‘Extinct’ Jerdon’s babbler rediscovered in Myanmar


The Myanmar Jerdon’s babbler (Chrysomma altirostre altirostre) had not been seen in Myanmar since July 1941, where it was last found in grasslands near the town of Myitkyo, Bago Region near the Sittaung River. Image credit: © Robert Tizard / WCS

From Wildlife Extra:

Extinct’ Jerdon’s babbler found live and well in Myanmar

A bird thought to have been extinct has been spotted by scientists alive and well in Myanmar, 74 years after the last sighting.

Jerdon’s babbler was re-discovered near abandoned agricultural research station by a scientist from Wildlife Conservation Society [and] National University of Singapore.

Jerdon’s babbler (Chrysomma altirostre) had not been seen in Myanmar since July 1941, where it was last found in grasslands near the town of Myitkyo, Bago Region near the Sittaung River.

The team found the bird while surveying a site around an abandoned agricultural station that still contained some grassland habitat. After hearing the bird’s distinct call, the scientists played back a recording and were rewarded with the sighting of an adult Jerdon’s babbler. Over the next 48 hours, the team repeatedly found Jerdon’s babblers at several locations in the immediate vicinity and managed to obtain blood samples and high-quality photographs.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the species was common in the vast natural grassland that once covered the Ayeyarwady and Sittaung flood plains around Yangon. Since then, agriculture and communities have gradually replaced most of these grasslands as the area has developed.

The Jerdon’s Babbler in Myanmar is one of three subspecies found in the Indus, Bhramaputra, and Ayeyarwady River basins in South Asia. All show subtle differences and may yet prove to be distinctive species.

“The degradation of these vast grasslands had led many to consider this subspecies of Jerdon’s Babbler extinct,” said Colin Poole, Director of WCS’s Regional Conservation Hub in Singapore.

“This discovery not only proves that the species still exists in Myanmar but that the habitat can still be found as well. Future work is needed to identify remaining pockets of natural grassland and develop systems for local communities to conserve and benefit from them.”

Burmese Muslim political prisoner freed


This 30 November 2013 video, in English, with French subtitles, is called Dr Tun Aung, Myanmar.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Rights groups welcome the release of Rohingya doctor

Wednesday 21st January 2015

RIGHTS groups welcomed the release of a prominent Rohingya Muslim doctor Tun Aung, who was arrested while trying to calm rioters during sectarian violence.

The case against Dr Aung, sentenced to 17 years in prison following what was widely considered an unfair trial, received international attention.

He was accused of inciting violence between Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists in June 2012, though rights groups said the doctor and community leader had been asked by authorities to intervene.

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners founder Bo Kyi said Dr Aung had been released on Monday.

Myanmar has freed more than 1,000 political prisoners since its former military rulers relinquished power, but jails continue to be refilled with protesters.

“Everyone incarcerated for their beliefs should be freed immediately,” said Equality Myanmar director Aung Myo Min, adding that the government “releases a few political prisoners, and then arrests a few more.”

Saudi video maker arrested for filming beheading of woman


This video is about the horrible beheading of Ms Laila Bint Abdul Muttalib Basim in Saudi Arabia. Not fit to watch for children and sensitive people.

From the International Business Times:

Saudi Arabia: Man arrested for filming officers publicly beheading woman in street

By Jack Moore

January 19, 2015 12:02 GMT

Saudi authorities have arrested a man who filmed a viral video of authorities publicly beheading a woman in the street, according to local media reports.

Saudi news outlets revealed that the man had been arrested but did not state what he would be charged with.

However, an Interior Ministry spokesman confirmed that filming the incident would be classed as a cybercrime under the country’s strict form of Sharia law, based on the Quran.

The Burmese woman, Laila Bint Abdul Muttalib Basim, was hacked to death by sword in the holy city of Mecca after being dragged through the street and held down by four police officers.

She was convicted of the sexual abuse and murder of her seven-year-old step-daughter.

In the video she can be heard saying in Arabic: “I did not kill. There is no God but God. I did not kill.”

Haram. Haram. Haram. Haram. I did not kill … I do not forgive you … This is an injustice,” she continues.

The arrest of the man who documented the execution comes after the kingdom suspended the public flogging of a Saudi activist, Raif Badawi, on medical grounds and sent his case for review at the Supreme Court.

Badawi’s sentence of 1,000 lashes has been condemned by the United States and United Nations.

Islamophobic violence in Myanmar


This video says about itself:

19 April 2013

Buddhist monk uses racism and rumours to spread hatred in Burma. Thousands watch YouTube videos of 45-year-old ‘Burmese Bin Laden‘ who preaches against the country’s Muslim minority. His name is Wirathu, he calls himself the “Burmese Bin Laden” and he is a Buddhist monk who is stoking religious hatred across Burma. Read more here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

100,000 Rohingya flee Myanmar violence and discrimination

Tuesday 18th November 2014

HUMAN rights group the Arakan Project warned yesterday that violence and discriminatory government policies had set an estimated 100,000 Rohingya fleeing Myanmar in the last two years.

Project director Chris Lewa said the group, which monitors the Rohingya, had seen the pace of the exodus accelerating, with more than 15,000 people leaving since October 15.

Ms Lewa said troops in northern Rakhine state were engaging in a “campaign to create fear and to get them to leave.”

She said that in the last six weeks, at least four Rohingya men had been tortured to death.

Security forces broke one victim’s leg and burned his penis during interrogation and the beaten body of another Rohingya was found in a river, she said.

Ms Lewa said that more than 140 people have been arrested on what appeared to be trumped-up charges, ranging from immigration violations to alleged links with Islamic militants.

Jerusalem (CNN) — An American man has been arrested in Israel for allegedly acquiring explosives stolen from Israel’s military that he planned to use to attack Muslim holy sites, Israeli authorities said Tuesday: here.

Will marine area in Myanmar be protected?


This video says about itself:

Reef Life of the Andaman (full marine biology documentary)

“Reef Life of the Andaman” is a documentary of the marine life of Thailand and Burma (Myanmar).

Scuba diving more than 1000 times from the coral reefs and underwater pinnacles of Thailand‘s Similan Islands, Phuket, Phi Phi Island and Hin Daeng, to Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago and Burma Banks, I encountered everything from manta rays to seahorses, whale sharks to shipwrecks. The 116-minute film features descriptions of 213 different marine species including more than 100 tropical fish, along with sharks, rays, moray eels, crabs, lobsters, shrimps, sea slugs, cuttlefish, squid, octopus, turtles, sea snakes, starfish, sea cucumbers, corals, worms etc..

From Wildlife Extra:

New Marine Protected Area for Myanmar

A new, possible Marine Protected Area in Myanmar’s Myeik archipelago is under consideration by the country’s government, Flora and Fauna International have reported.

Situated in the north-eastern Andaman Sea the archipelago comprises over 800 islands of white sandy beaches and coral reefs teeming with a diverse array of marine life.

Scientific surveys of the area have revealed around 287 species of coral and 365 reef fish species, as well as reefs rich in echinoderms, crustaceans, molluscs and sponges.

The MPA has been proposed in a bid to conserve this unique biodiversity from the serious threats it faces, such as overfishing, destructive fishing methods, and to support sustainable fisheries.

Frank Momberg, FFI Myanmar Programme Director said, “Myanmar’s fisheries resources have declined dramatically over the last decade. However, by establishing a marine protected area network Myanmar will protect important nursery grounds for fish, coral reef and mangrove areas critical to maintaining the livelihood of coastal fishing communities and the fishing industry.”