Around 25mn birds killed in Mediterranean annually

finchEach year around 25 million birds are illegally killed in the Mediterranean Sea region, a report by a global partnership of conservation organisations says.

On Thursday, Birdlife International published a report that found many birds are shot, captured in nets or trapped after being lured with recordings of birdsong.

Different techniques to catch the birds included the use of lime sticks that glue birds to branches and cause “considerable suffering before resulting in the bird’s death,” Birdlife International said.

Egypt ranks as the number one country where the most number of birds are killed every year, followed by Italy where an estimated 5.6 million birds are killed annually.

Other countries around the Mediterranean, especially those hit hard by violence such as Syria and Libya, also have a high number of bird killings.

The birds are often killed for sport or food, the report noted.

The most targeted bird was chaffinch followed by the blackcap, the common quail and song thrush, the report added.

According to Patricia Zurita, the head of Birdlife International, some bird populations are now in decline or even disappearing.

“This review shows the gruesome extent to which birds are being killed illegally in the Mediterranean,” she added.

The organization called for greater protection for bird species, concluding that the European Union’s rules on bird protection should be better implemented.

Michigan man charged in attack on Muslim woman


MASON, Mich. – A Mason man was charged with ethnic intimidation and a misdemeanor assault and battery charge in connection with an assault on a Muslim woman at the Meridian Mall on July 19.

Jonathan Patrick Deuel, 29, was arraigned today in 55th District Court in Mason, accused of participating in assault of the woman near the mall’s food court. Deuel was arrested on Wednesday by Meridian Township Police.

The ethnic intimidation charge is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. Assault and battery is generally a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of up to 93 days and fines of up to $500.

The Council on Arab-Islamic Relations – a Muslim civil liberties advocacy group – spoke with the woman’s family and said that three people, two men and a woman, had surrounded the 26-year-old at the mall.

They then allegedly tried to pull off her niqab and abaya – the veil and dress that some Muslim women choose to wear in public – before knocking her to the ground and shouting slurs and profanities at her.

“We urge state, local and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for this troubling incident and to make every effort to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-Michigan, said on July 21. “We urge public officials to speak out against the anti-Muslim hate that can lead to such attacks.”

Meridian Township Police say that Deuel will be the only person charged in the incident, contrary to the claims of multiple assailants made by CAIR. Lt. Greg Frenger said that while there were other people who witnessed the attack, Deuel is the only person to commit a crime.

“I don’t foresee any other charges coming out of this,” Frenger said. “There were other people present but only one person committed a crime.”

The incident was investigated as a hate crime and Frenger said that behavior such as this would not be tolerated in Meridian Township.

“This sort of thing is unusual for this community,” he said. “This is a diverse community and any person living and working in this area should not feel like there’s going to be any hesitation on our part to investigate such a claim.

“This is who we’re made up of,” Frenger added. “We took it seriously when it first came to our attention and followed through. We’re pleased that charges have been issued and he’s been arrested.”

Deuel’s bond was set at $25,000 and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 21 in Mason.