World Tropical Storm Sebastien forms over Atlantic• With less than half a month left of the Atlantic hurricane season, an area of disturbed weather over the central Atlantic has become Tropical Storm Sebastien on Tuesday.Satellite images show a fairly well-defined area of clouds over the southwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean.
Australia-based airline Qantas is celebrating its 100th year with a sale: $100 flights to the land down under from four major U.S. airports.
The one-way economy fares cost $100 each way (the price includes taxes and fees) and must be purchased as part of a round-trip itinerary from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas/Fort Worth or Chicago. So if travelers play their cards right and snag one of the limited sale seats, they could get a $200 round-trip ticket.
But only 100 seats will be released each day.
The phased sale will last four days, with one U.S. city featured each day at qantas.com/birthdaysale
Qantas was unable to release which cities would be featured on which days beyond Monday. Seats from Los Angeles International Airport to Sydney and Melbourne (50 seats each) will go on sale around 5 p.m. EST Monday. Outbound travel dates are limited to Feb. 23 and 24; March 1, 2 and 8.
I paid $60 for round-trip flights: Here’s how to book sale travel (and whether you should)
The other sale cities will be announced and on the Qantas website and social media around 5 p.m. EST Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, but travelers will have to keep a close eye on the site for the city order:
- San Francisco International Airport to Brisbane, a new route taking off in February, will be featured in the sale along with flights from San Francisco to Melbourne. Each route will get 50 sale seats each.
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Brisbane, a route launching in April, will feature 100 sale seats.
- Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport to Sydney will have 100 seats available in the sale.
In addition to the 100-seat limit per day, travelers should note the sale fares are only available on certain days and flights. The minimum stay in Australia is seven days, and the maximum stay is 12 months.
For those who miss out on the birthday sale, Qantas is offering reduced fares to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, starting at $699 round trip.
Qantas also flies from Honolulu, which is not featured in the sale. The airline officially turned 99 and kicked off its 100th year, on Nov. 16.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Qantas Australia flights sale: $100 from Chicago, Dallas, LAX, SFO
Tehran (AFP) – Three members of the Iranian security forces have been stabbed to death by „rioters” near Tehran, the ISNA and Fars news agencies reported late Monday.
The assailants wielding knives and machetes ambushed the three — a Revolutionary Guard and two members of the Basij militia — west of the capital, the news agencies reported.
The deaths take to at least five the number of people confirmed to have been killed in violent demonstrations that erupted across Iran on Friday against a surprise petrol price hike.
One of the three was identified as Morteza Ebrahimi, a commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and father of a newborn child, according to Fars.
The other two were Majid Sheikhi, 22, and Mostafa Rezaie, 33. Both served in the Basij militia, a volunteer force loyal to the establishment.
State television said a ceremony would be held for Ebrahimi and Rezaie in Tehran on Tuesday afternoon.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom cracked down on oil producers Tuesday, halting approval of hundreds of fracking permits until independent scientists can review them and temporarily banning new wells using another drilling method that regulators believe is linked to one of the largest spills in state history.
The state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources announced it will not approve new wells that use high-pressure steam to extract oil from underground. It’s the type of process Chevron uses at an oil field in the Central Valley that leaked more than 1.3 million gallons (4.9 million liters) of oil and water this summer.
That process is different from fracking, which uses water and other chemicals at high pressure to extract oil. California has 263 pending fracking permits but has not approved any of them since July. That’s when Newsom fired California’s top oil and gas regulator after learning the state had increased fracking permits by 35% since he took office in January, angering environmental groups.
Newsom, a Democrat, called the crackdown necessary to strengthen the state’s oversight of oil and gas extraction “as we phase out our dependence on fossil fuels and focus on clean energy sources.”
“This transition cannot happen overnight; it must advance in a deliberate way to protect people, our environment and our economy,” Newsom said.
California has been a leader on environmental issues, with Newsom’s Democratic predecessor, Jerry Brown, making climate change his signature effort. Brown was criticized for failing to ban fracking or oil drilling, arguing that the state needed to tackle demand before moving on to supply.
The oil industry called Newsom’s changes “disappointing,” with the Western States Petroleum Association saying California’s environmental regulations already lead the world.
“Every barrel delayed or not produced in this state will only increase imports from more costly foreign sources that do not share our environmental safety standards,” group president Catherine Reheis-Boyd.
California is one of the top five states for oil production, producing more than 161 million barrels last year. Fracking occurs in some of the state’s largest oil fields, mostly in the Central Valley.
The steam method is less prevalent but accounted for 8 million barrels of the state’s oil production in 2018, according to the Department of Conservation. But regulators believe it is linked to the oil spill at a Chevron well that began in May.
It was the largest oil spill in California since 1990, when a tanker unleashed more than 400,000 gallons (1.5 million liters) of crude oil off the coast of Huntington Beach.
But despite its size, the Chevron spill has had minimal effects on the environment.
The oil spilled into a dry creek bed, and the company cleaned it up before rains could wash it into fresh water. It also did not significantly harm wildlife, with just a “handful of birds” needing to be euthanized, according to Jason Marshall, chief deputy director of the California Department of Conservation.
A second well at the oil field about 35 miles (55 kilometers) west of Bakersfield has been leaking intermittently since 2003. State officials ordered Chevron to stop the leak in April, and the company has been making progress, Marshall said.
Regulators have fined the energy giant $2.7 million for the leaks. A Chevron spokeswoman referred comment to the Western States Petroleum Association, whose leader said, “There is nothing more important than the health and safety of the communities where the women and men of our industry work, live and raise their families.”
The moratorium will be in place while two national laboratories — Lawrence Livermore and Sandia — study the high-pressure steam process to see what regulations, if any, can make it safer. Other wells in California use the steam method and have not had any spills.
“These oil leaks cannot be the cost of doing business,” California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot said. “There needs to be a clear trajectory to eliminate them. Not reduce them in number, but fully eliminate them.”
The moratorium will not affect existing wells, which will be assessed individually. Some existing wells have been using high-pressure steam for so long that stopping it could weaken the geology and cause more spills, Crowfoot said.
Officials said they would seek an independent audit of California’s permitting process for fracking and other types of oil extraction.
In July, advocacy groups Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker revealed the state’s fracking permits had doubled during the first six months of Newsom’s administration. The groups said that of those permits, 45% benefited companies where state officials owned stock.
Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, called Newsom’s new orders “an important step toward reining in the most high risk extraction techniques.”
“The ultimate test of his tenure for climate change and the public will be simple math about how many fewer permits are issued and how many existing wells are closed,” Court said. “Net zero wells should be his goal.”
Nature up close: Salmon, a keystone species in the Pacific Northwest
When pink salmon enter their spawning ground they change characteristics, developing a hooked lip (a kype) and the beginnings of a hump on its back, before turning a bright pinkish color.
Salmon live in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and both groups (in the family Salmonidae) are similar in a number of ways, spending their adult lives in their respective oceans, then going up rivers and creeks to spawn. That’s where the similarities end.
There is only one species of salmon in the Atlantic Ocean, the Atlantic salmon; it goes up rivers on both sides of the northern Atlantic to spawn. We used to have a healthy population of Atlantic salmon along the northern U.S. coast and in our northeastern rivers until we built so many dams most salmon could no longer make it to their spawning grounds.
There are several species of Pacific salmon, including silver (coho), sockeye (red), pink (humpbacked), chum (dog), and chinook (king). Pacific salmon differ from their Atlantic cousins in one important way that has far-reaching effects on the terrestrial animals of the Pacific Northwest: Atlantic salmon don’t always die after they spawn (some do, but not all of them), while Pacific salmon always die after they spawn.
Evolutionarily, there is a substantial reason for this difference. Nutrient-rich limestone is common on both sides of the Atlantic, providing nutrients for newly-hatched salmon fry. That is not the case on the Pacific side, where low-nutrient granitic soils – common on the Pacific coast of the U.S. and Canada – fail to provide enough nutrients for baby salmon. Therefore, adult salmon make the ultimate sacrifice for their offspring. It isn’t uncommon to see „spawned out” salmon with pieces of skin literally falling off. Do they consciously die so their young survive? Obviously not. But over many millennia evolution has selected for the fish that die after spawning because their babies (who get about 50% of their nutrients from their dead parents) can survive. The adults’ contribution of food to their offspring is also essential to the health of the surrounding forests, and the animals who live there. That’s why they are considered keystone species.
A bald eagle carries off a chum salmon.
We’ve all heard the expression „Does a bear s**t in the woods?” and we know the answer is absolutely. The importance of that is difficult to understate. Because the soils in the northwest are nutrient-poor, the bears’ droppings, as well as the uneaten salmon it leaves in the forests, literally bring nutrients from the streams to the land that are then broken down and become the basis of the forest food web.
Due to over-fishing and dams, wild salmon have declined by 90% in Washington, Oregon and California. That decline has a much broader effect than what might be expected. Salmon need forests for shade, to keep streams cool, and forests need salmon to provide between 25% and 50% of their nutrients, particularly nitrogen essential for protein production. A few dams have been taken down and the salmon have returned, but more dams need to come down to have a significant impact on both the salmon and the forests.
To learn more about keystone species I recommend the PBS Nature documentary „The Serengeti Rules.” To watch a trailer click on the video player below:
Judy Lehmberg is a former college biology teacher who now shoots nature videos.
The trio was found just outside the city limits of Goddard, a suburb of Wichita, according to Goddard Police Department community services officer Aja Fulcher. An officer took a photo of the animals before they were returned to a private owner.
The photo was posted to the Goddard Police Department’s Facebook page, where it has been shared more than 800 times as of Monday evening.
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„Does anyone know the owners of these three friends traveling together (towards a Northern star) just East of Goddard?” the police department posted along with the photo of the animals. „If we can not locate the owner, we may be halfway towards a live nativity this Christmas season.”
The Sedwick County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a 911 call about the animals on a „well-traveled” highway on Sunday.
The animals weren’t part of any of holiday play, Fulcher said. That part of the post was just a joke. Fulcher said the police department originally thought the camel, cow and donkey belonged to the Tanganyika Wildlife Park, a Kansas zoo.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Camel, cow and donkey found wandering together on Kansas road