Tag Archive: California

California lets off some gas

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NOXIOUS PLUMES: The Aliso Canyon underground storage facility in the Santa Susana Mountains, Los Angeles, has been leaking tonnes of natural gas into the atmosphere

NOXIOUS PLUMES: The Aliso Canyon underground storage facility in the Santa Susana Mountains, Los Angeles, has been leaking tonnes of natural gas into the atmosphere

Dangerous methane leak is ‘biggest in US history’

On Thursday, thousands of Los Angeles residents were left feeling sick and forced out of their homes after a natural gas leak from a gas storage facility in Southern California.

Scientists reported it was the largest known release of the climate-changing greenhouse gas, methane, in US history.

If you were to measure the equivalent impact on the climate in car emissions, it would be the combination of the annual fumes released from half a million cars.

The leak was first detected on 23rd October, and it was found that it was coming from one of the 115 wells connected to a massive underground natural gas storage facility - the fifth largest in the US.

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), who own the facility, made seven unsuccessful attempts to shut down the billowing plumes of methane and ethane.

According to a study published in the journal ‘Science’, the 16-week blowout from the well has spewed around 107,000 tonnes of the powerful gas into the atmosphere.

The study was released the same day displaced residents staying in short-term housing were due to return home, but a judge issued an order requiring the gas company to provide housing for three more weeks.

The researchers say that the blowout will have a significant impact on California's ability to meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets this year. Methane is a short-lived atmospheric chemical but is highly potent as a warming gas, with an effect 25 times higher than CO2 over a 100-year time period.

Lead author Dr Stephen Conley, from the University of California, Davis, told the BBC: “In terms of the methane release, Aliso Canyon is by far largest. It had the largest climate impact; it beats the BP oil spill."

The leak has been blamed for nosebleeds, headaches, nausea, rashes and respiratory problems.

Some residents who returned home already have continued to complain of symptoms.

But the company, which said it was paying about $2 million a day in housing costs, argued that public health officials found there was no reason residents couldn’t safely return.

“Unfortunately, today’s ruling disregarded these findings,” the company said in a statement.

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FBI search for a motive

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UNITY: A day after the shooting a multi-faith vigil was held

UNITY: A day after the shooting a multi-faith vigil was held

Terrorism and work-place issues among angles being explored in latest mass shootings

The FBI has taken over investigations into the latest mass shooting which left 14 dead and 21 wounded in San Bernardino, California.

The shooters were a husband and wife - Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27. They were killed in a shootout with police.

Bomb equipment, weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition were later found in the attackers' home.

NATIONAL GUARD: Full military and police response was required

NATIONAL GUARD: Full military and police response was required

Colleagues said that Syed had an infant daughter and appeared to have arrived at a sweet-spot in life. They remembered him as a friendly amiable person with a quick smile, his devotion to his Muslim religion and earnest talk about cars he would restore.

There are various angles being explored by the FBI said US President Barack Obama after a briefing by the FBI chief.

“It is possible that this was terrorist-related, but we don’t know,” said the president.

“It’s also possible that this was workplace-related.  And until the FBI has been able to conduct what are going to be a large number of interviews, until we understand the nature of the workplace relationship between the individual and his superiors - because he worked with the organisation where this terrible shooting took place - until all the social media and electronic information has been exploited, we’re just not going to be able to answer those questions.

UNITY: A day after the shooting a multi-faith vigil was held

UNITY: A day after the shooting a multi-faith vigil was held

“But what I can assure the American people is we’re going to get to the bottom of this and that we are going to be vigilant, as we always are, in getting the facts before we issue any decisive judgments in terms of how this occurred.”

Police said the couple had more than 1,600 bullets when they were killed by law enforcement officers, hours after 2nd December’s attack, and that the shooters had at home 12 pipe bombs, tools to make more explosives, and more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition.

Farook had no criminal record and was not under scrutiny by local or federal law enforcement before the attacks.

However, federal investigators believed there was a “very serious” possibility that his wife radicalised her husband.

RESCUE: Emergency services help the injured

RESCUE: Emergency services help the injured

The attack took place at a Christmas party on 2nd December for employees of the San Bernardino public health department, at the Inland Regional Centre, which provides services for people with developmental disabilities.

Farook was a county restaurant inspector with the public health department.

The couple dropped their six-month-old daughter with Farook's mother in Redlands, according to an LA Times report. The grandmother reportedly grew worried when she heard about the shooting and attempted to reach her son by phone but failed.

FIRST RESPONDER: Lt Mike Madden of San Bernardino Police Dept was one of the first on the scene

FIRST RESPONDER: Lt Mike Madden of San Bernardino Police Dept was one of the first on the scene

According to the Gun Violence Archive, a US non-profit organisation which tracks gun violence, there have been 310 verified mass shootings in the country so far this year.

“We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world,” said President Obama following the incident.

Despite several attempts during his presidency, Mr Obama has been unable to put tighter controls on the sale of guns in his country.

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Sheer elegance

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Ferrari-lovers will be in for a treat with the new V8 Ferrari California T, boasting a turbo-charged engine which delivers intense sound and vivid acceleration whilst maintaining ultimate elegance from the top  marquee.

Whilst the California T bears enhanced standards of innovation, it still features all the essential characteristics that have distinguished every California model since the 1950s.

The latest model, which will be unveiled at Geneva in March, brims with a host of new solutions, not least of which is its 8-cylinder turbo engine.

Ferrari California T

Ferrari California T

Maranello’s engineers have created an entirely new power unit which delivers absolutely superb levels of performance, blistering pick-up and the most exhilarating soundtrack any turbo has ever yielded.

With torque up by 49% and fuel consumption down 15%, the direct-injection, 3855 cc turbo 8-cylinder delivers 560 cv at 7500 rpm - figures that give it acceleration over the 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.6 seconds.

The California T boasts striking standards of innovation while retaining signature features such as the successful 2+ concept, a refined cabin and, of course, the retractable hard top (RHT) which transforms it from a chic coupé into a sleekly sophisticated spider in a mere 14 seconds.

One major challenge though, involved in the design of the California T was to guarantee it a typically intense, exhilarating Ferrari engine sound.

This was achieved through meticulous design work and the use of special manufacturing techniques for essential components, such as the flat-plane crankshaft and the three-piece cast exhaust manifold and turbo housing.

Ferrari California T

Ferrari California T

The engine produces a powerful, engaging sound during both the intake and exhaust phases, becoming even more potent as engine speed increases. This the first time a result of this kind has ever been achieved with a turbo engine.

The California T delivers true sports car dynamics too, thanks to reduced steering wheel activity and improved steering response to driver input, courtesy of a new steering box and suspension set-up.

New springs and latest-generation Magnaride dampers (which respond 50% faster), combined with body motion acc-elerometers, reduce roll and pitch for more precise handling whilst still guaranteeing an incredibly comfort-able ride.

The California T also has the latest evolution of the F1-Trac traction control system for maximum acceleration out of corners, thereby underscoring the sportier side of its personality.

The California T’s architecture, controls and new 8-cylinder engine ensure consistently intense driving pleasure in challenging driving conditions as well as making the car fun to drive even in more relaxed situations, very much in the Grand Tourer tradition.

The CCM3 carbon-ceramic braking system is also extremely efficient with new composite discs and pads. The brakes are integrated with the ESP 8.0 premium which controls the high performance ABS for a short 100 to 0 km/h braking distance of just 34 metres.

Considerable attention was paid to the design, maintaining the outgoing model’s overall dimensions while ensuring that the California T has a new, individual personality. The sleek proportions were penned by the Ferrari Styling Centre in collaboration with Pininfarina and are very much in keeping with the Ferrari front-engined ethos.

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Dawning of a new era

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Bradford played host to a young female Pakistani filmmaker, who has been in the midst of a metamorphosis in Pakistan’s film industry since the emergence of new talent and an independent film scene.

Having studied in California, USA, the articulate movie director and script-writer, Iram Parveen Bilal, who has not been any part of a film fraternity whilst growing up, is one of the new breed of talent that is driven to steering a wave of change in Lollywood’s much-declined and dilapidated world.

Iram is currently on tour across the UK with her debut film titled ‘Josh’, which is screening at Odeon cinemas. ‘Josh’ made history last year by becoming the first Pakistani film to be showcased at the London Indian Film Festival.

DRIVEN: Pakistan’s emergence of new blood into filmmaking sees Iram Parveen Bilal as the Director of the movie gathering much-acclaim ‘Josh’

DRIVEN: Pakistan’s emergence of new blood into filmmaking sees Iram Parveen Bilal as the Director of the movie gathering much-acclaim ‘Josh’

Speaking about her film she said: “I feel that the narrative of much of Pakistan’s film industry is outdated and the new generation of Pakistanis is eager to change this.

“Many of these new films have been largely focussed on powerful social narratives. Pakistan is always in turmoil and so you can either focus on the turmoil or go completely escapist in your narratives. But we’ve only just restarted the process of making films, and the more that are made, the wider the spectrum will get.

“I had a shoe-string budget but fantastic people around me, and I believe we have managed to create a movie which shows both the affluent side of Pakistan as well as the other side of the coin.”

‘Josh’ is a film about class separation, education, women’s rights, feudalism and the youth movement. The gripping tale has its fair share of twists and turns, but ultimately sends out both a powerful and positive message.

Originally studying to become an engineer, Iram says that she was far too impatient to wait for a scientific discovery that would help mankind, and desired a more immediate reaction to her work.

Being the daughter of parents who are both teachers, she said that education had always been a top priority and she feels that her experiences as a student both in California and Cambridgeshire have made her acutely aware of the negative perception of Pakistan and it’s people.

Commenting on the global perception of Pakistan she said that she felt this was a weakness from Pakistanis within themselves. Lack of comradeship and due to bureaucratic and political boundaries, Pakistan inhibits itself from promoting the abundance of great work and people from within the country. She’s passionate about changing that.

Commenting on being a new talent in Pakistan’s film industry, Iram said: “The most important thing is that it’s a movement from the ground up. It’s no longer just people from film families making films. That will hopefully lead to a greater variety of films, and ultimately a cinema which is thick and strong.”

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