The first “murder hornet” discovered in the US this year has been found north of Seattle.
The dead Asian giant hornet, which was found in Snohomish County, appears to be unrelated to findings in Canada and Whatcom County along the Canadian border in 2019 and 2020.
The insects are two inches (about 5cm) long, are native to Asia, and are especially dangerous to honeybees, capable of destroying hives in hours and decapitating the bees.
They do not usually attack humans but their sting is painful and repeated stings can kill.
It is suspected that they stowaway on cargo ships – with Sven Spichiger, an entomologist with the state’s agriculture department saying: “Hitchhikers are a side effect of all the commerce we do globally.”
The hornet was found on 4 June, and collected four days later by entomologists who concluded it was a dead male Asian giant hornet.
Because it was so dried out, they said it was likely to have been from a previous season.
Dr Osama El-Lissy, deputy administrator for the US Department of Agriculture’s quarantine programme, said: “The find is perplexing because it is too early for a male to emerge.
“This new report continues to underscore how important public reporting is for all suspected invasive species, but especially Asian giant hornet.”
Mr Spichiger added: “We’ll now be setting traps in the area and encouraging citizen scientists to trap in Snohomish and King counties.
“None of this would have happened without an alert resident taking the time to snap a photo and submit a report.”
Giant hornets are designated as quarantine pests, meaning that Washington state has more tools available to eradicate the destructive species.
Kevin McCarthy: US House Speaker removed from office for first time in history
US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has been removed from office after a historic challenge to his leadership from his own party.
The Republican faced a motion to vacate, which was triggered by Donald Trump ally Matt Gaetz on Monday, just months after securing the position in 15 rounds of voting.
It is the first time in the country’s history that House representatives have voted the Speaker out.
Behind closed doors early on Tuesday, Mr McCarthy told fellow Republicans: “If I counted how many times someone wanted to knock me out, I would have been gone a long time ago.”
Several Republicans, however, had said they were sticking with Mr McCarthy as they emerged from the meeting, during which they said he received standing ovations.
It follows a decision made by Mr McCarthy over the weekend to cooperate with the Democrats to keep the government running rather than risk a shutdown.
It is a move that angered Mr Gaetz and other far-right Republicans, as Mr McCarthy relied on Democratic votes to pass a temporary funding extension on Saturday that avoided a partial government shutdown.
A band of about 20 Republicans had forced Mr McCarthy’s hand by repeatedly blocking other legislation.
Mr Gaetz and his allies said they were frustrated by the slow pace of spending legislation on Mr McCarthy’s watch.
Republican Representative Tim Burchett, who said he would vote to oust Mr McCarthy, said: “We took a whole month of August off. I think that that’s pretty telling.”
Another day of history in US politics
It’s political pantomime, without the laughs.
To look at the House of Representatives is to see the turbulence of America’s political ecosystem.
The ousting of Kevin McCarthy leaves the lower chamber of Congress in a state of paralysis.
There will be an interim Speaker but his or her role will effectively amount to finding a permanent replacement.
It is a dysfunction at the heart of power, an extension of the fault lines that fracture the modern-day Republican Party.
Never before has a House Speaker been ejected in this way, another day of history in US politics
The history-makers at the wheel have travelled a distance from the party fringes to positions of influence.
Matt Gaetz is the high-profile House representative who tabled the motion to oust McCarthy.
He’s prominent amongst a hard-line conservative core of House Republicans, Trump-aligned, and bent on reshaping party traditions and reorientating its trajectory to the right.
It is a tail that can wag the dog and this episode is clear evidence of it.
The rules dictate that just one representative – Mr Gaetz in this case – can trigger a vote to oust the Speaker.
That arrangement was a deal Mr McCarthy struck in January to appease his party’s right wing and enable his accession to the position of Speaker.
It didn’t look like clever politics by Mr McCarthy at the time and it looks even less so today.
Today, politics are harder in a party whose politics have changed.
Not all are convinced by Mr Gaetz’s intentions, with some Republicans believing he is angling for a change at a higher office.
“It seems very personal with Matt. It doesn’t look like he’s looking out for the country or the institution,” Mr McCarthy said.
Mr Gaetz has denied he is spurred on by a dislike of Mr McCarthy.
Hunter Biden pleads not guilty to three firearm charges
Hunter Biden, the son US President Joe Biden, has pleaded not guilty to three federal firearm charges filed against him after a plea deal collapsed.
He is accused of lying about his drug use in October 2018 on a form to buy a gun, which he kept for around 11 days.
Abbe Lowell, his lawyer, told the court in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday he plans to file a motion to dismiss the case, challenging their constitutionality.
While the president’s son has admitted to struggles with a crack cocaine addiction over the period in question, his lawyers insist he didn’t break the law.
These kind of gun charges are rare, and an appeals court has found banning drug users from guns violates the Second Amendment.
The case remains on track for a possible trial just as the 2024 election looms.
This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.
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Woman sues Disney theme park over claims water slide gave her ‘painful wedgie’
A woman is suing Disney over claims a water slide at one of its theme parks left her with serious injuries.
In a lawsuit filed in Orange County, Florida, last week, the woman claims the Humunga Kowabunga slide at Walt Disney World gave her “severe vaginal lacerations”.
Warning: The article below contains details some people may find distressing
After going on the ride at Typhoon Lagoon as part of her 30th birthday celebrations in 2019, she was taken by ambulance to a local hospital before being moved to another that specialised in gynaecological injuries, court documents say.
There medics found she had a “full thickness laceration” of the vagina, which “caused the plaintiff’s bowel to protrude through her abdominal wall and damage her internal organs”.
She is seeking $50,000 (£41,400) in damages from Disney, Sky News’ US partner network NBC News reports. The lawsuit said the Humunga Kowabunga slide puts riders at risk of a “painful wedgie”.
According to court documents, she went on the ride wearing a one-piece swimming costume with her mother and daughter after being instructed to cross her legs.
“The slide caused [her] clothing to be painfully forced between her legs and for water to be violently forced inside her,” the documents read.
“She experienced immediate and severe pain internally and, as she stood up, blood began rushing from between her legs.”
It adds that “risk of injury as a consequence of water being forced inside a woman’s body” is “far greater than it is for a man”.
Disney has not responded to NBC News’s requests for comment.
Humunga Kowabunga is Typhoon Lagoon’s fastest and steepest waterslide. It sends people down a five-storey descent at speeds of up to 40mph, according to Disney’s website.
The theme park was built in 1989.
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