February 17, 2012

Black tip reef shark     Photo: Xplore Dive/Flickr

Shark Fin Suppliers Sue CA Over Ban

Group says law oversteps state's authority

A group of shark fin suppliers is suing California over a recent state-wide ban on the sale or possession of fins. The San Francisco-based Asian American Rights Committee of California argues that the ban infringes on Congress's authority to regulate interstate commerce. "By outlawing the acquisition, possession, or sale of all shark fins in California, the shark fin ban not only burdens but entirely eliminates this interstate trade," the group said in a filing. On Thursday, President Obama caused a stir when he visited one of the few San Francisco restaurants that still serves shark fin soup; while the ban went into effect in January, the sale of fins already in the state is permitted until July 2013. Advocates of the ban say it will help protect endangered shark species.

Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle

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People sleeping in an airport     Photo: feline_dacat

Air Australia Strands 4,000 Passengers

Airline out of cash, can't pay for fuel

On Friday, at least 4,000 Air Australia passengers were stranded in airports in Hawaii and Thailand after the airline ran out of money to refuel its planes. Travelers have been told they must find alternate ways to their destinations. Company executives put the airline into voluntary administration overnight, a legal move similar to bankruptcy. "[Passengers] need to manage their own affairs. They actively should be trying to find another airline," said Mark Morda, a company spokesman. Some 100,000 tickets already sold for future flights may not be honored. Hawaiian Airlines announced that it would offer "rescue fares" to stranded Air Australia customers.

Read more at the Herald Sun

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African elephant at a waterhole     Photo: Derek Keats/Flickr

Cameroon Rocked by Poaching Spree

200 elephants dead in park this year

Some 200 elephants have died at the hands of poachers already this year in Cameroon's Bouba Ndjida National Park, conservation groups said on Friday, in what may be a response to growing demand in Asia for ivory. "We are talking about a very serious case of trans-frontier poaching, involving well-armed poachers with modern weapons from Sudan and Chad who are decimating this wildlife species," said local governor Gambo Haman. Cross-boarder poaching, though common during Cameroon's dry season, has never reached this level. A group of poachers is also believed responsible for killing six Chadian soldiers who were trying to seize a shipment of ivory.

Read more at Reuters

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Wolf Creek Pass, Colorado     Photo: Zach Dischner/Flickr

Off-Duty Patroller Killed in Colorado

Avalanche death is second this week

An off-duty Keystone Mountain ski patroller died in an avalanche in southern Colorado on Thursday, becoming the state's sixth avalanche fatality of the season and the second in four days. According to the Summit Daily, the man was a first-year patroller from New Zealand. The Mineral County Sheriff's department has not yet released his name. The man was skiing with two partners in a backcountry area on Wolf Creek pass, of Route 160 near Wolf Creek Ski Area. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center on Thursday issued a special warning for backcountry skiers in Colorado. "Over the last week seven people have been caught in avalanches," the Center wrote. "Very large avalanches have been reported across the state." In December, 2010, the head of Wolf Creek's ski patrol was killed in an inbounds avalanche, the first in-bounds patroller death in Colorado since 1993.

Read more at the Denver Post

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