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Archive for October, 2015


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A real cell tower. (Image: Flickr, Carl Lender via Bus. Insider)

A real cell tower. (Image: Flickr, Carl Lender via Bus. Insider)

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WIRED

The federal government has been fighting hard for years hide details about its use of so-called stingray surveillance technology from the public.

The surveillance devices simulate cell phone towers in order to trick nearby mobile phones into connecting to them and revealing the phones’ locations.

Now newly released documents confirm long-held suspicions that the controversial devices are also capable of recording numbers for a mobile phone’s incoming and outgoing calls, as well as intercepting the content of voice and text communications. The documents also discuss the possibility of flashing a phone’s firmware “so that you can intercept conversations using a suspect’s cell phone as a bug.”

The information appears in a 2008 guideline prepared by the Justice Department to advise law enforcement agents on when and how the equipment can be legally used.

The Department of Justice ironically acknowledges in the documents that the use of the surveillance technology to locate cellular phones ‘is an issue of some controversy.’

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California obtained the documents (.pdf) after a protracted legal battle involving a two-year-old public records request. The documents include not only policy guidelines, but also templates for submitting requests to courts to obtain permission to use the technology.

 

 

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This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward.

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 Photographer: Neil from Santiago, Chile

Lascar erupting in 2006     Wikipedia.org

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Volcano Eruption Chile Antofagasta Region, [Lascar Volcano] Damage level Details

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Volcano Eruption in Chile on Friday, 30 October, 2015 at 17:28 (05:28 PM) UTC.

Description
Lascar, in the northern Andes of Chile, erupted unexpectedly today, producing a small plume of light grey ash that reached 2.5 kilometers (~8,200 feet) above the volcano. The fact that there seemed to be little in the way of precursory activity (earthquakes, increased gas emissions) from Lascar suggests that this blast may have been a phreatic explosion driven by water flashing to steam in the volcano’s summit crater or conduit. Due to this minor eruption, the SERNAGEOMIN has raised the alert status at Lascar to Yellow, although the volcano is in a fairly remote part of the Chilean Andes-the Global Volcanism Program reports only ~8,100 people living within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of Lascar. It has been over 2 years since Lascar last did anything and its last major eruption of Lascar was in 2005. However, it has produced some spectacular eruptions in the recent past, including the 1993 eruption that was a VEI 4. As with any of these small blasts, volcanologists will watch Lascar to see if this is a sign that it is awakening or merely a blip. Based on images on the Lascar webcam, the eruption appears to have waned rapidly.

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WIRED

An Unexpected Eruption From Chile’s Lascar Volcano

The light grey, ash-rich plume from Chile's Lascar during its minor October 30, 2015 eruption.Click to Open Overlay Gallery

 

Lascar, in the northern Andes of Chile, erupted unexpectedly today, producing a small plume of light grey ash that reached 2.5 kilometers (~8,200 feet) above the volcano (see above). The fact that there seemed to be little in the way of precursory activity (earthquakes, increased gas emissions) from Lascar suggests that this blast may have been a phreatic explosion driven by water flashing to steam in the volcano’s summit crater or conduit.

Due to this minor eruption, the SERNAGEOMIN has raised the alert status at Lascar to Yellow, although the volcano is in a fairly remote part of the Chilean Andes—the Global Volcanism Program reports only ~8,100 people living within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of Lascar.

 

 

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HAZMAT USA State of California, Palo Alto [El Camino Real] Damage level Details

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HAZMAT in USA on Friday, 30 October, 2015 at 11:43 (11:43 AM) UTC.

Description
An “unknown odor” that caused respiratory irritation for several guests prompted a hazardous materials response at the Westin hotel Thursday night, according to the Palo Alto Fire Department. The odor, which appeared to emanate from an underground garage area, was first reported to authorities at 9:09 p.m. at the hotel on El Camino Real east of University Avenue. Fire officials said a dozen people were “decontaminated and transported” to the emergency rooms at Stanford Hospital and El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. None of the ailments appear to be serious or life-threatening. Other hotel guests were ordered to shelter in place as a precaution. Palo Alto Deputy Fire Chief Catherine Capriles said the source of the odor was not immediately clear after an initial foray into the garage by hazmat crews from Palo Alto Fire and the Mountain View Fire Department. She said pool cleaning equipment was found, but intact and unlikely the source. After a second search still did not find a culprit, the hazmat crews dispersed. While the source of the odor was not known, as of midnight Friday, officials were confident that it had “vented and dissipated” and posed no additional risk.

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Palo Alto: 12 at Westin hotel sickened by ‘unknown odor,’ cause still a mystery

Posted:   10/29/2015 10:54:21 PM PDT   Updated:   about 11 hours ago
Palo Alto firefighters responded to a report of hazmat situation at the Westin Palo Alto Oct. 29, 2015 in Palo Alto, Calif. (KGO-TV )

Palo Alto firefighters responded to a report of hazmat situation at the Westin Palo Alto Oct. 29, 2015 in Palo Alto, Calif. (KGO-TV )

PALO ALTO — An “unknown odor” that caused respiratory irritation for 12 people prompted a hazardous materials response at the Westin hotel, according to the Palo Alto Fire Department.

The chemical odor, which appeared to emanate from an underground garage area, was first reported to authorities at 9:09 p.m. Thursday at the hotel on El Camino Real east of University Avenue.

Fire officials said a dozen people were “decontaminated and transported” to the emergency rooms at Stanford Hospital and El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. None of the ailments appeared to be serious or life threatening.

Other hotel guests were ordered to shelter in place as a precaution.

Read More Here

 

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Brucellosis is a contagious disease of both humans and animals caused by bacteria (invisible to the naked eye) of the genus Brucella which causes extensive economic damage to cattle breeding but is also a significant health issue as more than 50.000 people contract brucellosis world-wide.

Vet,gov.ba

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Biological Hazard Bulgaria Province of Kyustendil, Rila Damage level Details

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Biological Hazard in Bulgaria on Thursday, 29 October, 2015 at 04:05 (04:05 AM) UTC.

Description
15 animals have been tested positive for brucellosis in the region of Rila town, the press centre of the District Administration – Kyustendil, announced. On September 13 began the second serological examinations of all small ruminants, cattle and equine which were tested negative in the first serological examinations in the infected villages. On October 20 were retested a total of 2,790 goats, sheep, buffalo, cattle and equine. 11 goats of them and three sheep from farms in the town of Rila, as well as one goat in Smochevo village were tested positive for brucellosis disease.
Biohazard name: Brucellosis
Biohazard level: 3/4 High
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.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

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Biological Hazard USA State of Wyoming, [Laramie County] Damage level Details

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Biological Hazard in USA on Thursday, 29 October, 2015 at 04:14 (04:14 AM) UTC.

Description
A housecat has been diagnosed with pneumonic plague in rural western Laramie County. Over a dozen individuals who came into contact with the cat are currently being assessed by the Wyoming Department of Health to determine if they need to receive antibiotics. Plague is a serious bacterial infection that can be deadly if not treated promptly with antibiotics. The pneumonic form of plague can be easily transmitted from a coughing cat or other animal to a human. Humans can then breathe in the bacteria and develop pneumonic plague as well. Although health officials believe this is thought to be an isolated case, plague has been present in the area before with animal cases in 2005 and 2008 and is believed to be endemic in Wyoming wildlife.
Biohazard name: Plague (pneumonic, cat )
Biohazard level: 4/4 Hazardous
Biohazard desc.: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic or unidentified diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, autonomous detection system, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a Biosafety Level 4 (P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

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Local News 8

Pneumonic plague found in Laramie County cat

POSTED: 10:24 AM MDT Oct 29, 2015 
cat logo

GNU image/MGN Online

 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – A housecat has been diagnosed with pneumonic plague in rural western Laramie County.

Over a dozen individuals who came into contact with the cat are currently being assessed by the Wyoming Department of Health to determine if they need to receive antibiotics.

 

Read More Here

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 Cheyenne, Wyoming | News, Weather, Sports | CBS5 NewsChannel

Animal plague found in Laramie County

LARAMIE COUNTY – A housecat has been diagnosed with pneumonic (the lung form) of plague in rural western Laramie County.

Plague, known as the Black Death during medieval times, is a serious bacterial infection that can be deadly if not treated promptly with antibiotics. The pneumonic form of plague can be easily transmitted from a coughing cat or other animal to a human. Humans can then breathe in the bacteria and develop pneumonic plague as well.

On October 26, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) notified Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department (CLCHD) of a plague positive housecat submitted to the Wyoming State Veterinary Lab on October 21.

 

Read More Here

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Big waves hit Hawaiian Islands’ north shores, California

A surfer watches as a wave breaks at Waimea Bay Beach Park on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. The north shores of all the Hawaiian Islands were under a high surf warning on Wednesday, with forecasters expecting 25- to 30-foot waves to mark the start of Hawaii’s big-wave season. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

Winston-Salem Journal

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Storm Surge USA State of Hawaii, [Statewide] Damage level Details

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Storm Surge in USA on Thursday, 29 October, 2015 at 04:29 (04:29 AM) UTC.

Description
The north shores of all of the Hawaiian Islands are under a high surf warning, and forecasters expect 25- to 30-foot waves, marking the start of Hawaii’s big-wave season. The swells hitting both Hawaii and California are probably connected to the same low-pressure weather system in the Pacific Ocean, said Derek Wroe, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “We get our biggest waves in the wintertime, and we’re leading up to that,” Wroe said. Officials on Hawaii’s Big Island closed six beaches because of dangerous surf conditions, and one beach on Maui was closed after waves flooded the parking lot. Wroe warned spectators to keep a distance from the waves because what seems safe could become deadly in a short time. “There’s a whole host of dangers that come with these waves,” he said. On Oahu, a man believed to be in his 50s died late Tuesday when he and two other fishermen were apparently swept out to sea by a large wave, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

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SFGATE

An earthmover creates a sand berm between oceanfront homes and the water in Seal Beach, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. There have been no reports so far of coastal flooding as high tides and an arriving swell from a Pacific storm produced big surf along the central and Southern California coast. Waves between 3 and 6 feet pounded some areas where morning high tides were about 7 feet on Wednesday, National Weather Service forecaster Scott Sukop said. Photo: Nick Ut, AP / AP

An earthmover creates a sand berm between oceanfront homes and the water in Seal Beach, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. There have been no reports so far of coastal flooding as high tides and an arriving swell from a Pacific storm produced big surf along the central and Southern California coast. Waves between 3 and 6 feet pounded some areas where morning high tides were about 7 feet on Wednesday, National Weather Service forecaster Scott Sukop said.

 

HONOLULU (AP) — The latest on the big surf that’s hitting Hawaii and California (all times local):

10:45 a.m.

The north shores of all of the Hawaiian Islands are under a high surf warning, and forecasters expect 25- to 30-foot waves.

Meteorologist Derek Wroe of the National Weather Service says it’s the start of Hawaii’s big-wave season.

He says the swells hitting both Hawaii and California are probably connected to the same low-pressure weather system in the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

Read More Here

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Students look at instructions in front of a makeshift clinic at Konkuk University in Seoul on Thursday. Students look at instructions in front of a makeshift clinic at Konkuk University in Seoul on Thursday.

english.chosun.com

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Biological Hazard South Korea Capital City, Seoul [Konkuk University,Neungdong-ro] Damage level Details

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Biological Hazard in South Korea on Thursday, 29 October, 2015 at 04:39 (04:39 AM) UTC.

Description
A mysterious virus has infected 21 graduate students at Konkuk University’s school of veterinary science in Seoul. Health authorities have placed all 21 in quarantine and closed off the school building. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday said the victims started coming down with pneumonia last week, and a team of epidemiologists have been dispatched to the university. According to the KCDC, those infected are master’s and doctoral candidates who used the school’s lab from Oct. 19 to 28. They are being treated in isolation at state-run hospitals. The first four graduate students who showed symptoms were hospitalized at Konkuk University Medical Center and then transferred to the National Medical Center on Wednesday. All of them visited a cattle fair in Gyeonggi Province last week as well as an animal farm owned by the university in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province. A university official said they may have contracted Brucellosis, which infects cattle and can be transmitted to humans. But some experts suspect Q fever, caused by the Coxiella burnetii bacteria found in the droppings of cattle, swine and sheep. It causes airborne infections among humans. Symptoms such as fever, headache and muscle aches appear after a two-week gestation period. But Song Dae-sup at Korea University said, “Brucellosis and Q fever are not commonly found in Korea and are rarely passed on to humans. We need to look at the possibility of pneumonia caused by germs or other toxic agents.” Lee Jae-gap at Hallym University Medical Center said since only the four visited the animal farm, the infection could be mycoplasma pneumonia or whooping cough, which sometimes occur in schools or communities. Konkuk University sealed off the veterinary school building and told the school’s 850 staff and students to report any suspicious symptoms. The building was thoroughly disinfected on Wednesday morning as well, according to school officials.
Biohazard name: Q Fever
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.
Symptoms:
Status: suspected

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 Mystery Virus Sweeps Konkuk University

A mysterious virus has infected 21 graduate students at Konkuk University’s school of veterinary science in Seoul.

Health authorities have placed all 21 in quarantine and closed off the school building. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday said the victims started coming down with pneumonia last week, and a team of epidemiologists have been dispatched to the university.

According to the KCDC, those infected are master’s and doctoral candidates who used the school’s lab from Oct. 19 to 28. They are being treated in isolation at state-run hospitals.

The first four graduate students who showed symptoms were hospitalized at Konkuk University Medical Center and then transferred to the National Medical Center on Wednesday. All of them visited a cattle fair in Gyeonggi Province last week as well as an animal farm owned by the university in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province.

 

Read More Here

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english.chosun.com

10 More Catch Mystery Infection at Konkuk University

Ten more graduate students have come down with a mysterious pneumonia attack at Konkuk University’s Seoul campus on Thursday, bringing the total to 31.

Twenty-one people were diagnosed with the same symptoms earlier. But all have so far tested negative for a dozen well-known infectious diseases.

“We’re still trying to figure out the cause,” a spokesman for the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Students look at instructions in front of a makeshift clinic at Konkuk University in Seoul on Thursday. Students look at instructions in front of a makeshift clinic at Konkuk University in Seoul on Thursday.

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ZeroHedge

 

When the US media began airing helmet cam footage of Delta Force executing a prison break at an ISIS compound last week we suggested that Washington was making an effort to prepare the American public for more boots on the ground in Iraq and the possibility of ground troops in Syria.

The catalyst: Russia and Iran. Put simply, the US has been embarrassed by Moscow and Tehran’s coordinated effort to rout the Sunni extremists backed by Riyadh, Doha, and Ankara operating in Iraq and Syria and now, as Baghdad and Kabul threaten to turn to The Kremlin for help in the face of American ineptitude, the Pentagon is desperate to show that the US can still be effective at fighting terrorism.

So while John Kerry wanders around (hopefully not on a bike) in Vienna in a futile effort to get Saudi Arabia and Turkey to sit at the same table and talk rationally with Russia and Iran, the US military is contemplating how to insert itself into the battle without sparking a world war.

For its part, Baghdad has informed the Western media that it neither wants nor needs US help fighting ISIS (that’s what all the Iran-backed militias are for) and so instead, The White House may be on the verge of sending spec ops to Syria. 

  • OBAMA ADMIN. MAY ANNOUNCE SPECIAL OPS FORCES IN SYRIA:CNBC/RTRS

Here’s Reuters:

The United States will send 20 to 30 special operations forces to Syria to serve as military advisers in the fight against Islamic State, a U.S. official said.

 

The additional U.S. troops will operate in a limited “advise and assist” capacity, without changing President Barack Obama’s overall mission to combat the militant group, a separate U.S. official said.

 

 

Read More Here

 

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Obama: No boots on the ground in Syria

Judge Napolitano: Syria Resolution Intentionally Vague So Obama Can Put Boots On The Ground

 

Broken Promises: Obama Will Now Put Boots To The Ground In Syria Against ISIS

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Europe

18:38 30.10.2015

A rift appears to be growing in Europe as NATO announced it was considering putting more troops into the Baltic region to increase pressure on Russia, while at the same time Federica Mogherini, the EU’s Foreign Affairs chief advocated rapprochement with Russia.

NATO has been ramping up its operations in the Baltic States as well as in Eastern Europe, since the Ukraine crisis began. Now it is being reported that it is considering different ways of increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe to put further pressure on Russia, despite previous denials that it would do this.

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Go Baltic Batallion! – Urban exercise in Trident Juncture

 

“Claims that NATO is building bases around Russia are… groundless,” NATO states on its website.

“Outside the territory of NATO nations, NATO only maintains a significant military presence in three places: Kosovo, Afghanistan, and at sea off the Horn of Africa.

“With respect to the permanent stationing of US and other Allied forces on the territory of other Allies in Europe, NATO has full abided by the commitments made in the NATO-Russia Founding Act. There has been no permanent stationing of additional combat forces on the territory of other allies; and total force levels have, in fact, been substantially reduced since the end of the Cold War.”