Stop British government deporting bisexual refugee


This video from Britain is called State of Limbo – Short Documentary; about refugee Orashia Edwards.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Asylum seeker threatened with deportation before judicial review

Tuesday 24th June 2014

IMMIGRATION officials are attempting to deport a Leeds asylum-seeker a week before a judicial review of his case is held.

Campaigners in the city have rallied to support Orashia Edwards, 32, a Jamaican who fled his own country after being persecuted for being bisexual.

He settled in Leeds and applied for asylum. He has won many friends and carried out campaigning work in the city.

But asylum has been refused. He was arrested on June 12 and granted bail. The judicial review has been set for July 9 but Mr Edwards has been issued with “removal directions” for July 2.

Leeds No Borders group has mounted regular protests and demonstrations in his support and is urging campaigners to take action, including by protesting to British Airways. Details are available on the Leeds No Borders website.

The next protest against Mr Edwards’s deportation will be held outside Leeds town hall at 4.30pm on Thursday.

GAY, lesbian, bi and transsexual activists condemned “Ukipisation” of British politics yesterday as they kicked off a campaign against migrant discrimination: here.

Reggae message: We don’t need no more trouble. . . Bob Marley


Originally posted on JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba:

…Make love and not war!
‘Cause we don’t need no trouble.

What we need is love (love)
To guide and protect us on. (on)
Help the weak if you are strong now. (love)…
…we don’t need no more war, no more trouble
No more trouble – we don’t need no more – more trouble!

Bob Marley

No More Trouble

bob marley 30(We don’t need) No, we don’t need (no more trouble) no more trouble!
(We don’t need no more trouble)

Wo! Oh-oh-oh!
(We don’t need) We don’t need no (no more) trouble!
We don’t need no trouble!

(We don’t need no more trouble)
Make love and not war! ‘Cause we don’t need no trouble.
What we need is love (love)
To guide and protect us on. (on)
If you hope good down from above, (love)
Help the weak if you are strong now. (love)

View original 190 more words

Manatees’ ancestors discovery


A reconstruction of the early sirenian Pezosiren. Photo by Thesupermat, image from Wikipedia

From Smart News blog:

January 18, 2013 2:44 pm

Sea Cows Used To Walk on Land in Africa And Jamaica

Sea cows, also known as manatees, were not always the Florida-dwelling gentle giants of the sea that they are today. In fact, they once walked on land. Their 48-million-year-old ancestor, Pezosiren, ran all over prehistoric Jamaica and resembled a hippo at first glance. But sea cows also share ancestry with elephants, which first appeared in Africa around 66 million years ago. Paleontologists, however, have always drawn a blank on the evolutionary link between the manatee’s African and Jamaican relatives—until now. Researchers digging around in Tunisia found a skill fragment that fills the missing piece of the puzzle. National Geographic continues:

That might not seem like much to go on, yet the intricate, complicated features in this single bone allowed Benoit and coauthors to confirm that it belonged to a sirenian rather than an early elephant or hyrax. The researchers have wisely avoided naming the animal on the basis of such limited material. They simply call the mammal the Chambi sea cow.

The fact that the mammal lived in Africa confirms what zoologists and paleontologists suspected based upon genetics and anatomical traits shared with elephants and other paenungulates.

The bone is about 50 million years old. The researchers guess the animal it once belonged to resembled Pezosiren more than the modern sea cow, though the bone also hints that the Chambi manatee spent a lot of time in the water since the inner ear resembles that of whales.

The fossil, however, may raise more questions than provide answers. Like, if the Chambi manatee and the Jamaican one are about the same age, when did the dispersal event occur that first separated those animals? How did legged sea cows first make their way across the Atlantic? In the absence of other bones, what did the Chambi manatee look like? As NatGeo writes, paleontologists are slowly assembling the outline of how sea cows evolved, bone by bone.

See also here.

New butterfly species discovered on Jamaica


The newly discovered Jamaican butterfly, Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Jeff Gage

After earlier posts here and here on this blog about the natural beauty and the threats to it of Cockpit Country in Jamaica, now from ScienceDaily:

New Jamaica Butterfly Species Emphasizes Need for Biodiversity Research

(Dec. 3, 2012) — University of Florida scientists have co-authored a study describing a new Lepidoptera species found in Jamaica’s last remaining wilderness.

Belonging to the family of skipper butterflies, the new genus and species is the first butterfly discovered in Jamaica since 1995. Scientists hope the native butterfly will encourage conservation of the country’s last wilderness where it was discovered: the Cockpit Country. The study appearing in today’s Tropical Lepidoptera Research, a bi-annual print journal, underscores the need for further biodiversity research and establishing a baseline of organisms as more tropical areas suffer habitat destruction.

“My co-authors on this paper, Vaughn Turland and Delano Lewis, are really excited because they think this butterfly has the potential to be a new sort of flagship species for Jamaican habitat conservation, because it’s a black and gold butterfly living in a green habitat, which together comprise the Jamaican national colors,” said study co-author Andy Warren, senior collections manager at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus. “Whether or not a tiny little butterfly is going to attract the type of conservation interest that the giant Homerus Swallowtail in Jamaica has remains to be seen.”

With a wingspan of little more than 1 centimeter, Troyus turneri is about the size of a thumbnail with its wings spread, Warren said. The genus was named Troyus for the town of Troy, which is nearest to the region of the Cockpit Country where it was collected, and the species was named for Thomas Turner, an expert on Jamaica butterflies who contributed to its discovery.

Jamaica is considered one of the most thoroughly researched areas for butterflies in the Greater Antilles, which includes Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Until the discovery of T. turneri, researchers believed they knew all the butterflies in Jamaica, Warren said. The butterfly likely remained undiscovered for so long due to the inaccessible nature of the Cockpit Country, a 247-mile mostly undeveloped tangle of tropical vegetation. The species was described based on one male and one female specimen, collected in 2011 and 2012 within a quarter mile of each another.

“During 2011, after the discovery of the initial female specimen, we had actually written the description, but any time you have just a single specimen, the chance exists that it’s just a real freak of something else,” Warren said. “I was really keeping my fingers crossed that more specimens would be found this year. Well, we didn’t get many more, but we got exactly one more and it was the male, so that was a huge relief.”

The fact this new genus was discovered on an island thought to be well-known, 17 years after a new species had last been described, really shows the need for biodiversity studies, said Torben Larsen, a lepidopterist who specializes in skippers.

“There aren’t so many butterflies in the country [Jamaica] and for a new one to turn up, I think it was an absolutely remarkable catch,” said Larsen, who is affiliated with the African Butterfly Research Institute. “It really points to the need for continued and in-depth study of the fauna of butterflies, and in general, to get all of these things caught and put in a museum at least, because they do tend to be in rather special habitats.”

Unlike other Jamaica skipper butterflies that have wings marked with spots of white or orange, T. turneri is dark brown and unmarked, except for a pale yellow band on its hind wing. Researchers used morphological analysis, including comparisons of the insect’s genitalia, and DNA bar coding to determine it represented a new genus.

“We knew right away it was a new species because there’s just nothing else that looks like it, but it took several months to determine that it actually should go in its own new genus,” Warren said. “Of all the butterflies that are unique to Jamaica, this one is arguably the most unique — every other butterfly on the island has other congeneric species either on another island or on the mainland, but this one doesn’t have any close relatives anywhere.”

There are about 20,000 known butterfly species worldwide. Jamaica has 135, with 35 species endemic to the country, including T. turneri.

“One of the goals of biologists is to describe the Earth’s species richness before it’s all gone, and of course we never know what we’re going to find in any of these organisms, be it some unique chemical compound that could provide the cure for cancer or any other number of diseases,” Warren said. “We don’t want to lose anything that could be potentially beneficial for ourselves and for the planet.”

Hurricane Sandy in America, a ‘Frankenstorm’?


This video from the USA is called Hurricane Sandy Hits Jamaica on Path Toward Cuba, Florida.

The eastern US is bracing for Hurricane Sandy, which is expected to make landfall next week. The storm looks set to be a record-breaker, and could cause severe damage. New Scientist breaks down what we know about the storm, and what it is likely to do.

Hurricane Sandy’s Five-Fold Flood Threat, with Local Maps: here.

Hurricane Sandy and birds: here.

Sandy and Haiti: here.

Homophobic archbishop’s drunken driving


This video from the USA is called San Francisco Archbishop-elect in DUI Arrest.

From Reuters news agency today:

San Francisco archbishop-elect apologizes for drunken driving

By Ronnie Cohen

4 hrs ago

SAN FRANCISCO – The Roman Catholic bishop newly chosen by the Vatican to lead the archdiocese of San Francisco and two other Bay Area counties publicly apologized on Monday after he was arrested and held behind bars over the weekend on suspicion of drunken driving.

Salvatore Cordileone,

Cordileone? Sounds similar to Don Vito Corleone, the mafia boss in the Godfather film. Drunken driving may kill people; like the mafia kills people.

56, appointed in July by Pope Benedict XVI to preside over more than 500,000 Catholics as metropolitan archbishop of San Francisco, was taken into custody on Saturday near San Diego State University, according to the San Diego Police Department.

He was jailed on suspicion of driving under the influence after he was stopped at a police checkpoint and failed a field sobriety test, police spokesman Detective Gary Hassen said. The bishop was released on $2,500 bail, about 11 hours after his arrest, he said.

An arraignment in the case has been scheduled for October 9.

Cordileone is due to be installed at a special mass on October 4 as head of an archdiocese encompassing 91 parishes in San Francisco and the neighboring counties of San Mateo and Marin.

He is replacing Archbishop George Niederauer, who is retiring.

Cordileone has been particularly outspoken in church opposition to same-sex matrimony as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, a role that has put him at odds with many Catholics in the largely gay-friendly Bay area.

He also led church support for the 2008 voter-approved California state constitutional amendment, Proposition 8, that banned gay marriage.

LGBTQ people having equal rights to marry does not kill people, contrary to drunken driving.

If Archbishop-elect Cordileone really wants to occupy himself with sexuality, then let him do something against the child abuse by his fellow clergymen.

Gay rights campaign group Stonewall crowned the leader of the Catholic church in Scotland Cardinal Keith O’Brien today as “bigot of the year”: here.

Two Jamaican university security guards have been relieved from duty after YouTube footage emerged of a student being badly beaten in front of a baying mob, reportedly because he was gay: here.

Caribbean crustacean named after Bob Marley


This video is about the crustacean, recently called after Bob Marley.

From the Christian Science Monitor:

Better than nothing? Bloodsucking parasite named after Bob Marley.

Gnathia marleyi, a tiny crustacean that feeds off the blood of reef-dwelling Caribbean fish, has been named in honor – for lack of a better term – of the Jamaican musician Bob Marley.

By Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Managing Editor / July 10, 2012

The late Jamaican musician Bob Marley has joined the “I have a species named after me” club, as a parasitic crustacean has been donned Gnathia marleyi, researchers announced today (July 10).

This blood feeder infests certain fish that live among the coral reefs of the shallow eastern Caribbean Sea.

“I named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley’s music,” Paul Sikkel, an assistant professor of marine ecology at Arkansas State University, said in a statement. “Plus, this species is as uniquely Caribbean as was Marley.”

Marley now belongs to a club that includes President Barack Obama, whose name inspired Caloplaca obamae, the moniker for a lichen growing on Santa Rosa island in California. Late-night comedian Stephen Colbert has two insects named for him, while Mick Jagger‘s name was given to an extinct trilobite, Aegrotocatellus jaggeri. Even singer Beyoncé is a card-carrying member, with a species of horse fly with a golden rear now named Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae. [StarStruck: Species Named After Celebrities]

Juvenile gnathid isopods hide within coral rubble or algae so they can launch surprise attacks on fish, and then infest them. As adults, the parasites don’t eat. “We believe that adults subsist for two to three weeks on the last feedings they had as juveniles and then die, hopefully after they have reproduced,” Sikkel said in a statement.

With reports suggesting coral reef communities in the Caribbean are declining due to diseases, Sikkel’s team is examining whether there’s a link between reef health and gnathid populations. G. marleyi, like other gnathids, is similar to blood-sucking ticks or mosquitoes.

And like the land-lubbing ticks, gnathids are responsible for many diseases, in thise case those afflicting coral-reef fish, the researchers said. “We suspect that coral degradation leads to more available habitat for external parasites to ‘launch attacks’ on host fishes,” he said. “And as the number of potential host fish decreases, each remaining host will become more heavily parasitized.”

Sikkel first discovered the newly identified gnathid about 10 years ago in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where it was so common he assumed it had been described. Not so, according to Nico J. Smit of North-West University in South Africa, who later examined a specimen of the species. Next, the research team raised the organism from its juvenile stage through adulthood.

Sikkel and his team describe all of G. marleyi’s life stages in the June 6 issue of the journal Zootaxa.

See also here.

The Bob Marley parasite and 6 other species named after famous people: here.

The Life, Music and Legacy of Bob Marley: here.

Lady Gaga Inspires Names of New Fern Species: here.

With sea ice in the Arctic melting to record lows in summer months, marine animals living there face dramatic changes to their environment. Yet some crustaceans, previously thought to spend their entire lives on the underside of sea ice, were recently discovered to migrate deep underwater and follow ocean currents back to colder areas when ice disappears: here.