Endangered African antelope protected from US hunters


From Scientific American blog in the USA:

Jun 29, 2009

Endangered African antelope win protection from American hunters

Until last week, U.S. trophy hunters had the legal right to hunt three species of endangered African game at American ranches, thanks to a “blanket exemption” to the Endangered Species Act issued during the Bush Administration.

That loophole has now been closed, following a federal judge’s ruling in a lawsuit brought by the organization Friends of Animals, based on Darien, Conn.

The ruling protects U.S.-bred scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah), addax (Addax nasomaculatus), and dama gazelles (Nanger dama), all of which are critically endangered in their African homelands, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The three species were listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 2005, which should have granted them a greater level of protection, but the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a rule creating an exception for captive-bred antelope, claiming “captive breeding in the United States has contributed significantly to the conservation of these species.”

Friends of Animals first sued to protect the three species in 2005. “Why would the government allow the hunting of these antelope any more than they’d allow the hunting of a chimpanzee?” said Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral in a statement.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. attacked this exception, writing, “Blanket exemptions under regulations are anathema to [the intentions of the Endangered Species Act] because they allow the FWS to permit a great number of exemptions at once without providing the detailed information to the public that would be required in an individualized analysis.”

Until now, American sport hunters could pay $3,500 to hunt and kill a scimitar-horned oryx — and even more for an addax or dama gazelle — and keep the carcasses as trophies. International travel to accomplish the same task has long been banned by the Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).

Mistaken identity dashes hopes for hirola, one of world’s rarest antelope: here.

An unusual Thomson’s gazelle: here.

Horned, hooved and hopping through the grass, this scimitar-horned oryx calf is one of the newest additions to the National Zoo’s Virginia facility. He is one of three calves born there this summer, critically increasing the numbers in captivity for a species that is already extinct in the wild: photo here.

Europe’s first camel fossils discovered


This video from the USA is called Fossil Discovery Center, Madera, California, USA.

The Mammoth Site – Hot Springs, S. Dakota: see here.

From DPA news agency:

Mon, 29 Jun 2009

Logrono, Spain – Spanish scientists have discovered Europe’s first fossilized camel footprints, Professor Felix Perez Lorente from La Rioja University said Monday. The footprints found at a site near Murcia were 6 million years old.

They revealed the existence of a hitherto unknown camel-like species, which the scientists named Paracamelichnum jumillensis.

The 191 footprints were made by about a dozen adult animals which walked as a group together.

The long distances between the footprints indicated that Paracamelichnum jumillensis was bigger than all the camel species known so far.

The research was published by the Ichnos Journal for Plant and Animal Traces before being presented in Spain.

An analysis by scientists in China and Inner Mongolia shows that wild Bactrian camels are distantly related to their domestic two-humped counterparts: here.

Dictator Franco stripped of honours in Madrid


This video says about itself:

One man sets out to exhume the ghosts of Spain’s totalitarianism past.

The Part 2 video is here.

From Reuters:

Madrid strips Franco of honorary titles

Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:50pm EDT

MADRID – Madrid’s city hall Monday stripped former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco of his title as honorary mayor and adopted son of the capital, 33 years after his death began the transition to democracy.

Councilors of all political colors unanimously voted to remove the titles, as well as medals Madrid conferred on the right-wing general, a spokesman for the council said.

“The capital of Spain is now clean of support for dictators,” left-wing Councilor Milagros Hernandez, was quoted as saying on the website of TV news channel CNN+.

The move is the latest in an effort spearheaded by the Socialist government to remove traces of Franco in street names, statues and other symbols glorifying the dictator who gained power after a three-year civil war which ended in 1939 and ruled until his death in 1975.

The removals started under a law passed in 2007 by the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose grandfather was killed by Franco‘s forces.

The push reverses an unspoken understanding after Franco‘s death that his supporters would relinquish power on condition that future democrats would not rake up the past.

Members of the conservative Popular Party have criticized the socialist law for, as they see it, needlessly dragging up the wounds of the past. However, the PP — which rules the local authority in Madrid — backed the proposal to strip Franco of the city’s honors.

(Reporting by Sarah Morris; editing by Ralph Boulton)

Franco’s face and name erased from public view in Spain: here.

La Despedida: A Lost Memoir of the Spanish Civil War: here.

Monument for Polish Spanish civil war fighter destroyed: here.

Britain: A Tory council is planning to dump part of a display commemorating the Spanish civil war, allegedly to help bury past associations with the labour movement: here.

In the penultimate stop on his final international tour as president, Dwight Eisenhower met the fascist dictator of Spain, Generalissimo Francisco Franco, in Madrid: here.

Texas police ‘commemorate’ Stonewall by raiding gay bar


This video from the USA is called Shadows to Sunlight: Gay Activism After Stonewall .

From Think Progress in the USA:

Police raid a gay bar in Texas on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

Shortly after midnight on Sunday, police raided a gay bar in Fort Worth, TX, and arrested seven customers for public intoxication.

The official excuse for the Stonewall raid forty years ago was also alcohol, not “officially” homophobia.

(One man was reportedly taken to the hospital “with bleeding in his brain after officers threw him to the ground and used zip-ties to handcuff him.”) Police said they were simply conducting an “alcohol beverage code inspection” when several customers made sexual advances toward the officers. However, the owner of the Rainbow Lounge, J.R. Schrock, said that claim was a “lie.” “The groping of the police officer — really? We’re gay, but we’re not dumb,” Schrock said. …

The Rainbow Lounge incident came on the 40th anniversary of the famous Stonewall uprising that sparked the modern LGBT movement, when police also raided a gay bar in New York City. Today, protesters rallied in downtown Forth Worth over the weekend’s raid.

Updates on gay man’s brain injury after Ft. Worth police raided gay bar on Stonewall Anniversary: here. And here. And here.

Cuban gay activist Alberto Roque has reported big advances in the fight against homophobia on the socialist island to a packed meeting in Parliament last night: here. And here.

Homophobia in Britain: here.

Gay rights in Cuba and the USA: here.

British nazi terrorism


From British daily The Morning Star:

Supremacist terror attack thwarted by chance

Monday 29 June 2009

A white supremacist arrested by chance at a Suffolk railway station last year turned out to be “on the cusp” of launching a campaign of terrorism, the Old Bailey has heard.

Jurors were told that Neil Lewington had developed a bomb factory in his bedroom at his parents’ home and aimed to target those he considered non-British.

According to the prosecution, he had an “unhealthy interest” in the London nail bomber David Copeland, the United States Unabomber and Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Lewington was arrested at Lowestoft station in Suffolk last year after abusing a female train conductor. He was found to be carrying the component parts of two viable improvised incendiary devices.

Later searches of his home revealed a notebook entitled Waffen SS UK Members’ Handbook, containing drawings of electronics and chemical mixtures.

See also here. And here.

The BNP: here. And here.

British far right launch campaign of violence and intimidation against opponents: here.

USA: I hear the expressions of rage directed towards Washington from the Tea Partiers and I wonder if there are more Oklahoma Cities in our future: here.