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Mite helps virus destroy bee colonies: study

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Parasitic mites linked to the deaths of millions of bee colonies worldwide may have destroyed them by incubating a potent virus and spreading it through the hives, according to a new report.

The findings, published Thursday in the journal Science, could help explain the mysterious collapse of bee colonies in recent years, a threat to plant life and agriculture, which depend on the honey-making insects for pollination.

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The research was carried out in Hawaii, where the Varroa mite arrived five years ago but has not yet spread to all the islands, allowing the scientists to investigate its impact on the spread of Deformed Wing Virus (DWV).

The team, led by Stephen Martin of the University of Sheffield, England, found that the “spread of Varroa has selected DWV variants that… allow it to become one of the most widely distributed and contagious insect viruses on the planet.”

The mites act as a “viral reservoir and incubator,” and inject the virus directly into the bees when they feed on their blood, “bypassing conventional, established oral and sexual routes of transmission.”

The sudden disappearance of bee colonies, known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), has not yet been seen in Hawaii, “but all of the associated pests and pathogens are present,” the researchers said.

One theory that has been advanced by some experts is that the huge numbers of bees dying worldwide since 2006 is not due to any single factor.

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Parasites, viral and bacterial infections, pesticides, and poor nutrition resulting from the impact of human activities on the environment have all played a role in the decline.

The mysterious decimation of bee populations in the United States, Europe, Japan and elsewhere in recent years has threatened agricultural production worth tens of billions of dollars.

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Rosh Hashanah services interrupted by death of the first Jewish woman on the Supreme Court

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The death of the first Jewish woman on the U.S. Supreme Court interrupted Rosh Hashanah services on Friday evening.

"On Friday, Jewish people around the country celebrating Rosh Hashanah were stunned to learn that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a prominent member of their own tribe, had died," the HuffPost reported. "People received alerts, Zoom messages and announcements from their rabbis about Ginsburg Friday night."

While many people were saddened by the passing of the iconic jurist, Twitter user Leora Horwitz noted a silver lining.

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2020 Election

‘Big mistake’: Trump’s favorite pollster tells Fox News why Republicans shouldn’t push nomination before the election

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Fox News on Friday examined why it would be a "big mistake" for Republicans to attempt to force through a nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

Following Ginsburg's death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed that Trump's nominee would receive a vote, but did not specify whether it would occur before the election or during the "lame duck" session of Congress that occurs before the 2020 election victors are sworn in.

But conservative pollster Scott Rasmussen warned Republicans it would be a bad idea during an appearance with Fox News personality Laura Ingraham.

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LISTEN: Mourners sing ‘Amazing Grace’ outside the Supreme Court to celebrate Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Heartwarming videos were shared on social media on Friday night showing the spontaneous gathering at the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The large crowd, with many people wearing masks, sang the hymn "Amazing Grace."

Here are some of the videos of the scene:

A moving moments as dozens join in to sing “Amazing Grace” on the steps of the Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/NGZyZi4YR4

— Mike Balsamo (@MikeBalsamo1) September 19, 2020

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