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New Brazilian bird species discovery


This video says about itself:

Diamantina Tapaculo – Tapaculo-da-chapada-diamantina – Scytalopus diamantinensis

30 August 2012

Described to science only in 2007; this is one of the least known Brazilian Tapaculos. Endemic to the Chapada Diamantina mountain range and seen by just a few world birders… This is the first video available of the species.

From Wildlife Extra:

Newly discovered Brazilian bird species is endangered

A new birds species found in a narrow strip in the Atlantic Forest on the northeastern state of Bahia, Brazil, has already been reported as endangered.

The bird is locally called ‘macuquinho-preto-baiano’, and has been catalogued under the scientific name Scytalopus gonzagai, and has also been given the common name of the mouse-coloured tapaculo.

The bird was identified as a new species by an international team of ornithologists led by Dr Marcos Bornschein, and was initially thought by the researchers to be a common species found in south and southeast Brazil, but two expeditions in 2004 and 2006 made it possible for them to investigate further in the region of Bahia and ascertain that the species was indeed new.

The small mouse-coloured tapaculo – which measures just 12cm in length and weighs in at an average of 15g – was quickly listed as an endangered species, as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) stipulates that if a species totals up between 2,500 to 10,000 individuals, it is endangered. Calculations undertaken by the team found that there were around 2,888 of the newly discovered tapaculo.

Source: BrazzilSci-news.com.

The scientific description of the new species is here.

Artillery kills at Ukraine school playground


Injured man arrives in hospital after shelling in Donetsk, photo AFP: John MacDougall

From Reuters news agency:

At least 10 people killed in shelling on and near school in Ukraine’s Donetsk – city authorities

DONETSK Ukraine, Wed Oct 1, 2014 11:51am BST

At least 10 people were killed on Wednesday when shells hit a school playground and a mini-van in a nearby street in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, city authorities and Reuters witnesses said.

There were no children among those killed in the shelling at School No. 57 on the first day of the new school year, though witnesses said the dead included a biology teacher and the parent of a child at the school.

Reuters correspondents saw the bodies of three adults at the school and an additional six bodies in a burnt-out mini-van and on streets nearby. The regional administration said a total of 10 people had been killed in the shelling of the city, a stronghold of rebels waging a separatist rebellion.

(Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; Writing by Richard Balmforth, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

From the BBC:

Well over 200 people were at school number 57 in the Kievsky district when the playground was shelled, including 70 children. Although the school’s windows shattered, none of the children was reported hurt.

Dolphins attracted by magnets?


This video is about bottlenose dolphins and their sounds.

From Wildlife Extra:

New study finds dolphins may be attracted to magnets

The behaviour of six bottlenose dolphins were analysed in the study.

A study undertaken by researchers from the Ethos unit at the Universite de Rennes in France has revealed that dolphins could be magnetoreceptive, which means they have the ability to perceive a magnetic field.

In the wild, the ability of marine mammals to follow migration routes suggests that they might be sensitive to geomagnetic fields, but until now there has been no experimental evidence to confirm this.

Research was conducted at the delphinarium of Planete Sauvage in Port-Saint-Pere, France, and looked at the behaviour of six bottlenose dolphins in response to two separate barrels. One barrel contained a strongly magnetised block, and one contained a demagnetised one. Apart from this detail, the blocks were identical and indistinguishable to the dolphins when they used echolocation.

The dolphins were seen to approach the barrel containing the strongly magnetised block much faster than they approached the barrel with the unmagnetised block. In order to ensure a fair experiment, the dolphins were free to swim in and out of the pool were the barrel was placed, and the person placing the barrel in the pool, and analysing the videos of the dolphins’ reactions, did not know which barrel was magnetised.

Dorothee Kremer, a researcher in the experiment, explains the importance of the study’s findings: “Dolphins are able to discriminate between objects based on their magnetic properties, which is a prerequisite for magnetoreception-based navigation. Our results provide new, experimentally obtained evidence that ceteaceans have a magnetic sense, and should therefore be added to the list of magnetosensitive species.”

Dutch harbour porpoises counted


This video is called Harbour Porpoise Species Identification.

Translated from the Dutch cetacean researchers of Stichting Rugvin:

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

On Sunday, September 28, 2014, volunteers of Stichting Rugvin counted 34 harbour porpoises in the National Park Oosterschelde.

Around half past ten in the morning thirty volunteers departed aboard eight ships in line to the eastern part of the Oosterschelde. Nowhere else in the world the number of porpoises is counted in this way. During the scan, there was not much wind, so the animals were easy to find. A total of 34 porpoises were observed, including at least three mother and calf pairs.

Nazi death squad members identified


This video is called Einsatzgruppen: The Death Brigades, Part 1.

And this video is the sequel.

From Associated Press:

Wiesenthal Center pushes Germany for new probe of Nazi mobile death squad members

By DAVID RISING

October 01, 2014 – 5:01 am EDT

BERLIN — The Simon Wiesenthal Center has identified dozens of former members of Nazi mobile death squads who might still be alive, and is pushing the German government for an investigation, The Associated Press has learned.

The Wiesenthal Center’s top Nazi hunter, Efraim Zuroff, told the AP on Wednesday that in September he sent the German justice and interior ministries a list of 76 men and four women who served in the so-called Einsatzgruppen.

The Einsatzgruppen, made up of primarily SS and police personnel, followed Nazi Germany’s troops as they battled their way eastward in the early years of the war, rounding up and shooting Jews in the opening salvo of the Holocaust before the death camp system was up and running.

According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, they had killed more than a million Soviet Jews and tens of thousands of others by spring 1943.

“In the death camps the actual act of murder was carried out by a very small number of people — the people who put the gas into the gas chambers — but the actual act of murder in the Einsatzgruppen was carried out individually,” Zuroff said. “Almost every person in the Einsatzgruppen was a murderer, a hands-on murderer.”

Zuroff narrowed down the list of possible suspects by choosing the youngest from a list of some 1,100 with dates of birth known to his organization, from the estimated 3,000 members of the death squads.

All 80 would be very old if still alive, born between 1920 and 1924, Zuroff said.

“Time is running out,” he said in a telephone interview from Jerusalem. “Something has to be done.”

Because of Germany’s strict privacy laws, the Wiesenthal Center has been unable to confirm where the suspects live, but Zuroff said that task, and determining if they’re still alive, should be relatively easy for police or prosecutors.

Meantime, he said, his office is willing to assist in any way possible in coming up with evidence or other details.

“The hope is that as many as possible will be alive, but there’s no guarantee obviously,” he said. “But every person alive today is a victory of sorts.”

Germany’s Interior Ministry had no immediate comment but the Justice Ministry said it had passed the details of the letter to the special federal prosecutors’ office that investigates Nazi-era crimes.

The head of that office, Kurt Schrimm, told the AP he hasn’t yet received the new information.

A handful of Einsatzgruppen members were tried and convicted after the war but most have gone unpunished.

Schrimm has said, however, they could now be prosecuted under new German legal theory that service in a Nazi unit whose sole purpose was murder is enough to convict someone of accessory to murder — even without evidence of participation in a specific crime as had previously been required.

Bahraini torture police officer now in ISIS


This video is called Bahrain capital of torture.

The absolute monarchy Bahrain is now officially an ally in the Pentagon’s ‘war on terror’.

How about Bahrain and ISIS?

From Global Voices online today, about one Bahraini, Lieutenant Mohamed Isa Al-Binali:

Mohamed (abu-Isa) graduated from the Police Academy in 2013 and was supposed to be a prison guard in Bahrain’s infamous prisons, which have practiced systematic torture since 2011. Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior issued a statement saying that he was sacked from his job because of his absence earlier this month. According to Arabic-language news reports, he had been in the ranks of ISIS for over four months.

Mohamed comes from a famous family in Bahrain, the Binali clan, which is closely affiliated to the Al Khalifa ruling regime. His cousin, Turki Al-Binali, who goes by the alias Abu-Sufyan Al-Salami (Al-Salami refers to the tribe of Sulaim in Arabia), is a high ranking preacher in ISIS. Prior to holding this public position in the terror organisation, he was arrested and released many times before in Bahrain.

In the video that follows, you can see him leading a protest in front of the American Embassy in Bahrain; that protest was not attacked by the authorities like the opposition protests usually are. His books can also still be found in libraries and bookshops around Bahrain in a country which bans hundreds of websites which oppose the government.

The BinAli affiliation with ISIS is longstanding. In May, Turki published information of yet another of his cousins dying while fighting within ISIS. …

Many feel that the Bahrain government has turned a blind eye on the rise of ISIS sympathizers in the country. Prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab doesn’t mince his words. His message is clear:

Nabeel Rajab @NABEELRAJAB

many #Bahrain men who joined #terrorism & #ISIS came from security institutions and those institutions were the first ideological incubator

12:55 PM – 28 Sep 2014

Bahrain consists of a Shia majority who have been complaining of marginalization for decades under the ruling Sunni royal family. In a response to a popular uprising in February 2011, “the Bahraini regime responded not only with violent force, but also by encouraging a nasty sectarianism in order to divide the popular movement and to build domestic and regional support for a crackdown,” wrote Mark Lynch at Foreign Policy.

While Bahrain has joined the coalition in its airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the environment of discrimination at home couldn’t be any worse. As Mr. Rajab explains:

Nabeel Rajab @NABEELRAJAB

Terrorism laws in #Bahrain & #Gulf were not used against #terrorists or #ISIS but against #human_rights defenders & prisoners of conscience

12:31 PM – 27 Sep 2014

… The ISIS threat against Bahrain coincides with similar messages to neighbouring countries, which too have turned a blind eye to the group, allowing it to fester and grow in ranks on their own soil.

On 1 October 2014, human rights defender and Co-Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) Maryam Al-Khawaja will appear before the High Criminal Court on trumped up charges relating to an alleged assault on a lieutenant and policewoman at the Bahrain International Airport. Read Maryam Al-Khawaja’s testimony here. See also here.

On the day of her arrest at Bahrain International Airport, human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja tweeted: “Overheard guards saying they are going to deport me. They keep saying I am not a citizen.” Khawaja had travelled to Bahrain from Denmark on August 30 to support her imprisoned father, who’d just started a second round of hunger strike five days earlier. Her case highlights the threat now confronting some Bahraini opposition activists: The removal of their citizenship and subsequent deportation: here.