Hiker injured in mountain snow. Dog keeps him warm for hours till rescued

“North” climbed back on top of his person even on the stretcher

That’s devotion and caring. And this is about the biggest, furriest 8-month-old I’ve ever seen.

His owner, Grga Brkic, suffered a broken leg and broken ankle.

A dog saved a hiker injured in the Croatian mountains by lying on top of him for 13 hours until they were rescued, according to local media.

The dog, called North, kept Grga Brkic warm after he fell while out hiking and was unable to move. The other two hikers with him were unable to reach them, so they raised the alarm.

First responders credited the eight-month-old Alaskan Malamute with having helped keep Brkic safe…

“Friendship and love between man and dog have no boundaries,” Croatia’s mountain rescue service said in a Facebook post, which included a photo of the dog lying on top of Brkic as he lay in a stretcher.

The dog “curled around him and warmed him” during the high-altitude rescue mission, the post added.

“North” – when he’s at home

Croatian village fights holey war!

It happened suddenly and without warning. Where there should have been the emerging first shoots of potato seedlings behind the orchard in Nikola Borojević’s spacious garden, there was now huge hole. Measuring 30m (98ft) wide and 15m (49ft) deep, it quickly filled with water. And it wasn’t the only one.

Within the space of a few weeks, dozens of similar holes had opened up around the village of Mečenčani and neighbouring Borojovići in north-east Croatia. The one outside Borojević’s home in Mečenčani appeared on 5 January, just six days after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the area around the nearby city of Petrinja. It was the strongest earthquake to have hit Croatia for more than four decades, killing seven people and destroying thousands of homes.

While landslides and sinkholes are known to be triggered by earthquakes, along with other strange geological phenomena such as liquefactions – where the solid ground begins to behave like a liquid – the sheer number of holes appearing around the two villages surprised and baffled experts. A month after the earthquake, there were almost 100 sinkholes spread over a 10 sq km (3.8 sq miles) area, with new ones opening every week…

After analysing data collected from the area around Mečenčani and Borojovići, Croatian geologists concluded that the strange events resulted from a complex combination of several different factors…

“The situation in Croatia can be considered as warning of what can happen in countries with earthquakes and areas that are prone to cover-collapse sinkholes,” says geologist George Veni.

RTFA. Interesting details. Bother your local geologists to see if there’s something comparable in your backyard.

Radioactive birth control helps fruit farmers fight fly sex

At the height of the tangerine season in Croatia’s Neretva river delta, two pickup trucks scour a maze of water channels carrying an odd-looking contraption: a mortar-like pipe spraying orchards with sterilized flies.

Each launch sends into the air thousands of males of the fruit fly, one of the most harmful orchard pests, in what advocates say is a prime example of how nuclear science can benefit both agriculture and the environment.

They have been bombarded with radioactive Cobalt-60 in an Israeli biotechnology plant to make them sterile in a bid to reduce the fly population and the damage they wreak on the crop…

It is essentially a form of birth control,” IAEA head Yukiya Amano said. “The result has been a drop of no less than 75 percent in fruit fly damage” in Neretva, where nine out of ten people are involved in the citrus fruit industry…

The sterilized males outnumber the local fruit flies and gradually take the place of normal males. They can mate, but there is no offspring. Consequently, the number of larvae, which feed on ripening tangerines, quickly declines…

Jorge Hendrichs, who heads a joint pest control program of the IAEA and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agency, said the SIT method was a win-win because it enabled farmers to fight a pest which “can easily eliminate 30 to 100 percent of the crop” and at the same time use fewer pesticides…

For other countries – like the United States, Japan and Chile – the main thing is to prevent new pest outbreaks. “They want 100 percent assurance that the product you are exporting is 100 percent free, not one worm,” he said…

Greenpeace – which opposes nuclear energy on safety grounds – said blah, blah, blah.

If you mention the work “radioactivity” our current generations of ignoranuses panic and dash about forming circular firing squads – much in the same manner as obedient Catholics volunteered to inform on witches and Jews during the Inquisition.

People simply are unread and inexperienced enough to know that descriptions of radioactive half-life have nothing whatsoever to do with the effects of radiation on sterilized products. There is no radioactive residue left behind to contaminate your fruit compote.

Irish fans off to EURO 2012: ‘Angela Merkel thinks we’re at work’

Gerry Nolan and his friends from Limerick made this cheeky sign that reads “Angela Merkel thinks we’re at work.”

Thousands of Irish football fans have put work on hold to support their team in Europe.

Euro 2012 begins today in Poland and Ukraine. Ireland will play their first game against Croatia on Sunday.

The group of friends who all graduated from college in Limerick together left Dublin this morning and posed with their flag at Dublin airport before jetting off to Prague…

“It was purely a joke, it wasn’t political at all.

“We were just talking about getting a really big flag and were having a think about what to put on it. We just wanted to lighten the mood a bit – Germany gets quite a hard time.

They are now hoping the hash tag #donttellmerkel will now start trending on the social networking site Twitter as a bit of an in-joke among Ireland fans.

Gerry Nolan, 25, thinks Ireland could win it. “I’m hoping they will do ok. I’ve booked time off to the final so they would need to do well…”

Never mind Angela Merkel thinking he is at work, what do Mr Nolan’s bosses say about him taking so much time off?

We told them there would be no booze or women on the trip. We are here purely for the culture and the football.”

Good thing the BBC reporter had his Wellies on.

EU leaders give conditional go-ahead to Croatia membership

European Union leaders gave the go-ahead on Friday for Croatia to join the EU, after six years of preparations marred by slow democratic reforms in Zagreb and the EU’s reluctance to expand.

The former Yugoslav state of 4.4 million people should be able to wrap up accession negotiations next week, they said at a summit in Brussels, but warned the Zagreb government that it has to continue to fight widespread corruption with “vigor.”

The recommendation marks a turnaround for Croatia, which struggled for years to convince the EU’s 27 governments that its judiciary reforms would produce genuine results and prove it has recognized its role in the Balkan wars in the 1990s…

Several EU governments, led by Britain and the Netherlands, pushed for strict monitoring of Croatia during the ratification process and had insisted that the completion of talks remains open-ended.

But others wanted a more clear message. Many EU politicians are hopeful that rewarding Croatia for a last-minute reform push will persuade other governments in the western Balkans that the EU is willing to accept new members if they are ready…

EU enlargement is likely to remain on the backburner in the coming years, however, with voters around the continent wary of its cost at a time of economic austerity…

Croatia, the richest of EU hopefuls in the Balkans and which relies heavily on tourism, is hoping that accession will bolster its appeal to foreign funds at a time when Europe’s financial woes have slashed direct investment in the region.

Not until they change out the tablecloth-looking football kit.

For the love of a stork

Vets who saved a female stork, shot by hunters in Croatia, thought her days were numbered – but reckoned without the devotion of her mate.

The vets knew the female, which they called Malena, would never fly again but put her back on her nest thinking she would not survive the winter.

When her partner, named Rodan, flew south with their young they expected that she would eventually die and certainly never mate again.

But their predictions were proved wrong after the Vokic family where she had a nest helped to feed her through the long winter months and she survived.

And – even more amazingly – Rodan has returned every year to mate with his partner and rear another clutch of chicks.

Every year Rodan flies 13,000 kilometres to South Africa to spend winter in the warm and then the same distance back again to be back with his injured love.

I always find these tales interesting, though I can’t speak to storks. Squirrels I can speak to.

Croatian police clamp down on anti-government Facebookers

Croatian police have detained and questioned Web activists who are criticizing or ridiculing the government, media and the opposition say, accusing authorities of violating basic civil rights.

Police have detained organizers of a group on Facebook, the online social networking site, which called an anti-government rally in several towns, including the capital Zagreb, for December 5. The group has over 80,000 members…

Within a few years, the Internet has become the most widespread medium in this small EU candidate country for citizens to vent their discontent with Prime Minister Ivo Sanader’s conservative government.

When Sanader, quoting the global financial crisis, called last month for belt-tightening and a wage freeze and abolished Christmas parties and presents in state institutions and companies, a new group popped up on Facebook. It called itself Sanader Grinch – a reference to the green-faced character from the movie ‘How Grinch Stole Christmas’.

The police first turned on Facebookers last week, after Niksa Klecak, a member of the main opposition party, the Social Democrats, launched a group called “I bet I can find 5,000 Facebookers who dislike Sanader.”

In a matter of days, the group grew to almost 12,000 members compared to 27 members of two groups that support Sanader.

You’ll note in the article the government is using “patriotic” laws against Nazism – to suppress dissent. Sound familiar?

UPDATE: National Police called press conference – apologized, some coppers to be disciplined. Public and political opposition surely helped.

Butcher of Bosnia has been captured

Bosnian Muslim woman praying today at the Potocari Memorial Center near Srebrenica

Radovan Karadzic, a former Bosnian Serb president, is blamed for these and other deaths during a genocidal war that claimed about 100,000 lives. He was captured yesterday in Belgrade, where the so-called “Butcher of Bosnia” had been living under an assumed name and practicing alternative medicine…

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia welcomed his arrest. “This arrest may be considered another milestone in the development of international law and further fulfillment of the Tribunal’s mandate to bring to justice the most senior persons alleged to be most responsible for war crimes in the Yugoslav conflicts,” the court says in a statement.

Right on!