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Question

Mysterious loud bangs heard in Cornwall, UK

Mystery surrounds the cause of a series of loud bangs heard across South Devon and parts of Cornwall this afternoon.

Several startled people reported the loud booms, heard around 3pm, on social media.

The bizarre occurrence has sparked a frenzy of speculation, with conspiracy theories doing the rounds over what might have caused the strange sounds.

Many believe the bang could have been caused by a sonic boom due to jet planes speeding through the sky and breaking the sound barrier.

But whatever the cause, people described it as loud enough to shake their homes and rattle windows.

Lisa Evenden wrote on Twitter: "In Tavistock our house shook like mad & long loud boom."

Trendspot added: "There was the most enormous bang over #Tintagel at 3pm. Sonic boom at sea level?"

Another going by the name of Frankie, wrote: "Very loud over North Petherwin near Launceston too!"

Attention

Boy bitten on face by sea lion at La Jolla Cove, California

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Sea lion.
A 5-year-old boy is recovering after being bit in the face by a sea lion at a San Diego beach.

Authorities say the child was on a family outing Sunday at La Jolla Cove when he tried to touch the sea lion. There have been a record number of sea lions washing up on Southern California beaches this year.

The San Diego Fire and Rescue Department says the boy suffered a "minor puncture" to his jaw.

His family took him to a local hospital for examination.

Officials advise beachgoers to stay away from the sea lions, some of which are emaciated and distressed.


Attention

Sea lions encroaching on Sacramento waterways and becoming more aggressive

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© Gatito33
Sea lions are showing up on Sacramento waterways like never before—and are also showing signs of aggression.
'My grandfather said the sea lions would never come into the river. Now they're here.'

About a year ago, boat skipper Barry Canavero was fishing in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with a deckhand and several customers. People pay veteran guides like Canavero a healthy fee to catch, and mostly release, striped bass, catfish and sturgeon. That morning, a client hooked a small striped bass and reeled the fish to the side of the boat, where the deckhand lifted it from the water to remove the hook. Then, the water exploded with spray, fur, teeth and claws. A bear-sized beast seized the fish, almost biting the man's hand, and flopped back into the water with an orca-like splash and vanished.

That was the moment that Canavero lost his last shred of sympathy for the California sea lion. The big predators have always been eyed with disdain by ocean anglers, who regularly lose fish—especially salmon—to the animals. But in the past decade, California sea lions, whose numbers are booming, have become established residents of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and, increasingly, even the river itself.

Canavero, who has guided sport anglers for almost 44 years, says sea lions upstream of San Francisco Bay are becoming more numerous and more aggressive every year.


"I was in Steamboat Slough the other day, and there were six sea lions," Canavero said. "They're there every single day, and there are always two or three more where the Sacramento splits into Cache Slough."

Attention

Rhino attacks and injures forest guard despite warning shots, India

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Rhino.
A female rhino injured a forest guard and broke the rifle he was carrying during the ongoing rhino census at Kaziranga National Park's Bagori forest range on Wednesday.

The guard, Paresh Bowri, was a mahout with the forest department. Bowri fell down from the elephant he was riding after the rhino, accompanied by a calf, chased the jumbo. The elephant took fright and tried to flee, dislodging Bowri in the process.

Bowri fired in the air, but failed to scare the rhino. It rushed at him and bit his leg. The rhino also broke the rifle in half after the weapon fell from Bowri's hand. The animal left the spot only after other forest personnel came to Bowri's rescue.

Bowri also suffered a fracture in his left arm.

"We rushed Bowri to a hospital in Jorhat. Doctors say he is out of danger," Kaziranga divisional forest officer S K Seal Sarma said.

Attention

Monkey attacks maintenance worker near North Carolina hospital

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© WSOCTV
Carter the Capuchin monkey.
Police are looking for a monkey accused of attacking a maintenance worker in a North Carolina hospital parking lot.

WSOC reported that animal control officers were called to Carolinas Medical Center-University Wednesday about the report of a monkey on the loose in the parking lot.

The hospital said the maintenance worker tried to contain the Capuchin monkey in a bin until officers arrived. But the monkey alleged attacked the worker and escaped into a wooded area nearby. The monkey's owner came to the hospital to help look for the monkey, according to authorities.

In a March 2014 incident involving the monkey, police said the owner failed to produce the monkey for seizure as it was violating a city ordinance that prohibited an exotic animal in city limits.


Ornament - Blue

Plastic pollution found inside the stomachs of dead seabirds in Scotland

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Examinations of deceased puffins have uncovered small plastic pellets.
Post-mortem examinations on puffins found dead on a Scottish island have found their stomachs littered with small plastic pellets used in the manufacturing industry.

Known as 'nurdles', the pellets are the raw materials used to make plastic items and are a growing cause of pollution in the world's oceans.

Accidental spills mean billions of these pellets find their way into the marine environment every year, with Scotland's seas no exception.

Cloud Precipitation

Flash floods in Northern Chile leave three dead, 22 missing

© Reuters
The torrential downpours prompted the Chilean government to issue a red alert for the Atacama region.

Flooding caused by the heaviest rains to hit northern Chile in decades has left at least three people dead and 22 missing, officials say.

The torrential storms, which began late on Tuesday, also caused mudslides and rivers to breach their banks, stranding thousands of residents.

Chile's national emergency office (ONEMI) said nearly 61,000 people were without power and almost 50,000 lacked drinking water in the usually arid regions of Coquimbo, Atacama and Antofagasta.

Two of the fatalities were in the Atacama region while the third was in the neighbouring city of Antofagasta, the deputy interior minister said.

Twenty-two people were reported missing.

President Michelle Bachelet travelled to the affected areas to assess damage and help lead rescue efforts.

"We're doing everything humanly possible to get to where [those affected by the catastrophe] are as quickly as possible," Ms Bachelet said.

The government declared a state of emergency, ordering the military to coordinate support operations and take control of public order in the Atacama area.


Question

Colorado city stumped by sinkhole with no broken water pipes

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© CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/CHRIS MCLEAN
City crews recently discovered a 4 foot-deep sinkhole when they went to fix what was originally reported as a pot hole on North Elizabeth near 29th Street on Tuesday.
City crews are repairing a 4-foot-deep sinkhole that appeared in North Elizabeth Street last Friday evening.

Public Works Director Earl Wilkinson said the cause of the sinkhole hasn't been determined, but it did not cause any injury.

"We excavated down about 8 feet and all the material is dry," he said Tuesday, meaning there was no sign of underground water causing a subsidence. "We may never know why this one occurred."

The sinkhole is just north of the Elizabeth and 29th Street intersection.

Wilkinson said the city will fill the hole with a concrete-like material that will fill up any gaps in the soil. Then a layer of aggregate will be poured on top, followed by fresh asphalt. The repair should be completed by the end of the week.

"We were fortunate no one was injured by driving into it," he said.

Comment: So much for the 'burst water mains cause sinkholes' theory. Rather, it's the sinkholes causing water mains to break...


Arrow Up

Increased seismic activity reported at Aleutian Islands' Semisopochnoi volcano

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© Roger Clifford
Semisopochnoi Island, in November 2012.
Citing increased seismic intensity, the U.S. Geological Survey is upgrading the volcano alert level status for Semisopochnoi, an Aleutian Island volcano, to "advisory," the agency said in a notice issued Wednesday morning.

Seismic activity at the Semisopochnoi volcano began in January, but "has increased in intensity over the past few days," USGS wrote in the notice. "In addition, we have detected brief periods of seismic tremor, which can indicate movement of magma or magmatic gases."

Semisopochnoi is remote even by Alaska standards. It lies on an island of the same name some 127 miles from Adak and 1,283 miles from Anchorage.

Attention

4.9 magnitude earthquake hits off Vancouver Island, BC

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© Natural Resources Canada
The U.S. Geological Survey says a moderate earthquake struck west of Vancouver Island.

The magnitude 4.9 temblor hit Wednesday about 12:22 p.m. about 90 miles southwest of Port Hardy, British Columbia.

Port Hardy Mayor Hank Bood says the quake was not felt in his community on northern Vancouver Island.

Natural Resources Canada says there were no reports of damage, and none was expected. No tsunami warning was issued.