From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Eight
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved
"Global Environment 2021 JANUARY-MARCH"

    This file is attached to from “Astronomical Events To Appear Between 2014 Through 2017 A.D.” - Chapter Eight by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved.
    This link will return you to Astronomical Events To Appear Between 2014 Through 2017 A.D.
    Or continue to Global Environment 2021 April-June

Global Environment 2021 JANUARY-MARCH

2021 World Disaster and Environmental Issues

12/30/2020 Dozens Unaccounted For After Landslide In Norway by OAN Newsroom
This aerial picture provided by the Norwegian Rescue Service shows the damage after a landslide occurred in a residential area in Ask, near
Oslo, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. Several houses have been destroyed, up to 200 people have been evacuated and nine injured in Norway in a
landslide at a residential area near the capital Oslo. Norwegian police were alarmed around 4 am Wednesday that a landslide had occured in
the village of Ask in the municipality of Gjerdrum, some thirty kilometers (12 miles) north of Oslo. (Norwegian Rescue Service/NTB via AP)
    At least 10 people are injured and a dozen are reported missing following a landslide in Norway.
    Local authorities said more than a dozen buildings were swept away from a residential area in Gjergrum on Wednesday.    Rescue teams continue to search for missing people as police said it’s likely they are trapped under mud and debris.
    The landslide forced more than 700 residents to evacuate the area.
Some houses remain standing while others are seen damaged after a landslide occurred in a
residential area in Ask, near Oslo, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (Fredrik Hagen/NTB via AP)
    “The injured have been transported to [a] hospital,” Roger Pettersen, police spokesperson, stated.    “There are injured people in the emergency department [and] we have a retirement home that has been evacuated and the evacuation is ongoing.”
A person is lowered from a rescue helicopter near the site where a big landslide hit
a residential area in the village Ask, some 40 km north of Oslo. (Jil Yngland/NTB via AP)
    In the meantime, the country’s Ministry of Justice and Emergency Preparedness said the situation is being monitored closely.

12/31/2020 Tornado Damages Over A Dozen Mobile Homes In Texas by OAN Newsroom
This image posted on social media by the Navarro County Office of Emergency Management in Texas shows an area where authorities said a possible
tornado caused damage, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Corsicana, Texas. (Eric R. Meyers/Navarro County Office of Emergency Management via AP)
    A tornado briefly touched down in Corsicana, Texas on Wednesday, causing damage to several homes.    Navarro County officials said the tornado was unannounced and gone before they knew it.
    Although it only touched down for a short amount of time, the tornado managed to damage more than a dozen mobile homes in the area, which was approximately 100 yards wide and 600 yards long.
    Between 15 and 30 people have been displaced. Additionally, many of the homes remain without gas and electricity.
    “As more information came in we became aware of this damage,” stated Eric Meyers, an emergency management coordinator for Navarro County.    “It was obvious that we were not dealing with straight line winds, but a small feature tornado…very compact, but still damaging nonetheless.”
    Luckily, no injuries have been reported. Meanwhile, heavy snow is expected to hit parts of Texas in the coming days.

1/1/2021 2020 could be Earth’s hottest year on record by Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
    Climate scientists are poring over global temperature data, trying to determine if 2020 will surpass 2016 as the planet’s warmest year on record.
    The answer won’t be so clear-cut: There are at least six separate data sets for global climate measurements, each using a slightly different system for determining the temperature.
    Based on measurements through November, it’s likely that NASA’s data will show 2020 as the warmest year on record, while other groups, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will probably show 2020 in second place.
    “In most datasets, 2020 will be more or less tied with 2016 – at least within the margin of uncertainty in our global temperature reconstructions,” tweeted Zeke Hausfather, director of climate and energy at the Breakthrough Institute in California.    “That’s remarkable in a sense, given that 2020 is a La Niña year and 2016 was a super El Niño event.”
    La Niña, a natural cooling of Pacific Ocean water, tends to lower the global temperature, while El Niño does the opposite.

1/2/2021 Magnitude 3.6 earthquake jolts San Francisco Bay Area
    SAN FRANCISCO – A magnitude 3.6 earthquake jolted the San Francisco Bay Area on the last day of 2020.    The U.S. Geological Survey said the offshore quake struck around 5:40 a.m. Thursday a few miles west of San Francisco at a depth of about 9 miles.    The agency’s website showed thousands of reports of people saying they felt the earthquake.    Many took to social media to say it woke them up or was a fitting end for 2020.    Bay Area news station KGO-TV reported that there were no reports of damage or injuries.

1/2/2021 Elon Musk: Tesla Self-Driving Is Safer For All by OAN Newsroom
Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the unveiling of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne,
California on March 14, 2019. (Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
    Business mogul Elon Musk is confident Tesla’s autopiloted cars will be safer than most drivers on the road.
    In a tweet Friday, Musk claimed Tesla’s self-driving capabilities will operate at a safety level “well above that of the average driver.”
    Even without Autopilot, Tesla’s Model 3 touts five-star safety ratings and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s lowest chance of injury for any car ever tested.
    While other manufacturers have entered the electronic car sector, many experts still see Tesla as the EV king.
    “It’s not just some of the maturity that Tesla shown, but it comes down to, we are in a golden age of EV vehicles and right now in the EV market, it’s Tesla’s world and everyone else is paying rent,” Dan Ives, Managing Director for Wedbush Securities said.
    Tesla’s Autopilot program is legal in the U.S. and is seeking regulatory approval abroad.

1/5/2021 Florida seeking legislation to protect manatees by Karl Schneider, Fort Myers News-Press USA TODAY NETWORK – FLORIDA
    FORT MYERS, Fla. – Newly written draft language for proposed boater safety legislation may help protect threatened manatees from being killed by boat strikes.
    Last year, 593 manatees were found dead in Florida.    Of those, an estimated 90 died after boat strikes, according to preliminary data from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. That means 15% died from boat-related injuries.    But that percentage could be higher.
    Because of “pandemic-related limitations,” nearly 200 of the total reported deaths were not investigated, so no cause of death was given, according to the agency’s preliminary 2020 manatee mortality data.
    Overall, total deaths were slightly higher this year compared with 2019’s 564 reported deaths.
    The fish and wildlife commission sent the state a draft proposal in 2020 that would require anyone operating a vessel to have a boating safety identification card issued by the agency.
    Current regulations state that only people born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, must complete a boater safety course.    The proposed legislation that would require every boat operator to have a safety ID card would begin Jan. 1, 2023.
    Sarah Gledhill of the nonprofit endangered species organization Center for Biological Diversity said the proposed regulation comes because of a lack of education resulting in boating accidents and fatalities.    She said manatees would benefit from the proposed legislation.
    “When you look at the leading causes of manatee fatalities, one of which is boat strikes, this is a natural, commonsense measure that we can take to help reduce manatee deaths,” she said.
    She said some boaters act as if they have a free license to operate a powerful machine in the waterways without understanding proper navigation, safety hazards and the vulnerability of wildlife areas.
    “There’s a lot of recreation on our waterways, and we share our waterways with wildlife,” she said.    “If we educate everybody who is operating this powerful machine, it not only helps us reduce conflicts between humans, but helps reduce conflicts between manatees, sea turtles and other wildlife.”
    Manatees, also known as sea cows, are herbivores that can grow more than 13 feet long and weigh more than 3,500 pounds.
    The fish and wildlife commission issues public information notices asking boaters to slow down and watch out for manatees.
    “Manatees can be difficult to detect when underwater, so it is important for operators of boats and personal watercrafts to be vigilant while out on the water,” a March news release from the agency says.
    The proposed boater safety regulation is a win for everybody, including wildlife, Gledhill said.
    “This isn’t about infringing on anyone’s rights but about how we can coexist with wildlife while recreating on Florida’s waters,” she said.    “Because Florida is the nation’s boating capital, we hope this is a priority to keep us recreating and protect wildlife on the waterways.”
Members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Lee County Sheriff's Office rescued a
manatee found floating in Matanzas Pass on Fort Myers Beach in September. ANDREW WEST/ USA TODAY NETWORK

1/5/2021 Malaysian Team Turns Pineapple Waste Into Disposable Drone Parts by Ebrahim Harris
A drone, partially made with pineapple stems, flies at a pineapple plantation in Jenjarom, Malaysia
December 12, 2020. Picture taken December 12, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng
    BANGI, Malaysia (Reuters) – Malaysian researchers have developed a method to transform the fibre found in normally discarded pineapple leaves to make a strong material that can be used to build the frames for unmanned aircraft, or drones.
    The project, headed by Professor Mohamed Thariq Hameed Sultan at Malaysia’s Putra University, has been trying to find sustainable uses for pineapple waste generated by farmers in Hulu Langat, an area about 65 km (40 miles) from Kuala Lumpur.
    “We are transforming the leaf of the pineapple into a fibre that can be used for aerospace application, basically inventing a drone,” he told Reuters at a workshop.
    Mohamed Thariq said drones made out of the bio-composite material had a higher strength-to-weight ratio than those made from synthetic fibres, and were also cheaper, lighter and easier to dispose of.
    If the drone was damaged, the frame could be buried in the ground and would degrade within two weeks, he said.
    The prototype drones have been able to fly to a height of about 1,000 metres (3,280 ft) and stay in the air for about 20 minutes, he added.
    Ultimately, the research team hopes to create a larger drone to accommodate bigger payloads, including imagery sensors, for agricultural purposes and aerial inspections.
    “Our role here is to help the industry, the farmers, to increase their yield and make their jobs much easier,” said William Robert Alvisse of the Malaysian Unmanned Drones Activist Society, a non-governmental group helping to design the drone and advising on the project.
    Before the project launched in 2017, pineapple stems were discarded after the once-in-a-year harvest period, but farmers hope the drones project will encourage more innovation to find uses for the waste and boost incomes.
    “With the health issue, the economy problem due to COVID-19, the society is desperate and there is no alternative to increase income,” said pineapple farmer Irwan Ismail.
(Writing by Angie Teo; Editing by Ed Davies)

1/6/2021 Canyon on Mars is more than Grand by Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
    Arizona’s Grand Canyon may be awe-inspiring, but it’s just “a scratch” compared with the massive Valles Marineris Canyon on Mars.
    Slicing along the Martian equator for about 2,500 miles, the canyon would reach from New York City to San Francisco if placed in the United States, according to NASA.    The canyon floor sinks 7 miles into the surrounding plains.    That is as deep as some of the deepest parts of Earth’s ocean.
    It’s the largest canyon in the solar system, and images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveal details about its size.    The photos were taken using the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment), the most powerful camera ever sent to another planet.    It’s one of six instruments aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the University of Arizona said.
    Despite breathtaking images of Valles Marineris, scientists still aren’t sure how the gargantuan canyon complex formed, according to LiveScience.
    “Unlike Earth’s Grand Canyon, Valles Marineris probably wasn’t carved out by billions of years of rushing water; the Red Planet is too hot and dry to have ever accommodated a river large enough to slash through the crust like that,” LiveScience said.
    A large portion of the canyon probably cracked open billions of years ago, the European Space Agency said, when a nearby group of volcanoes known as the Tharsis region was first thrusting out of the Martian soil.
    The Tharsis bulge is home to Olympus Mons, the largest known volcano in the solar system.
A close-up view of Mars’ Valles Marineris, the largest canyon in the solar system. NASA/JPL/UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

1/8/2021 Snowstorm Hits Spain, Madrid Braces For Heaviest Snowfall In Decades
FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a statue of Spanish painter Diego Velazquez outside the
Prado Museum during a snowfall in Madrid, Spain January 7, 2021. REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photo
    MADRID (Reuters) – Heavy snowfall brought by Storm Filomena put parts of Spain including the capital Madrid on high alert on Friday, causing traffic congestion and forcing authorities in some regions to deploy the military to clear access to villages.
    With up to 20 cm (nearly 8 inches) of snow forecast in 24 hours and temperatures expected to hover around zero centigrade for much of the day, the south of the Madrid region, including the capital, is on its highest level of alert for the first time since the system was created in 2007.
    Such events are rare in the region and tend to be disruptive to daily life and mobility, coming at a time when people are returning home after Christmas and New Year holidays.    This year, however, there is less traffic than usual due to restrictions to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
    Large parks in Madrid, including the famous Retiro next to the Prado museum, were closed as a precaution.
    Ruben del Campo, a spokesman for the State Meteorological Agency, said the city was probably facing the heaviest snowfall at least so far in the 21st century.
    “Perhaps we would have to go back to the snowfall of February 1984 or to that of March 1971 to find similar precedents if the forecasts we are expecting are correct,” he added.
    Castilla-La Mancha, one of the three regions put on high alert on Friday along with Madrid and eastern Valencia, closed schools, and troops were called in to clear access to some villages.
    With hundreds of roads affected by the snow, trucks were banned from several important highways and authorities asked citizens to avoid non-essential travel.
    Airport operator Aena urged passengers to use the subway to get to Madrid airport, and train operator Renfe cancelled some routes.
    On Wednesday Spain registered the lowest temperature ever recorded on the Iberian peninsula, of -34.1C, in the Pyrenees in the north.
    The storm first hit the Canary Islands with strong winds and rain.    In Gran Canaria, a ferry with 59 passengers and 17 crew ran aground on Thursday night due to the strong winds when entering the port of Agaete.
    On Friday the coastguard rescued the passengers, who were unharmed, but the ferry remained stranded.
(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Cristina Sanchez, editing by Andrei Khalip and Gareth Jones)

1/9/2021 Sinkhole In Italy Cuts Power From Hospital by OAN Newsroom
A view of the large sinkhole that opened overnight in the parking of Ospedale del Mare hospital in Naples, Italy,
Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. A giant sinkhole opened Friday in the parking lot of a Naples hospital, forcing the temporary closure of a
nearby residence for recovering coronavirus patients because the electricity was cut. (Alessandro Pone/LaPresse via AP)
    A massive sinkhole in Italy cut off power to a hospital on Friday.    The sinkhole gulped down three cars, trees and a large section of a parking lot in Naples.
Another view of the sinkhole. (Alessandro Pone/LaPresse via AP)
    Witnesses reportedly heard a clamoring roar before a visitor parking area sank into the ground.    Local police enlisted the help of a canine unit to search the scene and so far no casualties have been reported.
    The hospital relied on backup generator power to stay fully functional during the ordeal.
    “According to the report, there was a big explosion this morning, approximately at 6:30 a.m., we got here at 7:00 a.m,” Ciro Verdolvia, Director General of Naples Healthcare said.    “It is a big sinkhole, approximately 2,000 square meters, between 15 and 20 meters in depth. Three cars got trapped inside.”
    Authorities attributed the collapse to seepage from recent rainfall.

1/9/2021 Fla. Doctors Report New Effective Treatment For COVID-19 by OAN Newsroom
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
    Doctors in Florida say a new treatment utilizing stem cells has been very effective in treating coronavirus.
    Reports on Friday detailed the treatment, which uses stem cells gathered from the umbilical cord of a newborn baby.    Patients treated with the cells reportedly saw a 91 percent survival rate with faster recovery times.
    According to experts, the cells share properties with treatments used to fight auto-immune diseases.
Umbilical cord blood and cord, collected from hospitals, are prepared for storage. (Photo by WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
    Doctors have called the treatment a “potential turning point.”
    “These cells injected in the IV naturally go with a very simple procedure that does not require any invasive procedure,” Dr. Camillo Ricordi of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine said.    “You can just direct the transfusion to the lung.    The cells go to the lungs and it has just been an amazing kind of result and we are very excited to move to the next step.”
Medics transfer a patient on a stretcher from an ambulance outside of Emergency at Coral Gables Hospital where Coronavirus patients are treated in
Coral Gables near Miami, Florida on December 10, 2020. – The United States on registered more than 3,000 deaths from Covid-19 in 24 hours, according to
the Johns Hopkins University tally — the highest daily toll since April. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
    Doctors said using cells from just one umbilical cord can create therapeutic doses for more than 10,000 patients.

1/10/2021 U.S. Sets Record For Most Expensive Weather Disasters In 2020 by OAN Newsroom
A boat motors by as the Bidwell Bar Bridge is surrounded by fire in Lake Oroville during the Bear fire
in Oroville, California on September 9, 2020. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
    The U.S. set a new record for most billion dollar weather and climate catastrophes in 2020.    Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the U.S. saw 22 disasters last year, each costing more than $1 billion each.
    This shattered the previous annual record of 16 disasters, which was reached in both 2011 and 2017.
    California’s record-breaking wildfires and the nation’s 10 major storms garnered the attention of Americans throughout the course of the year.    These disasters also took the lives of 262 Americans.
FILE – In this Aug. 27, 2020 file photo, buildings and homes are flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura near Lake Charles, La. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
    “So for the 22 events, we had a record number seven tropical cyclone events, we had 13 severe storm events, one major drought and one wildfire event,” Applied Climatologist Adam Smith said.    “Really most of the country was impacted by some of these extremes.”
    The disasters reportedly cost emergency services at least $95 billion, marking 2020 as the fourth highest costly year since 1980.
    According to the NOAA, 2020 is the sixth consecutive year in which the United States has been impacted with ten or more billion dollar weather and climate disasters.
    “Typically of the seven types of billion dollar disasters, we usually see three or four types per year,” Smith explained.    “But it’s just the sheer number of events this year that really catches your eye.”
    The United States has had $285 billion in weather and climate disasters since 1980.

1/10/2021 Hundreds Displaced After Tornado Hits Texas City by OAN Newsroom
VAN, TX – MAY 11: Volunteers and officials search through the destruction near Van Intermediate
School after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
    Hundreds of families in Texas City are displaced after a tornado touched down.    Thursday, the National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-1 tornado caused severe damage as it ripped through the city on Wednesday night.
    Though the storm was quick, residents said it was horrifying.
    No injuries were reported, but officials said the Tradewinds Apartments suffered the worst damage.
Our building official, Herman Myers, took a good look at the building and determined that for purposes of severe safety and precautionary measures, the building would be temporarily shut down,” a city official explained.    “Structural engineers can have the opportunity to further inspect the building to ensure the safety of everyone.”
    Officials are unsure when tenants will be able to return to their homes.
FILE PHOTO: Funel cloud forms from a tornado at Mayfield, Oklahoma May 16, 1977. (photo by NOAA)

1/12/2021 GM Reveals Plans To Produce Flying Vehicles by OAN Newsroom
DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 17: The General Motors world headquarters building is shown September 17, 2015
in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
    On Tuesday, General Motors unveiled plans to mass-produce flying vehicles.    GM said a single-passenger flying Cadillac could become reality over the next few years.
    “We are preparing for a world where advances in electric and autonomous technology make personal air travel possible,” Michael Simcoe, Vice President of Global Design at GM said.
    The four-rotor vehicle would be able to take-off and land on rooftops, as well as develop in air speed of up to 55 miles per hour.
    “The vertical take-off and landing drone, or Vertile, is GM’s first foray into aerial mobility,” Simcoe stated.    “It is a concept designed for the moment when time is of essence and convenience is everything.    You’ve been at the office and now you need to get to a meeting across town, the Vertile meets you on the roof and drops you at the Vertiport closest to your destination.”
    GM plans to roll out 30 new electric vehicles worldwide by 2025.

1/13/2021 Tern flies off endangered species list by John Flesher, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – The interior least tern, a hardy Midwestern bird that survived a craze for its plumage and dam-building that destroyed much of its habitat, has soared off the endangered species list.
    Federal officials said Tuesday that 35 years of legal protection and habitat restoration efforts had brought the tern back from the brink of extinction.
    “Dozens of states, federal agencies, tribes, businesses and conservation groups have worked tirelessly over the course of three decades to successfully recover these birds,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Aurelia Skipwith said.
    The smallest members of the tern family feed mostly on small fish and build nests on the ground.    While most least terns are considered seabirds, some species live by rivers, lakes and wetlands.     Their most important nesting areas are along more than 2,800 miles of river channels in the Great Plains and the Lower Mississippi Valley.
    When they were listed as endangered in 1985, fewer than 2,000 interior least terns remained, along with a few dozen nesting sites.

1/13/2021 Father Of The Web Tim Berners-Lee Prepares ‘Do-Over’
FILE PHOTO: World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee poses for a photograph following a speech at the Mozilla
Festival 2018 in London, Britain October 27, 2018. Picture taken October 27, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
    (Reuters) – Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist who was knighted for inventing the internet navigation system known as the World Wide Web, wants to re-make cyberspace once again.
    With a new startup called Inrupt, Berners-Lee aims to fix some of the problems that have handicapped the so-called open web in an age of huge, closed platforms such as Facebook.
    Building on ideas developed by an open-source software project called Solid, Inrupt promises a web where people can use a single sign-on for any service and personal data is stored in “pods,” or personal online data stores, controlled by the user.
    “People are fed up with the lack of controls, the silos,” said Berners-Lee, co-founder and chief technology officer of Inrupt, in an interview at the Reuters Next conference.    This new, updated web, Berners-Lee said, will enable the kind of person-to-person sharing and collaboration that has helped make the big social media services so successful while leaving the user in control.
    John Bruce, a veteran technology executive who is CEO of Inrupt, said the company had signed up Britain’s National Health Service, the BBC and the government of Flanders in Belgium as pilot customers, and hoped to announce many more by April.
    Inrupt’s investors include Hearst Ventures, Octopus Ventures and Akamai, an internet content delivery firm.    Bruce declined to say how much has been raised.
    Bruce said the NHS pilot was addressing the long-standing problem of incompatible medical records.    With Inrupt, he said, the NHS could give everyone “a holistic presentation of your medical history,” with various doctors and other service providers able to update that record even as it remains in the users control.
    A key aim for Inrupt is to get software developers to write programs for the platform.    Inrupt, like the original web, is at its core mostly a set of protocols for how machines talk to one another, meaning that specific applications bring it to life.
    “The use cases are so broad, it’s like a do-over for the web,” Berners-Lee said.
    For more coverage from the Reuters Next conference, please click here or.
    To watch Reuters Next live, visit
(Reporting by Jonathan Weber; Editing by Leslie Adler)

1/14/2021 Fmr Mich. Gov. Snyder Arraigned For Alleged Role In Flint Water Crisis by OAN Newsroom
The interior of the Flint water plant is seen on September 14, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
    Former Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.) is arraigned on his alleged role in the Flint water crisis, which was blamed for the deaths of 12>     Reports on Thursday detailed the charges, which state Snyder faces two misdemeanor counts of “willful neglect of duty,” stemming from alleged offenses in 2014.
    “People work for me that let us all down,” Snyder claimed.    “And I’m responsible for that.”
Snyder appeared before the district judge via ‘Zoom.’ According to records, the charges date back to April 2014 when Flint began to use the Flint River as the city’s new water source.    The city did so during the construction of a new pipeline.
    The decision to not treat the water caused lead to leech into it from the older pipes, which led to health issues in the city. Each of the charges carries up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. Snyder has been out of the office for two years and still resides in the state — a point his attorney made when prosecutors sought to confiscate his passport.
    His defense said they “believe there is no evidence to support any criminal charges” against him and entered pleas of not guilty.    The judge set a personal recognizance bond of $10,000 on each charge, ordering him not to leave the state.
    In 2017, charges were first filed against several state officials in relation to the crisis, but many were dropped in 2019. Residents who lived through the crisis said officials should be held accountable.
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 03: Flint residents Gladyes Williamson (C) holds a bottle full of contaminated water, and a clump of her hair, alongside Jessica Owens (R),
holding a baby bottle full of contaminated water, during a news conference after attending a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the
Flint, Michigan water crisis on Capitol Hill February 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. Williamson, and Owens traveled to Washington by bus with other flint families to attend the
House hearing on the crisis, and demand that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder be brought before Congress to testify under oath. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
    “We’re coming up on seven years of being in a prison where we can’t even be safe in our own homes,” Flint resident Melissa Mays said.    “And then, of course, under COVID we’ve all been locked indoors and we’re stuck using this water.”
    According to reports, the charges mark the first time a governor or former governor of Michigan has been charged with crimes related to their time in office.
    Charges have been announced against several other officials too, including a top aide of the governor’s.    The top aide faces four felony charges, which include extortion and obstruction of justice.    The former health department director was charged with nine felony counts of involuntary manslaughter, while the former Flint Department of Public Works director faces the same charges as Snyder.
    Reports also noted the state agreed to a $600 million settlement in August in a class-action lawsuit with affected Flint residents.

1/15/2021 Indonesia Quake Kills At Least 42, Injures Hundreds by Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Stanley Widianto
A destroyed building is pictured following an earthquake in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia January 15, 2021, in this picture obtained from social media. Palang Merah
    JAKARTA (Reuters) – A powerful earthquake killed at least 42 people and injured hundreds on Indonesia’s island of Sulawesi on Friday, trapping several under rubble and unleashing dozens of aftershocks as authorities warned of more quakes that could trigger a tsunami.
    Thousands of frightened residents fled their homes for higher ground when the magnitude 6.2-quake struck 6 km (4 miles) northeast of the town of Majene, at a depth of just 10 km, shortly before 1.30 a.m.
    The quake and aftershocks damaged more than 300 homes and two hotels, as well as flattening a hospital and the office of a regional governor, where authorities told Reuters several people have been trapped under the rubble.
    “Praise be to God, for now OK, but we just felt another aftershock,” said Sukri Efendy, a 26-year-old resident of the area.
    As many as 42 people have been killed, mostly in Mamuju and the rest in the neighbouring district of Majene, the country’s national disaster mitigation agency said in a situation report on Friday evening.    More than 820 people were injured, it said.
    The heightened seismic activity set off three landslides, severed electricity supplies, and damaged bridges linking to regional hubs, such as the city of Makassar.    Heavy rain was also worsening conditions for those seeking shelter.
    No tsunami warning was issued but the head of Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), Dwikorita Karnawati, told a news conference that aftershocks could follow, with a possibility that another powerful quake could trigger a tsunami.
    There had been at least 26 aftershocks, she said, with Friday’s quake preceded by a quake of 5.9 magnitude the previous day.
    Mamuju resident Muhammad Ansari Iriyanto, 31, told Reuters that everyone panicked and sought refuge in the nearby hills and mountains.
    “Mamuju is now empty, everyone went to the mountains,” he said.    “Lots of buildings collapsed and people are afraid of a tsunami.”
    Another resident Syahir Muhammad said: “It’s raining and we need help.”
    Videos shared on social media showed residents fleeing to higher ground on motorcycles, and a young girl trapped under rubble as people tried to shift debris with their hands.    Rescue workers used cutting and lifting equipment to free survivors and find the dead.
    President Joko Widodo offered condolences to the victims, urging people to stay calm and authorities to step up search efforts.
    Emerging workers are now trying to restoring telecoms and bridge links and ensure the delivery of tents, food and medical supplies, said West Sulawesi provincial government spokesman Safaruddin.
    About 15,000 people have fled their homes since the quake, the disaster agency has said, with the coronavirus pandemic likely to complicate the distribution of aid.
    “It is certainly one of the most challenging, this (disaster) was one of our fears and now we are putting all of that planning and protocols into place,” said Jan Gelfand, head of the International Federation of Red Cross in Indonesia.
    Straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is regularly hit by earthquakes.
    In 2018, a devastating 6.2-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck the city of Palu, in Sulawesi, killing thousands.
    A 9.1-magnitude quake off the north of Sumatra island triggered a tsunami on Boxing Day in 2004 that lashed coastal areas of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and nine other nations, killing more than 230,000 people.
    Graphic: Quake in Indonesia’s Sulawesi
(Additional reporting by Angie Teo; Additional reporting by Yishu Ng in Singapore added as Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by Gerry Doyle, Clarence Fernandez and Alison Williams)

1/16/2021 NASA Tests World’s Most Powerful Rocket Engines by OAN Newsroom
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – FEBRUARY 07: Clouds are seen behind the NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the
Kennedy Space Center February 7, 2008 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
    NASA tested the world’s most powerful rocket engines in Mississippi.    Saturday’s “hot fire” test tested all four of the space launch system’s core stage engines.
    Things started smoothly, but engines began to power down over a minute into the test.    This is much shorter than the initial eight minute time frame.
    Officials said teams are assessing data on the early shutdown.
    The SLS will become the world’s largest and most powerful rocket ever flown to space.
    “It can travel farther and faster than any other rocket and because of its capacity, it can carry things like large aperture telescopes and deep space exploration probes, so it can enable more science sooner,” RS-25 Engine Program Director Jeff Zotti said.    “It’s a key milestone for the program, it’s a key milestone for NASA.”
    This is NASA’s last step in the green run test series before launching the Artemis I Mission, which could potentially land the first woman on the moon by 2024.

1/18/2021 Rescue Efforts Continue In Indonesia, Following Deadly Earthquake by OAN Newsroom
Rescuers leading a sniffer dog pause during a search operation at the ruins of a building collapsed in Friday’s earthquake in
Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Aid was reaching the thousands of people left homeless and struggling after the earthquake that killed
a number of people in the province where rescuers intensified their work Monday to find those buried in the rubble. (AP Photo/Joshua Marunduh)
    Aid efforts increase in Indonesia, following an earthquake which killed more than 80 people.
    On Monday, rescuers went to work to find those buried in the rubble as volunteers and rescue teams were deployed in the hardest hit cities to provide relief to civilians.
    Rescue personnel provided temporary shelters for those left homeless after the nearly 6.2 quake destroyed at least 1,000 homes.
    Nearly 800 people were injured in the quake and the country’s disaster agency said there’s a dire need for basic necessities like blankets, baby food as well as medical services.
A woman walks outside a tent at a soccer field that is turned into temporary shelter for those displaced
by an earthquake Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Bamu Saseno)

1/19/2021 Virgin Orbit reaches space on second try by John Antczak ASSOCIATED PRESS
    LOS ANGELES – Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reached space on Sunday, eight months after the first demonstration flight of its air-launched rocket system failed, the company said.
    A 70-foot-long LauncherOne rocket was released from beneath the wing of a Boeing 747 carrier aircraft off the coast of Southern California, ignited moments later and soared toward space.
    The two-stage rocket carried a cluster of very small satellites known as CubeSats developed and built as part of a NASA educational program involving U.S. universities.
    The launch occurred after the Boeing 747-400 took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in the desert north of Los Angeles and flew out over the Pacific Ocean to a drop point beyond the Channel Islands.
    'According to telemetry, LauncherOne has reached orbit!' Virgin Orbit tweeted later.    'Everyone on the team who is not in mission control right now is going absolutely bonkers.'
    The rocket’s upper stage coasted for a period, reignited to circularize the orbit and then deployed the nine CubeSats.
    The flight developments were announced on social media.    The launch was not publicly livestreamed.
    Virgin Orbit, based in Long Beach, California, is part of a wave of companies targeting the launch market for increasingly capable small satellites, which may range in sizes comparable to a toaster on up to a home refrigerator.
    Competitor Rocket Lab, also headquartered in Long Beach, has deployed 96 payloads in 17 launches of its Electron rocket from a site in New Zealand.    Another of its rockets was nearing launch Sunday.
    Virgin Orbit touts the flexibility of its capability to begin its missions by using airports around the globe.
    Virgin Orbit attempted its first demonstration launch in May 2020.
    The rocket was released and ignited but only briefly flew under power before it stopped thrusting.    The lost payload was only a test satellite.
    Virgin Orbit is separate from Virgin Galactic, the company founded by Branson to carry passengers on suborbital hops.
Virgin Orbit Boeing 747-400 rocket launch platform, named Cosmic Girl, takes off from Mojave Air
and Space Port north of Los Angeles. Matt Hartman/AP

1/20/2021 Appeals court reverses Trump climate rollback by Ellen Knickmeyer and Matthew Daly, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court struck down one of the Trump administration’s most momentous climate rollbacks on Tuesday, saying the administration acted illegally in issuing a new rule that eased federal regulation of air pollution from power plants.
    The Trump administration had relied on a “fundamental misconstruction” of the Clean Air Act in carrying out the rollback, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled.
    The decision is likely to give the incoming Biden administration a freer hand to regulate emissions from power plants, one of the major sources of climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions.
    Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Molly Block called the agency’s handling of the rule change “well-supported.”    The court decision “risks injecting more uncertainty at a time when the nation needs regulatory stability,” she said.
    Environmental groups celebrated the ruling by a three-member panel of the Court of Appeals.
    “Today’s decision is the perfect Inauguration Day present for America,” said Ben Levitan, a lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund, one of the groups that had challenged the Trump rule in court.
    The ruling “confirms that the Trump administration’s dubious attempt to get rid of common-sense limits on climate pollution from power plants was illegal,” Levitan said.    “Now we can turn to the critically important work of protecting Americans from climate change and creating new clean energy jobs.”

1/21/2021 U.S., EU Kickstart Renewed Climate Change Cooperation With First Call by Kate Abnett
FILE PHOTO: European Commission vice-president and climate chief Frans Timmermans speaks during an online news conference on
renewable energy at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium November 19, 2020. Francisco Seco/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry and European Union climate policy chief Frans Timmermans on Thursday held their first call under the new U.S. administration, kicking off renewed transatlantic cooperation on tackling global warming.
    After four years without U.S. federal leadership on climate change under former President Donald Trump, the United States and the EU – the world’s second and third-largest emitters of greenhouse gases, respectively – are now seeking to combine their diplomatic firepower to convince other big polluters to take urgent action to safeguard the planet.
    A European Commission spokesperson said Timmermans had “discussed our ambitions to work with the U.S. and other partners to raise global ambition at COP26 in Glasgow.”
    The United Nations climate summit in November, known as COP26, serves as a deadline for nearly 200 countries to submit a national plan to curb emissions faster this decade.
    The EU is one of only a few large economies to have done so.    Globally, countries’ current climate pledges would fail to rein in planet-warming emissions fast enough to avert catastrophic temperature increases.
    President Joe Biden committed the United States to rejoin the 2015 Paris climate accord on Wednesday – a move that requires the country to this year pledge deeper emissions cuts.
    Biden is also expected to convene a summit of leaders from large-emitting countries within the first 100 days of his presidency, as part of a diplomatic push to rally urgent global climate action.
    China, the world’s biggest polluter, plans to become carbon neutral by 2060 but has yet to unveil a short-term plan to reduce emissions.
(Reporting by Kate Abnett. Editing by Mark Potter)

1/21/2021 German Scientists Make Paralyzed Mice Walk Again by Stephane Nitschke and Zuzanna Szymanska
A mouse which recovered from paralysis is seen in a lab at Ruhr University, where scientists discovered a way to restore the ability to walk
in mice that had been paralysed after a complete spinal cord injury, in Bochum, Germany, January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Leon Kuegeler
    (Reuters) – German researchers have enabled mice paralyzed after spinal cord injuries to walk again, re-establishing a neural link hitherto considered irreparable in mammals by using a designer protein injected into the brain.
    Spinal cord injuries in humans, often caused by sports or traffic accidents, leave them paralyzed because not all of the nerve fibers that carry information between muscles and the brain are able to grow back.
    But the researchers from Ruhr University Bochum managed to stimulate the paralyzed mice’s nerve cells to regenerate using a designer protein.
    “The special thing about our study is that the protein is not only used to stimulate those nerve cells that produce it themselves, but that it is also carried further (through the brain),” the team’s head Dietmar Fischer told Reuters in an interview.
    “In this way, with a relatively small intervention, we stimulate a very large number of nerves to regenerate and that is ultimately the reason why the mice can walk again.”
    The paralyzed rodents that received the treatment started walking after two to three weeks, he said.
    The treatment involves injecting carriers of genetic information into the brain to produce the protein, called hyper-interleukin-6, according to the university’s website.
    The team is investigating if the treatment can be improved.
    “We also have to see if our method works on larger mammals.    We would think of pigs, dogs or primates, for example,” Fischer said.
    “Then, if it works there, we would have to make sure that the therapy is safe for humans too.    But that will certainly take many, many years.”
(Reporting by Stephane Nitschke and Zuzanna Szymanska; editing by John Stonestreet)

1/21/2021 U.S. Climate Envoy Kerry, UK’s COP26 Chief Discuss Common Goals
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Business Secretary Alok Sharma arrives at number 10 Downing in London, Britain, December 14, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry spoke to Britain’s head of the United Nations COP26 climate conference on Thursday, agreeing that the two countries would work together to raise global efforts ahead of the meeting in November.
    Kerry and Alok Sharma, Britain’s former business minister, agreed that there was no time to waste and noted that the two countries were once again tightly aligned on the issue.
    “The pair agreed that their respective officials should work together closely,” a British statement said.    “They looked forward to speaking regularly in the run up to G7 and COP26, and to meeting in person at the soonest possibility.”
(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

1/23/2021 Microsoft Patent Approved For AI Tech Impersonating Deceased Individuals by OAN Newsroom
NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 13: A signage of Microsoft is seen on March 13, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
    Microsoft has moved forward with a patent to create chatbots capable of mimicking the personality of a specific person.    The tech giant received permission for the patent earlier this month after initially filing for the license in 2017.
    Microsoft’s goal is to create artificial intelligence generated from individual personalities, dead or alive, based off of social media data, electronic messages and other forms of personal information.    The company plans to use images and video data to make their avatars more realistic.
    Several start-up companies are already working on technology capable of creating 3D holograms.
    “Our software allows for the simultaneous capture of multiple people across different locations in real time,” Javier Bello, founder and CEO of Imverse said.    “This capture can be integrated into games, teleconferencing applications, education platforms, that are built with the standard 3D content creation software.”
    Bello went on to say tech companies have shown great interest in the software as it can be applied in the education, telehealth and entertainment fields.

1/25/2021 Severe Winds Wreck Homes, Displace Thousands In Mozambique: Agency
FILE PHOTO: Rain falls before the landfall of cyclone Eloise in Beira, Mozambique January 22, 2021,
in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. Video obtained by REUTERS
    JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Severe winds and heavy rains wrecked thousands of buildings, ruined crops and displaced almost 7,000 people in Mozambique over the weekend, officials said in their first detailed report on the disaster.
    Tropical cyclone Eloise hit Mozambique’s Sofala coastal province on Saturday morning before weakening and heading inland to dump rain on Zimbabwe, eSwatini – formerly known as Swaziland – and South Africa.
    Authorities initially said Eloise had only caused minor damage in Mozambique’s port city of Beira but that it was too early to gauge the full extent of the damage across the rest of the region.
    On Sunday, Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD) said investigations had shown Eloise had injured 12 people and displaced 6,859.    The region’s Buzi district had been particularly hard hit with wind speeds of up to 150 kph.
    “Families are in urgent need of essential supplies like food, water, blankets and shelter,” Marcia Penicela, project manager at ActionAid Mozambique said, speaking from Beira.
    “With high flood waters and power lines down in Buzi, the challenge will now be reaching people most in need,” she added.
    Eloise had ruined 136,755 hectares of crops, destroyed nine schools and damaged about 17 other schools and 11 hospitals, INGD said in a statement.
    It had completely destroyed 1,069 houses, partially destroyed 3,343 and flooded another 1,500, the agency added.
    Eloise later weakened and was downgraded to a tropical storm, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.
    On Sunday it moved on from Zimbabwe to dump heavy rain on some areas of South Africa’s Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Kwa-Zulu Natal provinces, authorities there said. eSwatini was also experiencing rainfall.
    “So far the highest amount that we’ve recorded is somewhere between 115-128 mm of rainfall in Limpopo, especially in the northeast,” Puseletso Mofokeng, a senior forecaster at the South African Weather Service, told Reuters.
    Floods had hit the low veld of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, and winds had blown the roofs of houses and knocked down trees, blocking roads, he said.
    Certain parts of those provinces were likely to see another 100 mm of rain tonight and more expected rain on Monday, he added.
    Heavy rains were also recorded in eastern and south eastern parts of Zimbabwe on Saturday, filling most dams and flooding some rivers.    At least three people were swept away when they tried to cross flooded rivers in eastern Zimbabwe, authorities said.
(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla in Johannesburg and Manuel Mucari in Maputo; Additional reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

1/25/2021 UK To Launch Global Climate Adaptation Effort With Partner Countries
FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a coronavirus news conference at 10 Downing Street, London, Britain January 22, 2021. Leon Neal/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will team up with Egypt, Bangladesh, Malawi, Saint Lucia and the Netherlands to help communities around the world that are threatened by climate change to adapt and build resilience, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will say on Monday.
    Early warning systems for storms and investments in flood drainage and in drought-resistant crops could form part of the measures promoted by the new Adaptation Action Coalition, Johnson’s Downing Street office says.
    “It is undeniable that climate change is already upon us and is already devastating lives and economies.    We must adapt to our changing climate, and we must do so now,” Johnson will say at a Climate Adaptation Summit hosted by the Netherlands.
    Britain holds the rotating presidency of the G7 group of industrialised countries this year and Johnson said he would make the need for a resilient economy a priority within that framework.
    In addition, Britain will host COP26, a global United Nations Summit on climate change, in the Scottish city of Glasgow in November.    The summit was delayed by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Johnson’s office said the new coalition on adaptation would tap scientists, businesses and civil society groups to share knowledge and best practice on local, regional and global solutions to dealing with climate change.
(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; editing by David Evans)

1/25/2021 U.S. Rejoins Fight Against Climate Change At High Level Summit
FILE PHOTO: A view of the A-68A iceberg from a Royal Air Force reconnaissance plane near
South George island, November 18, 2020. UK Ministry of Defence/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
    AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The United States will mark its return to the global fight against climate change on Monday by joining high level talks on ways to better protect people and economies from the effects of global warming already taking place.
    Less than a week after President Joe Biden announced the return of the United States to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, his Special Climate Envoy John Kerry will join China’s     Deputy Prime Minister Han Zheng, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other leaders at the Climate Adaptation Summit.
    This online event, hosted by the Netherlands, aims to set out practical solutions and plans for dealing with climate change in the period until 2030.    Ahead of the summit, more than 3,000 scientists from across the globe pressed leaders to better protect people from the fall out of global warming.
    “Our fast-warming world is already experiencing major disruptions from more intense droughts, fires, heat waves, floods, destructive tropical cyclones and other extreme events,” the scientists, including five Nobel laureates, said in a statement.
    “Unless we step up and adapt now, the results will be increasing poverty, water shortages, agricultural losses and soaring levels of migration with an enormous toll on human life.”
    Climate change could depress global food production by up to 30%, while rising seas and greater storms could force hundreds of millions in coastal cities out of their homes, summit organiser the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) said.
    “There is no vaccine for climate change,” GCA chair and former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters on the eve of the event.
    “It is happening much, much faster than we think, causing cascading risks and impact.    Building resilience to climate change is not nice to have, it is a must have.”
    No binding commitments will be made at the summit, but leaders will try to set an action agenda, charting plans and proposals to create a climate resilient planet by the end of the decade.
    Britain said it plans to team up with Egypt, Bangladesh, Malawi, Saint Lucia and the Netherlands in an initiative that could include early warning systems for storms and investments in flood drainage and in drought-resistant crops.
(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Alex Richardson)

1/27/2021 Alabama tornado kills teenager, injures 30 - Fultondale High School wrecked in the storm by Jay Reeves ASSOCIATED PRESS
    FULTONDALE, Ala. – A teenager sheltering in his basement was killed and several family members were critically injured when a tornado blew a tree onto their Alabama home, police said Tuesday.
    Many others narrowly escaped with their lives.    At least 30 people were injured as the twister carved a 10-mile path of destruction Monday night in the northern suburbs of Birmingham, an area severely damaged by a much larger tornado a decade ago.
    'We ran in the bathroom, got down in the tub and covered over with some towels, and then in about two minutes it was all over,' said Tim Herring, who said he and his wife, Patti, had just moments to prepare.
    'I had to push a bunch of boards off of me and some Sheetrock.    We got out, and my wife said, ‘We don’t have a roof.’    I walked in the hallway and said, ‘We ain’t got no walls either.’    I said, ‘We’re lucky to be alive, Patti,’' Tim Herring said.
    Pieces of buildings, furniture, appliances and trees were strewn about, and vehicles came to rest in awkward positions, as if a child had scattered a collection of Matchbox cars.    One car landed upside down against tree branches on a large pile of debris.
    The teen, identified as Elliott Hernandez according to the Jefferson County coroner’s office, was pronounced dead at the scene, and several of his family members were critically injured when their home collapsed, Fultondale police Chief D.P. Smith said.
    'They were doing what they were supposed to be doing,' the chief said. The 14-year-old killed was in the ninth grade, according to Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin.
    Search-and-rescue efforts continued in neighborhoods where it was difficult to tell where houses had stood.    Across the wrecked landscape, every visible structure was damaged or destroyed.    Pieces of buildings and children’s toys and clothing were scattered across the hilly terrain littered with broken trees. Utility lines had fallen on roads.    Some houses had entire roofs missing.
    Fultondale Fire Chief Justin McKenzie said 18 of the 30 people injured had to go to hospital.    Six others were pulled uninjured from damaged structures Tuesday morning.
    The school superintendent said the system is trying to determine how many students may be homeless now.    Fultondale High School was so heavily damaged that he doubts students can return to classrooms this year.
    Police blocked intersections leading to the hardest-hit areas of Fultondale, a suburb that’s home to about 9,000 people.    Downed power lines and debris closed part of Interstate 65 while workers removed the obstacles, said James Coker, director of the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency.
    'The people of Fultondale took a hard hit last night – I’m grieved over the loss of life, injuries, homes & damaged businesses,' Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said on Twitter.    'I offer my prayers & deepest sympathies & pledge the full support & resources our state has to offer.    I am with you, Fultondale!'
A powerful tornado struck the Birmingham, Ala., suburb of Fultondale on Monday. Gary Cosby Jr./USA TODAY NETWORK

1/28/2021 US issues domestic terrorism warning by Ben Fox and Eric Tucker, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the potential for lingering violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden’s election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks.
    The department did not cite a specific threat but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden’s inauguration the week prior.
    “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said.
    It did not mention any single ideological or political affiliation, while noting the potential for violence from “a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors.”
    The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske, Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate.

1/28/2021 Biden offers ambitious climate change effort - Moves to cut emissions, promote clean energy by Matthew Daly and Ellen Knickmeyer, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – In the most ambitious U.S. effort to stave off the worst effects of climate change, President Joe Biden issued executive orders Wednesday to cut oil, gas and coal emissions and double energy production from offshore wind turbines.
    The orders target federal subsidies for oil and other fossil fuels and halt new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters.    They also aim to conserve 30% of the country’s lands and ocean waters in the next 10 years and move to an allelectric federal vehicle fleet.
    Biden’s sweeping plan is aimed at slowing human-caused global warming, but it also carries political risk for Democrats as oil- and coal-producing states face job losses from moves to sharply increase U.S. reliance on clean energy such as wind and solar power.
    “We can’t wait any longer” to address the climate crisis, Biden said.    “We see with our own eyes.    We know it in our bones.    It is time to act.”
    “The stakes on climate change just simply couldn’t be any higher than they are right now.    It is existential,” said former Secretary of State John Kerry, who is Biden’s envoy on climate change.
    “Paris alone is not enough,” Kerry said at a White House briefing, referring to the global agreement on climate change that calls for voluntary emissions cutbacks by the United States and nearly 190 other countries.
    Biden has set a goal of eliminating pollution from fossil fuel in the power sector by 2035 and from the U.S. economy overall by 2050.
    Biden acknowledged the political risk, stating that his approach would create jobs in the renewable energy and automotive sectors to offset any losses in oil, coal or natural gas.
    “When I think of climate change and the answers to it, I think of jobs,” Biden said.    “We’re going to put people to work.    We’re not going to lose jobs.”
    Biden also is directing agencies to focus help and investment on the low-income and minority communities that live closest to polluting refineries and other hazards, and the oil- and coalpatch towns that face job losses.
    Biden pledged to create up to a million jobs building electric cars, as well as installing solar panels and wind turbines, “capping abandoned walls, reclaiming mines, turning old brownfield sites into the new hubs of economic growth.”
    Republicans immediately criticized the plan as a job killer.
    “Pie-in-the-sky government mandates and directives that restrict our mining, oil and gas industries adversely impact our energy security and independence,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
    “At a time when millions are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing Americans need is big government destroying jobs, while costing the economy billions of dollars,” she said.
John Kerry, President Joe Biden’s envoy on climate change, said, “Paris alone is not enough,”
referring to the global climate accord. EVAN VUCCI/AP

1/28/2021 Death Toll From Storm Eloise Rises To 21 Across Southern Africa
FILE PHOTO: View of damage after Tropical Cyclone Eloise, in Beira, Mozambique, January 23, 2021 in this social media image obtained by REUTERS./File Photo
    MAPUTO (Reuters) – The death toll from Storm Eloise has risen to 21 across southern Africa after Mozambique and eSwatini reported a further five and two people killed respectively.
    Eloise, at the time a cyclone, slammed into Mozambique’s central port city of Beira and surroundings – an area still recovering from the devastation of Cyclone Idai in 2019 – on Saturday.    It then weakened to a tropical storm and moved inland to cause heavy rain and flooding across southern Africa.
    Homes, crops and infrastructure in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, eSwatini – formerly Swaziland – and South Africa have been destroyed, with tens of thousands of people displaced in Mozambique especially after vast swathes of land were left underwater.
    “In total we have registered 11 deaths due to Cyclone Eloise,” Antonio Beleza, a deputy director in the country’s National Institute of Disaster Risk Management and Reduction, said in remarks broadcast on local television on Thursday.
    “Currently we have 267,000 people affected in the region and we managed to evacuate from risky areas 33,191 people.”
    In eSwatini, the death toll has risen from two to four people, according to police.    As of Wednesday, South Africa had reported two deaths and Zimbabwe three. One person was killed in Madagascar before Eloise hit the continent’s coast.
    The South African Weather Service also said ongoing bad weather in some parts of the country had caused damage to and closure of roads, widespread flooding and evacuations of some communities and people stranded by rising water.
    “It is likely that extensive damage to crops as well as waterlogged farmlands will ultimately lead to significantly impaired agricultural production in these areas,” it said.
(Reporting by Manuel Mucari in Maputo, Lunga Masuku in Mbabane and Tanisha Heiberg in Johannesburg; Writing by Emma Rumney; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

1/28/2021 6 Dead After Liquid Nitrogen Leak At Ga. Poultry Plant by OAN Newsroom
A Hall County firefighter leaves following a liquid nitrogen leak that killed six people at Prime
Pak Foods, a poultry plant, on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in Gainesville, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
    Six people died and several others were injured following a liquid nitrogen leak at a poultry plant in Georgia.    Officials said the leak at ‘Prime Pak Foods’ in Gainesville was initially reported as an explosion.
    Firefighters, the State Fire Marshal and OSHA are investigating the cause of the leak.    According to authorities, multiple people were transported to the hospital.    Three are reportedly in critical condition.
A Hall County firefighter leaves following a liquid nitrogen leak that killed six people at Prime
Pak Foods, a poultry plant, on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in Gainesville, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
    “Hall County Fire Services has transported nine patients to Northeast Georgia Medical Center,” Hall County Fire Department Division Chief Zach Brackett stated.    “Out of those patients, three were Gainsville firefighters and one was a Hall County firefighter and that was for an evaluation of a respiratory complaint.”
    Officers said an estimated 130 workers were examined for injuries and one additional person was later transported to the hospital.

1/29/2021 Snowy Owl Spotted In Central Park, New York by OAN Newsroom
An immature female Snowy Owl is pictured on November 17, 2008 on Texel, an island in northern Netherlands. (Photo: Rene Pop/AFP via Getty Images)
    For the first time in 130 years, a Snowy Owl was spotted in New York City’s Central Park.
    The owl was spotted on Wednesday in the park’s North Meadow field. A Twitter account dubbed Manhattan Bird Alert tweeted about the rare sighting.
    The tweet prompted a rush of onlookers, reportedly drawing criticism for attracting unwanted attention to the owl.
    Snowy Owls are found in the high Arctic tundra and are known to venture south to North America.

1/29/2021 More Winter Weather Heading Toward West Coast by OAN Newsroom
In this photo provided by Caltrans, a section of Highway 1 is collapsed following a heavy
rainstorm near Big Sur, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. (Caltrans via AP)
    Parts of California are being hammered by winter weather. On Friday, evacuation warnings were slowly lifted for portions of Monterey County near San Jose.
    A section of the Pacific Coast Highway running through Big Sur, where they’ve received nearly eight inches of rain, was washed away.
    Just outside Los Angeles, residents in Wrightwood are expecting to get up to a foot of snow.
    Those living in areas that were recently ravaged by wildfires are being asked to be ready to leave in the case of possible mudslides.
    Experts expect the winter weather system to move into the Midwest on Saturday.
[WHEN I LIVED IN CALIFORNIA IN 1974-1988: I had driven up and down highway 1 many of times and even then you could see where boulders would roll down the cliffs but that above is a whole new thing but then the whole state could fall off into the ocean if GOD decides its time.].

1/30/2021 11-Alarm Fire Burns N.J. Recycling Plant by OAN Newsroom
Firefighters battle a fire at Atlantic Coast Fibers recycling plant in Passaic, New Jersey, on January 30, 2021. – Firefighters braved intense cold overnight and
into January 30 as they battled the massive inferno at the recycling center which covered an entire city block. (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)
    Fire crews worked to contain an 11-alarm fire in Passaic, New Jersey. On Saturday morning, firefighters from more than 20 departments helped to battle the blaze at the Atlantic Coast Fibers recycling factory.
Water used by firefighters battling a blaze at Atlantic Coast Fibers recycling plant freezes,
in Passaic, New Jersey, on January 30, 2021. (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)
    The flames burst out late Friday night and quickly engulfed the plant.    One firefighter was taken to the hospital and others were reportedly treated for exhaustion and other injuries.
    The fire erupted on what is reported to be one of the coldest nights of the year in the area.
    “It’s one of the most difficult evenings that I’ve seen a fire of this magnitude and one of our biggest employers in the city, one of the largest structures that we have, but it’s a complete loss,” said Passaic Mayor Hector Lora.
    Officials said it could take days to contain the fire and there are concerns the flames could spread.

1/30/2021 Okla. House Fire Kills 4, Including 2 Firefighters by OAN Newsroom
(Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
    An Oklahoma neighborhood mourned the loss of four people, including two brave firefighters following a house fire.    On Friday, a fire led to the deaths of two firefighters and two residents trapped inside a burning home in Waynoka, just northwest of Oklahoma City.
    The assistant state fire marshal said the victims called for help as they were trapped in the back bedroom.    Officials added the door to the house was blocked and the roof collapsed when the two firefighters entered the home, which made it impossible for them to escape the flames.
    According to reports, one firefighter was with the victims while the other was searching for a way out of the house.
    “Two residents were in the bedroom,” Assistant State Fire Marshal James Fullingim said.    “Firefighters did make an attempt to rescue the victims, obviously it was a very challenging rescue.    The last report we had was the fire was blocking the door.”
    A witness from across the street said he noticed the smoke right away as he watched the tragedy unfold.
    “I was hoping they weren’t there cause those people actually come and go a lot,” witness Gene Withrow said.    “I can’t believe that they were.    I imagine that this is going to affect quite a few people, they had family here and had been here for a long time.”
    The victims’ names and exact causes of death have not yet been released, although the owners inside were said to be one male and one female.
    The State’s Fire Marshal’s Office is looking into the case and said it will be a time-consuming investigation.

1/31/2021 N.J. Declares State Of Emergency As Severe Winter Storm Brings Snow And High Winds by OAN Newsroom
WEST ORANGE, NJ – DECEMBER 18: Trees are shown covered in show as a winter storm brought havoc to,br> New Jersey on December 18, 2019 in West Orange, New Jersey. (Photo by Rick Loomis/Getty Images)
    New Jersey declared a state of emergency in anticipation for the winter storm set to dump over a foot of snow. Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced the order on Sunday in response to the severe weather warning from the National Weather Service.
    Garden State residents are preparing for the slow-moving coastal storm, which is also set to bring strong winds and possible shore flooding.
    “We’re getting some last-minute stuff for the obviously impending snow storm,” New Jersey resident Jeff Russo said.    “Got two kids to pick up from the in-laws, get them home and prepare for the snow.”
    The storm has led county officials to temporarily suspend COVID-19 vaccination sites and New Jersey transit services.

2/1/2021 State Of Emergency Declared In 44 Counties As Winter Storm Hits Northeast Region by OAN Newsroom
A traffic officer patrolled a lightly trafficked street in Weehawken, N.J., Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) has declared a state of emergency in over 40 counties as a major winter storm slams the state.    The storm is bringing a combination of heavy snow and strong winds, which are expected to last until Wednesday morning.
    All flights at JFK and LaGuardia airports have been suspended amid the severe weather.
    Cuomo is urging residents to stay home and off the roads.
    “This is a serious situation, it’s nothing to be trifled with,” Cuomo stated.    “Yes, we’ve had snow storms before, yes we’ve been through it before, but this is a dangerous life threatening situation.”
    Forecasters said snowfall rates could reach up to two inches an hour throughout New York.
    Officials in several other states, including New Jersey, have also declared a state of emergency in various counties throughout their state.

2/3/2021 SpaceX Starship Prototype Rocket Explodes On Landing After Test Launch by Steve Gorman
The SpaceX Starship SN9 explodes into a fireball after its high altitude test flight
from test facilities in Boca Chica, Texas, U.S. February 2, 2021. REUTERS/Gene Blevins
    (Reuters) – A prototype of SpaceX’s Starship rocket exploded during a landing attempt minutes after a high-altitude experimental launch from Boca Chica, Texas, on Tuesday, in a repeat of an accident that destroyed a previous test rocket.
    The Starship SN9 that blew up on its final descent, like the SN8 before it, was a test model of the heavy-lift rocket being developed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s private space company to carry humans and 100 tons of cargo on future missions to the moon and Mars.
    The self-guided, 16-story-tall rocket initially soared into the clear, blue South Texas sky from its Gulf Coast launch pad on what appeared from SpaceX’s livestream coverage to be a flawless liftoff.
    Reaching its peak altitude of about 10 km (6 miles), the spacecraft then hovered momentarily in midair, shut off its engines and executed a planned “belly-flop” maneuver to descend nose-down under aerodynamic control back toward Earth.     The trouble came when the Starship, after flipping its nose upward again to begin its landing sequence, tried to reactivate two of its three Raptor thrusters, but one failed to ignite.    The rocket then fell rapidly to the ground, exploding in a roaring ball of flames, smoke and debris – 6 minutes and 26 seconds after launch.
    The Starship SN8, the first prototype to fly in a high-altitude test launch, met a similar fate in December.    No injuries occurred in either incident.
    A SpaceX commentator for Tuesday’s launch webcast said the rocket’s flight to its test altitude, along with most of its subsonic re-entry, “looked very good and stable, like we saw last December.”
    “We just have to work on that landing a little bit,” the commentator said, adding, “This is a test flight, the second time we’ve flown Starship in this configuration.”
    There was no immediate comment from Musk, who also heads the electric carmaker Tesla Inc.    Hours earlier, Musk said on Twitter he planned to stay off the social media platform “for a while.”
    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it would oversee an investigation of Tuesday’s landing mishap, as it did following the previous explosion – an inquiry that revealed tensions between Musk and the agency.
    SpaceX conducted December’s launch “without demonstrating” that public safety risks posed by “far-field blast overpressure” met the terms of its regulatory permit, according to the FAA.    But the agency said “corrective actions” the company later took were approved by the FAA and incorporated into Tuesday’s launch.
    “We anticipate taking no further enforcement action on the SN8 matter,” the agency’s statement said.
    Last week, Musk tweeted that the FAA’s “space division has a fundamentally broken regulatory structure” and that “humanity will never get to Mars” under its rules.
    The complete Starship rocket, which will stand 394-feet (120 meters) tall when mated with its super-heavy first-stage booster, is the company’s next-generation fully reusable launch vehicle – the center of Musk’s ambitions to make human space travel more affordable and routine.
    A first orbital Starship flight is planned for year’s end. Musk has said he intends to fly Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa around the moon with the Starship in 2023.
(Reporting and writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Bill Berkrot, Rosalba O’Brien and Lincoln Feast.)

2/4/2021 Biden White House Changes Tone, Upholds President Trump’s Space Force by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this May 15, 2020, file photo, Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman displays his insignia during a presentation
of the United States Space Force flag in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
    White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki half-heartedly retracted an earlier dismissive statement about the U.S. Space Force, but failed to provide a full apology.
    “They absolutely have the full support of the Biden administration and we are not revisiting the decision to establish a Space Force,” she previously stated.
    Psaki came under fire earlier this week when she made a bizarre joke and laughed off a question regarding the Space Force.    After receiving backlash, she suddenly changed her tone.
    “Thousands of men and women proudly serve in the Space Force,” Psaki later stated.    “As you know, it was established by Congress and any other steps would actually have to be taken by Congress not by the administration.”
    Commentators said this reversal shows the limits of partisan attacks against President Trump’s achievements.


2/4/2021 U.S. Climate Envoy Kerry Calls New Chinese Counterpart ‘Leader’ And ‘Believer’ by Jeff Mason
FILE PHOTO: U.S. climate envoy John Kerry speaks while White House national climate advisor Gina McCarthy
listens during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said on Thursday he expected to speak to his new Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua soon and called him a “leader” and a “capable advocate” for his country on the issue of global warming.
    Kerry, who reports directly to President Joe Biden and will represent the United States in future climate talks, said he got word on Wednesday of China’s selection of Xie for the job of special climate envoy.
    “We haven’t spoken yet.    We will at the appropriate moment.    Shortly, I’m sure,” Kerry told Reuters in an interview.    “I know him very well because I’ve worked with him for … 20 years or so.”
    Xie led the Chinese delegation in global climate negotiations from 2007 to 2018. Biden brought the United States back into the international Paris climate accord that tackles global warming after his predecessor, Donald Trump, withdrew the country from the pact.
    A deal between the United States and China to partner on climate change in 2014 was seen as pivotal in brokering the Paris agreement in 2015 when Biden was vice president.
    “He’s been a long time … leader and a believer,” Kerry said of Xie.    “We know each other and have respect for, I think, each other’s efforts thus far.”
    China surpassed the United States as the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases more than a decade ago because of its rapid economic expansion and reliance on coal.    Last year, Beijing said it aims to hit peak emissions before the end of this decade, a pledge many climate activists say is too modest.
    During the pandemic, China brought online nearly 40 GW of coal-fired power plants to spur its economic recovery, raising concerns about its short-term climate goals.
    Kerry repeated his position that cooperation with China on global warming did not signal Washington would neglect other concerns.    Sticking points between the two countries include human rights and trade.
    “This is not a tradeoff of climate for those other issues.    This is a freestanding international crisis, which all of us need to deal with no matter what,” Kerry said.
    Biden’s administration is expected to take a more collaborative role with other countries in facing concerns about China than the Trump White House did.
    Kerry said he had already been in contact with counterparts in Europe, Korea and Australia to coordinate strategy.
    He declined to say whether he endorsed a multilateral carbon adjustment tax with the European Union and Canada to pressure China to cut emissions.
    “It’s much too early to be advocating on one particular international policy or another,” he said.    “We’re really trying to figure out what the best … targets are with respect to the beginning of a … complicated conversation.”
    Kerry, a former secretary of state and U.S. senator from Massachusetts, is working with Biden’s domestic climate adviser Gina McCarthy, who is forming a plan to cut U.S. emissions that Kerry can present to the world.
    Kerry said the Biden administration has many legislative options that could be used to advance climate goals from an infrastructure bill to budget requests to free-standing climate bills potentially put forward by lawmakers.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; additional reporting by Valerie Volcivici; Editing by David Gregorio)

2/8/2021 Rescuers Search For 125 Missing After Glacier Burst In Indian Himalayas, Many Believed Trapped In Tunnel by Saurabh Sharma
Members of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) search for survivors after a Himalayan glacier broke and swept away a small hydroelectric dam,
in Chormi village in Tapovan in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, February 7, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer
    LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) – Hundreds of military personnel were deployed in the Indian Himalayas on Monday to help find at least 125 people unaccounted for after a part of a glacier broke away, setting off a torrent of water, rock and dust down a mountain valley.
    Sunday’s violent surge swept away a small hydro electric project called Rishiganga and damaged a bigger one further downstream.
    Most of the missing were people working on the two projects, one of the many the government has been building deep in the mountains of Uttarakhand state as part of a development push.
    Rescue workers were focused on a 2.5 km (1.5 miles) long tunnel where workers were believed trapped.
    Vivek Pandey, a spokesman of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force, said 30-35 workers were believed to be inside the tunnel and that rescuers were trying to open its mouth and get inside.
    There had been no voice contact yet with anyone in the tunnel, another official said.
    On Sunday 12 people were rescued from another tunnel.
    Videos on social media showed water surging through a small dam site, washing away construction equipment and bringing down small bridges.
    “Everything was swept away, people, cattle and trees,” Sangram Singh Rawat, a former village council member of Raini, the site closest to the glacier, told local media.
    Some 400 soldiers have been deployed to the site in the remote mountains, state authorities said.
    “We expect to carry on operations for the next 24 to 48 hours, ” said Satya Pradhan, the chief of the National Disaster Response Force.
(Editing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Michael Perry)

2/8/2021 Scientists Warn Over Misuse Of Climate Models In Financial Markets by Matthew Green
FILE PHOTO: Downtown Los Angeles is seen behind a tree burned by wildfire before expected heavy rains, as the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
    LONDON (Reuters) – Misuse of climate models could pose a growing risk to financial markets by giving investors a false sense of certainty over how the physical impacts of climate change will play out, according to the authors of a paper published on Monday.
    With heatwaves, wildfires, massive storms and sea-level rises projected to intensify as the planet warms, companies are under growing pressure to disclose how the disruption could affect their businesses.
    But the authors of a peer-reviewed article in Nature Climate Change warned that the drive to integrate global warming into financial decision-making had leap-frogged the models used to simulate the climate by “at least a decade”
    “In the same way that a Formula One Grand Prix car is not what you would use to pop to the supermarket, climate models were never developed to provide finessed information for financial risk,” said Andy Pitman, a climate scientist at the University of New South Wales and a co-author of the paper.
    Improper use of climate models could lead to unintended consequences, such as “greenwashing” some investments by downplaying risks, or hitting the ability of companies to raise debt by exaggerating others, the authors said.
    The problem is that existing climate models have been developed to predict temperature changes over many decades, at global or continental scales, whereas investors generally need location-specific analysis on much shorter timeframes.
    Neither are climate models designed to simulate extreme weather events, such as storms, which can cause sudden financial losses.
    To bridge the gap, the authors called for the development of new forms of climate projection to support the financial sector, backed by “climate translators” qualified to help regulators, investors and companies make better use of the science.
    “Businesses like using models, because the numbers give them a sense of security,” said Tanya Fiedler, a lecturer at the University of Sydney and lead author of the paper.    “It doesn’t necessarily mean the numbers are reliable.”
(Reporting by Matthew Green; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

2/8/2021 Second Major Storm In One Week Blankets Northeast In Snow by OAN Newsroom
A woman tries to protect her face from blowing snow while walking in white-out conditions in Jersey City, N.J., Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. With flakes falling since
Sunday evening, New York City and northern New Jersey braced for as much as 22 inches of snow, and parts of New England for a foot or more. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
    Around five to seven inches of snow accumulated in parts of Connecticut and New Jersey over the weekend.    Meanwhile, the National Weather Service predicted eight inches of snow in New York and about four inches in Washington, D.C.
    Additionally, Eastern Tennessee upward to southern New England was forecast to see wide swaths of snow between three to six inches.    This comes days after a storm dumped over two feet of snow in multiple parts of the northeast and Midwest.
    The last storm resulted in travel restrictions for multiple regions and many flight cancellations.
    “So I can also ask if you can please, I know we asked you to stay home for months now, you can go outside and build a snowman just don’t go out in the car,” stated Diane Gutierrez Scaccetti, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
    According to reports, the current storm is fast-moving and headed up the East Coast, but will not result in as much snow as the last storm.    Forecasters warned now is not the time to put away the snow shovels just yet.
    A polar vortex started bringing Arctic air and more snow southward from Canada to the U.S. Friday and is set to continue through the beginning of the week.
A man brushes snow off a car, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, in Lawrence, Mass. A sprawling, lumbering winter storm has walloped the
Eastern U.S., shutting down coronavirus vaccination sites, closing schools and halting transit. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

2/8/2021 Search On For More Than 200 After India Glacier Fractures, Sweeping Away All Before It by Saurabh Sharma
Members of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Army soldiers with their machines work to clear a tunnel after a part of a glacier
broke away, in Tapovan in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, February 8, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer NO ARCHIVES. NO RESALES.
    LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) – Indian rescuers searched on Monday for more than 200 people missing after part of a remote Himalayan glacier broke away, sweeping away bridges, breaking dams and sending a torrent of water, rocks and construction debris down a mountain valley.
    Sunday’s disaster below Nanda Devi, India’s second-highest peak, swept away the small Rishiganga hydro-electric project and damaged a bigger one further down the Dhauliganga river being built by state firm NTPC.
    Eighteen bodies had been recovered so far, officials said.
    Most of the missing were people working on the two projects, part of the many the government has been building deep in the mountains of Uttarakhand state as part of a development push.
    “As of now, around 203 people are missing,” state chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said.
    Mohd Farooq Azam, assistant professor, glaciology & hydrology at the Indian Institute of Technology in Indore, said a hanging glacier fractured.
    “Our current hypothesis is that the water accumulated and locked in the debris-snow below the glacier was released when the glacier-rock mass fell,” he said.
    Videos on social media showed water surging through a small dam site, washing away construction equipment and bringing down small bridges.
    “Everything was swept away, people, cattle and trees,” Sangram Singh Rawat, a former village council member of Raini, the site closest to the Rishiganga project, told media.
    Experts said it had snowed heavily last week in the Nanda Devi area and it was possible that some of the snow had started melting and may have led to an avalanche.
    Rescue squads were focused on drilling their way through a 2.5 km (1.5 miles) long tunnel at the Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project site that NTPC was building 5 km (3 miles) downstream where about 30 workers were believed>     “We are trying to break open the tunnel, it’s a long one, about 2.5 km,” said Ashok Kumar, the state police chief.    He said rescuers had gone 150 metres (yards) into the tunnel but debris and slush were slowing progress.
    There had been no voice contact yet with anyone in the tunnel, another official said.
    Heavy equipment has been employed and a dog squad flown to the site.
    On Sunday, 12 people were rescued from another much smaller tunnel.
    Uttarakhand is prone to flash floods and landslides and the disaster prompted calls by environmentalists for a review of power projects in the ecologically sensitive mountains.    In June 2013, record monsoon rains there caused devastating floods that killed nearly 6,000 people.
    Environmental groups have blamed construction activity in the mountains.
    Himanshu Thakkar, co-ordinator of the South Asia Network of Dams, Rivers and People, said that there were clear government recommendations against the use of explosives for construction purposes.    “There have been violations.”
    The disaster also raises questions about the strength of the dams.
    “The dams are supposed to withstand much greater force.    This was not a monsoon flood, it was much smaller.”
(Additional reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Neha Arora; Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Michael Perry, Raju Gopalakrishnan, Giles Elgood and Nick Macfie)

2/8/2021 Southwest France Hit By Heavy Floods, Paris Area On Flood Alert by stephane mahe
Rescue workers help residents in a flooded area as the Charente River overflows in Saintes after days
of rainy weather causing flooding in western France, France, February 8, 2021. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
    SAINTES, France (Reuters) – Southwestern France was hit by heavy flooding on Monday following days of torrential rain, and several other regions including eastern Paris were on flood alert ahead of a cold snap expected later this week.
    The worst flooding was in Saintes, 115 km (71 miles) north of Bordeaux, where the river Charente stood at a near-record level of 6.20 metres (20 feet).    The waters were at waist level in several streets and knee-deep in large parts of the town.
    Hundreds of people were evacuated as water seeping into cellars knocked out power supplies. Local authorities laid beams on cinder blocks so residents could walk from flooded houses to dry land.
    “We knew this was in a flood zone, but not that the area could flood up to this point, otherwise we would never have taken this flat,” said Saintes resident Cyril Cheransac, who had to leave the apartment where he has lived for less than a year.
    Fire brigade chief Pascal Leprince said his services had evacuated about 400 people in Saintes and he estimated that up to 800 people had left their houses on their own.
    To the southeast of Bordeaux, where the river Garonne last week flooded large areas between Marmande and La Reole, floodwaters were receding, but the waters of the Charente were not expected to fall before Wednesday.
    “We are at a peak level now. We expect water levels to rise a little more in coming days, and to subside from mid-week,” a Charente-Maritime spokeswoman said.
    The city of Cognac, centre of brandy production on the Charente river, also saw several streets flooded.
    The France Meteo weather service put seven departments on flood alert on Monday, including Charente-Maritime, two areas along the Loire river, the Somme and Oise regions in northern France and the Seine-et-Marne region east of Paris.
    In Paris, parts of quays on the river Seine have been inaccessible for days after the river broke its banks, but water levels, at 4.35 metres on Monday morning, remained well below recent highs of 5.88 metres seen in January 2018 and 6.10 metres in June 2016.
    Along the river Marne, which flows into the Seine on the eastern edge of the capital, the river broke its banks in several towns, notably in Conde-Sainte-Libaire and Esbly, where several streets were flooded.
(Reporting by Stephane Mahe in Saintes and Gonzalo Fuentes Moreno in Esbly; writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Gareth Jones)

2/9/2021 Dozens Trapped In Tunnel After Himalayan Glacier’s Collapse, Scores Still Missing
Members of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) conduct a rescue operation outside a tunnel after a part of a glacier
broke away, in Tapovan in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, February 9, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer NO ARCHIVES. NO RESALES.
    LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) – Rescuers raced to free around 35 Indian construction workers trapped in a tunnel, two days after the hydroelectric dam they were helping to build was swept away by a wall of water from a collapsed glacier that barrelled down a Himalayan river.
    The workers were among 197 people who officials said were still unaccounted for as the death toll from the disaster – which also broke apart bridges, cut off villages and scarred tracts of mountain landscape – rose to 28.
    Packing rocks, dirt and construction debris and thought to have been triggered when a glacier lake fed by India’s second highest peak, Nanda Devi, collapsed, the flood swept down the Dhauliganga river on Sunday.
    Officials said most of those still missing were shift workers at either the Tapovan Vishnugad hydroelectric project, where the tunnel was situated, or at Rishiganga, a smaller dam which was swept away in the flood.
    Soldiers using bulldozers had cleared away rocks at the mouth of the 2.5-km (1.5-mile) tunnel, and video posted by the Indo-Tibetan border police service showed rescuers checking the water level deeper inside.
    Rescuers hoped to open the tunnel up by Tuesday afternoon, said Ashok Kumar, director general of police in Uttarakhand state, where the flash flood occurred.
    Officials said thermal imaging equipment had also been deployed to help locate would-be survivors, and Uttarakhand’s chief minister, Trivendra Singh Rawat, said 28 bodies had been recovered so far.
    Thirteen villages had been cut off by the floodwaters were being resupplied from the air, Home Minister Amit Shah told parliament.
    A government official said many locals had apparently managed to escape the waters by fleeing to higher ground as soon as they heard the rumble of the water racing down the valley.
    “The workers in the tunnel may not have heard anything and got stuck,” the official said.
    The 520 MW Tapovan project, being built by state firm NTPC, is one of many run-of-river projects being developed to upgrade Uttarakhand’s power network.
    Officials have yet to conclusively determine what caused the disaster, though scientists investigating it believe heavy snowfall followed by bright sunshine combined with a rise in temperatures may have triggered the glacier’s collapse.
    A clearer picture of the circumstances is expected to emerge later this week, officials said.
(Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; editing by John Stonestreet)

2/9/2021 Mysterious monolith found in Turkey - Latest block discovered near UNESCO site by ASSOCIATED PRESS
    ISTANBUL – Turkish authorities are investigating the appearance of a mysterious monolith in southeastern Turkey.
    The metal block was found by a farmer on Friday in Sanliurfa province with old Turkic script that reads “Look at the sky, see the moon.”    The 10-foot monolith was discovered near the UNESCO World Heritage site named Gobekli Tepe, which has megalithic structures dating to the 10th millennium B.C.
    Turkish media reported Sunday that police officers were looking through CCTV footage and investigating vehicles that may have transported the monolith.
    Other mysterious monoliths have popped up and some have disappeared in numerous countries in recent months.
    The first, unexplained metal mononia, lith was discovered in Utah’s remote Red Rock Country on Nov. 18.     Since then, additional monoliths have turned up across the country in California, North Carolina, Pennsylva- Texas and around the world in such places as Romania, the United Kingdom, Poland, Finland and Ukraine.
Contributing: Sara M. Moniuszko, USA TODAY
Turkish police officers guard a monolith, found in a field near Sanliurfa, Turkey. The metal block was found by a farmer
Friday in Sanliurfa province with old Turkic script that reads “Look at the sky, see the moon.” BEKIR SEYHANLI/AP

2/9/2021 UAE’s Hope Probe Enters Mars Orbit In First Arab Mission by Lisa Barrington
Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, speaks during an event to mark Hope
Probe's entering the orbit of Mars, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, February 9, 2021. REUTERS/Christopher Pike
    DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates’ first mission to Mars reached the red planet and entered orbit on Tuesday after a seven-month, 494 million km journey, allowing it to start sending data about the Martian atmosphere and climate.
    This makes the UAE the fifth space agency to reach the planet.    The Mars programme is part of the UAE’s efforts to develop its scientific and technological capabilities and reduce its reliance on oil.    The UAE Space Agency even has a plan for a Mars settlement by 2117.
    “Contact with #HopeProbe has been established again.    The Mars Orbit Insertion is now complete,” the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) said.
    The attempt to lock into orbit around Mars had a 50% chance of failing, Dubai’s ruler and UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said on Tuesday.
    “This is the farthest point in the universe to be reached by Arabs throughout their history … Our goal is to give hope to all Arabs that we are capable of competing with the rest of the world,” he said.
    To enter Mars’ orbit, the probe needed to burn around half its 800 kg of onboard fuel to slow down enough not to overshoot.
    This year marks 50 years since independence from Britain and the founding of the UAE. Mars probes launched by China and NASA just after the UAE’s lift-off in July are also set to reach the planet this month.
    The Emirates Mars Mission, which has cost around $200 million, launched the Hope Probe from a Japanese space centre.    It aims to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere for the first time, studying daily and seasonal changes.
    The UAE first announced plans for the mission in 2014 and launched a National Space Programme in 2017 to develop local expertise.    Its population of 9.4 million, most of whom are foreign workers, lacks the scientific and industrial base of the big spacefaring nations.
    Hazza al-Mansouri became the first Emirati in space in 2019 when he flew to the International Space Station.
    To develop and build the Hope Probe, Emiratis and Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) worked with U.S. educational institutions.
(Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Kevin Liffey)

2/10/2021 Clean Up, Probe Underway Following Oil Spill In San Francisco Bay by OAN Newsroom
    Authorities in Northern California are working to clean up a massive oil spill in the San Francisco Bay.    According to officials, 600 gallons of petroleum leaked into the bay on Tuesday afternoon from a Chevron refinery.
    The spill reportedly came from a leak in an underground pipe and officials are trying to determine what happened.    Fire crews, the Coast Guard and hazmat teams are working to contain the leak.
    “There is a boon that has been placed around the oil in the water,” stated John Gioia, Contra Costa County supervisor.    “Unfortunately, some petroleum product has washed ashore along the Richmond shoreline, which, of course, has devastating impacts on bird life and marine life in the area.”
    Health officials said they will continue to monitor air quality in the area, but said there’s no major health threat at this time.

2/10/2021 In Indian Himalayas, Drones Draw Blank In Search For Workers Missing In Flooded Tunnel by Alasdair Pal and Neha Arora
Members of a rescue team work during a relief operation at the site of a destroyed bridge after a flash flood swept down a mountain valley
destroying dams and bridges, in Raini village in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, February 10, 2021. REUTERS/Anshree Fadnavis
    TAPOVAN, India (Reuters) – Rescuers in northern India made a vain attempt on Wednesday to find signs of life using a drone to search for 35 construction workers missing inside a tunnel days after a flash flood swept down a mountain valley destroying dams and bridges.
    Some 204 people remain unaccounted for since Sunday’s disaster in Uttarakhand state, most of them workers at the Tapovan Vishnugad hydroelectric project and at the smaller Rishiganga dam, which was swept away by the torrent.
    At the Tapovan tunnel’s entrance, anxious relatives lingered in heavy rain, desperate for word on whether anyone had been found.
    “We don’t know what else to do,” said Deepa Chauhan the sister of 30-year-old Patminder Bisht, a supervisor among the workers at the site.
    A drone with five cameras was sent inside a short stretch of the tunnel for a second day on Wednesday, but found no-one, either alive or dead, an official said.
    So far, police say, 32 bodies have been retrieved from the Himalayan mountainsides or pulled out of the Dhauliganga river further downstream.     As the hours passed in the winter cold, there was a mounting risk hypothermia could kill anyone in the tunnel who had survived, said Vivek Pandey, a spokesman for the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, a paramilitary force involved in the rescue effort.
    Excavators had cleared more than 80 metres of mud blocking the tunnel entrance, but still have at least another 80 metres to go to reach where most of the workers were believed to be trapped, officials at the site said.
Giant boulders were blocking progress.
    “Sediment and water has entered the tunnel and we are unable to clear it,” a government official monitoring the situation from New Delhi told Reuters.
    Elsewhere in the valley, helicopters dropped food parcels and villagers set up a zip wire across the river to deliver supplies to some of the 13 mountain villages cut off by the disaster.
    A team of scientists have reached the glacier site to determine what triggered a calamity, which fuelled concern about the building of hydropower projects in the ecologically sensitive mountains.
    The flash flood was initially thought to have been caused by a glacier breaking apart and crashing into the river, but some scientists now say it was more likely to have been due to an avalanche.
(Additional reporting by Saurabh Sharma in Lucknow; Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

2/11/2021 Authorities Blame Icy Roads For Massive Crash In Texas Involving At Least 80 Cars by OAN Newsroom
First responders worked the scene of a fatal crash on I-35 near downtown Fort Worth on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. (Amanda McCoy /Star-Telegram via AP)
    Rescue teams in Texas worked through the wreckage of a massive crash on a highway in Fort Worth on Thursday.    Authorities said icy roads were the main reason behind the crash, which killed at least five people and involved at least 80 cars.
    The pileup was reportedly spurred by one single crash.    When a driver got out to check the damage to his car, he was hit by several other vehicles, killing him.
    The Fort Worth Police Department emphasized several people were still trapped in their vehicle’s hours after the initial accident and urged people to avoid the highway.
    “Please keep in mind that the weather is still very aggressive.    So keep your distance, slow down and always wear your seatbelt,” Officer Daniel Segura of the Forth Worth Police Department stated.    “Thank you for everyone’s support, the whole community.    Please keep the families in your prayers as we continue with this ongoing and very active accident scene on north Fort Worth.”
    Authorities added the harsh weather has been causing dangerous road conditions and they encouraged safe driving practices.

2/12/2021 6 killed in massive crash on icy Texas interstate by Ryan W. Miller and Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
    NEW YORK – A winter storm dropped ice and snow on a 1,500-mile swath of land Thursday from central Texas through southern New Jersey, triggering widespread power outages and pileups on treacherous highways.
    In Fort Worth, Texas, where roads were slick and icy, at least six people were killed and 65 others hospitalized after a chain-reaction accident involving more than 100 vehicles early Thursday morning on Interstate 35, city officials said.
    Mike Drivdahl, a public information officer for the Fort Worth Fire Department, told USA TODAY that first responders had to rescue multiple people from their vehicles using hydraulic tools.
    Farther south, in Austin, more than two dozen vehicles were involved in a pileup on an icy road, and one person was injured, emergency officials said.    “This cannot be overstated today,” the National Weather Service in Austin tweeted Thursday morning.    “PLEASE, DO NOT TRAVEL in the Hill Country and northern I-35 corridor.    Conditions will continue to deteriorate as elevated roadways ice over first followed by other roads.”
    The storm that was expected to affect millions moved into parts of Arkansas and Kentucky overnight and Thursday morning.    It could bring up to half an inch of ice accumulation in some areas, the weather service said.
    The Ozarks to the I-64 corridor in eastern Kentucky could see a quarter inch of ice, according to the weather service.    “This amount of ice will likely lead to hazardous travel conditions, power outages and scattered tree damage,” the weather service said in a forecast.
    More than 74,000 customers in Texas, 51,000 in Kentucky and 40,000 in West Virginia were without power early Thursday night, according to tracking website
    Through Friday, the storm is forecast to bring light snow to the Ohio Valley and Central Appalachians to the Mid-Atlantic, which could see 2 to 6 inches, according to the weather service.    More freezing rain on Friday is also possible for the central Appalachians and into parts of Virginia and northern North Carolina, the weather service said.
    Memphis woke up Thursday morning to a fresh blanket of ice slush on the roads and sagging tree limbs heavy with a sheath of frozen precipitation.    Wednesday evening into Thursday morning, there was also a rare appearance of “thunder ice,” or a thunderstorm with freezing rain or ice.
Contributing: Billy Kobin, Courier Journal; Micaela A. Watts, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Associated Press
Emergency responders attend to a multi-car pileup on state Highway 45 in Austin, Texas, on Thursday. JAY JANNER/AP

2/12/2021 Global Spending On Green Economic Stimulus Slowly Tracking Upwards: Study by Matthew Green
FILE PHOTO: Larches stand in the snow near the village of Seefeld, Austria, November 14, 2019 REUTERS/Angelika Warmuth/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) – Massive post-pandemic stimulus packages are mostly failing to support action to tackle climate change or halt the loss of biodiversity, but the amount of green spending is slowly tracking upwards, according to a study published on Friday.
    Advocates of rapid action to slash planet-warming emissions see the packages as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest at the scale needed to a catalyse a shift to a low-carbon economy in time to avoid catastrophic global warming.
    Of a total of $14.9 trillion in stimulus spending announced globally since the pandemic began, so far $1.8 trillion is being used to mitigate the impact of polluting sectors such as energy, transport, industry, farming and waste, the report found.
    Nevertheless, moves by countries including the United States, Canada, China, Japan and others to support sectors such as renewable energy, electric vehicles or afforestation suggest recoveries are becoming more green-tinted, said the study by think tanks Vivid Economics and Finance for Biodiversity.
    “We are seeing momentum building towards a greener stimulus package, but there’s still a long way to go,” Jeffrey Beyer, an economist at Vivid Economics and co-author of the report, known as the Greenness of Stimulus Index, told Reuters.
    Although U.S. spending has so far mostly propped up business as usual, President Joe Biden’s moves to act on climate change and environmental protections since taking office in January sharply improved the country’s ranking.
    Canada’s ranking also gained after the government announced a range of green investments in sectors including energy efficiency and ecosystem restoration.
    Japan was ranked the top green stimulus country in Asia after adopting measures designed to boost cleaner energy and transport, although the gains were outweighed by the country’s continued backing for fossil fuels.
    China’s score, also weighed down by its support for heavy industry, improved due to plans to expand wind and solar.
(Reporting by Matthew Green in London; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

2/12/2021 White House Launches Clean Energy Effort, $100 Million In Technology Funding by Valerie Volcovici
FILE PHOTO: Solar panels are seen on a parking garage in Palm Springs, California April 13, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Thursday announced the U.S. Department of Energy will offer
$100 million in funding to support low-carbon energy technologies and create a working group to aid their development and sale.
    National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy revealed the news at the White House’s first meeting of the National Climate Task Force, which included cabinet leaders from 21 federal agencies.    The task force was created in President Joe Biden’s Jan. 27 executive order on tackling climate change.
    McCarthy reiterated the Biden administration believes an aggressive shift to a clean energy economy can reinvigorate the U.S. economy and create jobs.
    “We are positioning America to create good-paying, union jobs in a just and equitable way in communities across the nation that will be at the forefront of new manufacturing for clean energy and new technology, tools, and infrastructure that will help us adapt to a changing climate,” McCarthy said.
    The White House also said the new Climate Innovation Working Group will focus on commercializing technologies like direct air capture and battery storage, and “emphasize research to bolster and build critical clean energy supply chains in the United States.”
    The Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, funds high risk but potentially transformational energy projects such as next generation batteries for electric cars and storing energy from wind and solar power.
    The previous Trump administration had sought to terminate ARPA-E and loan programs by the department but the program had bipartisan support in Congress and lawmakers continued to fund it.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

2/13/2021 Winter Weather Puts A Damper On Valentine’s Weekend by OAN Newsroom
A snowman sits in a field with the skyline of New York City in the background, from a park in Jersey City, N.J., Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. A major snowstorm
pushed through the Northeastern United States on Sunday, less than a week after a storm dumped more than 2 feet on parts of the region. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
    From North Dakota to Louisiana and D.C. to Seattle, the U.S. was hit with wintry weather in almost every nook and cranny.
    On Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) issued the emergency declaration for all 254 counties.    This came in response to a major winter storm, which was forecasted to bring blizzard-like conditions and frigid temperatures to the Lone Star State over the next several days.
    Abbott said the Texas Division of Emergency Management deployed a number of resources to assist local officials in their response efforts.    He added the Texas State     Operations Center was ordered to operate for 24-hours a day until the weather subsides.
    “Please stay off the roads,” a Texas Division of Emergency Management official said.    “Starting Sunday night through Tuesday, unless it is a dire supercritical situation, I’m going to ask you to stay off the road.”
First responder’s cleanup after a massive pileup on I-35W Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, near downtown Fort Worth, Texas.
At least five people were killed and dozens injured Thursday in a massive crash involving 75 to 100 vehicles on an icy Texas interstate,
police said, as a winter storm dropped freezing rain, sleet and snow on parts of the U.S. (Yffy Yossifor/Star-Telegram via AP)
    In contrast, golfers in Wisconsin refused to stop practicing their swing despite the freezing temperatures.    Business was booming at Moorland Road Golf Center in Milwaukee even as temperatures continued to drop.
    The driving range provided heaters at each tee as well as distance markers that were visible above the snow line.    Employees said golfers were happy and grateful they remained open during the pandemic and winter weather.
    “I think they’re the smart ones,” employee Mike Vance said.    “I mean in the wintertime, there’s not a lot to do, especially with the COVID environment.    So if you can have an opportunity to get outside and practice the game you love?    I think they’re the smart ones.”
    Employees advised golfers to keep their clubs indoors, to check the weather and to monitor wind advisories before coming to the range.

2/14/2021 Tesla Semi To Have 500-KWh Battery Pack by OAN Newsroom
Tesla Chairman and CEO Elon Musk unveiled the new “Semi” electric Truck to buyers and journalists on
November 16, 2017 in Hawthorne, California, near Los Angeles. (Photo by VERONIQUE DUPONT/AFP via Getty Images)
    Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the battery pack sizes for the company’s highly anticipated Semi trucks.    In a recent interview with Joe Rogan, Musk explained the standard Semi will have a range of 300 miles, and cost upwards of of $150,000.
    However, there are other options including a more expensive truck with a longer range.    Tesla is planning to offer a Semi with a range of 500 miles for $180,000, this version is the one that is closest to the model Musk described at the Semi’s unveiling in 2017.
Tesla Chairman and CEO Elon Musk stepped out of the new “Semi” electric Truck during the unveiling for buyers and
journalists on November 16, 2017 in Hawthorne, California, near Los Angeles. (Photo by VERONIQUE DUPONT/AFP via Getty Images)
    “Since the vast majority of routes are under 250 miles, it means that you can go to your destination and back, even if your destination has no charger,” Musk stated.
    Tesla is planning to start producing the trucks later this year at a facility in Texas, which is currently under construction.    The company projects they will be able to produce around 2,500 trucks by 2022.

2/15/2021 Winter Storm Wreaks Havoc Across The U.S. by OAN Newsroom
Snowplows works to clear the road during a winter storm Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, in Oklahoma City. Snow and ice blanketed large swaths of the U.S. on Sunday, prompting canceled
flights, making driving perilous and reaching into areas as far south as Texas’ Gulf Coast, where snow and sleet were expected overnight. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
    Winter weather advisories are in effect for multiple states from coast to coast as a major storm batters the country.
    At least 11 people died over the weekend in weather related car crashes, including nine in Texas, one in Kentucky and another person in Oklahoma.
    According to reports, more than 2 million people are without power as the storm brings strong winds, heavy snow and freezing temperatures.
    The governors of Oklahoma and Arkansas have activated National Guard units and a Federal Emergency Declaration has been issued in Texas.
    More than 2,000 flights have been canceled amid the severe weather.    The storm is also expected to bring more snow and ice to parts of the South, Midwest and East Coast later this week.

2/15/2021 Japan Residents Speak On Magnitude 7.3 Earthquake by OAN Newsroom
A structure falls due to an earthquake in Koorimachi, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan early Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. A strong earthquake hit off the coast of northeastern
Japan late Saturday, shaking Fukushima, Miyagi and other areas, but there was no threat of a tsunami, officials said. (Jun HIrata/Kyodo News via AP)
    An earthquake jolted the Fukushima region of Japan, which caused a blackout for more than one million households.    Many people were injured due to the quake, but Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said no deaths have been reported.
    Japan’s meteorological service said the earthquake presented no danger of a tsunami, but it caused water cut outs and the suspension of rail services.
    “I have lived in Japan for nearly 10 years and I have experienced many earthquakes, none of which felt as strong as the one on Saturday,” recounted local resident Deng Yanyang.    “I think it was the strongest earthquake in 10 years.”
Heavy machinery work to remove a landslide blocking Joban Expressway after a strong earthquake hit Soma city, Fukushima prefecture,
northeastern Japan, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. The strong earthquake shook the quake-prone areas of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures late
Saturday, setting off landslides and causing power blackouts for thousands of people. (Yusuke Ogata/Kyodo News via AP)
    According to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, water in a nuclear fuel pool spilled over, but did not leak in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
    This was the same power plant, which suffered a nuclear meltdown after the magnitude nine earthquake and tsunami that devastated the same region in 2011.    The most recent earthquake occurred right before the 10 year mark of that disaster, which left 28,000 people dead or missing.

2/15/2021 Millions Without Power In Texas Amid ‘Unprecedented’ Winter Storm by OAN Newsroom
Sam Fagg skied on the beach near 45th Street in Galveston, Texas on Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, after an overnight
winter storm covered the island in ice and snow. (Jennifer Reynolds/The Galveston County Daily News via AP)
    Officials in Texas sounded the alarm as turbines froze and power supplies were threatened.
    At least 2.5 million residents are without power in the Lone Star State and electric companies are issuing rolling blackouts
.    Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) reassured residents on Monday, saying the state’s power grid was not compromised by the freezing temperatures, but warned the storm is unprecedented.
    A number of residents said they are trying to stay positive.
    “Water was gone at 8:30, power was off, we’re obviously one of millions in the same boat as everyone in Houston,” Texas resident Matt Gelatti said.    “We’re out in Cady and it’s cold, but we’re trying to get through it.    As you can see everybody is out and about.”
Icicles hung on a watch for ice on bridge road sign Monday, Feb. 15, 2021 in Houston. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    Officials are working to restore power to residents, but said thousands at least may still wake up without power.    Several cities have opened warming centers and most of the state’s airports have canceled any scheduled flights.

2/16/2021 Winter Storms Affect More Than 150M Americans Across 25 States by OAN Newsroom
A motorist digs a path for his car Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, to enter an unplowed side street in the Bronzville neighborhood of the South Side
of Chicago. A winter storm that blanketed the Chicago area overnight with up to 18.5 inches of snow. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
    Millions of Americans are, once again, being ordered to stay inside their homes. This time, however, it’s due to massive winter storms.    On Monday, the U.S. National Weather Service and several news outlets reported 150 million Americans across 25 states are facing some kind of storm warning.
    Officials in seven states, including Oregon, Texas and Mississippi, have already declared emergencies in their states.    The storms are leaving more than 4 million people without electricity amid freezing to subzero temperatures.
    Texas has been hit particularly hard during the storms with more than 2.5 million residents experiencing power outages.    This has left health care officials scrambling to keep thousands of doses of coronavirus vaccines from going to waste. Additionally, health officials are waiting on a now delayed shipment of more than 400,000 doses of vaccines.
A motorist digs a path to his car Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, after an overnight snow storm
dumped up to 18.5 inches in the Chicago area. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
    Officials are also calling on residents to watch out for dangerous road and travel conditions. Slick roads have already contributed to the deaths of more than 10 people in Texas and Oklahoma.    Over the weekend, Texas officials responded to a more than 130 vehicle pile up in Fort Worth, which resulted in the death of six people.
    “It is slick and it is dangerous, so again, make sure that you give yourself extra time even if you are a little bit late…I’d rather you get there intact and healthy than the alternative,” stated Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D).    “These storms will affect most of the Commonwealth with potentially dangerous conditions much of this week.”
    Air travel is also taking a huge hit amid the storms with more than 5,600 flights getting cancelled.    Meanwhile, the U.S. National Weather Service has predicted the massive winter storms will travel through the Southern Plains and enter the Northeast on Tuesday.

2/16/2021 3 Dead, 10 Injured After Tornado Hits N.C. by OAN Newsroom
A damaged vehicle sits among debris after a deadly tornado tore through Brunswick County, N.C., Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. North Carolina authorities say multiple people are dead
and others were injured after a tornado ripped through Brunswick County, leaving a trail of heavy destruction. (Emily Flax/Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
    Three people are dead and 10 others are injured after a tornado demolished several homes in North Carolina.    The tornado hit late Monday night in Brunswick County, in turn, leading the local fire department to deploy search and rescue>     Authorities secured gas leaks in the area and conducted thorough searches as soon as daylight broke on Tuesday morning.    The tornado came as part of the same freezing snowstorm, which devastated Texas on Monday.
    An emergency services official said all missing persons have been located.    The county’s commissioner, Randy Thompson, noted the community came together in helping each other.
    “We have families reaching out to their neighbors and assisting their neighbors at this time,” he stated.    “We have many residents that have been relocated because of the damage to their homes, to their neighbors…we’re currently in the process of setting up a shelter.”
    Brunswick County and much of the surrounding areas have remained under a tornado watch as storms continue.
Fallen trees litter the ground after a tornado tore through a residential area of Brunswick County, N.C., Tuesday,
Feb. 16, 2021, killing multiple people and injuring others in its trail of destruction. (James Lee/The News & Observer via AP)

2/16/2021 NASA Rover To Touch Down In Mars On Thursday by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Dec. 17, 2019 photo made available by NASA, engineers watched the first driving test for the Mars 2020 rover,
later named “Perseverance,” in a clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. (J. Krohn/NASA via AP)
    NASA engineers are gearing up to receive the first images of their monumental mission to explore Mars.    According to reports, officials are anxiously awaiting radio transmission from their Perseverance rover.
    This is a part of of a nearly $3 billion and 300 million mile mission to see if there was any life on Mars.    The Perseverance is programmed to land on Jezero, a 28-mile-wide crater.
    Engineers said the six-wheeled rover will face “seven minutes of terror” while descending from Mars’s atmosphere to its surface.
    “Our journey has been from following the water, to seeing whether this planet was habitable, to finding complex chemicals,” NASA Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen said.    “Now, we’re at the advent of an entirely new phase, returning samples, an aspirational goal that has been with the science community for decades.”
In this image provided by NASA, Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, spoke during a NASA Perseverance
rover mission engineering and technology overview, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)
    The Perseverance rover is expected to finish it’s seven month journey on Thursday.

2/17/2021 Millions Of Americans Brace For Another Winter Storm by OAN Newsroom
People line up to collect firewood from a wood heap opened to the public Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Dallas. Groups of thirteen
were allowed six minutes to load as much wood as they could carry away from the recycling center. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
    At least 26 people have been reported dead as a result of a series of winter storms across the country.
    Millions are still without power in Texas and schools remain closed.    Additionally, COVID-19 vaccine shipments and distribution has been put on hold amid frigid temperatures as well as massive amounts of snow.
    In an interview Tuesday night, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said frozen wind turbines contributed to the widespread power outages and called for an investigation into the state’s energy company known as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
    Abbott previously noted that natural gas and coal generators were also affected by the blizzard.    Local leaders also blasted ERCOT for the power grid failure.
    “We’ve been hit hard by nature this week, but we can’t deny that some of this is a manmade disaster as well,” stated Lina Hidalgo, (D) Harris County Judge.    “And the 5 million residents of this county, and really this region and the state, will deserve answers from ERCOT and the state once this is over.”
    More dangerous weather is expected Wednesday with winter storm advisories issued from Oklahoma to Ohio and Georgia.    Meanwhile, major airports are closed and thousands of flights have been canceled across the country.
    The White House said it’s in touch with the governors of states impacted by the storms.

2/17/2021 ‘Mattress Mack’ Opens Texas Furniture Stores As Shelters Amid Storm by OAN Newsroom
Vehicles drive on snow and sleet covered roads Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Spring, Texas. A winter storm dropping snow
and ice sent temperatures plunging across the southern Plains, prompting a power emergency in Texas a day after
conditions canceled flights and impacted traffic across large swaths of the U.S. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
    A business owner in Texas converted his furniture stores into warming centers for those in need amid the winter storm.    Jim McIngvale, better known as “Mattress Mack,” said two of his Gallery Furniture showrooms in Houston will be opened for anyone who needs a warm place to stay.
    McIngvale noted coronavirus protocols will be followed and security will be provided.    He also urged residents to drive safely as they make their way to his stores.
    “We are open as a shelter, [and] already got people coming in,” McIngvale said.    “If your home is out of power, come out and see us.    We’ve got food, we’ve got water, obviously bathrooms and we’ve got a facility that has lots of comfy furniture for you to ride out this storm.    So we look forward to seeing you.”
    This is not the first time “Mattress Mack” has lent out a helping hand.    Back in 2017, he also opened up his furniture stores to provide shelter for residents who were displaced during Hurricane Harvey.

2/18/2021 Gov. Abbott: All Sources Of Power In Texas Have Been Compromised by OAN Newsroom
Snow covers the ground in Waco, Texas as severe winter weather conditions over the last few days has forced road closures
and power outages over the state on February 17, 2021. (Photo by MATTHEW BUSCH/AFP via Getty Images)
    Texas officials gave an update on the ongoing power outages amid a historic winter storm. On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) said all sources of his state’s power were compromised by the freezing temperatures.
    “Every source of power in the state of Texas has been compromised, whether it be renewable power, such as wind or solar,” Abbott stated.    “Access to coal-generated power [and] access to gas generated power also have been compromised, whether it be with regard to systems freezing up or equipment failures.”
    This came as extreme weather swept through parts of the U.S., leaving more than two dozen people dead and millions without power.    Abbott noted the Lone Star State is still uncertain where power will be restored and when.
Residents help a pickup driver get out of ice on the road in Round Rock, Texas, on February 17, 2021,
after a winter storm. (Photo by SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images)
    “Decisions about power outages are made by either city own utilities or co-op own utilities,” Abbott added.    “And it would not be any state-based entity that makes those decisions except power outages by investor-owned utilities.”
    Texas’ power grid, managed by the non-profit organization the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, was hit hard by the storms.    The state’s power grid is largely isolated from other major grids, which makes it difficult to import more power when there are deficits.
    The ER-COT has been accused of failing to take proper precautions in the case of major freezing weather events.    Abbott said he wants a state investigation to be launched into the organization’s safety precautions and he will be pushing for stricter regulations moving forward.
    In the meantime, the cold spell in Texas is expected to stretch on into the weekend.
    “Cold temperatures will remain across much of the state for the next few days,” Abbott stated.    “Along I-10 and north will remain freezing through Thursday night with ultracold temperatures once again on Thursday night.    We should, across the state, start getting above freezing on Saturday.”

2/18/2021 Texas Faces Food, Water Shortages Amid Winter Storm Power Outages by OAN Newsroom
KILLEEN, TEXAS – FEBRUARY 18: A tractor trailer is stuck in the slick ice and snow on State Highway 195 on February 18, 2021 in Killeen, Texas. Winter storm Uri has brought historic
cold weather and power outages to Texas as storms have swept across 26 states with a mix of freezing temperatures and precipitation. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
    Texans were in survival mode as the state faced food and water shortages during the winter storm crisis.    Thursday marked the fifth day roughly 500,000 homes throughout Texas were without power.
    Record-breaking freezing temperatures paired with mass power outages disrupted the state’s food supply chain.    According to reports, fruit and vegetable crops in the Rio Grande Valley froze over and the Texas Department of Agriculture commissioner said dairy farms were forced to pour out over $8 million worth of milk every day.
FORT WORTH, TX – FEBRUARY 18: People shop depleted produce aisles in Central Market after a
snow storm on February 18, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
    Reports said most grocery store shelves were empty as state officials pleaded with residents to conserve water.
    “We don’t have any water,” Houston resident Paula Recio stated.    “I’m here to get water, I’ve been to several different stores and no one has water.”
    More than seven million people were under “boil water orders” as treatment plants couldn’t function.    Temperatures are expected to be above freezing for most of the state by Friday, but it is unknown when all power will be restored.

2/18/2021 Nasa Celebrating Landing Of ‘Perseverance’ Mars Rover by OAN Newsroom
Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate,
and JPL Director Michael Watkins give a thumbs up at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) following the successful Mars 2020 Perseverance
rover landing on February 18, 2021 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
    NASA scientists celebrated the successful landing of the ‘Perseverance’ rover on Mars following a seven month mission.    On Thursday, the first images of the red planet were beamed down to Earth into mission control at a lab in Pasadena, California.
    The landing was part of a larger mission, which started in July with the goal of finding signs of ancient life on Mars.    The rover carried a number of tools including a helicopter drone, which will take photos, record audio clips and collect samples frm Mars to bring back to Earth.
    Scientists want to analyze the samples to see if human life could be supported on another planet.

2/19/2021 ‘We got it’: Rover lands on Mars - Perseverance sends images after touchdown by Emre Kelly, Florida Today USA TODAY NETWORK
    NASA’s newest robotic explorer has landed safely on Mars after a nearly 300-million-mile journey that began on a Florida launch pad.
    The agency’s Perseverance rover touched down on the Red Planet at 3:55 p.m. EST Thursday, bringing an end to the “seven minutes of terror” that saw a fiery atmospheric entry and parachute-assisted descent.    The rover’s landing mechanism then fired eight retrorockets to slow down and guide it to a proper landing spot before using nylon cords to lower it onto the surface.
    “Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance is safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the signs of past life,” exclaimed NASA engineer Swati Mohan.
NASA’s Perseverance rover sent its first image of the surface of Mars shortly after its successful landing Thursday. PROVIDED BY NASA
    All told, the unique landing maneuver successfully decelerated Perseverance from thousands of miles an hour to just 1.7 mph at touchdown.    And because of an 11-minute delay in transmissions from Earth to Mars, the rover did it all on its own – no human input was possible.
    Mission managers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California quickly received data from Mars satellites and the rover itself confirming a good touchdown, including the first images from Perseverance: scenes of a desolate, dusty landscape that looks dangerous to humans but full of potential for this scientist-explorer.
    “We got it.    We’re there,” JPL Chief Engineer Rob Manning, who has worked on Mars landings for decades, said after landing.    “This is so exciting, and the team is beside themselves.    This is so surreal.    So much has been riding on this.”
    Minutes after the landing, Perseverance continued sending images from its hazard-detecting navigational cameras.
    Manning also confirmed teams knew exactly where the rover landed well ahead of schedule.
    “This is a sign that NASA works,” Manning said.    “When we put our arms together and our hands together and our brains together, we can succeed.    This is what NASA does and this is what we can do as a country.”
    The Red Planet’s newcomer now finds itself in Jezero Crater, a region of Mars once believed to harbor a massive lake fed by rivers of running water.    The regolith and rocks here will be prime targets for Perseverance’s suite of instruments designed to hunt for past or present signs of life.
    Live video was made possible by NASA during Perseverance’s approach, entry, descent and landing.
    “Perseverance is our robotic astrobiologist, and it will be the first rover NASA has sent to Mars with the explicit goal of searching for signs of ancient life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
    Though Perseverance isn’t the first rover on Mars – the U.S. and other countries have been targeting the Red Planet for decades – it’s the most advanced and fastest, and it will likely survive longer than its predecessors.
    Unlike older rovers that relied on solar power, Perseverance runs on nuclear power.    This is especially important on a planet where massive, global dust storms can render solar panels useless.
    “It’s the biggest and best rover that we’ve ever sent to Mars,” said NASA’s director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mike Watkins.    “It can really do amazing things in terms of its own scientific exploration of this habitable environment at Jezero.”
    NASA expects Perseverance’s surface mission to last about one Martian year, or two Earth years.
    The 2,200-pound rover, nearly identical though slightly larger than its 2012 Curiosity predecessor, has several suites of onboard instruments that will be used to find, analyze, and store rock samples.    A drill on the end of its “arm” is designed to grab core samples, while systems that use X-rays and ultraviolet spectrometers can conduct scientific investigations right there on the surface.
    There’s some forward-thinking, too: Perseverance can not only store its core samples in tubes and put those in its “body,” but it can later remove and scatter them around the surface of Jezero Crater for a yet-to-be-scheduled sample return mission.    Though Perseverance is no slouch with its onboard instruments, scientists hope to use their own tools and equipment on samples obtained directly from Mars.
    Manasvi Lingam, a professor of astrobiology, aerospace, physics and space sciences at Florida Tech, said bringing samples back to Earth has two advantages for scientists: the breadth and number of instruments available on Earth vastly outclass what’s available on Perseverance; and despite technological advances, having a human eye looking at samples is still the preferred method.
    Nicknamed “Percy” by her Jet Propulsion Laboratory mission managers, NASA’s latest rover isn’t alone in Jezero Crater.    A 4-pound helicopter named Ingenuity hitched a ride down to the surface on the rover’s “belly.”
    Ingenuity’s mission is simple and unrelated to the larger science objectives: conduct the first-ever flight on another world.    To accomplish this in an atmosphere just 1% as dense as Earth’s, NASA had to build a small vehicle with large carbon fiber blades and make it light enough to lift off.
    Using two cameras, the small helicopter will attempt the first test flights over a yet-to-be-determined 30-day period.    Ingenuity could offer robotic and human explorers of the future a critical high-level view of the planet.
    Perseverance began its journey to Mars in July 2020 on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, which vaulted the payload on a complicated trajectory from Cape Canaveral.
    “We or our heritage rockets have done every U.S. mission to Mars, so it’s something that’s really special to us,” Tory Bruno, CEO of ULA, told Florida Today, part of the USA TODAY Network.    “We’re really excited and honored to be trusted with a mission like this to Mars.”

2/19/2021 Texas Restores Most Electricity, Rolling Blackouts To Continue by OAN Newsroom
A tractor trailer is stuck in the slick ice and snow on State Highway 195 on February 18, 2021 in Killeen, Texas. Winter storm Uri has brought historic cold weather and
power outages to Texas as storms have swept across 26 states with a mix of freezing temperatures and precipitation. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
    While power has been restored to millions in Texas after days of massive blackouts, nearly half a million are still without access to electricity.    On Thursday, the top official in charge of power and electricity in Texas said the state was minutes away from a catastrophic failure that could have left it in the dark for months.
    Bill Magness, President of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), said if grid operators had not begun the rolling blackouts then the entire system could have failed.
    “As we continue to manage the bitter cold storm we’re seeing, we are trying to get people’s power back on as quickly as possible,” he stated.    “But in order to do that, we need to be able to safely manage the balance of supply and demand on the grid.”
    His words come as energy operators and state leaders face criticism for the prolonged outages, which have left many residents in freezing temperatures with little access to food and water.
    Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) slammed ERCOT for their lack of transparency and said he will now urge state legislatures to “push through” legislation that will require all energy plants to “winterize” their facilities.
    “Everyone knows how challenging the past few days have been for our fellow Texans,” stated the governor.    “I want everyone to know that all of us and the state of Texas believe it is completely unacceptable that you had to endure one minute of the challenge that you faced.”
    The deadly winter storm brought record low temperatures and heavy snow to the state with at least 34 deaths attributed to the weather.
    Energy experts said these blackouts occur in Texas about every 10 years and significant changes need to be made to the state’s infrastructure if they want to avoid future problems.
    “Texas is basically an isolated grid, there’s something unique about the Texas grid that has had its pros and cons,” noted Sergio Castellanos, a professor at the University of Texas.    “We have seen it highlights and evidence some of the shortcomings that is the lack of interconnection with other states, which could mitigate the concentrated weather impacts on a given region such as Texas.”
    Meanwhile, ERCOT claims to have made “significant progress” to restore power to Texans this week.    The company warned that emergency conditions could remain amid damage to the system and some level of rotating outages will continue in the coming days to keep the grid stable.

2/19/2021 Explosion In NYC Housing Complex Leaves At Least 10 Injured by OAN Newsroom
Fire Department of New York (FDNY) firefighter. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
    At least 10 people, including six children, were injured in New York City in the aftermath of a gas explosion at a condo unit in the Bronx.    Firefighters said the cause of Thursday’s blast was not immediately clear.
    According to authorities, two of the victims were critically injured and transported to the hospital.    Before firefighters made it to the scene, a few bystanders managed to catch a baby that was tossed to them from the second floor.
    “I actually took this jacket off and tried to make a little bit of padding for the baby,” Morris Park resident Anthony Collins said.    “The mother was very nervous, so I just told her just drop the baby and it’ll be secure as soon as it hits this jacket.    So that’s what happened.”
    The FDNY said everyone was lucky enough to make it out of the multi-family home.    In the meantime, investigators continued to look into the cause of the explosion.

2/19/2021 Report: 60 Generators Sent To Texas By FEMA Still Sitting In Staging Area Since Early Thursday by OAN Newsroom
The logo of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is seen at its headquarters in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
    Emergency equipment given to Texas by FEMA has reportedly been holed up at a staging area in Fort Worth since Thursday.    According to reports, the agency sent 60 generators to the Lone Star State, but state officials did not provide instructions on how they should be delivered.
    Additionally, 10,000 gallons of diesel have been sent to the state, awaiting approval from local officials before they can be distributed.    Experts said part of the issue has been caused by delays in transportation due to the severe weather.
    HHS declared a public health emergency Thursday, which allowed the Texas Centers for Medicare and Medicaid greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs in a disaster situation.
    Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources said it will have a hearing regarding the reliability of the country’s electric grid.    On Friday, a spokesperson for Committee Chairman Sen. Joe Manchin said the lawmaker was following the situation in Texas closely.
    Republican Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) voiced support for the hearing.    He said the question ultimately becomes “why weren’t we prepared?” and “what can we do to ensure this doesn’t happen again?

2/19/2021 Houston Residents Wait In Long Lines For Safe Drinking Water by OAN Newsroom
A worker waited to load cases of water into vehicles at a City of Houston water distribution
site Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
    The major winter storm has forced Houston residents to wait in long lines for clean drinking water.
    City officials provided safe water for the community on Friday, as residents waited in miles long lines outside a water distribution center.    The cold snap knocked supply chains offline and damaged water pipes, causing a temporary shut-off for entire cities.
Car lined up outside at a City of Houston water distribution site Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
    Workers and volunteers in Houston packed pallets of water into trunks for hundreds of residents desperate for clean water.
    “The water came on for a slight moment I believe on Thursday,” Houston resident Aisha Wright said.    “But it only came on as a trickle. So we weren’t able to get any water or anything like that.”
    Houston officials have opened up a total of 11 water distribution sites across the city.

2/19/2021 Gov. Abbott: Our Priority Is Getting Food, Water To Texans by OAN Newsroom
AUSTIN, TX – MAY 18: Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the reopening of more Texas businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic
at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol on May 18, 2020 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images)
    Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) said he’s pooling resources to get food and water to residents.    During a press conference on Friday, Abbott announced his office is working with local and federal agencies to set up water testing labs in order to bolster the state’s clean water supply.
    He also vowed to cut regulations for truck drivers to help expedite food deliveries from farms to retail stores.
    “I want to reassure you that we are using every single tool at our disposal to make sure that your needs are going to be met,” Abbott stated.    “The truth is what we always know, and that is for decades, more than a century, Texans have faced enormous challenges, and we’ve always overcome those challenges in the past and will do so again this time.”
    In the meantime, Abbott is urging residents who want to lend a helping hand to contact the Red Cross or to coordinate how to provide supplies to struggling Texans.

2/20/2021 NASA rover is tweeting from Mars, sort of by Jordan Culver, USA TODAY
    “I’m safe on Mars” isn’t a tweet you see every day.    It’s the update provided by the Twitter account for NASA’s Perseverance rover (@NASAPersevere) after it successfully landed Thursday.     “I’ve come nearly 300 million miles, and I’m just getting started,” the rover’s account tweeted.
    Behind those tweets is a five-person team: Stephanie L. Smith, Linda Rivera, Scott Hulme, Carolina Martínez and Gabrielle Moreira.
    The character-building process wasn’t about just giving a voice to Perseverance, but also a personality: Its hobbies are photography, collecting rocks and off-roading.
    And the team behind Perseverance’s social media presence isn’t shy about comparisons to past projects.
    “If Perseverance is anything, she’s a boss,” said Smith, the JPL’s digital and social media lead.    “She’s the biggest, most ambitious rover we’ve ever sent to the surface of another planet.    She’s got a rock vaporizing laser on her head, just like Curiosity did.”
    Perseverance will spend about two Earth years exploring the landing site region, according to NASA.

2/20/2021 US returns to Paris climate accord by Seth Borenstein and Ellen Knickmeyer, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The United States officially returned to the Paris global climate accord Friday, and President Joe Biden and other U.S. leaders declared the nation could not afford to sideline the growing climate crisis again.
    “We can no longer delay or do the bare minimum to address climate change.    This is a global existential crisis, and all of us will suffer if we fail,” Biden told European leaders at a Munich security conference by video Friday.
    “We’re back,” Biden said, renewing assurances the U.S. was back in global initiatives at large.
    Former President Donald Trump declared in 2017 that the U.S. would pull out of the pact, but it did not officially occur until Nov. 4, according to the pact’s bylaws.    The decision was part of Trump’s withdrawal from global allegiances in general and his often-stated view that man-made global warming was a mistaken take by scientists.
    The U.S. return to the Paris agreement became official Friday, almost a month after Biden told the United Nations that America wants back in.    “A cry for survival comes from the planet itself,” Biden said in his inaugural address. “A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear now
    Although Friday’s return is heavily symbolic, world leaders said they expect America to prove its seriousness after four years of being pretty much absent.    They are especially anticipating an announcement from the U.S. in coming months on its goal for cutting damaging emissions from burning coal and petroleum by 2030.
    The Biden administration said it will settle on a tougher new target for the U.S. emissions cuts by the time Biden hosts a planned Earth Day global summit for world leaders on April 22.
    Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office reversing the pullout ordered by Trump.
    United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday that the official American reentry “is itself very important,” as is Biden’s announcement that the U.S. will return to providing climate aid to poorer nations, as promised in 2009.
    “It’s the political message that’s being sent,” said Christiana Figueres, the former United Nations climate chief.    She was one of the leading forces in hammering out the 2015 mostly voluntary agreement in which nations set goals to reduce greenhouse gases.
    One fear was that other nations would follow America in abandoning the fight, but none did, Figueres said.    She said the real issue was four years of climate inaction by the Trump administration.    American cities, states and businesses still worked to reduce heat-trapping carbon dioxide but without the federal government.
    “From a political symbolism perspective, whether it’s 100 days or four years, it’s basically the same thing,” Figueres said.    Already more than 120 nations, including No.1 emitter China, have promised to have net zero carbon emissions around midcentury.
    The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education.    The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Protesters against Exxon Mobil gather in New York in November 2019. The U.S. now has
reaffirmed its climate goals. DON EMMERT/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES


2/20/2021 Biden Admin. Reenters Paris Climate Accords by OAN Newsroom
CONCORD, NH – NOVEMBER 08: Joe Biden spoke during a rally after he signed his official paperwork for the New Hampshire
Primary at the New Hampshire State House on November 8, 2019 in Concord, New Hampshire. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
    Joe Biden is pushing his agenda on so-called climate change as he reentered the controversial Paris climate accords.    On Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the move, saying the Biden administration remains committed to prioritizing environmental issues.
    Several Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), decried the move, accusing Biden of neglecting Americans who work in the energy sector.
    This is the latest reversal of policies enforced during the Trump administration, after President Trump withdrew from the 2015 agreement last year.
    “It is a process that takes 30 days, that means as of today, we are officially back in again,” John Kerry, presidential envoy for climate said.    “But in rejoining, we’ve got to be really honest with each other.    We have to be humble and most of all we have to be ambitious.    We have to be honest that as a global community, we’re not close to where we need to be.”
    Blinken and Kerry said so-called climate change will be integral to America’s foreign policy.

2/20/2021 John Kerry Warns Of So-Called Climate Change Amid Family’s Ownership Of Private Jet by OAN Newsroom
John Kerry gestured as spoke to the press in Paris, on May 23, 2018 after the
Tech for Good” summit. (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)
    John Kerry, Joe Biden’s special climate envoy, is being called out for his climate change hypocrisy.    In an interview with CBS on Friday, Kerry stated the earth only has nine years before so-called climate change takes a catastrophic toll on the planet.
    Kerry even noted the measures in the Paris climate agreement are not be enough to slow down these changes.     “Even if we did everything that we said we were going to do when we signed up in Paris, we would see a rise in the Earth’s temperature to somewhere around 3.7 degrees or more, which is catastrophic,” Kerry said.
    This, as recent reports show Kerry’s family still owns a private jet from his wife’s company, which emits 40 times more carbon than a commercial flight.
    Financial disclosures in 2013 also show Kerry owned $1 million in the company’s assets through his wife.

2/20/2021 Texas Man Freezes To Death Inside Home Amid Power Outages by OAN Newsroom
Icicles hung on a watch for ice on bridge road sign Monday, Feb. 15, 2021 in Houston. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    On Friday, a 67-year-old man in Central Texas was found frozen to death as frigid temperatures continue to grip the state.    The man was found in his Abilene home, next to his wife who was fighting for her life.
    The fire department arrived on scene and reported the temperature inside the home was almost identical to the freezing weather outside.
    “It’s really something that we don’t encounter, in a career even, and to see the temperatures dip as low as they have and as long as they have, have really caused some issues,” Chief Cande Flores of the Abilene Fire Department said.
    The wife is said to be recovering at a local hospital.
    Earlier this week, an 11-year-old in Conroe, Texas died in his sleep after his home lost power.
    Abilene officials said they hope the state is finally in the recovery phase of the severe winter weather.

2/21/2021 Severe Flooding Hits Indonesian Capital by OAN Newsroom
People stood above at an office yard flooded following heavy rains, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 in Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
    On Saturday, 1,300 people evacuated Indonesia’s capital Jakarta after monsoon floods slammed the city.    Floodwaters reached roughly six feet in parts of the city, which is home to over 10 million people.
    The country set up two dozen evacuation sites for residents from over 200 neighborhoods hit by floodwaters.    Resident social media posts show shoulder-high muddy waters and vehicles almost completely submerged.
People swam through a flooded neighborhood following heavy rains in Jakarta, Indonesia, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Heavy downpours
combined with poor city sewage planning often causes heavy flooding in parts of greater Jakarta. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
    “I don’t know about other areas, but at my house it reached my chest,” an evacuee said.
    The country’s meteorology agency has cautioned residents to be on alert for more potential flooding over the next four days.
    At least five people have been killed by the flooding so far.

2/21/2021 Thousands Remain Without Power Across W.Va. by OAN Newsroom
Josh Holland of Huntington, from right, and seven-year-old Max spent the afternoon watching the birds at Harris Riverfront Park after
a winter storm brought snow and ice to the area on Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Huntington, W.Va. (Ryan Fischer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP)
    Thousands of residents in Virginia were without power following historic back to back ice storms.    In an attempt to get the power back online, electrical crews worked throughout West Virginia on Saturday.
    While residents complained of restoration efforts being too slow, Southside Electric in Virginia said they had 12 times the amount of workforce working around the clock to restore power.
    “This example is the severe damage we had on our system across all entire 18 counties that we serve,” Southside Electric CEO Jeff Edwards said.    “This is a slow process because of the nature of the damage that we incurred.”
    Meanwhile, tens of thousands continue to remain without power across Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee as well.

2/21/2021 Rep. Chip Roy Calls On Plumbers To Help Texas As Pipes Freeze, Burst Due To Extreme Weather by OAN Newsroom
TOPSHOT – A Waco, Texas resident cleared snow from his driveway on February 17, 2021 as severe winter weather
conditions forced road closures and power outages over the state. (Photo by MATTHEW BUSCH/AFP via Getty Images)
    Freezing conditions have caused pipes to explode all over Texas, creating a water shortage.    In an interview on Saturday, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) called on plumbers near Texas for help, as state licensing requirements have been waived by the governor.
    The Republican told potential plumbers “we’re going to need you and you’ll be put to work.”    He explained the energy crisis started when half of the state’s turbines froze and temperatures disrupted natural gas flow.
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 12: Rep. Chip Roy testified before a House Oversight and Reform Committee
hearing on July 12, 2019 in Washington, DC.(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
    The freezing conditions also caused water inside pipes to expand and burst.
    “We really do desperately need water, generators, we’re going to need people to help and we’re going to need a lot of plumbers and plumbing supplies,” Roy said.    “I mean, we are going to be inundated with plumbing work over the next two to three to four weeks across the state of Texas.”
    Roy went on to urge the importance of winter-proofing the state’s energy infrastructure.

2/22/2021 Mars rover’s selfie among ‘stunning’ photographs by Rachael Joy, Florida Today USA TODAY
    After a seven-month, 300-millionmile journey to the Red Planet, NASA’s Perseverance rover has sent back the first high-definition color pictures of Mars, including a selfie.
    On Friday, NASA released a photo of the rover in mid-descent as it was suspended under the sky crane moments before it touched down on Mars.
    “This is something that we’ve never seen before.    It was stunning.    The team was awestruck.    Just a feeling of victory that we were able to capture these,” said Aaron Stehura, one of the leads on the entry, landing and descent team.
    Two more images taken with a 20megapixel camera show a wide shot of the landscape and a close-up of the rover’s front right wheel with rocks nearby.    These are the first color images from the surface of Mars.
    “Both images the team just went crazy for,” said Pauline Hwang, assistant strategic mission manager.
    Perseverance’s primary mission is to search for microbial signs of life and its landing spot in Jezero Crater was handpicked for that goal.    It’s an ancient river delta that is marked by steep cliffs, sand dunes and large boulders.
    Perseverance touched down in a safe, flat spot with only 1 degree of tilt.
    The team is putting Perseverance through its paces performing hardware check-outs to make sure all the systems are functioning.
    In 10 days or less Perseverance could be ready for its first short drive to scope out the neighborhood.
    The rover is decked out with 23 cameras and on Saturday the team was to do a full Martian photo shoot.
    “We’re gonna do a panorama of the rover and we’re also going to do a full panorama of our landscape around us,” Hwang said.
    They anticipated receiving those images by Monday.
    Previous Mars missions have taken still photographs of descent but no landing had ever been filmed.
    Six cameras were rolling high-definition video footage of the spacecraft during entry, landing and descent also known as the “seven minutes of terror” because pulling it off is a major challenge.
    If they were successful it will be the first video footage of a spacecraft landing on another planet.
    The landing team is hopeful it will begin to see video on Monday as well.
    Perseverance also is equipped with two microphones to capture sound on the Red Planet for the first time.    The team was hoping to get an indication over the weekend that they did get audio.
    Perseverance did not travel solo to Mars.    A helicopter called Ingenuity hitched a ride tucked under the belly of the rover.    Ingenuity will attempt powered flight for the first time on another planet.
    The team says the earliest they could begin helicopter flights would be in approximately two months.
    First, they have need to do checkouts on the rover’s surface flight software.    Once that’s done, Perseverance needs to drive to the next location to find a safe spot for Ingenuity to fly.    They’re calling it the “helipad location” and they might find it sooner than they anticipated.
    “Based on where we landed, we’re already starting to look at that data.    There might be some really good helipad location nearby,” Hwang said.
This is the first high-resolution, color image to be sent back by the Hazard Cameras on the underside
of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover after its landing on Feb. 18. PROVIDED BY NASA/JPL-CALTECH

2/23/2021 Mars Rover Sends Home Movie Of Daredevil Descent To Landing On Red Planet by Steve Gorman
The surface of Mars directly below NASA's Mars Perseverance rover is seen using the Rover Down-Look
Camera in an image acquired February 22, 2021. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout via REUTERS
    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – NASA scientists on Monday unveiled first-of-a-kind home movies of last week’s’ daredevil Mars rover landing, vividly showing its supersonic parachute inflation over the red planet and a rocket-powered hovercraft lowering the science lab on wheels to the surface.
    The footage was recorded on Thursday by a series of cameras mounted at different angles of the multi-stage spacecraft as it carried the rover, named Perseverance, through the thin Martian atmosphere to a gentle touchdown inside a vast basin called Jezero Crater.
    Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science, called seeing the footage “the closest you can get to landing on Mars without putting on a pressure suit.”
    The video montage was played for reporters tuning in to a news briefing webcast from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles four days after the historic landing of the most advanced astrobiology probe ever sent to another world.
    NASA also presented a brief audio clip captured by microphones on the rover after its arrival that included the murmur of a light wind gust – the first ever recorded on the fourth planet from the sun.
    JPL imaging scientist Justin Maki said NASA’s stationary landing craft InSight, which arrived on Mars in 2018 to study its deep interior, previously measured seismic signals on the planet that were “acoustically driven” and then “rendered as audio.”
    But mission deputy project manager Matt Wallace said he believed the Martian breeze represented the first ambient sound directly recorded on the surface of Mars and played back for humans.
    The spacecraft’s mics failed to collect useable audio during descent to the crater floor.    But they did pick up a mechanical whirring from the rover after its arrival.    Wallace said he hoped to record other sounds, such as the rover’s wheels crunching over the surface and its robotic arm drilling for samples of Martian rock.
    But it was film footage from the spacecraft’s perilous, self-guided ride through Martian skies to touchdown – an interval NASA has dubbed “the seven minutes of terror” – that JPL’s team found particularly striking.
    “These videos, and these images are the stuff of our dreams,” Al Chen, head of the descent and landing team, told reporters.    JPL Director Mike Watkins said engineers spent much of the weekend “binge-watching” the footage.
    The video, filmed in color at 75 frames a second, shows action in fluid, vivid motion from several angles, the first such imagery ever recorded of a spacecraft landing on another planet, Wallace said.
    One of the most dramatic moments is of the red-and-white parachute being shot from a canon-like launch device into the sky above the rover as the spacecraft is hurtling toward the ground at nearly two times the speed of sound.
    The chute springs upward, unfurls and fully inflates in less than two seconds, with no evidence of tangling within its 2 miles (3.2 km) of tether lines, Chen said.
    A downward-pointing camera shows the heat shield falling away and a sweeping vista of the butterscotch-colored Martian terrain, appearing to shift back and forth as the spacecraft sways under the parachute.
    Seconds later, an upward-pointed camera captures the rocket-powered “sky-crane” vehicle, newly jettisoned from the parachute, its thrusters firing but the propellant plumes invisible to the human eye while lowering the rover to a safe landing spot on a harness of tethers.
    A separate camera shows the lowering of the six-wheeled rover from the vantage point of the sky crane, looking downward as Perseverance dangles from its cable harness just over the surface with streams of dust billowing around it at touchdown.    The sky crane is then seen flying up and away from the landing site after the harness cables are cut.
    A single still photo of the rover suspended from the sky crane moments before landing was released by NASA on Friday amid much fanfare as a precursor to the video shown on Monday.
    The only previous moving footage produced of a spacecraft during a Mars landing was a comparatively crude video shot from beneath the previous rover, Curiosity, during its descent to the planet’s surface in 2012.    That stop-motion-like sequence was shot at 3.5 frames per second from a single angle that showed the ground gradually getting closer but included no images of the parachute or sky-crane maneuvers.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney)

2/24/2021 Millions Of Texans Still Without Clean Water by OAN Newsroom
People push a car free after spinning out in the snow Monday, Feb. 15, 2021 in Waco, Texas. (Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP)
    Many Texans found themselves left in the dark and the cold after a winter storm battered the state.    As of Tuesday, eight million Texans had issues with their water supply as busted frozen pipes compromised water mains across the state.    Officials said the damage done to infrastructure was substantial.
    “We estimate there were probably tens of thousands of private breaks at homes and businesses,” Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros said.    “And many of these were large with fire lines and other large infrastructure breaking on the private side.    So, substantial damage to the public distribution system and private plumbing and a lot of work ahead to clean those up.”
    According to reports, roughly 25,000 residents were left without running water.    Those who did have water said it was yellow and undrinkable.    As a result, a Fort Worth brewery hopped into action to provide clean water to the community.
A man walks with jugs of water past a sign reminding residents their water needs to be boiled as people fill up containers at the water station
at the New Braunfels Civic/Convention Center in New Braunfels, Texas, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. (Mikala Compton/Herald-Zeitung via AP)
    “Because we have the equipment to be able to make gallons and gallons of whatever liquid we need to,” Cowtown Brewery employee Madison Thompson said.    “We can just boil a ton of water and give it to whoever needs it, basically within a few hours.”
    As local grocery stores quickly ran out of bottled water, some residents resorted to using melted snow from outside.
    “It’s been very difficult,” one resident stated.    “I even thought about getting snow to bring it in to melt to flush the potty. That would be our next step.”
    Meanwhile, the cost of reheating homes after the grid failure led to exorbitant energy bills for residents.    Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) has promised to protect consumers from “unreasonable bills” once the state begins to recover.

2/25/2021 Column: Texas Blackouts Expose Planning Failure – Kemp by John Kemp
FILE PHOTO: A man crosses Main Street in downtown during record-breaking temperatures
in Houston, U.S., February 17, 2021. REUTERS/Adrees Latif/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) – Following last week’s widespread power failures, Texas policymakers and the state electricity industry must decide whether the blackout was caused by genuinely unforeseeable weather conditions or a failure to plan properly.
    For 10 days, Texas was hit by an unusually prolonged period of very low temperatures, with the most intense cold occurring between Feb. 14 and Feb. 17.
    Electricity consumption surged across the state while many generating units failed to start up owing to frozen instrumentation, iced turbine blades and insufficient fuel supplies.
    The result was widespread blackouts, in some cases lasting for more than 24 or 48 hours, as grid controllers tried to protect at least some parts of the grid from collapse.
    Failure to winterise generating units to ensure they would operate during extreme low temperatures has already been identified as one of the leading sources of the power failure.
    The question remains whether grid operators and generators could have reasonably foreseen the low temperatures and should have taken steps to prepare for them.
    The answer is “Yes.”
    Local temperature records from multiple locations across the state strongly suggest the extreme heating loads and widespread generation failures experienced last week should have been reasonably foreseeable.
    Temperatures had been almost this low at least once a year on average for the last century, so a temperature slightly lower still was foreseeable and should have formed part of grid planning.
    Managing low-probability, high-consequence “tail risks” is central to reliability and resilience planning in the electricity industry (as well as in banking and safety-focused industries such as aviation).
    The Texas grid should have had an operational plan to remain reliable with the low temperatures recorded last week.
    Even if the operating plan could not ensure that load was fully served, it should have had a contingency plan to ensure stability while minimising the loss of load.
    Instead, the grid blew rapidly through multiple layers of protection, forcing the control room to take emergency action to avert a complete collapse.
    If the grid had been prudently planned and operated, it should never have come so close to complete failure.
    Like the soundness of a bank, the electric grid’s reliability is only revealed under extreme stress; but when the Texas power network was stress-tested last week, it failed.
    In normal conditions running a bank, taking deposits and making loans, is straightforward and highly profitable, requiring only a moderate level of professional skill.
    In a business-cycle downturn, however, loan losses can increase quickly, while depositors may demand their money back if they fear for the bank’s soundness.
    Banks suddenly face pressure on all aspects of their business simultaneously, and the stress on their financial condition rises exponentially.
    The test of resiliency and soundness, as well as the quality of a bank’s management and risk-control systems, is how it performs during a downturn rather than in more favourable conditions.
    Prudently managed banks are those that survive through multiple downturns without failing or requiring a taxpayer bailout.
    In the same way, running an electric grid, scheduling generation and supplying load, is fairly straightforward and profitable under normal operating conditions.
    The grid’s resilience and the quality of its management and systems are only revealed when it is put under stress, usually by a heatwave or cold weather.
    Under these conditions, electricity consumption increases to many times the average level, while generation may become unavailable because units overheat or will not start owing to the cold.
    Transmission lines become overloaded, instruments fail, cooling water systems are unable to operate effectively, and fuel supplies prove inadequate.
    Power quality and frequency control degrade, situational awareness in the control room deteriorates, and the probability of power failures rises exponentially.
    The test of a well-run grid is how well it copes with the pressure under relatively extreme circumstances without widespread failure.
    Boerne, Kendall County, is a small town in the Texas Hill Country, but it has an unusually long and complete series of daily temperature observations stretching back for more than a century.
    On both Feb. 15 and Feb. 16, the daily minimum temperature in Boerne fell to a low of -14 degrees Celsius, according to daily records compiled by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    Temperatures have only fallen this low at Boerne on 12 occasions since 1904, a frequency of roughly once every 10 years; the last times temperatures were this low were in December 1989, March 1988 and February 1985.
    But while the extreme lows experienced last week were unusual, it is not uncommon for the temperatures to fall almost as far (
    Temperatures at Boerne have fallen to -10 degrees Celsius or below on 115 days since 1904, an average of about once per year.
    And temperatures have fallen to -5 degrees Celsius or below on more than 900 days since 1904, an average of eight times per year.
    Extremely cold weather is not uncommon in central Texas – even if it rarely becomes quite as cold as it did last week.
    Daily minimums at Boerne have been highly variable, ranging from a high of almost +29 degrees in July 1987 to a low of -20 degrees in December 1949, with a mean of +12 degrees.
    Minimum temperatures recorded last week were just over 3 standard deviations away from the mean, so they were rare, but not unforeseeable.
    The distribution of daily temperatures and last week’s position in it were similar at other weather stations in the state that have similarly long records, including those at Albany, Sulphur Springs and Corsicana.
    At other locations, minimum temperatures last week were also just over three standard deviations away from the mean, so they were rare, but not incomprehensible.
    The Texas grid should have been prepared for the cold weather that hit the state and should have been able to maintain near-normal operations.
    The fact that it could not cope, plunging millions of customers into darkness without heat for hours or days at a time, indicates a serious planning failure.
(Editing by Hugh Lawson)

2/26/2021 Report: Facebook spread lie about Texas power outage by Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY
    Misleading claims shared by prominent conservatives that wind turbines caused massive winter storm power outages in Texas whipped through Facebook without fact-checking labels, racking up millions of views, according to a new report shared exclusively with USA TODAY.
    Human rights group Avaaz says the 10 top-performing posts about wind turbine failures from public figures such as Fox News personalities Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee received more than 15.8 million views on Facebook.
    As of Tuesday, none of the posts had a fact-checking label, including those reviewed by Facebook’s factchecking partners.    USA TODAY’s fact check found the claim that frozen wind turbines were to blame for blackouts in Texas was missing context.    Some wind turbines froze because they were not built to withstand the unusually cold temperatures, but the most substantial energy losses were from the shutdowns of thermal power plants.
    According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state’s power grid, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy plants were responsible for almost twice as many power outages as frozen wind turbines and solar panels.
    “When a page, group, or post violates our policies we either remove it or label it depending on the violation and we’ve followed the same approach with the “(Facebook) should know by now that during any crisis, disinformation spreads like wildfire – and its negligence and algorithms are the fuel.”
    "Fadi Quran Campaign director at human rights group Avaaz examples identified in the Avaaz report,” Facebook said in a statement.    “We remain the only company to partner with more than 80 fact-checking organizations and use AI to scale those fact-checks against millions of duplicate posts across our platform.    There is no playbook for a program like ours and we work to improve it all the time.”
Icicles hang from a highway sign on Feb. 18 in Killeen, Texas. A winter storm brought
historic cold weather and power outages to Texas. JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES
    The false claims began with the image of a helicopter de-icing wind turbines that was passed off as a photo from the deadly Texas storm that left millions without food, water or heat.
    The photos was, in fact, taken in Sweden in 2014, according to research this week from the German Marshall Fund.
    Gaining steam, the claims spread quickly on YouTube, where they had 1.8 million views, and generated 1 million likes, comments, and shares on Facebook, the think tank found. On Twitter, a tweet with the embedded image was retweeted 30,000 times.
    The Avaaz report found that Facebook in most cases slapped a factchecking label on the helicopter image.
    “Facebook let irresponsible myths reach millions without intervention going against its very own policies,” Fadi Quran, campaign director at Avaaz, said.
    “The company should know by now that during any crisis, disinformation spreads like wildfire – and its negligence and algorithms are the fuel.”
    The flood of misleading narratives about the Texas power outages is part of a growing trend of disinformation campaigns popping up when extreme weather patterns sweep the country.
    Social media companies are under growing pressure from environmental groups and Democratic lawmakers to stop the spread of climate-change hoaxes and conspiracy theories.    They warn that the Biden administration efforts to increase investment in renewable energy while cutting oil, gas and coal emissions could be undermined by falsehoods on social media.
    “Disinformation content targeting these efforts is only likely to increase in the coming months and years, particularly given a concerted effort to shift public opinion against these efforts,” the Avaaz report said.
    In September, Facebook said it would counter climate-change misinformation with a Climate Science Information Center that supplies users with sciencebased facts.
    “We are very aggressively removing content that could lead folks into harm’s way, and we are surfacing more content that can get them the help and support that they need,” Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox told USA TODAY at the time.
    “During any weather-related or disaster- like event, we have teams pay a lot closer attention to what’s going on in those areas to understand what’s happening to the information ecosystem.    And that’s just part of the work we do to make sure the platform is providing the right information in times of crisis.”
    Facebook’s announcement came just days after emergency responders in the Pacific Northwest had to fight misinformation on Facebook along with catastrophic wildfires.
    Climate scientists said the “half measures” did too little to rein in false, misleading or disputed information such as the discredited theory that the government is using “chemtrails” to manipulate the weather.
    “The consequences are that the public is far less informed about climate change than they need to be,” Michael E. Mann, director of Penn State University’s Earth System Science Center, told USA TODAY.    “It is very convenient for polluting interests who don’t want to see climate policies move forward.”
    Last week, Facebook said it has added a new feature to its climate-change information center that offers facts that debunk common climate myths.
    The Avaaz report says Facebook must do more to correct the record.
    “When independent fact checkers determine that a piece of content is false or misleading, Facebook should show a retroactive correction to each and every user who viewed, interacted with, or shared it.    This can cut belief in false and misleading information by nearly half,” the group said.
    Facebook should also reduce the reach of pages or groups that repeatedly share climate change misinformation, Avaaz said.

2/27/2021 NASA Rover Mastcam-Z Captures Panoramic View Of Mars by OAN Newsroom
MARS – UNSPECIFIED: In this handout provided by NASA, Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover,
images its calibration target for the first time since the rover landed on Mars. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
    NASA released camera footage of the first panoramic view of mars.    According to Jim Bell, the Principal Investigator of the new Perseverance rover, Mastcam-Z captured the first high-definition image of Mars in a 360-degree view.
    NASA said the rover created the sweeping view by stitching together over 100 images, which is similar to what some cell phones can do in panoramic camera mode.    Mastcam-Z is made up of a zoomable pair of cameras. Bell said the camera system is so clear it can reveal details smaller than an inch.
    “If you count the ones on the descent stage, if you count the ones on the helicopter, we’re talking about 25 cameras on this rover, just unbelievably image-rich,” Bell noted.    “And I think we were all blown away by the videos, right?
This section of a composite image made available by NASA, produced from photos captured Feb. 21, 2021 by the Perseverance Mars rover
shows the rim of Jezero Crater on the surface of Mars. It landed on Thursday, Feb. 18. (NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)
    Meanwhile, the rover is expected to spend two more years on Mars to capture more images and to drill into rocks that may hold more evidence of life on Mars.

3/1/2021 Texas AG Sues Electric Supplier Griddy by OAN Newsroom
HOUSTON, TEXAS – FEBRUARY 21: The U.S. and Texas flags flew in front of high voltage transmission
towers on February 21, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
    Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued an electricity supplier for “false, misleading and deceptive practices.”    On Monday, Paxton said power company Griddy misled customers by signing them up for services that ended up costing them thousands after February’s winter storm.
    He added that his office will not allow Texans to be “deceived or exploited by unlawful behavior.”    The lawsuit came on the heels of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas revoking Griddy’s right to operate for missed payments.
    Customers received bills in the thousands of dollars after the recent cold snap caused rates to inflate due to high demand from energy consumers.
    “Well it’s wild, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, Texas having record breaking weather,” Texas resident Deandre Upshaw said.    “The last thing that I’m thinking about while I’m trying to get gas and groceries and making sure my pipes don’t explode, the last thing I’m expecting is a $7,000 bill from my utility company.”
    In total, Texas energy companies missed over $2 billion in payments to ERCOT.    The deficit could lead to a federal intervention of the power grid.

3/2/2021 Iceberg breaks off Antarctica - Calving section is larger than New York City by Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
    A massive iceberg broke off Antarctica’s Brunt Ice Shelf, British researchers announced.
    At 490 square miles, the berg is bigger than New York City, which is 302 square miles.
    A crack in the ice shelf widened several hundred meters Friday before the iceberg sheared off.    The last major chunk to come off in this area was in the early 1970s, the BBC said.
    The event wasn’t a surprise: “Our teams at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have been prepared for the calving of an iceberg from Brunt Ice Shelf for years,” BAS director Jane Francis said in a statement.
    The British Antarctic Survey’s Halley Research Station is on the Brunt Ice Shelf.    Glaciologists said the research station is unlikely to be affected by the calving event, which is what the breaking process is called.
    The 12-person team working at the station left in mid-February, and the station is closed for the Antarctic winter.
    “This is a dynamic situation,” Simon Garrod, director of operations at the British Antarctic Survey, said in a statement.    “Four years ago we moved Halley Research Station inland to ensure that it would not be carried away when an iceberg eventually formed.    That was a wise decision.    Our job now is to keep a close eye on the situation and assess any potential impact of the present calving on the remaining ice shelf.”
    Ice shelves are floating sheets connected to a landmass, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.    Since the ice is already floating, the newly created iceberg won’t contribute to rising sea levels.
    The glaciological structure of this floating ice shelf is complex, the British Antarctic Survey said, and the impact of calving events is unpredictable.
    There is no evidence that climate change played a significant role in this event, the BAS said.    Calving is an entirely natural process wherever ice flowing on the land meets the ocean or large lakes.
    Each year, 10,000 to 15,000 icebergs are calved worldwide, most of them on the small side, according to Canadian Geographic.    The largest iceberg recorded calved off Antarctica in 2000: That one was about as big as the island of Jamaica.
    As for what’s going to happen to this iceberg, Francis said that “over the coming weeks or months, the iceberg may move away; or it could run aground and remain close to Brunt Ice Shelf.”
The iceberg started to crack off Antarctica's Brunt Ice Shelf in January. PROVIDED BY BRITISH ANTARCTIC SURVEY

3/4/2021 SpaceX Starship Rocket Prototype Nails Landing… Then Blows Up
SpaceX Starship SN10 explodes after liftoff at South Padre Island, Texas, U.S. March 3, 2021 in
this still image taken from a social media video. Spadre/Pearl South Padre Resort via Youtube/via REUTERS
    (Reuters) – The third time appeared to be the charm for Elon Musk’s Starship rocket – until it wasn’t.
    The latest heavy-duty launch vehicle prototype from SpaceX soared flawlessly into the sky in a high-altitude test blast-off on Wednesday from Boca Chica, Texas, then flew itself back to Earth to achieve the first upright landing for a Starship model.
    But the triumph was short-lived.    Listing slightly to one side as an automated fire-suppression system trained a stream of water on flames still burning at the base of the rocket, the spacecraft blew itself to pieces about eight minutes after touchdown.
    It was the third such landing attempt to end in a fireball after an otherwise successful test flight for the Starship, being developed by SpaceX to carry humans and 100 tons of cargo on future missions to the moon and Mars.
    For Musk, the billionaire SpaceX founder who also heads the electric carmaker Tesla Inc, the outcome was mixed news.
    The Starship SN10 came far closer to achieving a safe, vertical touchdown than two previous models – SN8 in December and SN9 in February.    In a tweet responding to tempered congratulations from an admirer of his work, Musk replied, “RIP SN10, honorable discharge.”
    The video feed provided by SpaceX on the company’s YouTube channel cut off moments after the landing.    But separate fan feeds streamed over the same social media platform showed an explosion suddenly erupting at the base of the rocket, hurling the SN10 into the air before it crashed to the ground and became engulfed in flames.
    The complete Starship rocket, which will stand 394-feet (120 metres) tall when mated with its super-heavy first-stage booster, is SpaceX’s next-generation fully reusable launch vehicle – the center of Musk’s ambitions to make human space travel more affordable and routine.
    A first orbital Starship flight is planned for year’s end.    Musk has said he intends to fly Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa around the moon with the Starship in 2023.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Joe Shaw in Washington; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

    On 4/7/2020 I wrote All you Pollution and Greenhouse Gases Green New Deal Idiots leave the U.S. alone and go after the countries who are the polluters which you can see in the image below.
    So now as you can see the Democrats will lie about anything to push their agenda on the United States: WAKE UP AMERICA.

3/5/2021 Climate change efforts threatened - US, China engaging in geopolitical battles by Christina Larson and Ellen Knickmeyer, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – The world’s hopes for curbing climate change hinge on action by two giant nations whose relations are deteriorating: China and the United States.    Both say they are intent on retooling their economies to burn less climate-wrecking coal, oil and gas. But tensions between them threaten their ultimate success.
    China and the United States are the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 carbon polluters, respectively, pumping out nearly half of the fossil fuel fumes that are warming the planet’s atmosphere.
    The fast cuts in carbon needed to stave off the worst of climate change are all but impossible unless these countries work together and basically trust each other’s pledges.    During the Trump administration, the U.S. used China’s emissions as an excuse not to act, and in the past China pointed to U.S. historical emissions as a reason to resist action.
    New details of how quickly China plans to reduce carbon emissions will be revealed Friday when Beijing releases its next Five Year Plan.    And in April, President Joe     Biden is expected to announce the United States’ own new targets for emissions cuts.
    The U.S. and China both have appointed veteran envoys as their global climate negotiators, John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua.    But while the two senior statesmen worked well together in laying groundwork for the 2015 Paris climate accord, now they face new challenges.
    U.S.-China climate diplomacy threatens to be overshadowed by what the United States sees as Beijing’s menacing policies toward Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea, conflict over human rights and trade, and U.S. claims of Chinese espionage.
    Meanwhile, Chinese officials are upset about restrictions imposed by the Trump administration on trade, technology, Chinese media and students in the U.S., and the State Department’s declaration this year that atrocities against China’s Muslim minorities are a “genocide.”
    Kerry, a secretary of state under President Barack Obama who was brought back to be Biden’s climate envoy, recently told reporters: “Those issues” with China “will never be traded for anything that has to do with climate.    That’s not going to happen.”    But Kerry also called climate “a standalone issue” with China, drawing criticism from China and from some human-rights advocates in the U.S.
    Can climate talks between the two countries survive their other geopolitical battles?
    “That’s, I think, the huge question,” said John Podesta, who oversaw the Obama administration’s climate efforts and is close to the Biden administration.    “Can you create a lane where you get cooperation on climate” while more contentious issues are dealt with separately?    Or do they wind up interfering?”
    Xie Zhenhua may help the odds.    With his appointment as climate envoy last month, Xie is reprising the role he held during pivotal U.N. climate conferences that struck the world’s first major commitments on reducing emissions from fossil fuels.
    Previously, Xie led a research effort at Tsinghua University in Beijing to map ways for China to stop contributing to global warming by midcentury.    His research underpinned President Xi Jinping’s surprise pledge in September that China planned to go carbon neutral by 2060 – the first time the country announced a net-zero target.
    Joanna Lewis, an expert in China energy and environment at Georgetown University, called Xie “a visionary, and very influential in setting China’s domestic policy targets,” as well as a skilled negotiator.
    Xie’s appointment “was a huge overture toward the United States, and particularly to John Kerry,” said Angel Hsu, an expert on China and climate change at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
    Biden has pledged the U.S. will switch to an emissions-free power sector within 14 years, and have an entirely emissions-free economy by 2050.    Kerry is also pushing other nations to commit to carbon neutrality by then.
    Behind the dry numbers, substantial spending on infrastructure and technology is needed to switch to a more energy- efficient economy, running on wind, solar and other cleaner-burning fuels.    And Biden has a narrow majority in Congress to push his agenda, with Republicans, as well as some Democrats, opposing his plans.
    Climate scientists say countries need to move fast to avert catastrophic temperature rises.    In 2019, coal accounted for 58% of China’s total primary energy consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.    Last year, as China’s government directed economic relief money to infrastructure projects during the pandemic, the country actually upped its net power capacity from coal – by about the equivalent of 15 Hoover Dams, or 30 gigawatts – according to the Global Energy Monitor and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.    China also funds building of coal-fired power plants abroad, partly to build influence.
    Many experts question whether the construction of coal-fired plants is driven by demand or simply meant to stimulate the economy during a downturn.    Either way, the brand-new coal plants have consequences.
    “Every new coal plant that China builds is basically locking in carbon emissions for the next 50 years,” said Georgetown’s Lewis.
    The most important questions now, said Deborah Seligsohn, an expert in Chinese governance and air pollution at Villanova University, are: “How soon can China’s carbon emissions peak, and at what level?
    She is watching closely to see what targets are incorporated in the next Five Year Plan, and into China’s updated pledges for emission cuts under the Paris climate accord.
    The key, climate negotiators say, will be making it worth China’s while – financially and in terms of its international standing – to slow down its building and funding of new coal plants and speed up spending on clean energy.
    Biden has reached out to European allies as a first step, trying to build consensus among China’s trade partners about market and trade-based rewards and disincentives as a way of prodding China to reduce reliance on coal.
John Kerry, the United States’ global climate negotiator, and his Chinese counterpart worked well together
in laying groundwork for the 2015 Paris climate accord, but now they face new challenges. EVAN VUCCI/AP FILE

3/5/2021 ‘Megadrought’ persists in western U.S., scientists say by Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
    Much of the western U.S. continues to endure a long-term drought, one that threatens the region’s water supplies and agriculture and could worsen wildfires this year.
    In fact, some scientists are calling the dryness in the West a “megadrought,” defined as an intense drought that lasts for decades or longer.
    About 90% of the West is now either abnormally dry or in a drought, which is among the highest percentages in the past 20 years, according to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor.     “By intensity, it would be about as bad as the U.S. Drought Monitor has shown in the last 20 years,” climatologist Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center told USA TODAY.
    Although some areas that saw significant snow this winter will be in better shape, “those areas that did not see any help during the winter will see issues and impacts to water supplies, agriculture as well as increased fire danger,” Fuchs said.    “We have time yet this winter to provide help, but the current situation is not providing much hope in widespread improvements by the end of spring.”
    The Southwest is the area of most concern because of the drought.    “Coming off record-breaking or near-recordbreaking heat and dryness in 2020, the winter has not provided much relief at all and we see the most widespread exceptional drought in this region,” he said.    Exceptional drought is the worst level of drought.    “I would include Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Colorado as the states with the most concerns going into the summer,” Fuchs said.
    About 90% of California is in a drought, coming a year after its most destructive wildfire season on record.
    “Much of California is enduring its second consecutive dry winter, with most areas below 75% of normal snowpack for this time of year,” the Monitor said.    “Many water agencies were discussing water conservation measures, with the North Marin Water District considering both voluntary and mandatory water conservation orders.”
    Moderate drought was expanded over areas of Southern California. where drought is developing again.
    “As California closes out the fifth consecutive dry month of our water year, absent a series of strong storms in March or April we are going to end with a critically dry year on the heels of last year’s dry conditions,” Karla Nemeth, director of California’s Department of Water Resources, said in a statement.
    Sean de Guzman, the department’s chief of snow surveys and water supply forecasting, said California “has experienced a series of storms over the last couple of weeks that brought a significant amount of rain and snow; however, these storms were not nearly enough to make up a deficit that we have accumulated over last few months.”
    In a study published last year, scientists said a “megadrought” appears to be emerging in the western U.S., one that’s being worsened by human-caused climate change.    In fact, the nearly-20-year drought is almost as bad or worse than any in the past 1,200 years, scientists say.    “By definition, we are approaching what is defined as a megadrought, where conditions have been that way for at least two decades,” Fuchs said.
    Historically, megadroughts once plagued the Desert Southwest.    Thanks in part to global warming, an especially fierce one appears to be coming back.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Drought conditions in Phoenix have remained nearly unchanged over the

3/8/2021 Two-Thirds Of Tropical Rainforest Destroyed Or Degraded Globally, NGO Says by Jake Spring
FILE PHOTO: A tract of the Amazon jungle burns as it is cleared by loggers and farmers
in Porto Velho, Brazil August 24, 2019. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo
    BRASILIA (Reuters) – Humans have degraded or destroyed roughly two-thirds of the world’s original tropical rainforest cover, new data reveals – raising alarm that a key natural buffer against climate change is quickly vanishing.
    The forest loss is also a major contributor of climate-warming emissions, with the dense tropical forest vegetation representing the largest living reservoir of carbon.
    Logging and land conversion, mainly for agriculture, have wiped out 34% of the world’s original old-growth tropical rainforests, and degraded another 30%, leaving them more vulnerable to fire and future destruction, according to an analysis by the non-profit Rainforest Foundation Norway.
    More than half of the destruction since 2002 has been in South America’s Amazon and bordering rainforest.
    (For a graphic on tropical rainforest destruction, see:
    As more rainforest is destroyed, there is more potential for climate change, which in turn makes it more difficult for remaining forests to survive, said the report’s author Anders Krogh, a tropical forest researcher.
    “It’s a terrifying cycle,” Krogh said.    The total lost between just 2002 and 2019 was larger than the area of France, he found.
    The rate of loss in 2019 roughly matched the annual level of destruction over the last 20 years, with a football field’s worth of forest vanishing every 6 seconds, according to another recent report by the World Resources Institute.
    The Brazilian Amazon has been under intense pressure in recent decades, as an agricultural boom has driven farmers and land speculators to torch plots of land for soybeans, beef and other crops. That trend has worsened since 2019, when right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro took office and began weakening environmental enforcement.
    But the Amazon also represents the best hope for preserving what rainforest remains.    The Amazon and its neighbors – the Orinoco and the Andean rainforest – account for 73.5% of tropical forests still intact, according to Krogh.
    The new report “reinforces that Brazil must take care of the forest,” said Ane Alencar, a geographer with the Amazon Environmental Research Institute who was not involved in the work.    “Brazil has the biggest chunk of tropical forest in the world and is also losing the most.”
    Southeast Asian islands, mostly belonging to Indonesia, collectively rank second in terms of forest destruction since 2002, with much of those forests cleared for palm oil plantations.
    Central Africa ranks third, with most of the destruction centered around the Congo River basin, due to traditional and commercial farming as well as logging.
    Forests that were defined in the report as degraded had either been partially destroyed, or destroyed and since replaced by secondary forest growth, Rainforest Foundation Norway said.
    That report’s definition for intact forest may be overly strict, cautioned Tasso Azevedo, coordinator of the Brazilian deforestation mapping initiative MapBiomas.    The analysis only counts untouched regions of at least 500 square km (193 square miles) as intact, leaving out smaller areas that may add to the world’s virgin forest cover, he said.
    Krogh explained that this definition was chosen because smaller tracts are at risk of the “edge effect,” where trees die faster and biodiversity is harder to maintain near the edge of the forest.    A forest spanning 500 square km can fully sustain its ecosystem, he said.
(Reporting by Jake Spring; editing by Katy Daigle, Richard Pullin and Jonathan Oatis)

3/9/2021 Trump policy that weakened wild bird protections is revoked
    BILLINGS, Mont. – The Biden administration on Monday reversed a policy imposed under former President Donald Trump that drastically weakened the government’s power to enforce a century-old law that protects most U.S. bird species.    Trump ended criminal prosecutions against companies responsible for bird deaths that could have been prevented.    A federal judge in New York in August struck down the Trump administration’s legal rationale for changing how the bird treaty was enforced.

3/9/2021 Hawaii: Residents On Maui Ordered To Evacuate After Dam Floods Area by OAN Newsroom
A bridge off Peahi Road is overcome by floodwaters above the Kaupakalua Reservoir and Dam after
heavy rainfall on Monday in Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, on Monday, March 8, 2021. (Kehaulani Cerizo/The Maui News via AP)
    Officials in the Hawaiian island of Maui issued evacuation orders after heavy rains caused a dam to be in danger of imminent failure.
    According to Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency on Monday, evacuation shelters on Maui have opened up at the Paia Community Center and Hana High School.
    Authorities said water over-topped the Kaupakalua Reservoir and Dam, in turn, causing flood waters and residents to be trapped inside their homes.
    Due to the weather, all parks in the county have been closed.

3/10/2021 12 GOP attorneys general sue over climate order by Joey Garrison and Ledyard King, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – Twelve states with Republican attorneys general Monday sued President Joe Biden over his first executive order aimed at climate change, alleging he lacked the constitutional authority to implement new rules about greenhouse gases.
    The federal lawsuit, led by Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt of Missouri, argues Biden violated the separation of powers clause in the Constitution because Congress, not the president, has the power to regulate.    On his first day in the White House, Biden signed Executive Order 13990, directing federal agencies to calculate the “social cost” of greenhouse gas pollution by estimating “monetized damages” to inform future federal regulations.    This includes changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, property damage from increased flood risk and the value of ecosystem services.
    But the 12 states that are plaintiffs say assigning such values is a “quintessentially legislative action that falls within Congress’ exclusive authority.”    They also say the economic ramifications of the order will be disastrous.
    “If the Executive Order stands, it will inflict hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars of damage to the U.S. economy for decades to come,” the suit reads.    “It will destroy jobs, stifle energy production, strangle America’s energy independence, suppress agriculture, deter innovation, and impoverish working families.    It undermines the sovereignty of the States and tears at the fabric of liberty.”
    Republican state attorneys general from Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah joined the suit.
    The White House and Department of Justice declined to comment on the suit.
    The complaint asks the court to issue an order that prohibits federal agencies from using the “social cost” estimates and to declare they are “arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, and contrary to law,” among other relief.
    Executive Order 13990 also revoked the Keystone XL Pipeline permit and instructed the Interior Department to review the Trump’s administration’s decision to shrink the boundaries of national monuments.    It was one of several early executive actions that Biden took to combat climate change during his first month in office.
    Orders that Biden signed Jan. 27 elevated climate change as a national security concern, committed to the goal of conserving at least 30% of all federal land and water by 2030 and built on his economic policy agenda to direct federal agencies to “procure carbon pollution-free electricity and clean, zero-emission vehicles to create good-paying, union jobs and stimulate clean energy industries."
    Biden campaigned on being the most aggressive president on climate change, which he called “an existential threat.”    His goal is to decarbonize the U.S. power sector by 2035 on the way to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
    States on both sides of the issue have sued the government.
    Mostly red states sued to stop the Obama administration from implementing its Clean Power Plan aimed at slashing carbon emissions from coalfired power plans.    The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the challenge in 2015 and the program never took effect.
    In 2019, a coalition of mostly blue states sued the Trump administration to stop its efforts to weaken the Obama effort to put national limits on carbon emissions from power plants.

3/10/2021 Blaze Destroys Servers At Europe’s Largest Cloud Services Firm by Mathieu Rosemain
General view of firefighters working to extinguish a fire at the French cloud computing company
OVHcloud in Strasbourg, France, March 10, 2021. Sapeurs-pompiers du Bas-Rhin/Handout via REUTERS
    PARIS (Reuters) – A fire destroyed some servers and temporarily shutdown others at OVHcloud on Wednesday, just two days after the French cloud computing firm kicked off plans for an initial public offering.
    Europe’s largest cloud services provider told clients including the French government, the Centre Pompidou and cryptocurrency exchange Deribit to activate their disaster recovery plans following the blaze in Strasbourg, east France.
    The fire, which broke out shortly after midnight, destroyed one of four data centres and damaged another, the company said. The remaining two were shut down to contain the damage.
    “We don’t have access to the site.    That is why SBG1, SBG3, SBG4 won’t be restarted today,” founder and chairman Octave Klaba said on Twitter, referring to units housing servers.
    The company said it would keep clients updated on the causes and consequences of the blaze.
    Founded by Klaba in 1999, OVHcloud competes against U.S. giants Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Azure and Google Cloud, which dominate the market.
    French politicians have championed OVHcloud as a possible alternative to U.S. cloud services providers, but it has so far lacked the scale and financial clout to dent their market share.
    The company said on Monday it had started the process for a potential IPO, without giving details.
    The Strasbourg centres were among OVHcloud’s 17 data centres in France, and 32 globally.
    Several clients said their websites had gone offline or emails could not be accessed. There was no immediate news of any major data losses.     The Centre Pompidou, one of France’s best known art complexes, said its website was down.    Cryptocurrency exchange Deribit said its blog was down but that trading had not been impacted, free chess server said it had lost 24-hours worth of games history and news outlet eeNews Europe said its websites were offline.
    PR agency Caroline Charles Communication said its data was held at another site but that it had lost access to emails in the middle of Paris Fashion Week.
    OVHcloud declined to comment on its fire safety protocols.    The site did not pose a toxic risk, it added.
    Some 100 firemen fought the blaze which sent a thick plume of black smoke into the night sky.    Video images showed firefighters dousing one smouldering, multi-storey building in the early morning as they cooled down the site.
    “The goal is to create a plan to restart, at least SBG3/SBG4, maybe SBG1.    To do so, we need to check the network rooms too,” Klaba said in an update shortly after 0900 GMT.
(Reporting by Matthieu Protard and Mathieu Rosemain. Writing by Richard Lough. Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)

3/10/2021 Water Crisis In Miss. Enters Fourth Week by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Feb. 22, 2021, file photo, Doris Devine in Jackson, Miss., stores containers with potable water
provided by City of Jackson councilman and State Rep. De’Keither Stamps in her tub. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
    Some residents in Jackson, Mississippi are entering their fourth week without access to safe drinking water.    According to reports Tuesday, officials in the city of nearly 200,000 people are still restoring water service that was depleted by a winter storm in February.
    The storm brought bitter cold temperatures to the south, causing as many as 80 local water main pipelines to freeze and crack.    This rendered water pressure inadequate.    As a result, residents remain under a boil notice, which was originally issued on February 16.
    Recent testing revealed the water contains high levels of cloudiness, which increases the chance it may contain disease causing organisms.    City Council chair Alen Banks said the pollution is a major problem considering the sanitary sewer overflows.
    “Even though we have pressure, the problem we have now is the water being contaminated because of the amount of debris that got into the springs and then now with that you have SSOs (sanitary sewer overflows),” he explained.
    Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba said the water crisis highlights issues that have existed for decades like the inability to replace aging pipes.    He estimated it would cost $2 billion to bring his city’s water system up to date and the city’s total annual budget is around $300 million.
    In the meantime, however, the community is coming together to do what they can. City officials and the National Guard have distributed more than 26,000 bottles of water and about 7,000 gallons of non-potable water to residents.    Outside organizations, including Capital City Beverages and Molson-Coors, have also offered aid.

3/10/2021 Hawaii Declares Emergency Amid Severe Flooding by OAN Newsroom
A house on Haleiwa Road is surrounded by floodwaters Tuesday, March 9, 2021, in Haleiwa, Hawaii.
Torrential rains have inundated parts of Hawaii for the past several days. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)
    Heavy rain across Hawaii has caused flash floods and mudslides, in turn, forcing evacuations throughout the islands.    Some residents, like Mark Alexander of Haiku, said this is the worst flooding they have seen in more than 25 years.
    “This happened in like a matter of minutes,” he recounted.    “Like it’s to my waist…it’s to my chest…next thing I see, ice box passing me.”
    The National Weather Service reported more than 13 inches of rain fell in the Haiku area on Maui’s north coast.    There are currently no reports of deaths or injuries, but officials said the flooding damaged bridges, roadways and destroyed several homes.
    Gov. David Ige signed an emergency proclamation Tuesday to free up state funds to assist those impacted by the heavy rains and flooding on all islands.
    Officials in the Hawaiian island of Maui issued evacuation orders on Tuesday after heavy rains caused a dam to be in danger of imminent failure.    According to     Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency on Monday, evacuation shelters on Maui have opened up at the Paia Community Center and Hana High School.
    Authorities said water over-topped the Kaupakalua Reservoir and Dam, in turn, causing flood waters and residents to be trapped inside their homes.    Due to the weather, all parks in the county have been closed.
    The severe weather is expected to continue through Friday.

3/11/2021 Decapitated sea slugs regenerate new bodies by Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
    Amazingly, some animals can survive decapitation, according to a new study.
    Researchers discovered that two species of Japanese sea slugs can regrow hearts and whole new bodies even after removing their own heads.
    The discovery could help scientists better understand and tackle regeneration of human tissue.
    The slug’s head, separated from the heart and body, moved on its own immediately after the separation, the study shows.    Within days, the wound at the back of the head closed.    The heads of relatively young slugs started to feed on algae within hours.
    They then started regeneration of the heart within a week. Within about three weeks, regeneration was complete.
    “We were surprised to see the head moving just after (it was severed),” said study lead author Sayaka Mitoh of Nara Women’s University in Japan.    “We thought that it would die soon without a heart and other important organs, but we were surprised again to find that it regenerated the whole body.”
    Then Mitoh and aquatic ecology professor Yoichi Yusa tried it themselves, cutting the heads off 16 sea slugs.    Six of the creatures started regeneration, and three succeeded and survived.    One of the three even lost and regrew its body twice.
    Other animals can cast off body parts when needed, such as when some lizards drop their tails to get away from a predator, in a biological phenomenon called autotomy.
    Mitoh isn’t sure how the sea slugs manage the regeneration.    But she suspects there must be stem-like cells at the cut end of the neck that are capable of regenerating the body.
    It’s also unclear why the slugs are doing this. One possibility is that it helps to remove internal parasites that inhibit their reproduction.    Researchers also don’t know what immediate cue prompts the creatures to cast off the rest of the body. Those are areas for future study.
    Humans may be able to learn something useful from the sea creatures, several scientists said. What’s intriguing is that the sea slugs are more complex than flatworms or other species that are known to regenerate, said Nicholas Curtis, a biology professor at Ave Maria University who wasn’t part of the study.
    “It is of course a wonder of nature, but understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms involved could help us to understand how our cells and tissues can be used to repair damage,” Curtis said.
    The study was published Monday in the journal Current Biology.
Contributing: The Associated Press
The head and the body of a Japanese sea slug, a day after the head was removed. PROVIDED BY SAYAKA MITOH

3/10/2021 Calif. Mudslides Prompt Mandatory Evacuations by OAN Newsroom
A vehicle is caught up in a mudslide in Silverado Canyon, Calif., Wednesday, March 10, 2021. A Pacific storm brought more much-needed
rain and snow to California on Wednesday at the tail-end of a largely dry winter. Winter storm warnings were in effect in the southern Cascades,
down the length of the Sierra Nevada and the mountains of Southern California, the National Weather Service said. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
    Mudslides from a winter storm prompted mandatory evacuations in Southern California.    Rain and snow hit the region on Wednesday, which impacted residents living in areas devastated by wildfires in 2020.
A woman walk along the street covered in mud after a mudslide swept through the neighborhood
in Silverado Canyon, Calif., Wednesday, March 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
    The canyons of Orange County were hit especially hard from the downpour.    Residents woke up to their vehicles trapped in the mudslides and their properties damaged by the weather.
Loader operator clears debris and mud from a road after mudslides in Silverado Canyon,
Calif., Wednesday, March 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
    “We get the runoff from the mountain and since we’re the lowest place here, it all comes in,” Silverado Canyon resident Jan Haderlie stated.    “I did not expect this at all.”
    The much-needed rain and snow came after a largely dry winter for Southern California.

3/11/2021 Winter Storm To Bring Multiple Feet Of Snow To Rocky Mountain Region, Denver Could See Record Breaking Snowfall by OAN Newsroom
(Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images)
    Meteorologists have predicted Colorado is in store for one of the biggest winter storms in years.    According to reports on Thursday, the low-pressure system that brought San Francisco rain, flooding and thunderstorms is now tracking towards Colorado to dump between one and six feet of snow.
    The National Weather Service also warned residents in Wyoming and Nebraska to prepare for the storm.    Cheyenne, Wyoming is expected to see upwards of 30 inches of snow and parts of Nebraska could get more than 20 inches.    The system is projected to hit the regions by Friday night and continue until Sunday evening.
    Airlines are canceling flights out of Colorado and the state’s Department of Transportation urged residents to stop traveling by Friday.
    “[For] a snowstorm to this severity, we absolutely urge motorists to stay put,” Colorado Department of Transportation Spokesperson Tamara Rollison stated. “Get to your destination by Friday, hunker down and avoid driving roads when we have this kind of snowfall.”     The spiraling system is anticipated to drop snow across the High Plains and front range of the Rockies to break records in Denver.    Meteorologists also expect it will bring flooding and thunderstorms to the Mississippi Valley.

3/12/2021 Exclusive: Myanmar’s First Satellite Held By Japan On Space Station After Coup by Tim Kelly
The International Space Station (ISS) photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft after undocking, October 4, 2018. NASA astronauts Andrew
Feustel and Ricky Arnold and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev executed a fly around of the orbiting laboratory to take pictures of the station before returning home
after spending 197 days in space. Picture taken October 4, 2018. NASA/Roscosmos/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
    TOKYO (Reuters) – Myanmar’s first satellite is being held on board the International Space Station following the Myanmar coup, while Japan’s space agency and a Japanese university decide what to do with it, two Japanese university officials said.
    The $15 million satellite was built by Japan’s Hokkaido University in a joint project with Myanmar’s government-funded Myanmar Aerospace Engineering University (MAEU).    It is the first of a set of two 50 kg microsatellites equipped with cameras designed to monitor agriculture and fisheries.
    Human rights activists and some officials in Japan worry that those cameras could be used for military purposes by the junta that seized power in Myanmar on Feb. 1.
    That has put the deployment on hold, as Hokkaido University holds discussions with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the two Hokkaido University officials said.
    “We won’t get involved in anything that has to do with the military.    The satellite was not designed for that,” one of the officials, a manager of the project, told Reuters, asking not to be identified.
    “We are discussing what to do, but we don’t know when it will be deployed.    If it is halted, our hope is that the project could be restarted at some point.”
    The manager did not say when the satellite was meant to be deployed, or when a decision would have to be taken by JAXA either to go ahead or delay it.
    The second Hokkaido University official said the contract with MAEU did not specify that the satellite cannot be used for military purposes.
    However, data from the spacecraft would be collected by the Japanese university and cannot be independently accessed by Myanmar officials, the second official said.
    Since the coup, university officials had been unable to contact the rector of MAEU, Prof Kyi Thwin, the second official added.
    Officials at JAXA could not be reached for comment.    MAEU did not respond to calls seeking comment, nor did a spokesman for Myanmar’s junta.
    The satellite was launched by NASA on Feb 20 as a small part of a large and varied payload of supplies to the International Space Station 400 km (250 miles) above the earth.    It has since been kept by JAXA inside Japan’s Kibo experiment module.    JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi is one of the seven crew members now on board the space station.
    Japan has close ties to Myanmar and is one of its biggest aid donors.    While condemning the violence, it has not taken as hard a stance against the coup as the United States and some other Western countries which have applied sanctions.
    While the spacecraft has not been built to military specifications, Teppei Kasai, Asia programme officer for Human Rights Watch, said it would be easy for Myanmar’s army rulers to appropriate the technology for military use.
    “So the involved Japanese universities should suspend the project and urgently review it for potential human rights risks,” Kasai said.
(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Peter Graff)

3/2/2021 Climbing Without A Map: Japan’s Nuclear Clean-Up Has No End In Sight by Sakura Murakami and Aaron Sheldrick
The storage tanks for treated water are seen at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in
Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan March 1 2021. Picture taken March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Sakura Murakami
    TOKYO (Reuters) – For one minute this week, workers at the Fukushima nuclear station fell silent to mark the 10-year anniversary of a natural disaster that triggered the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
    Then they went back to work tearing down the reactors melted down in the days after a tsunami on March 11, 2011.
    The job ranks as the most expensive and dangerous nuclear clean-up ever attempted.    A decade in, an army of engineers, scientists and 5,000 workers are still mapping out a project many expect will not be completed in their lifetime.
    Naoaki Okuzumi, the head of research at Japan’s lead research institute on decommissioning, compares the work ahead to climbing a mountain range – without a map.
    “The feeling we have is, you think the summit’s right there, but then you reach it and can see another summit, further beyond,” Okuzumi told Reuters.
    Okuzumi and others need to find a way to remove and safely store 880 tonnes of highly radioactive uranium fuel along with a larger mass of concrete and metal into which fuel melted a decade ago during the accident.
    The robotic tools to do the job don’t yet exist.    There is no plan for where to put the radioactive material when it is removed.
    Japan’s government says the job could run 40 years.    Outside experts say it could take twice as long, pushing completion near the close of the century.
    GRAPHIC: Fukushima’s recovery from disaster
    Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which once had six reactors, was plunged into crisis by the tsunami that followed a magnitude 9.0 quake off the shore of northern Japan on March 11, 2011.
    The quake and tsunami flooded the back-up power generators at Fukushima, knocking out cooling systems.    The reactors quickly overheated, setting off explosions as uranium cores melted down.    The radioactive plumes that formed forced the evacuation of about 160,000 people.
    It wasn’t until 2017 that engineers understood how complicated the clean-up would become.    By that point, five specially designed robots had been dispatched through the dark, contaminated waters pumped in to cool the uranium.    But radiation zapped their electronics.
    One robot developed by Toshiba Corp, nicknamed the “little sunfish,” a device about the size of a loaf of bread, provided an early glimpse of the chaotic damage around the cores.
    Kenji Matsuzaki, a robot technician at Toshiba who led development of the “sunfish,” had assumed that they would find melted fuel at the bottom of the reactors.
    But the sunfish’s first video images showed a tumult of destruction, with overturned structures inside the reactor, clumps of unrecognizable brown debris and dangerously radioactive metal.
    “I expected it to be broken, but I didn’t expect it would be this bad,” Matsuzaki said.
    The delivery of a robotic arm to start removing fuel, developed in a $16 million programme with the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, has been delayed until 2022.    Tepco plans to use it to grab some debris from inside reactor 2 for testing and to help plan the main operation.
    The project has had some successes. About 2,000 spent fuel rods in reactors No. 3 and No. 4 – which could have caused another massive radiological release if they overheated – have been removed after giant frames and cranes were erected over the buildings.
    Radiation has been reduced in most of the Fukushima work site, about the size of New York’s Central Park.    In most areas of the plant, the 5,000 workers no longer need special protective equipment that had slowed work during Japan’s hot, humid summers.
    GRAPHIC: Japan earthquake and tsunami
    But the cleanup has been delayed by the buildup of contaminated water in tanks that crowd the site.    The melted cores are kept cool by pumping water into damaged reactor vessels.
    The water is pumped out and treated. Storage tanks now hold enough radioactive water to fill more than 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools.    Tepco expects it will max out its storage space next year.
    Most analysts expect the government to release the water into the ocean after further treatment.    Fishing communities have lobbied against that and South Korea and China have objected to such a move.
    There still is no plan for where to put the radioactive debris from the reactors.
    “It’s no good just moving highly radioactive waste from inside the nuclear reactor to somewhere else in the plant,” said Hiroshi Miyano, the head of the decommissioning committee of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan.    “Where will the waste go? Will it be pulverized? These are the questions that need to be asked.”
(Reporting by Sakura Murakami and Aaron Sheldrick; Writing by Kevin Krolicki; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

3/13/2021 Kauai Community Cut Off From Island After Landslide Blocks Main Road by OAN Newsroom
A house on Haleiwa Road is surrounded by floodwaters Tuesday, March 9, 2021, in Haleiwa, Hawaii. Torrential rains
have inundated parts of Hawaii for the past several days. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)
    A community on the Hawaiian island of Kauai has been, once again, cut off from the rest of the island after a landslide blocked the main road.
    This week, part of the Kuhio Highway was shut down as authorities worked to access the damage, remove debris and stabilize slopes.    The highway closure then blocked off the town of Hanalei from the rest of the island.
    This came just days after heavy rain caused a major landslide and forced several residents to evacuate over severe flooding.
A mudslide leaves Kamehameha Highway coated near Pokole Point on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, near Kahaluu, Hawaii. The entire state was under
a flash flood watch amid heavy rains expected to last through Wednesday morning. (Craig T. Kojima/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)
    Although there were no injuries or deaths, officials said it damaged several bridges and roadways while destroying multiple homes.
    “You can see up on top we’re starting to lay some plastic that we’re going to spread out to ensure we minimize the water that comes down to it,” Ed Sniffen of the     Hawaii Department of Transportation stated.    “The single lane access will be established in this area.    We’ll put up barriers on the upside slope and on the lower side slope because the guardrails are gone.    We’ll put up lighting in this area and we’re putting up an early alert system, a GPS cellular system, that will give us any alerts if we see any slope movements during that time.”
People stand at the edge of floodwaters along Haleiwa Road on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, in Haleiwa, Hawaii.
Torrential rains have inundated parts of Hawaii for the past several days. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)
    The highway closure will remain in place through Tuesday.    In the meantime, the county is working to bring in additional food and medical supplies as needed.

3/14/2021 43K Still Under Water Boil Notice In Jackson, Miss. by OAN Newsroom
The faculty and students at Provine High School served prepared meals and distributed bottled water
to residents in west Jackson, Miss., Thursday, March 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
    At least 43,000 homes and structures are still without clean water in Mississippi’s capital.    Residents said they are still using bottled water for bathing, cooking and drinking.
    This came after Jackson officials said they feel confident water service has been largely restored throughout the city.    Freezing weather led to infrastructural damage to pipes and water pressure in the area.
Provine High School student Joseph Anthony gathered prepared meals that are to be distributed along
with bottled water to west Jackson, Miss., residents, Thursday, March 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
    The city must submit 120 clean water samples from various locations for two consecutive days in order to deem the area’s water clean.
    In the meantime, work continues to restore water pressure.
    “We’re not done yet. Yes, you may have gotten your water restored,” Jackson Public Works Director Dr. Charles Williams said.    “Our objective right now is to get the water boil notice lifted, but now the real work starts.”
    Jackson officials said they plan to send out their water samples in the coming days.

3/15/2021 4 Men Rescued In Utah After Avalanche by OAN Newsroom
File – Snow-capped mountains are seen in Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
    Search and rescue teams safely retrieved four back country skiers in Utah following an avalanche.    The Utah County Sheriff’s Office said they received a call from the skiers near Pfeifferhorn peak around 11 a.m. local time on Sunday.
    Officials said no one was buried, but two of the men suffered serious leg and ankle injuries in the avalanche.    Wind and the possibility of another snow-slide pushed the rescue back a few hours, which led teams to drop care packages with necessary supplies.
    “None of them were buried by it, but two of them did sustain relatively serious injuries…one we believe a possible broken ankle and the other a possible broken leg,” stated Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.    “When you’re making plans to go into areas where these kind of conditions exist, you have to ask yourself the question: should I even go?
    Officers said both victims were taken to the hospital while the two other men sustained only minor injuries and were shuttled out of the area.    The U.S. has been experiencing a surge in avalanche deaths with 33 people having reportedly died so far this season.

3/16/2021 Flights canceled during China’s worst sandstorm in a decade by ASSOCIATED PRESS
    BEIJING – China’s capital and a wide swath of the country’s north were enveloped Monday in the worst sandstorm in a decade, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
    Skyscrapers in the center of Beijing appeared to drop from sight amid the dust and sand.    Traffic was snarled and more than 400 flights out of the capital’s two main airports were canceled amid high winds and low visibility.
    The National Meteorological Center said Monday’s storm had developed in the Gobi Desert in the Inner Mongolia Region, where schools had been advised to close and bus service added to reduce residents’ exposure to the harsh conditions.
    Such storms used to occur regularly in the springtime as sand from western deserts blew eastward, affecting areas as far as northern Japan.
    Massive planting of trees and bushes in fragile areas has reduced the effects on other parts of the country in recent years, but the expansion of cities and industries, along with strip mining and overgrazing, has put constant pressure on the environment throughout China.    With its mix of desert and grassy steppe, Inner Mongolia is particularly prone to extreme weather resulting from resource exploitation.
    Like COVID-19, which is believed to have spread from bats and other wild animals, sandstorms are a reminder of the need to respect nature, said Zhou Jinfeng, secretary general of the conservation group China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation.
    “Together with the pandemic, that’s another big lesson we should take and we should change our behavior,” Zhou said.
    The National Meteorological Center predicted that sand and dust would affect 12 provinces and regions from Xinjiang in the far northwest to Heilongjiang in the northeast and the eastern coastal port city of Tianjin.
    “This is the most intense sandstorm weather our country has seen in 10 years, as well as it covering the broadest area,” the center said in a post on its website.
    It wasn’t clear if the storm was related to a recent general decline in air quality despite efforts to end Beijing’s choking smog.
    The ruling Communist Party has pledged to reduce carbon emissions per unit of economic output by 18% over the next five years.    Environmentalists say China needs to do more to reduce dependency on coal that has made it the world’s biggest emitter of climatechanging gasses.
A resident tries to protect his face against a sandstorm in Beijing on Monday. NG HAN GUAN/AP

3/16/2021 Texas Senate Passes Bill To Recoup $5.1B In Energy Charges by OAN Newsroom
FILE – This Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, file photo shows power lines in Houston. When an unusually heavy winter storm blanketed much of Texas with
snow, electricity was knocked out for millions of homes and leaving many struggling to find clean water. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
    The Texas Senate passed a bill that could quickly authorize the reversal of more than $5 billion in potentially erroneous overcharges.    The legislation, passed Monday, orders the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to correct the prices of wholesale power and services sold during last month’s winter storm.
    The storm increased normal power fees by nearly 10 times to about $47 billion.    So far, the costs have prompted three power companies to seek bankruptcy. It has also sparked a battle between lawmakers and the state’s power regulator over the handling of the crisis.
    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) labeled the bill an “emergency legislative item” while reconvening a Senate session that was technically adjourned Thursday.
    Under the proposed provisions, ERCOT would have to make any changes to its pricing by March 20. The bill now heads to the Texas House.

3/16/2021 Primordial Lightning Strikes May Have Helped Life Emerge On Earth by Will Dunham
FILE PHOTO: Lightning bolts strike around the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic chain
near southern Osorno city June 5, 2011. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The emergence of the Earth’s first living organisms billions of years ago may have been facilitated by a bolt out of the blue – or perhaps a quintillion of them.
    Researchers said on Tuesday that lightning strikes during the first billion years after the planet’s formation roughly 4.5 billion years ago may have freed up phosphorus required for the formation of biomolecules essential to life.
    The study may offer insight into the origins of Earth’s earliest microbial life – and potential extraterrestrial life on similar rocky planets.    Phosphorus is a crucial part of the recipe for life.    It makes up the phosphate backbone of DNA and RNA, hereditary material in living organisms, and represents an important component of cell membranes.
    On early Earth, this chemical element was locked inside insoluble minerals.    Until now, it was widely thought that meteorites that bombarded early Earth were primarily responsible for the presence of “bioavailable” phosphorus.    Some meteorites contain the phosphorus mineral called schreibersite, which is soluble in water, where life is thought to have formed.
    When a bolt of lightning strikes the ground, it can create glassy rocks called fulgurites by super-heating and sometimes vaporizing surface rock, freeing phosphorus locked inside.    As a result, these fulgurites can contain schreibersite.
    The researchers estimated the number of lightning strikes spanning between 4.5 billion and 3.5 billion years ago based on atmospheric composition at the time and calculated how much schreibersite could result.    The upper range was about a quintillion lightning strikes and the formation of upwards of 1 billion fulgurites annually.
    Phosphorus minerals arising from lightning strikes eventually exceeded the amount from meteorites by about 3.5 billion years ago, roughly the age of the earliest-known fossils widely accepted to be those of microbes, they found.
    “Lightning strikes, therefore, may have been a significant part of the emergence of life on Earth,” said Benjamin Hess, a Yale University graduate student in earth and planetary sciences and lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Communications.
    “Unlike meteorite impacts which decrease exponentially through time, lightning strikes can occur at a sustained rate over a planet’s history.    This means that lightning strikes also may be a very important mechanism for providing the phosphorus needed for the emergence of life on other Earth-like planets after meteorite impacts have become rare,” Hess added.
    The researchers examined an unusually large and pristine fulgurite sample formed when lightning struck the backyard of a home in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, outside Chicago.    This sample illustrated that fulgurites harbor significant amounts of schreibersite.
    “Our research shows that the production of bioavailable phosphorus by lightning strikes may have been underestimated and that this mechanism provides an ongoing supply of material capable of supplying phosphorous in a form appropriate for the initiation of life,” said study co-author Jason Harvey, a University of Leeds associate professor of geochemistry.
    Among the ingredients considered necessary for life are water, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur and phosphorus, along with an energy source.
    Scientists believe the earliest bacteria-like organisms arose in Earth’s primordial waters, but there is a debate over when this occurred and whether it unfolded in warm and shallow waters or in deeper waters at hydrothermal vents.
    “This model,” Hess said, referring to phosphorous unlocked by lightning, “is applicable to only the terrestrial formation of life such as in shallow waters.    Phosphorus added to the ocean from lightning strikes would probably be negligible given its size.”
(Reporting by Will Dunham, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

3/16/2021 New Delhi Is World’s Most Polluted Capital For Third Straight Year – IQAir Study by Neha Arora
FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Lodhi Garden on a smoggy morning in New Delhi, India, December 23, 2020. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis
    NEW DELHI (Reuters) – New Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital for the third straight year in 2020, according to IQAir, a Swiss group that measures air quality levels based on the concentration of lung-damaging airborne particles known as PM2.5.
    India was home to 35 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities, according to IQAir’s 2020 World Air Quality Report, which gathered data for 106 countries.
    The findings were based on the country’s annual average of particulate matter PM2.5, airborne particles with less than 2.5 microns in diameter.    Prolonged exposure to PM2.5 can lead to deadly diseases, including cancer and cardiac problems.
    In 2020, New Delhi’s average annual concentration of PM2.5 in a cubic meter of air was 84.1, the study said, more than double the level of Beijing, which averaged 37.5 during the year, making it the 14th most polluted city in the world.
    Air pollution caused an estimated 54,000 premature deaths in New Delhi in 2020, according to a recent study by Greenpeace Southeast Asia Analysis and IQAir.
    Despite an 11% reduction in the annual average of PM2.5 levels due to nationwide coronavirus lockdown curbs imposed last year, India emerged as the world’s third most polluted country after Bangladesh and Pakistan.
    “Air pollution in India is still dangerously high,” the report said.
    In 2020, South Asia endured some of the world’s worst air quality on record, it said.
    Last year, Delhi’s 20 million residents, who breathed some of the cleanest air on record in summer months due to the lockdown curbs, battled toxic air in winter, following a sharp increase in farm fire incidents in the neighbouring state of Punjab.
    As the burning of crop stubble peaked, Delhi’s PM2.5 levels averaged 144 micrograms per cubic metre in November and 157 micrograms per cubic metre in December, exceeding the World Health Organisation’s annual exposure guideline by more than 14 times, it said.
(Reporting by Neha Arora; editing by Mayank Bhardwaj and Ed Osmond)

3/18/2021 Tornado Watch In Effect For Southeast, Thunderstorms To Hit Near Coast by OAN Newsroom
Damaged properties near the intersection of County Road 24 and 37 in Clanton, Ala., are shown early Thursday,
March /18, 2021, the morning after a large outbreak of severe storms pounded the southeast. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
    A storm system headed through the southeast had multiple counties under tornado warnings.    According to reports on Thursday, counties in northeast Florida, southeast Georgia and parts of South Carolina were under tornado warnings until 6 p.m.
    The low-pressure system was also predicted to bring thunderstorms and hail to many counties in the area.    Meteorologists said cool air reduced the risk for strong tornadoes, however, damaging winds and low strength twisters were still predicted.
The sun rises over weather-damaged properties at the intersection of County Road 24 and 37 in Clanton, Ala., following
a large outbreak of severe storms across the southeast, Thursday, March 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
    The same storm brought more than two dozen tornadoes to the south Thursday.    Reports said 19 tornadoes touched down in Alabama.    While many buildings were damaged, no fatalities were reported.
    “We had buildings and stuff destroyed but those things can be replaced,” Chilton County, Alabama Sheriff John Shearon stated.    “Lives can’t.”
    Forecasters anticipated the worst of the storm will move off the southeastern coast Thursday evening.

3/19/2021 Is It Snowing Microplastics In Siberia? Russia Scientists Take Samples
Microplastic particles found in snow samples taken in Siberia are seen through a microscope at a laboratory in Tomsk, Russia
March 17, 2021. Picture taken March 17, 2021. Siberian Microplastics centre of Tomsk State University (TSU)/Handout via REUTERS
    MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian scientists are trying to understand the scale of a potential threat to the environment in Siberia: snow polluted with microplastics that then melts and seeps into the ground.
    Scientists at Tomsk State University (TSU) say they have gathered snow samples from 20 different Siberian regions – from the Altai mountains to the Arctic – and that their preliminary findings confirm that airborne plastic fibres are turning up in snow in remote parts of the wilderness.
    “It’s clear that it’s not just rivers and seas that are involved circulating microplastics around the world, but also soil, living creatures and even the atmosphere,” Yulia Frank, scientific director at TSU’s Microplastics Siberia centre, told Reuters.
    Microplastics, which are created when bigger pieces of plastic litter break up over time, are increasingly being found in the air, food, drinking water and even Arctic ice.    Scientists are increasingly worried they may pose a risk to human health and marine life, though there is no consensus yet on the issue.
    Tomsk scientists have previously found microplastics in the digestive systems of fish caught in Siberian rivers, confirming that they are contributing to polluting the Arctic Ocean with plastic.
    “Siberia is absolutely under-researched in this aspect and our (Russia’s) interest in this problem comes late compared to the rest of the world,” Frank said.
    Scientists are now studying the snow samples to understand to what degree population density, the proximity of roads and other human activity contributes to the> (Reporting by Dmitry Turlyun; Writing by Maria Vasilyeva; Editing by Alex Richardson)

3/19/2021 Plague Of Mice Hits Parts Of Rural Australia
Mice run away on a farm in Gilgandra, New South Wales, Australia March 12, 2021 in this
still image obtained from a social media video. MELANIE MOERIS/via REUTERS
    SYDNEY (Reuters) – Some rural communities in the Australian state of New South Wales are suffering their worst plague of mice in decades after a bumper grain harvest, local people said.
    Eyewitness video obtained by Reuters showed thousands of the tiny rodents swarming around a farm in the town of Gilgandra.
    “At night… the ground is just moving with thousands and thousands of mice just running around” farmer Ron Mckay told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
    Supermarkets are storing food in sealed containers and at least three patients in the local hospital have been bitten by the mice, the broadcaster said.
    “You can imagine that every time you open a cupboard, every time you go to your pantry, there are mice present,” said Steve Henry, a rodent expert.
    “And they’re eating into your food containers, they’re fouling your clean linen in your linen cupboard, they’re running across your bed at night.”
    Farmers who made hay bales for the winter expect to lose many to the fast-reproducing rodents.    Local media reported that just one pair of mice can produce on average up to 500 offspring in a season.
    Intensive baiting programmes have so far had little success against the infestation, and locals are hoping for heavy rain to drown the mice in their burrows.
(Reporting by Jill Gralow and Paulina Duran in Sydney; Editing by Gareth Jones)

3/19/2021 Greek Archaeologists Unearth Bronze Bull Idol In Ancient Olympia
A 2,500-year-old bronze bull idol that was unearthed at the archaeological site of Olympia is displayed
in a laboratory, in ancient Olympia, Greece, March 1, 2021. Greek Ministry of Culture/Handout via REUTERS
    ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek archaeologists have unearthed by chance a more than 2,500-year-old bronze bull idol at the archaeological site of Olympia, the culture ministry said on Friday.
    An observant archaeologist came across the mini-statue during work at the site, one of the most celebrated sanctuaries in ancient Greece, the ministry said in a statement.
    With one of its horns sticking out of the ground after heavy rainfall, the statuette was found intact, close to the temple of ancient Greek god Zeus at Olympia, the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games.
    It was transferred to a laboratory for conservation.
    Archaeologists believe that it was part of thousands of gifts offered to Zeus in the 1,050-700 B.C. period.    Bulls and horses played an important role in the lives of ancient Greeks and so were frequently dedicated to the gods.
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Alex Richardson)

3/20/2021 Microplastics Discovered In Siberian Snow Samples by OAN Newsroom
A biologist looked at microplastics found in sea species at the Hellenic Centre for Marine
Research near Athens, on November 26, 2019. (Photo by LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images)
    Russian scientists are trying to find out what is causing the pollution of snow with microplastics in Siberia.
    Scientists at Tomsk State University have collected samples from 20 different locations all over Siberia and have detected the presence of airborne microplastics.
    As plastics erode over time, tiny particles remain on the microscopic level, polluting both water and air supplies.
    “There are very interesting researches on the microplastics transportation by the foreign scientists,” Danil Vorobyov, head of Biological Institute at Tomsk State University said.    “Unfortunately, there is no data about Russia.    Generally speaking, we’re pioneers here, we will research the microplastics content in 2021.”
    This followed previous studies in which microplastics were discovered in fish digestive systems.

3/20/2021 Analysts Predict Incoming Storm Set To Hit The South This Week, Predicted To Bring Another Round Of Severe Weather, High Winds, Rain by OAN Newsroom
A tree is lays over a lawn in Clanton, Ala., the morning following a large outbreak of severe storms across the southeast, Thursday, March 18, 2021.
Possible tornadoes knocked down trees, toppled power lines and damaged homes in multiple locations across the state of Alabama. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
    A developing storm is expected to bring another round of severe weather to the south.    On Saturday, forecasts predicted the system will touch down in parts of Oklahoma and Texas on Monday, which could bring potentially damaging winds.
    The storm is set to track east and will threaten gulf states with rain and strong storms from Tuesday all through Wednesday.    The National Weather Service is anticipating a cyclone formation off the coast of Florida, which could bring showers to the Carolinas and northern parts of the Sunshine State.
    This came just a week after more than two dozen tornadoes hit southern states and put many southeast counties under tornado warnings.

3/21/2021 China, US agree to talk about climat by Ken Moritsugu, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    BEIJING – China said Saturday it had agreed with the U.S. to take up climate change and a handful of other issues, a sign of small but possible progress from recently concluded talks that were otherwise marked by acrimonious public exchanges over the divisions between the world’s two largest economies.
    China’s official Xinhua News Agency said in a dispatch from Alaska, where the two-day meeting wrapped up Friday, that China and the U.S. had decided to set up a working group on climate change and hold talks “to facilitate activities of ... diplomatic and consular missions” and on issues related to each other’s journalists.
    However, in a sign that differences will be difficult to overcome, U.S. officials said no formal agreements had been reached on resuming any dialogues or starting new initiatives.
    The two countries feuded over journalist visas and consulates during the Trump administration, and climate change is seen as one area where they may be able to cooperate.
    The talks were the first between China and the Biden administration.

3/22/2021 Germany Agrees To More Wild Boar Hunting To Combat Swine Fever
FILE PHOTO: The town sign of Gross Drewitz is seen with a note reading "African swine fever in wild pigs, key area",
Gross Drewitz, Spree-Neisse, Germany, September 12, 2020. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse/File Photo
    HAMBURG (Reuters) – The governments of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic have agreed that intensified hunting of wild boar is needed to combat an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) among wild animals, Germany’s agriculture ministry said on Monday.
    Asian countries including China banned German pork imports in September 2020 after ASF was found in wild boar in east Germany, not farm animals, causing falling pig prices.
    There have been 845 ASF cases confirmed in wild boar close to the Polish border in the east German states of Brandenburg and Saxony, but none in farm animals.
    ASF has been present in Poland since 2014 and the Czech Republic since 2017, with wild animals suspected to be crossing into Germany and spreading the disease.
    Agriculture ministers from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic agreed in a video conference to more hunting to combat the disease, Germany’s agriculture ministry said in a statement.
    “Hunting should fundamentally be intensified in order to reduce the wild boar population and avoid the risk of a further spread of the disease,” the ministry said.
    Fencing has been built along the Polish border to prevent the spread of wild boar in cooperation with Poland, but there are still areas that need more protection, said German agriculture minister Julia Kloeckner.
    “We are making massive efforts to contain the outbreaks inside the current region and to eradicate this animal disease as fast as possible.”
    Germany is asking pork importers to accept the regionalisation concept under which imports are stopped only from the region of a country where ASF occurs, replacing blanket bans on all pork imports.    Vietnam and several other countries have agreed to this.
    ASF is not dangerous to humans but is fatal to pigs.    Pork buyers often impose import bans on countries where it has been found, even in wild animals.
(Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by David Goodman)

3/22/2021 World’s Top Emitters A Long Way From Aligning With Climate Goals by Simon Jessop and Elizabeth Howcroft
FILE PHOTO: Fridays for Future activists protest calling for a "Global Day of Climate Action", as the spread of
the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Vienna, Austria, March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Leonard Foeger
(Correct title of Mindy Lubber in paragraph 7)
    LONDON (Reuters) – The world’s biggest carbon-emitting companies are far from aligning with the Paris Climate Agreement, a report by the leading climate-focused investor group showed on Monday.
    Climate Action 100+, whose 575 members manage $54 trillion in assets, was set up in 2017 to engage with the companies responsible for the bulk of planet-heating emissions to encourage them to cut them and strengthen climate disclosures.
    If added together and treated as a country, the companies – including oil majors like Exxon, Saudi Aramco and BP as well as Unilever – would be the third biggest emitter behind the United States and China, the group said.
    Releasing its first ‘Climate Action 100+ Net-Zero Company Benchmark’, the group uses a traffic-light system to show how each of the 159 companies is currently performing on a variety of indicators and metrics.
    None of the companies have fully disclosed how they will achieve their goals to become a net zero business by 2050 or sooner, the assessment shows, including setting short- and medium-term targets.
    Irked by the slow pace of change at some companies, leading investors have thrown their weight behind shareholder resolutions in the current season for annual general meetings demanding better information on company plans.
    “The Climate Action 100+ Net Zero Company Benchmark shows there is an urgent need for greater corporate action and higher ambition in accelerating the net zero economy and ensuring a safe and viable future,” said Mindy Lubber, CEO and President at sustainability organisation Ceres, and a member of the Climate Action 100+ Steering Committee.
    Although 83 of the companies assessed have announced an aim of achieving net-zero by 2050, around half of these commitments do not encompass the full scope of their emissions.
    While 107 companies had set medium-term targets, only 20 met all the assessment criteria; of the 75 to set short-term targets, only eight did so.
    Only six companies had committed to aligning their capital expenditure with their long-term reduction targets, and none have so far pledged to align them with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
    When scenario planning for the risks and opportunities posed by climate change, just 10% of the companies include the 1.5 degrees scenario across the whole of their operations.
    Although 139 companies consider climate change at board level, only a third of those assessed explicitly link executive pay to their targets for reducing emissions.
    The assessment, based on companies’ public disclosures and any additional information they provided before Jan. 22, will form the base line for future engagement with them, CA100+ said.
    “This is a vitally important piece of work.    We will be using it not only to inform our engagement but also our proxy voting, because for us, ultimately, we have to be able to hold boards accountable,” said Anne Simpson, managing investment director of board governance and sustainability at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS).
    Graphic: Biggest emitters far from aligning with climate goals –
(This story corrects title of Mindy Lubber in paragraph 7)
(Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

3/23/2021 Sen. Rubio Speaks Out On Unidentified Flying Objects Spotted Over U.S. Military Installations by OAN Newsroom
Ranking member Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) questions witnesses during a Senate Intelligence Committee
hearing on Capitol Hill on February 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by DREW ANGERER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) spoke out on the urgency to identify unexplained flying objects, which have been spotted over U.S. military installations.    In an interview on Tuesday, Rubio said the unidentified objects seen flying over sensitive military facilities were not American and nobody knows who they belong to.
    Rubio said he does not know if extraterrestrial life forms could be behind the objects, but suggested another source could be foreign powers.
    “I don’t know if there are aliens, I don’t know if they’ve ever visited here,” Rubio stated.    “You know, when you talk about that stuff, everybody gets stigmatized about it.    Nobody wants to sound weird. My thing is very simple: We don’t know what that stuff is that is flying over the top of our installations, let’s find out.    Maybe it’s another country and that would be bad news, too.”
    Meanwhile, the Pentagon is expected to release a report on UFOs later in 2021.

3/24/2021 Exclusive: U.S. Senators Press Biden To Set End Date For Gas-Powered Car Sales by David Shepardson
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Commuters navigate early morning traffic as they drive towards
downtown in Los Angeles, California, U.S., July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – California’s two U.S. senators are urging President Joe Biden to set a firm date to phase-out gas-powered passenger vehicles as the White House grapples with how to rewrite vehicle emissions rules slashed under President Donald Trump.
    In an unreported letter going to Biden Monday, Democratic Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein called on Biden “to follow California’s lead and set a date by which all new cars and passenger trucks sold be zero-emission vehicles.”    They also urged Biden to restore California’s authority to set clean car standards.
    In September, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order directing the state’s air resources agency to require all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California to be zero-emission by 2035.
    Biden’s campaign in 2020 declined to endorse a specific date to end gas-powered vehicle sales, but he has vowed to dramatically boost electric vehicles and charging stations.
    In January, Biden said the administration would replace the federal government’s fleet of 650,000 vehicles “with clean electric vehicles made right here in America made by American workers.”
    The senators also say Biden should use a compromise deal that California struck with automakers including Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor, BMW AG and Volkswagen AG that falls between the Trump administration and Obama-era requirements.
    “We believe the national baseline should, at an absolute minimum, be built around the technical lead set by companies that voluntarily advanced their agreements with     California,” Padilla, who replaced Vice President Kamala Harris in the Senate, and Feinstein wrote in the letter seen by Reuters.    “California and other states need a strong federal partner.”
    Shortly after taking office, Biden ordered U.S. agencies to revisit fuel efficiency standards by July.
    The Trump administration in March 2020 finalized a rollback of fuel economy standards to require 1.5% annual increases in efficiency through 2026, well below the 5% yearly boosts in Obama-administration rules it discarded.
    Then President Donald Trump repeatedly targeted California, a Democratic bastion that tangled with Trump on multiple fronts during his tenure.
    The Center for Biological Diversity estimates the California deal improves fuel economy 3.7% year over year between 2022-2026.
    Biden also directed the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by April to reconsider Trump’s 2019 decision to revoke California’s authority to set its own auto tailpipe emissions standards and require rising numbers of zero-emission vehicles.
    A White House spokesman declined to comment Sunday on the timing of any announcement on California’s vehicle authority.
    California’s vehicle emissions standards are followed by 13 other states and the District of Columbia accounting for more than 40% of the U.S. population.
    In January, General Motors said it aspires to end all gasoline passenger car and truck sales by 2035. Volvo, a unit of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, said its entire car line-up will be fully electric by 2030 and Ford’s European lineup will also be fully electric by 2030.
    The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group representing major automakers, declined comment Sunday but last month backed nationwide rules to achieve vehicle emissions reductions roughly midway between the Trump and Obama standards.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Diane Craft)

3/24/2021 Australian Floods Kill Two, More Evacuations As Clean-Up Begins by Renju Jose and Jonathan Barrett
People using kayaks and paddle boards navigate a residential neighbourhood inundated with floodwaters as severe
flooding affects the suburb of McGraths Hill in Sydney, Australia, March 24, 2021. REUTERS/Loren Elliott
    SYDNEY (Reuters) -The bodies of two men were found in Australia on Wednesday in cars trapped in floodwaters, the first deaths linked to wild weather in recent days that has submerged houses, swept away livestock and cut off entire towns.
    More than 40,000 people have been forced to flee their homes as torrential rain sparked dangerous flash floods, and authorities issued new evacuation orders for residents of Sydney’s western regions to move to safety.
    In some other areas, a massive clean-up operation began as sunny skies returned for the first time in days, and food and other emergency supplies were flown in over swamped roads.
    Authorities were trying to contact the family of a Pakistani national whose body was found by emergency services in a car under six metres of water in Sydney’s northwest.
    Police had determined the man was driving a brand new car, on the first day of a new job and unfamiliar with the rural area, New South Wales Police Detective Inspector Chris Laird told media.    The reason he could not get out of the vehicle was being investigated.
    “It could very well be that the electrics totally failed and he was simply unable to escape from the car which is an absolute tragedy,” Laird said.
    Media reported police found a second body in an upturned utility vehicle in floodwaters in Queensland state.
    Gladys Berejiklian, premier of New South Wales, the worst-hit state, warned that water levels would keep rising in some areas as major dams overflowed and rivers bulged, with thousands of people were on evacuation watch.
    “Catchments will continue to experience flows of water not seen in 50 years and in some places 100 years,” Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
    The Insurance Council of Australia, the main industry body, said about 17,000 damages claims worth about A$254.2 million ($193.32 million) had been lodged by Wednesday morning across New South Wales and Queensland.
    Homes have been submerged, livestock swept away and crops inundated.
    There have also been many animal rescues, with craft used to move dogs, cattle, and even an emu, away from the flood waters. In the country’s arid centre, water cascaded down the Uluru rock formation, a rare phenomenon described by the national park as “unique and extraordinary.”
    Prime Minister Scott Morrison said heavy-load helicopters would transport food to supermarkets where supplies were running short.
    “The expanse of water that went right across that region was quite devastating to see,” Morrison said in parliament after he toured flood-affected areas by helicopter.
    Several hundred defence force personnel would be sent to flood-affected areas over the next few days to help in the recovery, said Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud.
    “Their job will be out there cleaning up, making sure that we get rid of the debris, having boots on the ground,” Littleproud said.
    Australian Rail Track Corp (ARTC) partially reopened Hunter Valley coal rail lines to Newcastle, the world’s biggest coal export port, but not before supply concerns lifted thermal coal prices to two year highs near $100 a tonne.
    The Hunter Valley rail network serves mines run by BHP Group, Glencore Plc, New Hope Corp, Whitehaven Coal and Yancoal Australia, among others.
    The Port of Newcastle, which last year shipped 158 million tonnes of coal, slowed ship movements this week but said on Wednesday it was continuing to operate.
    Forecasters said the weather system that brought the rain would shift to the island state of Tasmania on Wednesday, bringing downpours and flooding.
(Reporting by Renju Jose, Jonathan Barrett, Melanie Burton and Sonali Paul; editing by Grant McCool and Jane Wardell)

3/24/2021 Icelandic Volcano Could Erupt For Years, Creating ‘Perfect Tourist’ Attraction by Nikolaj Skydsgaard
A view of the volcanic site on the Reykjanes Peninsula following Friday's eruption
in Iceland March 23, 2021. REUTERS/Cat Gundry-Beck
    COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – A volcano in Iceland spewing lava into the sky since it erupted last Friday could continue its spectacular display for years, potentially becoming a new tourist attraction on the island known for its natural wonders.
    Thousands of Icelanders have flocked to the site of the eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula, some 30 kilometres southwest of the capital, hoping to be awed by the rare lava fountains and even to cook a meal on the scorching crust of magma.
    Drone footage filmed over the crater shows the molten lava bubbling and spurting, and gushing down the sides of the volcano.
    “It’s a perfect tourist eruption,” volcanology professor at the University of Iceland, Thorvaldur Thordarson, told Reuters.
    “With the caveat though, don’t go too close.”
    To cope with the hoard of visitors, authorities in Iceland set up a 3.5 kilometre (2.2 miles) hiking trail to the eruption site and are patrolling the area to prevent onlookers from venturing into hazardous areas polluted by volcanic gasses.
    “People were hiking from many different directions into the area,” Agust Gunnar Gylfason, project manager at the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, told Reuters.
    Gylfason estimated more than ten thousand people had ventured to the site since Friday evening, some of whom had needed rescuing due to the harsh weather and travelling without enough food or proper clothing.
    Since the initial eruption, lava has steadily seeped out of the volcano at a rate of between 5 to 10 cubic metres per second, Thordarson said, a flow strong enough to ensure the lava does not solidify and close the fissure.    For now.
    “If it drops below three cubic meters, it’s very likely that the eruption will stop,” Thordarson said.
    He compared the lava flux to that of the Pu’u ‘O’o eruption in Hawaii, which began in 1983 and continued to erupt for 35 years.
    “It could end tomorrow or it could still be going in a few decades.”
(Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

3/25/2021 5 People Reported Dead Following Ala. Tornado by OAN Newsroom
Damage is seen to a home after a tornado passed through the Eagle Point subdivision,
Thursday, March 25, 2021, near Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
    Severe tornadoes struck Alabama as Southern states are bracing for a second round of high-risk tornado threats.
    On Thursday, reports said five people died as a result of one of the multiple tornadoes that touched down in Calhoun County, Alabama.    Experts forecasted strong, long track tornadoes in Northeast Mississippi, Northwest Alabama and Southern Tennessee Thursday evening.
    Those areas have a level 5 out of 5 “high risk” of severe thunderstorms, with the potential to yield damaging winds up to 80 miles per hour.
A house is totally destroyed after a tornado touched down south of Birmingham, Ala. in the Eagle Point
community damaging multiple homes, Thursday, March 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
    Forecasters also predicted large hail and strong tornado threats.
    Counties in the Mid-South through the Tennessee Valley and some parts of Georgia are also facing tornado warnings.
    “Really head those warnings because regardless what color you’re in, what risk level your in, the impacts are the same as tornadoes are still possible,” EMA Melissa Sizemore stated.
    More than 21,000 Alabama residents are without power due to downed utility lines from the storm.
    Thursday’s severe weather came after 25 tornadoes struck Alabama last week.

3/26/2021 Farmer Coaxes Forest From The Desert In Burkina Faso
Yacouba Sawadogo, a farmer, who is known as the 'man who stopped the desert' for bringing life back to
the arid lands, plants a tree in Ouahigouya, Burkina Faso January 31, 2021. REUTERS/Thiam Ndiaga
    OUAHIGOUYA, Burkina Faso (Reuters) – Yacouba Sawadogo murmurs advice to his sons as they press a sapling into the red earth using a centuries-old technique that he has adapted to conjure a forest from Burkina Faso’s rain-starved soil.
    The farmer who is well into his 70s is hailed across his province as “the man who stopped the desert.”    He won that title after tweaking a method of growing plants in pits to trap water – essential in the hardscrabble region fringing the Sahara.
    After a terrible drought ravaged the Sahel in the 1970s and 1980s, many of Sawadogo’s neighbours abandoned their farms in northern Burkina Faso. But he stayed.
    Pressures on land remain. Wind erosion, water shortages, rapid population growth and overgrazing cause around 470,000 hectares of land to degrade per year, data from the environment ministry show.
    His use of so-called zai pits has in four decades created a 40-hectare oasis of thorny acacia, yellow-fruiting saba and other trees near his village in Yatenga province, bordering Mali.
    “This forest that you see today was really a desert – there was not even the shade of a single tree here,” he says, sunlight dappling his face through the canopy above.
    Farmers have dug small pits into the sunbaked soil for centuries and filled them with organic matter for their plants.    Sawadogo experimented with digging wider and deeper pits and using stones.
    When the rains arrive, his pits pit collect more water that feeds down to the seeds, increasing crop yields by up to 500%, according to the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP).
    The adoption of zai and similar soil and water conservation methods across the West African nation over the past 30 years has improved food security, groundwater levels, tree cover and biodiversity, according to a 2018 study in the journal Sustainability.
    Sawadogo will keep planting.    “If there are no trees and the land is not maintained, it would be a disaster.”
(Reporting by Thiam Ndiaga and Yvonne Bell; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Edward McAllister and Andrew Heavens)

3/26/2021 Biden: Russia And China Know They Are Invited by OAN Newsroom
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MARCH 10: Joe Biden addressed the media on March 10, 2020
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
    Joe Biden is looking to push his climate agenda on a global scale, but hasn’t directly reached out to two key players.
    On Tuesday, the White House published a list of 40 countries invited to attend Biden’s global leaders climate summit in April.
    That list included Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, but it is unclear whether they were actually invited.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin gestured during a meeting with France’s President Emmanuel Macron (out of frame) in the sidelines
of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires, on November 30, 2018. (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)
    The White House delivered more mixed messaging on the issue when Biden skirted the question, telling reporters he has not directly invited Putin or Xi.
    “I haven’t yet, but they know they’re invited, but I haven’t I haven’t spoken to either one of them yet individually,” Biden said.    “I just got off the phone speaking with the British prime minister.    And yesterday I spoke with all the members of the E.U., but I haven’t spoken to those two.”
    This came as critics pointed to the fact that China is the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter and Russia the fourth largest, so any talks without these countries would not be very effective.
    Biden is planning to unveil his new 2030 goal to cut America’s carbon footprint by more than 50
    The virtual summit is expected to be held April 22 and April 23.

3/26/2021 At Least 6 Dead As Tornadoes Devastate Ala., Ga. by OAN Newsroom
Storms that rolled through North Georgia late Thursday into Friday, March 26, 2021,
left a path of destruction. (John Spink /Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
    Severe storms which produced multiple tornadoes in Alabama devastated neighboring Georgia.
    The tornadoes ripped through Alabama on Thursday, killing five people.
A firefighter surveyed damage to a house after a tornado touched down south of Birmingham, Ala., Thursday, March 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
    They then moved into Georgia on Friday, leaving one person dead.    Aerial video showed collapsed buildings and the roofs sheared off of several homes.
Michael Krios surveyed the damage on LaGrange Street.    Storms that rolled through North Georgia late Thursday into Friday, March 26, 2021, left a path of destruction. (John Spink /Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
    The twisters also toppled trees and downed power lines, knocking out power for tens of thousands of people in both states.    Utility companies are working to restore power, and officials are urging people to stay off the roads.
    “Our teams are still out working as of now, and we expect we’re going to be out for some time to come as we check each home to make sure that we have everyone out,” Coweta County Fire Chief Pat Wilson said.
    The severe weather is expected to expand across several more Southern states, including Tennessee, Kentucky and the Carolinas.

3/27/2021 NASA gives all clear: Earth safe from asteroid for 100 years
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Here’s some good cosmic news: NASA has given Earth the all clear for the next century from a particularly menacing asteroid.    The space agency announced this week that new telescope observations have ruled out any chance of Apophis smacking Earth in 2068.    That’s the same 1,100-foot space rock that was supposed to come frighteningly close in 2029 and again in 2036.    NASA ruled out any chance of a strike during those two close approaches a while ago.    But a potential 2068 collision still loomed.

3/28/2021 Occidental wants to be Tesla of carbon capture - Occidental wants to be Tesla of carbon capture by Cathy Bussewitz ASSOCIATED PRESS
    NEW YORK – Removing carbon dioxide from the air is seen as crucial to reducing the worst impacts of global warming, and the world’s largest effort to do that on a commercial scale is coming from an unlikely source: a Texas oil company.
    Occidental Petroleum’s CEO Vicki Hollub plans to transform her oil and gas business into a carbon management company and to break ground next year on a direct air capture facility that will suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere in the Permian Basin, the country’s most prolific oil field.
    The idea is to help the environment and make money at the same time.    Occidental has been capturing carbon dioxide from its oil and gas operations for 40 years, injecting it underground to help recover more oil from its reservoirs.    But Hollub’s ambitions are bigger.    Under her leadership, the company has invested an undisclosed amount developing a new direct air capture facility that can remove a million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere per year; that’s compared to thousands of tons per year that most current direct air capture plants remove.
    Question: Why was it important to you to invest in this technology?    Answer: There is a business case to do it, and whenever you can find a business case that also does good things for the environment, for the communities, for the world, that is certainly a winning scenario.    We believe direct air capture does all of that.
    It creates value for our shareholders by increasing the recovery of oil that we can get out of our existing reservoirs and lowers the cost and ensures sustainability of that oil production over time.    Secondly, it reduces the carbon dioxide emissions in the world by lowering the carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere.    The third thing is it’s going to produce carbon-neutral or negative oil, and that’s really important for aviation and the maritime industries and other industries that would otherwise have a very difficult time lowering their carbon footprint, so we think that’s really going to be important for them.
    The fourth thing is that recovering more oil from existing reservoirs means that more future demand can be met with existing development, and that ultimately will reduce the need for new developments in the decades to come.
Q: Do you expect to eventually make more money from carbon management than oil and gas production?
A: We believe the carbon management business will equal our chemicals business (which brought in $507million in profit last year) in probably 10 to 15 years.    Beyond 15 years we expect it will potentially compete and then exceed what our oil and gas operations are making today.
Q: How many of these would you like Occidental to build?
A: I actually think it’s got to be hundreds, because it’s really important.    We sort of feel like the Tesla of the direct air capture industry, because when they first started, people had doubts about the impact it could make.    But Tesla’s been highly successful, and they’ve transformed the auto industry.
[Trees contribute to their environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife.    During the process of photosynthesis, trees take in carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we breathe.    So will trees die if they do not have it, and humanity depends on the oxygen they release and without trees we would be living on deserts and sandstorms would be the norm and I have experienced that on the deserts of Idaho when the sun is going down?]

3/28/2021 Ga. Officials Observe Violent Tornado Aftermath by OAN Newsroom
Debris was strewn about the damaged campus of Newnan High School, Friday, March 26, 2022, in Newnan, Ga.,
the day after a dangerous tornado moved through the area, (John Spink/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
    Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) surveyed the damage left behind following a violent EF-4 tornado that ripped through Newnan, Georgia.
    On Friday, Kemp visited a neighborhood near Newnan High School, the area most affected by the storm. He said “this is total destruction,” adding the aftermath was different from anything he’s ever seen.
    Six people died as a result of the South’s tornado outbreak, including a Newnan resident who was trapped inside their home.
    “But I have great hope and optimism from the people here today that they’re not going to cry over spilled milk or knocked down trees or damaged homes,” Kemp stated.    “They’re going to pull the bootstraps up, and we’ll be there to help them to rebuild and to continue on.”
Newnan police officer Donald Evans and principal Chase Puckett walked through the damaged campus of Newnan High School., Friday, March 26, 2022,
in Newnan, Ga., the day after a dangerous tornado moved through the area, (John Spink/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
    In the meantime, storms are expected to continue throughout the South.

3/29/2021 At Least Four Dead In Tenn. After Flash Flooding, Tornado Hits South by OAN Newsroom
A truck drives through water on the road Sunday, March 28, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. Heavy rain across Tennessee late Saturday
and early Sunday flooded homes and roads as a line of severe storms crossed the state. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
    Nashville Mayor John Cooper held a press conference Sunday addressing the city’s response to flash flooding and the four fatalities that resulted from the storm.
    City police said one of the fatalities was a 65-year-old man who was swept away by flood waters when getting out of his car.    Another was a 70-year-old man who was submerged in his car in a flooded Walmart parking lot.
    “Metro is currently investigating four deaths believed to have been caused by the storm,” Mayor Cooper stated.    “That is shocking and we send our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of those who died.”
    City safety officials rescued more than 150 people from vehicles and homes Sunday morning. Rescue efforts have continued into Monday.
    Nashville Electric Service restored power to 900 of the 5,000 homes that lost it due to downed power lines.
    Rainfall radar showed the metro Nashville area received between seven and nine inches of rainfall, which is the second largest total on record for the city.    Meteorologists said that the fast falling rain, after months of little precipitation, caused rivers, creeks and lakes to breach and flood surrounding areas.
    According to local officials, mass evacuations were issued throughout Nashville.    However, officials said several people remained trapped in by rising waters with some taking shelter in their attics or even clinging on to trees.
    Additionally, homes were flipped over from storms in Arkansas and a tornado struck eastern Texas.    This followed days of severe weather and roughly two dozen tornadoes hitting the south.

3/31/2021 Tenn. braces for new round of rain - Band of precipitation will soak the South by Ryan W. Miller, Katie Nixon and Andy Humbles, USA TODAY
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – More rain was expected to soak parts of a water-weary South on Tuesday and Wednesday, prompting flood warnings and watches, especially in Middle Tennessee.
    At least six people have been killed and many others had to be rescued in floods over the weekend.
    The National Weather Service said 1 to 3 more inches of rain from southern Arkansas to Middle Tennessee could lead to flooding into Wednesday.
    “Much of this region has experienced well above average rainfall over the last week; therefore, any additional heavy rain will likely cause rivers to overflow their banks quickly,” forecasters said.    Some thunderstorms could strike in the area, potentially bringing damaging winds and large hail, according to the weather service.
    The weather service issued a flash flood watch covering all of Middle Tennessee from 7 p.m.    Tuesday through Wednesday.    Parts of eastern Kentucky, southeastern Virginia and northern Alabama were also under flash flood watches.
    “Normally this amount of rain wouldn’t cause flooding, but because it is so wet, there is that possibility,” weather service meteorologist Sam Shamburger said.
    Once the storms leave Tennessee, they will head toward the Southeast and mid-Atlantic late Wednesday, forecasters said. Some flash flooding could be possible in southern Appalachia and the mid-Atlantic; farther north, temperatures will drop, prompting a few inches of wet snow Thursday morning in New York.
    Historic rains drenched the South over the weekend, and the 7.01 inches of rain that fell at the Nashville airport from Saturday to Sunday was the second- highest two-day rainfall total recorded in the city.
    Four people in Nashville, one in Hawkins County and one in Cheatham County died in the flooding, Tennessee officials said.
    Fire and emergency management officials launched boats to rescue about 130 people from homes and vehicles in Nashville.    Dozens more were rescued in neighboring counties.    Tuesday, the rescues continued, including an adult and child saved on the roof of a car in about 2 feet of water. No injuries were reported.
    Nashville Mayor John Cooper called the deaths “deeply disturbing” and declared a state of emergency to help cleanup efforts.
    Monday in Brentwood, just south of Nashville, city officials declared a state of emergency after more than 8 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period, according to the weather service. More than 50 people needed to be rescued because of flooding. Nearby Franklin also declared a state of emergency.
    In Cheatham County, west of Nashville, the roads were so flooded Monday that officials had to help stranded residents with a truck equipped for high water.
    “We’ve had to go in and retrieve a few people that had to get out for medical treatments,” Ashland City Fire Chief James Walker said.
    First responders carried eight people from their homes Monday morning and made a second trip to retrieve medication from a home.
    Roads are under roughly 4 feet of water, making it impossible for residents to leave or return to their homes.
    “They’re kind of like on an island.    The areas that go into the community are low, and the river covers it when it gets to this elevation,” Walker said.
    Sunday, Ashland City Fire officials worked with the Kingston Springs and Dickson City fire departments to save a 27-year-old man.
    “He had driven his car off into the river and was hanging onto a tree,” Walker said.
    First responders rode nearly 2 miles downstream in a swift-water rescue boat to the man’s location after it was pinged by 911.
    Meteorologist Sam Herron at the National Weather Service in Nashville said everything “came together at the wrong moment to focus those storms all over the same area” over the weekend.    Moisture in the atmosphere, a slow-moving cold front and thunderstorms boiling over high in the atmosphere all worked together to create the deadly downpour.
    Luckily, Herron said, the forecast after Wednesday calls for a dry spell, possibly up to a week of rain-free days.
    The weekend flooding in Nashville was the worst to hit the region since May 2010.    Those floods caused 21 deaths in Tennessee and about $1.5 billion in damage in Nashville.
Contributing: Mariah Timms, Brinley Hineman, Duane W. Gang and Yihyun Jeong, The (Nashville) Tennessean; Doyle Rice, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
Residents survey floodwaters from the Harpeth River on Monday in Nashville, Tenn.

3/31/2021 Firefighter’s battle winds as wildfires spread in S.D. - Mount Rushmore closed as homes are evacuated by ASSOCIATED PRESS
    NEMO, S.D. – High winds Tuesday hampered firefighters battling wildfires in the Black Hills of South Dakota that have forced the evacuations of more than 400 homes and closed the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
    Three separate wildfires were burning near Rapid City, with the largest in the Nemo area.    That fire has burned nearly 3 square miles and has not been contained at all.
    Two smaller blazes were burning southwest of Rapid City, including one inside the grounds of Mount Rushmore National Memorial.    The monument was closed Tuesday.
    The fire in the Nemo area, dubbed the Schroeder Road fire, has crossed into two neighborhoods near Rapid City, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.    At least one home has been destroyed after “an intense structure fight,” officials said.    No injuries have been reported.
    South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said the Schroeder Road fire started on private property.
    On Monday, winds reached as high as 81 mph. Firefighters responding to the fire found “a fast-moving ground fire in extreme fire danger condition,” officials reported.    They immediately called for assistance from around the region.
    U.S. Forest Service support services specialist Halley Legge said wind is still an issue as about 250 firefighters continue their work.
    Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom said his family was among those who were evacuated.    “I watched a neighbor’s house go up in flames.    So it touches all of us,” he said.
    One of the other blazes has burned an estimated 90 acres.
    The fire near Mount Rushmore has threatened 15 structures, including park facilities and homes, according to Great Plains Fire Public Information Officer Travis Mason-Bushman. He said the fire was near main access roads but had not gotten close to the visitor center.
Contributing: Stephen Perez, Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Firefighters create a trench with axes on a hillside near Westberry Trails on Monday.
The fire forced several evacuations. SIANDHARA BONNET/USA TODAY NETWORK.

3/31/2021 Virgin Galactic Reveals The First Of Its Next-Generation Spaceship Series by OAN Newsroom
In this undated photo provided by Virgin Galactic is the VSS Imagine, the first SpaceShip III in the Virgin Galactic Fleet in Mojave, Calif.
Virgin Galactic rolled out its newest spaceship Tuesday, March 30, 2021, as the company looks to resume test flights in the coming months. (Virgin Galactic via AP)
    On Tuesday, Virgin Galactic unveiled its new spaceship called VSS Imagine, which is the first of the company’s latest generation of commercial craft.    Company founder Richard Branson said the new ship will bring a new and transforming perspective for future space travelers.
    “The unveiling of our new beautiful spaceship marks the expansion of the fleet,” he stated.    “With this being the first spaceship of the Virgin Galactic Spaceship III class of vehicle.”
    The VSS Imagine is finished entirely with a reflective mirror-like material, which provides thermal protection and is designed for research experiments that can be conducted in sub-orbital space while also carrying passengers.
    “Our hope for all those who travel on this spaceship is that it will offer new horizons, fresh perspectives and spark ideas that will bring positive change to our beautiful planet,” Branson continued.    “That’s why we are calling our new spaceship VSS Imagine.”
    The spaceship will begin the process of ground testing soon with a test flight from Virgin’s Spaceport America in New Mexico tentatively set for this summer.

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