Monday, December 01, 2014

Eco Geo Flash News - (December 2014 -b)

NASA is ready to launch the most ambitious test flight in decades as its unmanned capsule Orion is all set for a two-orbit, 4.5-hour trip. With favorable weather forecast, NASA hopes the test flight will bring it one step closer to a Mars journey...

The mission plans to reach an altitude of 3,600 miles from Earth, the farthest space mission since the Apollo 17 trip to the moon in 1972.

The capsule is scheduled to be launched using a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex...................Orion’s first flight

(December 2014 -a)


  1. Peru May Seek Extradition of Greenpeace Activists After Nazca Message ...

    Peru said on Monday that it may seek the extradition of members of environmental group Greenpeace for causing "irreparable" damage to the Nazca Lines - giant designs mysteriously etched into the sand and preserved for more than 1,500 years.

    The activists left Peru after leaving behind a trail of footprints in a delicate stretch of desert near the iconic Nazca figure of a hummingbird, where they spelled "Time for change!

    The future is renewable" in large cloth letters, said Culture Minister Diana Alvarez-Calderon.

    The message, on a protected UNESCO world heritage site, aimed to pressure negotiators at a United Nations climate change summit in Lima that ended on Sunday..............

  2. Norway FM: We can increase supply of gas ...

    Norway's Foreign Minister Borge Brende said his country will continue to be a reliable energy supplier, even increasing gas supply if necessary.

    " Norway is one of the leading energy suppliers in Europe and we will continue to be one in the area of natural gas. We can even step up supply if there is demand for that in the years to come," he said. "We will also then, in terms of commercial interest, improve the capacity when it comes to pipes," Brende said, speaking at a press conference with Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday.

    Brende said that the cancellation of the South Stream pipeline project opens up new opportunities for Turkey as "a main transition country," adding supplies of natural gas from the Caspian Sea, from Azerbaijan and perhaps, in the future, for Turkmenistan. The South Stream project was an EU plan to bring natural gas from Russia to Europe through Bulgaria. Russia has instead decided to build a gas pipeline to Turkey..................

  3. President Obama Protects Alaska’s Bristol Bay From Future Oil and Gas Drilling

    Today, in a video message posted online, President Obama announced his plan to designate Bristol Bay as off limits to consideration for oil and gas leasing -- an action that will safeguard waters that help provide 40 percent of America’s wild-caught seafood, support a $2 billion annual fishing industry, and are vital to the commercial fishing and tourism economy and to Alaska Native communities. The President’s video message can be found HERE. .........................

  4. Debris clearing starts in Futaba, more than 3½ years after tsunami ...

    Workers started clearing debris on Wednesday in some parts of Futaba near the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, nearly four years after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered the nuclear crisis.

    The Fukushima Prefecture town is in the evacuation zone around the crippled nuclear plant.

    The Environment Ministry plans to remove 13,000 tons of debris by March 2016 in areas designated to prepare for the lifting of the evacuation order. No such plan is in place for other areas of the town due to higher radiation levels.

    After a silent tribute to victims of the disaster, ministry officials and other people launched the operation using heavy machinery in the Morotake area.

    “At last, Futaba town’s reconstruction begins,” said Rokuro Saito, 77, a community leader in Morotake.

    Saito has been living in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, in the wake of the disaster.

  5. Les pertes économiques liées aux désastres et catastrophes naturelles sont évaluées à 113 milliards de dollars (90,7 milliards d’euros) en 2014, en recul de 16% par rapport à 2013 - où ce montant atteignait 135 milliards de dollars - selon une première estimation du groupe suisse de réassurance Swiss Re publiée mercredi...

    Dans l’ordre, les pertes les plus importantes ont été causées par les tempêtes de neige au Japon en février dernier (estimées à 5 milliards de dollars) - inédite en près d’un demi-siècle - les orages et pluies aux Etats-Unis en mai dernier (3,7 milliards) et l ’ouragan Simon au Mexique en septembre (3,2 milliards).

    Viennent ensuite les dégâts engendrés par la grêle, pluies et vents en juin dernier (3,1 milliards de dollars) en France, Belgique et en Allemagne, puis les tempêtes de neige aux Etats-Unis, cette fois en janvier dernier (2,5 milliards), et enfin les orages qui y ont eu lieu en juin (1,7 milliard)................En savoir plus sur

  6. Νέο εμπόδιο στην κατασκευή του Μετρό Θεσσαλονίκης ...

    Την διάλυση της σύμβασης κατασκευής του Μετρό Θεσσαλονίκης ζήτησε την Τετάρτη με αίτημά της προς στην Αττικό Μετρό η κοινοπραξία ΑΕΓΕΚ - Impregilo - Ansaldo - Seli - Ansaldobreda, έπειτα από ομόφωνη απόφαση των μετόχων της, επιβεβαιώνοντας μία ειλημμένη απόφαση που φέρνει το δημόσιο με την πλάτη στον τοίχο για μία ακόμη φορά στην σύγχρονη ιστορία των τεχνικών έργων.

    Στελέχη της κατασκευαστικής αγοράς, με γνώση της υπόθεσης, σημειώνουν ότι σε περίπτωση που η Αττικό Μετρό κάνει δεκτή την αίτηση, αυτόματα θα καλέσει τον ανάδοχο σε διαπραγματεύσεις με στόχο την ανάκληση της αίτησης διάλυσης.

    Πρόκειται για ένα ακόμη οδυνηρό κεφάλαιο του μεγαλύτερου δημοσίου έργου της Ελλάδας, ύψους 1 δισ. ευρώ. Σημειωτέον ότι εδώ και ημέρες τα εργοτάξια τελούν υπό κατάληψη από εργαζομένους στο έργο.

  7. India launches unmanned crew module into outer space with heaviest rocket ...

    India on Thursday successfully launched its heaviest rocket with an experimental crew module from the spaceport of Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, said Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

    At 9.30 a.m. local time, the 630-ton Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mark III) standing 43.43-meter tall blasted from launch pad holds with a one-way ticket, as its designed life is just around five minutes.

    Just over five minutes into the flight, the rocket ejected the giant cupcake-shaped 3.7-ton crew module at an altitude of 126 km.

    The mission is to test the rocket's atmospheric flight stability powered by two engines with around 4-ton luggage, as well as to study the re-entry characteristics of the crew module, called Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment, its aero braking and validation of its end-to-end parachute system.

    The module is designed to be of the size of a small bedroom and can accommodate two to three people. It descended towards Earth after its ejection at an altitude of 126 km and its speed was remotely controlled by ISRO officials by its on-board motors.

    When the module reaches an altitude of 80 km above Earth, the on-board thrusters would be shut off.

    The module would re-enter Earth's atmosphere at a great speed and the outer temperature touching around 1,600 degrees centigrade.

    At an altitude of around 15 km, the module's apex cover would separate followed by the deployment of the parachutes so as to soft crash in Bay of Bengal near Andaman and Nicobar Islands, from where the crew module would begin its multi-modal and multi-state journey.

  8. Birds 'heard tornadoes coming' and fled the day before ...

    US scientists say tracking data showing five golden-winged warblers left their nesting site a day a tornado outbreak suggests the birds "heard it coming".

    Geolocators showed the birds, which had just finished a 5,000km migration, left the Appalachians and flew 700km (400 miles) south to the Gulf of Mexico.

    The next day the deadly April 2014 tornadoes swept across the central US.

    The discovery, reported in Current Biology, suggests many birds may sense and escape extreme events in this way.

    Dr Henry Streby, from the University of California, Berkeley, said he initially set out to see if tracking the warblers was even possible.

    "This was just a pilot season for a larger study that we're about to start," Dr Streby told the BBC.

    "These are very tiny songbirds - they weigh about nine grams.

    "The fact that they came back with the geolocators was supposed to be the great success of this season. Then this happened!"..................

  9. 1 missing, 9 hurt in Indonesia's volcano eruption ...

    One person was missing and 9 others were hurt in the volcano eruption of Mount Gamalama in Indonesia, an official said in Jakarta on Friday.

    Four of the 9 were serious injured, Sutopo Purno Nugroho, spokesman of the national disaster management agency, said. "Those suffering from serious injuries were directly hit by the impact of eruption," he told Xinhua by phone.

    The remaining got minor injuries when they were escaping, said Sutopo.

    All of the victims are the climbers of the mountain, he said.

    Mount Gamalama erupted on Thursday night.

  10. Paura e scosse di terremoto a Firenze, scuole evacuate, gente in strada ...

    Una scossa dopo l'altra, fino a contarne 120 di cui circa la metà di magnitudo superiore a 2. Così Firenze scopre all'improvviso la paura del terremoto. Gente in strada, edifici pubblici e scuole evacuate, centralini presi d'assalto. A Palazzo Vecchio il sindaco Dario Nardella riunisce alle 13 l'unità di crisi e dispone per sicurezza la chiusura dei musei civici per alcune ore, fuori centinaia di turisti. Anche il Mibact attiva l'unità di crisi per la tutela patrimonio artistico e culturale e in collaborazione con i vigili del fuoco raccoglie dati sulla situazione. I musei sono regolarmente aperti.

    Nel Chianti prima e poi anche a Firenze, Fiesole e Prato molte scuole vengono chiuse e gli studenti mandati a casa per lo sciame sismico che continua. "I bambini sono nei cortili delle scuole come da procedura. Si valuta il rientro caso per caso", scrive su Twitter la vicesindaca Cristina Giachi. Molti genitori vengono chiamati dalle scuole per andare a riprendere i bambini a scuola. Per il personale di Palazzo Vecchio arriva l'invito a lasciare le sedi in via precauzionale, visto che non c'è la possibilità di controllare la staticità immediatamente e ovunque: "Nessun ordine ma consiglio", spiegano dal Comune mentre le scosse si susseguono. Quella che mette più paura arriva a 4,1 di magnitudo, alle 11.36 della mattina. Prima c'era stata un'altra scossa di 3,9 alle ore 10.39 e ancora a breve distanza un'altra di magnitudo 3. Alle 13.09 un'altra botta: stavolta di magnitudo 3,2..................

  11. Una scossa di magnitudo 4.1 è stata registrata alle ore 11.36 nell'area del Chianti-fiorentino. L'epicentro è stato registrato ad una profondità di 7,1 chilometri...

    Un'altra scossa, di magnitudo 3.8, è stata registrata sulle colline del Chianti alle 10:39. Le scosse, avvertita con chiarezza anche in tutta la città di Firenze, hanno fatto scattare il piano di evacuazione delle scuole. Anche numerosi uffici sono stati evacuati. La gente è scesa nelle strade.

    Diverse persone nel capoluogo toscano hanno lasciato gli edifici per scendere in strada. Tante le telefonate ai vigili del fuoco, ma per ora non si registrano danni a cose o persone.

    Anche i presenti al palazzo di giustizia di Firenze, nella zona nord della città, sono stati invitati ad uscire, così come all'ufficio delle entrate che si trova invece più vicino al centro. A Firenze sono state evacuate alcune importanti scuole, come i licei Rodolico e Galileo. Evacuazione delle scuole in via precauzionale deciso dal sindaco anche nella vicina Fiesole. A Prato, invece, l'abbandono di alcuni istituti scolastici è stato spontaneo................

    1. More than 250 minor tremors have rattled the Florence region over the past three days, sparking alarm in Italy over the safety of Michelangelo's "David" statue...

      According to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, the two strongest shocks in the Chianti region between Florence and Siena on Friday (Dec 19) measured 3.8. and 4.1 on the Richter scale, though many others recorded early Saturday reached three to 3.5. No one was hurt in the quakes, and fire fighters reported only minor structural damage near the epicentre about 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) south of Florence.

      Still, media reports said some 200 residents of the area preferred sleeping in campers, cars or tents in neighbouring areas Friday night rather than shaking at home.

      The multitude of shocks has raised concerns for Florence's invaluable architectural and cultural patrimony.................

  12. The Egyptian antiquities ministry has decided to halt its cooperation with an American mission working near Fayoum after accusing the mission of making false statements about the discovery of a necropolis....

    According to a ministry statement, the decision comes after the Brigham Young University mission gave false information to a British newspaper about its excavations in Fag Al-Gamous village in Upper Egypt.

    The BYU mission announced that its excavators were working in an ancient necropolis dating back some 2,000 years which contains an estimated one million burials. Press reports described the burials as mummies.

    The mission has been working on the site for 28 years.

    Head of the ministry's ancient Egyptian antiquities department, Youssef Khalifa, told Ahram Online that the statement made by the American mission is “unfounded.”

    He said that only one mummy has been unearthed at the site, in 1980, and it is now on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. What the mission has discovered, he continued, are thousands of human skeletons and remains of human bones which are very poorly conserved.

    Khalifa also stated that the mission had failed to respect the ministry’s regulations and had broken the law, which stipulates that no foreign mission is allowed to announce a discovery without the approval of the ministry’s permanent committee.

  13. EEUU reclama hasta 18.000 millones de dólares a BP por el derrame en el Golfo de México ...

    Las autoridades estadounidenses solicitaron a un tribunal de Nueva Orleans imponer una multa de entre 16.000 millones y 18.000 millones de dólares a la petrolera BP por el derrame de petróleo en el Golfo de México en 2010.

    Según informa Bloomberg, EEUU reclama además otros 1.000 millones de dólares de la empresa Anadarko a la que acusa de no tomar medidas necesarias para paliar las consecuencias del accidente........................

  14. A earthquake with an intensity of 4 on the Japanese scale of 7 rattled the Hamadori area of eastern Fukushima Prefecture at 6:31 p.m. Saturday, the Meteorological Agency said.....

    The quake measured 3 in the northern, middle and southern parts of Miyagi Prefecture, the Nakadori district of Fukushima Prefecture, and northern Ibaraki Prefecture, the agency said on its website.

    No tsunami warning was issued by the agency.
    Magnitude Mw 5.9
    Date time 2014-12-20 09:30:01.0 UTC
    Location 37.45 N ; 141.41 E
    Depth 60 km
    Distances 102 km SE of Sendai-shi, Japan / pop: 1,037,562 / local time: 18:30:01.0 2014-12-20
    90 km E of Fukushima-shi, Japan / pop: 294,237 / local time: 18:30:01.0 2014-12-20
    36 km E of Namie, Japan / pop: 21,866 / local time: 18:30:01.0 2014-12-20

    1. Japon : la région de Fukushima a nouveau touchée par un tremblement de terre ...
      Un nouveau tremblement de terre a touché la région de Fukushima ce samedi aux alentours de 18h30. D'une magnitude de 5,8 (mais certaines sources évoquent une force plus violente) sur l'échelle de Richter, son épicentre aurait été localisé au large des côtes de la région ou se situe la centrale nucléaire accidentée de Fukushima, à une profondeur de 4.000 mètres, selon l'agence météorologique japonaise..

      Sur l'échelle de Shindo, généralement utilisée au Japon, ce séisme a été mesuré à une intensité de 4 (sur un total de 7). Ce qui correspond à un tremblement de terre jugé comme "modéré"...............En savoir plus sur

    2. A 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan's Honshu island on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, shaking Fukushima where crippled nuclear power plants are located, but local media said there was no tsunami warning...

      USGS said the quake's epicenter was located 42 miles (68 km) east-northeast of Iwaki on Honshu. It was measured at a depth of 22.9 miles (37 km).

      A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power, which owns the nuclear plants, said no irregularities have been found at its Fukushkma Daiichi or Daini plants.

      The national broadcaster NHK said there was no tsunami warning, and there were no immediate reports of casualties or serious damage................

  15. All spent fuel removed from reactor 4 pool at Fukushima No. 1, Tepco says ...

    Tepco said Saturday it has finished removing all fuel rods from the spent-fuel pool in the shattered reactor 4 building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, in a rare piece of positive news from the decommissioning process.

    A total of 1,535 fuel rod assemblies, comprising 1,331 deemed at risk and 204 that were unused, have been transferred to other buildings following a yearlong process by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the beleaguered operator of the wrecked plant.

    According to Tepco, this will reduce the risk of the spent fuel rods being exposed in the event of a new earthquake or a major accident...............

  16. Russia’s Rosneft to continue Arctic shelf work with Norway ...

    Russia and Norway will continue cooperation on the Arctic shelf and oil major Rosneft will continue exploration works there, Oleg Sochnev, Director of Rosneft’s department for ecological localization of equipment and technologies, said on Monday.

    “We have received no signals that anything will be ended,” he said.

    In January 2015, one of Rosneft’s joint programs with Norway will be completed, but Sochnev believes cooperation with Norway will develop further, he said.

    Rosneft’s deposits in the Arctic are estimated at 38.3 billion tons of oil equivalent. The company has invested around US $400 billion in its Arctic shelf program in the last 20 years.

  17. IMF policies blamed for Ebola spread in West Africa ...

    Spending cuts imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may have contributed to the rapid spread of Ebola in three West African states, UK-based researchers say.

    It had led to "under-funded, insufficiently staffed, and poorly prepared health systems" in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, they said.

    The IMF denied the allegation.

    The deadliest Ebola outbreak ever has so far killed more than 7,300 people, mostly in the three states.

    "A major reason why the Ebola outbreak spread so rapidly was the weakness of healthcare systems in the region, and it would be unfortunate if underlying causes were overlooked," said Cambridge University sociologist and lead study author Alexander Kentikelenis.................

  18. Researchers find new evidence of Viking presence in Canada ...

    A small stone vessel found on Nunavut’s Baffin Island more than 50 years ago is proof of a previously unknown Viking presence in Arctic Canada, researchers say.

    The object, dating back to around 1,000 AD, was first unearthed by American archeologist Maxwell Moreau in the 1960s.

    But its origin was in dispute until Canadian researchers Patricia Sutherland, Peter Thompson and Patrician Hunt recently found traces of glass and bronze inside the vessel........Read more:

  19. Israel's Anti-Trust Authority on Tuesday recommended the break-up of the "monopoly" of Noble Energy and conglomerate Delek Group for developing the huge Leviathan natural gas field off the country's Mediterranean coast...

    It said commissioner David Gilo informed Israeli gas tycoon Yitzhak Tshuva, who has a controlling stake in Delek, about his decision, which is subject to state approval.

  20. Gashandel: Kiew zögert mit Schuldentilgung – Moskau droht Lieferstopp an ...

    Russlands Energieminister Alexander Nowak hat am Dienstag die Ukraine zur termingerechten Begleichung der Gasschulden ermahnt und bei Nichtzahlung einen Lieferstopp in Aussicht gestellt. Laut dem Übergangsabkommen von Brüssel hat die Ukraine noch im Dezember 1,65 Milliarden US-Dollar zu überweisen, um im Januar russisches Erdgas bekommen zu können.

    „Wenn die Schulden in Höhe von 1,65 (Milliarden Dollar) nicht bezahlt werden, wird es im Januar keine Lieferungen geben“, sagte Nowak am Dienstag in Moskau. Darüber hinaus soll der ukrainische Energieversorger Naftogaz bis Ende Dezember eine Vorauszahlung für die Januar-Lieferungen überweisen................

  21. Si Ucrania no paga la deuda de gas de diciembre, Rusia cesará los suministros ...

    En el caso de que Ucrania no pague en diciembre los 1.650 millones de dólares adeudados, Rusia dejará de suministrar al país, declaró el ministro ruso de Energía, Alexandr Novak.

    "Según el acuerdo que firmamos en Bruselas si no se paga la deuda de 1.650 millones de dólares, no habrá suministros en enero", dijo al agregar que la petrolera ucraniana Naftogaz deberá transferir a Gazprom un anticipo por los envíos de enero...................

  22. Biggest 500 Firms Hike Greenhouse Emissions 3.1% Despite UN Cut Demands ...

    The world's 500 largest businesses (Global 500) increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 3.1 percent from 2010 to 2013, despite UN calls for emissions to be reduced, a report by Thomson Reuters and BSD Consulting has shown.

    The Global 500, whose revenues make up 28 percent of global GDP, produce 13.8 percent of all global GHG emissions, according to the report published on Monday. The fifty largest companies account for 79 percent of all the total Global 500 emissions, the report said.

    One of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases is the world's biggest steel manufacturer Arcelor Mittal, which increased emissions by 12 percent in 2013................

  23. Tornadoes kill four people, cause major damage in Mississippi ...

    Tornadoes unleashed by thunderstorms along the US Gulf Coast ripped through southeastern Mississippi on Tuesday, killing four people, injuring many and causing extensive damage, authorities said.

    One of the heaviest-hit areas was a commercial district along a US Highway 98 bypass in the town of Columbia in Marion County, about 30 miles (48 km) west of Hattiesburg, state emergency management spokesman Greg Flynn told Reuters.

    "We've got whole roofs lying in the road, people trapped in houses, cars flipped over," Marion County Sheriff Berkley Hall said.

    One woman was killed in a shopping strip in Columbia, a rural community of about 6,500 people, and another in a nearby trailer home, according to county coroner Norma Williamson...............

  24. Oil spills into Black Sea after pipeline leak ...

    (Reuters) - A leak on a major Russian oil pipeline caused an oil spill in the Black Sea near the Russian port of Tuapse, first deputy port captain Sergei Proskurin told Reuters.

    He said the size of the spill was unclear and emergencies services were working on establishing temporary floating barriers in the sea to contain the spill.

    He said that work was complicated by a sea storm.

    (Reporting by Gleb Gorodyankin, writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov, Editing by Thomas Grove)

  25. At least 21 injured in protest against Nicaragua canal: police ...

    (Reuters) - At least 21 people were injured on Wednesday in clashes between police and protesters opposed to the construction of Nicaragua's planned $50 billion shipping canal, authorities said.

    Nicaragua's director general of police Aminta Granera said that 15 police officers and six civilians were hurt. Organizers of the protest said, however, that at least 40 demonstrators were injured.

    Granera said that after the demonstration was cleared, protesters used guns, machetes, stones and sticks to attack police. Organizers said their demonstration was peaceful................

    1. Doubts deepen over Chinese-backed Nicaragua canal as work starts ...

      (Reuters) - When one of the poorest countries in the Americas and a little-known Chinese businessman said they planned to undertake one of the biggest engineering projects in history, few people took them seriously.

      A year and a half after the $50 billion project to build a canal across Nicaragua was launched by President Daniel Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla, the doubts have only grown.

      Work officially began this week. But reporters hoping to see any evidence of how it would be done in a fraction of the time it took to build the much-shorter Panama Canal, or discover who would pay for it, were left with more questions than answers.................

  26. Asciende a 43 el número de muertos por el frío en la India durante esta semana ...

    El número de los muertos por la inusual ola de frío en el estado de Uttar Pradesh, en la India, durante esta semana ascendió a 43 personas.

    El número de los muertos por la inusual ola de frío en el estado de Uttar Pradesh, en la India, durante esta semana ascendió a 43 personas.

    Anteriormente, se informó de 31 fallecidos por las bajas temperaturas en la India...........

  27. Aceh now more aware of its vulnerability to natural disasters...

    ACEH: These days coastal communities around the Indian Ocean are more aware of their vulnerability to natural disasters. International experts have helped local governments to implement disaster risk reduction programmes following the 2004 Asian Tsunami that killed more than 220,000 people across 14 countries.

    Elementary students in Banda Aceh understand now how crucial earthquake drills are. But they are too young to have an emotional connection to that tragic day 10 years ago when the tsunami crashed onto their shores killing 170,000 residents.

    Mohamad Raihan, a tsunami survivor, said: "I tend to forget the past when playing with my friends. We joke around so that we are not reminded of the past trauma." Mohamad Raihan was a year old when his mother took him in her arms to escape the giant waves.

    For teacher Masniar, the evacuation drills still cause her to shudder. She said: "Chased by the water, I ran to the mosque. I climbed to the top of the mosque. Once at the top, I saw the dead bodies arriving from all directions."............

  28. Asia marks 10 years since Indian Ocean tsunami...

    Beachside memorials and religious services were planned across Asia on Friday to mark the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami that left more than a quarter million people dead in one of modern history's worst natural disasters.

    The devastating Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami struck a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean rim. It eradicated entire coastal communities, decimated families and crashed over tourist-filled beaches the morning after Christmas. Survivors waded through a horror show of corpse-filled waters.

    As part of Friday's solemn commemorations, survivors, government officials, diplomats and families of victims will gather in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and elsewhere...............

  29. Eruptionen: Nasa beobachtet gewaltigen Sonnensturm ...

    Geballte Strahlenausbrüche auf der Sonne sehen im Observatorium der US-Weltraumbehörde weniger bedrohlich als ästhetisch aus. Eine Gefahr für die Erde besteht meist nicht.

    Was uns auf der Erde als hübsch funkelnde Polarlichter erscheint, sind in 150 Millionen Kilometer Entfernung geballte Strahlenausbrüche. Die US-Weltraumbehörde Nasa hat in ihrem Sonnenobservatorium am 19. Dezember wieder intensive Explosionen auf der Sonne aufgenommen.

    Die Bilder zeigen, wie stark es auf unserem Zentralgestirn brodelt: Die Sonne spuckt 7000 Grad heiße Fackeln ins Weltall, die so stark sind, dass sie Stromnetze und Navigationssysteme stören können. Generell sind Sonneneruptionen nicht außergewöhnlich und ereignen sich meist ohne direkte Folgen für die Menschen.

    Es kommt aber gelegentlich vor, dass Kommunikationssysteme gestört werden. Fiele ein Sonnensturm noch gewaltiger aus, könnten die Schäden für die Erde deutlich größer sein. Großflächige Stromausfälle oder ausgefallene Kühlsysteme von Atomkraftwerken wären dann möglich. Eine Gruppe von Experten hat daher kürzlich vorgeschlagen, ein Frühwarnsystem aus 16 die Sonne umkreisenden Satelliten einzurichten..................

  30. Ash from Guatemala volcanoes prompts flight warning ...

    Ash clouds from two active volcanoes in Guatemala prompted local air travel warnings on Friday (Dec 26).

    The country's National Institute of Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology warned of columns of ash from the Fuego volcano in the south of the country rising up to 4,500 meters (14,700 feet) above sea level.

    The Santa Maria volcano in southwestern Santiaguito ejected ash about 500 meters above the crater, the institute said. The organisation also cautioned air craft from flying in the vicinity of the ash-spewing volcanoes.

    Fuego and Santa Maria are two of several active volcanoes in the country. Activity from the Fuego volcano in 2012 prompted authorities to evacuate thousands of people from its slopes.

  31. Malaysian government defends flood response amid criticism ...

    In Malaysia, pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Najib Razak's government over its response to the floods affecting large swathes of the country. With hundreds of thousands of people evacuating the flood waters, politicians from both sides of the political divide have begun to point fingers.

    At the ruling party UMNO headquarters, donations have begun to trickle in after a nationwide campaign was launched on Thursday (Dec 25) by Women’s Chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

    "People are asking me ‘Where to send stuff? How to help?'” said Ms Shahrizat. “At first we didn’t want to take money but now we said we will.''

    The UMNO headquarters has been turned into a temporary collection centre for donations. Blankets, clothing, food and drinking water are some of essentials in dire need. They will be sent to the military that will then distribute them to flood-hit victims.

    Over 100,000 people are currently seeking shelter at evacuation centres across peninsular Malaysia, hard hit by one of its worst floods in decades. Many, who were stranded by rising flood waters, expressed their frustration on social media, complaining about the lack of help from the federal government...............

  32. Ice warning in Britain after snow brings chaos ...

    Snow and blizzards have swept through large parts of Britain, leaving many travellers stranded.

    Sleet and snow hit the north of England, the Midlands and Scotland and the Met Office warned that nearly all the UK has been gripped by ice.

    The freezing weather brought dangerous conditions to roads, with many motorists in Sheffield forced to abandon their cars after becoming snowed in.............

  33. Heavy snowfall hits France and Britain ...

    Heavy snowfall and blizzards swept through large parts of Britain and France on Saturday night and Sunday, leaving many travelers stranded and prompting authorities to issue alerts and open emergency centers.

    In both countries, the authorities have warned drivers to take extra care on the roads and motorists have been advised to check ahead before travelling.

    The freezing weather has created dangerous conditions on the roads and may disrupt health and delivery services. Many motorists have been forced to abandon their cars after being snowed in.

    The lowest recorded temperature was almost -5C in Perthshire overnight with widespread frost hitting large areas of the UK. The lowest recorded temperatures overnight were in areas where snow had already fallen, according to the BBC Weather Center.

    The UK's Met Office said there was a 90 percent chance of severe cold until New Year's Eve in parts of England, northern Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The heaviest snow was in Leek, western central England.................

  34. Storm forces Turkey to shut Dardanelles to tankers, cancel flights ...

    Turkey shut its Dardanelles Strait to tankers and its flag carrier canceled some domestic and international flights in and out of Istanbul due to a storm.

    The Dardanelles waterway is frequently forced to shut during the winter due to rough weather, usually at least two or three times a month.

    Five northbound and three southbound tankers waiting to pass through the Dardanelles were expected to be scheduled to do so on Tuesday, shipping agency GAC said.

    The Bosphorus Strait remained open...................

  35. Earthquake M 4.7 - ADRIATIC SEA - 60 km NW of Tirana, Albania - local time: 21:34 ....

    Magnitude ML 4.7
    Date time 2014-12-29 20:34:13.7 UTC
    Location 41.66 N ; 19.26 E
    Depth 10 km
    60 km NW of Tirana, Albania / pop: 374,801 / local time: 21:34:13.7 2014-12-29
    35 km SW of Lezhë, Albania / pop: 18,695 / local time: 21:34:13.7 2014-12-29

  36. Libya contracts U.S. firm to extinguish port storage tanks fire ...

    (Reuters) - Libya's recognized government has contracted a U.S. firefighter firm to help extinguish fires at storage tanks at the Es Sider oil port, a spokesman said on Monday.

    Work would start within five days, government spokesman Mohamed Bazaza said, confirming a statement on a government website. The value of the contract was $6 million, the statement said, without naming the company.Fire has been raging for days at several storage tanks at Es Sider, Libya's biggest oil port, due to clashes of brigades allied with competing governments vying for control of the country's oil facilities.

    1. Η διεθνώς αναγνωρισμένη κυβέρνηση της Λιβύης έχει συνάψει σύμβαση με μια αμερικανική εταιρεία πυρόσβεσης, η οποία θα βοηθήσει στην κατάσβεση των πυρκαγιών που μαίνονται σε δεξαμενές αποθήκευσης πετρελαίου στον τερματικό σταθμό μεταφοράς Ες Σίντερ, ανέφερε ο Λίβυος κυβερνητικός εκπρόσωπος....

      Οι εργασίες θα αρχίσουν εντός πέντε ημερών, σύμφωνα με τις δηλώσεις του κυβερνητικού εκπροσώπου Μοχάμεντ Μπαράζα. Η αξία της σύμβασης φτάνει τα έξι εκατ. δολάρια, σημείωσε ο κυβερνητικός εκπρόσωπος χωρίς να κατονομάζει την αμερικανική εταιρεία................

  37. Philippine officials said Tuesday that Tropical Storm Jangmi had triggered floods and landslides, killing at least 21 people in the central and southern parts of the country, many in areas not yet fully recovered from last year's Typhoon Haiyan...

    Authorities said most of the deaths occurred Tuesday as the storm moved away from southern Mindanao Island, where its heavy rains closed highways and bridges Monday.

    The government weather bureau said that as of late Tuesday, the eye of the storm was 140 kilometers (about 85 miles) southwest of central Iloilo City, moving west toward western Palawan Island..................

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