By Laura Zuckerman (Reuters) - A federal judge in Montana on Thursday issued a court order temporarily blocking the first trophy hunts of Yellowstone-area grizzly bears in more than 40 years, siding with native American groups and environmentalists seeking to restore the animals' protected status. The 14-day restraining order by U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen in Missoula, Montana, came two days before Wyoming and Idaho were scheduled to open licensed grizzly hunts allowing as many as 23 bears in the two states to be shot and killed for sport. Groups opposing the hunts had sought a restraining order while waiting for the judge to rule on the larger question of whether the federal government should return Endangered Species Act safeguards to grizzlies in the greater Yellowstone region. Christensen heard arguments from both sides on Thursday and took the case under advisement without indicating when he would render a decision. But in granting the restraining order, he said that the conservation and tribal groups had shown that they were "likely to succeed on the merits" of their lawsuits. Wyoming and Idaho had been scheduled to open their newly established hunting season for grizzlies outside Yellowstone National Park starting on Saturday. U.S. law prohibits hunting altogether inside the park, and Montana has decided against opening a grizzly season, citing concerns about long-term recovery of a bear population that is arguably one of the most celebrated and photographed in the world. The stage for grizzly hunting in the region was set in June 2017 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the large, hump-shouldered bears would cease to be listed as a threatened species in and around Yellowstone. That left grizzly management to the discretion of the states, and prompted lawsuits challenging the action. The decision by the Trump administration on the de-listing, formally proposed in 2016 during the Obama era, was based on agency findings that the bears' numbers have rebounded enough in recent decades that federal protections are no longer necessary. 'SACRED BEING' Grizzlies in the Lower 48 states number fewer than 2,000 bears, compared to an historic high of 100,000 before extermination campaigns brought their numbers to just several hundred by 1975, when they came under the Endangered Species Act. The de-listing decision last year applied to about 700 Yellowstone-area grizzlies in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. Environmentalists argue that treating those bears separately from other grizzly populations in Montana and elsewhere was biologically unsound and illegal under the Endangered Species Act. Renny MacKay, spokesman for Wyoming's Game and Fish Department, said the state would abide by the court's decision. U.S. wildlife managers did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Native Americans revere the grizzly as sacred. "It's essential to protecting our religious and spiritual freedoms, and treaty rights in Yellowstone," said Stan Grier, chief of the Piikani Nation and president of the Blackfoot Confederacy Chiefs. "This sacred being is considered to be a deity by many tribes, not a rug." (Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Pinedale, Wyoming; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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Early data on the rollout of the vaccines for COVID-19 shows that minority populations in the United States already disproportionately affected by the pandemic are not being immunized at the same rate as white Americans.
- The Independent
Biden news – live: President says Democrats don’t have votes for Trump impeachment, as approval ratings soar
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- The Telegraph
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced the establishment of its embassy in Tel Aviv as the US national security advisor announced that America hopes to build “on the success of Israel’s normalisation agreements” under the Biden administration. The UAE cabinet decision to approve establishing the embassy comes after they signed the Abraham Accords in September, becoming the first Gulf state to establish a full diplomatic relationship with Israel. No further details about the embassy were given in UAE media. While Israel’s government recognises Jerusalem as its capital, the international community does not, with Palestinians claiming East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Most countries base their embassies in Tel Aviv. Before the deal, Israel only had peace deals with only two Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan - where it has fortified embassies. Most Arab countries had previously refrained from recognising Israel, believing that recognition should only be granted if serious concessions are made in the Palestinian peace process. Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco later agreed to follow in the UAE’s footsteps and normalise ties with Israel under US-brokered deals.
- Associated Press
A federal judge on Sunday blocked the release of a Tennessee man who authorities say carried flexible plastic handcuffs during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell for the District of Columbia set aside an order by a judge in Tennessee concerning the release of Eric Munchel of Nashville. After testimony at a detention hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Frensley for the Middle District of Tennessee determined Friday that Munchel wasn’t a flight risk and didn’t pose harm to the public.
- The Week
Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies
The new Biden administration has yet not disclosed the secrets of Area 51 or explained what the Air Force really knows about UFOs, but it did clarify, at least, the mystery of the vanished "Diet Coke button" former President Donald Trump would use to summon refreshments in the Oval Office. The usher button, as it is formally known, is not gone, even if it is no longer used to summon Diet Cokes, a White House official tells Politico.The White House official "unfortunately wouldn't say what Biden will use the button for," Politico's Daniel Lippman writes, suggesting Biden might summon Orange Gatorade and not the obvious answer, ice cream — or, let's get real, coffee. What's more, there are evidently two usher buttons in the Oval Office, one at the Resolute Desk and the other next to the chair by the fireplace, a former White House official told Politico, adding that Trump didn't actually use the Diet Coke button all that much because "he would usually just verbally ask the valets, who were around all day, for what he needed."In any case, it is not the placement of the button that matters, of course, but how you use it. And Biden will presumably know better than to order ice cream treats during a top-secret national security briefing.More stories from theweek.com Liz Cheney spokesperson tells Matt Gaetz to 'leave his beauty bag at home' as he heads to Wyoming Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing Apollo CEO Leon Black to step down after $158 million payments to Jeffrey Epstein disclosed
A U.S. aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt entered the South China Sea over the weekend to promote "freedom of the seas" at a time of U.S. concern about China-Taiwan tensions and Beijing asserting its maritime agenda. The patrol comes just days after Joe Biden was sworn in as U.S. president and follows a year of repeated demonstrations of military power by both Beijing and Washington. China has complained about U.S. vessels in the South China Sea close to islands it controls, claims, or constructed and turned into military installations.
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Indonesian authorities have detained the Iranian and Chinese crewmembers of two tankers that were seized for illegally transferring oil in Indonesian waters, an official said Tuesday. “MT Freya did the oil spilling,” Pramandita said.
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Gov. Newsom needs to do a better job communicating California's statewide COVID restrictions with the public, and with other state officials.
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Giuliani slams ‘hate-filled left-wing’ as he responds to $1.3bn defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems
Donald Trump’s personal lawyer claims legal action is intended to ‘frighten people of faint heart’
- The Week
President Biden's administration is hoping to "speed up" efforts to get Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during a briefing Monday said the Treasury Department is "taking steps to resume efforts" to put Tubman on the $20 bill, a plan that was originally announced under former President Barack Obama, and is "exploring ways to speed up that effort."Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin previously announced in 2019 that the planned $20 bill redesign with Tubman replacing former President Andrew Jackson on the front had been delayed until 2028. At the time, Mnuchin said he would focus on a security feature redesign."The primary reason we've looked at redesigning the currency is for counterfeiting issues," Mnuchin said. "Based upon this, the $20 bill will now not come out until 2028."The original plan was for the Tubman redesign to be unveiled in time for the 19th Amendment's 100th anniversary in 2020, The New York Times notes. Former President Donald Trump dismissed the efforts to put Tubman on the $20 bill as "pure political correctness" during his 2016 campaign. In Monday's briefing, Psaki said that it's "important" for U.S. currency to "reflect the history and diversity of our country," adding that "Harriet Tubman's image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that." > NEW: White House says Treasury Dept. is "taking steps to resume efforts" to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.> > Press Sec. Psaki says the Biden admin. is "exploring ways to speed up that effort." pic.twitter.com/z7Jw5CqXP0> > -- MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 25, 2021More stories from theweek.com Liz Cheney spokesperson tells Matt Gaetz to 'leave his beauty bag at home' as he heads to Wyoming Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing
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Indianapolis police arrested a 17-year-old boy Monday in the killings of five people, including a pregnant woman, who were shot to death inside a home in what the city's mayor called a “devastating act of violence.” The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement that the name of the suspect in Sunday's killings was “not being released at this time since the suspect is a juvenile." As officers were investigating, police received information about 4:40 a.m. that led them to a nearby home, where they found multiple adults dead inside from apparent gunshot wounds, Sgt. Shane Foley said Sunday.
The Philippines has confirmed domestic transmission of the new, highly contagious British variant of the coronavirus, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to abandon a plan to allow some minors to go outside their homes. "Right now, we have local transmission where this individual or these cases with the variant have already infected their community, their family," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told news channel ANC on Tuesday. The world is scrambling to contain the spread of the B.1.1.7 variant, despite travel bans, new lockdowns and a tightening quarantine measures in dozens of countries, amid concerns it could not only be more transmissible, but deadlier.
- The Independent
QAnon merges with white extremists and spreads new conspiracy Trump will be president again on March 4
Trump supporters have started sharing theories from the sovereign citizen movement, who argue US is a corporation
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The mother of a Tennessee man who authorities say carried flexible plastic handcuffs during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month can be released from custody, a federal magistrate judge ruled Monday in Tennessee. Lisa Eisenhart is accused of breaking into the U.S. Capitol with her son, Eric Munchel of Nashville, during the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington. Eisenhart poses no flight risk or danger to the public while awaiting trial, Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Frensley ruled.
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Israeli authorities on Monday extradited a former teacher accused of sexually abusing her former students in Australia, capping a six-year legal battle that had strained relations between the two governments and antagonized Australia's Jewish community.
Australia on Monday approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use but warned AstraZeneca's international production problems mean the country would need to distribute a locally manufactured shot earlier than planned. The country's medical regulator was one of the first in the world to complete a comprehensive approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, noting it was a year since the first local coronavirus case was detected. Vaccination of priority groups with the Pfizer vaccine is expected to begin in late February at 80,000 doses per week, Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters.
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Biden officials struggle to understand why doses have not been administered, says report, as president promises to ramp-up vaccination rate
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President Joe Biden has brought back Dr. Kevin O'Connor as his physician, replacing President Donald Trump's doctor with the one who oversaw his care when he was vice president. The White House confirmed that Dr. Sean Conley, the Navy commander who served as the head of the White House Medical Unit under Trump and oversaw his treatment when he was hospitalized with COVID-19, will assume a teaching role at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. O'Connor, a retired Army colonel, was Biden's doctor during his entire tenure as vice president, having remained in the role at Biden's request.
- The Telegraph
Indian and Chinese soldiers armed with sticks and stones have brawled again along their disputed frontier, Delhi said, as the neighbours' months-long border stand-off continued. Indian security officials said there were clashes after at least 18 Chinese soldiers tried to cross into Indian-claimed territory at Naku La in Sikkim on January 20. Soldiers on both sides were carrying firearms, but did not use them. A senior Indian Army official told the Telegraph that four Indian soldiers were wounded after they challenged the Chinese PLA soldiers. All four Indian wounded had been hospitalised, and their condition was described as stable. The officer said the number of injured Chinese was “in double figures”. An official army statement gave few details, describing the clash as a minor stand-off and saying it had been "resolved by local commanders as per established protocols". The military asked journalists "to refrain from overplaying or exaggerating" the incident. Zhao Lijian, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, urged India "not to take any unilateral action that may further complicate or exacerbate the border tension." Yet an opinion piece in China's Global Times, a hawkish state-owned tabloid, said the reports were false and blamed Indian rumour-mongering. Tensions have been high since May when deadly clashes erupted high in the Karakoram mountains along the poorly defined frontier between the rivals. Both sides have mobilized tens of thousands of soldiers, artillery and fighter aircraft along the fiercely contested border known as the Line of Actual Control, or LAC, that separates Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India's eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. May's brawl exploded into hand-to-hand combat with clubs, stones and fists on June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. China is believed to also have had casualties, but has not given any details. Indian and Chinese army commanders met for the ninth round of talks after a gap of two-and-a-half months in Ladakh on Sunday but neither side released any details of the outcome.
AstraZeneca is not doing enough to try to resolve a dispute over delayed COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to the European Union, the bloc's top health official said on Monday, as news emerged the drugmaker is also facing supply problems elsewhere. In a sign of the EU's frustration - after Pfizer also announced a temporary slowdown in vaccine supplies earlier in January - EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides proposed forcing drugmakers to register in advance their COVID-19 vaccine exports, so the bloc can keep track of what they are doing. AstraZeneca, which developed its shot with Oxford University, told the EU on Friday it could not meet agreed supply targets up to the end of March.