From Wildlife Extra:
New Species of lizard discovered in Cuba
May 2009. A new species of lizard has been discovered in Cuba. The lizard is found in the bushes and forest of a protected park and has been called “Aristelliger reyesi“.
The finding shows that Cuba’s biodiversity still holds surprises, for that reason inventories and biological monitoring actions should be further facilitated, said Luis M. Diaz, researcher with Cuba’s National Museum of Natural History.
The Aristelliger contain seven Caribbean species and, surprisingly, its closest relatives come from Africa, which means that its origin could be very ancient.
The Aristelliger reyesi grows up to 13 centimetres long, with males being larger than females. The head is crossed by a black stripe that reaches the forelegs.
Cuban Radio Rebelde on this: here.
Cuba – accidental Eden: The economic embargo has helped its natural environments and wildlife: here.
Ecotourism taking roots in Turquino-Bayamesa, Cuba: here.
New species discovered in 2007: here.
The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University and an international committee of taxonomists – scientists responsible for species exploration and classification – today announce the top 10 new species described in 2008: here.
It’s amazing enough that lizards can shed their tails as a decoy for predators and entertainment for young boys. But a new study of geckos documents an incredible set of acrobatics that these severed tails perform: here.
This video is about little terns in Australia.
From Wildlife Extra:
Great Yarmouth little terns get beach patrol
Volunteers on the beach to help rare birds
May 2009. Volunteers will be busy on the beach at Great Yarmouth until mid-August, helping to protect the UK’s largest colony of little terns.
A team of volunteers and wardens from the RSPB and Natural England will be putting up a 700 metre fence on North Denes beach to protect the rare seabirds as they lay their eggs on the beach. The team will patrol the beach night and day to ward off predators and keep the eggs and chicks safe from harm.
This summer will be the 23rd year of the scheme to protect little terns at Great Yarmouth and Winterton Dunes. The joint efforts of the RSPB, Natural England and Great Yarmouth Borough Council help to protect the vulnerable birds from predators and disturbance while they raise their chicks.
300 pairs of little terns
Every May, around 300 pairs of little terns make the arduous journey from Africa to nest on the beach at North Denes and at Winterton Dunes National Nature Reserve. North Denes hosts the largest breeding colony of little terns in Britain, with around 10% of the UK population choosing to nest at this site.
There are now about 60 little terns in Langstone Harbour, many of which are exploring the new shingle areas, with some already sitting on nests: here.
From British daily The Morning Star:
Slavery returns to Britain
Thursday 14 May 2009
by Paddy McGuffin
HUMAN trafficking into the country amounts to a “resurgence of the slave trade” and the government is failing to tackle the issue, a select committee report warned on Wednesday.
The home affairs committee report, entitled The Trade in Human Beings: Human trafficking in the UK, said that there are at least 5,000 victims – mostly women and children – living in this country.
Most are made to work in the sex trade or forced to beg. Others fall prey to crooked gangmasters and are forced to work long hours in disgraceful conditions for a pittance.
UK government resists European efforts to co-ordinate efforts to fight sex trafficking: here.
FEMEN’s Unfeminist Tactics? A Response to Rising Sex Tourism in Ukraine: here.
Slavery in today’s world: here.
Slavery in Ghana today: here.
Today, to the nature reserve.
The two white storks, both standing on their nest.
Near the castle moat, blue-tailed damselflies in love tandems.
Sounds of blackbird, green woodpecker, chaffinch, robin, chiffchaff.
A speckled wood butterfly, sitting on a stinging nettle leaf.
This video says about itself:
Swimming pool maintenance, the clearing of a moat and the hanging of a chandelier are just some of the expenses claims made by Tory MPs.
From British daily The Morning Star:
Top Tory aide resigns
Thursday 14 May 2009
TORY leader David Cameron‘s top aide resigned on Thursday after being exposed creaming off thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ cash to pay his mortgage.
As a Tory spokesman admitted an “examination of Andrew MacKay‘s allowances revealed an unacceptable situation,” Mr Cameron insisted he would throw out any Tory MP refusing to pay back “excessive” expenses.
But in an immediate snub to his own leader, Tory grandee Douglas Hogg, who milked the expense system for £20,000 to “clear his moat,” refused to pay it back.
Meanwhile, former Labour minister Elliot Morley was suspended after grabbing £16,000 to pay off a mortgage that didn’t even exist.
Mr Morley continued to claim £800 a month for his home, even though the mortgage had been paid off 18 months before. He also rented out a second house to fellow Labour MP Ian Cawsey, allowing Mr Morley to claim mortgage interest on this property too. Mr Cawsey paid him £1,000 per month – which he claimed back.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged an investigation.
Took £1,000 a month to rent Morely’s second home
Got £20,000 to clear his moat and refuses to pay it back
Resigned after creaming off thousands for his mortgage
Claimed £16,000 for his non-existent mortgage
Also on the expenses scandal: here. And here.
TWO Labour peers involved in the “cash for amendments” scandal were facing suspension from the House of Lords on Thursday after a parliamentary sleaze inquiry found them guilty of misconduct: here.
Former environment minister Elliot Morley was freed from prison today after serving a quarter of his 16-month sentence for fiddling his parliamentary expenses: here.
About the Daily Telegraph: here.
By Richard Phillips:
Samson and Delilah: a searing portrait of life for Central Australian Aboriginal youth
14 May 2009
Written, filmed and directed by Warwick Thornton
Samson and Delilah is a confronting and deeply humane film about two teenagers from a remote Aboriginal settlement in Central Australia. Billed as a love story, Thornton’s first full-length dramatic feature touches on many social issues—poverty, homelessness and substance abuse in Aboriginal communities—questions that Australian feature filmmakers have, up until now, largely chosen to ignore.
Warwick Thornton discusses Samson and Delilah with the WSWS: here.
USA: Cuts in Social Security, Medicare to pay for bank bailouts: here.
A batch of economic figures released this week undermined claims by the White House and Federal Reserve that economic recovery is just around the corner: here.
The New York City administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently began charging rent to some of the 9,000 homeless families who are presently living in publicly run city shelters: here.
The threatened bankruptcy of General Motors epitomises the social fate of millions of workers under conditions of global recession: here.
Australia: Confronted by a $200 billion collapse in tax revenues over the next four years—the largest fall since the Great Depression—in Tuesday night’s budget, the Rudd Labor government has begun cutting social spending: here.
Australia: Greens’ Fremantle win: Can the Greens challenge Labor? Here.
Norm Coleman is a former Republican United States senator.
He has two main claims to fame.
First, he summoned British anti Iraq war member of parliament, George Galloway, to the US senate, falsely accusing him of involvement in the Iraqi oil for food scandal. Galloway then made mincemeat of warmonger Coleman.
This video is called George Galloway Vs The US Senate (Full Video).
Second, after Coleman lost his seat in last year’s elections to his Democratic opponent Al Franken, he turned out to be a sore loser, starting endless procedures.
Now, Coleman gets a third claim to fame. It turns out that he is wanted by the FBI for corruption.
This video from the USA says, according to “LiberalViewer” who posted it:
Last week, when the American Civil Liberties Union (of which I am a proud member) got the Obama Administration to release four memos from the Bush Administration’s Justice Department that described and purported to legally justify various torture techniques, the contrasting coverage on Fox News and MSNBC news commentary shows (e.g. “The O’Reilly Factor” and “The Rachel Maddow Show”) provided a good example of the different level of bias at Fox News compared to the level of bias found at other networks.
You can find the four torture memos from the Bush Administration’s Justice Department on the ACLU’s website at http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/olc_memos.html
You can find the full April 17, 2009, segment of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” from which I took 2 short clips for my video at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/30271978
You can find the full April 17, 2009, segment of Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” from which I took a short clip for my video at http://www.foxnews.com/search-results/m/22115673/talking-points-4-17.htm
And, finally, as always, you can find DOZENS and DOZENS more examples of Fox News bias on my Fox News bias playlist on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=A3BD2524FE99BD4D
By Bill Van Auken in the USA:
Obama bows to Republican right and military on torture photos
14 May 2009
The Obama administration’s decision Wednesday to renege on its promise to comply with a court order and release photographs of US personnel torturing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan represents another capitulation by his administration to mounting pressure from the right and the military-intelligence apparatus.
See also here. And here.
Obama Makes Terrible Mistake by Not Releasing Pictures: here.
Psychologists warned of abusive interrogations, then helped craft them: here. And here.
On June 18, 2009, the American Psychological Association [APA] Board issued an Open Letter on the subject of psychologists’ involvement in abusive national security interrogations: here.
Protecting Psychologists Who Harm: The APA’s Latest Wrong Turn. Roy Eidelson, Truthout: “Shortly after learning about the American Psychological Association’s (APA) late February announcement of its new Member-Initiated Task Force to Reconcile Policies Related to Psychologists’ Involvement in National Security Settings, I found my thoughts turning to the School of the Americas, Blackwater and perhaps even more surprisingly, the Patagonian toothfish. Those may seem like a strange threesome, but they share one important thing in common. All have undergone a thorough repackaging and renaming in a marketing effort aimed at obscuring – but not altering – some ugly truth”: here.
From Free Speech Emergency in Latvia blog:
Riga city councilors ask that Baltic Pride be banned
More than 30 Riga city councilors (Riga, population around 800 000, has 60 council seats, probably the largest number of any municipality in the world) have signed a letter asking that the committee that approved a planned May 16 Baltic Pride March rescind the permit.
The reasons: 1) it would cost too much in police resources and street closures in times of economic crisis 2) a public gathering of LGBT persons is a threat to the morals and virtue of the city.
Two prominent signers of the letter were councilwoman Helmi Stalte, a member of Latvia’s Liv (Finno-Ugric speaking) minority, and Ludvigs Almers, a clergyman.
See also here.
When Latvian veterans of Adolf Hitler‘s Waffen SS, considered a criminal organization ever since the Nuremberg trials, march in Riga, these Rightist politicians do not talk about that outrage “costing too much in police resources and street closures”, economic crisis or no crisis. No, they prefer to brand non criminal gay people as criminals of some sort. Disgusting.
Latvia: Unprecedented economic collapse: here.
Amnesty blasted Lithuanian MPs yesterday for voting to proceed with a Bill that would “institutionalise homophobia”: here.
Peru ‘bar gay people from police’: here.
Gays and Lesbians in Japan Get the Cold Shoulder: here.