Mosasaur egg discovery in Antarctica?


This October 2018 video says about itself:

Mosasaurs were Earth’s last great marine reptiles. Learn about the surprising places they’d hunt, how some species dwarfed even the Tyrannosaurus rex, and how key physical adaptations allowed these reptiles to become a prehistoric apex predator.

From the University of Texas at Austin in the USA:

First egg from Antarctica is big and might belong to an extinct sea lizard

June 17, 2020

In 2011, Chilean scientists discovered a mysterious fossil in Antarctica that looked like a deflated football. For nearly a decade, the specimen sat unlabeled and unstudied in the collections of Chile’s National Museum of Natural History, with scientists identifying it only by its sci-fi movie-inspired nickname — “The Thing.”

An analysis led by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin has found that the fossil is a giant, soft-shell egg from about 66 million years ago. Measuring in at more than 11 by 7 inches, the egg is the largest soft-shell egg ever discovered and the second-largest egg of any known animal.

The specimen is the first fossil egg found in Antarctica and pushes the limits of how big scientists thought soft-shell eggs could grow. Aside from its astounding size, the fossil is significant because scientists think it was laid by an extinct, giant marine reptile, such as a mosasaur — a discovery that challenges the prevailing thought that such creatures did not lay eggs.

“It is from an animal the size of a large dinosaur, but it is completely unlike a dinosaur egg,” said lead author Lucas Legendre, a postdoctoral researcher at UT Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences. “It is most similar to the eggs of lizards and snakes, but it is from a truly giant relative of these animals.”

A study describing the fossil egg was published in Nature on June 17.

Co-author David Rubilar-Rogers of Chile’s National Museum of Natural History was one of the scientists who discovered the fossil in 2011. He showed it to every geologist who came to the museum, hoping somebody had an idea, but he didn’t find anyone until Julia Clarke, a professor in the Jackson School’s Department of Geological Sciences, visited in 2018.

“I showed it to her and, after a few minutes, Julia told me it could be a deflated egg!” Rubilar-Rogers said.

Using a suite of microscopes to study samples, Legendre found several layers of membrane that confirmed that the fossil was indeed an egg. The structure is very similar to transparent, quick-hatching eggs laid by some snakes and lizards today, he said. However, because the fossil egg is hatched and contains no skeleton, Legendre had to use other means to zero in on the type of reptile that laid it.

He compiled a data set to compare the body size of 259 living reptiles to the size of their eggs, and he found that the reptile that laid the egg would have been more than 20 feet long from the tip of its snout to the end of its body, not counting a tail. In both size and living reptile relations, an ancient marine reptile fits the bill.

Adding to that evidence, the rock formation where the egg was discovered also hosts skeletons from baby mosasaurs and plesiosaurs, along with adult specimens.

“Many authors have hypothesized that this was sort of a nursery site with shallow protected water, a cove environment where the young ones would have had a quiet setting to grow up,” Legendre said.

The paper does not discuss how the ancient reptile might have laid the eggs. But the researchers have two competing ideas.

One involves the egg hatching in the open water, which is how some species of sea snakes give birth. The other involves the reptile depositing the eggs on a beach and hatchlings scuttling into the ocean like baby sea turtles. The researchers say that this approach would depend on some fancy maneuvering by the mother because giant marine reptiles were too heavy to support their body weight on land. Laying the eggs would require the reptile to wriggle its tail onshore while staying mostly submerged, and supported, by water.

“We can’t exclude the idea that they shoved their tail end up on shore because nothing like this has ever been discovered”, Clarke said.

COVID-19 pandemic, Kazakhstan and Brazil


This 29 May 2020 British TV video says about itself:

Bolsonaro’s Brazil becomes coronavirus hotspot

There is perhaps no greater admirer of Donald Trump than the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

In fact, he is often referred to as Trump of the Tropics. And like Trump, the Brazilian President is struggling to explain why his country is fast becoming one of the worst casualties of the virus.

Yesterday – and for the third day in a row – more than 1,000 people died.

The total number of deaths is nearly 27,000, and there are fears that the region’s largest country could see 100,000 more deaths by August.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Nursulan Nazarbayev, who has been in power in Kazakhstan for nearly thirty years, has been infected with the coronavirus. According to a statement from the state news agency, 79-year-old Nazarbayev has been placed in isolation and can continue to perform his duties. “There are no reasons for panic”, the statement said.

Just like government propaganda in Honduras said when right-wing President Juan Orlando Hernández became infected. Just like British government propaganda said after Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson became infected. However, Johnson landed on intensive care. Doctors say he had a 50% chance of dying then.

Usually, ‘mild’ coronavirus infection is not mild.

Nazarbayev became president of Kazakhstan in 1991 and, to everyone’s surprise, stepped down in favour of a confidant last year. He is still chairman of the National Security Council and leader of the ruling party, which means that he is in fact still in control.

From daily News Line in Britain today:

Brazilian meat and poultry workers defeat government attempt to cut safety standards

AN IUF global union statement last Friday reminded that a determined campaign by IUF affiliates and allies has beaten back a government attempt to remove a hard-won health and safety protection for meat and poultry processing workers in Brazil.

As in many other countries, meat and poultry plants in Brazil have become viral hotspots for mass infection.

At a time of critical danger for meat and poultry workers, the industry and their political supporters proposed to reduce worker protection by amending Provision 927 of NR36, a key provision in national legislation which mandates a 20-minute break for every 1 hour and forty minutes of work.

NR36, which sets health and safety standards for the sector including major ergonomic advances, was established in law in 2013 following 15 years of campaigning by IUF affiliates CNTA and Contac, with support from IUF affiliates worldwide.

A proposed amendment in the Chamber of Deputies would have restricted the break to apply to only 5% of the workers currently protected!

Unions fought back with a campaign to preserve the breaks which received wide support from union and civil society allies and was energetically promoted by the IUF Latin American regional secretariat.

On May 9, the proposal to amend NR36 was defeated. IUF Latin America Regional Secretary Gerardo Iglesias hailed the successful outcome of the struggle but urged vigilance in the ongoing fight for decent work in the sector.

The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF) on Monday received a request from Senator Randolfe Rodrigues for a temporary or preventive detention of Education Minister Abraham Weintraub, for being a threat to democracy.

The senator also requested, in a document sent to Minister Alexandre de Moraes, of the STF, that Weintraub is immediately removed from his post and his mobile phones and computers are searched and confiscated.

Without a protective facemask, Weintraub participated in a rally on Sunday with an extremist group of supporters of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro at the Esplanade of the Ministries, in central Brasilia.

During a ministerial meeting held on April 22 and made public by order of the STF, as part of the investigations into Bolsonaro’s political interference in the Federal Police, Weintraub shouted: ‘For my part, I would put all these bums in jail. Starting with the STF.’

Weintraub is also facing an investigation for alleged racism crimes. In early April, without evidence, he posted a message on social media blaming China’s alleged responsibility for the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, causing the Covid-19 disease.

The official published a character from a popular Brazilian comic strip in which he substituted the letter ‘R’ with capital ‘L’, to mock the Chinese accent.

‘These statements are completely absurd and despicable, calling it highly racist with negative consequences for the healthy development of bilateral relations,’ the Chinese Embassy in Brazil denounced in a note.

Brazil has so far reported 850,514 Covid-19 cases with 42,720 deaths, the country’s health ministry announced last Saturday.

In 24 hours, Brazil registered 892 new deaths from the virus with 21,704 new cases, according to the health ministry.

Sao Paulo, the epicentre of the virus in Brazil and the country’s most populous state, has registered 172,875 cases and 10,581 deaths, followed by Rio de Janeiro with 78,836 cases and 7,592 deaths, and Ceara with 76,429 cases and 4,829 deaths.

To track the spread of the pandemic in the country, the ministry on Friday launched a new platform, which displays the number of recoveries as well as those being monitored, in addition to charts showing the number of daily deaths from the disease and the number of deaths per 100,000 people – factors that help determine the degree of contagion.

Brazil, with the second-highest number of cases in the world after the United States, surpassed Britain to have the second-highest death toll in the world last Friday.

We are facing a double pandemic’, in this way, the Brazilian unions last Friday described their current situation when facing the unprecedented challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and the problematic management of the government of President Jair Bolsonaro.

In a virtual session ‘Hello, how are you?’, organised by the ICM (International Construction and Timber Workers), 27 union leaders, representing different unions affiliated to ICM in Brazil, met through the Internet to share their experiences and difficulties in facing the Covid-19 crisis.

Saúl Méndez, President of the ICM Regional Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean and Secretary-General of SUNTRACS – Panama, led the online conversations.

Trade unionists focussed on the failure of Bolsonaro’s authoritarian government to contain Covid-19 and his administration’s attempt to hide from the public the true magnitude of the crisis.

‘We are facing a double pandemic. On the one hand, the Covid-19 pandemic and its negative effects on the health, safety and employment of workers; and on the other hand, the neoliberal policies promoted by Bolsonaro,’ said Claudio da Silva Gomes, President of CONTICOM-CUT.

In response, trade unionists highlighted the need for innovative activism, unity, the creation of new protocols on health and safety at work (OSH), social dialogue and collective bargaining to protect workers from threats of dismissal, the reduction of wages and benefits.

Participants also shared the various initiatives of their unions to protect their members from the health crisis.

Some of these efforts are their respective Covid-19 awareness and prevention campaigns, safe transport of workers, handwashing centres, negotiations with local governments and union cyber-activism.

In addition to the unionists, Waldeli Melleiro, from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES-Brazil), attended the event as a special guest.

In turn, Méndez took the opportunity to warmly welcome Adalberto Galvão from SINTEPAV-BA, who fully recovered after being hospitalised a month ago due to Covid-19.

It only gets worse: Money is missing to pay the second instalment of the R $600 aid, says the CUT (Central Unica dos Trabalhadores)

A CUT statement last Sunday said that the initial forecast was to pay the second instalment on April 27, 28, 29 and 30, but two weeks later the government had not released a timetable.

For days the government has been working to publicise the payment schedule for the second instalment of R$600 Emergency Aid for informal workers, approved by the National Congress after much pressure from the CUT, other centrals and parliamentarians from the opposition to the Jair Bolsonaro government, who just wanted to pay R$200.

In May, a Folha de S Paulo report said that one of the reasons for the delay is the lack of cash.

The aid aims to help the survival of individual microentrepreneurs (MEIs), self-employed and intermittent workers without a fixed job, over 18 years of age and who are not receiving social security benefits or unemployment insurance.

In addition, the claimant can only receive assistance if they have a monthly per capita income of up to half a minimum wage (R$522.50) or a total monthly family income of up to three minimum wages (R$3,135).

The person also may not have received taxable income above R$28,559.70 in 2018.

In early April, the government had informed that the second instalment would be passed on to these thousands of Brazilians without income, without savings and without prospects on the 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th of the same month, but the timetable has not yet been released.

Sources heard by Folha affirm that the release of the second instalment of the benefit could make banking system operations unfeasible because of the scarcity of currency.

For this reason, the Central Bank, says the newspaper, asked the Casa da Moeda to anticipate the production of the corresponding R$9billion in banknotes and coins by the end of May.

In a note sent to the newspaper, the Central Bank informed that there is hoarding – when money is left in the hands of people – because of withdrawals to form financial reserves, a decrease in the volume of purchases in commerce and because a considerable portion of the amounts paid in-kind aid recipients have not returned to the economy yet.

Also according to the newspaper, the week beginning May 11 Caixa should receive information from a lot of registered people who were still waiting for a response about the benefit or appeared in the system as inconclusive, but that for this group there is enough currency.

The problem is the second instalment. And who sets the payment dates is the Minister of Citizenship, Onyx Lorenzoni and Bolsonaro.

How fish evolve into terrestrial animals


This 2018 video says about itself:

Fashionable Leaping Blennies | Planet Earth: Blue Planet II

Looking for love isn’t easy when you’re a blenny, but with a bright orange fin and a little determination, anything’s possible.

From the British Ecological Society:

How fish got onto land, and stayed there

June 17, 2020

Research on blennies, a family of fish that have repeatedly left the sea for land, suggests that being a ‘jack of all trades’ allows species to make the dramatic transition onto land but adapting into a ‘master of one’ allows them to stay there. The findings are published in the British Ecological Society journal Functional Ecology.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales and the University of Minnesota pooled data on hundreds of species of blennies, a diverse family of fish where some are aquatic and others have left the water completely. They found that a flexible diet and behaviour were likely to be instrumental in the transition to land.

However, once out of the water, restrictions on the type of food available triggered major evolutionary changes, particularly to their teeth, as land-dwelling blennies have become specialists in scraping algae and detritus from rocks.

Dr Terry Ord, lead author of the research, said: “The implications of our findings are that having a broad diet or being behaviourally flexible can help you move into a new habitat. But once there, this flexibility becomes eroded by natural selection. This presumably means those highly specialised species are less likely to be able to make further transitions, or cope with abrupt environment changes in their existing habitat.”

The scenario of fish colonising land has obvious parallels with the origin of all land vertebrates. “Fossils can give us important insights into how that transition might have unfolded, and the types of evolutionary adaptations it required or produced. But having a contemporary example of fish making similar ecological transitions can also help us understand the general challenges that are faced by fish out of the water” said Dr Ord.

Blennies are a remarkable family of fish with different species occupying strikingly different environments. Some are aquatic. Others spend time in and out of the water in the intertidal zone, an extreme environment with fluctuating water levels and pools that can rapidly change in temperature and oxygen levels.

Some species of blenny are terrestrial and spend almost their entire lives out of the water in the splash zone and must keep moist in order to breathe through their skin and gills. Despite these challenges, blennies have been incredibly successful in repeatedly making these dramatic transitions.

Because of this diversity, different blenny fish species represent clearly defined stages of the invasion process between two completely different environments. This makes them a unique group of animals to study.

Dr Ord explained the origin of the study with his co-author Dr Peter Hundt: “We both had extensive data collected on many different species of blenny from across the world. Peter had detailed information on diet and teeth morphology, while I had lots of data on behaviour and frequency of different species emerging from water for brief or extended periods on land.

“We threw a set of complex evolutionary statistical models at this combined data and we were able to reveal the sequence of events that likely allowed aquatic marine fishes to ultimately evolve into fishes that could leave water and then colonise land. Our study also showed how those species on land adaptively changed to better suit the specialised diet needed to survive on land.”

The authors caution that although the observational data suggests a flexible diet and behaviour allows a transition to new environments to occur, it cannot confirm causality. “Ideally we would perform some type of experimental investigation to try to establish casualty. What this experimental study might be is hard to imagine at this stage, but we’re working on it.” Said Dr Ord.

The authors are also looking to further investigate how the invasion of land has impacted other aspects of blenny fish behaviour, ecology and bodies. “Terrestrial blennies are really agile out of water, and I suspect they’ve adapted their body shape to allow them to hop about the rocks so freely. Which in turn implies they might not be able to go back to the water” said Dr Ord, “It would also be exciting to know how their sensory systems might have adapted out of the water as well, given vision and smell would probably work quite differently in these environments.”

Police, racism and anti-racism


Footballers take a knee in solidarity with anti-racist demonstrations

This AFP photo shows women footballers at the German match Bayer Leverkusen-SGS Essen taking a knee in solidarity with anti-racist demonstrations.

By Bethany Rielly in Britain, 16 June 2020:

Cumbria‘s police seven time more likely to fine BAME people than white people, new figures show

CUMBRIAN police are almost seven times more likely to fine black and ethnic minority (BAME) people under coronavirus laws than white people, new figures show.

Figures obtained by Liberty Investigates, part of the human rights group Liberty, determined the ethnic breakdown of fines issued by 25 out of 43 police forces in England and Wales.

It found that 18 were more likely to issue fines to BAME people, with Cumbria police demonstrating the most disproportionate use of fines at 6.8 times.

ASSA TRAORÉ (centre), sister of Adama Traoré, killed by French police in Paris in 2016, taking part in the Paris health workers' demonstration

This photo shows Assa Traore (centre), sister of Adama Traore, killed by French police in Paris in 2016, taking part in the Paris health workers’ demonstration, along with firefighters.

Colonial abuses haunt France’s racism debate. By Lucy Williamson, BBC Paris correspondent.

From daily News Line in Britain, 18 June 2020:

French Police Chokehold Mutiny

NATIONWIDE demonstrations in France on Tuesday demanding better pay and resources for health workers were the subject of repeated police attacks.

18,000 people attended demonstrations in Paris during a national health workers’ strike.

Police fired tear gas

Officials said … more than 30 arrests were made.

Across France, hospital staff have been demanding government action on pay, recruitment and more beds in hospitals.

Unions say the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the French health system and want a major boost in investment.

In France, the number of people confirmed to have died from coronavirus infection reached 29,439 on Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, the French government has retreated before its own army of riot police.

The French government has dropped plans to ban the use of the controversial and deadly chokehold method during police arrests following agitation from the police unions, who threatened strike action if they were not allowed to choke their victims.

The government’s ban on the chokehold has now been binned after the police organised five days of their own demonstrations.

The death of Adama Traoré in Paris in 2016 has been likened to the killing of George Floyd. Protesters in France held signs displaying his name and have accused police of using brutality towards minorities.

Mass demonstrations led Interior Minister Christophe Castaner to announce that there would be ‘zero tolerance’ of racism in law enforcement, and a ban on the chokehold method – where pressure is applied to the neck of a suspect.

But police unions and officers, in a series of counter-demonstrations, rallied on the Champs-Élysées, throwing their handcuffs on the ground.

On Monday, national police director Frédéric Veaux sent a letter to staff clarifying the announcements made by the interior minister. In it, he said the measure would no longer be taught in training schools but could be used ‘with discernment’.

Irish pine martens help red squirrels


This 2013 Irish TV video is called Red Squirrels | The Secret Life of the Shannon | RTÉ Goes Wild.

From the National University of Ireland Galway:

Red squirrels making comeback as return of pine marten spells bad news for invasive grey squirrel

NUI Galway study finds Ireland’s native species recovering and returning to natural habitats

June 17, 2020

The number of red squirrels is on the increase in Ireland thanks to the return of the pine marten, a native carnivore, a new survey led by NUI Galway has found.

The new findings indicate that the return of the red squirrel is due to the decrease in the number of grey squirrels, which compete with them for food and carry a disease that is fatal to the native species. The re-emergence of the pine marten, which had previously almost disappeared in Ireland, is linked to the local demise of the greys.

High densities of pine martens were found in areas — particularly the midlands — where grey squirrels had disappeared, with red squirrel numbers recovering in many of these areas indicating that they are capable of sharing habitat with the native carnivore, unlike grey squirrels. In urban areas, such as Dublin and Belfast, the grey squirrel continues to thrive.

Grey squirrels were introduced to Ireland early in the twentieth century, and had spread to cover the eastern half of the island. As a result, the red squirrel range had contracted over several years and the native species was struggling to survive.

The citizen science survey, a cross-border collaboration with the Ulster Wildlife and Vincent Wildlife Trust led by NUI Galway, detected significant changes in the ranges of squirrels and pine martens particularly in the midlands and Northern Ireland.

Dr Colin Lawton of the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway said: ‘This study brought together colleagues from institutions all across the island, and this collaborative approach gives us a full picture of the status of these three mammals in Ireland. We are delighted with the response from the public, who were enthusiastic and showed a wealth of knowledge of Ireland’s wildlife. It is great news to see two native species recovering and doing well.’

The report on the survey makes recommendations to ensure that the red squirrel and pine marten continue to thrive, with further monitoring required to allow early intervention if conservation at a local or national level is required.

Dr Lawton added: ‘We encourage our citizen scientists to continue to log their sightings of Irish wildlife on the two national database platforms. Our collective knowledge is a powerful tool in conservation.’

The survey used online platforms provided by the National Biodiversity Data Centre (RoI) and Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (NI) to develop the data. It was funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Puerto Rican problematic privatization of electricity


This 17 June video says about itself:

No Oversight of $1.5 Billion Electric Project Raises Alarm over Privatization of Puerto Rico’s Power

As hurricane season begins, we look at moves to privatize Puerto Rico’s electric grid and a new investigation that reveals the island’s government failed to follow proper oversight or examine the environmental impact when it issued a $1.5 billion contract to a company for the first large power generation project since Hurricane Maria, that will continue its reliance on fossil fuels. Former Puerto Rico Chief of Staff Ingrid Vila Biaggi co-authored the report and calls it “an ill-conceived project full of fiscally irresponsible practices.”

TRUMP REPORTEDLY WANTED TO ‘SELL’ PUERTO RICO After Puerto Rico was pummeled by Hurricane Maria, Trump asked if there was an option of “divesting” or “selling” the island, his former head of homeland security told The New York Times. Elaine Duke said Trump approached the situation of a devastated Puerto Rico as “a businessman.” [HuffPost]

Australian big carnivorous dinosaurs, new discovery


This June 2019 video is called Australian Dinosaurs (Part 1).

This video is the sequel.

From the University of Queensland in Australia:

Tracking Australia’s gigantic carnivorous dinosaurs

June 17, 2020

North America had the T. rex, South America had the Giganotosaurus and Africa the Spinosaurus — now evidence shows Australia had gigantic predatory dinosaurs.

The discovery came in University of Queensland research, led by palaeontologist Dr Anthony Romilio, which analysed southern Queensland dinosaur footprint fossils dated to the latter part of the Jurassic Period, between 165 and 151 million-year-ago.

“I’ve always wondered, where were Australia’s big carnivorous dinosaurs?” Dr Romilio said.

“But I think we’ve found them, right here in Queensland.

“The specimens of these gigantic dinosaurs were not fossilised bones, which are the sorts of things that are typically housed at museums.

“Rather, we looked at footprints, which — in Australia — are much more abundant.

“These tracks were made by dinosaurs walking through the swamp-forests that once occupied much of the landscape of what is now southern Queensland.”

Most of the tracks used in the study belong to theropods, the same group of dinosaurs that includes Australovenator, Velociraptor, and their modern-day descendants, birds.

Dr Romilio said these were clearly not bird tracks.

“Most of these footprints are around 50 to 60 centimetres in length, with some of the really huge tracks measuring nearly 80 centimetres,” he said.

“We estimate these tracks were made by large-bodied carnivorous dinosaurs, some of which were up to three metres high at the hips and probably around 10 metres long.

“To put that into perspective, T. rex got to about 3.25 metres at the hips and attained lengths of 12 to 13 metres long, but it didn’t appear until 90 million years after our Queensland giants.

“The Queensland tracks were probably made by giant carnosaurs — the group that includes the Allosaurus.

“At the time, these were probably some of the largest predatory dinosaurs on the planet.”

Despite the study providing important new insights into Australia’s natural heritage, the fossils are not a recent discovery.

“The tracks have been known for more than half a century,” Dr Romilio said.

“They were discovered in the ceilings of underground coal mines from Rosewood near Ipswich, and Oakey just north of Toowoomba, back in the 1950s and 1960s.

“Most hadn’t been scientifically described, and were left for decades in museum drawers waiting to be re-discovered.

“Finding these fossils has been our way of tracking down the creatures from Australia’s Jurassic Park.”

Police racism in France, the Netherlands


Anti-racist demonstrators in Marseille, France this week

Translated from Dutch NOS radio, by Frank Renout, today:

Human Rights Watch: French police officers discriminate and engage in ethnic profiling

If even an often pro-establishment organisation like Human Rights Watch says that …

The French police are guilty of abuse of power and discrimination. “Young people with a black or North African appearance are more often than average arrested for identity checks, especially in certain deprived neighborhoods,” said director Bénédicte Jeannerod of human rights organization Human Rights Watch in France. “It seems that the police do ethnic profiling. That is illegal. Young people tell us that they are also racially treated by police officers.”

Human Rights Watch is publishing a report on the French police this morning. The organization conducted a year of research in France, listed studies and spoke to more than 90 victims.

A few years ago, the French Ombudsman published a study that found that young people with a black or North African appearance are up to 20 times more likely to be stopped by the police.

Also minors

In its report, Human Rights Watch lets the young people speak for themselves. “Many of them say they were arrested because of their appearance or where they live and not because of their behaviour,” the organization said.

It is remarkable that minors are also victims. “Even children from 10 to 12 years old are arrested on the street for no reason, and searched by force, just because their skin colour is different,” says Jeannerod.

Children are placed with their hands against a wall by policemen in front of their friends or in front of their school. Their genitals or buttocks are touched, reports the human rights organization. Young people have to show their wallets and explain where their money comes from. Photos on their phone are viewed to make sure it is not a stolen phone.

“They treat us like dogs,” says one of the children in the report.

Jeannerod: “Such actions are very frightening for the children involved. But it also drives a huge wedge between population groups and the police. Confidence in police officers has disappeared. And that undermines the work of the police in some districts.”

Sensitive moment

Human Rights Watch’s criticism comes at a sensitive time. Following the United States, France has been demonstrating on a large scale against police brutality and racism for weeks. The government therefore announced measures earlier this month. Racism would be tackled strongly and the controversial chokehold was banned.

[After police pressure], the government backtracked: the chokehold may still be used for the time being.

“The government must come up with stricter rules,” said director Jeannerod. Now police officers are allowed to stop someone for an investigation at their own discretion. Then prejudice can play a role.

Moreover, the arrest is not recorded anywhere on paper. “As a result, victims have no guidance or evidence, and the authorities have no idea how often it happens and whether such an identity check is effective in tackling crime.”

Black Lives Matter The Hague, 20 June 2020

This banner is about a Black Lives demonstration on the Malieveld in The Hague, the Netherlands, on 20 June. It is against a new law which makes prosecuting police officers for violence more difficult.

On Friday 19 June, 17.00-19.00 there is a demonstration in Zutphen in the Netherlands, Hanzehal parking lot, Fanny Blankers-Koenweg.