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July 1, 2019

Facebook announced on Monday that four buildings on its property in Menlo Park, California, had to be evacuated after workers at its mailing facility possibly encountered the toxic nerve agent sarin.

Two people at the facility have been medically evaluated, and do not show symptoms of sarin exposure, CNN reports. Menlo Park Fire Marshal Jon Johnston said a mail scanning machine tested positive for sarin, but it could have been a false positive. Developed in 1938, sarin has no color, taste, or odor, and can evaporate from a liquid to gas.

Facebook said it is "conducting a thorough investigation in coordination with local authorities. As of now, three of the evacuated buildings have been cleared for repopulation." Catherine Garcia

June 18, 2019

Scientists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks were stunned when they discovered that permafrost in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted.

"What we saw was amazing," Prof. Vladimir E. Romanovsky told Reuters. "It's an indication that the climate is now warmer than at any time in the last 5,000 or more years." The scientists made their last expedition in 2016, visiting a remote location only accessible by propeller plane, and couldn't believe what they saw — there were depressions and ponds and lots of vegetation, a completely different scene from what they saw during their first trip a decade earlier.

Unusually hot summers triggered the thaw, and it is likely other areas of the Canadian Arctic are also affected; the scientists are preparing to expand their study. When permafrost thaws at a fast rate, large amounts of heat-trapping gasses are released into the atmosphere, and that concerns scientists, as this will make global temperatures rise even faster. "Thawing permafrost is one of the tipping points for climate breakdown and it's happening before our eyes," Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan told Reuters. "The premature thawing is another clear signal that we must decarbonize our economies, and immediately." Catherine Garcia

May 27, 2019

An attorney from Colorado died Monday after summiting Mount Everest, becoming the 11th person to die there this climbing season.

Christopher John Kulish, 62, died suddenly after reaching the top of Everest on the Nepalese side of the mountain, CNN reports. Experts say the mountain is dangerously overcrowded and the Nepalese government is giving away too many permits; last week, climbers were stuck in a long line above 26,000 feet, waiting for their turn to reach the top. This is an area known as "the death zone," mountain guide Adrian Ballinger told CNN. Even with bottled and supplemental oxygen, people can only last a few hours there before their bodies start to shut down. "Humans just aren't really meant to exist there," he said.

Veteran mountaineers also say more and more amateur climbers are trying to tackle Mount Everest, and companies that don't understand the peak are organizing treks. "Everest is primarily a very complicated logistical puzzle, and I think when you have a lot of inexperienced operators as well as inexperienced climbers along with, particularly, the Nepal government not putting some limitations on the numbers of people, you have a prime recipe for these sorts of situations happening," climber David Morton told CNN. Catherine Garcia

March 28, 2019

President Trump went to Puerto Rico in October 2017 to see the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria. While there, he ranted and raved about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, even talking about using the nuclear option against the country, three people who were with him told CNN Thursday.

Trump was obviously distracted, they said, and he pointed to the "nuclear football," the briefcase that can be used to authorize a nuclear attack, declaring: "This is what I have for Kim." At the time, Trump was still tweeting barbs at Kim, but since then, the pair have met twice, and Trump now says he likes Kim and they have a warm relationship.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló would not discuss the remark with CNN on Thursday, only saying, "There were other topics that were being discussed, and my view is that the sole focus of that trip should have been on Puerto Rico." Several media outlets have reported Trump has been privately complaining about the amount of aid going to Puerto Rico, which still has not fully recovered from the 2017 hurricane. In public, though, Trump is patting himself on the back, telling reporters on Thursday that "Puerto Rico has been taken care of better by Donald Trump than by any living human being, and I think the people of Puerto Rico understand." Catherine Garcia

March 22, 2019

A nine-year-old girl who is a U.S. citizen says she was "scared" and "completely by myself" while being detained at the border for more than 30 hours.

Thelma Galaxia told NBC San Diego that her two children, 9-year-old Julia Isabel Amparo Medina and 14-year-old Oscar Amparo Medina, were on Monday being driven to school from Tijuana to San Diego by her friend, who told them to walk across the border after being worried that heavy traffic would make them late to school.

But the children were reportedly then detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and not reunited with their mother for more than 30 hours. Galaxia says officers told her daughter she didn't look like her passport picture, which was taken when she was younger. They reportedly accused her of lying about her identity and told her she would be released to her mother if she told them she was really her cousin.

Galaxia also says officers made her son sign a document identifying his sister as his cousin. "He was told that he would be taken to jail and they were going to charge him for human trafficking and sex trafficking," she said. The two were finally released when Galaxia called the Mexican consulate after being informed her children had been detained.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials told NBC San Diego that the young girl gave them "inconsistent info" and that they detained her so they could "perform due diligence in confirming her identity and citizenship," but they did not explain why this took more than a full day. Read more at NBC San Diego. Brendan Morrow

February 25, 2019

Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos and five crew members were briefly detained on Monday at the presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela.

The network tweeted on Monday evening that the team was at the Miraflores Palace "interviewing [Venezuelan President] Nicolás Maduro, but he didn't like the questions." They were "arbitrarily detained," and their "technical equipment was also confiscated." About 90 minutes later, Univision tweeted that the journalists had been released, and were back in their hotel.

Univision spokesman Jose Zamora told CNN Ramos was able to call the network and let them know what was happening, but "in the middle of the call, they took his phone away." The journalists were held for nearly three hours.

With his country descending into chaos due to hyperinflation and a lack of food and medicine, Maduro is facing calls to resign. The United States and dozens of other countries recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president, and the U.S. announced new sanctions against Maduro and his allies on Monday. Catherine Garcia

October 24, 2018

On Wednesday afternoon, the Los Angeles Central mail facility was evacuated after an employee found a suspicious package addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the Los Angeles Times reports.

The Los Angeles Police Department tweeted that it is working "closely with our federal law enforcement partners given the number of suspicious devices discovered across the nation."

Several packages with bombs inside addressed to high-profile Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as CNN, were uncovered on Wednesday. 
This was the second package addressed to Waters that was intercepted; the first was discovered in Maryland, headed for her office in Washington, D.C. The Times reports a robot is being used to examine the package found in Los Angeles. Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2018

On Monday morning, 23 people were injured after a "lava bomb" hit their tour boat off the Big Island, Hawaiian fire officials said.

An explosion sent molten lava flying through the air, and it burned through the boat's roof and damaged its railing. The boat returned to Wailoa Harbor, with 13 people having to be hospitalized and the rest treated at the scene. One of the victims is a woman in her 20s, who is in serious condition with a fractured femur, fire officials said. Witnesses told CNN they saw passengers getting off the boat with burns and gashes on their legs.

The Kilauea Volcano has been erupting since early May, and has destroyed dozens of homes. The boat was operated by Lava Ocean Tours, Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources said. Passengers pay $220 for tours that show off the lava as it flows into the ocean. Catherine Garcia

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