This video by Denton Birdwatcher in Texas in the USA says about itself:
This video is called The Canary Islands under the sea.
By Michelle Cassidy:
Canary Islands Threatened by Oil Prospecting Plans
Thu, Aug 2, 2012
In a new report, Oceana has denounced oil prospecting plans in the Canary Islands, highlighting the dangerous impact of these activities on cold-water coral reefs, deep sponge fields, hydrothermal vents, and nearly 100 protected species.
Spanish oil company Repsol is planning to prospect in the Canary Islands Channel, located off the northwest coast of Africa. The channel contains gas-based habitats that are protected under the Habitats Directive. These habitats support coral and sponge communities that would be destroyed by oil prospecting activity.
A total of 25 protected areas and 82 endangered species would be threatened by Repsol’s prospecting activities. These include sea turtles, short finned pilot whales, angel sharks, bottlenose dolphins, and a variety of fish.
The International Maritime Organization has declared the Canary Islands a Particularly Sensitive Area for its biological wealth and its economic dependence. This status affords the islands’ strict protection in terms of waste and pollution.
The Canary Islands is an archipelago supported by fishing and tourism. Both of these industries rely on the islands’ high biodiversity—more than 600 species and 350 communities and habitats. Oil prospecting would interfere with fishing and tourism, and reduce the biodiversity of the area.
We’ll be sure to keep you posted!
Campaigners accused British oil giants yesterday of fibbing about the risk pirates pose to their ships in a bid to get European militaries to protect their profits: here.
By Solomon Hughes in Britain:
Tories at Bilderberg
Thursday 02 August 2012
His trip doesn’t prove he is a shape-shifting alien – although I am open to suggestions on his space-lizardiness – but it does show the ugly nature of what Boles called the “leading and well-known” folk in charge.
The Bilderberg Group brings together 120 or so top politicians and businessmen for a conference every year.
It was founded in the ’50s after some pro-US European politicians asked the CIA’s help to get some kind of “Atlanticist” business-oriented event going.
This top nobs’ secret conflab makes many suspect Bilderberg is an agenda-setting conspiracy.
Personally I think it is something like a Tolpuddle Festival for the ruling elite – somewhere they can meet to thrash out a few ideas, express some solidarity and have a good time.
Of course, at Tolpuddle we self-consciously affirm solidarity of working people. But our elites are supposed to be all about business competition and national rivalry.
The obvious solidarity at the top shown by Bilderberg doesn’t sit well with the official story about competitive free markets and patriotic nations.
It suggests the participants feel more in common as members of an international ruling class than they feel in competition with each other.
People in the US are brought up to firmly believe in free markets and patriotism, so they are often most offended by Bilderberg meetings.
Some get so angry that they start believing Bilderberg is a powerful conspiracy, showing the world is run by Illuminati, alien lizards or Knights Templar.
Over here, I think we are more likely to shrug our shoulders and think “there goes the establishment, scratching each other’s backs again.”
Bilderberg conference proceedings are secret, but we do know the attendees. They are a creepy bunch.
Boles, a former flatmate of Michael Gove’s, was a key member of Cameron’s “Notting Hill Set.” He founded the Cameroonian think tank Policy Exchange and was this year’s Tory “rising star” at the conference.
More senior Tories also usually attend. This year it was Ken Clarke. George Osborne went to the preceding four Bilderberg conferences.
Boles told his constituents that Bilderberg was all about “leading figures” in politics and business.
This June’s conference, held in the Marriott hotel in Chantilly, near Washington, also hosted Marcus Agius, the “leading figure” who had to resign as Barclays chairman because his staff had been fiddling the figures.
Other “leading figures” at the conference include Peter Mandelson, who had to resign from government twice, only to reappear as an unelected European Commissioner.
HSBC boss Douglas Flint was also there. He hasn’t had to resign. Yet.
It’s hard not to be suspicious when the bosses from firms like Shell, Vodafone and Airbus meet with centre and right-wing politicians in secret.
Boles offered more evidence on the creepy character of the Bilderbergers.
His entry in the Register of MPs’ Interests says the American Friends of Bilderberg paid for his ticket.
US tax returns show Friends of Bilderberg directors include Henry Kissinger, James Wolfensohn and Richard Perle.
So the pals who paid for Nick’s jolly Bilderberg trip are the man behind the bombing of Cambodia, the man who led the World Bank at its worst and a leading promoter of the lies behind the Iraq war.
This video from England is called Gibraltar Point and its birds.
From Wildlife Extra:
Sixty years since Britain’s first local nature reserve was declared – Gibraltar Point
August 2012. Sixty years ago today, on 1 August 1952, Gibraltar Point became the first Local Nature Reserve in England to be declared by a Local Authority under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act.
The designation recognised the special significance of Gibraltar Point as a new type of nature reserve and of the successful partnership between the former Lindsey County Council and the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.
Long recognised as an important wildlife site
Gibraltar Point on the Lincolnshire coast had long been recognised as an important place for wildlife. In 1915 it was included in the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves list of wildlife sites that were ‘worthy of preservation’ and in 1948, was first named a nature reserve in a landmark agreement between the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and County Council. But the statutory designation of 1952 gave it official national recognition.
Ted Smith, one of the founding members of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust said: “At that time the popular concept of the nature reserve was of a place with a fence round it to keep people out. Gibraltar Point was different. The first priority was to protect its nationally and internationally important wildlife and natural features, but it would also be open to the public for the quiet enjoyment of nature and used for education and research.”
“By 1952 the Gibraltar Point reserve was flourishing and was widely regarded nationally as a model of its kind. Schools and universities were using it for teaching and research and the number of visitors was already in the tens of thousands. It was a fitting recognition of its success that in August 1952 it became the first Local Nature Reserve in England.”
Today, Gibraltar Point remains a flagship nature reserve of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. It is a fantastic place to visit at any time of year and the events programme helps visitors experience some of the wildlife highlights.
Arctic photographer Subhankar Banerjee considers why conservation on land has been a success while waters are in danger: here.
Grand Old Man is the corniest of clichés, but perhaps we may deploy it for once in the case of Ronald Blythe, since he is widely seen as the doyen of writers about the natural world in England, and now he is 90: here.
This video from Hong Kong says about itself:
This summer, Clean Air Network brings you a brand new public service announcement featuring popular Hong Kong movie star, Daniel Wu. The video is an ironic 1980s-style infomercial flogging a fake brand of canned air called “Fresh Air.”
At the encouragement of CAN’s pro bono advertising agency, DDB, CAN decided to adopt a different approach from its previous series of dead serious public service announcements about the health dangers of air pollution. Instead of frightening viewers, CAN seeks to enlighten viewers by taking an absurdist, sarcastic approach to the issue of health, lifestyle and air pollution.
“Clean Air Network is thrilled that Daniel Wu has decided to get publicly involved in championing clean air for Hong Kong. His personal leadership will undoubtedly influence the minds of many young people,” said Joanne Ooi, CAN’s CEO. Daniel Wu said, “I wanted to do my part to raise awareness about how air pollution is affecting everyone in Hong Kong. It is, after all, the city’s #1 public health problem.” Other celebrities appearing in the infomercial include Ana R., Cara G., and Simon Yin.
From AFP news agency today:
Hong Kong chokes under ‘worst’ air pollution
By Aaron Tam – 5 hours ago
HONG KONG — Hong Kong choked under the worst smog ever recorded in the city Thursday, with residents warned to stay indoors, away from the blanket of toxic haze, officials said.
Air pollutant readings broke records going back to 1999, except for levels reached when a natural dust storm hit the southern Chinese territory two years ago, environmental protection department spokesman Y.F. Chau said.
“This is the worst air pollution reading we’ve seen since Hong Kong started recording air pollution in 1999, except for the dust storm,” he said.
Hong Kong’s famous skyline was shrouded in a dense blanket of toxic smog and the sky looked grey, although the weather was fine and sunny.
“People with heart or respiratory illnesses, the elderly and children should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activities,” a government spokeswoman said.
Officials said the pollution had been exacerbated by the influence of Typhoon Saola, which killed four people as it lashed Taiwan some 700 kilometres (450 miles) to the east.
The storm’s outer high-pressure air mass blanketed Hong Kong, bringing strong sunshine and high temperatures that pushed up ozone levels.
The pollution was particularly bad in the Central district of downtown Hong Kong, where luxury retail brands and multinational companies pay among the highest rents in the world.
Anti-pollution activists said Hong Kong could not keep blaming the weather or factories in neighbouring mainland China for its recurring pollution problems.
“If Hong Kong did not produce air pollutants, the weather conditions would not be able to exacerbate or cause further consequences,” Clean Air Network campaign manager Erica Chan told AFP.
Emissions from local vehicles using old and dirty engines are among the main contributors to Hong Kong’s air pollution, she said.
The network said monitoring stations in the bustling shopping district of Causeway Bay on Wednesday recorded levels of the most dangerous fine particles that were three times higher than World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
The government announced revisions to its air quality objectives for the first time in 25 years in January, after University of Hong Kong research showed pollution-related illnesses killed more than 3,000 residents a year.
The new objectives impose more stringent limits on the atmospheric concentration for seven pollutants including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and lead.
For the first time the city has started measuring airborne particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter, known as PM2.5, which are more harmful than the larger particles.
Heavy polluting vehicles will be phased out, hybrid or electric vehicles will be promoted and more use will be made of natural gas.
But independent analysts say the measures are too little, too late, and fall short of WHO guidelines.
This video from England says about itself:
WRAS rescuers rushed to the aid of this fallow stag with its antlers caught in an electric rope fence. The young stag had flystrike which had to be cleared and treated before release was possible. This is the second deer caught in electric rope at this location.
From Wildlife Extra:
Deer rescued from electric fence – Dramatic footage
August 2012. Rescuers were called out to a potentially dangerous deer rescue in a field at Cackle Street, near Uckfield in East Sussex. The deer would have starved to death if rescuers had not found the deer and helped it in time.
Volunteer rescuers rushed to the aid of an adult male fallow deer with its antlers caught in electric rope.
“When we received the call it was clear from the caller that deer was seriously stuck and in need of urgent help. This is the second deer which we have had to rescue at this location caught in rope. When we arrived the deer was exhausted and had been running back and forth trying to get free but sadly just getting more and more entangled. The deer would try running away and then flip over and land on his back quite violently as the rope reached its limit. It was very distressing to see, but as a rescuer you have to put your emotions aside and concentrate on the job at hand” explained rescuer co-ordinator Trevor Weeks MBE.
These rescues are potentially very dangerous as deer are very strong animals, and can cause serious injury if not handled correctly.
Rescuers Tony and Trevor approached the deer using a special “walk-to-wards” net, which is similar to a tennis court net. They approached the deer and by going either side of the animal, which then challenged the net and became caught; the rescuers were then able to pin the deer to the floor and start cutting the rope from the antlers.
“The animal must be cut free within 30 minutes or the deer is likely to be so stressed that it will end up having a heart attack. This was a youngish male so the antlers were not very big and therefore easier to remove the rope. I used my weight to pin the deer to the floor whilst rescuers Tony and Chris started cutting the rope assisted by Kathy and Sylvia. The velvet skin which covers the antlers at this time of year had been damaged and there were thousands of maggots crawling over the antlers. We had to clear these and treat the deer before we could release him. As the guys were cutting away the rope they were accidentally flicking maggots about, many of which seemed to be landing on me! Tony and Chris did really well, and the wounds were washed with medication to kill off any remaining maggots and prevent flies from laying any more” said Trevor.
Once everyone was clear of the deer, and the net and rope cleared free, Trevor was able to slide backwards and off the deer which quickly launched itself up and charged across the field.
How you can help
“We were all so pleased to see him run off. These rescues always make your heart race, as the time ticks away and you don’t want the poor creature to suffer or die. We can only provide this service thanks to the donations and funding we received from members of the public; anyone wanting to help donate to our charity can call 01825873003 or visit our website.
How Fences Hurt Birds: here.
This video says about itself:
1 August 2012 by Al Jazeera English
New research is under way on the alarming increase in birth defects in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, showing elevated levels of radioactivity in the city and across the country. Iraqi doctors have long reported a spike of cases involving severe birth defects in Fallujah since 2004 which are shocking in their severity. So is the US being honest about the weapons it used in the 2004 battle for the city, and in its other theatres of war? Guests: Ross Caputi, Dai Williams, Raed Jarrar.
See also here.
A new study confirms what many Iraqi doctors have been saying for years – that there is a virtual epidemic of rare congenital birth defects in cities that suffered bombing and artillery and small arms fire in the U.S.-led attacks and occupations of the country: here.
Human Dignity: A Casualty of War. Matt Southworth, Friends Committee on National Legislation: “As a bright-eyed nineteen-year-old soldier in Iraq in 2004, I was faced with a crisis of conscience. I thought I was going to Iraq to help free Iraqis, but instead I was a part of a mission to put them in a different kind of prison”: here.
- “Huge rise” in birth defects in Fallujah (occupytvstations.com)
- RT @BeyondAid: Fallujah has seen a five-fold increase (and rising) in birth defects since US siege during Iraq War http://t.co/VBCFplbV (independent.co.uk)
- Horrors of war: US, UK munitions ’cause birth defects in Iraq’ (rt.com)
- Iraq records huge rise in birth defects, New study links increase with military action by Western forces (refreshingnews99.blogspot.in)
- The victims of Fallujah’s health crisis are stifled by western silence | Ross Caputi (guardian.co.uk)
- US Bombing of Iraq: The Toxic Legacy Continues (commondreams.org)
This video is called Red Kites in Slow Motion – The Slow Mo Guys.
From Wildlife Extra:
Good breeding season for the red kites of Northern Ireland
14 red kites fledged in Northern Ireland in 2012.
Twelve breeding pairs
New figures, released by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Northern Ireland, reveal that in 2012 there were twelve known breeding pairs in Northern Ireland, a rise of three on the previous year. However, strong winds and prolonged spells of heavy rain throughout the season did take their toll on some pairs, with one nest being blown from the tree and another which held a single chick also failing as a direct result of the weather.
Adam McClure, RSPB Red Kite Officer, said: “This spring, twelve pairs of red kites were located across south County Down. RSPB staff and volunteers closely monitored their progress throughout the season. The unseasonably warm period which we experienced back in March allowed the breeding season to get off to a good start, however, since then we have had some truly horrendous weather and the kites have had to suffer some pretty challenging conditions.”
As well as the two pairs which failed due to the weather, a third pair failed during nest building and abandoned their breeding attempt, which isn’t unusual as Adam explains: “Red kites normally breed for the first time when they are two or three years old. Sometimes young birds which are nesting for the first time don’t quite get it right and will fail in their first attempt. We hope that this pair will stay together and try again next season.”
One of the highlights of the 2012 season was the discovery of a new pair near Rathfriland, the male of which is lucky to be alive. In April 2011, Blue 22 was discovered lying in a field by some local residents, apparently suffering from the effects of ingesting poison. They were able to contact RSPB staff in the area who took the bird into care and after several rehabilitation, Blue 22 was re-released into the wild.
“We were concerned about how Blue 22 would get on after his brush with death,” says Adam. “We kept a eye out for this particular bird, and I was pleased to receive photos of him taken near Moneyslane in August last year and appeared to show him in good health.”
Even better news was to follow for Blue 22, when he was adopted by Methodist College, Belfast who named him Ruby and this spring, Adam was delighted to discover that Ruby had found a mate and they had bred for the first time, successfully raising two chicks.
“It’s a great result for Ruby, but this incident highlights the risks posed through the misuse of rodenticide and other poisons. Where controlling rodents is necessary, it must be done in an appropriate and legal way.”
14 young fledged
In total at least 14 young fledged during this year’s breeding season, the highest since the reintroduction project began here in 2008.
- Red Kite (platypiphotography.wordpress.com)
- Top 10 Places to see Wildlife in Scotland (wildaboutscotland.com)
- Sad to see the tide turn against the otter | Rob Penn (guardian.co.uk)
- Taunted by a Red Kite (rustonsadventure.wordpress.com)
- Red Kite Feeding Frenzy (colincrowdey.com)
- Team CL’s big garden birdwatch (countrylivinged.com)
- Hawks in danger of extinction in illegal hunting campaign (guardian.co.uk)
This music video is called Ramones – The KKK took my baby away LIVE in Sweden, in 1981.
From weekly Der Spiegel in Germany, with photos there [by the way, Der Spiegel misspells Klu Klux Klan; I have corrected that to Ku Klux Klan]:
Racist ‘Scandal’ German Police Kept Jobs Despite KKK Involvement
By Florian Gathmann
Officials allowed two German police officers to keep their jobs even after it emerged they had been members of a Ku Klux Klan spin-off group. The men were also colleagues of a policewoman believed to have been murdered by a neo-Nazi terrorist cell discovered last year. Whether there was any direct connection or not, politicians are demanding answers.
A racism scandal is unfolding in Germany this week following the revelation that two police officers in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg had been members of a German spin-off group of the Ku Klux Klan. The two men are still serving in uniform — one on the normal police force and the other as a squad commander for the riot-control police. The state’s Interior Ministry on Wednesday confirmed reports that the men had been involved with a group that called itself the European White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (EWK).
The development has left many officials dumbfounded: How, they are asking, could public officers who swear an oath to protect the constitution have been members of a racist organization? Officials first uncovered the links during an ongoing investigation of the murderous National Socialist Underground (NSU) neo-Nazi terror cell. Between 2000 and 2007, the group allegedly murdered at least nine small businessmen of mainly Turkish descent, along with one policewoman, Michèle Kiesewetter. The two police officers with alleged Ku Klux Klan links also happened to be colleagues of Kiesewetter.
If not for neo-Nazi terror investigation, light might never have been cast on the fact that the Klan has been active in Germany. EWK operated in Baden-Württemberg between 2000 and 2002, with domestic intelligence counting some 20 members in the end, according to German daily Die Tageszeitung. But even more unbelievable than the group’s existence is that German police officers were involved, and that very little action was taken once they were exposed. While they were both reportedly subject to disciplinary action, they were still allowed to keep their jobs.
Sebastian Edathy, a member of the center-left Social Democratic Party who heads an investigative committee on the crimes of the NSU in Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, is calling the situation a scandal. “Civil servants who are or were members of a decidedly anti-democratic, extremist organization must be removed from the police force,” he said.
Hartfrid Wolff, a member of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party who is also a member of parliament’s domestic affairs committee, expressed similar shock over the revelations. “I never would have imagined this,” he said. Fellow domestic affairs committee member Wolfgang Wieland of the Green Party, spoke of “inexcusable behavior”.
Police Officers Claimed Ignorance
Internally, authorities have been aware of the case since 2003, when they uncovered evidence of the officers’ temporary membership during a search of the EWK leader’s apartment in the city of Schwäbisch Hall. During the ensuing disciplinary proceedings, the two officers justified their participation by saying they only become aware of the true character of the organization after they had been members for a while. After learning the truth about the group, they claim, the men left it. One of the police officers reported that it only dawned on him after an aggressive neo-Nazi from eastern Germany with tattoos of Adolf Hitler appeared at a meeting.
Membership for one of the officers lasted half a year, while the other quit the EWK even sooner. The men appear to have convinced their superiors of their naïveté, because they both kept their jobs.
But with the newly revealed connection to murdered policewoman Kiesewetter, their KKK past has come into question once again. One of the men had been Kiesewetter’s immediate superior in the riot police, leading a group of about 10 officers.
‘Connection Remains Uncertain’
But was there a connection between these two officers and Kiesewetter’s murder? There has been ample speculation that her alleged murderers, the NSU, were in possession of insider information.
See also here.
This video is called Archer Fish Water Pistol – Weird Nature – BBC wildlife.
From Wildlife Extra:
Wildlife Olympics – And the Olympian that kills wildlife
Olympian wildlife killers
Sadly, at least two olympic competitors have been practicising their sport by killing wildife. [United States] Olympic Shooter Corey Cogdel seems to be proud of her ability to shoot animals, especially in Africa, and there are many images of her on the web with some of the animals and birds she has shot. And [United States] gold medallist Kim Rhode has also been featured as a celebrity hunter on US websites.
Gold medalists of the natural world
August 2012. Humans aren’t the only ones that display incredible feats of athleticism – IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) has suggested the following gold medalists of the animal kingdom.
These animal athletes, some of which are listed as threatened on The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM, are the fastest sprinters, the highest jumpers and the most graceful gymnasts in the natural world. The Cheetah is the obvious gold medal winner in the 100m -reaching speeds of up to 70mph in short bursts. In field events, the Common Froghopper (Philaenus spumarius) could win the high jump as it can jump 115 times its own height! In the gymnastics events, the graceful Agile Gibbon (Hylobates agilis) and dancing birds-of-paradise would wow us with their moves. While celebrating the achievements of talented athletes across the world this summer, we should also take the time to appreciate these incredible species.
Archery – Smallscale Archerfish (Toxotes microlepis) Archerfish shoot down land based insects (flying insects or insects on branches) and other small animals with water shot from their specialized mouths. The Smallscale Archerfish is listed as Least Concern on The IUCN Red List.
Boxing – European Hare (Lepus europaeus) The European Hare mating season peaks in spring during a time called “March Madness.” Females choose their partners according to their strength by “boxing” with them-when females and males stand on their hind legs and hit each other with their paws. As females are slightly larger than males, only strong males impress the females and get the chance to mate. The European Hare is listed as Least Concern on The IUCN Red List.
Shooting – Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) The fruits of the Himalayan Balsam open explosively with a popping sound, ‘shooting’ the seeds to some distance. A prolific seed producer, each plant produces about 2,500 seeds and its dispersal technique helps the plant colonize new areas. Native to the Himalayas, but naturalized in Europe and elsewhere, it tends to become an invasive species and out-compete other plants. It has not yet been assessed for The IUCN Red List.
Shot Put – Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) The Lammergeier, also known as a Bearded Vulture, is one of the largest of the old world vultures. This bird wins the prize for shot put because it drops large bones from great heights in order to shatter them and eat the nutritious marrow inside. The Lammergeier is listed as Least Concern on The IUCN Red List.
Weightlifting – Rhinoceros Beetle (Xyloryctes thestalus) This beetle is able to carry loads of more than 30 times its body mass and is among the strongest animals on earth. In comparison, the heaviest individual weight lifted by a human in an Olympic competition was 263.5kg by Hossein Rezazadeh, a weight that was about one and a half times his own bodyweight and equivalent to lifting four average-sized people. Found in Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico, this species has not yet been assessed for The IUCN Red List.
From the mythical home of the Olympian Greek Gods – Zeus olympius Zeus olympius is a species of fungus that until this year was only found on Mount Olympus, the mythical home of the Twelve Olympians of the ancient Greek world. This fungus is found growing on dead branches of the pine tree Pinus leucodermis and was recently discovered in a second location in south-west Bulgaria near the Greek border. This species has not yet been assessed for The IUCN Red List.
Issues involving species survival and conservation will be discussed at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Republic of Korea, from 6 to 15 September 2012.
Animal Olympics: The Fastest Critters on Earth [Slide Show]: here.
UFO Sighted Over Olympics? Here.
- Pandemonium Aviaries saves birds (photos.mercurynews.com)
- Western Black Rhino Declared Extinct (earthfirstnews.wordpress.com)
- Top 5: Critically Endangered (naturebox.org.uk)
- List of threatened rays (en.wikipedia.org)
- Planet of the Arthropods (membracid.wordpress.com)
- Varivoce on IUCN red list (fijitimes.com)
- Rare ‘Pink Dolphins’ Are In Danger, Conservationists Warn (huffingtonpost.com)
- Plants Under Pressure (plantsandprejudice.wordpress.com)
- Early warning signs of population collapse (sciencedaily.com)
- New book says 2 PH marine mammals on verge of extinction (newsinfo.inquirer.net)