New ecotourism centre in Bolivia


Red fronted macawFrom BirdLife:

Rare parrot draws in celebrities at ecotourism centre launch

31-01-2007

Miss Bolivia 2006 was among those attending celebrations for the opening of a new ecotourism centre in the country.

The centre is part of a conservation program focusing on the Red-fronted Macaw Ara rubrogenys, being undertaken by Armonia (BirdLife in Bolivia). …

The Ecotourism Cabin is situated in one of the natural habitats of the parrot, alongside other endemic birds like Cliff Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus luchsi and Bolivian Blackbird Oreopsar bolivianus, both of which breed on the cliff face with Red-fronted Macaw.

The Cabin will offer visitors a chance to see and learn more about the birds and their habitats at close quarters.

Also from BirdLife:

Law enforcement fails Bolivia’s parrots

13-12-2007

In a recently published paper, Asociacion Armonia (BirdLife in Bolivia) monitored the wild birds which passed through a pet market in Santa Cruz between August 2004 to July 2005, and recorded nearly 7,300 individuals of 31 parrot species, of which four were threatened species.

Bolivia-Brazil border area dam plans: here.

And here.

Poetry and music in the theatre


This is a Maarten Willems music video.

Tonight again poetry and music in the theatre.

First, vocals and guitar by The Weak And The Strong; Johan from Rotterdam, with songs in English.

Then, poems by Lisan Lauvenberg.

Born in Simpelveld in Limburg province, she now lives in Amsterdam. Both were in tonight’s poems.

Then, theremin music and poetry by Wim Kauffman.

After a pause, yours truly on the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory of the “Elders of Zion”, and the Islamophobic conspiracy theory of “Eurabia”.

Then, poems by Jan Sakko.

Finally, Maarten Willems on guitar, with songs in Dutch.

British pro peace artist Mark Wallinger interviewed


This video is called Can art stop the war?

By Anindya Bhattacharyya:

Mark Wallinger: anti-war art and the state of Britain today

Mark Wallinger and Leon Kuhn spoke to Anindya Bhattacharyya about State Britain, the new anti-war artwork

Every age has its defining political struggle, and the anti-war movement occupies this role today.

Yet Britain’s visual art scene has by and large avoided directly addressing the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the protests against it.

This fact makes the latest work by leading British sculptor Mark Wallinger all the more surprising.

State Britain is currently on show at the Tate Britain in central London. It was commissioned by the Tate last year and kept secret until its unveiling earlier this month.

The work is a reconstruction of Brian Haw‘s ramshackle collection of anti-war placards, banners and posters, exactly as it was in Parliament Square before most of it was torn down by police in May last year.

“It’s a sculpture, a reproduction,” explains Wallinger.

“You can think of it as a historical reconstruction if you like, except that historical reconstructions are ordinarily of something considered rather ‘important’ in an authoritarian way.”

See also here.

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Belgian police manual with Bush-chimpanzee pics


Bush and chimp photographs

When I thought there was nothing in the Google cache of Dear Kitty Modblog any more, I found this story, 4/1/05:

Mood: Looking

Playing: Ape man, by The Kinks

From China Daily:

Belgium red-faced over Bush chimpanzee photos

2005-04-01

Belgium’s interior minister was left red-faced after it emerged that photos comparing US President George W. Bush to a chimpanzee had been used in a police training manual.

“I hadn’t seen these photos and I think they are in bad taste,” the minister, Patrick Dewael, told the Flemish-language daily Het Laatste Nieuws, which first reported the story.

The pictures in question — reprinted by the newspaper [and shown then on Indymedia Belgium]– showed a series of the US leader’s facial expressions next to shots of a chimpanzee making apparently similar faces.

They were intended to help trainee police officers in the western city of Bruges to recognize the importance of body language in dealing with the public.

Bush is shown in poses ranging from pensive to finger-waving debating mode.

The pictures are all the more embarrassing for Dewael since he had signed a letter calling on Belgian municipal authorities and other police chiefs to use the manual.

But he was at pains to insist he did not know about the pictures.

“This collage was not an initiative of the interior ministry,” he said, adding that he intended to ask Bruges authorities to withdraw the controversial pages from the manual.

Isn’t this insulting to chimpanzees?

USA: Senator McCain, a danger to himself, the USA, and the world


Bush, McCain, and the Iraq war, cartoon

One US Republican hoping to succeed George W Bush is Senator John McCain.

He first became prominent in 1999, when, as a Presidential candidate, he lost the party’s nomination to Bush.

1999 was also the year of the war against Yugoslavia.

Though Republicans then were an opposition party, both McCain and Bush supported that war.

As did the previous Republican Presidential candidate against Bill Clinton, Bob Dole.

On the other hand, the Republicans tried to impeach Clinton on the consensual sex Lewinsky affair.

Wow, what a sense of priorities [sarcasm off]!

To paraphrase US comedian Will Rogers, ever since, McCain never met a war he didn’t like.

From PEEK blog in the USA:

McCain v. McCain… a bloody tangle [VIDEO]

Posted by Evan Derkacz at 7:20 PM on January 28, 2007.

Think you know John McCain?

Brave New Films put together this devastating film on “Straight Talkin'” John McCain’s whack-a-mole positions regarding Iraq, gay marriage, and the Christian Right as the champagne smash across the bow of a new website, therealmccain.com.

One of the virgin blogs on the site includes a link to Sidney Blumenthal’s chronicle of the destruction of the myth of John McCain.

It’s called: The Myth of John McCain. Here’s a key passage:

McCain’s political colleagues, however, know another side of the action hero – a volatile man with a hair-trigger temper, who shouted at Senator Ted Kennedy on the Senate floor to “shut up”, and called fellow Republican senators “shithead … fucking jerk … asshole”.

A few months ago, McCain suddenly rushed up to a friend of mine, a prominent Washington lawyer, at a social event, and threatened to beat him up because he represented a client McCain happened to dislike.

Then, just as suddenly, profusely and tearfully, he apologised.

So much for the Republican even liberals love..

McCain’s flip-flopping in support of Bush’s escalation in Iraq: here.

Right wingers in McCain’s campaign: here.

McCain in Baghdad: here.

US Republicans and Christian and secular voters: here.

Bush’s torture of Canadian goes too far even for Canadian Conservatives


Torture and Condoleezza Rice: cartoonFrom Alternet in the USA:

Torture Sours U.S.-Canadian Right-wing Lovefest

By Sarah Anderson

Posted January 29, 2007.

Stephen Harper, Canada’s conservative Prime Minister, campaigned on strengthening ties with the Bush administration.

But the love affair has ended over the American “rendition” of a Canadian citizen to Syria.

A U.S. Ambassador lashed out against a foreign official last week for standing up to the Bush Administration – and it wasn’t against Hugo Chavez or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or any of the other usual suspects.

It was Canadian Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day – a fundamentalist creationist, anti-abortion, anti-gay rights hawk who once spoke at a “Canadians for Bush” rally.

At the onset of the Iraq war, he published a pro-Bush letter in the Wall Street Journal with Stephen Harper, who would become Canada’s Prime Minister in 2006.

Day and Harper blasted their own government’s opposition to the U.S. invasion and lauded the Bush administration’s “fundamental vision of civilization and human values.”

That conservative lovefest is now over.

Last week Day and U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins exchanged the most hostile tit-for-tat to date over the case of Maher Arar.

In 2002, U.S. authorities detained Arar, a Canadian citizen, at JFK airport.

After accusing him of having links to al Qaeda, they sent him to Syria, where he was tortured for nearly a year before being released without charge.

After an exhaustive inquiry, an independent Canadian commission cleared Arar of any terrorist ties last fall.

On January 26, the Ottawa government announced it would apologize for its role in the debacle and compensate Arar to the tune of about US$8.5 million, plus legal fees.

But while the Canadian government has now admitted that Arar is indeed the innocent computer engineer and father of two he always said he was, the Bush Administration continues to insist that Arar belongs on their “no-fly” list of terrorism suspects.

Germany wants CIA agents arrested for “rendition”: here.

Kurnaz case in Germany: here.

US and torture flights: here.

US torture flights and Africa: here.

Torture and Canadians in Afghanistan: here.

New insect and sponge species discovered in Tasmania


Lake PedderFrom the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

New species discovered at Lake Pedder

Species predating the dinosaurs have been discovered in the frigid waters of Lake Pedder, in south-west Tasmania.

The lake has been the subject of long-running debate over its flooding by the Hydro in the 1970s.

Retired professors Andrew Osborn and Nigel Forteath were first lured to Lake Pedder by their love of fishing.

Over the years they have since discovered a new genus and two new species of mayfly, along with a new species of freshwater sponge and sponge fly.

They are also about to rename another mayfly, incorrectly identified in 1912.

Tasmania: video on short-tailed shearwaters.