Russian Diesel Spill That Stained Rivers Red May Have Been Due To Melting Permafrost

Melting permafrost may have caused the spill of about 20,000 tons of diesel in northern Siberia that turned rivers deep red last week, an ominous sign as the Earth warms.

The disaster happened on May 29 at a power plant in the remote Russian industrial city of Norilsk, about 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. A collapsed fuel tank began spilling diesel into nearby rivers and a reservoir, ABC News reported. Two rivers, the Ambarnaya and Daldykan, turned shades of red.

Norilsk Nickel, the mining conglomerate that owns the plant, said melting permafrost ― in the wake of Russia’s warmest winter since temperatures have been recorded ― may have been to blame: The thaw made the ground unstable beneath the diesel storage tank.

“What we can suggest is that as a result of the abnormally mild temperatures, a melting of the permafrost could have happened that led to the partial subsiding of the support on which the tank sits,” according to a company statement reported by ABC.

Permafrost is ground that has been continuously frozen for at least two years, and much permafrost has been frozen for tens or hundreds of thousands of years.

“Entire cities and roads were built on permafrost,” Guido Grosse, a permafrost expert at Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute, told Bloomberg Green. “When permafrost thaws, the ice deep in the ground that has been there for thousands of years melts, and you lose stability. That has an impact on infrastructure.”

Arctic permafrost has been melting at an alarming rate in recent years, threatening human communities, wildlife and potentially releasing millions of tons of additional carbon into the air as it thaws.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a state of emergency to clean up the spill this week and criticized Norilsk Nickel, saying it did not alert government officials about what happened soon enough.

“Why did government agencies only find out about this two days after the fact?” Putin said in a video conference, as widely translated. “Are we going to learn about emergency situations from social media?”

Vyacheslav Starostin, the power plant’s manager, has been detained in a criminal investigation.

The region “will be seeing the repercussions for years to come,” Sergey Verkhovets of WWF Russia said in a statement translated by The New York Times. “We are talking about dead fish, polluted plumage of birds and poisoned animals.”

A full cleanup could take five to 10 years. 

Norilsk Nickel was also responsible for turning the Daldykan blood red, apparently from pollution, in 2016, and the sulfur dioxide the plant emits has resulted in a “dead zone” around it that’s twice the size of Rhode Island.





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Richard Carranza deputy makes bogus claims on test scores in Georgia job bid

Chancellor Richard Carranza’s second-in-command is poised to get a top job in Georgia after claiming bogus achievements in NYC, critics say.

Cheryl Watson-Harris, Carranza’s first deputy chancellor, has been named the finalist to become superintendent of DeKalb County schools’ 99,000 students, which includes suburban Atlanta.

Her cover letter in recently applying to Sarasota, Fla., Watson Harris boasted:

“Under the leadership of my team the city has seen record gains in proficiency rates in both ELA and math.”

Fred Smith, a former DOE test analyst, said the gains were neither record-breaking nor impressive.

“It’s an overstatement,” Smith told The Post. “For her not to know this is a spurious achievement on her part, to claim credit for that, it’s ridiculous.”

Carranza — who has written a letter of recommendation for Watson-Harris, named her his No. 2 in July 2018. The only state exams in math and English for grades 3 to 8 administered during Watson-Harris’ tenure as first deputy chancellor were given in the spring of 2019.

Data showed only 47.4 percent of students scored at proficient levels in English and 45.6 percent in math. Those scores rose by .7 percent in English and 2.9 percent in math.

They were not “record gains.” In 2018, citywide scores rose by 4.9 percent in math and 6.1 percent in English  Those gains occurred after the state reduced the testing from three days to two.

In 2016, average scores increased by 1.2 percent in math and 7.6 percent in ELA after the state gave students unlimited time to complete the exams.

State officials have repeatedly warned that comparisons over time are unreliable due to multiple changes.

But the DOE trumpeted its progress.

“This administration has invested in leaders and policies that get results — our ELA and math scores have risen steadily year after year, including under Cheryl’s leadership,” said spokeswoman Miranda Barbot.

In her resume, Watson-Harris also claims credit for numerous DOE initiatives and achievements, including an “overhaul of the Turn Around Program,” a reference to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Renewal program for struggling schools.

De Blasio ended the program in February 2019. After four years and nearly $800 million in extra costs, the results were disappointing, he conceded.

Watson-Harris oversaw a less-defined new strategy of “putting the right investments in place to quickly identify and respond to students’ and schools’ needs, with a focus on equity,” Barbot said.

More than 140  elementary and middle schools had at least one grade where more than 90 percent of kids flunked their state exams in 2019, The  Post found.

City scores on the more reliable  National Assessment of Education Progress, or NAEP — given to a sampling of 4th and 8th graders every two years in math and English — have remained flat and even dropped in 4th-grade math.

Watson-Harris’ NYC annual salary is $242,102. The current DeKalb County superintendent was promoted in April and received a pay increase to $350,000, but plans to retire at the end of June.

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From naughty kittens to expensive prescriptions — we answer your pet queries – The Sun

HE is on a mission to help our pets . . . and is here to answer YOUR questions. Sean, the head vet at tailored pet food firm, has helped with owners’ queries for ten years.

He says: “If your pet is acting funny or is under the weather, or you want to know about nutrition or exercise, just ask. I can help keep pets happy and healthy.”

Q) Poppy Miller from Salford, Gtr Manchester says: Oliver, my cat, has been suffering with really bad cystitis and even after I gave him antibiotics and capsules, it returned straight away.

I phoned the vet to ask for a repeat prescription but was told they wanted to see him. But a consultation costs a lot and we all know what he has.

Is it OK to get medication for him off the web?

Sean says: There is a reason vets need to see a pet before prescribing medications, which can be harmful if used incorrectly.

Cystitis is potentially very dangerous and can be fatal if not treated correctly. One bout of cystitis in a cat might not have the same cause as another months later and might need completely different treatment.

If your vet prescribed a medication based on your diagnosis and your cat got blocked and died, who would get the blame?

I understand it is frustrating but for some medications and conditions, we legally cannot write prescriptions without seeing your pet.

Q) Michael Stokes from Birmingham says: I can’t figure out why my cat Kitty keeps attacking my new sofa with her claws.

She is ten years old, neutered and chipped and is the only pet in our house. I’ve provided scratching posts but she prefers to scratch my leather sofas instead. How do I stop her?

Sean says: This can be a hard habit to break, but you can buy anti-scratch sprays or liquids to wipe on your furniture temporarily to try to encourage her to use the more appropriate scratching posts.

Make sure they are leather safe! You could also pimp out her scratching posts with some catnip spray. Kitty will go all googly-eyed and fall in love with them, forgetting all about your leather sofa.

Q) Hazel Henning from Windermere, Cumbria says: My German shepherd Reece has just been diagnosed with Addison’s disease and must take prescription medicine for the rest of his life.

Are there any alternative medicines I can give my dog at a lower cost?

Sean says: Speak to your vet. They will help. Medications can rack up if your pet is ill and treating Addison’s disease can be really costly. This is where pet insurance is a godsend.

In any case, the reason most drug prices are higher in your vet clinic than online are that bulk online wholesalers get massive discounts not available to your local vet practice and don’t have the same overheads.

But your vet can write you a prescription for a small fee if you are struggling to meet the cost and need to buy in bulk cheaply online.

Q) Neville Porter from Cornwall says: MY four-year-old springer spaniel won’t stop eating stones.

Whenever we go outside, he instantly grabs one and I can’t stop him. I give him loads of toys but he still eats stones. Is there anything I can do to lure him away from them?

Sean says: Some dogs develop this habit because to them, a stone is just like a ball — fun to play with.

As a springer, I am sure he has bags of energy. The trick is to train him to “leave it”. Make it into a fun game with lots of different objects — not a punishment or an angry command, more a promise that if he does “leave it” he will get rewarded.

Eventually he will realise stones are off-limits. This is important, as swallowed stones can cause blockages and chewing them can damage teeth.

Star of the week

OZZY the Shorkie helped Pat Rose, 82, get over a stroke.

Pat, of Scarborough, North Yorks, lost all feeling in her left hand in 2017 after the stroke.

She was given exercises to help strengthen her weakened side and got help from Ozzy, an eight-year-old Shih Tzu-Yorkshire terrier cross.

Her grandson Dan, 24, a project administrator, went to Pat’s house every day to ensure she was on track.

He said: “Our daily visits meant my grandma had something to look forward to when she was in the house by herself. Ozzy got involved with her daily exercises by passing her the equipment and it was great to see him put a smile on her face.

“He really boosted her spirits.”

Border patrol nose best

Despite lockdown, it has been business as usual for dogs such as Mishka the German shorthaired pointer – tasked with sniffing out people, drugs and weapons being smuggled into the country.

Mishka is one of 70 highly trained Border Force dogs that have rumbled some impressive stuff over the past ten weeks.

In the past month alone, they have detected more than £300,000 cash, 300kg of rolling tobacco and a million-plus cigarettes at ports and airports.

Mishka has worked with the Border Force for the past three years, with handler Vicky, and just last month, the four-year-old hunting dog found a group of individuals concealed between a pallet locker and a floor under a lorry.

She also recently detected 12kg of drugs hidden in a spare wheel of another lorry.

Vicky said: “Having a Border Force dog is like having another work colleague.They are with you 24/7 and you form a strong bond.”

  • Do you need the Pet Vet’s help? Email [email protected] and you and your pet could feature in The Sun on Sunday.

WIN a Personalised Bowl

WE have ten personalised dog and cat food bowls up for grabs from The Wood Life Project.

The dishes are made from trees sustainably harvested here and are suitable for wet and dry food.


For a chance to win, send an email marked BOWL with your preferred design to [email protected]

  • T&Cs apply.

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Lil Nas X, Patton Oswalt Respond To Fox News Host Tucker Carlson’s Claim They Helped ‘Incite Riots’ By Donating To Bail Out Protesters

Patton Oswalt, Lil Nas X and other celebrities have fired back at Fox News host Tucker Carlson for claiming they are funding “chaos” by donating money to help bail out protesters across the nation.

On Friday night’s edition of his self-titled show, Carlson played a video listing the names of actors, musicians and athletes he claims are contributing to looting and unrest via their checkbooks.

The right-leaning host began his comments by bashing corporations for donating to Black Lives Matter as protests continue around the country over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“Big companies — cynical, soulless, craven corporations like Pepsi, Intel and AirBnB are funding this chaos,” Carlson said. “They’re giving money to Black Lives Matter, which is pushing to defund the police. But it isn’t just major corporations that are fueling all of this. Celebrities are, too, by paying to get violent rioters out of jail.”

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He then ticked off famous names who’ve donated to funds to help bail protesters out. The list included Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Don Cheadle, Kehlani, Patton Oswalt, the cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Rob Delaney, Cynthia Nixon, Janelle Monáe, Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Lil Nas X.

Carlson took extra  time to bash Lil Nas X, for encouraging his Twitter followers to donate to protester bail funds as well.

“Imagine if he had used those followers instead to help small businesses destroyed by the riots he helped incite,” he said.

The “Old Town Road” rapper quickly responded and called the Tucker Carlson Tonight host a liar.

“This man just lied and told millions of people on national television that i was inciting riots. you can’t make this up,” Lil Nas X tweeted Friday night.

Rogen replied to Lil Nas X’s post, by calling Carlson a “pasty a**hole.”

Meanwhile, Oswalt said he was proud to be included on the list.

“Got this e-mail from my mom when she heard about Tucker Carlson doing his celebrity roll-call bullshit on his show. I love her,” he tweeted, along with an image of a text message from his mother telling him “you are a good boy. (I always knew).”

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