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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

EPA chief Pruitt appeals to ‘civility’ but fails to quell environmentalists’ concerns
Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:09:22 -0500
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s first speech to employees of the EPA at midday on Tuesday did little to assuage the concerns of environmentalists over his ties to the fossil fuel industry. At the EPA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., Pruitt called for civility and listening in his highly anticipated, tense inaugural address to the staff of an agency that he sued more than a dozen times as Oklahoma attorney general. President Trump’s decision to nominate Pruitt, who has made it clear he has no confidence in mainstream climate science, to lead the EPA immediately incited a backlash from liberals and environmentalists.


Tesla Update Allows Drivers to View Supercharger Availability Through Nav System
Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:32:05 -0500
Now you don't have to guess if there's room at the inn, erg, supercharger.


Resistance Report: More than 1 million sign White House petition for Trump’s tax returns, breaking record
Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:56:25 -0500
President Trump has taken to saying that no one cares about his taxes. White House petitions need to draw more than 100,000 signatures within 30 days to be considered for an official response from the White House.


The Latest: Crowd holds vigil for slain Whittier officer
Tue, 21 Feb 2017 01:09:45 -0500
WHITTIER, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the shooting of two California police officers as they responded to a traffic accident (all times local):


Malaysia guards morgue as Kim Jong-Nam's body still not claimed
Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:49:05 -0500
Armed men stood guard Tuesday at the morgue holding the body of the assassinated half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un, with officials denying reports the dead man's son had arrived to claim the remains. The corpse of Kim Jong-Nam -- who was killed last Monday at Kuala Lumpur airport -- has been at the centre of a diplomatic row between Pyongyang and Malaysia, after the North insisted it be returned and objected to an autopsy being performed. Jong-Nam's son Kim Han-Sol had been due to arrive in Kuala Lumpur from Macau on Monday night, local media and intelligence sources said, but AFP was unable to confirm his presence in the city.


First-Grade Teacher Suspended Over 'Illegal Aliens' Post: School District
Mon, 20 Feb 2017 20:45:00 -0500
The elementary school teacher advocated reporting undocumented immigrants, according to school district officials, who suspended her.


U.S. judge blocks Texas plan to cut Planned Parenthood Medicaid funds
Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:42:39 -0500
By Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A U.S. judge in Austin issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday halting Texas' plan to cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, saying the state did not present evidence of a program violation that would warrant termination. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said state health officials "likely acted to disenroll qualified health care providers from Medicaid without cause." He said the preliminary injunction will preserve the court's ability to render a meaningful decision on the case's merits.


South Dakota bill leaves evolution skepticism up to teachers
Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:42:27 -0500
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota legislators are weighing whether to let teachers decide how much skepticism to work into lessons on contentious scientific topics such as evolution and climate change.


Africa's elusive forest elephants are disappearing
Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:34:14 -0500
The clock is ticking to save Central Africa's forest elephants. Populations of the elusive elephants have plunged by around 80 percent inside one of the region's most important nature preserves. Within Gabon's Minkébé National Park, poachers likely killed about 25,000 forest elephants for their ivory tusks between 2004 and 2014, according to a Duke University-led study in the journal Current Biology. SEE ALSO: The world's fastest land animal is even more threatened than we thought That's a significant number of animals, considering that Gabon holds about half of the estimated 100,000 forest elephants across all of Central Africa. Forest elephants in Gabon's Minkébé National Park. Image: john poulsen "The loss of 25,000 elephants from this key sanctuary is a considerable setback for the preservation of the species," John Poulsen, an assistant professor of tropical ecology at Duke'd Nicholas School of the Environment, said Monday in a statement. The dramatic population decline from one of Central Africa's largest, most remote protected areas "is a startling warning that no place is safe from poaching," he added. Across the African continent, populations of all elephants have plummeted from about 1.3 million in the 1970s to less than 500,000 today due to poaching and habitat loss. This week's dismal numbers from Gabon arrive in spite of a concerted effort by governments and conversationists to halt the illegal killing of elephants for their ivory, meat and other parts.  Soldiers watch as ivory elephant tusks are burned on a pyre in Libreville, Gabon. Image: Joel Bouopda Tatou/AP/REX/Shutterstock In December, two major global conversation unions adopted resolutions to ban all domestic ivory sales, on top of existing bans on international ivory trading. China, the world's largest ivory market, said it plans to shut down its ivory trade by the end of 2017. Gabon itself has also taken important steps to curb poaching, Poulsen said.  The government created a National Park Police force, elevated the conservation status of forest elephants to "fully protected," and doubled the national park agency's budget. In 2012, Gabon was the first African country to burn all its confiscated ivory — a gesture meant to snuff out the spike in poaching. Yet Gabon's elephants are still vanishing, as the new research shows. For their study, researchers estimated a population loss of between 78 and 81 percent by comparing data from two large-scale surveys of elephant dung in the Minkébé park, which were done in 2004 and 2014.  The team also used different analytical approaches to account for periods of heavy rainfall, which might've sped up the dung's decay and skewed the accuracy of the surveys. Poulsen and his colleagues said that most poachers likely came from outside of Gabon, including the neighboring country of Cameroon.  The edge of Minkébé National Park lies just 3.8 miles from a major Cameroon road, which makes it easy for Camaroonese poachers to cross into Gabon, do their dirty work and bring their illegal haul back into Cameroon.   Poulsen and his colleagues urged governments in Central Africa to team up to stop illegal cross-border traffic, including by establishing new multinational protected areas and coordinating international law enforcement. BONUS: Elephants take their final bow at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus


Meet the 22-year-old fighting Trump’s terror talk about Sweden from the country’s official Twitter feed
Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:40:07 -0500
Before President Trump’s reference on Saturday to a terror attack in Sweden, the biggest story in Stockholm was this one: a report about the so-called “fake news” industry published by Dagens Nyheter, a Swedish newspaper. “You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” the president said to his supporters at a campaign-style rally in Melbourne, Fla., on Saturday. “Sweden, who would believe this?” Trump later explained he was watching a Fox News segment that featured a documentary filmmaker accusing the Swedish government of covering up an immigration-related crime wave there.




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