It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
A survey published today by the fairly staid Moscow daily Noviye Izvestia found that barely half its readers believe the official report that the blast was caused by a meteor. According to the newspaper, the other half prefer to believe in an assortment of bizarre explanations, including that the blast was a secret US weapon test, an off-course ballistic missile, a message from God, a crashing alien spaceship, or even an extraterrestrial trojan horse carrying a deadly space virus to wipe out the Earth.
Simultaneously, Moscow was hosting the ninth round of Russian-Chinese consultations on strategic security issues at which it was announced that Vladimir Putin will hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the upcoming G20 summit in St Petersburg.
For its part, Beijing is keen to demonstrate its military alliance with Moscow because of a new rise in tensions with Tokyo over disputed islands.
From the end of July to mid-August 2013, unusually heavy rainfall occurred near the Amur River which marks the dividing line between China and Russia. Starting on August 10, 2013, areas of northeastern China began to experience flooding. From August 15 to 17, heavy rainfall on worsened the problem, causing the worst flooding in the region in more than a decade. By August 18, water levels at 61 reservoirs surpassed the "danger" level. Fushun city in the Liaoning province was especially hard hit as rainstorms caused several rivers in the city to overflow. Across the border in eastern Russia, heavy flooding was also reported, with Amur and Khabarovsk the hardest hit. More than 140 towns were affected by what Russia authorities described as the worst floods in 120 years. The Amur River reached record levels and was still rising as of August 19, threatening to flood the major city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur.