CHOSEN: End Times Newsletter – Issue 178


By Johanna

Luke 21:10-12 Then He told them: “Nation will be raised up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be violent earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you. They will hand you over to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of My name.

For this week I was led to use the above scripture. I will be using quotes from Luke 21:10-12 and comparing them with headlines to point out that what is in the Word is indeed happening today.

“Nation will be raised up against nation”

Déjà vu: Russia, US at odds over missile

Korea says more N. Korea attacks possible

Mideast unrest puts US military access in jeopardy

There are many news articles out there and it would take many pages to list them all so it is something to think on. Still don’t believe we are in the End Times?

“There will be violent earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places”

Sixth Earthquake in Four Days Rattles Chile

Magnitude 6.5 – Celebes Sea

Villages on curfew due to typhoid outbreak

Superbug’s spread across West Midlands

Masses of Dead Fish in South Florida

Pay close attention as more is listed in this week’s newsletter as well as past ones and future ones.

“But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you.”

Keep an eye under the Faith under Fire section of our Newsletter. Someone is being persecuted in some way especially when it comes to his or her belief in our Heavenly Father on a daily basis. Do you often wonder why this is? Still don’t think Father is angry about what is going on? Take the time to search the Word and look around you because the proof is everywhere.

End Times Truths on BlogTalkRadio

With Regina

End Times Truths are now broadcasted on a weekly schedule via BlogTalkRadio. Shows take place Sunday afternoons at 3pm Central.  This week’s episode is:

The Falsehood of the Trinity: Who Christ Jesus Really Is

Archived shows are also available on demand and include:

The Mark of the Beast

The Beast Revealed

God’s Anger & Wrath

UFOs & Crop Circles

The Signs of End Times

The Kingdom Message

Was Jesus Psychic?

The Rapture & End Times Prophecy Explained

The Spirit Realm

The Cherubic Order of Angels

Are You Ready for Truth?

By clicking on any of the above links, you will be routed directly to that show.


By Deborah

Yahweh has given many warnings and continues to give warnings via signs to mankind. These signs are seen in the natural disasters, plagues, pestilence, uprisings, wars, and even in the sightings of the Lions of Zion crafts reported almost daily now. These signs are spoken of in The Word or Holy Bible. But mankind turned and continues to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to these warnings. There is nothing new under the sun.

Zechariah 7:11 But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder; they closed their ears so they could not hear.

Matthew 13:15 For this people’s heart has grown callous; their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn back— and I would cure them.

Proverbs 18:2 A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions.

2 Peter 3

The Day of the Lord

1 Dear friends, this is now the second letter I’ve written you; in both, I awaken your pure understanding with a reminder, 2 so that you can remember the words previously spoken by the holy prophets, and the commandment of our Lord and Savior [given] through your apostles. 3 First, be aware of this: scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, following their own lusts, 4 saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.” 5 They willfully ignore this: long ago the heavens and the earth existed out of water and through water by the word of God. 6 Through these the world of that time perished when it was flooded by water. 7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth are held in store for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: with the Lord one day is like 1,000 years, and 1,000 years like one day. 9 The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

10 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that [day] the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. 11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, [it is clear] what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness 12 as you wait for and earnestly desire the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be on fire and be dissolved, and the elements will melt with the heat. 13 But based on His promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell.

Yahweh always keeps Her word. Those that doubt Her will perish. She has proclaimed it. It will be done.

Revelation 21:8 But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Those who are wise will heed the warning of Almighty God.

Jeremiah 13:15 [ The LORD’s Warning ] Listen and pay attention. Do not be proud, for the LORD has spoken.

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 and will be updated monthly.

The Journey Continues

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


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…

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…


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…



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…



Fear – The Kind to Avoid

Seraiah: Fear, being a weapon of Dawn’s and his demons, it is not the single thing that brings them through the mind’s door. It has to be coupled with the belief that demons can do harm to you. That’s what happens when people read about them. They become afraid of the dark, because they are afraid of the evil they believe lurks there. In reality, that evil is present even in the daylight. But the very belief that they feel they are vulnerable is what gives the demons the opening they need to harass someone. So that’s why I say that fear should be shut out. But, there is healthy fear also. It is fear generated from the natural instinct to survive. For example, you hear a window shattered in the middle of the night. That fear that you feel is for your safety. That’s the difference. It is a different kind of fear. The other fear is generated by the mind, and it is a fear of the UNKNOWN of the spiritual world. Do you understand me? That’s the fear that Dawn and his demons are permitted work off of. It’s not a healthy fear, it’s detrimental. Another thing about this type of fear, is that the demons can smell it – literally. It is their Q that a mind’s door is open. Under the Creator’s Rules, it gives them the right to enter your presence of mind. During that period, they can and will test you. It can be lengthy if a Cherub Watch is not taking place. So, shut out that type of fear. Don’t provide the very thing the demons can and will use against you

The fact that Dawn is powerful, but limited as to how he can use those powers, gives reason enough to keep the door closed to him. With the door closed, he is powerless; otherwise, he is very powerful. But, the Creator has built in safeguards. The Cherubs.

Alderra: Good point, I think some find it difficult to get rid of this fear, the fear of the unknown. Darkness is the absence of light, we need light to see in the dark or we grope about. Darkness has long been associated with fear throughout the millenniums of mankind’s history.

I agree that we should not give into fear of the spirit world – easier said than done though, but prayer can do wonders.

Who was it who said, “there is nothing to fear except fear itself”?

Elisha: It was FDR. Yeah, if people knew that the same stuff in the dark is also there in daylight, then dark doesn’t seem as big of a deal anymore. If it did we’d all have to be freaked out 24/7.

Regina: Light is also symbolic truth – so if you have truth, like we were discussing before in regards to the Spirit Realm and how it works and those truths that we’ve been blessed with knowledge and understanding on – then that alleviates a lot if not all fear also. As humans it’s natural to fear what is not understood so it really makes sense.

Joe: Genesis 9:2 “The fear and terror of you will be in every living creature on the earth, every bird of the sky, every creature that crawls on the ground, and all the fish of the sea. They are placed under your authority.”

Understand this children. Just as Mother put fear into the animal kingdom of mankind after the great flood, She also instituted fear of Satan and his demons by mankind. And whose authority is mankind under? And so, why did Mother put fear of mankind into the animal kingdom against mankind? Because the animals are in Mother’s family, and mankind in general is not. So, like Her, She alienated that part of Her family from mankind also. When was the last time you heard of a holy ghost or a holy angel communicating with the unworthy of mankind aside from this ministry and some other individuals that are under the Light the same as the children that are viewed as flawless? That is because they too are alienated from those unworthy of Mother’s Light. They remain in darkness with their true benefactor.

Cordelia: Joe, does that mean the fear we have of the kingdom of darkness exists because Mother instituted that fear and not because they should be feared?

If you don’t mind, I would like to share two of my spiritual experiences:

One night I was physically asleep when my mind was awaken by a spirit entering through the door and stood at the foot of my bed. His face was etched into the wall and I saw this grayish face with pointy chin. My body started convulsing and I couldn’t wake up or speak. So in my mind I called out to Jesus. This being spoke to me via telepathy, “Which Jesus are you calling?” As I was thinking about how to answer him, I heard another voice saying,”She is calling me!” The spirit vanished instantly. I slept like a log after that.

Every Christian I shared that story with concluded that it was just a dream. That’s why I stay away from horror movies and ghost stories because I don’t want to give my mind any stupid ideas to dream about.

This ministry is God-sent. Finally, I can be with Christians who talk about the paranormal. When I first learned about the Cherub Watch, I was very touched because I knew that’s what happened that night.

The other one took place early this year. Something entered through the window on the left of my bed, ENTERED my body and came out on the right side. Was some demon trying to possess me?

Maybe I didn’t confess my sins properly and gave the demons an opened door. But I’ve not had any such encounters since.

Thank you for listening.

Joe: To answer that child, I will give you an example. If we reason out why Mother put the animal kingdom in fear of us, we can easily see that mankind, though they act as a benefactor to the animal kingdom, what else do they perpetrate on those unsuspecting animals that have regained their trust in mankind, such as dogs, cats, monkeys, and other animals we gain the trust of? Mankind does experiments on them. They are permitted to eat them, but that is not a happy thought for the animals.

That being so, because in mankind’s beginning, it was prohibited to consume meat of any kind. There was no need for it. The animal kingdom was at peace with Adam and his offspring until after the flood. But the Nephilim did break the natural order of not consuming animal flesh, and spread that to some of mankind that followed suit. Eventually, even cannibalism was practiced. Things became very vile in the pre-flood era as mankind degraded into a mire of self indulgence and lewd practices. So, Mother had three reasons for not wanting mankind to recognize Satan as their benefactor. The first, was to make everyone fear him if possible, so that Her Word would be studied out of fear of instilled evil-fear (to fear evil) but you can overcome that instilled fear, and then a remnant would begin to build off each generation of mankind. Had Satan been allowed to make friends early on, he would have hindered that process.

The second reason, was so Satan could not bring mankind under his control. That would have meant a forced peace, and Satan as the king or ruling authority over mankind. That would not be acceptable until these end times when he assumes his prophetic role as the Antichrist. The third reason was, Satan can offer no real solution to mankind’s role in creation, because he cannot stand for eternity, and his guidance would be based on his way and not Mother’s. Satan sees all of the fallacies of mankind, but he has been restricted from doing anything more than offer inspiration to mankind to try and move them away from the coming wrath. At least that was true until he was cast out of Heaven and we entered the last days. He was then given more latitude to make direct contact and warn mankind of the truth of what is planned by Mother Yahweh to come their way. Total annihilation.

If you did a survey today, you would find that few if any governments actually believe in a Creator (except for those in shadow governments that have listened to enlightenment by Satan and heeded his warning). They (the common governmental ruler-ship out in public light, and not within the insiders shadowed secrecy) think evolution is how they came into existence. Satan is not fostering that belief, but mankind’s governments are, because they (in the know and secretly directing governmental policy) want to turn the people away from their religious beliefs, because they do not have any intentions of turning over their ruler-ships to Christ Jesus. Satan goes along with them on this, because he seeks to gain his kingly position over mankind, because he knows for a time they will lie in his powerful hands as he regains all of his stripped away powers. He has never been dismissed as the Covering Cherub over this planet.

That is why he could offer a shortcut to the kingdoms of the earth to Jesus back when he was testing him. Under Mother’s law, Satan could transfer his holdings to another. This is what is meant his having an abundance of trade. As Dawn Lucifer he also had a number of his own sanctuaries …


sanctuary >noun (pl. sanctuaries) 1 a place of refuge or safety. 2 a nature reserve. 3 a place where injured or unwanted animals are cared for. 4 a holy place. 5 the part of the chancel of a church containing the high altar.

-ORIGIN originally denoting a church or sacred place in which, by law, a fugitive was immune from arrest: from Latin sanctuarium, from sanctus ‘holy’.

In heaven, the sanctuaries consist of places, things, titles, and ownership to what is contained there in the natural order, which can consist also of gems, diamonds. gold, and virtually anything contained there in creation that’s considered tangible and long lasting. You can read about him at: Ezekiel 28. The ability to trade things or give them to others, is why he could offer Jesus the shortcut, though it would have been short lived, and why he can pass power ( his knowledge and wisdom) to mankind. Keep in mind that Satan is this:

“4 By your wisdom and understanding you have acquired wealth for yourself. You have acquired gold and silver for your treasuries.”

Satan owns all of the treasures of this planet, as well as what he has in heaven, but can no longer access those of his abundance of wealth in that region since his fall,..

“5 By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, but your heart has become proud because of your wealth.”

King Tyre was a copy of Satan in his own actions, and because Satan will become flesh and blood in these last days as will his demons, this is why all was written to reflect Satan in these end times that was spoken to that earthly king that also sought to be a god. When you read Ezekiel 28 now, you will read it with better understanding.

“6 Therefore this is what the Lord GOD says: Because you regard your heart as that of a god, 7 I am about to bring strangers against you, ruthless men from the nations. They will draw their swords against your magnificent wisdom and will defile your splendor.”

In relationship to Satan, his wisdom is splendid, but Mother incites mankind against mankind, so that even where Satan rules from, the ruthless, like Bin Laden’s followers will come against Satan’s plan for unification of mankind. And that is where he will send fire down from the lower heavens (sky) to try and kill all of the rebels. But he will not be successful, because Mother will be intervening as necessary to alter the outcome. Please keep in mind child that Mother and not Satan – directed that ancient Pharaoh when She delivered Her children out of Egypt. Had the Pharaoh listened to Satan’s wisdom through inspired thoughts instead of hardening his heart – but he was motivated by Mother and could not resist going after the Israelites – it would have turned out differently for those of his army that were drowned in the Red Sea.

But should Satan be feared? Not at all. Although you have constituted yourself as his enemy, he cannot harm you. Mother’s Cherubs have shielded you.

In the visitations you experienced. It can be two fold. It could be demons, because they get involved when people seek Christ. And it could also be converts, whom in my opinion are far worst than dealing with demons, because they are more devious. They know better than to be doing what they do, and so when they perpetuate evil upon people, they do it with the intent of causing you to lose your eternal hope. The demons usually try to enlist humans to their side on the hopes they can win this war, but many converts are sexual predators, devious, and act out their wildest fantasies on humankind, of which they are a member, spirit or not. And there are demons that sometimes pick out a human and persist at capturing that human with fear, but it is not the norm, and is why you do not see a lot of humans pestered by the supernatural. But when that does occur, the holy angels can intervene and handle the problem.

Now child, here is an old tablet writing that is a copy from heaven, and it is translated for all of you to read. It is about Satan, and that same Scripture you will all recognize that was also spoken to Satan first, before the Word was ever Authored in writing to mankind. This reveals the reflected things that mirror the Word’s writings, even though they be spoken to others. This is why the Word has many branches or leaves sprinkled off a single Scripture. Peace be with you child.

This is the cup given to Satan in respect to his fall from Mother’s family (Not his ousting from Heaven proper. That came later.) and his relationship to mankind until the end times.

Deuteronomy 2:25 “Today I will begin to put the fear and dread of you on the peoples everywhere under heaven. They will hear the report about you, tremble, and be in anguish because of you.'”

It reveals in part that Mother painted Satan as a serpent and a dragon. He does not really look like the things depicted, nor do his demons. It is a record of what he and they were portrayed as. And about the cup he and his family must drink.

The truth of how the hives cast is intended to strip away your fears of the things you might envision. They are not real. They are merely manifested from thought. Nothing is really ugly on the other side. Let any fears melt away children.

One last thing. Ponder the pic and note how Satan’s pose on the right of the cup reveals his hand piercing through it to turn his death shroud into a shield. That means he will try to ward off the cup he is supposed to drink. Remember, Christ spoke of his own cup, and Satan has his own also.

Joe: A vast number of Satan’s demons have launched an attack against the Azmon Barrier. Jake informed me the battle started about an hour ago and that they appear desperate to escape from the earth’s confinement. Perhaps they have surmised the end is closer than they had previously thought children.

Since Enmeduranki’s capture and return to the earth, he appears to now be leading this latest attack on the barrier. Possibly there’s a new split in Satan’s forces. That hardly surprises me since he can’t even get his human family to cooperate with one another.

On the outside of the barrier is Satan’s new family of allies. Alpha Command is intercepting them. It appears Enmeduranki’s clan can’t leave, and the others won’t be permitted to enter.

Deborah: I’m glad to hear he was found. I knew it was only a matter of time. Mother has the finest angels in all Creation serving loyally to Her throne.

Joe: He’s partly responsible for stirring up Satan’s new allies and causing them to turn traitor to Mother’s throne. That’s where he was captured. But yes, they re the finest and have proven their loyalty.

Deborah: I had a feeling there was a connection there.

Joe: If they broke through, Satan would try and use them to alter the fate of Egypt. Alpha is on to his game. It could also be that this is orchestrated, and those trying to break out are really trying to make an opening for them in the barrier.

Regina: Thank you for the update Joe – praying for our forces and that Mother’s will is done.

Elisha: Amen.

Joe: Both sides repelled by our glorious warriors

Elisha: Yay, I wasn’t worried. They’re so good at serving Mother.



Yahweh the Warrior in Egypt

Joe: That was shot today (2/11/11) children, and reveals that Yahweh is going to fulfill Her prophecy. I’m uploading the full scale original to imageshack and will place a link on here.

Regina: Am I seeing this correctly? It looks like our Mother is wearing a warrior’s helmet.

Joe: Exactly so. I found Seraiah also.



Joe: Yes, you are correct. A pyramid. Thank you child.

(Should read for, not dor)

Something is going on in Chicago

More sightings of UFO’s releasing balls of lights

Similar Sightings in California and Russia

NASA Watching UFO during 2010 Space Walk

Cigar-shaped UFO over No-Fly Zone near White House

Rising wholesale prices spur inflation concerns

World Bank: Food prices at “dangerous levels”

China raises bank reserves to cool inflation

G20 fail to agree targets for economic imbalances

N.Y. mayor intent on cutting 6,000 teaching positions

Texas High School Student Arrested for Robbing a Chase Bank

Drunken Ohio Man Charged With Allegedly Posing as Attorney in Jail

TSA Workers Allegedly Stole Thousands of Dollars From Luggage at NYC Airport

California Woman Held for Duct-Taping Toddler

‘Green River Killer’ to Plead Guilty to 49th Killing in Washington


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 and view the many posts from those in need to see if you’re able to help with advice, prayers or goods & services.




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Geologist predicts next big quake spot in U.S. Midwest – Likely will NOT be in New Madrid. This year marks the bicentennial of the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812, which are the biggest earthquakes known to have occurred in the central U.S. A noted geologist says his research of earthquakes in China may hold clues as to where the next big earthquake will hit in the Midwest. This year marks the bicentennial of the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812, which are the biggest earthquakes known to have occurred in the central U.S.

But if the professor of geological sciencesi is correct, the next big quake will occur someplace other than the New Madrid fault system. He examined records from China, where earthquakes have been recorded and described for the past 2,000 years. Surprisingly,he discovered that during that time period, big earthquakes have never occurred twice in the same place. “In north China, whire large earthquakes occur relatively frequently, not a single one repeated on the same fault segment in the past 2,000 years,.So we need to look at the big picture of interacting faults, rather than focusing on the faults where large earthquakes have occurred in the recent past.”

The New Madrid quake may have loaded increasing stresses on the Wabash Valley Seismic fault system. It extends through the lower Wabash Valley, near the borders of Southern Illinois and Southwestern Indiana. “The two areas seem likely to be mechanically coupled in that stress transfer following large earthquakes in one could affect earthquake occurrence in the other. Numerical modeling indicates that stress transfer following the 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes may be loading faults in the Wabash Zone.” The last major quake to occur along the Wabash Seismic Zone was on April 18, 2008, when a magnitude 5.2 quake centered near Belmont, Ill., was felt across a wide area of the Tri-State. Researchers are now using GPS to test their theory. “GPS measurements in the past two decades have found no significant strain in the New Madrid area.”

Sixth Earthquake in Four Days Rattles Chile – A magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck offshore Chile on Monday — the sixth tremor to strike the region in the past four days. The earthquake was located 45 miles (70 km) northwest of Cauquenes, Maule and 180 miles (290 km) southwest of Santiago. It hit at a depth of 15.8 miles (25.4km) at 12:40am local time. No tsunami warning was issued. Two quakes Sunday, measuring 6.0 and 5.8, had already hit the region, following close on the heels of two tremors Friday, measuring 6.3 and 6.8. All the tremors have occurred in the same area heavily damaged by an 8.8 magnitude quake nearly a year ago. That disaster resulted in more than 500 deaths and $30 billion in damage, and led to an inquiry over the lack of a timely tsunami warning.

ARKANSAS – Cities feel unexplained surge in earthquakes. A small-town Arkansas fire chief says he was briefly puzzled by a thumping sound in his office this week. But then he realized it was just another earthquake. Several small earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 1.8 to 3.5 have rattled his north-central Arkansas city of Greenbrier and nearby Guy this week. The U.S. Geological Service has reported 29 in the area since Sunday, and 700 quakes have hit the region in the past six months. The cause remains somewhat of a mystery. However, some experts say it’s likely either a naturally occurring swarm or related to ongoing natural gas exploration in the area. That possibility has many residents blaming the gas companies. There’s no proof, though, that they have anything to do with it.

New York City is due for a major earthquake any day now. “It’s been a rough month as far as these types of stories go. First there was that Betelgeuse supernova deal, then a killer asteroid hitting us in 2036 and the discovery of a hidden planet in our solar sytem which could be the infamous ‘Planet X’.” The seismographic network for the Northeast at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory says a New York quake “can happen anytime soon. We can expect it any minute, we just don’t know when and where.” New York has never experienced a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake, which are the most dangerous. But magnitude 5 quakes could topple brick buildings and chimneys. Oh well, on the bright side, the asteroid could always hit us before the earthquake does.


OHIO – 2/10/11 – Frostquake? When the ground shook in parts of Western Ohio early Thursday, the Darke County EMA Web site received numerous reports of a possible earthquake. But there were no trace of an earthquake at the Ohio Seismic Center. But it was very cold — 10 below zero in places — and, coming on the tenth of February, the sun angle is high enough to begin thawing out the landscape, especially around buildings where ice and snow are melting faster from rooftops and from piles of old snow. As that water seeps into the soil and rock and then freezes rapidly in extreme cold, stress builds under surface and can cause expansion and a crack in the subsoil, resulting in a loud pop or bang. Expansion of building materials during the predawn hours when the air is coldest, along with moisture seepage, can also create funny noises in your house exterior late at night when you are sleeping or beginning to wake up. Frost quakes are RARE in Ohio but not uncommon in the northern states, where prolonged cold, snowy winters and sub-zero mid-February temperatures are more likely to occur. [Never heard of this happening in the ground in Minnesota. The buildings ‘pop’, but I don’t know how snow melting on the surface of the ground would ever make it down into the still FROZEN subsoil. Anybody in northern states ever experienced this?]

OHIO – We heard a lot this week about a frost quake that rattled parts of the northern Miami Valley. The Darke County Sheriff’s Department took a photo of a home damaged during the quake. The homeowner reported that immediately following the shaking, her window, which had just been replaced in July, developed several cracks, which you can see in the picture at the link.

INDIANA – 2/10/11 – Early morning ‘boom’ may have been frost quake. Many Hoosiers reported hearing a loud boom early Thursday morning. It was so loud in some areas, it woke many people up and even rattled some houses. Experts say the noise was probably something called “frost quakes.” It happens when there is a sudden cracking in soil or rock which is caused by the freezing and expanding of water in the ground. Thursday was one of the coldest mornings of the year. In some areas, temperatures plunged below zero degrees and the wind chills were even colder. Unlike an earthquake where you feel it across hundreds or thousands of miles, frost quakes are really localized because it doesn’t freeze very deep.


ICELAND – False Alarm. Iceland Met Says No Imminent Threat of Eruption. A story has been making the rounds in the British press and elsewhere that an eruption is imminent in Bárdarbunga in Vatnajökull. The news seems to be based on a misunderstanding of a TV interview with a specialist at the Icelandic Met Office earlier this week. “Presently, there are no signs of an imminent volcanic eruption in Iceland. The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) did not issue a warning last weekend in connection with increased seismicity beneath the Vatnajökull ice-cap. If signs of an eruption were apparent, IMO would issue a warning immediately.

The whole story seems to be based on a series of misunderstandings, perhaps stemming from fears from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in the spring of 2010. It seems that media frenzy has started because of this innocent comment on Bárdarbunga. “Maybe a typical frenzy, where one news bureau echoes another, magnifying the story at each instant. The story has gone far away from what I said in the interview on Sunday night.” Eruptions are common in Iceland and that most of them are very small and localized.

NORTH KOREA preparing for eruption of Mt. Baekdu. Two geography professors involved in a Mt. Baekdu expedition team have recently been to Pyongyang to attend a seminar on Mt. Baekdu volcanic activity. They said there were two evacuation drills in Samjiyon, Taehongdan and Pochon, Ryanggang Province since last fall. Fears of an eruption were also behind the sudden suspension of the Mt. Baekdu tourism railroad project, slated for completion by 2012, and that of a mammoth tourism and athletics facility for winter sports nearby, to be completed the same year.

“Concerned about a possible eruption of Mt. Baekdu, the North Korean regime is pushing ahead with negotiations with China on the development of underground resources and urban buildings in Ryanggang and North Hamgyong Provinces. The North apparently plans to secure Chinese help in reconstruction in case Mt. Baekdu erupts.” The mountain is sacred in North Korea, which claims its founder Kim Il-sung and his family were born there. “The regime has publicized Mt. Baekdu as the symbol of the Kim Il-sung dynasty, so they are keeping quiet about a possible eruption. That could mean the damage will be much greater if the volcano does erupt.”

HAWAII – New volcano images by USGS, earthquakes “a concern”. A new spattering vent has formed on the south side of the Thanksgiving Eve Breakout shield, and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory caught a glimpse of the activity just before daybreak on February 4. The active Pu’u O’o crater floor is slowly filling the east side of the vent with lava. Meanwhile, at Kilauea’s summit, the circulating lava lake in the collapse pit deep within the floor of Halema`uma`u Crater has been visible via Webcam throughout the past week. Volcanic gas emissions remain elevated, resulting in high concentrations of sulfur dioxide downwind.

Last Wednesday, “nineteen earthquakes were strong enough to be located within Kilauea volcano, sixteen within the upper east rift zone (starting beneath Puhimau Crater and migrating both uprift to Keanakako`i Crater and downrift to Hi`iaka Crater) and three scattered beneath a broad area extending both north and south of the upper east rift zone nearer Makaopuhi and Napau Craters; the ongoing seismicity within the upper east rift zone continues to be a concern.” (Visit the HVO Web site ( for detailed Kilauea and Mauna Loa activity updates, recent volcano photos, recent earthquakes, and more.)

One eruption leads to another – Monitoring one volcanic eruption can provide clues to where the next will strike, scientists have suggested. They learned this by monitoring a sequence of 13 volcanic events in Ethiopia’s Afar depression, an area of great geological activity where the African and Arabian tectonic plates are pulling apart to form what will eventually become a new sea. They then built a computer model that showed where magma is likely to be intruding into cracks in the Earth’s crust and deforming it. This in turn let them work out how one volcanic event makes it more likely another will follow in a particular place, by increasing the stress in the crust.

The breakthrough could let scientists predict where there’s the greatest risk of a volcanic eruption, letting governments and emergency services focus their planning on the most vulnerable areas. It won’t provide information on when eruptions will happen – but it will help narrow down the location. ‘It’s VERY RARE to have so much activity in such a small area and over such a short period, and this is what let us understand how one event influences the next. We could see that the volcanic activity always happened where the last event had jacked open the crust. It’s a domino effect.’ While the method might not produce the concrete warnings that civil emergency planners might ideally like, it will let them identify areas that are at risk and prepare accordingly.

‘The technique of monitoring changes in geological stress is now routinely used to understand how an earthquake has affected the risk of future earthquakes in its neighbourhood. We should start to use similar techniques for volcanic eruptions. It’s only part of the picture, but for example it could let us say that certain volcanoes need to be monitored more closely.’ The technique might have to be adapted to work in other areas, such as those in which eruptions are being produced by tectonic plates being crushed together rather than pulled apart, but it should work in most situations.

‘If you look at this year’s eruptions at Ejafjallajokull in Iceland, by estimating the tension in the crust at other volcanoes nearby, you could estimate whether the likelihood of them erupting has increased or decreased.”

Other scientists had previously suggested one eruption could influence another by stressing the crust in particular areas, but this study is the first time that it has been possible to test the idea by examining so many events.

Volcanic Eruption Linked to Green Tides – A huge plankton bloom in the North Pacific is traced to a volcanic eruption and offers a test in iron fertilization. A large and VERY UNUSUAL plankton bloom in the North Pacific has been tracked, whodunnit style, to the eruption of a remote volcano in the Aleutian Islands. The volcano-plankton connection is the iron-rich volcanic ash that was launched out of the Kasatochi volcano and then rained down into the ocean. “People have hypothesized about it in the past. This the first time we have observed it.”

Researchers had found signs of the UNPRECEDENTED bloom, but it wasn’t until they all started talking to one another at a meeting that they discovered they had encountered something in common affecting one to two million square kilometers of ocean. The Kasatochi volcano stood out because it was timed right and had a wide plume of ash which covered the vast area of the plankton bloom. “I hadn’t put any credence in it until we eliminated the other possibilities.”

The same sort of plume was not seen in the North Atlantic from the recent Icelandic volcanics because those waters are not iron deficient. In the north Pacific, just about everything is present for plankton to thrive except iron. So all it takes is a jolt of iron to start a plankton explosion. The discovery also provides scientists with data on the largest case of ocean iron fertilization ever measured. According to the field measurements, the bloom sucked up 0.01 petagrams of carbon (10 million metric tons). That’s just half of one percent of how much carbon the oceans take up all year and an even smaller fraction of the 6.5 petagrams or so of carbon humans release into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.

JAPAN – Japanese volcano may erupt for months. As lava fills the Shinmoedake volcano’s crater, scientists predict that eruptions could go on for months. Ash has already disrupted flights and crops. Shinmoedake, on Japan’s Kyushu Island, has been erupting off and on since Jan. 26, and its lava dome has grown dramatically. A photo from Feb. 4 shows the lava nearly filling the volcano’s crater, which is about 2,300 feet wide. Scientists are predicting that eruptions could grow stronger and go on for months. The peak’s last major eruption continued for a year and a half in 1716 and 1717. Ash from the volcano, although minor compared with what spewed from a peak in Iceland last year, has disrupted flights and buried fields of winter vegetables. There have been no deaths or serious injuries so far.

HAWAII – Lava lake at Halemaumau crater rising gradually, could spill out to crater floor. The lava lake at Kilauea’s Halemaumau crater has been rising gradually in the last few months. Volcanologists don’t know what the significance of the rise is. It’s possible that the lava could spill out of the pit and on to the crater floor, though this might take months to happen. Seismologists are also watching an increased number of earthquakes in the upper east rift zone. The increase in seismicity somewhat resembled the prelude to a brief June 2007 eruption in a remote section of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. But there have also been several similar seismic episodes when nothing happened. Kilauea is the world’s longest continually erupting volcano. The east rift zone began erupting in 1983.

RUSSIA – With a summit that reaches 3,283 meters (10,771 feet), Shiveluch is one of the largest and most active volcanoes in Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. At least 60 large eruptions of Shiveluch have occurred during the past 10,000 years, making it the most vigorous volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka volcanic arc.

On January 25, 2011, NASA’s Terra satellite detected a hot avalanche of volcanic debris — a pyroclastic flow — sliding down the south side of the volcano. This image shows the flow’s heat signature as measured in thermal infrared light. The white area at the lava dome is very hot, while the red areas on the edge of the flow are just warmer than the surrounding snow. The hot trail of material descending to the south forms a large distributed deposit, indicating a recent collapse of the lava dome and formation of a large debris avalanche. Shiveluch’s current eruptive period began in 1999.

WASHINGTON – 4.3-magnitude earthquake near Mount St. Helens on Valentine’s Day is BIGGEST IN 30 YEARS. The 4.3-magnitude earthquake occurred 6 miles north of Mount St. Helens on Monday morning — exactly 30 years to the day after an even bigger earthquake occurred at nearly the exact same spot. Monday’s quake was followed by more than a half-dozen much smaller aftershocks, all in the same general area. Scientists said the seismic activity does not indicate magma rising at Mount St. Helens. They’ve detected none of the shallow quakes or gas typically associated with an imminent volcanic eruption. But they said Monday’s quake — just like the one 30 years ago — is at least indirectly related to the volcano.

Felt as far away as south Puget Sound and Astoria, Ore., Monday’s first temblor was the BIGGEST IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST IN TWO YEARS. Scientists suspect the quake, at 10:35 a.m., may have occurred in a bit of post-eruption settling in the landscape surrounding Mount St. Helens, which last erupted between 2004 and 2008. The quake generated a specific kind of shear wave felt over a wide area. In a curious twist of timing and fate, this type of surface wave is named for the scientist who discovered it: early 20th-century British geophysicist Augustus Love. “It was very rich in Love waves. Those Love waves coming out were probably what people were feeling.” If so, it’s not the first Valentine’s Day that the volcano has been massaged by waves of Love. Post-eruptive settling likely triggered a 5.5-magnitude quake in the vicinity of Johnston Ridge on Feb. 14, 1981. The massive and sudden expulsion of magma during the catastrophic eruption of May 18, 1980, probably increased stress in a well-documented seismic zone that runs north-to-south underneath Mount St. Helens. In effect, the earth shifted nine months after the eruption. “That was a fairly significant adjustment. You had a cubic kilometer of material removed from depth.”

The earthquake and aftershocks on Monday were not as large as the ones in 1981. However, the location and depth — roughly 3 miles below the Johnston Ridge Observatory — bears striking similarities to the 1981 temblor. The volcano spurted a new lava dome between 2004 and 2008, which may have created new strain in the seismic zone below Johnston Ridge. Seismometers detected a swarm of smaller earthquakes in the general area about three weeks ago. “We’re about three years removed from the end of the last eruption, in January of 2008. Perhaps these earthquakes are in response to the end of that eruption.”

JAPAN – More than 2,500 people living near a volcano that has been spewing ash in southern Japan were advised to evacuate their homes Thursday after heavy rain threatened mudslides of accumulated ash.

Shinmoedake began erupting in late January, in its biggest activity in some 300 years. The volcanic activity has disrupted airline flights and blanketed nearby vegetable farms with ash, but there have been no reports of serious injury or deaths. Rainfall of more than 4 mm (0.16 inch) per hour is expected to last until Thursday night, an amount that the local government said could cause mudslides. In the city of Miyakonojo, 63 people had moved to evacuation centers by midday. The town of Takaharu, located at the foot of the mountain on the southern island of Kyushu, also advised about 250 residents and a business to prepare for evacuation in case it was necessary.

HAWAII – At 8:42 a.m. on Monday morning, a section of rock from the north wall of Kilauea Volcano’s summit vent broke away, and collapsed into the lava lake below. Moments later, gas and ash were explosively ejected from Halema‘uma‘u, as this dusty-brown plume shot skyward from the crater. About three hours later, another, larger crescent-shaped piece of the vent rim plummeted into the lava. The rock was estimated to be about 395 ft long and up to 16 ft wide. Shortly thereafter, the lava lake level began to drop. It continued to fall throughout the day, but rose again overnight.

The event had been forecast by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists, mainly because that part of the vent rim was overhung by about 180 ft. Rocks falling from this overhang have been a common occurrence, but spattering episodes and the intense heat of the rising lava lake has increased the number of collapses over the past few weeks. On Monday, blocks of rock hitting the surface of the lava lake created sharp popping sounds that could be heard by visitors at the Jaggar Museum Overlook in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The churning lava lake within the summit vent also produced a sound likened to crashing waves. Geologists were able to make this recording of these sounds, which were posted to the HVO website.

The continued extension across the summit area, as well as numerous earthquakes, suggests that the volume of magma at the summit has increased. A recent overflight above Halemaumau showed a rising lava surface, at this point as little as 98 yards below the floor of the crater. Meanwhile, further down along the east rift zone, the volcanic display at Pu’u O’o is no less impressive. The USGS filmed footage between February 6-8. Scientists say lava has been erupting sporadically from three vents within Pu`u `Ō `ō crater-a cone on the west side of the crater floor. Unlike the Upper East Rift Zone a few days ago, seismic tremor levels uprift of Pu`u `O`o remained low and steady.


Ancient Britain was a peninsula until a tsunami flooded its land-links to Europe some 8,000 years ago. The coastline and landscape of what would become modern Britain began to emerge at the end of the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago. What had been a cold, dry tundra on the north-western edge of Europe grew warmer and wetter as the ice caps melted. The Irish Sea, North Sea and the Channel were all dry land, albeit land slowly being submerged as sea levels rose. But it wasn’t until 6,100BC that Britain broke free of mainland Europe for good, during the Mesolithic period – the Middle Stone Age.

It is thought a landslide in Norway triggered one of the biggest tsunamis ever recorded on Earth, when a landlocked sea in the Norwegian trench burst its banks. The water struck the north-east of Britain with such force it travelled 40km inland, turning low-lying plains into what is now the North Sea, and marshlands to the south into the Channel. Britain became an island nation. “There are drowned forests off Dorset, Wales and the Isle of Wight. That’s because back then, the Irish Sea, North Sea and the Channel were all dry land. When the great melt came, and the seas gradually rose by 300 feet, we were cut off from mainland Europe for good.”

“The waves would have been maybe as much as 10m high. Anyone standing out on the mud flats at that time would have been dismembered. The speed [of the water] was just so great.” Relics of these pre-island times are being recovered from under the sea off the Isle of Wight. Grooved timbers preserved by the saltwater are thought to be the remains of 8,000-year-old log boats, and point to the site once being a sizable boat-building yard.


Australian crocodiles “traumatized” by cyclone.

Australians hit by Cyclone Yasi warned to stay away from deadly giant birds – Australians trying to rebuild in the wake of Cyclone Yasi have been warned to stay away from cassowaries – huge flightless birds with claws that can disembowel a human – on the hunt for food after their habitat was destroyed by the storm. Residents of communities around Mission Beach, on the north Queensland coast, which was almost flattened by the category five cyclone earlier this month, have been advised to beware of the 6ft tall birds, which are known to attack if they feel threatened.

Famed for their long talons – their dagger-like middle claws measure 12cm long – and powerful legs, the birds, which are unique to the rainforests of northern Australia, are said to be able to disembowel humans, dogs and horses with just one kick. Weighing more than 10st, cassowaries resemble an emu, and in 2007 were named the most dangerous birds in the world by the Guinness Book of Records. However, thanks to land clearing and development along the coast, the fearsome birds are seriously endangered, with just 1,000 left in the wild.

Queensland authorities and green groups have warned that over the coming weeks the birds will be forced out of the rainforest after violent winds from Cyclone Yasi stripped trees of their main food source, fruit. The government, which is arranging emergency aerial food drops for the birds in an attempt to keep them away from residential areas, has warned locals to be on the lookout for hungry cassowaries. “Cassowaries that come to expect food from humans can become aggressive and dangerous.”

The warning comes after several cassowaries were spotted close to towns following Cyclone Larry, which hit the same stretch of coast in 2006. After the storm, one third of the population of cassowaries died, and conservationists fear that without intervention the same could happen. It could take 18 months for the rainforest to grow back and that in that time scores of cassowaries could starve to death. “As well as losing their food they are losing their homes so they will be very disoriented. Like any other animal, if you interfere with them there could be a risk, but the main threat is to the birds themselves.” While the birds, which resemble emus, are known to be highly aggressive if approached, there is only one documented human death caused by a cassowary.

Cyclone set to hit Madagascar – The full force of Bingiza is expected to strike near the town of Mananara Avaratra in the northeast. Madagascar is being lashed by heavy rains, and things are promising to get worse over the next few days. Tropical Cyclone Bingiza is creeping ever closer. For the last few days it has been swirling a few hundred kilometers off-shore, with just the outer fringes of the storm thrown westwards towards the island. These outer bands have already brought a lot of rain, but the centre of the storm where the worst of the weather is, has not reached Madagascar yet. Currently the eye of the storm has sustained winds of nearly 160kph, and gust of 195kph. This makes it the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane, but the storm is still expected to strengthen as it creeps slowly westwards.

The full force of Bingiza is expected to strike today, near the town of Mananara Avaratra in the northeast. The town is home to over 30,000 people, with the majority relying on agriculture for their livelihood. A storm of this size will unleash damaging winds and flooding rains capable of tearing through the more rudimentary style of housing, as well as fields of crops. As the cyclone moves over land, it will weaken rapidly. The winds will ease, but it will continue to give heavy rains for several days. The worst of the rains are forecast to stay to the north of the capital Antananarivo, but the eastern region of Analanjirofo will see 300mm rain, which is bound to cause flooding.

Madagascar is not a stranger to cyclones and on average is battered by three named storms per year, one of which being the strength of a hurricane. The storm season normally runs from November to April, but the past few years have been fairly quiet. This is the first named storm to cross the island this year and last year there was only one major storm. Last year’s storm was called Tropical Cyclone Hubert and it was far weaker than Bingiza. In fact Hubert would only be classed as a Tropical Storm in other parts of the world, as the strongest sustained winds were only 70kph. However, the storm still devastated the southeast of the island: 35 people lost their lives in this storm and a further 85,000 were made homeless. With Bingiza being so much stronger than Hubert, there are obviously concerns as the storm bears down. Being one of the poorest countries in the world, Madagascar finds it difficult to recover from such disasters.

A developing tropical cyclone could threaten New Zealand next week, a weather prediction website has warned. Computer models showed a tropical depression with potential to become a severe tropical cyclone forming north of New Zealand. New Zealand, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji would be at risk from the system if it follows current modelling. “As with all tropical lows, it doesn’t take much of a shift to spare New Zealand. We’ll certainly be hoping for that, but considering we’ve had four named storms reach our country in just the past few weeks it wouldn’t be out of the question for this to do the same.” The computer models show a large scale cyclone of potentially category 4 strength forming to the north of New Zealand and tracking south east.

Though it was possible the storm would miss New Zealand, the same models predicted the path and strength of Cylcone Yasi 10 days before it hit north Queensland on February 3. But while a depression is forming, it is too early to tell whether it would threaten New Zealand. A cyclone system simply “does not exist” at this stage. It’s so far away it could easily change and in fact it normally does.” New Zealand has been hit by tropical storms including cyclones Zelia, Vania and Wilma this summer. NIWA is predicting another five or six tropical cyclones yet to form during cyclone season, which Metservice is predicting to end by May. The cyclone season is likely to run longer this year because of strong La Nina conditions raising water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.

Tropical Cyclone Bingiza made landfall on Madagascar on Feb. 14. As of about noon Madagascar time on Feb. 14, Bingiza had maximum sustained winds of 98 mph (155 kilometers per hour) and gusts up to 120 mph (195 kph).

Although Bingiza would weaken somewhat over land, the storm was expected to re-strengthen after passing over northern Madagascar, thanks to high sea surface temperatures. (satellite photo)

AUSTRALIA – A cyclone watch has been declared for a developing tropical low for areas in the Top End. The watch covers coastal areas from the Daly River mouth to Goulburn Island, including Darwin, Croker Island and the Tiwi Islands.

A tropical low overland is expected to move north or north-west into the Beagle Gulf and may develop into a tropical cyclone on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Strong wind gusts are expected in the next 24 to 48 hours and are already being recorded in some areas. About 237 millimetres of rain fell at Dum-in-Mirrie, near Darwin, in the 24 hours to 9am while 170 millimetres fell in the Darwin suburb of Marrara as the tropical low moved over the Top End. Roads were cut and several sets of traffic lights at major intersections were out this morning. Communities in outlying rural areas have been isolated by flood waters.

Yasi victims face month without power – Australian authorities are hoping to restore power to the north Queensland coastal town of Mission Beach, otherwise known as Cyclone Yasi’s ground zero, by the end of the month.

AUSTRALIA – Cyclone Carlos on top of Darwin. Dozens of homes have been damaged as category 1 cyclone Carlos bears down on the Top End. While conditions look like they are easing right now, they’re in the middle of the low, and it is likely that rain and wind will pick up dramatically this afternoon and evening. “These events are very unpredictable. This is going to evolve over the next couple of days.” Four people have been rescued from flood waters, while Top End schools have been closed in preparation for the low-level cyclone on the Northern Territory coast. Grocery store shelves were all but empty of bottled water and tinned food by 6pm (CST) yesterday. Many properties sustained damage from fallen trees and water inundation last night. Residents in the low-lying Darwin suburb of Rapid Creek were evacuated.

Police endured a frustrating night on Northern Territory roads, as RECORD RAINFALL and winds of up to 100 km/h took down tree branches and powerlines. Some Darwin suburbs continue to be without power, as police warn residents to beware fallen power lines that may still be active. “Authorities are currently working to clear roadways of debris, and a number of vehicles that are currently stranded on Bagot Rd.” A record 425mm of rain fell at Marrara, near the airport, overnight.

A cyclone watch is in place for coastal communities between Onslow and Coral Bay in Western Australia’s northwest as a tropical low develops off the coast. .

The damage bill from Tropical Cyclone Yasi is now expected to reach $800 million.

MADAGASCAR – A tropical cyclone that hit Madagascar on Monday has brought damage and flooding to towns and villages in the northeast of the country and killed at least six people. Relief workers are still assessing the damage but reports indicate that flooding to houses, roads and crops in the pre-harvest, so-called lean season, could lead to food shortages in the area.

Tropical Cyclone Bingiza struck the village of Vinanivao on the northeast coast of Madagascar around dawn on Monday morning. Authorities say there were winds of up to 180 kilometers per hour, and more than 600 homes were destroyed, leaving thousands without proper shelter. Damage to the bridge and road has left the small fishing village cut off from food markets The cyclone also damaged more than 200 other buildings and ruined about 500 hectares of rice just months away from harvest. Helicopter assessments of the worst hit areas surrounding Vinanivao show widespread damage, with houses crushed and missing roofs and crops battered by winds or floods.A lthough the category-two cyclone has not done as much structural damage as expected, flooding to rice paddies could mean food shortages this year. “If a cyclone hits at the beginning of the season, it is still possible with short cycle varieties to replant, but after the beginning of February it’s becoming almost impossible, because it’s not going to grow. It’s going to get cold before the plants produce grain, so there will be no harvest.” The damage to short cycle crops and trees during the lean season, when supplies of food and money are at their lowest until the main harvest in April, could make the food shortages immediate. Things people live off during the lean season, like manioc, bananas, and fruits, have been knocked to the ground by the cyclone and they can’t get them back immediately because it takes a year for a banana tree to regrow and manioc rots week by week so people aren’t going to have much to eat. The only thing left for farmers whose rice harvest is destroyed is to use seeds from relief groups to plant corn, but those living off cash crops such as cloves, vanilla and coffee destroyed by strong coastal winds would be seriously affected.

Two cyclones in Australia’s north have caused storms and flooding, affecting mining and energy projects for companies. Tropical Cyclone Dianne was 385 kilometers (240 miles) northwest of the Western Australian town of Exmouth and near stationary at about 11 p.m. local time. The storm is forecast to intensify from Category 2 to Category 3 by 11 p.m. today as it moves southwest. Flood warnings are in place for some Pilbara and Mid West regions. A La Nina event has brought wet weather to Australia’s east and north and typically increases the number of cyclones during the November to April period.

In the Northern Territory, Ex-Tropical Cyclone Carlos has been downgraded to a tropical low after hitting Darwin with gale-force winds and RECORD RAINFALL. At 11 a.m. local time, Carlos was over land 115 kilometers southeast of Darwin, moving at 8 kilometers an hour. It’s forecast to re-intensify into a Category 1 cyclone by Feb. 19 as it heads toward the Western Australian town of Kununurra. Darwin has recorded more than 400 millimeters (16 inches) of rain since Carlos formed, triggering flash floods, blackouts and closing the city’s airport and schools.

Queensland state, on Australia’s east coast, was hit earlier this month by Tropical Cyclone Yasi, packing winds stronger than Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans. Yasi followed deadly flooding in January and record December rain.

Heavy rains in Tropical Storm Bingiza, possibly headed for second landfall – Moderate to heavy rainfall, falling at a rate of over 2 inches/50 mm per hour was located in a small area near Bingiza’s center of circulation.. NASA satellite data indicates that Bingiza is still maintaining tropical storm intensity and carrying heavy rainfall over the Mozambique Channel as it prepares for its second landfall in Madagascar.

Deadly Tropical Cyclone Bingiza, which crossed over northern Madagascar three days ago, has continued to affect Madagascar while moving along Madagascar’s west coast. Bingiza had weakened from a powerful category 3 tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 100 kts (~115 mph/185 kmh) to tropical storm force winds of about 35 kts (~40 mph/65 kmh) when the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite passed almost directly overhead on February 16. On February 17 Bingiza’s maximum sustained winds were near 40 knots (46 mph/74 kmh) with higher gusts. It was about 220 nautical miles west-southwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar. . Bingiza was moving south at 7 knots (8 mph/13 kmh).

Multispectral satellite imagery showed that Bingiza still has strong bands of thunderstorms wrapping around it from the northwest into the southeast quadrant. The low-level center of circulation is partially exposed to outside winds, however. Exposure to outside winds leaves the storm vulnerable for weakening. A low to mid-level ridge (elongated area of high pressure) located to the northeast of Bingiza is what’s guiding it southward, and then it is forecast to track along the ridge and move southeastward in the next day taking it near or over land. Some models show that the storm may meander and remain over water while others take it inland. Whether it stays near the coast or moves inland, Bingiza is still forecast to weaken and is expected to dissipate by the weekend.

A cyclone warning has been cancelled for Western Australia’s northwest coast after the category 2 system Dianne began moving out to sea, but communities remain on alert for flooding.

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Carlos is continuing to drench regional towns south-west of Darwin, causing extensive flooding in low-lying areas across the region. After causing extensive damage to roads and homes across the Top End, Darwin residents breathed a sigh of relief yesterday morning when the category 1 storm weakened to a tropical low and moved south west.

But as the Territory’s capital began the recovery and clean-up, rivers and dams outside Darwin reached capacity and began to overflow. Yesterday afternoon, the Adelaide River, about 120km south of Darwin, had risen almost four metres in just a few hours to 11.2 metres. Adelaide River reached a peak of 12.2 metres at 10pm (CST) last night, but had since receded significantly. By this morning Daly River had reached 13.5 metres and had started to encroach on low-lying homes. The Aboriginal community of Daly River, with a population of about 500, often becomes isolated in the wet season when roads are cut off by rising water. No decision had been made yet to evacuate people from Daly River, but careful monitoring and assessment of the situation was ongoing.

A cyclone watch is still current for coastal areas from the Daly River Mouth in the NT to Kalumburu in Western Australia, including Port Keats, Kalumburu and Wyndham. At 3.30am (CST) ex-Tropical Cyclone Carlos was over land and estimated to be 155 kilometres south of Darwin, moving south southwest at 5km/h. The low was expected to continue moving southwest and into the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf on Saturday. In the 24 hours prior to 9am (CST) today the Daly River Police Station received 442mm of rain. Darwin Airport recorded 40mm for the same period.


AUSTRALIA – The equivalent of a year’s supply of drinking water will be released from southeast Queensland’s Wivenhoe Dam with further heavy rain forecast for the flooded region. The dam’s role in last month’s flooding of Brisbane remains controversial, with some critics claiming that earlier releases of water would have stopped the inundation of up to 20,000 properties. From next weekend, 25 per cent of the dam’s water will be released slowly over nine days, adjusted with rainfall and the tides. Authorities stressed no homes or farms would be flooded. The 290,000 megalitre release was needed to make space in the dam to mitigate any further flooding, with HEAVY RAIN FORECAST UNTIL APRIL. The second strongest La Nina weather pattern in history prevailing over Queensland made the “very conservative and precautionary” approach necessary. It is too difficult to say whether a 25 per cent release would stop another flood on the scale of those seen in January – but guesses are that it is “extremely unlikely”. “It would have had to have been a major reduction in the storage to have any impact on a major flood event.”

Some 2.6 million megalitres of water flowed into the Sommerset-Wivenhoe system in January’s floods, more than double that of 1974. Although the release is equivalent to a year’s normal drinking water supply, above average rainfall would mean it would be recovered more easily. In addition, the Wyaralong Dam was now full, storing 103,000 megalitres of drinking water five years earlier than expected. The dam release will have no effect on water bills or restrictions, but will close three bridges downstream of Wivenhoe for at least nine days. Emptying the dam to 75 per cent capacity will be a temporary measure, with its future operation to be informed by the floods inquiry.

Rivers in the sky – Atmospheric bands of water vapor can cause flooding and extreme weather. An atmospheric river that hit California in late December ) ferried moisture from southwest of Hawaii. Like freight trains loaded with water vapor, atmospheric rivers are long, narrow bands whose winds funnel huge amounts of moisture through the sky. When they hit coasts, these rivers can drop their moisture as rain and cause destructive flooding, as in January 2005 when more than 20 inches of rain soaked southern California, killing 14 people and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

December’s atmospheric river dumped more than 10 feet of snow in parts of the Sierra Nevada, putting the mountains on track for their wettest recorded season. That sort of impact underscores why researchers have recently become fascinated with atmospheric rivers. Completely unknown just over a decade ago, these rivers turn out to be not only a key factor in Western flooding and water supply, but also a major player in the planet’s water cycle. “Water is life, and atmospheric rivers provide water.” New research is revealing how these rivers work, as well as helping forecasters better predict their consequences.

An atmospheric river that hit California’s coastal mountains in 2009 delivered 16 inches of rain, increasing the year’s accumulation by almost 50 percent in one day. At any given time, somewhere between three and five atmospheric rivers are typically ferrying water in each hemisphere. More than 1,000 kilometers long, they are often no wider than 400 kilometers and carry the equivalent, in water vapor, of the flow at the Mississippi River’s mouth. “That has really captured the imagination of scientists. There are only a handful of these events, and yet they do the work of transporting 90-plus percent of water vapor on the planet.”

Ordinary clouds don’t carry lots of water vapor long distances; they rain out as soon as water droplets coalesce and get heavy enough to fall as precipitation. In the 1990s, MIT researchers calculated from wind and moisture data that jets in the atmosphere, which the scientists termed atmospheric rivers, must exist to help ferry water around the planet. Since then researchers have gotten a better look at the rivers, using microwave-sensing instruments carried on polar-orbiting satellites. Solar radiation bouncing off Earth’s surface in microwave wavelengths is affected by the amount of water vapor between the ground and the satellite, but microwaves aren’t affected by clouds the way visible and infrared radiation are. So microwave instruments are able to photograph ribbons of water vapor coursing through the atmosphere. In the early days of atmospheric river research, scientists weren’t sure that the bright bands of water vapor in microwave satellite images really translated to super-soggy conditions. So teams flew research airplanes into storm systems, some of which spawned atmospheric rivers, to measure how wet things got. “You could really sense the juiciness. You could smell it in the cockpit.”

Atmospheric rivers are born because of temperature differences between Earth’s tropics and its poles. During winter, a pole cools compared with the equator, creating a strong temperature gradient across the hemisphere, a difference that causes low-pressure storms to spin off in the midlatitudes. Winds within the storm can funnel moisture into a narrow band at its leading edge – the atmospheric river. A March 2005 river apparently sucked moisture into the Pacific Northwest all the way from the tropics, in the “intertropical convergence zone” where winds from both hemispheres meet. People living on the West Coast are familiar with atmospheric rivers such as the famous “Pineapple Express,” which occasionally ferries moisture directly from Hawaii. But the rivers can also come up through the Gulf of Mexico or along the eastern seaboard.

Scientists are now moving from spotting atmospheric rivers to understanding them and trying to predict their impact. Leading the way is California, which is setting up four atmospheric river observatories along its coast to track the rivers as they arrive. Each river can have strikingly different effects depending on the angle and speed at which it approaches mountain ranges and watersheds. “To be able to nail down specific water basins that are most prone to flooding, you really need to know precisely where that atmospheric river will make landfall. That’s the tough part.” During a November 1994 storm, now known to be an atmospheric river, for instance, forecasters predicted that less than one-tenth of an inch of rain would hit some parts of the San Francisco Bay area. In places, more than 11 inches fell. How that moisture is distributed within the river and how long it sits in one location determine what areas will see the most flooding.

Not all atmospheric rivers are devastating — in fact, most of them are weak — but they cause many of the most extreme West Coast floods. In January, California emergency planners met in Sacramento to run through a doomsday scenario dubbed ARkStorm. Officials tested how they would respond if a series of atmospheric rivers hit the coast one after the other. That scenario was modeled on the rivers that hit in the winter of 1861–62 and flooded the state’s central valley. The capital had to be temporarily moved from Sacramento to San Francisco, and the governor took a rowboat to his inauguration. To better predict such disasters, researchers at NOAA and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography are working with state officials to pinpoint the most vulnerable areas. Many times, the river of humidity runs into a mountain, is forced upward, and rains out its water. Other times the river hits the base of a range and shifts to flow around it. Figuring out which process dominates in which locations will help officials better prepare.

Atmospheric rivers may become even more relevant as global temperatures rise. Researchers aren’t sure exactly how climate change will affect the rivers, but warmer air generally means that the atmosphere can hold more water vapor. On the other hand, winds may weaken in a globally warmed world, meaning the rivers might carry more water but be less effective at delivering it. More answers may come within the next few months, as NOAA scientists plan to fly unmanned aircraft into several storms to try to learn even more about atmospheric rivers.

AUSTRALIA – The pain is easing and the pleasure is on its way for the thousands of farmers hit by flooding rains over summer, with winter crops forecast to be the largest in seven years. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences predicts a huge winter crop, with the 2010/11 national winter crop expected to reach 42.1 million tonnes. If the prediction is accurate, the harvest will be the largest since 2003/04. Last year’s winter crop harvest finished just over one million tonnes below the original prediction because of the devastating affects of the La Nina weather system which rolled across eastern states last year. While La Nina remains present, it is predicted to fade out by about April. “Overall the recent heavy rainfall is expected to benefit crops through good soil moisture and increased water-storage levels. Overall, summer-crop production for 2010/11 is forecast to increase by 66 per cent to 4.8 million.”

Extreme rainstorms and snowfalls have grown substantially stronger, two studies suggest, with scientists for the first time finding the tell-tale fingerprints of man-made global warming on downpours that often cause deadly flooding. The wo studies link heavy rains to increases in greenhouse gases more than ever before. One group of researchers looked at the strongest rain and snow events of each year from 1951 to 1999 in the Northern Hemisphere and found that the more recent storms were 7 per cent wetter. That may not sound like much, but it adds up to be a substantial increase. The study didn’t single out specific storms but examined worst-of-each-year events all over the Northern Hemisphere. While the study ended in 1999, the close of the decade when scientists say climate change kicked into a higher gear, the events examined were similar to more recent disasters: deluges that triggered last year’s deadly floods in Pakistan and in Nashville, Tennessee, and this winter’s paralysing blizzards in parts of the US. The change in severity was most apparent in North America, but that could be because that’s where the most rain gauges are. Both studies should weaken the argument that climate change is a “victimless crime”. “Extreme weather is what actually hurts people.”

Not all the extreme rain and snow events the scientists studied cause flooding. But since 1950, flooding has killed more than 2.3 million people. The British study focused on flooding in England and Wales in the fall of 2000. The disaster cost more than $1.7 billion in insured damages and was the WETTEST AUTUMN FOR THE REGION IN MORE THAN 230 YEARS of record-keeping. Researchers found that global warming more than doubled the likelihood of that flood occurring. Similar studies are now under way to examine whether last year’s deadly Russian heat wave and Pakistan floods – which were part of the same weather event – can be scientifically attributed to global warming. For years scientists, relying on basic physics and climate knowledge, have said global warming would likely cause extremes in temperatures and rainfall. But this is the first time researchers have been able to point to a demonstrable cause-and-effect by using the rigorous and scientifically accepted method of looking for the “fingerprints” of human-caused climate change.

Similar fingerprinting studies have found human-caused greenhouse gas emissions triggered changes in more than a dozen other ecological ways: temperatures on land, the ocean’s surface, heat content in the depths of the oceans, temperature extremes, sea level pressure, humidity at ground level and higher in the air, general rainfall amounts, the extent of Arctic sea ice, snowpack levels and timing of runoff in the western United States, Atlantic Ocean salinity, wildfire damage, and the height of the lower atmosphere. All those signs say global warming is here. “It is affecting us in multiple directions.”

The La Nina weather pattern responsible for delivering extreme weather to Australia over the past nine months is beginning to weaken. Weather models indicate the system has peaked and will end later this year.

“Temperature patterns across the Pacific Ocean are returning to figures below the La Nina threshold, trade winds are returning to normal configuration and cloud cover is also heading back to what we would expect across the tropical pacific.” Due to the power of the weather system, the current La Nina is likely to linger longer than usual. Once weather patterns return to normal, Australia won’t experience an El Nino (dry period) on the back of the La Nina. “The national climate centre is indicating we should return to neutral conditions.” The La Nina weather pattern is associated with the increased probability of wetter conditions, particularly in eastern Australia. The increase in wet weather is due to cooler than normal ocean temperatures across the Pacific Ocean, creating increased cloud over tropical Australia.


Three billion-dollar disasters in U.S. last year – Extreme weather in the United States brings with it a high price tag, according to a new federal report. In the last three decades, 99 weather disasters have caused a billion or more dollars in damage across the 50 states. Recently released are the costs from disasters in 2010 — a year which escaped with a comparatively low number of billion-dollar disasters, as “we had no hurricanes in the mix.” Unfortunately, for the three regions affected by billion-dollar weather disasters, 2010 was still a devastating year.

In March, heavy rainfall and flooding in the Northeast, including the worst in Rhode Island’s history, caused more than $1.5 billion in damages and killed 11 people. Several days of flooding, hail, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in late April and early May left a trail of destruction across many Southern states, causing $2.3 billion in damages and killing 32 people. Tennessee was hit the hardest, and flooding in Nashville alone contributed to more than $1 billion in losses. Finally, in mid-May of last year, a flurry of tornadoes and severe weather hit the middle of the country. Total losses exceeded $3 billion and three people died because of the storms. Oklahoma suffered the highest losses, with more than $1.5 billion in damages.

Across the United States since 1980, hurricanes and tropical storms were the costliest disasters by far, racking up $367.3 billion in the 30-year span, far outstripping the runner-up – heat waves and droughts – that accounted for $185.2 billion in losses. Hurricane Katrina made 2005 the most devastating year in the three decades studied. Katrina alone caused a whopping $133.8 billion in damage and killed 1,833 people. However, 2008 saw the highest number of costly disasters — nine separate weather events, including tornadoes, wildfires, flooding, drought and three hurricanes, each costing $1 billion or more, hit the United States that year.

The data don’t reveal any particular trends in the frequency or location of extreme weather events across the United States. However, southern states, especially those in the path of hurricanes, make the list most often, and there are implications for the losses incurred in extreme weather as more people move to the coast and build more expensive homes there. “There are more people in harm’s way, and there’s more property in harm’s way.”

Looking ahead, it’s impossible to know what 2011 will look like, but “I’d be surprised if we don’t see a hurricane. We got spared last year, but I don’t know how lucky we’ll be this year.” Whatever 2011 brings, the most important thing is to remain weather-wise. “Pay attention to watches and warnings issued in your area. You don’t want to become a statistic on this list.”


Food prices at dangerous levels, says World Bank. Food prices are close to RECORD LEVELS. Rising food prices have pushed 44 million more people into poverty since last June. Prices rose by 15% in the four months between October 2010 and January this year. Food price inflation is felt disproportionately by the poor, who spend over half their income on food. Rising food prices were an aggravating factor of the unrest in the Middle East, although not its primary cause.

Rapid food price inflation in 2008 sparked riots in a number of countries. At that time, the World Bank estimated 125 million people were in extreme poverty. The World Bank says prices are not quite back at those levels – just 3% below – although they are 27% higher than a year ago. A separate report earlier this month from the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization said that world food prices had hit a RECORD HIGH in January. Finance ministers and central bankers from the G20 group of developed and developing nations are meeting later this week in Paris.

Companies Warn That Higher Prices Are Looming – Cotton prices are near their HIGHEST LEVEL IN MORE THAN A DECADE, after adjusting for inflation, and leather and polyester costs are jumping as well. Copper recently hit its HIGHEST LEVEL IN ABOUT 40 YEARS, and iron ore, used for steel, is fetching extremely high prices. Prices for corn, sugar, wheat, beef, pork and coffee are soaring. Labor overseas is becoming more expensive, meanwhile, and so are the utility bills to keep a factory running. “There are cost pressures from virtually everywhere.”

When commodity prices started to rise last summer, many manufacturers and retailers absorbed the costs, worried that shoppers would not pay higher prices during the competitive holiday season or while the economy was still fragile. Many big companies, including Kraft, Polo Ralph Lauren and Hanes, say they cannot hold off any longer and must raise prices to protect some profits. Whether shoppers will pay is unclear. “Consumers are not exactly in the frame of mind or economic circumstances to say ‘Oh, pay whatever they ask. There’s going to be pushback.”

Economists say the increases may eventually show up as inflation, though they are not yet projecting rates that would set off alarms. Despite some fears, inflation has been extremely low, at a rate of just 1.4 percent annually in December. Data for January will be released Thursday, but economists expect inflation will run about 2.5 percent this year. Some do see the creeping signs of higher inflation, and warn that the Federal Reserve will need to raise interest rates or at least stop pumping more money into the economy. Others argue that such moves would choke off economic growth sorely needed to get companies hiring again.

Given that the price of a gallon of gas is now well over $3 on average, Americans may feel that they are already dealing with higher prices. Adding to the cost of food won’t greatly distort most household budgets. Food, gas, clothing, personal care products and cleaning and laundry supplies make up less than a quarter of household spending in the United States. People at the bottom of the income scale struggle more as these prices rise, of course, because a larger share of their spending is on such essentials. The sharp rise in commodity prices since last year has not translated into all new records. Food commodity prices are about 8 percent below the high in the summer of 2008, while energy prices are less than half their zenith. Prices of a basket of other commodities are about 4 percent below the heights of mid-2008. The cost of raw materials accounts for a small portion of the cost of most consumer goods, as labor, processing and packaging tend to make up a larger share of the price at the cash register. Foods like coffee, meat and milk, which are closer to raw materials, will probably show some of the biggest price jumps.


Asian Bank warns of mass climate change migrations – “Climate change will become the biggest driver of population displacements, both inside and across national borders, within the not too distant future.” Governments in Asia and the Pacific need to prepare for a large increase in climate-induced migration in the coming years, says a forthcoming report by the Asian Development Bank. Typhoons, cyclones, floods and drought are forcing more and more people to migrate, the bank said in a statement Monday. In the past year alone, extreme weather in Malaysia, Pakistan, China, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka has caused temporary or longer term dislocation of millions of people.

The Bank said it expects this process to accelerate in coming decades as climate change leads to more extreme weather. “No international cooperation mechanism has been set up to manage these migration flows, and protection and assistance schemes remain inadequate, poorly coordinated, and scattered. National governments and the international community must urgently address this issue in a proactive manner.”

“In many places, those least capable of coping with severe weather and environmental degradation will be compelled to move with few assets to an uncertain future. Those who stay in their communities will struggle to maintain livelihoods in risk-prone settings at the mercy of nature’s whims.” Climate change will increase extreme weather events, causing injuries and loss of life, water contamination, infectious diseases, food shortages, and mental health problems associated with disaster and tragedy. During drought and heavy rainfall, a reduction in crop yield and subsistence agriculture leads to malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.

An increase in the number of very hot days in large cities will exacerbate urban air pollution, while forest fires and dust storms affect air quality over broad areas, both rural and urban. Vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue are highly correlated with temperatures and rainfall patterns. Warmer temperature will increase the geographical habitat of vectors of diseases, such as mosquitoes and rodents.

The climate change “hotspots” include megacities in coastal areas of Asia. These hotspots of climate-induced migration face pressure from swelling populations as rural people seek new lives in cities. Thep roblem is compounded by greater dislocation of people caused by flooding and tropical storms. On the positive side, the report says that if properly managed, climate-induced migration could actually facilitate human adaptation, creating new opportunities for dislocated populations in less vulnerable environments. “Today’s challenges are interconnected and complex. Population growth, urbanization, climate change, water scarcity and food and energy insecurity are exacerbating conflict and combining in other ways that oblige people to flee their countries.”


SOUTH KOREA – By mid-February 2011, snowfall extended along the east coast of the Korean Peninsula. The snow was heavy enough to collapse some homes. Residents along South Korea’s east coast were struggling to dig out from theHEAVIEST SNOWFALL IN MORE THAN A CENTURY. Hundreds of stranded motorists awaited rescue, and hundreds of homes collapsed under the weight of heavy snow. The South Korean government deployed 12,000 soldiers to assist and rescue residents. The port city of Samcheok recorded 100 centimeters (39 inches) of snowfall on February 11 and 12 – THE HEAVIEST SNOWFALL AMOUNT SINCE RECORDKEEPING BEGAN IN 1911. In the west, Seoul escaped heavy snow, although the Han River FROZE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS. The snow was expected to taper off for the east coast on February 14, although some snow might fall inland, including Seoul. The heavy snowfall arrived on the heels of South Korea’s COOLEST JANUARY SINCE THE 1960s. The UNUSUAL cold might have been driven at least partly by the Arctic Oscillation. A negative phase of the AO lowered temperatures in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere in January.


Latest solar flare is largest of this solar cycle – Sunday afternoon a medium sized solar flare with a magnitude of 6.6 ejected off the surface of the sun, launching a coronal mass ejection towards Earth. The flare reached its maximum at 17:38 UTC, or 12:38 PM EST. The eruption began at 1728 UTC and ended at 1747 UTC, lasting 19 minutes. The flare ejected from sunspot #1158 and was a moderate solar flare.

There are 3 categories of solar flares. X-class flares are big and are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. M-class flares, which occurred Sunday, are medium-sized and can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth’s polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow an M-class flare. Compared to X- and M-class events, C-class flares are small with few noticeable consequences here on Earth.

Reports are coming in now that this flare produced a loud blast of radio emissions heard in shortwave receivers around the dayside of Earth. Preliminary coronagraph data show that the explosion produced a fast but not particularly bright coronal mass ejection (CME). The cloud will likely hit Earth’s magnetic field on or about Feb. 15th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Sunspot #1158 has been growing rapidly and bustling with C-class solar flares and poses a threat for Earth-directed M-flares. This very active region of the sun is now over 100,000 kilometers wide and more Earth-directed eruptions are likely to occur. (image)

Earth ‘in the crosshairs’ of a solar explosion – A powerful solar flare, hurled into space when superhot gases erupted on the sun Sunday, might cause a display of the aurora borealis for parts of the northern United States overnight Monday night. The sun unleashed the solar flare from a sunspot region that was barely visible last week. Since then, it has grown in size to more than 62,000 miles across — nearly eight times the width of our Earth.

The flare was categorized by the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado as a Class M6.6 and is the strongest solar flare observed in 2011. It could ramp up northern lights displays for skywatchers living in northern latitudes and graced with clear skies.

Such a flare, covering more than 1 billion square miles of the sun’s surface (called the photosphere), was described as “moderate” in intensity. Class M flares are stronger than the weakest category (Class C). They are second only to the most intense Class X solar flares, which can cause disruptions to satellites and communications systems and pose a hazard to astronauts in space. NOAA’s Prediction Center has forecast the possibility of additional solar flares from the same sunspot region over the next two or three days.

Solar flares appear to be caused by a sudden release of magnetic energy. The flare itself occurs in the solar atmosphere, generating a brilliant emission of visible light, as well as ultraviolet waves and powerful X-rays.

With major flares there is a disruption of radio communications shortly after the eruption. Indeed, Sunday’s eruption produced a loud blast of radio waves that was heard in shortwave receivers around the dayside of our planet. But solar flares also can act as a type of explosion that sends streams of electrons and protons out into space. These electrons, protons and other particles are hurled out of the sun’s magnetic field in a wave of electrified gas. As these electrons and protons come into contact with the Earth’s magnetic field and stream toward the magnetic poles, the chance of a collision between these charged energy particles and the rarefied gases of the upper atmosphere increases dramatically, producing a disturbance, or “magnetic storm,” in the Earth’s magnetic field. Along with causing additional disruptions to radio communications, a magnetic storm might also prompt a view of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, across parts of the northern United States.

Sunday’s solar flare occurred near the middle of the sun’s disk, meaning that the resultant explosion of electrified particles could be “geoeffective,” that is, directed toward the Earth. So, in essence, our planet was “in the crosshairs” of this solar explosion and would thus increase the chance that an auroral display might result. Ideally, the associated stream of particles could reach the Earth 37 hours after the flare’s eruption. But this is only an approximation; the actual commencement of a possible magnetic storm could occur many hours earlier or later, so it would be best to check the sky periodically during the overnight hours to assess if any activity is actually taking place. The prospective zone of visibility can include the northern Rockies, northern Plains, the Great Lakes, northern portions of Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as all of New York State and New England. However, if the stream of electrified particles turns out to be less energetic, aurora visibility might be confined to places farther to the north, and nearer to the Canadian border. Conversely, if the particle stream turns out to be stronger than forecast, an aurora might sighted farther south into the central U.S.

Tyche, Giant Hidden Planet, May Exist In Our Solar System – We may have lost Pluto, but it looks like we might be getting Tyche. Scientists may soon be able to prove the existence of the gas giant, which could be four times the size of Jupiter, according to astrophysicists. Tyche will almost certainly be made up mostly of hydrogen and helium and will probably have an atmosphere much like Jupiter’s, with colourful spots and bands and clouds. “You’d also expect it to have moons. All the outer planets have them.”

So how could we have missed such a massive planet in our own solar system? Well, it’s 15,000 times further from the sun than Earth. Tyche (if it does exist) lies in the Oort cloud, the outer shell of asteroids in our solar system. Despite what the scientists believe they will find in the data (which will be released in April and was collected by NASA Wise space telescope), there is at least one flaw in their theory. Theoretically, a planet of Tyche’s size should seriously disturb comets in the inner Oort Cloud, but that effect is yet to have been observed. If its existence is finally confirmed, its Solar System planet status may not be guaranteed. The reason: Astronomers theorize that Tyche could be a planet born in another star system and captured by ours. The current name (which may change) is derived from the name of a Greek goddess that “governed the destiny of a city.” If we’ve missed a planet in our own solar system for this long, what else are we missing?

STRONGEST SOLAR FLARE IN 4 YEARS has erupted. – Aurora expected, along with satellite disruption. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured an intense eruption of ultraviolet radiation last evening. This comes from Sunspot 1158. Last August a solar storm was so large, it was seen from Earth with the naked eye. In addition to the ultraviolet surge, the storm released a huge coronal mass ejection (CME). This could reach earth within 36-48 hours. If you hear of any potential satellite disruptions, this would be why.

The solar cycle is now ramping back up in activity. There is an 11 year cycle, but the past few years had seen the lowest solar activity in more than a century.

AURORA WATCH – A series of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) en route to Earth from sunspot 1158 will buffet our planet’s magnetic field during the next 24-48 hours, with a 75% chance of M-Class flares and a 25% chance of Earth-directed X-Class flares. NOAA forecasters estimate a 45% chance of geomagnetic activity today. Less than a week ago, sunspot 1158 didn’t exist. Now it is wider than the planet Jupiter and unleashing the strongest solar flares since December 2006. The December 2006 storm was powerful enough to disrupt GPS systems. Should the new storm prove as powerful, it could be a preview of what’s expected this year and in 2012, as the sun reaches an expected maximum in its natural cycle of activity.

Displays of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) have already been seen further south than usual in Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the UK. And further activity is expected over the next few days. In 1972, a geomagnetic storm provoked by a solar flare knocked out long-distance telephone communication across the US state of Illinois. And in 1989, another storm plunged six million people into darkness across the Canadian province of Quebec.

The solar flare disrupted radio communications in southern China , according to the China Meteorological Administration. The solar flare, a huge explosion on the sun’s surface caused by magnetic activity, affected transmissions in southern China on Tuesday. The US space administration NASA confirmed that Monday’s solar flare was the largest in four years, and the event sparked predictions of heightened activity on the northern hemisphere of the sun. NASA also said the flare caused “sudden ionospheric disturbances” in the atmosphere above China and the CMA warned there was a high probability that large solar flares would appear over the next three days.

Monday’s flare erupted in the sun’s southern hemisphere, which has so far shown less flare activity than the northern hemisphere. It followed several smaller M-class and C-class flares in recent days. Solar flares are classified as A, B, C, M or X, with each class having a peak 10 times greater than the preceding one. “X-class flares are the most powerful of all solar events that can trigger radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms,” disrupting telecommunications and electric grids. The flash is blasting toward Earth at about 560 miles per second (900 kilometers per second).

MYSTERIOUS SUN HALOES – Most sun haloes are circles. They surround the sun when sunbeams hit ice crystals in the air. The haloes this week in Finland, however, were not circular. Finland has had a spate of elliptical halos over the last few days produced by ice crystals precipitating out of low clouds. “Elliptical halos are RARE and we do not understand how they are formed. A popular theory is that hexagonal plate-shaped crystals with very blunt pyramidal ends make them. But ray tracing simulations using these crystals do not reproduce the halo’s fine detail properly. Moreover, these crystals are physically unrealistic because crystal faces follow lines of atoms in the crystal lattice – blunt pyramidal ends do not! The mystery remains.”


Monitoring killer mice from space – Rare but deadly hantavirus outbreaks can be predicted months in advance from space, simply by monitoring surges in vegetation that result in deer mouse population booms.

Royal Ontario Museum investigates sudden bee death


A Toronto museum is investigating the sudden death of thousands of bees in a glass-enclosed beehive exhibit. Officials at the Royal Ontario Museum said 20,000 bees in a biodiversity exhibit had died within two days last week, though they had appeared healthy. Scientists have ruled out staff error and starvation, but said poor ventilation, disease or a lack of worker bees could be to blame. The museum plans to replace the colony in the spring.

South Korea 2/13/11


South Korea on Sunday confirmed two additional bird flu outbreaks in areas near Seoul despite nationwide efforts to stem the spread of the disease. The farm ministry said the new cases were reported at a medium-sized duck farm and a small poultry farm that raises chickens and ducks, which reported symptoms earlier in the week. All 8,400 birds on the two farms in Hwaseong south of Seoul and Dongducheon north of the capital have been culled and buried, with other bird farms within a 3-kilometer radius being checked for infections. The outbreaks are the first to be confirmed since a chicken farm that raised 35,000 birds tested positive for the virulent H5N1 strain on Wednesday, and the 42nd and 43rd outbreaks reported in the past 45 days.

N. Korea’s FMD outbreak spreads across country: report


SEOUL, Feb. 13 (Yonhap) — North Korea’s foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has spread across many parts of the country after the first case was confirmed in the capital city on Dec. 25, a U.S. broadcaster said Sunday. Radio Free Asia (RFA), quoting a report by the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health, said the communist country confirmed that since the first case hit a small cattle farm in Pyongyang, the highly contagious animal disease has spread to at least five provinces. While there are no reports of animals being culled and buried to control further spreading of the disease, North Korea said 11,165 animals have been infected so far. Of these, 8,640 pigs have died along with 15 cattle, it said.

Hepatitis B and C outbreak in Moga district, India


According to a report in the India Tribune, at least 142 cases of hepatitis B & C have been seen in the Baghapurana and Nihalsinghwala sub-divisions of the Moga district. Chief Medical Officer, Dr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, attributes the outbreak to the use of inadequately sterilized needles and syringes by unqualified medical practitioners.

Virus sickens 150 Ft. Benning soldiers


FORT BENNING, Ga. — Soldiers were encouraged to wash their hands after about 150 trainees fell ill with a mild gastrointestinal virus causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea Wednesday, a Fort Benning officials said Friday. “Some went back to training right away and others were isolated so they would not spread it to their counterparts,” Monica Manganaro, a Fort Benning spokeswoman, told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Manganaro said some of the soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, a basic training unit, started showing signs Wednesday evening. On Thursday, more soldiers from the same battalion started showing signs but there were no new reports of sickness Friday.

Swine flu remains global threat


SWINE flu is still a global danger and Australians travelling overseas are being warned to remain vigilant, despite health authorities declaring the threat over in December. The World Health Organisation warning follows the death of Australian tourist Michael Coyle from swine flu in Russia. Mr Coyle, 63, from New South Wales, was on his way to get married in central Russia when a man suffering from swine flu sat next to him on the flight from Hong Kong to Moscow. Mr Coyle contracted the virus and died soon after arriving in Ufa in the remote Volga region last month. It is not known how many other people might have been contaminated on the flight. Health authorities say the threat is not limited to Asia. Since October, Britain has been in the grip of a swine flu epidemic, with 195 people dying from the virus in the past four months, including 18 children aged under 15. The World Health Organisation’s Gregory Hä¨rtl said swine flu could be contracted anywhere. ”People everywhere should be aware of and take all precautions they can to prevent or reduce the risk of infection,” he told The Sunday Age. ”Cases are being reported from around the world.”

Nipah kills another in Kushtia


Nipah encephalitis claimed one more life at Kushtia General Hospital Sunday morning, raising the death toll to 31. Fulchand Ali, 30, of Shimulia village in Mirpur upazila of the district, was admitted to the general hospital with high fever Saturday afternoon, reports our Kushtia correspondent. He died at about 10:00am Sunday, Dr Taposh Kumar Pal, resident medical officer of the hospital, said.

ALERT: Seizures Now Reported in Kids Receiving Flu Vaccine


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is looking into an uptick in young children having febrile seizures following a flu shot. There have now been 36 confirmed reports of such seizures during the current flu season. All of the seizures took place less than a day after the children were given Fluzone. Fluzone is currently the sole flu shot recommended for very young children in the U.S. Google News reports: “The [FDA] said recommendations for using the vaccine have not changed, nor has there been any change in flu vaccine guidance … FDA officials said they’ve been paying special attention to seizure reports because of an unexplained higher rate of fevers and seizures in young children in Australia and New Zealand who got a specific flu vaccine earlier this year.”

Virgina 2/14/11


As scientists approached Hamilton Cave to check on the bats inside, they found the body of one wedged in a crack outside the cave’s mouth. The bat’s nose was white, as if the thumb-sized animal had poked its gargoyle face into flour. “The first white-nose victim at Hamilton Cave,” geologist Wil Orndorff said somberly. “Ever,” added colleague Chris Hobson, a zoologist. That white gunk was a fungus believed to cause a torturous disease in bats called white-nose syndrome. In 2009, when scientists last checked Hamilton Cave in far Southwest Virginia, all the bats looked fine. But the mysterious fungus, new to science when it appeared in New York in 2006, is spreading quickly. White-nose has killed more than 1 million bats from New Hampshire to Tennessee, including thousands in Virginia. At some Northeast caves, it has wiped out more than 90 percent of the bats, leaving behind little brown bones like pine needles. “This is like the Great Plague for bats,” said Orndorff, who works with Hobson for the state Natural Heritage Program, a conservation office. The disease has caused “the most precipitous decline of North American wildlife in recorded history” and could make entire species of bats go extinct, experts said in a 2009 statement. Scientists are comparing this onslaught to the devastation of the buffalo, the passenger pigeon and the American chestnut tree. And all the bats want to do is eat the mosquitoes that make us miserable and the bugs that damage our crops and gardens.

California 2/14/11


Health officials are investigating the Playboy Mansion over fears Hugh Hefner’s famed property is the source of a recent disease outbreak. More than 75 conference guests who attended a fundraiser at the Los Angeles residence were reportedly struck down by a respiratory infection. Four Swedish men who attended the event were diagnosed with Legionellosis or pontiac fever, a milder form of Legionnaires disease caused by bacteria that thrives in warm air-conditioning systems. A fog machine used at the bash could have spread the illness. Over 700 guests were attending an event on February 3 as part of the annual DOMAINfest Global conference. The three-day conference took place at a hotel in Santa Monica and the final gathering was at a party in the grounds of the iconic Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. Within 48 hours after leaving the mansion, scores of people reported coming down with symptoms including fever, respiratory problems and violent headaches. Many of the victims started tweeting and posting their symptoms on Facebook and that’s when organisers of the conference noticed a trend. Elliot J. Silver, who attended the party, said: ‘It is scary everyone came down with the same thing at the same time. ‘It knocked me on my ass. A lot of people are blaming the Playboy Mansion on the blogs, but you can’t be sure.’ Playboy spokeswoman Teri Thomerson said the Playboy Mansion was cooperating fully with the Department of Public Health’s investigation.

The Netherlands: Q Fever outbreak continues


The outbreak that started in 2007 continues into its fifth year in the Netherlands. As of Feb. 2, there were 8 more confirmed cases so far in 2011. Since 2007, there have been greater than 4,000 cases and several deaths, including 11 deaths in 2010. Though the cases have been seen throughout the country, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that mostof these cases have been in Noord (North) Brabant, Gelderland, Limburg, and Utrecht Provinces in the southern part of the country.

Villages on curfew due to typhoid outbreak


A curfew has been placed in four villages in the interior of Naitasiri where an outbreak of typhoid has occurred. The Health Ministry placed the curfew – so that the outbreak is contained within the villages and not spread to nearby villages. The villages are Nasava, Narokorokoyawa, Korovou and Sawanikula. Ministry spokesperson Peni Namotu tolf FBC News the villagers have been told not to move around – as a medical team is currently assessing the situation there.

Peru vaccination drive targets bat-borne rabies


The superstition about bats turning into vampires to suck the blood of unwitting human victims has not reached Condorcanqui province on Peru’s northern jungle border with Ecuador. But here, on the fringes of the Amazon rainforest, the native vampire bats are to be feared as some carry the rabies virus. It was here that five children died in the latest rabies outbreak last September. Around 20 rabies deaths have been blamed on bats in Peru over the past year, which health officials say is one of the highest numbers in a generation.

Dengue is back in South America: 31 dead and 46.600 suspected cases


An outbreak of dengue fever across much of Latin America has killed 31 people since the start of the year and is showing no sign of relenting. Endemic in several countries there’s growing concern following the discovery of a very “aggressive” strain in Peru. There is no vaccine for dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease endemic to tropical regions across the world, including Asia and Africa. Since January 1, nearly 46,600 confirmed or suspected cases have been detected in Latinamerica according to the latest reports from the Pan-American Health Organization, PAHO.

Nigeria: Community Blames Firm for Mosquito Infestation


Onitsha — The unusual mosquito infestation in Ububa Nkpor and its environs in Idemili North Local Government Area, Anambra State has been blamed on the activities of a construction company handling the old Enugu-Onitsha road. The community has appealed to both the Idemili council and State Government Health Ministry to come to its aid as mosquito bites have malaria outbreak in the area.

Flu Outbreak Hits Northern Arizona


KINGMAN, Ariz. — Widespread flu activity is being reported in Mohave County and around Arizona. The Arizona Department of Health Services said widespread activity means several laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu have been reported in three or more regions of the state. Arizona is split into four regions. Mohave County RN nursing supervisor Sherry Lawson said the widespread activity reported in Mohave County means every major metropolitan area in the county has reported several cases of the virus. The website for the Department of Health Services said about 3,300 flu cases have been reported in Arizona for the season so far. Thirty-four cases were in Mohave County. The agency said this year’s strains seem to be hitting mainly people in the age range of 19 to 49.

Japan mass food poisoning fears in Hokkaido schools


More than 950 schoolchildren have fallen ill at nine schools on Japan’s northern Hokkaido island in a suspected outbreak of food poisoning. Thirteen children are in hospital in the city of Iwamizawa; 48 teachers and other school staff also have symptoms. The affected schools will remain closed until the end of the week.

Indiana 2/15/11


Officials in Mount Vernon are struggling to stay on top of a massive bird invasion. They say there are at least 50,000 birds living in the area. Officials have now set up a bird committee, headed up by water department head Chuck Gray to get rid of the birds by spring. Gray is using chargers that make loud noises, chargers that shoot out sparks to chase the birds, and even a bird cannon. He says the measures are working to clear out the pesky crows, but now blackbirds are a new problem swooping in on the east end of town. Gray says he’s not surprised that all kinds of birds keep picking Posey County to land. “They basically have an unlimited food supply, with the trash cans, the 55 pound burn bins we use for trash cans in town, and then we have corn on one side and soybeans on the other side.” Resident Edward Lowery says he’s glad to hear the city is taking measures to clear the birds out, but he thinks they need to be moving faster. He says in the past three months, blackbird droppings have covered his back patio and the incessant chirping has kept him awake at night. One of his neighbors, Chris Cartwright, agrees. Cartwright says, “It’s a health hazard, you know the children they go outside and play, and they get into the bird droppings and everybody knows birds carry diseases.” That’s why she says she’s happy to hear the bird cannon boom, and hopes it will bring some much needed relief, and soon. City officials say it’s not really feasible to kill the birds because they would need to be shot down in mass and then cleaned up, making it both messier and more expensive.

Japan 2/15/11


A total of 840 elementary and junior high school students have missed class in Iwamizawa, Hokkaido, due to food poisoning after eating school lunch last week, local officials said Monday. Fifteen teachers and other school staff also exhibited food poisoning symptoms, they said. The officials initially reported that 925 students were absent from school in connection with food poisoning, but the figure included those who have missed class because of flu and other illnesses. Health authorities suspect salmonella infection but have yet to determine what made them sick, they said. The students started exhibiting the symptoms on Friday after eating lunch the previous day which was cooked in the school kitchens for some 3,100 students. The lunch included potato miso soup, komatsuna leaf salad and Japanese radish with ground meat, the officials said.

Epidemic outbreak claims 7 children in Imo


About seven children have been reported dead, following the outbreak of gastro enteritis in Okigwe local government area of Imo State. Already, the ‘A’ Field Office of United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, Enugu, last weekend, moved emergency medical supplies to the State Ministry of Health, Owerri. “What we brought in is UNICEF’s rapid response package. UNICEF cannot fold its hands and watch helplessly and innocent children die from preventable diseases. This is why we had to quickly intervene as soon as we got wind of the outbreak”, Okoroikpa said.

61-year-old Hong Kong man becomes 4th swine flu victim this year


The swine flu has returned to Hong Kong nearly 18 months after an outbreak killed some 80 people in the city. On Monday, the health authorities confirmed the death of a 61-year-old man after he contracted the virus, adding his death to 12 critical cases that have sprung up in last three days. So far, Hong Kong has treated 37 people for swine flu in the city’s intensive care units.

Worst TB outbreak in Nunavut’s history a national problem: CMAJ


The editorial reports that Nunavut suffered 100 new and active cases of tuberculosis in 2010. That’s the highest number in the territory’s 10-year history and represents an infection rate 62 times the Canadian average. Worse, most of the new cases occurred in younger patients, suggesting the disease is being actively spread.

Haiti Cholera Outbreak Yet to Peak: Study


A report compiled by researchers in the US and Haiti has revealed that the cholera outbreak in the nation has not yet been suppressed. The latest findings come despite the fact that foreign nations had ended up directing funds amounting to billions of dollars in aid. According to the statistics available, the cholera outbreak has resulted in the death of 3,600 Haitians and has been described to be equivalent to epidemic proportions. It needs to be remembered that prior to the outbreak, the country had suffered a massive earthquake in January 2010.

Superbug’s spread across West Midlands


A superbug that contributed to the deaths of about 80 patients in Shropshire, has become dominant across the West Midlands. Researchers in Birmingham, led by Professor Peter Hawkey, said they were surprised at how quickly E.coli ESBL had spread throughout the region. Professor Hawkey said: “For these ESBL strains, there’s a group of antibiotics called carbapenems, but there is only one group and with resistance to that group we are left with no treatment at all.”

Officials say flu-like illnesses ‘widespread’ through two Virginias


PRINCETON — Though signs indicate winter may be coming to a close, flu season seems to be just starting up in the two Virginias. In West Virginia, the level of flu-like illness has been declared “widespread” by the Center for Disease Control and the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health. Melody Rickman, RN, administrator of the Mercer County Health Department, said the county has seen the amount of flu cases more than double in the past two weeks. “There has been an increase,” Rickman said. “As of last Friday, we had 313 cases reported while the week before, we only had 103 cases of flu-like illness that had been reported. Those numbers are for Mercer County alone.”

17,000 birds culled in Japan


Today, 17,000 chickens will be culled in Japan due to the speading of bird flu: now being termed a ‘pandemic’. The disease was reported at farms over the weekend and a 10kms quarantine zone was enforced. It is believed that the spread of the virus is due to migrating birds and a special investigation team has been set up to investigate. This comes in the wake of the disease spreading in South Korea, despite efforts to contain the disease. This year, 5.45milion birds have been culled in South Korea due to bird flu.

Recent Gull Deaths on a Winter Haven Lake Are Investigated


State wildlife scientists are investigating the recent deaths of an undetermined number of gulls on a suburban Winter Haven lake. The gull deaths were reported late last week on Lake Thomas. Wendy Quigley, spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, said three of the dead birds were brought back to the institute for a necropsy, which will be performed later this week.

Hundreds of eels, fish killed by pollutant


Hundreds of eels and fish are dead after a pollutant was illegally discharged into a creek in South Hagley Park. Pollution hotline staff at Environment Canterbury were alerted to the incident on Saturday evening after a tip off from a member of the public. Upon inspection, approximately two kilometres of waterway was found to be discoloured, with hundreds of dead eels and fish.

Masses of Dead Fish in South Florida


Just when you thought the animal deaths were finally coming to an end, a massive fish die off was reported at a South Florida state park. Masses of dead fish were found floating in the water at Sebastian Inlet State Park on February 4. Officials believe that low oxygen levels in the water are to blame.

Toxic algae blamed for fish kill


A TOXIC microalgae has been confirmed as the cause of a large fish kill on the NSW South Coast which saw thousands of dead fish wash up on beaches in Jervis Bay last month. Residents reported dead and dying fish at a number of locations including Honeymoon Bay, Hare Bay and Callala Bay in early January. Fish affected by the kill included a large range of species and size classes including flathead, whiting, mullet, luderick and catfish.

Mysterious deaths of carp at city lake under investigation


THE cause of mysterious deaths of dozens of fish spotted floating on a Lincolnshire lake is being investigated. The dead carp were seen floating in the Railway Lakes, behind the Lincolnshire Co-operative home store. A resident in the area saw the fish a week ago when he was out walking and reported the matter to the police. They were still visible in the privately-owned lake when the Echo went to take photographs. The Environment Agency is currently investigating the issue after receiving reports about the dead carp. Agency spokesman Regan Harris said: “We are investigating the ongoing reports concerning the dead carp in the Railway Lakes at Hartsholme Park.

South Korea 2/16/11


New cases of foot-and-mouth disease were confirmed Tuesday in the country’s fifth-largest city of Daejeon despite vaccinations in the region, stoking fears over a recurrence of a disease whose spread had thought to have been halted. The Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said a close inspection confirmed additional cases of the disease at a pig farm in the city’s Dong district. Before the latest outbreak, a pig farm in Busan’s Saha district had been the last to be affected by the disease Monday last week. Pigs in the affected farm in Daejeon were vaccinated on Jan. 30 and Feb. 5. On the outbreak of the disease despite the vaccination, the ministry said, “Vaccination doesn’t guarantee complete immunization against the disease,” adding, “Given that suspicious symptoms were found several days ago, we judged that the virus came from affected areas nearby such as those in South Chungcheong Province. Epidemiological studies are underway.” Since Friday, more than 100 pigs have died in the farm in Daejeon. Quarantine authorities will cull more than 2,100 pigs at the farm to prevent the disease from spreading. Including Daejeon, the disease has hit 10 metropolitan cities and provinces and 70 lower-level administrative areas nationwide, sparing just Seoul, Ulsan, Gwangju, the two Jeolla provinces and Jeju Island. The number of animals culled has reached 3,333,496.

Japan 2/16/11


A bird flu infection case has been confirmed among more than 160 chickens recently found dead at a poultry farm in Kiho, Mie Prefecture, prefectural officials said Wednesday. A genetic test showed that the flu virus found in some of the dead birds was the highly pathogenic H5 type, they said. The prefecture then decided to cull about 67,000 chickens raised at the affected farm and prohibit the movements of chickens and eggs within a 10-kilometer radius of the farm, covering more than 57,000 chickens at six farms in Kumano and other areas. The poultry farm in Kiho raised chickens for meat at 14 hen coops and a total of 168 birds died Sunday through Tuesday at one of the buildings, according to the prefecture and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Noticing the higher-than-usual number of dead birds, the farm alerted the prefecture, they said. Of the 10 birds put to a preliminary test, six tested positive for bird flu, they said.

Japan 2/16/11


A total of 840 elementary and junior high school students have missed class in Iwamizawa, Hokkaido, due to food poisoning after eating school lunch last week, local officials said Monday. Fifteen teachers and other school staff also exhibited food poisoning symptoms, they said. The officials initially reported that 925 students were absent from school in connection with food poisoning, but the figure included those who have missed class because of flu and other illnesses. Health authorities suspect salmonella infection but have yet to determine what made them sick, they said. The students started exhibiting the symptoms on Friday after eating lunch the previous day which was cooked in the school kitchens for some 3,100 students. The lunch included potato miso soup, komatsuna leaf salad and Japanese radish with ground meat, the officials said.

Outbreak of Breast Cancer


A study conducted by the Institute of Cancer Research has found an outbreak in the number of women suffering from breast cancer. It was found that the number of breast cancer patients were higher than expected after they were screened. The research found that almost three women out of 1,000 who tested negative were diagnosed with breast cancer before their next screening. Women of age group 50-70 are invited for a mammogram every three years and the study reported 7.3 million cases between 1997 and 2003.

PNG cholera death toll nearly 500


NEARLY 500 people have died from Papua New Guinea’s prolonged cholera outbreak, a top PNG medical official says. Health Secretary Doctor Clement Malau has told PNG’s National newspaper 483 people have died while 10,066 have been diagnosed with cholera since the first outbreak in September 2009. Seven of PNG’s 19 provinces, including the capital Port Moresby, have been affected by cholera with Dr Malau adding Western Province was the worst hit with 300 deaths.



The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced yesterday, June 8th, that two American students enrolled in summer courses at the American University in Cairo (AUC) tested positive for the H1N1 virus. The students, who arrived on different flights but were living in the same AUC dormitory, were subsequently hospitalized, treated and quarantined at a local hospital. They are recuperating in a dedicated H1N1 ward and expected to be released in the next 48 hours.

Fresh FMD fears in southeast Bulgaria


The foot-and-mouth (FMD) outbreak in Bulgaria is still not tackled completely, as there are reports of potentially infected animals in the village of Stefan Karadjovo, near Yambol in southeastern Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency announced, quoted by local media on February 15 2011.

H1N1 death toll rises to 74 with death of six last week


Six people infected with influenza A (H1N1) virus died last week, raising the nation’s total influenza casualties since July 2010 to 74. All six patients were male, unvaccinated, with ages ranging from two to 84. A total of 183 patients aged from two to 89 years old have been confirmed to have severe seasonal influenza infection in the last two weeks alone, of those, only 10 specimens had received vaccination, according to Center for Disease Control (CDC).

10 in hospital, curfew in villages


TEN people from four villages in the interior of Naitasiri have been hospitalised as a result of a typhoid outbreak, the Ministry of Health has confirmed. The villages of Nasava, Narokorokoyawa, Korovou and Sawanikula in Wainimala were placed under curfew as a team from the Ministry of Health was dispatched to the area, said deputy secretary Public Health Dr Jo Koroivueta.

Dead fish find sparks fears of pollution


PEOPLE are being urged to keep children and pets away from a local pond amid a pollution scare. Investigations at Campbridge Park Pond in Livingston are being carried out by West Lothian Council and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency after around 20 dead fish were reported on the pond’s surface last Friday. The dead fish – mostly roach, perch and pike – and samples of the pond water are being analysed to find the source of the problem, with early indications suggesting a natural phenomenon related to cold weather.

Mystery pollution kills off fish life


A toxic discharge has killed more than 500 fish in a New Plymouth stream and those responsible could face a fine of $600,000. Taranaki Regional Council resource management director Fred McLay said hundreds of fish were found dead in the Mangaone Stream. “This is a major fish kill. There were too many to pick up,” Mr McLay said. It was not known where the pollution had come from but the council hoped to complete its investigations within 10 days.

New Zealand 2/17/11


The Auckland Regional Public Health Service is advising parents to get their children immunized against measles. The government has taken this step after 15 people in the region were confirmed with this disease. Measles is a highly infectious disease which spreads easily through air, especially from coughing and sneezing. It commonly causes ear infections and pneumonia, and may lead to other serious complications. In some cases measles can lead to death. Dr. Richard Hoskins, Medical Officer of Health, told that some cases of the disease were related to the travelers. Over 800 people were contacted by the Health Service’s Clinical Team of Public Health Doctors and Nurses, who were nearby the patients of measles. Dr. Hoskins said that Immunization is the only effective way to protect against the disease and has advised parents to check their children’s immunization record and get them immunized. The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) gives over 95% protection against measles. The vaccine is given in two doses, first at the age of 15 months and second at the age of four. Dr. Hoskins has said that parents should check that their children’s immunizations from time to time and if it is not up-to-the date then they should contact their GP or practice nurse.

Australia 2/17/11


An abalone diver is presumed dead after two great white sharks attacked him near the surface off the state’s West Coast. The skipper of the aluminium boat from which the diver was working saw the attack which happened south of Perforated Island, about 25km west of Coffin Bay, South Australia. He arrived at the Point Avoid boat ramp in the Coffin Bay National Park about 6.30pm and was treated for shock by paramedics. It was not known exactly what time the shark attack happened. The Advertiser understands the skipper told ambulance officers: “I saw the beast come up and take him. There’s no way he could have survived.” One local, who did not want to be named, said the area where the attack happened was a popular abalone diving location and sharks were common in the area. Port Lincoln CIB detectives were investigating the circumstances of the incident. In a statement last night, police Senior Constable Tim Dodds said two sharks had been blamed for the attack.

Oregon 2/17/11


A day after Vancouver health officials issued an alert, Multnomah County authorities are saying the risk of exposure to measles could be growing. An infant who later tested positive for the potentially serious disease was at Portland International Airport on Sunday and, although officials say the risk for infection is low, people in certain parts of the airport might have been exposed. The Clark County child was on Horizon Air flight 2614 in addition to the Horizon Air area of Concourse A, gates 6 to 12 and baggage claim area 2 at about 7:20 to 7:30 p.m. Health officials say because the measles virus is airborne, there was a risk of exposure for people in these areas between 7:20 and 9:20 p.m. Anyone who was exposed and isn’t considered immune is asked to call their health care provider or Multnomah County Communicable Disease Services at 503-988-3406 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 503-988-3406 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Clark County health officials reported the child was at Evergreen Pediatrics in Vancouver and Southwest Washington Medical Center’s outpatient laboratory Monday while contagious. The child was diagnosed after returning from a trip to India with his family. Passengers and crew members have been notified about the possible exposure, according to officials. Symptoms of the measles include a rash, fever, cough, conjunctivitis, sneezing, nasal congestion and nasal discharge.

Turkey 2/17/11


Sudden and unexplained mass fish deaths in the Black Sea region of Turkey have local residents worried about the safety of their water supply and calling on officials to solve the mystery. When residents in Mescitli village in Gümüshane province first observed dead fish in Harºit stream 15 days ago, they thought the fish had died of natural causes, said village head Cenk; However, when we realized the number of dead fish had risen, we urgently informed the officials. There were fish for two kilometers along the shore, which worried us. We are using the stream’s water in our agricultural activities, according to the Doan news agency, or DHA. He added that the villagers have urged officials to investigate immediately. The provincial directorates of health, forest, environment and agricultural have reportedly launched an investigation, taking samples of the dead fish and the water from the stream. Locals believe the deaths are due to pollution. “The fish died due to pollution produced by people” one villager said. Forty years ago, we and our animals were able to drink the stream water.

Masses of wetlands fish die


Hundreds of thousands of fish were found dead in the Whangamarino Wetland, near Te Kauwhata, last week. The fish were killed by low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water, according to the Conservation Department. DOC spokesman Kevin Hutchinson said numerous reports had come in from residents and wetland users about the deaths, numbering possibly in the hundreds of thousands. Though most were pest fish such as koi carp and catfish, native species mullet, bullies and eels had also been found dead. “The drought at the end of 2010 exposed large areas of the wetland and rapid plant growth occurred in areas usually under water,” Mr Hutchinson said. “High rainfall in January, compounded by the baked dry ground in the catchment, meant water rapidly ran off into the wetland and water levels remained consistently high for about three consecutive weeks.”

More Dead Fish and Birds in the U.S.


About 70 fish were found dead in Huff Creek in South Carolina near Lockheed-Martin. State health officials are investigating the fish deaths and are unsure what is to blame. Adam Myrick, spokesman for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, said water samples were taken to check the pH as well as the dissolved oxygen level, which is important to fish. Everything has come back in normal range, according to Myrick.

‘Concerning’ mass of dead fish, ducks blankets Little River in Windsor


WINDSOR, Ont. — There’s an increasingly smelly fish-and-duck soup at the mouth of Little River as thousands of dead shad and several dozen dead ducks blanket the water’s surface, causing some alarm among residents. “It seems a little strange,” said Mike Stoyshin, who noticed the mass of dead gizzard shad in the river while going for a walk Tuesday evening. When he got a little closer, he realized there were several dead mallard and merganser ducks floating among the fish.

THEY’RE ALL DEAD: Freeze too much for fish to handle


Fish numbering in the thousands washed up along the Fingers Area at Port Isabel this past week­end as a result of the freez­ing temperatures that hit the area last week. Director of Public Works for Port Isabel Bal­di Alaniz said his crews were on hand early Mon­day morning with a rather large task at hand. “This one is one of the biggest yet,” said Alaniz. “It’s not as big as the one that hit us in 1983 but this one ranks up there as big.” The first fish started washing up on the docks area in Port Isabel Thurs­day and by Monday City Manager Ed Meza had placed the call for the pub­lic works department to get involved in the clean-up. By 2 p.m. six bins were full of fish and were being hauled away. “We estimate it to be somewhere between two and three thousand fish,” said Alaniz. “Each of the bins was 96 gallons and they were all full.”

Thousands Of Fish Dead In Spruce Creek


It’s been a week since there were freezing temperatures, but there are fish lining the banks. Some said it’s the worst kill they’ve ever seen; thousands of fish lined the twists and turns of Spruce Creek. The sheer number of fish and the smell were both overwhelming. “It was fun last night trying to sleep with the smell going on,” said resident Sunny Morningstar. “Even with your windows closed and everything?” WFTV reporter Jason Allen asked. “Yes, yes,” Morningstar said. Buzzards and pelicans flocked to the site Tuesday and swarmed above the water. They filled trees and private boat docks and waited at the water’s edge for an easy meal. Kayakers on the creek told WFTV, that during their five-hour paddle, they’d seen fish around every bend and it appeared to be one of the most extensive kills they had seen.

‘Concerning’ mass of dead fish, ducks blankets Little River in Windsor


WINDSOR, Ont. — There’s an increasingly smelly fish-and-duck soup at the mouth of Little River as thousands of dead shad and several dozen dead ducks blanket the water’s surface, causing some alarm among residents. “It seems a little strange,” said Mike Stoyshin, who noticed the mass of dead gizzard shad in the river while going for a walk Tuesday evening. When he got a little closer, he realized there were several dead mallard and merganser ducks floating among the fish. “I know that everybody says the shad die off every year but a dozen ducks dead in the same pile is kind of concerning,” said Stoyshin.

Mysterious fish deaths fan villagers’ fears in northern Turkey


Sudden and unexplained mass fish deaths in the Black Sea region of Turkey have local residents worried about the safety of their water supply and calling on officials to solve the mystery. When residents in Mescitli village in Gümüşhane province first observed dead fish in Harşit stream 15 days ago, they thought the fish had died of natural causes, said village head Cenk İnce. “However, when we realized the number of dead fish had risen, we urgently informed the officials. There were fish for two kilometers along the shore, which worried us. We are using the stream’s water in our agricultural activities,” İnce said, according to the Doğan news agency, or DHA. He added that the villagers have urged officials to investigate immediately.

Environmental watchdogs investigate fish deaths at pond


PEOPLE living near a popular beauty spot in the county have been warned to keep their children and pets away over fears of contamination. Investigations were still continuing when the Courier went to press into suspected pollution at Campbridge Park Pond in Murieston after around 20 dead fish were found floating on the surface. West Lothian Council inspectors joined the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) at the site. The dead fish, mostly roach, perch and pike, and samples of the pond water were being analysed to find the source of the problem.

Dead geese puzzle wildlife officials in Ohio


TOLEDO, Ohio — Dozens of geese have been found dead along the Lake Erie shore and others are so sick that they are unable to fly, wildlife officials said. Many have been found dead near Toledo, where the geese often gather in the open waters of the lake. But others have been found dead in a nearby river and along the lake 70 miles away near Cleveland. “They will fall out of the sky and have trouble staying upright,” said Dave Sherman, a biologist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Major die-off of fish along lakefront


A bizarre scene is evolving on the Chicago lakefront, with Canada geese and mallard ducks gulping down dead or dying gizzard shad. A major die-off of what appears to be the 2010 class is happening in Chicago harbors. Thousands, perhaps far more than that, of dead gizzard shad in the 3- to 5-inch range are frozen in the ice of Chicago harbors or floating around in open patches of water. “Gizzard shad are pretty sensitive,’’ Lake Michigan Program biologist Dan Makauskas said. “On the toughness scale, the herrings are pretty soft.’’Gizzard shad, members of the herring family, are more sensitive to drops in oxygen levels than most fish. And thick ice came early to Chicago harbors in December. The massive die-off was first documented Thursday by Carl Vizzone, a North Side fisherman who sits on the board of Perch America. What caught his eye was Canada geese and mallards eating dying shad at open water by DuSable and Diversey harbors. “This is not normal,’’ he said.

Bird Flu Outbreak in India


NEW DELHI—The Indian government Friday confirmed an outbreak of bird flu, or avian influenza, in the northeastern state of Tripura. The government said the flu was reported from a state-run duck farm in Agartala, the capital city of Tripura, and that it has ordered culling the entire poultry population within a radius of three kilometers of the site where the disease has been confirmed to prevent its spreading. It has also decided to immediately start destroying eggs and feed material, the government said in a statement. The disease is caused by a form of influenza virus that usually infects birds. Past flu outbreaks at times have been pandemic, and a particular strain of the flu—H5N1—had affected human beings in Asia earlier.

Kenya 2/18/11


The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Public Health Ministry, and Kenya Wildlife Service are investigating the deaths of fish in Mara River. Conservationists suspect the deaths that started last week [week of 7 Feb 2011] might have been caused by agro-chemicals from farms, which drain into the river. Hoteliers in Masai Mara Game Reserve are now expressing fear that the chemicals might kill animals that depend on the river. “The deaths could have been caused by agro-chemicals from large scale farms on the upper side of the river. The chemicals might also kill hippos, crocodiles, and other animals that drink water from the river,” said Ben Kipeno, a conservationist from the northern side of the reserve. Mr Kipeno said on Wednesday [16 Feb 2011] there were unconfirmed reports that apart from fish, a crocodile and a hippo have already succumbed to effects of the chemicals. He urged the Government to rein in farmers along the river who use potent chemicals and claimed that despite several complaints to NEMA no action has been taken. Officials from KWS [Kenya Wildlife Service] who were dispatched from Nairobi took samples of the fish to the Government chemist for further tests to ascertain the cause of the deaths. When The Standard visited the river, dead fish were floating with scavengers, including the Marabou stork, feeding on them. The Narok South NEMA officer in charge Gabriel Tambushi said initial reports had indicated that more than 5 million fish were killed at the confluence of the seasonal Moyan River in Transmara with the Mara following a heavy flood. “The sudden change of weather that resulted in a heavy mist covering the water surface, inhibiting fish and other animals that depend on the river from breathing, might have been the cause of the deaths,” said Tambushi. He did not rule out poisonous agro-chemicals from farms, which depended on the Mara River for irrigation.

Oregon 2/18/11


A day after Vancouver health officials issued an alert, Multnomah County authorities are saying the risk of exposure to measles could be growing. An infant who later tested positive for the potentially serious disease was at Portland International Airport on Sunday and, although officials say the risk for infection is low, people in certain parts of the airport might have been exposed. The Clark County child was on Horizon Air flight 2614 in addition to the Horizon Air area of Concourse A, gates 6 to 12 and baggage claim area 2 at about 7:20 to 7:30 p.m. Health officials say because the measles virus is airborne, there was a risk of exposure for people in these areas between 7:20 and 9:20 p.m. Anyone who was exposed and isn’t considered immune is asked to call their health care provider or Multnomah County Communicable Disease Services at 503-988-3406 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 503-988-3406 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Clark County health officials reported the child was at Evergreen Pediatrics in Vancouver and Southwest Washington Medical Center’s outpatient laboratory Monday while contagious. The child was diagnosed after returning from a trip to India with his family. Passengers and crew members have been notified about the possible exposure, according to officials. Symptoms of the measles include a rash, fever, cough, conjunctivitis, sneezing, nasal congestion and nasal discharge.

Peru and Bolivia: Dengue outbreak DREF operation n° MDR46001


At the beginning of 2011, the country of Peru and the country of Bolivia experienced a significant increase of dengue cases, particularly in the Loreto region and the department of Beni, respectively. The dengue outbreak has required significant mobilization of financial and human of resources. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reports that by the sixth epidemiological week there were 22,556 dengue cases, 469 severe cases of dengue and 24 deaths in the Andean region. In addition, the presence of the La Niña weather phenomenon represents an increase of risk, with its periods of intense rains and the continuation of the macro-factors which exacerbate dengue in Region.

City Hospital Closed Fifth Ward Following Norovirus


A recent spur in the cases of Norovirus-affected people made the Peterborough City Hospital to close its fifth ward today. At present, there are more than 50 patients admitted in the hospitals, who have become victim of this winter vomiting virus. Although, the number was much higher few days back, but the staff at the hospital still has not any reason to smile. The wards suspected to be affected with the Norovirus include two elderly wards, a renal and endocrinology ward, head neck and neurology and the upper gastro intestinal ward.

As many as 350 Tulsa jail inmates report falling ill


TULSA — A wave of illness that hit the David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center in Tulsa on Wednesday night had left as many as 350 inmates complaining of stomach cramps and diarrhea by Friday, the Tulsa county sheriff’s office reported. “It started Wednesday night, then we had a significant uptick Thursday that continued to increase throughout the day,” Undersheriff Brian Edwards said. “Now it is starting to trend back down.”

Grim outlook for forests because of bugs, disease


The outlook for forests in western North America is grim: White pines in majestic Yellowstone National Park face obliteration; two-thirds of aspen forests, including many in the Roaring Fork Valley, are likely doomed; and bark beetle infestations will intensify with climate change. The grim outlook was delivered Friday by scientists at the “Forests at Risk” conference in Aspen. More than 400 conservationists, U.S. Forest Service workers and curious folks attended the conference presented by For the Forests, an Aspen nonprofit. “There wasn’t much good news in anything any of you had to say,” moderator Renee Montagne of National Public Radio told a panel featuring the first four presenters at the conference.

Foot-and-mouth disease spreading in N. Korea, too


Foot-and-mouth disease is also spreading throughout North Korea according to a World Organization for Animal Health report quoting the North’s Agriculture Ministry. According to the report, the North confirmed the disease`s outbreak in 48 areas in its central and southern areas since the first case was detected in six heads of cattle in Pyongyang on Dec. 25 last year. In particular, pig farms in Pyongyang`s Yokpo district saw 4,350 pigs die from the epidemic. The North also said 165 goats were infected with the disease.

What is killing Britain’s streeet trees?


Climate change and the increasing movement of horticultural plants around the country has increased the risk of disease. Chestnuts are suffering from bleeding canker and a leaf miner moth and many have had to be killed on Britain’s streets. Oaks, that are more often found in parks, are being killed by acute oak decline. And Japanese larch, that is a popular ornamental tree, is dying from sudden oak death.

Ohio finds 200 dead geese, others sick along Lake Erie


DETROIT (Reuters) – At least 200 geese have died for unknown reasons along the southwestern shores of Lake Erie while others are struggling to hold their heads up, stay upright and fly, Ohio officials said on Friday. No cause has been diagnosed. Some of the dead birds have been sent to a national wildlife laboratory in Wisconsin for testing. Many sick birds have been sent to rehabilitation facilities. The sick geese appear to have problems controlling their muscles, with many struggling to walk and others laying their heads on their backs, said Dave Sherman, a biologist at the Crane Creek Wildlife Research Station operated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. A few of the birds have lost control of their muscles while flying and dropped out of the sky, he said.

Mass deaths of migratory blackbirds reported in Sevastopol


SEVASTOPOL, February 19 (Itar-Tass) — Mass and still unexplained deaths of migratory blackbirds have been reported in Sevastopol. Dozens of dead birds lie on the Kamyshovskoye highway, in the Kazachya bay and other coastal areas. As an ornithologist, an expert on biodiversity with the Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds, Alexander Grinchenko, explained to anxious residents, for the present it is early to state that the blackbirds died from infection or were poisoned by food. These are migratory birds, and they had flown, most likely, from North Africa, where no epidemics are reported.

Bird flu wreaks havoc in Agartala

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Barely 8 months after India declared itself free from bird flu in June 2010, the virus has stuck its nose against the grand declaration, resurfacing, in one of the sweet ironies, in a government Duck Breeding Farm in Agartala. H5 strains of Avian Influenza (H1N1), popularly called bird flu, have been confirmed in poultry samples from the state farm. The samples were tested by High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL), Bhopal, and ERDDL, Kolkata. The last outbreak occurred in January 2010 in Khargram block of Murshidabad district in West Bengal.

Influenza Strongly Hits Arizona


Health officials have reported the effect of influenza on Arizona for eighth consecutive week. Since December, Arizona’s flu activity has been widespread and this season the virus has spread in the state earlier than a typical year. Health officials say that the first case of the flu was reported in September and is expected to last longer. This season has witnessed a total of 5,115 laboratory confirmed influenza cases including more than 2,000 from Maricopa County.

Greece’s H1N1 Virus Death Toll Reaches Eighty-Two


A total of eighty-two people have died since the beginning of this year in Greece, after being infected with the A/H1N1 virus, or the “swine flu”. Reports by Greek press agency ANA, quotes figures supplied by the National Disease Prevention Centre. In the past 24 hours more than 8 people died, and 15 have been taken to hospital with swine flu symptoms. The number of patients that are under observation has risen to 127.


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