Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Scientists Say Climate Change Has Arrived; Baby Shorebirds Shredded to Death in Downtown Oakland

By Robert Gammon
Wed, May 7, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A large scientific panel has concluded that human-induced climate change from the burning of fossil fuels has arrived with a vengeance, as dry regions of the country are experiencing intense water shortages while wetter areas are being slammed more frequently by monster storms, The New York Times$ reports. “If greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane continue to escalate at a rapid pace, they said, the warming could conceivably exceed 10 degrees [Fahrenheit] by the end of this century. ‘Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,’ the scientists declared in a major new report.

2. Baby shorebirds were shredded to death in downtown Oakland, fed into a chipper by a tree-trimming firm hired by the US Postal Service, the Chron reports. Post office officials were upset because nesting black-crowned night herons were defecating on mail trucks so they hired crews to trim ficus trees and destroy the nests. Baby herons were then massacred in a woodchipper as horrified residents looked on. Oakland police ultimately stepped in and ordered the tree trimmers to stop.

3. A California condor suffering from lead poisoning is now being treated at the Oakland Zoo’s new Condor Recovery Center, the Chron and Trib$ report. Condors and other large raptors have been poisoned around the state by lead-based bullets used by hunters.

4. Developer SunCal is now partnering with a new financial backer — King Street Capital Management, a hedge fund co-founded by billionaires Ottavio Francis Biondi and Brian Higgins — to build homes on the former Oak Knoll Naval Hospital property in the Oakland hills, the Chron reports. SunCal’s previous financial partner, Lehman Brothers, went bankrupt.

5. Alameda County auditor candidate Kathleen Knox, whom prosecutors say lives in Contra Costa County and has engaged in voter fraud, pleaded not guilty to criminal charges and said she plans to remain in the race, the Bay Area News Group$ reports.

6. And the San Francisco Board of Supervisors may soon consider a new law that would ban the sale of smartphones in the city unless they come equipped with kill switches that make them inoperable when stolen, the Chron reports. Similar legislation has stalled in the state Senate.

$ = news stories that may require payment to read.

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