Thursday, January 24, 2013

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: The Dead Sea Rises For The First Time In 10 Years - Higher Level Comes In The Wake Of Huge Storm That Pounded Israel In Early January!

January 24, 2013 - ISRAEL - A test conducted Wednesday revealed that the Dead Sea rose 10 centimeters since its last monthly measurement, the first recorded increase in volume for the iconic and endangered body of water in 10 years.

The higher level is the result of runoff from the fierce storm that swept across Israel last week, bringing record levels of rainfall and causing the Sea of Galilee to rise by some 70 centimeters, with more expected after the winter runoff.  The Dead Sea is fed by the Jordan River as well as a series of streams running from the Judean Hills, many of which experienced heavy flooding last week. Pumping from the Sea of Galilee, which feeds the Jordan River, along with the diversion of water to the Dead Sea Works factory and the extremely arid climate have all contributed to a sharp drop in the level of the Dead Sea — over 20 meters since the 1970s.

On Tuesday, in a long-awaited reportthe World Bank approved the feasibility of a canal and desalination system that which would in theory save the Dead Sea. The Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian project would cost nearly $10 billion, and is opposed by environmental groups because of potential damage to the surrounding desert area. The initiators of the project hope to use water flowing from the Red Sea northward, down to the Dead Sea (the lowest point on earth), to drive hydroelectric plants, which would in turn power desalination stations and produce drinking water for the regional partners. The highly saline by-product would continue on to finally replenish the depleted Dead Sea, where the receding waters pose a serious danger by causing sinkholes along the shores of the sea. The plan, conceived in 1998, was hailed as a great example of regional cooperation; however, the project has been fraught with problems. In early December, Jordan reportedly backed out of the project, citing financial concerns. - Times of Israel.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Thousands Of Starfish Wash Up On Lincolnshire Beach Following Stormy Weather In The United Kingdom!

January 24, 2013 - UNITED KINGDOM - Thousands of dead starfish have washed up on a beach in Lincolnshire after a period of stormy weather.  Shocked photographer Simon Peck estimates that 4,000 starfish - along with whelks' eggs and pieces of shell - had surfaced on Cleethorpes beach.  Experts think that the animals were dislodged by rough waters in the recent wintry weather, with a similar incident happening at the same time last year.  Richard Harrington, communications manager at the Marine Conservation Society, said: 'These are all common starfish Asterias rubens.

Puzzle: Photographer Simon Peck was shocked to find around 4,000 starfish and bits of shell on the beach.
'The fact that there's what appear to be whelk eggs and different shells in these pictures, both shallow water residents, along with the common starfish, would back up the likelihood that it is simply stormy weather that has caused this big strand.  'We were aware of a strand like this in the region at this time last year, too.  'Mass strandings of starfish and sea potatoes, a kind of sand-dwelling sea urchin, happen quite regularly in different parts of the coast.  'They seem to occur most in winter, and around sandy areas, when it's likely that rough seas in shallow water dislodge them in large numbers.

Coastal confusion: Similar 'mass strandings' have happened in the past - mostly in winter, around sandy areas.
 'Strandings like this may be associated with breeding, indicated if all of the specimens that washed up are mature adults, but the common starfish tends to aggregate and spawn most in spring and summer - so that is unlikely.'  Millions of common starfish live in British seas. About the size of a hand, they are pinky orange when alive, but turn a bright orange when dry.  Their ideal feeding ground is a mussel bed, where millions of starfish will congregate at any one time. And it's here where they are most at risk.  Violent storms can send terrifically strong currents through the mussel beds where they are feeding, pluck them off their prey, carry them to the shore and dump thousands at a time on to a beach.  In the past, some mass strandings have been blamed on overfishing - with dredgers used to scrape the sea floor for mussels dislodging starfish or covering them with mud and sand. - Daily Mail.

WATCH: Bad weather to blame for dead starfish washed up in Cleethorpes area.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: The Euro-Zone Crisis - Spain's Jobless Figures Hit Record High, As Catalonia Declares Independence!

January 24, 2013 - SPAIN - Spain's unemployment rate has climbed to its highest level ever, the Spanish government said Thursday, as a painful recession takes a toll on the debt-stricken nation.  The latest official figures show 26.02% of the population without jobs in the last quarter of 2012, with just over 55% of those aged 16 to 24 unemployed.

The unemployment rate is the highest in the country's history, according to the Spanish National Statistics Institute, with the total number of jobless people at 5.97 million. In 2007, before the global economic crisis hit, Spain had 1.9 million people unemployed -- 8.6% of the active population. By this time last year, the number had climbed to 5.2 million. In the eurozone, only Greece, which is facing a sixth year of recession, has a greater proportion of young people out of work.  Spain, the fourth-largest economy in the eurozone, is suffering its second recession in three years, and its ailing banking industry has had to draw on the eurozone's bailout fund to stay afloat.  But it has stopped short of following in the footsteps of Greece, Ireland and Portugal in requesting a full-blown sovereign bailout.  Successive rounds of austerity measures have prompted angry public protests on Spain's streets. - CNN.

WATCH: Spain's unemployment rate hits 26%.

Catalan separatist merchandise is displayed at a
stall in Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain. (file photo).
The parliament of Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia has approved a declaration of the region’s sovereignty as a major step towards its independence from Spain.   The non-binding resolution was passed on Wednesday by 85 votes in favor, 41 against, and two abstentions, the Associated Press reported.  The declaration, which states that the people of Catalonia have a democratic right to decide on their sovereignty, sets up a potential showdown with the central government in Madrid.  Catalonia, one of the most developed regions in Spain, already enjoys a wide degree of autonomy, but the country’s economic crisis has fuelled Catalan nationalism.
Growing Catalan separatism is a huge challenge for Spain's conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is trying to avoid getting bailed out by its European Union neighbors.
Rajoy says a referendum on secession is unconstitutional and hurts all Spaniards, who are already suffering in a recession with the unemployment rate higher than 25 percent.  The approximate 16 billion euros Catalonia pays Madrid in annual taxes is more than it gets back from the central government.  In addition, the autonomous region owes around 40 billion euros in debt, which has forced regional authorities to introduce spending cuts in healthcare and education.  Many Catalans believe their economy would be more prosperous on its own, complaining that a high portion of their taxes goes to the central government in Madrid.  Catalonia, which consists of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona, accounts for one-fifth of Spain’s economic output.  Spain’s 17 autonomous regions manage their own budgets and are responsible for health and education policies and other areas of public spending.  Battered by the global financial downturn, Spain’s economy collapsed into recession in the second half of 2008, taking with it millions of jobs. - Press TV.

SHADOW WARS: Escalating Towards World War III - North Korea Says "High-Level" Nuclear Test May Directly Target "Sworn Enemy" United States!

January 24, 2013 - NORTH KOREA - North Korea said Thursday that it plans to carry out a new nuclear test and more long-range rocket launches, all of which it said are a part of a new phase of confrontation with the United States. The North's National Defense Commission said the moves would feed into an "upcoming all-out action" that would target the United States, "the sworn enemy of the Korean people." Carried by the state media, the comments are the latest defiant flourish from the reclusive North Korean regime, whose young leader Kim Jong Un has upheld his father's policy of pursuing a military deterrent and shrugging off international pressure. The defense commission statement follows a United Nations Security Council resolution on Tuesday that the United States pushed for, condemning a recent recent rocket launch by North Korea and expanded existing sanctions.

The North's angry statement "should have been the expected outcome" from the U.N. decision, said Daniel Pinkston, senior analyst for the International Crisis Group covering Northeast Asia. "I think they are completely outraged and insulted by it," he said. North Korea, which often issues bellicose statements in its state media, said Thursday that it rejected all Security Council resolutions concerning it. It described this week's resolution as "the most dangerous phase of the hostile policy toward the DPRK," using the abbreviated version of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The threats toward the United States, a constant theme in the North's propaganda, have more to do with deterrence than a desire for full conflict, Pinkston said. "I don't believe they have the capability, the intention or the will to invade or destroy the United States," he said. "They wish to deter interference from the U.S. or any outside powers." North Korea's successful rocket launch last month nonetheless changed the strategic calculations for the United States, showing that the North's missile program is advancing despite an array of heavy sanctions imposed on it.

Snow-covered nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, North Korea. (Yonhap News).
Analysts say it still has a lot of work to do to master the technology necessary to mount a nuclear warhead on missile or accurately target it. At the same time, Pyongyang has been hinting for a while that a new nuclear test could be in the cards. Just before the North sent out its latest hostile statement Thursday, a U.S. State Department official was telling reporters in Seoul that Washington hoped that Pyongyang wouldn't go ahead. "We think that that would be a mistake, obviously," said Glyn Davies, the U.S. special envoy on North Korea. "We call on North Korea, as does the entire international community, not to engage in any further provocations." North Korea has carried out two previous nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009, both of which were condemned by the U.N. Pyongyang didn't say Thursday when exactly it would carry out a third test, but it could happen "at any time," according to Pinkston. He said that it was hard for anybody outside the North Korean nuclear sector to know if the country is technically ready to carry out the test, but that politically, "it seems an appropriate time." - CNN.

WATCH: North Korea says new nuclear test will be part of fight against U.S.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Volcano Activity Report For January 23, 2013 - Eruptive Activity Continues Along Kamchatka, Earthquake Aftershocks At Aleutian Volcano, Numerous Tremors At Mammoth Mountain, Explosions And Gas Emissions At Popocatepetl And Colima, Strong Degassing Seen At Reventador, 500 Volcanic Quakes At Copahue, Increasing Volcanism In New Zealand, And Much More!

January 24, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing report from geologist Richard Wilson who specializes in volcano seismicity and Armand Vervaeck.

KVERT reports that volcanic tremor accompanying ongoing eruptive activity at Plosky Tolbachik remains strong enough to be recorded by seismometers on nearby volcanoes Bezymianny and Kliucheskoi.  Moderate seismicity accompanies lava extrusion at Kizimen and Sheveluch volcanoes, and gas emission at Gorely volcano.

Aftershocks from Monday’s nearby M5.1 earthquake continue to be detected by Aleutian volcano seismometers.  Seismograms from Tanaga volcano still show local events interspersed within the aftershock activity (station TAZE). Numerous small earthquakes continue to rattle Mammoth Mountain volcano (CA) (station MMS).

Occasional small explosions, rockfalls and pulses of volcanic earthquakes are still being recorded at Colima volcano (Mexico) this week.  Emissions of gas and small amounts of ash now only occur on average once per three hours at Popocatepetl volcano.

Seismicity is relatively low at Fuego (station FG3) and Pacaya (station PCG) volcanoes (Guatemala) today.  An episode of heightened volcanic tremor occurred at  Santa Maria volcano (station STG6) overnight.  From this report forward, I will only report on significant changes in the seismic behavour of these volcanoes.

The rate and amplitude of volcanic earthquakes at San Cristobal volcano (Nicaragua) (station CRIN) continues to diminish.  Seismicity, in the form of continuous low-level volcanic tremor at Masaya volcano (station MASN) and low-magnitude volcanic earthquakes (the larger magnitude seismic events are regional earthquakes) at Concepcion (station CONN) are at what I will from now on consider “background” levels.  Therefore I will not report on these volcanoes unless they show remarkable changes in their seismic behavour.

A few volcanic earthquakes have “popped-up” within continuous volcanic tremor at San Miguel volcano (El Salvador) (station VSM) during the past 24 hours.

Numerous, small volcanic and volcano-tectonic earthquakes shake Colombian volcanoes Nevado Del Ruiz (station OLLZ), Machin (station CIMA), and Galeras (station ANGV) again today.
Judging by both recent satellite imagery, and local seismicity, very strong degassing (a prelude to emission of a new lava flow?) is taking place at Reventador volcano (Ecuador) (station CONE).  Incandescence was noted at the volcano’s summit on Monday night.

A swarm of over 500 volcanic earthquakes and periods of strong volcanic tremor struck Copahue volcano (Chile-Argentina border) yesterday.  Today’s Copahue volcanocam photo belies the high level of unrest within the volcano.

Strong volcanic tremor and local earthquakes (red spikes) continue at White Island volcano (New Zealand) today.  Small local earthquakes are evident on seismograms from Ruapehu volcano.

Recent satellite imagery shows SO2-enriched plumes wafting from Tolbachik, Colima (?) and Popocatepetl volcanoes, Nevado Del Ruiz and Reventador volcanoes, and Etna (Italy), Krakatoa (Indonesia) and Soputan (?) (Sangihe arc) volcanoes. - Daily Volcano Report.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Rude Awakening - Falling Boulder Bulldozes Into Utah Home Injuring A Sleeping 63-Year-Old Woman?!

January 24, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A southern Utah woman got the wake-up call from hell. A massive boulder tumbled down a ridge behind Wanda Denhalter’s St. George home and slammed into the bedroom where she was sleeping early Saturday.

The 63-year-old woman was trapped inside the bedroom but was close enough to a phone to call 911, husband Scot Denhalter told The Salt Lake Tribune. Medics then rushed her to a hospital for emergency surgery, where doctors wired shut her broken jaw and addressed her cracked sternum and gashes on her leg. She’s expected to fully recover. “The officer told me she had been in an accident and she recently bought a car and that’s what I thought happened,” Scot Denhalter told CBS affiliate KUTV. “It took me a while to get my arms around (what actually happened),” he said. He wasn’t home at the time of the accident but said his wife awoke to the sound of the 12-by-9-foot rock rumbling downhill. “She rolled away from the oncoming noise to my side of the bed,” Scot Denhalter told The Salt Lake Tribune. “If she had decided to swing her leg over (her) side of the bed to investigate, it would have killed her.”

Scot Denhalter suspects a broken water pipe at a ridgetop home might be why the boulder fell about 3 a.m., but authorities will try to determine the exact reason. “It’s been kind of leaking into the fissures and cracks of the ridge, and I think last night when the water froze it (the boulder) snapped and down it came,” Scot Denhalter told The Spectrum of St. George. When the Denhalters moved into the rental house in December, he told his wife that he was concerned about the boulder-covered ridge above the backyard. “I said you could have a big boulder snap and come down and come right through the house, but she said that would never happen,” said Scot Denhalter, an English professor. - NY Daily News.

WATCH: Boulder Crashes Into Utah Home - Woman Inside Survives.

RATTLE & HUM: "The Sounds of the Apocalypse" - Government Investigating The Mysteriously Loud "Windsor Hum"?!

January 24, 2013 - CANADA - The federal government is committing $60,000 to help two universities investigate a mysterious humming vibration in Windsor, Ont.  The Windsor Hum has been the subject of much speculation for almost two years in the industrial city, which sits on the Detroit River across the U.S. border from the Motor City.

A seismographic study by Natural Resources Canada has identified Zug Island on the U.S. side of the river as the likely source of the noise pollution, but talks between Canadian and American authorities have failed to resolve the matter.

U.S. Steel re-opened a mill on Zug Island about the time the hum became bothersome to Windsor residents, but has not taken responsibility for the hum, which at times rattles homes.

Now the federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is stepping up with funding for an acoustic study in an effort to further pinpoint the source of the sound vibration.

Researchers from the University of Western Ontario and the University of Windsor will team up for the study. - Globe And Mail.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Antibiotic-Resistant Diseases Pose "Apocalyptic" Threat, Top Expert Says!

January 24, 2013 - BRITAIN - Britain's most senior medical adviser has warned MPs that the rise in drug-resistant diseases could trigger a national emergency comparable to a catastrophic terrorist attack, pandemic flu or major coastal flooding. Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, said the threat from infections that are resistant to frontline antibiotics was so serious that the issue should be added to the government's national risk register of civil emergencies.

Hospital superbugs such as MRSA are some of the best know antibiotic-resistant diseases, but MPs were
warned about infections such as gonorrhea and TB that affect the general population. Photograph: Getty Images.
She described what she called an "apocalyptic scenario" where people going for simple operations in 20 years' time die of routine infections "because we have run out of antibiotics". The register was established in 2008 to advise the public and businesses on national emergencies that Britain could face in the next five years. The highest priority risks on the latest register include a deadly flu outbreak, catastrophic terrorist attacks, and major flooding on the scale of 1953, the last occasion on which a national emergency was declared in the UK. Speaking to MPs on the Commons science and technology committee, Davies said she would ask the Cabinet Office to add antibiotic resistance to the national risk register in the light of an annual report on infectious disease she will publish in March. Davies declined to elaborate on the report, but said its publication would coincide with a government strategy to promote more responsible use of antibiotics among doctors and the clinical professions. "We need to get our act together in this country," she told the committee. The issue of drug resistance is as old as antibiotics themselves, and arises when drugs knock out susceptible infections, leaving hardier, resilient strains behind. The survivors then multiply, and over time can become unstoppable with frontline medicines. Some of the best known are so-called hospital superbugs such as MRSA that are at the root of outbreaks among patients.

"In the past, most people haven't worried because we've always had new antibiotics to turn to," said Alan Johnson, consultant clinical scientist at the Health Protection Agency. "What has changed is that the development pipeline is running dry. We don't have new antibiotics that we can rely on in the immediate future or in the longer term." Changes in modern medicine have exacerbated the problem by making patients more susceptible to infections. For example, cancer treatments weaken the immune system, and the use of catheters increases the chances of bugs entering the bloodstream. "We are becoming increasingly reliant on antibiotics in a whole range of areas of medicine. If we don't have new antibiotics to deal with the problems of resistance we see, we are going to be in serious trouble," Johnson added. The supply of new antibiotics has dried up for several reasons, but a major one is that drugs companies see greater profits in medicines that treat chronic conditions, such as heart disease, which patients must take for years or even decades.

"There is a broken market model for making new antibiotics," Davies told the MPs. She has met senior officials at the World Health Organisation and her counterparts in other countries to develop a strategy to tackle antibiotic resistance globally. Drug resistance is emerging in diseases across the board. Davies said 80% of gonorrhea was now resistant to the frontline antibiotic tetracycline, and infections were rising in young and middle-aged people. Multi-drug resistant TB was also a major threat, she said. Another worrying trend is the rise in infections that are resistant to powerful antibiotics called carbapenems, which doctors rely on to tackle the most serious infections. Resistant bugs carry a gene variant that allows them to destroy the drug. What concerns some scientists is that the gene variant can spread freely between different kinds of bacteria, said Johnson. Bacteria resistant to carbapenems were first detected in the UK in 2003, when three cases were reported. The numbers remained low until 2007, but have since leapt to 333 in 2010, with 217 cases in the first six months of 2011, according to the latest figures from the HPA. - Guardian.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Costa Rica Investigates Deaths Of 280 Sea Turtles?!

January 24, 2013 - COSTA RICA - A formal investigation was launched Tuesday to determine the cause of death of about 280 sea turtles in the Gulf of Dulce, on the southern Pacific coast, a situation that was denounced by environmentalists, the Costa Rican Environment Ministry said. "The initial aim is to collect information and verify if it was ... caused by human action," the ministry said.

The alert over the finding of the dead turtles was given by the environmental organization Widecast, which had received a report from residents of the Osa peninsula. The reports of the environmentalists say that along with the turtles, other sea creatures had turned up dead along the coast, including sailfish and marlin.

Although authorities have not yet been able to determine the turles' cause of death, some hypotheses point to fishing in the area using lines that may be several kilometers (miles) long.

Environmental officials in Panama, meanwhile, said Tuesday that they had begun an investigation to learn why sea life has been dying in the region around the Gulf of Chiriqui, Coiba and Puertos Armuelles, on the country's Pacific coast. - Latin American Herald Tribune.

EUROPEAN VAMPIRISM: The Pervasively Savage War On Africa - At Least 50 African Children Have Been Paralyzed After Receiving Bill Gates-Backed Meningitis Vaccine!

January 24, 2013 - AFRICA - Bill and Melinda Gates have been on a crusade for at least the past decade to vaccinate every single child on the planet. And one of their primary geographical targets has been the continent of Africa, where poor sanitation and lack of clean water have created conditions in which diseases like meningitis and malaria run rampant. But rather than try to meet these basic needs, the multi-billionaires and their many allies have instead thrust vaccines on indigenous populations as the solution, which has in turn sparked a wave of paralysis among Africa's younger populations.

As covered by investigative journalist Christina England over at, the small village of Gouro in northern Chad, for instance, recently fell victim to the dark side of this vaccine agenda after at least 50 youth in the area developed paralysis following vaccination with "MenAfriVac," a new meningitis vaccine developed specifically for Africa. Touted as a preventive cure for meningitis, MenAfriVac reportedly caused each of the children, some of whom were as young as seven, to suffer hallucinations, convulsions, and ultimately paralysis. According to a cousin of two of the vaccine-injured children, the horrific side effects of MenAfriVac began to appear within 24 hours of its administration. Many of the children affected by it immediately began to experience headaches and vomiting, which later progressed into "uncontrollable convulsions while bent over with saliva coming from their mouths." But when parents and local authorities tried to call on higher-up government officials to take action and help the affected children, their petitions for relief were all but ignored.

Government of Chad attempts to bribe parents into silence.
This same cousin, who is referred to by England as "Mr. M.," added that when Chad's Minister of Health and Minister of Social Security finally showed up to Gouro nearly a week after the series of paralyzations first took place, they decided to evacuate the 50 paralyzed children to a hospital more than 300 miles away, as there is only one available doctor in the entire region of Gouro. But rather than try to get to the bottom of why MenAfriVac caused such a serious reaction in the first place, and immediately halt all further distribution of the vaccine until this could be determined, these same government officials actually tried to bribe suffering parents with money to keep quiet about it. According to Mr. M., these officials were more concerned with covering up the dangers of ManAfriVac than with protecting villagers from harm.  "[T]he government and the media have gone silent about the tragedy, while there are still facts requiring clarification," stated Mr. M. in an email to England about the incident. At this point in time, virtually no media has picked up on this important story. "All this disturbs us and makes us fear the worst effects for the future. [I]t is very sad that (the) entire city is paralyzed."

Gates Foundation, WHO lie about safety of MenAfriVac.
Worse is the fact that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization (WHO), and The Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), all of which heavily promote MenAfriVac, have openly lied about the safety of the vaccine by repeatedly claiming it can be transported without refrigeration. The vaccine's package insert clearly states that it must be stored refrigerated and protected from light. "Why have major organizations spent $571 million on a vaccination project, when wells to provide access to clean drinking water have been constructed for less than $3,000 by the International Committee of the Red Cross?" asks England in a series of important questions regarding this disastrous situation. "Why has this vaccination program not been suspended, (and) what are these organizations going to do about the atrocity that has happened in Gouro?" - Natural News.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: The Schmallenberg Virus - Mystery Surrounds The Calf And Lamb Losses In Oxfordshire, England - Barren Animals, Failed Pregnancies, Dead Foetuses?!

January 24, 2013 - ENGLAND - Farmers have spoken out about worrying levels of lamb and calf losses on their farms. It follows reports from scanners that they are seeing unusually high numbers of barren animals, failed pregnancies and dead fetuses on some farms this season. An Oxfordshire beef producer scanned 80 suckler cows two weeks ago and was shocked to discover that 43 were in calf and 37 were empty. "We're a closed herd and we have never had this problem before," he said. "It was painful doing the PDs (pregnancy diagnostic tests) - it felt like having your teeth pulled out with no anesthetic."

The farmer is not putting the losses down to poor nutrition as, despite this year's bad weather, there has been plenty of grass. "We didn't start feeding them until the second week of October, because they all had plenty of grass this summer. Whether it's the wet weather, I don't know." The farm had no positive cases of Schmallenberg last year, but blood tests are due shortly to see whether the disease is to blame, he added. A Northamptonshire shepherd with a flock of 1,000 ewes said he was "fairly concerned" by the high number of early pregnancy losses. "We sponged 238 ewes and when we scanned them, 110 were empty, which was a significant proportion. "We have spoken to farm vets and the sponge manufacturer, but we haven't been able to find a silver bullet that explains why this is happening."

Although the flock has been vaccinated against toxoplasmosis, blood tests detected high levels of toxoplasma antibodies, suggesting this could be a contributory factor. Poor ewe nutrition could also be contributing to pregnancy losses. "It's been wet all year and the quality of grass hasn't been good at all. In general, the ewes just look miserable," he said. The Schmallenberg virus did not affect the farm last season. But the shepherd is questioning whether the virus has been hitting his flock this year, although there was no veterinary evidence to support this theory. "We had none of the classic Schmallenberg cases of deformed lambs last year, but I'm fairly concerned this year. "We have had one abortion and there could be a continued rumbling of abortions between now and the start of lambing. If we start getting lambs with deformities, we will send them to the AHVLA for tests." Dairy farmer Paul Collins, from Helston, west Cornwall, said about 25% of cows were showing pregnancy losses. "We have had more trouble getting cows in calf than in recent years. I'm putting it down to the weather," he said. "It's a mixed farm, but we have got about 80 cows. They have been out, but we have been feeding them on silage all year and the quality hasn't been good. "It's been wet and muggy and we have lost a lot in previous years through pneumonia. It's disheartening, but that's what could be to blame." - Farmers Weekly.

RATTLE & HUM: Booms In Downstate Indiana Still A Mystery?!

January 24, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A series of late-night, window-rattling booms reported in two Southwestern Indiana counties has left investigators stumped. Several residents of Vanderburgh and Warrick counties reported hearing loud booms and feeling vibrations on the nights of Jan. 7 and 8, spurring an investigation into the noises.

The Evansville Courier & Press reported Monday that local public safety agencies have found no concrete evidence about the source of the noises. The sounds had generated speculation that they might have been caused by explosions in nearby coal mines or produced by aircraft. "There's a computer system that all the EMAs and all the public safety (agencies) can check for information, and we got nothing out of that," said Adam Groupe, deputy director of the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Emergency Management Agency. "They said it wasn't aircraft, and they said it wasn't mine explosions."

He said officials have received no additional complaints about the sounds since early Jan. 8. Some residents likened the sounds to noises they are used to hearing periodically, such as normal air traffic from the airport, but that the noises were louder than normal during the two nights the booms were heard. Others thought the sounds could be the result of someone shooting a gun at an exploding target, which authorities in Southern Illinois determined to be the source of similar reports there about a year ago. None of the region's seismographs recorded activity when the booms were recorded, ruling out the theory that the unexplained booms were a geological precursor to major tectonic activity. - Indystar.

TERMINATOR NOW: The Rise Of The Machines - DARPA's SeeMe Satellites Are A Soldier's On-Demand Eye In The Sky!

January 24, 2013 - UNITED STATES - While UAVs have joined spy satellites as an indispensable part of America's military operations—especially in delivering timely, accurate intel to troops on the ground—they are not the end-all-be-all perfect solution, even in coordination. That's why DARPA plans to supplement these unmanned intelligence gathering platforms with jet-deployed constellations of micro-satellites. Soon, every grunt will have access to a real-time battlefield mini-map just in like video games.

Spy satellites and UAVs alike suffer from the same problem—availability. Sure some UAVs in the US arsenal can remain airborne for the better part of two days while providing focused area coverage but they eventually have to refuel which leads to intel coverage gaps. Orbiting satellites don't need to refuel but their operational windows—and therefore the wide area imaging they are able to provide—are limited by their overflight schedule (the amount of time they're actually overhead). When combined with information flow restrictions through the chain of command, actually delivering fresh, tactical intel can be a challenge. In response, DARPA has set about creating a hybridized, tertiary level of intelligence gathering that leverages the relative strengths of both technologies and delivers that information directly to the troops that need it most urgently. "We're putting near-real time data where the warfighter needs it – directly into their hands – and providing them with vital, tactical intelligence they can control," said Tom Bussing, vice president of Advanced Missile Systems at Raytheon Missile Systems in a press release.

Last December, DARPA awarded Raytheon a $1.5 million contract for Phase One development of the Space Enabled Effects for Military Engagements (SeeMe) project. SeeMe will utilize constellations of micro-satellites to provide soldiers with accurate satellite imaging of their precise location within 90 minutes. Each SeeMe satellite will measure about 3 feet long, a foot in diameter, weigh around 25 pounds, and carry a $500,000 price tag. Two dozen such satellites would be shot into very low orbit via fighter jet (DARPA's hoping to eventually use the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) for these deployments) and remain overhead for 45 days to three months before completely burning up on atmospheric reentry.  "SeeMe is a logical adjunct to UAV technology, which will continue to provide local or regional very high-resolution coverage, but which can't cover extended areas without frequent refueling," DARPA program manager Dave Barnhart told United press International (UPI). The project has just gotten out of the design phase so there's no timetable yet for deployment but Raytheon is reportedly already building a half dozen prototypes for Phase two testing. - Gizmodo.

WATCH: DARPA Space Enabled Effects For Military Engagements.