Tag Archives: United States government

Southern California sees summer season of mountain lion kittens

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A increase in mountain lion births has occurred this summer season in Southern California

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — A mountain lion child increase has occurred this summer season within the Santa Monica Mountains and Simi Hills west of Los Angeles.

13 kittens have been born to 5 mountain lion moms between Could and August, in response to the Santa Monica Mountains Nationwide Recreation Space.

It’s the primary time so many mountain lion dens have been discovered inside such a brief time period through the 18 years by which the area’s cougar inhabitants has been studied by the Nationwide Park Service.

Probably the most dens discovered beforehand in a single 12 months was 4, unfold throughout 10 months in 2015.

Biologists go to dens whereas the moms are away to carry out well being checks on kittens, decide intercourse and apply ear tags.

“This stage of copy is a good factor to see, particularly since half of our mountains burned nearly two years in the past through the Woolsey Hearth,” wildlife biologist Jeff Sikich mentioned in a press release.

“Will probably be fascinating to see how these kittens use the panorama within the coming years and navigate the numerous challenges, each pure and human-caused, they may face as they get older and disperse.”

The research is wanting into how the large cats survive in habitat fragmented by urbanization amid threats together with lack of genetic range, roadway deaths and poisons. They largely keep away from individuals.

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US govt: Upcoming WeChat ‘ban’ will not goal its customers

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A looming WeChat ban from the U.S. authorities gained’t goal individuals who use the Chinese language messaging app to speak, in response to a submitting in a court docket case Wednesday

NEW YORK — A looming U.S. ban on the Chinese language app WeChat will not goal individuals who use the app to speak, in response to a authorities court docket submitting Wednesday.

The nonprofit U.S. WeChat Customers Alliance and several other individuals who say they depend on the app for work, worship and staying in contact with kinfolk in China sued to cease the ban in federal court docket in California. The go well with says the ban violates its U.S. customers’ freedom of speech, free train of faith and different constitutional rights.

The WeChat customers, who say they don’t seem to be affiliated with WeChat or its mum or dad firm, Tencent, are looking for an injunction to in opposition to the order, and a listening to is scheduled for Thursday.

WeChat customers within the U.S. rely on the app to speak to buddies, household and colleagues in China, the place the messaging, funds and social media app is extensively used. It has a number of million customers within the U.S.

The Justice Division stated within the Wednesday submitting that the Commerce Division “doesn’t intend to take actions that will goal individuals or teams whose solely reference to WeChat is their use or downloading of the app to convey private or enterprise data between customers.” It added that such customers wouldn’t be uncovered to “felony or civil legal responsibility.”

The federal government submitting stated that utilizing and downloading the app to speak will not be a banned transaction, though messaging on the app may very well be “instantly or not directly impaired” by the ban.

The Justice Division’s submitting stated that these “assurances largely handle” considerations raised by the plaintiffs who referred to as for an injunction.

The lead lawyer for the WeChat customers, Michael Bien, stated in an interview that the plaintiffs might be submitting a response later Wednesday.

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Minnesota man faces terror cost for allegedly becoming a member of IS

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A Minnesota man who’s accused of becoming a member of the Islamic State group in Syria has been returned to america to face terrorism expenses

Al-Madioum was lately in a jail in northern Syria with alleged IS fighters, based on information studies.

A search warrant affidavit unsealed in 2017 says Al-Madioum, who was 18 when he left for Syria, is a local of Morocco and a naturalized U.S. citizen. He started learning pc science at Normandale Neighborhood Faculty in Bloomington in 2014.

In June 2015, Al-Madioum and his household traveled to Morocco for a two-month trip to go to family. However on July 7, 2015, Al-Madioum skipped dinner saying he wasn’t feeling nicely, and the following day, he was gone. He left the whole lot behind aside from his cellphone and passport, based on the search warrant affidavit.

Al-Madioum’s household instructed the FBI that he referred to as them shortly after they returned to the U.S. and stated he was working in a hospital in Mosul, Iraq, which was then beneath IS management. However a member of the FBI’s joint terrorism job drive wrote within the affidavit that new recruits generally misinform family members about their precise places and actions in order to not trigger misery.

The FBI searched Al-Madioum’s dwelling in 2015 and located handwritten notes that indicated he had been planning to go to Syria, together with how he may route cash via numerous accounts, a rehearsed backstory in case he was stopped and various journey concepts if his plans to go to Istanbul had been thwarted. The notes additionally contained a sketch of a picture that seems on a flag related to IS, with the Arabic phrase for “allegiance” written subsequent to it.

Chatting with CBS Information from the Syrian jail in 2019, Al-Madioum stated he was recruited to IS via a Twitter contact and had watched propaganda movies that confirmed IS members serving to Muslims. He stated he by no means fought for the group however had hopes of turning into a health care provider.

“They gave me a clean examine to purchase no matter I wished,” stated Al-Madioum, who claimed to have misplaced his arm in a U.S. airstrike.

Al-Madioum is amongst a number of Minnesotans suspected of leaving the U.S. to affix the Islamic State group. In whole, roughly three dozen individuals have left Minnesota to affix militant teams in Somalia or Syria. In 2016, 9 Minnesota males had been sentenced on federal expenses of conspiring to affix the Islamic State group.

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Observe Amy Forliti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/amyforliti



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Candy, cheese soar to space station to satisfy crew cravings

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A cargo ship is rocketing toward the International Space Station, carrying candy and cheese to satisfy the crew’s cravings

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. —
A cargo ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Saturday, carrying candy and cheese to satisfy the astronauts’ cravings.

Northrop Grumman launched its Cygnus capsule from the Virginia seashore. The nearly 4-ton shipment should arrive at the orbiting lab Tuesday. It took three tries over the past week to get the Antares rocket off the pad, with it finally taking flight at 3:21 p.m. — an auspicious 3-2-1.

“Awesome launch,” Joel Montalbano, NASA’s deputy space station program manager, said once the capsule reached orbit.

Besides the usual experiments and gear, the capsule holds cheddar and manchego cheeses, fresh fruit and vegetables, chocolate and three kinds of gummy candy expressly requested by the three station astronauts: Skittles, Hot Tamales, and Mike and Ike’s.

Periodic supply runs by Russia, Japan and NASA’s two private shippers, Northrop Grumman and SpaceX, usually provide more than experiments, equipment, clothes and freeze-dried meals. The capsules also bring family care packages, as well as fresh food to offset the run-of-the-mill station grub.

This latest delivery should have arrived well before Valentine’s Day. But last-minute equipment concerns at the Wallops Island launch pad halted last Sunday’s countdown for the Antares rocket, then bad weather moved in. Dangerously high wind scuttled Friday’s attempt.

This was the company’s 13th space station delivery for NASA. The Cygnus capsules get their name from the Swan Constellation.

This particular Cygnus has been christened the SS Robert H. Lawrence in honor of America’s first black astronaut. Lawrence, an Air Force major, was chosen in 1967 as an astronaut for a classified military space program known as the Manned Orbiting Laboratory. He was killed five months later in a plane crash and never flew in space.

The space station is now home for Americans Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan and Russian Oleg Skripochka. Morgan has been up there since July and the two others since September; they’ll remain on board until April. Three other astronauts returned to Earth earlier this month.

Until astronaut launches resume from Florida — possibly by SpaceX this spring — the station crew will be limited in size to three. NASA astronauts now launch on Russian rockets from Kazakhstan.

Boeing, NASA’s other commercial crew provider, is struggling with software problems in its astronaut capsule. A December test flight was marred by coding errors.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Record-setting astronaut feels good after near year in space

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NASA’s new record-setting astronaut says aside from sore muscles, she readjusting well to gravity after nearly 11 months in space

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. —
NASA’s new record-setting astronaut said Wednesday that aside from sore muscles and trouble with balance, she’s readjusting well to gravity after nearly 11 months in space.

Christina Koch met with reporters in Houston six days after returning to Earth from the International Space Station. Her 328-day mission — which ended last Thursday — was the longest ever by a woman.

Her neck hurt for about a day. “I felt like a 2-week-old who was actually working hard to hold up my own head,” she said.

She considers herself lucky she didn’t have the sore feet and burning skin suffered four years ago by NASA’s all-time endurance champ, Scott Kelly, whose mission lasted 340 days.

Koch returned home to Galveston, Texas, to find a kitchen full of chips and salsa, something she’d craved in orbit, along with the Gulf of Mexico. She hit the beach with her husband, Bob, and their dog, a rescue pup named LBD for Little Brown Dog, just three days after her landing in Kazakhstan.

LBD was excited to see her, and vice versa.

“I’m not sure who was more excited to see the other,” Koch said.

Their reunion was recorded. “It’s just a symbol of coming back to the people and places that you love, to see your favorite animal,” she said.

The 41-year-old Koch is an electrical engineer who also has a physics degree. She flew to the space station last March and was part of the first all-female spacewalk in October. Three astronauts remain at the orbiting lab, including the other half of the all-female spacewalk, NASA’s Jessica Meir.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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NTSB releases details in 2 crashes involving Tesla Autopilot

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SAN FRANCISCO —
An Apple engineer who died when his Tesla Model X slammed into a concrete barrier had previously complained about the SUV malfunctioning on that same stretch of Silicon Valley freeway.

His complaints were detailed in a trove of documents released Tuesday by federal investigators in two Tesla crashes involving Autopilot, one in California and the other in Florida.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the March 2018 crash that killed Walter Huang near Mountain View, California. It’s also probing a crash in Delray Beach, Florida, that happened about a year later and killed driver Jeremy Banner.

The documents say Huang told his wife that Autopilot had previously veered his SUV toward the same barrier on U.S. 101 near Mountain View where he later crashed. Huang died at a hospital from his injuries.

“Walter said the car would veer toward the barrier in the mornings when he went to work,” the Huang family’s attorney wrote in a response to NTSB questions.

Records from an iPhone recovered from the crash site showed that Huang may have been using it before the accident. Records obtained from AT&T showed that data had been used while the vehicle was in motion, but the source of the transmissions couldn’t be determined, the NTSB wrote. One transmission was less than a minute before the crash.

Huang had described Autopilot’s previous malfunctioning to his brother, the Huang family attorney wrote, in addition to talking with a friend who owns a Model X. Huang, a software engineer, discussed with the friend how a patch to the Autopilot software affected its performance and made the Model X veer, according to the attorney.

The Huang family is suing Tesla and California’s Department of Transportation for allegedly failing to maintain the highway.

Autopilot is a partially automated system designed to keep a vehicle in its lane and keep a safe distance from vehicles in front of it. It also can change lanes with driver approval. Tesla says Autopilot is intended to be used for driver assistance and that drivers must be ready to intervene at all times.

The full NTSB board is scheduled to hold a hearing on the Mountain View crash on Feb. 25. At that time, it will determine a cause and make safety recommendations.

NTSB staff members have already recommended that California transportation officials move faster to repair highway safety barriers damaged by vehicles.

A report from the agency says California officials failed to fix the barrier that was damaged in a crash 11 days before Huang was killed. In that incident, a 2010 Toyota Prius traveling over 75 mph (120 kmh) crashed against the attenuator, a cushion that protects vehicles from hitting the end of concrete lane dividers.

The California Highway Patrol responded to the March 12 crash but did not notify the state Department of Transportation of the damage as required, the NTSB said.

Huang’s 2017 Tesla Model X was traveling at 71 mph (114 kph) when it crashed against the same attenuator, which the NTSB determined had been damaged and repaired more frequently than any other left-exit in Caltrans’ District 4, which includes all of the San Francisco Bay Area.

In the three years before the Tesla crash, the device was struck at least five times, including one crash that resulted in fatalities. A car struck it again on May 20, 2018, about two months after the Tesla crash, the NTSB said.

NTSB first released some details from its investigation in September.

The California Department of Transportation said in a statement Tuesday that it has “identified and is implementing several steps to enhance monitoring and tracking of the repair of damage” to highway infrastructure.

“These efforts include updates to its policies and maintenance manual, training of staff, and enhanced reporting on the timely repair of high priority traffic safety devices,” Caltrans said.

In the Florida crash, Banner turned on the Autopilot function of his Model 3 sedan 10 seconds before the crash, then took his hands off the steering wheel, NTSB documents said. The car then drove underneath a tractor-trailer that was crossing in front of it, sheering off the car’s roof and killing Banner. It was eerily similar to another Florida crash in 2016 in which a Tesla on Autopilot went beneath a semi trailer.

The NTSB said in a preliminary report that it still hasn’t determined the cause of the crash. According to the report, traffic was light on the four-lane highway and dawn was breaking when Banner, 50, set his speed at 69 mph (111 kph) and activated the autopilot as he headed to work. The speed limit was 55 mph (88 kph). Seconds later, a tractor-trailer driven by Richard Wood, 45, pulled from a driveway and began to cross to the other side of the highway.

Wood said he saw two sets of car headlights coming toward him, but he thought he had time to make it across. “It was dark and it looked like the cars was back further than they was,” Wood told NTSB investigators four days after the crash.

A photo taken by the NTSB from Tesla’s front-end video camera showed Wood’s trailer fully blocking the road 1.5 seconds before the crash. Data from the Tesla’s computer shows that Banner hit his brakes less than a second before the crash, but the car went under the trailer. Wood says he saw a second car but it didn’t hit the trailer.

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Krisher reported from Detroit. Terry Spencer contributed from Orlando, Florida.

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Trump calls for slashing funding for toxic Superfund cleanup

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President Donald Trump is calling for slashing funding for the country’s Superfund hazardous waste clean-ups

WASHINGTON —
President Donald Trump called Monday for slashing funding for the Superfund hazardous waste program, even as the backlog of clean-ups has grown around the country for lack of money.

The $113 million in Superfund clean-up cuts are part of Trump’s proposal for a $2.4 billion, or 26%, cut in overall funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s in line with the president’s vow as a candidate to cut all but “little tidbits” of the environmental agency in a push to cut regulations he sees as unnecessarily burdensome to business.

Monday marked the fourth year where Trump has called for cuts nearing one-third of the environmental agency’s budget. Republicans and Democrats in Congress annually have overridden his proposal, keeping funding for the agency’s environmental and public health oversight roughly even.

Other major cuts for the EPA in Trump’s latest proposal include eliminating $66 million in funding for the Energy Star program — a popular program that lets consumers compare the energy efficiency of appliances — and for voluntary climate programs.

“These programs are not essential to EPA’s core mission and can be implemented by the private sector,” the budget says.

Trump and his EPA administrators have stressed Superfund clean-ups as one of their top environmental priorities.

However, as The Associated Press reported in January, the Trump administration has built up the biggest backlog of unfunded toxic Superfund clean-up projects in at least 15 years, nearly triple the number that were stalled for lack of money in the Obama era, agency figures show.

The four-decade-old Superfund program is meant to tackle some of the most heavily contaminated sites in the U.S., which threaten the residents, wildlife and habitat around the sites with dangerous industry pollutants.

Trump’s proposal says the cut reflects that his administration is running the Superfund program more efficiently, and “challenges the agency to optimize the use of settlement funds for the cleanup actions” at those Superfund sites where a responsible company has been found to pay for the work.

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US wants to return codebreaker’s seized items to UK school

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The U.S. government is trying to return memorabilia from World War II codebreaker and computing pioneer Alan Turing that were allegedly stolen more than 30 years ago

DENVER —
A U.S. woman who said she was visiting England to do a study of the late World War II codebreaker and computing pioneer Alan Turing walked into the prestigious boys’ boarding school he attended and asked to see a collection of his memorabilia.

She was given a wooden box with items that once belonged to Turing, who helped crack Nazi Germany’s secret codes and whose story inspired 2014’s Oscar-winning film “The Imitation Game.” Inside the box was his Ph.D. from Princeton University, his Order of the British Empire medal and other mementos.

When she left that day in 1984, the box was empty. The only thing left inside was a note asking for forgiveness and promising to return the items someday, according to a recent court filing by government lawyers.

More than 30 years later, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Denver has the items that were seized from the Colorado home of the woman, who later changed her name to Julia Turing.

The Princeton degree was found behind a dresser in 2018. The medal, given for contributions to a field, and a letter from King George VI awarding the honor to Alan Turing was found in a briefcase behind a wall in a bathroom.

Her offer to donate the items to the University of Colorado had launched a lengthy international investigation to sort out the rightful owner of the items, according to a forfeiture action filed Jan. 17 and first reported by BizWest. The action is the first of two legal steps to return the memorabilia to the Sherborne School in England.

Julia Turing had letters from Sherborne’s treasurer, Col. A.W. Gallon, thanking her for previously returning most of the memorabilia and saying she could keep the diploma, according to court documents. They suggested she could show the correspondence to police if she was questioned.

But school officials told investigators that giving away any school property would require the permission of its board of governors, which did not consider the matter, according to Sherborne documents.

The school said some items that Julia Turing previously returned were not the original items that were taken. It noted that the Order of the British Empire medal she sent back was tarnished and did not include its miniature version and the king’s letter.

According to court documents, Julia Turing told investigators that she had bought OBE medals online, and several were found during the search of her home, along with the original discovered behind the bathroom wall.

In diaries and letters seized by investigators, she wrote of her “tremendous love and devotion” to Alan Turing and how she wished she did not have to hide his things. In one diary entry, addressed to Alan Turing, she worried about a museum forcing her to give up the items by claiming they are stolen, court documents show.

The U.S. government is asking a judge to give it permanent custody of the items so it can begin another legal process to return them to the school.

Julia Turing has until March to file an objection to the forfeiture. Her attorney, Katryna Spearman, did not return messages seeking comment. She has not been charged with a crime.

Sherborne School headmaster Dominic Luckett declined to comment Friday on the items removed from the school’s archives because authorities are still dealing with the matter.

Sherborne officials are proud of their distinguished alumnus and seek to preserve and promote his legacy, Luckett said in a statement to The Associated Press.

“As part of that, we take very seriously our responsibility to look after those items in our archives which relate to his time at Sherborne School and his subsequent life and work,” he added.

During World War II, Alan Turing helped crack Nazi secret codes by creating the “Turing bombe,” a forerunner of modern computers. After the war, he was prosecuted for homosexuality, then illegal in England, and forcibly treated with female hormones. He died in 1954 at age 41 after eating an apple laced with cyanide in what was ruled a suicide.

He received a posthumous apology from the British government in 2009 and a royal pardon in 2013.

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Associated Press researcher Jennifer Farrar contributed to this report.

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Some Americans to leave China, many stay after US advisory

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BEIJING —
Some Americans plan to leave China after the U.S. government advised about a spreading virus outbreak, but many others are staying.

The State Department issued a travel advisory Friday saying Americans in China “should consider departing.” That followed the evacuation earlier this week of about 200 Americans from Wuhan, the locked-down city at the center of the outbreak. A second flight is planned next week.

In addition to tourists, tens of thousands of Americans live and work in China in business and teaching. Some have been in the country for decades.

JAMES DICKEY

Dickey, a kindergarten teacher, said he is “really scared” and trying to arrange for his 8-year-old daughter and ex-wife to leave Wuhan for the United States.

He lives in Changsha, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) south of Wuhan.

“In 10 years living here in China, I’ve never seen anything like this, not even close,” he said. “The fact that our governments are taking such drastic and dire measures right now really tells me that the situation is probably worse than what we’ve been led to believe, or what the numbers would indicate.”

He spoke from a train as he returned from Beijing, where he had come to get his daughter an emergency passport so she and his ex-wife can get on an upcoming U.S. government-chartered evacuation flight from Wuhan.

He planned to stay in China with his Chinese girlfriend. “If I leave, she’s going to be all alone in a city that’s not her hometown, so if I left her right now that would be a really terrible thing to do,” he said. “I couldn’t do that to her.”

MANDY IACAMPO

Iacampo. who has lived in China for two years, said she has no plans to leave and is more worried about the flu.

“I’m honestly more concerned with traveling than with being here,” the 25-year-old kindergarten teacher said. “Looking at the numbers, especially compared to things like the flu that put me in danger, I’m not especially concerned.”

The Arkansas native said her school in Beijing has postponed reopening after the Lunar New Year holiday by a week to Feb. 10 and friends are less willing to go out.

“I’m wearing masks out and about,” she said. “But generally speaking my daily life hasn’t had to change.”

MIKE WESTER

Wester, a businessman who has lived in China for 19 years, is staying in Beijing and “self-quarantining myself,” which feels safer than facing airports crowded with strangers.

“I can control my own behavior,” he said. “I can’t vouch for everyone who is standing in all those lines that they are not being irresponsible.”

Wester is chief executive of True Run Media, an advertising company that produces magazines, websites and events in Beijing and Shanghai.

He and his wife are staying home with their 12-year-old daughter. Her school is closed but she is keeping busy writing blog entries for his company, including a series on meals that can be made with three basic ingredients.

Wester, who lived in China during the 2002-03 SARS outbreak, has organized a group for Americans on China’s popular WeChat messaging service to try to dispel false information and calm fears.

“I’ve been reading about this and trying to calm people down,” he said. “It feels like a full-time job.”

LISSA LAYMAN

Layman said she and her husband have no plans to leave.

The couple are showing her sister, who is visiting from the United States, around Beijing. They bicycled in the city and went to Tiananmen Square and brew pubs.

“We haven’t been quarantining ourselves, but we are taking precautions like washing our hands and wearing masks,” said Layman, who has been a teacher in Beijing since mid-2018.

JACK RAYMOND

Raymond, from Portland, Oregon, is wavering.

“I’m trying to not spread or get into a state of panic,” said Raymond, 28. “But I don’t know if the severity is such that I should either leave or stay put and hunker down in my apartment.”

Raymond, who has lived in Beijing for four years and teaches drama at a school, is reluctant to give up friends and work connections. He said he has stayed indoors for a week, going out only to buy food.

“I have family back in the States and they’re all urging me to leave China now,” said Raymond. “I almost bought a plane ticket yesterday. So I really am teetering on the edge.”

KELLY FLANAGAN

Flanagan, a school counselor in China since 2011, is in the United States and has no plans to return soon.

Almost all the passengers were wearing masks when she flew out of Shanghai on Jan. 25 and, when one passenger sneezed, “everyone gave her death-stares,” she said.

Flanagan, 36, is working remotely with her students to prepare for English proficiency exams, though they have been canceled because of the outbreak.

“This is probably going to be a while,” she said.

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Joshua Tree Nationwide Park braces for crowds amid holidays

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Joshua Tree Nationwide Park is gearing up for the massive crowds drawn to the Southern California desert in the course of the holidays

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. —
Joshua Tree Nationwide Park is gearing up for the massive crowds drawn to the Southern California desert in the course of the holidays.

The Nationwide Park Service says the interval from late December via Jan. 1 brings a few of the busiest days, and campgrounds and parking tons will seemingly be full.

At occasions, the park turns into drive-through-only as a result of there are not any extra parking areas.

Guests are suggested to keep away from driving in between 10 a.m. and a couple of p.m. as a result of entrance station traces are at their peak throughout these hours.

The park says utilizing the Twentynine Palms entrance is a solution to keep away from the road on the entrance close to the city of Joshua Tree.

Current years have seen an enormous enhance in annual attendance at Joshua Tree Nationwide Park, which straddles the Mojave and Colorado deserts 140 miles (225 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.

An identical various vacation spot is the Mojave Nationwide Protect, which lies to the north.

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