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Lion among 23,000 species threatened with extinction: conservationists

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The mighty lion, reclusive cave crabs and the world’s rarest sea lion are among nearly 23,000 species at risk of dying out, a top conservation body warned on Tuesday.

In an update to its “Red List” of threatened species, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature hailed some clear advances in saving endangered species like the Iberian Lynx.

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But, it warned, those successes have been overshadowed by declines in a range of species, with 22,784 species of animals and plants threatened with extinction.

“Our natural world is becoming increasingly vulnerable,” warned IUCN chief Inger Andersen, urging increased efforts to save species teetering on the edge.

Pointing to successes in increasing the populations of the long critically endangered Iberian Lynx and Guadalupe Fur Seal, she insisted “effective conservation can yield outstanding results.”

Following six decades of decline, the population of the Iberian Lynx, considered the world’s most endangered feline, has seen its numbers swell from only 52 adult cats in 2002 to 156 a decade later, IUCN said.

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Intensive work to restore the rabbit populations the large spotted cats prey on, along with monitoring for illegal trapping and conservation breeding has allowed the species to move from the Red List’s “critically endangered” to the “endangered” category, it said.

Reintroduction programmes in Spain and Portugal and compensation paid to landowners who made their properties compatible with habitat requirements had also played a role, IUCN said.

The Guadalupe Fur Seal, which was twice thought to be extinct due to overhunting in the late 1800s and early 1900s has also seen its numbers increase, IUCN said.

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The silky sea mammal native to the west coast of California and off the Guadalupe islands of Mexico has now moved from the “near threatened” to the “least concern” category, largely thanks to the enforcement of laws like the USA Marine Mammal Protections Act, it said.

The species has seen its population balloon from 200-500 individuals in the 1950s to around 20,000 in 2010.

That, however, is still 10 times fewer than before humans started hunting the seal for its dense, luxurious underfur, IUCN said.

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– Trade in lion bones –

A range of other mammals have meanwhile fared far worse, due to hunting and the destruction of their natural habitats.

The lion remains listed as vulnerable at a global level, with its western African subpopulation listed as “critically endangered” due to over-hunting and dwindling prey.

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Rapid decline has also been recorded in eastern Africa, which historically has been a stronghold for lions, IUCN said, warning that trade in bones and other body parts for traditional medicine in Africa and in Asia was a new and emerging threat to the species.

The organisation also highlighted the decline in the extremely reclusive African Golden Cat, a cinnamon-coloured feline about twice the size of a house cat living in central Africa, which is now listed as “vulnerable”.

And it pointed to the New Zealand Sea Lion — one of the rarest sea lion species in the world — which now is listed as “endangered”, due mainly to disease and changes to its habitat caused by fishing.

IUCN also warned that two species of crab, Karstama balicum and Karstama emdi, found only in a single cave on the island of Bali, are now considered “critically endangered”, as they have been increasingly threatened by growing tourism and numerous religious ceremonies held in the cave.

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Brian Williams compares Corey Lewandowski’s opening statement to the North Korean news lady

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MSNBC host Brian Williams on Tuesday noted the similarities between former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and North Korean news anchor Ri Chun Hee.

"Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager who is now considering a Senate run in New Hampshire, testified before the House Judiciary Committee today," Williams reported. "It is likely his North Korean anchorwoman-quality opening remarks were meant were one viewer (Donald Trump)."

Ri, who has earned the nickname "Pink Lady," is known for her enthusiastic reading of government-approved news.

Watch the video below from MSNBC.

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‘Train-wreck of a witness’: Analysts nail ‘obstructive’ Corey Lewandowski for proving the Democrats’ case

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Political commentator Catherine Rampell disagreed with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni that the Democrats faltered during the hearing with Corey Lewandowski Tuesday. Former state and federal prosecutor Elie Honig called Lewandowski a "train-wreck of a witness."

She explained that Democrats had an extremely low bar: they had to prove Trump obstructed justice and that Corey Lewandowski gave one of the examples of such obstructions. In that sense, Rampell said they accomplished their goals.

"I don’t think this was a great day for Corey Lewandowski," she began. "This is a guy who went on TV and announced to the world -- apparently at the same time he is also trying to fundraise for Senate -- that he lies most of the time. Except when he's under oath."

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WATCH: Ana Navarro keeps shouting down Trump booster — even as CNN host cuts to commercial

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President Donald Trump cheered on his top Hispanic advisor Steve Cortes, who appeared before a New Mexico audience. Trump asked Cortes which he loved more, Hispanics or America, which prompted CNN's Ana Navarro to blast the president for racism. Meanwhile, Trump's latest CNN shill cried "political correctness."

"Look, I suspect he didn't want to offend Steve Cortes and I suspect Steve Cortes was not offended," Navarro said. "But really what a stupid thing to say. Right? To somehow ask the question about whether you love the country more than you love Hispanics -- they are one and the same."

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