Dick Neefjes in the Netherlands made this video.
This 7 November 2019 CBS TV video from the USA is called On the ground with U.S. military convoy protecting oil fields in northern Syria.
By Bill Van Auken in the USA:
US seizure of oil fields escalates tensions in Syria
8 November 2019
The US has deployed hundreds of troops backed by armored vehicles into oil fields located in Syria’s northeastern Deir Ezzor province, where they are reportedly building two new bases. Turkish media have reported that large quantities of construction equipment and materials have been sent into the region, along with the troops, tanks, armored personnel carriers and ammunition.
Pentagon officials defended the renewed deployment at a press briefing Thursday. However, they resolutely refused to answer questions about US President Donald Trump’s statements that the troops were there to “take the oil”, and Defense Secretary Esper’s acknowledgement last week that the US mission includes “denying access, preventing Russian or Syrian forces” from laying claim to the oil, including through the use of “overwhelming force”.
Rear Adm. William D. Byrne, Jr, the vice-director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, robotically repeated that the US operations in Syria remained unchanged from what they had been since 2016: “the defeat of ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria]”. …
Asked whether the US forces were going to take over all of Syria’s oil fields or only a portion of them, the naval officer suggested that this would be left to “commanders on the ground”.
As to whether they had authorization to fire on Syrian and Russian units approaching the fields, Byrne said he was “not going to get into specifics” on “rules of engagement”, while claiming that there were “deconfliction channels” in place to prevent such an armed confrontation between the forces of the world’s two major nuclear powers. He added that “everyone in the region knows where American forces are” and that the US military would “work to ensure that no one approaches our forces.” If they did, he said, “commanders always retain the right to self defense.”
The entire narrative put forward by the Pentagon was designed to erase the events of the past month, which began with Trump’s green-lighting of the Turkish invasion aimed at driving the SDF (whose main units are comprised of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, viewed by Ankara as a “terrorist” extension of Turkey’s own PKK Kurdish separatist movement) from the Turkish-Syrian border.
This was followed by Trump’s statements that he was putting an end to Washington’s “endless wars” and would “let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand” as all US troops would be withdrawn from Syria.
Just as his earlier statement in December 2018 that he was withdrawing US troops from Syria led to the resignation of his defense secretary, Gen. James Mattis, so last month’s announcement touched off a political firestorm in Washington, with denunciations of Trump’s “betrayal of the Kurds” coming from both Democrats and Republicans, as well as large sections of the military brass and the US intelligence apparatus.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responded to these statements by praising Trump’s “transparency”. Previous US presidents, he said, “commit crimes, but get Nobel prizes, and act like defenders of human rights and the noble unique US values—or Western values—but they are a group of criminals who act on behalf of lobbies.” Trump, on the other hand declares “we want oil … at least that’s honest”, he added.
The Pentagon’s claim of a continuity in the US “mission” has some truth to it, having nothing to do with either a “war on ISIS” or protecting the Kurds.
The US military is remaining in Syria, with an estimated 800 US troops as well as additional military contractors occupying its oil fields, in pursuit of the same strategic objectives that underlay the CIA-orchestrated war for regime change initiated under the Obama administration eight years ago.
Washington still seeks the overthrow of the Assad government and its replacement with a more pliant puppet regime in Damascus. At the same time, it is determined to roll back the influence of the Assad government’s principal backers — and US imperialism’s principal regional rivals — Iran and Russia. And it wants to prevent China from expanding its role in the Middle East.
The war in Syria, as Trump acknowledges, is about oil, as have been the catastrophic US imperialist interventions in Iraq and Libya and its threats of military aggression against Iran. These wars, which have claimed over a million lives and decimated entire societies, have been aimed at asserting US control over the energy resources of the Middle East, upon which Washington’s rivals, in particular China, depend. Their underlying purpose has been to employ military violence as a means of reversing the decline of the US dominance over the world capitalist markets.
By seizing the oil fields of Deir Ezzor province, Washington aims to deny critical energy resources that are needed by the government in Damascus to reconstruct Syria’s war-ravaged infrastructure and economy.
It has pursued this aim throughout the Syrian civil war, in which the Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate, the Al Nusra Front, first seized the oil fields, followed by ISIS and finally the Kurdish YPG militia.
The US military took no action to stop either Al Qaeda or ISIS from exploiting the fields and shipping oil across the border to Turkey, reaping hundreds of millions of dollars used to finance their operations. It was the Russian forces that finally bombed both the fields and the tanker trucks used to transport the oil.
The illegal US military occupation of the oil fields represents a direct provocation against Russia, which Syrian websites report has signed contracts with the Syrian government to extract oil, as well as China, which previously had oil investments in Syria and is poised to play a leading role in the country’s reconstruction.
Washington and its European allies have done everything in their power to strangle the Syrian government and starve the Syrian people into submission by denying the country energy supplies. Sweeping sanctions have been imposed against anyone buying Syrian oil, shipping oil to Syria or investing in its oil production.
Before the launching of the war for regime change in 2011, Syria’s oil production averaged about 400,000 barrels a day, making the country self-sufficient and accounting for roughly 35 percent of its export earnings. Some analysts suspect that the real output was substantially higher, with the excess turning those with regime connections into multi-millionaires.
The Trump administration’s actions—clearing the way for a Turkish invasion and then asserting control over the Syrian oil fields—have created an extremely unstable situation in Syria, escalating the threat of a far wider war.
Russian-backed Syrian government forces have already moved into oil fields in Hasakah province in the northeastern corner of Syria on the country’s borders with Turkey and Iraq. Damascus aims to restore production in the area, which was previously held by the SDF. If the US were to attempt to extend its control over Syrian oil into these areas, a military confrontation with Syrian and Russian forces would inevitably ensue.
As for Admiral Byrne’s reliance on US-Russian “deconfliction” agreements, Moscow has signaled that it is not prepared to cooperate with the US seizure of Syria’s oil fields.
“On this question, on the question of Syrian oil, we will not cooperate with our American colleagues,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said Thursday. “We are convinced that it is the Syrian people who should be managing their natural resources, including oil.”
Whatever Washington’s or Moscow’s intentions, the reckless and provocative operations of US imperialism in Syria and the wider region threaten to ignite a far wider and even world war.
This 2012 video says about itself:
The Golden-winged Warbler is uncommon in the northeastern United States and rare in southern Ontario. It can be found in birch and other young deciduous growth and in abandoned pastures. It has a gray back with white below. There is a yellow on the crown and yellow wing patch. It exhibits a black throat and ear patch. This warbler nests on ground.
The song is a buzzy “beee bz bz bz”.
These birds hybridizes with the Blue-winged Warbler to produce the Brewster’s and the Lawrence’s Warblers.
This warbler is decreasing in numbers probably due to habitat reduction. There is also thought that the Blue-winged Warbler is less finicky about its habitat and is thus replacing the Golden-winged.
From Cornell University in the USA:
Study finds sex bias in bird conservation plans
Overlooking habitats used by females adds risk for declining species
November 7, 2019
After pairing up and raising chicks, males and females of some bird species spend their winter break apart. At the end of their journey to Central or South America, you might find mostly males in one habitat, and females in another. Yet conservation strategies have typically overlooked the habitats needed by females, putting already-declining species in even more peril, according to a new study in the journal Biological Conservation.
“Among the small songbird species that have been studied, the general rule seems to be that females occupy lower elevation, shrubbier, drier sites,” says lead author Ruth Bennett. “Mid-elevation and high-elevation sites that are more humid and have better quality forest are occupied by males.” Bennett conducted the research while at Cornell University and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.
This male-female split is pretty common, Bennett says, but the study found that in conservation plans for 66 declining migratory species, only 3 made any mention of his-and-her-habitats — those being plans for Golden-winged Warbler, Bicknell’s Thrush, and Back-capped Vireo. Bennett concludes that female birds are definitely being overlooked.
“When conservation plans don’t explicitly address the habitat requirements of both sexes, there’s no guarantee both sexes will be protected. Overlooking habitats females use can lead to unforeseen population loss, which is especially critical for species of conservation concern,” says Bennett.
“Our research is an important reminder that ‘one size fits all’ conservation does not accommodate the needs of both male and female birds any more than a one-size-fits-all approach would work in meeting the needs of all genders at work and at home,” adds co-author Amanda Rodewald, senior director of Conservation Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Using declining Golden-winged Warblers as their case study, the researchers also found that the habitats where female birds spend the winter are being lost more rapidly than those inhabited by males. Field crews surveyed more than 1,100 locations for the warblers during 3 wintering seasons in Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. Researchers then used Global Forest Watch data to see what percentage of areas with the most birds had been deforested between 2000 and 2016. Male golden-wings lost 4% of their habitat during that time span. Females lost twice as much, at 8%. Despite the higher threat faced by females, the study found that habitats for the males got all the conservation attention.
“To counteract the bias in favor of male birds, researchers and conservation planners need to identify and report the sex of birds, model female distributions, and include female habitats in conservation plans,” says Bennett.
Female birds are often harder to find with their muted colors, and both sexes are quieter while on their wintering locations. But making the effort to consider the needs of female birds could pay off in the long run.
“Yes, it requires more investment and care on the survey portion of any conservation effort when you’re trying to acquire information to guide action,” Rodewald says. “But that could actually allow us to be much more strategic and save money on the back end. Conservation plans are stronger — and more likely to be effective — when they explicitly consider the needs of females.”
This 8 November 2019 BBC video says about itself:
Japan ‘glasses ban’ for women at work sparks backlash
Wearing glasses at work has become an emotive topic in Japan following reports that some firms have told female employees to remove them.
Several local news outlets said some companies had “banned” eyewear for female employees for various reasons.
That has sparked heated discussion on Japanese social media over dress practices and women in the workplace.
The Nippon TV network and Business Insider were among the outlets to report on the issue, which looked at how firms in different industries prohibit women from wearing glasses.
They included safety reasons for airline workers, or being unable to see make-up properly for women working in the beauty sector.
Dear Japanese airline bosses: if a stewardess can’t see properly because of your glasses ban, then she will bump into everyone and everything. Not good for safety.
Dear Japanese beauty parlor bosses: if a beautician can’t see properly because of your glasses ban, then she certainly won’t see make-up properly.
Dear other Japanese bosses: do you really want your secretary to not see you and your desk properly, making her trip and pour hot tea all over you, because of your stupid spectacles ban?
Among them, some retail chains reportedly said glasses-wearing shop assistants gave a “cold impression”.
It was not clear whether the so-called “bans” were based on company policies, or rather reflected what was socially accepted practice in those workplaces.
But the topic has led to heated debates on social media.
The hashtag “glasses are forbidden” has been popular in Japan and the topic continued to attract tweets on Friday.
Kumiko Nemoto, professor of sociology at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, said people in Japan were reacting to the “outdated” policies.
She said: “The reasons why women are not supposed to wear glasses… really don’t make sense. It’s all about gender. It’s pretty discriminatory.”
She added that the reports reflected “old, traditional Japanese” thinking.
“It’s not about how women do their work. The company… values the women’s appearance as being feminine and that’s opposite to someone who wears glasses,” Prof Nemoto said.
The discussion has echoes of a recent workplace controversy in Japan over high heels.
The movement attracted a stream of support and a strong social media following.
The slogan plays on the Japanese words for shoes “kutsu” and pain “kutsuu”.
Campaigners say that wearing high heels is seen as obligatory when applying for jobs.
Prof Nemoto said there continues to be discussion by women in Japan “criticising the high heel” policies.
“Women are evaluated mostly on their appearance,” she said. “That’s the message that these policies are sending, at least.”
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
A woman on Twitter, who calls herself Wine Kimono and works in a restaurant, says that her boss has repeatedly said that she is not allowed to wear glasses. It is supposedly rude to guests and moreover supposedly does not fit with the kimono that she wears at work. Her tweet has been shared almost 13,000 times.
Kanae Doi, the director of the Japanese branch of Human Rights Watch, has also responded to the commotion. “If there are rules that forbid women to wear glasses, that is discrimination against women,” she says. On Twitter, women write that the rules are outdated; some women even call it “idiot.” …
Japan is known for the large gender gap and, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), is far behind other developed countries.
This 5 November 2019 video says about itself:
Cotton-top Tamarins Have Incredible Hairdos! | Seven Worlds, One Planet | BBC Earth
These tiny South American monkeys are named for their mop of bright white hair on top of their heads.