Abu Ghraib photos publication, five years later

This video is the film Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, by Rory Kennedy from the USA.

From William Fisher’s blog in the USA:

Happy Anniversary, Abu Ghraib!

This Tuesday, April 28, will mark five years since Americans got their first look at the sickening photographs from Abu Ghraib on “60 Minutes.”

And a month after that, on May 28, the Department of Justice, acting under a court order, will release several thousand never-before-seen-in-public photographs of U.S. prisoner abuse from Afghanistan and from elsewhere in Iraq.

The recent “torture memos” — which will inform our reaction to these new photos in a way not possible at the time of the Abu Ghraib scandal — were also released as the result of what President Obama called an unwinnable lawsuit – by the same plaintiff, the American Civil Liberties Union, and under the same law, the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.

We don’t yet know what we’ll see in these new images. Some members of Congress, who viewed them in a classified setting, have said they are far worse than the Abu Ghraib images.

See also here.

On Friday, the Department of Defense released 198 out of around 2,000 photos showing torture and other war crimes perpetrated by US military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The photos were released as a result of 12 years of litigation under the Freedom of Information Act by the American Civil Liberties Union: here.


Jellyfish babies in London zoo

This is a video of Phyllorhiza punctata jellyfish, recorded at Sai Kung, Hong Kong.

From London Zoo in England:

Baby jellyfish that commuted to ZSL London Zoo on a train from “up north” have settled perfectly into their new home.

The tropical, white-spotted jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata), native to the southwestern Pacific, have moved into a special tank in BUGS after arriving from The Deep in Yorkshire.

ZSL London Zoo and The Deep are the only places to house the alien-like jellyfish, and ZSL hopes to breed these as part of a new jellyfish husbandry group set up between UK collections.

The jellyfish get their name because their rounded, bell-shaped, body is covered in white dots. …

The jellyfish could grow to over 20cm in diameter, but are currently around 6cm, so come and see them while they are still jelly babies.

Rescuing endangered species

This video is about whooping cranes in the USA.

From New Scientist:

Eight cases of extreme species rescue

* 10:16 27 April 2009 by Catherine Brahic
* For similar stories, visit the Endangered Species Topic Guide

See extreme rescues of endangered species in our gallery

Swooping down in a last-ditch effort to thwart extinction, conservationists have airlifted 50 mountain chicken frogs</a from the Caribbean island of Montserrat.

While conservation biologists prefer to help a species survive in its natural environment, extreme cases like that of the mountain chicken (Leptodactylus fallax) call for extreme rescue measures. Here we present eight more novel attempts at species saving.

Those eight species are: the California condor; the whooping crane; the kakapo; the black robin, from New Zealand, like the kakapo; the gaur, a bovine species; Przewalski’s horse; the Pyrenean ibex; the African wild dog.

More about the mountain chicken: here.

Millions of Iraqi refugees

By James Cogan from the USA:

Millions of Iraqis displaced

27 April 2009

As many as 2 million Iraqi citizens are still refugees in neighbouring countries and at least 1.6 million are classified as internally displaced persons (IDPs). Despite the US occupation forces and Iraqi government claiming that the security situation has “stabilised”, most of the people who fled their homes are too terrified to return.

The ongoing humanitarian crisis was outlined in a report published this month by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which focussed on IDPs.

US reneging on pledge to home Iraqi refugees: here.

Britain: Commissioner denounces arrest and detention of child asylum-seekers: here.

Ecuadorean leftist president Correa re-elected

From DPA news agency:

Correa re-elected as Ecuador’s president: Exit poll

Quito, April 27 Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa was re-elected Sunday with 54 percent of the first-round vote, according to results broadcast by television channel Ecuavis from an exit poll by the government-hired pollster Santiago Perez.

According to the exit survey, former Ecuadorian president Lucio Gutierrez (2003-05) got 31 percent.

In order to avoid a runoff, the socialist Correa, 46, needed to either capture a majority of the vote, or a plurality of more than 40 percent with a margin of at least 10 percentage points over the second-place candidate.

No major incidents were reported during Sunday’s voting. There were some minor logistical problems, including delays and isolated instances of campaigning in polling stations, which is illegal.

Observers from the European Union and the Organisation of American States were in attendance.

Preliminary official results for the presidential election were expected to be released late Sunday, though broader results were likely to take longer, with 6,000 elected positions at stake.

The election was historic in Ecuador as the first in which an incumbent president sought re-election.

This was the South American country’s fourth national balloting in 28 months since Correa was first elected president.

If official results confirm Correa’s victory, he would win a four-year term. Under the new constitution, he would still be eligible to seek re-election to another four-year mandate.

ECUADOREAN President Rafael Correa pledged to help build “a more just, fair and dignified country” on Monday after exit polls showed voters had granted him a second term in office: here. And here.

Ecuador Eliminating Fossil Fuel Use in the Galapagos: here.