Stop rhino horn quackery, save rhinos


This video says about itself:

30 August 2015

Anneka Svenska blows open the MYTH surrounding RHINO HORN and WHY IT does NOT CURE AILMENTS!

Also why poaching Rhino Horn is contributing to the EXTINCTION of the world’s RHINOS including the SUMATRAN RHINO from MALAYSIA in 2015.

Birds and whales seen during Svalbard expedition


This video is called Ortelius, polar bear, Svalbard June 2015.

This morning, Dutch Vroege Vogels radio broadcast an interview with participants in the big Dutch Svalbard expedition who had counted birds from the expedition ship Ortelius.

They did not only see birds, but also cetaceans; including fin whale, minke whale and white-beaked dolphin.

Among the bird species counted were Atlantic puffins, fulmars, kittiwakes, glaucous gulls, ivory gulls, little auks and Brünnich’s guillemots.

After Pluto, spacecraft continues to dwarf planet 2014 MU69


This video says about itself:

Fly with the New Horizons spacecraft as it cruises by dozens of newly-discovered Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) near its trajectory. These objects were found by our survey team (gray points) as well as by members of the public through Ice Hunters (purple points) during a search – still under way – to find a KBO for New Horizons to approach close enough to take detailed images and measurements of its surface.

From io9.com:

New Horizons Locks Onto Next Target: Let’s Explore the Kuiper Belt!

Mika McKinnon

8/28/15 1:10pm

We don’t have the funding but we have the target: the New Horizons spacecraft will adjust its course to make a flyby of Kuiper Belt Object MU69 in January 2019. This will be the most distant world ever explored.

The New Horizons spacecraft completed its primary mission by making a flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto and taking extensive photographs and measurements about the little system and its collection of moons. It collected so much data, we’ll be downlinking the data into the Fall of 2016! But like every NASA mission, the space agency likes to squeeze as much science as possible out of every gram of robot and drop of propellent.

The extended mission has not yet been funded, but to be fuel-efficient the team needs to pick a target and adjust New Horizons’ trajectory now. 2014 MU69, nicknamed PT1 for “Potential Target 1,” is a tiny, dim world (magnitude 26.8) of an estimated 30 to 45 kilometers (19 to 28 miles) diameter, which is roughly the size of Pluto’s mid-sized moons Hydra and Nix and ten times larger than most comets. By mass it’s 1,000 times larger than Rosetta’s Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and 1/10,000th the mass of Pluto. MU69 is easier to get to than the other lead contender, 2014 PN70, which means the team will have more flexibility to tweak the trajectory when closer to the object. But most importantly, it’s a totally different type of Kuiper Belt Object than Pluto is, giving us our first up-close look at a different type of object. New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern gushes over the selection:

“2014 MU69 is a great choice because it is just the kind of ancient KBO, formed where it orbits now, that the Decadal Survey desired us to fly by. Moreover, this KBO costs less fuel to reach [than other candidate targets], leaving more fuel for the flyby, for ancillary science, and greater fuel reserves to protect against the unforeseen.

New Horizons was originally designed to fly beyond the Pluto system and explore additional Kuiper Belt objects. The spacecraft carries extra hydrazine fuel for a KBO flyby; its communications system is designed to work from far beyond Pluto; its power system is designed to operate for many more years; and its scientific instruments were designed to operate in light levels much lower than it will experience during the 2014 MU69 flyby.”

Because we think that Kuiper Belt Objects haven’t been heated or changed much in the 4.6 billion year history of our Solar System, we’re optimistic that this little world will be a timecapsule into what the outer edges looked light while planets were busy colliding and accreting in the inner solar system. New Horizons science team member John Spencer explains:

“There’s so much that we can learn from close-up spacecraft observations that we’ll never learn from Earth, as the Pluto flyby demonstrated so spectacularly. The detailed images and other data that New Horizons could obtain from a KBO flyby will revolutionize our understanding of the Kuiper Belt and KBOs.”

The New Horizons spacecraft will be making a series of burns in late October and early November to set it on a trajectory to encounter MU69. The closest approach is anticipated for January 1, 2019, although that may shift with later corrections.The closest approach of the flyby will when the object is nearly 6.5 billion kilometers (43.4 AU) from the Sun; we’re expecting that New Horizons will skim by the world even closer than it did to Pluto this summer. We’ve only discovered the world on June 26, 2014 as part of an intensive search for candidates for a New Horizons flyby: it’s so new to us that we aren’t even sure how long a year is for MU69! (We think it takes 293 Earth-years for it to make a single trip, but with a healthy margin of ±24 Earth-years error.)

Along the way, New Horizons will be making opportunistic observations of any other Kuiper Belt Objects we can. Stern anticipates we might be able to see up to fifty other Kuiper Belt Objects. The observations will be simple — basic population characteristics, searching for binary objects, estimated sizes, and if we’re very lucky a few occultations of stars.

The extended mission to actually keep New Horizons operating with a human support team and time to send back data on the Deep Space Network isn’t actually approved yet. The science team will be writing and submitting a research proposal in 2016 for external review. John Grunsfeld, astronaut and chief of the NASA Science Mission Directorate, cautions:

“Even as the New Horizon’s spacecraft speeds away from Pluto out into the Kuiper Belt, and the data from the exciting encounter with this new world is being streamed back to Earth, we are looking outward to the next destination for this intrepid explorer. While discussions whether to approve this extended mission will take place in the larger context of the planetary science portfolio, we expect it to be much less expensive than the prime mission while still providing new and exciting science.”

Many space exploration missions do get extended missions — the Mars Opportunity rover’s primary mission ended after 90 days, and Cassini’s primary mission finished after four years back in 2008. However, if you want to help NASA get the political power of clear and loud public support, here’s how you can write to your Congressional representatives about approving the New Horizons extended mission.

After the flyby, the team hopes to keep New Horizons operating as it continues beyond the Kuiper Belt, following in the spirit of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 as it discovers what lays beyond the edges of our Solar System.

The New Horizons spacecraft is in excellent condition with all systems behaving normally. Data downlinks resume on September 5, 2015, with new image releases anticipated every Friday into next year.

Free Bahraini political prisoner Abduljalil al-Singace


This video from England says about itself:

#SingaceHungerStrike – NGOs protest ongoing detention of Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace in Bahrain

On Wednesday, 29 July 2015, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), English PEN and Index on Censorship gathered outside the Bahrain Embassy in London to protest the ongoing detention of Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace.

Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace is a prominent academic and blogger who promoted human rights in Bahrain throughout the years 2000. After participating in peaceful protests, he was tried by a military court in June 2011 and sentenced to life in prison for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.

From fidh.org:

Dr Abduljalil al-Singace hunger strike hits 160 days, 41 NGOs call for immediate release

28 August 2015

Bahraini prisoner of conscience Dr Abduljalil al-Singace today hits a milestone 160 days of hunger strike as rights organisations appeal for his freedom. Forty-one international NGOs today released an urgent appeal addressed to the Government of Bahrain to release the hunger striker.

Dr Abduljalil al-Singace is a prisoner of conscience and a member of the Bahrain 13, a group of activists arrested by the Bahraini government for their role in peaceful protests in 2011. Dr al-Singace is a blogger, academic, and former Head of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bahrain. Dr al-Singace is currently serving a life sentence ordered by a military court on 22 June 2011.

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry met with Dr al-Singace in 2011 and collected testimony regarding his arbitrary arrest and torture. Despite the existence of this testimony, in 2012 a civilian appeals court refused to investigate Dr al-Singace’s credible allegations of abuse and upheld the military court’s decision. Dr al-Singace has received no compensation for the acts of torture that he suffered, nor have his torturers been held accountable for their actions.

On 21 March 2015, Dr al-Singace went on hunger strike in protest at the collective punishment and acts of torture that police inflicted upon prisoners following a riot in Jaw Prison earlier that month. Today, he passed 160 days of hunger strike.

Dr al-Singace suffers from post-polio syndrome and is disabled. In addition to the torture Dr al-Singace has suffered, his medical conditions have deteriorated considerably as a result of his incarceration. Prison and prison hospital authorities have denied him physiotherapy and surgery to his nose and ears. He is currently being held in solitary confinement in a windowless room in Al-Qalaa hospital.

We remind the Bahraini government of its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Bahrain acceded to in 2006. Under the ICCPR Bahrain must ensure that no individual is subjected to arbitrary detention (Article 9) and that everyone enjoys the right to freedom of expression (Article 19). We demand that the government release all individuals who are arbitrarily detained for exercising their right to free expression, whether through peaceful assembly, online blogging or other means. We also remind the Bahraini government of its obligations arising from the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), to which Bahrain is a state party. In 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that arbitrary detention and torture are used systematically in the criminal justice system of Bahrain.

We, the undersigned NGOs, call on the Bahraini authorities to release Dr Abduljalil al-Singace and all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain.

We further call on the international community, and in particular EU member states and the United States, to demand release of Dr al-Singace.

Background Information

Dr al-Singace has been the target of judicial harassment since 2009, when he was arrested for the first time and charged with participating in a terror plot and inciting hatred on his blog, Al-Faseela, which was subsequently banned by Bahraini Internet Service Providers. Dr al-Singace had blogged prolifically and critically against governmental corruption in Bahrain. He was later pardoned by the King and released, although his blog remained banned in Bahrain.

In August 2010, police arrested Dr al-Singace on his return from London, where he had spoken at an event hosted by the House of Lords on Bahrain. A security official at the time claimed he had “abused the freedom of opinion and expression prevailing in the kingdom.” Following his arrest, Bahraini security forces subjected Dr al-Singace to acts of physical torture.

Dr al-Singace received a second royal pardon alongside other political prisoners in February 2011. He was rearrested weeks later in March following the imposition of a state of emergency and the intervention of the Peninsula Shield Force, an army jointly composed of the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

On 22 June 2011, a military court sentenced Dr al-Singace to life imprisonment. He is one of thirteen leading human rights and political activists arrested in the same period, subjected to torture, and sentenced in the same case, collectively known as the “Bahrain 13”. A civilian appeals court upheld the sentence on 22 May 2012. The “Bahrain 13” are serving their prison sentences in the Central Jau Prison. Among the “Bahrain 13”, Ebrahim Sharif, former leader of the secular political society Wa’ad, was released by royal pardon on 19 June 2015, but was rearrested weeks later on 11 July, following a speech in which he criticized the government. He currently faces charges of inciting hatred against the regime. On 9 July 2015, the EU Parliament passed an Urgent Resolution calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the “Bahrain 13” and other prisoners of conscience in Bahrain.

During his time in prison, authorities have consistently denied Dr al-Singace the regular medical treatment he requires for his post-polio syndrome, and have failed to provide him with the surgery he requires as a result of the physical torture to which he was subjected in 2011. Dr al-Singace has an infected ear, suffers from vertigo, and has difficulty breathing.

A combination of poor quality prison facilities, overcrowding, systematic torture and ill-treatment led to a riot in Jau Prison on 10 March 2015. Though a minority of prisoners participated in the riot, police collectively punished prisoners, subjecting many of them to torture. Authorities starved prisoners, arbitrarily beat them, and forced them to sleep in courtyards for days, until large tents were erected. Fifty-seven prisoners are currently on trial for allegedly instigating the riot.

In response to these violations, Dr al-Singace began a hunger strike on 21 March. It has now been 160 days since Dr al-Singace has eaten solid foods, and he has lost over 20 kilograms in weight. Dr al-Singace subsists on water, drinking over four litres daily, fizzy drinks for sugar, nutritional supplements, saline injections and yoghurt drink. His intake is monitored by hospital nurses.

Since the start of Dr al-Singace’s hunger strike, he has been transferred to Al-Qalaa Hospital for prisoners, where he has been kept in solitary confinement in a windowless room and has irregular contact with medical staff and family. Prison authorities prevented condolence visits to attend his nephew’s and mother-in-law’s funerals. Dr al-Singace should be immediately released, allowed to continue his work and given full access to appropriate medical treatment without condition.

Last Update 28 August

Signatories:

Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
ARTICLE 19
Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR)
Bahrain Human Rights Observatory
Bahrain Human Rights Society
Bahrain Institute of Rights and Democracy (BIRD)
Bahrain Press Association
Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
English Pen
Ethical Journalism Network
European – Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR)
European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
Front Line Defenders
Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR)
Index on Censorship
International Forum for Democracy and Human Rights (IFDHR)
Irish Pen
Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (KRC)
Maharat Foundation
Mothers Legacy Project
No Peace Without Justice
PEN American Center
PEN Canada
Pen International
Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)
Rafto Foundation
Redress
Reporters Without Borders
Salam for Democracy and Human Rights
Sentinel Human Rights Defenders
Shia Rights Watch
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR)
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Tunisia Initiative for Freedom of Expression
Vivarta
Wales PEN Cymru

From the Committee to Protect Journalists:

The Committee to Protect Journalists, along with 40 human rights and press freedom groups, is calling on Bahrain to release Abduljalil Alsingace. The imprisoned blogger began waging a partial hunger strike on March 21, 2015 in protest at the maltreatment of prisoners after a riot in Jaw prison earlier that month, according to a campaign set up by his supporters.

Shark study in the Netherlands


This video says about itself:

15 April 2015

School sharks, Galeorhinus galeus, in a Fuerteventura beach (Canary Islands).

There used to be quite some sharks around the Dutch Wadden Sea islands; mainly starry smooth-hound sharks and school sharks.

However, ever since the 1970s, their numbers declined.

Recently, some fishermen say the numbers are going up again.

To see whether that is true, some shrimp fishermen will tag sharks which they catch, and release them.

Today, 28 August 2015, was supposed to be the start of this. However, the shark caught today was too small to tag, so it was freed without having been tagged.

Japanese people block government’s Fukushima waste dumping plans


This video from California in the USA says about itself:

Fukushima Remembered”, Miyagi Delegates Spoke @ SCCC. March 10th 2012. Pt1

March 10th, 2012, San Clemente Community Center. Two delegates from Miyagi, Ms. Kyoko Suagasawa and Mr. Hirohide Sakuma, spoke to the community of San Clemente. Moderated by Gary Headrick. Interpreted by Yushi Yamazaki, and Umi Hagitani. Sponsors and endorsers of the events include: Citizens Oversight Project, Peace and Recourse Ctr. of S.D, Residents Organizing for a Safe Environment (ROSE), San Onofre Safety (SOS), San Clemente Green, S.D. Coalition for Peace and Justice, Talk Nukes, Occupy Encinitas, Occupy San Diego, Ocean Outfall and No Nukes Action Committee.

From the Mainichi Shimbun daily in Japan:

Angry Miyagi residents block gov’t survey of candidate nuclear waste disposal site

KAMI, Miyagi — Local residents here blocked an attempt by Environment Ministry officials on Aug. 28 to inspect a candidate site for the disposal of waste contaminated with radioactive substances that have leaked from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The ministry was unable to begin surveys on three candidate sites in the Miyagi Prefecture municipalities of Kami, Kurihara and Taiwa as of 1 p.m. because the Kurihara and Taiwa municipal governments had agreed to accept surveys on condition that the ministry simultaneously launch them in all three municipalities.

The ministry aims to complete its drilling surveys on the three sites before winter snowfalls, and hopes to select a site from among the three candidates by the end of the current fiscal year.

The Environment Ministry had notified the three municipalities on Aug. 27 that it would launch surveys at the three candidate sites.

In Kami, Mayor Hirofumi Inomata, municipal government officials, as well as about 200 people including members of an association of 50 groups opposing the construction of the disposal facility, gathered on a road leading to the site in the Tashirodake district of Kami at around 6 a.m., and blocked the street with a banner expressing opposition to the project.

At around 8 a.m., 16 Environment Ministry officials arrived at the scene to conduct a survey — the first since October 2014 — only to be met by protesters.

The ministry officials confronted the mayor as protesters raised their voices expressing stiff opposition to the construction plan.

“We’d like to go ahead with the survey as planned,” a ministry official said.

“This area doesn’t meet the requirements for a candidate site,” the mayor responded.

About 20 minutes later, ministry officials withdrew from the scene, but one of them said the ministry was determined to go ahead with the survey.

“We must ensure that specified waste is disposed of in a stable manner as early as possible,” the official said.

Fukutsugu Takahashi, leader of the anti-disposal site association, which includes a local agricultural cooperative, criticized the construction plan.

“It’s wrong to bring materials contaminated by the nuclear power plant to a beautiful mountain like this,” he said.

As of the end of June, some 3,404 metric tons of rice straw, sludge and other waste containing cesium with a level of radioactivity topping 8,000 becquerels per kilogram — designated under a special measures law as specified waste — is being stored at 39 locations in nine municipalities in Miyagi Prefecture, according to the ministry. A disposal facility that the ministry is planning to build would store such waste.

August 28, 2015

Morphological defects in native Japanese fir trees around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant: here.

Bird breeding news from Texel island


This video says about itself:

22 March 2013

The Dutch wadden island Texel is a paradise for birds. Photographer Sijmen Hendriks visited it several times from 2007 on . This slideshow video shows the result of these visits. Grey Plover, Avocet, Spoonbill, Stonechat, Brent Geese, Whitethroat, Hen Harrier, Sandwich Tern, Linnet, Yellow Wagtail and many more birds are featured in this video. Texel is the westernmost island in the Wadden Sea and is known for its rich bird life.

Warden Erik van der Spek from Texel island in the Netherlands writes today (translated):

In the Muy lake spoonbills, great cormorants and grey herons have nested in colonies. In 2015 as many as 106 spoonbill couples have bred. This number has never been so high. In 2014 there were 85 nests. The numbers of cormorants have declined: there were an estimated 848 nests in 2015 (census April 20). In 2014 there were still 882 nests. The cormorants may have relocated to De Geul; the colony there has increased explosively, with 661 couples in 2014 and 1040 in 2015.

De Geul

In the Geul there were counted at least 420 spoonbill couples. Since 2011, the number of breeding pairs here has remained about the same. …

Of the approximately 65 little tern couples on the Hors about half the young fledged. Of the others, the nests have been washed away. The four pairs of hen harriers together produced eight young birds; one nest failed. This is comparable to the situation in 2014.