Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Myanmar’s Log Export Ban to Hurt Businessmen But Help Forests

Jakarta Globe, Jared Ferrie, Mar 23, 2014

An elephant pulls a teak log in a logging camp in Pinlebu township, Sagaing,
 northern Myanmar, in this picture taken March 6, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Soe Zeya Tun)

Yangon. Myanmar will ban the export of raw timber logs from April 1, choking off profits in a sector that provided critical funding to the country’s former military rulers for decades, as a new reformist government steps up efforts to save forests.

Myanmar has some of Asia’s largest remaining expanses of forests, from the slopes of Himalayan foothills in the north to steamy rainforest in the south.

But it has been disappearing fast.

Forest cover shrank almost a fifth, to 47 percent of land area in 2010, from 58 percent in 1990, Forestry Ministry data shows.

Total timber exports of 1.24 million cubic tonnes in the fiscal year to March 2013 brought in more than $1 billion in revenue, government figures show.

While timber remains an important income stream for Myanmar’s rulers after a quasi-civilian government took over from the military in 2011, it is not as critical as before.

To recognize Myanmar’s economic and political reforms, the European Union, the United States and other countries have eased or lifted sanctions, allowing foreign investment in sectors such as telecommunications.

The reforms are now reaching into the forestry sector, with the government ready to put conservation above profit.

The ban is likely to hurt the forestry industry, which generates about 90 percent of export earnings from raw logs and not finished products, said Barber Cho, head of the Myanmar Timber Merchants’ Association.

“Myanmar industry might suffer, some people might suffer,” said Barber Cho, whose group represents about 900 companies.

“It’s a difficult and complicated juncture for us.”

Under the new rule, revenues could plummet, forcing forestry firms to invest in new sawmills to stay competitive.

But the action was necessary, as the former junta had practiced “legal overproduction” that decimated Myanmar’s forests for decades, Barber Cho said.

Crippled by sanctions, chronic economic mismanagement and starved for hard currency, the generals gave logging concessions to their cronies to export raw logs in exchange for the cash needed to prop up their rule.

Forest products were the military junta’s second most important source of legal foreign exchange and exports earned $428 million in the fiscal year to March 2005, natural resources watchdog group Global Witness said.

Among the big companies involved in the business are Asia World, the Htoo Group, and Yuzana Co.

Htoo Group and Yuzana are the two biggest palm oil companies in the environmentally sensitive southern region of Tanintharyi.

Yuzana also runs a 81,000-hectare biofuel concession in the world’s largest tiger reserve in northern Kachin state, where the military has contracted with Asia World to build roads and dams, conservation group Forest Trends says.

“All these renowned companies were granted associated rights over timber extraction in their project area,” the Washington-based group said in a recent report.

Challenging the cronies

The ban, covering all kinds of trees, will end Myanmar’s status as the only country to export raw teak logs from natural forests rather than plantations. Exports of teak wood alone earned $359 million last year.

“Of course, this ban should have been imposed a long time ago, but it’s better late than never,” a forestry ministry official told Reuters.

“We believe it will help encourage wood-based industry and increase job opportunities,” added the official, who declined to be identified as he was not authorised to talk to media.

From next year, the government also plans to slash by 80 percent the amount of teak it allows to be taken from the forests, Barber Cho said.

How the cronies will fare is an open question, but it’s clear that Myanmar’s notoriously opaque timber industry has long been a key source of wealth for many prominent businessmen.

Tycoon Tay Za said his Htoo Group, engaged in businesses ranging from mining to tourism, grew from a humble start, based on a loan from his mother-in-law to set up a sawmill.

Tay Za said he did not exploit connections to win concessions, which were allotted through a bidding process, but he did say his father served with top figures in the military, including Than Shwe, who ruled Myanmar from 1992 to 2011, while Tay Za was building his business empire.

“It was a fair competition,” Tay Za said in a December interview. “No need to know the minister, only open competition.”

Groups such as Forest Trends and others familiar with the way the junta worked say tenders were for show. The real concessions were shared out in backroom deals.

“It was not a tender system, it was a negotiation system,” said Barber Cho.

Data shows one of Tay Za’s firms received a 270,000-hectare tract of rainforest in a proposed national park in Tanintharyi, one of Myanmar’s most biodiverse regions.

Tay Za logged almost two-thirds of another 65,000 hectares of nearby palm oil concessions awarded to him during the five years to fiscal 2007/8, data shows.

Tay Za, as well as representatives of Yuzana and Asia World, did not respond to requests for comment.

The log export ban will force dominant forestry companies to invest in new processes and diversify, said Aung Thura, of the Yangon-based research and consulting firm Thura Swiss.

“It will have an impact on them, but it won’t destroy them,” he said. “It’s in their interest to diversify, not just export raw logs.”

— Additional reporting by Aung Hla Tun in Yangon

Reuters

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