African impala escapes from leopard


This video says about itself:

Impala Miraculously Escapes Jaws Of Leopard – The Hunt – BBC Earth

23 June 2017

With a burst of speed of 65 km an hour, the leopard without doubt is a formidable predator. In this tense and compelling encounter, we stalk quietly alongside a leopard as it sizes up an unsuspecting impala, from the cover of a gully.

London Grenfell Tower scandal update


Grenfell Tower survivors' demonstration

At a rally in London, England last Friday at the Department for Communities and Local Government a resident from north Kensington holds up a piece of charred cladding that had fallen from Grenfell Tower during the blaze.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Friday, 23 June 2017

600 COMBUSTIBLE CLADDED TOWERS!

‘MANY in the fire service and the fire safety sector have been raising issues about regulation, issues like cladding, for many years and we constantly run into a brick wall from a government which is obsessed with deregulating, with reducing what they describe as red tape.’

Fire Brigades Union General Secretary Matt Wrack was reacting angrily to Tory PM May’s announcement in the House of Commons yesterday that around 600 high rise blocks of flats across England are using similar cladding to Grenfell Tower.

May told the House of Commons that Kensington and Chelsea council ‘couldn’t cope’ in the aftermath of the fire, and that it ‘was right’ its chief executive, Nicholas Holgate, had stepped down.

Pressed on whether the cladding passed fire and building regulations, she said tests would be made public in the next two days. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded: ‘At least 79 people are dead. It is both a tragedy and an outrage, because every single one of those deaths could and should have been avoided. The Grenfell Tower residents themselves had raised concerns about the lack of fire safety in the block.

The Grenfell Action Group had warned, and I quote, “It is a truly terrifying thought, but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believes that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation.”

‘The prime minister has said it is right that the CEO of Kensington and Chelsea Council has resigned. It may be. But why aren’t the political leaders of Kensington and Chelsea taking responsibility as well for this terrible event?

‘Mr Speaker, from Hillsborough, to the child sex abuse scandal, to Grenfell Tower, the pattern is consistent, working class people’s voices are ignored, their concerns dismissed by those in power … Those people have died, they will never come back. We have to learn those lessons to make sure this tragedy is a turning point in our whole attitude and never again do people die needlessly, in a towering inferno, living in poverty, surrounded by a sea of prosperity.’

The FBU yesterday wrote to all MPs saying that cuts to the fire and rescue service of 11,000 frontline firefighters since 2010 – one fifth (20%) of the workforce – has put public safety at risk. The letter stated, ‘As a result of the massive funding cuts to fire and rescue services, there has been a significant decline in the capacity of fire authorities to undertake crucial fire prevention work.’

Wrack warned: ‘Of course in this instance, in the question of where people live, red tape is whether you have fire-resistant doors, walls and ceilings to stop the spread of fire. And red tape in that case is the difference between life and death.’

Wrack added that the checks done on cladding in a scientific room are very different from when they are subcontracted out to privateers and put on buildings like Grenfell in a decorative way, creating flumes and chimneys behind them.

He added: ‘Many local authorities, strapped for cash after seven years of cuts, have cut back on fire testing, cut back on inspections because they simply haven’t got the staff to do it any more.’

This 21 June 2017 video from the USA is called How Neoliberalism Caused The Grenfell Tower Fire.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Friday, 23 June 2017

MAY MUST GO! say Grenfell marchers

OVER 300 people marched from Shepherd’s Bush to Parliament Wednesday lunchtime following last week’s Grenfell Tower fire disaster.

‘We know the government is guilty,’ declared Karen Boyle at an impromptu rally before the march set off. We know May has lost her majority, the DUP has backed down,’ she added to cheers. Boyle continued: ‘We must not hold back. We can’t live any more with this government, we can’t afford it.

‘We’re determined and we have demands.There is an anger in the wider community and that anger has to be heard. How much violence must be done to us before the government stops doing violence? We will not be drawn into their narrative. We can’t let the Conservative Party nor the right wing media determine how we fight. We can’t live with this government, not for another five years, not for a moment.’

Antonia Bright told the rally: ‘Enough is enough. No-one deserved what happened in that tower.

‘No-one deserved to lose their lives there. No-one deserved to to die in the Mediterranean or lose benefits. We want the May government brought down and ended. Justice means we have to fight for it – that the poor and oppressed fight for it. We are not going to forget, we’ll keep marching until we win.’

Miqui Joseph said: ‘I feel sorry for the ones who lost their families in that tower. I hope they see their children again.’ News Line spoke to several of the marchers as they assembled.

Shirvin Best said: ‘I’m here to show solidarity for human rights, peace and enhancement of the quality of life for all. The march today is about Grenfell Tower and its victims, ensuring that a disaster like this never happens again. From day one, I have been involved in obtaining donations from the supermarkets and encouraging others to actively get involved as volunteers to help the victims of Grenfell Tower.

‘The development, construction and renovation were at fault. There was no proper health and safety risk assessment plan before and after inspection and commissioning. The disregard for the safety and lives of residents in the tower was disgraceful. The renovation was done on the cheap with the minimum health and safety regulation.

‘The community has been fantastic. What we don’t have is the government taking action to support the victims and their families at Grenfell Tower. The £5m fund is an insult to injury. These people have been suffering, they’ve lost families, their loved ones. Their home has been burnt out, they have no identity, no clothes except what has been donated.

‘When he was London mayor, Boris Johnson had no concern about sprinklers and safety in all high rise blocks above ten metres. Sprinklers should be in the Queen’s Speech. They put a lot of poor people in a block and when something happens, they blame someone else. Kensington and Chelsea is one of the richest boroughs in London. They gave £5m to the Opera House yet they couldn’t spend £2 per square metre extra for the cladding. The downstairs nursery lost 13 children alone. Nothing is being done about rehousing.’

Louise and Colin Dawson came down from Scotland for the march. Louise said: ‘We came down to protest about the fact that Theresa May is prepared to put the peace process in jeopardy in Northern Ireland. But the fire started so we decided we’d go to parliament and Kensington.’

Colin said: ‘The fire was cost before lives. It shows up what’s been going on for the last 20 to 30 years since Thatcher. The fire symbolises everything about the capitalist system.’

Louise added: ‘The people should take action to bring the government down. In actual fact, May doesn’t have a government, she hasn’t a deal with the DUP. She’s got to go, she should never have been there in the first place.’

Media graduate Holly Campbell said: ‘What happened at Grenfell Tower should never have happened. My nephew and niece lived in the block opposite. The rich men’s blocks they were building opposite wanted Grenfell to look pretty. What happened was criminal, I think and most people think that.

‘The Tories make the rich richer and the poor poorer. They are just out for themselves and their business friends. I hope Jeremy Corbyn wins this and takes action. He is making the poorer feel confident about the future and I hope he lives up to expectations.’

Social worker amd Unison member Michael Anthony said: ‘I’m here to protest against the government. They have no real mandate and are hell bent on pushing their policies against working and oppressed people. I’m angry about their housing policy which left poor people and migrants in unsafe and dangerous housing, which led to the Grenfell Tower fire.

‘Had it not been for the community making a stand about poor housing, this issue would not have been highlighted. The unions must take action. There should be an indefinite general strike.

‘Let’s bring down this government.’

Mohamed At-Tu said: ‘I’m from Morocco. I was born in the UK and I’m a British citizen. I live in Grenfell Walk, right next to the Tower. We’ve all been evacuated. They put some of us outside on the streets for the past five to six days. Finally, yesterday they’ve given me a hotel for the night.

‘Hopefully, they will give me another place tonight. I’m protesting today. I want answers and people to hear what we have to say. I don’t want Theresa May to be prime minister. On the Thursday, she came to Grenfell Tower. She saw the residents but she didn’t speak to them.

‘She just went to speak to the fire brigade. Now she’s trying to make things better but it’s not going to work. We still haven’t seen the council. Jeremy Corbyn came down and paid attention to the residents, but not Theresa May.’

Saul Sebag, a charity volunteer, said: ‘I don’t think they look after people in Westminster. My family are all Jewish immigrants. I don’t like the way the government treats immigrants. And they don’t care about youth. There are no opportunities. Debt puts you off university. The cost of tuition fees is too high as well as the cost of housing. I’m working full-time for free, it’s just one internship after another.’

Grenfell Tower survivors demonstrate

Britain: The Conservative government has revealed that 600 high rise buildings have “similar” cladding to Grenfell Tower, west London where the inferno on June 14 claimed the lives of at least 79 people. A Downing Street spokeswoman added that samples from some tower blocks had been tested and “so far, three samples have been found to be combustible”: here.

Mallards on video


This is video about mallards from the Netherlands.

British singer Maddy Carty interviewed


This music video from London, England says about itself:

Maddy Carty – ‘Stay Away’

6 May 2010

Maddy and band play ‘Stay Away’ live in Earls Court’s The Troubadour, 19th March 2010.

Maddy Carty – Vocals
Tom Battye – Guitar
Josh Ingham – Bass
Adam Colwell – Drums
Rosalind Ledger – Backing Vocals

By Len Phelan in Britain:

From an honest place

Friday 23rd June 2017

Singer-songwriter MADDY CARTY tells Len Phelan where’s she’s at, musically and politically

ANYONE who’s been fortunate to see Maddy Carty perform knows that she’s blessed with a belting voice and self-penned songs that belie their infectious pop hooks with subtle takes on how the personal and the political intertwine.

But she’s at pains to avoid pigeonholing. “I don’t really see myself as a political or protest singer,” she tells me. “I just write what I know and feel and naturally sometimes politics are involved. I don’t know if I ever have an intended message as such, it’s more that I want people to feel something and know that it’s coming from an honest place.”

She references her song No Shoes in the Summer, written about her Irish grandparents. “It was quite personal to me and my family but the reason I started writing it was because we were hearing so much of the ‘all these immigrants coming over here’ rhetoric and, like so many other people in Britain, it struck a nerve with me.

I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for immigrants and neither would most of my friends. I think my songs are just a social commentary on things I’m seeing and a lot of the time things that make me angry!”

Raised in south London, she’s from “a very socialist, left-wing family” and brought up to believe that social injustice is unacceptable.

“We have to look at history as well as the present to learn from people’s experiences and mistakes,” she says.

“The International Brigades are an amazing example of people not just caring about their own but wanting to help their fellow man. It’s something we could all learn from.”

Carty’s musical influences range through pop and soul to reggae and ska — she provided backing vocals to Keety General’s tremendous Take the Stage, one of the anthems of the JC4PM tour, and her house-infused single Got No Love with Sezwez is getting a lot of airplays.

She puts that variety down to her mum’s “very eclectic” taste. “I do seem to be a bit all over the place musically!” she laughs. “Got No Love is pretty different to what you’ve heard from me. Usually, I’m more pop/soul but happened to use a couple of reggae samples on my last album that people seemed to pick up on.

“But I’m a songwriter first and foremost so I can write a song and it can ultimately be produced in any style.

“I’ve always admired the ‘real’ songwriters like Tracy Chapman, Bob Dylan and India Arie. I love lyrics so if I hear something poetic or clever I’m hooked.”

Like many musicians, the election campaign has been a shot in the arm for Carty. “It’s been amazing to see how Jeremy Corbyn and his different type of politics has had such an effect on young people and artists coming forward and actually taking an interest politically. I think that probably for the first time in our generation, we have someone who is actually saying things that we want to hear and that we can believe in.

“I hope we can keep it up and that people continue to support him and fight for change, for the many. We just need to get rid of the Tories!”

On July 8, Carty’s appearing with radical Turkish singer Canan Sagar and spoken word supremo Tim Wells at the latest in what are proving to be hugely popular fundraising gigs for the Morning Star at the Constitution pub in London’s Camden Town — an opportunity, if ever there was one, to celebrate the seismic political events of recent weeks.

“The Morning Star has always supported my music which I really appreciate,” she says, “and I’ve been lucky enough to get to know a few of the staff through gigs and campaigns and clearly we have a lot of the same views.

“The fact that the paper is so widely available and covers so many issues from different perspectives like the arts is great.

“It’s important to have an alternative to the mainstream media who are ridiculously biased the majority of the time. You guys are fighting the good fight.”

Not only staff on this paper — Carty’s doing her bit too.

Maddy Carty plays the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival on July 16, and Got No Love is available on iTunes, Spotify, Deezer and other download sites. Tickets (£10/£5 concessions) for the Morning Star fundraiser at the Constitution pub, 42 St Pancras Way, London NW1 OQT, are available by phone (020) 8510-0815 or from mstar.link/constitution2.

European birds news


This video says about itself:

Birds of Italy – Verona

19 September 2010

Nature in Adige Park in south Verona, mid-June. Calm pastoral quality only a few minutes walk from downtown. Spotted Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Hoopoe, Mute Swan cygnets.

From BirdLife:

23 June 2017

The Bird Bulletin – Vol. 12

By Gui-Xi Young

Welcome to the latest edition of ‘The Bird Bulletin’ – our weekly news brief. Every Friday morning, we bring you bite-sized updates from across Europe & Central Asia – kick start your weekend with “what a little bird told me!”

ALIEN COVENANT – On Monday, EU Member States approved the inclusion of 12 new species on the List of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern. One of these new species is the Raccoon dog, one of the main vectors of rabies in Europe and a major ecological threat. Read more…

Scenario 6 – On Tuesday, more than 250 NGOs from across Europe, including BirdLife, unveiled their vision for a more democratic, just and sustainable Europe. This is presented as an alternative ‘sixth scenario’ to the five ‘Future of Europe’ scenarios proposed by the European Commission. Read more…

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow” – With generous support from the Oak Foundation, BirdLife is doing inspiring work with our partners BirdLife Cyprus, BirdLife Malta and LIPU (BirdLife Italy) to reduce illegal bird trapping in their countries. Read more…

Fun in the sun! – Love nature? Love sunshine? Love Italy? Then sign up for one of LIPU’s fantastic summer camps in some of Italy’s most beautiful nature reserves. There’s something for children and adults alike!  Read more…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIRDLIFE – Did you know that BirdLife is the world’s oldest international conservation organisation? Well we turned 95 this week – chirp chirp hooray! Read more about our history here…

Well that’s all for today’s ‘Bird Bulletin’ – tune in next week for more cheeps, chirps and chatter.

Bye bye birdies!

Gui-Xi Young, Editor & Campaigns Officer – BirdLife Europe & Central Asia

Turkish regime bans evolution science from schools


This video from the USA says about itself:

But Bruh, Evolution is Just a Theory…Happy Darwin Day!

12 February 2017

Out of 34 surveyed countries, guess where the United States ranked in the public acceptance of evolution?

Correction at the 3-minute and 19-second mark: I said 32 European countries, Turkey, and the US. I meant to say 31 European countries, Japan, Turkey, and the US.

The USA is 33rd out of 34 countries in that survey.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Turkey eliminates ‘controversial and complex’ evolution science in schools

Turkey has removed evolution science from school programs throughout the country. …

Evolution science used to be part of third-grade biology courses in secondary schools in Turkey. …

The measure had been announced before and led to criticism from Turkish academics. They pointed out to the government in Ankara that strictly religious Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where evolution science is not taught.

Though the Erdogan regime in Turkey is in a proxy war in Libya with the Saudi absolute monarchy, and is on the brink of a military conflict with the Saudi regime about Qatar, that still does not seem to stop Erdogan from emulating Saudi anti-science fanaticism. Or maybe Erdogan emulates the party of ex-South Korean president, creationist and dictator’s daughter Ms Park, impeached because of her corruption.

Or maybe it is influence of the Turkish millionaire businessman known as “Harun Yahya” (real name: Adnan Oktar).

“Harun Yahya” may sound somewhat less anti-science than many Christian creationists, as he does not attack scientific evidence that some fossils of animals or plants are hundreds of millions years old; while Christian creationists tend to claim that life on earth is just a few thousand years old. Nevertheless, “Yahya” is as anti-evolution as American fellow creationism. In Saudi Arabia, important ally of the USA, and theocratic dictatorial monarchy, teaching evolution is illegal.

In Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad of 20 March 2010, Dirk Vlasblom and others argue that neither “Harun Yahya” nor the Saudi state represent the mainstream of Islamic thought on evolution since Charles Darwin published his Origin of Species.

Translated from Vlasblom’s article; about late 19th century Muslim scholars Al-Afghani and Hussein Al-Jisr, quoting Mohammed M. Ghaly, a contemporary Islamic scholar:

Al-Jisr was much better informed about evolution theory than Al-Afghani, Ghaly says:

“Al-Afghani said that evolutionists believe that a flea in the course of centuries can transform itself into an elephant. Al-Jisr said that according to this theory, humans, like other animals, have evolved via natural selection and that it is not impossible that humans and apes have a common ancestor. He gave the evolution theory the benefit of the doubt and concluded that it does not conflict with the Qur’an, as long as space remains within the theory for God as the ultimate Creator. The creation story in the Qur’an is quite brief, said Al-Jisr, and is intended to affirm belief in God, not for scientific information.

This religious opinion (fatwa) was taken over by scholars from Turkey, from Syria and throughout the Arabic speaking world.”

SUPERIOR

Al-Jisr wanted his “approval” of Darwin to show that Islam as a rational religion is the ally of all true science, and that Islamic belief is superior to, in his eyes, dogmatic Christianity. That position was welcomed by the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid

Sultan Abdul Hamid II

who wanted progress for his empire like in other countries. He gave Al-Jisr an important award in 1891.

Al-Afghani changed his mind as well. In his book Khatirat (ideas), he wrote around 1900 that evolution theory is indeed compatible with Islam.”

The article says that Al-Jisr’s views are still the mainstream view among Muslims, though conservatives attack them.