KUWAIT CITY, Aug 2: An earthquake of 4.2 magnitude on the Richter scale that struck Kuwait 40 km NW of Salmiya at around 7.30 am Thursday was felt by residents in Salmiya.
Though no casualties were reported, some residents complained the quake mildly upset some of their household arrangements. There were a few broken cutlery. Some residents living near the Salmiya garden said they felt the tremor in two short spells in a span of a few seconds.
Most of the residents were asleep and came to know about it from neighbors who experienced the tremor. Melissa, a resident, said she first noticed tea rippling in the cup in her hand before she realized that the whole house was shaking a bit. “It was a little scary.”
Mujib said it was his first experience of a tremor and initially thought that he was feeling woozy. “It occurred as I was getting up after bending down to pick something up from the floor. I thought I was losing balance as it happens sometimes when you suddenly change positions.”
Thambi felt the quake on the street when he was returning after a short walk. “This is my second experience of earthquake, both were in Kuwait. This one was very mild. Last time, I felt the quake like a strong vibration lasting more than 30 seconds.”
Thambi faltered in his step when the quake occurred, but that was just for a second or two. “Soon after that, I saw a dog running wildly to and fro, barking intensely.”
Khalil Rasul was woken up by a book that fell on his head. But he went back to sleep only to learn about the quake from blogs later.
An online journal had earlier quoted earthquake expert and Assist. Manager of Kuwait University for Scientific Affairs Dr. Ferial Bu Rabee as saying that Kuwait may be vulnerable to a powerful earthquake that can reach up to 8 degrees on Richter scale.
The expert said that such an earthquake can strike southern part of Iran and thus impact bordering GCC countries. She further added that an 8.1 tremor on Richter scale hit the same area of southern Iran back in 1945 and caused huge tsunami waves that reached Karachi and Bombay which are approx. 1,100 kms away from Iran.
She warned that Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran may be vulnerable if an earthquake strikes, such seen recently in Japan. She advised GCC countries to give up their ambitions concerning the construction of nuclear power stations, arguing that “they are time bombs that will destroy the region when the anticipated earthquake strikes.”
By: Valiya S. Sajjad
MessageToEagle.com – A while back scientists expressed that something unknown has triggered a “terrible and global domino”.
Some researchers suggest that there may be a link between large earthquakes world-wide. Other point out that there is no connection and the earthquakes do not trigger each other. The cluster could just as well be the result of random chance, scientist say.
The past decade has been plagued with what seems to be a cluster of large earthquakes, with massive quakes striking Sumatra, Chile, Haiti and Japan since 2004.
Each of the devastating quakes in the 2000s drew huge media coverage and required extensive rebuilding and economic restoration.
|The intense interest in the earthquakes has led some to wonder if we are living in the middle of an “age of great quakes,” similar to a global cluster of quakes in the 1960s.It’s important to know whether these clusters occur because big earthquakes trigger others across the world, Parsons and Geist of the US Geological Survey say, in order to predict whether more severely destructive quakes might be on the way. To determine if the quake clusters in the 1960s and 2000s could be attributed to random chance, the researchers looked at the timing between the world’s largest earthquakes–magnitude 8.3 and above–at one-year intervals during the past 100 years.|
They compared simulated lists of large quakes and the list of real quakes during this time with the between-quake intervals expected from a random process.
The intervals between the real-life large quakes are similar to what would be expected from a random process, they found. In other words, the global hazard of large earthquakes is constant in time. Except in the case of local aftershocks, the probability of a new large quake occurring isn’t related to past global quakes.
Aerial photo of the San Andreas Fault in the Carrizo Plain, northwest of Los Angeles Image credit: Leohotens
This could be disappointing news for researchers who thought global communication between quakes might offer a way to predict the most severe seismic activity. But there also may be some good news after a decade of destruction.
If global great earthquakes are occurring at random, the authors say, then a specific number of quakes that cluster together within a short time is unlikely to be repeated in a similar way over a 100-year span.
In addition, if quakes were communicating at global distances, after a big quake, the entire planet would essentially be an aftershock zone. MessageToEagle.com based on information provided by Seismological Society of America
By Antonio Denti
POZZUOLI, Italy | Fri Aug 3, 2012 12:39pm EDT
(Reuters) – Across the bay of Naples from Pompeii, where thousands were incinerated by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, lies a hidden “super volcano” that could kill millions in a catastrophe many times worse, scientists say.
The boiling mud and sulphurous steam holes of the area west of Naples known as the Campi Flegrei or Phlegraean Fields, from the Greek word for burning, are a major tourist attraction.
But the zone of intense seismic activity, which the ancients thought was the entrance to hell, also could pose a danger of global proportions with millions of people literally living on top of a potential future volcanic eruption.
“These areas can give rise to the only eruptions that can have global catastrophic effects comparable to major meteorite impacts,” said Giuseppe De Natale, head of a project to drill deep under the earth to monitor the molten “caldera”.
One such meteorite impact is thought to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago when debris thrown into the atmosphere from the huge explosion plunged the earth into darkness.
Scientists plan to drill 3.5 km (2.2 miles) below the surface to monitor the huge chamber of molten rock near Pompeii and give early warning of any eruption from a 13-km-wide collapsed volcanic caldera.
The Campi Flegrei are similar to the Yellowstone caldera in the U.S. state of Wyoming but of more concern because they are in an area populated by around 3 million people in the Naples hinterland.
“Fortunately, it is extremely rare for these areas to erupt at their full capacity, as it is extremely rare for large meteorites to hit the earth,” De Natale told Reuters.
“But some of these areas, in particular the Campi Flegrei, are densely populated and therefore even small eruptions, which are the most probable, fortunately, can pose risks for the population,” said De Natale, from the Vesuvius observatory at Italy’s National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology.
“That is why the Campi Flegrei absolutely must be studied and monitored. I wouldn’t say like others, but much more than the others exactly because of the danger given that millions of people live in the volcano.”
However, the project, funded by the multi-national International Continental Scientific Drilling Programme, has run into major opposition from some local scientists who say the drilling itself could cause a dangerous eruption or earthquake.
Benedetto De Vivo, a geochemist at Naples University, has said the drilling could cause an explosion.
The Naples city council blocked the project in 2010 but it resumed on the site of an abandoned steel mill at Bagnoli, west of Naples, late last month after the recently elected new mayor, Luigi De Magistris, gave the go-ahead.
De Natale scoffed at the objections, saying that the drilling was perfectly safe and that similar probes had been sent down by mining projects looking for sources of thermal energy in the 1980s and earlier.
“There were dozens of drillings in the past, with much less secure instruments for industrial motives and nobody said anything,” he said.
He added that those raising objections were not experts on drilling and that their suggestions of potential earthquakes or escapes of magma or liquid molten rock, had been exaggerated by the local press.
“Some of the things they suggested are laughable,” he said, adding that the project’s priority will be scientific knowledge and safety of the local population rather than industrial exploitation as in the past.
“We believe the security of millions of people deserves the most powerful methods of inquiry without thinking too much about the economic aspect,” he said.
He added that drilling is the only way to discover the geological history of the area because successive eruptions buried previous evidence. The probe has already found volcanic rock from a major eruption 15,000 years ago.
De Natale’s team has begun drilling a pilot hole at the Bagnoli site, where a long jetty built to load steel is used by joggers and courting couples enjoying the spectacular Neapolitan sunsets.
The pilot hole is aimed not only at studying the stratification of the area but to establish a deep geological observatory with new instruments which De Natale says are many times more sensitive than those in the past.
“This will increase by a thousand or 10,000 times our ability to detect small episodes that are precursors of future eruptions,” he said.
MOVEMENT OF EARTH’S SURFACE
The project also aims to study the cause of a phenomenon known as bradyseism which is a gradual raising and lowering of the earth’s surface because of deep volcanic activity. This is episodic but in the latest phase the ground has risen by 3.5 m (yards) in 15 years, the most since medieval times.
This movement forced the evacuation of 30,000 people temporarily from Pozzuoli in the 1980s and a fishing harbor in the old part of the town was completely abandoned.
Once work is complete on the pilot hole, scientists plan to drill much deeper, to around 3.5 km where temperatures are at around 500 degrees C (930 F). But De Natale said this could take another 18 months and the area for the second phase has not yet been decided.
His team has developed new fiber optic sensors able to withstand the extreme heat that would have destroyed earlier electronic equipment.
“We will be able to identify the smallest signs of a future eruption…this is an enormous mitigation of the volcanic risk,” he said.
De Natale says there will be no risk of an escape of magma because the molten chamber is at 7-km depth or lower and sensors will give ample warning of temperatures that reach 1,000 degrees C at the molten core.
“We will stop everything if we detect temperatures at 500 degrees…we can close the top of the drilling hole hermetically in a fraction of a second,” he said.
Local people are divided on whether the drilling could be dangerous.
“There is a risk that the drilling can lead to a shift of the earth’s surface and if that happened, rather than helping to predict future problems, they will be creating them,” Pozzuoli student Marco Laporta said.
Many are more sanguine. “Back in the 1980s they said we would all be blown up and we weren’t,” pensioner Luigi Bruni said.
(Writing by Barry Moody; Editing by Michael Roddy)
Extreme Temperatures/ Weather / Drought
|04.08.2012||Forest / Wild Fire||Russia [Asia]||Siberia, [Krasnoyarsk Krai, Tomsk Region, Tuva, Khakassia and Irkutsk Region]|
|Firefighters in Russia’s Siberia had extinguished 45 forest fires covering 522 hectares of forest in the past 24 hours, but 131 wildfires were still burning on the area of almost 15,000 hectares, the regional forestry department said Friday. A total of 29 wildfires covering an area of more than 5,000 hectares were localized, and 14,948 hectares of forest continued to burn in the Krasnoyarsk Krai, Tomsk Region, Tuva, Khakassia and Irkutsk Region. Some 3,000 people, 412 units of fire-fighting equipment and 24 aircrafts have been mobilized to fight the blazes, which are believed to be caused by hot and dry weather in the region where the temperature reaches 35 degrees. Reports said the wildfires posed no threat to populated areas or industry.|
|Today||Forest / Wild Fire||USA||State of Oklahoma, [East of Norman]|
|A wildfire whipped by gusty, southerly winds swept through rural woodlands north and south of Oklahoma City on Friday, burning several homes as firefighters struggled to contain it in 113-degree heat. Oklahoma’s emergency management officials said 25 structures had burned east of Noble, including a handful of homes, and several homes near Luther, north of Oklahoma City, were threatened. Hundreds of residents were told to leave their homes as flames spread through treetops. The state Highway Patrol closed part of the main highway between Oklahoma City and Tulsa because of the Luther-area fire, which may have been deliberately set. Local deputies were looking into reports about passengers in a pickup truck who were seen throwing out newspapers that had been set on fire. “I loaded the kids up, grabbed my dogs, and it didn’t even look like I had time to load the livestock, so I just got out of there,” said Bo Ireland, who lives a few miles from where the Noble-area fire started. “It looked to me that, if the wind shifted even a little bit, I would be in the path of that fire. It was just too close.” There were no immediate reports of injuries or livestock losses. Dayle Bishop stood in a convenience store parking lot about 2 miles away from his house, saying he was pessimistic about his home’s chances. “I know it’s gone,” said Bishop, who works nights as a nurse. “Didn’t even have time to get anything out.” But he noted “it’s just stuff,” and said he may not have made it out of his home had a woman not knocked on his door and woken him up.Charles Wright was with his daughter, Christina, along with their cat, at a makeshift evacuation center doubling as a staging area for fire engines, ambulances and other emergency equipment. He said law enforcement ordered them to leave their home in Norman. “Praying for miracles. Praying for the best, that’s all we can do,” said Wright, who managed to pack some clothes, jewelry and legal papers before fleeing. Ruth Hood splashed water onto two Chihuahua puppies that she grabbed along with several other animals and her children, and left as flames burned in her neighbor’s yard. She said she couldn’t be sure her home would survive. “No guarantee,” Hood said. With the ongoing drought, high temperatures and gusty winds, it took little for fires to begin and spread — and there was little crews could do to fight them. “It’s difficult for the firefighters to get into the area because it’s heavily wooded on either side of the smaller roads. When the winds are blowing 25 mph it just blows the embers and fireballs across the roads as if they weren’t even there,” said Jerry Lojka with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. At mid-afternoon Friday, the temperature at nearby Norman was 113. Winds were from the south and southwest at 14 mph, gusting to 24 mph. “I can tell you the temperatures and the wind are not helping the situation at all. Some homes have been lost in the fire unfortunately, but we don’t know how many,” said Meghan McCormick, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland County Sheriff’s office.Russell Moore, 53, who lives in the Noble area, said he was outside in his yard when a sheriff’s deputy drove down the road and told people to leave. He and his son went to a shelter set up at Noble City Hall, but planned to go to his daughter’s home in Norman. “About all we saw was smoke and a little bit of ash raining down from the sky,” Moore said. “Everybody was piling into their vehicles and leaving as we were.” Lojka said an Oklahoma National Guard helicopter has been dispatched to a fast-moving blaze in Luther, northeast of Oklahoma City. He also said helicopters were helping ground crews with a fire near Mannford and Drumright in Creek County. Helicopters from the National Guard and the Bureau of Indian Affairs were fighting a fire in Creek County. The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office said it was investigating reports that someone in a black pickup truck near Luther was tossing out newspapers that had been set on fire. The blaze and smoke led the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to shut down part of the Turner Turnpike, which carries Interstate 44 between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Traffic was rerouted onto old U.S. Route 66, the famed two-lane highway that crisscrosses Oklahoma. The state was monitoring 11 fires in all Friday afternoon. Gov. Mary Fallin announced a statewide burn ban as the fire danger heightened. She previously had announced a state of emergency for all 77 counties due to the extreme drought.|
|Today||Forest / Wild Fire||USA||State of Montana, Lame Deer|
|As a wildfire’s flames raced to the edge of Lame Deer’s town limits, police drove the streets with loudspeakers blaring orders for residents of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation community to grab their most important belongings and get out. Buses were waiting to carry people from danger area, which on Thursday night suddenly meant the entire town of 2,000. Desi Small-Rodriguez, a volunteer with the tribe’s disaster and emergency services department, recalled the chaotic scene as the Chalky Fire threatened to burn down the seat of the southeastern Montana reservation. “A lot of people were walking with their belongings, getting on buses, trying to find rides, getting out as told,” Small-Rodriguez said Friday. About 250 people stayed at a Red Cross shelter 25 miles away at the St. Labre Mission. Others took shelter with friends and relatives on other parts of the reservation. Those with no place to go camped out on lawns in nearby communities, or they just refused to leave. The fire had already burned two homes earlier in the day, then wind from a cold front whipped up the flames and drove the fire straight toward town. Things looked grim to Carol Raymond, Rosebud County’s head of disaster and emergency services, who had driven from Forsyth to see firsthand what was happening. “I figured the whole town of Lame Deer would go up in flames,” Raymond said. Firefighters worked overnight trying to keep the flames back. At one point early Friday, the fire jumped Highway 212, but firefighters contained it with a back burn of the surrounding area, and the wildfire skirted around town without destroying any buildings or causing any injuries, Small-Rodriguez said. On Friday, the smoke was choking the town, but rain was assisting firefighters. A red-flag warning was to be in effect until evening, and firefighters prepared for gusty winds and possible thunderstorms. The mandatory evacuation remained in effect.|
|Today||Forest / Wild Fire||USA||State of Washington, [Near Pateros and Brewster]|
|The state is sending firefighters and managers to help battle a 1,000-acre wildfire in the southeast corner of Washington. Other firefighters also are trying to contain a 10,000-acre wildfire in central Washington. The new fire broke out Thursday afternoon five miles south of Asotin and is burning grass, brush and wheat. The state Emergency Operations Center at Camp Murray has been activated to coordinate state assistance. Overnight winds forced firefighters to retreat at the central Washington fire as it grew to 10,000 acres – more than 15 square miles. Spokesman Dan Garner at the incident management center at Brewster High School says no structures are threatened. The fire broke out Wednesday near Pateros and Brewster. It’s burning grass, brush, scattered timber and some wheat land.|
Two measures announced today by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack are meant to bring relief to farmers and ranchers nationwide as drought conditions have now caused more than half of all counties to be declared disaster areas.
After adding 218 counties in 12 states to the list of designated disaster areas, Vilsack announced two new ways that farmers and ranchers could seek relief. The first is a 3.8 million-acre expansion of emergency haying and grazing areas on conservation land. The second is a 30-day grace period that crop insurance companies have agreed to to extend to farmers on their premiums.
“The assistance announced today will help U.S. livestock producers dealing with climbing feed prices, critical shortages of hay and deteriorating pasturelands. Responding to my request, crop insurance companies indicated that producers can forgo interest penalties to help our nation’s farm families struggling with cash flow challenges. The Obama Administration intends to continue helping those who farm or ranch and live and work in rural America through this period of hardship,” Vilsack said in a statement.
About 66 percent of the nation’s hay acreage and 73 percent of the nation’s cattle acreage is experiencing drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The 3.8 million acres of conservation land made available for emergency haying and grazing must be used in accordance with rules that will minimize any impact to these areas, the USDA said. The agency said it will conduct follow-up monitoring and evaluation.
The counties designated today are in the following states: Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming.
|Active tropical storm system(s)|
|Name of storm system||Location||Formed||Last update||Last category||Course||Wind Speed||Gust||Wave||Source||Details|
|Ernesto (AL05)||Atlantic Ocean||02.08.2012||04.08.2012||Tropical Depression||275 °||83 km/h||102 km/h||4.88 m||NOAA NHC|
|Haikui (12W)||Pacific Ocean||03.08.2012||04.08.2012||Tropical Depression||275 °||65 km/h||83 km/h||6.10 m||JTWC|
|AL06||Atlantic Ocean||04.08.2012||04.08.2012||Tropical Depression||290 °||56 km/h||74 km/h||6.10 m||NOAA NHC|
|Today||Flash Flood||USA||State of New Mexico, Santa Fe|
|Public Service Company of New Mexico said nearly 3,000 customers on Santa Fe’s south side were without electric power for more than two hours Friday evening after lightning struck the local power grid. Spokesman Frederick Bermudez said he couldn’t pinpoint where the lightning hit but said it knocked out power from 5:35 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. to 2,916 homes, businesses and institutions in an area bounded by St. Michael’s Drive on the north, Old Galisteo Road on the south, Old Pecos Trail on the east and Entrada de Santiago on the west. Much of Santa Fe was pounded by heavy rain with lightning and sudden high winds late Friday afternoon, suddenly swelling the Santa Fe River and other areas with swift flows of storm water. A driver on St. Michael’s Drive reported seeing thin funnel cloud on the horizon at about 5:45 p.m. “It was probably a dust devil, but we’ve been seeing that a lot this year,” said Brian Guyer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. “We’ve had some strong winds in Santa Fe today.” Guyer said the peak wind speed recorded at Santa Fe on Friday was 41 mph. Between two-tenths and four-tenths of an inch of rain fell — not a lot by most standards but what Guyer said was the heaviest rain the city has seen so far this summer. “You had a ton of lightning, some around the Plaza and a lot of lighting strikes up in the foothills,” he said. “It’s still dry, so it wouldn’t surprise me if we might see some fires by tomorrow.”|
|Today||Flash Flood||India||State of Himachal Pradesh, Kullu|
|Hundreds of people residing near Beas river have been evacuated to safe places after flash flood caused by torrential rain over Dhundi peaks at south portal of Rohtang tunnel flooded the Seri rivulet, a tributary to Beas river, on Friday at 8pm. People living close to river between Palchan and Kullu are being evacuated and traffic on national highway has been stopped. Till last report received from Palchan (near Dhundi) at 10.30pm, level of the river was rising continuously and police were evacuating the people from Bahang village, 6km from Manali. According to police, there is no report of any casualty. Sandeep Kumar, a resident of Bahang village, said people are trying to save the household accessories amid chaotic atmosphere and conditions have become even worse after power failure. “Everything was normal till late evening but the situation changed suddenly after 8pm when river water, mixed with sludge, started engulfing its banks. People are risking their lives to remove the household stuffs,” he said. An engineer working with a hydel project near Palchan said over phone that roaring sound of river is shaking the foundation of the houses. “Nobody is going to sleep tonight. Villagers have gathered at many places and are guarding the river banks with floodlights,” he said. According to villagers it is a cloudburst which might have caused devastation at its source on mountains. Kullu deputy commissioner Amitabh Awasthi said , police are patrolling the river banks and have directed people to move to safe places. “We have closed the traffic on national highway. We shall keep an eye on the situation throughout the night,” he said.|
Epidemic Hazards / Diseases
|03.08.2012||Epidemic Hazard||Uganda||Western Uganda, [Kibaale District, Mbarara and the Capital City (Kampala)]|
|Updated:||Friday, 03 August, 2012 at 17:19 UTC|
|Doctors were slow to respond to an outbreak of Ebola in Uganda because symptoms weren’t always typical, but a World Health Organization official said Friday that authorities are halting the spread of the deadly disease. Joaquim Saweka, the WHO representative in Uganda, told reporters in the capital Kampala that everyone known to have had contact with Ebola victims has been isolated. Ugandan health officials have created an “Ebola contact list” with names of people who had even the slightest contact with those who contracted Ebola. The list now bears 176 names. “The structure put in place is more than adequate,” Saweka said. “We are isolating the suspected or confirmed cases.” Ebola was confirmed in Uganda on July 28, several days after villagers were dying in a remote corner of western Uganda. Ugandan officials were slow to investigate possible Ebola because the victims did not show the usual symptoms, such as coughing blood. At least 16 Ugandans have died of the disease. Delays in confirming Ebola allowed the disease to spread to more villages deep in the western district of Kibaale, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said.”The doctors in Kibaale say the symptoms were a bit atypical of Ebola,” Museveni said in a national address Monday. “They were not clearly like Ebola symptoms. Because of that delay, the sickness spread to another village.” Saweka said that organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are helping Ugandan officials to control the spread of Ebola. This is the fourth outbreak of Ebola in Uganda since 2000, when the disease killed 224 people and left hundreds more traumatized in northern Uganda. Ebola is highly infectious and kills quickly. The disease was first reported in 1976 in Congo and is named for the river where it was recognized, according to the CDC. The aid group Doctors Without Borders said in a statement on Wednesday that the first victim of the Ebola outbreak was a 3-month-old girl and that of the 65 people who attended her funeral, 15 later contracted the deadly disease. Funerals in Uganda are typically elaborate affairs that draw huge crowds. Health officials have now taken on the task of safely burying the bodies of Ebola victims, Saweka said.|
KAMPALA, Uganda — Six more patients suspected to have Ebola have been admitted to the hospital days after investigators confirmed an outbreak of the highly infectious disease in a remote corner of western Uganda, a health official said on Monday.
Stephen Byaruhanga, health secretary of the affected Kibaale district, said possible cases of Ebola, at first concentrated in a single village, are now being reported in more villages.
“It’s no longer just one village. There are many villages affected,” Byaruhanga said.
In a national address, Uganda’s president advised against unnecessary contact among people, saying suspected cases of Ebola should be reported immediately to health officials.
Officials from Uganda’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization announced on Saturday that the deadly Ebola virus killed 14 Ugandans this month, ending weeks of speculation about the cause of a strange illness that had some people fleeing their homes in the absence of reliable answers.
If the six new cases are confirmed as Ebola, it would bring to 26 the number of Ugandans infected with Ebola.
This is the fourth occurrence of Ebola in Uganda since 2000, when the disease killed 224 people and left hundreds more traumatized in northern Uganda. At least 42 people were killed in another outbreak in 2007, and there was a lone Ebola case in 2011.
Investigators took nearly a month to confirm Ebola’s presence in Uganda this year. In Kibaale, a district with 600,000 residents, some villagers started abandoning their homes to escape what they thought was an illness caused by bad luck. One family lost nine members, and a clinical officer and her 4-month-old baby died from Ebola, Byaruhanga said.
The confirmation of Ebola’s presence in the area has spread anxiety among sick villagers, who are refusing to go to the hospital for fear they don’t have Ebola and will contract it there. All suspected Ebola patients have been isolated at one hospital where patients admitted with other illnesses fled after Ebola was announced. Only the hospital’s maternity ward still has patients, officials said, highlighting the deadly reputation of Ebola.
|Today||Epidemic Hazard||Nepal||Capital City, Kathmandu|
|At least 10 people admitted to the Sukraraj Tropical and Disease Control Hospital in Nepali capital Kathmandu have tested positive for cholera. The hospital laboratory said Vibrio Cholera belonging to 01 Ogawa stereotype was detected in all the patients. Doctors at hospital attributed the spread of cholera and diarrhea infection in Kathmandu to contaminated water, according to Saturday’s Republica daily. “Most of the patients who came to the hospital said that they had drunk water supplied by Kathmandu Upatyaka Kahanepani Limited without boiling or treatment,” Tulsha Adhikari, a nursing staff said. She said whole families had been infected and some were brought to the hospital by their neighbors as all family members were sick.|
|Biohazard level:||2/4 Medium|
|Biohazard desc.:||Bacteria and viruses that cause only mild disease to humans, or are difficult to contract via aerosol in a lab setting, such as hepatitis A, B, and C, influenza A, Lyme disease, salmonella, mumps, measles, scrapie, dengue fever, and HIV. “Routine diagnostic work with clinical specimens can be done safely at Biosafety Level 2, using Biosafety Level 2 practices and procedures. Research work (including co-cultivation, virus replication studies, or manipulations involving concentrated virus) can be done in a BSL-2 (P2) facility, using BSL-3 practices and procedures. Virus production activities, including virus concentrations, require a BSL-3 (P3) facility and use of BSL-3 practices and procedures”, see Recommended Biosafety Levels for Infectious Agents.|
|Today||Epidemic Hazard||Pakistan||Federally Administered Tribal Areas, [South Waziristan]|
|Five children in South Waziristan have died from measles during the past week, an official said. “Non-availability of measles vaccines has become a big problem and if the desired vaccines were not made available, the situation could slip out of hand,” Dr. Azmat Hayat Khan, agency surgeon, told Central Asia Online August 3. Measles has affected about 400 children, of whom about 100 were hospitalised, he said. He warned of an outbreak throughout the agency if medics failed to immunise children immediately. Letters regarding the unavailability of measles vaccine have gone to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) directorate of health, he said, expressing hope the vaccine would become available in a few days. The Taliban have refused to allow polio vaccination in areas of South Waziristan they control, endangering more than 157,000 children below age 5, he said. The directorate has received the agency surgeon’s letter and is sending vaccines to South Waziristan, FATA Health Director Dr. Fawad Khan said. “We have also started vaccination in Mohmand, Bajaur and Khyber agencies, where measles had killed several children besides sending hundreds to hospitals,” he said.|
|Biohazard name:||Measles (fatal)|
|Biohazard level:||3/4 Hight|
|Biohazard desc.:||Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, variola virus (smallpox), tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.|
WebMD Health News
Aug. 3, 2012 — With 16 new human cases in the last three weeks — 12 in the last week alone — an outbreak of a variant strain of swine flu is giving CDC officials the jitters.
What worries officials is that the new flu, officially called variant type A H3N2 or H3N2v, carries the M gene from the human H1N1 pandemic flu bug. This gene makes it easier for flu bugs to infect humans and spread among them.
The first human case was detected in July 2011. Since then there have been 29 reported cases, although more cases likely have gone unreported.
“Since the fall of 2011 there has been a big increase in these types of infections,” Joseph Bresee, MD, of the CDC’s Influenza Division, said at a news conference held to announce the new cases. “All 29 cases have had H3N2v with the M gene of pandemic H1N1. This may confer increased transmissibility to and among humans.”
Last year, three people caught the bug from another person. As far as the CDC can tell, that hasn’t happened this year. And there’s been no sustained spread of the new swine flu bug among people.
All the cases so far had contact with pigs. Most cases have been children who came into contact with infected pigs at state fairs. Ten of this week’s new cases were in Ohio. One was in Indiana and another was in Hawaii.
According to Lisa Ferguson of the USDA, the virus has been detected in pigs in 11 states.
Flu is common among pigs, and every year a few people catch a swine flu bug. But this new swine flu looks different.
“We have detected cases of this virus with increasing frequency,” Bresee said. “We expect further cases of human infection, either with contact with swine or from limited human-to-human spread. We expect some of the cases will be severe.”
H3N2v Swine Flu Symptoms
Fortunately, the new flu hasn’t been more serious than seasonal flu. The symptoms are the same: fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, and headaches. Everyone infected so far this year got better without having to be hospitalized. Last year there were three hospitalizations, all in people with underlying conditions known to increase risk of severe flu. There have been no deaths.
Current flu drugs should be just as effective against the new swine flu as against seasonal flu. However, current flu vaccines do not protect against the new swine flu. A vaccine has been produced, and Bresee says it soon will be tested in clinical trials.
Is this the beginning of a new flu pandemic? Maybe. Maybe not. Flu is among the most unpredictable of viruses. H3N2v could become a pandemic virus this year, in 20 years, or never.
A fatal influenza outbreak at two Hunter disability centers is continuing to spread, with more people contracting the illness.
Already three deaths have been reported at Newcastle’s Stockton Center and the Kanangra Center at Morisset over the past week.
Another five people were diagnosed with a respiratory illness yesterday and tests are expected to confirm they have succumbed to H3N2 strain which would make a total of 56 cases at the two centers.
Both centers remain in lockdown with strict infection controls now in place for the 450 residents.
Hunter New England Health is urging people with flu like symptoms not to visit hospitals or aged care facilities.
The Health network says a daily assessment is being made of the residents.
2MIN News August 3, 2012: Quakes, Weather, Sun, Planets
Published on Aug 3, 2012 by Suspicious0bservers
[Look on the left at the X-ray Flux and Solar Wind Speed/Density]
[Click online data, and have a little fun]
[Place to find Solar Images and Videos - as seen from earth]
[SOHO; Lasco and EIT - as seen from earth]
[Stereo; Cor, EUVI, HI - as seen from the side]
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[Free Application; for advanced sun watchers]
NOAA ENLIL SPIRAL:
[That cool alert map I use]
JAPAN Radiation Map:
Gamma Ray Bursts:
[Really? You can't figure out what this one is for?]
BARTOL Cosmic Rays:
[Top left box, look for BIG blue circles]
[Tornado Forecast for the day]
[Clouds over America]
EL DORADO WORLD WEATHER MAP:
[Weather site used by many youtubers]
[GREAT News Site!]
|Object Name||Apporach Date||Left||AU Distance||LD Distance||Estimated Diameter*||Relative Velocity|
|(2004 SB56)||04th August 2012||0 day(s)||0.1393||54.2||380 m – 840 m||13.72 km/s||49392 km/h|
|(2000 SD8)||04th August 2012||0 day(s)||0.1675||65.2||180 m – 400 m||5.82 km/s||20952 km/h|
|(2006 EC)||06th August 2012||2 day(s)||0.0932||36.3||13 m – 28 m||6.13 km/s||22068 km/h|
|(2006 MV1)||07th August 2012||3 day(s)||0.0612||23.8||12 m – 28 m||4.79 km/s||17244 km/h|
|(2005 RK3)||08th August 2012||4 day(s)||0.1843||71.7||52 m – 120 m||8.27 km/s||29772 km/h|
|(2009 BW2)||09th August 2012||5 day(s)||0.0337||13.1||25 m – 56 m||5.27 km/s||18972 km/h|
|277475 (2005 WK4)||09th August 2012||5 day(s)||0.1283||49.9||260 m – 580 m||6.18 km/s||22248 km/h|
|(2004 SC56)||09th August 2012||5 day(s)||0.0811||31.6||74 m – 170 m||10.57 km/s||38052 km/h|
|(2008 AF4)||10th August 2012||6 day(s)||0.1936||75.3||310 m – 690 m||16.05 km/s||57780 km/h|
|37655 Illapa||12th August 2012||8 day(s)||0.0951||37.0||770 m – 1.7 km||28.73 km/s||103428 km/h|
|(2012 HS15)||14th August 2012||10 day(s)||0.1803||70.2||220 m – 490 m||11.54 km/s||41544 km/h|
|4581 Asclepius||16th August 2012||12 day(s)||0.1079||42.0||220 m – 490 m||13.48 km/s||48528 km/h|
|(2008 TC4)||18th August 2012||14 day(s)||0.1937||75.4||140 m – 300 m||17.34 km/s||62424 km/h|
|(2006 CV)||20th August 2012||16 day(s)||0.1744||67.9||290 m – 640 m||13.24 km/s||47664 km/h|
|(2012 EC)||20th August 2012||16 day(s)||0.0815||31.7||56 m – 130 m||5.57 km/s||20052 km/h|
|162421 (2000 ET70)||21st August 2012||17 day(s)||0.1503||58.5||640 m – 1.4 km||12.92 km/s||46512 km/h|
|(2007 WU3)||21st August 2012||17 day(s)||0.1954||76.0||56 m – 120 m||5.25 km/s||18900 km/h|
|(2012 BB14)||24th August 2012||20 day(s)||0.1234||48.0||27 m – 60 m||2.58 km/s||9288 km/h|
For the first time astronomers have detected the last gasps of a star being torn apart by a previously dormant giant black hole.
The signals, which came from a galaxy 3.9 billion light years away, were x-rays generated by matter heated to millions of degrees and torn apart as material from the star crosses the black hole’s event horizon.
Known as quasi-periodic oscillations, they are a characteristic feature of stellar black holes, which have about 10 times the mass of the Sun.
Dr Rubens Reis from the University of Michigan is the lead author of the paper published today in the journal Science.
Dr Reis says the findings confirm the constancy of black hole physics.
“This is telling us that the same physical phenomenon we observe in stellar mass black holes is also happening in black holes a million times the mass of the Sun, and in black holes that were previously asleep,” he said.
Dr Reis and colleagues first detected the event with NASA’s Swift Gamma Ray Burst Telescope last year, but did not pick up the oscillations at that time.
The blips in the signals were detected in follow-up observations using the joint Japanese-NASA Suzaku and the European Space Agency ZMM-Newton orbiting X-ray observatories.
“You can think of it as hearing the star scream as it gets devoured,” said University of Michigan astronomy professor Jon Miller, who co-authored the paper.
The oscillating signal repeats at a characteristic frequency, which would sound like an ultra-low D sharp.
On the edge
The oscillations were occurring once every 200 seconds, meaning the stellar material was orbiting less than 9.3 million kilometres from the centre of the black hole.
“Our discovery opens the possibility of studying orbits close to black holes that are very distant,” Professor Miller said.
Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorne from the University of Sydney says it is the closest we have ever seen material to the event horizon of a distant super-massive black hole.
“If this material was any closer, it would pass beyond the event horizon and you presumably wouldn’t see it,” Professor Bland-Hawthorne said.
“This is where the effects of general relativity become extreme.”
by Staff Writers
Liverpool UK (SPX)
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have discovered that variations in the long-term reversal rate of the Earth’s magnetic field may be caused by changes in heat flow from the Earth’s core into the base of the overlying mantle.
The Earth is made up of a solid inner core, surrounded by a liquid outer core, in turn covered by a thicker or more viscous mantle, and ultimately by the solid crust beneath our feet.
The magnetic field is generated by the motions of the liquid iron alloy in the outer core, approximately 3,000 km beneath the Earth’s crust. These motions occur because the core is losing heat to the overlying solid mantle that extends up to the crust on which we live.
The mantle itself is also in motion but at much slower speeds of millimetres per year as opposed to millimetres per second in the core. This mantle motion is responsible for the drifting of the continents at the surface as well as earthquakes, volcanoes, and changes in the climate over millions of years.
At intervals of hundreds of thousands of years, the North and South magnetic poles reverse and scientists can tell from rock formations precisely at what periods in the past this took place. The most recent reversal happened 780,000 years ago.
Magnetic field variations happen on timescales of months to millions of years. Much of the magnetic field’s variation is thought to be sporadic but new research, led by Liverpool scientists, has found that over long timescales, this variability may be related to the changing pattern of heat loss across the core-mantle boundary occurring over millions of years.
The team performed a detailed synthesis based on latest findings from a number of different areas including the ancient geomagnetic field and its record in rocks, motions in the mantle caused by motions of the continents and the process responsible for generating the magnetic field in the core.
Dr Andrew Biggin, from the University’s School of Environmental Sciences, said: “The magnetic field has undergone big changes in its behaviour that might be due to the mantle’s controlling influence on the core.
In particular, we focused on the time interval between around 200 and 80 million years ago – when dinosaurs were still around – when the magnetic field initially started reversing its polarity very frequently. During this period the polarity was reversing up to 10 times every million years; however 50 million years later, it stopped reversing altogether for nearly 40 million years.
“When these changes in the magnetic field were taking place, the whole of the Earth’s crust and mantle, including all of the continents, were undergoing a big rotation with respect to the geographic and time-averaged geomagnetic poles – the points defining the Earth’s axis of rotation.
“We suspect that this process, called True Polar Wander and caused by the changing density distribution in the mantle, will have changed the pattern of heat flowing out of the core in such a manner as to cause the magnetic field to first become less stable, with lots of reversals, and then become much more stable – and stop reversing.”
The team believes this may not be the only explanation and conjecture that this big drop in the frequency of reversals may also be related to a similar decrease in the number of ‘large igneous provinces’ (LIPs) or concentrated outpourings of magma from the Earth’s core, 50 million years later.
The last LIP happened around 16 million years ago and produced the Columbia Plateau in the North West US. LIPs are thought to be produced by hot plumes of material rising from thermal instabilities near the bottom boundary of the mantle.
The team believes the 50 million year time lag between the magnetic field changing and the occurrence of the LIPs could represent the time it takes for the plumes to travel 2,890 km through the mantle.
If this link were correct it would mean that the rather unstable magnetic field observed in the last 50 million years predicts that a considerable number of LIPs will erupt over the next 50 million years. This in turn could have major implications for the surface conditions – for climate and for life itself.
The research, published in Nature Geoscience, is a collaboration between the University of Liverpool, GFZ Potsdam, IPGP Paris, the University of Oslo and Utrecht University. Future research at Liverpool, is planned and already underway to develop a new tool for understanding the Earth’s system.
|Today||Biological Hazard||Japan||Multiple areas, [Ise Bay (Ise-wan)]|
|Large numbers of jellyfish have been swarming near nine thermal power plants on Ise Bay. Chubu Electric Power Co. estimates that there are close to 24,000 tons of the sea creatures swimming around the area, twice the usual level and the second-most recorded in the past decade. Measures are being taken to ensure the jellyfish don’t clog the power plants’ water intakes and disrupt their operations. Chubu Electric launched a research project in 1999 to predict the number of jellyfish in Ise Bay. They discovered that most jellyfish larvae transform into polyps in three major areas: near the port of Nagoya; along the coast of the Chita Peninsula from Tokoname to Morozaki, Minamichita, in Aichi Prefecture; and along the coast of the Shima Peninsula from Matsusaka to Toba in Mie Prefecture. Every winter, the research group collects samples of polyps and compares them with past results to predict how many larvae will develop into adult jellyfish in the following year. Last winter’s findings indicated the number this year would be 1.5 to 1.8 times higher than usual. “We don’t know the reason why the number is so high this year, but we need to monitor the situation closely,” said Minoru Hamada, 46, an assistant project manager in Chubu Electric’s technology development department.If jellyfish block the water intake, a power plant can’t draw enough water from the sea to cool the steam used to turn the turbine, and the plant has to reduce its electricity output. Each plant has adopted various measures, including putting up nets, to stop the jellyfish from swimming too close, but this is only effective when dealing with small numbers. It is not enough to prevent large amounts of jellyfish from swimming in all at once. The number of jellyfish near the thermal power plants usually peaks in July, August and September. However, this year they started gathering around the plants in May, resulting in reduced electricity output at three of the plants for a total of nine days. They were the Hekinan plant in Hekinan, Aichi Prefecture, the Shin-Nagoya plant in Nagoya and the Kawagoe plant in Kawagoe, Mie Prefecture. It’s a pressing problem for Chubu Electric because it has become increasingly dependent on thermal energy since its Hamaoka nuclear plant has been shut down over quake and tsunami fears. “The effect of the jellyfish isn’t fully known yet, but it can have a serious impact on electricity output if they keep increasing, especially during this season when there is high electricity demand,” a Chubu Electric official said. “We need to monitor the jellyfish further and take actions swiftly if necessary.”|
|Biohazard name:||Jellyfish invasion|
|Biohazard level:||0/4 —|
|Biohazard desc.:||This does not included biological hazard category.|
Biological Hazards / Wildlife
Australian researchers have discovered a new bat virus they describe as a close relative to the hendra virus.
Cells infected with Hendra virus. Cells infected with Cedar virus. © CSIRO
They say the new virus could help shed light on how Hendra and related Nipah viruses cause disease and death in animals and humans. Hendra is able to infect horses and, in seven known cases, people have caught the infection from horses. Four of them died as a result.
The new virus is named Cedar after the Queensland location where it was discovered.
Initial studies by scientists with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have discovered one surprising key difference – the Cedar virus does not cause illness in several animal species normally susceptible to Hendra and Nipah.
However, they say it is still too early to rule out the possibility that Cedar virus may cause illness and death in horses or other animals.
The new discovery had significant potential implications for protecting animals and humans from the Hendra and Nipah viruses. This tantalising difference may help scientists understand how to better manage and control its deadly cousins.
The findings have been announced today in the journal, PLoS Pathogens, published by the Public Library of Science.
Gary Crameri, a research scientist with the bat virus team at CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, Victoria, said the new discovery had significant potential implications for protecting animals and humans from the Hendra and Nipah viruses.
“The significance of discovering a new henipavirus that doesn’t cause disease is that it may help us narrow down what it is about the genetic makeup of viruses like Hendra and Nipah that does cause disease and death,” Crameri said.
CSIRO’s Dr Glenn Marsh, research scientist on the Cedar virus discovery team, collecting samples from underneath a bat colony. © CSIRO
“The more that we can learn about bat-borne viruses, the better chance we have of developing anti-virals and vaccines to help protect human health, Australia’s livestock industry and our export trade from the threat of current and emerging animal diseases.
“Over 70 per cent of people and animals infected with Hendra and Nipah viruses die. This ranks henipaviruses amongst the deadliest viruses in existence, yet little is known about just how such viruses actually cause disease or death.”
The discovery was a result of a close partnership with Biosecurity Queensland which played an important role by collecting and screening samples from bat colonies across Queensland.
Dr Hume Field, of Biosecurity Queensland, said field work with bats was an essential part of research into identifying new viruses.
“Bats are being implicated as the natural host of a growing number of viruses in Australia and overseas, yet they appear to tolerate infection themselves, making bat research increasingly important.”
Bats have been identified as playing a role in the spread of viruses including Ebola, Marburg, SARS and Melaka, yet they are an essential part of a diverse ecosystem through their role as pollinators, seed dispersers and insect regulators.
The discovery is part of ongoing research by CSIRO to target diseases that threaten animals, people and the environment and is part of CSIRO’s wider biosecurity effort. It follows CSIRO’s development towards a horse vaccine against Hendra virus.
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