It's estimated that the natural gas leak in Porter Ranch, California, has released the equivalent of 2.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide since it was reported in October.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) January 24, 2016
That's more greenhouse gas than 44,000 cars emit in one year, the Los Angeles Times reports. The leak is from a failed well at the Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon storage facility, and has caused thousands of Porter Ranch residents to move. In November, Stephen Conley, a scientist at UC Davis, flew over Porter Ranch for the first time, finding methane levels at 50 parts per million, an amount so high, he told the Times, he had to double-check his instruments. "This is probably 20 times bigger than anything else we've measured," he said.
So much methane is being released that it's expected to boost global warming, experts say, and it will remain in the atmosphere even after the leak is stopped. The longer the leak stays open, the more difficult it will be for the state to reach its goal of reducing emissions of methane and other pollutants by 40 percent or more by 2030. "It's really moving us in the wrong direction," said John Herner of California's Air Resources Board. A spokesperson for SoCal Gas told the Times the reservoir has gone from being 90 percent full before the leak to at most 37 percent full on Jan. 10. The company does not have an estimate of the amount of gas released and won't be able to get one until the leak is stopped; it's believed that a relief well being dug now to seal off the damaged one will be completed by late February. Catherine Garcia
A synthetic opioid called fentanyl, which can be 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine, is behind tens of thousands of the U.S. deaths last year in the opioid overdose and addiction crisis. Two states, Nevada and Nebraska, have plans to use fentanyl as the key ingredient in a lethal-injection cocktail as soon as January.
Doctors and opponents of capital punishment argue that the states are essentially performing medical experiments on death row inmates. Death penalty supporters blame the critics for the dearth of tested lethal-injection drugs, as pharmaceutical companies have refused to sell those drugs to the 31 states that have capital punishment. Either way, "there's cruel irony that at the same time these state governments are trying to figure out how to stop so many from dying from opioids, that they now want to turn and use them to deliberately kill someone," Austin Sarat, a law professor at Amherst College, tells The Washington Post.
Nevada would pair fentanyl with diazepam (Valium) and cisatracurium, a drug that paralyzes muscles, and Nebraska would use those three drugs plus potassium chloride to stop the heart. If the fentanyl and diazepam don't work or are administered incorrectly, "which has happened in many cases," the cisatracurium would leave the prisoner "awake and conscious, desperate to breathe and terrified but unable to move at all," said Mark Heath, an anesthesiology professor at Columbia. "It would be an agonizing way to die, but the people witnessing wouldn't know anything had gone wrong." And potassium chloride burns, he added, "so if you weren't properly sedated, a highly concentrated dose would feel like someone was taking a blowtorch to your arm and burning you alive." The doctors who came up with the cocktails say the drugs are meant to make the execution humane.
Every year, the pile of toys Nolan Adams, 11, brings to Sanford Children's Hospital in South Dakota grows.
While driving with his family to visit his grandmother four years ago, Adams heard a radio ad for the hospital. He asked his parents, Trisha and Jason, how many toys the kids there received during the holidays, and when they told him "not really as much as you," he got an idea. The family stopped and bought two presents — a toy truck and a stuffed animal — and dropped them off at the hospital, the beginning of a new family tradition.
Through his Nolan's Project, Adams raises money to buy gifts for the patients, delivering them in December. After his first small donation, Adams came back with 50 gifts, and the next year, 75 gifts. This year, he made his biggest donation yet, for 176 kids. "I want them to forget about what's gonna happen next and I just want them to forget about all that and live a normal happy life," Adams told KSFY. Last week, Adams presented some of the gifts to two patients who will be in the hospital through the holidays and one of their siblings, and his family said they'll support him doing this indefinitely. "It's really heartwarming and it makes me feel good about myself, and me and my grandma say, 'It's better to give than receive,'" Adams said. Catherine Garcia
Queens of the Stone Age frontman says he kicked photographer because he was 'lost' in his performance
Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme apologized on Sunday for kicking a concert photographer in the face during a concert Saturday night, saying he was "in a state of being lost in performance" when it happened.
The band played the first night of L.A. radio station KROQ's annual Almost Acoustic Christmas concert, in front of a sold-out crowd. Chelsea Lauren told Variety she was taking photos in the pit when Homme came by, smiling. "The next thing I know his foot connects with my camera and my camera connects with my face, really hard," she said. "He looked straight at me, swung his leg back pretty hard, and full-blown kicked me in the face." She said it was "obviously very intentional" and when she went to the hospital for treatment, she was encouraged to press charges by people who looked at video shot of the incident.
In a statement, Homme said he knew he kicked over "various lighting and equipment" on stage, but didn't know until Sunday that "this included a camera held by photographer Chelsea Lauren. I did not mean for that to happen and I am very sorry." Lauren said that after he kicked her, Homme took out a knife and cut his forehead, and blood dripped down his face the rest of the night. He also called the audience "retards," Variety reports, told them to take off their pants, and insulted the next band to come on stage, Muse. Catherine Garcia
The Thomas Fire that started in Southern California's Ventura County last Monday has burned over 200,000 acres, growing in size by more than 25,000 acres on Sunday and forcing more people to evacuate in Santa Barbara County.
The out-of-control fire crossed county lines on Saturday night, fueled by dry winds and air, and is only 15 percent contained. Officials say 88,000 people have had to flee their homes because of the fire, and estimate it has cost $25 million to fight it so far. There are 8,500 firefighters currently battling six fires burning across Southern California.
In Santa Barbara County, about 85,000 customers are without power, and several schools have already canceled classes on Monday. The Santa Barbara Zoo is outside of the evacuation area, but smoke is in the air and ash is falling on the property, forcing the zoo to put the animals in their night quarters. To keep them entertained, staffers are playing with the animals and giving them plenty of treats and toys. "The gorillas like music," director of marketing Dean Noble told the Los Angeles Times. Catherine Garcia
While accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday, Beatrice Fihn, the director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), warned that "the deaths of millions may be one tiny tantrum away."
During the ceremony in Oslo, Fihn said the world has a choice to make — "the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us" — and the risk of using nuclear weapons is "greater now than during the Cold War." As North Korea continues to test missiles, including some believed to be able to deliver a nuclear warhead to the continental U.S., and the war of words between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continues to escalate, a "moment of panic" could lead to "the destruction of cities and the deaths of millions of civilians," Fihn said. ICAN, a coalition of hundreds of non-governmental organizations, formed in 2007 and aims to ban all nuclear weapons. Catherine Garcia
Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones are running to fill the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions — but don't forget, Alabama is already represented in the Senate by Sen. Richard Shelby (R), who told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday he does not want Moore as a colleague.
"I'd rather see the Republican win, but I'd rather see a Republican write-in. I couldn't vote for Roy Moore," Shelby said on State of the Union. "I didn't vote for Roy Moore, but I wrote in a distinguished Republican name, and I think a lot of people could do that. Will they do it, I'm not sure."
"I understand [Republicans] would like to retain that seat in the U.S. Senate," he continued, " but I tell you what, there's a time — we call it a tipping point. I think, so many accusations, so many cuts, so many drip, drip, drip. When it got to the 14-year-old's story, that was enough for me. I said, 'I can't vote for Roy Moore.'"
— CNN (@CNN) December 10, 2017
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley maintained on CNN's State of the Union Sunday that President Trump's decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel this past week will not hinder the Israel-Palestine peace process.
"When it comes to those that are upset, we knew that was going to happen. But courage does cause that. When you make a decision, you're going to have some that see it negatively and you're going to have some that see it positively," she told host Jake Tapper. "But I strongly believe this is going to move the ball forward for the peace process."
Trump's controversial announcement sparked outrage among religious leaders and Arab League nations, as well as protests by Muslims worldwide, some of them violent. Watch an excerpt of Haley's comments below, or watch the full interview via CNN here. Bonnie Kristian
— CNN (@CNN) December 10, 2017