Earthquake: Magnitude 4.6 aftershock reported near Ridgecrest, Calif.

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake was reported Wednesday evening at 8:59 p.m. Pacific time 32 miles from Ridgecrest, Calif., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The earthquake occurred 58 miles from California City, 59 miles from Porterville, 65 miles from Lindsay and 67 miles from Bakersfield.

In the last 10 days, there have been 209 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck the area July 4 and a 7.1 hit the next day.

An average of 25 earthquakes with magnitudes between 4.0 and 5.0 occur per year in California and Nevada, according to a recent three year data sample.

Advertisement

The earthquake occurred at a depth of 1.4 miles. Did you feel this earthquake? Consider reporting what you felt to the USGS.

Find out what to do before, and during, an earthquake near you by reading our five-stepearthquake preparedness guide.

This story was automatically generated by Quakebot, a computer application that monitors the latest earthquakes detected by the USGS. A Times editor reviewed the post before it was published. If you’re interested in learning more about the system, visit our list of frequently asked questions.

Mother, 3 young children found fatally stabbed inside Georgia apartment, police say

A 29-year-old mother and three young children were found fatally stabbed Wednesday night inside an apartment in Columbus, Ga., according to a report.

The youngest child was an infant and the oldest was 3 years old, WTVM-TV of Columbus reported.

CALIFORNIA MAN ARRESTED AFTER BOY, 5, STRUCK IN THE HEAD WITH BULLET

The mother was identified as Jerriciah Spellman, the report said.

The circumstances leading to the deaths were not immediately clear but the bodies were found on a mattress inside the apartment, police told the station.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

There was no immediate indication that a suspect had been identified in connection with the case.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

LA’s Kern County sludge farm to stop receiving free Bakersfield water

It was a match made in heaven, at least for the residents of Los Angeles, but it will soon be coming to an end.

For around 20 years, Los Angeles has shipped a large portion of “biosolids” from its toilets to fertilize a farm it owns just west of Bakersfield.

Bakersfield, in return, has been providing an annual load of 18,000 acre-feet of free water to the farm, Green Acres, in a deal that was meant to benefit both cities. However, Bakersfield is choosing not to renew the water contract with LA, and the farm will have to find another source to irrigate its crops.

“Right now LA is receiving a great benefit by having free treated wastewater for their farming operation,” said Zachary Meyer, wastewater manager for Bakersfield. “Now the city is no longer going to be sending them that benefit and we are going to try to reap the benefits for ourselves.”

The city initially entered into an agreement with a private company in 1985 to send treated wastewater from a nearby plant to the farm for free.

The plant currently treats 17.5 million gallons per day, and is capable of treating up to 32 million gallons per day.

At the time, the agreement provided an outlet for its treated wastewater at no cost, which the city described as a positive.

In 2000, the 4,700-acre farm was transferred to Los Angeles, which has been trucking loads of biosolids, also known as sludge, to the farm for use as fertilizer.

The biosolids are treated human and industrial sewage waste that have been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on farmlands.

Despite the approval, Kern County residents have been highly opposed to LA’s practice of dumping biosolids at the farm.

In 2006, voters overwhelmingly approved a ban on the use of the sludge on farms in unincorporated county areas. The vote kicked off a protracted legal battle in which Los Angeles won the right to continue trucking the sludge into Kern County.

Throughout it all, Bakersfield has provided water to the farm. However, after the passage of the State Groundwater Management Act, the value of treated wastewater increased.

“Our best interest economically is not to export it anymore,” said City Manager Alan Tandy.

The Bakersfield City Council voted on Wednesday to notify Los Angeles that it does not intend to renew the water contract, which expires in 2026.

After that date, the city plans to percolate the wastewater back into the earth to recharge Bakersfield’s groundwater basin.

If the city’s treatment plant were operating at full capacity, it could treat at least $2 million worth of water per year, and possibly much more, according to a city report.

“It’s a lot of water and it’s important to the balance sheet,” Tandy said, referring to the water being piped to the farm.

The city said in a report that it could also sell the water to farmers or use it to irrigate public parks.

The city has notified Los Angeles officials about the plan to shut off Green Acres’ water, but has not received a response, according to the city report

Archaeologists unearth 9,000-year-old city

Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

A huge Stone Age settlement unearthed outside Jerusalem may have been home to 3,000 people, the Neolithic equivalent of a large city, according to details released by the Israel Antiquities Authority on Tuesday.

Believed to have been inhabited 9,000 years ago, the site has yielded thousands of tools and ornaments, including arrowheads, figurines and jewelry. The findings also provide evidence of sophisticated urban planning and farming, which may force experts to rethink the region’s early history, said archeologists involved in the excavation.

The discovery was made near the Israeli town of Motza, about three miles west of Jerusalem. Although the area has long been of archeological interest, excavation director Jacob Vardi said the sheer scale of the site — which measures between 30 and 40 hectares — only emerged in 2015 during surveys for a proposed highway.

A mother of pearl pendant discovered on a skeleton at the site.

A mother of pearl pendant discovered on a skeleton at the site. Credit: GALI TIBBON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Archeologists have since found a large collection of buildings just below the ground’s surface. As well as private homes, the excavation revealed the remnants of public facilities and spaces used for rituals and burials.

Describing the site as the largest of its kind “not just in Israel but in the Southern Levant,” Vardi said in a phone interview that the settlement would have been home to 2,000 and 3,000 people, adding: “In comparison to other settlements (from that time), it’s like a very big city.”

The structures suggest that plaster was widely used, while alleyways between buildings point to a comparatively advanced urban planning, Vardi said.

Elsewhere, storage sheds were found to have contained legumes, such as lentils, implying intensive agriculture at the site. And although the discovery of thousands of arrowheads showed that the inhabitants still hunted, unearthed animal bones also point to sheep husbandry.

Part of the excavation site outside Motza, about three miles west of Jerusalem.

Part of the excavation site outside Motza, about three miles west of Jerusalem. Credit: GALI TIBBON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Flint tools, knives and axes for felling trees were among the various tools uncovered. The site also provides extensive evidence of the inhabitants’ production of jewelry and art, with discoveries including stone bracelets, medallions, bracelets and figurines.

Other unearthed objects suggest that inhabitants enjoyed trade or contact with the outside world. Sea shells from the Mediterranean and Red Sea were among the discoveries, as was obsidian — a type of volcanic glass — from Anatolia, in present-day Turkey.

Rewriting the history books

Large-scale settlements from this period — and earlier — are known to have existed in the wider region. Archeological finds at Tell es-Sultan, the ancient city of Jericho, date back to between 10,000 B.C. and 8,000 B.C.
Until now, however, the oldest “significant remains” in Jerusalem were from a 7,000-year-old site recently uncovered in the city’s north. The discoveries at Motza predate these by some 2,000 years.

According to Vardi, the newly excavated site may change experts’ understanding of life in the region during the latter stages of the Stone Age. In particular, he said it disproves theories that settlements of this size only existed on other bank of the Jordan River or in the Northern Levant region.

A stone figurine depicting a human face was one of the a number of artworks found at the site.

A stone figurine depicting a human face was one of the a number of artworks found at the site. Credit: GALI TIBBON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

“The claim was that the area of Judea, and the areas surrounding Jerusalem, were empty — that it was a big void,” he said. “There were also claims that, during this period, Neolithic societies were in decline and that the villages were becoming smaller. But what we found in Motza turns a lot of these previous conceptions upside down.

“The discovery is a real game-changer,” he added. “An area that was supposed to be empty wasn’t — it was very vibrant.”

Work on the highway is expected to begin shortly, although the Israel Antiquities Authority said that efforts were being made to document the findings before work commences.

“In preparation for the release of the excavated area, the entire site was documented using advanced 3D technology that will enable research of every detail digitally,” it said in a press release. “It is important to know that significant percentages of the prehistoric site around the excavation are preserved.”

An ultra-violent MS-13 group entered the U.S., then stalked L.A. with blades and bats

One by one, the victims were lured to remote locations: an abandoned building in downtown Los Angeles, an empty rooftop in Hollywood, a quiet park in the San Fernando Valley.

Each was accused of a transgression against the notorious MS-13 street gang. Each would meet their end in a manner federal investigators described as “medieval.”

In one case, court records show, a 16-year-old boy was lured to a canyon and beaten to death in 2017. His body went undiscovered for so long that his remains wound up charred in a wildfire, according to coroner’s records. Earlier that year, another man suspected of defacing an MS-13 graffiti tag was abducted and dragged into Angeles National Forest. Six gang members cut him apart with machetes, according to prosecutors, who alleged that one cut out his heart.

The gruesome slayings were among seven Los Angeles-area murders linked to the Fulton clique of MS-13 in the last two years, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday that charged 22 members of the gang, most of them in connection with first-degree murder and racketeering.

The sweeping, 78-page indictment marks the latest salvo between California law enforcement and the notorious gang, which was formed decades ago in Los Angeles and has recently escalated its violent tactics to increase its power, investigators said.

MS-13 has also become a bogeyman used by President Trump to justify stronger immigration enforcement by linking the issue to crime.

Nineteen of the 22 defendants charged in the indictment had entered the country illegally in the last four years, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles. Several of the victims described in the indictment were also new arrivals to the U.S. from Central America, officials said.

“These gang members sought out young victims in their teens and early 20s who were new to this country. Many had recently immigrated from El Salvador and Honduras. They were alone looking to fit in with others from native countries,” said Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, whose office will prosecute several of the defendants on murder charges at the state level. “But instead, they met their demise quickly at the hands of gang members who preyed upon them.”

459388-me-ms13-indictment01_ALS.JPG

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna (center) announces a sweeping indictment charging members of the MS-13 street gang in a series of violent attacks across the Los Angeles area.

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Four people were killed in the Angeles National Forest by members of the clique who wielded machetes, baseball bats and knives, the indictment alleges. A fifth victim was slain in the Malibu hills and a homeless man was shot and killed earlier this year in Whitsett Fields Park in North Hollywood, which prosecutors described as the clique’s “stronghold,” according to the indictment.

The slayings were motivated in part by a schism within MS-13. Paul Delacourt, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said some younger members of the gang wanted to employ more violent means “to exert their dominance in Los Angeles as opposed to maintaining allegiance to the Mexican Mafia,” the sprawling criminal network that holds sway over most Latino gangs in the county.

“We’re seeing an influx of younger gang members coming into the area associating themselves with the Fulton clique who are extremely violent, who have to commit murders to join the clique,” U.S. Atty. Nick Hanna said.

All 22 of the alleged MS-13 members are in custody. Eighteen had been apprehended in the last year on a range of federal and state charges, authorities said. Three were arrested in recent days in the Los Angeles area by a task force composed of FBI agents, LAPD officers and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies. Another was captured over the weekend in Oklahoma.

Authorities filed two more cases under seal against juvenile defendants in federal court. Some of the suspects were high school students at the time of the slayings, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the case candidly. Some of the killings were also recorded by the perpetrators, the official said. In one case, a suspect posed for pictures holding items he’d stolen from a butchered victim.

MS-13 has about 20 active cliques in Los Angeles, but police had previously said the gang had waned in size and influence recently. Last year, then-Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told The Times the number of active MS-13 members in the city had dropped from about 1,000 in 2011 to between 700 and 800 in 2018.

Beck said the gang was not among the five most active in the city, but stressed that he still considered them a threat. LAPD officials declined to discuss the gang’s size or territory Tuesday.

Earlier this year the department arrested several MS-13 members in an operation in the San Fernando Valley that stemmed from an investigation into the murder of Bradley Hanaway, a homeless man whose death was among those detailed in the indictment. In announcing that investigation, the LAPD said detectives had noted an uptick in MS-13 graffiti and activity in the area.

Claude Arnold, who once ran the Los Angeles field office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and spent the bulk of his career investigating transnational gangs, said similar surges in bloodshed have taken place in other MS-13 havens, including Long Island, N.Y., and Washington, D.C., when the areas saw an influx of new members from outside the country.

“These are newer entrants, so they’re making their bones with the gang, it’s just how it is,” Arnold said. “They want to make a name for themselves, and those are the people who are generally the most violent members of street gangs.”

The Fulton clique targeted people they believed to be cooperating with law enforcement, who belonged to a rival gang or who’d fraudulently claimed membership in MS-13, Lacey said. Six of the slayings described in the indictment unsealed Tuesday were committed to join or advance within the Fulton clique, authorities said.

The defendants identified in Tuesday’s indictment are: German Hernandez, Angel Guzman, Ever Morales, Fernando Parada, Jose Baquiax Alvarez, Kevin Gomez, Kevin Arteaga, Edgar Velasquez, Walter Chavez Larin, Yefri Revelo, Wilfredo Vides, Gerardo Alvarado, Roberto Carlos Mendez Cruz, Bryan Alberto Ordones, Roberto Alejandro Corado Ortiz, Edwin Issac Mendez, Josue Balmore Flores Castro, Luis Arturo Gonzalez, Edwin Martinez, Steven Emmanuel Linares, Marco Antonio Ramos and Erick Eduardo Rosales Arias.

Attempts to contact their defense attorneys were unsuccessful.

Authorities began digging into the Fulton clique’s activities in late 2017, when detectives investigating the disappearance of 16-year-old Brayan Alejandro Andino discovered the teen’s body in Lopez Canyon, said LAPD Deputy Chief Horace Frank. The teen was lured to the Lake Balboa area by two female associates of MS-13, and then beaten to death.

Frank said the brutality of MS-13’s attacks was almost unparalleled.

“No parent should ever have to experience what Brayan’s and the other parents and family members have endured, and continued to endure,” he said.

17-year-old who announced Colts draft picks dies

An Indianapolis Colts helmet sits on the field before an NFL football game between the Colts and the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

Madi Moore, who helped announced the Indianapolis Colts‘ picks during the 2019 NFL draft, died Monday at the age of 17. 

Dana Hunsinger Benbow of the Indianapolis Star reported the news, noting Moore—who played volleyball at Linton-Stockton High in Indiana—was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in January 2018.

Per Hunsinger Benbow, she was declared cancer-free in August after receiving a stem cell transplant but twice suffered from graft-versus-host disease after her body rejected the donor stem cells.

Moore was one of three patients at the Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health who helped the Colts announce their fourth- and fifth-round picks live on NFL Network alongside cornerbacks Kenny Moore and Pierre Desir.

Both players reacted to the news:

“When I think about sports or I think about all of the ups and downs of winning and losing, I really think her journey is very parallel to that,” Stayce Woodburn, a nurse practitioner at Riley Children’s Health, said in April after Moore was chosen to help announce the picks, per Hunsinger Benbow. “She is the perfect person for this.”

Moore was on stage in Nashville, Tennessee in April to announce the Colts’ fourth-round pick (Michigan State’s Khari Willis) and fifth-round picks (USC’s Marvell Tell and Tarleton State’s E.J. Speed).

Hannity says Biden ‘sucking up’ to AOC and the party’s radicals

Fox News’ Sean Hannity mocked Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden Tuesday for “sucking up” too Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., recently even though the congresswoman hasn’t spoken well of the former vice president in the past.

“[Biden] is now pandering to every corner of this new extreme socialist Democratic party.  Going so far as to describe congresswoman, the real Speaker of the House, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as both smart as hell and brilliant,” Hannity said on his television show.

“She’s been taking a lot of shots at him, he’s sucking up.”

BIDEN PROPOSES BIG CHANGE TO OBAMACARE TO SAVE IT FROM GOP AND FROM ‘MEDICARE-FOR-ALL’ CROWD

“This idea that we can go back to the good old days with Obama, with Obama’s vice president. There’s an emotional element to that, but I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward,” Ocasio-Cortez said of Biden in April while appearing on a podcast.

The Fox News host said Biden’s effort to curry favor with the freshman congresswoman and the progressive wing of the party won’t work.

“But here’s the thing, Biden can try and suck up, cozy up to the new extreme left all he wants. They’re never going to accept him. And never going to endorse him in the Democratic primary,” Hannity said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Hannity predicted things would get worse for Biden.

“Here’s a prediction Uncle Joe, this is only going to get worse. Remember the questions are only going to get tougher the scrutiny on Biden will only intensify. The question is just how far left is sleepy, creepy, crazy Uncle Joe willing to go to try and appease these out of touch out of control leaders of his party,” Hannity said.

ROBERT PRICE: We voters love a good rematch, and now we’ve got one

The razor-thin, last-to-be-settled congressional race that ousted two-term Republican incumbent David Valadao last year is headed for a rematch.

Democrat TJ Cox, six months into his first term as California’s 21st District representative, will be getting a familiar foe in 2020.

At least that’s what Valadao told me Tuesday, though he did not quite emphatically declare, “I’m running.”

“We’re not making any announcements yet,” Valadao said. “We’re looking at it but we’re not ready. We have been making calls, talking to people.”

Valadao said he will take some family time before making it official, but I expect we’ll get a formal announcement sometime early next month.

Cox’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Valadao was running 13 percentage points ahead of Cox at one point last Election Day, but it tightened as the night wore on and by morning the race was too close to call. Elections officials kept counting for a week, days after virtually every other congressional race in the nation had been decided and it was abundantly clear that the Democrats had taken back the House.

When the counting was declared finished, Cox was up by a scant 862 votes, making the 21st the last of seven House seats in California to flip Republican to Democrat.

The Republican National Congressional Committee has been coming after Cox hard in the past few months, portraying him just last week, for example, as a “rabid socialist extremist” who has brought “radicalism” into the House.

Valadao appeared at an event last week with Vice President Mike Pence, a pairing that can only mean he’s the guy Republicans will be trotting out in 2020.

Perhaps in the interim Pence can learn how to pronounce the name of his “great friend,” as he called the Hanford dairyman on July 10. Pence, according to David Taub of GV Wire, pronounced it “vuh-LAD-ee-oh” rather than “val-uh-DAY-oh.”

As Taub also noted, the Cook Political Report categorizes Cox’s seat as vulnerable; Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball calls it a Dem-leaning toss-up.

By all rights, the seat should be Democrat-held. Democrats hold a 42.8 percent to 26.7 percent registration advantage over Republicans, and the district favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by 15.5 points in 2016. Valadao wisely kept his rhetorical distance from Trump in 2018, given the president’s stance on border security, sanctuary cities, DACA and other immigration issues, but that didn’t stop Cox from portraying the men as kindred spirits.

It may have had the desired effect, because Binder Research found that support for Cox among Latinos increased from 56 percent in early August to 70 percent the week of the election. Valadao’s Latino support remained flat, 28 percent to 29 percent.

Trump is doing Valadao even fewer favors now than he was before, with Tuesday’s House vote on a resolution condemning the president for what critics called a racist tweet coming hard on the heels of continuing reports about border camp overcrowding.

Valadao, who had decisively won in the 21st twice previously, may not have the advantage of incumbency any more, but he does still have name recognition, and, to the extent it could be a factor, a name that sounds more Latino (he is Portuguese by ancestry) than Cox (who is Chinese-Filipino) — an undeniable factor in the heavily Latino district.

Valadao will want to get the fundraising ball rolling, and fast. On Tuesday, Cox announced that his campaign raised $402,000 in the second quarter from some 2,000 contributors.

Boxing legend dies after being hit by a vehicle

10 Sep 1993: Pernell Whitaker stands in the corner during a fight against Julio Cesar Chavez in San Antonio, Texas. Chavez won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Holly Stein /Allsport

Holly Stein/Getty Images

Boxing legend Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker died Sunday after being hit by a vehicle while walking in Virginia Beach.

He was 55.

A release by the City of Virginia Beach says Whitaker died on the scene after being hit at 10:04 p.m. ET. The driver remained on the scene and has been cooperative with officers, who say the investigation is ongoing.

No further information is available on the accident at this time.

Whitaker rose to fame during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, winning the gold medal in the lightweight division. He went on to become one of boxing’s most prominent faces in the 1980s and 1990s, winning 40 of his first 42 career matches on his way to titles in the lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight divisions.

Nicknamed “Sweat Pea,” Whitaker made a name for himself with a sensational defensive style that would frustrate his opponents. There are many who view Whitaker’s style as a precursor to Floyd Mayweather Jr. 

A loss to Oscar De La Hoya in 1997 started the swift decline of Whitaker’s career, as he finished his career with three losses and a no-contest in his final four fights. In 2006, Whitaker was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Following his retirement, Whitaker became a trainer, most notably for Zab Judah.

Whitaker is survived by his five children.