Mudflow threat builds with more lava, debris from Philippine volcano
• Mount Mayon spews lava and ash from its crater — debris that experts warn could be dislodged by heavy rain Mount Mayon spews lava and ash from its crater — debris that experts warn could be dislodged by heavy rain (AFP Photo/Ted ALJIBE)Legazpi (Philippines) (AFP) – The threat of catastrophic mudflows is building on the slopes of an erupting Philippine volcano where nearly 90,000 residents have been moved out of harm’s way, authorities said Tuesday.Mount Mayon has spewed millions of tonnes of ash, rocks, lava and debris in less than three weeks, much of it loosely lodged on its burnt slopes and which experts warn could be dislodged by heavy rain.Activity continued overnight with „energetic lava effusion”, while previously extruded lava was also collapsing on the crater, only to be pushed out again as debris, the state volcanology office said in its latest bulletin.Loud booming sounds, like that of thunder, accompanied the eruptions, an AFP photographer near the mountain said.”The public is strongly advised to be vigilant and desist from entering the eight-kilometre (five-mile) -radius danger zone, and to be additionally vigilant against pyroclastic density currents, lahars, and sediment-laden stream flows,” the bulletin said.Pyroclastic currents are the superheated clouds of gas, ash and other volcanic debris that burn everything in their path as they speed down the slopes of the 2,460-metre (8,070-foot) mountain, located 330 kilometres southeast of Manila.The institute said these materials are building blocks for „lahar” — mammoth debris flows that could find their way into streams and rivers and mow down surrounding communities.An earlier Mayon eruption passed without any casualties in 2006, but four months later a typhoon unleashed an avalanche of volcanic mud from its slopes, killing about 1,000 people.On Saturday the volcanology institute issued its first „lahar” warning on Mayon this year due to incessant rain that is usual in the region at this time of year.A day later the institute made a video recording of lahar flowing down a river near Daraga town south of the volcano, though it did not cause any damage or casualties.
Scroll back up to restore default view.Ash has spurted from Mount Mayon in the Philippines as the volcano continues to churn.The ash, caused by eruptions of lava from the volcano’s crater has affected a few nearby towns as of Tuesday.About 84,000 people have fled danger zones and are staying in schools and shelters.The volcano, which is the most active in the country, had one large eruption of lava that lasted more than an hour Monday.The ash plume reached nearly a mile above the crater and caused significant ash to rain down in the towns of Camalig and Guinobatan, according to reports.Mayon has been leaving communities in darkness since Jan. 14 when it first started spewing huge amounts of ash and molten rock into the sky.It has remained at alert level four on a scale of one to five, indicating a more violent eruption may be imminent.Mayon is still swollen with magma below the surface and could erupt explosively, according to scientists, who worry the eruption could last months, according to reports.No injuries have been reported as a result of the most recent eruption.RELATED STORIESCouple’s Epic Engagement Photos Feature Caves, Volcanic Rock and an Iceberg: ‘We Were Freezing’In Hot Water: Bikini-Clad Surfer Rides Waves as Volcano Erupts Into the OceanClimbing Into 2,000 Degree Volcano
Magnitude 6.1 quake hits northern Afghanistan -USGS
Super Blue Blood Moon: Could the Lunar Eclipse Help the Search for Alien Life? Tim O’Brien,Newsweek 23 hours ago This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.Something unusual will happen on January 31. A total lunar eclipse, which will be visible from Asia, Australasia and North and Central America, will coincide with a “blue moon” and a “supermoon” in what some are calling a “super blue blood moon.” The event, which for western hemisphere observers happens for the first time in 150 years, will also be the last in a trilogy of supermoons over the past two months. It sounds cool, but how excited should you really be? And is there anything scientists can actually get out of it?
Pedestrians cross a road amidst smog on a polluted day in Nanjing Pedestrians cross a road amidst smog on a polluted day in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China January 30, 2018. REUTERS/StringerBEIJING (Reuters) – China is drawing up plans to extend curbs on smog over the 2018-2020 period, an environment ministry official said on Wednesday, after a five-year crackdown on pollution helped it meet its air quality targets last month.Liu Youbin, a spokesman at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said officials were working on „a three-year battle plan in the war to protect blue skies”, involving tighter regulations for major industrial regions like Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and the Yangtze and Pearl River deltas.The new three-year plan was expected to be completed in the first half of this year, Liu told reporters after a formal briefing.”It will continue to make Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei its key focus but it will also focus on other major regions like the Yangtze river delta, the northeast and Chengdu-Chongqing,” he added.China’s previous action plan, covering 2013-2017, forced the smog-prone Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region to take action to reduce concentrations of hazardous particles known as PM2.5 by more than 25 percent.Despite near-record PM2.5 readings in January and February last year, northern China managed to meet 2013-2017 air quality targets by the end of 2017, largely thanks to a campaign that forced polluting factories in 28 cities to reduce output over the winter.The campaign is due to end in March and China has been trying to „normalize compliance” and put firms under more permanent scrutiny amid concerns that enterprises and local governments could lower their guard after meeting 2017 targets.Beijing has already sought to impose new „special emissions restrictions” on enterprises in major industrial sectors in northern China.Liu said China would continue to tackle „scattered” coal-burning sources – a major source of uncontrolled pollution in provinces like Hebei – and would also „steadily” promote clean energy heating.According to local media reports this week, Hebei was forced to suspend its plans to convert large numbers of coal-fired heating boilers to natural gas after winter supply shortages left thousands of households without heat.However, Liu denied the reports, telling reporters the Hebei government would „continue to pay close attention” to its coal-to-gas conversion efforts.Liu Zhiquan, head of the MEP’s monitoring office, told the briefing that average PM2.5 readings for the whole of China from Jan. 1-28 stood at 64 micrograms per cubic meter, down 20 percent on the year.Concentrations in Beijing fell 70.5 percent to 36 micrograms per cubic meter, close to the state standard of 35 micrograms.However, average readings in the Yangtze and Pearl river deltas, which include Shanghai and Guangzhou respectively, actually increased over the month, he said, without giving details.(Reporting by Muyu Xu and David Stanway; Editing by Joseph Radford and Richard Pullin)
Small companies have until December 31, 2021 to comply with the law.
But all government ministries, public administrations, and companies with more than 250 employees have to comply by December 31, 2018.
– Others trying too –
At a time when equality between the sexes is dominating the public debate, Iceland’s initiative often elicits wide-eyed wonder abroad — though several other European countries are taking similar, albeit less ambitious, steps.
Britain last year ordered firms of over 250 employees to publish details of their gender pay gap, with sanctions an option if companies refuse to comply.
And Germany recently introduced a new law that gives an employee the right to know how their salary compares with that of colleagues of the opposite sex doing similar work.
But in Iceland, the new law has been met with some scepticism — with opponents arguing that gender-based wage discrimination has been illegal since 1961.
Thorsteinn Viglundsson, a former social affairs minister who initiated the new legislation, told AFP the old law just wasn’t working.
„Sometimes it takes a legal initiative to really push through (a change), if you want to make reforms in this area,” he said.
The anti-establishment Pirate Party has hailed the aim of the law, but considers the method costly and complicated.
„To me, this doesn’t fix the problem,” said Pirate MP Bjorn Gunnarsson who voted against it.
Paradoxically, he noted, companies will now have very specific criteria to make it possible to justify wage gaps.
Brynhildur Omarsdottir, the head of the Icelandic Association for Women’s Rights, acknowledged that while the new law „doesn’t solve the whole problem (of gender inequality), it solves a part of the problem — a very crucial part.”