Trump unwelcome in Brussels, Yemen war

Stop Trump sign for Brussels demonstration, 24 May 2017

Three weeks after the big demonstration against United States President Donald Trump and the Trump and NATO militarism in Brussels, Belgium: now this photo of my home-made protest sign; especially against Trump and NATO support for the bloody war by Saudi Arabia’s absolute monarchy against the people of Yemen.

The complicity of the Trump administration in the Yemen bloodbath is just one of many good reasons to oppose that government; but an important one.

This video from the USA says about itself:

US was fully aware of Saudi targeting of Yemeni civilians – CODEPINK founder

12 April 2017

A group of US lawmakers wrote to the Trump administration asking for more information about a potential sale of smart bombs ‒ aka precision-guided munitions ‒ to Saudi Arabia. They also expressed concern over widespread civilian casualties in Yemen. CODEPINK founder Medea Benjamin joins RT America’s Simone Del Rosario from a protest outside the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC.

From the Yemen Post paper on Twitter, 18 June 2017:

Market MASSACRE: 25 civilians killed by 8 Saudi airstrikes targeting shopping market in #Yemen region Saada as families were shopping.

Saudi Arabia is destabilizing the world: here.

Israeli peace movement solidarity with Gaza civilians today

This video says about itself:

Israeli Peace Demo Violently Disrupted, Dozens Injured as Counterprotesters Yell “Death to Arabs

21 July 2014

We look at the increasingly dangerous political climate inside Israel where several peace protests have recently come under attack. On Saturday, right-wing activists burned a Palestinian flag, chanted racial slurs, and threw stones at an antiwar protest in Haifa of Arabs and Israelis opposed to the bombardment of Gaza. Haifa’s deputy mayor, Dr. Suhail Assad, and his son were beaten.

On Sunday, the captain of a youth soccer team in Be’er Sheva wrote on his facebook page: “send left-wing voters to the gas chambers and clean this country of leftists.” The week before the Gaza invasion began, gangs were reportedly seen roaming the streets of Jerusalem and other towns shouting, “death to Arabs.”

We go to Israel to speak with Rann Bar-On, an Israeli peace activist and Duke University mathematics lecturer, who took part in Saturday’s Haifa protest. And we are joined by Max Blumenthal, senior writer for and bestselling author whose latest book, “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” documents the spread of right-wing Israeli extremism.

From Raluca in Israel today:

Millions of Gaza residents face an unprecedented humanitarian disaster. We must not stand idly by!

At the initiative of Zazim (“On the Move”), thousands of Israeli citizens signed a petition calling upon the government to avert the impending disaster and not to cut the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip. Now we have decided to increase the pressure, so that our call will resonate with the decision makers in Israel and internationally.

This evening, Monday June 19, we will gather near the Gaza border to launch into the air 150 sky lanterns (paper lanterns with candles). They would illuminate the sky in solidarity with the residents of darkened Gaza.

We will meet today at 19:45 in the Big Fashion Ashdod parking lot, near the Ad Halom Junction, and from there we will proceed to the exact location for launching the sky lanterns.

For further questions please contact
Gil +972-(0)50-6995265, Raluca +972-(0)50-6314848

Vietnam war killed pheasants, can they come back?

This is an Edwards’s pheasant video from Artis zoo in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; April 2010.

From BirdLife:

16 June 2017

Can we bring back the pheasant that was wiped out by the war in Vietnam?

The Edwards’s Pheasant, a Vietnam endemic, has been all but wiped out in the wild in the aftermath of the war that once ravaged the land. But a prospering caged community brings hope that it could once again come home to roost

By Nicola Davies

Framed by mounds of white tuft, the ruddy faces of the Red-shanked Douc monkeys peer out from the forest canopies. In the distance, calls of White-cheeked Gibbons echo through the early morning stillness. Underneath, browsing in the shadows of the forest floor are myriad species of deer; among them forages one of the world’s rarest large mammals – the Saola, a bovine that lives in forests so wild and remote, that they were unknown to humans until researchers happened upon the remains of one during an expedition in 1992.

That is a measure of how deep into the wilderness we’ve had to come to get here. We’re in Khe Nuoc Trong, an evergreen-broadleaf forest situated in the Annamese lowlands, Vietnam. It feels like you couldn’t stretch your arms out to yawn without knocking three or four endangered species off their perch. The area is a jewel of biodiversity, but something’s missing. A very important part of the forest’s heritage, in fact. You could spend all morning listening out into the stillness without ever once hearing a guttural “uk-uk-uk-uk-uk” call, which once rang loud and clear through the canopies. A call that belongs, or perhaps once belonged, to the Edwards’s Pheasant Lophura edwardsi (Critically Endangered) – an endemic species that has not been seen in the wild since 2000.

This beautiful bird, whose males are iridescent blue with a flash of red on the face and a white crest, was little known in the wild even prior to its disapperance; it was said to love the dark shadows of ever-wet lowland forests. It was discovered in 1896 and was recorded by French ornithologists during the early 20th Century, but then went unrecorded for almost 60 years. Suddenly, in 1996, it was rediscovered, but almost as soon as it was found, it vanished again. Extensive surveying of its favoured haunts has found no trace of it since.

This is perhaps not surprising, the one thing we do know about Edwards’s Pheasant is that it is a lowland rainforest specialist, and Vietnam’s rainforests had a tough time during the 20th Century, to say the least. The centre of the species’ historic range lay in Quang Tri province, the site of the demilitarised zone during the Vietnam War, and an area that suffered the fiercest fighting and the most aggressive use of herbicides. During the War, which raged from 1955 to the fall of Saigon in 1975, seventy-two million litres of herbicides, including the infamous Agent Orange, were sprayed on forests and fields by American troops to clear vegetation. The effects on the area’s biodiversity, including the beleaguered Edwards’s Pheasant, are easy to imagine.

Since the war, increasing human populations and their demand for land for agriculture have further reduced any habitat suitable for straggling Edwards’s Pheasant populations. Some areas of forest, although they may look intact with trees regrown or replanted, may be devoid of animals because they have been intensively hunted for food or for illegal trade. As a result of all these factors, populations of Edwards’s Pheasant have been reduced, fragmented and left fragile – if indeed there are any left at all. As the years roll by, it seems increasingly likely that snares set for bush-meat may have picked off the last individuals and although it’s impossible to confirm for sure until every last patch of forest has been examined, the species could well be extinct in the wild.

However, there is good news, of a sort. Sometime in the 1920s, at least 14 Edwards’s Pheasants were taken into captivity and sent to France. This small, exiled population has done well, and there are currently over 1,000 birds in collections across the world, including birds in Vietnam’s own Hanoi Zoo. Some may not be purebred Edwards’s (many are crossbred with Silver Pheasant Lophura nycthemera), but genetic analysis is currently underway to find the best genetic stock. The plan is to select the best and purest birds to breed viable offspring for future release to the wild – that means two or three generations of chicks raised by their own parents. It will take time – at least five to seven years – but if successful, these birds could be released back into the wild, to be the first of new populations of Edwards’s Pheasant or to help the recovery of any remaining wild populations that may exist, undiscovered.

Of course, the wild must be ready to receive them. Currently efforts are being made to locate any remaining populations of Edwards’s Pheasant in pockets of suitable habitat within larger blocks of forest. A range of measures will be implemented to restore and safeguard other potential pheasant habitats. One of the greatest threats to the success of a reintroduction programme would be hunting, so Viet Nature (BirdLife in Vietnam), together with their partners, are aiming to eradicate hunting at key sites such as Khe Nuoc Trong, Bac Huong Hoa, Đakrong, Phong Dien and Kẻ Gỗ Nature Reserve.

The first steps towards establishing an Edwards’s Pheasant breeding programme have already been taken. With the support of local partners, Viet Nature will build a breeding station and environmental education centre on five hectares of land in Quang Binh province (outside any reserve for biosecurity reasons). The support of a technically qualified and interested partner is being sought to help fund and manage the new station when it is up and running.

Right now the Edwards’s Pheasant ex-situ conservation community, including staff at Hanoi Zoo, and zoos and private breeders in Europe, are selecting the best birds for the breeding programme. Four birds were sent to Hanoi Zoo in 2015 to breed with descendants of the only wild male, caught in 1997. Viet Nature and Hanoi Zoo are collaborating on a plan to bring the first birds for the breeding station either from, or via, Hanoi Zoo. Establishing a viable breeding group of Edwards’s Pheasant is just the first step. Release into the wild will take still more time, trial and error, and naturally not all the birds released will survive. But Viet Nature and their partners are in this for the long haul. Right now, in this Year of the Rooster, the first aviaries with a few pairs of Edwards’s Pheasants will be built at the breeding station. They hope that by the next Year of the Rooster (2029) there will once again be sustainable populations of Edwards’s Pheasant in the wild in its homeland.

At the core of this effort to return one species of bird to its natural home is the restoration of Vietnam’s forests. Forests provide the basics of life, clean air and clean water and are a buffer against the threat of climate change. But for Vietnamese they are something more, they signify the survival of the unique beauty of Vietnamese landscapes and culture. What better symbol of that survival than a beautiful bird, its feathers flashing in the dappled light, rejoicing in the life-giving rain, once again piercing the silence with an “uk-uk-uk-uk”.

Jeremy Corbyn to English Glastonbury music festival

This 15 June 2017 video from London, England is called Jeremy Corbyn Visits Grenfell Tower Emergency Centre; Meets Brave Surviving Residents.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Corbo to rock stage at Glasto

Saturday 17th June 2017

JEREMY CORBYN will appear on the main Pyramid stage at Glastonbury festival next week.

The Labour leader will address revellers attending Britain’s biggest music festival on Saturday afternoon.

He was forced to cancel a planned appearance at the festival’s Left Field tent last year following the Brexit vote and the Blairite MPs’ “chicken coup” attempt to oust him as party leader.

Mr Corbyn will introduce US rap duo Run The Jewels, who voiced huge support for Democratic senator Bernie Sanders during his bid to win the party’s presidential nomination.

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis will appear on stage with Mr Corbyn and described the Labour leader as “the hero of the hour.”

Mr Eavis also praised Corbyn’s anti-austerity stance and his views on nuclear disarmament.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell is also scheduled to appear at the festival in Somerset as well as Labour MP Clive Lewis.

Saudi-Trump-corporate US Democrat bloodbath of Yemen’s civilians

This 16 June 2017 video from the USA says about itself:

Five Democrats Vote To Fund The Saudis’ Yemen Brutality

TYT Politics Producer Emma Vigeland did a YouTube Live report on the 53-47 vote in favor of a sale of weaponry to Saudi Arabia, which is currently bombing and blocking supplies to Yemen. Five Democrats voted in favor of the sale: Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Mark Warner (Va.)

American-Saudi bombs, cholera, famine kill Yemeni civilians

This video from the USA says about itself:

US-Backed Saudi War Leads To Cholera Outbreak In Yemen

13 June 2017

Read more here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Famine worsens as cholera hits Yemen

Friday 16th June 2016

Humanitarian resources eaten up in fighting deadly disease

MORE Yemenis could starve to death this summer as the cholera outbreak in the country runs down vital aid resources, the United Nations warned yesterday.

UN Yemen aid chief Jamie McGoldrick said that 923 people have died in the outbreak, which began last October, and there were 124,002 suspected cases — one in 200 people.

He warned that grim total could double by September.

Efforts to fight cholera have pulled resources away from battling famine — with the UN saying it wouldn’t be able to keep food flowing in past September.

The Red Cross warns the spread is accelerating, with its Yemen health chief saying on Tuesday that “more than 5,000 suspected new cases have been reported daily during the past week.”

About 14 million people — three-fifths of Yemen’s population — rely on food aid, with seven million at serious risk of starving to death. More than 80 per cent of the population urgently need some form of humanitarian aid.

That’s the result of over two years of war, with a Saudi Arabian-led coalition bombarding the country with British and US-supplied weapons in a bid to put their man Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi back in power and defeat the Houthi rebels that ousted him.

Red Cross delegation head Alexandre Faite said the war had brought the health system “to the brink of collapse,” with cholera “only the most recent proof” of the utter devastation.

Almost 15 million people have no safe water or sanitation, which Mr Faite blamed on “the attacks on and lack of maintenance of water and sewage systems in addition to the severe restrictions on the import of critical goods such as spare parts and fuel.”

Those restrictions are part of the coalition’s war plan. Late last year, Oxfam GB chief Mark Goldring described how “first there were restrictions on imports — including much-needed food. When this was partially eased the cranes in the ports were bombed, then the warehouses, then the roads and the bridges.

“This is not by accident — it is systematic.”

The war has killed at least 4,800 Yemenis and injured 13,000. But the true figure is far higher since less than half of health clinics, where the statistics are gathered, are operational.