United States ICE officer raped Honduran woman

This 22 July 2018 PBS TV video from the USA says about itself:

While in ICE custody, thousands of migrants reported sexual abuse

As migrant children wait in U.S. immigration detention centers to reunite with their families, public records reveal that in the past decade, thousands of people have reported sexual abuse while in a similar type of immigration custody. Emily Kassie, an investigative reporter and producer with the Marshall Project who obtained the data and spoke to survivors, joins Hari Sreenivasan for more.

‘ICE AGENT RAPED IMMIGRANT FOR YEARS’ An immigration agent threatened a Honduran woman living in Connecticut with deportation if she didn’t have sex with him, then raped her as often as four times a week for seven years, impregnating her three times, the woman says in a federal lawsuit. [AP]

Osprey research in the USA

This 8 June 2015 video from the USA is called Live Chat with Osprey Expert Dr. Paul Spitzer.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

In the 1960s, Ospreys were one of the species hardest hit by DDT. At the time, birding legend Roger Tory Peterson urged a young Paul Spitzer to study the connection. Working in a Connecticut salt marsh he calls his “Osprey garden,” Spitzer has spent five decades learning about the ecological needs of these delightful—and thankfully, common again—raptors. Read the full story here.

30 million birds counted

This video from the USA says about itself:

4 March 2017

White Memorial Conservation Center and Sanctuary is the perfect destination for all ages! We are home to the largest Wildlife Sanctuary in Connecticut (4,000 acres), and house one of New England‘s finest Nature Museums. Walk, bird, ski, snowshoe, attend a program, class or special event. So much happens here every weekend! Visit www.whitememorialcc.org to learn more and review our calendar. Learn more about GBBC below.

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a free, fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations.

Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org. Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world.

Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share. Last year, more than 160,000 participants submitted their bird observations online, creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded.

The 20th annual GBBC will be held Friday, February 17, through Monday, February 20, 2017. Please visit the official website at birdcount.org for more information and be sure to check out the latest educational and promotional resources.

“This count is so fun because anyone can take part —we all learn and watch birds together—whether you are an expert, novice, or feeder watcher. I like to invite new birders to join me and share the experience. Get involved, invite your friends, and see how your favorite spot stacks up.” -Gary Langham, Chief Scientist

Bird populations are always shifting and changing. For example, 2014 GBBC data highlighted a large irruption of Snowy Owls across the northeastern, mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes areas of the United States. The data also showed the effects that warm weather patterns have had on bird movement around the country. For more on the results of the 2016 GBBC, take a look at the GBBC Summary, and be sure to check out some of the images in the 2016 GBBC Photo Contest Gallery.

On the program website participants can explore real-time maps and charts that show what others are reporting during and after the count. Be sure to check out the Explore a Region tool to get an idea of what you can expect to see in your area during the next GBBC.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

60% of World’s Bird Species Counted During Great Backyard Bird Count

The 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, held February 17–20, was bigger than ever with more than 214,000 bird watchers taking part from more than 120 countries. A record-breaking 177,251 checklists have been submitted, 6,090 species have been reported, and almost 30 million individual birds have been counted! Read more here.

Golden-winged, blue-winged warblers in the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

11 June 2011

Blue winged, Golden winged Warbler and Hybrids in Connecticut. ©JimZipp.com

Note that the Blue-winged has yellowish wingbars and the Golden-winged sings a Blue-winged song. Lots of interbreeding in this area and Golden-winged Warblers are rarer every year.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Mixed-wing Warblers: Differences Are Only Feather Deep

In 1835 John James Audubon suspected that Golden-winged Warblers and Blue-winged Warblers might be the same species. More than 180 years later, the most advanced methods of genetic analysis show Audubon was on to something.

A team led by scientists from the Cornell Lab found that, genetically speaking, Golden-winged and Blue-winged warblers are 99.97 percent alike.

Will this affect the conservation strategy for Golden-winged Warblers, one of the fastest-declining songbirds in North America? Read our Living Bird article and find out.

A gene newly associated with the migratory patterns of golden-winged and blue-winged warblers could lend insight into the longstanding question of how birds migrate across such long distances: here.

Rare birds in England today

This video from the USA is called American Golden Plover at Hammonasset Beach State Park, Connecticut.

From Spurn Bird Observatory in England, on Twitter today:

Juvenile American Golden Plover still about on Kilnsea wetland and Easington straight plus Jack Snipe.

Golden-winged warblers’ escape from storm

This video from the USA is about a Golden-winged Warbler singing in Connecticut.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Birds detect approaching storm from 900km away

Infrasound may have alerted warblers to the massive storm, prompting them to fly more than a thousand kilometres to avoid it

A group of songbirds may have avoided a devastating storm by fleeing their US breeding grounds after detecting telltale infrasound waves.

Researchers noticed the behaviour after analysing trackers attached to the birds to study their migration patterns. They believe it is the first documented case of birds making detours to avoid destructive weather systems on the basis of infrasound.

The golden-winged warblers had just returned from South America to their breeding grounds in the mountains of Tennessee in 2013 when a massive storm was edging closer. Although the birds had just completed a migration of more than 2,500km, they still had the energy to evade the danger.

The storm, which spawned more than 80 tornadoes across the US and killed 35 people, was 900km away when the birds, apparently acting independently of one another, fled south, with one bird embarking on a 1,500km flight to Cuba before making the return trip once the storm had passed.

“We looked at barometric pressure, wind speeds on the ground and at low elevations, and the precipitation, but none of these things that typically trigger birds to move had changed,” said David Andersen at the University of Minnesota.

“What we’re left with is something that allows them to detect a storm from a long distance, and the one thing that seems to be the most obvious is infrasound from tornadoes, which travels through the ground.”

The scientists had fitted trackers to 20 golden-winged warblers in 2013. Only nine returned to their breeding ground after migrating to South America. Of those nine, the researchers trapped and analysed the flight histories of five. All took evasive action to avoid the storm.

The birds started to leave their breeding grounds on 27 April 2013, when the storm was whipping up tornadoes in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. The next day, with the storm about 100km from their breeding site, the birds had moved a few hundred kilometres south east. When the storm moved over the study area, battering it with winds of up to 160 kilometres per hour, the warblers were on Florida’s Gulf Coast. One flew on to Cuba.

“In five to six days, they all made this big move around the storm,” Andersen said. “They all went south east in front of the storm, and then let it go by, or moved behind it. It was individual behaviour, they were several hundred kilometres away from each other most of the time.” Details are reported in the journal Current Biology.

The scientists cannot be sure that the birds picked up infrasound waves from the storm, but previous work in pigeons has suggested that birds might use infrasound to help them navigate. Infrasound waves range from about 0.5Hz to 18Hz, below the audible range of humans.

The discovery of the evasive action could be good news, said Andersen. “With climate change increasing the frequency and severity of storms, this suggests that birds may have some ability to cope that we hadn’t previously realised. These birds seemed to be capable of making really dramatic movements at short notice, even just after returning on their northwards migration,” he said.

Had the storm arrived a couple of weeks later, the birds may not have taken flight. By that time, they would have been nesting, and females especially may have been less likely to flee. “It’s hard to say what would happen. It may be more advantageous to survive than stay with a nest that is going to be destroyed anyway,” Andersen said.

“Biologists had not been looking at the use of infrasound in this way, but it certainly makes sense to me,” said Jon Hagstrum at the US Geological Survey in California, who has studied infrasound use by pigeons. “We may find that acoustics are a pretty significant way that birds in general view their environment, much like dogs use olfaction and humans use sight.”

Newtown, USA school massacre

This video from the USA about 27 killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in Newtown Connecticut is called TRIBUTE To Victims List on Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, 14 December 2012.

By Kate Randall in the USA:

School shooting in Connecticut leaves 27 dead, including 20 children

15 December 2012

A gunman walked into an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday morning and opened fire, killing 26, including 20 young children. The shooter was also found dead inside the school of a self-inflicted gunshot.

The horrific event took place at Sandy Hook Elementary, a K-4 school for five- to ten-year-old students. The massacre was the worst in the US since the 2007 rampage at Virginia Tech University, which left 33 dead. The killings follow by less than five months the shooting rampage at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where 12 were killed and 58 injured.

Newtown, a small, affluent New England town about 80 miles northeast of New York City, has been ranked as one of the safest places to live in America. The community attracts families who want to send their children to the town’s well-regarded public schools. Residents, shocked and in mourning, expressed disbelief that this type of tragedy could take place in their town.

The shooter has been tentatively identified by law enforcement officials as 20-year-old Adam Lanza. There was initially some confusion about his identity, as he was carrying the identification of his brother, Ryan Lanza, 24, of Hoboken, New Jersey. Ryan Lanza reportedly told authorities that his brother had a history of mental health issues. The elder brother is not a suspect.

Shortly after 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, local police received a call from Sandy Hook Elementary where the rampage was under way. According to a Connecticut State Police news briefing, the shootings took place in two rooms in a single section of the school.

The Hartford Courant reported that one entire classroom of children was unaccounted for. Eighteen children were pronounced dead at the scene and two died after being transported to the hospital. One wounded victim remained hospitalized as of Friday evening.

Children, who huddled in the corners of classrooms, reported hearing loud booms. Survivors escaped the carnage in groups—holding hands, many crying—escorted from the school by teachers. Students reported that they were told to cover their eyes and not look around, apparently in an effort to prevent them from seeing the dead and wounded.

Six adults were killed, although not necessarily all at Sandy Hook. The school principal, Dawn Hochsprung, was shot and killed at the school. According to a law enforcement official not authorized to speak publicly, kindergarten teacher Nancy Lanza, 52, the shooter’s mother, was among the victims. The body of an as yet unnamed adult male was found at the Newtown home owned by Nancy and Peter Lanza, Adam and Ryan Lanza’s father.

At least three weapons were recovered at the school shooting scene, including a .223-caliber assault rifle from the back of a car and two semiautomatic handguns found near Lanza’s body. Witnesses reported that some 100 shots or so were fired.

“It’s not a simplistic scene,” police spokesman Vance commented. “We will be here through the night, through the weekend. There is a great deal of work that has to be done.” He reported that the murder scene was so gruesome that first responders were provided counseling. “This was a tragic, horrific scene they encountered,” he said.

However, virtually nothing in the way of explanation has been offered in the nonstop media coverage of the shootings, or in the various comments of police and government officials, who uniformly term the deadly chain of events as “inexplicable” and “senseless”.

President Barack Obama made a brief statement from the White House Friday afternoon. “We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years,” he said. “And each time I learn the news I react not as a president, but as anybody else would—as a parent.” He made no effort to account for the events, which his own comment acknowledged were a persistent feature of American life.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s comments proceeded along similar lines: “School shootings are always incomprehensible and horrific tragedies,” he said. “But words fail to describe today’s heartbreaking and savage attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School.”

What intellectual bankruptcy! No US government official or media personality has the mental capacity or courage to ask why these horrible tragedies occur in America with such heartbreaking predictability. The public has barely adjusted itself to one horror when the next one takes place. Even as the media reports Friday’s incident, everyone knows that it is only a matter of time before the next atrocity.

Details of the tragic events in Connecticut are still emerging. In particular, little is known about what could have driven the shooter to plan and carry out such an atrocity. But statements to the effect that such tragedies are always incomprehensible block any examination of the processes that make possible such an antisocial explosion.

Whatever the immediate personal circumstances of each perpetrator, and such circumstances—psychological alienation, mental illness—of course play a role, the regularity of these mass killings expresses the profound sickness of American society, afflicted by social tensions that can find no progressive outlet.

The same figures that speak of “inexplicable tragedies” preside over extreme levels of violence both at home and abroad. Obama is the first US president to openly claim the right to select and order assassinations, including of US citizens. The ruling elite prosecutes an unending series of wars and military invasions, with hundreds of billions of dollars going to the giant killing machine. How could any expression of violence in America today be entirely “incomprehensible”?

At home, the American population is subjected to a culture of violence, not only in the form of police shootings and brutality, but an assault on democratic rights. While the financial elite continues to amass record profits, growing numbers of working families are plunged into poverty.

On the surface, such social tensions do not seem to be part of the reality of a town like Newtown, Connecticut, but they found terrible expression there Friday.

James Dietter, 26, lives in the neighborhood where one of the victims was found. His mother works in the school system. Dietter told the Hartford Courant. “This is the idyllic New England hamlet… there was a bit of a magical insulation or feeling that tragedy won’t happen here. Now it has, and, unfortunately, I think it is going to define this town.”

The author also recommends:

Aurora, Colorado tragedy: The latest mass shooting in the US
[21 July 2012]

The Columbine High School Massacre: American Pastoral…American Berserk
[20 April 2009]

More than 30 dead at Virginia Tech
[17 April 2007]

See also here.

A series of bloody incidents and preemptive arrests took place across the United States in the three days following the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, demonstrating that the conditions that produced the horrible tragedy are by no means unique: here.

Walmart has worked to change state gun laws and make the possession and use of firearms even easier: here.

U.S. Shooting Deaths Since Sandy Hook Top 100: here.

FBI: MASS SHOOTINGS ON RISE According to the FBI, the number of mass shootings is increasing, and these horrific events are often over before SWAT or other specialized units arrive on the scene. [HuffPost]

REPORT: 100 SCHOOL SHOOTINGS SINCE NEWTOWN “Nearly 100 school shootings have occurred in the two years since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, according to a report released on Tuesday. The report, sponsored by anti-gun violence groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, counted at least 95 school shootings in 33 states since Dec. 14, 2012, when a gunman killed 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut. According to the data, previewed by The Huffington Post, each week averages about one school shooting.” [HuffPost]

SANDY HOOK PRINCIPAL’S DAUGHTER: TAKE A MOMENT TO CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR “As December 14 approaches, I choose to cherish the memories like this. I choose to remember the good times, the smiles and the laughter. I choose to honor my mother every second of every day. I can only hope that she is looking down, smiling and loving me. I strive every day to make her proud of the little girl that she poured her heart and soul into raising. This year, I ask you all to honor my mother’s life with action. I ask you all to take one small step to honor her, and all of the others whose lives were taken far too soon by gun violence. Make a phone call to your legislators, sign a petition, contribute to a gun violence prevention organization, go to a rally, host a house party — help me fight the epidemic of gun violence that kills 86 Americans every day. Help me prevent other families from feeling the constant pain that I feel every second of every day.” [HuffPost]

A MAJOR ADVERTISER HAS PULLED ITS NBC ADS OVER MEGYN KELLY‘S ALEX JONES INTERVIEW J.P. Morgan Chase has pulled its local and digital ads from all NBC News programming until the interview airs Sunday. A Sandy Hook mom and the Twittersphere is weighing in, and Sandy Hook parents have dropped Kelly as the host for an upcoming gala. Jones’ InfoWars believes the “deep state” sent Kelly to take him down. To recap: Here is a rundown of the most outrageously offensive things Jones has said. And HuffPost’s Michael Calderone asks if NBC had “a good enough reason” to book the controversial figure. [HuffPost]

After Hurricane Sandy, still more misery?

This video from New York City in the USA is called Staten Island tries to bounce back after Sandy.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Millions still without power as temperature nears freezing in Eastern US

5 November 2012

One week after Hurricane Sandy pummeled the Eastern Seaboard of the United States with high winds and a record storm surge, nearly two million homes and businesses remain without power in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut as temperatures fall near the freezing mark.

Fear is growing that Sandy’s death toll, already topping 100, will be augmented by further fatalities, caused not by natural disaster but rather the inability and unwillingness of all levels of government and a social system driven by private profit to mount an adequate relief effort for the millions of people left without electricity, heat, water and food.

On Sunday New York City’s billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that between 30,000 and 40,000 New Yorkers would be left homeless by the storm for a lengthy period, the bulk of them residents of the city’s public housing developments. Much of this housing, he said, will be “out of commission for a very long time.”

Bloomberg said that the numbers left homeless were comparable to those recorded in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, noting that many then left that city for Houston, Texas.

These comments raised the very real possibility that the ruling establishment in New York may well use the devastation of Hurricane Sandy as a pretext for eliminating a section of the city’s public housing, which layers of the financial and corporate oligarchy have long regarded as an anachronism and an impediment to profitable real estate development.

In many of the housing projects, conditions have gone from bad to worse after nearly a week without power, heat and water. Even where lights have been restored, as in the developments on Manhattan’s lower east side, heat remains off and residents are attempting to warm themselves by turning on stove-top burners or boiling water, raising the threat of fire or asphyxiation.

The overwhelming sentiment heard over and over again throughout the region is that victims of the storm have been left behind in working-class and poor areas, while unlimited resources were lavished on getting Wall Street up and running with full power a day after the hurricane ended.

Bloomberg was the target of these sentiments Sunday when he sought to make a brief disaster tour of the Rockaway section of Queens, which has been left without power since the storm. Residents were pushed back by his police escort when they began yelling, “When are we going to get some help?” and questioning what was going to happen to older people trapped in high-rise public housing. The mayor was hastily hustled out of the area by his bodyguards.

The incident took place just a day after Bloomberg was forced to suddenly announce the cancellation of the New York Marathon, an annual event that has been held for more than 40 years. Public anger over the social inequality and class divide that pervades New York focused on the event, particularly after news reports that generators were being set up in Central Park for media tents and other facilities related to the race, while truckloads of food and water were arriving for the runners. People in devastated areas of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island and beyond demanded to know where their generators, food and water were.

The anger was exacerbated by the fact that the race’s starting point was in Staten Island, where the bulk of the city’s 41 deaths have taken place, and where the bodies of two little boys swept out of their mother’s arms by the storm surge were recovered only on Thursday.

It is still not entirely clear what caused Bloomberg to suddenly reverse himself only hours after he had insisted that the race was necessary to give New Yorkers something “to cheer about” and to boost business. It has been reported, however, that the city’s police commissioner, Ray Kelly, had weighed in heavily in favor of calling off the event. No doubt Kelly was receiving reports from the commanders of the army of police sent to maintain order in the devastated parts of the city that conditions were turning into a social powder keg that could be ignited by fury over the marathon.

Bloomberg on Sunday urged people without heat to go to warming centers and shelters, warning, “You can die from being cold.” However, people in the affected neighborhoods have reported that many of these centers are already overflowing, without room to sleep or enough food to give those coming for help.

Utility companies have given no precise timetable for when power will be restored, with reports that in the more hard-hit areas it could be off for as long as two weeks or more.

Meanwhile, still another storm is set to strike the region by the middle of this week, bringing heavy rains and wind as well as more coastal flooding.

The New York Times noted Sunday that even after power is restored and repairs are completed, the region’s infrastructure will remain “just as vulnerable to the next monster storm,” rendered all the more likely and inevitable by climate change and the increasing frequency of extreme weather.

From Associated Press today:

TRENTON, N.J. — Forecasters are tracking another coastal storm that threatens cleanup and recovery efforts in New York and New Jersey after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.

The National Weather Service says the nor’easter could hit the region on Wednesday into Thursday.

The storm could produce strong winds, heavy rain and cause moderate tidal flooding along the coast, Raritan Bay and lower Delaware Bay.

Buildings and trees weakened by Sandy would be vulnerable to additional damage.

The storm would also hamper efforts to restore electricity that was lost during Sandy. Meanwhile, temperatures have dropped in the region.

New York after Sandy: Lights on in Wall Street while others suffer: here.

With tens of thousands homeless and hundreds of thousands still without power from Hurricane Sandy, the Northeast of the United States was hit by another storm Wednesday night: here.

The end of the current generation of environmental satellites will likely produce a gap lasting up to four years, in which crucial data used in predicting the intensity of hurricanes will not be collected: here.

J.A. Myerson, In These Times: Hurricane Sandy struck the Bay Parkway Community Job Center, New York City’s only center for day laborers, and the NYPD continues to deny entrance to the area. This has forced workers to go back to street corners: here.

Poem on Hurricane Sandy: here.