Sunday, June 24, 2012

CALIPHATE, THE UNITED STATES OF THE ARABS: The Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood - The Islamic Group Candidate, Mohammed Morsi Declared Country's New President; Vows Islamic State After Years in the Shadows! UPDATE: Cleric Introduces Egypt's New President - Our Capital "Shall be Jerusalem, Allah Willing"!

After days of delay for the results of its presidential runoff, Egypt has announced Mohammed Morsi as the winner of the election and the country's new president, the Associated Press reports.

Muslim Brotherhood candidate declared Egypt's new President.
Mohammed Morsi was declared Egypt's first Islamist president on Sunday after the freest elections in the country's history, narrowly defeating Hosni Mubarak's last Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq in a race that raised political tensions in Egypt to a fever pitch. The country's last four presidents over the past six decades have all came from the ranks of the military. This is the first time modern Egypt will be headed by an Islamist and by a freely elected civilian.  Throngs of Morsi supporters in Cairo's Tahrir Square erupted in cheers and dancing when the result was read out on live television. Some released doves with his pictures over the square where the uprising that ousted Mubarak last year was born. Others set off fireworks. Morsi's spokesman Ahmed Abdel-Attie said words cannot describe the "joy" in this "historic moment."  "We got to this moment because of the blood of the martyrs of the revolution," he said. "Egypt will start a new phase in its history."  The announcement was the culmination of a tumultuous, 16-month transition that was supposed to bring democratic rule, but was tightly controlled and curtailed by the military rulers who took power from Mubarak.  The outcome will not put an end to the main power struggle in the country now between Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and the military.  The election commission said Morsi won with 51.7 percent of the vote versus 48.3 for Shafiq. Turnout was 51 percent.  Farouk Sultan, the head of the commission, described the elections as "an important phase in the end of building our nascent democratic experience." - Huffington Post.
After 84 years as an often outlawed secret society struggling in the prisons and shadows of monarchs and dictators, the Brotherhood is now closer than ever to its stated goal of building an Islamist democracy in Egypt. “In my dreams I wanted this to happen, but it is unbelievable,” said Hudaida Hassan, a 20-year-old from Menoufiya. Even in a victorious moment, however, the Brotherhood’s leadership acknowledged that the struggle was far from over: leaders immediately pledged to continue the sit-in, fighting on in the courts and in the streets to restore the Parliament. And in his first statement as president-elect, Mr. Morsi vowed to swear the oath of office before the seated Parliament and not before the Supreme Constitutional Court as the generals had decreed.  Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the chairman of the military council, congratulated Mr. Morsi. The Brotherhood’s political arm said on its Web site that the official presidential guard who previously protected Mr. Mubarak had arrived at Mr. Morsi’s home to begin protecting him. It was a stark contrast from the days less than two years ago when the arrival of armed officers at the home of a Brotherhood leader inevitably meant a trip to one of Mr. Mubarak’s jails. - NY Times.
UPDATE: Cleric Introduces Egypt's New President - Our Capital "Shall Be Jerusalem, Allah Willing"!

Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi introduces Morsi's campaign on May 1st, declaring that the Muslim Brotherhood's rise to state power will signal the Caliphate or the "dominion of a caliph" and the establishment of the United States of the Arabs in Jerusalem.

WATCH: Higazi's speech.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Bank Run in Argentina - Nervous Savers Withdrew 522 Million Dollars in the Last Week!

Foreign-currency deposits fell to 10.52 billion on June 15, the central bank said in a report Friday. Those deposits are overwhelmingly US dollars, which Argentines view as a safe haven amid times of economic uncertainty. 


Argentines still view the dollar as a store of wealth and a transaction medium.
The loss of dollar deposits still isn't a serious threat to banks, as they represent less than 10% of their total deposit base.  However, the dwindling stock of dollar deposits likely will make export financing more expensive. The outflows also have dented the central bank's international reserves.  As of June 15, more than 5.5 billion in foreign-currency deposits had left the banking system since President Cristina Fernandez imposed exchange controls on Oct. 31, 2011, to limit capital flight that was draining reserves.  Severe restrictions on dollar purchases by businesses and individuals scared Argentines who remember the forced conversion of their dollar savings into pesos during a deep economic crisis in 2002. 

Argentines still view the dollar as a store of wealth and a transaction medium because of their country's long history of high inflation and runaway government spending that frequently ended in currency devaluations.  The dollar continues to be legal tender in Argentina and is used overwhelmingly in most real-estate transactions. Nearly all used-home sales in major cities are paid for in dollars.  The deposit outflows are also a sign that savers expect annual inflation that has been running at about 25% for several years to eventually force the government to weaken the peso at a faster rate than it has been willing to do until now.  The peso weakened to close at ARS4.5110 to the dollar on the regulated MAE foreign-exchange wholesale market Friday, bringing its year-to-date loss to 8.9%. But when adjusted for inflation, the peso has actually gained ground versus the greenback.  Peso-denominated deposits were little changed at ARS489.2 billion (108.4 billion dollars) on June 15, the central bank said. - Merco Press.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.5 Magnitude Quake Strikes Near the East Coast of Kamchatka, Russia!

A magnitude 6.5 earthquake has struck near the east coast of Kamchatka, Russia on Sunday, June 24, 2012 at 03:15:05 UTC, local time.

The tremor was located at 57.436°N, 163.418°E with a depth of 51 km (31.7 miles). The epicentre was 284 km (176 miles) south (189°) from Il'pyrskiy, Russia; 296 km (184 miles) northwest (329°) from Nikol'skoye, Komandorskiye Ostrova, Russia; 577 km (358 miles) northeast (30°) from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia; and 2990 km (1858 miles) northeast (29°) from Tokyo, Japan.  According to NOAA's National Weather Service, no tsunami watch, warning or advisory is in effect.


According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Kamchatka is one of the most active seismic region in Russia. Three earthquakes, which occurred off the coast of Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia in 1737, 1923 and 1952, were megathrust earthquakes and caused tsunamis. They occurred where the Pacific Plate subducts under the Okhotsk Plate at the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench. The depth of the trench at the point of the earthquakes is 7,000–7,500 meters. Northern Kamchatka lies at the western end of the Bering fault, between the Pacific Plate and North American Plate, or the Bering plate. There are many more earthquakes and tsunamis originating from Kamchatka, of which the most recent was the 1997 Kamchatka earthquake and tsunami originating near the Kronotsky Peninsula.

Click HERE for additional Details, Summary, Maps and Scientific & Technical information from the USGS.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: Very High Number of Dead, Dying Seabirds Washing up on East Florida Beaches - Authorities Declare it a "Major Event"?!

Researchers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have received reports of more than 150 dead or distressed greater shearwaters, gull-like birds, along Florida's east coast this week. After examining some of the birds, researchers believe these deaths are related to stress from the species' long, trans-Atlantic migration.  Greater shearwaters migrate from their primary breeding grounds in Tristan da Cunha, a group of islands off the southwest coast of Africa, across the Atlantic to Canada, according to the Peterson Field Guide for Eastern Birds.

File Photo.
"This long migration, coupled with storms and high winds, can take its toll on some immature and older shearwaters, sapping their strength and making it difficult to feed," said Dan Wolf, an FWC research biologist, in a news release. "Upon examination of some of the dead greater shearwaters this week, we found the birds were young and emaciated, consistent with normal migration mortality."  Because greater shearwaters live most of their lives on the open sea, the deaths are only seen alongshore when winds are blowing inshore, the FWC stated.  Local wildlife rehabilitation centers have received dozens of dying great shearwater birds in the past two weeks.  Since June 16, the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center in Palm City has received about 20 birds and none have survived, said the center's executive director Dan Martinelli.  "They're literally on death's door. They are emaciated," said Martinelli who added most of the recovered birds are juveniles and older adults — usually the weakest of the flock. "It's a major event. I think we can characterize it as a mass die-off."  According to Smithsonian Marine Station fellow Sea McKeon, who holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Florida, sometimes Mother Nature isn't the most nurturing force. 

"We've had tremendous rain and wind blowing over the ocean," said McKeon, who added the inability to hunt stemming from exhaustion might be causing the birds' demise. "The wind has pushed them onto our beaches. Once they're on land, they are completely helpless."  The seabirds have dark plumage, a dark cap and a wing span of 3 feet. The shearwater is one of only a few bird species to migrate from breeding grounds in the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere, the normal pattern being the other way around. The seabirds feed on small fish pushed to the ocean surface by tuna and dolphin during their annual summer migration along the Gulf Stream to Canada, McKeon said.  On Thursday morning, McKeon found four dead shearwater birds on North Hutchinson Island in Fort Pierce. He estimates hundreds have been washing up on beaches from Cape Canaveral to Miami. Animal experts at Creature Safe Place in Fort Pierce reported in the past two weeks they received about 10 shearwaters clinging to life. Executive director Winnie Burns said despite attempts to hydrate the birds, none survived.  "This is not a common occurrence," Burns said. "We usually get two a year."  Martinelli plans to ship 10 of the dead birds early next week to FWC in Gainesville for testing.  "This is a sad event, but it is probably a natural event," said Martinelli.  FWC states that migration-related deaths of greater shearwaters occur every year around this time, though the number varies. In 2007, researchers received reports of about 1,000 dead shearwaters during the migratory season. - The Palm Beach Post.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Seismic Disturbance Continues Along the Sumatra - Strong 6.6 Magnitude Quake Jolts Aceh Province, Indonesia!

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 jolted Aceh province in northern tip of Sumatra island on Saturday, the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency reported here.The USGS reported the quake was at 5.9 magnitude.

The quake struck at 11:34 a.m. Jakarta tme (0434 GMT) Saturday. The epicenter was at 24 km northwest Kota Subulus Alam of Aceh province with a depth of 103 km under the earth, an official of the agency told Xinhua by phone.
The intensity of the quake was felt at 4 MMI (Modified Mercally Intensity) in Blang Pidie and Sibolga and 2 MMI in Sibolga and 3 MMI in Banda Aceh, he said.

"No reports of damage or casualty are received so far, as the center of the quake was deep," the official said
Indonesia sits on a vulnerable quake-prone zone called "the Pacific Ring of Fire". - Xinhaunet.

Click HERE for additional Details, Summary, Maps and Scientific & Technical information from the USGS.

THE SYRIAN CRISIS: Escalation in the Middle East Conflict - Syria Shoots Down Turkish Warplane! UPDATE: Plane Shoot-down Triggers Emergency Military Talks in Turkey! UPDATE: Turkey Vows "Necessary and Decisive Action" Against Syria!

Syria shot down a Turkish warplane on Friday, Lebanon’s al Manar television reported, risking a new crisis between Middle Eastern neighbours already at bitter odds over a 16-month-old revolt against Syrian President Bashar al Assad.  “Syrian security sources confirmed to a Manar correspondent in Damascus that Syrian defence forces shot down the Turkish fighter jet,” the Hezbollah-owned channel said.

The two middle eastern neighbours are at bitter odds over the revolt against Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE
Turkey, which had drawn close to Syria before the uprising against Assad, became one of the Syrian leader’s fiercest critics when he responded violently to pro-democracy protests inspired by popular upheavals elsewhere in the Arab world.  Ankara has previously floated the possibility of setting up some kind of safe haven or humanitarian corridor inside Syria, which would entail military intervention, but has said it would undertake no such action without UN Security Council approval.  Turkey said it had lost contact with one of its military aircraft off its southeastern coast, and a television station said it had crashed in Syrian territorial waters.  CNN Turk television said Turkey was in contact with the Syrian authorities to get permission to conduct a search for the airmen, although there was no immediate official confirmation.  Turkey’s military said a search and rescue operation was under way. It lost radar and radio contact with the plane after it left Erhac airport in the eastern province of Malatya. 

Two crew were aboard the F-4 jet, Turkish state news agency Anatolia said, citing Malatya governor Ulvi Saran.  Hurriyet daily newspaper reported that the plane had gone down in international waters and that the two airmen had been found alive and well by Turkish forces.  Still, violence in Syria raged on unabated.  Rebels killed at least 25 members of a mainly Alawi pro-Assad militia and troops killed 10 anti-Assad protesters in the northern city of Aleppo, opposition activists said.  The violence, which followed a day of bloodshed across Syria in which 125 deaths were reported, is further evidence of a slide towards sectarian-tinged civil war in a country where majority Sunnis are spearheading an anti-Assad revolt.  Russia, one of Assad’s strongest backers abroad, said the Syrian authorities were ready to withdraw troops from cities, a main plank of envoy Kofi Annan’s never-implemented peace plan, “simultaneously” with rebels.  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with his Syrian counterpart that he had urged Syria to “do a lot more” to implement Annan’s UN-backed proposals, but that foreign countries must also press rebels to stop the violence.  Hundreds of people have been killed in Syria since the UN-Arab League mediator announced his six-point plan on April 12 and there was no let-up in the violence on Friday. - Tribune.
WATCH: Turkish fighter jet shot down over Syria - 2 pilots' status unknown.


UPDATE: Plane Shoot-down Triggers Emergency Military Talks in Turkey!

The Turkish army have announced it lost contact with a military plane near Syria, triggering an emergency meeting with Turkey's top military, intelligence and government officials.
Turkey's military command said in a brief statement that it lost radar and radio contact with one of its aircraft on the Mediterranean in the southwest of the Hatay province bordering Syria.  The plane took off from Malatya airbase in the southeast at 0730 GMT and lost communication with the base at 0858 GMT, the online statement said.  The incident prompted an emergency security meeting led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was expected to return from Brazil later in the day, said Anatolia news agency.  The meeting will also include the heads of the military and intelligence, as well as interior, foreign and defence ministers, it added.  Malatya governor Ulvi Saran told the Anatolia news agency that the aircraft was a F-4 fighter jet with two pilots onboard, without elaborating further.  "We have no information right now about the fate of the plane. We are following the developments," he said... US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has defended the Obama administration's decision not to arm the Syrian opposition. He said the country risked being pushed into an all-out civil war if efforts to secure a smooth political transition fail. - RTE.
UPDATE: Turkey Vows "Necessary and Decisive Action" Against Syria!

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Saturday his country would take "necessary" action against Syria for the downing of a Turkish military jet, but suggested that the aircraft may have unintentionally violated the Syrian airspace. 

Syria said Friday its forces had shot down a Turkish military plane that entered its air space. The plane, an unarmed F-4, went down in the Mediterranean Sea about 8 miles (13 kilometers) away from the Syrian town of Latakia, Turkey said.  The incident further escalated tensions between Syria and NATO-member Turkey. The two neighbors used to be allies before the Syrian revolt began in March 2011 but Turkey has become one of the strongest critics of the Syrian regime's brutal response to the country's uprising and is playing host to civilian and military Syrian opposition groups.  Gul said that Turkey was still trying to establish the exact circumstances of the incident but said it was "routine" for jets flying in high-speeds to violate other countries' air spaces for short periods of time.  "These incidents are routine," Gul said. "They are incidents that are not ill-intentioned and happen because of the speeds (of the jets). Was that the case, or did (the incident) occur in our own air space, these facts will emerge," he said. "No one should have any doubt that whatever (action) is necessary will be taken."  Gul did not elaborate on what those steps would be. But Turkey said after a border shooting incident – which killed two people inside a Turkish refugee camp in April – that it would call on its NATO allies to intervene should it feel that its security was being threatened. - Huffington Post.
WATCH: Jet Escalation - 'Turkey probing Syrian anti-air defense'.


SOLAR WATCH: Large Prominence Eruption Off the Northwest Limb of the Sun!


According to Space Weather, the departure of active sunspot AR1504 has left the Earth-facing side of the sun quiet and nearly blank. A small sunspot is emerging near the centre of the sun. However, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured a large prominence eruption off the northwest limb this morning, June 23, 2012. The coronal mass ejection (CME) does not look to be Earth-directed, so no geomagnetic storms are expected.

WATCH: Prominence Eruption.


Of note, with no significant active regions facing Earth, NOAA forecasters estimate a mere 1% chance of strong M- or X-class solar flares. Solar activity should remain low for at least the next 24 hours. However a solar wind flowing from a northern coronal hole could brush against Earth's magnetic field on June 28-29.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Shallow 4.2 Magnitude Quake Rattles Residents Along the Nevada-California Border - 5 Aftershocks In One Hour and a Half!

The epicenter of the earthquake was due east of Truckee just east of the Nevada - California state line.  People from all over the Reno-Sparks metro area and Carson City are telling News 4 that they felt the earthquake.

The quake struck at 8:51pm. There was a 1.4 magnitude aftershock about five minutes after the initial earthquake; 20 minutes later there was a 1.8 aftershock.  With-in an hour and a half there were five aftershocks. 

The largest aftershocks were two 1.9 magnitudes.  Nearly two hours after the 4.2, a 2.0 aftershock shook the area.  That 2.0 aftershock was downgraded from its original 2.1 reading.


At 12:13am another aftershock registered at 2.4 magnitude according to the USGS.

At 1:00pm, about eight hours before the large earthquake, there was a magnitude 2.0 quake in the same area. - KRNV.
Click HERE for additional Details, Summary, Maps and Scientific & Technical information from the USGS.

WATCH: 4.2 Earthquake near Incline Village.

ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: Most Violently Weird Attack in Palmetto, Florida - Man With Super-Human Strength Gets Naked and Bites Off Chunk of Another Man's Arm?!

When Jeffrey Blake woke up in his Palmetto home Thursday morning, he had no idea the bizarre scuffle with his son-in-law the night before would thrust him into worldwide headlines about another "zombie" attack.  "It didn't occur to me, to tell you the truth," Blake said.  The 48-year old was attacked and was bitten on the arm by the man who had stripped naked. 

When the Manatee County Sheriff's Office described the bite as a "chunk of meat" out of Blake's arm, the story quickly appeared throughout the internet.  In reality, Blake ended up with a bruised bicep with a minor puncture wound.  Still, the incident has similarities to the world-famous assault in Miami in which a man chewed off the face of a homeless man along a busy highway.  Blake described 25-year old Charles Baker as "wild," throwing furniture and tearing off his clothes.  "I don't know what was in his body but whatever it was, it was mighty powerful," Blake said.  Baker came to Blake's house on the 100 block of 25th Street West in Palmetto to visit his three children.  Baker's two sons, 8 and 4, and his daughter, 6, are in Blake's custody while their mother is in jail.  But the routine visit turned violent, according to sheriff's deputies.  Soon after Baker was allowed inside the home at 10:15 p.m., he went on a drug-induced rampage, according to investigators.  Deputies said they found traces of marijuana and opiates in his bloodstream.    What likely helped spawn the "zombie" comparisons, however, was the fact that the naked Baker was biting his victim, and seemed to be immune to the stun guns of sheriff's deputies. 

Blake said he was able to forcibly hold Baker to the floor while he waited for law enforcement to arrive.  Two deputies fired stun guns at Baker, but he ripped off the wires and tried to get back up.  But deputies didn't let up.  "All I heard was 'Hit him again' with the taser," Blake said.  "Hit him again.  Completely hit him again.  Five, six, seven times they hit him," he said.  Blake was amazed a person could resist so much electricity.  Baker was eventually handcuffed and arrested.  He was charged with aggravated battery and taken to the Manatee County Jail.    The attack happened as two of Baker's children were awake and watching.  The two youngest kids were in the hallway and happened to witness the entire fight.  "Taking clothes off in front of your six year old child?"  Blake asked Baker during the tussle.  "I feel bad for him.  I don't know what he's going through," Blake said.  The great-grandmother of the three kids was also appalled.  Lynda Brooks said she thought Baker might have been upset over the recent suicide of his father, but that didn't excuse his behavior.  "I don't like what he did at all," Brooks said.  Blake said he plans to make sure his grandchildren are kept away from their father, but he hopes Baker gets some kind of mental help.    "It's something I never want to see again, that's for sure."  - ABC Action News.
WATCH: Latest 'zombie' eating attack in Manatee County.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Dozens Of People Feel Quake In Western North Carolina - South Carolina is Now the Most Seismically Active State, East of the Mississippi River!

A small earthquake shook up a dozen residents Tuesday in Western North Carolina.  The U.S. Geological Survey reports a 2.0 magnitude quake was centered about seven miles northeast of Franklin in Macon County.  It happened around 10:45 p.m. 

No damaged was caused by the earthquake. Dozens of people in both Franklin and Sylva told officials they felt it. The Carolinas will experience between 2 and 5 earthquakes each year. The quakes are usually minor to moderate and no one even notices the ground moving. “Most of the earthquakes we have around here are actually from the reservoirs in the area," said USC Upstate Geology Professor Briget Doyle. Research has found that South Carolina is the most seismically active state, east of the Mississippi River and every county has the potential for earthquakes. The last significant earthquake in the Upstate was in 2010, according to Doug Bryson, director of Spartanburg County Office of Emergency Management.

“It was a 2.5 on the Richter scale and was located southeast of the City of Spartanburg. It felt like a large truck or train going by and everything vibrated,” Bryson said. The quake didn't cause any damage, but Bryson says his office is always prepared for the worst. The best way to protect yourself during an earthquake is to immediately get under a sturdy table or desk and hold on to it. Bryson says do not get under a doorway as you’re more likely to get hurt. If you’re outside, move away from any buildings, power lines and trees. Once in the open, get low and stay there until the shaking stops. The largest earthquake to date in South Carolina was a magnitude 7 and took place in Charleston in 1886. Doyle says, a quake that size usually occurs once every 500 years, based on historical information. While no one can predict earthquakes, Doyle recommends to be ready at all times, because it’s not a question of if an earthquake will happen. but when and how big
. - WSPA.
WATCH: Earthquake in Western North Carolina.


GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: The Euro Zone Crisis - Starving Greeks Queue For Food in Their Thousands as Debt-Wracked Country Finally Forms Coalition Government!

Starving Greeks queued around the block for free food handouts yesterday as the country's politicians managed to end a crippling stalemate to form a coalition government.  Young children as well as the elderly waited in line in Athens to collect the parcels of fruit and vegetables donated by farmers from Crete to help ease the devastating austerity faced by many Greeks.   But as hungry people collected food, a few miles away a new conservative-led alliance was formed, vowing to renegotiate the country's strict European bailout in a bid to breath economic life back into the debt-stricken country. 

Hundreds of poverty-stricken Greeks are queuing for free vegetable handouts as politicians
finally agree to form a coalition government.
Conservative Antonis Samaras was sworn in as prime minister and head of a three-party coalition that will uphold the country's international bailout commitments.  The move ends a protracted political crisis that had cast grave doubt over the country's future in Europe's joint currency and threatened to plunge Europe deeper into a financial crisis with global repercussions.  Samaras, an American-educated 61-year-old economist, was sworn in three days after his party won the second national elections in six weeks but without enough votes to form a government on its own.  His New Democracy party will join forces with the socialist PASOK party, which came in third place, and the smaller Democratic Left led by Fotis Kouvelis...  All three parties broadly back Greece's pledges to bailout creditors for further austerity and reforms, although they have pledged to renegotiate some of the terms for the rescue loans.  New Democracy and PASOK are also looking for an extension of at least two years in the deadlines for implementing fresh cutbacks worth a total 14.5billion euro ($18.42 billion). 

Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis went a bit further today, saying that Greece should eventually ‘disengage’ from the austerity commitments and ‘lift those measures that have literally bled society.’  Greece has been dependent on the loans from other Eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund since May 2010. In return, it has imposed deep spending cuts, slashed salaries and pensions, and repeatedly hiked taxes.  The measures have left the country struggling through a fifth year of recession, with unemployment spiraling to above 22 percent and tens of thousands of businesses shutting down.  The face of the crippling poverty gripping the country was plain to see as hundreds of poverty-stricken Greeks queued in a central Athens park for free vegetables. Cretan farmers handed out some 2,700 10-kilo packages of produce, in cooperation with the capital's municipal authorities.   Among the people lining up was Panayiota Sidera, 31, from Athens. She said she has been unemployed for two-and-a-half years and her husband is also out of a job. The couple is living on a (euro) 250 monthly disability pension and rent from an apartment they own, and has a (euro) 540-a-month loan installment to pay.  ‘That's my predicament,’ she said, adding that the food handout ‘is helping people, and I'm grateful.’ ‘The government should have been doing this years ago,’ she said.
- Daily Mail.

EXTREME WEATHER: Fires Danger at "All-Time High" Across Colorado - Most Expensive in State History; 68,200 Acres Burned; 189 Homes Destroyed; as Officials Brace For More!

All of Colorado isn't burning, but there's enough flame and enough potential to have authorities deeply worried as the drought-parched state braces for another week of searing temperatures, high wind and low humidities. Numerous Colorado communities, towns and counties have issued fire bans, and last week Gov. John Hickenlooper imposed statewide restrictions, including barring private use of fireworks.

A helicopter flew through the Cache La Poudre Canyon as flames scored the forest south of the river. The High Park fire
made a run to the north Thursday afternoon, June 14, 2012. Flames crossed over the Poudre River causing a mandatory
evacuation for residents of the Glacier View area. Karl Gehring/The Denver Post
Thursday,  the U.S. Forest Service amped up fire restrictions on its public lands along the Front Range, as well as the Pawnee National Grasslands in Weld County, effective Friday. "We have a major fire burning on our forest," said Glenn Casamassa, supervisor of the , supervisor of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grasslands. "Protecting people and homes is our main priority. Since fire danger is at an all-time high, doing what we can to prevent additional ignitions is imperative."  Casamassa referred to the High Park fire in Larimer County, the most expensive in state history, already has burned 68,200 acres and at least 189 homes.

The fire, which was started by lighting on June 9, is 55 percent contained, but authorities have said the area from Poudre Canyon to Horsetooth Reservoir could smolder for weeks to come. Almost 2,000 firefighters are battling the High Park fire.  Almost 500 are battling the Springer fire near Lake George, which was 30 percent contained at 1,145 acres Thursday. The Little Sand fire in the San Juan National Forest northwest of Pagosa Springs, has consumed 13,180 acres since it began with lightning in remote terrain on May 13. The fire is 30 percent contained Thursday. The Sunrise Mine fire near the Colorado-Utah border, has burned 5,742 acres of remote terrain about four miles north of Paradox. Earlier this week, the fire burned 2,000 acres. The fire started Tuesday afternoon and was put out by Wednesday afternoon, according to the Craig Daily Record.  - The Denver Post.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Strange Case of the "Zombie" Tropical Storm Chris - Never Before Since Record-Keeping Began in 1851 Has a System Formed That Far North in the Atlantic This Early!

Chris was labeled as a "zombie" tropical storm for the same reason that the system broke a tropical weather record. Chris acquired the description "zombie" after AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller stated, "the storm is alive, but it should not be."

This satellite image of Chris, courtesy of NOAA, was captured Thursday morning.
Chris organized into a tropical storm Tuesday afternoon over water that is far from warm enough for development and at a latitude that is typically unheard of in June. The storm further strengthened into the Atlantic Basin's first hurricane of the season early Thursday with a pronounced eye showing up in satellite images. Later Thursday, "zombie" Chris was downgraded, once again becoming a tropical storm. Chris first took shape at a latitude of 39.3 degrees north, the same latitude that southern New Jersey sits. Never before since record-keeping began in 1851 has a tropical storm formed that far north in the Atlantic this early in hurricane season, according to the National Hurricane Center. Tropical Storm Bret recently held that record after developing due east of northern North Carolina in late June 1981.

When Chris took shape, it also marked the third earliest formation of the third tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin. Only during the years of 1887 and 1959 has such development occurred earlier. Tropical storms have developed north of a latitude of 40.0 degrees, but not until August or later when the northern Atlantic waters were warmer. It would be less surprising for a subtropical storm to take shape in the far northern Atlantic in June since subtropical storms only possess partial tropical characteristics. Later today, the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center expects Chris to lose its tropical characteristic as it merges with another non-tropical storm system. - Accu Weather.

STORM ALERT: Gulf of Mexico and American East Coast on Alert For Tropical Storm Debby!

AccuWeather.com meteorologists continue to monitor low pressure near the Yucatan which is expected to become "Debby" this weekend. According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski, "There is a slight chance this feature could become a tropical depression as early as tonight. However, we feel this system will become better organized this weekend and should become Tropical Storm Debby later Saturday or on Sunday." Interestingly enough, there has never been a fourth named storm in June. Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski has more information in this story. Debby, once an organized tropical entity, will take a northward jog this weekend into the central Gulf of Mexico, where it will have ample opportunity to strengthen.

The system could spin up just about anywhere in the mass of clouds over the Caribbean and southern Gulf of Mexico.
The waters over the Gulf of Mexico are warm enough to sustain a tropical system. Along with that, the winds in the upper parts of the atmosphere or what meteorologists call "wind shear" are relatively light. Kottlowski also stated that "The combination of low shear and warm water will support strengthening of this storm into a depression then a tropical storm this weekend. If the storm can avoid shear, it will probably become a hurricane early next week."  As the system is organizing this weekend, tropical moisture will stream northward into the eastern Gulf and parts of the Florida Peninsula.  Torrential rains could fall from Naples and Fort Myers through Tampa and Orlando this weekend while creating rough surf and poor beach weather for many.  The heavy rains could then expand northward into Jacksonville, Pensacola and Gainesville on Sunday as the storm continues to develop and drift through the Gulf. Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski states that "The movement of this developing storm will be highly influenced by the strengthening of a large upper-level high pressure area now over the southwest United States and a large dip in the jet stream that extends into the Gulf of Mexico." 

The interaction of Debby with one of these features will ultimately determine which direction it tracks early next week.  Should Debby become picked up by the aforementioned dip in the jet stream, it would track into northern Florida. However, if it misses that connection, it's possible that the system will stall out off the Florida coast for a while.  Another scenario is that Debby misses the dip in the jet stream and gets shoved back westward toward Texas as a large area of high pressure builds over the Plains states. The flow around that ridge could send Debby southwestward toward the coast of Texas or even far northern Mexico.  The bottom line is that until this system develops into an organized tropical entity, confidence on the exact track remains on the low side. Still, we are certain about a few things.  1) There will be development of an organized tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico this weekend.  2) It will drift slowly northward over the weekend, bringing a plume of heavy rains into parts of Florida.  3) Conditions are favorable for further strengthening and it is possible that this system will become Tropical Storm Debby by later Saturday or Sunday.  Residents along the Gulf Coast and throughout the Southeast part of the country are urged to keep an eye on this developing tropical system.  Regardless of which way the feature heads, rough surf and dangerous rip tides will develop over the weekend along much of this region.  Stay tuned to AccuWeather.com as we continue to track the potential for our next named storm. The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center has more information on the tropics. - Accu Weather.
WATCH: Tracking Debby.


   

Friday, June 22, 2012

THE PRIEST CLASS OF THE MAGI: Vatileaks & the Fight to be Petrus Romanus - Growing Scandal Could Bring Down the Second Most Important Person in the Vatican!

The Vatican is in the midst of an unprecedented series of scandals after the leak of a huge treasure trove of suppressed documents given to a notorious investigative journalist last year. But who leaked the "Vatileaks" and why? The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has played down the scandals, insisting it's just the result of journalists "pretending to be Dan Brown". He also, cryptically, blamed the "devil". But Cardinal Bertone should probably be worried — he's thought to be the target of the leaks.

Cardinal Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone.
Journalist Gianlugi Nuzzi, notorious for a series of books about the Vatican, was reportedly vetted for months before being given the documents by an unknown source, known only as "Maria", the Daily Beast reports. Nuzzi began revealing the information in the documents in his TV show The Untouchables last year, before publishing full details in a book last month, Sua Santità—Le Carte Segrete di Benedetto XVI. The documents themselves are 30 faxed memos from the Pope's office to other Vatican offices. Many of the documents are mundane, Der Spiegel notes, but some hint at huge scandals, which later led to further investigations and wild speculation. Crucially, the documents appeared to show that Vatican insiders who attempted to confront corruption in the Vatican Bank were sidelined. For example, during Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano's tenure as deputy-governor of the Vatican city from 2009-2011, Vigano encountered and reportedly tried to put a stop to corruption, cronyism, nepotism, and the awarding of contracts to friends of officials at inflated prices. However, when he brought evidence of these events to the attention of Pope Benedict XVI, he was removed from office. 

Perhaps even more damning than the documents themselves are the scandals in Italian newspapers that have come in the wake of the Vatileaks. Most scandalous of all was the case of Magliana mob boss Enrico De Pedis, who was reportedly buried alongside the bodies of former Popes and Cardinals following his death in 1990 — all for the lump sum of 1 billion lire ($660,000). While the rumors about De Pedis had existed for years, one new note leaked from the Vatican press office suggested that Pedis may have played a role in the disappearance of a Vatican employees 15-year-old daughter. Soon after that revelation, Father Gabriel Amorth, an exorcist in the Catholic Church, said he believed Emanuela Orlandi had been involved in depraved Vatican sex parties, and her remains were buried with De Pedis. Thus far, the tomb has been exhumed and investigators have found bones that do not belong to De Pedis. The newest accusation of mafia links involves Father Ninni Treppiedi and Sicilian mafioso Matteo Messina Denaro. Millions of Denaro's euros were reportedly laundered through Treppiedi's former parish Aclamo, the richest parish in Sicily. Denaro is still at large and is considered by many as the most wanted man in Italy.

The scandals appear to have been a huge headache for the Catholic church. For example, the Vatican Bank President Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was given a vote of no confidence in May (the Vatican says it was for leaking documents, he says it was for trying to reform the Bank. He now reportedly fears for his life). Last month, following a lengthy investigation, Vatican authorities finally arrested one man thought to be behind the leaks — the Pope's butler, Paolo Gabriele. While the arrest was to the delight of headline writers around the world, there's a significant amount of people who don't buy it. The theory is that Gabriele could never had access to some of the documents, and others (possibly high ranking cardinals) must have been behind the leak. Journalist Nuzzi has refused to say anything about the person who gave him the Vatileaks documents.

Regardless, the leaks appear to have prompted official reactions from other entities. For the first time ever, the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report said the Vatican city as an area "of concern" when it comes to money laundering, and the Milan branch of JPMorgan Chase closed the Vatican bank account at the end of March, citing a lack of transparency and insufficient information concerning money transfers.
Curiously, Nuzzi himself has told Der Spiegel that the target isn't the pope himself, instead arguing that Benedict XVI is revolutionary, and clearly wants to bring transparency to the Vatican bank. What the leaks really show, he said, is his weakness of his leadership. Many note that the target of attacks seems to be the second most important person in the Vatican — the secretary of state, Tarcisio Bertone, who has been accused of cronyism and refusing to deal with corruption, Reuters reports. Bertone is of course the man who would like to blame the scandal on "the devil", but he's also the head of the opaque and archaic Vatican bureaucracy, the Curia, which is dominated by Italian clerics such as Bertone and can effectively overrule the pope. Benedict XVI had planned to reform the church, but instead found himself under its power, despite a growing backlash. Whatever the reason behind the leaks, the scandal has shown the incredible level of infighting inside the secretive headquarters of the Catholic Church. Exactly how brutal that infighting will be remains to be seen... In February, a letter was sent to the highest Vatican officials of a potential plot to kill Benedict XVI. - Business Insider.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Dead Turtles Mysteriously Washing Ashore Along U.S. Mid-Atlantic Coast - Scientists Not Sure Why?!

In the weeks between late May and June, five sea turtles washed ashore along Delaware’s beaches. Then, over last weekend into Monday, that number more than doubled: six additional dead turtles were found.  Along New Jersey beaches, four dead sea turtles washed in on Sunday alone. And along the Virginia coast, the number of dead turtles was abnormally high during May.

Delaware marine officials examine a dead sea turtle that washed up on Dewey Beach.
State and federal officials who monitor sea turtle populations said they don’t know if the numbers indicate any problem.  “This time of year, turtles are migrating,” said Edna Stetzer, a state biologist. “They might be more concentrated.”  And several days of onshore winds may have driven dead and dying turtles — creatures that wouldn’t typically be discovered — up onto beaches in the area, said Suzanne Thurman, executive director of the MERR Institute, Delaware’s marine stranding organization.  Kate Sampson, the federal sea turtle stranding and disentanglement coordinator in this region, said federal, state and regional stranding coordinators from Maine to Virginia are gathering for planned quarterly meetings next week and will discuss what they have been seeing.  Sampson said that turtles typically begin arriving along the Virginia coast in April and May, then move north. The Chesapeake and Delaware bays are popular summer feeding grounds for juvenile loggerhead turtles.
“Once turtles start moving into an area, the strandings start to increase,” she said.  The one concern in Virginia is that strandings in May numbered 58 sea turtles. So far in June, there have been 39, she said. Typically, those numbers would be reversed, she said.  So the question is: “What is that all about?” she said. “So far, there is no one smoking gun.”  One factor may be the impact from a warmer-than-usual winter and early spring — something that affected everything from horseshoe crab spawning to plant flowering.  Another may be the strong onshore winds of the last few weeks. What is not known is whether other factors — boat strikes, marine pollution or disease — also could be playing a role, she said.  Delaware’s numbers, for instance, are a little higher than normal but not alarming, she said.  Warmer water temperatures do allow species such as sea turtles to move north sooner to forage for food, she said.  One thing officials in Delaware look for is whether the turtles show signs of injury, such as from a boat strike or entanglement with fishing gear, Stetzer said. The bigger concern, she said, is if they are washing up for no apparent reason.  The state Division of Fish & Wildlife and the MERR Institute hold a joint permit to respond to turtle strandings.  Rob Rector, with the MERR Institute, responded to one stranding in early June.  The turtle was a 200-pound sub-adult loggerhead, he said. It showed no signs of a propeller strike. “We know that for a fact,” he said.  The shell did have some dislocations, but that could be caused by tumbling in the surf, he said.  Of the Delaware turtle strandings, all but one have been loggerheads. One of the strandings last weekend was a leatherback. - Washington Post.

TERMINATOR NOW: Project Plan X and the Rise of the Machines - U.S. Pentagon Developing Cyber Weapons That Can Launch, Possibly Select Targets, Without Human Intervention!

The United States government is developing a computer system that would allow it to conduct cyber warfare without the intervention of a human programmer. Recently, stories have leaked detailing the U.S. government’s creation and implementation of two cyber attacks on the information systems of other nations.
"Flame" was the name of a computer virus reportedly developed and launched by the United States in order to glean critical data from computers in several Middle Eastern countries.

According to a story published in the Washington Post, the United States and Israel launched a joint venture to develop the Flame virus. Once launched into cyber space, the code reportedly collected online intelligence data that was then used to create a similar bit of malware that would cripple Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Officials cited in the Post article revealed that the effort was a collaboration of the National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA, and the Israeli military. One product of that Israeli-American secret enterprise was the Stuxnet virus. Stuxnet was the virus allegedly deployed by the United States to decelerate Iran’s progress toward the development of a nuclear weapon. Apparently, Flame and Stuxnet were just the beginning of a more sophisticated and sustained American cyber assault against the Iranian nuclear infrastructure. As one source quoted by the Washington Post reports: “This is about preparing the battlefield for another type of covert action,” said one former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official, who added that Flame and Stuxnet were elements of a broader assault that continues today. “Cyber-collection against the Iranian program is way further down the road than this.” There is substantial evidence that this unnamed intelligence official knew what he was talking about.

Soon after the existence of Flame and Stuxnet was uncovered (some say leaked by the Obama administration itself), the Post ran a story claiming that the ultra-secret Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was preparing to test “unmanned cyber attacks” that launch themselves without the need of a human at the controls. Last month, Ellen Nakashima wrote an article about a just such a program being carried out by DARPA. According to Nakashima, the project is codenamed Plan X, and its goal is to “develop systems that could give commanders the ability to carry out speed-of-light attacks and counterattacks using preplanned scenarios that do not involve human operators manually typing in code — a process considered much too slow.” Yes, the need for a human being to launch these cyber attacks is seen by the government as an unnecessary speed bump, much the same way they see the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that a warrant be obtained before anyone is searched or anything is seized as a result of that search. One former member of the Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps sees the Pentagon’s creation of these weapons as the first step toward the deployment of an autonomous weapon that not only launches without human direction, but can choose its own targets, as well.
- The New American.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: 75 Sea Birds Found Dead on Daytona Beach, Florida?!

When Myrna Moore took her customary walk along the beach Wednesday morning, she was surprised to find more than a dozen dead seabirds in the surf.  "I've never seen that many dead birds at one time, and I've lived here 40 years," Moore said.

File Photo.
She found the birds along the beach in Daytona Beach Shores during a three-mile walk. At least 75 birds have been found dead along the beach since the weekend, said Joanne Magley, a Volusia County spokeswoman, including at least 20 on Wednesday.  The birds are shearwaters, a family of birds generally found offshore over the open ocean, officials said. Several varieties of shearwaters can be seen offshore of Volusia County including sooty, greater and Audubon's. 

About 10 shearwaters were found alive this week and taken to the County's Mary Keller Seabird Rehabilitation Sanctuary at the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, said Capt. Tammy Marris, spokeswoman for the Volusia Beach Patrol.  "They're coming in extremely exhausted if not dead." Science center staff members believe the birds were probably downed by high winds over the ocean this week, Magley said.  They say the phenomenon isn't that uncommon, with sick, very young and aging birds falling prey to the weather.  Marris said science center staff told her dead seabirds have been found along the coast and not just in Volusia County. - The Daytona Beach News Journal.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Pandora's Box at Japan's Nuclear Dead Zone - Radiation Level in Sub-Drain of Reactor 2 Increased Ten Times After Passage of Typhoon Guchol!

As we have documented here, Typhoon Guchol pushed across Japan this week, dumping heavy rains and gusty winds in areas such as Tokyo, Shikoku and the Kii Peninsula.

The TRMM satellite passed above weakening typhoon Guchol on June 18, 2012 at 2322 UTC (7:33 pm EDT/US) as
it moved toward Japan's main island of Honshu. The yellow, green and blue areas indicate light-to-moderate rainfall
between 20 and 40 millimeters (.78 to 1.57 inches) per hour. Red areas are considered heavy rainfall at 2 inches/50 mm
per hour and there was none evident in the image. Credit: Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
The first tropical storm of the season to make landfall in Japan was a soaker, and the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite captured its large area of rainfall as it moved over the big island. The TRMM satellite passed above weakening typhoon Guchol on June 18, 2012 at 2322 UTC (7:33 p.m. EDT) as it moved toward Japan's main island of Honshu. A precipitation analysis from TRMM's (TMI) and (PR) instruments showed that the Japanese islands of Kyushu and Shikoku were getting rainfall from Guchol at the time of that orbit. Guchol was shown by TRMM to be enhancing rainfall in parts of Japan over 500 km (~310.7 miles) from the typhoon's center. The Joint issued their final bulletin on Guchol on June 19 at 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT). At that time, maximum sustained winds were down to 35 knots (40 mph/64 kph). It was located about 110 miles (177 km) west of Yokosuka, Japan, near 35.3 North and 137.5 East and speeding to the northeast at 37 knots (42.5 mph/68.5 kph)!Guchol re-emerged over the Pacific Ocean as a fully extra-tropical cyclone and will continue to weaken at sea. - PHYSORG.
The typhoon was projected to pass relatively close to the Fukushima nuclear power plant with sustained winds of about 100 mph. The Japanese government had declared that the reactors posed no significant additional risk. However, Robert Alvarez, the former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy, cast a dangerous warning about the potential impact on Fukushima from any further deterioration.

The No. 4 pool is about 100 feet above ground, is structurally damaged and is exposed to the open elements. If an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl accident. - University of California, Berkeley.
Yesterday, Iori Mochizuki of the Fukushima Diary website, indicates that after the passage of the typhoon, cesium level in sub-drain of reactor2 was increased 10 times higher than usual and that TEPCO comments rain washed radiation to flow into the sub-drain.


Source 1 2 3

HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE: Order Out of Chaos - Secret EU Summit Document Shows First Step to European Banking Union!

A classified draft of next week’s EU summit conclusions is the first step on an emerging “roadmap” to a banking union, pooling debt via eurobonds and political union via EU treaty change over the next 10 years. The “limite” text - published exclusively by The Daily Telegraph, is secret, restricted for the "eyes only" of diplomats and officials preparing for the 28 and 29 June European Council in Brussels

Most of the text, the annexed “Compact for Growth and Jobs”, are deals on project bonds and other small scale EU initiatives that Francois Hollande is trumpeting as a €120bn “growth pact”.  The first draft is relatively uncontroversial because the eurobond and "banking union" issues are currently all too sensitive to be committed to paper for officials.  Other so-called "non-papers" are circulating at a top secret level between national capitals and Brussels.  The difficult issues not included in the draft are the “p.m” items in the draft: “other financial stability measures” and “PEC report on EMU”.

Translated from the Brussels jargon, the PEC – president of the European Council – report will be Herman Van Rompuy’s preliminary text of the future of “Economic and Monetary Union”.  This will be circulated in sealed envelopes next week.  The separate text will set out a “roadmap” to a banking union, polling debt via some kind of eurobonds and political union via EU treaty change over the next 10 years.  Also important and controversial is will the “other financial stability measures” paper, including financial transition tax proposal and moves towards a banking union that can be taken by the EU before the end of the year.  Britain faces major fight over an FTT, or some other banking levy, at a meeting of EU finance ministers on Friday ahead of the summit next week.  The UK – which has no veto under current proposals on deepening EU banking regulation – also faces the ECB becoming Europe’s main banking regulator and the creation of national bank resolution funds that can be asked to contribute to European bank bailouts on a “compulsory” basis.  - Telegraph.
Click HERE to look at the secret document.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Large Sinkhole Threatens Bledsoe County Highway in Tennessee!

A sinkhole is getting bigger, threatening a main highway in Bledsoe County... and the sinkhole on Highway 127 is attracting spectators.

A 20 foot wide sinkhole has opened up in a field right near Highway 127, and local residents say that it is still growing.
Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
At 23 feet deep, geologists say the sides are unstable and the hole could still be growing. Sam Williams, a geologist for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, spent the afternoon surveying the damage.
He believes the property owner is safe, but worries the sinkhole could take part of the highway with it. "There does appear to be an underground stream or cave at the bottom of it, and it does appear to be flowing back toward the road," said Williams, "so, we do want to get a repair started as quick as we can."

TDOT crews have roped off the area, and plan to fill the hole possibly Monday.
For now Highway 127 is open to drivers. - WRCB.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Pilots Warned About the Sudden Eruption of Alaska's Cleveland Volcano!

It seems there can be some trouble for aircrafts hovering over southwest of Anchorage, as there are reports that indicate a remote Aleutian volcano became active on Tuesday.

For the past one year, it has been silent but it has been showing signs of strong eruptions.  Recent reports from the Alaska Volcano Observatory have alerted one and all about what can happen to aircrafts if in case they travel in such condition. Nonetheless, it is believed that there is nothing much to worry about as intensity of such ash signals is quite weak. "It was just one explosion, which was very typical of the thing Cleveland has been doing in the last year”, said Stephanie Prejean, a U. S. Geological Survey seismologist at the observatory in Anchorage. 

It is believed that there are chances that explosion can affect aircrafts traveling. It was also found that an ash cloud was seen building some 35,000 feet above sea level. It is believed that Cleveland is one of the most active Alaska's volcanoes but still there is no on-site seismic monitoring equipment.  In any case, warning has been sent in the same context so that necessary precautions can be taken by pilots’ flying over the region. - French Tribune.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 6.0 Quake Strikes Off Australia's Macquarie Island!

A powerful earthquake of 6.0 magnitude struck in the Pacific Ocean off Australia's remote and sparsely-populated Macquarie Island on Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 

The USGS reported that the quake struck at a shallow depth of 6.2 miles at about 3:30 p.m. local time, with its epicenter located some 14 miles northwest of Macquarie Island.  There were no immediate reports of casualities or damages, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is yet to respond to the tremor. 

Macquarie Island is located in the southwest corner of the Pacific Ocean, about half-way between New Zealand and Antarctica. Politically, it is part of Tasmania, Australia, since 1900 and became a Tasmanian State Reserve in 1978. In 1997 it became a World Heritage Site.  The island is home to the entire Royal Penguin population on earth during their annual nesting season. Ecologically, the remote island is part of the Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundra ecoregion. 

Since 1948, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) has maintained a permanent base on the island. The population of the base, the island's only human inhabitants, usually varies from 20 to 40 people over the year. - RTT News.

Click HERE for additional Details, Summary, Maps and Scientific & Technical information from the USGS.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Imminent Worldwide Financial Collapse - Dow Jones Plunge 251 Points, the Second- Biggest Drop This Year as Moody’s Downgrade of 15 Global Banks is Expected and Spain May Need 62 Billion Euro to Rescue Banks!

Investors yanked money out of stocks Thursday after new reports from the U.S. and China pointed to a sharp slowdown in manufacturing.  The Dow Jones industrial plunged 251 points, the second-biggest drop this year. 

Losses in energy and materials companies led a widespread rout on the stock market. The Dow started sinking after 10 a.m., when the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve reported a sharp contraction in manufacturing in the Northeast. The losses accelerated throughout the day.  "The news has been horrible out there," said Uri Landesman, president of Platinum Partners. "The U.S. economy is slowing down. And China's growth is definitely under question."  The bad news kept piling up as the day went on. Mining and other companies that made basic materials fell hard after prices for commodities such as copper and oil dropped. Goldman Sachs analysts advised their clients to bet that stocks would fall, and speculation swirled that Moody's would cut the credit ratings of 17 banks.  The Dow lost 250.82 points to close at 12,573.57, a drop of 2 percent. Alcoa lost 37 cents to $8.55. A new report that manufacturing slowed in China was troubling since that country's economy has helped drive global economic growth over the past four years. China is a major importer of copper and other basic materials.  The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 30.18 points to 1,325.51, a decline of 2.2 percent. The Nasdaq composite fell 71.36 points, 2.4 percent, to 2,859.09. All three indexes lost their gains for the week. - Canadian Business.
Meanwhile, credit ratings agency Moody’s could downgrade the debt ratings of as many as 15 global investment banks after the closing bell today, a move that would cost the banks billions of dollars in extra collateral.
In February, Moody’s announced it would review the ratings of 17 global investment banks and has already downgraded Macquarie and Nomura. In the U.S., the companies that are most likely to be affected by today’s action: Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley. Royal Bank of Canada and nine European banks, including Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse  are also on the list. The current credit actions are part of a comprehensive review of the overall global banking system by Moody’s. In the middle of last month Moody’s downgraded Italian, Spanish, German and Austrian bank credit ratings. The U.S. banks with global capital markets capabilities have had an open dialogue with the ratings company, in an effort to soften the severity of the downgrades. This afternoon’s anticipated announcement could affect the long-term debt ratings of the bank-holding companies of five of the biggest U.S. banks — only Wells Fargo is not on the list. Moody’s is also looking at the short-term debt of the five bank-holding companies and the main bank operating subsidiaries of all except JPMorgan. The company that has the most to lose: Morgan Stanley. Moody’s is contemplating cutting Morgan Stanley’s senior long term debt rating three notches to Baa2, or just two notches above “junk”. That could put its credit rating on a level with Bank of America’s and Citigroup’s — if its debt is downgraded as expected. - CNBC.
Spain's banks would need 51-62 billion euros ($64-78 billion) in extra capital to weather a serious downturn in the economy, less than a 100-billion-euro aid package offered by the euro zone, independent audits showed on Thursday. 
The Spanish government will use the reports by consultancies Roland Berger and Oliver Wyman to determine how much aid it will take to recapitalize its ailing lenders.  Spain said it will make a formal request in the next few days but details on how much each bank will need won't be known until September, leaving analysts with mixed feelings about the capacity of the audit to restore confidence in a sector shut out of international markets.  Doubts about the economy and the banks have moved Spain to the center of a long-running euro zone debt crisis, forcing the Treasury to pay its highest yield since 1997 to sell less than a billion euros of 5-year debt on Thursday. - Reuters.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report - New Activities and Unrest From June 13th - 19th; For Fuego, Galeras, Manam, Nevado del Ruiz and Sirung!

The following constitutes the new activity and unrest report from the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, a cooperative project between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program.



FUEGO Guatemala 14.473°N, 90.880°W; summit elev. 3763 m
INSIVUMEH reported that during 14-15 and 17-18 June explosions from Fuego produced ash plumes that rose 300-800 m above the crater and drifted WSW, E, and NE. Explosions generated rumbling sounds and shock waves detected in areas as far as 6 km away. Tephra avalanches descended the SW flank, into the Ceniza drainage, and lava flowed 200 m SW, into the Taniluya drainage. Pulses of incandescence rose 50-75 m above the crater. During 18-19 June lava flows advanced 50 m and block avalanches reached vegetated areas. Map

GALERAS Colombia 1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m
INGEOMINAS reported that during 5-19 June seismicity at Galeras had increased in both magnitude and frequency since the previous week-long period, and indicated continuing ash and gas emissions. On 5, 6, and 12-19 June cameras recorded gas-and-ash emissions; an ash plume rose 1.4 and 2.4 km above the crater on 14 and 17 June, respectively. Ashfall was reported in Sandona (13 km NW), Samaniego (32 km NW), Mapachico (8 km NW), and Genoy (5 km NE). Sulfur dioxide emissions were moderate to high. The Alert Level remained at III (Yellow; "changes in the behavior of volcanic activity"). Map

MANAM Northeast of New Guinea (SW Pacific) 4.080°S, 145.037°E; summit elev. 1807 m
RVO reported low-to-moderate activity from Manam's Southern Crater during 1-15 June. Emissions consisted of gray and sometimes black ash clouds that rose from the crater on most days. Plumes drifted SE on 2 June and NW during 6-15 June. Ash fell in areas downwind between Yassa (WSW) and Baliau (NNW), and Warisi (ESE). Incandescent material was ejected from the crater, and roaring and rumbling noises were noted. Pyroclastic flows on 16 June (at 0700, 0720, 0722, and 0729) channeled into the SE valley. The last pyroclastic flow was perhaps the largest as it reached the lowest elevation, 300-400 m above sea level, but was far from populated areas. Ash plumes from the pyroclastic flows drifted WSW and WNW; ash fell in Bogia (22 km SSW, on the mainland). Emissions from Main Crater were milder and mostly characterized by white and bluish plumes. Light gray plumes were noted during 2 and 8-9 June. Fluctuating incandescence was intermittently observed and ash fell in the NW part of the island. Map

NEVADO DEL RUIZ Colombia 4.895°N, 75.322°W; summit elev. 5321 m
According to INGEOMINAS, the Observatorio Vulcanológico and Sismológico de Manizales reported on 15 June that satellite image analyses and field observers of Nevado del Ruiz indicated significant sulfur dioxide emissions. Seismic signals on 15 and 18 June indicated continuing ash emissions. Based on analysis of satellite imagery and web camera views, the Washington VAAC reported that on 17 June a 5.5-km-wide gas plume, possibly containing ash, drifted more than 90 km NW. The VAAC noted on 18 June that INGEOMINAS reported a gas-and-ash plume drifting N and NW at an altitude of 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. The plume was later detected in satellite imagery drifting more than 90 km NW. The Alert Level remained at II (Orange; "eruption likely within days or weeks") on 19 June. Map

SIRUNG Pantar Island (Indonesia) 8.508°S, 124.13°E; summit elev. 862 m
CVGHM reported that during 1-13 June diffuse white plumes from Sirung rose 30-70 m above the crater. A sulfur odor was occasionally noted at the Sirung observation post. Based on seismic activity and visual observations, on 15 June CVGHM reiterated that the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).Visitors and tourists were not permitted to go within a 1.5 km radius of Sirung. Map

For the complete list of ongoing volcanic activity and additional geological summary, click HERE or select the specific volcano name below for additional details:

ONGOING ACTIVITY:  Batu Tara, Komba Island (Indonesia) | Cleveland, Chuginadak Island | Dukono, Halmahera | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) | Popocatépetl, México | Sakura-jima, Kyushu | Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Tungurahua, Ecuador