Motorway threatens iconic bird breeding programme

March 2nd, 2017

There is concern that a proposed Motorway bypass in Wales will setback the progress of a project which has reintroduced an iconic bird to wetlands it once populated.

“The proposed £1bn M4 relief road around Newport would cut through the first nesting site for common cranes in Wales in over 400 years, it has emerged.

The RSPB said the revelation, in a Welsh Government ecology report, was emblematic of wider environmental concerns about the scheme.

A five-month public inquiry into the plans begins on Tuesday.

Ministers have insisted that the project is vital, with congestion on the M4 holding back the economy.

But their preferred “black route” cuts across the ancient marshlands of the Gwent Levels, a haven for wildlife.

As well as rare plants, invertebrates and aquatic mammals like voles and otters, the latest species to be spotted is the common crane.

Last spring, a pair flew from Somerset to nest on the levels, hatching the first Welsh-born chick in over 400 years.

The adults originated from the Great Crane Project, which has been reintroducing the birds to the West Country since 2010.”

Full report here from BBC Wales:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-39065025

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League.

27/02/17

 

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Saudi intelligence links to group opposing Scottish independence

March 2nd, 2017

“A SECRETIVE right-wing Unionist organisation with links to the former director general of the Saudi intelligence service is preparing to funnel hundreds of thousands of pounds into campaigns opposing Scottish independence.

According to The Herald, The National’s sister paper, the Constitutional Research Council (CRC), which is chaired by former Scottish Conservative candidate Richard Cook, is looking to invest in “credible Unionist groups” in the event of a second independence referendum.

Yesterday, the CRC were also outed as the “shadowy” donors behind a payment of £425,000 to Northern Ireland’s DUP during the EU referendum. That money was then used to buy Brexit supporting adverts during last June’s campaign throughout the whole of the UK, including a £280,000 four-page advert in the Metro, a newspaper not available in Northern Ireland.”

Full story here in THE NATIONAL:

http://www.thenational.scot/…/15117143.Secretive_Unionist_…/

If the story is true it seems that not content with using its military muscle against smaller countries like its neighbour Yemen Saudi Arabia is also dabbling in destabilising opponents in the UK. The SNP group at Westminster have been some of the most strident in opposition to weapons supplies by the UK to Saudi Arabia.

The news about the involvement in the EU referendum which has caused such destabilisation in Ireland will also we feel sure be of concern to Irish groups now faced post Brexit with a reimposition of the border.

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League.

28/02/17

 

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New TV channel for the BBC in Scotland

February 26th, 2017

The BBC is setting out plans to address some of the deep seated criticisms of their service provided to Scotland:

“A new TV channel for the BBC in Scotland will begin broadcasting in autumn 2018, director-general Tony Hall has announced.

The channel will have a budget of £30m, equivalent to the amount spent on BBC4.

The plans for the channel include a Scottish news hour at 9pm which will broadcast stories from Scotland, the UK and the world.

The director-general also announced an increase of about £20m a year for Scotland to make UK-wide programmes.

He said this would be focused on drama and factual programming.

The key points of the new channel – which will be called BBC Scotland – are:

A “prominent” slot on the Electronic Programme Guide (the exact slot will be subject to discussions with providers such a Freeview, Sky and Virgin)
Available in iPlayer in HD in Scotland and across UK
Broadcast from 7pm to midnight every evening
A £30m budget for the new channel – £19m new money and £11m from current BBC2 opts
Integrated hour-long news programme at 9pm, edited and presented from Scotland
80 new posts for journalists

Lord Hall described it as the biggest single investment in broadcast content in Scotland for more than 20 years.”

Full story here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-39042666

BERNARD MOFFATT
ppCeltic League.

22/02/17

 

The BBC in Scotland will launch a new channel, with a £30m budget, in autumn 2018.
 
BBC.CO.UK|BY BBC NEWS
 
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Finucane justice campaign will go on

February 26th, 2017

The Widow of Pat Finucane the Belfast lawyer murdered by a Ulster loyalist murder gang is to continue her fight for justice. Mrs Finucane is striving to achieve a full public inquiry into the death in which the collusion of members of the security forces in N. Ireland is suspected.

Her latest High Court challenge was unsuccessful but it seems the matter will now go to the Supreme Court.

Pat Finucane was one of a number of lawyers and journalist killed by loyalists known to have links to the British security. Indeed the use of so called pseudo-gangs to target individuals the security forces disliked was a practice taught at the British Army Staff College – the issue is well documented.

Other prominent figures murdered include lawyer Rosemary Nelson and investigative journalist Martin O’Hagan:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-39040766

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League.

22/02/17

 

Pat Finucane’s widow loses the latest stage in her campaign for a public inquiry…
 
BBC.CO.UK|BY BBC NEWS
 
 
See more from BBC News.
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Ireland: Conference considers ‘alarming decline’ in wild salmon stocks

February 26th, 2017

A conference in Ireland this week has been considering the alarming decline in Atlantic Wild Salmon.

Despite a decade long conservation measure the decline has continued and factors thought to be involved in this include climate change and salmon fish farming which has lead to an increase in parasitic disease in both the salmon and sea trout.

Another factor is the influence of by-catch which must be significant as Chinese, Russian and EU fishing fleets including super-trawlers extensively work the migratory seas through which the salmon pass.

Related link:

http://www.irishtimes.com/…/driftnet-ban-fails-to-save-atla…

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

22/02/17

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60th anniversary of young Cypriot freedom fighter

February 26th, 2017

This week the English Queen awarded a belated posthumous medal to a young British soldier killed in Cyprus in 1956. He was just 19 and died when a bomb exploded the news reports said he was undertaking ‘peacekeeping’ duties.

Now ANY young mans death is a sad loss not least to the family but in 1956 the United Kingdom were not undertaking PEACEKEEPING in Cyprus they were engaged in a bitter war with the liberation movement EOKA which was fighting to free the Island from British colonial oppression.

Coincidentally this year – in a few weeks time – will mark the 60th anniversary of the death of another 19 year old young man but the circumstances of his death are very different because he was judicially murdered by the British.

Greek Cypriot, Evagoras Pallikarides believed in the ideal of freedom long before the EOKA campaign began. In 1953 at age 15 as a High School student he participated in a boycott of the celebrations on Cyprus to mark the coronation of the English Queen. He also personally removed a Union Flag from his school. Also before his involvement with EOKA in 1955 he intervened to stop two British servicemen who had tied a Cypriot student to a post and were beating him.

Later when involved in the EOKA struggle Pallikarides was detained for carrying firearms.

At his trial Pallikarides did not deny possession of the weapon. He said he did what he had to do as a Greek Cypriot seeking his freedom telling the Court “I know you will sentence me to death, but whatever I did, I did as a Cypriot who wants his liberty”.

He was sentenced to death by hanging for firearms possession on February 27, 1957. Pallikarides was hanged on March 14, 1957, at the age of 19. The lawfulness of his execution has been subsequently questioned in light of the fact that the weapon held by Pallikarides at the time was not functional.

Pallikarides is also known for the poetic legacy he left behind. Most of his poems have the theme of either nature or the struggle for freedom. A number of his poems have been set to music. The most prominent example is the poem that Pallikarides left behind for his classmates before joining EOKA. The first verse reads:

‘I’ll take an uphill road
I’ll take the paths
To find the stairs
That lead to freedom’

Many other Greek Cypriots were hanged; at least 14 died under torture and hundreds of others were tortured by the British security forces.

Image: Evagoras Pallikarides, patriot, freedom fighter and poet

Related link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evagoras_Pallikarides

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League.

23/02/17

 

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Uk obfuscate-while Saudis commit war crimes in Yemen

February 26th, 2017

The MOD has responded to our query about the use of cluster munitions in Yemen against civilian targets we had written to them in December (see link)
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=355368334825936&id=100010583165640
The response is a combination of obfuscation and hypocrisy as while not denying the use of the munitions they say the issue of investigating the incidents alleged is a matter for the Saudi led coalition.
The MOD maintains they comply with the International Convention on Cluster Munitions but it’s clear the UK and the Saudis are guilty of war crimes against the Yemeni civilian population:
The text of the response from the UK Ministry of Defence is set out below:
“Dear Mr Moffatt,
Thank you for your letter dated 19 December 2016. I am responding on behalf of the Secretary of State for Defence.
You draw attention to a BBC article published following the oral statement on Yemen on 19 December 2016. In this statement, the Secretary of State for Defence explained that, following their own internal investigation, the Saudi-led Coalition had concluded that BL-755 cluster munitions made in the UK in the 1980s and exported before the UK ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions, were dropped in Yemen by Coalition aircraft, including in the incident alleged by Amnesty International.
The Coalition has stated that the munitions were used against legitimate military targets and you ask if the UK will “be making effort to establish just what ‘military targets’ were attacked”. Let me reassure you that we carefully analysed the allegation and raised the issue with the Saudi-led Coalition. However, as the Secretary of State for Defence made very clear in the House, such an allegation is a matter for the Coalition to investigate. Indeed, he explained that the Coalition “have shown through this process that they are able to do that. They have investigated, and they have…announced the findings and taken action as a result”.
Finally, let me make clear that the UK has fulfilled and continues to fulfil its obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Yours sincerely,

MOD Operations Directorate”

Image: Civilian area bombed at Sanaa Yemen – cluster munitions hamper and endanger Civil Defence rescuers.

Related link:

https://www.amnesty.org/…/yemen-children-among-civilians-k…/

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League.

23/02/17

 

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Oil Spill Latest – IMO needs to probe vessels collision

February 25th, 2017

It seems the oil spill following a collision between a Manx registered vessel and another ship off Chennai India is much worse than earlier thought,

The spill which we reported on earlier is now polluting 24km of coastline and the pictures of the shoreline pollution show this is a major incident.

Damage to marine life is likely to be extensive not just from the pollution but from the chemicals used to tackle the thick oil slick which is creeping inexorably along the coast.

The impact of the spill is already being felt with fish markets empty but as this report from Hindustan Times points out the problem will be long lasting and it may take the environment many years to recover (link):

http://www.hindustantimes.com/…/story-WR7pLZ8jaUE3b6LhslZLj…

Despite there being a Manx registered vessel involved the Manx authorities have said nothing the adage seeming to be ‘out of sight out of mind’.

Celtic League have previously raised concerns and called for action by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) following spills of this kind around the Celtic countries and we will not shy of urging the IMO to revisit the issue in respect of this incident just because it has occurred far from our countries shores.

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League.

25/02/17

 

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Mec Vannin acknowledge McGuiness role in peace process

February 5th, 2017

News from Mannin Branch of Celtic League:

Following the retirement of the Deputy First Minister of the Stormont government the Manx Nationalist Party has written to him to acknowledge his role in bringing stability to the North of Ireland after the troubles.

Martin McGuinness was pivotal in ensuring the process was successful and also built an unlikely working relationship and friendship with the DUP’s Ian Paisley who was First Minister for many years.

The text of the Mec Vannin letter is set out below:

“Mr Martin McGuinness
c/o Sinn Fein
52 Falls Road
Belfast
Ireland BT124PO

Dear Mr McGuinness,

Mec Vannin, the Manx republican nationalist party, wishes to convey its support of your contribution to politics, the advancement of democracy, republican politics and peace in the north of Ireland.

Whereas your departure from Stormont leaves a difficult gap to fill, your demonstration that nationalism offers a genuine political future for all has built bridges that will be hard to break. It is, nevertheless, obvious that there lies a long road ahead for the people of the North and backsliders must not be tolerated.

We further congratulate you on your recent nomination for the Tipperary International Peace Award and wish you well for the future with a saying from our own language which you may recognise:

Slaynt as shee,eash dy vea as maynrys son dy bragh. Health and peace, length of life and enduring happiness.

Best regards
Mec Vannin The Manx Nationalist Party”

Image: Martin McGuinness with the late Ian Paisley

Related link:

https://www.facebook.com/MecVanninOfficial

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

05/02/17

 

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Articles Sought for Publication in Carn

January 30th, 2017
Articles Sought for Publication in Carn 
 
Contributions are currently being sought for the next issue of Carn (#167). 
 
Carn is the Celtic League’s longest running publication and was originally launched in 1973. The 24 page long publication is currently only available in hard copy format and is produced three times a year. It is regarded as an educational magazine and provides news articles and in-depth analysis of issues from an alternative perspective relevant to people in the Celtic countries 
 
Rhisiart Tal-e-bot is the current editor and took over from Patricia Bridson, who edited the publication for 29 years, in 2013. Previous editors of Carn were:
 
Frang MacThòmais 1973 – 74
Pádraig Ó Snodaigh 1974 – 77
Cathal Ó Luain 1977 – 81
Pedyr Pryor 1981 – 84
 
Each issue of Carn features articles in all of the six Celtic languages and English, on a range of varied subjects from the environment to culture to history. Writers from throughout the Celtic countries and internationally contribute articles voluntarily and the magazine has always been financed through the contributions of its subscribers and members of the Celtic League. For more information please contact the editor or submit an article (long or short) for consideration by the editorial board.
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