Every year, a massive “dead zone” blooms in the Gulf of Mexico. Inside its amorphous boundaries almost all life is extinguished.
The Department of Justice Secretly Spied on the Associated Press
In what is being called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into a news organization, the Department of Justice has admitted that it seized two months’ worth of phone records from the Associated Press. The president of the AP has now sent a letter protesting the unjustifiable violation, which follows the DoJ’s admission of the probe last Friday.
“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations, and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know,” AP President Gary Pruitt said.
According to the AP’s own reporting, the records included incoming and outgoing calls, and call durations, for AP office phones, the phone for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press pool, and, perhaps most distressingly, the work and private numbers of individual reporters.
Read Motherboard’s story on the fallout from the first real-world bitcoin purchase
In China, Tigers Are Farmed Like Chickens
Tigers are some of the biggest victims of the wildlife trade, with the rare cats’ bones coveted for traditional medicine and their coats prized as rugs. In Vietnam, tiger parts are so valuable that they make better bribes than cash. And in China, tiger parts are in such high demand that they are being farmed like chickens.
According to a new report from the Environmental Investigation Agency, China’s tiger farms are huge, with thousands of captive tigers being bred for slaughter. That’s possible because China has essentially legalized the tiger trade, which is troubling considering that China is a signatory of the CITES treaty, which bans international trade of tiger parts (along with parts of other animals, like rhinos and elephants) and calls for domestic trade prohibitions.
But far more troubling is the EIA’s conclusion that China’s tiger farms are actually stimulating demand for wild tigers. The report states that there are somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 captive tigers in China, a population that boomed from just a few dozen in the 80s thanks to favorable legal policies as well as funding from China’s State Forestry Administration. (As the Times noted in 2010, China’s largest tiger farm is run by the SFA.) Meanwhile, China’s wild tiger population has plummeted to just a few dozen individuals, down from a high of around 4,000 in the late 1940s.