Farmer suicides soar in India, as deadly heat-wave hits 51 degrees Celsius

India Heatwave
May 2016INDIA India has set a new record for its highest-ever recorded temperature – a searing 51 degrees Celsius or 123.8F – amid a devastating heat-wave that has ravaged much of the country for weeks. Hundreds of people have died as crops have withered in the fields in more than 13 states, forcing tens of thousands of small farmers to abandon their land and move into the cities. Others have killed themselves rather than go to live in urban shanty towns.
Rivers, lakes and dams have dried up in many parts of the western states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat. India’s previous record high was 50.6C (123 F), which was set in 1956 in the city of Alwar, also in Rajasthan. The world record temperature is 56.7C, which was recorded in July 1913, in Death Valley, California. Human body temperature is normally 37C. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned that heat-wave conditions were expected to continue for much of the next week in parts of central and north-west India, interspersed with dust and thunder storms in places.
Dr Laxman Singh Rathore, the IMD’s director general, firmly pinned the blame for the rising temperatures on climate change, noting the trend dated back about 15 years. “It has been observed that since 2001, places in northern India, especially in Rajasthan, are witnessing a rising temperature trend every year,” he said in a statement. India’s previous record high was 50.6C (123 F), which was set in 1956 in the city of Alwar, also in Rajasthan. The world record temperature is 56.7C, which was recorded in July 1913, in Death Valley, California. Human body temperature is normally 37C.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned that heat-wave conditions were expected to continue for much of the next week in parts of central and north-west India, interspersed with dust and thunder storms in places. Dr Laxman Singh Rathore, the IMD’s director general, firmly pinned the blame for the rising temperatures on climate change, noting the trend dated back about 15 years. “It has been observed that since 2001, places in northern India, especially in Rajasthan, are witnessing a rising temperature trend every year,” he said in a statement. –Independent

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Europe to be hit by ‘once-in-a-century’ extreme weather event every year

Europe Climate Extreme
May 2016 UNITED KINGDOMEurope will soon be hit by deadly, “once-in-a-century” extreme weather events every year, a study has found. Severe wildfires, river floods and windstorms will affect certain areas of the continent annually by 2050, according to research published in the journal Climatic Changes. The study concludes the issue is at “historically high levels” and Europe will undergo a “progressive and strong increase in overall climate hazard”, with a particular impact on the south-western regions.
The researchers suggest key hot-spots will emerge along coastlines and in floodplains in southern and Western Europe, which are often highly populated and economically pivotal. Europe’s entire Mediterranean seaboard will be confronted annually with extreme droughts, coastal floods or heat-waves by the end of the century, the study adds. Giovanni Forzieri, lead author and a scientist at the European Commission’s Institute for Environment and Sustainability, said: “This should be a warning to governments and institutions tasked with preparing solutions and adaptation strategies.”
“In Spain, you will see at least two hazards every year by 2080 that – in the current climate – only show up once in 100 years.” The projections are based on climate models which assume Earth’s surface temperatures will rise by about two degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era benchmark by 2050.
The world’s first global climate agreement – agreed by 170 countries in Paris last December – set a target of capping temperature increases at “well below” two degrees Celsius. But some scientists argue that at the current rate of fossil fuel consumption, the planet is set for an increase of four degrees or higher. –Independent

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Tokyo reports TB outbreak – Zika expected to arrive in Europe by spring

TB
May 2016TOKYO, JapanOfficials with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Social Welfare and Public Health Bureau (computer translated) say nine people are currently being treated for tuberculosis (TB) and an additional 34 are being treated for latent TB after exposure to an infected student last year. The index student, studying at a Japanese language school in 2015, developed symptoms of TB in September and was diagnosed via chest X-ray in November. However, the student, unaware of the seriousness of his illness, continued attending classes after symptoms appeared.
Tokyo has reported a rise in TB cases in recent years. Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal. TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.
People who breathe air containing the TB bacteria may become infected. People infected with TB bacteria have a lifetime risk of falling ill with TB of about 10%. Symptoms of active TB include cough, fever, night sweats, and unexplained weight loss. Active TB disease is usually curable with a standard 6-month course of antibiotic drugs. According to health officials, the index student has finished his treatment and his condition has improved. Tokyo health official, Yoshiyuki Sugishita said, “There is no ongoing risk of further transmission from those already diagnosed with infections as they have already had treatment.” –Outbreak Today
Zika updates: The Zika virus is expected to reach Europe by late spring, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO), but the risk of an outbreak across the region will be low to moderate. The risk will be greatest in countries where the mosquitoes spreading the disease, Aedes aegypti, are found naturally.
In the first risk assessment of Zika transmission in Europe, published Wednesday, WHO investigated the risk of an outbreak in the region’s 53 member states and identified the highest likelihood of transmission to be on the island of Madeira and the north-eastern coast of the Black Sea.
Another 18 countries (33% of the region) were determined to have a moderate likelihood of an outbreak. These countries, in order of likelihood, are France, Italy, Malta, Croatia, Israel, Spain, Monaco, San Marino, Turkey, Greece, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Georgia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.
“In [these] countries in the European region, especially in the Mediterranean basin, there is a moderate likelihood of local Zika virus transmission,” said Dr. Nedret Emiroglu, director of the Communicable Diseases and Health Security Division, WHO Regional Office for Europe. –CNN

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Guatemala’s Mt. Fuego erupts, prompting evacuations – Italy’s Mt. Etna grows more active

Fuego
May 2016 GUATEMALAA volcanic eruption at Guatemala’s Volcan de Fuego, one of the most active volcanoes in Central America, has sparked the evacuation of the area surrounding the peak. Guatemala’s National Institute for Seismology and Vulcanology are reporting that an ash column reaching 5,500 meters (18,000 feet) above sea level has emerged, while “moderate” lava flow is pouring out of the mountain.
“This pyroclastic flow was accompanied by moderate rumble of the volcano [and] fallen ash is reported in the villages of El Rodeo, La Rochelle, Osuna, Panimache, Morelia, Sangre de Cristo and Yepocapa,” a statement by the government agency confirmed. –RT News

Etna

Massive explosions at Mt. Etna: Europe’s most active volcano has spent the last 24 hours sending huge plumes of ash and smoke hundreds of meters into the skies above Sicily. The 3350-metre high volcano began to stir on Tuesday, with emissions from its north-east crater growing in intensity throughout the day.“On May 17th we witnessed an increase in the amplitude of volcanic tremors and recorded intense degassing accompanied by occasional, weak emissions from the north-eastern crater,” explained the Catania branch of Italy’s National Vulcanology and Geophysics Institute (INGV).
Vulcanologists are classing the eruption as ‘Strombolian’ – a category characterized by explosive bursts of activity during which cinder, ash and smoke are ejected from the crater with great force. So far, thanks to favorable atmospheric conditions, the ejected material has only fallen in the immediate vicinity of the 1190 km² volcano and flights at Fontanarossa airport in nearby Catania have not been affected. But the eruption has provided people in the vicinity with a great photo opportunity, with many great snaps being shared on Twitter. –The Local
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Sapientia: the 40 principles of Wisdom by Alvin Conway

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             “The greatest motivational book ever written.” – The Quest Institute of Science 
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Nearly 100 schoolchildren ‘possessed by the devil’ have ‘contagious visions’ of man in black trying to kill them

Peru Children
May 2016PERUThe mass case of ‘demonic possession’ has caused some pupils to suffer from seizures while others have fainted at the school. Almost 100 schoolchildren are thought to have been ‘possessed’ by the devil – and see visions of a man in black trying to kill them. In what has been described as a mass case of demonic possession, the pupils in Peru are experiencing seizures alongside their horrifying hallucinations. Experts have struggled to explain the strange goings-on, which also include widespread convulsions and fainting at the school, reportedly built on a Mafia graveyard.
According to local reports, as many as 80 students at the Elsa Perea Flores School in northern Peru’s Tarapoto have been experiencing the supposedly contagious ‘condition’ since last month. A pupil, not named in local media, described their experience: “It’s disturbing for me to think about it. It’s as if someone kept on chasing me from behind. It was a tall man all dressed in black and with a big beard and it felt like he was trying to strangle me. My friends say I was screaming desperately, but I don’t remember much.”

Another schoolgirl said she had trouble breathing and was desperately holding her neck as if someone was strangling her. According to her friends, she kept screaming: “Take it out.” Another anonymous girl, aged 13, told local media: “Several children from different classrooms fainted at the same time. I got nauseous and started vomiting. I heard voices. A man in black chased me and wanted to touch me.” –The Mirror

Occult

Growing interest in the occult in society: Father Gary Thomas, exorcist for the Diocese of San Jose (CA) — whose 2005 training in the rite of exorcism in Rome led to Matt Baglio’s 2010 book, “The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist” and the 2011 movie, “The Rite,” starring Anthony Hopkins — likes to quote Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: “As faith diminishes, superstition increases.” So when we’re looking for cultural factors that have fostered increasing interest in, and practice of, Satanism and other occult activities, we have to begin with the decline in Christian belief in the West.
Fr. Jeffrey Grob, exorcist for the Archdiocese of Chicago, described this to me in a recent telephone interview as a “disenchantment with organized religion.” Americans are impatient people and “even Catholics,” he explained, “may go to healers or botanicas” or dabble in Santeria, “seeking alternatives to God for an instant fix.”
Msgr. Patrick Brankin, exorcist for the Diocese of Tulsa, agrees that the decline in Christian faith and concomitant rise in secularism is fostering demonic activity: “‘in the last few years, we’re seeing more demonic activity,’ he said, a trend he attributes to an increasingly secular society that has turned to Ouija boards, witchcraft, astrology, fortune telling and other occult practices that ‘open the door to the demonic.’”
All three exorcists believe that there has been a marked rise in the number of people who are dabbling in the occult — whether Satanism, paganism, idolatry or something else — compared to 25-30 years ago. In “The Occult Roars Back: Its Modern Resurgence,” Richard Kyle, Professor of History and Religious Studies at Tabor College in Kansas, quotes several academic experts who have written about the causes of the sharp increase in interest in the occult. Jeffrey Russell, for example, noted that, historically, “interest in the occult has grown significantly in periods of rapid social breakdown, when establishments cease to provide readily acceptable answers and people turn elsewhere for assurance.” –Aleteia

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Ecuadoreans panic as strong 6.7 magnitude earthquake strikes devastated coast

Ecuador EQ
May 2016ECUADOR A magnitude 6.7 magnitude earthquake has struck Ecuador. According to the US Geographical Survey, the quake’s epicenter was 36 miles south of the city of Esmeraldas, at a depth of 6.2 miles. A destructive Pacific-wide tsunami was not expected, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement.
There was no report of significant damage, but electricity was cut in some coastal areas. However, people ran into the streets as far away as the highland capital Quito, according to witnesses, suggesting fears over earthquakes remain strong. President Rafael Correa said the epicenter was the fishing village of Mompiche on the Pacific coast, and only some “small damages” had been caused.
“All quiet,” he tweeted. “[People from] Quito can return to their homes.” A national emergency committee had been convened but is due to be deactivated, the president said. In April, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the country in one of Ecuador’s worst disasters for nearly seven decades. It killed more than 650 people and injured around 16,600. –Independent

Ecuador EQ A

Slow recovery from April earthquake: Up to 100 babies on average are born every day in Esmeraldas and Manabí, the provinces worst hit by the April 7.8 magnitude Ecuador earthquake, UNICEF said today. “In a region where 1 in 5 children suffer from diarrhea and chronic malnutrition, it is essential to provide these babies with the basic needs to survive and thrive,” said Grant Leaity, UNICEF Representative in Ecuador. The April 16 earthquake killed 660 people, destroyed water systems and affected 33 health centres, half of which are not operational. The earthquake also damaged or destroyed some 560 schools and close to 10,000 buildings.
An immediate response led by the Government is allowing 75 per cent of children to return to school and providing an integrated response to over 30,000 people living in official shelters, including basic assistance, medical and psychological support. With support from UNICEF, access to safe water was restored in Jama and Pedernales, the two worst hit towns by the earthquake. However, one month on, thousands more people are staying in informal shelters which lack basic services and 120,000 children are in urgent need of temporary educational spaces. –Unicef
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Sri Lanka landslides: more than 200 families missing as three villages buried

Sri Lanka
May 2016SRI LANKA The nation’s worst torrential rains for six years have forced tens of thousands from their homes. Rescuers are looking for more than 200 families who are missing following massive landslides in a remote area on the slopes of Sri Lanka’s Central Hills. The Sri Lankan Red Cross said the landslides, which struck on Tuesday after three days of heavy rain, buried three villages – Siripura, Pallebage and Elagipitya – in Kegalle district.
Red Cross officials said they suspected that at least 220 families were missing, going by government population records. Government officials did not confirm the figure. Seventeen bodies have already been recovered from piles of mud, a military spokesman said, taking to 36 the confirmed, countrywide death toll attributed to the severe weather and flooding. The Red Cross said rescue operations had been hampered because roads leading to the mountainous area north-east of the capital, Colombo, were treacherous.
“Rescuers would have to get there by foot and start digging with their hands before we can get any heavy equipment in to the site,” Mahieash Johnney, senior manager of communications at the Red Cross, said. The area had received over 100mm of rain between 15 and 16 May and at least two nearby villages had been evacuated due to fears of a fresh landslide, Red Cross officials said. Torrential rains across Sri Lanka have forced more than 137,000 people from their homes. Rohan Dias, a deputy police inspector, said it was not known how many people had survived the landslides.Map Sri Lanka
“There are about 800 people gathered in the nearby temples including the people from the neighboring villages fearing their villages could also be affected. There are another 400 people in the roads who have come to see their relatives.” WM Abeywickrema, Kegalle district secretary, told a local private channel that around 400 people had been rescued so far. AG Kamala, 52, who had just returned to her house in Siripura village when the landslides hit, told the Associated Press: “I heard a huge sound like a plane crashing into the earth. I opened my door. I could not believe my eyes, as I saw something like a huge fireball rolling down the mountain and again a huge sound.”
The Disaster Management Centre said dozens of houses were destroyed when mountain slopes collapsed, forcing hundreds of villagers to evacuate. The military said dozens of service personnel and eight army officers had been deployed to the rescue area near the town of Aranayaka. –Guardian

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