Thursday, October 17, 2013

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: The Latest Happenings In Space - Stunning Northern Lights Seen Across The Globe; Incoming Slow-Moving Coronal Mass Ejection To Deliver Glancing Blow To Earth's Magnetic Field; Planet Mars, Blue Star Regulus And Comet ISON Forms A Colorful Conjunction In The Night Sky; NASA's All-Sky Cameras Sees 6 Meteoritic Fireballs Intersecting With Earth!

October 17, 2013 - SPACE - Here are several stories of the latest happenings in space.
 
CHOOSE THE WINDOW SEAT:  The next time you board an airplane with a northern flight path, choose the window seat. Photographer David Mayhew settled in next to the port wing of a flight from Denver to Iceland on October 14th, and this is what he saw through the glass:



 "We were somewhere over the Hudson Bay," says Mayhew. "I rested the lens against the window and held a blanket over my head to reduce reflections - got plenty of odd looks from the other passengers!!"

NOAA forecasters estimate a 20% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Oct. 17th. This means there is at least a 1-in-5 chance of a good view for Arctic fliers. Choose the window seat, indeed.


Here are other stunning images of northern lights seen across the globe:

The increased solar wind stream coupled with weak CME effects is combining to produce nice aurora
displays at very high latitudes. Gareth Hutton captured this great image last night in Pallsjärvi,
Lapland, Finland. Thanks for sharing Gareth and great work.

Image Details: NIKON D7000, f/4.0, ISO-1600, Exposure 10 seconds.

Zoltan Kenwell located in Alberta, Canada was out very early Tuesday morning to capture a not so
intense, but pleasant aurora display following a weak CME passage.

Jeff Wallace located in St Albert, Alberta, Canada shares with us this nice aurora image he captured very early
Tuesday morning during the period of enhanced geomagnetic activity. "For most of the evening, the oval was
barely perceptible, but around 11pm was stronger and brighter. Then, shortly after midnight this substorm
happened and made it all worthwhile. We've missed so many recent storms at our latitude because
of overcast skies, so this was very cool."

Image Details: NIKON D600, NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED , ISO-800, Exposure 2 seconds.

SLOW CME, INCOMING: Active sunspot AR1865 hurled a slow-moving (350 km/s) CME into space on Oct. 16th. The cloud appears set to deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on Oct. 20th. Odds of a geomagnetic storm, however, are low because of the CME's relatively low mass and velocity. 


Here is a look at the impulsive M1.3 solar flare by the solar dynamics observatory (SDO)
using the 094 angstroms channel.

M1.2 SOLAR FLARE: Sunspot 1861 generated a long duration M1.2 solar flare peaking at 15:41 UTC. It does not currently look like a noteworthy coronal mass ejection was produced. Stay Tuned for the latest information.


Sunspot 1861 (Thursday) - SDO.

Sunspot 1861 (Thursday) - SDO.

Sunspot 1861 (Thursday) - SDO.


COLORFUL CONJUNCTION: If you're awake at 5 am, go outside and face east. About halfway up the sky, the red planet Mars and the blue star Regulus are side by side, forming a 1st-magnitude "double star" in the pre-dawn sky. David Marshall photographed the colorful duo on the morning of Oct. 16th from Christ Church, Barbados:




Look carefully to the left of red Mars. The "duo" is actually a trio: Comet ISON is there, too. "Comet ISON, Mars and Regulus are quite a photogenic threesome!" says Marshall.

While Mars and Regulus are easily seen with the unaided eye, Comet ISON requires optics. The comet is far away, near the orbit of Mars, and glows like an 11th magnitude star. Marshall was able to photograph it by stacking 44 one-minute exposures from his Canon 7D digital camera.

Backyard telescopes reveal the comet much faster than a digital camera. Amateur astronomers, if you have a GOTO telescope, enter these coordinates. And while you're there, look up to enjoy the colorful conjunction. It's a nice way to begin the day.


FIREBALLS: Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics. 

On Oct. 17, 2013, the network reported 6 fireballs.




In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]


SOURCES: Solar Ham | NOAA SWPC | Space Weather.




THE AGE OF OBAMA & CHILDHOOD'S END: Precursors To The End Of The U.S. Corporation And The Collapse Of The FAILED White Supremacy Paradigm - United States Budget Deal Postpones Inevitable Financial Doomsday; However The Economy Is Rapidly Falling Apart Before Our Eyes As Chinese Rating Agency Downgrades U.S.; Standard Of Living Index Sinks To 10-Month Low; The U.S. Home Purchase Mortgage Applications Slump To Lowest In 2013; CHASE Bank Bans International Wire Transfers On Some Accounts!

October 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - President Obama and Congress have signed off on extending the debt ceiling through to February.

Buying Time: US Budget Deal Postpones Financial Doomsday


The new legislation only temporarily solves the US budget dispute, begging the question if America will ever limit its borrowing.

The extension deal will reopen the government after 16 days of partial shutdown and fund spending through January 15 while extending the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling through to February 7. The next major deadline is the December 13 target date for budget negotiations.





In three months’ time, US policymakers will again rehash the budget and the debt limit, which billionaire Warren Buffett called a “political weapon of mass destruction” in an interview with CNBC, saying it shouldn’t be used by politicians to settle budget disputes, as it brings real financial harm.

Although US policymakers haven’t specified the new borrowing limit, the Bipartisan Policy Centre think tank estimated the debt limit should be raised by another $1.1 trillion to help Washington cover its obligations through to December 2014.

Standard & Poor's estimates the shutdown cost the US economy $24 billion, or $1.5 billion per day, the rating agency said on Wednesday. The agency also believes the shutdown will pare fourth quarter GDP by 0.6 percent.

Even though the White House and lawmakers nearly avoided a technical debt default this time around, the solution is only temporary.


WATCH: Deal - Senate agrees on debt ceiling to end shutdown.





Wall Street rejoiced after news broke the Senate reached a deal to avert a default, the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 200 points. At the close of the New York Exchange, the Dow Jones climbed 1.36 percent nearly reaching a record, the S&P 500 increased 1.38 percent, and the NASDAQ Composite jumped 1.20 percent.

Asian floors met the news with split enthusiasm, but general market sentiment was high on news the world’s largest economy wouldn’t experience a sovereign debt default.

"There will be resurgence in global markets until we come to the next round of discussions in February next year,”
Malcolm Coates, a partner at Deloitte CIS, wrote in a note to RT.

“Can the US afford to default? The answer is a resounding no. There is nothing to gain from a default,”
Coates told RT.

The sky is falling!

“The short turnaround for politicians to negotiate some sort of lasting deal will likely weigh on consumer confidence,” S&P wrote.

The political stalemate in Washington has already prompted consumers to devalue their outlook of the American economy, and hit its sharpest one-week drop since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

“If people are afraid that the government policy brinkmanship will resurface again, and with it the risk of another shutdown or worse, they'll remain afraid to open up their check books. That points to another Humbug holiday season,”
the agency said in their report.

When Congress neared the ‘fiscal cliff’ in the summer of 2011, consumer confidence fell to a 31-year low in August.

The beauty of the debt is its payment

Coming very close to defaulting on their debt and a last minute limit increase isn’t a new practice in Washington. The US debt ceiling has been in place for nearly a century, and the country’s policymakers have always raised their spending powers, simply borrowing money and writing a big ‘IOU’ to the American people.

America’s debt ceiling, or the amount of debt the government can hold, has been increased 79 times since 1960, under both Democratic and Republican Presidential administrations. The outstanding debt of the world’s largest economy is currently $16.7 trillion, and is spread through domestic and foreign debt.

“Nobody’s ever been this deep in debt and its going higher and higher,”
said Jim Rogers, chairman of Singapore-based Rogers Holdings, told RT.


Source Data from the Department of the Treasury/Federal Reserve Board


Investors and central banks shouldn’t continue fixating on the politics, but on the growing danger of the debt itself, Martin W. Hennecke, chief economist at Henley Group Ltd, told RT.

“…the real problem is not a debt ceiling, the problem is a debt. And a real issue, from our point of view, the investors and the central banks should be looking at is the danger of it growing and now, more recently, it’s coupled together with the issue of rising interest rates,”
Henley Group said.

Rising interest rates will be important to watch because if Treasuries rise, paying off debt will be more expensive for the US.


WATCH: Default Incompetence - Kicking The Can.





“Any further increase in the interest rates, generally and on Treasuries, would send the United States into default, not just by disagreement, just because they run out of money,”
Hennecke said.

The budget wars in Washington give investors a hint that policy makers will likely delay tapering their $85 billion-per-month bond purchasing program, known as quantitative easing. The Fed surprised markets on September 18 when they decided to refrain from reducing bond purchases.

“I think they are more likely to continue easing policies. Maybe they will expand their quantitative easing rather than tapering, because tapering would immediately cause the interest rates to go up,”
Martin W. Hennecke, chief economist at Henley Group Ltd, told RT.


Thumbs Down: Chinese Rating Agency Downgrades U.S.


Despite a temporary budget compromise in Washington, China's Dagong agency has downgraded the United States. Dangong maintains a negative outlook on the sovereign credit, as revenue and GDP fail to keep up with the country’s massive debts.

The Beijing-based Dagong agency, one of the few notable non-US based credit rating agencies, has downgraded America to an ‘A -‘rating from ‘A’.

The move came shortly after Congress and President Obama narrowly averted a technical default. Fear the world’s largest economy may default on its widely dispersed Treasury Bonds is making investors re-evaluate political and financial stability in the US.

“The government is still approaching the verge of a default crisis, a situation that cannot be substantially alleviated in the foreseeable future,"
the Dagong agency said in a press release.

Ratings by Dagong are not internationally recognized, and will likely hold only symbolic, and not market, implications. According the Chairman of Dagong, Guan Jianzhong, current agencies tend to arbitrarily favor developed economies.


WATCH: More shutdowns ahead as US ruled by casino capitalism.





On Tuesday, Fitch Agency put the United States’ Triple A rating under a negative watch. The debt ceiling debacle in 2011 prompted a drop in the superpower’s rating from AAA to AA+.

Standard and Poor’s hasn’t issued a warning or downgrade, but released a statement Wednesday calculating the government shutdown didn’t save, but rather cost the US $24 billion.

"The bottom line is the government shutdown has hurt the U.S. economy,"
the S&P statement said.

Overrated

Dagong thinks the US government debt, currently $16.7 trillion, and spread domestically and internationally, is rated too high.

60 percent of foreign currency holdings are in dollars, with a total dollar equivalent of $6 trillion.

If the US were to renege on its debt obligations, central banks around the world that hold Treasury Bonds as reserves would be in trouble.

China, which holds roughly $1.3 trillion in US Treasury bonds, and is quite vulnerable to a US economic collapse, criticized lawmakers handling of the debt ceiling debate. State-owned Chinese media lambasted it as a ‘manufactured crisis’.

Russia, the 11th largest holder of US debt with $131.6 billion, has significantly reduced its stake in Treasury Bonds.

According to Bloomberg, Russia has trimmed its holdings by 25 percent from a record high on October 31, 2010. 

“Such events result not only in short-term jumps in volatility, but also an erosion of trust in the dollar as a reserve currency and the American financial system as a whole,”
Nabiullina told Bloomberg in an emailed statement on October 15.

Russia’s central bank, though not currently reducing US reserves, is looking to diversify their currency reserves to Australian dollars and New Zealand dollars.

Trapped Treasure

Political ping pong in Washington may affect future Central Bank reliance on US Treasuries, but for now, most banks are stuck with what they have.

“For governments and central banks that already hold a lot of treasuries, it’s already too late to exit, from an investment point of view,”
Martin W. Hennecke, chief economist at Henley Group Ltd, told RT.
If China or any country starts selling their treasuries, it would send the debt servicing price up, which could quickly inject into markets and kill the sale of all remaining bonds, essentially creating a bubble.

“China is trying to buy more gold, they actually imported over 2 dozen tons of gold over the last two years through HK, and they are trying to increase the gold part of their reserves. It’s difficult for them to do this without driving prices up. Russia and China are both buying,”
the Henley Group expert said.

“China understands they made have to eventually write off part of their US Treasury bond part of their reserve currencies,”
Hennecke said. - RT.


WATCH: What's Next - Trust trashed, $24bn lost as US kicked debt ceiling into 2014?







The Economy Is Rapidly Falling Apart Before Our Eyes, Standard Of Living Index Sinks To 10-Month Low!!! CHASE Bank Bans International Wire Transfers On Some Accounts!!!

Retail Sales Slow As Shopping Season Heats Up

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-10-16/retail-sales-slow-shopping-season-heats

Home Purchase Mortgage Applications Slump To Lowest In 2013
While the debt ceiling fracas has done nothing to stymie the demand for high-beta equity lottery tickets, it has decimated the demand for the most leveraged trade an American tends to make… home purchases. While real data is few and far between, we thought that the cracking of yet another foundational pillar of the US economic “recovery” was worthwhile noting although it is squeezed to the back pages as the mainstream media focuses on rumor after rumor to juice equities ever higher. With the hedgies having turned from marginal buyer to marginal seller, it seems the demand for mortgages for home purchases has collapsed to its lowest level in 2013 - even as rates have dropped notably from the year’s highs.


http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-10-16/home-purchase-mortgage-applications-slump-lowest-2013


Homebuilder Sentiment Falls

http://www.businessinsider.com/october-nahb-homebuilder-sentiment-2013-10

Russia Today Reveals the Truth: Central banks getting ready for financial Armageddon

http://johngaltfla.com/wordpress/2013/10/15/russia-today-reveals-the-truth-central-banks-getting-ready-for-financial-armageddon/

Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International Wire Transfers, Bans International Wire Transfers On Some Accounts

Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending international wire transfers from November 17 onwards, prompting speculation that the bank is preparing for a looming financial crisis in the United States.


http://www.infowars.com/chase-bank-limits-cash-withdrawals-bans-international-wire-transfers/



Attention US Business Banking Customers – Re: International Wire Transfer Restrictions

http://investmentwatchblog.com/attention-us-business-banking-customers-re-international-wire-transfer-restrictions/


U.S. Standard of Living Index Sinks to 10-Month Low

In yet another sign that partisan wrangling over the federal budget is rattling the American consumer, Gallup’s Standard of Living Index has tumbled eight points in the past month to 31, its lowest reading since January.

PRINCETON, NJ — In yet another sign that partisan wrangling over the federal budget is rattling the American consumer, Gallup’s Standard of Living Index has tumbled eight points in the past month to 31, its lowest reading since January.


http://www.gallup.com/poll/165449/standard-living-index-sinks-month-low.aspx?utm_source=feedly


- Investment Watch.



The Coming Food Stamp Riots
It may not happen this month, or even this year, but food stamp riots are coming to America.  In fact, we got a small preview of the coming food stamp riots this past weekend when a "temporary system failure" caused food stamp cards to stop working in 17 U.S. states.  Within hours, there were "mini-riots" at Wal-Marts and other retailers that rely heavily on food stamp users.  So what would happen if food stamp benefits were cut off or reduced for an extended period of time?  As you will see below, if Congress had not pushed through a "deal", the USDA would have started cutting off food stamp benefits on November 1st.  Considering the fact that 47 million Americans are on food stamps and more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government, that could have sparked massive rioting.  So the good news is that the coming food stamp riots will probably not happen in November.  The bad news is that the "deal" in Congress only delays the political fighting until after Christmas.  In just a few months we will be dealing with a potential "government shutdown" and a debt ceiling deadline once again.

Most Americans have no idea what almost just happened.  According to Reuters, the state of North Carolina had already cut off some welfare benefits for the month of November...
North Carolina has become the first state to cut off welfare benefits to poor residents in the wake of the partial federal government shutdown, ordering a halt to processing November applications until a deal is reached to end the federal standstill.

More than 20,000 people - most of them children - receive monthly benefits aimed at helping them buy food and other basic supplies through North Carolina's welfare program, called Work First, which is fully funded by the federal government. Recipients must reapply each month.
And as Mac Slavo recently detailed, the USDA was already planning to cut off food stamp assistance to millions of Americans on November 1st...
We say next month because the USDA, which oversees the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), has just issued an order to SNAP agency directors calling for their respective States to implement an emergency contingency program because of government funding issues. In a letter obtained by the Crossroads Urban Center food pantry, the USDA is directing state agencies to, “delay their November issuance files and delay transmission to State Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) vendors until further notice.”

What this means is that should Congress fail to increase the debt ceiling this week, come November there will literally be millions of people in the United States who will have exactly zero dollars transferred to their EBT cards.

What will happen to the nearly 50 million people who depend on these benefits to survive?
In fact, there have been quite a few news reports that have confirmed this...
In Utah, Fox News 13 in Salt Lake City reported that a local provider recently received a letter from the USDA sticking to the November 1 cut-off date.

“This is going to create a huge hardship for the people we serve here in our food pantry,”
Bill Tibbits, Associate Director at Crossroads Urban Center, told Fox News 13.

“What this means [is] if there’s not a deal, if Congress doesn’t reach a deal to get federal government back up and running, in Utah about 100,000 families won’t get food stamp benefit,”
added Tibbits.

The USDA letter says in part, “in the interest of preserving maximum flexibility, we are directing states to hold their November issuance files and delay transmission to state electronic benefit transfer vendors until further notice.”
So what would have happened if tens of millions of Americans suddenly had their food stamp benefits cut off without warning?

Well, what happened last weekend can give us a few clues.  Just check out what happened at one Wal-Mart in Mississippi...
Customers staged a disturbance then walked out of a Mississippi Walmart store with groceries that hadn’t been paid for Saturday night after a computer glitch left them unable to use their food stamp cards.

People in 17 states found themselves unable to buy groceries with their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cards after a routine check by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a temporary system failure.

Shortly after the mini-riot, managers decided to temporarily close the store, citing customer safety.
Due to this technical glitch, many parents were left wondering how they were going to feed their families.  If this is the kind of anger that is unleashed over a single failed trip to the grocery store, what would we see if this kind of thing went on for an extended period of time?

At some Wal-Mart stores down in Louisiana, EBT cards were not showing any limits on Saturday night, and within two hours many store shelves in the grocery section were completely cleared of merchandise...
Shelves in Walmart stores in Springhill and Mansfield, LA were reportedly cleared Saturday night, when the stores allowed purchases on EBT cards even though they were not showing limits.

The chaos that followed ultimately required intervention from local police, and left behind numerous carts filled to overflowing, apparently abandoned when the glitch-spurred shopping frenzy ended.

Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd confirms they were called in to help the employees at Walmart because there were so many people clearing off the shelves. He says Walmart was so packed,

"It was worse than any black Friday" that he's ever seen.
Sadly, this was only a very small preview of the massive food stamp riots that are eventually coming to America.  I like how Mike Adams explained what we are likely to see in the future...
Why does any of this matter? Because this is exactly the same way these people will behave when the federal government goes into default and nearly 50 million EBT cards stop working nationwide.

Fifty million. Consider that for a moment. Most of those 50 million people live in high-density cities. Many are proud owners of Obama phones, Obama food stamps, Obama unemployment checks and Obama subsidized housing. They have absolutely no clue that the government upon which they wholly depend to put food on the table is teetering on the verge of permanent collapse. (Seriously, they cannot conceive of the idea of government "running out of money" because they do not understand where money comes from.) Because of this distorted belief, they do not prepare for any future events other than more Obama handouts. Their entire "preparedness" plan is to vote for Democrats, because that's who they know will give them the most handouts. And they will always win the popular vote, too, because any politician promising to restore responsible fiscal spending to the government by cutting programs will be viciously accused of being "mean" or involved in "hating poor people." So the government handouts will only ratchet higher and higher, ensnaring more and more people, until the entire system is unsustainable and collapses under its own weight.

When that system of dependence fails, those who depend on it will panic in mere hours. As proof of this, consider the fact that this mass looting of Wal-Mart stores happened in less than three hours after the Saturday EBT card glitch struck. Police had to be called in to prevent the situation from getting completely out of control, and it was offline for only part of one day.
Now imagine what will happen when EBT cards go offline for 24, 48 or even 72 hours. And imagine it happening in every U.S. city simultaneously.
Of course not all Americans would go wild when food stamp benefits are cut off.

Other Americans express their desperation in other ways.  According to Bloomberg, an increasing number of people are starting to sell hair, breast milk and their own eggs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet...
Hair, breast milk and eggs are doubling as automated teller machines for some cash-strapped Americans such as April Hare.

Out of work for more than two years and facing eviction from her home, Hare recalled Louisa May Alcott’s 19th-century novel and took to her computer.
“I was just trying to find ways to make money, and I remembered Jo from ‘Little Women,’ and she sold her hair,” the 35-year-old from Atlanta said. “I’ve always had lots of hair, but this is the first time I’ve actually had the idea to sell it because I’m in a really tight jam right now.”

The mother of two posted pictures of her 18-inch auburn mane on www.buyandsellhair.com, asking at least $1,000 and receiving responses within hours. Hare, who also considered selling her breast milk, joins others exploring unconventional ways to make ends meet as the four-year-old economic expansion struggles to invigorate the labor market and stimulate incomes.
We have moved into a time when things are becoming increasingly unstable and when people are becoming increasingly desperate.

In an attempt to keep order, the authorities will become increasingly forceful in the years ahead.  At this point, many law enforcement officers already believe that there is very little that they cannot do to exert their "authority" over the rest of us.  Just check out video of a drunk off-duty police officer "arresting" a woman that refused to go out on a date with him right here.  Sadly, this type of behavior is becoming way too common these days.

And it looks like major financial institutions are getting ready for the chaos that is eventually coming as well.  In fact, according to an article by Paul Joseph Watson, Chase Bank is now placing a limit on cash withdrawals and is banning business customers from sending wire transfers out of the country...
Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending international wire transfers from November 17 onwards, prompting speculation that the bank is preparing for a looming financial crisis in the United States by imposing capital controls.
Numerous business customers with Chase BusinessSelect Checking and Chase BusinessClassic accounts have received letters over the past week informing them that cash activity (both deposits and withdrawals) will be limited to a $50,000 total per statement cycle from November 17 onwards.
Fortunately, the chaos that would have been unleashed if Congress had not made a deal has now been delayed for a few months.

But by kicking the can down the road, our politicians continue to make our long-term problems even worse.  Either we are going to have tremendous pain now, or we are going to have even worse pain later.  Peter Schiff explained the choice that we are facing this way...
If Republicans were to inexplicably prevail, and the federal government were to cut spending so that its expenditures matched its tax revenues (a truly radical idea) the country's financial mess would be laid bare. The government would have to weigh the relative costs and benefits of making interest payments on Treasury debt (primarily to foreign creditors) or to trim entitlements promised to U.S. citizens. But those are choices we will have to make sooner or later anyway. In fact we should have dealt with these issues years ago. But generations of mechanistic debt ceiling increases have allowed us to perpetually kick the can down the road. What could possibly be gained by doing it again, particularly if it is done with no commitment to change course?

The Democrats' argument that America needs to pay its bills is just hollow rhetoric. Paying off one's Visa bill with a new and bigger MasterCard bill can't be considered a legitimate payment of debt. At best it is a transfer. But in the government's case, it doesn't even qualify as that. Treasury debt is primarily bought by the Fed, foreign central banks, and major financial institutions. None of that will change with a debt ceiling increase. We will just go to the same people for greater quantities. So it's like paying off your Visa card with a bigger Visa card.
We are living on borrowed time that has been purchased by stealing money from future generations.

We are literally destroying the future in order to make the present more palatable.

But whether it is this year, or next year or the year after that, at some point we are going to experience the pain that results from decades of incredibly foolish decisions.

I hope that you are getting ready. - TEC.





FUK-U-SHIMA: Toxic Flush - Typhoon Wipha Causes More Radioactive Leaks And Nuclear Contamination At Fukushima!

October 17, 2013 - JAPAN - A powerful typhoon which swept through Japan led to highly radioactive water near the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant being released into a nearby drainage ditch, increasing the risk of it flowing into the sea.

On Wednesday, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the plant’s operator, said it had detected high levels of radiation in a ditch leading to the Pacific Ocean, and that it suspected heavy rains had lifted contaminated soil.


AFP Photo / Japan Pool via JIJI Press Japan out.


Workers say that Strontium-90 – a radioactive isotope of the alkaline earth metal strontium produced by nuclear fission – along with other isotopes that emit beta rays measuring 1,400 becquerels (Bq) per liter were detected in the ditch, which is located about 150 meters from the ocean, The Asahi Shimbun reported.

The legal standard for strontium emissions is 30 becquerels per liter. One becquerel is defined as the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second.

The water was collected Wednesday, one day after Typhoon Wipha slammed into Japan. On Tuesday, when the storm swept over eastern Japan, the radioactivity level was 19 becquerels per liter, TEPCO said. 


Rescue workers look for victims at a site that is damaged by a landslide caused by Typhoon Wipha in Izu
Oshima island, south of Tokyo October 17, 2013 (Reuters / Yuya Shino)


Rainwater pumped out at the site on Wednesday proved to have radioactivity levels that were lower than provisional standards approved the previous day by the country’s Nuclear Regulation Authority. The workers, therefore, believe the rainwater is not the cause of the high levels of radioactivity discovered in the ditch.

TEPCO workers will clean out the drainage ditch, as it currently remains unknown if any of the highly contaminated water has flown into the ocean.

Typhoon Wipha, described by weather forecasters as the strongest in a decade, left at least 17 people dead and 50 missing in its wake.


A rescue worker looks for a victim of a landslide caused by Typhoon Wipha in Izu Oshima island,
south of Tokyo October 17, 2013 (Reuters / Yuya Shino)


The storm grazed the Fukushima coast around midday, although it did not cause any new damage to the plant and its temporary containers where radioactive water is stored.

More than 80 centimeters of rain fell in less than 24 hours, forcing TEPCO to pump out massive quantities of rainwater collected in the protective containers where more than 1,000 temporary tanks with contaminated water are being stored.


WATCH: Typhoon Wipha causes more nuclear contamination at Fukishima.





The rainwater was checked for radioactivity and released into the sea, a company spokesman told Reuters.
Earlier this month, TEPCO announced 430 liters of polluted water had spilled from a tank as the company’s employees tried to remove rainwater dumped at the plant by recent storms.

It is unknown how much of the contaminated water flowed into the sea. - RT.



GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Global Volcano Report For October 17, 2013 - Updates On Reventador, Klyuchevskoy, Tungurahua, Jebel Zubair And Barren Island!

October 17, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe, courtesy of  Volcano Discovery.


Reventador (Ecuador): IGPEN reports no significant change in the currently mild, intermittent explosive activity. During the latest 24 hour observation interval, 12 ash explosions were recorded and observed ash plumes rose to about 1 km above the crater.


Ash explosion at Reventador volcano this morning.


Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka): VAAC Anchorage sent out a message shortly before midnight (UTC) that the "eruption has ended" based on the absence of ash emissions from satellite imagery and pilot observations. This followed a particularly strong explosive phase that apparently occurred last night, when seismic data suggested strong emissions and an ash plume rose to possibly 33,000 ft (10 km) altitude. Webcam images from last night showed strong glow from lava flows and summit activity, but today the volcano has been hidden in clouds and no direct views have been possible so far.

It is certainly too early to be sure whether the eruption has significantly decreased, has indeed ended surprisingly suddenly, or is simply pausing and could resume any time, as the VAAC report also remarks.


Tungurahua (Ecuador): Activity has been constant and slowly increasing. Strombolian explosions produce a column of gas and ash rising about 1 km, mostly driting west and north. Light ash fall has been reported from Penipe and Choglontus, and to the north, in Runtún. Near the volcano, constant rumbling is heard.


Jebel Zubair (Red Sea): The submarine eruption continues to produce a steam plume visible on the latest satellite images. No evidence of ash is apparent, suggesting that the vent is still relatively deep.


Steam plume from Zubair this morning.


Barren Island (Indian Ocean): Eruptive activity continues. An ash plume was spotted on satellite imagery this morning rising to 12,000 ft (3.6 km) and drifting 15 nautical miles to the NW (VAAC Darwin).


Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for October 17, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.


GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Magalang Village Hit By Violent Runoff From Philippine's Extinct Volcano Mount Arayat - High-Velocity Deluge Overflowed Roads, Concrete Fences And Destroyed Properties; Millions In Estimated Damages!

October 17, 2013 - PHILIPPINES - Rampaging runoff from the steep slopes of the fabled Mt. Arayat here at the height of Typhoon "Santi" on Friday evening cut a wide swath of destruction in this village at the foot of the mountain.




The high-velocity deluge overflowed the main road, broke down concrete fences and destroyed properties, including rice crops and fishponds, estimated to be worth millions of pesos.

A member of the regional mobile group of the Philippine National Police stationed at a man-made dam near a creek reportedly died after being washed away by the rampaging waters.

The inundation also reportedly brought down rocks to some people's backyards.

A male resident here was reportedly also charged before barangay authorities after boring a hole on the concrete fence of a nearby commercial pig farm to drain his backyard of floodwaters that were fast engulfing his house.

"We've never seen anything like this before," a village resident here remarked.

The unprecedented calamity is blamed on unabated charcoal making by folks living on the slopes of the mountain who, according to sources, have cut down hundreds of trees, mostly acacia.

Folks here fear that unless authorities stop the continued denudation of the mountain, something worse will befall this village.

This village was carved out of farm and pasture lands previously owned by the Pampanga Agricultural College during the administration of former President Ferdinand Marcos in the '70s, through the initiative of the Ayala Foundation, hence the village name.

The village was subdivided into three categories: rice, orchard and livestock.

From a community of a few hundred people, the village has since grown into about 2,000 residents.

Mt. Arayat is said to be an extinct volcano, rising over 3,000 feet over the plains of Magalang and Arayat towns.

It used to be teeming with forest and wildlife until illegal logging, slash-and-burn farming and other activities destroyed much of its natural resources.

Run-offs are not a new experience here. They occur almost every rainy season, damaging crops and properties and washing away a flimsy bridge built over rows of huge culverts each time.

But the run-offs seem to get worse each time. And this year is considered to be the worst in years.

“This is year, it is run-off; tomorrow it could be boulders from the mountaintop,” a resident here feared. - Sun Star.



FIRE IN THE SKY: Dramatic Meteor Streak Over Maryland!

October 17, 2013 - SPACE - A rash of reports came in about 8 p.m. Monday of a giant meteor shooting through the sky over Maryland, according to The Washington Post.

© Corbis


Witnesses said on social media that the meteor was in the northeast sky traveling eastward.

The American Meteor Society (AMS) reported:
Over 63 (so far) witnesses reporteda large fireball over Lancaster County last night (10/14) around 8:25 PM local EDT (0:25 on 10/15 UT.) The fireball was seen from primarily Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia but witnesses from Washington DC, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania also reported seeing the fireball.
We are currently investigating more reports about this event.


WATCH: Meteor over Maryland.




A preliminary trajectory plot shows the meteor entered over New Jersey and flew on a northeast trajectory, ending somewhere in or near Lancaster County.  - Catonsville Patch.