Racist attack on drowned refugee child Aylan Kurdi

Drowned Aylan Kurdi on a Turkish beach

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Canada: Aylan Kurdi‘s aunt slams ‘disgusting’ cartoon

Saturday 16th January 2016

THE aunt of drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi slammed French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Thursday for printing a racist cartoon comparing him to the refugees accused of molesting women in Cologne.

Most of the Cologne accused are not refugees.

The cartoon, in the latest edition of the magazine, counterposes the heart-rending image of the boy’s body washed up on a Turkish beach last year with two ape-faced men chasing screaming women.

The caption asks: “What would little Aylan have become if he had grown up? A bum groper in Germany.”

Aylan’s Canadian-resident aunt Tima Kurdi, who pleaded in vain with her adopted country’s former Tory government to grant the family asylum, called the caricature “disgusting.”

“I hope people respect our family’s pain,” she told CBC News. “It’s a big loss to us.”

“We’re not the same anymore after this tragedy. We’re trying to forget a little bit and move on with our life. But to hurt us again, it’s not fair.”

Four more children were found dead yesterday in the Aegean sea.

With a foul attack on Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old boy whose drowning last year off the coast of Turkey became a symbol of the terrible human costs of the war in Syria, France’s satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo joined the growing racist campaign against Middle East refugees in Europe: here.

In a brief editorial published Wednesday, the New York Times solidarizes itself fully with the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel as it exploits the media hysteria whipped up over alleged sexual harassment attributed to immigrants in Cologne, Germany in order to mount a crackdown against refugees fleeing the successive and ongoing imperialist wars in the Middle East: here.

WASN’T Charlie Hebdo once something to do with the left, loosely a product of a previous upsurge of social struggle many years ago? Yes it was. So were Sir Oswald Mosley, Benito Mussolini, Georges Sorel… So, I am afraid that that excuse is no mitigation and that the long screeds which point to anti-Establishment articles the publication has run in the last half-century are fundamentally misplaced: here.

Polar bears and research in Canadian Arctic

This 2015 video is called Polar Bears / Documentary (English/HD).

From the Wildlife Conservation Society:

Going to Need a Tougher Buoy

January 5, 2016

The time a polar bear temporarily sunk important research equipment

The top of the world is warming at almost twice the rate of the rest of the planet and scientists there are grappling with what that means for local wildlife.

For instance, as the ice retreats and shipping in the area increases, how will it impact resident marine mammals?

Answering such a question in the far north comes with unique challenges, though.

Our Arctic Beringia Program faced one such obstacle last year. As Dr. Stephen Insley detailed on WCS Canada’s blog, the team had placed a buoy in Sachs Harbor, in the western Canadian Arctic, to record underwater noise.

This would give a better picture of what the local whales and seals were up to and help the team better understand how the animals might be impacted by increased human activity.

At some point, before Insley and the team could retrieve the data they had recorded though, the buoy disappeared underwater.

Suspicion fell on polar bears.

The disappearance coincided with a sighting on the outskirts of the nearby town. The local safety officer had chased two bears out of the area and one was seen swimming off in the direction of the buoy.

Eventually, after hours of dredging the water to no avail, Insley and a local colleague (who also happened to be said safety officer) struck research gold—they hooked onto the rope that was attached to the buoy and pulled it up.

On it, they had their smoking gun: water poured out of the busted float from a pair of teeth-sized holes, which were separated by roughly the width of a polar bear‘s jaw.

Pro-refugee Dutch board game

This 2005 hip hop music video from Sweden about refugees is Fort Europa by LoopTroop, with lyrics.

The new Fortress Europe board game, photo Maurice Vos/RTV Drenthe

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Board game to better understand refugees

Today, 09:30

What happens to an asylum seeker during his flight? What choices does he have to make? Refugee Support in the Northern Netherlands has developed a new board game, Fort Europa [Fortress Europe]. A game to better understand refugees.

At the invitation of the Centre for Visual Arts in Assen ten participants this Thursday put themselves in the shoes of a refugee. Playfully they learned what a refugee runs up against, what it takes to successfully leave one’s own country and the choices he has to make in order to enter the country of destination.

Good reasons

“Fortress Europe is a game where players get information on what having to flee means. Refugees are not refugees for the heck of it, they often have good reasons,” said Monique Berends of Refugee Support in the Northern Netherlands to RTV Drenthe.

Istahil Adulahi is one of the contestants who have played the game. She fled 20 years ago from Somalia to the Netherlands. “I think it’s funny to remember it this way. Gosh, was I really through all that?”

People traffickers

According to Abulahi the game is realistic. “I have also had to deal with people smugglers. I had no idea where I was going and had to blindly trust those people.”

Various departments of Refugee Support in the Netherlands have the game. Associations and schools can apply for the game and play it together with an employee companion of Refugee Support.

Warm welcome for refugees in Canada: here.

Syrian refugee family reunited in B.C. after more than 10 years apart. A Syrian man who has been waiting more than 10 years for his sons to join him in Canada had a tearful reunion with them at Vancouver International Airport on Thursday: here.

See this 10 December 2015 video.

Thousands of beluga whales, video

This video says about itself:

23 November 2015

Season 16 Episode 2: Drone Art

Arctic Watch photographer Nansen Weber undertook the mission of filming on the Northwest Passage with the use of a drone.

Nansen spent four weeks filming at Arctic Watch and around Somerset Island. This video aims to share some of the magical wonders of the Northwest Passage – the beluga congregation of Cunningham Inlet, the polar bears living in the environment and the unique landscapes of this hidden gem in Canada.

Nansen Weber is the first to film high Arctic wildlife with the use of a drone.

Shot uniquely on the coast of Somerset Island, this video showcases one of the last beluga nurseries on earth – Cunningham Inlet. Nearly two thousand whales congregate annually within this inlet.

Beluga whales are rare and elusive — so how best to track them? One group of scientists decided to use satellite tags — and now, after fifteen years worth of data to hand, they’ve reported their results: here.

Bald eagle saved in Canada

Michael and Neil Fletcher pose for a selfie with the bald eagle they rescued near Windy Lake Facebook

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Canadian brothers take selfie with bald eagle after saving trapped bird’s life

The siblings were hunting for grouse when they came across the bird caught in a claw trap

Kate Ng

29 November 2015

A pair of Canadian brothers took a ‘selfie’ with a bald eagle after rescuing the bird from a trap.

Brothers Michael and Neil Fletcher, from Ontario, were hunting for grouse in Windy Lake, Onaping when they found the bird of prey caught in a claw trap.

Michael told local newspaper The Sudbury Star they were driving through an open area when Neil thought he saw an eagle. After exploring the area on foot, they saw movement and walked toward it, where they found the huge bird on the ground.

The eagle had one of its talons stuck in a claw trap, a type of trap used by fur harvesters.

Michael said: “It was attached to a stake and the eagle was trying to fly up, but it only had a foot of slack in the chain.”

He explained how the huge bird calmed down when they covered its head with a hoodie and held on to it while working on the trap’s release mechanism.

“It calmed right down,” he said. “It didn’t really fuss or give any sign of aggression. I don’t know if it knew we were helping him, or what.”

After the bird was freed, the brothers removed the hood and held it up to take a selfie. Michael filmed Neil hoisting it up to shoulder height and giving it a push. The eagle flapped off into a nearby tree, where it stayed till the men left.

“I was surprised by the size, and that it’s such a beautiful bird,” said Michael. “When you see the eyes up close, they’re really amazing.”

They later contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, who thanked them for freeing the eagle and said they would be contacting the trapper about setting the trap up differently.