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India gets 37 inches of rain in 24 hours!!

Indian monsoon deaths near 900 after stampede, bodies dug from landslide

MUMBAI - Deaths from India's record monsoon have climbed to near 900, as rescuers unearthed more bodies from landslides and residents of a Mumbai shantytown stampeded on rumours of storm-created tsunamis.

"We are now confirming that the number of dead in Mumbai is 370," said A. N. Roy, police chief of the western commercial hub.

The figure included 18 killed in the overnight stampede, 74 bodies dug out by rescuers from a landslide that engulfed houses in Mumbai's Sakinaka area and five other flood-linked deaths, Roy said, updating earlier tolls.

At least 513 people have been killed elsewhere in Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, according to B.M. Kulkarni, of the state police, taking the total number of confirmed deaths to 883.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Amitabh Gupta said more than 50 people were injured in the stampede, which followed false reports that a wall of water was about to swamp the area -- variously from a burst dam or a tsunami.

"It was just a rumour and people believed it and they started running out of their homes through the narrow alleys," Gupta told AFP. "It was pitch dark as there was no electricity and a stampede followed.

"Police present at the scene made repeated appeals, which were ignored by the residents. The sea is just a kilometre (half a mile) away and some heard there was a tsunami," he said.

Police chief Roy said 17 people were detained "for spreading tsunami rumours."

Hospital officials said 11 of the 18 dead in the stampede were women and one was a three-year-old girl.

Arjun Periswamy, who lives in the slums as a daily labourer, said he watched the stampede in horror from his rooftop.

"All I could gather was there was an emergency and people started running. I shouted loud to my relatives below not to get out of the house. But my aunt and her daughter ran out and died in the stampede," he said.

More than 300 relatives of the dead and injured gathered outside a local hospital waiting to hear from doctors.

Chandrasekhar Prajapati, another survivor of the stampede, said he heard shouts of "run, run, water is coming."

"It has been raining heavily for the last couple of days. So everybody believed it," he said.

The gushing waters damaged the overstretched sewerage system and littered the streets of Mumbai with rotting vegetables, plastic bags and other garbage.

Strong winds accompanying the rains, which continued to hit Mumbai Friday, tossed billboards on to the roads and toppled power lines.

Susheela Ayre, a resident of the suburb of Thane said there had been no drinking water since Wednesday. [...]

The city's weather bureau said Mumbai received 944.2 millimeters (37.1 inches) of rainfall in a 24-hour period ending mid-morning Wednesday, the most rainfall ever recorded in a single day in India.

The annual monsoon rains that sweep the subcontinent from June to September routinely kill hundreds of people in India and cause widespread devastation.


US, Australia supplanting Kyoto

Australia admits secret climate pact talks with US

Australia and the United States have been secretly negotiating a new international pact on greenhouse gas emissions to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which they refused to sign, a minister said Wednesday.

The negotiations have also involved China, India and South Korea, according to a report in The Australian newspaper.

Environment Minister Ian Campbell said details of the deal and the countries involved would be announced soon.

Greenhouse gases trapping heat in the atmosphere are blamed for global warming, seen as one of the world's greatest environmental dangers, and the refusal by the United States and Australia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol was widely condemned.

"The countries that are involved in any future proposal will be announced when we announce the details of the proposal," Campbell told reporters, adding that this would be "in the very near future".

"Australia is, and I reassure the Australian people, working on something that is more effective post-Kyoto," Campbell said.

"We know as a country we're vulnerable, we know the world is vulnerable, we know that Australia only emits 1.4 percent of the world's greenhouse gases (and) anything that is going to work in the future has to engage all major emitters.

"The main aim of effective action is to involve rapidly-developing countries who have legitimate needs to increase their energy use, but we also need to find the answer to the global imperative of reducing emissions.

"That's going to need the development of new technologies and the deployment of them within developing countries."

The UN's Kyoto Protocol requires industrialised countries to trim emissions of carbon dioxide, the byproduct of burning oil, gas and coal, by a deadline of 2010.

One of the US arguments against the present Kyoto format is that it does not require big developing countries such as China and India to make targeted emissions cuts -- an absence that Bush says is unfair and illogical.

But developing countries say historical responsibility for global warming lies with nations that industrialised first, and primarily with the United States, which by itself accounts for a quarter of all global greenhouse-gas pollution.

The new alliance will bring together nations that account for more than 40 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, The Australian said.

A government source told AFP that the general thrust of the report was correct, but that the line-up of countries involved had not been finalised.

The Australian said the group would be known as the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate.

Campbell said Australia, which has vital interests in coal and gas exports to China and South Korea, had been working on the new alliance for the past 12 months.

The Australian said the initiative was led by the United States and had been discussed when Prime Minister John Howard met President George W. Bush at the White House during a visit to Washington last week.

The leader of the opposition Australian Greens party, Bob Brown, dismissed the new agreement was "a coal pact" involving four of the world's biggest coal producers.

It was designed to "defend the coal industry in an age where it's the biggest industry contributing deliberately to the global warming threat to Australia and the planet," he told reporters.

"This is the blinkered view, the ostrich approach by prime minister Howard to arguably the biggest common threat to the planet in 2005, which is global warming.

"It won't fool the Australian people and it won't fool world opinion," Brown said.



Greenland glacier melting

Melting Greenland glacier may hasten rise in sea level

Scientists monitoring a glacier in Greenland have found it is moving into the sea three times faster than a decade ago.

Satellite measurements of the Kangerdlugssuaq glacier show that, as well as moving more rapidly, the glacier's boundary is shrinking dramatically - probably because of melting brought about by climate change.

The Kangerdlugssuaq glacier on Greenland's east coast is one of several that drains the huge Greenland ice sheet. The glacier's movements are considered critical in understanding the rate at which the ice sheet is melting.

Kangerdlugssuaq is about 1,000 metres (3,280ft) thick, about 4.5 miles wide, extends for more than 20 miles into the ice sheet and drains about 4 per cent of the ice from the Greenland ice sheet.

Experts believe any change in the rate at which the glacier transports ice from the ice sheet into the ocean has important implications for increases in sea levels around the world.

If the entire Greenland ice sheet were to melt into the ocean it would raise sea levels by up to seven metres (23ft), inundating vast areas of low-lying land, including London and much of eastern England.



China evacuates 600,000 people

From Yahoo via Signs of the Times

TAIPEI (Reuters) - China evacuated over 600,000 people from coastal areas on Monday after typhoon Haitang slammed into Taiwan, killing up to four people, injuring 25 and forcing offices, schools and markets to shut across the island.

At 1300 GMT, Haitang was packing maximum winds of 144 km/h (89 mph), down from a previous 184 km/h, and gusts of up to 180 km/h, weaker than the earlier 227 km/h, said Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau.

If the typhoon stays on its present course, it will hit China's southeastern coast on Tuesday afternoon.

"Based on our current forecast data, it should make landfall in mainland China around 2 p.m. local time," said Daniel Wu, director of the bureau's forecasting center, noting the margin of error was around two to three hours.

The official death toll in Taiwan stood at one -- a man killed by falling rocks -- but the National Fire Agency said another three bodies had been found. They were not included in the official tally as the cause of death is still being investigated.

Another person was swept away while fishing, the agency said, and 25 people had been injured in the storm, which was weakening as it swept southwest across Taiwan toward China's coastal rice-growing provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian.

Weather forecasters warned torrential rain would continue to hammer the island through to Wednesday, but Taipei and most local governments said business will resume on Tuesday.


Tsunami quake caused 1,000 km seafloor rupture

From Yahoo

LONDON (Reuters) - The earthquake that triggered December's devastating Indian Ocean tsunami caused a 1,000 km (620 mile) rupture in the sea floor, scientists said on Wednesday.

Using data from 60 Global Positioning System monitoring sites in southeast Asia, scientists at ENS/CNRS research institute in Paris calculated the unprecedented scale of the quake.

"We show that the rupture plane for this earthquake must have been at least 1,000 kilometers long," said Christophe Vigny who headed the research team.

The magnitude 9.15 earthquake, the biggest in 40 years, erupted off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island. It triggered a tsunami that left up to 232,000 people dead and missing in 13 Indian Ocean countries.

Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand were most affected.

Vigny and his colleagues used displacement data recorded at the GPS sites across southeast Asia to construct and test models of the length of the rupture and the direction of thrust.

The satellite navigation network sites in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand were between 400 to 3,000 km from the epicenter of the December 26 quake.

"Small but significant seismic jumps are clearly detected more than 3,000 kilometers from the earthquake epicenter," Vigny said in a report in the science journal Nature.

Scientists have warned that a second earthquake in South Asia on March 28 increased stress on fault lines in the region, making it more vulnerable to another rupture and a tsunami.


It's getting hot, hot, hot

Well, we have been in the 90's temperature range in Wisconsin for the last four days and the humidity in this state, for those who don't know, can be oppressive. Mixter, you know what I'm talking about. Just this weekend I was at the beach on Lake Michigan, and I have never really felt the lake be that warm before, ever!! Usually it is so cold you can only dip yourself in for about ten seconds, and then get the heck out. The lake only gets warm enough to swim in by mid-August, usually. But not this year. On to other matters though, something that does not involve my weekend at sunburn and sand...

I've been looking at the recent reports from the West regarding wildfires and it seems that the ground is itself warming up and starting its own fires...
Mysterious Hot Spot Sparks Fire

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) -- Scientists are puzzled by a mysterious Los Padres National Forest hot spot where 400-degree ground ignited a wildfire.

The hot spot was discovered by fire crews putting out a three-acre fire last summer in the forest's Dick Smith Wilderness.

"They saw fissures in the ground where they could feel a lot of heat coming out," Los Padres geologist Allen King said. "It was not characteristic of a normal fire."

Fire investigators went back to the canyon days later and stuck a candy thermometer into the ground. It hit the top of the scale, at 400 degrees.

With the help of an air reconnaissance flight and thermal infrared imaging, scientists found that the hot spot covers about three acres. The hottest spot was 11 feet underground, at 584 degrees.

They found no oil and gas deposits or vents nearby and no significant deposits of coal. The Geiger counter readings were normal for radioactivity, and there was no evidence of explosions or volcanic activity.

One possible explanation still under study is that an earthquake fault may be the source of the heat.

"We can't rule out anything definitely yet," King said.

As if the West didn't have enough problems with normal wildfires, the ground has to literally turn into a frying pan. Hmmm, a metaphor?

Another report is saying that temperatures in the North Atlantic Ocean have reached a record high.

Sea ice off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador was below normal for the tenth consecutive year and the water temperature outside St. John's Harbor was the highest on record in 2004, according to a report released Wednesday by the federal Fisheries Department.

The ocean surface off St. John's averaged almost two degrees Fahrenheit above normal, the highest in the 59 years the department has been compiling records.

The Newfoundland data is another wake-up call on climate change, say environmentalists.

Anchorage, Alaska, has seen annual snowfall shrink in the past decade, high river temperatures are killing off millions of spawning salmon in British Columbia and northern climates around the world have noticed warming.

Meanwhile, ocean temperatures have risen around the globe, and species are already dying, said Bill Wareham, acting director of marine conservation for the Vancouver-based David Suzuki Foundation.

"I don't think there's a question about whether these changes are happening," Wareham said.

But "everyone's quite shocked at the speed at which these things are changing."

Yes, they are "shocked"!! Well, any objective analysis will show that climate change is not something new. It's just that now the affects are so extreme that people can no longer shove it under the rug. And in their attempts to explain their ignorance they portray themselves as being surprised that this is happening!! Well, it's not too surprising considering that so many mainstream outlets stuck their head in the sand about climate change that any scientist with two neurons firing will toe the company line. Gotta keep that job, ya know. America is a savage world, I tell ya.


Mr. Bush - You lied!!

With the help of my friends at Away With the Fairys, I offer you this song as our little gift to America on this Fourth of July.

Streaming audio version

Download (Right click and "Save link as...") (8 megs)

Let me know what you think.

You lied words & music by Signs of the Times

You told the world Saddam had chemical bombs
To kill us in our homes, and on our farms
You said he sent his men into the heavens
big planes crashing down, September 11

You lied, You lied,
People died, When Bush lied

I've got some questions, wipe that smirk off your face
Betraying your people, that's a real disgrace
See I'm having a hard time finding that plane
that you said hit the Pentagon, bursting into flames
Vapourising the aircraft, didn't leave no remains
But the bodies appear not to burn quite the same

More lies Yeah, yeah, more lies
America died, When Bush lied

And talk about mir'cles, did you see how they fell,
the three towers in New York, those charges worked well
Flattened out in a straight line, just like it was planned
Did you think we were so stupid that we wouldn't understand
And it's a pity about the folks there on Flight 93,
Just as they took back control, you blew them to smithereens

You lied, You lied
Heroes died, when Bush lied

You say Osama is living in a place you have traced
But you don't go and get him, it seems such a waste
Could it be it's because he's still one of your men
A C-I-A asset just like he was then
He endorsed your campaign in a last minute pitch
Is he just one more man who has gotten quite rich

From your lies, Your lies
Freedom died, from your lies

How about those Israelis dancing to their success,
On the rooftops of Jersey, they created a mess
So you sent them back home with a slap on the wrist
Told the cops not to bother, 'cause they don't exist

It's a lie, You lied
Justice died, when you lied

Now people are dying through your crimes in Iraq
You've killed more than Saddam, though you don't care to keep track
Cause they're only some Arabs in a faraway land
That Yahweh has promised to his chosen band
While Sharon and his cronies pull on your strings
When he opens his mouth your whole government sings

His lies, His lies
Palestinians die, With Bush lies

Next time you talk to your God, I've got a question for him
What side is he on or does it change on a whim'
There's a whole lot of people, suff'rin here in his name
What kind of pyscho is he that he's playing this game
It sounds more like the devil is guiding your hand
Destruction and death are the plagues of the land

of your lies, your lies
Children die, When Bush lies

You see, Mr President, there's something amiss
Two elections you lost, but you overcame this
By rigging the vote, not counting the blacks
You've ensured two full terms, the dry drunk is back
And now they're changing the laws to get you a third
The brown shirts are charging at the front of the herd

of your lies, your lies
Democracy dies, When Bush lies

The question remains what can we do about this
Most people refuse to consider this list
They're lost in illusion, can't recognise proof
so we offer this song to all who stand for the truth

No more lies, No more lies
Must we all die, Because of your lies

No more lies, No more lies
Must we all die, Because of your lies

Your lies...

copyright 2005 Signs of the Times

Not having the forum of a world-wide TV broadcast, we turned to what we do have, the Internet.