In this aerial photo from Utah, Arches National Park and Delicate Arch can be seen in the foreground. Areas east of the park are proposed for oil and gas leasing and development. Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor
Utah Rep. Chris Herrod of Provo sponsored a bill, which became state law in March, that authorizes the state to exercise eminent domain on federally owned land within the state. Mr. Herrod points out the federally owned parts of the state. Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor
An 18-wheeler kicks up a plume of dust hauling oil and gas from development drill pads in the Pariette Bench, Uinta Basin (south of Vernal) in eastern Utah. Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor
Theresa Butler, owner of Red River Canoe Co., worries that without increased protection of federal lands in southern Utah, energy development will only encroach onto land that attracts more and more tourists in search of Utah's unspoiled natural beauty. Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor
Theresa Butler, a river outfitter in Moab, Utah, and owner of Red River Canoe Co., washes her raft for an upcoming trip along the Green River near Labyrinth Canyon. Moab’s economy is based largely on tourism because of its strategic location between two national parks. Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor
Desolation Canyon’s Sand Wash Put-in is seen from the air along the Green River in eastern Utah Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor
Bob Greenberg, a Democratic councilman in Grand County, Utah, called the state's new law that gives it eminent domain authority over federal lands "bizarre." He says it reflects the increasingly conservative ideology of the Utah legislature. Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor
A billboard promoting the outdoor activities is seen in Moab, Utah. Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor
Max Williamson, left, (age 5), and his sister Paige (8), from Missoula, Mont., take a water break during a mountain bike ride with their family on public lands north of Moab, Utah, in the Mill Canyon area. Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor
A mountain biker rides into downtown Moab, Utah. Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor
The Williamson family - Jennifer, Norm, Paige, and Max (l. to r.) - from Missoula, Mont., ride their mountain bikes during a family vacation on public lands north of Moab, Utah in the Mill Canyon area. The area is part of the 77 leases. Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor
President Bashar al-Assad has not declared his candidacy yet, but he is expected to run - and win. His once-tenuous hold on power has tightened again after a string of regime victories.
Albert Aji, Associated Press,
Diaa Hadid, Associated Press /
April 21, 2014
Syria will hold presidential elections on June 3, the country's parliament speaker announced Monday, a vote President Bashar al-Assad is likely to contest, and win, as the country enters its fourth year of war.