September 24, 2012
Plane landing at Philadelphia International Airport

Plane landing at Philadelphia International Airport.     Photo: michaelwm25/Flickr

Senate Blocks E.U. Carbon Tax

Shields airlines from paying

In a late-night session before a recess leading up to the November 6 elections, the Senate unanimously approved a bill that would shield all U.S. airlines from paying a tax for carbon emissions on European flights. The European Commission had been enforcing the law, conceived in 2008 by the 27-nation European Union, since January of this year, and, until now, nearly all airlines have complied. "The Senate's action ... will ensure that U.S. air carriers and passengers will not be paying down European debt through this illegal tax and can instead be investing in creating jobs and stimulating our own economy," Republican Senator John Thune said in a statement. The Senate bill must now be reconciled with legislation passed in the House last year.

Via Reuters


Tour of California peloton.     Photo: Jim Bahn

Tygart: I Got Death Threats

For Lance Armstrong investigation

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency head Travis Tygart said this week that he had received death threats over his agency's investigation of Lance Armstrong. In an interview published in France's L'Equipe on Monday, Tygart said he went to the FBI after receiving three threats against him. "I accept being accused, mistreated. That's me, the public face of USADA. Am I a target? I won't shirk my responsibility," Tygart said. USADA and Tygart are scheduled to provide evidence of Armstrong's doping to the International Cycling Union by the end of the month.

Via Sports Illustrated


    Photo: geopungo/Flickr

Giant Panda Cub Found Dead

Born at National Zoo on September 16

The unnamed, week-old giant panda cub at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., has died. On Sunday, after hearing sounds of distress coming from the cub’s mother, 14-year-old Mei Xiang, staff members worked for over an hour to retrieve the cub, which they found to be unresponsive. Veterinarians attempted to revive the cub, only to pronounce it dead six minutes after retrieval. It showed no outward signs of illness, according to officials. The cub, unnamed in keeping with the Chinese tradition of naming new-born pandas 100 days after birth, was born on September 16 by artificial insemination. Mei Xiang had failed in her previous five pregnancy attempts since 2007, and her chances of having another successful pregnancy were believed to be around 10 percent. The father was 15-year-old Tian Tian. “These bears are so critically endangered that every cub is important,” said Dennis Kelly, the zoo’s director. “This is devastating for all of us here.”

Via The New York Times


Killer Whales

Killer Whales     Photo: Ashley Coates/Flickr

SeaWorld To Fight OSHA Ruling

Appeals federal ruling

SeaWorld, which has not placed trainers in the water during shows featuring killer whales since the 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau in front of stunned spectators in Orlando, Florida, is ready to start allowing contact again. There's only one thing standing in the way: In May, Administrative Law Judge Kenneth Welsch ruled in favor of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), barring physical contact between animals and their trainers. SeaWorld, which is owned by private equity firm Blackstone Group and operates parks in San Antonio and San Diego in addition to Orlando, appealed that ruling on Friday. "We have added numerous safety measures to our already industry-leading killer whale program," the company said in a statement. "It should be noted that physical contact and in-water interaction with these animals is a critical component of both husbandry and trainer safety."

Via Reuters