Welsh coal tit 100 millionth British bird record


This video is called Coal Tit Song.

From Wildlife Extra:

Coal tit in South Wales is BTO’s 100 millionth record

25/02/2010 16:53:46

The British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) collection of bird records in its databank hit 100 million this week, making this the most important bird resource in the country. The record-breaking submission was submitted to the BirdTrack survey.

February 2010. The BTO has been collecting information on Britain’s birds since 1933 through a variety of citizen science surveys. Since 2002 an increasing number of these large-scale surveys have been run using on-line systems that allow volunteers to enter their observations and view the results. The BirdTrack survey was set up in 2004 to collect records from individual birdwatchers of all abilities to help monitor the movements and distribution of birds across the whole of Britain and Ireland. The 100 millionth observation submitted was a Coal Tit in South Wales.

See also here.

More Welsh birds in the red: The latest assessment of all of Wales’ 213 regularly occurring birds: here.

The What on Earth Project – Recording the wildlife of the UK: here.

Ethno-Ornithology: Birds, Indigenous Peoples, Culture and Society: here.

Dutch Roman Catholic sexual abuse scandal


This video from the USA is called Pedophile priest crime victims support US Attorney investigation of Cardinal Roger Mahony in LA.

From De Volkskrant, originally founded as the daily of the Roman Catholic trade unions in the Netherlands, today:

Dutch monks accused of sexual abuse

For the first time in the Netherlands, monks of the order of Salesian Fathers of Don Bosco are accused publicly of sexual abuse going on for years.

From Dutch daily NRC:

Child sex abuse in Dutch Catholic Church revealed

Published: 26 February 2010 17:28 | Changed: 26 February 2010 17:39

Amid the high-profile child sexual abuse scandals in the United States and other European countries, the reputation of the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands has remained unsullied. A joint investigation by NRC Handelsblad and Radio Netherlands Worldwide shows this is unjustified.

By Robert Chesal for Radio Netherlands Worldwide and Joep Dohmen for NRC Handelsblad

Janne Geraets, now 57, suffered repeated sexual abuse from the age of 11 at the hands of a priest at the Roman Catholic school where he was a boarder. His ordeal began in 1964, at the Don Rua monastery in the town of ‘s-Heerenberg in the east of the Netherlands. He was being trained by the Salesian Fathers of Don Bosco, in the hope of one day becoming a missionary. After a party, one of the priests lured Janne to the infirmary under the pretext of giving him medicine to ease his sore throat. “All of a sudden he was right up against me,” Geraets recalled. “He unzipped his trousers and forced my hand inside. I was in a state of utter confusion.”

See also here.

By Gary McLennon in Australia:

Redfern’s radical priest

27 February 2010

Ted Kennedy, Priest of Redfern By Edmund Campion, David Lovell Publishing, 2009 201 pages, $24.95

This fine book is valuable on two accounts. Firstly, in telling the life of the radical priest Ted Kennedy who was, using Dostoevsky’s words, “a wholly good man”, and secondly as an introduction to the alternative church within official Roman catholicism.

Edmund Campion implies that to understand Kennedy one must recognise this oppositional church.

This book is published at a time of right-wing triumphalism within catholicism. The recent sacking of the Brisbane radical priest, Peter Kennedy (no relation), following complaints from a reactionary provocateur, shows the pressures on the champions of the Second Vatican Council.

New Binyam Mohamed torture revelations


This video from Britain is called David Davis MP accuses MI5 of ‘outsourcing torture‘.

From Al Jazeera:

Banned text on UK’s MI5 published

Mohamed claims he was tortured in ‘medieval ways’ and that MI5 colluded with his abusers

Previously secret comments by a senior British judge criticising the country’s secret services over torture claims in a draft judgement on a former Guantanamo Bay detainee have been made public.

In remarks from a ruling earlier this month in the case of Binyam Mohamed, Lord David Neuberger said some members of the security services seemed to have a “dubious record” with regard to human rights and coercive techniques.

The comments from Neuberger, head of the civil justice system in England and Wales, were previously removed from the ruling following a complaint from Jonathan Sumption, a lawyer representing the government.

Ivor Judge, the head of the judiciary, said on Friday that the information had been published in “the interests of open justice”.

See also here.

MI5 deceived parliament – the judges decide: here.

Yet another judge criticised British spies for their complicity in torture last week. And yet again the government responded with lies: here.

British Government seeks to cover up evidence of rendition to torture in the case of Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni, ghost prisoner rendered through Diego Garcia: here.

Learning nothing from Binyam Mohamed’s case, the government is again covering up complicity in rendition and torture: here.

‘THE Government today asked two High Court Judges to allow them to cover up evidence of torture even more thoroughly than they did in the case of Binyam Mohamed,’ said legal charity Reprieve on Thursday: here.

The government has been accused of yet again attempting to cover up its complicity in kidnap and torture after it tried to have secret evidence submitted to the High Court at the 11th hour: here.

A dedicated unit will examine allegations of abuse by British military personnel in Iraq, the government has announced: here.

More evidence is emerging that the British government is allowing its territory of Diego Garcia to be used for torture: here.

Former British resident Ahmed Belbacha is beyond any doubt the forgotten man of Guantanamo. A tragic figure, who although declared innocent after eight years of false imprisonment, cannot leave as he has no country to return to: here.

US legislators voted to extend controversial provisions of the notorious Bush-era Patriot Act on Thursday: here. And here.

The Justice Department investigation into whether the authors of the Bush-era “torture memos” were guilty of professional misconduct did not have full access to the emails used by those lawyers and by other key figures in the investigation, including former Attorney General John Ashcroft and former counsel to the Vice President David Addington: here.

USA: Human rights abuses: Bush’s policies continued: here.

The Federal Court unanimously dismissed the Rudd government’s application to terminate former Guantánamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib’s claim for compensation for alleged Australian complicity in torture: here.

Human rights group Reprieve has warned that an Algerian Guantanamo detainee who has been cleared of all charges faces “torture and persecution” after Algiers and Washington inked a legal co-operation deal that could lead to his forceable return: here.

Ancient Egyptian priests ‘killed by fat’


Offering by Pharaoh Hatshepsut to the god Horus

From the BBC:

Ancient Egyptian priests ‘killed by rich ritual food’

Egyptian mummies showed many priests had blocked arteries

Lavish banquets offered to ancient Egyptian gods blocked the arteries of priests who took the food home to their families, say UK researchers.

An analysis of the foods listed in hieroglyphic inscriptions on temple walls showed the meals offered to the gods were laden with saturated fat.

And scans of priests’ mummified remains showed many had blocked arteries.

The research, published in The Lancet, shows atherosclerosis is not just a modern disease, say the authors.

Ritual offerings

Professor Rosalie David, an egyptologist from the University of Manchester, said: “There couldn’t be a more evocative message: live like a god and you will pay with your health.”

Egyptian goose hieroglyph

The translations of inscriptions on the walls of Egyptian temples showed that priests would offer the gods meals of beef, goose, bread, fruit, vegetables, cake, wine and beer three times a day.

After the ritual offering, they would take home the food for themselves and their families.

The geese of Meidum, ancient Egyptian painting of white-fronted and red-breasted geese

A dietary analysis showed a very high fat content in the food offered. For example, goose meat is 63% fat, with 20% of it saturated.

The bread was richer than modern bread, often being enriched with fat, milk, and eggs.

The researchers say salt intake was also likely to have been high because it was often used as a preservative.

The food offered to the gods was much richer than the more frugal, mainly vegetarian, diet that most Egyptians ate.

Clear evidence

The authors surveyed evidence from over 60 mummies which had been analysed over the past 30 years using X-rays or rehydrated tissue samples.

They found clear evidence of blocked arteries and arterial damage among priests and their families.

Among 16 mummies whose hearts and arteries could be identified by CT scans, nine had evidence of hardened arteries.

“There was a marked incidence of blocked arteries among priests and their families,” said Professor David.

“We have been able to show how temple inscriptions, which recorded daily rituals, can be combined with investigation of mummies to provide additional evidence about the priests and their diet.

“Inscriptions on coffins associated with individual mummies provide the owner’s names and titles and this information can be used to associate the diseases discovered in these mummies with specific social groups, in this case the priests and their families.”

See also here.

Papyrus Boats and the Beginning of Western Civilization: here.

Environment, Insects and the Archaeology Of Egypt: here.

Pharaoh Userkare’s pyramid: here.

Aug. 19, 2013 — Researchers have shown that ancient Egyptian iron beads held at the UCL Petrie Museum were hammered from pieces of meteorites, rather than iron ore. The objects, which trace their origins to outer space, also predate the emergence of iron smelting by two millennia: here.

White storks’ return


This is a video of a white stork nest in Ankeveen, the Netherlands.

By Corine Knoester in Leiden, the Netherlands:

Leiden – 26 February 2010

Though it is not spring yet, the white storks have returned to their nest in the Leidsche Hout park. They do have some respect for the [fallow] deer whose grounds they share. At the fodder, provided by humans, they wait patiently till the deer have finished eating.

White storks being carnivorous, they probably don’t eat the fodder itself, but search for insects etc. between the greens.

Yellow-billed stork (Mycteria ibis) on buffalo; photo here.