Hunting was temporarily banned because of the continuing cold in the province of Utrecht. The ban starts this Monday, the province said.
Until the end of the month pheasants, wood pigeons, mallards and rabbits cannot be hunted, because the animals are particularly vulnerable to cold. The killing of animals which cause damage to agricultural land, such as the Egyptian goose, is temporarily not allowed as well. The killing of foxes and roe deer is not prohibited.
Ponds, rivers and even commercial fishery operations in Florida are full of dead or dying fish, victims of this month’s unusually long cold spell, according to MSNBC, The New York Times, and many other media reports coming out of the “sunshine state.” While no species is completely immune to the cold, tropical fish populations appear to be suffering the most: here.
10 Extraordinary Animal Tactics for Surviving the Cold: here.
Lawyers representing the family of Sabiha Khudur Talib, the 62-year-old Basra woman allegedly tortured and executed by British forces in 2006, have called for a full independent investigation.
She was killed during a house raid in Basra in November 2006 by British troops, but the MoD claims that Ms Talib was killed “in crossfire” and later died at a military hospital.
But her son Raad Gatii Karim said that his mother was uninjured as she was led outside by troops.
“I then saw a soldier hit her on her back with the butt of a rifle. The soldiers pulled the blanket off her legs, wrapped this around her and shoved her into the APC (armoured personnel carrier),” he said.
Later that day, the Iraqi police said, they received a telephone call from British forces informing them that the body of a woman had been found “dumped” on Basra’s al-Zubayr highway.
The body, contained in a British body bag, was that of Ms Talib.
The police reports document “traces of torture” and a bullet entry wound to her abdomen.
Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers said: “Our clients and the Iraqi police are absolutely clear that Sabiha was taken away alive and later found dead, having been tortured and dumped in a British body bag on the al-Zubayr highway.
“The MoD cannot dismiss these allegations with the claim, unsubstantiated by any investigation, that she was injured in crossfire and later died in a military hospital.
“The evidence points to a brutal murder and not to a tragic accident.”
Hundreds of people have died as a result of an extended wave of cold weather across much of Europe: here.
UK: FOOD PRICES SET TO SOAR! – Gas privateers making huge profits. Further heavy snowfalls are forecast today, piling more pressure on Britain’s already-stretched winter resources: here.
Staff cuts threaten ‘far worse’ snow chaos in future: here.
Dozens of people have died in house fires in the southern US, a consequence of the severe cold weather of the past two weeks and the dilapidated and hazardous housing stock in the region. In the worst fire, nine people died, including six young children: here.
Short term winter weather and long term climate change: here.
A new and previously unknown species of spider has been discovered in the dune of the Sands of Samar in the southern Arava region by a team of scientists from the Department of Biology in the University of Haifa-Oranim. Unfortunately, however, its habitat is endangered.
“The discovery of this new spider illustrates our obligation to preserve the dune,” says Dr. Shanas, who headed the team of scientists.
The Sands of Samar are the last remaining sand dune in Israeli territory in the southern Arava region. In the past, the sands stretched across some 7 square kilometers, but due to the rezoning of areas for agriculture and sand quarries, the sands have been reduced to fewer than 3 square kilometers.
During a course of studies that Dr. Shanas’s research team has carried out in the region, they discovered this new spider, a member of the Cerbalus genus. Since it has been found in the Arava, it has been given the name Cerbalus aravensis. The researchers say that this spider’s leg-span can reach up to 14 cm., which makes it the largest spider of its type in the Middle East. Even though details are still lacking to enable a full analysis of its biology and of its population in the sands, the scientists know that this is a nocturnal spider, mostly active in the hottest months of the year, and that it constructs an underground den which is closed with a “lifting door” made of sand particles that are glued together to camouflage the den.
The scientists’ excitement is indeed mixed with apprehension. According to Dr. Shanas, the Israel Land Administration intends to renew mining projects in the Sands of Samar in the near future, which will endanger the existence of the newly discovered spider. He adds that it is possible that there are additional unknown animal species living in the sands, and therefore efforts should be made to preserve this unique region in the Arava. “The new discovery shows how much we still have to investigate, and that there are likely to be many more species that are unknown to us. If we do not preserve the few habitats that remain for these species, they will become extinct before we can even discover them,” Dr. Shanas concludes.
- These results force us to reconsider our whole picture of the transition from fish to land animals, says Per Ahlberg of Uppsala University, one of the two leaders of the study.
For nearly eighty years, palaeontologists have been scouring the planet for fossil bones and skeletons of the earliest land vertebrates or ‘tetrapods‘ – the ultimate progenitors of all later amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals including ourselves. Their discoveries have suggested that the first tetrapods evolved relatively rapidly from lobe-finned fishes, through a short-lived intermediate stage represented by ‘elpistostegids‘ such as Tiktaalik, about 380 million years ago. But there is another potential source of information about the earliest tetrapods: the fossilised footprints they left behind. In the new study a Polish-Swedish team describe a rich and securely dated footprint locality from Zachelmie Quarry in Poland that pushes back the origin of tetrapods a full 18 million years beyond the earliest skeletal evidence and forces a dramatic reassessment of the transition from water to land.
The trackways show that large tetrapods, up to three metres in length, inhabited the marine intertidal zone during the early Middle Devonian some 395 million years ago.
- This means not that not only tetrapods but also elpistostegids originated much earlier than we thought, because the position of elpistostegids as evolutionary precursors of tetrapods is not in doubt, and so they must have existed at least as long, says Per Ahlberg.
The elpistostegids, it seems, were not at all a short-lived transitional stage but must have existed alongside their descendants the tetrapods for at least 10 million years. The environment is also a major surprise: almost all previous scenarios for the origin of tetrapods have placed this event in a freshwater setting and have associated it with the development of land vegetation and a terrestrial ecosystem.
- Instead, our distant ancestors may first have left the water in order to feed on stranded marine life left behind by the receding tide, says Per Ahlberg.
A new study has found that five times as many secondary school and university students in the US are dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues than people of the same age who were studied in the Great Depression era: here.
Britain: BORIS JOHNSON – MAYOR FOR THE BANKERS: here.
Bosses laid off 2.2 million workers in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2009 amid the global financial crisis, the International Labour Organisation has reported: here.