Thursday, May 29, 2014

THE AGE OF PUTIN & CHILDHOOD'S END: Precursors To The End Of The Petrodollar And The Collapse Of The United States Corporation - Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan Sign "EPOCH" Eurasian Economic Union; Monumental And Historic Deal Comprises 170 MILLION People; The Largest Common Market In The Ex-Soviet Sphere; "A New Geopolitical Reality Of The 21st Century Is BORN"!

May 29, 2014 - RUSSIA - Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan signed the historic Eurasian Economic Union which will come into effect in January 2015. Cutting down trade barriers and comprising over 170 million people it will be the largest common market in the ex-Soviet sphere.


The leaders of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed the EEU into existence in Astana. Reuters.

"The just-signed treaty is of epoch-making, historic importance," Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

The troika of countries will cooperate in energy, industry, agriculture, and transport.

"In fact, we are shaping the largest common market in the CIS, with huge production, scientific and technological potential and enormous natural resources," the President added.

Citizens of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan will have the right to work freely throughout the member states without having to be issued any special work permits, Putin said.

Over the last three years, trade within the Customs Union has increased by $23 billion, or nearly 50 percent. At the end of 2013, it stood at $66.2 billion.

Belarus and Kazakhstan are in third place in foreign trade with the Russian Federation, after the EU and China, Putin said.

The Russian leader said that the document brings Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus to a new level of integration yes lets each individual state fully retain its sovereignty.


Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarusian President Aleksandr
Lukashenko (from right to left) at the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Astana,
Kazakhstan. (RIA Novosti / Michail Klimentyev)

“We ensure a close and coherent economic collaboration and cooperation. Today we have created a powerful and attractive center of economic development, a large regional market that brings together more than 170 people. Our union has huge reserves of natural resources, including energy, which accounts for one fifth of the world’s gas reserves and 15 percent of oil reserves,” Putin said.

"A new geopolitical reality of the 21st century is born,” Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said shortly after the final treaty was signed by the three leaders.

“We see this as an open space and a new bridge between the growing economies of Europe and Asia,” Nazarbayev added.

David Gray, head of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Russia, said he hoped improving trade will help boost investment, as in the EU.

“If you look at the EU, for example, the reduction of trade barriers within the EU had a significant impact in terms of doing business, which does encourage investment. And I’m looking forward to similar results in terms of the Eurasia deal,” Gray said while speaking to RT at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum on May 24.

However, Kazakh President Nazarbayev warned members to try and avoid repeating the mistakes of the European Union, which is still facing grave economic consequences from the continent-wide recession.


WATCH: 'Eurasian Economic Union a huge wake-up call for US and its power'.

 


“The point is that none of the participating countries were subject to de-industrialization, and traditional industries did not suffer. Lessons from the European recession are in this,” Nazarbayev said.

Belarusian President Lukashenko hailed the signing, but said there was still major work to be done in areas of bilateral trade.

“We believe the Economic Union will be the foundation for the future of political, military, and humanitarian unity,” he said.

The Customs Union is a project to gather ex-Soviet states into a free trade zone to rival the European Union. The three member states of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan only comprise 2.5 percent to the Earth’s population, but account for 15 percent of the total land.

"The geographical position permits us to create transport, logistic routes of not only regional, but also global importance that permits attracting massive trade flows in Europe and Asia," Putin said ahead of the signing ceremony in Astana, Kazakhstan on Thursday.

All member states will retain full state sovereignty. Russia is financing the lion’s share of the administration, but each state will have a one-third voting status.


(L-R) Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan and President Alexander
Lukashenko of Belarus during a joint photo opportunity before a regular meeting of the
Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Astana. (RIA Novosti / Michael Klimentyev)

“The Eurasian Economic Union will operate on universal transparent principles understood by all, including standards and principles of the WTO,” Putin said.

The idea of creating a regional trading bloc was first suggested by President Nursultan Nazabayev of Kazakhstan back in 1994, when he gave a speech at Moscow State University. The Customs Union began on January 1, 2010, and started operating under a comprehensive customs code in July 2011.

Commonwealth Independent States (CIS) like Armenia, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan may be brought into the free trade zone later.

Kyrgyzstan plans to join the Customs Union by the end of 2014, President Almazbek Atambayev said at the meeting.

A decision on Armenia's membership will have to be made by July 2014, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazabayev said.

Commenting on the fact Ukraine once wanted to join, Lukashenko said sooner or later, the country’s leadership will realize “where their happiness lies”, and what is “right for the Ukrainian people.”

“We lost some [potential member states] along the way. Ukraine started this hard work with us, but it was very difficult for Ukraine,” the Belarusian president said.

Neighboring oil-rich Azerbaijan hasn’t made a decisive move towards either the Customs Union or European Union integration. - RT.


GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Volcano Report For May 29, 2014 - Major Updates On Ubinas, Shiveluch, Dukono, Popocatépetl, Santiaguito, Fuego, And Reventador! [PHOTOS+GRAPHS]

May 29, 2014 - GLOBAL VOLCANISM - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe, courtesy of  Volcano Discovery.

Ubinas (Peru): Activity continues to show an overall decreasing trend. A small explosion occurred this morning at the volcano, producing a dark ash plume that rose several hundred meters.


Ash explosion at Ubinas volcano this morning

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): The volcano produced a steam and ash plume during today that rose to estimated 20,000 ft (6 km) altitude and drifted east.


Shiveluch volcano today (KVERT webcam)

Dukono (Halmahera): Activity continues to be elevated at the volcano. An ash plume at estimated 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude extended 35 nautical miles to the west this morning.


Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): The number of steam-gas and sometimes ash emissions has increased a bit to approx 8 per hour. No other significant changes occurred at the volcano.


Current seismic signal at Reventador (CONE station, IGPEN)

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): The new lava flow on the eastern flank of the Caliente dome continues to advance slowly and produce avalanches. Small explosions occurred, generating ash plumes up to 700 m high. Rainfalls caused a medium-sized lahar in the Nima I river yesterday at dawn.


Fuego (Guatemala): The lava flow has disappeared and explosive activity in turn increased. The observatory reported ash plumes up to 600 m high and drifting SW to 8 km distance. Shock waves accompanied the stronger explosions. Rainfalls triggered a lahar in the Las Lajas river canyon.


Reventador (Ecuador): Weak to moderate effusive and explosive activity continues at the volcano. Cloud cover prevents direct observations most of the time, but the seismic signal shows tremor and explosion signals. A thermal hot spot indicates that lava continues to build up at the summit lava dome.



Current seismic signal at Reventador (CONE station, IGPEN)

MODIS hot spot at Reventador (MODVOLC, Univ. Hawaii)


Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for May 29, 2014.

- Volcano Discovery.



EARTH CHANGES: Monumental Signs Of The Times - Magnitude 5.8 Quake Shakes Dominican Republic And Puerto Rico; South Dakota Storm Chaser Gets Hit By Lightning While Filming; Massive Tornado Seen Over North Dakota; Lightning Hits Electricity Pole On Busy Texan Highway; 5.3 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Raoul Island, New Zealand; Despite Hot Weather, Water Pipes Remain Frozen In Winnipeg; Second Sinkhole Opens Up In Newcastle, Australia; Ross Sea Ice In Antarctica Increase By 5% Since 1993; Snow And Mist In The Alps During The Giro d'Italia In Summer; And Sinkhole Develops In Parking Lot In Winter Haven, Florida! [PHOTOS+VIDEOS]

May 29, 2014 - EARTH - The following stories constitutes some of the latest incidents of Earth changes across the globe.

Magnitude 5.8 Earthquake Shakes Dominican Republic And Puerto Rico
USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.


A 5.3-magnitude earthquake has struck in the waters between the Dominican Republic and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, shaking buildings in both places. There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The quake Wednesday afternoon was about 30 miles (49 kilometers) south of Punta Cana. The U.S. Geological Survey says it occurred at a depth of 91 kilometers (57 miles). - Yahoo.


South Dakota Storm Chaser Gets Hit By Lightning While Filming
Storm chaser Scott Sheppard was filimg a storm near Fairburn, South Dakota, when he was struck by lightning.SevereStudios via YouTube

Now here's some shocking footage.

A storm chaser in South Dakota wanted to catch video of a powerful thunderstorm. Instead, he recorded himself being struck by lightning.

Scott Sheppard was filming video of an oncoming storm in Fairburn when the lightning storm started, the video summary explains.

He was in his car, holding his camera with an arm outstretched through the window, when the bolt struck him.


WATCH:  Storm chaser hit by lightning.

 

The strike first hit his arm, forcing the video camera to turn upward toward the sky. Then, the lightning bolt traveled downward, blowing a hole in the street, the description says. Sheppard's car was disabled in the strike and had to be towed.

But don't worry about Sheppard: His arm is a little sore, but he's doing just fine. - NY Daily News.


Massive Tornado Seen Over North Dakota
Amateur video posted online showed a tornado approaching a trailer camp in Watford City, in the US state of North Dakota on Tuesday. Tornado damaged or destroyed 15 trailers at the camp. Nine people were injured, including a 15-year-old girl who suffered critical injuries.


WATCH: Stunning close-up tornado video of massive North Dakota twister.

 


- RT.


Lightning Hits Electricity Pole On Busy Texan Highway
Dramatic footage has emerged from Texas, US of a lightning bolt striking a pole on a busy highway in Texas.

Avery Tomasco captured the moment the lightning struck just metres away from the vehicle in which he was travelling in on Tuesday evening.

The lightning bolt was produced by a massive supercell storm which meteorologists had warned could produce a tornado.


WATCH: A lightning bolt misses drivers by metres on a busy highway in Texas.

video


Source: Newsflare / Abtomasco


- Telegraph.


5.3 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Raoul Island, New Zealand
USGS earthquake location map.

A 5.3-magnitude earthquake struck 107km south of Raoul Island, New Zealand, at 06:39 GMT on Thursday, the US Geological Survey said. The quake struck at a depth of 35km. According to news reports, no damage was immediately reported.


Despite Hot Weather, Water Pipes Remain Frozen In Winnipeg


The high in Winnipeg Tuesday was 26 C, but some are still suffering from what can only be described as a winter hangover.

"It's been an experience. It's been quite an experience and we're just waiting for this experience to end," said Aynsley O'Donovan, a Winnipeg resident who's had frozen pipes for 11 weeks. "It's about time we get our water back."

O'Donovan is among the nearly 500 property owners around the city in a similar situation. Although lucky enough to be hooked up to her neighbour's water, she still has no idea when she'll be using her own water again.

The problem: the frost is still more than a metre deep in places and now the city says all pipes won't be thawed until at least the end of June.

O'Dononvan knows you can't control mother nature but a lack of communication from the city is something that can be fixed.


WATCH: Pipes still frozen despite summer-like temperatures.




"We've received almost zero communication from the city, from 311, from water and waste [department], from water services, from my city councillor, and I've yet to have a return call from Mayor Sam Katz in regards to my inquiry."

The city has a different take.

"[The city hasn't] had one complaint. We're getting emails phone calls thanking you," said Katz. "The department has been doing a great job."

The city did look into borrowing thawing machinery from Brandon and Regina but both municipalities said the same thing: there's nothing to lend.

So for now, O'Donovan, like hundreds of others, waits - caught in a winter limbo that seemingly has no end.

"It's exceedingly frustrating. I don't understand how I'm paying for a city service that I'm not yet receiving," said O'Donavan. "I don't understand how when we were first told it was going to be one to three weeks, now all of sudden it's going on 11 weeks." - Global News.


Second Sinkhole Opens Up In Newcastle, Australia
The first sinkhole, in Swansea Heads, near Lake Macquarie. New, smaller hole opens two doors away
from 20m by 10m crater above old coalmine in NSW's Hunter region.
NBN News

A second sinkhole has appeared in an upmarket neighbourhood south of Newcastle, prompting fears more land could collapse into an old mine shaft that appears to have caused the erosion.

The first sinkhole, measuring up to 20m wide and 10m deep, developed on Tuesday night next to a three-storey home on Lambton Parade in plush Swansea Heads, near Lake Macquarie.

A husband and wife returned to their seaside property about two hours after the hole developed next to their front deck, swallowing tonnes of dirt and debris.

A second, smaller sinkhole developed on Wednesday morning in the front garden of a property two doors down. It measured about two metres across.

The area beneath the street was once part of the Swansea pit, a coalmine abandoned in the 1950s. The Mine Subsistence Board is now leading an investigation into the sinkholes, including checks to ensure the stability and structural integrity of surrounding homes.

"It appears what has happened is that an old mine shaft, a furnace shaft, has caused the collapse," Inspector Sam Crisafulli told the Newcastle Herald.

Sinkholes can occur because of land collapsing into mined areas. But they can also occur naturally, when acidic rainwater seeps through surface dirt and erodes bedrock. Large sinkholes can swallow whole houses and their occupants. - Guardian.


Ross Sea Ice In Antarctica Increase By 5% Since 1993


A new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters reconstructs sea-ice area in the Ross Sea, Antarctica from a 130 year coastal ice-core record. The authors find the "data show prevailing stable SIA from the 1880s until the 1950s, a 2 - 5% reduction from the mid-1950s to the early-1990s, and a 5% increase after 1993."

Thus, the overall trend in the Ross Sea, Antarctica over the past 130 years would be stable to increasing.


Kate E. Sinclair et al

We present the first proxy record of sea-ice area (SIA) in the Ross Sea, Antarctica, from a 130 year coastal ice-core record. High-resolution deuterium excess data show prevailing stable SIA from the 1880s until the 1950s, a 2 - 5% reduction from the mid-1950s to the early-1990s, and a 5% increase after 1993. Additional support for this reconstruction is derived from ice-core methanesulphonic acid concentrations and whaling records. While SIA has continued to decline around much of the West Antarctic coastline since the 1950s, concurrent with increasing air and ocean temperatures, the underlying trend is masked in the Ross Sea by a switch to positive SIA anomalies since the early-1990s. This increase is associated with a strengthening of southerly winds and the enhanced northward advection of sea ice.
Twentieth century sea-ice trends in the Ross Sea from a high-resolution, coastal ice-core record
 - The Hockey Schtick.


Snow And Mist In The Alps During The Giro d'Italia In Summer
Movistar team cyclists lead the pack as they climb through fog and snow during the 16th stage of
the Giro d'Italia cycling race from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello, Italy, May 27, 2014.
Fabio Ferrari/AP Photo

A dramatic mountain finish in today's stage of the Giro d'Italia, coupled with brutal weather conditions in the Italian Alps, is prompting some cycling enthusiasts to dub this one of the most epic stages in recent cycling history.

Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana's win through mist and snow-banked roads in Stage 16 of the 21-day tour propelled him into the overall lead.

Quintana, 24, known for his prodigious climbing skills, finished 8 seconds ahead of Canadian Ryder Hesjedal on the 86-mile route, which included the legendary Gavia and Stelvio climbs.

"It was raining a lot," said Quintana, of team Movistar. "We all knew it was very dangerous."

"I went at my rhythm. I gave everything today. I was climbing well in the end," Quintana said.

Quintana took the overall lead from his fellow Colombian Rigoberto Uran, who slipped to second overall in what is called the general classification.

Today's stage, which was the first time that both the Gavia and the Stelvio were climbed on the same day, was a crucial test for uphill specialists such as Quintana. The 21st and final stage of the tour is scheduled for June 1, ending in the northern Italian city of Trieste. - ABC News.


Sinkhole Develops In Parking Lot In Winter Haven, Florida
The sink hole is about 5 feet deep and 30 feet wide, however police say the parking
lot continues to buckle in areas out from the hole.

A possible sinkhole has developed in a Publix supermarket parking lot across from the entrance to Legoland and continues to spread.

The hole is approximately 30 feet wide and 5 feet deep, said Jamie Brown, spokeswoman with the Winter Haven Police Department.

Cracks and ripples in the pavement show it continues to spread farther away from the hole and toward Cypress Gardens Boulevard, Brown said.

Police and fire personnel are at the Publix, 6031 Cypress Gardens Blvd., ensuring public safety if the hole continues to open, Brown said.

Geologists are on their way to the scene to determine if it is a sinkhole and how big it is.

The parking lot is private property for the shopping center that houses Publix, K-Mart and several other outlets. Police have not evacuated anyone from the area and stores continue to remain open. No injuries have been reported.

Brian Swain, property manager, said he is worried about how the hole will affect surrounding properties, but it's still too early to tell.

"The good news is, sinkholes are repairable," he said. "In most cases." - ABC News.



PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: "Don't Touch Your Friend, No Eating Something, It's Dangerous,..." - Ebola Rap Warns West Africans Of Virus's Dangers As Death Toll Nears 190!

May 29, 2014 - WEST AFRICA - A song now sweeping the dance floors of Liberia and Guinea has been recorded by a group of West African rappers, warning of the dangers of the haemorrhagic fever Ebola – which has killed 188 people in the region in two months.


Health workers walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at an hospital in Guinea 
Photo: CELLOU BINANI/AFP

Ebola In Town is a fast-paced, repetitive pop song over a dance beat that warns "don't touch your friend" and "no eating something, it's dangerous".

Revellers in Monrovia and Conakry, capitals respectively of Liberia and Guinea, have crafted a dance to match the music which involves no bodily contact between people – very rare in dance-mad West Africa.

Ebola in fact can only be transferred by coming into direct contact with bodily fluids of an infected person. It is, however, virulent, killing as many as 90 per cent of those who catch the virus.

"Ebola, Ebola in town," repeats the song, recorded by a trio of artists D-12, Shadow and Kuzzy of 2 Kings, all believed to be Liberia-based.

"Don't touch your friend, don't touch him. No eating something, it's dangerous. Ebola, Ebola in town," the lyrics continue. "Eating" here is a sly reference to sex.

In countries like Liberia and Guinea, where adult literacy is below 40 per cent, music, theatre and radio are regularly used to try to spread health messages as widely as possible, although the artists are not thought to have written the song for any aid agency or health charity.

According to the World Health Organisation and the country's presidency, 258 clinical cases of suspected or confirmed Ebola have been recorded in Guinea since the outbreak was first identified in March. Of those, 174 people have died.

Another nine people are believed to have died in Liberia and five in Sierra Leone.

A significant number of those who fell sick with the illness have recovered, but are facing stigma with friends and even family members refusing to be near them or touch them for fear of catching the virus.

There are concerns that the Ebola In Town song's warning "don't touch your friend" may worsen that stigma.

The virus is believed initially to have been passed to humans by people eating fruit bats, which are a delicacy in parts of West Africa. It is then extremely contagious.

Symptoms initially include fever, diarrhoea and muscle aches, which are similar to many other less fatal illnesses in the region and mean that patients do not initially seek treatment.

As the virus takes hold, victims may suffer serious difficulties breathing and swallowing and eventually significant internal and external bleeding.

Medical workers treating Ebola patients must wear head-to-toe biohazard suits and wards are entirely contained in sealed plastic tenting. - Telegraph.



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Massive Explosion On Japanese Oil Tanker - Captain Missing, Four Crew Severely Burned, With 998-Tonne Shoku Maru Left Gutted And Leaning Over In The Water! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

May 29, 2014 - JAPAN - A Japanese oil tanker has exploded off the country's south-west coast near Himeji port, leaving one of the eight people aboard missing, the country's coast guard has said. Four others were severely injured in the accident on Thursday.


Black smoke rising from a 998-tonne oil tanker off the coast of Hyogo prefecture.

Fire gutted the middle of the Shoko Maru – the 998-tonne tanker, based in the western city of Hiroshima, was left leaning over in the water after the accident and was being doused by firefighting ships.

Seven people were rescued, four having suffered severe burns, the public broadcaster NHK reported. A search was under way for the missing man, the tanker's captain, it said.

The cause of the explosion was unclear, said coast guard spokesman Koji Takarada. NHK said crew members had been working on the deck of the tanker at the time of the blast.


Black smoke rises from Shoko Maru. Photograph: AP

The 998-tonne oil tanker listing off the coast of Hyogo prefecture.
Photograph: JAPAN COAST GUARD/AFP/Getty Images

The tanker had unloaded its cargo of crude oil and was stationary close to the coast of Hyogo prefecture, about 280 miles (450km) west of Tokyo, when the explosion happened.

Akihiro Komura, an official from Syoho Shipping, a Hiroshima-based shipping firm that owns the vessel, told the AFP news agency that seven of the eight Japanese crew were accounted for but the fate of the captain was not yet known.

"The ship unloaded crude oil at a port in Hyogo prefecture and the tanker was virtually empty when the accident occurred," he said.


 WATCH: Oil tanker blast inferno - Video of burning vessel off Japan's coast.




"I heard that a crew member was using a grinder to remove paint and that seems to have triggered the blast, which we believe could have occurred when the remnants of the oil caught fire.

"It is a Japanese ship and belongs to our company. All the crew members are Japanese nationals. We have confirmed seven out of the eight are alive and one, believed to be the captain, is still missing."

News of the incident, which happened at around 9.30am, caused the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to interrupt debate in parliament. "In waters off Hyogo [prefecture] a tanker has exploded and is currently in flames," he said in the chamber.

Himeji port is one of a number that sit along the Inland Seto Sea coast, where there are numerous pockets of heavy industry. The city itself is a popular tourist destination known for one of Japan's finest feudal castles. - The Guardian.



WAR ON MOTHER NATURE: "...Was An Unpleasant Surprise,... I Was Shocked..." - Even Remote Arctic Sea Ice Is Polluted With Plastic!

May 29, 2014 - THE ARCTIC OCEAN - Dartmouth scientist Rachel Obbard was looking at samples of Arctic sea ice for small organisms when something else caught her eye: Tiny, bright-colored bits and pieces and miniature string-like objects that did not seem to belong.


Map shows location where ice cores were taken from sea ice in Arctic Ocean, and were found to contain microplastics.CourtesRachel Obbard/R. Lieb-Lappen/Dartmouth College

Those small specks turned out to be a type of pollution known as microplastics. Their presence in sea ice collected from the central Arctic Ocean showed that some of the vast quantities of garbage and pollution floating in the world's seas has traveled to the northernmost waters.

For Obbard, an assistant engineering professor who specializes in polar-ice studies, the appearance of microplastics in Arctic sea ice was an unpleasant surprise. "I was kind of shocked. I said, 'This shouldn't be here in such a remote place,'" she said.

Worse yet, that sea ice holding the small bits of trash is thinning and likely to shed them back into the water, where they can be ingested by fish, birds and mammals, said a study by Obbard and fellow scientists that was published online Tuesday in the scientific journal Earth's Future.

Extrapolating the findings from the examined cores and factoring in the ongoing transformation of thick multiyear ice to thinner, single-year ice, Obbard and her colleagues found that a staggering amount of plastic and synthetic trash could be released in coming years into Arctic waters. If other sea ice holds similar amounts of debris and current ice-melt trends continue, 2,040 trillion cubic meters of ice will melt in the next decade and more than 1 trillion pieces of these microplastics will be released from the melted ice into the water, the study authors calculated.

The study results from analysis of ice cores, ranging from a meter to 3.5 meters, that were retrieved from the Arctic Ocean during two expeditions, one in 2005 that was funded by the Natonal Science Foundation in 2005 and one in 2010 that was funded by NASA. Obbard was examining the preserved ice to search for microorganisms known as diatoms when she encountered the objects, which were generally blue, green, red and black.

She melted the ice, filtered that water and sent the retrieved objects to Richard Thompson, a marine biologist at Britain's University of Plymouth, for analysis. Thompson is a co-author of the newly-published study.

The items found in the ice were generally under 2 millimeters in diameter and as small as .02 millimeters, according to the study.


As much as 30 to 40 per cent of the Arctic Ocean remains covered in iceCanadian Press

The majority of the pieces, 54 percent, were rayon, a manmade material created out of cellulose and used to make clothing, cigarette butts, disposable diapers and other personal-hygiene products, among other consumer goods. The rest were pieces of various other types of polymers -- polyester, nylon, polypropylene, polystyrene, acrylic and polyethylene. Identifying the tiny pieces fell largely to Thompson, whose research has focused on marine debris, Obbard said.

There are several likely sources of the rayon and plastic bits found in the ice, Obbard said. One is the floating and relatively large pieces of trash in the oceans, which crumble into finer bits, she said. Other possible sources are the discharges of ingredients used to manufacture various consumer products and waste from faraway laundries, she said. "All that lint that comes off of clothing has to go somewhere," she said. And some of the pieces may be polymer beads, or remnants of those beads, that are contained in some cosmetic products.

Biologists worry about animals consuming pieces of ocean trash instead of the food they need.

A different study, co-authored by Thompson and published last year, found that similar microplastics had been ingested by fish in the English Channel. Of 504 fish examined, more than a third had the synthetic bits in their bodies, and the ratio of those pieces -- with 57.8 percent rayon -- was similar to what was discovered in the Arctic sea-ice cores.

More ominously, these microplastics can be "vectors" that carry persistent organic pollutants, Obbard said. A 2012 study of microplastics found on San Diego beaches found that the pieces carried some dangerous contaminants, including PCBs and the long-banned pesticide DDT.

Still unknown is where in the world the frozen-in-place bits of marine trash originated.


Obbard and her co-authors believe that at least some of the ice may have formed on the Alaska coast and was transported by the Beaufort Gyre. They hypothesize, based on patterns of currents and water flow, that the microplastics are coming to the Arctic from the Pacific Ocean.

Obbard said she would like to do more research, evaluating ice in several locations, to better understand how these tiny bits of plastic and synthetic waste are winding up in Arctic ice. - Alaska Dispatch.



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: The Reign Of Terror Continues - Violence Across Iraq Claims 54 Lives!

May 29, 2014 - IRAQ - Violence across Iraq – including car bombings, suicide attacks, and assassinations – killed at least 54 people on Wednesday.


Reuters / Wissm al-Okili


The deaths focused mainly on Shiite sections of Baghdad and the tense northern city of Mosul, largely controlled by former Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

In Baghdad’s Sadr City, a minivan joined a line of taxis before the driver abandoned the vehicle minutes before it exploded, according to police. Four were killed and 14 were wounded, police and medical sources said.

Another 22 died in attacks around Baghdad, including 11 people in a suicide car bombing at a checkpoint near the religious neighborhood of Kadhimiyah, authorities and medical staff said, as reported by Reuters.

A car detonation killed 19 people – 12 military personnel and seven civilians – at a checkpoint entering Mosul, according to a security official.

Another car bomb exploded outside the headquarters of Iraq’s federal police in Mosul, killing two soldiers and one policeman, the official said.

A third attack in Mosul left two policemen dead, shot by unknown gunmen, security sources said.

In Tuz Khurmatu in northern Iraq, four family members were killed in a bombing in front of the homes of 11 Shiite Turkmen, according to security sources.

Iraq held national elections last month, and politicians are busy assembling the next government. Preliminary results of the election give Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki at least 94 parliament seats, making him the frontrunner to form the government. Negotiations are expected to be contentious amid a backdrop of ongoing, intense violence in the fractured country.

Relations between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq have increasingly soured, in part due to the conflict in neighboring Syria, which has attracted fighters from both sides of the sectarian divide to engage in the broader regional proxy war. This, coupled with internal tensions between the two dominant denominations of Islam, has led to the deadliest wave of violence to strike Iraq in six years.

Iraq has been torn by a new wave of violent attacks since April 2013, with the number of dead jumping to its highest level since the worst of the country's sectarian bloodshed in 2006-2008.

Over 8,800 people were killed in 2013 and 1,666 people died in the first three months of 2014 due to terrorist attacks or other acts of violence, according to UN statistics. Last month saw over 1,000 fatalities, 750 of which occurred as a result of terrorist attacks. - RT



DISASTER PRECURSORS: The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior - Masses Of Spider Crabs Wash Ashore, "Never Before Seen Anything Like This In 40 YEARS" In Tasmania, Australia; Hundreds Of Cattle Dead From Severely Cold Weather In Beni, Bolivia; Deputies Remove Snake From Car On I-44 In Springfield, Missouri; Thousands Of Fish Are Turning Up Dead Along A Creek In Missouri, United States; NYC Battling Rat Epidemic, "They're Taking Over, It's Madness"; Snake Found Slithering Around Cash Register In Spokane Store, Washington, United States; And Woman Bitten By Snake While On Toilet In Naron, Spain! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

May 29, 2014 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Masses Of Spider Crabs Wash Ashore, "Never Seen Anything Like This In 40 YEARS" In Tasmania, Australia
Scientists say spider crabs shed their shells before mating and can often wash up en masse.

Local residents have reported the orange crabs, around the size of a human hand, have washed up on Raspins Beach at Orford in recent days.

Recreational Fishing Tasmania's Don Paton says he would like to get to the bottom of the event.

"Whether there's some viral infection that might have caught in the ocean or whether it's a natural phenomenon they actually do at certain times of the year," he said.

"It's amazing to me to think that over the last 30 or 40 years, or longer, that I've been around looking at the beaches up here most of my life, I've never seen a phenomenon like it."

Marine biologist Karen Gowlett-Holmes says it is likely the shells are washing up after the crabs have mated at sea.

"Spider crabs and most crabs can only mate when the female has just moulted her shell," she said.

"If you have a look at the shells that wash up, you generally find that it is just the shell, there's no actual meat inside it.

"The entire shell is moulted, down to the coating over the shell and the eyeballs; if you get hold of the bit that has the eyes, it's actually empty inside." - Yahoo.


Hundreds Of Cattle Found Dead From Cold Weather In Beni, Bolivia
The cold that plagues regions of Beni and has increased in recent days, has killed livestock FEGABENI reported.

The manager of the Federation of Livestock of Beni and Pando ( FEGABENI ), Carmelo Arteaga, reported that over 600 cattle died of intense cold that supports the region and the number could rise.


"We are concerned that we have been receiving messages via cell sur that this has come as well as the previous one, has made cattle die , but this time the south has been cooler," he said.


Arteaga Moxos added in 250 animals died in a couple of properties are reported.


" Likewise Cercado province , the report we have is that initially killed 300 animals in some properties , so if we do a quick sum of this information so randomly , we can find that are more than 600 heads that have died
the south, "he said .

But he said that they have constant contact with the associations that are part of the lost FEGABENI to update because of the low temperatures.


Arteaga noted that a recovery plan was agreed with the Government considering the losses by March flooding, but now he said the situation is complicated and therefore should rethink actions to address the livestock sector.
- Bolivia. [Translated]



Deputies Remove Snake From Car On I-44 In Springfield, Missouri
This black snake was found around a passenger’s feet in a car traveling down Interstate 44 Tuesday. Greene County Sheriff’s Office

A family driving down Interstate 44 on Tuesday had an unwelcome visitor in their car.

According to the Greene County Sheriff's Office, a woman was driving down the interstate when a passenger noticed a 4-to-5-foot-long black snake wrapped around his or her feet.

The driver pulled over, removed all the family members and called 911 for assistance.

Deputies responded, removed the snake and released it. - Springfield News Leader.


Thousands Of Fish Are Turning Up Dead Along A Creek In Missouri, United States


Thousands of fish are showing up dead along Clear Creek from Monett to Pierce City. Along the creek, there are fish of all sizes that are dead and there's a thick odor in the air.

"Without knowing what's there 100%, it's hard to say if it's safe to be in the water," said Teresa Boman, Aquatic Ecologist. 

Aquatic Ecologist Teresa Boman first noticed dead fish in Pierce City along Clear Creek this weekend.

"If the fish are dying off, clearly that's a sign that something is happening to the water that is potentially harmful to us as a citizen," she said. 

Boman talked to farmers in Monett who also noticed fish dying upstream.

"Farmers have noticed 100% of their fish have died off in the creeks," she said.

Staff from the Missouri Department of Conservation were working their way along Clear Creek, counting the number of dead fish Tuesday.

"We are in the thousands already. At least 3 or 4 thousand fish," said Adam Boman, Missouri Department of Conservation. 

Adam Boman says about 100% of the fish in a roughly six mile stretch from Monett to Pierce City are dead and, in Pierce City, there is a partial kill.


WATCH: Thousands of fish found dead along Clear Creek.



"15 or 20 years ago, there was one this bad on this same creek, but this is by far the worst one I've seen in my career," he said. 

 It's an issue that has farmers and parents worried.

"Farmers have their cattle drinking out of the creek, people have their kids playing in the creek," said Adam. 

Teresa says it could be years before the creek recovers.

"We cant repair or do anything about it until we actually know what the cause is," said Teresa. 

People we talked with today are also worried because the creek is part of the Spring River Water Shed, and eventually it dumps into Shoal Creek. The Deptartment of Conservation will work with the Department of Natural Resources on what is killing the fish. The DNR believes it's coming from improperly treated or untreated wastewater. They expect to have the results of the water samples by next week. - Fourstates Homepage.



NYC Battling Rat Epidemic, "They're Taking Over, It's Madness"


The city is launching a new war against rats.

It will target so-called “rat reservoirs,” which are areas where rodent populations survive and thrive, such as subways, sewers and city parks

One City Council member described the rat problem in the Manhattan Valley neighborhood as “an epidemic.”

The city will hire new inspectors and spend $600,000 for rat indexing to track and reduce the rat population, WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane reported.

It’s welcome news for many city residents, who claim rats — some the size of small dogs or cats — are running rampant in their neighborhoods.

“When I walked out the other morning and there were like six rats running around,” one Manhattan Valley resident said. “I thought, ‘You ever get use to this?’ But you don’t.”

“I see about 20 a day,” a man in Washington Heights told 1010 WINS’ John Montone.

One woman said rats have infested her building on 154th Street, where one rodent bit a neighbor’s daughter.

“They’re taking over, it’s madness,” she said.

A sanitation worker said he has to shake and kick bags of garbage to scatter the rats for fear they’ll jump up and bite him. - CBS New York.



Snake Found Slithering Around Cash Register In Spokane Store, Washington, United States


Shoppers at Shopko said a snake was found slithering around a cash register at the store on Spokane's South Hill in May but that SCRAPS refused to come get it.

Based on the description of the snake from witnesses, some experts said they believed the snake was a python or a boa constrictor. A different expert said they thought the snake was a bull snake and therefore harmless.

Staff at Shopko said SCRAPS would not come retrieve the snake. They said SCRAPS told them to call Crime Check. SCRAPS said they would not respond to the snake because it was possibly a native snake. Shopko employees said they eventually guided the snake to a nearby field.


WATCH: Snake found slithering around cash register in Spokane store.

                        


A woman told staff that she found a large snake dead nearby the Shopko a few days later. Reptile experts responded to the area to make sure it was the same snake. It was unknown on Tuesday whether it was the same snake.

The picture of the snake attached to this story was taken by a witness as the snake was guided to a field. - NWCN.



Woman Bitten By Snake While On Toilet In Naron, Spain
The snake is still in the area, causing panic among neighbors, afraid that they, too, might be bitten on the bottom.Getty Images/iStockphoto

A Spanish woman went to hospital after being bitten on her bottom by a snake as she sat on the toilet.

Iris Castroverde, a mother-of-two, was bitten on the left buttock.

Frightened neighbors are "psychotic" because the bright yellow and green snake is still on the loose, said one resident of the town of Naron, northern Spain, where the reptile struck.

After biting 30-year-old Castroverde, the snake disappeared down the drain after she flushed, reported The Local.

Castroverde said the snake was around 20 centimetres (eight inches) long.

The incident happened at around 11pm. Castroverde heard a noise, then a splash and then felt the bite.

"It happened to me, but it could have happened to my two children," she told Spain's ABC newspaper.

Neighbours now say they are too frightened to go to the toilet.

"I prefer to pee standing up," said one female neighbor. - NWCN



FUK-U-SHIMA: TEPCO Gets The Go Ahead To Construct Giant Ice Wall At Fukushima - Major Concerns That This Might Cause The Ground To Sink!

May 29, 2014 - JAPAN - Japan’s nuclear authority will allow Fukushima's nuclear power plant operator, TEPCO, to build an underground ice wall isolating radioactive water build-up. This is despite earlier concerns that the wall might cause the ground to sink.


AFP Photo / Toru Hanai

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) no longer has reservations about the 32 billion yen (US$314 million) government-funded project, in which a giant “wall of ice” is to be built around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant’s four reactors, Kyodo news agency reported.

The plan, which involves 1.5 kilometers of pipes with coolant powerful enough to make the earth around it freeze, earlier raised concerns that it could cause trouble by making the ground near the reactors less stable.

TEPCO officials have, however, persuaded NRA experts that the ground around the ice wall may sink only up to 16 mm, posing no threat to its stability.

I think we have been able to confirm today the scale of ground sinking, which is what we have most feared as side effects of building the wall,” NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa told Kyodo.

While accepting the operator’s explanation, the NRA still has issues to discuss with TEPCO, which include ways to accurately measure the level of radioactive water accumulating inside the reactor buildings.

The issue of contaminated groundwater seeping through the ground and into the ocean has for years been one of the major problems faced by TEPCO.


AFP Photo / Jiji Press

Some 350,000 tons of water have already accumulated in tanks beside the plant, which are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. A water purification system was introduced a year ago, but has suffered constant malfunctions and is currently in shutdown. The system is capable of cleaning up to 750 tons of water a day.

TEPCO recently rerouted water flows around the plant straight into the ocean in an attempt to prevent them from being contaminated.

Earlier in April, the manager of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, TEPCO’s Akira Ono, admitted that the company still doesn't have “full control” over radioactive leaks in some parts of the plant.

TEPCO is now hoping that the giant ice wall will isolate the problem. While this engineering solution has been used before, such as for preventing the flooding of Russia’s St. Petersburg underground system, the Fukushima ice wall may be the first project of such a large scale. - RT.



PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: MERS Contagion - Deadly Respiratory Disease MERS Spreads To Iran!

May 29, 2014 - IRAN - Two cases of MERS, the deadly respiratory disease originating in Saudi Arabia, have been confirmed in Iran, according to the country’s health officials.




MERS, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or Corona Virus, is an often-fatal pneumonia, bringing on a severe cough and high fevers.

There are no vaccinations or direct treatment, and about a third of those infected die.

Both individuals contracted the disease when they were hospitalized near an infected patient who had returned from pilgrimage to Mecca, although it has not been confirmed if that patient tested positive for the virus.

To date, about 175 individuals in Saudi Arabia have died from MERS, which has already spread throughout the region and farther, with cases found in Malaysia, Greece, Lebanon and the United States. All other cases have been individuals who have either traveled to or come in contact with someone from Saudi Arabia.

The two patients are sisters and one is in critical condition, according to Mohammad Mehdi Gooya, the director-general of communicable diseases at the Iranian Health Ministry's Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention.

They are receiving treatment in Kerman, a northern Iranian province, where a total of four cases have been reported but only two confirmed.

“This is a very dangerous virus. It’s not easy to get it but once you get it, it’s extremely lethal,” said Dr. David Samadi of the Fox News Medical A Team.

“Global travel is exposing more people to the virus, but unfortunately there is still no good treatment, just fluid and rest,” said Samadi, Chair of Urology at Lenox Hill Hospital.

MERS was discovered about two years ago in Saudi Arabia, and is believed to originate from camels, although Samadi said he is skeptical about that.

The virus comes from the same family as SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which killed about 800 people globally after it was first detected in China in 2002.

The cases in Iran appeared just before the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims from around the world travel to Saudi Arabia.

All returning Iranian pilgrims will be tested for MERS, and those showing any symptoms will be quarantined for a minimum of two weeks, Gooya said.

Almost one million Iranians make the trip each year. This year it will take place in October. - FOX News.



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Civil War - 14 Military Personnel Killed In Chopper Downed In Eastern Ukraine!

May 29, 2014 - UKRAINE - Fourteen Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in a helicopter crash near the city of Slavyansk in the Donetsk Region, according to the acting president of Ukraine, Aleksandr Turchinov.


Reuters / Baz Ratner

Anti-government protesters in Slavyansk have downed a Ukrainian forces helicopter in the south-east of Slavyansk in the Donetsk region.

Fourteen servicemen, including a major-general, Vladimir Kulchitsky, have have been killed in a helicopter crash near Slavyansk, according to the acting president of Ukraine, Aleksandr Turchinov, who spoke at a parliamentary session in Kiev.

Kulchitsky, 51, was the head of the department of Combat and Special training in Ukraine’s National Guard.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s National Guard reported 12 dead: six servicemen, including the helicopter crew and six members of the Berkut forces.

Ukraine’s army has started shelling the eastern Ukraine cities of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, thereby resuming its massive military operation in the East of the country, local news outlets report.




“A full-scale military operation has begun in Kramatorsk and Slavyansk. BM-21 launch vehicle “Grad” are being used,” Donbas-based Ostrov agency says.

“Intensive shooting has been heard in the region, and thick black smoke seen,” he added.

One more damaged house in Slavyansk. The residents were outside during the attack.
еще один разрушенный дом. Во время попадания снаряда жители были во дворе.
@epoddubny

Meanwhile, Itar-Tass has reported that fighter jets have been flying over the city of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk Region. “The hospitals were told to evacuate patients from the upper floors,” said a representative from the self-defense forces.

On Wednesday a school and a kindergarten were shelled in Slavyansk. In the kindergarten at least 9 civilians were injured, including a 4-year old boy.

A teacher from the targeted school said that the shell exploded right above the school hall, where children are usually gathered for festive events, and part of the roof “was simply blown away.” Luckily, no children were in the hall at the time. All the pupils and teachers were quickly evacuated to the basement. - RT.