Category Archive 'Vietnam'

17 Dec 2008

1068 New Species Found

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Dragon millipede, Desmoxytes purpurosea, has glands producing cyanide to defend itself

Though full of conventional eco platitudes and gush about “vital habitats” and “precious landscapes,” the World Wildlife Fund has an otherwise entertaining, and well-illustrated, report on new species discovered in recent years in the general vicinity of the Mekong River watershed.

According to a new report launched by World Wildlife Fund (WWF)… First Contact in the Greater Mekong… 1068 species were discovered or newly identified by science between 1997 and 2007 – which averages two new species a week. This includes the world’s largest huntsman spider, with a foot-long leg span and the Annamite Striped Rabbit, one of several new mammal species found here. New mammal discoveries are a rarity in modern science.

While most species were discovered in the largely unexplored jungles and wetlands, some were first found in the most surprising places. The Laotian rock rat, for example, thought to be extinct 11 million years ago, was first encountered by scientists in a local food market, while the Siamese Peninsula pit viper was found slithering through the rafters of a restaurant in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand.

“This report cements the Greater Mekong’s reputation as a biological treasure trove — one of the world’s most important storehouses of rare and exotic species,” said Dekila Chungyalpa, Director of the WWF-US Greater Mekong Program. “Scientists keep peeling back the layers and uncovering more and more wildlife wonders.”

The findings, highlighted in this report, include 519 plants, 279 fish, 88 frogs, 88 spiders, 46 lizards, 22 snakes, 15 mammals, 4 birds, 4 turtles, 2 salamanders and a toad. The region comprises the six countries through which the Mekong River flows including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern Chinese province of Yunnan. It is estimated thousands of new invertebrate species were also discovered during this period, further highlighting the region’s immense biodiversity.

World’s largest spider, Heteropoda maxima, has a legspan of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters)

National Geographic slideshow

28 Aug 2006

The Good Guys Win One in California

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California Governor Schwarzenegger has signed a Republican-sponsored bill, acceding to the wishes of the Vietnamese community-in-exile in California, which will allow the flag of the fallen Republic of South Vietnam to be flown in California displays of the flags of world nations, instead of the Communist flag of North Vietnam.

California state buildings and parks now have the governor’s blessing to fly the former flag of South Vietnam during holidays and special occasions.

At an impromptu stop in Little Saigon on Saturday morning, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the long-awaited symbolic measure that gives the yellow flag with three red stripes the state’s official recognition.

About 10 states and over a dozen California cities and counties already have done so.

Schwarzenegger praised the Vietnamese immigrant community for its courage, vitality and cultural and economic contribution to the state.

Most Vietnamese immigrants fled their country after the communists’ victory and feel contempt for the country’s current red flag.

Vietnamese leaders have pushed for the traditional flag’s recognition for years, said Assemblyman Van Tran, R-Westminster.

The move gained momentum last month when Assemblywoman Lynn Daucher, R-Fullerton, who is running for state Senate in the district covering Little Saigon, appealed to the governor for help.

Both Schwarzenegger and Tran endorsed Daucher in her bid.

Among registered Vietnamese-born voters in Orange County, Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-to-1.

On Friday, the word spread that the move was final, and hundreds of Vietnamese gathered at the Rose Center in Westminster to cheer.

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