Researchers discover right whales singing for the first time ever

first_imgRight whales — three species of large baleen whales in the genus Eubalaena — have never been known to sing. As far as scientists knew, right whale vocalizations consisted entirely of individual calls, as opposed to the repeated, patterned phrases of true whale songs.But according to a study published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America this month, the extremely rare eastern North Pacific right whale appears to use its gunshot calls in a repeating pattern — the first instance ever recorded of a right whale population breaking into song.A research team with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) analyzed 17-years’-worth of data from autonomous recorders deployed in the Bering Sea and documented four distinct right whale song types at five different locations between the years 2009 and 2017. Whales like humpbacks are famous for their mellifluous calls, typically referred to as whale songs. But right whales — three species of large baleen whales in the genus Eubalaena — have never been known to sing. As far as scientists knew, right whale vocalizations consisted entirely of individual calls, as opposed to the repeated, patterned phrases of true whale songs.Gunshot calls — loud, concussive bursts of noise — are already known to be part of the North Pacific right whale’s vocal repertoire, as well as what are known as screams, upcalls, and warbles. But according to a study published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America this month, the extremely rare eastern North Pacific right whale appears to use its gunshot calls in a repeating pattern — the first instance ever recorded of a right whale population breaking into song.Jessica Crance, a marine biologist with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the lead author of the study, said that she and her colleagues first detected “a weird pattern of sounds” while doing a summer field survey in the southeastern Bering Sea in 2010.“We thought it might be a right whale, but we didn’t get visual confirmation,” Crance said in a statement. “So we started going back through our long-term data from moored acoustic recorders and saw these repeating patterns of gunshot calls. I thought these patterns look like song. We found them again and again, over multiple years and locations, and they have remained remarkably consistent over eight years.”An eastern North Pacific right whale. Photo Credit: NOAA.Two summers ago, Crance and team were again working in the Bering Sea when they were able to visually confirm that the repeated patterns of gunshot calls were indeed coming from eastern North Pacific right whales.“We heard these same songs during a summer survey in 2017, and were able to localize the songs to male right whales” in real-time using sonobuoys that can record audio underwater, Crance said. “We can now definitively say these are right whales, which is so exciting because this hasn’t been heard yet in any other right whale population.”There are two groups of North Pacific right whales: in addition to the sub-population in the eastern North Pacific/Bering Sea, there is also a larger western population of 100 to 200 individuals in the Sea of Okhotsk. The roughly 400 North Atlantic right whales that still survive live mostly in the western North Atlantic Ocean, while the more abundant Southern right whale can be found mostly in the Southern Ocean.All of the singing North Pacific right whales whose sex could be determined were male, according to the study. Crance and team analyzed 17-years’-worth of data from autonomous recorders deployed in the Bering Sea and documented four distinct song types at five different locations between the years 2009 and 2017.You can listen to a couple of the recordings Crance and team made below, thanks to Gizmodo’s Earther: Article published by Mike Gaworecki Animals, Bioacoustics, Environment, Mammals, Marine Animals, Marine Mammals, Oceans, Research, Whales, Wildlife “Each song type consists of a hierarchical structure of 1–3 different repeating phrases comprised predominantly of gunshot sounds; three of the four songs contained additional sound types (downsweep, moan, and low-frequency pulsive call),” Crance and the NOAA team write in the study. “Songs were detected annually (July–January); all song types remained consistent over eight years. Two different songs often occurred simultaneously, produced by different individuals; the same song was never detected simultaneously at the same location. The same song type was detected on the same day and time at two distant locations, indicating multiple individuals can produce the same song.”NOAA Fisheries scientist Jessica Crance deploys a sonobuoy to acoustically monitor for North Pacific right whale calls. Photo Credit: NOAA.These findings raise a number of new questions, Crance said: “Why is this population of right whales singing? Do the other populations also sing, and it just hasn’t been documented yet, or is this unique to our population?”Working in the vast, remote expanses of the Bering Sea will make getting answers to those questions difficult, Crance noted, especially given that there are believed to be fewer than 30 whales left in the eastern sub-population of North Pacific right whales. The subspecies is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List as a whole, but the eastern sub-population has been assessed independently and listed as Critically Endangered.We have very little data on the vocalizations of female right whales, Crance said, but lone male right whales have been found to make gunshot calls more frequently than females. Now that we have direct evidence that male right whales turn their gunshot calls into a song, Crance and team suspect that this behavior may be solely exhibited by males as a sort of reproductive display.“With only 30 animals, finding a mate must be difficult,” Crance said. “Perhaps the 2:1 male ratio in the North Pacific has led to our males singing to attract females. But we may never be able to test that or know for sure.”The NOAA team says that their next step is to look at the evolution of the newly discovered whale songs over time and to determine whether or not they’re seasonal and if certain songs are produced at specific times. “We also want to find out whether these songs contain individual-specific information,” Crance said. “There is so much I would love to know.”An eastern North Pacific right whale, the world’s most endangered great whale. The V-shaped exhale is unique to right whales. Photo Credit: NOAA.CITATIONS• Crance, J. L., Berchok, C. L., & Keating, J. L. (2017). Gunshot call production by the North Pacific right whale Eubalaena japonica in the southeastern Bering Sea. Endangered Species Research, 34, 251-267. doi:10.3354/esr00848• Crance, J. L., Berchok, C. L., Wright, D. L., Brewer, A. M., & Woodrich, D. F. (2019). Song production by the North Pacific right whale, Eubalaena japonica. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 145(6), 3467-3479. doi:10.1121/1.5111338FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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New app tracks down forest fires in Bolivia

first_imgAmazon, Conservation, Conservation Technology, Deforestation, Dry Forests, Environment, Fires, Forest Fires, Forest People, Forestry, Forests, Illegal Logging, Logging, Rainforests, Research, satellite data, Satellite Imagery, Saving Rainforests, Technology, Technology And Conservation, technology development, Threats To Rainforests, Timber, Tropical Forests, wildfires, Wildtech Article published by John Cannon A new app uses aerosol data and recent satellite images to find fires in the forests of Bolivia in real time.The application’s creators, from the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project, say the novel use of the aerosol data, originally intended to monitor air quality, represents a significant advance over traditional, temperature-related alerts.According to the NGO Friends of Nature Foundation, more than 41,000 square kilometers (15,800 square miles) of Bolivia has burned in 2019. A new app aimed at tracking forest fires in Bolivia could shake up the way authorities and firefighters battle fires, allowing them to pinpoint their locations more accurately and safely.Called “Amazon Fires — Bolivia,” the application pulls in data on the pollutant particles that get trapped in the air above a fire from a sensor on the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5 satellite. By combining that “aerosol” data with recent satellite images using Google Earth Engine, app users can plot out the locations of fires in “near real time.” Researchers from the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project, or MAAP, which is run by the Amazon Conservation Association, created the app and published a description on Sept. 25.A recent fire in the dry forests of the Bolivian Amazon. Image courtesy of MAAP with data from Planet.Typically, authorities use differences in temperatures measured by satellites to locate fires. But ecologist Matt Finer, director of MAAP and one of the app’s developers, said this method often entails filtering through “a thousand red dots” with a lot of noise that may or may not indicate a fire that’s currently active.“At the same time, we discovered this new tool that’s just blowing our minds, which is this new [aerosol] data from the European Space Agency,” Finer said.The Sentinel-5 satellite’s Tropomi sensor uses the behavior of ultraviolet light in the atmosphere to detect the emissions of pollutants from fires, volcanic eruptions and swirling dust, helping scientists forecast possible public health problems related to air quality.But this new application has the potential to help firefighters react much more quickly — which is critical when natural forests are burning, Finer said.Fires burning near the border of Bolivia and Paraguay. Image courtesy of MAAP with data from Planet.More than 41,000 square kilometers (15,800 square miles) of land have burned in Bolivia in 2019, according to the NGO Friends of Nature Foundation. Thousands of hectares of standing dry forest in Bolivia’s Chiquitanía and Chaco regions have gone up in smoke this year, Finer said. (In contrast, Finer and his colleagues demonstrated that many of the fires that have thrust the Brazilian Amazon into the news recently have occurred taken place on previously deforested land.)In Bolivia, “There arose this need to get information to firefighters and government officials of where the active fires are,” he said, “because you do have these scenarios of fires raging through natural ecosystems.”The app allows users to drag a virtual curtain of the aerosol data over recent satellite imagery. A color gradient from the lowest (black) to the highest (red) aerosol levels indicates the intensity of the emissions in a particular area.Lucio Villa of the NGO Conservación Amazónica in Peru, who led the app’s design, said they used the traditional fire alerts to test how well the aerosol data allowed them to zero in on the largest and most persistent fires. They found that the aerosol data allows more accurate, real-time monitoring. What’s more, clouds don’t interfere with the calculations behind the UV aerosol index.A soy plantation abuts forest in the Bolivian Chaco. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.“You can see in an instant that there are major fires,” Finer said, calling the application a “major advance.”Marcos Terán, executive director of Conservación Amazónica, said he had shared this new tool with park managers in Bolivia.“They are noticing the importance of this kind of tool to try to move the park rangers and the other stakeholders in the area to fight the fire in an effective way,” Terán told Mongabay, both to save forests and the people in charge of protecting them.“The firefighters are really heroes in this case,” Terán said, “and we try to support with some tools … to improve the safety.”Banner image of the Chaco in Bolivia by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.John Cannon is a staff writer at Mongabay. Find him on Twitter: @johnccannonCitation:Villa L. & Finer M. (2019). Fires in the Bolivian Amazon — Using Google Earth Engine to Monitor. MAAP: 111.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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As wildfires roil Sumatra, some villages have abandoned the burning

first_imgAgriculture, Community Development, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Environment, Farming, Fires, Fishing, Forest Fires, Forestry, Forests, Governance, Green, Haze, Indigenous Peoples, Mangroves, Plantations, Rainforests, Rivers, Southeast Asian Haze, Sustainable Development, Tourism, Tropical Forests Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Devastating fires and haze in 2015, as well as the threat of arrest, have prompted some villages in Sumatra to end the tradition of burning the land for planting.The villages of Upang Ceria and Gelebak Dalam also been fire-free since then, even as large swaths of forest elsewhere in Sumatra continue to burn.Village officials have plans to develop ecotourism as another source of revenue, as well as restore mangroves and invest in agricultural equipment that makes the farmers’ work easier. UPANG CERIA/GELEBAK DALAM, Indonesia — Boat drivers sometimes decide not to work when the smoke is thick on the Musi River out of fear of a dangerous collision. For the last three months wildfires here in South Sumatra have enveloped much of the province in a dense haze. The smoke sticks to your clothes and makes it difficult to see the way forward.“The fires make life hard for us,” Abdul Hamid, the head of Upang Ceria, a village on the Musi River outside Palembang, the provincial capital, told Mongabay in early September. “The haze makes us sick and it’s difficult for us to move around.”In September the national aviation authority rerouted scores of domestic and international flights as visibility fell to only a few hundred meters at the airport in Palembang. Schools closed for several days in the city, costing children class time soon after the beginning of the new school year.Satellite data on fires from the World Resources Institute (WRI) indicate there were more than 22,000 fire alerts in September in South Sumatra, 9.3 percent of the total number of alerts throughout the Indonesian archipelago. Fires here have burned on and off ever since the dry season began more than three months ago.The fires spread easily across Indonesia’s vast peat swamp zones, which have been widely drained and dried for agriculture. Many planters also use fire to clear and fertilize the land, though the practice is illegal.However, a handful of villages in the province have managed to stay free from fires since the catastrophic El Niño weather event in 2015, when more than half a million Indonesians were sickened by haze due to a prolonged dry season.“For three years we have been free from any fires,” said Abdul Hamid. “Almost everyone has given up burning grass and straw.“Now they compost it to make fertilizer.”Upang Ceria sits mostly on peat soil and its 2,500 inhabitants occupy an area of 25 square kilometers (10 square miles). The village is located on the banks of the Musi River, which flows out to sea toward the tin-mining island of Bangka off Sumatra’s eastern coast.Many people here used to set fires to clear land to replant crops and trees, but Addul says fear of arrest by the police or military has changed that behavior.One knock-on effect of wildfires is the pressure placed on local food supply chains. But the absence of fires near the Musi River in Upang Ceria means the community can still fish in mangrove swamps on the riverbanks.Residents of Upang Ceria fish in the mangroves by the Musi River. Image by Nopri Ismi for Mongabay.The village of Gelebak Dalam lies around 50 kilometers (31 miles) downstream of Upang Ceria. Its 2,000 or so inhabitants live surrounded by rice fields and rubber plantations.Hendri Sani, the village chief of Gelebak Dalam, also sees clear changes in the way the community perceives the risks caused by fires to clear land. Since the catastrophic 2015 Southeast Asia haze crisis, Hendri told Mongabay, people here have begun to warn their neighbors against any open burning.“We must turn our backs on this tradition because it is bad for the environment,” Hendri said. “Things are different now and it’s been banned by the government.”Hendri explains how fire was an ingrained practice among farmers in Gelebak Dalam until only relatively recently.However, better access to the heavy machinery required to work the land more productively means the community is increasingly able to bury grass, straw and other agricultural surplus into a makeshift landfill.“We just pile it all into a hole using an excavator,” he says.Upriver in Upang Ceria, the elders are drawing up plans to market the village as an ecotourism destination with support from the Banyuasin district government. Abdul Hamid wants to highlight to visitors the recent environmental initiatives, as well Upang Ceria’s history as one of the oldest continually inhabited places from the Srivijaya kingdom, which flourished here a millennium ago.“We’re going to focus on tours of the Demang Lebar Daun River as well as Sekoci Island,” Abdul says.Another idea is to restore mangrove trees along the Musi River.“Most of the mangroves here are gone, so we’re going to replant them with help from the Banyuasin district government,” Abdul says.The local government in Gelebak Dalam also wants to designate itself as an ecotourism destination — while continuing to make progress on reforming local agricultural practices.“Our agriculture will actually be more advanced and free from using fire if farmers can be helped with technology and science,” Hendri says. “Because of this I’m determined to buy an excavator on credit to help the community.”This story was first reported by Mongabay’s Indonesia team and published here on our Indonesian site on Sept. 25, 2019.Banner: A resident of Upang Ceria displays a shrimp he caught in the Demang Lebar Daun River, a tributary of the Musi. Locals hope to attract tourists to their villages via river tours and other activities. Image by Nopri Ismi for Mongabay Indonesia.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Article published by mongabayauthorlast_img read more

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Encoded in the genes: Scientists devise a ‘lifespan clock’ for vertebrates

first_imgA genetic tool described in the journal Scientific Reports allows scientists to predict the maximum lifespans of vertebrates, including mammals, whether long extinct or still alive today.Using the “lifespan clock,” the team from Australia predicted that Neanderthals could live until nearly 40 years, and woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) could survive up to 60 years.They identified 42 genes that are linked to longevity and developed a model in which the genetic information for a species can be inputted and an estimate for the maximum lifespan obtained.The model can help evaluate extinction risk to a species, gauge the threat posed by invasive species, and be used in sustainable fisheries management. There’s some uncertainty about his exact age at death, but it’s now been confirmed that “Nandy,” who suffered a crushing blow to his head as a youth, lived to a ripe old age: somewhere between 35 and 45 years old. A Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis) like Nandy, new research shows, could only hope to last 37.8 years if they weren’t struck down by a carnivore or disease first.A genetic tool described in the journal Scientific Reports allows scientists to predict the maximum lifespans of vertebrates, including mammals, whether extinct or still around today. “Lifespans and ageing is of interest as it is fundamental for better understanding the ecology and population dynamics of wild animals,” Benjamin Mayne, the first author of the paper, told Mongabay in an email, adding that “lifespan estimates can be used to determine the risk of animal extinction or to monitor invasive species.”Using the “lifespan clock,” the team from Australia predicted that woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) could live up to 60 years. Although the oldest-known bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) died at 211 years, the study showed that the species, believed to be the longest-living mammals, can push up to 268.Lifespans across species run a wide range: the pygmy goby fish (Eviota sigillata) live for only eight weeks, while the greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) can live for more than 400 years. For species that outlast humans by decades, if not centuries, pinning down lifespans can be tricky. It’s even more challenging for animals that aren’t amenable to captivity, since the longevity of many species is determined by studying sufficiently large captive populations.Basing their estimate on genetic determinants means scientists don’t need to rely on data from many specimens of a species. The genome is the full DNA sequence of a species, which serves as a kind blueprint for the species. Thanks to rapid advances in genome sequencing in the past decade and the availability of sequences for many species, there is now enough data to develop models with predictive powers.“I find it to be a big advance in our understanding of aging through comparative genomics,” Christopher Faulk, a specialist in the field at the University of Minnesota, who was not involved in the research, said in an email. “They studied genomes and lifespan, not by looking at overall genetic variation, but by focusing on regions of the genome that host epigenetic changes during the lifespan of a single animal.”This involved some reverse sleuthing. Mayne and his team analyzed 252 whole genomes of species whose lifespans are already known through conventional methods. They identified 42 genes that are linked to how long an organism can live before it experiences a natural death. Genes are not disparate pieces of genetic material; they refer to a particular sequence of base pairs on the DNA molecule.“They mined hundreds of genomes to detect a surprisingly small number of gene regions that are comparable across an incredible diversity of animal life that provide a highly accurate estimate of lifespan,” Faulk said. Because the relationship between these particular genes and maximum lifespans is modeled, lifespans of species for which only the genome data is available can be predicted.Its most important applications, the authors argue, will be for extinct animals and for those about which scant data are available. Some species meet both the criteria, for example, the Pinta Island tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdonii), the last of which, evocatively named Lonesome George, died in 2012. Even though he was believed to be about 100 years old when he died, the lifespan clock predicated that members of this species could live up to 120 years.A model of an adult Neanderthal male head and shoulders on display in the Hall of Human Origins in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy Wikimedia CommonsNeanderthals, by contrast, are long extinct — they lived 40,000 to 400,000 years ago — and are the closest extinct relatives of present-day humans (Homo sapiens). Neanderthal DNA is difficult to obtain, even from fossilized remains, because it degrades over time. The Neanderthal nicknamed Nandy was found from a site in Iraq in 1957. The new study relied on a genome sequence assembled from DNA samples of another specimen found in Croatia in the 1970s. By plugging their genetic information into the model, the researchers arrived at the figure of 37.8 years.Surprisingly, the lifespan clock pegged the human lifespan at 38 years, which is almost half the lifespan the average person enjoys today: somewhere between 60 and 87 years. “The lifespan clock estimate may be more reflective of human lifespan prior to advances in medicine. On the other hand, it might be that humans may be the exception to this study,” Mayne said. Though lifespans are believed to be primarily controlled by genes, to what extent is debatable. But humans have manipulated their lifespans to a degree that would be impossible for any species in the wild.There is another class of organisms for whom the tool cannot be used: invertebrates, organisms that do not have a vertebral column, such as insects or mollusks. Of all described animal species, more than 95% are invertebrates, but research on them is sparse compared to research on invertebrates, which include mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes and amphibians.Despite this limitation, the model is expected to be a valuable addition to the arsenal of conservation tools. Knowing its lifespan can help determine the extinction risk to a species, point to environmental factors that cut short the lives of organisms, and help ascertain the viability of threatened species populations as well as gauge the threat posed by an invasive species. It could also be used in sustainable fisheries management.Banner Image: A mural from the American Museum of Natural History depicting woolly mammoths. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Charles R. KnightCitation:Mayne, B., Berry, O., Davies, C., Farley, J., & Jarman, S. (2019). A genomic predictor of lifespan in vertebrates. Scientific Reports, 9 (17866). doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-54447-wMalavika Vyawahare is a staff writer for Mongabay. Find her on Twitter: @MalavikaVyFEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by malavikavyawahare Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Endangered Species, Extinction, Fisheries, Genetics, Mammals, Saving Species From Extinction last_img read more

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One six-week expedition discovered ten new songbird species and subspecies in Indonesia

first_imgArticle published by Mike Gaworecki Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored A six-week expedition to three small island groups near Sulawesi, Indonesia has yielded five new songbird species and five new subspecies.The new species and subspecies were described in a paper published in Science last week. Frank Rheindt, a professor at the National University of Singapore, led the research team that made the discoveries using geological history and the notes of historical explorers as a guide in their search for new avian species.While locals knew of some of the species already, it’s possible some of the birds had gone unnoticed because they sound more like insects. A six-week expedition to three small island groups near Sulawesi, Indonesia has yielded five new songbird species and five new subspecies.The new species and subspecies were described in a paper published in Science last week. Frank Rheindt, a professor at the National University of Singapore, led the research team that made the discoveries using geological history and the notes of historical explorers as a guide in their search for new avian species.Rheindt and colleagues, a joint research team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), targeted their search for new species around the islands of Taliabu and Peleng because of the deep sea waters lying between them and the larger island of Sulawesi to the southwest. Deep waters mean that land bridges can’t form between the islands and nearby bodies of land, even during glacial cycles. Because deep sea islands like Taliabu and Peleng have always been isolated, they are also more likely to harbor high levels of endemic species.Taliabu and Peleng both lie in Indonesia’s Wallacea region, an archipelago named after British biologist and explorer Sir Alfred Wallace, who collected specimens of his own in the area. By examining the accounts of historic collectors like Wallace, Rheindt and team were able to determine that the islands they chose to focus on had not been extensively explored in the past. The Sula island group, which includes Taliabu, was only visited by eight collecting expeditions in the past, none of which ventured inland, instead sticking mostly to coastal areas. The Banggai group, which includes Peleng, was only visited by three historic collectors, who likewise did not explore the islands’ interiors.Rheindt and team collected the ten new bird species and subspecies during six weeks of fieldwork, from November 2013 to January 2014, in the Sula and Banggai islands as well as in the Togian island group.The researchers found three new species on Taliabu: the Taliabu Grasshopper-Warbler, the Taliabu Myzomela, and the Taliabu Leaf-Warbler. Three subspecies were also discovered on Taliabu: the Snowy-browed Flycatcher, the Taliabu Island Thrush, and the Sula Mountain Leaftoiler. Two new species, the Peleng Fantail and the Peleng Leaf-Warbler, were discovered on Peleng, as was a new subspecies, the Banggai Mountain Leaftoiler. The Togian Jungle-Flycatcher, another new subspecies, was found on the island of Togian.“Studying the routes and operations of historic collecting expeditions and identifying gaps has been a fruitful approach to pinpoint focal areas in our case,” Rheindt said in a statement. “The description of this many bird species from such a geographically limited area is a rarity.”While locals knew of some of the species already, it’s possible some of the birds had gone unnoticed because they sound more like insects. Rheindt told New Scientist that the Taliabu grasshopper warbler, for instance, sounds like a cricket, and that he heard its call long before he was able to lay eyes on one of the birds.“When I heard it, I was aware that it was a type of grasshopper warbler, but it sounded very different from the ones that I knew,” says Rheindt. “I had a hunch that this would be a new species, but it took me a week or more to see them for the first time.”Birds are one of the best-known groups of animals in the world, so much so that, over the past two decades, an average of just five or six new species have been discovered every year. Rheindt suggests that the methods employed by his team could be successfully applied to other regions and other types of wildlife: “Going forward, the use of earth-history and bathymetric information could also be applied to other terrestrial organisms and regions beyond the Indonesian Archipelago to identify promising islands that potentially harbour new taxa to be uncovered.”The ten new birds may already be in need of conservation interventions. During their time on the islands, the researchers witnessed firsthand the extensive deforestation that has occurred on both Taliabu and Peleng. The islands’ primary lowland forest has been all but completely wiped out, the research team found, while most of the islands’ highland forests have been subjected to logging or forest fires.“While most of the avifauna we described seems to tolerate some form of habitat degradation and is readily detected in secondary forest and edge, some species or subspecies are doubtless threatened by the immense levels of habitat loss on these islands,” Rheindt said. “As such, urgent, long-lasting conservation action is needed for some of the new forms to survive longer than a couple of decades beyond their date of description.”The Taliabu Grasshopper-Warbler is one of the new bird species discovered by the NUS-LIPI team led by Assoc Prof Frank Rheindt, during their expedition in Indonesia’s Wallacea region. Photo Credit: James Eaton/Birdtour Asia.CITATION• Rheindt, F. E., Prawiradilaga, D. M., Ashari, H., Suparno, Gwee, C. Y., Lee, G. W., Wu, M. Y., & Ng, N. S. (2020). A lost world in Wallacea: Description of a montane archipelagic avifauna. Science, 367(6474), 167-170. doi:10.1126/science.aax2146FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Animals, Birds, Conservation, Deforestation, Environment, Forest Destruction, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Islands, New Species, Species Discovery, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation last_img read more

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Hughes discusses Joey Barton and ‘exceptional’ Arsenal

first_imgClick here for the QPR v Arsenal quizQPR manager Mark Hughes discusses his team’s clash with in-form Arsenal and dismisses claims that Rangers’ massive wage bill will be a problem for them if they go down, insisting: “If I feel players need to stay, then that’s what will happen.”Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img

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SA seeks investment in Uganda

first_imgPresident Jacob Zuma is in Uganda to strengthen relations with the country. (Image: The Presidency) MEDIA CONTACTS • Vincent Magwenya Spokesperson to the President +27 12 300 5315 +27 82 835 6315 vincentM@po.gov.za RELATED ARTICLES • SA to strengthen ties with Britain • SA, UK’s unique relationship • South Africa, Brazil cement ties • SA, Angola strengthen ties Bongani NkosiSouth Africa and Uganda are set to strengthen economic and political relations during President Jacob Zuma’s two-day state visit to the East African country.Zuma, who arrived there on the evening of 24 March, is being accompanied by more than 30 South African business people and nine government ministers.“The visit is aimed at further enhancing economic and political relations between the two countries, developments in the East African region as well as multilateral cooperation in the African Union, United Nations and other key forums,” Zuma’s communications advisor Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.The delegation, which includes Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, is expected to sign bilateral agreements in agriculture, trade, science and technology, and customs cooperation, Kodwa said.The South African business contingent has been introduced to opportunities in Uganda through a forum co-chaired by trade ministers from both countries. “This will help to expand the areas of economic cooperation”.Agriculture, tourism, mining and energy, and information and communications technology have been the key areas identified by the South African government to offer “profitable investment opportunities in Uganda”.Uganda’s Daily Nation newspaper reported that during his visit Zuma would launch the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, a non-profit organisation set up to attract potential investors.Chairperson of the chamber, Elly Karuhanga, said they expect the South African business delegation to look for ways to become involved in Uganda’s growing oil sector, the newspaper reported.“Since the discovery of oil, Uganda has become an attractive investment destination for investors,” he said, according to the daily. “Very many investors are now eying the country because of the expected opportunities that come with oil.”Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced the discovery of oil in the country in 2009 and since then prominent firms, such as UK-based Tullow Oil, have landed lucrative deals there.“The mining, oil and refining of petroleum sector with the discovery of oil in the Lake Albert region also provides new areas of business,” said Zuma, addressing the South Africa-Uganda Business Forum on 25 March.Uganda, which recorded a GDP of US$14.5-billion (R108-billion) in 2008/09, lists South Africa as one of its major goods suppliers, alongside Kenya, India, China and the US.SA presence in UgandaMobile phone network operator MTN is currently the leading South African business in Uganda. The company broke into the market there in 1998 and now boasts about 3 500 000 customers. It “has since grown to be the leading telecommunications company in Uganda” and “we are still growing”, according to the MTN website.Other South African businesses with a presence in the East African country include Stanbic Bank Uganda, a subsidiary of Standard Bank, and Shoprite and Game stores.“We recognize that South Africans are among the top contributors to foreign direct investment flows to Uganda, and South Africa is firmly entrenched near the top of the list of countries from which Uganda sources imports,” said Zuma.ANC freedom fighters honoured Zuma is also scheduled to open the OR Tambo School of Leadership on 26 March, an institution built in the former African National Congress (ANC) military camp in Kawaweta. Named after the ANC stalwart Oliver Tambo, the institution will be used to train Uganda’s senior police, prison and military staff.The school, completed last year, has been built by South Africa “as a token of appreciation and gratitude to the government of Uganda for the support and solidarity provided to South Africans in exile during the struggle against apartheid”, said Kodwa.Zuma will also unveil the South African Wall of Remembrance in the capital city, Kampala. The wall commemorates ANC freedom fighters who died in Uganda, Kodwa said.“The state visit will build on the excellent relations forged during the struggle against apartheid, when Uganda provided solidarity and support to the South African liberation movement,” he added.last_img read more

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10 months agoCrystal Palace monitoring Chelsea loanee Abraham

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Crystal Palace monitoring Chelsea loanee Abrahamby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveCrystal Palace are monitoring Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham ahead of a potential move in January. The 21-year-old is currently on loan at Aston Villa, but Chelsea do have an option to recall in January.However, the Blues could recall Abraham and loan him back out again to a Premier League club.The Daily Telegraphclaim Crystal Palace would be keen on signing the Englishman as they continue to struggle in front of goal this season.Abraham has netted 12 times for Villa this season and manager Dean Smith remains hopeful he can retain his services for the second half of the season. last_img read more

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German automakers face heat over tests on monkeys humans

first_imgFRANKFURT – Public criticism of the German auto industry has escalated after a report that an industry-sponsored entity commissioned a study of the effects of diesel exhaust using monkeys, while another study exposed humans to low levels of one type of air pollutant.The German government on Monday condemned the experiments and Volkswagen sought to distance itself from them, with its chairman saying that “in the name of the whole board I emphatically disavow such practices.”The tests were reportedly commissioned by a research group funded by major German auto companies.Revelations of the tests add a twist to the German auto industry’s attempt to move past Volkswagen’s scandal over cheating on diesel tests and the resulting questioning of diesel technology across the industry.Volkswagen Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said the tests must be “investigated completely and without reservation,” the dpa news agency reported.A report by The New York Times found that the research group financed by top German car manufacturers commissioned experiments in which one group of monkeys was exposed to diesel exhaust from a late-model Volkswagen, while another group was exposed to fumes from an older Ford pickup.The experiments were carried out in 2014 before Volkswagen was caught using software that let vehicles cheat on emissions tests. They were intended to show modern diesel technology had solved the problem of excess emissions, but according to the Times report the Volkswagen car in the tests was equipped with illegal software that turned emissions controls on while the car was on test stands and off during regular driving.Volkswagen admitted using the software in 2015. The Volkswagen scandal led to public scrutiny of diesel emissions as regulators discovered that other companies’ vehicles also had higher emissions on the road than during testing, though not necessarily through illegal rigging. The industry has had to fend off calls for diesel bans in German cities with high pollution levels.Daimler AG said it was “appalled by the nature and extent of the studies” and said that, though it didn’t have any influence on the studies’ design, “we have launched a comprehensive investigation into the matter.”BMW said that it “did not participate in the mentioned study” on animals “and distances itself from this study.” It said it was investigating the work and background of the research group.The Times report said the group that commissioned the studies, known by German initial EUGT, got all of its funding from the three automakers.The Times report was followed by one in Monday’s edition of the Stuttgarter Zeitung daily that the now-closed research group also commissioned tests in which humans were exposed to nitrogen dioxide, which belongs to a class of pollutants known as nitrogen oxides. The group reportedly said the tests showed no effect on the subjects.The human study, carried out by Aachen University, involved studying the effects of exposing 25 subjects, mostly students, to low levels of nitrogen dioxide like those that could be found in the environment — from a 40-litre bottle, not a diesel engine. The individuals gave informed written consent for the study, which was approved by the ethics committee of the university’s medical faculty, according to the study. The university said the study had no relation to the diesel scandal.The German government condemned the reported tests on animals and humans. Transport Minister Christian Schmidt “has no understanding for such tests … that do not serve science but merely PR aims,” spokesman Ingo Strater told reporters in Berlin.He called for the companies concerned to provide “immediate and detailed” responses, and said a ministry commission of inquiry that was set up after the emissions scandal broke will hold a special meeting to examine whether there are any other cases.Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said that “the disgust many people are feeling is absolutely understandable.”“These tests on monkeys or even humans can in no way be ethically justified,” Seibert said. “They raise many critical questions for those behind these tests, and these questions must urgently be answered.”He questioned the aims of the tests. “The automakers have to reduce emissions of harmful substances further and further,” he said. “They should not be trying to prove the supposed harmlessness of exhaust with the help of monkeys or even humans.”Seibert said that the supervisory boards of the companies concerned “have a particular responsibility.”The governor of the German state of Lower Saxony, a major shareholder in Volkswagen, added his voice to calls for quick answers.Stephan Weil, who sits on VW’s supervisory board, stressed that “the behaviour of the company must in every respect fulfil ethical demands.” He said he hadn’t known about the tests.___This story has been corrected to show that a research group commissioned the tests, not that it carried them out. A previous version corrected the first paragraph to show that the second set of tests on humans didn’t involve diesel exhaust.last_img read more

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Trinamool calls for arrest of BJP’s Cooch Behar candidate

first_imgKolkata: The district Trinamool Congress leaders of Cooch Behar on Tuesday lodged a complaint with the election officials against Nishith Pramanik, who is contesting from Cooch Behar on BJP’s ticket.Senior TMC leaders from the districts alleged that Pramanik has been accused of various criminal charges and urged the commission officials to put him behind the bars as a preemptive measure ahead of the elections. It may be mentioned that the Cooch Behar parliamentary seat will go to poll in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections. The TMC leaders apprehend that there may be some law and order situation if Pramanik is not arrested. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaA top leader of Trinamool Congress alleged that at least 11 criminal cases have been pending against Pramanik. The election officials in the district are verifying the complaint lodged by TMC in this regard. It may be mentioned here that the local BJP workers had staged protest demonstrations against the candidature of Pramanik, who had once been attached to Trinamool Congress. BJP workers took to the streets and vandalised their party office immediately after the candidate list was announced. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwaySome BJP activists in the district also alleged that the BJP leaders in Delhi had taken bribe to nominate the expelled Trinamool Congress leader, who had been thrown out of his own party on corruption charges and later joined the BJP. They also threatened to field an independent candidate. On the other hand, expelled Trinamool Congress MP Soumitra Khan, who joined the BJP a few months ago, has been under scanner of the Election Commission as he had been booked under several cases in Bankura. Khan was summoned by Bankura Sadar police station on Monday, in connection with a case in which he had allegedly made some false promises of giving jobs. It may also be mentioned here that Khan is now contesting the Lok Sabha election on BJP’s ticket from the Bishnupur constituency. As many as three complaints had been lodged against him by three separate persons in Bankura district.last_img read more

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