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Hurricane Michael Lashes Florida With Wind Speeds Among Highest in History

Hurrican Michael at Cat 4 by 2 mi.Hurricane Michael became the strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland since 1992, and one of the four most intense in history, with winds that reached 155 miles per hour just as it made landfall in Florida.

The wind speed, expected to produce a 14-foot storm surge on the coast, fell just two miles an hour shy of Category 5 status. The swift-moving monster is forecast to drop as much as a foot of rain on the Florida Panhandle before racing north toward Georgia, Alabama and a Carolinas region still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

“A storm like this could be a once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Brett Rathbun, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. “Winds of this intensity can really knock down any tree or structure in its path.”

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Hurricane Michael gains strength on course for Florida Panhandle

Hurricane Michael to hit coastMichael gained new strength over warm tropical waters amid fears it would swiftly intensify into a major hurricane before striking Florida’s northeast Gulf Coast, where frantic coastal dwellers are boarding up homes and seeking evacuation routes away from the dangerous storm heading their way.

A hurricane hunter plane that bounced into the swirling eye of Michael off the west tip of Cuba late Monday found wind speeds were rising even as forecasters warned the storm could reach major hurricane status with winds topping 111 mph (179 kph) by Tuesday night. Anticipated landfall is expected Wednesday on the northeast Gulf Coast, where authorities warned of a potentially devastating strike.

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UN climate report calls for immediate action to curb global warming

UN report calls for immediate action against climate changeThe latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calls for "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes" to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The IPCC report, which was produced with the help of 91 authors and review editors from 40 countries, was approved over the weekend at a meeting in South Korea.

According to the report, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, instead of 2 degrees, offers the best chance of protecting people, property and natural ecosystems -- and "ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society."

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Trump administration abruptly ends key law enforcement program at wildlife refuges

Wh ends lw enforcement program at wildlife refuges

The Trump administration is abruptly ending a decades-long program that trained national wildlife refuge managers with law enforcement capabilities to police often remote spots of public land.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced to employees on Sept. 21 that refuge managers who were also trained to police the area would no longer be able to act in any enforcement capacity and would be stripped of their firearm, according to an internal FWS email shared with The Hill.

Sources said the decision came as a shock to many of the people who have worked in the position, known as dual-function officers, including retirees who had spent decades in the role at their respective refuges.

Critics argued it would lead to new violations in the refuges.

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Two children among seven people shot dead by Israel, say officials

Two children among dead in Gaza

Israeli forces have killed seven Palestinians, two of them children, and shot more than 90 others in one of the bloodiest days of a six-month protest movement along the frontier, the Gaza health ministry said.

The ministry in the Hamas-controlled strip said Nasser Mosabeh, 12, and Mohammed al-Houm, 14, were hit by sniper fire near the perimeter fence that surrounds one side of the 140 sq mile coastal enclave.

Israel’s army said around 20,000 people had gathered at multiple sites along the frontier.

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House committee votes to relax Endangered Species Act

House eases rules on endangered species

A House panel passed four GOP-backed bills Thursday to amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA), making compliance easier for industries, states and landowners.

The Natural Resources Committee’s bills would give priority to science submitted by state and local governments when federal officials decide whether to protect species, require the Interior Department to consider conservation actions that could happen in the future when making ESA decisions and let Interior prioritize or discharge petitions for species protections under some circumstances.

Taken as a whole, the bills would represent the biggest changes to the ESA in decades.

Republicans on the panel, led by Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), said the changes would make the ESA work better for industry and landowners, as well as the imperiled species themselves.

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Netanyahu urged to recall U.S. ambassador over scandal

Netanyahu ambassador chargedAn Israeli opposition lawmaker on Sunday called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to dismiss his ambassador to the United States for failing to report sexual assault allegations against a top Netanyahu aide, ballooning an already embarrassing scandal for the Israeli leader.

Karin Elharrar of the centrist Yesh Atid party said Ron Dermer should be recalled from Washington for not reporting the warnings he received about David Keyes, Netanyahu’s spokesman to foreign media. She also lashed out at Netanyahu himself for staying mum on an issue that has engulfed his close associates.

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