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June 14, 2014

Despite surviving at least one previous brush with poachers, a Kenya "tusker" elephant was not as lucky last month, reports NPR.

Satao, known as a tusker because of tusks so large they nearly touched the ground, was found dead from a poisoned arrow last month, according to Kenya conservation group The Tsavo Trust. The elephant's tusks had been removed by the poachers, in order to sell the ivory. Wildlife filmmaker Mark Deeble described his encounter with Satao in a blog post, noting that he waited for weeks to try to capture the elephant on film:

"I was mystified at the bull's poor attempt to hide — until it dawned on me that he wasn't trying to hide his body, he was hiding his tusks," Deeble wrote. "I was incredibly impressed, and incredibly sad — impressed that he should have the understanding that his tusks could put him in danger, but so sad at what that meant."

The killing further depletes a dwindling population — there may be as few as a dozen tuskers remaining — in the country. Below, images of Satao and his comrades. --Sarah Eberspacher

Satao. | (Facebook.com/The Tsavo Trust)

Kenya park rangers recover tusks of a deceased elephant so that poachers cannot sell the ivory. | (Facebook.com/The Tsavo Trust)

Satao (left) along with other elephants. | (Facebook.com/The Tsavo Trust)

7:40a.m.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald's first weekend at the U.S. box office was not especially magical.

The sequel to the Harry Potter prequel took in $62 million domestically this weekend, coming in below its predecessor's 2016 $74 million debut. This is a disappointment, though not a disaster, for Warner Bros., considering estimates had the film pegged at $75 million or more a few days ago. Instead, The Crimes of Grindelwald ended up with the weakest opening weekend of any film in the Harry Potter film franchise. The first Fantastic Beasts held that distinction before, while the lowest opening of the original series was that of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which debuted at $77 million in 2007, the equivalent of $94 million in 2018 dollars.

The Crimes of Grindelwald performed much better overseas than it did in the U.S., though, taking in $191 million internationally, above the original Fantastic Beasts' international opening of $145 million, so once again a blockbuster's somewhat weak domestic take has been salvaged by its performance elsewhere.

A movie franchise seeing a box office dip in its second outing isn't uncommon, to be fair, and that happened recently with both Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. But considering The Crimes of Grindelwald is even more connected to the original Harry Potter series than its predecessor, featuring both a young Dumbledore and Hogwarts itself, the film had potential to be a much larger hit. Unfortunately, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 40 percent and a CinemaScore rating of B+, the lowest of any Harry Potter universe film, it seems director David Yates and writer J.K. Rowling this time are struggling to keep audiences under their spell. Brendan Morrow

2:06a.m.

Missing for 40 years, a 1,600-year-old mosaic depicting St. Mark is back in Cyprus, thanks to the "Indiana Jones of the art world."

Arthur Brand of The Netherlands is an art investigator, and after two years of searching, finally found the mosaic, which was looted from an Orthodox Christian church in Cyprus in the 1970s, in an apartment in Monaco. He told Agence France-Presse that a British family bought the mosaic "in good faith more than four decades ago." When he finally had the mosaic in his possession, it was "one of the greatest moments of my life," he said.

Brand delivered the mosaic to the Cypriot embassy in The Hague on Friday, and it was back in Cyprus by Sunday. He earned the Indiana Jones nickname in 2015 after he found two horse statues that once stood outside Adolf Hitler's office. Catherine Garcia

1:38a.m.

During an interview with Fox News that aired Sunday night, President Trump said he will not listen to the tape recording of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist living in the United States, was killed last month inside the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. The Turkish government has supplied the audio, Trump told Chris Wallace, adding that listening to it won't change how he decides to respond. It's a "suffering tape, it's a terrible tape," Trump said. "I've been fully briefed on it, there's no reason for me to hear it. I know everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it."

U.S. intelligence has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing, which he denies. Khashoggi had been critical of the Saudi government, but also supported some of its policies. Trump told reporters on Saturday that a full report will be published by Tuesday, including the answer to "who did it." On Fox News, Trump said Saudi Arabia is "an ally, and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good." Catherine Garcia

1:05a.m.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is donating $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University, the largest gift ever made to an educational institution in the United States.

The donation was announced Sunday. Beginning next fall, the Baltimore university will be able to use the money to eliminate student loans in financial aid packages for low- and middle-income students. This gift is "unprecedented and transformative," Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels said in a statement.

Bloomberg, one of the richest people in the world, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1964, and said he believes that "denying students entry to a college based on their ability to pay undermines equal opportunity." The university was founded in 1876, thanks to $7 million from Baltimore merchant Johns Hopkins. Daniels said like Bloomberg's donation, this was the largest gift of its kind at the time. Catherine Garcia

12:36a.m.

After participating in a yearlong clinical trial about peanut allergies, two-thirds of the young participants are now able to ingest the equivalent of two peanuts a day without any adverse reactions.

The results of the study were announced Sunday during the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology conference in Seattle. The oral immunotherapy regimen did not work for all participants — 20 percent of the children involved had to leave the trial — and is not a cure for peanut allergies, but does aim to reduce sensitivity to peanuts, so a child that accidentally comes into contact with one does not suffer a major reaction.

For six months, 372 participating children, under medical supervision, were slowly exposed to peanut protein, starting with the smallest of doses and taking more as their tolerance increased. They then went through an additional six months of maintenance therapy. Two-thirds of the participants were able to ingest 600 milligrams or more of peanut protein, the equivalent of two peanuts, without developing any symptoms of an allergy. Of the 124 children given placebo powder, just four percent could consume that amount without having a reaction.

Peanut allergies affect 1 in every 50 American children, causing more deaths from anaphylaxis than any other food allergy, The New York Times reports. The treatment is being developed by Aimmune Therapeutics, with the study set to be published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine. Catherine Garcia

November 18, 2018

Following the recent Senate race recount, the elections supervisor of Broward County, Florida, has submitted her resignation letter, The Sun-Sentinel reports.

Brenda Snipes has spent 15 years as the supervisor of elections, and during the election earlier this month, faced criticism from Republican Gov. Rick Scott for taking longer than other counties to finish the initial counting of ballots. Scott was the GOP candidate against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, and without providing any evidence, wanted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate what "may be rampant voter fraud" in the county.

After counting the ballots, Scott had a lead of about 12,000 votes over Nelson, which triggered by law a recount. After a machine recount and then a hand recount that was ordered Thursday, the final vote tallies were submitted to the state on Sunday, and Nelson conceded. The Sun-Sentinel reports that Broward County made many errors after Election Day, including losing 2,040 ballots between the initial count and the recount and not updating results as frequently as the law requires.

Snipes has been criticized during previous elections as well for long lines and destroying ballots before being legally allowed to do so. Snipes did not respond to The Sun-Sentinel's request for comment, but Burnadette Norris-Weeks, counsel to the Supervisor of Elections Office, told the newspaper that she saw an early version of the resignation letter, and Snipes says she wants to spend more time with her family. She believes the resignation is effective Jan. 2, 2019. A Democrat, Snipes was appointed in 2003 by former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, then elected in 2004. Catherine Garcia

November 18, 2018

On Sunday, firefighters continued to make progress against the Camp Fire in Northern California, the deadliest fire in state history, and the Woolsey Fire in Southern California.

The Camp Fire in Butte County has killed at least 76 people, scorched 149,500 acres, and destroyed 12,786 structures, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Sunday. There are 993 people unaccounted for in the area. The fire is 60 percent contained.

The Woolsey Fire has burned 96,949 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, destroying 1,130 structures and killing at least three people. The fire is 90 percent contained, with Cal Fire expecting full containment by Thursday.

About four inches of rain is forecast for Butte County late Tuesday through Friday, and close to two inches in Southern California later in the week, which will help both firefighters and air quality but increases the risk of mudslides in burn areas. Catherine Garcia

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