1. A federal judge in Hawaii has put Trump’s travel ban on hold
For the second time, a federal court on Wednesday blocked President Donald Trump's efforts to freeze immigration by refugees and citizens of some predominantly Muslim nations, putting the president's revised travel ban on hold just hours before it was to take effect.
This time, the ruling came from a judge in Hawaii who rejected the government's claims that the travel ban is about national security, not discrimination. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson also said Hawaii would suffer financially if the executive order constricted the flow of students and tourists to the state, and that Hawaii was likely to succeed on a claim that the ban violates First Amendment protections against religious discrimination.
2. Trump's first budget boosts military and cuts domestic programs
President Donald Trump has finalized his first budget for the federal government, a blueprint that would make deep cuts in the Environmental Protection Agency and other domestic programs while significantly increasing spending on the military.
Trump has boasted that the expected increase for the military will be "one of the single largest increases in defense spending history in this country." He also predicted that under his leadership the armed forces will become "bigger, better, stronger than ever before."
Republicans have groused about some of the preliminary plans, including elimination of the $3 billion community development block grant program that's popular among local GOP officials; a 25 percent cut to the EPA and elimination of 3,000 jobs; and the scuttling, essentially, of a $300 million per-year program to clean up the Great Lakes.
3. Some scientists think that global warming will shrink certain warm-blooded mammals (but not humans ?????)
A new study says warm-blooded animals got smaller at least twice in Earth’s history when carbon dioxide levels soared and temperatures spiked as part of a natural warming.
University of New Hampshire researcher Abigail D’Ambrosia warned that mammals — but not people — could shrivel in the future under even faster man-made warming.
“It’s something we need to keep an eye out for,” said D’Ambrosia, who led the new work. “The question is how fast are we going to see these changes.”
Three different species shrank noticeably about 54 million years ago when the planet suddenly heated up. One of them — an early, compact horse — got 14 percent smaller, going from about 17 pounds to 14.6 pounds, according to an analysis of fossil teeth.
“These guys were probably about the size of maybe a dog, then they dwarfed,” said D’Ambrosia. “They may have gone down to the size of a cat.”
Another creature that contracted was a lemur-like animal that’s the earliest known primate. It shrank about 4 percent; while it may not seem like much, it’s noticeable because studies of the animal over millions of years showed it was usually getting bigger over time.
4. Two Minnesota men are accused of running traplines that included more than 600 illegally set snares for wildlife across four Northeastern Minnesota counties.
Douglas Anthony Marana, 70, and Roderick Robert Kottom, 68, both of Chisholm, were each charged Monday with four counts of illegal trapping activities after a two-year investigation by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in State District Court in Duluth.
The complaint states that the investigation resulted in the seizure of 638 illegal snares on trap lines operated by the two defendants.
“That is such a number that it’s unheard of,” said Tom Provost, DNR regional enforcement supervisor in Grand Rapids. “This number of sets has not been surpassed in Minnesota before. Our average for fail-to-attend traps or snares would be one to 10. Ten would be a big number in any other case.”
The charges for each trapper include gross misdemeanor charges of illegally taking or possessing pine marten, otter, fisher or wolverine; misdemeanor charges of failure to check snares daily; misdemeanor charges of using snares larger than permitted; and petty misdemeanor charges of using untagged traps or snares.
5. Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese gives OK for Catholics to eat meat this Friday
It’s OK for Catholics to eat meat this Friday, being that it’s St. Patrick’s Day and all.
That’s the word from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which has announced that Archbishop Bernard Hebda has given permission to the region’s estimated 825,000 Catholics and any other Catholics visiting to not observe the rule that bars eating meat on Fridays during Lent.
“It has been noted … that Friday of the second week of Lent this year corresponds with St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), which has traditionally been an occasion for joy-filled celebrations in this Archdiocese,” according to a Feb. 22 letter from Chancellor Susan Mulheron to church members and clergy. “Having consulted with the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council and taken into consideration both past practice and present circumstances, and having judged that it would serve the common spiritual good, Archbishop Hebda has granted to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, as well as any visitors or travelers who may be physically present within the territory of this Archdiocese, a dispensation from the obligation of abstinence from meat on March 17, 2017.”
Lent, the a period of penance for Christians, began March 1 and continues through April 14.
“Those taking advantage of the dispensation, however, are exhorted to undertake a work of charity, an exercise of piety, or an act of comparable penance on some other occasion during the Second Week of Lent,” the letter states.