Black-winged stilts, sparrow of Kos, Greece


Black-winged stilt, 15 May 2019

After our arrival on Kos island on 14 May 2019 came 15 May. Like on 14 May, we went again to the Alikes salt lake nature reserve. Where we saw this black-winged stilt.

Like on Tilos, during the night we had heard a scops owl. As soon as we had entered the gate of the nature reserve, we heard Cetti’s warbler sound.

Both red-rumped swallows and barn swallows flying.

A hooded crow.`

Black-winged stilt, on 15 May 2019

Sometimes, the black-winged stilts stand on small islands …

Black-winged stilt, Kos, 15 May 2019

Black-winged stilts, 15 May 2019

sometimes, they stand in shallow water…

Black-winged stilts, on 15 May 2019

… and sometimes they fly.

Black-winged stilts, Kos, 15 May 2019

Like this bird. A female, as males have more black on their heads.

Black-winged stilt, flying, 15 May 2019

There was a male house sparrow as well; collecting nesting material.

House sparrow male, Kos, 15 May 2019

Stay tuned, as there will be more on this blog about the birds of Kos!

Global warming threatens health, doctors say


This September 2017 video from the World Health Organization South-East Asia Region – WHO SEARO says about itself:

Climate Change and Health

Climate change is happening, and is a risk to public health. Whether from greater severity and intensity of extreme weather events, changes in the spread and abundance of disease-carrying vectors such as mosquitoes, or changes to the physical environment that cause displacement or threaten livelihoods, climate change is already having an impact across our Region.

As many diseases and health conditions are climate-sensitive, the impact of climate change on health needs to be included in health policies and planning. In recognition of the immense and increasing public health risks caused by climate change, Member countries of WHO South-East Asia Region unanimously endorsed the Malé Declaration in September 2017, committing to build health systems able to anticipate, respond to, cope with, recover from and adapt to climate-related shocks and stress.

From the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council, Leopoldina – Nationale Akademie der Wissenschaften:

Climate action urgently required to protect human health in Europe

June 3, 2019

Summary: In a landmark report, the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) focuses on the consequences of climate change for human health in Europe and the benefits of acting now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to stabilize the climate.

EASAC is the voice of independent science advice, mobilising Europe’s leading scientists from 27 national science academies to guide EU policy for the benefit of society. By considering a large body of independent studies on the effects of climate change on health, and on strategies to address the risks to health, EASAC has identified key messages and drawn important new conclusions. The evidence shows that climate change is adversely affecting human health and that health risks are projected to increase. Solutions are within reach and much can be done by acting on present knowledge, but this requires political will. With current trends in greenhouse gas emissions, a global average temperature increase of over 3°C above pre-industrial levels is projected by the end of the century. The increase will be higher over land than the oceans, exposing the world population to unprecedented rates of climate change and contributing to the burden of disease and premature mortality. Health risks will increase as climate change intensifies through a range of pathways including:

  • Increased exposure to high temperatures and extreme events such as floods and droughts, air pollution and allergens;
  • Weakening of food and nutrition security;
  • Increased incidence and changing distribution of some infectious diseases (including mosquito-borne, food-borne and water-borne diseases);
  • Growing risk of forced migration.

EASAC emphasises that the top priority is to stabilise climate and accelerate efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The economic benefits of action to address the current and prospective health effects of climate change are likely to be substantial.

Working Group co-chair, Professor Sir Andy Haines (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), comments, “If urgent action is not taken to reduce emissions in order to keep temperatures below the 2°C (or less) limit enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement, we face potentially irreversible changes that will have wide-ranging impacts on many aspects of health. The scientific community has an important role in generating knowledge and countering misinformation. We hope that this comprehensive report will act as a wake-up call and draw attention to the need for action, particularly by pursuing policies to decarbonise the economy. The protection of health must have a higher profile in policies aimed at mitigating or adapting to the effects of climate change.” Key messages addressed in the report include:

  • Several hundred pollution pollution deaths annually in the EU could be averted by a ‘zero-carbon’ economy through reduced air pollution. Pollution endangers planetary health, damages ecosystems and is intimately linked to global climate change. Fine particulate and ozone air pollution arise from many of the same sources as emissions of greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants. For the EU overall, fossil-fuel-related emissions account for more than half of the excess mortality attributed to ambient (outdoor) air pollution. A recent estimate suggests that about 350,000 excess deaths annually in the EU can be attributed to ambient air pollution from burning fossil fuels and a total of about 500,000 from all human-related activities. Understanding of the range of health effects of air pollution on the health of children and adults is growing. Seven million babies in Europe are living in areas where air pollution exceeds WHO recommended limits and such exposure may affect brain development and cognitive function. Action to reduce pollution through decarbonisation of the economy must be viewed as a priority to address both climate change and public health imperatives.
  • Promotion of healthier, more sustainable diets with increased consumption of fruit, vegetables and legumes and reduced red meat intake will lower the burden of non-communicable diseases and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Promoting dietary change could have major health and environmental benefits, resulting in significant reductions of up to about 40% in greenhouse gas emissions from food systems as well as reducing water and land use demands. Such diets can also lead to major reductions on non-communicable disease burden through reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and other conditions.

    If food and nutrition security declines because of climate change, the EU can probably still satisfy its requirements by importing food. But this will have increasing consequences for the rest of the world; for example, by importing fodder for livestock from arable land that has been created through deforestation. It is therefore vital to develop climate-smart food systems to ensure more resilient agricultural production and to promote food and nutrition security, for the benefit of human health.

  • Climate action could avert a significant increase in the spread of infectious diseases. The spread of infectious diseases in Europe could increase through climate change. These diseases include those that are spread by vectors (particularly mosquitos) and food- and water-borne infections. There is also an increased risk to animal health across Europe from conditions such as Blue tongue virus. Distribution of the mosquito species Aedes albopictus, known to be a vector for diseases such as dengue, is already expanding in Europe and may extend to much of Western Europe within the next decade.

    Water-borne infections such as diarrhea may increase following heavy rainfall and flooding and higher temperatures may be associated with increased antibiotic resistance for pathogens such as E. coli. In the case of Salmonella species, an increase in temperature will increase multiplication and spread in food and increase the risks of food poisoning. There could also be an increase in Norovirus infections related to heavy rainfall and flooding. Strengthening communicable disease surveillance and response systems should be a priority for improving adaptation to climate change.

  • Providing evidence of the health benefits of action on climate change may be instrumental in achieving rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Although the EU is actively engaged in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to identify suitable adaptation measures, the impacts of climate change on health have been relatively neglected in EU policy. Recognising the serious challenges that climate change poses to the global health gains made in recent decades is key to promoting public engagement. Furthermore, the impact of climate change in other regions can have tangible consequences in Europe and the EU has responsibilities in addressing problems outside its area.

    The EU must do more to ensure that health impact assessment is part of all proposed initiatives, and that climate and health policy is integrated with other policy priorities including coordinating strategies at EU and national level. It is also vital that the steps are taken to counter misinformation about the causes and consequences of climate change which threaten to undermine the political will to act.

Big London, England anti-Trump demonstration


This 4 June 2019 video from England says about itself:

‘Donald Trump’ baby balloon flies over protesters in central London

Anti-Trump protesters have inflated a balloon of a baby ‘Donald Trump’ on the second day of the US President’s visit to the UK.

This 4 June 2019 video from England says about itself:

Trump an ‘enemy of democracy‘, London protestor says | Trump’s U.K. Visit 2019

CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick speaks to protesters in London’s Trafalgar Square ahead of a demonstration against U.S. President Donald Trump’s state visit to the United Kingdom.

This 4 June 2019 musical parody video from England is called Trump Dumper – Crapper’s Delight.

It is a parody of the song Rapper’s Delight by the Sugarhill Gang.

It says about itself:

Give it up for the Trump Dumper with “Crapper’s Delight”, the first ever rap single released by a sitting President.

LYRICS:

I heard my hip pop
And tendon ripping
Heard my hip, hip pop
From straining too hard
On the john while I’m tweeting
Because I’ve been eating
So much processed, indigestible meat

Now what you see is what I do
I’m crapping to the tweet
And I, the stable genius,
Am gonna try to move this meat
See, I am Dumpin’ Trump
And I’d like to travel-ban
All the blacks, not the whites
Mostly the browns
Especially Sadiq Khan

But first, I gotta push hard
To push lard through my colon
Into the crapper
Calling out the Fake News
Struggling to make poos
It’s an illusion, no colusion (sic) from me!

It’s all a witch hunt
A bigly, a very bigly witch hunt happening
While I grunt from crapping
All the crap I’ve been eating
It’s so hard excreting
All this processed, indigestible meat

TRUMP SPENDING CAMPAIGN CASH ON HIS OWN TOWER With commercial tenants fleeing Trump Tower, President Donald Trump is spending $37,500 a month of campaign money for office space there — with some of that cash destined for his own wallet ― as space goes unused at a new campaign office in northern Virginia. [HuffPost]

Bernie Sanders against military-industrial complex


This 3 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Bernie [Sanders] Swings An Axe At The Military Industrial Complex

“Today we are preparing to send soldiers to Afghanistan that weren’t even born on 9/11“.

Big cat evolution, videos


This 16 May 2019 video says about itself:

The Ghostly Origins of the Big Cats

All of today’s big cat species evolved less than 11 million years ago and yet their evolutionary history remains an almost total mystery.

But scientists have recently discovered a major clue about the origins of the big cats, one that could provide a whole new starting place for solving this puzzle. Thanks to Ceri Thomas for the excellent Panthera blytheae and Panthera atrox!

Sudanese dictatorship’s bloodbath of pro-democracy protesters


This 4 June 2019 video says about itself:

After bloody attack, Sudan army scraps agreements with protesters

The head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council says there will be no more negotiations with opposition groups and is calling for elections to be held within nine months.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has also apologised for the violent crackdown on Monday, which saw at least 35 people killed, according to protest groups.

But protesters say it’s too little, too late and want an immediate transfer of power to civilians. Al Jazeera’s Alexi O’Brien reports.

By Bill Van Auken:

Military massacres protesters in Sudan

4 June 2019

Security forces in Sudan launched a bloodbath early Monday morning, using live ammunition to break up a more than five-month-old sit-in outside the country’s defense ministry in Khartoum, where tens of thousands of Sudanese have regularly gathered to demand an end to military rule and the transfer of power to a democratically elected government.

The Sudanese Doctors’ Committee put the confirmed death toll late Monday at over 30 and said that at least 116 people had been wounded. At least one of those who were killed is a child, an eight-year-old cut down by gunfire. The casualty figures are expected to rise dramatically, with many protesters still unaccounted for, and reports of security forces dumping bodies into the Nile River. Similar murderous repression reportedly has also been unleashed against protesters outside of the Sudanese capital.

Victims of Monday’s massacre

Troops from various military and police units descended upon the encampment, led by soldiers wearing the desert camouflage fatigues of the Rapid Support Force (RSF), a brutally repressive paramilitary outfit that has been used by the regime in Khartoum to suppress regional rebellions in Darfur and in the east of the country. The RSF is led by Lt. Gen. Hamdan Dagalo (popularly known as “Hemeti”), the deputy chair of the country’s currently ruling junta, the Transitional Military Council (TMC), and widely viewed as an aspiring dictator.

And a pal of the regime of the Saudi crown prince, because he sends Sudanese child soldiers to help the Saudi bloody war against the people of Yemen.

The troops rushed in using tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition. Video posted online showed soldiers with whips surrounding and flogging unarmed demonstrators, including elderly men and women.

Photographs were also posted of snipers deployed in high rise buildings overlooking the protest site. They opened fire on anyone attempting to record the events with cellphone cameras.

One protester recounted: “They shot me in my right thigh because I was carrying someone with a bullet wound to his head … An officer hit me with his gun and I dropped the man I was carrying. He then stepped away and shot him again in the head and told me ‘now you can go bury him.’”

In addition to shooting and beating protesters, the troops burned down tents erected at the sit-in and sealed off the area with machine gun-mounted trucks.

There were also reports of armed security forces besieging local hospitals where the wounded had been taken, firing live ammunition inside the facilities and blocking volunteers and doctors from entering. Video shared by doctors showed security forces beating medical staff at the Royal Care Hospital in Khartoum.

Protesters driven out of the site outside the defense ministry continued to demonstrate and erect barricades in the streets of Khartoum and the neighboring city of Omdurman. In neighborhoods throughout Khartoum, people poured into the streets to protest the junta’s actions, barricading streets with bricks and burning tires and blocking bridges. Similar mobilizations were seen in Omdurman. Firing by security forces continued to be reported in both cities as well as elsewhere in Sudan.

Protesters erect barricades in streets of Khartoum

Among the chants heard were: “If you disperse the sit-in, we will protest in every street” and “You’ll have to kill us all.”

Shortly before the military onslaught against the protesters, the regime cut off power to the area. The internet was also shut down throughout Sudan.

The ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) issued a preposterous statement claiming that the crackdown had targeted only “unruly elements” from a neighborhood adjacent to the protest site, nicknamed “Colombia” and known for a high crime rate.

“What is going on is targeting Colombia adjacent to the sit-in area and not targeting the sit-in. Dangerous groups infiltrated among the protesters in the sit-in area,” a spokesman for the TMC said.

He went on to call for a “return to negotiations” between the junta and opposition groups organized under the umbrella of the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change (FDFC) as “the quickest way to resolve the problem.”

In the face of mass protests, the TMC seized power on April 11 in a preemptive coup against the 30-year ruler of Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir. Its aim has been to preserve the military-dominated regime by ousting its chief.

The assault on the protest had been openly prepared for days after negotiations between the junta and the civilian opposition front broke down over whether a military or a civilian would head a transitional regime during a proposed two-year transitional period in preparation for presidential elections.

Demonstrators remained in the streets, rejecting the protracted transition and demanding an immediate end to the ruling junta.

On Saturday, the ruling TMC issued a statement declaring that the “sit-in has become a threat to the country.”

While Washington issued a pro-forma statement from an undersecretary at the State Department condemning the “coordinated and unlawful violence” in Khartoum and a vague opinion that the Sudanese people “deserve a civilian-led government that works for the people, not an authoritarian military council that works against them”, the reality is that the military crackdown was prepared in the closest collaboration with the principal US allies in the region.

The shift toward iron-fisted repression immediately followed a tour conducted by the head of the TMC, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his deputy, Lt. Gen. Dagalo, of the three countries that have been the main backers of the military regime, which are also Washington’s chief allies in the Arab world: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

It is clear that Cairo, Riyadh and Dubai—with Washington’s tacit blessing—gave the green light for the bloodbath.

The assault on the sit-in recalls the even bloodier crackdown organized by Egypt’s dictatorial ruler Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo’s Rabaa Square in 2013, killing at least 1,000 people, including women and children, who were protesting the Sisi-led coup that toppled Egypt’s elected president, Mohamed Morsi. Having drowned in blood the Egyptian revolution that overthrew the 30-year US-backed dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, el-Sisi has no intention of seeing a similar revolutionary upheaval struggle unfold unhindered in Egypt’s southern neighbor, Sudan.

The Cairo regime issued a statement demanding that “all Sudanese sides commit to calm, self-restraint and return to the negotiating table.”

As for Saudi Arabia and the UAE, their ruling monarchs have pledged $3 billion to prop up Sudan’s ruling junta. The Sudanese military has in return sent troops to support Saudi Arabia’s and the UAE’s near-genocidal war against Yemen.

During their visit, the UAE’s ruling crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, pledged to help the Sudanese generals “preserve Sudan’s security and stability.”

Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the organizer of last year’s brazen murder of Jamal Khashoggi as well as dozens of beheadings of political dissidents, presumably offered similar backing.

After the meeting in Riyadh, Lt. Gen. Dagalo stated that “Sudan stands with the kingdom against all threats and attacks from Iran and the Houthis (Yemen’s anti-Saudi rebels).”

Such allegiance undoubtedly trumps all other considerations in Washington, where the focus of Middle East policy has been the consolidation of an anti-Iranian axis in preparation for a new and far more dangerous US imperialist war of aggression in the region.

At the same time, there is fear within US imperialist circles as well as among the ruling strata throughout the Middle East and North Africa that the popular revolt in Sudan will feed the growing wave of strikes and mass protests in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and throughout the region.

The only means of defeating the counterrevolutionary conspiracies of Washington, its regional allies and the Sudanese ruling clique lies in an independent struggle led by the working class to take power and seize the country’s wealth as part a broader struggle of the working class throughout the region and internationally to put an end to capitalism and build a socialist society.

See also here.

Sunset timelapse video from space


This 3 June 2019 NASA video says about itself:

Sunset Timelapse from the International Space Station

Enjoy this sped-up Earth view, captured by the Expedition 59 astronauts currently onboard the International Space Station. The station orbits the Earth every 90 minutes — meaning this sunset you see is actually one of 16 the station residents see each day!

Wild plants, animals in Amsterdam Artis zoo


This April 2019 Dutch video is about why Artis zoo in Amsterdam has stopped removing stinging nettles. Because these plants are important for butterflies and other insects.

This April 2019 Dutch video is about house sparrows which nest in Artis zoo. To help these birds, measures have been taken like boring holes for nesting in the rocks of the elephant compound.

This May 2019 Dutch video is about wild birds using the hair of big Artis zoo mammals like camels and giant anteaters to line their nests.

This June 2019 Dutch video is about animals of Artis zoo eating flowers. No pesticides are used for Artis plants, so the animals don’t get sick.