Jan 10, 2019

Joshua trees cut down by vandals during government shutdown

Joshua trees. Photo: FlowerPhotos/UIG via Getty Images

Vulnerable Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park in California have been cut down by visitors who illegally drove into areas where vehicles are banned during the partial government shutdown. As a result, the park is closed indefinitely, its superintendent said Thursday.

Why it matters: In all previous government shutdowns that affected the Department of Interior, administrations closed the parks rather than allow access unsupervised. Joshua trees already face threats of extinction from climate change.

Emily Douce, of the National Parks Conservation Association, told Vox that now-former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ordered to keep the national parks open during the shutdown to avoid the same criticism from 2013's shutdown.

  • The Obama administration was heavily criticized by Republicans and those living in towns that depend on revenue from park tourism during the government shutdown in 2013.
  • Yes, but: "The contingency plan is rather concise and vague, operations are not actually able to support the influx of tourists."

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Updated 37 mins ago - Technology

Twitter: Trump's Minnesota tweet violated rules on violence

Twitter said Friday morning that a tweet from President Trump in which he threatened shooting in response to civil unrest in Minneapolis violated the company's rules. The company said it was leaving the tweet up in the public interest.

Why it matters: The move exacerbates tensions between Twitter and Trump over the company's authority to label or limit his speech and, conversely, the president's authority to dictate rules for a private company.

Updated 51 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Flames from a nearby fire illuminate protesters standing on a barricade in front of the Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis on Thursday. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump threatened via Twitter early Friday to send the national guard to Minneapolis following three days of massive demonstrations and unrest in the city over George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody this week.

Details: "I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right," Trump tweeted after a police station was torched by some protesters.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

Protesters cheer as the Third Police Precinct burns behind them on in Minneapolis on Thursday night. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Cheering protesters set a Minneapolis police station on fire Thursday night in the third night of unrest following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in the city, per AP.

The state of play: Minnesota's governor on Thursday activated the state's national guard following violent outbreaks throughout the week, as the nation waits to see if the officers involved will be charged with murder.