Good Indian elephant news

This video from India says about itself:

Gajraj, A story of the Asian Elephant

26 March 2012

The largest of land mammals GAJRAJ, as the elephant is popularly known in India, is inseparably woven with the culture, history & tradition and symbolizes strength, prosperity and wisdom.

This film shot in the idyllic surrounding of the Jim Corbett National Park, typical elephant country, takes viewers through the elephant’s natural history- from its evolution 55 million years ago to its present distribution and depicts its physiology & ecology and also talks of history, of gestation & mortality, of domestication & conservation and about poaching for ivory.

From Wildlife Extra:

Indian elephant corridor restored in Meghalaya state

Indian elephants will benefit from a new wildlife corridor

Indian elephants are one step closer to being able to travel freely from the Emangre Reserve Forest to the Rewak Reserve Forest in Meghalaya state. These forests in the south Garo Hills are home to more than 1,000 elephants, and protecting them and allowing them to move freely across the region has become increasingly important in recent years. The principal occupation of the area is agriculture and elephants are troublesome visitors to the Garo villages as they raid crops and cause damage to fencing and other infrastructure. The villagers have to mount 24-hour guards and can retaliate with firecrackers to scare the elephants.

Over past few years Meghalaya has been creating what are called ‘elephant corridors’, which help to keep the animals away from the villages, and allow them to live natural lives, interacting with other elephants in other forests and reserves.

Currently there is a corridor between Siju Wildlife Sanctuary and Rewak Reserve Forest. The new corridor will increase the elephants’ range and will eventually connect with a network stretching across the country.

An elephant corridor is roughly defined as a stretch of forested (or otherwise) land that is protected from expansion of human settlements, cultivation and mining, and that links larger habitats and forms a conduit for animal movement between them. The Meghalayan corridors will eventually help enhance species survival and birth rate.

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My blog in 2013, Happy 2014 for everyone!

This video from India is called Happy New Year Animated Greetings 2014.

A happy New Year for all visitors of Dear Kitty. Some Blog!

Looking back at 2013 on this blog, WordPress has some statistics about it (not entirely complete, as 2013 is almost over, but not really over yet …).

In 2011, when my blog moved to WordPress, it had 1,026 visits (December 2011, when my blog moved, only).

In 2012, Dear Kitty. Some blog had 126,301 visits.

And in this year, 2013, 225,318 visits so far.

Indian court re-activates British colonial anti-LGBTQ law

This video is called Indian LGBT activists protest against gay sex ban.

By Kranti Kumara in India:

India’s Supreme Court re-criminalizes homosexuality

28 December 2013

India’s Supreme Court has struck down a 2009 Delhi High Court ruling that declared unconstitutional a section of the Indian penal code, adopted in 1860, that criminalized private consensual sex among gay men and women, as well as some sexual acts between men and women. As a result of the Supreme Court ruling, men and women alleged to have engaged in homosexual acts can be arrested and prosecuted and, if found guilty, could be liable to life imprisonment.

The ruling upholding the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was issued by a two-judge panel of the Supreme Court in response to a legal challenge to the Delhi High Court ruling launched by Hindu, Muslim, and Christian groups.

In affirming the constitutionality of Section 377 and its claim that homosexual acts are “against the order of nature,” India’s highest court is encouraging unbridled anti-homosexual bigotry on the part of backward social layers. It is also exposing India’s gays to the danger of harassment, arrest, and blackmail from India’s police, which are notorious for their corruption and use of arbitrary beatings and torture.

That such dangers are far from hypothetical was strikingly displayed by a September raid mounted by Andhra Pradesh police on a party of gay men. Although the Delhi High Court ruling had made Section 377 inoperative, the police justified their raid in the name of stopping “illegal and obscene” acts.

In Malaysia, a similar provision—based on the colonialist British Indian penal code and also known as Section 377—was used by Malaysian authorities to jail the former deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, after he had a falling out with the country’s longtime prime minister, Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamed.

Section 377 was included in the Penal Code imposed on India by British colonial authorities in the early 1860s, as London sought to strengthen its control in the aftermath of the 1857-58 “Mutiny,” a mass rebellion against British rule that engulfed much of northern India.

In addition to proscribing homosexual acts, Section 377 declared a long list of heterosexual acts, including oral sex, criminal.

In 2009, the Delhi High Court, invoking as legal precedent court-rulings in several western countries, found this Victorian-era, colonialist law to be in violation of articles 14, 15 and 21 of India’s constitution, which guarantee equality before law, prohibition against discrimination, and protection of life and personal liberty.

In striking down the Delhi High Court decision, the two-justice Supreme Court panel advanced the specious claim that Section 377 could not be found to be discriminatory because it does not exclusively target homosexuals, since it also outlaws some sexual acts between heterosexuals.

“It is relevant to mention here,” wrote Justice Sanghvi, “that Section 377 … does not criminalize a particular people or identity or orientation. It merely identifies certain acts, which if committed, would constitute an offence. Such prohibition regulates sexual conduct regardless of gender identity and orientation.”

In other words, India’s highest court continues to insist that the state has the legal-constitutional power to regulate the private sexual activities of consenting adults, including declaring some activities criminal.

Knowing full well that their decision would be met with widespread opposition and outrage, the Supreme Court justices said parliament has the legislative power to eliminate Section 377. In the context of their ruling, however, this admission only serves to underline their upholding of the state’s power to regulate consensual sexual activity.

Four years ago, the Delhi High Court ruling was widely hailed by both Indian and international gay rights organizations and much of the corporate media. They were euphoric over the fact that the judgment finally removed the stigma associated with homosexuality in a country where the ruling elite has long encouraged and buttressed sexual repression to the point where heterosexuals kissing in public or on the cinema screen is condemned.

However, India’s judiciary, as the Supreme Court ruling over Section 377 has again demonstrated, is no ally in the fight to extend democratic rights. On the contrary, over the last two decades and in lockstep with the Indian bourgeoisie’s turn ever further to the right, open celebration of mounting social inequality and demand for the abolition of all regulatory impediments on profit-making, India’s Supreme Court has issued one reactionary judgment after another—judgments in which the court has pandered to Hindu fundamentalists and communalist reaction and attacked the democratic rights of the working class.

To recall just a few of the most significant:

By refusing to take a firm stand against violent Hindu fundamentalists, the court essentially countenanced the 1992 destruction of the Babri Masjid (mosque) in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh—an act that provoked the worst communal bloodletting in Indian since Partition. The senior leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), especially then party leader L.K. Advani, openly exhorted mobs of communalists to raze the historic mosque; yet to this day none of the BJP leaders and their allies in the leadership of the Hindu supremacist VHP and RSS have been called to account for violating the Court’s own injunction prohibiting any attack on the Masjid.

Three years later, the Supreme Court bestowed a stamp of respectability on Hindutva, the termed coined by the Hindu supremacist ideologue V.D. Savarkar and used by the BJP and its allied organizations to refer to their noxious communalist ideology. The court claimed that Hindutva was not at odds with the secular values propounded in India’s constitution; it merely signifies a broader “Indian culture” that supposedly subsumes Muslim, Sikh, Christian and other minority religions.

Giving credence to religious mumbo-jumbo, the court in 2007 claimed that the natural chain of limestone shoals between the coast of India and Sri Lanka could have been “built by the ancients” in a case concerning a plan to deepen the channel between the two countries so as to facilitate shipping. The VHP (World Hindu Council) had been agitating against the project, not because of the environmental damage it would cause, but on the grounds that the limestone shoals were in fact a bridge built by an army of monkeys as depicted in the Hindu mythical classic Ramayana and hence “holy”.

India’s Supreme Court has also repeatedly issued authoritarian judgments. In 2003 it sanctioned the Tamil Nadu government’s efforts to break a state employees’ strike through mass arrests and firings, ruling that public sector workers have no right to strike. In 2007, it declared “bandhs”—24- or 48-hour political general strikes—illegal.

That same year, it issued a sweeping ban on protests and even public debate concerning the dangers shipyard workers would be subjected to if they were made to dismantle the toxic-laden, retired French aircraft carrier Clemenceau. [See HYPERLINK Indian Supreme Court imposes sweeping ban on public debate on toxic warship]

Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of Section 377 and re-criminalizing homosexuality has been hailed by the Official Opposition BJP and by various religious organizations including Muslim and Christian groups.

The behavior of India’s Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition government has, on the other hand, been utterly dishonest and duplicitous.

While the government reacted with silence to the 2009 Delhi High Court ruling, Congress Party leaders, including party President Sonia Gandhi, her son and the presumptive Congress Prime Ministerial candidate, Rahul Gandhi, and Finance Minister Chidambaram have all criticized the Supreme Court decision. But the government has no intention of legislating Section 377 out of existence, fearing such action might damage its electoral chances. Instead, it intends to mount a legal challenge, appealing for the Supreme Court to rehear the case, a process that could drag on for years, during which Section 377 will remain in force. Moreover, given the court’s long record of sanctioning attacks on democratic rights and pandering to the Hindu right there is no guarantee whatsoever that the whole court will not endorse the reactionary ruling of the two-judge panel.

This ambivalent response is in keeping with the two-faced attitude that the Congress and the government have taken all along. The UPA’s Additional Solicitor-General, P.P. Malhotra, argued before the Supreme Court that as per the government homosexual sex is “highly immoral and against the social order” and furthermore it is “against nature and spreads HIV”.

Only after a firestorm of criticism from gay activists and politically liberal commentators did the UPA backtrack and claim that Malhotra’s statement did not reflect the government’s views.

Indian High Court Criminalizes Homosexuality: here.

Utah Plans To Spend $2 Million In Taxpayer Dollars To Defend Anti-Gay Discrimination: here.

Accused Bahraini diplomat leaves India

This video is called How Bahrain police arrest children, and how they release them.

There are not only problems with representatives of the Bahraini absolute monarchy inside Bahrain, but abroad as well.

From PTI news agency in India:

Bahrain envoy booked for molestation and threat leaves India

Saturday, Dec 28, 2013, 21:06 IST

Consul General of Bahrain, Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Khaja, facing two cases for allegedly molesting and threatening the Manager of a housing society in the city where he stayed, has left the country, police said today.

“Khaja left the country last night. He returned to his country apparently before his tenure as the Consul General got over,” a senior police officer told PTI.

Additional Police Commissioner Krishna Prakash said Khaja has left but refused to divulge further details. The city police accordingly shared the development with the state government which subsequently informed the department concerned in Delhi.

A case has been filed against the diplomat on a complaint by the Manager of the housing society on Napean Sea Road in south Mumbai. Khaja stayed on the fourth floor of the society building. The Manager, a woman, had early this month lodged a police complaint accusing Khaja of molesting her.

According to another complaint, the Bahraini diplomat came to the society office on Thursday and was talking to its Chairman when he reportedly pointed a finger at the Manager, abused and threatened to kill her.

The 49-year-old victim had earlier said Khaja lost his cool after one of the elevators of the building was shut for repairs on December 9. He was slamming the door of the elevator when she saw him and requested him to maintain his cool. However, Khaja did not stop and ransacked the office in a fit of rage, police said, quoting the complainant.

The victim alleged Khaja had touched her and used abusive language during the commotion. She approached the Malabar Hill Police which conducted a preliminary inquiry and registered a complaint. However, police did not arrest the envoy as he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Police said Khaja had allegedly tried to create a ruckus again on December 20 in the building where he had been staying for the last five years.

The Bahrain Medics — The Torture Case That Won’t Go Away: here.

A dispute between Washington and New Delhi triggered by the mid-December arrest and intrusive body search of a senior Indian diplomat appears to have reached an uneasy and incomplete resolution with Devyani Khobragade’s effective expulsion from the US: here.

Indian circus elephants to nature reserves

This video says about itself:

The largest of land mammals GAJRAJ, as the elephant is popularly known in India, is inseparably woven with the culture, history & tradition and symbolizes strength, prosperity and wisdom.

This film shot in the idyllic surrounding of the Jim Corbett National Park, typical elephant country, takes viewers through the elephant‘s natural history- from its evolution 55 million years ago to its present distribution and depicts its physiology & ecology and also talks of history, of gestation & mortality, of domestication & conservation and about poaching for ivory.

From Wildlife Extra:

The end of the show for India’s elephants

November 2013: The sight of elephants languishing in circuses and zoos in India are to be a thing of the past according to the country’s Central Zoo Authority (CZA). The CZA has issued a notice to zoo authorities stating that their elephants should be sent to national parks, sanctuaries or reserves with immediate effect and that these measures would also apply to circus animals.

It is estimated that there are about 140 elephants in zoos and circuses in India. The directive is reported to state that zoos and circuses are “not the best places for large animals” which “require a large area to move about freely”.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of Animal Defenders International, said: “This is a fantastic step towards animal protection in India. Elephants are intelligent, social animals that need a large amount of space, a natural social network and a great deal of stimulation. Our investigations have shown time after time that wild animals such as elephants suffer greatly in captivity, especially under the impoverished conditions provided by travelling circuses. The temporary and transient nature of circuses means that even with the best will in the world, circuses cannot provide animals with adequate facilities to keep them physically or psychologically healthy. Welfare is always compromised.”

Saving wetlands and their wildlife

This video from the USA says about itself:

(Recorded in 1989) A wacky and entertaining video featuring Bill Nye “The Science Guy” talking about the importance of wetlands. Produced by the Washington State Department of Ecology with funds from the National Oceanic Administration (NOAA) under the Coastal Zone Management Act.

From the University of Essex in England today:

Helping protect the world’s wetland landscapes

23 minutes ago

Action to help preserve some of the world’s most valuable ecosystems is behind a major international project, led by the University of Essex.

The culmination of the five-year project has been the development of an integrated action planning toolkit on wetland conservation and management, which can be adapted to help provide bespoke solutions to protect valuable ecosystems around the globe.

Launched today at events in China, India and Vietnam, the Wetland Resources Action Planning (WRAP) toolkit offers researchers, technical planners and policymakers a systematic approach to conserve and to sustainably manage wetland ecosystems and biodiversity. …

This major initiative focused on highlands in Asia as they often harbor endemic species not found elsewhere or species threatened with extinction globally, such as the marbled eel in China and the golden mahseer and snow trout in India. What is concerning environmentalists is that these valuable ecosystems are increasingly under pressure from deforestation, land-use change, overfishing, flooding and worsening climate change impacts.

Dutch government sued for NSA spying collaboration

This video is called Edward Snowden, A Truth Unveiled (Documentary).

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Government indicted for espionage by the USA

Update: Wednesday, 6 Nov 2013, 13:26

[Home Affairs] Minister Plasterk is sued by a group of citizens and organizations, including the Dutch Association of Journalists, the Association of Penal Law lawyers and cyber activist Rop Gonggrijp. This is because of the spying by the U.S. government.

Plasterk said last month that the [United States] NSA intercepted data of 1.8 million Dutch telephone conversations. The plaintiffs say that the data will end up with the [Dutch secret service] AIVD, because of the coöperation between the Netherlands and the U.S.

“By using NSA data Plasterk is laundering data obtained illegally,” say the plaintiffs.

The US administration has responded to the spying revelations by insisting that the programs will go forward, and intensifying its campaign against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: here.

The Indonesian government is threatening to wind back intelligence sharing with Australia and the United States after revelations last week, based on leaked documents provided by Edward Snowden, that their embassies in Jakarta were used as electronic listening posts for the US National Security Agency (NSA): here.

Revealed: Australia tried to monitor Indonesian president’s phone: here.

Australian PM to Indonesia: We’re not sorry over snooping: here.

Clemency for Torturers, but Not for Edward Snowden. Why pardoning the whistleblower would be more moral and legal than Team Obama’s treatment of Bush-era interrogators: here.

Tim Berners-Lee: encryption cracking by spy agencies ‘appalling and foolish’. Inventor of world wide web calls for debate about ‘dysfunctional and unaccountable’ oversight of NSA and GCHQ: here.

Britain: Following the furore surrounding US and British global espionage, PADDY MCGUFFIN turns the spotlight on the decades-long activities of the US spy base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire: here.

NSA’s Vast Surveillance Powers Extend Far Beyond Counterterrorism, Despite Misleading Government Claims: here.

India’s Congress Party-led government has failed to make any official protest to Washington over revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has made India—including Indian government officials and diplomatic missions—a major target of its illegal spying operations: here.

Britain: 18-year-olds recruited to be next generation of spies: it’s time we re-thought ‘graduate’ employment: here.