Vox Sentences: Endangering species

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The Trump administration rolls back protections for endangered species; an attempted attack on a mosque in Norway is thwarted.


Fewer protections for endangered species


Mark Conlin/VW PICS/UIG via Getty Image
  • The Trump administration is rolling back protections for endangered species in ways that will benefit oil, mining, and coal companies. [Gizmodo / Brian Kahn]
  • Under changes to the Endangered Species Act, it could be harder to designate threatened species — those that are at risk of becoming endangered — and allows economic factors to be considered during the process. Experts are worried that business interests will taint the process of identifying species at risk of extinction. [BBC]
  • California and Massachusetts have already announced their plans to sue the administration, along with several other environmental groups. [The Hill / Rebecca Beitsch]
  • The ESA is popular among the general public: About 83 percent of Americans, including a majority of conservatives, support the act, according to an Ohio State University poll. It’s also effective: It’s credited with restoring a number of species like bald eagles and humpback whales. [Vox / Brian Resnick]
  • It’s the mining and fossil fuel industry that doesn’t like the act. Not only does it bar them from developing certain lands, but the cost of complying with the rules can also be expensive — which is why they complain that ESA places undue burden on them. [NYT / Lisa Friedman]
  • These changes have dangerous implications because they may ultimately speed up extinction. The UN already reported earlier this year that 1 million species are threatened by human activity. [CNN / Gregory Wallace and Ellie Kaufman]
  • ”Life on Earth is in peril,” as Vox’s Brian Resnick writes, and the biodiversity crisis could potentially have permanent effects if swift action is not taken. [Vox / Brian Resnick]

A white nationalist targets a Norwegian mosque

  • A Norweigan white nationalist tried, and failed, to attack a mosque near Oslo Saturday after reportedly being inspired by the recent mass shooting in El Paso. [BBC]
  • He open fired in the mosque while heavily armed and wearing body armor, but his attack was foiled by two men who tackled him to the ground. One of the men is 65-year-old Mohammad Rafiq, a retired Pakistani Air Force officer. Several shots were fired but only one minor injury was sustained. [BuzzFeed News / Claudia Koerner]
  • Authorities are also looking into the death of the suspect’s 17-year-old stepsister, whose body was found in his house. [CNN / Ray Sanchez and Frode Stang]
  • In a post on an online forum, the attacker referenced being “chosen” by the Christchurch, New Zealand, shooter who killed 51 people. Officials are also linking him to posts that praised the El Paso shooter, who had targeted the Latinx community. [Guardian / Jason Burke]
  • The timing of the attack was also significant: Sunday marked the beginning of Eid al-Adha, an Islamic holiday that marks the height of the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Extra security has now been set up to protect Norway’s 200,000 Muslims. [Vox / Alex Ward]
  • Prime Minister Erna Solberg has vowed to combat hate speech, but that remains a questionable claim when her ruling coalition inlcudes the far-right Progress Party, which is anti-immigrant and anti-Islam. [NYT / Henrik Pryser Libell]
  • Experts say the latest attack in Norway points to a concerning fact: A growing number of extremists believe that a race war is imminent and they’re feeding off each other’s fears — which means there’s a chance similar acts of violence could follow. [Vox / Alex Ward]

Miscellaneous

  • Robert Ballard found the remains of the Titanic in 1985. He now thinks he has enough clues to find Amelia Earhart’s plane. [NYT / Julie Cohn]
  • Germany’s environment minister said she’s planning to officially ban plastic bags because not enough people have voluntarily reduced their use. The EU is already set to ban single-use plastic by 2021. [Reuters]
  • After the Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque shootings in March that killed 51 people, the government launched a gun buyback scheme. In the span of just about a month, more than 10,000 firearms have been collected. [Guardian / Eleanor Ainge Roy]
  • Coach, Givenchy, and Versace are apologizing to their Chinese customers, who have threatened to boycott the companies for recognizing Hong Kong as an independent country in their T-shirt designs, contradicting Beijing’s “One China” policy. [CNN / Oscar Holland and Serenitie Wang]
  • Olympic champion gymnast Simone Biles has once again made history by being the first person to accomplish a triple-double (two flips and three twists). Here’s a video of it in slow motion. [Twitter / NBC Olympics]

Verbatim

“[The Endangered Species Act’s] success — and its support among the American people — are undeniable. But this administration’s determination to dismantle bedrock environmental laws, turn a blind eye to science, and roll over for special interests apparently knows no bounds.” [Sen. Tom Udall’s (D-NM) critcism of the recent changes to the Endangered Species Act]


Watch this: How poaching is changing the face of African elephants

Today is World Elephant Day. African elephants have been hunted by humans for centuries. And now the animals’ faces are changing because of it. [YouTube / Gina Barton]


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