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.

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, January 28, 2007

Indonesia acts, S'pore regrets

Jakarta bans sand exports to S'pore; Republic will turn to new sources, steel-based construction

Sharon Vasoo, Deputy Foreign Editor For some time now, Singapore has been basking in its friendship with Indonesia, trying to nudge foreign investors to go to its larger neighbour. It has been a staunch supporter of Indonesia's Riau Island's Special Economic Zones.

On Monday night, the warm ties had to negotiate a sand trap. Indonesia's Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu unilaterally announced that her country would ban the export of sand, soil and topsoil — a move that will affect mainly Singapore which imports between six and eight million tonnes of land sand annually. It comes at a time when Singapore's construction sector has just roused itself from a long, lethargic spell and is set to take off.

Singapore imports almost all the sand used in its buildings from Indonesia but is confident that it will find other sources to bridge the shortfall. It has also been persuading its developers to switch from sand-based construction to using more steel — which is more easily available and makes for quicker, cleaner projects.

Indonesia's decision may speed up this switch.

"It could also be an opportunity — just as our water disputes with Malaysia led to our engagement with Newater," said an observer.

Nevertheless, Indonesia's sudden and swift decision has not gone down well. "Singapore is disappointed," said a statement from the National Development Ministry and the Building and Construction Authority.

Ms Mari said that Indonesia took this decision because its government wanted to protect its environment and maintain the nation's maritime borders. "After observations in the field, there is actually quite heavy environmental damage and the banning of sand exports is a response to this," she said.

It is understood that Singapore had offered to work with Indonesia to address its environmental concerns.

"We regret that Indonesia did not take up our offer ..." said the statement.

Still, Jakarta decided to go ahead with the ban under which exporters have been given up to Feb 5 to honour existing sand contracts.

Observers say that the Indonesia's move was mainly to placate domestic lobby groups and provincial ministers who feel that they have not benefited from the trade that fetches Indonesia more than $120 million a year from Singapore alone. It has been the Republic's main supplier of sand since Malaysia banned exports in 1997.

On paper, the ban could affect between $60 billion and $90 billion worth of projects here that are already in the pipeline. But there is not likely to be any disruption at all.

"We have quite a sizeable sand stockpile, and we are prepared to release the stockpile to meet the immediate needs of the industry," Dr John Keung, BCA's chief executive officer told Channel NewsAsia.

Meanwhile, the alternatives are already clicking into place. The Housing and Development Board has already started procuring sand from sources outside Indonesia to produce concrete. At least one such ship, it is understood, is already on its way to Singapore.

This arrangement will ensure that Singapore builders get a steady supply of sand to make concrete for their buildings. But since the sand is being shipped from areas much further away than Indonesia, industry experts said that it was likely to be more expensive than Indonesian supplies. This sand could add between 1 and 2 per cent to project costs, experts said. So, it probably made more sense to switch to steel-based construction which would be marginally more expensive — it could add 3 per cent to project costs — but would see buildings come up faster, with less dependence on foreign labour.

Backing this, Mr Keung said: "It is very important for us to move away from such high dependency on sand export in construction work. We've been trying to persuade the industry to move towards a more sustainable form of construction, like the use of steel structure."

Industry experts that it was possible for Singapore to cut its sand consumption by up to 70 per cent. This would mean that the Republic would only have to import between one and two million tonnes of sand a year.

Of late, Britain has slashed its sand usage by up 70 per cent and Japan by 50 per cent.

The trend has caught on in Singapore too, with the National Library, Capitol Tower and the Ang Mo Kio Hub Mall using steel more than concrete in their structures. Even the Marina Integrated Resort design has a steely edge to it.

The construction industry here is expected to shrug off the impact of this ban sooner rather than later, observers said.

For now, they are more intrigued by the mixed signals that Indonesia is sending as far as its relationship with Singapore goes.

"Sometimes governments are forced to make tough decisions, but these decisions should not be seen as an expression of negativity against another country," said Mr Wiryono Sastrohandoyo, a former Indonesian ambassador and now a senior fellow at Jakarta's Centre for Strategic and International Studies. Not many builders in Singapore will agree with that.

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