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Threatened and endangered species among the animals hard hit by Australia’s bushfires

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Australia’s bushfires have burned more than half the known habitat of 100 threatened plants and animals, including 32 critically endangered species, the government said Monday.

Wildlife experts worry that more than a billion animals have perished in the unprecedented wave of bushfires that have ravaged eastern and southern Australia for months.

Twenty-eight people died in the blazes, which have swept through an area larger than Portugal.

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Officials say it will take weeks to assess the exact toll as many fire grounds remain too dangerous to inspect.

But the government’s Department of the Environment and Energy on Monday issued a preliminary list of threatened species of plants, animals and insects which have seen more than 10 percent of their known habitat affected.

More than 80 percent of the known or likely habitats of 49 species has fallen within fire zones, while another 65 species have seen 50-80 percent of their distribution areas affected.

Sally Box, the department’s Threatened Species Commissioner, said the survey results were just a first step in understanding the potential impact of the bushfires on Australia’s wildlife.

“Some species are more vulnerable to fire than others and some areas were more severely burnt than others, so further analysis will be needed before we can fully assess the impact of the fires on the ground,” she said.

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The threatened by the fires included 272 plant, 16 mammal, 14 frog, nine bird, seven reptile, four insect, four fish and one spider species, the department said.

Of the 32 critically endangered species impacted by the fires, most were plants though they also included frogs, turtles and three types of bird.

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Coronavirus epidemic surges in South Korea as cases exceed 3,000

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South Korea confirmed 813 more coronavirus cases on Saturday, the biggest increase to date for the country, taking the national total to 3,150 infections with four additional deaths.

Authorities also reported the country’s first case of reinfection – a 73-year-old woman who tested positive for a second time after her recovery and release from hospital last week.

The illness recurred “as her immune system had declined”, said Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) official Kwon Jun-wook.

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2020 Election

Donald Trump has launched a 2020 campaign disinformation juggernaut — and it’s gaining speed

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You may be forgiven if you are under the impression that the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak is just one more example of his incompetence, aggressive ignorance, contempt for science and outright abuse of government. But it's worse than that. For the White House, and especially for Donald Trump's re-election campaign, it's an opportunity to put into play the massive disinformation apparatus they have built for the 2020 presidential race.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Never Trumpers fear for their safety if they dare attend CPAC: report

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On Saturday, Politico profiled a handful of longtime conservatives who have criticized President Donald Trump — and the general consensus was that they feared hostility at this year's annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

One such figure was former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), a Tea Party darling who has since attacked Trump for undermining the rule of law, and briefly mounted a presidential primary challenge. He attended CPAC as a guest of comedian Trevor Noah, and attendees who saw him seemed conflicted. "Torn between catching up with an old colleague and being singled out by observers as talking to a Trump foe, they split the difference — and instead kept asking him how his wife was doing," wrote Tina Nguyen.

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