Young Peruvian redstarts can almost fly


This video says about itself:

Fledging Approaches For Slate-throated Redstarts – Sept. 14, 2017

At day 10 post-hatch, the nestlings are likely to make their first venture out of the nest and into the cloud forests of Peru at any time in the next 48 hours!

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Tunisian women’s victory


This video says about itself:

2 August 2017

In Tunisia, the Parliament has passed a new law to protect women and girls from violence including rape. Rape survivors and civil society organisations have welcomed the new legislation as a progressive step for the country. Adnen Chaouachi has the details.

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant:

Tunisian Muslim women can now marry non-Muslims. The 1973 ministerial circular prohibiting such mixed marriages has been revoked.

While Muslim men had always been free to marry non-Muslim women. So, this anti-women government decision was by the pre-Arab Spring regime, known from dictator Ben Ali. A regime, often praised as ‘moderate’ and ‘secular’ by NATO country media, because wearing headscarves was illegal. In fact, stopping women who themselves want to wear headscarves is just as dictatorial as stopping women who themselves want to wear miniskirts.

The spokesman for President Béji Caïd Essebsi announced that on Thursday.

By Rob Vreeken September 14, 2017, 19:00

A month ago, on the occasion of the Women’s Festival on August 13, Essebsi had asked the government to annul the circular. That has happened now. …

Following the 2011 Arab Spring, which led to a democratic transition only in Tunisia, new steps were taken to anchor women’s rights.

A ‘historical project’

In July, Tunisian adopted a law that extensively prohibits all forms of violence against women. Not only physical violence is more harshly punished, but all acts of “moral, sexual, psychological and economic aggression” against women are now punishable. Human Rights Watch (HRW) human rights organization spoke of a “milestone” for women’s rights. Minister of Women’s Affairs Neziha Labidi calls it a ‘historical project’.

Tunisian women‘s groups had fought for a long time for such a law.

American groundhog prepares for winter


This video from the USA says about itself:

14 September 2017

Groundhog, Woodchuck, Whistle Pig, by any name this fellow is huge! And with those big buck teeth and barely able to waddle what’s not to love about this cute cousin of the squirrels and marmots. It’s apple season and just in time for this big Woodhog to bulk up for winter hibernation.

German anti-Polish revanchism


This 2008 video is called Poland under German occupation 1939-1945.

In Germany, there was a neonazi band called Landser. They sang songs like ‘Adolf Hitler, unser Führer, Adolf Hitler, unser Held’ (Adolf Hitler, our Führer, our hero); songs claiming that African immigrants should be expelled from Germany and drowned; and at least one anti-Polish song: ‘Polackentango’ (Polacks‘ tango).

Some of its lines (translated):

When at Danzig [Polish: Gdansk] the Polish fleet will sink into the sea
And the German national anthem will sound on the Marienburg [the medieval castle of the Teutonic Order crusaders in Malbork, in Poland]
Then the Wehrmacht [Hitler’s army] will invade Breslau [Polish: Wroclaw] with their tanks
Und then the eastern territories of Germany [with nazi Germany‘s borders] will come home at last

At first sight, one might think this is a rant by mentally ill nazis without any political influence. Landser was convicted (not especially for the Polackentango; for their nazism and racism in general). And in 1970, the government of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), led by Willy Brandt, agreed to recognize the post-1945 western border of Poland (what earlier West German governments had refused).

Today, 14 September 2017, however, Dutch NOS TV reports about Alexander Gauland. He is one of the two leaders of the extreme right AfD party, expected to get MPs in this month’s German general election (the other leader is Alice Weidel). Mr Gauland has said in a 2 September 2017 speech that Germans should be proud of the violence of Hitler’s Wehrmacht in World War II (and of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s armed forces in World War I as well). ‘Just like French people are proud of Napoleon, and British people of Winston Churchill‘.

Just days before the federal election, the consequences of Germany’s return to a policy of war and militarism are becoming ever more apparent. At a meeting of the right-wing extremist Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the state of Thuringia at the beginning of September, the party’s leading election candidate, Alexander Gauland, called for Germany’s Nazi past to be seen in a positive light: here.

Even further to the political ‘center’: an article by Peter Schwarz from Germany of today points out German revanchism against the western border of Poland. Not by some neonazi band, not by the AfD, but by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a ‘center’-right-wing establishment daily newspaper.

Germany and Poland are both European Union and NATO military alliance members. If the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has its way, then relations between these two allies will look like those of the two NATO, and still European Union, allies Spain and Britain, with their conflict on Gibraltar. Or like the NATO allies Turkey (also associate European Union member) and Greece (full European Union member).

Philippine eagles, new film


This 2015 video says about itself:

Neil Rettig and Laura Johnson discuss the Philippine Eagle. We are planning a wild Philippine eagle cam in conjunction with the Philippine Eagle Foundation and Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

New Film, “Bird of Prey,” Brings the Philippine Eagle Up Close

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has produced a new documentary about the race to save the world’s largest and rarest eagle, the Great Philippine Eagle. Called Bird of Prey, the film is a finalist in the Special Jury category of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. Stay tuned for information about how to see the film later this year, through festivals or other venues. Learn more about the eagle and the film.

Birds, hurricanes and solar eclipses


This video from Texas in the USA says about itself:

26 August 2017

A Houston taxi driver made an unusual friend during Hurricane Harvey. William Bruso returned to his taxi after getting food to find a hawk sitting on the passenger seat. Dubbed Harvey, the Cooper’s hawk refused to leave his shelter. Bruso made sure the bird wasn’t injured and tried to release him but Harvey seemed unwilling to brave the storm on his own. Eventually, Bruso agreed to let the hawk stay until the hurricane has passed.

The hawk was later set free.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

What Happens to Birds In Hurricanes?

Our hearts go out to all whose lives have been affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. We have also received questions about how hurricanes affect birds. See our article on hurricanes and migration or check the special reports from our BirdCast team summarizing observations from eBirders who are documenting birds in the wakes of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

Little is known about longer-term effects of hurricanes on birds. Contribute your observations at eBird.org.

BirdCast Also Reported on Birds and the Eclipse: More than 1,200 eBirders submitted checklists on August 21 during the maximum eclipse in their area. Nighthawks suddenly emerged, magpies flocked to roost, and warblers looked like they were getting ready for a night of migration. Read more from BirdCast.