This video is called Human Trafficking: Worker Dies in Jordan Sweatshop (Bengali). It says about itself:
Mistreatment at the Fashion Curve plant in Jordan’s Al-Tajamouat Industrial City leads to worker’s death. Workers there are underpaid and cheated into paying money for free visas. Overtime is forced and not compensated.
From Al Jazeera:
Jordanians march against inflation
Thousands vent anger in Amman and other cities against government’s inability to rein in prices and poverty.
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2011 15:58 GMT
Thousands of Jordanians have taken to the streets of the capital Amman and other cities to protest against rising commodity prices, unemployment and poverty.
The protesters are calling on the government headed by Samir Rifai, the prime minister, to step down.
Demonstrators, including trade unionists and leftist party members, carried national flags and chanted anti-government slogans in downtown Amman.
They called Rifai a “coward” and demanded his resignation.
“Jordan is not only for the rich. Bread is a red line. Beware of our starvation and fury,” read one of the banners carried after mid-day prayers, amid a heavy police presence, according to the AFP news agency.
“Down with Rifai’s government. Unify yourselves because the government wants to eat your flesh. Raise fuel prices to fill your pocket with millions,” the protesters chanted as they marched in Amman.
Similar demonstrations took place in the cities of Maan, Karak, Slat and Irbid, as well as other parts of the country.
“We are protesting the policies of the goernment, high prices and repeated taxation that made the Jordanian people revolt,” Tawfiq al-Batoush, a former head of Karachi municipality, told the Reuters news agency at a protest outside Karak’s Al Omari mosque.
Price reduction plan
On Tuesday, Jordan’s government announced a $169m plan to reduce the prices of commodities, including fuel, sugar and rice, and to create jobs in the face of rising popular discontent.
Protesters say these measures are not enough, and are complaining of growing unemployment and poverty. Year-on-year inflation hit 6.1 per cent last month.
The Muslim Brotherhood, its political arm the Islamic Action Front (IAF), and the country’s 14 trade unions say they will hold a sit-in outside parliament on Sunday to “denounce government economic policies”.
“We demand a solution to this problem to avert any negative repercussions through reforming policies and carry out true and fair economic and political reforms,” the trade unions said in a statement.
Jordan’s budget deficit hit a record $2 billion in 2009, 9 per cent of GDP, as public finances came under strain after the global downturn. The deficit is expected to narrow to 5 per cent of GDP this year as tough spending cuts take effect.
The kingdom had experienced civil unrest in the past over fuel price hikes and attempts to end bread subsidies.
Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has decided to sack his government in the face of ongoing protests but he is still refusing to go: here.
Trade union statement on Algeria: here.
This video says about itself:
Jan. 31  – Brazilian paleontologists discover fossil of prehistoric crocodile that roamed in what is now the state of Sao Paulo about 80 million years ago.
The well-preserved fossil of Montealtosuchus arrudacamposi, a medium-sized lizard-like predator measuring about 5 1/2 feet (1.7 meters) from head to tail, dates back about 80 million years to the Late Cretaceous period. The fossil was found near the town of Monte Alto in Sao Paulo state and is named after the place and the local scientist who dug up the fossil in 2004 — Arruda Campos.
By Jennifer Viegas:
‘Great grandmother of crocodiles’ unearthed
Prehistoric relative may be world’s oldest croc ancestor
Paleontologists have just discovered what may be the world’s oldest known crocodile ancestor, according to a Texas Tech University press release.
The toothy animal, which hasn’t been officially named yet, lived in what is now West Texas 225 million years ago. That timing is significant, because some of the world’s first known dinosaurs emerged at around the same time period down in Argentina. …
This large section of what was then called Pangaea
may have then been the birthing ground for some of Earth’s largest and most famous reptiles. Pangaea was a supercontinent that existed before the component continents separated into their current configuration.
Perhaps because there was so much land to run on, the early crocodile ancestor was built more for land speed than aquatic surprise.
“This is a brand new animal and possibly the great-grandmother of all crocodiles,” Doug Cunningham who worked on the project, was quoted as saying in the TTU press release. He helped to performed a CT scan of the reptile’s fossil.
“These early crocodiles look like your typical terrestrial animals,” according to Cunningham. “An intact skull is very rare to find. One of the exciting things is we were able to see inside its brain case with the CT scan. We can see the brain evolved very slowly.”
It was this braincase, and also an ankle joint, that linked the early reptile to crocodiles.
“It has lots of sinuses in the braincase like those of modern crocs,” said Sankar Chatterjee, curator of paleontology at the Museum of Texas Tech, who also worked on the project. “These sinuses may be linked to their vocalization. Unlike most reptiles, crocs are very vocal and hear well. We described a similar animal from China that gives us some idea about the way this animal lived.
The prehistoric croc relative’s West Texas home looked more like Costa Rica 225 million years ago. Lush tropical rainforests then dominated the landscape.
Chatterjee said the newly discovered reptile had hind limbs, a hip girdle and tail that all suggest this animal walked, and probably also ran, throughout its tropical habitat. In contrast, modern crocodiles possess small legs and a different type of tail that creates a forward thrust by undulation, helpful for moving quickly in water.
Chatterjee concluded, “Leaving land for the water was probably the smartest thing crocodiles and alligators did. That way, they didn’t encounter the dinosaurs like other animals did.”
A recently discovered fossil trove in south-west China has thrown new light on an ecosystem recovery after the severest mass extinction of life on Earth that wiped out 96 per cent of marine species and 70 per cent of land life: here.
Relict populations of Crocodylus niloticus persist in Chad, Egypt and Mauritania. Although crocodiles were widespread throughout the Sahara until the early 20th century, increased aridity combined with human persecution led to local extinction. Knowledge on distribution, occupied habitats, population size and prey availability is scarce in most populations. This study evaluates the status of Saharan crocodiles and provides new data for Mauritania to assist conservation planning: here.
How To Tell The Difference Between A Crocodile And An Alligator: here.
Crocodilian behaviour: a window to dinosaur behaviour? Here.
Pictures: New Dinosaur, [Cretaceous] Crocodile Cousin Found in Brazil: here.
This video from Latvia says about itself:
On the 14th of February 2009 we searched for bats in winter-sleep inside old bunkers in Mangaļsala, Rīga, Latvija.
The task was to assess the population, classify individuals by species and disturb them as little as possible.
In total 5 people in 2 teams we found 78 bats from 5 species – considered not bad for that place.
Translated from Rogier Lange, Vleermuiswerkgroep AWD in the Netherlands:
The Vleermuiswerkgroep AWD [Bat Working Group] has been counting bats for 25 years in the [World War II German] bunkers of the nature reserve Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen. And successfully so, because every year they find more bats. With some minor adjustments the bunkers prove to be ideal hibernation places. …
The numbers in the course of the years increased from 76 to over 260, an average increase of over 5% per year!
The most numerous species is the Daubenton’s bat, with a maximum of 221 individuals. In the early years more than 90% of the bats counted belonged to this species, in recent years this is below 80% due to the emergence of other species. Second is the brown long-eared bat (up to 35 individuals, 8 to 15% of the total number), followed by the Natterer’s bat (up to 14 individuals, last year 5% of the total).
The pond bat is emerging. In the early years it was a rarity, last winter 18 specimens of this species exceeded the 5% limit for the first time. Finally, in the early years occasionally a single whiskered bat was observed.
This video is called BBC footage of the Galapagos Islands. Original music composed and produced by Music Works.
A research team from across the United States and Ecuador has pinpointed 1898 as the year the avipoxvirus, or avian pox, hit the Galapagos Islands and started infecting its birds. This estimation is vital to understanding avian diseases that affect today’s Galapagos birds. The scientists’ paper on the subject, “110 Years of Avipoxvirus on the Galapagos Islands,” will be published on January 13 in PLoS ONE: here.
Avian malaria threatens Galapagos bird species: here.
The Galapagos National Park hopes to completely eradicate rats and has succeeded in doing so on several islands by using poisoned bait. This week the work continues, with helicopters releasing rat bait across Rabida Island and others. There are limitations to this method on islands home to the Galapagos hawk (Buteo galapagoensis), however. This native bird currently resides on four of the islands being treated, and counts rats among its prey. If poison entered this endangered species’ food chain, it could be catastrophic. So a new project is under way to take the hawks into temporary captivity while the poisoned bait does its job: here.
The Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands (CDF) and the International Community Foundation received news this week that a $600,000 grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust will allow CDF and collaborating institutions to move ahead with research designed to save Galapagos bird species on the brink of extinction: here.
Galapagos bird photos: here.
Plastic-lined nests keep rivals at bay: Spanish birds protect homes by lining them with shopping bag scraps: here.
- Galapagos wildlife on Scottish camera? (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Seasonal Guide to the Galapagos (llamatravelblog.com)
- The Galapagos Islands- The Photographers Viewpoint (llamatravelblog.com)
- Explore the Galapagos Islands with new 360-degree Street View imagery in Google Maps (thepolliwog.wordpress.com)
- Google Adds Galapagos Islands to Google Street View & Asks Users to Be ‘Darwin For a Day’ (laughingsquid.com)
- Google Street View lets you follow giant turtles on the Galapagos Islands (techi.com)
- Galapagos conservation news (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Scottish Seabird Centre offers a vision for others (scotsman.com)
- New Galapagos tortoises research (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Galapagos – Islote Bartolome – isla bartolome, Ecuador (travelpod.com)
Severe flooding, particularly in the eastern districts of Sri Lanka, has displaced 350,000 people who are sheltering in makeshift relief camps without adequate supplies of clean water, food and medicine: here.
This video is called Sri Lanka Flood January 2011.
By Susan Allan in Australia:
Queensland flood chief Major-General Mick Slater issues ominous warning
14 January 2011
Following authorisation by the federal Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, current Australian army Major-General Mick Slater was last week appointed head of the Queensland Flood Recovery Taskforce, after an emergency cabinet meeting of the state Labor government.
The taskforce, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said, would focus on rebuilding homes, regional centres and infrastructure. Within days, however, Major-General Slater, who has served in East Timor, Kuwait and Indonesia, issued an ominous public warning to the media.
Slater’s comments came following a fly-in visit to the flood-ravaged city of Rockhampton, 630 kilometres north of Brisbane. After praising the efforts of local residents and emergency workers, he turned his attention to the media and its response to the unfolding flood disaster.
“All the ingredients for success are there. The people who have been affected, the civic leaders in each of those communities, want success. The state and federal governments are working towards success,” he declared. “There is no reason why we won’t have it, unless we start getting bored with the story and the media start to become divisive within the community and then, if there are areas of failure, I think I could find the reason and track it back to areas of the media.”
Slater’s comments, which were not challenged by any of the assembled journalists, contained a clear, and chilling threat. Translated into plain English, the senior military chief was ordering media representatives to shut their eyes to, and censor any reportage of, the catastrophic lack of government foresight and preparation, the grossly under-funded and inadequate civilian emergency services, and the refusal of state and federal authorities to seriously assist the hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders whose homes have been inundated or destroyed.
Fresh rains began falling again today in mountain towns in Brazil where mudslides and flooding have already killed at least 479 people, hindering rescuers’ efforts to reach survivors: here.
This video from the USA is called Racist Right Causes Republican To Resign.
By Patrick Martin in the USA:
Arizona Republican resigns over Tea Party threats
14 January 2011
A local Republican Party official in Arizona resigned his position this week after the attempted assassination of Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, citing the threat of violence from Tea Party members in his area.
Anthony Miller, who was hailed as a rising star in state Republican circles as one of the party’s few black leaders, was reelected last month to a second term as chairman of the Arizona Legislative District 20 of the Republican Party. District 20 is a heavily Republican area in the southwest suburbs of Phoenix, including Ahwatukee Foothills and parts of Chandler and Tempe.
In an e-mail to the state Republican Party chairman, Randy Pullen, sent shortly after the shooting of Giffords, Miller wrote that his wife had asked him “do I think that my PCs [precinct committee members] will shoot at our home? So with this being said I am stepping down.”
Miller told the Arizona Republic newspaper that local Tea Party members had made verbal and online attacks on him since he first was elected to the local party leadership.
“I wasn’t going to resign but decided to quit after what happened Saturday,” Miller told the Republic. “I love the Republican Party but I don’t want to take a bullet for anyone.”
Three other members of the local Republican committee, including the secretary, the vice chairman and the former district spokesman, also resigned in sympathy with Miller. The former spokesman, Jeff Kolb, told the newspaper, “The singular focus on ‘getting’ Anthony” was the reason.
State Senator John McComish, the Republican incumbent in the 20th District, said he had backed Miller’s reelection. “It’s too bad,” he said. “He didn’t deserve to be hounded out of office.”
Last month’s district election was hotly contested, with a Tea Party slate winning three of the seven leadership positions. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has become nationally notorious for his racist attacks on immigrant workers, backed the Tea Party slate and made a personal appeal on behalf of the candidate who unsuccessfully challenged Miller, Thomas Morrisey.
The Arizona Republican Party was split sharply during last year’s primary election, with incumbent US Senator John McCain challenged by former congressman and radio talkshow host J. D. Hayworth, who had the backing of the Tea Party and the ultra-right anti-immigrant groups.
Much of the vilification of Miller was due to his ties to McCain. He was a full-time campaign worker for McCain throughout 2010. Miller told the Republic he had been called “McCain’s boy”—a slur with clear racial overtones—and saw hand gestures threatening gunshots against him in the course of the campaign.
Miller expanded on his reasons for resignation in subsequent press interviews, declaring, “I’m not going to get shot or my family shot for what is a volunteer position.” He added, “There’s a racial component to it. There’s a lot of ugliness.”
Meanwhile, a California man was arrested Wednesday for leaving telephone messages threatening liberal Democratic congressman Jim McDermott of Seattle, Washington.
Charles Turner Habermann, 32, of Palm Springs, made two phone calls to McDermott’s office denouncing him for opposing tax cuts for the rich. “He’s a piece of human filth. He’s a liar, he’s a communist,” Habermann said in the first call, last month, continuing with a string of obscenities. He then said he would “blow his brains out” if they ever met. This threat was repeated more explicitly in a second phone call.
[Republican] Michele Bachmann 2006 Campaign Ad Put [Democrat] Patty Wetterling in Crosshairs: here.
Joel Olson, New Clear Vision: “With the passage of the notorious anti-immigrant bill SB 1070 last spring, the outlawing of ethnic studies as of January 1st, the gutting of the school and university systems, the collapsed housing market, the high unemployment rates, and now the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, you might be wondering what it’s like to actually live in Arizona right about now. In short: it ain’t easy. But it helps to put Giffords’s shooting in historical perspective, which is defined by two things in Arizona: corruption and class struggle. And ironically, this perspective gives me hope about the radically democratic future of my home state”: here.
Jared L. Loughner May Be Violent, Anti-Government Crazy, but That’s What Most of the GOP Media Shills Are: here.
Extremist Killing Is as American as Apple Pie: Murders Grow on the Far Right Four Decades After Martin Luther King. Stephan Salisbury, TomDispatch: “The landscape of America is littered with bodies. They’ve been gunned down in Tucson, shot to death at the Pentagon, and blown away at the Holocaust Museum, as well as in Wichita, Knoxville, Pittsburgh, Brockton, and Okaloosa County, Florida. Total body count for these incidents: 19 dead, 26 wounded. Not much, you might say, when taken in the context of about 30,000 gun-related deaths annually nationwide”: here.
Hundreds of people participating in a Spokane, Washington Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade last Monday marched unaware that a bomb had been planted adjacent to the planned route: here.
Another non-violent Tea Partier gets eight years in prison for assaulting Obama supporter with pool cue: here.
Arizona’s Expert Witness: A Racist & Anti-Semite: here.
No Laughing Matter: The Tea Party GOP’s Depictions of President Obama as an Ape are Motivated by Violence and Hate: here.
Mike Ludwig, Truthout: “Board members canceled their meeting after the nine students, all members of the local youth group United Non-discriminatory Individuals Demanding Our Studies (UNIDOS), made it clear they would not get up until they were guaranteed that the Mexican-American classes they love wouldn’t be downgraded to voluntary electives that could be lost all together in the coming waves of state budget cuts. The action was a temporary victory for UNIDOS. The group postponed a vote on a resolution that they say would put their heritage second to a whitewashed version of history that so often ignores the achievements and struggles of immigrants and people of color”: here.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona has asked the man behind the “show me your papers” anti-immigrant law in that state to show them his emails. An open records request to former Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce netted thousands of email records sent from Pearce’s account that suggest Arizona’s SB 1070, which was taken up as an American Legislative Exchange Council “model bill” but recently struck down in large part by the U.S. Supreme Court, was motivated by racism and xenophobia: here.
Fox News Chief Roger Ailes Thinks Sarah Palin Is ‘Stupid': New York Magazine (UPDATE): here.
This video is called Tunisia and the spark that launched uprisings.
Continuing protests in Tunisia and Algeria threaten to spread to the whole of the Maghreb region and, beyond that, to engulf the Middle East, where the same conditions of poverty and insecurity exist: here.
Tunisian Protesters Challenge President’s Grip on Power: here.
Tunisia crisis: live blog with updates on the protests, reactions + analysis: here.
- Tunisians keep fighting for democracy (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- All Arab dictators will fall (miamiherald.com)
- Tunisia struggles years after the Arab Spring (bbc.co.uk)
- Fix Tunisia With Fewer Lamborghinis, More Roads – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Tunisian Revolution Is Work in Progress (theepochtimes.com)
- Tunisia-Libya border reopens after violent protest (dailystar.com.lb)
- Tunisians set fire to police station, cars in border town protest (dailystar.com.lb)
- Emel Mathlouthi: Voice Of The Tunisian Revolution (wnyc.org)
- Tunisia Protesters Call for Change on Ben Ali Exile Anniversary – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
In a week of negative economic data, it was announced that US home foreclosures hit a new record in 2010, home values continue to plummet, and weekly jobless benefits claims rose sharply: here.
This video from the USA is called Fraud Factories: Rep. Alan Grayson Explains the Foreclosure Fraud Crisis.
Inflation rages, the trade deficit widens and the bosses demand even tougher anti-union laws: here.
Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: “As Ireland attempts to overcome its economic difficulties, European hard-money types are proposing Latvia as a model for Ireland to emulate. Their argument goes like this: Sure, Iceland, which devalued the krona after the crisis struck in 2008, has begun to recover – but so have Latvia and Estonia, even though they kept their currencies firmly pegged to the euro”: here.
The Irish government descended into further chaos today after the Green party pulled out of the ruling coalition: here.