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Events for National Bird Week

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National Bird Week (Oct 20-26) is quickly descending on us and there’s lots of citizen science things to do.

Check out Bird Queensland and Birdlife Southern Queensland’s Twitcherthon Oct 17-19. (Keen and experienced birders are sometimes called ‘twitchers’.)

For all those ibis lovers on the Gold Coast there’s the National Ibis Census on Oct 26.

And there’s the big one, the biggest citizen science project in Australia the Aussie Backyard Bird Count Oct 20-26 with a new app for your phone.

For more info check out my article in Blank GC magazine.


See @ConversationEDU for @journlaw’s five reasons the Australian #natsec laws damage media freedom

Originally posted on journlaw:


The Abbott government’s latest tranches of national security and counter-terrorism laws represent the greatest attack on the Fourth Estate function of journalism in the modern era. They are worse than the Gillard government’s failed attempts to regulate the press.

Unlike most other Western democracies, Australia has no constitutional instrument protecting free expression as a human right. Few politicians can resist the temptation to control the flow of information if the law permits.

Here are five reasons that this latest move is damaging the democratic cornerstone of press freedom:

  1. It is legislative over-reach
  2. It gags reportage of a key public issue
  3. It compromises the separation of powers
  4. It spells the end for the confidential source
  5. Exemptions effectively license old media over new media.

See The Conversation today for the full article.

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Ban Ki Moon makes wild trade statement

“Let us send a powerful message through the United Nations that we are united against criminals in this despicable trade.  And that we are united in support of sustainably managing our natural resources for the benefit of all people as well as animals and the habitat.  We need Peace with Nature.”

Lao wildtrade report emphasises need for anticorruption investigative powers

In order to address wealthy controllers of transnational criminal networks in the wildtrade and illegal logging industries, resources urgently need to be shifted towards the development of investigative capacity focused on anti-corruption and anti-money laundering, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says on their website today.

The UNODC has made the statement to coincide with the release of  a new study which details the findings in the Assessment on the criminal justice response to wildlife and forest crime in Lao PDR.

The study highlights that some progress to tackle wildlife and forest crimes has been made in Lao PDR.

“However, the capacity to conduct investigations on the most serious and transnational offences remain remarkably low. Some factors impeding successful investigation, as identified in the study, include blurred definitions of the main offences, limited investigative capacity and poor coordination among law enforcement agencies,” the UNODC statement says.

“Despite the visibly organized and transnational nature of crimes such as illegal timber trade and wildlife trafficking, the key offenders enjoy a high level of impunity also because of their links to corrupt officials,”  the Deputy Prosecutor General of Lao PDR, He Langsy Sybounheuang says.

The Deputy Prosecutor General of Lao PDR also stressed that the number of cases related to environmental crimes that are brought to justice is still very limited.


Mutton birds diet on plastic debri


A new report has found that shearwaters have a high debri load, packing plastic on their annual migration. Read more…

Rhino horn consumers damage VN reputation: Vietnamese enviro NGO

The head of a local environment NGO in Vietnam has accused rhino horn (sung te giac) consumers in her country of tainting Vietnam’s image internationally.

“The international image of our country has been negatively portrayed as a result of the actions of a very small group of people in our society who consume rhino horn, or are directly involved in the killing and smuggling of rhino horns,” says Vu Thi Quyen, Executive director of Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV).

Ms Quyen’s comments come as an anti-rhino-horn-trade delegation from Vietnam, including three celebrity pop stars, Hong Nhung, Thu Minh and Thanh Bui return home from an awareness-raising visit to South Africa.

“At Kruger National Park, we had the opportunity to witness the most horrific scene: a bloated dead rhino that had been slaughtered by poachers, its horn hacked off and its body left to rot in the bush,” Hong Nhung says.

National Park officials said the rhino was one of nine that reportedly died in one week in Kruger, as a result of increased poaching due to the improved visibility during the full moon.

EVN has been running a campaign online to discourage the use of rhino horn in Vietnam where it is ground into a powder and drank like milk.

“Each Vietnamese citizen should take responsibility for helping stop the rhino horn trade, by letting
consumers know how foolish they are for thinking that the use of rhino horn makes them special in any
way,” Ms Quyen says.


Vietnam Swans v Philippines Eagles on Ladies day – 6th October

Originally posted on Vietnam Swans:

The Vietnam Swans comfortably accounted for the Philippine Eagles on tour in front of a fantastic ladies day crowd. Rain couldn’t dampen the post match vibe. Great night at the Spotted Cow and beyond followed.  The Swans can take confidence from their performance but must realize that the ‘real’ Philippine Eagles will be ready and waiting at home for the Asian Champs in a few weeks!

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Dogs mark territory at Swell sculpture festival

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All photos except for the Swell Festival Facebook screensave at the bottom ©Mic Smith

Click on the photo from Swell's Facebook page to check out more about what's going on

Click on the photo from Swell’s Facebook page to check out more about what’s going on


Newsvalues in broadcast journalism: ABC Gold Coast Journo Tom Forbes

Chinese national jailed 10 years for ivory

A South African court has given a Chinese National the longest sentence ever in the country for possession of ivory.
Cheng Jie Liang, who has lived in South Africa since 2003, received a 10 year sentence with three years suspended if he pays his fine for possession of one ton of poached elephant tusks that he had in a storage unit.
It was alleged that he was high up in a smuggling ring.
The Cape Times reported:
“In passing sentence, Magistrate Johan Venter questioned why Liang had come to South Africa.

“Immediately after he had arrived in 2003 he had been convicted of illegal abalone possession.

“And here you stand before court again and are found to be part of a syndicate… It is still a mystery where you get your income and where it is paid. Why this mystery? The question arises, is it not perhaps from the syndicate, that is why it is not disclosed?” Venter said.

“He referred to judgements which said the personal interests of the accused should not prevail above those of the public. Sentences should be a deterrent, so potential poachers and smugglers would know they were be prosecuted and properly sentenced.”


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