Monday, May 24, 2010

Another pointer to 2012...

Received an email today and I must share with you. Is 2012 real?


Subject: Here's the real Doomsday story/Must Read !!
If this engineer is right, this is truly a scary scenario! Here's his story.

"Heard your mention of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico this morning, and you (and most everyone else except maybe George Noory) are totally missing the boat on how big and bad of a disaster this is.

First fact, the original estimate was about 5,000 gallons of oil a day spilling into the ocean. Now they're saying 200,000 gallons a day. That's over a million gallons of crude oil a week!

I'm engineer with 25 y ears of experience. I've worked on some big projects with big machines. Maybe that's why this mess is so clear to me.

First, the BP platform was drilling for what they call deep oil. They go out where the ocean is about 5,000 feet deep and drill another 30,000 feet into the crust of the earth. This it right on the edge of what human technology can do. Well, this time they hit a pocket of oil at such high pressure that it burst all of their safety valves all the way up to the drilling rig and then caused the rig to explode and sink. Take a moment to grasp the import of that. The pressure behind this oil is so high that it destroyed the maximum effort of human science to contain it.

When the rig sank it flipped over and landed on top of the drill hole some 5,000 feet under the ocean.

Now they've got a hole in the ocean floor, 5,000 feet down with a wrecked oil drilling rig sitting on top of is spewing 200,000 barrels of oil a day into the ocean. Take a moment and consider that, will you!

First they have to get the oil rig off the hole to get at it in order to try to cap it. Do you know the level of effort it will take to move that wrecked oil rig, sitting under 5,000 feet of water? That operation alone would take years and hundreds of millions to accomplish. Then, how do you cap that hole in the muddy ocean floor? There just is no way. No way.

The only piece of human technology that might address this is a nuclear bomb. I'm not kidding. If they put a nuke down there in the right spot it might seal up the hole. Nothing short of that will work.

If we can't cap that hole that oil is going to destroy the oceans of the world. It only takes one quart of motor oil to make 250,000 gallons of ocean water toxic to wildlife. Are you starting to get the magnitude of this?

We're so used to our politicians creating false crises to forward their criminal agendas that we aren't recognizing that we're staring straight into possibly the greatest disaster mankind will ever see. Imagine what happens if that oil keeps flowing until it destroys all life in the oceans of this planet. Who knows how big of a reservoir of oil is down there.

Not to mention that the oceans are critical to maintaining the proper oxygen level in the atmosphere for human life.

We're humped. Unless God steps in and fixes this. No human can. You can be sure of that!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

FTZ for Kenyir Lake?

This is the most craziest idea by the Barisan Najis government. Trying to promote orang "kafir" to goto Kenyir to booze, get drunk and perhaps drowned. I think a license for casino to attract tourists could be in the pipeline too. Image with the natural heritage attractions of "8,000 species of flowers, 2500 species of plants and trees, as well as more than 300 species of fresh water fish" and these stupid people want to draw in drunkards to natural sites. Greedy and perhaps want to curi duit from the project? Nothing seemed to be done on conservation of natural heritage but more to destroy it. They should promote the natural heritage. And if the Kenyir Lake is not drawing tourists then blame the operators. I myself, have been there, and I have no interest to go again for the simple reason that most operators are untrustworthy, boats that got delayed and activities got cancelled.


Saturday May 22, 2010
RM100mil to make Kenyir a tourist draw

KUALA TERENGGANU: Kenyir lake, the largest man-made lake in South East Asia, will undergo a RM100mil makeover.

It is also expected to be declared as a Free Trade Zone (FTZ) to make it a top tourist draw.

Kenyir, with 340 islands, is currently not a top tourist destination.

With the FTZ, the Terengganu government hopes it will be an impetus for the growth of eco-tourism in this area.

Mentri Besar Ahmad Said confirmed the state government had requested the Federal Government to declare Kenyir as an FTZ.

The proposed development for Kenyir included introducing a 40-seater jet boat to tour the lake; constructing a cable car line, setting up a theme park, creating an orchid garden, a fruit orchard as well as birds and butterfly parks.

The jet boat ride is expected to be crowd-puller with the highlight being the “Shotover” where the boat makes a 360-degree spin at full throttle.

Kenyir will also be turned into a shopping paradise, offering merchandise at affordable prices.

The lake makes a fascinating tourism spot as it is home to more than 8,000 species of flowers, 2500 species of plants and trees, as well as more than 300 species of fresh water fish.

The infrastructure and transportation system leading to Kenyir, specifically to the islands, will also be upgraded.

Ahmad said a jetty would be constructed fronting Kenyir's main gateway.

Tiger Being Abused For Money

Saturday May 22, 2010
Uproar over abused tiger claim

MALACCA: A 500ha resort in Alor Gajah, with its own safari, has attracted the attention of animal lovers and authorities here over a video clip on the Internet allegedly showing the abuse of a drugged tiger during a photography session.

The two-minute clip first appeared on YouTube in February with the title “Tiger Being Abused For Money.”

It shows what seems to be a heavily sedated tiger on a raised platform and occasionally being propped up by its handler.

The recording also includes an audio recording of an unknown person questioning, in Cantonese, the alleged mistreatment of the tiger.

The person also mentions that she was told that patrons had to fork out RM15 to pose for photographs with the tiger.

When contacted, Malacca Society Against the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) president Vincent Low said he was not shocked by such allegations as they had received complaints about the resort previously.

“It is a wild animal and should not be subjected to such treatment. Not only is it inhumane to treat the tiger in such a manner, it is also dangerous for patrons,” he said.

A Famosa Resort general manager Allan Chee denied the abuse allegation.

“There is no evidence that the tiger was drugged or abused by its handler,” he said, adding that he was aware of the video clip and had received numerous inquiries from the public.

Chee said the animal was a captive-bred tiger and was considered very tame and comfortable around humans.

“Tigers are nocturnal and those here are very well fed and become very lazy and lethargic during the mid-morning. So, it is natural that the handlers had to use extra coaxing to move the heavy tiger into position,” he said.

He also denied the resort charged RM15 for patrons to take photographs with the tiger.

“We only charge patrons if they ask us to photograph them with our instant camera,” he said.

A check revealed the resort had removed all negative comments from its Facebook fan page.

It is learnt that WWF Malaysia had also received numerous complaints over the video and had advised those concerned to take it up with the Wildlife and National Parks Department.

It is learnt that SPCA had submitted its recommendation to the department to ensure that animals at the resort were not abused.

Video posted here

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

MNS: Sign the Pledge - Save Temengor Campaign 2010

Dear Members,

Greetings from MNS.

I write to encourage all members, their family and friends to help support our ‘Save Temengor’ Campaign pledge at

In conjunction with our 70th anniversary, MNS have set itself a target for 2010, to get Temengor Forest Reserve protected and gazetted as part of Royal Belum State Park or equivalent. Time is not on our side as logging activities are ongoing as we speak, putting precious biodiversity at risk or even worse, extinction!

Please join us in this pledge and let’s do this our country and its future. For more information and full campaign details, pls visit or the campaign and short documentary at

Or visit any The Body Shop outlets in Peninsular Malaysia and sign the pledge book there.
For our members in Sabah and Sarawak, pls contact your branch representatives.

Thank you.

Warm regards,

Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor
Malaysian Nature Society

Penang state government set to create a greener public realm

Wednesday May 19, 2010

GEORGE TOWN: Penang is launching a green initiative, roping in the private sector, non-governmental organisations, the media, government agencies and other stakeholders to work towards making George Town an international city.

The “Cleaner Greener Penang” initiative, to be launched on Saturday, is pioneered by the state government and Star Publications (M) Bhd and supported by the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) and Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP).

State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow, who heads the initiative, said the objectives of the one-year campaign were to improve the quality of life and create a greener public realm.

“We also want to raise awareness on the importance of looking after the environment,” he told reporters at Komtar here yesterday.

“We have to derive creative solutions to meet the needs and concerns of the community,” he said.

To monitor and evaluate the success of the initiative, Chow said four key result areas have been set – creating cleaner and greener neighbourhoods, achieving waste minimisation through 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle), transforming mindsets towards responsible citizenship and empowering and building community structure for sustainable living.

He added that the public were encouraged to provide suggestions.

The Star’s regional operations manager (north) Chung Chok Yin said the company was more than pleased to participate in the campaign.

“We hope other media companies will also work together for a more sustainable environment,” he said.

The initiative will be launched at the Prangin Canal at 8.30am. The public can provide feedback at its website or call MPPP at 04-263 7637 04-263 7637 or MPSP at 04-537 2658

650ha of Rafflesia Kerrii clusters found in Kelantan

Yes, almost 6.5 sq km, this site is perhaps the largest colony of Rafflesia Kerrii. I've been there and at any time of your visit, you will see at least one flowering rafflesia. There are many tours from Cameron Highlands to this site. Exploitation by 4WD to this site has damaged the trail and causing hardship to the locals who ply the trail to the forest to gather forest's produce. Tour guides have been damaging large clumps of bamboo to demostrate the water retention capability of the bamboo. Ecotourism without benefiting the local orang asli should not be encouraged. Right now, the annoucement of this potential could wake up the state government of Kelantan...but would the orang asli be given jobs in this lucrative tourism? The establishment of this potential natural heritage will not benefit the local orang asli if political will is lacking. As expected, exploitation for economic benefit will see the orang asli being sidelined again.


Wednesday May 19, 2010

KOTA BARU: A 650ha site with many clusters of Rafflesia Kerrii has been found in Lojing Highlands, about 260km south of Kelantan.

The area has a potential to be a world heritage site but is threatened by encroaching development from neighbouring Cameron Highlands.

The site was discovered by a Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) research team headed by its senior lecturer Zulhazman Hamzah in 2008.

UMK vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Zainai Mohamed announ­ced the find at a two-day National Conference on Natural Resources here yesterday.

Dr Zainai said that with the discovery, the area could be developed for the agro-tourism industry, but it needed to be gazetted as a national and world treasure.

“Nowhere else in the world can we find clusters of such species and it should be gazetted as soon as possible to protect its natural habitat. Otherwise, development will destroy the area,” he said.

He also said more research would be done on the area, including the economic spin-off, natural habitat and potential conservation.

Zulhazman said after a two-year study of the area, he concluded that it has a vast tourism potential.

“I discovered 26 spots using the Geographic Information System. I have plotted three different sites – Kampung Cedau, Kampung Kuala Rengi and Kampung Gedik.

“All the Rafflesias were located outside the Lojing Highlands forest reserve and therefore it is vulnerable to development unless they are protected,” he said.

Rafflesia Kerrii is the second largest flower after Rafflesia Arnoldii.

He said serious efforts must be done to conserve the area that has no fewer than 260 pods scattered all over, adding that a working paper had been sent to the state government proposing that the area be gazetted but they have yet to receive any response.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reward our failed government with a broom

I cannot help but put up this interesting article. Our failed forestry, failed wildlife, failed sustainability, are the product of a nation....a nation on the brink of failure? Read the article below, and yes, I agree that nothing will ever change unless we change the government.... before we can save our forest, our biodiversity, our nature.


A nation on the brink of failure
Tue, 11 May 2010 22:26
By Stanley Koh

We can forgive the typical Malaysian his sneer and scepticism when he hears politicians promising change. We can even understand it if he has despaired that things will ever get better.

With all the news we have been getting lately, many are wondering whether we are on the brink of becoming a failed nation.

A policeman shoots a child dead. We are shocked, but then we remember that there have been many extrajudicial killings before and that, in many of the cases, there have been no closure for the victims’ families. The government sets up an independent panel to inquire into the latest shooting, and we are reminded of the royal panel that probed the VK Lingam tapes and got nowhere.

The government announces its intention to go for nuclear power. This scares us, because it is the same government that lost jet engines to thieves and the same government that spent millions of ringgit buying a submarine that had to be repaired before it could dive. Can the same government ensure the safety of a nuclear power plant?

A local warlord raises the spectre of another May 13, and we recall the kris wielding of the current home affairs minister and, before him, the current prime minister. We wonder if Umno will ever stop threatening racial violence every time it feels cornered. But we have no doubt that if clashes do happen, it is the opposition politicians who will be rounded up and imprisoned without trial.

Indeed, we have yet to see any evidence that those who have been ruling over us are capable of change.

To the Chinese community, the ruling regime is best described by two idiomatic expressions: “hu zuo fei wei” and “hu e bu quan” (literally, “acting wildly in defiance of moral law or public opinion” and “spending money like soil”).

Both characteristics are sustained by hypocrisy. We are told that 1Malaysia is a sort of road map leading towards a great sense of unity among Malaysians, that the project embraces everything that is good—a determination to wipe out corruption, a more open government, etcetera, etcetera.

So far, the fight against corruption seems more like a campaign to put opposition politicians behind bars. We may have to wait forever for the result of investigations into how Khir Toyo got the money to build his mansion, to name only one case.

As for a more open government, one wonders if the prime minister—or his wife—even understands that openness must go hand in hand with robust debate. The media must be allowed to air the widest spectrum of views on current affairs and perennial concerns. Instead, media organisations must take directions from Mrs Prime Minister, whom no one elected to office.

Can a political leadership that staunchly defends race-based policies, media censorship and other draconian laws and that speaks the political dialect of lies, evasion and self-denial be capable of guiding us to a happier future?

A funny story

The answer may lie in a funny story currently making the email rounds. It goes like this:

A little boy waiting for his mother to come out of the grocery store is approached by a man who asks, “Son, can you tell me where the post office is?”

The boy replies “Sure. Just go straight down the street a couple blocks and turn to your right.”

The man thanks the boy and says, “I’m the new pastor in town. I’d like for you to come to church on Sunday. I’ll show you how to go to heaven.”

The boy replies with a chuckle, “Oh, come on! You don’t even know the way to the post office.”

Given our seemingly hopeless situation, should we give up the fight and forget about seeing change for the betterment of our nation?

Perhaps we should remember the following words of Martin Luther King Jr:

“Our survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle.

“And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride your back unless your back is bent.”

Perhaps it is time that we reward our failed government with a broom and replace it with a wiser government that exercises power prudently and with a conscience.

Stanley Koh is a contributor to Free Malaysia Today.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Bolehland into Nuclear Energy?

This is my biggest worry when Bolehland wanted to follow every dicks in this region to have a nuclear power plant. When government officials are half-past-six, built building that collapsed, with roof that leaks, poor maintainance cultures, corruptions, and whatnot. Answer me, can you trust them to do a good job of safe keeping the nuclear plant?

May 5, 2010 MYT 4:21:28 PM
Govt's nuclear energy plan draws flak

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian environmentalists and Opposition leaders on Wednesday slammed the Government's plan to build a nuclear power plant, calling it a risky venture and saying the country has sufficient energy output to meet future needs.

Energy Minister Peter Chin announced Tuesday that the Government had approved, in principle, a nuclear plant which would start operating from 2021, as an efficient and cost-effective means to fuel economic growth.

Malaysia will join neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam, which have unveiled plans to operate their first nuclear power plants by 2020, while Indonesia plans to build its own on Java island by 2015.

The opposition DAP said there was no need for nuclear power because Malaysia has a 40% energy reserve margin, double the Government's target of 20% reserves. Malaysia's power usage now stands at 14,000 megawatts, out of a total capacity of 23,000 megawatts.

In addition, it said, several large hydroelectric dams are being built on Borneo island to cater to future demands.

"Clearly, Malaysia has more energy than it needs ... why then does Malaysia need a nuclear power plant?" DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said in a statement.

He also expressed concerns for safety and the environment, citing the 1986 Chernobyl reactor explosion that sent a cloud of radiation over much of Europe and left some two million people ill.

Malaysian officials maintain the plan is crucial for the country's long-term energy security in view of a growing population and future economic expansion, but say they will conduct feasibility studies before deciding whether to proceed.

Malaysia uses coal and natural gas to generate most of its electricity supply, and the Government has repeatedly warned the cost of relying on both commodities is expected to spiral in the decades ahead.

The Centre for Environment, Technology and Development, a local think-tank, warned that nuclear power was capital intensive and risky because it generated radioactive waste that has to be discarded.

Centre chairman Gurmit Singh said there was a lot of energy wastage in the country because gasoline, diesel and electricity were subsidised. He urged the Government to instead bolster energy efficiency and turn to other renewable sources like wind and solar power.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, there are more than 430 nuclear power plants operating in some 30 countries worldwide, accounting for about 15% of global electricity output. - AP


We Are Dead!
by Simon Templar
Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Wow! We are going to have a nuclear plant.

If we were still in school, this will be 'like super cool, man!'. It's 'like so futuristic'. And so advance.

But we are no longer in school. And we know the ugly truth about Malaysia. Verdict: We Are Dead!

We are talking about the very realistic Malaysia that you and me know. The Malaysia that cannot even efficiently maintain the mini Tenaga sub-stations at our housing areas. We are talking about the Malaysia who cannot provide clean water to the people even when easy and efficient technology is in use. The Malaysia who cannot even dispose off our garbage in a manner that is not harmful to the environment. The Malaysia who even with computers and technology assistance cannot get trains to arrive and depart on time.

And yet we are going to have a matha-farking nuclear plant!

I hope that the plant is built far away. Maybe Sabah or Sarawak. Sorry folks, I need the South China Sea to act as a barrier.

Hmmm... Maybe they can build it in Sabah near the coal-fired plant. If we are talking about environmental damage and loss of human life, we might as well reduce the area and bring down the headcount. Better that than everyone dying, ain't it? (I was told that it is human nature to be selfish. I was also told that I can't beat the government.)

A nuclear plant? What the...?

What the hell to we need a nuclear plant for? We are a kuchi-rat country with 28 million jokers leaving in it. How much efficient energy do we consume? How desperate is our need for such enormous amount of energy? How many energy zapping factories do we have in this country? Dude, this is no Command & Conquer. This is real life death-threatening technology we are talking about. Plus, to be managed by some dumb-wits.

I tell you, this has all got to do with blardie money again. I think UMNO has gone too far this time. The thing with UMNO is they are getting extremely greedy. They are no longer satisfied with reaping money on the smaller scale by the millions and tens of millions per project. Everything nowadays has got to benefit them in terms of hundreds of millions or billions. But to put the life of every Malaysian at risk just to satisfy their lust for money?

Eh come on lah, stop fucking around with people's lives.

Even that they want to do it on a larger scale. Previously, the Malaysian government is happy killing the people (mostly Indians it would seem) on a small scale of a couple of thousand per year. Nowadays, they are talking about killing the mass population. What's with this apa nama UMNO? They got possessed by the Satan is it? Have they gone fucking nuts?

Allow me to frighten you a little with some Chernobyl stats. Did you know that the Chernobyl disaster released 400 times more radioactive material than the Hiroshima atomic bombing? Did you know that the contamination of the Chernobyl accident was felt up to more than 1,000 km away?

Let's put that to perspective. Peninsular Malaysia from the tip of Perlis to the bottom end of Johor is approximately 750 km. Simply put it, wherever this nuclear thing is built in Peninsular Malaysia, you are fried the moment a very likely Malaysian style disaster takes place at the said plant.

You may not die if you are further away. But you will quite likely die of some kind of cancer. That's if you don't already decide to kill yourself when your nervous system involuntarily makes you shout out Rosmah's name every exact 38 seconds. And of course, be assured that your newborn baby will look very adorable with her 3 eyes and a limb sticking out of her chest.

This is so brilliant. By the way, I wage 50 bucks that by the time the plant is in operation, 20,000 folks leaving nearby would have already have taugehs growing from the top of their heads. And another 1,000 may have grown a second dick. Failed tests. Drums of radioactives 'accidentally' falling into the nearby river. Accidents of trucks ferrying radioactive materials on their way to the plant. The usual stuffs. But of course you won't read these in the papers. Shhhhh...

Malaysia is so boleh! Damn I love this country.

Note to Singaporeans: Hey, you guys are pretty nearby I last checked.


Be afraid. Be very afraid
Wed, 26 May 2010

Imagine that Umno is still in power a dozen years from now, with a nuclear power plant under its control. That’s scary even if you delete the words following the comma. We’ll still have the ISA and other satanic laws. The police, judiciary and mainstream media will still operate as Umno bureaus. Lucrative government contracts will still go to the Umno-connected. Things will remain the same because Umno is stubbornly — and sometimes militantly — resistant to change. If an Umno apologist disputes this, then he must give an alternative explanation of why Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was kicked out.

Now restore the words we deleted. And then recall that under Umno’s watch the country lost two warplane engines to thieves and bought a submarine that couldn’t dive. Especially remember that when we were choking in the haze blown in from Sumatra and Kalimantan, the government forbade the media from publishing readings from the air pollutant index for fear of scaring away potential investors in the Malaysian economy, as if any investor would be foolish enough not to make his own measurements.

Can we expect this same government to announce a radiation leak if it happens?

Perhaps Vincent Tan would like to bet his millions on this. Many of us did not know about the radioactive waste dumps in Perak until about two weeks ago, when Tan’s good buddy spoke about it — decades after the dumping. “The place is still not safe, and we have almost one square mile that is dangerous,” said Dr Mahathir Mahathir.

It would have been distressing enough if Peter Chin, the allegedly Green Minister, had said the government was merely considering the nuclear option. But he said the government had “decided” to go nuclear. With his next breath, he rubbed radioactive plutonium into our cancer wounds. He indicated that the government was not willing to debate the matter.

But let us try to be fair to the Najib administration. It has at least chosen not to keep the decision secret. Never mind that it promised to put people — and presumably not the government — first. We shall assume that it plainly and honestly forgot that promise.

Let us stretch our fairness further and thank the government for making the announcement 11 years before activating the nuclear plant. We shall assume that it did this in order to gauge public reaction before reaching a “final decision”. Indeed, Chin has written about the decision in his blog and is entertaining comments. That’s encouraging. Or maybe that’s entertainment.

Remember the contract junkies we mentioned in the intro? They are probably already scrambling for nuclear-related businesses. Even if Najib Tun Razak decides that the critics are right and the nuclear idea is dumb and should be dumped, will he have the political will to go against those who can already see a windfall coming?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Bees and 2012

If you have seen the movie 2012 (you should watch if you haven't) you can understand this. Bees are migrating. I have personally seen migrating swarm of bees heading south across Penang Bridge two years ago and another one heading south-west near an 11 storeys apartment. Is it global warming? Is it freezing temperature in the northern hemisphere? I don't know too. But everything is pointing to 2012. Are we watching too much movie and be paranoid? Or is it a prophecy that is "coming soon"?


Fears for crops as shock figures from America show scale of bee catastrophe
Alison Benjamin
The Observer,
Sunday 2 May 2010

The world may be on the brink of biological disaster after news that a third of US bee colonies did not survive the winter.

Disturbing evidence that honeybees are in terminal decline has emerged from the United States where, for the fourth year in a row, more than a third of colonies have failed to survive the winter.

The decline of the country's estimated 2.4 million beehives began in 2006, when a phenomenon dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD) led to the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of colonies. Since then more than three million colonies in the US and billions of honeybees worldwide have died and scientists are no nearer to knowing what is causing the catastrophic fall in numbers.

The number of managed honeybee colonies in the US fell by 33.8% last winter, according to the annual survey by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the US government's Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

The collapse in the global honeybee population is a major threat to crops. It is estimated that a third of everything we eat depends upon honeybee pollination, which means that bees contribute some £26bn to the global economy.

Potential causes range from parasites, such as the bloodsucking varroa mite, to viral and bacterial infections, pesticides and poor nutrition stemming from intensive farming methods. The disappearance of so many colonies has also been dubbed "Mary Celeste syndrome" due to the absence of dead bees in many of the empty hives.

US scientists have found 121 different pesticides in samples of bees, wax and pollen, lending credence to the notion that pesticides are a key problem. "We believe that some subtle interactions between nutrition, pesticide exposure and other stressors are converging to kill colonies," said Jeffery Pettis, of the ARS's bee research laboratory.

A global review of honeybee deaths by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reported last week that there was no one single cause, but pointed the finger at the "irresponsible use" of pesticides that may damage bee health and make them more susceptible to diseases. Bernard Vallat, the OIE's director-general, warned: "Bees contribute to global food security, and their extinction would represent a terrible biological disaster."

Dave Hackenberg of Hackenberg Apiaries, the Pennsylvania-based commercial beekeeper who first raised the alarm about CCD, said that last year had been the worst yet for bee losses, with 62% of his 2,600 hives dying between May 2009 and April 2010. "It's getting worse," he said. "The AIA survey doesn't give you the full picture because it is only measuring losses through the winter. In the summer the bees are exposed to lots of pesticides. Farmers mix them together and no one has any idea what the effects might be."

Pettis agreed that losses in some commercial operations are running at 50% or greater. "Continued losses of this magnitude are not economically sustainable for commercial beekeepers," he said, adding that a solution may be years away. "Look at Aids, they have billions in research dollars and a causative agent and still no cure. Research takes time and beehives are complex organisms."

In the UK it is still too early to judge how Britain's estimated 250,000 honeybee colonies have fared during the long winter. Tim Lovett, president of the British Beekeepers' Association, said: "Anecdotally, it is hugely variable. There are reports of some beekeepers losing almost a third of their hives and others losing none." Results from a survey of the association's 15,000 members are expected this month.

John Chapple, chairman of the London Beekeepers' Association, put losses among his 150 members at between a fifth and a quarter. Eight of his 36 hives across the capital did not survive. "There are still a lot of mysterious disappearances," he said. "We are no nearer to knowing what is causing them."

Bee farmers in Scotland have reported losses on the American scale for the past three years. Andrew Scarlett, a Perthshire-based bee farmer and honey packer, lost 80% of his 1,200 hives this winter. But he attributed the massive decline to a virulent bacterial infection that quickly spread because of a lack of bee inspectors, coupled with sustained poor weather that prevented honeybees from building up sufficient pollen and nectar stores.

The government's National Bee Unit has always denied the existence of CCD in Britain, despite honeybee losses of 20% during the winter of 2008-09 and close to a third the previous year. It attributes the demise to the varroa mite – which is found in almost every UK hive – and rainy summers that stop bees foraging for food.

In a hard-hitting report last year, the National Audit Office suggested that amateur beekeepers who failed to spot diseases in bees were a threat to honeybees' survival and called for the National Bee Unit to carry out more inspections and train more beekeepers. Last summer MPs on the influential cross-party public accounts committee called on the government to fund more research into what it called the "alarming" decline of honeybees.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has contributed £2.5m towards a £10m fund for research on pollinators. The public accounts committee has called for a significant proportion of this funding to be "ring-fenced" for honeybees. Decisions on which research projects to back are expected this month.

Flowering plants require insects for pollination. The most effective is the honeybee, which pollinates 90 commercial crops worldwide. As well as most fruits and vegetables – including apples, oranges, strawberries, onions and carrots – they pollinate nuts, sunflowers and oil-seed rape. Coffee, soya beans, clovers – like alfafa, which is used for cattle feed – and even cotton are all dependent on honeybee pollination to increase yields.

In the UK alone, honeybee pollination is valued at £200m. Mankind has been managing and transporting bees for centuries to pollinate food and produce honey, nature's natural sweetener and antiseptic. Their extinction would mean not only a colourless, meatless diet of cereals and rice, and cottonless clothes, but a landscape without orchards, allotments and meadows of wildflowers – and the collapse of the food chain that sustains wild birds and animals.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Drive to restock river fish nationwide with native species

May 2, 2010

KOTA KINABALU: A high-tech approach is being taken to restock rivers nationwide with native species of fish, particularly those with high market value.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili his ministry’s biotechnology division was undertaking the breeding of native fish species such as ikan kelah in the peninsula, ikan pelian in Sabah and ikan empurau in Sarawak.

He said fingerlings of these species would then be released into rivers in the respective states and this would enable rural folk to receive better income from the sale of these freshwater fish.

“This will help the Government’s poverty eradication efforts,” he said after participating in a community fish harvesting event at the Sungai Kanarom in the Kota Marudu district, some 90km from the city, Sunday.

Noting the bountiful catch by Kampung Pompodon villagers, Dr Maximus said this was due to the community-based river conservation initiative, locally called tagal, that banned any fishing activities along the waterway, except once a year on an agreed date.

He said the tagal system, long practised in Kota Marudu and other Sabah districts, had been a good tool to promote rural tourism.

In this regard, Dr Maximus said the Cabinet had recently tasked the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry to conduct an inventory of all tagal systems in Sabah and Sarawak and provide funding to further promote the initiative in the two states.

Kota Marudu district fisheries officer Masrani Madun said the tagal system in Kg Pompodon, which started in 1998, was one of the oldest in the district out of 23 villages that practised it to date.

Dr Maximus said the Kampung Pompodon tagal system was one of the most successful in Kota Marudu due to the cooperation of the members as well as their discipline in adhering to the rules and conditions.

The tagal system is enforced under the Native Customary Law of Sabah and under Section 35, 36 and 37 of the Freshwater and Aquaculture Fisheries Enactment 2003.