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)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

NTB Volcano Erupts, Flights Delayed but No Deaths Reported

Jakarta Globe, Fitri Pikong, May 31, 2014

The Mount Sangeang eruption as seen from neighboring
East Nusa Tenggara province. (JG Photo/Pingkan Irwin)

Jakarta. Mount Sangeang in West Nusa Tenggara’s Bima district erupted at 3 p.m. local time on Friday, spewing ash 3,000 meters into the air, reaching the city of Bima, some 70 kilometers away.

“The BPBD [Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency] has evacuated more than 1,000 people from farms near the Mount Sangiang area,” West Nusa Tenggara disaster mitigation head Weda Mahma Ardi said.

The agency instructed local residents not to go within 1.5 kilometers of the eruption site.

Eighteen people were treated for minor injuries after the eruption, Weda said.

“They will soon be evacuated to their relatives’ houses in Sangeang Darat,” Wera subdistrict head Julfan Akbar said, as quoted by Indonesia news portalTempo.co.

No deaths have been reported.

“Up until now, there have not been reports of [serious] casualties,” National Disaster Mitigation Agency head Sutopo said.

The volcano last erupted in 1999, according to BNPB data.

Qantas and Virgin Australia canceled flights to Darwin, Australia after the eruption.

Related Articles:

Indonesian volcanic ash cloud may halt Australia flights for days


The giant UFO hovers over the dark cloud plume from the volcano 
on Sangeang Api, Indonesia on May 31, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ully to the Rescue of Bandung’s Unwanted

Jakarta Globe, Yuli Krisna, May 25, 2014

Yulita Rosa Rangkuti has a love or cats that consumes her life — and
most of the space in her home. (JG Photos/Yuli Krisna)

It’s an unassuming home, like any of the others here at Bandung’s Sapta Taruna housing estate, until you get close enough to hear the cats — more than a dozen of them.

Every morning, homeowner Yulita Rosa Rangkuti and her husband Anwar Siswadi go through a daily routine that revolves around the 20 cats and kittens that inhabit the 36-square-meter home, one of just a handful of “cat orphanages” in the country.

Anwar prepares the food for the felines: boiled chicken heads, diced and tossed with an assortment of vegetables. The cats are then divided before they can begin chowing down, based on how fast they can finish their meals.

“If you put them all together, the cats that finish faster will start eating the food of the slower-eating cats,” Anwar says.

While her husband tends to the meals, Yulita, better known as Ully, cleans out the cardboard boxes that the cats sometimes sleep in. There’s only one cage in the house, and it’s used only to isolate the cats that tend to pick fights with others.

But that rarely happens, Ully says, and most of the time the cats are free to roam the house and the front and back yards.

With so many sharp claws in the house, Ully and Anwar try to have as little furniture as possible. There are only three rooms in the tiny house; one has been converted into a nursery for cats with newborn kittens. Another room functions as a quarantine area to isolate cats with contagious diseases. The third room is Ully and Anwar’s bedroom.

Ully says she began keeping cats as pets when she was in university. Over time, what started out as a hobby turned into an obsession to rescue abandoned cats.

She soon realized that cat owners in Indonesia often threw away newborn kittens because they didn’t want to have to raise more pets. Often the kittens die, deprived of their mother’s milk and unable to look for their own food. There are also older cats, abandoned by their owners after falling ill or losing limbs in accidents, and cats that are physically abused by their owners.

“I feel sorry for them. What makes it particularly bad is that these animals are voiceless. They can’t fight for their rights as living being. They have a right to a decent life,” Ully says. “If no one rescued, them they would surely die.”

Ully reckons she has rescued hundreds of cats since her university days. “I once rescued a Persian cat that was suffering from hemorrhoids. The cat was abandoned by its owner at an empty house,” she says.

Before long, Ully and Anwar’s rented house became an unofficial cat orphanage, funded entirely by the couple. Ully says they spend more than Rp 1.5 million, or $130, every month on food alone — and that’s before the vitamins, medicine and trips to the veterinarian.

But Ully says she has plans for an even bigger orphanage someday, serving as a center where people can go to hand over cats they no longer want. She also wants a place where individual rescuers like her can gather and share information.

“I want all these individual rescuers to work together and manage [the center] together on things like finding funding solutions and handling administrative duties,” she says.

This being Indonesia, it didn’t take long for Ully to meet up with like-minded cat lovers — online, of course, through the Facebook group page for the Bandung Domestic Cat Club, or PKDB, which connects not only cat lovers and rescuers but also people keen to make a change for the better in the felines’ lives.

One such person is Hunaida, who has been a member of the group since 2012. A student at the Bandung Institute of Technology, or ITB, Hunaida is currently nursing 10 abandoned cats while also getting her friends to take part in activities like “street feeding,” where volunteers meet every week to feed stray cats in a given part of the city.

There’s also a “cat sterilization day,” a regularly scheduled event for the PKDB, which offers cat owners with a cheap way to sterilize their cats to prevent overpopulation and reduce the number of strays and abandoned cats.

Ully takes pride in her work, not only in saving cats but also getting others to share her passion. She says that before Anwar met her, he wasn’t a cat person.

“When he asked me to marry him I told him that he had to accept my cats as well,” she says.

But soon after they wed in 2008, Anwar asked her to stop bringing home more abandoned cats.

Ully says she tried, but it was hard for her to see abandoned or unwanted cats and kittens and not do something to help them. Soon she was filled with remorse.

“I could never stop thinking about [the cats] if I just left them where they were,” she says. “The least I could do is to observe them. Were they able to feed themselves? Were they safe where they were?”

Just as she felt she could no longer take the torment, Anwar stepped in — although not to say she could start bringing cats home again.

“It was him who showed up with an unwanted cat,” Ully says, laughing and pointing at Anwar.

And so the benevolent cycle of rescuing cats was continued, and a new believer was born.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Orphaned tiger refuses to answer Vladimir Putin's call of the wild

Russian president releases two tigers into nature reserve in 'environmental special operation' but third proves more reluctant

The Guardian, Alec Luhn in Moscow, Thursday 22 May 2014

Vladimir Putin in Zhelundinsky nature reserve

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, left, visits the Zhelundinsky nature reserve in the Amur region of Russia. Photograph: Itar-Tass/Barcroft Media

Vladimir Putin has never been shy of co-opting wild animals for photo opportunities, and the Russian president was on hand to help release three orphaned tigers into the wild.

Or rather, release two orphaned tigers into the wild. While male tigers Kuzya and Borya took off into the forest of the Amur region nature reserve as soon as Putin pulled a rope to open their cages, their sister, Ilona, refused to leave. Putin banged the cage with a sapling wedged through the links of the chain fence around the enclosure but to no avail.

Russian television trumpeted the president's escapade on Thursday as an "environmental special operation".

Widely renowned for his bare-chested hunting, fishing and horseback riding photo sessions, Putin rarely misses a chance to boost his macho image with a high-octane stunt, having soared through the skies in a fighter jet and descended to the bottom of the sea in a research submarine.

The president was in the Amur region, on the border with China, to look at homes built for victims of last year's flooding. The trip follows his visit to Beijing, where Putin pushed through a $400bn gas supply contract that was years in the making.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Your Houseplants Can Think, Talk, Read Your Mind (Part 2)

The Epoch Times, Tara MacIsaac,  May 19, 2014

Are there thoughts in those thin, green leaves? (Shutterstock*)

The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge. In “Beyond Science” Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide.

Marcel Vogel was a senior scientist at IBM for 27 years, during which time he patented over 100 inventions. Part way through his career, he became interested in a more organic application of his scientific knowledge. At the end of this investigation was the startling discoveries that plants could not only read people’s minds, but they could do it over great distances, and the amount of attention the person paid to the plant influenced the plant’s ability to perceive the person’s thoughts.

He read of the experiments by Cleve Backster, whose research got people talking to their houseplants in the 1970s.

Backster was a former CIA lie-detector specialist who developed polygraph techniques still in general use today by the U.S. military and government agencies. Backster discovered by using lie-detectors that plants respond to human actions and thoughts with appropriate signals of happiness or fear. His experiments are described in greater detail in the first part of this two-part article.

When Vogel read of Backster’s work, he thought the experiment must be flawed, it couldn’t be true. He tested it. His former research associate Dan Willis explainedVogel’s experiments on his website MarcelVogel.org.

Vogel formed a link between plants and a Wheatstone Bridge, which is a circuit that can test electrical currents. When Vogel cleared his mind and breathed slowly, the plants showed no reaction. When he pulsed his breath through his nostrils and held a thought in his mind, the plants responded dramatically.

Furthermore, said Willis: “The responsiveness of the plants to thought was also the same whether 8 inches away, 8 feet, or 8,000 miles, as he proved from Prague, Czechoslovakia, to his laboratory in San Jose where he was able to affect the plant hooked up to the recorder.”

When two plants were experimented on at once to see what reaction one would have to the other being injured (cut, burned, or torn), Vogel noticed that the plant’s reaction would vary according to how much attention he was paying to that plant. He realized the scientist’s thoughts can affect such experimentation.

Willis wrote: “This is one reason why certain scientific investigations in the area of subtle energies cannot be readily replicated. It is not always a matter of scientific protocol, but a matter of relationship.

“Unfortunately, many scientists would consider this to be some kind of inessential and perhaps bothersome epiphenomena. Although such individuals are scientists, to Marcel, they were technicians attempting to prove what they already thought was true.”

*This article previously stated that Cleve Backster wrote “The Secret Life of Plants.” This book was written by  Christopher Bird and Peter Tompkins and popularized Backster’s research. Epoch Times regrets the error.




Related Articles

"Soul Communication" - Feb 22-23, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Text version Part I)

“… Universal communication: When you walk into the forest and the trees talk to you, what is that about? Gaia speaks to you! What does that voice sound like? Am I getting through to you? Do you understand what I'm saying?

You are able to hear these things in your own way, but none of them are synaptic. Are the trees in trouble? Are they crying? Perhaps they are celebrating? All of this information is available to those who can hear it.

"Kryon, is it true that in the forest there are what you would call devas?" Here's my answer: Are you kidding? Of course! Yes! You are asking what they are. They are multidimensional aspects of Gaia. I love how Humans deal with multidimensional energies. They "3D-ize" them. When Human Beings cannot understand a multidimensional energy, they make them entities, dress them [put outfits on them in their minds], give them names, and put them in Human movies. They're beautiful! You know they are, and they're everywhere. Go into the forest and they'll talk to you. Sit down in the grass and let them communicate with you. They're part of the energy soup that is Gaia, which is Mother Nature, the personality that is the love of God in nature.

Dear one, you're not going to receive bad things from a deva. You're not going to get bad information from hugging a tree. You know that, don't you? What does this tell you about how Gaia feels about you? These are just a few things when it comes to the subject of communication from others to you. …”

Cannabis cat foils purr-fect crime

Yahoo - AFP, 21 May 2014

A cat smells packages of marijuana seized in the municipality of Tulua
on February 15, 2012 (AFP Photo/Luis Robayo)

Wellington (AFP) - Police in New Zealand have praised a crime-fighting cat that delivered a bag of cannabis to its nonplussed owner.

Rather than leaving a bird or mouse on the doorstep, the cat left a small plastic bag filled with drugs as a gift on Sunday night, prompting its owner to call police in the South Island city of Dunedin.

Officers said they found five grams (0.2 ounces) of cannabis, with an estimated value of NZ$150 ($130).

''You hear of cats bringing dead birds and rats home but certainly in my career I've never seen anything like this before," Sergeant Reece Munro told the Otago Daily Times.

''I guess you never really know who's keeping you honest these days, do you?"

Munro said the owner of the cannabis had not been found, although police were planning to check the plastic bag for fingerprints.

He said the marijuana-sniffing moggy could become a new weapon in the fight against illicit drugs.

''We certainly have police dogs trained to detect drugs -- this might be something police could explore in the future," he said.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Stopping the Dog Meat Trade

Jakarta Globe, Sylviana Hamdani, May 21, 2014

A recent event in West Jakarta had dog lovers from across the country
 dressing up their pets to raise awareness about the cruelty of the dog
meat trade. (Photo courtesy of Central Park Mall)

Dog enthusiasts along with more than 500 canines of various breeds gathered at Tribeca Park, Central Park Mall, West Jakarta, last weekend. They were participating in “Dog Does Disco,” an annual event for pet dogs and their owners at the mall’s expansive park.

All of the dogs seemed to be happy, healthy and well-cared for — their bodies were plump and agile, their fur was lush, and their eyes were sparkling and playful. Many were dressed up in cute dresses and superhero costumes, almost as if their owners had entered a canine cosplay event. The dogs, freed from the restrictions of home delighted in the fresh air and touching base with fellow pooches for a few hours. They jumped and sniffed and frolicked with other dogs and their owners in the park.

As a country with the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia tends to shun dogs in public places.

Many Muslims believe that if parts of the body come into contact with a dog’s nose or saliva, they must rinse them with water and soil seven times before they can go to pray.

On the other hand, dog meat is considered to be a delicacy for some non-Muslims in the country.

You can easily find dog meat delicacies in North Sumatran restaurants, or lapo, across the country. Known as “B1” (dogs are called “biang” in the Batak language), dog meat is usually diced, cooked in wine and spices and served in caramelized gravy in these restaurants.

In Manado, North Sulawesi, dog meat is known as “rintek wuuk” or RW. It is usually cooked in chili and spices and served in black gravy.

People living in Yogyakarta are familiar with “seng-su,” an acronym for “tongseng asu” (in Javanese language, a kind of soup containing dog’s meat), commonly served at roadside foodstalls at night.

Its aficionados swear by the unparalleled delicacy of dog’s meat with its high levels of protein, claiming it is a good source of nourishment for the body.

Many also believe the flesh of man’s best friend helps to improve blood circulation in the body, thus keeping the body warm, boosting its stamina and making it less prone to illnesses.

“None of those beliefs are scientifically proven,” says actress and model Davina Veronica Hariadi.

The scientific facts are quite the contrary. According to the Office Internationale des Epizooties (OIE, or World Organization for Animal Health) and Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), the international body that implements the FAO/WHO Food Standards Program, dog meat is deemed unfit for human consumption.

“Scientific studies have shown that dog’s meat may cause cholera, rabies and trichinosis in the human body,” says Davina, who chairs the animal lovers’ community Garda Satwa Indonesia (GSI, Indonesia Animal Guards).

Since dogs are not listed as livestock under Indonesian law, their breeding, trade and slaughter are not governed or supervised by the ministries of agriculture or health.

This fact surely doubles the health hazards of consuming dog’s meat.

“Most of the dogs to be cooked are taken from the streets or abducted from their houses,” Davina claims. “Their health conditions vary. Some have rabies and parasites that may also infect humans who eat them.”

Sometimes the kidnappers use poison to bait and kill the dogs before they are taken from their houses.

“So if you eat their meat, you’ll be eating some of the poison too,” Davina says.

GSI was established by Davina and her friends in Jakarta in June 2012.

Today, the nonprofit organization has another branch in Bandung and more than 4,000 followers of their Twitter account, @GardaSatwa.

GSI supports animal rights and fights for animals’ “5Fs,” which are freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom from fear and distress; and freedom to express normal behavior.

After the organization received hundreds of reports about dogs being hunted on the streets or abducted from their homes it collaborated with Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) and Animal Friends Jogja (AFJ) to conduct a seven-month investigation into the dog meat trade in Yogyakarta and Jakarta in 2013.

“The cruelty toward these dogs is beyond words,” Davina says. “It’s truly unspeakable.”

Some parts of the investigation have been filmed and compiled into the movie “Stop Perdagangan Daging Anjing” (“Stop the Dog Meat Trade”). The three-and-a-half minute clip was uploaded to YouTube last month and has been viewed more than 6,000 times since.

The video, which was screened at the press conference that launched “Dog Does Disco” shows dozens of dogs being taken from the streets and brutally beaten, before their kidnappers hog-tie them and throw them into the back of a pickup truck.

“The people taking the dogs just threw them into the back of the truck, one top of one another, as if the dogs couldn’t feel any pain,” says Davina, who has six dogs at home. “I believe if these dogs could speak, they would already be screaming.”

The truck then carried the bound and beaten dogs to a shabby slaughterhouse, where they were killed one by one in front of the other dogs.

“This is definitely cruelty against animals,” Davina says. “It’s a violation of Article 302 of the Indonesian Criminal Code [KUHP] on animal protection and the laws on animal welfare.”

Few, if any, of these cases are ever reported to the police.

Based on their investigation, the animal rights groups discovered that approximately 1,000 dogs were slaughtered each week in Jakarta and Yogyakarta for their meat.

“Obviously this number is a lot higher in places like North Sumatra and North Sulawesi, where eating dog meat is more widespread” says Davina who estimates that around 3,600 dogs are slaughtered in those provinces alone each week.

“Then, if you add in other areas of the country that number increases,” she adds.

So worried are GSI, JAAN and AFJ about the scale of the dog meat trade across the country that they have pooled their resources to launch a “Dogs Are Not Food” campaign last month.

The campaign aims to convince people that dogs are not a menu item but have a long tradition of being close to humans.

Indeed, the saying that dogs are man’s best friend is testament to that attachment.

“Dogs are social animals,” Davina says. “They are destined to be companions to humans, so it’s definitely wrong to slaughter and eat them.”

A series of talk shows and fun activities have been arranged to spread the message among the public.

An online petition to stop the trade in dogs and their meat has also been launched on the website Change.org to encourage the country’s netizens to get involved.

“We hope that if we can get plenty of support, we can get this trade made illegal,” Davina says.

So far, more than 9,700 people have signed the online petition and the animal rights groups are hoping to add to that number.

“If the number is quite significant, the government will see that this is an important issue that needs their immediate attention,” Davina says.

One of the people who has signed the online petition is actress Wulan Guritno.

“Dogs are our friends,” she says. “They’re not toys. They’re not food. Therefore, they shouldn’t be mistreated or eaten.”

Putri Andika, a freshman at Jakarta’s Atmajaya Catholic University, has also signed the petition.

“Eating dog meat is just so totally wrong,” says the 19-year-old, who showed up at the event at Central Park Mall with her two Alaskan Malamute dogs. “I mean, why do people eat dog meat? There are already so many cattle and fowl that we can eat.

“Dogs are our good friends,” Putri adds, “and we don’t eat our friends.”

GSI, JAAN and AFJ plan to send the results of the online petition to the local governments of Jakarta and Yogyakarta as well as the Agriculture Ministry (which oversees animal husbandry) by the end of this year.

Davina says she hopes that their online petition may trigger better treatment for all animals and for the environment in general.

“Humans should realize that we don’t own this Earth,” she says.

“We share the Earth with other living beings in it. So let’s be kind to one another.”

Chinese pandas arrive in Malaysia after delay over MH370

Yahoo – AFP, 21 May 2014

Feng Yi, one of two giant pandas on loan from China, in its cage at MASkargo
 near Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on May 21, 2014 (Photo
by Mohd Rasfan)

Malaysia welcomed a pair of pandas from China on Wednesday, after a month's delay caused by tensions over the Malaysian airliner which disappeared in March with mostly Chinese passengers aboard.

The eight-year-old pandas -- female Feng Yi ("Phoenix") and male Fu Wa ("Lucky") -- arrived in Kuala Lumpur to an honour guard of water cannon, after a flight from Chengdu in southwestern China where they were bred.

Feng Yi was briefly shown to the media before being whisked off to the national zoo with her prospective mate.

Feng Yi, one of two giant pandas on loan from
 China, in its cage at MASkargo near Kuala
 Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on
May 21, 2014 (Photo by Mohd Rasfan
She initially retreated into her cage when exposed to daylight and the clatter of camera shutters, before gaining courage and curiously peering between the bars.

"May the arrival of these two precious icons of China contribute to building an everlasting friendship and sustainable cooperation" between Malaysia and China, environment minister Palanivel Govindasamy said at a welcoming ceremony.

The two countries agreed in 2012 that China would send the giant pandas for a 10-year stay, in Beijing's latest use of "panda diplomacy".

The pair were due to arrive on April 16 but Palanivel said at the time that before dispatching them, Beijing was awaiting further details on Flight MH370, which vanished on March 8 with 239 people including 153 Chinese on board.

The airline and Malaysia's government have come under withering public criticism in China over the loss, and the failure to find the plane that was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The Boeing 777 jet is believed to have have veered far off course for reasons unknown, before crashing into the remote Indian Ocean, where efforts are under way to locate its flight data recorders on the seabed.

Chinese relatives of the missing passengers have accused the Malaysian flag carrier and authorities of bungling the response to the plane's disappearance and withholding information.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Chinese authorities allowed relatives to stage a rare public protest at Malaysia's embassy in Beijing, suggesting official support for the criticism.

The enclosure at the National Zoo in Kuala Lumpur where giant pandas Fu Wa
and Feng Yi will live, pictured on May 20, 2014 (Photo by Mohd Rasfan)

Malaysia's image in China took a further blow in April, when a Chinese tourist was kidnapped in an eastern state by gunmen believed to be Islamic militants from the southern Philippines. Malaysia has said ransom negotiations are under way.

China is Malaysia's largest trading partner and Kuala Lumpur has been courting closer ties with Beijing, declaring 2014 as "China-Malaysia Friendship Year" to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

The pandas have already caused controversy in Malaysia over plans to house them in special $7.7 million facility at the national zoo in Kuala Lumpur.

Environmentalists have said the money would have been better spent on conservation efforts for threatened Malaysian wildlife.

Palanivel said the panda pair would be given time to acclimatise before being shown to the public from the end of June.



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Crazed sheep die 'like heroin addicts'

The Sydney Morning Herald, Jessie Davies, May 16, 2014

Farmer Stephen Knight, from Tannabah, Coonabarabran, with some of his
Merino wethers that have been eating darling pea. Photo: The Land

Hundreds of sheep in the central west of NSW have died after eating a poisonous plant and bashing their heads open "like heroin addicts".

Plague proportions of darling pea have dealt another blow to farmers who suffered the impacts of the bushfire in Coonabarabran last January.

The endangered native pea, which usually exists in the area in small quantities, has spread wildly following the bushfire, which burnt 54,000 hectares of the Warrumbungle National Park and adjoining farms.

Stephen and Louise Knight have lost 800 sheep to the noxious plant so far on their steep, rocky property, Tannabah.

"We counted 800 missing wethers at shearing time," Mrs Knight said.

"It was just devastating they weren't there when we went to get them.

"The fire was a distressing thing to have happen, we lost so many stock, fences, pasture - and then for it to come back with a terrible noxious plant like this, it's awful and very distressing."

Darling pea, from the Swainsona species, is a stout-stemmed, erect plant with purple pea-shaped flowers and long woolly pods.

The Swainsona species contain a poison that is toxic to livestock. When grazed on for extended periods of time, the plant's toxins build in the animals' systems and affect their central nervous systems by attacking an enzyme involved in metabolism.

North West Local Land Services regional veterinarian Bob McKinnon said the stock became addicted to the plant and displayed erratic behaviour "similar to that of a drunk".

"They lose weight to start with and then get staggery, the progression gets worse, they get unco-ordinated and depressed, they don't know where their feet are and they become recumbent and die that way," he said.

Other symptoms the affected animals display include staring eyes, head pressing, muscle tremors, walking with a paddling gait, high stepping, and dragging hind legs.

Mrs Knight said the symptoms were evident.

"They just go to a post and bang their head on it till they crack their heads open; it's like dealing with a thousand heroin addicts," she said.

With stock in this condition, paddocks that once took the Knights six hours to muster now take them days.

Unfortunately, Mr McKinnon said there was no easy cure for the affected animals.

"The cure is to get the animals off it," he said.

"Once you take them off it they are no longer exposed to the substance that is blocking the enzyme and the cells can then repair themselves.

"But if they've been on it too long the damage has been done and it doesn't repair to where it should be."

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Kryon Q&A

Question: Dear Kryon, the Canadian farmers have been hit hard with two cases of BSE, or Mad Cow Disease, reported as coming from Alberta. This is a fatal disease that’s scaring many people away from beef. Is Spirit trying to tell us to be vegetarians? Why is this disease coming out now? Will beef ever be as safe to eat as it was before?

Answer: As we’ve discussed before, there isn’t enough fertile land on the planet to feed humanity if you’re all vegetarian. In addition, we’ve told you that a balance is needed for most Human biological systems that includes meat. Therefore, one of the reasons for the existence of animals is for your sustenance, and they come here for that. Animals are in service to humanity, and they do it in several ways. (This has been channelled many times . . . the reasons for animals on the planet.)

We’ve also told you that in order for them to be healthy sustenance, they must be treated with a higher consciousness than they are now or they’ll die. This is what you’re seeing. This disease is one that’s here to draw attention to this issue, not to force you to eat vegetables. It’s to bring the plight of the animals into mainstream consciousness, and to eventually demand changes in the way they’re treated.

Many of you don’t wish to think about these precious creatures being sacrificed for your sustenance, but remember, this is all part of the support for your life on the planet. What you owe them is honor and dignity within the scope of creating food for your lives. When you see these kinds of diseases, they exist to make you stop and look at what you’re doing. If you don’t, these animals will self-destruct on their own.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Call for Decree Restoring Forests To Indigenous to Be Implemented

Jakarta Globe, Vita A.D. Busyra, May 16, 2014

Kajang men holding bamboo trees at Amatoa village where the Kajang tribe live
 in Bulukumba, South Sulawesi, on Aug. 12, 2013. Deep in a remote forest in the
 archipelago, the Kajang tribe lives much as it has done for centuries, resisting
nearly all the trappings of modern life. (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is facing criticism over delays in issuing a decree to implement a Constitutional Court verdict handing over the country’s customary forests to their indigenous people.

One year on, the ruling shows no signs of being realized, civil society groups said on Tuesday, resulting in continued conflict between indigenous groups, companies and local governments over the management of the forests.

The Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) and other nongovernmental organizations are planning to send an open letter to Yudhoyono as well as the country’s next leader if the former fails to act during his term, which ends in October.

Abdon Nababan, AMAN secretary general, expressed hope that Yudhoyono would not want to end his term with red marks on his presidential performance record, leaving a legacy of ignoring the plight to save the forests and their inhabitants.

“Therefore, I believe he will consider this issue,” he said during a discussion to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the verdict on Tuesday.

Abdon said a presidential decree would detail instructions to both the central and regional governments on the steps they can take to help empower the country’s indigenous population.

This can be accomplished, he explained, by allowing them to manage and benefit from their own forests without damaging the environment.

Deputy secretary general of the Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA) Iwan Nurdin said the matter has been prolonged by ministries that hold a vested interest in the areas to be transferred.

“Although Yudhoyono has given his commitment, other officials — particularly the Home Affairs Ministry and the Forestry Ministry — are against the idea,” he said, adding that the indigenous people have not received any benefits from the customary lands as part of reciprocal promises the government had made.

“They [ministries] should receive the blame; they issued permits for their own interests, leaving the indigenous people and the country with nothing,” he said.

Iwan also “rent-seeking political elites” failed to prioritize an agenda for a agrarian reform.

“The imbalance in land ownership between corporations and the native inhabitants is still extremely high.”

Agrarian conflict

The indigenous community, people who hail from customary forest areas and their surroundings, have been pushed out from their own homes by agrarian conflicts, activists said.

Data collected by AMAN revealed that the 143 violent clashes recorded in 2013 were just the tip of the iceberg as researchers claimed missing reports and incomplete documents of many other instances were not taken into consideration.

“The agrarian conflicts have violated human rights. More locals will be punished as criminals and poverty will remain high as long as the government does nothing,” Abdon said.

AMAN, in a joint venture with other NGOs including Epistema, HuMa, WALHI, Greenpeace, Forest Watch Indonesia, Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA) and Indigenous Territory Registration Board (BRWA) plan to draft a proposal on what the current government can do to bring justice to the indigenous people.

Sandra Moniaga, commissioner of the National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM), said her institution has initiated a national inquiry and conducted thorough investigations on issues connected to the status of the basic rights of Indonesia’s indigenous communities, particularly those still living in forests and their surroundings.

“I expect the national inquiry to become a priority, because numerous cases of infringement have caused national concern in the past,” she said, adding that last year’s Constitutional Court (MK) verdict should not only reinstate the indigenous people’s rights, but further expand them and empower indigenous people.

Mirna A. Safitri, executive director of the Epistema Institute, emphasized that local governments had an important role in carrying out orders issued by the MK as the central government has mandated the implementation to the regions in question.

“Each region’s bylaws are still far from satisfactory and, thus, should be improved. We need more regulations that look after the indigenous community’s best interests, preserve their homes and improve their way of living,” she said.

Mirna added that the MK verdict should also help to establish a peaceful relationship between the indigenous communities and the modern society that surrounds them.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

PTSD Service Animal Ad Will Make You Laugh, Cry, And Hug Your Dog A Little Closer (VIDEO)



Guide dogs aren't only for people who have difficulty seeing, they're also for those "who have seen too much."

That's the premise illustrated in a powerful new ad from the Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation, a nonprofit in the Netherlands that trains and places assistance dogs where they're needed -- including with veterans suffering frompost-traumatic stress disorder.

The spot highlights one veteran enduring a nightmare on an unknown battlefield, and the touching response of a canine companion in helping him cope.

Though research on how service animals help veterans deal with PTSD is still in its early stages, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs acknowledges the presenceof a trusted dog has numerous emotional benefits and helps reduce stress.

Related Article:


(RNW)


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Activists in Taipei protest against round-up of stray animals

Want China Times, CNA 2014-05-11

Animal protection activists during the rally in Taipei, May 10. (Photo/Tu Yi-an)

Hundreds of animal protection activists held a protest march in Taipei on Saturday calling for an end to the round-up and killing of stray animals.

Gathering on the boulevard in front of the Presidential Office, the protesters urged the government to legislate a comprehensive trap-neuter-release program to ensure more humane treatment of strays.

Huang Tai-shan, the leader of an alliance promoting the legislation, threatened to "occupy the Council of Agriculture (COA)" if the council continued the current practice of dealing with stray animals.

The threat evoked a student-led occupation of the Legislative Yuan from March 24 to April 10 to protest against a trade-in-services pact signed with China.

At present, stray animals are placed in animal shelters after being rounded up, and face mercy killings if they are not adopted within 12 days because of insufficient shelter space.

In response, the COA said it understood the concerns of the protesters and also hoped that the mercy killings of stray animals could be avoided. It stressed, however, that it also has a responsibility to prevent stray animals from affecting people's daily lives.

The COA said it is actively encouraging people to adopt stray animals to reduce mercy killings.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Monkeys are N China air force base's new best friend

Want China Times, Andy Hung and Staff Reporter 2014-05-10

A macaque tearing down a nest. (Internet photo)

To cope with bird hazards, a major threat to flight safety at airports, China's air force has made significant headway with the extraordinary assistance of monkeys, reports our sister newspaper Want Daily.

At a military airbase in northern China, which runs smack into the flying route of several migrant birds, hundreds of nests can crop up overnight on a single tree in the areas bordering the base. The ground crew is forced to form bird-hunting squads to clear the nests and disperse the birds, but removal of the nests has proved to be a very tricky task. One nest could take a costly 10 bullets to remove, and sending a soldier up to take it down is dangerous.

Two months ago, one soldier came up with the idea of having monkeys remove the nests, remembering how good the monkeys back in his hometown in southern China were at removing bird nests atop trees. Now the sergeant on duty at the airbase rides an electric motorbike carrying a pair of trained monkeys to spots under trees, blows the whistle and sits back as the monkeys scramble quickly to the top and remove the nests. One monkey can typically clear six to eight nests a day, greatly reducing the number of birds which would otherwise be sucked into jet fighter engines.

Cambodia seizes three tonnes of ivory in record haul

Yahoo – AFP, 9 May 2014

Cambodian customs officials are pictured with a haul of seized ivory at a port
of Sihanoukville on May 9, 2014

Cambodian customs officials are pictured with a haul of seized ivory at a port of Sihanoukville on May 9, 2014 (AFP)

Cambodian customs on Friday seized more than three tonnes of ivory -- the country's largest-ever haul of elephant tusks -- hidden in a container of beans.

The haul was made after the container was scanned at the southwestern port of Sihanoukville, said Bun Chiv, deputy head of the port's customs office.

"We confiscated more than three tonnes of elephant tusks that were hidden in a container of beans," he told AFP.

He declined to name where the container had been shipped from or and where the tusks were destined to go. Local media reported that the container was sent from Malaysia.

"We are investigating this case," Bun Chiv added.

In February, Cambodian police arrested two Vietnamese men who were trying to smuggle nearly 80 kilograms (180 lbs) of illegal ivory from Africa.

Conservationists have voiced concerns that Cambodia is emerging as a key transit route for African ivory, which often makes its way to wealthy buyers in Vietnam or China.

Poaching of elephants has risen sharply in Africa to meet demand in Asia.