October 01, 2014

Justice Minister Ledy Zuniga to Offer Apology in Ceremony Wednesday

Justice Minister Ledy Zuniga will offer a public apology to a community from the Sarayaku indigenous group on Wednesday over the development of an oil project in their ancestral lands almost two decades ago, which an international court said was a violation of their rights.

"This is a great step forward for the indigenous peoples' battle to defend their rights and their ancestral lands," Felix Santi, the head of the Sarayaku people, said in an interview. " This day will be recorded in the memory and the history of the Kwichua people." The Kwichua community of Sarayaku is located in the Ecuadorean Amazon in Pastaza province.

The apology will be offered by Ms. Zuniga in the Kwichua language and Spanish in a public ceremony at the Sarayaku's central plaza. Three other ministers, including Environmental Minister Lorena Tapia, are expected to attend.

But observers say the apology won't do much to defuse potential conflicts between indigenous peoples and companies that want to explore for oil in the Amazon.

"New conflicts can still arise with new oil projects, especially in the southeast as under the current law the government is obliged to carry out prior consultation, but results are not binding," said Fernando Santos, a lawyer who works in the oil sector. "That means that although there may be community opposition, the government can develop projects."

In July 2012, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that Ecuador must apologize, consult, and compensate the Sarayaku community for violating their rights with the development of the Block 23 concession in Pastaza. It also said the government must accelerate the safe removal of 1.4 tons of explosives that an oil company left in their land.

In 1996, during the government of conservative President Sixto Duran Ballen, Argentina's Compania General de Combustibles obtained a license to develop Block 23. About 60% of the land belongs to the Sarayaku community and the remaining to other indigenous groups.

The court said that Ecuador didn't seek consent from the Sarayaku community in accordance with international standards.

The court said this was a violation of the Sarayaku's rights, including its cultural identity and indigenous communal property.

The community sued Ecuador's government in 2003. Last year, the Sarayaku people received compensation of $1.4 million, but the government still needed to remove the explosives left in the land.

The Sarayaku population totals about 1,200. Since the 1980s, it has publicly fought against oil activity in its territory.

"This is the first time that a Latin American state has gone to an indigenous community to offer apologies for something it did poorly," said Mario Melo, a lawyer for the Sarayaku community. "This could be an example for other communities not only in Ecuador, but the entire region."

Normally a Coon dog wouldn't be friends with a raccoon, but Rock loves wrestling with Ringo, the raccoon his family rescued.

Note: One of the few All-American breeds, the Black and Tan Coonhound is a persistent, determined, honest hunter who will stay on track no matter the terrain or conditions. His name developed from his color and purpose - his coat is coal black with tan markings, and he is used to trail and tree raccoon.

Outgoing and friendly, the Black and Tan Coonhound likes to be with his family. Most are laid back in the house, but require moderate daily exercise on leash or in a fenced area.

Their instincts may lead them to chase and tree small animals and bark, so training is important. Their short coat requires minimal maintenance.

Because of his strong hunting instinct and specialized skills, the Black and Tan Coonhound is rarely thought of as a family dog. Still, for people who admire the hound's independent nature and sense of humor, he can make an excellent companion and at home he tends to be laidback, playful, and gentle.


Watch: Dogs attacking/drinking water from a hose are even more glorious in slow motion

 The reason why dogs chomp at water when it's in any form other than sitting in a bowl is still unknown, but let's all agree to just put that aside today and enjoy the fact that they put on quite a show when they're attacking water coming out of a hose.

And when that show is slowed down and put to The Blue Danube (AKA the music from Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey/Homer in Space), it becomes a thing of pure beauty. (Source)

Important: This video is cute but please Don’t allow your dog to play with hoses, sprinklers, faucets or any other pressurized water source. Does your dog love to “attack” the garden hose? Or the sprinklers? Although this might look fun and harmless, the opposite is actually true.

Dogs’ need for exercise varies depending on their age, size, breed and individual traits. Most dogs benefit enormously from daily aerobic exercise (exercise that makes them pant, like fetch, tug, running and swimming), as well as at least one half-hour walk. Choose activities that suit your dog’s individual personality and natural interests.


September 30, 2014

Firefighters are often typecast as the heroic rescuers of cats in trees, but one unit in Washington state put its “Pet Emergency Pocket Guide” to much smaller use.

Lacey, Washington, first responders arrived on scene Friday to discover five hamsters threatened by a mobile home fire.

They quickly extinguished the flames, but spotted the pets inside, according to ABC affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Using their pocket guide and specially designed animal first aid equipment, crews treated the family of hamsters with oxygen masks. The Lacey Fire Department put photos of the rescue on their Twitter page shortly after the incident.

The two adult hamsters were named “Oreo” and “Madonna,” according to the fire department’s Twitter page. The other three were babies.

The fire department has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

Twitter users were delighted to see the rescue, with one tweeting, “Thank you for rescuing & providing emergency treatment for animals injured in fires. You rock!”

The fire department also tweeted, citing clothes in a dryer as the preliminary cause of the fire. Officials also shared the sad news that one of the baby hamsters didn’t survive.


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This Injured Dog Wouldn't Leave Her Puppies. Her Rescuers Didn't Give Up On Her

Iris the dog was hidden deep inside bushes on the side of a busy street in Los Angeles when Hope For Paws' Eldad Hagar and Lisa Chiarelli discovered her and her pups.

The mom was injured and terrified, and the pair worried she might dart off into the street before they had a chance to coax her into their leash. But as video published Sept. 28 shows, Iris was fiercely protective of her three babies. Even as the strangers worked to clip into her hideaway, she refused to escape and stood guard over them.

In the end, to their relief, Hagar and Chiarelli rescued the pups as a family.

The dogs are now up for adoption through The Dog Rescuers, another Los Angeles-based nonprofit. The organization is hoping to place Iris and at least one of her babies together in a forever home.

"She truly is the best Mama I have ever had. I can't get much work done because I love watching her play with her babies," The Dog Rescuers wrote on its Facebook page Monday.