News Burst 5 June 2020
- Britain’s housing market has taken a serious hit during coronavirus lockdowns. Home prices tumbled the most in a decade in May as consumers were severely damaged by one of the worst recessions in centuries. Bloomberg reports nationwide home prices fell 1.7% in May, the largest drop since February 2009. In annual terms, prices increased by 1.8% but down from 3.8% in April, as this suggests home prices will likely slump through year-end.
As for policy response, the Bank of England unleashed vast packages of financial support to cushion the economic blow. In April, mortgage lenders approved the fewest home loans on record, with the number of approvals falling to 15,800, the BOE said.
- China has unveiled a package of special policies for Hainan, including scrapping import duties, in an effort to turn the tropical island into the mainland’s answer to Hong Kong or Singapore and dampen the risk of decoupling with the United States. Beijing on Monday outlined its plan to make the 35,000 sq km island a “free trade port” by lowering the income tax rate for selected individuals and companies to 15 per cent, and relaxing visa requirements for tourists and business travellers. The island province of 9.5 million people will also enjoy freedoms in terms of trade, investment, capital flows and the movement of people and data by 2035, as it moves toward becoming a hub of “strong international influence” by the middle of the century. The project to make Hainan, which covers an area 30 times that of Hong Kong, into a regional trade, shopping and shipping centre has been “planned, arranged and promoted by General Secretary Xi Jinping personally”, according to the government statement.
- The US Geological Survey says it is monitoring the area near Yellowstone National Park where a swarm of earthquakes has caused renewed concern over the area’s underground supervolcano. Although statistically unlikely, a supervolcano eruption would release the equivalent of 1,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs and wreak unprecedented destruction. The area, West Yellowstone in Montana, reported around eleven earthquakes on Friday and a total of 34 in the last month. Though considered low-magnitude quakes, the tremors extended three miles underground.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered a state of emergency and criticized a subsidiary of metals giant Norilsk Nickel after a massive diesel spill into a Siberian river. The spill of over 20,000 tons of diesel fuel took place on Friday. A fuel reservoir collapsed at a power plant near the city of Norilsk, located above the Arctic Circle, and leaked into a nearby river. The accident is the second largest in modern Russian history in terms of volume, World Wildlife Fund expert Alexei Knizhnikov told AFP.
- Australia will give eligible residents A$25,000 (US$17,323) to build or significantly renovate their homes, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday, as Canberra moves to revive a construction sector badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Dubbed HomeBuilder, the package worth A$680 million ($471 million) is Australia’s fourth economic stimulus package as it seeks to repair an economy that is now in its first recession in 29 years. Morrison said the package would support jobs and allow people to build a family home, a long-held dream for many Australians.
- A Spain porn star star has been arrested on manslaughter charges following a man’s death during a mystic ritual in which he inhaled psychedelic toad venom, Spanish police said Wednesday. Nacho Vidal was detained last week in the southeastern Valencia region in connection with the death of a man in July 2019. Media identified the victim as fashion photographer Jose Luis Abad. The toad, a rare species which is native to the Sonoran Desert, stretching from northern Mexico into California and Arizona, secretes venom containing a very powerful natural psychedelic substance known as 5-MeO-DMT. Its effects have been compared to ayahuasca, a powerful hallucinogenic concoction from the Amazon consumed as part of a shamanic ritual.
- In Pathari’s Musahar indian community, one person has already died of hunger and others are on the verge of starvation. The most vulnerable of families are doubly victimised. They cannot afford to catch Covid-19 but they cannot afford to stay at home and not work either. For these working families, even a day without work can place them in dire straits. Calls have recently grown for the government to lift the lockdown, but they are primarily from the private sector business community given their monetary losses. What is unfolding is a humanitarian crisis, where many families have little to eat and need to depend on the kindness of strangers to survive.
- Two lions at Shoalhaven Zoo, Australia, escape death sentence after attacking zookeeper. They will not be euthanised after their attack last week on Jennifer Brown, who is recovering from serious head and neck injuries. Jennifer Brown, 35, was cleaning the cage when the lions, Ariel and Juda, attacked her head and neck at Shoalhaven Zoo, in North Nowra, New South Wales, on Friday. The fate of the lions, who are brothers born and bred at the zoo, was decided as police work with SafeWork NSW to determine the circumstances that lead to her attack.
‘The investigation is ongoing but no decision in consultation with the zoo has been made to have the lions put down,’ Detective Inspector Scott Nelson told The Australian.
- Residents of the seven sub-counties of Turkana County, Kenya, are staring at a looming starvation after millions of locusts invaded farms and grazing fields. The gregarious-phase locust nymphs are feeding on both pasture and food crops along their way. The locusts are yellow in colour, wingless and are acting collectively, forming marching bands. On Wednesday the Nation witnessed the destructive pests at Aminatoi Nazarene Irrigation Scheme where they fed on maturing crops that include collard greens, cowpeas, okra, butternut and spinach as farmers watch in disbelief. Loima MP Jeremiah Lomorukai said the county has become a conducive home for locusts with every major town centre like Kainuk, Lokichar, Kerio, Loima, Kakuma, Lokitaung and Kibish and their outskirts all having been invaded. “The government must declare the locusts’ invasion a national disaster because large tracts of pasture and irrigation schemes have been adversely affected. If not well controlled, they will migrate to neighbouring counties,” Mr Lomorukai said.
- The Cabildo de Gran Canaria has delivered 5,000 coffee trees to the Association for the Promotion and Agricultural Development of Agaete, the municipality in the Northwest of Gran Canaria, aiming to increase the amount of coffee plantations and continue with the recovery of this historic crop in the municipality. The seedlings distributed are Arabica species, a ‘typical’ variety, ( also known as “coffee shrub of Arabia” or “mountain coffee”) from seeds collected at traditional coffee plantations in the Agaete Valley and which have been grown in the nurseries of the Granja del Cabildo, experimental farm. In addition to delivering the coffee tree, the island’s primary agricultural institution offers farmers advice on growing this crop, especially the best time for planting and the care that these seedlings require during the first year. This coffee species, adapted two centuries ago to the conditions of Gran Canaria, particularly in the Agaete microclimate, grows under the shade of tropical trees, since the plant requires semi-shade, with high temperatures and humidity. For this reason, Agaete farmers combine the cultivation of coffee with mango and avocado.
- Ancient Jews used ganja in the temple: discovered use of cannabis for ritual purposes
Israeli archaeologists say they’ve found cannabis residue on artefacts from an ancient temple in southern Israel providing the first evidence of the use of hallucinogenics in the ancient Jewish religion. In a research paper, the authors say the discovery from an eighth-century BC shrine at Tel Arad offers the first proof for the use of mind-altering substances as part of cultic rituals in Judah, including the first Jewish Temple that stood in Jerusalem at the same time. Chemical analysis of the samples conducted at Israel’s Hebrew University and Technion Institute found that one altar contained the psychoactive compounds found in marijuana, and the other had traces of frankincense – one of the ingredients mentioned in the Bible for the incense sacrifice in the ancient Jewish Temples, the authors wrote. The absence of cannabis pollen or seeds from the area in ancient times indicates the cannabis was likely imported over long distance trade routes, possibly in the form of resin.
- China said on Thursday it will allow more foreign carriers to fly into the mainland, shortly after Washington barred Chinese passenger carriers from flying to the United States citing Beijing’s restrictions on American airlines. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said in a statement that qualifying foreign carriers currently barred from operating flights to mainland China will be allowed once-per-week flights into a city of their choosing starting on June 8. Hong Kong and Macau, though part of China, have their own aviation authorities and set their own rules. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has barred Chinese passenger carriers from flying into America starting June 16 as it pressures Beijing to let U.S. airlines to resume flights to the country.
All space weather is calm but there is Another active region cresting into view over the limb of the Sun. We are monitoring it for larger flares and CMEs. Video Player
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Cyclonic Storm Nisarga, Arabian Sea off the Coast of Mumbai, India – Moving N 7 kts – w/v 40 kts 998 hPa Intensifying.
Strongest EQ in Europe M4.1 Romania
Strongest EQ in North America M3.9 Nelson Lagoon, Alaska
Strongest EQ on the Planet M5.0 South sandwich Islands
Deepest EQ M4.3 497 km Tonga News Burst 5 June 2020