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Government plans to euthanize hundreds of desert tortoises after budget cuts to refuge

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A combination of federal budget austerity and the dramatic decline of the Nevada housing market may claim some unlikely victims: desert tortoises.

The Desert Tortoise Conservation Center — a 23-year-old federal refuge in Las Vegas for the threatened species — has collected only $290,000 from its primary funding source of local developer fees over the last 11 months, the AP reports. The center can’t count on the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or Nevada Department of Wildlife to make up the shortfall on the center’s $1 million annual operating budget because of federal and state budget constraints.

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The result? Center administrators are planning to close the 220-acre facility in 2014 and euthanize about half of the 1400 tortoises under their protection, the AP reports. No more than 100,000 of the desert tortoises are believed to exist in the wild. Most of the tortoises there are former pets returned to their habitat once the government classified the species as threatened — one step short of endangered. And most are too feeble to be returned to the wild, the AP reports.

[Image courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.]


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Here’s why Rudy Giuliani can not legitimately claim to be Donald Trump’s lawyer

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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani bills himself as President Donald Trump's attorney. But one former prosecutor explained why that is not an accurate description during a Monday appearance on MSNBC.

"Meet the Press Daily" anchor Katy Tur interviewed former Southern District of New York Assistant U.S. Attorney Mimi Rocah, who is a distinguished fellow in criminal justice at Pace Law School.

"So this news that the SDNY is looking into what Rudy Giuliani was doing overseas in Ukraine, explain what they’re doing. Also, very weird since Giuliani used to run the office," Tur noted.

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Rudy Giuliani’s bank records part of investigation by federal prosecutors: report

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On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani is having his banking records scrutinized as part of the federal criminal investigation into his dealings in the Ukraine.

The report says that prosecutors are also looking into his work for a city mayor in the country.

Giuliani has been a central figure in Trump's apparent scheme to extort the Ukrainian president into helping him dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, holding military aid appropriated by Congress hostage until the country investigates "corruption."

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Police officer sues Ava Duvernay for depiction of interrogation technique used on the Central Park Five

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On Monday, TMZ reported that former police officer John Reid is suing director Ava Duvernay over her depiction of the "Reid Technique" used against the young, Black suspects known as the Central Park Five in the Netflix film "When They See Us."

Reid is claiming defamation, insisting that the film's depiction of his methods are wrong.

"You squeezed statements out of them after 42 hours of questioning and coercing, without food, bathroom breaks, withholding parental supervision," said a prosecution staffer to a detective in the movie. "The Reid Technique has been universally rejected. That's truth to you."

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