Australian volunteers save 5 of over 150 stranded whales

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This handout from the Western Australia Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions taken and released on March 23, 2018 shows short-finned pilot whales beached en masse in Hamelin Bay, Western Australia. (AFP)
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Supplied image of more than 150 short-finned pilot whales who became beached at Hamelin Bay, in Western Australia's south, on Friday, March 23, 2018. (AP)
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Updated 25 March 2018
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Australian volunteers save 5 of over 150 stranded whales

PERTH, Australia: Volunteers in western Australia have managed to rescue only five of 150 short-finned pilot whales that became stranded on a beach.
The surviving whales, up to 5 1/2 meters (16.4 feet) long, have been moved to deeper waters, but Parks and Wildlife Service Incident Controller Jeremy Chick warned Saturday that whales often return to dry land after mass stranding events.
He’s asking the public at Hamelin Bay, south of Perth, to keep an eye in case they spot a stranded whale.
A sixth whale was freed into shallow waters overnight but it beached again and had to be euthanized.
Authorities said they will continue to sweep the surrounding beaches by air and sea on Saturday. Rescue efforts were hampered by dead whales in the water, rocky terrain and rough seas.
The carcasses were removed from the beach and authorities took DNA samples in an attempt to collect clues about why whales strand.
In 2009, more than 80 whales and dolphins died on a beach in Hamelin Bay.
The biggest mass stranding of whales in Western Australia happened in 1996 in Dunsborough. That year, 320 long-finned pilot whales beached themselves.


Mexico demands apology for colonial ‘abuses,’ Spain hits back

Handout photo released by the Mexican presidency showing Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador answering questions during a press conference at the Palacio Nacional, in Mexico City on March 25, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 26 March 2019
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Mexico demands apology for colonial ‘abuses,’ Spain hits back

  • “The government of Spain deeply regrets that the letter the Mexican president sent to his majesty the king, whose contents we firmly reject, has been made public,” it said in a statement

MEXICO CITY: The 500-year-old wounds of the Spanish conquest were ripped open afresh on Monday when Mexico’s president urged Spain and the Vatican to apologize for their “abuses” — a request Madrid said it “firmly rejects.”
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, an anti-establishment leftist, reopened the debate over Spain’s centuries of dominance in the New World with a video posted to social media, urging Spanish King Felipe VI and Pope Francis to apologize for the conquest and the rights violations committed in its aftermath.
“I have sent a letter to the king of Spain and another to the pope calling for a full account of the abuses and urging them to apologize to the indigenous peoples (of Mexico) for the violations of what we now call their human rights,” Lopez Obrador, 65, said in the video, filmed at the ruins of the indigenous city of Comalcalco.
“There were massacres and oppression. The so-called conquest was waged with the sword and the cross. They built their churches on top of the (indigenous) temples,” he said.
“The time has come to reconcile. But let us ask forgiveness first.”
Spain’s reaction was swift and unequivocal.
“The government of Spain deeply regrets that the letter the Mexican president sent to his majesty the king, whose contents we firmly reject, has been made public,” it said in a statement.
“The arrival, 500 years ago, of Spaniards to present Mexican territory cannot be judged in the light of contemporary considerations,” it said.
“Our two brother nations have always known how to read our shared past without anger and with a constructive perspective, as free peoples with a shared history and extraordinary influence.”

Lopez Obrador took office in December after a landslide election win that represented a firm break with Mexico’s traditional political parties.
A folksy populist, he pulls no punches in going after traditional elites — but had so far cultivated cordial relations with Spain, including during a visit to Mexico City by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez earlier this year.
Lopez Obrador made the remarks during a visit to his native Tabasco state, in southern Mexico.
He was later due to visit the nearby city of Centla. On March 14, 1519, the site was the scene of one of the first battles between Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes and the indigenous peoples of the land now known as Mexico.
With the help of horses, swords, guns and smallpox — all unknown in the New World at the time — Cortes led an army of less than 1,000 men to defeat the Aztec empire, the start of 300 years of Spanish rule over Mexico.