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Natural disasters in the United States may cause an increase in poverty and a widening economic gap between rich and poor, according to a new study published in Scientific American.

The magazine looks at events in the United States from 1920 to 2010 and finds that major natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes resulted on average in a 1-percentage-point increase in poverty in affected areas.

The world's best-known living physicist, Stephen Hawking, says that President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate change accord could lead humanity to a tipping point, "turning the Earth into Venus."

The Cambridge professor and renowned cosmologist made the remarks in an interview with the BBC that aired Sunday.

"Drain the swamp" may be a popular political slogan, but it doesn't always work so well in nature.

Two years ago, near the end of California's devastating drought, Tom Moore stood on the banks of the depleted Kern River in Southern California and looked out at the slow-moving waters dejectedly.

"We call that a creek," he said of the mighty Kern.

Moore is the owner of Sierra South, a whitewater recreation company in Kernville, Calif. And with the drought, there wasn't much in the way of whitewater.

Oh, how things change.

Small cradles of chrysanthemums, illuminated by a single candle, flicker in the moonlight, bobbing along the fast-flowing Ganges River.

They are offerings. For hundreds of millions of Hindus around the world, the river is the goddess Ganga, or Mother Ganga, who descended to Earth from her home in the Milky Way.

Devotees murmur prayers and chant her praises in riverside cities along their ghats, the cement embankments that lead into the river.

Wild horses and cattle graze on the marshy banks of southern Spain's mighty Guadalquivir River.

From the mouth of this river, Christopher Columbus set off for the New World.

But since then, the river has gotten more salty. As fresh water is extracted for agriculture, drought — made more frequent by climate change — means less rainfall replaces it. Tides send salt water farther upriver.

Inside a cement building straddling part of the river, pumps suck 800 gallons out of the Guadalquivir per second — diverting it to irrigation canals.

Advocates for Yellowstone National Park's grizzly bears filed notice Friday that they're prepared to sue to reverse the bears' recent removal from the endangered species list.

Grizzlies have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1975, when only 136 of them lived in the Yellowstone region, The Associated Press reports.

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced last week that the park's population of about 700 of the iconic carnivores would no longer receive federal protections.

In the global debate over neonicotinoid pesticides, the company that makes most of them has relied on one primary argument to defend its product: The evidence that these chemicals, commonly called "neonics," are harmful to bees has been gathered in artificial conditions, force-feeding bees in the laboratory, rather than in the real world of farm fields.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper took an unusual path to politics. A former geologist and beer brewer, he’s now a leading voice on reviving local economies.

Generations have come and gone under its branches. Its leaves soaked up rays from the sun that shone on the American Colonies. But after an estimated 325 years of life, an oak tree in a residential neighborhood in Washington, D.C., has now fallen victim to time.

Dana Ju, whose young family had been the latest to play under the tree's broad canopy on Washington's Floral Street, says they're "very sad about the tree but feel very fortunate we were not inside our home when it fell."

Climate scientists agree that this century is getting much warmer and that such warming will likely bring economic pain to the U.S., but economists aren't sure how much. Now, a team of scientists and economists, writing in the upcoming issue of the journal Science, says it can at least tell which parts of the country are likely to suffer the most.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The height of the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church was almost 20 years ago, and here we are again today with a very high-profile charge.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The air Americans breathe has been getting cleaner for decades.

But air pollution is still killing thousands in the U.S. every year, even at the levels allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a study out Wednesday.

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