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California enacts ban on breeding of captive killer whales

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California will no longer allow the breeding of captive killer whales such as those used in SeaWorld’s famous “Shamu” shows under a measure signed on Tuesday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

The move comes months after the embattled entertainment company pledged to stop breeding orcas, or killer whales, in captivity, amid criticism by animal rights groups and negative publicity linked to the documentary film “Blackfish.”

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The company pledged last year to replace its signature Shamu killer whale shows in San Diego with modified presentations of the animals that focused on conservation.

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc, which operates marine parks in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio, has a total of 29 killer whales, including six on loan to a park in Spain. Five of them were captured in the wild, but it has not caught orcas at sea for almost 40 years.

The parks have been criticized for their treatment of the captive marine mammals, with some activists seeking an end to public exhibition of killer whales altogether.

The criticism intensified after three orcas died at SeaWorld San Antonio within a six-month span in 2015.

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SeaWorld has also said it will scrap plans for a $100 million project called “Blue World” to enlarge its 7-million-gallon orca habitat at SeaWorld San Diego.

A representative of SeaWorld could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.

After the California legislature passed the bill last month, the company said the measure tracked its March announcement that it would stop breeding orcas in California and end their participation in theatrical shows.

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“These presentations will reflect the natural world and will focus on the research, education, care and respect that align with our mission to advance the well-being and conservation of these beautiful creatures,” the company said.

Brown’s decision to sign the bill was welcomed by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which had long lobbied for a ban on breeding orcas in captivity, and opposed the SeaWorld shows.

“Future generations of orcas will not endure the deprivation, stress, and frustration of being trapped in a tiny concrete tank,” PETA vice president Tracy Reiman said in a statement.

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(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Bill Rigby)


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WATCH: CNN’s Don Lemon bursts out laughing over Trump’s new wall in Colorado

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CNN's Don Lemon typically deals with difficult and intense topics at the top of his weekly show. Wednesday night, however, after a serious opener about Syria and ISIS, Lemon broke into hysterics over President Donald Trump's flub saying he would build a border wall on Colorado's border.

"You know why we're going to win New Mexico? Because they want safety on our border. And they didn't have it," said Trump. "And we're building a wall on the border of New Mexico. And we're building a wall in Colorado. We're building a beautiful wall, a big one that really works — you can't get over, you can't get under. And we're building a wall in Texas. And we're not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the walls that we just mentioned. And Louisiana's incredible."

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Rachel Maddow explains how Mike Pence got thrown into the impeachment scandal by Trump’s lawyers

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MSNBC host Rachel Maddow noted that Vice President Mike Pence got thrown into the impeachment scandal by President Donald Trump's own lawyers.

In a bizarre comment in court a few weeks ago, has been revealed with the release of documents. Unfortunately for Pence, it happened again. Trump's lawyers debated with judges and opposing counsel whether Trump could, in fact, shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and be prosecuted. The president's lawyers argued that not only could they not prosecute him, but they also couldn't stop him either.

But it was a key part of their argument that indicated Pence wasn't all that important.

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Trump refusing to pay for New Mexico security and barricades — while trying to change the state from blue to red

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President Donald Trump thinks he will win New Mexico. He's repeated the factoid multiple times, including to a group of oil and gas workers and executives Wednesday at a conference in Pittsburgh, PA. But he also made two significant mistakes to put that support in jeopardy.

First, the president indicated he was building his "wall" on the border of Colorado, which is north of New Mexico. It would mean that New Mexico was now part of Mexico.

Second, it was reported by the Albuquerque Journal that their city is yet another one Trump's campaign is refusing to pay for security costs.

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