Monday, February 20, 2006

Headlines + a Personal Note

Elephant news:

Some U.S. zoos are rethinking elephant captivity. The Bronx Zoo is phasing them out. In Los Angeles, Bob Barker pleads with zoo officials to release their elephants to a sanctuary. More about the Reid Park Zoo elephants. A CNN reporter rides with Billie and Frieda to Hohenwald. The Nebraskan bill to ban mistreatment of elephants is stuck in committee and unlikely to pass.

A brief profile of former Newsweek theatre reporter turned leading elephant expert Cynthia Moss.

More evidence that elephants are traumatized by violence and may attack humans as retaliation. (Just another way in which they're like us.) This one's been widely covered. Another study confirms that elephants "hear" through their feet; this could explain things like coordinated migration of scattered herds, and the panic of elephants far from culling or poaching sites. Yet another study debunks the "drunken elephants" idea, suggesting that the average pachyderm would have to eat about 1200 fermented fruit to get intoxicated.

The Indian government is considering repealing restrictions on the sale and movement of domesticated elephants.

In Malaysia, a wild elephant sanctuary.

Land mines in Sri Lanka kill three elephants.

In Zimbabwe, elephant-human clashes are expected to worsen.


Kenyan ice carvers at the Olympics.

Kenya news you may have heard: 10 U.S. soldiers killed off Djibouti in a helicopter crash. In tangentially related news, the U.S. plans to spend $208 million for AIDS relief in Kenya.

Kenya's border security is beefed up in anticipation of possible election violence in Uganda.

Vatican worries over a Kenyan splinter sect of the Catholic church. The Holy Cross Church is part of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), working in the tradition of Bishop Marcel Lefebvre, who "believed and made his followers believe that the church had been taken over by pro-communists, Jewish, protestant, Zionist, satanic and Freemason forces and that . . . the series of the world's bishops meetings known as the Second Vatican Council that ran from 1962 to 1965, was nothing more than a collection of people from this extraction." The East African Standard points out that they've been in Kenya for at least twenty years. In other religious news, Kenya has also seen its share of protests over the Muhammed cartoons.

Failures in compensation for those tortured under the former regime.

Corruption: they're calling it the Goldenberg scandal now. Exiled corruption investigator John Githongo is naming names, and he's got evidence on tape. The energy and education ministers have followed the finance minister in resigning. Accused participants are being ordered to give up their passports. The World Bank wants major economic reform. Last Friday, protests in Nairobi against the corruption. The "Sons of the Mau Mau" on the rise.

The drought: the human tragedy. Millions may starve. Meningitis breaks out. Bird flu fears. Skirmishes over water. Four women tried to dig a well and were killed when the walls collapsed on them. Al-Jazeera puts it all in context. Again, the citizenry blames government corruption. Will the drought mean the end of nomadic life?

The drought also means more bad news for wildlife. More questions about the new status of Amboseli: chiefly, can the Maasai be trusted as stewards for scarce water resources, when their admitted priority will always be their own cattle?

In South Africa, the planned elephant cull in Kruger National Park has been postponed, at least for now.

Finally, last week was unpleasant in and around Dave's head. I tend to take the wounded-dog approach to depression; curl up in the dark and growl at anyone who comes near. I'm feeling much better now, but if I growled at you last week, I'm very sorry. Luckily the weekend was good, with some "Sky High" (predictable, yes, but funnier than you think, and with some genius casting) and three-count-em-three shows, two of them on Saturday; Marianne's old-timey band at one location (still in need of a better name, leave your suggestion in the comments) and the Returnables' CD release and last-ever show at another. Last night, Mucca Pazza again! Love those guys. So, in summary, life is pretty good. Might be time to start writing another novel . . .


Anonymous Scott Janssens said...

You seemed pretty chipper Thursday night, especially for someone getting critiqued. I don't know if that makes you a liar, a great actor or a masochist.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

More the latter two than the former, hopefully. :-) Of course, that was the first time I'd ventured out of the apartment in twenty-four hours.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheer up, Mr. Grumpypants. Don't make me come over there!

- H

9:28 PM  

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