Lapang Islanders in Indonesia

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)


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.

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'
Representatives of Japan and Australia shake hands at the court in The Hague. (NOS/ANP) - 31 March 2014
"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

China calls for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes

China calls for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes
Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the enforcement of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, at the UN headquarters in New York, on June 9, 2014. The Chinese envoy on Monday called for a harmonious maritime order, saying that maritime disputes should be settled through negotiation between the parties directly involved. (Xinhua/Niu Xiaolei)

UNCLOS 200 nautical miles vs China claimed territorial waters

UNCLOS 200 nautical miles vs China claimed territorial waters
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

China aquarium refuses to deliver 'sad bear' Pizza to UK

Yahoo – AFP, September 20, 2016

"Pizza" the polar bear stands up inside his enclosure at the Grandview Mall Aquarium
 in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, in an undated image supplied on
September 20, 2016 by Hong Kong-based activist organisation Animals Asia
(AFP Photo)

Beijing (AFP) - A Chinese aquarium keeping a forlorn-looking polar bear named Pizza said Tuesday it has "no need" for foreign interference, after activists offered to move the animal to a British zoo.

Animals Asia, a Hong Kong-based organisation, created a petition calling for the closure of the Grandview aquarium in the Chinese city of Guangzhou that attracted half a million signatures.

Photos of Pizza shared widely on social media show the bear lying listlessly on the ground in a gloomy, windowless room while visitors crowd around taking photos on their cell phones.

Activists said the Yorkshire Wildlife Park in England had offered to adopt Pizza on condition that he was not replaced by another polar bear, adding the zoo would not pay for the animal due to "fear that any funds could be used to buy more animals".

But the zoo declined to comment or confirm the offer while the aquarium operator said no one had contacted him about taking the bear, adding they "have no need for foreign organisations to get involved".

"Yorkshire Wildlife Park has not contacted us," said the general manager of the aquarium, a man surnamed Fan who refused to give his full name.

Arturo the polar bear was the latest of more than 60 animals to die over recent
months at the zoo in the western city of Mendoza (AFP Photo/Andres Larrovere)

"We are a legally compliant aquarium, run according to Chinese standards and protecting animal rights. In the future we will strengthen the protection of animal rights and welfare," he added.

The cost of transferring the large, living carnivore nearly 10,000 kilometres (6,200 miles) from Guangzhou to Doncaster, England "will be raised if the offer is accepted", Animals Asia said.

The activists said they are now pushing for a meeting with the aquarium in hopes of getting a response to their offer, adding they will draw up a bill if officials agree to have Pizza delivered.

The animal welfare director of Animals Asia, Dave Neale, said in a statement that the aquarium "have the chance to put their mistake right" and end the crush of negative media attention.

The group has been publicising Pizza's plight since the beginning of the year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Amsterdam to get world’s first robot boat in €25m project

DutchNews, September 19, 2016

An artists impression of a robot boat in action

One of America’s leading universities is putting €20m into developing robot boats which will be able to navigate the Amsterdam canals without a captain. 

The project, which will start trials next year, is a joint research programme between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, together with teams from Delft and Wageningen universities. 

The total budget for the five year Roboat research project, which will be based in Amsterdam, is €25m.

‘Imagine a fleet of autonomous boats for the transportation of goods and people,’ MIT professor Carlo Ratti said in a statement. ‘But also think of dynamic and temporary floating infrastructure like on-demand bridges and stages, that can be assembled or disassembled in a matter of hours.’

Professor Arjan van Timmeren, the AMS Institute’s scientific director said: ‘We’ll also be exploring environmental sensing. We could for instance do further research on underwater robots that can detect diseases at an early stage or use Roboats to rid the canals from floating waste and find a more efficient way to handle the 12,000 bicycles that end up in the city’s canals each year.’ 

The first prototypes of Roboat will be tested on the Amsterdam canals in 2017.

Friday, September 16, 2016

DiCaprio unveils free technology to spy on global fishing

Yahoo - AFP, Kerry Sheridan, September 15, 2016

US actor and environmental campaigner Leonardo DiCaprio has turned his focus
 on illegal fishing, which accounts for up to 35 percent of the global wild marine
catch (AFP Photo/Kazuhiro Nogi)

Miami (AFP) - American movie star Leonardo DiCaprio unveiled Thursday a free technology that allows users to spy on global fishing practices, in a bid to curb illegal activity in the oceans and rebuild imperiled fish stocks.

The technology, known as Global Fishing Watch, was officially released to the public during the Our Oceans Conference hosted by US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington on Thursday and Friday.

"Today, this unprecedented technology is available to everyone in the world. I encourage everyone to go check it out," DiCaprio told the conference.

"This platform will empower citizens across the globe to become powerful advocates for our oceans."

Available at GlobaFishingWatch.org, the technology aims to offer a crowd sourced solution to the problem of illegal fishing, which accounts for up to 35 percent of the global wild marine catch and causes yearly losses of $23.5 billion, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Overfishing is also a growing problem worldwide, with about two thirds of fish stocks in the high seas either over exploited or depleted, said the FAO.

Some of the planet's largest fish, including tuna and swordfish, are below 10 percent of their historical level.

Using satellite technology combined with radar aboard boats, the platform allows people to zero in on areas of interest around the world and trace the paths of 35,000 commercial fishing vessels.

"It gives the public an opportunity to see what is happening, even out in the middle of the ocean," said John Amos, president and founder of SkyTruth, one of three partners in the project along with Google and Oceana.

"We need the public to be engaged to convince governments and convince the seafood industry that they need to solve the problems of overfishing," Amos told AFP.

"If you can't see it and can't measure it, you are not going to care about it and it is not going to get solved."

Overfishing is a growing problem around the world, with about two-thirds of fish
stocks in the high seas either over exploited or depleted (AFP Photo/Fred Tanneau)


DiCaprio-funded

The project has cost $10.3 million over the past three years to build, with $6 million of those funds contributed by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in January.

In order the make the data available for free, Oceana and its partners negotiated a deal with the satellite company Orbcomm to use its three-day old data, which is described as "near real-time," along with historical records.

Although the delay means that any criminals won't be nabbed instantaneously, advocates say the technology will open the world's waters to public watchdogs in a way that has never been done before.

"We think it is going to have a lot of impact, first of all just the deterrent effect of vessels knowing that we could see them if they are doing something they are not supposed to be doing," Savitz said.

"You can look at an area you are interested in, zoom in and see what data we have."

Possible uses

For instance, users could zero in on a marine protected area and see if any boat tracks have crossed into waters where they should not have been.

One could scan the map for any evidence that large vessels are fishing in areas that are reserved for small-scale fishermen.

Vessels can be tracked by name or by country, or by traffic inside exclusive economic zones.

The paths of ships are visible, including zigzag paths that could indicate vessels are avoiding shore to offload their catch on to other ships undetected, or that other illegal operations or human rights abuses may be under way.

GlobalFishingWatch.org allows people to trace the paths of commercial fishing
 vessels and make sure boats haven't strayed into marine protected areas 
(AFP Photo/Cris Bouroncle)

Savitz said some capacities may be beyond the ability of the average Internet user, but that experts are available via the website to help with specific questions.

Future versions of the technology may even include tagging data for marine animals, so that the paths of whales and sharks and other fish might be visible alongside the vessel activity, she said.

Currently, Global Fishing Watch does not include every vessel, only those that broadcast data from the Automatic Identification System, collected by satellite and terrestrial receivers and meant mainly as a safety mechanism to avoid collisions.

Many of the world's largest fishing vessels are required by the International Maritime Organization to use AIS.

AIS can be turned off if the boat operator is doing something illegal, but Savitz said that such an on-off action would likely be apparent by tracing the boat's appearing and disappearing tracks.

Already, the government of Kiribati has used Global Fishing Watch data to unmask illegal fishing in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, declared off-limits to commercial fishing on January 1, 2015.

The owners of the vessel had to pay a $1 million fine and also made a "goodwill" donation of another $1 million grant, Oceana said.

Related Articles:


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Green-powered boat readies for round-the-world voyage

Yahoo – AFP, Helene Duvigneau, September 12, 2016

Labourers work on on the hull of an under-construction self energy producer,
multihull 'Energy Observer', in Saint-Malo, western France (AFP Photo/Loic Venance)

Saint-Malo (France) (AFP) - Dubbed the "Solar Impulse of the Seas," the first boat to be powered solely by renewable energies and hydrogen hopes to make its own historic trip around the world.

A water-borne answer to the Solar Impulse -- the plane that completed its round-the-globe trip using only solar energy in July -- the Energy Observer will be powered by the Sun, the wind and self-generated hydrogen when it sets sail in February as scheduled.

The multi-hulled catamaran is in a shipyard at Saint-Malo on France's west coast, awaiting the installation of solar panels, wind turbines and electrolysis equipment, which breaks down water to produce its component elements, hydrogen and oxygen.

"We are going to be the first boat with an autonomous means of producing hydrogen," says Frenchman Victorien Erussard, who is behind the project -- confidential until now -- with compatriot Jacques Delafosse, a documentary filmmaker and professional scuba diver.

Sun, wind, hydrogen

The plan is for the boat's batteries, which will feed the electric motors, to be powered in good weather by solar and wind energy, explains the 37-year-old merchant navy officer with a smile.

"If there's no Sun or wind, or if it's night, stored hydrogen -- generated by electrolysis powered by the solar panels and two wind turbines -- will take over," he says.

As a result, the vessel's trip will not use any carbon-emitting fossil fuels, as is the case for 96 percent of boats today.

The vessel itself has a storied past.

The catamaran won the Jules Verne trophy, for a team sailing non-stop round the world, in 1994. It was bought for 500,000 euros ($562,000) and extended by a whopping six metres, to 30.5 metres (100 feet), for the project.

One of the backers of the endeavour is well-known French environmentalist Nicolas Hulot.

"I support it because it's the first project of this kind to actually be undertaken, it's ambitious and looking toward the future," Hulot, a former special envoy on environmental protection to President Francois Hollande, told AFP.

"It's very promising for marine transport," Hulot added. "The Energy Observer is going to demonstrate that you can have great autonomy (at sea) and you can store and find energy when there isn't any more wind or sun."

Victorien Erussard, French skipper of 'Energy Observer', the first boat to be powered
 solely by renewable energies and hydrogen, poses for a photo in Saint-Malo, on
September 6, 2016 (AFP Photo/Loic Venance)

'Great challenge'

The Energy Observer was designed in partnership with a team of naval architects and the CEA-Liten research institute in the French city of Grenoble, which is dedicated to renewable energy technologies.

At a total cost of 4.2 million euros ($4.72 million), the green energy boat will be fitted with sensors to act as veritable moving laboratory for CEA-Liten, whose director Florence Lambert describes the project as a "great challenge" to take on.

"Energy Observer is emblematic of what will be the energy networks of tomorrow, with solutions that could even be used within five years," says Lambert.

"For example, the houses of tomorrow could incorporate a system of hydrogen storage, which is produced during the summer months and then used in the winter."

The head of the project at CEA-Liten, Didier Bouix, adds that hydrogen can store "20 times more energy" than conventional batteries.

Six-year world tour

Energy Observer's world tour is expected to take six years. After a careful crossing of the Mediterranean, the catamaran will venture out into the Atlantic and then Pacific oceans.

In all, 101 stopovers are planned from Cuba to New Caledonia to Goa on India's west coast.

There are still hurdles to overcome, not least in funding: the Energy Observer's trip is expected to cost a minimum of four million euros a year, notably to develop a traveling exhibition.

But the team says it is confident of getting the funds.

And once again it finds inspiration from its airplane mentor Solar Impulse -- which flew around the world on renewable energy and accomplished "what everyone said was impossible," said Delafosse.

Related Article:


"The Ecolution"

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Obama warns China over South China Sea ruling

Yahoo – AFP, Andrew Beatty, Nicholas Perry, September 8, 2016

US President Barack Obama speaks during the 4th ASEAN - US Summit in
Vientiane on September 8, 2016 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

Vientiane (AFP) - US President Barack Obama warned Beijing Thursday it could not ignore a tribunal's ruling rejecting its sweeping claims to the South China Sea, driving tensions higher in a territorial row that threatens regional security.

The dispute has raised fears of military confrontation between the world's superpowers, with China determined to cement control of the strategically vital waters despite a July verdict that its claims have no legal basis.

"The landmark arbitration ruling in July, which is binding, helped to clarify maritime rights in the region," Obama told Southeast Asian leaders at a summit in Laos.

"I recognise this raises tensions but I also look forward to discussing how we can constructively move forward together to lower tensions and promote diplomacy and stability."

The verdict by an international tribunal in The Hague said China's claims to most of the waters -- through which $5 trillion in global shipping trade passes annually -- had no legal basis.

It also said that a massive burst of artificial island-building activity undertaken by China in recent years in a bid to bolster its claims was illegal.

China angrily vowed to ignore the ruling, describing it as "waste paper", even though it had legal force through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Disputed claims in the South China Sea (AFP Photo/Adrian LEUNG, 
Gal ROMA)

Obama's emphasis on the ruling being legally "binding" attracted an immediate reaction from China, which has argued the United States has no role to play in the dispute.

"We hope the US can take an objective and just attitude with respect to South China Sea issues," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in Beijing.

Other claimants in the sea are the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei -- all part of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc meeting in Laos -- plus Taiwan.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is also in Laos this week, with ASEAN hosting a series of regional meetings, and gathered with Obama later Thursday at an 18-nation East Asia summit.

'Serious concern'

ASEAN leaders released a statement on Wednesday saying they were "seriously concerned" over recent developments in the sea.

But intensive Chinese lobbying helped to ensure there was no mention of the July ruling in the ASEAN statement.

The East Asia statement to be released later Thursday was also going to give a muted response, according to a draft obtained by AFP.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (C) sits beside Russian Prime Minister 
Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Indonesia's President Joko Widodo at the ASEAN 
gala dinner in Vientiane on September 7, 2016 (AFP Photo/Noel Celis)

ASEAN works by consensus, and China has successfully pressured Cambodia and Laos in recent years to ensure the bloc does not gang together to heavily pressure Beijing.

However the Philippines released photos on Wednesday it said showed renewed Chinese island-building activity, in a deliberate move to throw the issue into the spotlight.

The Chinese ships were at Scarborough Shoal, a small fishing ground within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone that China took control of in 2012.

If China did build an island at the shoal, it could lead to a military outpost just 230 kilometres (140 miles) from the main Philippine island, where US forces are stationed.

It would also be a major step in China's quest to control the sea, giving it the ability to enforce an air defence identification zone.

Obama warned Chinese President Xi Jinping in March not to build at the shoal.

Show of strength

Chinese island-building in the Spratlys archipelago -- another strategically important location -- has already triggered various US military shows of strength.

Security analysts have said Chinese island-building at Scarborough Shoal could trigger a military confrontation.

China insisted repeatedly this week it was not undertaking any island-building activities at the shoal, and on Thursday repeated its rejection of the tribunal ruling.

US President Barack Obama stands with the leaders of Myanmar, Singapore, 
Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia 
at an ASEAN - US Summit in Vientiane on September 8, 2016 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

A barrage of other security threats were also in focus in Laos on Thursday, including North Korea's nuclear ambitions following its latest missile tests.

Obama warned on Monday that Kim Jong-Un's regime was dooming itself to further isolation, and the UN Security Council condemned the tests.

Spectacular sideshow

A spectacular sideshow in Laos this week has been a spat between Obama and the acid-tongued Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose nations are longtime allies.

Duterte launched a tirade against Obama on Monday after being told the US president planned to raise concerns about a war on crime in the Philippines that has claimed 3,000 lives in just over two months.

"Son of a whore, I will curse you in that forum," Duterte told reporters.

Obama cancelled a meeting with Duterte scheduled for Tuesday because of the outburst, and on Thursday urged the Philippine president to do his crime war "the right way".


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Most humpback whales taken off US endangered species list

Yahoo – AFP, September 7, 2016

Today just four whale groups remain on the endangered list, and one is now
 listed as threatened (AFP Photo/Miguel Medina)

Washington (AFP) - Most populations of humpback whales are no longer on the United States endangered species list thanks to international conservation efforts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Tuesday.

Four decades of national and international initiatives to protect and conserve the marine mammals have helped nine of 14 humpback population segments rebound from historically low levels.

"Today's news is a true ecological success story," said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries.

"Whales, including the humpback, serve an important role in our marine environment. Separately managing humpback whale populations that are largely independent of each other allows us to tailor conservation approaches for each population."

After commercial whaling severely reduced populations, the US listed all humpback whales as endangered in 1970. Today, just four whale groups remain on that list, and one is now listed as threatened.

The International Whaling Commission's whaling moratorium imposed in 1982 -- which remains in effect -- played a crucial part in the comeback, NOAA said.

The US Marine Mammal Protection Act that protects marine mammals within US waters still applies to all humpback whales, regardless of endangered status.

The MMPA prohibits the killing of certain marine mammals in US waters and by US citizens on the high seas, and bans their importation into the United States.

Two separate regulatory decisions filed Tuesday maintain protection for whales living off Hawaii and Alaska by "specifying distance limits for approaching vessels."

Kayakers in San Francisco Bay spotted the whales, who were most likely 
feeding on herring in the area.

Two of the four humpback groups still considered endangered can be found in US waters at some times of the year.

The Central American population looks for food in the Pacific Ocean off the US West Coast, while the group in the Pacific Northwest spends time in the Bering Sea and near the Aleutian Islands.

The humpback group from Mexico now listed as threatened regularly goes to the West Coast of the continental United States and Alaska.

In 2010, NOAA launched an extensive review of the status of humpback whales that resulted in the reclassification of the species into 14 distinct populations.

NOAA proposed last year to remove 10 of those 14 groups off the endangered list and gave the public 90 days to comment on the proposed change before finalizing its decision.

Humpback whales can grow to 60 feet (18 meters) and live 50 years. They weigh up to 40 tons and eat tiny crustaceans called krill, often as much as 3,000 pounds (1,360 kilograms) per day.

The NOAA announcement follows US President Barack Obama's establishment of the world's largest marine reserve, home to thousands of rare sea creatures in the northwestern Hawaiian islands.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Drones give rare glimpse into Australian whales

Yahoo – AFP, September 6, 2016

Researchers spotted the baby white whale while off the coast of Western Australia
 using a drone to conduct aerial surveys of southern right whale populations (AFP
Photo/Frederik Christiansen)

Sydney (AFP) - Scientists studying whales in Australia have gained rare images of a white calf swimming with its mother as part of a project they hope will help conservation efforts.

Researchers spotted the baby white whale while using a drone to conduct aerial surveys of southern right whale populations off the coast of Western Australia.

"Drones are allowing us to non-invasively measure the size and body condition of free living southern right whales," said Fredrik Christiansen, a researcher at Murdoch University's Cetacean Research Unit.

Lars Bejder, who took the drone footage with Christiansen off Augusta in the state's southwest in July and August, said the drones provided a new perspective on the animals.

Southern right whale populations are showing signs of recovery from the impact of whaling last century, but the population is still estimated to be relatively small at about 3,000 animals in Australian waters.

The white calf is rare as only about five percent of the species are born this colour. They darken to grey in their first year.

Southern right whale populations are showing signs of recovery from the impact 
of whaling last century, but the population is still estimated to be relatively small at
about 3,000 animals in Australian waters (AFP Photo/Frederik Christiansen)

The drones are part of an innovative programme which also uses suction caps applied to the whales to measure their dives and sounds to learn more about the animals.

"Little is known about the three dimensional movements and habitat-use of southern right whales in their breeding and calving grounds in Australia," Bejder said in a statement.

He added that such data was vital for the animal's conservation given many areas in the region were slated for developments which would see an increase in shipping and tourism.

"Our aim is not only to study the behavioural ecology of these amazing animals, but also to provide information to industry and management towards conservation," he said.

The suction cup tags, carefully affixed to the animals via hand-held poles, stay attached for up to 24 hours and measure and record the depth, pitch and roll of swimming behaviour.

"The tag also records sound, which is sufficient for measuring sounds made by boats and those heard by the whales," said Bejder.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Obama highlights environment on Pacific atoll

Yahoo – AFP, Andrew Beatty, September 2, 2016

US President Barack Obama tours Midway Atoll in the North Pacific marine
reserve of Papahanaumokuakea on September 1, 2016 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

Midway Island (United States) (AFP) - President Barack Obama went off the beaten track Thursday -- way off -- to a newly expanded marine reserve on an atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, part of an effort to polish his environmental legacy.

Obama flew three hours west of his native Honolulu to Midway Atoll, on the far northwestern tip of the Hawaiian island chain.

The atoll is situated at the heart of Papahanaumokuakea, a vast Pacific marine reserve given protected status by then-president George W. Bush in 2006.

Obama recently quadrupled its size to make it the world's largest marine reserve, home to 7,000 marine species, including many endangered birds as well as the Hawaiian monk seal and black coral, which can live for 4,500 years.

"This is going to be a precious resource for generations to come," Obama told reporters on Midway's Turtle Beach.

All the atoll's 40 inhabitants -- mostly US Fish and Wildlife Service staff -- greeted him.

Until recently, the area was perhaps best known to military history buffs.

Seventy-four years ago, the Battle of Midway was a decisive naval fight in World War II that turned the tide of the war against Japan.

Obama praised the "courage and perseverance" of the vastly outnumbered American soldiers who repelled Japanese forces. "This is hallowed ground," he said.

Now, he added, protecting the vast ecosystem "allows us to study and research and understand our oceans better than we ever have before."

Map and details of what is the world's largest marine reserve, just established
in Hawaii. (AFP Photo/Alain BOMMENEL, Simon MALFATTO, Kun TIAN)

'Existential threat'

The president was later set to go snorkeling with friends away from journalists, the White House said.

Since taking office in 2009, he has designated more protected areas than any of his predecessors using the Antiquities Act, signed in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt, who established the first national monuments.

For the outgoing president, the visit is part of an eight-year effort to put the environment and tackling climate change higher on the political agenda.

Scientists would be able to undertake "critically important" study of climate change in the marine reserve, he said.

Although Bush created Papahanaumokuakea, he also earned international scorn by rejecting the global climate deal reached at Kyoto.

Obama, in contrast, has led the charge to secure the recently struck Paris climate agreement.

"Rising temperatures and sea levels pose an existential threat to your countries," he said in Honolulu earlier to representatives of Pacific island nations at the World Conservation Congress, a major conference of thousands of delegates, including heads of state, scientists and policy makers.

"And while some members of the US Congress still seem to be debating whether climate change is real or not, many of you are already planning for new places for your people to live," he added.

Asked on Midway whether he would focus on tackling climate change as part of his work after he leaves office in January, Obama said he may try to influence Republican politicians who deny the phenomenon.

"This is something that all of us are going to have to tackle and maybe I get a little more of a hearing if I'm not occupying a political office," he said.

After his Hawaii visit, Obama is set to attend a G20 meeting in China, where he is expected to announce the joint formal joining of the Paris climate accord with President Xi Jinping.

Related Article:


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Lizard skins, swordfish horns and two tonnes of coral recovered in police raid

DutchNews, August 29, 2016

Picture: Dutch police. 
Police and customs officers have seized a record haul of illegal animal products, including swordfish horns, mounted crocodiles and coral. 

Altogether two tonnes of coral, as well as snake and lizard skins and ivory from protected species, were recovered from five storage units in North Brabant, together with €500,000 in cash and gold. 

A spokesman for Rotterdam police said researchers spent three days categorising the collection, which was characterised by a ‘bizarre range and diversity’. 

The trail to the illegal depot began after a routine check at Rotterdam harbour uncovered 345 kilos of coral contained in 15 packing cases on a container ship from China. 

The owner of the company where the items were stored, a 53-year-old man, is under investigation but police said no arrests have been made.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Obama establishes world's largest marine reserve in Hawaii

Yahoo – AFP, Kerry Sheridan, August 26, 2016

Obama's announcement more than quadrupled the size of the existing protected
 area, known as the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (AFP Photo/
Brendan Smialowski)

Miami (AFP) - President Barack Obama on Friday burnished his environmental legacy by establishing the world's largest marine reserve, home to thousands of rare sea creatures in the northwestern Hawaiian islands.

Obama's announcement more than quadrupled the size of the existing protected area, known as the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which is now 582,578 square miles (1.5 million square kilometers) -- about four times the size of California.

The waters are home to pristine coral reefs and hundreds of animals found nowhere else on Earth, including a new species of ghost octopus discovered only this year and the world's oldest living organism, black coral, which is estimated to be 4,265 years old.

Some 14 million seabirds soar over the area and make their nests on the islands, including a 65-year-old albatross named Wisdom. The area is also home to threatened green turtles and endangered Hawaiian monk seals.

The marine monument was established in 2006 by then president George W. Bush and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.

"By expanding the monument, President Obama has increased protections for one of the most biologically and culturally significant places on the planet," said Joshua Reichert, an executive vice president at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Greenpeace also hailed what it called a "bold decision" that will ban commercial fishing and mineral extraction in the region.

US Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, said in a statement that the expansion will create "a safe zone that will replenish stocks of tuna, promote biodiversity and fight climate change."

Obama "has given Native Hawaiians a greater voice in managing this precious resource," Schatz said.

But some expressed disappointment over the move to expand the zone to 200 miles from shore, saying that it imperils fishermen's ability to make a living.

"Closing 60 percent of Hawaii's waters to commercial fishing, when science is telling us that it will not lead to more productive local fisheries, makes no sense," said Edwin Ebiusi Jr., chair of the Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.

"Today is a sad day in the history of Hawaii's fisheries and a negative blow to our local food security."

Matt Rand, director of the Global Ocean Legacy project at the Pew Charitable Trusts, took a different view, saying that the change should have "a minimal economic impact" on fishing in the area.

The archipelago and its surrounding waters are considered a sacred area by native Hawaiians.

The White House said permits will also be available for noncommercial fishing -- including recreational fishing and the removal of fish and other resources for Native Hawaiian cultural practices -- in the area.

World congress

Obama's announcement came just days before the kickoff of a major global conservation meeting including thousands of heads of state, scientists and policy makers, which the US president is expected to address in Hawaii on September 1.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature's world congress is held every four years at a different location around the globe. This year it runs from September 1-10.

Obama will also travel to Midway Atoll, inside the protected area, to underscore the decision.

There he will make the case that climate change "makes protecting our public lands and waters more important than ever," according to the White House.

The timing of Obama's announcement is important because it "will inspire probably the people that are most interested and most engaged in conservation globally," said Rand.

Obama has made conservation and climate change a central pillar of his presidency -- in the face of Republican opposition in Congress -- forging international climate accords and promoting national parks.

"All together, President Obama has protected more public lands and waters than any other president," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

"And these sites often help tell the story of significant people or extraordinary events in American history."

The existing boundaries of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument
 are outlined in light blue. The other Monuments, outlined in purple and green, are
not being changed. Photograph: Noaa