Dutch rare sea slug news


This video is about sea slugs in Catalonia in Spain.

Translated from the Dutch Stichting ANEMOON marine biologists:

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

The Aeolidiella alderi sea slug was found on the Dutch coast for the first time in the late autumn of 2012. Since then, it was a rare slug. Only a small number of individuals in the westernmost Oosterschelde estuary were recorded. Very recently, more than one slug was found in the central Oosterschelde near Zierikzee with egg capsules and a single individual near Goes. So, the area where these beautiful sea slug has settled has extended considerably, and it seems the species is reproducing successfully in the Zeeland Delta.

Aeolidiella alderi is a not common slug species on the western European coast. It is known from a limited number of places around the British Isles and at the French coast to the Mediterranean.

Spanish women’s movement victory over government


Spanish demonstrators for women's reproductive rights

From The Local in Spain:

Spain scraps plans for tough new abortion law

Published: 23 Sep 2014 14:02 GMT+02:00

Updated: Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday announced his government would shelve plans for a tough new law on abortions, saying there was not enough support for the legislation.

The draft reform, approved in January, would have allowed abortions only in cases of rape which had been reported to the police or when there was a medically-certified threat to the mother’s physical or psychological health.

Current legislation will now be revamped to ensure that 16 and 17-year-olds have to obtain parental permission before having an abortion, meaning that the most controversial aspects of the planned reforms will fall by the wayside.

The discarded draft bill caused divisions within Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party and angered thousands of pro-choicers who took to the streets to voice their discontent.

The government’s official announcement of plans to shelve the reforms comes shortly after centre-right daily El Mundo reported that Rajoy had allegedly changed his mind, quoting sources from within the government.

“There’s no consensus regarding this bill, it’s looking unlikely that it will be approved,” Popular Party sources purportedly told the daily.

Under current Spanish legislation brought in by the previous Socialist government in 2010, women in Spain have the right to abortion on demand up to 14 weeks into their pregnancy.

Women also have the legal right to abort up to the 22nd week of pregnancy in cases where the mother’s health is at risk or the foetus shows serious deformities.

Under the previous 1985 law, abortion was a crime in Spain except in cases of rape, risk to the mother’s health or deformation of the foetus.

Spanish demonstration against bull-killing ‘sport’


This is a Spanish video, explaining why people demonstrate against bull-killing ‘sports’.

It says about itself (translated):

22 August 2013

For 8 years, the Party for the Animals in Spain PACMA has been trying to end the Toro de la Vega. So over the years we have carried out various activities in Tordesillas. These events and the celebration itself have been recorded and broadcast in so many ways that they have had extensive media coverage.

Furthermore, in 2011 the campaign “Break a lance” started, supported by numerous well-known people in our country who gave more impact to our campaign.

This year PACMA has decided to ask for political responsibility to the major parties: PSOE as the mayor of Tordesillas belongs to this party, and PP as they are the government of Castilla y León and have regulations which allow barbaric bullfighting.

Therefore this year 2013, we have organized a demonstration in Madrid on 14 September at 17.00 to go from the Plaza de Colón to Plaza de España. We will pass in front of the headquarters of the PP and the PSOE in order to ask for the end of the Toro de la Vega.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

SPAIN: Thousands of people gathered in Madrid on Saturday to protest against an annual bull-spearing event which they describe as an act of extreme abuse.

The demonstrators broke wooden spears in a symbolic act against animal torture and marched against the annual Toro de la Vega event.

During the event, men riding on horseback drive a bull into a field and then kill it with spears.

Spanish government’s 18th century history censorship in the Netherlands


The book Victus by Albert Sánchez Piñol

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Spain bans lecture in Utrecht

Thursday Sep 4 2014, 20:03 (Update: 04-09-14, 20:33)

A lecture by the Catalan author Albert Sánchez Piñol in Utrecht is off. At the last moment the organizer of the event, the Cervantes Institute, canceled the meeting.

It is not clear why the lecture was canceled. A spokesman would only say that the decision at the last minute has been taken by the Spanish Embassy in the Netherlands.

Furthermore, he refered to the headquarters of the Cervantes Institute in Madrid. There, however, there was no comment.

Censorship

The publisher of Sánchez Piñol is furious. “This is a serious matter which smells of censorship,” said Juliette van Wersch, of Signatuur publishers.

“It is unfortunate and incomprehensible for a publisher that this author cannot always speak in the Netherlands about Spanish and Catalan history“.

Victus

Sánchez Piñol was supposed to lecture tonight about his new book Victus. That novel is about a turning point in Spanish history: the fall of Barcelona in 1714. This meant Catalans lost their independence.

Van Wersch thinks the cancellation is perhaps linked to the 300th anniversary of the fall, on 11 September. “That is always accompanied by demonstrations, which in recent years became increasingly grim.”

Furthermore, the controversial referendum on Catalan independence can play a role, but that remains speculation. “They just wanted to say that it is sensitive and that it was not a good time.”

Pity

According to the publisher Sánchez Piñol regrets that now his book gets political overtones. “He just wanted to write a historical novel. He thinks this is very unfortunate and sad.”

The Cervantes Institute was founded to bring worldwide attention to the Spanish language and culture. It is funded by the Spanish government.

Hoopoes and their eggs, new research


This video from Israel is called Hoopoe Nest (HD) V1 – Part 1 of 2.

And this video is the sequel.

From Wildlife Extra:

The colour of a hoopoe’s eggs may signal the health and strength of the mother bird

Hoopoe females protect their chicks from ‘bad’ bacteria by coating their eggs in ‘good’ bacteria.

The substance that they spread on the eggs with their bills and belly feathers comes from their uropygial, or preen glands. This causes the eggs gradually to change colour when they are incubated, from bluish-grey to a more saturated greenish-brown.

Studies led by Juan J Soler of the Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, CSIC in Spain, and published in Springer’s journal Naturwissenschaften – The Science of Nature, have shown that the preen gland secretion of incubating hoopoes is brown in colour and holds antimicrobial properties.

The colour is due to a combination of symbiotic bacteria found in the uropygial gland that provides protection against pathogenic bacteria.

These symbiotic bacteria help to protect the bird’s embryos from trans-shell infections, and are highly effective against Bacillus licheniformis, a well-known feather-degrading bacterium.

The darker the colour of the secretion, the more of the ‘good’ bacteria are present, and therefore the better the protection against ‘bad’ bacteria so a bird’s embryos and feathers stay healthy.

The researchers speculated that the egg colouration might be a way through which the female hoopoe signals to the male that, for future reference, she is good breeding material.

It is thought that the colour informs the male of the abundance of the antimicrobial bacterial community found in the female’s glands – a quality that she will be able to carry over to their offspring should they mate in the future.

Although further experimental work is needed to establish the validity of this signalling hypothesis, Soler hopes that the new results will encourage such research in hoopoes as well as in other birds.

See also here.