Trump gives upbeat assessment of trade talks with China [Wall Street Journal]
The U.S. and China moved closer to settling their trade dispute, with President Trump saying he expects to meet again with Chinese President Xi Jinping to resolve the conflict that has rattled the global economy. Mr. Trump’s upbeat assessment came as he met Thursday with Vice Premier Liu He of China in the Oval Office following two days of high-level talks between the two sides. During the talks, the Chinese delegation proposed to the U.S. that Mr. Trump meet with Mr. Xi in the Chinese resort island of Hainan after his planned summit with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, in late February, people briefed on the talks said.
Storms bring California’s Sierra snowpack to normal [Associated Press]
January storms raised the vital Sierra Nevada snowpack to normal for this time of year, an important development for California’s water supply, state officials said Thursday after the second survey of the winter. The snowpack was 100 percent of average to date, the California Department of Water Resources said….At the site, the snow depth measured 50 inches (127 centimeters) with a snow-water equivalent of 18 inches (46 centimeters). That’s 98 percent of average to date at the location, the agency said. On Feb. 1, 2018, Phillips Station had a snow-water equivalent only 14 percent of average.
Feinstein advocates for Salton Sea to USDA [Imperial Valley Press]
Imperial Irrigation District is applauding a recent letter from U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue asking for prompt implementation of drought provisions she helped secure in the 2018 farm bill to trigger federal funding for Salton Sea conservation efforts. In a letter dated Jan. 30, Feinstein told Perdue, “I’m writing to ask that you quickly implement the new drought provisions Congress included in the recent Farm Bill and provide a firm federal funding commitment to facilitate Salton Sea conservation efforts. These new drought provisions are vital to protecting public health, natural resources, the environment, wildlife and the agricultural industry in the Coachella and Imperial valleys.” Feinstein, along with fellow California Sen. Kamala Harris and U.S. Rep Raul Harris, D-Palm Desert, helped include language in the bill expanding the scope of USDA’s conservation efforts to make California’s largest lake eligible for funding.
Arizona joins Colorado River drought plan [Associated Press]
Arizona delivered one of the final puzzle pieces for a Colorado River drought plan, agreeing Thursday to join six other states and Mexico in voluntarily taking less water from the constrained river. The decision to join the drought plan, authorized by lawmakers and Gov. Doug Ducey, went right up to the edge of a federal deadline that threatened to blow up the agreement. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation director Brenda Burman said all parties must agree to cutbacks by Jan. 31 or she would begin the process to impose them. Arizona was the only state that required legislation to join the agreement to protect the water that serves 40 million people in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.
As US questions free trade, EU and Japan usher in new deal [Associated Press]
…The agreement that comes into effect will scrap nearly all tariffs on products both sides trade in. It will have a big impact on Japanese exports of cars to Europe and EU exports of agricultural products like cheese to Japan. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Friday that both sides have “something to celebrate. Today, we have the entry into force of the largest ever free trade area.” “Europe and Japan are sending a message to the world about the future of open and fair trade,” said EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker….The pact runs counter to U.S. President Donald Trump’s moves to hike tariffs on imports from many trading partners.
Did someone kill the Shasta Pack, California’s mysterious wolf family? [Sacramento Bee]
Nearly four years ago in the forests of California’s rugged northeast corner, two black and brown wolves had a litter of five pups in the shadow of Mount Shasta. They became known as the Shasta Pack – the first known gray wolves to have offspring on California soil in nearly a century. The pups, shown frolicking in camera footage released by state wildlife officials, became a statewide sensation, even as local ranchers bristled at the new threat to their cattle. Three and a half years later, the Shasta Pack has vanished from Siskiyou County. All but one of the wolves disappeared within a few weeks of a standoff between ranchers and the pack and after the wolves were spotted feeding on a calf carcass. Just one pup is known to have survived; biologists say DNA tests show it left the state.