Earth ChangesS


US space commander predicts satellite attacks

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - The Air Force's new top commander for space predicted on Tuesday future attacks on U.S. satellites and called for greatly expanded tracking and identification of payloads launched by other countries.

Currently, U.S. efforts are focused on determining if an overseas launch is a ballistic missile or designed to put an object in orbit, then cataloging it over a period that can take weeks, said Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, who heads the Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

"I say those days are over," he told an annual conference here on the fledgling, multibillion-dollar U.S. anti-missile shield. "If it's a space launch, we can't afford to relax."

"We need to know what the intent of that launch is," he said, including whether an object could jam or otherwise harm satellites or spread micro-satellites that could do so.

Comment: Comment:
"And in the future, I'm convinced they'll strike at these capabilities, if nothing else to attempt to level the playing field," he said.
Who is "they"??


Planets plan boosts tally to 12

The number of planets around the Sun could rise from nine to 12 - with more on the way - if experts approve a radical new vision of our Solar System.

Cloud Lightning

Yangtze River suffers rare drought in flood season

YICHANG, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Yangtze, China's longest river, is gripped by a rare drought this summer with water in many sections of the river at historically low levels.

The Yangtze River Hydrological Bureau said that, in August, the volume of water entering the Three Gorges Reservoir, in the middle reaches of the river, was only 8,400 cubic meters per second, about the same as the February dry season.


Large Quake Rattles Mexico City

MEXICO CITY, Mexico -- An earthquake rocked central and western Mexico on Friday, forcing office workers and residents to evacuate buildings in Mexico City.

The tremor, measuring 5.9 magnitude, was centered in western Michoacan state. It was not immediately known whether there were any casualties or serious damage to buildings.

The U.S. National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado gave a preliminary magnitude estimate of 5.9.

"It was very short, but it felt really strong," said 74-year-old Juana Ruiz in Mexico City's historic center, which was devastated by a massive earthquake in 1985


Spanish minister says fires "strategically planned"

MADRID - A wave of forest fires sweeping through northwestern Spain appear to have been "strategically planned," Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba has said as he visited the region.

On a visit to the Galician regional capital of Santiago de Compostela Rubalcaba said Friday many fires seemed to be "strategically planned with very evil intentions."


Typhoon kills over 100 in China

CANGNAN, China - The strongest typhoon to hit China in half a century killed more than 100 people, dozens of whom had taken shelter in a house that collapsed, Xinhua news agency said on Friday, and the toll appeared likely to rise.

Typhoon Saomai tore into Cangnan county in the eastern province of Zhejiang on Thursday after authorities had moved hundreds of thousands in the densely populated commercial province to safety.

By Friday evening, 104 people were confirmed dead and 190 were missing in Zhejiang and neighboring Fujian province, Xinhua said. Some 54,000 houses were destroyed.

State television put the direct economic loss at 11.3 billion yuan ($1.42 billion).


Strange holes in the ground discovered in Krasnoyarsk region (with pic)

Residents of Novoselovo district in the Krasnoyarsk region have come across a mysterious phenomenon in the field. They discovered several tunnels of unknown origin in an area located some 100 meters away from the highway connecting the cities of Krasnoyarsk and Abakan , in the vicinity of the village of Kurgany, Siberian News Agency reports.


Amsterdam rocked by 'record' earthquake

AMSTERDAM - An earthquake shook the north of the Netherlands early on Tuesday morning. Measuring 3.5 on the Richter Scale, it was equal in strength to the strongest earthquake on record in the northern Netherlands. This took place in Alkmaar five years ago.

Tuesday's quake in Groningen at around 7am was registered by all seismic stations in the country. It was centred on the town of Middelstum which lies in the middle of the gas fields in the province.


Spider Invasion Creeping Out Austrians

VIENNA, Austria -- An eight-legged invasion is giving some Austrians the creeps. The venomous yellow sack spider, whose painful bite can cause headache and nausea, has become the talk of the town since several people were bitten earlier this summer.

Reports of spider sightings have dominated local media, triggering hundreds of calls to a Vienna poison hotline and prompting the government to issue a plea for calm.


Vanuatu hit by earthquake; no damage reports

An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the open Richter scale struck 75 kilometres from the largest island of Vanuatu this morning.

The depth of the quake was nearly 150 kilometres.

There are no reports of damage.