New fanged frog species discovery in Indonesia


This video says about itself:

17 February 2013

Male Rough Guardian Frog (Limnonectes finchi) protect their tadpoles. Look carefully and you will see the tadpoles on this males back, Danau Girang Field Centre, Lower Kinabatangan, Sabah, Malaysia. Endemic to Borneo.

From PLoS One:

A Novel Reproductive Mode in Frogs: A New Species of Fanged Frog with Internal Fertilization and Birth of Tadpoles

Djoko T. Iskandar, Ben J. Evans, Jimmy A. McGuire

December 31, 2014

Abstract

We describe a new species of fanged frog (Limnonectes larvaepartus) that is unique among anurans in having both internal fertilization and birth of tadpoles. The new species is endemic to Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. This is the fourth valid species of Limnonectes described from Sulawesi despite that the radiation includes at least 15 species and possibly many more. Fewer than a dozen of the 6455 species of frogs in the world are known to have internal fertilization, and of these, all but the new species either deposit fertilized eggs or give birth to froglets.

See also here.

Harry Roberts, British colonial war soldier and cop killer


This video from Britain says about itself:

24 March 2008

Harry Roberts shot dead three policemen in London on 12 August 1966. He was eventually caught after a manhunt lasting several weeks and was convicted. 42 years later and well into his 70’s he still remains behind bars and is refused parole.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Harry Roberts: He Kills Coppers

Saturday 25th october 2014

Harry Roberts, who killed three policemen in 1966, is to be released on parole. PETER FROST looks back at the life of this colonial soldier turned murderer

Harry Roberts, now aged 78, is Britain’s longest-serving incarcerated murderer. He is due to be released on parole this week. Roberts, a professional gangster, was sentenced to life in 1966.

He has served nearly half a century in prison.

I well remember the long hot summer of 1966. Ann and I were planning our wedding. England beat Germany in the World Cup, Harold Wilson was having beers and sandwiches while talking to the TUC about a wage freeze. Groovy Kinda Love was the most popular choice on the jukebox.

On a sunny afternoon in quiet residential Braybrook Street in Shepherd’s Bush, not far from Wormwood Scrubs prison, and not far from where I was living at the time, three gun-toting London gangsters shot down three unarmed police officers.

The incident started when plain-clothes officers approached the van in which Roberts, Jack Witney and John Duddy were sitting planning the final details of an armed robbery nearby.

Roberts opened fire shooting dead two of the officers, while one of his accomplices fatally shot the third.

The shots would reverberate around the nation. Britain had finally abolished hanging just eight months before and the shooting reopened all the old arguments.

Harry Maurice Roberts was born in 1936 in Wanstead, Essex, where his parents ran The George public house.

His was a criminal family. Mother sold stolen and black market goods and fake ration books. Later the bent family business would move to a café in north London.

In his late teens, Roberts was jailed after using an iron bar to attack a shopkeeper during a robbery. He served a 19-month borstal sentence and was released in January 1956.

Just a week after leaving borstal, Roberts was called up for national service. He loved it. They gave him a gun and taught him how to kill Britain’s enemies in both Kenya and Malaya.

Later in life and in many prison interviews Roberts would boast of how many Mau Mau Kenyan freedom fighters and Malayan communists he had shot and killed. This was at a time of the worst excesses of British imperialism.

The freedom fighters of the Kenyan Land and Freedom Army were branded as Mau Mau terrorists and jailed, hanged and shot in their thousands.

In Malaya it was communists that Roberts and his fellow soldiers were encouraged to murder. This was the time when the Daily Worker published pictures of British soldiers holding up the severed heads of murdered Malayan communists.

Journalist and former armed robber John McVicar met Roberts in prison. Roberts gloated about his killings, telling McVicar that he had acquired a taste for killing prisoners of war on the orders of his officers.

Back in civvies Roberts returned to his criminal career. Often with Witney and Duddy he carried out scores of armed robberies, targeting bookmakers, post offices and banks.

In 1959 Roberts and an accomplice posed as tax inspectors to gain entry into the home of an elderly man. Once inside the man was tied up and beaten about the head with a glass decanter.

Roberts was captured and tried for the savage crime. Mr Justice Maude said as he passed sentence: “You are a brutal thug. You came very near the rope this time.”

Roberts was given seven years. The victim, who never recovered from his injuries, died one year and three days after the attack. Had he died two days earlier, Roberts could have been tried for his murder under the year and a day rule.

The victims of the Shepherd’s Bush shooting were 41-year-old police constable Geoffrey Fox, detective sergeant Christopher Head, aged 30, and 25-year-old temporary detective constable David Wombwell.

Roberts went on the run with a £1,000 reward on his head. He hid in woods in Hertfordshire to avoid capture. He knew the woods from games as a child and, using his army survival skills, he evaded capture for 96 days. Roberts was finally captured by police while sleeping rough in a barn.

He was convicted of all three police murders and sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommended minimum term of 30 years.
While in prison he showed no remorse. On the contrary he made macabre apple pies decorated with pastry cut-outs of policemen being shot. Numerous appeals for release on parole were turned down over the years.

The trial judge at the time of sentencing told him that it was unlikely that any future Home Secretary would “ever think fit to show mercy by releasing you on licence… This is one of those cases in which the sentence of imprisonment for life may well be treated as meaning exactly what it says.”

Theresa May, always keen to upset the police it seems, has decided otherwise.

Peter Frost blogs at www.frostysramblings.wordpress.com/

Gangs of more extreme football hooligans, some of whom would go on to form the fascist English Defence League, used Roberts’s name to antagonise the police. They chanted “Harry Roberts is our friend, is our friend, is our friend. Harry Roberts is our friend, he kills coppers.”

Borneo orangutans saved by wildlife corridors?


This video is called 16×9 – Jungle Survivors: Saving Orangutans in Borneo.

From Wildlife Extra:

Wildlife corridors could offer new hope for orangutans

Researchers from Cardiff University, University of Adelaide, NGO HUTAN, and Sabah Wildlife Department have been looking at ways to improve wildlife corridors in Borneo as a new method of protecting the endangered orangutan.

According to the researchers, more than 80 per cent of the primate’s habitat has been destroyed in the past 20 years due to demand for agricultural land, leaving the remaining forest fragmented, isolating orangutans from one another and resulting in a major threat to their survival.

The study highlights that establishing wildlife corridors that connect fragmented protected areas will allow animals to move freely from one territory to another. This will be beneficial to gene diversity, as it will minimise the negative impact of inbreeding caused by animals being forced to live in small, isolated territories.

Dr Benoît Goossens from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences stresses that the study should not be limited to orangutans, but can apply to other wildlife species affected by climate change and decreasing, fragmented territories. “In this study we used the orang-utan as a model, but the knowledge gleaned will be useful for other mammal species,” he explains. “The next phase of our research will focus on corridor establishment and enhancement by recovering riparian reserves from oil palm plantations, to inform land managers about best corridor scenarios.”

The research team included Dr Benoît Goossens from Cardiff University, Stephen Gregory, Damien Fordham and Barry Brook from Australia, and Marc Ancrenaz, Raymond Alfred, and Laurentius Ambu from Sabah Wildlife Department.

You can read the full paper, [in] Diversity and Distributions, here.

New conservation research conducted by Dr Matthew Struebig from the University of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology has discovered that up to 74 per cent of current orang-utan habitat in Borneo could become unsuitable for this endangered species due to climate or land-cover changes. However, the research has also identified up to 42,000 sq km of land that could provide a safe haven for the animals: here.

Do orangutans talk like humans? Lip smacking could hold key to evolution of language – Mirror Online: here.

New snail species discovered in Malaysia, already threatened


This video says about itself:

The Gastropoda or gastropods are a large taxonomic class within the molluscs, a class of animals that are more commonly known as snails and slugs. The class includes snails and slugs of all kinds and all sizes.

From Mongabay.com:

Scientists name new endangered species after the company that will decide its fate

By: Tanya Dimitrova

August 24, 2014

Scientists have discovered a new snail species on a limestone hill near a cement quarry in Malaysia, which as far as they know lives nowhere else in the world. The animal’s shell is only one tenth of an inch in size. “Narrow endemic species are a common occurrence on limestone hills,” Jaap Vermeulen, lead author of the new study, told mongabay.com. “A good biologist can quite easily discover several species of endemic invertebrates on an isolated, unsurveyed hill.”

Although just unearthed, the miniscule snail is already threatened with extinction. It lives on a limestone hill called Kanthan given as a concession to an international company Lafarge. The cement producer quarries the hill for raw materials. As a result, the snail will be included as Critically Endangered in the next update of the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species.

The scientists who discovered the animal named it Charopa lafargei, after the cement company that will decide its fate.

“I’m not aware of a species threatened with extinction which has been given the name of the company which can determine whether it goes extinct or survives,” said Tony Whitten from Fauna & Flora International.

The new snail is not the only endemic species found on the hill. Kanthan is also home to nine plant species that are on Malaysia’s Red List of Endangered Plants, one Critically Endangered spider (Liphistius kanthan), one gecko (Cyrtodactylus guakanthanensis) and two snails (Opisthostoma trapezium and Sinoennea chrysalis) that are found nowhere else in the world.

‘Flight MH17 disaster should bring peace, not war’


This video from the Netherlands is called Netherlands: MH17 bodies arrive in Hilversum for identification process.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today, about people mourning the flight MH17 disaster in Suriname:

“This kind of event is sky-high above political differences,” says Winston Wirht. He is one of the advisors of the Surinamese president and has just written in the condolence register about his desire that this disaster should bring the world a step closer to peace. “Only then the innocent passengers will not have given their lives for nothing. World peace, it would be so fine. Indeed, we all breathe the same air.”

Unfortunately, not all politicians agree with Mr Wirth. Some are beating the war drums. Dutch ex-NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer abuses the grief about the horrible death of the aircraft passengers, calling for spending more taxpayers’ money on ‘defence’.

The MH17 tragedy shows need for peace, not war mongering: here.

Yesterday, for the third day in the row, Dutch and Australian investigators into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 were prevented from reaching the crash site in eastern Ukraine by a military offensive being waged by the far right regime in Kiev against pro-Russian separatists: here.

Are you ready for war—including possibly nuclear war—between the United States, Europe, and Russia? That is the question that everyone should be asking him- or herself in light of the developments since the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17: here.

Dutch Parliament indignant about Kiev’s armed forces fighting near MH17 disaster area: here.

While en route from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to Algiers, Algeria a twin-engine passenger plane operated by Air Algérie crashed in northern Mali early Thursday morning with 116 people onboard. It is still unclear, at the time of this writing, what caused the Boeing MD-83 to fall from the sky: here.

“French President François Hollande said there were no survivors found at the site of the Air Algérie crash in Northern Mali, adding that French troops dispatched to the scene had recovered one of the jetliner’s black boxes.” French officials believe weather may be behind the crash that killed 116 people. Weather is also thought to be to blame for the Taiwanese plane crash that killed 48 on Wednesday.

Rupert Murdoch media rummage through personal belongings of flight MH17 victim


This video from eastern Ukraine is about Sky News reporter Colin Brazier going through MH17 victims’ belongings.

From AFP news agency:

Sky News apologizes after reporter rummages through luggage of flight MH17 victim on air

Sunday, July 20, 2014 20:20 EDT

British broadcaster Sky News apologised after one of its presenters searched through luggage at the crash site of downed flight MH17 live on air on Sunday.

Sky News is part of the Rupert Murdoch empire, with a very long list of privacy violations: from a murdered schoolgirl to actors to bereaved military families to the British royal family; etc. etc.

In a news broadcast, presenter Colin Brazier was shown rooting through personal belongings in an opened suitcase at the site, picking up a set of keys before saying: “We shouldn’t really be doing this.”

The footage was greeted with anger on social media, including calls for Brazier to be sacked.

BBC presenter Jacqui Oatley tweeted that she was “astonished” while Joe Watson, a professor of Mass Media at Baker University described it as a “horrible moment for journalism”. …

The incident came as Australia called for respect for the bodies of the 298 who perished in the disaster, amid reports the crash site was being trampled and interfered with as investigators struggled to reach the site due to conflict.

See also here. And here.

From Salon.com in the USA:

Brazier’s eagerness to jump into the personal effects of a victim recalls the worst of tabloid behavior – and for many in the UK, it no doubt calls to mind the ethical failures of the Murdoch empire, including hacking into the voicemails of a murder victim.

Britain: Sky faces inquiry over MH17 report. Ofcom received more than 200 complaints over broadcast of reporter Colin Brazier picking through luggage at crash site: here.

CNN somehow outdoes Colin Brazier in its MH17 coverage: here.

A Dutch TV journalist rummaged as well at MH17 disaster site: here.

Britain: A desire not to embarrass the Royal Family has emerged as a key reason why the Metropolitan Police failed thoroughly to investigate phone hacking at the News of the World in 2006: here.

The way the crash of flight MH17 in Ukraine is being politically exploited parallels the way the 9/11 terrorist attack in the US was utilized to pursue reactionary aims: here.

Football: Oligarch and Shakhtar Donetsk owner Rinat Akhmetov has threatened to fine a host of players who have failed to return to Ukraine amid fear for their safety due to the ongoing conflict in the capital: here.