Assyrian Christians demonstrate against Iraq war

This video is about persecution of Christians in Iraq.

From the Assyrian International News Agency:

Assyrians of Russia to Demand Protection for Iraqi Christians

Posted GMT 6-28-2007 15:4:56

On July 12 the Assyrians of Russia will hold a protest action with a demand to defend Christians of Iraq – Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syrians and Armenians — from a bloody genocide and ethnic cleansing. As co-chair of the youth wing of the Regional Moscow Assyrian national-cultural autonomy Nikolay Yukhanov told PanARMENIAN.Net, Assyrian Christians are the most vulnerable ethnic group that is subjected to planned extermination on their lands.

During the rally the Assyrians of Russia are going to protest appointment of Tony Blair UK envoy for the Near East. Mass rallies have been already organized in Sweden, Germany, UK, France and U.S. The Assyrian Diaspora throughout the globe decided to continue protests until a decision on protection of Iraqi Christians is taken. During the Moscow rally the initiators are planning to hand ultimatum to Iraqi Ambassador Abdulkarim Hashim Mostafa. The protestors will carry slogans “Christians of Iraq — victims of oil war“, “Stop genocide of Christians”, “Send Bush and Blair to Iraq as ordinary soldiers“.

The ultimatum reads, We demand

To ensure security of Christians of Iraq via replacing American and British soldiers by UN peacekeeping forces

To acknowledge the Assyrians (Chaldeans, Syryans) as native nationalities of Iraq, living on these lands from ancient times

To ensure the right for autonomy in Ninevian valley and other regions should be fixed and guaranteed by Constitutions of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan, along with recognition of Syrians and natives of Iraq

To protect all cultural and religious centers in Iraq

To control the situation with Christian refugees and grant all of the possibility to return to Iraq

Christians are experiencing another genocide. According to the data provided by Aina agency, in April 2003 Christians made 8% (1.5 million) of the Iraqi population. Presently this figure is more than twice smaller. Over 33 churches were bombed. Thousands of Christian refugees flew to Syria and Jordan. Over a thousand of Christians were killed. Christians are executed everyday: priests are beheaded, women are raped. Religious extremists slaughter Christians who refuse to accept Islam or pay taxes.”

Successive British governments have deliberately misled Parliament over the 1915 Armenian genocide, a top lawyer has charged: here.

Burning car incident near Glasgow airport in Scotland

Glasgow airport

Burning car incident near Glasgow airport in Scotland: here the view of Craig Murray, ex British ambassador to Uzbekistan.

And here. of US scholar Juan Cole.

Update by Murray: here.

Update by Murray, 3 July: here.

See also here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

Wannabe ”peace envoy” Tony Blair attacks British Muslims: here.

Comment on Gordon Brown‘s reaction: here.

And here.

And here.

Reactions in the USA: here.

Civil liberties in the UK: here.

Sea turtle from age of dinosaurs in the Netherlands

This video is about a loggerhead sea turtle hatchling of today, getting from the nest to the sea in Kyparissia Bay, Greece.

From the Limburgs Dagblad daily in The Netherlands:

30 June 2007

Maastricht – From Monday till 22 July, in the Natuurhistorisch Museum (NHM) in Maastricht, people will be able to see every day how a fossil giant marine turtle will be extracted from a limestone rock, 66 million years old.

In the museum, a so called ‘PadLab’ was made, giving visitors the chance to see the extraction work from a close distance.

This turtle is from the late Cretaceous.

A primitive protostegid from [Cretaceous] Australia and early sea turtle evolution: here.

First fossil gravid turtle provides insight into the evolution of reproductive traits in turtles: here. And here.

Ancient [Cretaceous] Turtle Migrated from Asia to America Over a Tropical Arctic: here.

Chilean teenagers discover fossil whales

This is a video about a Pliocene whale, found near Orciano Pisano in Italy.

From The Independent in South Africa:

Whale fossils found near Chilean village

June 30 2007 at 11:38AM

By Rodrigo Martinez

Los Maitenes – Chilean teenagers on a field trip have found what experts say could be a treasure trove of fossils from whales which died millions of years ago.

Teenagers from a school in Concon, a town on the Pacific coast, found the fossils last month in the hills near the village of Los Maitenes, nearly six km from the sea and 160km from the capital Santiago.

They found fossilised jawbones, backbones and ribs of four whales which scientists say likely died five million years ago.

Geologists expect to find more whale fossils in the area. “What we have to work out is whether we’re dealing with a few examples that have washed in on the tide or whether we’re talking about a real whale cemetery,” said Hernan Vergara, a marine geologist studying the find.

Vergara, who teaches at the nearby University of Valparaiso, said the gentle hills around Los Maitenes were once part of the sea bed.

The teenagers found the fossils while on a field trip with their biology teacher Veronica Andrade.

“We got to the place thinking we might find a bone, something small and some invertebrate fossils,” Andrade told Reuters. “But because the kids are restless they fanned out all over the area and they found lots of fragments close to the surface.”

Local authorities are hailing the discovery as one of the most important of its kind in central Chile and say they plan to declare the area a national monument, which would give the area protected status.

“I don’t know of any other find like this,” said Valparaiso Governor Ricardo Bravo, who added the provincial government was considering building a natural history museum on the site.

Fossil gray whale in Andijk, the Netherlands? Here.

Right whale fossil in Japan: here.

Chile and today’s whales: here.

Again, US airstrikes kill Afghan civilians

This video from the USA is called Afghan Americans protest the US bombing of Afghan civilians.

From Associated Press:

U.S. coalition airstrikes kill “several” people in Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan

U.S.-led coalition and Afghan troops clashed with Taliban militants in southern Afghanistan, and subsequent airstrikes killed several people, including civilians, a police chief said Saturday.

The BBC adds:

Local people have told the BBC they think more than 50 have died, including women and children.

Associated Press continues:

Three children were also killed Friday and another wounded when an old rocket they were playing with exploded in Zabul province in the south, said Gen. Yaqoub Khan, the provincial police chief.

Catholic church split feared as Pope backs return of ‘anti-Semitic’ Latin Mass

Tridentine mass

From The Independent in Britain:

Church split feared as Pope backs return of ‘anti-Semitic’ Latin Mass

By Ian Herbert

Published: 30 June 2007

A plan by the Pope to authorise the widespread return of the controversial Latin Mass, despite concerns that parts of it are anti-Semitic, has provoked a backlash among senior clergy in Britain and threatens to divide the Catholic Church worldwide. The 16th-century Tridentine Mass – which includes references to “perfidious” Jews – was abandoned in 1969 and replaced with liturgy in local languages, to make worship more accessible to the bulk of churchgoers. But the Pope announced on Thursday that a long-awaited document liberalising the use of the Mass, which some clergy fear will also limit the Church’s dialogue with Jews and Muslims, will be released next week.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, has written to the Pope to say that no changes are needed. Concerns about the prospect of the introduction of the Mass were also underlined on Thursday at an unusual meeting to underline resistance to it.

UK: Chagos islanders continue fight for their homeland

This video is called “Stealing a Nation” by John Pilger, part 1 of 6, about the Chagos Islands, where the British imperial government drove out the inhabitants to make way for a US military base.

From British daily News Line:

Saturday, 30 June 2007


A delegation of six Chagos Islanders yesterday handed in to 10, Downing Street, two petition letters addressed to new prime minister Brown.

Delegation leader, Hengride Permal, chair of the Chagos Islands Community Association, told News Line afterwards: ‘We are hoping Mr Brown will agree to meet us now that Blair is gone.

‘Hopefully, Mr Brown will agree to sit with us and talk about our rights to go back to our islands – all of them.

‘Also, we want him to start talking about compensation for 40 years of pain and suffering for the Chagossian people, before all of them die.

‘There is a big group of Chagossians in Crawley.

‘We are having lots of problems here in the UK which need to be addressed.

‘Also, we have sent in a second petition concerning visas and leave to remain for the Chagossian families, like spouses and independent children.

‘They are required to pay a big fee to get their visas.

‘They also have to fill in the life in the UK exam to get their indefinite leave to stay.

‘Lots of Chagossians are illiterate, so it’s hard for them to take the exam, or pay such high fees that go up every year.

‘Hopefully, Brown will set these things straight for the Chagossians and their families.’

Dodo skeleton discovered in Mauritius

Video of pencil sketch of the long gone dodo (sped up).

From Reuters:

Scientists fly into raptures over flightless Fred

Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:23AM EDT

By Ed Harris

BOIS CHERI, Mauritius – The remains of a dodo found in a cave beneath bamboo and tea plantations in Mauritius offer the best chance yet to learn about the extinct flightless bird, a scientist said on Friday.

The discovery was made earlier this month in the Mauritian highlands but the location was kept secret until the recovery of the skeleton, nicknamed “Fred”, was completed on Friday. Four men guarded the site overnight.

Julian Hume, a paleontologist at Britain’s Natural History Museum, told Reuters the remains were likely to yield excellent DNA and other vital clues, because they were found intact, in isolation, and in a cave.

“The geneticists who want to get their hands on this will be skipping down the street,” he said, after bringing the last of the remains to the surface.

Given the nickname “Fred” after the 65-year-old who found them, the remains should provide the first decent specimens of dodo DNA, he said.

“Then you can work out how it actually got to Mauritius, because it must have originally flown here before evolving into flightlessness and the big, fat bird that we know,” he said.

“We know it’s a giant pigeon,” he added.

It the first discovery of dodo remains away from the coastal regions, suggesting that the bird, extinct since the 17th century, lived all over the Indian Ocean island, he said.

Hume said the dodo was almost certainly finished off by animals introduced by Europeans about 400 years ago. Theories that it was hunted to extinction by the Dutch were “total nonsense”, he said, adding that the remains were highly fragile.

“If you try and pick it up, it just falls apart,” he said. “You won’t see a mounted, beautiful thing from this.

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Animals found at predynastic Egyptian cemetery

Mask of Egyptian cat mummy, Roman period

From Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad of 28 June:

On a 5,700 years old animal cemetery in Hierakonpolis, southern Egypt, the buried skeleton of a young cat, which had been captive for one or more months before it died, has been found.

The archaeologists of the Katholieke Universiteut Leuven [in Belgium] who found the animal, think this was a captive cat, not a tame cat.

Soon, their article will be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

At the cemetery, also remains were found of baboons, elephants, wild donkeys, hartebeest (an antelope species), hippopotamuses, and auerochs.

UPDATE: NRC 15 May 2008, page 11: Veerle Linseele et al. retract their earlier captive cat statement; they now think these remains were of Felis chaus.

Cat mummies of Egypt: here.

Cat taming in ancient Egypt: here. And here.

Genetic and archaeological findings hint that wildcats became house cats earlier–and in a different place–than previously thought: here.

Roman age Egyptian mummies found: here.

Ancient Egyptian ball game found: here.

Olive baboons: here.

Mummies in Egypt vs. in Yemen: here.

Animals mummified by the millions in Ancient Egypt: here.

Predynastic Egypt: here.