Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge’s under-2-hours world marathon record


This 12 October 2019 Kenyan TV video, recorded in Vienna, Austria, says about itself:

Breaking history as #EliudKipchoge, world’s greatest marathoner, becomes the first human to run a marathon in under 2 hours.

Kipchoge finished in 1:59:40.

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Lake Constance birds, sad, some good, news


This 3 April 2019 video from Austria says about itself:

Birdwatching with Johanna Kronberger in the Lake Constance Rhine delta – Vorarlberg Magazine

As a biologist specialising in birds, Johanna Kronberger regularly travels around Lake Constance and spends lots of time in the Rhine delta even during the winter. She takes people out on bird-watching tours.

Read the whole story in the „Worlds of winter“ Vorarlberg Magazine by Vorarlberg state tourist board.

From the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Germany:

Birds in serious decline at Lake Constance

Over the last 30 years, the region has lost 120,000 breeding pairs

September 3, 2019

Summary: In the past 30 years, the number of breeding pairs in the region has dropped by 25 percent from 465,000 in the eighties to 345,000 by 2012.

At first glance, the numbers recorded between 1980 and 2012 appear to be quite balanced. 68 of the 158 bird species that inhabit the area around Lake Constance became more populous, while 67 species declined; each of these figures approximates to 43 percent of all the bird species in the region. The total number of species has even increased slightly: although eight species have died out, 17 have either returned to the region or settled there for the first time. These include the white stork, the peregrine falcon and the eagle owl, all of which have benefitted particularly from the protective measures put in place.

This seeming contradiction is due to the fact that the most common species are disappearing particularly rapidly. Six of the ten most common bird species around Lake Constance have declined dramatically in number, while two have remained the same and only two have increased. The population of house sparrows, for example, has declined by 50 percent since 1980, at which time it was still the most common species. “These are really shocking figures — particularly when you consider that the bird population started declining decades before the first count in 1980,” explains Hans-Günther Bauer from the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior. Viewed over a lengthier period, the fall in numbers may therefore be even greater.

Agricultural landscape hostile to birds

It is particularly noticeable how differently the various habitats have been affected. The study indicates that bird populations around Lake Constance are dwindling particularly rapidly in countryside which is intensively used by humans. This applies above all to modern farmland: 71 percent of the species that inhabit fields and meadows have declined in numbers, in some cases drastically. The partridge, for example, which was once a common inhabitant of the region’s farmland, has completely died out around Lake Constance. The great grey shrike, the meadow pipit and the little owl have also disappeared from the area.

One of the main reasons for this decline is the scarcity of food. According to the ornithologists, 75 percent of the bird species that eat flying insects and 57 percent of those that eat terrestrial invertebrates have decreased in number around Lake Constance. “This confirms what we have long suspected: the human extermination of insects is having a massive impact on our birds,” says Bauer. In addition, today’s efficient harvesting methods leave hardly any seeds behind for granivorous species. Moreover, the early, frequent mowing of large areas of grassland, the agricultural practice of monoculture, the early ripening of winter grains, the implementation of drainage measures and the shortage of fallow land are destroying the habitats of many species that live in the open countryside.

However, the birds are disappearing not only from the fields and meadows but also from the towns and villages around Lake Constance. “The increasing need for order and decreasing tolerance of dirt and noise are making life more and more difficult for local birds. It appears that successful breeding is becoming increasingly rare since the birds are being forced to nest amid tower blocks, ornamental trees and immaculate kitchen gardens,” says Bauer. Even species that can survive virtually anywhere, such as blackbirds (down 28 percent), chaffinches and robins (each down 24 percent) are suffering greatly due to the deteriorating conditions in settled areas.

Winners and losers in the woods and on the water

In contrast, the woodland birds around Lake Constance appear to be doing comparatively well. 48 percent of the forest-dwelling species are increasing in number, while only 35 percent are dwindling. One example is the spotted woodpecker, whose numbers have grown by 84 percent. Like other woodpeckers, it seems to have benefited from the larger quantities of timber in the forest. Furthermore, more of the species that inhabit the wetlands around Lake Constance have increased than decreased. The winners here include the mute swan.

Nevertheless, the numbers of many forest-dwelling species are also declining. The wood warbler population, for example, has fallen by 98 percent, firecrest numbers by 61 percent. This is how the intensive use of timber around Lake Constance and the shorter felling intervals are making themselves felt. Trees containing nests are being felled even in protected areas, and breeding seasons are largely being ignored. Older trees are often felled for traffic safety reasons; new paths are laid in the forests and wet areas are drained.

All in all, the last population count in 2010-2012 documents the same developments and causes as those that preceded it. However, the situation has clearly worsened in some cases. There is hardly any indication that things have changed for the better since then. “The living conditions for birds around Lake Constance have in fact deteriorated further over the last seven years. This means that their numbers have presumably fallen still further in this time,” says Bauer.

More food and living space for birds

With its diverse structure and location in the foothills of the Alps, the Lake Constance region actually provides excellent living conditions for birds. However, the changes it has undergone over the last few decades are typical of densely populated regions with intensive farming and forestry. “This means that the rapid decline in the populations of many species that we have observed around Lake Constance is sure to be happening in other regions as well,” says Bauer.

The study is one of only a few long-term investigations of breeding bird populations ever conducted in Germany. In order to collect the most recent data, which dates from between 2010 and 2012, 90 volunteers joined the scientists and counted all the birds in an area of approximately 1,100 square kilometres surrounding Lake Constance. The ornithologists first recorded the bird population between 1980 and 1981 and have repeated the count every ten years ever since. The next count will take place between 2020 and 2022.

Measures that would benefit the bird populations include:

– The scientists are calling for agricultural and forestry policy to be reconsidered in order to counteract the rapid loss of biodiversity.

– Drastically restricting the use of insecticides and herbicides in forestry and agriculture, in public spaces and in private gardens

– Significantly reducing the use of fertilisers

– Converting at least ten percent of agricultural land to ecological conservation areas

– Leaving some areas of arable land and grassland uncultivated in winter and during the breeding season

– Late mowing outside the grassland birds’ breeding season, maintenance of flower strips and fallow areas for seed production

– At least five percent of woodland should be left completely unused

– Creating natural gardens using indigenous plants

Austrian Hitler hometown racist politician’s neonazi poem


Austrian extreme right politician Christian Schilcher, AFP photo

Not only in Germany children of racist politicians write neonazi poems. In Austria, far-right politicians seem not to leave that to their children, but to do so themselves.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In Austria, the deputy mayor of Braunau am Inn town has resigned after a storm of criticism of a poem he had published in a local newspaper before Easter. In the poem The Urban Rat, FPÖ

The extreme right party in Austria, formerly led by Jörg Haider. Now, part of the right-wing two-party coalition government.

politician Christian Schilcher writes that rats from outside must assimilate or “get away quickly”. He also warns against mixing cultures. …

The comparison of people with rats (or other animals) has been used more often in history to dehumanize groups of people and thus justify atrocities against those groups. For example, in the Nazi propaganda film Der ewige Jude (1940) Jews were compared with rats …

Today he has drawn consequences and resigned his position as deputy mayor of Braunau am Inn, the hometown of Adolf Hitler.

Australian nazi Christchurch terrorist, his Austrian connection


This 18 March 2019 video from New Zealand is called Students perform haka tribute at vigil for mosque attack victims in Christchurch.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The suspect of last month’s attacks in Christchurch has been charged in New Zealand for 50 times murder and 39 times attempted murder. The lawsuit against the 28-year-old Australian will continue tomorrow.

The shooter, Brenton Tarrant, killed fifty visitors to two mosques in Christchurch on March 15. Dozens of others were injured. …

Tarrant is a right-wing extremist who said he wanted to take revenge for attacks by Muslim extremists in Europe. German media report that two years ago the Christchurch shooter transferred more than 2000 euros to the French extreme right-wing movement Génération Identitaire.

In the investigation into the attacks in Christchurch, a search was also conducted at the end of last month at the house of a leader of a right-wing nationalist movement in Austria, the Identitäre Bewegung Österreichs. That movement also stated that it had received a major donation from the attacker.

By Markus Salzmann:

Christchurch terrorist donated to right-wing Austrian Identitarian movement

3 April 2019

Christchurch shooter, Brenton Tarrant, enjoyed wide-ranging ties with international right-wing extremist circles, reaching as far as Europe. He was no individual attacker, as the official narrative claims. On 15 March, the Australian shot and killed 50 people in two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, and injured dozens more.

Last year, Tarrant donated €1,500 to the Austrian Identitarian Movement (IBÖ). As a result, the public prosecutor in Graz has ordered the house of IBÖ leader, Martin Sellner, to be searched. The spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, Hansjörg Wacher, said that possible ties between the Christchurch shooter and Sellner were being investigated.

The donation came to light in the course of an investigation into another matter. The filing of a charge on the criminal offence of participation in a terrorist organisation was being considered, Wacher added.

For his part, Sellner said he had received an “unusually high” donation in 2018, and sent a thank you email to Tarrant. He added that his house had been searched before he could report the donation. Sellner went on to reject having any connection to the Christchurch attack, and accused Tarrant of wanting to associate him with it, in order to provoke repression against the Identitarian Movement.

This is obviously nonsense. Tarrant was in Vienna last winter, and it seems likely that he had ties to right-wing extremist groups. He participated in right-wing extremist discussions on 8chan, and commented on posts on Facebook and other media outlets using his own name. Although it remains unclear whether he developed ties to Sellner and other leading Identitarian figures during this time, it has not been excluded. The parliamentary subcommittee for internal affairs is now examining the Christchurch shooter’s ties in Austria.

By contrast, the political and ideological links between the Christchurch shooter and the Identitarians are clear. In his manifesto, released shortly before his attack, Tarrant based himself on a number of their conceptions. Its title “The Great Replacement” is taken from the Identitarians’ vocabulary. Even after the attack in New Zealand, a group of Identitarians marched in Vienna under the banner “Stop the great replacement.” Such agitation against “uncontrolled mass migration”, and the description of refugees as “invaders” are typical for the right-wing extremist scene around the Identitarians.

The same goes for their barely concealed calls for violence and vigilante justice against the left. “Thank God I bought a weapon before the asylum madness started. It would be hard to get something decent now”, Sellner tweeted in 2015. And, just one day prior to the massacre in Christchurch, when a two-year weapons ban (imposed after he fired at “antifa” demonstrators with an air pistol) was lifted, Sellner said in a video, “So now with the blessing of the state I can take entirely legal steps to ensure security for me and my girlfriend in a society which is rampant with criminality and becoming ever more violent. In fact, it is being made increasingly difficult for citizens to arm themselves for their own security, while at the same time insecurity rises and public safety can no longer be guaranteed.”

“The fact that his [Tarrant’s] gaze reached as far as Austria is quite remarkable”, Bernhard Weidlinger, an employee of the Documentary Archive for the Austrian Resistance (DÖW), said, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “But it is by no means surprising that he selected the Identitarians for a donation. The content of the attacker’s manifesto overlaps considerably with the Identitarians’ world view.”

The Identitarians are a right-wing extremist group that emerged 16 years ago in France and now maintains close connections to a network of far-right parties and militant neo-Nazi groups across Europe. They have been active in Austria since 2013. Although their membership numbers are relatively low and their activities meet with broad hostility and opposition from the vast majority of the population, they are well connected to high levels of government and enjoy support from the judiciary.

This was made clear in July last year. Seventeen members of the Austrian Identitarian Movement, including Sellner, were acquitted by the Graz District Court on every major charge in their case. The judgement was widely seen as a scandal. The Identitarians were charged because they had intimidated political opponents, disrupted their meetings, and promoted radical, xenophobic, and Islamophobic ideologies. According to the court, the accused were not guilty of sedition, or the formation of, or participation in, a criminal association.

Around six months prior to the Graz decision, the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), led by Sebastian Kurz, formed a coalition government with the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), which maintains ties with the Identitarians. FPÖ members are also active in the Identitarian Movement, and high-ranking party officials appear in public with them.

For example, FPÖ Interior Minister, Herbert Kickl, spoke in 2016 at the right-wing extremist Congress of Europe’s Defenders, which was attended by the Identitarians and supporters of other far-right groups. Kickl has played a leading role in adopting more restrictive laws on the rights to asylum and foreigners’ ability to stay in Austria.

The ties between the FPÖ and the Identitarians are especially close in Graz. In January 2016, FPÖ member of the state parliament, Gerhard Kurzmann, joined a protest march there, organised by the Identitarians against the accommodation of refugees in an old barracks. FPÖ local councilor, Heinrich Sickl, reportedly had contacts to neo-Nazis as a 17-year-old, according to the Vienna-based Der Standard. To this day, he rents rooms to the Identitarians in a multi-party building in the centre of Graz. Sickl participated in Identitarian demonstrations—sometimes serving as a steward—including in a march against immigration in the border town of Spielfeld in 2015. The FPÖ’s Mario Eustaccio, deputy mayor of Graz, was also present in Spielfeld.

According to Kontrast.at, the Free Association of Academics in Styria (FAV) organised a 2015 seminar, to which Sellner was invited as a speaker. The right-wing extremist publication AULA reported on the meeting. The report carries a photo of Sellner and Sickl posing together.

Deputy Chancellor Hans-Christian Strache also maintains close ties to the Identitarians. Photos from 2015 show the FPÖ leader sitting at a table with two well-known Identitarian members in a bar in Styria.

After the Identitarians stormed the stage in a theatre at the University of Vienna in April 2016, where a play by Austrian playwright Elfriede Jelinek was being performed, Strache defended them on Facebook. “The Identitarians are a non-party, non-left citizens’ movement, which has obviously adopted its free activism as a contrast and critical counterpart to the left, which, however, unlike the Identitarians, often unfortunately resorts to acts of violence,” the subsequently deleted post declared. “They are basically young activists of a non-left civil society.”

Official government policy also corresponds to the Identitarians’ line. The latest border-protection exercises, carried out jointly by the Interior and Foreign ministries, took place in southern Styria in 2018 and were entitled “Pro-border”, an Identitarian slogan. In 2016 and 2017, Strache posted on Facebook that the “population exchange”, which the Identitarians promote as a conspiracy theory, had already been accomplished, according to Der Standard.

In this context, Chancellor Kurz’s threat to take action against the Identitarians, and consider a potential ban, amounts to an attempt to cover his government’s tracks, curtail democratic rights, and prepare the ground for the banning of other, predominantly left-wing organisations.

For its part, the FPÖ immediately spoke out against banning the Identitarians. According to the television news program ZIB, Strache said that the proposed ban was Kurz’s initiative, and he did not support it.

This 28 March 2019 video is called Austrian government mulls disbanding far-right group over financial ties to Christchurch gunman.

From Belgian daily De Standaard today:

For the first time since he formed a government with the FPÖ at the end of 2017, conservative [‘Christian democrat’] Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz openly lashed out at the far-right party. It is a direct consequence of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, Australia, where the Australian Brenton Tarrant shot fifty Muslims in a mosque.

The investigation showed that in the beginning of 2018 Tarrant donated 1,500 euros to the Austrian extreme right-wing Identity Movement IBÖ. Austrian media discovered a 2016 statement by [FPÖ] Minister of the Interior Herbert Kickl: at a conference where many members of IBÖ were present, he called those present “like-minded”. At the end of last week it turned out that there is a villa in Linz that is used by both IBÖ members and a right-wing conservative student movement of FPÖ members.

Kurz thought the time had come to implement a part of the coalition agreement: from now on the intelligence services should report to the Chancellor instead of Kickl and Mario Kunasek, the Minister of Defense who is also a FPÖ member. According to the critical tabloid Kurier, this is “a clear sign of growing suspicion on the part of Kurz, especially towards the Minister of the Interior.”

The Austrian Chancellor was also under pressure from Berlin to take action – and such a thing weighs heavily in Vienna. German MEP Elmar Brok, a heavyweight within Merkel’s CDU, warned: “In Germany, we need to ask ourselves what data relevant to our security we can still share with an Interior Minister of the FPÖ.”

“A minister of the Interior who openly expresses his preference for an extreme right-wing and racist movement is, I believe, a security risk,” said Burkhard Lischka, MP for the SPD – the Social Democratic coalition partner of the CDU.

Another argument against Kickl is that he ordered a raid on the domestic intelligence service BVT in the spring of last year. This seized BVT files on extreme right-wing organizations in Austria.

Election in Austria: Freedom Party demonstrates its close links to the Identitarian movement: here.

Dutch FvD party uses Austrian ‘identitarian’ video for racism: here.

Austrian racist, accomplice in Christchurch massacre?


This 26 March 2019 German language video says about itself (translated):

The Christchurch assassin donated money to the spokesman for the Austrian identitarian movement.

The video says that police suspects the ‘identitarians‘ of complicity in terrorism.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Police raid at Austrian right-wing nationalist‘s house because of Christchurch attack

In the investigation into the attack in Christchurch city in New Zealand, police raided a house in Austria. The search was at the house of Martin Sellner, leader of the right-nationalist Identitäre Bewegung Österreichs (IBÖ).

The Public Prosecution Service in Austria does not want to provide an explanation, but according to Sellner himself it has to do with a gift to his movement. The donation was by the 28-year-old right-wing extremist who is detained for shooting 50 mosque visitors in Christchurch this month. …

The money is … “an excessively high amount”. According to [Sellner], electronic devices were seized during the house search in Vienna.

The IBÖ of 30-year-old Sellner objects, eg, against what the movement calls “uncontrolled mass immigration” and is committed to preserving national identity. According to Austrian media, the suspect of the New Zealand massacre is known to have been in Austria last fall.

NZ SHOOTER HAD FINANCIAL LINK TO FAR RIGHT Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Wednesday said there was a financial link between the man who killed 50 people in mass shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the far-right Identitarian Movement in Austria. Martin Sellner, head of the Identitarian Movement — which says it wants to preserve Europe’s identity — received 1,500 euros ($1,690) in early 2018 from a donor with the same name as the man charged with murder following the Christchurch attack. [Reuters]

Rare jellyfish not really rare


This 2015 video shows Rhizostoma luteum jellyfish in Schönbrunn zoo in Austria; where for the first time, this species was bred in captivity.

From FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology:

‘Rare’ jellyfish not so rare

November 13, 2018

When the Rhizostoma luteum jellyfish was discovered at the beginning of the 19th century in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, only nine specimens were identified. For years, it was so inconspicuous that later, in the 20th century, it failed to turn up for six decades. A team of scientists, with the help of a citizen initiative, has now confirmed that it is not really as difficult to find as previously believed.

In 1827 the French naturalists Jean René Constant Quoy and Joseph Paul Gaimard, while aboard the Astrolabe on a trip around the world, discovered a new jellyfish species in the Strait of Gibraltar. Describing the Rhizostoma luteum (formerly called the Orythialutea) was made possible thanks to the analysis of nine specimens. This was the first and last time it was seen.

During the following decades, this jellyfish went unnoticed and there were no scientific records of it over the last 60 years. It was not until 2013 when a team of scientists, led by Laura Prieto of the Institute of Marine Sciences of Andalusia (CSIC), confirmed the presence of this species in Mediterranean waters by means of a phylogenetic analysis.

“We believe that every time it was seen, it was mistakenly identified with such other jellyfish as the Rhizostoma pulmo, the Rhizostoma octopus and the Catostylus tagi“, as Prieto, the co-author of another study that corroborates that this jellyfish is actually more abundant than what was thought, has pointed out.

The new work, part of the future doctoral thesis by Karen Kienberger and recently published in the Marine Biodiversity journal, has made several historical and recent records of the Rhizostoma luteum since 1998, thanks to the observations of scientists and a citizen initiative.

The results confirm more than 150 observations in the last 17 years, “which shows that it is not such a rare species after all”, the authors emphasize.

“With this work, we did research work to see if what we thought was an unusual species was really one that had been ill-identified for many years,” explains Prieto. The R. luteum is frequent in the coastal waters of the west and south coasts of the Iberian peninsula and the west and north coasts of Africa.

Similar to the others

The jellyfish can reach a diameter of more than 60 cm with some specimens; the oral arms end differently and sometimes — but not always — they are very long, and can reach more than two metres.

“Its geographical distribution is very wide: from Portugal to South Africa in the Atlantic and in the Alboran Sea in the Mediterranean. With subsequent studies, we’ve been able to verify that the mother carries her protected offspring in her gonads until she releases them in an appropriate environment”, the researcher reports.

In order to detect the jellyfish, Laura Prieto and Karen Kienberger were helped by citizens who sent historical accounts, photographs and videos taken in the North-East Atlantic Ocean and the Alboran Sea. “Posters were distributed in diving and marine clubs and a lot of non-scientific outreach literature, such as books on diving or marine fauna, was subjected to revision”, says Prieto.

The scientists contacted many authors of the photos, and explored open social networks and open access databases on jellyfish that included photos. “Any citizen could (and can) send an email with the place, the date and the photo of a sighting,” the authors stress.

For the researchers, this type of work makes it possible to monitor biodiversity and the manner in which species respond to climate change in marine ecosystems.