Thursday, January 1, 2015

ICE AGE NOW: Extreme Weather USA - First Winter Storm Of 2015 To Unfold From Chicago To Boston; Storm To Regenerate Over Texas Spreading Snow, Ice Into Missouri And Kansas; Snow, Arctic Blast To Return Across Northern Plains!



January 1, 2015 - NORTH AMERICA
- A storm that brought rare snow to Southern California and the Southwest at midweek will spread a swath of snow, ice, rain and travel problems from Chicago to Boston this weekend.  The storm will strengthen and take a track toward the lower Great Lakes this weekend.


First Winter Storm of 2015 to Unfold From Chicago to Boston This Weekend

According to AccuWeather.com Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "There will be disruptive snow and ice north of the storm track."

Heavy snow, substantial ice and drenching rain will be associated with the storm, despite its fast movement. While travel problems will generally be limited to a day or so, areas that receive a heavy amount of ice or wet snow could have lengthy power outages.

After depositing a swath of snow and ice over parts of the central and southern Plains to close out the week, a swath of ice and snow will extend northeastward from northern and western Illinois to a large part of of Michigan and central Ontario during Saturday and Saturday night.

A swath of slippery travel will stretch across the general area from Kansas City, Missouri, to Chicago and Detroit. The first part of the storm will occur as ice or a wintry mix, then transition to snow over the Upper Midwest. However, the heaviest snow from the storm will fall north and west of these cities from central Kansas to Iowa, central and southeastern Wisconsin and northern Michigan.




People traveling in or through these locations should anticipate slippery roads, flight delays and possible flight cancellations.

Warm air would win the battle in most areas south and east of the storm track with the major form of precipitation being rain with some snow or wintry mix limited to the onset of the storm. Most of the storm will be rain in the Ohio Valley, including the cities of Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Louisville, Kentucky.

Gusty winds, lake-effect snow and snow showers may cause sporadic travel delays in the wake of the storm later Sunday.

Cold air will linger during the first part of the storm in a large portion of the Northeast, such as central and northern New England and the Interstate-81 corridor from Pennsylvania northward.

The storm will spread over the area from southwest to northeast spanning late Saturday into Saturday night.

A period of accumulating snow and ice will change to rain around Boston, Albany, New York, Hartford, Connecticut, and State College, Pennsylvania.

From part of central Pennsylvania to the southern tier of New York state, enough ice buildup can occur to weigh down trees and cause power outages.

According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno, "Central and northern New England have the potential for a significant snow and/or ice event and multiple hours of slippery travel on the front side of the storm prior to any warmup."




"At this time, it appears most locations along the I-95 swath from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and New York City would still warm up quickly with all or mostly rain for the storm," Ranyo said.

The storm will then end from west to east on Sunday.

Similar to the Midwest, gusty winds may cause some flight delays Sunday into Monday with lake-effect snow and snow showers from the central Appalachians to the lower Great Lakes.

Rain, locally gusty wind and low cloud ceilings could still cause flight delays and problems for motorists in a large part of the South and in areas farther north that receive mostly rain this weekend.


Parts of the South may also have to contend with locally gusty thunderstorms as the storm's cold front swings eastward.

Storms may affect the lower Mississippi and Tennessee valleys on Saturday into Saturday night, then part of the southern Atlantic Seaboard on Sunday.


Snow, Arctic Blast to Return Across Northern Plains This Weekend



An Alberta Clipper will bring snow, wind and another blast of frigid air to part of the North Central states this weekend.

Moderate snowfall is forecast to develop across northeastern Montana, northern North Dakota, and northern Minnesota Friday into Friday night. The heaviest snowfall will occur along the U.S./Canada border over northern Minnesota and northern North Dakota where some locations could receive 6-12 inches of snow.

Along with snowfall, winds will pick up Friday night where gusts up to 35 mph are possible. This will lead to blowing and drifting snow making travel dangerous at times.

According to Accuweather.com Meteorologist Ben Noll, "Winds over the weekend could gust over 40 mph, especially over North Dakota."

Major traffic delays will be expected across Interstate 29 between Fargo, North Dakota, and the Canadian border as well as Interstate 94 between Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Billings, Montana.

As the system moves through, a blast of cold air will come down from Canada on Saturday. "After the passage of the cold front, temperatures can drop over 20 degrees F during the day Saturday," Noll said.

Temperatures are expected to drop rapidly throughout the day Saturday into the single digits or even below zero. Combined with 20- to 30-mph winds from the north, AccuWeather Real Feel® Temperatures will dip between -20 to -40 degrees.

According to Accuweather.com Meteorologist Randy Adkins, "This will be the coldest air mass of the season so far across the Rockies and Plains."

Sunday will be the coldest day of the weekend as high temperatures will be well below zero across North Dakota and Minnesota. Some locations may struggle to reach -20 F for a daytime high.

"The cold weather is expected to last into the middle of next week with temperatures remaining well below average," Adkins said.

This storm system will merge with another area of low pressure over the Missouri Valley on Saturday and will bring snow to the Great Lakes late Saturday through Sunday.

Soon after one blast of cold air settles to the east and south, another blast of frigid air will take aim on the Midwest and Northeast starting during the middle of next week.


Storm to Regenerate Over Texas Spreading Snow, Ice Into Missouri and Kansas



A storm moving out from the Southwest will regenerate on Friday and will produce a swath of slippery travel in parts of Texas to the central Plains into the weekend.

One batch of ice affected Texas and the southern Plains on New Year's Day.

The remnants of this first batch will move northeastward and fade Thursday night. However, a narrow swath of ice will affect part of northern Arkansas, southern Missouri and western Kentucky into Friday morning.

Know when the rain will start or stop down to the minute by using AccuWeather MinuteCast®.

The storm will get a second wind and strengthen heading into the weekend.

Rain and thunderstorms will ramp up over coastal Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley.

As the storm continues to roll northeastward into a thicker dome of colder air, rain and ice will transition to snow over the central Plains. At the same time colder air will sweep eastward farther to the southwest.




According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, "A swath of ice and rain will be followed by accumulating snow in parts of northwestern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and northwestern Missouri at the end of the week."

People traveling around Amarillo, Texas; Wichita, Kansas; and Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri, should be prepared for slippery conditions and delays Friday night into Saturday.

"Enough snow to shovel and plow is likely from central Kansas to northern Missouri," Sosnowski said.




Motorists should be prepared for snowy and slippery travel over a long stretch of Interstate-35 in northern Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Delays due to deicing activities are possible at Kansas City.

The storm will move on to the Midwest and Northeast with a large swath of snow, ice and travel disruptions later in the weekend. - AccuWeather.



CONTAGION: Sierra Leone's President Calls For Week Of Fasting, Prayer Over Ebola - WHO Says Global Cases Has Exceeded 20,000; Death Toll Dramatically Rise To 7905; 317 Fatalities In Just One Week!



January 1, 2015 - SIERRA LEONE
- Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma asked the country to begin a week of fasting and prayers on Thursday to end the Ebola virus that has killed more than 2,700 of his countrymen.

The worst outbreak on record of the virus is still spreading in West Africa, especially in Sierra Leone, and the number of known cases globally has exceeded 20,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

In a New Year's Day broadcast, Koroma said the seven days of prayers and fasting would begin immediately. "Today I ask all to commit our actions to the grace, mercy and protection of God Almighty," he said.


Sierra Leone's incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital Freetown November 17, 2012.Credit: Reuters/Joe Penney

The death toll from the outbreak, which has been mostly confined to West Africa, has risen to 7,905, the WHO said, following 317 fatalities recorded since it last issued figures on Dec. 24.

Sierra Leone is the worst-hit country in West Africa with more than 9,000 Ebola cases and the number of infections continue to grow. It accounted for 337 of 476 new laboratory-confirmed cases since Dec. 24.

Koroma also said schools - which have been shut since July to curb the spread of the virus - would reopen soon.

"The ministry of education is putting in place modalities to reopen schools and colleges in the shortest possible time," Koroma said, without giving a specific date.

Many schools are being used as Ebola holding centers, raising questions as to how soon they will be able to reopen.

Koroma urged people not to touch the sick or corpses and not to disobey quarantine orders.

"I know what we are being asked to do is very difficult; we are a people that have built our humanity on hugging each other, on shaking hands, on caring for the sick and showing communal empathy by participating in funeral activities," he said.

"But today the Ebola devil of illness and death hides in the innocent clothing of our culture to get us," he said. - Reuters.


Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak


SOCIETAL & INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Deadly New Year - Tragedies Mar Celebrations Around The World, Precursors To What Will Happen For The Rest Of 2015?!

A raging fire engulfs houses in Quezon city, metro Manila January 1, 2015. (Reuters)

January 1, 2015 - EARTH
- For many people around the world, New Year was a time of celebration and joy, but for some it was quite the opposite. Stabbings, mortar shelling, massive fires and a fatal stampede all hit seasonal revels, causing havoc and heartbreak.


Stampede over fake money kills dozens

Police control the site after a stampede occurred during a New Year's celebration on the Bund, a waterfront area in central Shanghai, January 1, 2015.
(Reuters/Stringer)

At least 36 people were killed in China’s Shanghai on New Year’s Eve in a stampede, city authorities said. They apparently rushed to pick up what turned out to be fake US money bills thrown from a building in Chen Yi Square in the city’s Bund waterfront district.

An eyewitness said the coupons, which looked like banknotes, were thrown from a bar above the street as part of the New Year’s celebration.

"It's too cruel. People in front of us had already fallen to the floor, and others were stepping all over them," said another witness, Cui Tingting, 27, who had picked up some of the coupons.

President Xi Jinping ordered the Shanghai city government to conduct a swift investigation into the tragedy.


Gas explosion kills 17

A gas explosion at an auto parts factory killed 17 people and injured 20 in the southern city of Foshan, Chinese officials said.

District officials in Foshan said in a statement that rescue work is under way at the site of the explosion.

The Southern Metropolis Daily reported that witnesses heard three blasts at the Fuhua Engineering and Manufacturing Co. factory, and the facility's walls and ceiling were destroyed.

The blasts also damaged a nearby glass factory and other plants.

Pictures posted on the Southern Metropolis Daily's website showed panels blown off the building's structure, with people lying hurt on the ground.



Turkish man opens fire, throws grenade near Erdogan's office in Istanbul

A man unleashed a round of gunfire and hurled a grenade at the Istanbul offices of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish media reported Thursday citing police. The grenade did not go off.

Police said the man was arrested almost immediately at Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul.

“We know his identity and the links he has, but we don't want to share it now,”
Istanbul police chief Selami Altiok told Turkish daily Hurriyet. “He’s served time in prison before.”

The man also reportedly had an automatic weapon, two more grenades and a homemade bomb on his person.

Police and security officers, some of whom were clad in red ceremonial costumes in honor of Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, cordoned off the area. The suspect was taken to a police station. A bomb disposal team was sent out to the area, with Turkey’s NTV channel reporting that the device was destroyed in a controlled explosion.


WATCH: Turkish man tries to BLOW UP Erdogan's office.




Motives for the attack currently remain unclear. However, the country has been home to protests recently surrounding perceived lack of decisive action in dealing with Islamic State in the Syrian town of Kobani, near the border.

Pro-Kurdish protesters were met with tear gas and water cannons. The subsequent rioting and violence resulted in over 40 fatalities by October. November 1 saw an international day of protest for the Kurds, with tens of thousands rallying across the world in support of the Kurdish fighters in Kobani, demanding stronger military action to combat the jihadists.

There have been also massive protests in 2013 over a corruption scandal implicating government officials, as well as the Gezi Park movement. The activists opposed then-PM Erdogan's plans to redevelop Taksim Square, including razing Gezi Park – one of the last green spaces in central Istanbul – to build a shopping center.


Afghan army shells wedding

Afghanistan is not among the countries celebrating western New Year, but it had its share of tragedy. For reasons that were not immediately clear, the Afghan army mortar shelled a wedding party in southern Helmand, killing dozens of guests.

With hundreds of guests, many of them women and children, present, the attack turned to be pretty deadly. At least 26 people were killed on the spot while more than 40 sustained injuries and were rushed to hospital.


Rocket kills 26 at Afghan wedding party.Afghan injured children are treated at hospital in Helmand province.

"What we know so far is that our soldiers fired mortar rounds from three outposts but we do not know whether it was intentional," General Mahmoud, deputy commander of the Afghan 215 Corps in the province, told Reuters.

Helmand province is one of Afghanistan’s most troubled, with Taliban fighters regularly clashing with government security forces.


French nurse kills ex-girlfriend, party guests

A tragedy occurred on New Year’s Eve in France’s St Catherine, in the north of the country. A 45-year-old male nurse brought a shotgun to a family party and killed three guests, including his former girlfriend. Two others were injured, one of them seriously enough to be taken to hospital for intensive care.

The assailant then drove away in his car and was chased by police. The man eventually turned the firearm on himself, local authorities said.

The killing spree came as a shock to the usually quiet French community, AFP reported.

“This is a very quiet, peaceful area – there is never any trouble. We are all in a state of absolute shock. You just don’t expect this kind of thing to happen over the holidays,”
one local resident said.

The nurse’s name was not reported, but he is said to have a history of domestic violence.


UK axe attack

Reuters/Dani Cardona

One person died and several others were wounded after a pub in Plymouth, south west England, was attacked by a man or men wielding an axe and a knife. Police were called at approximately 01:30 GMT.

Two men, aged 20 and 21, have both been arrested on suspicion of murder.

A 27-year-old died on-site and two of the attack’s victims have been hospitalized after suffering stab wounds. Police have requested that witnesses to come forward to aid with the investigation.


Massive fire torches Philippines slums

Hundreds of shanty dwellings in a slum in the Philippines' capital, Manila, have been destroyed by a huge fire, which is believed to have been started by firecrackers set off by children during New Year celebrations.

The fire erupted after dawn and was quickly spread by strong winds through a nearly kilometer-long row of shanty dwellings stretching along a creek, AP reported. The agency didn’t say whether there were any casualties in the blaze.


A man stands on a roof as he watches a fire engulfing a slum area in Manila on January 1, 2015. (AFP Photo)

Slum residents were trying to save their possessions and pets as the flame was spreading. Some used makeshift floating devices to cross the creek. Firefighters had problems responding to the emergency as their vehicles found it difficult to navigate the narrow passages of the slums.

"It's really a tragic way to welcome the New Year,"
said Noel Carino, a local official.


A man looks out from a veranda overlooking houses destroyed by a fire at a slum colony in Quezon city, Metro Manila January 1, 2015. (Reuters/Erik De Castro)

At least 14 fires were reported across the Philippines on New Year's Eve night, two of them killing a total of seven people, a firefighting official told the media. Thousands of residents were displaced after their homes were destroyed or damaged.


Over 100 injured by fireworks in Italy

European revelers are no more immune to consequences of reckless firework displays than their Asian counterparts. At least 102 people were injured in Italy by fireworks and firecrackers during the New Year’s Eve celebration, La Repubblica newspaper reported.




The southern region of Campania was hit from fireworks, with 71 injuries reported to medics. In Naples, a 10-year-old boy was hurt as he was setting off fireworks.

The number of casualties is expected to rise as information from across the country is being compiled. Last year, some 350 Italians were injured by fireworks. - RT.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.1 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Northern California Coast - No Destructive Tsunami Warning!

USGS earthquake location

January 1, 2015 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- A magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean off the Northern California coast on Thursday, about 70 miles (113 km) west of the town of Ferndale, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

A Ferndale police dispatcher said there were no reports of injuries or damage from the quake, which according to the USGS's website occurred at 4:16 a.m. Pacific Time.


USGS shakemap intensity

No tsunami warning was issued for the area following the magnitude 5.1 quake, according to the USGS and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Ferndale is about 190 miles (306 km) northwest of Napa, California, where a magnitude 6.0 earthquake in August struck nearby, injuring more than 200 people and causing millions of dollars in damage to buildings and the wine industry.


CISN Uncertainty Ratio Map

In September a woman died of injuries sustained in that quake. - Reuters.



SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Army Mortar Fire Targets Wedding Party In Afghanistan - At Least 26 Civilians Killed, Over 40 Wounded!

Reuters/Stringer

January 1, 2015 - AFGHANISTAN
- At least 26 civilians have been killed and over 40 wounded after Afghan army mortar rockets targeted a wedding party in southern Helmand. Most of the victims are believed to be women and children.

The tragedy happened in a village in Sangin district, which was targeted by artillery fire from three directions, General Mahmoud, deputy commander of the Afghan 215 Corps in the province, told Reuters.

"What we know so far is that our soldiers fired mortar rounds from three outposts but we do not know whether it was intentional,"
the official said.

"We have launched our investigation and will punish those who did this."


The attack left 26 people killed and wounded 41 others, deputy provincial police chief Gul Pasha Bakhtiar told the news agency.


An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier keeps watch at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Jalalabad city. (Reuters/Parwiz)

A cousin of the bride, Abdul Haleem, who was hosting her wedding, said that nine of his children were missing after the rocket struck his house.

"Nine children of mine are missing; I just collected body parts,"
he told AP. "I don't know whether it's my children or someone else."

Hundreds of guests attended the wedding ceremony.

The year 2014 was the deadliest of the war in Afghanistan – both for government forces and civilians – with around 5,000 Afghan soldiers and police killed. Meanwhile the number of deaths and injuries among civilians has reached an estimated 10,000 people since the UN started keeping figures in 2008.

Last year was also the first when the civilian death toll from direct battles between Taliban and Afghan military surpassed that claimed by roadside bombs, marking the escalating violence in the country. - RT.




ICE AGE NOW: Record-Breaking Cold In Denver - Minus 19 Degree Reading At The Denver International Airport Is The Lowest In 117 YEARS!

Mike Longmire, from Los Angeles, walks across Tremont Place while covering his face with a scarf Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014 at the intersection
of 17th Street and Tremont Place in Denver, Colorado. (Brent Lewis, The Denver Post)

January 1, 2015 - COLORADO, UNITED STATES
- Recording-breaking cold in Denver is expected to fade on Wednesday as temperatures heat up into the afternoon.

Two records were broken in Denver on Tuesday, including the record low and record low high.

A minus 19 degree reading at the Denver International Airport broke the record low of minus 11 set in 1898. The high temperature only topped out at 1 degree setting new record low high, shattering the old record of 8 degrees set in 1915.


A person crosses street Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014 at Glenarm Street and Park Avenue West in Denver, Colorado. According to the National Weather Service
temperatures on the Front Range hit a high temperature Tuesday of 1 degree Fahrenheit and a low minus 19 degrees Fahrenheit.
(Brent Lewis, The Denver Post)

The coldest temperature recorded overnight Tuesday in Colorado was in Walden, where the tiny Jackson County town near the border with Wyoming reached minus 36.

Forecasters say they expect temperatures in Denver to top out in the mid-20s by Wednesday afternoon.

"When the sun comes out it will start to warm up," said Cari Bowen, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Boulder.




A wind chill warning is in effect for the Eastern Plains and parts of the Front Range, including Colorado Springs and Castle Rock, through Wednesday morning.

Temperatures are expected to reach into the low 30s on New Years Day when there is 10 percent chance of snow, forecasters. - Denver Post.



INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: More Cases Of Transportation Upheavals - Two Killed In Arizona Helicopter Crash And Two Officers Hurt In Vegas Police Helicopter Crash!

January 1, 2015 - UNITED STATES - Here are two of the latest reports of helicopter crashes in the United States.

2 officers hurt in Vegas police helicopter crash

A Las Vegas police officer stands by the wreckage of a Las Vegas police helicopter Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, in Las Vegas.
Two officers were hospitalized with injuries from the crash. (AP Photo/John Locher)

A Las Vegas police helicopter crashed on a residential street Wednesday and two police officers were hospitalized with injuries that weren't believed to be life-threatening, authorities said.
It wasn't immediately clear what caused the Hughes 530 helicopter to go down just before 1:30 p.m. northeast of downtown Las Vegas.

The aircraft didn't catch fire, and the Federal Aviation Administration reported that the injuries to the two people aboard the aircraft weren't life-threatening.

Police Officer Laura Meltzer said the two officers were taken to University Medical Center, and there were no reports that anyone on the ground was hurt.

The wreckage came to rest tilted on its side in a neighborhood of single-story homes.


(AP Photo/John Locher)

At least one of the four main rotor blades appeared to be missing and a landing skid broke, leaving the white helicopter with a red tail and green and gold stripes incapacitated in the street.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor in Los Angeles said the agency would investigate the crash.

It wasn't immediately known if weather was a factor. The crash happened on a cold day with overcast skies and occasional snow flurries in mountain elevations, but no flakes accumulated in the downtown and Las Vegas Strip area. Winds were light, about 10 mph.

The helicopter is one of five operated by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

The Hughes is routinely used for patrol and as an aerial observation platform at events like the annual New Year's Eve fireworks celebration. The event Wednesday night was expected to draw some 340,000 revelers to the Las Vegas Strip. -  Yahoo.


2 killed in Arizona helicopter crash

Two people were killed in a helicopter crash Wednesday in southern Arizona.

The helicopter was returning from Phoenix after routine maintenance, said the Cochise County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Carol Capas said contact with Cochise Air, the copter that is leased to the Sheriff's Office, was lost around 7 p.m. near Benson, about 150 miles southeast of Phoenix. The helicopter was flying to nearby Sierra Vista in Cochise County.

The Sheriff's Office and Benson Fire Department search crews tracked the pilot's cellphone and found the crash site south of Interstate 10 outside of Benson, Capas said. The two occupants, a pilot and a mechanic, were found dead. They were not identified.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

Earlier Wednesday, a Las Vegas police helicopter crashed on a residential street, injuring two officers. - FOX News.



FIRE IN THE SKY: New Year's Comet - Glowing Green Comet Lovejoy Becomes Visible To The Naked Eye!

"Comet Lovejoy: "Gerald Rhemann took this picture on December 21st, 2014 using a remotely-operated telescope in Namibia

January 1 2015 - SPACE
- The New Year’s first celestial object to light up the skies in the Northern hemisphere is Lovejoy comet, already visible to the naked eye and expected to get even brighter over the next week.

WATCH: Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy - December 29, 2014.


The comet C/2014 Q2, named after an amateur Australian astronomer Terry Lovejoy, is flying our way from the edge of the solar system. The comet discovered back in August has brightened to 5 magnitude late December and will be visible high in the dark winter sky through January.


Comet (C/2014 Q2) Lovejoy & M79 from the Quantock Hills, in Somerset, last night. Comet was ~12˚ above the horizon.  Photo by Will Gater

AFP Photo/Desiree Martin

The visibility of Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) continues to improve. Currently shining at magnitude +5.0 underneath the feet of Orion, it is expected to more than
double in brightness by mid-January 2015. This puts it just above the threshold for naked-eye visibility and allows photographers to record the comet using
only a camera--no telescope required. John Ashley did just that on Dec. 30th


On January 7 it will pass at its closest, about 70 million kilometers from Earth. Although visible to unaided eye, spotting it in suburban light pollution would likely require at least a pair of binoculars.

To a naked eye the comet will appear grey, but in reality the celestial body produces a green glow due to ionization by the Sun. Photographers are expecting to take breath-taking pictures as the Lovejoy comet passes near the Orion constellation, as well as Taurus, Pleiades and the Aries.

Lovejoy comet initially had an extremely long orbital period of over 10,000 years, but it was shortened by gravitational effects. So the next time Lovejoy returns will be in just around 8,000 years.

Observers should look for the comet passing through the constellation Lepus the Hare south of Orion. Consult these finder charts from Sky & Telescope. For accurate pointing of telescopes, an ephemeris from the Minor Planet Center is available. - RT.


GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: More Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Horse Rescued From Sinkhole In Oxford, Florida; Large Sinkhole Appears On Street In Bangor, Maine; Calf Rescued From Sinkhole In Alachua County, Florida!

January 1, 2015 - UNITED STATES - The following constitutes some of the latest reports of sinkholes across the United States.


Horse rescued from a sinkhole in Oxford, Florida field

Bizarre scene: Owner Maryann Marsh tries to comfort Nate the horse after he was found in a sinkhole in his pasture in Oxford, Florida


There was no time for horsing around at a stable in Florida last Friday after a sinkhole nearly swallowed up one of the equines.

Nate, a 30-year-old nag living at TMMA Farms in the rural community of Oxford, was found with his head poking out of a grassy pasture while the rest of his body lay trapped below ground.

It took a team of around ten people - including fire personnel - more than two hours to haul the large animal to safety.

Video footage of the rescue shows how workers dug earth out around Nate's body in a bid to free him.


WATCH: Horse falls into Florida sinkhole.




They then put harnesses around his torso to lift him to ground level.

After lots of pulling and pushing, Nate finally gets one hoof up and is able to crane his other legs out of the pit.

He appears to be stunned by the ordeal, standing still with his nostrils flared.

Firefighters apparently placed an oxygen mask on Nate's face to help him breathe until he was able to walk on his own.

Maryann Marsh, co-owner of TMMA Farms, said she had never seen anything like it before.

She told ABC News that Nate was in a 'retirement pasture' and it's thought that the 'ground just collapsed underneath him' during the afternoon.

'He was lucky enough to almost be in a sitting position in the hole, which is why he didn't break any legs,' she added.

Marsh recruited neighbors to help pull Nate free but when their efforts failed, she called 911.

With the additional manpower they were able to get the animal out of the sinkhole.

Nate is one of three horses on TMMA Farm, which specializes in alpaca breeding.

Marsh says Nate is doing 'very well' and only suffered a swollen back leg.

A post on the farm's Facebook page noted: 'We will still watch him closely over the next few days but for over 30, he is our tough old guy!' - Daily Mail.


Calf rescued from sinkhole in Alachua County, Florida

An Alachua County firefighter descends into a sinkhole to rescue a 2-day-old calf that fell in. © John Haven, UF College of Veterinary Medicine


A mama cow's mournful lowing for her lost newborn ceased and was replaced with a joyful gallop after a team of Alachua County firefighters and staff at the University of Florida veterinary college rescued a 2-day-old calf from a sinkhole Saturday.

The technical rescue team members put training to the test when the calf slid into a newly formed sinkhole about 15 feet deep and 15 feet wide at a Newberry farm.

"If you could have seen the cow, the mother, come running past when we turned that calf loose," Alachua County Fire Rescue District Chief Jeff Harpe said. "She just goes running by like she was being chased by cowboys. As soon as we turned the calf loose, it looks around like, are you my mama? And then wanders off. Then here comes the galloping of the mother."

The ACFR technical rescue team is trained to rescue people from hazardous situations with rope, ladders, harnesses and other equipment. It also works with UF College of Veterinary Medicine Director John Haven and his team to rescue animals.

Haven had been training with the ACFR team Saturday in Newberry. They had wrapped up and were at the Fort Clarke Boulevard station when the call came in about the stranded calf.

ACFR went immediately to the scene, while Haven got a UF team member and then went to the farm.

A plan was developed to lower firefighter Brian Ferguson into the sinkhole. The calf was not injured in the fall and did not kick up any fuss at all as Ferguson attached a harness so it could be hoisted out of the sink. - The Gainesville Sun.


Large sinkhole appears on street in Bangor, Maine

A 12 to 15-foot sinkhole that's 30 feet deep in the middle of Bangor's Hammond Street downtown. © News Center


Drivers are avoiding one big pot-hole on Hammond Street Tuesday

Public Works says a sinkhole developed overnight.

They say it's about 8 to 9 feet deep, 30 feet long, 15 feet wide and it's still growing.

No one was driving on the road when part of it collapsed around 1 A.M.


WATCH: Large sinkhole appears on street in Bangor, Maine.














Public Works believes old infrastructure is to blame.

Public Works says to seek an alternate route going in and out of downtown.

Hammond Street will be shut down today while crews work to fix it. - WABI.



DISASTER PRECURSORS: Omen – The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior, Mass Animal Die-Offs, Appearance Of Rare Creatures And Warnings From Mother Nature!

January 1, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.


Masses of dead fish wash ashore along the coast of Chennai, India 

Fisherfolk, dependent on the Adyar estuary for their livelihood, were shocked by this sudden surge of dead fish along the coastline
from Srinivasapuram up to Besant Nagar. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan. The Hindu


A large quantity of dead fish was washed ashore along the coastline from Srinivasapuram up to Ashtalakshmi temple in Besant Nagar on Wednesday.

Fisherfolk, dependent on the Adyar estuary for their livelihood, were shocked by this sudden surge of dead fish.

R. Suresh, a fisherman from Nadukkuppam, said release of untreated hazardous wastewater from a couple of hospitals could have caused the death of the aquatic life. “Since yesterday, we have been sensing a stench and then, this morning, saw the huge quantity of dead fish on the shore,” he said.

S. Palayam, president, Oorurkuppam Fishermen Cooperative Society, said he, along with five other fishermen, could earn nearly Rs, 2,000 by spreading their nets at the mouth of the estuary. Similarly, a good quantity of prawn was also caught in the bay, he said, adding that the release of untreated hazardous waste into the Adyar River had led to the death of fish.

“It not only affects the fish, but even the prawn fingerlings get wiped out due to contamination by polluted waste. So far, we have not had such a large-scale death of fish in our area,” he said. Mullet, sardine and milk fish were the three species found in abundance in the area, he added.

Pooja Kumar, of Coastal Resource Centre, Besant Nagar, said they got the call from fishermen around 3 a.m. on Wednesday about the dead fish washed ashore. A drainage pipe on the old Adyar bridge had got damaged in some portions, from which the sewage seems to have leaked into the river. Thus, the water passing through Adyar Creek before reaching the Bay of Bengal could have become contaminated, resulting in the mass death of fish, she explained.

Nearly five lorry loads of dead fish were collected by unidentified persons, who said they would sell them to units manufacturing poultry feed.

Mr. Palayam said that, on several occasions, the fishermen had complained to authorities about the release of untreated raw sewage into Adyar River. But, so far, no action had been taken. The rise of new hotels and residential apartments near the coast along Foreshore Estate exacerbated the issue, he said.Sources with the fisheries department said eutrophication (presence of excessive nutrients due to increased presence of algae) could have caused the death. - The Hindu.


Dead humpback whale washes up on Little Cranberry Island, Maine

Triomphe, a humpback whale born off the Dominican Republic, was found dead recently on a Little Cranberry Island beach. © Erin Fernald


Scientists from the College of the Atlantic have identified the carcass of a 36-foot humpback whale that washed ashore on Little Cranberry Island on Christmas Day as Triomphe, a nearly 7-year-old male.

"The pigmentation on the flukes was sufficient to identify the individual," said Rosemary Seton, research associate and Marine Mammals Stranding Coordinator at the college's Allied Whale Program. "He was in our catalog, born in 2008 to a female humpback named Spar."

The whale was discovered on the afternoon of Dec. 25 and showed some signs that it had been entangled in fishing gear, Harbormaster Bruce Fernald said.

"There were some entanglement signs, but nothing I saw that was deep," he said. "You could just see a little groove in about two or three places on its tail - it was nothing that I would think would kill a whale, but I don't know."

Seton said it might be impossible to determine a cause of death.


"Even when you do necropsies, and can see things inside, finding the cause of death is not always easy," she said.

In this case, tissue samples were collected but a full necropsy will not be performed because of the scale of such an undertaking.

Seton said researchers at the Bar Harbor-based college on average deal with one dead humpback whale a year, but one year saw three.

"Last year, one was seen by one of our volunteers in Cutler," she said. "It was floating in the harbor and ended up on Great Spruce Island."  - Bangor Daily News.


Thousands of fish, animals dying in Turkey Creek, Florida

Thousands of fish and animals are dying in a local waterway, and longtime residents say it's not just an ordinary fish kill.

Turkey Creek in Palm Bay is known for its clean, fresh water. It flows into the Indian River Lagoon downstream, and it's there in the lagoon where most fish kills happen, not in the creek.

Chris Jones grew up along Turkey Creek.


WATCH: Thousands of fish, animals dying in Turkey Creek, Florida.



"You can get out and be in old Florida, natural Florida, the way it was hundreds of years ago before people were here," said Jones.

But now, catfish have been dying for weeks.

People have reported dead animals including an alligator and some raccoons and turtles. They've taken pictures of a film on the water.

"I've never seen catfish or any fish die off to this extent," said Jones.
"It's quite upsetting because I've been here since '73, and the waters were much better," said John Mongioi.

Palm Bay Public Works employees checked the water for dissolved oxygen but said so far levels look normal.

The city sewage plant spilled effluent into the creek in September. It seems unlikely that could still be having an effect. It's an unnerving mystery.

"I don't know if I'm going to get sick from it. I don't know if I'm going to get something from just dealing with the fish in the water," said Jones.

State biologists have taken samples and they're doing a lot of analysis, hoping to find the answer. - WESH.


Rare Eurasian kestrel appears in Nova Scotia, Canada

Eurasian kestrels are quite common across their home range of Europe, Asia and parts of Africa, but very rarely seen in North America. 
© Kyle Shay/Nova Scotia Bird Society)


Bird watchers in Nova Scotia are being treated to a rare sight.

Birders are flocking to Hartlen Point in Eastern Passage to try and catch a glimpse of a rare Eurasian kestrel. The bird was first spotted in the Eastern Passage area in November and is still there.

Blake Maybank with the Nova Scotia Bird Society says it's a male.

"Presumably this bird just got caught up in the wrong weather, not a storm per se, but they tend to follow tailwinds and it got carried over, but when, we can't be sure," he said.

Maybank was one of many bird watchers in Eastern Passage on Tuesday hoping to catch a glimpse of the rare sight. He found the Eurasian kestrel lunching in a spruce tree.


WATCH:
Rare bird spotted near Halifax.




According to the National Audubon Society, the birds are larger than their North American cousins, American kestrels.

Eurasian kestrels are quite common across their home range of Europe, Asia and parts of Africa, but are very rarely seen in North America.

The last time a Eurasian kestrel sighting was recorded in Canada was back in 1988 near Amherst.


John Loch of Eastern Passage made the trip to see the bird then, but never did see it. He had better luck Tuesday.

"I've worked pretty hard the last few days to try to see it and finally David called me to tell me it was here and I'm really pleased," Loch said. "It's a beautiful bird, it's a little immature but it's got beautiful markings."

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) distribution

David Currie, with the Nova Scotia Bird Society, says news of the kestrel sighting has spread.

"We had people in from Quebec yesterday and people in from Maine as well," he said. "I've been contacted and I understand there are more people from the U.S. coming here." - CBC.


Llama on the lam: Furry fugitive escapes, hits the town in Greater Manchester

Reuters / Jorge Silva


A spooked llama on the run in Greater Manchester evaded capture for six hours before being escorted home by its owner on Monday night.

Interludes of the creature’s journey throughout the town of Littleborough, just outside Rochdale, Greater Manchester, were recorded on film.

The video captured the frazzled animal galloping down a road as vehicles slowed down allowing it to pass safely. Other cars came to halt as the furry fugitive marched along the center of a residential street.


WATCH: Pet llama on the loose in Manchester.




The llama had fled its home quarters on Monday evening after being frightened by a dog in the neighborhood. The llama, by the name of Calista, was rescued by her owner Dan Taylor, who eventually found her and guided her back to his farm.

Taylor, 48, had searched the small town for his pet for six hours before discovering her in an agitated state.

He told the Manchester Evening News that he owns 19 llamas, which he keeps on his farm. Reflecting on the saga, he told the paper all his llamas had been frightened by the dog.


Reuters / Mariana Bazo

“They are very timid and friendly creatures and this kind of thing really upsets them,”
Taylor said.

“I would really urge dog owners not to let their animals out loose in the area as they are not allowed in the field.”


Llamas are members of the camelid family and are generally found in the Andes in Peru, Chile and Bolivia. A domesticated variant of their wild cousin the guanaco, they are often used by the Andean people to carry food.

No further incidents of llamas running loose in Littleborough have been reported since Monday. - RT.



GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - Venezuela Plunges Into Recession With Record Inflation!

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro.(Reuters / Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

January 1, 2015 - VENEZUELA
- Venezuela's economy has entered a recession with the economy contracting 2.3 percent in the third quarter and the highest inflation in the Americas at 63.6 percent.

Venezuela confirmed on Tuesday it was in recession as the country’s GDP has been falling for 3 consecutive quarters with a drop of 4.8 percent in the first quarter and 4.9 percent in the second. The 63.6 percent inflation is a record in North and South America, and is among the world’s highest.

President Nicolas Maduro believes the Venezuelan economy’s plunge is a result of global political instability and falling oil prices.

He also accused the US of "flooding" the oil market as part of an economic war with Russia and Venezuela.

"Do you know there is an oil war?
” Maduro said at a meetingwith the leaders of state-owned corporations.

“This war is aimed at destroying Russia. This is also a strategically planned war against Venezuela, it seeks to destroy our revolution and trigger economic collapse.”


Venezuela went through a recession in 2009-2010, which was also triggered by low oil prices.

Contracts for Venezuelan oil are currently being traded at $48 a barrel, with $56 for Brent crude at 17:30 MSK Wednesday. In the middle of 2014 the price for Venezuelan oil futures was around $96.

Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves, thus its economy is highly dependent on the oil trade.

Oil makes up 90 percent of the country’s exports. In the third quarter they fell by 14.2 percent to $19 billion. - RT.