Red Cross accuses Ukrainian government of stopping humanitarian aid


Luhansk near Russian-Ukrainian border

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Red Cross: Kiev slows down transport

Update: Thursday August 21 2014, 12:09

According to the Red Cross, Ukraine slows down the relief transport of Russian supplies to the inhabitants of the besieged city Luhansk. The inspection of the cargo of the trucks by the Red Cross, about which agreements are made with Ukraine, still has not been possible.

The Red Cross hopes that the inspection will take place later today. According to a spokesperson the delay is caused by “Ukrainian decisions adopted at the last minute.”

The safety of the convoy is now guaranteed. On that condition, the Red Cross wanted to accompany the trucks.

Grey whale calves born near Russia


This video about western gray whales is called The Last 130.

From the International Fund for Animal Welfare:

Gray Whale Research Team marks eight new calves so far

By: Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova

Posted: Wed, 08/20/2014

This update on the western gray whale (WGW) expedition was filed on behalf of the team by IFAW Russia staff member Anna Filippova. –MV

The total number of new calves for 2014 is now up to eight.

Even though the first half of August has not yielded many good observation days over the past several years, we have already enjoyed many working days at sea this month.

On August 1, we photographed our sixth mother-calf pair of this season. The mother was known from previous years and has been seen with calves off Piltun before.

On August 3, we went far north of our camp and sighted three mother-calf pairs (two of whom we had already seen a few times in July).

The third pair, number seven for the season, was pleasant news for us when we recognized the mother: a female born in 2004 and observed in previous years but never with calves.

Giving her age, it is assumed to be her first calf.

After seven hours at sea, a very thick fog came in very fast; we could hear whales breathing around our boat but were unable to see them.

August 6 was especially productive: We identified 31 gray whales with seven different mother-calf pairs among them. One of the pairs was new for this season, bringing our total to eight.

–The WGW Expedition Team

The western gray whale (WGW) expedition is a team of scientists from Russia and the USA that have been returning every summer since 1995 to Sakhalin Island (in the Sea of Okhotsk near Piltun Bay) to monitor and research western gray whales. Annually since 2000 IFAW has supported this research program that collects population data through photo-identification and genetic analysis of skin tissue biopsy samples. Information about population condition is very important to understanding the impact and influence of oil industry on the WGW population, and is key to IFAW’s WGW campaign.

730,000 Ukrainian refugees to Russia, 117,000 elsewhere in Ukraine


This 29 June 2014 video is called Number of Ukrainian refugees in Russia has reached 110,000: UNHCR.

That was June. Now, it is August.

From UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency:

GENEVA, August 5 – Amid a worsening situation in eastern Ukraine, the UN refugee agency on Tuesday estimated that more than 117,000 people are now displaced inside Ukraine. …

Most Ukrainians leaving their country are not applying for refugee status. They often seek other legal status. Some fear applying for refugee status will lead to complications and they consider the alternatives available a better temporary solution.

According to Russian authorities, 168,677 displaced people applied to the Federal Migration Service in the first seven months of this year. These included 6,347 for refugee status, 48,914 for temporary asylum, 28,134 for citizenship, 59,858 for temporary residence, 19,943 for residence permits and 5,481 under the programme of resettlement of compatriots.

A larger number of Ukrainians are arriving and staying in Russia under the visa-free regime. The Russian authorities estimate that around 730,000 Ukrainians, including the 168,000 seen by the Federal Migration Service, have arrived since the beginning of the year under this programme.

Around 80 per cent of Ukrainians are staying in border areas, while others are moving to stay with friends or relatives in other parts of the country. More than 585 temporary accommodation facilities are hosting 42,486 people. The Russian authorities have adopted several regulations to facilitate the temporary stay of Ukrainians arriving on its territory.

7 August 2014: again fighting on Maidan square in Kyiv.

The Ukrainian government has been directing heavy artillery bombardments against civilians in the major cities of east Ukraine held by pro-Russian forces, damaging residential areas, hospitals and Russian Orthodox churches and killing and wounding dozens of civilians: here.

The Ukrainian government is funding and deploying gangs of fascist thugs as the spearhead of its operations in preparation for the large scale massacre of pro-Russia separatists and civilians in the city of Donetsk: here.

The siege of the Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, launched by the regime in Kiev and abetted by the US government and the European Union (EU), is a barbaric act of collective punishment: here.

A fierce dispute over German policy towards Russia has broken out between two leading German business newspapers, Handelsblatt and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). While the FAZ calls for a robust confrontation with Russia, the Handelsblatt describes this as a “wrong track” leading directly to war. The conflict expresses sharp divisions within the ruling class over the future direction of German foreign policy: here.

Red-breasted geese migration, new research


This video says about itself:

Striving to save the Red Breasted Goose

2 November 2012

Euronews coverage of the first ever tagging of Red-breasted geese with GPS transmitters, a scientific experiment within the LIFE+ Safe Ground for Redbreasts project, carried out in January 2011 in NE Bulgaria.

From BirdLife:

Decebal and Darko’s journey across Europe: our Red-breasted Geese successfully reached Siberia!

By Elodie Cantaloube, Fri, 25/07/2014 – 13:38

Let me introduce you to Decebal and Darkos, two special Red-breasted Geese that were selected by SOR (BirdLife in Romania) to carry a satellite transmitter to provide conservationists with information on their migratory journey.

Red-breasted Goose, is a distinct red, black and white bird that breeds in the Taymyr Peninsula of Siberia and is one of the most beautiful geese in the world.  It’s also one of the rarest species of geese, and has a small, rapidly declining population. It’s threatened by illegal killing along its migration route and by changes to habitats and is listed as Endangered by BirdLife on behalf of the IUCN Red List.

SOR has been working intensively to protect this species.

The project “Save Ground for Redbreasts” aims to increase our knowledge of the route the geese take from the wintering areas in Bulgaria and Romania to the breeding grounds in Arctic, through satellite-tracking of a pair of geese: Decebal and Darko. The two adult male red-breasted geese were tagged with satellite transmitters, after being caught in mid-February 2014, near Durankulak Lake (Bulgaria).

Fortunately, Decebal reached Siberia on the 14 of June, 95 days after his departure. The goose arrived at his breeding grounds in the vicinity of Lake Kuchumka, 8922 kilometres away from his departure point.

The birds’ beautiful journey through Europe up to the northern part of Eurasia can be followed in this website, where SOR/BirdLife Romania uploads every 2-3 days his new positions.