British Foreign Secretary belatedly attacks Tony Blair’s militarism


This video is called IndyMedia NewsReal: Testimonies From Falluja.

From British daily The Guardian:

Miliband: We have alienated millions of Muslims over Iraq

· Foreign secretary admits party scarred by invasion

Patrick Wintour, political editor

Wednesday September 26, 2007

David Miliband, the foreign secretary, yesterday attempted a break with a decade of Blairite foreign policy, admitting a scarred government needed to stop and think why its well-intentioned interventions had alienated millions of Muslims.

In a frank speech, he also admitted there could be no military solutions in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying the government had found it hard to win peace in such countries.

Mr Miliband, why, then, are right at this moment, British soldiers still dying; and still killing Afghan and Iraqi civilians; in pursuit of those ‘military solutions’ which you, correctly, claim are illusory? Shouldn’t you bring those British troops home; right now?

And why, Mr Miliband, have you waited with speaking out till Tony Blair was safely gone? At least, your predecessor Robin Cook had the decency to resign, protesting the Iraq war. Your colleague Clare Short, to her discredit, stayed until after the 2003 Iraq invasion; but, to her credit, then resigned and protested the war.

When people like Mr Miliband would have stood up to Blair before the 2003 invasion, they might have saved over a million Iraqi lives.

Still, “better late than never”; and now, Mr Milibands words should be followed up by actions.

British TV presenter Quentin Willson, interviewed by daily The Independent:

Integrity doesn’t seem to matter, invading Iraq and lying about WMD. We have lost all ethical value. Blair should be known as the man who murdered truth and now Brown is pretending he was asleep during those meetings.

Gordon Brown on colonialism: here.

Giant octopuses in Dutch aquarium


This video from the USA is about hand feeding a Pacific giant octopus.

From Dutch news agency ANP:

Blijdorp zoo in Rotterdam recently became the proud owner of a couple of Pacific giant octopuses.

According to the zoo, they probably are the only specimens of this species in Europe. Blijdorp will try hard to get these special animals to produce offspring, as the first zoo anywhere in the world.

See also here.

The Octopus In Japanese Erotic Art: here.

From Radio Netherlands Worldwide:

It has been hailed as a major breakthrough: Burgers’ Ocean, the marine section of Burgers’ Zoo in the Dutch city of Arnhem, has successfully bred jellyfish in captivity.

US Bush administration bars South African scholar for being anti Iraq war


http://fora.tv/embedded_player

This is a video about Adam Habib.

From South African daily The Independent:

SA scholar ‘barred because of his views’

September 26 2007 at 01:46AM

By Jason Szep

Boston – A South African scholar was barred from the United States because of his criticism of US policy in Iraq and the Guantanamo Bay prisoner camp, a civil rights group said in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday.

Accusing the Bush administration of stifling academic debate by routinely denying visas to critics, the American Civil Liberties Union filed the federal suit on behalf of four groups that invited Adam Habib, a Muslim, to speak in the United States.

The lawsuit charges the government’s decision to revoke Habib’s visa last year forced him to turn down speaking engagements, thereby violating the First Amendment rights of US citizens who could not hear his views.

Habib, a deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Johannesburg, was detained for seven hours and interrogated about his political views and associations when he arrived in New York in October 2006 for meetings with organisations such as the World Bank, the ACLU said in its complaint.

He was eventually escorted by armed guards to an airplane and deported back to South Africa, according to the 29-page complaint, which names Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff as defendants.

“Professor Habib’s exclusion is part of a larger pattern,” said Melissa Goodman, an ACLU lawyer.

“Over the past few years, numerous foreign scholars, human rights activists, and writers – all vocal critics of US policy – have been barred from the US without explanation or on unspecified national security grounds,” she said in a statement.

This behaviour by the Bush administration is not that surprising.

After all, when Mr Habib and most South Africans were suffering under apartheid, members of the Bush administration like Vice President Dick Cheney, considered another present critic of the Iraq war, Nelson Mandela, a ‘communist terrorist‘.

“In a recent book John Mueller, an American academic, notes that the number of his fellow-countrymen killed by terrorists since 1960 ‘is about the same as the number killed over the same period by accident-causing deer‘”.

‘Extinct’ frog rediscovered in Costa Rica


This video is called Waterfall at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica.

From the Manchester Evening News in Britain:

Extinct? No, I just hopped off

Paul R Taylor

25/ 9/2007

A FROG believed to be extinct for more than two decades has been rediscovered by a Manchester scientist.

Zoologist Andrew Gray found the brown and metallic-green tree frog – with the Latin name Isthomhyla rivularis – in the remote forests of Costa Rica in Central America. His discovery has excited zoologists, biologists and conservationists around the globe as it raises new hope that other species considered to have become extinct as a result of climate change may have survived.

These include the fabled Golden Toad of Costa Rica, believed to be one of the first casualties of global warming.

Andrew, a curator at Manchester Museum, trekked for 16 hours to the remotest area of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve before making the discovery.

See also here.

Red-eyed stream frog in Costa Rica: here.

Splendid leaf frog Cruziohyla calcarifer in Costa Rica, here.

ScienceDaily (Mar. 1, 2010) — Scientists broadly agree that global warming may threaten the survival of many plant and animal species; but global warming did not kill the Monteverde golden toad, an often cited example of climate-triggered extinction, says a new study. The toad vanished from Costa Rica’s Pacific coastal-mountain cloud forest in the late 1980s, the apparent victim of a pathogen outbreak that has wiped out dozens of other amphibians in the Americas: here.

Fight to save threatened Canterbury mudfish of New Zealand


Canterbury mudfish

From the New Zealand Herald:

‘Ugly bog-dweller’ honoured in national day

5:00AM Wednesday September 26, 2007

By Jarrod Booker

It’s small, ugly and lives in stagnant bogs. If it disappeared into extinction few would even notice.

But environmental authorities have deemed the “acutely threatened” Canterbury mudfish worth fighting for.

They are even planning a series of public events in its honour.

Next month, Mudfish Day will be held in the North Canterbury town of Oxford, where it was first discovered in 1924.

Other events include a display in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens, the launch of a mudfish website, and an expert lecture at Christchurch Art Gallery.

There are five species of mudfish in New Zealand, but the Canterbury species, or kowaro, is the second most threatened native fish in New Zealand.

It is limited to only 80 known habitats, many of which are under threat from the scarcity of water and huge growth in agriculture across the region.

Freshwater ecologist Leanne O’Brien agrees the mudfish might not have the same appeal as the likes of the kiwi, but she thinks it has a beauty of its own worth preserving.

“Maybe it doesn’t photograph well. I know they are a little brown fish. But most people are quite amazed when they see them. Some of them have little gold flecks in them.

Great spotted kiwi: here.

Video: Kiwis Chelsea and April released into wild: here.

Eleven new animal and plant species discovered in Vietnam


This video is called Con Dao Island, National Park and Marine Reserve in Vietnam.

From British daily The Guardian:

Eleven new species found in Vietnam’s Green Corridor

* James Randerson, science correspondent

* Wednesday September 26 2007

Eleven new species, including a snake and two butterflies, have been discovered in a remote region of Vietnam known as the Green Corridor, the WWF reveals today.

Five orchids and three other plants make up the rest of the haul of species new to science. They all appear to be unique to Vietnam’s Annamites mountain range.

Ten other plant species, including four orchids, are being examined to check whether they are also new to science. The area in Thua Thien Hue province is already renowned among conservationists following the discovery of several new large mammal species in the 1990s.

“You only discover so many new species in very special places, and the Green Corridor is one of them,” said Chris Dickinson, chief technical adviser in the area for WWF (formerly the World Wide Fund for Nature). “These latest discoveries could be just the tip of the iceberg.”

The new snake species, called the white-lipped keelback, lives close to streams where it feeds on frogs and other small animals. Its body is covered with red spots and it sports a yellow-white strip on its head. It is about 80cm (32 in) long.

Three of the new orchid species are entirely leafless and contain no chlorophyll. Rather than using the sun’s energy they live on decaying matter, like many fungi. The other new plants include the Aspidistra nicolai, which has an almost black flower, and a new species of arum, the Cryptocoryne vietnamica, which has beautiful yellow flowers surrounded by funnel-shaped leaves. The two new butterflies are among eight that have been discovered in the province since 1996.

Recent surveys have shown that the Green Corridor is home to many threatened species, including 15 reptiles and amphibians and six bird species, as well as the greatest number of one of the world’s most endangered primates, the white-cheeked crested gibbon.

The area is also believed to be the best location in Vietnam to conserve the saola, a unique type of wild cattle only discovered by scientists in 1992. It is one of the last remaining lowland wet evergreen forests left in Vietnam.

But the charity says the area needs protection from human activities such as illegal logging, hunting, extraction of natural resources and development.

“The area is extremely important for conservation and the province wants to protect the forests and their environmental services, as well as contribute to sustainable development,” said Hoang Ngoc Khanh, director of Thua Thien Hue provincial forest protection department.

See the WWF report here.

See also here.

Cao Vit gibbons: here.

April 2011. Indochina’s elusive saola, a recently discovered and critically endangered relative of antelopes and cattle, now has new hope for survival with the establishment of a dedicated nature reserve in Quang Nam, Vietnam: here.

May 2012. Two decades after the sensational discovery of a new ungulate species called the saola, this rare animal remains as mysterious and elusive as ever. WWF, the Saola Working Group (SWG) of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) warn the species is sliding towards extinction because of intensive hunting pressure and poor reserve management: here.