Good Mexican seabird news


This June 2020 video says about itself:

Mexico’s Secret Seabirds | AWC Episode 1

There are few birds as charismatic or endearing as the blue-footed booby. Join James and Josh on an adventure to Isla Isabel, an island off Mexico’s Pacific coast, to understand the importance of this national park to breeding seabirds.

Along the way, we meet world-renowned chef and star of Master Chef Mexico, Betty Vázquez. By stepping into her kitchen and hearing her story, we discover the impact Isla Isabel and the blue-footed boobies have had on her culinary career.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Good News: After 25 Years of Hard Work, Mexico Recovers 20+ Seabird Species

Seabirds are the fastest declining bird group in the world—so kudos to Mexican biologists for pulling off a massive effort to reverse centuries of damage and restore seabird populations on nearly 40 islands. Their success is a gleam of hope, as well as inspiration for tackling these problems elsewhere. Find out how they did it in our full story.

COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide news


This 8 June 2020 video is called Cuban Medical Brigade Returns from Italy (and other news).

Italian actress Lucia Bosè (1931-2020), Rome 11:00 and the social dimensions of a tragedy. By Hiram Lee, 9 June 2020. Italian actress Lucia Bosè died March 23 from complications related to COVID-19. She was 89 and living in Segovia, Spain at the time of her death. Bosè got her start in the Italian neorealist movement, known for its dramatizations of the lives of the poor and working class.

A reality check on the ongoing spread of the coronavirus pandemic. 9 June 2020. More than 400,000 men, women and children have lost their lives from COVID-19 and the lives of countless millions more remain in danger as the number of cases continues to grow: here.

The World Health Organization comes under new US attack for its relationship to China. By Benjamin Mateus, 9 June 2020. China and the WHO are useful scapegoats for the systematic neglect of the health and lives of millions of people on the part of the Trump administration and other imperialist governments.

UK: Postal workers at Bridgewater walk out as six COVID-19 cases confirmed at Wellingborough. By Paul Lee, 9 June 2020. Workers have faced threats of disciplinary action such as “willful delay of the mail”, which can lead to instant dismissal.

UK: Virus infection rate increases as Johnson government continues ending lockdown. By Robert Stevens, 9 June 2020. Since imposing a lockdown on March 23, Johnson and government ministers have proclaimed keeping the “R” rate below 1 as the precondition for ending the lockdown. But ending the lockdown continues.

Greece, like Suriname, Israel and Germany, used to be one of the countries where the COVID-19 pandemic did not cause such big disasters as in Donald Trump‘s USA, Jair Bolsonaro‘s Brazil and Boris Johnson‘s Britain.

However, then in Suriname, in Israel and in Germany, authorities decided to ‘reopen the economy’ prematurely; with disastrous second wave coronavirus results.

Today, similar news from Greece; translated from Dutch NOS radio:

As of Thursday, 97 new confirmed coronavirus cases have been added in Greece. Thirty cases are people who have traveled to Greece from abroad, 29 are new cases in the Xanthi region, in the northeast of the country. Several villages there have already been placed in isolation several times in recent months. It cannot be excluded that such a quarantine measure may be needed again.

Greek virologists are also concerned about gatherings and parties at and in bars, including on the island of Mykonos and Athens. Since May 25, the terraces were open again, and since June 6, the catering industry can also receive people. For a popular beach bar on Mykonos, the reopening didn’t take long. An inspection found that visitors did not comply with the coronavirus rules. The owner had to close his bar for sixty days, and was fined 20,000 euros.

The Ministry of Health has decided to provide daily information about the number of confirmed infections and deaths again. This happened only several times a week since the beginning of this month. The number of deaths in Greece is 182 (2 died since last Thursday), ten patients are still in intensive care.

DEVELOPING COUNTRIES THAT HAVE HANDLED COVID-19 BETTER THAN THE U.S. The United States, Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom contain just 7.5% of the world’s population — and two-thirds of its coronavirus death toll. The successes of the global south — comprising newly industrialized or developing countries — have gone mostly unnoticed. Last month, the World Bank reported that developing countries make up 85% of the global population but account for just 21% of COVID-19 deaths. In late May, the entire region of West Africa had recorded just 654 COVID-19 deaths, a figure some Western countries were racking up every day. [HuffPost]

From the World Socialist Web Site, 9 June 2020:

Panamanian workers protest reopening of economy

Workers belonging to various Panamanian trade unions held street protests June 2 to protest the government’s plans to reopen the economy. The decision, beginning with the June 1 reopening of the construction industry, was taken despite the fact that Panama has had 13,000 infections and 350 deaths, the worst record of any Central American nation.

The government decreed a shutdown in mid-April, and the weeks that followed were rife with complaints that the promised aid and food distribution were irregular and insufficient. The unions called for a more gradual easing of restrictions to ward off a spike in new infections.

The protest included a march through Panama City in which members of the Suntracs construction union carried a mock coffin. The march ended at the Labor Ministry, where Suntracs Secretary General Saúl Méndez denounced the decision, saying, “It’s like throwing everything the people have suffered into the trash.” The unions also accused the government of working with employers to weaken labor laws. …

Costa Rican banana workers strike over COVID-19 concerns

Workers for Finca 3, a banana plantation in Carari, a district in Costa Rica’s Pococí canton, went on strike June 5, the day before four workers were found to have contracted COVID-19 and were removed from the premises. The workers also complained that management had not placed adequate sanitary supplies and lavatories at all sites.

The workers had asked the Labor Ministry to intervene, but apart from a promise, it has done nothing so far. …

Colombian teachers hold sit-ins to demand health resources, basic income, change in plans to reopen schools

Groups of no more than 50 teachers in Bogotá, Cali, Medellin and Bucaramanga held sit-ins on the streets to dramatize their demands June 4. The teachers’ union federation, Fecode, organized the actions in line with biosafety protocols including social distancing and the wearing of gloves and masks, stating that other teachers were staying at home but in virtual support of the protests.

The teachers protested the model—known as “alternation and gradualness”—drawn up by the Education Ministry for the restarting of face-to-face instruction. Classes have been suspended since mid-March, and the ministry is aiming to restart them on August 1. Fecode rejects the scheme “because there are no biosafety conditions and teachers, students and parents are at risk,” stated a Fecode spokesman.

Other issues were highlighted at the sit-ins. Fecode restated its support for a proposal in the Senate to provide a monthly minimum wage of 877,803 pesos (US$245) to unemployed and self-employed workers who have been thrown out of work by the pandemic. It also demanded that the distribution of health resources be better managed. …

Frontline workers fight for COVID-19 compensation

Despite the occasional fine words about heroic frontline workers spouted by government officials across Canada, essential workers in health care and retail sectors continue to fight for adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and compensation that has been promised but seldom delivered.

Hospital and long-term care employees in British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario report, five months since the global pandemic was declared, that they are still forced to re-use masks and other PPE when supplies run short.

In Manitoba, only about one-half of grocery store workers are eligible for the C$1,000 bonuses promised for workers regularly attending their jobs and are demanding inclusion. In British Columbia, the New Democratic Party government has refused to include retail workers in a recently announced plan to compensate frontline workers.

In Saskatchewan, 12,000 health care workers in the Service Employees International Union have been without a new contract for three years and have been stonewalled by the right-wing Scott Moe government. The workers have now threatened job action.

Employees in the government workers’ union and CUPE have called for a wage top-up program in that province. In an insult to low-wage workers across Saskatchewan, the Moe government announced a 13-cent-per-hour October increase in the minimum wage, which already is the lowest in Canada.

In Quebec, the country’s pandemic epicenter, 1,300 Montreal-area government speech therapists, physiotherapists, social workers and psychologists have been involuntarily reassigned to work as aides to patient attendants in the drastically understaffed long-term care facilities. The workers, who have been scheduled into 2021 for the dangerous assignments, are demanding that the government fill the placements with attractive wages so they can return to their fields of expertise.

Foxglove flowers and cockchafer beetles


Flowers, Gooilust, 8 June 2020

This 8 June 2020 photo shows foxglove flowers in Gooilust nature reserve near Hilversum.

Cockchafer, 8 June 2020

A bit further, there was this beetle.

Cockchafer beetle, 8 June 2020

A cockchafer beetle.

Cockchafer, on 8 June 2020

This species is also called Maybug, though this beetle was still around in June. After the photo session, the beetle flew up to a treetop.

Foxglove flowers, 8 June 2020

Then, once again foxglove flowers.

Stay tuned for more Gooilust photos!

George Floyd murder protests continue


This 9 June 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

Who was Edward Colston, why was his statue toppled?

Anti-racism protesters in the US and the UK are demanding the removal of monuments to individuals linked to slavery and colonialism.

British protesters toppled the statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston and dumped it into Bristol Harbour this week.

Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee reports on some of the other statues that may become targets.

THE FALL OF AMERICA’S MONUMENTS TO RACISM Since a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, protesters have graffitied and toppled Confederate monuments across the American South, including in Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederacy, and Birmingham, Alabama, in the still-beating heart of Dixie. Local leaders have backed efforts to remove statues in both cities, and in states like Kentucky, Indiana, and others that never left the Union. The U.S. Marine Corps banned its troops from displaying the Confederate battle flag, and on Monday, a U.S. Army official said the Pentagon may consider changing the names of military bases named for Confederate generals. [HuffPost]

MAN WHO DROVE TRUCK INTO PROTESTERS SAYS HE’S A WHITE SUPREMACIST A Virginia man who drove his pickup truck into a crowd of anti-racism protesters on Sunday is a self-described white supremacist, prosecutors said. Harry H. Rogers, 36, has been charged with assault and battery, attempted malicious wounding and felony vandalism after witnesses in Richmond said he drove onto a median, revved his engine and drove into a crowd of protesters. One person was injured. [HuffPost]

Stunning photos of newlyweds’ “first look” in the middle of a Black Lives Matter protest.

Why I protest.

Beyoncé’s powerful speech about Black lives and sexism is one we all need to hear.

WHITE HOUSE: ‘NO REGRETS’ ABOUT VIOLENTLY CLEARING PROTEST White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said President Donald Trump’s administration regrets nothing about police using violent force to clear peaceful anti-racism protesters outside the White House last week. Meanwhile, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said a member of the National Guard directly informed Attorney General William Barr that the anti-racist protesters were peaceful as Barr launched the violent police action against them. Plus, Barr has now contradicted Trump’s claim that he was in his bunker for an “inspection.” [HuffPost]

Trump is opposed to “kneeling in general,” raising hell with religious worship.

BIDEN ‘DOESN’T SUPPORT’ DEFUNDING THE POLICE Joe Biden does not support defunding police departments, despite nationwide protests against police brutality, his 2020 presidential campaign said. “As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded,” campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. [HuffPost]

BAIL FOR FORMER MINNEAPOLIS COP SET AT $1.25 MILLION A judge set bail for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with George Floyd’s murder, at $1.25 million without conditions. Hennepin County District Judge Jeannice Reding also set a $1 million bail option for Chauvin with certain conditions that include no contact with Floyd’s family and no travel outside of Minnesota without permission. Chauvin, 44, made his first court appearance via video monitor from Oak Park Heights prison exactly two weeks after Floyd’s killing. [HuffPost]

MOURNERS IN MASKS PAY RESPECTS TO FLOYD IN HOUSTON Thousands of mourners lined up at a church in Houston to pay their respects to George Floyd, the Black man killed by Minneapolis police last month. At the public viewing, held at the Fountain of Praise church in Floyd’s hometown of Houston, crowds that largely consisted of Black people — all wearing masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus — stood in long lines, wearing T-shirts with illustrations of Floyd’s face or emblazoned with the phrases “Black Lives Matter” or “I can’t breathe.” Floyd’s funeral is today. [HuffPost]

WHY THE U.S. NEEDS TO MAKE REPARATIONS NOW Defunding the police is just part of the structural reform needed to root out racism in the U.S., says Mehrsa Baradaran, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine. What’s truly needed is a big-picture rethink of U.S. policy at every level, she told HuffPost. In her 2017 book “The Color of Money,” Baradaran lays out how, over centuries, policymakers wrote Black Americans out of the economic system — and how policies blocking Black people from obtaining mortgages, land and credit created an immense wealth gap between Black and white Americans that persists to this day. [HuffPost]

Can Jews and African Americans rebuild their 1960s alliance?

Auschwitz survivor voices support for Chicago protesters.

TOP EDITOR RESIGNS AFTER BROWNFACE OUTCRY The editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit magazine has stepped down after a photo of him wearing brownface resurfaced and several of the magazine’s few staffers of color publicly called on him to resign as a reckoning on diversity, inclusion and representation sweeps the media industry. Adam Rapoport announced his exit after freelance food journalist Tammie Teclemariam unearthed a 2013 Instagram photo of him wearing brownface for Halloween and perpetuating negative stereotypes about Latinx people. [HuffPost]

‘Extinct’ lizard rediscovered in Sumatra, Indonesia


This 4 June 2020 video, in Indonesian, is about the rediscovery after over a century of Modigliani’s lizard.

By Dyna Rochmyaningsih today:

A nose-horned dragon lizard lost to science for over 100 years has been found

Indonesia’s Modigliani’s lizards are bright green but can shift shades like a chameleon

Nearly 130 years ago, Italian explorer Elio Modigliani arrived at a natural history museum in Genoa with a lizard he’d reportedly collected from the forests of Indonesia.

Based on Modigliani’s specimen, the striking lizard — notable for a horn that protrudes from its nose — got its official taxonomic description and name, Harpesaurus modiglianii, in 1933. But no accounts of anyone finding another such lizard were ever recorded, until now.

In June 2018, Chairunas Adha Putra, an independent wildlife biologist conducting a bird survey in a mountainous region surrounding Lake Toba in Indonesia’s North Sumatra, called herpetologist Thasun Amarasinghe. Near the lake, which fills the caldera of a supervolcano, Putra had found “a dead lizard with interesting morphological features, but he wasn’t sure what it was,” says Amarasinghe, who later asked the biologist to send the specimen to Jakarta.

It took only a look at the lizard’s nose-horn for Amarasinghe to suspect that he was holding Modigliani’s lizard. “It is the only nose-horned lizard species found in North Sumatra,” he says.

Wooden arts and folktales of the Bataks — indigenous people native to the region — show that lizards have a special place in the people’s mythology. “But simply there was no report at all about this species” following Modigliani’s, says Amarasinghe, of the University of Indonesia in Depok.

He asked Putra to get back to the caldera to see if there was a living population. After five days, Putra found what he was looking for one evening, “lying on a low branch, probably sleeping,” according to the biologist. He took pictures of the lizard and measured the size and shape of its body parts, such as the length of its nose-horn and head. He also observed its behavior before finally releasing it the same night.

Using this data, Amarasinghe compared the lizard with the one described in 1933, and concluded that the living lizard and the dead one that Putra had stumbled across were in fact Modigliani’s nose-horned lizards. The Genoa museum’s dead specimen is pale blue due to preservation, but it’s now known that the lizard’s natural color is mostly luminous green. Its camouflage and tree-dwelling behavior are similar to African mountain chameleons, Amarasinghe, Putra and colleagues report in the May Taprobanica: The Journal of Asian Biodiversity.

The reptile belongs to the Agamidae family of lizards, which are commonly called dragon lizards and include species such as bearded dragons (SN: 6/14/17). Shai Meiri, a herpetologist at Tel Aviv University, has previously shown that many dragon lizards live in small, hard-to-access areas, making the reptiles difficult to study. There are 30 agamid species that have never been seen since they were first described, and 19 species which are known from just a single specimen, Meiri says.

While thrilled with their find, Amarasinghe and Putra are worried about the lizard’s future. “The living dragon was found outside a conservation area, and massive deforestation is happening nearby,” Amarasinghe says.

But the rediscovery offers a glimmer of hope for the lizard’s conservation, Meiri says. Before the reptile resurfaced, no one knew where exactly Modigliani’s lizard lived, or whether it had already gone extinct, he says. But now, “we can study it, understand its conservation needs and hopefully implement conservation measures.”

Black Lives Matter, Italy, Austria, Finland


This June 2017 rap music video from Italy is called Karima 2G – POLICE.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Wave of protest in European cities: ‘Killing of George Floyd an important moment for awareness’

In more and more European cities, people demonstrate against racist violence and discrimination. The death of black arrestee George Floyd and the ongoing wave of demonstrations against it in the United States are causing many people to take to the streets.

Racism has already been massively demonstrated against in France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in the past. Now this also happens in countries where anger about racial discrimination has never or rarely caused large numbers of people to protest.

“The situation in Italy is sometimes similar to that in America,” said Anna Maria Gehnyei. “Here too many black people are killed. But no one talks about it. And the violence comes not only from the police but from everywhere.”

Better known as the rapper Karima 2G, Gehnyei hosted the stage of a major anti-racism demonstration in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo on Sunday.

Thousands of people showed up, “far more Italians than ever before have made a stand together against racism,” said Gehnyei. During the demonstration, the crowd held an eight-minute silence, about as long as Minneapolis policemen held George Floyd on the ground.

This Bloomberg news agency video says about itself:

Several hundred people protested peacefully in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo to denounce the killing of George Floyd and show solidarity with anti-racism protests in the U.S. and elsewhere.

In English and Italian, protesters chanted “I can’t breathe!” and kneeled for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time George Floyd was pinned under a white police officer’s knee before he died.

The NOS article continues:

If you’re black, then you can’t avoid racism in Italy, Gehnyei says. “My father is from Liberia. In the 1990s, he worked for an embassy. He was regularly stopped by police officers. They assumed he stole the embassy car.”

According to Gehnyei, many male migrants are victims of violence. And many black women are mistaken for prostitutes on the street. “It’s actually a constant stream of verbal and physical abuse, and no one is protecting you,” said Gehnyei. “You are not safe anywhere.”

When asked whether Italy also has a certain fatal incident of great symbolic value, such as Floyd’s, Gehnyei says no. “Not one. We have a long list. Many migrants are killed by [neo-fascist] extremists.” But she acknowledges that the death of American George Floyd is an important moment of awareness, including in Italy.

This 4 June 2020 video is called Austria: Thousands flood Vienna streets in “Black Lives Matter” protest

“It was so beautiful to see Muslims, Jews, asylum seekers, Roma, white and black mobilize,” said Austrian MP Faika el-Nagashi about the demonstration last Thursday in Vienna. It was the largest demonstration in that country in decades, several Austrian media report.

El-Nagashi, the spokesman for diversity and integration of government coalition party The Greens, is enthusiastic about the massive turnout of an estimated 50,000 demonstrators. But she didn’t want to be directly involved in organizing it. “I stayed in the background because I wanted to keep politics out of it.”

“Eruption of unity”

The demonstration took place in a central square with a memorial to commemorate Marcus Omofuma, a Nigerian asylum seeker who died in 1999 during his deportation flight from Vienna. He was tied up by Austrian police officers and had duct tape taped to his mouth. On landing it turned out that he had been suffocated. The officers received a light sentence. It has become a symbol of the anti-racist movement in the country.

“A few weeks ago, a right-wing party called for that statue to be removed to make the park greener and more child-friendly,” said El-Nagashi. People would like to erase history under the guise of quality of life. “Omofuma is still a loaded name.”

Since the beginning of this year, her party, The Greens, has been in government. “But for months now, our major coalition partner, the conservative ‘Christian democrats’, has been blocking all of our human rights proposals. For example, to help asylum seekers trapped in Greek camps. And now, after three months of coronavirus lockdown, the time had come to say: enough. It was an outburst of unity, led by the black community.”

This 3r June 2020 video from Helsinki, Finland is called (translated) Left Youth Chair Liban Sheikh and Suldaan Said Ahmed in Black Lives Matter Protest.

“I’m 18 years old and just finished my commercial education. I’m a fashion model and I love to travel.” That’s how Sara Balhas introduces herself. She co-hosted one of the most surprising demonstrations in Helsinki last week.

“I was following what was going on in America, and I told my girlfriend that I felt powerless because I didn’t do anything about it. So the girlfriend sent me a text saying ‘hey, we should protest too.'”

Balhas agreed. “I went to find out how to get a permit. And I made some posters and flyers. We’re just two girls, but we did it. We thought we should do this.”

500 people were expected. It became 3,000. People from all backgrounds. At the start of the demonstration, all attendees knelt, following the example of many anti-racism protests in the US. “Our protest was not directed at the police. We were concerned with racism in general.”

And that is also in Finland, says Balhas. “My mother was a black Moroccan, my father Lebanese. People used to look at my mother disapprovingly when there were not many black people in this country.”

The discrimination against black people is sometimes subtle, says Balhas. “When you walk on the bus, they hold their breath. Or they say things like go back to your own country. They laugh at you at school and if your last name is not Finnish, you won’t get a job. You leave a shop, they’ll check if you’ve stolen something. I go through it all myself.”

North American muskrat decline, why?


This 2016 video from Wyoming in the USA says about itself:

Muskrats are a native aquatic mammal found throughout Wyoming. They look similar to beavers, but are generally smaller and have narrower tails.

From Penn State University in the USA:

Many factors may contribute to steep, decades-long muskrat population drop

June 8, 2020

Muskrat populations declined sharply across North America over the last 50 years or so, and wildlife scientists have struggled to understand why. A Pennsylvania research team investigated whether pathogens, parasites, environmental contaminants and disease may be contributing to this decline.

Trappers saw steep declines in muskrat harvest throughout the animal’s native range, with decreases exceeding 50% in some states, according to David Walter, Penn State adjunct assistant professor of wildlife ecology in the College of Agricultural Sciences. In Pennsylvania, for example, according to the state Game Commission, the muskrat harvest declined from 720,000 in 1983 to 58,295 in 2010.

“Some of that decline can be attributed to a reduction in trapping activity, but clearly the muskrat population is significantly smaller than it used to be,” he said. “A number of theories to explain the widespread muskrat declines have been proposed, including habitat loss, predation, environmental contamination and diseases. In this study, we examine a number of those possibilities.”

To analyze trends in muskrat mortality, researchers pored over 131 articles, published from 1915 to 2019, from 27 U.S. states and nine Canadian provinces that contained information about muskrat exposure to diseases and contaminants and mortality events. Information collected from articles included; year of survey; location of survey; methodology; number of animals surveyed; pathogen or contaminant identities; and the presence or absence of associated disease, as evidenced by reported clinical signs or lesions.

Among the common factors reported associated with muskrat infections or mortality in some cases were: viruses including canine distemper virus, rabies and Aleutian mink disease virus; a variety of fungal infections; ailments such as tularemia and Tyzzer’s disease; cyanobacteria, possibly indicating the presence of toxic algae; parasites including protozoans, trematodes, cestodes, nematodes and ectoparasites such as ticks; toxins, including heavy metals from industrial discharges and lead from ammunition deposits; and agricultural-related contaminants including pesticides, herbicides and insecticides.

Because of the wide range of differences in how the many authors had collected information about the factors in muskrat deaths, the researchers were unable to draw solid conclusions about which pathogens or contaminants may be contributing to declining muskrat populations. However, the findings, recently published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, were the first holistic review of muskrat mortality ever compiled.

The study provides a baseline for understanding the potential role of pathogens, contaminants, parasites and diseases in the declines of muskrat populations across North America, noted lead researcher Laken Ganoe, who conducted the work as part of her master’s degree thesis in wildlife and fisheries science.

“These data highlight critical knowledge gaps about muskrat health investigations and the circumstances surrounding and contributing to their decline that warrant future research efforts,” she said. “There is still much that we do not understand about why muskrats are disappearing, and to protect them into the future we need to better understand not only disease dynamics, but how other factors such as ecosystem dynamics and climatic factors are playing a role as well.”

In earlier research, done in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Ganoe collected muskrat carcasses from Pennsylvania trappers and conducted necropsies to develop a snapshot of muskrat health and exposure in the state, which included tissue sample collection and screening for a wide variety of pathogens and contaminants. She also captured muskrats, surgically implanted them with radio transmitters and then tracked them using radio telemetry, to determine their movement patterns, home range size and survival.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the U.S. Geological Survey funded this research.

No more police brutality, worldwide movement


This 9 June 2020 video from London, England says about itself:

Healthworkers back Black Lives Matter protests

Critical care nurses were amongst the tens of thousands who joined the latest – and biggest – Black Lives Matter demonstration outside the U.S. embassy, as fury grows at both the disgusting murder of George Floyd, and the systemic and structural racism in the USA, the UK, and around the world.

As critical care nurse Dave Carr says, “Racism is a pandemic … racism, and the impact of racism, takes years off people’s lives. And for public health, these demonstrations need to go ahead. We need to protect ourselves.”

UK protesters speak on George Floyd demonstrations. By our reporters, 9 June 2020.

This 9 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

New York City protest: Anger at mayor response as city opens up

In an unprecedented protest in New York City, government employees, past and present, joined calls for police reform within their own city.

The protest came on the day that New York started easing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo reports from New York.

Thousands pay respects to George Floyd as Minneapolis cop is arraigned on murder charges. By Kevin Reed, 9 June 2020. Protests demanding justice for Floyd and against police violence continued on Monday for the fourteenth day in a row.

Democrats announce toothless police reform bill. By Barry Grey, 9 June 2020. The “Justice in Policing” bill, a collection of minor reforms that has no chance of being passed by the Senate and signed by Trump, is aimed at containing and dissipating mounting social protest.

New York Times editor James Bennet resigns over fascist op-ed. By Patrick Martin, 9 June 2020. The last straw was the publication of a column by Senator Tom Cotton calling for military intervention to suppress the protests against police violence.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette censors accurate reporting of protests against police brutality. By Samuel Davidson, 9 June 2020.

Across Canada, tens of thousands join protests against police violence. By Roger Jordan, 9 June 2020.

Protests erupt in Germany against police violence, racism and fascism: here.

This Dutch 6 June 2020 video is about an anti-racist police brutality demonstration in Amsterdam on 9 June 2020, on the Anton de Komplein. Local AT5 broadcasting organisation interviews organisers. UPDATE: that demonstration has been moved from the Anton de Komplein square to the bigger Nelson Mandelapark next to it. As thousands of people had said they would come.

This Dutch 6 June 2020 video is about a big anti-racist police brutality demonstration in Eindhoven city.

Pink flamingos, pale flamingos and food fights


This 8 June 2020 video says about itself:

Not so pretty in pink! Researchers found lesser flamingos that are the pinkest push their paler cohorts around more when fighting over food, showing how color plays a part in their complex social structures.

From the University of Exeter in England:

Pinker flamingos more aggressive

June 7, 2020

Bright pink flamingos are more aggressive than paler rivals when fighting over food, new research shows.

Pink plumage is a sign of good health in lesser flamingos, and a flush of colour often means they are ready to breed.

So when the birds squabble over food, the pinkest flamingos — both male and female — tend to push the others around.

The study, by the University of Exeter and WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, also found the birds fight more when food is available in a small area such as a bowl — so the findings suggest captive birds should be fed over a wide space where possible.

“Flamingos live in large groups with complex social structures,” said Dr Paul Rose, of the University of Exeter.

“Colour plays an important role in this. The colour comes from carotenoids in their food, which for lesser flamingos is mostly algae that they filter from the water.

“A healthy flamingo that is an efficient feeder — demonstrated by its colourful feathers — will have more time and energy to be aggressive and dominant when feeding.”

Dr Rose studied the behaviour of Slimbridge’s lesser flamingos in different feeding situations: at an indoor feeding bowl, a larger indoor feeding pool, and outdoors with food available in a large pool.

In the outdoor pool, birds spent less than half as much time displaying aggression, while foraging time doubled (compared to when fed from a bowl).

“When birds have to crowd together to get their food, they squabble more and therefore spend less time feeding,” Dr Rose said.

“It’s not always possible to feed these birds outdoors, as lesser flamingos only weigh about 2kg and are native to Africa, so captive birds in places like the UK would get too cold if they went outside in the winter.

“However, this study shows they should be fed over as wide an area as possible.

“Where possible, creating spacious outdoor feeding areas can encourage natural foraging patterns and reduce excess aggression.

“This research shows that zoos don’t have to make huge changes to how they keep their animals to make a big, beneficial difference to animal behaviour.”

Lesser flamingos do not have a breeding season — they breed when they’re in good enough condition.

This is often displayed by a “pink flush” in the feathers, Dr Rose said, and the birds then become paler again during the tiring days of early parenthood.

He added: “This study is a great example of why I love working with WWT Slimbridge.

“Based on my observations, I suggested some changes — and the keepers were willing to try them out.

“As a result, we get pinker, more relaxed flamingos.”

The colour of individual birds in the study was scored from one (mainly white) to four (mainly pink).

No difference was found between males and females in rates of feeding or aggression.

After COVID-19, no more ‘business as usual’


This April 2020 video says about itself:

Coronavirus Capitalism — and How to Beat It

Governments around the world are busily exploiting the coronavirus crisis to push for no-strings-attached corporate bailouts and regulatory rollbacks.

“I’ve spent two decades studying the transformations that take place under the cover of disaster,” writes Naomi Klein. “I’ve learned that one thing we can count on is this: During moments of cataclysmic change, the previously unthinkable suddenly becomes reality.”

In recent decades, that change has mainly been for the worst — but this has not always been the case. And it need not continue to be in the future.

This video is about the ways the still-unfolding Covid-19 crisis is already remaking our sense of the possible. The Trump administration and other governments around the world are busily exploiting the crisis to push for no-strings-attached corporate bailouts and regulatory rollbacks. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is moving to repeal financial regulations that were introduced after the last major financial meltdown, as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. …

But this is not the whole story. In the United States, we have also seen organizing at the city and state levels win important victories to suspend evictions during the pandemic. Ireland has announced six weeks of emergency unemployment payments for all workers who suddenly find themselves out of work, including self-employed workers. And despite U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden’s claims during the recent debate that the pandemic has nothing to do with Medicare for All, many Americans are suddenly realizing that the absence of a functioning safety net exacerbates vulnerabilities to the virus on many fronts.

This crisis — like earlier ones — could well be the catalyst to shower aid on the wealthiest interests in society, including those most responsible for our current vulnerabilities, while offering next to nothing to the most workers, wiping out small family savings and shuttering small businesses. But as this video shows, many are already pushing back — and that story hasn’t been written yet.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Manifesto for “people above corporations” for after the crisis

A group of citizens, activists and scientists is calling on politicians to opt for “people above corporations” and “green and fair above business as usual” as they move out of the coronavirus crisis. That is why they launched the Samen uit de Crisis website today.

“There is hardly any talk about the society we want to have soon,” says Mirthe Biemans of the movement in the NOS Radio 1 News. “We want to prevent what happened after the previous crisis from happening again. We want the money not to go into the pockets of the CEOs and shareholders, but to benefit all of us.”

The initiators argue for various measures. Biemans: “You have to make demands about bailouts, so no bonuses or payments to shareholders until support has been paid back. Low-paid wages have to go up, you should invest in building affordable housing and making that sustainable. I don’t hear that kind of long-term plan from politicians. What is happening now: preparations are being made for Budget Day. You don’t want the corporate lobby to be at the revolving door with government, we want to make the sound of society heard.”