Sunday, 24 September 2017

Maria Zakharova on Trump, Pence, Poroshenko and others

Maria Zakharova Exclusive to Vesti from New York on Trump, Pence, Poroshenko and others

We continue our very special issue. New York-Moscow, Moscow-New York. We're not sure where the most important events are taking place. We have Maria Zakharova, Director of the Information and Press Department of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Bali Volcano About to Erupt, Evacuations Already in Order

Indonesia raises Bali volcano alert to highest level
HUNDREDS of tremors at Bali’s Mt Agung volcano have been recorded overnight, with warnings it could erupt at any moment.

26 November, 2014

THE number of tremors recorded at Bali’s Mt Agung volcano has increased again with warnings it could erupt at any time.

Authorities say they still cannot predict when the mountain will erupt but with the threat level at its highest, an emergency response period has been declared.

And Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport (Denpasar International Airport) is preparing an emergency operations centre, in the event of an eruption closing the busy airport.

Some 300 tremors were recorded between midnight and 6am on Sunday, with authorities declaring a radius of nine kilometres around the mountain dangerous.

A man monitors seismic waves at the Mount Agung monitoring station in Karangasem on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Picture: AFP
A man monitors seismic waves at the Mount Agung monitoring station in Karangasem on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

This graphic released by Indonesian authorities depict the areas at the greatest risk of impact from a volcanic eruption.
This graphic released by Indonesian authorities depict the areas at the greatest risk of impact from a volcanic eruption.Source:Supplied

According to police almost 28,000 villagers living Mt Agung volcano have now been evacuated to shelters.

Hundreds of tremors, from deep within Mt Agung, are now being recorded daily as the majestic mountain rumbles into action for the first time in five decades.
In the 12 hours, from midnight on Friday until noon today, a total of 198 tremors were recorded.

The threat level was increased to four on Friday night, by the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation agency, the third time in the past week the level has been raised.

And the exclusion zone was doubled to 12km from the summit, a calculation based on the track of ash cloud and lava from the last time Mt Agung erupted, back in 1963, when 1100 people were killed.

Villagers rest at a temporary shelter in Klungkung, Bali, Indonesia. Picture: AP
Villagers rest at a temporary shelter in Klungkung, Bali, Indonesia. Picture: APSource:AP

The head of the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG), Kasbani, said today that very small tremors had been detected at Mt Agung since its last eruption in 1963. These started to increase markedly last month and this month had reached an extreme level.

Four days after we raised the alert level to level three, (earlier this week) there were extraordinary tremors ... the biggest since 1963. So, we raised the alert level to level four,” Kasbani said.

Early on Saturday the tremors had started to decrease but by the afternoon were increasing again.

We could not predict when the mountain will erupt,” he said.
Nor could they predict how long the eruption will last. But based on the 1963 eruption, it could be erupting for a year.

However, we don’t know whether the eruption now will be bigger or smaller. If we see the eruption in 1963, it could take one year,” Kasbani said.

A general view shows Mount Agung behind Balinese Hindu temples seen from Karangasem on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Picture: AFP
A general view shows Mount Agung behind Balinese Hindu temples seen from Karangasem on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

He said the 1963 eruption had seen hot ash clouds gush out with extraordinary speed, reaching 14km to the north, 12km to the southeast and 12km to the south and southwest.

At that time, rocks and lava the size of a human head had rained down.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) head, Willem Rampangilei, said all people in the region 9-12km from the mountain must evacuate.

We have prepared 500,000 masks to anticipate volcanic ash which is very important, because the ash is very dangerous,” Rampangilei said today.

This is a very complex work. We should work hard to minimise victims. We keep hoping that the eruption will not happen. However, we should be ready for the best scenario if the eruption does happen,” he said.

We have declared that we are in emergency response period for next one month. I hope, the eruption will not happen.”

Children stay in a truck as their temporary shelter in Klungkung, Bali. Picture: AP
Children stay in a truck as their temporary shelter in Klungkung, Bali. Picture: APSource:AP


DFAT has updated its travel advisory, warning tourists to monitor the situation closely and follow instructions of officials, saying an eruption could impact air travel.

Bali tourist officials have also become frustrated at exaggerated reporting causing panic among tourists.

Mt Agung is about 72km from the densely populated tourist district of Kuta and concern is highest for those locals living in the villages surrounding the mountain itself.

The main concern for tourists is the expected closure of the airport and delayed flights should the mountain erupt.

Villagers who were evacuated from their homes on the slope of Mount Agung sit outside tents prepared to become their temporary shelter in Klungkung, Bali, Indonesia. Picture: AP.
Villagers who were evacuated from their homes on the slope of Mount Agung sit outside tents prepared to become their temporary shelter in Klungkung, Bali, Indonesia. Picture: AP.Source:AP

National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho urged visitors to continue with their plans despite eruption fears.

Bali tourism is safe. Do not spread misleading news that Bali is not safe because Mount Agung is on the highest alert status. Please come and visit Bali,” Mr Sutopo tweeted.


Indonesian media is reporting that wild animals — including snakes and apes — are panicked by the stirring volcano and moving through settled areas.

It’s been a growing trend over the past three days, the Tribun Kaltim news service says.

It may be hot on Mount Agung. So the animals (come) out and to the settlement,” it reports district identity Jro Mangku as saying.

Men from a traditional village in the volcano’s shadow believe the descent of animals from the top of the mountain is one of “seven signs” an eruption will occur. Small numbers begin to move up to three months before an eruption.

Maybe this is a sign — the sign of the mountain will erupt. This condition is not as usual,” Jro Mangku reportedly said.

Such an animal exodus was observed before Mount Agung’s previous eruption in 1963.

Other signs locals have come to expect before an eruption are yet to emerge. For example, there is no evidence of fine ash yet, which can cause skin to itch.

A general view shows Mount Agung from Karangasem on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Picture: AFP
A general view shows Mount Agung from Karangasem on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Picture: AFPSource:AFP


The Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation reports the volcano’s seismic activity has dramatically increased. “This number of seismicity is an unprecedented seismic observation at Agung volcano ever recorded by our seismic networks,” it said in a statement.

Earlier, the Department of Meteorology, Climate and Geophysics said in a statementthere has been a “tremendous increase” in seismic activity at the mountain, indicating a greater probability of an eruption.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said overnight that the hazardous zone had been increased from 9km to 12km, covering an area encompassing about 240,000 people and prompting further evacuations. He urged people to “calm down” and seek reliable information.

Estimated danger zones are dynamic and are being continuously evaluated. (They) are subject to change at any time following the most recent observation data,” Indonesia’s volcano observation authority warned.


Indonesia’s volcano monitoring body, MAGMA, warns Mount Agung’s eruptions are characteristicly explosive and effusive — resulting in deadly pyroclastic flows of ash, rock and lava.

In case of eruption, the potential primary hazard that may occur within a radius of 9km is pyroclastic fall of size equal to or greater than 6cm,” its website states.

But its modelling for some of the terrain around the volcano also shows such flows could cover 10km in less than 3 minutes.

If an eruption occurs, there is considerable disaster potential,” it warns. “People around Mount Agung also do not have enough experience to face the eruption because this volcano last erupted ... 54 years ago.”

Agung last erupted in 1963, unpleasing deadly pyroclastic flows which killed about 1100 people and hurling ash as high as 10 kilometres.

A survey image of the terrain around Mount Agung. Picture: Supplied
A survey image of the terrain around Mount Agung. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

It is just one of 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire” convergence of tectonic plates.

Emeritus professor Richard John Arculus of Australian National University haspublished a blog saying Mount Agung has produced some of the largest eruptions of the past 100 years. 

“Our ability to predict eruptions has improved dramatically since this last event, so we can hope such a death toll will not occur again,” he writes.

A primary line of evidence is the frequency and locations of earthquakes beneath the volcano, caused by upward flowing magma. Swelling and inflation of the volcano coupled with measurements of the temperatures and composition of gases emerging from the crater also give clues as to the likelihood of an eruption.

So there is no need to be caught unawares by Mt Agung, providing the advice of the authorities, armed with expert assessments, is followed.”

North Korea developments

The website seems to be down right now, whether due to high demand or cyber attack

Hawaii Begins Distributing Nuclear Attack Preparedness Guides to public after North Korean FM tells UN missile attack against US inevitable

Hawaii prepares for nuclear attack as North Korea's rhetoric worsens

This article from a month back was sent to me by a friend in Hawaii

Hawaii: First state to prepare for nuclear attack

9 August, 2017

Honolulu (CNN) Mitsuko Heidtke shakes her head in disbelief after hearing that Hawaii is now the first US state to prepare for the possibility of a nuclear strike by North Korea. She lives on the island of Oahu now, but 72 years ago she was in Hiroshima, Japan.

Heidtke says she was 10 years old when she experienced firsthand the utter devastation and the terrible consequences a nuclear bomb can deliver. She is disturbed to learn that there is even a remote possibility of going through anything like that again in her lifetime.

But growing tensions between the United States and North Korea over North Korea's weapons program have led Hawaii to take action.

On August 6, 1945, Heidtke was on a train going to school.

"I saw the flash. I have never seen anything that bright. Then I saw the mushroom cloud," Heidtke said.

She got off the train and witnessed the worst scenes of her life.

"It was so terrible. People were running away with their skin hanging from their bones and burned.

At least 70,000 people were killed by the initial blast of the US atomic bomb in 1945.

Hawaii prepares as North Korea threat grows

More than 70 years later, the threat of a nuclear strike is being assessed and planned for just in case, although US officials dialed back rhetoric on Wednesday.
No matter how remote the chance, Hawaii is getting prepared, just in case. State and military officials know there will be little time to react if North Korea does launch a nuclear warhead aimed at Hawaii. The state has been working on updating preparations for some seven months, long before the heightened rhetoric of this week.

"If North Korea uses an intercontinental ballistic missile, from launch to impact (in Hawaii) is approximately 20 minutes," said Lt. Col. Charles Anthony, director of public affairs for the state's Department of Defense.

"Pacific Command would take about fives minutes to characterize a launch, where the missile is going, which means the population would have about 15 minutes to take shelter," said Vern Miyagi, administrator for Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency. "It's not much time at all. But it is enough time to give yourself a chance to survive."

Hawaii is working on how to warn its 1.4 million residents.

Emergency management officials are working on reinstating an attack warning system similar to the air raid sirens that blared during the Cold War. Tests of that attack warning system haven't happened since the 1980s.

Officials have set a target date in November to test the outdoor attack warning sirens. The plan is to sound the sirens after the other emergency tone that is currently used. That one, which warns of natural disasters, is triggered on the first business day of the month at 11:45 a.m.

That attack warning siren test will be triggered from inside the 6-feet-thick concrete walls of a civil defense bunker nestled under the rock and dirt of the Diamond Head volcano crater.

Turns out there are many perils in paradise. Normally, the people working around the clock inside are keeping their eyes on the many natural disasters that can strike Hawaii: hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquake activity in the region, volcanic activity or flooding. North Korea is now very much on the list of things to watch.

"We want people to simply have a plan in place just like they would for a hurricane, tsunami, or any other disaster." Miyagi said. But he is keenly aware that getting people to be prepared takes a lot of cajoling and constant reminding.

Hawaii has a much larger comprehensive emergency plan in motion. Each part is still being worked on. One of the most important parts is educating the public. 

Pamphlets are being revamped. A warning system for cellphones is being created. Now, people are being told to have 14 days of emergency supplies in their homes, rather than the seven that can suffice in case of a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Nuclear attack could be similar to Hiroshima

The current information that military and emergency management officials in Hawaii have is that North Korea likely possesses a nuclear device very similar in strength to what the United States military dropped on Hiroshima. It would be devastating. Those in proximity to the impact site would surely die, along with anything else in the blast path.

Hundreds of thousands of people across the Hawaiian Islands would survive the initial blast, meaning residents need to know how to keep themselves alive until help arrives.

"We are hearing two trains of thought from our community," said Miyagi, a retired Army major general who served at US Pacific Command. "People either say, 'Why bother preparing? We will all be wiped out,' or they say 'Why prepare for a nuclear attack (that) will never happen?'"

Miyagi said: "It is the nuclear fallout that could end up killing people after the initial impact, unless people know what to do."

The message is simple: Take shelter immediately after a warning is issued.
"You can't take time to call your wife, your kids, your husband to pick them up and try to find a shelter," Miyagi said. "There is no time for that."

How to survive a nuclear attack

The best option is to find a fallout shelter. For decades, after the end of the Cold War, those shelters were pretty much ignored. Now Hawaii is looking at how they might fund restocking them. With the population boom since the 1980s there are not enough shelters in Hawaii to house everyone; whole neighborhoods are without even a single shelter.

Emergency management officials say there are other good options to avoid the radioactive fallout:

-- Be aware of your surroundings and options.

-- An underground concrete basement is ideal.

-- If you're in a car near buildings, get out and go to the middle of a concrete building away from windows and doors.

-- If there are only residences, go to the interior

-- If you are on the beach with no chance of getting to a structure, look for a cave.

"You should have 14 days' worth of emergency supplies," Miyagi said. Not everyone will need supplies for that long, but that will give time for the radiation to dissipate.

How Hawaii's tourists and residents are reacting

Philip Arthur's family has lived in Hawaii for three generations. He's keenly aware of the potential nuclear threat.

"This is concerning," Arthur said. "I'm prepared with food and water, but I don't know what exactly I am supposed to do if an attack siren is sounded. Most people here don't. We should."

Steven Villasenor was taking an evening stroll enjoying his vacation from Los Angeles in the warm, breezy Waikiki Beach weather. Villasenor said he has a plan for earthquakes, which happen in his hometown, but as far as a nuclear strike in Hawaii, he's uncertain of what to do and where to go.

"I don't really know what we would do. Probably stay in our room. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail," he said.

"Ultimately though, the potential threat is not gonna stop us from traveling to Hawaii. If it's your time to go, it's your time to go."

People are usually not that fatalistic, so preparation is the best course.

"We don't want to scare people. They should not panic, but they should prepare," Miyagi said. The state of Hawaii is doing the same.

Mitsuko Heidtke never thought she would have to think about another nuclear attack. She searched for days for her mother near ground zero and never found her. That scenario played out with many of the mothers from her neighborhood who were volunteering in town that day. She has one message to world leaders and anyone who will listen.

"This kind of bomb should never be used, never ever again."

NSW reaches 40 deg. C in first days of Spring

Hume Highway cut by bushfire, temperature records tumble as east coast swelters

Smoke on road and traffic congestion from grassfire north of Marulan

24 September, 2017

The main highway between Sydney and Canberra was cut by a bushfire and parts of New South Wales reached 40 degrees Celsius in September for the first time on record.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) said the blaze at Paddy's River, near Wingello, crossed the highway but the threat to property had eased. It was downgraded to Advice level at 6:00m.

After several hours of closure about 160 kilometres west of Sydney and east of Canberra, the Hume Highway has reopened.

Meanwhile, temperature records are being broken as the east coast swelters through a heatwave.

In Sydney's west, it was 36.4C at Richmond, and records were set in other parts of the state.

Traffic backed up on Hume Highway at Paddys River due to grassfirePHOTO: The grassfire at Paddys River near Wingello is causing lengthy traffic delays (Twitter: Adam Mobbs)

Northern Victoria and south-western NSW experienced above-average temperatures, with hot north-westerly winds turning gusty west-south-westerly on Saturday afternoon and bringing possible dust storms and damaging winds.
The hottest September day on record in New South Wales was set in 2004 at 39.6C, however Andrew Hague from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said several towns had reached 40C and beyond.
"Wilcania airport has reached 40.5C, Whitecliffe has reached 40.3C, Delta has reached 40.2C and Bourke 40 degrees," he said.

Hot and dry conditions also affected Queensland, where Birdsville reached a top of 41.6C, while in Victoria, Mildura is expected to record its hottest September day on record, reaching 37.7C.

In Queensland, Thargomindah had its hottest September day on record, hitting 40.4 degrees while everywhere west of Roma experienced temperatures 12 to 14 degrees above average.

The heat is expected to push further east on Sunday ahead of a trough, with more temperature records likely to all.

The mercury at Tibooburra, in north-western NSW, reached about 39C and Mavis Jackson from the Granites Hotel told ABC News it was miserable and dusty.
"Very, very dusty even inside on the floor blowing in at the moment, it's all dust so it's not a real pleasant type of atmosphere here just at present," she said.

Bondi Beach in Sydney's eastern suburbs.PHOTO: Bondi Beach, in Sydney's east, was a popular place to escape the heat. 

Just when you think it couldn't get any worse, check out Thursday's max temp for Brisbane currently suggested by the average of the main models!

*IF* that max temp is reached, it would break the all-time record for hottest Sep max temp in Brisbane & would also be 8C hotter than our average midsummer max temp.

However trying to predict max temps for Brisbane on hot days can often be VERY hard because they depend heavily on if/when a seabreeze can come in.

State heat records for Sep have also already been broken in NSW and VIC.

For more info about the heat, possible inland raised dust & fire dangers, refer to:

THEY predicted this spring would go down in history in Australia, and they were dead right.

RECORDS are tumbling around the country as the forecast spring scorcher lived up to its billing.

People living in NSW are already feeling the heat with a first ever 40C September day registered in the state.

Climatologist Andrew Watkins said Victoria had also experienced a new state record, with a top of 37.7C in Mildura.

New Victorian state record for September - 37.7C (99.9F) at Mildura and a few hours to go...

Sydney topped out at 32.2 degrees, but it was Bourke that set the new mark for the state when the mercury hit 40C at 1.40pm.

Firefighters were bracing for the hot conditions over the weekend and danger ratings could reach extreme levels as a result of abnormally hot conditions, dry vegetation and a lack of rainfall.

A total fire ban has been declared for much of NSW.

The weekend also marks the beginning of the beach season and the return of lifesaver patrols with Surf Life Saving NSW reminding beachgoers to swim at patrolled beaches and between flags.

Queenslanders were also experiencing summer-like conditions.

Sydney is expected to be stinking hot today with some inland regions expected to reach 40C. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP
Sydney is expected to be stinking hot today with some inland regions expected to reach 40C. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAPSource:AAP

But look further west, to Perth, and it couldn’t be a more different story with gale force winds, thunderstorms, heavy showers and below average temperatures.

Despite being worlds apart, the heat in the east and the chill in the west are all part of the same weather system.

Sky News forecaster Tom Saunders said heat spikes were common before an oncoming cold trough, the trough that is about to wreak havoc in Western Australia.

Record high temps for Sept forecast for Saturday, 41C Wanaaring, 40C Bourke and 36C Dubbo Watch temps at

The Bureau of Meteorology predicted this September could go down in history.
It’s going to be a hot weekend and records will be broken,” a spokesman told AAP on Friday.

The sun rises over Captain Cook Bridge as Sydneysiders head toward a hot weekend. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins.
The sun rises over Captain Cook Bridge as Sydneysiders head toward a hot weekend. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins.Source:AAP

Shaping up to be a hot day across with temperatures forecast to break September records in several locations