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Exodus of outdoor show from Utah criticized by beneficiaries

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Sales double twice a year at the Toasters sandwich shop in downtown Salt Lake City when tens of thousands of plaid-shirted outdoor retailer representatives arrive in town for a massive industry trade show.

And Laser Exhibitor Service hires 100 people before each show to set up and take down about 60 exhibitor booths for the Outdoor Retailer shows.

But Toasters owners Enes and Mubera Huskic and Laser owner Adam Swillinger won’t get that business anymore after the show announced last week it will leave Salt Lake City after two decades because of the stance by the state’s Republican leadership on public lands. This summer’s show could be the last one held in Utah.

The Huskics say they may have to cut back employee hours at their location across the street from the convention center, one of four they operate.

“They were a lifeline, a safety net,” said Enes Huskic. “They were giving us peace of mind.”

The small business owners joined Democratic state leaders Tuesday to speak out against Utah’s Republican leadership for what they called a stubborn stance on public lands that will leave the state without an estimated $45 million in direct spending the shows bring annually.

Democrat State Party Chair Peter Corroon said the state’s “land-grab” rhetoric has gone too far. Salt Lake County Councilman Jim Bradley said the state should do more to protect the majestic red rock lands of southern Utah that draw visitors from around the world.

“Outdoor recreation is a sustainable business. It will last forever if we protect the product,” Bradley said.

Outdoor Retailer announced its decision after a conference call Thursday in which Gov. Gary Herbert refused to stand down from asking President Donald Trump to rescind the new Bears Ears National Monument. Outdoor industry leaders had previously met with member of Utah’s congressional delegation in Washington to make the same demands.

Herbert and the state’s Republican congressional delegation say they also want protections for the sacred tribal lands of the Bears Ears area but oppose the designation, made by former President Barack Obama during his final weeks, because they believe it adds a layer of unnecessary federal control and closes the areas for new development and oil and gas extraction.

A day after the show announced it would leave Utah, Gov. Herbert signed a resolution asking Utah’s congressional delegation to support shrinking southern Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, designed in 1996.

Utah also lost a chance to bid for the Interbike trade show, a large cycling exhibition which is considering leaving Las Vegas next year.

Emerald Expositions, which puts on the Outdoor Retailer and Interbike shows, said last week it would no longer consider Salt Lake City as a host candidate for the Interbike show. The company declined to say what cities are under consideration, citing a confidential bid process.

The Outdoor Retailer show is expected to finish the bid process for a new host city over the next several months, said spokeswoman Kate Lowery. The summer show in July will still be in Salt Lake City but the organization is reconsidering options for two shows contracted to take place in Utah in 2018, Lowery said.

Colorado, Montana and Oregon have all said they’re interesting in becoming the new host city a business-to-business expo that allows store owners to meet with manufacturers and preview products that will reach the retail market soon.

Boyd Matheson, who runs the conservative Sutherland Institute policy think tank based in Salt Lake City, said Utah state leaders should be applauded for holding their ground and not caving to a small but powerful arm of the outdoor industry he claims has an “environmental agenda.”

“You cannot allow out-of-state interest to drive policy,” Matheson said. “That’s a recipe for disaster for the state.”

EPA head’s emails with energy companies to be released

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma attorney general’s office said Tuesday it is complying with a judge’s order to surrender documents related to new Environmental Protection Agency leader Scott Pruitt’s communications with energy companies while he served as the state’s attorney general.

The office had until 5 p.m. Tuesday to comply with District Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons’s order to turn over emails and other documents to the Wisconsin-based Center for Media and Democracy, which requested the documents more than two years ago under Oklahoma’s Open Records Act.

A spokesman for the office, Lincoln Ferguson, said it turned over records related to the January 2015 request to the watchdog agency and that other records were turned over to the judge to determine if they are privileged and not subject to release under the law.

“The office went above and beyond what is required under the Open Records Act and produced thousands of additional documents that, but for the court’s order, would typically be considered records outside the scope of the act,” Ferguson said in an emailed statement.

“This broad disclosure should provide affirmation that, despite politically motivated allegations, the office of attorney general remains fully committed to the letter and spirit of the Open Records Act,” Ferguson said.

An attorney for the advocacy group, Bob Nelon, said he received an email from the attorney general’s office at 4:14 p.m. Tuesday indicating that it planned to comply with the judge’s order and make the documents available.

Nelon said the records were provided electronically and that an initial review indicated one computer disk contained 7,564 pages, although it was not immediately clear how many documents they represent.

The attorney general’s office had previously identified more than 3,000 emails that it said pertained to the group’s January 2015 request.

Nelon said the records will be transmitted to the Center for Media and Democracy, which plans to make them publicly available on its website.

Timmons has also ordered the attorney general to comply with other open-records requests by the group in 2015 and 2016.

The judge handed down her ruling on Thursday in connection with a lawsuit the group filed that accused the attorney general’s office of failing to provide “prompt and reasonable access” to the documents, as required by the Open Records Act.

Pruitt resigned his post as Oklahoma attorney general on Friday, the day he was sworn in as President Donald Trump’s EPA administrator.

Among other things, the January 2015 request sought information about Pruitt’s communications, private meetings and relationships with fossil fuel companies as the state’s attorney general, companies he will help regulate as EPA administrator.

Nelon said later requests were more narrowly tailored and that the advocacy group has no idea how many documents are involved.

As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt repeatedly sued the EPA and criticized what he has characterized as the EPA’s “activist agenda.” He has been a reliable booster of the fossil fuel industry and has said his support for legal positions advocated by oil and gas companies was in the best interest of Oklahoma, which is economically dependent on the fossil fuel industry.

In his first meeting with the EPA’s staff Tuesday, Pruitt said he believes the nation can be “pro-energy and jobs, and pro-environment.”

“I think our nation has done better than any nation in the world at making sure that we do the job of protecting our natural resources, and protecting our environment, while also respecting economic growth,” Pruitt said.

Maple syrup producers face challenges in warming world

DURHAM, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s maple syrup producers say they are feeling the impact of climate change, as winters become warmer and frigid nights so critical to their business become fewer.

Producers joined climate experts and Democratic U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire on Tuesday to talk about the state’s changing climate and how it is affecting one of the state’s most important industries.

Some producers talked of seeing a steep drop in the amounts of sap they are getting, while others are dealing with another trend attributed to warmer temperatures in which the sap goes up to the top of the trees rather than down to taps.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont produced 3.78 million gallons of syrup in 2016.

3rd person sentenced in scalding of cat in Mississippi

MOSS POINT, Miss. (AP) — A third person in Mississippi been sentenced to jail for the scalding of a caged cat in a video that was posted online.

Police say the cat died after being doused with boiling water in December.

News organizations report a Moss Point city judge on Tuesday sentenced 23-year-old Karmen Coleman to 30 days in jail. She pleaded guilty to rendering criminal assistance by videotaping the scalding.

On Feb. 7, 24-year-old Laderrick Rostchild was found guilty of aggravated animal abuse, and was sentenced to six months in jail.

His uncle, 43-year-old Larry Rostchild, pleaded guilty to simple abuse and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Judge Keith Miller ordered each of the three to do 200 hours of community service. The men must do theirs at the local animal shelter.

Hungary’s Berlin film fest winner Enyedi to adapt novel

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Hungarian director whose “On Body and Soul” won the top award at the Berlin Film Festival says her next project is an adaptation of “The Story of My Wife,” a 1942 novel by Hungarian writer and poet Milan Fust.

Director Ildiko Enyedi also said Tuesday that she welcomed the national film fund’s support for her work and that of a wide range of Hungarian directors and writers, some of whose films have recently won prizes at international festivals. “Son of Saul” by Laszlo Nemes won the Oscar last year for best foreign-language film.

“On Body And Soul,” a love story about two slaughterhouse workers who connect in shared dreams, is Enyedi’s first feature film since 1999. It won the Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear award on Saturday.

The Latest: Far-right protests as refugee kids go to school

CAIRO (AP) — The Latest on response to wave of migration to Europe (all times local):

7:20 p.m.

Greek authorities have blocked access to a northern primary school after threatening far-right protests over a handful of refugee children attending afternoon classes there.

Police buses were parked outside the school’s main entrance Tuesday at Oreokastro, north of Thessaloniki, to keep away protesters, while the nine Kurdish children aged 7-11 from a nearby refugee camp were escorted in. One man was arrested for allegedly breaking anti-racism laws.

Several parents at the school are keeping their own children away — even though the refugees are attending after classes for Greek children are over.

Two dozen far-right supporters, some in motorcycle helmets and hoods, protested outside the school Monday. They oppose the refugee children attending because they are foreign and not Christian.

Leftists have mounted a counter-protest.

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4:30 p.m.

Serbian police say they have foiled two attempts to smuggle a total of 41 migrants through the country.

Police said in a statement on Tuesday they discovered 32 migrants crammed in a van near Belgrade while an additional nine have been found in a house in the capital.

Police say both the van driver and the house owner are facing charges of people smuggling. They say the migrants were from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.

Thousands of migrants have been stuck in Serbia while looking for ways to reach western Europe. Many seek the help of people-smugglers to take them over the heavily guarded borders of neighboring EU nations Croatia and Hungary.

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12:40 p.m.

Pope Francis is calling for humanitarian corridors to protect refugees fleeing their homelands and denouncing the “populist rhetoric” that is closing doors in their faces.

In a speech Tuesday to an international forum on migration and peace, Francis also demanded justice and redress for migrants and the poor who have been exploited by the wealthy. He said the world can no longer sustain “unacceptable economic inequality” that destroys the planet and forces people to leave their homes.

He said: “One group of individuals cannot control half of the world’s resources. We cannot allow for persons and entire peoples to have a right only to gather the remaining crumbs.”

It’s a theme the world’s first Latin American pope has emphasized during his four-year papacy, most stridently in his 2015 environmental encyclical

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10:30 a.m.

Scores of bodies of African migrants washed ashore in Libya, in the western city of Zawiya on the Mediterranean Sea, a spokesman for the Libyan Red Crescent said on Tuesday.

The drownings — at least 74 bodies were found in Zawiya — are the latest tragedy at sea after migrant deaths rose to record levels along the Libya-Italy smuggling route over the past months.

The Red Crescent’s spokesman Mohammed al-Misrati told The Associated Press that the bodies were found Monday morning.

Last week, Fabrice Leggeri, director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, said the Libya-Italy smuggling route across the Mediterranean has seen record numbers of migrant drownings in 2016.

According to Leggeri, migrant deaths along the central Mediterranean route stood at 4,579 for last year, which still might be much less than the true loss of life. That’s compared to 2,869 deaths in 2015 and 3,161 in 2014.

There is little sign of the surge is abating, even during wintertime. There were 228 recorded deaths in January, by far the biggest monthly toll in recent years. Leggeri blamed the very small dinghies and poor vessels used by the smugglers for the high death rate.