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'We know they aren't feeding': fears for polar bears over shrinking Arctic ice

'We know they aren't feeding': fears for polar bears over shrinking Arctic iceExpert Steven Amstrup says ‘the longer the sea ice is gone from the productive zone the tougher it is on the bears’This year’s annual minimum of the Arctic sea ice tied with the second-lowest extent on record. Photograph: Chase Dekker/Getty ImagesThe loss of Arctic ice from glaciers, polar land and sea is declining faster than many scientists expected, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report on oceans and the cryosphere said this week.That’s bad news for polar bear populations, a top expert involved in field studies on the endangered animals has told the Guardian.This year’s annual minimum of the Arctic sea ice tied with the second-lowest extent on record, a mere 1.6m sq miles, and badly affected polar bear populations that live and hunt on the north slope of Alaska, plus those that live on the ice floes in the Bering Sea.“Now the ice has gone way offshore we know that the bears aren’t feeding, and the bears that are forced on to land don’t find much to eat. The longer the sea ice is gone from the productive zone the tougher it is on the bears,” said Polar Bears International’s Steven Amstrup.In 2015, the group reported that the polar bear population in the Beaufort Sea had declined by 40% over the previous decade. “We can only anticipate that those declines have continued,” Amstrup said.The loss of sea ice this year was so pronounced early in the season that tagging crews from the US Geological Survey (USGS) concluded that the sea ice offshore in the western arctic was too thin and unstable to be able to conduct their studies – the first time the team have pulled their studies because of safety issues.That’s a far cry from the two decades to 2010 when Amstrup did two two-month field studies a year. In recent years, the spring season has also been severely hampered by open water, fog and bad weather.This year, the trends were repeated. Amstrup said: “The ice in the spring … was really tough this year. What ice was there was thin and rough this year. That’s part of progressive trend that we’ve seen over several years.”The circumstances of global heating in the Arctic region, from record heatwaves in Alaska to the loss of more than 60bn tons of ice from Greenland’s ice cap during a five-day heatwave this summer, including the biggest loss in a 24-hour period since records began.For both polar bear populations, the circumstances are grim. Those that live on shore aren’t finding much to eat, says Amstrup, and those that live permanently on the pack ice don’t appear to be feeding much either.“They’re having a long fast in the summer and there’s a limit to how long that fast can last. We’re already seeing indications in terms of poorer cub survival in the Beaufort Sea. An adult bear has a lot of body mass, and maybe can get through a long summer fast, but young bears don’t have the body mass or hunting skills to survive,” he said.But because 2019 did not set a record in terms of sea-ice loss, Amstrup stressed, we should not be fooled into thinking that, short of an extreme event, circumstances have stabilized or improved.Amstrup said funding cutbacks and the fact that biologists cannot get out and study the bears means it may never be able to collect the necessary data to assess “just how bad this year was”.Instead, Amstrup says this bad ice year and record warm summer are symbols of what the future will bring. Bad years like this will be increasingly frequent and the bad years will be increasingly worse – as long as we allow CO2 levels to continue to rise.“We know that as greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise it’s going to be warmer and we’re going to have less and less sea ice until polar bears disappear,” he said.



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Colt Says Its Decision to Stop Making AR-15 Rifles for Civilians Is Driven by Customers. Experts Aren't So Sure

Colt Says Its Decision to Stop Making AR-15 Rifles for Civilians Is Driven by Customers. Experts Aren't So SureExperts wonder if the company was swayed by mass shootings involving the weapon



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Most of the robocalls you get aren't coming from AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile numbers

Most of the robocalls you get aren't coming from AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile numbersAmericans received 200 million unwanted calls per day during the first half of the year, according to the report.



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California and Alabama are the only two states that aren't participating in the giant antitrust investigation of Google, and neither is really saying why (GOOGL, FB)

California and Alabama are the only two states that aren't participating in the giant antitrust investigation of Google, and neither is really saying why (GOOGL, FB)Every other US state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, is taking part in the inquiry.



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We need an active, robust Republican primary with choices that aren't Donald Trump

We need an active, robust Republican primary with choices that aren't Donald TrumpThe presidency hasn’t changed Trump, he is changing the presidency. I hope he gets more primary challengers. Give Republicans a chance to reject him.



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'That is ridiculous': Andrew Gillum rips Rick Santorum for claiming guns aren't 'problem' in mass shootings

'That is ridiculous': Andrew Gillum rips Rick Santorum for claiming guns aren't 'problem' in mass shootingsFormer Tallahassee, Fla., Mayor Andrew Gillum slammed former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's stance on gun control as “ridiculous” for saying guns are not the “problem” in mass shootings.



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Trump administration says transgender workers aren't protected by civil rights, Supreme Court filing reveals

Trump administration says transgender workers aren't protected by civil rights, Supreme Court filing revealsDonald Trump's administration has told the Supreme Court that transgender workers are not protected by federal civil rights law and can be fired because of their gender.The US government is arguing workers should only be protected from discrimination based on their “biological sex”, court filings have revealed.A Supreme Court ruling in favour of the administration’s position would set a legal precedent, marking a major setback for LGBTQ rights since the Obama administration.The court filing relates to an upcoming court case involving transgender funeral home worker Aimee Stephens, who was fired from her job after telling her employer about her transition.“In 1964, the ordinary public meaning of 'sex' was biological sex. It did not encompass transgender status,” the document filed on Friday reads.The 1964 Civil Rights Act states employers cannot discriminate based on sex, race, colour, religion, and national origin. “Title VII [of the act] does not prohibit discrimination against transgender persons based on their transgender status,” the filing argues. “It simply does not speak to discrimination because of an individual’s gender identity or a disconnect between an individual’s gender identity and the individual’s sex.”Under Barack Obama, the Justice Department decreed that Title VII did protect transgender workers. This meant Court of Appeals judges sided with Stephens in 2018.But former attorney general Jeff Sessions reversed the government's stance after Mr Trump took office in 2017.The Trump administration has since banned transgender people from joining the US military, reversing an Obama-era policy that allowed them to openly serve.The ban, which puts 14,700 jobs at risk, was formally upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this year.Mr Trump has previously claimed to be “perhaps the most pro-LGBT presidential nominee in the history of the Republican Party”.The Supreme Court will hear Stephens's case on 8 October. It is one of three cases concerning LGBTQ workers rights expected to come before the court in the autumn.



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15 Fun, Affordable Cars That Aren't Likely to Depreciate

15 Fun, Affordable Cars That Aren't Likely to Depreciate



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Democrats aren't shying away from debating Biden's record

Democrats aren't shying away from debating Biden's record



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Red-Blooded American Car Brands Aren't What They Used to Be

Red-Blooded American Car Brands Aren't What They Used to Be



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