Tony Blair scared of dead soldier’s mother

This is a video highlighting the propaganda and lies told by the Bush administration in order to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Britain: The mother of soldier Gordon Gentle who was killed in Iraq has condemned the head of the inquiry into the war for refusing her a seat when former prime minister Tony Blair gives evidence next Friday.

Gordon Brown will give evidence to the Iraq inquiry before the general election, it has been confirmed.

HANS BLIX, the former United Nations chief weapons inspector in Iraq told yesterday’s BBC Radio Today programme that he had warned Tony Blair the month before the 2003 invasion that there may well be no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) found in Iraq: here.

In a 25-page memorandum submitted to the Chilcot Inquiry on Iraq, former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, said: ‘My decision to support military action in respect of Iraq was the most difficult decision I have ever faced in my life’: here.

Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw gave some incorrect answers to the UK’s Iraq war inquiry, former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix has said: here.

The nazis’ anti-women witchhunt

This video is called Nazi Policies towards Women.

From Der Spiegel in Germany:

The ‘Dishonorable’ German Girls

The Forgotten Persecution of Women in World War II

By Jan Friedmann

Hitler’s Gestapo arrested thousands of women for admitting they had affairs with foreign forced laborers in Germany, despite many confessions being false and made under duress. Men were often executed and women sent to concentration camps for the crime of “racial defilement.” Some continued to suffer the consequences long after the end of the war.

On Sept. 19, 1941, Maria K. signed the record of her interrogation. In her written statement to the police detective, the 14-year-old girl confessed that she had “shared the bed of Polish national Florian Sp. and also had sexual relations with him.” …

Maria K., who is 82 today, covers her face with her hands when she talks about the “confession” that changed her life forever and led to the death of the two young men. She is ashamed, even though the Gestapo detective concocted the statement and beat her into signing it. This is her story today, and other documents support its veracity.

Gisela Schwarze, a historian from the western German city of Münster, has spent years investigating cases like hers, digging through the files of special courts in cities like Dortmund, Bielefeld and Kiel. She uncovered Maria K.’s story in a local archive. It unfolded in Asbeck, a village with a wartime population of 850 in the western Münsterland region.

‘Racial Defilement’

As a result of her research, Schwarze discovered a group of victims of the Nazi regime that has been neglected to this day. It consists of the women and girls who government officials accused of having sexual relations with foreign forced laborers. Some of the romantic relationships did exist, while others were made up, but the punishment was almost always extreme. The women were sent to concentration camps by the thousands, while the men were usually executed.

“Fellow Germans who engage in sexual relations with male or female civil workers of the Polish nationality, commit other immoral acts or engage in love affairs shall be arrested immediately,” Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, ordered in 1940.

The crime the Nazi lawyers had constructed was called “racial defilement.” At first, it only applied to relationships between Jews and non-Jews, but the racist construct was later expanded to include Slavs.

Britain: PETER FROST pays tribute to the women heroes of the struggle against fascism: here.

Flightless’ birds rise after dinosaur extinction

This video is about Eocene birds and mammals.

This video is called CHEETAH vs OSTRICH.

From COSMOS magazine:

Dino extinction brought birds back to earth

Friday, 22 January 2010

by Meghan Bergamin
Cosmos Online

SYDNEY: Large, flightless birds such as ostriches and emus, originated in the northern hemisphere, according to an Australian study that suggests they became grounded after dinosaurs went extinct.

Reconstructed migration patterns have raised questions about whether flightless birds could have their evolutionary origins in the planet’s north.

Until now, most scientists thought these birds originated in the southern behemoth Gondwanaland, according to the study published in Systematic Biology.

Birds were no longer eaten by dinos

Matthew Phillips of the Australian National University and his team have also dismissed previous theories that asserted all large, flightless birds – or ‘ratites‘ – share a flightless common ancestor.

Instead, they propose that species lost the ability to fly independently of one another at around the time dinosaurs became extinct, about 65 million years ago.

Without predation and competition from larger dinosaurs, some species of bird were able to shed the limitations flight imposes on body size and weight to evolve into the species of the order Struthioniformes, which includes ostriches, emus, cassowaries and kiwis.

Flightless birds fattened up

The removal of dinosaur predation and competition for food resources allowed ratites to remain grounded. “Birds tend to lose flight,” says Phillips, “Particularly in island situations, unless it is crucial for finding food or escaping predators.”

A glut of food would have allowed individuals to grow larger, and the lack of predators meant that there would no longer have been the need to fly away from danger.

These factors, along with the high-energy requirements of flight and of maintaining associated wing and pectoral apparatus could have led to the loss of flight altogether, say the researchers.

New genetic evidence, including DNA from the extinct giant moa of New Zealand, has shown that the common ancestor of ratites was a bird similar to today’s tinamous, a native of South America that resembles a quail.

Phillips and his team also found that the moa’s closest living genetic relatives were the tinamous, rather than kiwis, emus or any other ratite as was previously thought. …

Further research is needed, but … the theory already has some strong support, given that some of the earliest ratite fossils – dated at around 40 to 50 million years old – have been found in central Europe.

The fossils themselves were not considered sufficient evidence to rethink the origins of ratites, as they can be difficult to indisputably identify.

Trevor Worthy of the University of New South Wales, a palaeozoologist known for his research on the moa, says that although it is no surprise that ratites are not closely related to one another, confirmation that several species became flightless independently is an important development.

“Ratites aren’t all closely related,” he says. “People just assume that because they’re all big and flightless; but in fact they haven’t shared a common ancestor in 60 to 70 million years.”

Worthy was also aware of the fossilised “flying ostriches in Eurasia,” and was excited to discover more concrete evidence in favour of ostriches and other ratites having first emerged from the northern continents.

Volcanic activity may have led to nearly a third of marine life being wiped out around 100 million years ago, research suggests: here.

Tiny shelled creatures shed light on extinction and recovery 65 million years ago: here.

Rare kiwi hatches in quake-hit N.Zealand: here.

August 2011. As Colchester Zoo‘s charity, Action for the Wild, continues work to develop the UmPhafa Private Nature Reserve in South Africa. 10 ostrich have been released onto UmPhafa. Ostrich live in groups of between five and fifty individuals; so a group of ten is perfect. They often travel together with grazing animals, such as zebra and antelope, and it is hoped they will ‘team up’ with some of the resident game: here.

Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Triggered Global Winter 66 Million Years Ago – National Geographic: here.

Could Dinosaurs Have Survived the Impact that Killed Them? Here.

Asteroid impact killed off dinosaurs at a weak moment for the beasts: here.

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Spoonbill Cynthia killed by power line

This is a video of a Eurasian spoonbill in the Netherlands.

Translated from Vroege Vogels radio in the Netherlands:

Spoonbill Cynthia killed by power line

January 22, 2010 11:11

On instructions from the Netherlands, on January 19 spoonbill Cynthia was found dead under a power line in the southern Spanish nature reserve Isla Cristina (Huelva).

Died several days ago

The finder (Jesús Chaves) reported that the animal was not underfed and had died at most a few days ago. He has removed the transmitter and will send it back to the Netherlands. It is hoped that the researchers then will be able to use the transmitter again.


Spoonbill Cynthia, provided with a transmitter, was named after a worker of Dutch conservation organization Natuurmonumenten: Cynthia Borras. She had helped to put the transmitters on the spoonbills. …

High voltage lines

Of all registered non-natural causes of death, death by hunting tops the list, and collisions with power lines are number two.

Spoonbills in Gelderse Poort: here.

March 2011: The electrocution of Alaska’s second oldest bald eagle highlights the threat large birds face from power lines, says American Bird Conservancy, the US’s leading bird conservation organisation: here.

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Grey wagtail and gulls

Today, temperature a bit above freezing. There is still ice on small canals, but not on the river.

Tufted ducks diving near the river Rhine. A great cormorant.

On the river bank, and sometimes on a small boat moored there, a grey wagtail. This species is unusual for a city. A grey wagtail photo is here.

Grey wagtail in Tunisia: here.

My feeding of water birds attracts scores of black-headed gulls, one common gull, and a few coots and mallards. Fish-eating great crested grebes keep their distance from the melee.