Panama Canal island lizards, new research


This 2011 video says about itself:

Bunch off large lizards on a small Island near Pedasi, Panama

From the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama:

Biodiversity may limit invasions: Lessons from lizards on Panama Canal islands

August 10, 2020

Summary: Introduced species can become invasive, damaging ecosystems and disrupting economies through explosive population growth. One mechanism underlying population expansion in invasive populations is ‘enemy release’, whereby the invader experiences relaxation of agonistic interactions with other species, including parasites.

When the U.S. flooded Panama’s Chagres River valley in 1910, Gatun Lake held the record as the world’s biggest reservoir. This record was surpassed, but researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), who are now studying invading lizards on the tiny islands that dot the lake, discovered that islands with native lizards act as another kind of reservoir, harboring the parasites that control invaders. The study, published in the journal Biology Letters, is valuable experimental evidence that biodiversity is better, making ecosystems more resistant to invasion.

As part of another study to find out how many generations it takes for slender anole lizards (Anolis apletophallus) to adapt to climate change, a research team led by Christian Cox, a visiting scientist at STRI from Florida International University, and Mike Logan from the University of Nevada, Reno, transplanted lizards from the tropical forest on the mainland to the islands, which tend to be hotter and drier. Before the transplant, they did a general health check of the lizards that included counting the number of parasites (mites) on their bodies.

When they came back several times during the next two years to see how the lizards were doing in their new habitats, they recounted the number of mites.

“We found that on the islands with no resident species of anole lizard, the slender anole lizards that were transplanted to the islands lost their mites within a single generation, and the mites are still gone several generations later (up until the present),” Cox said. “Indeed, individual founding lizards that had mites during the initial transplant had no mites when they were later recaptured. In contrast, anole lizards that were transplanted to an island with another resident (native) species of anole lizard kept their mites for three generations, and some of the founders on the two-species island never lost their mites.”

“Our study turned out to be a large-scale experimental test of the enemy release hypothesis,” said Logan, who did this work as a three-year STRI/Tupper postdoctoral fellow. “Often, when an invasive animal shows up in a new place, all of its pathogens and parasites are left behind or do not survive, giving it an extra survival advantage in the new place: thus the term enemy release.”

The team also found that the two-species island had lower density and lower biomass per unit area of the invasive lizard species, indicating that the continued presence of the mites may be keeping their populations under control.

“Our study is a clear example of something that conservationists have been trying to communicate to the public for some time,” Logan said. “Diverse native communities sometimes function as ‘enemy reservoirs’ for parasites and diseases the keep down the numbers of invaders.”

Funding for this study was provided by the Smithsonian Institution, Georgia Southern University, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Foundation and the American Museum of Natural History.

Neo-nazi problem in Germany


On July 9, Germany’s annual report on domestic extremism showed a sharp increase in far-right extremism in 2019 — 32,080 known individuals, up from 24,100, and 13,000 of them prepared to use violence

By Duroyan Fertl, 11 August 2020:

Kill-lists and commandos: Germany still has a Nazi problem

Europe’s most powerful nation is experiencing a worrying growth in far-right extremism, violence and killings — including infiltration of the government, army and police, reports DUROYAN FERTL in the first of a two-part series

On July 9, Germany’s annual report on domestic extremism showed a sharp increase in far-right extremism in 2019 — 32,080 known individuals, up from 24,100, and 13,000 of them prepared to use violence

SOON after the government announced dramatic steps to combat far-right extremism in the military, it emerged that a new wave of neonazi death threats have been sent to left-wing politicians and public figures. After turning a blind eye to the neo-fascist threat for years, authorities are now finding its tentacles spread throughout Germany’s security apparatus and society.

On July 9, Germany’s annual report on domestic extremism showed a sharp increase in far-right extremism in 2019 — 32,080 known individuals, up from 24,100, and 13,000 of them prepared to use violence. Christian Democrat (CDU) Interior Minister Horst Seehofer — who infamously celebrated the deportation of 69 asylum-seekers on his 69th birthday and asserted “there is no place for Islam in Germany” — suddenly declared right-wing extremism the biggest threat to Germany’s security. This was a clear departure from previous years, where conservative rhetoric had focused on the dangers of Islamism and “left-wing extremism”.

After years of government indifference, the far-right has been growing rapidly in Germany, with often deadly consequences. Interior Ministry figures record 986 acts of attempted or perpetrated far-right violence in 2019, over 600 targeted at elected politicians.

COVID-19 news from the Americas


This 11 August 2020 video says about itself:

Ainsley SHOCKED After Learning Kids Can Get Covid

[Rupert Murdoch‘s Fox News employee] Ainsley Earhardt, a master of pushing misinformation, bought into a lot of misinformation herself when she finally learned the truth about kids and Covid. Sam Seder and the Majority Report crew discuss this.

NEW VIRUS HOT SPOTS EMERGE IN U.S. At least 20 million people around the globe have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. It’s just over a month after the world passed 10 million cases. Over 733,000 people have died from COVID-19 globally. The U.S. leads with over 5 million confirmed cases and more than 163,000 deaths, making up about a quarter of all COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world. The U.S. saw nearly 48,000 new cases on Aug. 3, with many of them concentrated in the South. An infectious disease expert predicted when U.S. cases will again explode — and Dr. Fauci has warned of a “difficult” winter. [HuffPost]

Why is the US doing less and less COVID-19 testing? 11 August 2020. Without any serious explanation by the government, the number of tests being done every day in the United States has dropped significantly over the past two weeks: here.

“They spout in the news ‘thank you to health care heroes’ but what thanks do we get?” US nurses’ poll shows appalling working conditions in the pandemic. By Julian James, 11 August 2020. The NNU study shows that only 24 percent of nurses think their employer is providing a safe workplace.

“They have a multi-billion dollar corporation, and they work us to death”. Indiana Faurecia workers denounce unsafe conditions, forced overtime. By Tim Rivers, 11 August 2020. Auto parts workers at the Faurecia plant in Columbus, Indiana, have described forced overtime at their factory, the spread of COVID-19 and other grueling and dangerous conditions.

Producers push reckless resumption of North American film production in face of pandemic. By Lee Parsons, 11 August 2020. In an indication of the studios’ disregard for the health and safety of workers, now showing up in film production contracts are waivers designed to give the employers legal immunity from suits over failure to provide protection against the virus

New York educators and students denounce Governor Cuomo’s push to reopen schools. By the World Socialist Web Site Educators Newsletter, 11 August 2020. Teachers and students spoke to the WSWS to express their opposition to New York state Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plans to allow all schools to reopen in the coming weeks.

Teachers protest against unsafe school reopening, August 3, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

TRUMP CLAIMS ‘1917’ FLU PANDEMIC ‘PROBABLY ENDED’ WW2 Trump got history wrong on multiple counts when he claimed that the “1917” Spanish flu pandemic likely led to the end of World War II ― which began more than two decades later (the Spanish flu pandemic started in 1918). “The closest thing is in 1917, they say, the great pandemic. It certainly was a terrible thing where they lost anywhere from 50 to 100 million people,” Trump said during his White House news briefing. “Probably ended the Second World War.” Trump had just been praising his administration’s response to the coronavirus that has killed over 160,000 people in the U.S. [HuffPost]

From the World Socialist Web Site, 11 August 2020:

Cleveland city administration issues outdated coronavirus protective equipment to trash workers

The union representing Cleveland trash collectors reported outrage among members when the city’s Division of Waste issued expired personal protective equipment (PPE) last week. Management distributed unlabeled spray bottles and sanitary wipes whose expiration date was March 2008. The city called the botched distribution a mistake and says it has adequate supplies. Already, two city waste workers have testified positive for COVID-19.

Haitian professors protest back-to-school order, declining salaries. On August 7, teachers in Haiti denounced the government’s order to resume classes on August 10. The National Confederation of Haitian Educators (CNEH) called for protests and boycotts. CNEH also criticized the 50 percent fall in real pay due to rampaging inflation and the depreciation of the Haitian gourde against the US dollar.

Peru reopens economy as thousands of miners contract COVID-19. By Mauricio Saavedra, 11 August 2020. With 478,024 coronavirus cases, Peru has the third most infections in Latin America, and with over 21,000 fatalities, it has the highest per capita death toll in the region.