Rare sociable lapwing courtship video


This is a video of rare sociable lapwings: their courtship on spring migration in the Nogai steppe, Dagestan, Russian federation, 30 March 2014.

After spending the winter far apart in Eastern Sudan and Western Saudi Arabia respectively, Boris and Irina (two of our satellite-tagged Sociable Lapwings) have apparently reunited in Azerbaijan during their long journeys home to Kazakhstan: here.

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YMCA played at Sochi Winter Olympics, video


This Dutch television video, recorded in the speed skating stadium at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, says about itself:

15 Feb 2014

After President Putin hugged the bi-sexual 3Km speedskating gold medalist Ireen Wüst to show the Russian “man/woman in the street” that all people whether hetero or homo or bi are equal, the music band “small beer” [Kleintje Pils] played purposely the overtly gay YMCA song during the 1500m speed skating in Sochi.

How US Evangelicals Helped Create Russia’s Anti-Gay Movement: here.

If Vanessa-Mae lost a bit of dignity in the slalom, she gained a lot of respect. Competing for gold is only part of what the Olympics is about – the violinist showed Sochi how coming last can also be a triumph: here.

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Band plays YMCA at Sochi Olympic skating


This video from the Winter Olympics in Canada says about itself:

Dutch speed skating band Kleintje Pils during the Men’s 500m in Vancouver 2010.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Musical protest by Kleintje Pils

Saturday, February 15, 2014 15:21

The Dutch brass band Kleintje Pils ["Small Beer"] has played the song YMCA in Sochi during a break while the ice was cleaned during the 1,500 meter speed skating. This was intended as a protest against the anti-LGBTQ law in Russia.

“We too know the terrible images of anti-gay hatred in Russia and other countries,” said the Oompah band. “We cannot be silent about that.” The song, a 1970s hit by the Village People, is associated with the gay movement.

Kleintje Pils has had contact with Victor Willis, the composer of YMCA. “He wrote it to connect people with each other and that is also what Kleintje Pils stands for,” says the band.

A Dutch radio interview with the band about this is here.

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Chechnya offers to save second Danish giraffe Marius


This video is called Niger‘s Endangered White Giraffes (Full Documentary).

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Ramzan Kadyrov offers to adopt second Marius giraffe facing slaughter

Chechen president tells Instagram followers he is ready to take in giraffe facing death in Denmark ‘on humanitarian grounds’

Shaun Walker in Sochi

Thursday 13 February 2014 16.47 GMT

To sentence one giraffe named Marius to death may be regarded as a misfortune; to sentence two would be a catastrophe, according to Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Chechen president has used his Instagram account to offer to take in the second Marius, which, it emerged on Wednesday, has been threatened with the same fate as his namesake.

Kadyrov, who has been implicated in torture and human rights abuses, is a known animal admirer and has a huge personal zoo.

He frequently posts pictures of himself on Instagram with exotic animals, and made his offer of shelter for the second Danish giraffe on the social network.

“I read the information about the fact that in Denmark they are going to end the life of another giraffe,” wrote Kadyrov beneath photographs of lions eating the first Marius, which the Chechen leader said was killed for “invented” reasons.

“On humanitarian grounds, I am ready to take Marius in. We can guarantee him good living conditions and care for his health,” he added.

Only days after the euthanasia of a healthy young giraffe named Marius at Copenhagen zoo sparked controversy around the world, a second Danish zoo announced that it was considering a similar fate for another giraffe, also named Marius.

Jyllands Park zoo, in western Denmark, currently has two male giraffes, but has been approved to participate in the European breeding programme. If zookeepers manage to acquire a female giraffe, seven-year-old Marius will have to make way.

The first Marius was considered useless for breeding because his genes were too common. The prospect of his death prompted an international petition that garnered more than 27,000 signatures, and controversy continued after he was killed when he was dissected in front of a large crowd and then fed to lions.

A new petition to save the second Marius currently has 3,500 signatures.

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Northern hawk-owl and two Olympic medals in Zwolle, the Netherlands


This is a video about the northern hawk-owl in Zwolle, the Netherlands, on 28 January 2014.

The northern hawk-owl, present in Zwolle since November 2013, is still there. Today, it sat on the viaduct near the railway.

Talking about Zwolle city: today, at the Sochi Winter Olympics, two twin brothers from Zwolle won medals. Michel Mulder became Olympic champion in 500 meter speed skating. His brother Ronald Mulder won the bronze medal. Jan Smeekens, also from the Netherlands, was in second place, just one hundredth of a second behind Michel Mulder.

This is a video about Michel Mulder from December last year, when he skated a 500 meter world record for lowland speed skating tracks.

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YMCA played at Sochi Olympics


This video is called Village People – YMCA OFFICIAL Music Video 1978.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Russians themselves play YMCA

Saturday, February 8, 2014 15:46

It was the idea of ​​[Dutch gay comedian] Paul de Leeuw: let the party band “Small beer” [Kleintje Pils] play ‘gay song’ YMCA during the speed skating in Sochi as a protest against the anti-LGBTQ law in Russia. It is not known whether the Russians knew about that call and whether they agreed with such a playful protest, but the fact is that the song sounded from the loudspeakers this afternoon in Sochi.

During a break in the while machines cleaned the ice of the Adler Arena, people could hear The Village People which is seen worldwide as a ‘gay’ song.

Kleintje Pils will be going to Sochi next week.

Women’s fight to join the Olympics, sport by sport: here.

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Sochi Olympics, homophobia and snow


Democracy Now! in the USA says about this video today:

“Celebration Capitalism & the Olympics”: Global Protests Mark Opening of Sochi Games

Russian President Vladimir Putin has spent more than $50 billion on the Winter Games in Sochi, making this the most expensive Olympics in history. In the lead-up to the games, Russia has faced worldwide criticism and calls for boycotts, especially after it passed a law in June banning the spread of so-called “gay propaganda” to children. With the games just two days away, we host a roundtable with four guests: Dave Zirin, sports columnist for The Nation magazine and author of “Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down”; Samantha Retrosi, a luge athlete who competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics; historian and former U.S. Olympic soccer player, Jules Boykoff, who is author of “Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games“; and Helen Lenskyj, author of several books on the Olympics, including “Gender Politics and the Olympic Industry” and the forthcoming book, “Sexual Diversity and the Sochi 2014 Olympics: No More Rainbows.”

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

DAVE ZIRIN: Second, I had a flashback this morning to getting a call from Amy in 2010, when she was detained at the Canadian border, going across for a different event, and the Vancouver Olympics were happening. Do you remember that?

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, I do.

DAVE ZIRIN: And they said to Amy, they said, “Are you here to talk about the Olympics?” And Amy said, “I am now.” And it’s just to point out that these issues we’re talking about are at every Olympics, and there’s no doubt that they’re getting amplified in Russia, partially because of the conflicts between the United States and Russia, but it’s also true that what’s happening in Russia is particularly bad, even by Olympic standards.

And that leads, really, to your question. I mean, the U.S. delegation involves three openly LGBT athletes—Billie Jean King, Caitlin Cahow, Brian Boitano—and then gold medalist Bonnie Blair. Now, what’s so interesting about this is that this is the first time since 2000 that nobody from the president or the vice president’s family has been part of the delegation. This is very clearly a thumb in the eye to Vladimir Putin by President Barack Obama. And I’m sure there a lot of people in the LGBT community and amongst allies who are happy that this is happening. It’s a strong stance for LGBT rights.

But I think people should also be very wary of it, for two reasons. First of all, we have a lot of problems in this country with regards to LGBT rights. I mean, for example, there are 29 states in this country you can still fire someone on the basis of their sexuality, and in eight states in this country there are what are called “no promo homo” laws, which are very similar to the Russian laws, where you cannot propagate homosexuality or anything of the sort. So, that’s the first thing. So it’s like we have to clean our own house.

The second thing, which is really important, is the only question that matters is: Will LGBT athletes in Russia be better or worse off after the cameras have gone home? And by sending over the delegation, one of the things that does is that it allows the IOC—and, by the way, they’re already doing this—and Putin to present the LGBT movement in Russia as a tool of the United States, and it actually opens them up for further repression.

AMY GOODMAN: Legendary tennis star Billie Jean King recently appeared on CBS This Morning and talked about going to Russia as a member of the official U.S. delegation, about the origins of Olympic Rule number 50, which bars athletes from engaging in any type of political demonstration at the games.

BILLIE JEAN KING: It probably came from the fact when John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their arms about civil rights, human rights, back in ’68, I think the rule [inaudible] was written after that, Rule 50.

VINITA NAIR: Because it bans all political demonstration.

BILLIE JEAN KING: It bans—they’re not supposed to protest or demonstrate. And if they do, they can have their medals stripped, and they can be sent home. But I also think people—some of the athletes will probably have their say.

The full transcript is here.

Winter Olympics 2014: Norway’s Health Minister to take his husband to Paralympics: here.

A People’s History of LGBTI Olympians: here.

The President of the Sochi Olympic Committee has just confirmed that the two wild orcas captured by White Sphere will not be displayed during the Sochi Olympics: here.

Everything you wanted to know about that hideously anti-gay law passed in Arizona last night: here.

Former Bush strategist equates Arizona’s anti-gay Christians to Islamic terrorists: here.

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