Monday, November 30, 2015

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Wolves Seen Near The Outskirts Of Warsaw, Poland For The First Time In 50 Years?!

Wolves have returned to Poland after disappearing in the 1960s.  © Alamy

November 30, 2015 - WARSAW, POLAND
- Wolves have returned to a large national park on the outskirts of Warsaw, decades after they were wiped out there under a hunt launched by the communist authorities.

"We're really happy," said Magdalena Kamińska, spokeswoman for the 150sq mile (385sq km) Kampinos national park, Poland's second largest. "The fact that wolves have returned to our park, from which they completely disappeared in the 1960s, means that nature is in good health and is renewing itself."

Park employees spotted a first wolf in 2013, but the animal was just passing through. Now there are several and they appear to have settled in for the long haul, Kamińska said.

A young male wolf was caught on a hidden camera just a few days ago, and in September another was spotted drinking at a watering hole.

Poland's communist regime organised a vast wolf cull in the 60s in response to their perceived danger, paying residents for every animal shot dead. The park's last wolf pack was killed in 1964.

Officials added the wolf - rare or extinct in much of western Europe - to the country's list of endangered species in the 1990s following protests from ecologists and animal rights activists, including the former French film star Brigitte Bardot.

The move helped reinstate wolves in certain areas, including the mountainous region of Bieszczady in the south-east. There are about 1,000 wolves in Poland today. - The Guardian.


 

DELUGE & GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Severe Flooding, Landslides Hit West And North Sumatra - Cutting Off Access And Disrupting Economic Activity!

72-hr rainfall accumulation as observed by GPM Core Observatory. © NASA/JAXA GPM

November 30, 2015 - SUMATRA
- Torrential rain has caused landslides in parts of West and North Sumatra, cutting off access and disrupting economic activity.

A 150-meter stretch of the highway connecting West Sumatra and Riau in Jorong Sopang, Pangkalan Koto Baru, Limapuluh Kota regency, was engulfed by up to a meter of floodwater on Sunday at 5 a.m. local time. Limapuluh Kota Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Nasriyanto said the flooding was triggered by the overflowing Batang Manggilang River.

"Only large trucks were able to pass, resulting in other vehicles from Pekanbaru and Payakumbuh backing up 2 kilometers for eight hours," Nasriyanto told The Jakarta Post on Sunday. He said the heavy rain that had drenched the region in the past three days had triggered floods and landslides in a number of locations in the regency. At least 500 homes were engulfed by over 50 centimeters of floodwater and eight homes were reportedly damaged by a landslide on Sunday morning.

"We, together with residents, are currently moving residents and livestock to safer areas. Reports are coming in, but no casualties have been reported so far," said Nasriyanto. Floods have taken place in Taram and Sarilamak villages in Harau district, Payakumbuh, Guguk, Lareh Sago Halaban and Kapur Sembilan districts.

Two homes were destroyed in Kapur Sembilan district and six in Taneh Bukit, but no casualties were reported. Ten homes were isolated by floods in Sago Halaban. "We have further heightened vigilance because the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency [BMKG] predicts high rainfall on Sunday and Monday. We urge residents living in dangerous areas to increase awareness, and if need be evacuate," said Nasriyanto.

A landslide also took place in Agam regency on Sunday morning. The road in Matur district was buried by landslides in two places. The landslides also carried rocks. The provincial public works agency deployed heavy machinery to clear the affected areas.

On Saturday, the trans-Sumatra highway to Medan, North Sumatra, in Agam regency, or 16 km from Bukittinggi, was completely cut off by a landslide that occurred at 4:30 a.m. Meanwhile, Karo regency administration of North Sumatra estimated losses of hundreds of millions of rupiah due to a landslide in Doulu village, which buried four houses and a motorcycle on Saturday. Doulu village chief Takalin Purba said no casualties were reported in the disaster on Saturday.

"Four homes and a motorcycle were buried by the landslide. Fortunately, there were no casualties, but damages are estimated to reach hundreds of millions [of rupiah]," Takalin told the Post on Sunday. Takalin said the displaced residents were distraught as did not know where they would live. Alex Brahmana, whose house was buried by the landslide, said that in the meantime he and his family would stay with relatives in Medan as their home was destroyed by the landslide. Alex added that the landslide was triggered by torrential rain from Nov. 27 evening. He said four homes were buried by the landslide. - The Jakarta Post.


DISASTER PRECURSORS: Animal Behavior - Dead Whale Found On Shandong Beach, China?!

3.9-ton whale found dead on Shandong beach, workers load it up, drive to freezing plant for further examination

November 30, 2015 - CHINA
- Over the weekend, a mammoth 8.5-meter long, 3.9-ton whale was found dead, washed ashore near Rizhao city in Shandong province.

The locals informed the city bureau of ocean and fishery, who arrived quickly to see one truly massive whale carcass that would have to be moved.

According to NetEase, the staff's initial evaluation was that the whale had been killed by getting tangled up in a fishing net and strangling to death. They needed to get it back to the freezing plant for further examination, so with quite a bit of effort they used a crane to lift the carcass up on a truck and away they went.

We assume that nobody followed too close.

While dead whales washing up on beaches or being caught in fishing nets is quite a rare occurrence in China, it seems to happen quite a bit to whale sharks. While some of these protected animals are released back into the wild, others are brutally slaughtered alive. - Shanghaiist.



FIRE IN THE SKY: "Thought It Was A Firework" - Bright Green Meteor Fireball Ireland!

© Screenshot via Belfash Telegraph

November 30, 2015 - IRELAND
- A mysterious fireball set social media ablaze as hundreds took to Twitter to report a bright object falling from the sky.

Shortly after 10pm on Sunday night the first queries started popping up on the internet with some speculation about what the fiery sphere was.

@xBobbyJean was one of the first to Tweet, saying: "Just saw what seemed to be a fireball travelling southwards across the sky - odd! Did anyone else see it? #Belfast. Many were quick to joke of an alien invasion of a foreign military attack but others realised they had witnessed a spectacular meteor, according to Tolis Christou from the Armagh Observatory. "Judging from its brightness, I would say it was a chunk of rock, about the size of a grapefruit, independently orbiting the Sun until it had a misfortune of coming across our planet", he said.

"Upon entering the atmosphere, friction - air molecules bouncing off it - caused it to heat up and glow. This light that we see from the ground is what we call a meteor. Eventually, the intense heat caused it to vaporise completely before reaching the ground. "It appeared to emanate from the vicinity of the constellations Draco the Dragon and Ursa Major (Big Dipper). If we were to stay up all night every night, we would expect to see one as bright as that every month approximately. The casual observer would probably see one every year."

Mr Christou said that by judging from its apparent path across the sky, this event was not related to the Lyrid meteor shower which peaked on April 22/23. At peak activity this shower produces 15 or 20 meteors per hour. Reports of the fireball weren't limited to Northern Ireland, as residents of Dublin, Galway and others in Scotland shared their visual experiences.


WATCH: Meteor fireball over Ireland.




@John_dryden85: "Was out with the telescope looking at the moon and Jupiter conjunction and just looked up and caught it. Motherwell Scotland."

@chuck1985: "Spotted it North-East of Belclare (Galway), #meteor #greenfireball"

@sinisterenda: "Spotted it from Donegal, seemed to break into two."

@FTA_NI: "Saw it, NE over Belfast, I thought it was a firework as that bright and close."

- Belfast Telegraph.


 

TERMINATOR NOW: The Rise Of The Machines - Robot Taught To DISOBEY Humans Could Mark The Era Of SELF-AWARE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE!


November 30, 2015 - TECHNOLOGY
- Is this the beginning of the end for humanity as we speak?

Recently, researchers from Tufts University in Massachusetts are training robots to understand the same sensation of human beings when making a decision. In this way, they will, or will not obey the commands of the human beings, which is something to be worried about. While this could be thought of as a clever approach in order to operate futuristic machines verbally without having to operate them manually, training robots to disobey commands is not exactly a smart thing to do.

If anyone has paid even an ounce of attention to the ‘Terminator’ series, then they will realize that all of humanity was wiped out since Artificial Intelligence or AI started becoming self-aware and wiped out the entire human race in order to preserve its existence. Additionally, great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics states the following:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm

2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

The writer later added one more law that would exceed all of the above stated laws; a robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm. Most some robotic scientists are actually afraid of Artificial Intelligence, fearing that that robots will become too clever. They also fear that if robots’ intelligence factor is not going to be the primary reason, then it is their ignorance that will lead to more human deaths if they are given control over specific things.

In order to prevent this, these researchers at Tufts University’s Human-Robot Interaction Lab have been developing a specific type of programming for robots that enables them to understand that they can reject a command from a human if they have a good enough reason for it. However, this reason might translate into protecting their own existence if they develop a much broader intelligence that their presence is being threatened.

Furthermore, the programming of these robots in order to keep them within the parameters of human control might not be sufficient since it is also possible for robots to override such commands. Whatever the case maybe, scientists should start preparing themselves for the worst.

WATCH: Robots learn to disobey humans! 



- Techworm.



 

DELUGE: Widespread Flooding In Kenya - At Least 12 People Killed As 2 Mini-Buses Are Swept Away!

The minibus that overturned at Agolo Muok in Suba, Homa Bay county, on Friday.

November 30, 2015 - KENYA - Ten people were Sunday morning killed when a matatu they were travelling was swept away by raging water in Nyakibai, Gatundu North, Kiambu County.

The ten, who are believed to be from the same family, drowned while seven survivors were taken to the local health centre, treated and discharged.

This gave an indication the van had 17 passengers at the time of the accident.


The wreckage from the ill-fated bus. The rescue operations have been suspended for three days in the hope that the bodies will come afloat.

Traffic commandant Jecinta Kinyua said the victims were from a dowry ceremony in Nyahururu and were headed for Kandara in Murang'a County when the accident happened. Ms Kinyua say the accident happened at about 1 a.m. Among the survivors was a ten-year-old boy, she said.

"We suspect the driver was tired at the time of the accident because he had driven for long and it was heavily raining," said Ms Kinyua who had visited the scene.

The driver is said to have lost control of the matatu as it crossed Nyakibai Stream near Matara Shopping Centre before it was swept away. The bodies have been taken to the Thika Hospital.

Kiambu County police commander James Mugera said the bodies were found floating on the river bed of Nyakibai long after the accident had happened.

"They drowned and the bodies do not have physical injuries. We urge for vigilance from drivers at this time of heavy rains," said Mugera.


WATCH: Migori and Homabay floods leave a total of 12 people dead.



The incident is the latest in a series that have happened since the heavy rains started more than a month ago. Just yeaterday, five people were killed in Sori, Migori County due to floods, and search and rescue operations have been suspended for three days the missing 14 persons by Migori County Deputy Commissioner James Mabeya in the hope that the missing bodies will come afloat soon.

Authorities say up to 70 people have died in the last month alone in rain related incidents. Dozens others were injured while property of unknown value has been destroyed.

There have been campaigns that have been running in the last month on the rains urging for vigilance from residents. - Standard Digital.



 

FIRE IN THE SKY: Green Meteor Fireball Filmed Over Cape Town, South Africa - Seen By Hundreds!


November 30, 2015 - CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
- What was this mysterious green light striking the sky of South Africa on November 28, 2015?

The strange green light was spotted by hundreds of baffled residents from Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg...
seems legit or its vfx 50/50 "@LiveMagSA WHAT WAS THAT? Anyone else see that green light flying over Soweto? #UFOSA pic.twitter.com/pZyl60dj7L"

— PhetogoTshepoMahasha (@PTMahasha) November 30, 2015








Hundreds of people reported through social networks a strange green light in the sky over Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg at around 11pm on November 28, 2015.

Many photographed and recorded the spectacular phenomenon.


WATCH: Fireball or UFO over South Africa.




The strange green light remained static for a few seconds, and then started moving at high speed before disappearing.

So what was this mysterious light?

I would go for a green meteor/ fireball disintegrating. - Strange Sounds.



ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling - Scientists Says We Are In For A DECADE-LONG FREEZE As The Sun "Hibernates"; Solar Activity Will Decrease By 60 PERCENT!

The big freeze could last a decade as sun goes to sleep

November 30, 2015 - EARTH - Scientists claim we are in for a decade-long freeze as the sun slows down solar activity by up to 60 per cent.

A team of European researchers have unveiled a scientific model showing that the Earth is likely to experience a “mini ice age” from 2030 to 2040 as a result of decreased solar activity.

Their findings will infuriate environmental campaigners who argue by 2030 we could be facing increased sea levels and flooding due to glacial melt at the poles.

However, at the National Astronomy Meeting in Wales, Northumbria University professor Valentina Zharkova said fluctuations an 11-year cycle of solar activity the sun goes through would be responsible for a freeze, the like of which has not been experienced since the 1600s.

From 1645 to 1715 global temperatures dropped due to low solar activity so much that the planet experienced a 70-year ice age known as Maunder Minimum which saw the River Thames in London completely frozen.

The researchers have now developed a "double dynamo "model that can better predict when the next freeze will be.

Based on current cycles, they predict solar activity dwindling for ten years from 2030.

Professor Zharkova said two magnetic waves will cancel each other out in about 2030, leading to a drop in sun spots and solar flares of about 60 per cent.


GETTY

Sunspots are dark concentrations of magnetic field flux on the surface that reduce surface temperature in that area, while solar flares are burst of radiation and solar energy that fire out across the solar system, but the Earth's atmosphere protects us from the otherwise devastating effects.

She said: "In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other, peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun.

"We predict that this will lead to the properties of a ‘Maunder minimum.


The theory is likely to infuriate environmentalists who fear the globe is heating up

“Over the cycle, the waves fluctuate between the Sun’s northern and southern hemispheres. Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97 per cent."

Research colleagues Simon Shepherd of Bradford University, Helen Popova of Lomonosov Moscow State University and Sergei Zarkhov of the University of Hull used magnetic field observations from 1976 to 2008 at the Wilcox Solar Observatory at Stanford University.

A Royal Astronomical Society spokesman said: "It is 172 years since a scientist first spotted that the Sun’s activity varies over a cycle lasting around 10 to 12 years.


Could you handle ten years of winter?

"But every cycle is a little different and none of the models of causes to date have fully explained fluctuations."

The “double dynamo” theory appears to support claims of researchers who argue Earth will soon experience major global cooling due to lower solar activity as the sun goes into a sustained period of hibernation.

Environmentalists meanwhile claim global temperatures will increase over the period unless we drastically reduce carbon emissions. - Express.



 

EXTREME WEATHER: Wintry Storm Systems, Icy Conditions And Freezing Temperatures Wreak Havoc Across The United States Midwest - At Least 14 People Killed; Tens Of Thousands Left Without Power; STATE OF EMERGENCY Declared In Oklahoma!



November 30, 2015 - UNITED STATES - Storms in the US Midwest have claimed at least 14 lives as temperatures plunged below freezing point over the holiday weekend. Tens of thousands of homes have been left without electricity, while driving conditions are treacherous due to icy roads.

A wintry storm system that has been moving through parts of the Great Plains and the Midwest since Thursday has brought extremely cold weather to the region. Eight people have lost their lives in Texas, with a further six dying in the state of Kansas.

The icy conditions are also causing havoc for local residents. Some 78,000 people in parts of Oklahoma have been left without power after trees collapsed onto power lines, according to Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.

This has prompted the Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin to declare a state of emergency following the ice storm. She has stated that she hopes this will help to facilitate mutual aid for the state and to provide assistance for those who remain without power.


State of emergency for states affected by ice storms and 14 people reported dead.
Twitter: WPLG Local 10 News

The authorities are also warning people to take extra care when driving due to the icy conditions.

"It's a very dangerous situation when you get temperatures like that near freezing. The ice may look like it's just water," said Alex Sosnowski, Accuweather senior meteorologist, as cited by AP. "The fact is when ice is near freezing, it's much slipperier than when it goes down near 20 degrees."

The treacherous weather on the roads has been blamed for more than a dozen of the deaths to have occurred.

Two teenage boys died on Friday on icy Kansas roads in Newton, a few miles north of Wichita, Corporal Tim Boese of the Harvey County Sheriff's Department said on Saturday.


Floods keeping rescue workers busy in north Texas
Twitter: WIS News 10

Two more motorists were killed soon after when a semi-truck jackknifed in nearby Andover, according to the Kansas Turnpike Authority, as cited by Reuters.

While the northern parts of the Midwest are battling snow and ice, Texas has faced a different threat – flooding caused by torrential downpours. Moisture from tropical storm Sandra and the Gulf of Mexico brought record-breaking rain and flooding to the Dallas-Fort Worth region over the holiday weekend.

Texas has been saturated by rain this year, with more than 55 inches record, breaking the previous high of 53 inches recorded in 1991.

The inclement weather is being blamed by experts on a strong El Nino, which has seen a warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean. This has subsequently had a knock-on effect on weather patterns around the globe. - RT.


PLANETARY TREMORS: Large 4.5 Magnitude Early Morning Earthquake Rattles Oklahoma - Felt Over 650 Miles Away In Texas! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location

November 30, 2015 - OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES - A strong earthquake rocked folks out of bed overnight.

The 4.5 magnitude quake hit just before 4 a.m.

It struck in the north central Oklahoma town of Medford.


USGS shakemap intensity

People felt the tremors as far north as Kansas City, Missouri, which is more than 400 miles away, and as far south as Shenandoah, Louisiana and Lovelady, Texas – more than 650 miles away.  - KFOR.

Tectonic Summary - Earthquakes in the Stable Continental Region

Natural Occurring Earthquake Activity
Most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains has infrequent earthquakes. Here and there earthquakes are more numerous, for example in the New Madrid seismic zone centered on southeastern Missouri, in the Charlevoix-Kamouraska seismic zone of eastern Quebec, in New England, in the New York - Philadelphia - Wilmington urban corridor, and elsewhere. However, most of the enormous region from the Rockies to the Atlantic can go years without an earthquake large enough to be felt, and several U.S. states have never reported a damaging earthquake.

Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains, although less frequent than in the West, are typically felt over a much broader region than earthquakes of similar magnitude in the west. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area more than ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. It would not be unusual for a magnitude 4.0 earthquake in eastern or central North America to be felt by a significant percentage of the population in many communities more than 100 km (60 mi) from its source. A magnitude 5.5 earthquake in eastern or central North America might be felt by much of the population out to more than 500 km (300 mi) from its source. Earthquakes east of the Rockies that are centered in populated areas and large enough to cause damage are, similarly, likely to cause damage out to greater distances than earthquakes of the same magnitude centered in western North America.

Most earthquakes in North America east of the Rockies occur as faulting within bedrock, usually miles deep. Few earthquakes east of the Rockies, however, have been definitely linked to mapped geologic faults, in contrast to the situation at plate boundaries such as California's San Andreas fault system, where scientists can commonly use geologic evidence to identify a fault that has produced a large earthquake and that is likely to produce large future earthquakes. Scientists who study eastern and central North America earthquakes often work from the hypothesis that modern earthquakes occur as the result of slip on preexisting faults that were formed in earlier geologic eras and that have been reactivated under the current stress conditions. The bedrock of Eastern North America is, however, laced with faults that were active in earlier geologic eras, and few of these faults are known to have been active in the current geologic era. In most areas east of the Rockies, the likelihood of future damaging earthquakes is currently estimated from the frequencies and sizes of instrumentally recorded earthquakes or earthquakes documented in historical records.

Induced Seismicity
As is the case elsewhere in the world, there is evidence that some central and eastern North America earthquakes have been triggered or caused by human activities that have altered the stress conditions in earth's crust sufficiently to induce faulting. Activities that have induced felt earthquakes in some geologic environments have included impoundment of water behind dams, injection of fluid into the earth's crust, extraction of fluid or gas, and removal of rock in mining or quarrying operations. In much of eastern and central North America, the number of earthquakes suspected of having been induced is much smaller than the number of natural earthquakes, but in some regions, such as the south-central states of the U.S., a significant majority of recent earthquakes are thought by many seismologists to have been human-induced.

Even within areas with many human-induced earthquakes, however, the activity that seems to induce seismicity at one location may be taking place at many other locations without inducing felt earthquakes. In addition, regions with frequent induced earthquakes may also be subject to damaging earthquakes that would have occurred independently of human activity. Making a strong scientific case for a causative link between a particular human activity and a particular sequence of earthquakes typically involves special studies devoted specifically to the question. Such investigations usually address the process by which the suspected triggering activity might have significantly altered stresses in the bedrock at the earthquake source, and they commonly address the ways in which the characteristics of the suspected human-triggered earthquakes differ from the characteristics of natural earthquakes in the region.

- USGS.



EXTREME WEATHER: Storm Clodagh Batters Britain With 70mph Gales And Huge Waves Lash Coastline - Weather Warnings Issued For The Whole Of England And Wales; Major Transportation Disruptions; Thousands Without Power!

Storm Clodagh batters the harbour wall in Porthcawl, South Wales, early this morning © Dimitris Legakis/Athena

November 30, 2015 - BRITAIN - Met Office issues weather warnings for whole of England and Wales as storm brings severe gales and Environment Agency warns of flooding.

Britons are braced for more lashing rain as flood warnings were issued for parts of the country as Storm Clodagh wreaked havoc.

Flights were diverted, trains delayed and traffic held up on motorways at the weeknd as heavy rain and strong winds hit Scotland and the north west of England.

There is little sign of respite with the Environment Agency issuing yellow flood warnings for Wales and the north of England for Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday, two days of rain could leave parts of north Wales under 60mm of precipitation.

The north of England could see 30-40mm of rain during the same period, say the Met Office. A spokeswoman also warned that parts of Scotland, which is on a yellow snow warning, could have 2.5cm of snow on Monday.


Storm Clodagh can be seen approaching the British Isles of the left© NASA/Atlas Photo Archive


On Sunday in Ireland, thousands of properties were left without electricity after Storm Clodagh battered the republic.

Meanwhile, coastguards had to pull a windsurfer out of the water at Seaburn Beach, Sunderland, after he was separated from his board in 60 mph winds. Two people were rescued from the Tyne by the RNLI after their boat was capsized by the wind.

Transport services also were also hit. Fallen trees on the line between Carlisle and Lancaster caused delays on the Northern Rail service, while a small number of flights were diverted at Manchester Airport.

The roof of a parade of shops was blown off and onto cars below on Moorfield Avenue in Denton, Tameside this afternoon with residents living in flats above the shops given temporary shelter for the night.

A number of trees were also blown over and part of the Christmas market in Manchester city centre was closed for safety reasons as high winds swept the area.

A flurry of local authorities cancelled their Christmas lights switch-on events, with the list including Kilmarnock, Stoke, Maidenhead, Lichfield and Gosport.

Storm Clodagh was set to pass overnight, giving buffeted Britain respite from the worst of the gales.

The Met Office has issued weather warnings covering the whole of England and Wales until Sunday evening.

Northern areas were still forecast to suffer rain, sleet and snow showers on Sunday night, according to the Met Office, with icy stretches developing across Scotland and a some rain in England and Wales.

But the severe gales were gradually expected to ease, and southern areas were due to be breezy and mild on Monday. Northern Scotland was due to see sunshine and wintry showers, and the north of England some rain.

Storm Clodagh is the third storm to be named by the Met Office as part of a new campaign to improve awareness of major weather threats. It follows Storm Barney earlier this month and Storm Abigail in October. - Telegraph.



 

PARADIGM SHIFT: Precursors To The End Of The Petrodollar And The Ultimate Collapse Of The White Supremacy Paradigm - Chinese YUAN To Become GLOBAL RESERVE CURRENCY!


November 30, 2015 - CHINA
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to give the yuan a vote of confidence on Monday and include the Chinese currency in its Special Drawing Rights (SDR) that unites the US dollar, euro, British pound and the Japanese yen.

Adding the yuan as a reserve currency will allow central banks to buy more of the Chinese currency, and boost investment in the Chinese stock market. According to Standard Chartered bank, within five years market players will invest at least $1 trillion in Chinese assets.

The historic decision will come after years of negotiations between Beijing and the IMF. The main obstacle was China’s monetary policy of keeping the yuan artificially low to boost domestic exports.

The list of currencies in the basket hasn’t been updated by the IMF since 2000, when the euro superseded the franc and deutschmark.


Russia adds yuan as currency reserve

The main opponents of including the yuan as reserve currency have been Japan and the US. According to Eswar Prasad, a professor at Cornell University and former head of the IMF's China Division, the two countries are unlikely to thwart the deal this time.

"I think it will be very difficult for the IMF, especially given all that China has done this year, to deny China the prize it really wants," he told Reuters in October.


IMF ready to add yuan to reserve currency basket


Beijing devalued the yuan in August in a shock move to respond to slowing growth. That decision was praised by IMF Chief Christine Lagarde, who said the Chinese currency became more market-oriented. However, the yuan is still tightly controlled by the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank.

Although the decision is expected on Monday, the yuan will not officially become a reserve currency until September 2016. - RT.

 

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Argentina - USGS! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

November 30, 2015 - ARGENTINA - A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 has struck the provinces of Jujuy and Salta in northwest Argentina, near the city of San Salvador de Jujuy, seismologists say.

The earthquake struck at 3:52 p.m. local time and was centered about 9 kilometers west of Yuto, or 91 kilometers northeast of San Salvador de Jujuy. It struck about 10 kilometers deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to seismologists.
USGS shakemap intensity.

Residents in the region reported feeling the earthquake, but there was no immediate word on damage or casualties.

Computer models from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimated that as many as 2.1 million people may have felt the earthquake, including some 29,000 people who may have perceived strong shaking. Those in Yuto and Caimancito are likely to have felt the worst shaking.

Other details about Sunday's earthquake were not immediately available. - BNO News.




Seismotectonics of South America (Nazca Plate Region)

The South American arc extends over 7,000 km, from the Chilean margin triple junction offshore of southern Chile to its intersection with the Panama fracture zone, offshore of the southern coast of Panama in Central America. It marks the plate boundary between the subducting Nazca plate and the South America plate, where the oceanic crust and lithosphere of the Nazca plate begin their descent into the mantle beneath South America. The convergence associated with this subduction process is responsible for the uplift of the Andes Mountains, and for the active volcanic chain present along much of this deformation front. Relative to a fixed South America plate, the Nazca plate moves slightly north of eastwards at a rate varying from approximately 80 mm/yr in the south to approximately 65 mm/yr in the north. Although the rate of subduction varies little along the entire arc, there are complex changes in the geologic processes along the subduction zone that dramatically influence volcanic activity, crustal deformation, earthquake generation and occurrence all along the western edge of South America.

Most of the large earthquakes in South America are constrained to shallow depths of 0 to 70 km resulting from both crustal and interplate deformation. Crustal earthquakes result from deformation and mountain building in the overriding South America plate and generate earthquakes as deep as approximately 50 km. Interplate earthquakes occur due to slip along the dipping interface between the Nazca and the South American plates. Interplate earthquakes in this region are frequent and often large, and occur between the depths of approximately 10 and 60 km. Since 1900, numerous magnitude 8 or larger earthquakes have occurred on this subduction zone interface that were followed by devastating tsunamis, including the 1960 M9.5 earthquake in southern Chile, the largest instrumentally recorded earthquake in the world. Other notable shallow tsunami-generating earthquakes include the 1906 M8.5 earthquake near Esmeraldas, Ecuador, the 1922 M8.5 earthquake near Coquimbo, Chile, the 2001 M8.4 Arequipa, Peru earthquake, the 2007 M8.0 earthquake near Pisco, Peru, and the 2010 M8.8 Maule, Chile earthquake located just north of the 1960 event.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Large intermediate-depth earthquakes (those occurring between depths of approximately 70 and 300 km) are relatively limited in size and spatial extent in South America, and occur within the Nazca plate as a result of internal deformation within the subducting plate. These earthquakes generally cluster beneath northern Chile and southwestern Bolivia, and to a lesser extent beneath northern Peru and southern Ecuador, with depths between 110 and 130 km. Most of these earthquakes occur adjacent to the bend in the coastline between Peru and Chile. The most recent large intermediate-depth earthquake in this region was the 2005 M7.8 Tarapaca, Chile earthquake.

Earthquakes can also be generated to depths greater than 600 km as a result of continued internal deformation of the subducting Nazca plate. Deep-focus earthquakes in South America are not observed from a depth range of approximately 300 to 500 km. Instead, deep earthquakes in this region occur at depths of 500 to 650 km and are concentrated into two zones: one that runs beneath the Peru-Brazil border and another that extends from central Bolivia to central Argentina. These earthquakes generally do not exhibit large magnitudes. An exception to this was the 1994 Bolivian earthquake in northwestern Bolivia. This M8.2 earthquake occurred at a depth of 631 km, which was until recently the largest deep-focus earthquake instrumentally recorded (superseded in May 2013 by a M8.3 earthquake 610 km beneath the Sea of Okhotsk, Russia), and was felt widely throughout South and North America.

Subduction of the Nazca plate is geometrically complex and impacts the geology and seismicity of the western edge of South America. The intermediate-depth regions of the subducting Nazca plate can be segmented into five sections based on their angle of subduction beneath the South America plate. Three segments are characterized by steeply dipping subduction; the other two by near-horizontal subduction. The Nazca plate beneath northern Ecuador, southern Peru to northern Chile, and southern Chile descend into the mantle at angles of 25° to 30°. In contrast, the slab beneath southern Ecuador to central Peru, and under central Chile, is subducting at a shallow angle of approximately 10° or less. In these regions of “flat-slab” subduction, the Nazca plate moves horizontally for several hundred kilometers before continuing its descent into the mantle, and is shadowed by an extended zone of crustal seismicity in the overlying South America plate. Although the South America plate exhibits a chain of active volcanism resulting from the subduction and partial melting of the Nazca oceanic lithosphere along most of the arc, these regions of inferred shallow subduction correlate with an absence of volcanic activity.

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics

- USGS.



 

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: "The Dry Corridor" - Panama Drought Set To Continue As El Nino Rocks Central America!

Children look at a carcass of a cow that died in Nicaragua's 2014 drought.  © Reuters

November 30, 2015 - CENTRAL AMERICA
- More drought is expected in Panama before the end of the year, experts said Sunday, adding to months of difficult conditions for farmers in the face of parched soils across Central America.

The climatology department at the Etesa electrical company called on Panamanians to exercise caution with water use during the upcoming dry spell to ensure reservoirs can continue to meet needs across the country, Cuban news agency Prensa Latina reported.

The company said that water conservation is the responsibility of everyone so that resources can be effectively shared. The news comes as experts predict 2015 will be the hottest year on record.

But while parts of the country will continue to suffer drought, the particularly strong El Niño climatic effect this year means different parts of the region will be hit with different out-of-the-ordinary weather events.

Areas along the Caribbean coast can expect heavier rainfall than usual in the early months of 2016, according to forecasts.

Worsening drought associated with the El Niño weather phenomenon has severely reduced crop output in Central America this fall for the second year in a row.

In Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, all part of the Central American "dry corridor," drought conditions have exacerbated already fragile food security.

Historic drought in the Caribbean is also causing huge losses for farmers as the region suffers the driest conditions in more than five years.

This year's El Niño impacts in the region are worse than last year's, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

According to scientists, extreme weather events including droughts, heat waves, and floods are expected to increase in frequency and intensity with climate change.

Poorer nations in the global south are said to be the most vulnerable to the growing impacts of climate change. - TeleSUR.