Great Barrier Reef let down by Australian government


This video is called BBC Great Barrier Reef II 2012 HD.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Campaigners dismiss inadequate Australian Great Barrier Reef protection plan

Tuesday 16th September 2014

Environmental activists lashed out at a new Australian government plan purporting to protect the Great Barrier Reef yesterday.

The plan had been released to allay UN concerns but the activists said that it was inadequate to halt the reef’s decline.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt claimed that the draft “Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan” was an effort to balance important priorities.

“Maintaining and protecting this iconic World Heritage area, while considering the needs for long-term sustainable development, is a critical priority,” Mr Hunt alleged.

But WWF Australia head Dermot O’Gorman said the draft did not set high enough targets for cutting agricultural pollution or provide “the billions of dollars required to restore the health of the reef.”

“At this stage, Reef 2050 lacks the bold new actions needed in order to halt the reef’s decline,” Mr O’Gorman said.

The draft plan bans future port development in the Fitzroy Delta, Keppel Bay and North Curtis Island near Rockhampton in Queensland state — areas of the reef described by environmentalists as key incubators of marine life — but it exempts priority port development areas from the ban.

Australian Marine Conservation Society spokeswoman Felicity Wishart said it should have recommended laws to minimise dredging as well as ban dumping in reef waters.

“From our point of view the reef is in dire straits,” she said, adding that the plan should have been a “lifeline” to turn the reef around over the next 35 years.

Goldfish’s life saved by brain surgery


This video is called Vet Operates On Goldfish George in Australia To Remove Life-Threatening Tumour.

From ABC in the USA:

George the goldfish undergoes life-saving surgery

Monday, September 15, 2014

MELBOURNE, Australia (KTRK) — A family spending hundreds of dollars for a surgery that will save a pet is not unusual.

What is, though, is when that pet is a goldfish. But that’s just what an Australian family did to remove a brain tumor from their 10-year-old fish named ‘George.’

The tumor had developed on the fish’s head over the past year.

“Fish was having trouble eating, getting around, getting bullied by the other fish,” said Dr. Tristan Rich.

“Didn’t join in as much in their afternoon party games and stuff, you know,” said George’s owner, Pip Joyce. “He never really said much to us.”

It was a delicate procedure that lasted an hour at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital, with blood loss a big concern.

“Controlling the blood loss is really important in such a small patient,” said Dr. Rich. “And then closing up did prove quite difficult because there wasn’t much skin to deal with.”

George’s owner was impressed.

“Just the way he was able to put the fish to sleep, I think,” said Pip. “And then stitching it up a little bit, minute little fishy stitches.”

George is now recovering at home with 20 of his closest friends. As for Pip, he talked about the surgery he chose for his pet.

“Yeah it’s a goldfish, all creatures great and small,” he said. “A goldfish is a pet, a family pet, just as important really. They bring a lot of pleasure these fish in this pond, they’re beautiful to sit and watch.”

The fish should now be able to enjoy another 20 years of life.

Women sue Catholic Church about sexual abuse


This video from Australia says about itself:

Church admits liability in school sex abuse

12 July 2010

The Catholic Church has admitted liability for the sexual abuse of girls at a primary school at Toowoomba in Queensland’s Darling Downs.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Injunction against church abuse

Added: Saturday 13 Sep 2014 09:10
Update: Saturday Sep 13 2014, 09:30

Six women who have been abused by clergy in their childhood days are taking the Roman Catholic Church to court. In the lawsuit, Thursday in Utrecht, they want to enforce that they and other victims of sexual abuse will still be able to file complaints, the newspaper Trouw reports.

The hotline for sexual abuse complaints has been closed since July 1 for cases which are legally time barred and whose possible perpetrators are no longer alive.

Especially men have used the chance to complain in recent years. The women going to court now want the time for filing complaints to be extended indefinitely.

Shame

According to the Foundation Women’s Platform about Ecclesiastical Child Abuse (VPKK) women “because of feelings of shame about abuse in their childhood (especially in the nineteen fifties and sixties), need more time to come out with their stories.”

The platform says that “we can still expect many cases. The number of women who will report eventually will be perhaps less than with men, but not many less.”

Sydney spiders bigger than Australian outback spiders


This video from the USA says about itself:

6 June 2011

Get a behind-the-scenes look at this history and creation of this dazzling textile—the only one of its kind in the world—made from the strands of silk from over one million of Madagascar’s golden orb spiders. On view at the Art Institute of Chicago through October 2011.

From Wired magazine:

Cities Are Making Spiders Grow Bigger and Multiply Faster

By Nick Stockton

08.20.14, 2:00 pm

Something about city life appears to be causing spiders to grow larger than their rural counterparts. And if that’s not enough to give you nightmares, these bigger urban spiders are also multiplying faster.

A new study published today in PLOS One shows that golden orb weaver spiders living near heavily urbanized areas in Sydney, Australia tend to be bigger, better fed, and have more babies than those living in places less touched by human hands.

The study’s authors collected 222 of the creatures from parks and bushland throughout Sydney, and correlated their sizes to features of the built and natural landscape. …

To measure urbanization, the authors looked primarily at ground cover throughout the city, at several scales, where they collected each spider: Are surfaces mostly paved? Is there a lack of natural vegetation? Lawns as opposed to leaf litter?

“The landscape characteristics most associated with larger size of spiders were hard surfaces (concrete, roads etc) and lack of vegetation,” said Elizabeth Lowe, a Ph.D student studying arachnids at the University of Sydney.

Humped golden orb weavers are a common arachnid along Australia’s east coast. They get their name from their large, bulging thorax, and the gold silk they use to spin their spherical webs. They typically spend their lives in one place, constantly fixing the same web (which can be a meter in diameter). Each web is dominated by a single female, though 4 or 5 much smaller males usually hang around the edges of the web, waiting for an opportunity to mate (only occasionally does the female eat them afterwards).

Paved surfaces and lack of vegetation mean cities are typically warmer than the surrounding countryside. Orb weavers are adapted to warm weather, and tend to grow bigger in hotter temperatures. The correlation between size and urban-ness manifested at every scale. Citywide, larger spiders were found closer to the central business district. And, their immediate surroundings were more likely to be heavily paved and less shady.

More food also leads to bigger spiders, and the scientists believe that human activity attracts a smorgasbord of orb weavers’ favorite prey. Although the study wasn’t designed to determine exactly how the spiders were getting bigger, the researchers speculate that things like street lights, garbage, and fragmented clumps of plant life might attract insects. They also believe that the heat island effect might let urban spiders mate earlier in the year, and might even give them time to hatch multiple broods.

The orb weavers could also be keeping more of what they catch. Because they are such prolific hunters, orb weavers’ webs are usually home to several other species of spiders that steal food. The researchers found that these little kleptos were less common in webs surrounded by pavement and little vegetation.

Lowe says quite a few species of spider are successful in urban areas, and she wouldn’t be surprised if some of these other species were also getting bigger. Despite how terrifying this sounds, she assures me that this is actually a good thing. “They control fly and pest species populations and are food for birds,” she said.