Over 2600 dead and climbing in Turkey and Syria after two devastating earthquakes – National & International News – MON 6Feb2023

Thousands dead in Turkey and Syria after 2 devastating quakes.

FBI arrests 2 in plot to attack power stations, destroy Baltimore.

US cold temperature record set in New Hampshire this weekend.



FBI arrests 2 in plot to attack power stations, destroy Baltimore

The FBI have arrested Sarah Clendaniel of Catonsville, MD, and Brandon Russell of Orlando, FL, for allegedly plotting a coordinated attack on power substations near Baltimore, MD. The FBI says the pair were motivated by extremist ideologies, but did not elaborate. Russell is a founding member of an Orlando-based neo-Nazi group calling itself “Atomwaffen”. In 2018, Russell received a 5-year prison sentence for possession of explosives. At the time, federal prosecutors claimed Russell planned to use the explosives to target civilians, nuclear facilities and synagogues.

Despite these serious accusations, Russell was on supervised release by June 2022. At that time, Russell began communicating with an FBI informant. Russell put the informant in touch with Clendaniel, a felon who was having trouble obtaining new weapons. Clendaniel told the informant that her goal was to shoot at and disable several power substations around Baltimore. She told the informant such an attack “would lay this city to waste”. Russell apparently endorsed the plan to attack power stations as “the greatest thing somebody can do.”

These arrests come after months of warnings from the Department of Homeland Security that ideological extremists such as white supremacists were targeting vulnerable power infrastructure. Most power substations in the US have little more protection than a chain-link fence, making it easy for saboteurs to shoot and destroy key components. In December, shooting attacks on power substations in North Carolina and Washington State left thousands without power for days in freezing temperatures. Two men were arrested in January in the Washington attack. No suspects have been identified in the North Carolina incident.

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US cold temperature record set in New Hampshire this weekend

Since Thursday, the Northeast has been at the mercy of an Arctic blast that brought blistering cold and high winds. Several cities in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York State set or broke cold temperature records. Some areas experienced overnight temperatures in the negative 40s Fahrenheit when accounting for windchill.

On top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, a cold temperature record was set on Friday evening for the continental US. While the actual temperature was -46 degrees Fahrenheit, the windchill brought it down as low as -108 degrees. At Eureka, Canada’s northernmost Arctic weather station, temperatures were around -41 F.

Several cities, including Boston, took extra steps to ensure that homeless people had a warm place to sleep. Boston issued a weather emergency, keeping train stations open so that homeless people could find shelter. Other warming stations opened throughout the city, though many homeless people were hesitant to use them. 

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Over 2600 dead and climbing in Turkey and Syria after two devastating earthquakes

A little after 4am local time this morning, a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck in southern Turkey, near the Syrian border. The quake destroyed thousands of buildings on both sides of the border, with video showing some pancaking with the very first tremor. The tremor sent thousands of panicked people into the streets, screaming in the dark and confusion. This area is already experiencing snow, slush and bitterly cold temperatures, leaving people unsure where to seek shelter.

In the hours leading up to the 4am quake and in the hours since, nearly two hundred smaller quakes (many of them in the 4-5 magnitude range) have struck across the region ranging from the Mediterranean Sea to more than 300 miles inland. Then around 1:30 pm local time, another 7.5 magnitude quake struck about 60 miles from the 7.8 magnitude quake.

Seismologists have always known there was a dangerous fault running through this region, but it has been largely dormant for the last 100 years. Three major tectonic plates, the Eurasian, the African and the Arabian, meet just off the Mediterranean coast at this point. The Turkish side of the border here is home to many of the country’s poorest people, including many Kurds and ethnic Arabs. Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war over a decade ago, it has also become home to millions of refugees. On the Syrian side of the border, both government controlled areas and the one remaining major rebel enclave were heavily affected.

The most recent count shows over 1600 dead across 10 Turkish provinces and nearly 1000 dead on the Syrian side. Both numbers are expected to climb. Rescue efforts are continuing into the night in freezing temperatures.

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