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Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Burned trees and billions in cash: How a California climate program lets companies keep polluting

Current News / News & Features /

As fire ripped through the Mendocino County hills the summer of 2018, burning a vast expanse of forest and turning buildings to ash, a curious thing was happening at Eddie Ranch, a sprawling property scorched by the flames.

Its owners were petitioning the state to allow it to be paid millions to preserve trees destroyed by the inferno.

Eddie ...Read more


Tracking fake science journals that don't play by the rules

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AUSTIN, Texas — Like the Texas Rangers of yore rounding up gangs of cattle rustlers and gunslingers, another Texas outfit led by Kathleen Berryman is after a different kind of outlaw: fraudsters in the wild, wild west of internet email scams.

But the scammers Berryman tracks down run a sophisticated scheme targeting the one group of people ...Read more

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/AFP/TNS

COVID hits wildfire fighters even harder than last year

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As wildfires rage across Western states, flattening rural towns and forcing thousands of people to evacuate, coronavirus cases and pandemic-related supply chain problems have made it harder to deploy firefighting resources to where they’re needed, fire officials say.

More firefighters appear to be falling ill with COVID-19 and quarantining ...Read more

Jennings Graeme/Pool/TNS

Why Trump's anti-spy 'China Initiative' is unraveling

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WASHINGTON — After conducting days of surveillance, performing DNA tests on a hard drive that was fished out of a dumpster, and searching through personal emails, FBI officials became convinced that visiting UCLA researcher Guan Lei belonged to the Chinese military and might be stealing American industrial secrets.

They couldn’t nail down ...Read more


Detroit remains far behind in reaching vaccination goal. One problem? Young people.

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DETROIT — On a recent muggy Sunday evening, four Detroiters decided it was time to hang out again downtown.

Khadeeja Abdulrafee, Aminah Doukoure, Santonio Williams and Steven Pharker, who had been friends for years, believed it would be a great day to party in the streets because everyone was off work the next day, Labor Day. While they ...Read more

Silas Walker/TNS

More than 10% of Kentucky's COVID deaths since June were under age 50, a fivefold increase

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Younger Kentuckians are dying more frequently from COVID-19 as the state's supply of intensive care unit beds dipped below 100 for only the third time since the coronavirus pandemic began, Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday.

The percentage of Kentuckians dying from COVID-19 who are 30 to 49 years old has increased fivefold since...Read more

Minneapolis Star Tribune/Star Tribune/TNS

Minneapolis police to get training on how to intervene with fellow cops who are using excessive force

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MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis police are launching a departmentwide training program designed to show officers how to intervene when one of their own is using excessive force, more than one year after George Floyd was murdered by an officer in the presence of three other cops.

The program, adopted by about 180 police departments across the United...Read more

News briefs

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asks judge to block lawsuit over redistricting

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by two Democratic state senators against Gov. Greg Abbott over his plan to redraw political districts during an upcoming special session of the Legislature.

In...Read more

Hampton County Sheriff's Office/TNS

SC judge grants attorney Alex Murdaugh bond in case stemming from failed suicide plot

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Hampton County judge set a $20,000 bond for Alex Murdaugh late Thursday afternoon for his part in a plot to stage his own murder so his older son, Buster, could receive a $10 million insurance payout.

Murdaugh, who appeared in court in a jail jumpsuit and shackled at his wrists and ankles, faces charges of insurance fraud, ...Read more


Texas judge rejects US bid for earlier hearing on abortion law

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A federal judge in Texas denied a U.S. Justice Department request to move up a hearing on whether the state’s restrictive new abortion law should be put on hold while the government challenges the ban in a lawsuit.

The Biden administration had argued that an Oct. 1 hearing on its motion for a temporary restraining order against the law should...Read more

Li Xueren/Xinhua/Xinhua via ZUMA Press/TNS

China formally applies to join Asian trade deal Trump abandoned

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Beijing has applied to join an Asia-Pacific trade pact once pushed by the U.S. as a way to isolate China and solidify American dominance in the region.

China submitted the formal application letter to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership to New Zealand, according to a statement late Thursday in Beijing....Read more

Steven M. Falk/TNS

Philly Zoo begins vaccinating animals for COVID-19

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PHILADELPHIA — A female ring-tailed lemur named Charlie this week became the first animal to receive a special COVID-19 vaccination at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Charlie was part of a group of 10 animals, including four other ring-tailed lemurs, four western lowland gorillas, and a Sumatran orangutan, to get their shots.

In the coming weeks, 113 ...Read more

Indra Beaufort/Digital/TNS

China and France attack US-Australia deal on nuclear-powered submarines

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WASHINGTON — The Biden administration Thursday was fielding acute anger from a rival, China, and one of its closest allies, France, over a pact that will help Australia develop nuclear-powered submarines.

The nuclear deal, which also includes the United Kingdom, was announced by President Joe Biden on Wednesday and immediately threatened to ...Read more

National Hurricane Center/TNS

2 Atlantic disturbances could be tropical depressions soon; there's another wave, too

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MIAMI — Forecasters are monitoring three disturbances Thursday and two have a high chance of turning into tropical depressions soon as they move across the Atlantic.

None of the systems is currently a threat to Florida.

The disturbance closest to the United States is several hundred miles to the south-southeast of the outer Banks of North ...Read more

Alejandro Tamayo/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Judge shields migrant families from border expulsion policy

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A D.C. federal judge on Thursday ordered the Biden administration to stop turning away migrant families seeking asylum at the border under a public health directive.

However, he froze the effect of his ruling for two weeks to give the administration time to appeal.

In a 58-page ruling, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the...Read more

Detroit Free Press/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Feds: Doctor in female genital mutilation case part of secret network who cut girls

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DETROIT — Northville Dr. Jumana Nagarwala may be the only physician on trial on charges of performing female genital mutilation on minor girls in the U.S., but she wasn't the only doctor who was cutting children, federal prosecutors disclosed Thursday.

Rather, they said, Nagarwala was part of a secret network of physicians in a tight-knit ...Read more

Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS

Bipartisan bill offers green card path for 'documented Dreamers'

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WASHINGTON — Sens. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., proposed legislation this week that would put so-called documented "Dreamers," or foreign citizens who grew up legally in the U.S. on a parent’s work visa but then aged out, on a path to permanent residency.

A rare bipartisan effort on immigration, the bill would allow more ...Read more

Hector Vivas/Getty Images South America/TNS

Cuban leader's Mexico trip highlights challenges for Biden foreign policy in the region

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Cuban leader Miguel Díaz-Canel’s presence as guest of honor in Mexico’s independence day celebrations Thursday showcases the challenges the U.S. faces in gaining regional support for its policy toward Cuba.

Sitting next to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Díaz-Canel participated in a military parade marking the date ...Read more

North Port Police Department/TNS

'Where is Gabby?' What we know about the Florida woman who went missing on a road trip

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MIAMI — The nationwide search continues for Gabrielle Petito — a 22-year-old who went missing during a cross country road trip with her fiancé.

“What I need from everyone here is help,” Petito’s father said during a news conference Thursday afternoon. “The goal is to bring Gabby home safely. I’m asking for help from everyone here...Read more

Susan Stocker/TNS

DeSantis says Biden administration is hurting Florida by controlling distribution of COVID treatments

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis lambasted the federal government’s decision to control the distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19, replacing the system under which a small number of states — including Florida — were gobbling up large shares of the supply.

DeSantis criticized the U.S. Department of Health ...Read more