Tuesday, February 20, 2018
News Roundup

U.S., Mexico and Canada are asked to protect monarch butterflies

The annual migration to Mexico of millions of orange-and-black monarch butterflies is one of the nation's cherished rituals. But it could come to a virtual halt if the insect's natural habitat is not urgently salvaged.

That is the conclusion of a long list of scientists, artists and environmentalists who are calling on the leaders of Mexico, the United States and Canada to act swiftly to protect butterfly breeding grounds. President Barack Obama, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper are to meet in Mexico on Wednesday to discuss economic, trade and other issues.

Though the number of butterflies that travel thousands of miles across North America to Mexico has been declining fairly steadily for years, the migration has never been in more danger than now, the activists say.

They blame two developments: rampant illegal logging in Mexico that destroys the oyamel fir forests where the insects alight and spend the winter, and eradication of the milkweed plants in the United States where the butterflies lay their eggs and where monarch caterpillars eat. The milkweed is being destroyed by insecticides in the planting of corn.

"It is ecological genocide," Homero Aridjis, a prominent Mexican poet and advocate for the butterfly, said in an interview.

In a letter to the North American leaders written by Aridjis and signed by more than 100 well-known academics and others, several solutions are proposed, including the planting of milkweed on the sides and medians of the vast network of U.S. roads that generally follow the migration.

Comments
Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, calls relative after being reported missing

Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, calls relative after being reported missing

Seven months ago, Jalyssa Shannon’s older sister Janessa went missing, sparking a frantic search that ended with the discovery of the 13-year-old’s body in a Hillsborough County nature preserve and, later, the arrest of the girls’ father in her murde...
Updated: 1 hour ago

High school scoreboard for Feb. 19

Monday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 11, Central 0
Updated: 3 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., Feb. 19, midday:46 278 6907e_SRit78769Mon., Feb. 19, evening:59 597 4363e_SRit97936Fantasy 5Mon., Feb. 19...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Updated: 3 hours ago
Water Wars starting to simmer again in Tampa Bay

Water Wars starting to simmer again in Tampa Bay

CLEARWATER — A simmering feud between Tampa and the regional water authority avoided boiling over Monday, but little was resolved.At a Tampa Bay Water meeting, board members requested Tampa work with the agency on the city’s plan to convert tens of m...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Associated PressST. PETERSBURG, Russia — While Russian officials scoff at a U.S. indictment charging 13 Russians with meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, several people who worked at the same St. Petersburg, Russia, "troll factory" say t...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Man sought in sexual assault of woman, 71, in New Port Richey

Man sought in sexual assault of woman, 71, in New Port Richey

NEW PORT RICHEY — Deputies are searching for a man who they said broke into a home and raped a 71-year-old woman on Monday.The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said the woman was checking on a home at 7437 Heather St. for the homeowner at about 8:15 a.m...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Associated PressWEST PALM BEACH — From the confines of his Mar-a-Lago golf club, President Donald Trump offered support Monday for a limited strengthening of federal background checks on gun purchases while staying largely mum in the past few days ab...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Puerto RicoJudge grants $300M loan for power companyA federal judge on Monday approved a $300 million loan for Puerto Rico’s power company that officials say will help keep the troubled agency operating until late March. The judge had originally reje...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Grief-filled funerals also can be cathartic

Grief-filled funerals also can be cathartic

PARKLAND — Each funeral for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High massacre is different, yet the same: the mourning relatives, teens walking in clutches wearing black, politicians paying their respects, media cameras pointing at the entran...
Updated: 4 hours ago