Saudi regime’s documents published by WikiLeaks


This video says about itself:

Saudi women protesting detentions are arrested themselves

20 January 2013

CNN’s Mohammed Jamjoom reports. In Saudi Arabia, a group of women protesting against detentions are arrested, sparking outrage and more protests.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

WikiLeaks puts 70,000 Saudi documents online

Today, 18:24

The website WikiLeaks puts today some 70,000 Saudi Arabian diplomatic documents online. They consist of intercepted e-mail traffic between the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other countries and secret documents from other Saudi ministries. Most messages are from the period 2010-2015.

The next few weeks WikiLeaks will publish still nearly half a million more.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange called Saudi Arabia an “ever more unstable and secretive dictatorship, which this year alone has celebrated its 100th beheading, but also has become a threat to its neighbours and to itself”.

The documents, in Arabic, are said to show how the kingdom maintains its relationships, how it strengthens its position as a regional power in the Middle East and bribes people and institutions to establish links.

Montagu’s harrier chicks hatched on webcam, first time ever


This 17 June 2015 video shows two Montagu’s harrier chicks, hatching in a nest in Flevoland province in the Netherlands.

It is the first time ever anywhere in the world this happened while a webcam recorded it.

The webcam is here. Right now, as I blog this, there are connection problems. I hope they will be solved soon.

Real Neat Blog Award, congratulations nominees!


Real Neat Blog Award

Late in 2014, I made this new award: the Real Neat Blog Award. There are so many bloggers whose blogs deserve more attention. So, I will try to do something about that :)

It is the first award that I ever made. I did some computer graphics years ago, before I started blogging; but my computer drawing had become rusty :)

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

2. What is your favourite sport?

3. What has been a special moment for you in 2015 so far?

4. What is your favourite quote?

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

My nominees are:

1. MumbaiMetroMess

2. avoice4blackamerica

3. The European Amphibian & Reptile Blog

4. Paris & Les Deux-Sèvres en photographies

5. articulateapes

6. And I’ll Remember

7. Blessed with a Star on the Forehead

8. quercuscommunity

9. Daily Inspiration Blog

10. The Lightening and The Fire

Saudi flogging for blogging again tomorrow?


This January 2015 video is called Why Saudi Arabia Is Flogging A Free Speech Activist.

By Joshua Keating in the USA:

June 11 2015 11:39 AM

A Saudi Blogger Will Likely Get 50 More Lashes Tomorrow. His Wife Fears He Won’t Survive Them

The Saudi blogger Raif Badawi may receive a second set of 50 lashes tomorrow as part of his sentence for insulting Islam. The 31-year-old, who was first detained in 2012 and has been designated a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes last May for writings on the Saudi Liberal Network, a website he co-founded in 2008 as a forum for discussion on religious and political topics. He received the first of 20 sets of 50 lashes in January, but his sentence was then postponed on medical grounds when doctors determined he was unfit to receive more.

This week, Saudi Arabia’s supreme court upheld Badawi’s sentence, meaning that the weekly lashes can resume. According to Human Rights Watch, the lashings, conducted in front of a mosque in the city of Jeddah, are “generally carried out with a light wooden cane, and the blows are distributed across the back and legs.” Badawi’s wife, who has been granted refugee status in Canada, fears he may not be healthy enough to withstand another session.

Badawi’s sentence has been widely condemned by human rights groups and foreign governments, including the United States, but it’s also a reminder of the uncomfortable fact that a government the U.S. considers one of its main allies in the fight against violent religious extremism is itself a leading perpetrator of violent religious extremism. This is only underscored by the fact that one of the kingdom’s preferred methods of execution, beheading, is the same as that of ISIS.

The beheading of two men for drug trafficking earlier this month brought the number of executions carried out in the kingdom so far this year to 94, compared to 87 in all of last year. The religiously-based Saudi justice system is highly unpredictable: Widely varying punishments are handed down for similar crimes and sentences can take years to be issued, carried out, or appealed.

Given the capricious nature of the system, the reasons for the uptick in harsh sentences are unclear. Saudi Arabia got a new king in January, but the increase in executions preceded his ascension. Some suggest that the government is trying to show strength and fortitude, mollify religious hardliners and intimidate liberals at a time when the country’s stability is threatened by both domestic and international extremists. It’s also possible that the appointment of a number of new judges has eased a backlog in the system and that all the beheadings and floggings are simply, as Adam Taylor of the Washington Post puts it, the “grim result of a better functioning bureaucracy.”

Whatever the reason, a writer may be brutally flogged tomorrow for nothing more than expressing mildly critical opinions about his country’s religious establishment.

Raif Badawi: David Cameron to be urged to help free jailed Saudi blogger: here.

North American bird species recognized by computer


This video from the USA says about itself:

Merlin Bird Photo ID

4 June 2015

A demonstration of the new program from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that allows birders to identify birds from photos they’ve taken.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Introducing Merlin Bird Photo ID

We’ve been working on a new bird photo ID feature for the Merlin app, and we’re ready for you try it on our test website! Just upload a photo, click on the bird’s bill, eye, and tail, and let computer vision help you ID the bird. It currently recognizes 400 common North American bird species.

Because it’s powered by machine learning techniques, it gets “smarter” the more people use it. Help us improve the accuracy so we can add it to the Merlin app some day! Try Photo ID.

See also here.

Real Neat Blog Award, congratulations!!


Real Neat Blog Award

Late in 2014, I made this new award: the Real Neat Blog Award. There are so many bloggers whose blogs deserve more attention. So, I will try to do something about that :)

It is the first award that I ever made. I did some computer graphics years ago, before I started blogging; but my computer drawing had become rusty :)

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

2. What is your favourite sport?

3. What has been a special moment for you in 2015 so far?

4. What is your favourite quote?

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

My nominees are:

1. Freelance Lefty

2. TeaJei

3. When Timber Makes One Still

4. charlottesayshmmm

5. John D Turner

6. Danger Kit

7. Lu MG Photos

8. Haiku By Ku

9. Karls Blog, Feelings from the Heart

10. The Infrequent Atheist