Young cormorants born, early this spring


This video from Britain says about itself:

Watch the Cormorant and learn how to recognize its unique characteristics. This video captures the Cormorant preparing to fish and identifies the size, shape and distinctive markings of the Great Black Cormorant.

Cormorants can be found in the wild all over the world – there are up to 40 species of Cormorants and Shags. Our Cormorant video is an ideal study guide for students, kids and children who want to learn more about wild animals. Watch the Cormorant as it balances over the UK pond looking for fish.

Translated from Vroege Vogels radio in the Netherlands today:

In the nature reserve Botshol between Abcoude and Vinkeveen the first young great cormorants have been seen. That is extremely early, because normally the egg laying begins around the first week of March.

‘British police, arrest Bahraini torture prince’


This video from Britain says about itself:

Solicitor Sue Willman on case against Bahrain prince accused of torture

Sue Willman from Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors speaking at “Forced Disappearance and Torture in the UAE” on 5 November 2014 in London.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Human rights activists demand arrest of prince accused of torture during Bahrain uprising

Campaigners hope today’s ‘dossier’ will encourage police to question Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa while he is London

Jamie Merrill

Friday 20 March 2015

Human rights activists have demanded that Scotland Yard arrest a Bahraini prince accused of torture – after the royal let slip he had returned to the UK by posting a video on Instagram.

Yesterday, campaigners presented the Metropolitan Police with a “dossier” of new claims against Prince Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa, who they say was involved in the torture of prisoners during a pro-democracy uprising in Bahrain in 2011.

The Bahraini royal, who is the son of the King of the Gulf country, is believed to be staying at a hotel in central London. On Thursday he posted a video online of himself running in Hyde Park, with a squadron of the Life Guards of the Household Cavalry in the background.

The post on Instagram was captioned: “That’s how it feels and sounds when you run in Hyde Park, London.”

His visit comes after the High Court ruled in October 2014 that Prince Nasser did not have diplomatic immunity from prosecution, overturning a previous Crown Prosecution Service decision.

But to the dismay of campaigners, Scotland Yard said there was insufficient evidence to pursue a case. The Government said Prince Nasser was “welcome” in Britain.

Now campaigners hope new information will encourage police to open a new investigation and question Prince Nasser while he is London.

Prince Nasser has denied any involvement in torture. Since the court ruling last year he has visited Britain on at least one occasion, during which he met with defence officials and David Cameron’s envoy to the Middle East.

Less than a month after the meeting, Bahrain signed a deal to establish a new Royal Navy base in the Gulf country.

Amnesty International has repeatedly expressed “serious concerns” over human rights in Bahrain, where it says there is “huge crackdown on freedom of expression”.

Last year’s High Court case arose after a refugee from Bahrain, referred to as FF, sought the arrest of Prince Nasser in London. Under international law Britain must investigate war crimes and FF claimed he had been tortured by Bahraini authorities – but not Prince Nasser directly.

Yesterday lawyers acting for FF delivered a fresh dossier to Scotland Yard’s specialist War Crimes Unit.

See also here. And here.

Bahrain’s Prisons at Their Breaking Point: here.

Surrealist painter Leonora Carrington, new book


This video says about itself:

7 May 2012

Leonora Carrington (born April 6, 1917 in Clayton Green, South Lancaster, Lancashire, England) is a British-born artist, a surrealist painter and while living in Mexico, a novelist.

Her father was a wealthy industrialist, her mother was Irish. She also had an Irish nanny, Mary Cavanaugh, who told her Gaelic tales. Leonora had three brothers. Places she lived as a child included a house called Crooksey Hall.

Educated by governesses, tutors and nuns, she was expelled from many schools for her rebellious behavior until her family sent her to Florence where she attended Mrs. Penrose’s Academy of Art. Her father was opposed to an artist’s career for her, but her mother encouraged her.

By Paul Simon in Britain:

Gripping tale of woman artist’s fights and flights

Thursday 19th March 2015

Leonora by Elena Poniatowska (Serpent’s Tail, £12.99)

RENOWNED Mexican novelist Elena Poniatowska has crafted a mightily expansive and breathlessly fictionalised biography — a “free approximation” as she terms it — of Surrealist painter Leonora Carrington, whose story is one of a constant but very individualised fight and flight rebellions against the expectations of her upper-class family.

Carrington died in 2011 and in this work, translated by Amanda Hopkinson, Poniatowska has ensured that the woman behind the paintings can be fully appreciated and understood.

The daughter of the owner of Imperial Chemical, Carrington was expelled from an endless number of educational institutions for insubordination but was still on the conveyor belt of presentation at court and a soulless marriage before fleeing to Paris and freedom.

There she took up with Max Ernst, Andre Breton, Peggy Guggenheim and others who made up the artistically fissiparous but financially astute Surrealists.

The book pivots around her love affair with the intoxicating, disloyal and rather weak Ernst as they escaped Paris for the south, before he was arrested as an alien in the weeks before France fell to the nazis.

There is a vivid description of the distraught and raging Carrington being smuggled out of the country and into Francoist Spain, where she suffered a breakdown and subsequent imprisonment and medical torture in a Santander asylum.

Well-connected friends helped her resume her life and painting, but without Ernst.

He’d been released and found a new love, firstly in New York and then in Mexico where Carrington spent the rest of her life, and where the author built up a long-term and observant friendship with her.

So this is first and foremost a book about one woman’s constant need for flight and exile in the face of circumstances beyond her control.

It is also a testament to her resistance to, and curious intoxication with, the controlling presence of men — her father, Ernst and her posh-boy patron Edward James included. Carrington emerges as a fragile but determined survivor, eclectically alighting on new ideas — everything from Jung to the Kabbalah but without really engaging in the material realities around her.

She was certainly vehemently anti-nazi when directly threatened but, as with most of the bitchy Surrealists, she failed to recognise the broader class struggles taking place whether in Spain in the 1930s or later in Mexico as the government brutally attacked protesters in the run-up to the 1968 Olympics.

Yet her utter need for freedom, gloriously expressed in her paintings, makes her a vital and influential artistic figure.

Eight-year-old Ukrainian girl killed by government troops


This video from Ukraine is called Kostyantynivka Rally: Residents vent anger after girl dies in accident involving military vehicle. It says about itself:

A deadly accident involving a Ukrainian armored personnel vehicle that killed an 8-year-old girl triggered a riot in Kostantynivka, Donetsk Oblast, on March 16.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Anger as troops’ vehicle kills child

Wednesday 18th March 2015

RESIDENTS in the eastern Ukrainian town of Kostyantynivka angrily confronted police yesterday after an armoured military vehicle struck and killed an eight-year-old girl.

Although now under government control, Kostyantynivka was part of the anti-Kiev People’s Republic of Donetsk for almost three months last year.

Many residents retain sympathies for the anti-fascist separatist forces that the government is fighting.

Clashes broke out on Monday night, hours after the child was killed, in front of a dormitory commandeered by the pro-Kiev occupation forces.

Enraged crowds turned over a police car and set fire to a bus. Authorities claimed to have detained the ringleaders of the unrest.

Donetsk region head of police Vyacheslav Abroskin, who rushed to Kostyantynivka on Tuesday in a bid to soothe tempers, was met by more than 50 people, including mothers with small children, at the scene of the child’s death.

Many vented their frustration at what they said was the frequently drunken conduct of soldiers in the town.

“It has become dangerous to walk around. We have seen it all before. Military vehicles drive very fast here and there all the time,” said resident Alexander Tsibulyev.

At a later gathering, an even larger crowd shouted demands for all troops to leave.

“The accident occurred at the Lomonosov Street near City Hospital No. 5. Three pedestrians suffered under the wheels of the fighting vehicle: A girl aged eight died on the spot, a woman and a child in a stroller were taken to hospital,” Ukraine’s Interior Ministry reported Monday night. Locals believe the driver of the vehicle was drunk at the time of the accident: here.

BRITISH military advisers have arrived in Ukraine, Kiev’s Defence Ministry announced yesterday. A number of instructors will run courses on first aid, “tactical training” and “psychological rehabilitation” for Ukrainian troops: here.