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The Trump administration’s withdrawal of California gillnet protections for whales, turtles ruled illegal

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The Trump administration unlawfully withdrew a plan to limit the number of whales, turtles and other marine creatures permitted to be inadvertently killed or harmed by drift gillnets used to catch swordfish off California, a federal judge has ruled.

The decision requires U.S. fisheries managers to take steps to implement the plan, which calls for placing numerical limits on the “bycatch” of bottlenose dolphins, four whale species and four sea turtle species snared in swordfish gillnets.

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As currently written, the regulation in question also would mandate suspension of swordfish gillnet operations altogether off Southern California if any one of the bycatch limits were exceeded.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council endorsed the plan in 2015, and it was formally proposed for implementation by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service the following year.

But he sided with environmentalists in finding the agency’s reversal exceeded its authority and was “arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of its discretion.”

Klausner ordered federal fisheries managers to either re-issue the regulations as written or consult with the Pacific Fishery Management Council on any revisions.

Drift gillnets, consisting of mile-long (1.8 km-long) strands of nylon mesh draped 200 feet (60 meters) deep in the ocean from surface floats, pose a hazard to a wide assortment of marine mammals and turtles that can become entangled and drown.

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According to Oceana, the 20 vessels that make up the California drift gillnet fishery ended up discarding 61 percent of their catch from 2004 to 2017.

The Marine Fisheries Service said Friday it had not yet seen the judge’s ruling and was unable to comment.

Oceana attorney Mariel Combs told Reuters the legal finding marked a victory for marine wildlife.

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“The National Marine Fisheries Service’s decision to withdraw those important protections was irresponsible and illegal,” she said.

Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho; Editing by Steve Gorman and Michael Perry

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‘Breadth and scale’ of nationwide protests is ‘staggering’: NYU history professor

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Protests continued to grow in size in cities and towns from coast-to-coast -- and around the world.

"As a historian of social movements in the U.S., I am hard pressed to think of any time in the past when we have had two straight weeks of large-scale protests in hundreds of places, from suburbs to big cities," NYU history Prof. Tom Sugrue posted on Twitter.

"The breadth and scale of #Floyd protests is staggering," he continued.

"We have had some huge one-day demonstrations, e.g. March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963); antinuclear march in NYC (1982), and Women's March (2017). We have widespread, simultaneous protests, such as in the days following MLK, Jr.'s assassination (1968)," he explained. "But the two together--very unusual."

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Incel blew his hand off — and may have been planning for suicide bomber attack on ‘hot’ cheerleaders: report

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A young man in Virginia was photographed for his mugshot with extensive facial injuries.

"A 23-year-old Virginia man who appeared to be planning an incel bomb attack on "hot cheerleaders" accidentally blew off his hand with explosives, authorities say," BuzzFeed News reported Saturday. "Cole Carini was charged in federal court on Friday connection with the plot after he allegedly lied to FBI agents by saying his extensive injuries were the result of a lawnmower accident."

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Big turnout for protest in Texas town known as a ‘haven’ for the Ku Klux Klan

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Protesters gathered in Vidor, Texas on Saturday for a rally against racism and police violence.

https://twitter.com/JordanJamesTV/status/1269366486189080576

The East Texas town has long had a reputation for racism.

Vidor is a small city of about 11,000 people near the Texas Gulf Coast, not too far from the Louisiana border. Despite the fact that Beaumont, a much bigger city just 10 minutes away, is quite integrated, Vidor is not. There are very few blacks there; it's mostly white. That is in large part because of a history of racism in Vidor, a past that continues to haunt the present," Keith Oppenheim reported for CNN in 2006.

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