California's 'Surf City USA' beach reopens after oil spill

A Southern California beach that was closed more than a week ago because of a leak of crude oil from an undersea pipeline reopened on Monday, far sooner than many expected. Huntington Beach's city and state beaches reopened after officials said water quality tests revealed no detectable levels of oil associated toxins in the ocean water. Early Monday morning, surfers bobbed in the waves and people walked along the shoreline, some with dogs jumping and playing in the water. Andrew Boyack, a 54-year-old commercial photographer, was eager to get back to surfing the waves he usually rides three or four times a week. “There’s lots of guys out so I figure it’s probably alright, and I guess they tested it,” he said, while rinsing off at an outdoor beach shower. “It’s exercise. It’s like, you know, if somebody was a jogger or something," he said. "We surf every morning.” Huntington Beach and nearby coastal communities reeled from last week's spill that officials said sent at least about 25,000 gallons and no more than 132,000 gallons of oil into the ocean.

Merck asks US FDA to authorize promising anti-COVID pill

Drugmaker Merck asked U.S. regulators Monday to authorize its pill for treating COVID-19 in what would add an entirely new and easy-to-use weapon to the world's arsenal against the pandemic. If cleared by the Food and Drug Administration — a decision that could come in a matter of weeks — it would be the first pill shown to treat the illness. All other FDA-backed treatments against COVID-19 require an IV or injection. An antiviral pill that people could take at home to reduce their symptoms and speed recovery could prove groundbreaking, easing the crushing caseload on U.S. hospitals and helping to curb outbreaks in poorer countries with weak health care systems. It would also bolster the two-pronged approach to the pandemic: treatment, by way of medication, and prevention, primarily through vaccinations. The FDA will scrutinize company data on the safety and effectiveness of the drug, molnupiravir, before rendering a decision.

Paul McCartney: John Lennon responsible for Beatle breakup

Paul McCartney has revisited the breakup of The Beatles, flatly disputing the suggestion that he was responsible for the group’s demise. Speaking on an episode of BBC Radio 4’s “This Cultural Life’’ that is scheduled to air on Oct. 23, McCartney said it was John Lennon who wanted to disband The Beatles. “I didn’t instigate the split,” McCartney said. “That was our Johnny.’’ The band's fans have long debated who was responsible for the breakup, with many blaming McCartney. But McCartney said Lennon's desire to “break lose'' was the main driver behind the split. Confusion about the breakup was allowed to fester because their manager asked the band members to keep quiet until he concluded a number of business deals, McCartney said.

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