Murdoch’s Fox News supports Trump’s Iraq warmongering


This 3 January 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Geraldo DESTROYS Fox News Warmongering

Geraldo destroys Fox News panel, which has no answers, for warmongering. John Iadarola and Brett Erlich break it down on The Damage Report.

“Geraldo: Don’t for a minute start cheering this on, what we have done, what we have unleashed — Kilmeade: I will cheer it on. I am elated. Geraldo: Then you, like Lindsey Graham, have never met a war you didn’t like. Kilmeade: That is not true, don’t even say that.”

Canada jay at Canadian bird feeder


This video from Canada says about itself:

Canada Jay Visits Ontario Feeder – Jan 3, 2020

A Canada Jay displaces a Blue Jay on the Ontario FeederWatch Cam. Canada Jays are highly curious birds and seemingly always on the lookout for food. They are known for their intrepid nature and diverse appetite. During the summer months, they hoard food for the winter.

Micronesian kingfisher, extinct in the wild


This 3 January 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Extinct in the wild, the brilliantly colored Micronesian kingfisher thrives in captivity at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Join the Zoo’s experts for an inside look at some of its 2,000 rare and extraordinary creatures.

African immigrants die in Trump’s jails


This 2 January 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

French National Dies in ICE Custody, Marking Agency’s Ninth Death in 2019

A French national being held by the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency passed away on Sunday, marking the agency’s ninth death in custody in 2019. According to a statement shared by ICE, the individual, whose identity has yet to be released as officials work to identify next of kin, was a 40-year-old native of Angola. It is still unclear how the French national came to arrive in the U. S. or why they were being held under ICE custody. The agency has yet to detail what led up to the individual’s death. Newsweek has requested more information from ICE. On Monday, BuzzFeed News reported that a French national had died in ICE custody, citing a person with knowledge on the matter. The outlet reported that the individual had been a man detained by ICE since November 12. The agency has yet to confirm those details, however.

By Kevin Reed in the USA:

Three African migrants die in US custody during Christmas and New Year holidays

3 January 2020

During the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, three African migrants died while in the custody of two divisions of the US Department of Homeland Security.

On Saturday, December 21, a 56-year-old Nigerian man who was being held by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Worcester County Jail in Snow Hill, Maryland, was found unresponsive in his cell. He was pronounced dead at 5:23 a.m. after efforts by medical staff to revive him were unsuccessful.

ICE officials reported that Anthony Oluseye Akinyemi committed suicide within 24 hours of being convicted of sexually assaulting a minor in Baltimore City Circuit Court. The agency said, “the preliminary cause of death appears to be self-inflicted strangulation; however, the case is still under investigation.”

ICE reported that a detainer had been issued against Akinyemi in July for the assault charge. The agency also said that he had violated the terms of his entry on a non-immigrant visa into the US in December 2017. Following his conviction in Baltimore, immigration authorities moved to have Akinyemi deported.

With the number of deaths at its detention facilities rapidly on the rise, ICE issued what can only be described as a boilerplate public relations statement following Akinyemi’s death: “ICE is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of this incident as it does in all such cases.”

Attempting to present the number of deaths in ICE custody in a favorable light, the statement went on, “Fatalities in ICE custody are exceedingly rare statistically and occur at a fraction of the national average for the detained population in the U.S.”

On Christmas Day, a 41-year-old Congolese woman died shortly after she entered the US border station at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge in Laredo, Texas. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has not yet identified the woman.

The perfunctory CBP statement on the death said that on Christmas Eve, “During initial processing, she was medically screened to include a review of paperwork she provided highlighting a previous medical condition, cleared by on-site contracted medical personnel, and transferred to the Lincoln Juarez Bridge for additional immigration processing and overnight holding.”

The CBP statement reported the woman told them on Christmas morning that “she was suffering from abdominal pain and had vomited.” The agency reported it then transported her to the Laredo Medical Center for an evaluation but, “The subject’s health declined rapidly and she passed away at the hospital.”

The agency said that, “The Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office has determined that the death is not suspicious, as the individual had a preexisting medical condition.” According to USA Today, CBP declined to answer follow-up questions about the case and the medical examiner’s office and the embassy for the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Washington, D.C., did not return messages.

The death of the Congolese woman brings to at least 11 the number of people who died in CBP custody in 2019. As was shown in the death of a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy at a CBP detention facility in Weslaco, Texas, last May, the official explanations of what has happened to those who die in US immigrant detention centers cannot be trusted. Video surveillance footage exposed that Carlos Hernández Vásquez was left on the floor unresponsive for hours and had not been checked on by staff as official reports had claimed.

On New Year’s Day, ICE reported that a 40-year-old Angolan native with French citizenship in their custody died on Sunday, December 29, at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The report said that an autopsy to determine the official cause of death was pending but the preliminary cause was identified as a heart attack.

Samuelino Pitchout Mavinga, who was pronounced dead by hospital medical staff at approximately 12:20 p.m., had been brought there on December 12 for evaluation and treatment for bowel obstruction. The ICE statement said, “According to DHS records, Mavinga was admitted into the United States on Nov. 28, 2018, by immigration officials at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City under the Visa Waiver Program. Under the program, he was required to depart the U.S. no later than Feb. 27, 2019.”

Mavinga had been taken into custody on November 11, 2019, by CBP and handed over to ICE the following day for “remaining in the United States for a period longer than authorized.” He was initially detained at the Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral, New Mexico, and was transferred to Torrance County Detention Facility (TCDF) in Estancia, New Mexico, on December 11 pending his removal from the US.

The official ICE statement also concludes with boilerplate PR verbiage that is designed to protect the agency from legal claims by the loved ones of the deceased, saying, “ICE’s Health Service Corps (IHSC) ensures the provision of necessary medical care services as required by ICE Performance-Based National Detention Standards and based on the medical needs of the detainee. Comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment detainees arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay.”

A recent study reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune found that the number of African migrants entering the US through Mexico has increased dramatically over the past two years. According to data provided by the US government, the number has doubled from 2,700 in 2018 to 5,800 in 2019. The majority of those coming to the US through Mexico continue be from Latin American countries.

Highlighting the shifts in migrant populations moving throughout the world, the increase in African migrants at the US southern border poses many challenges for those making the journey.

As the Union-Tribune explained: “The journey isn’t easy, many of them are robbed and beaten while traveling north. On top of these dangers, African migrants face additional obstacles in the way of language and cultural barriers. They also have less access to services from legal aid organizations who do not have staff who speak the same language as the migrants.”

In August, the Mexican government stopped issuing transit visas to African migrants in an effort to stop the number of people coming to North America to escape civil wars and ethnic conflict instigated by US and European imperialism across the African continent.

According to a website maintained by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, forty-four deaths have occurred at ICE adult detention facilities since December 2015. The growing number of deaths shows that the mistreatment of immigrants by the US government, including the detention at a network of concentration camps, is not incidental but deliberate. The purpose is to discourage workers from coming to the United States in search of a better life for themselves and their families.

In a cowardly act of belated and false protest, Democrats in the House of Representatives issued a call on December 23 for an investigation into the “troubling pattern of abuse and poor treatment” of migrants. A letter from Carolyn B. Maloney (Democrat from New York), chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, to Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, calls for documents related to all CBP deaths to be submitted to the committee by January 10.

The fraud of this exercise is fully exposed by the fact that the House Democrats voted with the Republicans on December 17 to approve a record $738 billion military appropriations that includes $1.375 billion for Trump’s border wall and removed a provision that would have barred the president from transferring money from other Pentagon accounts for the anti-immigrant wall project.

Ancient fish fins before evolution to amphibians


This 2016 video says about itself:

The evolution of fish began about 530 million years ago during the Cambrian explosion. Early fish from the fossil record are represented by a group of small, jawless, armoured fish known as ostracoderms. Jawless fish lineages are mostly extinct. An extant clade, the lampreys may approximate ancient pre-jawed fish. The first jaws are found in Placoderm fossils. The diversity of jawed vertebrates may indicate the evolutionary advantage of a jawed mouth. It is unclear if the advantage of a hinged jaw is greater biting force, improved respiration, or a combination of factors. The evolution of fish is not studied as a single event. since fish do not represent a monophyletic group but a paraphyletic one (by exclusion of the tetrapods).

From the University of Chicago Medical Center in the USA:

How fish fins evolved just before the transition to land

December 31, 2019

Research on fossilized fish from the late Devonian period, roughly 375 million years ago, details the evolution of fins as they began to transition into limbs fit for walking on land.

The new study by paleontologists from the University of Chicago, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses CT scanning to examine the shape and structure of fin rays while still encased in surrounding rock. The imaging tools allowed the researchers to construct digital 3D models of the entire fin of the fishapod Tiktaalik roseae and its relatives in the fossil record for the first time. They could then use these models to infer how the fins worked and changed as they evolved into limbs.

Much of the research on fins during this key transitional stage focuses on the large, distinct bones and pieces of cartilage that correspond to those of our upper arm, forearm, wrist, and digits. Known as the “endoskeleton”, researchers trace how these bones changed to become recognizable arms, legs and fingers in tetrapods, or four-legged creatures.

The delicate rays and spines of a fish’s fins form a second, no less important “dermal” skeleton, which was also undergoing evolutionary changes in this period. These pieces are often overlooked because they can fall apart when the animals are fossilized or because they are removed intentionally by fossil preparators to reveal the larger bones of the endoskeleton. Dermal rays form most of the surface area of many fish fins but were completely lost in the earliest creatures with limbs.

“We’re trying to understand the general trends and evolution of the dermal skeleton before all those other changes happened and fully-fledged limbs evolved,” said Thomas Stewart, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher who led the new study. “If you want to understand how animals were evolving to use their fins in this part of history, this is an important data set.”

Seeing ancient fins in 3D

Stewart and his colleagues worked with three late Devonian fishes with primitive features of tetrapods: Sauripterus taylori, Eusthenopteron foordi and Tiktaalik roseae, which was discovered in 2006 by a team led by UChicago paleontologist Neil Shubin, PhD, the senior author of the new study. Sauripterus and Eusthenopteron were believed to have been fully aquatic and used their pectoral fins for swimming, although they may have been able to prop themselves up on the bottom of lakes and streams. Tiktaalik may have been able to support most of its weight with its fins and perhaps even used them to venture out of the water for short trips across shallows and mudflats.

“By seeing the entire fin of Tiktaalik we gain a clearer picture of how it propped itself up and moved about. The fin had a kind of palm that could lie flush against the muddy bottoms of rivers and streams,” Shubin said.

Stewart and Shubin worked with undergraduate student Ihna Yoo and Justin Lemberg, PhD, another researcher in Shubin’s lab, to scan specimens of these fossils while they were still encased in rock. Using imaging software, they then reconstructed 3D models that allowed them to move, rotate and visualize the dermal skeleton as if it were completely extracted from the surrounding material.

The models showed that the fin rays of these animals were simplified, and the overall size of the fin web was smaller than that of their fishier predecessors. Surprisingly, they also saw that the top and bottom of the fins were becoming asymmetric. Fin rays are actually formed by pairs of bones. In Eusthenopteron, for example, the dorsal, or top, fin ray was slightly larger and longer than the ventral, or bottom one. Tiktaalik’s dorsal rays were several times larger than its ventral rays, suggesting that it had muscles that extended on the underside of its fins, like the fleshy base of the palm, to help support its weight.

“This provides further information that allows us to understand how an animal like Tiktaalik was using its fins in this transition,” Stewart said. “Animals went from swimming freely and using their fins to control the flow of water around them, to becoming adapted to pushing off against the surface at the bottom of the water.”

Stewart and his colleagues also compared the dermal skeletons of living fish like sturgeon and lungfish to understand the patterns they were seeing in the fossils. They saw some of the same asymmetrical differences between the top and bottom of the fins, suggesting that those changes played a larger role in the evolution of fishes.

“That gives us more confidence and another data set to say these patterns are real, widespread and important for fishes, not just in the fossil record as it relates to the fin-to-limb transition, but the function of fins broadly.”