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Sparrows are still the most common bird in UK gardens, but their populations are declining | RSPB Big garden ornithologist



House sparrows are the most visible bird in UK gardens for the 20th consecutive year, according to new data. This is happening despite a declining bird population: since 1966, almost 22 million house sparrows have disappeared from the country.

About 1.5 million house sparrows were sighted in gardens between January 27 and 29 this year, according to people who took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, a survey of garden wildlife by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

However, RSPB data show that the number of house sparrows seen in UK gardens has declined by almost 60% since the survey began in 1979.

“The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to the astonishing decline in some of the once common birds,” said Becky Speight, executive director of the RSPB.

“They no longer have the abundance across the UK that they used to have. We are in a natural and climate emergency and in the last 50 years we have lost 38 million birds from our skies.”

This year, over half a million people in the UK took part in Big Garden Birdwatch and over 9 million birds were spotted.

The results also revealed problems faced by other common bird species, including finches and greenfinches. These birds have been stricken with the trichomoniasis disease, which can cause sores in the throat.

Jeff Knott, RSPB director of policy and advocacy, said the poll results highlight nationwide conservation issues that need to be addressed.

“If you even look at London parks, there used to be thousands of sparrows, but now there are almost none,” he said. “While we may think that rare and iconic species such as eagles are a conservation issue, in fact more familiar species are becoming less common than they used to be.”

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Knott said one of the positive findings of the survey is the ability to recognize problems early, as there is a huge amount of data collected from hundreds of thousands of participants.

“Because polling is so widespread, it’s a good way to get an indicator of whether common and widespread birds are really not doing so well. Even though people may see them in their gardens, there is a much larger underlying problem of blight behind this. Thus, even for familiar species such as the house sparrow, if the management of the countryside is not in accordance with nature, they may be at real risk.

“The really good thing that we can take away from this is that people still care. This is a huge cause for optimism as it shows that we can restore wildlife and help it grow back in numbers.”

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The decision of the Federal Court of Appeals again changed the situation with abortion in the United States



A federal appeals court left the abortion pill available, clearing up the abortion situation in the US but not resolving it. A court decision late Wednesday preserved but narrowed access to abortion pills in the US. This was an important development in a rapidly changing landscape. on the move since Junewhen the Supreme Court overturned the nationwide right to abortion.


Most abortions in the US are done with combination of two drugs. Anti-abortion groups have tried to limit access to one of them, mifepristone.

The Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans held that the FDA’s original approval of mifepristone in 2000 must remain in effect, overturning the district court’s ruling less than a week earlier. Without Wednesday’s decision, the drug would not be available, at least in some places, starting on Saturday.

The 2-1 decision came with one snag: the judges delayed the regulator’s 2016 decision to relax some prescription and dispensing rules. The decision means that the drug can only be used in the first seven weeks of pregnancy, not 10, and it cannot be distributed by mail to a person who does not first see a doctor.


Either party can appeal Wednesday’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, what this means is not entirely clear.

The latest decision comes in response to a statement by an Amarillo, Texas judge last week, who ruled that mifepristone should not be available while his statement is being reconsidered. The same day, another federal judge in Spokane, Washington, ruled in favor of the 17 Democratic-led state attorneys general who sued trying to keep it on the market.

States: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The US Department of Justice has asked a Washington court to clarify its decision. It’s also unclear what the 5th Circuit’s decision means for him.

Meanwhile, some Democratic-controlled states stocks of abortion pills, while Wyoming last month became the first state outright ban abortion drugs.


In the US, lawyers have sued dozens of abortion laws.

In 2019, the Iowa Supreme Court blocked a law banning abortion when a heart is detected, which occurs after about six weeks of pregnancy and often before women know they are pregnant. Officials in the Republican-dominated state are pushing for the decision to be reversed.

On Tuesday, the matter was taken to the state Supreme Court, where all seven justices are GOP appointees. A decision is expected this summer.

Also on Tuesday, a Montana judge denied a request by Planned Parenthood of Montana to preventively block legislation banning dilation and evacuation abortions, which are most commonly used in the second trimester of pregnancy. Opponents said they wanted to act quickly because the law would take effect immediately if the governor retracted it. Greg Gianforte signs. Gianforte had previously approved other abortion restrictions.


Nebraska legislators on Wednesday introduced a bill to ban abortion as soon as cardiac activity is detected.

In February, the South Carolina Senate passed such a ban. That same month, the House of Representatives approved legislation that would apply throughout pregnancy. The two chambers have yet to agree on which version to send to the governor.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to run for the Republican presidential nomination next year, supported ending access to abortion sooner than the 15-week deadline currently in effect there. He will now have a chance to sign the law after the State House approved the ban on Thursday after six weeks of pregnancy. He’s already passed the Senate.

Most Democratic-controlled states have passed laws, issued executive orders—or both—to protect access to abortion. After passing by the Senate on Monday, both houses of the Washington state legislature passed it, but it has yet to be signed by the governor.


Abortion has already been effectively banned at all stages of pregnancy in 13 states, and when a heart activity is detected, in one.

Courts have blocked pregnancy bans in five more states and one state of Georgia, which bans abortion when a heart activity is detected.

Republicans in many places are pushing for even tougher policies.

This month the governor of Idaho. Brad Little signed the law make it a crime for an adult to help a minor have an abortion without parental consent.

This month, the Iowa Attorney General took it a step further by announcing that her office stop paying for emergency contraception and abortions for victims of sexual assault while he studies politics.

Abortion bans have a big impact on where women go to have their pregnancies terminated.

Report released this week The Planned Parenthood Society found that the number of monthly abortions in states that ban them throughout pregnancy has fallen to zero or near zero, and abortions in medical facilities have generally declined.

But a significant increase in the number of abortions has occurred in states that have retained the legality of abortion and are close to and easily accessible to the states with the most severe restrictions.

States with large increases include Florida, Illinois, and North Carolina.

In some other states that have taken the boldest steps to maintain access to abortion, the number of granted abortions has increased relatively modestly.

The survey does not measure the number of self-abortions, for example, with pills that were not prescribed to the user.

Mulvihill reported from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Associated Press reporter Margery Beck in Omaha, Nebraska; Amy Beth Hanson of Helena, Montana; Anthony Izaguirre in Tallahassee, Florida; Scott McPhetridge of Des Moines, Iowa; and James Pollard of Columbia, South Carolina contributed to this report.

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Los Angeles County Ends Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate



Los Angeles County has removed the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for employees, allowing workers, including deputies and firefighters, to be hired even if they haven’t been vaccinated.

The policy change, effective Monday, is the latest COVID-19-related rule to be relaxed in Los Angeles County as officials continue to steadily wind down the emergency phase of their pandemic response.

“There is no longer a requirement to vaccinate against COVID-19 for new employees or existing district employees. unless otherwise provided by federal, state or local regulations or orders,” said Jesús Ruiz, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Executive Directorate.

According to a statement released on behalf of Los Angeles County officials, the lifting of the requirement to vaccinate employees “is consistent with the decisions of the Board of Supervisors to end the state of emergency.” The board voted unanimously to lift the state of emergency at the end of February, and the move became official a week ago.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday also approved the lifting of a rule requiring certain county contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive a medical or religious exemption.

However, the end of the broader requirement to vaccinate employees does not mean the end of all such mandates. Most health care workers are still required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 due to federal regulations regarding facilities that accept money from the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Los Angeles County it still requires healthcare workers must complete their primary vaccine series and receive at least one booster dose, or otherwise obtain an exemption from their institutions. This policy will be reviewed by September, but in the meantime, “new healthcare workers will need to comply with existing vaccination requirements,” County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

The county’s COVID-19 vaccination policy went into effect in October. January 1, 2021, more than five months after vaccines became available to all adults in California.

This decision had a wide resonance in Los Angeles County, the most populous in the country. With over 100,000 workers on the payroll, this is Southern California. biggest Employer, according to the county personnel department.

Elected Los Angeles County officials and public health officials said the vaccination mandate was appropriate when it was issued. Supervisor Janice Khan said at the time that COVID-19 had become the top killer of law enforcement officers across the country.

The county worker vaccination mandate protects not only employees, but the public they serve, officials say. Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters, for example, come into regular contact with vulnerable or elderly people who would be at extreme risk of serious illness if infected.

“If you’re in the business of supporting the most vulnerable people in the county, then it makes sense for people to get fully vaccinated, especially during a pandemic,” Ferrer said in early 2022 as Los Angeles County emerged from a deadly winter. Splash Omicron.

Data from that era of the pandemic showed that unvaccinated people had a higher risk of infection, hospitalization and death than those who had been vaccinated.

However, this requirement has been controversial, drawing backlash and warnings that it could provoke employees to flee. Critics included then-Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who stated in October 2021 that while he was personally vaccinated and believes the vaccine works, the decision must be personal. Villanueva also argued at the time that it didn’t make much sense to introduce a vaccination requirement “with the weakening of the pandemic”.

In fact, the requirement went into effect just weeks before the introduction of the Omicron variant, which led to a surge in cases, flooding hospitals and causing a surge in deaths only surpassed by the pandemic’s first devastating winter.

Los Angeles County employees can seek exemption from vaccination requirements if they have either medical reasons or “genuine religious beliefs, practices, or practices that conflict with a person’s ability to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Of more than 100,000 employees throughout the county, 7,359 vaccine exemption requests have been approved. Officials said 68 workers were fired from their jobs in the county for failing to comply with vaccination policies.

At the time the employee vaccination mandate went into effect, 68% of Los Angeles County residents 6 months of age and older had received at least one dose of the vaccine. According to the latest data, 81% of residents in the same age range did so. It is not clear to what extent the vaccination mandate could have contributed to the increase in vaccination rates.

Much has changed since the officer’s original mandate was issued, including the introduction of an updated booster vaccine developed against a sprawling family of Omicron sub-options, abundant supplies of COVID-19 therapeutics, and broader immunity through vaccination and infection. The evolution of the coronavirus has also been more stable in the past year, meaning that many of the tools that were effective a few months ago remain so today.

While vaccines against the infection have declined in effectiveness, officials say they continue to provide strong protection against the worst health effects.

In January of this year, unvaccinated Californians were 2.6 times more likely to get sick and be hospitalized with COVID-19 and 2.9 times more likely to die from the disease than those who received at least their core vaccine series. according to from the California Department of Public Health.

More recently, Ferrer said that Los Angeles County has entered a new phase of the pandemic, with hospitals no longer at risk of being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.

“The place we are in right now is unique because transmission is relatively low and there are even fewer hospitalizations,” she said.

Ferrer added that COVID-19 vaccines are still important.

“We had two years when the vaccines proved to be effective. And we really don’t have the serious side effects that almost everyone who gets vaccinated experiences,” she said.

Over the past year, from April 2022 to March 2023, about 145,000 US residents have died from COVID-19, according to the agency. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By comparison, there were 547,000 COVID-19 deaths between April 2020 and March 2021, and about 423,000 deaths between April 2021 and March 2022.

The U.S. death toll of 1.1 million from COVID-19 is more than from the last major global pandemic of its kind, the influenza pandemic, which began in 1918. This pandemic is estimated to have killed 675,000 people in the country.

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EPA workers strike over wages



“People are choosing not to be part of these changes, the people who are doing it are just doing it to supplement their income and make ends meet,” said Graham Macro, an installation worker at the Environmental Protection Agency and a union representative for Prospect. will also amaze next month.

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