Paramilitary neonazis Britain First exposed

This video is called Neo-Nazi group Britain First ‘invade’ East London Mosque.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Racist thugs exposed

Friday 20th June 2014

Anti-fascist group release details of Britain First racists terrorising communities

ANTI-RACIST campaign Hope not Hate exposed yesterday the thugs at the forefront of a fascist street gang targeting Muslim communities.

Christian fundamentalist far-right organisation Britain First is on the march, calling for a violent uprising against non-white groups.

“It believes it’s involved in a holy war,” said Hope not Hate director of research Matthew Collins.

The organisation has now published a thorough report on the activities and strategies of Britain First after following its development closely in the last few years.

Mr Collins told the Star that Hope not Hate wanted to “warn people that this group has different aims, different goals, different strategies” from previous far-right organisations such as the British National Party or the English Defence League.

“We are looking at a group that is drilled, uniformed and, more worryingly, is doing things like ‘mosque invasions’,” he added.

The group exposed the leadership of Britain First as a collection of violent individuals, most of which have police records for serious offences.

Mr Collins, a reformed militant of the National Front, said that Britain First was particularly dangerous because it had been successful at co-opting what he calls the “social-moral panic.”

Its propaganda is based on a lethal combination of Islamophobic slurs and anti-immigration policies.

It has been keen on capitalising from general feelings of disappointment with mainstream politicians, much like Euro-sceptic Ukip has done.

From animal abuse to “British values,” Britain First has tweaked its political agenda according to currently popular national sentiment.

Hope not Hate expects its report on the far-right group to be a “wake-up call” to politicians and individuals alike.

“So that people can extend a hand to the Muslim community,” Mr Collins said.

As reported this Wednesday by the Star, Britain First has been staging regular incursions into Muslim communities, pushing people around and provoking people into physical confrontation.

Before the so-called “mosque invasions” in Bradford, Glasgow and Luton, the proto-fascist group had already staged “Christian Patrols” in Tower Hamlets, promoting racial and religious hatred.

Speaking to the Star, Luton’s Muslim community leader Mohammad Shafait described how after Britain First’s incursions people started fearing spiralling bloodshed.

“Either they are going to lose their lives or he is going to lose his life,” said Mr Shafait of Britain First chairman Paul Golding’s storming of local mosques during prayers: “That’s what they are frightened of.”

Hope not Hate and Mr Collins also urged the government to take action.

“The police or whoever needs to put an Asbo on Britain First because wherever it goes its sole objective is to wind up fear,” concluded Mr Collins.

Jim Dowson

Anti-abortionist, radical evangelical Calvinist minister. Former member and main fundraiser of the BNP. Hope Not Hate call him “the most powerful identity on the far right” today.

Paul Golding

Nick Griffin’s one-time protege and former editor of BNP youth magazine Excalibur. Elected as Sevenoaks councillor in 2009. He’s been in fights with members of other far-right groups and even from his own organisation.

Marco Spilloni

One-time leading member of the EDL. Owes his “street-cred” to being shot in the crotch during a fight in Sheffield.


Jayda Fransen
Only publicly recognisable female member. Will “suit-up” in uniform.

The founder of Britain First has resigned from the far-right group over its “provocative and counterproductive” mosque invasions: here.

British government spies on anti-Iraq war Green party

This video is called A Simple Question: UK & U.S. Spying on Britons.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Green party peer put on database of ‘extremists’ after police surveillance

Political movements of Jenny Jones and Green party councillor Ian Driver were recorded, though neither have a criminal record

Rob Evans and Owen Bowcott

Sunday 15 June 2014 20.00 BST

Two Green party politicians, including its candidate for mayor of London at the last election, have criticised police chiefs who recorded their political activities on a secret database that was set up to track campaigners deemed to be “domestic extremists”. Neither politician has a criminal record.

Official files show that the police kept a log of the political movements of Jenny Jones, a London assembly member and peer, over an 11-year period while she sat on the official committee scrutinising the Metropolitan police and stood to be London’s mayor.

They recorded a tweet she sent about possible police tactics at a pro-cycling protest, and details of public meetings she addressed about issues including police violence and Conservative cuts in public spending.

Jones and Ian Driver, who is a local councillor for the Green party in Thanet, Kent, have objected to the monitoring and have signed witness statements to support a lawsuit, to be heard later this year in the supreme court, which seeks to curb the clandestine database.

The pair used data protection laws to obtain files on themselves from the database, which police say is used to monitor activists who could use criminal methods to promote their political aims.

The domestic extremism unit, run by Scotland Yard, has been monitoring thousands of political activists in order, it says, to identify the hardcore minority who have broken, or are about to break, the law during protests.

Police started recording the political activities of Jones and Driver after they had been elected to office. The files refer repeatedly to the elected positions the pair have occupied.

Jones has held a series of posts in the capital’s local government, including deputy mayor, since being elected to the London assembly in 2000. She stood against Boris Johnson for London mayor in 2012. Last year she was made the Green party’s only member of the House of Lords.

The file on Driver logs 22 occasions on which he helped organise public meetings and demonstrations about animal exports and gay marriage between June 2011 and June last year.

The database has attracted controversy, particularly as campaigners who had not committed any crime found themselves on it. One campaigner discovered that the police had monitored him while he was at the Glastonbury music festival. The Metropolitan police said that it would not be appropriate to comment as “there are ongoing legal proceedings”.

The Met added that the domestic extremism database is maintained in accordance with a code of practice. It said it had recently deleted a large number of files on individuals after Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found that there appeared to be no justification for keeping some records. The Met was unable to say how many elected politicians were on the database.

Jones said she had never been arrested, and all the information on her related to her work as an elected politician. The monitoring was unjustified and not a good use of police resources, she added.

Driver said the demonstrations he helped organised were “all peaceful and lawful”, adding that he too has never been arrested and has never been “involved in planning, carrying out or supporting any illegal activities”. The councillor, who was elected in 2011, added: “I am very upset and annoyed that I appear to have been spied upon for two years by the police when there was no good reason to do so.”

The file on Jones, who has been a consistent critic of police misconduct and the use of undercover officers to spy on political groups, discloses how the police recorded her activities between 2001 and August 2012.

This covered a period that included her attempt to become London’s mayor in May 2012.

Police recorded that “open source material” indicated that she “has tweeted that she, a Green party mayor candidate” was going to be attending a pro-cycling protest in August 2012 and was “concerned that she may be kettled by the Met”.

Two entries record that she spoke at a public meeting and demonstration in May 2009 to object to the deaths of individuals in police custody and police tactics at protests, following the death of Ian Tomlinson.

Other entries record that she spoke at a conference to advance progressive policies in London in 2009, and protests against the arms trade and invasion of Iraq.

The pair are backing an 89-year-old Brighton pensioner, John Catt, who won a notable lawsuit against police last year.

The court of appeal ruled that the Metropolitan police had unlawfully logged on the database details of his presence at 55 protests between 2005 and 2009. His habit of sketching and drawing the scenes at demonstrations had been recorded. He too has no criminal record.

Police have lodged an appeal at the supreme court.

Surveillance: Green Party’s Jenny Jones and Ian Driver join lawsuit against Scotland Yard ‘extremists’ spy database: here.

London parks bird news

This video is about a male common tern resting in Richmond Park, London, England.

The blog Regent’s Park Birds reports about bird sightings in London’s Regent’s Park, Bushy Park and Richmond Park.

On 14 July 2014, they reported that in Regent’s park, Central London’s first breeding little owl pair have produced young for the 7th year in a row.

Great crested grebes nest there as well.

In Richmond Park, there are three common tern nests this year.

In Bushy park, there are skylarks; like this one.

London’s Kew Gardens threatened by government

This video from Britain is called Kew Gardens from above – a bird’s eye view of the world’s largest living plant collection.

By Dennis Moore in England:

Budget cuts threaten scientific and cultural projects at London’s Kew Gardens

11 June 2014

Kew Gardens in London is facing cuts totalling £1.5 million, despite warnings of the impact it will have on one of the world’s leading botanic research institutions.

A cut of £1.5 million from the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) has come on top of other financial pressures that have left a £5 million hole in Kew’s budget. The shortfall will lead to the loss of possibly a sixth of the 750 workforce at the institution, with these job losses being mainly in areas of botanical research.

Defra oversees a network of 28 agencies and as part of the governments’ cuts programme its budget has been slashed by £500 million since 2010, with a further £300 million in cuts to be pushed through by 2016. One of the agencies, the Environment Agency, which deals with many critical areas including flood prevention and protection, is to cut about 1,500 jobs by October.

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew have been one of the worlds’ leading centres of plant research since its creation in 1759. Apart from the scientific value of the gardens, Kew draws in 2 million visitors a year to its spectacular plant collections and historic buildings, which last year saw a 29 percent rise in visitor numbers.

The Palm House at Kew Gardens

The famous Palm House, built between 1844 and 1848, was one of the first large-scale applications of wrought iron and is considered one of the most significant surviving Victorian iron and glass structures in Britain.

These cuts were approved against the advice of consultants at Defra who told ministers back in 2010 that Kew would lose its world-class status, with research declining below a critical level if the operating grant was not maintained beyond 2012.

Kew was set up as a non-departmental government body in 1983 receiving 90 percent of its funding via grant-in-aid from the government. Since that time, there has been a continuous cut in funding that has left it now receiving below 40 percent of its funding from grant-in-aid this year.

As successive governments have cut funding, Kew has had to rely on funding from its partner charity, The Kew Foundation and through the sales of tickets to enter the gardens, which cost £16 per adult. On top of this, it receives money from consultancy work and research grants but this will not fund the £5 million shortfall. These cuts have left Kew ever more dependent on philanthropic and commercially-generated funding.

The plant collection at Kew is considered the largest in the world. At their grounds based at Wakehurst Place in Sussex the Millennium Seed Bank, an international conservation project, has been set up to preserve plants throughout the world. The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership is the largest ex-situ plant conservation project in the world.

The seed bank aims to collect 25 percent of all the world’s plants by 2020 (75,000 species).

The overall aim is to preserve plants that are threatened with extinction in their natural habitat. The wild relatives of common crops are genetically related to each other and the importance of these wild relatives is important in respect of food security because these wild crops contain greater genetic diversity and are more resilient in the face of pests, diseases and climate change. The project works with 80 partners in 80 different countries and to date the project has been able to successfully bank over 13 percent of the worlds wild plant species.

The Adapting Agriculture to Climate project at Kew has begun to collect seed from 29 common crop plant relatives whose genetic diversity can be used to breed useful traits into crops that are of commercial interest to better enable them to adapt to climate change, disease and pest resistance. The list of plants includes many of the staples for food including, rice, potato, rye, sunflower, wheat, oat and lentil.

In a 2010 report commissioned by Defra and written by Neil Chalmers, former director of the Natural History Museum, concerns were raised that Kew’s scientific work was already suffering because of a lack of funds. This had led to key vacancies not being filled, and staff being diverted from key areas of research into fund raising.

David Attenborough, one of the world’s renowned naturalists and a BBC television presenter, commented, “The important thing to remember is that it is the première botanical gardens in the world scientifically. In praise of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank he added “The seed bank is of world importance and it should be supported by the government like a proper institution or university and the continuing idea that Kew Gardens is merely a playground and that you just put up the prices to look after it is a misguided assessment of the value of Kew”.

Colin Osborne, Reader in Plant Biology at Sheffield University, has explained the importance of the specific area of plant taxonomy, the science of the classification of animals and plants, an area of scientific research that Kew is renowned for globally.

He argues: “Kew is one of the last bastions of taxonomy, a branch of biology that has been driven to ground in universities because it doesn’t yield immediate impact. It’s a slow-burning science that underpins what everyone else does. We still don’t know the names of vast numbers of species on Earth, and we never will if taxonomy dies. In the current climate, core funding for Kew and Natural History Museums is one of the few ways that will happen.”

Mark Downs, chief executive of the Society of Biology, an organisation that works to develop education amongst scientists and promoting public interest in the life sciences raised concerns about the impact of these cuts to the Kew’s world class contributions to heritage, conservation and education.

“Seed collections are valuable for conservation of biodiversity and are a potential source of plants with medicinal properties. The collection also includes wild relatives of crop plants. Many have favourable characteristics, such as drought tolerance, which can be introduced into commercial crops”.

The significance of plants and their place in the future health needs of humanity are critical when considering the implications of cuts to research. Some 70 percent of the world’s top-selling pharmaceuticals are derived directly or indirectly from plants, with 80 percent of the world dependent on plants for medicine, whilst at the same time 15,000 medicinal plants are threatened with extinction globally.

The scientists at Kew are working to conserve the vast diversity of plants and fungi that the future health and food needs of the planet are dependent on. It is a social crime that this work is in any way being jeopardised by cuts to funding.
Whilst critical scientific and cultural institutions such as Kew Gardens are threatened by the impact of cuts, the super-rich continue to accumulate obscene levels of personal wealth. A tiny fraction of this could quite adequately fund Kew Gardens and its vital projects for many generations to come.

Smog kills hundreds in Glasgow, Scotland

This video about London, England is called The Smog Menace (1953).

From daily the Morning Star in Britain:

100s of Glaswegians ‘killed by toxic smog‘ each year

Friday 30th may 2013

DEADLY smog kills hundreds of Glaswegians each year, environmental campaigners warned yesterday in a plea for councillors to clean up the city’s streets.

Public submissions on the city’s transport strategy close tomorrow, with the outcome shaping the city’s infrastructure over the next decade.

The draft document cites the reduction of “harmful traffic emissions” as one of the council’s objectives.

But Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Emilia Hanna said plans for new cycle routes and tree-lined avenues did not go far enough — the city needed to introduce a “low-emission zone” to squeeze traffic out of the city centre.

“Everyone knows that traffic is the main cause of Glasgow’s toxic air, but the new transport plans skirt around the issue of air pollution,” she said.

Tiny particles in exhaust fumes are known to penetrate the lungs and cross into the bloodstream, where they can cause heart and lung diseases, cancers and in some cases prove fatal.

In April researchers connected the phenomenon to 2,094 deaths per year in Scotland, with Glasgow alone losing 306 lives on average.

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Bird anatomy art, lecture by Katrina van Grouw

This video from London, England says about itself:

The Unfeathered Bird at Nature Live

13 February 2013

Katrina van Grouw appeared at Nature Live at the Natural History Museum. In this short video, she describes the audience she had in mind as she wrote The Unfeathered Bird.

Learn more about The Unfeathered Bird here.

Read the New York Times review here.

On 25 May 2014, in Naturalis museum in Leiden, there was not only a lecture on extinct birds.

There was a lecture by Katrina van Grouw as well, because of the publishing of the Dutch edition of her book The Unfeathered Bird, called De ontvederde vogel.

She said her inspiration were two artists: John James Audubon and George Stubbs. Stubbs paid much attention to the anatomy of horses which he painted. Anatomy, what is below the feathers of birds, their muscles and bones, is also important for depicting birds, Ms van Grouw said.

Katrina van Grouw, toco toucan and violet touraco, 25 May 2014

Like in these pictures in her book, of a toco toucan, and a violet touraco. Ms van Grouw said that, though these two species are not really related, they are both good at climbing branches, and their somewhat similar skeletons show why.

Katrina van Grouw, trumpet manicode, 25 May 2014

She also made a picture of a trumpet manucode. This bird-of-paradise species is not as colourful as its relatives. But it has a very loud voice. The trumpet manucode has a loud voice because of its very long trachea or windpipe, which an anatomical drawing can show.

Katrina van Grouw, domestic animals, 25 May 2014

Katrina van Grouw announced that in 2018 her next book, Unnatural Selection, about domestic animals, will be published.

Katrina van Grouw, domestic pigeons, 25 May 2014

Katrina’s husband Hein van Grouw, formerly taxidermist of Naturalis, was present as well.

All photos in this blog post are mobile phone photos.

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