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November 22, 2012 | By Emily Alpert
The European Union on Thursday sought to block fishermen from slashing off shark fins and dumping the fish back into the water, closing a loophole in its existing rules. Environmentalists warn shark populations are in jeopardy as ships scoop them up solely for their fins, prized in Asia for the expensive delicacy of shark fin soup. Some fishermen hack off the fins because the shark body is much less valued, a practice shunned by conservation groups as wasteful and inhumane. The European bloc has banned shark finning for nearly a decade but had allowed some vessels to remove fins at sea if they showed they could use all parts of the shark.
August 16, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
A closely watched test flight of an experimental aircraft designed to travel up to 3,600 mph ended in disappointment when a part failed, causing the unmanned cruiser to plummet into the Pacific Ocean, the Air Force revealed. The X-51A WaveRider was launched in the Point Mugu Naval Air Test Range over the Pacific in a key test Tuesday intended to fine-tune its hypersonic scramjet engine. The aircraft, built and tested in Southern California, was designed to hit Mach 6, or six times the speed of sound, and fly for five minutes.
July 21, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
A state ban on shark fins is being challenged in court by a group that says the law is unconstitutional and discriminatory toward Chinese culture. In October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law prohibiting the possession, sale and distribution of the product, a delicacy long used in Chinese cuisine, specifically in soup. Violators of the ban could face up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. Supporters of the ban say that the fins are cruelly obtained — fishermen often slice them off live sharks that are then dumped back into the ocean because of the low demand for other shark meat.
July 9, 2012
  The shark's giant dorsal fin sliced through the sparkling blue waters off Cape Cod, trailing an oblivious kayaker as wide-eyed beach-goers watched in horror. The only thing missing was the ominous, thumping soundtrack from "Jaws," the 1975 blockbuster about a great white shark that terrorizes a seaside resort. "Shark!" people began screaming at the kayaker, who looked over his shoulder, spotted the looming fin, and paddled faster. He got away and the beach has reopened following Saturday's drama.
July 2, 2012 | By Karin Klein
California passed its ban on shark fins last year despite the protests that shark-fin soup was a traditional delicacy among people of Chinese descent. On Sunday, Illinois joined a growing number of states and nations by banning shark fin. And now, it seems, the government of China no longer considers tradition to be an acceptable excuse for killing tens of millions of fish each year, many of which are from endangered species.  Shark finning is a particularly wasteful and cruel practice: after the fins are cut off the shark, the animal is thrown back into the water to die slowly.
January 31, 2012 | By Jonathan Kaiman, Los Angeles Times
Tucked away on a glossy menu in the Herbal Cafe, a Beijing restaurant known for its herbal teas and low-fat Cantonese dishes, is a little nod to environmental advocacy. For about $2.50, customers can buy a bowl of imitation shark fin soup made of vegetable stock and potato noodles. "If it was real, then you'd have to kill sharks," said Zhang Gui, the manager. "Sharks are very precious animals. " Demand for shark fin soup, once a dish for Ming Dynasty emperors, has skyrocketed in the last several decades as more people can afford to serve it at business banquets and wedding feasts, thanks to the growth of China's middle class.
January 1, 2012 | Patrick McGreevy
Californians will no longer be able to carry handguns openly in public, buy alcohol at self-serve checkout stands or purchase shark fins for their soup under hundreds of new laws that take effect Jan. 1. Other measures bar minors from tanning beds, allow students to be suspended for cyber-bullying and require booster seats for children in cars until they are 8 years old or at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall. Despite another year of budget shortfalls, the 760 bills that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in 2011 included several that cost money.
November 30, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
At Peninsula Hotels , sharks stay free. In an effort to protect the species, the company recently announced that it would stop serving shark-fin soup at its hotels in Beijing and Shanghai and at its flagship Hong Kong property as well as its hotels in Beverly Hills, New York and other cities. The parent company of Peninsula, Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd., made the announcement Nov. 21 and encouraged other hotels and restaurants to do likewise and "play a role in helping preserve the biodiversity of our oceans.
October 10, 2011 | By Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times
In the wake of new California legislation that outlaws the sale and possession of shark fins, some Chinese American food purveyors are objecting that the law unfairly deprives their customers of a centuries-old Asian delicacy, shark fin soup. "Now it's just one more thing Chinese people cannot find in America," said Thai Ong, manager of Monterey Park's Wing Hop Fung, a Chinese specialty store that carries dried shark fin. Dried shark fin, the soup's main ingredient, can sell for more than $2,000 a pound in California.
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