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Fri, 06 Dec 2019
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Scientists Find Frozen Methane Gas Deposit

Scientists have discovered an undersea deposit of frozen methane just off the Southern California coast, but whether it can be harnessed as a potential energy source is unknown.

Comment: The frozen methane is sitting only 15 miles off the coast of California on top of a mud volcano, which is itself perched upon an active fault zone. Let's just hope the methane remains frozen...


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Arctic Ocean Ice Surges Onto Alaskan Shore

BARROW, Alaska - Ridges of sea ice packing car-sized chunks of the cold stuff slammed onto a road in this northern Alaskan town in quantities not seen in nearly three decades.

Two ice surges, known to Alaska Natives as ivus, stunned residents who had never seen such large blocks of ice rammed ashore.

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Cold snap triggers 'orange' weather alert across France

NANTES – In anticipation of heavy snow and frost, the French national weather-forecasting service has declared a 'level orange' alert through Sunday for 36 departments.

The temperature has dropped precipitously across France this week as a cold front has swept in from eastern Europe.

The weather service, Météo France, expects especially heavy snow Friday night and Saturday along the length of the Rhine valley.

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Major quake triggers panic in Indonesia

A major earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale has rocked eastern Indonesia, cracking walls and triggering panic, the US Geological Survey and local residents said.

The quake struck at 1:58 am (1658 GMT Friday) in the Banda Sea, around 195 kilometers (120 miles) south of Ambon city at a depth of 340 kilometres (220 miles), the US Geological Survey said in on its website.

There were no immediate reports of major damage or casualties.

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Germany's oaks 'could die out'

Germany's once magnificent forests are feeling the effects of climate change, with one in every two oak trees officially sick, researchers said yesterday. A report says the state of the nation's forests has improved marginally since last year but that oaks are dying off at an alarming rate.

One in two of all Germany's oak trees is thinning. In Baden-Württemberg three-quarters of the oaks are showing damage. The phenomenon of Waldsterben, or forest death, is nothing new, but the latest annual report by Germany's agriculture ministry is likely to raise fears that pollution and climate change are taking a heavy toll. "The forest has recovered a bit [since 2004]. But there is still no clear recognisable trend," said Peter Paziorek, the junior agriculture minister.

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11 of 12 Miners Reported Alive Are Dead

TALLMANSVILLE, W.Va. - Jubilant family members celebrated news early Wednesday that 12 miners were pulled alive from the scene of an underground explosion, only to learn nearly three hours later that they had been misled and just one miner actually survived.

The chief executive of the mine blamed the stunning error on a misunderstood conversation overheard between rescuers and the command center overseeing rescue efforts.

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Big Island shaken by 4.7 earthquake

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake that jolted the Big Island during afternoon rush hour yesterday was felt from Ka'u to South Kohala and Hilo, but there were no reports of damage.

The quake at 4:04 p.m. was the largest since a magnitude 4.7 temblor beneath the undersea volcano Lo'ihi on Dec. 7.

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High Winds in Northeast Blamed in 2 Deaths

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - High winds knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers in the Northeast on Wednesday and wreaked havoc for commuters, blowing trees across railroad tracks, overturning tractor-trailers, and making for wild ferry rides.

More than 440,000 homes and businesses lost power, and several airports reported delays of two hours or more. The wind was blamed for at least two deaths when trees fell on cars.

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Horn of Africa facing famine

Countries in the Horn of Africa, including Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, are facing a famine because a drought is killing livestock and stunting crops.

The United Nations, aid agencies and the countries themselves are warning about a potential disaster affecting more than five million people.

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Russia deep freeze to last, energy concerns grow

MOSCOW - Russia may remain locked in a deep freeze for the rest of the month, forecasters said, as another seven people died overnight in Moscow and concerns over energy supplies in Russia and Europe grew as the bone-chilling cold forced cutbacks.

"Only two such deep freezes have occurred in the past 100 years" in the western, "European" portion of Russia, the daily Gazeta said. "Once in 1940 and once in 1979, when the temperature fell to minus 40 degrees C" (minus 40 F).