Spring birds in Amsterdam park


This 9 April 2020 video from the Netherlands says about itself:

When spring comes

Zoom into the world of birds that inhabit our city parks during springtime. See how they collect food, nest building material and interact with each other.

“When spring comes” was recorded in a small but old Amsterdam city park, called Frankendael. A place that was once a green and lush 17th-century country seat for rich people fleeing the inner city now lives on as a city park with many different trees, plants and birds.

Video produced by Bram de Haan,

Coronavirus disaster in Bolsonaro’s Brazil


This 8 May 2020 video says about itself:

Brazilian Mayor Asks Greta Thunberg for Help During COVID-19 | NowThis

This Brazilian city has been forced to bury hundreds of bodies in mass graves amid COVID-19 — now its mayor is asking activist Greta Thunberg for help.

In US news and current events today, hundreds of bodies had to be laid to rest in mass graves in Manaus, an Amazon city in Brazil. Now the city’s mayor, Mayor Arthur Virgilio Neto, is asking Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg to help save the lives of the people risking COVID-19 to protect the Amazon.

BOLSONARO MARCHES BRAZIL TOWARD POLITICAL CRISIS Far-right Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro is imploding. “So what?” he told reporters last week, about the mounting coronavirus death toll. Nightly protests, during which Brazilians bang pots and pans from their rooftops and balconies, have intensified. Bolsonaro’s approval ratings are at their lowest, and governors who rode his coattails have abandoned him. Brazil’s Supreme Court is investigating claims of impropriety, and nearly half of Brazilians now support Bolsonaro’s impeachment. [HuffPost]

With Brazil on course to become new COVID-19 epicenter, Bolsonaro escalates back-to-work campaign: here.

Coronavirus news from the Netherlands, Germany


This 28 April 2020 video is called Coronavirus: Germany’s COVID-19 infection rate rises after lockdown lifted.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

In the asylum seekers centre of Sneek, the coronavirus was diagnosed among 22 residents. The health authority of Fryslân province thinks it will not stop at 22.

According to regional broadcaster Omrop Fryslân, almost 600 people live in the asylum seekers centre in Sneek.

German slaughterhouse near the Dutch border closes because of coronavirus contagion

A slaughterhouse in the German town of Coesfeld, about 30 kilometres from Winterswijk, is temporarily closed due to a particularly high number of coronavirus infections within the company. This has been announced by the Minister of Health of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Yesterday, the number of infected workers at the Westfleisch factory was 129. Thirteen of them were taken to hospital. … The infected people who are not in the hospital are quarantined, like the people they have had contact with.

Because the limit of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week has been exceeded in Coesfeld, the announced relaxations of coronavirus rules in the district have been postponed to May 18.

German government ends lockdown, putting hundreds of thousands of lives at risk. By Johannes Stern, 8 May 2020. Three weeks after the decision of the federal and state governments to gradually withdraw the restrictions imposed in March, the end of the lockdown in Germany has largely been completed.

From the World Socialist Web Site today:

Dutch primary school teachers oppose premature return to work

In a survey of 1,250 Dutch primary school teachers, a third expressed concern that primary schools are to reopen on May 11.

In the survey, carried out by the National Institute for Public Health and Environment, half of the teachers questioned agreed with a return to work but thought it too soon. Four percent said they would refuse to return to work.

The results of a study of contamination risk posed by COVID-19 to children and young people has yet to be published.

The number of strikes by teachers and health care workers in the Netherlands last year was at a 25-year high. Over 300,000 workers took part in 26 separate strikes. Around 90 percent of all those on strike in the Netherlands last year were teachers or care workers.

Cetti’s warbler, house martins, mandarin ducks, butterflies


This video from Britain is about the Cetti’s warbler and its call.

Today, a Cetti’s warbler called at the Muggenbult viewpoint in Naardermeer nature reserve.

A blackcap sang.

Barn swallows, house martins, swifts, a white wagtail, a starling and house sparrows near the Naardermeer visitors’ centre.

On the way back from the Naardermeer, an orange-tipped butterfly. And brimstone butterflies.

Grey herons. And three white storks. And three mandarin ducks.

Coronavirus disaster, USA


This 7 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Profiting from the Pandemic: Will Pharmaceutical Giants Use Patents to Limit Access to COVID Drugs?

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide approaches 4 million and the pandemic could be with us for months or years, we look at who can access drugs like remdesivir, being developed by pharmaceutical giant Gilead, which has the patent for the drug and is poised to make massive profits. We look at how much drugs like remdesivir will cost, and who can access them, with writer Achal Prabhala, coordinator of the AccessIBSA project, which campaigns for access to medicines in India, Brazil and South Africa.

TRUMP ADMIN. SHELVES CDC GUIDE TO REOPENING Detailed documents created by the nation’s top disease investigators meant to give step-by-step advice to local leaders deciding when and how to reopen public places such as mass transit, day care centers and restaurants during the still-raging pandemic has been shelved by the Trump administration. The 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day.” White House officials reportedly had religious and economic objections. [HuffPost]

ONE OF TRUMP’S PERSONAL VALETS TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 A personal military valet of Trump has tested positive for the coronavirus, rattling the White House. “We were recently notified by the White House Medical Unit that a member of the United States Military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for coronavirus,” deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said. [HuffPost]

It took a pandemic to prove that individual actions alone won’t solve the climate crisis.

Coronavirus disaster in Trump’s USA, update


This 8 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Reopening Country Has DEVASTATING Fallout

Reopening the country has had a devastating fallout for workers. John Iadarola and Ryan Grim break it down on The Damage Report.

Senator Richard Burr was not the only member of his family to sell off a significant portion of his stock holdings in February, ahead of the market crash spurred by coronavirus fears. On the same day Burr sold, his brother-in-law also dumped tens of thousands of dollars worth of shares. The market fell by more than 30% in the subsequent month.

Burr’s brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, who has a post on the National Mediation Board, sold between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of shares in six companies — including several that have been hit particularly hard in the market swoon and economic downturn.

A person who picked up Fauth’s phone on Wednesday hung up when asked if Fauth and Burr had discussed the sales in advance.”

Read more here.

New outbreaks of COVID-19 reported at workplaces across the US. By Zachary Thorton, 8 May 2020. As states continue to push to reopen their economies and force workers back on the job, new hot-spots are emerging in factories and stores from Iowa to Massachusetts.

Deemed essential, US farmworkers face wage reductions, zero protections from COVID-19. By Norissa Santa Cruz, 8 May 2020. Farmworkers lack access to basic medical care and suffer from significantly higher rates of diabetes, hypertension and health conditions such as heart disease and environmental cancers due to long exposure to pesticides.

Trump administration suppresses Centers for Disease Control coronavirus guidance document. By Bryan Dyne, 8 May 2020. The CDC report would have laid out step-by-step instructions for a variety of “critical” businesses and institutions to safely reopen.

Cedar waxwings are back in Canada


This 2020 video says about itself:

Canada: Country of the freshly migrated cedar waxwing

One of the most well-guarded nature secrets in Canada has to be the abundant and striking cedar and Bohemian waxwing birds. They show off a colorful design with a painted like tip of the wings that appear to have been dipped in hot wax, hence the name.

As for the cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) as seen in this footage, the wingtips are bright red and the tail tip is bright yellow. This beautiful bird that spreads across all North America feeds mostly on berries and hangs out in flocks of sometimes very high numbers. This footage was filmed on May 6th and 7th in Southern Quebec, Canada.

Violent Muslims ‘terrorists’, violent neonazis not?


This 29 March 2019 video says about itself:

The Christchurch terrorist attack and racism in New Zealand

Tragedy struck the city of Christchurch when a self-declared fascist and white supremacist shot at two of the city’s mosques, killing 50 worshippers and injuring many more. While the country quickly came together in solidarity, it also left New Zealand confronted with an issue deeply ingrained in its fabric – racism. Moana Makapelu Lee with this story.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Threat of the extreme right a ‘big blind spot’

Christchurch, El Paso, Halle and Hanau: four places where attacks were committed by right-wing extremists in 2019 and this year. In the five years before, right-wing extremist violence increased by more than 300 percent, according to the international police organization Interpol. In the Netherlands, a right-wing terrorist attack is “conceivable”, writes the National Coordinator for Terrorism and Security (NCTV). …

Experts are concerned. There is little international cooperation against threats from the extreme right-wing, they say, and within the Netherlands the increasing popularity of radical ideas is “a blind spot”.

Tinder for Nazis

“In the West, we see that right-wing extremist attacks are now more common than jihadist attacks“, said extremism researcher Julia Ebner. “The extreme right is also catching up with the number of deaths.”

For her new book Going Dark, Ebner infiltrated various right-wing extremist organizations. “A neo-Nazi group in the US wanted me to send a photo of my wrist and take a genetic test to prove my whiteness.”

She sees that extreme right-wing groups increasingly organize themselves online. They plan campaigns and attack dissenters on Facebook and Twitter. There’s even their own dating app: Patriot Peer. “It is also called the ‘Tinder for Nazis’ and had ten thousand members. …”

The extreme right is much better able to organize itself through social media, Interpol also sees. “On the one hand, attacks from that direction are mainly committed by lone wolves“, said Secretary-General Jürgen Stock in an interview with Nieuwsuur TV show.

An insult to real wolves. Also, fascist ´wolves´ often turn out to be not as lonely as it seems.

“On the other hand, right-wing extremist groups are increasingly being brought together by the internet. This is an important concern for us.”

Machine gun next to bed

In The Hague, 56-year-old Kees R. was brought to trial last week. He is said to have told colleagues that he wanted to go to a mosque with hand grenades. He said he enjoyed the attack in Christchurch. In addition to legal weapons, R. also had a machine gun next to his bed, the police discovered. His phone, with a Nazi ringtone, contained racist and anti-Semitic videos.

The case receives relatively little publicity, says researcher Nikki Sterkenburg. She said that would have been different if R. had been a Muslim terrorist. “Then all talk shows would have paid attention to it.”

According to Sterkenburg, right-wing extremism is “a blind spot” in the Netherlands. For her PhD research, she spoke to 36 right-wing extremist activists. “They all have in common that they have a kind of vague notion of what the Netherlands should look like, with less space for ethnic and religious minorities.” …

Countries disagree on definition

Although Interpol says the threat of right-wing extremism is “a top priority”, there is also a blind spot internationally, says Julia Ebner. “Policymakers and security services are paying much more attention to fighting jihadism. There is no international approach about the right wing. Most countries see it as a domestic affair.”

What does not help is that countries do not agree on an unambiguous definition, says Sterkenburg. “When we say that we find certain statements problematic, it is not inconceivable that those statements are simply in the election programs of certain Polish, Hungarian or Flemish political parties. That makes it difficult to define what we find problematic and what we should do with it. Everyone thinks jihadists are bad, but with the radical and extreme right that line is much more difficult to draw. Also for countries themselves.”