Fears 'it will be impossible' to stop Ebola outbreak as death toll climbs

The UN special envoy on Ebola says the number of cases is probably doubling every three-to-four weeks and the response needs to be 20 times greater than it was at the beginning of October to control the rapid advance of the deadly virus.

David Nabarro warned the UN General Assembly that without the mass mobilisation of virtually every country, all donor organisations and many non-governmental groups to support the affected countries in West Africa, "it will be impossible to get this disease quickly under control, and the world will have to live with the Ebola virus forever."

Nabarro, who is the Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola Virus Disease, said in his 35 years as a public health doctor dealing with many disease outbreaks and some pandemics he has never encountered a challenge like Ebola because the outbreak has moved from rural areas into towns and cities and is now "affecting a whole region and ... impacting on the whole world."

Cumulative totals of cases and deaths over time

He said the United Nations, which is coordinating the global response, knows what needs to be done to catch up to and overtake Ebola's rapid advance, "and together we're going to do it."

"And our commitment to all of you is to achieve it within a matter of months - a few months," Nabarro told diplomats from most of the 193 UN member states.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson appealed "to all member states to act generously and swiftly".

"Speed is of the essence. A contribution within days is more important than a larger contribution within weeks."

The comments come as the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that 4,033 people have died in the outbreak - all but nine of them in the three worst-affected countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

WHO, the Geneva-based UN agency, says that, as of the end of Wednesday, a total of 8,399 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola had been reported from seven countries. TVNZ


ISIS to Attack US with Ebola?

Conspiracy theory Further Bolstered by Reports of Direct Threat from ISIS Militants

If latest reports are to be believed, the Islamic State militants might be conspiring to deliberately infect jihadists with the deadly Ebola virus and send them to America in order to spread the disease in the US – an event that could see America being attacked in a new pseudo-war.

The Israeli News Agency, a site which claims to be Israel's first online news organisation has confirmed the authenticity of the report saying it "clears all news items relating to Israeli security with the Israel government press office."

The agency said, citing "Israeli security sources", that dozens of ISIS fighters in Syria have fallen ill and had symptoms of Ebola. This news quickly ignited a new conspiracy theory claiming that ISIS is planning to send Ebola-infected militants into the US to spread the disease.

"While Western nations fighting the Islamic State might consider this reported Ebola outbreak among radical jihadists to be welcome news, there is a very big, very dangerous downside to Islamic terrorists being carriers of the virus," Norvell Rose, the winner of numerous journalism honours, writes for WesternJournalism.com.

The article also cites the Israeli News Agency (INA) for inference into why the news could prove dangerous for the Americans. The INA in its report quoted a source it identified only as "AVi", who is "a global anti-terrorism consultant" as saying: "We know that ISIS has training camps in Africa and it is highly possible that this is where contact with the virus was made.

"This would add new meaning to the US stating that no boots would be on the ground as both missiles and Ebola penetrates one of the worst evils that the world has ever known."

The theory was further bolstered by reports of a direct threat from the ISIS militants who said they would spread the Ebola virus to the United States and its allies if they continue to wage war on the organisation inside Syria and Iraq as reported by Shoebat.com , a website created by Walid Shoebat who was a radicalised Muslim until 1994 when he converted to Christianity.

Shoebat quoted a statement from ISIS published in another website called Vetogate.com. The statement reportedly said: "Followers and soldiers of the Islamic State are mostly suicide bombers and all of them are ready not only to carry Ebola, but to drink Ebola if they were asked to carry and spread it in the United States. This is not difficult but we need a decision from the leaders jihadist (sic)."

The statement further said: "The process of spreading disease is not difficult. It can easily be transported in a bottle in your bag from Africa to America. The contents of the bottle can then be released in an air-conditioning duct or put it in the public drinking water." IBT


Turkey : Tsunami-Like Storm Surge in Giresun , Southern Black Sea Coast

Tsunami-like storm surge wave hits Giresun; off the southeastern coast of Black Sea.

A powerful storm in the Black Sea this week swamped a town off the coast of Turkey.

The storm started in the morning of Wednesday and hit the Black Sea province of Giresun, triggering flash floods in many parts of the province that damaged cars on the Black Sea Highway and a number of buildings close to the coast.  Weather

India : Girl Dies of Burn Injuries Under Mysterious Circumstances

Kanpur: An 18-year-old girl died after suffering burn injuries under mysterious circumstances in Auraiya district on Saturday. Police have started a probe.

According to police the victim, a resident of Mada Ka Purwa under Achalda police station, had gone to answer nature's call at a nearby field in the village on Saturday morning.

The locals of the area were working in their farms when they heard her loud shrieks.

They rushed to the spot and found herin flames. They tried to douse the fire by wrapping a quilt around her. She was immediately taken to a health centre and then to the district hospital.

Later, the doctors referred her to Regional Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (RIMS), Saifai but she died on way to the institute. Doctors said that she had sustained major burn injuries.

Station officer Achalda said that the police are probing all angles. The victim's body was later shifted to mortuary for post-mortem examination.  The Times of India


Liberia : Dead Ebola Patients Resurrect?

ACT Alliance

Two Ebola patients, who died of the virus in separate communities in Nimba County have reportedly resurrected in the county. The victims, both females, believed to be in their 60s and 40s respectively, died of the Ebola virus recently in Hope Village Community and the Catholic Community in Ganta, Nimba.

But to the amazement of residents and onlookers on Monday, the deceased reportedly regained life in total disbelief.  The NewDawn Nimba County correspondent said the late Dorris Quoi of Hope Village Community and the second victim only identified as Ma Kebeh, said to be in her late 60s, were about to be taken for burial when they resurrected.

Ma Kebeh had reportedly been in door for two nights without food and medication before her alleged death. Nimba County has had bazaar news of Ebola cases with a native doctor from the county, who claimed that he could cure infected victims, dying of the virus himself last week.

News of the resurrection of the two victims has reportedly created panic in residents of Hope Village Community and Ganta at large, with some citizens describing Dorris Quoi as a ghost, who shouldn’t live among them. Since the Ebola outbreak in Nimba County, this is the first incident of dead victims resurrecting. The New Dawn


Scientists Puzzled by Green 'Alien Eggs' Found on Sydney Dee Why Beach

Surfers and beachgoers at a northern Sydney suburb, Dee Why's beach, were left stunned at the sight of a number of green, sponge-like spheres, which washed ashore.

RaeMaree Hutton, Dee Why Surf Life Saving Club's patrol member told The Manly Daily:

"I didn't want to touch one because you never know what can sting you on the beach, but I did poke it with my toes and it's squishy, like a sponge. They look like alien eggs or something."

Local resident, Jenny Zhang, further added: "About three days ago, there were a few egg-shaped balls but then today, they were much bigger and everywhere on the beach.

While locals in Dee Why explored extra-terrestrial origins, scientists clarify that the sponge-like spheres are in fact seaweed that cluster together in the form of an egg to protect themselves from predators.

University of New South Wales in Sydney says the balls could be a rare type of living green algae.

"I've seen similar things - sometimes dead sea grass can roll around and form balls like underwater tumbleweeds but that's made of dead material and these look to be living. It is a habit known as "aegagropilious", where the algae is free living (not on rocks) and forms into spherical balls."

Last month, bioluminescent creatures lit up Sydney's Manly Beach's waves giving a rare sight to photographers and Newport residents. IBT


Ebola Appearance in Venezuela ? : Venezuela on Alert over Mysterious, Deadly Disease. 10 Dead

The governor of Aragua says fake pictures of the disease on social networks seek to "distress the Venezuelans."

The deaths of 10 people in the past week of a mysterious disease in several cities in Venezuela, including the capital of Caracas, have caused panic within the population and has prompted doctors to sound the alarm.

A government spokesman minimized the warnings and described efforts to notify the public of a disease that has killed four adults and four children as a "campaign of disinformation and terrorism."

Despite the government's indifference, the country's doctors insist there is plenty of reason for concern about a highly dangerous and contagious disease of unknown origin.

"We do not know what it is," admitted Duglas León Natera, president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation.

In its initial stages, the disease presents symptoms of fever and spots on the skin, and then produces large blisters and internal and external bleeding, according to data provided week stop by the College of Physicians of the state of Aragua, where the first cases were reported.

Then, very quickly, patients suffer from respiratory failure, liver failure and kidney failure. Venezuelan doctors have not been able to determine what the disease is, much less how to fight it.

The government has denied the existence of "a mysterious disease" and described the information provided by the doctors as a "media campaign against Venezuela."

The governor of the state of Aragua, Tarek El-Aissami and Communications Minister Delcy Rodriguez, refer to the warnings as a "defamatory" strategy to "distress to the population."

Some theories being examined include the possibility that the disease could be a new type of very aggressive and severe dengue, an atypical version of the Chikunguña fever or an Ebola virus appearance in Venezuela. Local10


Fireball Meteor Lights Up Night Skies in US

Observers from New Jersey to Ohio got a super sight Sunday night.

A meteor blazed across the sky at a speed of tens of miles per second.

The American Meteorological Society reports it has received almost 200 reports of the fireball. Scientists say the meteor was 60 to 100 miles above the Earth, and about the size of a smart car.

Where did it come from?

It spent the last three to 4 billion years orbiting the sun before entering the Earth's atmosphere.

After thrilling earthlings, scientists say the burning rock probably shot back into space.

Philippines : Ice Pellets Hit Makati in September

People report ice pellets raining down on parts of the city late Wednesday afternoon, spurring a flurry of online activity on the rare weather event

Ice raining down on the streets of Makati? On Wednesday, September 17, it did.

People reported ice pellets raining down on parts of the city late Wednesday afternoon, spurring a flurry of online activity on the rare weather event.

A Rappler editor reported seeing falling ice pellets while in a cab along Ayala Avenue. People who witnessed the phenomenon also posted photos of the weather incident on Twitter and Instagram.

State weather bureau PAGASA forecaster Jun Galang told Rappler on Wednesday the ice pellets were due to cumulonimbus clouds, a type of thunderstorm cloud that affected Makati and other areas.

"It's only normal when there are thunderstorm clouds. It is possible that from the clouds, the ice pellets are originally big in size, but they get smaller as they get nearer to the ground," he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

PAGASA, at around 4:45 pm Wednesday, reported possible thunderstorms affecting parts of Metro Manila, particularly Manila, Pasay, Taguig, Parañaque, Baclaran, and Las Piñas, but also said other areas should expect heavy rain within two hours.

Galang said the occurrence is not a hailstorm.

A hailstorm occurs when precipitation comes in the form of chunks of ice, called hailstones. They are formed in cloud layers with very low temperatures, usually associated with thunderstorms.

Strong wind updrafts in thunderstorm clouds force rain to go up, and these raindrops freeze and turn into lumps of ice, according to the Texas A&M University Atmospheric Sciences site. Rappler


Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

Scientists say the extent of Antarctic sea ice cover is at its highest level since records began.

Satellite imagery reveals an area of about 20 million square kilometres covered by sea ice around the Antarctic continent.

Jan Lieser from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) said the discovery was made two days ago.

"This is an area covered by sea ice which we've never seen from space before," he said.

"Thirty-five years ago the first satellites went up which were reliably telling us what area, two dimensional area, of sea ice was covered and we've never seen that before, that much area.

"That is roughly double the size of the Antarctic continent and about three times the size of Australia."

AUDIO: Researchers argue the increase in sea ice does not negate the reality of global warming. (PM)
The formation of sea ice around Antarctica every year is one of the biggest seasonal events on Earth.

The ice is generated in what scientists refer to as "sea ice factories" or polynia  - areas of the ocean surface where currents and wind patterns combine to generate sea ice.

The red line is the average for September.
"As soon as sea ice is produced in these polynias it is actually transported away from that so more sea ice can be produced," Dr Lieser said.

As the area covered in sea ice expands scientists have said the ice on the continent of Antarctica which is not over the ocean continues to deplete.

CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, Tony Worby, said the warming atmosphere is leading to greater sea ice coverage by changing wind patterns.

"The extent of sea ice is driven by the winds around Antarctica, and we believe that they're increasing in strength and part of that is around the depletion of ozone," he said.

He said changes to sea ice levels could have implications for the entire Antarctic ecosystem.

"So the sea ice is a very important habitat for krill in particular and for the reproduction of krill and that forms one of the absolute staples of the diet for many species in the Antarctic."

While the Antarctic ecosystem braces for change, the world's Antarctic research vessels will also have to contend with treacherous conditions in the months ahead.

If the Ebola Virus Goes Airborne, 1.2 million Will Die Expert Predicts

Econometrics expert Francis Smart has predicted that if the Ebola virus does mutate into an airborne form, 1.2 million people will die from the disease. Smart, from the Michigan State University, published an article in Econometrics by Stimulation in which he outlined the mechanics of his prediction based on the research done by others.

Currently the World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted that Ebola will kill 20,000 people within the next six months. Smart argues that this number is based on the assumption that the virus will not mutate into a version of itself which travels though air.

Smart used an econometric stimulation model and based his calculations on the prediction of 20,000 infections in six months that the WHO had previously issued.

He also looked at the struggles facing the countries that are currently fighting the Ebola virus. Liberia in particular is facing huge issues as far as controlling the spread of disease is concerned. Medical supplies are desperately low, health workers and doctors are contracting the disease themselves, and there is a degree of civil unrest as panic sets in.

The WHO has predicted that six months is optimistic. This is the minimum amount of time that they think is needed in order to stop the disease from spreading. The statement in which they offered the prediction of 20,000 infections was published on Aug. 28, almost three weeks ago.

The estimate was made in the assumption that the Ebola outbreak control effort would receive compete international back up and that every step in the plan that the WHO had drawn up to tackle the disease spread would be followed. Should international aid not be sufficient, or the plan not be executed sufficiently, the prediction was that the number of people infected with the virus would be far greater.

The prediction was also made under the assumption that the virus would not mutate into an airborne form. This, according to experts such as Michael Osterholm, is a big assumption.

Osterholm, Director at Minnesota University’s Center for Infectious Disease research and Policy, explains that viruses do mutate, and to assume that this one will not could be a mistake. Other strains of the Ebola virus, such as Ebola Reston, have previously demonstrated the ability to mutate into airborne versions of themselves. Osterholm says that due to the density of the spread in the most recent outbreak in West Africa, there is the chance that the virus could change itself each time it replicates.

Smart says that death toll numbers based on the more pessimistic opinion that the Ebola virus could mutate and go airborne are much greater. He believes that 20,000 is “vastly too small” and the prediction is “entirely based on effective and well-funded international relief mission..”He went on to predict that by Oct. 24 there will already be over 20,000 cases of the disease, a far shorter time period that the six months that the WHO predicted. Smart continues his analysis to conclude that as many as 4.7 million people will become infected and 1.2 million will die.

The populations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are approximately 4 million, 10 million and 6 million respectively. Smart asks if Liberia and the other heavily effected nations will continue to have the resources to control the disease spread even to the extent that they are doing now. He thinks not.

The calculations of Smart, an expert in econometrics, led him to urge that the global effort to fight the disease in West Africa increase resources and prioritize reducing the spread of the virus. Smart wrote that it is “extremely foolish” of any nation to think that they are immune to the Ebola virus. He said that the possibility for the disease to become airborne would lead to a global spread, an “unprecedented number of deaths,” and that as many as 1.2 million people could die from the disease. Liberty Voice


NOAA – 246 Low Max Records Broken or Tied From Sept 1 to Sept 10

 246 Low Max Records Broken or  Tied From Sept 1 to Sept 10 according to the NOAA.


A “Low Max” means that the maximum temperatures for the day was the lowest it has ever been. This indicates daytime cooling.

Below is a screenshot showing location and the biggest difference between old record and new record.

The list is just the ones I could capture in a screenshot. sunshine hours

Incredible Photos of Bardarbunga

Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano has been erupting since Aug. 29, with lava shooting out of the ground on the Holuhraun lava field about halfway between that volcano and a neighboring volcano called Askja. The lava has flown out of the collapsed crater of Bardarbunga, known as a caldera, in a nearly 30 mile long dyke, before reaching the Earth's surface.

Scientists studying the volcano from the air and the ground have had to contend with hazardous plumes of sulfur dioxide gas that are streaming from the fissure in the ground that opened up on the Holuhraun lava field, like a scrape on a person's skin. The gases may pose a health hazard to populated areas downwind of the eruption, and have been detected as far away as Norway.

The scientists are still unsure exactly how the eruption will proceed from here. It could eventually result in flooding or an ash-producing eruption that would disrupt trans-Atlantic air travel and, if it is large enough, exert a cooling influence in the Earth's climate.

Ebola in the air? A nightmare that could happen

A child stops to look at a man who is suspected of suffering from the Ebola virus on a main street in Monrovia, Liberia, on Friday, September 12. Health officials say the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the deadliest ever. More than 4,700 cases have been reported since December, with more than 2,400 of them ending in fatalities, according to the World Health Organization.

Today, the Ebola virus spreads only through direct contact with bodily fluids, such as blood and vomit. But some of the nation's top infectious disease experts worry that this deadly virus could mutate and be transmitted just by a cough or a sneeze.

"It's the single greatest concern I've ever had in my 40-year public health career," said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. "I can't imagine anything in my career -- and this includes HIV -- that would be more devastating to the world than a respiratory transmissible Ebola virus."

Osterholm and other experts couldn't think of another virus that has made the transition from non-airborne to airborne in humans. They say the chances are relatively small that Ebola will make that jump. But as the virus spreads, they warned, the likelihood increases.

Every time a new person gets Ebola, the virus gets another chance to mutate and develop new capabilities. Osterholm calls it "genetic roulette."

As of Friday, there have been 4,784 cases of Ebola, with 2,400 deaths, according to the World Health Organization, which says the virus is spreading at a much faster rate now than it was earlier in the outbreak.

Ebola is an RNA virus, which means every time it copies itself, it makes one or two mutations. Many of those mutations mean nothing, but some of them might be able to change the way the virus behaves inside the human body.

"Imagine every time you copy an essay, you change a word or two. Eventually, it's going to change the meaning of the essay," said Dr. C.J. Peters, one of the heroes featured in "The Hot Zone."

That book chronicles the 1989 outbreak of Ebola Reston, which was transmitted among monkeys by breathing. In 2012, Canadian researchers found that Ebola Zaire, which is involved in the current outbreak, was passed from pigs to monkeys in the air.

Dr. James Le Duc, the director of the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas, said the problem is that no one is keeping track of the mutations happening across West Africa, so no one really knows what the virus has become.

One group of researchers looked at how Ebola changed over a short period of time in just one area in Sierra Leone early on in the outbreak, before it was spreading as fast as it is now. They found more than 300 genetic changes in the virus.

"It's frightening to look at how much this virus mutated within just three weeks," said Dr. Pardis Sabeti, an associate professor at Harvard and senior associate member of the Broad Institute, where the research was done. CNN


Ebola Death Toll Skyrockets by Almost 200 in One Day

The death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak in history has jumped by almost 200 in a single day to at least 2,296 and is already likely to be higher than that, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

The WHO said it had recorded 4,293 cases in five West African countries as of Sept. 6, a day after its previous update.

But it still did not have new figures for Liberia, the worst-affected country, suggesting the true toll is already much higher. The WHO has said it expects thousands of new cases in Liberia in the next three weeks.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said on Tuesday she expects the Ebola crisis gripping her country to worsen in the coming weeks as health workers struggle with inadequate supplies, a lack of outside support and a population in fear.

Liberia's defense minister told the United Nations Security Council that Ebola posed a mortal threat to the country.

As well as struggling to contain the disease, the U.N. health organisation is having difficulty compiling data on the number of cases, said Sylvie Briand, the director of WHO's department of pandemic and epidemic diseases.

"We know that the numbers are under-estimated," Briand told a news briefing in Geneva. "We are currently working to estimate the under-estimation.

"It's a war against this virus. It's a very difficult war. What we try now is to win some battles at least in some places."

The outbreak began last December and has been gathering pace for months, but about 60 percent of Liberia's cases and deaths occurred within the last three weeks, the data showed.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said that Liberia's Montserrado County, which includes the capital, Monrovia, needs 1,000 beds to treat Ebola patients but the medical charity can only provide around 400 of those.

"We know that every day there are more people that need to be taken care of than we can include in our program. At the moment, there are insufficient beds," MSF emergency coordinator Laurence Sailly told a news conference on Tuesday.

In Guinea and Sierra Leone, the other two countries at the center of the outbreak, only 39 percent of cases and around 29 percent of deaths have occurred in the past three weeks, suggesting they are doing better at tackling the outbreak.

The new figures also showed two new suspected cases in Senegal in addition to one previously confirmed case there. In Nigeria, the overall number of cases fell to 21 from 22, as at least one suspected case turned out not to be Ebola. Baltimore Sun


Canada : September Snow Falls in Calgary

Calgary got an early dose of winter this morning as drizzling rain turned into big fluffy flakes of snow.

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for the city Monday evening.

"The first significant snowfall of the season is occurring," said the national weather agency on its website. "General snowfall accumulations of five centimetres are expected, however, greater accumulations are possible in some areas — including higher elevations. Snowfall accumulations will vary significantly depending on surface type and snowfall intensity. Snow will taper off this evening in Calgary and overnight in Pincher Creek."

A cold front that brought rain to Calgary, and other parts of southwestern Alberta overnight, had even colder air behind it that is producing accumulations of snow.

Blowing wet snow west and north of the city is reducing visibility on the highways in the area.

Record rainfall swamps Southwest, two dead in Arizona

USA Today

Torrential rain from the remnants of a Pacific Ocean hurricane swamped the Desert Southwest Monday, with Phoenix and Tucson seeing some of the worst flooding. Rain and floods were also reported in southern California.

In Phoenix, the rain turned freeways into lakes and forced the closure of highways, streets and schools throughout the region.

In Tucson, one woman died after her car was swept away by heavy floods and became trapped against a bridge.

Monday was the rainiest single day in the history of Phoenix, where weather records go back to 1895.

More rain was in the forecast for Monday night and early Tuesday.

Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport recorded 3.29 inches of rain, which broke the all-time calendar day record total of 2.91 inches, the National Weather Service reported.

That record was set in 1933.

Gov. Jan Brewer ordered non-essential state employees to stay home Monday and she declared a "statewide emergency for areas impacted by today's severe rainfall and flooding."

School administrators throughout the Valley canceled and delayed classes as a result of the massive storm.

The 3 inches of rain is more than the Arizona capital usually gets in the entire three months of July, August and September.

Channel 12 meteorologist James Quiñones said already the region was coping with the biggest flood in 44 years.

The rain was due in part to the remnants of eastern Pacific Hurricane Norbert. These tropical-type storms occur only once every five to 10 years in Arizona and result in prolonged, widespread rain. Monsoon storms, by comparison, are shorter and much more isolated.

"This is pretty historic, what we're seeing," said Randy Cerveny, a weather expert and professor of geological sciences at Arizona State University.

The storm system brought a rare, brief rainfall to Los Angeles and parts of Southern California, and heavier amounts caused flash flooding on highways in desert and other inland areas.

Around Palm Springs, more than 40 water-related rescues were reported Monday morning and at least one school was evacuated because of flooding, The Desert Sun reported. A slow-moving thunderstorm knocked out power in some areas and created a traffic mess on heavily traveled Interstate 10.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Mike Radford said the rain left "tons of debris" on highways and flooded side roads throughout the Coachella Valley desert.

"This is definitely one of the worst storms I've seen'' in the valley, Radford told The Desert Sun.

Parts of five western states -- California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado -- were under flood watches or warnings as of late afternoon, the National Weather Service reported.


Small Meteorite Strikes near Nicaragua’s Capital

In this Sunday Sept. 7, 2014, publicly distributed handout photo provided by the Nicaraguan Army shows an impact crater made by a small meteorite in a wooded area near Managua's international airport and an air force base.

 Nicaragua's government said Sunday that a mysterious boom heard overnight in the capital was made by a small meteorite that left a crater in a wooded area near Managua's airport.

Government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said a committee formed by the government to study the event determined it was a "relatively small" meteorite that "appears to have come off an asteroid that was passing close to Earth."

Murillo said Nicaragua will ask international experts to help local scientists in understanding what happened.

The crater left by the meteorite had a radius of 12 meters (39 feet) and a depth of 5 meters (16 feet), said Humberto Saballos, a volcanologist with the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies who was on the committee. He said it is still not clear if the meteorite disintegrated or was buried.

Humberto Garcia, of the Astronomy Center at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, said the meteorite could be related to an asteroid that was forecast to pass by the planet Saturday night.

"We have to study it more because it could be ice or rock," he said.

Wilfried Strauch, an adviser to the Institute of Territorial Studies, said it was "very strange that no one reported a streak of light. We have to ask if anyone has a photo or something."

Local residents reported hearing a loud boom Saturday night, but said they didn't see anything strange in the sky.

"I was sitting on my porch and I saw nothing, then all of a sudden I heard a large blast. We thought it was a bomb because we felt an expansive wave," Jorge Santamaria told The Associated Press.

The site of the crater is near Managua's international airport and an air force base. Only journalists from state media were allowed to visit it.

Pakistan : 174 People Missing by Unexpected Early Heavy Snowfall and Blizzards

174 people have gone missing in heavy snow fall and storm in Deosai plain and Kala Pani of the Gilgit-Baltistan.

According to the details, 452 people got struck in the snow storm along with their live stocks. Local authorities on information by their relatives managed to reach to 280 people and shifted them to safer places. However the administration said 174 people with their live stocks are still missing.

They said due to extremely harsh weather condition, they are unable to launch search for the missing persons. The officials said that once the weather improves, they would launch rescue operation to search the missing persons and save their lives. Daily Times


Indian Girl Marries a Dog to Warn off Evil Spirits

Mangli Munda, from a remote village in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, said 'I do' to the stray canine in a lavish ceremony surrounded by 70 friends and family.

The wedding was organised by village elders after a local guru led Mrs Munda's parents to believe that she possessed bad luck, and that marrying a man would bring devastation to her village.

The furry groom, Sheru, arrived at the ceremony in style - escorted in a chauffeur driven car - and was greeted by well-wishers.

But Mrs Munda, who has not been to school, said that she had more than cold feet on the big day.

The hesitant bride admitted that she was not happy to marry a dog, but did so in the hope that her luck would change.

She said: "I am marrying a dog because the village elders believe that my evil spell will be passed on to the dog.

"After that is done, the man I will marry will have a long life."

Her father, Sri Amnmunda, was happy for his daughter to go through with the matrimony and even picked out the privileged pooch  .

He said: "The village elders told us that we should organise the wedding as soon as we can. We had to make sure that the evil spell is destroyed.

"And marrying a dog is the only way to get rid of the bad luck."

Amazingly, this is not the first time that a local girl has wed a canine in Mrs Munda's village.

Her father added: "Many weddings like this have taken place in our village and also the other neighbouring villages.

"This is a custom that we thoroughly believe in."

According to village customs, Mrs Munda is free to marry again later in life without divorcing the dog.

"My villagers say that many girls like me have followed this ritual and they have gotten rid of their evil spells and are living happy lives now," she said.

"I will also be free to marry a man of my dreams after after the evil spell is over."

But despite the fact that the groom is a bit on the furry side, Mrs Munda's mother insists that this was just like any other wedding.

"Apart from the fact that the groom is a dog, we followed all customs," said Seema Devi.

"We respect the dog as much as we would respect a normal groom.

"We had to spend money on this wedding in the same way as we would in a normal wedding.

"But that is the only way we can get rid of her bad luck and ensure the benevolence of the village."

Now that the big day is over, Mrs Munda will go on to look after Sheru like any other pet while looking out for her true prince charming.

She added: "I will marry a man one day.

"It is the dream of every girl to marry a prince charming.

"So I am also waiting for my prince."


Mystery Crater on Utah Farm Baffles Geologists

Gary Dalton was draining the irrigation pond on his farmland in Circleville, Utah, when he made a startling discovery: a giant crater staring back up at him from the bottom of the basin.

"The sun was just right, so I saw this blasted thing that no one had ever seen," he tells KSL.com. The algae-filled hole, measuring about 25 feet across and at least 7 inches deep in the center—with a few more inches' give in the middle—has baffled not only the Daltons, but area geologists as well.

"We've got several theories … [but] most of them have gone up in smoke," says a scientist from the Utah Geological Survey. Possibilities had included a pushy natural spring emerging from underneath, a buried pipeline, an earthquake, a meteor, or a methane "burp"—but they either don't seem geographically likely or have been ruled out with photographic evidence.

The most likely explanation is that the crater was formed when soil underneath the body of water collapsed from the constant draining and refilling of the pond, which caused an eruption of water and air to make the hole.

But what do the Daltons think caused it? Gary tells KSL.com, "My heck, I guess that's Martian art," while one of his sons simply shrugs and says, "I have no idea."
(Read about another mystery crater at the "end of the world" in Siberia.) 

Fox News


ISIS (Islamic State) plan to spread bubonic plague is found on laptop

Islamic State militants are trying to get hold of biological weapons and are studying ways of developing bubonic plague, raising fears that they are planning devastating attacks on civilians.

Documents found on a laptop belonging to an Isis fighter appear to show that the group has explored options to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Just as al-Qaeda spent years trying to get such weapons, it appears that Isis, now the world’s richest terrorist organisation, has followed suit.

The computer was found at a former Isis hideout by fighters from a moderate Syrian rebel group.

Unusual respiratory virus strikes hundreds of metro kids

An unusual respiratory virus is striking children in the metro in big numbers. Children’s Mercy Hospital is hospitalizing 20 to 30 kids a day with the virus. The hospital is as full now as it is at the height of flu season.

This is not the same virus we told you about several weeks ago that can cause meningitis. This one can cause severe breathing trouble. Children’s Mercy has seen more than 300 cases in recent days in kids of all ages.

Preston Sheldon’s mom says he seemed fine when she took him to pre-school Tuesday. But minutes later, the Grain Valley mom got the call. Her three-year-old son was having trouble breathing.

“You could see his ribs, and his stomach was pushing out really hard… I thought it was an asthma attack,” said Pam Sheldon.

But it was a virus that is inundating Children’s Mercy with patients.

“To be at winter census is quite unusual in August obviously. To see a virus we’ve not seen before is unusual, too,” said Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, an infectious disease specialist.

It is enterovirus 68. The doctor says it’s well-known around the world, but cases have not been seen in Kansas City before.

“We have about 10 to 15 percent who have severe illness from this virus which actually acts like asthma exacerbations,” said Dr. Jackson.

She says about two-thirds of the hospitalized cases are in children like Preston who have a history of asthma or wheezing. But others are having trouble breathing, too. She says the virus will produce an ordinary cold in many kids. What should parents watch for?

“The difficulty breathing is a very obvious tip-off sign they need to come into the hospital,” said Dr. Jackson.

To try to stop the spread, Children’s Mercy has posted signs at security entrances saying children 12 or younger should not visit in-patients. Nor should those with symptoms visit.

Dr. Jackson says good hand washing, covering your cough and not sending your child to school if he or she appears sick can help control the spread.

There’s no anti-viral medicine for enterovirus 68 and no vaccine. Supportive care, including oxygen, has helped Preston. His mom is glad they didn’t wait to go to the emergency room.

“Cause it can hit really fast. And without medical treatment, it could get really bad,” she said. FOX


Ebola Is Rapidly Mutating

For the first time, scientists have been able to follow the spread of an Ebola outbreak almost in real time, by sequencing the virus' genome from people in Sierra Leone.

The findings, published Thursday in the journal Science, offer new insights into how the outbreak started in West Africa and how fast the virus is mutating.

An international team of researchers sequenced 99 Ebola genomes, with extremely high accuracy, from 78 people diagnosed with Ebola in Sierra Leone in June.

The Ebola genome is incredibly simple. It has just seven genes. By comparison, we humans have about 20,000 genes.

"In general, these viruses are amazing because they are these tiny things that can do a lot of damage," says Pardis Sabeti, a computational biologist at Harvard University and the lead author of the study.

The team helped to find the first Ebola cases in Sierra Leone. They also immediately shipped diagnostic samples from the patients back to the U.S. and started sequencing the viruses' genomes.

"We had 20 people in my lab working around-the-clock," Sabeti says.

Their furious pace paid off. After just a week or so, the team had decoded gene sequences from 99 Ebola viruses. The data offered a treasure-trove of information about the outbreak.

For starters, the data show that the virus is rapidly accumulating new mutations as it spreads through people. "We've found over 250 mutations that are changing in real time as we're watching," Sabeti says.

While moving through the human population in West Africa, she says, the virus has been collecting mutations about twice as quickly as it did while circulating among animals in the past decade or so.

"The more time you give a virus to mutate and the more human-to-human transmission you see," she says, "the more opportunities you give it to fall upon some [mutation] that could make it more easily transmissible or more pathogenic."

Sabeti says she doesn't know if that's happening yet. But the rapid change in the virus' genome could weaken the tools researchers have to detect Ebola or, potentially, to treat patients.

Diagnostic tests, experimental vaccines and drugs for Ebola — like the one recently used to treat two American patients — are all based on the gene sequences of the virus, Sabeti says. "If the virus is mutating away from the known sequence, that could be important to how these things work."

The new genomic data also indicate that the outbreak started when just one person caught Ebola from an animal. Since then the virus has been spreading through human-to-human transmission — not through humans eating infected bush meat (wild game) as was first thought. NPR


Police Searching for a California Man With Drug Resistant Tuberculosis

This man’s illness is so serious that there was a warrant issued for his arrest. The young man, age 24, named Agustin Zeferino recently decided to stop treatment for his highly contagious disease. What are we talking about, a drug-resistant form of tuberculosis.

He hadn’t been seen at treatment for two weeks according to Santa Barbara County Public Health Officials. He has the most dangerous form of tuberculosis, which can be fatal if not treated. It is unclear at this time why he decided to discontinue his medical treatment.

Drug-resistant tuberculosis is a very rare form the disease and is highly contagious. It is easily spread by coughing and sneezing. This is the second time a warrant has been issued for a tuberculosis patient refusing their treatment. In fact just last month Eduardo Rosas Cruz, 25 years of age, was arrested in Fresno.

Public Health officials said it is common for patients to disappear for a short time, but said they generally return before any legal action is taken. If an extended period of time has gone by, than Public Health Officials work with District Attorneys when deciding whether to press criminal charges or not.

The drug-resistant form of tuberculosis generally takes 18-24 months of treatment, but is curable. Treatment cannot be forced upon a patient by law. The only power Health Officials have is to use the courts to try and isolate the patient from the public.

Up to this point they have not been locate the missing 24 year old man. They are doing everything they can to find him and ensure the health and safety of the public. This disease is very serious and Public Health official hope to find him before anyone else has a chance to get infected. DUMB OUT

City of Veszprem in Hungary haunted by Mysterious Specter in the Sky

The city of Veszprem, Hungary was only briefly haunted by this mysterious spectre.

On the morning of August 11, its monstrous form hovered in the mist above municipal buildings near the town center.

A clue to its true identity is offered by the photographer, though, who reports he took the picture from the top of a twenty story building with the rising Sun directly at his back.

That special geometry suggests this is an example of an atmospheric phenomenon called the Glory or sometimes "the Spectre of the Brocken". Also seen from mountain tops and airplanes when looking opposite the Sun, the dramatic apparition is the observer's shadow on clouds or fog, the small droplets of water scattering light back towards the Sun through complex internal reflections.

Careful night sky watchers can also encounter this spectre's analog in astronomy, a brightening of zodiacal light opposite the Sun known as the gegenschein. NASA - Astronomy Picture of the Day


Ozone-Depleting Compound Persists, NASA Research Shows

NASA research shows Earth's atmosphere contains an unexpectedly large amount of an ozone-depleting compound from an unknown source decades after the compound was banned worldwide.

Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), which was once used in applications such as dry cleaning and as a fire-extinguishing agent, was regulated in 1987 under the Montreal Protocol along with other chlorofluorocarbons that destroy ozone and contribute to the ozone hole over Antarctica. Parties to the Montreal Protocol reported zero new CCl4 emissions between 2007-2012.
However, the new research shows worldwide emissions of CCl4 average 39 kilotons per year, approximately 30 percent of peak emissions prior to the international treaty going into effect.

"We are not supposed to be seeing this at all," said Qing Liang, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study. "It is now apparent there are either unidentified industrial leakages, large emissions from contaminated sites, or unknown CCl4 sources."

As of 2008, CCl4 accounted for about 11 percent of chlorine available for ozone depletion, which is not enough to alter the decreasing trend of ozone-depleting substances. Still, scientists and regulators want to know the source of the unexplained emissions.

For almost a decade, scientists have debated why the observed levels of CCl4 in the atmosphere have declined slower than expectations, which are based on what is known about how the compound is destroyed by solar radiation and other natural processes.

"Is there a physical CCl4 loss process we don't understand, or are there emission sources that go unreported or are not identified?" Liang said.

With zero CCl4 emissions reported between 2007-2012, atmospheric concentrations of the compound should have declined at an expected rate of 4 percent per year. Observations from the ground showed atmospheric concentrations were only declining by 1 percent per year.

To investigate the discrepancy, Liang and colleagues used NASA's 3-D GEOS Chemistry Climate Model and data from global networks of ground-based observations.

The CCl4 measurements used in the study were made by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) Earth System Research Laboratory and NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Model simulations of global atmospheric chemistry and the losses of CCl4 due to interactions with soil and the oceans pointed to an unidentified ongoing current source of CCl4. The results produced the first quantitative estimate of average global CCl4 emissions from 2000-2012.

In addition to unexplained sources of CCl4, the model results showed the chemical stays in the atmosphere 40 percent longer than previously thought. The research was published online in the Aug. 18 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

"People believe the emissions of ozone-depleting substances have stopped because of the Montreal Protocol," said Paul Newman, chief scientist for atmospheres at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and a co-author of the study. "Unfortunately, there is still a major source of CCl4 out in the world."

NASA monitors Earth's vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns.

NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing.

The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet. NASA

'Terrifying' sinkhole 100ft wide appears overnight in Pennines

A 100ft-wide sinkhole that is so deep the bottom cannot be seen at one end has appeared overnight just yards from a farmer's house in County Durham.

John Hensby, 71, says his partner Sam Hillyard, 39, first discovered the hole on Thursday morning, adding that it has been growing ever since.
And Mr Hensby now fears that heavy rain forecast for the coming days could be about to make the situation even worse.

Mr Hensby, 71, who lives in Cowshill, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham, said: 'I am not sure where this will end.

'The hole is still growing. It is astonishing. If you could have heard the bangs, crashes and rumbles when it first happened you would understand how terrifying it was.

'My partner Sam had been walking one of our dogs when she she found it on our land around 80 metres away from our house.

'The land is surrounded by a sheep farm and there are two or three around at the moment. If a sheep was to fall down the hole then that would be the end of it. It would be the same for our two dogs. You wouldn't be able to get to them or even see them.'

Mr Hensby believes the collapse could be linked to 19th-century iron or lead mining in the area, though he has been unable to find evidence of a shaft that may have collapsed.

While lead mining started in the Pennines around 2,000 years ago, commercial operations didn't start until the mid-1800s and continued until the early 1900s, starting up again for a few years during the First World War.

Around this time the landscape was littered with chimneys and huge waterwheels that were used to sort useful ore from soil and other scrap, though only a few remain today.

The mines also produced zinc ore, iron ores, and fluorite also known as fluorspar, though the areas is less well-known for these.

Mr Hensby, who lives with partner Sam, an academic at Durham University, added: 'From time to to time small holes do open up on our land, but we have never known them to be so big before.

'Some council experts came to inspect the hole yesterday but we are not sure what can be done. We are crossing our fingers it doesn't get much bigger, but it is approaching a public footpath now.'

He added that he is working to increase the wild bird population on his land, and hopes that the sink hole will not have a negative impact. Daily Mail


Crack Appears Over a Kilometer in Mexico

[Google Translate]

The opening of a crack in a little over a mile long and up to eight feet deep became trending on Twitter, including users of this social network in Hermosillo.

The Friday evening event was recorded in the Suaqui Ejido Candelaria, located 81.3 km west of the city of Hermosillo, two hours away by car, and is 90 meters above sea level.

Alan Hernandez was the person who posted the images, finding the place the length and depth of the crack, which opened on a road leading to the aforementioned ejido The Jojobal vineyard near the Poblado Miguel Aleman. 

Inhabitants of the area surrounding ranches said they had no record of an event of this kind in recent years. Photographs received dozens of comments and 50 retweets between Friday night and Saturday morning.

Among the comments made by users of this social network is argued that the movement of earth could have been the result of abundant rainfall previous hours, 68 mm, or caused by an earthquake in the area was recorded. Expreso


Space Station Covered With Living Plankton — Bizarre Discovery Baffles Scientists

Plankton have been found living on the exterior of the International Space Station (pictured), according to Russian space officials. They think the microorganisms could have been blown there by air currents on Earth. Daily Mail

A strange discovery on the International Space Station has left scientists baffled. It turns out that the space station has traces of living sea plankton on the surface of the spacecraft that orbits more than 200 miles above the Earth’s surface, and well above the planet’s atmosphere.

“The results of the experiment are absolutely unique,” said Russia’s chef Space Station scientist Vladimir Solovyev. “We have found traces of sea plankton and microscopic particles on the illuminator surface. This should be studied further.”

Solovyev said that the plankton is not a form of alien or extraterrestrial life. In fact. the organisms are native to oceans right here on Planet Earth. But how they got on the Space Station is total mystery.

The organisms were discovered during a routine polishing of the Space Station illuminators, the type of housekeeping that is “particularly needed during long space flights,” Solovyev said.

Scientists believe that the organisms could have been living on the outside of the International Space Station for many years. The first components of the space station were launched in 1998 and the station has been occupied by different crews of astronauts for almost 14 full years now.

But not until Russian astronauts Olek Artemyev and Alexander Skvortsov discovered the plankton during recent spacewalk were scientists aware that the living organisms had attached themselves to the Space Station — somehow.

The Russian science chief said he was in the dark as to “how these microscopic particles could have appeared on the surface of the space station.”

While the plankton are of a type that typically live on the surface of large bodies of water, the type found on the Space Station are not native to Baikonur, Khazakstan, which is the area from which the space station was launched.

“Plankton in these stages of development could be found on the surface of the oceans.

“This is not typical for Baikonur. It means that there are some uplifting air currents which reach the station and settle on its surface,” Solovyev said.

Certain microscopic organisms can not only survive but thrive even in extremely hostile environments, such as outer space where there is no oxygen and where temperatures are extreme.

But the real mystery remains how the plankton got onto the surface of the International Space Station in the first place.  Inquisitr

Panspermia - Wikipedia

Panspermia (from Greek πᾶν (pan), meaning "all", and σπέρμα (sperma), meaning "seed") is the hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by meteoroids, asteroids, comets, planetoids, and also by spacecraft, in the form of unintended contamination by microbes.

Panspermia is the proposal that microscopic life forms that can survive the effects of space, such as extremophiles, become trapped in debris that is ejected into space after collisions between planets and small Solar System bodies that harbor life. Some organisms may travel dormant for an extended amount of time before colliding randomly with other planets or intermingling with protoplanetary disks. If met with ideal conditions on a new planet's surfaces, the organisms become active and the process of evolution begins. 

Ebola Virus Reaches Germany, Vietnam, Myanmar

The Ebola virus came a little bit closer to home today after a woman was tested for the deadly disease in the German capital of Berlin.

The 20-year-old woman, who collapsed while working at a Job Centre in Berlin's Pankow district was taken to hospital after showing symptoms of the virus.

According to Berliner Zeitung the woman, who is originally from West Africa, said she had had contact with victims of Ebola in her homeland.

The job centre was immediately cordoned off and around 600 people have now been quarantined inside, according to reports.

Police have not confirmed the case was Ebola but said they were testing for the disease.

The deadly virus can only be determined after a blood test is carried out.

Early symptoms include fever and circulation issues and mucus.

There have already been cases of Ebola found in Spain and Austria.

A Spanish priest became the first person in Europe to be treated for the disease.

Miguel Pajares suffered a fatal heart attack less than 48 hours after being diagnosed with the disease. Express

Two Nigerians are sent to Ho Chi Minh City's Tropical Diseases Hospital for isolation after they arrived in the city by plane, having no symptoms other than fever

HANOI, Vietnam – Vietnam and Myanmar are testing 3 patients for the deadly Ebola virus after they arrived in the Southeast Asian nations from Africa while suffering from fever, health officials said.

Two Nigerians were sent to Ho Chi Minh City's Tropical Diseases Hospital for isolation after they arrived in the city by plane, Vietnam's health ministry said, adding that they did not have symptoms other than fever.

Airline passengers sitting next to the pair – who travelled to Vietnam on Monday, August 18, from Nigeria via Qatar – have been advised to monitor their own health.

In Myanmar a 22-year-old local man was taken to hospital in Yangon after arriving at the city's main airport on Tuesday, the Myanmar Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement on its official Facebook page late Tuesday.

It said he is believed to have returned from Guinea, having also travelled to Liberia, two of the countries worst hit by the Ebola outbreak.

Four people who accompanied the man to hospital were also being kept under observation, although they have not shown signs of illness.

"We have to send the samples to India for laboratory testing to see whether it is Ebola or not. The process will take 3 to 4 days," Tun Tin, deputy director of the ministry of health, told the Agence France-Presse.

He added that authorities were working closely with the World Health Organisation.

Myanmar, which began emerging from harsh junta rule in 2011, has one of the world's worst funded and poorly equipped healthcare systems, with many people cut off from even basic medical help.

The global death toll from Ebola stands at 1,229, with the bulk of cases in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

The medical charity MSF has said the outbreak is moving faster than aid organisations can handle, while the World Health Organisation said the scale of the epidemic had been vastly underestimated.

Vietnam has introduced mandatory temperature checks at its two major international airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to try to prevent passengers bringing the deadly virus into the country.  Rappler