first_imgCelebrations broke out in cities and towns across the country on Saturday after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential race. Democrats are looking at being shut out completely from the district-drawing process — which will use data drawn from the 2020 census — in key states including Florida, Texas and North Carolina. Together, those states will account for more than 80 congressional seats starting in 2022. In his own remarks, Biden declared it “the honor of my lifetime” that the country had sided with his message of unity and head-on confrontation of the coronavirus. Early on Monday, he unveiled a transition team of scientists and experts to prepare his virus response. “That plan will be built on bedrock science,” he said in his speech Saturday. The news in House races across the country has generally been better for Republicans than for Democrats. An exception came in northeastern suburbs outside Atlanta, where Carolyn Bourdeaux was declared the winner on Friday in a House district that had been vacated by the five-term Republican congressman Rob Woodall. Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” James Clyburn, the Democratic whip in the House and a Biden adviser, pressed Republicans to break with the president. “What matters to me is whether or not the Republican Party will step up and help us preserve the integrity of this democracy,” he said. – Advertisement – It was a remarkable — and improbable — scene, as our reporters Matt Flegenheimer and Katie Glueck write in a news analysis. Matt and Katie remind us that Biden is the same “institutionalist 70-something, incorrigible square, inexhaustible reciter of Irish poetry” he’s always been. “But then, it seems that defeating President Trump can do strange things for a man’s reputation.” Biden and Kamala Harris, the vice president-elect, projected an executive air on Saturday night as they strode onstage to address the country in Wilmington, Del., hours after the race had been called. The pressure is now on the General Services Administration, which is responsible for declaring a winning candidate and facilitating the transition process. Its Trump-appointed administrator, Emily Murphy, has not yet affirmed Biden’s victory. “I am thinking about her and about the generations of women, Black women, Asian, white, Latina, Native American women, who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight,” Harris said. “Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all, including the Black women who are too often overlooked, but so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy.” – Advertisement – Veterans of both Republican and Democratic administrations are now calling on Trump to accept his election loss and begin the transition process. But he has shown no willingness to do so — and in fact, he’s been eerily silent other than a cascade of tweets, many of which Twitter has labeled misleading.center_img Harris began with a speech that invited women, particularly women of color, to bask in the milestone of her election as the first female vice president. She invoked her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who arrived in the United States as an Indian immigrant at 19. – Advertisement – “While there will be legal disputes requiring adjudication, the outcome is sufficiently clear that the transition process must now begin,” wrote the four members of its advisory board, which includes veterans of the Clinton, Obama and George W. Bush administrations. The center has participated in presidential transition activities for four election cycles. This would become relevant if Republicans succeeded in overturning a state court decision to allow ballots to be accepted up to three days after Election Day. The good news for Biden is that it does not appear losing those ballots alone would be enough to erase his lead in the state. – Advertisement – In Arizona, more votes came in on Sunday, breaking narrowly for Trump. He does not appear to be on pace to overtake Biden in the state, which remains undecided and would only add to Biden’s margin of victory in the Electoral College if he held on to win. But over all, Democrats have lost a net of five seats in the chamber this cycle, with a number of races across the country still uncalled. The nonpartisan Center for Presidential Transition released a letter on Sunday urging him to move ahead with the transition. Enough votes have been counted in Pennsylvania, Nevada and other close states that it’s clear Trump has lost the election. In Pennsylvania, for instance, ballots received after Election Day have been sorted and counted separately from those received through Nov. 3. Here’s another thing Republicans have to celebrate: As of last night, Democrats had not flipped a single statehouse chamber in an election year that will determine who controls the decennial process of redistricting.last_img read more


first_imgHe’s faced criticism for some of the things he’s said and done on the way to winning his four belts at the weekend.But Fury – whose grandmother is from Tipperary – believes he gives young people a good option to aspire to.last_img


first_img Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Birds were born about 150 million years ago, when a group of small meat-eating dinosaurs spread their feathered wings and took to the skies. They soon split into two distinct groups: the lineage that led to modern birds, called the ornithuromorphs, and the so-called opposite birds, or enantiornithines, whose shoulder ball-and-socket joints connected in an inverse way from those of living birds. Relatively poor fliers, the opposite birds also typically had teeth and clawed wings. They thrived for millions of years, but vanished along with their dinosaur relatives in the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous.Meanwhile, the lineage of modern birds evolved “huge chest muscles and wings comprised of many different types of feathers layered over each other”—features essential to high-powered flight, Brusatte explains. Their bone structure also suggests that they grew much faster than the opposite birds. But researchers did not know when those features emerged. Although they had found some excellent specimens of the earliest birds, such as Germany’s famed 150-million-year-old Archaeopteryx, as well as stunning later fossils from northeastern China, a 20-million-year gap remained between Archaeopteryx and other fossils, most of which were opposite birds, Chiappe says.The new fossils fill the gap in time and also in anatomy. Writing in Nature Communications, the Beijing team describes two skeletons of a species they call Archaeornithura meemannae. (Archaeornithura means “ancient ornithuromorph,” and meemannae is in honor of Chinese paleontologist Meemann Chang.) Each exquisitely preserved specimen has the telltale traits of a modern bird: fan-shaped tail feathers, highly fused bones at the ends of the wings, and the U-shaped wishbone familiar to anyone who has carved a roast chicken. The fossils even have a small projection on the front edge of their wings—known to boost maneuverability during flight—that is remarkably similar to that of today’s birds.Furthermore, Archaeornithura had long legs and feet apparently adapted to wading in water, similar to those of today’s plovers, suggesting that modern birds arose in aquatic habitats. Finding such a modern bird, already specialized for wading, suggests that millions of years of aquatic evolution took place even before A. meemannae came on the scene, Zhou explains. He suggests that while the opposite birds found safety in the trees, life in more open, aquatic spaces may have given the ornithuromorphs “more choices of high protein food” and favored their evolution into swift fliers so they could avoid the danger of predators. All this evolution must have happened after Archaeopteryx but before 130 million years ago.The fossils reveal the origins of the features that, tens of millions of years later, may have allowed modern birds to survive the Cretaceous extinction when other birds did not, Zhou and Wang say. No one is sure just what conditions prevailed in the postasteroid apocalypse, but Wang speculates that the fast growth rates of modern birds, which let them reach adulthood faster and spend less time dependent on their parents, may have given them an advantage; likewise skilled flight may have been a boon.  But this idea is “too simplistic,” counters Sankar Chatterjee, a paleontologist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, because many ornithuromorphs vanished during the extinction, too. Nevertheless, Brusatte argues, “from the ashes of that extinction, a few groups of more sophisticated birds, with better flight abilities and perhaps faster growth rates, were able to survive.” Those key traits, the new fossils show, arose near the dawn of bird evolution.*Correction, 5 May, 3:57 p.m.: An earlier version of this story stated that mosasaurs were living 130 million years ago at the time of the earliest relatives of modern birds. Mosasaurs did not arrive until much later, but plesiosaurs were thriving at that time.center_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Put yourself on the planet 130 million years ago. Most of the animals, from horned dinosaurs to swimming, predatory plesiosaurs, would be deeply alien, not to say terrifying. But rising from the wetlands and winging across the sky were birds startlingly like today’s. That’s the message from two bird skeletons—spectacularly preserved with feathers and all—reported this week.The 130-million-year-old fossils of wading birds, found in northeast China by a team led by paleontologists Min Wang and Zhonghe Zhou of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, push back the lineage that led to today’s birds by at least 5 million years and make it almost certain that the origin of the lineage was much older still. The fossils’ specialized anatomy suggests that key factors in birds’ long-term success, such as expert flying ability and rapid growth rates, arose surprisingly early in avian evolution.“New bird fossils seem to come out every week now, and they are revolutionizing our understanding of bird evolution. But of all the new specimens, this is one of the most important found over the last decade,” says paleontologist Stephen Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. Not only does the bird look nearly modern, but it was apparently a water dweller, showing that “ancient birds became specialized in their respective habits” very early, says paleontologist Luis Chiappe of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in California.last_img read more