The Incredible Migration of the Monarch Butterfly.

The Migration of the Monarch Butterflies

The Monarch butterfly is perhaps the best known of all North American butterflies. It is easily recognizable by its bright orange-red wings, with black veins and white spots along the edges. The Monarch butterfly is famous for its southward migration from Canada to Mexico and the northward return back to Canada in summer. Every fall, millions of these butterflies fly west to their wintering grounds in California and Mexico, covering the trees there with their bright shimmering wings.


UK: Uphill Battle in Fight Against Female Genital Mutilation

Three million girls between infancy and age fifteen are subject to FGM every year, and it is believed that 140 million women worldwide are suffering from the lifelong consequences of the practice.

The Muslim Council of Britain [MCB], the most prominent Muslim council in Britain, has declared that female genital mutilation is contrary to Islam: “FGM is not an Islamic requirement. There is no reference to it in the holy Quran that states girls must be circumcised. Nor is there any authentic reference to this in the Sunnah, the sayings or traditions of our prophet.”

“This is a terrible situation for young girls. So our strategy is to target the cutters. They are hurting a lot of people and making a profit from it.” — Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service.


True Sentences …the things wot I’ve learned…

Never argue with an idiot. He’ll drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.

If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong.

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand at the edge of a pool and throw fish.

I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Women will never be equal to men till they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut and still think they’re sexy.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

You don’t need a parachute to skydive, but you do need one to skydive again.

The voices in my head may be fake, but they have good ideas!

Hospitality is making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish they were.

I scream the same way whether I’m about to be eaten by a shark or seaweed touches my foot.

Some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go.

There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.

You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

How Abbas Duped Kerry and Indyk

Kerry and Indyk failed to understand that no Palestinian leader has a mandate to make concessions to Israel as part of a peace agreement. Concessions would be tantamount to signing his own death warrant. Abbas is being denounced as a “traitor” for merely opposing the abduction of three Israeli teenagers.

The release of 78 prisoners, some with “blood on their hands,” is seen as a major achievement for Abbas, who was never even asked to pay anything in return.


Tso Kar Lake and the Rupshu Nomads; Black-necked Cranes and the Ruddy Shelduck

nomadruss in words and photos

After leaving Puga, we crossed a high pass, the name escapes me just now, and made our way down to the eastern shores of Tso Kar, a salt-rimmed lake that rests at around 14,500ft (4500m). In previous days, the salt was collected by the nomads and exported to Tibet. The eastern shores are home to the Rupshu nomads, Ladakhi nomads who have been inhabiting the shores of the lake since before time was counted by a timepiece. There are a few portraits of the Rupshu included in this collection.

On this trip we would be treated to some wildlife encounters. There used to be only 3 or 4 breeding pairs of black-necked cranes in Ladakh, mostly near Tso Moriri Lake, while all the rest were on the Tibetan side of the Changtang. This year there were not only black-necked cranes near the Tso Kar lake, but also the ruddy shelduck…

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Benedict Brogan – The Telegraph

Morning all. The latest Ashcroft poll is out – the numbers are Conservatives 33%, Labour 31%, Liberal Democrats 9% Ukip 15%. Is Dave enjoying the benefits of a Juncker bounce? That’s certainly what the papers that make up what Ed Miliband would doubtless call “the right-wing press” think. “Cam’s EU Scrap Boost” says the Sun. “The Juncker bounce: Tories establish poll lead over Labour” is Peter Dominiczak’s take in today’s Telegraph. “The ‘Juncker bounce’ has propelled the Tories ahead of Labour in the polls,” says James Chapman in the Mail.

I’m not so sure. “The Juncker bounce” in today’s Ashcroft survey amounts to a five point boost for the Tories, and I would be frankly astonished if 5% of the country know who Jean-Claude Juncker is. In any case, just as with the Survation poll on last Sunday showing a nine-point Labour lead – Conservatives 27%, Labour 36%, Liberals 7%, Ukip 22% – these outlandish results appear from time to time, and they should be treated with great caution.

A better measure of the state of the parties is our poll of polls, updated to include new surveys from YouGov, Populus and Comres today. Labour are down – the numbers are Conservatives 32%, Labour 36%, Liberals 8% and Ukip 17% – but I wouldn’t put that down to M Juncker either. I’d suggest that the figures are rather better for the Conservatives, and more troubling for Labour, than that.

Whether it’s the Budget, or the Pfizer saga – during which, let’s not forget, Labour made the political weather – when politics comes to the forefront, the Labour lead declines. That suggests that when people start to concentrate on the question of who they want running the country, they decide that it ain’t Ed Miliband.



Len McCluskey kicked off Unite’s policy conference yesterday with a tub-thumping speech and a promise of further donations to bolster Labour’s campaign warchest (James Kirkup has the story). “Lender Len’s Struck Again!” is the Sun’s tongue-twister. Mr McCluskey’s wearisome rhetoric about bankers, City spivs, and the rest has, our leader notes, “entirely contradicted – and drowned out – Ed Balls’ message”. The Mail is similarly unimpressed. It raises the familiar question about Labour’s media management – surely as broke as they are they can stump up the cash for an event planner? – and the sincerity of Ed Miliband’s drive to convince business that he is on their side. And, troublingly for Labour, Unite hasn’t made any specific commitments of just how much of its £12m campaign fund will actually go to the election effort – which could make the forthcoming negotiations over the party’s manifesto even more fraught.


“Voters turn away from a Scottish nation state” is the Times’ splash this morning, as a new YouGov poll finds support for the Union has grown – the numbers are Yes 35%, No 54%, and Don’t Know 9% – leaving Alex Salmond desperately searching for a game-changer. It won’t come from shale, that’s for sure; a British Geological Survey has found that Scotland’s reserves of the stuff are merely “modest” compared to England. Also in the Times is a profile of Better Together, the at-times troubled cross-party effort to keep the United Kingdom together. They’ve been undermined by Gordon Brown, they’ve got through three different advertising agencies, and there’s lingering hostility between not just the three Unionist parties, but also the London and Scotland branches of the Labour party. Still, their approach – derided by some as overly technocratic – may be just the ticket to win over the undecideds, who are overwhelmingly swayed by the economic argument, not the emotional case for the Union. Those same undecideds – the so-called “middle million” – are featured in today’s Guardian.


Lord Adonis will unveil proposals today to give new larger city or county regions the power to keep all growth in their business rates income, which they will be able to use to build infrastructure and new housing. Apprenticeships will be increased threefold, while more than a 100 new University Technical Colleges will be created, as will a new “Teach Next” organisation to encourage people in mid-career to teach science and maths, while around £6bn of funds will be devolved from Whitehall. The aim is to create “regional powerhouses”, the Labour peer told the Today programme.

Dave’s celebrity soiree went off without a hitch last night – it also went off without many celebrities. Photographs of Tess Daly, Danielle Lineker and Cameron bezzie Helena Bonham Carter dominate much of the coverage – “Girls So Glam For Cam” is the Sun’s take – but it’s the Times’ picture that tells the real story. “Who was invited” says one column, with pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch, Nicole Kidman and Emma Watson, next to “Who turned up”: with Ronnie Corbett, flanked by Eliza Doolittle and Katherine Jenkins.


PMQs should be shown live in the evenings and members of the public should be allowed to ask questions, Nick Clegg said yesterday, in order to improve the quality of political debate.


Mark Harper, the former immigration minister who resigned after discovering his cleaner was here illegally, says Tom Newton Dunn in the Sun. Mr Harper will be handed “a mid-ranking role”, with the PM apparently keen to reward Mr Harper for owning up to his mistake and resigning honorably. Less likely to return to Cabinet is Maria Miller, who has been lobbying for a Cabinet job. “She doesn’t have a chance – and she’s deluded to think she has,” says Tom’s source.





The Escalation in Violence Since the Abduction of the Teens

Beyond the Cusp

Hamas has chosen to escalate their efforts against Israel in the two plus weeks since Hamas terrorists abducted three teen boys, Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel, and Gilad Sha’ar, as they were returning home from their studies at two Yeshivas. Hamas with the assistance of Fatah as well as officials from the Palestinian Authority in encouraging the citizens of the Palestinian Authority communities to do everything in their powers to impede, hinder and frustrate the efforts to locate and rescue the three teens by Israeli forces even going so far as to advocate such actions through Palestinian media. There were calls for those who owned stores with video monitoring systems and other monitoring devices to erase or destroy any tapes or other electronic records in order to deny the IDF such vital evidence which could possibly have made the searches more targeted and effective. The obstructions to the search from the…

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