Monday, May 6, 2013

Alaska's Cleveland volcano spews ash plume near air traffic route - The remote but long-restless Alaska volcano rumbled to life on Saturday with three explosions and started emitting a continuous plume of ash, steam and gas in an area important to air traffic.
The volcano is undergoing a continuous low-level eruption following the explosion early Saturday morning (local time). Flights have been diverted. If the eruption becomes stronger, the National Weather Service will advise mariners to avoid the area. Scientists have been put on around-the-clock duty to try to track Cleveland's activities. 'It's got us all paying attention."
The volcano is situated in the Aleutian Islands' isolated region that is nearly 940 miles southwest of Anchorage. Previously, its significant eruption started in February 2001, when three explosions took place, creating ash clouds as high 39,000 feet.

No update on Tuesday this week.

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Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
5/5/13 -

Kashmir - Government ‘missing’ on ground - No Relief. With preliminary reports suggesting damage to thousands of structures due to Wednesday’s quake in Chenab Valley, the failure of the state administration to cope with the post-quake situation is evident from the fact that only 100 tents have so far been arranged as temporary shelter of the survivors.
Three days after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook the region, all schools in the twin districts of Doda and Kishtwar are shut as the administration has failed to make alternate arrange for the school children. Official estimates indicate that at around 70 to 80 percent residential houses in Doda district have suffered damages — maximum, partial and minimum — with Bhaderwah, Doda, Ghat, Gandoh Bhalessa and Thatri being the worst hit. While the administration puts estimates of severely damaged houses to around 900, only 100 tents have been provided to the survivors, prompting thousands of souls to spend nights under open sky.
Residents of Bhaderwah town are all angry against the government for “being indifferent towards tackling the aftermath of the calamity.” “Whenever there is a natural calamity in any other part of the country, everybody from official machinery rushes there with relief and essential commodities. But nobody has come forward to help us.” The quake has inflicted damages in Pasri Mohalla, Masjid Mohalla, Haveli Mohalla, Sadder Bazar areas. “There have been cracks to residential houses in almost all localities of the district but the government infrastructure like schools have suffered maximum damage.”
Similar is the situation in Kishtwar district where Bonjwa, Dul, Nagsarni and Chatroo regions are worst affected. Residents of the district said that the government is “missing from the scene as neither any survey teams have been deputed to assess losses nor relief has been rushed for survivors.” “Nobody from the administration is coming to our rescue.”
“Our preliminary estimates reveal that 900 houses have been rendered unsafe for living as they have suffered extensive damages.” That number may swell up as the administration is in process of consolidating figures. 1200 schools remained closed in the district and decision whether to open them or not was to be taken on Sunday. They have just begun assessment of losses and report about actual losses would be submitted to the government by 10th of this month.
Meanwhile, schools remained shut in both the districts for the third day. Rough estimates reveal that 250 schools have suffered major to minor damage in Doda, Kishtawar and Ramban districts. Respective deputy commissioners will take decision on reopening of schools on Monday and the administration will take whatever necessary measures are needed for renovating and reconstructing schools. “At this time, we are on job of assessing losses and actual situation about the damages would be clear only after assessment is over.”

Hong Kong Red Cross vows to monitor use of Yaan, China, quake donations - The society admitted recently that more than 80 million yuan (HK$101 million) donated by more than 100 Chinese artists to build an art school and fund other reconstruction work after a quake devastated the same province in 2008 had been spent elsewhere.
No epidemic outbreaks detected in China quake zone - Outbreaks of infectious diseases have not been detected in China's quake zone 15 days after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake jolted Sichuan Province killing 196 people, local health authorities said. Rain is now expected over the next 3 days.

New Zealand - No-show quake volunteers to be named. People who didn't fulfil a pledge to volunteer their time to help the Christchurch earthquake recovery effort could be named and shamed online.
The Volunteer Army Foundation organised a free music festival last November to thank those who had given up their time to help with the post-quake clean-up and rebuild. People who hadn't yet volunteered were still able to get a free ticket to the concert, as long as they completed four hours of volunteer work within six months. The deadline to fulfil the pledge was this weekend and though many have kept their word, hundreds haven't.
"When we released the pre-pledge there were a very explicit set of terms and conditions that every future volunteer agreed to, and that said that we reserve the right to publicise any names at the end of a six month period who haven't volunteered as of yet." The foundation hasn't said when the names will be published on its website, but said people can get their names removed if they come forward in the coming months.

Volcano Webcams


No current tropical storms.

Bloggers predict cyclone next week, but weatherman unsure - A cyclonic storm may be brewing over the Bay of Bengal, near Sri Lanka, according to city weather bloggers.


Italian village recovering from earthquake is struck by a tornado - The tornado, which lasted around an hour on Friday and was accompanied by tennis ball-sized hail stones, swept through the village of San Martino Spino and surrounding countryside.


Sunspot AR1734 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares, almost-certainly Earth-directed because the sunspot is facing our planet. NOAA forecasters estimate a 45% chance of M-flares on May 6th. Around the world, amateur astronomers are snapping pictures of behemoth sunspot AR1734 as it crosses the solar disk. Three sunspots have beta-gamma magnetic fields that harbor energy for M-class solar flares: AR1731, AR1734, and AR1739.
Sunspot group AR1739 erupted on May 3rd, producing an M5-class solar flare and a "solar tornado." The explosion also hurled a bright coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. Traveling almost 1300 km/s, the electrified cloud is expected to sweep past a couple of NASA spacecraft (EPOXI and Spitzer) on May 7th. No planets, however, were in the line of fire.


Fever hits thousands in parched California farm heartland - California and federal public health officials say valley fever, a potentially lethal but often misdiagnosed disease infecting more and more people around the nation, has been on the rise as warming climates and drought have kicked up dust.

Fake food scandals in China - The media voice despair over corruption and threats to public health in the wake of fake and toxic food scandals. Authorities are still investigating the arrests of over 900 people, including market traders and restaurant staff, in a fake mutton scam.
The media earlier revealed a criminal ring that had been selling rat, fox and mink meat bought from farms in Shandong as mutton for hot-pot restaurants in Shanghai and neighbouring Wuxi since 2009. However, a suspect in Wuxi assured China Central Television that while foxes and mink had been used in the production of fake meat, no rats had been used.
Elsewhere, farmers in Fujian province who were contracted to destroy diseased pigs have been detained for allegedly selling the carcasses collected from farms and roadsides to restaurants in neighbouring provinces since last August. Three butchers hired from Henan province remain at large and the case is still under investigation.
Besides the pork and mutton scandals, the Public Security Ministry says there have been at least another 10 meat scandals recently involving pigs and chickens. "The case of a large number of dead pigs on the Huangpu River a while ago has to some extent confirmed the chaotic state of dead livestock and poultry processing. If this state of affairs does not change, the consequences of similar cases will be unimaginable."
The judicial authorities' harsher penalties for selling toxic food, including the death sentence for anyone selling tainted food that causes fatalities, are "better late than never". But corrupt officials behind profiteers must also be targeted.
On Saturday, China Central Television exposed how farmers in Shandong's Weifang are using Aldicarb, a highly toxic pesticide, to grow ginger. The Beijing News blasted the Weifang authorities for "incompetence" in failing to supervise food safety, and demanded more powers for the media to act as a consumer watchdog.
Beijing Times says authorities must also act quickly to introduce acceptable quality standards for bottled drinking water to allay public fears about contamination from deteriorating air and water quality as well as polluting industries. Last week, The Beijing News revealed that only 20 tests were required for bottled water, while tap water underwent 106 water quality tests.
Beijing Times welcomes new moves to prosecute celebrities who advertise unsafe food products but says research institutes, doctors and consumers should also be held accountable for endorsing unsafe food and drugs.
Finally, in The Beijing News, a film critic notes how the public are blasting extra footage featured in the Chinese version of Hollywood film Iron Man 3 for being "half-cooked rice", or half-baked, since it premiered last week in China. Sharp-eyed internet users have been mocking clips in the film of a Chinese doctor wearing a face mask but no surgical gloves when operating on Iron Man, as well as not-too-subtle product placements for a domestic milk drink.