Lemurs could be extinct 'very soon' experts warn
by Kashmira Gander
Thursday, 20 February 2014
Two ring-tailed lemur babies sit on their mother's back. THOMAS LOHNES/AFP/Getty Images
Lemurs could “very soon” be extinct, some of the world’s leading experts on the primates warned as they unveiled a three-year plan to save them, on Thursday.
A combination of the destruction of their habitat and bush meat hunting by impoverished local people, means that Lemurs are now the world’s most threatened mammal group.
A five-year political crisis in the Indian Ocean island Madagascar, the only place where lemurs live, and a subsequent breakdown of environmental law enforcement have worsened the situation for the roughly 100 species of lemurs, experts said. “Extinctions could begin very soon if nothing is done,” said Christoph Schwitzer, head of research at the Bristol Zoological Society in Britain who led a team of 19 scientists that drafted the emergency lemur preservation plan published in the journal ‘Science’. Only fifty of the rarest northern sportive lemurs remain, he added. “One cyclone or other natural event could wipe out the entire population. In fact, anybody who decides to go out lemur hunting could tip the species over the edge,” Schwitzer stressed.
Russian Changes Gender to Dodge Debts
28 January 2014
Bailiffs © RIA Novosti. Vladimir Fedorenko
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) – Police in southern Russia are searching for a man who was previously a woman and is believed to have changed gender to avoid paying thousands of rubles in debts and unpaid fines, local bailiffs said Monday.
The bailiff service of the southern Astrakhan region said the 38-year-old, identified only as Natalya, had changed her sex and assumed the name of Andrian after accumulating debts of about 130,000 rubles ($3,800), including an unpaid court fine of 70,000 rubles for assaulting a police officer.
As a man, the suspect has accumulated six new debts in the form of unpaid taxes, said the bailiff service, which is responsible for making sure that Russian citizens pay their bills.
Colombia's military chief fired in scandal
18 February 2014
By LIBARDO CARDONA
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Colombia's president fired his armed forces chief Tuesday for verbally maligning and suggesting action be taken against prosecutors investigating military officers accused in extrajudicial killings of civilians.
President Juan Manuel Santos told reporters that Gen. Leonardo Barrero was being relieved for "disrespectful remarks" against the judiciary and nation in a phone conversation published over the weekend. Santos' defense minister later announced that the current army chief, Gen. Juan Pablo Rodriguez, would replace Barrero.
The conversation that cost Barrero his job was recorded by prosecutors investigating graft by senior officers in allegedly inflated military contracts and was revealed by the newsmagazine Semana. Santos made it clear that Barrero was not being fired for corruption, although four generals, including the army's second highest-ranking officer, were forcibly retired Tuesday in connection with the contracts scandal.
In one recording, Barrero is heard telling a colonel jailed in an extrajudicial killings case that such prosecutions are "a bunch of crap" and suggesting that he and others "organize a mafia" to discredit the officials involved. Colombian soldiers, the vast majority enlisted men, have been convicted of nearly 900 extrajudicial slayings, dressing victims in fatigues and falsely presenting them as guerrillas killed in combat.
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