- my winter season debut – ring necked parakeets (itieflies.com)
- Rose Ringed Parakeet (noisypilgrims.com)
- Parakeets in London? (reyizain.wordpress.com)
- Udaipur, Rajasthan and Birds… amazing how many species can be found!! (cogalet.wordpress.com)
- Mitred Parakeet (Psittacara mitrata) and a few other favourites. (parrotletsuk.typepad.com)
- The Greedy Parakeet (adelineohvelarde.wordpress.com)
And now, EuroBirdwatch 2013.
Here are the results of counting (migratory) birds all over the Netherlnds on 5 October 2013:
TOP 10 – 2013
Number of bird species: 181
1. White-fronted goose 68,515
2. Starling 44,092
3. Chaffinch 35,114
4. Black-headed gull 9,918
5. Meadow pipit 9,200
6. Grey lag goose 8,989
7. Northern lapwing 8, 957
8. Common gull 4,520
9. Herring gull 3,155
10. Crossbill 2,482
Never before had white-fronted geese been on number one. And never before had crossbills made the top ten.
Unusual species included: two ospreys, two ravens, 13 glossy ibis, 2 Cetti’s warblers, 4 water rails, 1 white-tailed eagle, 1 cuckoo, 1 red kite, 1 ruddy shelduck, 2 purple herons, four ring ouzels, and 40 snow buntings (in one flock).
- Change of Season (sailingpups.wordpress.com)
- Crossbill Dolau. (radnorshirebirds.wordpress.com)
- Day 215/365: Unidentified Geese (justapicture.wordpress.com)
- Is this all a bit too cosy? (barnaclefishorfowl.wordpress.com)
- Arriving (coloursinthecold.wordpress.com)
- Goose (badgergirlpod.wordpress.com)
- Birdwatching Reviews (leesbird.com)
- Little ringed plover, young goldfinches (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- How Do Canada Geese Get Ready to Fly? (blogs.smithsonianmag.com)
This video is called Wild Europe 1 of 4.
This is Part 2.
This is Part 3.
This is Part 4.
Fri, Sep 27, 2013
The successful return of species to their natural habitats
Eurasian Beaver, European Bison and White-tailed Eagle have all been highlighted as species that have made a remarkable comeback in Europe over the past 50 years, according to a first ever in-depth study.
Scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), BirdLife International and the European Bird Census Council (EBCC) worked with species experts from across Europe to gather relevant data about the distribution and abundance of selected species. The resulting report, Wildlife Comeback in Europe, describes how 37 mammal and bird species have increased in numbers over the past 50 years, and in some cases have reclaimed their former European territory.
At an event at the London Zoo on 26 September the study was handed over to Mr Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Member of the European Parliament. He stated “This report shows first of all the amazing resilience of nature. Furthermore, it emphasizes the importance of EU policy: the Birds and Habitats Directives, the Natura 2000 network of protected areas and the Water Framework Directive are all explicitly credited for supporting this impressive return of wildlife. The rewilding of Europe exceeds nature protection, because these iconic species create unique opportunities for rural development.” He added “I firmly believe that smart investments in nature create huge economic opportunities and I will continue to work vigorously in Brussels to turn the rewilding of Europe into reality.”
Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy at BirdLife Europe, spoke at the event: “The case studies of wildlife comeback in this report supports decades of conservation efforts in Europe. Sound legislation, such as the Birds and Habitats Directives have led to better hunting regulation, species and site protection and focusing of conservation investments. They show that with sufficient resources and appropriate efforts, species can be brought back, even from the brink of extinction.”
White-tailed Eagle, one of the largest birds of prey in the world, has made an impressive recovery following dramatic declines and extinctions in many countries between 1800 and 1970. Thanks to legal protection the European population grew from fewer than 2,500 pairs in 1970 to 9,600 pairs in 2010, and the species has recently recolonised parts of its former range in northwestern Europe.
European Bison, the largest herbivore in Europe, went extinct in the wild in the early 20th century due to severe hunting pressure and habitat loss. After a large-scale breeding and reintroduction programme based on the 13 breeding individuals remaining in captivity, wild populations have been re-established in areas of central and eastern Europe, with a stronghold in Poland and Belarus.
Christina Ieronymidou, European Research Assistant, BirdLife International stated “Conservation works and species can recover if you take the right actions. In the Wildlife Comeback Study we analysed 19 different European bird species and saw on average a 5% increase per year. Species growth and decline depend on the conservation measures we take so our efforts need to persist.”
Despite the return of an impressive number of European birds and mammals, we are still losing biodiversity. The results of this report must be viewed in the context of large historical declines. For carnivores like the Eurasian Lynx and Grey Wolf, and many bird species including the Red Kite, distributions and abundances had already declined dramatically from their historical levels by the mid-20th century. Wildlife resurgence must therefore be assessed cautiously, as many species have not yet reached the level necessary to secure sustainable populations.
For more information please contact Christina Ieronymidou, European Research Assistant, BirdLife International, email: email@example.com.
1. The ‘Wildlife Comeback in Europe’ report was commissioned by Rewilding Europe, an organisation working to “Make Europe a Wilder place”, with wildlife, wild nature, natural processes and the “Business case for the Wild” as some of its key elements.
2. The report was funded by valuable grants from the Swedish Postcode Lotteries, the Liberty Wildlife Fund and ARK Nature.
3. The wildlife comeback is not limited only to the wildlife species that are presented in this study; there are many more that we know are showing similar patterns of recovery. However, limited data, time and resources were reasons why these were not included in the report.
Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. Our mission is realised through our ground-breaking science, our active conservation projects in more than 50 countries and our two Zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. For more information visit www.zsl.org.
The European Bird Census Council (EBCC)
The European Bird Census Council (EBCC) is an association of like-minded expert ornithologists co-operating in a range of ways to improve bird monitoring and atlas work across Europe, and thereby inform and improve the management and conservation of bird populations. www.ebcc.info.
Rewilding Europe Rewilding Europe, founded in 2011, is an initiative that seeks to inspire a broad popular movement to shape a new, wilder version of Europe. Rewilding Europe is about making Europe a wilder place, with much more space for wildlife, wilderness and natural processes, bringing back the variety of life for us all to enjoy and exploring new ways for people to earn a fair living from the wild. www.rewildingeurope.com.
- Beaver and bison among European species making a comeback (theguardian.com)
- Resurgence Research (raxacollective.wordpress.com)
- Saved from the brink of extinction: Beavers, bison and eagles among the species that have made a remarkable comeback in the last 50 years (dailymail.co.uk)
- Europe’s bison, beavers and bears bounce back (thenewstribe.com)
- Bison, bears and wolves return to Europe (telegraph.co.uk)
- Europe’s key animals ‘recovering’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Researchers See Comeback for Europe’s Rare Animals (kolotv.com)
This video from the USA is called The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror.
Translated from Metro daily in the Netherlands:
August 30 2013
Banks’ anti-terror program hardly works
Research: The counterterrorism program in Europe causes discrimination and false suspicion, instead of detecting terrorists.
The European banks’ anti-terrorism program, which may cost millions of euros, hardly works. It has so far not proven to lead to detection of terrorists or preventing attacks. But the program may instead cause discrimination and suspicion of the wrong people. Political scientist and geographer Mara Wesseling (33) draws these firm conclusions after intensive research.
“I have spoken with the European Commission and bank employees, and I have read government and consultancy reports over a period of ten years after September 11, 2001,” says Wesseling. Next week she will receive her PhD at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Since 2005 the 3rd European Directive applies to banks and other financial service providers. It states that they will be required to check customers’ ‘suspicious financial transactions’ which indicate terrorism through analysis.
“Banks had to install software for millions of euros, train employees, provide training, also about money laundering. There is hardly any detection of terrorists and prevention of attacks by checking banking transactions, I was told by the European Commission and others.” The assumption is that terrorists behave differently. That is not so. Moreover, attacks cost relatively little money which makes detection difficult. On the other hand, arbitrariness, discrimination, violation of privacy and false arrests threaten, said the political scientist .
“Bank employees determine ultimately, after an initial selection by computer programs, whether a bank customer is a suspect. They decide that on the basis of intuition, among other factors. They then send the personal data of the customer to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), basing themselves on their suspicion. Then there may be further inquiry, without a customer knowing that.”
The European Union is intent nevertheless on expanding detection capabilities through financial transactions further. However, they should sleep on that before doing it, Wesseling concludes.
- Miranda detention and British civil liberties (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Few See Adequate Limits on NSA Surveillance Program (people-press.org)
- When governments use terrorism laws to silence journalists, anti-terrorism has run its course (rinf.com)
- Detaining Greenwald’s Partner Can Only Hurt the U.K. – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
By Clare Hurley in the USA:
Aftershock: One hundred years since The Armory Show
1 August 2013
The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show, 1913
This year marks the centennial of the International Exhibition of Modern Art, better known as The Armory Show. A watershed in the history of art in the 20th century, it opened at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City in March 1913, bringing what was considered the vanguard of modern art to the attention of the American public for the first time.
Of the 1,200 pieces of art in the Armory show, two-thirds were by American artists. Yet the story that has gone down in art history is that the new European art, in particular that of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Marcel Duchamp, provoked such a sensation that it eclipsed the work of the provincial American artists, and set the course of modern art for the rest of the 20th century.
The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show, 1913, an exhibit at the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, New Jersey this past spring, set out to challenge this conventional notion. Though it did not entirely dismiss the shock of avant-garde European art, the exhibit of thirty-six of the American artists in the Armory Show, along with a wealth of archival materials, press clippings, photographs and cartoons, added nuance to our understanding of the 1913 show’s impact and artistic legacy.
International Exhibition of Modern Art Button
Organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors (AAPS), a group that had first come together in 1910 to organize a smaller Exhibit of Independent Artists in opposition to the traditionalists favored by the National Academy of Design, the Armory Show in 1913 was conceived of by the AAPS exhibition committee (comprised of artists Arthur B. Davies, Walter Kuhn, and Walter Pach) as an American equivalent of the infamous Salon des Refusés exhibit held in Paris a half century earlier in 1863.
In that instance, the French Academy’s rejection of work by Edouard Manet, Gustave Courbet and other Realist painters who have subsequently been recognized as the progenitors of modernism in art caused such a controversy that their “refused” work was exhibited in its own room for the public to judge for itself how awful it was. Causing a scandal, shocking the tastes of the bourgeois public, had become the necessary hallmark of the most advanced art. (The exhibit in the Montclair Museum also documented Kuhn’s publicity efforts to foster the sense of scandal and excitement that resulted in record-breaking attendance at the Armory Show.)
Pach, Wall of the City
Rather than being hopelessly old-fashioned, most of the work by the American artists resonated sufficiently with the “new spirit” of modern art. Walter Pach’s The Wall of the City (1912) emphasizes the colorful geometry of encroaching urbanization on the landscape. Maurice Prendergast’s lively park scene in Landscape with Figures (ca. 1912) shimmers with jewel-like daubs of color. Other works, like John Marin’s watercolor St. Paul’s, Lower Manhattan (Broadway, St. Paul’s Church (1912) or Untitled (Wharf Under Mountain) (1913) by Manierre Dawson, have an even more distinctly “modern”—if taken to mean purely abstract—quality.
But it’s impossible to dispense with one’s knowledge of Paul Cézanne’s inimitable geometrical explorations of the landscape painted almost 30 years earlier, or Georges Seurat’s tour de force of pointillism, Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte (1884-6). One feels the American artists were trying to be bold, but the Europeans were bolder; the Americans were colorful, whereas the Europeans were already lurid; the Americans sought abstract elements in the recognizable world, while the Europeans had completely dispensed with any necessary connection between the two.
While the AAPS organizers doubtless did not intend their own work to suffer by comparison, they would be the first to acknowledge the pioneering influence of the European avant-garde. Kuhn had made a visit in the fall of 1912 to the Sonderbund Exhibition in Cologne, Germany, where he discovered the latest works by Picasso and Matisse, as well as post-Impressionists Paul Cézanne, Edvard Munch, Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh.
Excited by the still somewhat incomprehensible work at the Salon d’Automne in Paris, (he admitted that Cézanne’s landscapes were “Greek to me”), Kuhn found the notorious pieces that were exhibited in the “Chamber of Horrors,” as the Cubist room came to be called. And a show at Galerie la Boetie would yield the succès de scandal, Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, (1912).
Valuable as it was, however, in recreating the original Armory Show—down to showing the floor plans and the show’s now quaint-seeming logo of an American pine tree representing the “new spirit”—the Montclair Museum exhibit ended by reasserting the argument advanced at the time that the American artists “held their own” against the Europeans.
But it is simply not the case that the American artists were on a par with the Europeans in their development. Despite their individual merits, the exhibit at the Montclair Museum only confirmed what it set out to disprove. Art historian Meyer Schapiro’s The Introduction of Modern Art in America: The Armory Show (in Modern Art: 19th & 20th Centuries, George Braziller, New York, 1979), written in 1952, brings more insight to bear. Schapiro wrote:
The Spanish Gypsy
“In the reception in the United States, we are struck by a singular play of provincial backwardness and a generous disposition towards the most advanced forms…Unlike the Europeans we had no official art; there were no state museums and schools of ministers of fine arts to support an orthodoxy in art…The United States had not known the great artistic struggles of the last (19th) century in Europe; Romanticism, Realism and Impressionism were introduced from abroad with little conflict and without the accompanying political implications…
“The reaction to European art at the Armory Show was probably affected by the real lag in American art during the two decades before. Many of our painters remained confidently and even militantly realistic, committed to the spectacle of the city, of activity, and to the picturesqueness of the environment, for some thirty to fifty years after this taste had declined in Europe. The most influential new styles practiced by Americans around 1910 came out of French Impressionism; the urban realists (Henri, Luks, Sloan, Bellows) used the methods of advanced French painting of the 1860s and ‘70s.” (p.160)
And indeed, at the Montclair exhibit, these were the artists that stood out. Their uniqueness of vision combined with painterly skill brought each of these artists close to their European contemporaries without ever making a radical departure from pictorial conventions. The group around Robert Henri known as The Eight, alternately called the Ashcan School for its gritty urban subjects, was represented at the Montclair exhibit by Henri’s The Spanish Gypsy (1912), Edward Hopper’s Sailing (1911), and John Sloan’s etchings Night Windows (1910) and The Picture Buyer (1911). Unfortunately, the work of George Bellows, another one of the Eight who played a role in organizing the Armory Show, was not included at Montclair.
Schapiro, while giving the American Realists their due for a raw vitality suited to the American scene, nevertheless concludes, “What raised the best of the new Europeans above the American artists was their greater seriousness about the qualities of painting; they probed the medium more deeply and were more inventive in their means. Their feeling for the objects they represented was also more imaginative.” (ibid., p.169)
This is true, but an important aspect in evaluating the impact of the Armory Show of 1913 not much explored in the Montclair exhibit is the larger political context. In New York 1913: The Armory Show and the Paterson Strike Pageant, Martin Green examines the conjunction of radical politics on the one hand and an upsurge in the class struggle in the United States with a receptivity to radical art movements at the Armory Show on the other.
Green focuses on the intersection of progressive social circles, including some wealthy bohemians and radicals, with young labor activists and socialists in New York in 1913. Notably, Mabel Dodge, a wealthy sponsor of the Armory Show, was the lover for a time of John Reed, radical journalist and editor of The Masses.
Reed, who would go on to chronicle the 1917 Russian Revolution in the epochal Ten Days that Shook the World, was involved in organizing a pageant show in Madison Square Garden to publicize and raise support for the Paterson silk workers strike—a militant, six-month long strike of almost 2,000 silk workers for the 8-hour day. Reed met with fiery labor organizer Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Big Bill Haywood, leader of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.), who in turn made several visits to New York City to see the Armory Show.
Nude in a Wood
The work of the American artists in the Armory Show, particularly that of the Ashcan School, many of whom shared this progressive/radical outlook, while perhaps old fashioned in formal terms, was in other ways more far-reaching in its attention to conditions of social life. These artists depicted strikes and city slums, the industrial transformation of the landscape, the raw energy of city streets, the head-on collisions in boxing matches. This relatively new content was poured into old bottles, as it were, as opposed to the same old wine. After all, the Cubists and Fauves were still painting fruit and flowers, nudes, landscapes—albeit in radically new-looking forms.
It is beyond the scope of this review to trace the complex path of Modernism in art in later decades. Abstraction in particular came to international pre-eminence after the Second World War, a development that was bound up with the post-WWII boom and also benefited from the covert support of the US government.
Significantly, however, the piece considered the most scandalous at the 1913 Armory Show, Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912)—described by one art critic at the time as looking like an explosion in a shingle factory—and Marcel Duchamp himself, would ultimately prove among the most influential in the developments subsequent to Modernism. Duchamp later moved to the United States and gave up art-making in favor of inventing optical machines, ready-mades, chess-playing and other intellectual pursuits which would spearhead many trends in conceptual art.
Just as the materialist conception of lawfully determined historical development has come under sustained attack from postmodern critics, so too the narrative of art history as a succession of schools or movements culminating in Modernism has been rejected in most academic circles in favor of the idea of multiple, equally valid “art-narratives.” The idea that art could be said to progress (or regress) in ways that were intricately bound up with changes in society, and that some artistic styles more effectively expressed the spirit of the times than others, has likewise been called into question.
Judging from the contemporary artwork at an annual international art fair, likewise called The Armory Show and also held in New York last spring, a stylistic free-for-all prevails in which anything goes if it can command high enough prices. Photography and representational realism, colorful expressionism, abstraction, minimalism and conceptual artwork of all kinds–the only thing which might be considered shocking in this context would be any work addressing the social reality of contemporary life in a complex or insightful way. Such work was all but completely absent.
This latter day Armory Show—which took over three piers the size of multiple football fields to accommodate 60,000 visitors for $30 each to over 200 exhibit booths—is just one of the art world’s busy roster of fairs, biennials and other high-end sales events for the wealthy elite at which hundreds of millions of dollars change hands for the latest contemporary art.
Beyond taking the same name when it was launched by a consortium of galleries in 1998, today’s Armory Show is not technically connected to the 1913 one. Nonetheless it could be said to bear the imprint of that original show, not only because the art which today commands such astronomical prices is in complex ways the end result of that earlier collision between the art of the provincial Americans and the European vanguard, but also and most importantly because it is taking place, though largely unconsciously, on the verge of revolutionary upheavals which are set to change more than just artistic styles.
The author also recommends:
- ‘Good’ Art / Review of the GSA Grad Show 2013 (thelittlebluedoor.wordpress.com)
- 1913 (strangeflowers.wordpress.com)
- Art Update: The Art Show/The Armory Shows (lindarsilverman.com)
- Today in Theatre History: PROVINCETOWN PLAYERS FOUNDED – July 15, 1915 (padavisblog.wordpress.com)
- Edward Hopper Birthday: The Iconic American Painter Would Turn 131 Today (PHOTOS) (huffingtonpost.com)
- The modernist who lived fast and died young (misspinaonthespot.wordpress.com)
- An afternoon in bed with a Taichung art fair (taiwanartsblog.com)
- American art: Bessie Potter Vonnoh (laurettadimmick.com)
This video from Poland is called WHITE-TAILED EAGLES eating fish. David Attenborough’s opinion.
BirdLife and the European Bird Census Council join wildlife comeback study
Wed, Jul 17, 2013
In 2011, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) started this wildlife comeback study, commissioned by Rewilding Europe, which mainly includes iconic mammal and bird species covering different geographical regions and habitats in our continent. The main goal of this study is to generate a science-based overview of changes in abundance and distribution during the period 1960-2010 of wildlife species that have shown a considerable comeback in Europe. The study will create a better understanding of the dynamics causing these changes, both at a species level and in a consolidated way. This can provide important lessons for future conservation and might help to extrapolate these success stories to other species as well.
According to the 2012 Living Planet Report, the period 1970 to 2008 saw an average increase in animal population size of 6% in the Palearctic realm (which mostly includes data from Europe), in contrast to an overall decrease in biodiversity indices in tropical regions. Better environmental protection is one explanation put forward to be a contributing factor, but recent changes in land use with abandonment of farmland, reduced hunting pressure, and higher productivity of many ecosystems due to more nutritional input from human activities (e.g. eutrophication of lakes and coastal areas, nitrogen deposition from air, etc.) have probably also played an important role. Rewilding Europe is particularly interested how the wildlife comeback can be sustained and further promoted, and used for rewilding initiatives all over Europe. Apart from an important ecological role a lot of the species covered play in European ecosystems, they also have an economic value, e.g. as draw cards for wildlife based tourism that can provide new opportunities in many parts of Europe. Also, the wildlife comeback poses new challenges in terms of wildlife management, allowing populations to reach natural densities and natural dynamics.
The wildlife comeback in Europe encompasses a long list of species, particularly mammals and birds. In today’s Europe there are probably larger populations of certain species than we have had for many decades or even centuries, such as Roe deer, Moose, Wild boar, Chamois, Ibex, White Stork, Barnacle Goose, Common Crane, and White-tailed Eagle. With active protection and re-introductions, other species have also benefitted including Ibex, Beaver, Otter, Eagle Owl, Peregrine, Lammergeier and Black Vulture. And even the Iberian lynx has started to recover marginally from the worst situation, though long-term prospects remain unclear.
A first draft document covering 18 mammal species has been prepared by ZSL and is now being peer-reviewed by species specialists from all over Europe. BirdLife and EBCC are now synthesising data to describe and analyse the comeback of some 20 bird species that have shown a significant comeback over the past 40 to 50 years.
The wildlife comeback study will be a landmark report to be launched on end of September 2013 during a seminar in London. The findings of the study will also be presented at the 10th World Wilderness Congress (WILD10) in Salamanca, Spain, on 4th October 2013.
The Wildlife Comeback Study and Seminar are made possible by the generous grants of the Swedish Postcode Lottery (Svenska Postkod Stiftelsen), Liberty Wildlife Fund (The Netherlands) and ARK Nature (The Netherlands).
For more information please contact Ian Burfield, Global Science Coordinator, BirdLife International, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Save Suwarrow islands’ seabirds (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Speech: Deputy High Commissioner’s remarks at the launch of BirdLife’s project on delivering sustainable forest management in Fiji (gov.uk)
- New Spanish bird atlas (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- New bird species discovery in Cambodian capital (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- English corncrake news (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Hiding in plain sight: New species of bird discovered in Cambodia’s capitol Phnom Penh (sciencedaily.com)
- Fiji birds, new report (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- European bird migration this spring (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- European Union’s bad seabirds and seas policies (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Anti-bird killing conference in Tunisia (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
This video says about itself:
Swallows dance – Spring Alive
Apr 26, 2013
Swallows dance at Nature Park Lake Vrana, Croatia. Every year, in late March and early April, during their migration toward thes north thousand of swallows and martins use vast reed-beds as stopover sites for feeding and roosting.
New Spring Alive record: more than 270,000 bird observations in Europe
Thu, Jul 11, 2013
New Spring Alive record: more than 270,000 bird observations in Europe
From February to June, participants in Spring Alive, a long-term BirdLife educational programme, observed and registered the arrivals of five migratory bird species in Europe and made more than 270,000 observations of migratory birds, the highest number ever!
The people taking part in the programme, mainly children and their families represent countries across Europe, from Portugal and Ireland to Russia and from Finland to Cyprus. The Spring Alive programme increases in popularity every year and it offers a fun way to develop knowledge about migratory birds and raise schoolchildren’s awareness about nature protection. The Spring Alive website had more than 104,000 individual visitors, who recorded their observations.
The record breaking Spring Alive season in Europe ended on the 21st of June. Amongst all Spring Alive species (Barn Swallow, White Stork, Common Swift, Cuckoo and European Bee-eater), the Barn Swallow and the Common Swift turned out to be the most frequently observed birds (37% and 32% of observations respectively). The big three participating countries were: Russia, Italy and Ireland.
The success of Spring Alive is very encouraging as it shows that more and more people want to connect with nature. In September the programme is moving to Africa, as birds will leave their breading areas in Europe, where the temperature will start to decrease and head for the warmer African continent. All bird lovers are invited to follow arrivals of “Spring Alive birds” in the African continent on the Spring Alive website.
For more information: please contact Elodie Cantaloube, Media and Communication Assistant at BirdLife Europe.
- New migratory birds website (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Anti-bird killing conference in Tunisia (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- The Migratory bird at evening Time 29 May 2013 in a field, the Village of Bahawalpur Pakistan (ireport.cnn.com)
- Alaska birds, video (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Climate change threatens migratory birds and bird-dependent economy, NWF warns (vtdigger.org)
- Radically better smarphones may be possible using system inspired by bird migration: Molecular chains hypersensitive to magnetic fields (scooprocket.com)
- Protest Unregulated Bird Hunting in Egypt (forcechange.com)
- Vanishing Migratory Birds of India: The Alarming Problems (ecosysblogs.wordpress.com)
- Birds migrating at wrong time for warmer climate (cbc.ca)
This video from the USA says about itself:
April 26, 2013
Women employed full-time make over 11-thousand dollars less than men per year. How does that gap affect their quality of life? Robert Traynham speaks with Sarah Crawford of the National Partnership for Women and Families. Visit NPWF on the web at www.nationalpartnership.org.
From the university of Leicester in England:
Women missing out on bonuses – New study
03 July 2013
Sexism Still a Secret Scourge in EU, suggests new report
Austerity measures and deepening economic crises across Europe are increasing cases of discrimination against women, a new study co-led by the University of Leicester has discovered.
Women are particularly missing out on bonuses and promotions, and discrimination based on prejudices and gender stereotypes is very much alive in EU countries, the researchers state.
The study found:
In some EU countries, women had to sign a ‘blank resignation’ at the time of appointment which would come into force if they fell pregnant
Health and safety requirements are used as an excuse to remove women from the workplace
Pregnancy and maternity are often the cause of non-renewal of fixed term contracts and/or project work
Women are subjected to ‘negative stereotyping’ in the workplace- ie they are seen to be carers for children and family first rather than workers with full employment rights
In some EU states, women of child-bearing age are simply not selected for a job
Eugenia Caracciolo di Torella, from the University of Leicester School of Law, has co-authored the report for the European Commission “Fighting Discrimination on the Grounds of Pregnancy, Maternity and Parenthood: The application of EU and national law in practice in 33 European countries.” The report was written in association with A. Masselot from University of Canterbury, NZ and S. Burri from University of Utrecht.
Dr Caracciolo Di Torella said: “One of the most surprising factors has been to realise the negative impact role that gender stereotypes continues to play across Europe in the 21st century.
“This is particularly extreme in certain Member States such as Romania, where women in child-bearing years are simply not selected for a job or parents with prams are not welcomed into shops for fear of shoplifting.
“However, it seems also to apply to Member States where we generally think that gender equality is an uncontroversial state of play. In Sweden, for example, it is the opinion of the Equality Ombudsman that “young women are systematically discriminated against.”
The report, published on the website of DG Justice and on EU Bookshop, aims to assist the Commission in its monitoring work, in particular by identifying gaps in the transposition of existing legislation at national level and highlight good practices.
The report looks at the position of working parents across the EU Member States with a view to highlighting gaps, as well good practices. It shows that, on the whole, national statutory rights relating to the protection of pregnancy, maternity and parenthood in the workplace across Europe are of a reasonable standard. Thus, the EU has successfully established a common ground and often domestic legal provisions go beyond the obligations set by the EU.
Dr Caracciolo di Torella adds: “Yet, despite extensive legislation, pregnant employees and working parents continue to experience high levels of discrimination and difficulties. Whilst, on paper, the law exists and is comprehensive, in practice it is too often circumvented.
“This happens in various areas: for example, although it is direct discrimination not to employ a woman because she is pregnant or might intend to get pregnant in the near future, it is not always possible to monitor what happens during an interview. Certain questions might be asked, and certain assumptions might be made: there is evidence that discrimination based on prejudices and gender stereotypes is very much alive.
“Equally, although it has long been established that it is contrary to EU and domestic legislation to dismiss a woman because of her pregnancy or caring responsibilities, this continues to happen. In some countries (Italy and Greece) women were asked to sign an undated resignation letter (so called “blank resignation) at the time of recruitment so as to be used by the employer to make the worker resign when needed (ie when pregnant).
“Another cause of discrimination is the health and safety requirements which, in practice, are often used as an excuse to remove woman from the workplace. Pregnancy and maternity are often also the cause of non-renewal of fixed term contracts and/or project work. This is not done expressly but the effect remains the same.
“The biggest area where discrimination takes place is that of pay and promotions. Although the European Court of Justice has provided guidelines, women still miss out on bonuses. In many Member States across Europe, employers are allowed to take periods of maternity/parental leave in order when calculate seniority and this means that individual (women) miss out on promotions.”
Dr Caracciolo Di Torella added: “Pregnancy and maternity and parental related discrimination has increased since the economic downturn and women have been particularly hard hit by the consequences of the crisis. Mothers are often being made redundant because they are unable to be, or become, flexible enough because they have care requirements to address as well as their paid employment.”
Dr Caracciolo di Torella calls for:
systematic monitoring (eg: systematically requiring the employer to justify the dismissal of employees who return from parental leave; following trend and statistics in companies of who and when people are recruited and dismissed);
increase gender equality and fighting stereotypes, inter alia, by promoting the involvement of men in the care of young children;
automatic sanctions for offending employers.
She concludes: “Undoubtedly the key message is that having children is not a “selfish act” but a productive activity of society that should not be devalued. We all (State, public/private companies and society as a whole) benefit from and free ride on the work done by parents and carers (who, to date, remain mostly women).
“Furthermore, discrimination on grounds of pregnancy and maternity are only symptoms of a broader issue, namely discrimination on grounds of caring responsibilities.” She argues that the concept of discrimination on grounds of caring responsibilities is lamentably lacking from the legal framework and for this purpose she is co-writing a book with Masselot on this point (Who Cares?, Routledge 2014)
The complete text of the report is available here.
- New mother claims unfair dismissal (theage.com.au)
- Human Rights Commission to investigate discrimination against working mothers (abc.net.au)
- New study illustrates routine discrimination of pregnant women (quicknewsforwomen.wordpress.com)
- 42% Of Women Are Afraid To Tell Their Boss They’re Pregnant (mix1065fm.cbslocal.com)
- Attorney: Pregnancy Related Discrimination Cases On The Rise (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- A Tale of Being the 1st Pregnant Woman in Workplace (atlantablackstar.com)
This video says about itself:
Spying on guests allegations embarrassing UK
From weekly Der Spiegel in Germany:
‘Out of Control’: Europe Furious over NSA Spying on EU Facilities
By Claus Hecking and Stefan Schultz
Senior European Union officials are outraged by revelations that the US spied on EU representations in Washington and New York. Some have called for a suspension of talks on the trans-Atlantic free trade agreement.
June 30, 2013 – 02:46 PM
Europeans are furious. Revelations that the US intelligence service National Security Agency (NSA) targeted the European Union and several European countries with its far-reaching spying activities have led to angry reactions from several senior EU and German politicians.
“We need more precise information,” said European Parliament President Martin Schulz. “But if it is true, it is a huge scandal. That would mean a huge burden for relations between the EU and the US. We now demand comprehensive information.”
Schulz was reacting to a report in SPIEGEL that the NSA had bugged the EU’s diplomatic representation in Washington and monitored its computer network (full story available on Monday). The EU’s representation to the United Nations in New York was targeted in a similar manner. US intelligence thus had access to EU email traffic and internal documents. The information appears in secret documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden, some of which SPIEGEL has seen.
The documents also indicate the US intelligence service was responsible for an electronic eavesdropping operation in Brussels. SPIEGEL also reported that Germany has been a significant target of the NSA’s global surveillance program, with some 500 million communication connections being monitored every month. The documents show that the NSA is more active in Germany than in any other country in the European Union.
‘It Is Abhorrent’
EU and German politicians on Sunday, however, were reacting primarily to the revelations that the US had specifically targeted the 27-member bloc with its surveillance activities. “If these reports are true, then it is abhorrent,” said Luxembourgian Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn. “It would seem that the secret services have gotten out of control. The US should monitor their own secret services rather than their allies.”
Asselborn characterized the operation as a breach of trust. “The US justifies everything as being part of the fight against terrorism. But the EU and its diplomats are not terrorists. We need a guarantee from the very highest level that it stops immediately.”
A spokesperson for the European Commission in Brussels said officials had been in contact with US authorities in Washington, DC, and in Brussels and “have confronted them with the press reports. They have told us they are checking on the accuracy of the information released yesterday and will come back to us. We will make no further comments at this stage.”
German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, who has been sharply critical of the US since the beginning of the Prism scandal, was furious on Sunday. “If media reports are correct, then it is reminiscent of methods used by enemies during the Cold War,” she said in a statement emailed to the media. “It defies belief that our friends in the US see the Europeans as their enemies. There has to finally be an immediate and comprehensive explanation from the US as to whether media reports about completely unacceptable surveillance measures of the US in the EU are true or not. Comprehensive spying on Europeans by Americans cannot be allowed.”
Elmar Brok, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in European Parliament added his opprobrium. “The spying has reached dimensions that I didn’t think were possible for a democratic country. Such behavior among allies is intolerable.” The US, he added, once the land of the free, “is suffering from a security syndrome,” added Brok, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats. “They have completely lost all balance. George Orwell is nothing by comparison.”
“It is unacceptable when European diplomats and politicians are spied on in their day-to-day activities,” said Manfred Weber, deputy head and security expert for the European People’s Party, an amalgam of European center-right parties in European Parliament. “Our confidence has been shaken.” Weber is a member of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s CDU.
‘Our Trust Is at Stake’
A further Merkel ally in European Parliament, Markus Ferber, accused the US on Sunday of using methods akin to the feared East German secret police, the Stasi. Like Weber, Ferber is a member of the CSU. “A democratic constitutional state that uses Stasi methods sacrifices all credibility as a moral authority,” Ferber told the German daily Die Welt on Sunday. “It has destroyed trust.”
Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian prime minister and currently head of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, added: “This is absolutely unacceptable and must be stopped immediately. The American data collection mania, shown publicly with SWIFT and hidden with Prism, has achieved another quality by spying on EU officials and their meetings. Our trust is at stake.”
Green Party officials in Brussels are demanding far-reaching consequences. “This is meltdown of the constitutional state,” said Jan Philipp Albrecht, a Green Party representative in European Parliament. The NSA engaged in nothing less than “espionage against democratic countries and their institutions,” he added. Albrecht was deeply involved in negotiating the EU’s own policies on data privacy. He said that no one is safe from surveillance anymore and demanded that the EU open proceedings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Green Party floor leader in European Parliament Daniel Cohn-Bendit went even further. “A simple note of protest is not enough anymore. The EU must immediately suspend negotiations with the US over a free trade agreement,” he said. “First, we need a deal on data protection so that something like this never happens again. Only then can we resume (free-trade) negotiations.”
Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Brok isn’t willing to go quite that far, though he does allow that the free trade deal is endangered. “How are you supposed to negotiate when you have to worry that your negotiating positions were intercepted,” he asked.
The spying revelations also look as though they could become an issue in the German election campaign. Peer Steinbrück, the Social Democratic challenger to Merkel, demanded that the chancellor investigate. “The government must clear up the facts as quickly as possible,” Steinbrück told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “If the accusations are confirmed, it would go far beyond legitimate security concerns. That would mean that friends and partners were spied on. That would be completely unacceptable.”
The targeting of EU representations marks a further expansion of the data surveillance scandal that has surrounded the NSA in recent weeks. New details about Prism and additional surveillance programs have continually come to light thanks to whistleblower Snowden. The British secret service agency GCHQ has a similar spying program called Tempora, according to Snowden, which monitors Internet and telephone connections across the globe.
The US has thus far declined to respond to the revelations printed in SPIEGEL. “I can’t comment,” Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told journalists on Saturday in Pretoria, according to the German news agency DPA.
With reporting by Veit Medick
US green activists urged European trade negotiators on Wednesday not to weaken environmental and food standards in Washington talks on a transatlantic free-trade agreement: here.
Beware of plans for a transatlantic trade and investment pact, warns STEVE MCGIFFEN, because it could mark a disastrous downshift in our living standards and democratic rights: here.
- Report: NSA Spied On European Union Offices, Networks (reuters.com)
- NSA Spied On EU Diplomats In Washington, NY And Brussels – Report (eurasiareview.com)
- EU anger at ‘disgusting’ reports American spies bugged its offices (metro.co.uk)
- Violating privacy: EU demands ‘full clarification’ over NSA spying! (truthaholics.wordpress.com)
- EU demands ‘full clarification’ over NSA spying on European diplomats, warns of severe impact on relations (rt.com)
- New Snowden Leaks: US Bugged, Spied on EU Offices (newser.com)
- EU alarm over US bugging claim (updatednews.ca)
At the end of May bird conservation experts met in Tunis at the Week on Conservation of Birds to identify ways forward to tackle illegal killing of birds. During the event, BirdLife Europe Partners shared best practices on key issues, such as bird poisoning, law enforcement measures and awareness strategies. The focus of the conference, organised by CMS and the Council of Europe, was to identify specific actions and priorities to work on, with the goal of ensuring the recovery of especially migratory birds protected by the CMS and Bern Convention.
Attendants reinforced their position on minimizing migratory bird poisoning, considered as “the one cause that probably has the highest conservation impact”, as Willem Van den Bossche, Nature Conservation Officer at BirdLife Europe stated at the meeting.
On the same subject, SEO (BirdLife in Spain) presented the outcomes of the LIFE+ project VENENO, which is bringing governmental authorities, environmental police and NGOs together. The project aims to fight against poisoned baits, identified as one of the main reasons behind migratory bird deaths, together with rodenticides, lead, veterinary drugs and insecticides.
The participants at the Week on Conservation of Birds prepared a draft action plan to reduce the illegal killing of birds. “When approved and linked to the EU roadmap towards eliminating illegal killing, trapping and trade of wild birds this will be a good tool to measure progress and results of the actions and to strengthen cooperation between stakeholders within the whole flyway of migratory birds”, says Willem Van den Bossche. In that sense, the Bern Convention, a treaty which recognises that European wildlife and habitats need to be preserved and handed on to future generations, is seen as “an opportunity for North African countries which are parties to the Convention to cooperate and protect important bird areas for migrating birds by including them in the Emerald Network, a network similar to Natura 2000 but outside the EU for protecting nature sites”, stresses Claudia Feltrup-Azafzaf, Executive Director at Association “Les Amis des Oiseaux” (AAO) – BirdLife in Tunisia.
At the conference BirdLife Cyprus explained its experience on taking cases into courts to prove that mistnets and limesticks are threatening many migrant birds travelling through the island, and insisted on promoting institutional collaboration and pushing law enforcement to address the issue. Another example was provided by BirdLife Malta. In Malta the law enforcement of illegal trapping and killing of protected birds still needs to be enhanced.
Effects of windfarms and powerlines on migratory birds were also analysed during the meeting. The research info and guidelines that will be produced in the follow-up of this conference will be extremely useful to ensure the zero tolerance approach to illegal killing all parties agree on.
- World Migratory Bird Day this weekend (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Coffee, Conservation and Urban Birds: Meet Julie Craves (howardmeyerson.com)
- Environmental group marks bird migration day (gulfnews.com)
- Protecting migratory birds (jsonline.com)
- Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day (local-news.jtn-network.com)
- Migratory birds move wintering area (standard.co.uk)
- International Migratory Bird Day – May 11, 2013 (naturalhistorywanderings.com)
- Celebrate migratory birds this Saturday at Trempealeau refuge (winonadailynews.com)