Bahrain human rights activist Rajab arrested

This video is called HARDtalk – Nabeel Rajab – President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.

From RT:

Bahrain arrests main human rights activist Nabeel Rajab

05 May, 2012, 23:09

Bahraini authorities have arrested and imprisoned Nabeel Rajab, the rights activist and foremost critic of the Al Khalifa regime. The arrest comes as the country’s military continues its brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters.

­Nabeel Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights was detained at Bahrain’s international airport on his return from Lebanon.

The authorities have not commented on the reasons behind the arrest.

Rajab has played a significant role in anti-regime demonstrations over the past months.

Read more here.

Index on Censorship condemns last night’s arrest of Index’s 2012 Award winner and head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Nabeel Rajab and the ongoing harassment of human rights activists in Bahrain including the arrest of those involved in peaceful protests: here.

Bahrain Live Coverage: Prominent Activist Nabeel Rajab Arrested: here.

Why F1 was wrong to go to Bahrain: here.


New tick species in Belgian nestboxes

Ixodes arboricola, juveniles and adults

Translated from Antwerp University in Belgium:

Ticks in nest boxes

Friday, May 4, 2012

In Belgium and the Netherlands, 15 indigenous tick species live. Some of them suck blood from various animals (and humans), but most limit themselves to one specific species or species group (eg hedgehogs, sand martins, or bats). Of these specialized ticks, Ixodes arboricola is probably the least known. This species infects mainly birds that breed and sleep in tree cavities and nest boxes, but there is still little known about its ecology and distribution and its role in the spread of diseases in birds and humans.

For several years, the research group Evolutionary Ecology at the University of Antwerp have studied parasites of birds. Currently, they do research on the ecological interactions between ticks (Ixodidae) and tree cavity nesting birds. In this project, including the genetic variation of the ticks in relation to their hosts, the spatial distribution and genetic variation is studied on the scale of Belgium and the Netherlands. In addition, it will look at the germs which may be present in those ticks.

Five years ago, during this research in forest fragments near Antwerp (Peerdsbos in Brasschaat and Boshoek in Boechout-Lier) and later in the Park de Renesse in Oostmalle, Ixodes arboricola was found, a species which may be numerous elsewhere in Europe, but which as far as we know had never been documented in Belgium. The species does not have a Dutch name yet.

British birds’ nests flooded

This video from England is called Cranes at Ouse Washes RSPB.

From Wildlife Extra:

Minsmere, Ouse Washes & Fairburn Ings amongst RSPB reserves flooded

Hundreds of threatened birds’ nests drowned in flood

May 2012. The ongoing floods are having a catastrophic impact on some of Britain’s already-threatened wildlife, says the RSPB.

Redshank, snipe, lapwing and black-tailed godwits

Several of the Society’s 211 nature reserves have suffered severe flooding, including the internationally-important Ouse Washes in East Anglia. The reserve, which is home to the largest concentration of nesting wading birds in lowland England, is now two metres under water. The rising flood waters have drowned the nests and breeding attempts of an estimated 600 wading birds, including 37 per of the lowland snipe population of England and Wales. Other waders affected include large numbers of redshank, lapwing and, most importantly of all, internationally-important black-tailed godwits.

Jon Reeves is the RSPB’s Ouse Washes site manager. He said: “Following centuries of land drainage across the UK, The Ouse Washes is now the most important stronghold for these birds, after they have been largely forced out of other sites. Literally, we have all our eggs in one basket and we’ve lost them. It’s devastating to watch the nests succumb to the rising waters without being able to do anything to prevent it.”

Flood plain

The Ouse Washes is used by the Environment Agency as part of the flood relief system for the River Great Ouse, which flows from Northamptonshire, through Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire to the sea, near Kings Lynn, in Norfolk. In summer, the Ouse Washes nature reserve is grazed by cattle to create the ideal conditions for ground-nesting birds. The RSPB manages the site to keep the water levels at an optimum height for wading birds to create damp grassland and wet features without flooding. However, the Environment Agency has to open sluices to allow water onto the washes to prevent flooding elsewhere in the 150 mile catchment of The Great River Ouse. Jon Reeves added: “The Environment Agency is working hard to identify replacement land for the birds to nest to take the pressure off the Ouse Washes. Until this replacement land is in place, the birds will continue to face an uncertain future.”

Minsmere floods

Other reserves to have suffered flooding include Minsmere, on the Suffolk coast, where avocet and black-headed gull nests have been washed away. Fairburn Ings, near Leeds, and Pulborough Brooks, in West Sussex, have also been affected. Waterbird nests, including waders, such as lapwing, have been destroyed at these two sites.

However, the nest belonging to a pair of coots at Fairburn Ings enjoyed a miraculous escape, when the nest with eggs was washed away. The nest, like a miniature raft, floated to a new location about 30 metres away, where the eggs were able to hatch.

Some RSPB nature reserves are reporting better news as the heavy rainfall is helping providing much-needed water to those sites striving to combat the ongoing drought.

See also here.