WORLD news matching bible prophesy: sinkholes, crazy weather, distress of nations, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, signs in the heavens and more signs of JESUS’ soon return

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Scientists Discover 400,000-Year-Old Human DNA…

Scientists have found the oldest DNA evidence yet of humans’ biological history. But instead of neatly clarifying human evolution, the finding is adding new mysteries. In a paper in the journal Nature, scientists reported Wednesday that they had retrieved ancient human DNA from a fossil dating back about 400,000 years, shattering the previous record of 100,000 years. The fossil, a thigh bone found in Spain, had previously seemed to many experts to belong to a forerunner of Neanderthals. But its DNA tells a very different story. It most closely resembles DNA from an enigmatic lineage of humans known as Denisovans.

Until now, Denisovans were known only from DNA retrieved from 80,000-year-old remains in Siberia, 4,000 miles east of where the new DNA was found. The mismatch between the anatomical and genetic evidence surprised the scientists, who are now rethinking human evolution over the past few hundred thousand years. It is possible, for example, that there are many extinct human populations that scientists have yet to discover. They might have interbred, swapping DNA. Scientists hope that further studies of extremely ancient human DNA will clarify the mystery. More

 

Cold snap felt across western half of nation

A wintry storm pushing through the western half of the country is bringing bitterly cold temperatures that prompted safety warnings for residents in the Rockies and threatened crops as far south as California. The jet stream is much farther south than normal, allowing the cold air to push in from the Arctic and drop temperatures by 20 to 40 degrees below normal levels, AccuWeather meteorologist Tom Kines said Tuesday. Areas of Montana and the Dakotas were forecast to reach lows in the minus-20s, while parts of California could see the thermometer drop to the 20s. The icy arctic blast was expected to be followed by another one later in the week, creating an extended period of cold weather that hasn’t been seen since the late 1990s, meteorologists said. Officials warned residents to protect themselves against frostbite if they are going to be outside for any length of time. ”When it gets this cold, you don’t need 30, 40 mile-per-hour winds to get that wind chill down to dangerous levels. All it takes is a little breeze,” Kines said. The storm hit the northern Rockies on Monday and Tuesday, dumping up to 2 feet of snow in the mountains and in Yellowstone National Park. More

Weight loss-obsessed girls eating GMO cotton balls soaked in lemon juice

A practice being promoted on YouTube as a fad diet is actually a form of disordered eating that can pose serious health risks, health professionals are warning. In videos promoting “the cotton ball diet,” young girls soak cotton balls in lemonade or orange juice and then swallow them. The girls claim that the cotton balls expand in the stomach, producing a feeling of fullness and thereby making them eat less during the day. In this, the cotton ball diet may seem at first to resemble appetite-suppressing drugs such as Lipozene. But everything about the diet is dangerous, experts warn, from the specifics of the practice to the attitude behind it.

To start with, most cotton balls are not actually made from cotton, but rather from synthetic, bleached polyester fibers full of dangerous chemicals ”Swallowing a synthetic cotton ball is like dipping your T-shirt in orange juice and eating it,” said Brandi Koskie, managing editor of the website Diets in Review. But even swallowing an expensive, organic cotton ball is highly dangerous. Ingesting any fibrous, indigestible material can lead to clumps known as bezoars, producing life-threatening obstructions in the intestinal tract. ”The most common causes of bezoars are swallowing indigestible matter like hair or too much vegetable fiber,” said Ovidio Bermudez, chief medical officer at the Eating Recovery Center in Denver. “Cotton balls could certainly create similar problems.” ”You’re really kind of playing Russian roulette when you use these types of diets,” agreed Jennifer Lombardi of the Eating Recovery Center of California. “The biggest concern is it can cause a blockage in the digestive system, and if that happens to a certain extent, they are going to end up in surgery.” Finally, making yourself full by eating indigestible material poses a serious threat of malnutrition and even starvation. More

DAYS OF LOT – Russian court upholds ‘gay propaganda’ law as constitutional

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia  – Russia’s highest court ruled Wednesday a law banning “gay propaganda” was constitutional. The ruling comes as human rights activists in Russia and elsewhere who criticize the law as discriminatory have called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics set to open in Sochi in February, the Russian Legal Information Agency reported. The decision by the Constitutional Court dismissed a complaint by gay rights campaigner Nikolai Alexeyev, who said the St. Petersburg city council acted unconstitutionally when it passed an ordinance banning the promotion of homosexuality among minors.

Fines up to $150 can be imposed on an individual violating the law and up to $15,000 for organizations. Alexeyev had been fined under the legislation for holding up a poster bearing the words: “Homosexuality is not a perversion, unlike grass hockey or ice ballet.” Alexeyev had argued the law was based on prejudice and allowed discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation. In ruling the law was constitutional, the judges said the constitution obliged the state to protect motherhood, childhood and family. The court said the law was not discriminatory because it applied equally to gay and heterosexual people. The law does not prevent adults from making their own sexual choices, the Kremlin maintains. Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed no one at the Winter Games will be discriminated against “on any basis whatsoever.” UPI Beta

Israel refuses to compromise on Jordan Valley security

Jerusalem (AFP) – Israel’s deputy defence minister ruled out Thursday any compromise on security in the Jordan Valley as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held security talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry. ”The Americans are proposing joint control over the crossing points (into Jordan),” Danny Danon told Israel’s army radio. ”From the Israeli point of view, there will not be any Palestinian presence at the crossing points,” said the deputy minister, who is a radical member of Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud party. ”An Israeli civilian and military presence in the Jordan Valley is essential.” Kerry arrived in Israel late on Wednesday in his latest attempt to drive forward the faltering peace talks which have almost reached the halfway point with very little visible progress.

US officials have said the focus this time would be on Israel’s security arrangements, although they have refused to confirm media reports that Kerry was to present Netanyahu with a plan of how this could look in the context of a peace deal. Israel has always insisted that in any final agreement, it would have to maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley, which runs down the eastern flank of the West Bank, bordering Jordan. According to a report in Maariv newspaper, when US General John Allen briefs Netanyahu during the morning meeting, he will outline a “bridging proposal” which will enable Israel to reduce, as much as possible, its military presence in the Jordan Valley. Quoting senior diplomats, the paper said the plan would outline arrangements for a transitional period and a permanent status arrangement and may include “guarantees, advanced technological equipment and unique weaponry” which would enable Israel to either “reduce or to replace its military presence along the Jordan River”. More

UPDATE: Mexican Authorities Recover Stolen Radioactive Material; No Arrests Yet

Mexican officials say a shipment of highly radioactive waste has been found near an abandoned stolen truck that was carrying the material. Authorities have not yet detained any suspects. Mexican authorities say they found the white cargo truck in a parking lot, and found the container that held the radioactive material at another location. They say there was still some cobalt-60 inside, but that they also found a small quantity outside the container.  The radioactive medical waste came from a hospital in the northern border city of Tijuana and was being taken to a radioactive waste disposal site in central Mexico when two armed men hijacked the truck north of Mexico City on Tuesday. Cobalt-60 is used for medical therapy under controlled conditions in a hospital, but authorities say that someone exposed to it without proper protection would likely die, perhaps in a matter of minutes. Mexican authorities have yet to locate the suspects, dead or alive. Police investigators speculate that the thieves may have been after the truck rather than the cargo. Fred Burton, a security analyst with Stratfor, a private intelligence firm in Austin, Texas, agrees.

“We certainly do not know the motivation for the theft of the truck and it very well may have been just that kind of truck jacking or carjacking kind of scenario, where the criminals who took this simply did not know what was being carried in the actual load,” said Burton. While it could not be used to produce a nuclear bomb, Fred Burton said that cobalt-60 could be used in a so-called “dirty bomb,” in which conventional explosives scatter radioactive material over a large area. ”This is the kind of nightmare that DHS [Department of Homeland Security] here in the United States has been concerned about for quite some time and, of course, you also have the worry of that kind of material making its way to a port of entry in the United States as well,” continued Burton. Burton said that U.S. ports of entry have for several years used highly sensitive devices to detect radioactive material. Cobalt-60 and other radioactive substances have caused numerous deaths and illnesses around the world in past incidents in which material was either stolen or accidentally left in a place accessible to the public. In the 1970s, some errant radioactive metal was used in contraction poles and even furniture in Mexico, but authorities tracked it down before it caused a widespread health problem. In Brazil in 1987, some material was left by mistake at a hospital that had been vacated and some local residents took it to their homes to watch it glow at night. Four people died in that incident and more than 200 others suffered from radiation poisoning. Voice of América

Obama to renew call for minimum wage increase as protests planned across US

Barack Obama will repeat his call for an increase in the minimum wage to close an ever-growing inequality gap in a speech delivered in one of the poorest corners of the nation’s capital. The president will deliver remarks on Wednesday in Anacostia, a deprived neighbourhood just six-miles south of the White House, the day before hundreds of fast-food restaurant workers in more than a hundred US cities strike in a major demonstration over low pay. The federal minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 an hour, or about $15,000 a year, and Obama has already indicated he will back a Senate measure to increase the minimum statutory pay to $10.10. A union-backed day of action on Thursday follows hundreds of protests last Friday targeting Walmart over pay and conditions. Obama has repeatedly laid out the case for addressing poverty, acknowledging that while the US economy has grown modestly under his tenure at the White House, unemployment has remained steadfastly high and inequality has grown. Obama is not expected to propose any new policy initiatives in the speech. But the White House says he will reiterate his call for an increase in the minimum wage and promote possible economic benefits of the troubled healthcare law.

Obama also is expected to call on Congress to make a deal on 2014 spending, pass a farm bill with enough money for food stamps and extend unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed before the end of the year. Polls show that the economy remains the single biggest concern for Americans, despite the recent focus on problems with the healthcare law. While some economic indicators are showing positive trends, unemployment remains high at 7.3%. Setting the tone for his state of the union address early next year, Obama is expected to highlight policy priorities that he has previously called for, including attracting businesses from overseas, simplifying the tax code, spending on infrastructure, improving education to compete for high-tech jobs and making college more affordable. Those ideas have been recurrent themes in Obama’s economic agenda, but most have failed to materialise. Obama has attempted to include some of those policies in past negotiations with Republicans for a comprehensive budget deal that would lower long-term deficits, raise revenue and increase upfront spending to spur the economy. But those efforts have failed and current budget negotiations between congressional Democrats and Republicans are far less ambitious. More

Multimillion-Dollar “China City” Proposed In New York

U.S. immigration officials are considering a proposal from Chinese investors to create a multibillion-dollar development in New York’s Catskills called “China City” — raising concerns among critics about the potential cost to U.S. taxpayers and, according to one analyst, the possibility it could be a “stalking horse” for the Beijing government. A spokesman from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told FoxNews.com that the proposal for Thompson, N.Y., has not been approved but is under consideration. The mysterious proposed development appears to be a step beyond the types of ethnic enclaves scattered throughout U.S. cities, like the Chinatown sections of New York City or San Francisco. The 600-acre “China City of America” is located far outside New York City in upstate New York’s wetlands and is a meticulously planned project, calling for family housing, a college and student residences, among other structures.

In addition to needing federal approval, it would likely need a host of state and local permits before ground could be broken. If approved, every province in China would have an office there and foreign investors funding the development would receive green cards for their $500,000 checks under the EB-5 program designed to lure foreign investment, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative organization staunchly opposed to the project. A detailed report authored by David North, a fellow with the Washington-based group, claimed there is “a charge from within the Chinese community that China City is a stalking horse for the Chinese communist government in Beijing.” He claimed he was told one group raised objections with the USCIS. “It’s a perfect storm of problems,” North told FoxNews.com, citing what he called dubious job creation claims by the promoters as well as national security concerns. North noted that the developers claim 20 percent of the funding would come from U.S. taxpayers, which he said was a “pipe dream.” More

U.S. intel: Iran financing North Korean ICBMs in exchange for technology, components

The U.S. intelligence community has determined that Iran and North Korea continue to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile. Officials said the intelligence community has been tracking ICBM cooperation between Pyongyang and Teheran amid the latter’s nuclear agreement with the West.  The officials said Iran was financing much of the North Korean missile program in exchange for the transfer of technology, expertise and components. “Iran could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015,” the U.S. National Air and Space Intelligence Center said. In late October, Iran sent a delegation to North Korea as part of the development of an 80-ton rocket booster that could serve as the basis of an ICBM. The Washington Free Beacon, quoting officials, said the Iranians came from the state-owned Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, which builds intermediate-range ballistic missiles. “The booster is believed by U.S. intelligence agencies to be intended for a new long-range missile or space launch vehicle that could be used to carry nuclear warheads, and could be exported to Iran in the future,” the online news site said. The booster was said to serve as a thruster for what officials termed a “super ICBM.”

They said the thruster did not resemble anything in either the Iranian or North Korean arsenal. Officials said Iran has attended virtually all intermediate- and long-range missile tests by North Korea. They said North Korean technology was determined to have helped Teheran complete its recent missile development programs, including the solid-fuel Sejil.   The administration of President Barack Obama has refused to confirm the latest developments in ICBM cooperation between Pyongyang and Teheran. But officials have acknowledged intensified North Korean missile development that was threatening U.S. allies in Asia. “If we do not see signs of North Korean sincerity, if they do not act, demonstrate that they understand they must fulfill their obligations, give up their nuclear weapons, then there’s more pressure that will be brought to bear on them,” U.S. special envoy for North Korea, Glyn Davies, said on Dec. 2. World Tribune.com

NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, 5 Billion Cellphone Locations A Day

CO-TRAVELER and related tools require the methodical collection and storage of location data on what amounts to a planetary scale. The government is tracking people from afar into confidential business meetings or personal visits to medical facilities, hotel rooms, private homes and other traditionally protected spaces.  “One of the key components of location data, and why it’s so sensitive, is that the laws of physics don’t let you keep it private,” said Chris Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union.
People who value their privacy can encrypt their e-mails and disguise their online identities, but “the only way to hide your location is to disconnect from our modern communication system and live in a cave.” The NSA cannot know in advance which tiny fraction of 1 percent of the records it may need, so it collects and keeps as many as it can — 27 terabytes, by one account, or more than double the text content of the Library of Congress’s print collection. The location programs have brought in such volumes of information, according to a May 2012 internal NSA briefing, that they are “outpacing our ability to ingest, process and store” data. In the ensuing year and a half, the NSA has been transitioning to a processing system that provided it with greater capacity. More

History Channel plans Jesus: The Lost Years series that paints Christ as a teenage EXORCIST

After the unexpected success of History Channel’s miniseries ‘The Bible’ earlier this year, the network has a new show in the works about Jesus’ so-called ‘lost years. Deadline.com exclusively reported Tuesday that the project is being produced by Eli Roth and Eric Newman, veterans of the horror genre, with Scott Kosar as the writer. History Channel’s ‘The Lost Years’ will shed light on Jesus of Nazareth’s life between the ages of 13 and 30 – a period of time the New Testament largely does not cover.  In the gospels, Jesus reappears on the scene as a grown man nearly 17 years after his pilgrimage to Jerusalem with his parents. He is then baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist and goes on to gather a group of disciples who follow him to Jerusalem, where his ministry presumably ends in crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. The cable network’s new series is based on an original idea by Kosar, whose credits include The Machinist with Christian Bale and the 2010 horror flick The Crazies. Newman is best known for his work on the 2006 Children of Men, Dawn of the Dead and the 2011 remake of John Carpenter’s horror classic The Thing.  Roth also comes from a horror background, producing Hostel in 2005 and its sequel, Hostel: Part II, among other films. Roth and Newman also jointly produced The Last Exorcism franchise.   According to Deadline.com, the trio’s new project following Jesus as a young man will explore the controversial idea that the Son of God may have started his ministry as an exorcist, ridding people’s bodies of demons. More

Westboro Baptist says Paul Walker Died Because “God Was Mad at Him”!

Actor Paul Walker, known for his roles in the popular Fast and the Furious series, died in a car crash Saturday. According to the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, Walker died because God was mad at him. The group plans on picketing his funeral. “The furious God cut off Paul Walker! Thank God for His condign wrath! WBC to picket funeral!” the cult church tweeted. “Paul Walker had a duty to live sober, righteous, godly #HeFailed #InHell Wants YOU to heed our warning (Luke 16).” The WBC Twitter account also posted a photo of Walker with some of their picket signs and wrote above the photo: “God Almighty to Paul Walker: ‘Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.’” Below the photo it said, “Paul served himself & the gods of this world (money, fame, excess of riot, etc.) while refusing to serve His creator & use his platform to encourage his neighbors to do the same. He’s in Hell & Westboro will #PicketFuneral.” Walker, 40, reportedly grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in California and later became a Christian. “I’m a Christian now,” Walker said, according to his biography on imdb.com.

“The people I don’t understand are atheists. I’m always around nature. I look at everything and think, ‘Who couldn’t believe there’s a God? Is all this a mistake?’ It just blows me away.” The actor’s 15-year-old daughter, Meadow, recently moved to California from Hawaii to spend more time with him. Walker said in an August interview with GQ that he had planned to reassess his life after turning 40 and possibly go in a completely different direction from acting, but his daughter encouraged him to continue acting. “I thought at this point in my life I would need to be home with her,” Walker told GQ, “but she wants me to keep acting so she can travel around the world with me. Would that be so bad?” “Thing is,” he continued, “I went to a born-again Christian high school, was brought up in a traditional Mormon family where these ideas about parenting are of structure and sacrifice. To think outside of that idea of family and parenting that I’ve grown up with is tough, but also very freeing.” More

Pastor Robbed, Threatened at Knifepoint as Health Deteriorates in Iranian Prison

American pastor Saeed Abedini not only faces deadly conditions in Iran’s Rajai Shahr Prison, but we can now confirm that he faces direct threats on his life from other prisoners. Abedini’s Iranian family was able to visit him yesterday—the second visitation allowed since he was transferred to the deadly new prison last month. Abedini is facing constant threats to his very life in the new prison. There have been several nights where he has awoken to men standing over him with knives. Abedini’s “cell” is only separated by a curtain from the rest of the violent prisoner ward he is forced to share, allowing dangerous prisoners—murderers and rapists—unfettered access to him 24 hours a day. He has also been robbed at knifepoint several times, stripping him of what few necessities he has been permitted to purchase for personal hygiene. As a result of the robberies, the utterly deplorable conditions of the prison and the lack of doctor-prescribed medication being withheld by prison authorities, Abedini’s health has quickly deteriorated. The pain in his stomach has returned, and he is now experiencing increased pain in what he described to his family as his kidneys. As a result of repeated beatings in Evin Prison, he suffered from internal bleeding. After months of being refused medical care, he was allowed to see a doctor and was prescribed medication earlier this year. As a result of that medication, his physical condition had improved and his pain had subsided. However, since being moved from Evin to Rajai Shahr last month, Iranian officials have refused to allow him this critical medication, and his condition is worsening. More

Too Big To Fail Banks Are Taking Over As Number Of U.S. Banks Falls To All-Time Record Low

The too big to fail banks have a larger share of the U.S. banking industry than they have ever had before.  So if having banks that were too big to fail was a “problem” back in 2008, what is it today?  As you will read about below, the total number of banks in the United States has fallen to a brand new all-time record low and that means that the health of the too big to fail banks is now more critical to our economy than ever.  In 1985, there were more than 18,000 banks in the United States.  Today, there are only 6,891 left, and that number continues to drop every single year.  That means that more than 10,000 U.S. banks have gone out of existence since 1985.  Meanwhile, the too big to fail banks just keep on getting even bigger.  In fact, the six largest banks in the United States (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) have collectively gotten 37 percent larger over the past five years.  If even one of those banks collapses, it would be absolutely crippling to the U.S. economy.  If several of them were to collapse at the same time, it could potentially plunge us into an economic depression unlike anything that this nation has ever seen before.  More

Kerry: Israel’s security at the top of US agenda in Iran nuclear talks

The bond between the US and Israel is “unbreakable,” and while there may be tactical differences between the two countries occasionally, the long term strategy for Israel’s security and peace in the region is the same, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Jerusalem Thursday. Kerry’s comments, following a meeting with Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu, came after a month of high-profile, public disagreement between Washington and Jerusalem both over the policy toward Iran, and the talks with the Palestinians. The two men, who both referred to the other as “my friend,” took pains to present a common and amiable front.  Netanyahu, who has been unsparing in his criticism of the interim accord the P5+1 reached with Iran in Geneva last month,  toned down his criticism a bit, concentrating on what he believes should be in the final deal with Iran, as well as reiterating his concern that the sanctions regime against Iran is in danger of unraveling. In a final deal, he said, “we believe it is crucial to bring about a final agreement about the termination of Iran’s military nuclear capability.”  He also said that steps must be taken to “prevent the further erosion of sanctions.” Kerry, in his brief comments, addressed both these concerns. ”I can’t emphasis enough that Israel’s security in this negotiation is at the top of our agenda, and the US will do everything in our power to make certain that Iran’s nuclear  program, [and] weaponization possibilities are terminated,” he said. More

China’s airspace zone has caused apprehension: Biden

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s new air defense identification zone over the East China Sea has caused “significant” unease in the region, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday, adding he had stated Washington’s firm objection to the move during talks in Beijing. Biden had around five hours of discussions with President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, with both leaders laying out their perspective on an issue that has rattled East Asia. The zone, two thirds the size of Britain, covers an area that includes islands at the heart of a territorial dispute with Japan. In response, China’s Foreign Ministry said Biden had been told the zone accorded with international law and that the United States should respect it. ”China’s recent and sudden announcement of the establishment of a new air defense identification zone has, to state the obvious, caused significant apprehension in the region,” Biden told a gathering of U.S. executives in Beijing. ”I was very direct about our firm position and our expectations in my conversations with President Xi.” Beijing’s announcement of the zone on November 23 has triggered protests from the United States, Japan and South Korea.

Precipitation declines in U.S. Pacific Northwest Mountains

IDAHO – Recent Forest Service studies on high-elevation climate trends in the Pacific Northwest United States show that streamflow declines tie directly to decreases and changes in winter winds that bring precipitation across the region. Scientists believe the driving factors behind this finding relates to natural climate variations and man-made climate change. Research Hydrologist Charlie Luce, with the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Aquatic Sciences Laboratory in Boise, Idaho, along with cooperators at the University of Idaho and the US Forest Service Northern Region, reflect on the decline of precipitation in the region’s mountains for 60 years. Increasing wildfire area and earlier and lower streamflows have generally been attributed to warming temperatures. “Our research,” says Luce, “suggests that an alternative mechanism – decreases in winter winds leading to decreased precipitation – may compound the changes expected from warming alone. This is important because mountains are a primary water source for the region. Less precipitation leads to reduced runoff for communities, industry and agriculture. Decreased precipitation also exacerbates early snowmelt tied to warming temperatures. Acknowledging the effects of decreasing precipitation requires changes in how resource specialists approach climate change adaptation for water resources and forest management compared to preparing for increased temperature alone,” he said. According to Luce, this may present important implications for changes in mountain precipitation and future water availability for other areas as well. EP

Pompeii: the day a doomsday volcano wiped a city off the map

NAPLES, Italy – Mount Vesuvius, a volcano near the Bay of Naples in Italy, is hundreds of thousands of years old and has erupted more than 50 times. Its most famous eruption took place in the year 79 A.D., when the volcano buried the ancient Roman city of Pompeii under a thick carpet of volcanic ash. The dust “poured across the land” like a flood, one witness wrote, and shrouded the city in “a darkness…like the black of closed and unlighted rooms.” Two thousand people died, and the city was abandoned for almost as many years. The blast sent a plume of ashes, pumice and other rocks, and scorching-hot volcanic gases so high into the sky that people could see it for hundreds of miles around. As it cooled, this tower of debris drifted to earth: first the fine-grained ash, then the lightweight chunks of pumice and other rocks. It was terrifying–“I believed I was perishing with the world,” Pliny wrote, “and the world with me”–but not yet lethal: Most Pompeiians had plenty of time to flee. For those who stayed behind, however, conditions soon grew worse. As more and more ash fell, it clogged the air, making it difficult to breathe. Buildings collapsed. Then, a “pyroclastic surge”–a 100-miles-per-hour surge of superheated poison gas and pulverized rock–poured down the side of the mountain and swallowed everything and everyone in its path. EP

Twin volcanoes erupt on volcanic island of Vanuatu

VANUATU – Steam and ash stream from the twin volcanoes on the island of Ambrym in the Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu, as seen in a picture captured from the International Space Station as it passed overhead. “Not every day you get to see an active volcano, let alone two,” NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins tweeted on Monday. Ambrym is literally one of the hotspots for volcano tourists, but it has been known to turn deadly in the past. Extinction Protocol

BIRTHPANGS: 2013 marks record year for the number of volcanoes erupting across the planet

This year will go down on record, as seeing the most volcanic eruptions recorded in modern history. The previous number was set in 2010, at 82 volcanic eruptions for the year. The number of volcanoes erupting across the planet has been steadily rising from a meager number of just 55 recorded in 1990. While most scientists may readily dismiss any significance to the latest figures and may be quick to say the planet is just experiencing normal geological activity, it does raise other concerns about just what may be transpiring within the interior of our planet. The average number of volcanic eruptions per year should be about 50 to 60; as of December 5, 2013, we already at 83. Volcanic eruptions are one way the planet dissipates a dangerous build-up of heat, magma, and pressurized gases. The planet’s outer core is thought to flirt with critical temperatures in the range of around 4400 °C (8000 °F). Any rise or major fluctuation in interior gradient could have profound and disruptive effects on processes whose very properties are government by convective heat emanating from the planet’s outer core: magnetic field propagation, tectonic plate movements, sea-floor spreading mechanics, and mantle plume activity. Mantle plumes or hotspots are thought to be the central mechanism which fuels the vast underground chambers of many of the world’s

Ice Storm to Threaten Widespread Power Outages Centered on Arkansas

A swath of ice and a wintry mix later this week threatens to slow travel and cut power from parts of Texas to Kentucky. As dangerous cold sweeps southward and eastward over the Plains and Midwest in the wake of a North Central states snowstorm, it will set up a weather pattern favoring a narrow zone of freezing rain, sleet and some snow late this week.  The icy mix will spread from part of northern Texas Thursday to northern and western Arkansas, central Kentucky and southern Ohio Thursday night into early Friday. The potential for slippery travel includes the cities of Dallas; Little Rock, Ark.; Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Paducah, Ky.; and Cincinnati. More snow, rather than ice, will fall farther to the northeast into the central parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, as well as in western and central Pennsylvania and upstate New York.  There is the potential for ice and a wintry mix to last more than a few hours. In some locations, a glaze of ice may span several days and last into the weekend. ”Such an icing event could result in power outages ranging from a local to regional basis,” AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity said, “At the apex of the ice may be portions of Arkansas.” More

Villagers’ shock as Slovakian waterway turns red overnight ‘like something from a horror film’

Rumours were rife in a Slovakian town this week when a river running through turned bright red. The river in Myjava, a small municipality on the border to the Czech Republic, had changed colour over night and turned into ‘blood’. Police have been called in to investigate the matter, but it is believed to be a faulty filtering system from a slaughterhouse upstream.  Roman Podbrezova, 65, had gone for a morning walk when he saw the drastic change to the river which runs through the centre of the town. ‘I just could not believe my eyes,’ he said. ‘

The river was dark red. It was like something from a horror film. Blood cascading through the centre of town.’  Another local said: ‘This is really creepy. Yesterday evening I walked past here and it was its normal colour. ‘Now it looks like someone slaughtered 1,000 virgins or something. I’m not superstitious, and we’ve never had any serial killers or anything like that here, but this isn’t normal.  Another local said: ‘This is really creepy. Yesterday evening I walked past here and it was its normal colour. ‘Now it looks like someone slaughtered 1,000 virgins or something. I’m not superstitious, and we’ve never had any serial killers or anything like that here, but this isn’t normal. Mail Online

BREAKING NEWS: 2 million Facebook, Gmail and Twitter passwords stolen in massive hack

Hackers have stolen usernames and passwords for nearly two million accounts at Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and others, according to a report released this week. The massive data breach was a result of keylogging software maliciously installed on an untold number of computers around the world, researchers at cybersecurity firm Trustwave said. The virus was capturing log-in credentials for key websites over the past month and sending those usernames and passwords to a server controlled by the hackers. On Nov. 24, Trustwave researchers tracked that server, located in the Netherlands. They discovered compromised credentials for more than 93,000 websites, including: More

DAYS OF LOT – Russian court upholds ‘gay propaganda’ law as constitutional

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia  – Russia’s highest court ruled Wednesday a law banning “gay propaganda” was constitutional. The ruling comes as human rights activists in Russia and elsewhere who criticize the law as discriminatory have called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics set to open in Sochi in February, the Russian Legal Information Agency reported. The decision by the Constitutional Court dismissed a complaint by gay rights campaigner Nikolai Alexeyev, who said the St. Petersburg city council acted unconstitutionally when it passed an ordinance banning the promotion of homosexuality among minors.

Fines up to $150 can be imposed on an individual violating the law and up to $15,000 for organizations. Alexeyev had been fined under the legislation for holding up a poster bearing the words: “Homosexuality is not a perversion, unlike grass hockey or ice ballet.” Alexeyev had argued the law was based on prejudice and allowed discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation. In ruling the law was constitutional, the judges said the constitution obliged the state to protect motherhood, childhood and family. The court said the law was not discriminatory because it applied equally to gay and heterosexual people. The law does not prevent adults from making their own sexual choices, the Kremlin maintains. Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed no one at the Winter Games will be discriminated against “on any basis whatsoever.” UPI Beta

Israel refuses to compromise on Jordan Valley security

Jerusalem (AFP) – Israel’s deputy defence minister ruled out Thursday any compromise on security in the Jordan Valley as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held security talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry. ”The Americans are proposing joint control over the crossing points (into Jordan),” Danny Danon told Israel’s army radio. ”From the Israeli point of view, there will not be any Palestinian presence at the crossing points,” said the deputy minister, who is a radical member of Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud party. ”An Israeli civilian and military presence in the Jordan Valley is essential.” Kerry arrived in Israel late on Wednesday in his latest attempt to drive forward the faltering peace talks which have almost reached the halfway point with very little visible progress.

US officials have said the focus this time would be on Israel’s security arrangements, although they have refused to confirm media reports that Kerry was to present Netanyahu with a plan of how this could look in the context of a peace deal. Israel has always insisted that in any final agreement, it would have to maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley, which runs down the eastern flank of the West Bank, bordering Jordan. According to a report in Maariv newspaper, when US General John Allen briefs Netanyahu during the morning meeting, he will outline a “bridging proposal” which will enable Israel to reduce, as much as possible, its military presence in the Jordan Valley. Quoting senior diplomats, the paper said the plan would outline arrangements for a transitional period and a permanent status arrangement and may include “guarantees, advanced technological equipment and unique weaponry” which would enable Israel to either “reduce or to replace its military presence along the Jordan River”. More

UPDATE: Mexican Authorities Recover Stolen Radioactive Material; No Arrests Yet

Mexican officials say a shipment of highly radioactive waste has been found near an abandoned stolen truck that was carrying the material. Authorities have not yet detained any suspects. Mexican authorities say they found the white cargo truck in a parking lot, and found the container that held the radioactive material at another location. They say there was still some cobalt-60 inside, but that they also found a small quantity outside the container.  The radioactive medical waste came from a hospital in the northern border city of Tijuana and was being taken to a radioactive waste disposal site in central Mexico when two armed men hijacked the truck north of Mexico City on Tuesday. Cobalt-60 is used for medical therapy under controlled conditions in a hospital, but authorities say that someone exposed to it without proper protection would likely die, perhaps in a matter of minutes. Mexican authorities have yet to locate the suspects, dead or alive. Police investigators speculate that the thieves may have been after the truck rather than the cargo. Fred Burton, a security analyst with Stratfor, a private intelligence firm in Austin, Texas, agrees.

“We certainly do not know the motivation for the theft of the truck and it very well may have been just that kind of truck jacking or carjacking kind of scenario, where the criminals who took this simply did not know what was being carried in the actual load,” said Burton. While it could not be used to produce a nuclear bomb, Fred Burton said that cobalt-60 could be used in a so-called “dirty bomb,” in which conventional explosives scatter radioactive material over a large area. ”This is the kind of nightmare that DHS [Department of Homeland Security] here in the United States has been concerned about for quite some time and, of course, you also have the worry of that kind of material making its way to a port of entry in the United States as well,” continued Burton. Burton said that U.S. ports of entry have for several years used highly sensitive devices to detect radioactive material. Cobalt-60 and other radioactive substances have caused numerous deaths and illnesses around the world in past incidents in which material was either stolen or accidentally left in a place accessible to the public. In the 1970s, some errant radioactive metal was used in contraction poles and even furniture in Mexico, but authorities tracked it down before it caused a widespread health problem. In Brazil in 1987, some material was left by mistake at a hospital that had been vacated and some local residents took it to their homes to watch it glow at night. Four people died in that incident and more than 200 others suffered from radiation poisoning. Voice of America

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Obama to renew call for minimum wage increase as protests planned across US

Barack Obama will repeat his call for an increase in the minimum wage to close an ever-growing inequality gap in a speech delivered in one of the poorest corners of the nation’s capital. The president will deliver remarks on Wednesday in Anacostia, a deprived neighbourhood just six-miles south of the White House, the day before hundreds of fast-food restaurant workers in more than a hundred US cities strike in a major demonstration over low pay. The federal minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 an hour, or about $15,000 a year, and Obama has already indicated he will back a Senate measure to increase the minimum statutory pay to $10.10. A union-backed day of action on Thursday follows hundreds of protests last Friday targeting Walmart over pay and conditions. Obama has repeatedly laid out the case for addressing poverty, acknowledging that while the US economy has grown modestly under his tenure at the White House, unemployment has remained steadfastly high and inequality has grown. Obama is not expected to propose any new policy initiatives in the speech. But the White House says he will reiterate his call for an increase in the minimum wage and promote possible economic benefits of the troubled healthcare law.

Obama also is expected to call on Congress to make a deal on 2014 spending, pass a farm bill with enough money for food stamps and extend unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed before the end of the year. Polls show that the economy remains the single biggest concern for Americans, despite the recent focus on problems with the healthcare law. While some economic indicators are showing positive trends, unemployment remains high at 7.3%. Setting the tone for his state of the union address early next year, Obama is expected to highlight policy priorities that he has previously called for, including attracting businesses from overseas, simplifying the tax code, spending on infrastructure, improving education to compete for high-tech jobs and making college more affordable. Those ideas have been recurrent themes in Obama’s economic agenda, but most have failed to materialise. Obama has attempted to include some of those policies in past negotiations with Republicans for a comprehensive budget deal that would lower long-term deficits, raise revenue and increase upfront spending to spur the economy. But those efforts have failed and current budget negotiations between congressional Democrats and Republicans are far less ambitious. More

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Multimillion-Dollar “China City” Proposed In New York

U.S. immigration officials are considering a proposal from Chinese investors to create a multibillion-dollar development in New York’s Catskills called “China City” — raising concerns among critics about the potential cost to U.S. taxpayers and, according to one analyst, the possibility it could be a “stalking horse” for the Beijing government. A spokesman from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told FoxNews.com that the proposal for Thompson, N.Y., has not been approved but is under consideration. The mysterious proposed development appears to be a step beyond the types of ethnic enclaves scattered throughout U.S. cities, like the Chinatown sections of New York City or San Francisco. The 600-acre “China City of America” is located far outside New York City in upstate New York’s wetlands and is a meticulously planned project, calling for family housing, a college and student residences, among other structures.

In addition to needing federal approval, it would likely need a host of state and local permits before ground could be broken. If approved, every province in China would have an office there and foreign investors funding the development would receive green cards for their $500,000 checks under the EB-5 program designed to lure foreign investment, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative organization staunchly opposed to the project. A detailed report authored by David North, a fellow with the Washington-based group, claimed there is “a charge from within the Chinese community that China City is a stalking horse for the Chinese communist government in Beijing.” He claimed he was told one group raised objections with the USCIS. “It’s a perfect storm of problems,” North told FoxNews.com, citing what he called dubious job creation claims by the promoters as well as national security concerns. North noted that the developers claim 20 percent of the funding would come from U.S. taxpayers, which he said was a “pipe dream.” More

U.S. intel: Iran financing North Korean ICBMs in exchange for technology, components

The U.S. intelligence community has determined that Iran and North Korea continue to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile. Officials said the intelligence community has been tracking ICBM cooperation between Pyongyang and Teheran amid the latter’s nuclear agreement with the West.  The officials said Iran was financing much of the North Korean missile program in exchange for the transfer of technology, expertise and components. “Iran could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015,” the U.S. National Air and Space Intelligence Center said. In late October, Iran sent a delegation to North Korea as part of the development of an 80-ton rocket booster that could serve as the basis of an ICBM. The Washington Free Beacon, quoting officials, said the Iranians came from the state-owned Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, which builds intermediate-range ballistic missiles. “The booster is believed by U.S. intelligence agencies to be intended for a new long-range missile or space launch vehicle that could be used to carry nuclear warheads, and could be exported to Iran in the future,” the online news site said. The booster was said to serve as a thruster for what officials termed a “super ICBM.”

They said the thruster did not resemble anything in either the Iranian or North Korean arsenal. Officials said Iran has attended virtually all intermediate- and long-range missile tests by North Korea. They said North Korean technology was determined to have helped Teheran complete its recent missile development programs, including the solid-fuel Sejil.   The administration of President Barack Obama has refused to confirm the latest developments in ICBM cooperation between Pyongyang and Teheran. But officials have acknowledged intensified North Korean missile development that was threatening U.S. allies in Asia. “If we do not see signs of North Korean sincerity, if they do not act, demonstrate that they understand they must fulfill their obligations, give up their nuclear weapons, then there’s more pressure that will be brought to bear on them,” U.S. special envoy for North Korea, Glyn Davies, said on Dec. 2. World Tribune.co

NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, 5 Billion Cellphone Locations A Day

CO-TRAVELER and related tools require the methodical collection and storage of location data on what amounts to a planetary scale. The government is tracking people from afar into confidential business meetings or personal visits to medical facilities, hotel rooms, private homes and other traditionally protected spaces.  “One of the key components of location data, and why it’s so sensitive, is that the laws of physics don’t let you keep it private,” said Chris Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union.
People who value their privacy can encrypt their e-mails and disguise their online identities, but “the only way to hide your location is to disconnect from our modern communication system and live in a cave.” The NSA cannot know in advance which tiny fraction of 1 percent of the records it may need, so it collects and keeps as many as it can — 27 terabytes, by one account, or more than double the text content of the Library of Congress’s print collection. The location programs have brought in such volumes of information, according to a May 2012 internal NSA briefing, that they are “outpacing our ability to ingest, process and store” data. In the ensuing year and a half, the NSA has been transitioning to a processing system that provided it with greater capacity. More

History Channel plans Jesus: The Lost Years series that paints Christ as a teenage EXORCIST

After the unexpected success of History Channel’s miniseries ‘The Bible’ earlier this year, the network has a new show in the works about Jesus’ so-called ‘lost years. Deadline.com exclusively reported Tuesday that the project is being produced by Eli Roth and Eric Newman, veterans of the horror genre, with Scott Kosar as the writer. History Channel’s ‘The Lost Years’ will shed light on Jesus of Nazareth’s life between the ages of 13 and 30 – a period of time the New Testament largely does not cover.  In the gospels, Jesus reappears on the scene as a grown man nearly 17 years after his pilgrimage to Jerusalem with his parents. He is then baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist and goes on to gather a group of disciples who follow him to Jerusalem, where his ministry presumably ends in crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. The cable network’s new series is based on an original idea by Kosar, whose credits include The Machinist with Christian Bale and the 2010 horror flick The Crazies. Newman is best known for his work on the 2006 Children of Men, Dawn of the Dead and the 2011 remake of John Carpenter’s horror classic The Thing.  Roth also comes from a horror background, producing Hostel in 2005 and its sequel, Hostel: Part II, among other films. Roth and Newman also jointly produced The Last Exorcism franchise.   According to Deadline.com, the trio’s new project following Jesus as a young man will explore the controversial idea that the Son of God may have started his ministry as an exorcist, ridding people’s bodies of demons. More

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Westboro Baptist says Paul Walker Died Because “God Was Mad at Him”!

Actor Paul Walker, known for his roles in the popular Fast and the Furious series, died in a car crash Saturday. According to the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, Walker died because God was mad at him. The group plans on picketing his funeral. “The furious God cut off Paul Walker! Thank God for His condign wrath! WBC to picket funeral!” the cult church tweeted. “Paul Walker had a duty to live sober, righteous, godly #HeFailed #InHell Wants YOU to heed our warning (Luke 16).” The WBC Twitter account also posted a photo of Walker with some of their picket signs and wrote above the photo: “God Almighty to Paul Walker: ‘Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.’” Below the photo it said, “Paul served himself & the gods of this world (money, fame, excess of riot, etc.) while refusing to serve His creator & use his platform to encourage his neighbors to do the same. He’s in Hell & Westboro will #PicketFuneral.” Walker, 40, reportedly grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in California and later became a Christian. “I’m a Christian now,” Walker said, according to his biography on imdb.com.

“The people I don’t understand are atheists. I’m always around nature. I look at everything and think, ‘Who couldn’t believe there’s a God? Is all this a mistake?’ It just blows me away.” The actor’s 15-year-old daughter, Meadow, recently moved to California from Hawaii to spend more time with him. Walker said in an August interview with GQ that he had planned to reassess his life after turning 40 and possibly go in a completely different direction from acting, but his daughter encouraged him to continue acting. “I thought at this point in my life I would need to be home with her,” Walker told GQ, “but she wants me to keep acting so she can travel around the world with me. Would that be so bad?” “Thing is,” he continued, “I went to a born-again Christian high school, was brought up in a traditional Mormon family where these ideas about parenting are of structure and sacrifice. To think outside of that idea of family and parenting that I’ve grown up with is tough, but also very freeing.” More

Pastor Robbed, Threatened at Knifepoint as Health Deteriorates in Iranian Prison

American pastor Saeed Abedini not only faces deadly conditions in Iran’s Rajai Shahr Prison, but we can now confirm that he faces direct threats on his life from other prisoners. Abedini’s Iranian family was able to visit him yesterday—the second visitation allowed since he was transferred to the deadly new prison last month. Abedini is facing constant threats to his very life in the new prison. There have been several nights where he has awoken to men standing over him with knives. Abedini’s “cell” is only separated by a curtain from the rest of the violent prisoner ward he is forced to share, allowing dangerous prisoners—murderers and rapists—unfettered access to him 24 hours a day. He has also been robbed at knifepoint several times, stripping him of what few necessities he has been permitted to purchase for personal hygiene. As a result of the robberies, the utterly deplorable conditions of the prison and the lack of doctor-prescribed medication being withheld by prison authorities, Abedini’s health has quickly deteriorated. The pain in his stomach has returned, and he is now experiencing increased pain in what he described to his family as his kidneys. As a result of repeated beatings in Evin Prison, he suffered from internal bleeding. After months of being refused medical care, he was allowed to see a doctor and was prescribed medication earlier this year. As a result of that medication, his physical condition had improved and his pain had subsided. However, since being moved from Evin to Rajai Shahr last month, Iranian officials have refused to allow him this critical medication, and his condition is worsening. More

Too Big To Fail Banks Are Taking Over As Number Of U.S. Banks Falls To All-Time Record Low

The too big to fail banks have a larger share of the U.S. banking industry than they have ever had before.  So if having banks that were too big to fail was a “problem” back in 2008, what is it today?  As you will read about below, the total number of banks in the United States has fallen to a brand new all-time record low and that means that the health of the too big to fail banks is now more critical to our economy than ever.  In 1985, there were more than 18,000 banks in the United States.  Today, there are only 6,891 left, and that number continues to drop every single year.  That means that more than 10,000 U.S. banks have gone out of existence since 1985.  Meanwhile, the too big to fail banks just keep on getting even bigger.  In fact, the six largest banks in the United States (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) have collectively gotten 37 percent larger over the past five years.  If even one of those banks collapses, it would be absolutely crippling to the U.S. economy.  If several of them were to collapse at the same time, it could potentially plunge us into an economic depression unlike anything that this nation has ever seen before.  More

Kerry: Israel’s security at the top of US agenda in Iran nuclear talks

The bond between the US and Israel is “unbreakable,” and while there may be tactical differences between the two countries occasionally, the long term strategy for Israel’s security and peace in the region is the same, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Jerusalem Thursday. Kerry’s comments, following a meeting with Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu, came after a month of high-profile, public disagreement between Washington and Jerusalem both over the policy toward Iran, and the talks with the Palestinians. The two men, who both referred to the other as “my friend,” took pains to present a common and amiable front.  Netanyahu, who has been unsparing in his criticism of the interim accord the P5+1 reached with Iran in Geneva last month,  toned down his criticism a bit, concentrating on what he believes should be in the final deal with Iran, as well as reiterating his concern that the sanctions regime against Iran is in danger of unraveling. In a final deal, he said, “we believe it is crucial to bring about a final agreement about the termination of Iran’s military nuclear capability.”  He also said that steps must be taken to “prevent the further erosion of sanctions.” Kerry, in his brief comments, addressed both these concerns. ”I can’t emphasis enough that Israel’s security in this negotiation is at the top of our agenda, and the US will do everything in our power to make certain that Iran’s nuclear  program, [and] weaponization possibilities are terminated,” he said. More

China’s airspace zone has caused apprehension: Biden

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s new air defense identification zone over the East China Sea has caused “significant” unease in the region, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday, adding he had stated Washington’s firm objection to the move during talks in Beijing. Biden had around five hours of discussions with President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, with both leaders laying out their perspective on an issue that has rattled East Asia. The zone, two thirds the size of Britain, covers an area that includes islands at the heart of a territorial dispute with Japan. In response, China’s Foreign Ministry said Biden had been told the zone accorded with international law and that the United States should respect it. ”China’s recent and sudden announcement of the establishment of a new air defense identification zone has, to state the obvious, caused significant apprehension in the region,” Biden told a gathering of U.S. executives in Beijing. ”I was very direct about our firm position and our expectations in my conversations with President Xi.” Beijing’s announcement of the zone on November 23 has triggered protests from the United States, Japan and South Korea. More

Precipitation declines in U.S. Pacific Northwest Mountains

IDAHO – Recent Forest Service studies on high-elevation climate trends in the Pacific Northwest United States show that streamflow declines tie directly to decreases and changes in winter winds that bring precipitation across the region. Scientists believe the driving factors behind this finding relates to natural climate variations and man-made climate change. Research Hydrologist Charlie Luce, with the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Aquatic Sciences Laboratory in Boise, Idaho, along with cooperators at the University of Idaho and the US Forest Service Northern Region, reflect on the decline of precipitation in the region’s mountains for 60 years. Increasing wildfire area and earlier and lower streamflows have generally been attributed to warming temperatures. “Our research,” says Luce, “suggests that an alternative mechanism – decreases in winter winds leading to decreased precipitation – may compound the changes expected from warming alone. This is important because mountains are a primary water source for the region. Less precipitation leads to reduced runoff for communities, industry and agriculture. Decreased precipitation also exacerbates early snowmelt tied to warming temperatures. Acknowledging the effects of decreasing precipitation requires changes in how resource specialists approach climate change adaptation for water resources and forest management compared to preparing for increased temperature alone,” he said. According to Luce, this may present important implications for changes in mountain precipitation and future water availability for other areas as well. EP

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Twin volcanoes erupt on volcanic island of Vanuatu

VANUATU – Steam and ash stream from the twin volcanoes on the island of Ambrym in the Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu, as seen in a picture captured from the International Space Station as it passed overhead. “Not every day you get to see an active volcano, let alone two,” NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins tweeted on Monday. Ambrym is literally one of the hotspots for volcano tourists, but it has been known to turn deadly in the past. Extinction Protocol

BIRTHPANGS: 2013 marks record year for the number of volcanoes erupting across the planet

This year will go down on record, as seeing the most volcanic eruptions recorded in modern history. The previous number was set in 2010, at 82 volcanic eruptions for the year. The number of volcanoes erupting across the planet has been steadily rising from a meager number of just 55 recorded in 1990. While most scientists may readily dismiss any significance to the latest figures and may be quick to say the planet is just experiencing normal geological activity, it does raise other concerns about just what may be transpiring within the interior of our planet. The average number of volcanic eruptions per year should be about 50 to 60; as of December 5, 2013, we already at 83. Volcanic eruptions are one way the planet dissipates a dangerous build-up of heat, magma, and pressurized gases. The planet’s outer core is thought to flirt with critical temperatures in the range of around 4400 °C (8000 °F). Any rise or major fluctuation in interior gradient could have profound and disruptive effects on processes whose very properties are government by convective heat emanating from the planet’s outer core: magnetic field propagation, tectonic plate movements, sea-floor spreading mechanics, and mantle plume activity. Mantle plumes or hotspots are thought to be the central mechanism which fuels the vast underground chambers of many of the world’s supervolcanoes. –The Extinction Protocol

Ice Storm to Threaten Widespread Power Outages Centered on Arkansas

A swath of ice and a wintry mix later this week threatens to slow travel and cut power from parts of Texas to Kentucky. As dangerous cold sweeps southward and eastward over the Plains and Midwest in the wake of a North Central states snowstorm, it will set up a weather pattern favoring a narrow zone of freezing rain, sleet and some snow late this week.  The icy mix will spread from part of northern Texas Thursday to northern and western Arkansas, central Kentucky and southern Ohio Thursday night into early Friday. The potential for slippery travel includes the cities of Dallas; Little Rock, Ark.; Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Paducah, Ky.; and Cincinnati. More snow, rather than ice, will fall farther to the northeast into the central parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, as well as in western and central Pennsylvania and upstate New York.  There is the potential for ice and a wintry mix to last more than a few hours. In some locations, a glaze of ice may span several days and last into the weekend. ”Such an icing event could result in power outages ranging from a local to regional basis,” AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity said, “At the apex of the ice may be portions of Arkansas.” More

Villagers’ shock as Slovakian waterway turns red overnight ‘like something from a horror film’

Rumours were rife in a Slovakian town this week when a river running through turned bright red. The river in Myjava, a small municipality on the border to the Czech Republic, had changed colour over night and turned into ‘blood’. Police have been called in to investigate the matter, but it is believed to be a faulty filtering system from a slaughterhouse upstream.  Roman Podbrezova, 65, had gone for a morning walk when he saw the drastic change to the river which runs through the centre of the town. ‘I just could not believe my eyes,’ he said. ‘

The river was dark red. It was like something from a horror film. Blood cascading through the centre of town.’  Another local said: ‘This is really creepy. Yesterday evening I walked past here and it was its normal colour. ‘Now it looks like someone slaughtered 1,000 virgins or something. I’m not superstitious, and we’ve never had any serial killers or anything like that here, but this isn’t normal.  Another local said: ‘This is really creepy. Yesterday evening I walked past here and it was its normal colour. ‘Now it looks like someone slaughtered 1,000 virgins or something. I’m not superstitious, and we’ve never had any serial killers or anything like that here, but this isn’t normal. Mail Online

BREAKING NEWS: 2 million Facebook,

Scientists Discover 400,000-Year-Old Human DNA…Raising New Mysteries

05dna-1-articleLargeScientists have found the oldest DNA evidence yet of humans’ biological history. But instead of neatly clarifying human evolution, the finding is adding new mysteries.  In a paper in the journal Nature, scientists reported Wednesday that they had retrieved ancient human DNA from a fossil dating back about 400,000 years, shattering the previous record of 100,000 years. The fossil, a thigh bone found in Spain, had previously seemed to many experts to belong to a forerunner of Neanderthals. But its DNA tells a very different story. It most closely resembles DNA from an enigmatic lineage of humans known as Denisovans.

Until now, Denisovans were known only from DNA retrieved from 80,000-year-old remains in Siberia, 4,000 miles east of where the new DNA was found. The mismatch between the anatomical and genetic evidence surprised the scientists, who are now rethinking human evolution over the past few hundred thousand years. It is possible, for example, that there are many extinct human populations that scientists have yet to discover. They might have interbred, swapping DNA. Scientists hope that further studies of extremely ancient human DNA will clarify the mystery. More

Cold snap felt across western half of nation

A wintry storm pushing through the western half of the country is bringing bitterly cold temperatures that prompted safety warnings for residents in the Rockies and threatened crops as far south as California. The jet stream is much farther south than normal, allowing the cold air to push in from the Arctic and drop temperatures by 20 to 40 degrees below normal levels, AccuWeather meteorologist Tom Kines said Tuesday. Areas of Montana and the Dakotas were forecast to reach lows in the minus-20s, while parts of California could see the thermometer drop to the 20s. The icy arctic blast was expected to be followed by another one later in the week, creating an extended period of cold weather that hasn’t been seen since the late 1990s, meteorologists said. Officials warned residents to protect themselves against frostbite if they are going to be outside for any length of time. ”When it gets this cold, you don’t need 30, 40 mile-per-hour winds to get that wind chill down to dangerous levels. All it takes is a little breeze,” Kines said. The storm hit the northern Rockies on Monday and Tuesday, dumping up to 2 feet of snow in the mountains and in Yellowstone National Park. More

BAD BLOOD: Biden gets sharp rebuke in China

One day after he spoke with leaders in embattled neighbor Japan, Vice President Joe Biden met with officials in China on Wednesday amid an escalating argument between Asian nations that has attracted the attention of the United States. A meeting between Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping scheduled for only 45 minutes this week turned into a two hour ordeal and ended with the US senator-turned-second-in-command offering brief remarks but answering no questions before a press scrum in Beijing. Speaking with reporters amid a stalemate that started late last month between China and Japan over disputed airspace, Biden made no explicit reference to the conflict but expressed a need for trust to develop between all those involved. The relationship between the US and China, Biden said, “ultimately has to be based on trust, and a positive notion about the motive of one another.” Late November, Chinese officials declared a portion of the East China Sea long claimed by Japan to fall within their own air defense border, causing a row to erupt between both countries and then the US, which has so far also managed to involve the likes of South Korea and Taiwan. The Pentagon soon after deployed a fleet of B-52 bombers through the region unannounced in defiance of China’s orders, then moved a next-generation surveillance aircraft towards Japan to await orders, provoking criticism from the Chinese by way of some scathing newspaper editorials, including one that ran Wednesday in tandem with Biden’s Beijing visit. More

BREAKING NEWS: Radioactive material container from hijacked truck found empty in Mexico

Mexican police located a truck stolen on Monday which contained dangerous radioactive material the UN warned could be used to construct a “dirty bomb.” An official has said the container holding that cargo was found empty. The vehicle was found close to where it was stolen outside of Mexico City as it was transporting cobalt-60 from a hospital in Tijuana to a radioactive waste storage center. Mexico’s nuclear safety director Juan Eibenschutz said radioactivity had been detected about a half mile (1 kilometer) from where the truck and container were located.  R

Paul Begley

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Too Big To Fail Banks Are Taking Over As Number Of U.S. Banks Falls To All-Time Record Low

The too big to fail banks have a larger share of the U.S. banking industry than they have ever had before.  So if having banks that were too big to fail was a “problem” back in 2008, what is it today?  As you will read about below, the total number of banks in the United States has fallen to a brand new all-time record low and that means that the health of the too big to fail banks is now more critical to our economy than ever.  In 1985, there were more than 18,000 banks in the United States.  Today, there are only 6,891 left, and that number continues to drop every single year.  That means that more than 10,000 U.S. banks have gone out of existence since 1985.  Meanwhile, the too big to fail banks just keep on getting even bigger.  In fact, the six largest banks in the United States (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) have collectively gotten 37 percent larger over the past five years.  If even one of those banks collapses, it would be absolutely crippling to the U.S. economy.  If several of them were to collapse at the same time, it could potentially plunge us into an economic depression unlike anything that this nation has ever seen before.  More

Kerry: Israel’s security at the top of US agenda in Iran nuclear talks

The bond between the US and Israel is “unbreakable,” and while there may be tactical differences between the two countries occasionally, the long term strategy for Israel’s security and peace in the region is the same, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Jerusalem Thursday. Kerry’s comments, following a meeting with Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu, came after a month of high-profile, public disagreement between Washington and Jerusalem both over the policy toward Iran, and the talks with the Palestinians. The two men, who both referred to the other as “my friend,” took pains to present a common and amiable front.  Netanyahu, who has been unsparing in his criticism of the interim accord the P5+1 reached with Iran in Geneva last month,  toned down his criticism a bit, concentrating on what he believes should be in the final deal with Iran, as well as reiterating his concern that the sanctions regime against Iran is in danger of unraveling. In a final deal, he said, “we believe it is crucial to bring about a final agreement about the termination of Iran’s military nuclear capability.”  He also said that steps must be taken to “prevent the further erosion of sanctions.” Kerry, in his brief comments, addressed both these concerns. ”I can’t emphasis enough that Israel’s security in this negotiation is at the top of our agenda, and the US will do everything in our power to make certain that Iran’s nuclear  program, [and] weaponization possibilities are terminated,” he said. More

China’s airspace zone has caused apprehension: Biden

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s new air defense identification zone over the East China Sea has caused “significant” unease in the region, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday, adding he had stated Washington’s firm objection to the move during talks in Beijing. Biden had around five hours of discussions with President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, with both leaders laying out their perspective on an issue that has rattled East Asia. The zone, two thirds the size of Britain, covers an area that includes islands at the heart of a territorial dispute with Japan. In response, China’s Foreign Ministry said Biden had been told the zone accorded with international law and that the United States should respect it. ”China’s recent and sudden announcement of the establishment of a new air defense identification zone has, to state the obvious, caused significant apprehension in the region,” Biden told a gathering of U.S. executives in Beijing. ”I was very direct about our firm position and our expectations in my conversations with President Xi.” Beijing’s announcement of the zone on November 23 has triggered protests from the United States, Japan and South Korea. More

Pompeii: the day a doomsday volcano wiped a city off the map

NAPLES, Italy – Mount Vesuvius, a volcano near the Bay of Naples in Italy, is hundreds of thousands of years old and has erupted more than 50 times. Its most famous eruption took place in the year 79 A.D., when the volcano buried the ancient Roman city of Pompeii under a thick carpet of volcanic ash. The dust “poured across the land” like a flood, one witness wrote, and shrouded the city in “a darkness…like the black of closed and unlighted rooms.” Two thousand people died, and the city was abandoned for almost as many years. The blast sent a plume of ashes, pumice and other rocks, and scorching-hot volcanic gases so high into the sky that people could see it for hundreds of miles around. As it cooled, this tower of debris drifted to earth: first the fine-grained ash, then the lightweight chunks of pumice and other rocks. It was terrifying–“I believed I was perishing with the world,” Pliny wrote, “and the world with me”–but not yet lethal: Most Pompeiians had plenty of time to flee. For those who stayed behind, however, conditions soon grew worse. As more and more ash fell, it clogged the air, making it difficult to breathe. Buildings collapsed. Then, a “pyroclastic surge”–a 100-miles-per-hour surge of superheated poison gas and pulverized rock–poured down the side of the mountain and swallowed everything and everyone in its path. EP
***US DRONE STRIKE !!! , Murders 3 more people in Pakistan.    

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