Basilisk running on water video


From Science News Blog:

Here is an amazing video from BBC Earth of a basilisk escaping from a predator by running upright across a pool of water. The apparent water-walking ability has given the basilisk the “Jesus Lizard” nickname. This is not the first time a basilisk has been running on water, but it does include some great slow-motion footage.

Greater yellowlegs video


This is a video of a greater yellowlegs, a North American bird. Very rarely, this species is seen in western Europe. This video was recorded 18 October 2010 in ‘s Gravenhoekinlaag nature reserve, Noord Beveland, Zealand province, the Netherlands. It shows the third (or fourth?) bird of this species ever recorded in the Netherlands.

Talking about bird videos: this is a video of a fight between a bullfinch and a blue tit.

Afghan prisoner dies in NATO cell


This video is called Afghans angry over civilian deaths.

From Reuters:

Afghan detainee ‘found dead’

Last Updated: October 18, 2010 2:26am

KABUL – A detainee being held by troops from the NATO-led force in Afghanistan was found dead in his holding cell, and an investigation is underway, the force said in a statement on Monday.

The man was captured during a military operation by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Saturday and was “found dead” the following day in his cell in Kandahar province, ISAF said in a statement.

It did not give any further details.

Prisoner abuse and deaths of detainees while in the custody of foreign troops is a sensitive subject for many Afghans after U.S. troops beat to death two prisoners in 2002 at the old Bagram prison at the U.S. Bagram Air Base north of Kabul.

That jail, which was set up to hold prisoners from the campaign against the Taliban after the Sept. 11 attacks, was replaced earlier this year by a $60 million prison – also on Bagram Air Base – which Washington says meets international standards.

On Saturday, a report by U.S.-based think-tank Open Society Foundations said former detainees held at a secret U.S. prison at Bagram, separate to the main jail, had reported abuse at the hands of the U.S. military.

In the report, former detainees said jailers mistreated them by depriving them of natural light, failing to provide proper food and withholding Red Cross visits.

Apart from Bagram prison, there are smaller jails on foreign military bases around Afghanistan where detainees are held before taken to Bagram or handed over to Afghan authorities.

Earlier this year, there were around 1,000 prisoners held in foreign military detention centres in Afghanistan, more than 800 of them in the main jail at Bagram.

The US military and Afghan officials launched separate investigations on Tuesday into the death of a detainee who was found dead in his holding cell of an apparent gunshot wound over the weekend: here.

Afghan election rife with fraud, officials say: here.

Afghanistan: Malalai Joya — `for our people, Obama is a warmonger, like another Bush': here.

Veteran deaths surge after service in Iraq & Afghanistan: here.

CIA paid Liverpool buyout tycoon millions…to use his jet for ‘torture’ flights: here.

CNN: Pakistani intelligence protects Osama Bin Laden: here.

Europe’s smallest sea fish in Shetland


Guillet's goby

October 2010: Europe’s smallest marine fish, Guillet’s goby, has been found off the Shetland coast at Lunna, by two local divers. This small fish called Guillet’s goby grows to a maximum length of only 24mm and was spotted by Rachel Hope and Richard Shucksmith, while they were shore diving at Lunna, Shetland: here.

In pictures: Marine ecosystems at risk from pollution: here.

Pregnant orca beaches in Ireland


This is an orca video.

From Wildlife Extra:

Pregnant Killer whale strands in Ireland

18/10/2010 11:25:32

Killer whale calves very unusual in Irish waters

October 2010. A Killer whale that stranded in Tullaghan Bay, Co. Mayo, at the beginning of October was only the 15th stranding recorded of this species in Ireland since records began and the 7th in 40 years.

Conor Ryan of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, (IWDG & GMIT) and Alessandro Pierini of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) carried out a post mortem examination on the carcass. Skin, blubber and muscle samples were taken for genetic, pollutants and stable isotope analyses. Given that the carcass was not badly decomposed, the decision was made to examine the stomach contents – a rare opportunity to take a look at the diet of a killer whale from these waters. There were fish remains and unidentified bones in the stomach and no plastic or litter.

Foetus

When the abdominal cavity was opened, we found a large, near-term foetus of 2.09m (newborn calves are believed to be 2.5m long). It was a female, and was fully formed with large teeth and visible white eye-patches. The dorsal fin and tail flukes were soft; to aid in delivery they usually stiffen soon after birth. Samples were also taken from this specimen which will be particularly useful to geneticists, as mother-calf samples are used to test the accuracy of parentage assignment techniques using DNA.

No recent recording of live calves off Ireland

It is a pity to find a double mortality of this kind, given that calves have not been recorded alive in Irish waters in recent times and there is much concern over the health of this population. Of the seven most recent Killer whale strandings, three have been of neonate calves or pregnant females. The cause of death of this animal was not obvious. The orientation of the calf in the birth sac was atypical – it would have been delivered head-first which is very rare in cetaceans and can be fatal given their need to breathe air immediately after birth.

Unfortunately, the skull and jaw bones were defaced by someone using an electric saw. This meant that the skull or complete skeleton could not be prepared for display purposes (which can be a nice tourist attraction). As such, a pectoral fin was removed for display in the Natural History Museum in Dublin.

Courtesy of Conor Ryan & Alessandro Pierini, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group & Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.

Will Dutch orca Morgan return to the sea? Here.

South African apartheid oppression


Apartheid sign

From the World Socialist Web Site:

25 years ago: South Africa erupts in riots after execution of poet

Riots erupted in a number of South African cities after the state execution of poet and factory worker Benjamin Moloise on October 18.

In some of the most bitter street fighting in 14 months of struggle, African and mixed-race youth challenged security forces in downtown Johannesburg and Cape Town. Policemen and white civilians were attacked and beaten in Johannesburg, while in a suburb of Cape Town police attempting to raid a mosque were met with live ammunition.

Three protesters were killed in the fighting, two by police and one by a white motorist who opened fire from his car.

On October 20, tens of thousands of black Africans attended political funerals for those killed by police in the previous week’s fighting. About 20,000 attended the funeral of a man killed after leaving Muslim prayers near Cape Town, and in Atteridgeville 15,000 attended the funeral for a 13-year-old boy kicked to death by police as the youth walked to church.

The hanging of Moloise, convicted by the apartheid regime in the 1982 killing of a policeman, went forward in spite of international protests. This was followed three days later by the start of a show trial against 16 leaders of the anti-apartheid United Democratic Front.