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Conservationists cheer after Navy agrees to limit use of sonar and explosives near marine mammals

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In a court settlement described as “historic” by conservation groups, the US Navy has agreed to limit its use of sonar equipment and explosives that harm whales, dolphins and other marine mammals.

The settlement, approved on Monday by a federal judge in Hawaii, concerns navy activity off the coast of southern California and Hawaii.

Environmental groups that had filed two lawsuits against the Navy for years have been arguing that training and testing in the two regions and beyond are harmful to sea creatures and their habitats.

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David Henkin, an attorney with Earthjustice, one of the firms involved in the lawsuits, said the settlement was “historic” in that it showed the Navy could play war games while at the same time respecting marine life.

“For years, the Navy has said it is impossible for them to keep out of biologically important areas for marine mammals,” Henkin told AFP. “They have now acknowledged that they can.”

Zak Smith, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which was also involved in the lawsuits, said Monday’s settlement was a “huge victory” in that it means the Navy will finally be complying with the law.

“The Navy had for years done a very good job of advancing our understanding of the impact their activities were having on whales and dolphins,” Smith said. “But they chose to do the minimum.”

Both Henkin and Smith said the settlement will allow the Navy to continue with its training exercises while reducing the hazard to marine life.

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Environmentalists had argued that Navy-funded studies had shown the damage wreaked on marine life by training activities, including the use of sonar and explosives that can damage the hearing of whales and dolphins.

“If a whale or dolphin can’t hear, it can’t survive,” Henkin said.

“By agreeing to this settlement, the Navy acknowledges that it doesn’t need to train in every square inch of the ocean and that it can take reasonable steps to reduce the deadly toll of its activities.”

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Internet slams ‘disgusting’ Donald Trump Jr. after he skates for killing endangered Mongolian sheep

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According to new reports, Donald Trump Jr. illegally shot and killed an endangered argali sheep on a taxpayer-funded hunting trip in Western Mongolia in August — and the Mongolian government retroactively gave him a permit rather than tread on the toes of the U.S. government.

The report was met with outrage on social media, with commenters blasting Trump Jr.'s bloodthirst for endangered animals and the wealth and privilege that allowed him to kill them with no accountability. Some even compared it to the right-wing outrage about Hunter Biden being given a free position on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

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Roman Polanski blames Harvey Weinstein for rape accusation and says media ‘making me a monster’

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Film director Roman Polanski has spoken out for the first time since another woman accused him of rape, declaring that the media are "trying to make me into a monster".

And in an extraordinary twist he blamed Harvey Weinstein for his woes, in an interview with Paris Match magazine published Wednesday.

He claimed the disgraced Hollywood mogul tried to brand him a "child rapist" to stop him winning an Oscar in 2003 for "The Pianist".

Polanski -- a fugitive from US justice since 1978 after he admitted the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl -- also dismissed the latest rape allegations against him as "absurd".

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‘This is a lie’: Lisa Page pummels Trump for telling blatant falsehoods about her at crazed rally

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Former FBI attorney Lisa Page on Wednesday called out President Donald Trump for once again lying about her at one of his political rallies.

On Tuesday night, Trump told supporters in Pennsylvania that Page supposedly had to file a restraining order against former FBI agent Peter Strzok, with whom she'd had a relationship during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump hedged his claim by telling his supporters, "That's what I heard, I don't know if it's true."

Page, however, took to Twitter to shred the president for repeating a blatant falsehood.

"This is a lie," she wrote. "Nothing like this ever happened. I wish we had a president who knew how to act like one."

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