Tropical butterflies in botanical garden hothouse


This video says about itself:

Winter, frost and sun in the the Leiden Botanical Garden

Music: Bach Lute BWV995.

From the blog of the tropical hothouse in the botanical garden of Leiden, the Netherlands:

Butterflies in the Victoria Glasshouse

27 May 2014

Where are the butterflies?

There are a few, but not very many. We would like to show you some butterflies, but we are a botanical garden so the plants are our main focus.

Which butterflies can you see here?

Butterflies from Central and South America feel especially at home in this glasshouse, as do the plants on which their caterpillars feed. A maximum of five species can be seen here:

Morpho peleides and Caligo
Dryas julia
Greta oto (glasswinged butterfly)
Heliconius (longwing butterfly)

Caterpillar food plants

The caterpillars of the Morpho peleides (emperor butterfly) feed on leaves of various plants in the legume, or pea, family. A relative of the morpho, the Caligo memnon (owl butterfly), can be seen here too. The caterpillars of this species feed on banana leaves.

The Heliconius (longwing butterfly) and Dryas julia (orange longwing butterfly) lay their eggs almost exclusively on passiflora plants. These plants are poisonous but this doesn’t affect the caterpillars. In fact, they become poisonous themselves.

The Greta oto (glasswing butterfly) does not like very high temperatures and thrives best during the winter and spring. This inconspicuous caterpillar feeds on the highly poisonous Cestrum nocturnum. Just like the longwing butterflies, the caterpillars are not harmed by this poison but become poisonous themselves.

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Honduran coup d’etat and the USA


This video from Australia is called Solidarity with Honduras.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Latin America: how the US has allied with the forces of reaction

Honduras three years ago created a new template of the US backing coups to compensate for lost influence on the continent

Friday 29 June 2012 16.37 BST

It was three years ago this week that the Honduran military launched an assault on the home of President Mel Zelaya, kidnapped him, and flew him out of the country. The Obama administration, according to its own conversations with the press, knew about the coup in advance. But the first statement from the White House – unlike those from the rest of the world – did not condemn the coup.

That sent a message to the Honduran dictatorship, and to the diplomatic community: the US government supported this coup and would do what it could to make sure it succeeded. And that is exactly what ensued. Unlike Washington and its few remaining rightwing allies in the hemisphere, most of Latin America saw the coup as a threat to democracy in the region and, indeed, to their own governments.

“It would be enough for someone to stage a civilian coup, backed by the armed forces, or simply a civilian one and later justify it by convoking elections,” Argentine President Cristina Fernández told South American leaders. “And then democratic guarantees would truly be fiction.”

For that reason, South America refused to recognize the Honduran “elections” held six months later under the dictatorship. But Washington wanted the coup regime legitimized. The Obama administration blocked the Organization of American States (OAS) from taking action to restore democracy before “elections” were held.

“We have intelligence reports that say that after Zelaya, I’m next,” said President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, after the Honduran coup. This turned out to be correct: in September of 2010, a rebellion by police held Correa hostage in a hospital until he was freed, after a prolonged shootout between the police and loyal troops of the armed forces. It was another attempted coup against a social-democratic president in Latin America.

Last week, Cristina Fernández’ warning against a “civilian coup” proved prescient in Paraguay.

The US government is withholding funds to Honduran police units supervised by their national police chief until it investigates allegations that he ran a death squad a decade ago: here.

What can a coup buy? In Honduras, fully privatized cities: here.

More Vatican sexual abuse scandals


This video says about itself:

Associated Press, 28 April 2010 — The cardinal who oversees priest abuse cases at the Vatican didn’t restrict a California priest after learning in 1995 that he had molested a 13-year-old boy a decade earlier.

From Associated Press:

Report: Austrian cardinal accused of sex abuse stayed a member of Vatican congregations

06:05 PM Apr 28, 2010

VIENNA – A newspaper is reporting that a deceased Austrian cardinal remained on the rosters of Vatican congregations even after he stepped down in 1995 following sex abuse allegations.

Der Standard reported Wednesday that Hans Hermann Groer – who was Vienna archbishop from 1986 to 1995 – was listed in the 1999 directory of the Roman Catholic Church as a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The Groer scandal broke in 1995 when a 37-year-old former student at a boy’s seminary in the town of Hollabrunn alleged that he abused him repeatedly in the early 1970s. Other accusations followed. Groer stepped down shortly after the first allegations surfaced – officially due to old age. He died in 2003 but never admitted any guilt.

Also from Associated Press:

Brazil: Priest charged with 8 abusing [sic; rather "abusing 8"] boys

By BRADLEY BROOKS (AP) – 7 hours ago

RIO DE JANEIRO — A Roman Catholic priest in Brazil is facing charges he abused eight boys in cases dating back to 1995, prosecutors said Wednesday, adding to a growing list of allegations against clergy in Latin America.

Father Jose Afonso, 74, is accused of abusing altar boys between the ages of 12 and 16, Sao Paulo state prosecutors said in an e-mailed statement.

Prosecutors said the reported abuses occurred this year, in 2009 and in 2001 in the city of Franca, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) north of Sao Paulo city. At least one case was reported in 1995 in the neighboring state of Minas Gerais.

Afonso remains free while a judge decides if he should be jailed.

Calls to the Franca diocese rang unanswered. After-hours of calls to the offices of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops were not returned.

The case is the latest to hit Brazil, which has more Catholics than any other nation, and Latin America as a whole.

Earlier this month, 83-year-old Monsignor Luiz Marques Barbosa was detained in northeastern Brazil for allegedly abusing at least three boys after being caught on video tape having sex with a young man, a former alter boy.

He is under house arrest while an investigation continues. Two other priests in the same archdiocese as Barbosa are also accused of abuses.

A priest in Chile was charged recently with eight cases of sexually abusing minors, including a girl he had fathered.

Earlier this month Chile’s bishops’ conference issued a statement apologizing for priestly sexual abuse and vowing a “total commitment” to prevent it in the future.

Also this month, a Mexican citizen filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. federal court in California against former priest Nicolas Aguilar Rivera and the Roman Catholic cardinals of Mexico City and Los Angeles, claiming they moved the priest between the two nations to hide abuse allegations.

Church reaction to the controversy around the globe has angered many who think the Vatican leadership has not acted strongly enough.

Pope Benedict XVI’s second-in-command outraged many this month in Chile when he said homosexuality and not celibacy was the primary reason for the abuse. The comments by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, were condemned by gay advocacy groups, politicians and even the French government.

Late Tuesday, a top Vatican official said the pope may issue a strong apology for the church’s handling of clerical sexual abuse cases when he attends a meeting of the world’s clergy in June.

Sam Harris: Bringing the Vatican to Justice: here.

Che Guevara’s favourite poems discovered


This is a video of a Pablo Neruda poem.

From British daily The Independent:

Rediscovering Che Guevara, the romantic revolutionary

By David Usborne in New York

Published: 13 September 2007

Romanticising the memory of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro’s brother-in-arms during the Cuban uprising,has long been a worldwide industry. But the Argentinian revolutionary remained in touch with his own romantic side to the end, even as he battled to foment a second revolution in the jungles of Bolivia, a new book reveals.

Guevara was executed by Bolivian troops near the town of La Higuera on 9 October 1967, after an ambush backed by the CIA and US special forces. Now, as the 40th anniversary of his death approaches, a Mexican publisher has printed what it claims are the contents of a dog-eared notebook which was found on his body and kept locked away for years in a Bolivian army vault. But the secrets offered up in the new book, The Green Notebook Of Che, are neither codes nor battle plans. Instead, the pages – densely filled with Guevara’s handwriting – contain a collection of his favourite poetry. Many of the entries are love poems.

Planeta, the publisher, first showed the manuscript to Paco Ignacio, a popular Mexican novelist and biographer of Guevara, who has written the preface to the compendium. Yesterday, Ignacio recalled the moment when his editor first handed him pages photocopied from Guevara’s old spiral notebook. “He asked, ‘What is it?’ and I said, ‘Well, let me see’,” Ignacio told the BBC World Service. “And I said, ‘This is Guevara’s handwriting. This is the green notebook’.”

The existence of the book was already widely known but no biographer had seen it before. After Guevara was shot, according to Ignacio, CIA agents “looked at it and tried to find some code but they said, ‘They are just poems’.” More precisely, there were verses from 69 poems by four writers – Pablo Neruda from Chile, Nicolás Guillén of Cuba, César Vallejo of Peru and the Spaniard, León Felipe.

Guevara, and Bolivia today: here.

Guevara and the Left and Iran today: here.

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