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Kill A Juniper Tree, Save A Sage Grouse

20 hours ago

There’s good news for the West's imperiled greater sage grouse. New research suggests the bird has a better chance of survival when juniper trees are removed from its habitat.

The chicken-sized sage grouse's decline has happened over the same stretch of time that's seen western juniper and pinyon pine trees spread out across the bird's sagebrush ecosystem. Reasons for the trees' expansion include fire suppression, overgrazing and changing climate conditions.

As the stands grow more dense, they outcompete sagebrush. They also serve as perches for birds of prey.

You may not realize that a bottle of wine can be labeled as if it's from Texas, but only 75 percent of the grape juice used needs to be from the Lone Star State.

House Bill 1514, sponsored by state Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs), would require "Texas wine" to be made entirely with grapes grown here. 

We learned more about the story from Texas Monthly drinks columnist Jessica Dupuy, who attended a hearing on the bill this week. 


An unusually cold and wet spring has Northwest asparagus growers anxious because the crop isn’t coming up. Large asparagus packing houses say they’re down hundreds-of-thousands of pounds so far this spring from normal.

Updated 11:00 p.m. ET

Competing demonstrations in support of and against conservative commentator Ann Coulter's controversial speech, which had been planned for Thursday at the University of California, Berkeley, were held amid a heavy police presence. Despite some shouting and harsh words, both groups were peaceful.

Coulter's planned appearance had been canceled Wednesday after school officials said they wouldn't be able to adequately secure the site and sponsors pulled out.

The state of Washington has taken delivery of its first longer-range electric cars as part of a plan to double its electric vehicle fleet. Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee showed off one of them at a ceremony in Olympia Thursday.

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Brian Snyder/Reuters

Texas State Rep. Gene Wu was visibly emotional on Wednesday as he spoke about a controversial immigration enforcement bill before the Texas House of Representatives.

"This topic is painful for me," said Wu, a Democrat who represents a district in Houston. "I am an immigrant. My parents are immigrants. I represent a district filled with immigrants."

He spoke about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which restricted the immigration of Chinese immigrants into the United States. And he called attention to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Oregon's Top Democrat Lambasts Revived Health Care Bill

21 hours ago

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he and fellow Republicans are making progress on a new health care bill.

The proposal would allow states to get waivers that alter insurance mandates under the Affordable Care Act. For example, states could get waivers that no longer protect people with pre-existing conditions, or allow carriers to charge more based on a person's health.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden called it "sabotage."

President Trump still calls the North American Free Trade Agreement "a horrible deal" for the United States. But in opting to renegotiate — rather than cancel — the agreement, Trump acknowledged that backing out of NAFTA would be "a pretty big shock to the system."

After more than two decades, NAFTA is tightly woven into the economies of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Trade among the three countries is much more robust and supply chains more tightly integrated than was the case in 1994 when NAFTA went into effect.

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Courtesy of NRK

The annual migration of reindeer across Norway is a spectacle of nature. The majestic animals are currently moving from their southern winter grazing grounds to greener spring pastures.

This year you can watch it happen in real time — all of it.

The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) is following a herd of almost 1,500 reindeer on its Slow TV channel. Tune in and you’ll see reindeer, reindeer, and more reindeer. 

 

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Marco Werman

When you’ve got a great car mechanic and he leaves the neighborhood, it almost feels like your doctor has moved. Guang Lin is that mechanic. And with his departure goes much more than a mechanic and friend I trust, which is no small thing itself.

In my own neighborhood of Cambridge — Cambridgeport — just on the other side of the Charles River from our studios, change has been pretty striking.

Accessing the Internet in Cuba isn't easy. Home Internet connections are rare, and public access Wi-Fi hotspots costs $1.50 an hour — very expensive for most Cubans.

But in the nation that has been called "one of the most restrictive media environments in the world," watching YouTube got faster this week.

Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn each spent time in bands that never made it big. But when the two of them joined up to create Sylvan Esso, everything changed. They started filling up high-profile music venues, became famous internationally and almost immediately started to feel pressure to make magic a second time. Now, three years after the band's debut, Sylvan Esso has a sophomore album, out Friday. The name of the record, What Now, offers some insight into how Meath and Sanborn felt making it.

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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed an executive order aimed at improving the way the state negotiates with its unionized workers.

The order establishes that money set aside for collective bargaining will now include salary increases and health care costs.

The Texas House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday to penalize jurisdictions that don't honor detainer requests from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

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