Latest polls showed the conservative New Democracy party, which supports a €130 billion international bailout, is running neck-and-neck with the leftist SYRIZA party. SYRIZA is pledging to tear up the bailout deal, saying that the austerity conditions attached to the money are so catastrophic for the country they must be rejected. If the country renounces its bailout terms, Greece's international partners could stop providing the rescue loans, which would lead it to default and force it out of the eurozone.
Reports overnight said that Greece only had about €2 billion euros ($2.52 billion) left in its coffers, which would only last until July 20. Greece’s finance minister refused to comment but the country’s labour minister said that Greece should have enough cash to pay pensions at least for July. If Greece walked away from the euro, the drachma’s value against other currencies would plunge along with the earnings of Greek workers. Cost of living would spike on the back of rises in interest rates and import prices.
It circulates to the limits of its possibilities
and then returns to its starting point.**
LARGEST QUAKES -
Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)
This morning -
5.9 MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES
5.5 NORTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA
5.5 MOLUCCA SEA
5.3 SOUTH OF FIJI ISLANDS
5.3 TURKEY-SYRIA-IRAQ BORDER REGION
Magnitude 5.5 quake shakes southeast Turkey - A moderate earthquake shook southeastern Turkey on Thursday, damaging a mosque's minarets and injuring a handful of people who jumped off buildings in panic.
Hundreds briefly evacuate as volcano erupts in northeast Indonesia - Hundreds of residents in northeastern Indonesia fled their homes on Wednesday after a brief eruption at Mount Gamkonora, spewing towering columns of ash and smoke and prompting officials to raise the volcano's alert level to the second-highest state.
The volcano, which is located on the west coast of Halmahera island in the Maluku Islands and is part of North Maluku province, began to erupt on Wednesday afternoon and sent thick ash clouds up to 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) high, although no lava flows were seen. Hundreds of residents living on the volcano's slope evacuated the area following the eruption, but they returned hours later after officials determined their communities are not currently at risk. New evacuations could be ordered if activity at the volcano continues to increase.
Following Wednesday's eruption, the country's Volcanology and Geology Disaster Mitigation Center decided to raise the volcano's alert status to Siaga (level 3), the second-highest level. Activity at Mount Gamkonora has been increasing for months, with more frequent volcanic earthquakes and an increase of magma activity near the surface. Authorities are still uncertain whether the current eruption will lead to a major event, but past eruptions at the volcano have nearly all been explosive.
Mount Gamkonora last erupted in July 2007, forcing the evacuation of nearly 10,000 people but causing no known casualties. The most notable eruption at the volcano took place in May 1673, when a massive eruption caused significant damage in the area and resulting tsunami waves which flooded nearby villages. An unknown number of people were killed.
One of Indonesia's most active volcanoes is Mount Merapi, which is located on the island of Java near Jogjakarta, the country's second-most visited area after Bali. Between October and November 2010, a series of eruptions took place at the volcano, killing at least 353 people and displacing more than 300,000 others.
TROPICAL STORMS -
In the Pacific -
-Tropical Storm Carlotta was located about about 460 mi. [745 km} SE of Acapulco, Mexico. Carlotta is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3-5 inches [75-125 mm] with isolated maximum amounts of 10-12 inches [50-300 mm] .over the Mexican states of Guerrero...Oaxaca...Chiapas...as well as over the southern portion of Guatemala. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
-Typhoon 05w (Guchol) was located 667 nm ESE of Manila, Philippines.
STRANGE ANIMAL BEHAVIOR -
Grasshoppers who are scared leave their mark in the Earth - Grasshoppers who die frightened leave their mark in the Earth in a way that more mellow ones do not, researchers said. They placed cages in areas of natural vegetation and allowed some grasshoppers to be alone while others were placed in cages with a spider. They glued the mouths of the spiders shut in order to make sure that the grasshoppers experienced pure fear but were not actually killed by the predators.
When the grasshoppers died, they took their bodies back to the lab and deposited them in soil. They found that the body composition of the frightened grasshoppers was changed - their carbon to nitrogen ratio was about four percent higher than their calmer peers. But that rather tiny difference caused plant matter to decay much more slowly than it did in comparison tests using grasshoppers who died more peacefully. The findings shed light not only on how predators and prey influence the makeup of the soil, but how stresses invoked by drought and extreme heat might have lasting effects on crops and growth cycles.
SPACE WEATHER -
Large asteroid to race by Earth - A newly discovered asteroid the size of a city block will zoom past Earth but poses no risk of a collision, astronomers said on Thursday. The "UNUSUALLY LARGE" asteroid will not be visible to the naked eye, but asteroid enthusiasts could watch it pass by during a live online broadcast from an observatory in the Canary Islands at Slooh.com beginning at 8 pm (0000 GMT on Friday).
NASA has already catalogued 9,000 such Near-Earth Objects, but astronomers are always on the lookout for new ones. "Once in awhile one will come out of nowhere like this one, which is actually pretty big. We were like, 'Wow, we should track this one.'"The asteroid, named 2012 LZ1, is thought to be about 500 meters (1,650 feet) wide, and is expected to pass within 14 times the Moon's distance from the Earth.
The massive object was discovered just days ago. The asteroid qualifies as a Near-Earth Object because of its size and proximity -- more than 500 feet (152 meters) wide and within a distance of 4.65 million miles (7.5 million kilometers) from Earth.