Thursday, September 30, 2010

More than 100 Arrested at White House Demanding End to Mountaintop Removal; Musicians Save Mountains

More than 100 Arrested at White House Demanding End to

Mountaintop Removal; Musicians Save Mountains - Dave

Matthews, Big Kenny, Emmylou Harris, and Kathy Mattea


Appalachia Rising

Monday, September 27th, 2010 at 9:55 pm


WASHINGTON DC - More than 100 people were arrested today

during Appalachia Rising, the largest national protest to

end mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining. Arrests included

Appalachian residents; retired coal miners; renowned climate

scientist, James Hansen; and faith leaders. After a march

from Freedom Plaza and a rally at Lafayette Park, more than

100 stage a sit-in in front of the White House to demand

President Obama follow his own science and end mountaintop

mining. The likely charge is obstruction.


In addition to the non-violent civil disobedience at the

White House, four people were arrested during a sit-in at

PNC bank for protesting the bank's role as the lead U.S.

financier of MTR.


Arrest in front of the White House


"The science is clear, mountaintop removal destroys historic

mountain ranges, poisons water supplies and pollutes the air

with coal and rock dust," said renowned climate scientist

James Hansen, who was arrested in today's protest at the

White House. "Mountaintop removal, providing only a small

fraction of our energy, can and should be abolished. The

time for half measures and caving in to polluting industries must end."


Appalachia Rising is being led by residents of West

Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee - Appalachian

states directly impacted by mountaintop removal. They are

calling for the Obama Administration to immediately abolish

the practice of blowing up mountains and dumping the debris

into nearby streams and valleys to reach seams of coal. "I

have talked, begged, debated, written letters to officials,

published op-ed pieces in newspapers and lobbied on the

state and federal level to end mountaintop removal," said

Mickey McCoy, former mayor and lifelong resident of Inez,

Kentucky, who was also arrested today.  "Being arrested?

That's such a small price to pay for being heard. My home

and people are paying the real price for mountaintop

removal. They are dying."


The tide has been turning on mountaintop removal with

Appalachian residents, scientists, congressional

representatives and environmentalists decrying the practice

as coming at too high a cost to public health, land, water

and taxpayers. Last April, in response to resounding

opposition to mountaintop removal, the EPA announced new

guidelines for permitting mountaintop removal valley fills.

However, the impacts of mountaintop removal mining are so

destructive that Appalachia Rising is calling on the

administration to end the practice altogether by halting

active mines and creating a permanent moratorium on new permits.


As a step in the right direction, groups have called on the

EPA to immediately veto the Spruce No. 1 Mine project, which

would be one of the largest strip-mining operations in

Appalachia. The EPA is set to make a decision in the coming

weeks on whether to reverse the Corps of Engineers' 2007

approval for the mine. With mountaintop removal becoming

increasingly controversial, the EPA's decision on the 2,278-

acre Spruce project is being closely watched as a sign of

the mining practice's future.


"We know, and the Obama Administration has said, that

mountaintop removal mining is bad for human health and the

environment," says Jane Branham of the Southern Appalachian

Mountain Stewards in VA.  "The issue here is whether

President Obama will follow the science and do something

about it now!"


A dozen leading scientists published a paper in the journal

Science in January 2009, concluding that mountaintop removal

is so destructive that the government should stop giving out

new permits altogether. "The science is so overwhelming that

the only conclusion that one can reach is that mountaintop

mining needs to be stopped," said Margaret Palmer, a

professor at the University of Maryland Center for

Environmental Sciences and the study's lead author.


Mountaintop removal is a radical form of coal mining in

which up to 800 feet, sometimes more, of densely forested

mountaintops are literally blown up to reach thin coal

seams. The resulting millions of tons of rock are dumped

into surrounding valleys and rivers, polluting the

headwaters that provide drinking water to millions of

Americans. Already, 500 mountains and 2,000 miles of streams

have been lost due to this devastating mining practice. A

2009 report estimated that coal mining costs Appalachia five

times more in premature deaths than it provides the region

in jobs, taxes and other economic benefits.




Dave Matthews talks about the destruction of mountaintop

removal, profit and why it must be stopped


NRDC interviews Dave Matthews




Big Kenny recorded this video on-the-spot during a visit to Kayford Mountain


Big Kenny - Contaminate




Music Saves Mountains Press Conference


NRDC President Frances Beinecke joined with musicians

Emmylou Harris, Big Kenny, Kathy Mattea to bring attention

to the problem of mountaintop removal coal mining in the

Appalachias. Find out more at




Join the One Nation Rally in D.C./Get on the Peace Bus

 The One Nation Rally in Washington, D.C. is on Saturday, October 2, 2010 from noon to 4 PM at the Lincoln Memorial.  Help make it an historic rally "for a future of justice at home and peace abroad, where we create good jobs for all of us and take on the great challenges we face as a nation."  Go to


While seven organizations including the AFL-CIO and the NAACP called for this rally, hundreds of other organizations for "One Nation Working Together" are planning to attend.  Many of the groups intend to organize feeder marches to the rally.  Many slogans will be present during the day on October 2, including End $30 billion in military aid to Israel and redirect that money to unmet human needs in our communities.  Go to WWW.ENDTHEOCCUPATION.ORG.


 A bus will leave from AFSC, 4806 York Road, Baltimore 21218 at 9 AM with a return at 6 PM.  To reserve a seat, call 410-323-9200 or email  The suggested donation is $10 plus the D.C. Metro fare.  No one will be turned away for a lack of funds.  Many Baltimore organizations are supporting One Nation Working together.









Video Hints at Executions by Pakistanis

The New York Times

September 29, 2010

Video Hints at Executions by Pakistanis


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An Internet video showing men in Pakistani military uniforms executing six young men in civilian clothes has heightened concerns about unlawful killings by Pakistani soldiers supported by the United States, American officials said.

The authenticity of the five-and-a-half-minute video, which shows the killing of the six men — some of whom appear to be teenagers, blindfolded, with their hands bound behind their backs — has not been formally verified by the American government. The Pakistani military said it was faked by militants.

But American officials, who did not want to be identified because of the explosive nature of the video, said it appeared to be credible, as did retired American military officers and intelligence analysts who have viewed it.

After viewing the graphic video on Wednesday, an administration official said: “There are things you can fake, and things you can’t fake. You can’t fake this.”

The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon E. Panetta, who was in Islamabad on Wednesday on a previously scheduled visit, was expected to raise the subject of the video with the chief of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the head of the Pakistani spy agency, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, American officials said.

The video adds to reports under review at the State Department and the Pentagon that Pakistani Army units have summarily executed prisoners and civilians in areas where they have opened offensives against the Taliban, administration officials said.

The video appears to have been taken in the Swat Valley, where the Pakistani military opened a campaign last year to push back Taliban insurgents. The effort was widely praised by American officials and financed in large part by the United States.

The reports could have serious implications for relations between the militaries. American law requires that the United States cut off financing to units of foreign militaries that are found to have committed gross violations of human rights.

But never has that law been applied to so strategic a partner as Pakistan, whose military has received more than $10 billion in American support since 2001 for its cooperation in fighting militants from the Taliban and Al Qaeda based inside the country.

The State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, called the images “horrifying.” He said the American ambassador, Anne W. Patterson, had raised the issue with the Pakistani government and was awaiting a response. “We are determined to investigate it,” he said.

The spokesman for the Pakistani Army, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, dismissed the video as part of a propaganda campaign by jihadists to defame the Pakistani Army. “No Pakistan Army soldier or officer has been involved in activity of this sort,” he said.

A senior Pakistani intelligence officer, who declined to be named, dismissed the video as a staged “drama.”

The Pakistani military came under strong pressure from the United States to make the drive into the Swat region. Having since expanded operations to South Waziristan, the military has found itself in a counterinsurgency campaign in which it has struggled to maintain local support and weed out insurgents and their sympathizers from the population.

The video, apparently taken surreptitiously with a cellphone, shows six young men being lined up near an abandoned building surrounded by foliage. As the soldiers prepare to shoot, one soldier asks the commander, a heavily bearded man with the short hair typical of a military haircut: “One by one, or together?” He replies, “Together.”

A burst of gunfire erupts. The young men crumple to the ground. Some, still alive and wounded, groan. Then a soldier approaches the heap of bodies, and fires rounds into each man at short range to finish the job.

The men doing the shooting wear Pakistani Army uniforms and appear to be using G-3 rifles, standard issue for the Pakistani Army and rarely used by insurgents, according to several Pakistanis who watched the video.

The soldiers also speak Urdu, the language of the Pakistani Army, and use the word “Sahib” when addressing their commander, a polite form for Mr., which is uncommon among the Taliban.

The question of extrajudicial killings is particularly sensitive for Pentagon officials, who have tried in visits to Pakistan and through increased financing to improve their often-tense relationship with the Pakistani Army.

But growing word of such incidents in recent months has led to an internal debate at the State Department and the Pentagon over whether the reports are credible enough to warrant cutting off funds to Pakistani Army units, American officials said.

Not least of the concerns is keeping the Pakistani Army as an ally. Pentagon officials, already frustrated at Pakistan’s refusal to take on Taliban militants who cross into Afghanistan to fight American forces, fear that raising the question of human rights will sour the relationship.

“What if the Pakistanis walk away — is there any option?” was a question uppermost at the Pentagon, a senior administration official involved in the debate said.

Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and sponsor of the law that would require withholding money, said Wednesday that anyone who had seen the video would “be shocked.”

If the video was found to be authentic, the law could be imposed, he said.

Currently, the United States spends about $2 billion a year on the Pakistani military, including funds specifically designated for antiterrorism operations, which the Pentagon has said it would like the Pakistanis to expand.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, raised the reports of extrajudicial killings with the head of the Pakistani Army, General Kayani, in meetings this year, a senior administration official said.

One unresolved question, the official said, was how seriously General Kayani took the killings, and whether he was willing to punish the soldiers involved.

Some reports, particularly from Waziristan, that the State Department was reviewing were increasingly specific and credible, the senior official said.

“There is a particular set of incidents that have been investigated with great accuracy, and, we believe, lead to a pattern,” the official said.

The State Department briefed members of the Senate about the issue this summer, and was set to do so again next month, an indication of the rising concern on Capitol Hill, according to one Congressional staff member.

The episode in the video may be just the most glaring to surface. The Pakistani military is believed to have detained as many as 3,000 people in makeshift prisons in the region of its operations. Reluctant to turn them over to Pakistan’s undependable courts or to grant them amnesty, the problem of what to do with the detainees has grown pressing.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in June that 282 extrajudicial killings by the army had taken place in the Swat region in the past year.

A Pakistani intelligence official, who did not want to be identified discussing the issue, said he had seen other such videos and heard reports of executions larger than the one in the video, which was posted on the Facebook page of a group that calls itself the Pashtuns’ International Association.

Two retired Pakistani senior army officers said they believed that the video was credible.

“It’s authentic,” said Javed Hussain, a former Special Forces brigadier. “They are soldiers in Swat. The victims appear to be militants or their sympathizers.” The executioners were infantry soldiers, he said. “It’s shocking, not expected of a professional, disciplined force.”

A retired lieutenant general, Talat Masood, also said the video seemed credible. “It will have a serious setback in the effort for winning the hearts and minds so crucial in this type of warfare,” he said.

A Pakistani employee of The New York Times contributed reporting.

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Former Guerrilla Set To Be The World's Most Powerful Woman

The Former Guerrilla Set To Be The World's Most Powerful Woman


Brazil looks likely to elect an extraordinary leader next weekend


By Hugh O'Shaughnessy

The Independent (UK)

September 26, 2010


The world's most powerful woman will start coming into

her own next weekend. Stocky and forceful at 63, this

former leader of the resistance to a Western-backed

military dictatorship (which tortured her) is preparing

to take her place as President of Brazil.


As head of state, president Dilma Rousseff would

outrank Angela Merkel, Germany's Chancellor, and

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State: her

enormous country of 200 million people is revelling in

its new oil wealth. Brazil's growth rate, rivalling

China's, is one that Europe and Washington can only envy.


Her widely predicted victory in next Sunday's

presidential poll will be greeted with delight by

millions. It marks the final demolition of the

"national security state", an arrangement that

conservative governments in the US and Europe once

regarded as their best artifice for limiting democracy

and reform. It maintained a rotten status quo that kept

a vast majority in poverty in Latin America while

favouring their rich friends.


Ms Rousseff, the daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant to

Brazil and his schoolteacher wife, has benefited from

being, in effect, the prime minister of the immensely

popular President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the former

union leader. But, with a record of determination and

success (which includes appearing to have conquered

lymphatic cancer), this wife, mother and grandmother

will be her own woman. The polls say she has built up

an unassailable lead - of more than 50 per cent

compared with less than 30 per cent - over her nearest

rival, an uninspiring man of the centre called Jose

Serra. Few doubt that she will be installed in the

Alvorada presidential palace in Brasilia in January.


Like President Jose Mujica of Uruguay, Brazil's

neighbour, Ms Rousseff is unashamed of a past as an

urban guerrilla which included battling the generals

and spending time in jail as a political prisoner. As a

little girl growing up in the provincial city of Belo

Horizonte, she says she dreamed successively of

becoming a ballerina, a firefighter and a trapeze

artist. The nuns at her school took her class to the

city's poor area to show them the vast gaps between the

middle-class minority and the vast majority of the

poor. She remembers that when a young beggar with sad

eyes came to her family's door she tore a currency note

in half to share with him, not knowing that half a

banknote had no value.


Her father, Pedro, died when she was 14, but by then he

had introduced her to the novels of Zola and

Dostoevski. After that, she and her siblings had to

work hard with their mother to make ends meet. By 16

she was in POLOP (Workers' Politics), a group outside

the traditional Brazilian Communist Party that sought

to bring socialism to those who knew little about it.


The generals seized power in 1964 and decreed a reign

of terror to defend what they called "national

security". She joined secretive radical groups that saw

nothing wrong with taking up arms against an

illegitimate military regime. Besides cosseting the

rich and crushing trade unions and the underclass, the

generals censored the press, forbidding editors from

leaving gaps in newspapers to show where news had been suppressed.


Ms Rousseff ended up in the clandestine VAR-Palmares

(Palmares Armed Revolutionary Vanguard). In the 1960s

and 1970s, members of such organisations seized foreign

diplomats for ransom: a US ambassador was swapped for a

dozen political prisoners; a German ambassador was

exchanged for 40 militants; a Swiss envoy swapped for

70. They also shot foreign torture experts sent to

train the generals' death squads. Though she says she

never used weapons, she was eventually rounded up and

tortured by the secret police in Brazil's equivalent to

Abu Ghraib, the Tiradentes prison in Sao Paulo. She was

given a 25-month sentence for "subversion" and freed

after three years. Today she openly confesses to having

"wanted to change the world".


In 1973 she moved to the prosperous southern state of

Rio Grande do Sul, where her second husband, Carlos

Araujo, a lawyer, was finishing a four-year term as a

political prisoner (her first marriage with a young

left-winger, Claudio Galeno, had not survived the

strains of two people being on the run in different

cities). She went back to university, started working

for the state government in 1975, and had a daughter, Paula.


In 1986, she was named finance chief of Porto Alegre,

the state capital, where her political talents began to

blossom. Yet the 1990s were bitter-sweet years for her.

In 1993 she was named secretary of energy for the

state, and pulled off the coup of vastly increasing

power production, ensuring the state was spared the

power cuts that plagued the rest of the country.


She had 1,000km of new electric power lines, new dams

and thermal power stations built while persuading

citizens to switch off the lights whenever they could.

Her political star started shining brightly. But in

1994, after 24 years together, she separated from Mr

Araujo, though apparently on good terms. At the same

time she was torn between academic life and politics,

but her attempt to gain a doctorate in social sciences

failed in 1998.


In 2000 she threw her lot in with Lula and his Partido

dos Trabalhadores, or Workers' Party which set its

sights successfully on combining economic growth with

an attack on poverty. The two immediately hit it off

and she became his first energy minister in 2003. Two

years later he made her his chief of staff and has

since backed her as his successor. She has been by his

side as Brazil has found vast new offshore oil

deposits, aiding a leader whom many in the European and

US media were denouncing a decade ago as a extreme

left-wing wrecker to pull 24 million Brazilians out of

poverty. Lula stood by her in April last year as she

was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, a condition that

was declared under control a year ago. Recent reports

of financial irregularities among her staff do not seem

to have damaged her popularity.


Ms Rousseff is likely to invite President Mujica of

Uruguay to her inauguration in the New Year. President

Evo Morales of Bolivia, President Hugo Chavez of

Venezuela and President Fernando Lugo of Paraguay -

other successful South American leaders who have, like

her, weathered merciless campaigns of denigration in

the Western media - are also sure to be there. It will

be a celebration of political decency - and feminism.


Female representation: A woman's place... is in the government


In recent years, female political representation has

undergone significant growth, with dramatic changes

occurring in unexpected corners of the globe. In some

countries women are dominating cabinets and even

parliamentary chambers. By comparison, the UK falls far

behind, with only 22 per cent of seats in the Commons

currently held by women.


Bolivia In the Bolivian cabinet, 10 men are now matched

by 10 women. In 2009, women won 25 per cent of seats in

the lower chamber, and 47 per cent in the upper chamber.


Costa Rica In 2010, women won 39 per cent of seats in

the lower chamber.


Argentina In 2009, women won 39 per cent of seats in

the lower chamber and 47 per cent in the upper chamber.


Cuba In 2009, women won 41 per cent of seats in the

lower chamber.


Rwanda In 2009, women won 56 per cent of seats in the

lower chamber and 35 per cent in the upper chamber.


Mozambique In 2009, women won 39 per cent of seats in

the lower chamber.


Angola In 2009, women won 38 per cent of seats in the

lower chamber.


Switzerland Has a female-dominated cabinet for the

first time. In 2007, women won 29 per cent of seats in

the lower chamber.


Germany In 2009, the cabinet had six women and 10 men.

That year, women won 33 per cent of lower chamber



Spain Nine women compared with eight men in cabinet. In

2008, women won 37 per cent of seats in the lower



Norway Equal numbers of men and women in the cabinet.

Women won 40 per cent of seats in the lower chamber.


Denmark Nine women and 10 men in cabinet. In 2007,

women won 23 per cent of seats in the lower chamber.


Netherlands Three women and nine men in cabinet. In

2010, women won 41 per cent of seats in the lower



Trade in Mammoth Ivory 'Is Fueling Slaughter of African Elephants'

Published on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 by The Independent/UK

Trade in Mammoth Ivory 'Is Fueling Slaughter of African Elephants'

Conservationists fear that legal trade is being used as a front for laundering of poached tusks

by Michael McCarthy

It is 4,000 years or more since the last woolly mammoths, with their spectacularly curved tusks and heavy shaggy coats, roamed the icy wastes of Siberia and Alaska. Climate change and hunting by prehistoric humans are thought to have driven them to extinction.

[Although elephants are plentiful in Southern African countries such as Botswana and South Africa, in some countries of Central and West Africa, poaching is now pushing populations to extinction.  (photo by Flickr user exfordy)]Although elephants are plentiful in Southern African countries such as Botswana and South Africa, in some countries of Central and West Africa, poaching is now pushing populations to extinction. (photo by Flickr user exfordy)

But the trade in ivory from the tusks of the ancient animals is now booming - and may present a risk to the future of the African elephant, conservationists fear.

The bodies of thousands of woolly mammoths have been found preserved in the frozen Siberian tundra, and the tusks are the best-preserved part of all.

According to a report, as much as 60 tonnes of Siberian mammoth tusks are being exported from Russia every year, mainly to China, where they end up in the workshops of its flourishing ivory-carving trade, being turned into brooches, pendants, figurines and thousands of other ivory objects, and sold around the world.

Conservationists are concerned that this legal trade could be used as a front for the laundering of illegally poached elephant ivory, thereby fuelling the poaching of elephants. The trade in African elephant ivory was outlawed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, Cites, in 1989, to halt the plunge in elephant numbers.

"Wild elephant populations were decimated by the ivory trade. By the time the 1989 Cites ban came into force, Africa's elephants had been reduced by more than 50 per cent," said Mark Jones, programmes director at Care for the Wild, the international wildlife charity which commissioned the mammoth ivory report. "Poaching continues to threaten wild elephants. Anything that encourages the continued demand for ivory products, whether mammoth ivory or elephant ivory, could potentially exacerbate this threat."

The report, by Edmond and Chrysee Martin, paints a remarkably detailed picture of a flourishing and valuable commerce in extinct animals - worth more than $20m (£12.6m) annually.

It points out that trade in woolly mammoth ivory has been going on in Russia and the rest of Asia for thousands of years, and reached a peak in the 19th century, but during the communist period from 1917 to 1991 business declined sharply.

However, since the early 1990s the domestic and international trade in mammoth tusks has reopened and expanded owing to the freeing-up of the Russian economy, more foreign visitors to the country and greater demand for ivory because of the Cites ban.

"In recent years," says the report, "60 tonnes of mammoth tusks have been exported annually from Russia, mostly to Hong Kong for carving in mainland China." There are also carving industries in parts of Russia, but most of these objects are sold on within the country.

Hunting for the tusks is now a major activity. "Every year from mid-June, when the tundra melts, until mid- September, hundreds if not thousands of mostly local people scour the tundra in northern Siberia looking for mammoth tusks," the report reveals.

"All are Russians, as foreigners cannot obtain a permit to collect tusks. Some tusks are easily seen on the banks of rivers while others are detected on the flat lands. All types of transport are used to transport the tusks: boats, lorries, aeroplanes and even helicopters."

The centre of the trade is the Siberian town of Yakutsk. Once the tusks are accumulated, traders send large planes to pick them up and send them to Moscow. They are paid for by weight. With the average export price of mammoth ivory in 2009 being $350 per kilogram, or $350,000 per tonne, the current trade is worth about $21m per year to Russia. The vast majority of the tusks are sent to Hong Kong, although some also go to Germany and the US. Nearly all are then re-exported to mainland China, where there is a well-established ivory carving trade, and where they are crafted into ivory objets d'art: some stay in China for domestic sale but many are sent back for sale to Hong Kong, and all around the world.

"Many thousands of recently made mammoth ivory items are for sale in Asia, Europe and North America," says the report. "People wishing to buy an elephant ivory object may purchase a similar one crafted from mammoth ivory that is legal and free of cumbersome paperwork. Mammoth ivory items are not for sale in Africa. If mammoth objects were to be offered in Africa, they could be a cover for elephant ivory items."

However, the report's authors fall short of calling for a mammoth ivory ban, saying there is no evidence that the worldwide mammoth ivory trade is yet affecting either the African or Asian elephant.

"For this reason, and because the species is extinct and large quantities of tusks are still available in Siberia, it is the opinion of the authors that a ban on mammoth ivory commerce is not currently justified," says the report.

Yet they sound a cautionary note, saying: "In future, a problem could occur if mammoth tusks of Chinese-made ivory items were brought into African countries, where law enforcement is poor, specifically as a cover for illegal elephant ivory carving and sales."

Although elephants are plentiful in Southern African countries such as Botswana and South Africa, in some countries of Central and West Africa, poaching is now pushing populations to extinction. Chad is thought to have only a few hundred left while Senegal and Liberia may have fewer than 10. Sierra Leone's last elephants were wiped out by poachers in November last year.

In Kenya, whose wildlife protection measures are among the strongest in Africa, the number of elephants killed by poachers rose from 47 in 2007 to 98 in 2008 and 214 in 2009. Reports suggest that at least 15 tonnes of African ivory tusks and pieces - the equivalent of up to 1,500 elephants - were seized in, or en route to, Asia during 2009.

Mammoth facts: The history - and prehistory - of a colossal creature

The woolly mammoth, mammuthus primigenius, sometimes also called the tundra mammoth, is perhaps the best known of the several species of mammoth which existed in prehistoric times, due to the many well-preserved carcasses found in the frozen tundra of Siberia.

Woolly mammoths were no bigger than Asian elephants, though their spectacular curving tusks were in a class by themselves, reaching up to seven feet long and weighing as much as 70kg each - which, at $500 per kilo for the best quality, is a lot of ivory, and a lot of money for the finder.

Protected against the cold in their long, shaggy coats, they roamed the frozen plains of Eurasia during the Ice Age, but declined to extinction about 10,000 years ago, probably because of human hunting, though it is thought that small groups may have survived into historic times.

It is believed that a dwarf subspecies may have survived on Wrangel Island, in the Arctic Ocean, until as late as 1,700BC.

Rumours persist that the animal may still survive in tiny numbers in the taiga, the vast Siberian plain forest, much of which remains unpenetrated - but nobody has ever provided any convincing evidence.

Copyright 2010 Independent Print Limited


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Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs