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Our Daily Planet: Southern California's Polluted Water and National Zoo Pandas

Each weekday morning, OurAmazingPlanet takes the pulse of the Earth, reporting on natural phenomena and exploration news from around the globe.

California Storms: As Southern California recovers from recent brutal storms, residents now face polluted water (opens in new tab) and a high risk of mudslides. [Related: Pineapple Express Slams Southern California .]

National Pandas: The National Zoo in Washington D.C. announced that their two giant pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, will remain in the nation's capital for now. [Related: National Zoo Reveals Names of Lion Cubs .]

Texas Drought: More than half of Texas is suffering "moderate" to "extreme" drought conditions.

Polar Bear Status: Environmentalists are not happy with the Obama administration's listing of polar bears as "threatened" rather than "endangered."

Arctic Refuge: Those threatened polar bears face largely ice-free summers in the Arctic Ocean. A refuge north of Canada and Greenland is much needed, one geologist says.

Brazil Biopiracy: Brazil plans to crackdown on companies that patent products made from the country's rare plants and animals.

Previously on Our Daily Planet: Southern California State of Emergency and Polar Bear Lawsuit

Reach OurAmazingPlanet staff writer Brett Israel at Follow him on Twitter @btisrael.

Brett Israel was a staff writer for Live Science with a focus on environmental issues. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from The University of Georgia, a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, and has studied doctorate-level biochemistry at Emory University.