Archive for 01/24/2012

New Zealand: At Least 38 Pilot Whales Have Now Died After Nearly 100 Beach Themselves on South Island

01/24/2012 Leave a comment

Here’s an update on this story

Update: All remaining 33 stranded pilot whales have been euthanized

By Dave Williams – “A final attempt will be made on Wednesday to refloat the 35 surviving pilot whales from a pod that has repeatedly stranded on Farewell Spit, near the top of New Zealand’s South Island.

About 100 whales stranded themselves near the base of the spit in Golden Bay on Monday and 34 of them died that night.

Others managed to free themselves while the rest were refloated on Tuesday with the help of dozens of volunteers. However, some stranded again later in the day.

Four died on Tuesday night leaving 35 survivors. Another attempt will be made to refloat them at high tide, which is about 11.40am on Wednesday.

Department of Conservation spokesman Nigel Mountford told AAP the whales lost condition each time they were stranded out of water on the low tide, and if they restranded again they would likely die.

‘The third day of stranding is pretty much crunch time for the whales,’ he said.

Project Jonah chief executive Kimberly Muncaster told NZ Newswire the restranded whales had moved seven or eight kilometres up the beach, which meant volunteers had to be taken by bus to look after them.” Read more.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths

Massachusetts: Researchers and Rescuers Baffled as 61 Dolphins Die on Cape Cod Coastline After Dozens of Strandings

01/24/2012 Leave a comment

By JESS BIDGOOD – “WELLFLEET, Mass. — When a single dolphin washed up on Cape Cod on Jan. 12, it was nothing out of the ordinary.

But eight days later, 81 more had been found stranded on this craggy coastline, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, bringing the weekly count unusually close to the 120 animals the group typically responds to in high stranding season, which typically runs from January to April. By Jan. 23, the count was 85.

‘It’s just about as intense as I’ve ever experienced,’ said Katie Moore, the manager of the mammal rescue and research team at the nonprofit fund, which employs six scientists to rescue dolphins and whales that find themselves the unwitting occupants of Cape Cod’s empty winter beaches.

It is common for dolphins to be corralled by the cape’s U-shape and flummoxed by its shallow inlets and extreme tides. In fact, Cape Cod is, like parts of New Zealand and Australia, a world hotspot for dolphin strandings.

But so many dolphins washing up in less than two weeks — 61 of which were dead, killed by stress or injuries from the stranding — has baffled researchers, who have been working relentlessly with volunteers to rescue as many as possible.

Six of those dolphins turned up on Thursday in ‘The Gut’ of the Herring River, in Wellfleet, a waterway in the Cape Cod National Seashore that turns into a squelchy stretch of sticky mud at low tide. When researchers arrived, they found five live dolphins gulping for air with their blowholes, sounding like asthmatic humans. The sixth was dead. At the time, hundreds more dolphins were being coaxed out another part of Wellfleet Harbor by a small team of rescuers and its harbormaster.” Read more.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths

Gaza: Top Official (Again) Says That Hamas Will Never Renounce Jihad, Turkey Proven Wrong (Again)

01/24/2012 Leave a comment

The Hamas Charter declares that “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors … There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad … Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them) …”.  The only way to renounce jihad is to first renounce Islam. And according to Hamas’ own charter, that ain’t ever happening …

Isaiah 48:22, “‘There is no peace for the wicked,’ says the LORD.”

“GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Senior Hamas official Mahmud Zahar said on Monday that the Palestinian Islamist movement will never give up its armed struggled against Israel.

The statement comes as Gaza Strip officials openly attacked the movement’s leader-in-exile Khaled Meshaal, who has decided not to run again this summer for the leadership of Hamas, for prioritising ‘peaceful resistance.’

‘We are fighting for our dignity and rights. Jihad is our path, our life, our pride and we will not renounce it no matter the sacrifices,’ said Zahar, quoted on the website of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing.

Hamas will ‘never give up its armed struggle against the Zionist enemy,’ he said during a speech in Zeitun, a neighbourhood in east Gaza, in honour of the ‘martyrs’ of Israel’s December 2008-January 2009 Cast Lead operation against the enclave.” Read more.

Flashback: Hamas Leader Rejects Peace with Israel, Disavows Non-Violent Resistance – “The top Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip rejected compromise with Israel in a fiery speech Wednesday, a day after gunmen killed four Israelis. In an address to Hamas members, Gaza strongman Mahmoud Zahar said the movement would resist peace efforts and criticized the Palestinian president for joining the negotiations.” Read more.

Flashback: Turkish President Slams Israel, Hails Hamas as a ‘Supporter of Democracy’ that is ‘Willing to Live in Peace Alongside Israel’ – “Turkish president Abdullah Gul on Sunday said Israel should take advantage of the changes in the Middle East to achieve peace with the Palestinian Authority and the entire Arab world, the Turkey-based Today’s Zaman reported… ‘As the democracy in the Middle East grows, Israel will eventually have to stop the violence in ‘Palestine’’, he was quoted as having said. Gul also claimed that Khaled Mashaal, head of the Hamas terror group, is a supporter of democracy and is willing to live in peace alongside Israel.” Read more.

France: French Senators Pass Law Criminalizing Armenian Genocide Denial, Turkey Rages at ‘Satan Sarkozy’ and Threatens Retaliation

01/24/2012 Leave a comment

The French want to acknowledge the history of Turkey’s genocide of an estimated 1.5 million Armenian Christians. The Turks would rather rewrite it. You know what they say about those who ignore history …

By Kim Willsher – “French senators have approved legislation making it a crime to deny that the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks nearly a century ago constitutes genocide.

The law, which has already been passed by members of the Assemblée Nationale, the lower house, has sparked a major diplomatic row between France and Turkey, which has threatened ‘permanent consequences’.

Immediately after the Sénat vote on Monday night, Turkish justice minister Sadullah Ergin described it as a ‘total lack of respect’ and a ‘great injustice’ towards his country. Ankara had already threatened retaliation if the bill was passed.

After French MPs approved the bill in December, Turkey recalled its ambassador, cancelled all economic and political meetings, and halted military cooperation with France.

Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, had earlier warned of further measures: ‘If every EU (European Union) parliament implements decisions reflecting its own view of history a new inquisition period will begin in Europe.’

Supporters of the bill claim 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered in Turkey under the Ottoman authorities during the first world war in a deliberate policy that constitutes genocide.” Read more.

Turkey rages at ‘Satan Sarkozy’ over ‘racist’ French bill criminalizing genocide denial – “Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan attacked the French parliament on Tuesday for passing a ‘discriminatory and racist’ bill which makes it illegal to deny that the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks nearly a century ago was genocide… Some Turkish newspapers listed possible measures that Ankara might take against France. These included the recall of its ambassador from Paris and telling the French ambassador to go home, reducing diplomatic ties to charge d’affaires level, and closing Turkish airspace and waters to French military aircraft and vessels… Turkey’s ambassador in Paris, Tahsin Burcuoglu, said the vote would lead to a “total rupture” of relations between the two countries…” Read more.

Iranian Christian Asylum Seeker Assaulted and Burned by Employer in Turkey

01/24/2012 Leave a comment

Mohabat News – “Pressures and threats against Christian converts are increasing tremendously inside Iran. Severe sentences are being issued for converts with an Islamic background and this is the primary reason these converts flee their homeland and apply to the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for refugee status. However, it seems that UNHCR decision makers do not understand the seriousness of this issue.

Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News notes that before the Islamic revolution all religious minorities, including Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians could conveniently and securely speak about their faith. After the Islamic revolution and after the Islamic regime came to power, although it stressed freedom of religion, this was just one side of the story. The regime proceeded to break its own constitution, generated a terrorizing atmosphere and put growing pressure on churches through its security organizations.

People with different beliefs, especially Christians, were subjected to arrest, imprisonment, threat and torture. The string of executions of outstanding Iranian Christian figures and pastors is a prime example of that. The laws are even being tightened more and more as time goes by. Such pressures and threats as well as heavy sentences cause Christian converts with an Islamic background to flee their homeland and seek refuge through the UNHCR office in Ankara. However, interviewers and decision makers at the UNHCR fail to understand their grievous situations and often turn down their asylum appeals.

Yousef Fallah Ranjbar is one of these asylum seekers who is currently awaiting a decision on his case in Turkey. Like other asylum seekers in Turkey, Fallah Ranjbar had to work in order to survive. However he was brutally assaulted by his Turkish employer with hot water and his body was severely burned.

In a recent contact with the Association in Support of Iranian Asylum Seekers in Turkey, Ranjbar related some tragic facts and explained what has happened to him during these years.” Read more.

Ancient Jewish Scrolls Found in Northern Afghanistan

01/24/2012 Leave a comment

The Jewish community in Afghanistan is proud of their rich heritage in an Islamic land no longer exists …

By Amie Ferris-Rotman – “KABUL (Reuters) – A cache of ancient Jewish scrolls from northern Afghanistan that has only recently come to light is creating a storm among scholars who say the landmark find could reveal an undiscovered side of medieval Jewry.

The 150 or so documents, dated from the 11th century, were found in Afghanistan’s Samangan province and most likely smuggled out — a sorry but common fate for the impoverished and war-torn country’s antiquities.

Israeli emeritus professor Shaul Shaked, who has examined some of the poems, commercial records and judicial agreements that make up the treasure, said while the existence of ancient Afghan Jewry is known, their culture was still a mystery.

‘Here, for the first time, we see evidence and we can actually study the writings of this Jewish community. It’s very exciting,’ Shaked told Reuters by telephone from Israel, where he teaches at the Comparative Religion and Iranian Studies department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The hoard is currently being kept by private antique dealers in London, who have been producing a trickle of new documents over the past two years, which is when Shaked believes they were found and pirated out of Afghanistan in a clandestine operation.

It is likely they belonged to Jewish merchants on the Silk Road running across Central Asia, said T. Michael Law, a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Oxford University’s Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

‘They might have been left there by merchants travelling along the way, but they could also come from another nearby area and deposited for a reason we do not yet understand,’ Law said.” Read more.

Categories: Anything Else

Expert: Israel Strike Over Iran’s Nuclear Program ‘Increasingly Likely’

01/24/2012 Leave a comment

By Katherine Weber – “In an effort to contain Iran’s growing nuclear program, the European Union announced Monday its intent to implement an embargo on Iranian oil as well as increase trade restrictions. Meanwhile, experts say it is likely that Israel, threatened by such a nuclear program, may feel pressured to attack if the international community cannot keep the Iranian regime’s nuclear aspirations in check.

These new restrictions from the EU place an intensified amount of pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear productivity…

Israel, portrayed by the Iranian regime as an oppressor of the Palestinians and a foe to peace in the Middle East, has also faced further isolation from Egypt, with which it shares a peace treaty. Egypt’s recently organized Parliament, dominated by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, has repeatedly announced that the country will not be renewing its peace treaty with Israel, which has created a ‘cold peace’ between the two countries since 1979.

Egypt has served as an important ally to Israel in the past, as its power has enabled Israel to focus its defense on northern boundaries and cut its defense budget, thus greatly bolstering its economy, according to observers.

Critics now worry that the continued diplomatic isolation in both Iran and Israel will worsen political relations in the Middle East. Instability may make Israel feel more threatened, and therefore more likely to attack Iran.” Read more.

Benjamin Netanyahu renews speculation over military action against Iran – “… Following a telephone conversation with President Barack Obama earlier this month, Mr Netanyahu grudgingly gave his backing to new US and EU sanctions against Iran. But in a speech delivered ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which will be marked on Friday, Mr Netanyahu returned to a familiar theme by giving warning that Israel had the military means to defend itself against foreign aggression. His comments appeared clearly aimed at Iran. ‘The Jewish people and the Israeli government have the right, the obligation and the ability to prevent another destruction of the Jewish people or an attack on its state,’ he said.” Read more.

Report: Israel to Give Obama No More Than 12 Hours Notice on Attacking Iran – “Israeli officials told visiting USS Chief Joint of Staffs Martin Dempsey that it would give President Barack Obama no more than 12 hours notice if and when it attacks Iran, The London Times reported Sunday. The Netanyahu government also will not coordinate with the United States an attack on the Islamic Republic, according to the report, the latest in a number of suposed scenarios concerning cooperation or lack of it between Jerusalem and Washington. It is left to speculation whether the rumors are based on facts or are leaked by officials to mask the possibility of secret military coordination.” Read more.

Israel to UN: Tomorrow will be too late for action against Iran – “‘Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons represent the greatest threat to peace and security in the world,’ Prosor said. ‘The silence of the Security Council will be very costly. You must act today. Tomorrow will be too late.’ ‘The thought of Iran equipped with nuclear weapons should take sleep from the eyes of Security Council member states,’ Prosor said. ‘The international community cannot stand by idly while the Ayatollah’s regime works to combine extremist ideology with nuclear technology.'” Read more.

Nigeria: Death Toll Soars as Officials Arrest Islamic Militants, At Least 211 Now Reported Killed

01/24/2012 Leave a comment

Here’s an update on this story

By Nima Elbagir – “Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) — A joint military task force in Nigeria arrested 158 suspected members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, security sources told CNN Tuesday, three days after a spate of bombings and shootings left more than 200 people dead in Nigeria’s second-largest city.

Some suspects resisted arrest and exchanged gunfire with the task force in the city of Kano, said security sources who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

No casualties have been reported so far, they said.

The arrests come as community leaders said the number of dead from the Kano bombing and gun attacks has risen to at least 211.

Community leaders have been keeping their own count of the number of dead from Friday’s attacks, they told CNN Tuesday, including victims who never made it to hospitals. They declined to be quoted by name for security reasons.

Government officials declined to confirm the number of victims. They previously put the death toll at 157.

Police in Kano announced Tuesday that they had seized 10 cars laden with explosives and about 300 improvised explosive devices hidden in soft drink cans and bottles at a number of locations in the city.

The state police commissioner, Ibrahim Idris, said a mass search turned up the explosives after police found undetonated devices at a police barracks in Kano.” Read more.

Australia: 5,000 Fish Found Dead in Perth’s Swan River

01/24/2012 1 comment

“Low oxygen levels and hot weather are believed to have killed thousands of fish in Perth’s Swan River.

About 5,000 dead fish were discovered between the Middle Swan Bridge and the Ellen Brook in the upper reaches of the river.

Mark Cugley from the Swan River Trust says recent rain and hot weather have decreased oxygen levels in the waterway and that particular area is outside the reach of the river’s oxygenation plants.

‘Sudden rainfall often drags nutrient rich organic matter into the river and this typically causes oxygen levels to rapidly drop below levels suitable for fish and other aquatic fauna,’ he said.

‘It is something that is of a concern and although we believe that the cause was low oxygen levels in the water column, we are monitoring the water quality and sending off samples of those fish for that to be clarified.’

Mr Cugley says most of the fish appear to be juvenile black bream with the remainder being trumpeter.” Source – Seven News.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths

UK: New Disease Causing Abortions and Birth Deformities in Farm Animals Discovered in Britain for the First Time

01/24/2012 Leave a comment

By Louise Gray – “A new virus, that causes abortions and birth deformities in farm animals, has been found in Britain for the first time.

Schmallenberg virus (SBV), which is spread by midges and affects cattle, sheep and goats, has been formally identified on four sheep farms in Norfolk, Suffolk and East Sussex.

At the moment farmers are not required to notify the authorities so animals with the disease may end up in the food chain, however it is not thought to be harmful to humans.

Farmers are concerned because of the distressing nature of finding animals with dead or deformed young and the possibility the virus may be spread further as the weather warms.

Vets believe the virus was carried over to eastern England via midges from the northern Europe, where it was first identified last August.

The disease first appeared in cattle in the Netherlands and Germany in August 2011. Clinical signs included fever, reduced milk yield and diarrhoea.

More recently, from November, the virus has been associated with reports of miscarriages and stillbirths associated with congenital abnormalities affecting mainly sheep but also cattle and goats, in northern Europe.

Russia and Mexico have banned imports of sheep and goat meat and live animals from the Netherlands and China has asked for more information.

If Britain loses its export market it will cost the country billions.” Read more.

Categories: Pestilence
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