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Young shark beached in the Netherlands

This video says about itself:

16 May 2014

The small-spotted catshark or lesser spotted dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula, is a cat shark of the family Scyliorhinidae found on the continental shelves and uppermost slopes off Norway and the British Isles south to Senegal. Behavioral analysis showed that S. canicula uses a consistent behaviour pattern termed ‘scale rasping’, as a feeding mechanism.

The sharks uses this mechanism by anchoring food items near their tail so that their rapid head and jaw movements can tear away bite-sized pieces from their prey. They are able to anchor food items near their body due to the tooth-like structures that are embedded in their skin. These structures normally assist with protection from predators, parasites and abrasions to the skin. This type of feeding in S. canicula can also be done due to their elongated body morphology.

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

Dec 1, 2015 – A special find on the beach of Den Helder. Remon Arents last weekend spotted a small-spotted catshark in the surf. It was a young specimen. Remon estimated the animal at 40 centimeters. Adult small-spotted catsharks can be one meter long. Small-spotted catsharks are small sharks, harmless for people. They also live in the North Sea. Yet it is not so often that one washes ashore.

Rosa Parks and other civil rights fighters in the USA

This video from the USA is called The Rosa Parks Story.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Rosa’s unsung sisters

Tuesday 1st December 2015

Sixty years ago today Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to white passengers on a segregated bus. PETER FROST pays tribute

ROSA PARKS’s refusal to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger 60 years ago spurred the Montgomery boycott and other efforts to end segregation.

She was born in 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. After her parents separated, Rosa’s mother moved the family to live with her parents, Rose and Sylvester Edwards — both former slaves and strong advocates for racial equality.

Among Rosa’s early memories was one incident where her grandfather stood in front of their house with a shotgun while Ku Klux Klan members marched down the street.

In 1932, at age 19, Rosa met and married Raymond Parks, an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). She became the local NAACP youth leader.

Both she and her husband attended Communist Party meetings and schools, completing their political education.

By the 1940s she was campaigning on various issues from segregation to white men’s sexual abuse of black women.

Then on December 1 1955, after a long day’s work as a seamstress at a Montgomery department store, Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus for home. She took a seat in the first of several rows designated for “coloured” passengers.

As the bus began to fill with white passengers the driver noticed that several white passengers were standing in the aisle. He stopped the bus and asked four black passengers to give up their seats.

In an action that would change the world, Rosa refused and remained seated. The police arrested Rosa at the scene.

After Parks’s heroic action, it was Jo Ann Robinson who organised a city bus boycott by black US citizens in Montgomery, Alabama.

Jo Ann Gibson Robinson: Born in 1912 in Georgia, she was the 12th child of her farmer parents. She became the first college graduate of her family.

Becoming a school teacher in 1949, Robinson moved to Montgomery to teach English at Alabama State College.

She also became active in the Montgomery community, joining the Women’s Political Council (WPC), a group designed to motivate black women to take political action.

In the late 1940s she was screamed at for sitting in the empty white section of a city bus. This incident led her to start to fight against the segregated city bus system.

When Robinson became president of the WPC in 1950, she focused the organisation’s efforts to desegregate buses.

Following the arrest of Parks on December 1 1955, Robinson urged for Montgomery’s black residents to boycott city buses on December 5 of that year.

When the boycott proved successful, many male leaders of the civil rights movement including Martin Luther King Junior moved in to take over leadership of the campaign, but Robinson was appointed to the executive board and produced a weekly newsletter at King’s personal request.

For her role as a leader of the boycott, Robinson was arrested and targeted with violence. Police officers threw a rock into her window and poured acid on her car.

This video from the USA is about Daisy Bates.

Daisy Bates: Born in November 1914 her birth mother had been raped and murdered by three local white men. Bates was raised by foster parents.

In 1941 she and her husband started one of the first newspapers specifically for black people. Her Arkansas State Press carried stories about civil rights and became an early voice for black protest.

Daisy became a leader in the fight to desegregate Arkansas schools. Her house became a meeting place where black children assembled to march to school, often with Daisy leading them.

These daily processions were attacked both by local racists and state troopers. The children were turned away from the whites-only schools but the battle went on.

The Ku Klux Klan planted blazing crosses outside Daisy’s house on more than one occasion.

In 1954 the Supreme Court made all the segregated schools illegal, but still the schools in Arkansas refused to enrol black students.

In 1957, because of its strong voice during the Little Rock schools campaign, white advertisers boycotted Daisy’s paper. This successfully cut off funding and the paper was forced to close in October 1959.

Daisy Bates continued to campaign with the NAACP and her work made a huge contribution to the final victory in desegregating education all across the South.

This video from the USA is called Influential People: Ruby Hurley – Vernon Jordan.

Ruby Hurley: She was born in Virginia in 1909, during the period of racist Jim Crow laws. In 1939 she was involved in organising a concert by black singer Marian Anderson. The racist Daughters of the American Revolution tried to ban the concert.

Ruth arranged for Anderson to perform on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a live audience of over 75,000 and a radio audience of millions.

In 1943 she became youth secretary of the NAACP. She would work for them for over 40 years.

She moved to Birmingham, Alabama, where she opened the first permanent NAACP office in the Deep South. She investigated beatings, lynchings and judicial murders, including the cases of the Rev George Lee and Emmett Till, both in 1955, and Medgar Evers in 1963.

At the time of Hurley’s achievements the NAACP and the civil rights movement were still largely dominated by men. She is hugely admired as a pioneer of black feminist activism.

This video says about itself:

Echoes of Selma: Remembering civil rights pioneer Amelia Boynton Robinson

26 August 2015

After being beaten and left for dead on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, Amelia Boynton Robinson died Wednesday at age 104

The Peter Frost article continues:

Amelia Boynton Robinson: She was born in 1911 in Savannah, Georgia. Both of her parents were of African-American, Cherokee Indian and German descent.

Her early activism included holding black voter registration drives.

She came to world prominence when she was brutally beaten while leading a 1965 civil rights march in Selma, Alabama.

In 1964 she ran on the Democratic ticket for a seat in Congress from Alabama, becoming the first black woman to do so, as well as the first woman to run as a Democratic candidate for Congress in Alabama. She died in August this year at the age of 104.

This video says about itself:

Fannie Lou Hamer‘s Powerful Testimony, “Freedom Summer” clip 19

23 June 2014

Former sharecropper Fannie Lou Hamer’s Congressional testimony is so powerful that President Johnson calls an impromptu press conference to get her off the air. But his plan backfires.

The Peter Frost article continues:

Fannie Lou Hamer: Born in 1917 in the Mississippi Delta, she was the youngest of 20 children in a sharecropping family. At the age of six she started work picking cotton. During surgery to remove a tumour she was given an unauthorised hysterectomy, a common practice to sterilise young poor black women.

In 1962 she met civil rights activists who encouraged blacks to register to vote. That year she travelled with 17 others to the county courthouse in Indianola to register. All along the way the bus was attacked by local and state law enforcement.

She encouraged her fellow campaigners by singing hymns. It would become her trademark tactic in future protests. For having the audacity to try to register to vote, Fannie was fired from her job and driven from her plantation home.

From then on Fannie dedicated her life to the fight for civil rights, working for the Student Nonviolent Co-ordinating Committee. She was threatened, arrested, beaten, and shot at. In 1964, she helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

Fannie Hamer died in 1977. Her grave carries one of her best quotes: “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Nuttall’s woodpecker video

This video from the USA says about itself:

22 July 2015

Nuttall’s Woodpeckers are common in low-elevation woods and leafy suburbs of California. The black-and-white bars on the back help distinguish them from Downy Woodpeckers. The red patch on this bird’s head indicates it is a male.

Women’s rights violated in northern and southern Ireland

This video from the USA says about itself:

30 November 2015

There has been a historic ruling in Northern Ireland regarding the country’s ban on abortion. A judge decided that denying women access to abortion is a violation of their human rights. Ana Kasparian (The Point) and John Iadarola (Think Tank) hosts of The Young Turks discuss.

Read more here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Dublin ‘must act’ on Northern Ireland abortion ruling

Tuesday 1st December 2015

Belfast High Court says ban violates human rights convention

by Our Foreign Desk

THE Dublin government was put on notice yesterday after a Belfast High Court ruled that the almost outright ban on abortion in Northern Ireland violates human rights.

Mr Justice Mark Horne’s landmark judgement could lead to a relaxation of the strict laws prohibiting women accessing terminations in cases of rape, incest or where there is a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality, and will have major implications for the 26 counties.

Amnesty International Ireland executive director Colm O’Gorman said the Belfast High Court ruling was not something solely for the Stormont executive to act on.

“The Irish government is now on notice that it too is violating the European Convention on Human Rights,” he said.

Britain’s 1967 Abortion Act does not extend to Northern Ireland, so terminating a pregnancy remains illegal there except in very limited circumstances where the life or mental health of the mother is in danger.

Anyone who performs an illegal abortion could be jailed for life.

Judge Horner said that the failure to provide exceptions to the law in certain limited circumstances breached a woman’s right to privacy.

In cases of fatal foetal abnormality (FFA), he concluded that the mother’s inability to access an abortion was a “gross interference with her personal autonomy.”

He said: “In the case of an FFA there is no life to protect. When the foetus leaves the womb, it cannot survive independently. It is doomed. There is no life to protect.

“Therefore, even on a light-touch review, it can be said to a considerable degree of confidence that it is not proportionate to refuse to provide an exception to the criminal sanctions imposed on the impugned provisions.”

The court also heard that the near-blanket ban, reinforced with criminal sanctions, placed a disproportionate burden on victims of sexual crime.

“She has to face all the dangers and problems, emotional or otherwise, of carrying a foetus for which she bears no moral responsibility and is merely a receptacle to carry the child of a rapist and/or a person who has committed incest, or both,” the judge declared.

This video from the USA says about itself:

14 November 2012

“The debate over legalizing abortion in Ireland flared Wednesday after the government confirmed a miscarrying woman suffering from blood poisoning was refused a quick termination of her pregnancy and died in an Irish hospital.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny said he was awaiting findings from three investigations into the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian living in Galway since 2008 who was 17 weeks along in her pregnancy. The 31-year-old’s case highlights the bizarre legal limbo in which pregnant women facing severe health problems in predominantly Catholic Ireland can find themselves.

Ireland’s constitution officially bans abortion, but a 1992 Supreme Court ruling found it should be legalized for situations when the woman’s life is at risk from continuing the pregnancy. Five governments since have refused to pass a law resolving the confusion, leaving Irish hospitals reluctant to terminate pregnancies except in the most obviously life-threatening circumstances.”

Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss the story of Savita Halappanavar, who died after the Catholic hospital refused her repeated requests for an abortion. Are the strict abortion rules and imposed religious morality upheld by the hospital really viable in today’s age? Where did the idea of this form of “morality” and religion over human life and suffering even originate, and why do people follow it? Cenk Uygur has an answer.

Very many starlings, video

This video shows thousands of starlings. At the end of the afternoon, they go to their resting places in bushes in the Netherlands.

Tom van Kerkhoff made this video.

Bahrain dictatorship attacks women’s rights

Ms. Ghada Jamsheer, of the Women's Petition Committee in Bahrain

From the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT):

Bahrain: Sentencing and continuing judicial harassment of Ms. Ghada Jamsheer

November 30, 2015

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the sentencing and continuing judicial harassment of Ms. Ghada Jamsheer, Head of the Women’s Petition Committee, an organisation which campaigns for the rights and dignity of women in the Shari’ah family courts.

According to information received, on November 26, 2015, the High Criminal Appeal Court upheld the one year sentence, suspended for three years, issued against Ms. Ghada Jamsheer on charges of “assaulting a police officer” (see background information). The Court refused all the requests of the defense lawyers, which included the testimony of Ministry of Interior officials and a forensic examination of whether Ms. Jamsheer could have kicked the police officer as alleged.

The Observatory strongly condemns the sentencing and the continuous judicial harassment of Ms. Ghada Jamsheer, which seems to merely aim at sanctioning her human rights activities. The Observatory calls upon the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against her.

Background information:

Over the past years, Ms. Jamsheer has come under permanent surveillance with a 24-hour presence of plainclothes Public Security officials of the Ministry of the Interior in front of her home.

On September 14, 2014, Ms. Jamsheer was arrested and arbitrarily detained for more than three months on allegations of defamation, in connection with messages posted via her Twitter account criticising corruption in the management of King Hamad Hospital in Bahrain, which is run by members of the ruling family. Various charges were brought against Ms. Jamsheer based on the above-mentioned Twitter posts resulting in twelve criminal cases.

Hearings in a total of 12 criminal cases against Ms. Jamsheer have been regularly adjourned without any reason, in violation of Ms. Jamsheer’s right to be tried within a reasonable time.

On October 29, 2014, the Third Criminal Court acquitted Ms. Jamsheer in one case, fined her 100 BHD (approx. €210) in another case, and granted bail upon the payment of 50 BHD pending the decision on the other Twitter cases. However, Ms. Jamsheer had to wait until November 27 to be released, and was again rearrested only 12 hours later on new charges of “assaulting two police women”. She was again released on December 15, 2014, and further put under house arrest until January 15, 2015.

On May 5, 2015, the Bahrain High Criminal Court sentenced Ms. Jamsheer to a one year prison term, suspended for three years on charges of “assaulting a police officer”.

On June 9, 2015, the Third Lower Criminal Court sentenced Ms. Jamsheer to one year and eight months imprisonment on charges of defamation in connection with messages posted via her Twitter account criticising alleged corruption in the management of King Hamad Hospital in Bahrain. Ms. Jamsheer paid a bail of 400 BHD (approx 1,200 USD) and filed an appeal.

Besides, on October 1, 2015, the Second Lower Criminal Court held its first hearing against Ms. Ghada Jamsheer on charges of “verbal and physical confrontation with a police woman”. The Court then adjourned the hearing to November 11, 2015. On that day, Ms. Jamsheer’s lawyers requested the Court to present evidence and witnesses, and the court adjourned the hearing to December 28, 2015. The Prosecution alleges that Ms. Jamsheer assaulted a police officer while she was detained in September 2014.

In the present, separate case, for allegedly “assaulting a police officer”, for which she has been sentenced in first instance to one year in prison suspended for three years, the High Criminal Court of Appeal had refused on October 29 the requests filed by Ms. Jamsheer and adjourned the hearing to November 23 for the verdict. The ruling was eventually issued on November 26.

The Observatory recalls that on December 29, 2014, UN experts urged the government of Bahrain to drop charges against Ms. Jamsheer, as she was sentenced “purely for [her] criticism of government authorities. […] Such criticism is not only fully legitimate according to Bahrain’s obligations under human rights law; it is also essential to the free and public debate necessary for a healthy civil society” they added.

Furthermore, Ms. Jamsheer has faced other acts of harassment. For instance, on March 14, 2015, Ms. Jamsheer was denied the right to board on a plane at Bahrain International Airport by the airport’s security office as she attempted to travel to France to receive medical treatment. Ms. Jamsheer, who did not receive any prior notification, was not given any reason for the travel ban. On March 23, 2015, Ms. Jamsheer complained to the Public Prosecutor’s office regarding the travel ban and was informed that she should submit a travel request to the High Criminal Court. The Court reviewed her request on April 12, 2015 and decided to waive the travel ban, stating that there was no solid reason for such a restriction. Nonetheless, on April 15, 2015, the office of the Public Prosecutor was still unable to provide Ms. Jamsheer with a formal authorisation to travel, stating that the file was now in the hands of the immigration office.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Bahrain urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Ghada Jamsheer;

ii. Put an end to any kind of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Ghada Jamsheer as well as against all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

iii. Guarantee Ms. Ghada Jamsheer’s freedom of movement;

iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular its :

– Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,

– Article 12(1) that provides “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms”,

– as well as Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v. Ensure in all circumstances, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bahrain.


  • Cheikh Hamad bin Issa AL KHALIFA, King of Bahrain, Fax: +973 176 64 587
  • Cheikh Khaled Bin Ahmad AL KHALIFA, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax: 00973 17 21 05 75; ofd@mofa.gov.bh
  • Cheikh Khalid bin Ali AL KHALIFA, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Fax: +973 175 31 284
  • Lt. Gen. Cheikh Rashed bin Abdulla AL KHALIFA, Minister of Interior, Email: info@interior.gov.bh
  • H.E. Mr. Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri, Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations in Geneva, 1 chemin Jacques-Attenville, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, CP 39, 1292 Chambésy, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 758 96 50. Email: info@bahrain-mission.ch
  • H.E. Ahmed Mohammed Yousif Aldoseri, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the Kingdom of Belgium, Avenue Louise 250, 1050 Brussels, Belgium; Fax: 0032 (0) 26472274; E-mail: Brussels.mission@mofa.gov.bh

Bahraini Women Call for Elimination of State Violence Against Women: here.

Red squirrel prepares for winter, video

This video from the Netherlands says about itself (translated):

1 December 2015

13-year-old Niklas Haverkate filmed this red squirrel, looking between the autumnal foliage for food for his winter stock.