12 Republican senators so far have broken with their party to support a bill codifying same-sex marriage
The bill surpassed the 60-vote threshold during a procedural vote on Wednesday, clearing the way for final passage in the Senate later this week.The vote tally was 62-37, with 12 Republicans joining every Democrat in support.
In one of the most polluted rivers in Central America, a vulnerable crocodile species is thriving despite living in waters that have become a sewer for Costa Rica's capital, experts say. © Ezequiel BECERRA A crocodile swims amid garbage in the Tarcoles River, one of the most polluted in Central America. This species is thriving despite the toxic waters
Every day, trash and wastewater from San Jose households and factories flood into the Tarcoles River, which vomits tires and plastic into the surrounding mangroves. © Alberto Peña View of the Tarcoles River, one of the most polluted in Central America, as it flows into the Pacific Ocean.
Nevertheless, some 2,000 American Crocodiles have adapted to life in the toxic river that bears witness to the country's decades-long battle with waste management.
Western cities agree to remove decorative grass amid drought
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A group of 30 agencies that supply water to homes and businesses throughout the western United States has pledged to rip up lots of decorative grass to help keep water in the over-tapped Colorado River. The agreement signed Tuesday by water agencies in Southern California, Phoenix and Salt Lake City and elsewhere illustrates an accelerating shift in the American West away from well-manicured grass that has long been a totem of suburban life, having taken root alongside streets, around fountains and between office park walkways.
"It is a super-contaminated area, but this has not affected the crocodile population," said Ivan Sandoval, a biologist with the National University of Costa Rica.
"The Tarcoles River is the most polluted river in Costa Rica, and one of the most contaminated in Central America. Heavy metals, nitrites, nitrates, and a large amount of human waste can be found," added the crocodile expert. © Ezequiel BECERRA Birds perch amid garbage-strewn branches on the Tarcoles River
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are only about 5,000 of the crocodile species -- found in 18 countries -- left in the world after decades of hunting and habitat loss. © Ezequiel BECERRA A crocodile lurks in the contaminated Tarcoles River, unphased by the toxic water
The organization lists the Crocodylus acutus as "vulnerable," but says its numbers have increased in recent years. The Costa Rica population is "healthy and robust."
Largest dam removal in US history approved
The federal government has approved the largest dam removal in U.S. history. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has given the final stamp of approval for four dams along the lower Klamath River to be removed, reinstating access to more than 300 miles of habitat for salmon and improving water quality. After years of talks, FERC said on Thursday that they "approve the surrender of the Lower Klamath Project license and the proposed removal of the four project developments [the dams].
Indeed, the large reptiles -- basking in the sun and occasionally feeding on fish that come up the channel from the sea -- appear unphased by some 150 types of bacteria that Sandoval says have been detected in the river.
He describes the carnivores as "living fossils" with the capacity to survive very tough conditions.
"They haven't had to change anything in millions of years, they are perfectly designed."
- Laws not applied -
Sandoval said that since 1980, Costa Rica's population of the crocodiles "are recovering," and warns of the threat of tourist activities.
The river's crocodiles are a major draw for foreign visitors, who take boat tours to see the creatures up close.
Some feed the animals, which is prohibited, and Sandoval worries about them getting too used to being close to people.
Juan Carlos Buitrago, 48, who captains one of the tour boats, says he and other locals regularly pull hundreds of tires and plastic waste from the water.
He delights in the fauna of the river, with macaws flying over ahead at sunset, but wishes his countrymen would stop polluting his "office."
"We cannot hide the pollution," he tells AFP.
Costa Rica has impressive environmental credentials, with a third of its territory marked for protection, 98 percent renewable energy, and 53 percent forest cover, according to the UN's environmental agency.
However, the law is not always strictly applied, as in the case of the Tarcoles River.
Lawyer and environmentalist Walter Brenes, 34, said that all of Costa Rica's rules and regulations "do not solve the problem."
He said the country needs "real public policy that is completely aimed at protecting wildlife."
Radio host dubs Teresa Giudice ‘rudest person ever’ after interview .
If you’re not about the namaste, get the hell out of her way. Boston radio personality Billy Costa slammed Teresa Giudice as an “idiot,” “nothing,” and a “monster” after she allegedly “attacked” him in a live interview on Monday. “She was easily, hands down, the rudest person I’ve ever interviewed,” the radio host, 69, said on his “Billy & Lisa in the Morning” show after the interview ended. The “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star, 50, appeared on the program to promote an event she’s co-hosting in Lynn, Mass. However, the interview took a turn once Costa asked the Bravo star about writing her book “Turning the Tables” following her 11-month stint in prison in 2015.