Sunday, January 10, 2016

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Record Number Of 600 Turtles Rescued From Ocean Following Cold Snap In North Carolina; And Giant Raccoons Take Over Chinese Restaurant In The Bronx?!

Cold-stunned turtle

January 10, 2016 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Record number of 600 turtles rescued from ocean following cold snap in North Carolina

State biologists now say a record number of turtles were rescued earlier this week from our coast.

In all, 600 cold-stunned turtles were caught in frigid waters near the shore, as they were not able to swim.

The North Carolina Aquariums took in nearly 450 turtles, including the one at Pine Knoll Shores. Many of the turtles have made a quick recovery, but others need additional time and care before they can return to the ocean.

State officials say about 200 of the turtles will be transported to South Carolina & Georgia beaches tomorrow where they will be released into warmer waters. The rest will stay here for a couple of weeks for rehabilitation.

Previous Story

Dozens of turtles have been rescued from cold waters off our coast.

So far, 52 of those turtles are at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, getting rehabilitated in warmer waters.

The aquarium says 75 were found Tuesday night and 38 Wednesday morning at Cape Lookout, while another 30 were brought over early Wednesday afternoon. On the Outer Banks, 81 were rescued.

Experts say the young turtles got caught close to shore when the water quickly dropped to below 55 degrees.

The cold water stuns the turtles and they're found almost lifeless on the beach.

"The wind will start to push them up on our shoreline and we find them and they are hypothermic and they need some assistance," said Park Biologist John Altman. "So what we typically do is gather them, get them off the island and get them to a rehab facility or aquarium."

They're now warming up at the aquarium for a week or two before they are set free. - WITN.

Giant raccoons take over Chinese restaurant in the Bronx

© Mikaa Dtn / Facebook
Two fat raccoons tried to lay a claim to a Chinese restaurant in the Bronx, New York on Thursday.

The furry creatures stood their ground before eventually being chased out by a customer with a broom.

Tamika Jones uploaded the video to her Facebook account and said that she came across the scene at the New Chinatown restaurant at 3955 Bronxwood Avenue near 224th Street.

She said she noticed the creatures when her little brother suddenly ran out of the store. "I pulled out my phone, next thing you know my godfather was there getting it with the two raccoons," she said.

The video has gone viral since it was uploaded on Thursday night and now has over 2.1 million views.

Jones' godfather is seen in the video trying to knock down the raccoons using the end of a lime green broom, while the animals doggedly hung on.

"The owners said they just came from outside, but I never saw them run past me," Jones said. - RT.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: "I've Never Seen Anything Like It" - Supermarket Van Overturned As Mini-Tornado Touches Down In Wales!

The mini tornado swept through a supermarket car park and flipped a large Tesco van onto its side

January 10, 2016 - WALES - 'I've never seen anything like it,' says an eyewitness at the Tesco superstore

A mini tornado swept through a supermarket car park with such force it turned a large online delivery van on its side, a man has claimed.

Paul Boyce, who lives in Raven Hill, Swansea, told the Swansea Evening Post he was at Tesco in Fforestfach when he heard a loud bang.

When he went outside, he claims he found the van overturned and the store front's Tesco Extra sign partially ripped off by the wind's strength.

He said: "The noise was absolutely incredible. It was so loud. It was like a metal being ripped, and the wind was absolutely howling. I had no idea what it could be.

"I saw the manager and he told me there had been a mini tornado that had touched down just outside.

"I didn't believe him at first, but I went to have a look and I couldn't believe what I was seeing."

"The van was completely on its side, and a load of trollies had been pushed across the car park.

"The Tesco Extra sign had also been ripped away a bit.

"It was a huge van, so I just couldn't believe how some wind could have blown it over like that. I've never seen anything like it."

Fire crews attended the incident on Friday evening but no-one was injured.

It comes just over four months after residents said winds which prompted a brick wall to fall down and tossed around slates, shed and wheelie bins in a street in Trebanos, Swansea were like a mini tornado .

- Wales Online.

RATTLE & HUM: Mysterious Booms Continue Across The World - Strange Sounds Heard Across The Skies Of Netherlands! [VIDEO]

January 10, 2016 - NETHERLANDS - Here is video presentation of strange sounds heard across the skies of Gouda, a city in the southern regions of the Netherlands.

WATCH: Strange sounds heard in Netherlands sky.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Meteor Fireball Filmed Over Tulsa, Oklahoma!

January 10, 2016 - OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES - The following video shows a meteor-fireball darting across the night sky over Tulsa, Oklahoma. The video was captured on the 9th of January, 2016.

WATCH: Fireball over Tulsa.

- YouTube.

MONUMENTAL GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Hot Air Or Grave Warning - Scientific Report Prompts Talk Of CATASTROPHIC "Volcano Season"?!

January 10, 2016 - EARTH - A volcanic eruption with the potential to “return humanity to a pre-civilization state” could happen within the next 80 years, according to a study by the European Science Foundation.

Have we now heard the last argument in the debate the study triggered?

Authors of the Extreme Geohazards: Reducing the Disaster Risk and Increasing Resilience say the threat from low-probability, high impact disasters is being “grossly underestimated”.

Presented to the European Geosciences Union General Assembly last April, the study looks at the extreme impacts of natural hazards like earthquakes, tsunamis, extreme weather and volcanoes.

It states that “extreme volcanic eruptions pose a higher associated risk than all other natural hazards” including asteroid impacts.


But it’s the mention of a centuries old super volcano in Indonesia that has people questioning whether the world’s population is about to be annihilated in a cloud of ash and molten lava in the not too distant future.

The report appears to indicate there is 5-10 percent chance of large scale volcanic activity happening before the end of the century.

The probability is mentioned in a section on significant volcanic eruptions, like the Lake Toba eruption 74,000 years ago, and the 1815 Tambora eruptions during the current Holocene period.


It has led to numerous reports that the earth is in the midst of a volatile ‘volcano season’ – a ‘ticking time bomb’ period that could see supervolcanoes in places like Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming erupt and kill millions.

However, there are questions over whether "volcano season" really exists outside the world of catchy headline writing.

While the geohazard study acknowledges large volcanic eruptions “have the potential to trigger global disaster and catastrophe”, ESF scientists make no mention of “volcano season” and only reference “supervolcanic” activity once in a table showing eruption classification.

There is also no specific prediction of Yellowstone blowing its lid.

Speaking to the International Business Times Rebecca Williams, volcanologist at the University of Hull said there is “no such thing” as "volcano season".

“There is no more volcanism at the moment than there is normally. Rather, there seems to be more interest in reporting small volcanic eruptions and a better-connected world means we know more about eruptions around the world.

WATCH: Why the Yellowstone Supervolcano's next eruption could be huge.

“There has been talk about Yellowstone erupting and killing everyone but this is nonsense. There is no scientific data that suggest an eruption is likely to occur in the near future,” she said.

Volcanologist at the University of Oxford, David Pyle has echoed his colleagues response, saying the “jury is still ‘out’” on whether volcano season is real.

WATCH: New Study - Yellowstone Volcano Could WIPE OUT TWENTY AMERICAN STATES!

He suggested any supposed increase in eruptions is likely down to technology spotting previously undetected activity. - RT.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Weather Phenomenon - Dramatic Lenticular Cloud Photographed Over Sicily, Italy!

Mario Pappalardo

January 10, 2016 - SICILY, ITALY - Dramatic lenticular clouds have been offered as an explanation for some UFO sightings.

Well looking at this one in the sky of Sicily I don't blame ufologists.

Mario Pappalardo captured these insane lenticular clouds at sunset on January 5, 2016 and published them on his Facebook page.

Lenticular clouds in scientific jargon also known as Altocumulus lenticularis are stationary lens-shaped clouds that form in the troposphere.

Mario Pappalardo

Mario Pappalardo

Mario Pappalardo

Mario Pappalardo

This cloud formation is most regularly found near mountainous areas and can appear singular or stacked like pancakes.

Lenticular clouds are formed when air moves over mountains, cooling sufficiently for condensation to take place. They are continually reformed over the same location by new air rising up and over a mountain, condensing and producing the clouds.

The UFO cloud was observed by another person driving on a highway. - Strange Sounds.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Summer Hailstorm Batters Johannesburg Area In South Africa, Destroys Shopping Mall Roof - Streets Covered With UNSEASONABLE Layer Of Snow And Hailstones, The Size Of Golf Balls! [PHOTOS]

January 10, 2016 - JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - A violent hailstorm has wreaked havoc in Johannesburg, South Africa, causing the roof of a shopping mall to collapse and local residents to take shelter in their homes.

It’s summer in South Africa, but dark clouds gathered over the African nation’s largest city at around 3pm on Saturday, covering the streets with an unseasonable layer of snow and hailstones the size of golf balls.

Emergency services were called to the Key West Shopping Center in a town west of Johannesburg after the ceiling began to sag and disintegrate, the local Krugersdorp News reported.

Amazingly, nobody was killed, but three people were injured.

Pictures show how steel beams and debris caved in under the weight of heavy rain, the worst to hit the area in years.

A spokesperson for emergency service Netcare 911 told South Africa’s eNCA: “Netcare 911 paramedics managed to stabilize three people that have sustained serious injuries on scene.

“They’ve all been taken to hospital for further medical care.”

Crazy hail storm, lost a few windows and roof tiles.
Twitter:  Nicole de Metz

@HEEL_Darewolf and @KehliJ big moerse hail hitted parts of Johannesburg, Roodepoort and Krugersdorp
Twitter: 2016_SA_200

The HUB shop collapsed at keywest mall Krugersdorp... Really bad..

Hail in Krugersdorp last night. West of Johannesburg. South Africa
Twitter: Michael Hartley

Krugersdorp after the hail. Manu birds killed and injured. Rescuing whay I can. Extreme weather tightens its grip.
Twitter: Anthony Turton

MT @jnmet: Some rain in E Sunday; more rain likely across the maize triangle this week.

Johannesburg has experienced record high temperatures in the past week, forcing the South African Weather Service to issue a number heat and “severe thunderstorm” warnings.

“It appears that some cooler and more humid air started to push in from the south and east on Saturday, likely triggering these thunderstorms,” meteorologist Nick Wiltgen explained on

“Weather balloon data from Pretoria a few hours before the hailstorm showed an obvious intrusion of cold dry air in the upper atmosphere, a factor that strongly favors damaging hail when overall conditions are favorable for thunderstorm development.”

More thunderstorms and heavy downpours are predicted. - RT.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - Macy's To Lay Off 4,350 Employees And Close 40 Stores Nationwide, Including 2 In California!

Macy's is seen in a file photo. (Credit: CNN)

January 10, 2016 - UNITED STATES - The iconic department store Macy’s announced plans Wednesday to lay off about 4,350 employees and close more than 40 stores nationwide, including two in California.

Macy’s said about 3,000 sales associates will be impacted, or about three to four per Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s location. The company expects that about half of the affected store associates will be “placed in other positions.”

Another 1,350 employees in back office and service center positions will be impacted by the cost-cutting moves. Some of those workers too are expected to be reassigned to other jobs, Macy’s said.

Upper management is also being impacted, with Macy’s implementing a “voluntary separation opportunity” for about 165 senior executives.

The retailer also announced plans to close more than 40 stores including two locations in California: the Macy’s at the Irvine Spectrum, which opened in 2002; and a store at the Country Club Plaza in Sacramento, which opened in 1961, according to a news release from the company.

All told, Macy’s hopes to save about $400 million to help offset its “disappointing” 2015 results.

It was fresh evidence of the struggles at Macy’s. The company said sales in the critical November and December period slumped by a worse-than-expected 5%. Profits are also expected to miss the company’s own targets.

Like other retailers, Macy’s blamed the “historically warm weather” in northern climates. Macy’s said about 80% of its sales declines can be attributed to shortfalls in cold-weather goods like coats, sweaters, hats, gloves and scarves.

Macy’s also pointed to the impact of the strong U.S. dollar, which has caused international tourists to spend less.

Macy’s expects the cost-cutting moves to hurt fourth-quarter profits by $200 million.

Still, Wall Street cheered the belt tightening, bidding Macy’s shares up nearly 6% in after-hours trading on Wednesday. The stock lost nearly half its value in 2015, making it one of the worst performers in the S&P 500. - KTLA.

PARADIGM SHIFT & THE AGE OF OBAMA: Islam Set To Become The Second Largest Religion In America By 2040 - Pew Research Center!

January 10, 2016 - UNITED STATES - The American Muslim population stands a strong chance of doubling in size by 2050 and becoming the second largest religion by 2040, based on new estimates from the Pew Research Center.

At the moment, Pew believes that there’s approximately 3.3 million Muslims living in the United States. Given the total U.S. population, this means that Muslims currently comprise 1 percent. But by 2050, Pew thinks that Muslims may surge to 8.1 million.

Part of the reason for that surge is due to Muslim immigration, Pew noted, since about 10 percent of all legal immigrants are Muslim. Another is because Muslim families tend to have far more children than the average, which  is the case in Europe, as well.

Even before that, however, Islam itself is projected to become the second largest religion in the U.S. by 2040, which is a far greater increase than that expected among Jews and Hindus.
 For Jews, on the other hand, Pew thinks that the total number will decline from 1.8 percent to 1.4 percent by 2050, while Hindus will see a modest increase from 0.7 percent to 1.2 percent.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll in December showed a certain amount of anxiety exists among Americans regarding the Muslim community.

Following the shooting instigated by Muslims in California, which left 14 dead, the poll indicated that only 30 percent of Republicans believe that Muslims are no different than any other community, compared to 60 percent of Democrats.

A total of 14.6 percent of Americans are generally fearful of Muslims– a figure that jumped to 34.7 percent when respondents were asked about “a few groups and individuals” in the Muslim community.Most Republicans, at 64 percent, want mosques to be closely monitored.

Exactly 43 percent of Democrats agree. Additionally, a recent YouGov poll discovered that most Americans do not want to open up the border to Muslim refugees.

While many Muslim advocacy organizations have blasted the fears as illegitimate, surveys conducted across Europe have found that 25 percent of Muslims believe that Islam can justify violence against civilians, and a Pew poll has shown that one in eight American Muslims think that suicide bombing can be legitimate.

In France, Muslims comprise 8 percent of the population, but make up around 70 percent of the prison population.

Out of 600 American Muslims, 25 percent expressed agreement with the statement, “Violence against Americans here in the United States can be justified as part of the global jihad,” according to a 2015 poll produced for the Center for Security Policy. - Daily Caller.

MONUMENTAL DISASTER ALERT: The Biggest Environmental Disaster In United States History Is Happening Right Now - STATE OF EMERGENCY Now Underway For Los Angeles Gas Blowout; RADIOACTIVE Material Being Released, Byproduct Of Uranium; Oil Rains Down On Homes; Official Says "It's On The Brink Of PANDEMONIUM,... Maybe Coming Up From Ground Into People's Houses,..."; Many Worry Plume Will Ignite, Cause EXPLOSION; Concern Over Geysers; Sinkholes Being Created; Levels Can Cause "Significant Long-Term Health Effects"; Experts Have "NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS"!

January 10, 2016 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATESUtility is installing screens to contain oily mist at leaking well near Porter Ranch… The structures under construction on the west side of the well head are designed to capture airborne droplets of a brine solution that “may have contained trace amounts of oil naturally occurring within the leaking well’s reservoir,” said Trisha Muse, a spokeswoman for SoCal Gas… Now, a mixture of brine water and oil is rising up into the gas company’s natural gas storage zone, then traveling up the well and into the air. As a result, local residents are finding droplets of dark brown residue on their homes, vehicles, fish ponds and gardens… [The company] acknowledged that some residents had asked about “dark brown spots on their property.” “We sampled it and, according to our retained toxicologist and medical expert,” the company said, “the residue contained heavier hydrocarbons (similar to motor oil) but does not pose a health risk.”… On Monday, plaintiffs’ attorneys sent a letter to state regulatory officials [and] demanded that state regulators “explain what is happening with the petroleum now surfacing.”… “There is a complete lack of information in the well files,” their letter says, “to show where the gas and petroleum migrates underground and the risk for creating sink holes and geysers.” - Los Angeles Times.

[A]n oily mist… has been surfacing… The seepage is the result of changing dynamics deep underground… “They (the demister pads) are necessary because as the reservoir pressure declines, fluids (oil and water) encroach into the reservoir and are then carried to surface with the gas. - Los Angeles Daily News.

 Residents… point out cars, outdoor furniture and houses which have been marked with brown, oily spots… Tim O’Connor, a lawyer with the Environmental Defense Fund, has called it “an environmental and public health catastrophe,” said . “In terms of timelines this is going to surpass the gulf oil problem by a mile.” - BBC.

Gov. Jerry Brown, faced with mounting public anger and no end in sight to the leak, declared a state of emergency… Mitchell Englander, the Los Angeles city councilman who represents Porter Ranch [said] “This is one of the most disruptive, catastrophic environmental events that I’ve seen. It’s a truly chaotic crisis.”… Many who have stayed have taken to wearing surgical masks when they garden to keep out the rotten-egg smell and the oily mist that sometimes leaves brown residue on their cars… Dennis Arriola, the president of Southern California Gas Company [said] that experts had “never seen anything like this.” - New York Times.

SoCalGas and public officials have turned [Porter Ranch's Matt Pakucko] and his fellow residents into “guinea pigs.”… [Sally Benson, who runs an energy storage lab at Stanford University] shares a worry of many in Porter Ranch as they deal with the mundanities of the leak: that the gas plume will somehow become ignited, leading to [an] explosion… “They’re really fortunate that this one hasn’t caught fire,” Benson says… [The FAA] has imposed a no-fly zone above Porter Ranch “out of concerns that fumes from the gas leak could be ignited from the air.” Schwecke, the SoCalGas vice president, says workers near the relief well are taking every precaution, not using their cellphones and working with brass hammers, which don’t spark… [David Balen, a local businessman on the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council] showed me photographs of a white dust that had collected on concrete surfaces around his property; an expert was coming to test the substance, which Balen thought was something toxic. - Newsweek.

The governor of California has declared a state of emergency in a suburb of Los Angeles over the leaking of methane gas… the company is installing large mesh screens around the leak site to try and hinder the oily mist from spraying down on the community. - BBC.

The sulfurous scent of a natural-gas leak hangs in the air as mail carriers wearing gas masks make rounds… “This is the biggest community and environmental disaster I’ve ever seen, bar none,” said Mitchell Englander, who has represented Porter Ranch on the Los Angeles City Council since 2011. “Life there is not on hold — it’s on the edge and it’s on the brink of pandemonium.” - Bloomberg.

Watch footage of the leak from Reuters here

Their animals are dying… their fish are dying in their fish bowls, their dogs are dying, their cats are getting sick. And their children are getting sick — they’re suffering nose bleeds, they’re suffering terrible debilitating migraine headaches, asthma attacks, respiratory infections, eye infections, ear infections, stomach ailments… The health impact — it’s not just methane coming out of that hole… This is global crisis, more importantly this is a local crisis. Because not only do you have methane — you have benzene, toluene, xylene, which are carcinogenic. You have hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide — which are neurotoxic, which can injure your brain, affect memory, injure your kidneys, your liver, your other bodily organs. There’s also a lot of radon gas being measured in the area. People believe — we don’t know if this is true — the gas that is leaking at 2 miles deep is now coming out and pushing that radon up into people’s living rooms, their bedrooms, their nurseries. - Robert F. Kennedy Jr..

The leak has caused a continuous flow of gases and fluids. Methane alone is leaking 100,000 pounds per hour, according to Los Angeles city attorney Mike Feuer. Along with that greenhouse gas is methyl mercaptans (odorants added to gas to aid in leak detection) and aromatic hydrocarbons. More concernedly, health officials have identified benzene and radon, both known carcinogens. - Lawyers and Settlements.

Dr. Cyrus Rangan, the Director of Toxicology and Assessment for the county, came to CBS2/KCAL9 to answer questions…. It’s been reported that radon is being released… “This is a theoretical possibility,” Dr. Rangan said, “and when you’re addressing a problem that might be several hundred or even several thousand feet deep, you might generate what are called preferential pathways for something like radon, beneath the Earth’s surface, to make its way up to the surface. So primarily our concern about radon is from the worker’s exposure, for the people actually doing the repair job. If we find radon there, we can address the situation. And if radon does exist in the work site then we may need to have to look at the residential community and monitor for it.” - CBS LA.

There is the issue of radon, a naturally occurring byproduct of uranium… as SoCalGas and its partners bore into the ground in an attempt to stem a leak that is unleashing a constant cloud of gas into the atmosphere, radon has crept into the conversation. - Lawyers and Settlements.

Public officials and the gas industry have a tricky and deceptive way of saying things. Methane itself is not dangerous… methane is an indicator that other gases are involved, including radon and benzene, both carcinogenic and very dangerous… gas can escape through any perforation in the earth and on the way up to the surface, it can encounter the aquifers underground, where it will leave behind chemicals, including benzene and radon. - Robert Kennedy Jr.

WATCH: Staggering methane leak in California.

[B]enzene and radon [are] the carcinogens that are commonly found in natural gas. - Erin Brockovich.

[R]adon gas, which may potentially be released during repair operations, is also a concern [L.A. County Department of Public Health Interim Director Cynthia Harding] said. - Los Angeles Daily News.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said a new report by county public health officials had concluded that since the gas leak has continued for so long, emissions levels could produce “significant long-term health effects, including cancer.” Antonovich said the report had identified benzene as the “chemical of greatest concern,” because it is known to cause cancer. It also cited concerns about radon, another known carcinogen. - Los Angeles Times.

Public Health Director Cynthia Harding told members of the Board of Supervisors in a Dec. 1 letter [that radon] could also be released as the leak is repaired. - KPCC.

Health officials are also concerned that the company’s attempt to fix the leak by drilling into the ground to construct a relief well could release radon, a radioactive, naturally occurring and odorless gas that is found in geologic formations and causes lung cancer. - Los Angeles Times.

Laura Gideon and her family endured the sickening stench from an out-of-control natural gas leak for about a month before they could no longer tolerate the nausea, headaches and nosebleeds.

After she went to the emergency room in November vomiting and with a severe migraine, Gideon, her husband and their two children abandoned the only home they'd ever known together in the upscale Los Angeles suburb of Porter Ranch.

They moved in with her parents about 10 miles away to await a fix that could still be months away.

"We're in mourning now," she said. "We didn't ever want to leave. We were in a nice gated community. We were safe, you know, supposedly good schools. This wasn't our plan."

Thousands of her neighbors have voluntarily followed suit in an exodus from an invisible threat that wafts occasionally and doesn't sicken everyone in its path, though it continues to spew enormous amounts of climate-changing methane.

The leak has cost the utility $50 million so far and is expected to balloon as the company tries a tricky fix to plug a well deep underground, while also shelling out compensation for exasperated residents and fighting dozens of lawsuits.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared an emergency last week for the prolonged blowout that requires the utility to cover the costs and instructs state regulators to protect ratepayers.

The well is one of 115 in the Santa Susana Mountains where Southern California Gas Co., a division of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, stores natural gas in a vacant oil field about a mile and a half underground. It is the largest natural gas storage facility west of the Mississippi River and can provide energy to all of Southern California for a month.

It has been gushing the equivalent of about a quarter of the state's daily output of methane, along with other gases, since it was reported Oct. 23. It is also blamed for depositing tiny oil droplets on cars and houses that are about a mile away.

The hillside Porter Ranch community of about 30,000 people in mostly single-family homes has grown considerably in the three decades since scenes in the movie "E.T. the Extraterrestrial" were filmed here.

Public health officials said most of the gas is dissipating and not causing long-term problems, though many residents have left because they doubt the air is safe. Foul-smelling additives that make highly flammable gas detectable have been blamed for maladies including irritated throats, coughs and respiratory problems.

"It's like being in a disaster area, but it's not a disaster you can see," said Sue Hammarlund, who has seen her share of national disasters as a Red Cross volunteer and has suffered from headaches and nosebleeds recently. "I think this is more debilitating mentally."

Two local schools nearest the leak closed in December and nearly 1,900 students will start the year at different schools Tuesday.

On Saturday, hundreds of residents crowded into a high school gym to urge air quality regulators who are reviewing a proposal to control the leak to take more aggressive action and shut down the gas storage facility.

While more than 4,500 families have either left or are on the move, many have stayed behind - either because they're not bothered by the smell, aren't worried or don't want to hassle with moving.

Bob Casselman has lived near the entrance to the gas facility 43 years. His wife, Pat, has only noticed the smell a few times and had very few symptoms. The retirees are concerned about the impact on property values, but they're not moving.

"I can't understand all these people," Bob Casselman said. "Everybody wants a freebie ... Unless something's really bad, we don't complain."

The company has apologized for failing to disclose the leak after residents began complaining about the smell and for reacting slowly to their concerns.

The incident is unprecedented for a utility and it is "forging new ground," said Gillian Wright, a SoCalGas vice president.

Under orders from the county health department to relocate people who want to leave, SoCalGas has offered to pay up to $250 a night for hotels, plus $45 per person per day for food, or up to up to $7,500 a month for rental homes. The leak is expected to be stopped in March, but the company has agreed to house people through April.

Some residents have complained about not getting help calls returned and not finding relocation services helpful.

Cheri Derohanian said representatives she spoke with in Chicago and Colorado were useless because they didn't know the lay of the land. One found her a downtown Los Angeles condo that was 30 miles away and better suited for urban hipsters than her family of four.

"We're not a bunch of hicks. We're like Porter Ranch, it's like, you know, the Beverly Hills of the valley," Derohanian said. "We're like BMW people and you're giving us Pinto service."

Many have set out on their own only to lose bidding wars to neighbors or encounter sky-high rents when landlords realize they're gas leak refugees.

Megan Zahedi said she hasn't been helped by the gas company and when she sought housing she found rents doubled to $9,000 a month and houses were snapped up immediately.

"We're not looking for a vacation provided by the gas company," said the single mother, who fears paying a mortgage and additional rent. She feels like a bad parent as her two children suffer from rashes, nausea and headaches, and have been abandoned by their friends.

Down the street in the 1,100-home Porter Ranch Estates, Gideon entered a dark and cold home to pick up a few things Wednesday. She moved here with her college sweetheart 17 years ago. It's where her children took their first steps. The heights of the two are penciled on a wall in the garage.

Everything in the two-story stucco-and-brick house was as they left it seven weeks ago. Portraits and family vacation photos lined walls and shelves. Her husband's UCLA football jersey was framed on the family room wall. Toys and dolls were scattered on her daughter's bedroom floor.

A neighbor who is among those who fear a crime spike in vacant houses called to make sure it was Gideon in the house.

The stench was gone that day. Her 11-year-old daughter, Faith, didn't get a headache and said it felt good to be home - even briefly. Gideon isn't sure what the future holds, but she doesn't plan to return permanently.

"The American dream turned into a bit of disaster for us," she said. "We're not coming back. In my opinion, it would be negligent." - AP.

See also: Doctors: “Very unusual” infections being reported around massive gas blowout in LA… “If you’re able to leave do it now, I’m telling you it’s really critical” — Official: Plume is spreading far away, it’s a national disaster — TV: “We’re a living science experiment” (VIDEO)

Compiled by: ENE News.

WAR DRUMS: Tensions Escalate On The Korean Peninsula - Powerful United States Bomber Flies Over South Korea As Standoff With North Korea Deepens!

January 10, 2016 - KOREAN PENINSULA - A powerful U.S. B-52 bomber flew low over South Korea on Sunday, a clear show of force from the United States as a Cold War-style standoff deepened between its ally Seoul and North Korea following Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test.

North Korea will read the fly-over of a bomber capable of delivering nuclear weapons - seen by an Associated Press photographer at Osan Air Base near Seoul - as a threat. Any hint of America's nuclear power enrages Pyongyang, which links its own pursuit of atomic weapons to what it sees as past nuclear-backed moves by the United States to topple its authoritarian government.

The B-52 was joined by South Korean F-15 and U.S. F-16 fighters and returned to its base in Guam after the flight, the U.S. military said.

"This was a demonstration of the ironclad U.S. commitment to our allies in South Korea, in Japan, and to the defense of the American homeland," said Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander U.S. Pacific Command, in a statement. "North Korea's nuclear test is a blatant violation of its international obligations."

The B-52 flight follows a victory tour by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to celebrate the country's widely disputed claim of a hydrogen bomb test. Kim is seeking to rally pride in an explosion viewed with outrage by much of the world and to boost his domestic political goals.

There was no immediate reaction from North Korea's state media to the B-52 fly-over, which also happened after North Korea's third nuclear test in 2013.

Kim's first public comments about last week's test came in a visit to the country's military headquarters, where he called the explosion "a self-defensive step" meant to protect the region "from the danger of nuclear war caused by the U.S.-led imperialists," according to a dispatch Sunday from state-run Korean Central News Agency.

"It is the legitimate right of a sovereign state and a fair action that nobody can criticize," Kim was reported as saying during his tour of the People's Armed Forces Ministry.

The tone of Kim's comments, which sought to glorify him and justify the test, is typical of state media propaganda.

But they also provide insight into North Korea's long-running argument that it is the presence of tens of thousands of U.S. troops in South Korea and Japan, and a "hostile" U.S. policy that seeks to topple the government in Pyongyang, that make North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons absolutely necessary.

During his tour, Kim posed for photos with leading military officials in front of statues of the two members of his family who led the country previously - Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung. He also sought to link the purported success of the nuclear test to a ruling Workers' Party convention in May, the party's first since 1980. He's expected to use the congress to announce major state policies and shake up the country's political elite to further consolidate his power.

World powers are looking for ways to punish the North over a nuclear test that, even if not of a hydrogen bomb, still likely pushes Pyongyang closer to its goal of a nuclear-armed missile that can reach the U.S. mainland. Many outside governments and experts question whether the blast was in fact a powerful hydrogen test.

In the wake of the test on Wednesday, the two Koreas have settled into the kind of Cold War-era standoff that has defined their relationship over the past seven decades. Since Friday, South Korea has been blasting anti-Pyongyang propaganda from huge speakers along the border, and the North is reportedly using speakers of its own in an attempt to keep its soldiers from hearing the South Korean messages.

A top North Korean ruling party official's recent warning that the South's broadcasts have pushed the Korean Peninsula "toward the brink of war" is typical of Pyongyang's over-the-top rhetoric. But it is also indicative of the real fury that the broadcasts, which criticize the country's revered dictatorship, cause in the North.

North Korea considers the South Korean broadcasts tantamount to an act of war. When Seoul Korea briefly resumed propaganda broadcasts in August after an 11-year break, Seoul says the two Koreas exchanged artillery fire.

South Korean troops, near about 10 sites where loudspeakers started blaring propaganda Friday, were on the highest alert, but have not detected any unusual movement from North Korea along the border, said an official from Seoul's Defense Ministry, who refused to be named, citing office rules.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said Seoul had deployed missiles, artillery and other weapons systems near the border to swiftly deal with any possible North Korean provocation. The ministry would not confirm the report, nor another by Yonhap that said North Korea had started its own broadcasts likely meant to keep its soldiers from hearing the South Korean messages.

Officials say broadcasts from the South's loudspeakers can travel about 10 kilometers (6 miles) during the day and 24 kilometers (15 miles) at night. That reaches many of the huge force of North Korean soldiers stationed near the border, as well as residents in border towns such as Kaesong, where the Koreas jointly operate an industrial park that has been a valuable cash source for the impoverished North.

While the South's broadcasts also include news and pop music, much of the programming challenges North Korea's government more directly.

"We hope that our fellow Koreans in the North will be able to live in a society that doesn't invade individual lives as soon as possible," a female presenter said in parts of the broadcast that officials revealed to South Korean media. "Countries run by dictatorships even try to control human instincts."

Marathon talks by the Koreas in August eased anger and stopped the broadcasts, which Seoul started after blaming North Korean land mines for maiming two soldiers. It might be more difficult to do so now. Seoul can't stand down easily, some analysts say, and it's highly unlikely that the North will express regret for its nuclear test, which is a source of intense national pride.

Responding to the North's bomb test, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged China, the North's only major ally and biggest aid provider, to end "business as usual" with North Korea.

Diplomats at a U.N. Security Council emergency session pledged to swiftly pursue new sanctions. For current sanctions and any new penalties to work, better cooperation and stronger implementation from China is seen as key.

It may take weeks or longer to confirm or refute the North's claim that it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, which would mark a major and unanticipated advance for its still-limited nuclear arsenal. - AP.

EXTREME WEATHER: Massive Bushfire Rages In Western Australia - At Least 2 People Killed; Over 130 Buildings Destroyed; Over 172,000 Acres Burned Already; Mass Evacuations Underway! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

January 10, 2016 - AUSTRALIA - Two men have been killed and at least one remains unaccounted for as deadly bushfires tore through the Western Australia town of Yarloop, destroying more than 130 buildings in its wake.

The remains of two men in their 70s were found by authorities who had been searching burnt-out buildings in Yarloop, 120km south of the state capital, Perth. The town was virtually obliterated by the fire.

WATCH: In the fire zone.

A state of emergency remains in place for several communities including Harvey, Preston Beach, Lake Clifton, Myalup as well as their surrounding areas, The West Australian reports.

Authorities have warned residents to evacuate unless they are ready to actively defend their homes against bushfires that continue to burn. Police were knocking on doors in Harvey on Saturday directing people to leave.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services said that while conditions had eased, the fire is not yet over.

This harrowing image from #dfeswa is an unimaginable sight that firefighters were faced with on Thursday night 😔 With over 130 homes in #yarloop lost to the fire,
as well as two lives, it is hard to not feel devastated for everyone involved. We have spent the last few days on and off alerts & looking out for family & friends who are
closer to the fire zone. Amazing job being done by the firefighters and their support crews and we are thinking of all those people who don't have a home to go back to.
Such amazing community spirit being shown with so much help being offered. Hopefully the winds will become favourable and the
fire can be brought under control as soon as possible. Instagram: oldcoastmarkets

To the brave firemen that are out at Yarloop, Waroona, Harvey and other small towns..thank you. You have been working hard for the
last 5 days unfortunately this blaze is too big..but with hard work and dedication hopefully you'll get it under control. 
Instagram: oldcoastmarkets

This is the devastating image that is being seen by many of our brave and honourable firefighters....the south west of wa (Australia) is under threat by and major fire,
many town have been evacuated and there homes lost in this ever increasing threat. We may be 40 minutes away from the danger but have seen plumes of smoke
for the last few days, as it continues to grow further south. There are many places to donate for those who now have nothing but the clothes they left with,
please take the time to care. By making as many as we can aware and we can all spare something to give to those have lost everything.
Instagram: oldcoastmarkets

"Our priorities are the northern division between Waroona and the Forrest Highway, the Lake Clifton area and then the southern area out of Harvey," incident controller Brad Della Vale said.

"I think we are not out of the woods yet, I think today's work will reveal how good our containment lines are at this stage, although the winds aren't going to be strong they get up to about 30 kilometres, at 3:00pm ... so that will be the pressure point I think."

A separate bushfire that has been threatening lives and homes around the Dalyup area in the Shire of Esperance has been downgraded to a watch and act.

So far fires have raged through more than 70,000 hectares in the state's South West.Wildfires are an annual summer event in Australia, but rising temperatures have prompted some scientists to warn that climate change could increase the length and intensity of the summer fire season. - RT.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Cluster Of Three Small Earthquakes Hit Hollister, California In A Six-Minute Span - USGS! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

January 10, 2016 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - A cluster of three small earthquakes with a 3.2, 2.9 and 2.6 preliminary magnitude shook the Hollister area early Saturday within a span of six minutes.

The United States Geological Survey recorded the largest tremor at 2.5 miles from San Juan Bautista at a depth of 3.5 miles.

It struck at 9:43 a.m. and was followed by a 2.9-magnitude quake at 9:46 a.m. and the 2.6-magnitude jolt at 9:49 a.m. - SFGate.

San Gregorio Fault

The San Gregorio Fault is a mostly right-lateral strike-slip fault with virtually no measurable creep (less than 1 mm/yr). It largely lies offshore the San Francisco peninsula and has a limited on-land exposure along the San Mateo County coast.

The fault merges with the San Andreas Fault near Bolinas, north of the Golden Gate.

The 2003 Working Group for California Earthquake Probability estimated that the slip rate on the San Gregorio Fault is approximately 7 mm/yr (1/4 inches/yr).

The last large, surface rupturing earthquake on the San Gregorio Fault is dated between 1270 and 1776 AD. The recurrence interval between surface rupturing earthquakes is poorly constrained between 300 and 690 years.

The 2003 Working Group for California Earthquake Probability assigned a 10% probability that the San Gregorio Fault would produce a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake in the next 30 years.