Obama signs order creating new cyber sanctions program

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Wednesday authorized a new U.S. government approach to deterring cyberattacks: financial sanctions against malicious overseas hackers and companies that knowingly benefit from the fruits of cyberespionage.

The latter category could include state-owned corporations in Russia, China and elsewhere, setting the stage for major diplomatic friction if the sanctions are employed in that way.

California governor orders mandatory water restrictions

ECHO LAKE, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered officials Wednesday to impose statewide mandatory water restrictions for the first time in history as surveyors found the lowest snow level in the Sierra Nevada snowpack in 65 years of record-keeping.

Standing in dry, brown grass at a site that he said normally would be snow-covered this time of year, Brown announced he had signed an executive order requiring the State Water Resources Control Board to implement measures in cities and towns to cut the state's overall water usage by 25 percent compared with 2013 levels.


Rosneft says it settled dispute with dismantled oil firm

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's largest oil company, Rosneft, said on Wednesday that it has settled a long-standing dispute with now-defunct oil company Yukos, whose owner spent 10 years in a Russian prison.

Yukos was dismantled in 2003 and sold in pieces through intermediaries to Rosneft, making it Russia's largest oil producer. Yukos' owner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, spent 10 years in prison on tax evasion charges which were largely described as politically motivated before he was pardoned by President Vladimir Putin and released in December 2013.

US gives threatened status to northern long-eared bat

DETROIT (AP) — The federal government said Wednesday that it is listing the northern long-eared bat as threatened, giving new protections to a species that has been nearly wiped out in some areas by the spread of a fungal disease.

White-nose syndrome first was first discovered among bats in a cave near Albany, New York, in 2006 and since has killed millions of the flying mammals in the Northeast, South and Midwest. It spreads while they congregate on the wet walls of caves or abandoned mines, interrupting their hibernation and causing them to starve or dehydrate.

Iran nuclear talks resume past deadline


Negotiators from six world powers and Iran resumed nuclear talks Wednesday despite passing a deadline for an agreement, with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hamond telling the BBC that there was “a broad framework for understanding” but some key points remain to be worked out, Reuters reports.

ADM to work to conserve forests

The New York Times

Commodities giant Archer Daniels Midland will announce at its annual general meeting May 7 a plan to fight deforestation, The New York Times reports.

Judge: Navy's Hawaii, California training plan inadequate

HONOLULU (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday said the National Marine Fisheries Service violated environmental laws when it approved the Navy's plans for training in waters off Hawaii and Southern California.

The agency failed to support its finding that the training would have a "negligible impact" on marine life, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway wrote in her ruling.

Cliven Bundy, supporters rally before Nevada lawmakers

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who garnered national attention a year ago when he and armed supporters engaged in a showdown with federal authorities, came to Carson City Tuesday with scores of allies to rally behind a bill seeking to reclaim land from the federal government.

A bus from Phoenix and another from Las Vegas brought more than 100 people, according to Bundy's son, Ammon Bundy, and others came on their own to fill several legislative hearing rooms. Many wore shirts and carried signs that read "the land belongs to the people."

Minnesota professor accused of smuggling elephant ivory

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A St. Cloud State University philosophy professor was arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiring to smuggle rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory out of the United States and into China.

Yiwei Zheng, who appeared in U.S. District Court Tuesday, faces a federal indictment accusing him of conspiracy, smuggling and making a false statement to agents. Zheng also is charged with violating the federal Lacey Act, which bans trade in wildlife, fish and plants that have been illegally taken, transported or sold.


Albanian authorities evacuate village after oil well blast

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albanian authorities are evacuating residents of a village following an explosion at a Canadian-owned oil well. No injuries were reported.

A statement from the Calgary-based Bankers Petroleum Ltd. said an "uncontrolled leak of natural gas occurred during drilling operation" Wednesday in Marinze, 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of the capital Tirana.


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