Indian mass anti-gang rape protests

This video is called Delhi gang rape: Protests spread across India.

From Feminist Daily News in the USA:


Indian Activists Protest Gang Rape

Protests erupted in India yesterday in response to a violent gang rape on a bus in South Delhi. Protesters, mostly students and women’s organizations, held protests in streets of the city of Delhi and demonstrated in front of the city’s police headquarters calling for new attitudes towards rape. Protesters who gathered outside of the home of Delhi’s Chief Minister were blasted with a water cannon from police forces.

On Sunday, a 23 year old medical student and her male partner was accosted while riding a bus in South Delhi. Both were beaten and the woman was raped repeatedly by four men. She has required multiple surgeries for head and intestinal injuries. A few days later, a 15 year old was raped in the northern state of Bihar.

Sehba Farooqui, an activist for Indian women’s rights, said “We have been screaming ourselves hoarse demanding greater security for women and girls. But the government, the police and others responsible for public security have ignored the daily violence that women face.” A student protester told reporters “We want to jolt people awake from the cozy comfort of their cars. We want people to feel the pain of what women go through every day.”

Media Resources: Times of India 12/20/12; International Business Times 12/19/12; New York Times 12/19/12

December 25, 2012: Gang rape protests continue in India as injured police officer dies in hospital. Authorities seal off high-security zone in New Delhi for a second day to put an end to a week of demonstrations against brutal gang rape of a woman on a moving bus. Read more: here.

India gang-rape victim dies in Singapore hospital: here.

From the Communist Party of India:


The Central Secretariat of the Communist Party of India sends its deep condolences to the family of the police constable, Tomar, who died in hospital after the police clash with protestors. It is an unfortunate incident. While the CPI condemns the violence, it feels that the police could have shown more restraint.

The address of the Prime Minister came too late and was disappointing. The stress is more on peace than on the concrete steps to prevent the recurrence of atrocities on women or on the actions for security of women. This will not restore confidence among the people.

The statement of the home minister is irresponsible and provocative. People are not asking him to discuss with every rallyist while the whole nation is indignant and angry, while tens of thousands of young girls and boys are on the streets on a justified issue of security to women he makes a mockery of. The home minister of the country is expected to understand the agony and try to make efforts to create confidence among the people.

The home minister has to discuss even with insurgent groups to help solve the problems. We advise the home minister to control his anger, as it fuels the fire.

The suspension of police constables and ACPs has come too late. How about the accountability of the home ministry for its failure to provide equipment, finances and necessary staff to Delhi police?

Cases against Gen. V K Singh and Baba Ramdev are the signs of nervousness of the government. The attempt to stamp the spontaneous outburst of people to some individuals and hidden hand of political parties and attempt to find hooligans, cannot whitewash the general discontent of the people against the miserable failure of the government in maintenance of law and order in the NCR. The recent events once again proved that the UPA government has lost its credibility and the confidence of the people.

CPI demands that the government should take steps in the right direction to prevent violence against women, in place of attacking the protesters.

America’s Rape Problem: We Refuse to Admit That There Is One: here.

Thousands protest rape culture in New Zealand, saying it’s become ‘a national health crisis’: here.

Mexican composer Ema Elena Valdelamar dies

This music video is called Emma Elena Valdelamar – Mucho Corazón.

From Prensa Latina news agency:

Mexico, Dec 24 – Mexican composer Ema Elena Valdelamar, whose works were sang by popular singers through the years, died, reported the media.

Mucho corazón, Cheque en blanco, Mil besos, Por qué no fuiste tú and Vivir sin tí are some of the most relevant songs, widely heard nationally and internationally.

Her compositions, mostly boleros, have been sung by Luis Miguel, Paquita la del Barrio, Benny Moré, Pedro Vargas, Maria Victoria and Marco Antonio Muñiz, among other celebrities.

Her latest tribute was held last October by the National Sound Archive, in the framework of the program Mexican Popular Music through her Songs.

Valdelamara’s body lies in a funeral in the south of the capital, and various figures of the national cultural will go.

Great white shark mating discovery

This video is called Nature’s Perfect Predator – Great White Shark.

From New Scientist:

Zoologger: The great white shark cattle market

Species: Carcharodon carcharias
Habitat: Throughout the tropical and temperate oceans, acting mysteriously

Great white sharks are legendary. Ever since Jaws, we have known them as ferocious killing machines that sneak up on unsuspecting prey from the depths of the ocean.

But no animal can spend its entire life hunting and munching. Somehow, somewhere, the sharks must get together to mate.

Finally, we have a clue how they do it.

Because they spend so much time in remote waters, and don’t survive in captivity, great white sharks are deeply mysterious creatures. But over the last ten years, biologists have been able to track them using electronic tags which record their position and depth, and the ocean temperature.

On the face of it, that information can’t tell you what the sharks are actually doing. But Salvador Jorgensen of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, and colleagues have developed a new statistical analysis that picks out patterns of behaviour from the tagging data.

It seems to confirm earlier suggestions that the sharks have a breeding ground in the east Pacific. What’s more, it suggests that the males go there to show off side-by-side in front of the choosy females – cattle-market style.

On the prowl

Jorgensen looked at the electronic records of 53 great whites in the eastern Pacific, covering a period of 5571 days.

He found that the sharks spent a lot of time in two offshore habitats. One is around Hawaii; the other is an area between Hawaii and the Baja peninsula of Mexico, known as the White Shark Café, a region where they are already known to congregate. When travelling between these habitats and the coast of North America, the sharks swam just below the surface, only rarely diving deeper.

In Hawaii and the Café, the sharks spent more time diving – in two distinct ways. In both regions, they often spent the day in the depths and surfaced at night in pursuit of prey.

But sharks in the Café also went in for a different kind of diving: from the surface down to 500 metres and back again. “They go up and down, day and night,” Jorgensen says, often completing 150 such cycles within 24 hours. “It’s an astonishing behaviour.” No other shark has been seen doing it.

Sharks made more of these oscillatory dives the closer they were to the centre of the Café, with males performing them much more than females.

Ever since the Café was discovered, researchers have suspected that it must be a mating ground since it has little prey to draw the sharks. Jorgensen says the sharks’ peculiar diving strengthens the case.

Shark lek?

Many birds mate in a system known as a lek: the males establish territories next to each other, and the females move between them to pick their favourite. Essentially, the system ensures that females have the best possible choice of mates.

Jorgensen says the great whites may be doing the same thing. Rapidly diving and surfacing may be a way for males to display their strength and endurance to the females, just like a man might show off his skills on the diving board of a hotel pool.

Lek systems evolve in species where the males do not help to raise the offspring, so the females simply want to get the best possible genes for their young. That’s very much the case with great whites, as males and females spend very little time together.

If the Café isn’t a lek, it could simply be a designated mating zone: by entering it, females are announcing that they are willing to mate. In that case, the diving behaviour could be interpreted as the males searching up and down for females. “The fittest males will search the most and have the most success,” Jorgensen says.

Violent encounters

Right now we don’t know enough to distinguish between the two possibilities. We do know that females spend much less time in the centre of the Café than males do. That makes sense, because while we don’t know exactly how great whites mate, we know it is violent. Females often have bite marks and other injuries, probably from males holding onto them by biting their fins. As a result, Jorgensen says females would want to slip into the Café, mate once, and then leave in a hurry.

Regardless of exactly what is happening, the Café area is clearly important for white sharks, says Jorgensen. “All the mature males [in that region] go there, every year.”

Great whites are considered vulnerable to extinction due to the high amount of food needed to support each shark, coupled with the fact that people such as trophy hunters and sports fisherman are often eager to kill them. If the Café really is a mating zone, Jorgensen says we should consider making it a protected area.

Journal reference: PLOS ONE, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047819

Warmer seas ‘driving sharks towards beaches’: here.

New animal world map

Wallace map, the new global map of biogeography (CREDIT: Science Journal AAAS.)

From Discovery News:

New Map of Earth‘s Animals

by Tim Wall

Tue Dec 25, 2012 05:22 AM ET

Alfred Russell Wallace was beaten to the punch in describing evolution by Charles Darwin, but Wallace’s contributions to biology have been just as long-lived. Wallace drew a map of the Earth divided into regions by where animals live. Now, his map is evolving too, with an update including a total of more than 20,000 mammals, birds and amphibians.

“Our study is a long overdue update of one of the most fundamental maps in natural sciences. For the first time since Wallace’s attempt we are finally able to provide a broad description of the natural world based on incredibly detailed information for thousands of vertebrate species,” said co-lead-author, Ben Holt of the University of Copenhagen, in a press release.

The global map data can be used to make regional maps on a smaller scale, not just the planetary scale shown above.The data can even be fed into Google Earth or a Geographic Information System program, the authors noted in the study published in Science Express.

The planetary map was divided into 11 realms, such as Neotropical and Sino-Japanese, and subdivided into 20 “zoogeograghic” regions. The unusual creatures of Madagascar got their own realm. Overall, the map data shows greater biological diversity in the Southern Hemisphere than in the Northern. Currently, only mammals, birds and amphibians are represented. Other classes of animals will be added as the data becomes available.

The new map made use of resources barely imaginable in Wallace’s time. Genetic analysis helped to define species in the modern map along with the classical anatomical descriptions Wallace used. It took 15 researchers and 20 years of data compilation to update Wallace’s original magnum opus of biological geography.

Developing a map of where species live may prove invaluable as a changing global climate, habitat loss and invasive species are rearranging animals’ home ranges.

“The map provides important baseline information for future ecological and evolutionary research. It also has major conservation significance in light of the on-going biodiversity crisis and global environmental change. Whereas conservation planners have been identifying priority areas based on the uniqueness of species found in a given place, we can now begin to define conservation priorities based on millions of years of evolutionary history,” said Jean-Philippe Lessard, the other co-lead-author, of McGill University, Canada, in a press release.

Long-tailed duck wintering in the Netherlands

This is a long-tailed duck video.

Translated from BirdLife in the Netherlands:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

“The” long-tailed duck is back! Such is the joyous reaction of birders in the Gooi region. It is an old friend: a male long-tailed duck wintering annually on the Gooimeer lake in Huizen in North Holland. On 19 December, for the first time this winter it was seen at the Huizen jetty. This is the eleventh winter in a row that the long-tailed duck resides there. The winter of 2002-2003 was the first time.

Long-tailed duck photos: here.