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January 25, 2016

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.

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

10:14 a.m. ET
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An onslaught considered to be the heaviest bombing campaign of the Syrian civil war continues in Aleppo after the aerial attack by government forces began buffeting rebel-held parts of the city with airstrikes on Friday.

More than 200 strikes have pounded Aleppo's eastern neighborhoods since then, killing more than 100 civilians, including children. Rescue workers are still attempting to free people from the rubble of their flattened homes. An estimated 2 million people in Aleppo have no running water after attacks damaged the water station serving rebel-held areas and another water station serving government-controlled parts of the city was turned off in retaliation.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday condemned the assault as the "most sustained and intense bombardment since the start of the Syrian conflict," calling it "appalling" in advance of a U.N. meeting on Syria cease-fire efforts. Bonnie Kristian

10:06 a.m. ET
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The Miami Marlins' star pitcher José Fernández was killed Sunday morning in a boat crash in Miami Beach, Florida. He was 24 years old.

"The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernández," the Major Leage Baseball team said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time. Today's game against the Atlanta Braves has been cancelled."

Fernández was born in Cuba but defected to the United States in 2007 with his mother. He was National League Rookie of the Year in 2013. Bonnie Kristian

8:30 a.m. ET
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Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are separated by less than the 4.5 percent margin of error in a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday morning. Clinton has maintained a substantial lead over Trump for most of the campaign, but the gap has increasingly narrowed as Election Day approaches, and this survey sees that trend continue.

Among likely voters Clinton scores 46 percent support to Trump's 44 percent, while Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson takes 5 percent and the Green Party's Jill Stein has 1 percent national support. If Johnson and Stein are removed as options, Clinton leads Trump 49 to 47 percent. Among registered voters, Clinton and Trump are tied at 46 percent in a two-way race and 41 percent in a four-way race.

More than 100 million people are expected to watch Monday's first general election debate between the two candidates, the largest debate audience in U.S. history. Bonnie Kristian

7:43 a.m. ET
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A 20-year-old man named Arcan Cetin was arrested by police at 7 p.m. Pacific time Saturday evening on suspicion of the mass shooting a Macy's in a Washington State mall that took five lives Friday night. Cetin was unarmed and was described as quiet, even "zombie-like," at the time of his arrest.

Though originally described by police as Hispanic based on a blurry surveillance image, Cetin is a permanent resident of the United States from Turkey. At present, the Seattle branch of the FBI says there is no evidence this was an act of terrorism or that there were any other shooters.

Cetin was prohibited from owning a firearm after charges of domestic violence and drunk driving, but he was in compliance with court-ordered mental health counseling. His former girlfriend once worked at the department store where he attacked, but she no longer works there or lives in the area. Bonnie Kristian

September 24, 2016
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One day after The New York Times published cell phone footage of the moments preceding Keith Lamont Scott's fatal shooting at the hands of police in Charlotte, North Carolina, Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announced he would release footage from the dash and body cameras of the officers involved on Saturday. The graphic video is available here via the Charlotte Observer.

Putney said releasing the video would have "no adverse impact on the investigation" into Scott's death, adding that his decision was not influenced by five days of protesters in Charlotte calling for the film to be made public. North Carolina. Gov. Pat McCrory and the mayor of Charlotte both endorsed the decision.

The police chief also said the video has "no definitive, visual evidence" that Scott was armed at the time of his death — a major point of controversy between accounts from police and other eyewitnesses — but maintained other evidence says Scott "absolutely" had a gun when he was killed. Where the gun was located is less clear; an Associated Press report indicates Putney "told reporters on Saturday that officers saw marijuana and a weapon in Keith Lamont Scott's car," as opposed to in his hands.

This post has been updated throughout. Bonnie Kristian

September 24, 2016
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A new species of tropical ant has been discovered in the vomit of a diablito, or little devil frog, a very orange and poisonous frog that lives in Colombia and Ecuador.

Scientists use wild ant-eating frogs as tiny scouts who are able to search for insects in places people can't go. Then they capture the frogs and carefully make them vomit up the results of their latest explorations. The frogs are released unharmed.

In this case, the frog puke contained a single (and dead) member of the newly identified ant species, Lenomyrmex hoelldobleri. "Sometimes people think that our world is very well explored. Nothing could be farther from the truth," said Christian Rabeling of the University of Rochester, New York, who led a study on the new ant. He added, "The difficulty is finding the ants!" Bonnie Kristian

September 24, 2016
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A New York Times editorial published Saturday announced the paper's official endorsement of Democrat Hillary Clinton for president. The article did not offer a comparison of Clinton to her rival, Republican Donald Trump, instead promising to "explain in a subsequent editorial why we believe Mr. Trump to be the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history."

As for Clinton, the editorial board insisted their rationale centered on her merits — "intellect, experience, toughness, and courage" — and not her position as the sole viable alternative to Trump: "The best case for Hillary Clinton cannot be, and is not, that she isn’t Donald Trump." Clinton should be seen as a realist rather than an opportunist, the endorsement essay argued, running through a record of her accomplishments while dismissing Clinton's negatives as "occasional missteps."

The Times endorsement of Clinton may be striking in its vehemence, but it is hardly unexpected, as the paper has endorsed the Democratic candidate in 22 of 26 presidential elections since 1916. The last time a Republican won the Times' loyalty was Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. Bonnie Kristian

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