This video is about the Scleroderma polyrhizum fungus.
The Heiderijk site in the Netherlands reports that this autumn, a fungus species, new for the Netherlands, was discovered.
This video from the USA is called The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Final Trailer.
By Maria Duarte in Britain:
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I (12A)
Directed by Francis Lawrence
THE BRUTAL Hunger Games are over and now the revolution against the totalitarian Capitol takes centrestage in this intelligent and thought-provoking third instalment of this franchise.
It’s fascinating to see the reluctant Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) being forced to embrace her destiny of becoming the leader and poster girl of the rebellion — the Mockingjay — in this virtually faithful adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s novel.
It picks up exactly where Catching Fire left off and in the process very cleverly explores the spin, manipulations and propaganda of war. It is compelling to watch how the rebellious Katniss is made camera-ready to star in propaganda videos to rally the rebels in other districts.
The transformation is carried out under the watchful eyes of the mysterious leader of District 13, President Coin (Julianne Moore), along with former Head Gamemaker and now one of the masterminds of the rebellion Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman, in his final role).
They are aided by Katniss’s determination to save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) who is being tortured and possibly brainwashed by President Snow (Donald Sutherland).
Lawrence is statuesque and awe-inspiring as Katniss as she obliterates her young counterparts on the screen. Her emotional transformation is extraordinary and moving.
Under Francis Lawrence’s skilled direction, this is a much darker and more menacing sequel in which the politics are even more riveting than the games themselves. Unfortunately we will have to wait till next year for what should be a nail-biting conclusion.
This video is called Is the pharma industry washing its hands of Ebola?
By Bernadette Horton in Wales:
Dear Sir Bob
Saturday 22nd November 2014
Of course back in 1984-5 you were just plain Bob Geldof. You and your band The Boomtown Rats were adorned across many teenagers’ walls, myself included.
In a time of Thatcher’s tyranny, you angrily fronted a band of young skinny men with something to say and a whole heap of attitude.
Your marriage to Paula Yates and exotically named eldest daughter Fifi Trixiebelle cemented your reputation as a modern punk couple living the rock’n’roll lifestyle we all seemed to find so glamourous and exciting.
As a 17-18-year-old, you were one of my idols, a rebel against society, but a passionate family man with always something to say. You saw the hunger, the poverty, the starving people in Africa and you wanted to change the world.
Through your passion, through your unshakable self-belief that music could indeed change the African people’s lives, we teenagers and also parents and grandparents stood alongside you Bob, bought Do They Know It’s Christmas? in record numbers and clamoured to get tickets for the unbelievable Band Aid concert on July 13 1985 at Wembley.
You believed and we believed that if we raised such a vast amount of money that had never been seen before we could cure African hunger in one swoop.
The images of starving children on the news and in every programme charting the Band Aid phenomenon were never apologised for. It was necessary.
When you coined the phrase “Give us your fucking money” we loved you more and contributed more. While we were at it, could we cure world hunger in your name? Such was the sheer passion of the cause. And you were our rebel leader Bob. You made it all happen.
No-one said NO to you. The pop royalty of the day turned out at your request to perform in a concert in London and a simultaneous concert in Philadelphia. Seeing Phil Collins perform on stage at Wembley then take Concorde and at supersonic speed to the US and perform in Philadelphia on the same day was unforgettable, trailblazing and downright unheard of.
Bob Geldof had thought the unthinkable and made it happen. We had anointed you Sir Bob, way before you recieved your knighthood.
As for the record Do They know It’s Christmas? back in the day not many people analysed the lyrics or questioned the way in which money was being raised.
Bono rasping out “Tonight thank God it’s them instead of you” may have been a line he didn’t like singing, but to us it was simply Bono actually putting our thoughts into song. With the harrowing TV footage, we really did thank God it wasn’t us.
As for the image of the benevolent West deciding what was in Africa’s best interests, I never heard anyone question that matter. Again it was a case of those who have, giving to those who were starving of hunger.
Put that in context against a Thatcher government backdrop and we were just happy that we were helping to alleviate the incredible suffering in Africa.
Our government was responsible for the start of the “I’m alright Jack” society, but we were the rebels with a social conscience, bucking what was going on in our communities, giving hope to Africa and perhaps even thinking we were giving hope to ourselves too.
Geldof and the pop stars involved were giving us a feel-good-about-yourself factor — “Hey we may be skint, struggling or one of the millions of unemployed, but hell there are people starving out there we must help.”
Fast-forward to the recent events. Sir Bob got together another batch of 2014 pop singers to appeal to this generation of kids.
He had brought Band Aid together for a second version in 2004 which was successful at raising funds for famine relief.
It was again a time of following Sir Bob and euphoria prevailing — we were helping out again. But for this third campaign — a new version of Do They Know It’s Christmas? with wording changed to raise money for the new cause, fighting the deadly Ebola disease — questions have been raised, reasons analysed and Sir Bob’s halo has started to slip.
It’s a very different Britain to 1984-5. In some ways it’s much worse. Thatcher drove much of the working class into poverty, but there were not widespread cases of starvation and dying due to benefit sanctions as there are now. Foodbank was a term we had never heard of and certainly branches of the Trussell Trust were not seen in thousands of our towns and cities as there are now.
So perhaps although this new record is to raise money for Ebola rather than starvation in Africa, many are questioning why money cannot be raised to ease our own plight in Britain.
Alongside this we live in a very different world than we did in 1984. We are asking more questions about charitable donations. Who is benefiting? Where is the money going exactly? What are the admin costs? How much money is going to the people actually suffering? Can’t we help Africa help itself in a different way? Do the white Western people feel smug about helping black Africans?
We have seen millions of pounds spent on famine relief in Africa, but no structural change in making sure mass starvation does not occur again.
Money has gone missing on the African continent to corrupt government officials, thus prolonging their own countries’ suffering. Feeding the starving simply is not enough. Global changes were needed to make sure the “benevolent West” doesn’t have to revisit these scenes every few years, but that structural change has not happened.
Many countries in Africa are still as poor as they were in 1984-5. Now Ebola which is killing people in west Africa is being used emotively, as it could soon be on the doorstep of the West in vast numbers.
Fling enough money at it and we will make sure the US and Britain do not have to suffer seems to be the motive what behind this charitable effort.
The record is in its third run-out, which is also a bit desperate — the thing has been done and is frankly looking as tired and pained as Sir Bob himself. Adele didn’t respond to Geldof as she is raising a family — even my kids could not name everyone on the new video of the song.
At first I felt admiration for Sir Bob. Over the years he has lost his ex-wife Paula and his own daughter Peaches to drugs and has had unimaginable personal loss in his life, while stepping in to bring up Paula and Michael Hutchence’s daughter Tiger Lily.
But in one expletive this week he literally threw off his saintly halo and dashed it to the ground for anyone of socialist, humanitarian leanings and threw the shards of glass straight through our hearts.
While being interviewed about the re-release of the song for Band Aid 30 he was asked would it simply have been better if the pop stars in the room all paid their taxes?
“Bollocks” said Sir Bob. When asked again he repeated it — “Bollocks!”
Probably he was basking in the notion that by being taken off air and the interview halted, he would be plastered all over the evening news bulletins, thus raising awareness and more money for the record.
Sir Bob probably had no idea of the change of heart experienced by many people aged 45-plus who had been around in ’84-85 when he could do no wrong.
Oh, Bob. What an awful reply. It was such an opportunity to have a go at the big corporations — Vodafone, Amazon etc — you could even have side-stepped pop stars if you needed not to cause offence to your profession. You could have said something along the lines of: “Lets get the big corporations like Vodafone and Amazon paying their dues in taxes, the multimillionaires paying mansion tax, the bankers being held to account and paying fines for the recession they led us into and, f***ing hell, we would have the money to fight Ebola within 24 hours!”
Instead, while indeed you got the kids to download the record in droves, just as I bought it on vinyl back in 1984 without question, the scales dropped from my eyes and sadly tarnished your image for me and other Band Aid originals for ever.
Why should honest, decent, struggling working-class people pick up the tab to fight Ebola, Sir Bob, when we are the ones struggling like hell to make ends meet in a country where corporations pay next to nothing in tax, pop stars live abroad with their money tucked safely away and a government turns a cold stone heart to its own people?
I have sadly waved goodbye to Bob Geldof — hero, rebel leader, humanitarian, doting dad.
Sir Bob Geldof is part of the Establishment, part of the very force striking daily terror into my working-class world.
All I can say is: “Tell your compatriots to pay their f***ing taxes Bob and give us the f***ing money to find a cure for Ebola. It can’t be down to ordinary people to ‘dig deep’ into empty pockets again. Let this cause be funded by those who have, because the majority of us working-class people simply have not.”
This is a varied thrush video from the USA.
From KPCC in the USA:
‘Invasion’ of rare varied thrush birds in Southern California
November 20 2014
A rare and striking bird is showing up in large numbers in Southern California.
It’s called the varied thrush (Ixoreus naevius) and it has deep yellow and black stripes with patches of white on its underside. Normally, this species lives in the Pacific Northwest and travels no further south than San Francisco. For some reason, this year is different.
“It’s turning up in all these parks and just flying overhead and people are seeing it in all these weird places,” said Dan Cooper, an L.A. based biologist and birder watcher. In addition to it’s eye catching color, the varied thrush also has a distinct bird call that sounds almost like a tea kettle whistling.
Dan Cooper’s been carrying his binoculars with him in hopes of spotting the bird during this unusual “invasion,” as he called to it. Kimball Garrett, the ornithology collections manager at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, said in previous years bird watchers would be lucky to see one or two varied thrush around L.A. This year he says there are dozens.
Garrett isn’t sure what’s driving them south. It might be due to a lack of food in their native region, or perhaps a varied thrush baby boom is forcing the population to spread out. Either way, the thrush isn’t expected to upset the ecosystem of native birds. And for birders, it’s a great chance to see a neat bird without traveling north.
This video says about itself:
WARNING: Extremely Graphic Beheading Video in Saudi Arabia
2 October 2014
From The News in Pakistan:
Burney urges govt to save 50 Pak prisoners in Saudi Arabia
Friday, November 21, 2014
KARACHI: The Chairman of Ansar Burney Trust International and Pakistan’s former Federal Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney has urged the government of Pakistan to contact authorities in Saudi Arabia to save the necks of 50 condemned Pakistani prisoners and to arrest and bring to justice the real culprits in Pakistan, says a press release on Wednesday.
Ansar Burney, in his reminders, sent to President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior regarding four successive beheadings of Pakistanis charged with transportation of drugs to Saudi Arabia, requested in the greater interest of humanity, human dignity and justice to help the further 50 Pakistanis waiting to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia.
Burney said just in one month seven Pakistanis had been beheaded in Saudi Arabia as punishment for drugs smuggling, which has really damaged the image of the country. It was further most shameful and regrettable that those being punished were the very poor and victims themselves of their desperate circumstances, whilst the real culprits and those who truly benefited from peddling and smuggling drugs from Pakistan continued to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth and freedom without any fear.
Ansar Burney has urged the government to make true efforts for the release of the condemned Pakistani prisoners and take stern action to locate the real criminals and killers of humanity in Pakistan.
Reportedly, all persons executed and awaiting executions belong to very poor families. Most of them had never even been outside of their village let alone the country. Due to their circumstances, desperation and lack of understanding of international laws and the punishment which they may face, they are used as pawns by the real culprits. Burney therefore urged the government of Pakistan to catch the masterminds, and those in authority who let the drugs slip from security at airports in Pakistan.
This 2012 video from the USA is called Exhaustive Study Finds Global Elite Hiding Up to $32 Trillion in Offshore Accounts.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Friday 21st November 2014
SWISS bank UBS revealed today that just 0.004 per cent of the world’s adult population control nearly $30 trillion (£19trn) in assets — 13 per cent of the world’s total wealth.
Reprising something socialists already know, the bank, working with luxury industry consultant Wealth-X, noted that concentration of money in the hands of the ultra-rich was steadily growing.
They said that, of the world’s population of over seven billion, a mere 211,275 people qualified as ultra-high net worth (UHNW), that is to say those with assets above $30 million (£19m).
Of them, 2,325 have more than $1 billion (£638m).
Their numbers grew 6 per cent over the past year, but their wealth grew 7 per cent, as asset markets like stocks and property soared around the world.
The fastest growth came in the “demi-billionaire” group, worth a half-billion to a billion dollars apiece.
“Even amidst geopolitical conflicts, socio-economic strife and volatile currency markets, the world’s equity markets displayed strong performances, thereby enabling UHNW individuals’ wealth to increase and their influence across industries and sectors to grow,” UBS said.
Of the nearly £19trn this elite group controls, just over one-third is in the hands of tycoons in North America, more than a quarter in Europe and 23 per cent in Asia.
Of this filthy rich crew, it’s little surprise that 87 per cent are men — average age 59 — and nearly a quarter of them “work” in banking.
The average ultra-rich woman was 57. Nearly half of them became wealthy through inheritance, while one-third had self-made wealth.
On average, the super-rich each spend around $1 million (£638,000) a year on luxury goods and services.
“For example, individuals with private jets use their aircraft not only for leisure, but also for business purposes,” the Swiss bankers noted.
On the other hand, the life of the obscenely rich is apparently not all a bed of roses.
While yachts, and particularly superyachts, are usually a non-necessity, many of these people lead very public lives and “the privacy of a family holiday on a yacht is a very special treat.”