Sunday, January 11, 2015

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Etna Volcano Update - Continuous Ash Emissions From Voragine Crater!

January 11, 2015 - ITALY - Explosions and ash emissions of moderate intensity continue from the Voragine crater.


Ash emissions from Voragine Crater (photo: Emanuela / VolcanoDiscovery Italia)

The front of the lava flow of the last paroxysm on the SW flank (photo: Emanuela / VolcanoDiscovery Italia)

A knocked-down tree lay on the lava flow (photo: Emanuela / VolcanoDiscovery Italia)

The hole of the fallen tree, still hot (photo: Emanuela / VolcanoDiscovery Italia)


During a visit of the front of the cooling lava flow of last paroxysm on the southern side of the New SE crater it was possible to see that the most advanced flow front is at 2130 m elevation in direction of M. Scavo. - Volcano Discovery.




MONUMENTAL DELUGE: Widespread Flooding – The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Sea Level Rise, And Catastrophic Storms!

January 11, 2015 - EARTH - The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.


South East Africa – Floods Hit Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique

Floods in Zimbabwe – Photo: Financial Gazette Zimbabwe

Heavy rainfall in parts of south east Africa over the last 2 weeks has resulted in flooding in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique.

As reported earlier this week, as many as 10 people have died in flooding in Zimbabwe. According to media reports, 6 people have been killed in Malawi and as many as 9 people have died as a result of recent severe weather in Mozambique. Heavy rainfall has also been reported in Madagascar and Zambia although no flooding has as yet been reported.

Change in Monsoon – Rainfall 150% Higher Than Normal


According to a report (pdf) on Africa Hazards Outlook by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, the heavy rainfall is a result of a change of the southern Africa Monsoon. The report says:
“Since late December, the character of the southern Africa monsoon has shifted considerably, as several regions of southeastern Africa continue to experience a significant increase in rains and available ground moisture. This increase has helped both alleviate and completely offset seasonal moisture deficits associated with a poor/delayed start of the monsoon during November and December.”
The report goes on to say that areas of south east Africa have seen rainfall amounts 150% higher than normal.
“During the last 30 days, analysis of rainfall anomaly tendency shows the greatest positive changes (greater than 100mm) have occurred throughout southern Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and western Madagascar. It is these areas that are now experiencing approximately 150 percent of their normal precipitation for the season.”
Further Rain and Flooding Expected

NOAA predicts further heavy rainfall over the coming days, and possibly for the rest of January. This makes the possibility of more flooding highly likely, in particular as river levels are already high.
“These torrential rains not only reportedly triggered flooding in central Zimbabwe during the last week, but are also expected to elevate the risk for downstream inundation along the Zambezi, Save, Buzi, Pungwe, and Limpopo Rivers in Mozambique.”
Cahora Bassa Dam

Such heavy rainfall in this area invariably focuses attention on the Cahora Bassa dam. Mozambique’s Disaster Management Technical Council (CTGC) say that the reservoir still has plenty of storage capacity, and so Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), the company that operates the dam, is currently only discharging 2,500 cubic metres a second.

But if the current scenario persists, HCB may be obliged to increase the discharges in order to guarantee the safety and integrity of the dam itself. Increased discharges from Cahora Bassa will inevitably increase the threat of flooding on the lower Zambezi.


Floods at Moatize Bridge, Tete Moza delaying traffic to Malawi

Floods at Moatize Bridge, Tete Moza delaying traffic to Malawi

Floods at Moatize Bridge, Tete Moza delaying traffic to Malawi

Red Cross volunteers re-building houses in flood affected areas. Photo: Zimbabwe Red Cross Society

Aid distribution in flood hit areas of Zimbabwe. Photo: Zimbabwe Red Cross Society

Flood damage assessment. Photo: Zimbabwe Red Cross Society

A dambreach would prove disastrous for communities downstream of the dam. The flood wave would reach Tete (with a population of more than 150,000) just 10 hours after the breach.
See the report by Marc Hartman of HKV Consultants for an animation of the potential flood resulting from a dambreach in the Cahora Bassa dam.

Mozambique

Yesterday 134 mm of rain fell was recorded in 24 hours in Nampula, Mozambique. Severe weather has been affecting Nampula Province for the last 2 weeks and 9 people have been reported as killed in Nacala city. The deaths were thought to have been caused by lightning strikes and by the collapse of a wall during a thunderstorm.

According to a statement made by Mozambique government’s Disaster Management Technical Council (CTGC), around 2,500 houses have been damaged or destroyed in the floods and rainstorms since late December 2014. Almost 10,000 families have been affected, with Maputo province and city are thought to be some of the worst affected areas.

Zimbabwe

At least 10 people have died in the floods in Zimbabwe
. The latest assessment from the Zimbabwe Red Cross says that over 160 houses have been destroyed. Other media reports says this total should be closer to 2,000. Assessment work is still being carried out by the Red cross and Zimbabwe authorities.
Malawi
Six people have been reported as killed in recent flooding in Malawi – four in Mangochi, two in Zomba. Further deaths are likely, according to Paul Chiunguzeni, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, who spoke to Anadolu News Agency.
World Bulletin report that at least 500 families have been displaced by the floods, which have destroyed houses and crops

Zimbabwe Floods Expose Government's Lack of Preparedness

Government's capacity to deal with floods has been brought into question following its dismal failure to mitigate against the floods that wreaked havoc around the country in the last few weeks when incessant rains fell. With early warnings of the consequences of heavy rains that lashed most parts of the country in the past few weeks, it was expected government and its arm, the Civil Protection Unit (CPU), would be pro-active by preparing well for the threat of floods.

Disaster management experts said the recent flood, which claimed more than a dozen lives, leaving some more marooned on tiny islands for days, has exposed government’s lack of preparedness in dealing with calamity of this magnitude. Experts said the floods showed that Zimbabweans are dangerously exposed to multifaceted hazardous situations, compounded by a perilous combination of geographical and socio-political factors that complicate disaster and risk management.

An inquiry by the Financial Gazette established that the vulnerability of Zimbabweans to natural calamities is evident from the very lack of a proper disaster management institutional framework given that CPU is chronically weak owing to deficient functioning resulting from severe lack of funding and shortage of manpower and resources. Zimbabwe was also heavily affected by floods during the previous rainy season and experts say the failure to draw lessons from that experience is a stark reflection of the dysfunction of CPU.

The CPU depends on the Air force of Zimbabwe for helicopters to airlift marooned people from affected areas and its director, Madzudzo Pawadyira, has lamented poor funding from government saying it was hindering their operations. Scores of villagers in Mbire District were left marooned on an island for days without evacuation and only survived when the water level subsided while in Mashonaland West province, six people were marooned for two days as the Air Force failed to dispatch its helicopters citing bad weather.

“Our preparedness is compromised by lack of funding. We have asked for US$3,4 million but so far we have received only US$50 000 which we have immediately used to dispatch our rapid assessment teams to the worst affected areas in Mashonaland West and Central provinces which proves our sincere commitment.

“The major issue is getting money available for us to be able to operate effectively. Right now with the money available, we have fuelled our units in the provinces to do the assessment which will inform the response that we are going to take. This is an inter-agency assessment involving many players like the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), several United Nations agencies and other humanitarian organisations and the Air Force of Zimbabwe,” Pawadyira said.

Disaster management has many facets, key of which include early warning systems which consist mainly of weather forecasts and education of citizens, taking precautionary measures in advance, response, effective rescue, relief and rehabilitation among other aspects. Disaster and risk management expert, Albert Maipisi, who specializes in floods and their effects, said the government has been found wanting in all disaster management aspects.

“Disaster-specific action plans were found lacking in many ways and vulnerability assessment of blocks was only partial. The ideal situation would be instituting timely preparation of annual disaster management plans indicating specific work to be undertaken at all levels. Some of the areas like Mbire and Muzarabani that have been affected are known to be a perennial flooding zone which means that by now there should be a mechanism to deal with the situation but we still see the people getting affected all the time. The question is why are we always taken by surprise when the floods hit,” he queried.

“What has happened in the past ideally gives precedence to the disaster management framework but the CPU has clearly shown it is not up to the game. Its role has been reduced a mere coordinative role bringing in donor agencies in times of calamity and it is not doing anything,” he said.

Mapisi also said government did not have an effective monitoring mechanism to identify potential disasters and has no political will to urgently address the situation.

“If you look, for example at South Africa, they have got the disaster management act, a law designed to capacitate it to fight such disasters but we do not have that in Zimbabwe. The law should be put in place so that CPU can have the basis for financing of the unit as well as making it a legally operational unit with a clearly defined mandate,” he said.

He added that emergency operation centres at the district level were not working round-the-clock except during monsoon and lacked dedicated manpower, which should be rectified. He said the floods have also exposed the high levels of vulnerability of Zimbabweans. “The floods have also indicated that the government has failed to build disaster resilient lifestyles because where people have got strong livelihoods, they can withstand a disaster. In this case, affected people always wait for some to come as assist them and it follows that the government has failed to strong disaster management systems,” Maipisi said.

Red Cross head of marketing and public relations, Takemore Mazuruse, said the most effective way of dealing with the issue is to decentralise disaster management structures to empower communities so that they could withstand the disasters.

“While have are currently witnessing an unprecedented situation whereby areas that were not experiencing floods are now getting flooded, we have areas like Muzarabani that have been affected by floods for a long time. Why do we still have people in such dangerous low lying areas? The answer to that is to empower communities so that they can be able to prepare and respond effectively when disasters strike. Community leaders should be capacitated on how to handle such situations.

“Studies have shown that when communities are empowered and own the initiatives, it is easier for the people to respect early warning systems and makes information dissemination easier and faster other than relying on a such a highly centralised system which has limited reach because of some communities’ lack of access to radio, television and newspapers that are favourable to the system,” Mazuruse said.

The meteorological department, which is also a vital tool in disaster management and is part of the CPU, has also come under fire for failing to give early warning systems, especially considering that some areas that were hit by floods were experiencing abnormal rainfalls amount to 150mm in the case of areas upstream of Angwa River.

Principal Meteorogist, Linear Mashawi, was not immediately available for comment. Stakeholders have also called for the formation of the National Disaster Management Commission saying it would go a long way in managing disasters is an area which calls for technical expertise, ranging from early warning, to rescue, relief, recovery and rehabilitation.“Given that government is handicapped on account of technical expertise to respond to the flood calamity the National Disaster Management Commission would be uthorised to constitute advisory committees for managing disasters comprising of experts in that field. Only strong and efficient institutions can help in managing disasters effectively,” said Maipisi.


Evacuations after Uruguay River Threatens to Overflow

Flooded street in Paysandú, July 2014 Photo: presidencia.gub.uy

Two days of heavy rainfall in Uruguay has increased levels of the Uruguay River, prompting evacuations in the cities of Bella Unión, Salto and Paysandú.

So far, Sistema Nacional de Emergencias (SINAE), the Uruguay disaster management authority, says that 32 people have been evacuated from the threatened areas in Bella Unión (6), Salto (13) and Paysandú (13). The evacuations have so far all been precautionary and no damage to homes or property has been reported.

River Levels

The Uruguay at Bella Unión currently stands at 7.05 metres. During the floods of 2009 it reached 9 metres prompting the evacuation of around 300 people.

In Salto the river levels are currently 12.1 metres – more than 3 metres under the 2009 floods where it reached 15.75 meters and a total of 3230 people were evacuated.

In Paysandú the river levels are just over 6 metres. In 2009 as many as 4,355 people were forced to evacuate after the river reached 9.07 metres.

The Uruguay river also overflowed in July 2014 when almost 2,000 people were evacuated.

Rainfall

Rainfall figures below according to WMO, for a 24 hour period between 6 and 7 January 2015.
Mercedes – 71 mm
Gualeguaychu – 182 mm
Paysandu – 75 mm
Durazno – 120 mm

Salto Grande Dam Release

Local media
in Uruguay are reporting that the heavy rain and increased levels of the Salto Grande Dam have forced authorities to release water from the dam, therefore increasing river levels downstream.

The Salto Grande Dam is a large hydroelectric dam on the Uruguay River, located between Concordia, Argentina, and Salto, Uruguay.

Argentina and Brazil

Heavy rainfall has also been affecting parts of Argentina and Brazil over the last 48 hours. Flooding has been reported in parts of Brazil, in particular Sao Paulo, the country’s most populous city and one notorious for its poor drainage system. At one point yesterday, Congonhas Airport had to be closed as a result of floods (see our article on airports and flooding here).


Flash floods and 200mm+ of rain leaves Gold Coast motorists stranded in Australia

This motorist was going nowhere after being caught in flood water at the Brisbane Rd and Arundel Dr intersection. Photos: Regi Varghese

Fast-rising floodwaters wreaked havoc across the Gold Coast’s northern corridor last night with people forced to abandon their cars for fear of being trapped as up to 214mm of rain fell.

Floodwaters rose over Smith St, Olsen Ave, Arundel Drive, Brisbane Rd and areas of Coombabah, Helensvale and Southport as tow trucks struggled to remove empty ­vehicles from the westbound side of Brisbane Rd.

An alleged drunk driver was charged with driving without due care and attention after he ignored road closure signs and became stuck in bonnet-high floodwaters.

Police allege the 46-year-old man deliberately drove his 4WD through flooded Siganto Drive, Helensvale at 11pm and was forced to wade to safety with his two passengers as the waters rose above his bonnet.

He will appear in Southport Magistrates Court on February 4.

More than 85mm of rain was dumped on the Gold Coast in the space of two hours, with the Bureau of Meteorology reporting Coombabah had 107mm in the two hours until 9.15pm.

Overnight, that total reached 214mm at Coombabah, 155mm at Pacific Pines, 124mm at Evandale, 123mm at Monterey Keys, 120mm at Molendinar, 112mm at Biggera Waters, 106mm at Tallebudgera, 78mm at Carrara, 70mm at Burleigh Waters, 45mm at Coolangatta, 42mm at Gold Coast Seaway, 26mm at Currumbin and 21mm at Mt Tamborine.

Emergency crews responded to multiple calls for help from people who had escaped from their vehicles before the floodwaters swamped their cars.

One woman on Smith St was able to escape from her car ­before it submerged near Olsen Ave about 8.40pm.


High tide: the heavy downpours last night were bad news for this vehicle, caught in water on Arundel Dr.

This 4WD made it through the flood waters but the vehicle at the rear, left was not so lucky.

Police control traffic after flash flooding on Arundel Dr last night.

The SES was unable to locate the vehicle.

At 9.15pm a family managed to escape from their vehicle near Helensvale Rd and Discovery Drive in Helensvale ­before it was flooded.


Police issued a stern warning at the height of the downfall last night for motorists not to drive into floodwaters under any circumstances.

Cars were bumper to bumper on the M1’s southbound lanes near Gaven.

The severe weather also forced the suspension of tram services across the city.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning at 9.35pm for flash flooding across the northern suburbs of the city.

By 9.40pm the SES had ­received more than 30 jobs from residents requiring assistance, with some worried that their houses were at risk of flooding.

“The rain is backing up traffic and causing havoc,” a police spokesman said.

Police said Siganto Drive and Napper Rd were flooded and two cars were pulled from floodwater on Arundel Drive near Brisbane Rd, which reopened around 9.45pm.

Two more cars were reported stuck in floodwaters at Pacific Pines around 9.55pm.

Police called for urgent traffic control at Pacific Pines around 10pm “before someone kills themself”.

An officer reported the “water is in a dark area where you (motorists) can’t see it until the last minute.”

Wet weather is forecast to continue, with two local offshore troughs bringing a 90 per cent chance of light showers today and tomorrow with heavier falls on Wednesday.

Similar patterns of showers under 10mm are expected throughout the week with a possible storm on Thursday.

- Floodlist | Gold Coast Bulletin.




PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Western Philippines - No Tsunami Warning Or Casualties Reported! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location

January 11, 2015 - THE PHILIPPINES
- A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 struck late Saturday off San Antonio in the province of Zambales in the western Philippines, local seismologists said.

The quake occurred 43 kilometers (26.7 miles) from San Antonio at the depth of 85 kilometers (52.8 miles) under the South China Sea, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

There has been no tsunami warning or casualties reported, following the earthquake.


USGS shakemap intensity

Magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes are weak or almost imperceptible, while magnitude 7 earthquakes and over potentially cause serious damage over larger areas, depending on their depth.

In October 2013, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit the central part of the Philippines, killing 220 people and injuring thousands. Over 13,200 houses were destroyed.  - Sputnik.


Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Philippine Sea and Vicinity

The Philippine Sea plate is bordered by the larger Pacific and Eurasia plates and the smaller Sunda plate. The Philippine Sea plate is unusual in that its borders are nearly all zones of plate convergence. The Pacific plate is subducted into the mantle, south of Japan, beneath the Izu-Bonin and Mariana island arcs, which extend more than 3,000 km along the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea plate. This subduction zone is characterized by rapid plate convergence and high-level seismicity extending to depths of over 600 km. In spite of this extensive zone of plate convergence, the plate interface has been associated with few great (Magnitude greater than 8.0) ‘megathrust’ earthquakes. This low seismic energy release is thought to result from weak coupling along the plate interface (Scholz and Campos, 1995). These convergent plate margins are also associated with unusual zones of back-arc extension (along with resulting seismic activity) that decouple the volcanic island arcs from the remainder of the Philippine Sea Plate (Karig et al., 1978; Klaus et al., 1992).

South of the Mariana arc, the Pacific plate is subducted beneath the Yap Islands along the Yap trench. The long zone of Pacific plate subduction at the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea Plate is responsible for the generation of the deep Izu-Bonin, Mariana, and Yap trenches as well as parallel chains of islands and volcanoes, typical of circum-pacific island arcs. Similarly, the northwestern margin of the Philippine Sea plate is subducting beneath the Eurasia plate along a convergent zone, extending from southern Honshu to the northeastern coast of Taiwan, manifested by the Ryukyu Islands and the Nansei-Shoto (Ryukyu) trench. The Ryukyu Subduction Zone is associated with a similar zone of back-arc extension, the Okinawa Trough. At Taiwan, the plate boundary is characterized by a zone of arc-continent collision, whereby the northern end of the Luzon island arc is colliding with the buoyant crust of the Eurasia continental margin offshore China.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Along its western margin, the Philippine Sea plate is associated with a zone of oblique convergence with the Sunda Plate. This highly active convergent plate boundary extends along both sides the Philippine Islands, from Luzon in the north to the Celebes Islands in the south. The tectonic setting of the Philippines is unusual in several respects: it is characterized by opposite-facing subduction systems on its east and west sides; the archipelago is cut by a major transform fault, the Philippine Fault; and the arc complex itself is marked by active volcanism, faulting, and high seismic activity. Subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate occurs at the eastern margin of the archipelago along the Philippine Trench and its northern extension, the East Luzon Trough. The East Luzon Trough is thought to be an unusual example of a subduction zone in the process of formation, as the Philippine Trench system gradually extends northward (Hamburger et al., 1983). On the west side of Luzon, the Sunda Plate subducts eastward along a series of trenches, including the Manila Trench in the north, the smaller less well-developed Negros Trench in the central Philippines, and the Sulu and Cotabato trenches in the south (Cardwell et al., 1980). At its northern and southern terminations, subduction at the Manila Trench is interrupted by arc-continent collision, between the northern Philippine arc and the Eurasian continental margin at Taiwan and between the Sulu-Borneo Block and Luzon at the island of Mindoro. The Philippine fault, which extends over 1,200 km within the Philippine arc, is seismically active. The fault has been associated with major historical earthquakes, including the destructive M7.6 Luzon earthquake of 1990 (Yoshida and Abe, 1992). A number of other active intra-arc fault systems are associated with high seismic activity, including the Cotabato Fault and the Verde Passage-Sibuyan Sea Fault (Galgana et al., 2007).

Relative plate motion vectors near the Philippines (about 80 mm/yr) is oblique to the plate boundary along the two plate margins of central Luzon, where it is partitioned into orthogonal plate convergence along the trenches and nearly pure translational motion along the Philippine Fault (Barrier et al., 1991). Profiles B and C reveal evidence of opposing inclined seismic zones at intermediate depths (roughly 70-300 km) and complex tectonics at the surface along the Philippine Fault.

Several relevant tectonic elements, plate boundaries and active volcanoes, provide a context for the seismicity presented on the main map. The plate boundaries are most accurate along the axis of the trenches and more diffuse or speculative in the South China Sea and Lesser Sunda Islands. The active volcanic arcs (Siebert and Simkin, 2002) follow the Izu, Volcano, Mariana, and Ryukyu island chains and the main Philippine islands parallel to the Manila, Negros, Cotabato, and Philippine trenches.

Seismic activity along the boundaries of the Philippine Sea Plate (Allen et al., 2009) has produced 7 great (Magnitude greater than 8.0) earthquakes and 250 large (Magnitude greater than 7) events. Among the most destructive events were the 1923 Kanto, the 1948 Fukui and the 1995 Kobe (Japan) earthquakes (99,000, 5,100, and 6,400 casualties, respectively), the 1935 and the 1999 Chi-Chi (Taiwan) earthquakes (3,300 and 2,500 casualties, respectively), and the 1976 M7.6 Moro Gulf and 1990 M7.6 Luzon (Philippines) earthquakes (7,100 and 2,400 casualties, respectively). There have also been a number of tsunami-generating events in the region, including the Moro Gulf earthquake, whose tsunami resulted in more than 5000 deaths. More information on regional seismicity and tectonics
- USGS.



NEW WORLD DISORDER: Terrorism, Societal Collapse And Civilizations Unraveling - President Obama To Hold "Global Security Summit" In Wake Of The Paris Terror Attacks!



January 15, 2015 - UNITED STATES
- In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, the White House has scheduled an anti-extremism conference that was originally set for last October but was postponed without explanation.

In a statement issued as many world leaders gathered in the French capital Sunday to express solidarity with France and to vow renewed efforts to fight violent Islamic radicalism, the White House announced that its summit on the issue of homegrown terrorism will take place next month.

"On February 18, 2015, the White House will host a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism to highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent violent extremists and their supporters from radicalizing, recruiting, or inspiring individuals or groups in the United States and abroad to commit acts of violence, efforts made even more imperative in light of recent, tragic attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, and Paris," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.


WATCH: Over 40 world leaders rally in Paris against extremism.




Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson first announced the summit in September, as concern was growing about the threat posed by the Islamic State movement and by that group's recruitment of fighters in the West. Johnson said the high-level meeting would take place the following month.

However, it did not. In the lead-up to the midterm elections, White House spokesmen repeatedly refused to discuss the reason for the delay or even to confirm on the record that it had been postponed.

Last week's shooting rampage at a satirical French weekly and hostage-takings at two other sites in Paris refocused attention on the danger of so-called homegrown extremists carrying out attacks far from the places in the Middle East and Africa where such violence is more common.

Earnest said Sunday that the conference would address efforts being taken in the U.S., as well as promoting cooperation with similar work abroad.


WATCH: Over 3 million march in Paris in solidarity after Charlie Hebdo attack, hostage crises.




"Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) efforts rely heavily on well-informed and resilient local communities. Boston, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis-St. Paul have taken the lead in building pilot frameworks integrating a range of social service providers, including education administrators, mental health professionals, and religious leaders, with law enforcement agencies to address violent extremism as part of the broader mandate of community safety and crime prevention," he said.

"At the same time, our partners around the world are actively implementing programs to prevent violent extremism and foreign terrorist fighter recruitment. The summit will include representatives from a number of partner nations, focusing on the themes of community engagement, religious leader engagement, and the role of the private sector and tech community," the White House spokesman added.

Some active in counter-violent extremism programs have described the White House's commitment to the issue as limited and uneven—waxing and waning depending on news events. Critics also say the effort lacks coordination and is distributed across too many government agencies, none of whom are accountable for its success. - Politico.



PROTESTS & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Sao Paulo Erupts In Mass Demonstration And Riots Over Bus Fare Price - Over Persons Arrested! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

Photographers raise their hands, surrounded by riot police, during a protest against fare hikes for city buses, subway and trains in Sao Paulo January 9, 2015.
(Reuters / Nacho Doce)

January 11, 2015 - SAO PAULO,  BRAZIL
- A massive rally against a bus fare hike has turned violent in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Shops were pillaged and objects thrown, with riot police resorting to tear gas and rubber bullets. This is the first such incident since the World Cup protests this summer.

Thousands of people chanting “Freedom now” marched through Sao Paulo’s downtown on Friday and police started firing tear gas to stop them from entering a major thruway. Police estimate the crowd was 2,000 people strong, but local news outlets such as Folha De S. Paulo put the number at 10,000.

The organizers of the event – the Free Fare Movement (MPL) estimate the numbers at 30,000.


WATCH: Raw Video - Police brutally clash with protesters at transport hike demonstrations in Brazil.




"I came to the protest because transportation should be free. So we can begin to change things and have improvements," Pietro Battiato, 19, one of the students at the rally, told journalists.

The majority of the protestors were reportedly peaceful, but some elements became aggressive and are said to have provoked the police. The MPL, however, blames the escalation on law enforcers.

“The MPL did not direct aggression towards the police or other acts of vandalism,” representatives of the movement told journalists.


Demonstrators shout slogans in front of a bus during a protest against fare hikes for city buses, subway and trains in Sao Paulo January 9, 2015.
(Reuters / Nacho Doce)

At least 32 arrests were made, according to Reuters, with estimates in local press going up to some 50 busts.

The increase in bus fares is a touchy issue for many of the poor (and some middle class) in the country. Last time they disputed the measures was in June 2013, when a price rise of R$0.20 (US$0.07) to R$3.20 (US$0.37) was averted as a result. This time, however, the local government wants to increase the fare by R$0.50 (US$0.19).

The measure has been in effect since Tuesday.

Although public transport fares are not a matter for the main government, President Dilma Rousseff’s team is facing increasing pressure, when the country expects her to reduce prices in key areas affecting the poor.


Demonstrators are detained by riot police during a protest against fare hikes for city buses, subway and trains in Sao Paulo January 9, 2015.
(Reuters / Nacho Doce)

But the ruling Workers Party and its allies are also in a tight spot because of a recent corruption scandal involving national oil firm Petrobras. Their legitimacy is undermined in the light of the tough economic policy they are trying to enact.While chaos was ongoing in downtown Sao Paulo, people also came out in Rio, but only a crowd of around a thousand. - RT.



NEW WORLD DISORDER: Terrorism, Societal Collapse And Civilizations Unraveling - Europe On High Alert, Troops Deployed; SAS Rushed In To Guard Streets Of Britain As Al Qaeda Warns "YOU'RE NEXT"; Arson At German Paper That Reprinted Charlie Hebdo Cartoons!

The SAS have been called to the streets to counter the threat of terrorism

January 11, 2015 - EUROPE
- Up to 1.5 million are marching through Paris in solidarity with the 17 victims of the attack at Charlie Hebdo, and the atrocities that followed in three days of terror. Over 40 world leaders joined the “cry for freedom” rally, as Europe remains on high alert for more terrorist attacks.


SAS rushed in to guard our streets as Al Qaeda warns 'you're next'

SAS troops are patrolling the streets of Britain to prevent a Paris-style terrorist outrage.

The elite Special Forces have joined counter-terror police and 1,900 Army personnel in the biggest security operation since the 2012 London Olympics.

The news comes as Al Qaeda warned that France was only its third preferred target after Britain and the US.

Most of the Special Forces will be wearing civilian clothes, while some have donned police uniforms to accompany police officers who visit the homes of persons of interest in response to intelligence leads by MI5.

The security operation was rolled out after the Paris atrocities, in which 17 people, including three police officers, were killed as Islamic gunmen ran amok across the French capital over three days.

The bloodshed, masterminded by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, sent shockwaves around the world.

On Wednesday, fanatical brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi ambushed the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, known around the world for its regular depictions of the prophet Muhammad.

In the slaughter, 12 people were killed including five cartoonists, two police officers and the editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier.

In a chilling threat laid bare on news website The Intercept, an Al Qaeda spokesman said: “Why is France so thick in learning from its past mistakes. You come third in the target list, after US and Britain. If I were the latter, I would rather pull my sleeves up.”

The Sunday Express has learned that a 30-strong SAS team, divided into smaller groups, has been allocated to the Police Counter Intelligence Unit by the regiment’s inner sanctum, dubbed the Kremlin.

They form part of a “liaison plan” in which SAS troops work with the police in order to make sure that if required they already have good contacts.

An entire squadron of SAS soldiers is on permanent standby to react to an incident in the UK. Helicopters attached to 7 Squadron RAF were last night primed to rapidly transport the elite force.A woman lays tributes at the scene of the Kosher market shooting in Paris



Why is France so thick in learning from its past mistakes. You come third in the target list, after US and Britain
- Al Qaeda spokesman


Separately, members of a covert “human intelligence” unit based in the Midlands are working alongside police and intelligence officers to identify threats.

The “Humint” unit is thought to consist largely of Asian and Muslim operatives, and was used extensively in Afghanistan.

In addition members of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment were last night engaged in intercepting mobile communications.

A further 120 commandos of the Special Boat Service have also been called on to provide “maritime counter measures” to the Home Office.

Their task is to provide an immediate reaction force against the threat of a tanker or major vessel being hijacked off Britain’s coastline.


A woman lays tributes at the scene of the Kosher market shooting in Paris

Regular exercises are held across the country and ports where local authorities, the police, military and Home Office test their procedures.

Last night senior sources confirmed that an additional 1,900 regular soldiers would be on standby as soon as they are selected from high-readiness regiments by Army HQ in Andover, Hampshire.

They will guard key installations with specialist intelligence units supporting the Home Office along with surveillance and electronic interception operations.

MI5 chief Andrew Parker warned that Al Qaeda radicals working out of Syria were planning mass casualty attacks in Britain and the West, targeting iconic landmarks.

A senior Army source said: “We are on firm footing – and at the state of readiness we were at the height of the security operation during the Olympic Games.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said any contingency plans were not a result of Paris. He added: “As you would expect, potential responses to threats are regularly reviewed as part of prudent planning.”

French-Algerians Said, 34, and his brother Cherif, 32, had long-established terror links.

They escaped to an industrial unit 25 miles north-east of Paris where they were shot dead during a fire fight with French Special Forces on Friday afternoon.

The pair belonged to the same Paris jihadi underground network as Amedy Coulibaly, who stormed a Jewish grocery store in the east of the city on Friday taking 15 hostages and killing four.

Coulibaly, 32, who was also shot dead by commandos, murdered rookie policewoman Clarissa Jean-Philippe after blasting her in the head on Thursday.

It emerged yesterday that the wife of the extremist who mentored two of the terrorists lives in a taxpayer-funded house in Britain.

Djamel Beghal, once accused of being Osama Bin Laden’s chief recruiter in Europe, groomed Cherif Kouachi in jail and also knew Coulibaly. Beghal’s wife Sylvie, 45, moved to Leicester because she wanted to bring up their children in an Islamic environment.

Last night Jewish communities fearing a rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe were urged by Israel to emigrate, where they would be “welcomed with open arms”. - Express.


Arson at German paper that reprinted Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Burnt and damaged files are seen in the courtyard of German regional newspaper Hamburger Morgenpost editorial office in Hamburg,
northern Germany, on January 11, 2015 after an arson attack. (Bodo Marks / DPA / AFP )

A German newspaper, the Hamburger Morgenpost, that reprinted the Charlie Hebdo cartoons says it suffered an arson attack overnight.

The incident happened at about 2 am local time.Unidentified people threw stones and an incendiary devices into the building housing the “Hamburger Morgenpost” tabloid newspaper in Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city.

“Rocks and then a burning object were thrown through the window,” a police spokesman told AFP. “Two rooms on the lower floors were damaged but the fire was put out quickly.”

Nobody was hurt in the attack, police say.The newspaper said there were no people inside the building when the attack happened.


WATCH: Arson attack at a Hamburg paper that ran Charlie Hebdo cartoons.




The attack was launched from a courtyard in the newspaper’s building and hit its archive room, where some files burned.

“It's true: Tonight there was an arson attack on our newspaper,” the Hamburger Morgenpost said on Twitter.

Police have arrested two men who were behaving suspiciously in the area at the time of the attack, said the newspaper. The authorities have launched an investigation.

The Hamburger Morgenpost reprinted cartoons created by the Charlie Hebdo magazine whose HQ in Paris was attacked on January 7. Twelve people, including famous cartoonists, were killed in the massacre.

Meanwhile, German police arrested a suspected supporter of the so-called Islamic State (IS) and raided his home in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Reuters reports. The 24-year-old suspect is suspected of having joined the group following a year-long trip to Syria.

There are no indications that he was planning any sort of attack or was connected to the events in Paris.

After the Paris shooting, the newspaper published three Charlie Hebdo cartoons on its front page. “This much freedom must be possible!” said the headline.

Police, however, didn’t comment on possible links between the arson attack on the German newspaper and the Charlie Hebdo massacre, saying it was "too soon" to know for certain. - RT.




INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Bus Crashes Into Oil Tanker In Southern Pakistan - Killing 57 People, 4 Others Injured!

Pakistani rescue workers gather around the bodies of bus accident victims in a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, early Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015.
Dozens of people were killed when a passenger bus collided with an oil tanker on a highway near Karachi. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

January 11, 2015 - PAKISTAN
- A passenger bus crashed into an oil tanker in southern Pakistan early Sunday, killing 57 people with remains charred beyond recognition, officials said.

Dr. Seemi Jamali, who heads the emergency section at Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Center in Karachi where the remains were brought, said they had received 57 bodies. Four people were also injured, she said.

She said the hospital would have to do DNA tests to identify the victims.

The Minister of Transportation for Sindh Province, Mir Mumtaz Hussain Jakhrani, said the crash happened when the passenger bus hit an oil tanker early Sunday about 50 kilometers (31 miles) outside of Karachi.

A relative of one of the victims told The Associated Press that his sister and two uncles and all their families were on board the bus.

"A total nine members of my family were on board and nobody survived," said Abdul Hafeez.

The bus was completely burned on the inside from the fire.

Such horrific traffic accidents are not uncommon in Pakistan due to reckless, untrained drivers and poor roads. - AP.