Carnivorous plants and other botanical news


Nepenthes khasiana

Translated from the botanical garden in Leiden, the Netherlands:

Saturday August 7, at the ICPS conference, an agreement for the protection of four endangered Nepenthes species was signed.

Stewart Mc Pherson of the Ark of Life Foundation, Marcel van den Broek of the International Carnivorous Plant Society and Paul Keβler of the Hortus Botanicus Leiden signed on Saturday, August 7 an agreement for the protection of four species of Nepenthes. These carnivorous plants are seriously threatened in their natural habitat.

Research collection

The Hortus Botanicus Leiden is adding these carnivorous plants to their research collection in order to save the endangered Nepenthes. The Hortus has the knowledge to breed and protect difficult species. Through a breeding program, the botanical garden hopes to be able in the future to exchange plants with other botanical gardens and eventually bring them back into nature.

The following species are part of this unique project:

Nepenthes aristolochioides Jebb & Cheek from West Sumatra
Nepenthes clipeata Dancer from West Kalimantan
Nepenthes khasiana Hook. F. from India
Nepenthes rigidifolia Akhriadi, Hernawati & Tamins from North Sumatra

Talking about the Leiden botanical garden: at the moment, various Stanhopea orchid species and the cockspur coral tree, Erythrina crista-galli, are flowering.

The Amsterdam botanical garden, mentioned earlier on this blog, does not have to close down (yet).

Common orchid gives scientists hope in face of climate change: here.

Melocactus conoideus – a critically endangered cactus from eastern Brazil: here.

ScienceDaily: Shared phosphoproteome links remote plant species: here.

US museum exhibit to focus on endangered plants: here.

Plants of Zaanstad, the Netherlands: here.

Afghan war bloodshed continuing


This video from the USA is called GRITtv: A Voice from RAWA: Zoya on Afghanistan.

More civilians than ever dying in Afghanistan. Survivors describe 52 killed by airstrike denied by Nato: here.

Afghan civilan toll up by a third: Rising casualties among children and women were of particular concern, says UN: here.

Civilians are bearing the brunt of the US-led counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan, the UN has confirmed: here.

The US media has launched a full-scale effort to suppress growing popular opposition to the war in Afghanistan, using one-sided propaganda about Taliban atrocities to conceal the murderous character of the American intervention: here.

USA: Veterans & peace activists rally to free Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning: here.

US Army colonel says soldier Bradley Manning should be praised for telling the truth about Afghanistan: here.

US has pressured Britain, Germany, Australia, to charge WikiLeaks editor with espionage: here.

The latest entry into the trumped-up debate over the fate of women in Afghanistan comes from Judy Bachrach, an editor at Vanity Fair. It’s all part and parcel of a campaign, some well meaning and so not so well meaning, to justify America’s failing counterinsurgency policy in that devastated nation by raising the banner of women’s rights, a debate kicked off by the now ubiquitous Time magazine cover photograph of an Afghan woman whose face was mutilated, allegedly by a Taliban-allied, reactionary tribal potentate: here.

CIA memo leaked by Wikileaks reveals strategy to “Use Plight of Afghan Women to Win Public Support for War”: here.

Bradley Manning and GI Resistance to US War Crimes — An interview with Dahr Jamail: here.

The military commissions trial for Omar Khadr, the Canadian citizen seized by US Special Forces in Afghanistan in 2002 when he was 15 years old, is set to start today at Guantánamo Bay: here. Update here.

Judge rules confessions admissible despite being obtained by alleged torture, in trial of youngest Gitmo detainee: here.

Guantanamo terror trial shames Obama administration: here.

Obama’s First Military Tribunal Tries Child Soldier Tortured at Bagram and Gitmo: here.

Amnesty called on the Obama administration on Monday to tackle the human rights abuses endured by Canadian national Omar Khadr, who has pleaded guilty to charges against him at a military commission at the US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay: here.

With Canada’s Conservative government acting as their accomplice and in violation of international law, the Obama administration and US military have coerced child soldier Omar Khadr into a plea bargain: here.

Fossil primate discovery in Saudi Arabia


http://www.nsf.gov/js/video/player.swf

This is a video of the new primate discovery.

From the National Science Foundation in the USA:

New Primate Fossil Found in Saudi Arabia

Researchers discover a new primate fossil suggesting the split between humans and Old World monkeys occurred 29 million years ago

July 14, 2010

A new Catarrhine primate fossil discovered in Saudi Arabia suggests the evolutionary spilt between Old World monkeys and humans occurred older than previously thought, around 29 million years ago. The discovery challenges the theory that the groups diverged around 5 million years earlier than the date of the recent fossil find.

Geologist and paleontologist Iyad Zalmout and his colleagues from the University of Michigan and the Saudi Geological Survey reported the finding this week in the journal Nature.

Scientists long ago concluded humans and apes have a common ancestor with Old World monkeys, but it is unclear when the two groups diverged from that common ancestor. But the new catarrhine fossil, Saadanius hijazensis, found by Zalmout and his research team in western Saudi Arabia by the Red Sea is helping to shed light.

This is “the first substantial fossil primate from Arabia and from a period of between 30 and 23 million years ago where almost all the primate fossil record from this period is very rare, and if any is found, it is not as complete as this discovery,” said Zalmout. The fossil, found in 2009, is dated to 29-28 million years ago.