Somali journalist jailed for interview

This video says about itself:

Somali Canadian demonstration against US air bombardment in Somalia, held in Toronto on jan 20 , 2007.

A court in Somalia‘s semi-autonomous region of Puntland has jailed a journalist for interviewing a Muslim leader with ties to al-Qaeda-inspired fighters, local media and an international watchdog have said: here.

Rift threatens Somali government: A rift between Somali president and prime minister might lead to the weak government’s downfall: here.

U.S Imperial Offensive: Stalled in Asia, Swarming Over Africa: here.


US Republicans join up with xenophobe Wilders

This video from the USA is called Glenn Beck calls Geert Wilders a fascist, endorses ban on his entering UK.

From Think Progress blog in the USA:

Gingrich, Bolton, Breitbart Team Up With Far-Right Muslim-Basher Geert Wilders For 9/11 Rally

The right-wing group Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) has announced that it will be hosting a rally against the proposed Cordoba House Islamic community center on September 11.

The confirmed list of speakers includes former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, Andrew Breitbart, and, notably, the far-right Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders. “Islam is not a religion, it’s an ideology,” Wilders told the Guardian in 2009, “the ideology of a retarded culture.”

In the past, Wilders’ extremism has been condemned by conservatives such as Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and even Glenn Beck, who called Wilders “fascist.” It’s a clear sign of how far the Republicans have shifted to the right and embraced Islamophobia as a political tool that movement figures like Gingrich, Bolton, and Breitbart now have no problem sharing a stage with Wilders.

Former Bush Adviser Mark McKinnon Rips GOP’s Stance On Mosque: ‘We’re Reinforcing Al Qaeda’s Message’: here.

Laura Ingraham To Co-Founder Of Ground Zero Mosque In December 2009: ‘I Like What You’re Trying To Do’: here.

The latest bout of hysterical bigotry, or Ground Zero Mosque goes “national”: here.

Republicans still freaking over the not-a-mosque that isn’t really at Ground Zero: here.

Pam Geller’s Muslim Crusade: here.

Bloomberg: ‘Sad Day For America’ If Ground Zero Mosque Plan Is Killed: here.

Media Repeat Unsubstantiated Claim that 9/11 Families Oppose Muslim Community Center: here.

Keith Olbermann: There is no “Ground Zero Mosque”: here.

Clever New Zealand kea parrots

From New Scientist:

Kea parrots are renowned thieves in their native New Zealand, and with good reason – even a complicated sequence of locks can’t foil them.

Hiromitsu Miyata of Kyoto University in Japan first presented keas with boxes of food secured with up to three bolts. The parrots managed to open all of them, so he made the tasks harder. The most challenging set-up involved two bolts blocking each other such that one needed to be slid open before the second would release.

Miyata found that the keas cracked this problem faster if they were allowed to study the set-up for a while before attempting to break it (Animal Cognition, DOI: 10.1007/s10071-010-0342-9). This suggests they are able to plan their moves, he says. Until now, the birds were thought to tackle problems in a haphazard fashion.

Why a “junk food” diet is killing off the Kea. The forested mountains of New Zealand’s South Island are home to a famously mischievous alpine parrot. But human conflict, deliberate feeding and the deadly threat of invasive mammals is driving the species’ decline. This year, it was uplisted from Vulnerable to Endangered on the IUCN Red List: here.

November 2010: New evidence shows possums are eating New Zealand’s native parrot, the kea. Researchers using nest-cameras have for the first time witnessed the gruesome reality inside defenceless kea nests invaded by stoats and possums in South Westland: here.

Parrots are one of the most frequently kept and bred bird orders in captivity. This increases poaching and thus the potential importance of captive populations for rescue programmes managed by zoos and related institutions. Both captive breeding and poaching are selective and may be influenced by the attractiveness of particular species to humans. In this paper, we tested the hypothesis that the size of zoo populations is not only determined by conservation needs, but also by the perceived beauty of individual parrot species assessed by human observers: here.

United States’ most popular birds

Spectacled eiderFrom the National Wildlife Federation in the USA:

Ten Most Wanted

Ever wonder what species U.S. birders want to see most? Read the results of our informal survey

07-12-2010 // NWF Staff

Which species do U.S. birders most want to see? Here are the results of an informal survey conducted by the editors of National Wildlife:

1. Spectacled eider. This Alaskan species topped many bird-watchers’ lists, perhaps because of the male’s flashy breeding plumage: white “goggles” on a chartreuse head. But like some hard-core birders, this species also shrugs at tough conditions. While most birds are flying south, spectacled eiders head for the middle of the Bering Sea, wintering in openings in the sea ice.

2. Ross’s gull. When a vagrant Ross’s gull shows up in the Lower 48, as one did on Plum Island off Massachusetts several years ago, birders rush to see it. A High Arctic species, the bird has a circumpolar distribution, wintering above the Arctic Circle and rarely breeding farther south than northern Manitoba.

3. Ivory gull. The is another Far North species that the birders we questioned want to see. The world’s only pure white gull, it winters at the edge of pack ice in Arctic waters and breeds only in remote parts of northern Canada.

4. Gyrfalcon (white morph). Many birders also long to see a white morph of the gyrfalcon, a variety of the raptor that normally inhabits only parts of northern Canada and Greenland. When one of them showed up in the Lower 48 not long ago, Ted Floyd, editor of Birding magazine, couldn’t pass up the opportunity. He drove hundreds of miles from his home in Colorado to South Dakota to see the bird.

5. Snowy owl. The snowy owl, another white Arctic species, ranks high on many “must see” lists. The largest (or at least heaviest) North American owl, it flies south periodically into the Lower 48 during the cold months when food is in short supply. (Some respondents rated another northern owl, the great gray, ahead of the snowy on lists.)

6. Black-footed albatross. “For many birders, seeing your first albatross is a big deal,” says Floyd. The world’s second largest population of the black-footed albatross breeds in remote Midway Atoll at the far northwestern end of the Hawaiian island chain. It is the only albatross that is seen regularly off the U.S. West Coast—but only if you venture out from the mainland 15 or 20 miles by boat.

7. White-tailed tropicbird. Most experienced birders lust for a glimpse of this bird, which comes ashore only briefly to nest on remote islands in the Caribbean and other tropical areas. “They’re just spectacular,” says Floyd, “ghostly white with these incredible tail streamers.” Your best bet to see one near the Lower 48 is to take a pelagic trip off the coasts of North Carolina or Florida.

8. Atlantic puffin. “Everyone loves puffins,” says Linda McCauley, a board member at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Of the world’s four species, the Atlantic puffin is the easiest to see in this country, outside of Alaska. Colonies breed on islands off Maine.

9. Elegant trogon. The appeal of this bird is obvious: It’s a rare sight in the United States, and it has gorgeous plumage, which actually provides effective camouflage in the shady Arizona canyons that are its only U.S. hangout. Birders most often locate the species not by sight but by its croaking calls.

10. Ivory-billed woodpecker. Though the striking ivory-billed woodpecker had long been considered extinct, birders continued to hold out hope that they might see it. A few years ago, several alleged sightings of ivorybills in bottomland hardwood habitat in Arkansas became the talk of the birding world.

Our top ten list might not match your own. Other often-mentioned species include the whooping crane and Kirkland’s [sic; Kirtland’s] warbler (both endangered); the greater roadrunner (for its cartoonlike appearance); the American dipper (for its odd behavior of slipping into streams and walking underwater); and Bachman’s warbler (like the ivorybill, thought to be extinct).

10 Myths About Bird Behavior: here.

Bird photos: here.

Endangered whooping crane population rebounds: here.

North America is home to remarkable wildlife spectacles where thousands and sometimes millions of wild creatures come together at the same time; following are six of our favorites that you can experience firsthand: here.

Why are there so many bird species in the tropics? Here.

Reclusive and seldom seen, two Mountain Trogons (Trogon mexicanus) were photographed near El Cañón del Fresno Reserve in central Mexico supported by World Land Trust (WLT): here.