Top Stories World 

What is really scarce in a water drought

Earlier this year, the South African city of Cape Town was told that it would make history by April 16. On that date, dubbed Day Zero, it was expected to become the world’s first major city to run out of water because of an extended drought. More than 1 million households would face extreme rationing or no water at all as reservoirs went dry. But then something happened. The date was pushed back to June 4. And this week, Day Zero was set for July 9. It was not rain…

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Science 

Some fear California drought cuts could erase water rights

FILE – In this July 8, 2014 file photo, a sign alerts visitors to water conservation efforts is displayed on a parched lawn at the state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Members of the state Water Resources Control Board delayed a decision about whether to bring back what had been temporary water bans from California’s historic, five-year drought, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File) SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A proposal to make California’s drought-era water restrictions permanent could allow the state to chip away at long-held water rights in…

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Top Stories World 

How Democrats use dark money — and win elections

This story was originally published by The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C. WASHINGTON — Democrats love decrying “dark money” — political contributions for which the source of funds is a mystery. But that isn’t stopping them from accepting “dark money” themselves or making it difficult to determine the original underwriter of a political donation, as a recent Southern contest vividly illustrates. Alabama’s special U.S. Senate election in December is a case study in the lengths national Democrats, who this year are racing…

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Science 

Mute crickets can’t chirp but rub their wings together anyway

A Hawaiian cricket (Teleogryllus oceanicus)Caroline Harding, MAF / CC by 3.0 AU Hawaiian crickets still try to call for females, despite having lost their ability to sing. Male crickets woo females by “singing”, which they do by vigorously rubbing their wings together. Bumps and ridges on the wings scrape against each other, making a distinctive sound. However, in the early 2000s researchers noticed that up to 95 per cent of male Hawaiian crickets (Teleogryllus oceanicus) on the islands of Kauai and Oahu had lost their voices. Both sets of males…

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Science 

Mute male crickets are still trying to serenade females

A Hawaiian cricket (Teleogryllus oceanicus)Caroline Harding, MAF / CC by 3.0 AU Hawaiian crickets still try to call for females, despite having lost their ability to sing. Male crickets woo females by “singing”, which they do by vigorously rubbing their wings together. Bumps and ridges on the wings scrape against each other, making a distinctive sound. However, in the early 2000s researchers noticed that up to 95 per cent of male Hawaiian crickets (Teleogryllus oceanicus) on the islands of Kauai and Oahu had lost their voices. Both sets of males…

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Science 

Startling orangutan population decline recorded in Borneo

FILE PHOTO: An orangutan hold its baby at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island on January 11, 2004. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad/File Photo More By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hunting by people and habitation destruction by oil palm, paper, logging and mining industries helped drive a startling drop of about 50 percent in the orangutan population on the island of Borneo from 1999 to 2015, scientists said on Thursday. The researchers calculated a population decrease of about 148,500 during that 16-year period and…

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Science 

People are slaughtering orangutans and wiping them out

Many Bornean orangutans are the victims of deliberate killingTim Laman / National Geographic / Getty By Andy Coghlan Borneo’s orangutan population has halved in just 16 years. Worse, it was not a tragic by-product of the growth of farming, as many had believed. Instead, most of the lost orangutans were deliberately killed. “It’s not a good picture,” says study leader Serge Wich of Liverpool John Moores University in the UK. “We really need to acknowledge that killing of orangutans is a big issue.” His team studied Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus),…

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Top Stories World 

Jeep in hot water over ad with SUV romping in wild waters

RENO, Nev. — The head of one of the nation’s largest fish conservation groups says Fiat Chrysler’s Super Bowl ads “glorified” the destruction of aquatic habitat in an apparent attempt to appeal to off-road thrill-seekers. It’s the second time ads by the automaker have drawn complaints since the Feb. 4 game. Trout Unlimited President and CEO Chris Wood said Wednesday that one ad gave the impression a Jeep Cherokee was splashing down the middle of a wild streambed. [embedded content] Fiat Chrysler is defending the ads but says there are…

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Science 

Deadly PLAGUE which TERRIFIED Romans and killed millions could RETURN to UK

The “plague” is a fungus called Berberis vulgaris which infects harvests of wheat and caused Romans to sacrifice their canines to appease the god of rust, which they thought was behind the infection. Wheat stem rust caused crop failures for thousands of years until farmers noticed a link between the outbreaks and barberry shrubs, which were planted as hedges and harvested for their berries – leading to campaigns in Europe and North America to remove the bushes. The last official outbreak of the plague was in the UK was 1955…

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Science 

'Mystery' ecosystem under huge Antarctic iceberg set for exploration

The Larsen Ice Shelf. Pic: British Antarctic Survey More Scientists are travelling to Antarctica to investigate a mysterious marine ecosystem hidden under an iceberg four times the size of London. The team, led by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), leave the Falklands on 21 February to collect samples from a newly exposed seabed beneath an iceberg dubbed A68, which calved off from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in July. It is considered an urgent mission, with the 5,818 sq km ecosystem susceptible to change as it becomes exposed to sunlight for…

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