Anti-Semitic British royal jubilee celebration


Royal jubilee revelers in Bury, dressed up as nazis

From weekly Socialist Worker in Britain:

Tue 12 Jun 2012

Play Holocaust victims, Jewish couple are told

They had an unusual way of celebrating the jubilee in Bury. Instead of waving union jacks, they held a festival where people dressed up as Nazis. But things got a lot worse when a Jewish couple was asked to join in—by dressing as Holocaust victims.

Merton and Barbara Paul say they were even asked to wear a yellow Star of David. Some in the crowd at the “wartime weekend” were dressed in SS uniforms. Merton called it “completely disrespectful”.

See also here.

Bahrain dictatorship arrests child for playing


This video is called Child freed in Bahrain after weeks in jail.

From Al Jazeera:

Bahraini boy describes arrest and detention

11-year-old accused of “joining an illegal gathering” tells Al Jazeera how he was chased down while playing in street.

Last Modified: 12 Jun 2012 17:41

An 11-year-old boy detained for nearly a month in Bahrain has described his time in custody to Al Jazeera, saying that police accused him of taking part in violent protests.

Ali Hasan was arrested last month, and was released without bail on Monday, though his trial is set to continue on June 20.

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, he said he was arrested the day after protesters blocked off a street in Bilad al-Qadeem, his neighbourhood in Manama.

“It was Saturday, and we were playing,” he said. “They came and blocked the street, and then left, so we went back out and played a game, and then some civilians came and took pictures of us. The next day we went to play on the high street, and then a police patrol came and chased us.”

Hasan was chased down and arrested, and the police accused him of “burning tyres and being violent,” he said.

A ‘political prisoner’

He still faces charges of “joining an illegal gathering” and other claims related to the ongoing unrest in the troubled Gulf nation. One of his lawyers, Shahzlan Khamis, described him as a political prisoner. …

Hasan was forced to take his school exams while in custody. Rights groups say he is one of the youngest people to be detained since an ongoing pro-democracy uprising began in February 2011.

The BCHR also reported on the detention of two 13-year-old boys by police at the end of April.

Human rights ambassador William Gomes contacts Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs over the arrest of a prominent activist- all over 6 Tweets: here.

United States Ku Klux Klan propaganda


This video from the USA is about the Ku Klux Klan and lynching.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Ku Klux Klan highway bid sparks fury

Tuesday 12 June 2012

US civil rights activists reacted with fury on Monday at attempts by a Ku Klux Klan group to join Georgia’s “Adopt-A-Highway” programme to clean up litter on roads.

Each group that volunteers is named on a sign on the road it adopts. The KKK group secretary claimed that she applied to keep the highway beautiful, not for publicity.

But State Representative Tyrone Brooks said he welcomed the opportunity to educate the group about the Klan’s legacy of violence and racism – which he experienced first-hand as a civil rights activist in the fight to end segregation.

“I’d like to sit down with this young lady and say: ‘Your organisation tried to kill me’,” Mr Brooks said.

He said that the notion of a highway sign identifying the Klan as a civic group was “insulting and insane.”

Mr Brooks, who is president of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, said the group would pursue legal action should the KKK application be approved.

From TIME in the USA:

Perhaps Georgia will find another way to fight back, even while granting the KKK’s application. While it lost its legal battle over the KKK’s application, Missouri’s state legislature found another way to fight back: it renamed the KKK-adopted road after civil rights icon Rosa Parks in 2000. In 2009, after a different stretch of Missouri highway was adopted by a neo-Nazi group, the state voted to name it after Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a rabbi who fled Nazi Germany and led civil rights movements in the U.S., according to the New York Times.

If the Georgia state legislature wants to take a similar kiss-your-enemy move to thank the KKK for their service, they might consider naming the highway after W. W. Law — a Savannah, Ga., NAACP leader who led a successful campaign to desegregate the city in the 1960s.

Anti-Putin protest in Russia


This video says about itself:

A compilation of various socialist, communist, anarchist and worker rallies that took place in Moscow and St.Petersburg at 1 May 2011.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Anti-Putin protesters rally in Moscow

Tuesday 12 June 2012

by Our Foreign Desk

Around 50,000 Russian citizens flooded Moscow’s boulevards on Monday in the first mass protest against President Vladimir Putin since his inauguration.

Braving a brief thunderstorm, protesters including communists and liberals gathered at Pushkin Square ahead of the government-authorised march chanting: “Russia without Putin” and “Power to the people.”

Their numbers increased as they marched down boulevards to Sakharov Avenue where the main rally was staged.

Police searched the flats of opposition leaders including Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov and liberal activist Ilya Yashin on Monday and called many in for interrogation during what was widely described as a crude attempt by the government to scare the protesters.

Mr Udaltsov snubbed the summons, writing on Twitter that he considers it his duty to lead the protest as one of its organisers.

The Investigative Committee said that it wouldn’t immediately seek his arrest and would interrogate him later. Speaking at the rally Mr Udaltsov reaffirmed a call for early presidential and parliamentary elections.

See also here.

Rare Beck’s petrel survey


This is a Beck’s petrel video.

From BirdLife:

Beck’s pulls in at the petrel station

Tue, Jun 12, 2012

A BirdLife International survey in southern New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, has encountered the largest single aggregation of Critically Endangered Beck’s Petrel Pseudobulweria becki, ever recorded. Upwards of 100 birds were estimated to be present at one location, with a single count recording 58 birds. For a seabird species lost to science for 79 years until its rediscovery in 2007 these vital new data offer a glimmer of hope.

“There was huge excitement from everyone involved as the first bird banked past our small boat. That turned into amazement as we counted more and more across the horizon”, said Jez Bird – the project leader from BirdLife International. “These findings give us momentum, and some important clues to take the conservation of Beck’s Petrel forward.”

Until recently, Beck’s Petrel was only known from two specimens: a female taken at sea east of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea in 1928, and a male taken in the Solomon Islands in 1929. Its rediscovery in July and August 2007, was made when an expedition encountered the species on seven days and at at-least four localities off New Ireland. Beck’s Petrel is listed as Critically Endangered by BirdLife on behalf of the IUCN Red List because it is thought to have a global population of fewer than 250 mature individuals that is believed to be declining.

The principal aim of this recent survey was to gather clues as to the likely whereabouts of the species’ breeding grounds which are yet to be located. Petrels as a group face numerous threats, both at sea and when they come to land to breed. Arguably the most significant comes from introduced mammalian predators which predate adults and chicks in their nesting burrows.

“Identifying exactly where Beck’s Petrel is breeding is an essential precursor to assessing impacts that threats are having on the species, and implementing targeted conservation actions to address them”, said Jez Bird.

One important feature of the survey is that it didn’t use ‘chum’ to attract the birds. The earlier rediscovery of Beck’s Petrel and subsequent sightings have used this mix of fish discards and fish oil to concentrate birds from the surrounding area. It’s an extremely effective attractant but as a result it can yield a biased impression of a species’ true abundance in an area.

“To see so many Beck’s Petrels without the stimulus of chum is unprecedented”, noted Jez. “Typically these birds are solitary at sea and are encountered far offshore. A gathering like this, so close to land, while not definitive, strongly indicates that they are breeding nearby”.

As well as actively searching for the birds, the survey involved numerous consultations with local coastal communities. Petrels were and are frequently harvested in the Pacific, and fear of their eerie night-time calls often lead villages to establish taboo areas in the forest where entry is prohibited. Intriguingly no-one locally knew Beck’s Petrel when presented with pictures and there was no knowledge of any nesting areas locally. This, and the apparent abundance of certain petrel predators like wild pigs in coastal and foothill forest suggests they are most likely to be breeding in montane areas, consistent with what is already known of similar species.

The concentration of birds encountered in this survey was seen at the mouth of a large bay, sitting directly below New Ireland’s highest peak (at over 2,000 m), Mt Agil. The bay offers the shortest straight line distance to the summit. A focus of future work will be to spot-light at night for birds returning to nesting burrows on the mountain, a technique that has proven effective in surveying threatened petrels elsewhere.

“This is fantastic news for this Critically Endangered species. Hopefully further surveys will be able to build on these results and confirm the location and size of breeding colonies, which will enable us to begin targeted conservation action”, said Andy Symes, BirdLife’s Global Species Programme Officer.

This survey, kindly supported by the Mohammed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and the Global Greengrants Fund have responded to those priorities, implementing key research actions for this Critically Endangered species as part of the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme. It represents BirdLife’s first project in Papua New Guinea, working alongside local conservation organisation Ailan Awareness.

If you would like to make a donation that will help BirdLife International prevent extinctions please follow this link. To find out more about how you or your company can become a BirdLife Species Champion please email species.champions@birdlife.org.

African cichlids, how new species evolve


This video is about an African cichlid aquarium in Chester zoo in England.

From Wildlife Extra:

Is it possible to predict the formation of new species? – Probably

Predicting the formation of new species

June 2012. Why do some groups of species diversify – in just a few thousand years – to the point of forming a wide variety of new species, while others remain essentially unchanged for millions of years? This is one of the key questions for scientists investigating the emergence and decline of biodiversity.

From various studies, it is known that speciation is influenced both by environmental factors (e.g. habitat diversity, climate) and by species-specific traits (e.g. coloration, behaviour patterns). However, little is known about how the extrinsic and intrinsic factors interact.

Cichlid diversification

These interactions have now been explored in more detail by a team of researchers led by Eawag and the University of Bern. In a study published in the latest issue of Nature, they demonstrate for cichlids from 46 African lakes that the probability of diversification, or “adaptive radiation”, depends on a combination of environmental factors and sexual selection. African cichlids are particularly suitable for this type of study because of the extremely high species richness that developed over time from what was originally a small number of species in large African lakes. For Lakes Victoria and Malawi alone, more than 800 endemic cichlid species have been identified.

According to the study, diversification is more likely to occur in deep lakes and in areas with relatively high solar radiation. By contrast, lake size has practically no influence on the likelihood of speciation – which is surprising, as speciation in terrestrial species is known to depend in part on the available habitat area. Among the species-specific traits, the intensity of sexual selection (mate choice) was shown to be a key factor, as indicated by the association between sexual dichromatism (distinctive coloration of males and females) and diversification.

Speciation process is predictable

If the relevant ecological factors coincide with sexual selection, the divergence of species is most likely to occur. The speciation process is thus, to a certain extent, predictable. At the same time, these findings also make it possible to predict adverse impacts of human activities on biodiversity – for example, if the habitable depth of lakes is altered as a result of pollution or the lowering of water levels rates of species formation will decline and existing species diversity is expected to collapse.

Saving rare beetles in London


Streaked bombardier beetle, photo (c) Benoit Martha

From Wildlife Extra:

New home created for one of UK’s most endangered beetles

New ‘brownfield‘ site created for rare beetle

June 2012. Wildlife charity, Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust and The University of East London (UEL) have created a new home for one of the UK’s most endangered invertebrates – the Streaked bombardier beetle (Brachinus sclopeta).

Only recently found in the UK

In the UK, the Streaked bombardier beetle has only recently been found on a couple of ex-industrial sites called brownfields in the Thames Gateway, London. One of these brownfield sites had already been destroyed.

Just days before their second home was due to be destroyed, fifteen Streaked bombardier beetles were rescued in an emergency operation. The beetles have now been re-homed on a new designer brownfield site at the University of East London’s Docklands Campus.

Sarah Henshall, Buglife Brownfield Manager said “Wildlife rich brownfields are being lost at an alarming rate in the Thames Gateway, not enough is being done to protect the homes of endangered animals. Buglife and the University of East London had no choice, we had to create new habitat for the Streaked bombardier beetle on the nearby UEL Docklands Campus site”. …

London Wildlife Trust, UEL and Buglife volunteers helped with the habitat creation which included plug planting a range of native wildflowers rich in pollen and nectar for pollinating insects such as beetles, bees and butterflies.

The site will be monitored by Buglife and UEL to check the progress of the Streaked bombardier beetle.

Sarah Henshall, Buglife Brownfield Manager said “We hope that this site becomes a new stronghold for the Streaked bombardier beetle, but only time will tell. We intend to use new habitat as an outdoor laboratory, studying the behaviour and needs of the beetle so we can make recommendations for the conservation of this on the brink of extinction beetle“.

JOIN THE HUNT FOR INSECTS ON RSPB RAMSEY ISLAND: here.