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

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Netherlands calls on Shell to clean up North Sea oil rigs

DutchNews, October 10, 2019

The four Brent platforms: Photo: Shell 

The Dutch government wants Shell to clean up the foundations of three oil and gas platforms in the British part of the North Sea, infrastructure minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen has told MPs

The minister’s comments follow the publication of a report on the decommissioning operation which recommends the clean up be carried out as agreed over 20 years ago in international treaties. 

The licence request ‘does not sufficiently support’ the claim that leaving the foundations and storage units, which contain polluted material, is the best option from an environmental or safety point of view, the minister told MPs. 

The Netherlands, she said, will join Germany in making a formal protest about the plan. 

The clean-up was agreed in a special treaty known as Ospar which was adopted in 1992. The Ospar treaty states that rigs, including their contents and pipelines, must be removed from the sea after decommissioning. 

Shell, however, wants to leave the foundations of three of the four Brent platforms – Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta – in the North Sea. It argues that removing the three concrete constructions would be risky and expensive

Risks 

‘Constructed nearly half a century ago, they were not designed to be removed,’ Shell said when submitting the decommissioning plans in 2017.  ‘We have to consider the safety of those who will work offshore to deliver this project. The safety risks associated with trying to remove them outweigh minimal environmental benefit.’ 

The final decision is up to Britain and it is keen to make an exception for the three platforms. Germany and the Netherlands, which only have an advisory role, are opposed, fearing the impact of leaks of polluted oil in the concrete bases on marine life. 

The topside of the Brent Bravo platform was taken to Britain for scrapping in June this year. 

The Brent field was discovered in 1971 and started production five years later.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Scientists fight to save unique Guiana coral reef

Yahoo – AFP, Marion Briswalter with Tiphaine Honore on board the Esperanza, October 4, 2019

In 2013, British oil giant BP, French company Total and Brazil's Petrobras joined 
forces to buy exploration blocks in the Amazon Reef area (AFP Photo/PIERRE TRIHAN)

Cayenne (AFP) - Off the coast of Guiana, a French overseas department perched on the north coast of South America, scientists scour the choppy waters for signs of life.

From the deck of a Greenpeace ship, they take photos and keep meticulous notes -- compiling a catalogue of sea creatures sustained by a coral reef only recently discovered but already threatened, activists say, by mankind's hunger for oil.

Near the mouth of the Amazon river in the Atlantic Ocean, the Amazon Reef is one of the world's largest but its existence became known only in 2016.

"We are talking about a unique ecosystem not seen anywhere else in the world and that we barely know, and it is already under threat from oil," says Thiago Almeida of Greenpeace Brazil, on board the Esperanza -- a former Russian fire-fighting vessel-turned environmental ship.

At the moment, the ship is home to experts from Greenpeace and France's CNRS research institute -- participants in a special mission to document the wildlife in an uncharted region.

Their goal: to make a case for keeping the area off-limits to fossil fuel hunters.

The Esperanza is a former Russian fire-fighting vessel-turned environmental 
crusader (AFP Photo/Pierre TRIHAN)

Just last year, Greenpeace revealed that the reef stretched into French Guiana waters.

French Guiana's offshore area is off limits to prospectors under French law but campaigners say it would be threatened by any exploration or drilling off neighbouring Brazil.

"A lot of oil would come to French Guiana" in the event of a leak, said Almeida. "If we look at the oil spill modelling done by the companies themselves, you can see that the threat is real."

Not only the water and reef, but also the land is at risk, with mangrove forests stretching all along Guiana's coast serving as crucial fish nurseries.

British oil giant BP, French company Total and Brazil's Petrobras joined forces in 2013 to buy exploration blocks in the region in Brazilian waters.

But they needed permission to search and last December, Brazil's Ibama environmental regulator denied Total a licence to drill citing "deep uncertainties" in emergency plans, "aggravated by the possibility of an oil spill that may affect the coral reef present in the region and by extension marine biodiversity."

BP is still trying for a drilling licence in the area, a move campaigners say could endanger the reef.

French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) marine biologists are exploring 
the Amazon reef of the coast of French Guiana, a region environmentalists warn is 
threatened by oil exploration (AFP Photo/PIERRE TRIHAN)

Not just passing through

Earlier this month, a team of six experts braved the muddy water and strong currents to scrutinise the reef's corals, sponges and calcified algae, taking photos and samples.

So far, the mission has identified several species of dolphin, killer whales, sailfish and several marine birds.

But Olivier Van Canneyt, a scientist with the CNRS-aligned Pelagis observatory, is quick to stress the reef represents "more than a migratory route".

"We also observed humpback whales with their young; their presence confirms that it is also a vital place of breeding and (nurturing). French Guiana waters are a crucial place for the survival of many cetacean species," he explained.

For Edina Ifticene of Greenpeace's Protect the Oceans campaign, the discovery of these creatures showed "it doesn't make sense to drill for oil in such a critical environment; an oil spill could have irreversible consequences for the entire area."

Not only that but exploting oil deposits threatens to undermine the fight against climate change caused by planet-warming gases emitted as humanity burns fossil fuels for energy.

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that ocean warming 
and changes in sea chemistry -- caused by the absorption of vast quantites of carbon 
dioxide -- is already harming ocean life and the people who depend on it (AFP Photo/
PIERRE TRIHAN)

Fish, food at risk

Brazil's ANP petroleum agency has estimated the area may hold as much as 14 billion barrels of oil -- a quantity scientists say could release 5.2 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

According to the International Energy Agency, global energy-related CO2 emissions rose to a historic high of 33.1 Gt last year.

Scientists say we need to leave at least 80 percent of the world's known remaining fossil fuel reserves in the ground to prevent runaway climate change.

Last week, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cautioned that ocean warming and changes in sea chemistry, caused by CO2 absorption, is harming ocean life and the people who depend on it.

"Shifts in the distribution of fish populations have reduced the global catch potential," it said.

"Communities that depend highly on seafood may face risks to nutritional health and food security."

Ruben, a fisherman from the small coastal community of Kali'na said he feared for the future.

"I think it's bad for us. It's what I think. The petrol is dangerous," he said on a stopover by the Esperanza.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Britain's 'regret' at Maori killings when Cook landed

Yahoo – AFP, October 2, 2019

A statue of Captain Cook stands in Sydney's Hyde Park (AFP Photo/WILLIAM WEST)

Britain's top diplomat in New Zealand made a low-key "expression of regret" to Maori on Wednesday over deadly clashes that occurred when Captain James Cook's arrived in New Zealand 250 years ago.

British High Commissioner Laura Clarke travelled to the North Island town of Gisborne for a ceremony with the Maori iwi, or tribes, who Cook met when he landed in October 1769.

The explorer's arrival sparked a series of skirmishes in the following days that resulted in nine deaths and is still recalled with anger by locals.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust said the ceremony with Clarke was to acknowledge the hara, or atrocities, committed 250 years ago.

"Cook and his crew landed on the banks of the Turanganui river at 4pm, within 30 minutes they had opened fire and (local chieftain) Te Maro was dead," it said.

"Our whanaunga (relative) was the first casualty of The Collision."

It added: "After only being here for two hours, Cook and his crew had trespassed, terrorised, killed and stolen from us."

The British High Commission issued a brief statement about the event but refused to provide further details, saying it was a "private dialogue between the envoy and the iwi.

"The expression of regret responds to a request from the local iwi for this history to be heard and acknowledged," the statement said.

"The British High Commissioner will acknowledge the pain of those first encounters, acknowledge that the pain does not diminish over time, and extend her sympathy to the descendants of those killed."

Local media reported British officials had "sworn the iwi involved to secrecy" and carefully avoided framing the statement as an apology.

However, New Zealand's race relations commissioner Meng Foon, a former Gisborne mayor, had no such qualms.

"It's a significant day today... I hope that the apology or message will acknowledge the murder of nine Maori from Turanganui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne)," he told Radio New Zealand.

"I hope they both can move forward and tell our history."

On three epic voyages, Cook helped chart the vast Pacific Ocean more than any other, making him one of the most celebrated explorers of his era.

But his legacy has been questioned by many modern scholars amid accusations that his "discoveries" led to colonialism and the devastation of the traditional societies he encountered.

New prototype plastic catcher works, Ocean Clean Up group says

DutchNews, October 2, 2019

Photo: Ocean Clean-up

The latest prototype of a Dutch invention to catch plastic floating in the ocean is working, say researchers with The Ocean Cleanup, which has been testing the device some 2,000 kilometres off the Californian coast. 

The new prototype is successfully catching and keeping plastic in all shapes and sizes, the organisation said on Tuesday

Earlier versions of the plastic catcher did not manage to hold on to the plastic,  the organisation’s spokesman Joost Dubois told broadcaster NOS. ‘The problem was that we couldn’t control the difference in speed of the plastic and the device. You need a big difference in speed in order to keep hold of the plastic,’ he said. 

The solution to the problem was to use a sea anchor in the shape of a parachute which made the plastic catcher move more slowly than the plastic. Smaller plastic pieces could then be caught in the device more easily, including micro plastics of a millimetre in size. 

The Ocean Cleanup is planning a second version of the new plastic catcher next year which will be able to collect more plastic over a longer period of time. Inventor Boyan Slat and his team aim to eventually halve the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, some 1.6 million square kilometers in size, between California and Hawaii. 

Slat came up with his Ocean Cleanup project in 2012 and spent the next five years developing it, for which he has collected over €30m in funding.


Related Articles:

  • Stagnation of the current US Politics: Compassioned (US) leaders will arise in the future
  • Shortage of fresh/drinking water: Invention to make salt from salt water magnetic and remove it with water desalination process in high volumes
  • Pollution on Earth: 1 - Stop killing the environment! / 2 - The rise of temperature on Earth is “temporary” and is part of the "regular" Watercycle.
  • Replacement of current fossil energy source: Use of magnetics based (small/big) engines to produces electricity / free energy
  • Plastic pollution in the oceans: Invention to remove the plastics gradually from the oceans

Photo: The Ocean Cleanup

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Environmental activists pluck plastic from world's beaches on mass cleanup day

Yahoo – AFP, 21 September 2019

Volunteers in Manila scoop up coastal trash as part of the World Cleanup
Day initiative

Thousands of volunteers wielding nets and bin bags scoured coasts, parks and riverbanks across the globe Saturday, in a litter-picking drive highlighting the vast quantity of trash dumped worldwide, a day after mass international climate protests.

Campaigners took part in World Cleanup Day from Manila to the Mediterranean, as hundreds of thousands of people across the world take part in demonstrations and activities calling for urgent action on the environment.

Young people have been at the forefront of the movement, with masses of children skipping school on Friday for a global climate strike, which teen activist Greta Thunberg said was "only the beginning".

Some four million people filled city streets around the world on Friday, organisers said, in what was billed as the biggest ever protest against the threat posed to the planet by rising temperatures.

Greta Thunberg, pictured in September 2018, began her climate school strike 
outside the Swedish parliament last year

It kicked off a week of climate action called for by Thunberg, who was among several hundred young activists attending a climate summit at the United Nations on Saturday.

The World Cleanup Day on Saturday is an initiative that has got millions into the streets and cleaning up litter across the globe since it began just over a decade ago.

In France, volunteers posted images of their trash hauls on social media -- heaps of assorted waste, soft drink cans and plastic containers.

A climate protest on the streets of Paris attracted some 15,000 people, according to a tally by independent consultancy Occurrence, but the rally was marred by clashes between security forces and a relatively small number of troublemakers.

"The conditions for a non-violent march are not in place," Greenpeace, a co-organiser of the event, said on Twitter, as police fired teargas at protesters.

Hundreds of thousands of young people have since mobilised - these demonstrators 
were out in Kiev on Friday

'For us to help'

While the types of trash collected varied, the common material in the bin bags across the planet was plastic, amid surging concerns over the environmental costs of single use items and microplastics in world waterways.

Plastic pollution is a major problem across Southeast Asia, but particularly in the Philippines, which -- along with China, Vietnam and Indonesia -- is frequently listed among the world's worst offenders.

In the Philippine capital, some 10,000 people swept across a long stretch of beach on heavily polluted Manila Bay, clutching sacks they filled with rubbish.

"It's for us to help the environment, especially here in Manila, there's a lot of garbage," Mae Angela Areglado, a 20-year-old student told AFP as she pitched in with the cleanup -- held right next to the city's huge Baseco slum.

Thousands turned out in Philippines to scour heavily polluted Manila Bay for trash

"(Plastic is) affecting the marine life because they think that it is food," she added.

In the Pacific island nation of Fiji, which is among the countries worst affected by sea level rises and has become a vocal advocate for global climate action, people scoured palm-fringed beaches west of the capital Suva, heaving discarded car tyres and engine parts from the coast.

On Australia's Bondi beach activists sifted through the sand, carting off bits of plastic and cigarette butts.

Youth leading way

The mass cleanup is coordinated by the Let's Do It Foundation, which began life in Estonia and says that 18 million people from 157 countries participated in the global cleanup day last year. This year, it says more than 160 countries are taking part.

A climate protest in Paris was marred by clashes between security forces 
and a relatively small number of troublemakers

"Garbage is a global problem and it affects all the people in the world. It knows no state borders," said the organisation's president Heidi Solba in a statement.

The group said about 30,000 people are participating in Estonia on Saturday in a drive focusing on small litter like bottle tops and cigarette butts.

Mart Normet, leader of the initiative in Estonia, said he drew hope from the enthusiasm of young people.

"When I look at the new photos on Facebook, I can see that the new generation is bringing a completely new attitude. Littering and damaging consumption are a thing of the past," he said.

Seventy-nine percent of the plastic ever made has ended up dumped according 
to a UN report from 2018

In Vietnam's capital Hanoi, around 1,400 volunteers went searching for litter under the scorching sun.

"Although our actions are very small -- like cleaning trash from the sidewalk -- it could spread a meaningful message," 18-year-old Hoang Thi Hoan told AFP, as motorists zipped by on a busy street.

Friday's strike organisers 350.org said the youth-led rallies were the start of 5,800 protests across 163 countries over the next week.

UN chief Antonio Guterres met young activists in New York on Saturday, telling them: "There is a change in momentum... due to your initiative and to the courage, with which you have started these movements."

Friday's climate strike was billed as the biggest ever protest against the threat 
posed to the planet by rising temperatures

A landmark UN report to be unveiled next week will warn global warming and pollution are ravaging Earth's oceans and icy regions in ways that could unleash misery on a global scale.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in August that the level of microplastics in drinking-water is not yet dangerous for humans but called for more research into potential future risk and a reduction in plastic waste.

Seventy-nine percent of the plastic ever made has ended up dumped, with little reused or destroyed despite recycling and other initiatives to curb use, a UN report from 2018 said.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Tiny penguin's clean bill of health after epic NZ-Australia swim

France24 – AFP, 18 September 2019


Sydney (AFP) - A tiny penguin that made the mammoth journey from New Zealand to Australia has been nursed back to health and released into the wild -- in the hope it will find its own way home.

The emaciated Fiordland penguin was found struggling on rocks near Lorne, south of Melbourne, about 2,500km (1,500 miles) from its native habitat of New Zealand.

Melbourne Zoo head of veterinary services Michael Lynch said the bird was so underweight it had to be gradually reintroduced to food and the water over several weeks.

"Over time it began to put on weight again," he said.

"We then started to reintroduce it to water when it was strong enough to swim to help build up some muscle."

Fiordland penguins are known to swim large distances to forage for food, sometimes even spending so long in the ocean that they grow barnacles on their tails.

They are classified as a threatened species, with an estimated 5,000 left in the wild.

After two months of care it earned a bill of good health this month. It has now been microchipped and released at a beach on Phillip Island, off the Victoria state coast.

"It's a tough life out there in the ocean, but we're hopeful this penguin will find its way back to New Zealand and eventually breed," Lynch said.

"We've given it every chance to do so."

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Russia's world-first floating nuclear plant arrives in port

Yahoo – AFP, September 14, 2019

The Akademik Lomonosov, the world's first floating nuclear power plant, has
completed its odyssey from the Arctic port of Murmansk to the country's far east
-- but environmentalists fear for the consequences (AFP Photo/Handout)

Moscow (AFP) - Russia's world first floating nuclear power station on Saturday completed a 5,000-kilometre (3,100-mile) Arctic transfer to the country's far east, the Rosatom nuclear agency said.

"The Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear plant arrived ... at Pevek, in the autonomous district of Chukotka," where it is to start operating by year end once connected to the local electricity grid, Rosatom said.

What will be the world's northernmost nuclear power plant left Murmansk in Russia's far north on August 23 after being loaded with combustible nuclear fuel.

The 21-ton, 144-metre (470 feet) long and 30-metre wide platform, which is designed to meet the energy needs of remote communities, was towed into Pevek by a clutch of vessels.

The station houses two 35-megawatt reactors, more in line with the power of nuclear-powered ice breakers than typical new generation nuclear plants boasting nearer 1,000 MW capacity.

The Akademik Lomonosov is to provide energy for around 100,000 people and also power oil platforms as Russia develops extraction of natural resources in a mineral-rich area whose eastern tip is a few dozen kilometres from Alaska.

"It is perhaps a small step towards sustainable development in the Arctic -- but it's a giant step towards decarbonisation of remote, off-grid zones and a turning point in the global development of small modular nuclear plants," Rosatom head Alexei Likhachev said in a statement.

Environmental groups led by Greenpeace Russia have, however, long criticised the project warning it will have "serious consequences" for a fragile ecosystem in case of storms or accidents.

Greenpeace has warned of the risk of a "nuclear Titanic" and "Chernobyl on ice" and environmental fears were heightened following an August explosion at a nuclear research facility in Russia's far north which saw local radiation levels briefly spike.

The nuclear industry generally has been looking to reinvent itself in a depressed market, notably by producing small-scale, modular reactors with attractive price tags to win over potential new clients.

The industry has been cheered by strong demand notably for nuclear-powered submarines as well as ice-breakers and aircraft carriers, increasingly destined for isolated and infrastructure-poor regions.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Aussie boy battles to save croc 'friend'

Yahoo – AFP, 10 September 2019

Officials in Queensland have set a trap to catch the saltwater crocodile,
who residents have nicknamed Howard

A crocodile living in a creek in northwestern Australia is at the centre of a battle between authorities who want to remove it, and locals who have grown fond of the massive reptile.

Officials in the state of Queensland have set a trap to catch the saltwater croc, who residents have nicknamed Howard, saying he is a danger to humans.

One schoolboy is so distraught by the decision he has written a letter to state environment minister Leeanne Enoch begging her to let the creature stay.

"I lived at Bamboo Creek Road for five years and I loved watching Howard sunbake and seeing him from the bridge every afternoon," wrote 10-year-old Elroy Woods, from the small locality of Miallo.

David White, who owns a local crocodile-cruise business, said there had been 300 emails sent in support of keeping the four-metre-long animal where it is, and just one complaint.

Even Queensland's Australia Zoo, run by the widow of late celebrity "crocodile hunter" Steve Irwin, has pitched in.

The zoo said in a tweet it was "so proud" of Elroy's efforts to protect Howard, adding that predators at the top of the food chain were "the most important in any ecosystem".

However the government has indicated the trap will remain in place, saying the crocodile will not be destroyed when caught.

A balance "between the need to protect public safety, and the need to conserve estuarine crocodile populations in the wild" must be found, said an environment department official.

A shocking find: new high-voltage electric eels revealed

Yahoo – AFP, Sara HUSSEIN, September 10, 2019

DNA research has revealed two entirely new species of electric eel in the Amazon basin,
including one capable of delivering a record-breaking jolt (AFP Photo/Leandro SOUSA)

Tokyo (AFP) - Call it a shock discovery: DNA research has revealed two entirely new species of electric eel in the Amazon basin, including one capable of delivering a record-breaking jolt.

The findings are evidence, researchers say, of the incredible diversity in the Amazon rainforest -- much of it still unknown to science -- and illustrate why it is so important to protect a habitat at risk from deforestation, logging and fires.

"In spite of all human impact on the Amazon rainforest in the last 50 years, we can still discover giant fishes like the two new species of electric eels," said lead researcher C. David de Santana, a zoologist working with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

The research "indicates that an enormous amount of species are waiting to be discovered in the Amazon rainforest, many of which may harbour cures for diseases or inspire technological innovations," he told AFP.

The electric eel, in fact a kind of fish rather than an eel, inspired the design of the first electric battery.

For centuries, it was believed that a single species existed throughout the region known as Greater Amazonia, encompassing parts of countries including Brazil, Suriname and Guyana.

But as part of a project to better understand electric eels and map wildlife in remote parts of South America, de Santana and his team decided to test that conventional wisdom.

At first glance, they found little visible difference between creatures collected from different parts of the Amazon basin, suggesting the fish were indeed part of a single species.

But further analysis, including of DNA from 107 samples they collected, upended centuries of assumptions and revealed three different species: the previously known Electrophorus electricus, along with Electrophorus voltai and Electrophorus varii.

And their research also uncovered another stunning result: E. voltai is capable of delivering a jolt of 860 volts -- much more than the 650 volts previously recorded from electric eels -- "making it the strongest bioelectricity generator known."

'Hidden' functions

The findings, published Tuesday in the Nature Communications journal, theorise that the three species evolved from a shared ancestor millions of years ago.

The researchers found each of the three species has a clearly defined habitat, with E. electricus living in the Guiana Shield region, E. voltai in the Brazilian Shield, a highland further south, and E. varii inhabiting slow-flowing lowland Amazon basin waters.

And they suggest that the particularly strong electric shock that E. voltai can produce could be an adaptation to life in highland waters, where conductivity is less effective.

Electric eels use their shock tactics for a variety of reasons, including hunting prey, self-defence, and navigation.

They generate electricity from three specialised electric organs that can emit charges of varying strengths for different purposes.

But the discovery of the new species raises the possibility that different types of eels may have evolved different ways of generating electricity, perhaps better suited to their diverse environments.

De Santana hopes to compare the genomes of the three species, searching for clues that could offer insights useful to a variety of fields.

"Electric eel physiology inspired the design of Volta's first electric battery, provided a basis... for treating neurodegenerative diseases and recently promoted the advance of hydrogel batteries that could be used to power medical implants," he said.

The newly discovered species may reveal a "hidden variety" of functions "of interest to the broader scientific community."

Friday, September 6, 2019

Cruise companies pledge aid after Dorian wreaks havoc on Bahamas

Yahoo – AFP, Virginie MONTET, September 5, 2019

The Royal Caribbean ship Allure of the Seas (L) and Carnival Cruise ships Liberty
and Elation are seen in Nassau, Bahamas in April 2019 (AFP Photo/Daniel SLIM)

Washington (AFP) - For the Atlantic's major cruise operators, deadly Hurricane Dorian has meant nothing but trouble in paradise as ships have been diverted from the Bahamas.

But as the widespread devastation becomes more apparent on the ravaged archipelago, a bread-and-butter staple of the tourist industry, the companies are pledging to help fund major relief.

At least 20 deaths have already been attributed to Dorian in the Bahamas in what Prime Minister Hubert Minnis called "one of the greatest national crises in our country's history."

Royal Caribbean, which has shuttled thousands of tourists every year to the Bahamas for more than half a century, said it is "rolling up our sleeves to help our friends" in the Bahamas by committing $1 million to Dorian disaster relief.

Similarly, the Disney Cruise Line has pledged, through its parent the Walt Disney Company, to give more than $1 million in cash and in-kind support to those who found themselves in the storm's path.

On Wednesday, the hurricane was advancing northward off the US Coast as a strong Category 2 storm, threatening the eastern states of Georgia and South and North Carolina.

"To make sure our donations go where they can do the most good, we are collaborating with the Bahamian government and our non-profit partner, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and a network of Bahamian charities and organizations," Royal Caribbean said.

Port Everglades, Florida, where several major cruise lines are docked, was 
closed due to Hurricane Dorian (AFP Photo/Michele Eve Sandberg)

Rerouted, canceled cruises

The company urged guest and employee contributions as well by promising to match every dollar donated.

It also said it had loaded generators, water, cleaning supplies, clean sheets, towels and other items onto its ships for delivery to the Bahamas.

The company's Mexican partner ITM, with which it has formed the Holistica joint venture that is developing a resort in Freeport, is donating an additional $100,000, Royal Caribbean added.

The 700 islands that constitute the Bahamas archipelago are located just 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the coast of Florida and are the home port to multiple cruise ships.

But for three days, the cruises were forced to avoid the region, with several prolonging their voyages so as to avoid the storm.

Norwegian Cruise Line temporarily substituted New Orleans as its terminus rather than Port Canaveral or Miami in Florida, and Royal Caribbean extended several routes, forcing cruise-goers to spend a few additional nights at sea.

Carnival Cruise Line, meanwhile, canceled several trips and reimbursed the would-be voyagers.

A spokeswoman for the company said cruise ships loaded with humanitarian and economic assistance would head to several Bahamas ports, including Nassau and Freeport, as soon as possible.

It added that it was evaluating how best to help the Grand Bahama shipyard and its employees, as well as tour operators.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Scientists reproduce coral in lab, offering hope for reefs

Yahoo – AFP, August 27, 2019

Pillar corals in a water tank at the Florida Aquarium Conservation Center labs,
where scientists were able to reproduce the endangered coral species (AFP
Photo/Gianrigo MARLETTA)

Miami (AFP) - A team of scientists in the US have managed to reproduce coral in a lab setting for the first time ever, an encouraging step in the race to save "America's Great Barrier Reef" off the coast of Florida.

The researchers from Florida Aquarium's Center for Conservation were able to reproduce endangered Atlantic Pillar coral through induced spawning, a development that could ultimately prevent the extinction of the Florida Reef tract.

"This amazing breakthrough was the first time that we spawned Atlantic corals in a laboratory setting that we've had for over a year in our greenhouses," Amber Whittle, the aquarium's director for conservation, told AFP Monday.

Dr. Amber Whittle, he Florida Aquarium's director for conservation, 
inspects corals in a tank (AFP Photo/Gianrigo MARLETTA)

"It's been done before at the Horniman Museum in London with Pacific corals, never with Atlantic corals, and the Pillar coral that we spawned is a highly endangered species."

The Florida Aquarium and the Horniman Museum began working together in 2015 on induced reproduction techniques.

Reproduction was achieved by mimicking the conditions of the corals' natural environment, including sunrises, sunsets, moon phases, water temperature and quality.

Florida's corals are deteriorating rapidly due to climate change and a destructive tissue disease that appeared in the waters of the southeastern state in 2014.

Scientists hope to reproduce healthy corals and repopulate the reefs through this technique.