Hungry leopardess risks death by stealing food


This 26 February 2020 video from Africa says about itself:

A Leopard Risks Her Life to Steal Food

A female leopard is risking life and limb by trying to steal food from another, male, leopard. One wrong move and the male, a third bigger than she is, could make her pay.

How African turquoise killifish stop aging


This 20 February 2020 video says about itself:

African killifish embryos enter suspended animation to survive

To survive parched pond beds during months-long dry seasons in countries like Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the African turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) does something usually reserved for the realm of sci-fi: its embryos enter suspended animation.

For about five to six months, this killifish, roughly the size of your thumb, puts most of its embryo’s critical body processes—including muscle and nerve cell growth—on hold. The state, scientifically known as diapause, prevents the embryos from needing critical resources when none are available in its environment. It’s an extreme survival technique, but one that, surprisingly, has no negative effects on the lifespan of a fully developed adult, researchers report in Science on Feb. 21.

This video compares the embryos and lifespans of killifish who either experienced or skipped diapause, capturing time-lapses and detailed snapshots of their embryonic development. According to the researchers, these discoveries could illuminate unknown mechanisms to preserve cells and, perhaps, methods to combat aging and age-related diseases in humans.

By Erin Garcia de Jesus, February 20, 2020 at 2:13 pm:

How African turquoise killifish press the pause button on aging

The fish can double their life span by temporarily halting cell and organ growth while embryos

When the ponds where one African fish lives dry up, its offspring put their lives on pause. And now researchers have a sense for how the creatures do it.

African turquoise killifish embryos can halt their development during a state of suspended activity called diapause. Now a study shows that the embryos effectively don’t age while in that state. Genetic analyses reveal that, to stay frozen in time, the embryos put functions such as cell growth and organ development on hold, researchers report in the Feb. 21 Science.

“Nature has identified ways to pause the clock,” says Anne Brunet, a geneticist Stanford University. Knowing how killifish pause their lives could help scientists figure out how to treat aging-related diseases or learn how to preserve human organs long-term, she says.

Nematode worm larvae (Caenorhabditis elegans) can also halt development and aging when faced with a lack of food or if their environment is overcrowded. Invertebrates like nematodes, however, lack many of the features that make other animals age, such as an adaptive immune system. More than 130 species of mammals from mice to bears also have some form of diapause.

The killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) live in ponds in Mozambique and Zimbabwe that disappear for months during the dry season, leaving the fish without a home until the rain returns (SN: 8/6/18). For adults that typically live only four to six months anyway, vanishing ponds don’t pose much of a threat. But some killifish embryos press pause on their development during dry months, until ponds fill up again.

Killifish embryos can put their growth on hold from five months up to two years, matching or even greatly exceeding their typical adult life span. If humans could do something similar, an 80-year-old person might instead have a life span from 160 to more than 400 years, Brunet says. But if, or how, these animals protect themselves from aging while in this limbo was unknown.

In the study, Brunet and her colleagues compared killifish embryos that halted their growth with those that bypassed diapause and hatched into adults. Diapause didn’t decrease an adult fish’s growth, life span or ability to reproduce — a sign that the animal didn’t age, even if it paused its development for longer than its typical lifetime, the researchers found.

The team then analyzed the genetic blueprint of embryos suspended in diapause to determine which genes were active. Although the young killifish had developing muscles, hearts and brains before diapause, genes involved in organ development and cell proliferation were subsequently turned off. But other genes were cranked up, such as some crucial for turning other sets of genes on or off.

One gene, the chromobox 7 gene, or CBX7, repressed genes involved in metabolism, but turned on those important for maintaining muscle and staying in diapause, the researchers found. Embryos without CBX7 came out of diapause sooner, and their muscles began to deteriorate after one month.

The new study shows that the embryos aren’t passively waiting for better environmental conditions — their cells coordinate responses during diapause that protect killifish from the passage of time. “We have always looked at this diapause state as more passive — nothing happens there,” says Christoph Englert, a molecular geneticist at the Leibniz Institute on Aging in Jena, Germany, who wasn’t involved in the work. But the new research “shifts the paradigm of diapause as a passive, boring state to an active state of embryonic nondevelopment.”

Researchers aren’t sure how things like temperature might spark a developing killifish to begin or end diapause. But understanding what’s going on inside an embryo is a step toward pinpointing how external signals might control when the animals suspend time, Englert says.

Anger about Donald Trump banning Africans


This 1 February 2020 video from the Usa is called Trumps travel ban on Nigeria is an insult to Africa.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Eritrea has responded with dismay to the US government’s decision not to admit Eritrean immigrants. Residents of five other countries are also no longer allowed to settle in the US. …

The US government announced on Friday that residents of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania are no longer allowed to emigrate to the US. According to President Trump, these countries do not meet US security requirements and information sharing rules. …

Eritrea is “bewildered by this hostile move”, which “sends a negative signal for no good reason” that is at odds with US policy of constructive engagement. There are also angry reactions in Nigeria …

The entry ban that Trump announced in 2017 for residents of Yemen, Syria, Iran, Libya and Somalia, countries with a Muslim majority, led to great anger. Visa restrictions also apply to North Korea and Venezuela.

TRUMP’S MUSLIM BAN BECOMES EVEN MORE RACIST Last week, Trump announced the expansion of his controversial travel ban, adding several more countries to the original 2017 list. Democrats and immigration advocates condemned the expanded policy, noting that the new order not only doubles down on targeting Muslims ― but it now explicitly targets Africans and Black African Muslims. [HuffPost]

Donald Trump’s travel ban for Africans


This 1 February 2020 video from Kenya says about itself:

WOW! Trump TARGETS Tanzania, Nigeria, Sudan

now that dictator and ally of NATO Bashir has fallen there

& Eritrea FOR “US TRAVEL Ban List”?!🤦🏾‍♀️

Does the Divided States still have the power to put nations on a Travel Ban list and see them crumble???

Well, Trump has decided to add Tanzania, Nigeria, Sudan & Eritrea to “US TRAVEL Ban List”.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday that imposes travel restrictions on six more countries with large Muslim populations bringing the total number of nations under the US travel ban to thirteen. Immigrant visas are being suspended for Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea and Kyrgyzstan and people from Sudan and Tanzania will be prevented from entering the US diversity visa program that provides green cards to immigrants: here.

African marabou storks versus eagle


This 14 January 2020 video says about itself:

Undertaker Birds Defend Their Catch from an Eagle

A flock of marabou storks have stumbled on a handsome bounty: a small shoal of catfish. But their clumsy enthusiasm has attracted the attention of another opportunist.

African grey parrots help each other


This 2008 video says about itself:

African Grey Parrots in the Wild

Grey Parrots (Psittacus erythacus) foraging and flying in Cameroon, Africa. To help save wild grey parrots, please support us by clicking on the DONATE button and learn more about what we’re doing for these birds here.

From ScienceDaily:

African grey parrots spontaneously ‘lend a wing’

January 9, 2020

People and other great apes are known for their willingness to help others in need, even strangers. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on January 9 have shown for the first time that some birds — and specifically African grey parrots — are similarly helpful.

“We found that African grey parrots voluntarily and spontaneously help familiar parrots to achieve a goal, without obvious immediate benefit to themselves,” says study co-author Désirée Brucks of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Germany.

Parrots and crows are known for having large brains relative to the size of their bodies and problem-solving skills to match. For that reason, they are sometimes considered to be “feathered apes”, explain Brucks and study co-author Auguste von Bayern.

However, earlier studies showed that, despite their impressive social intelligence, crows don’t help other crows. In their new study, Brucks and von Bayern wondered: what about parrots?

To find out, they enlisted several African grey parrots and blue-headed macaws. Both parrot species were eager to trade tokens with an experimenter for a nut treat. But, their findings show, only the African grey parrots were willing to transfer a token to a neighbor parrot, allowing the other individual to earn a nut reward.

“Remarkably, African grey parrots were intrinsically motivated to help others, even if the other individual was not their friend, so they behaved very ‘prosocially'”, von Bayern says. “It surprised us that 7 out of 8 African grey parrots provided their partner with tokens spontaneously — in their very first trial — thus without having experienced the social setting of this task before and without knowing that they would be tested in the other role later on. Therefore, the parrots provided help without gaining any immediate benefits and seemingly without expecting reciprocation in return.”

Importantly, she notes, the African grey parrots appeared to understand when their help was needed. When they could see the other parrot had an opportunity for exchange, they’d pass a token over. Otherwise, they wouldn’t.

The parrots would help out whether the other individual was their “friend” or not, she adds. But, their relationship to the other individual did have some influence. When the parrot in need of help was a “friend”, the helper transferred even more tokens.

The researchers suggest the difference between African greys and blue-headed macaws may relate to differences in their social organization in the wild. Despite those species differences, the findings show that helping behavior is not limited to humans and great apes but evolved independently also in birds.

It remains to be seen how widespread helping is across the 393 different parrot species and what factors may have led to its evolution. The researchers say that further studies are required to investigate the underlying mechanisms of the parrots’ helping behavior. For instance, how do parrots tell when one of their peers needs help? And, what motivates them to respond?

African immigrants die in Trump’s jails


This 2 January 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

French National Dies in ICE Custody, Marking Agency’s Ninth Death in 2019

A French national being held by the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency passed away on Sunday, marking the agency’s ninth death in custody in 2019. According to a statement shared by ICE, the individual, whose identity has yet to be released as officials work to identify next of kin, was a 40-year-old native of Angola. It is still unclear how the French national came to arrive in the U. S. or why they were being held under ICE custody. The agency has yet to detail what led up to the individual’s death. Newsweek has requested more information from ICE. On Monday, BuzzFeed News reported that a French national had died in ICE custody, citing a person with knowledge on the matter. The outlet reported that the individual had been a man detained by ICE since November 12. The agency has yet to confirm those details, however.

By Kevin Reed in the USA:

Three African migrants die in US custody during Christmas and New Year holidays

3 January 2020

During the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, three African migrants died while in the custody of two divisions of the US Department of Homeland Security.

On Saturday, December 21, a 56-year-old Nigerian man who was being held by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Worcester County Jail in Snow Hill, Maryland, was found unresponsive in his cell. He was pronounced dead at 5:23 a.m. after efforts by medical staff to revive him were unsuccessful.

ICE officials reported that Anthony Oluseye Akinyemi committed suicide within 24 hours of being convicted of sexually assaulting a minor in Baltimore City Circuit Court. The agency said, “the preliminary cause of death appears to be self-inflicted strangulation; however, the case is still under investigation.”

ICE reported that a detainer had been issued against Akinyemi in July for the assault charge. The agency also said that he had violated the terms of his entry on a non-immigrant visa into the US in December 2017. Following his conviction in Baltimore, immigration authorities moved to have Akinyemi deported.

With the number of deaths at its detention facilities rapidly on the rise, ICE issued what can only be described as a boilerplate public relations statement following Akinyemi’s death: “ICE is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of this incident as it does in all such cases.”

Attempting to present the number of deaths in ICE custody in a favorable light, the statement went on, “Fatalities in ICE custody are exceedingly rare statistically and occur at a fraction of the national average for the detained population in the U.S.”

On Christmas Day, a 41-year-old Congolese woman died shortly after she entered the US border station at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge in Laredo, Texas. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has not yet identified the woman.

The perfunctory CBP statement on the death said that on Christmas Eve, “During initial processing, she was medically screened to include a review of paperwork she provided highlighting a previous medical condition, cleared by on-site contracted medical personnel, and transferred to the Lincoln Juarez Bridge for additional immigration processing and overnight holding.”

The CBP statement reported the woman told them on Christmas morning that “she was suffering from abdominal pain and had vomited.” The agency reported it then transported her to the Laredo Medical Center for an evaluation but, “The subject’s health declined rapidly and she passed away at the hospital.”

The agency said that, “The Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office has determined that the death is not suspicious, as the individual had a preexisting medical condition.” According to USA Today, CBP declined to answer follow-up questions about the case and the medical examiner’s office and the embassy for the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Washington, D.C., did not return messages.

The death of the Congolese woman brings to at least 11 the number of people who died in CBP custody in 2019. As was shown in the death of a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy at a CBP detention facility in Weslaco, Texas, last May, the official explanations of what has happened to those who die in US immigrant detention centers cannot be trusted. Video surveillance footage exposed that Carlos Hernández Vásquez was left on the floor unresponsive for hours and had not been checked on by staff as official reports had claimed.

On New Year’s Day, ICE reported that a 40-year-old Angolan native with French citizenship in their custody died on Sunday, December 29, at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The report said that an autopsy to determine the official cause of death was pending but the preliminary cause was identified as a heart attack.

Samuelino Pitchout Mavinga, who was pronounced dead by hospital medical staff at approximately 12:20 p.m., had been brought there on December 12 for evaluation and treatment for bowel obstruction. The ICE statement said, “According to DHS records, Mavinga was admitted into the United States on Nov. 28, 2018, by immigration officials at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City under the Visa Waiver Program. Under the program, he was required to depart the U.S. no later than Feb. 27, 2019.”

Mavinga had been taken into custody on November 11, 2019, by CBP and handed over to ICE the following day for “remaining in the United States for a period longer than authorized.” He was initially detained at the Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral, New Mexico, and was transferred to Torrance County Detention Facility (TCDF) in Estancia, New Mexico, on December 11 pending his removal from the US.

The official ICE statement also concludes with boilerplate PR verbiage that is designed to protect the agency from legal claims by the loved ones of the deceased, saying, “ICE’s Health Service Corps (IHSC) ensures the provision of necessary medical care services as required by ICE Performance-Based National Detention Standards and based on the medical needs of the detainee. Comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment detainees arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay.”

A recent study reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune found that the number of African migrants entering the US through Mexico has increased dramatically over the past two years. According to data provided by the US government, the number has doubled from 2,700 in 2018 to 5,800 in 2019. The majority of those coming to the US through Mexico continue be from Latin American countries.

Highlighting the shifts in migrant populations moving throughout the world, the increase in African migrants at the US southern border poses many challenges for those making the journey.

As the Union-Tribune explained: “The journey isn’t easy, many of them are robbed and beaten while traveling north. On top of these dangers, African migrants face additional obstacles in the way of language and cultural barriers. They also have less access to services from legal aid organizations who do not have staff who speak the same language as the migrants.”

In August, the Mexican government stopped issuing transit visas to African migrants in an effort to stop the number of people coming to North America to escape civil wars and ethnic conflict instigated by US and European imperialism across the African continent.

According to a website maintained by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, forty-four deaths have occurred at ICE adult detention facilities since December 2015. The growing number of deaths shows that the mistreatment of immigrants by the US government, including the detention at a network of concentration camps, is not incidental but deliberate. The purpose is to discourage workers from coming to the United States in search of a better life for themselves and their families.

In a cowardly act of belated and false protest, Democrats in the House of Representatives issued a call on December 23 for an investigation into the “troubling pattern of abuse and poor treatment” of migrants. A letter from Carolyn B. Maloney (Democrat from New York), chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, to Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, calls for documents related to all CBP deaths to be submitted to the committee by January 10.

The fraud of this exercise is fully exposed by the fact that the House Democrats voted with the Republicans on December 17 to approve a record $738 billion military appropriations that includes $1.375 billion for Trump’s border wall and removed a provision that would have barred the president from transferring money from other Pentagon accounts for the anti-immigrant wall project.

Daniel Okrent’s book The Guarded Gate examines the decades-long campaign in the US to restrict immigration that led to the passage of the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924, legislation which established a quota system designed to virtually bar immigration to the US from Southern and Eastern Europe. A century later, at a time when xenophobia, anti-Semitism and racism are once again on the rise in the US and around the world, much of this history is little known: here.

DHS BANS NEW YORKERS FROM GLOBAL ENTRY The Department of Homeland Security banned New Yorkers from taking part in trusted traveler programs, including the popular Global Entry, as retaliation for state lawmakers enacting sanctuary protections for undocumented immigrants. [HuffPost]

Trump administration moves forward with unconstitutional DNA testing of immigrants: here.

French Macron neocolonial drone warfare in Africa


This 25 December 2019 video from Kenya says about itself:

WTF?! France Launches “WEAPONISED Drones” In West Africa’s Sahel Desert?!

France has launched weaponised drones in the Sahel desert. All in the same month that West African nations “pulled out” of the CFA?!