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Massive coral reef larger than Delaware found at the mouth of the Amazon River

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A group of scientists has discovered a massive coral reef where it was believed that no reef could exist — the mouth of the Amazon River.

According to the L.A. Times, the reef covers 3,700 square miles and supports a “vibrant ecosystem” of plants, fish and other organisms that depend on the reef structure for lie.

University of Georgia oceanographer Patricia Yager told the Times that when the idea was first suggested to her by researcher Rodrigo Moura of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, she thought it was impossible. Coral reefs need abundant sunlight to survive and river mouths typically carry loads of sun-blocking sediment into the sea.

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“I kind of looked at him like he was crazy, thinking, ‘You know how muddy it is there — how could there possibly be a reef there?’” Yager said.

And yet, when she accompanied Moura to the site of the reef and the ship’s crew dredged the sea floor, they brought up a dazzlingly diverse array of reef life.

“Unbelievably, he brought up onboard the deck just the most amazing things I’d ever seen…beautiful, colorful reef animals that I had no idea were down there,” she recounted.

Coral are tiny animals related to jellyfish and sea anemones that harvest calcium and carbonate from the seawater around them to build rock-hard structures that can stretch for thousands of miles. Coral reefs are home to a wide array of plants and animals and play a vital role in the oceans’ biodiversity. However, the organisms are sensitive to changes in water acidity and temperature. Climate change and human activity are killing off reefs at alarming rates around the world.

Fabiano Thompson, an oceanographer at the Federal University in Rio, told Smithsonian magazine, “This is something totally new and different from what is present in any other part of the globe.”

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“But until now,” he said, “it’s been almost completely overlooked.”

The Washington Post noted that the reef’s discovery comes “at a time when reefs worldwide are under immense stress.”

“Last week, a task force in Australia reported that 93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef has suffered at least some bleaching,” wrote the Post’s Sarah Kaplan. “The warming of oceans because of climate change and El Niño have weakened the world’s coral for months, scientists say, causing damage from Hawaii to the Indian Ocean.”

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The newly discovered reef is under threat from local fishing and oil drilling, said Yager, although it is currently unclear how severe the threat is. Researchers are concerned that the reef will begin to die before they can fully explore it.

“Isn’t that always the case,” Yager told the Times, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone?”

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Fox News reporter and right-wing conspiracy theorists planned to wiretap family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich: report

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The Daily Beast on Monday evening broke a bombshell report on a secret 2017 meeting in Texas on a right-wing conspiracy theory where espionage was discussed.

"One of their topics was responding to online critics of wealthy Texas businessman Ed Butowsky, who had recently been outed as a driving force behind a retracted Fox News story about murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich," The Beast reported. "The group that gathered at Butowsky’s home included a conspiracy theorist, a Fox reporter fighting for her career, a former private intelligence contractor married to star journalist Lara Logan, and a Democratic PR operative who lost his business in the face of sexual assault allegations."

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Maddow breaks down potential ‘direct financial connection’ between the Russian government and Donald Trump

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow read bombshell excerpts from a new book set for release on Tuesday.

The host interviewed David Enrich, finance editor at The New York Times, about his forthcoming book Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction.

The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" read excerpts from the book.

"There was no doubt that Deutsche Bank had extensive business dealings with Russia, and those dealings included acting as a conduit for dirty money to get out of Russia and into the western financial system," Enrich wrote.

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Trump said he ‘loved’ the fact that America is more divided than ever: ex-GOP congressman

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President Donald Trump bragged about increasing divisions in America during a White House meeting, a former Republican congressman explained on MSNBC on Monday.

Former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) told host Joy Reid that "Donald Trump has intentionally tried to create the anxiety" that Americans are explaining.

"Garry Kasparov, the Russian freedom activist, has said the point of disinformation isn't to manipulate the truth, it's to exhaust your critical thinking," Jolly explained. "To exhaust your critical thinking, that's what we're experiencing as voters."

"I had a colleague that was in a meeting in the Roosevelt Room and he said he heard Trump say, 'Have you ever seen the nation so divided?' My colleagues and others said, 'No, we haven't.' Trump said, 'I love it that way.' This is the currency that he's peddling as political strategy, but it's not one we have to accept," Jolly explained.

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