Dinosaur footprints discovery in China


This video is called Dinosaurs: China’s Ancient Giants.

From the BBC:

China dinosaur footprints found in Zhucheng

Scientists say the footprints belong to at least six different dinosaur types

Scientists in China say they have discovered more than 3,000 dinosaur footprints, all facing the same way.

The footprints – thought to belong to at least six dinosaur types – were found in eastern Shandong province, state news agency Xinhua reports.

Experts believe the prints are more than 100 million years old and say they could represent a migration or a panicked attempt to escape predators.

Dinosaur fossils have been found at about 30 sites in the Zhucheng area.

As a result, Zhucheng City has become known locally as “dinosaur city“.

The footprints were uncovered on a 2,600 sq m (0.64 acre) rock slope in a gully following three months of excavation work, Xinhua reported.

The find is unusual because of the quantity and size of footprints uncovered, scientists said.

The footprints, which range from 10cm (3.9in) to 80cm in length, belong to dinosaur types including tyrannosaurs, coelurosaurs and hadrosaurs, Xinhua said.

See also here. And here.

Xu Xing: Unearthing how dinosaurs became birds: here.

From the tiny Anchiornis huxleyi to a feathered ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex and the huge Gigantoraptor, Xu Xing’s fossil finds have helped to unearth the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds: here.

Linheraptor: here.

Birdcount in Belgium


This is a goldcrest video.

From flandersnews.be in Belgium:

Belgium counts its birds this weekend

Sat 06/02/2010 – 12:17 For the 10th winter in a row Natuurpunt is organising a count of the birds in people’s gardens. Thousands of Flemish families are counting the birds that come to their feeders and giving the information to Natuurpunt.

From 1 October to 31 March Natuurpunt collects and compiles the results of the bird counts by a number of volunteers.

They send information every month regarding the species of birds that come to their gardens and their numbers.

Apart from the monthly information from volunteers a national Bird Counting Weekend is held once a year.

That is what is taking place this weekend.

And how does this work?

After having replenished the feeder you count how many birds come during a period of 30 minutes. Per species, they write down the largest number in the garden at a given moment.

According to Natuurpunt you do not have to be an expert to count the birds in your garden.

On the Natuurpunt website there are photos of the most common birds in Belgium so you can recognise the type of birds you have in your garden.

Several dailies also periodically include posters with the most common birds in Belgium.

Last year 450 people were involved in the monthly counting. More than 6,600 took part in last year’s national Bird Counting Weekend. Some 290,000 birds were counted last year.

The information compiled by Natuurpunt is clearly not scientific, but it gives an idea of the trend from year to year.

Last winter was the coldest winter since the counting started and the result was that there were spectacularly more species of birds than in the previous winters. This winter is also much colder and Natuurpunt expects a wide variety of birds to be counted this weekend again.

Dutch birds in winter: here.

European bird census: here.

North America: 2010 Great Backyard Bird Count results: here.

Salt in bird baths and leftovers could kill garden birds: here.

Dinosaur age turtle discovered in Angola


This video says about itself:

Paleontology Field Prospecting in Angola 2009, looking for vertebrate fossils. This video shows the size of the Cretaceous outcrops in Angola. By Octávio Mateus.

By Jennifer Viegas:

New Cretaceous Turtle Was An Ocean Invader

Fri Feb 5, 2010 12:32 PM ET

An international team of scientists has announced the discovery of “turtle of Angola,” a Late Cretaceous reptile that was one of the earliest known marine turtles from Africa. The seafaring turtle, Angolachelys mbaxi, lived 90 million years ago.

Octavio Mateus, who led the project, informed me of the find today. He is a researcher at both the New University of Lisbon and the Museu da Lourinhã.

The Dinosaur Era marine turtle “represents one of the first marine amniote lineages to have invaded the South Atlantic after separation of Africa and South America,” according to Mateus and his team. The researchers believe the turtle first emerged in the North Atlantic. When the new opening to the southern part of the ocean occurred, this animal, and apparently others, made a bee-line southward. A marine lizard, Angolasaurus, from the same time period has also been found, and it too was one of the first to invade the South Atlantic.

Islamophobic orthodontist in Germany


This video, recorded in New Zealand, is called George Galloway says Islamophobia is racism against Muslims.

From The Local, Germany’s news in English:

Orthodontist refuses to treat teen named ‘Jihad’

Published: 5 Feb 10 14:10 CET

An orthodontist in the state of Baden-Württemberg has reportedly turned a 16-year-old boy out of her practice because she was offended by his name – “Cihad,” an alternate spelling for “Jihad,” which she interpreted to mean “holy war.”

The doctor in Donaueschingen told local daily Schwarzwälder Bote on Friday that she believed his name was a declaration of war against all non-Muslims and refused to treat him.

According to the paper, the boy’s parents were shocked, saying they had chosen the name simply because they liked it, and not for religious reasons.

Islamic scholars say the word “jihad” means “striving for God,” but it has been co-opted by Islamists for their purposes of “holy war,” the paper reported. …

The state medical association told the paper that the law does not require doctors to treat patients except in the case of an emergency. But the organisation also called a treatment refusal based on a first name “unusual.”

“Jihad” is a very common name for both boys and girls. It has nothing to do with Al-Qaeda or anything. Just like, maybe atheist, parents give their children names like “Christian”, “Christine”, or Christian saints’ names (like George, after Saint George, a soldier according to legend), in itself has nothing to do with Christian fundamentalism.

France: As the Sarkozy administration has launched yet another attack on those Islamic sartorial proclivities, on the usual twin grounds that the ‘veil’ constitutes an abridgement of womens’ rights and signifies an Islamist challenge to fundamental French republican values, the N[ouveau] P[arti] A[nticapitaliste] has answered with its own ‘veiled’ candidate for upcoming regional elections: here.

The first person to be found guilty of “Islamist terror” charges in Scotland has been freed amid jubilant scenes outside the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh: here. And here.

Islamophobia in the USA here.

More German Roman Catholic sexual abuse scandals


This is a video from CNN in the USA about protesters against sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests.

From The Local, Germany’s news in English:

At least 94 Catholic abuse cases suspected: report

Published: 6 Feb 10 11:08 CET

The abuse scandal in Germany’s Catholic Church has continued to widen with at least 94 clerics and laypeople suspected of committing sexual abuse since 1995, news magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday.

A survey of the country’s 27 Catholic dioceses found that 30 of the perpetrators had been tried and sentenced but at least 10 cases were still outstanding and many more never saw court because the statute of limitations to prosecute had passed.

This latest revelation follows the shock admission just over a week ago that at least two Roman Catholic priests at the elite Canisius Catholic school in Berlin had systematically abused children in 1970s and 1980s.

The scandal then spread with the church’s admission that a third priest had been suspended after admitting to abusing a student.

Only three German dioceses, Limburg, Regensburg and Dresden-Meißen, refused to respond to Spiegel’s survey. A spokesman for the Dresden-Meißen diocese said he “didn’t want to fuel the current discussion.”

But the secretary of the German Bishops’ Conference, Hans Langendörfer, said: “The revelations show a dark side of the church that appals me. We want to tackle this issue openly.”

Some Catholic groups have demanded changes to the guidelines for dealing with sexual abuse in light of the discoveries, Spiegel reported. This has included calls for an independent ombudsman to examine abuse claims.

The issue is set to dominate the next meeting of the German Bishops’ Conference, which begins on February 22.

US fundamentalists helped by Dutch queen


Princess Wilhelmina meets pastor Wallace E. Haines (left). The private archives of his son prove that Wilhelmina in the nineteen fifties actively contributed to the establishment of a society of US American evangelicals in Europe. Right: former French Minister Edmond Michelet, also active in The Family. Photo from the private archive of Stephen Wallace Haines

Translated from Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad:

“Wilhelmina helped evangelicals from the U.S.A.”

Published: February 6, 2010 10:50 | Updated: February 6, 2010 10:50

By our correspondent Tom-Jan Meeus

Washington, Feb. 6. Queen Wilhelmina [of the Netherlands] in the fifties actively contributed to the establishment of a society of US American evangelicals in Europe.

The secretly operating organization, The Family, according to the American religious researcher Jeff Sharlet, has by now become “by far the most powerful fundamentalist society of the USA”.

The Family, organizers of the the annual National Prayer Breakfast in the USA, is discredited because they have recently advocated the death penalty in Uganda to punish some expressions of homosexuality. The Family last year also played a role in sexual affairs of well-known conservatives in the U.S. The Family aims at “totalitarianism for Christ”, Sharlet says, and in order to get this secretly recruited hundreds of politicians in the U.S. and abroad.

The society was founded in the nineteen thirties by Abraham Vereide, a Norwegian immigrant in the U.S. After the war he sent an American pastor, Wallace E. Haines, to Europe to propagate the message of the group. Wilhelmina in the fifties, after she had given up the throne to her daughter Juliana, was Honorary President of the European branch of The Family.

From the archives of the deceased Haines, to which his son Stephen in part has given access to NRC Handelsblad, it becomes appartent that Wilhelmina had a close relationship with the pastor. She “was the principal mentor of my father in Europe”, says son Stephen Haines. She “treated [my father] like a brother,” said David Haines, another son of the preacher.

Today in NRC Handelsblad a profile of The Family, the most powerful fundamentalists of the United States.

The Family is also known as The Fellowship.

Bloodbath threatens in Afghanistan


This video is called The Hidden Massacre of Fallujah.

As US and British troops prepare to attack the town of Marjah in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, military commanders and the media are openly comparing the operation to the siege of Fallujah, one of the bloodiest war crimes of the Iraq war: here.

Thousands of civilians flee Afghan region as Nato plans onslaught: here.

The Harper government’s suspension of parliament, an act carried out to try to hide the brutal reality of the Canadian Armed Forces’ “Afghan Mission,” underscores the close connection between the growth of militarism and the threat to the democratic rights: here.

Harper runs roughshod over women’s rights: here.

Canada accuses Venezuela of stifling democracy while Parliament remains prorogued: here.