Coronavirus crisis, the Americas update


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

‘There is a direct correlation between the way the Trump administration handles this crisis and how many Americans will die’ — This doctor slammed Trump for his response to COVID-19 after she contracted the disease on the job.

In US news and current events today, this doctor was infected with COVID-19 while on the job. Now, she’s calling out Trump for jeopardizing our nation’s health. Dr. Dara Kass is an emergency medicine doctor in New York City. While she is recovering, Kass says she has growing concerns for how the Trump admin is responding to the pandemic.

Navy fires captain who warned of COVID-19 spread on aircraft carrier. By Jessica Goldstein, 3 April 2020. The move is a clear statement that saving lives in the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be allowed to interfere with the war aims of US imperialism.

More Ford, FCA workers die from COVID-19 in Detroit area. By Tim Rivers and Marcus Day, 4 March 2020. The workers were hourly employees at Ford’s Livonia Transmission Plant and FCA’s MOPAR parts distribution center in Center Line.

GE Appliances and GE Aviation workers fight unsafe conditions in Kentucky and Massachusetts. By Jerry White, 3 April 2020. Anger is boiling over at the GE Appliances Park in Louisville, Kentucky and at GE Aviation, where the companies are keeping workers in infected plants.

Louisiana ranks fourth in the US for coronavirus deaths: here.

Coronavirus hits Seattle, Washington homeless shelters. By Julio Patron, 3 April 2020. As the pandemic rips across the United States, COVID-19 cases are beginning to be reported among the homeless population in Seattle.

As schools close down amid COVID-19 pandemic. Marist and SUNY Geneseo students face homelessness. By Alex Findijs, 3 April 2020. The crisis that has emerged at schools and colleges around the country in the face of the pandemic has laid bare the harsh realities of life for millions of youth and students.

Mounting protests in Canada’s construction industry over lack of safety measures to counter COVID-19. By Penny Smith, 3 April 2020. A petition launched by a construction worker in Ontario calling for the shutdown of the entire industry quickly secured over 50,000 signatures.

Honduran doctor warns of “collapsed health care system” as coronavirus toll grows. By our reporter, 3 April 2020. “Now we face this COVID-19 pandemic which demonstrates tragically that the armored tanks of the police and warships of the Navy are incapable of saving lives”: here.

Online horse racing, cycling this weekend


This 6 February 2020 video from Belgium about cycling is called Tour of Flanders 2020 – Course Elite Men.

Wikipedia writes:

2020 Tour of Flanders

The race was scheduled to be held on 5 April 2020 in Belgium, serving as the 14th event of the 2020 UCI World Tour, but was postponed due to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.

However, on 2 April the organisers wrote there would be a Tour of Flanders after all. By professional cyclists on their home trainers at home, online. The participants will ride a virtual rendition of the hilly last 32 kilometres of the race.

On Sunday 5 April, 15:30, this virtual cycling race will start on the Internet and on Belgian TV. 13 cyclists will participate, including Belgian Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet, Wout van Aert, Italian Alberto Bettiol who won last year, and Dutch Tour de France stage winner Mike Teunissen.

Then, there is this tweet from Britain.

Dutch NOS radio says today (translated):

The most famous and most iconic horse race in the world will be held on Saturday, but then via an animation. The virtual version of the Grand National is even broadcast live on television.

And – as usual with a serious horse race – you can also bet on that. This time, the proceeds will go to fighting the coronavirus.

Due to the coronavirus, the 173rd edition of the event, which is held annually at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, drew 700 million viewers and is part of British culture last month, was canceled.

Virtual race result often equal to real race

The virtual race has been held since 2017 to get an indication of the real race. “Using the most modern technology and algorithms, we ask the computer to make history,” said producer Rob McLoughlin. …

Forty horses are participating in this year’s virtual race. It is mainly horses that would also participate in the real race. Eg, Tiger Roll, the winner of the past two editions.

UPDATE: Virtual Grand National 2020: Potters Corner takes victory – as it happened: here.

There was also a unique participant: Red Rum. That horse died in 1995 and, together with Tiger Roll, is the only horse that has won the Grand National twice in a row (in 1973 and 1974). So now they are competing against each other for the first time.

Contrary to the dead horse Red Rum in the 2020 Grand National, there will be no dead cyclists participating in the 2020 online home trainer Tour of Flanders. So, no chance for Achiel Buysse (1918-1084; winner in 1940, 1941 and 1943); Jaap Eden (1873-1925); Fausto Coppi; Jacques Anquetil or others.

Coronavirus crisis, how wildlife reacts


This 3 April 2020 video says about itself:

Wildlife is Returning to Cities

This video is a treasure sent to us, and we take great pleasure in sharing it with you. It is the bittersweet message that the Earth is sending us… yet again. It is as though we were being sent to our rooms to think about what we’ve done to the world.

“Life can survive without us quite nicely, thank you. But we cannot survive without Life.” – Stuart Scott

This 16 March 2020 video says about itself:

Venice canals run clear again in unexpected silver lining of coronavirus lock-down measures

There have been very few positive stories to come out of the coronavirus crisis, but footage filmed on Monday in Venice is evidence of what a small amount of downtime can do to one of the cities in the world worst hit by over-tourism.

The canals of Venice have made headlines multiple times over the past months due to its inability to cope with over-tourism, massive amounts of cruise ships and pollution.

As Italy went into complete lock-down the coronavirus outbreak halted the influx of tourists to ‘The Floating City’. March would normally see approximately 700,000 tourists arrive. However, footage obtained by Ruptly highlights how in a matter of days Venice‘s canals have began to clear up, fish have returned to the streams and the city’s famous old nickname “La Serenissima” (The very serene one) is once again relevant.

Clearing the canals of ferries, gondolas, motor-boats and the waste that comes from their engines, as well as water buses has had an undeniable impact on the local environment and will reignite the discussion of over-tourism in the city once the coronavirus crisis reaches its end and normality resumes. If any good can come of an international crisis such as the one we currently live in, one can only hope that images such as these will push governments towards establishing a better balance between tourism and the environment.

Venice is the capital of the Veneto region, one of Italy’s worst hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. Veneto is currently reporting 2,473 cases of coronavirus with 70 deaths thus far. In total Italy has been Europe’s worst-hit region with 27,980 cases and 2,158 deaths to date.

Coronavirus update, USA


This 1 April 2020 video from the USA is called Glenn Beck Would Die For The Dow Jones.

‘CLOWN PRINCE’ CRASHES CORONA PRESSER Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser, appeared for the first time at a coronavirus briefing after taking on a central role in the federal government’s response to the pandemic despite having no medical experience. Kushner said that he was working with the “supply chain” task force led by Rear Adm. John Polowczyk, who is heading federal efforts to get much-needed medical equipment to states and hospitals to treat patients with COVID-19. Meanwhile, Politico reported Kushner’s family business could reap major benefits from bailout legislation signed by Trump. [HuffPost]

FAUCI ‘DOESN’T UNDERSTAND’ LACK OF NATIONAL LOCKDOWN Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he doesn’t know why the United States hasn’t instituted a nationwide stay-at-home order amid the spread of COVID-19, saying the country “really should be” doing so to protect American lives. About 297 million people in 38 states and a bevy of cities are under some form of stay-at-home guidelines, although some states have not yet announced any such measures. [HuffPost]

UNEMPLOYMENT EXPLODES, MILLIONS WAITING FOR HELP A record number of Americans who are out of work because of the pandemic. The Labor Department announced that 6.6 million people applied for jobless benefits last week alone. That number is expected to rise ―ultimately, the unemployment rate may hit 32% because of the economic shutdown required to slow the spread of the virus. [HuffPost]

Doctor hailed for truth-telling on Fox News now in isolation.

NEW YORK PAYING 15 TIMES NORMAL PRICE FOR SUPPLIES With the coronavirus outbreak creating an unprecedented demand for medical supplies and equipment, New York state has paid 20 cents for gloves that normally cost less than a nickel and as much as $7.50 each for masks, about 15 times the usual price. It’s paid up to $2,795 for infusion pumps, more than twice the regular rate. And $248,841 for a portable X-ray machine that typically sells for $30,000 to $80,000. The shortage of key medical equipment is driving up prices. [HuffPost]

The New York death industry is on the verge of collapse.

Navy hospital ship docked in New York is “a joke” with just 20 patients.

CUOMO USES BUDGET TO CUT MEDICAID, SETTLE SCORES New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose daily press conferences about the COVID-19 pandemic have turned him into a national media darling, has plans to take $2.5 billion a year out of the Medicaid program. He has struck a deal with state lawmakers to enact a budget that not only cuts billions from social programs, but also punishes his political enemies in the progressive Working Families Party. [HuffPost]

TRUMP’S LABOR DEPT. TAKES HACKSAW TO PAID SICK LEAVE What started out as a valiant effort to provide Americans with paid sick leave during an unprecedented health care crisis has ended with a paltry measure that will barely cover anyone who is still working in the COVID-19 economy. The law made 10 days of paid sick time and 10 weeks more of longer-term leave available to those working at companies with fewer than 500 employees. Millions were left out. [HuffPost]

CONGRESS WANTS DO-OVER ON CORONAVIRUS DEBACLE House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) describes her work on a legislative response to the coronavirus crisis as “Phase Four.” This is misleading. What Pelosi wants, and what seems to be taking place, is a do-over. The bill that she and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) rammed through last week misjudged both the nature and scope of the coronavirus calamity, and failed to offer anything approaching an adequate remedy. [HuffPost]

NAVY AXES CAPTAIN AFTER FLAGGING CORONAVIRUS CASES The U.S. Navy relieved the commander of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, who wrote a scathing letter that leaked to the public asking the Navy for stronger measures to control a coronavirus outbreak onboard the ship. The removal of Capt. Brett Crozier from the command of the 5,000-person vessel, which was first reported by Reuters, was announced by acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who said the commander exercised poor judgment. [Reuters]

New England Patriots jet brings 1.2 million N95 masks from China.

Empire Kosher closes chicken plant after employees test COVID-positive.

This 2 April 2020 video from the USA is called ‘My Pillow’ CEO Says God Gave Us Trump At Covid Press Conference.

FLORIDA EXEMPTS RELIGIOUS SERVICES FROM LOCKDOWN Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) undercut his own stay-at-home order by exempting religious services from that necessary step to slow the spread of the coronavirus. His order carved out a large exception for religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and other houses of worship. deeming them “essential”. [HuffPost]

This 1 September 2020 video from the USA is called Bernie Sanders Calls On Wisconsin To Delay Primary So People Don’t ‘Risk Their Lives’ Voting | MSNBC.

WHY IS WISCONSIN HOLDING AN ELECTION? Judge William Conley’s assessment was blunt. “The state of Wisconsin’s Legislature and governor are not willing to step up and say there’s a public health crisis and make it absolutely clear that we should not be allowing poll workers and voters to congregate on April 7,” the U.S. district judge for Wisconsin’s Western District said at the end of a four-hour hearing. Still, he said he was powerless to postpone the election, which is set to take place Tuesday. [HuffPost]

This 2 September 2020 video from the USA is called Wisconsin Is Doing WHAT During Coronavirus?

UN UNANIMOUS ON RESOLUTION FOR GLOBAL EFFORT AGAINST COVID-19 The U.N. General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution recognizing “the unprecedented effects” of the coronavirus pandemic and calling for “intensified international cooperation to contain, mitigate and defeat” the COVID-19 disease. It was the first resolution adopted by the 193-member world body on the pandemic that is sweeping the world and reflects global concern at the fast-rising death toll and number of cases. [AP]

Dinosaur age rainforest discovery in Antarctica


This 2016 video says about itself:

Discovery of fossil “voice box” of Antarctic bird suggests dinosaurs couldn’t sing.

Researchers have found the oldest known fossil vocal organ of a bird … in Antarctica. The voice box is from a species related to ducks and geese that lived during the age of dinosaurs more than 66 million years ago.

A National Science Foundation-funded team led by the University of Texas at Austin discovered the ancient vocal organ called a syrinx–and its apparent absence from non-bird dinosaur fossils of the same age. Researchers believe the organ may have originated late in the evolution of birds after the origin of flight. Drawing on their research, team leader Julia Clarke said that other dinosaurs may not have been able to make noises similar to modern bird calls, but most likely made closed-mouth sounds similar to ostrich booms that don’t require a syrinx.

The organ was found in a fossil species called Vegavis iaai. The fossil was discovered in 1992 on Vega Island in the Antarctic Peninsula by a team from the Argentine Antarctic Institute. It was named in 2005 by Clarke and Argentine colleagues. But, it wasn’t until 2013 Clarke discovered the fossil syrinx in the new specimen and began analysis. The international team may figure out what dinosaurs sounded like, gaining insight into the origins of bird song. The findings appear in the October 12 issue of “Nature”.

From Imperial College London in England:

Traces of ancient rainforest in Antarctica point to a warmer prehistoric world

April 1, 2020

Researchers have found evidence of rainforests near the South Pole 90 million years ago, suggesting the climate was exceptionally warm at the time.

A team from the UK and Germany discovered forest soil from the Cretaceous period within 900 km of the South Pole. Their analysis of the preserved roots, pollen and spores shows that the world at that time was a lot warmer than previously thought.

The discovery and analysis were carried out by an international team of researchers led by geoscientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Germany and including Imperial College London researchers. Their findings are published today in Nature.

Co-author Professor Tina van de Flierdt, from the Department of Earth Science & Engineering at Imperial, said: “The preservation of this 90-million-year-old forest is exceptional, but even more surprising is the world it reveals. Even during months of darkness, swampy temperate rainforests were able to grow close to the South Pole, revealing an even warmer climate than we expected.”

The work also suggests that the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere were higher than expected during the mid-Cretaceous period, 115-80 million years ago, challenging climate models of the period.

The mid-Cretaceous was the heyday of the dinosaurs but was also the warmest period in the past 140 million years, with temperatures in the tropics as high as 35 degrees Celsius and sea level 170 metres higher than today.

However, little was known about the environment south of the Antarctic Circle at this time. Now, researchers have discovered evidence of a temperate rainforest in the region, such as would be found in New Zealand today. This was despite a four-month polar night, meaning for a third of every year there was no life-giving sunlight at all.

The presence of the forest suggests average temperatures were around 12 degrees Celsius and that there was unlikely to be an ice cap at the South Pole at the time.

The evidence for the Antarctic forest comes from a core of sediment drilled into the seabed near the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers in West Antarctica. One section of the core, that would have originally been deposited on land, caught the researchers’ attention with its strange colour.

The team CT-scanned the section of the core and discovered a dense network of fossil roots, which was so well preserved that they could make out individual cell structures. The sample also contained countless traces of pollen and spores from plants, including the first remnants of flowering plants ever found at these high Antarctic latitudes.

To reconstruct the environment of this preserved forest, the team assessed the climatic conditions under which the plants’ modern descendants live, as well as analysing temperature and precipitation indicators within the sample.

They found that the annual mean air temperature was around 12 degrees Celsius; roughly two degrees warmer than the mean temperature in Germany today. Average summer temperatures were around 19 degrees Celsius; water temperatures in the rivers and swamps reached up to 20 degrees; and the amount and intensity of rainfall in West Antarctica were similar to those in today’s Wales.

To get these conditions, the researchers conclude that 90 million years ago the Antarctic continent was covered with dense vegetation, there were no land-ice masses on the scale of an ice sheet in the South Pole region, and the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere was far higher than previously assumed for the Cretaceous.

Lead author Dr Johann Klages, from the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, said: “Before our study, the general assumption was that the global carbon dioxide concentration in the Cretaceous was roughly 1000 ppm. But in our model-based experiments, it took concentration levels of 1120 to 1680 ppm to reach the average temperatures back then in the Antarctic.”

Coronavirus update, Europe


This 2 April 2020 video was made by a drone flying over the Netherlands. Empty streets, empty railway stations, no tourists at attractions, because of the coronavirus.

The world has passed several grim milestones overnight in the coronavirus pandemic. The total number of people infected worldwide has hit one million. More than 50,000 people have died, and in the United States, where COVID-19 seems to be spreading most rapidly, there were more than 25,000 new cases and the death toll passed 5,000: here.

European countries, including Spain and the UK, announced record-high daily coronavirus death tolls Thursday. With the 4,199 new deaths yesterday, 37,864 have already perished in Europe. There have been more than 521,000 cases of COVID-19 infections on the continent including 33,661 new cases. In Spain, 950 died—the third consecutive day of a record high: here.

For emergency action against the destruction of jobs! Full financial and social support for all working people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: here.

WILDCAT strikes by postal workers at three Scottish sorting offices over serious health and safety issues has forced Royal Mail to change its policy on delivering junk mail during the coronavirus crisis. Further walkouts are on the cards as issues surrounding protective equipment have not been resolved: here.

Striking postal workers, CWU members ‘safe distancing’ on the picket line at the Alloa Royal Mail sorting office, Scotland

This photo shows striking postal workers, CWU members ‘safe distancing’ on the picket line at the Alloa Royal Mail sorting office, Scotland.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 3 April 2020:

This week, postal workers walked out of the Royal Mail delivery office in Alloa in Clackmannanshire, Scotland. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) members were protesting the lack of protective equipment and failure of Royal Mail to ensure safe social distancing of workers in the office. They were also protesting having to deliver unnecessary junk mail leaflets, increasing their risk and that of the public to coronavirus exposure. One striker talking to the Daily Record explained, “We work on top of each other in the sorting office and it hasn’t got any better since the outbreak. The managers don’t seem to be bothered by it and just want us to continue working as normal”.

Fifteen postal workers at the Lochgelly delivery office in Fife went on strike over the same issues.

French lorry drivers threaten walkout over coronavirus

From Monday, French lorry drivers may walk out because of fears around the coronavirus outbreak.

The CFDT, FO and CFTC union members are concerned over lack of facilities to eat and clean up, as many roadside service facilities have closed as a result of the infection. They are also worried about not having protective clothing when carrying out deliveries. To date, only a few drivers have refused to take out their lorries.

Health staff at Spanish coronavirus hospital speak out against lack of resources

Staff at a 6,000-bed capacity field hospital set up at the Ifema convention centre in Madrid to deal with coronavirus patients have spoken out over conditions at the site. They told El Pais newspaper there is inadequate protection equipment and patients are confined within less than two metres of each other.

A nurse explained, “The patients are overcrowded…there are barely two steps between beds…There are no stands to hold up drips, we are using broomsticks.”

The health and administrative staff at the field hospital have voluntarily offered to work there rather than their usual workplaces. However, many are now reconsidering their decision, alarmed at the terrible conditions.

A doctor said, “[The] first day was devastating… it is a sad site, a grey concrete hangar…We are all volunteers except for the internists who coordinate… we came to give our all.” A nurse added that “enthusiasm doesn’t protect you and willpower doesn’t cure.”

Portuguese medics coronavirus concerns

Portuguese doctors are concerned at the level of coronavirus infections among health staff. According to a theportugalnews website article of April 1, 853 Portuguese health professionals, including 209 doctors and 177 nurses, have contracted the disease. There are also concerns over the lack of PPE.

The National Federation of Doctors (FNAM) and the Independent Doctors Union (SIM) have requested an urgent meeting with the Health Minister to raise the medics’ concerns.

Italian supermarket workers stressed out over coronavirus

Supermarket workers in Italy are worried over conditions as they try to cope with the impact of coronavirus. The virus claimed the life of a 48-year old cashier at a supermarket in Brescia in northern Italy last month. A 33-year-old supermarket guard has also died.

Some supermarkets have now installed Plexiglass shields and dispensed disinfectant gel and gloves, but workers know more should be being done.

Reported in the AFP/The Local news website April 1 a Rome supermarket cashier explained, “We’re also stressed out, but we can see they’re [the customers] pretty stressed too… You start thinking Oh God I have just touched my face, you get kind of paranoid.”

The report noted staff numbers at some supermarkets had been cut by a third because of sickness.

Britain: VENTILATORS are to be rationed, using tactics employed on the battlefield, where army medics choose who to treat and who to leave to bleed out depending on patients’ survival odds, doctors warn. New guidance from the British Medical Association (BMA) which will mean doctors deciding who will live and who will die states: ‘Health professionals may be obliged to withdraw treatment from some patients to enable treatment of other patients with a higher survival probability’: here.

Julian Assange still held on remand as coronavirus spreads through UK prisons. By Thomas Scripps, 3 April 2020. The WikiLeaks founder, held in Belmarsh prison and facing extradition to the US for exposing war crimes, has a chronic lung condition and has had his health destroyed by a decade of mistreatment by the British state: here.

Polish government insists on holding presidential elections in May despite coronavirus lockdown. By Clara Weiss, 3 April 2020. In polls taken last week, 73 percent opposed holding the elections as planned.

Experts criticise Swedish government for failing to prevent COVID-19 spread. By Jordan Shilton, 3 April 2020. As the government refuses to issue shelter-at-home orders, medical personnel are asking how many lives it intends to sacrifice to keep up production and profits: here.

West African lions, new research


This 2016 video says about itself:

Searching for the last lions in Nigeria

Finding a lion in Nigeria’s Yankari Game reserve is no mean feat, with just 400 lions remaining in West Africa and no simple solution to saving the ones that remain.

From the University of Michigan in the USA:

Where lions roam: West African big cats show no preference between national parks, hunting zones

March 30, 2020

West African lions are a critically endangered subpopulation, with an estimated 400 remaining and strong evidence of ongoing declines.

About 90% of these lions live in West Africa’s largest protected area complex, the W-Arly-Pendjari. The WAP Complex includes five national parks and 14 hunting concessions across roughly 10,200 square miles in Burkina Faso, Niger and Benin.

Given that wildlife protection is one of the main purposes of a national park, you might expect West African lions to favor life inside park boundaries, rather than within the privately managed hunting concessions that surround the parks. After all, lions tend to shun people, and human pressures are higher in hunting areas than in the parks.

But a new University of Michigan-led camera survey of West African lions — believed to be the largest wildlife camera survey ever undertaken in West Africa and the first carried out within WAP Complex national parks and hunting concessions — found that West African lions show no statistically significant preference between the parks and trophy-hunting areas.

The findings, scheduled for publication March 30 in the Journal of Applied Ecology, have implications for conservation management of the remaining West African lions.

“Our results suggest habitat quality in national parks is inadequate, leading to a lack of preference in lions despite lower human pressures,” said doctoral student Kirby Mills of U-M’s Applied Wildlife Ecology (AWE) Lab, lead author of the study.

The researchers suspect that the lure of plentiful water, high-quality habitat and abundant prey on hunting properties outweigh the lions’ natural avoidance of humans. Revenues from trophy hunting pay for enhanced infrastructure such as irrigation systems and solar-powered pumps at watering holes, as well as added patrol staff.

At the same time, under-resourced national parks struggle to deal with degraded wildlife habitat, poachers, inadequate staffing and displacement of wildlife by livestock, which are permitted within the parks.

“We recommend prioritizing the reduction of habitat degradation in the parks and increasing water availability to increase suitable habitat for lions and their prey,” said Mills, who conducted the study for her master’s thesis at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability. “But at the same time, we recognize that management interventions at a large scale require economic resources unavailable to park managers in WAP, an incongruity prolific throughout the range of African lions.”

The study’s senior author is Nyeema Harris, an assistant professor in the U-M Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and director of the AWE Lab. Harris designed the project and led the fieldwork with an international team that included government employees and students from Burkina Faso and Niger.

In the U-M-led study, 238 motion-activated digital cameras were deployed across 5,000 square miles in three WAP Complex national parks and 11 of the hunting concessions. The fieldwork was conducted from February through June in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Some 1.7 million images were captured during that time, but West African lions triggered the shutter just 96 times, reflecting the critically endangered feline’s scarcity. The cameras were programmed to rapid-fire three to five frames when triggered, so the total number of lion images is 360.

The camera data were used in two types of mathematical models — occupancy models and structural equation models. The occupancy models allowed the researchers to calculate the probability that an animal used a given space, while the SEM models enabled them to disentangle the relative effects of environmental, ecological and anthropogenic factors influencing space use by West African lions.

The researchers found that lion occupancy was largely driven by prey availability, which in turn was shaped by ecological and environmental variables — such as water availability and habitat diversity — that scored higher in hunting concessions than in national parks.

Contrary to the researchers’ expectations, the WAP Complex lions showed no discernable preference between national parks and hunting zones. The U-M-led study provides the first estimate of West African lion occupancy using camera-trap data.

“We hypothesize that ecological cues indicating high-quality habitat, such as plentiful water and available prey, are mitigating the expected avoidance response to the increased human pressures and competitor activity in hunting concessions,” Harris said.

“Because the lions rely heavily on prey, managers may be able to manipulate the distribution of prey within WAP to directly influence spatial distributions of lions and indirectly reduce human-lion conflict.

Stretching across three countries in the West African savanna belt, the WAP Complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is described by the U.N. agency as “a refuge for wildlife species that have disappeared elsewhere in West Africa or are highly threatened.”

Trophy hunting is permitted in all of the WAP Complex concessions but is illegal in the five national parks and in Niger’s Tamou game reserve, which is part of the protected area complex. The lions are known to feed on several species of antelope, as well as savanna buffalos and warthogs. Predators that compete with the lions for food include spotted hyenas and leopards.

West African lions are categorized as critically endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. In its 2015 assessment, the IUCN states that the West African lion subpopulation is estimated at just above 400 animals, with fewer than 250 mature individuals.

West African lions are smaller than, and genetically distinct from, other African lions. They form smaller prides, and the males have little to no mane.

“This population continues to decline,” the IUCN assessment states. “Further deterioration of the last protected areas harbouring lions in West Africa will likely lead to the local extinction of the species.”

‘Brewing Corona beer is non-essential’


This October 2016 video says about itself:

Did you know the history of beer in Mexico dates back further than anywhere else in North America? Check out Mexican beer history and how the Vienna lager became a major influence throughout the country.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Beer brewer Grupo Modelo temporarily stops making Corona beer and other brands because the Mexican government has labelled the brewery’s business as non-essential. Grupo Modelo has eleven breweries in Mexico and exports its beers to 180 countries.