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)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Group Urges End in Trading of Indonesia’s Endangered Primates

Jakarta Globe, Dyah Ayu Pitaloka, Jan 30, 2015

This handout photo taken on June 9, 2013 and released by Sumatran Orangutan
 Conservation Program on June 10 shows a slow loris in a private zoo on the outskirts
 of Kandang town in Aceh province on Sumatra island, where animals are displayed for
visitors and buyers. (AFP Photo/Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program/Paul Hilton)

Jakarta. Environmental group Protection of Forest and Fauna, or ProFauna, celebrated Indonesian Primate Day on Thursday with a nationwide campaign advocating for an end to the trade of primates in Indonesia, particularly those that are endangered.

The group said three protected primates are widely traded as pets in Indonesia, mainly through online forums and chatrooms: the Javan slow loris (Nycticebus javanicus), the Javan lutung (Trachypithecus auratus) and the silvery gibbon (Hylobates moloch).

All three “are popular with buyers because they are considered cute,” ProFauna spokesman Swasti Prawidya Mukti said.

The Javan slow loris is listed as “critically endangered” by International Union for Conservation of Nature due to rapidly declining habitat and poaching.

The same organization listed the Javan lutung as vulnerable and the silvery gibbon as endangered.

The three species is protected by law, but this has done little to actually protect them, Swasti said, such as enforcement of poaching laws.

“The trade [in protected primates] is no longer done in markets, but has moved online,” she said, adding that the primates are usually sold as babies, and often had their teeth clipped by poachers; adults, particularly lorises, can be quite aggressive.

Protected primates usually fetch between Rp 3 million and Rp 5 million ($240 and $400) online, while non-protected one like the long-tailed macaques sell for around
Rp 300,000.

ProFauna has lobbied several major online forums in Indonesia to ban users from trading endangered species, with mixed results.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Jokowi Folds Emissions Agency BP REDD+ Into Forestry Ministry

Jakarta Globe, Basten Gokkon & Adelia Anjani Putri, Jan 29, 2015

Indonesia has the third largest area of tropical rainforest on the planet, but
also one of the fastest rates of deforestation. (EPA Photo/Bagus Indahono)

Jakarta. President Joko Widodo has disbanded Indonesia’s BP REDD+ agency, which was established in 2013 to help the country meet greenhouse gas emission targets from deforestation, and merged it with Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

The decision, which was issued via Presidential Decree No. 16/2015 issued on Jan. 23, will see the Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Management Body, as well as the National Council on Climate Change, folded into the ministry.

Both agencies are peak government bodies whose role is crucial to halting Indonesia’s rapid deforestation rates and mitigating climate change.

“The task and function of reducing greenhouse emissions conducted by BP REDD+ as stated in Presidential Decree No. 62/2003 now will be integrated as the ministry’s task and function,” Article 59 of the decree said.

There was no elaboration on the technical arrangements, but the decree said that the authority would be given to minister Siti Nurbaya.

BP REDD+ was founded in 2013 by then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as part of Indonesia’s $1 billion REDD deal with Norway.

In 2009, Indonesia pledged to cut deforestation rates — which are estimated to be some of the fastest in the world — by up to 41 percent by 2020. A year later Indonesia signed a letter of intent with Norway, which outlined Indonesia’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation of peatland, in exchange for payments of up to $1 billion from Norway.

BP REDD took over from the REDD+ Task Force, which was established in 2010, and has since worked on Indonesia’s REDD+ planning, including projects such as the One Map initiative — a centralized forestry map, which is aimed resolving conflicting land claims that have hampered emissions reductions targets.

The decision to disband the agency has met a mixed response from some within Indonesia, but Norway’s ambassador to Indonesia Stig Traavik took a cautious tone when contacted on Thursday.

He said it was natural for a new government to want to “manage things their own way” and Norway was open to some changes.

When asked whether he thought Joko was serious about Indonesia’s environmental pledge, he replied the two countries had a long partnership on climate issues and he was confident things would progress.

“We have heard about the decision but not in detail. The main thing now is how to reach the goal together,” Traavik said.

Abetnego Tarigan, executive director at the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, said for certain issues the merger could be positive.

“The previous president formed BP REDD+ with the help of the Norwegian embassy as a debottlenecking attempt in the efforts of solving environmental issues in Indonesia,” he said.

“However, the problems have been that the ministries were not working well because they couldn’t work hand in hand.”

Abetnego said what was important was whether efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were effective.

“If merging BP REDD+ was an attempt to kill it all … I think that would be a colossal mistake,” he said.

“With the merger, the assumption is that there wouldn’t be any difficulties in solving environmental issues, as the ministry is a big institution and also has regional units in many areas.”

William Sabandar, former deputy of operations at BP REDD+, was less affirmative about the decision.

“This is how I see it as a former deputy of BP REDD+. What’s certain is that the presidential decree violates the agreement between the Indonesian government with the Norwegian government which is stated in the Letter of Intent in 2010.”

He said it was sad to see that the merger had not been considered thoroughly in terms of its local, national and international effects.

“The international dimension would be how they would consider Indonesia’s important role in the global climate change movement.

“The national dimension is how serious we are in boosting the country’s forest and land management across the archipelago.

“The local dimension is the BP REDD+’s role in involving the society and boosting welfare.”

Thousands of live cats from China seized in Vietnam

AsiaOne - AFP, Thursday, Jan 29, 2015

HANOI - Thousands of live cats destined "for consumption" have been seized in Hanoi after being smuggled from China, police said Thursday, but their fate still hangs in the balance.

Cat meat, known locally as "little tiger", is an increasingly popular delicacy in Vietnam, and although officially banned is widely available in specialist restaurants.

The truck containing "three tons" of live cats was discovered in the Vietnamese capital Tuesday, an officer from Dong Da district police station told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The truck driver told police he had purchased the cats in northeastern Quang Ninh province, which borders China, and that they had all been sourced from the neighbouring country.

He told police the cats were destined "for consumption" in Hanoi, without specifying whether they would be sold to restaurants.

The officer said that according to Vietnamese laws on smuggled goods, all the cats would have to be destroyed.

"But we have not made up our mind what to do with them" because of the large volume of animals, the policeman said.

Photos on local media websites showed the smuggled cats crammed into dozens of bamboo crates stacked on top of one another.

Vietnam has long banned the consumption of cat meat in an effort to encourage their ownership and keep the country's rat population under control.

But there are still dozens of restaurants serving cat in Hanoi and it is rare to see felines roaming the streets -- most pet-owners keep them indoors or tied up in fear of thieves.

Such is the demand from restaurants that cats are sometimes smuggled across the border from China, Thailand and Laos.

Cat meat is not widely eaten in China but can be found at some restaurants, particularly in the south, where it is sometimes considered a speciality.

Related Article:

National park planned at cradle of China's major rivers

Want China Times, Xinhua 2015-01-28

The Ngoring Lake in the Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve in Madoi,
Qinghai province, August 2014. (Photo/Xinhua)

China plans to build a national park in the Sanjiangyuan region, the cradle of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers in northwest China's Qinghai province.

A guideline for the park has been completed by a design institute under the State Forestry Administration, Wang Enguang, chief engineer with Qinghai's forestry department, said on Tuesday.

The park will cover more than 30,000 square kilometers, including the rivers' sources in Madoi, Zhidoi and Zadoi counties. If the plan is given the green light, construction can begin as early as the end of this year.

At an average altitude of 4,000 meters on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Sanjiangyuan region is a paradise for herders and wildlife, such as the Tibetan antelope. "Sanjiangyuan boasts a highland ecosystem comprising glaciers, meadows and wetlands. It's not common in China, even Asia, and has extremely high scientific value," Wang said. It is home to over 70 animal species under state protection.

Global warming and human activity since the end of last century have led to deterioration of the natural environment, shrinking wetlands, decreasing water levels in lakes and water flow in the headwaters, as well as increasing desertification.

Hoping to repair the fragile ecological system, China established the Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve in 2000. Five years later, a 7.5 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) ecological conservation project was launched in the region. In last January, a second-phase conservation project for Sanjiangyuan started with an investment of 16 billion yuan (US$2.56 billion).

Thanks to the efforts, the forest coverage rate in Sanjiangyuan increased from 3.2% in 2004 to 4.8% in 2012, and is expected to reach 5.5% by 2020.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Two Earthquakes Hit North Nias; No Tsunami Alert

Jakarta Globe, Basten Gokkon, Jan 27, 2015

A screenshot of the United States Geological Survey website showing the
location of Tuesday morning's earthquakes in Nias Island. (JG Screenshot)

Jakarta. Two earthquakes rattled the island of Nias off the North Sumatra coast on Tuesday morning, but did not trigger a tsunami warning. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage to property.

The first quake, of magnitude 5.7, struck at 7:53 a.m. on the northeastern tip of the island, sending residents fleeing from their homes.

“The earthquake lasted for about five to seven seconds,” said Faozaro, head of the North Nias Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), as quoted by “We can ensure that the earthquake won’t cause a tsunami.”

A second quake, of magnitude 4.9, hit just nine minutes later, about four kilometers south of the first one.

The BPBD has deployed officers to North Nias’s 11 subdistricts to survey any damage. “As of now, there have been no reports of injuries or damage to houses,” Faozaro said.

Related Article:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Home cheap home: Vietnam architect's quest for low-cost housing

Yahoo – AFP, Cat Barton, 25 Jan 2015

Farmer Vo Van Duong rests inside a S-House 2 built in his garden in Vietnam's
 southern Mekong delta province of Long An on December 11, 2014 (AFP Photo/
Hoang Dinh Nam)

Long An (Vietnam) (AFP) - Vo Van Duong's bamboo and coconut leaf house looks much like others deep in Vietnam's Mekong Delta. But unlike them, his seemingly simple abode is designed to withstand typhoons, flooding and earthquakes -- and at a cost of less than $4,000 could herald a new wave of cheap, sustainable housing.

The natural materials on its surface belie the hi-tech internal structure of the farmer's new home, which uses steel struts and wall panels as a defence against the elements in this natural disaster-prone region.

Architect Vo Trong Nghia speaks during 
an interview with AFP in Ho Chi Minh City
on December 13, 2014 (AFP Photo/Hoang
Dinh Nam)
"The new house is safer, I'm not afraid that it will collapse," the 48-year-old papaya farmer told AFP inside the house he moved into nine months ago.

Duong is testing a prototype by an award-winning Vietnamese architecture firm looking for low-cost housing solutions for communities vulnerable to climate change.

His S-House 2 was free, but if rolled-out on a wider scale could be sold for less than $4,000.

"There was water coming down from the roof in my old house. Sometimes, when there was a strong wind, I was so afraid the house wouldn't survive," Duong said, adding his new home was the envy of his neighbours.

The eco-home is the brainchild of Vo Trong Nghia, who joins other architects around the world in trying to fill a demand for cheap and easy to assemble housing -- from flat-pack refugee shelters to shipping-container homes for tsunami victims.

He says all architects have a duty to help the poor.

"What about those with low income, billions of them, how can they live?" Nghia told AFP. "They have the right to live in comfortable, functional places."

But he wants to go further, creating a home residents can take pride in.

"I don't want people to be looking at it as 'cheap houses' but as resort-quality accommodation close to nature, so (residents) can live a life of the highest quality."

Farmer Vo Van Duong in the garden of a S-House 2 in Vietnam's southern Mekong
delta province of Long An on December 11, 2014 (AFP Photo/Hoang Dinh Nam)

Flat-pack homes

The design is still being refined by his team, who are eventually aiming to create a flat-pack home. The newest version, S-House 3, can be built by five people in three hours.

"Our goal for S-house is for the owner to construct it by themselves," said Kosuke Nishijima, a partner at the firm.

The latest design also allows for multiple houses to be tacked together, a function that could allow, for example, the construction of a storm-proof school easily transportable to remote areas or a larger family home.

Nghia has already been approached by NGOs in disaster-prone Bangladesh and the Philippines, but is not yet ready to supply the house commercially.

From saline-intrusion and flooding in the Mekong Delta to typhoons along the central coast, Vietnam is also home to communities living in high risk areas.

For decades, Vietnamese families have adapted their houses themselves, many building ad hoc mezzanines to avoid flooding.

In more recent years organisations including the Red Cross and Women's Unions, as well as local authorities, have been trying to help people develop more resilient housing.

A bedroom inside an ecologically conscious traditional Vietnamese tube house
 designed by architect Vo Trong Nghia's company, in Ho Chi Minh City on 
December 12, 2014 (AFP Photo/Hoang Dinh Nam)

But in order to ensure such projects are successful, "private architects' support is critical", according to Boram Kim, an urban specialist with UN-Habitat in Vietnam.

"State and local government authorities are well aware that such houses are needed for the poor, but have little technical knowledge for realising their ideas," she told AFP.

"Architects have technical knowledge for reducing the housing construction cost while making it storm proof," she said, cautioning that it was important for designers to listen to the needs of local communities.

Architect for the poor

Nghia's firm found that one of the problems facing rural Vietnamese living in traditional bamboo shacks or stilted river-bank dwellings is the costly upkeep they require to withstand increasingly extreme weather.

Although the S-House 2's outer casing of coconut leaf may need replacing every four years, the structure itself should require no expensive maintenance, said engineer Lien Phuoc Huy Phuong.

A series of concrete slabs and gaps filled
 with plants in the facade of an ecologically
 conscious traditional Vietnamese tube house
 designed by architect Vo Trong Nghia's 
company, in Ho Chi Minh City, on December
12, 2014 (AFP Photo/Hoang Ding Nam)
"It can last a long time, the structure is sound," he told AFP during a tour of the small building. 

Despite its solid exterior, the house is spacious and airy inside, with large windows and doors to bring residents closer to nature.

"We tried to design this house with the best ventilation system, with spaces by the roof and windows for better air flow," Phuong said, pointing out strategic gaps that should reduce the need for electric fans.

Architect Nghia, who used bamboo as a key element in Vietnam's country pavilion for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, has long sought to incorporate natural and local materials into his work.

One of his first projects in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City was an ecologically-conscious take on a traditional Vietnamese tube home, known as Stacking Green house.

Built in 2011 for around $150,000, the building is made of a series of concrete slabs and gaps filled with plants to provide privacy while still allowing plenty of air and light.

Nghia is in strong demand for high-end projects from hotels to private houses, but said the low-cost S-House is his personal obsession.

"I want to live in S-House. If my family will agree," he said.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Snow leopard spotted in Sichuan panda habitat

Want China Times, Xinhua 2015-01-25

One of the images of the snow leopard caught on camera. (Photo/CNS)

A wild snow leopard was caught on camera in a nature reserve in southwest China's Sichuan province, the reserve's administration said on Wednesday.

A camera set up at an altitude of 4,096 meters spotted the rare snow leopard twice earlier this month, the first finding of the snow leopard in the Fengyongzhai National Nature Reserve.

The snow leopard was roaming in a core panda habitat when caught on the camera, said a chief ranger of the nature reserve.

More than 10 cameras were set up in the nature reserve last October in an initiative to protect the snow leopards in Sichuan province.

The findings will help add to knowledge of the precious species, said Deng Jiangyu, a researcher at the reserve.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

India's tiger population jumps 30 percent

Yahoo – AFP, 20 Jan 2015

The census found 2,226 tigers in India last year compared with 1,706 in 2010.
(AFP Photo)

New Delhi (AFP) - India, home to most of the world's wild tigers, on Tuesday reported a 30 percent jump in numbers over four years in a rare piece of good news for conservationists.

A census found 2,226 tigers in India last year compared with 1,706 in 2010, officials in New Delhi announced.

Environment minister Prakash Javadekar hailed the rise as a "huge success" as India battles to save the endangered animals from poachers and smugglers as well as destruction of their natural habitat.

"While the tiger population is falling in the world, it is rising in India. We have increased by 30 per cent from the last count. That is a huge success story," Javadekar said at the release of the census.

The minister cited improved management of India's more than 40 tiger reserves for the increase.

He said the government was working to reduce deadly encounters between tigers and villagers, as farmers encroach on forest land and the big cats leave reserves to search for water and food.

Some 9,700 hidden cameras were used in known tiger habitats including in the northeast state of Assam and western Rajasthan to take photographs of the animals for the count.

More than half of the world's rapidly dwindling wild tiger population lives in India, but the country's conservation programme has been working to halt their decline.

The numbers have been rising since they dropped to 1,411 in 2006 but the current population still remains a long way off 2002 when some 3,700 tigers were estimated to be alive in the country.

There were thought to be around 40,000 tigers in India at the time of independence from Britain in 1947.

Authorities across Asia are waging a major battle against poachers, who often sell tiger body parts to the lucrative traditional Chinese medicine market, and other man-made problems such as development leading to habitat loss.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Kitty rescue: Homeless cat praised for saving abandoned baby in Russia (VIDEO), January 15, 2015

Still from Ruptly videoStill from Ruptly video

A baby boy not older than 12 weeks has been found in a box on a staircase in an apartment block in the Russian town of Obninsk. The box was meant for a cat, who – after having found a new soul in misery, warmed up the baby and was worried to let him go.

The baby in the cat box was discovered by one of the neighbors, who had heard what she thought to be loud meowing and rushed to rescue the cat from possible offenders.

Still from Ruptly videoStill from Ruptly video

The furry feline has been living in the apartment block for three years, fed and petted by its residents. The day when she found an unexpected guest in her box was a freezing one, but the baby was very warm, according to the woman, who first discovered the abandoned boy.

"She has been keeping the baby warm for several hours and meowing to call for help," she told Ruptly video agency.

The woman, who turned to be a nurse, said she also found a bag with baby food and diapers. The boy was well and tidily dressed, she added.

But it was the baby's new furry carer who was worried about the boy even after police and medics arrived. She kept close to the baby and didn't want to let it go, the woman said. "When an ambulance worker took the baby to bring him into the car, the cat followed him and pitifully meowed," she shared, also saying the four-pawed adoptive mother tried to jump into the ambulance to follow the boy.

Still from Ruptly videoStill from Ruptly video

The cat then sat for hours on the road by the house waiting for the car to return and bring him back, neighbors said.

The baby boy was taken to one of the hospitals in Obninsk, located some 60 miles from the Russian capital. Doctors said the boy – who might be from six to 12 weeks old – is completely healthy and feeling well. "We have received a lot of feedback from sympathizing residents, who are willing to help and ask if any food, toys and other things are needed," a pediatric nurse told Ruptly.

The police is now trying to identify the baby and is searching for his parents, while the cat – who looks to be expecting herself – is receiving extra care and treated like a hero by the residents.

New species of legless amphibian found in Cambodia

Yahoo – AFP, 16 Jan 2015

A new species of legless amphibian resembling a giant earthworm or a snake is
 shown on the ground in Pursat province, Cambodia in this handout photo released
 by Fauna and Flora International (FFI) on January 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Fauna
and Flora International)

Phnom Penh (AFP) - A new species of legless amphibian resembling a giant earthworm or a snake has been discovered in a remote but threatened area of Cambodian rainforest, conservationists said on Friday.

The grey-brown creature -- Ichthyophis cardamomensis -- was found in Cambodia's southwest Cardamom Mountains, an area under threat from habitat loss, according to Fauna and Flora International (FFI).

The new species is often mistaken for a snake, with larger species known to grow up to 1.5 metres (nearly five feet) in length, FFI said.

It was confirmed by scientists earlier this month according to leading Cambodian FFI herpetologist Neang Thy.

"These discoveries are important to demonstrate that much of Cambodia's biodiversity remains unknown and unstudied by science, and many more areas need to be searched," Thy, who has been researching amphibians and reptiles since 2003, told AFP.

The creature is caecilian -- an order of amphibians that look like snakes or earthworms and are generally found underground.

Once a stronghold of the toppled Khmer Rouge regime, the bio-diverse Cardamom Mountains are home to an array of rare species, including the Asian elephant, but the area faces widespread deforestation.

Conservationists warn that illegal logging and other habitat destruction could mean new species become extinct shortly after discovery.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Myanmar arrests 102 Chinese loggers

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2015-01-09

A timber market in Mandalay, Myanmar, March 31, 2011. (File photo/CFP)

Over 100 Chinese nationals have reportedly been arrested by the army of Myanmar for unauthorized logging and the smuggling of local resources, reported China's state-owned Global Times on Jan. 8.

The operation is believed to have taken place in early January. A total of 102 foreign nationals believed to be Chinese and 20 locals have been caught, along with more than 470 vehicles of all sorts carrying timbers and hoists.

Six packets of opium, a large quantity of ephedrine and 12,000 yuan (US$1,930) were also found at camp sites in the logging area, in addition to a logging permit signed by a Kachin Independence Army official, said the report.

The Kachin Independence Army is a rebel militia fighting for autonomy for the northern Kachin region within Myanmar.

The government banned the export of logs in April, 2014, to reduce deforestation and the country's heavy reliance on pallet exports. According to the forestry department, Myanmar is going to slash the amount of logged wood in the fiscal year of 2014-2015 down to 40% of that in 2010-11. Logging activity will be reduced in Homalin in the northwest and Tanintharyi region in the south of the country. In the northernmost region of Kachin, logging is prohibited.

According to local media reports, the Myanmar army started taking action against jade smuggling last year in the Kachin region, where both local and Chinese smugglers trade jade and other commodities near the border with China. The army subsequently spotted unauthorized logging activities and embarked on a three-day operation from Jan. 2 to 4, 2015 to track those responsible in the mountainous area.

"Illegal logging has been going on in the north despite the official ban on the export of logs announced last April," said a Myanmar forestry official. "Military operations were conducted because the region is largely controlled by rebel forces and is inaccessible to forestry personnel."

Monday, January 5, 2015

Animal rescuer gets lion share of affection (+Video)

The Telegraph, 13 Jan 2007

Ana Julia Torres and Jupiter share a hug
An adult lion reaches through the bars of its cage, holds Ana Julia Torres between its paws and gives her a kiss after she rescued it from a circus and nursed it back to health.

The African lion, Jupiter, which weighs over 240lb, is one of about 800 animals cared for at the Villa Lorena shelter in Cali, Colombia.

Ms Torres, 47, a teacher, began rehabilitating abused animals 10 years ago after a friend gave her an owl that had been kept as a pet.

Now, she says, her centre takes in everything from limbless flamingos to blind monkeys.

She funds the animal shelter with her salary, bolstered by donations. But she is adamant that it will not open to the public. "We want the animals to live in peace. This is a paradise where they can finally rest."

Related Article:

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Police Find 8 Hectare Marijuana Plantation in Aceh

Jakarta Globe, Jan 04, 2015

A marijuana plantation in Indrapuri, Aceh, discovered by police in
February 2013. (AFP Photo/Atha)

Jakarta. Police in Aceh have started destroying about eight hectares of marijuana plants found growing in Seulimeum subdistrict.

Aceh’s top cop, Adj. Sen. Comr. Heru Novianto, said police found the field last week, but efforts to locate the growers have so far been unsuccessful.

“The police are still trying to identify who owns the field and who works there,” Heru said, as quoted by state-run news agency Antara. “We believe that there are other marijuana fields in this area.”

Officers started destroying the plants on Thursday. However, given the size of the field and difficult access, it could take until Tuesday next week before all the plants are removed.

Heru said three people were spotted in the area on Thursday night, but fled.

Related Article: