Before a bunch of anti-government ranchers took it over, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was known for its birds. With 320 different species fluttering over the area every year, the refuge is a world renowned spot for birders, Outside reports. And although the winter months are quiet at Malheur, birders are itching to get back to the refuge come spring — militiamen or no.
"Birders are angry," [Portland Audubon Society conversation director Bob Sallinger] said in a telephone interview, "and they should be, because we don't know what these guys are doing there. Going in with guns and trying to take over public lands to pursue their own agenda is a crime, and it ought to be prosecuted."
The refuge, he said, is already understaffed, and the occupation will further delay important conservation work. The situation is particularly concerning for the Audubon Society, Mr. Sallinger said, because it fought to have the area protected more than 100 years ago. Images of slaughtered Malheur bird populations taken a century ago by the group's Oregon founder, William Finley, inspired Roosevelt to protect the place.
"Now it appears as though the goal of these occupiers is to eliminate this protection and undo that heritage," he said. [The New York Times]
One particularly angry birder penned an open letter to Ammon Bundy and his band in the Daily Kos: "Just a friendly warning from the birding and wildlife photography community [...] We are watching your every move, and we have been watching you for a long time."
A similar sentiment was echoed in a letter to the editor of The Seattle Times. "Nothing gets between a birder and the bird they might spot. If a rare bird flies in, woe to anyone who might get between that bird and the birder. They could get trampled. Malheur belongs to those birders, so protesters beware." Jeva Lange
A report by the Department of Defense's inspector general published Tuesday concluded that Pentagon officials largely failed to discipline department employees for the inappropriate use of government credit cards at strip clubs and casinos. "DoD management did not take appropriate action when notified that cardholders potentially misused their travel card at casinos and adult entertainment establishments," the report said. "Specifically, DoD management and travel card officials did not perform adequate reviews for the cardholders reviewed and did not take action to eliminate additional misuse."
In total, the report estimated that there were "nearly $100,000 in expenses at strip clubs and 'adult entertainment establishments' and almost $1 [million] at casinos," The Guardian noted. Moreover, 22 employees reportedly received reimbursements totaling $8,544 for costs incurred at casinos or "adult entertainment establishments."
The Islamic State's Amaq news outlet reported Tuesday that ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani had been killed in the Syrian city of Aleppo, where he was inspecting military operations. Adnani, considered the terrorist group's second-in-command, encouraged attacks against Westerners and was believed to be in charge of ISIS's "external operations division," which managed recruitment and organized attacks.
The cause of Adnani's death has yet to be determined. The New York Times reports that in Aleppo, ISIS is under attack by American-backed Syrian and Kurdish rebels in addition to "Turkish, American, and Russian airstrikes,"
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest report on Zika out Tuesday revealed the virus may also cause hearing loss in infants born to infected mothers. A study of about 70 babies with microcephaly in Brazil found that about 6 percent suffered from hearing loss, caused by damage to either the inner ear or the nerve connecting the ear and the brain. Researchers were unable to find any other likely cause of hearing loss, leading the CDC to advise that hearing loss may be another of the health problems caused by the mosquito-borne illness.
Zika has primarily been linked to microcephaly, a birth defect characterized by an unusually small head and an underdeveloped brain. Recently, researchers have also linked Zika to "vision problems and joint deformities," Reuters reported.
Trump Model Management has allegedly profited from illegally using foreigners as models before they were able to secure U.S. work visas, a Mother Jones investigation has found. Trump Model Management would reportedly go as far as to coach girls on how to lie to immigration officials in order to use tourist visas to get into New York, Mother Jones says, despite the fact that such visas do not permit foreigners to work in the United States.
"When you're stuck at immigration, say that you're coming as a tourist. If they go through your luggage and they find your portfolio, tell them that you're going there to look for an agent," one model, "Kate," who spoke anonymously with Mother Jones, recalled being instructed. Another model, "Anna," said she remembered a Trump agency representative telling her to lie on her customs form about where she was going to live and was told, "If they ask you any questions, [say] you're just here for meetings."
Republican nominee Donald Trump has made it a central point in his campaign to prevent foreign workers from being employed illegally in the U.S., and said he would end the H-1B visa program — a program, it just so happens, that Trump Model Management apparently used frequently. "He doesn't like the face of a Mexican or a Muslim," Kate told Mother Jones, "but because these [models] are beautiful girls, it's okay?"
Trump owns 85 percent of Trump Model Management, which he founded in 1995. He has even hand-picked models to sign; Melania Trump briefly worked for the agency in the 1990s. Trump Model Management did not comment to Mother Jones, while Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said the issue "has nothing to do with me or the campaign" when questioned.
"[Trump] doesn't want to let anyone into the U.S. anymore," Kate said. "Meanwhile, behind everyone's back, he's bringing in all of these girls from all over the world and they're working illegally." Read the entire investigation at Mother Jones. Jeva Lange
The Germanwings co-pilot who locked the captain out of the cockpit in order to intentionally fly the aircraft into the side of a mountain last year had experienced notable difficulties during training, but was promoted anyway, The Associated Press reports. FBI interviews with Andreas Lubitz's flight instructors reveal that Lubitz failed two tests, including once due to a "situational awareness issue," likely meaning he got distracted by something and stopped paying close attention to the plane. Matthias Kippenberg, the president and CEO of the Airline Training Center Arizona, told the FBI the failure wasn't in itself noteworthy because students are able to retake their tests.
Lubitz was "not an ace pilot," one of his instructors, Juergen Theerkorn said. Lubitz also struggled to divide his attention between instruments on the plane, or concentrate on what was happening outside the aircraft, another instructor said. Lubitz was supposed to begin flight school in Arizona in September 2009, but due to a "long illness," he did not begin until September 2010. German authorities turned down his applications for a pilot medical certificate twice before July 2009 due to his history of depression, a technicality his school apparently hadn't checked.
The flight instructors "admit [Lubitz] failed a check ride due to a loss of situational awareness, which may very well have been caused by the very same anxiety and severe depression which were symptoms of his mental health disorder," Brian Alexander, an attorney representing the families of 150 people who died in the crash, told The Associated Press. Jeva Lange
Apparently it wasn't too late for Justin Bieber to say sorry. Guinness World Records announced Monday night that the pop star's latest album, Purpose, landed him in its 2017 edition not once, twice, but a whopping eight times.
The 22-year-old pop star set world records for the most-streamed track and the most-streamed album on Spotify in a week, with "What Do You Mean?" and Purpose, respectively. He also won records for having 17 tracks on the Billboard Hot 100 at once, having 13 simultaneous new entries on the Billboard Hot 100, and for being the first artist to simultaneously fill the top three spots on the U.K. singles chart.
His other records stemmed from his social media use: Bieber won the record for having the most Twitter followers with 82,235,563, as well as the most YouTube subscribers of any male and the most-viewed YouTube channel. Becca Stanek
On Tuesday, Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman will become the first Republican to publicly campaign for Hillary Clinton. Whitman — previously a top Republican fundraiser, the GOP's 2010 gubernatorial nominee in California, and now a vocal Donald Trump detractor — will meet with business leaders in Denver to discuss the Democratic presidential nominee's proposals for jobs.
While Whitman is far from the only Republican to throw her support behind Clinton, she will be the first to make an appearance on the campaign trail on Clinton's behalf. Initially, Whitman backed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) in the presidential primary. Earlier this month, however, she announced she would support Clinton over Trump, who, Talking Points Memo reported, she believes to be a "'demagogue' who has 'exploited anger, grievance, xenophobia, and racial division.'" Becca Stanek