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End Time News – Updated 2 May 2017 - 5 stories
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earthquake headlines             6.0 quakes            7.0 quakes            quakes in diverse places          quake map

Very strong M6.8 earthquake hits Philippines, tsunami warnings issued

A very strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.8 (downgraded from M7.2) hit near the coast of Mindanao, Philippines at 20:23 UTC on April 28, 2017 (04:23 local time on April 29). The agency is reporting a depth of 41.7 km (25.9 miles). PHIVOLCS is reporting M7.2 at a depth of 87 km (54 miles). (EMSC, GFZ Potsdam). Tsunami warnings have been issued.

According to the USGS, the epicenter was located 26.8 km (16.6 mi) WSW of Balangonan (population 2 329) and 36.4 km (22.6 mi) SSW of Glan (population 24 256), Philippines.

There are 1 802 246 people living within 100 km (62 miles). EMSC estimated there are 6.2 million people in the felt area.

Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters (M7.2), hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300 km (186 miles) of the earthquake epicenter, PTWC said at 20:29 UTC.

PTWC Tsunami Threat Message No2 issued 20:52 UTC (M6.9 / depth 43 km (27 miles)):

"Based on all available data, hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts. Tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to 1 meters (1 - 3.3 feet) above the tide level are possible for some coasts of Philippines. Tsunami waves are forecast to be less than 0.3 meters above the tide level for the coasts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Palau and Yap."





At 21:03 UTC (05:03 local time), PHIVOLCS issued the following tsunami advisory:

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 occurred Sarangani on (2017/04/29) at 04:23 AM (Philippine Standard Time) located at 05.48 oN, 125.32 oE with depth of 87 km.

SEA LEVEL DISTURBANCES such as strong currents and rapid rise and fall of seawaters are expected. The concerned public is advised to be on alert for unusual waves. Based on tsunami wave models and early tide gauge records of the tsunami in the Philippine Sea, coastal areas in Philippine provinces fronting the Celebes Sea are expected to experience wave heights of less than one meter above the normal tide levels. The first tsunami waves will arrive between 4:28 AM to 5:23 AM, (2017/04/29) (PST) and may not be the largest. These waves may continue for hours.

People are advised to STAY AWAY FROM THE BEACH AND NOT TO GO TO THE COAST fronting Celebes Sea of the following provinces during this period 4:28 AM to 5:23 AM and until the threat has passed:

Sarangani, Davao Occidental, South Cotabato, Davao Oriental, and Sultan Kudarat.

USGS issued a green alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are a mix of vulnerable and earthquake resistant construction. The predominant vulnerable building types are reinforced concrete and unknown/miscellaneous types construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.

Seismotectonics of the Philippine Sea and vicinity
The Philippine Sea plate is bordered by the larger Pacific and Eurasia plates and the smaller Sunda plate. The Philippine Sea plate is unusual in that its borders are nearly all zones of plate convergence. The Pacific plate is subducted into the mantle, south of Japan, beneath the Izu-Bonin and Mariana island arcs, which extend more than 3,000 km along the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea plate. This subduction zone is characterized by rapid plate convergence and high-level seismicity extending to depths of over 600 km. In spite of this extensive zone of plate convergence, the plate interface has been associated with few great (M>8.0) ‘megathrust’ earthquakes. This low seismic energy release is thought to result from weak coupling along the plate interface (Scholz and Campos, 1995). These convergent plate margins are also associated with unusual zones of back-arc extension (along with resulting seismic activity) that decouple the volcanic island arcs from the remainder of the Philippine Sea Plate (Karig et al., 1978; Klaus et al., 1992).

South of the Mariana arc, the Pacific plate is subducted beneath the Yap Islands along the Yap trench. The long zone of Pacific plate subduction at the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea Plate is responsible for the generation of the deep Izu-Bonin, Mariana, and Yap trenches as well as parallel chains of islands and volcanoes, typical of circum-pacific island arcs. Similarly, the northwestern margin of the Philippine Sea plate is subducting beneath the Eurasia plate along a convergent zone, extending from southern Honshu to the northeastern coast of Taiwan, manifested by the Ryukyu Islands and the Nansei-Shoto (Ryukyu) trench. The Ryukyu Subduction Zone is associated with a similar zone of back-arc extension, the Okinawa Trough. At Taiwan, the plate boundary is characterized by a zone of arc-continent collision, whereby the northern end of the Luzon island arc is colliding with the buoyant crust of the Eurasia continental margin offshore China.

Along its western margin, the Philippine Sea plate is associated with a zone of oblique convergence with the Sunda Plate. This highly active convergent plate boundary extends along both sides the Philippine Islands, from Luzon in the north to the Celebes Islands in the south. The tectonic setting of the Philippines is unusual in several respects: it is characterized by opposite-facing subduction systems on its east and west sides; the archipelago is cut by a major transform fault, the Philippine Fault; and the arc complex itself is marked by active volcanism, faulting, and high seismic activity. Subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate occurs at the eastern margin of the archipelago along the Philippine Trench and its northern extension, the East Luzon Trough. The East Luzon Trough is thought to be an unusual example of a subduction zone in the process of formation, as the Philippine Trench system gradually extends northward (Hamburger et al., 1983). On the west side of Luzon, the Sunda Plate subducts eastward along a series of trenches, including the Manila Trench in the north, the smaller less well-developed Negros Trench in the central Philippines, and the Sulu and Cotabato trenches in the south (Cardwell et al., 1980). At its northern and southern terminations, subduction at the Manila Trench is interrupted by arc-continent collision, between the northern Philippine arc and the Eurasian continental margin at Taiwan and between the Sulu-Borneo Block and Luzon at the island of Mindoro. The Philippine fault, which extends over 1,200 km within the Philippine arc, is seismically active. The fault has been associated with major historical earthquakes, including the destructive M7.6 Luzon earthquake of 1990 (Yoshida and Abe, 1992). A number of other active intra-arc fault systems are associated with high seismic activity, including the Cotabato Fault and the Verde Passage-Sibuyan Sea Fault (Galgana et al., 2007).

Relative plate motion vectors near the Philippines (about 80 mm/yr) is oblique to the plate boundary along the two plate margins of central Luzon, where it is partitioned into orthogonal plate convergence along the trenches and nearly pure translational motion along the Philippine Fault (Barrier et al., 1991). Profiles B and C reveal evidence of opposing inclined seismic zones at intermediate depths (roughly 70-300 km) and complex tectonics at the surface along the Philippine Fault.

Several relevant tectonic elements, plate boundaries and active volcanoes, provide a context for the seismicity presented on the main map. The plate boundaries are most accurate along the axis of the trenches and more diffuse or speculative in the South China Sea and Lesser Sunda Islands. The active volcanic arcs (Siebert and Simkin, 2002) follow the Izu, Volcano, Mariana, and Ryukyu island chains and the main Philippine islands parallel to the Manila, Negros, Cotabato, and Philippine trenches.

Seismic activity along the boundaries of the Philippine Sea Plate (Allen et al., 2009) has produced 7 great (M>8.0) earthquakes and 250 large (M>7) events. Among the most destructive events were the 1923 Kanto, the 1948 Fukui and the 1995 Kobe (Japan) earthquakes (99,000, 5,100, and 6,400 casualties, respectively), the 1935 and the 1999 Chi-Chi (Taiwan) earthquakes (3,300 and 2,500 casualties, respectively), and the 1976 M7.6 Moro Gulf and 1990 M7.6 Luzon (Philippines) earthquakes (7,100 and 2,400 casualties, respectively). There have also been a number of tsunami-generating events in the region, including the Moro Gulf earthquake, whose tsunami resulted in more than 5000 deaths.

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Lyme Disease Outlook 2017: Why The Risk For Tick-Spread Condition Is Growing
Medical Daily

Talk of an upcoming antibiotic-resistant superbug incites fear and paranoia, but there is one potential outbreak that gets little attention, even though some say it’s coming as early as this year. Lyme disease is on the verge of causing a public health emergency, according to Dr. Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist, who spoke to New Scientist about the issue.

Ostfeld tells the magazine that climate change is causing Lyme disease to sprout up in places that previously weren’t problems, which is made worse since people in these uninfected areas don’t know how to fix the problem. In addition to the United States, Europe is set to have an outbreak in 2018, reports New Scientist.

The warmer winters is producing more abundant harvests, which in turn feed the mice population. The mice bring ticks. As the magazine reports, ticks feast on mice blood, passing on a bacteria that causes the disease.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control estimates about 300,00 cases of Lyme disease per year, but many professionals believe the number is actually much higher than reported. While high, the current figures may not be alarming enough to create the market for a vaccine. In 2002, manufacturers pulled a Lyme disease vaccine off the market citing insufficient demand. However, researchers are currently working on a new one.

Read: Do I Have Lyme Disease? Symptoms, Chronic Risks, And Treatments For The Infection

Lyme disease is spread by a tick bite and is typically an area of concern for those who spend a lot of time outdoors, like campers and hikers. High-risk regions include the northeast and upper Midwest, but as Ostfeld says, such regions are expanding. To avoid the disease, Mayo Clinic recommends covering up fully when outside by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants; using insect repellants; checking your body for signs of ticks after spending time outdoors; and removing a tick with pliers.


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Alarming meningitis death toll
The Guardian

It is very sad that the northern part of Nigeria, which falls within the Sub-Saharan African meningitis belt, has continued to witness an aggressive outbreak of the deadly Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis (CSM), claiming lives in large numbers. This is a disgrace to Nigeria because the deaths were preventable and the country has enough experience of the scourge to have prepared much better for the current outbreak. In 1996, several thousands of lives were lost. Also, in 2009, Bauchi State confirmed the death of not less than 51 people; Gombe State, 22; Kano State, 32; and in Zamfara State, at least 18 people died. In 2016, about 33 people died as a result of CSM.

This year, Nigeria is witnessing another outbreak and history is about to repeat itself on a higher scale if the figures of the ‘harvest’ of death as a result of the disease are anything to go by. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed the outbreak in five states with at least 282 deaths already, while about 1,966 suspected cases have been recorded. Out of 109 fully confirmed cases, Zamfara has the highest number of 44, followed by Katsina with 32, Sokoto 19, Kebbi 10 and Niger 4.

Meanwhile, for the first time this year, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration has also recorded the death of four residents as a result of meningitis. These horrible developments are coming on the heels of the report that malnutrition may kill 1.4 million children in Nigeria and three other nations.

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial form of meningitis, a serious infection of the meninges that affects the brain membrane. It can cause severe brain damage and is fatal in 50 per cent of cases if untreated. Some of the symptoms are fever, headache, catarrh, stiff neck and in advanced cases sardonic laughter. The recurrence and magnitude of loss of lives from CSM show poor surveillance and control of the disease. This is unfortunate because it is a known fact that CSM is prevalent in the north of Nigeria due to the scorching heat. Also, poor ventilation, desert encroachment leading to dry and dusty wind, climate change, and poor hygiene are worsening the situation. Children aged 5-14 years are more susceptible to the disease because their immune systems are not well developed. Despite these known facts, there have been several outbreaks still. So, the question is: what is this nation ever prepared for? Nigerians are left to the vagaries of life while the leaders do nothing. Not even enough work on preventive health!

This is worrisome because media reports have it that the World Health Organisation, (WHO) and partners including National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), UNICEF, Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme, eHealth Africa, Médecins Sans Frontières, Rotary International, and NCDC are providing support for the current outbreak.

It is a shame that Nigeria responds more to disease outbreak instead of prevention. A visit to some immunisation centres even reveal that vaccines for Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib); Rotavirus (diarrhoea and vomiting); Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR); Chicken Pox; Typhoid Fever; and Meningitis are not available for free. The only vaccines that are free are Hepatitis B; Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV); BCG; Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DPT); Measles; and Vitamin A supplement.

Although, the magnitude differs, CSM epidemic is somewhat a yearly ritual. As such Nigeria should be on red alert. So, the National Programme on Immunisation (NPI) should make meningitis vaccine as part of the free routine immunisations. In addition, government at all levels and religious leaders should embark on massive enlightenment programmes to educate the citizens on the prevention of CSM through the use of vaccines and sleeping in cross-ventilated as well as hygienic rooms. Citizens should be enlightened on the nature of the disease and symptoms; the need to quickly visit nearby medical centres for early treatment when they notice the symptoms. Health-related NGOs should also embark on massive sensitisation on the prevention and treatment of CSM instead of fleecing funders. Students at various levels of education should be made to undergo health screening and immunised as appropriate. Individuals and parents should also take personal responsibility for their health and those of their children by ensuring that all members of their families are immunised against CSM.

In addition, the federal and state governments should set up an inter-agency epidemic rapid response team with membership from the affected states, health officers, experts and members of the media to curtail the outbreak. Also, this team should not be an ad-hoc body to be disbanded after the epidemic but should be a permanent one with the capacity to respond as appropriate. It should not be starved of funds and other resources to enhance its effectiveness and efficiency in order to save the nation the tragedy of preventable deaths. Trees should be planted around homes. Tree planting should indeed, be seen as a form of primary health care. As a result, Northern state governments should step up their tree planting campaigns towards ensuring a more livable environment and preventing the ravages of diseases.


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Wars and Rumors of Wars

North Korea threatens Israel with 'merciless, thousand-fold punishment
Jerusalem Post

Pyongyang bluntly tells Jerusalem to back off after defense minster calls leader "a madman."

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman hurt the "dignity of the supreme leadership" of North Korea, state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Saturday. The comment was in reaction to Israeli remarks on how the Jewish State is affected by North Korean tension with the United States.

In an interview with Hebrew news site Walla this week, the hawkish Liberman stated that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un is a madman and that together with the leaders of Iran and Syria was part of an “insane and radical” gang that was bent on undermining international stability.

"The reckless remarks of the Israeli defense minister are sordid and wicked behavior and grave challenge to the DPRK [North Korea]," the North Korean statement read.

The statement also claimed that Israel, while working with the US, was the Middle East's only illegal owner of nuclear weapons.

"This is the cynical ploy to escape the world denunciation and curse as disturber of peace in the Middle East, occupier of the Arab territories and culprit of crimes against humanity," the spokesman said.

The access to nuclear power is a "righteous right for self-defense to cope with the US provocative moves for aggression," the statement read.

The statement threatened Israel and anyone who "dares hurt the dignity of its supreme leadership," with "merciless, thousand-fold punishment."

The statement ended with a warning to Israel to "think twice about the consequences to be entailed by its smear campaign against the DPRK [North Korea] to cover up the crimes of occupying Arab territories and disturbing peace process in the Middle East."

Last Tuesday a senior IDF officer told reporters at a special briefing that ongoing tension between North Korea and the US could impact Israel’s security.

The officer referred to the developing diplomatic rift between the US and the peninsula following North Korea’s recent and defiant attempts to extend its nuclear activity, despite repeated warnings from the West.

He explained that Israel could bear the brunt of such an escalation in the relations between Washington and Pyongyang should it occur, because the US would have to divert security resources from the Middle East to Korea.

Joy Bernard contributed to this article.


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Ethiopia drought creates food crisis for 7.7 million
Space Daily

The number of people in need of food aid in Ethiopia's drought-hit regions has surged to 7.7 million, over two million more than an estimate earlier this year, state media reported Friday.

The National Disaster Risk Management Commission said in January that failed rains would leave 5.6 million people in need of emergency food this year in three of the country's nine regions: Oromia, Amhara and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region.

Public relations director Ababe Zewdie told the state-run Ethiopian News Agency that cold snaps as well as localized flooding in some areas have further decimated what crops had managed to grow, causing them to revise upwards their estimates.

"Over $742 million (679 million euros) is needed to support the people affected by drought and more than 432,000 tonnes of additional food up until early July," the news agency reported.

Ethiopia is prone to droughts, and the lack of rains in the country's highlands forced 10.2 million people to seek food assistance last year.

The United Nations has warned that this year's drought in East Africa could lead to 17 million people going hungry across the region.


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