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Washington state begins killing wolf pack for preying on livestock

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Wildlife agents authorized to eradicate a group of 11 wolves for repeated attacks on cattle in Washington state have hunted down and killed six animals from the condemned pack and are searching for the rest, a state game official said on Monday.

State biologists fatally shot two members of the so-called Profanity Peak wolf pack from a helicopter on Aug. 5 after confirming five fatal wolf attacks on livestock in that area. Further lethal-control efforts were later called off.

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But eradication orders were renewed, and expanded to the entire pack, on Aug. 19 when the state Fish and Wildlife Department determined the same group of wolves was behind additional attacks that left two calves dead and a third injured.

Aerial kill teams have since destroyed four more wolves, including a pup, and wildlife agents are looking for the remaining five members of the targeted pack, said Craig Bartlett, a spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Department.

“We’ve never taken out an entire pack before,” Bartlett said, adding officials could still decide at some point to suspend the hunt and spare some of the remaining wolves if livestock attacks appear to have been halted.

In the meantime, he said, the number of cattle killed or injured by wolves in the area had grown to 12.

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The Profanity Peak wolves make up one of 19 wolf packs known to inhabit Washington, 15 of them in the eastern third of the state where federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves were lifted in 2011.

Wolves are still listed as endangered under state law, which allows officials to remove wolves found to be repeatedly preying on livestock. But the population has grown steadily since 2008, when the first pack documented in Washington in many decades was confirmed, and they now number about 90 animals statewide, Bartlett said.

The current effort targeting the Profanity Peak pack marks the third time state officials have used lethal means against wolves. The two previous efforts, in 2012 and 2014, resulted in the deaths of 10 wolves, but some members of those packs ended up being spared, Bartlett said.

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(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney)


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Trump announces toughest sanctions ‘ever’ on Iran

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President Donald Trump on Friday announced new sanctions on Iran's central bank, calling the measures the toughest ever imposed on another country by the United States.

"We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

"These are the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country," he said.

The Trump administration has vowed a response after US officials blamed Iran for weekend blasts on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which caused a sharp hike in global crude prices.

The United States already maintains sweeping sanctions on Iran including on its central bank, with anyone who deals with it subject to prosecution.

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President Donald Trump on Friday uncorked a strange and nonsensical rant about the virtues of so-called "clean coal" during an Oval Office conversation with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

When asked about the importance of Australia's mineral industry, the president praised the country for doing so much to extract resources in what he described in an environmentally friendly way.

"Coal, as an example, you're the leader of safety in coal digging and we've actually studied it," the president said. "We're doing a lot of coal. You have very little -- you have almost no -- used to have a thing, black lung disease, and in Australia you almost don't have it anymore, you've got all of the dust down."

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The View explodes in confusion after Meghan McCain makes Trump’s Ukraine debacle all about herself

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Meghan McCain managed to place herself at the center of a debate about a whistleblower complaint filed against President Donald Trump.

"The View" grappled with reports that Trump dangled U.S. military aid to Ukraine in exchange for damaging information against Joe Biden, and co-host Abby Huntsman agreed that was an impeachable offense -- but expressed doubts about the accuracy.

"This is a blown-up story and we have no facts, there's no gray area," Huntsman said. "It's black and white, and that would give Trump all the more ammunition if this isn't even true to say, this is what the media does."

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