Then there’s a bigger problem — the damage may be leaving Florida’s fragile wetlands open to even more of an incursion from exotic plants threatening to choke the unique Everglades and undermine billions of dollars’ worth of restoration projects. … READ MORE.
My story today on Florida’s ongoing invasive species woes, but I withheld my byline because AP staff are still negotiating for a #fairAPcontract.
The punitive damages — $23,623,718,906.62, to be precise — almost certainly will be significantly reduced on appeal, if not thrown out entirely, legal experts and industry analysts said. In another major tobacco trial, a $28 billion verdict in a 2002 case in Los Angeles turned into $28 million after appeals.
The figure is a pointed, dramatic gesture, said Cynthia Robinson, whose husband took up smoking at 13 and died of lung cancer at 36.
"It’s over. R.J. Reynolds got knocked in the head. They have to own up to it — they have not, they probably won’t, but it’s justice," Robinson told The Associated Press.
Some legal experts even suggested the jurors in Florida, home to most of the nation’s remaining lawsuits against Big Tobacco, may have been savvy enough to know their sky-high sum won’t stand, but did it anyway to make a point. … READ MORE.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. executive J. Jeffery Raborn has called the damages awarded by a Pensacola jury “grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law.”
"This verdict goes far beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness, and is completely inconsistent with the evidence presented," Raborn, a company vice president and assistant general counsel, said in a statement. "We plan to file post-trial motions with the trial court promptly, and are confident that the court will follow the law and not allow this runaway verdict to stand."
One of the widow’s attorneys said the verdict Friday night sends a powerful message to tobacco companies.
"The jury wanted to send a statement that tobacco cannot continue to lie to the American people and the American government about the addictiveness of and the deadly chemicals in their cigarettes," said Christopher Chestnut, one of the attorneys representing Cynthia Robinson.
The case is one of thousands filed in Florida after the state Supreme Court in 2006 threw out a $145 billion class action verdict. That ruling also said smokers and their families need only prove addiction and that smoking caused their illnesses or deaths. … READ MORE.
"If anything, I’m panicking about the lack of time we have left," he said. "I’m feeling really comfortable and happy down here."
In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press inside Aquarius Reef Base, 63 feet below the surface of the waters off Key Largo, Cousteau said the scientists from Florida International University and Northeastern University who joined his “Mission 31” have had unprecedented access to a coral reef.
"The FIU researchers have accomplished more than six months’ worth of data gathering in just two weeks because they were here, living under the sea in this undersea habitat," he said. "This highlights how important a habitat is for scientific research as well as outreach." … READ MORE.
Archaeologist Bob Carr led a handful of students in placing 400 glow sticks in the postholes that form one of roughly 10 circular features in a vacant lot spanning half a city block destined to become a hotel and entertainment complex.
The site is thought to be one of the largest and earliest examples of urban planning ever uncovered in North America. … READ MORE.
"We can do just exactly whatever we want to do. And you know why? Because we’re Young Ones. Bachelor boys. Crazy, mad, wild-eyed, big-bottomed anarchists."
Rik Mayall, who died on June 9th was the most original and funniest of the alternative comedians who emerged in the early 1980s and still dominate British television. They were maverick, furious and stridently political (via theeconomist)
So much of high school was spent watching and quoting “The Young Ones.” RIP Rik.
Orchids growing in glass bottles at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden will be transplanted into hardwood trees lining suburban Miami’s streets, parks and school campuses.
Five orchid species native to Florida but now rare due to development and over-collection are being cultivated in a lab and will be moved into urban trees over the next five years. Researchers hope the project will revive vanishing native plant populations, attract migrating birds and pollinators and complement efforts to restore orchids in Florida’s wild landscapes.
Fairchild’s program is based on a project at Singapore Botanic Gardens that found that lab-grown orchids grew well on city trees and reproduced naturally even in densely populated areas. Similar urban conservation initiatives have taken root in major metropolitan areas such as New York.
At Fairchild, countless orchids in various stages of green, early growth currently fill about 1,500 bottles on shelves lit by white or blue and red lights. … READ MORE.