In science news around the world, Andrew Wheeler, a former energy industry lobbyist and U.S. Senate aide, becomes acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency, replacing Scott Pruitt, who resigned after becoming engulfed in ethics scandals. The London-based charity Wellcome Trust, the world's second biggest private funder of medical research, announces it will provide £250 million for unconventional research that could transform science or health. Puerto Rico backs away from a controversial plan to eliminate the Puerto Rican Institute of Statistics, the agency that vets data and statistical analyses about the island. The Russian carrier AirBridgeCargo Airlines announces it will no longer transport nonhuman primates for research purposes, leaving Air France as the only major airline still carrying the animals. Researchers report finding stone tools in China that indicate hominins lived there more than 2 million years ago, which may push back the earliest dates for hominins residing outside Africa by 250,000 years.
As soon as the helicopter landed in the mountain community of Castañer, Puerto Rico, Nelson Marchand emerged with much-needed good news for residents gathered at a sandlot. "I bring water and food," Marchand, an officer with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, yelled in an effort to be heard over the helicopter noise. Like many Puerto Ricans, people in this former indigenous Taíno enclave -- nestled between the towns of Lares, Adjuntas and Utuado in the island's central mountainous region -- are struggling to secure their most basic needs. More than three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, food, water, medicine and electricity remain scarce throughout the island. The vast majority of Puerto Rico's 3.4 million residents lack power and many remain without running water.
It's official: Disney Cruise Line plans to build a seventh ship to be completed by 2022, a move that almost doubles the size of the company's fleet. The announcement came Saturday at the D23 Expo for Disney fans in Anaheim. The company last year revealed plans to build two new ships, with estimated finish dates of 2021 and 2023. It currently operates four ships, which in the U.S. sail from San Diego, Miami and Port Canaveral in Florida, New York City, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Galveston, Texas. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek shared the news during the weekend expo.
If you're seeking a tropical clime but Hawaii's fares make it out of reach, you can head for San Juan, Puerto Rico, for $346, including all taxes and fees, on American, Delta or United. The fare, subject to availability, is for travel Sept. 5 through May. Good news, travelers: Your California driver's license may be golden in the coming years for airport security Thrills and chills for July 4: Calfiornia's mountain resorts plan holiday blasts over water and snow
In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a local San Juan, Puerto Rico-based tug crew uses a fire hose to cool the hull of the Caribbean Fantasy cruise ship that caught fire, a mile from San Juan Harbor, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. More than 500 passengers and crew were evacuated from a burning ship off Puerto Rico's north coast and many required medical care, though there were no reported fatalities or life-threatening injuries.