About petrel41

Blogging on animals, peace and war, science, social justice, women's issues, arts, and much more

Sharks at active underwater volcano


This video says about itself:

8 July 2015

Ocean engineer and National Geographic Explorer Brennan Phillips and his team surveyed underwater volcano Kavachi, located near the Solomon Islands. They encountered a surprising amount of sea life, including the rarely filmed Pacific sleeper shark. Phillips believes the high-definition images of this elusive shark represent only the third—and maybe the best—video of the shark ever made.

Click here to read more about this rare discovery.

From Wildlife Extra about this:

Sharks Found Inside An Active Volcano… Alive

Kavachi is one of the most active underwater volcanoes in the southwest Pacific Ocean. It’s surrounded by hot, acidic seawater that can make it too dangerous for human divers — and that’s when it’s not erupting explosively.

But when a team of scientists recently sent down camera-equipped robots, they not only found animals surviving in and around the volcano; they found a surprising amount of biodiversity, including silky sharks, hammerhead sharks and the rarely seen Pacific sleeper shark, which had previously been caught on video just twice.

The sharkcano is located south of Vangunu in the Solomon Islands, where researchers funded by the National Geographic Society recently embarked on a risky trip to explore Kavachi. The volcano is very active, having experienced a minor eruption in 2014 as well as more explosive outbursts in 2007 and 2004.

“Nobody actually knows how often Kavachi erupts,” team member Brennan Phillips tells National Geographic. And even when it’s not launching lava, ash and steam above the surface, he adds, it can be too extreme for divers to explore. “Divers who have gotten close to the outer edge of the volcano have had to back away because of how hot it is or because they were getting mild skin burns from the acid water.”

To avoid that risk, Phillips and his colleagues sent down submersible robots with underwater cameras to explore Kavachi’s inhospitable environment. Despite the extreme conditions, the robots spotted a variety of wildlife living around Kavachi, including jellyfish, crabs, stingrays and the aforementioned sharks.

On top of the volcano-dwelling silky and hammerhead sharks, the team was also psyched to see a Pacific sleeper shark swimming near Kavachi. These enigmatic fish are normally found in the North Atlantic, the North Pacific and around Antarctica, but they’ve never been seen near the Solomon Islands before. Phillips says this is only the third time the species has been caught on video anywhere, and his HD footage may represent the highest-quality glimpse in history. Watch the footage above.

United States candidate Sanders defeats Clinton in New Hampshire


https://www.youtube.com/embed/oNeK-mFnJK0?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

This 9 February 2016 video from the USA is called After close loss in Iowa, Bernie Sanders handily wins New Hampshire.

According to 267 out of 300 precincts reporting in the Democratic party primary in New Hampshire, candidate Bernie Sanders had 60% of the vote, to Hillary Clinton 38,4%. Strangely, the Huffington Post then predicted Sanders would get 13 delegates, Clinton 15.

An error in the report, or a Democratic party establishment trick? UPDATE: it is the strange ‘superdelegate’ rule.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire Democratic primary decisively on Tuesday, defeating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and posting the largest vote and the widest margin of victory ever recorded in the state that traditionally holds the first US presidential primary. Sanders, who calls himself a “democratic socialist,” defeated Clinton by a margin of 60 percent to 39 percent, outperforming most pre-election polls. He won an across-the-board victory, powered by enormous margins among young voters (85 percent of those 30 and under) and working-class voters (65 percent among those earning less than $50,000 a year and 67 percent among those without a college education): here.

The magnitude of Hillary Clinton’s New Hampshire drubbing has establishment Democrats wringing their hands as it dawns on them that no candidate in modern U.S. political history has bounced back from a 22-point loss in that first-in-the-nation primary to win the White House, reports Robert Parry: here.

Donald Trump was at 35,1% in the Republican party primary, meaning 10 delegates. Kasich 3 delegates, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush both 2. Marco Rubio, the favourite of some pundits, and all others 0 delegates.

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

Source:  TeleSUR
February 9 2016

Exit polls showed that Sanders secured more than 85 percent of the vote among young people in the state compared to 14 percent for Clinton.

bernie saunders 5.jpgDemocratic candidate Bernie Sanders (photo) and Republican candidate Donald Trump have won the New Hampshire primary, according to the Associated Press and NBC news. Early exit polls had suggested that Sanders and Trump could secure victories with big margins.

According to the Washington Post, U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton concedes defeat as Sanders claimed victory while urging people to continue voting.

Exit polls showed that Sanders secured more than 85 percent of the vote among young people in the state compared to 14 percent for Clinton.

Sanders popular among women

Among young women, 82 percent of women aged 18-29 voted for Sanders which proves that the leftist candidate is popular among women despite efforts by the Clinton campaign to claim that category.

Meanwhile, Think Progress…

View original post 131 more words

Young spoonbills’ winter in the Netherlands


This 6 February 2016 video is about two young spoonbills. Most spoonbills in the Netherlands migrate to Africa in autumn. However, some stay; including these two in the Veerse Meer lake in the Dutch Zeeland province.

More about this is here.

British government deports child refugees to war zones


This video from Canada says about itself:

Syrian Children Experience Snow

19 January 2016

Snow is a new experience but fun in any language looks the same.

Unfortunately, not all refugee children have the luck of the children in this video (and if the previous Stephen Harper government in Canada would not have been defeated by the voters, then the children in the video might never have seen snow either.)

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Refugee crisis: Thousands of child asylum seekers deported back to war zones, Home Office admits

Exclusive: Hundreds sent back from UK to countries where Isis and Taliban are rampant

Maeve McClenaghan

Tuesday 9 February 2016 21:44 BST

Thousands of young people who sought refuge in Britain as unaccompanied child asylum-seekers have been deported to repressive regimes and countries partly controlled by Isis and the Taliban, the Home Office has admitted. Over the past nine years 2,748 young people – many of whom had spent formative years in the UK, forging friendships and going to school – have been returned to countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria.

The figures were finally published by the Home Office minister James Brokenshire this week. Previous Home Office figures significantly understated the scale of the deportations.

The bulk of those deported – some 2,018 – were sent to Afghanistan, but around 60 young people have been deported to Iraq since 2014, the year Isis seized control of swathes of the country. The findings, which were triggered by questions from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Labour MP Louise Haigh, raise serious concerns about what happens to child asylum-seekers when they turn 18, and at a time when Britain is being urged to help thousands of orphaned child refugees from Syria.

Unaccompanied child asylum-seekers arriving in the UK are given temporary leave to remain. But this expires when they become adults, at which point many are sent back to their home country – even if they have taken GCSEs and A-levels, integrated into British society and lost touch with their homeland. They often struggle to start new lives, because their Westernised mannerisms mean they are regarded with suspicion.

Ms Haigh said: “These shocking figures reveal the shameful reality behind our asylum system.

“Children who flee countries ravaged by war in the most appalling of circumstances are granted safe haven and build a life here in the UK, but at the age of 18 can be forced on to a flight and back to a dangerous country they have no links to and barely any memory of.

“With many more vulnerable young children due to arrive in the UK over the next five years the Government needs to answer serious questions and provide a cast-iron guarantee that vulnerable young people will not be sent back to war zones.”

She now plans to bring a parliamentary debate on the issue, while the Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron is to chair an emergency cross-party summit on 10 February to explore how Britain can support future intakes of child refugees.

Mr Farron said: “It is a sad state of affairs that the Government is stripping the protective blanket of safety we have offered these children on their 18th birthday. Many will have integrated into their communities.”

As he released the figures, Mr Brokenshire was forced to apologise for previously providing the Commons with inaccurate numbers in November that said just 1,040 former child refugees had been returned to Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya since 2007. He blamed the inaccurate data on “an error during the extraction process”.

Ms Haigh said: “Ministers have been basing their confident assurances on protecting these extremely vulnerable young people on a calamitous guesstimate.”

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism explored the cases of several Afghan teenagers last year as they battled deportation orders. Some who were returned claimed they had been left homeless, chased by the Taliban, kidnapped, ransomed and beaten.

The latest Home Office figures show that in 2015, 57 former child refugees were sent back to Afghanistan, where the Taliban still controls many districts. Removals to the country have now been temporarily halted as lawyers argue that the security situation is so unsafe that no one should be returned.

However, earlier this month lawyers for the Home Office argued in a Court of Appeal case that removals should continue. The judgment is expected imminently. The latest figures also show 657 former child refugees have been returned to Iraq since 2007, including 22 last year and 38 in 2014 when Isis began to take territory in the region.

The Foreign Office advises against “all but essential travel” to half of Iraq, and against any travel to the north-western areas. …

Explainer: Child asylum claims

Children can apply for asylum when they first arrive in the UK, but the likelihood of getting refugee status at this point is low, and even less likely for Afghan or Iraqi children.

The UK Government does not generally deport unaccompanied children – so instead they are given temporary leave to remain, which lasts until they turn 17-and-a-half.

At this point, teenagers must apply to extend their leave. But the BIJ’s analysis of appeals from Afghan teenagers found just one in five was granted asylum at this point. Thousands of teenagers are deported after years living in the UK.

Refugee crisis: Welfare cuts and anti-migration policies ‘will not stop’ asylum seekers coming to Europe – report. New laws might change the countries where refugees end up but they will not stop them arriving, a report found: here.

Chinese crested terns discovery in Indonesia


This 2014 video is called The Bird of Legend: Chinese Crested Tern.

From BirdLife:

Survey confirms Chinese Crested Terns in Indonesia

By Ed Parnell, Tue, 09/02/2016 – 08:45

A survey team led by Burung Indonesia (BirdLife in Indonesia) and BirdLife’s Asia Division has confirmed a wintering site of the globally threatened Chinese Crested Tern Thalasseus bernsteini in eastern Indonesia.

At least one adult and possibly one first-year Chinese Crested Tern were seen in a flock of up to 250 Greater Crested Terns T. bergii near Seram Island (approximately midway between Sulawesi and Papua). Threats to the site and the birds were assessed in detail during the one-week survey that was carried out in mid-January 2016, and the team also visited local university and government institutions to raise awareness of the nearby presence of this Critically Endangered seabird.

Despite its name, the Chinese Crested Tern was first found near Halmahera, in the Wallacea region of eastern Indonesia. However, since its discovery in 1861 the species had not subsequently been recorded in Indonesia (apart from an unverified record in Bali) until December 2010, when a lone bird was photographed near Seram. As a result of this initial sighting (and further reports in 2014/15), BirdLife and Burung Indonesia believed the area to perhaps be a regular wintering site. A survey team was formed, including local conservationists and three university students from Hong Kong.

“Although the number of Chinese Crested Terns found during the survey is low, it does confirm that the species is a regular wintering bird to the Seram Sea, and it is very likely that Wallacea is a main wintering area for this species. As the local authorities and community are starting to be aware of and feel proud of its presence, it will surely only be a matter of time before more sightings are reported from the region,” said Simba Chan, adding that more surveys and outreach work are planned by BirdLife around Seram in the future.

“The involvement of local communities in conservation actions is one of Burung’s main strategies,” added Ria Saryanthi, Head of Communication and Knowledge Center, Burung Indonesia. Burung has been focusing its work in the Wallacea region which includes Sulawesi, the Lesser Sundas and the Moluccas, since it was established in 2002.

It is also hoped that another recent project – in China itself – may help to build more knowledge of this little-known species. In August 2015 some 31 crested tern chicks (probably all Greater Crested Terns, which share the colony with their rarer relatives) were banded at Tiedun Dao, the largest Chinese Crested Tern colony. The birds were ringed with numbered red bands, the first step in a systematic study that aims to investigate the movements of the colony’s terns.

Ocean Park Conservation Foundation (OPCFHK) Foundation Director Ms. Suzanne Gendron said, “The Foundation has been supporting the conservation efforts on Chinese crested terns since 2008.  We are excited to know that after years of efforts, there is a higher hope for the recovery of this critically endangered species. I believe our sponsored students benefit from and are inspired by Mr. Simba Chan’s passion and experience.

Hillary Clinton, Sanders and Flint town in the USA


This video from Michigan in the USA says about itself:

Flint Lives Matter: Hillary Clinton Just Wants Votes

7 February 2016

Some residents of Flint say Hillary Clinton visited on Sunday just to get more votes. The water crisis affecting the mostly black Michigan city has become another battlefield in a progressive war between Clinton and Bernie Sanders. At the House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church, Clinton said the lives of Flint children were as valuable as those from any other part of America. Church goers applauded Clinton, but others were less enthusiastic over her arrival. Flint Lives Matter organiser Calandra Patrick sees Clinton as an opportunist who is jumping on a national issue for more votes.

While the Flint water crisis has drawn international attention due to the magnitude of the disaster and the callous criminality of government officials involved, the high rates of lead poisoning in the Flint population are not unique. Countless cities and towns across the United States suffer from lead levels that are as high as what has been reported in Flint—and in many cases, far worse: here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

United States: Clinton seems to write off primary

Tuesday 9th February 2016

by Our Foreign Desk

HILLARY CLINTON appeared yesterday to have given up on today’s New Hampshire primary, flying to Flint, Michigan, for a hit-and-run visit.

Ms Clinton, who has targeted African-American communities as potential backers, took a helicopter to the largely black city to express concern at a scandal over polluted drinking water.

However, Flint Lives Matter organiser Calandra Patrick sniffed electoral opportunism, commenting: “It doesn’t matter to me if she makes an appearance or not. It doesn’t matter to me one bit.”

The Clinton camp had already antagonised young women supporting Bernie Sanders, her left-wing rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, when Bill Clinton’s former secretary of state Madeleine Albright said there was “a special place in hell” for women who don’t help women.

Ms Albright: if you are correct about the geography of hell, then Hillary Clinton should go to that ‘special place’. Ms Clinton refused to support Saudi women, who were and are whipped and imprisoned for the ‘crime’ of driving cars.

As Ms Clinton thought selling weapons to and buying oil from the Saudi absolute monarchy was more important than siding with these courageous Saudi women.

Feminist writer Gloria Steinem suggested at the same Concord meeting that women backing the Vermont senator did so to meet young men.

She apologised later in a Facebook post, saying that she “misspoke” in implying that young women weren’t serious about their political views.

Ms Steinem: you said something about young politically interested women. Something similar to what sexist men decades ago used to say about you and other then young feminists. Well, at least you apologized. Contrary to Ms Albright.

Ms Clinton defended Ms Albright’s “special place in hell” comment as a “light-hearted but very pointed remark.”

Ms Albright, when secretary of state, once declared that sanctions on Iraq that had killed 500,000 children were “worth it.”

This video from the USA is called Madeleine Albright – The deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth it for Iraq’s non-existent WMD’s.

Mr Sanders emphatically rejected support from some men who have made misogynist comments about Ms Clinton, declaring: “I have heard about it. It’s disgusting. Look, we don’t want that crap.

“Anyone who’s supporting me and doing sexist things, we don’t want them, we don’t want them.”

I’m a woman and I will vote for the best feminist for president: Bernie Sanders, by RoseAnn DeMoro. I won’t vote against Hillary Clinton because she’s female, but I don’t intend to vote for her because I am. We need more fundamental changes in this country: here.

New tarantula species named after singer Johnny Cash


Aphonopelma johnnycashi. Image credit: Hamilton C.A. et al.

From Sci-News.com in the USA:

Aphonopelma johnnycashi: Newfound Tarantula Species Named after Johnny Cash

Feb 5, 2016 by Enrico de Lazaro

A team of researchers, directed by Dr. Chris Hamilton of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History, has discovered a previously unknown species of tarantula that lives in the plains and foothills of the western Sierra Nevada Mountains, the United States, and named it after the famed American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author Johnny Cash.

The newly-discovered species, Aphonopelma johnnycashi, has a distribution running along the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California and can be found inhabiting the following regions: Sierra Nevada, Central California Foothills and Coastal Mountains, and Central California Valley.

“The specific epithet, johnnycashi, is in honor of the country music legend, Johnny Cash,” Dr. Hamilton and co-authors explained in a paper in the journal ZooKeys.

“This species can be found near the area of Folsom Prison in California (famous for Cash’s song ‘Folsom Prison Blues’), and like Cash’s distinctive style of dress, where he was referred to as ‘the man in black’, mature males of this species are generally black in color.”

The breeding season of Aphonopelma johnnycashi, when mature males abandon their burrows in search of females, occurs during the fall (generally September-November).

“More than 50 different species of tarantulas had been previously reported from the United States, but that many of them were poorly defined and actually belonged to the same species,” Dr. Hamilton said.

To gain a better understanding of the diversity and distributions of these spiders, he and his colleagues spent more than a decade searching for tarantulas throughout scorching deserts, frigid mountains, and other locations in the American Southwest.

The team studied nearly 3,000 specimens, undertaking the most comprehensive taxonomic study ever performed on a group of tarantulas.

Because most species of tarantula in the United States are very similar in appearance and cannot be distinguished from each other using anatomical features alone, the researchers implemented a modern approach to taxonomy by employing anatomical, behavioral, distributional, and genetic data.

Their results indicate there are 29 species in the United States, among which Aphonopelma johnnycashi and 13 other species are new to science.

This music video from the USA says about itself:

Johnny Cash – Man in black with lyrics

Recorded February 16, 1971; Nashville, Tennessee