Will beached harbour porpoise survive?


This video from the Netherlands says about itself:

Harbour porpoise Lene

This video shows how we transported a stranded porpoise in our special dolphin ambulance on February 28th 2016. The porpoise’s skin can dry out quickly when they’re not in the water, so we continuously had to keep her wet during transport. To keep her eyes moist we used eye drops. In the video you can also see short medical research that took place in our rehabilitation centre after arrival. Because of exhaustion and illness the porpoise, who’s called Lene, is not able to swim by herself yet. She is constantly supported by people from our team. We’ll regularly post updates on porpoise Lene on our Facebook page.

More about porpoise Lene is here. She had beached in the Wadden Sea in Germany; and was then brought to the rehab center in the Netherlands.

Good grey seal news from Heligoland island


This video from Wales is called Atlantic Grey Seal Pup.

Translated from Zeezoogdieren.org in the Netherlands today:

On Heligoland between November 2015 and late February 2016 as many as 317 gray seal pups were born. An increase of 70 pups compared to the previous season. According to experts, an absolute record.

German language report on this: here.

Germany, refugees, xenophobia


This video says about itself:

Germany: Pro-refugee activists decry planned Asylum Package measures in Berlin

16 February 2016

Hundreds of people gathered in front of the LaGeSo registration and reception centre for refugees in Berlin, Tuesday, to protest against new asylum laws proposed by the German government, known as Asylum Package II.

By Victor Grossman in Germany:

Thursday 18th February 2016

VICTOR GROSSMAN is worried by the rising right, but has hope in Die Linke

“Shoot them down!” That’s one answer to the problem of refugees and immigrants entering Germany, clearer even than any Donald Trump-style wall.

It was offered by Frauke Petry, head of Alternative for Germany (AfD), the fast-growing party which now, at 12 per cent nationally, has moved up into third place. It’s outstripped the Greens at 9-11 per cent and the Left party (Die Linke) at 8-10 per cent.

Backing up Petry was her deputy Beatrix von Storch, who wrote online: “That’s the law. People coming out of Austria have no right of asylum. And those on duty at the border may use their firearms … against people who resist repeated orders to halt by trying to flee.” When a journalist asked if this applied to women and children she answered approvingly: “Ja.”

Her response shocked so many that she backtracked, claiming that her finger had slipped on the mouse; she hadn’t really meant it after all. But Storch and Petry had indeed quoted a West German law of 1961. Sarcasm went viral about the troubles of a Storch (German for stork) with a mouse, but also about the years of reproach against GDR border guards for invoking a very similar law.

Their words — though lamely retracted — were no slips of the tongue, finger or mouse, but well calculated to appeal to widespread, growing fears and hatred toward “invading foreigners,” especially “Islamists.”

For a while most of the media supported Angela Merkel’s surprising statement last summer that all refugees were welcome. But the worst of the gutter press and, a bit more cautiously, many on TV now dwell increasingly on unpleasant difficulties in integrating and housing over a million arrivals and stridently report any crimes or misdemeanours committed by men with foreign sounding names.

Episodes like the attacks on New Year’s Eve, though probably not by recent immigrants, provided a field day for those with racist sentiments — and the AfD kept growing, ever bigger, ever more dangerous.

Its Pegida soulmates in Dresden (if such people have any kind of souls) still march every Monday, though recently with diminishing numbers.

Their attempts to go European — with rallies in Warsaw, Amsterdam, Prague and Milan — almost unanimously fizzled, with only a few dozen, at most a few hundred, adherents scowling angrily at their adversaries.

This was good news. But over 10 per cent would vote for Pegida if it fields candidates. If it doesn’t, most would vote for the very similar AfD. There is a marked indirect result; in Bavaria, which sits on all entry portals from the south, its strong, separate sister party of Merkel’s CDU always pushes from further right.

Worried about losing ground to the AfD, it is making constant demands that immigration rules be toughened.

Merkel’s party, beset by its tough Bavarian siblings and facing three important state elections in March, is anxiously watching its popularity slip downward and signs of mutiny against Merkel’s hitherto unchallenged rule.

It has been bowing to the pressure and dragging its limp Social Democratic partners with it.

There were many quarrels: how many refugees should be sent back to Algeria, Afghanistan, Sudan or Syria? How quickly?

Many are unmarried men, many others are young husbands hoping to fetch wives and children they left behind. How many may do so? How many years should they wait?

How many of the several thousand unaccompanied children must wait two years before their parents can join them?

Die Linke, though also uncertain about such complex matters, stresses that the wars and poverty causing the immigration must be confronted. It opposes sending German airborne surveillance planes over Syria and demands an end to weapon sales to all governments involved. It opposes a one-sided policy blaming only [Syria] while backing Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, who stoke the misery and keep bombing Kurds and Yemenis.

Progressives, though (quite uniquely) approving of Merkel’s earlier humanitarian words, were sceptical about her deeds. When she said: “If Europe fails on the question of refugees, it won’t be the Europe we wished for,” they wondered what kind of Europe that might be.

Thinking of her strangulation of Greece and general “austerity” policy for poorer counties, poorer mostly thanks to German wealth, they were hardly euphoric.

Pressure from the AfD and its allies pushes the whole political Establishment rightwards, rather like Trump. Could we see anything here like the US’s “Bernie revolution” and its euphoria?

Some leaders and members of Die Linke fought hard on many issues despite media treatment nastier than any against Sanders (as yet). But nobody has achieved anything like his charisma.

Did a candidate appear on the horizon or, more precisely, on the stage of Berlin’s Volksbuehne theater on February 9?

Yanis Varoufakis, the motorcycling former Greek finance minister (who left the Syriza government after it capitulated to the troika) called for a new start, not just in Greece but in all of Europe.

He shared the stage with many leftists, such as Linke co-chair Katja Kipping and Podemos politician Miguel Crespo Urban.

But not all were fully convinced of his vision. Unlike some on the left, he wishes to “save” the EU. His main call is for transparency and video coverage of European Union activities along with large-scale democratisation.

In 2006 the audacious young Pirate party, with its logo flag boldly billowing, cast anchor in Berlin. Its defense of internet freedom and transparent democracy was so attractive that it soon won almost 9 per cent of the vote and 15 seats in the legislature and spread to other parts of Germany.

But as with pirate crews of yore it was soon rent by quarrels; a few sailed away while others quit political seafaring altogether.

Some, in their often daring apparel and hairdos, stayed bravely on. Most conspicuously, the head Pirate in Berlin’s legislature dug deeply and bravely into the dunghill of incompetence and corruption which has turned the new hub airport — planned to open in 2012 but now due, just maybe, in 2017 — into a national joke.

But he too, noting that the party has long stagnated at 3 per cent and can hardly remain in office after September, decided to abandon ship with 34 fellow Pirates and, most interestingly, to support the Linke. What this may mean is uncertain.

Some in the Berlin Linke hope for renewed strength from young people and want to join with the Greens in replacing the CDU in a new coalition with the SPD.

Is that a Varoufakis direction? Others recall with worried melancholy that every time Die Linke has joined a coalition in Germany it ended up weaker than before. Yes, there are some good people here, but a Bernie Sanders or two would be a big help.

On Tuesday evening, several hundred people, including many young people and refugees, demonstrated in Berlin in front of the State Office for Health and Social Affairs against the recent tightening up of the asylum procedures: here.

German historian calls for harsher measures against refugees: here.

News reports from the start of the week were difficult to bear. The reports of racist attacks on a bus of incoming refugees in the Saxon community of Clausnitz, Germany, were repugnant. But even worse were the cynicism and hypocrisy of politicians and commentators: here.

Shots fired at refugee building in eastern Germany. First the building was flooded. Then stones were thrown at windows. Now bullet holes adorn a building planned for housing refugees in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt: here.

Terror against pro-refugee Germans: here.

A leaked election manifesto has revealed that Germany’s vote-winning new anti-immigrant party has plans for draconian laws which would discriminate against handicapped children, single mothers, and the mentally ill – and oblige history teachers to end a perceived “over-emphasis” on the Nazi era in schools. The radical proposals are contained in an election manifesto produced by the right-wing populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, which made sweeping gains in three state elections last weekend in a show of public opposition to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy: here.

While the success of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in three state elections March 13 horrified many workers and young people, politicians and the media are now courting the far-right party: here.

‘Women refugees sexually harassed by Cologne ‘security’ mercenaries’


This video says about itself:

Freedom from Violence for Refugee Women | Women’s Refugee Commission

1 May 2015

Violence against women and girls doesn’t end when they stop running. But refugee women have a right to live free from violence. For more than 25 years, we’ve listened. We’ve been their advocates. So their voices are heard. So they can rebuild their lives

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Women refugees in Cologne harassed sexually’

Today, 13:01

Female refugees in a camp in Cologne say that women are sexually harassed by the security guards. Yesterday fifty refugee women talked about this with the police after a demonstration. An open letter by the women raising the alarm was put by several German media on the Internet.

According to the women they are filmed when they are showering or when they are breastfeeding. They also say that some women were forced violently into sexual intercourse.

Too scared

In the letter the refugee women said that they can hardly estimate how many women are victims of the practices. “Many of us are too scared to talk about it”, it says. According to the women, there is a team of security officers consisting of nine men.

Cologne police are investigating the allegations.

Some of the abused persons are said to be minor girls.

From The Local in Germany today about this, mentioning the guards are not government employees, but private mercenary employees, like many prisons etc. are privatized:

Refugee women ‘abused by camp security guards

The women meanwhile accuse employees at the security firm which runs the emergency shelter of filming or photographing them while they shower or while they breastfeed.

The security personnel ambush the women and try and convince them to have sex with them, the letter claims.

One young Syrian woman, who has been living in the sports hall for slightly more than a month, told the Kölnische Stadt Anzeiger “one asked me if I’d go with him, saying he wanted to be alone with me. When I told him I was taken and I wasn’t interested, he told me I’d soon be kicked out.”

The woman was one of around 70 asylum seekers who showed up in front of the Office for Migration and Refugees to hand in two letters of complaint.

The mercenary corporation at this refugee camp is called Adlerwache, ‘Eagle Guard’. Eagles are beautiful birds. However, humans often use them as metaphors for predatory and violent behaviour.

Somehow, I am reminded of the abuse of eagle images in Adolf Hitler’s nazi party.

Nazi coin with eagle

The headline about this Cologne issue in German weekly Der Spiegel is: Frauen werfen Sicherheitsdienst sexuelle Belästigung vor. ‘Sicherheitsdienst’ means literally ‘[so called] security service.’ ‘Sicherheitsdienst’, often abbreviated as SD, was also the name of the ‘security’ service of Hitler’s SS.

This 2014 German video from the Cologne region is about private ‘security’ employees abusing refugees then.

What will all those racists who suddenly, after New Year’s Eve in Cologne, discovered that they oppose sexual harassment of women, say now about this? Will all white ‘security’ guards now be banned from swimming pools, like happened to refugees in Germany, in Austria and almost in Belgium? Though it turned out that the Cologne crimes were overwhelmingly by non-refugees? And that Syrian refugees present there had helped to stop the crimes?

My guess is these extremely recent opponents of crimes against women will be extremely silent on this. Like they are extremely silent about the recent sexual harassment of Belgian TV reporter Esmeralda Labye by white German men during the Cologne carnival.

The numerous sexual assaults against women on the night of New Year’s Eve in Cologne and other German cities have sparked a big debate in the last months. Unfortunately the argument has been hijacked by the far-right, distorted and used to justify the anti-immigration agenda. The discussion revolves around hatefully attacking immigrants and European muslims rather than the effective measures for the victims of sexual assault. Let’s refocus the discussion: here.

Cologne crimes and neo-nazi propaganda


This video from Germany says about itself:

Germany: Syrian refugees rally against sexual violence in Cologne

16 January 2016

A group of Syrian refugees held a rally protesting sexual violence against women in Cologne on Saturday, after a series of alleged sexual attacks shook the city on New Year’s Eve.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Cologne sex assaults: Muslim rape myths fit a neo-Nazi agenda

One newspaper said the EU referendum was about the safety and security of British women

Nabila Ramdani

Saturday 13 February 2016 21:03 BST

Dark myths about sexual assaults in Cologne came into sharp focus last week when a female television journalist was attacked live on air. Esmeralda Labye, a reporter from Belgium, was covering the German city’s annual carnival when three men variously touched her breasts, kissed her and simulated intercourse behind her back.

It followed claims of multiple sex crimes on women around the city’s station on New Year’s Eve, when refugees were blamed. This allowed conspiracy theorists to outline their most starkly racist fantasies, painting a picture of demonic brown-skinned Muslims fleeing war zones to defile white European womanhood.

This time, however, Labye’s cameraman captured the absolute truth: footage shows white European males from overwhelmingly Christian Germany molesting her. Cologne was full of Caucasian drunks acting with macho abandon.

After the events of New Year’s Eve, one commentator specifically cited uneducated “youths from Afghanistan and Syria” as the culprits, expanding the global threat to one posed by “several hundred thousand young Muslim males”. More ambitiously still, the whole Cologne affair was linked to Brexit, as we were told by one newspaper: “The EU referendum is about nothing less than the safety and security of British women – and that means we must get out of Europe.”

On Friday, the Cologne prosecutor Ulrich Bremer told me that, of the 59 suspects pinpointed so far, only four are from war-torn countries (Syria and Iraq), only 14 are in custody, and nobody has yet been charged. Nearly 600 hours of CCTV reveals very little, and there is no evidence whatsoever that the alleged attacks were planned in advance.

The refugee-as-rapist construct is the kind that has been used to demonise people throughout history. In the 1930s Cologne’s Jews were described as Untermenschen (inferior people) menacing European culture, before 11,000 were murdered during the Holocaust by “racially pure” Aryans, many of them beer-swilling Christians.

Merging racism into a wider discussion about law and order, feminism and even the future of the EU project does not make it any less objectionable. Brown men are not inherently more misogynistic or brutal than white men, and Muslims are just as likely to be family-orientated, peaceful citizens as their counterparts from other religious and cultural heritages.

Neo-Nazi groups such as Germany’s Pegida – an organisation becoming increasingly active in Britain – instead jump on the propaganda, using sacred half-truths about Cologne to spread hatred and violence. In their world, victims like Labye – white and blonde-haired – mean nothing if they are not prepared to scapegoat and lie in the cause of protecting European “civilisation” from the dark invaders.

Cologne: Three out of 58 men arrested over mass sex attack on New Year’s Eve were refugees from Syria or Iraq: here.

Wigeon, long-tailed tits and robin


This video from Germany is about long-tailed tits.

Today, to the park south-east of the city.

In a meadow: grey lag geese, Canada geese, Egyptian geese. And mute swans.

Grey herons and great egrets flying and standing.

About a hundred wigeon swimming and on canal banks.

A robin in a bush.

A group of long-tailed tits and a great tit in a tree with catkins.

Mallards and male and female tufted ducks in a canal.

A pheasant.

A jay in a tree.