Japan deploys Patriot missiles in key locations around Tokyo
National Apr. 09, 2013 – 01:00PM JST
Japan has deployed Patriot missiles in its capital as it readies to defend the 30 million people who live in greater Tokyo from any North Korean attack, officials said Tuesday.
Two Patriot Advanced Capability-3 surface-to-air missile launchers were stationed at the defense ministry in Tokyo before dawn, a ministry spokesman said. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said “We are proceeding with measures including deployment of PAC-3 as we are on alert”.
Local reports said PAC-3 will be deployed in another two locations in the greater Tokyo area.
Tokyo’s response thus far to the threats emanating from Pyongyang has been low key and Tuesday’s moves are the most visible yet that it is rattled.
“The government is making utmost efforts to protect our people’s lives and ensure their safety,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters Tuesday morning. “As North Korea keeps making provocative comments, Japan, cooperating with relevant countries, will do what we have to do. For the moment, the most important thing is to implement sanctions under the UN Security Council resolutions.”
PAC-3 batteries will also be installed on Okinawa, Onodera told a television program.
He said Okinawa was “the place that is most effective in responding to emergencies… so we should deploy the unit in Okinawa on a permanent basis.”
Japan’s armed forces are authorized to shoot down any North Korean missile headed toward its territory, a defense ministry spokesman said Monday.
In addition to the PAC-3s, Aegis destroyers equipped with sea-based interceptor missiles have been deployed in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), the defense official said.
Tokyo’s moves came as North Korea said Monday it was withdrawing all workers and suspending operations at a lucrative joint industrial zone with South Korea, with reports of heightened activity at the North’s nuclear test site and at a missile battery.
North Korea’s bellicose rhetoric has reached fever pitch in recent weeks, with near-daily threats of attacks on US military bases including in Japan and South Korea in response to ongoing South Korea-U.S. military exercises.
Intelligence reports suggest Pyongyang has readied two mid-range missiles on mobile launchers on its east coast and plans a test-firing before the April 15 birthday of late founding leader Kim Il-Sung.
© 2013 AFP
Three Chinese ships spotted in disputed waters
National Apr. 09, 2013 – 12:10PM JST
Chinese government ships were in the territorial waters of disputed Tokyo-controlled islands on Tuesday, Japan’s coast guard said.
The three surveillance ships were navigating in the 12-nautical-mile limit around the Senkakus, which Beijing claims and calls the Diaoyus, at around 10 a.m., the coastguard said.
Chinese government ships have frequently spent time around the disputed island chain since Tokyo nationalised three of the isles last September.
However, the frequency of what Japan sees as intrusions on its sovereignty has decreased in recent months and the rhetoric between Asia’s two largest economies has cooled.
The islands are also claimed by Taiwan.
© 2013 AFP
You need to be a member of Earth Changes and the Pole Shift to add comments!
- Comment by Howard on Friday
Thousands of Livestock Killed by Severe Winter Weather in Northern Ireland & Wales (Apr 5)
Michelle O’Neill said 3,130 sheep have been collected to date, and had some words of reassurance for farmers in doubt about who will and will not be eligible for help.
Mr Campbell, 45 and from near Banbridge, said: “It is soul-destroying looking at the amount of dead animals and the losses which the farmer has.
“Basically you’re just seeing a pile of dead carcasses — predominantly sheep — and bags upon bags of lambs that farmers have gathered up.
“I’m at it about seven or eight years now,” he said.
“I’ve never seen it as bad – just the volume of animals that’s lying dead, and probably a whole lot more we haven’t got yet.
Across North Wales, thousands of sheep are feared to have died under snowdrifts up to 15ft in the worst lambing disaster since the snow crises of 1947 and 1963.
Llanfairfechan farmer Emyr Williams said it would be impossible to deal with the devastation in seven days and some animals could be buried under snow for weeks.
- Comment by Derrick Johnson on April 2, 2013 at 8:18am
British butterfly species facing extinction after wettest summer
Britain’s butterflies suffered catastrophically in 2012, which saw the wettest summer on record for England. No fewer than 52 of the 56 resident British species suffered declines in the relentless rain and cold, some to such an extent that they now face extinction in parts of the country, according to the annual survey of the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.
The weather created disastrous conditions for species such as fritillaries as they struggled to find food, shelter and mating opportunities; butterflies fell to a record low, and 13 species suffered their worst year on record.
The critically endangered high brown fritillary fell by 46 per cent, the vulnerable marsh fritillary was down 71 per cent and the endangered heath fritillary saw its population plummet by 50 per cent.
The black hairstreak, one of the UK’s rarest species, saw its population fall by 98 per cent.
- Comment by lonne de vries on March 31, 2013 at 11:24am
Starving Sea Lion Pups Overwhelm Southern California Rescue Organizations
By SUE MANNING 03/29/13 06:05 PM ET EDT
LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of starving sea lion pups are washing up on beaches from San Diego to Santa Barbara, overwhelming rescue centers and leaving scientists
It’s gotten so bad in the past two weeks that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an “unusual mortality event.” That will allow more scientists to join the search for the cause, Melin said.
Live sea lion strandings are nearly three times higher than the historical average, said Jim Milbury of the National Marine Fisheries Service, part of NOAA.
Between Jan. 1 and March 24, 948 pups were rescued, Milbury said. The bulk of those were in Los Angeles County, which had 395, followed by San Diego, Orange, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, he said. Last year, only about 100 pups needed saving during the same period.
At the Pacific Marine Mammal Care Center in Laguna Beach, there were 139 animals being cared for Friday. Of those, 131 were sea lion pups, said spokeswoman Melissa Sciacca. She said the center has treated more than 220 sea lion pups so far this year, while the center treated 118 in all of 2012.
Southern California rescue facilities have become so crowded they have had to start sending pups to Northern California, said Jeff Boehm, executive director at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, which was caring for 30 starving pups.
There has been no sign of adult female mortality, Melin said. But the pups’ situation on the beaches is so bad, rescuers have had to leave the worst of them in an effort to save the strongest ones, she said.
Scientists expect the death toll to rise in April when weaning is supposed to take place. They also expect it to move further north, Melin said.
- Comment by KM on March 27, 2013 at 11:24pm
Madagascar hit by ‘severe’ plague of locustsThe locust plague is described as the worst to hit Madagascar since the 1950s
A severe plague of locusts has infested about half of Madagascar, threatening crops and raising concerns about food shortages, a UN agency says.
The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said billions of the plant-devouring insects could cause hunger for 60% of the population.
About $22m (£14.5m) was urgently needed to fight the plague in a country where many people are poor, the FAO added.
It was the worst plague to hit the island since the 1950s, the FAO said.
FAO locust control expert Annie Monard told BBC Focus on Africa the plague posed a major threat to the Indian Ocean island.
‘Generation of locusts’
“The last one was in the 1950s and it had a duration of 17 years so if nothing is done it can last for five to 10 years, depending on the conditions,” she said.Annie Monard Locust control expert
“Currently, about half the country is infested by hoppers and flying swarms – each swarm made up of billions of plant-devouring insects,” the FAO said in a statement.
“FAO estimates that about two-thirds of the island country will be affected by the locust plague by September 2013 if no action is taken.”
It said it needed donors to give more than $22m in emergency funding by June so that a full-scale spraying campaign could be launched to fight the plague.
The plague threatened pasture for livestock and rice crops – the main staple in Madagascar, the FAO said.
“Nearly 60% of the island’s more than 22m people could be threatened by a significant worsening of hunger in a country that already had extremely high rates of food insecurity and malnutrition,” it added.
An estimated 85% of people in Madagascar, which has a population of more than 22 million, live on less than a dollar a day.
The Locust Control Centre in Madagascar had treated 30,000 hectares of farmland since last October, but a cyclone in February made the situation worse, the FAO said.
The cyclone not only damaged crops but created “optimal conditions for one more generation of locusts to breed”, it added.
- Comment by KM on March 25, 2013 at 1:30pm
China pulls 1,000 dead ducks from Sichuan riverThe news comes amid concerns over the 16,000 dead pigs found in Shanghai’s Huangpu river
Around 1,000 dead ducks have been pulled from a river in southwest China, local officials say.
Residents found the dead ducks in Nanhe river in Pengshan county, Sichuan province, and alerted the environmental department, they said.
Local residents and livestock were not at risk as the river was not used for drinking water, officials added.
The news comes as the toll of dead pigs pulled from Shanghai’s Huangpu river passed 16,000.
Speaking in an interview with China National Radio on Sunday, Liang Weidong, a deputy director in Pengshan’s publicity department, said that the authorities were first made aware of the ducks on Tuesday.
Officials discovered over 50 woven bags which contained the carcasses of around 1,000 ducks in the river.
They were unable to determine the cause of death as some of the ducks were already decomposed, Mr Liang said, adding that the bodies had been disinfected and buried.
An initial investigation suggested that the duck corpses had originated from upstream and were not dumped by local Pengshan farmers, he said.
The news has prompted concern and criticism from some users on weibo, China’s version of Twitter, with many expressing incredulity at the government’s assurance that the water is safe.
“Dead pigs, dead ducks… this soup is getting thicker and thicker,” wrote one person with the username Baby Lucky.
“The dead pigs haven’t even disappeared yet, and now the dead ducks emerge – does this society enjoy being competitive?” wrote netizen sugarandsweet.
“The dead ducks in Pengshan river present us with a very practical problem, and show how society’s bottom line is getting lower and lower,” weibo user If So said.
The news came as Shanghai’s municipal government confirmed that over 16,000 pigs corpses had been pulled from Huangpu river, which supplies drinking water to Shanghai.
The work of fishing out the dead pigs in the river was “basically finished”, the government said in a statement released on Sunday.
Workers have been pulling dead pigs from Huangpu river for the past two weeks, sparking concern amongst residents and on China’s microblogs. It is still not clear where the dead pigs came from.
- Comment by Mark on March 25, 2013 at 12:55pm
PROOF of the methane being released:
In these cases, not so much from shifting ground but from the permafrost melting as the ground is being heated from below by the swirling core.
- Comment by lonne de vries on March 24, 2013 at 10:12pm
Pilot whales beach in South Africa
Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 4:53 AM
Six of 19 pilot whales that were stranded Sunday on a beach in the South African city of Cape Town have died and authorities said they planned to euthanize some of the surviving whales
Six of 19 pilot whales that were stranded Sunday on a beach in the South African city of Cape Town have died and authorities said they planned to euthanize some of the surviving whales.
Police and other rescue workers had hosed down the surviving whales at Noordhoek Beach to try to keep them alive.
The South African Press Association quoted Craig Lambinon, a spokesman for the National Sea Rescue Institute, as saying authorities had considered whether to try and refloat the whales, which washed up on the beach on Sunday morning.
- Comment by Carlos Ochoa on March 23, 2013 at 7:40pm
100 pelicans found dead in Brevard County; cause unknown
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. —About 100 brown pelicans have been found dead in Brevard County in the past two months and officials are not sure why, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.
The birds are found emaciated and filled with parasites.
“The pelicans are emaciated and have heavy parasite counts, and, to our knowledge, other bird species have not been affected,” said FWC researcher Dan Wolf in a press release.
Researchers are assessing the birds to figure out what is going on.
They sent samples to the National Wildlife Health Center for testing but have not yet heard back.
Additional testing will tell researchers whether botulism is the cause. According to officials, botulism is sometimes the cause of die-offs like this.
But botulism usually kills birds too quickly for them to become emaciated.
- Comment by Howard on March 21, 2013 at 4:06am
15 Tons of Dead Fish in South Africa Lagoon (Mar 20)
The dead mullets (commonly known as harders) started washing up on the shoreline on 15 March.
“The exact cause is being investigated, but may be difficult to determine,” the City’s Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said in a statement.
“It is suspected, however, that the fish deaths could be attributed to high nutrient levels, high water temperatures and low oxygen levels.”
Summer low water levels could have added to the low available oxygen, Solomons-Johannes added.
“At this stage there is no evidence of any toxic spill.”
He said samples of fish tissue were being analysed by the department of agriculture, fisheries and forestry.
Meanwhile, members of the public are advised not to collect or eat the dead fish, the statement said.
In addition, recreational users of the vlei and local residents are urged to avoid swimming and other water-based recreational activities such as canoeing downstream of the Otto du Plessis Drive bridge.
To date, approximately 10 tons of fish have been removed and taken to the Visserhok landfill site and a further 5 tons are expected to be cleared away.
- Comment by KM on March 21, 2013 at 1:16am
Wave of prawn deaths baffles Chile city of CoronelAuthorities are still collecting evidence to find an explanation for the red tide
Thousands of dead prawns have washed up on a beach in Chile, sparking an investigation.
Hundreds of dead crabs were also washed ashore in Coronel city, about 530km (330 miles) from the capital, Santiago.
Fishermen suggested the deaths may have been caused by local power stations that use seawater as a cooling agent. The power firms have not commented.
Experts are looking into water temperature and oxygen levels and other details to explain the deaths.
“We’re investigating the Coronel Bay to establish the physical parameters of temperature, electric conductivity and, above all, the oxygen,” said local environment official Victor Casanova.Hundreds of dead crabs were washed ashore on the weekend
Local fishermen blamed nearby power generation plants Bocamina 1 and 2 and Colbun.
“I’m 69 years old and started fishing when I was nine, but as a fisherman, I never saw a disaster of this magnitude,” Gregorio Ortega told local Radio Bio Bio.
While some blame pollution, others say the death of the crustaceans could be a consequence of the El Nino phenomenon, which warms the waters of the Pacific.
Marisol Ortega, a spokeswoman for the fishermen, said she feared the deaths would affect the livelihood of their community.
“The way everything is being destroyed here, come the high season in November, we’re already thinking we won’t have anything to take from the sea,” she said.