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End Time News – Updated 1 Dec 2016 - 6 stories
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earthquake headlines             6.0 quakes            7.0 quakes            quakes in diverse places          quake map

Japan earthquake: small tsunami strike Fukushima coastline after 7.4 magnitude quake
by Barney Henderson, David Lawler and Julian Ryall

--7.4 magnitude earthquake strikes northern Japan
--Tsunamis of up to 90 centimeters recorded
--1.4 metre tsunami hits Sendai
--1 metre tsunami at Fukushima nuclear plant
--Residents ordered to evacuate from coastal areas
--Depth of the quake recoreded at 10 km

Coastal residents in Japan were ordered to flee to higher ground on Tuesday after a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 struck off the coast of Fukushima prefecture.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for waves of up to 3 metres in Fukushima and Miyagi prefecture, and a tsunami advisory for much of the rest of northeast Japan's Pacific coast. There were no immediate reports of damage or injury.

Tsunamis of 1.4 metres and 90 centimetres were reported in Sendai and Soma about an hour after the 6 am earthquake, and the tsunami warning area was widened later in the morning.

Fukushima prefecture is home to the nuclear power plant that was destroyed by a huge tsunami following an offshore earthquake in 2011.

The Japan Meteorological Agency put the quake at 7.4 magnitude while the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said it was 6.9 magnitude. It struck at a shallow depth of seven miles) shortly before 6.00 am local time on Tuesday (2100 GMT on Monday) in the Pacific off Fukushima.


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earthquake headlines             6.0 quakes            7.0 quakes            quakes in diverse places          quake map

New Zealand hit by 6.3 magnitude earthquake off North Island: USGS
Reuters via CNBC

People wait in Te Aro Park after being evacuated from nearby buildings following an earthquake in Wellington, New Zealand on November 14, 2016. Thousands of aftershocks have been registered since.

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 struck central New Zealand on Tuesday, little more than a week after a powerful tremor centered in the upper South Island rocked the country and killed two people.

Tuesday's quake was centered off the coast of the North Island, 138 km (86 miles) from Palmerston North at a depth of 37 km (23 miles).

Thousands of aftershocks have been registered since a 7.8 magnitude quake struck near Christchurch in the early hours of Nov 14.


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earthquake headlines             6.0 quakes            7.0 quakes            quakes in diverse places          quake map

Magnitude 6.4 quake hits western Argentina – USGS

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake has hit western Argentina in the province of San Juan, the US Geological Survey reports. The quake was felt across the border in the neighboring country of Chile, eyewitnesses reported on Twitter.

The epicenter of the quake, which struck at a depth of some 115.71 kilometers (71.9 miles), lies some 10.7 kilometers (6.7 miles) southwest of the town of Villa Basilio Nievas, center of the Zonda department, with a total population of about 3,000 residents.

According to the Centre’s estimates, about 10 million people are living in the affected area.

While the earthquake is considered to be too deep to cause any significant damage, local Sanjuan8 news portal cited eyewitnesses saying that some apparently frightened people ran screaming through the streets in panic as the quake shook the province.

The strong shaking was also reported in western Argentinean province of Mendoza, located some 75 kilometers from neighboring San Juan. Many residents rushed out of their homes out of fear, Los Andes reported. However, no injuries or damages have been reported in the province so far.


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Outbreak of Zika Virus Disease — American Samoa, 2016

During December 2015–January 2016, the American Samoa Department of Health (ASDoH) detected through surveillance an increase in the number of cases of acute febrile rash illness. Concurrently, a case of laboratory-confirmed Zika virus infection, a mosquito-borne flavivirus infection documented to cause microcephaly and other severe brain defects in some infants born to women infected during pregnancy[1,2] was reported in a traveler returning to New Zealand from American Samoa. In the absence of local laboratory capacity to test for Zika virus, ASDoH initiated arboviral disease control measures, including public education and vector source reduction campaigns. On February 1, CDC staff members were deployed to American Samoa to assist ASDoH with testing and surveillance efforts.

To track the progression of the outbreak in the absence of confirmed case results, trends in the number of suspected Zika virus disease cases were monitored through syndromic surveillance using automated searches of the electronic health record (EHR) system at the one hospital and four health care clinics in the territory. Suspected cases were identified among persons having ≥1 admission diagnosis of "Zika," "dengue," "chikungunya," "viral exanthem," "acute fever," or "rash." During January–July 2016, among a total population of 55,502 persons, 756 suspected cases were identified for an overall incidence of 13.6 per 1,000 persons. The incidence of suspected cases was highest (18.4 per 1,000) in Ituau County (population = 4,676).

To establish laboratory capabilities, ASDoH collaborated with the Pacific Island Health Officer Association, the Hawaii Department of Health, and CDC. During January–July 2016, serum specimens were collected from 98 pregnant women who had sought testing, regardless of their symptoms, as well as from 90 nonpregnant female and male patients within 5 days of at least one sign or symptom of Zika virus disease, including fever, rash, arthralgia, or conjunctivitis. Weekly shipments of two to 25 specimens (median = eight specimens per week) were sent to the Hawaii Department of Health laboratory for testing and to CDC's Arboviral Diseases Branch for confirmatory testing; among the 188 specimens collected, two were damaged during shipping and could not be tested. Fifty-one (27%) of the 186 specimens tested had evidence of recent Zika virus infection by real-time, reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) (n = 25) or by sequential testing using immunoglobulin M antibody capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (MAC-ELISA) and neutralizing antibody titers against Zika virus that were ≥fourfold higher than titers against dengue virus (n = 26).[3]

Among the 98 pregnant women who were tested, 19 (19%) had laboratory evidence of recent Zika virus infection, including 18 of 70 (26%) symptomatic women and one of 28 (4%) asymptomatic woman. One case of dengue virus infection was identified by MAC-ELISA and neutralizing antibody testing; no cases of chikungunya were identified. The overall incidence of confirmed Zika virus infection was 0.92 per 1,000 persons and was highest (2.77 per 1,000) in Leasina County (population = 1,807). The weekly number of both suspected infections identified through syndromic surveillance and confirmed infections peaked during January 24–30; the month with the highest number of confirmed cases was February (Figure). In any week, there were four to 34 (median = 11) times as many suspected cases as confirmed cases identified.

A registry of all currently pregnant women identified in the territory was created to facilitate monitoring for adverse outcomes and implementing targeted prevention efforts. Pregnancies beginning as early as May 2015 were identified through EHR searches, and newly identified pregnancies were reported by the four prenatal clinics on the island. Data from 674 women were entered in the registry, including all 98 pregnant women who were tested. Initial medical record review indicated that the majority of pregnant women who sought prenatal care did so during their third trimester of pregnancy. To encourage women to seek earlier prenatal care, public messaging and clinic fee waivers were implemented. To reduce the risk of Zika virus transmission, prenatal health clinics distributed Zika prevention kits containing mosquito repellents, bed nets, and condoms to 674 pregnant women.

This report details the introduction of Zika virus into American Samoa and the challenges presented during the response. Off-island testing by the Hawaii Department of Health and CDC facilitated identification of 51 confirmed Zika virus infections. Because of delays inherent in off-island testing, the existing ASDoH EHR system was used to identify suspected cases for outbreak tracking, and to identify pregnancies for monitoring. The trend in suspected cases approximated the trend in confirmed cases over time, but not by county. Collaboration among multiple public health agencies helped to mitigate these challenges and highlights the importance of continued strengthening and coordination of epidemiologic and laboratory capacity in the Pacific Islands.


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Wars and Rumors of Wars

Over 2,800 Iraqis killed in acts of terrorism, violence, armed conflict in Iraq in Nov
Global Times

A total of 2,885 Iraqis were killed and another 1,380 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in November, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here Thursday.

The spokesman made the remarks by citing casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The number of civilians killed in November was 926, Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here, adding that Baghdad was the worst affected governorate with 733 civilian casualties (152 killed, 581 injured).

Meanwhile, the United Nations said that close to 2,000 members of the Iraqi security forces were killed in November across the country. The figure increased threefold from October, when tens of thousands of forces launched a huge assault to retake the Islamic State's last major Iraqi bastion of Mosul.

The toll includes members of the army, police who are engaged in combat, the Kurdish peshmerga, interior ministry forces and pro-government paramilitaries.

The number of members of the Iraqi forces killed released by the United Nations for October was 672.

The highest number of civilian deaths recorded in November was in Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, with 332, the UN figures showed.


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Nigeria's Boko Haram crisis: 'We survived militants but face starvation'
by Martin Patience

Kawu Ashe is just one of up to 120,000 people facing starvation in north-eastern Nigeria, which has been ravaged by the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency.

Last month, she made the life-and-death decision to flee her village after militants delivered a chilling message: "We are coming back to take your son."

The insurgents killed her husband, a cattle trader, two years ago and were now insisting that the couple's two-and-a-half-year-old son Abdullahi belonged to them.

Ms Ashe knew she had to act - even if the penalty for trying to escape could be execution.

Under the cover of darkness, she and her two children and a younger sister walked through the bush for nine hours to safety.

But although Abdullahi survived the militants, he now faces another deadly threat - starvation.

He is among the estimated hundreds of thousands of children in north-eastern Nigeria currently suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

The UN describes it is as the "greatest crisis on the continent" and is appealing to the international community for more than $1bn (£793m) to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance to almost seven million people in the region.

Abdullahi is skeletal. His body weight at 7kg (15lb) is around half of what it should be at his age.

"There was barely any food or clean drinking water in the village," said Ms Ashe, speaking at a Unicef malnutrition clinic set up in the region's main city, Maiduguri.

"Even if we did get some food the militants would take it away. Things are little better here. But I'm still struggling to feed my children."

'It starts with the kids'

Last month, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said thousands of children had already died of starvation during the crisis.

The seven-year-long Boko Haram insurgency has laid waste to this region - killing thousands and forcing millions to flee their homes in north-east Nigeria and the neighbouring countries of Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

But as the Nigerian military pushes the insurgents from territory they once controlled, the sheer scale of the hunger and devastation is being revealed.

Frequent Boko Haram attacks mean farmers have been unable to plant anything in their fields for the third year in a row and aid convoys are ambushed on insecure roads.

There are allegations of wide-spread aid theft, which are being investigated by Nigeria's senate.

The military has also closed down markets because of security concerns but it means people have nowhere to buy food or to make a living.

The UN says millions are now reliant on food aid and there is simply not enough to go around.

"Without more international assistance, many more people are going to die" says John Ging, operations director for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

"It starts with kids because their parents have no means to actually take care of them," he says.

"We can do better than that in 2016 - it's a rich world. We need a very small fraction of those riches for international humanitarian action. At the moment we're not getting that small fraction."

'Bloated' with hunger

The city of Maiduguri is now the centre of the aid efforts. Its population is swollen by the hundreds of thousands of civilians who fled the violence and are now living in make-shift camps.

The worst cases of children suffering from starvation are brought to the MSF medical facility in the city.

In the intensive care unit, around a dozen severely emaciated children lay on beds.

They were hooked up to oxygen. Some had drips attached to their skulls as that was the only place the nurses could find a vein.

One of them is two-year-old Ali, who was born albino.

His mother Zara Mustafa said that her husband struggled to find work after they were forced from their home and they had no money to feed the family.

"Sometimes we don't eat for three days straight," she says.

In another bed lies one-month-old Mohammedu - his little body bloated my malnutrition. His mother, Aisha Umar has six other children.

"It's unbelievably difficult to get food here. I have to send my children out to beg," she says.

While the children are in a terrible state, they are at least getting some care.

There are still areas under the control of Boko Haram, which aid agencies cannot reach.

Conditions there will almost certainly be worse than those in Maiduguri.

And with the start of the dry season under way, yet more hunger is now on the horizon.


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