Jordanian birds, new report


This video is called Birds of Jordan.

From BirdLife:

State of Jordan’s Birds report launched

By Tris Allinson, Mon, 16/12/2013 – 16:41

The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN)—BirdLife in Jordan—has just launched a major report on the status of the country’s avifauna. The publication, entitled the State of Jordan’s Birds, provides a detailed assessment of current bird populations, the threats they face, and the conservation actions that are being put in place to safeguard them.

The report was officially launched at a ceremony in Amman attended by Khaled Anis Irani— President of RSCN and the recently elected BirdLife Chairman. It received extensive media attention with coverage in a number of national newspapers.

Despite its relatively small size, Jordan has a rich biodiversity that includes over 430 bird species. Situated on a major migration route connecting Europe and Asia with the African continent, passage migrants constitute nearly 80% of the country’s avifauna. Jordan is home to a number of globally threatened bird species, perhaps most notably, Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus. Listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, most (c.80%) of the global population of this small canary breed in Jordan.

Unfortunately, a recent assessment of Jordan’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) has found that all are experiencing threats, with at least one serious, long-term danger being reported at each site. The country’s wetlands are particularly imperilled. For instance, Azraq IBA, once known as a major oasis in the northern Arabian Peninsula, has suffered intensive water extraction and has consequently shrunk to less than 10% of its former size a century ago.

It is, therefore, hoped that the timely arrival of this report will sound an alarm in the minds of all those concerned for the future of birds and biodiversity in Jordan and help galvanise action to safeguard the country’s outstanding natural heritage.

This is the latest national report produced in collaboration with BirdLife’s State of the world’s birds programme. To download the report and access other State of the nation’s birds reports from around the world please click here.

For more information on the birds and biodiversity of Jordan visit the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) website.

Syria roadside bomb wounds Jordanian writers


This video is called Rababa poem / song Jordanian Bedouin traditional music.

From Associated Press:

Syria roadside bomb wounds 2 Jordanian writers

By ALBERT AJI and RYAN LUCAS

— Nov. 21, 2013 10:01 AM EST

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A bomb exploded Thursday near a bus carrying a group of Jordanian writers who met with senior Syrian government leaders on an official visit, wounding five of them, one of the delegates said.

The Syrian state news agency SANA said two Jordanians were wounded. But the Jordanians said five of them were wounded by the late afternoon explosion in Daraa province, 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of the Jordanian border.

“It was tumultuous. We heard a big boom and we were hit with shrapnel,” said Hussein Mutawee, one of the wounded writers.

He said the 20-member delegation from the Jordanian Writers Syndicate was in Syria for four days, meeting with top officials. They had plans to meet President Bashar Assad, but the government “told us the president was busy,” Mutawee said.

Mutawee accused the rebel Free Syrian Army of intentionally targeting his group. …

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group reported fighting Thursday between rebels and government troops in the towns of Nabak and Deir Attiyeh, which are located along the highway between Qara and Yabroud.

The Observatory said the rebel forces were led by fighters from two al-Qaida-linked groups, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Saudi Arabs fight for democracy


Saudi women demonstrate

From EA WorldView blog:

Saudi Arabia Feature: The Protests in the Central Cities (Perazzo)

Bayan Perazzo writes for Muftah:

Until recently, the Eastern province city of Qatif was the only Saudi Arabian city to experience regular protests since the Arab Spring erupted over two years ago. Beginning in February 2011, demonstrations in Qatif called for basic rights of citizenship and the release of political prisoners.

Although Qatif is a primarily Shiite region, protestors demands were in no way related to their religious affiliation. This did not stop the Saudi government from attempting to discredit the demonstrations by resorting to its familiar sectarian discourse. By claiming these protests were “Shiite” in nature and manipulated by Iran to destabilize the nation, the Saudi government was fairly successful in isolating the Qatif protests and preventing them from spreading to other parts of the country.

In recent months, however, protests in the central cities of Qassim and Riyadh have become more frequent. In January 2013, a group of 11 women and children were arrested for demonstrating in front of the Board of Grievances in Buraida, a town in Qassim. In February 2013, 50 more women were arrested in Riyadh and Qassim. Finally, in the first week of March,more than 170 men, women, and children were arrested in Buraida after organizing a sit-in in front of the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution. A spokesman for the Buraida police reported that one hundred protesters have been released. According to Saudi activists, several female demonstrators remain unaccounted for.

Protestors’ demands in Qassim have been very similar to those in Qatif. They have asked for the release of political prisoners, fair trials, an end to inhumane practices in prisons, and respect for citizens’ basic rights. The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association released a statement stating that protestors in Qassim resorted to public demonstrations only after exhausting all other formal means of registering their grievances.

While initial protests in Buraida were limited to the family members of prisoners, other concerned citizens soon joined the cause. The issue of indefinite detentions was a particular focus of their efforts. In Saudi Arabia, it is not uncommon for individuals to be imprisoned for years without trial. Information about the charges against them often is also withheld. Some prisoners who have served their sentences in full are not released, and remain detained without recourse.

Protests in Saudi Arabia’s central region (an area generally adhering to a stricter interpretation of Sunni Islam) have discredited the government’s sectarian rhetoric. In response, the Saudi regime has resorted to another old ploy, religious extremism. In the past, the government has attempted to justify its unlawful treatment of prisoners in Qassim and Riyadh by pointing to their alleged ties to terrorist groups. Without proper legal representation and fair trials, these individuals have no opportunity to defend themselves against these charges.

Read full article….

Human Rights Watch calls on authorities to free detained Jordan activist Khaled al-Natour: here.