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End Time News – Updated 8 October - 4 stories
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earthquake headlines             6.0 quakes            7.0 quakes            quakes in diverse places          quake map

Powerful earthquakes off Chile’s coast

At least five people killed and 1 million evacuated, after a powerful 8.3-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Chile last night. Tsunami waves and many strong aftershocks followed. Tsunami advisory for California and Hawaii.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has reported a series of earthquakes and aftershocks along the coast of Chile, beginning last night (September 16, 2015) with an 8.3-magnitude earthquake, an extremely powerful earthquake. The first quake occurred at 22:54 UTC (7:54 p.m. local time in Chile, or 5:45 p.m. Central Daylight Time). Moderate tsunami waves – the highest measuring 15 feet in height (about 4.5 meters) at Coquimbo, Chile – subsequently struck Chile’s coast, and the National Tsunami Warning Center has tsunami advisories now in effect for Hawaii and the coast of California. The Associated Press reported the following:

… the effects from the tsunami would arrive in Hawaii about 6 a.m. (PDT) Thursday.

A similar advisory was issued for southern and central California. That advisory affects about 300 miles [500 km] of coastline stretching from the southern end of Orange County to most of San Luis Obispo County on the central coast. The possible changes associated with the advisory are expected to hit first in the south at about 4:45 a.m. (PDT) Thursday and move north in the minutes that follow.

It’s an advisory, not a warning for California and Hawaii, and “widespread inundation of land is not expected” for these advisory areas, according to the National Tsunami Warning Center. Forecasters do, however, expect possibly dangerous ocean currents and waves for several hours.

Last night, Valparaiso, Chile and Quintero, Chile saw waves of about 6 feet (2 meters). Between 3- and 10-foot waves were reported possible for French Polynesia. Waves between 1 foot and 3 feet were reported possible along some coasts in Mexico, Ecuador, Japan, Russia and New Zealand.

According to CNN, at least five people were killed and 1 million evacuated from affected areas, after the powerful 8.3-magnitude earthquake. Following the earthquake, the tsunami waves struck, causing flooding.

Details of the 8.3-magnitude quake from USGS follow:

Nearby Cities
54km (34mi) W of Illapel, Chile
76km (47mi) WNW of Salamanca, Chile
109km (68mi) NNW of La Ligua, Chile
118km (73mi) SSW of Ovalle, Chile
233km (145mi) NNW of Santiago, Chile

The 8.3-magnitude quake was followed by many strong aftershocks along Chile’s coast (see chart below). Although the September 16 quake, was particularly strong, earthquakes are common and expected along the coast of Chile. USGS explained:

The September 16, 2015 M 8.3 earthquake west of Illapel, Chile, occurred as the result of thrust faulting on the interface between the Nazca and South America plates in central Chile. At the latitude of this event, the Nazca plate is moving towards the east-northeast at a velocity of 74 mm/yr with respect to South America, and begins its subduction beneath the continent at the Peru-Chile Trench, 85 km to the west of the September 16 earthquake. The size, location, depth and mechanism of this event are all consistent with its occurrence on the megathrust interface in this region.

A series of strong earthquakes off the coast of Chile began on the evening of September 16 and continued into the morning of September 17. Chart via USGS.

A series of strong earthquakes off the coast of Chile began on the evening of September 16 and continued into the morning of September 17. Chart via USGS.

Bottom line: On September 16, 2016, an 8.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Chile. Small-scale tsunami waves (one up to 10 feet, or about 3 meters in height), and a tsunami warning was still in effect for Hawaii Wednesday evening.


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CDC Update: 4 Deaths, 732 Salmonella Cases in 35 States
by Cathy Siegner

Oct. 6 update: CDC announced on Tuesday that 61 more Salmonella Poona infections have been reported from 24 states, bringing the total to 732 cases in 35 states (Maryland was added to the list).

One related death has been reported in Oklahoma, bringing the total number of deaths to four, CDC stated. The other reported deaths have been one each in Arizona, California and Texas. Also, CDC reported that 150 people have been hospitalized in connection with this outbreak.

Given the 14-day shelf life of cucumbers and the gap between when someone gets sick and when that illness is reported to public health, it is not unexpected to continue to see illnesses reported after the recalls, the agency noted.

Sept. 29 update: The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) again updated this outbreak on Tuesday, Sept. 29. There are currently three deaths, 131 hospitalizations and 671 confirmed cases being reported in 34 states. The deaths being reported are in Arizona, California and Texas (one each).

Since the previous update a week ago, there have been 113 more Salmonella infections reported to CDC from 19 states, and Alabama was added to the list of states reporting cases.

“Given the 14-day shelf life of cucumbers, it is not unexpected to continue to see illnesses reported after the recalls,” CDC noted.

Previous coverage follows:

Sept. 22 update: The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) again updated this outbreak on Tuesday, Sept. 22. There are currently three deaths, 112 hospitalizations and 558 confirmed cases being reported in 33 states. The deaths being reported are in Arizona, California and Texas (one each).
Since the previous CDC update a week ago, this latest report reflects an increase of 140 confirmed cases, 21 additional hospitalizations, and confirmed cases in residents of two additional states (Iowa and South Dakota, with one each).

Previous coverage follows:

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) updated this outbreak on Tuesday, Sept. 15. There are currently two deaths, 91 hospitalizations and 418 confirmed cases being reported in 31 states. The deaths being reported are in California and Texas (one each).

The total number of confirmed cases is 77 more than CDC’s most recent Sept. 9 update, and Indiana, with two cases, was added to the total list of states reporting confirmed cases of Salmonella linked to Mexican cucumbers.

Previous coverage follows:

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) updated this outbreak on Wednesday, Sept. 9. There are now two deaths, 70 hospitalizations and 341 confirmed cases being reported in 30 states. The deaths being reported are in California and Texas (one each). That is 56 more confirmed cases since CDC’s Sept. 4 update.

The Sept. 9 CDC update included this information:

--53 percent those sickened are children younger than 18 years.
--Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations have identified imported cucumbers from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce as a likely source of the infections in this outbreak.
--91 (68 percent) of 134 people interviewed reported eating cucumbers in the week before their illness began.
--Eleven illness clusters have been identified in seven states. In all of these clusters, interviews found that cucumbers were a food item eaten in common by ill people.
--Arizona, California, Montana, and Nevada isolated Salmonella from samples of cucumbers collected from various locations that were distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce.
--On Sept. 4, 2015, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce voluntarily recalled all cucumbers sold under the “Limited Edition” brand label during the period from Aug. 1, 2015, through Sept. 3, 2015, because they may be contaminated with Salmonella.
--The type of cucumber is often referred to as a “slicer” or “American” cucumber and is dark green in color. Typical length is 7 to 10 inches. In retail locations, the cucumbers are typically sold in a bulk display without any individual packaging or plastic wrapping.
--Limited Edition cucumbers were distributed in the states of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. Further distribution to other states may have occurred.
--Consumers should not eat, restaurants should not serve, and retailers should not sell recalled cucumbers.
--If you aren’t sure if your cucumbers were recalled, ask the place of purchase or your supplier. When in doubt, don’t eat, sell, or serve them and throw them out.

The original Food Safety News story, posted Sept. 4, follows:

A multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Poona linked to imported Mexican cucumbers has apparently sickened more than 300 people from 27 states and hospitalized 53 of them, according to an alert posted Friday afternoon by the New Mexico Department of Health and additional reporting by Food Safety News.

A statement released Friday by the California Department of Public Health reported that there has been one related death in California, and that additional cases were continuing to come in.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released information on the outbreak at 8 p.m. Eastern Time Friday night.

According to CDC, “Among people for whom information is available, illnesses started on dates ranging from July 3, 2015 to August 26, 2015. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 99, with a median age of 13. Fifty-four percent of ill people are children younger than 18 years. Fifty-seven percent of ill people are female. Among 160 people with available information, 53 (33%) report being hospitalized. One death has been reported from California.”

Fifteen confirmed cases were announced Friday in New Mexico, as well as 11 confirmed cases (with two suspected) reported from eight counties in Montana.

Thursday’s total case count was 285, and the total on Friday was said to have climbed higher than that.

“I know that it’s over 300 now,” Mark DiMenna, deputy director of the Albuquerque Environmental Health Department, told Food Safety News.

He said the breakdown of the 285 S. Poona cases by state as of Sept. 3 was as follows: AK (8), AR (6), AZ (60), CA (51), CO (14), ID (8), IL (5), KS (1), LA (3), MN (12), MO (7), MT (11), NE (2), NM (15), NV (7), NY (4), ND (1), OH (2), OK (5), OR (3), SC (6), TX (9), UT (30), VA (1), WA (9), WI (2), WY (3).

He said that Albuquerque health inspectors come in from the field on Friday and contacted anybody in grocery stores or restaurants who might have received the Mexican cucumbers.

“We contacted anybody who we knew had gotten them and asked them to pull them off the shelves,” he said, adding that barring an official recall, product removal would be on a voluntary basis.

While DiMenna wouldn’t name the distributor involved, he noted that several outlets in his area had already been contacted by them.

“It’s an indication of the scale of that distributor,” he said.

On Friday, a San Diego produce distributor, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, recalled cucumbers imported from Mexico for Salmonella risk. Andrew & Williamson also supplies vegetables to Red Lobster and In-And-Out restaurants, among others, according to an Oklahoma City TV station.

California health department officials stated that Andrew & Williamson had initiated a voluntary recall of their garden cucumbers after being informed of the epidemiologic association between these cucumbers and the Salmonella Poona outbreak.

“The recalled garden cucumbers can be identified in distribution channels as ‘Limited Edition’ brand pole grown cucumbers. The labeling on these cases indicates the product was grown and packed by Rancho Don Juanito in Mexico. These cucumbers were distributed between August 1 – September 3, 2015,” the department stated.

The Mexican cucumbers being linked to the current S. Poona outbreak are not the long, thin ones that come wrapped in plastic (English cucumbers) nor the small pickle-shaped type (Persian cucumbers). They are the thick-skinned, unwrapped type of garden-variety cucumbers and were sent to grocery stores and restaurants in New Mexico and other states through a produce distributor.

CDC reported Friday that several state health and agriculture departments are collecting leftover cucumbers from restaurants and grocery stores where ill people reported eating or shopping to test for the presence of Salmonella.

“The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency isolated Salmonella from cucumbers collected during a visit to the Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce facility. DNA ‘fingerprinting’ is being conducted to determine the PFGE pattern of the Salmonella isolated from these cucumbers. Results of additional product testing will be reported when available,” CDC stated.

The New Mexico Health Department noted in its Friday announcement that officials there were working with CDC, FDA, the New Mexico Environment Department, the Albuquerque Environmental Health Department, and multiple other state health departments on the outbreak investigation.

According to the state health department there, the 15 New Mexico cases are seven residents of Bernalillo County, two residents of Doña Ana County, two residents of Sandoval County, and one resident from McKinley, Santa Fe, and Valencia counties, respectively, with one case of unknown residence at this time.

Several of the New Mexicans sickened were hospitalized, ranged in age from 1 to 65 years of age, and approximately 60 percent are female. Illness onset ranged from July 30 to late August, according to the health department.

New Mexico health officials recommended that New Mexicans not buy, sell, eat, or serve cucumbers grown commercially in Mexico until additional information is available from the CDC and FDA.

“If you have any concerns we recommend that you ask your retail grocer where the cucumbers you purchased were grown. When in doubt as to their origin, do not eat them, and throw them out,” they stated.

California health officials sent out a photo of a box of the recalled cucumbers, noting that, “It is unlikely that cucumbers in retail grocery stores will have any identifying brand information. CDPH recommends that consumers check with their grocer to determine if the cucumbers they purchased are impacted by this warning.”

People who are at high risk for Salmonella infection include: infants, elderly, those with compromised immune systems, including persons on immunosuppressive therapies or medications, and pregnant women. Healthy adults rarely develop severe illness. It is important for people at high risk to follow the standard CDC guidance about Salmonella. People can decrease their risk of Salmonella infection through proper food handling and preparation and by practicing proper hand washing and hygiene practices.

Eating food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, an uncommon but potentially serious infection. Salmonellosis is characterized by an acute onset of headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and sometimes vomiting. Dehydration, especially among infants, may be severe.

This is not the first Salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers. An outbreak of Salmonella Newport in 2014 affected a total of 275 people in 29 states and the District of Columbia, with illness onsets occurring during May 20 to Sept. 30, 2014. That outbreak was linked to cucumbers grown in the Delmarva region of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)


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Wars and Rumors of Wars

Russian warships join Syria war with rocket attacks
by Al Jazeera

Russian warships in the Caspian Sea have launched rockets at the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria which hit their targets, Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a joint television appearance.

Russian efforts "will be synchronised with the actions of the Syrian army on the ground and the actions of our air force will effectively support the offensive operation of the Syrian army," Putin said in the meeting with Shoigu on Wednesday.

"In addition to the air force, four warships of the Caspian flotilla have been involved," Shoigu said, adding that the warships had carried out 26 cruise missile strikes against 11 targets.

"The intensity of the strikes is increasing."

The missiles flew nearly 1,500km over Iran and Iraq and struck Raqqa and Aleppo provinces in the north and Idlib province in the northwest, Russian officials said. ISIL has strongholds in Raqqa and Aleppo, while the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front has a strong presence in Idlib.

'Not targeting ISIL'
Western countries, Arab states and Turkey, who are waging their own bombing campaign against ISIL but want Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - an ally of Russia - to leave power, say Moscow is using ISIL as a pretext to target Assad's other foes.

Almost none of Russia's strikes have been aimed at ISIL or fighters tied to al-Qaeda, with most targeting the Syrian opposition, the US State Department said on Wednesday.

"Greater than 90 percent of the strikes that we've seen them take to date have not been against ISIL or al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists," said State Department spokesman John Kirby.

"They've been largely against opposition groups that want a better future for Syria and don't want to see the Assad regime stay in power."

Putin, however, stressed the need for cooperation with the US-led coalition fighting ISIL, saying that without cooperation from the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia the intervention was unlikely to work.

Major ground operation
Also on Wednesday the Syrian army and pro-regime forces launched a major ground operation in Hama province backed by air support from Russian warplanes, a military source told AFP news agency.

"The Syrian army and allied forces began a ground operation in the northern parts of Hama province [central Syria]... with fire cover from the Russian air force," the source said.

Russian forces carried out the air strikes on Wednesday morning, in addition to targeting anti-government armed groups with surface-to-surface missiles, said the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In Aleppo, Russian strikes targeted the towns of al-Bab and Deir Hafer, about 20km east of a military airport currently besieged by ISIL fighters.

The Syrian Observatory also reported that at least six people were killed, including one child, in suspected Russian air strikes in Idlib.

Russian forces have struck 112 targets in war-torn Syria since September 30, Shoigu said.

Coordination with US
Putin said it was too early to talk about the results of Russia's operations in Syria and ordered Shoigu to continue cooperation with the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq on Syria.

Putin also said that French President France Hollande had voiced the idea of uniting Assad's forces with the so-called Free Syrian Army to fight ISIL.

But a source close to Hollande denied he had said this.

"The president spoke of the necessary presence of the Syrian opposition around the negotiating table." a source close to Hollande said. "The rest is not a French idea."

Shoigu said that on Tuesday Russia had summoned foreign military attaches in Moscow and suggested they supply Russia with any intelligence on ISIL positions.

"Today we are expecting a reply from our colleagues and we hope they will tell us about those targets which they have," he said.

Shoigu also said Russia was ready to agree a document with the US to coordinate actions in Syria.

Source: Agencies


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30,000 face starvation
by James Munyeki

At least 30,000 people are facing starvation in Laikipia North following a four-month drought.

Residents have started migrating with their livestock to other areas in the county, which experienced short rains in the past, in search of pasture and water.

Area MP Mathew Lempurkel said animals have started dying due to lack of pasture and water.

Speaking while assessing the situation yesterday, Mr Lempurkel said: "The situation has been made worse by the drying up of the rivers whose source is Ewaso Nyiro. Residents have nowhere to get water."

The MP has asked the Government to provide locals with relief food.

"We do not want to hear food is only being supplied to Turkana and other areas. The Government must know that our people face starvation too," he said.

Governor Joshua Irungu has, however, assured residents that no one will die of starvation.


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