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Tuesday, Jun 28th

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U.S. charity loophole enabled trading of 1,300 endangered animals

US charity loopholes endanger animalsLast year, after a Minnesota dentist sparked an uproar by killing a popular lion named Cecil while on safari in Zimbabwe, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service placed similar African lions on the endangered species list, making it illegal to import them as trophies to the United States.

But for African lions and other threatened and endangered species, there’s an exception to this rule: Hunters, circuses, zoos, breeders and theme parks can get permits to import, export or sell endangered animals if they can demonstrate that the transactions will “enhance the survival” of the species.

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Study Links 6.5 Million Deaths Each Year to Air Pollution

6.5 million die from air pollutionA sobering report released on Monday by the International Energy Agency says air pollution has become a major public health crisis leading to around 6.5 million deaths each year, with “many of its root causes and cures” found in the energy industry.

The air pollution study is the first for the agency, an energy security group based in Paris, which is expanding its mission under its executive director, Fatih Birol.

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In West Virginia, a flood that will go down in history

W Virginia historic floodWest Virginia communities have been devastated by floods that killed at least 24 people and rendered many more homeless. The deluge tore through roads and bridges and knocked out utilities that still haven’t been restored in some communities.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called the flooding "among the worst in a century" for some parts of West Virginia.

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Pink Snow Looks Awesome, But Is Another Climate Change Indicator

Pink snow sign of climate changeSome call it pink snow, some call it watermelon snow — and now, a new study is calling it yet another symbol of the drastic melting in the Arctic.

The appearance of the so-called pink snow, which Arctic explorers have observed for centuries, is the result of a red algae that likes to bloom in the frozen water. In a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications, researchers found that those algal blooms are causing the ice to melt faster, and the algae is likely to grow more rapidly as climate change melts even more of the Arctic into the liquid water that feeds them.

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29,400 Barrels of Crude Oil Spill in California

Oil pipeline spill in CaliforniaSouthern California authorities have revised the estimated size of a crude oil pipeline spill down to 29,400 gallons.

The spill early Thursday in Ventura County was initially projected to be as much as 210,000 gallons.

Ventura Fire Department spokeswoman Kelly Flanders says the oil flowed about a half-mile down an arroyo but will not reach a local beach.

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New wildfires erupt in California as heatwave strikes west coast

New wild fires erupt in CaliforniaNew wildfires erupted Monday in southern California and chased people from their homes as an intensifying heatwave stretching from the west coast to New Mexico blistered the region.

Towering columns of smoke rose from the San Gabriel mountains behind Los Angeles as the fires several miles apart devoured hundreds of acres of brush on steep slopes above foothill suburbs. Police in the city of Azusa ordered hundreds of homes evacuated.

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Southwest braces for heat wave with temps reaching 120

heat wave coming to southwest USIn 120 degree temperatures, some airplanes might not take off. Power grids strain as the outside air keeps transmission lines from cooling. And for desert dwellers, a cold bottle of water and some shade can mean the difference between life and death.

Parts of the U.S. Southwest, long accustomed to triple-digit temperatures, are preparing for a heat wave.

In Phoenix, the high for Saturday was 111. But meteorologists believe the next two days could be record-breaking. Officials are warning residents the mercury may rise to 120 on Sunday and Monday, approaching the city's record of 122.

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