American fathead minnows in the Netherlands


This video is called Fathead minnows feeding.

By Frank Spikmans (RAVON) and Sjoerd van Veen in the Netherlands:

In a pond in Neede (Gelderland province), a reproducing population of fathead minnows has been discovered. This species is native to North America. Probably the pond fish trade brought the fathead minnow from the Americas to Europe. The species has already been observed in Belgium, and there are reports from France of successful reproduction in the wild.

Diagnostic PCR to identify five rare species of Cypriniformes in China: here.

Irish paedophilia scandal bishop to quit


This video is called Sex Crimes And The Vatican.

From the daily The Guardian in Britain:

Irish bishop plans to quit over clerical abuse scandal

Donal Murray expected to tender resignation in front of pope over abuse in Dublin diocese

* Henry McDonald, Ireland Correspondent

* Monday 7 December 2009 12.49 GMT

An Irish bishop is expected to resign later today in front of the pope over the clerical abuse scandal in Ireland.

Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray travelled to Rome where he will tender his resignation from the post.

His departure comes after he was singled out for criticism in the devastating report into clerical child sex abuse in the Dublin diocese, Ireland’s most populous parish.

The Murphy report found that Murray reacted “inexcusably” to one known case of child abuse. He was also criticised for badly handing complaints and suspicions of further abuse of children in the city.

There has been no official reaction from the Catholic church today but the bishop told parishioners yesterday he was “reflecting on the decision he now has to make”.

On Saturday the leader of Ireland’s Catholics, Cardinal Seán Brady, called on all named in the report to act soon in light of the commission’s findings that cover-ups of clerical child abuse had taken place in the Dublin archdiocese.

Brady is due to travel to the Vatican next week to discuss the Murphy report with Pope Benedict.Brady will be accompanied by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the head of the church in Dublin.

Brady said that he would resign himself if a child had been abused as a result of any failure on his part.

Meanwhile Ireland’s foreign minister, Michael Martin, has expressed “deep disappointment” at the lack of response by the pope to the Murphy report.

The pope’s representative in Ireland, Papal Nuncio Giuseppe Leanza, will be summoned to the department of foreign affairs later this week to explain why he has not responded to the report’s findings.

“I think we will be pointing out that we need a substantive response,” Michael Martin said.

Victims of clergy sex abuse and a group that tracks paedophile priests has called on local Roman Catholic leaders and the Irish government on Monday to publicly detail known connections between the clergy abuse scandals in the US and Ireland: here.

USA: Sex Abuse Victims’ Groups Outraged By Vatican Decision to Clear Accused Priest. Catholic Church Rules Alan Placa Not Guilty; Rudy Giuliani Defended, Employed Friend Accused of Molesting Boys: here.

Rare snakes’ illegal ownership


Dumeril's boa

Translated from Dutch news agency ANP today:

ALMERE –

The General Inspectorate (AID) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality on Friday has seized seven rare snakes in Almere. The AID has said so today. The snakes were seized from a private owner in Almere.

The man did not have the proper papers to be allowed to have the snakes. He had three Madagascar ground boas and four Dumeril’s boas. These boa species are internationally protected.

The snakes were taken to a shelter. The ex-owner will be accused of violation of the Flora and Fauna Law.

Gay animal sex


This is a video about Laysan albatrosses.

From New Scientist:

Homosexual selection: The power of same-sex liaisons

* 07 December 2009 by Kate Douglas

Gallery: Nature’s homosexual pin-ups

Editorial: Homosexuality in nature is no guide to morality

NOT long ago, the news was full of reports about two male Humboldt penguins at a zoo in Germany that adopted an egg, hatched it and reared the chick together. It seems like every time you turn around, the media spotlight has fallen on another example of same-sex liaisons in the animal kingdom.

In the past few years, the ubiquity of such behaviour has become apparent. This summer evolutionary biologists Marlene Zuk and Nathan Bailey from the University of California, Riverside, published a paper on the subject that included examples from dozens of species ranging from dung flies and woodpeckers to bison and macaques.

That is just the beginning of the story. The burning question is why same-sex behaviour would evolve at all when it runs counter to evolutionary principles. But does it? In fact there are many good reasons for same-sex sexual behaviour. What’s more, Zuk and Bailey suggest that in a species where it is common, it is an important driving force in evolution. …

Same-sex behaviour is not necessarily synonymous with same-sex preferences, which have been observed in only a handful of animals. In 2005, for example, Hans Van Gossum from the University of Antwerp in Belgium and colleagues found that damselflies kept in all-male groups subsequently preferred to court other males rather than females, though this preference could be reversed simply by housing them with females (Biological Letters, vol 1, p 268).

Neither can you necessarily infer anything about sexual orientation from same-sex behaviour. Orientation is tricky to establish because it requires information about the consistency of partner preferences over a long period of time. Examples are thin on the ground, either because they do not exist or because they have yet to be discovered. The most notable include some male bighorn sheep that have been observed to predominantly mount other males throughout their lives, and female Laysan albatrosses – more of which later.

When two female royal albatrosses at a New Zealand breeding colony embarked on a lesbian relationship, there were some raised eyebrows. But when the pair successfully incubated a chick, wildlife experts were delighted – and surprised: here.

Gay beluga whales: here.

Insect Sex Study Reveals Surprising Reasons For Bugs’ Homosexual Encounters: here.

Homosexuality is found in over 450 species on our planet: here.

Climate summit in Copenhagen today


This video is called From Kyoto to Copenhagen, it’s time for climate justice.

Even before the climate summit begins today in Copenhagen, the goal of a legally binding international treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions has been ruled out: here.

An international group of leading climate scientists has updated the 2007 IPCC report based on the substantial body of scientific research published over the past three years. Their conclusions not only confirm the trends reported in 2007, but in a number of key areas exceed previous expectations: here.

BirdLife is the world’s largest network of conservation organisations, and BirdLife Partners from 19 countries are currently in Copenhagen working to ensure that a new deal is agreed that will tackle the global threats posed by climate change to people and nature: here.

Ahead of Copenhagen Talks, Tens of Thousands Protest Across Europe Calling for Climate Justice: here.

John Rennie’s 7 Answers to Climate Contrarian Nonsense: here.

Top Ten Questions about Climate Change on the Eve of Copenhagen: here.

We turn now to one of Nigeria’s best-known environmental leaders, Nnimmo Bassey. He is the founder of Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria, and he serves as the international chair of Friends of the Earth. He has campaigned against Shell Oil’s presence in the Niger Delta for nearly two decades. Last night he spoke at the opening of Klimaforum09. His forthcoming book is titled To Cook a Continent: Destructive Extraction and the Climate Crisis in Africa: here.

The theft and publication of emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia in England, containing communications between top scientists, has been used to boost the reactionary campaign backed by major oil producers and corporate lobbyists to deny the existence of global warming: here.

Danish police raid Copenhagen climate campaigners’ rooms: here.