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US: Man files 12 sinkhole claims on 12 homes

Tampa - In the last five years, the number of sinkhole claims in Florida has jumped from 2,000 to 6,000, according to a 2010 report from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

Some experts say loopholes allow some to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars from insurance companies. Experts say it's perfectly legal, and you end up paying for it.

The I-Team has gone through hundreds of sinkhole claims as part of a 3-month investigation.

Insurance rates are out of control. Soon, customers will be paying hundreds more. At a September public meeting to discuss rate hikes, angry customers said they were fed up.

"We will have to default on our mortgage. We'll have no other choice," said one customer.

When insurance companies like state-run Citizens Insurance reach into your wallet, they say they have no choice, because they lost $220 million dollars last year paying costly sinkhole claims.

Comment: Hello? Sinkholes are appearing everywhere in Florida, but the media concentrates on insurance fraud?

Only in America could the issue of sinkholes be so distorted, repackaged, remortgaged, reinsured then sold back to the masses as junk.

Cloud Lightning

Western Bangkok bearing large brunt heavy flooding in Thailand

© Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images
A woman holds a toddler as she walks through floodwaters in an area near the Chao Praya river in Bangkok on October 29, 2011.
Western Bangkok looks set to bear the brunt of the flooding as run-off water from upstream continues to enter the capital.

Several districts of Bangkok, meanwhile, now have a high chance of being spared inundation. They include Phasi Charoen, Sathon, Din Daeng, Pom Prab, Suan Luang, Pathum Wan and Phya Thai, according to Deputy Bangkok Governor Thirachon Manomaipiboon.

He said some districts of western Bangkok, such as Bang Khunthien, would very likely be spared too.

"The chance is about 20 per cent," Thirachon said.

Science Minister Plodprasob Surassawadee, speaking in his capacity as operations chief at the Flood Relief Operations Centre (FROC), said between 80 and 90 per cent of Bangkok's western zone was likely to experience flooding.

Bizarro Earth

Revilla Gigedo Islands Region - Earthquake Magnitude 6.3

Earthquake Location.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 at 12:32:00 UTC

Tuesday, November 01, 2011 at 05:32:00 AM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

19.891°N, 109.216°W

5 km (3.1 miles)


227 km (141 miles) NE of Socorro Island, Mexico

333 km (206 miles) SSE of Cabo San Lucas, Baja Calif. Sur, Mexico

419 km (260 miles) W of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

1050 km (652 miles) W of MEXICO CITY, D.F., Mexico


2 earthquakes hit China in southwest and northwest, no injuries reported

Two moderate earthquakes have shaken China's northwest and southwest regions.

The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude-6.0 earthquake hit China's Xinjiang region about 60 miles (100 kilometres) from the city of Yining at 8:20 a.m. Tuesday, while the other quake struck the region bordering Sichuan and Gansu provinces at 6 a.m. at a magnitude of 5.5.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The earthquake in Xinjiang occurred at a depth of 17 miles (27 kilometres), while the other temblor was 10 miles (16 kilometres) deep.

China's worst quake in recent years was a 7.9-magnitude quake in Sichuan province in May 2008. It left nearly 90,000 people dead.

Source: The Canadian Press

Bizarro Earth

New York, US: Sinkhole Swallows 80 Year Old As He Goes for Morning Newspaper

© Greg Bledsoe
Sinkholes can open up when an old well or cesspool collapses.
Chasm may have been from old well or cesspool.

An 80-year-old man who went out to get his morning newspaper fell into an 8-foot sinkhole that opened up in his Long Island lawn.

Michael Ciron was not seriously injured in his Sunday morning ordeal, and even boasted that he managed to hang onto the papers, according to Newsday. He yelled for his daughter, who woke up and came to his aid by calling police and firefighters to the Oceanside home.

Ciron, who was wearing slippers, found himself stuck in wet, shifting sand.

"It was scary down there," he told Newsday.

Bizarro Earth

US: Geologists closely monitoring surge in central Arkansas quakes

Official: Layout of quakes might suggest larger tremor coming

The Arkansas Geological Survey says it is stepping up its monitoring of seismic activity in central Arkansas after dozens of small earthquakes in the region.

Six minor quakes were recorded Friday near Quitman, the latest of more than 50 temblors in October. The Friday tremors began with a 2.0-magnitude quake around 7:45 a.m. and peaked with a 2.5 quake later in the morning.

The shaking follows more than 1,000 earthquakes centered between Guy and Greenbrier from September 2010 to July of this year, when the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission ordered four gas disposal wells shut down and voted to create a large moratorium area in which no future disposal wells could be drilled.

Geologists said the activity - which involves injecting pressurized liquid into the ground - was likely contributing to the shaking.


Canary Islands: Signs of second eruption off coast of El Hierro

A second volcanic eruption off the coast of the island of El Hierro could be on the point of happening, scientists warned.

The warning came just over a week after the end of the first eruption, which forced a village on the island to be evacuated.

The offshore eruption began at a depth of over 100 meters below sea level on Oct. 10 off the southern coast of El Hierro, the smallest and most westerly of the Canary Islands, a group of islands off the western coast of Africa, which are governed by Spain.

It led to the creation of a stain caused by emissions of sulphur, pumice stone and magma which extended beyond El Hierro.

Although the first eruption died down and seismic activity began to fade, it has gained momentum again in recent days with El Hierro suffering over 120 earth tremors with the strongest reaching 3.9 on the Richter scale on Sunday.

In contrast to the first eruption, there are signs that a second eruption could happen off the northern coast of El Hierro.

Bizarro Earth

Researcher Links Fungus To Dropping Bat Population

© redOrbit
A University of Tennessee researcher helped confirm the link between the fungus Geomyces destructans and the dropping bat population.

Over a million bats were killed in North American in 2006, and little has been done to try and save them due to lack of evidence for the alleged killer.

However, a new study has discovered that the fungus Geomyces destructans is the agent of White-noise Syndrome (WNS), which is the fungal disease decimating the bat population.

The fungus has been thought to be the likely culprit because the skin lesions found on the bats are associated with colonization of the fungus.

"Many assumed that fungal infections in mammals only occur if some other pathogen has already weakened the immune system," Justin Boyles, a post-doctoral research associate in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, said in a statement. "Additionally, the recent discovery that G. destructans commonly colonizes the skin of bats in Europe with no major die-offs generated speculation that other unidentified factors are the primary cause of WNS."


Connecticut, US: Power Restoration in Snowy East Could Take Days

Hartford - Residents across the Northeast faced the prospect of days without electricity or heat Monday after an early-season storm dumped as much as 30 inches of wet, heavy snow that snapped trees and power lines, closed hundreds of schools, and disrupted plans for Halloween trick-or-treating.

© AP/Jessica Hill
Jay Ericson clears snow off branches weighing down on power lines at his home following a snow storm a day earlier in Glastonbury, Conn., Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011.
Communities from Maryland to Maine that suffered through a tough winter last year followed by a series of floods and storms went into now-familiar emergency mode as roads closed, shelters opened and regional transit was suspended or delayed.

The storm's lingering effects, including power failures and hundreds of closed schools, will probably outlast the snow. Temperatures are expected to begin rising Monday and the snow will start melting, the National Weather Service said.

The early nor'easter had utility companies struggling to restore electricity to more than 3 million homes and businesses. By midday Monday, the number without power was still above 2 million but falling. But officials in some states warned it could be days or even a week before residents have power again.

In Allentown, Pa., tree branches littered yards and residents girded for a long haul without power. Anne Warschauer, a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor from Germany, refused to leave her home on a quiet tree-lined street even though the temperature inside had plummeted.

Bizarro Earth

Rare 'Snowtober' Storm Breaks Local Records

Snowtober's wrath, seen from space.
The rare October snowstorm that smacked the Northeast over the weekend shattered local records, knocked out power for millions and was blamed for the deaths of at least 10 people.

This morning (Oct. 31), 86 percent of the Northeast was covered in snow at an average depth of 4.4 inches (11 centimeters), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Because the storm hit during the fall, the wet snow piled up on leaf-filled trees and snapped branches onto power lines. About 2.5 million people were without power this morning, according to news reports.

NOAA is investigating the storm to see if it will go down as the 11th billion-dollar weather event of 2011.

A "slushy coating" of 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) was forecast for the big northeastern cities. New York City bested that prediction with 2.9 inches (7.4 cm) of snow over the weekend, topping its previous record of 0.9 inches (2.3 cm) for the month of October. New York City has had 65.75 inches of precipitation this year, the third most in the city's history, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).