July 19, 2013 – WELLINGTON, NZ – A 4.3 quake hit the east coast of New Zealand tonight, following a 4.5 magnitude quake in central New Zealand this afternoon, and a 5.7 earthquake that rattled people in Wellington and Blenheim this morning. Geonet reported tonight’s quake was 20 km east of Te Araroa, a settlement on the east coast of the north island, near the southern edge of the Bay of Plenty. The quake was 62 km deep and hit at 11.42pm. GeoNet reported this afternoon’s was of a “strong” intensity, 35 km east of Seddon, at a depth of 15 km. The quake hit at 3.21pm. The first quake struck at 9.06 am and was centered 30km east of Seddon, south of Blenheim, at a depth of 8 km. Rated as severe, it turned Wellington office workers white-knuckled as it swayed high-rises in the capital, with buildings also being rocked in Blenheim. The shallow tremor was felt as far away as Christchurch and New Plymouth. In Wellington it was felt as one jolt, gradually picking up in intensity, while those in Blenheim felt two shakes. GeoNet said it received more than 6000 reports after the jolt. It said the fact it struck off the South Island spared the region from its full force, though there were a few reports that it had a damaging intensity. Though it had knocked goods off shelves in Blenheim it was much too small to cause a tsunami, GeoNet said. An offshore earthquake needed to be at least magnitude 7.5 for a tsunami to be considered possible. The quake was preceded by a magnitude-2.9 “foreshock” in the same location 6 minutes before the main shock. An Earthqake Commission spokeswoman said 14 claims had been received following the first quake, but she expected more once people got home from work. By 11am there had been 17 aftershocks in the region, the largest a magnitude 3.7, 30km east of Seddon. Aftershocks were likely to continue for the next 24 hours. Early analysis had the fault movement as “reverse faulting,” meaning each side of the fault was being compressed. In Marlborough, Lake Grassmere farmer Peter Davison said he had never seen his house buck and shake so much. “It was like being on a bloody rollercoaster,” he said. He was looking out the window of his Marfells Beach Rd home when it hit. It was worse than the Boxing Day quake in 2010, which he had been in Christchurch for, he said. “I’ve never felt anything like it,” he said. His fishing rods had fallen and lay scattered around his library and pictures were askew on the walls. “It’s a wooden house and I’ve never seen the walls move like this,” he said. –Stuff NZ
July 19, 2013 – DR CONGO, Africa – Recent NASA satellite images from 11 June 2013 show a thick steam and gas plume rising from a pit crater in the summit caldera of Nyamuragira volcano. No evidence of lava close to the surface was found, while the lava lake in neighboring Nyiragongo remains well active and visible on the same images. Nyamuragira’s plume was rich in water vapor — which condenses rapidly in the humid tropical air — and sulfur dioxide, which lends a blue tint in natural-color satellite imagery. Carbon dioxide, fluorine, and chlorine gas are also found in Nyamuragira lavas and likely present in the gas plume. Located near the eastern boundary of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nyamuragira is one of Africa’s most active volcanoes. If degassing magma was near the surface, then the intense heat would cause a bright red glow in shortwave infrared light. No such glow is visible atop Nyamuragira, but it is present on neighboring Nyiragongo Volcano, which has featured a lava lake for more than a decade. The images were collected on June 11, 2013, by the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8. In natural color (top), the rainforest is dark green, clouds are white, and the sulfur-rich volcanic plume is very light blue. Barren land at Nyamuragira’s summit and lava flows is brown or black. In false-color, clouds are mostly white and volcanic plumes are cyan. Forest and other vegetation is bright green. Fresh lava flows from the 2011–12 eruption of Nyamuragira are black, and older lava flows appear as brown tendrils running down the mountain’s flanks. Agricultural fields in the southeast (lower right) corner of the image also appear brown. –Volcano Discovery
Seismic swarm near another Alaskan Volcano: A seismic swarm with magnitudes up to 3.5 has been occurring in the Wrangell Arc about 40 km NE of Mt. Churchill volcano during the past few days. The intensity and frequency of the quakes has calmed down yesterday. While some few of the quakes are near the volcano, most are not, and the swarm is probably not linked to the volcanic system of Mt Churchill volcano. Churchill is the fourth tallest volcano in the U.S. and has erupted in more than 1,300 years. –VD
July 19, 2013 – HEALTH – Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have reported six new cases of the SARS-like coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday. The latest infections of four women and two men aged between 26 and 42 bring the global total to 88 cases, including 45 deaths, the United Nations agency said in a statement. Five of the six new cases were health workers and the other was a man who came in close contact with someone who had been infected with the disease, which is known as Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, or MERS, WHO said. Millions are expected to travel to Mecca in Saudi Arabia in October for the haj pilgrimage. Saudi authorities have cut the number of visas this year, citing safety concerns over expansion work at the main mosque site. The WHO is drawing up advice on travel in relation to coronavirus, to be issued in coming days. It urged health care providers to be vigilant for severe acute respiratory infections and test any recent travelers from the Middle East suffering from such infections for MERS. The global health body has set up an emergency committee of independent experts on MERS, who said on Wednesday it was not a “public health emergency of international concern” for the time being. The committee can make recommendations on travel and trade restrictions, increased disease surveillance and exchange of data. Two of the new coronavirus cases in Abu Dhabi and both cases in Saudi Arabia displayed mild symptoms. The other two in Abu Dhabi had no symptoms of the disease. Cases have also been found in Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Britain, France, Italy and Germany. –Reuters
An Interview with Rabbi William Handler on Vaccination
July 10, 2013, the story, The Measles Scare and CDC Politics, in The Jewish Press caught my attention. It was by Rabbi William Handler. Handler wrote,
“At the instigation of the Federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), a number of prominent Jewish pediatricians have stepped forward to warn the Jewish community that they must immediately subject their children to the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) 3-in-1 combination vaccine.
“The reason given is that there have been a number of measles cases in the Jewish community, and, therefore, parents must immediately protect their children. CONTINUE
US seed producer Monsanto has said it would withdraw all new requests to grow genetically modified crops in the EU.
The move reflects its frustration over ongoing resistance to GM crops among populations in Europe.
All approval requests for new types of genetically modified (GM) crops filed with the European Union would be stopped within the next few months, Monsanto President and Managing Director for Europe Jose Manuel Madero told British news agency Reuters on Wednesday.CONTINUE
Mideast Peace Talks: Kerry Says Israel And Palestinians Reached Agreement Over Talks
AMMAN, Jordan — After a rush of lasminute talks with Palestinian officials, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sealed a step toward relaunching the long-halted Mideast peace process, announcing Friday that Israel and the Palestinians had agreed on a basis for returning to negotiations.
The statement, which came in a press conference after a day in which Kerry shuttled between the Jordanian capital and the West Bank, reflected how painstakingly incremental movement in the process is. While it appeared deep differences over the groundwork of talks had been bridged, the two sides are to meet – likely in the coming week – to work out final details on actually resuming their negotiations on the toughest issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.continue
DAYS OF LOT: SATANISTS PERFORM ‘GAY RITUAL’ AT WESTBORO GRAVESITE
A group of satanists say they’ve given the controversial Westboro Baptist Church a taste of its own medicine, performing a same-sex ritual at the grave of the mother of the church’s founder. Members of the Satanist Temple performed on Sunday what its spokesman describes as a “pink mass” an admittedly made-up ritual, celebrating gay love, at the grave in Meridian, Miss. Spokesman Lucien Greaves doffed a headdress made of horns as two male couples, and a female couple recited scripture, lit candles and made out over the grave. Members then posthumously declared Catherine Johnston, the mother of Westboro’s founder Fred Phelps, a lesbian. The ritual was designed to get a rise of the WBC, the satanists said, an organization that’s earned a national reputation for getting a rise out of others. Phelps is the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, a fundamentalist congregation infamous for picketing at the funerals of celebrities, victims of disaster and terrorism, and U.S. soldiers killed in combat. The church, located in Topeka, Kan., believes that the whole of the United States is in a state of sin because of gays. Members often protest at funerals carrying signs that read “God hates fags.” More