This video says about itself:
11 September 2017
The United Nations has described the reported atrocities [against] the Rohingya Muslim minority community in Myanmar as nothing short of ethnic cleansing.
Rohingya villages in Myanmar are either burned to the ground or are still in flames.
Al Jazeera’s Divya Gopalan reports from Balukhali Camp in Bangladesh, where the large numbers of refugees arriving daily are putting a strain on resources.
According to Dutch NOS TV today, Facebook corporation has decided to block messages by the Rohingya ARSA rebels from Myanmar (Burma). These rebels arose in reaction to the oppression and violence by the Myanmar dictatorship against the Rohingya national minority.
The NOS writes (translated):
Facebook and Twitter are widely used in Myanmar for dissemination of information, also by the army. As far as known, messages by the army and government are not banned by Facebook.
Apparently, according to the Facebook censors, governments cannot be terrorist … except, maybe, governments which the United States government hates and may want to start a ‘humanitarian’ regime change war against.
However, the Myanmar government and armed forces are not in that category, Rohingya genocide or no Rohingya genocide. Burmese armed forces work closely with NATO armed forces, like the German Bundeswehr. The police militarization in Ferguson, USA sets the precedent for militarised police in Myanmar.
Jeremy Corbyn calls on Aung San Suu Kyi to end Burma’s violence against Rohingya Muslims. Labour leader to use keynote speech to highlight plight of Muslim minority, saying they have ‘suffered for too long’: here.
The Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has deployed security forces along India’s northeastern borders to prevent thousands of Rohingya refugees entering the country. The Rohingya are fleeing ongoing military violence in Myanmar (Burma). New Delhi also plans to expel around 40,000 Rohingya already in India: here.
Burma: Pogroms continue against Rohingya Muslims: here.
This video from London, England says about itself:
Rohingya genocide protest London 9/9/2017
Please show support to stop the ethnic cleansing taking place in Burma.
By Steve Sweeney in Britain:
London protests at brutal killings
Monday 11th September 2017
THOUSANDS gathered in London at the weekend to condemn the killing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
On Saturday hundreds gathered at Downing Street as they urged the government to intervene and stop the slaughter of the country’s persecuted minority.
They urged the British government to speak out and blasted the mainstream media for its silence over the killing of thousands of Muslims.
Protesters demanded that Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi be stripped of her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, accusing her of being complicit in the atrocities.
Muslims make up around 4 per cent of mainly Buddhist Myanmar, with around 1.1 million Rohingya living in the Rakhine area of the country. They are denied citizenship and have been persecuted for decades.
Thousands have been killed following an offensive by Myanmar’s army, which started in August, and around 65,000 are believed to have crossed the border into Bangladesh as refugees.
While Britain does not deliver combat training it educates soldiers in “democracy, leadership and the English language” at a cost of £305,000 last year.
A separate demonstration took place on Sunday at the Myanmar embassy.
Organiser Raja Sikander Khan alleged that what was happening was “total genocide.” He also criticised the UN, which is reported to have stopped aid deliveries because of security fears.
Mr Khan accused sectarian Buddhists in Rakhine of “killing and torturing innocent women and children.”
“We want to show the international community that we are united on this issue and that we totally condemn what is happening there,” he said.
UN: ‘TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE OF ETHNIC CLEANSING’ IN MYANMAR RIGHT NOW “The top U.N. human rights official on Monday denounced Myanmar’s ‘brutal security operation’ against Muslim Rohingyas in Rakhine state which he said was ‘clearly disproportionate’ to insurgent attacks carried out last month.” [Reuters]
The plight of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing the Burmese military’s rampage in the western state of Rakhine is a devastating exposure of the fraud of human rights imperialism practiced by the US and its allies and their chief political asset in Burma (Myanmar)—Aung San Suu Kyi: here.
Amid a growing international outcry, Burmese political leader Aung San Suu Kyi defended the military’s murdering and pillaging of the country’s Rohingya minority in a televised address on Tuesday. She offered empty condemnations of human rights violations, in order to obscure and justify the systematic ethnic cleansing underway by the army: here.
This 1 September 2017 Times of India video says about itself:
Rohingya women, children die in desperate boat escape from Myanmar
A group Rohingyas from Myanmar were found washed up on the shores of Shah Porir Dwip island in Bangladesh.
Over the last week, the Burmese (Myanmar) government led by Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi has fully collaborated with the military’s “clearance operations” against the Rohingya Muslim population of northwestern Rakhine state.
According to UN officials, since the ethnic cleansing campaign began on August 25, supposedly in response to attacks on security forces, nearly 90,000 Rohingya refugees have fled, driven out by the military’s scorched earth policy and widespread killings.
On Monday, another 20,000 refugees were massed on the border with Bangladesh. The Bangladesh government has ordered all refugees be turned back. However, as one border guard told Agence France Presse, the sheer numbers made it impossible to stop the influx. “It’s bigger than the last time,” he said.
As of Monday, the UN estimated that 87,000 new refugees had fled, bringing the total to 150,000 since October. The previous “clearance” operations that began in October and lasted for five months were in response to earlier, smaller attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
A catastrophic situation is now developing in the refugee camps. The overall numbers in Bangladesh have risen to more than 400,000.
As in October, the military, in league with Burmese nationalist thugs, exploited the ARSA attacks as the pretext for unleashing pre-planned pogroms. The army has been building up its forces in the area since at least early August. Its aim is to completely drive the Rohingya out of Burma, where many families have lived for generations.
Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) have backed the military at every step. On Monday, the media revealed that President U Htin Yyaw, who was appointed by Suu Kyi and the NLD, granted military chief General Min Aung Hlaing’s “request” to declare the whole region “a military operational area.”
At the border police headquarters in Kyee Kan Pyin, Major Ko Soe said the operational area covered Buthidaung, Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships as well as Taungpoletwe and Myinlut sub-townships. U Htin even backdated the decree to August 25, thus legitimising the crimes already carried out.
Major Soe said the president’s decision ensured “decisive actions can be taken against terrorist organisations in clearance operations.” As of Saturday, 11,700 non-Muslim “ethnic residents” also have been driven out of the area, which has been sealed off to the media and non-government organisations.
The army only admitted the destruction of 2,700 homes after the US-based Human Rights Watch accessed satellite images that showed 10 villages and towns had been torched in Rohingya areas parallel to a 100-kilometre stretch of coastline. HRW said the area was five times larger than that torched by security forces last October to November, when 1,500 dwellings were destroyed.
At a military ceremony last Friday, General Hlaing said 11 police and two soldiers, as well as 16 civilians and officials, had been killed and eight bridges and 2,700 homes had been destroyed. An August 31 army statement said there were 90 clashes between the security forces and the ARSA in late August, in which 370 alleged militants had been killed.
Suu Kyi and the military blame the death and destruction on the primitively-armed militia of ARSA, which announced its existence last October. Burmese security officials claim the group began recruiting six months earlier. The group has been isolated by the Bangladesh government’s offer to assist the Burmese in cracking down on the insurgents.
The NLD and the military are both deeply imbued with anti-Rohingya chauvinism that brands the Rohingya as illegal “Bengali” immigrants. They are treated as non-citizens with no basic democratic rights.
At Friday’s ceremony, General Hlaing denounced the “Bengalis” for having fought with the British military in 1942. This must never happen again, he said, and the army would defend Burmese sovereignty.
Hlaing’s reference to the “Bengalis” in 1942 points to the reactionary roots of Burmese nationalism. Whereas some Muslim Rohingya were recruited by the British colonial authorities into its military forces, a layer of Burmese nationalists collaborated with Japan after it falsely promised to grant independence.
Japan’s colonial regime formed the Burma Independence Army (BIA), which fought the British alongside the Japanese military. Among its recruits were the “Thirty Comrades,” who included Suu Kyi’s father Aung San and Ne Win, who went on to found the Burmese army after the end of World War II. Ne Win led the military dictatorship from 1962 to 1988.
When the BIA forces entered Burma with the Japanese army, they were particularly brutal in attacking ethnic minorities they defined as British collaborators. Many were killed. At one point, the Japanese had to rein in some BIA militias from attacking ethnic groups.
These are the traditions invoked by Genereal Hlaing. He said the Bengali “problem” was “a long-standing one which has become an unfinished job.” The obvious implication is that the time has come to finish the job through brutal ethnic cleansing.
That is exactly what Rohingya refugees describe.
Jalal Ahmed, 60, entered Bangladesh last Friday among a group of 3,000. He told Reuters the army arrived with 200 people and set fire to the whole village. Other specific reports of beheadings and shootings in the fields and villages have been made to the aid agency, Fortify Rights.
Reports to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last February, based on hundreds of interviews at different refugee centres, provided further evidence. Many Rohingya, particularly adult males aged 17-45, simply disappeared. Satellite images raised the probability of large-scale killings and abuses that constitute crimes against humanity.
UN officials called for an inquiry into the Burmese military’s activities, including in 2012 and 2014, but the Suu Kyi government refused to cooperate.
The scale of the latest “clearance operations” led to formal protests by Malaysia, Turkey and Pakistan. Indonesian President Joko Widodo sent Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to Burma and Bangladesh. There have been demonstrations and protests outside Burmese embassies internationally.
Western nations, however, while critical of the military’s activities, have refused to condemn Suu Kyi and her government. British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, for instance, described her “as one of the most inspiring figures of our age” and urged her to use her “remarkable qualities” to end the violence.
These comments were made with full knowledge of Suu Kyi’s collaboration with the military pogroms, to obscure the responsibility of her imperialist backers for what is now taking place.
The Suu Kyi-led government is in large part the creation of the European Union and the United States. London, Brussels and Washington promoted her as a “democratic icon” and endorsed her alliance with the military junta in 2011.
The Western imperialist opposition to the Burmese military had nothing to do with its crimes and abuses of democratic rights but was bound up with its orientation to Beijing. Once the junta opened Burma to Western investment and reoriented its foreign policy, US and European concerns about “human rights” were quickly shelved.
During a visit to Burma (Myanmar) this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi explicitly endorsed the ongoing military repression of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s northwestern Rakhine state. His government and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are both moving to forcibly deport thousands of poverty-stricken Rohingya refugees: here.
This video says about itself:
Stunning fossil reveals prehistoric baby bird caught in amber
9 June 2017
Amber hunters in Burma dug up a remarkably complete bird hatchling that dates to the time of the dinosaurs. The bird’s side, almost half of its body, was dipped in tree sap, which hardened around the neck bones, claws, a wing and its toothed jaws.
Scientists identified the animal as a member of the extinct group called enantiornithes, and published their discovery in the journal Gondwana Research this week.
The chick died young and fell into a pool of sap. It died halfway through its first feather molt, suggesting that the animal broke out of its egg just a few days before it perished. Its life began in the moist tropics beneath conifer trees. It ended near a puddle of conifer gunk, called resin, which fossilized into amber. Burmese diggers uncovered the amber 99 million years later.
“Enantiornithines are close relatives to modern birds, and in general, they would have looked very similar. However, this group of birds still had teeth and claws on their wings,” said Ryan McKellar, a paleontologist at Canada’s Royal Saskatchewan Museum. This animal lived during the Cretaceous Period, which came to a cataclysmic close 65.5 million years ago and took the non-bird dinosaurs with it.
The enantiornithes, due to their distinct hip and ankle bones, may have flown differently than modern birds. But they were capable fliers. (If you are wondering whether this bird relative was more bird or winged dinosaur, well, consider it both: Birds are avian dinosaurs, after all.)
Entombed in amber were details as fine as the hatchling’s eyelid and the outer opening of its ear. The resin recorded no sign of a struggle. “The hatchling may have been dead by the time it entered” the resin pool, McKellar said. “One of the leg bones has been dragged away from its natural position, suggesting that the corpse may have been scavenged before it was covered by the next flow of resin.”
Evidence suggests that enantiornithes received little in the way of parental care, unlike more doting modern birds. The ancient chicks, born on the ground, had to scamper into trees to avoid being eaten. Scampering enantiornithes got stuck in resin fairly frequently, McKellar said, though this fossil is far more comprehensive than typical specimens.
Its 99-million-year-old claws appear almost as detailed as chicken feet you’d find in a supermarket. The foot, presumed at first to be a lizard‘s by the amber miner who found it, was covered in golden scales and just under an inch long. “The preserved skin surface allows us to observe the feet in great detail,” McKellar said.
The resin trapped one of the bird’s wings as well. Despite its young age, the animal already had brown flight feathers on its wings. McKellar said it also had “a sparse coat of fluffy pale or white feathers across most of its belly, legs, and tail.”
McKellar and his colleagues probed the fossil using several types of imaging technology, including light microscopes and X-ray micro-CT scanning. The researchers discovered that the feathers on the enantiornithes’ wings were quite similar to modern bird feathers. But its tail and legs were covered by what McKellar described as tufts similar to “proto-feathers” or “dino-fuzz.”
Recent amber discoveries offer strikingly detailed, if orange-tinted, windows into ancient worlds. Sap trapped not only birds but lizards, bugs and bits of non-bird dinosaurs, too. In December, McKellar and his colleagues announced they’d found a dinosaur tail trapped in amber also excavated from a mine in Burma (also known as Myanmar).
But amber containing dino DNA, as popularized by “Jurassic Park” and its ancient mosquitoes swollen with dinosaur blood, appears to remain in the realm of science fiction. “Unfortunately, DNA seems to be ‘off the menu’ for specimens such as this one,” McKellar said. “To the best of our current understanding, DNA has a half-life of around 500 years and cannot be recovered in meaningful quantities from amber pieces that are more than a few million years old.”
100-Million-Year-Old Amber Holds Tiny, Feathery Chick
By Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer
June 9, 2017 11:20am ET
Much of the body of a wee Cretaceous-era chick was preserved in incredible detail in a piece of Burmese amber, and bears “unusual plumage,” according to the researchers who described the unique find in a new study.
Excavated from a mine in what is now northern Myanmar, the precious lump of fossilized tree sap is estimated to be about 98 million years old, and holds the most complete specimen to date representing a group of extinct toothed birds called enantiornithines (eh-nan-tee-or-NITH’-eh-neez), which died out at the end of the Cretaceous period (about 145 million to 65.5 million years ago).
Body proportions and plumage development in the tiny specimen indicated that it was very young, while details in the feathers’ structures and distribution highlighted some of the key differences between these ancient avians and modern-day birds, the scientists wrote in the study. [See Stunning Photos of the Cretaceous Chick in Amber]
Though scientists had previously found specimens of this bird group in amber, the new find included features never seen before, such as the ear opening, the eyelid and skin on the feet.
Its body measured about 2.4 inches (6 centimeters) in length, from the tip of its beak to the end of the truncated tail. The scientists used micro-CT scans and digital 3D reconstruction to further analyze the specimen — processes that took nearly a year to complete, study co-author Jingmai O’Connor, a professor with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told Live Science in an email.
The amber chunk — which measured around 3.4 inches (8.6 cm) long, 1.2 inches (3 cm) wide and 2.2 inches (5.7 cm) thick— had been divided down the middle into two pieces. Unfortunately, this cut sliced through the specimen’s skull, damaging some of the bones and relegating the chick’s beak to one amber fragment and the braincase and neck to the other, the researchers reported.
Even so, the body was near-complete, with the amber containing the tiny bird’s head and neck, part of its wings, feet and tail; and plenty of soft tissue and attached feathers. The bird was undergoing its first molt when it became caught in the sticky tree sap; there was only a light covering of plumage on its body. But it already had a full set of flight feathers on its wings, suggesting that birds in this group were highly independent from an early age, the study authors wrote.
In recent years, amber fossils have revealed fascinating glimpses of life from many millions of years ago — from ant-termite warfare and a daddy longlegs’ long-lasting erection to a spider attacking prey in its web and a bug that jumped out of its skin.
And when it comes to birds, fossils’ exceptional preservation of plumage helps paleontologists understand the diversity of feathers and the role they played for early avians, O’Connor said in the email.
“Feathers can never be well understood in normal fossils,” O’Connor said. “But in amber, we get crystal-clear views of what primitive feathers were like, and they reveal all sorts of bizarre morphologies,” she said.
The findings were published online June 6 in the journal Gondwana Research.
This video says about itself:
Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea) Eurynorhynchus pygmeus
1 January 2013
This small and undeniably attractive wader has caught the imagination of the world, it stands as a symbol of the fight against the continued and unabated destruction of the flyways of the world.
It is critically endangered and it is thought that less than 200 pairs of these birds remain.
5 June 2017
Safe at last: Spoonie’s winter wonderland becomes Ramsar site
Following tireless work from BirdLife Partner BANCA, Myanmar’s Government has designated part of the Gulf of Mottama a Ramsar Site – affording this vast wetland, an important wintering site for globally threatened waders, protection against the threat of over-fishing.
By Alex Dale
Picture it in your mind’s eye: a wild, untamed stretch of coast, where rapid, powerful waves lash at the endless mud flats, constantly resculpting and refreshing the shoreline.
Imagine, too, tidal flats that teem with life, as fish and invertebrates alike feast on the sediments and nutrients that flow into the coastal waters via three major rivers. What you’re picturing is the Gulf of Mottama – a giant, funnel-shaped estuary in Myanmar, and one of the most important wintering sites for migratory waterbirds in Asia.
So rich are the pickings at the Gulf of Mottama that one out of every two Spoonies recommend it – Spoonie, of course, being the colloquial name for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea, a Critically Endangered wader that has been hit hard by habitat loss across its wintering grounds. Here in the Gulf of Mottama, up to 180-220 Spoonies are estimated to arrive every winter – around half the global population of this scarce bird, cementing the area’s status as an area of outstanding conservational value.
And yet, until very recently, the Gulf of Mottama’s future was far from secure. Despite its importance for threatened migratory waders such as Spoonie, Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris and Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer, and its recognition by BirdLife as an IBA Danger Important Bird & Biodiversity Area (IBA), the Gulf received no formal protection status, and this has led to its resources being drained at an alarming rate.
The biggest threat to this valuable ecosystem is over-fishing. The numbers of fish in its waters have plummeted over the last decade, largely as a result of illegal fishers using nets that indiscriminately trap fish of all sizes and varieties – including juveniles. Bird hunting, too, has been a problem in recent years, but it is difficult to effectively control these threats in areas that do not benefit from government protection.
Recognising the Gulf of Mottama’s importance, BANCA (BirdLife in Myanmar) has been working to preserve this crucial wetland for many years. In addition to boots-on-the-ground conservation – such as shorebird monitoring, patrolling and saving Spoonies from hunters – BANCA also played a key role in lobbying the Myanmar Government to recognise the Gulf of Mottama as a Ramsar site, under the terms of the Ramsar Convention – an international treaty which guides countries in offering formal protection for wetlands of global importance.
Over half a decade’s worth of tireless pressure finally paid off on May 10 World Migratory Bird Day, 2017, when a 45,000 hectare stretch of the Gulf was officially designated Myanmar’s fourth Ramsar site – and the first to be situated outside of a legally protected area. The area’s new status will aid BANCA, and other local conservation groups, in properly controlling threats such as hunting and over-fishing, which are put at risk not only the continued existence of several globally threatened wading birds, but also the livelihood of local communities who depend on this productive estuary, and its inhabitants, for food and water purification (worms, molluscs and crustaceans are known to remove pollutants from water).
There’s global benefits, too: since mudflats are important carbon sinks, they help mitigate the effects of climate change – making the Gulf of Mottama’s ascension to Ramsar status very timely indeed, given other recent worldwide news.
“The Gulf of Mottama is one of the most outstanding sites on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway for migratory waterbirds”, says Mike Crosby, BirdLife International’s Senior Conservation Officer for the Asia Region. “Its designation as a Ramsar site is a major step forward in its conservation”.
Spoon-billed sandpiper update from Siberia, 29 June 2017: here.
This video says about itself:
Dinosaur’s Feathered Tail Found Remarkably Preserved in Amber | National Geographic
8 December 2016
An extraordinarily well-preserved dinosaur tail, with a fluffy covering of feathers, lies trapped within a piece of amber. The animal it belonged to would have lived about 99 million years ago. Researchers from China and Canada identify it as a juvenile of some type of coelurosaur, a group that includes birdlike dinosaur species that walked on two legs. But because the bones of the tail are flexible and not fused as in a bird’s tail, the specimen must be a terrestrial dinosaur rather than an actual bird. Lida Xing, first author of the study announcing the discovery, found the amber for sale in a northern Myanmar (Burma) market.
From Smithsonian.com in the USA:
This 99-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Tail Trapped in Amber Hints at Feather Evolution
The rare specimen provides new insights into how feathers came to be
By Danny Lewis
December 8, 2016 12:37PM
Once thought to to be scaly-skinned beasts, many dinosaurs likely sported fantastical feathers and fuzz. Though early ancestors of birds, many pieces of their evolutionary timeline remain unclear. But a recent find could fill in some of these gaps: the tip of a fuzzy young dino’s tail encased in amber.
In 2015, Lida Xing, a researcher from the China University of Geosciences in Beijing, was wandering through an amber market in Myanmar when he came across the specimen on sale at a stall. The people who had dug it out of a mine had thought that the fossilized tree resin contained a piece of some sort of plant and were trying to sell it to be made into jewelry. But Xing suspected that the hunk of ancient tree resin could contain a fragment from an animal and brought it to his lab for further study.
His investment paid off.
What looked like a plant turned out to be a tip of a tail covered in simple, downy feather. But it’s unclear exactly what kind of creature it belonged to. Researchers took a closer look at the amber piece using CT scans and realized that it belonged to a true dinosaur, not an ancient bird. The researchers detailed their find in a study published in the journal Current Biology.
“We can be sure of the source because the vertebrae are not fused into a rod or pygostyle as in modern birds and their closest relatives,” Ryan McKellar, a researcher at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and co-author of the study says in a statement. “Instead, the tail is long and flexible, with keels of feathers running down each side.”
Without the rest of the skeleton, it’s unclear exactly what kind of dinosaur this tail belonged to, though it was likely a juvenile coelurosaur, a creature closely related to birds that typically had some kind of feathers. And what’s most intriguing about this 99-million-year-old fossil are the feathers. In the past, most information on dinosaur feathers has come from two-dimensional impressions left in stone or feathers that weren’t attached to the rest of the remains.
See also here.