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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Just the Facts?: Watch the 'Cicada Cam' -- Endangered Whales Used For Dog Treats -- 'Witches' Poisoned, Shaman on the Run

Watch the 'Cicada Cam'

Missing this year's much-hyped emergence of the East Coast's Brood II cicadas? You can watch the 17-year-old insects live thanks to the Science Channel's cicada cam.

The six-legged creatures crawl all over a miniature model of Washington's Capitol building in a tiny set befitting Brood II's horror-movie name.

If the footage makes your skin crawl and you're wondering what all the fuss is about, know that Brood II is one of the distinct cicada populations that only comes out of the ground to molt and mate every 17 years; you won't be seeing this type again until 2030. Known as periodical cicadas, they belong to the genus Magicicada, and they can be found only in the eastern half of North America. Brood II's range extends from Georgia to Connecticut and it began its emergence earlier this month.

Live - Cicada Cam


Baby placed in freezer by father had broken arm, leg and head injuries

While Tyler Deutsch faced a judge in court Tuesday, his 6-week-old baby girl was in the hospital recovering from hypothermia.

Police say that on Saturday Deutsch, 25, put the baby in the freezer inside his Pierce County home to get her to stop crying.

His girlfriend, and the mother of the child, said she saw Deutsch take the baby out when she came home from work.

The child was in the freezer for as long as 90 minutes, deputy prosecutor Michelle Hyer said.

The mother said when she left, the baby was fully clothed. When she returned home, the baby was “only wearing a diaper,” Hyer added.

Court documents say the freezer was only 10 degrees inside and the baby’s body temperature had dropped to 84. Investigators say she had been lying on top of a bag of cauliflower and half-empty bag of ice.

“Additionally, there was a broken arm, broken leg and head injuries that we believe were caused by the defendant. This is one of those crimes that defy understanding,” said Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist.

Deutsch was charged with first-degree assault of a child, first-degree criminal mistreatment and interfering with the reporting of domestic violence. Bail was set at $1 million.

A parent who police say should never have reacted this way to a baby’s cry.

“It’s important for all parents to realize that the crying is a normal part of baby development,” said Dr. Michael Neufeld of Providence Hospital in Everett.

Neufeld says infant crying intensifies at two to three weeks, and peaks when they’re 2 months old. It’s during this window that he says abuse can happen.

Just last week, an 18-year-old Everett man was accused of shaking his baby so hard it suffered permanent brain damage and broken ribs.

Doctors want all new parents to realize babies will cry for no apparent reason, sometimes for hours and to have a plan in place when needed.

“Once you’ve met all their needs and you’ve fed them, changed their diaper, and if you’re feeling yourself get frustrated, put the baby down in a safe place and walk away,” said Neufeld. - G13 Fox


Shameful: Endangered whale used for Japan dog treats

Meat from endangered whales caught by Icelandic hunters is being sold in Japan as luxury dog treats, environmental campaigners said Tuesday.

Michinoku Farm, a Tokyo-based company, is offering chews made from North Atlantic fin whales on its company website, with the meat described as a "low calorie, low fat, high protein" snack.

Japanese campaign group IKAN said selling products made from endangered species as treats for pampered pooches was the worst kind of conspicuous consumption.

"The most likely reason for shops to sell the whale meat dog treat is to target affluent Japanese who want to show off their wealth with something different," said Nanami Kurasawa, executive director of the pressure group.

Michinoku's website, which also sells pet goodies it says are made from Mongolian horses and kangaroos, has three different sized packets of whale chews, with a 60 gram (2 oz) bag selling for Y609 yen ($A6.28) and a 500 gram bag for 3,780 yen.

IKAN was one of four campaign groups that issued a joint statement on the treat.

"The product description identifies the meat as being fin whale of Icelandic origin," the statement said, adding: "Its use in pet food suggests that new markets are being explored."

"As Iceland prepares to hunt over 180 fin whales in 2013 for this export market, NGOs question the environmental and economic logic of using meat from an endangered species for the manufacture of dog treats."

Japan hunts whales under a loophole in an international ban, insisting it is carrying out research. Iceland openly defies the ban.

While whale meat is declining in popularity in Japan, many Japanese see the campaign against whaling as a symbol of cultural imperialism from the West and argue that it is a long-standing tradition. - The Age

The Whale Warrior: Pirate for the Sea

*Confessions of an Eco-Terrorist


Women poisoned for using goblins to harm children

Two elderly women have been killed with poison because neighbours in their African village thought they were using goblins to harm local children.

Jersey Mutero, 83, and Erita Bhebhe, 73, were blamed for a child falling ill in the village of Mangisi, in the Midlands Province of Zimbabwe.

According to the New Zimbabwe news service, the pair, who were related, died after drinking 'holy water' in a ceremony presided over by a witch doctor.

They collapsed just moments after supping the toxic brew handed to them by the holy man.

The shaman, named Maxwell Pira, was summoned by relations who believed both women were witches and had used goblins to harm the child.

A cleansing ceremony was held in a bid to drive out the 'goblins' in the hope it would cure the ailing child.

But now Pira is on the run from police who want to charge him with murder over the women's deaths.

Midlands police chief, Inspector Emmanuel Mahako, recounted the bizarre ritual which led to Mutero and Bhebhe's deaths.

He said: "Pira gathered all family members and started praying for them. He also said prayers for a liquid which he called 'holy water'.

"He instructed all the family members to drink the water which was passed around in a cup, but warned that those responsible for the sickness of the young girl should not drink the concoction as they would die.

"The two elderly women drank the liquid but collapsed almost immediately. They were put on a scotch cart but died on the way to hospital."

The case of Mutero and Bhebhe is the latest bizarre death in the country ruled by President Robert Mugabe.

Earlier this year, a woman was mauled to death by a lion while she was having sex in the bush with her boyfriend.

Elsehere in the country, a human flesh eating witchcraft cult was exposed by two schoolgirls who admitted links to the macabre group.

Meanwhile Mugabe recently enjoyed a lavish £400,000 birthday party held at a football stadium. - IBTimes

The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe

Bitter Harvest: Zimbabwe and the Aftermath of its Independence

The Last Resort: A Memoir of Mischief and Mayhem on a Family Farm in Africa


Abandoned Chinese baby rescued from toilet pipe

Firefighters in eastern China have rescued an abandoned newborn baby boy lodged in a sewage pipe directly beneath a toilet commode, state television reported, in a case which has sparked anger on social media sites.

There are frequent reports in Chinese media of babies being abandoned, often shortly after birth, a problem attributed variously to young mothers unaware they were pregnant, the birth of an unwanted girl in a society which puts greater value on boys or China's strict family planning rules.

In the latest case the infant was found in the sewage pipe in a residential building in Jinhua in the wealthy coastal province of Zhejiang on Saturday afternoon after residents reported the sound of a baby crying, state television said late on Monday.

Firefighters had to remove the pipe and take it to a nearby hospital, where doctors carefully cut around it to rescue the baby boy inside, the report said.

The child is in a stable condition and the police are looking for his parents, state television added.

The case has been widely discussed on China's Twitter-like service Sina Weibo due to the graphic nature of the footage, with calls for the parents to be severely punished.

"The parents who did this have hearts even filthier than that sewage pipe," wrote one user. - Reuters