Saudis demonstrate for human rights


This video is called Saudi policemen attempt to arrest injured demonstrators who were earlier shot by the police.

From Associated Press:

Saudi rights activist: protests in 2 Shiite towns

Published: Today

CAIRO – A prominent Saudi human rights activist says hundreds of people have demonstrated in two Shiite towns in the country’s east.

Ibrahim Almugaiteeb (al-MuGAYteeb) of the Human Rights First Society said Friday that mostly young men gathered in the town of Qatif and the nearby village of al-Awamiya (al-aWAMiya).

He says they demanded security forces release dozens of men detained during earlier demonstrations.

They also demanded the Saudi government withdraw their troops from Bahrain, where they are leading a 1,500-man Gulf military force, to shore up the Sunni monarchy against mostly Shiite demonstrators demanding reform.

The protests passed peacefully.

Saudi’s Shiites form some 10 percent of the kingdom’s 23 million people, and complain of discrimination.

Saudi Arabia to recognise domestic abuse: here.

Reuters: U.S. [State Dept human rights] report slams Bahrain for repressing Shi’ites: here (but meanwhile the Pentagon keeps supporting the Bahrain dictatorship).

Yemen unrest: Gulf Arab plan would see president quit: here.

Victory for Afghan refugee girl!


Sahar in the middle, between classmatesThe Dutch Rightist government wanted to send back 14-year-old Afghan refugee girl Sahar Hbrahim Gel to dangerous Afghanistan. She would have to leave her school, the Piter Jelles Gymnasium in Leeuwarden (called after a famous Dutch socialist pioneer of about 100 years ago, Pieter Jelles Troelstra.)

After a long struggle against this government plan by Sahar’s classmates, school, and other pro-refugee people, today the government has given in. Sahar can stay in the Netherlands.

Congratulations to her and her family!

Geert Wilders and his xenophobic PVV party will hate this decision.

(It would be even better if the Dutch government would not forcibly return Iraqi refugees to dangerous Iraq, like they are doing right now.

A few days ago, an Iranian refugee, who feared forcible return to Iran, killed himself by setting himself on fire in Amsterdam. Public indignation in the Netherlands against harsh anti-refugee policies because of that may have forced the government to take a step backwards in their anti-refugee zeal).

Britain: Black workers called today for a united front across Europe in light of a “rising tide” of racism: here.

Rare bluethroat in English nature reserve


Welney – Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust reserve. from spike ball on Vimeo.

This is a slideshow of images from Welney a Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust reserve, Norfolk, England.

This is a bluethroat video from Sweden.

From Wildlife Extra:

Brilliant bluethroat back at Welney

08/04/2011 11:28:38

Rare visitor returns and sends birdwatchers all aflutter; but will it find a mate this time?

April 2011. A tiny, brightly coloured passerine has led to a surge in birdwatchers at WWT Welney Wetland Centre in Norfolk.

Each spring a handful of white-spotted bluethroat pass through the UK on their migration but have never been recorded breeding in the UK. The white-spotted race of bluethroat was first recorded at WWT Welney in 2010, when a single male was present for most of the summer. This spring, the staff is pleased to see that a single male has once again returned to the Welney reserve. The bird can normally be found in the area around Lyle hide, which last year provided the ideal spot to catch a glimpse of this beautiful bird.

Jon Smith, reserve warden, said: “It is a delight to have this species back at WWT Welney this year. The whole team were quietly optimistic that we might see a white-spotted bluethroat again this summer and I was pleased when I first found the bird singing on the reserve at the end of March.”

Smaller than a robin

“The bird is slightly smaller than a robin, but very distinctive as the brown plumage gives way to the bright blue throat with a white spot in the middle. This feature becomes more obvious once the bird is in full song”.

Normally breed in Spain and Central Europe

The white-spotted race of bluethroat normally breeds in Spain and Central Europe, so it is unheard of for one to hold a territory in the UK. There is another race, the red-spotted bluethroat, which also passes through the UK, and has bred in the UK before but very infrequently.

WWT reserve staff carefully maintain the water levels and reedy edges on parts of the reserve which create the preferred habitat for the bluethroat. During the day the bird will move in a skulking manner amongst low vegetation at the water’s edge to find the insects it feeds on.

“This is a brilliant time of the year to visit Welney as so much is happening. Visitors can watch avocet, lapwing, redshank and little ringed plover displaying and nesting on the reserve whilst hares are still boxing on Lady Fen and Bank Farm”, says Jon Smith. “Along with the bluethroat visitors are able to see and hear chiffchaff and sedge warbler amongst the reeds, which will shortly be joined by reed warbler.”

White-spotted bluethroat use vocal mimicry and incorporate a range of other bird song into their own; this is normally heard early in the morning. WWT staff hope that the lonely male bluethroat will sing so well that he attracts a female, although she will be hard to view due their illusive nature, it would be great to see the male’s efforts rewarded.

Other recent sightings

There have been several sightings of Hoopoe across Southern England, and several people spotted a Golden eagle over Cornwall. There has also been a Spoonbill in Sussex and a bee-eater in Cornwall.

Golden plover in the Begwns – Radnorshire, Wales: here.

April 2011. Much of the ‘rubbish’ you throw away could be perfect building material for birds’ nests in the next few weeks, says the RSPB. Knitting wool scraps, hair from brushes and combs and rug moultings are just some of the things that could be put on the garden rather than in the bin, the wildlife charity says. As well as traditional nest building materials such as twigs, leaves and moss, birds often line their new homes with the less obvious items to make it softer and fill in small gaps: here.

City dwelling birds have larger brains relative to their body size, according to scientists: here.