World’s second longest insect in botanical garden


This video says about itself:

Believe it or not but this long thing isn’t adult yet… it gets twice the size. Spieces: Phobaeticus serratipes Instar: 5th Gender: female Length: 30 cm

From Groninger Internet Courant in the Netherlands:

The world’s second longest insect can be seen by the public now in the insectarium of the botanical garden in Haren. This stick insect is a Phobaeticus serratipus.

sic; serratipes

This species may reach about 50 cm long, including the legs. The longest insect, also a Phobaeticus species, is 55 cm. The animals here, juveniles still, are already over 30 cm. Newly born animals, called nymphs, are already about 8 cm.

Some of the strangest (and large!) insects in the world: here.

Honduran dictators attack civil liberties


This video says about itself:

Thousands of Hondurans took to the streets this day (8-10-09) demanding the return of their elected government and President, Zelaya. Filmed by Shaun Joseph.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Coup plotters try to silence resistance

Monday 28 September 2009

LITTLE COMPETITION: A soldier reads El Heraldo while on guard near the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. The pro-coup newspaper bragged on Monday that government edicts were only being aimed at dissenting media such as Channel 36 and Radio Globo

Honduran coup chiefs suspended constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties on Sunday night in a pre-emptive strike against democracy activists.

The repressive measure was launched three months to the day after the ousting of President Manuel Zelaya.

National Front Against the Coup activists vowed to ignore the decree and march in the streets as planned.

The decree gives authorities the green light to ban public meetings, detain people without warrants and close news media outlets.

It was announced just hours after Mr Zelaya called on his backers to stage mass protest marches in what he called a “final offensive” against the increasingly isolated regime.

Mr Zelaya, who has now been holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa for over a week, called on his supporters not to be provoked into violence.

But he insisted that the coup chiefs, who have snubbed repeated calls from the international community to form a national unity government under the constitutional premier, must ultimately be forced from office.

Talks between Mr Zelaya and interim officials aimed at resolving the political standoff triggered by the coup have gone nowhere.

And prospects for a compromise deal appeared to recede further after the government expelled at least four members of a team from the Organisation of American States who had arrived on Sunday to re-open negotiations.

OAS special adviser John Biehl told reporters that he and four other members of the advance team – including two US citizens, a Canadian and a Colombian – were stopped by pro-coup forces after landing at Tegucigalpa’s airport on Sunday.

Mr Biehl, who is Chilean, said that he had later been told he could stay, but the others had been put aboard flights out of the country.

“We were detained in the airport before a high-ranking official told us we were expelled,” he said.

Officials loyal to the de facto administration also issued an ultimatum to Brazil on Sunday, giving it 10 days to decide whether to turn Mr Zelaya over for arrest or grant him asylum and, presumably, take him out of Honduras.

They did not specify what they would do after the 10 days were up.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva responded by saying that his democratically elected government “doesn’t accept ultimatums from coup plotters.”

See also here. And here.

Honduras: Restore Press Freedom Immediately. Emergency Decree Prohibits Criticism of De Facto Government: here.

HONDURAS: Crackdown Prompts International Outcry: here.

German government parties lose election


This video from Germany is called People and Politics | Death in Afghanistan – The Bundeswehr under fire.

By Stefan Steinberg in Germany:

Historic defeat for Social Democrats in German federal election

28 September 2009

The German federal election held Sunday produced a historic defeat for the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and a sharp drop in support for all of the parties involved in Germany’s outgoing coalition government.

The SPD polled just 23.0 percent, down more than 11 percent from the last federal election in 2005, when the party polled 34.2 percent. The result is the worst ever for the SPD since World War II. Its decline of over 11 percent is the biggest loss ever recorded by a German party in a federal election since 1949.

The SPD’s main partners in Germany’s grand coalition government, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Bavarian-based Christian Social Union (CSU), were also punished by voters. The so-called “union” parties emerged with the largest share of the vote—a combined total of 33.8 percent—but recorded their second worst result in postwar history.

The tally for the union parties was 1.4 percentage points less than their result of 35.2 percent in 2005, and far removed from the 40 percent-plus vote recorded in the majority of elections held in the postwar period. Many CDU-CSU voters evidently switched to the pro-”free market” Free Democratic Party (FDP), which polled 14.8 percent, a gain of 5 percentage points compared to 2005.

The Christian Social Union (CSU) also registered its worst ever result in a federal election since World War II. The party which has long dominated politics in Germany’s biggest state gained just 41.0 percent in Bavaria—less than the disastrous 43.4 percent recorded by the party in the last Bavarian state election.

Even under conditions where voters turned away in droves from the conservative CSU, the SPD was unable to benefit. Instead, the SPD also recorded its worst ever result in Bavaria, receiving just 16.5 percent of the vote.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of the CDU announced Sunday evening that she would form a coalition government with the pro-business Free Democrats. It is estimated that this coalition will control some 323 seats in the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, giving it a majority of approximately 15 seats.

Under conditions where the electorate turned away from all of the parties involved in the CDU-CSU-SPD grand coalition, opposition parties were able to increase their share of the vote.

The Green Party won 10.6 percent, up 2.5 percentage points from 2005, while the Left Party won 12.5 percent, 3.8 percentage points higher than its result in 2005.

A comment on the SPD defeat, by Fredrik Jansson from Sweden:

European Social Democracy needs to get over the cul-de-sac that the third way and the new middle were. We must understand that we can’t win elections through triangulation and great coalitions. SPD lost this election when they discarded the red-green majority that the German people elected in the last election.

See also here.

Germany: Big gains for Die Linke as Social Democrats’ support collapses: here.

A top German court ruled on Wednesday that spooks have the right to “monitor” members of the increasingly popular Left Party, Die Linke, which won representation in the Bundestag in 2005: here.

Elections in Germany, Japan, Greece, Portugal: here.