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Biden Is Touring Collapsed Baltimore Bridge Where Recovery Effort Has Political Overtones

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Washington — President Joe Biden is due to see firsthand attempts to remove the huge remnants of Baltimore’s fallen Francis Scott Key Bridge on Friday as cranes, ships, and dive crews strive to reopen one of the country’s main commerce lanes.

Biden will receive briefings from the United States Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers. On March 26, a sizable cargo ship struck and destroyed the bridge while eight laborers, all of whom were immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador, were patching potholes on it. Two guys were saved, but only two of the six people who perished have been found.

Biden Is Touring Collapsed Baltimore Bridge Where Recovery Effort Has Political Overtones

The president intends to meet with the families of the victims.

Officials have developed a temporary, alternate lane for debris-removal vessels. According to the White House, the Army Corps of Engineers hopes to open a limited-access route for barge cargo ships and certain vessels transporting vehicles and farm equipment by the end of this month, with normal capacity restored to Baltimore’s port by May 31.

That is significant because more delays in reopening shipping lanes could send shockwaves across the economy. Baltimore’s port handles up to $200 million daily cargo and is the primary hub for automotive imports and exports.

Covering the price of cleanup and construction of a new bridge may be a more pressing worry.

The Federal Highway Administration has allocated $60 million in “quick release” emergency relief funding to get things underway. The exact cost of the collapse is unknown, but some experts predict it will cost at least $400 million and take 18 months to recover.

Within hours of the collapse, Biden stated, “the federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing that bridge, and I expect Congress to support my effort.” Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Dan Meuser termed the commitment made so soon after the catastrophe “outrageous,” telling Fox News Channel, “The first reaction, in fact the only reaction, tends to be to spend.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was more sympathetic to Biden’s request, comparing the bridge collapse to the help that follows natural disasters and stating that “the federal government will step up and do the lion’s share” of funding. However, obtaining authority in Congress is a challenging task.

The White House stated Friday that it would recommend that Congress authorize the federal government to bear 100% of the expenses of cleaning up and rebuilding the fallen bridge rather than requesting cash through a separate, emergency supplemental request.

In a letter to congressional leaders, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young stated that similar techniques were used for recovery and rebuilding efforts that received bipartisan congressional support in 2007, when a highway bridge in downtown Minneapolis collapsed during evening rush hour, killing 13 people.

“We are asking Congress to join us in demonstrating our commitment to aid in recovery efforts,” Young wrote, though it is unknown how much money the government will require to cover the expenditures.

Biden Is Touring Collapsed Baltimore Bridge Where Recovery Effort Has Political Overtones

However, much has changed in the last 17 years, and advocating for bipartisan support may be more difficult today.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus published a statement on Friday stating, “If it proves necessary to appropriate taxpayer money to get one of America’s busiest ports back online, Congress should ensure it is fully offset and that burdensome regulations” are waived. It referred to future government expenditure cuts and restrictions such as the Endangered Species Act.

The caucus’ letter also urged that approval for bridge rehabilitation money be contingent on the Biden administration agreeing to relax a moratorium on liquified natural gas exports.

The funding problems only heighten the collapse’s political consequences, as Biden will face former President Donald Trump in the November election.

It is the second catastrophic accident in the country’s key northeastern corridor in as many years. Last summer, an overpass on Interstate 95 near Philadelphia caught fire and collapsed after a tanker truck collided with it. Federal and state officials worked rapidly on temporary repairs, and the route reopened earlier than projected.

However, the cleanup and restorations in Baltimore will take much longer and cost much more, making the chances of it being a net electoral gain for Biden — especially in time for Election Day — far less likely.

That has kept the Biden administration from reintroducing a $1 trillion-plus public works program that passed Congress in 2021.

“Let’s not forget, infrastructure law will now deal with infrastructure in a generation,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated this week. She compared this with the Trump administration, which made the issue “into a joke” by repeatedly promising to win infrastructure funds but achieving “absolutely nothing.”

Biden Is Touring Collapsed Baltimore Bridge Where Recovery Effort Has Political Overtones

The bridge collapse has also brought Maryland’s Democratic Gov. Wes Moore, 45, to national attention as a key figure in Biden’s reelection campaign’s drive to mobilize young voters supporting the 81-year-old president.

The president has toured nationwide, demonstrating highway, bridge, and tunnel development projects. In 2022, he appeared at an event in Pittsburgh a few hours after a neighboring bridge collapsed. Promoting the public works package has also allowed the president to tap into his passion for rail travel, which he used to commute to and from Washington on Amtrak when a Delaware senator.

Last week, Biden stated that the Key Bridge was one that “I’ve been over many, many times commuting.”

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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A Gray Wolf Was Killed In Southern Michigan. Experts Remain Stumped About How It Got There.

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Wolf | PixaBay Image

Wildlife specialists have come to a dead end in trying to figure out how a grey wolf got to southern Michigan for the first time in over a century.

A hunter killed the wolf in January after reporting to the authorities that he had thought it was a coyote. It was shocking because the southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan lacks the necessary habitat for grey wolves despite their abundance in the Upper Peninsula, where the most recent estimate puts the population at around 700.

Wolf | PixaBay Image

A Gray Wolf Was Killed In Southern Michigan. Experts Remain Stumped About How It Got There.

“We simply don’t know how it got there,” California Department of Natural Resources wolf expert Brian Roell said on Thursday.

He said something natural might have happened, and human assistance might have been possible. We would be very grateful for any information that the public may have.

Although certain species can cross the Straits of Mackinac between the peninsulas when ice forms on the Great Lakes, Roell noted that the ice conditions have yet to be solid this winter.

He said that a wolf traveling from another part of the Upper Midwest to southern Michigan would also encounter obstacles.

Wolf | AP News Image

A Gray Wolf Was Killed In Southern Michigan. Experts Remain Stumped About How It Got There.

A mark on a foot indicated that the wolf had been recently trapped.

That merely heightens the curiosity, Roell added.

Around 300 miles (482 km) south of the Upper Peninsula, in Calhoun County, during coyote hunting season, the wolf was killed. Social media postings were how the DNR found out about it.

The DNR stated that only in cases when grey wolves directly endanger human life can they be killed under the Endangered Species Act.

Wolf | PIxaBay Image

A Gray Wolf Was Killed In Southern Michigan. Experts Remain Stumped About How It Got There.

A taxidermist had preserved and filled the garment when the agency became engaged. DNR took the mount.

The agency recently turned over its investigation to the Calhoun County prosecutor. An Associated Press email for comment wasn’t responded to immediately on Thursday.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Reported Birth Of Rare White Buffalo Calf In Yellowstone Park Fulfills Lakota Prophecy

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HELENA, Montana – According to members of the American Indian tribe, the reported birth of a rare white buffalo in Yellowstone National Park fulfills a Lakota prophecy that portends brighter times, but it also serves as a reminder that more has to be done to safeguard the planet and its wildlife.

“The birth of this calf represents both a blessing and a warning. “We must do more,” said Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the spiritual leader of South Dakota’s Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Oyate tribes and the 19th custodian of the holy White Buffalo Calf Woman Pipe and Bundle.

The birth of the sacred calf follows a harsh winter in 2023 that drove thousands of Yellowstone buffalo, commonly known as bison, to lower elevations. More than 1,500 were murdered, slaughtered, or handed to tribes wanting to recover stewardship of an animal with which their forefathers had coexisted for centuries.

Buffalo | Native Online Image

Reported Birth Of Rare White Buffalo Calf In Yellowstone Park Fulfills Lakota Prophecy

Erin Braaten of Kalispell photographed the calf immediately after it was born on June 4 in the Lamar Valley in the park’s northeastern portion.

Her family was visiting the park when she noticed “something really white” in a bison herd across the Lamar River.

Traffic stopped as bison crossed the road, so Braaten stuck her camera out the window to get a better look with her telephoto lens.

“I look, and it’s a white bison calf. “I was completely floored,” she added.

After the bison had crossed the road, the Braatens turned around and found a place to park. They observed the calf and its mother for 30 to 45 minutes.

“And then she kind of led it through the willows there,” added Braaten. Braaten returned the next two days but did not see the white calf again.

Looking Horse explained that the birth of a white buffalo calf with a black nose, eyes, and hooves represents the second coming of Jesus Christ to the Lakota.

According to Lakota legend, nearly 2,000 years ago, when nothing was good, food was running short, and bison were disappearing—White Buffalo Calf A woman appeared, handed a tribal member a bowl pipe and a bundle, showed them how to pray, and explained that the pipe could be used to attract buffalo to the region for sustenance. As she departed, she transformed into a white buffalo calf.

“And someday when the times are hard again,” Looking Horse stated in relating the narrative, “I shall return and stand upon the earth as a white buffalo calf, black nose, black eyes, and black hooves.”

According to him, an identical white buffalo calf named Miracle was born in Wisconsin in 1994.

Buffalo | AP News Image

Reported Birth Of Rare White Buffalo Calf In Yellowstone Park Fulfills Lakota Prophecy

According to Troy Heinert, executive director of the InterTribal Buffalo Council in South Dakota, the calf in Braaten’s images appears to be a true white buffalo due to its black snout, black hooves, and dark eyes.

“From the pictures I’ve seen, that calf appears to have those characteristics,” said Heinert, who is Lakota. Albino buffaloes would have pink eyes.

The Yellowstone calf was named, according to Looking Horse, but the name was not revealed. A ceremony commemorating the calf’s birth is scheduled for June 26 at the Buffalo Field Campaign headquarters in West Yellowstone.

Other tribes adore white buffalo.

“Many tribes have their own story of why the white buffalo is so important,” Heinert stated. “All stories go back to them being very sacred.”

Heinert and numerous Buffalo Field Campaign members claim they have never heard of a white buffalo born in Yellowstone with wild herds. Park officials had not yet seen the buffalo and could not confirm its birth in the park, and there was no previous record of a white buffalo being born there.

Jim Matheson, executive director of the National Bison Association, couldn’t say how rare the calf is.

“To my knowledge, no one has ever counted the number of white buffalo born throughout history. So I am not sure how we can determine how frequently it occurs.”

Aside from herds of bison on public lands or managed by conservation groups, over 80 tribes in the United States have more than 20,000 bison, increasing in recent years.

Buffalo | Mens Journal Image

Reported Birth Of Rare White Buffalo Calf In Yellowstone Park Fulfills Lakota Prophecy

Almost every winter, huge numbers of bison are killed or removed in Yellowstone and the surrounding area thanks to an agreement between federal and Montana agencies that limits the size of the park’s herds to roughly 5,000 animals. Yellowstone officials proposed a slightly bigger population of up to 6,000 bison this week, with a final decision due next month.

However, ranchers in Montana have traditionally opposed expanding the Yellowstone herds or sending the animals to tribes. Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte has stated that he will not approve any management plan with a population target of more than 3,000 Yellowstone bison.

Heinert sees the calf’s birth as a reminder “that we need to live in a good way and treat others with respect.”

“I hope that calf is safe and gonna live its best life in Yellowstone National Park, exactly where it was designed to be,” Heinert stated.

SOURCE – (AP)

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2024 | North Korea’s Kim Hails Russia Ties As Putin Reportedly Plans A Visit

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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Putin praised the country’s growing ties with Russia on Wednesday, as reports indicate that Russian President Vladimir Putin would soon visit the country for his third summit with Kim.

North Korea and Russia’s military, economic, and other cooperation has risen dramatically since Kim visited Russia last September for a meeting with President Putin. The United States, South Korea, and other partners think North Korea provided Russia with artillery, missiles, and other conventional weapons in exchange for sophisticated military technologies and economic aid.

Putin | AP News Image

North Korea’s Kim Hails Russia Ties As Putin Reportedly Plans A Visit

Kim has been striving for stronger partnerships with Russia and China to strengthen his regional position and form a united front against the United States.

During their September meeting at Russia’s primary space launch facility, Kim offered Vladimir a visit to North Korea at “a convenient time,” which Putin agreed to.

According to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency, Kim sent Vladimir a message on Wednesday thanking Russia on National Day.

“Thanks to the significant meeting between us at the Vostochney Spaceport in September last year, (North Korea)-Russia friendly and cooperative relations developed into an unbreakable relationship of comrades-in-arms,” Kim wrote in his message.

Kim’s remarks came as media sources stated that Vladimir is set to visit North Korea as early as next week. If realized, it would be their third summit conference. Their first summit took place in Vladivostok in April 2019.

Putin | AP News Image

North Korea’s Kim Hails Russia Ties As Putin Reportedly Plans A Visit

NHK, citing unidentified diplomatic sources, including high-ranking Russian officials, said Wednesday that Vladimir plans a trip to North Korea and Vietnam next week.

According to NHK, he anticipated to seek greater military relations with North Korea as Russia confronts a weapons deficit in its battle with Ukraine, while North Korea is thought to want assistance with space technology following its recent failure to launch a second spy satellite into orbit in late May.

Russian business daily Vedomosti, which cited an unidentified diplomatic source, reports that Putin will visit North Korea and Vietnam “in the coming weeks.” The article also states that Russia’s envoy in North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, has stated that preparations for Vladimir’s visit to the country are underway.

Neither Russia nor North Korea have acknowledged news of an upcoming trip. According to Russian news outlet Tass, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated at a briefing in late May that “the visit is in the works, and we will make an announcement in due course.”

Putin | AP News Image

North Korea’s Kim Hails Russia Ties As Putin Reportedly Plans A Visit

Russia and North Korea are at odds with the United States, Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and North Korea over its developing nuclear program. Both North Korea and Russia have denied reports of arms deliveries, which would violate several United Nations Security Council resolutions.

In March, South Korean Defence Minister Shin Wonsik stated that North Korea has already transferred approximately 7,000 containers laden with weapons and other military material to Russia. In response, Shin stated that North Korea had received more than 9,000 Russian containers, most of which were presumably laden with aid.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have recently increased anew, with North Korea launching trash-carrying balloons into South Korea, leading the South to resume propaganda broadcasts along the border.

SOURCE – (AP)

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