Great Blue Heron

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Showing His Moves, Great Blue Heron - click to enlarge

These 4 photographs were taken while a juvenile Heron was testing flight skills. A second bird looks on and seems very interested. There are actually 3 young birds in this particular nest. The third was flying around overhead. At this point it was getting funny watching the bird dance around flapping, with a rapt audience. […]

via Showing His Moves, Great Blue Heron — TPJphoto.net

It’s Time for Africa’s Stolen Artefacts to Come Home | Think Africa Press

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It’s Time for Africa’s Stolen Artefacts to Come Home | Think Africa Press.

“In a recently-released film, The Monuments Men, in which a group of Second World War soldiers embark upon a mission to save pieces of art before they are destroyed by the Nazis, Lieutenant Frank Stokes, played by George Clooney, notes: “You can wipe out an entire generation, you can burn their homes to the ground and somehow they will still find their way back. But if you destroy their history, if you destroy their achievements, then it is as if they never existed.”

While in London to publicise the film, this basic premise was given contemporary significance as the all-star cast touched a sensitive nerve by suggesting it was time for Britain to return the so-called Elgin Marbles to Greece. Some British commentators hit out at the actors’ suggestions of repatriating the huge marble sculptures and pieces of architecture ‘acquired’ by Lord Elgin from Athens in the 19th century, while the Greek government expressed their “heartfelt thanks” for the show of solidarity…”

Illicit Financial Flows: The Elephant in the Room at the EU-Africa Summit | Think Africa Press

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Illicit Financial Flows: The Elephant in the Room at the EU-Africa Summit | Think Africa Press.

“A $35 million mansion in California, artwork totaling €18 million ($25 million), and a $33 million dollar private jet.

These sound like items purchased by the world’s wealthiest oligarchs, Hollywood actors or investment bank CEOs, right?

Well, they were actually acquired by Teodorin Obiang, the son of Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang. When Teodoro convenes with other leaders for this week’s EU-Africa summit, a wide range of topics will be covered, but there’s one issue in particular that should be given a loudspeaker during the talks in Brussels: illicit financial flows.

Africa and Europe have a unique financial relationship. It is one marked by illicit capital flowing out of African countries and into bank accounts in financial centres across the EU. While the younger Obiang’s official salary is less than $7,000 per month, he managed to spend more than $315 million between 2004 and 2011 on sports cars, beachfront mansions, lavish apartments, and even some Michael Jackson memorabilia. And Teodorin is just the tip of the iceberg….”


After the Protests – NYTimes.com

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After the Protests – NYTimes.com.

“LAST Wednesday, more than 100,000 people showed up in Istanbul for a funeral that turned into a mass demonstration. No formal organization made the call…Protests like this one, fueled by social media and erupting into spectacular mass events, look like powerful statements of opposition against a regime. And whether these take place in Turkey, Egypt or Ukraine, pundits often speculate that the days of a ruling party or government, or at least its unpopular policies, must be numbered. Yet often these huge mobilizations of citizens inexplicably wither away without the impact on policy you might expect from their scale.
This muted effect is not because social media isn’t good at what it does, but, in a way, because it’s very good at what it does.”

Three cracked pillars of a failed state – UK News | Online Newspaper | The Irish Times – Tue, Aug 06, 2013

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Three cracked pillars of a failed state – UK News | Online Newspaper | The Irish Times – Tue, Aug 06, 2013.

“…The failure of the State can be calibrated in many ways: the unwillingness to protect vulnerable citizens from slavery and abuse, the inability to sustain a modest prosperity, the apparently endemic resort to mass emigration, the descent into systemic corruption, the throwing away of hard-won sovereignty, the persistence of structural inequality. But we can also see it even if we look at the State in its simplest expression as a set of institutions…”

MLK Day 2013: The Meaning of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.\’s Legacy

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MLK Day 2013: The Meaning of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.\’s Legacy

via MLK Day 2013: The Meaning of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.\’s Legacy.

Before us, there were people who had already put forth their all so that we may live in a world filled with more peace and less hatred. And though evil still lives, these people knocked a huge dent in our fight for equality. Some of these men, women, and even children paid the ultimate price for their freedom, the freedom of their generation, and the freedom of generations to come. Among the countless humans of all races and creeds that worked tirelessly for equality was a man who was determined to make a change in a non-violent way. Even though evil took Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. away, his message was one of peace, togetherness, and service. This is a message that should never be forgotten…

…Dr. King spoke of togetherness and service, two things that hardly come around unless something bad happens. Why must evil come in order for good to come about? When will we begin to serve just because it’s the right thing to do?…

UK fury as Ecuador grants asylum to Julian Assange via @independent_ie

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UK fury as Ecuador grants asylum to Julian Assange via @independent_ie.

WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador after taking refuge in the country’s embassy in London.

The announcement will increase tensions between the UK and the South American country, which has been warned that the situation could have “serious implications” for diplomatic relations.

Assange sought sanctuary in the embassy in London’s Knightsbridge in an effort to avoid deportation to Sweden, where he faces sexual assault charges.

UK ‘threatens to arrest’ Assange

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UK ‘threatens to arrest’ Assange.

The diplomatic standoff over Julian Assange has escalated after Ecuador claimed Britain threatened to raid its embassy in London if Quito did not hand over the WikiLeaks founder, who has been taking refuge there for two months.

The Ecuadorean government said such an action would be considered a “hostile and intolerable act” as well as a violation of its sovereignty.

“Under British law we can give them a week’s notice before entering the premises and the embassy will no longer have diplomatic protection,” a Foreign Office spokesman said. “But that decision has not yet been taken. We are not going to do this overnight. We want to stress that we want a diplomatically agreeable solution.”…

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