By Fiona Ortiz and Karen Freifeld CHICAGO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. zoos are left to decide under vague federal rules how to make animal exhibits safe, occasionally resulting in people getting into enclosures like a child who was rescued from a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, industry officials and experts said. Zoo officials shot dead a critically endangered western lowland gorilla on Saturday after a 4-year-old got into its enclosure. The killing of 450-pound (200-kg), 17-year-old Harambe drew public outrage and questions about safety standards at zoos across the country and may result in criminal charges. The case highlights the trade-offs zoos make between safety and enabling visitors to get close-up views of the animals that they love. "The zoo compromised safety for having an aesthetically pleasing enclosure," said Mitchel Kalmanson, president of Lester Kalmanson Agency in Maitland, Florida, which insures animal facilities. "It should have had better fencing and a safety net and/or a secondary barrier. If they had a net in there, the boy wouldn’t have fallen 15 feet into a moat where the animal was," he added. U.S. rules spell out that contact between humans and dangerous animals must be avoided but are vague on how to achieve that, industry officials and experts said. The federal Animal Welfare Act says zoos must have a barrier that restricts physical contact between the public and nonhuman primates, but it does not specify height or material. The American Zoo Association, which inspects its accredited members, says, "Some means of deterring public contact with animals must be in place" but does not set specifications. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which enforces the Animal Welfare Act, has broad discretion to administer those standards, said James F. Gesualdi, special professor of law at Hofstra University and an expert on animals and the law. "Where they can be problematic is there can be differences of opinion as to what may be required," Gesualdi said. Despite the vague standards, the incidents are far from common. About 181 million people visit U.S. zoos and aquariums every year, according to the American Zoo Association, but only about 20 adults and children have been hurt or killed by zoo animals inside enclosures since 1990, according to the Born Free USA animal advocacy group. Dozens more injuries were caused by animals escaping or by animal attacks on zookeepers or handlers, according to Born Free. The Cincinnati Zoo, which is accredited by the American Zoo Association, said it more than meets standards with its three-foot-high barrier around the gorilla enclosure and has passed inspections. American Zoo Association spokesman Rob Vernon said the organization will learn from the Cincinnati incident and make improvements. However, Alan Sironen, an Ohio-based zoo consultant, said the federal rules already work well to protect animals and the public alike. "There are millions upon millions of visitors to zoos every year," he said. "It’s a tragedy what happened in Cincinnati, but that zoo has been open a long time and it’s very professionally run.” CRIMINAL TRESPASSING Critics say people are allowed to get too close to the animals, resulting in some getting in trouble for trespassing and others suing for lack of safety. In Ohio, two adults pleaded guilty in the past year to trespassing at zoos. In one case, a woman dropped her 2-year-old into a cheetah cage at the Cleveland zoo. In another, a man took a video of himself after jumping an outer fence at the Columbus zoo to get close to cougars. In 2012, a 2-year-old boy fell into an African wild dog exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo and was mauled to death. The parents of that boy, Maddox Derkosh, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the zoo, claiming the barrier was too low, according to Robert Mongeluzzi Jr, a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer who handled the case. The case was resolved with a confidential settlement. "Any zoo that has an exhibit where a child can gain entry is deficient and unsafe," Mongeluzzi said on Tuesday. "Zoos have to be designed to keep children and patrons away from animals. The easiest way to handle that is with solid, transparent glass or Plexiglass." At least one zoo has made expensive upgrades to its gorilla exhibit to protect the public. In 2003, a 300-pound gorilla escaped from its enclosure at Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, injuring a 2-year-old girl and a teenage zoo employee. The male gorilla, known as Little Joe, then 10 years old, roamed through the zoo and nearby streets for nearly two hours before it was tranquilized and subdued. Little Joe was kept out of the public eye for over three years but is now on show again after the zoo completed in 2007 a $2.3 million renovation of the gorilla exhibit including a glass-walled cage featuring a mesh cap of woven steel. (Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Ben Klayman and Cynthia Osterman)
- The Independent
Biden news – live: President says Democrats don’t have votes for Trump impeachment, as approval ratings soar
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- The Week
In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said his caucus won't allow Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to dictate the agenda in the Democratic-led 50-50 Senate or demand an end to the legislative filibuster as a precondition for a power-sharing pact. "We've told McConnell no on the organizing resolution, and that's that. So there's no negotiations on that," Schumer said, suggesting he had a secret plan. "There are ways to deal with him."Maddow included an update when she broadcast the interview Monday night. "While we were airing that right now, and you were watching it, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just put out a statement that he is folding on this" and willl "agree to go forward with what Sen. Schumer told him he must," she said. "Sen. Mitch McConnell has caved and Sen. Schumer has won that fight. That was quick. Let's see what else we can do."> No sooner has the portion of Rachel Maddow's interview with Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer aired than Mitch McConnell has put out a statement that he is folding, ending the stand-off. pic.twitter.com/9qR1jpKXkf> > -- Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021McConnell said he would allow the Senate to move forward because two Democrats had reiterated their opposition to ending the filibuster, effectively taking that option off the table. Maddow asked Schumer about that, too, and he didn't answer directly."The caucus is united with the belief that I have: We must get big, strong, bold things done," Schumer said. The Democratic caucus is also "totally united" that "we will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do," and "we have tools that we can use," notably the budget reconciliation process," he added. "We will come together as a caucus and figure it out."> "We will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do." Here's Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer earlier in his interview with Rachel Maddow, talking about the filibuster specifically, and getting things done. pic.twitter.com/xOAKWfe2Fu> > -- Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021Schumer also suggested he is not interested in playing cat-and-mouse with McConnell's Republicans again. Watch below. > "We will not repeat that mistake." Senate Majority Leader Schumer cites Obama era lessons in prioritizing legislation over bad faith Republican 'bipartisanship.' pic.twitter.com/gpc1kBP45w> > -- Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021More stories from theweek.com Liz Cheney spokesperson tells Matt Gaetz to 'leave his beauty bag at home' as he heads to Wyoming Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing
Charlotte’s most popular millennial politician dad, Democratic state senator Jeff Jackson, will announce a bid for U.S. Senate this morning, kicking off a 2022 race for Richard Burr’s seat that could include Lara Trump on the Republican side.Why it matters: After a 2020 Senate race that was one of the most expensive on record, North Carolina again figures to be a pricey fight for the balance of power in the midterms.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * A potential matchup between a member of the Trump family and Jackson — a media-savvy attorney and National Guardsman who in every campaign makes a point to say that his opponents are good people — certainly won’t diminish that intrigue. * Jackson, a father of three, told his wife Marisa that if he were to win the primary, they could expect “$100 million in negative ads, just tearing me down” in the general. * As they watched the riots at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Marisa told him, “You have to run.”Context: Many people remember the 2020 Senate race mainly for Democrat Cal Cunningham’s cringey texts and affair, which he was forced to apologize for. Cunningham was a veteran who also hinged his campaign on his character. * “There are going to be easy comparisons to make,” Jackson said. “But as the campaign goes on, within 60-90 days they’ll see that this is a completely different campaign and I’m a completely different person.” * State Sen. Erica Smith, who got 35% against Cunningham in the 2020 Democratic primary, is running again in 2022.In a Jan. 21 interview with Real America’s Voice, Lara Trump said of a Senate run: “It’s possible. … We can’t stay away for long. We’re all again in this fight for the rest of our lives in some form.” * Former Gov. Pat McCrory is also considering a run in the Republican primary.Fun fact: Jackson has about 200,000 followers across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, not bad for a local politician whose district only sees about 110,000 votes cast. His following took off one icy day in February 2015, when he was alone in the state capitol tweeting about all the bills he was passing with unanimous support. Of course he was the only one voting. * “This is going to be like, ‘Night at the Museum’ except at the end we’ll have a stronger middle class,” he tweeted.Find more stories like this one in the forthcoming Axios Charlotte newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard. * Sign up here.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Independent
Giuliani slams ‘hate-filled left-wing’ as he responds to $1.3bn defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems
Donald Trump’s personal lawyer claims legal action is intended to ‘frighten people of faint heart’
The death toll from storm Eloise rose to at least 13 on Monday after heavy winds, rain and flooding destroyed buildings, drowned crops and displaced thousands in parts of southern Africa. Eloise weakened from a cyclone to a tropical storm after making landfall in central Mozambique on Saturday, but continued to dump rain on Zimbabwe, eSwatini - formerly known as Swaziland - South Africa and Botswana. Six people were killed in Mozambique, the country's National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD) reported, while the number of displaced people rose to more than 8,000, with thousands of homes wrecked or flooded.
- Yahoo News Video
A video compiled by Just Security reveals the reaction of people who watched former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 speech before the Capitol was attacked.
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden on Monday appeared to boost his goal for coronavirus vaccinations in his first 100 days in office, suggesting the nation could soon be injecting 1.5 million shots on an average per day. Biden signaled his increasing bullishness on the pace of vaccinations after signing an executive order to boost government purchases from U.S. manufacturers. It was among a flurry of moves by Biden during his first full week to show he's taking swift action to heal an ailing economy as talks with Congress over a $1.9 trillion stimulus package showed few signs of progress.
- The Week
Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies
The new Biden administration has yet not disclosed the secrets of Area 51 or explained what the Air Force really knows about UFOs, but it did clarify, at least, the mystery of the vanished "Diet Coke button" former President Donald Trump would use to summon refreshments in the Oval Office. The usher button, as it is formally known, is not gone, even if it is no longer used to summon Diet Cokes, a White House official tells Politico.The White House official "unfortunately wouldn't say what Biden will use the button for," Politico's Daniel Lippman writes, suggesting Biden might summon Orange Gatorade and not the obvious answer, ice cream — or, let's get real, coffee. What's more, there are evidently two usher buttons in the Oval Office, one at the Resolute Desk and the other next to the chair by the fireplace, a former White House official told Politico, adding that Trump didn't actually use the Diet Coke button all that much because "he would usually just verbally ask the valets, who were around all day, for what he needed."In any case, it is not the placement of the button that matters, of course, but how you use it. And Biden will presumably know better than to order ice cream treats during a top-secret national security briefing.More stories from theweek.com Liz Cheney spokesperson tells Matt Gaetz to 'leave his beauty bag at home' as he heads to Wyoming Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing Apollo CEO Leon Black to step down after $158 million payments to Jeffrey Epstein disclosed
- The Guardian
Trump ally, who claims lawsuit against him is ‘act of intimidation to censor the exercise of free speech’, threatened New York Post Giuliani in Washington in November. On Monday, Dominion sued Giuliani in federal court in Washington, over his claims about supposed electoral fraud. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP On Monday, Rudy Giuliani called a $1.3bn lawsuit brought against him by Dominion Voting Systems “another act of intimidation by the hate-filled left wing to wipe out and censor the exercise of free speech”. But Giuliani has himself previously threatened to censor the exercise of free speech with legal action. The former New York mayor turned Trump attorney was invoking current rightwing complaints against so-called “cancel culture”, in which freedom of speech is supposedly curtailed. But in June 2001, the New York Post ran a story about an extra-marital affair. Giuliani told reporters: “I will consider suing them for libel – defamation. What the New York Post did is scurrilous, I believe it’s malicious and I’m prepared to prove that in court if I have to.” First amendment protection of freedom of the press makes it difficult for US public officials to mount libel lawsuits, even if reports are proved to be wrong. Giuliani did not take the Post to court. On Monday, Dominion sued Giuliani in federal court in Washington, over his claims about supposed electoral fraud, made as part of Donald Trump’s baseless attempts to overturn defeat by Joe Biden, efforts which culminated in the deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6 January. “Dominion brings this action to set the record straight,” the complaint said, “to vindicate the company’s rights under civil law, to recover compensatory and punitive damages, and to stand up for itself, its employees, and the electoral process.” Dominion’s lawyer, Thomas Clare, told the New York Times the company could sue others, including Trump. “We’re not ruling anybody out,” he said. “Obviously, this lawsuit against the president’s lawyer moves one step closer to the former president and understanding what his role was and wasn’t.” Some experts said Dominion might itself count as a public figure, and thus have a hard time winning its case. Giuliani said he might counter-sue Dominion. “The amount being asked for is, quite obviously, intended to frighten people of faint heart. It is another act of intimidation by the hate-filled left wing to wipe out and censor the exercise of free speech, as well as the ability of lawyers to defend their clients vigorously. As such, we will investigate a countersuit against them for violating these constitutional rights,” he said. It remains to be seen if Giuliani will follow through. Nearly 20 years ago, he did not. Giuliani threatened to sue the Post over its story about how, as the New York Daily News described it, the mayor and his “girlfriend Judith Nathan [were] using the posh St Regis Hotel as a ‘secret love nest’”. Negotiations between Giuliani and the Post followed but nearly six weeks later, on 18 July, the Daily News reported that Giuliani had not made good on his threat. “When I’m ready to decide, you’ll be the first to know,” he said. “But I don’t get rushed into anything.”
- NBC News
Brittney Gilliam had taken her family for a "Sunday funday" when officers with guns drawn ordered her and the four underage girls with her to exit the car.
All Guard members who test positive are quarantined and won't return to their home states until they're fully recovered.
- Associated Press
Indonesian authorities have detained the Iranian and Chinese crewmembers of two tankers that were seized for illegally transferring oil in Indonesian waters, an official said Tuesday. “MT Freya did the oil spilling,” Pramandita said.
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden has brought back Dr. Kevin O'Connor as his physician, replacing President Donald Trump's doctor with the one who oversaw his care when he was vice president. The White House confirmed that Dr. Sean Conley, the Navy commander who served as the head of the White House Medical Unit under Trump and oversaw his treatment when he was hospitalized with COVID-19, will assume a teaching role at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. O'Connor, a retired Army colonel, was Biden's doctor during his entire tenure as vice president, having remained in the role at Biden's request.
- Los Angeles Times Opinion
Gov. Newsom needs to do a better job communicating California's statewide COVID restrictions with the public, and with other state officials.
- The Week
The possibility of conflict with Iran prompted the U.S. military to begin using several extra ports and bases in Saudi Arabia for the first time over the course of the last year, The Wall Street Journal reports.The decision appears geared toward expanding the ability to operate militarily and complicating Iran's options in Saudi Arabia should tensions with Tehran, which is at odds with both Washington and Riyadh, boil over in the future. "What it does is to give us options, and options are always a good thing for a commander to have," Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, told the Journal.McKenzie explained that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are negotiating infrastructure plans for the coastal port of Yanbu as well as two air bases to make them more usable for the U.S. military. He said additional sites that have not been revealed are under consideration.As the Journal notes, the Biden administration has promised to take a tougher stance on human rights issues within Saudi Arabia, but the military base expansion effort — which began under the Trump administration — suggests Washington will continue to count Saudi Arabia as a key ally. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.More stories from theweek.com Liz Cheney spokesperson tells Matt Gaetz to 'leave his beauty bag at home' as he heads to Wyoming Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing
A Chinese-born Canadian known as Asia’s “El Chapo” has been arrested in Amsterdam on Friday. Tse Chi Lop, 57, reportedly made up to $17.7 billion a year as the alleged leader of Asia’s biggest crime syndicate in history, referred to by its members as “The Company” and by law enforcers as "Sam Gor" Tse allegedly conducted Sam Gor’s operations in Hong Kong, Macau and Southeast Asia. It turns out Tse was responsible for 70% of the drugs that reach Australia.
- Associated Press
Five days into her new role, Jill Biden signaled Monday that she'll be a more active first lady, with a trio of virtual appearances before governors' spouses, young Latinos and library officials. Jill Biden's early moves seemed designed to signal that she intends to be more active than her predecessor, Melania Trump. Mrs. Trump often allowed weeks to pass between her public appearances.
- NBC News
He said he spotted a carseat on the curb while delivering package, but at first did not realize there was a baby in it.
An explosion was heard in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh on Tuesday and the cause was not immediately known. Several witnesses also reported hearing two loud bangs and seeing a small plume of smoke above the capital just before 1 P.M. local time (10 A.M. GMT). Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV cited local reports of an explosion and videos circulating on social media purporting to show a missile being intercepted over Riyadh.
- The Telegraph
Britain's Covid vaccine supply is in jeopardy after the EU threatened to block exports of the Belgian-made Pfizer jabs amid a row with UK-based AstraZeneca. Brussels decided to impose tighter controls on exports after reacting with fury to the news that AstraZeneca will deliver 50 million fewer doses to the EU than it had expected. Ministers now fear deliveries of the Pfizer jabs will – at best – be delayed by extra paperwork and that the EU could try to stop doses being sent to non-EU countries after saying it will "take any action required to protect its citizens". In March, the bloc imposed export restrictions on personal protective equipment after it struggled with supply to its member states. On Monday night, MPs accused the EU of acting out of "spite" and trying to deflect blame for its own mistakes in getting vaccination programmes off the ground.