New snail species named after Greta Thunberg


This 20 February 2020 video says about itself:

Greta Thunberg snail

A new to science species of land snail was discovered by a group of citizen scientists working together with scientists from Taxon Expeditions, a company that organizes scientific field trips for teams consisting of both scientists and laypeople. Having conducted a vote on how to name the species, the expedition participants and the local staff of the National Park together decided to name the mollusk Craspedotropis gretathunbergae. The species name honors the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg for her efforts to raise awareness about climate change. The study is published in the open access journal Biodiversity Data Journal.

This tiny snail was discovered in Kuala Belalong rainforest, Brunei in Borneo island.

Thunberg told she was “delighted” that the snail had been named after her.

Earlier, a newly discovered small Kenyan beetle species had been named after Ms Thunberg.

This video from Britain is called Beetle named after climate activist Greta Thunberg (1) (UK/Global) ITV & BBC News 25/26 October 2019.

Homophobic Brunei sultan, British Conservative ally


This 18 April 2011 video from Britain says about itself:

Proud Day For Sultan Of Brunei At Sandhurst | [British Armed] Forces TV

The Sultan of Brunei has said he values his country’s military relationship with the UK during an address at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. The Sultan was there to represent the Queen during the Sovereign Parade and to see his own son commission as an officer. As he spoke to the new Second Lieutenants he said he had fond memories of his own time at college and wishes them success serving their own countries.

By Phil Miller in Britain:

Sunday, March 31, 2019

British base in homophobic Brunei criticised

BRITAIN’S military presence in the south-east Asian nation of Brunei is facing fresh criticism from campaigners after the country’s autocratic ruler passed a new law making adultery and homosexuality punishable by death.

The group ForcesWatch reacted: “Given the British military’s claims to be progressive on LGBT+ will they be taking this issue up with Brunei’s Sandhurst-trained sultan?

“We have personnel permanently based in the country … withdrawing would be a powerful bargaining chip, unless [the Ministry of Defence is] happy to prop up a brutal autocracy?”

The Sultan of Brunei has said stoning and whipping of homosexuals will come into force on Wednesday.

The British army has three military bases in Brunei at Sittang Camp, Medicina Lines and Tuker Lines, housing around 2,000 troops under an agreement signed by then prime minister David Cameron in 2015.

Many of the British soldiers are Gurkha mercenaries from Nepal, reinforced by army helicopters.

Although the troops use Brunei for jungle warfare training, critics say Britain’s presence there helps support the sultan — one of the world’s wealthiest men — who has ruled since 1967.

Brunei was a British protectorate until 1984 and Anglo-Dutch company Shell has major oil reserves in Brunei dating back to 1929.

The Ministry of Defence told the Morning Star that the new law will not affect any British LGBT soldiers stationed in Brunei as they are protected by a separate bilateral agreement.

However the Foreign Office has written to Brunei expressing concerns about the new law.

A spokesperson said: “Capital punishment goes against our national values and has been banned in the United Kingdom for decades.

“The Minister for Asia and High Commissioner have raised their concerns in person, and we have updated the travel advice to alert British citizens of the new local laws in Brunei.”

The Tory MP Penny Mordaunt, who is Minister for Women and Equalities, tweeted: “No-one should face the death penalty because of who they love.

“Brunei’s decision is barbaric and the UK stands with the LGBT+ community and those who defend their rights.

“LGBT+ rights are human rights.”

British troops are based in all these countries – but this is the Foreign Office’s travel advice:

Ellen DeGeneres Boycotts Sultan Of Brunei’s Hotels Amid Launch Of Anti-Gay Laws. Brunei implemented a law making gay sex punishable by death, so many are boycotting hotels owned by the country’s Sultan: here.

BRUNEI WON’T ENFORCE GAY DEATH PENALTY Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah extended a moratorium on the death penalty to legislation prohibiting gay sex, seeking to temper a global backlash led by celebrities such as George Clooney and Elton John. [Reuters]

Small new beetle species discovery in Brunei


This May 2017 video is called A new species Leptomorphus sevciki was described from Ulu Temburong National Park – Brunei – Borneo. That species is a fungus gnat.

From Science Daily:

Citizen scientists discover pinhead-sized beetle in Borneo

January 31, 2019

How many citizen scientists does it take to discover a new species? A recent expedition to the Ulu Temburong forest in [the Brunei part of] Borneo proved that you only need 10 enthusiasts with no professional training, yet fueled with curiosity and passion for the outdoors, to find a new beetle the size of a pinhead in leaf litter.

The species, named Clavicornaltica belalongensis, is a tiny, 1.25-mm-long leaf beetle that eats moss on the forest floor. Published in the open-access Biodiversity Data Journal, it is the latest discovery from Taxon Expeditions, an initiative that organises scientific field trips to remote and biodiverse locations for teams of scientists and laypeople.

Unlike other science/adventure trips, Taxon Expeditions gives a unique opportunity for laypeople, or citizen scientists, to describe and publish new species of animals and focus on the thousands of ‘little things that run the world’. Thanks to the initiative, they learn about tropical biology techniques while participating in the process of taxonomy and the study of hidden biodiversity.

The new beetle, for example, is one of hundreds of thousands of tiny beetle species that inhabit the leaf litter of tropical forests and have remained unknown and scientifically unnamed up to our days.

In a YouTube video, Simon Berenyi, who joined the expedition along with his 14-year-old son, says: ‘I had no idea how special this would be; you become a student again — you become a child again.’

Entomologist and founder of Taxon Expeditions, Dr. Iva Njunjic explains: ‘We introduce the general public to all these tiny, beautiful, and completely unknown animals, and show them that there is a whole world still to be discovered.’

Last year, another survey in Borneo organised by Taxon Expeditions ended up with the description of a new water beetle species (Grouvellinus leonardodicaprioi). Named after famous Hollywood actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, the discovery raised a real furore on the public scene, culminating in the new insect making an appearance on the profile image of the celebrity’s Facebook page.

Somali, Brunei Pentagon allies ban Christmas


This video about Los Angeles in the USA says about itself:

Breaking Up With The Beverly Hills Hotel

12 February 2013

Dear Beverly Hills Hotel:

It’s over. And we are never, ever getting back together. Like ever.
That is, until your owners change their homophobic ways.
The Beverly Hills Hotel is owned by the nation of Brunei, where it is illegal to be gay.
Take a stand against homophobia — don’t eat, meet or sleep at the Beverly Hills Hotel!

Sign the petition here.

Homosexuality is illegal in Brunei and can be punished with up to death by stoning.

As this blog reported, the absolute monarch of Brunei has banned Christmas.

The princely dynasty of Brunei are traditionally allies of the British empire. The present Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah was educated at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. Like his father, he has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, of which Brunei was a protectorate until 1984. He holds an honorary commission in the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom as an Air Marshal. He is also an Honorary Admiral of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, a title given to him by Queen Elizabeth II when he took the salute at the passing out parade of the 2001 summer term at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, the Royal Navy’s officer-training school in the United Kingdom. He has an English residence at Binfield Manor in Berkshire. In 1962, a rebellion against absolute monarchy in Brunei was put down by British troops from Singapore.

The full title of His Majesty is Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan dan Yang di-Pertuan Negara Brunei Darussalam.

The princely family has been accused of sexual abuse.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is one of the richest men in the world. The spoils of the country’s oil riches are shared between His Majesty and the Shell oil corporation.

The United Kingdom maintains a military base in Seria, the centre of the oil industry in Brunei, with 1,500 soldiers.

To make a long story short: the absolute monarch is Brunei is a staunch ally of the British empire … err … Commonwealth, of NATO, and of the Western ‘free world’.

Apparently, it is very possible to be both a close buddy of the Western ‘free world’, and to ban Christmas.

There is another example of that. Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In Somalia it is prohibited from this year on to celebrate Christmas in public places. … “In our country Muslims should not celebrate Christmas“, said a government spokesman.

The security forces in Somalia are instructed to drive away large groups celebrating Christmas. For foreigners it is allowed to dwell on the Christian holidays, provided they do so in private.

There are few Christians living in the African country, which established sharia law in 2009. Somalia is after Brunei the second country to enact a ban on Christmas. In Brunei Muslims who celebrate Christmas face many years of imprisonment.

The Somali government consists of warlords, relying on military help from the United States Pentagon, British armed forces and other NATO countries, ever since the days of George W Bush.

This 2013 video says about itself:

Somalia jails alleged rape victim

In Somalia a woman who said that she had been gang-raped by soldiers has been jailed for a year by a Somali court, along with the journalist who reported her allegation.

Non-Christians at Christmas: ‘I love it as much as I love Diwali’. From Jews dining in Chinese restaurants to atheists indulging in Belgian beer, non-Christian readers tell us what they do at Christmas: here.