Monday, March 31, 2014

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Guinea Now Faces Ebola Epidemic On UNPRECEDENTED SCALE, Doctors Warn - Death Toll Passes 80; Fatality Rate Of 90 PERCENT; Liberian Health Authorities Confirm 7 Cases, Including 4 Deaths As Disease Spread Across West Africa!

March 31, 2014 - WEST AFRICA - Médecins sans Frontières says lethal virus has broken out in areas hundreds of miles apart, while death toll passes 80. Guinea faces an Ebola epidemic on an unprecedented scale as it battles to contain confirmed cases now scattered across several locations that are far apart, the medical charity Médecins sans Frontières said.


Nurses put on protective gear to treat Ebola patients in the southern Guinean town of Guéckédou.
Photograph: Médecins sans Frontières/AFP/Getty Images

The warning from an organisation used to tackling Ebola in central Africa came after Guinea's president appealed for calm as the number of deaths linked to an outbreak on the border with Liberia and Sierra Leone passed 80.

The outbreak of one of the world's most lethal infectious diseases has alarmed a number of governments with weak health systems, prompting Senegal to close its border with Guinea and other neighbours to restrict travel and cross-border exchanges.

Figures released overnight by Guinea's health ministry showed that there had been 78 deaths from 122 cases of suspected Ebola since January, up from 70. Of these, there were 22 laboratory-confirmed cases of Ebola, the ministry said.

"We are facing an epidemic of a magnitude never before seen in terms of the distribution of cases in the country," said Mariano Lugli, the co-ordinator of Médecins sans Frontières' project in Conakry, the capital of Guinea.


An image of the Ebola virus, created by microbiologist Frederick A Murphy of the
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Photograph: EPA

The organisation said on Monday it had been involved in dealing with nearly all other recent Ebola outbreaks, mostly in remote parts of central African nations, but Guinea is fighting to contain the disease in numerous locations, some of which are hundreds of miles apart.

"This geographical spread is worrisome because it will greatly complicate the tasks of the organisations working to control the epidemic," Lugli added.

The outbreak of Ebola – a virus which has a fatality rate of up to 90% – has centred on Guinea's south-east. But it took authorities six weeks to identify the disease, allowing it to spread over borders and to more populated areas.

Cases were confirmed in Conakry last week, bringing the disease – previously limited to remote, lightly populated areas – to a sprawling Atlantic Ocean port of two million people.

Guinea's president, Alpha Condé, appealed for calm late on Sunday. "My government and I are very worried about this epidemic," he said, ordering Guineans to take strict precautions to avoid the further spread of the disease.

"I also call on people not to give in to panic or believe the rumours that are fuelling people's fears," he added.

Liberia has recorded seven suspected and confirmed cases, including four deaths, the World Health Organisation said. Sierra Leone has reported five suspected cases, none of which have been confirmed yet.

Brima Kargbo, Sierra Leone's chief medical officer, said a screening process had been introduced on the country's northern border with Guinea. Travellers are being asked where they are coming from and whether they or anyone they had been in contact with had fallen ill, he said.

Senegal, another neighbour of Guinea, closed its land border over the weekend and has suspended weekly markets near the border to prevent the spread of the disease.

The regional airline Gambia Bird delayed the launch of services to Conakry, due to start on Sunday, because of the outbreak.

If the deaths are all confirmed as Ebola, a disease that leads to vomiting, diarrhoea and external bleeding, it would be the most deadly epidemic since 187 people died in Luebo, in Congo's Kasai-Occidental province, in 2007. - Guardian.


WATCH:  Doctors Without Borders or MSF - Guinea Ebola outbreak 'unprecedented'.





PLANETARY TREMORS, GLOBAL VOLCANISM AND GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Oregon Earthquake Swarms At Mount Hood - Sinkholes, Loud Booms And Landslides; 31 Small Quakes In Just 4 Days!

March 31, 2014 - OREGON, UNITED STATES - Since Sunday, March 23, a quake swarm of at least 31 small quakes so far has been recorded on Mt. Hood. This quake swarm not only captured the attention of geologists, but it also rattled the nerves of nearby residents. Mount Hood in northern Oregon is an active stratovolcano, about 50 miles E-SE (80km) from Portland.


Sinkhole, loud booms, landslides, quake swarm of 31 small quakes so far has been recorded on stratovolcano Mt. Hood (twelvesouls)


Is Oregon experiencing earth wobble symptoms?

Could be. In a little over a month, there have been loud booms and shaking heard and felt from Lincoln to Tillamook Counties, a sinkhole in Portland, and landslides near Portland and in the Columbia river Gorge, and now earthquake swarms at Mount Hood.

The earthquakes started on Sunday evening and have been rumbling directly under Government Camp, a community within five miles of Mount Hood. Even though the largest quake recorded was only a magnitude 2.3, but it's not the size of the quakes that intrigues the scientists like Ian Madin, Chief Scientist at the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. It's the location where they're happening – along a recently discovered fault.


Quake swarm at Mount Hood started Sunday directly beneath Government Camp,
a community within five miles of Mount Hood.
(Wikipedia)

Other recent plate movement/earth wobble incidents in Oregon includes several mid-February events: Large landslides, loud booms and ground shaking, and a sinkhole to be exact.
  • Two large landslides – one in the Columbia River Gorge dumped about 2,000 cubic yards of rock and debris on highway I84 just 3 miles west of the Hood River, and another blocked US30 near Portland.
  • Loud booms and ground shaking reported by people from Lincoln to Tillamook Counties; some reported hearing a rumble, as well (No earthquakes recorded by the USGS in the area at the time.)
  • A 20 ft. deep sinkhole swallowed a woman and her dog in her Portland backyard.
Stratovolcanoes like Mount Hood are common in subduction zones. Some other stratovolcanoes of note include:
  • Mount Fuji in Japan
  • Mount Vesuvius in Italy, known for its destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD
  • Krakatoa in Indonesia, best known for its catastrophic eruption in 1883
  • Mount St. Helens in Washington State.
Before Mount St. Helens erupted in May 1980, small earthquakes rattled the area, an indication that magma may have been moving below the volcano. A gradual build up of quake swarms saturated area seismographs for several days, during which 174 shocks of magnitude 2.6 or greater were recorded.


Landslide in Columbia River George in Oregon dumped 2,000 cubic yards of rock and debris on I84,
just 3 miles west of the Hood River
(ODOT)

Landslide in Columbia River George in Oregon dumped 2,000 cubic yards of rock and debris on I84,
just 3 miles west of the Hood River
(twelvesouls)

Landslide near Portland (State police)


With regard to Mount Hood, Madin says the earthquakes are defining a fault, which means that fault is active. He also says that if it can cause a 2.3 quake, it is capable of a magnitude 6 or stronger quake. Now that geologists know there may be active fault close to Government Camp, they will keep a closer eye on it.

Won’t we all! - Examiner.



FUK-U-SHIMA: Contaminated Waters - Canadian School Science Project Reveals High Levels Of Fukushima Nuclear Radiation In Grocery Store Seafood!

March 31, 2014 - CANADA - A Canadian high school student named Bronwyn Delacruz never imagined that her school science project would make headlines all over the world.  But that is precisely what has happened. 




Using a $600 Geiger counter purchased by her father, Delacruz measured seafood bought at local grocery stores for radioactive contamination.  What she discovered was absolutely stunning.  Much of the seafood, particularly the products that were made in China, tested very high for radiation.  So is this being caused by nuclear radiation from Fukushima? 

Is the seafood that we are eating going to give us cancer and other diseases?  The American people deserve the truth, but as you will see below, the U.S. and Canadian governments are not even testing imported seafood for radiation.  To say that this is deeply troubling would be a massive understatement.

In fact, what prompted Bronwyn Delacruz to conduct her science project was the fact that the Canadian government stopped testing imported seafood for radiation in 2012
Alberta high-school student Bronwyn Delacruz loves sushi, but became concerned last summer after learning how little food inspection actually takes place on some of its key ingredients.

The Grade 10 student from Grande Prairie said she was shocked to discover that, in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) stopped testing imported foods for radiation in 2012.
And what should be a major red flag for authorities is the fact that the seafood with the highest radiation is coming from China
Armed with a $600 Geiger counter bought by her dad, Delacruz studied a variety of seafoods – particularly seaweeds – as part of an award-winning science project that she will take to a national fair next month.

“Some of the kelp that I found was higher than what the International Atomic Energy Agency sets as radioactive contamination, which is 1,450 counts over a 10-minute period,” she said. Some of my samples came up as 1,700 or 1,800.

Delacruz said the samples that “lit up” the most were products from China that she bought in local grocery stores.
It is inexcusable that the Canadian government is not testing this seafood.  It isn’t as if they don’t know that it is radioactive.  Back in 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported that cesium-137 was being found in a very high percentage of the fish that Japan was selling to Canada…
• 73 percent of the mackerel
• 91 percent of the halibut
• 92 percent of the sardines
• 93 percent of the tuna and eel
• 94 percent of the cod and anchovies
• 100 percent of the carp, seaweed, shark and monkfish
So why was radiation testing for seafood shut down in Canada in 2012?

Someone out there needs to answer some very hard questions.

Meanwhile, PBS reporter Miles O’Brien has pointed out the extreme negligence of the U.S. government when it comes to testing seafood for Fukushima radiation.  The following comes from a recent EcoWatch article
O’Brien also introduces us to scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute who have been testing waters around the reactors—as well as around the Pacific Rim—to confirm the levels of Fukushima fallout, especially of cesium.

These scientists are dedicated and competent. But they are also being forced to do this investigation on their own, raising small amounts of money from independent sources. They were, explains lead scientist Ken Buesseler, turned down for even minimal federal support by five agencies key to our radiation protection. Thus, despite a deep and widespread demand for this information, no federal agency is conducting comprehensive, on-the-ground analyses of how much Fukushima radiation has made its way into our air and oceans.

In fact, very soon after Fukushima began to blow, President Obama assured the world that radiation coming to the U.S. would be minuscule and harmless. He had no scientific proof that this would be the case. And as O’Brien’s eight-minute piece shows all too clearly, the “see no evil, pay no damages” ethos is at work here. The government is doing no monitoring of radiation levels in fish, and information on contamination of the ocean is almost entirely generated by underfunded researchers like Buesseler.


WATCH:  A video news report in which O’Brien discusses these issues is posted below…

 


It is the job of the authorities to keep us safe, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster was the worst nuclear disaster in human history.

So why aren’t they doing testing?

Why aren’t they checking to make sure that this radiation is not getting into our food chain?

The Japanese are doing testing off the coast of Japan, and one fish that was recently caught off the coast of the Fukushima prefecture was discovered to have 124 times the safe level of radioactive cesium.

So why are all the authorities in North America just assuming that the fish are going to be perfectly fine on this side of the Pacific?

One test that was conducted in California discovered that 15 out of 15 Bluefin tuna were contaminated with radiation from Fukushima.

So how can the authorities say “don’t worry, just eat the seafood”?

Everyone agrees that a plume of radioactive water has been moving from Fukushima toward the west coast of the United States.

According to researchers at the University of South Wales, that plume is going to hit our shores at some point during 2014…
The first radioactive ocean plume released by the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster will finally be reaching the shores of the United States some time in 2014, according to a new study from the University of New South Wales — a full three or so years after the date of the disaster.

And multiple independent tests have already confirmed that levels of nuclear radiation are being detected on California beaches that are more than 10 times the normal level.

Clearly something is happening.

So why are the U.S. and Canadian governments willingly looking the other way? - The Truth.



GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Slough In Event Recorded At The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole Near Pad #3 - As Subsurface Seismic Activity Continues! [EVENT+LATEST FLYOVER VIDEOS]

March 31, 2014 - LOUISIANA, UNITED STATES - According to the Assumption Parish Police Jury, a slough in occurred today, at the giant Louisiana sinkhole near Pad 3.


Photo: Assumption Parish


 WATCH:  The after effects of the event.




As more information develops on the extent and repercussions of the event, it will be shared here.


Flyover videos were performed today:   

 WATCH:  Flyover Videos - March 31, 2014.



 

Earlier, the Office of Conservation provided the following update on response activity around Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou:

Sinkhole Activity Code 1 – indicating work is allowed on sinkhole and within containment berms. Seismic monitoring indicates low levels of subsurface activity near sinkhole/Oxy 3.

Air Monitoring/Sub-slab Sampling and Ventilation
- Conducting ventilation system inspections

ORW/CPT Wells
- Continuing de-watering test on ORWs 4 (northwest of containment berm) and 14 (Oxy 9 well pad), 48 (north of containment berm) and OGRW 1 (Oxy Geismar 2 well pad)

- Performing pump maintenance on ORW 4

- Ending pump test on ORWs 1 and 32 (north of La 70, east of Gumbo St.)

- Continuing pump test on ORW 2 (north of La 70, east of Gumbo St.)

- Flushing out ORW 15 (north of La 70, east of Gumbo St.)

- Cleaning screen and filter on ORW 52 (west of Bayou Corne, south of La 70

Containment/ Roads/ Sinkhole/Survey

– Grading south containment berm re-route and preparing for compaction test




THEATRE OF WAR: Russia’s Strategic Missile Force Prepares For War - Military Begins Massive Nuclear Weapons Drill!

March 31, 2014 - RUSSIA - While much Western attention has been bestowed on Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine, Moscow also began a massive nuclear offensive exercise on Thursday.


Wikimedia Common


According to the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta, on Thursday Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces began a massive three-day exercise involving 10,000 soldiers and 1,000 pieces of equipment from more than 30 units. The major purpose of the drill, according to the report—which cites multiple senior Russian military officers—is to ensure Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces have sufficient readiness to conduct offensive operations involving the massive and simultaneous use of nuclear missiles.

Global Security Newswire previously carried a story on the nuclear exercise, also citing the Nezavisimaya Gazeta article. GSN described the exercise as “as practice for a large-scale nuclear offensive.” It added: “Exercise participants were set to position and prepare missile-firing units for launch, and to practice various administrative and support functions for the operation

As Russia’s conventional military capabilities have deteriorated following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow has become increasingly reliant on operationalizing its nuclear arsenal. This has been reflected in successive Russian security documents. For example, Russia’s 1997 national security concept stated that Russia would use its nuclear arsenal “in case of a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation,” whether that threat came in the form of nuclear weapons or from a conventionally superior military power.

This threshold was further lowered in Russia’s 2000 military doctrine, which was the first released during Vladimir Putin’s presidency. This document said that Russia would use nuclear weapons “in response to large-scale aggression utilizing conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.” This held out the possibility that Russia would use nuclear weapons even if Russia proper hadn’t been attacked. The same doctrine further noted that Russia reserved the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of any kind of weapons of mass destruction against it.

Shortly before reassuming the Russian presidency for a third term, Putin reaffirmed the importance he placed on Russia’s nuclear forces in a number of articles and speeches. For example, in an op-ed article in Foreign Policy magazine, Putin wrote: “We will, under no circumstances, surrender our strategic deterrent capability. Indeed, we will strengthen it.”

Thus, this week’s massive offensive nuclear drill is in line with the goals that Russia and Putin have been articulating for well over a decade. It is also consistent with Putin’s recent emphasis on conducting more frequent and sophisticated military drills to improve the combat readiness of Russian military forces. Indeed, Russia conducted a much smaller surprise nuclear drill in October of last year.

Still, the timing of the drill is likely to cause great concern in Western capitals, particularly in Washington. The drill could very well be intended to signal Russia’s resolve over events in Ukraine where Russia has been at loggerheads with the West and the government in Kiev over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. A very visible reminder of Russia’s substantial nuclear capabilities would make sense for Moscow in a number of different contingencies, including if Russia is intending to move forces deeper into eastern Ukraine, as many currently fear.

For what it’s worth, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta article said there was no connection between the current nuclear exercise and the crisis in Ukraine. As evidence of this, it pointed out that in December of last year the commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces had said that his forces would conduct a large and complicated exercise sometime during 2014. From this, the Russian daily concluded that the drill had been planned for weeks and was completely unrelated to the tensions of Ukraine.

At the same time, it ended the article by noting that testing the readiness of Russia’s strategic forces was especially important in light of the “current reality of the world situation.” - Business Insider.



PLANETARY TREMORS & GLOBAL VOLCANISM: "This Is The Fault That Could EAT Los Angeles" - 12 Signs That Something Big Is Happening To The Earth’s Crust Under North And South America!

March 31, 2014 - NORTH & SOUTH AMERICA - Why are fault lines and volcanoes all over North and South America suddenly waking up?  Are we moving into a time when major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions will become much more common? 




For the past several decades, we have been extremely fortunate to have experienced a period of extremely low seismic activity along the west coast of the United States.  You see, the west coast lies right along the infamous Ring of Fire.  Approximately 75 percent of all the volcanoes in the world are on the Ring of Fire, and approximately 90 percent of all global earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire. 

Scientists tell us that it is inevitable that "the Big One" will hit California someday, but people have gotten very apathetic about this because things have been so quiet out there for so many years.  Well, now it appears that things are changing in a big way - and not just along the California coast.  The following are 12 signs that something big is happening to the earth's crust under North and South America...

#1
The 5.1 earthquake that shook Los Angeles on Friday was the worst earthquake that the city had seen in many years.

#2 Following that earthquake, there were more than 100 aftershocks.

#3 A 4.1 earthquake shook Los Angeles on Saturday.  Scientists are hoping that this earthquake swarm in southern California will end soon.

#4 Earlier this month, a 4.4 earthquake rattled Los Angeles so badly that it caused news anchors to dive under their desks.

#5 A 6.9 earthquake just off the coast of northern California in early March was the largest earthquake to hit the west coast of the United States since 2010.

#6 Up in Oregon, Mt. Hood recently experienced more than 100 earthquakes over the course of just a few days.

#7 During the past month, there have also been some other very unusual geologic events that have been happening up in Oregon...
  • Two large landslides – one in the Columbia River Gorge dumped about 2,000 cubic yards of rock and debris on highway I84 just 3 miles west of the Hood River, and another blocked US30 near Portland.
  • Loud booms and ground shaking reported by people from Lincoln to Tillamook Counties; some reported hearing a rumble, as well (No earthquakes recorded by the USGS in the area at the time.)
  • A 20 ft. deep sinkhole swallowed a woman and her dog in her Portland backyard.
#8 A 4.8 earthquake rattled Yellowstone National Park on Sunday, and there have been at least 25 earthquakes at Yellowstone since Thursday.

#9 Scientists recently discovered that the Yellowstone supervolcano is now releasing far more helium gas than they had anticipated.

#10 Over the past month, there have been more than 130 earthquakes in the state of Oklahoma.  This is highly unusual.

#11 There have been several dozen earthquakes in Peru over the past month, including a 6.3 earthquake that made headlines all over the globe.

#12 Earlier this month, the northern coast of Chile was hit by more than 300 earthquakes in a seven day stretch.  41 of those earthquakes were stronger than magnitude 4.5.

Fortunately, the quake that hit Los Angeles on Friday did not cause too much lasting injury.  But it sure did shake people up.  The following is how the Los Angeles Times described the damage...
The quake, centered near La Habra, caused furniture to tumble, pictures to fall off walls and glass to break. Merchandise fell off store shelves, and there were reports of plate glass windows shattered.

In Brea, several people suffered minor injuries during a rock slide that overturned their car. Fullerton reported seven water main breaks. Carbon Canyon Road was closed.

Residents across Orange and Los Angeles counties and the Inland Empire reported swinging chandeliers, fireplaces dislodging from walls and lots of rattled nerves. The shake caused a rock slide in Carbon Canyon, causing a car to overturn, according to the Brea Police Department.
Why this particular earthquake is of such concern is because it occurred along the Puente Hills fault line.  According to one seismologist, this is the fault line that would be most likely to "eat L.A."...
Experts said that the earthquakes occurred on the Puente Hills thrust fault, which stretches from the San Gabriel Valley to downtown Los Angeles.

Last night's quake was shallow, which 'means the shaking is very concentrated in a small area,' said Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson.

Hauksson revealed that the earthquake was unusual because the 5.1 quake was preceded by the weaker foreshock.

Scientists such as Hauksson are very concerned about the Puente Hills fault because it runs directly under downtown Los Angeles.

'This is the fault that could eat L.A.,' seismologist Sue Hough told The LA Times in 2003.
The fact that this fault appears to be waking up is really bad news.

According to seismologists, a major earthquake along this fault line could cause hundreds of billions of dollars of damage...
Video simulations of a rupture on the Puente Hills fault system show how energy from a quake could erupt and be funneled toward L.A.'s densest neighborhoods, with the strongest waves rippling to the west and south across the Los Angeles Basin.

According to estimates by the USGS and Southern California Earthquake Center, a massive quake on the Puente Hills fault could kill from 3,000 to 18,000 people and cause up to $250 billion in damage. Under this worst-case scenario, people in as many as three-quarters of a million households would be left homeless.
For years, we have watched as the rest of the Ring of Fire has been absolutely ravaged by major seismic events.

We all remember the earthquakes that caused the Indonesian tsunami of 2004 and the Japanese tsunami of 2011.

And the world mourned when major earthquakes devastated New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Japan and the Philippines.

Scientists assured us that it was only a matter of time before the west coast started to become seismically active again, and now it is happening.

If you live on the west coast, I hope that you will consider these things very carefully.

Just because the earth under your feet has been relatively quiet for a very long time does not mean that it will always be that way.

Something big appears to be happening to the earth's crust, and you won't want to be in the "danger zone" when things finally break loose. - TEC.



MONUMENTAL SOLAR SYSTEM CHANGES: Solar Flare From Sunspot 2017 Causes RARE "MAGNETIC CROCHET" - The Impulsive Event Scrambled Terrestrial Radio Signals For Several Minutes; A Doppler Shift Of The WWV Signal Of Nearly 12 Hz, The "Most 'Wobble' Ever Seen;" 60% Chance Of Polar Geomagnetic Storms On April 1-2!

March 31, 2014 - SUN - NOAA forecasters estimate a 35% to 60% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on April 1-2 when at least three CMEs are expected to deliver glancing blows to Earth's magnetic field.




The best-guess forecast calls for minor G1-class storms. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

IMPULSIVE SOLAR FLARE SCRAMBLES RADIO SIGNALS: On Saturday, March 29th, the magnetic canopy of sunspot AR2017 erupted, producing a brief but intense X1-class solar flare.

A flash of extreme UV radiation sent waves of ionization rippling through Earth's upper atmosphere and disturbed the normal propagation of terrestrial radio transmissions. Radio engineer Stan Nelson of Roswell, NM, was monitoring WWV at 20 MHz when the signal wobbled then disappeared entirely for several minutes:




"The Doppler shift of the WWV signal (the 'wobble' just before the blackout) was nearly 12 Hz, the most I have ever seen," says Nelson.

The flare not only blacked out radio signals, but also produced some radio signals of its own. The explosion above sunspot AR2017 sent shock waves racing through the sun's atmosphere at speeds as high as 4800 km/s (11 million mph). Radio emissions stimulated by those shocks crossed the 93 million mile divide to Earth, causing shortwave radio receivers to roar with static.

Here is a plot of the outburst detected by Nelson using a 20.1 MHz RadioJove receiver. Elsewhere, strong bursts were recorded at frequencies as high as 2800 MHz. It was a very broad band event.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded a beautiful movie of the flare:


WATCH:  Major X1-Class Solar Flare - March 29, 2014.

 


SOLAR FLARE CAUSES RARE 'MAGNETIC CROCHET': The flash you just saw was extreme UV radiation, the type of radiation that ionizes the upper layers of our atmosphere.

In this case, the ionizing action of the flare led to a rare magnetic crochet, measuring 17 nT at the magnetometer in Boulder, Colorado.

A magnetic crochet is a ripple in Earth's magnetic field caused by electrical currents flowing in air 60 km to 100 km above our heads.

Unlike geomagnetic disturbances that arrive with CMEs days after a flare, a magnetic crochet occurs while the flare is in progress. They tend to occur during fast impulsive flares like this one.

The magnetic field of sunspot AR2017 is decaying now, but it still poses a threat for eruptions. NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of M-class flares and a 20% chance of X-class flares on March 31st. - Space Weather.



THEATRE OF WAR: Escalating Tensions On The Korean Peninsula - North Korea, South Korea Exchange Fire Near Disputed Sea Border; Hundreds Of Artillery Rounds Fired As North Korea Threatens A "New Form" Of Nuclear Test!

March 31, 2014 - KOREAN PENINSULA - North Korean shells have landed in South Korean waters, prompting Seoul to open fire across a disputed border zone. North Korea announced plans early on Monday morning to conduct military exercises along the western maritime boundary.


North Korea, South Korea Exchange Fire Near Disputed Sea Border; Hundreds Of Artillery Rounds Fired
Amphibious assault vehicles of the South Korean Marine Corps throw smoke bombs as they move to land on shore
during a U.S.-South Korea joint landing operation drill in Pohang March 31, 2014. (Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji)

The North fired several artillery shells in territory north of the North Limit Line in the Yellow Sea at 12:15pm local time (03:15 GMT), reports South Korean news agency Yonhap. After several shells landed south of the border, South Korean military opened fire with K-9 self-propelled howitzers.

"Some of the shells fired by North Korea dropped in our area and our side responded with fire," a military spokesman told AFP news agency, adding that for the moment both sides were firing into the sea.


North Korea, South Korea Exchange Fire Near Disputed Sea Border; Hundreds Of Artillery Rounds Fired
A man watches a television news program reporting about North Korea's plan to conduct live-fire drills, at a Seoul train
station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, March 31, 2014. South Korea said North Korea has announced plans to conduct
live-fire drills near the rivals' disputed western sea boundary. Seoul's Defense Ministry said North Korea says it will
conduct firing drills in seven areas north of the sea boundary. Seoul responded that it will strongly react if provoked.
The writing reads "Nort | ASSOCIATED PRESS

The South Korean Ministry of Defense said that North Korea had fired off 500 rounds into southern territory and the South responded with 300 rounds.

Earlier on Monday, the North Korean People’s Army warned their southern counterparts that military drills would be conducted in seven border regions.


North Korea, South Korea Exchange Fire Near Disputed Sea Border; Hundreds Of Artillery Rounds Fired
U.S. and South Korean marines participate in a U.S.-South Korea joint landing operation drill
in Pohang March 31, 2014 (Reuters / Kim Hong-Ji)

"North Korea demanded South Korea control its vessels in seven regions north of the NLL before it holds the live-fire drills," the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of South Korea said in a statement. "We have banned vessels from entering the training zone for the safety of residents and sailors."

The North has drawn international condemnation over the last couple of weeks over its ballistic missile tests. Last week the UN Security Council warned Pyongyang that there would be consequences if it continued testing its missile technology. The Security Council passed a resolution in 2006 that prohibits the testing of ballistic missile technology by Pyongyang.

Pyongyang regards its missile tests as an act of protest against South Korea’s ongoing joint military drills with the US, which it calls a rehearsal for an invasion.

North Korea, South Korea Exchange Fire Near Disputed Sea Border; Hundreds Of Artillery Rounds Fired
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Photo: AP
‘New form’ of nuclear test

Pyongyang stepped up its bellicose rhetoric on Sunday and threatened to carry out a “new form” of nuclear test. Giving no further information as to the nature of the new tests, the North Korean Foreign Ministry issued a statement, decrying the UN’s condemnation of its ballistic missile tests which it considers as purely “defensive.”

In response, Pyongyang said it will employ “more diversified nuclear deterrence,” which would be used for hitting medium- and long-range targets “with a variety of striking power.”

“We would not rule out a new form of nuclear test for bolstering up our nuclear deterrence,” said the Foreign Ministry in an official statement published on the KNCA news agency website.

North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in February of last year, prompting Washington to ratchet up the economic sanctions on the Asian nation. Pyongyang also carried out nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 allegedly using a small stockpile of plutonium. The North also claims to be running a uranium enrichment program, fueling fears in the region that it will be able to produce fuel for atomic bombs. - RT.



FIRE IN THE SKY: NASA Hubble Sees Mars Comet With Jets Spewing From It's Core - Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) Will Put On A "Barnstorming Show" Over The Red Planet On October 19, 2014; 10 Times Closer Than Any Identified Comet Has Ever Flown Past Earth!

March 31, 2014 - SPACE - Later this year, Mars is going to have a close encounter with a comet. On Oct. 19, 2014, Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) will buzz the Red Planet about 10 times closer than any known comet has ever flown past Earth.




Mars could actually find itself inside the comet's extended atmosphere as the comet passes by only 138,000 km away. Needless to say, NASA is watching carefully. The latest images from the Hubble Space Telescope show jets spewing from the comet's core.

The image, captured on March 11th, shows comet Siding Spring at a distance of 353 million miles from Earth. Hubble can't see the icy nucleus because it is hidden inside the comet's glowing dusty atmosphere. Nevertheless, image processing did reveal what appears to be two jets of dust coming off the nucleus in opposite directions. This observation allows astronomers to calculate the direction of the nucleus's pole, and axis of rotation.




"This is critical information that we need to determine whether, and to what degree, dust grains in the [atmosphere] of the comet will impact Mars and spacecraft orbiting Mars," says Jian-Yang Li of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona.

Indeed, meteoroids from the comet could hit NASA's Mars orbiters and damage them even as the orbiters try to study the comet. The level of risk won't be known for months, but NASA is already evaluating possible precautionary measures. Data from Hubble and other observatories in the months ahead will clarify the dangers. Stay tuned for full coverage. - Space Weather.