Thursday, April 2, 2015

EXTREME WEATHER: Is This Life On Mars - Eerie Pictures Show MASSIVE SANDSTORM Sweeping Through Dubai; Flights Diverted From Dubai International Airport Because Of Freak Weather?!

Dubai's large skyscrapers and tower blocks can barely be made out because of the sandstorm, which has seen visibility
drops to less than 500 meters, while walkers have donned masks to protect their lungs

April 2, 2015 - DUBAI
- With the misty orange haze and barren surroundings, you'd be forgiven for thinking these 'out-of-this-world' images came from another planet 

In fact, they show what happened when a huge sandstorm caused chaos in Dubai.

High winds blowing sand across the United Arab Emirates have caused mayhem for people trying to travel and work in the country.


High winds have meant travel chaos on the roads and skies for people in Dubai, as flights bound for the city's
international airport have had to be diverted because of the poor visibility.

During and after the sandstorm: Pictures taken from the Dusit Thani building in Abu Dhabi show the difference

The street scene in Abu Dhabi's Muroor area, taken by Ann Marie McQueen

The view of Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai is completed obscured by the sandstorm in this reader picture

The sky in Dubai turned orange during the sandstorm, which led to disruption in the United Arab Emirates

Flights have been forced to divert and people are having to wear masks to protect their lungs if they walk outside in the Gulf region.

In Abu Dhabi, police say a 24-year-old was airlifted to the hospital after being seriously injured in a traffic accident caused by the reduced visibility.

Four flights bound for Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest hub for international air traffic, had to be diverted to nearby airports.

Another eight flights were sent to the alternate Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central from other regional airports.


WATCH: Cars battle through incredibly intense sandstorm in Dubai.




In a public announcement, the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology warned that visibility will be reduced to less than 500 metres, with the high winds set to continue over the weekend.

On Thursday morning Dubai International posted an update on its Facebook page urging people to check before they travel.

The statement said: 'Normal operations have been disrupted at Dubai International and at Dubai World Central due to bad weather conditions persisting since morning.

'We advise passengers to check with their respective airline or check flight status on our website

'Dubai Airports is working with all airlines and other partners to minimise any inconvenience to our passengers.' - Daily Mail.




INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crash In The Nattai National Park, Sydney, Australia - Pilot And Passenger Airlifted To Safety!

The wreckage of a Jabiru light aircraft that crashed in Nattai National Park. The two occupants survived the accident. Picture: Channel 7

April 2, 2015 - AUSTRALIA
- A quick-thinking pilot and his passenger were lucky to survive a plane crash in dense bushland southwest of Sydney yesterday, as it emerged their aircraft was a model notorious for suffering engine cutouts.

The two-seater Jabiru ultralight experienced engine failure at 3.15pm, shortly after taking off from Camden Airport. In an extraordinary coincidence, it was the second crash linked to the airport yesterday after a small plane overshot the runway in the morning.

The Jabiru was only minutes into a planned flight to Melbourne when the engine cut out.


The plane crashed in the Nattai National Park.

The NSW Ambulance helicopter lands with the pilot and passenger on board. Picture: Channel 9

The pilot immediately issued a “mayday” call and emergency services were dispatched.

Police confirmed the plane crashed in rugged terrain near a river in the Nattai Conservation Park. The pilot was carrying a personal locator beacon, which helped authorities pinpoint the plane’s location.

Paramedics were winched down from rescue helicopters. Neither the pilot nor the passenger was seriously injured. Both were walking around unassisted after they were flown to Bankstown Airport without incident. Recreational Aviation Australia operates the aircraft and chief executive Michael Linke praised the efforts of the pilot in averting disaster.


The mangled wreck on the forest floor in Nattai National Park. Picture: Channel 7

One of the survivors is winched onto a rescue helicopter. Picture: Channel 7


“The really good thing about this is that the pilot was carrying a personal locator beacon ... which we would encourage all our pilots to carry,” Mr Linke said.

The Jabiru is a model notorious for engine failures.

Last year the Civil Aviation Safety Authority issued restrictions that included making “passengers and trainee pilots flying solo to sign a statement saying they are aware of and accept the risk of an engine failure”.

CASA said “more than 45 Jabiru engine failures or inflight engine incidents” were reported last year.

Jabiru pilot training includes gliding a powerless plane. - Daily Telegraph.



SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Masked Al-Shabaab Gunmen Attack Kenya University - 147 People Killed!

Soldiers from the Kenya Defence Forces. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

April 2, 2015 - KENYA
- The death toll has risen to at least 147 people after the siege of Garissa University College in Kenya. The attack on the institution by masked Al-Shabaab gunmen, an Al-Qaeda splinter group, has ended, according to the government’s disaster agency.

The siege lasted nearly 15 hours. When it concluded, according to Reuters Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery told Kenyan media: "The operation has ended successfully. Four terrorists have been killed."

In the early morning, about five gunmen from the Islamist militant group Al Shabaab stormed a Kenyan university campus during morning prayers, killing a number students and staff, and taking others hostage. Police and soldiers surrounded the college, and exchanges of gunfire have been going on all day.

"We are finding it difficult to access the compound because some of the attackers are on top of a building and are firing at us whenever we try to gain entry," a policeman at the university campus in Garissa said earlier.

Kenyan police have issued a dusk to dawn (from 6.30 pm till 6.30 am) curfew in four regions near the Somalia border, as a security precaution following the attack, Reuters reported.


Still from RT video

Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the assault, saying it was holding Christians hostage inside the university.

Al Shabaab's spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab said the gunmen were holding Christian hostages inside. "We sorted people out and released the Muslims," he told Reuters.

Amnesty International has condemned the “horrific” attack and has urged authorities “to conduct a prompt, impartial and effective investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

“Citizens and public servants in the north have repeatedly expressed fears about their vulnerability to Al Shabaab attacks, which the Kenyan government has failed to appropriately address,” Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa said in a statement. “Learning institutions are meant to be safe places for students and their teachers. Their protection must be fully guaranteed.”

The United States in a statement from the White House on Thursday condemned the “cowardly” attack “in the strongest terms,” adding, “The United States is providing assistance to the Kenyan Government, and we will continue to partner with them as well as with others in the region to take on the terrorist group al-Shabaab.”


Still from RT video

The gunmen allegedly entered the university as students were heading to morning prayers. The attackers reportedly posed as worshipers among the students, and then started shooting indiscriminately.

Students who escaped the attack told security forces there were at least five gunmen, holding many others hostage inside. According to some accounts, the gunmen were also wearing suicide vests.

Just over a week ago, a terror threat alert was issued for Kenyan universities, Twitter users report.




Local senior security officials said there have been threats from a terror group. “We had the threats earlier on and alerted the institutions here,” said an anonymous security official, as quoted by Standard Media.

In the past, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Somali terror group Al-Shabaab has conducted several attacks in Garissa and throughout Kenya, the biggest assault being an attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi in 2013.




- RT.




GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The Globe - Car Falls Into Sinkhole In Toronto Parking Lot; Sinkhole Repairs To Eutaw Street In Baltimore Causes Street Closure; Sinkhole Found In Benton Neighborhood, Arizona; Sinkhole Swallows Car In Downtown Alley, Pittsburgh; 6-Foot-Deep Sinkhole Opens Up In Dublin; Sinkhole Opens Up And Swallows Man In Pennsylvania; Huge Sinkhole Creates Safety Concerns In Riverdale, New York!

April 2, 2015 - EARTH - Here are several of the latest reports of sinkholes across the globe as monumental planetary transformations continue.


Car falls into sinkhole in Toronto parking lot

A car that fell into a large sinkhole in the city's west end Wednesday morning is shown.  © Cam Woolley

No injuries were reported after a car fell into a large sinkhole at a west-end Toronto parking lot Wednesday morning.

Toronto police spokesperson Cst. Victor Kwong said the hole was originally reported the day before but the vehicle fell in today.

A photograph posted on Twitter by Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins shows the car's front end completely immersed in the ground with its trunk and roof visible.

The sinkhole is located at parking lot on Todd Baylis Blvd. at Industry St. near the Black Creek Dr. area.

Aikins said on Twitter the hole is not linked to the Crosstown Eglinton underground construction.


WATCH: Car swallowed by sinkhole in Toronto.



Metrolinx, the province's regional transit agency, said underground tunneling for the Crosstown project may have contributed to a damaged roadway on Eglinton Ave. W. earlier this month which closed a portion of the street for several weeks.

Police say the parking lot is off-limits to drivers and employees at a nearby building have been told to go home for the day. - Global News.


Sinkhole repairs to Eutaw Street in Baltimore causes street closure

The Baltimore City Department of Transportation said on Thursday morning that repairs to a sinkhole on southbound Eutaw Street at Dolphin Street will cause closures through the evening. DOT first reported the sinkhole on Wednesday morning.

The state Department of Transportation reported closures on two local roadways due to incidents that occurred earlier in the week.

DOT said that emergency roadwork on MD 162 North in Anne Arundel County at Allwood Drive continued into Thursday morning, closing the northbound right shoulder. Work began on Monday.

DOT said reported at 6:41 a.m. that all eastbound traffic on MD 131 in Baltimore County was closed at Thornton Road due to emergency roadwork. The roadway was also closed at the same location on Wednesday morning due to emergency roadwork. The westbound traffic lane is bi-directional due to the incident, DOT said.

There was also a two-vehicle accident in Baltimore City at the corner of Calvert and Centre streets that occurred just after rush hour. Baltimore City DOT reported at 10:05 a.m. that traffic impact was light.

The Maryland Transportation Authority said that the Curtis Creek Drawbridge is scheduled to open at noon.

The Maryland Transit Administration reported minor MARC train delays at 10:17 a.m. - Baltimore Sun.


Sinkhole Found In Benton Neighborhood, Arizona



In the seemingly quiet Longhills Village neighborhood in Benton, two homeowners have found something a little different. 

"It's really not typical at all," Norma Mccullough said. 

In the last few weeks, Mccullough has noticed a sinkhole in her front yard. 

"We started seeing this hole between my house and my neighbors and as we got more rain the hole got bigger," Mccullough said.  

Neighbors took pictures of the hole as it got larger and larger. When the rain came a few weeks ago it grew even quicker. 

"It just took on a life of its own. It got rather large and deep," Mccullough said. 

That's when the neighbors called the city for help, Mccullough says before they lost a child or an animal in the hole. Or before a close tree or even a home got swallowed inside. 

"If it gets much wider then it may start impacting our foundations. There is a concern right here as a homeowner," Mccullough said. 

Benton Mayor David Mattingly says after crews got into the hole they realized there were holes in the underground water pipes. 

"We will have to replace the collapse pipe," Mayor Mattingly said. 

The price tag to fix it is about $22,000. Mattingly has called an emergency city meeting on Thursday to get the amount to fix it approved. Once that happens the hole is expected to get fix and Mccullough can get back to normal life. 

"We look forward to getting this resolved and getting our yard back," Mccullough said. - FOX16.


Sinkhole swallows car in Downtown alley, Pittsburgh

"I thought it was just mud," said Nayshell Sly after her car got stuck in a sinkhole on Cherry Way, Downtown, this morning. Jon Schmitz/Post-Gazette

April Fool's Day got off to a rough start for an East Hills woman whose car was trapped by a giant sinkhole in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Nayshell Sly was taking her 1-year-old daughter to day care before heading to work this morning when her Chevy Cobalt became mired in the sinkhole on Cherry Way at the Boulevard of the Allies. Water running down the alley appeared to indicate a leaking pipe, and the pavement recently was patched there, indicating prior problems.

"I thought it was just mud," Ms. Sly said as she waited for a tow truck to extricate the vehicle. No one was injured and daughter Asiya, in her mother's arms, appeared to be taking the situation in stride. - Post Gazette.


2-Foot-Wide, 6-Foot-Deep Sinkhole Opens up in Dublin



A two-foot-wide, 6-foot-deep sinkhole opened up on Dublin’s Dame Street on Tuesday evening, rerouting traffic throughout the city’s centre.

On further inspection, city officials discovered the hole was much larger beneath the tarmac’s surface and could have caused “considerable damage” if it had given way.

Originally assumed to be caused by water damage to foundations beneath the road surface, some experts now believe the leading suspect of the road’s collapse is a tunnel leading to a 19th century brothel.

Historian Gerry Cooley told the Evening Herald that an old cellar discovered in the hole could be part of a “long-rumoured tunnel” used by 1800s politicians as a route to brothels.


WATCH: Sinkhole on Dublin's Dame Street.




"The King of England closed down the House of Commons and House of Lords in Ireland during the time when politicians were spending too much time in the brothels," Cooley said.

"They built the tunnels from what is now the Bank of Ireland on College Green. If you dig deep enough anywhere around that area you are likely to find medieval artefacts or a part of the old 17th-to-19th century Ireland.

"It could be the remnants of the residence of Chichester, or the tunnels which politicians would use to sneak out to the pubs or gentleman’s clubs.”
Dublin City Council confirmed the finding of “an old cellar,” and announced that it was being filled in with concrete. - Yahoo.


Sinkhole opens up and swallows man in Pennsylvania

A man was trapped in a sinkhole Friday night under the Mansfield Bridge, between Grassport and McKeesport.  © Unknown


 A sinkhole has been covered alongside the W.D. Mansfield Memorial Bridge underpass carrying West Fifth Avenue traffic from McKeesport onto Monongahela Avenue in Glassport.

But it's uncertain who's responsible for its maintenance, three days after a man was injured falling into the sinkhole as it opened up under him.

"That is not the department's roadway," PennDOT District 11 spokesman Steve Cowan said. "My documents do not show who is the owner of the road, but I would think it would either be the municipality or the county."

Glassport and Allegheny County officials said they are looking into the matter.

The hole is on the Glassport side of the municipal line, alongside a road that carries traffic under the county-maintained Mansfield Bridge.

"There has been no determination made as to whose responsibility it is to address the sinkhole," county spokeswoman Amie Downs said late Monday. "But we are partnering with the municipality to determine how best to address the issue."

Rescuers pulled a man from the sinkhole after he had the presence of mind — and could access a cellphone signal — to call for help.

West Fifth Avenue was closed during the rescue, which began around 7:30 p.m. Saturday. McKeesport Deputy Fire Chief Don Sabol said train traffic was stopped as well.

According to Trib Total Media news exchange partner WPXI-11, the man was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital.

The television station said the man is in his 40s and was walking to meet a friend at a convenience store when the accident occurred.

He was roughly 10 feet down," Glassport Assistant Chief Bruce Snyr told WPXI. "I don't understand how he wasn't hurt more than he was.""

McKeesport, Glassport and Pleasant Hills firefighters were called to the scene.

According to Allegheny County real estate records, CSX owns much of the riverside property along Monongahela Avenue in Glassport. A CSX spokesman said late Monday that he was looking into the situation. - Trib Live.


Huge sinkhole creates safety concerns in Riverdale, New York

A gaping sinkhole has opened up in Riverdale, creating safety issues for people in the neighborhood.


 A gaping sinkhole has opened up in Riverdale, creating safety issues for people in the neighborhood.

Crews began repairs at Oxford Avenue and West 236th Street Monday. They say the massive hole started as a water main break late last week.

The Department of Environmental Protection told News 12 that the hole was repaired yesterday afternoon. However, the spot was still cordoned off on Tuesday creating a tricky four-way intersection for drivers.

Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz's office looked more into the cause of the hole, and says the DEP inspectors determined that there were leaks to the 12-inch cast iron water main running underneath the street.  - News 12.



PARADIGM SHIFT: The Age Of Obama And Precursors To The End Of Zionism - Iran And World Powers Agree On Historic Framework For Nuclear Deal; Obama Says "This Has Been A Long Time Coming"!

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, right, waits to make a statement flanked by German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, left and European Union
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, or Ecole Polytechnique
Federale De Lausanne, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday, April 2, 2015, after Iran nuclear program talks finished with extended sessions.
The United States, Iran and five other world powers on | ASSOCIATED PRESS

April 2, 2015 - LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND
- Iran and six world powers agreed to a framework for a final deal on Iran's controversial nuclear program, officials announced Thursday.

The understanding paves the way for the start of a final phase of talks that aims to reach a comprehensive agreement by the end of June. The agreement concludes weeks of intense negotiations and comes two days beyond the initial March 31 deadline for an outline deal.

"We have reached solutions on key parameters on a joint comprehensive plan of action," EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said at a joint press conference with Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Lausanne, Switzerland.


Representatives of Iran and the so-called P5+1 group -- the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany -- have been
negotiating a deal about restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Reading a statement on behalf of negotiators, Mogherini specified that Europe will end all nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions on Iran under the future deal. The United States will end similar sanctions upon verification of the agreement by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran will retain only one enrichment facility, Natanz, while the Fordo fortified site will be converted into a scientific center, according to the statement.

“We will now start drafting a comprehensive text,” Mogherini said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani both welcomed the development on Twitter.




Representatives of Iran and the so-called P5+1 group -- the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany -- have been negotiating a deal about restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

International powers aim to impose limits on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, which they fear Tehran is using to build a nuclear weapon. Iran insists the program is only for peaceful purposes and that it has a right to enrichment. However, Tehran desperately needs relief from sanctions the international community has imposed on the nation.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveils a sample of the third generation centrifuge for uranium enrichment during
a ceremony to mark the National Nuclear Day day in Tehran on April 9, 2010.

The standoff over Iran's nuclear program has dragged on for more than a decade. In November 2013, both sides concluded a preliminary agreement that froze some of Iran's most sensitive nuclear activities in return for limited sanctions relief. The parties also agreed to reach a conclusive deal by June 2015.


This handout image supplied by the IIPA (Iran International Photo Agency) shows a view of the reactor building at the Russian-built
Bushehr nuclear power plant as the first fuel is loaded, on August 21, 2010, in Bushehr, southern Iran.

Representatives on both sides of the negotiating table are under intense pressure domestically. In the United States, politicians from both parties have threatened to impose new, tough sanctions on Iran unless Kerry can present details of specific agreements to curb the Iranian nuclear program. Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has made it clear his country prefers a vague agreement that leaves room to hammer out more details by June 30. - The World Post.


WATCH: EU and Iran jointly announce framework for Iran nuclear deal.






Obama On Iran Deal: 'This Has Been A Long Time Coming'

President Obama. Boston Globe via Getty Images

President Barack Obama spoke on the agreement between Iran and six world powers on a framework for a final deal on Iran's nuclear program, saying it's "been a long time coming."

"I'm convinced that if this framework leads to a final comprehensive deal, it will make our country, our allies and our world safer," Obama said Thursday during remarks given from the White House Rose Garden.

Obama said the "historic understanding" could, if implemented, "cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon."

"This deal is not based on trust," Obama said. "It's based on unprecedented verification."

WATCH: Obama remarks on 'good' Iran nuclear deal.




Iranian officials announced Thursday leaders had agreed to a framework for a final comprehensive deal, which they hope to reach by June 30.

"We have reached solutions on key parameters on a joint comprehensive plan of action," EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said Thursday at a press conference in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Obama delayed a trip to Louisville, where he planned to tour a technology plant and deliver a speech on the economy, as talks over the Iran deal finalized. - Huffington Post.


FIRE IN THE SKY: Fireballs Seen Over Toledo And Cordoba, Spain - March 30 And 31, 2015!

April 2, 2015 - SPAIN - Here are two reports of two separate incidents of fireballs, seen over Spain this week.

Fireball passes over the province of Toledo, Spain - March 30th, 2015




A fireball travelling at 45,000 kilometres per hour was seen from the province of Toledo this week - the second time this year.

The burning rock, a chunk of an asteroid, flew through the skies above the central region of Castilla-La Mancha at 04.39hrs on Monday, say astronomers from the observatory in La Hita, near Toledo.

It was about 26 kilometres up from the ground when it was first spotted, having firstly sailed across the horizon over nearby Espinosa del Rey at 85 kilometres up.

This is the second time in 2015 a fireball has crossed over Toledo - on February 20 at 01.47hrs, another fragment of an asteroid impacted with the atmosphere at a speed of 60,000 kilometres per hour above Talavera de la Reina before disappearing from the horizon over La Puebla de Almoradiel.


According to the observatory, this type of phenomenon is not unusual in the area.


WATCH: Fireball over Toledo.




Detectors were set up there in 2010 with the help of the University of Huelva and the AstroHita Foundation to locate fireballs in the sky. - Gnom.


Fireball over Cordoba, Spain - March 31st, 2015


Fireball recorded over Cordoba on March 31st, 2015. The event was produced by a fragment from a comet.

WATCH: Fireball over Cordoba.




- YouTube.





PARADIGM SHIFT: Muslims To Outnumber Christians Worldwide In 50 Years - Pew Research Center Study!

MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images

April 2, 2015 - RELIGION
- Shifts in the world’s major religions will see Islam growing faster than any other faith, with the number of Muslims nearly equaling that of Christians by 2050.

A new Pew Research Center study finds that with the exception of Buddhists, the world’s major religions will all see an increase in numbers by 2050, although some will make up a smaller percentage from today. Muslims are the only major religious group projected to increase faster than the world’s population as a whole.

Over the coming four decades, Christianity will remain the world’s largest religious affiliation, but Islam will see a major increase that will make the two religions nearly equal in numbers by 2050. In 2010, Christianity was by far the world’s largest religion, with 2.2 billion followers of the faith and composing nearly one-third (31 percent) of the Earth’s 6.9 billion people. Islam was second, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent of the world’s population.

If current fertility rates and youth populations continue to grow at their current rate, Muslims will make up 10 percent of Europe’s overall population by 2050. Islam is expected to nearly match Christianity in the coming four decades as a result of a “comparatively youthful” population with high fertility rates.

If current trends continue, Muslims will outnumber Christians worldwide around 2070.

Muslims worldwide are projected to see a 73 percent increase while Christians will rise about half that fast (35 percent). The world’s overall population is predicted to rise to 9.3 billion by 2050, also with a 35 percent rate of increase over the same time period.

In the United States, Christians will decline from more than three-quarters (78 percent) of the population to about two-thirds (66 percent) by 2050.

Muslims, “other religions” and those unaffiliated with religion will see the largest increases in North America. The religiously unaffiliated are expected to rise from 16 percent to more than one-quarter of the population, 26 percent. And by 2050, the U.S. will have more Muslims (2.1 percent of the general population) than people who identify as Jewish (1.4 percent).

Europe is predicted to be the only region with a decline in its total population. Europe’s Christian population will see a loss of about 100 million people in the coming decades, falling from 553 million to 454 million people. Although Christians will remain Europe’s largest religious group, they are expected to decrease similarly to U.S. Christians, dropping from nearly three-quarters to less than two-thirds of the overall population.

Worldwide, Muslims have the highest fertility rate with an average of 3.1 children per woman – far exceeding the replacement level needed to maintain a stable population. Christians are second, with an average 2.7 children per woman. In 2010, more than one-quarter (27 percent) of the world’s total population was under the age of 15. And Muslims comprised an even higher percentage of this youthful group at more than one-third (34 percent), compared to 27 percent of Christians under age 15.

Pew’s “The Future of World Religions: Population Growth and Projections, 2010-2050” analysis estimates that four out of every 10 Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa by the middle of this century. - CBS.




EXTREME WEATHER: Storm Niklas Pummels Europe - Leaving A Widespread Path Of Destruction And Infrastructure Collapse; Kills At Least Nine; Avalanche Kills Three In The French Alps!

Emergency: Firefighters remove parts of a tree from a street as Storm Niklas strikes in Berlin. Reuters

April 2, 2015 - EUROPE
- A powerful storm drove across central Europe Tuesday leaving a widespread path of destruction across parts of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the United Kingdom.

WATCH: Storm Niklas batters Central Europe.




The storm, nicknamed “Niklas” in Europe, is considered one of the most powerful to hit the region in years, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. A wind gust of 118 mph was recorded on Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain.

The BBC said at least nine deaths were blamed on the weather. At least seven of those deaths were in Germany, including two men who died when a tree hit their vehicle.


Pedestrians in Munich were blown to the ground by the force of the winds. AP

A tree lies on the road in southern Germany following the stormy weather

The violent storm spread across Scotland, Poland as well as northern and eastern France, before reaching Germany yesterday.

People walk in the strong wind on March 31, 2015 in Cologne. (Oliver Berg/AFP/Getty Images) 
A woman has her hair fluttering in the wind during stormy weather near the lake Ammersee in the small Bavarian village of Herrsching,
southern Germany, on March 31, 2015. (Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images) 

Dark clouds hang over an amusement park in Cologne, western Germany, on April 1, 2015, in the aftermath of storm front 'Niklas.’
(Oliver Berg/AFP/Getty Images) 

In the eastern German town of Gross Santersleben, a man was killed when a concrete wall damaged by the storm fell on him, police told The Associated Press.

The Weather Channel U.K. reports flights and rail services were thrown into chaos and Munich’s central rail station was evacuated because of roof damage.


WATCH: Storm Niklas rages through Europe - Several dead, buildings & cars damaged.



Even by Wednesday, railways in Germany still weren't at full service because of the storm. - Weather.


Official: 3 dead, at least 7 missing after avalanche in French Alps

Three people are dead and about seven others remain unaccounted for after an avalanche Wednesday in the French Alps, an official in the Hautes-Alpes prosecutor's office said.

One person was evacuated to a hospital in Grenoble, France, in "extremely serious condition," according to the official, who spoke on behalf of Hautes-Alpes prosecutor Raphael Balland.

The avalanche happened around 3 p.m. (9 a.m. ET) around France's Ecrins National Park near the village of Pelvoux, which is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the Italian border and 120 kilometers north of where Germanwings Flight 9525 went down last week.

It struck a group of about 10 hikers and a guide, the prosecutor's office said.

A large-scale search is underway for those still missing.

The search party includes at least 27 police officers and dogs out of Briancon, Isere and Modane and 30 firefighters, according to the official in the prosecutor's office in Hautes-Alpes province. Four helicopters flew over the scene as well.

Weather forecasts called for temperatures around or below freezing Wednesday night. - CNN.





PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Fiji - No Tsunami Warning! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

Earthquake 3D map.

April 2, 2015 - FIJI
- A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 struck off southeast of Fiji, official monitors said.

The quake hit at a depth of 560.5 kilometres, some 260 kilometres from Lambasa and 515 kilometres from Nuku`alofa, Tonga, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.


Earthquake 3D map.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii said "based on preliminary earthquake parameters ... hazardous tsunami waves are not possible for coasts located within 1000 kilometres of the earthquake epicentre".

Because of the quake's depth, no tsunami was expected, according to the National Tsunami Warning Center.


USGS earthquake location map.

USGS shakemap intensity.

Fiji is an archipelago about 3,100 miles southwest of Hawaii.

Fiji is located in the so-called Ring of Fire area of the Pacific Ocean basin, where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.


Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Eastern Margin of the Australia Plate

The eastern margin of the Australia plate is one of the most sesimically active areas of the world due to high rates of convergence between the Australia and Pacific plates. In the region of New Zealand, the 3000 km long Australia-Pacific plate boundary extends from south of Macquarie Island to the southern Kermadec Island chain. It includes an oceanic transform (the Macquarie Ridge), two oppositely verging subduction zones (Puysegur and Hikurangi), and a transpressive continental transform, the Alpine Fault through South Island, New Zealand.

Since 1900 there have been 15 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded near New Zealand. Nine of these, and the four largest, occurred along or near the Macquarie Ridge, including the 1989 M8.2 event on the ridge itself, and the 2004 M8.1 event 200 km to the west of the plate boundary, reflecting intraplate deformation. The largest recorded earthquake in New Zealand itself was the 1931 M7.8 Hawke's Bay earthquake, which killed 256 people. The last M7.5+ earthquake along the Alpine Fault was 170 years ago; studies of the faults' strain accumulation suggest that similar events are likely to occur again.

North of New Zealand, the Australia-Pacific boundary stretches east of Tonga and Fiji to 250 km south of Samoa. For 2,200 km the trench is approximately linear, and includes two segments where old (greater than 120 Myr) Pacific oceanic lithosphere rapidly subducts westward (Kermadec and Tonga). At the northern end of the Tonga trench, the boundary curves sharply westward and changes along a 700 km-long segment from trench-normal subduction, to oblique subduction, to a left lateral transform-like structure.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Australia-Pacific convergence rates increase northward from 60 mm/yr at the southern Kermadec trench to 90 mm/yr at the northern Tonga trench; however, significant back arc extension (or equivalently, slab rollback) causes the consumption rate of subducting Pacific lithosphere to be much faster. The spreading rate in the Havre trough, west of the Kermadec trench, increases northward from 8 to 20 mm/yr. The southern tip of this spreading center is propagating into the North Island of New Zealand, rifting it apart. In the southern Lau Basin, west of the Tonga trench, the spreading rate increases northward from 60 to 90 mm/yr, and in the northern Lau Basin, multiple spreading centers result in an extension rate as high as 160 mm/yr. The overall subduction velocity of the Pacific plate is the vector sum of Australia-Pacific velocity and back arc spreading velocity: thus it increases northward along the Kermadec trench from 70 to 100 mm/yr, and along the Tonga trench from 150 to 240 mm/yr.

The Kermadec-Tonga subduction zone generates many large earthquakes on the interface between the descending Pacific and overriding Australia plates, within the two plates themselves and, less frequently, near the outer rise of the Pacific plate east of the trench. Since 1900, 40 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded, mostly north of 30°S. However, it is unclear whether any of the few historic M8+ events that have occurred close to the plate boundary were underthrusting events on the plate interface, or were intraplate earthquakes. On September 29, 2009, one of the largest normal fault (outer rise) earthquakes ever recorded (M8.1) occurred south of Samoa, 40 km east of the Tonga trench, generating a tsunami that killed at least 180 people.

Across the North Fiji Basin and to the west of the Vanuatu Islands, the Australia plate again subducts eastwards beneath the Pacific, at the North New Hebrides trench. At the southern end of this trench, east of the Loyalty Islands, the plate boundary curves east into an oceanic transform-like structure analogous to the one north of Tonga.

Australia-Pacific convergence rates increase northward from 80 to 90 mm/yr along the North New Hebrides trench, but the Australia plate consumption rate is increased by extension in the back arc and in the North Fiji Basin. Back arc spreading occurs at a rate of 50 mm/yr along most of the subduction zone, except near ~15°S, where the D'Entrecasteaux ridge intersects the trench and causes localized compression of 50 mm/yr in the back arc. Therefore, the Australia plate subduction velocity ranges from 120 mm/yr at the southern end of the North New Hebrides trench, to 40 mm/yr at the D'Entrecasteaux ridge-trench intersection, to 170 mm/yr at the northern end of the trench.

Large earthquakes are common along the North New Hebrides trench and have mechanisms associated with subduction tectonics, though occasional strike slip earthquakes occur near the subduction of the D'Entrecasteaux ridge. Within the subduction zone 34 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded since 1900. On October 7, 2009, a large interplate thrust fault earthquake (M7.6) in the northern North New Hebrides subduction zone was followed 15 minutes later by an even larger interplate event (M7.8) 60 km to the north. It is likely that the first event triggered the second of the so-called earthquake "doublet".

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics

- USGS.





FUK-U-SHIMA: "We Have NO IDEA What To Do,... The Technology Simply DOESN'T EXIST,... I Can't Say It's Possible,... The Worst Result Possible,..." - Plant Chief At Fukushima Declares That CENTURIES MAY PASS Before Humans Find A Way To Deal With The Molten Cores?!



April 2, 2015 - JAPAN
- NHK ‘Nuclear Watch’ transcript, Mar 31, 2015 (emphasis added):
  • NHK: The people trying to decommission the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been hit by setback after setback… and faced accusations of misconduct. It’s lost them a lot of public trust… [Naohiro Masuda, president of Tepco's decommissioning company] revealed he’s not sure if he can comply with the government set plan [for] removing the fuel…
  • Naohiro Masuda, president of Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning Company: We have no idea about the debris. We don’t know its shape or strength. We have to remove it remotely from 30 meters above, but we don’t have that kind of technology, it simply doesn’t exist... We still don’t know whether it’s possible to fill the reactor containers with water. We’ve found some cracks and holes in the three damaged container vessels, but we don’t know if we found them all. If it turns out there are other holes, we might have to look for some other way to remove the debris.
  • NHK: Asked [about the gov't target to begin by 2020], his answer was surprisingly candid.
  • Masuda: It’s a very big challenge. Honestly speaking, I cannot say it’s possible.

WATCH: Fukushima Decommissioning Chief.




WATCH: Fukushima IAEA Expert Pools of corium beneath reactors are up to 2 stories high.




Dale Klein, Tepco Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee chair, Mar 31, 2015 (at 24:00 in):
  • Richard Lloyd Parry, The Times: I was at the plant last week on the tour and we talked Mr. Ono, the boss. He made no bones about the fact that the technology… to remove the molten or semi-molten fuel doesn’t exist yet… I asked him how can you be sure that it will be, and he said, “Well, 200 years ago people would never have dreamed of bullet trains or mobile phones, but they exist.” That seems to be the scale of the leap… that’s going to be required. So there must be immense uncertainties around that… There must surely be a chance that it won’t work out, and that the eventual solution will be something like the Chernobyl solution… a sarcophagus of some kind sealing in the 3 plants
  • Klein: This is something that has never been done… Units 1, 2, and 3… molten fuel penetrated the bottom of the vessel… We don’t know… how much and where it moved.
The Times (complete article), Mar 28, 2015: The chief of the Fukushima nuclear power station has admitted that the technology needed to decommission three melted-down reactors does not exist, and he has no idea how it will be developed [and] conceded that the stated goal of decommissioning the plant by 2051 may be impossible without a giant technological leap… [Tepco] continues to be embarrassed by leaks of radiation into the sea… Recent scans of one revealed the worst possible result: all the nuclear fuel that was in the reactor’s furnace has melted and dripped down into the concrete outer containment vessel… The alternative would be to seal the entire complex in a giant sarcophagus like the one covering Chernobyl — but it would have to extend underground to stop contaminated groundwater reaching the sea. [See the initial report based on an excerpt from this article here]

Akira Ono, chief of Fukushima Daiichi
, Mar 28, 2015: “There are so many uncertainties… For removal of the debris, we don’t have accurate information… or any viable methodology… I believe human beings have the capability to develop technologies… It may take 200 years.”

WATCH: Post-Fukushima West Coast Of Birth Defects - Dr. Janette Sherman.


 
Watch: NHK ‘Nuclear Watch’ | Klein Press Conference


Compiled by: ENE News.





PLANETARY TREMORS: USGS Reports Strong 4.0 Magnitude Earthquake Near Steele, Missouri - Along The New Madrid Seismic Zone! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]



April 2, 2015 - MISSOURI, UNITED STATES
- The United States Geological Survey reports a 4.0 magnitude earthquake near Steele, Missouri on Wednesday night, April 1.

The USGS said the earthquake was about 2 miles south-southwest of Steele and occurred around 10:51 p.m.


Earthquake 3D map.


According to the Pemiscot County Sheriff's Office, there have been no reports of damage or injuries.

A sheriff's office dispatcher says her computer monitor shook and then minutes later phones started ringing with people wondering if there was an earthquake.

On the KFVS12 Facebook page, many people say they felt it.


USGS earthquake location map.

USGS shakemap intensity.


From Oran, MO, one viewer said they heard a loud boom and plants started shaking.

It was also reportedly felt in Carbondale and at the Jackson-Union County line.

Click here to view the USGS ShakeMap for southeastern Missouri. - KCTV5.



Tectonic Summary - Earthquakes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone

The New Madrid seismic zone of southeast Missouri and adjacent States is the most seismically active in North America east of the Rockies. During the winter of 1811-1812 three very large earthquakes devastated the area and were felt throughout most of the Nation. They occurred a few weeks apart on December 16, January 23, and February 7. Hundreds of aftershocks, some severely damaging by themselves, continued for years. Prehistoric earthquakes similar in size to those of 1811-1812 occurred in the middle 1400's and around 900 A.D. Strong, damaging earthquakes struck the southwestern end of the seismic zone near Marked Tree, Arkansas in 1843 (magnitude 6.3), and the northeastern end near Charleston, Missouri in 1895 (magnitude 6.6). Since 1900, moderately damaging earthquakes have struck the seismic zone every few decades. About twice a year people feel still smaller earthquakes that do not cause damage.

Earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S. are typically felt over a much broader region than in the western U.S. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt at many places as far as 100 km (60 mi) from where it occurred, and it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake usually can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi).

Faults


Earthquakes everywhere occur on faults within bedrock, usually miles deep. The earthquakes of the New Madrid seismic zone occur within a large network of faults called the Reelfoot rift. The rift formed about 500 million years ago, when this region was stretched in the northwest-southeast direction. Along a northeast-southwest zone at least 70 km (40 mi) wide and 500 km (300 mi) long, the rocks in the rift were slowly dropped down about 1-2 km (1 mi) along some of the faults. Now the region is undergoing east- west shortening, and the ancient faults of the Reelfoot rift are being reactivated to generate earthquakes. Today the Reelfoot rift and the New Madrid seismic zone are 2,000 km (1,200 mi) from the nearest plate boundary, which is in the Caribbean Sea.

The network of faults in the seismic zone is buried beneath hundreds to thousands of feet of sand and mud. Four of the largest faults are recognized as alignments of abundant small earthquakes, and movements along two of these faults dammed rivers and created lakes during the earthquakes of 1811-1812. A few more deeply buried faults were detected during oil and gas exploration, and a few small faults are known from geologic mapping. However, many earthquakes occur away from the few known faults, so there must be additional, unknown faults that can generate earthquakes in the seismic zone. Accordingly, the best overall guide to seismic hazard in the New Madrid seismic zone is the earthquakes themselves.
- USGS.




SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Mysterious Object At The Center Of The Milky Way Is Racing Towards The Earth - Actually INCREASING In Speed From 6.2 Million To 7.4 Million Miles Per Hour!



April 2, 2015 - SPACE
- Towards the centre of our galaxy there is a strange object known as G2 that is drifting around the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole.  The origins of this 'cloud' have remained somewhat a mystery and now a new theory has been proposed - the cloud is actually a star.  New observations suggest it is too compact to be a clump of gas, and instead its more likely to be a stellar object. 

The new theory was proposed by scientists from the University of Cologne in Germany and published in the Astrophysical Journal.

G2 has fascinated astronomers since it was first found in 2002 because it is not obvious where it has come from.


University of Cologne scientists say G2 cloud is actually a star. The object was found orbiting the Milky Way's core in 2002. This composite image shows the
motion of the dusty cloud G2 as it closes in on, and then passes, the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way - and it remains compact, like a star

Studying it could help scientists understand how supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies draw in material and ‘feed’.

Observations had suggested G2 was stretched, like a cloud - and may even have a companion, dubbed G1.

But according to the team, the latest observations show that G2 remained intact as it made a recent close pass to the black hole.

If it had been a cloud, it would have been spread apart by the black hole’s intense gravity.

‘For us, everything points at it being a young star,’ Dr Andreas Eckart, a co-author on the paper, told Space.com.

Before 2014, the cloud was moving away from us, but now it is moving towards Earth - increasing in speed from 6.2 million to 7.4 million mph (10 million to 12 million km/h).


WHY IS G2 SO IMPORTANT TO ASTRONOMERS?

Sagittarius A* lurks 26,000 light years away in the Milky Way's innermost region.

For a black hole, it is very dim - about a billion times fainter than others of its supermassive types - making it something of a mystery.

Black holes eat matter from their surroundings and blow matter back. The way they do that influences the evolution of the entire galaxy.

Its interaction with the gas clouds G1 and G2 will give astronomers a unique opportunity to see how faint supermassive black holes 'feed'.

They hope to understand these black holes don't consume matter in the same way as their brighter counterparts in other galaxies.

The findings could shed light on how stars are formed, how the galaxy grows and how it interacts with other galaxies.

G2 has fascinated astronomers since it was first found in 2002 because it is not obvious where it has come from. Studying it could help scientists understand
how supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies (illustrated) draw in material and ‘feed’



‘We don't see any stretching of the cloud that was claimed previously,’ Dr Eckart said.

‘We get a much more coherent picture of a single object.’

Other experts, though, have suggested the team is not observing the whole object, and thus is missing some of its features.

 'Our basic idea is that G1 and G2 might be clumps of the same gas streamer,’ Dr Oliver Pfuhl of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics said in December.


Now debate will rage on whether G2 is a cloud of gas (illustrated left) or a star (illustrated right). Observations had suggested G2 was stretched, like a cloud. But
according to the team, the latest observations show that G2 remained intact as it made a recent close pass to the black hole - suggesting it is a star



'In this case, we should be able to simultaneously fit both data sets and, indeed, our model captures the G1 and G2 orbits remarkably well.'

If they are clouds, the likely source for both G1 and G2 could be clumps in the wind of one of the massive disk stars, which could have been ejected some 100 years ago.

Whatever they turn out to be, the answer could reveal a fascinating insight into some of the goings on near the black hole at the Milky Way's core.  - Daily Mail.