Daily Archives: September 15, 2011

Butterfly numbers fall after coldest summer in two decades


Common blue butterfly Polyommatus icarus Photo: ALAMY

Common blue butterflies were the biggest losers from the coldest summer for almost two decades, with numbers tumbling by almost two-thirds, experts have said.

Telegraph | Sep 15, 2011

The results of the Big Butterfly Count 2011 revealed that the number of individual butterflies seen by each person counting the insects was down 11 per cent on last year.

The common blue saw numbers tumble by 61 per cent in the count, which involved more than 34,000 people across the country recording sightings of 322,000 butterflies.

Experts at wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation say they had expected a bumper summer for butterflies after a record-breaking hot, dry spring, but the cold summer with prolonged spells of rain hit the insects.

In cold, rainy weather they are unable to fly, feed, find mates or lay eggs.

It was not all bad news for butterflies though, with perennial garden favourite the Red Admiral numbers almost doubling (up 98 per cent), while small tortoiseshells saw their numbers stabilise after recent severe declines.

The small tortoiseshells also experienced something of a north/south divide with three times as many of the butterflies recorded per count in Scotland than in England.

The gatekeeper butterfly rose three places in the top 10 most commonly seen butterflies to top the poll with more than 52,000 spotted, but numbers of the butterfly were down 12 per cent on last year.

Other commonly recorded species included the small white, the large white, the meadow brown, the red admiral and the peacock.

Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation surveys manager, said: ”The fantastic response of the UK public to Big Butterfly Count 2011 has given us a detailed snapshot of how butterflies fared this summer. Twice as many counts were carried out this year as in 2010.

”Unfortunately, the results show that it was a poor summer for butterflies with many species showing declines compared to last year.

”The dismal summer weather, the coldest for 18 years, is undoubtedly to blame, although many butterflies have suffered long-term declines as a result of destruction of their habitats by human activities.”

He added: ”In bad summers, butterflies need all the help they can get from people to maintain their breeding areas.”

Butterfly Conservation warns that the last four years have seen butterfly numbers plummet to an all-time low, and that almost half of the 59 British species are now under threat.

Butterflies are also an indicator of the health of the wider countryside because they are sensitive to environmental change.

Security cameras captured images of Norway killer minutes before bombing


Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, dressed in a police uniform, is seen carrying a pistol as he walks away from a car after placing a bomb in Oslo, in this July 22, surveillance camera still image. Scanpix Norway  /  Reuters

Photo published by news website shows Breivik moments before detonating car bomb

MSNBC | Sep 15, 2011

By BJOERN H. ALMAND

OSLO, Norway — Security cameras captured images of the Norwegian far right extremist accused of killing 77 people minutes before he detonated a car bomb outside the prime minister’s office two months ago, police said Thursday.

A still photograph from the images published online by Norwegian Internet news service ABC Nyheter was authentic and came from surveillance cameras at government headquarters, Oslo police spokesman Roar Hansen said.

The image shows Anders Behring Breivik in police uniform with a riot helmet and armed with a pistol. On July 22, Breivik exploded a car bomb that killed eight people in Oslo’s government district and then drove to the island of Utoya where he went on a shooting spree, killing 69 at a Labor Party youth camp.

It was unclear how the image was acquired by ABC Nyheter. The Internet news service declined to provide information.

“The picture was taken by a monitoring camera in the government building,” Hansen told the AP. “It was enclosed in a confidential police report which had been given to lawyers assisting survivors and relatives of the victims.”

Image not released by police

Hansen said the image had not been released by the police, but declined further comment.

About 500 lawyers are representing the victims and survivors of the July attacks. It was unclear how many of them had access to the police report.

Breivik faces his third session in court Sept. 19 when jurors will decide on the extension of his detention and whether he will still be held in isolation.

Previous sessions have been held behind closed doors. Oslo District Court ordered an open hearing for Monday but an appeals court overruled the decision at the request of the police.

Breivik is being held in isolation — which he has described as “a sadistic torture method” — though he has access to books, movies and a computer that is not connected to the Internet.

Breivik, 32, has admitted to the killings but denies criminal guilt because he believes the massacre was necessary to save Norway and Europe. He said in a 1,500-page manifesto posted online before the attacks that they are an attempt at cultural revolution, aimed at purging Europe of Muslims and punishing politicians that have embraced multiculturalism.

If convicted of terrorism charges, Breivik would face up to 21 years in prison. An alternative custody arrangement, if he was still considered a danger to the general public, could keep him behind bars indefinitely.

The actual trial isn’t expected to start until next year.

Breivik trial to be held secretly behind closed doors

The court fears that Breivik may not have been acting alone and that an open trial could threaten the prosecution’s case.

RIA Novosti | Sep 15, 2011

MURMANSK – The trial of Anders Breivik, who has admitted to killing 77 people in Norway during twin attacks, will be held behind closed doors, court officials said on Thursday.

“According to the district court’s decision, entry to the trial will be closed for journalists, as well as relatives of the victims and survivors of the attacks,” the Norwegian HPK TV channel said, citing the Oslo court where Breivik will stand trial on September 19.

It also cited the “extraordinary” nature of the charges against Breivik, who has said that while he carried out the July 22 attacks, he does not consider himself guilty. He says his killing spree was a “wake-up call” to the dangers of multiculturalism.

The court said it had gone back on an earlier decision to allow limited access to the trial for media and relatives over fears that Breivik may not have been acting alone and that an open trial could threaten the prosecution’s case.

Breivik has confessed to killing eight people with a car bomb in downtown Oslo before shooting dead 69 others on the island of Utoya, where the governing Labor Party’s youth branch was holding a summer camp. He could be jailed for up to 30 years if convicted.

Norway killer: ‘I really am a Templar’

Breivik appears to have been truthful when explaining other aspects of the attacks.

Sky News| Sep 10, 2011

Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik is sticking to his claim of belonging to a militant order of the Knights Templar.

Breivik admits carrying out a car bomb attack in Oslo and a subsequent gun rampage on the island of Utoya in July, killing 77 people.

The 32-year-old claims he was the youngest member of the anti-Muslim militia group when it was apparently created in London in 2002.

Breivik has told the police that many of the other members are war-hardened former fighters from Serbia.

“Both the police and I are using a lot of resources to investigate those claims,” said Breivik’s defence lawyer Geir Lippestad.

Norwegian police believe Breivik acted alone when he carried out his bomb and gun attacks.

But his claim of a mysterious crusader network puzzles investigators, because Breivik appears to have been truthful when explaining other aspects of the attacks.

Breivik, who surrendered to the police, has confessed to the attacks, but denies terrorism charges, saying he is in a state of war.

In a rambling online manifesto, Breivik said the Knights Templar would overthrow European governments and expel Muslim immigrants in a civil war culminating in 2083.

His lawyer said Breivik had shown no remorse, adding: “He expressed that he would have done the same thing today.

“He realises he is being demonised, but believes the war and his cause take precedence,” Mr Lippestad added.