European bison going back to Romania


This video from Ireland says about itself:

European Bison leaving Fota Wildlife park for the wilds of Romania

28 April 2014

Fota Wildlife Park, working in partnership with the Aspinall foundation and three animal parks in the UK, has successfully translocated six European bison to the wild in Romania as part of a conservation effort to save Europe’s largest land mammal from extinction.

From Wildlife Extra:

European bison to be reintroduced in Romania

Two hundred years after going extinct in the area, 20 European bison will finally be brought back to the Tarcu Mountains in Romania as part of the biggest European bison reintroduction and transportation plan so far.

The 20 will be joined later in the summer by a further 10. as part of Rewilding Europe’s plan to establish wild herds across the continent.

Initially, the bison will be released into an acclimatisation zone (±15 ha). Then they will be let into an adjoining re-wilding zone (±160 ha), where the animals will be given the opportunity to ‘re-wild’ and to learn necessary survival skills for life in nature, and also form a solid social herd structure. In early September they will be released into the wild and become the first free roaming bison since the 18th century.

The location where the animals will be released is part of the vast and wild Tarcu Mountains Natura 2000 site, which is some 59,000 hectares in total. Once released to the protected zone, the area will be managed by natural grazing by the bison and other herbivores.

See also here.

Dutch Vroege Vogels radio said on 18 May 2014 that there are now 5,000 European bison worldwide, including 3,500 in the wild. Still, dangers for this species are not over yet.

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Bring Tony Blair to justice


This satirical music video is called Bush & Blair’s Christmas Song – ‘Kill the World’. It says about itself:

Mad U.S President George W. Bush and grinning Prime Minister Tony Blair sing their own rendition of Band Aid’s 80′s hit ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’.

By Chris Proctor in Britain:

It’s never too late for justice

Friday 9th May 2014

Last week it was Gerry Adams who was being held for questioning by the police. But CHRIS PROCTOR can think of someone far more appropriate to be spending some time in the cells

Last week a Belfast man was being held in a police station, interrogated for days on end under suspicion of being involved in the death of a woman. He denied the charges.

At the same time an Edinburgh gent was strolling round the globe as free as a market, picking up vast amounts of money for making the odd speech — some very odd, like a peace envoy calling for military action — and being generally feted. He cheerfully claims his involvement in the deaths of tens of thousands of people.

When it comes to responsibility for murder, it seems that big is beautiful.

I don’t know the details of Gerry Adams’s alleged involvement in the tragic and unnecessary death of Jean McConville but I do know what motivated him politically.

He believed his country to be occupied by a foreign power and his community to have suffered discrimination for centuries. He and his fellow republicans were prepared to risk their lives to drive an occupier out of their land.

On the other hand, I do know the details of Tony Blair’s activities in persuading his sycophantic Cabinet and eventually compliant parliamentary party politicians to invade Iraq, but I’m still not sure what motivated him. There are too many contradictions.

At the start we were told that our troops landed in Iraq because the Baghdad government was in possession of weapons of mass destruction.

There were two flaws in this argument. One, that the UN investigators had failed to find any because there weren’t any. And two, if Blair and his cronies were opposed to WMD, why did they like Trident?

It’s difficult to argue that Trident isn’t a weapon of mass destruction, given that each warhead has an explosive power of up to 100 kilotons of conventional high explosive.

CND points out that this is eight times the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, killing almost a quarter of a million people. And we’ve got 40 of them. Call me old-fashioned, but I’d say that constituted weapons of mass destruction.

The difference, to Blair and his cohorts, was obvious. The British control Trident, and we will naturally be responsible with powerful weapons. Innately untrustworthy foreigners cannot be allowed them.

It stems from the same conviction of superiority that Cromwell had when he invaded Ireland and drew up the 1653 Act of Settlement, a law which basically legalised English land theft on the island.

In order to protect the thieves, Ireland needed to be occupied by the military — and strangely enough they resented it, from the Whiteboys to the Provisionals. But while Adams saw his role as seeking to remove imperialists, Blair was one.

His vision is every country a Christian, Western-style representative government. And while he wasn’t prepared to die for this ideal, he was certainly prepared to kill for it.

About 655,000 Iraqis died from March 2003 to June 2006 because of the invasion, according to the Lancet. And last month hundreds died in attacks linked to elections taking place in the country.

One thing that is similar between our globe-trotting fee-pocketing peace envoy and the arrested Irish republican is that they both have friends in the United States.

Blair was frequently on his knees with George Bush regardless of whether they were praying. And then there are chums like billionaire media tycoon Haim Saban who coughed up $1 million for one of Cherie Blair’s charities, and more than a couple of bob to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in the US.

Adams’s US chums are largely of a different calibre. And class. And, of course, income group.

The pair share more serious things, like bombings and shootings. Adams has seen internment, he’s been shot in the neck, shoulder and arm, he has lived believing he had “a 90 per cent chance of being assassinated” and he has experience of the security forces in action — as when they knew in advance of the Ulster Defence Association attack on his car in 1984, but didn’t actually stop it.

Blair has also had contact with shooting, intelligence services and prison without trial. He has ordered them.

Adams and Blair met up in 1998 when Blair arrived in Belfast to deliver the Good Friday Agreement.

Peter Hain had done most of the work but Blair was never a man in the background when it came to photographers, television cameras or soundbites.

He let Hain carry his bag while he gave everything, and everyone, his official blessing.

Blair aide Jonathan Powell wrote a book in 2008 — now available in most charity shops — in which he claimed that this meeting led to a “close personal relationship” between the prime minister and the arrested Ulster man.

He says Adams rang Blair to sympathise over police investigations into the “cash for honours” scandal of 2006 which at one time looked as if Blair might face criminal charges.

Well, it’s never too late, in my view. Bang Blair up, I say.

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Torture of Irish-trained doctors in Bahrain


This video from Australian TV says about itself:

Bahrain doctors .. jailed for treatment

30 Sep, 2011

Doctors in the Gulf state of Bahrain have been jailed for treating pro-democracy demonstrators.

From Front Line Defenders:

2014/5/8

Torture of Irish-Trained Doctors Raised With Visiting Bahraini Delegation

The imprisonment and torture of doctors, militarisation of healthcare services and sectarian discrimination in public sector employment were among the issues raised today with visiting representatives of the Bahraini parliament.

Senator Averil Power (FF), Professor Damian McCormack, Professor Eoin O’Brien and Mary Lawlor, head of Front Line Defenders met with the Bahraini representatives in Leinster House.

Professors McCormack and O’Brien expressed their horror at the way their medical colleagues had been imprisoned by the Bahraini government simply for treating anti-government protesters in 2011. While some of the doctors have since been released, others, including Dr Ali Al Ekri, who trained in RCSI Dublin, are still in prison.

Mary Lawlor from Front Line Defenders raised the continued imprisonment of peaceful protesters in Bahrain, including , Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, Nabeel Rajab and Naji Fateel. She also highlighted the fact that the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has been denied access to Bahrain amid concerns that detainees continue to be subjected to torture there.

Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Education Senator Averil Power expressed concern about the training and work environment for students and staff of the Bahrain campus of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She referred to medics being denied jobs simply because they are Shia rather than Sunni, while those who are given employment have to work in a militarized environment.

The Irish delegation welcomed the agreement by the Bahraini representatives that medical staff should not have been imprisoned and urged them to use their influence to have the remaining doctors and human rights activists released immediately. They also welcomed an invitation to return to Bahrain and follow up on their 2011 visit.

In itself, it is positive that the delegation of the Bahraini shura council admits “that medical staff should not have been imprisoned”. However, in the Bahraini absolute monarchy that shura council is not a real parliament, but a puppet parliament boycotted by the opposition because of government absolutism. It would be real progress if the Bahraini royal government would admit “that medical staff should not have been imprisoned” and would act upon that today and in the future.

Critics claim Irish visit to Bahrain medical university will be stage-managed: here.

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Bahrain and Ireland


This video is called The Bahrain Center for Human Rights.

From Front Line Defenders:

Posted 2014/5/7

Bahraini Delegation in Ireland

The PR and the cover up is not working, it is time to release human rights defenders from prison and engage seriously in a reform process,” will be the message Mary Lawlor, Executive Director of Front Line Defenders gives to representatives of the Bahraini Shura Council today during their visit to Ireland.

Mary Lawlor will also call specifically for the release of former colleague Abdulhadi Alkhawaja and Irish trained surgeon Dr Ali Al Ekri.

Representatives of the Bahraini Shura Council are in Ireland for a series of meetings with a range of political figures including Minister Joe Costello TD. They will meet today with members of the Irish Medical Delegation who visited Bahrain in July 2011 including Professor Damian McCormack, Professor Eoin O’Brien and Senator Averil Power as well as with Mary Lawlor on behalf of Front Line Defenders. The Bahraini representatives met yesterday with the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI).

Abdulhadi Alkhawaja is the former Protection Coordinator for Front Line Defenders (2008-11) who provided support to human rights defenders at risk across the Middle East and North Africa. He left Front Line Defenders in March 2011 in order to support peaceful efforts for human rights and democracy in Bahrain. He was arrested on 9 April 2011 and tortured so badly that he required reconstructive surgery on his jaw. He is currently serving a life sentence after an unfair trial. Abdulhadi Alkhawaja is the founder and former President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.

Dr Ali Al Ekri, aged 45, is a senior consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon who is currently serving a five year sentence in prison in Bahrain following torture and an unfair trial. Dr Al Ekri was imprisoned because he treated wounded and dying protesters and told the media about evidence of torture and gunshot wounds. He completed his postgraduate training in Dublin, Ireland (1999-2002) at the RCSI. He was initially arrested from the operating theatre of Salmaniya, the hospital where he worked. He volunteered to provide medical help in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, and upon his return was recognized by the King of Bahrain for his “brave act for all of Bahrain.”

Critics claim Irish visit to Bahrain medical university will be stage-managed. One Irish-trained doctor remains in Bahraini prison following treatment of 2011 protesters: here.

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Anti-Polish xenophobic crime in Northern Ireland


This is a video about Combat 18, a British neo-nazi terrorist organisation responsible for much violence in Northern Ireland.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Poland’s envoy concerned by attacks on Polish families in east Belfast

Jerome Mullan to hold talks with Police Service of Northern Ireland over rise in assaults and hate crimes

Henry McDonald

Monday 5 May 2014 20.07 BST

Poland‘s diplomatic representative to Northern Ireland has expressed concern over a spike in xenophobic attacks on Polish families in Belfast.

The Polish consul is to hold talks with the Police Service of Northern Ireland on Tuesday over the rise in assaults and hate crimes directed at the Polish population in the city. Three homes where Polish families lived were attacked in east Belfast over the weekend with windows smashed and graffiti sprayed on hoardings with the words “locals only”.

The PSNI has blamed the Ulster Volunteer Force for orchestrating the attacks which have also been directed at Africans and Romanians in recent months.

According to police figures there has been a 40% in increase in race and hate crimes in the region but mainly focused on greater Belfast.

In response the PSNI has set up Operation Orion, a new police unit that will target those behind hate crimes.

Jerome Mullan, the Polish consul, condemned those responsible for the attacks.

“The families are frightened and they don’t understand why this has happened to them I’m concerned about where we are going and we have to get it stopped,” he said.

“It is very sad when you have these continued attacks taking place, they’ve been going on for far too long now.”

Polish community worker Eva Grossman said: “Yet again Northern Ireland is gaining the reputation as the hate crime capital of Europe.”

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Racist crime in Northern Ireland


This video is called Racist Hate Crime in Northern Ireland.

From UTV in Northern Ireland:

15-strong gang carry out racist attack

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A man has lost two teeth after he and two others were targeted in a racist attack in east Belfast.

Two men in their early 20s and a 19-year-old woman, all from Eastern Europe, were assaulted by a gang of around 15 people at waste ground near Lawnmount Street on Monday between 9pm and 9.30pm.

The gang – which included one woman – assaulted the victims with golf clubs leaving them with bruising and cuts, while one man lost two teeth.

Police are treating it as a race hate crime and are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the attack to contact them on the new non-emergency number 101.

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Irish and British rare bird news


This video is called Red-rumped Swallow sunbathing and preening on a tree.

Here is another red-rumped swallow video.

From Rare Bird Alert in Britain:

Sunday 20th April 2014

The third Sardinian Warbler for County Cork, and for Ireland, was discovered late morning today, in Scott’s Garden on Dursey Island, where it remained until late evening. Two Red-rumped Swallows spent the afternoon over the Cam Washes at Upware, Cambridgeshire, whilst one also flew over Felixstowe Docks, Suffolk. Two White-billed Divers were off the coast of Lewis, Western Isles and a Ferruginous Duck was on Lough Beg, County Derry.

Lingering rarities included the unringed Red-breasted Goose in Dumfries and Galloway, White-billed Diver in Aberdeenshire, Black Duck in County Mayo and Two-barred Crossbills in Yorkshire and Norfolk (three).

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