Greek police racism against Iranian British woman

Tifa Givian says she and her family were subjected to racist abuse from the Greek police

By Ben Cowles in Britain:

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

British woman mistaken for refugee abused by Greek cops

A BRITISH woman was “still shaking” days after she and her family were harassed and subjected to racist abuse by Greek police officers who mistook them for refugees.

Tifa Givian, who left Iran 30 years ago and now lives in Greece, says she, her husband and their baby son were asked for documents at the port in Lesbos when they passed through last weekend.

Detailing the racist incident in a Facebook post yesterday, Ms Givian said the officers did not believe she was British and told her to “stand with the rest of your people, the refugees.”

“I asked why we’d been stopped,” Ms Givian said. “They told me to shut my mouth. I asked if I should put down my baby’s changing bag. They told me to shut my mouth.”

Five police officers rooted through the family’s bags, tossing their personal belongings aside, while her husband was undergoing a body search.

“They took out my underwear one by one, held it up, spoke in Greek and laughed,” Ms Givian said. “They took out my sanitary pads and laughed.

“They checked my baby’s clothes, his toys, his books, his nappies.

“Again, I was asked about my nationality. I told them I have a British passport. They laughed and mimicked my British accent.

“I breastfed my baby in the little hut they had put us in to calm him down. They stared at my breasts, pointed and laughed.

“This was three days ago. I don’t remember everything that was said, but what I wrote above I wish I could forget. It’s been three days and I’m still shaking every time I think about it.

“Our IDs, our legitimate work, our baby, our money, nothing mattered. The colour of our skin meant we had to be stopped and harassed.”

Greece’s right-wing government sent in riot police on Lesbos on Tuesday to crush peaceful migrant and refugee protests against the horrific conditions in Moria camp, where close to 19,000 people live in a facility built for fewer than 3,000.

The UN agency for refugees and other rights organisations have repeatedly called on the Greek government to expedite its plan to move people stuck in the camp to the mainland and to improve conditions for asylum-seekers in the country.

Monkeys’ and apes’ stone tools

This 27 January 2020 video says about itself:

Monkeys and Apes Have Entered The Stone Age

The stone age marked a turning point in human evolution, playing a vital part in our species’ development and making way for our journey in technology. So when I heard that several species of monkeys and apes have officially entered their own stone age, I was very excited.

Tool use in animals is always fascinating, and stone tool use is even more incredible. In this video, I wanted to explore what animals use tools, what primate archaeology can tell us about these primates (capuchins, macaques and chimpanzees) and where these animals might be headed now they’re in their own stone ages.

‘Center’ right-extreme right coalition in Thuringia, Germany

This 28 September 2017 video says about itself:

German Holocaust survivor gives view on the rise of AfD | DW English

Nonagenarian holocaust survivor Horst Selbiger recalls his childhood in Nazi Germany. He sees the rise of the AfD as a continuation of the Nazi tradition.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

For the first time, the AfD played a decisive role in the designation of the prime minister in a German state. Thanks in part to the right-wing … party, Thomas Kemmerich (54) of the [pro-Big Business] liberal FDP was surprisingly elected Prime Minister of the State of Thuringia.

The AFD in Thuringia, led by Björn Höcke, is even more openly neofascist than elsewhere in Germany.

He got elected with 45 votes in favour and 44 against, a narrow majority of parliamentarians.

The FDP received only 5 percent of the vote in the state elections, but now delivers the prime minister thanks to the support of the CDU and the AfD. Until now, other parties have refused to rely on support from the AfD.

Der Spiegel therefore speaks of a “political earthquake”, Die Welt of a “sensation in Thuringia”.

Since 2014, the state has, with Bodo Ramelow (63), a prime minister of the socialist party Die Linke. That party also became the largest in last year’s state elections and it was expected that the popular Ramelow would be re-elected. In 2014, he became the first German state prime minister of Die Linke, the successor to the East German Communist Party.

Taboo break

According to correspondent Judith van de Hulsbeek, the choice of Kemmerich is striking in several ways. “In the first place, the choice is seen as a taboo break, because the AfD has played a decisive role. That party is normally ignored by the other parties. But now the CDU has chosen not to support the candidate of Die Linke, but to vote for the candidate who is also supported by the AfD, thereby breaking the isolation policy and giving indirect power to the AfD, many critics say.”

According to Van de Hulsbeek, the question is how the coalition in Berlin responds to developments in Thuringia. “The CDU is in the national coalition together with the Social Democratic SPD. The SPD is certainly not happy that the CDU in Thuringia has chosen to take the AfD side.”

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) spoke firmly on Twitter about the events in Thuringia. “All democrats must act together against the AfD. Those who do not understand this have learned nothing from our history.”

The AfD also had a candidate in Thuringia, but he got 0 votes in the third round of voting. All AfD people voted for Kemmerich. The CDU chose not to have a candidate. That way, it happened that the small FDP delivers the prime minister in Thuringia. …

Given the popularity of Die Linke in Thuringia, the choice for Kemmerich is striking. In the state elections last October, Die Linke became the largest party in a German state for the first time. The party is not that big in any other state.

PROTESTS were sparked in Germany’s eastern state of Thuringia today after the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) joined forces with two conservative parties in the state parliament to oust incumbent Die Linke president Bodo Ramelow: here.

Last week’s decision of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Free Democratic Party (FDP) in the federal state of Thuringia to collaborate with the extreme right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the selection of a governor exposes the filthy state of German politics. Seventy-five years after the collapse of the Third Reich, a party led by apologists for Hitler and out-and-out Nazis is accepted by the ruling elite as a legitimate political partner: here.

Snowy winter birds in Texas, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Snow In West Texas! Pine Siskins And Dark-eyed Juncos Battle It Out At Feeders – Feb. 5, 2020

Here’s something we don’t see everyday—snow at the West Texas feeders! This white winter blanket has brought droves of Pine Siskins and Dark-eyed Juncos to feast on an easy meal in front of the cam.

New Triassic thalattosaur species discovery in Alaska

This video says about itself:

A walk along the beach in the spring of 2011 led to the discovery of what might be a new species of ancient marine reptile. In May 2011, the earth sciences team from the University of Alaska Museum of the North excavated the thalattosaur fossil and brought it back to the museum to study. This is the story of that adventure and the quest to learn more about the fossil.

From the University of Alaska Fairbanks:

New thalattosaur species discovered in Southeast Alaska

Gunakadeit joseeae is the most complete thalattosaur ever found in North America

February 4, 2020

Scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have identified a new species of thalattosaur, a marine reptile that lived more than 200 million years ago.

The new species, Gunakadeit joseeae, is the most complete thalattosaur ever found in North America and has given paleontologists new insights about the thalattosaurs’ family tree, according to a paper published today in the journal Scientific Reports. Scientists found the fossil in Southeast Alaska in 2011.

Thalattosaurs were marine reptiles that lived more than 200 million years ago, during the mid to late Triassic Period, when their distant relatives — dinosaurs — were first emerging. They grew to lengths of up to 3-4 meters and lived in equatorial oceans worldwide until they died out near the end of the Triassic.

“When you find a new species, one of the things you want to do is tell people where you think it fits in the family tree,” said Patrick Druckenmiller, the paper’s lead author and director and earth sciences curator at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. “We decided to start from scratch on the family tree.”

Prior to the discovery of Gunakadeit joseeae, it had been two decades since scientists had thoroughly updated thalattosaur interrelationships, Druckenmiller said. The process of re-examining a prehistoric animal’s family tree involves analyzing dozens and dozens of detailed anatomical features from fossil specimens worldwide, then using computers to analyze the information to see how the different species could be related.

Druckenmiller said he and collaborator Neil Kelley from Vanderbilt University were surprised when they identified where Gunakadeit joseeae landed.

“It was so specialized and weird, we thought it might be out at the furthest branches of the tree,” he said. Instead, it’s a relatively primitive type of thalattosaur that survived late into the existence of the group.

“Thalattosaurs were among the first groups of land-dwelling reptiles to readapt to life in the ocean,” Kelley said. “They thrived for tens of millions of years, but their fossils are relatively rare so this new specimen helps fill an important gap in the story of their evolution and eventual extinction.”

That the fossil was found at all is remarkable. It was located in rocks in the intertidal zone. The site is normally underwater all but a few days a year. In Southeast Alaska, when extreme low tides hit, people head to the beaches to explore. That’s exactly what Jim Baichtal, a geologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Tongass National Forest, was doing on May 18, 2011, when low tides of -3.7 feet were predicted.

He and a few colleagues, including Gene Primaky, the office’s information technology professional, headed out to the Keku Islands near the village of Kake to look for fossils. Primaky saw something odd on a rocky outcrop and called over Baichtal, “Hey Jim! What is this?” Baichtal immediately recognized it as a fossilized intact skeleton. He snapped a photo with his phone and sent it to Druckenmiller.

A month later, the tides were forecasted to be almost that low, -3.1 feet, for two days. It was the last chance they would have to remove the fossil during daylight hours for nearly a year, so they had to move fast. The team had just four hours each day to work before the tide came in and submerged the fossil.

“We rock-sawed like crazy and managed to pull it out, but just barely,” Druckenmiller said. “The water was lapping at the edge of the site.”

Once the sample was back at the UA Museum of the North, a fossil preparation specialist worked in two-week stints over the course of several years to get the fossil cleaned up and ready for study.

When they saw the fossil’s skull, they could tell right away that it was something new because of its extremely pointed snout, which was likely an adaptation for the shallow marine environment where it lived.

“It was probably poking its pointy schnoz into cracks and crevices in coral reefs and feeding on soft-bodied critters,” Druckenmiller said. Its specialization may have been what ultimately led to its extinction. “We think these animals were highly specialized to feed in the shallow water environments, but when the sea levels dropped and food sources changed, they had nowhere to go.”

Once the fossil was identified as a new species, it needed a name. To honor the local culture and history, elders in Kake and representatives of Sealaska Corp. agreed the Tlingit name “Gunakadeit” would be appropriate. Gunakadeit is a sea monster of Tlingit legend that brings good fortune to those who see it. The second part of the new animal’s name, joseeae, recognizes Primaky’s mother, Joseé Michelle DeWaelheyns.

British army endangers Belize rainforests

This March 2019 video is called BELIZE – JUNGLE WALK.

By Bethany Rielly in Britain:

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

‘Colonial legacy’ of British army lives on in Belize

Soldiers are free to rehearse jungle warfare in the Central American country’s rainforests, one of the world’s most biodiverse areas

THE British army is using one of the world’s most biodiverse countries as a military training ground and paying nothing for it, it was revealed yesterday.

An audit by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), unearthed by Declassified UK, shows that soldiers are free to rehearse jungle warfare across a sixth of Belize, including in protected forests.

The Central American country, roughly the size of Wales, is home to critically endangered species and ancient Mayan ruins. Shockingly, the British army does not pay a penny to the former colony for use of the land.

The MoD’s audit, published in 2017, found that its activities, which include detonating grenades and firing live ammunition, poses a risk to nature as well as archaeological sites. It showed that the army trains in the Rio Bravo conservation area, a protected forest that is home to over 400 species of birds and the highest density of jaguars in the country.

The MoD told Declassified UK that its activities contributed to the local economy through the creation of jobs. However, the investigative website pointed out that the ministry’s own audit disproves this claim: the army’s presence only contributes £2.7 million to the economy, equivalent to 0.23 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.

The audit also recognises the risk to Belize’s Mayan heritage sites as a result of shooting – and vandalism – by soldiers.

Belize expert and geography professor at Ohio State University Joel Wainwright said that the similarities between the British military’s exploitation of Belize’s forests in the past and now is striking.

“The claiming and plunder of Belize’s forests was the foundation of the British colonial project, so the legacy of colonial rule is unmistakable”, he said.