New horned dinosaurs discovery


Unescoceratops koppelhusae (upper right) and Gryphoceratops morrisonii (lower left), new leptoceratopsid dinosaurs from Alberta, Canada. © Julius T. Csotonyi

From the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in the USA today:

Two new horned dinosaurs have been named based on fossils collected from Alberta, Canada. The new species, Unescopceratops koppelhusae and Gryphoceratops morrisoni, are from the Leptoceratopsidae family of horned dinosaurs. The herbivores lived during the Late Cretaceous period between 75 to 83 million years ago. The specimens are described in research published in the Jan. 24, 2012, online issue of the journal Cretaceous Research.

Birdlike Dinosaur About to Lay Eggs When Death Struck: here.

Why Huge Dinosaurs Had Such Tiny Babies: here.

The “[un]fair and [un]balanced” FOX News is now into fart stories, even ones that aren’t true. We don’t know where this fits in with creationism, but asserting that dinosaurs extinguished themselves with bodily gas emissions puts FOX the level of tabloids that assert “Cannibals Ate JFK’s Body as Part of Zombie Conspiracy”: here.

Godwits and little lambs


Today, again to the “Baillon’s crake reserve”.

Near the southern entrance: Canada and grey lag geese, tufted ducks, a male teal.

This is a video on tufted ducks near Ijburg, north of Amsterdam.

A moorhen on the grass.

A great cormorant drying its wings on the top of the windmill.

A male common pochard swimming in a canal.

A mute swan. Two oystercatchers.

In the southern lake: male and female shoveler. Mallards. Northern lapwings on a mud bank. Gadwall ducks.

A grey lag goose drives away two Canada geese.

In the northern lake, over a hundred black-tailed godwits on the muddy island.

Two shelducks.

In the ditch along the railway: a couple of great crested grebes.

Great tit and greenfinch sound.

In the northern meadow, a group of three hares. Further away, a hare cleaning its fur. An oystercatcher. Scores of coots. Jackdaws. A wood pigeon. Two grey lag geese.

Two redshanks on the muddy island between the godwits and lapwings.

A starling on the meadow island in the northern lake searches for insects.

The sheep have very young lambs, including two black ones. They are here in the reserve to prevent too dense growth of plants.

Loaves of bread around the sheep, as extra food for them. The adult sheep and the lambs do eat it (though one lamb prefers its mother’s milk). But the loaves also attract scores of black-headed gulls, herring gulls, a lesser black-backed gull, magpies, jackdaws, coots, mallards, and domestic geese.

Some black-headed gulls already have a black, or rather: dark brown, head. But most are still in winter plumage.

In the southern lake, a male reed bunting sitting on an old reed stem.

Just to the south of the southern exit, coltsfoot and crocus flowers.

In the village, lesser celandine flowers. A great tit calls.

Good New Zealand kiwi news


This is a video on a North Island brown kiwi in New Zealand.

From Wildlife Extra:

Big jump in kiwi numbers

Kiwis’ future is sounding good – Call count monitoring reveals sudden increase in numbers

March 2012: New Zealand conservationists are – literally – ‘hearing’ that the Northland kiwi [are] thriving.

An annual ‘listening’ for the bird’s distinctive call in 2011, showed the highest level of growth since listening records began.

‘We recorded growth at all of the original core sites and at all but one of the 12 supplementary clusters,’ says Department of Conservation Whangarei kiwi ranger Emma Craig.

‘This is an absolutely fantastic result, much better than I would have hoped, and a real credit to all those people across Northland involved in kiwi call count monitoring, and kiwi conservation in general,’ she added.

‘Numbers have gone through the roof’

Kiwi are up against a lot of hurdles, and have a suite of predators including dogs, stoats, ferrets, and cats. Luckily, these predators can be addressed, and when they are, some kiwi populations are booming.

‘We are seeing quite a few sites where kiwi conservation has been happening for less than a decade. Call rates had been increasing very slowly; then suddenly in 2011 they went through the roof,’ says Ms Craig.

She credits much of the increase to community groups protecting kiwi in their own backyards and, in particular, good dog control. BNZ Operation Nest Egg has also helped to re-establish kiwi populations in some areas.

It is only the adult kiwi that call, so kiwi call count monitoring picks up population growth a couple of years after it has occurred.

The annual kiwi call count monitoring takes place in May and June each year, with volunteers offering to sit at one of nearly 200 stations listening out for the birds for two hours a night.

Guantanamo torture camp still open


This video from Britain is called SSAC Rally – A Day For Shaker Aamer December 11 2010.

By Rory MacKinnon in Britain:

PM urged to press for Aamer release

Monday 12 March 2012

David Cameron and Barack Obama may praise their “special relationship” but no friend should jail British citizens without charges, human rights activists said today.

Organisers from the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign urged PM David Cameron to confront the US president over its infamous Guantanamo prison camp — still open after 10 years despite Mr Obama’s order three years ago to close it.

Battersea man Mr Aamer has been held without charge in Guantanamo since 2002 after Afghan soldiers in Jalalabad abducted and took him to the US’s equally notorious Bagram airbase.

He says he was working in Afghanistan for a Saudi charity. Leaked files from Guantanamo administrators allege that he “received advanced terrorist training, indicated his willingness to become a martyr and served as a sub-commander of al-Qaida forces.”

But he has never been charged, while Mr Aamer’s lawyers say his jailers have no admissible evidence as many of his statements were obtained through torture.

The campaign’s Joy Hurcombe said in a letter to the two leaders yesterday that the British government hadn’t pressed the US hard enough, despite publicly calling for Mr Aamer’s return.

Renewing Britain and the United States’ “special relationship” was the ideal moment to secure Mr Aamer’s freedom, she said.

“Shaker Aamer could come home today. He could get his life back. He could be restored to his home and family.”

She said to Mr Cameron: “We call on your government to respect Shaker Aamer’s wish to return to his family, all of whom are British citizens, honour his long-term right of return and indefinite leave to remain and act on your public statements that you are committed to Shaker Aamer’s release and return to the UK.”

Citing Truthout Report, UN Special Rapporteur “Looking Into” Guantanamo “Suicides”. Jeffrey Kaye, Truthout: “Earlier this month, Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, responded to an inquiry by this reporter regarding new information on the deaths of two Guantanamo prisoners, Abdul Rahman Al Amri and Mohammad Salih Al Hanashi. According to the Department of Defense (DoD), both prisoners died of suicide in 2007 and 2009, respectively. But new details surrounding their deaths, first reported by Truthout March 1, challenged government accounts concerning what happened”: here.

Psychologists Paid by Guantanamo’s Masters Will Never Dismantle Their House of Torture. Roy Eidelson, Truthout: “Professional psychology has made valuable contributions to national security through collaborative efforts with government agencies – and it will undoubtedly continue to do so. But does anyone truly believe that crucial determinations about psychological ethics should ever be guided by the views and agenda of the secretary of defense or the director of the CIA?” Here.

Campaigners demanding the release of the last British resident in Guantanamo will lobby MPs as they return from their recess on Monday: here.

The Kafkaesque censorship of lawyer-client discussions at Guantanamo Bay should send a stark warning to Britain over its plans to introduce secret evidence, legal action charity Reprieve said today: here.

Mark Karlin, Truthout: “Marjorie Cohn – a law professor and past president of the National Lawyer’s Guild – has assembled a compelling interdisciplinary anthology on the ‘normalization’ of torture as an extension of American foreign policy. This is not a new occurrence limited to the so-called ‘war on terror,’ but extends back decades”: here.

Orwell at Guantanamo: Complicit In the Ugly Truth: here.

United Arab Emirates internaut persecuted


This video is called BAHRAIN: UAE Confirms Goal To Suppress Protests With 500 Cops Under Pretext Of “Calm & Order”.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Man will face charge for threatening state security

Monday 12 March 2012

Dubai‘s public prosecutor announced today that a man who was detained for incitement last week will face charges of threatening state security.

Essam al-Humaidan deemed that Saleh al-Dhafairi’s comments on recent uprisings elsewhere in the Middle East he had posted to his Twitter account “endangered the interests and security” of the United Arab Emirates.

Mr Dhafairi is also accused of “using religion to incite” rebellion.

The UAE, a federation of seven absolute monarchies led by oil-rich Abu Dhabi, has not been hit by mass protests – but authorities are increasingly wary of political activism.

Five activists who signed an online petition calling for democratic reforms were convicted of anti-state crimes in November and jailed for up to three years.

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan later pardoned them.

Exclusive: UAE detains foreign NGO workers: here.

US citizen Yonas Fikre claimed on Wednesday that he was detained in the United Arab Emirates last year and tortured by FBI agents: here.

The Pentagon has dispatched F-22 Raptors, its most advanced warplanes, to the United Arab Emirates in a provocative escalation of US war threats against Iran: here.