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End Time News – Updated 2 Sept 2016 - 4 stories
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earthquake headlines             6.0 quakes            7.0 quakes            quakes in diverse places          quake map

Live: Magnitude 7.1 earthquake shakes North Island
by New Zealand Herald

• Magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck at 4.37am, around 100km northeast of Te Araroa
• Tsunami warning lifted
• Coastal regions warned of currents and surges
• Te Waka O Rerekohu Area School, Tolaga Bay Area School Waikirikiri School and Kaiti School in Gisborne are closed

The North Island's East Coast has been shaken by an early morning earthquake.

The quake hit at 4.37am, around 100km northeast of the East Cape settlement of Te Araroa, at a depth of 55km.

The jolt lasted for almost a minute and was felt across much of the North Island.

The quake was followed by several moderate-sized aftershocks, including a M5.6 jolt at 5.01am, and a M4.6 quake at 5.03am.


The North Island's East Coast has been shaken by an early morning earthquake.

The quake hit at 4.37am, around 100km northeast of the East Cape settlement of Te Araroa, at a depth of 55km.

Stacey Hunt

Sep 1 2016 11:45 AM

Here's what we know so far:

Civil Defence officials have issued a tsunami warning following a 7.1 quake that shook North Island this morning.

Shortly after 6am a potential tsunami threat was upgraded to a warning by Civil Defence.

Those living in coastal areas should be aware tsunami currents and surges were possible.

They asked people to listen to radio and TV for further updates and follow the instructions of their local Civil Defence authorities.

The warning covers the East coast of the North Island, including Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty and the upper South Island.

Civil Defence has had it confirmed a tsunami was generated at East Cape, with a wave measuring 30cm around 6am.

"Tsunami activity will continue for several hours and the threat must be regarded as real until this warning is cancelled," Civil Defence said in a statement.

People living along Gisborne district's coastline are being told by local Civil Defence authorities to go to higher ground or as far inland as possible.

Tairawhiti Civil Defence said people should take their radios with them and listen to further instructions and advice from Civil Defence.

Stacey Hunt

Sep 1 2016 11:50 AM
More aftershocks are expected over the next couple of days following this morning's 7.1 magnitude quake off the East coast of the North Island.

GeoNet seismologist Anna Kaiser said because the quake was off shore some after shocks would not be felt, but people should stay alert to the possibility larger ones would be felt.

"It's likely we'll have aftershocks in the coming days and update people as things progress."

It was typical to feel a few shocks similar to the magnitude of the original quake, which had already happened once this morning, Kaiser said.

"People do need to vigilant."

This morning's quake was likely related to a 5.7 magnitude quake in a similar area yesterday, she said.

The Pacific plate was burrowing under the Australian plate to the east of the North Island and this subducting system created tension which was sometimes released as earthquakes.

"The magnitude is not so common but the type of earthquake is what we'd expect."

Stacey Hunt


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Mosquitoes test positive for Zika in South Beach as local cases rise
by Joey Flechas and Daniel Chang

Mosquitoes trapped in South Beach have tested positive for Zika, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported on Thursday — providing the first conclusive proof that insects in the U.S. are carrying the virus.

Florida health officials also reported two more local Zika infections in Miami-Dade, with one case in each of the two areas previously identified as transmission zones: a section of Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood and a 1.5-square-mile zone in Miami Beach.

The Zika-positive mosquitoes were found in three of 19 traps spread throughout the area of South Beach where the virus is spreading. One of the samples came from the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, which was closed on Monday for mosquito control. County officials are awaiting results on another batch of mosquitoes, though they wouldn’t say where they were trapped.

Officials did not say where the other two traps with Zika-positive mosquitoes were, citing health privacy laws protecting the identities of individuals at those locations.

But rather than react with alarm on Thursday, politicians cast the announcement as a reaffirmation of what they already knew.

“This find is disappointing, but not surprising,” Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said in a written statement announcing the find. “Florida is among the best in the nation when it comes to mosquito surveillance and control, and this detection enables us to continue to effectively target our resources.”

The state’s agriculture department, which tracks statewide vector control, did not say when the mosquitoes were trapped or when they tested positive. But the announcement noted that 95 additional mosquitoes were tested after the positive samples and all were negative for Zika.

“That's a reason for hope,” said Janet McAllister, an entomologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emergency Response Team dispatched to Miami this month.

In a press conference Thursday afternoon at County Hall, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the announcement doesn’t change the county’s mosquito control efforts, with inspectors on the ground spraying and dropping larvicide daily.

“This was not something that was unexpected,” Gimenez said.

The scientists in the room spoke more specifically about what this means for their investigation into the spread of the virus, saying that identifying positive mosquitoes indicates more precisely where active transmission is occurring.

Chris Braden, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC, said the discovery is likely due to traps being placed in the Beach earlier in the active transmission phase than in Wynwood, where no Zika-positive mosquitoes have been found to date.

But there is an upside to finding mosquitoes that carry Zika in Miami Beach: health officials can interview nearby residents and inspectors can target their spraying.

“It’s just another data point in the investigation in order to focus our control efforts,” Braden said.

Health officials are conducting 10 Zika investigations in Miami-Dade, including in South Beach, where inspectors continue to canvass the neighborhood, according to the Florida Department of Health’s top administrator in Miami-Dade, Lillian Rivera. She said the process of collecting blood and urine samples can be challenging when moving door to door.

“It’s tough,” she said. “But people are cooperating. We are getting samples.”

---40,000 mosquitoes have been tested for Zika in Florida since May.

In addition to the two local infections reported on Thursday, state health officials also confirmed seven more travel-related cases, including three in Miami-Dade, two in Broward, and one each in Osceola and Sarasota counties.

A total of 705 Floridians have contracted Zika this year, including 576 travel-related cases and 49 local infections. An additional 80 pregnant women in Florida also have tested positive for Zika, though the government will not specify where they live.

Miami Beach officials have known since last week that mosquito counts were high in three areas of the city after the health department notified them of its findings and its plans to test in those areas.

In light of the high counts, the city closed the botanical garden on Monday for inspections and testing, redirecting voters from the garden’s precinct to City Hall to cast their ballots in Tuesday’s primary election.

At a Zika community meeting in South Beach on Monday, Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales said there were “high counts of mosquitoes on Lincoln Road.” He said city workers had destroyed dozens of bromeliads, which can serve as breeding grounds for the species of mosquito most capable of transmitting Zika, the Aedes aegypti.

The three positive samples reported Thursday are the first among 2,470 rounds of testing in Florida since May to test positive. In all, more than 40,000 mosquitoes statewide have been tested for Zika.

Department of Agriculture scientists tested the positive samples at the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Kissimmee. Further testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Florida Gulf Coast University confirmed the results.

Two weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel advisory warning pregnant women to avoid the new South Beach zone, which stretches from Fifth Street north to 28th Street, and from Biscayne Bay east to the Atlantic Ocean. Tourism chiefs had hoped Zika wouldn’t land in the seaside resort city, and they’ve been anxious ever since. As of last week, hotel revenue in the Beach has continued to rise, according to the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Local Zika hits Miami Beach

The Florida Department of Health declared on Aug. 19 that active transmission of the Zika virus through mosquitoes is happening in Miami Beach. The 1.5-square-mile area is across the bay from Wynwood, the first place in the continental U.S. where active transmissions took place.

But there’s good reason to worry. According a national poll released Thursday, 48 percent of 1,211 adults surveyed said they would not feel comfortable traveling to places in the U.S. where people have been infected with Zika by mosquitoes, like Florida.

Over the past month, county and city officials have ramped up mosquito control efforts in South Beach and a one-square-mile section of Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood — identified on July 29 as the first place in the continental United States to have active spread of Zika by mosquitoes.

Mosquito counts have decreased in Wynwood, officials have reported. But the Beach, a dense urban environment with lots of lush landscaping that can serve as breeding grounds, presents a unique challenge for officials. Bromeliads, for example, are popular and provide a ripe environment for mosquito breeding because they trap water between their leaves.

“We’re also suggesting to all of our residents if they don’t have the time and ability to really maintain [bromeliads] well, to please remove them,” Morales said at Thursday’s press conference.

Joey Flechas: 305-376-3602, @joeflech

Daniel Chang: 305-376-2012, @dchangmiami


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Wars and Rumors of Wars

691 Iraqis killed, 1,016 injured in terror, armed conflict in August: UN

A total of 691 Iraqis were killed and another 1,016 were injured in August 2016 in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq, excluding the western province of Anbar, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said here Thursday.

A total of 473 civilians were killed and 813 others were injured, Dujarric said, citing casualty figures recorded by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The special representative of the UN secretary-general for Iraq, Jan Kubis, strongly condemned recent terrorist attacks and other acts of violence, reiterated his call on the parties to undertake every effort to safeguard the lives of civilians and urged Iraqis to show strength in unity in the face of this unrelenting violence.

Civilians continue to disproportionately bear the burden of acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq, accounting for more than two-thirds of those killed or injured in the month of August, UNAMI said.

Of those killed, more than 68 percent were civilians, including 16 individuals who were members of the federal police, civil defence, personal security details, facilities protection police and fire department, the UN mission said.

Similarly, about 80 percent of those injured were civilians, including 21 members of the previously mentioned civil security entities, said the mission.

"The bloodletting in Iraq continues without let-up," Kubis said in a news release issued by UNAMI, which he heads. "Casualty figures remain too high and civilians again are bearing the brunt."

The mission noted that 218 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed and another 203 were injured.

In terms of casualties by location, the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, was the worst affected governorate with 907 civilian casualties (231 killed, 676 injured).

In the northern governorate of Ninewa, 116 were killed and 83 injured; in the northern governorate of Kirkuk 81 were killed and 13 injured; in the central governorate of Karbala 17 were killed and 25 injured; in the central governorate of Salahadin 14 were killed and four injured; and, in the eastern governorate of Diyala six were killed and five injured.

"(We) reiterate our call on the parties to undertake every effort to safeguard the lives of civilians and urge Iraqis in general to show strength in unity in the face of this unrelenting violence," Kubis said.


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The World Must Save Yemen From This Man-Made Famine
by Afrah Nasser

How shameful is it that a famine is unfolding here in a region surrounded by some of the world’s richest countries.

“I wish there is no war in Yemen. I wish that we have electricity and water back and that we live happily. And that we eat until we are full.”

So says a 10-year old Yemeni kid, reflecting on his dreams of a return to peace in war-ravaged Yemen, a conflict that is pushing millions of people into famine, with 320,000 of children already facing severe malnutrition. Despite the lack of specific figures, reports show that a lot of children were born and died during the ongoing conflict due to the collapsing health system and severe malnutrition.

Eighteen months of war has certainly plunged the already impoverished country beyond destitution. The severe impact of the war was well-described last year by Red Cross chief, Peter Maurer, who wrote that, “Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years.” The scale of devastation is on the rise by the day; there’s a type of death in Yemen which is unmeasurable, since if the bullets and shelling don’t kill you, the lack of food, water and medicine will. I lost count of my relatives, friends and friends’ relatives who have died in the wake of the catastrophic humanitarian situation. In light of Yemen’s failed peace talks and the early warnings of Yemen slipping into famine, Yemenis are unsurprisingly hungry both for food and peace.

Food as a weapon of war

Just as wars are never a coincidence, neither is hunger - it’s man-made. Hunger was already prevalent in Yemen long before war erupted in March 2015. Yemen had been in a state of chronic food insecurity for years, ranking near the bottom of the Human Development Index, while ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh was piling up his wealth in billions.

Yemen’s 2011 uprising caused the economy to decline. Besides corruption, social inequality and unequal distribution of national wealth, progress in economic and social development over recent years has been slow, mainly as a result of the political crisis, ongoing instability and weak governance, as the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation pointed out in 2014.

Today, the situation has been tremendously exacerbated by the ongoing conflict. Among the many drivers for hunger in Yemen are fuel shortages and import restrictions which have reduced the availability of essential food commodities in the country, which overwhelmingly relies on the import of some 90 percent of its staple foods, as pointed out by World Food Programme.

The most crucial factor causing hunger in Yemen, though, is that all warring parties have used food as a weapon of war. The Saudi-led coalition has been imposing a blockade of Yemen’s main ports, jeopardising the survival of millions of Yemenis who are in urgent need of imported fuel, food, medicine and other commodities. When humanitarian aid agencies exert efforts to provide assistance, the Saudis dictates that any humanitarian operation to be conducted in Yemen must be barred from delivery to Houthi-controlled areas, according to a UN reporter.

Moreover, the coalition has bombed several bridges used to transport 90 percent of UN food supply in the country. At the same time, the Houthi-Saleh forces have also used food as a weapon in areas they are contesting, currently in Taiz and formerly in Aden, where it has been impossible for residents to have access to water, fuel, and food supplies while being besieged. Consequently, a black market emerged with skyrocketing prices for rare commodities only few can afford to purchase.

With that said, deprivation and starvation are the common norm in Yemen today. Before the war, the World Bank estimated that 50 percent of Yemen’s population were under the poverty line, while today it estimates that figure has rocketed to 80 percent of the population.

Stop the famine

These shocking statistics warn that Yemenis soon will be put to death by starvation, as the war has no end in sight. As long the world remains indifferent and timely action to prevent it is not taken, all indicators show a famine is all but inevitable.

As a human rights issues blogger, nothing I have witnessed in Yemen’s human rights situation cuts me as painfully deep as witnessing my country slipping into mass hunger. I strongly believe hunger is the gravest human rights abuse in Yemen. And how shameful it is that a famine is unfolding here in a region surrounded by some of the world’s richest countries.

The expected famine must be stopped before it sweeps the country. Report after report shows people’s accounts of starvation and suffering. What is the world waiting for, I wonder: till Yemenis’ bodies pile up with nobody strong enough to dig the graves?

Famine can be mitigated if more humanitarian and diplomatic action is taken by the international community. Yemen needs the world’s solidarity to stop the looming famine that could become a cause of shame to the global humanitarian system with irreversible consequences for Yemen's 28 million population.


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