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."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Investors are betting the future is priced in euros

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's the euro's time now — at least that's how investors have been positioning recently.

What's happening: Speculators have raised their bets to the highest in nine years that the dollar will fall and increased bullish bets that the euro will rise to the highest level on record, Reuters reported citing data from the CFTC.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 20,317,087 — Total deaths: 742,035— Total recoveries: 12,602,544Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 5,141,879 — Total deaths: 164,545 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. States: Georgia reports 137 coronavirus deaths, setting new daily record Florida reports another daily record for deaths.
  4. Health care: Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. Sports: Big Ten and Pac 12 scrap fall footballMLB salaries at 37%
  7. World: Lebanon reported record new cases as UN warned blast may drive spike — Fauci "seriously" doubts Russia's coronavirus vaccine is safe
Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

3 keys to Joe Biden picking Kamala Harris

Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

Three quick points about Joe Biden's historic selection of Sen. Kamala (pronounced COMMA-luh) Harris of California as his running mate — and clues they give us to how Biden would govern:

  1. She was always at the top of his list. As I look back through my text threads with top Dems over the past five months, she was always assumed to be the most likely pick.