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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sri Lanka hands over debt-laden port to Chinese owner

Yahoo – AFP, 9 December 2017

Sri Lanka hands over debt-laden port to Chinese owner

Colombo (AFP) - Sri Lanka Saturday handed over a deep-sea port to a Chinese firm, in a deal agreed to boost the cash-strapped island's finances that has raised concerns at home and abroad over Beijing's growing influence.

The $1.12 billion deal first announced in July lets a Chinese state company take over the southern port of Hambantota, which straddles the world's busiest east-west shipping route, on a 99-year lease.

"With the signing of the agreement today the Treasury has received $300 million," Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said at a ceremony in the capital to mark the handover.

"This is the beginning of our debt settlement," Wickremesinghe said.

The loss-making port will now be jointly managed by the state-owned Sri Lanka Port Authority and China Merchants Port Holdings.

Sri Lanka owes China $8 billion that former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's regime borrowed for its infrastructure development projects, including the port.

The deal has raised concerns at home and overseas, where countries such as India and the United States are known to be worried that China getting a foothold at the deep-sea port could give it a military naval advantage in the Indian Ocean.

On Friday Sri Lanka's parliament approved wide-ranging tax concessions for the port deal, including a tax holiday of up to 32 years for the Chinese firm, that opposition parties objected to.

"Please tell this House the details of very favourable tax concessions you gave China on the deal. What are you getting out of it?" Anura Dissanayake, an opposition law marker asked in parliament Saturday.

Sri Lanka has said it wants to reduce its high foreign debt with the proceeds of the Hambantota port deal, and is selling off some other enterprises to raise revenue.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Morgan the ‘Dutch’ orca is pregnant, in breach of agreement

DutchNews, December 5, 2017 - By Hanneke Sanou

Under EU law Morgan, highlighted, cannot be used for mainly commercial
purposes or breeding. Photo: www.freemorgan.org

The wild orca found in the Wadden Sea in 2010 and now kept at the Loro Parque amusement park in Tenerife is pregnant, in contravention of the conditions of her transfer to Spain. 

Loro Parque earlier refused to comment on the pregnancy rumours when contacted by DutchNews.nl but has now confirmed the pregnancy in a statement on its website. In the statement, the park says it ‘considers it a natural right of every animal to reproduce which must not be repressed under any circumstance.’ 

The orca, nicknamed Morgan, was found in a severely weakened state in the Wadden Sea in 2010 and sent to the Dolphinarium in Harderwijk to recover. The then-junior economic affairs minister Henk Bleker, who was responsible for Morgan, decided she could not be returned to the wild and she was sent to the Loro Parque in Spain instead. 

The original European CITES certificate approving the transfer stated that Morgan would be used for research purposes only. However, the orca has since become part of a show of performing animals and, according to the Free Morgan Foundation (FMF), which is fighting to release the animal back into the wild, her health is suffering. Breeding the killer whale would also be in breach of the certificate. 

‘For us this news doesn’t come as a surprise. Loro Parque has been busy for years trying to get Morgan pregnant. They have done this despite the ban on breeding and her young age when a pregnancy can be dangerous to both mother and calf,’ FMF vice chair Hester Bartels said in a statement to the press. 

Morgan is now 11 years old, with an expected average life span of 50. 

Court 

The news about Morgan’s pregnancy comes only weeks before a court hearing on January 23 in which the decision by the junior minister not to intervene regarding Morgan’s situation at Loro Parque goes to appeal. 

The foundation says new evidence has emerged concerning Morgan’s welfare at Loro Parque, including the failure of the Dutch and Spanish CITES management authorities to abide by the terms of Morgan’s exemption certificate. 

They also failed to take affirmative measures to ensure that Morgan is not subjected to breeding, the foundation said. Morgan’s pregnancy will result in a hybrid calf. While this would do nothing for the maintenance of the wild orca population, a calf with a new bloodline would be financially advantageous for the park, the FMF said. 

The park, however, says breeding programmes are in line with the European guideline and the Spanish law on zoos.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

17th century Dutch shipwreck gives up more of its secrets

DutchNews, November 24, 2017

Archaeologists at the site of the find. Photo: University of Western Australia 

The ill-fated Dutch ship Batavia which sank after striking a reef off the Western Australian coast in 1629 has given up more of its secrets. 

An international team of archaeologists, including scientists from the University of Western Australia, the Western Australian Museum and the University of Amsterdam, has discovered a new communal grave in the Abrolhos Islands containing the bodies of five of the survivors.

 ‘These people probably died shortly after the shipwreck,’, archaeologist Liesbeth Smits told Trouw. ‘They died of hunger or from drinking salt water. We didn’t find any evidence of a violent death, which we saw on the remains we found earlier.’ 

The newly built VOC ship, on its way to Batavia, was doomed from the start. Commander Francois Pelsaert, a merchant but in charge of the ship, and his captain Adriaan Jakobsz did not see eye to eye and the latter conspired to hijack the ship which was laden with valuable merchandise and money. 

Wrecked

But a navigational mistake put paid to his plan and the Batavia was wrecked in 1629 on the Morning Reef off the Western Australian coast. The 282 survivors ended up on a small coral island termed ‘Batavia’s Graveyard’ – Beacon Island. In the following months a mutiny unfolded, leading to the deaths of around 115 people, many of whom were murdered by the mutineers. 

The communal grave was discovered earlier this month and was made up of five sets of human remains, along with various artefacts. 

Now, Smits is going to try to find out where the five men came from. ‘We are going to look at the chemical composition of the enamel on their teeth. This is formed during the first years of life and doesn’t change with age. All sorts of chemicals from the environment of your birth end up in there, via food among other things. These chemical elements can tell us very accurately where these people grew up,’ she told Trouw. 

International 

The method was used on other remains as well and showed the VOC, which was the first multinational company in the world, was a truly international company with French and British crew members. 

Jeremy Green, head of maritime archaeology at the Western Australian Museum, who has been investigating the Batavia and the story of its survivors since the wreck’s discovery more than 50 years ago, says the grave constitutes yet another piece of the ship’s tumultuous history. 

‘This latest find adds significantly to the wealth of information we have on Batavia, and shows that there are still very important discoveries to be made about the remarkable human story behind one of Australia’s oldest known shipwrecks,’ he said.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Swimming with dolphins in virtual reality to aid disabled

Yahoo – AFP, Jo Biddle, November 19, 2017

A Dutch non-profit has developed virtual reality glasses to enable the
disabled to feel close to dolphins for therapeutic purposes

Swimming with wild dolphins is something most can only dream of, and jumping into pools with captive animals has become increasingly controversial with environmentalists condemning it as cruel.

But a Dutch non-profit believes it has found a way to bring people, especially the disabled, closer to such a joyful experience through the technological, immersive advances offered by virtual reality (VR).

The Dolphin Swim Club is the realisation of a more than two-decade journey by artist Marijke Sjollema, who had her first chance encounter with a dolphin in 1993 while snorkeling off the coast of Mexico.

"I saw this grey shadow under the water and my first thought was this is the end. I thought it was a shark," she told AFP.

She tried to stay calm "but this shadow was following me. And then there was this split second that I realised that it wasn't a shark. It was a dolphin."

"I didn't know anything about dolphins, but I instinctively knew, 'Oh a dolphin, I'm fine. This is a good thing'."

From that moment on, Sjollema's love of dolphins and all cetaceans was born.

"We know that there is something magical about dolphins. We think of joy, and playfulness and happiness and innocence when we meet dolphins. And this is even a healing quality," she told AFP.

She and her business consultant husband, Benno Brada, have devoted their spare time, energy and personal resources to their mission of enabling people to discover their own encounter with dolphins.

The VR dolphin therapy is designed as an alternative to dolphin-assisted 
therapies using dolphins in captivity

Healing qualities

Their first project using normal VR headsets playing a film of the dolphins launched in late 2015.

But last month they went a step further, unveiling waterproof VR glasses, which allow people to drift around a pool watching bottlenose and spinner dolphins playing around them in virtual reality.

This VR dolphin therapy in a pool, still at the trial stage, is thought to be a world first.

"The dream was to find an alternative to dolphin-assisted therapies using dolphins in captivity," Brada told therapists at a residential community for disabled people run by the 's Heeren Loo organisation who were testing out the waterproof goggles in the pool.

The centre has been using the land version of the VR glasses since 2016, and has seen noticeable benefits.

"Some 82 percent of our clients feel actually relaxed by seeing the films," said the organisation's policy advisor Johan Elbers.

"It takes them away from the world they are in, they enter a new world in another mindset, think differently, feel differently, see differently, and relax completely."

He recalled how one young woman, who had long had trouble sleeping, now watches a VR film of the dolphins swimming at night, and falls quietly asleep.

Another man is able to completely forget an agonising pain in his arm.

Dion, a 21-year-old resident of the community, said watching the film made him feel "peaceful."

"The dolphin noises and the water calms me down, that calms me from all the noises that there are, then you're zen," he said.

The VR glasses allow people to float around a pool watching dolphins playing 
around them in virtual reality, helping people relax and enter another world

Sharks next?

The pool-safe VR goggles, developed thanks to 50,000 euros ($59,000) grant from the Dutch government, consist of a waterproof Samsung smartphone in a waterproof backing mounted on a special 3D-printed rig made of recycled plastics.

"Stress is very important as a driver of all kinds of psychiatric problems," explains psychiatrist Wim Veling, from the University of Groningen.

"So we are trying in therapy to make people more relaxed," said Veling, who has been studying the use of VR to help people with mental health disorders.

"The power of virtual reality is in the immersion" into another world, he says on the Dolphin Swim Club site.

For Sjollema, the VR glasses offer huge advantages. Not only can they bring the dolphins to disabled people, who would not be able to travel to see them, but they also avoid the use of captive dolphins.

"Right from the beginning we wanted to make this an alternative for existing therapies with dolphins in captivity," she said.

The films were made during a 10-day shoot in December 2015 at the Red Sea, by a specialist VR team Viemr, using free divers capable of holding their breath for up to five minutes so as not to scare away the dolphins.

The dry version glasses are already being used in more than 150 universities, hospitals and community centres around the world.

And the hope is that the waterproof ones will prove equally beneficial. Sjollema and Brada are looking for a partner to launch their commercial production.

But Dion is ready for something a little more exhilarating.

He would like to watch "a film with sharks" or lions "where the animal is hunting a prey. It would be fun to see a little bit of action."


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Vietnam and China agree to avoid conflicts in S. China Sea

Yahoo – AFP, November 13, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) shakes hands with Vietnamese President Tran
Dai Quang (R) at the presidential palace in Hanoi (AFP Photo/LUONG THAI LINH)

Vietnam and China agreed Monday to avoid conflicts in the hotly contested South China Sea, as a new pathway to dialogue on easing tensions was opened with other Southeast Asian nations.

The communist neighbours have long sparred over the sea, through which $5 trillion in shipping trade passes annually and which is believed to sit atop vast gas reserves.

Hanoi and Beijing agreed Monday to keep the peace in the sea, the countries said in a joint statement during a state visit to Hanoi by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

They agreed to "well manage disputes at sea, make no moves that may complicate or expand disputes, (and) maintain peace and stability on the East Sea," the Vietnamese version of the statement said, using Hanoi's term for the waters.

China claims nearly all of the sea, even approaching the coasts of its neighbours. It is also partly claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan in addition to Vietnam.

China has in recent years built artificial islands and airstrips capable of hosting military installations in contested areas to cement its claims, inflaming tensions with its neighbours.

Relations between China and Vietnam hit a low in 2014 when Beijing moved an oil rig into waters claimed by Vietnam, sparking weeks of protests.

There have been two armed conflicts between China and Vietnam in the sea -- brief clashes in 1974 and 1988 that claimed the lives of dozens of Vienamese troops.

On Sunday US President Donald Trump offered to help Vietnam resolve the long-simmering tensions.

"If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know... I am a very good mediator," Trump said on his own state visit to Hanoi at the tail end of his marathon tour of Asia.

Vietnam offered no response.

And China, which has long insisted the United States has no role to play in the dispute, spoke out against what it deemed foreign interference.

"We hope non-regional countries can respect the regional countries' efforts in maintaining the regional stability of the South China Sea, and play a constructive role in this aspect," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

More talks agreed

Trump was in Manila on Monday for meetings with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and several other countries.

At that meeting China and ASEAN, which includes Vietnam, announced on Monday night they had agreed to begin talks on a much-delayed code of conduct for the sea.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sealed the accord with the ASEAN leaders in Manila, according to China's state-run Xinhua news agency.

However no timeframe was announced for an actual code.

China initially agreed in 2002 to begin talks on a code, but delayed doing so while carrying out its expansionist strategy.

And at China's insistence, ASEAN also agreed in August that any future code would not be legally binding, despite a strong push from Vietnam.

After the Philippines backed China's position, ASEAN agreed it would not have legal force.

The Philippines had for many years stood alongside Vietnam as one of the region's strongest opponents to Chinese expansionism.

Following Manila's complaint to a United Nations-backed tribunal, the panel ruled last year that China's territorial claims in the sea were without legal basis.

But the Philippines, after President Rodrigo Duterte took office last year, decided not to use the ruling to pressure China.

He instead chose to build closer ties in return for billions of dollars in investments and aid.

Critics accused Duterte of giving in to Beijing. But he said his tactics had eased tensions and opened the door to dialogue.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Dutch-built super yachts are being re-sold to tax haven buyers

DutchNews, November 10, 2017

The Galactica Star in Barcelona. Photo: Ralf Roletschek / roletschek.at 

Luxury yachts built in Dutch shipyards are being sold to suspect buyers around the world through tax havens, Trouw and the Financieele Dagblad reported on Friday. 

The dubious yacht transactions were revealed through an investigation being carried out into the Paradise Papers by the two Dutch newspapers . 

The documents reveal at least two instances in which the actual buyer of a Dutch-built yacht has been protected. In one case, the purchase money was obtained, the US justice department maintains, by corruption. 

The Dutch land registry, which covers fishing and inland water pleasure boats as well as housing, said that registration of luxury yachts should be made compulsory to reduce the risk that yachts can be used to cover up money laundering. 

The Paradise Papers contain information culled from legal advisor Appleby and the Estera trust office in Bermuda which came into the hands of German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then via the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to the media worldwide. 

Appleby has been involved in the registration or management of hundreds of ships of which one hundred could be classified as super yachts: vessels of up to 150 metres in length and worth hundreds of millions of euros. 

Galactica Star

One of these is the Galactica Star (65 metres and valued at €82m) which was sold in the summer of 2013 by Dutch shipbuilder Heesen. The buyer was Speedwave 65, a company recently set in the British Virgin Islands by an individual who chose to be anonymous. 

Speedwave sold the yacht on almost immediately to another Virgin Island entity Earnshaw Associates Inc, owned by the Nigerian oil magnate Kola Aluko who allegedly obtained his money illegally. Heesen said it was unaware of the resale of the Galactica to Aluko at the time. 

Shipyards also fall under legislation aimed at preventing money laundering and the financing of terrorism, like banks and trust offices They must establish the identity of the actual owner and the aim of any given transaction. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mass seal deaths in Russia's Lake Baikal

France24 – AFP, 31 October 2017

AFP/File | The Baikal seal is the smallest in the world

Around 130 dead seals have washed up on the shores of Russia's Lake Baikal, authorities said Tuesday, as they launched a probe into the latest problem to hit the world's deepest lake.

The Baikal seal is the smallest in the world, and exactly how and when the species colonised the ancient Siberian lake is still a mystery.

"There were about 130 animals found dead" over the past few days, said environmental ministry spokesman Nikolai Gudkov.

"We took water samples to understand whether we can talk of water pollution as the reason," he told AFP, though results have not yet been processed.

Scientists have also taken biopsies of the animals, he said.

The animal is not endangered and Gudkov said the species' population has actually increased in recent years, growing to around 130,000.

Preliminary theories about the die-off did not suggest pollution is the reason, he added.

Lake Baikal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which has thousands of endemic species, has been suffering from a string of detrimental phenomena over recent years.

These include depletion of fish stocks, death of endemic sponges and explosion of growth of Spirogyra algae unnatural to the lake which scientists say is caused by pollution.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Vegan streaker jailed in Japan for disrupting dolphin show

DutchNews, October 23, 2017


A Dutch animal rights activist known as the ‘vegan streaker’ has been jailed in Japan for disrupting a dolphin show. 

Peter Janssen, 32, and a Belgian woman reported jumped into the Adventure World pool during the show holding a placard protesting at the organised slaughter of hundreds of dolphins near the city of Taiji every year. 

Both Janssen and Belgium’s Kirsten De Kimpe were arrested and the show was halted, according to local news website Japan Today. According to Belgian media, both are members of animal rights campaign Vegan Strike Group. 

Japanese paper Japan Today said police officers were on alert at the park at the time ‘due to information that foreign activists opposed to dolphin hunting could obstruct the show’. 

Janssen, who was arrested in 2008 for releasing 2,500 mink on a fur farm, first hit the headlines in 2007 when he disrupted filming of the Paul de Leeuw tv show, wearing only underpants. That appearance gave rise to his nickname. 

He has also been caught streaking at the ABN Amro tennis tournament, a Champions Trophy hockey match and the Tilburg Ten Mile road race. In recent years he has turned his attention to bull fighting and has disrupted at least 22 tournaments.

Friday, October 20, 2017

World's deepest lake in peril, scientists warn

Yahoo – AFP, Maria ANTONOVA, 19 October 2017

Lake Baikal's high biodiversity includes over 3,600 plant and animal species,
such as this Spirogyra algae

Lake Baikal is undergoing its gravest crisis in recent history, experts say, as the government bans the catching of a signature fish that has lived in the world's deepest lake for centuries but is now under threat.

Holding one-fifth of the world's unfrozen fresh water, Baikal in Russia's Siberia is a natural wonder of "exceptional value to evolutionary science" meriting its listing as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Baikal's high biodiversity includes over 3,600 plant and animal species, most of which are endemic to the lake.

Over the past several years, however, the lake, a major international tourist attraction, has been crippled by a series of detrimental phenomena, some of which remain a mystery to scientists.

'Significant stress'

They include the disappearance of the omul fish, rapid growth of putrid algae and the death of endemic species of sponges across its vast 3.2 million-hectare (7.9 million-acre) area.

The shoreline of Lake Baikal is covered by rotting Spirogyra algae

Starting in October, the government introduced a ban on all commercial fishing of omul, a species of the salmon family only found in Baikal, fearing "irreversible consequences for its population", the Russian fisheries agency told AFP.

"The total biomass of omul in Baikal has more than halved since 15 years ago" from 25 million tonnes to just 10 million, the agency said.

Local fishery biologist Anatoly Mamontov said the decrease is likely caused by uncontrollable fish poaching, with extra pressure coming from the climate.

"Baikal water stock is tied to climate," he said. "Now there is a drought, rivers grow shallow, there are less nutrients. Baikal's surface heats up and omul does not like warm water."

UNESCO last month "noted with concern that the ecosystem of the lake is reported to be under significant stress" and a decrease in fish stocks is just one observable effect.

The Baikal omul, a well-known speciality, was for centuries the main local source of food, eaten salted or smoked, and especially important given the region has no farming.

'Not Baikal anymore'

Another peril to the lake's ecosystem is the explosion of algal blooms unnatural to Baikal with thick mats of rotting Spirogyra algae blanketing pristine sandy beaches, which some scientists say indicates that the lake can no longer absorb human pollution without consequence.

Baikal is the world's deepest lake with one-fifth of the world's unfrozen fresh water

"I am 150 percent sure that the reason is the wastewater runoff" from towns without proper sewage treatment, particularly of phosphate-containing detergents, said Oleg Timoshkin, biologist at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Limnological Institute in Irkutsk.

Fifteen years ago, some of the lake's picturesque villages had only two hours of electricity a day, but now improved power access means that "every babushka rents out rooms and has a washing machine," he said.

Indeed the lake, which is 1,700 metres (5,580 feet) deep, and its tourism now provide a livelihood for many residents to replace fishing.

Foreign visitors often spend time at Baikal while doing a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway and in recent years more Chinese have been coming as Russia eased visa requirements.

Russians love the area, too, for its hiking trails, camping and spectacular scenery.

Timoshkin has travelled the length of Baikal testing for Spirogyra prevalence and said that in three critical zones near populated areas "the bottom does not look like Baikal anymore" and algae is pushing out oxygen-loving molluscs and crustaceans.

Near the town of Listvyanka, the tourist hub closest to regional centre Irkutsk, "there used to be underwater forests of sponges 15 years ago, now they are all dead," Timoshkin said.

Money 'stolen'

Last year, Timoshkin tested 170 types of sponges throughout Baikal's coast, and "only 11 percent looked healthy," he said. "When you take a dead sponge to the surface it smells like a corpse."

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently released young omul fish into Lake Baikal

If dumping polluted water into the lake doesn't stop, "shallow coastal zones will change severely," he said, calling for a ban on phosphate-containing substances in the region and building "the best sewage treatment plants in Russia."

President Vladimir Putin in August complained of "extremely high pollution" while visiting Lake Baikal, calling its preservation a "government priority".

A special 1999 law in Russia spells out protection measures for Lake Baikal. The government is also putting 26 billion rubles (about $452 million, 385 million euros) into a cleanup programme, which started in 2012, to fund treatment facilities, though local experts say much of the money gets wasted.

In one town, Babushkin, on Baikal's shore, millions of dollars were spent on a brand new treatment plant but bacteria meant to purify the water fail to work in the Siberian winter, local media said.

"As usual, the strictness of our laws is compensated by the fact that following them is optional," said Buryatia-based ecologist Sergei Shapkhayev. "Money is being allocated but it gets stolen."

Science funding has also grown thin at a time when studying Baikal is most vital, both Timoshkin and Mamontov said. "How can you cut funding during a crisis?" Timoshkin asked.

"That's like firing epidemiologists during a smallpox outbreak."

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Chile penguins win battle in war against mine

Yahoo – AFP, Giovanna FLEITAS, 13 October 2017


They may be less than a meter tall but they have conquered a Goliath: Chile's vulnerable Humboldt penguins have thwarted -- for now at least -- a billion dollar mining project in one of the country's most depressed regions.

The rare species is only found on the coasts of Peru and Chile, which has created the National Humboldt Penguin Reserve -- but it's also an area rich in natural resources which has put the animals on a collision course with mining giant Andes Iron and their $2.5 billion project.

Conservationists jumped to their defense when the company unveiled plans to construct a huge open-cast mine and a port near the reserve, 600 kilometers (250 miles) north of Santiago.

The Dominga mine would have produced 12 million tonnes of iron ore a year, making it the biggest of its kind in the country, and 150,000 tonnes of copper.

For months it made headlines amid a bitter national debate over economic development and environmental conservation that was fought out on social media and split the socialist government of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

The project was rejected in March by an environmental commission but Andes Iron appealed the ruling.

In August, a special cabinet committee which included the energy and mines, health and environment ministers, finally vetoed the project citing of a lack of guarantees for the penguins.

Humboldts have been protected here since 1990, when the reserve was set up to encompass the islands of Dama, Choros and Gaviota, a stunning nature trail beloved of whale, sea-lion and penguin watchers.

Thousands of jobs

Rodrigo Flores, vice-president of the fisherman's union in nearby Punta Choros, a jumping off point for tours of the islands, welcomed the move.

"Dominga is an invasive project, for nature and for society," he told AFP. "It is incompatible with a place considered a hotspot of biodiversity at the global level."

But that's not everyone's view.

Joyce Aguirre is one of the project's staunch defenders in the local community of La Higuera.

"Every project has an impact," she said, arguing that the government had a duty to come down on the side of jobs.

"We want to be vigilant and watch what's going to happen. We are the ones who live here and we would never want to damage the area."

The region is among the most underdeveloped in Chile and many locals lament the loss of thousands of jobs promised under the plan.

Conservation NGO Oceana warned of the risks to the ecosystem from the mine, whose port terminal was set to be built only 30 kilometers away from the island of Choros.

The conservation group argued that increased shipping traffic, with its greater risk of oil spills, would do untold harm to a known cetacean migrant route and pristine waters that provide a rich food source to several vulnerable species including the sea otter.

"I've been diving in other areas and I've seen that residue from mining activity is noticeable on the ocean bottom, killing all existing life," said fisherman Mauricio Carrasco. "That's what we're afraid of."

Constant pressure on reserve

In Punta Choros, 160 families in the fishing community play an official role in watching over the penguin reserve, an area of 880 hectares which is home to 80 percent of the species.

Recent studies have shown the water to be pristine, largely due to conservation efforts.

But the reserve "is constantly under threat from mega-projects," warned Liliana Yanes, regional director of the National Forestry Office in Coquimbo.

French giant Suez was forced to pull out of a project to build a power plant in Barrancones, near Choros, in 2010. The then-president Sebastian Pinera demanded that the power plant be built elsewhere after thousands of people protested.

Around 60 kilometers away in the town of La Serena, part of the population has come out strongly against the U-turn on the Dominga project.

"We feel the disappointment, as Chileans, because the government is clipping our wings," said Marta Arancibia, adding that the region was one of the poorest in Chile.

She is a member of a residents association which signed an agreement with Andes Iron in which they promised to invest heavily in local education, healthcare and potable water projects.

"The state hasn't been present for us over the last 20 years, so we see these private enterprise projects as opportunities," said Aguirre, who also signed the agreement.

Andes Iron has signalled its intention to continue the battle in Chile's environmental court and if necessary, take it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Round one to the plucky penguins, though it seems the war has only started.



Japanese fisheries giant casts net in Urk

DutchNews, October 13, 2017

Photo: Depositphotos.com 

The Japanese-based fisheries multinational Maruha Nichiro has strengthened its position in the Dutch fish market with the purchase of Weerstand Foods, one of the biggest fish processors in the country and based on the island of Urk in the IJsselmeer. 

Maruha Nichiro, the biggest fisheries concern in the world, bought Weerstand through its Dutch subsidiary Seafood Connection, the Financieele Dagblad has reported. Financial details were not disclosed. 

The new Dutch combine Seafood Weerstand will have annual revenues of €215m. The Urk firm was set up by the Weerstand family 30 years ago. It has a payroll of 112 and annual sales of €30m. 

‘The acquisition of Weerstand gives us access to new markets,’ Seafood Connection chief executive Jan Kaptijn said in a statement. ‘The future of trade in fishery products looks promising and at the same time we see an increasing demand for locally caught fish products such as plaice, sole and Norwegian lobster. Weerstand already has these products in its assortment.’ 

Seafood Connection was Maruha Nichiro’s first purchase in the Netherlands when most of its shares were acquired in 2013 by the Japanese group. Maruha Nichiro was formed in 2007 with the merger of two large Japanese fisheries groups with 170 working companies. The company is active worldwide. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

UN slaps global port ban on ships for North Korea sanctions violations

Yahoo – AFP, Philippe RATER, 10 October 2017

The UN has slapped a global port ban on four vessels found violating sanctions
against North Korea

The UN has slapped a global port ban on four vessels found violating sanctions against North Korea, the head of an expert panel said on Monday in what he described as an unprecedented move.

The United States led a drive at the Security Council to impose two recent sets of sanctions to punish Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile tests.

"There are four vessels that have been designated by the committee. The designation doesn't mean an assets freeze or travel ban. But it's a port ban," said Hugh Griffiths, coordinator of a UN Security Council panel on North Korea sanctions, adding the ships were found "transporting prohibited goods."

"It's a pretty swift and decisive action by the committee," he said, adding that the ban went into effect on October 5.

Griffiths was speaking at the conclusion of the second UN meeting on enforcing North Korea sanctions.

A source close to the matter said the four ships were found carrying coal, seafood and iron ore, exports banned by a UN resolution imposed in August.

The ban was expanded last month to include textiles and North Korean guest workers and also capped oil exports.

North Korean diplomats were present at the meeting but did not speak, according to diplomats.

According to a source, the listed ships were the Petrel 8, Hao Fan 6, Tong San 2 and Jie Shun. According to the MarineTraffic website, the first three fly the flags of Comoros, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and North Korea. The Jie Shun is not listed on the site.



'Enforcement crucial'

"It is crucial that resolutions are fully enforced," Inigo Lambertini, Italy's deputy representative to the UN said.

"Sanctions are not the final objective. Just a means. But of course, to be effective, sanctions must be applied by everybody," he added.

North Korea's UN envoy last week accused the US of working to block economic development and denounced sanctions imposed on poor countries as a bid to "destroy modern civilization."

Ambassador Ja Song Nam said North Korea will withstand the blow of sanctions and continue "along the road of building the socialist power by dint of the spirit of self-reliance and self-development."

The latest set of sanctions were in response to Pyongyang's sixth nuclear test -- the largest yet -- and the firing of two missiles over Japan.

North Korea's main economic partner China has signed up to the measures, as has Russia.

But the US has not ruled out the use of force to compel Pyongyang to halt its missile and nuclear tests, and President Donald Trump has threatened to destroy the country.

On Saturday, he said that diplomatic efforts have consistently failed and "only one thing will work," in what appeared to be a repetition of previous threats of force.