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Climate change could wipe out California’s Joshua trees by end of century

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Joshua trees, an iconic species of the arid southwestern United States, may totally disappear by the end of the century because of climate change, according to a new study.

A team from the University of California at Riverside used data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to assess the impact of warming on the distribution of Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) in their namesake Joshua Tree National Park.

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The park, which straddles the Colorado and Mojave deserts in southern California, is home to the greatest concentration of the species, which are in fact not trees at all but members of the agave family which can sometimes appear tree-like.

According to the team’s modeling, in an optimistic scenario whereby humanity is able to limit greenhouse emissions to a degree, the trees’ cover would retreat by about 80 percent by end of the 21st century.

But under a “business as usual” scenario, the modeling indicates the complete elimination of a species that dates to the Pleistocene era.

Lynn Sweet, the study’s lead author told the Los Angeles Times that under their pessimistic scenario, the park could see average hot temperatures in summer rise by about five to nine degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 to 5 degrees Celsius) and three to seven inches (7.5 to 18 centimeters) less rainfall.

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“If Joshua trees could survive those conditions, they would already be in them,” said Sweet.

The Joshua tree, also the name of a seminal U2 album, is said to have been named by a group of Mormon travelers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the 19th century.

They gave it its name because it reminded them of the Biblical figure Joshua raising his hands skyward in prayer.

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Rudy Giuliani admits ‘Fraud Guarantee’ paid him $500,000 to work for indicted associate

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Rudy Giuliani admitted being paid a half a million dollars by an associate currently being held in federal custody, Reuters reported Monday.

"President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was paid $500,000 for work he did for a company co-founded by the Ukrainian-American businessman arrested last week on campaign finance charges, Giuliani told Reuters on Monday. The businessman, Lev Parnas, is a close associate of Giuliani and was involved in his effort to investigate Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, who is a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination," Reuters reported.

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John Bolton ripped Rudy Giuliani as a drug dealer and ‘hand grenade’: report

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Then-National Security Advisor John Bolton was reportedly shocked by the shadow foreign policy being conducted by Rudy Giuliani, a top former National Security Council official testified to Congress on Monday, The New York Times reports.

"The effort to pressure Ukraine for political help provoked a heated confrontation inside the White House last summer that so alarmed John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, that he told an aide to alert White House lawyers, House investigators were told on Monday," the newspaper reported. "Mr. Bolton got into a sharp exchange on July 10 with Gordon D. Sondland, the Trump donor turned ambassador to the European Union, who was working with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, to press Ukraine to investigate Democrats, according to testimony provided to the investigators."

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‘Vladimir Putin has something on Donald Trump’: Ambassador Sherman says the Kremlin must have kompromat

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Former Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman concluded on Monday that Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin must have "something" on President Donald Trump.

"The latest reporting from The New York Times indicates that the thousands of troops that we have there, that the president moved, are now trapped. They don’t have an actual way out since Turkey has cut off the roads and the exit routes that they might use and so now there is the question of will there be an airlift? How will we get the U.S. troops out?" MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell asked.

"We haven’t had to get troops out like this since the fall of Saigon," Sherman replied. "This is going to be very, very difficult."

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