Bird news from Australia


This is a little woodswallow video from Australia.

From Birdline New South Wales in Australia:

Sunday 12 April 2015: Little Woodswallow, Pacific Swift

Euligal State Forest, Kenebri

At least 15 Little Woodswallows at the southern end of Cadet Rd (-30.784096,149.176005). They were perched, feeding young, flying overhead and bombing me. There were also good numbers of White-browed Woodswallows nearby.

Six Pacific Swift over the creek crossing just east of Kenebri an hour earlier. Two White-backed Swallow and 10 Turquoise Parrots were seen at The Aloes en route.

Max Breckenridge 13 April 2015

Australian archbishop arrested in child abuse scandal


This video from Australia says about itself:

17 March 2015

Adelaide Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson has been charged with concealing child sex abuse, committed by another clergyman three decades ago.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Archbishop accused of paedophile cover-up

Wednesday 18th March 2015

AUSTRALIAN Catholic archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson was arrested yesterday and charged with covering up for a paedophile priest during the 1970s.

He said that he was disappointed that New South Wales state police had decided to charge him with concealing a serious child sexual abuse offence, adding that he would fight the charge, which carries a potential two-year prison sentence.

It is alleged that he failed to report child-sex abuse carried out by James Fletcher in the 1970s when they both served in the town of Maitland, north of Sydney.

Mr Fletcher died in prison in 2006, one year into an almost eight-year sentence for raping an altar boy between 1989 and 1991.

A victim of Mr Fletcher’s paedophilia, Peter Gogarty, expressed relief over the charge yesterday, saying: “I think it’s a very, very important day for Australia that we’ve now had someone in such a high position charged.”

Australian sharks feed on dead humpback whale


This video from Australia says about itself:

Tiger Shark Feeding Frenzy – The Death of a Humpback Whale

25 May 2014

When an organism as large as a humpback whale dies in an ocean system, who cleans up that big rotting mess…. We know! Apex predators like the tiger shark are renowned scavengers. This is a collection of footage showing the 3 day process of what happened in Coral Bay when a humpback whale died and washed over the reef.

From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

Beaches closed as sharks feed on whale carcass near shoreline on NSW South Coast

By Tegan Osborne

Updated about 7 hours ago

Sharks have been seen devouring a dead whale floating close to rocky coastline at South Broulee near Batemans Bay in NSW, forcing authorities to close five beaches.

The young humpback whale was spotted off the rocks at the popular swimming beach on Wednesday morning, according to Stan Wall from Lifeguard Services Australia.

A 100m exclusion zone was set up around the whale and at one point a crowd of more than 300 people gathered to watch.

However, Mr Wall said, after some time, lifeguards in the area were unable to see any spray or air bubbles coming from the animal and it was presumed dead.

“We think it might have come into collision with a boat or maybe even hurt itself on the rocks that we saw it on this morning,” Mr Wall said.

Clear signs the animal was seriously ill: ORRCA

Shona Lorigan, from the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA), said once the animal died, a group of sharks moved in and began devouring the carcass.

“The sharks are dangerous and are in a feeding frenzy so it’s important that everyone stays away,” she said.

“It’s very important for their own safety – don’t go near a dead animal, particularly one that showed signs of ser[i]ous illness.”

She said the whale was seriously underweight and was infested with large numbers of whale lice.

“There really is very clear evidence that the whale itself was sick before it passed away,” she said.

Ms Lorigan said four members of ORRCA went straight to the beach after calls from the public.

“We got a large number of calls from the beach this afternoon, and that immediately activated our rescue team,” she said.

“While they were in transit… we were on the phone with members of the public advising them on the situation, and we became aware that the animal had passed away.”

Beaches remain closed until further notice

Mr Wall said Shark Bay, North Broulee, South Broulee, North Head and Moruya beaches would remain closed until further notice.

He said lifesavers had met with Eurobodalla Shire Council and would do so again early on Thursday morning to re-assess what, if anything, should be done with the carcass.

“We’re hoping with the change in tides it actually might get washed out [to sea],” Mr Wall said.

A Westpac Lifesaver helicopter was deployed on Wednesday afternoon to help ensure the area had been cleared of people, he said.

Australian marsupial species discovered, killing itself by sex


This video from Australia is called Queensland: The suicidal mating routine of the male marsupial antechinus.

From Reuters:

Scientists Discover New Marsupial That Has Sex Until It Dies

02/21/2014 10:59 am EST

SYDNEY, Feb 20 – Australian scientists have discovered a new species of marsupial, about the size of a mouse, which conduct marathon mating sessions that often prove fatal for the male.

The Black-Tailed Antechinus has been found in the high-altitude, wet areas of far southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales.

It is identifiable by a very shaggy coat and an orangey-brown coloured rump which ends with a black tail.

But it’s their strenuous mating sessions, which can last for to 14 hours, with both the males and females romping from mate to mate, that is most striking about the animals.

“It’s frenetic, there’s no courtship, the males will just grab the females and both will mate promiscuously,” Andrew Baker, head of the research team from the Queensland University of Technology who made the discovery, told Reuters.

The mating season lasts for several weeks and the males will typically die from their exertions.

Excessive stress hormones in the males that build up during the mating season degrade their body tissue, leading to death. Females have the ability to block the production of the hormone.

The species was found at the highest peak of the World-Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests, in Springbrook National Park in Queensland, about 900 km (560 miles) north east of Sydney.

The findings about the new species have been published in the science journal Zootaxa. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Racism in Australia


This video from Australia says about itself:

Apr 17, 2012

A CONTROVERSIAL neo-Nazi music festival will be held in Brisbane this year, drawing white supremacists from around the world.

The yearly Hammered Music Festival, already being advertised through white pride websites, will take place in a secret Brisbane location and feature race hate music from international and local bands, reported The Courier-Mail.

Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke this week labelled the event as “abhorrent to our community”.

The event is being organised by the Southern Cross Hammerskins, the Australian arm of a worldwide group whose members have been convicted of race-based assault and murder.

The Queensland Police Service and the Brisbane City Council have said the groups can legally hold the festival.

A website promoting the festival held on the Gold Coast features links to various white supremacist groups and an embedded YouTube video which praises the “achievements” of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich before and during World War II.

The flyer for the event gives no location for the event, instead asking those interested in attending to email the organisers.

It also makes reference to the infamous Australian National Socialist party which was involved in violent racist attacks in the 1980s.

By Peter Boyle in Australia:

Two-sided racism grows in Australia

Saturday, July 6, 2013

After days of non-stop rain, blue sky peeked out for a moment in Sydney. My partner and I grabbed the lead and took our dog for a much-needed walk in the park. But we hadn’t gone two blocks down the road when to our shock we saw the front door of a long-time resident of our street covered with foul anti-Semitic graffiti.

“Fuck Jews,” it read, “Heil Hitler“. It featured three Nazi swastikas.

We were standing there in shock — even more so when we saw other people walking past without as much as batting an eyelid.

If we were shocked, imagine what the Jewish family living there felt.

This is just a small glimpse of the ugly price of the increasingly strident bipartisan racist scapegoating by politicians in the major parties. Imagine incidents like this multiplied thousands of times aimed at people of various non-Anglo backgrounds throughout the suburbs, in playgrounds and workplaces.

Foreign minister Bob Carr and new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd may casually stigmatise “economic migrants” in their speeches and press statements and imagine they are just having a civil debate. But the full consequence of those two words is far from civil out there in the street.

I know some people say we can’t call Carr and Rudd racist. After all, they’ve both got Asian members of their family. Kevin even speaks Mandarin, for god’s sake. But their families have got bodyguards, drivers in Commonwealth cars to ferry them safely about, secure homes in secure suburbs, and are not likely to face the racist insults that others face on every day.

With the release of the latest opinion polls showing a swing back to Labor, progressive people all around the country are now breathing a sigh of relief that Tony Abbott’s Coalition are no longer looking at a landslide victory.

I know about lesser evils and greater evils. This was clear when I watched the Coalition’s “US-style” campaign rally on TV on June 29, where both former prime minister John Howard and Abbott whipped up an ugly atmosphere when they spoke about “turning back the boats“.

So, is the price we have to pay to keep Abbott at bay a further shift to the right by Labor on its already racist and grossly inhumane refugee policy? And with that, are we to accept as collateral damage the predictable Coalition response of shifting their policy even further to the right?

The lies promoted by the Liberal and Labor parties dupe some progressive people into going along with them. A Greens member I know suggested his party should “smash the people-smuggler rings” in Indonesia to prevent people from getting on leaky boats.

People who buy this lie that it is about people smugglers should stop and think. Imagine proposing such a joint task force against people smugglers to the government of a country bordering Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II.

There is another way, but the ugly surprise my partner and I had while taking the dog for a walk today leaves me with no confidence that we can expect any better from the new Rudd Labor government. However, I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

This day in Jewish history / 1555: Pope Paul IV orders Jews to live in a ghetto: here.