In Malaysia, honey hunters of the extreme

On a moonless night in the depths of the jungle in Malaysia, two men perched on the top of a tree wave a burning torch to try to move thousands of bees away from their swarm to collect the precious nectar at their own risk.

These honey hunters are part of a group of villagers who each year go on an expedition to remote areas of the rainforest in search of bee production in Tualang. , a variety of giant trees in the canopy

"This honey is rich in nutrients, it can be used as a medicine, for example cough," says Abdul Samad Ahmad, 60 years old, who has been involved in these risky adventures for more than 20 years.

Like Manuka honey in New Zealand, also prized for its medicinal properties, the Malaysian honey from Tualang is priced at around 150 ringgit ( 30 euros) the kilo, a fortune for d Poor villagers in this Southeast Asian country.

But this ancient practice of honey harvesting is threatened by both deforestation and drastically reduced numbers of bees, as well as lack of interest among the younger generations.

 For these hunters of honey, nothing like climbing on top of trees up to 75 meters high (AFP - Manan VATSYAYANA)

For these hunters of honey, nothing such as climbing at the top of trees up to 75 meters high (AFP – Manan VATSYAYANA)

For these hunters of honey, nothing better than climbing on top of trees measuring up to 75 meters top and collect this unique honey produced by bees feeding on exotic jungle flowers.

The collection season runs from February to April in the Ula Muda forest (north), when colonies of bees arrive from other parts of Asia to build natural hives on branches Tualang hes.

– Multiple bites –

 A giant Tualang tree in the Ulu Muda forest, February 11, 2018 (AFP - Manan VATSYAYANA)

A giant Tualang tree in the forest of Tualang Ulu Muda, February 11, 2018 (AFP – Manan VATSYAYANA)

On a recent expedition, Abdul Samad Ahmad and six other honey hunters dug into the rainforest before crossing a lake aboard two small boats to reach a Tualang on which they have already harvested honey at least 15 times in twenty years.

During the day, they nailed sticks in the form of stairs on the trunk to climb the tree. Then assembled roots to create a burning torch.

When the night comes, they put on several pairs of socks and t-shirts, as well as thick jackets to protect themselves from insects, before climbing on a giant tree. Equipped with a headlamp to illuminate in total darkness, they climb the tree and strike with their burning torch against the trunk shortly before reaching the swarm. Suddenly, thousands of bees fly away, attracted by the light of sparks that fall to the ground, offering hunters a rare moment to cut pieces of alveoli containing the honey and fill their bucket.

 A hunter of honey removes bees from honeycombs in Ulu Muda forest, February 12, 2018 (AFP - Manan VATSYAYANA)

Honey hunter removes bees from honeycombs in Ulu Muda forest, 12 february 2018 (AFP – Manan VATSYAYANA)

They go from tree to tree to harvest as much nectar as possible and are bitten many times but continue to collect the honey imperturbably. The work lasts all night. At dawn, they come back with 43 kilograms of honey and sting pains they say they are used to.

"If you're in the wrong place at the wrong time, the bees sting you until your body is swollen, "says one of the hunters, Zaini Abdul Hamid. Potentially deadly? Neither he nor his friends are aware of deaths related to this collection of honey, he says.

– Deforestation –

"This honey is rich in nutrients and can be used as a medicine, cough for example "(AFP – Manan VATSYAYANA)

This old and dangerous practice no longer interests younger generations in the villages: none of those who participated in recent expeditions are under 45, and some are even in their sixties.

The youngest "prefer to play with their gadgets, we ask them to come, but that does not interest them," says a honey hunter, Mohamad Khairi Mohamad Arshad, 50.

Honey production is in any case "threatened by the felling of trees and the reduction of forests" to make room for plantations and homes, says Makhdzir Mardan, a bee specialist at Putra Malaysia University. 19659002] The number of bees in the forest of Ulu Muda has declined in recent years. Mr. Mardan says he counted 128 natural hives on a single tree during an expedition to this forest in 1983 and today has only 40.

Experts have long been sounding the alarm on the decline of bee colonies around the world, mainly because of pesticides that decimate pollinator populations.

Driven into the jungle, Mr. Arshad and his honey-hunting friends are sad, there are many fewer flowers than before. "The places where bees are looking for food are disappearing," says Arshad, 50. "If there are not enough flowers, the bees will not come anymore."

The East Coast of the USA is Struck by Blizzards and Extreme Cold Weather

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told the New Yorkers that the area was experiencing a "blizzard condition" and urged residents to stay indoors "if possible."

New York is declared to be in a storm condition, the American eastern coast that meteorologists call the "storm bomb."

The storm caused 20 centimeters of snow in parts of New York City. Flights were suspended at both the city's main airports, while Newark airport in New Jersey state was also delayed.

Along the east coast, thousands of flights were disrupted. This storm impacted from Florida to Maine, the state of America at the northeast end. Two people were killed in North Carolina when their vehicle slipped in the snow. The North Carolina Highway Patrol said it had responded to 700 road crashes and 300 other service calls since the storm began.

East Massachusetts and Rhode Island, two states on the northeast coast, were among the worst affected. With snow expected to go down at a speed of 7 cm per hour, some areas could experience a 45 centimeter snow. On Thursday, more than 5,500 businesses and homes were reported without power in Provincetown, Massachusetts, struck.

Eastern Canada also felt its impact, with at least 85 flights canceled at Montreal airport and cancellations at Halifax airport, also far to the east. Approximately 17,000 homes and businesses are cut off in Nova Scotia.

Niagara Falls, the famous waterfall located on the border between America and Canada is partially frozen due to record-breaking low temperatures. The storm began to hit Wednesday night and severe conditions are expected to continue at least until Friday (5/1) morning. [my/jm]

Cold Weather Extreme, Canada Cancel New Year's Events

Extreme cold weather not only hit the United States (US), but also blanket the various regions of Canada. The impact of this extreme weather, a number of events to celebrate the New Year had to be canceled and the ski area was closed for security reasons.

Canadians are already accustomed to cold weather. But by the end of this year, the winter felt by local residents is quite extreme. As reported by AFP Saturday (30/12/2017), the temperature in two Canadian cities, Regina and Winnipeg, reportedly almost reached minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit or minus 50 degrees Celsius.

In the capital Ottawa, local authorities announced the cancellation of several events to celebrate 150 years of the Canadian Confederation or 'Canada 150' to be held later this year. The Canadian Confederation is the process of colonizing Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by the British into a Dominion Canada. The Canadian Confederation took place on 1 July 1867 ago.

The celebrations scheduled to take place on Saturday (30/12) local time and on New Year's Eve on Sunday (31/12) tomorrow, have been modified due to extreme cold weather. "In a separate statement, the Canadian Ministry of Culture explained that the modification of the celebrations was done for public safety and health reasons.

In the modification, the appearance of a number of DJs and hip artists -hop canceled on New Year's Eve, but the fireworks show will still be held later.

Another impact of this extreme weather, the Canada 150 'ice hockey tournament held in the outdoor ice rink in front of the Canadian Parliament Building, was forced to move to an indoor location.

On Friday (29/12) local time, the Ministry of the Environment Canada released extreme cold weather warnings for six of the country's 10 provinces. The six provinces in question include British Columbia in most Canadian regions, then Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

"We ask all Canadians and visitors to consider extreme weather conditions and dress warmly and prepare as possible to prevent frostbite and other diseases," the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Bromont ski resort in Quebec is closed while since Friday (29/12) afternoon local time due to this extreme weather. "Because of the latest weather forecasts, as well as for safety reasons and requests from Hydro-Quebec to reduce electricity usage during peak times," the Bromont ski resort explained the reason for the temporary closure.

(nvc / adf) [19659009]

US accuses Turkey of extreme Islamic ideology

The tense relationship between America and Turkey seems increasingly tense after high-ranking Trump government officials accuse Turkey of spreading what it says Islamist extremist ideologies around the world.

US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster said Tuesday that Turkey and Qatar were the main donors who contributed to the spread of extremist ideology.

"We are witnessing the great involvement of Turkey from everywhere from western Africa to Southeast Asia," said McMaster, an event in Washington on Tuesday.

"The Balkans are now a very worrying area," he added.

McMaster is not to accuse Turkey of funding terrorist groups. Instead, he expressed concerns that Turkey was following Saudi Arabia's footsteps in the 1970s, and most recently Qatar, by funding groups that helped create conditions that allowed terrorism to flourish.

"We do not devote much attention to how extremist ideologies are developed through madrassas and mosques and so-called charities, more broadly, "he said.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry denounced McMaster's warning Wednesday, calling them" astonishing, unfounded and unacceptable "[19659002] "We look forward to America we continue to recognize as friends and allies showing the same attitude to our country, stopping all forms of cooperation with terrorist groups like YPG and providing more concrete and effective support to our determination against terrorism and radicalism," the ministry said in a statement. [my/jm]