Pleistocene wolf discovery in Siberia


This 11 June 2019 video says about itself:

Russia: Immaculately-preserved wolf head found in Siberia

The head of a giant Pleistocene wolf was discovered in the Abyisky district in the north of Yakutia in July 2018 as footage released on Monday shows.

Video made in July 2018 shows the site of the discovery and the wolf’s head immediately after the glacial-age creature was excavated by local mineral developers. It is reportedly the first ever remains of a fully grown Pleistocene wolf with tissue this well preserved.

“We have already found wolves’ heads without soft tissues or fur, but this one even has ears and a tongue. The brain was perfectly preserved, which was confirmed by a CT scan”, Chief researcher of the Department of Mammoth Fauna Study of the Republic of Sakha Academy of Science Valery Plotnikov said, speaking in an interview on Monday.

According to a study conducted by Japanese scientists, the two to four-year-old wolf, whose fangs and fur are intact, is estimated to have died over 30,000 years ago. “The finding is unique,” Plotnikov said.

In 2015 and 2017, the remains of three cave lions were uncovered by the same group.

House finch sings at osprey nest, video


This video from Montana in the USA says about itself:

Male House Finch Sings Songs At Hellgate Osprey Nest – June 14, 2019

The Hellgate Osprey cam welcomed a beautiful male house finch at the nest today. Enjoy his long, jumbled songs composed of short notes before he departs out of view.

Watch live with updates, tweets, and highlights at http://AllAboutBirds.org/ospreys.

A female house finch landed famously at a 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential election campaign rally.

No to Trump war on Iran


This 14 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Faking Tanker Evidence?

How bad does the Trump administration want war with Iran? Cenk Uygur, Ana Kasparian, and John Fugelsang, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

This 14 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Where Are the Skeptics as the Drums Roll for War with Iran?

Vijay Prashad challenges the media reality that Iran attacked the oil tankers, calling for a real investigation to uncover the truth.

This 14 June 2019 video from Democratic party presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard in the USA says about itself:

Trump, Swallow Your Pride

War with Iran is HIGHLY likely unless Trump swallows his pride and returns to the Iran nuclear agreement which he tore up. But I fear that he will not put the interests of our country and those who’ll be killed in such a war, ahead of his own pride and personal political interests.

British and US push to blame Iran is ‘most dangerous threat of war yet’, say peace campaigners. Journalist John Pilger warns ‘nothing’ Trump administration says can be trusted: here.

Jeremy Corbyn: no ‘credible evidence’ of Iran role in tanker attacks. Labour leader urges UK to ease tensions in Gulf after Foreign Office links blasts to Tehran: here. And here.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Trump doubles down on US lies about Iran

15 June 2019

US President Donald Trump escalated the war threats against Iran Friday, insisting that Tehran was responsible for the damage done to two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman the previous day and vowing US retaliation for any Iranian action to shut the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Trump based his ignorant and belligerent remarks on a grainy, black-and-white video released Thursday night by the US Central Command (CENTCOM), which directs US military interventions throughout the Middle East.

CENTCOM claimed that the video, apparently shot from a US spy plane, showed a small boat of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) approaching one of the damaged tankers, the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, and removing an unexploded limpet mine attached to its hull. The video was touted as proof that Iran carried out attacks on the vessels and had sent the IRGC boat to remove any incriminating evidence. …

The claims by Trump and the Pentagon that the CENTCOM video is some kind of smoking gun proving the culpability of the Iranian government in the apparent attack on the Kokuka Courageous and the second tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair, is nothing of the kind.

Unsubstantiated is the claim that those depicted in the video were removing a limpet mine from the hull, not to mention that in supposedly doing so they were engaged in a coverup designed to conceal evidence of Iranian culpability.

The CENTCOM video recalls nothing so much as the incontrovertible “proof” presented by then Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN Security Council in 2003 of Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction”.

The US claims ran in direct contradiction from the owners of the tanker shown in the video. Yutaka Katada, president of the Kokuka Sangyo shipping firm which owns the Kokuka Courageous tanker, told reporters Friday in Tokyo that the claim the ship had been damaged by limpet mines was “false”.

“The crew are saying it was hit with a flying object. They say something come flying toward them, then there was an explosion, then there was a hole in the vessel. Then some crew witnessed a second shot”, Katada said.

“To put a bomb on the side is not something we are thinking”. he added, noting that the damage to the ship “was above the water surface by quite a lot.”

French hospital workers strike against Macron’s austerity


This 11 June 2019 video is called Pushed to ‘breaking point’: French ER workers go on strike.

By Anthony Torres in France:

French hospital workers strike against Macron’s health cuts

15 June 2019

While the Senate adopted the 2022 health bill on Tuesday, hospital strikes against the deterioration of the health system that began in March in Paris are now spreading throughout France.

Health Minister Agnès Buzyn and President Emmanuel Macron have turned down all the demands of hospital staff despite rising anger among workers. Already, Macron has refused to make any concessions to demands of “yellow vest” protesters that he put an end to his policy of austerity and war. He reacted by launching riot police against the “yellow vests”, leading to mass arrests of thousands of protesters, dozens of whom have been mutilated by the cops.

On Monday on the set of the BFM-TV news channel, faced with demands for an increase in staff and salaries, Buzyn dismissed out of hand “the idea of a new salary increase for carers”. She bluntly said, “But when the concern is purely about wages whereas it is the entire system that doesn’t work … honestly, the problems won’t be solved just because I pay you more.”

Despite €400 million investments to create medical assistant positions and finance rural or territorial health care, the 2022 health project plans to cut €3.8 billion from health budgets. There is rising anger and concern among hospital staff, who fear a drastic deterioration in working conditions.

Hospital staff began striking in Paris in March, and these strikes have now spread to 95 emergency wards across France. Demonstrations are planned in Paris and in the provinces.

Faced with rising anger in the hospitals, the trade unions have called strikes to protest against the lack of resources at the University Hospital of Bordeaux, as well as of Libourne, Agen-Nérac and Pau. All hospital staff in the neurological and cardiological services at Albi are also on strike to demand “a better quality of care and acceptable working conditions.”

Staff at Lariboisière Hospital, in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, mounted a sickout in the night from Monday to Tuesday.

Terrified by this growing movement, the Macron government deployed police-state measures against hospital workers, with requisitions issued by the gendarmerie to deprive staff of their constitutionally protected right to strike and require a return to work. In the emergency room of Lons-le-Saunier, health workers were requisitioned by order of the police prefect. The authoritarian methods first used against “yellow vests” are being deployed against all workers in struggle.

WSWS reporters spoke to Fanny and Chloé, nurses at Saint Louis Hospital in Paris, who denounced the lack of beds and staff when there are more and more people who need them. “Before, people arrived at the hospital, and we had beds for them in separate rooms,” one said.

Chloé added: “Over the past year, a year and a half, that has changed. There are no more beds, they’re full. People sleep on stretchers in the emergency corridor all night long.”

Fanny pointed out that three or four years ago there was one caregiver for every 10 people, but now it’s one for every 14. “The problem is money. There is money, but it’s the politicians who decide what to do and we the people, we have no power to decide. We don’t feel anyone listens to us at all. Our work is not recognized in fact, but it is essential for the population. Our salary has not changed since 2010.”

Fanny told the WSWS that they can earn almost €1,700 a month, but have to work on several public holidays and weekends. She compared the deterioration in the working conditions and living standards for hospital staff to that of other civil servants: “My sister is a teacher. They always cut classes and there are more children in the classes. It’s like us, because they’re closing down the services.”

The WSWS also spoke to Maryline, who works as a doctor in Nancy. She said that ruling circles “do not want to invest in hospitals. … They are happy that public hospitals are deteriorating and that there are more private clinics, and that only those who can afford them can go to private clinics.”

She added, “There is now a crisis in the hospital system. They offer doctors 1,500 euros for 24 hours of work if they come to regions where there is a shortage of doctors. If someone doesn’t come to work, there’s a problem. But many employees have health problems, and in some services there are working conditions that are difficult, and people do not stay. Nurses are paid only 1,300 euros per month, but they have many responsibilities. We need more nurses and more caregivers. We can’t treat people like this anymore. When people wait, their health deteriorates.”

Fanny explained that there is plenty of money, but the Macron government and its predecessors are setting out to destroy social rights established by previous generations of workers struggles, looting the education and health system to extract more money from them. For the first time in 18 years, the Social Security system is running a surplus. This is due to the gutting of retirement pensions and family benefits in 2019 and 2020.

The policy adopted by the Macron government in its “social dialogue” with the union bureaucracies is deeply regressive. These austerity cuts in healthcare and the surpluses generated are used to finance Macron’s tax cuts for the rich and to finance the massive military spending increases, so that France and the EU can wage neocolonial wars in Africa and the Middle East.

The creation of a public health service that meets the needs of the masses requires a broader struggle of hospital staff, mobilizing together with other sections of workers in France and internationally. To this end, workers must create their own organizations of struggle … to defend social rights and lead a political fight against war and the police-state preparations.

The strike by French hospital workers against the Macron administration’s healthcare legislation, which came into force in March, is spreading throughout the country. Of the 478 emergency services in the country, 216 are now involved in the movement that began in March and involved 80 hospitals by June: here.

This month, many sections of workers will take strike action against the drastic cuts to pensions and the police state policies of French President Emmanuel Macron. Mass transit, hospital workers, the public service, electricity workers and rail workers are all preparing strikes amid widespread anger among workers and youth: here.

TOMORROW, June 16th, everyone is being mobilised (striking) for health, the CGT French union federation has declared. Health, medico-social, social, nursing homes and national education personnel will be mobilised to demand substantial resources for good working conditions, thus ensuring a quality public service for all users and patients: here.

‘Sponges not ancestors of other animals’


This video is called Sponges! | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD.

From the University of Queensland in Australia:

How multi-celled animals developed

Evolutionary discovery to rewrite textbooks

June 12, 2019

Summary: New findings challenge the long-standing idea that multi-celled animals evolved from a single-celled ancestor resembling a modern sponge cell known as a choanocyte.

Scientists at The University of Queensland have upended biologists’ century-old understanding of the evolutionary history of animals.

Using new technology to investigate how multi-celled animals developed, their findings revealed a surprising truth.

Professor Bernie Degnan said the results contradicted years of tradition.

“We’ve found that the first multicellular animals probably weren’t like the modern-day sponge cells, but were more like a collection of convertible cells,” Professor Degnan said.

“The great-great-great-grandmother of all cells in the animal kingdom, so to speak, was probably quite similar to a stem cell.

“This is somewhat intuitive as, compared to plants and fungi, animals have many more cell types, used in very different ways — from neurons to muscles — and cell-flexibility has been critical to animal evolution from the start.”

The findings disprove a long-standing idea: that multi-celled animals evolved from a single-celled ancestor resembling a modern sponge cell known as a choanocyte.

“Scattered throughout the history of evolution are major transitions, including the leap from a world of microscopic single-cells to a world of multi-celled animals,” Professor Degnan said.

“With multicellularity came incredible complexity, creating the animal, plant, fungi and algae kingdoms we see today.

“These large organisms differ from the other more-than-99-per-cent of biodiversity that can only be seen under a microscope.”

The team mapped individual cells, sequencing all of the genes expressed, allowing the researchers to compare similar types of cells over time.

Fellow senior author Associate Professor Sandie Degnan said this meant they could tease out the evolutionary history of individual cell types, by searching for the ‘signatures’ of each type.

“Biologists for decades believed the existing theory was a no-brainer, as sponge choanocytes look so much like single-celled choanoflagellates — the organism considered to be the closest living relatives of the animals,” she said.

“But their transcriptome signatures simply don’t match, meaning that these aren’t the core building blocks of animal life that we originally thought they were.

“This technology has been used only for the last few years, but it’s helped us finally address an age-old question, discovering something completely contrary to what anyone had ever proposed.”

“We’re taking a core theory of evolutionary biology and turning it on its head,” she said.

“Now we have an opportunity to re-imagine the steps that gave rise to the first animals, the underlying rules that turned single cells into multicellular animal life.”

Professor Degnan said he hoped the revelation would help us understand our own condition and our understanding of our own stem cells and cancer.

Women’s football World Cup, Netherlands-Cameroon today


This 11 June 2019 video shows fans of the Dutch women’s national football team in Le Havre in France, where they played their World Cup match against New Zealand.

Today, many thousands of Dutch fans departed to Valenciennes in northern France, for the second match, against the Cameroon national team.

The nickname of the Dutch team is the ‘orange lionesses‘. Of the Cameroon team, the ‘indomitable lionesses‘.

This is a song by Dutch singer Claudia de Breij on the national team.

This 10 June 2019 video is called Canada v Cameroon – FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™.

This video shows the 15 June 2019 World Cup match The Netherlands-Cameroon: 3-1.

This 15 June 2019 video is called Vivianne Miedema – Player of the Match – Netherlands v Cameroon.

Internet support for Sudanese anti-dictatorship movement


This 13 June 2019 video says about itself:

Social media users are changing their profile photos to the colour blue in support of Sudan’s uprising and in memory of those killed in a massacre on the 3rd June.

Elsewhere, in Algeria, a modern day equivalent of “Let them eat cake” – Marie Antoinette’s infamous expression – but this time it involves a former Prime Minister… and yoghurt! Finally, Donald Trump misspelt Wales as “Whales” and Twitter went wild.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 14 June 2019:

Social media users turn their profile photos into a blue area to show their support for the demonstrators in Sudan. Via the hashtag #BlueforSudan, they call attention to the brutal suppression of protests in the country. More than a hundred people were killed.

Favourite colour

Blue was the favourite colour of 26-year-old Mohamed Mattar. He was shot dead by soldiers on June 3 during demonstrations in the capital, Khartoum, trying to protect two women from an army attack.

After his death, his family and friends decided to change their profile photos on social media to blue. After a friend of Mattar, a Sudanese who lives in the USA and is an influencer on social media, also posted a message on her Instagram account to draw attention to the situation in Sudan, the action was increasingly followed.

View this post on Instagram

It’s really hard being an influencer and sharing information that is “off brand” and not worthy of the “feed” but I cannot hold this in anymore. I am at my office crying because I have so many emotions in me and I feel horrible. There’s a massacre happening in my country Sudan’s and a media blackout and internet censorship for four consecutive days. There is no objective media sharing what’s going on expect for @aljazeeraenglish which had their offices shot down. My friend @mattar77 was MURDERED by the Rapid Support Forces. My best friend was in hiding on June 2 and that’s the last time I spoke to him. He was missing for 4 days and when I got in touch with him he said: “I was caught, beaten and abused and humiliated and arrested and had my phone confiscated from me. I am injured currently.” And all I could do this post this. I am sorry to all companies I am running campaigns with but my editorial calendar is currently on pause. I am willing to refund all and everything right away. Please, just send me an email. To my followers/supporters who this is too much for I am also sorry but my regularly scheduled content/reviews is also on pause. If this offends you, I am sorry. But I need to speak out and share this in a time like this. If you want to support me please share this information as widely as possible and don’t be silent. Be an ally because we need your help. And tune into my stories for more information. THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS BEEN SILENT. #sudanuprising #sudanese_protest #مجزرة_القيادة_العامة #عيد_شهيد #اعتصام_رويال_كير #اعتصام_القيادة_العامه #السودان @wawa_waffles @sudanuprising.updates #sudanrevolts #sudanuprising #iamsudan #iamsudanrevolution #sudanese #freesudan

A post shared by Shahd Khidir (@hadyouatsalaam) on

Eg, the American R&B singer Ne-Yo – with 3 million followers on Instagram – now has a blue profile photo.

Ne-Yo's profile photo

Also, influencers such as models Halima Aden and Dina Tokio participate in the promotion. In addition to blue profile photos, photos and images appear in blue on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Meanwhile, blue is the colour for all the victims who died in Sudan and a sign of solidarity with demonstrators. There have been protests in the country for five months. Initially, they were directed against President Bashir, but he was deposed by the army in April. Since then, the protesters want the army, which has now taken over power, to give way to a civilian government.

We beg for a different life

Sudanese Dutch people are happy with the #BlueforSudan promotion. Student and political activist Solafa Saad (28) has been living in the Netherlands for two years. Her family still lives in Khartoum and also participates in the demonstrations. She also has a blue profile photo on Facebook and Twitter.

“I hope that as a result of this action more attention will be paid to what is happening in Sudan. It is so incredibly cruel what is happening there. And so far there has been little media attention.”

She believes it is important that the young people who are now taking to the streets in Sudan are not alone. “Young people, women, they play such a big role in the demonstrations. They are so brave. We beg for a different life. That … the dictatorship comes to an end. We want radical change.”

Blue is the colour of the revolution

Abdulrazik Khamis also believes that the world should know what is going on in Sudan. In 2014 he fled from Darfur to the Netherlands. Khamis: “We want other countries to stop supporting the military regime and have a civilian government.”

To him, blue is the colour of the revolution, which is not yet finished. “We are only at the beginning, but we are continuing. And we are optimistic. Eventually, there will be a change.”

Tens of thousands protested in the capital Khartoum Sunday, demanding Sudan’s military junta hand power to a civilian-led government in a rally dubbed the “march of millions.” They were joined by thousands more in cities across the country seeking justice for the victims killed in the months-long movement for democracy: here.

How dolphins form friendships, new research


This March 2019 video is called How to Identify Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins.

From the University of Bristol in England:

Dolphins form friendships through shared interests just like us, study finds

June 12, 2019

When it comes to making friends, it appears dolphins are just like us and form close friendships with other dolphins that have a common interest. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B by an international team of researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Zurich and Western Australia, provide further insight into the social habits of these remarkable animals.

Shark Bay, a World Heritage area in Western Australia, is home to an iconic population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, and the only place where dolphins have been observed using marine sponges as foraging tools. This learnt technique, passed down from generation to generation, helps certain dolphins, “spongers”, find food in deeper water channels. While the tool-using technique is well-studied in female dolphins, this study looked specifically at male dolphins.

Using behavioural, genetic and photographic data collected from 124 male dolphins during the winter months in Shark Bay over nine years [2007 to 2015], the team analysed a subset of 37 male dolphins, comprising 13 spongers and 24 non-spongers.

Male spongers spend more time associating with other male spongers than they do [with] non-spongers, these bonds being based on similar foraging techniques and not relatedness or other factors.

Dr Simon Allen, a co-author of the study and senior research associate at Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences, explains: “Foraging with a sponge is a time-consuming and largely solitary activity so it was long thought incompatible with the needs of male dolphins in Shark Bay — to invest time in forming close alliances with other males. This study suggests that, like their female counterparts and indeed like humans, male dolphins form social bonds based on shared interests.”

The study provides new insight into homophilous behaviour in the social network of tool-using dolphins.

Manuela Bizzozzero, lead author of the study at the University of Zurich, added: “Male dolphins in Shark Bay exhibit a fascinating social system of nested alliance formation. These strong bonds between males can last for decades and are critical to each male’s mating success. We were very excited to discover alliances of spongers, dolphins forming close friendships with others with similar traits.”

The study was funded by grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, Australia’s Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation Inc (SWRRFI), W.V. Scott Foundation and the A.H. Schultz Stiftung.

Misogynistic Chilean bishop resigns


This 14 June 2019 video says about itself:

Chile bishop resigns after suggesting there is a reason the Last Supper had no women

A Chilean auxiliary bishop appointed by Pope Francis less than a month ago has resigned, just weeks after he made controversial comments about the lack of women in attendance at the Last Supper.

Carlos Eugenio Irarrazaval was appointed by the pope in an effort to rebuild the church’s credibility following a pervasive sex abuse scandal that exposed hundreds of allegations now being investigated by Chilean criminal prosecutors.

The archdiocese of Santiago did not specify the reasons for Irarrazaval’s departure in its statement, but said the pope had accepted the bishop’s resignation “in favour of unity and for the good of the church”.

The bishop’s short tenure began with a television interview in May, in which he said there were no women seated at the table at the Last Supper and that “we have to respect that”.

“Jesus Christ made decisions and they were not ideological … and we want to be faithful to Jesus Christ”, he said in reference to the lack of women in attendance. He also said that perhaps women “like to be in the back room”.

According to the Bible, the Last Supper was Jesus’ last meal with his disciples before his crucifixion, depicted in many famous works of art.

The comments sparked a backlash among women’s groups and critics of the church in Chile at a time when confidence in church leadership in the once staunchly Catholic nation has plummeted. Pope Francis earlier this year accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati as archbishop of Santiago, the highest-ranking member of the Catholic church in Chile, after he was caught up in the country’s sex abuse scandal.

The church’s credibility has been harmed in much of the world by abuse scandals in countries including Ireland, Chile, Australia, France, the United States and Poland.

In Chile, prosecutors say they are investigating more than 150 cases of sexual abuse or cover-up involving more than 200 victims.

Irarrazaval will continue to serve the church as a pastor in Santiago, according to the Archdiocese of Santiago. Irarrazaval could not be immediately reached for comment.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Chilean auxiliary bishop quickly gone after insulting women

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the auxiliary bishop of the Chilean capital Santiago. Carlos Irarrázaval had only been in his job for 24 days, but soon got into trouble.

In a TV interview, the auxiliary bishop had said that there were no women at the Last Supper of Jesus and his apostles, and therefore there was no role for them in the church. It was supposedly a “non-ideological” choice by Jesus. The auxiliary bishop also said that women may “like to stay in the back room”. He had previously caused controversy by his remark that people should let bygones be bygones with regard to a major abuse scandal in the Chilean church.

Women’s organizations and critics of the Catholic Church responded indignantly to the comments by Irarrázaval. He now says he will leave to preserve the peace and unity of the Archdiocese of Santiago.

Irarrázaval had especially been appointed by the pope in an attempt to restore peace to the Chilean Catholic community, which was shocked last year by the news of large-scale abuse by priests. The Chilean Public Prosecution Service is conducting criminal investigations into more than 150 clerics who allegedly abused children or concealed such crimes.