Thursday September 20, 2018
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Re-Wilding : Win or loss

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https://youtu.be/vfgDKOn84r4

Something extraordinary is happening at the Pleistocene Park in Siberia.

For the first time in ten thousand years – Wild horses, oxen and reindeers are returning to their new abode. The initiative is taken by the Russian scientist Sergei Zima who is creating an ecosystem from the Ice-Age through the process called Re-Wilding.

Zima says that these animals will eventually break the bushes and devour them and thus will fertilize the soil, which will make the grass grow and the trees to dry up. The result will be a creation of new meadowlands with steep vegetation.

Still the goal is far away as the presently the park is supporting only a meager number of 200 animals.

On the flip side of it, David Nogez of University of Copenhagen warns about the consequences of the Re-wilding methodologies. He mentions that to fully grasp the way in which the system works, one will have to consider the effect it will have when introducing the species to a new environment and also to keep in mind the alternatives such as the classic conservation approaches.

For instance, one can take the examples of the recovery of the wolf population in the USA’s Yellowstone National Park, which can very well be considered as a Re-Wilding success story. They were first introduced in the mid 1990s from where they have increased up to fivefold of their numbers.

The wolves are monitored closely in the park, but their spread off in the adjacent areas has created a rivalry with the ranchers.

One of the Ranchers, Richard Kinki, tells us they are helpless against taking any action towards the wolves as they are federally protected. The main problem lies in the fact that the cattle loss has increased with their population.

According to a study at the University of Copenhagen, the report argues that the decision makers should consider more of the wildlife and environmental sciences while implementing their laws of the Re-wilding program.

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Google Gets Warned By Russia For Meddling In The Elections

Russia has long pushed for greater control of information published by Russian users.

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Google
A Google logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

Russia on Tuesday said it has officially warned US internet giant Google against meddling in next Sunday’s local elections by posting opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s videos calling for mass protests.

Representatives of Russia’s electoral commission, the Prosecutor-General’s Office and the state internet watchdog at a meeting alleged Navalny uses Google’s services to disseminate illegal information and warned that the company may be prosecuted if it does not act to stop this.

A Google spokeswoman declined to give a specific comment, telling AFP in an emailed statement that the company “reviews all valid requests from government institutions.”

Central Election Commission member Alexander Klyukin said the commission had sent an official letter to Larry Page, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, regarding Navalny’s use of YouTube.

The fierce Kremlin critic has urged Russians to protest on September 9, when several Russian regions and Moscow elect regional and local officials.

Russia
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, wikimedia commons

Navalny is currently serving a 30-day sentence for violating public order laws during a protest earlier this year.

“Mr. Navalny buys the company’s advertising tools to publish information on YouTube about the mass political event on September 9, on the day of elections,” Klyukin said.

“We informed Google that such events on election day will lead to massive violation of the law” because political agitation is banned on election day, he said.

“Meddling by a foreign company in our election is not permitted.”

He called Google a “gigantic American company” and hinted that Washington uses it as an influence tool.

US officials have repeatedly warned about the dangers of Russian interference in upcoming elections and there is a full-scale probe underway into Moscow’s alleged role in the 2016 presidential election which brought Donald Trump to office.

Russia
Central Election Commission member Alexander Klyukin said the commission had sent an official letter to Larry Page, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet. (VOA)

‘Mouthpiece’ for illegal information

The deputy chief of Russia’s internet watchdog Roskomnadzor, Vadim Subbotin, accused “foreign internet platforms” of disrespecting Russian laws and serving as a “mouthpiece for disseminating illegal information.”

He said Google-owned YouTube “acts as a link in the chain for propaganda of anti-social behaviour during Russian elections.”

He said “over 40” YouTube channels “constantly call for violating Russian law.”

“Certain parties interested in destabilising the situation in Russia attempt to attract internet users to illegal actions by providing unlimited opportunities on foreign internet giants like Google,” he said.

If Google fails to respond to official complaints, this will be seen as “de-facto direct intervention in Russia’s domestic affairs,” he said.

Russia
Russia Warns Google Against Election Meddling. Wikimedia Commons

The officials discussed their grievances against Google during a meeting at Russia’s upper house of parliament.

Also Read: Google: Flagship Pixel Watch Not Coming in 2018

Alexei Zhafyarov, an official from the Prosecutor-General’s Office, said it had sent an official warning to Google over the “inadmissibility” of violating Russian election law.

“This is a rather serious measure, after which they can be called to account,” including via criminal prosecution, he said.

Russia has long pushed for greater control of information published by Russian users on international platforms to curb political dissent and prevent terrorism. (VOA)