Wednesday, April 24, 2013

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Amazingly Monstrous Whirlpool - Mysterious Vortex In Latvian River Devours All That Enters?!

April 24, 2013 - LATVIA -  In 1841, Edgar Allen Poe referred to a maelstrom, or powerful whirlpool in the ocean, as a "whole sea ... lashed into ungovernable fury."




Now 172 years later, a YouTube video titled "Amazing monstrous whirlpool" gives gravity to Poe's words, though (likely) on a slightly smaller scale. Set in Dviete, Latvia, near the banks of the Daugava River, the video depicts a mysterious whirlpool churning -- and destroying -- all that enters.

Huge chunks of ice? Gone. Floating islands of debris? Annihilated.




"Swallowing everything dragged towards its direction," reads the description by Jānis Astičs, "this monstrous whirlpool looks as if a plug has been pulled from the ground beneath."

Astičs isn't too far off in his analysis, actually. While most whirlpools in nature occur as a result of fast moving currents meeting one another in opposite directions (often caused by ocean tides), the phenomenon in the video shares a lot in common with a draining bathtub.




Indeed, a longer version of the same video shows the mysterious "monstrous whirlpool" in Latvia has been formed by water from the swollen river flowing into an inlet on the upstream side of a bridge. All of the debris is funneled under the road on which spectators are standing and flows downstream.

According to the European Federation for Rural Tourism, Latvia's Dviete river valley, where this video was filmed, is home to a massive wetland during flooding season. The marsh serves as a critical area for birds, both for nesting and migration. - Huffington Post.


WATCH: Monster whirlpool in Latvia.



FIRE IN THE SKY: Major Solar System Disturbance - Meteorite Crashes Through Roof In Connecticut, Accompanied By Loud Boom Across The State!

April 24, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A Yale expert confirmed Tuesday that an object that crashed through a house in Wolcott Friday night was a meteorite.

Larry Beck, of Williams Court in Wolcott, called police at 10:20 a.m. on Saturday and said a rock crashed through the roof of his house on Friday night and damaged the roof and copper piping, and cracked the ceiling in his kitchen.


Screenshot of the meteorite that crashed through a house in Connecticut on April 19, 2013. Via NBC.

"All the sheet rock had broken apart and it was on the floor," Beck said.

That was around the time that people from several towns along the shoreline called police and reported a loud boom that rattled windows.

Beck told police that he’d heard a loud crash and thought that a joist or rafter had broken.

When he checked the attic on Saturday morning, he found a hole in his roof, damage to the pipes and rock broke in half in the attic, police said.

"As I'm crawling across, I say 'honey, I can see some daylight coming through the roof," Beck said.

At first, police thought the rock was a broken piece of airport runway concrete that had dropped from a plane when landing gear was being lowered, because Beck said that there is a lot of overhead airline traffic at all and Bradley Airport and Oxford Airports are nearby, police said.

Officials contacted the New England Regional Office of the Federal Aviation Administration and arrangements were made to have someone from the FAA view the rock.

Beck also contacted a local meteorolgist about the rock that crashed through his roof. John Bagioni, who owns Fax-Alert Weather Service, LLC in Burlington, immediately thought the rock might be a meteorite. The description of the rock, coupled with reports of a loud boom across the state around the time the rock struck the home, lead Bagioni to his conclusion.

Bagioni contacted NBC Connecticut meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan Monday afternoon about the discovery in Wolcott.

On Monday, NBC Connecticut contacted police about the possibility of it being a meteorite and police said they were made aware that a meteor shower had taken place on Friday night.

Bagioni said he was called in to help check out the specimen and his opinion is that this appears to be a Chondrite meteorite.

After examining the object on Tuesday, Stefan Nicolescu, the collections manager for the Mineralogy Division at the Yale Peabody Museum confirmed it was in fact a meteorite.

We are toward the end of the Lyrids meteor shower, which happens every year between April 16 and April 26, when Earth crosses the orbit of comet Thatcher, according to Nicolescu.

WATCH: Meteorite Lands on Home in Wolcott.




The first recorded meteroite in the New World fell in Weston, Connecticut in 1807, according to the Peabocy Museum Web site.

There were reports of loud explosions from more than 40 miles away and fragments of stone fell in at least six places.

Hundreds of meteorites fall to earth each year, but only five to 10 were immediately recovered, according to the Peabody's Web site on Meteorites and Planetary Science.

Two meteorites also fell in Wethersfield, hitting two houses a mile and a half apart over an 11-year span.

Meteor vs. Meterorite, according to the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
:
  • A piece of rock (smaller than an asteroid) floating in interplanetary space is called a meteoroid.
  • If a meteoroid makes it through the atmosphere and hits the ground, it is called meteorite.
  • A meteor is a streak of light left by a small (pebble sized or smaller) particle as it enters the atmosphere = “shooting star”; being so small, the particle is completely “digested “ in the atmosphere; meteor showers occur when Earth crosses the orbit of a comet. 
- NBC Connecticut.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.7 Magnitude Earthquake And Floods Kills At Least 33 Persons In Afghanistan - Hundreds Of Homes Collapsed!

April 24, 2013 - AFGHANISTAN - An earthquake in Afghanistan's east and flash floods in the north killed at least 33 people on Wednesday as hundreds of traditional mud-brick homes collapsed, officials said.


USGS earthquake map and location.

The 5.7 magnitude quake, which hit before 2 p.m. (0930 GMT) was felt as far away as the Indian capital New Delhi and was the latest in a spate of tremors to shake Asia this month.

The quake was 65 km (40 miles) deep with an epicentre 11 km (seven miles) from Mehtar Lam, capital of the eastern province of Laghman, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

At least 18 people were killed in adjacent Nangarhar and Kunar provinces and the death toll was expected to rise, a spokesman for the Afghan Red Crescent Society said. Some 70 people were injured in Nangarhar alone.


Earthquake survivors work on the rubble of a mud house after it collapsed following the quake in Jalalabad province, April 24, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Parwiz

Hundreds of homes collapsed across Kunar and Nangarhar.

Wednesday saw steady rain across most of Afghanistan, which would have weakened the mud-brick dwellings many Afghans live in, according to the National Disaster Management Authority.

The agency did not yet have its own casualty figures.

Rain also caused flash-flooding in the northern province of Balkh earlier on Wednesday, killing 15 people, provincial council member Fazel Hadidi said.


A resident on the roof of a home damaged by a earthquake in Charbagh village, Nangarhar province on April 24, 2013.

Buildings swayed in New Delhi and panicky people ran into the street in the disputed northern region of Kashmir, where an quake killed about 75,000 people in 2005, most on the Pakistan side. Wednesday's quake was also felt in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

Last week, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake killed nearly 200 people in southwest China, a few days after another powerful tremor killed 35 people in Pakistan near the border with Iran. - Reuters.




Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Himalaya and Vicinity.
Seismicity in the Himalaya dominantly results from the continental collision of the India and Eurasia plates, which are converging at a relative rate of 40-50 mm/yr. Northward underthrusting of India beneath Eurasia generates numerous earthquakes and consequently makes this area one of the most seismically hazardous regions on Earth. The surface expression of the plate boundary is marked by the foothills of the north-south trending Sulaiman Range in the west, the Indo-Burmese Arc in the east and the east-west trending Himalaya Front in the north of India.

The India-Eurasia plate boundary is a diffuse boundary, which in the region near the north of India, lies within the limits of the Indus-Tsangpo (also called the Yarlung-Zangbo) Suture to the north and the Main Frontal Thrust to the south. The Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone is located roughly 200 km north of the Himalaya Front and is defined by an exposed ophiolite chain along its southern margin. The narrow (less than 200km) Himalaya Front includes numerous east-west trending, parallel structures. This region has the highest rates of seismicity and largest earthquakes in the Himalaya region, caused mainly by movement on thrust faults. Examples of significant earthquakes, in this densely populated region, caused by reverse slip movement include the 1934 M8.1 Bihar, the 1905 M7.5 Kangra and the 2005 M7.6 Kashmir earthquakes. The latter two resulted in the highest death tolls for Himalaya earthquakes seen to date, together killing over 100,000 people and leaving millions homeless. The largest instrumentally recorded Himalaya earthquake occurred on 15th August 1950 in Assam, eastern India. This M8.6 right-lateral, strike-slip, earthquake was widely felt over a broad area of central Asia, causing extensive damage to villages in the epicentral region.


USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

The Tibetan Plateau is situated north of the Himalaya, stretching approximately 1000km north-south and 2500km east-west, and is geologically and tectonically complex with several sutures which are hundreds of kilometer-long and generally trend east-west. The Tibetan Plateau is cut by a number of large (greater than 1000km) east-west trending, left-lateral, strike-slip faults, including the long Kunlun, Haiyuan, and the Altyn Tagh. Right-lateral, strike-slip faults (comparable in size to the left-lateral faults), in this region include the Karakorum, Red River, and Sagaing. Secondary north-south trending normal faults also cut the Tibetan Plateau. Thrust faults are found towards the north and south of the Tibetan Plateau. Collectively, these faults accommodate crustal shortening associated with the ongoing collision of the India and Eurasia plates, with thrust faults accommodating north south compression, and normal and strike-slip accommodating east-west extension.

Along the western margin of the Tibetan Plateau, in the vicinity of south-eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan, the India plate translates obliquely relative to the Eurasia plate, resulting in a complex fold-and-thrust belt known as the Sulaiman Range. Faulting in this region includes strike-slip, reverse-slip and oblique-slip motion and often results in shallow, destructive earthquakes. The active, left-lateral, strike-slip Chaman fault is the fastest moving fault in the region. In 1505, a segment of the Chaman fault near Kabul, Afghanistan, ruptured causing widespread destruction. In the same region the more recent 30 May 1935, M7.6 Quetta earthquake, which occurred in the Sulaiman Range in Pakistan, killed between 30,000 and 60,000 people.

On the north-western side of the Tibetan Plateau, beneath the Pamir-Hindu Kush Mountains of northern Afghanistan, earthquakes occur at depths as great as 200 km as a result of remnant lithospheric subduction. The curved arc of deep earthquakes found in the Hindu Kush Pamir region indicates the presence of a lithospheric body at depth, thought to be remnants of a subducting slab. Cross-sections through the Hindu Kush region suggest a near vertical northerly-dipping subducting slab, whereas cross-sections through the nearby Pamir region to the east indicate a much shallower dipping, southerly subducting slab. Some models suggest the presence of two subduction zones; with the Indian plate being subducted beneath the Hindu Kush region and the Eurasian plate being subducted beneath the Pamir region. However, other models suggest that just one of the two plates is being subducted and that the slab has become contorted and overturned in places.


USGS earthquake historic seismicity for the region.

Shallow crustal earthquakes also occur in this region near the Main Pamir Thrust and other active Quaternary faults. The Main Pamir Thrust, north of the Pamir Mountains, is an active shortening structure. The northern portion of the Main Pamir Thrust produces many shallow earthquakes, whereas its western and eastern borders display a combination of thrust and strike-slip mechanisms. On the 18 February 1911, the M7.4 Sarez earthquake ruptured in the Central Pamir Mountains, killing numerous people and triggering a landside, which blocked the Murghab River.

Further north, the Tian Shan is a seismically active intra-continental mountain belt, which extends 2500 km in an ENE-WNW orientation north of the Tarim Basin. This belt is defined by numerous east-west trending thrust faults, creating a compressional basin and range landscape. It is generally thought that regional stresses associated with the collision of the India and Eurasia plates are responsible for faulting in the region. The region has had three major earthquakes (greater than M7.6) at the start of the 20th Century, including the 1902 Atushi earthquake, which killed an estimated 5,000 people. The range is cut through in the west by the 700-km-long, northwest-southeast striking, Talas-Ferghana active right-lateral, strike-slip fault system. Though the system has produced no major earthquakes in the last 250 years, paleo-seismic studies indicate that it has the potential to produce M7.0+ earthquakes and it is thought to represent a significant hazard.

The northern portion of the Tibetan Plateau itself is largely dominated by the motion on three large left-lateral, strike-slip fault systems; the Altyn Tagh, Kunlun and Haiyuan. The Altyn Tagh fault is the longest of these strike slip faults and it is thought to accommodate a significant portion of plate convergence. However, this system has not experienced significant historical earthquakes, though paleoseismic studies show evidence of prehistoric M7.0-8.0 events. Thrust faults link with the Altyn Tagh at its eastern and western termini. The Kunlun Fault, south of the Altyn Tagh, is seismically active, producing large earthquakes such as the 8th November 1997, M7.6 Manyi earthquake and the 14th November 2001, M7.8 Kokoxili earthquake. The Haiyuan Fault, in the far north-east, generated the 16 December 1920, M7.8 earthquake that killed approximately 200,000 people and the 22 May 1927 M7.6 earthquake that killed 40,912.

The Longmen Shan thrust belt, along the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, is an important structural feature and forms a transitional zone between the complexly deformed Songpan-Garze Fold Belt and the relatively undeformed Sichuan Basin. On 12 May 2008, the thrust belt produced the reverse slip, M7.9 Wenchuan earthquake, killing over 87,000 people and causing billions of US dollars in damages and landslides which dammed several rivers and lakes.

Southeast of the Tibetan Plateau are the right-lateral, strike-slip Red River and the left-lateral, strike-slip Xiangshuihe-Xiaojiang fault systems. The Red River Fault experienced large scale, left-lateral ductile shear during the Tertiary period before changing to its present day right-lateral slip rate of approximately 5 mm/yr. This fault has produced several earthquakes greater than M6.0 including the 4 January 1970, M7.5 earthquake in Tonghai which killed over 10,000 people. Since the start of the 20th century, the Xiangshuihe-Xiaojiang Fault system has generated several M7.0+ earthquakes including the M7.5 Luhuo earthquake which ruptured on the 22 April 1973. Some studies suggest that due to the high slip rate on this fault, future large earthquakes are highly possible along the 65km stretch between Daofu and Qianning and the 135km stretch that runs through Kangding.

Shallow earthquakes within the Indo-Burmese Arc, predominantly occur on a combination of strike-slip and reverse faults, including the Sagaing, Kabaw and Dauki faults. Between 1930 and 1956, six M7.0+ earthquakes occurred near the right-lateral Sagaing Fault, resulting in severe damage in Myanmar including the generation of landslides, liquefaction and the loss of 610 lives. Deep earthquakes (200km) have also been known to occur in this region, these are thought to be due to the subduction of the eastwards dipping, India plate, though whether subduction is currently active is debated. Within the pre-instrumental period, the large Shillong earthquake occurred on the 12 June 1897, causing widespread destruction. - USGS.



FIRE IN THE SKY: Comet ISON - Hubble Telescope Catches An Early Glimpse Of "Comet Of The Century" As Computer Simulations Predict Comet Could Blast Earth With Odd Meteor Shower!

April 24, 2013 - SPACE - Comet ISON, the long-traveling iceball that skywatchers hope will turn into the "Comet of the Century," takes on a fuzzy glow in an image captured two weeks ago by the Hubble Space Telescope and unveiled on Tuesday. The picture was taken on April 10, using Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3, when the comet was 386 million miles (621 million kilometers) from the sun and 394 million miles (634 million kilometers) from Earth. That's just inside the orbit of Jupiter. Right now, the comet's brightness is roughly magnitude-16, which means it can only be seen with telescopes. But comet-watchers are hoping that ISON will get dramatically brighter as it swings around the sun in late November. Some have said the comet could match the brightness of Venus or even the full moon.

Hubble Telescope Catches An Early Glimpse Of "Comet Of The Century".

Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) takes on a fuzzy glow in an April 10 image from the Hubble Space Telescope. The blue tint has been added to the black-and-white imagery. The comet was slightly closer than Jupiter's orbit at a distance of 386 million miles from the sun (394 million miles from Earth).
J.-Y. Li (PSI) / NASA / ESA

The reason for those hopes — and the reason for all the "coulds" and "mights" — is that ISON appears to be a long-period comet, coming in from the far reaches of the solar system for the first time in living memory. Such comets are unpredictable: Will they shed lots of dust and glowing gas, or will they turn out to be duds? ISON's orbit is due to bring it within 700,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) of the sun's surface. That could cause ISON to crumble like Comet Elenin did in 2011, or it could spark a flare-up of Comet Lovejoy proportions. Unlike Comet Lovejoy, which lit up the Southern Hemisphere's skies during 2011's holiday season, Comet ISON should be visible from the Northern Hemisphere — which means Americans might get an eyeful during this year's winter holidays. (There's that pesky "might"!)

The picture from Hubble helps astronomers get a better fix on the current state of Comet ISON: The nucleus appears to be no larger than three or four miles (five to seven kilometers) across. In Tuesday's image release, the Hubble team says that's "remarkably small, considering the high level of activity observed in the comet so far." The comet's fuzzy head, known as the coma, measures about 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) across, or a little less than the distance from New York to Dublin. ISON's tail extends more than 57,000 miles, far beyond Hubble's field of view. Detailed readings from Hubble could unlock the secrets of ISON's origins, University of Maryland astronomer Michael A'Hearn said in a news release. "We want to look for the ratio of the three dominant ices, water, frozen carbon monoxide, and frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice," A'Hearn said. "That can tell us the temperature at which the comet formed, and with that temperature, we can then say where in the solar system it formed." Comet ISON was discovered last September and is formally known as C/2012 S1 (ISON). It takes its name from the International Scientific Optical Network, a group of observatories in 10 countries managed by Russia's Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics. - Cosmic Log.


Comet Could Blast Earth With Odd Meteor Shower.
A small but incredibly bright comet heading toward the sun could do more than dazzle Earth’s skies when it arrives later this year. Scientists say Comet ISON, already shedding dust at the prodigious rate of about 112,000 pounds per minute, could spark an unusual meteor shower.  Computer simulations predicting the location and movement of the comet’s dust trail show Earth will be passing through the fine-grained stream around Jan. 12, 2014.  Some of the particles, which are smaller in diameter than a red blood cell, should be pushed back by the pressure of sunlight, allowing them to be captured by Earth’s gravity when the planet plows through the largely invisible stream.


This contrast-enhanced image was produced from Hubble's view of Comet ISON to reveal the subtle structure in the inner coma of the comet. Such enhancements help astronomers determine the comet's shape and evolution, plus the spin of its solid nucleus.
J.-Y. Li (PSI) / NASA / ESA

“As the comet passes Earth’s orbit going into the sun, you’ll have particles trailing behind it. But since it’s passing so close to the sun, you’re also going to have particles pushed away by the pressure of the sunlight. That means we’ll have particles coming outward and also falling inward. We don’t often deal with particles that come both directions,” said Bill Cooke, lead scientist at NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.  The particles are so small that even though they will hit the atmosphere at about 125,000 mph, instead of burning up, triggering so-called “shooting stars,” they will be stopped entirely, predicts astronomer Paul Wiegert, with the University of Western Ontario in Canada.  The only visible and detectable sign of the comet dust might be a proliferation of bright blue clouds at the edge of space. Scientists suspect these so-called noctilucent, or “night-shining” clouds are be seeded by dust in the upper atmosphere.

Eventually, the trapped comet dust will make its way -- silently and invisibly -- to the planet’s surface.  Comet ISON, which was discovered in September 2012 by amateur astronomers in Russia, is believed to be making its first swing into the inner solar system, so unlike repeat fliers, it hasn’t laid down a rich dust trail from previous orbits for Earth to fly through.  ISON is an acronym for the telescope the astronomers were using, the International Scientific Optical Network. If the comet survives -- and that’s a big if -- the comet will about 700,000 miles above the surface of the sun when it makes its closest approach on Nov. 28. The closest it will come to Earth will be about 40 million miles on Dec. 26.  A comet in the 1970s passed 10 times farther away from the sun than ISON's orbit and partially disintegrated, noted Cooke.  “ISON may very well not survive. I guess we won’t know for sure until we look for it to come out from behind the sun,” Cooke told Discovery News.  Currently the comet is about 280 million miles away from Earth and approaching the outer part of the asteroid belt. - NBC News.



NASA's ScienceCast - Comet ISON Meteor Shower.
Anticipation is building as Comet ISON plunges into the inner solar system for a close encounter with the sun in November 2013. Blasted at point-blank range by solar radiation, the sungrazer will likely become one of the finest comets in many years.  When NASA's Swift spacecraft observed the comet in January 2013, it was still near the orbit of Jupiter, but already very active. More than 112,000 pounds of dust were spewing from the comet's nucleus every minute.  It turns out, some of that dust might end up on Earth. Veteran meteor researcher Paul Wiegert of the University of Western Ontario has been using a computer to model the trajectory of dust ejected by Comet ISON, and his findings suggest that an unusual meteor shower could be in the offing.  "For several days around January 12, 2014, Earth will pass through a stream of fine-grained debris from Comet ISON," says Wiegert. "The resulting shower could have some interesting properties.

WATCH: NASA's ScienceCast - Comet ISON Meteor Shower.



 According to Wiegert's computer models, the debris stream is populated with extremely tiny grains of dust, no more than a few microns wide, pushed toward Earth by the gentle radiation pressure of the sun. They will be hitting at a speed of 56 km/s or 125,000 mph. Because the particles are so small, Earth’s upper atmosphere will rapidly slow them to a stop.  "Instead of burning up in a flash of light, they will drift gently down to the Earth below," he says.  Don’t expect to notice. The invisible rain of comet dust, if it occurs, would be very slow. It can take months or even years for fine dust to settle out of the high atmosphere.  While the dust is “up there,” it could produce noctilucent clouds (NLCs).

WATCH: Paul Wiegert's model of the Comet ISON debris stream.



 NLCs are icy clouds that glow electric-blue as they float more than 80 km above Earth's poles. Recent data from NASA's AIM spacecraft suggests that NLCs are seeded by space dust. Tiny meteoroids act as nucleating points where water molecules gather; the resulting ice crystals assemble into clouds at the edge of space itself.  This is still speculative, but Comet ISON could provide the seeds for a noctilucent display. Electric-blue ripples over Earth's polar regions might be the only visible sign that a shower is underway.  Wiegert notes another curiosity: "The shower is going to hit our planet from two directions at once."  When Earth passes through the debris stream, we will encounter two populations of comet dust. One swarm of dust will be following the Comet ISON into the sun. Another swarm will be moving in the opposite direction, pushed away from the sun by solar radiation pressure. The streams will pepper opposite sides of Earth simultaneously.  "In my experience, this kind of double whammy is unprecedented," says Wiegert.  Bill Cooke, lead scientist at NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, says there's little danger to Earth-orbiting spacecraft. "These particles are just too small to penetrate the walls of our satellites, and they don't stand a chance against the heavy shielding of the ISS." However, he adds, mission operators will be alert around January 12th for possible anomalies.  Sky watchers should probably be alert, too. The odds of seeing anything are low, but Comet ISON could prove full of surprises. - NASA.



MONUMENTAL DISASTER IMPACT: China's Gathering Storm - Earthquakes, Polluted Air, Cancer Clusters May Threaten The Ruling Regime's 'Mandate Of Heaven' As Powerful 6.6 Quake Death Toll Rises To 193; 1.4 Million Houses Damaged; Over 12,000 Injured With 3,000 Aftershocks!

April 24, 2013 - CHINA - The death toll in China's earthquake rose to 193 today with over 12,000 injured in the catastrophic disaster, as rescue work was hampered by rain and 3,000 after shocks.

Death Toll Rises To 193 In China Quake.


In the latest figures released here, Chinese officials said 193 people had been killed and 23 people have to be accounted for.  Over 1.40 million houses were damaged by the quake affecting the lives of over two million people in the Lushan county of the Sichuan province which was struck by 7.0 magnitude quake on Saturday.  The places recorded over 3000 after shocks measuring up to 5.4 in magnitude, making the rescue work more difficult. Also new threats and hazards began to loom large today as rescue and relief efforts entered a fourth day.  Rain began lashing the area, hampering relief work and posing threats such as rain-triggered landslides and possible outbreaks of disease.  According to the National Meteorological Center, moderate rain will linger in the quake-hit region over the next few days, adding to difficulties in carrying out relief work.  "Such weather is hampering our rescue and relief work, and it's risky to operate large machines under such conditions," Zhang Yefu, an engineer who is leading a team to build makeshift shelters in Lushan county, was quoted by the state-run Xinhua news agency as saying.

Sanitation conditions in the region are far from satisfactory as there is not enough clean water and locals are in need of toilets.  "People in the town are drinking water from wells or mountain springs, but we have no idea if it is clean enough or adequate," said 43-year-old Yang Yumei, from the township of Lingguan in Baoxing which is one of the counties that was worst-hit by the quake.  Zhang Zuyun, deputy head of Sichuan Provincial Health Department, said providing safe and clean drinking water to locals is a problem, noting that some people are suffering from diarrhoea.  Zhang said the local health authority is trying to send a water quality testing machine to the town.  In a settlement in Lingguan Middle School, tents have been set up to accommodate nearly 1,000 people, who have to share a few toilets in the school building.  As running water and electricity have been cut off, the toilets are getting dirty. A disaster relief team from the Chengdu Military Region Air Force began carrying out epidemic prevention work by spraying insecticide and disinfectant in worst-hit regions. - ZEE News.


Terrified Panda Panics As Earthquake Hits China.
Pandas living in a reserve near the epicentre of China's weekend earthquake were left shaken and stirred after their forest home was hit. State-broadcaster CCTV showed one panda scurrying round her enclosure before desperately trying to climb a tree at the Bifengxia Panda Base near Ya-an city, but the force of the jolts left the animal unable to gain a grip. More than 60 pandas at the centre were caught up in the earthquake, which struck just 31 miles away, leaving at least 193 people dead and more than 11,000 injured. - Telegraph.

WATCH: Terrified pandas panic as earthquake hits China.




China's Gathering Environmental Storm - Earthquakes, Polluted Air, Cancer Clusters May Threaten The Ruling Regime's 'Mandate Of Heaven'.
A survivor of Saturday's earthquake in a remote section of Sichuan province, in southwestern China, sits outside a makeshift tent waiting for help. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China's new leaders are grappling with their first natural disaster — the earthquake that struck Lushan county, a remote mountainous area of Sichuan province, early Saturday morning, killing about 200 people and injuring many thousands.  In office for only five weeks, the new leadership seems determined to do a better job than the last one, and for good reason.  The relationship between the country's rulers and the natural world looms large in traditional Chinese thought. Dynasties have risen and fallen on their handling of things like irrigation and flood control, and natural disasters have been interpreted almost as nature's commentary on the quality of governance.  It was no surprise then that, within hours of Saturday's quake, Premier Li Keqiang arrived at the epicentre by helicopter to begin sympathizing with victims and supervising the rescue effort.  Li's predecessor, Wen Jiabao, was criticized for arriving late at some disasters, and often ridiculed as "China's best actor" for the theatrical tears he would shed when he did arrive.  In 2008, the image of the ruling Communist Party was gravely damaged by the much stronger earthquake that killed about 70,000 people in Sichuan.  It struck at two in the afternoon on a school day, and thousands of children lost their lives in buildings that had been shoddily built by unscrupulous construction firms in league with corrupt officials. Relief funds found their way into the same greedy pockets.  The only people to have been punished were not the culprits, but those brave enough to speak out and call for an accounting for the young lives lost.  One of them, the environmentalist writer Tan Zuoren, was sentenced to five years for "inciting subversion of state power."  Ironically, he's serving his time in Ya'an, at the heart of Saturday's earthquake. If his cell has a window he might have caught a glimpse of Premier Li's entourage inspecting the town.


The 'Mandate of Heaven' 

Earthquakes, floods, droughts and other natural disasters have a special place in China’s history because of the ancient concept that a dynasty's right to rule depended on the "Mandate of Heaven." Today, as China's leaders are subject to public scrutiny as never before, that concept is still relevant, particularly when it comes to disaster relief and environmental degradation.  The explosion of Twitter-like micro-blogging has given ordinary Chinese a new and growing sense that they have a right to more accurate and timely information — and the right to pass judgment on officials who were previously beyond criticism.  The opportunity to rate the new leadership's handling of a natural disaster comes at a time when people are also wondering how the authorities will tackle some epic man-made environmental problems.  The past five weeks have seen a cascade of revelations about the scale of degradation resulting from 35 years of single-minded economic development.  Here are just a few of the issues that have dominated the Chinese internet in the five weeks since President Xi Jinping and Premier Li began their 10-year mandate in March:

  • A flotilla of 16,000 dead pigs drifted down the river that provides drinking water for China's largest city, Shanghai. Officials say there was no threat to health, but a leading internet theory held that farmers were dumping diseased pigs that would otherwise have been sold for meat prior to new regulations.
  • Disappearing rivers. A three-year national water census revealed that the number of rivers with a catchment area greater than 100 square kilometres has dropped by 28,000 since the 1990s.
  • In announcing a plan to control the use of 58 industrial chemicals, the government acknowledged the existence of "cancer villages" near factories. Activists have estimated there may be hundreds of such clusters, caused by pollution. Deaths from cancer in China have risen by more than 80 per cent since the 1970s.
  • Official newspapers published an international study estimating that outdoor air pollution caused 1.2 million premature deaths in 2010. People are left to speculate what the figure is today, now that levels of the most dangerous fine particles in Beijing are commonly more than 30 times the World Health Organization's recommended standard.

How dynasties fall 

Health workers lower dead pigs into a processing pit
where the carcasses will be fermented into organic
fertilizer near Zhuji in eastern China. Over a two-week
period in mid-March, nearly 16,000 pig carcasses were
found floating in the nearby river system, or dumped by
farmers by the side of the road for reasons that have
never been fully explained. (Associated Press)
For modern historians, the collapse of the great Ming Dynasty in the 17th century is seen as resulting from many factors, including catastrophic changes in the world silver market. Chinese who lived through those chaotic times also saw many causes, but the general view is that they felt that the Ming had lost the Mandate of Heaven, as demonstrated by the results of two major disasters: devastating short-term climate change known as the Little Ice Age, and the Shaanxi earthquake of 1556, which killed more than 800,000 people.

In modern times, many Chinese saw a connection between Mao Zedong's death in 1976 and the Tangshan earthquake, which killed a quarter of a million people six weeks earlier.  The Communist Party clings to the rhetoric of Mao's revolution as the foundation of its one-party rule. But for the past 35 years it has staked its legitimacy on the free market and a policy of breakneck development and relentless economic growth. 

Recent weeks, however, have seen growing and unprecedented public concern about the price being paid in poisoned water, polluted soil, unbreathable air and contaminated food.  (In Hong Kong, retired customs agents have been called back to work to enforce a ban on the smuggling of baby milk, while retailers as far away as Britain and Australia have been asked to ration sales of baby milk powder because of bulk purchases for export to China. The reason: Chinese mothers still don't trust the Chinese product that was the subject of a deadly contamination scandal in 2008.)  President Xi Jinping has already suggested that he and the party will be judged on whether he keeps his promise to tackle pandemic corruption, a leading cause of public discontent.  Earthquake relief and reconstruction will be a huge test of that promise.  In the longer term, though, it may be that the gathering storm of discontent over the environment is an even greater threat to the party's Mandate of Heaven. -  CBC.



PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Bird Flu Virus - Taiwan Confirms First H7N9 Bird Flu Case Outside Of China As WHO Says New Bird Strain Is "One Of Most Lethal" Flu Viruses And Transmits More Easily To Humans!

April 24, 2013 - TAIWAN - Taiwan on Wednesday reported the first case of the H7N9 bird flu outside of mainland China.



A passenger (right) has her temperature checked by a Centers for Disease Control staff member at the entrance of Sungshan Airport in Taipei on April 4, 2013. Taiwan on Wednesday reported the first case of the H7N9 bird flu outside of mainland China.

The 53-year-old man, who had been working in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou, showed symptoms three days after returning to Taiwan via Shanghai, the Centers for Disease Control said, adding that he had been hospitalized since April 16 and was in a critical condition. - France24.


WHO Says New Bird Strain Is "One Of Most Lethal" Flu Viruses.
Reuters/Reuters - A farmer walks past baskets of newly hatched ducklings in a hatch room at a poultry egg trading market in Wuzhen town, Tongxiang, Zhejiang province April 18, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer
A new bird flu strain that has killed 22 people in China is "one of the most lethal" of its kind and transmits more easily to humans than another strain that has killed hundreds since 2003, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert said on Wednesday.

The H7N9 flu has infected 108 people in China since it was first detected in March, according to the Geneva-based WHO.

Although it is not clear exactly how people are being infected, experts say they see no evidence so far of the most worrisome scenario - sustained transmission between people.

An international team of scientists led by the WHO and the Chinese government conducted a five-day investigation in China, but said they were no closer to determining whether the virus might become transmissible between people.

"The situation remains complex and difficult and evolving," said Keiji Fukuda, the WHO's assistant director-general for health security.

"When we look at influenza viruses, this is an unusually dangerous virus for humans," he said at a briefing.

Another bird flu strain - H5N1 - has killed 30 of the 45 people it infected in China between 2003 and 2013, and although the H7N9 strain in the current outbreak has a lower fatality rate to date, Fukuda said: "This is definitely one of the most lethal influenza viruses that we've seen so far."

Scientists who have analyzed genetic sequence data from samples from three H7N9 victims say the strain is a so-called "triple reassortant" virus with a mixture of genes from three other flu strains found in birds in Asia.

Recent pandemic viruses, including the H1N1 "swine flu" of 2009/2010, have been mixtures of mammal and bird flu - hybrids that are more likely to be milder because mammalian flu tends to make people less severely ill than bird flu.

Pure bird flu strains, such as the new H7N9 strain and the H5N1 flu, which has killed about 371 of 622 the people it has infected since 2003, are generally more deadly for people.

UNSETTLING

The team of experts, who began their investigation in China last week, said one problem in tracking H7N9 is the absence of visible illness in poultry.

Fukuda stressed that the team is still at the beginning of its investigation, and said that "we may just be seeing the most serious infections" at this point.

Based on the evidence, "this virus is more easily transmissible from poultry to humans than H5N1", he said.

Besides the initial cases of H7N9 in and around Shanghai, others have been detected in Beijing and five provinces. On Wednesday, Taiwan's Health Department said a businessman had contracted H7N9 while travelling in China and was in a serious condition in hospital.

Samples from chickens, ducks and pigeons from poultry markets have tested positive for H7N9, but those from migratory birds have not, suggesting that "the likely source of infection is poultry", said Nancy Cox, director of the influenza division at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

John Oxford, a flu virologist at Queen Mary University of London, said the emergence of human H7N9 infections - a completely new strain in people - was "very, very unsettling".

"This virus seems to have been quietly spreading in chickens without anyone knowing about it," he told Reuters in London.

Flu experts say it is likely that more cases of human infection with H7N9 flu will emerge in the coming weeks and months, at least until the source of infection has been completely confirmed and effectively controlled.

Anne Kelso, the Melbourne-based director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza said there has been a "dramatic slowdown of cases" in the commercial capital of Shanghai, which has recorded most of the deaths, something she described as "encouraging".

After Shanghai closed down its live poultry markets in early April, there was an almost immediate decline in new H7N9 cases, she said. "The evidence suggests that the closing of the live poultry markets was an effective way to reduce the risks."

Even so, the WHO's China representative, Michael O'Leary, issued figures last week showing that half of the patients analyzed had no known contact with poultry. - Yahoo.



THE GREAT DELUGE: The American Midwest Floods - State Of Emergency Declared In Missouri As Mississippi River Top Levees; North Dakota Prepares For Red River To Overflow; Grand Rapids Flooding In Michigan; Governors In Iowa, Illinois Declare Disaster Areas; More Rain And Snow In The Forecast; An Inch Of Rain Threatens To Bring More Big Problems To The Heartland!

April 24, 2013 - UNITED STATES - An inch of rain doesn't sound like a lot. But in parts of the flooded Midwest, it's enough to make a bad situation worse.

In Illinois on Tuesday, residents braced for the extra inch, which will delay any reduction in floodwaters that have ravaged dozens of counties, forcing thousands of residents from their homes.


Household items are submerged in floodwaters in front of a house in Fox Lake, Illinois, on Monday, April 22. Steady rains are expected Tuesday, April 23, in several Midwestern states already facing severe flooding. Have you been affected by the flooding?

Joe Kozlowski surveys his flooded property from his porch in Fox Lake on April 22. Downpours have created flooding concerns for rivers in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana and Michigan, the National Weather Service said.

As rivers across the heartland swelled during the past two weeks, rising water was blamed for four deaths. Flooding threatens rivers in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi and Michigan, according to the National Weather Service.

Along the mighty Mississippi, flood watches stretch as far south as Louisiana. Although flooding is expected all along the river, experts don't expect the catastrophic levels of two years ago, when levees were breached. The flooding was so grave in 2011 that authorities purposely flooded thousands of square miles of Louisiana to spare city centers.

Residents in North Dakota are bracing for flooding, too, as the overflowing Red River flows toward Fargo.

The city has begun a three-day push to truck sandbags into low-lying areas. Police cars are escorting the semi-trailer trucks as they head to the locations, CNN affiliate KVLY reported.


Flooding inundates a road along the Mississippi River north of Clarksville, Missouri, on Sunday, April 21, in a handout photo from the Missouri governor's office.

Octavio Castillo paddles down a flooded street on Friday, April 19, in Des Plaines, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

Conditions could get worse: Additional rain could speed up the melting of snow, making the river rise even faster.

Starlynn Winchell stared Tuesday as the Illinois River rushed up against her home in Spring Bay, Illinois. "The more I see the water come up, the more I'll cry," she said.

At least six rivers in northern Illinois have surged to record levels in recent days after the area was deluged with 5 inches of rain. Flooding in Illinois alone has displaced thousands and prompted Gov. Pat Quinn to declare 44 counties as disaster areas.

In Peoria, residents may have narrowly missed a crisis. The Illinois River is forecast to crest Tuesday afternoon at 29.4 feet, a record height. At 30 feet, the water would have topped a levee at a sewage treatment plant -- sending raw sewage spilling into the river.

The good news is the flooding won't be as bad because of last year's drought.

"Experts told us the drought might have helped us a little bit," said Patti Thompson, a spokeswoman with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. "We did have so much more capacity for the water to be absorbed into the ground."


Workers inspect flood damage to a building in Des Plaines on April 19. At least six rivers in northern Illinois have surged to record levels recently after five inches of rain pummeled the area.

A motorist barrels through a flooded section of the Kennedy Expressway on Thursday, April 18, in Chicago.

Thompson said the state was in variety of stages of dealing with the high water. Some counties were seeing water starting to recede and could start cleanup, while others were working feverishly to strengthen protection measures.

Those areas expect to see rising river levels for the next several days, she said.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency there after many areas of the state were stricken by flash flooding.

"The sustained periods of heavy rainfall (have) swollen creeks and streams and is pushing the Mississippi River over flood levels, endangering river communities," Nixon said.

Winchell, the Spring Bay resident, said her northern Illinois town of fewer than 500 has been devastated.

The deluge in her trailer community began Sunday, she said, when floodwaters submerged her home and about 40 others.

By Monday, dark, murky water had risen to some homes' doorsteps. Flooding has cut Winchell off from access to her home.

WATCH: Flooding continues across Midwest.




"Yesterday, I cried all day," she said.

Brad Lohman, who owns a bar in the town, was also hit hard.

"It's kind of emotional to see this situation, and it's a bad deal," he said, looking at the waters that rose close to window level.

Lohman worked at the bar when he was a teenager and eventually bought it. But this flood may be the end. He doubts he can reopen.

"I think it's going be a total loss," he said, "I really do."

The rain and flooding caused three deaths last week and a fourth Sunday, local authorities and news media reported.

In DuPage County, Illinois, a body was found floating in Salt Creek last week, the local sheriff's office said. Authorities were working to identify it.

A woman in De Soto, Missouri, drowned last week after her vehicle washed off a road, CNN affiliate KSDK reported.

Two fatalities were reported in Arcadia, Indiana. On Thursday, a 64-year-old man died after attempting to cross high water in his car. The water swept him off a roadway and dragged him downstream, Hamilton County Sheriff's Office said. - CNN.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking Developments At The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole - New Flyover Video Shows Surface Covered Completely With Oil Sheen!

April 24, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Here is the latest update from the Assumption Parish Police Jury on the giant Louisiana sinkhole:

Advisory from the Office of Conservation - April 21, 2013 -
The Office of Conservation, in consultation with Assumption Parish Incident Command, is advising the public that the Oxy 3/sinkhole monitoring alert status has been raised to Code 3 – requiring all work inside and around the sinkhole to cease until further notice. Per Dr. Stephen Horton with USGS, seismic monitoring detected several instances of subsurface activity in the area around the sinkhole and Oxy 3 area below the sinkhole, at an estimated rate of more than 10 VLPs (Very Long Profile seismic signals, often indicative of gas or fluid movement) in the early hours of Sunday morning, and personnel near the site have observed surface movement on the western side of the sinkhole area. The seismic activity is limited to the Oxy 3/sinkhole area, showing no indication of impact to the Oxy 1 area. Monitoring is constantly ongoing in the area and Conservation will advise the public of significant changes in subsurface conditions.


Seismic Data - April 22, 2013 -

The Office of Conservation, in consultation with Assumption Parish Incident Command, is advising the public that Texas Brine has submitted a report detailing its consultant’s interpretation of the results of the 3D seismic survey of the Oxy Geismar 3/Bayou Corne area. The Office of Conservation, in its Jan. 14, 2013 directive to Texas Brine, required the company to conduct the 3D seismic survey and provide the results to Conservation and Assumption Parish Incident Command. The Office of Conservation and its contracted experts have begun review of the report and interpretation initially provided. Conservation staff considers the report, and the assertions of Texas Brine and its consultant on that report, to be preliminary only at this point, pending independent verification and analysis by Conservation’s consultants. Though that analysis and review has not yet been conducted, the Office of Conservation, in the interest of keeping the public informed, is providing the report for viewing at http://dnr.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&pid=939&pnid=0&nid=172.

Also Texas Brine Contractor has indicated that the shallow gas aquifer data has not been completed and were unsure when an interpretation would be available for review. We will make their interpretation available as soon as it has been presented.

A video from today’s flyover has been posted at: http://www.youtube.com/user/assumptionla

Here are several images from the flyover video, showing oil sheen covering the surface of the sinkhole:






Watch the flyover video HERE.

Meanwhile, the helicorder continues to show anomalous seismic activity. Please see the following images:






Graphs provided courtesy of the University of Memphis' Center for Earthquake Research and Information.

See additional images HERE.


MASS BIRD/FISH DIE-OFF IN ASIA: Over 40,000 Ducklings Have Been Killed Due To Avian Flu in Fujian Province, China; Hundreds Of Thousands Of Fish Die In Kali Bein, India; Large Fish Kill In Ponds In Zhenghe County, China; 30,000 Fowls Dead From Avian Flu In Chitwan, Nepal?!

April 24, 2013 - ASIA - News sources on Monday are calling it "heartbreaking," as Chinese farmers are being forced to kill off thousands of ducklings in an effort to contain the H7N9 bird flu virus. The pictures coming out of Fujian Province show farmers shoveling baby ducks into outdoor furnaces in order to stop the spread of the deadly virus. Health officials are saying the culling is necessary. 

Health officials work to vaccinate poultry against Type A bird flu virus. Credit: facebook.com

Over 40,000 Ducklings Have Been Killed Due To Avian Flu in Fujian Province, China.
The virus has now spread to four Chinese provinces, with 20 confirmed deaths and 82 more people sickened by the virus. Of that number, 12 have been discharged, and 70 remain hospitalized. Lin Yuanzhong, who runs a duck farm in eastern Fujian Province, told Chinese media he's killed more than 40,000 ducklings in the past 10 days. He said the virus has already had a crippling effect on the local economy.

"If this continues for another 20 days, all the feed manufacturers, breeding farms and poultry raisers will be bankrupt," Lin said. It was also reported today that Qatar is closely following the outbreak in China. the SEC’s Health Promotion and Communicable Diseases Control (HP & CDC) section manager Dr Mohamed al-Hajri said, “There is no indication thus far that it can be transmitted between people, but both animal-to-human and human-to-human routes of transmission are being actively investigated,” the WHO says.


Dead ducks being moved down a river in China for disposal. Credit: weather.com,

“Bird flu influenza A (H7N9) is not a pandemic as the disease is presently confined only to China, and it is being considered as a national epidemic in the country. It is only known to be affecting people in five provinces, and up to date, some 108 laboratory confirmed human cases including 22 deaths were reported in China as of April 24." - Examiner.



Hundreds Of Thousands Of Fish Die In Kali Bein, India.
The historic Kali Bein, which had become an example of rejuvenation of a dead rivulet, is again stinking- this time with lakhs of dead fish in it as the flow of fresh water has been reduced and dirty water continues to flow into it. Around a dozen trolley loads of dead fish had been removed from Bein by volunteers led by environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal in the last four days and still lakhs of fish are lying dead in the water. The worst affected stretch is behind historic Gurdwara Ber Sahib and now the stink is becoming unbearable.


The fish started dying around a week back after water from Mukerian Hydel Channel, from where it is released into the Bein, stopped reaching downstream. Baba Seechewal who had led the volunteer effort to rejuvenate the Bein said that release of fresh water was stopped form the channel and if it was being released then the quantity was much less and was not able to reach downstream.

He said that after the water level came down in the Bein, polluted Sutlej water from Harike confluence - where Bein also merges at the confluence of Sutlej and Beas - flowed back into the Bein and chemically polluted water proved lethal for aquatic life.

Meanwhile, polluted water from Kapurthala, as Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) of the town was not working properly, as well as from some other villages and small towns is continuously flowing into it. Interestingly, the dirty water flows into the rivulet even as Kapurthala deputy commissioner had banned throwing of polluted water into the Bein under Section 144 of CrPC.

However, drainage department executive engineer V K Gupta said they were releasing fresh water into the Bein continuously from April 9. "It had to be stopped for a few days due to some repair work but now it is regular," he said.

Despite this claim, water level in the Bein is more than one feet below normal even in the upstream stretch. Kapurthala municipal committee executive officer S K Aggarwal said that their STP was running and the fish could have died due to back flow of Sutlej water into the Bein. - Times of India.



Large Fish Kill In Ponds In Zhenghe County, China.
Nine o'clock, the reporter rushed to the scene to see the fish ponds dams stocked with a large number of dead grass carp, crucian carp, the water there are many fish floating belly up, workers are salvaged. Pond contractor Xiao Yang said that this piece of fish ponds in an area of 50 acres, began in March last year, contracting, seeing the fish in the fish ponds can immediately sold, according to the current market price estimates, the less able to sell more than ten million, I did not expect overnight all wasted. The night before, fish ponds where the fish is still alive and well, early in the morning, but a large number of deaths, and all the dead fish weighing a pound more, part of the fish is not affected.

Feeding feed, or someone deliberately poisoning? Xiao Yang, the first time reported the matter, governance and agriculture, public security, law enforcement officers immediately rushed to the scene, to expand exploration and sampling of fish pond water and feed the fish ponds surrounding environment. The sources said that through the observation of external symptoms and internal organs of dead fish, do not rule out the possibility of hypoxia lethal. Because before the evening before the rainfall is very hot, if not timely filled with water to the reservoir and open the aerator, it is likely to cause death of fish hypoxia. (Tong Qisheng: farmers Xiao Yang: In accordance with the old fish, may be hypoxia (results) have to wait before we know down the identification of these days.) - Shuichan. [Translated]


30,000 Fowls Dead From Avian Flu In Chitwan, Nepal.
The highly pathogenic avian flu (H1N1) virus has been detected at one of the biggest poultry farms in Chitwan in a recent case of bird flu outbreak. Authorities have confirmed the disease at Laxmi Rana’s poultry farm in Godrang of Bharatpur.

The confirmation came after the outbreak claimed about 30,000 of the total 70,000 fowls at the farm.

After the Central Veterinary Laboratory confirmed the disease, a rapid response team from the district livestock office of Chitwan and the National Bird Disease Research Laboratory reached the farm and started its operation from Friday night itself.

According to the sources, till Saturday afternoon, the team has culled 11,289 fowls at the three-storey farm building. They will start culling the remaining fowls in the two other floors of the building from Saturday evening and the farm will be cleaned by Sunday.

Though a bird flu team had reached the poultry farm earlier upon receiving information from locals regarding a possible bird flu outbreak, the owner had refused to cooperate until April 15, when specimens of the dead fowls were sent to the Central Livestock Laboratory for test.

According to NBDRL chief Bodhnath Adhikari, besides Rana’s farm the disease has also been detected at Rajendra Hamal’s farm in Mangalpur. Over 3,200 fowls have reportedly been culled and 260 kg chicken feed and 240 eggs were destroyed at Hamal’s farm on Friday night itself. Meanwhile, small poultry farm operators have accused big farm owners of being reluctant to report any outbreak to authorities fearing great loss. “In case there is an outbreak they don’t inform the concerned authorities and manage the dead fowls themselves,” they alleged.

While office senior veterinary of the district livestock office Dr Tej Bahadur Rijal is leading the rapid response team, Dr Dayaram Chapagain of NBDRL is in charge of the surveillance team.

Regarding the recent outbreak, Chief District Officer Himnath Dawadi urged commoners to take precautions to stay safe. Chitwan, the biggest hub for production of chicken, boasts of 60 per cent of the total chicken produce in the country. It is said there are over two million fowls kept in the various poultry farms of the district. - The Himalayan Times.


MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Over One Hundred Dolphins Have Mysteriously Washed Up Dead In Italy So Far This Year - 8 Times Higher Than The Annual Average?!

April 24, 2013 - ITALYSo far this year, the Italian coast have been the arrival of more than a hundred dead dolphins, explained today the Ministry of the Environment of Italy, although various hypotheses handle, still lacks certainty in relation to this event . 101. This is the kind dolphins "Stenella coeruleoalba" known as "striped dolphins," according to the department.


Image: Reuters

The latest warning came last April 8 in Cetraro Porto, in the province of Cosenza (south) but the regions most affected by this event are Lazio, whose capital is Rome, and Tuscany (center), who have already collected 31 and 29 bodies, respectively.

At the moment, according to the Ministry, are unknown origins of this phenomenon, a study of Italian Explanatory Data Bank (Bds), is eight times higher than the annual average recorded in the last twenty years.

Despite not yet have any certainty about the death of these dolphins listings, the Italian Environment Ministry manages a number of assumptions which shall contrast.

According to the researchers ministry, death of dolphins could be due to a measles outbreak among mammals (morbillivirus delphini), increased by food shortages which weakens these animals and exposing them more to acquire different diseases.

Another theory points to the fact that the population of this species of dolphin has grown considerably in recent years, which has forced them to live in shallower water and closer to the coast and, therefore, less wholesome.

Despite these two hypotheses, autopsies performed by members of the Italian Coast Guard said no alterations in the tissues of mammals and symptoms of illness.

At the moment, the Ministry of Environment is in favor of joining the two assumptions used by researchers.

One theory would suggest that the origin of these deaths are in need of live dolphins off the coast, in waters contaminated and food shortages that would expose them to such contamination and die from diseases or parasites. - La Razon. [Translated]