This 23 October 2018 video says about itself:
Pregnant Devil Ray: Rare Look | Zeb’s Big Fish
Zeb comes across thousands of leaping devil rays while waiting for the plane to spot a whale shark.
This 23 October 2018 video from Londonn, England says about itself:
Grenfell residents ignored over toxic soil concerns, MP claims
“The fire and its treatment have been the most incredible piece of criminality” says Hilda Palmer, acting chair of Hazards Campaign after the Labour Party’s Emma Dent Coad MP says that #Grenfell residents are being ignored over toxic soil concerns.
By Alice Summers in Britain:
UK: Report reveals widespread soil contamination after Grenfell Tower fire
24 October 2018
Large concentrations of harmful toxins have been found in the dust and soil around Grenfell Tower. The toxins, which are potentially carcinogenic and may have long-term health implications for survivors of the fire and for local residents, have been identified in the preliminary findings of a study by toxicology expert, Professor Anna Stec.
Her findings back up the grave concerns of survivors, local residents and health experts of the health impact of potential contamination in the wake of the devastating fire, which killed 72 people last June.
The study conducted by Stec, who is Professor of Fire Chemistry and Toxicity at the University of Central Lancashire and was recently appointed an expert witness to the government’s Grenfell Fire Inquiry, analysed soil, dust and residue samples taken from eight sites up to a mile away from the tower.
The early results of her study, which is due to be published in full early next year, indicated that “huge concentrations” of potential carcinogens were present in the dust and soil around the tower, as well as in the burned debris which had fallen from it. High levels of hydrogen cyanide were also found in the soil she analysed.
While Public Health England (PHE), a government agency part of the Department of Health and Social Care, has been monitoring air quality since the fire, no tests have been done into the potential contamination of soil until Stec’s study.
In February, the professor briefed health and public authorities on her study, including PHE, the Department of Health, the police and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council (RBKC). She explained that her study went beyond an examination of air quality, and that she was looking for particles that were much smaller than those analysed by PHE, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), a group of chemicals given off in fires, which can have health implications and are potentially carcinogenic.
In her brief to the public authorities, Stec said that her preliminary findings indicated “high levels of PAH in the surrounding soil.” She warned officials that the most significant threat to survivors and local residents was likely to be from absorbing toxic material through the skin and not from smoke inhalation. The black soot from the fire, for example, is highly likely to be contaminated with asbestos, which is known to have been present in the tower, according to Stec.
She found that the “Grenfell cough”, reported by many survivors after the fire, “seems indicative of elevated levels of atmospheric contaminants.”
In the light of her findings, Stec called on the authorities to urgently conduct their own tests to assess the potential health risks, suggesting that health authorities should consider taking blood and saliva samples from survivors, local residents and firefighters to monitor possible damage to their DNA.
Despite the seriousness of these concerns, local residents and survivors were not notified of Professor Stec’s briefing to health and government officials and received no information about the potential health risks. Former residents of Grenfell Tower and the local community were only made aware of Stec’s study when details of it were published in a Guardian article earlier this month—eight months after the professor had initially raised her concerns.
Local community groups representing survivors and residents have expressed their anger about having been kept in the dark over these revelations and demanded immediate answers and action from health officials and local authorities.
In a letter to government ministers and to RBKC and PHE, Grenfell United—which represents the majority of survivors—demanded further information and action from the council and health authorities.
It stated: “This [contamination to the local area] has been a concern that Grenfell United have raised time and time again, and now the community of North Kensington has had to find out through a newspaper article that the area is not as safe as you have led us all to believe. We are deeply disturbed by this.”
The possible health consequences of inhaling toxic smoke have frequently been raised by local residents in the wake of the blaze, as large quantities of highly toxic hydrogen cyanide were emitted by the tower’s burning cladding. Many have reported respiratory problems, including the aforementioned “Grenfell cough.”
Concerns over the safety of the secondary school situated at the foot of the tower have also been raised on multiple occasions. Due to toxicity worries and the traumatic impact on pupils and teachers alike, the school was relocated to a different site in the wake of the fire. But, as of the start of the new school year this September, they have returned to the Kensington Aldridge Academy building, mere metres from the burnt-out shell of the tower.
In September, the coroner leading the Grenfell fire inquiry, Dr. Fiona Wilcox, called for regular screening of those who were exposed to smoke and dust in the fire, including survivors, local residents and firefighters.
In a letter to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, Wilcox said that those who had been exposed to smoke and dust from the fire were at risk of developing health conditions, as the burning tower had emitted “multiple toxic substances” and had contained asbestos.
NHS England said it will provide up to £50 million to fund long-term screening and treatment for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. PHE and RBKC, however, have responded with complacent dismissals of the significance of Professor Stec’s report.
In a statement, RBKC merely declared that they would undertake a “rapid review” to ascertain if any action were necessary, while maintaining that health advice remained “unchanged.” Due to pressure from residents, a public meeting at the end of October has been called by the council to discuss the issue of soil contamination.
On the part of the council, this is yet another exercise in damage limitation aimed at placating anger from the community and will offer no concrete solutions to their concerns.
PHE refuses to even investigate reports of soil contamination until Stec’s full study is published next year, and largely dismissed the concerns the initial findings raise. PHE claimed that soil contamination can come from “a variety of sources,” including historic industrial manufacturing and coal fires, and that it would therefore “be difficult to link it directly with the Grenfell Tower fire.”
The fact that the plume of smoke from the burning tower largely travelled vertically meant that contaminants were unlikely to have been deposited on the ground, it claimed.
The response of local and central authorities to this report, and the fact that the information contained within it was concealed from those affected for eight months, provides further confirmation of the official disregard for the health and lives of the former residents of Grenfell Tower and of the working-class inhabitants in the local area.
The contempt for the working class, manifestly clear in the official response to fire, is the same that created the conditions for the deadly inferno in the first place.
Tory Budget allocates no money for Grenfell Tower fire survivors: here.
Grenfell borough tops list of London’s most expensive places to rent. Median monthly rent for a two-bedroom flat in the borough is now £2,708, a GMB study reveals: here.
This 23 October 2018 video shows a red squirrel eating peanuts.
MarkvdToorn made this video in Belgium.
This 24 October 2018 video from Spain says about itself:
Spain won’t stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia – as pro-independence parties and left-wing Podemos criticize the links between the Spanish royal family and the Saudi monarchy. The Spanish Congress held a tense debate on how to react to the controversial death of a Saudi journalist in Istanbul. But the parliamentary session also led to yet another discussion on Catalonia –with the words ‘coup d’etat’ and ‘shooting’ among the words heard in the chamber. Catalan News also shows you what it’s like to live in a 2.6 square meter flat.
Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant today:
Spanish Prime Minister under fire for controversial arms exports to Saudi Arabia
A Spanish court investigates the large-scale payment of bribes by a semi-public company in the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia. Between 1992 and 2014, at least 80 million euros in kickbacks are said to have been paid. At the same time, Spanish Prime Minister Sánchez is under fire in parliament because he does not want to stop arms exports to the Saudis aafter the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
By Maartje Bakker
The central player in the new corruption scandal is Defex, a company with 51 percent Spanish state ownership and for the remaining 49 percent owned by private arms exporters. Over the years, at least sixteen unsavory deals totaling around € 80 million are said to have been closed, reports El País daily. The Spanish newspaper bases its revelations on justice department documents.
Swiss authorities reported earlier to the Spanish National Court that Defex made illegal payments, both to people who have good contacts with the Saudi regime and to their own company boss. The bribes are said to have reached their destination via a ‘complex system of companies’.
The Spanish courts have had Defex in their sights for some time: in 2014 it was discovered that the company had sold weapons to police in Angola for a far too high amount. The millions of extra paid euros ended up in the pockets of Angolan officials and Spanish bosses. That affair led to Defex being dissolved.
From the moment Pedro Sánchez took office as prime minister, arms exports to Saudi Arabia caused him headaches. Initially, his Minister of Defense announced that a delivery of four hundred laser-controlled bombs, agreed by the previous government, would not take place. Saudi Arabia responded by canceling an order of five corvettes.
… [After pressure by the Saudi regime, the Trump regime and other NATO governments], suddenly Spain promised to provide the four hundred bombs anyway.
Even now Sánchez does not want to stop this delivery, he said Wednesday morning in parliament. He sees it as his duty to act ‘in the strategic interests of Spain’. The PM is supported by the [right-wing] PP [ex-government party, deposed because of corruption], still the largest party in the country.
However, there is sharp criticism from the left. The leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias (in theory Sánchez’ best political friend), thinks the government should look for another buyer for the Cádiz frigates. It would be better still if the Andalusian shipyards were to focus on non-military shipbuilding, according to the Podemos leader.
This 23 October 2018 video is about a female sparrowhawk bathing.
Martin in de Wal made this video from a hide near Holten town in the Netherlands.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
‘No one cares about Yemen, a shame’
The United Nations say Saudi Arabia should stop the bombing. Human rights organizations condemn the sale of weapons by Western countries to Saudi Arabia.
But while the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been world news for weeks, things remain remarkably silent about the crimes of Saudi Arabia against the millions of Yemenis. With a threatening famine as a result.
Thea Hilhorst, professor of humanitarian aid and reconstruction at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, typifies the situation in Yemen as a war crime. …
The Yemeni relief worker Radhya Almutawakel is temporarily in the Netherlands and talks about the horrors in her country. “Your life is not safe, at any time of the day.” “I experienced that with my father in 2014. He was shot dead on the street for no reason, just like that.”
“Yemen is surrounded by death, there is no escape”, says Almutawakel. “And hunger is finally breaking the people of Yemen, a famine caused by the parties in the war, with a very bad role of Saudi Arabia.”
The aid worker thinks that Saudi Arabia can end the war and put an end to all the suffering, if there is enough pressure from the international community. “But nobody cares, the international community
supports Saudi Arabia with weapons that destroy our country, the Saudi’s are destroying Yemen and everyone is looking the other way, I think it’s a shame.”
The largely invisible suffering takes place behind the walls of houses. Whole families are now being affected by illness and hunger. The famine that threatens is of unprecedented magnitude. According to UN envoy Mark Lowcock, 14 million people are dependent on food aid for survival in the short term. That is half of the population.
This video is about redwings.