African eagle owls nest on balcony


This video says about itself:

A spotted eagle owl makes an evening visit to Pete’s Pond, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana, Africa, National Geographic, WildCam 12/14/08.

From Wildlife Extra:

Eagle owls bringing up a brood in a pot plant!

19/10/2010 10:46:08

October 2010. A pair of Eagle Owls has had to adapt to urbanization and reduction of their natural habitat by nesting in a pot plant. With trees and other flora cut down to accommodate the growth of the sprawling metropolis of Johannesburg, the Eagle Owls were forced to leave their natural nesting habitat and find sanctuary in a pot plant on the balcony of Allan and Tracy.

On the 21st of August she laid 3 eggs that have now hatched and this is the story of how the pair of Spotted Eagle Owls are raising their chicks.

The Pot Plant Owl story is fully detailed on her official website www.potplantowl.co.za and the LIVE streaming video is brought to you in partnership with Africam.com.

To watch the live streaming video of the Eagle Owls and their chicks go to Africam.com.

Mexican Spotted Owl Recovery Plan Calls for Expanded Thinning to Restore Habitat, Reduce Severe Fire Risk: here.

Afghan war, Australia, and NGO’s


This video from the USA is an anti-war speech by veteran Mike Prysner.

From Associated Press:

Cracks emerge in Australian unity on Afghan war

By ROD McGUIRK Associated Press

Posted: 10/18/2010 03:51:26 PM PDT
Updated: 10/18/2010 09:28:09 PM PDT

CANBERRA, Australia—Australia was opening its first parliamentary debate Tuesday on its nine-year military deployment in Afghanistan, after fractures appeared in the national commitment to the war, its strategy and objectives.

The three-day debate was unlikely to lead to any major policy change, because the major political parties have expressed their determination to stay the distance with the United States, Australia’s most important military ally.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard succumbed to pressure from the anti-war Greens party by agreeing to the parliamentary debate on Australia’s commitment of 1,550 troops to the conflict. Gillard relies on support from the Greens to rule since August elections gave no party a parliamentary majority.

It will be the first such debate on the Afghan deployment. In Australia the Cabinet commits the nation to war without any need to consult the parliament.

Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott both indicated that they would use their speeches Tuesday to maintain bipartisan support for the Australian mission in southern Uruzgan province, where Australian soldiers train an Afghan army battalion to take charge of provincial security. That mission is expected to take between two and four years.

But a lawmaker in Abbott’s Liberal Party, Mal Washer, and newly elected independent lawmaker, Andrew Wilkie, have announced that they agree with the Greens that Australian troops should be withdrawn.

Defense Minister Stephen Smith said the U.S.-led coalition had made a mistake in becoming distracted by the Iraq war and had taken too long to find the right strategy in Afghanistan. Smith’s Labor Party was not in power when Australia supported the 2003 Iraq invasion.

“It took us too long … to define what we had to achieve,” Smith told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. “That’s why political will, and the patience of domestic constituencies, is now an issue” in Australia, the U.S. and Europe.

A dozen members of group representing veterans and former service personnel opposed to both the Afghanistan and Iraq [wars] demonstrated outside Parliament House on Tuesday before the debate began.

“In the history of Australia at war, this in an important day—a war is being reviewed,” the group Stand Fast‘s spokesman Graeme Dunstan said.

Greens leader Bob Brown said most Australians now agreed that their troops should be withdrawn.

“Things are changing rapidly in Afghanistan, and I’m concerned about the lives and safety of Australian troops,” Brown told ABC. ….

Australia is the largest contributor of troops of any country outside NATO. Opinion polls show that Australian support of the war has slid as the Australian death toll has mounted to 21.

Hugh White, Australian National University’s Professor of Strategic and Defense Studies Center, said Gillard’s explanation that the troops were protecting Australians by preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists was “very unsatisfactory.”

Since U.S. led-forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001, al-Qaida has created new bases in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia that also pose terrorist threats to Australians, White said.

White said most people believe that “the core reason” Australia was in Afghanistan was because the United States wanted Australian troops there.

From CNN in the USA:

The death this month of British aid worker Linda Norgrove in Afghanistan and the subsequent discussion about aid worker safety have fueled a row between the United States and nongovernmental organizations about how to deliver aid and do development work in conflict zones like Afghanistan and Pakistan. …

NGOs have been operating in Afghanistan for more than 30 years with minimal protection from armed security guards. They are not getting security from “deterrence,” but rather from the acceptance of the local population, which helps protect them and advises about the security situation.

In areas of Afghanistan still rife with insurgent activity, NGOs lament that the distinction between them and the military is being blurred, hindering their ability to develop critical trust from the community.

Afghanistan, War And The Media: Deadlines And Frontlines: book review here.

USA: Paul Rieckhoff: After nearly a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 2 million Americans have served, a trillion dollars have been spent and yet only 3 percent of Americans have war on their radar this election. 

But unlike Congress, our troops don’t have the luxury of quitting before their mission is complete. They can’t cut out early when lives are on the line. For a country in the midst of two wars, Washington’s recent commitment to ensuring these men and women have the tools to successfully transition home has been half-hearted: here.

USA: Obama’s Military Appointments Have Corrupt Past: here.

The New York Times Hypes the Afghanistan War, Again: here.

Britain: Cameron & Clegg say we’ll keep sending soldiers to kill and die in the pointless, unwinnable Afghanistan war: here.

Red Cross: War casualties soar in south Afghanistan: here.

Afghans say Nato ‘as bad as the Taliban': here.

A local official told CNN that two civilians were killed by NATO-led forces in Afghanistan on Saturday: here.