09 August 2010

The Cup Has Been Passed

"For there is a cup [of punishment] in Hashem's hand, with strong wine of full mixture which overflows from this [cup] only [until] its dregs shall they drain and drink---all the wicked of the earth." (Tehillim 75.9)

"Awaken, awaken, arise, Jerusalem, for you have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of His wrath; the dregs of the cup of weakness you have drained. ...So said your Master, the Lord, and your God Who shall judge His people, "Behold, I took from you the cup of weakness; the dregs of the cup of My wrath-you shall no longer continue to drink it. And I will place it into the hand of those who cause you to wander, who said to your soul, 'Bend down and let us cross,' and you made your body like the earth and like the street for those who cross." (Yeshayahu 51.17, 22-23)
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Russia's devastating summer heatwave has cost almost 5,000 lives, according to officials who conceded yesterday that the state was struggling to gain control over the worst wildfires in decades.

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Russia, the world's third wheat exporter, Thursday banned grain exports for the next four-and-a-half months due to a record drought that has destroyed millions of hectares (acres) of its land.

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The worst flooding in Pakistan's history has now affected more than four million people and left at least 1,600 dead, says the UN.

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At least 15 people have been killed and thousands of others have been evacuated as heavy rain and flooding disrupt traffic and cause power outages in central Europe. Polish officials announced on Sunday that at least three people have been killed after rivers overflew and a dam burst, submerging towns in southwestern Poland.

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The U.S. might be experiencing a hot, hot summer, but south of the border, things couldn't be more different. Latin America's southernmost regions are shivering through the coldest winter in decades, which has left vast swaths of Argentina and Brazil with snow, and caused millions of freshwater fish to freeze to death in Bolivia.

To get an idea of how unusual this icy snap is, you just have to take a look at the weather records of Argentina's capital Buenos Aires. It's snowed there three times since 1918 -- and two of those dustings have taken place in the past month. (The other was in July 2007). But while the city has gotten off relatively lightly during the current big freeze -- it's only experienced a light spattering of snow so far -- the country's Andean and Patagonian provinces have been buried under 3 feet of snow. Dozens of villages have been cut off by the vast drifts, which have killed an unknown number of livestock and ruined thousands of acres of crops.

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One of Indonesia's most active volcanoes erupted Friday, sending lava and a searing gas cloud tumbling down its slopes.

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New NASA airborne radar images of Southern California near the U.S.-Mexico border show Earth's surface is continuing to deform following the April 4 magnitude, 7.2 temblor and its many aftershocks that have rocked Mexico's state of Baja California and parts of the American Southwest.

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A group of researchers studied the effects of the massive earthquake that jolted [Chile] in February, killing almost 500 people. ...They said the 8.8-magnitude earthquake was "the fifth largest event in modern seismology".

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Dangerous rip currents fueled by Tropical Storm Colin continue to bash the coast. Heavy surf and dangerous side shore currents have kept rescuers off the stands and in the water throughout the day. With Tropical Storm Colin at a near standstill near the island of Bermuda it looks as though Sunday may see even worse currents still.

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The number of people killed or missing in devastating floods across China so far this year has risen to nearly 1,700, the government said Wednesday, warning the situation could still get worse.

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Landslides and floods triggered by torrential rain have engulfed a town in north-western China, killing at least 127 people and leaving 1,300 missing.

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Russian health officials are warning people in Moscow to stay inside and avoid physical exertion as smog from the worst wildfires in modern Russian history smothers the city.

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A magnitude 5.3 earthquake hit southern Iran on Saturday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said, a day after another moderate quake in the country's northeast left 170 people injured.

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A wildfire that scorched almost 14,000 acres in Northern Los Angeles County continued to threaten thousands of homes Saturday, although fire officials said they appeared to be gaining the upper hand in the days-long battle.

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A state of calamity declared at the end of May by the government was extended for another 30 days due to the grave damages caused by the eruption of the Pacaya Volcano and tropical storm Agatha that left 166 dead and displaced thousands.

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The Volcán Irazú shook and shook and shook - a total of 31 times - between 5am and 11am on Thursday, though only one of the tremors was perceived by the population, registering 3.1 on the Richter scale.

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Large parts of the United States faced another day of extreme weather yesterday, with temperatures in the capital and on the Southeast coast forecast to be near or above 38 degrees Celsius and more storms likely in the mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley regions.

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NASA-funded researchers are monitoring a big event in our planet's atmosphere. High above Earth's surface where the atmosphere meets space, a rarefied layer of gas called "the thermosphere" recently collapsed and now is rebounding again.

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Waves of thunderstorms rolled through the Metro Saturday night. High winds and hail caused major damage to parts of Minnesota. Nearly 16,000 Metro households are still without power. ... at least eight tornadoes were reported by trained spotters.... There were reports of hail as big as softballs in some areas.

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A spell of extreme cold weather has brought ice and snow to much of Argentina, killing at least nine. Most of the victims were homeless people.... The cold front moving up from Antarctica has caused temperatures to plunge across the southern cone region of South America. Deaths have also been reported in Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia.

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"And the earth quaked and roared, the foundations of the earth shook, they trembled when His wrath flared." (Tehillim 18.7)

"God is for us a refuge and strength, a help in distress, very accessible. Therefore, we shall not be afraid when the earth is transformed, and at mountains collapse in the heart of the seas; when its waters rage and are muddied, mountains quake in His majesty." (Tehillim 46.2-4)
(With thanks to Global Disaster Watch for the links.)