Satellites see big fishing’s footprint on the high seas

WASHINGTON — Scientists tag sharks to see where they roam in the high seas, but until now they couldn’t track the seas’ biggest eater: Humans. By using ships’ own emergency beacons, researchers got the first comprehensive snapshot of industrial fishing’s impacts around the globe. And it’s huge — bigger than scientists thought, according to a new study. Large-scale commercial fishing covers more than 55 percent of the oceans with the world’s fishing fleet traveling more than 285 million miles (460 million kilometers) a year — three times the distance between Earth and the sun, according to research in Thursday’s journal Science . Five countries — China, Spain, Taiwan, Japan and… Read More

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Russian approval led to attack on U.S. troops in Syria

By Ellen Nakashima, Karen Deyoung and Liz Sly, The Washington Post A Russian oligarch believed to control the Russian mercenaries who attacked U.S. troops and their allies in Syria this month was in close touch with Kremlin and Syrian officials in the days and weeks before and after the assault, according to U.S. intelligence reports. In intercepted communications in late January, the oligarch, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, told a senior Syrian official that he had “secured permission” from an unspecified Russian minister to move forward with a “fast and strong” initiative that would take place in early February. Prigozhin made front-page headlines last week when he was indicted by Special Counsel Robert… Read More

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Much-touted MS-13 sweep keeps even most basic details secret

NEW YORK — It was a tally so impressive that President Donald Trump touted it at his State of the Union address: Since May, agents cracking down on the violent gangs terrorizing the working-class suburbs of Long Island had swept up 428 gang suspects, including 220 members of the notorious MS-13. But the sweep, Operation Matador, also has been shrouded in secrecy. Federal and state authorities have declined repeated requests from The Associated Press for even basic information made public in most law enforcement operations, such as the names of those arrested and the crimes they are accused of committing. They won’t divulge their ages, immigration statuses or current whereabouts.… Read More

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European art scene began with Neanderthals

NEW YORK — From the murky depths of Spanish caves comes a surprising insight: Neanderthals created art. That’s been proposed before, but experts say two new studies finally give convincing evidence that our evolutionary cousins had the brainpower to make artistic works and use symbols. The key finding: New age estimates that show paintings on cave walls and decorated seashells in Spain were created long before our species entered Europe. So there’s no way Homo sapiens could have made them or influenced Neanderthals to merely copy their artwork. Until now, most scientists thought all cave paintings were the work of our species. But the new work concludes that some previously… Read More

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Congressman calls for probe into SFO close-calls, study on aviation trends

The run of close-calls at San Francisco International Airport and other airports across the country involving runway or taxiway incursions have prompted Congressman Mark DeSaulnier and two other politicians to call for an independent review. In a letter sent Wednesday to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro — who heads the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan review agency — DeSaulnier, D-Concord, along with Transportation & Infrastructure Ranking Member Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, and ranking member of the aviation subcommittee Rick Larsen, D-Washington, asked for an independent study to determine if the troubling incidents indicate a trend. “Fifty-nine feet is too close to a major tragedy. Saying it won’t happen again is not sufficient,”… Read More

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