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February 20, 2019

Man-made climate change has completely eradicated its first mammal species, reports CNN.

The Bramble Cay melomys, a small brown rat, once inhabited an island off northern Australia and had not been seen for the last decade, per CNN. A 2016 report suggested the animal had gone extinct, but that finding was not confirmed by the Australian government until this week.

According to the report, the extinction's cause was "almost certainly ocean inundation" due to rising sea levels caused by climate change.

As many as several hundred rats lived on the tiny island in the 1970s, but the population rapidly declined in the following decades and the melomys was classified as endangered by 1992, reports CNN. Now that the species has been declared extinct, the Australian government will end its endangered species protections. Marianne Dodson

4:17 p.m.

Fox News isn't letting Jeanine Pirro back on the air just yet.

Pirro's show, Justice with Judge Jeanine, is once again not on the network's schedule for this Saturday, reports Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Fox had pulled the show last week after Pirro questioned whether Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is loyal to the United States because she wears a hijab, asking, "Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Shariah law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

This immediately prompted some advertisers to pull out of the show and drew a rare rebuke from Fox News, which said it "strongly" condemns her statements and that they "do not reflect those of the network." Pirro in response said her "intention was to ask a question and start a debate," per The Associated Press. She is currently suspended, The New York Times reports, although Fox has yet to confirm this or comment on the future of her show. A rerun of Fox's documentary series Scandalous is currently set to air in Pirro's usual Saturday time slot on March 23.

This will come as bad news to President Trump, who tweeted last week in support of Pirro, saying Fox should "fight hard" for her and "stop working soooo hard on being politically correct." Brendan Morrow

3:51 p.m.

Ex-San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick was rumored to be landing $60-80 million from his settlement with the NFL. That may have been wishful thinking.

Last month, the NFL announced it reached a settlement with Kaepernick and Eric Reid, who sued the league after they were apparently blacklisted from playing due to their protests during the national anthem. The confidential settlement seemed like a big win for the players, but with the The Wall Street Journal reporting that they'll only receive less than $10 million, that may not be quite true.

Both the NFL and the players declined to discuss what was in the February settlement, but Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman said NFL team officials guessed the league paid Kaepernick around $60-80 million. This new number, which comes via people briefed on the deal, "is far less than the tens of millions of dollars" Kaepernick probably would've gotten if he'd won the lawsuit. It's unclear if the reported $10 million will be split between the two players, or how much of it would go to cover legal fees.

Kaepernick first opted to sit during the national anthem to protest racial injustice at 2016 game, sparking dozens of other players, including Reid, to take a similar stance. Kaepernick didn't get signed to a team the next year and sued the NFL, while Reid similarly sued but was signed to the Carolina Panthers during the 2018 season.

The NFL declined to comment, while an attorney for Kaepernick and Reid said they would keep the deal confidential. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:49 p.m.

Emilia Clarke has just revealed in a powerful essay that she has survived two life-threatening brain aneurysms since her work on Game of Thrones began.

The Daenerys Targaryen actress in an essay for The New Yorker on Thursday writes that in February 2011, two months before the first season's premiere, she suffered a type of stroke that kills one-third of patients, being rushed to the hospital after experiencing a "shooting, stabbing, constricting pain." Following a three-hour surgery, Clarke says she suffered from aphasia and couldn't even remember her name.

"In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug," she writes. "I asked the medical staff to let me die."

Clarke did recover and says she was back filming Game of Thrones within weeks, but she was "often so woozy, so weak" that "every minute of every day I thought I was going to die." After the show's third season, Clarke says she had to receive a second surgery for another smaller aneurysm in her brain, but it didn't go according to plan. "I had a massive bleed and the doctors made it plain that my chances of surviving were precarious if they didn't operate again," she says. The recovery from this more intrusive surgery was even more painful, she describes, saying she was "convinced that I wasn't going to live."

Her fear didn't go away after she was out of the hospital, and Clarke goes into detail about the pressure of trying to maintain her public persona while at the same time fearing she wouldn't be able to "cheat death" again. Once, she says she received a "horrific headache" at Comic-Con and thought, "This is it. My time is up."

Now, though, Clarke says she has "healed beyond my most unreasonable hopes" and has started a charity called SameYou to fund treatment for those who suffer from brain injuries and strokes. Read Clarke's emotional account at The New Yorker. Brendan Morrow

2:07 p.m.

President Trump just unleashed an incredibly consequential foreign policy decision in a single tweet — but what else is new.

Just a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump decided that America would recognize Golan Heights as Israeli territory. Syria and Israel have fought over the 460-square mile plateau for more than half a century, yet Trump settled its fate, at least in American eyes, in one surprising Thursday tweet.

Golan was Syrian land until Israel seized it in 1967, sparking a constant fight between the neighbors. Most recently, Israel has accused the Iran-backed group Hezbollah of setting up a terrorist cell in the region, per the Times of Israel. Netanyahu was expected to push Trump to support Israel's control over the region when they met next week, and three GOP lawmakers pleaded with Trump to do the same last week.

The move is largely seen as a strategic boost to Netanyahu's struggling re-election campaign, The New York Times notes. Beyond meeting with Trump, Netanyahu is also scheduled to speak to the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, which has recently been subject to increasing opposition from far-left Democrats. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:54 p.m.

Facebook is in hot water once again.

The social media giant on Thursday acknowledged having stored hundreds of millions of user passwords in plain text when they should have been encrypted. This followed a report from journalist Brian Krebs on Facebook not encrypting passwords, which said this has been happening "in some cases going back to 2012."

Krebs quoted a Facebook source as saying "between 200 million and 600 million" users have been affected by this. In a blog post, Facebook didn't provide an exact number but said it would notify "hundreds of millions" of affected Facebook Lite users, as well as "tens of millions" of other Facebook users and "tens of thousands" of Instagram users.

These unencrypted passwords were searchable in a database that could be accessed by 20,000 Facebook employees, Krebs reports. Facebook says it discovered this during a security review in January but found "no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed the passwords."

This is only the latest bit of bad press for the scandal-plagued Facebook, which The New York Times reported last week is under criminal investigation over deals made with other companies over its user's data. Facebook told the Times it is "cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously." After the company's Thursday revelations, the Times' Mike Isaac quoted a Facebook employee as saying, "working at Facebook is like living the Sideshow Bob stepping on rakes GIF." Brendan Morrow

1:02 p.m.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway would very much like everyone to stop paying so much attention to her husband's tweets calling her boss, President Trump, mentally unstable.

Conway spoke with Fox Business on Thursday after Trump went after her husband, George Conway, as a "stone cold loser," "husband from hell," and a "whack job." It's "unusual" and "new" for her husband not to support "the agenda of the president and my work there," she said, also saying it's "surprising" to see "grievances" aired in public. Still, "I appreciate the president defending what he thinks is unfairness," she said, later saying that Trump is "protective" of her and has "never" made her feel like she has to "choose between my marriage and my job."

She went on to say that she has "certainly" had "conversations" with her husband about not wanting him to tweet attacks on her boss, but she argued the media is "getting into a very dangerous area" by covering this story, in particular going after what she called "self-designated marriage experts." She also suggested her husband's tweets aren't really that important since he can't "act on" them and that reporters only care about him because of their marriage. "I don't know when the feminists are going to write the story about the unusual situation about a man getting power through his wife, but that's what we have here," she said.

Later, Conway said her husband "certainly" wants her to step down, but asked, "what message would that send to the feminists everywhere who pretend they're independent thinkers, and men don't make decisions for them? They can talk it, and I can walk it. I can live it." Brendan Morrow

12:46 p.m.

You don't have to be baseball fan to catch some feelings from this goodbye.

On Thursday, MLB legend Ichiro Suzuki finished up a 29-year career on an indisputably high note. Sure, the 45-year-old outfielder and his Seattle Mariners earned a 5-4 win over the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo's Japan Opening Series. But the reaction from the 45,000-person crowd and Ichiro's teammates after he was pulled from the game during its eighth inning was far more historic.

Ichiro spent more than a decade with the Mariners before gracing a few more MLB teams and then returning to Seattle in 2018. He took a front office position last May, but came back to the field Wednesday for the first Mariners game of the season and appeared again on Thursday. It seemed pretty clear that Ichiro intended to play the last games of his career in his home country of Japan, and he made his retirement official after Thursday's game.

While Ichiro didn't earn any runs on Thursday, he leaves behind a career marked by 3,089 hits in the MLB. Combined with his 1,278 hits as a professional in Japan, Ichiro holds the record for the most professional hits of all time. Watch more of Ichiro's final on-field moments below. Kathryn Krawczyk

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