Endangered turtle found dead on beach

 

SINGAPORE (AFP): An endangered giant sea turtle was found dead on a Singapore beach with its shell sliced in half, likely by a boat’s propeller, experts and the man who discovered it said Tuesday. Chandran V R said he found the turtle, described as more than one metre (3.3 feet) long, while jogging along a beach in the city-state’s east on Monday. “The smell was overpowering, and when I followed the smell I saw a bulky item... I walked towards it and saw the turtle and it was dead,” he told AFP. “Cautiously I walked around it and I can see that there was a slash or a cut (on the shell)... In my opinion it was probably done by a propeller.” Chandran, a property executive, said he called the police.. “I was quite concerned... I just don’t want people to dismember the body. It’s a turtle, people do eat turtles in this part of the region,” he said. Stephen Beng, chair of the Singapore Nature Society’s Marine Conservation Group, said the animal looked like a female green sea turtle, which inhabit the island’s reefs. Environmental group WWF has classified the green sea turtle as endangered. “From the injury scars, it most definitely was a boat strike.

The propeller mark was likely from a large one and it seems the turtle was making a dash for cover,” Beng told AFP. Beng said marine animals are at risk from boats because Singapore is one of the world’s busiest ports and its shipping lanes “bisect the longer coastal beaches of our main island from the richer coral reefs of our southern islands”.

Beng urged boat crew to be vigilant to avoid hitting wildlife and said they should ideally maintain a distance of 50 metres and reduce speed when animals are sighted.

A dolphin carcass was found on a Singapore beach last year, while a dead sperm whale was washed ashore in 2015. One expert said at that time that the whale could have collided with a boat.

 

 

‘Mein Kampf’ becomes German bestseller

BERLIN (AFP): The first reprint of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” in Germany since World War II has proved a surprise bestseller, heading for its sixth print run, its publisher said Tuesday. The Institute of Contemporary History of Munich (IfZ) said around 85,000 copies of the new annotated version of the Nazi leader’s anti-Semitic manifesto had flown off the shelves since its release last January. However the respected institute said that far from promoting far-right ideology, the publication had enriched a debate on the renewed rise of “authoritarian political views” in contemporary Western society. It had initially planned to print only 4,000 copies but boosted production immediately based on intense demand. The sixth print run will hit bookstores in late January. The two-volume work had figured on the non-fiction bestseller list in weekly magazine Der Spiegel over much of the last year, and even topped the list for two weeks in April.The institute also organised a successful series of presentations and debates around “Mein Kampf” across Germany and in other European cities, which it said allowed it to measure the impact of the new edition.

“It turned out that the fear the publication would promote Hitler’s ideology or even make it socially acceptable and give neo-Nazis a new propaganda platform was totally unfounded,” IfZ director Andreas Wirsching said in a statement.

“To the contrary, the debate about Hitler’s worldview and his approach to propaganda offered a chance to look at the causes and consequences of totalitarian ideologies, at a time in which authoritarian political views and rightwing slogans are gaining ground.”

The institute said the data collected about buyers by regional bookstores showed that they tended to be “customers interested in politics and history as well as educators” and not “reactionaries or rightwing radicals”.

Nevertheless, the IfZ said it would maintain a restrictive policy on international rights. For now, only English and French editions are planned despite strong interest from many countries.

The institute released the annotated version of “Mein Kampf” last January, just days after the copyright of the manifesto expired.

Bavaria was handed the rights to the book in 1945 when the Allies gave it control of the main Nazi publishing house following Hitler’s defeat.

For 70 years, it refused to allow the inflammatory tract to be republished out of respect for victims of the Nazis and to prevent incitement of hatred.

But “Mein Kampf” - which means “My Struggle” - fell into the public domain on January 1 and the institute said it feared a version without critical commentary could hit the market.

Partly autobiographical, “Mein Kampf” outlines Hitler’s ideology that formed the basis for Nazism. He wrote it in 1924 while he was imprisoned in Bavaria for treason after his failed Beer Hall Putsch.

The book set out two ideas that he put into practice as Germany’s leader going into World War II: annexing neighbouring countries to gain “Lebensraum”, or “living space”, for Germans, and his hatred of Jews, which led to the Holocaust.

Some 12.4 million copies were published in Germany and from 1936, the Nazi state gave a copy to all newlyweds as a wedding gift.

 

 

 

‘Flying car’drone moves closer to delivery

YAVNE (Reuters) : After 15 years of development, an Israeli tech firm is optimistic it will finally get its 1,500 kg (1.5 tonne) passenger carrying drone off the ground and into the market by 2020. The Cormorant, billed as a flying car, is capable of transporting 500kg (around half a tonne) of weight and travelling at 185 km (115 miles) per hour. It completed its first automated solo flight over terrain in November. Its total price is estimated at $14 million. Developers Urban Aeronautics believe the dark green drone, which uses internal rotors rather than helicopter propellers, could evacuate people from hostile environments and/or allow military forces safe access. “Just imagine a dirty bomb in a city and chemical substance of something else and this vehicle can come in robotically, remotely piloted, come into a street and decontaminate an area,” Urban Aeronautics founder and CEO Rafi Yoeli told Reuters. Yoeli set up the company, based in a large hanger in Yavne, central Israel, in 2001 to create the drone, which he says is safer than a helicopter as it can fly in between buildings and below power lines without the risk of blade strikes. There is still plenty of work required before the autonomous vehicle hits the market. The Cormorant, about the size of a family car and previously called the ‘Air Mule’, is yet to meet all Federal Aviation Administration standards and a test in November saw small issues with conflicting data sent by on board sensors.

 

With 39 patents registered to create the vehicle, Yoeli has little concern about competitors usurping him. One industry experts said the technology could save lives.  “It could revolutionise several aspects of warfare, including medical evacuation of soldiers on the battlefield,” said Tal Inbar, head of the UAV research centre at Israel’s Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies.