Cuckoos’ eggs in great reed warbler nests, new study


This is is a great reed warbler video from Hungary.

From Bird Study:

When should Common Cuckoos Cuculus canorus lay their eggs in host nests?

01 Feb 2016

Abstract

Capsule: Brood parasitic Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus chicks hatch earlier than the nestlings of their Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus hosts, but hatching priority is less consistent when Cuckoo eggs are laid after the onset of host incubation.

Aim: To reveal by field observations what the optimal stage is for Cuckoos to lay their eggs in relation to the host laying cycle to ensure prior hatching of the parasitic chicks.

Methods: We monitored the hatching of Cuckoo chicks in relation to the hosts’ laying stage at which the Cuckoo eggs appeared and also monitored host incubation behaviour.

Results: Great Reed Warblers incubated more on day 5 after the host’s onset of laying relative to day 3. All Cuckoo eggs hatched earlier than hosts when they were laid prior to the onset of host incubation (day 4). Cuckoo eggs also maintained hatching priority in about 2/3 of the nests when laid on days 5–6.

Conclusions: Most Cuckoo eggs are laid prior to the onset of host incubation and this, together with other adaptive mechanisms, ensures the prior hatching of Cuckoo eggs. Cuckoo eggs laid after the onset of incubation lose the advantage of prior hatching in approximately 30% of nests.

Nazi crimes whitewash in Hungary


This video says about itself:

Holocaust Survivor Chava Fried- Arrow Cross takeover in Hungary

15 October 2014

Born in 1922 Chava Fried grew up in Vac, Hungary. The war started for her with the German occupation in March 1944. After escaping to Budapest she lived under an assumed identity and worked in a factory. She befriended one of the owners of the factory who hid Chava until liberation in January 1945. Chava moved to Canada in 1953.

From Associated Press:

Jewish Group Condemns Far-Right WWII Remembrance in Hungary

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Feb 6, 2016, 3:57 PM ET

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has condemned a far-right commemoration in Hungary of a World War II battle in which speakers lauded a wartime pro-Nazi Hungarian leader.

A report on the feol.hu website said a Waffen-SS veteran who was scheduled to speak at Saturday’s memorial in the city of Szekesfehervar did not attend for health reasons. The Wiesenthal Center said the event was “another blatant attempt to honor and glorify the perpetrators of the Holocaust.”

Last year, international criticism caused a foundation to cancel plans to erect a statue in Szekesfehervar of a Holocaust-era minister who helped draft anti-Semitic laws.

The Wiesenthal Center’s Mark Weitzman said authorities‘ failure to condemn the event, considering that Hungary is currently chairing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, was “an exercise in political and historical hypocrisy.”

Doctors Without Borders criticizes European Union anti-refugee policies


This video says about itself:

No Man’s Land For Refugees Between Hungary And Barbed Wire

15 September 2015

Ten of thousands of refugees have fled their homelands, heading to the Hungarian border and hoping to find peace in Europe. But Hungary has put up barbed wire to stop the refugees and passed harsh new anti-refugee laws.

From MSF/Doctors Without Borders, about the crisis for refugees and anti-refugee policies in the European Union:

Obstacle Course to Europe: A Policy-Made Humanitarian Crisis at EU Borders, December 2015

Report from Médecins Sans Frontières

Published on 19 January 2016

During 2015 MSF teams provided just under 100,000 medical consultations on three search and rescue vessels in the Mediterranean, in Greece, Italy, throughout the Balkans and we are now working in northern France. Many of these consultations were for illnesses and injuries sustained on the life threatening journeys that people were forced to take for want of a safe, legal alternative. In Serbia, for example, 80% of the consultations performed by our medics were related to the tough conditions on the journey.

The lack of adequate reception conditions to meet basic humanitarian standards also took their toll. MSF treated people for hypothermia and exhaustion after they were forced to sleep outside or wait in long queues without access to shelter, toilets, food, water or sanitation for days at a time. We were often unable to move people out of these queues for medical reasons. Others were forced to languish in dire reception centres – in Italy conditions became so inhumane that MSF decided it had no choice but to leave.

MSF also witnessed states and governments actively obstructing efforts to improve conditions. In Kos, Greece, for example, there is still no reception facility, despite months of pleading by MSF for authorisation to improve reception facilities. Winter setting in and temperatures plummeting only adds to the suffering.

MSF also treated the psychological scars of the situations people had initially fled, the impact of the dire conditions on the journey and the uncertainty that people faced (a situation compounded by the lack of basic information available on the route). In late November, in Idomeni, for example, MSF psychologists noted a significant increase in the number of panic attacks and self-harm attempts, a direct consequence of the dire conditions faced by people at the border with FYROM and ongoing uncertainty about their futures.

Arbitrary decisions by governments along the route also increased the suffering and danger faced by people. Each time a border closed without consultation with the neighbouring country thousands were abruptly halted, stranded in no man’s land with little or no humanitarian assistance.

The policies of deterrence, border control and security have failed to deter people, working only to increase their suffering by making the journey to Europe more miserable, more dangerous and more expensive.

The report then moves onto identifying policy responses that would minimise suffering and save lives, centred largely on providing protection to people who need it. This includes safe and legal alternatives to dangerous journeys in the hands of smugglers, decent reception, proactive search and rescue. It also includes safe passage between EU countries and an end to acts of violence and abuse from state authorities.

Commenting on the report, Vickie Hawkins, MSF executive director, said:

“Through Greece, Italy, the Balkans and in northern France, MSF teams have witnessed first-hand the fundamental inhumanity of the political response to the European refugee crisis. By putting concerns of borders, security and deterrence ahead of the needs of those caught up in this crisis, politicians have failed in their responsibility to protect people, instead actively increasing suffering and costing lives. Whilst MSF can treat wounds and try to heal psychological scars, unless European governments abandon their obstacle course approach in 2016 the extreme suffering and death will continue.”

Hungarian nazi not honoured with statue


This 2013 video is called Hungary’s Jobbik party hold anti-Semitic rally.

From the Jewish Telegraph Agency:

Hungarian town votes down contested statue for anti-Jewish politician

December 18, 2015 7:53am

BUDAPEST (JTA) — Following an outcry, a municipality in central Hungary cancelled its plan to erect a statue commemorating a statesman who drafted anti-Semitic laws during the Holocaust.

The city council of Szekesfehervar voted down on Friday the plan to erect with public funding a statue in memory of Balint Homan, the Clubradio station reported.

He served as minister of education and religion in the 1940s and was partly responsible for drafting legislation in 1938 and 1939 to restrict the rights of Jews in Hungary and for the deportation in 1944 of 420,000 Jews to Auschwitz.

The plan to erect a statue in his honor provoked protests by local and international Jewish groups, including the World Jewish Congress and the Anti-Defamation League.

The private fund that initiated the statue’s erection this week sent a letter to the municipality and to the mayor, informing them that they are withdrawing the Homan statue project. The foundation also repaid authorities the $55,000 paid by them for the project.

Statue for Hungarian anti-Semite?


This video says about itself:

Shock over Hungary Anti-Semitism: Diplomats, Jewish leaders protest against planned statue

14 December 2015

Washington has expressed shock and disappontent at Hungarian plans to erect a statue of Balint Homan, a WWII politician who contributed to murderous anti-Semitism in Hungary in the 1930s and 1940s.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Anti-fascist crowds bid to halt pro-nazi statue

Tuesday 15th December 2015

DIPLOMATS, anti-fascists and Jewish groups held a candle-lit demonstration in Szekesfehervar, Hungary, on Sunday evening against a planned statue honouring late pro-nazi minister Balint Homan.

As a minister in the 1930s Mr Homan spearheaded anti-semitic legislation before urging the deportation of Hungarian Jews in 1944.

Nazi Germany and its Arrow Cross Party allies murdered 565,000 Hungarian Jews during the second world war.

After Hungary’s liberation by the Red Army, war criminal Mr Homan was sentenced to life imprisonment for voting to declare war on the Soviet Union in 1941. He died in jail in 1951.

“Balint Homan was an emblematic figure in the humiliation and deportation of Hungarian Jews,” said Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities president Andras Heisler.

“He was an anti-semite who does not deserve to be honoured.”

From YouTube:

NEW YORK/BUDAPEST, July 8 [2015] – The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is urging authorities in a Hungarian city to abandon plans to honor a Horthy-era government minister well known for his actions against the Jews. Municipal leaders in Székesfehérvár, a city of 100,000 inhabitants located between Budapest and Lake Balaton, are planning to erect a life-size bronze statue in honor of Bálint Homan (1885-1951). It is to be funded in large part through a grant from the Hungarian Justice Ministry.

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder called on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to block plans for the statue from moving forward. “Seventy years after the end of World War II, it is inconceivable and wrong for a city to erect a statue in honor of a known anti-Semite and a key figure in the persecution of Hungarian Jews before and during World War II. Homan was an outspoken supporter of Nazi Germany and the fascist Arrow Cross regime in 1944, and he remained unrepentant until his death,” said Lauder.

“Bálint Homan was an emblematic figure in the humiliation and deportation of Hungarian Jews. He was an anti-Semite who does not deserve to be honored, and doing so would insult the victims of the Holocaust,” declared WJC Vice-President András Heisler, who also serves as president of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz).

In a letter to Székesfehérvár Mayor András Cser-Palkovics, a member of Orbán’s Fidesz party, Heisler recently wrote: “From October 1932, Bálint Hóman, as culture minister in several Hungarian governments, played a key role in the systematic outlawing of the Hungarian Jewish people. His name is connected to the first anti-Jewish law. He supported banning Jews from exercising certain professions. Before the German occupation [in 1944], he wanted to expel Jews and later served as a member of the Arrow Cross regime.”

Heisler added that no Hungarian citizen today could be proud of a personality like Homan, and he stressed that Homan’s academic achievements could not outweigh the role he played before and during the Holocaust.

Wildlife and water in eastern Europe, Rotterdam festival films


This video series is called The Danube – Amazon of Europe.

The organisers of the Wildlife Film Festival in Rotterdam in the Netherlands write about this:

Influenced by weather and climatic extremes, the Danube is in constant motion. Floods and drought determine life just as much as the seasons. They influence migration, mating and breeding, as well as hunting and hibernation of animals. Wherever the Danube flows, it impacts nature and people’s lives. The mighty river ends in a unique labyrinth of water, mud and reeds: the Danube delta. It is the last remaining major river delta in Europe and the largest reed bed on earth, used by huge colonies of pelicans, cormorants, sea eagles and spoonbills for breeding and nesting.

This video says about itself:

The cinema trailer of our natural history film “Wild Hungary – A Water Wonderland“.

The organisers of the Rotterdam festival write about this film:

A country like no other in Europe, Hungary is influenced by the rhythms of its rivers. White-tailed eagles, otters and enormous catfish share the wetlands with many other species living close to the local people often unnoticed. Wild Hungary is their intimate story.

German human rights activists help refugees escape from Hungary


Some of the over 100,000 who marched in London, England on September 12th 2015 against the Conservative government's asylum policies and in support of refugees

From daily News Line in Britain:

Monday, 5 October 2015

GERMAN ‘ESCAPE HELPERS’ RISKING JAIL TO HELP REFUGEES

GERMAN ‘escape helpers’ are driving to Hungary with cars and vans to collect refugees and ferry them across European borders, and back into Germany to start a new life.

Volunteers are with an activist group called ‘The Peng Collective’, they have helped organise and coordinate more than 100 volunteers. The 100 Germans call themselves ‘Fluchthelfer’, which roughly translates as ‘escape helpers’. The term has a unique historical significance in this country. During World War II, German Fluchthelfer helped Jews escape and hide from the Nazis.

The heroic actions, though carried out by volunteers and unpaid, are still considered ‘human smuggling’ under European law, meaning that ‘escape helpers’, if caught, can face jail. ‘Peng Collective’ movement has arisen in reaction to a controversial European Union law called the Dublin Regulation. It states that asylum seekers must be processed in the countries in which they first arrive in Europe.

On September 2, when Ole Seidenberg flicked on the morning news in Berlin and saw an image of a 3-year-old Syrian refugee who had washed up on a Turkish beach, he decided to become a ‘Fluchthelfer’. Seidenberg cancelled a holiday in the countryside that he and his wife had planned.

Instead, the 32-year-old drove out of Germany, through Austria, and into Hungary to pick up refugees and ferry them back to his home country, a move that would help them gain asylum.

Modern-day Fluchthelfer, for their part, are creating an underground ferrying service to sneak people from Hungary into Germany, so that the asylum seekers could have a better chance at gaining refugee status in Europe. ‘At the moment, there’s a lot of acceptance in society for Fluchthelfer,’ said Max a volunteer with the Peng Collective. ‘All the escape-helping movements in the past have been illegal,’ he said. ‘But they were justified in the books of history afterward.’

Ole Seidenberg’s first ‘escape helper’ journey began in early September. With a friend, he rented a silver Volkswagen Sharan, and left Berlin at night, driving through the Czech Republic and Slovakia to reach Hungary by Saturday morning. They heard that an area about 31 miles from the Austrian-Hungarian border had become a hotspot, and that if they drove through the countryside toward the border from Budapest, they would find refugees looking for a ride.

The group drove their two cars through Budapest’s streets and on to the refugee hotspot. As they neared the border, they saw hundreds of refugees, along with a handful of cars opening their doors. When Seidenberg opened the doors of his Volkswagen, a family from Iraq immediately got in. The car was so full that Seidenberg’s friend had to get out and wait while Seidenberg drove the family to the border.

By 1am, after ferrying several groups of refugees back and forth, Seidenberg and his friend reunited at a gas station on the Austrian side of the Hungarian border. They spotted a family carrying a bunch of plastic bags, seemingly left behind. The family, originally from Syria, was hesitant to accept a lift. They had just paid 500 euros to traffickers who left them at the gas station in the middle of the night, and were wary of strangers.

‘They thought we must be traffickers ourselves,’ said Seidenberg. ‘Why would we appear in the middle of the night in the gas station?’ After a tense negotiation, Seidenberg and his friend agreed to drive three men and three children to Frankfurt. Alex and his driving partner took another three adults who were headed to northern Germany. In Seidenberg’s car, the refugees fell asleep within 10 minutes.

‘They were completely exhausted,’ Seidenberg said. They were on their feet for 17 days. They had lived in Turkey in a refugee camp for 10 months.’ From Turkey, they had travelled by boat to Greece and from Greece to Macedonia, Serbia, then Hungary. We drove through the night, scared, because there were so many police at every gas station,’ Seidenberg said.

The ‘escape helpers’ risk serious consequences. In Austria, they could be fined for smuggling people in this fashion. In Hungary, they could face up to four years in jail. In Germany, they were risking up to 10 years of prison time under trafficking laws. ‘Hungary is closing their borders more and more; there are more controls on the Austrian-Hungarian border,’ said Seidenberg.

But the ‘escape helpers’ adapt to these changes, often communicating with encrypted messages. ‘As the refugees’ routes change, so do the routes of the escape helpers. They are not going to stop us,’ Seidenberg said. The situation will only become more dire during the winter, worsening what is already Europe’s most urgent refugee emergency since World War II.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday that refugee and migrant arrivals in Greece are expected to hit the 400,000 mark soon, despite adverse weather conditions. Greece remains by far the largest single entry point for new sea arrivals in the Mediterranean, followed by Italy with 131,000 arrivals so far in 2015. In September, 168,000 people crossed the Mediterranean, the highest monthly figure ever recorded and almost five times the number in September 2014.|

As of Friday morning, a total of 396,500 people have entered Greece by sea since the beginning of the year, more than 153,000 of them in September alone. The nine-month 2015 total compares to 43,500 such arrivals in Greece in all of 2014. Ninety-seven per cent are from the world’s top 10 refugee-producing countries, led by Syria (70 per cent), Afghanistan (18 per cent) and Iraq (4 per cent). All three are countries that imperialism has attacked and bombed.

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said: ‘There was a noticeable drop in sea arrivals this week, along with the change in the weather.’ Edwards said that on Sept 25th, for example, there were some 6,600 arrivals. The next day, it dropped to around 2,200. From an average of around 5,000 arrivals per day recently, it has fallen to some 3,300 over the past six days with just 1,500 yesterday.

‘Nevertheless, any improvement in the weather is likely to bring another surge in sea arrivals.’

The current cooler, windy weather has made the crossing from Turkey to Greece even more perilous.

Last Thursday, there were at least two rescue operations in waters off Lesvos. On Wednesday, there were four separate rescue operations on Lesvos in which 283 people were recovered. But the death of a woman and a young boy brought the total toll of dead and missing in Greek waters to at least 102 this year.

In all, nearly 3,000 people have died or gone missing this year crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Despite daily ferry departures carrying between 3,000 and 6,000 refugees and migrants from the islands to Athens, new arrivals continue and island ports can still be crowded with some 10,000-14,000 people on any given day awaiting transfer. UNHCR said it is concerned that the lack of reception capacity in Greece could seriously jeopardise the relocation programme agreed upon by the European Council, as eligible refugees have nowhere to stay while awaiting relocation.

Greece’s Prime Minister told the United Nations on Thursday that Athens was doing all it could to help the refugee and migrant crisis, and criticised the building of walls to keep them out. In cooperation with the EU and other international organisations, we are doing all we can to manage these flows in an effective and humane way,’ Alexis Tsipras told the General Assembly.

Greece is ‘improving reception facilities and identification procedures’ and setting up hot spots to facilitate relocation, Tsipras said, criticising European countries trying to keep them out. On Thursday, Hungary attached razor wire to a fence erected at its border with Croatia and last month sealed its border with Serbia, cutting off the main entry point for tens of thousands of migrants. ‘We do not believe that the future of Europe or our world can be built on ever higher walls, or children dying at our doorstep,’ said Tsipras.

‘We cannot allow racism and xenophobia to destroy our common principles,’ he added.

Some 500,000 people have come to Europe so far this year, the International Organisation for Migration says, many of them taking perilous journeys across the Mediterranean on inflatable dinghies.

The bodies of at least 95 refugees have been found washed ashore in Libya over the past week according to the country’s Red Crescent charity, in the latest tragedies stemming from the region’s unprecedented refugee crisis: here.