Senator Edward Kennedy: Iraq is Bush’s Vietnam


Vietnam and Iraq wars, cartoon

From Crooks and Liars blog in the USA:

Senator Kennedy: “Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam

By: SilentPatriot on Tuesday, January 9th, 2007 at 12:58 PM

In a speech this afternoon at the National Press Club, Senator Kennedy pre-empted President Bush’s address to the nation tomorrow by outlining a bill he’s introducing that requires congressional approval for any troop surge in Iraq.

Kennedy drew striking parallels between Vietnam and the current conflict, going so far as to say that “Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam.”

Well, Kennedy did not go that far saying that.

As he had said that before, nearly three years ago.

Then, however, Senator Kennedy became the target of hysterical attacks.

Maybe those attacks will be a bit less now, after George W Bush himself has compared Iraq to Vietnam.

Hardline neocon Crouch and Bush’s Iraq policy: here.

What do Australian flying foxes eat?


Spectacled flying fox

From the Australian Journal of Zoology:

Dietary variation in spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) of the Australian Wet Tropics …

The diet of Pteropus conspicillatus, a large flying fox, was examined by collecting faeces in traps beneath daytime roost trees in four geographically distinct camps in the Wet Tropics bioregion of North-eastern Queensland, Australia.

Faecal analyses revealed that P. conspicillatus utilise a broad variety of plant resources from a variety of habitats.

Seed and pulp from figs (Ficus spp., Moraceae) and pollen from the family Myrtaceae were most frequently represented in the faeces from a range of both wet sclerophyll and rainforest habitats.

The dietary composition of P. conspicillatus at individual camps could not be predicted by the habitats located within a typical foraging distance of each camp (20 km), and although consistent dietary changes were seen across all camps over time, each camp had a unique dietary signature indicative of feeding on a distinct subset of available vegetation.

The unique diet of each camp and the variety of dietary items consumed suggest that camps may need to be managed on an individual camp-specific basis, and that P. conspicillatus are utilising a broader range of resources than would be expected if the species was a strict ‘rainforest-fruit specialist’.

USA: elephant seals arrive in California


Northern elephant seals

From the San Francisco Chronicle in the USA:

POINT REYES

Elephant seals whelping in park

Chuck Squatriglia

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Hundreds of elephant seals have arrived at Point Reyes National Seashore, where officials have spotted at least 21 pups and closed three stretches of coastline through April.

Biologists have counted 316 northern elephant seals in recent weeks and expect the number to climb as the breeding and birthing season continues.

The first pup of the season was spotted Dec. 19. Last year, 1,238 elephant seals wintered at Point Reyes.

The National Park Service has barred people and dogs from the area around South Beach, Drakes Beach and the lifeboat station until the end of April.

The seals are easily seen from the Elephant Seal Overlook Trail near the Chimney Rock parking lot at the end of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard by the lighthouse. See a map here.

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who pioneered the use of satellite tags to monitor the migrations of [northern] elephant seals have compiled one of the largest datasets available for any marine mammal species, revealing their movements and diving behavior at sea in unprecedented detail: here.

Southern elephant seals here. And here. And here.

Team Captures Rare Footage Of Great White Shark Attack On Elephant Seal: here.

Leucistic Elephant seal: here.

Kerguelen: Elephant seals’ foraging tricks: here.

Elephant seals produce high levels of carbon monoxide in their blood naturally: here.
Southern Elephant Seals in the South Shetlands: here.

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Britain: minister Robin Cook has opposition to Iraq war marked on his gravestone


Robin CookFrom German news agency DPA:

Robin Cook has opposition to Iraq war marked on his gravestone

Published: Tuesday January 9, 2007

London- Former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has had his steadfast opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq engraved on his headstone in a cemetery in Edinburgh, Scotland, it was reported Tuesday.

Cook, who died of a heart attack in August, 2005, aged 59, resigned as Leader of the House of Commons (parliament) in March 2003 in protest at Britain’s support for the invasion.

The headstone erected at his grave in Grange Cemetery in Edinburgh, carried the message: “I may not have succeeded in halting the war, but I did secure the right of Parliament to decide on war.”

Somalia: US troops keep killing civilians


This video from Ebgland is called Manchester Demonstration Against the Spread of War (2008).

From Dutch NOS TV:

Again: US attacks in Somalia

United States helicopters have attacked in southern Somalia, where al-Qaida terrorists are claimed to hide.

According to local leaders, over twenty people died in the attacks.

Yesterday as well, the US attacked targets in southern Somalia.

Eyewitnesses said that that cost many victims.

The US attack comes after negotiations with the [Somali ]Ayr clan failed.

Ethiopians’ views: here.

The World Food Program had to stop its humanitarian work for refugees in southern Somalia, because of George W Bush’s offensive.

Earlier report from AFP:

Ethiopian helicopters pursuing Somali Islamists missed their target and bombed a Kenyan border post, prompting Kenyan fighter planes to rush to the area, officials said.

A top Kenyan police official, who requested to remain unnamed, told AFP that the four helicopters targeted the Somali town of Dhobley, about three kilometres (two miles) from the frontier line, only to end up dropping bombs on Kenya’s Har Har border post.

See also here.

And here.

Ethiopia gets lots of US military aid; but no aid for starving people.

North America: Saving Endangered Right Whales At No Cost


This video about North Atlantic right whales.

From Cell Press:

Saving Endangered Whales At No Cost

Science Daily — By comparing the productivity of lobster fishing operations in American and Canadian waters of the Gulf of Maine, researchers have identified ways in which cost-saving alterations in fishing strategies can substantially reduce fishing-gear entanglements of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale [see also here].

The findings appear in the January 9th issue of the journal Current Biology, published by Cell Press, and are reported by Ransom Myers of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, along with colleagues there and at the University of Rhode Island, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the University of New Hampshire.

See also here.

North Atlantic right whale gets some protection at last: here.

First North Atlantic right whale sighting in Azores since 1888: here.

Blue whales in Chile: here.

Seashell fossil from age of dinosaurs found in Turkey


This video is called Giant rudist fossils in Rudist Rock Cave, Jamaica.

From Turkish Daily News:

78-million-year-old sea fossil puts Malatya under water

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

ANKARA – Turkish Daily News

Two academics have found a 78-million-year-old fossil in the southeastern province of Malatya.

Mehmet Önal and Hasan Kavruk, both from Malatya’s İnönü University, told the Anatolia news agency that they have found a rudist fossil, termed an “index fossil” because the type of organism it preserves became extinct at a reasonably well-defined date; thus the absence or presence of the fossil can be used to help date marine sedimentary rocks.

Kavruk said the fossil indicated that the region had at some point in the past been below sea level and been home to numerous such rudist fossils, adding: “The 78-million-year-old rudist fossil purchased by Istanbul University for millions of pounds during the university’s foundation years was also unearthed in Malatya.”

The paleontologist added: “The fossil we found is a rudist, which went extinct 70 million years ago”…

Kavruk also explained: “The fossil is an important piece of scientific evidence confirming that the region was [covered by] a sea in the past.

It is estimated that around 18 million years have passed since the sea receded in Malatya, which has an almost 400-million-year-old marine past. That is why extremely old fossils are found in the area.

Rudists are a group of fossil asymmetric bivalve seashells, which became extinct in the last period of the age of dinosaurs, the Cretaceous.

Umbonal musculature and relationships of the Late Triassic filibranch unionoid bivalves: here.

Bivalve evolution: here.

A present day bivalve is Pinna nobilis.

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London theatre prosecutes Blair for war crimes


Blair's lies on Iraq war WMD, cartoon by Martin Rowson

Blair on WMD in IraqFrom daily The Independent in Britain:

Theatre prosecutes Blair for war crimes

By Louise Jury

Published: 09 January 2007

The Prime Minister is to be indicted for crimes of aggression against Iraq in a new play based on verbatim evidence from diplomats, MPs, intelligence experts and United Nations officials.

The Tricycle Theatre in London has hired Philippe Sands QC, a critic of the Iraq war from the Matrix chambers where Cherie Blair works, to act for the prosecution.

The team has begun taking evidence, which will be used in a verbatim dramatisation of the case for and against, entitled Called to Account – The Indictment of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair for the Crime of Aggression against Iraq – a Hearing.

It will be premiered just before the local elections in May as the Prime Minister is preparing to stand down from office.

Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector, Sir Michael Quinlan, former permanent under-secretary at the Ministry of Defence, and the MPs Clare Short and Bob Marshall-Andrews are among those taking part.

Julian Knowles, a barrister who defended Sion Jenkins on the charge of murdering his foster daughter, will defend the Prime Minister.

Blair trial play on TV: here.

See also here.

Playwright Harold Pinter: Blair deserves a real war crimes trial.

Update: here.

Blair and the Iraq war, cartoon by Martin Rowson

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Caribbean birdwatchers urged to submit their sightings


From BirdLife:

Caribbean birdwatchers urged to submit their sightings

09-01-2007

Past and present visitors to the Caribbean are being asked to dust off their notebooks and dig out their holiday bird sightings in a bid to increase knowledge and understanding of bird distribution and status in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean islands are renowned for their birds – over 560 different species occur there, 148 of which are found nowhere else on Earth – yet good information on abundance and distribution of these birds is still lacking for many of these species.

Conservationists within the BirdLife Caribbean Program are looking to the birdwatching world to help reverse this trend by submitting their sightings on Caribbean Birds, part of a global internet-based recording facility.