Archive for October, 2014

[New pos from Anilbalan of Ghost Cities blog fame – Five things to do this Halloween

October 31, 2014

Hugh Paxton’s Blog suggests that if you are short of Halloween ideas take a look at Anilbalan’s Ghost Cities Blog ideas. Read on and shudder. Mind you if you opt for his Wilkie Collins story option you’ll probably still be unfinished by Christmas! The Babadook movie is currently showing in Bangkok. If it gets an Anilbalan scary rating then it should be a shocker!

Happy haunting!


From: Ghost Cities []
Sent: Friday, October 31, 2014 9:03 AM
Subject: [New post] Five things to do this Halloween

anilbalan posted: " If you’re at a loose end this Halloween and in the mood to be scared silly, here are some suggestions courtesy of Ghost Cities: 1 Thing to watch – the Babadook will scare you silly… 1 Thing to read – one"

Respond to this post by replying above this line

New post on Ghost Cities


Five things to do this Halloween

by anilbalan


If you’re at a loose end this Halloween and in the mood to be scared silly, here are some suggestions courtesy of Ghost Cities:

1 Thing to watch – the Babadook will scare you silly…

1 Thing to read – one classic by Wilkie Collins and one modern chiller by Joe Hill (slightly cheating here with two but I couldn’t resist!)

1 Thing to visit – the Witches and Wicked Bodies exhibition at the British Museum: just about the scariest place to visit this Halloween!

1 Thing to eat – here’s a ghoulishly good recipe for that old favourite: pumpkin pie!

1 Thing to listen to – what else but Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre?

Enjoy – Happy Halloween!

anilbalan | October 31, 2014 at 2:00 am | Tags: All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween | Categories: Ghost Walks, Haunted Houses, Horror, Supernatural fiction | URL:

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New post Follow The Rules

October 30, 2014

Hugh Paxton’s Blog welcomes a new post from TheGirl. Rules! Over to her!

From: TheReporterandTheGirlMINUSTheSuperMan! []
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2014 8:36 AM
Subject: [New post] Follow The Rules

TheGirl posted: "From Relationship Rules #WordlessWednesdays Like me on Facebook and follow me on twitter!"

New post on TheReporterandTheGirlMINUSTheSuperMan!


Follow The Rules

by TheGirl

From Relationship Rules


relationship rules, relationships, inspiration, dating advice, the reporter and the girl

From Relationship Rules on Facebook

Like me on Facebook and follow me on twitter!

TheGirl | October 29, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Tags: Dating, inspiration, Life, life lessons, relationship rules, wordless wednesdays | Categories: Musings and Life | URL:

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Thai Days: Loi Krathong and screwed up flights: A travel advisory!

October 30, 2014

Halloween is almost upon us but Hugh Paxton’s Blog, while scared of impending tricks and treats, is duty bound to inform you that more dreadful things lie ahead. Flight cancellations. Yup! Hard on the heels of Halloween is the Thai festival of Loi Krathong.

It is tremendous fun. You put together a tiny boat made of leaves and flowers and you add candles and float it off and away. With it go all your mistakes and bad luck. Mine is always overburdened!

It’s rather emotional watching the candle lights jostling for space on crowded waters. And I am happy to say the shameful laziness of using plastic instead of organic material as support for these mystic little fleets is becoming a thing of the past. Caused tremendous environmental problems down stream in times past! An Armada of good fortune plastic clogging the estuaries; and every polluting and sunken vessel covered in molten wax! What a mess!

But when it comes to the skies this festival still wreaks havoc. It’s great to watch! Flaming balloons rise high! Candles twinkle from delicate parachutes, rockets are fired, drugs wrapped in fireworks are launched over the walls of Bang Kwang prison destined for needy recipients by their gangster mates and air traffic is stalled.

It’s just too damn dangerous to land a plane. Those floating wind brushed floating lanterns!

112 flights have been cancelled. 96 domestic. 20 international. Or they have changed their departure and arrival times.

“The airlines facing disruption include Thai Airways which has cancelled 12 flights and delayed three, Air Asia which has cancelled 42 flights, and Bangkok Air with 12 cancelled and nine delayed flights among other airlines.”

Bangkok Post newspaper.

What goes up also comes down. Airport authorities are initiating clean up crews to remove all the detritus left when these lanterns and balloons return to earth. On their runways.

If you want to see these festivities, don’t fly in. Take a bus from Cambodia or hitch a lift from some bad-tempered Australian engineer leaving Lao.

Or be here.



Dead or Alive? Valuing an elephant: new report

October 29, 2014

Subject: Dead or Alive? Valuing an elephant: new report


Dead or Alive? Valuing an elephant:

When a young elephant dies at the hands of an ivory poacher, according to a recent report, the commercial loss to the tourism industry is more than $1.6 million–­–the amount the animal would have contributed to the economy had it lived a full and happy life.

The report, published by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s (DSWT) “iworry” wildlife awareness campaign, describes the tremendous value that an elephant adds to tourism over many decades. It compares this to the relatively small one-off sum of $21,000 that ivory traders earn from the tusks­ of an elephant.

Best, Paul

Paul Harrison
Regional Technical Advisor
Ecosystems and Biodiversity UNDP-GEF
Global Advisor on Wildlife Enforcement
United Nations Development Programme
Member, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas
P. O. Box 60130, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
E-mail: paul.harrison
Tel: +44 (0)7739 803 704 UK
Tel: +251(0)937769573 Ethiopia
Tel: +254 (0) 714 635 334 Kenya
Tel: +255 (0)786 524 051 Tanzania
Skype: harrisonpj | Twitter: @ProtectWild

MEDIA RELEASE: New study raises alarm over bear bile farming in Lao PDR

October 29, 2014

Hugh Paxton’s Blog bears more bad news.

From: Richard Thomas []
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 8:25 PM
To: Richard Thomas
Subject: MEDIA RELEASE: New study raises alarm over bear bile farming in Lao PDR

Dear media professional,Please find below a media release concerning a new study carried out by TRAFFIC into bear bile farming in Lao PDR. Should you require further information or images, please drop me a line. Best regards Richard: richard.thomas

For immediate release:

New study raises alarm over bear bile farming in Lao PDR

Lao-bear-farm.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1414578643456Bile extraction taking place in a Laotian bear farm, 2012 © TRAFFIC Cambridge, UK, 29th October 2014—The number of bears in farms supplying the widespread and expanding bile extraction industry in Lao PDR has tripled in recent years, with strong evidence the animals are illegally sourced from the wild, a new study published in Oryx finds.

According to credible records, the number of captive bears in the farms increased from around 40 in 2008 to 122 animals by 2012. There was no evidence of breeding facilities at any of the locations. The study also documented an increase in the number of bear farms in Lao PDR, with the first appearing in 2000 and the number rising to 11 by 2012.

The lack of bear breeding facilities, together with an absence of paperwork to show legal procurement of the bears led to the conclusion that bear farms in Lao PDR are acquiring and keeping bears illegally, with some facility owners even admitting as much to the report’s authors, independent researcher, Emily Livingstone and TRAFFIC’s Chris R. Shepherd.

The increase in bile farms and number of captive bears coincides with a rapid increase in the price for wild sourced bear bile and bear cubs, say the authors.

According to their study, Bear farms in Lao PDR expand illegally and fail to conserve wild bears, if allowed to continue, “…this industry is likely to contribute to the decline of national wild bear populations by further stimulating the market for wild bear bile and increasing the incentive to poach wild bears.”

The hunting, capture and possession of wild bears and the removal and trade in their bile and other parts is illegal under national legislation, while international trade in wild bears and their parts for commercial purposes is prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Lao’s Wildlife and Aquatic Law, 2007 allows trade in second generation captive-bred bears and parts thereof within the country, but poor monitoring and record keeping of bears in bile extraction facilities allows this provision to be used as a loophole by farmers hiding the illegality of their operations.

The study highlights the discovery that most, if not all, facilities illegally acquire live bears and trade in bile and other parts. The low likelihood of being punished, together with the high potential for profit making and rising market prices for bear parts have all encouraged the poaching of wild animals, according to the study.

The study recommends the closure of all illegal bile extraction facilities in Lao PDR and closer co-operation with the main bear bile consumer countries to halt smuggling, echoing a motion passed at the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Korea that encouraged range State governments to close down illegal farms as soon as possible and to take increased measures to ensure that no more bears from the wild enter farms. The Congress also recommended that “Parties to CITES fully implement legislation to prevent illegal international trade in Asiatic Black Bears and Sun Bears and their parts and derivatives, and promote greater public awareness of these issues.”

“The open and ongoing bear bile trade involving Lao PDR clearly illustrates the failure of the Laotian and other governments in the region to comply with and enforce the rules of CITES,” said Dr Chris R Shepherd, Regional Director of TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia.

Currently, few countries even have adequate CITES legislation in place, which seriously undermines the effectiveness of the Convention.

“The Government of Lao PDR needs to lead the way in ending the illegal bear bile trade through effective implementation and enforcement of CITES regulations and national legislation,” said Shepherd.


The Abstract of Bear farms in Lao PDR expand illegally and fail to conserve wild bears is available at:

More information
Elizabeth John, Senior Communications Officer, TRAFFIC. Tel: +60 (0)12-2079790 / (0)3-7880 3940 Email: elizabeth.john
Richard Thomas, Global Communications Co-ordinator, TRAFFIC. Tel: +44 (0)1223 651782. Email: richard.thomas

Thai Days: Snakes!

October 29, 2014

Hugh Paxton’s Blog never kills snakes and encourages others to follow this Buddhist example! This morning I was feeling disgustingly lazy and was planning a snooze and listening to one of my Jeeves and Wooster cassettes. Chang arrived with an angry bag. Its occupant was a vigorous snake about a foot long. I have a snake book and Chang and I pored through it but nothing really matched. I have a sneaking suspicion that it is poisonous but that isn’t its fault. Current status? The snake is enjoying the hospitality and confinement of one of my destitute fish tanks and Chang has wrapped the container in string and strands of plastic.

I will try to take a photo but the procedure might be difficult to organise. It is aggressive and extremely swift. And yes, I fear venom might be its defensive asset.

We’ll make sure the snake is released in suitable habitat. If we can’t find any we’ll hang on to it until we can.

Good news on my neighbour’s boa escape. The snake was hiding in the drain.

No sign of any more white lipped pit vipers.

At a party on Sunday I was talking to a German about this and that and he started boasting about how he had run over a python four times and expressed amazement that the snake had lived. I found this Teutonic heroism utterly annoying! No reason to kill snakes!

Hugh (in Bangkok)

Thai Days: Ebola Silliness

October 29, 2014

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is bored rigid with this Ebola thing. It’s West Africa, health workers, volunteers, kind people, primitive death rituals, washing the dead, monkey and ape hunting, and it isn’t romping around the world.

My daughter, this morning, informed me that Ebola was in Phuket.

Yes! She said.

No! I said. Annabel is a clever girl but doesn’t read newspapers or follow news.

I have picked up a cold from one of her infectious little friends. I noticed her watching me with alarm.

“Is your nose bleeding? Why do you have the tissue by your nose?”

“I don’t want to sneeze into your breakfast!”

Ebola! She thought I had it!

She was worried! Dear Gawd! And now there are a lot of travel bans and arguments and some idiot came on the TV saying that travel restrictions will damage tourism to West Africa. Who wants to go there at the best of times? If you want to meet Nigerians go to Paris. Or Venice.

I would suggest everybody calms down.

There are many more diseases to worry about and ebola is just a new kid on the block. If the West Africans hadn’t been killing and eating endangered primates they wouldn’t have this plague.

This is a self inflicted wound and perhaps they will stop poaching primates and raiding national parks. People learn when things go wrong.


INTERPOL holds first environmental crime training for Portuguese-speaking countries

October 29, 2014

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is delighted to forward this latest from INTERPOL. Countries that speak Portuguese are indeed hosts to criminal elements involved in wildlife and forest crimes. It really is time to clamp down on this dangerous behavior and eradicate it. As always, if you are aware of environmental crime, Hugh Paxton’s Blog strongly suggests that you collect as much evidence as you can without endangering yourself and your loved ones then forward it to INTERPOL in a coherent, precise format, ideally supported with photographs or documents that show proof of criminal misbehaviour.

Be the eyes and ears and police of our natural world and let INTERPOL know if things are going sour. They will catch the ball and run with it!

Everybody can help!

Kids (probably the best! You chaps are great explorers and spies and super heroes!), grandmothers (also the best, you have wisdom and have seen changes that are not encouraging), soldiers (come on guys, you are out and about!), shopkeepers/ businessmen, politicians (You are very important! Money may be the root of all evil but it can be the root of growth and success! Let’s not let money rot our planet’s future. )

Report environmental crime to INTERPOL. But please be sensible. If your neighbor is shooting rabbits that isn’t an environmental crime. If he’s selling rhino horn or has a room full of snow leopard pelts, catching rare frogs or is cutting down an ancient forest – that’s environmental crime.

Stay calm! Do your best! Do bear in mind that these criminals are nasty people and often have guns.

Best of luck!

Hugh in Bangkok


From: Environmental Crime []
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 7:20 PM
To: Environmental Crime
Subject: INTERPOL holds first environmental crime training for Portuguese-speaking countries

Dear Colleagues,
Please find below the latest press release issued by INTERPOL. Other language versions will be published on the INTERPOL website as they become available.
Best regards,

Estimados Colegas,
Vea debajo el último comunicado de prensa publicado por INTERPOL. Otras lenguas oficiales serán publicadas en el sitio de INTERPOL, tan pronto estén disponibles.

Chers collègues,
Veuillez trouver ci-dessous le dernier communiqué de presse diffusé par INTERPOL. Les traductions seront publiées sur le site web d’INTERPOL au fur et à mesure de leur disponibilité.

INTERPOL holds first environmental crime training for Portuguese-speaking countries

LISBON, Portugal – Identifying new threats and trends and tackling a range of environmental crimes were among the key areas addressed during a training course organized jointly by INTERPOL, the Portuguese National Guard and the Brazilian Federal Police for law enforcement in the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.

The five-day training course (6-10 October) brought together 25 participants from Angola, Brazil, Mozambique, Portugal, and Sao Tomé and Principe. The aim was to develop and improve the research skills necessary to detect environmental crimes, and to promote the exchange of best practices and knowledge among participating countries.

Training was provided by INTERPOL, the Portuguese National Guard, the Portuguese Prosecutor, the Brazilian Federal Police, the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forestry and the Portuguese Environment Agency.

“On behalf of the Portuguese National Guard, we were pleased to facilitate this training programme with INTERPOL, which brought together a prestigious team of international and national trainers and diverse learners to address the issues of the environment which are evident across the members of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries,” said Lt. Gen. Manuel Mateus Costa da Silva Couto of the Portuguese National Guard.

This was the first INTERPOL training event targeting Portuguese-speaking countries, as evidence has revealed that environmental crimes including wildlife trafficking and forest crimes are being conducted by transnational criminal networks in these regions. Future support will include cooperation programmes to combat cross-border environmental crime within the Portuguese language community.

To unsubscribe from the INTERPOL Environmental Security news feed, please contact us at environmentalcrime.

This message, and any attachment contained, are confidential and subject of legal privilege. It may be used solely for the designated police/justice purpose and by the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. The information is not to be disseminated to another agency or third party without the author’s consent, and must not be retained longer than is necessary for the fulfilment of the purpose for which the information is to be used. All practicable steps shall be taken by the recipients to ensure that information is protected against unauthorised access or processing. INTERPOL reserves the right to enquire about the use of the information provided.
If you are not the intended recipient, be advised that you have received this message in error. In such a case, you should not print it, copy it, make any use of it or disclose it, but please notify us immediately and delete the message from any computer.

Sweet Home Louisiana: Anole eating a wasp

October 29, 2014

Hugh Paxton’s Blog suggests that if you have never seen an anole lizard eating a wasp this is your chance! Courtesy of my esteemed brother, Charles, this blog gives you ANOLE EATING A WASP! Over to the man who captured this moment for posterity!

Anole eating a wasp

Yesterday lunchtime, as I ate my turkey sandwich, this Anole lizard pounced on a wasp and afterwards, licked its lips appreciatively.

Love from us XXXXXX

Thai Days: I can’t find anything!

October 27, 2014

Hugh Paxton’s Blog doesn’t want to become a grumpy old man but that’s where I’m going! The reason I’m going there is that everything keeps vanishing! I thought I’d wrap a few presents and send them. I had a happy smile! Nice cup of tea! And a bun!

Wrapping paper? Gone! Sellotape gone! I bought ten rolls two weeks ago! Scissors gone. I have bought four pairs!

I really enjoy buying presents and sending them. What really spoils this benevolent enterprise is being unable to find anything. I know our dog eats sellotape, I know my beloved daughter loses scissors, and I know my respected maid Khun Mee hides everything and loses it, too.

It really screws up my day! I put something where I want it to be and then it has either been broken or has levitated to a place I never intended!

I want to find my things! I want this random, anarchic mobility to stop! My pickles? Where the hell are they? My manuscripts? My socks?

A grumpy old Hugh

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