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Victims top 2,000 in Japan earthquake/tsunami
The News - Natural Disasters
March 13, 2011
death toll 2000 japan earthquake tsunami

Japan continued to grapple Sunday with widespread damage from its biggest recorded earthquake and massive tsunami that hit northeastern and eastern regions two days ago, with the number of reported victims topping 2,000 and a crisis escalating at two nuclear plants.

The magnitude for the devastating quake was revised upward the same day from 8.8 to 9.0, one of the largest recorded in the world, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The number of people who had died or remained unaccounted for exceeded 2,000, police said, while the official death toll neared 800. In Fukushima Prefecture alone, 1,167 were unaccounted for and well over 600 corpses had been found in both Iwate and Miyagi prefectures on the Pacific coast.

Local governments have been unable to contact tens of thousands of people, and at least 20,820 buildings have been fully or partially damaged in quake-hit areas, according to local officials and a tally by the national governments. [ KYODO NEWS ]

Another reactor at Fukushima nuke plant loses cooling functions

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday another reactor of its quake-hit Fukushima nuclear power plants had lost its cooling functions, while at least 15 people at a nearby hospital were found to have been exposed to radioactivity.

The utility supplier notified the government early Sunday morning that the No. 3 reactor at the No. 1 Fukushima plant had lost the ability to cool the reactor core. The reactor is now in the process of releasing radioactive steam, according to top government spokesman Yukio Edano.

It was the sixth reactor overall at the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants to undergo cooling failure since the massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck Japan on Friday. [ LINK ]

US experts fear 'Chernobyl-like' crisis for Japan

US nuclear experts warned Saturday that pumping sea water to cool a quake-hit Japanese nuclear reactor was an "act of desperation" that may foreshadow a Chernobyl-like disaster.

Several experts, in a conference call with reporters, also predicted that regardless of the outcome at the Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant crisis, the accident will seriously damage the nuclear power renaissance.

"The situation has become desperate enough that they apparently don't have the capability to deliver fresh water or plain water to cool the reactor and stabilize it, and now, in an act of desperation, are having to resort to diverting and using sea water," said Robert Alvarez, who works on nuclear disarmament at the Institute for Policy Studies. [ CHANNEL NEWS ASIA ]

Nuclear Plant explodes in Japan - Damage from mega quake increasing
The News - Current Events
March 12, 2011
nuke plant explodes japan

A massive explosion has rocked a Japanese nuclear power plant after Friday's devastating earthquake.

A huge pall of smoke was seen coming from the plant at Fukushima and several workers were injured. Japanese officials say the container housing the reactor was not damaged and that radiation levels have now fallen.

A huge relief operation is under way after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami, which is thought to have killed at least 1,000 people.

The offshore earthquake triggered a tsunami which wreaked havoc on Japan's north-east coast, sweeping far inland and devastating a number of towns and villages. [ BBC NEWS ]

Damage from mega quake increasing, death toll feared to top 1,700

Damage caused by Friday's catastrophic earthquake in Japan expanded Saturday, with the combined number of people who have died or are unaccounted for is feared to top 1,700, while an explosion occurred at the nuclear reactor building of Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and injured four workers.

The four are conscious and their injuries are not life-threatening, according to the electricity firm, while the Fire and Disaster Management Agency dispatched the Hyper Rescue squad from Tokyo to bring equipment to cool down the nuclear plant facilities.

Radioactive materials -- cesium and iodine -- were also detected around the No. 1 reactor of the plant, according to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. [ KYODO NEWS ]

Nearly 10,000 missing in Miyagi prefecture

Northeast Japan was a wasteland Saturday morning after the country's strongest earthquake on record triggered a 30-foot tsunami. The cascade of destruction killed hundreds, forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and raised fears about radioactive released from damaged nuclear power reactors.

Sendai, a city of one million people, was among the hardest-hit areas of the nation. An aerial tour by helicopter Saturday morning near the local airport showed a dead zone of small planes, helicopters and cars strewn half-submerged in green-brown water.

Along the coast north of the airport, oil-storage tanks burned brightly, sending a funnel of pitch-black smoke nearly a mile into the sky. Fires burned in industrial parks ringing the area, nearly 24 hours after Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake, one of the world's five strongest over the past century, ground life across the country to a halt. [ WSJ ]

 nearly 10,000 missing Miyagi prefecture japan

Tsunami warning center raises magnitude of Japan earthquake to 9.1
The News - Natural Disasters
March 11, 2011
japan earthquake magnitude 9.1

Shaking, Smoke Seen at Japanese Nuclear Plant Facing Possible Meltdown

The walls of a building at nuclear power station crumbled Saturday as smoke poured out and Japanese officials said they feared the reactor could melt down following the failure of its cooling system in a powerful earthquake and tsunami.

It was not clear if the damaged building housed the reactor. An official said the utility that runs the Fukushima Daiichi plant was reporting that several workers may have been injured.
Fukushima Prefecture official Masato Abe said the cause of the rattling and smoke was unclear, declining to say whether an explosion had occurred. [ FOX NEWS ]

Blast, smoke at Fukushima No. 1 plant

Nuclear authorities had earlier warned that the Fukushima No 1 plant, located about 250km northeast of Tokyo, an urban area of 30 million people, might "be experiencing a nuclear meltdown".

The plant's cooling system was damaged in the quake that hit on Friday, leaving the government scrambling to fix the problem and evacuate more than 45,000 residents within a 10km radius.

Public broadcaster NHK reported that a blast had been heard at about 3.30pm local time and showed delayed footage of smoke billowing from the site, also reporting that the reactor building had been destroyed.

TV channels warned nearby residents to stay indoors, turn off air-conditioners and not to drink tap water. People going outside were also told to aviod exposing their skin and to cover their faces with masks and wet towels. [ HERALD SUN ]

The Japan earthquake was the fourth most powerful ever recorded with a magnitude of 9.1, twice more powerful than the initial estimate of 8.9, Gerard Fryer, geophysicist of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, said this morning.

Three others that were more powerful since the late 1800s when seismometers started measuring ground motions were in 9.5 in Chile in 1960, 9.2 in Alaska in 1964 and 9.1 in Sumatra in 2004, according to Fryer.

The new magnitude was adjusted based on the impact of the quake  throughout the Pacific, he said.  "It fits all measurements, including in Hawaii," Fryer said. The U.S. Geological Survey estimate of the quake's magnitude is still 8.9.It is not uncommon for scientists to  estimate different magnitudes immediately after an earthquake. [ STAR ADVISER ]

whirlpool japan earthquake tsunami disaster

Latest Temblor An Interplate earthquake

The major earthquake that struck northeastern Japan on Friday had the hallmarks of an interplate quake, which occurs at the boundary between two tectonic plates.

At the area near the epicenter, the North American plate, on which part of the Japanese archipelago lies, slips under the Pacific plate. The temblor was likely triggered when the North American plate snapped upward, releasing the accumulated strain.

The earthquake occurred near the site of another tremor that shook Miyagi Prefecture on Wednesday, so the earlier quake may have been a foreshock, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. [ NIKKEI ]

Radiation Levels Surge Outside Two Nuclear Plants in Japan

Japan declared states of emergency for five nuclear reactors at two power plants after the units lost cooling ability in the aftermath of Friday's powerful earthquake. Thousands of residents were evacuated as workers struggled to get the reactors under control to prevent meltdowns.

Operators at the Fukushima Daiichi plant's Unit 1 scrambled ferociously to tamp down heat and pressure inside the reactor after the 8.9 magnitude quake and the tsunami that followed cut off electricity to the site and disabled emergency generators, knocking out the main cooling system.

An official with Japan's nuclear safety commission says that a meltdown at nuclear power plant affected by the country's massive earthquake is possible. [ FOXNEWS ]

Japan says meltdown possible at nuclear plant

An official with Japan's nuclear safety commission says that a meltdown at nuclear power plant affected by the country's massive earthquake is possible.

Ryohei Shiomi said Saturday that officials were checking whether a meltdown had taken place at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, which had lost cooling ability in the aftermath of Friday's powerful earthquake.

Shiomi said that even if there was a meltdown, it wouldn't affect humans within a six-mile (10-kilometer) radius. [ AJC.com ]

Hundreds killed, thousands missing in Japan tsunami - Nuclear reactor crisis
The News - Natural Disasters
March 11, 2011
2011 japan earthquake tsunami disaster

Thousands of people are reported missing after the biggest earthquake on record rattled north-eastern Japan, triggering a massive tsunami that swept away everything in its path.

Japan confronted devastation along its northeastern coast on Saturday, with fires raging and parts of some cities under water after a massive earthquake and tsunami that likely killed at least 1,000 people.

Daybreak was expected to reveal the full extent of the death and damage from Friday's 8.9 magnitude earthquake and the 10-metre high tsunami it sent surging into cities and villages, sweeping away everything in its path.

In one of the worst-hit residential areas, people buried under rubble could be heard calling out "help" and "when are we going to be rescued", Kyodo news agency reported.

Japan may have hours to prevent nuclear meltdown

nuclear reactor 1000x radiation japan disaster

Japanese officials may only have hours to cool reactors that have been disabled by Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami or face a nuclear meltdown.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) (9501.T) is racing to cool down the reactor core after a highly unusual "station blackout" -- the total loss of power necessary to keep water circulating through the plant to prevent overheating.

Daiichi Units 1, 2 and 3 reactors shut down automatically at 2:46 p.m. local time due to the earthquake. But about an hour later, the on-site diesel back-up generators also shut, leaving the reactors without alternating current (AC) power. [ REUTERS ]

Radiation 1,000 times higher than normal detected at nuke plant

The amount of radiation reached around 1,000 times the normal level Saturday in the control room of the No. 1 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

The discovery suggests radioactive steam could spread around the facility operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. [ KYODO NEWS ]

Are earthquakes getting worse?
The News - Natural Disasters
March 11, 2011

The 8.9-magnitude earthquake that rumbled through Japan today (March 11), triggering a devastating tsunami, was the strongest felt in that country since seismic monitoring was invented. It's also comparable in scale to a few other recent temblors, including last year's 8.8-magnitude quake in Chile and 2004's 9.1-magnitude undersea rupture off Indonesia that caused a tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people.

But researchers say these catastrophes shouldn't be taken as evidence of a larger trend. According to the United States Geological Survey, the number of earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 7 has remained constant in the last century. And the occurrence of a few big quakes in a few years is most likely a statistical anomaly. (The upcoming "supermoon," by the way, also did not cause the Japanese earthquake.)

"Statistics are way too small to say that this just couldn't happen randomly," Henry Pollack, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Michigan, told LiveScience.

However, increasing populations in earthquake-prone areas mean that smaller quakes can put more people at risk than in the past, researchers say.

"Hundreds of Bodies" found After Massive Tsunami and Earthquake
The News - Natural Disasters
March 11, 2011

Japan's quake toll set to exceed 1,000

A devastating tsunami triggered by the biggest earthquake on record in Japan looked set to kill at least 1,000 people along the northeastern coast on Friday after a wall of water swept away everything in its path.

The government warned there could be a small radiation leak from a nuclear reactor whose cooling system was knocked out by the quake. About 3,000 residents in the area some 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo had been moved out of harm's way. [ REUTERS ]

japan earthquake tsunami deathtoll hundreds dead

Japanese police say 200 to 300 bodies have been found in a northeastern coastal area where a massive earthquake spawned a ferocious tsunami Friday that swept away boats, cars and homes. 

The magnitude 8.9 offshore quake - the largest in Japan's history - unleashed a 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami and was followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0. 

The bodies found were in Sendai city, the closest major city to the epicenter, Japanese police said. Earlier, police confirmed at least 60 people had been killed and 56 were missing. The death toll was likely to continue climbing given the scale of Friday's disaster.

Tsunami waves generated by the massive quake hit Hawaii early Friday morning. The first waves crashed into the island of Kauai at 3:13 a.m. local time. Officials predicted they would experience waves up to 6 feet (2 meters). See Also : Biggest Tsunamis in History

 first wave tsunami japan earthquake disaster 2011 march

Update : 88,000 people missing after Japan earthquake and Tsunami?

An 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Northeast Japan spawned a ferocious tsunami that's caused massive destruction; flattening whole cities, starting raging fires, and killing hundreds. Nearly 88,000 people are reported missing, according to the official Kyodo news agency.

We found some videos that show the scope of the disaster, and you can also see The Atlantic's collection of photos of the quake.

Footage of the tsunami quickly enveloping the city of Sendai, Japan. Officials say 200 to 300 bodies have been found in the city. [ KHQ.com ]

Update : Japan Earthquake and Tsunami - 60+ dead
The News - Natural Disasters
March 11, 2011
big earthquake tsunami japan disaster 2011 march

The biggest earthquake on record to hit Japan struck the northeast coast on Friday, triggering a 30 foot tsunami that swept away everything in its path, including houses, ships, cars and farm buildings.

The Red Cross in Geneva said the wall of water was higher than some Pacific islands and a tsunami warning was issued for almost the entire Pacific basin, though alerts were lifted for some countries in the region, including Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.

At least 59 people had been killed in the quake and tsunami in Japan, broadcaster NHK said, adding that many were missing. The extent of the destruction along a lengthy stretch of Japan's coastline suggested the death toll could rise significantly.

The 8.9 magnitude quake, the most powerful since Japan started keeping records 140 years ago, caused many injuries and sparked fires while the tsunami prompted warnings to people to move to higher ground in coastal areas.

5th Largest Earthquake recorded since 1900

A massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake rocked northeast Japan late this afternoon, setting a nuclear plant ablaze, unleashing a 10-metre tsunami that tossed ships inland and left at least 60 people dead.

Police said many others were injured in Tokyo and coastal areas of the main Honshu island, while television footage showed scenes of widespread devastation and flooding.

A monster wave hit near Sendai city where a tide of black water sent shipping containers, cars and debris crashing through streets and across open farmland destroying everything in its path.

The government said the tsunami and quake, which was felt as far away as Beijing 2,500 kilometres away, had caused "tremendous damage" while aerial footage showed massive flooding in northern towns. [ ABC.NET.AU ]

Tsunami hits Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

The first wave of the tsunami has passed through Midway Island with a more than 8-foot wave measured, the National Weather Service said about 1:25 a.m.Hawaii time.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said Midway recorded a 5.1-foot wave.

Eariler in the evening, coastal gauges at Wake Island and Saipan showed arriving wave heights of about 1.6 feet and 2.5 feet respectively, said Pacific Tsunami Warning Center geophysicist Gerard Fryer.

For Hawaii, that means, so far, "it looks like the largest waves, in Haleiwa and Hilo, will be about 2 meters (more than 6 feet)," Fryer said.

Fryer said scientists are actually analyzing two models -- one that shows waves of up to 2 meters and one showing half of that. [ STAR ADVISER ]

Tokyo feared earthquake might have been the "big one"
The News - Natural Disasters
March 11, 2011
tokya earthquake disaster 1923 big one

As the daylight faded, tens of thousands of stranded office workers wandered the streets of Tokyo, waited in long lines for packed buses, or, for a lucky few, sat in cabs stuck in slow-moving traffic. Others stood in lines in front of the few public phone booths that remain today in central Tokyo. In many cases, the lime green public phones were their only way to reach relatives since most mobile phone networks offered sporadic or no service for several hours after the quake struck.

Many pedestrians in downtown Tokyo gathered in front of buildings with window displays featuring flat-panel screens to watch live television broadcasts of the widespread damage. Employees of the Asahi newspaper, a major Japanese daily, stood on street corners in the Ginza handing out free copies of a four page special edition with a five inch headline that read: "Giant Earthquake In Eastern Japan."

But for a few minutes after the ground began to rattle, the concern burned into stoic Tokyoites' faces was much bigger: What if this was the "big one?" A major quake is often seen as overdue since the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake that left more than 100,000 dead in a flattened city.

 tokyo earthquake disaster big one prediction 1923

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami video
The News - Natural Disasters
March 11, 2011
earthquake tsunami japan video pics pictures disaster 2011

A major tsunami has struck northern Japan after a powerful 8.9 magnitude megaquake rocked the capital Tokyo.

A 33ft wave has smashed into the port in the country's Sendai city, sending ships crashing into the shore and carrying cars and buildings through the streets of coastal towns.

Deaths have been reported following the earthquake, which has obliterated Tokyo's Disneyland car park and caused large fires at sites including an oil refinery in nearby Iichihara.

Large aftershocks continue to hit the capital, following a quake so strong it was felt 1,500 miles away in the Chinese capital of Beijing.

Airports in the region have been closed and Tokyo's fire department reported several people were injured when a roof caved in at a graduation ceremony in the city.

 tsunami damage earthquake japan cars washed away

Tsunami Slams Japan After Massive Earthquake
The News - Natural Disasters
March 11, 2011

At least ten are confirmed dead after 13 foot tsunami struck the northern coast of Japan, washing away cars and damaging buildings, following a powerful, magnitude 8.9 earthquake that has rocked the country's coast.

 A magnitude 8.9 earthquake slammed Japan's northeastern coast Friday, unleashing a 13-foot tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland. Fires triggered by the quake burned out of control up and down the coast.

At least one person was killed and there were reports of several injuries in Tokyo, hundreds of kilometers (miles) away, where buildings shook violently through the main quake and the wave of massive aftershocks that followed.
 tsunami slams japan after massive earthquake

Evacuations Near Japan Nuclear Plant after Earthquake and Tsunami

Some 2,000 residents living near Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant were urged to evacuate Friday.  Engineers said they were unable to pump water to cool the nuclear reactor at a northeastern power plant crippled by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake.

Officials in Fukushima issued the advice for residents living within a two-kilometer (1.2-mile) radius of the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Japan declared a nuclear emergency Friday after engineers said they were unable to pump water to cool the nuclear reactor at a northeast power plant crippled by fire caused by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said there was no radiation leak after the cooling system at the plant in Fukushima failed. [ MYFOXNY.com ]

Tsunami hits Japan after Massive Earthquake
The News - Natural Disasters
March 11, 2011
earthquake tsunami natural disaster japan

A massive earthquake has hit the northeast of Japan triggering a tsunami that has caused extensive damage.

Japan's TV showed cars, ships and even buildings being swept away by a vast wall of water after the 8.9 magnitude earthquake.

Officials said a wave could be as high 10m (33ft). Numerous casualties are feared.

The quake struck about 250 miles (400km) from Tokyo at a depth of 20 miles, shaking building in the capital.

The tremor at 1446 local time (0546 GMT) was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks.

Seismologists say it is one of the largest earthquakes to hit Japan for many years.

The tsunami warning was extended to the Philippines, Indonesia and the Pacific coast of Russia. [ 2011 Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami ]

Massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan
The News - Natural Disasters
March 11, 2011
earthquake tsunami japan march 2011 disaster

Japan was struck by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday - unleashing a more than 13-foot (4-meter) tsunami that washed away cars and tore away buildings along the coast near the epicenter. There were reports of injuries in Tokyo. ( See natural disasters section )

In various locations along Japan's coast, TV footage showed massive damage from the tsunami, with dozens of cars, boats and even buildings being carried along by waters. A large ship swept away by the tsunami rammed directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture, according to footage on public broadcaster NHK.

Officials were trying to assess damage, injuries and deaths from the quake but had no immediate details.

The quake that struck at 2:46 p.m. was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, including a 7.4-magnitude one about 30 minutes later. The U.S. Geological Survey upgraded the strength of the first quake to a magnitude 8.9, while Japan's meteorological agency measured it at 7.9.

The meteorological agency issued a tsunami warning for the entire Pacific coast of Japan. NHK was warning those near the coast to get to safer ground.

If Aliens Attack: Visitors to Earth Will Likely Be Robots
The News - Weird-Strange
March 10, 2011
et extra terrestrial robot alien invasion

The alien invaders in the new movie "Battle: Los Angeles" are anything but friendly looking. Mechanical components are built right into their stringy bodies, a weapon protrudes from an arm, and machinery bristles along their armored exoskeletons. But like us, the aliens possess slimy internal organs and they can bleed. 

This portrayal of extraterrestrials, however, strikes some scientists as unrealistic. Should any real visitors - or conquerors - from space come to our planet, the scientific odds strongly suggest the aliens will be completely artificial forms of life.

"If an extraterrestrial spaceship ever lands on Earth, I bet you that it is 99.9999999 percent likely that what exits that ship will be synthetic in nature," said Michael Dyer, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles (appropriately enough).

In civilizations advanced enough to travel between the stars, it is quite likely that machines have supplanted their biological creators, some scientists argue. Automatons - unlike animals - could withstand the hazards to living tissue and the strain on social fabrics posed by a long interstellar voyage.

Will Sunscreen Protect You From the Upcoming Solar Flares?
The News - Science-Astronomy
March 10, 2011
solar flare 2011 march sunscreen cme storm

An explosion in the sun's atmosphere called a "solar flare" sent a huge burst of matter and energy hurtling out into space yesterday (March 9). The X-class solar flare - the biggest type there is - dumped many thousands of times more radiation than usual into our atmosphere. Solar flares are difficult to predict, but they often come in clusters, so another one is likely to hit Earth in the next few days.

During this period of extreme solar activity, Kobus Olckers, a forecaster at the South African Space Weather Office in Cape Town, advised members of the public to avoid going outside and to wear high-SPF sunscreen if they do. But will some SPF 45 really protect you from the extra radiation?

Yes – sunscreen will block the radiation. But there isn't actually that much extra to worry about. [ LIVE SCIENCE ]

Powerful earthquake of Indonesia's island of Bali
The News - Natural Disasters
March 10, 2011
A powerful earthquake off Indonesia rattled the popular resort island of Bali early Friday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, officials said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 6.5-magnitude quake struck at 1:08 a.m. (1708 GMT Thursday) and was centered 315 miles (510 kilometers) beneath the ocean floor. It hit waters 160 miles (260 kilometers) northeast of Bali.

Beni Hendrawanto, of the country's geological and meteorology department, said it could be felt in the main city of Denpasar but there were no initial reports of damage or injuries.

Indonesia is located on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

Sun unleashes yet another huge solar flare
The News - Science-Astronomy
March 10, 2011
solar flare march 2011 cme storm

The sun unleashed another major solar flare Wednesday, a solar storm so powerful it could spawn dazzling northern lights displays that could be visible even from New York City.

The solar flare erupted at 6:23 p.m. EST, letting loose a wave of charged particles that is aimed straight at Earth and should arrive in the next few days.

When it does, it could supercharge the Earth's aurora borealis – also known as the northern lights – when the particles interact with the planet's magnetic field and atmosphere.

"This flare could make the northern lights visible as far south as Washington state, central Idaho, northern Wyoming, the Dakotas and east to Chicago, Detroit, N.Y.C. and Boston," explained Space.com's skywatching columnist Joe Rao. "Of course, we have to hope that the subatomic particles emitted by the flare arrive at the Earth's vicinity during the nighttime hours and, of course, that skies are clear!" 

Predicting the effects and arrival time of solar storms is very difficult, however, so while the light storm could reach Earth Thursday night, it's not certain it would be visible so far south. Also, bright city lights could render the sky show difficult or impossible to see. [ MSNBC ]

UN alarmed at huge decline in bee numbers
The News - Climate-Environment
March 10, 2011
bee decline disaster crops
The UN on Thursday expressed alarm at a huge decline in bee colonies under a multiple onslaught of pests and pollution, urging an international effort to save the pollinators that are vital for food crops.

Much of the decline, ranging up to 85 percent in some areas, is taking place in the industralised northern hemisphere due to more than a dozen factors, according to a report by the UN's environmental agency. They include pesticides, air pollution, a lethal parasite that only affects bee species in the northern hemisphere, mismanagement of the countryside, the loss of flowering plants and a decline in beekeepers in Europe.

"The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century," said UNEP executive director Achim Steiner.

"The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of the world's food, over 70 are pollinated by bees," he added. Honey bee colony declines in recent years have reached 10 to 30 percent in Europe, 30 percent in the United States, up to 85 percent in Middle East, said scientist Peter Neumann, one of the authors of the first ever UN report on the issue. [ BREITBART ]

March 19th 'Supermoon' - Trigger Natural Disasters?
The News - Natural Disasters
March 09, 2011
supermoon natural disasters march 19

On March 19, the moon will swing around Earth more closely than it has in the past 18 years, lighting up the night sky from just 221,567 miles (356,577 kilometers) away. On top of that, it will be full. And one astrologer believes it could inflict massive damage on the planet.

Richard Nolle, a noted astrologer who runs the website astropro.com, has famously termed the upcoming full moon at lunar perigee (the closest approach during its orbit) an "extreme supermoon."

When the moon goes super-extreme, Nolle says, chaos will ensue: Huge storms, earthquakes, volcanoes and other natural disasters can be expected to wreak havoc on Earth. (It should be noted that astrology is not a real science, but merely makes connections between astronomical and mystical events.)

But do we really need to start stocking survival shelters in preparation for the supermoon? The question is not actually so crazy. In fact scientists have studied related scenarios for decades. Even under normal conditions, the moon is close enough to Earth to make its weighty presence felt: It causes the ebb and flow of the ocean tides.
Magnitude 7.2 earthquake shakes Japan, triggers tsunami
The News - Natural Disasters
March 09, 2011
japan earthquake tsunami march 2011

A significant magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck off the coast of northeastern Japan Wednesday morning rattling Tokyo and prompting a tsunami warning. A sedsadsaries of strong aftershocks have continued since the main quake as officials watch developments closely.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) reports that the initial quake struck at 11:45 a.m. local time (02:45 UTC) at a depth of 8.8 miles. The epicenter was 104 miles east of Sendai, Honshu, Japan or 265 miles northeast of sadasdasdasTokyo.

The shaking was felt across much of Japan’s main island of Honshu but no significant damage or injuries have been reported by the quake or the subsequent aftershocks. Some train lines in the Iwate prefecture were halted temporarily but have since resumed service. No damage was seen at the Tohoku Electric Power nuclear power facility. 

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) issued a tsunami warning immediately following the earthquake. A 24-inch tsunami reached the town of Ofunato on the coast and other towns reported similar rises in the water level approximately 30 minutes after the quake. Seventeen aftershocks between magnitude 4.7 and 5.7 have occurred since the initial temblor. 

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