ruled out.

ISLAMABAD

UNICEF warns epidemic outbreak among flood hit children

December 14, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that winter will worsen the threats of epidemic against children inhabited in flood hit areas, who already suffer high rates of acute respiratory infections and malnutrition.

“The coming cold months will sharply increase the numbers of respiratory infections and malnutrition, two of the biggest killers of Pakistani children”, said Daniel Toole, UNICEF’s Regional Director for South Asia while talking to APP on Monday said.

He informed that as many as 126 new polio cases are reported this year compared to 89 in 2009 an enormous cause for concern especially as it had made significant strides towards eradicating polio.

Daniel Toole said that Pakistan is one of the four polio endemic countries in the world and low ongoing coverage in areas experiencing difficult security in the north, over-crowding and poor sanitation as a result of the floods have exacerbated the threat for children.

“This crisis is far from over. It has just evolved in very different ways from one part of Pakistan to the next and the humanitarian effort has had to adapt swiftly to reach children and women most in need as their needs change,” Daniel Toole said.

“Although most people have returned to their home areas, many have returned to near total destruction with no homes, no crops, no food and no cash”, he added.

The regional director said that in Northern areas, snow has fallen and they are delivering winter clothes and supplies to help families prepare for a harsh winter, while in the South slow receding waters have meant over a million lives are still on hold.

Since the early stages of the floods, UNICEF has been providing clean water to an unprecedented 2.8 million people daily, and sanitation facilities to more than 1.5 million people, he said adding, UNICEF has partnered with World Health Organization and the government to immunize more than nine million children against measles and polio.

In preparation for winter, he said, UNICEF has started to distribute warm children’s clothing and blankets. However, millions of families still need assistance in the form of water, medicine and nutritional supplements to survive the coming months, especially those living in the north of the country as harsh winter conditions approach.

UNICEF needs $82.1 million if it is to continue with its life-saving and recovery programs in the country, he said adding, to expand urgently needed support to improve widespread malnutrition and to stop polio spreading, additional urgent funds are required for continued needs in 2011.
“The scale of this remains massive. The impact of the floods in Pakistan will be felt for years to come, so the more we can do now the quicker children and families will recover, and that means urgently needed funds to do our job better,” Toole said. – APP

PHILIPPINES

A mysterious illness has struck residents of Oas town in Albay, health officials said. The illness, which is suspected to be hepatitis-A, already caused 21 people to fall ill, according to municipal health officer Dr. Marie Jane Revereza. She said blood samples from the patients have been sent to the National Epidemiological Center for analysis. The disease first struck 3 weeks ago, according to residents. It has now spread to 10 villages in Oas town. The symptoms include vomiting, stomach ache, and yellowish eyes and skin. An initial investigation by the health office hinted that the illness could be caused by dirty water being used by the villagers.

SOUTH KOREA

Foot and mouth disease that originated in North Gyeongsang Province has spread to Gyeonggi Province. The Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said Wednesday that a close inspection by the National Veterinary and Quarantine Service confirmed additional cases of the disease at two pig farms in Yangju and Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province. Since the disease was first detected on Nov. 29 in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, it has spread to areas outside the province. The two pig farms in Gyeonggi, which raise some 1,200 pigs each, have the same owner. Suspected symptoms at a Korean cattle farm in Yecheon County, North Gyeongsang Province, are also confirmed to be those of foot and mouth disease. The government has begun culling cows and pigs within a 500-meter radius from the affected farms. This has raised the number of slaughtered animals to 169,087, breaking the previous national high of 160,155 in 2002. Quarantine authorities are also inspecting a milk cow farm in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, 15 kilometers from an affected farm in Yeoncheon. The farm reported suspected symptoms to authorities the same day. The investigation on how the disease spread from North Gyeongsang to Gyeonggi has failed to find a clear epidemiological connection, however. The ministry said, “Foreign workers who worked in Gunwi, North Gyeongsang Province, began working at the affected farm in Yeoncheon on Dec. 3, but Gunwi is not among the suspected areas for the disease,” adding, “Given that only antigens of affected cows in both Yangju and Yeoncheon tested positive for the disease, they were recently infected with the virus.” The government is also investigating a possible outbreak of a different form of the disease from that detected in North Gyeongsang. The final results will come out Thursday. With the disease spreading across the nation, the government is under fire for poor quarantine procedures since it set up no quarantine checkpoints until Tuesday in Gyeonggi.

LAI CHAU PROVINCE

Epidemic kills 100 buffalo, cattle in Lai Chau Province
LAI CHAU — An epidemic has killed about 100 buffalo and other cattle in Phong Tho District in the northern mountainous province of Lai Chau since September.
The disease, caused by the Pasteurella multocida bacteria, spreads quickly and often breaks out when the weather changes suddenly, and at times when farmers are harvesting their crops and working the buffalo heavily, said Lai Chau Animal Health Department director Dang Xuan Hao.

Cattle in Pa Vay Su commune have been most heavily hit, with 50 out of 800 livestock in the commune felled, in an area in which the buffalo is viewed as the most valuable property belonging to the local Thai, Mong and Dao ethnic minorities.

“All of the dead buffalo and cows had symptoms of a swelling neck and died after two or three hours,” said the chairman of the commune’s People’s Committee, Mua A Sinh.

Sung Sua Pao, who lost five buffalo to the disease, said that he put buffalo into pens right after being told of the epidemic, but they still died one after the other. “My family does not know how to plough the next crop without buffalo,” he said.
Farmer Thao A Du also found his two buffalo with symptoms of swollen necks. His livestock survived after he lit fires to keep them warm and bound their necks with traditional medicines. “Last winter, the death toll was only half of this year’s amount,” said Hao.

Many of the buffalo died in communes over 10km from district centres, so veterinary workers were unable to give timely treatment.
Hao said that his department had founded a mobile team to supervise cattle in the district and hold talks with farmers about the source of the disease and the ways to prevent it, including vaccinations every six months.

Starting this month, the department has issued Robert 1 vaccines made by the National Animal Medicine Co No 2 and sterilised the affected areas.
“We advise farmers not to let their buffalo wander, keep them in pens and keep a close watch on them especially in times of changing weather,” Hao said. “We have also asked them to bury the death buffalo carefully to prevent the disease from spreading.”

INDIA

Eighty-eight girl students of the hostel run by Karvenagar-based Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha (MKSSS) were on Friday evening admitted to Deenanath Mangeshkar and Mai Mangeshkar hospitals for food poisoning. The students, aged between 10 and 20 years, complained of stomach ache and started vomiting in the hostel around 6.30 pm. Director of the hostel, Ravindra Deshpande, said the students were rushed to the hospitals immediately. “The hospital has discharged eight students after treatment. The rest are still in the hospital. The conditions of all the admitted students are stable,” Deshpande said. The MKSSS hostel houses about 500 students pursing studies in different schools and colleges. Deshpande said the students had their lunch in the hostel. Sources in the hospital said the students had consumed poha for lunch.

CANADA

Doctors have discovered the city’s second case of measles this year, but unlike the first, this one was transmitted locally. As QMI Agency first reported in early December, Ottawa Public Health alerted all local physicians about a middle-aged woman who contracted measles in the Philippines. At the time, Ottawa’s medical officer of health warned measles is a very dangerous and highly contagious infection. “Measles is very transmittable, and once it’s in the community, people can easily pick it up,” Dr. Isra Levy told QMI Agency. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see secondary cases, but we’re attacking this aggressively like all unusual infections.” Measles is rare in Ottawa. The city hadn’t seen a case since 2002 and there were only five cases from 1995 to 2009. Measles is spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. It is more severe in adults and infants than in children, as most children are immunized at their school. Measles can lead to ear infections, pneumonia and swelling of the brain. Ottawa Public Health recommends people keep their measles vaccination up to date. The vaccination is also recommended for many international travel destinations.

JAPAN

The deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza has been detected in what appeared to be a wild swan that died earlier this month in the western Japan city of Yonago, local officials said Saturday. The Tottori prefectural government unveiled the result of a test on the young tundra swan, which was found reeling on the balcony of a residence in the city on Dec. 4 and died the following day. The location is within 10 kilometers of a poultry farm in neighboring Yasugi, where over 20,000 chickens were culled by early this month after city officials confirmed an outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian flu. The DNA structure of the strain found in the swan was “partially identical” to that found in the chickens, and there is a possibility that the two strains are “related,” said Tottori University professor Toshihiro Ito, who attended a meeting on the subject at the prefectural government on Saturday. No abnormalities have so far been reported by four poultry farms located within a 10-km radius of the house in Yonago–an area now designated by the Environment Ministry as needing the most vigilance. Meanwhile, the H5 strain of influenza has been detected in one of the two dead swans found Thursday in a park in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, local government officials said Saturday. The bird had subsequently tested positive for bird flu in a preliminary check. Toyama is located northeast of Tottori, and both face the Sea of Japan. Officials of the local government are also conducting a further investigation into suspected cases of bird flu infection after another swan was spotted swimming feebly Saturday in the same park. It was the second time a weakened mute swan was discovered in as many days in a moat inside the premises of the park in Takaoka city after the dead swans were found there on Thursday. The Takaoka city government decided on Saturday to cull a total of 10 birds currently released in the moat including swans and ducks.

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

Vatican Bank ‘allowed clergy to act as front for Mafia’

Schoolbook describes Jesus as ‘wine-guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist’

‘Immortal’ body found after 32 years

Church removes racial references in Book of Mormon headings

Church affirms Virgin Mary apparition in Wisconsin

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

Pakistan Evangelist Set On Fire, Christians Say

Algerian Christians to Appeal Conviction for Worshipping

U.N. cites ‘a slow but steady exodus’ of Iraqi Christians

Islamists Raid House Churches in West Java, Indonesia

Vietnamese Authorities Demolish Home, Church Headquarters

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