Friday, January 25, 2013

Antibiotic 'apocalypse' warning - The rise in drug resistant infections is comparable to the threat of global warming, according to the chief medical officer for England. Bacteria are becoming resistant to current drugs and there are few antibiotics to replace them.
Experts say it is a global problem and needs much more attention. Antibiotics have been one of the greatest success stories in medicine. However, bacteria are a rapidly adapting foe which find new ways to evade drugs. MRSA rapidly became one of the most feared words in hospitals wards and there are growing reports of resistance in strains of E. coli, tuberculosis and gonorrhoea.
"It is clear that while we might not ever see global warming, the apocalyptic scenario is that when I need a new hip in 20 years I'll die from a routine infection because we've run out of antibiotics. It is very serious, and it's very serious because we are not using our antibiotics effectively in countries."
The World Health Organization has warned the world is heading for a "post-antibiotic era" unless action is taken. It paints a future in which "many common infections will no longer have a cure and, once again, kill unabated".
Research is not happening quickly enough. "We need resources for surveillance, resources to cope with the problem and to get public information across." The drugs companies have run out of options as all the easy drugs have been made. "We have to be aware that we aren't going to have new wonder drugs coming along because there just aren't any."

**In the End, we will remember
not the words of our enemies,
but the silence of our friends.**
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
1/24/13 -
5.1 FIJI

Kentucky - 1/23/13 - Confusion in Corbin over fake "quake". It's been described as an explosion, an earthquake, a thunder roll, or even as small as a car crash. Some say there was one tremor, others say two, one resident said they felt three violent shakes. While the reports vary, the reality is something rattled Corbin around midday on Wednesday.
"Just a couple of seconds, it didn't last long. I thought it was thunder and I looked up in the sky and, of course, it was sunny and cold out. It couldn't be thunder." One person said dishes began falling into her sink. "I actually had my coffee pot break from my refrigerator. I was thinking oh my god, is my trailer going to fall apart? Or is the ground going to split open or something? I mean it was horrible!"
The tremors were widespread. "We've yet to determine what this was. It sounded like a minor earthquake, but we can't get it verified." The University of Kentucky Geological Survey said, "I took a look through our records and so far I haven't seen anything that does not look uncharacteristic."
Several mining companies were called to see if they were blasting in the area that could explain the shaking. They all denied it, saying their blasts are typically smaller and kept to a mile-wide radius. The Whitley County Emergency Management Director said he began trying to solve the mystery as soon as it happened. He checked every possible blasting site, and said he still had not found the answer. He has not found any major damage to the area. Still, those who felt the tremors want answers, but for now they'll have to wait.
No earthquake near Corbin - After the ground started shaking in parts of southern and eastern Kentucky, officials with the University of Kentucky Geological Survey said they didn’t see anything unusual. They say they have recorded seismic activity at stations across the state, but the readings are nothing out of the ordinary. "There is a lot of activity but it's normal." Most of the recorded data is mine blasting that is common in the region.

Montana - 1/21 - 1/23/13 - Mysterious Loud "Booms". Dozens reported loud “booms” heard throughout the community all week. Officials confirmed that the Security Forces Tactical Response Force conducted "Explosive Detonation Training" on Wednesday until 4PM at Malmstrom Air Force Base. However, Wednesday’s training is not responsible for the other loud booms heard earlier this week.

Volcano Webcams

Volcano activity of January 23

Reventador volcano (Ecuador) enters new eruption with lava flows and explosions. The volcano has now entered a full-scale eruption. Lava flows descending on the flanks and glow at the summit were observed. A tall steam and ash plume rises 1.5 km above the volcano and drifts west. Additionally explosions have been reported.

New Zealand - White Island eruption increasingly likely, with increased signs of volcanic activity and nearly continuous tremors. The aviation warning for the island, that lies 50km of the coast of the Bay of Plenty, has been upgraded to orange. "Explosive eruptions can occur at any time with little or no warning. We advise a high level of caution should be taken, if visiting the island.” Scientists are hoping a monthly flight over White Island to sample volcanic gases will give them a clearer idea of what to expect next.

In the Indian Ocean -
- Tropical Cyclone Garry was located approximately 445 nm east of Pago Pago, American Samoa.

Australia - Dramatic rescues as central Queensland floods - Rescues have been carried out in central Queensland, with parts of Rockhampton underwater after ITS WETTEST DAY IN MORE THAN 60 YEARS.
In Rockhampton many streets in the city are now under water, and "very destructive winds" are also being felt from the low pressure system that was cyclone Oswald. The system is currently sitting about 120km west of Mackay and is expected to cause flooding in communities further south in coming days. The situation in Rockhampton is serious, and residents told to stay off the streets.
"They're saying this is not a cyclone but it's not far off it...I haven't seen water like this on our roads. I've come in from a rural location and it was pretty hairy to say the least." There have been about 20 swift water rescues in central Queensland overnight and on Friday morning.
The most dramatic happened in the Rockhampton suburb of Frenchville, where a rescuer was swept away after dragging a 14-year-old boy to safety. The rescuer was able to make his own way to safety, but not before he was swept under a nearby bridge. Meanwhile, a house in Frenchville has been hit by a large landslide. The house is still standing but debris is piled up against the first floor of the two storey house in Archer View Terrace. No one was injured.
There were numerous other rescues in the past 12 hours, including one by a bystander who dragged a motorist to safety from his flooded car after he tried to drive through floodwaters at Kabra, west of Rockhampton. The driver was taken to hospital in a stable condition. More than 70 roads, including major highways, have been cut by floodwaters across the state, since Oswald was downgraded to a low after crossing the Cape York Peninsula's west coast on Tuesday.
At Yeppoon, northeast or Rockhampton, more than 10 homes have flooded and people are sandbagging other properties in a bid to save them. The Bureau of Meteorology said Rockhampton had recorded its wettest day since 1939, with 349mm falling in the 24 hours to 9am (AEST) on Friday, and it's not over yet. The city is expected to get at least another 100mm over the next 12 hours. But by Saturday, the heaviest falls are expected to be further south.
At this stage, authorities are not expecting the Fitzroy River to break its banks at Rockhampton but it is expected to reach minor flood levels. At Gladstone, south of Rockhampton, the city's sewage system is overflowing, sending excrement into people's homes. The local council is using sandbags to try to weigh down manholes to prevent the problem from becoming worse. "It comes up through man holes and bubbles into properties. It's not pleasant."
Supermarket giant Coles said supplies to 26 of its 32 stores in far north Queensland had been affected by the torrential rain and flooding. Stores in Rockhampton and at Yeppoon had also been forced to close. With rail lines cut, supplies are being trucked from Townsville to Cairns via Charters Towers.
Australian Government plans dam releases amid Queensland floods - Water levels in southeast Queensland dams will be reduced to protect urban areas from any flooding associated with ex-tropical cyclone Oswald.
Water levels in Wivenhoe/Somerset and North Pine dams will begin on Friday afternoon, as a precaution. Wivenhoe dam is nowhere near the levels seen before the January 2011 flood. The dam's entire 1.42 megalitres of flood storage capacity was still available, in addition to some capacity for drinking water supplies. But they want to give the southeast the biggest buffer they can to ensure the safety of residents, and the protection of their property. "I am concerned, but I'm not worried," the premier said.
He said that even without the dam drawdowns, he'd been assured that "we have enough in that 1.4 megalitre flood storage compartment to take what's coming". But he said Oswald and the low it has become had proven to be an unpredictable weather system, and the drawdowns were about providing additional security and peace of mind. "Let's make sure we look at what could happen, in the worst case."
The greatest risk at this time was considered to be urban flooding in the usual low-lying areas close to creeks and stormwater drains. Asked if he could categorically rule out a repeat of the 2010-11 floods he replied: "Of course, nobody can do that." But he said with the capacity available in the dams that was extremely unlikely.
41,000 megalitres will be released from Wivenhoe dam over 24 hours from Friday afternoon. And 8000 megalitres will be released from North Pine Dam over 11 hours from Friday afternoon. "We are giving the biggest buffer we possibly can."
The Bureau of Meteorology says the southeast will be lashed by severe weather over the next two days, with rainfalls of 200 to 300mm expected. There are warnings of potential flash flooding for the southeast, damaging winds and ABNORMALLY HIGH TIDES. The low is currently swamping communities in central Queensland, causing significant flooding and sparking rescues including in the city of Rockhampton.The system was expected to remain over land and weaken as it tracks south.
It had been previously feared it might head back out to sea and strengthen into a cyclone again. "We do expect Saturday and Sunday's morning high tides, from the Fraser Coast south to the border, to approach, if not exceed the highest tide of the year." Already up to 800mm has fallen in a couple of days in areas from Tully in north Queensland south to Rockhampton.
The premier expressed concern for some 3000 people booked to go to Fraser Island for the Australia Day long weekend. While stopping short of telling people not to go, he said people should be prepared for difficult circumstances. "The island is not closed but this is certainly going to be a wet weekend," he said, noting that abnormally high tides would affect the beaches people used to get around the island.
Ipswich's Mayor said he was not expecting any widespread flooding in the city, which was hit hard in the 2011 floods. But he said people in the Bundamba and Woogaroo Creek catchment areas need to remain vigilant and aware of the risk of localised flash flooding. While some roads may be closed the latest computer modelling indicates there should be only minimal stream rises in the Bremer River between One Mile and the junction of the Brisbane River. "It is important to note that while significant rainfall is forecast, the dryness of the catchment means we are not expecting any major flooding."


South African crocodiles 'in mass escape' during floods - About 15,000 crocodiles have reportedly escaped from a farm in South Africa's far north amid heavy rains and flooding. The owner was forced to open the crocodile farm's gates on Sunday to prevent a storm surge. Many of the crocodiles have been recaptured, but more than half are still on the loose.
The floods have killed at least 10 people in Limpopo province. The crocodiles escaped from the Rakwena Crocodile Farm, about 15km (nine miles) from the small town of Pontdrif, which borders Botswana. Many of the crocodiles escaped into dense bush and the Limpopo River, the second biggest in South Africa. "There used to be only a few crocodiles in the Limpopo River. Now there are a lot. We go to catch them as soon as farmers call us to inform us about crocodiles. I heard there were crocodiles in Musina [about 120km away] on the school's rugby field."
The owner went to rescue friends in a flooded house in the area by boat on Sunday. "When we reached them, the crocodiles were swimming around them. Praise the Lord, they were all alive." The South African Air Force is being used to rescue people affected by the flooding in remote settlements, some of which are cut off from the outside world.
The floods have also affected neighbouring Mozambique, where tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.

Indonesia - Extreme weather to haunt Bali until February. While the nation’s capital city, Jakarta, is still recovering from last week’s massive flooding, Bali’s capital city, Denpasar, has been told to remain alert for ongoing inclement weather, which is predicted to last until mid-February.
“The peak of the rainy season in Bali will continue from January to mid-February. Thus, we have to remain alert for possible medium to heavy downpours, strong winds and high waves until February." Areas still face heavy downpours, strong winds and high waves. The volume of rain, the wind speed and the height of waves during the first month of 2013 had been recorded as being much higher than in the same period of the previous year.
Within the last two weeks, Bali has been hit by tropical cyclone Narelle that strongly affected the island’s weather and its water, causing huge waves and strong winds. Extreme weather conditions battering Bali’s shores over the past several weeks have also forced local fishermen to stay ashore, thus affecting the supply of fresh fish. Many fishermen were being kept on land by the huge waves and heavy rains, including in the island’s center of fish production in Kedonganan, south Badung.
Over the years, strong winds, heavy downpours and landslides during the island’s rainy season have resulted in a number of accidents with human fatalities in Bali.
In 2002 and 2007 there were rainy season incidents when Denpasar’s Tukad Badung River overflowed into the nearby business. Since establishing several new channels along the Tukad Badung River, the river had not burst its banks again.
However, over the past few years, floods in scattered locations around Denpasar have taken place, as reported by various local media, including a 1-meter high flood experienced by hundreds of homes in the Monang-Maning housing complex in January last year and another one occurring over a wider area of the West Denpasar district just recently in December.


Australia - Victoria bushfire fight easing despite winds. Firefighters are more confident of holding back the Gippsland blaze in eastern Victoria that has been threatening towns all week.


INCOMING COMET - In a little more than a month, Comet PanSTARRS will cross the orbit of Mercury and probably brighten to naked-eye visibility as it absorbs the heat of the nearby sun. Sky watchers around the world will be looking for it in the sunset skies of early March, when it passes closest to the sun and to Earth.
Currently, the comet ranks about 8th magnitude, dimmer than the human eye can see, but it could brighten 100-fold on March 10th when it makes its closest approach to the sun (0.3 AU). The latest curves suggest that PanSTARRS will emerge glowing about as brightly as a 3rd magnitude star, similar to the stars in the Big Dipper.
There might, however, be surprises in store. Comet PanSTARRS has never been to inner solar system before. It is falling in from the Oort cloud, a great swarm of comets beyond Neptune and Pluto unaltered by the warmth of the sun. When Comet PanSTARRS dips it toe inside the orbit of Mercury for the first time, almost anything could happen ranging from an anticlimatic "bake-out" to a spectacular disruption.


New norovirus strain fueling US outbreaks - A new norovirus variant that emerged in Australia last year has been the leading cause of norovirus outbreaks in United States over the past few months, and federal health officials today warned that illnesses could increase in the months ahead.

Study puts global 2009 pandemic H1N1 infection rate at 24% - In a new analysis of serologic studies from 19 countries, researchers estimate that about 24% of the population were infected with the 2009 H1N1 influenza (pH1N1) virus during the first year of the pandemic, a finding modestly higher than what US health officials estimated in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic.


- Specific Lots Of Hunt's Tomato Sauce Recalled For Can Defect - ConAgra Foods, Omaha, Neb., is recalling specific lots of its 8 ounce Hunt's Tomato Sauce (regular variety) and Hunt's Tomato Sauce No Salt Added that were packaged in cans containing a defect in the inner lining. The product was shipped to U.S. retail food stores and distributors in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
- Regional Recall Of Thomas', Sara Lee, Publix, And Weight Watchers Bagels - BBU, Inc., the parent of the Bimbo Bakeries companies, has initiated a recall due to possible presence of fragments of metal caused by a faulty manufacturing part.