California loses one more bird – but its future is bright

• It has been declared by U.S. wildlife officials that a pair of young condors have hatched in an “unassisted,” or virgin, birth, making the California condor the first avian species in the world to bear offspring in this manner. The chicks’ biological parents are a pair of rescued California condors, free-ranging in La Jolla, California, about 20 miles south of San Diego.

• The new condor has been named “Corny,” which scientists say sums up the struggle of 25 years of conservation efforts to save the endangered bird. In modern-day terms, that means 18 years spent working to collect information about the graceful bird’s unique behavior and 36 years of conservation efforts to make the condor available to zoos.

• The “first true hybrid” of the year in California depends on continued winter survival of the mother California condor and its chicks, biologists say. Experts say the fraternal sex-reproduction results in the natural hybridization of a male and female that emerges in the same species.

• Among the stories for the week of May 19, time for a list of entertainment news headlines about the aftermath of the Charlie Sheen melt-down. Everybody is just pointing fingers at everyone else.

This week in other national news:

• Environmentalists say that the EPA may have failed to follow its own regulations by issuing greenhouse gas permits to some major Gulf Coast oil companies, according to a report.

• The United States has signed an agreement that will allow its visitors to take an unusual number of exotic animals home with them while they’re abroad, including parrots, lizards, alpacas, an alligator, kangaroos, koalas, and even polar bears.

• President Barack Obama, who once wore an “I love Africa” bracelet, spoke openly about his family’s trip to the continent of Africa in a recent interview with Newsweek.

• Christine Quinn, the first openly gay mayor of a major US city, is expected to be elected New York City’s next leader.

This week in international news:

• Millions of people in Yemen mourned the death of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose final four months have seen the collapse of his regime, an uprising, and a civil war.

• A Swedish school bus driver was sentenced to jail after he was found guilty of abusing 19 Somali refugees.

• Russia’s parliament adopted a constitutional amendment that would allow officials to pardon jailed protesters.

• Key findings of a massive environmental study found that many of the Chinese city Shanghai’s lake waters showed clear evidence of the harmful effects of pollution, a development that would require the government to phase out a system that was supposed to stop drainage of runoff from cars and industry, among other solutions.

• Human remains have been found in the wreckage of a disappeared plane in rural Guatemala, prompting fears that the plane could hold 13 crew members and passengers still missing after it crashed on a mountain road.

This week in the business section:

• The Securities and Exchange Commission has set the new target for how many companies it will file charges against for insider trading.

• EBay Inc. is facing the unenviable task of reversing another stinging defeat to shareholders.

• Sears Holdings Corp. said it will add a consulting unit to its primary operating business to enhance the ability to provide advice to large companies.

• Condoms with no benefits on one side and “not for reproduction” on the other could be available to men in India as early as 2016, thanks to the new government.

• Shares of the discount discounter Wal-Mart Stores Inc. closed up 4.1% on news that the company is launching a giant fulfillment center in China to try to catch up with e-commerce giant Alibaba.

• Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will announce a $13 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department to settle charges that the government-sponsored mortgage lenders improperly back-stopped mortgages sold to investors.

This week in the sports section:

• A Santa Barbara State University swimmer and his coach have admitted in federal court that they used counterfeit money to pay for more than $1,200 in prizes and their personal use.

• The New England Patriots have reportedly become the latest NFL team to address the concussion problem by eliminating the use of sideline medical staffs.

• The Los Angeles Lakers signed a six-year deal with an Israeli fitness equipment company that will pay the team about $150 million for exclusive rights to produce and sell training and equipment to Los Angeles.

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