Good bird news from the Mediterranean


This is a lesser kestrel video from Extremadura in Spain.

Translated from Marieke Dijksman of BirdLife in the Netherlands:

Less deadly traps for migratory birds in the Mediterranean

March 1, 2016 – For migratory birds the Mediterranean is a kind of minefield. They have to survive unscathed illegal hunting, power lines and wind turbines. BirdLife in the Netherlands is committed, together with their BirdLife partners, to provide protection for migratory birds in the Mediterranean. And that is more and more successful.

Successes in Croatia, Turkey and Morocco

Twice a year hundreds of millions of birds migrate along the African-Eurasian flyway. Along the way they must cross natural barriers such as the Mediterranean and the Sahara, as well as threats caused by human activity. On top of that there is the loss of key roosting areas and problems caused by climate change. However, recently there have been achieved good protection results with the project Flyway Conservation in the Mediterranean. Like in Croatia, Turkey and Morocco.

Saving lesser kestrels in Croatia

The lesser kestrel seemed to be extinct in Croatia. Until a small colony was discovered near the island of Rab in 2010. Exactly on the main feeding grounds of the falcons, the government wanted to build a new airport. By direct action of BirdLife Partner BIOM the lesser kestrel was placed on the Croatian Red List and airport plans were abandoned. Important not only for the lesser kestrel, but also for all Croatian birds, because it is the first time a negative impact on birds could not only be shown, but actually led to action. An important and welcome precedent in Croatia.

Protection of sociable lapwings in Turkey

The sociable lapwing is a critically endangered bird. Worldwide there are fewer than 6,000 pairs. From the breeding grounds in Kazakhstan sociable lapwings migrate through Turkey to the main southerly wintering areas. Doa Dernegi, our BirdLife Partner in Turkey, has addressed illegal hunting in the nature reserve Ceylanpnar, one of the most important resting areas of the species. A team of volunteer wardens now watches over the area and it is very successful. Illegal hunting has fallen sharply. Biggest success: the proclamation of a hunting-free zone in Ceylanpnar at the beginning of the hunting season 2015-2016. Sociable lapwings can safely pass through Turkey!

Rehabilitation of salt pans in Morocco

Two successes of GREPOM, the BirdLife partner of our Society in Morocco. GREPOM managed to prevent the construction of a wind farm in the Rif Mountains. The planned wind farm was right on a major route for migratory birds and especially for many raptors it would have become fatal.

GREPOM could convince the local government of Larache, a port city in northern Morocco, to restore the Loukkos salt pans. Which constitute an important stopover for migratory birds and a habitat for waders.

Anti-refugee barbed wire kills wildlife


This video from Australia says about itself:

Tawny Frogmouth barbed wire danger

12 April 2011

Tasmania’s Tawny Frogmouths and other native species are getting caught and injured in barbed wire fences, Bonorong Wildlife Park reports.

From the Washington Post in the USA:

The new anti-refugee fences of Europe are killing wild animals

By Adam Taylor, December 18 2015

This year, a number of European countries did something that only a few years earlier would have been unthinkable: They built fences on their borders in a bid to prevent large groups of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa entering their countries.

These fences may have provided a temporary solution for the countries that put them up, although in most cases the flow of refugees and migrants was only diverted to their neighbors. The barriers are having other, unintended consequences, however: According to a letter filed to the European Commission by the government of Croatia, wild animals are being killed by the fence constructed by its E.U. neighbor Slovenia.

Croatia’s letter argues that Slovenia’s barbed-wire fence is obstructing the migration of animals, violating European legislation about the conservation of natural habitats. According to the Associated Press, deer are the animal most commonly getting caught in the fences, and hunters have been documenting the dead animals they find on the border with social media.

The New Scientist reports that while the death of deer is gaining attention, experts are perhaps more concerned about the effects of the fences on migrating or roaming animals who already have small and endangered populations. Magda Sindicic, a researcher at the University of Zagreb who helped pen the letter from Croatia, told the publication that the effect on the remaining population of the Dinaric lynx could be dramatic.

Lynx use habitats in both countries and cross the border daily to search for food and partners to mate,” Sindicic told the New Scientist. “The population is primarily endangered through inbreeding, so mating and producing fertile offspring is already a challenge for this population, and this fence will make it even harder as it will stop animals from migrating freely across the border.”

Among the other species that could be hurt by the fence are wolves and bears, Sindicic explained. And while Croatia’s complaint focuses on the fence along its border with Slovenia, dead animals have also been documented on the fence built by Hungary along its border with Croatia. The potential for problems has been known for a while, with little action taken so far: In June, Hungarian newspapers reported that the environmental concerns about a fence being built on the Hungarian-Serbian border could lead to the construction being halted, but the fence was completed anyway.

Hungarian regime insults Croatia for ‘insufficient’ anti-refugee xenophobia


This video says about itself:

Refugees break through newly-built border fence in Hungary

12 September 2015

A refugee family breaks through a hole in the wire fence on Hungary’s border with Serbia. Report by Sarah Kerr.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Hungary sends arrested Croat police officers back

Today, 09:41

Hungary has returned to their own country 36 Croatian police officers who were arrested yesterday for accompanying refugees in Hungary. The Croats were arrested because they were armed and because they had brought refugees ‘illegally’ into Hungary.

Also the driver of the train bringing more than a thousand refugees on their way to Austria was arrested.

Agreed

The majority of the approximately 14,000 refugees who yesterday were left by Croatia at the border with Hungary, has arrived in Austria, says correspondent Marcel van der Steen from Croatia. Last night the first buses with refugees arrived in Austria.

Hungary on Monday closed its borders to refugees, but now they seem to work with Croatia to make travel for the continued flow of asylum seekers to Austria possible. Croatia speaks of a coordinated approach with Hungary, where people at the Croatian border may change from Croatian buses to Hungarian buses and are brought directly to Austria.

But the Hungarian authorities call that a “lie” and announce that they will vote against Croatia’s accession to the Schengen area.

The fuss about the refugee train with Croatian supervisors should be seen according to Van der Steen as a political statement by Budapest underscoring their harsh clampdown on the refugee crisis.

A woman and child use a blanket to keep warm as refugees gather on the tracks at the train station in Tovarnik, Croatia. Photograph: Antonio Bronic/Reuters

Slovenian police said on Saturday that 1,287 had arrived as of midnight Friday, of which 483 were from Afghanistan, 470 from Syria and 126 from Iraq: here.

Good refugee news, from The Bike Comes First:

Marco Polo Cycling Team to relaunch as a team for refugees

Sep 17, 2015

The Marco Polo Cycling Team issued a press release today stating their intention to start racing again next year, with a team comprised of refugees, mainly from Eritrea.

NEW EU figures on asylum have spectacularly exploded the lies perpetuated by the Tories and the right-wing media that Britain is being besieged by “swarms” of refugees. Statistics published yesterday by the EU data agency Eurostat show that Britain received just one in 30 of the total number of the asylum claims made by new applicants in EU countries between April and June: here.

Refugees’ plight continues


Hungary, barbed wire and refugees

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

More than 2,000 refugees stranded at Croatian border town

Train that was due to take people west from first town after Serbian border is sitting at station, as Croatia also closes all but one of its road border crossings

Patrick Kingsley in Tovarnik

Friday 18 September 2015 08.07 BST

More than 2,000 refugees were left stranded overnight in a border town near Croatia’s border with Serbia, as Slovenia prevented hundreds of others from leaving north-west Croatia, leading to fears that the latest refugee route into the European Union may turn out to be a dead-end.

Early on Friday morning Croatia also closed seven of its eight road border crossings with Serbia after complaining of being overwhelmed by the arrival of more than 11,000 migrants and refugees.

Refugees began entering Croatia in large numbers on Wednesday, after Hungary closed its borders. Croatia’s prime minister initially said his country was ready to provide a safe passage for people trying to reach Slovenia, and the stability of northern Europe beyond.

But within hours it became clear that Croatia had underestimated the scale of the challenge it had taken on, failing to provide enough transport to speed thousands of newcomers away from Serbia and towards Slovenia. A logjam stretching west to east across northern Croatia was created after Slovenia blocked the onwards transit of refugees, stopping about 150 people from crossing in by train. On Thursday, Slovenia had said it was ready to provide immediate shelter and humanitarian care for 5,000 refugees.

At least 2,000 people were stuck in Tovarnik, the first Croatian town after the border with Serbia. While a specially commissioned train arrived to pick many of them up at about midnight, the train was still waiting in the station at 7am, its 10 carriages packed with about 1,000 restless refugees largely from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

More than 1,000 others were left sleeping on the station platforms, and in the streets of Tovarnik, a small and sleepy rural town that has no hotels. Small children slept on cold stone slabs, and a baby was placed inside a small suitcase to keep it warm. …

As Croatia considered whether to close its border with Serbia entirely, Hungary began building a fence and deploying hundreds of soldiers and police on its border with Croatia. Its prime minister, Viktor Orbán, said the fence would be finished on the 26 miles (41km) stretch of the border not divided by a river by the end of Friday.

Hundreds more refugees arrived at Tovarnik during the night, after being bussed straight from Macedonia to the Croatian border by the Serbian government. Several were not quite sure where they were. “What’s the name of this country?” asked Ali Sadoun, a 40-year-old baker who fled Iraq after receiving a death threat from the militia.

Sitting next to the train-tracks at 4am, one of the night-time arrivals, Syrian undergraduate Zahraa Daoud, spoke out at yet another obstacle being placed in her path. “They don’t want us to pass,” said Daoud, who is travelling with her mother. “Why? We are humans. We are Syrians, and there is a war in our country that even we don’t really understand.”

Zahraa Daoud

But despite her frustration, Daoud also said that she was determined to carry on, whatever the challenges Europe places in front of her – a view often expressed by the protagonists of the continent’s biggest wave of mass-migration since the second world war.

“I don’t have anything to lose, so I fear nothing,” said Daoud, a 23-year-old literature student who asked to be described as from the Ismaili faith.

Daoud added: “I’ve been thinking about leaving for two years. But for a long time I thought: there is still hope [of peace], I will wait. But when you leave home every day and you don’t know whether you’ll see your mum again at night, because you might be killed by a bomb or taken [by a militia], you have to run. So I will not go back. I will run, run, run. Even if they will not allow me to, I will keep on running.”

This video says about itself

Refugees enraged at inhumane treatment as Croatia prepares to close border

18 September 2015

Many of the people hoping to travel through Croatia have instead been taken to camps, on buses provided by the Croatian authorities. And as Mohammed Jamjoom reports from Beli Manastir, for some it has been a frustrating journey.

12 pictures that capture the chaos of Europe’s refugee crisis: here.

TURKEY HAS SPENT ALMOST $8 BILLION ON REFUGEES A Turkish deputy prime minister said the country, which has an “open-door policy” for Syrian refugees, has spent $7.6 billion on over 2.2 million refugees. [Reuters]

Refugee news update


An injured refugee carries a child during clashes with Hungarian riot police at the border crossing with Serbia in Roszke. Photo by Reuters

This photo shows an injured refugee carrying a child during clashes with Hungarian riot police at the border crossing with Serbia in Roszke.

The US journalist Richard Engel ran to the aid of a pregnant woman who collapsed in front of him as he reported on the refugee crisis at the Hungarian border. … Engel then supported her head to keep her breathing and joined aid workers who rushed her off to a makeshift tent for treatment, which was then attacked with tear gas: here.

Refugees seeking new route to safety in Europe could be forced through Croatia minefields: here.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Refugees in Croatia: Hundreds break through police lines after ‘horrendous’ crush at border

‘Everywhere you look children are crying, women are crying’

Adam Withnall

Thursday 17 September 2015

Hundreds of refugees have forced their way through a barricade into Croatia after a desperate standoff with border police.

Just a few dozen police officers had held back an estimated 2,000 refugees in blazing heat at the border town of Tovarnik on Thursday, letting in only handfuls to board buses and trains onwards.

TV news crews reported an increasingly desperate situation, with children pushed to the front of the crowd being crushed against a low metal barricade.

Sky News Stuart Ramsay reported live: “They are getting crushed, it’s a pretty horrendous scene actually now.

Read more:
Refugee crisis timeline: How the crisis has grown
Divisions leave Europe paralysed as borders close to refugees
Refugee crisis: Hunger strike starts at closed Hungarian border

“A very little girl is crying her eyes out being passed over the fence to a riot police officer, and he’s passing her down to her mother.

“Everywhere you look children are crying, women are crying, men are crying, they are all finding this very emotional.”

Moments later, reports came through that the police line had been breached and people were rushing through to heat into Croatia on foot.

People trampled and fell over each other in their rush to get through, according to the Associated Press. A photographer described seeing a man collapse on the ground and dozens injured in the melee.

“This is exactly what Croatia did not want to happen,” Ramsay said. “They just can’t cope, they simply cannot cope with this.”

Croatia has become the new route of choice for refugees desperate to reach the welcome offered to them in western Europe, after Hungary closed its borders and began prosecuting anyone who entered the country “illegally”.

But there remains a great deal of uncertainty surrounding what will happen to refugees inside Croatia itself.

The Croatian government has officially said that any who enter the country must apply for asylum there or be considered illegal immigrants.

But Croatia’s own Prime Minister, Zoran Milanovic, has said it would allow refugees to continue onwards.

“Croatia is entirely ready to receive or direct those people where they want to go, which is obviously Germany or Scandinavian countries,” he said.

Germany’s economy will grow faster because of the million refugees it is helping, study finds. Research published today suggests a 0.6 per cent GDP boost by 2020 and lower inflation: here.

The [British] government has quietly cut money to house and educate orphan child refugees living here.

Demonstrators against arms trade fair in London, England

This photo shows demonstrators against the arms trade fair DSEI in London, England. The second sign from the left points out that, apart from weapons, and torture gear, at the DSEI fair also tear gas is sold, including to the Hungarian goverrnment.

Croatian neo-nazi swastika vandalism on international football pitch


This 12 June 2015 football video is about a Nazi swastika pattern seen on the field during Croatia vs. Italy Euro qualifier.

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

Croatian president calls for swastika perpetrators to be punished

• Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic: ‘This act has inflicted immeasurable damage’
• Large symbol appeared in the turf before Euro 2016 qualifier with Italy

Saturday 13 June 2015 13.18 BST

The president of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, has called for a swift investigation and punishment for the people who imprinted a swastika cross on the pitch in Split, where Croatia drew 1-1 with Italy in a Euro 2016 qualifier on Friday.

“This act has inflicted immeasurable damage on the reputation of Croatian citizens and their homeland all over the world. Therefore, we must finally put a stop to such things,” Grabar-Kitarovic said in a statement released on Saturday. “I condemn in the strongest possible terms the swastika on the pitch. I demand an urgent investigation and a decisive response from the relevant institutions to find and process the perpetrators.”

Croatia played Italy behind closed doors at Split’s Stadion Poljud having been handed a one-match ban for racist chants by their fans in March’s 5-1 home win against Norway in Zagreb. That followed incidents during a 1-1 draw against Italy in Milan last November when flares were hurled on to the pitch.

The swastika sign impregnated in the grass through a chemical agent days earlier became visible during the match. The incident left Croatia players and the national governing body, the HNS, fearing drastic punishment from the Uefa.

“This is a clear attack on football and we will without a doubt be severely punished,” the HNS’s secretary-general, Damir Vrbanovic, said on Saturday. “We have all been slapped in the face by hooligans and it was not an accident, it was a calculated move. The cameras will identify the perpetrators, but the shame will stay,” he said.

The result against Italy left Croatia top of Group H with 14 points from six games, two ahead of Italy and four clear of Norway.