Man Defending Amazon Shot

Man Defending Amazon Shot

Activist death is the fifth since May

Obede Loyla Souza, an anti-logging activist who confronted illegal loggers in January, was found dead over the weekend from a gunshot wound to the head. Witnesses say they saw four loggers in a pickup truck searching for Souza shortly before he is believed to have died last week. Souza's death is the latest in a violent conflict between loggers and environmental activists in Brazil, five of whom, plus a witness, have been killed since May. Over the past 20 years, illegal loggers have killed as many as 1,500 activists protesting deforestation in the Amazon, which grew at an alarming rate last year, likely from increased demand for soybean plantations.

Read more at the Guardian

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What Happened to Antarctic Tourism?

What Happened to Antarctic Tourism?

Travel to the continent may drop 25 percent

Three-thousand fewer people visited Antarctica last year, down 8.3 percent from the 36,875 visitors recorded the year before. The International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators expects the total to drop even further for the upcoming 2011-2012 travel season, when an environmental ban on the cruise ship fuel oils from the International Maritime Organization goes into effect in August. Last year, only a slim majority of Antarctic tourists set foot on the continent. The rest sailed through the Southern Ocean, a famous destination for glacier sightseeing. In February 2010, a chunk of ice the size of Luxembourg moved into the ocean off the continent's eastern coast.

Read More from gadling.com

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Plastic Giants Sue Eco Company

Plastic Giants Sue Eco Company

Suit says ChicoBag made false claims.

Three of the nation's largest plastic-bag manufacturers are suing ChicoBag over claims about the environmental damage their products cause. Hilex, Superbag, and Advance Polybag allege that ChicoBag, a maker of reusable bags, misled consumers and caused their businesses "irreparable injury" by publishing information on ChicoBag's "Learn The Facts" page. The site contains information on plastic bag waste sourced from scientific studies and newspaper reports. At issue is ChicoBag's use of EPA claims that only one percent of plastic bags are recycled and that a reusable bag only needs to be used eleven times to be more eco-friendly than disposable bags; the agency has since backed down from both figures. The case is tentatively scheduled to go to trial in January.

Read more at the New York Times.

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Breck Expansion Isn't Done Deal

Breck Expansion Isn't Done Deal

Forest Service says Denver Post jumped the gun

A June 11 Denver Post article reported that Forest Service officials had approved a 550-acre development at Breckenridge Ski Resort, which would include a high-speed ski lift, new trails, and a 150-person lodge. But on Tuesday, Forest Service project leader Roger Poirier told the Summit County Citizen's Voice that the Post story was premature. "Contrary to what was printed in the Denver Post, no decision has been made yet," Poirier said. Instead, the agency will not finalize any plans until the conclusion of a 45-day open comment period. Still, some expansion will go forward—it's the details that remain up in the air. The plan has long been opposed by environmental groups, who have raised concerns over Lynx habitat destruction and watershed damage.

Read more at the Summit Country Citizens Voice

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No More El Cap Report

No More El Cap Report

Long-running Yosemite climbing blog closes.

After four years of documenting climbs on America's most iconic big wall, Yosemite-based blogger Tom Evans is closing his El Cap Report blog. Evans began the blog in 2007, photographing and tracking the progress of each party on El Capitan's main routes from his spot on El Capitan Bridge over the Merced River. Among the exploits he caught on film were Alex Honnold's record rope solo of the Nose and Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson's attempt at freeing the Dawn Wall. In his final report, Evans, who turns 67 in a few days, wrote that running the blog had become too time-consuming and that he felt it was time to "let it go and get out and do the other things I love to do in Yosemite."

Read more at Climbing Narc

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French Police Stop Contador

French Police Stop Contador

Cyclist Forced off His Bike

Alberto Contador, the recent Giro d'Italia champion and the reigning Tour de France winner, abandoned a training ride for this year's tour in the French Alps on Wednesday after a French policeman cited him for riding without lights. Contador was riding in daylight, but the route he chose—a descent of the Galibier pass—runs through several dark tunnels. Contador argued that his team car provided enough light. The officer disagreed, and Contador's ride ended there.

Read more from the Associated Press

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FBI Steps Into Armstrong Doping Feud

FBI Steps Into Armstrong Doping Feud

Was it a not-so-cordial conversation, or witness tampering?

The latest in the Lance Armstrong saga took another turn on Tuesday when Federal agents requested surveillance tapes from Cache Cache, the Aspen, Colorado restaurant where Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton had words on Saturday night. (Outside's Abe Streep was the first to report the incident.) In May, Hamilton told 60 Minutes that he saw Armstrong take performance enhancing drugs. But Hamilton also told a grand jury about Armstrong's alleged drug use last year, which means a threat from Armstrong could constitute witness tampering. Armstrong says the two men had a tense but civil conversation at Cache Cache; Hamilton says Armstrong threatened to make his life a living hell if the case went to trial. Non-violent witness tampering is a federal crime, and a conviction could bring a jail sentence of up to 20 years.

Read More from The New York Times

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Legendary Runner Charged with Murder

Legendary Runner Charged with Murder

Tim Danielson ran 3:59.4 in 1966; now he's in jail.

Only five high schoolers in American history have run under four minutes in the mile, and the second to do it, Tim Danielson, is now in jail for allegedly killing his wife and then trying to kill himself. According to San Diego-area news reports, Danielson, 63, was taken to the hospital early Monday with severe carbon monoxide poisoning. Emergency personnel found Danielson's ex wife dead from a gunshot wound and a generator running in the couple's bedroom. Authorities arrived after Danielson's sister-in-law received what would have been a suicide note claiming responsibility for the killing. Since Danielson ran sub-4, only three American high schoolers have dipped under the barrier. The most recent prep sub-4 came Saturday in New York, when 18-year-old Lukas Verzbicas ran 3:59.71.

Read More from Sign On San Diego

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FDA Cracks Down on Sunscreen Manufacturers

FDA Cracks Down on Sunscreen Manufacturers

New rules about SPF can help you decide what to buy now.

The Food and Drug Administration—after 33 years of deliberation—is finally cracking down on sunscreens that embellish SPF ratings and fail to provide protection from ultraviolet A rays, the ones scientists think may cause cancer. Most sunblocks provide protection from UVB rays, which cause sunburn, but many don't block the more-dangerous UVA rays. Beginning next summer, sunscreens with both broad-spectrum UVA and UVB coverage, plus an SPF rating of between 15 and 50, will get the administration's seal of approval. The FDA doesn't believe a rating of greater than SPF 50 is possible and will ask sunscreen manufacturers to cap the number there. Claims that sunscreens are water- and sweat-proof, which FDA scientists call "exaggerations," will also be prohibited. 

Read More from the Associated Press.

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What's Wrong with the Gulf of Mexico Now?

What's Wrong with the Gulf of Mexico Now?

Scientists predict the biggest Dead Zone ever.

A season of heavy flooding in the Mississippi River valley has poured fertilizer into the Gulf, sending nitrogen levels 35 percent higher than the 32-year average. The runoff water is perfect for algae blooms, which consume oxygen and cause marine life to abandon the northern Gulf or die. The dead zone is now on track to cover between 8,500 and 9,400 square miles, more than the 8,400 square miles recorded in 2002. The extra runoff is also slowing recovery from last summer's Deepwater Horizon disaster, which released upwards of 200 million gallons of oil into the ocean.

Read More from Reuters.

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