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Irishmen doing bodgy jobs for cash linked to rhino horn trade

The story about an Irish syndicate that’s been stealing rhino horns from European museums is getting weirder and weirder.

Now it appears that the Rathkeale Rovers have been in Australia doing bodgy driveways and painting dodgy carpark lines or so it seems from a Warning on Rathkeale Rovers press release by the NSW Department of Fair Trading.

The press release was from October last year but hey its pretty obscure and I just heard about it. It’s weird, who would have thought there’d be a link between a bunch of bodgy British tradesmen drinking beer in a dingey bar near you and a transnational wildlife crime syndicate – one of the world’s wealthiest organised crime groups.

According to, Rovers’ rhino horn-smuggling exploits, from 2011 to 2013, included “67 thefts across 15 nations, from museums and private collections to auction houses and even zoos. In early 2013, European Union’s law enforcement agency, Europol‘s, Operation Oakleaf came to a head, with coordinated raids across eight European countries that led to the arrests of 30 people with links to Rathkeale, including Richard Kerry O’Brien, the ‘King of the Travellers.”

I wonder if these Irish guys surf. I know a lot of Irish do. If they do they are sure to drop in or pinch your wax. Next time I meet an Irishman at Burleigh I’m going to have to ask what he’s been up to.

These travelling rogue guys are allegedly even getting Prince William’s attention at the World Bank address in Washington although when I read it I can’t see him allude to them.

AND they featured in “My big fat gypsy wedding.”

The Rathkeale Rovers apparently are one of Ireland’s most sidelined ethnic groups AND if their trading in rhino they just sidelined me too.

Not surprisingly they seem to get away with a lot of their bullshit, because they travel under pretenses of being lowlife travelling conmen and when questioned, the men act aggressively; give names that are infuriatingly similar; have multiple identities; frequently every word they say is a lie. They prove impossible to track in police databases. . . .


Just Irish roughheads on the outside, but what’s really going on is they are making millions off the wildtrade, and selling the rhino horn in Vietnam.


Mindful Journalism in a nutshell: @journlaw keynote to JEANZ

Originally posted on journlaw:


EARLIER this month I had the honour of delivering the keynote address to the Journalism Education Association of New Zealand annual conference in Christchurch.

MindfulJournalismCoverThe topic was “Mindful Journalism: towards a new ethics of compassion”, and I offer the summary here (pdf: JEANZMindfulJsm2014) in the form of my Powerpoint slides presented at that conference.

The term ‘mindful journalism’ is a concept I introduced more than a year ago in the inaugural UNESCO World Press Freedom address at AUT University Auckland, drawing upon the earlier substantive work by esteemed colleague, Emeritus Professor Shelton Gunaratne, who has been working for decades on the intersection between Buddhism and journalism.

I developed my application of this in a paper to the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) conference in Dublin in July 2014, which was revised for publication as a forthcoming article in Ethical…

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Wavebreak Island rally: Bards and barks in the park

Read more at Blank magazine here and here.

Veteran rhino conservationist dies in South Africa

After more than 50 years working in rhino conservation in South Africa, Ian Player has died at 87.

Rhino poaching toll tops last year

South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa

South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa

By Mic Smith

Rhino poaching has reached 1020 in South Africa exceeding last year’s record of 1004.

“Unfortunately the threat of poaching has continued to escalate while various multi-faceted interventions are being implemented by South Africa,”  South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa said at a Rhino Conservation Side Event at the 6th World Parks Congress in Sydney last week.

Death toll numbers include:

  • Kruger National Park 672
  • Limpopo 110
  • KwaZulu-Natal 84
  • Mpumalanga 70,
  • North West 58
  • Eastern Cape 15

“We are concerned that poaching is part of a multi-billion dollar worldwide illicit wildlife trade. Addressing the scourge is not simple,” Molewa said in Sydney.


Reply to the White House Koala Diplomacy Tweet

G20, Barack Obama and koala diplomacy

Gold Coast Ibis series in Blank magazine

By Mic Smith

Gold Coast's Ibis Management Coordination Group (IMCG) and Ecosure have participated in the recent annual National Ibis Census.

Gold Coast’s Ibis Management Coordination Group (IMCG) and Ecosure have participated in the recent annual National Ibis Census.

A few facts about GC ibis everyone should know


Ibis on the Gold Coast have to be managed to keep their numbers below 2500 and avoid negative interactions with people

Ibis on the Gold Coast have to be managed to keep their numbers below 2500 and avoid negative interactions with people

Jackie Chan joins fight against rhino horn trade


Originally posted on Mark Deeble:

(Ambo)ele image

Once every few years a group of Tsavo eles journeys to Amboseli. Recently, we did the same. We flew into the late afternoon sun, away from the ochre dusts, towards Kilimanjaro. Ever since I was a child in Cornwall, I have loved traveling west – it’s always felt like going home, with the added gift of another minute or two of light at the end of the day.

This was no different – we flew past the cliffs of Kichwa Tembo, tracking the Tsavo river. We passed over an old friend of a fig tree we had filmed for ‘The Queen of Trees’ ( We were well above bird watching height, but I knew the shapes streaming from its canopy would be green pigeons – just as I knew their presence meant the tree must be fruiting.

Then on to Mzima – in the late light, the water…

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Responsible media use of drones should be exempted from laws: Goldberg #G20Griff

Originally posted on journlaw:


Drones – unmanned aerial vehicles – raise a host of legal and ethical issues but responsible journalism should be exempted from many legal restrictions, according to international media law expert Dr David Goldberg.

Dr Goldberg was co-author (with the ABC’s Mark Corcoran and Oxford’s Robert G. Picard) of the Oxford Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism report ‘Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and Journalism’ in June, 2013.


Dr David Goldberg and ABC drones co-ordinator and foreign correspondent Mark Corcoran at the G20 Drones Symposium at Griffith University

He was addressing the Drones, Privacy and Journalism symposium at the Griffith University campus at South Bank in Brisbane tonight (November 4).

He was joined by former ABC Foreign Correspondent reporter Mark Corcoran (now with ABC News Online and leading the ABC’s drones program) and The Australian’s legal affairs editor Chris Merritt who formed the panel responding to…

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