Moray eels video


This video says about itself:

What is truly amazing about moray eels is that they have a second set of teeth! With rows of razor sharp teeth, they are known to be fierce underwater predators.

See also here.

Dictator Suharto’s censorship law scrapped


This is a video about the fall of the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia in 1998.

From Associated Press:

Indonesia revokes book-ban law from Suharto days

By IRWAN FIRDAUS – 1 day ago

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A landmark decision striking down an Indonesian book-banning law that has been used since the days of ex-dictator Suharto to clamp down on dissent was welcomed Thursday by historians, authors and rights activists.

For more than four decades, the attorney general’s office could unilaterally prohibit publication or distribution of books deemed “offensive” or a “threat to public order.”

But the Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday such power should rest with a judicial court.

“It’s great,” said historian Hilmar Farid. “It symbolizes the end of a period of darkness for all of us. It will allow future generations to learn the truth about everything, from science to history.”

Suharto stepped down in 1998 after 32 years of dictatorial rule, leading to reforms in the predominantly Muslim nation of 237 million that freed the media, vastly improved human rights and gave citizens the right for the first time to directly pick their leaders.

Though the country is now seen as one of the most democratic in the region, some authoritarian policies remain in place, such as a continuing ban on communist and other left-wing organizations.

A group of authors and publishers whose books were banned last year asked the Constitutional Court to review the 1963 regulation that allowed it.

Their books — and others — touched on sensitive topics like separatist-torn Papua province, inter-religious conflicts, the role of the military and even scientific research.

In striking down the law, Judge Mohammad Mahfud told the court: “Any banning of books must be done through the legal process in a court.”

Hundreds of books have been banned since the 1960s, including almost all 34 books and essays by late Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananta Toer, an outspoken democracy advocate who spent 14 years in jail during Suharto’s reign.

In the last year alone, the government banned “Pretext for Mass Murder,” a book about the role of the military in Suharto’s rise to power by John Roosa, a professor at the University of British Colombia, and four other books written by Indonesians.

Artist and illustrator Alit Ambara said he was thrilled.

“It will give students the change to learn about the past from different perspectives,” he said, noting that history books continue to blame the Communist Party for an apparent abortive coup in 1965 that helped Suharto rise to power.

Videos showing the torture of West Papuans by occupying Indonesian soldiers have embarrassed the Indonesian government ahead of a scheduled visit in November by US President Barack Obama: here.

Captured on video, the Indonesian military’s torture of two Papuans in May highlights the extent of the violence and intimidation that exists throughout Papua: here.

Sharp tensions in Indonesian Papua following failure of “peace conference”: here.

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Sacred ibis in the Netherlands


This video says about itself:

An escaped Sacred Ibis on the Apaj Fishponds in the Kiskunsagi National Park, Hungary. The ring on the left leg is blue FW and on the right leg is IBIS ZOOSB 21. Is there anybody who missed this bird?

updated: the bird was escaped from Salzburg Zoo!

Vogels Nieuwslog in the Netherlands reports seeing seven great egrets and a sacred ibis in nature reserve Oudeland van Strijen.

See also this report.

This bird species, originally from southern Iraq and Africa, played a role in ancient Egyptian religion as the bird of the god Thoth.

Due to escapes from zoos, the sacred ibis is spreading in western Europe now.

It is said to have nested in nature reserves Botshol and Oostvaardersplassen recently.

Update 2013: here.

Racism in France and Germany


This video from the USA is called Truth Over Fear: Countering Islamophobia.

Prominent German politicians, including the chancellor, Angela Merkel, have defamed those practising the Muslim faith, thereby challenging the fundamental right to freedom of faith and conscience: here.

A new survey in Germany shows that 13 percent of its citizens would welcome a “Führer” – a German word for leader that is explicitly associated with Adolf Hitler – to run the country “with a firm hand”: here.

On October 7, the French Constitutional Council approved the anti-democratic ban on wearing full-face veils, such as the burqa or niqab, in all public places: here.

Today, we see that the rules of western European racism are shifting. On the one hand, they are becoming less racialist; on the other hand they are seeking to become official. How should we Europeans understand this, and how should we respond? In the first of her Inter Alia columns, Markha Valenta looks at the cross-continental emergence of Islamophobia: here.

Quebec’s Liberal government is pressing forward with Bill 94—chauvinist, anti-democratic legislation that would prohibit women wearing the Muslim burqa or niqab from receiving provincial public services, including health care and education: here.