Dec 25, 2019

Australia wildfires' devastating impact on iconic wildlife

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital clinical director Cheyne Flanagan tends to Paul the koala, from Lake Innes Nature Reserve, as he recovers from burns. Photo: Nathan Edwards/Getty Images

Australia's wildlife carers are set to work "around the clock" through Christmas to deal with the impact of the deadly wildfires on the country's unique wildlife, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The fires have burned an estimated 12 million-plus acres across the country, per the Guardian. The impact on wildlife has been devastating, particularly for koalas. Conservationists fear over 2,000 of the marsupials have died in the blazes, SBS News reports.

The state of play: Cheyne Flanagan, clinical director of Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, told Reuters staff are caring over Christmas for 72 koalas affected by the blazes — and they're preparing for more, "particularly for baby animals stressed by hot weather, bushfires and drought."

  • A fund-raising page set up for the hospital to help koalas in October, a month after the bushfires broke out, had raised $2.1 million by 10 p.m. Tuesday Eastern Time.
  • Across the country, tales of heroism are emerging as Aussies step up to help rescue native wildlife — including some involving remarkable four-legged heroes.

Go deeper: In photos: Deadly wildfires rage across Australia

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Updates: Cities move to end curfews for George Floyd protests

Text reading "Demilitarize the police" is projected on an army vehicle during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C.. early on Thursday. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Several cities are ending curfews after the protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people led to fewer arrests and less violence Wednesday night.

The latest: Los Angeles and Washington D.C. are the latest to end nightly curfews. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted Wednesday night that "peaceful protests can continue without a curfew, while San Francisco Mayor London Breed tweeted that the city's curfew would end at 5 a.m. Thursday.

Murkowski calls Mattis' Trump criticism "true and honest and necessary and overdue"

Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Thursday that she agreed with former Defense Secretary James Mattis' criticism of President Trump, calling it "true and honest and necessary and overdue."

Why it matters: Murkowski, who has signaled her discomfort with the president in the past, also said that she's "struggling" with her support for him in November — a rare full-on rebuke of Trump from a Senate Republican.

Facebook to block ads from state-controlled media entities in the U.S.

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Facebook said Thursday it will begin blocking state-controlled media outlets from buying advertising in the U.S. this summer. It's also rolling out a new set of labels to provide users with transparency around ads and posts from state-controlled outlets. Outlets that feel wrongly labeled can appeal the process.

Why it matters: Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security policy, says the company hasn't seen many examples yet of foreign governments using advertising to promote manipulative content to U.S. users, but that the platform is taking this action out of an abundance of caution ahead of the 2020 election.