The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared the Western black rhino extinct. Rhino populations worldwide are threatened by poachers, who stand to earn up to $200,000 for the sale of a large rhino horn. “In the case of both the Western Black Rhino and the Northern White Rhino the situation could have had very different results if the suggested conservation measures had been implemented," said Simon Stuart, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.
The women's marathon world record set by Paula Radcliffe in 2003 will stand, despite the advent of new rules mandating that women's marathon world records be set in women-only races. The IAAF announced the decision on Wednesday. Radcliffe, 37, set the 2-hour, 15 minute, 25-second mark at the London Olympics, a mixed-gender race, and track officials later expressed concerns that she had benefitted from male pace-setters. The IAAF is now widely expected to implement a two-track system that recognizes times set in mixed-gender races separately from those achieved in women-only races.
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Two weeks before a ban on the sale of bottled water was to go into effect in Grand Canyon National Park last January, the top federal parks official abruptly blocked the initiative after consulting with Coca-Cola. In emails leaked to the New York Times and released on Thursday, the top federal parks official, Jon Jarvis, “reiterated his decision to have the Grand Canyon hold off on implementation” until “we have hosted a meeting with the major producers of bottled water.” The Coca-Cola company distributes the Dasani bottled water brand and has donated more than $13 million to the parks. Before Jarvis stepped in to indefinitely postpone the bottle ban, the park had installed water "filling stations" for reusable bottles at a cost of about $300,000. Disposable plastic bottles make up 30 percent of waste in the Grand Canyon and account for the single largest source of trash found inside the park.
Read more at the New York Times
A Boulder, Colorado, woman stole her bicyle back after seeing it advertised on Craigslist. Kathryn Lucas had left the bike locked outside a sports bar. When she discovered it missing, she scanned Craigslist and spotted a similar bike, a black Trek 1.2 with red handlebar tape. She emailed the seller, Denzel Crawford, and arranged to see the bike. Upon determining it was her bike, she went for a test ride—directly to her car. Police later apprehended Crawford, who admitted to stealing the bike.
Read more at Denver 7
A French court convicted cyclist Floyd Landis in absentia on Thursday for his part in a hacking scheme designed to obtain records of his doping tests in 2006. Landis, who lost his 2006 Tour de France title and later admitted to doping, denied that he had hired a hacker to infiltrate the French Anti-Doping Laboratory. The court handed down a 12-month suspended sentence, 6 months shorter than the prosecutors had requested. Landis’ trainer, Arnie Baker, was also convicted and received the same sentence.
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The State Department will reassess the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, delaying a final decision about the project until at least early 2013. The announcement is a major victory for environmentalists and comes in the wake of a two-month activist campaign waged in part over concerns that the line would harm sensitive ecological areas in Nebraska. On Thursday afternoon, President Obama released a statement agreeing with the delay: “Because this permit decision could affect the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment, and because a number of concerns have been raised through a public process, we should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed," he said. Russ Girling, the head of pipeline operator TransCanada, has said that further delays could severely hamper or kill the project.
Read more at The Washington Post