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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dutch saltwater potatoes offer hope for world's hungry

Yahoo – AFP, Maude Brulard, 29 April 2015

A worker sorts potatoes before packaging them at the Salty Potato Farm, 
in Den Horn, Netherlands (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)

Den Hoorn (Netherlands) (AFP) - A small field on an island off the Netherlands' northern coast promises one answer to the problem of how to feed the world's ever-growing population: potatoes and other crops that grow in saltwater.

Every day, swathes of farmland somewhere in the world become unusable because of salty soil, but farmers on windswept Texel are finding solutions using traditional methods.

The team headed by farmer Mark van Rijsselberghe has planted around 30 types of potato and their approach is simple: anything that dies in the saline environment is abandoned, and anything that lives "we try to follow up on," said Van Rijsselberghe. "It's faster."

Dutch farmer Mark van Rijsselberghe, 
who launched the Salty Potato Farm
(AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)
The experiments do not just target potatoes, but also look at how other crops grow in saltwater, including carrots, strawberries, onions and lettuce.

The plants are irrigated using pumps that manage water down to the drop, so the plant and soil salinity can be accurately measured and the effect of "sweet" rainwater taken into account.

Van Rijsselberghe, 60, started the "Salty Potato Farm" around 10 years ago in the hope of helping the world's malnourished.

The team, supported by Amsterdam University, uses neither genetically modified organisms nor laboratories in their quest for food that grows in salty environments.

With more than 5,000 varieties, the potato is the world's fourth most popular food crop, according to the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

Plants whose ancestors grew near or on the sea, but have moved inland with human populations, are likely still to have the necessary genes.

"It could be a hundred, it could be 1,000 years ago, they still are capable of coping with saline surroundings," said Van Rijsselberghe.

Food security

A worker sorts potatoes before packaging 
them at the Salty Potato Farm in Den Horn,
 in the Netherlands (AFP Photo/
Emmanuel Dunand)
While today much research is focused on improving the yield of crops, the Dutch team has taken the opposite approach: trying to grow crops on land previously considered unusable.

The bespectacled farmer jokes that in a country where much of the land lies below sea level, "we are so afraid of the sea that until 10 years ago we didn't dare to do anything with sea water and growing plants".

The world loses around 2,000 hectares (just under 5,000 acres) of agricultural land a day to salt-induced degradation in 75 countries, caused by bad or absent irrigation, according to the UN's Institute for Water, Environment and Health.

The problem today affects an area the size of France -- about 62 million hectares or 20 percent of the world's irrigated lands, up from 45 million hectares in the early 1990s.

Solutions to make the land cultivable once more are too expensive for most of the areas, including the basin of the Yellow River in China, the Euphrates in Syria and Iraq or the Indus Valley in Pakistan.

A testing field used by the Salty Potato
 Farm project to experiment with crops 
(AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)
The Team on Texel has already sent thousands of its potatoes to Pakistan where they were "successful", said Van Rijsselberghe, who will send more plants next year.

These "salt" potatoes could transform the lives of thousands of farmers in affected regions and, in the long term, those of around 250 million people who live on salt-afflicted soil.

The potato was introduced to Europe from Peru in the 16th century and became popular because of its ability to feed people during the continent's frequent famines.

However, over-reliance on the crop was potentially disastrous, with a blight leading to the devastating 19th-century Irish potato famine.

Today, about 800 million people in the world are under-nourished, according to the FAO, with salt degradation threatening 10 percent of the global cereal crop.

Sweet taste not price

The potatoes grown here taste sweeter than those grown on normal land, because the plant produces more sugars to compensate for the salty environment.

Packaged pototoes at the Salty Potato
Farm (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)
The salt absorbed by the plant stays in the leaves, not in the flesh.

But the price of the potatoes is for now prohibitive, with one kilo (around two pounds) selling for five euros (just over $5), compared to less than a euro for the same amount of "normal" potatoes.

"We grow around 30,000 kilos per hectare, a farmer with good conditions around 60,000 kilos," said Robin Konijn, the farm's financial director.

Countries ranging from Egypt to Bangladesh and India have already asked for advice on planting their own salt-proof crops.

The team is also soon to start trying to cultivate potatoes in the salty wetlands of the Camargue in the south of France -- the so-called "Miss Mignon" (French for "Miss Cutie Pie").

Friday, April 24, 2015

Thailand Tells Indonesia It Will Tackle Illegal Fishing

Jakarta Globe,  Apr 23, 2015

Three Vietnamese fishing vessels were scuttled in the Natuna Sea near Anambas
 in Riau Islands, on Dec. 5, 2014, after allegedly being caught poaching. (Antara
Photo/Joko Sulistyo)

Jakarta. Joko Widodo and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha pledged on Thursday to solve the ongoing illegal fishing issues in Indonesian waters.

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Sofyan Djalil and Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti were also present during the meeting.

“Thailand says it will solve illegal fishing issues and will sanction the companies conducting illegal fishing,” Susi told the state-run news agency Antara on Thursday.

There has yet to be a written commitment. Thailand did, however, say at the Asian-African Maritime Forum on Monday that it was committed to installing vessel-monitoring systems to track boat movements.

Joko Widodo has made illegal fishing a significant plank of his commitment to reform, emphasizing that Indonesia loses billions of dollars to foreign vessels encroaching on Indonesian waters.

Related Article:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Thailand Faces EU Threat of Seafood Ban Over Lax Fishing Rules

In this handout photograph released by Indonesia’s Ministry of Fishery on
 April 8, 2015, hundreds of rescued foreign fishermen mostly from Myanmar and
Thailand are gathered during an operation at the private Indonesian fishing firm
 Pusaka Benjina Resources located in remote Benjina island of Maluku
province. (AFP Photo/Ugeng Nugroho/Ministry of Fishery)

The European Union threatened to ban imports of seafood from Thailand because of concerns about illegal fishing, a step that would curb trade of more than 600 million euros ($641 million) a year.

The European Commission said Thailand has been too lax in the international fight against unlawful, unregulated and unreported fishing. Thai authorities have six months to enact “a corrective tailor-made action plan” or risk an EU trade ban, said the commission, the 28-nation bloc’s regulatory arm.

“Failure to take strong action against illegal fishing will carry consequences,” EU Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday in Brussels. “Should the situation not improve, the EU could resort to banning fisheries imports from Thailand.”

The EU is seeking to use the size of its seafood market to prod exporting countries around the world to promote sustainable fisheries. The total value of EU imports of fish products last year was 20.7 billion euros, of which Thailand accounted for 642 million euros, according to the commission.

The EU already prohibits imports of seafood from Guinea, Cambodia and Sri Lanka because those three countries allegedly haven’t done enough to tackle illegal fishing. The bloc last year added Belize to the European fisheries blacklist before lifting the curbs on that nation following “reforming efforts” by authorities there.

In its statement today, the commission withdrew warnings it had issued against South Korea and the Philippines about illegal fishing. Both countries have since improved their legal systems and are “now equipped to tackle illegal fishing,” the commission said.


A fisherman formerly held in slave-like conditions by a Thai-owned fishing firm in
Benjina, Maluku, shows evidence of abuse. (Antara Foto/Humas Kementerian

Related Article:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dutch investors’ lobby takes legal action against BP for Deepwater disaster, April 20, 2015,

Photo: US Coastguard
Dutch investors’ lobby group VEB is taking legal action against British energy giant BP for misleading Dutch investors in the wake of the 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The organisation says the legal action opens up the way to compensation for Dutch investors because of the ‘systematically incorrect, inadequate and misleading pronouncements’ made by BP about its safety and maintenance programmes ahead of the leak. 

In addition, the complaint concerns misleading statements from BP about the size of the leak after it happened, the VEB statement says. 

The leak was caused by a pipeline explosion under BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil platform. Eleven workers died and millions of litres of oil leaked into the gulf.  The misleading statements by BP led the US regulator SEC to fine the company $525m, the third highest fine the organisation has ever levied, the VEB says. 

After the disaster, BP’s share price plunged more than 48%. The VEB says the share price had been kept artificially high because of misleading statements about the company’s safety programme. 

BP is facing legal action from other BP shareholders in Canada and the US. Investors who did not buy their shares in BP via a US institution have been ruled out of the American class action suit, hence the VEB’s campaign.

Related Articles:

MOAS: 'Migrants do not deserve to die out at sea'

Last year, the private Migrant Offshore Aid Station saved 3,000 migrants in distress at sea. In view of the surge of people trying to reach Europe in rickety boats, MOAS hopes to expand its operations.

Deutsche Welle, 20 April 2015

Life vests being thrown to refugees on boat

DW: How exactly does MOAS operate? Do you get emergency calls?

Martin Xuereb: We operate in two ways: reactive and proactive. Reactive in a sense that normally a boat in distress would contact rescue coordination centers first. If they call us first, we also call and inform the rescue coordination center, and, once they're aware of the boat in distress, they will decide whom to ask to help. If we are close, they would task us. We would go and try and find the boat. We sometimes use drones. Once the boat is located, we inform the rescue coordination center and we'll go close and deploy one of our dinghies with a rescue expert, a doctor, a paramedic and life jackets on board, which goes close to the migrant craft. We go alongside the boat to determine the state of the boat and the first thing we do is give life jackets to everyone. Then we report back on the state of the boat, its size, how many people we think are on the boat - men, women and children - and, if need be, we do the rescue.

Last year, the first boat we assisted was a 12-meter (40-foot) boat with 271 people on board, including over a hundred women and children, and this boat was already taking in water. Luckily, they had a bilge pump, but it was already a boat in distress, so we started the rescue straight away. Once we take people on board, we are constantly in contact with the rescue coordination center, and they tell us where to disembark.  

Martin Xuereb retired from
Malta's military in 2013
Last year we were out at sea for 60 days. This year we set out to sea on May 2, and we'll be at sea for six months this time. This time, we also partnered with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), because we feel that, once we do the search and the rescue, the people that come on board deserve the best care possible, so MSF will be giving assistance.

The MOAS team saves people no one else seems to care that much about. What happens to them after their rescue?

We focus on saving people at sea. It's not the solution to the migration problem - however, we say if a person dies at sea, then what happened to him before and what will happen after is irrelevant, so, as a foundation, what we do is encourage others to try and solve the problem of migration, tackle the issue of trafficking. The foundation tries to make sure that these people, who see no option but to cross the Mediterranean, do not die while they are out at sea.

Who are the Catrambone family and why are they so committed to helping the refugees - and privately, with their own money?

Christopher and Regina Catrambone - he's American; she's Italian - set up MOAS and funded the operation last year. They feel that people do not deserve to die out at sea. They are entrepreneurs, but they feel the responsibility to helping people in distress lies not solely with the state or the EU. They feel civil society needs to mitigate loss of life at sea, civil society should not be a bystander, and, rather than talk about it, or write about it, they decided to do something about it.

How do you finance the operations?

We are a private entity, so we need support. People have been donating since November last year. Over 50 percent of the donations we have received have come from Germany. We have a MOAS swapsite and a donate button, we're partners with MSF, and the founders, Cristopher and Regina Catrambone, continue to support us. However, we still have a long way to go. We hope we have inspired people, convinced them that migrants do not deserve to die out at sea.

Shouldn't governments and politicians be doing the job you're doing?

Yes. They should shoulder the responsibility, remove politics from search and rescue, and put saving lives at the top of their agenda.

We need to bring all our assets to bear, to come together and find a solution. The European states and governments should take the lead, although civil society and NGOs should be ready to help in this effort.

Martin Xuereb heads MOAS. He's a Maltese native. During his 26-year military career, Xuereb oversaw search and rescue missions as Malta's chief of defense. He has been Malta's representative on the EU Military Committee as well as at the European Defence Agency, the EU Institute for Security Studies, the EU Satellite Centre, and NATO's Partnership for Peace program.

Related Articles:

Pope Francis met some of those who had survived the trip.
He challenged everyone to take responsibility for the
migrants' desperation.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Fury as 700 feared dead in 'avoidable' Med shipwreck

Yahoo – AFP, Angus MacKinnon, 19 April 2015

In this video grab released by the Italian Coast Guard on April 19, 2015, a 
helicopter and a ship take part in a rescue operation off the coast of Sicily
following a shiprwreck last night (AFP Photo)

Rome (AFP) - More than 700 people are feared to have drowned after an overcrowded boat smuggling them to Europe capsized off Libya, officials said Sunday, prompting demands for the European Union to react to the Mediterranean's deadliest migrant disaster to date.

Italy's coastguard, which was coordinating the search for survivors and bodies, said only 28 people had survived a wreck that triggered fresh calls from Pope Francis and others for European leaders to act over what many saw as an avoidable tragedy.

The UN refuguee agency (UNHCR) said survivors' testimonies suggested there had been around 700 people on board the 20-metre (70-foot) fishing boat when it keeled over in darkness overnight, officials said.

A boat transporting migrants arrives in 
the port of Messina after a rescue
 operation on April 18, 2015 in Sicily
(AFP Photo/Giovanni Isolino)
"It seems we are looking at the worst massacre ever seen in the Mediterranean," UNHCR spokeswoman Carlotta Sami said.

A Bangladeshi survivor who was helicoptered to hospital in Sicily put the numbers on board at 950 and said 200 women and children and nearly 50 children had been among them, according to prosecutors in the city of Catania.

As Italy demanded an emergency summit of European Union leaders, the bloc's foreign ministers tabled talks on the issue for Monday. Anger among NGOs was underlined by Amnesty International, which described the disaster as a predictable "man-made tragedy".

View galleryA boat transporting migrants arrives in the port of …
A boat transporting migrants arrives in the port of Messina after a rescue operation on April 18, 20 …
Coastal authorities in Italy and Malta picked up a distress signal from the stricken vessel around midnight (2200 GMT) on Saturday, when it was still in Libyan waters.

The Italian coastguard instructed a nearby merchant ship to provide assistance and it was when the Portuguese-registered King Jacob arrived at the scene that the fishing boat capsized, most likely as a result of the terrified passengers stampeding to one side in their desperation to get off, the UNHCR's Sami said.

Italian, Maltese and merchant boats scoured the area for survivors but only 24 bodies were recovered. They were due to arrive in Malta on Monday morning while survivors are being taken to Sicily.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said the coastguard would seek to salvage the boat and ensure any corpses recovered from it were given a decent funeral.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, a former Italian foreign minister, called the disaster a stain on the EU's conscience.

A boat transporting migrants arrives in
 the port of Messina after a rescue
 operation on April 18, 2015 in Sicily
(AFP Photo/Giovanni Isolino)
"We have said too many times 'never again'. Now is time for the European Union as such to tackle these tragedies without delay."

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, added: "This disaster confirms how urgent it is to restore a robust rescue-at-sea operation and establish credible legal avenues to reach Europe. Otherwise people seeking safety will continue to perish at sea."

Worst tragedy yet

The disaster was the latest in a growing catalogue of mass drownings of migrants attempting to reach Europe on overcrowded, unseaworthy boats run by people smugglers who are able to operate out of Libya with impunity because of the chaos engulfing the north African state.

The deadliest incident prior to Sunday occurred off Malta in September 2014. An estimated 500 migrants drowned in a shipwreck caused by traffickers deliberately ramming the boat in an attempt to force the people on board onto another, smaller vessel.

View galleryMigrants sit in a boat during a rescue operation off …
Migrants sit in a boat during a rescue operation off the coast of Sicily in 2014 (AFP Photo/-)
In October 2013, more than 360 Africans perished when the tiny boat they were crammed onto caught fire within sight of the coast of Lampedusa.

That tragedy was described at the time as a wake-up call to the world but 18 months later there is no sign of a let-up in the numbers attempting the perilous crossing in search of a better life in Europe.

The latest disaster comes after a week in which two other migrant shipwrecks left an estimated 450 people dead.

If the worst fears about Sunday's tragedy are confirmed, it will take the death toll since the start of 2015 to more than 1,600.

Migrants sit in a boat during a rescue operation off the coast of Sicily
in 2014 (AFP Photo)

More than 11,000 other would-be immigrants have been rescued since the middle of last week and current trends suggest last year's total of 170,000 migrants landing in Italy is likely to be exceeded in 2015.

Avoidable deaths?

Pope Francis urged EU leaders to "act decisively and quickly to stop these tragedies from recurring".

Amnesty's John Dalhuisen called Sunday's accident a "man-made tragedy of appalling proportions."

"These latest deaths at sea come as a shock, but not a surprise."

Amnesty is among NGOs calling for the restoration of an Italian navy search-and-rescue operation known as Mare Nostrum which was suspended at the end of last year.

Italy scaled back the mission after failing to persuade its European partners to help meet its operating costs of nine million euros ($9.7 million) a month amid divisions over whether the mission was unintentionally encouraging migrants to attempt the crossing.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fisherman snags 'humped back' sea turtle off Taiwan's coast

Want China Times, CNA 2015-04-18

The humped back sea turtle, April 16. (Photo/CNS)

A Taitung fisherman caught an unusual looking "humped back" sea turtle in waters off the southeastern coast of Taiwan on Wednesday.

The fisherman, Tien Cheng-yung, said he was fishing in waters off Pingtung and Taitung counties when he unexpectedly pulled up a heavy turtle that had an unusually shaped shell.

Tien said his first thought was "why does it look like this?" He said he had unintentionally caught turtles before but had never seen one with a humped shell.

Tien said he shot a video of the creature with the humped back and then released it back into the sea.

When he showed the video to other veteran fishermen on Thursday, they were all amazed and said it was the first time they had seen a "humped back" turtle, Tien said.

A photo of the turtle showed its shell was shaped like a traditional Chinese farmer's hat.

Cheng I-Jiunn, a marine biology professor at National Taiwan Ocean University, said it appeared from the photo to be a regular green sea turtle species that probably had been raised in captivity or on a farm and was later abandoned or had escaped.

The unusual shape of its shell may have resulted from living in a small space, which would have forced the turtle to grow "upward," making it appear to be "humped back," he said.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fifty-foot sperm whale washes up on shore south of San Francisco

Decomposing carcass of 50-foot mammal examined by biologists to determine how it died as boaters warned to steer clear of whales

The Guardian, Wednesday 15 April 2015

A 50ft beached sperm whale in Pacifica, California, on Wednesday. The animal is one
of 17 dead sperm whales to beach along the north coast of California over the last 
40 years Associated Press in Pacifica, California

Biologists and veterinarians arrived at a beach south of San Francisco early Wednesday to examine the carcass of a 50-foot sperm whale that washed ashore.

Scientists with the nearby Marine Mammal Center, along with biologists with the California Academy of Sciences, sought to determine how the mammal died.

The animal is one of 17 dead sperm whales to beach along the north coast of California over the 40 years that the center has been handling such cases, a spokeswoman said. Officials say it’s not immediately clear would be done with the carcass after the examination.

A woman looks at the body of a whale on the beach in Pacifica, California, on
Wednesday. Photograph: Jeff Chiu/AP

In January, a rare pygmy sperm whale died after beaching itself in Point Reyes. Investigators said it had likely gotten sick and was too weak to swim.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the decomposing carcass, believed to be an emaciated adult male, washed up sometime on Tuesday.

Whales, in general, are at risk in the waters where they live.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has asked San Francisco Bay Area boaters to watch out for and steer clear of whales, which migrate into the San Francisco Bay Area in large numbers during the spring and summer.

Gray whales are at a particularly high risk of collisions with ships and boats, as they often travel near shore and may even wander into the bay this time of year, the administration reports.

Boaters should not approach within 100 yards of any whale, cut across a whale’s path, make sudden speed or directional changes or get between a whale cow and her calf.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

3,000 artificially bred rare fish released into Yangtze

Want China Times, Xinhua 2015-04-14

Artificially-bred Chinese sturgeons are released into the Yangtze River,
April 12. (Photo/Xinhua)

Researchers freed 3,000 artificially bred Chinese sturgeons, a rare fish that has lived through the dinosaur age, into the country's longest river, the Yangtze, to save the species from extinction.

Staff with the Chinese Sturgeons Research Institute released 500 such fish born in 2011 with a body length of 80 cm and 2,500 born in 2013, about 40 cm long each.

Advanced methods were adopted to help scientists track them simultaneously, according to Gao Yong, deputy head of the institute.

It was the 57th release of the rare fish.

Chinese sturgeons, nicknamed "aquatic pandas," are listed as a wild creature under state protection.

Due to water projects, busy traffic and pollution, the number of wild Chinese sturgeons which migrate to Gezhouba, Hubei province, for reproduction, has fallen from about 1,000 in 1982 to about 50, according to estimates of Chinese experts.

Experts reject Japan's new whaling plan

International Whaling Committee say proposal to resume hunt in Southern Ocean offers no scientific evidence that it is necessary

The Guardian, Justin McCurry in Tokyo, Tuesday 14 April 2015

A handout image supplied by Sea Shepherd Australia in January 2013 shows
 three minke whales on the deck of the Japanese Ship Nisshin Maru.
Photograph: Tim Watters/EPA

Japan’s hopes of resuming its whale hunts in the Southern Ocean have suffered a setback after International Whaling Committee experts said its latest plan offered no scientific justification for the slaughter.

The IWC panel said Japan’s revised programme, known as Newrep-A, did not contain enough information for experts to determine whether Japan needed to kill whales to fulfil two key objectives: calculating the size of populations necessary for a return to sustainable commercial hunting, and gaining a better understanding of the Antarctic marine ecosystem.

“With the information presented in the proposal, the panel was not able to determine whether lethal sampling is necessary to achieve the two major objectives,” the IWC experts’ report said. “Therefore the current proposal does not demonstrate the need for lethal sampling to achieve those objectives.”

Japanese officials have been working on a revised whaling programme since last year when the international court of justice in The Hague ordered an immediate halt to its Antarctic hunts after concluding that they were not, as Japan had claimed, being conducted for scientific research.

The UN court’s ruling was in response to a landmark legal challenge to the Southern Ocean hunts by Australia, which claimed Japan was using science as a cover for commercial whaling.

Under the moratorium on commercial whaling Japan is allowed to sell meat from the “scientific” hunts on the open market, although consumption has fallen dramatically since the postwar years when it was a rare source of protein.

Tokyo hoped that its revised plan, involving the killing of fewer whales, would pave the way for the resumption of the Antarctic hunts, possibly by the end of this year.
Its whaling fleet recently returned from the Southern Ocean, although it had not planned to kill any whales, in accordance with the ICJ ruling.

“The ICJ ruling ensured that for the first season in more than a century whales in the southern hemisphere were not hunted for commercial purposes,” said Patrick Ramage, global whale programme director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

“It is disappointing … that Japan’s fisheries bureaucrats would defy the world’s highest court and try to restart illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean.”

In its reworked plan Japan proposed an annual cull of up to 333 minke whales over the next 12 years, down from more than 900 a year previously. The total cull over that period would reach 3,996 whales, compared with the 13,000 whales it has killed since the IWC ban on commercial whaling came into effect in 1987.

Japan has long claimed that it needs to conduct “lethal research” to better understand whale populations’ migratory, feeding and reproduction habits with a view to a return to commercial whaling. It argues that many whale species, including minke, are not endangered.

Japanese officials said they would provide more information before the IWC’s scientific committee meets in San Diego next month. “I believe that we’ll move forward with the aim of resuming whaling around the end of the year,” the country’s commissioner to the IWC, Joji Morishita, told reporters, although he did not rule out changes to the proposal.

Morishita said Japan took the panel’s report seriously but added: “They haven’t unilaterally said that it’s no good; neither have they come out on the other side with ‘Go ahead, do whatever research you want to do.’”

Environmental campaigners welcomed the IWC panel’s decision. “[The findings] reiterate and underline the concern of the international community: you don’t need to kill whales in order to study them,” said Claire Bass, UK director of the Humane Society International.

“It has long been clear that Japan’s large-scale whaling operations are driven by politicians, not scientists, and serve no useful conservation or scientific need. This latest report from the IWC review panel essentially sends Japan back to the drawing board as it has failed to make a case for the need to kill whales in the name of science.”

Related Article:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rare Omura's whale washes up in Australia

Yahoo – AFP, 14 April 2015

A dead Omura whale has washed up on a remote beach near the town of 
Exmouth, north of Perth, in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Olwyn which hit 
the region last month (AFP Photo/Geoff Parry)

A rarely seen Omura's whale has washed up in Australia, only the second sighting nationally and one of the few globally, exciting scientists who know little about the species, officials said Tuesday.

The dead whale was found on a remote beach near the town of Exmouth, 1,265 kilometres (784 miles) north of Perth, in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Olwyn which hit the region last month.

Western Australia Environment Minister Albert Jacob said it was the first record and sighting of the species in the state and only the second nationally.

"This find is highly significant for whale scientists in Western Australia and researchers globally because there have not been many recorded sightings of this species so very little is known about it," Jacob said.

"Omura's whale was only described in scientific journals for the first time in 2003 and is apparently restricted to tropical and subtropical waters.

"The knowledge we gain from this whale will help to improve field identification guides to better understand the whale's regional distribution," he added.

A dead Omura whale has washed up on a remote beach near the town of
 Exmouth, north of Perth, in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Olwyn which hit
the region last month (AFP Photo/Geoff Parry)

"Scientists know a fair bit about many whale species but this exciting discovery shows there is still so much more to learn in our oceans."

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, only a handful of specimens have been found before, including in the Sea of Japan and the Solomon Sea.

There is no population estimate, given the scarcity of information about them, with little known of the species' ecology and virtually nothing about its reproductive biology.

Jacob said identifying the 5.68-metre (18-feet) juvenile female was difficult for the state's Department of Parks and Wildlife, but DNA profiling confirmed it was an Omura's whale.

The animals, which have a streamlined and sleek body shape and several unique skeletal features distinguishing them from other whales, are often incorrectly identified as a small Fin whale or Bryde's whale.

New Chinese cruise liner to set sail for Taiwan

Want China Times, Li Hsin-tung and Staff Reporter 2015-04-14

The Chinese Taishan sailing back to the port of Yantai in Shandong after
its maiden voyage, August 2014. (File photo/Xinhua)

China's first wholly-owned and independently operated cruise ship, the Chinese Taishan, is set to embark on its maiden voyage to Taichung later in the month, as more mainland tourists visit Taiwan on cruises, reports our Chinese-language sister paper China Times.

The Chinese Taishan will dock at Taichung on April 25 on the first of its eight cruise tours to Taiwan this year and then head to Kaohsiung before returning to Zhoushan in east China's Zhejiang province, Taiwan International Ports' Taichung branch said.

From May 9, the ports of call for the ship will include all four major ports of Taiwan — Taichung, Kaohsiung, Keelung and Hualien, the first time a foreign cruise ship has done so, the port operator in Taichung added.

The four-port cruise trip, which takes six days and five nights, is priced between 3,000 to 5,000 yuan (US$480-$805) per person, and is especially attractive to mainland tourists, since they can visit as many places as possible this way.

The cruise ship is operated by Hong Kong-based Bohai Cruise, which acquired the vessel from Carnival last year.

Unlike Western visitors, who prefer to visit several countries in one cruise trip, Chinese tourists are happy to just visit Taiwan in one trip, no matter how it is done, the tour operators said.

According to Taiwan International Ports, there were 785 round-trips between Taiwan and China by sea, including cruises and regular passenger services in 2014, carrying 167,000 people to Taiwan.

The number of trips and passengers are expected to rise to 1,006 and 228,000, respectively, this year, the company said.