Clinton vows to support U.S. coal regions while embracing cleaner energy

WASHINGTON Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Tuesday said the United States must move toward a cleaner energy future but not forget those who work in the coal industry."We've got to both move toward a clean energy future ... but we also have to remember who turned on the lights and powered the factories and provided the energy that we needed to build our country," Clinton said, speaking from West Virginia in an interview with MSNBC. (Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Alistair Bell)

Read more

Circus lions rescued in South America arrive in new African home

JOHANNESBURG A group of 33 lions rescued from circuses in Peru and Columbia arrived by plane in Johannesburg on Saturday to begin a new life in the African bush.The final destination for the animals, which were flown in on a chartered cargo flight, will be the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, a 5,000 hectare reserve on a private estate in South Africa's northern Limpopo province.Cleared by a state vet, the cats grunted and roared as the crates containing them were loaded onto trucks for the last leg of their journey by road several hours north of Johannesburg."Everyone traveled pretty well. They only had airline food and they are looking forward to a good meal now," said Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International (ADI), which organized the rescues and the airlift operation. ADI said 24 of the cats had been taken from circuses in Peru, part of a menagerie of over 100 animals rescued with the help of Peruvian officials cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking. Bears, monkeys and other wildlife scooped up in the operations in Peru have been transferred to sanctuaries in the South American country and a tiger has been flown to Florida. The nine lions from Columbia were voluntarily surrendered from a circus. ADI said both countries have banned the use of wild animals in circuses.The lions would not survive in the African wild as many have been declawed or have had teeth smashed or removed, one is almost blind and another is missing an eye. "At their new home at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, the lions will enjoy large natural enclosures situated in pristine African bush, complete with drinking pools, platforms and toys," ADI said in a statement.  "The lion habitats will be steadily expanded over the coming months as the lions become familiar with their new life and are introduced to each other," it said. (Writing by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Susan Thomas)

Read more

Britain's Queen Elizabeth features with Obamas in light-hearted charity video

LONDON Britain's Queen Elizabeth has appeared with U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle in a light-hearted video to promote a sporting event for injured British, American and allied military personnel. Prince Harry, the queen's grandson, launched the first of the Invictus games in London in 2014 and the second will take place in Orlando, Florida between May 8 and May 12, featuring athletics, cycling, swimming, volleyball and other sports.The video shows Harry and his grandmother receiving a video message from the Obamas on a smartphone, in which they promise strong U.S. sporting competition. Elizabeth, 90, responds by saying "Oh really, please." Harry says "Boom" and imitates a gesture made by a U.S. serviceman shown in the background of the Obamas' message.The Obamas visited the queen and her husband Prince Philip at Windsor Castle last week during a state visit to Britain and also dined with Harry and his elder brother Prince William. Elizabeth, the world's oldest monarch, previously appeared in a video to promote the 2012 London Olympics. (Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Ros Russell)

Read more

Britain's Queen Elizabeth features with Obamas in light-hearted charity video

LONDON Britain's Queen Elizabeth has appeared with U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle in a light-hearted video to promote a sporting event for injured British, American and allied military personnel. Prince Harry, the queen's grandson, launched the first of the Invictus games in London in 2014 and the second will take place in Orlando, Florida between May 8 and May 12, featuring athletics, cycling, swimming, volleyball and other sports.The video shows Harry and his grandmother receiving a video message from the Obamas on a smartphone, in which they promise strong U.S. sporting competition. Elizabeth, 90, responds by saying "Oh really, please." Harry says "Boom" and imitates a gesture made by a U.S. serviceman shown in the background of the Obamas' message.The Obamas visited the queen and her husband Prince Philip at Windsor Castle last week during a state visit to Britain and also dined with Harry and his elder brother Prince William. Elizabeth, the world's oldest monarch, previously appeared in a video to promote the 2012 London Olympics. (Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Ros Russell)

Read more

Africa leaders, conservationists seek end to slaughter of elephants, rhinos

MOUNT KENYA, Kenya The future of Africa's elephants and rhinos depends on the ability of the continent's nations to battle together against poaching, Kenya's president and conservationists said on Friday as they met at an East African summit.Signaling its commitment, Kenya will burn 105 tonnes of seized ivory on Saturday, seeking to send a message that the real value of tusks when they are on the live animals that draw tourists to Africa's savannas and forests, where herds have been decimated.From 1.2 million in the 1970s, the number of elephants roaming Africa has plunged to around 400,000. Poaching exceeded 30,000 a year between 2010 to 2012, threatening to wipe them out in some African regions. The future for Rhinos, now numbering less than 30,000, is even more bleak if poaching is not checked."The poachers do not care about national borders, nor do the criminal gangs who smuggle illegal wildlife parts out of the continent. There is no solution to this struggle that can be implemented by one country alone," Kenyatta said in a statement before the Giants Club summit which he is due to address.“This is a continental issue," Ian Craig, director of Kenya's Northern Rangelands Trust, told the gathering, saying Africans needed to build on successes made since a 2012 poaching peak. "As Africa, we need to coordinate our efforts."In Kenya, 93 elephants were killed in 2015, down from 384 in 2012. But conservations say the East African nation remains a transit point for poached wildlife parts from other countries. Leaders from Uganda and Gabon also joined the summit to outline their efforts to curb illegal hunting by poachers, who in some regions have in the past used belt-fed machine guns to mow down dozens of animals at a time.Botwana's president had been due to attend. It was not immediately clear why he did not turn up. While supporting the battle against poaching, Botswana has opposed burning ivory.Conservationists have called for action ranging from improved prosecution of poachers to slashing demand for ivory and rhino horn abroad, most of it coming from Asia. "Political will, that is the key ingredient," Max Graham, the founder and chief executive officer of charity Space for Giants, speaking before the summit.His group seeks to share techniques to combat poaching and protect habitats for elephants and rhinos.Ol Pejeta Conservancy has been at the forefront of those initiatives, protecting and slowly starting to rebuild Kenya's rhino numbers. Airborne rapid reaction rangers, a helicopter with night vision and better intelligence in the local community helped. But it seems too late for the northern white rhino. Just three individuals of the species remain, guarded 24 hours at the Ol Pejeta site. Scientists are racing against time to work out ways on reproductive techniques for the aging animals.There have also been gains made in stemming international trade in ivory and rhino horn. China and the United States, two of the biggest ivory markets, announced plans last year to enact almost complete bans on imports and exports.The ivory price in Hong Kong, a major trade route to China which also announced plans for a sales ban, has fallen to about $380 per kg from $1,500 per kg in 2014, Peter Knights, executive director of WildAid which campaigns to end the trade, told Reuters."It is never fast enough, but it is definitely heading in the right direction," he said. (Writing by Edmund Blair)

Read more
Older Post