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Peru says 5,000 birds and nearly 900 dolphins dead, could be due to climate change

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The Peruvian government said Wednesday that 5,000 birds, mostly pelicans, and nearly 900 dolphins have died off the country’s northern coast, possibly due to rising temperatures in Pacific waters.

The country’s northern beaches were earlier this week declared off-limits as scientists scrambled to pin down what was causing such a massive toll, with non-government organizations blaming oil exploration work.

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But Peru’s deputy environment minister Gabriel Quijandria, disputed this and said warming waters, which disturbs species’ food supplies, was a possible cause.

He said that although tests conducted on 877 dolphins found dead on the coast had not been completed, contamination from heavy metals or the presence of bacterial infections was not responsible.

It is probable that the phenomenon “will extend to other coastal areas,” Quijandria said, noting that there could be a resulting increase in the numbers of birds and other sea life killed.

The South American nation’s health ministry declared an alert at the weekend, urging the public to stay away from the beaches around Lima and on the northern coast until the cause of death of marine life is known.

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One non-government conservation organization, known as ORCA, has blamed the dolphin deaths on oil exploration activities in the area, which it claims produces noises which are having an acoustic impact on the mammals.

A representative from the group, Carlos Yaipen, said Wednesday it had tested 30 dead specimens and found broken ears and damaged organs consistent with the victims suffering “the bends,” also known as decompression sickness.

Weather expert Abraham Levy told AFP on Tuesday that the warming of the Pacific waters due to El Nino could be to blame.

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‘Hard to overstate’ how badly Taylor’s testimony damaged Trump: Ex-federal prosecutor

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On Wednesday, former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti wrote for Politico Magazine that the testimony of Ukraine envoy William Taylor was devastating for President Donald Trump — and that if he keeps trying to deny wrongdoing, it will only get worse and maybe even force Senate Republicans' hand against him.

"It’s hard to overstate how much damage the testimony of Ukraine envoy William Taylor inflicted on President Donald Trump’s defense in the ongoing impeachment inquiry," wrote Mariotti. "On its face, Taylor’s testimony Tuesday established the quid pro quo that Trump has denied for weeks. But more importantly, Taylor’s detailed notes of the 'highly irregular' policy-making that he witnessed over the summer provide a roadmap to future testimony that could be even more harmful. Republicans have already begun to retreat from their 'no quid pro quo' line, but they will have to keep retreating because Taylor has almost single-handedly decimated the few witnesses who have provided some testimony that is favorable to Trump."

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‘How much did you get for your soul?’ Internet dogpiles Lindsey Graham after he walks back criticism of SCIF raid

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On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared to have reached the limit of his capacity to defend his own party when a gang of House Republicans raided a sensitive, compartmented information facility where an impeachment hearing was taking place and illegally bringing in recording equipment. Initially Graham criticized the Republicans behind the stunt, calling it "nuts."

Later, however, he changed his mind and decided the demonstration was fine with him, offering this explanation:

CORRECTION:

I was initially told House GOP took the SCIF by force – basically like a GOP version of Occupy Wall Street.

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‘We lost New Mexico to Mexico’: Internet breaks into hysterics over Trump wanting to build border wall on Colorado

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The president of the United States indicated he accidentally forgot where the state of Colorado was during his speech to an energy conference of fracking companies Wednesday.

Trump told the audience he was building a "wall" in Colorado, which is the state just north of New Mexico. If Trump was referring to his U.S.-Mexico border wall, it's the southern New Mexico border on which he intends to build the wall.

It prompted many to wonder if the president whipped out his fact-changing Sharpie yet again.

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