A South African big game hunter died after being crushed by an elephant cow that had been shot on a game reserve in Zimbabwe at the weekend. Theunis Botha, 51, was leading a hunt with clients when the group accidentally walked into the middle of a breeding herd of elephants at the Good Luck Farm near Hwange National Park late on Friday afternoon, Zimparks spokesman Simukai Nyasha said. Three of the elephant cows charged the hunters. Botha fired a shot from his rifle but he was caught by surprise by a fourth cow that stormed them from the side, the Afrikaans news site Netwerk24 reported. One of the hunters shot the elephant after she lifted Botha with her trunk. The elephant then collapsed on top of Mr Botha. read more
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday he was heartened by the absence of even a single protester during President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia over the weekend. "I think the other thing that was fascinating to me, there was not a single hint of a protestor anywhere there during the whole time we were there, not one guy with a bad placard." CNBC anchor Becky Quick attempted to point out that Saudi Arabia bans all political protests, but Ross did not let that spoil his good mood. "In theory that could be true. But, boy, there was certainly no sign of it, there was not a single effort at any incursion." read more
William Saletan, Slate: In the last week, as reports of Watergate-level misconduct have raised the possibility of President Trump's impeachment, eyes have turned toward Mike Pence, the man who would succeed him. Pence bills himself as an upstanding Christian stuck in a spiraling situation not of his making. Anonymous flacks are trying to distance the vice president from the administration's collapse. They say Pence was "kept in the dark" about the treacherous shenanigans of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. A source "close to the administration," and apparently quite close to Pence, tells NBC News that there's a suspicious "pattern": In one scandal after another, Pence "was never, either intentionally or unintentionally, made aware of the facts." The pattern is suspicious, alright. But it's not a pattern of Pence being deceived. It's a pattern of his willful blindness and misrepresentations. read more
Health insurers across the country are making plans to dramatically raise Obamacare premiums or exit marketplaces amid growing exasperation with the Trump administration's erratic management, inconsistent guidance and seeming lack of understanding of basic health care issues. At the same time, state insurance regulators -- both Democrat and Republican -- have increasingly concluded they cannot count on the Trump administration to help them ensure that consumers will have access to a health plan next year. ... A [health insurance] official observed: "There is a sense that there are no hands on the wheel and they are just letting the bus careen down the road." read more
President Trump and wife, Melania, touched down in Israel on Monday morning, and their arrival included a strange tarmac moment between the U.S. commander in chief and first lady. The president and first lady were greeted in Tel Aviv by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and wife, Sara, who walked side by side as they left the tarmac. As President Trump and Melania moved along, the president reached for his wife's hand. "It appears First Lady Melania Trump slaps away Pres. Trump's hand as he reaches to hold it while on tarmac in Israel," Niraj Warikoo of the Detroit Free Press notes via Twitter. read more
The acceleration is making some scientists fear that Antarctica's ice sheet may have entered the early stages of an unstoppable disintegration. Because the collapse of vulnerable parts of the ice sheet could raise the sea level dramatically, the continued existence of the world's great coastal cities -- Miami, New York, Shanghai and many more -- is tied to Antarctica's fate. Four New York Times journalists joined a Columbia University team in Antarctica late last year to fly across the world's largest chunk of floating ice ... read more
President Trump mixed up the wording of some of his speech in Saudi Arabia Sunday because he was "exhausted," a senior White House official said. "He's just an exhausted guy," the official told reporters on background, explaining why Trump didn't say "Islamist extremism" in his speech to leaders of more than 50 Muslim-majority nations. Instead, Trump departed ever so slightly from his prepared remarks, saying "Islamic extremism" rather than "Islamist." He didn't use the word "radical." During the presidential campaign, Trump criticized President Obama and others for refusing to use the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism."
The retired general was under investigation. The incoming president was determined to have him as national security adviser anyway. President Donald Trump pressured a "reluctant" Michael Flynn into accepting a job as the White House's top national security official even after Flynn warned the president that he was under investigation over undisclosed lobbying on behalf of a foreign government, The Daily Beast has learned. The president's continued loyalty to his ousted former aide is so strong, in fact, that the two have remained in touch despite the potential that their communication could be portrayed as White House interference in a federal investigation. Now both men could pay a huge price for it. read more
Japan has entered a vicious cycle of low fertility and low spending that has led to trillions in lost GDP and a population decline of 1 million people, all within just the past five years. If left unabated, experts forecast severe economic downturn and a breakdown in the fabric of social life. ... Economists have a name for countries that contract because of these swirling forces: "demographic time bombs." In these nations, falling spending shrinks the economy, which discourages families from having kids, which shrinks the economy further. Meanwhile, people are living longer than ever before. "An aging population will mean higher costs for the government, a shortage of pension and social security-type funds, a shortage of people to care for the very aged, slow economic growth, and a shortage of young workers," [Harvard sociologist Mary] Brinton says. read more
A group of tourists interacting with a sea lion at a dock in Richmond, Canada, were shocked when the creature grabbed a young girl by her shorts and yanked her into the water. An older man jumped into the water and got her out without harm to either of them. Michael Fujiwara, who filmed the incident, said, "They were pretty shaken up. Her family were just in shock." Andrew Trites, the director of UBC's Marine Mammal Research Unit, said it looked like the sea lion was used to people feeding it. "It would appear that the sea lion sees part of her dress, thinks it's food, reaches up, grabs at the food and pulls her in by the dress. But it wasn't food of course," Trites said.
By the end of 2019, an estimated 12 million low-mileage vehicles are coming off leases inked during a 2014-2016 spurt in new auto sales, according to estimates by Atlanta-based auto auction firm Manheim and Reuters. That deluge is good news for used-car dealers, auto auction houses and car buyers, who stand to benefit from a bountiful supply of high quality, off-lease vehicles rolling into the US market. "The automakers have flooded the market," said [Dan] Reel, owner of Reel's Auto in Orwell, Ohio, about 40 miles east of Cleveland.
Dave Weigel, Washington Post: Nearly one year later, [Seth] Rich's death remains one of America's thousands of unsolved murders -- and the focus of endless conspiracy theories, spread this past week by Fox News, alt-right social media, a local D.C. news station and the Russian embassy in Britain. The reemergence of the conspiracy theory this week, which did not lack for real news, revealed plenty about the fake news ecosystem (or to use BuzzFeed's useful phrase, "the upside-down media") in the Trump era. It also happened to cause untold pain for the Rich family, which has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the so-called private investigator who led this dive back into the fever swamp. read more
Omar was the same size as all the other kittens in his litter when he was taken home by his owner Stephy Hirst in 2013. But now the 3-foot-11 Maine Coon from Melbourne, Australia, could be the world's longest domestic cat. ... The usually placid pet has since been featured in major Australian newspapers and on national TV. "He hasn't really been coping with all the attention," Ms Hirst told the BBC. "He had a little bit of a meltdown this morning." ... Weighing in at 31 pounds, Omar is too heavy to regularly pick up. Hirst has to use a dog crate to take him to the vet.
Jason Del Rey, Recode: It took Amazon 18 years as a public company to catch Walmart in market value. It took less than another two years for Amazon to be worth twice as much. On the 20th anniversary of Amazon's IPO, Amazon's market cap stands at $459 billion before the market opens for trading. Walmart's? $228 billion. It took Amazon 18 years as a public company to catch Walmart in market value. It took less than another two years for Amazon to be worth twice as much.
When Medicare was facing an impossible $13 trillion funding gap, Congress opted for a bold fix: It handed over part of the program to insurance companies, expecting them to provide better care at a lower cost. The new program was named Medicare Advantage.