Bernie Sanders campaign in the USA

This 7 March 2020 video from the USA is called Bernie Ad DESTROYS Biden For Iraq War Support.

From Our Revolution in the USA today:

The earth is warming faster than even the most pessimistic scientists predicted. Our healthcare system is allowing Americans to die. Our government has been captured by a corporate-backed racist authoritarian.

The corporate and political establishments want you to be discouraged — they don’t want you to fight back.

But we owe it to every American with a preexisting condition, and every child who wants to grow up on a planet that can sustain life, to look the corporate power structure right in the eye, call it out for what it is, and do the work to take back our country.

Tuesday is an extremely important day for our movement. Once California is fully counted, Bernie will be neck and neck with the corporate candidate. Tuesday is our chance to retake the lead.

Can we count on you to pitch in at this critical moment for the progressive movement?

The lobbyists and consultants who flood cable news want us to feel bad about fighting for a more just world.

Don’t let their propaganda win.

Rush a donation before Tuesday and help us organize to win against the corporate interests that exploit our country for the wealthy.

In solidarity, forever.

PO Box 66208

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

On the eve of Michigan primary

Another corporate media smear against Bernie Sanders

7 March 2020

Continuing the corporate media attacks on Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the New York Times published a front-page report Friday highlighting a Sanders visit to the Soviet Union in 1988 to establish a “sister city” connection between Burlington, Vermont, where he was mayor, and Yaroslavl, an industrial city on the Volga River.

The headline of the article conveys the impression that Sanders was the gullible tool of nefarious Soviet manipulation: “As Bernie Sanders Pushed for Closer Ties, Soviet Union Spotted Opportunity.”

The actual content of the article entirely fails to substantiate the lurid implications of the headline, however. The “opportunity” was nothing more than the promotion of peaceful exchanges of visits by officials, sports teams and ordinary citizens, which was supported by both the Reagan administration and its Soviet counterparts under Mikhail Gorbachev.

The Times article comes only two weeks after a similarly sensationalized and unsubstantiated report in the Washington Post, declaring that US intelligence agencies had concluded that the Russian government was intervening into the US elections in support of Sanders.

The Post article was published on the eve of the Nevada primary, in a transparent effort to sabotage the Sanders campaign. The Times article has a similar purpose: it comes only four days before the March 10 primaries in six states, the largest of them Michigan, where the Democratic Party and the corporate media aim to give Sanders a death blow, defeating him in a major industrial state where he won an upset victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The Democratic leadership seeks to follow up its success on “Super Tuesday”, March 3, where former Vice President Joe Biden won 10 of the 14 primaries to take a narrow lead in delegates to the Democratic national convention. They hope that beating Sanders on “mini-Tuesday,” March 10, would effectively clinch the nomination for Biden.

The former vice president is expected to win the primaries in Mississippi and Missouri, while Sanders is expected to win the primary in Washington state—conducted entirely by mail—and the caucuses in North Dakota, which he won in 2016, as well as the primary in Idaho.

The biggest prize of the day, Michigan with 125 delegates, is believed to be a close contest, but virtually the entire state Democratic Party has swung behind Biden over the past week. This shift was led by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, chosen to give the response to President Trump’s State of the Union address earlier this year, who had said she would remain neutral until after the primary, only to announce Thursday her endorsement of Biden.

Whitmer was followed by Representative Elissa Slotkin, one of the 40 Democrats newly elected in 2018 in districts previously held by Republicans, who had also pledged neutrality. Slotkin is a former CIA agent who served in top national security positions under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, in Iraq and Washington.

That is the context in which the Times has chosen to drop its political stink bomb, suggesting, with McCarthyite innuendo but zero evidence, that Sanders was aligned politically with Moscow during the Cold War.

First elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1980, Sanders was well-known for criticizing the foreign policy of the Reagan administration, visiting Nicaragua on several occasions and opposing the US invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada in 1983. By the end of that decade, however, rapprochement with the Soviet Union was Washington’s policy, taking advantage of the pro-capitalist program of Gorbachev …

The diplomatic overtures to Moscow included encouraging the sister city program, which featured city-to-city exchanges to soften the harshness of the Cold War confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. Dozens of cities were involved, with Burlington being one of the smallest and most insignificant—Dianne Feinstein, as mayor of San Francisco, sponsored a similar program with Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).

The article is written in the breathless tones of a major political exposé, noting that the Times “examined 89 pages of letters, telegrams and internal Soviet government documents revealing in far greater detail the extent of Mr. Sanders’s personal effort to establish ties between his city and a country many Americans then still considered an enemy …”

The Sanders campaign responded … to the Times’ front-page report. “Mayor Sanders was proud to join dozens of American cities in seeking to end the Cold War through a Sister Cities program that was encouraged by President Reagan himself,” a Sanders campaign spokesman, Mike Casca, said, noting that the cultural and business exchanges between Burlington and Yaroslavl continue to this day.

The Times article also cites statements that Sanders made at the time, deploring the US-Soviet arms race as a waste of money and a threat to human survival. … expressing the hope that “we are going to be able to convert the hundreds of billions of dollars that both the United States and the Soviet Union are now wasting on weapons of destruction into areas of productive human development.”

These statements are quoted now to support the argument that Sanders is out of step with the raging anti-Russia hysteria that grips the Democratic Party, and the plans for building up nuclear weapons and developing “usable” ones that both Democratic and Republican administrations have been engaged in for decades.

Rare Bermuda petrels feed their chick

This video from Bermuda says about itself:

1-Week-Old Cahow Chick Gets Fed By Parent In Nesting Burrow – March 6, 2020

The 1-week-old cahow chick reunited with one of its parents last night for a long, 6-hour bout of feeding, cuddling, and “nestorations”. Watch highlights from the adult’s visit in this clip from CahowCam1.

Coronavirus worldwide news

This 7 March 2020 ABC TV video from the USA is called At least 12 dead, 188 infected in US as coronavirus continues to spread.

What you need to know about coronavirus testing in the U.S: here.

USA: NURSES BLAST GOVERNMENT, HOSPITAL READINESS FOR VIRUS Members of the union National Nurses United said they have faced shifting guidelines and a shortage of supplies as the tally of known coronavirus infections has increased. They called on the Centers for Disease Control to quickly increase testing for COVID-19 and demanded that federal officials implement emergency standards for hospitals and clinics around the country. [HuffPost]

World Health Organization warns of need for urgent response as coronavirus cases surpass 100,000: here.

European states dither on emergency response as coronavirus spreads globally: here.

Coronavirus spreads to Poland, threatening to upend presidential elections: here.

A dog in Hong Kong has a low-level infection of the new coronavirus: here.

Call a pandemic a pandemic: ‘pandemic bonds’ and how casino capitalism is endangering us all. A cynical desire to save money is the reason why governments are refusing to say how serious the coronavirus crisis really is, explains ALAN SIMPSON.

Sharks and whales, video

This 3 March 2020 video says about itself:

A Deep Dive Into the Lives of Sharks and Whales

Join us for a deep dive into the world of sharks and orcas. In this reel, we meet people who study, swim with and photograph these fascinating mammals, from the warm waters of Bimini to the frigid Arctic Ocean.

Australian wildfires, climate change wildfires

This 15 January 2020 video says about itself:

Australia fires: Climate change increases the risk of wildfires – BBC News

UK scientists say the recent fires in Australia are a taste of what the world will experience as temperatures rise.

Prof Richard Betts from the Met Office Hadley Centre said we are “seeing a sign of what would be normal conditions under a future warming world of 3C”.

While natural weather patterns have driven recent fires, researchers said it’s “common sense” that human-induced heating is playing a role.

Last year was Australia’s warmest and driest year on record.

UK researchers have carried out a rapid analysis of the impact of climate change on the risk of wildfires happening all over the world. Their study looked at 57 research papers published since the last major review of climate science came out in 2013.

By Carolyn Gramling, March 4, 2020 at 12:39 pm:

Australia’s wildfires have now been linked to climate change

Climate-influenced temperatures raised the wildfire risk by 30 percent

Human-caused climate change made southeastern Australia’s devastating wildfires during 2019–2020 at least 30 percent more likely to occur, researchers report in a new study published online March 4.

A prolonged heatwave that baked the country in 2019-2020 was the primary factor raising the fire risk, said climate scientist Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, with the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute in De Bilt. The study also linked the extremity of that heatwave to climate change, van Oldenborgh said March 3 during a news conference to explain the findings. Such an intense heatwave in the region is about 10 times more likely now than it was in 1900, the study found.

Van Oldenborgh also noted that climate simulations tend to underestimate the severity of such heatwaves, suggesting that climate change may be responsible for even more of the region’s high fire risk. “We put the lower boundary at 30 percent, but it could well be much, much more,” he said.

This week, the southeastern Australia region was declared free of wildfires for the first time in over 240 days, according to a statement March 2 by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service on Twitter. The fires have burned through an estimated 11 million hectares, killing at least 34 people and destroying about 6,000 buildings since early July. About 1.5 billion animals also died in the blazes. Researchers are still tallying the damage and assessing the potential for recovery for many native plant and animal species (SN: 2/11/20).

The climate attribution study was conducted by the World Weather Attribution group, an international consortium of researchers who investigate how much of a role climate change might be playing in natural disasters. Given the quick turnaround time, the study has not yet been peer-reviewed. “We wanted to bring the scientific evidence [forward] at a time when the public is talking about the event,” said climate modeler Friederike Otto of the University of Oxford. Then the group examined how climate change altered the Fire Weather Index, an estimation of the risk of wildfires.

The climate simulations show that the probability of a high Fire Weather Index during the 2019–2020 season increased by at least 30 percent, relative to the fire risk in 1910. That is primarily due to the increase in extreme heat; the study was not able to determine the impact of climate change on extreme drought conditions, which also helped fuel the blazes.

Researchers previously have suggested that an El Niño-like atmosphere-ocean weather pattern known as the Indian Ocean Dipole, which was in a strong positive phase in 2019, may have played a role in exacerbating the dry conditions (SN: 1/9/20). Global warming may make such extreme positive phases of this pattern more common. The new study confirmed that the 2019 positive phase made drought conditions more extreme, but could not confirm this particular phase’s relationship to climate change.

“It is always rather difficult to attribute an individual event to climate change,” but this study is nicely done, says Wenju Cai, a climate scientist at CSIRO who is based in Melbourne, Australia. The link identified to climate change is reasonable, if not particularly surprising, he says.

The year 2019 was Australia’s hottest and driest since modern recordkeeping began in the country in 1910. Summers Down Under also appear to be lengthening: The Australia Institute, a Canberra-based think tank, released a report March 2 that found that Australian summers during the years 1999 to 2018 lasted longer by a month, on average, than they did 50 years ago.

Temperature observations going back to 1910 show that the region’s temperatures have risen by about 2 degrees Celsius on average, van Oldenborgh and colleagues report. The climate simulations underrepresented that warming, however, showing an increase of only 1 degree Celsius in that time.

Climate modelers previously have struggled to reconcile the disparity between recorded temperatures and simulated heatwaves: Simulations tend to underestimate the severity of the extreme events. The team noticed a similar underestimation in its simulations of the 2019 heat waves in Europe (SN: 7/2/19). Conditions not generally factored into regional climate simulations, such as land-use changes, may be responsible for the disparity. Changes in vegetation cover, for example, can have an impact on how hot or dry a region gets.

New international research has found a worrying change in the Indian Ocean’s surface temperatures that puts southeast Australia on course for increasingly hot and dry conditions: here.

How scientists wrestle with grief over climate change. Those who study nature are dealing with frustration and sadness over what’s being lost: here.

Big pro-refugee marches in Greece

Students on the 20,000-strong Athens march in support of refugees

From daily News Line in Britain:

‘OPEN THE DOORS TO THE REFUGEES’ – urge 20,000 marchers in Athens

‘OPEN the doors to the refugees’, demanded 20,000 marchers in Athens on Thursday.

Some 20,000 people marched through Athens on Thursday night calling for the Greek borders to be opened and allow refugees to cross from Turkey.

It was a militant and angry march with dozens of large banners stating, ‘We welcome the refugees.’

People shouted slogans against the European Union, NATO, imperialism, the Greek government and the riot police.

The march was organised by left-wing parties, trade unions and anti-racist groups.

Mass marches were also held in the cities of Patras, Ioannina and Thessaloniki. …

Armed riot police buses were placed on the road to prevent the marchers demonstrating at the EU offices in Athens.

Throughout the week, Greek army units and armed riot police attacked refugees with tear gas and water cannon as they were attempting to cross the border.

Last Monday, 2 March, reporter Jenan Moussa had tweeted that ‘a Syrian man was shot by Greek border guards’. It has been confirmed by Greek press reports that the murdered refugee was Mohamed al-Arab a 22-year-old man from Syria.

Reports also carried Afghan refugees’ accounts that the Greek army shot two other refugees in their legs. The Greek government spokesperson, Stelios Petsas, dismissed the reports as ‘Turkish fake news’.

Three Greek cabinet ministers held a press conference last Tuesday in Brussels defending Greek army and navy actions. But videos posted by news agencies and on social media show Greek coast guards attempting to sink a small boat full of refugees with gunshots and by piercing the boat with a sharp-ended rod.

Last Wednesday, the newspaper editor Yannis Laskaratos of the Gnomi Greek newspaper published in Alexandroupoli, next to the Greek-Turkish border, stated in an interview to TV stations that ‘unbelievable events’ are occurring on the banks of the river Evros that separates Greece and Turkey.

Laskaratos said that armed local farmers self-described as ‘national guard’ are patrolling the borders along with Greek army and Greek riot police units.

Laskaratos stated that these racist vigilantes beat up the CNN journalist Kostas Pliakos who had intervened against the beating of refugees. Pliakos was ‘arrested’ by the vigilantes.

Laskaratos also said that the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was photographed with them on his visit last Tuesday to the border village of Kastanies along with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who described Greece as ‘the shield of Europe’ against the refugees.

Threatened European eels in Hong Kong supermarkets

This 2015 video says about itself:

Find out about the incredible life cycle of the Critically Endangered European eel and their amazing migration.

From the University of Hong Kong:

Endangered species on supermarket shelves

Surprising prevalence of European Eel in Hong Kong’s food supply

March 6, 2020

Imagine purchasing products from your local grocer, only to find out that those products are comprised of critically endangered species! That’s what a team from the University of Hong Kong, Division of Ecology and Biodiversity has recently discovered on Hong Kong supermarket shelves. A team led by Dr David Baker from the University’s Conservation Forensics laboratory, has recently published the results from an investigation into European eel products on sale in Hong Kong supermarkets.

The study, published in Science Advances, found that nearly 50% of retail eel products, ranging from fillets to snack items from grocers and convenience stores, contained a critically endangered species of fish. According to the IUCN, The European eel (Anguilla anguilla) is at risk of extinction. For this reason, trade in European eels and their food product derivatives is subject to international regulation under the Convention for the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). CITES is meant to ensure that permits are required for their import and export in an effort to regulate trade and foster conservation.

Eel, extremely popular in East Asia and particularly Japan, has traditionally been fished from East Asian populations of the Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica). However, overexploitation due to growing demand from mainland China and a combination of threats ranging from rising ocean temperatures, parasites, and dammed rivers have led to dramatic declines in eel populations. This is true not only for European and Japanese species, but also for their American and Indo-Pacific relatives.

To satisfy demand for eel in East Asia, juvenile eels (known as glass eels) are caught while swimming upstream in their native range spanning Europe and North Africa, and smuggled to Asia to be raised to maturity. To date, captive breeding of eels has not been economically viable; wild-caught glass eels are thus used to “seed” eel farms. In recent years the illegal trade has been highlighted by a number of high-profile investigations and increasing prosecutions.

“The illegal export of glass eels from Europe to Asia has now been recognised as one of the world’s greatest wildlife crimes and Europol has estimated the scale of over 300 million eels (2018 data) annually. The next step is to investigate the global consumer markets to identify where these trafficked eels are eventually consumed. The numbers from Hong Kong are very alarming and reflect the huge amounts of European eels that are being farmed in Asia. It is now up to individual countries to investigate the scale of European eels entering their national food chains illegally.” -Florian Stein, Sustainable Eel Group

The international trade in glass eels is incredibly lucrative. One kilogram of glass eels can contain up to 3,500 individuals and has been recorded selling for over HKD$50,000 on the black market. This highly profitable trade has attracted the attention of international criminal syndicates, who smuggle glass eels in suitcases from Europe to Asia for resale. In their juvenile stages, eels are extremely difficult to identify to the species level. The two most common cousins of the endangered European eel (the Japanese and American eel) are not listed in CITES, therefore no permit is required for their trade. Because of the challenges in visual identification, endangered European eels can be laundered along with their legally traded relatives.

Already, the existence of Europe-Asia smuggling routes has been documented, but the ultimate destination of the smuggled eels remained elusive. Originally conceived as an undergraduate project looking at seafood mislabeling, the investigation into European eel took off when students noticed a surprising amount of European eel present in supermarket products.

“The eel project is the most exciting thing I have done during my undergraduate study in HKU. I once thought research was only for postgraduates and professors, but it turns out I, even as a student, was able to do meaningful research that actually made an impact in illegal trading. This has made me more determined to continue work in environmental fields.” -Haze Chung, Year 4 Undergraduate Researcher

The study covered a wide range of Hong Kong supermarkets and convenience stores across all districts. Surprisingly, almost 50% of the eel products surveyed were determined to be European eel. The results from this study suggested that large scale smuggling networks trafficking European eels are interwoven with local supplier chains, resulting in endangered species ending up on supermarket shelves, totally unbeknownst to consumers.

Saudi crown prince arrests fellow royals

This 7th March 2020 video says about itself:

Saudi crackdown: King Salman’s brother and nephew detained

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has reportedly detained high-profile members of the royal family.

That includes former crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, as well as Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the younger brother of the Saudi king.

Reports suggest that they have both been accused of treason.

Saudi guards have also arrested one of Mohammed Bin Nayef’s brothers.

They are now likely under threat of life imprisonment or possible execution.

Both could have been rivals to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the throne when King Salman dies.

Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal explains what these detentions mean for the kingdom and their impact on Saudi politics.

We are also joined by Khalil Jahshan, the executive director of Arab Center Washington, DC.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Three prominent members of the royal family of Saudi Arabia, including the king’s brother, have been arrested. The New York Times reports that. The Wall Street Journal reports two arrests. According to the US American media, the arrests were with the knowledge or by order of the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. Much is unclear about the reason.

In addition to the king’s brother, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the New York Times also says that former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Prince Nawaf bin Nayef were arrested in Saudi Arabia. Nawaf was previously Minister of the Interior and was given house arrest in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It is not the first time that prominent members of the royal family have been detained. In 2017 … the Saudi crown prince had dozens of princes, ministers and prominent businessmen locked up … At the time, the campaign was explained as a way to fight a power struggle.

“Dissatisfied relatives”

Sources say to Reuters news agency that influential members of the House of Saud are unhappy about the power that Mohammed bin Salman has accumulated in recent years. Also because of the role he allegedly had in the murder of journalist Khashoggi and because of a major attack on Saudi oil refineries last year,

by Yemenis fighting the Saudi crown prince’s invasion of their country

they are said to have doubts about his leadership.

To prevent the crown prince from ever becoming king, dissatisfied relatives would like to adjust the line of succession.

SAUDI ANNOUNCES NEW CRACKDOWN ON OPPOSITION Saudi security officials arrested members of the country’s royal family in what appeared to be the latest crackdown to benefit Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman. Royal guards princes Muhammed bin Nayef and Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, both once seen as contenders for the throne, from their homes. They reportedly stand accused of treason and risk execution or life imprisonment. [HuffPost]

Saudi Arabia releases footage of king to show he’s in good health following royal family arrests: here.