Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 6th 2014 Contents THE BACKSTORY
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Very mobile ears help many
animals direct their attention to the
rustle of a possible predator.
But a study in horses suggests
they also pay close attention to the
direction another's ears are pointing
in order to work out what they are
thinking. Researchers from the
University of Sussex say these
swivelling ears have become a useful
The research team studies animal
behaviour to build up a picture of
how communication and social skills
Wathan and her colleague Prof
Karen McComb set up a behavioural
experiment where 72 individual
horses had to use visual cues from
another horse in order to choose
where to feed. They led each horse to
a point where it had to select one of
two buckets. On a wall behind this
decision-making spot was a life-sized
photograph of a horse's head facing
either to left or right.
In some trials, the horses ears or
eyes were covered. If the ears and
eyes of the horse in the picture were
visible, the horses being tested would
choose the bucket towards which its
gaze---and its ears---were directed.
If the pictured horse had either its
eyes or its ears covered, the horse
being tested would just choose a
feed bucket at random.
"It seems there's something in the
visual cues---from both the eyes and
the ears---that are really important.
Horses have quite rich social lives and
relationships with other horses, so
they're a good species to look at this
in. And the more we look at
communication across different
species, the more we can consider
what might have promoted the
evolution of sophisticated
communication and social skills."
Just 25 miles long---pretty
much the distance from
Arima to Diego---and four to
seven miles wide. That s Gaza;
same size as Trinidad s East-West
In that tiny area live 1.8 million
people---same as the combined
population of T&T, Barbados,
Grenada, St Vincent and Antigua.
They have Israel on one side,
the blue Mediterranean on the
other, and short frontier with
Egypt to the south.
At present growth rates, the
population will be one-third larger
in just ten years.
Feels crowded? If you re from
Gaza, you can t easily leave.
Visas? Vacation? Quick break?
Forget it. There s no airport.
Land border crossings are open
only for the privileged---mostly
outsiders on work. The Israeli navy
The Israelis allow food imports,
and some essential goods. But not,
for example, construction mate-
rials, which might be used for for-
tifications. The short frontier with
Egypt is also closed. There were
1,000 or so cross-border smug-
gling tunnels, mostly into Egypt.
Most have been destroyed. Some
were flooded with sewage. It s the
world s largest open-air prison.
Fuel supplies? Limited. Electric
current? More off than on---and
that was before the power plant
was hit last Tuesday.
Water supply? Stand in line with
a bucket. Sewage disposal? Iffy.
Much of it flows untreated into
the Mediterranean. Forget that
weekend beach picnic.
Exports are blocked. There is
some agriculture, but not much,
for lack of space and water.
The administration receives
international funds, so there are
The UN assists education and
food supply. Perhaps half the work-
force is unemployed. Two-thirds
live below the poverty line. Until
2000, around 25,000 workers
made a daily commute to low-paid
jobs in Israel. They brought home
Not again. All that was all in
normal times, before the current
Since July, life in Gaza has moved
from bad dream to nightmare.
Continues on Page A38
Horses' mobile ears are 'communication tool'
Young Palestinians try to retrieve belongings from their homes after an Israeli strike. AP PHOTO
The Gaza strip, with the shared borders of Israel and Egypt. BBC ONLINE IMAGE
Gaza is an ancient
trading city. It has been
Jewish, Assyrian, Greek,
Roman, Byzantine, Arab,
Crusader and Turkish---
even briefly held by the
The trouble started
close to a century ago,
in 1917. The First World
War looked a bloody
was controlled by a
German ally, Turkey.
To win Jewish
support in Europe and
foreign secretary Arthur
Balfour issued a
declaration. He said
Palestine should contain
a "national home for the
Jewish people...it being
clearly understood that
nothing shall be done
which may prejudice the
civil and religious rights
of existing non-Jewish
Looks like a few
in there. And what,
precisely, is a "national
Germany lost the war.
The Turkish empire was
became a British
settlers migrated from
Europe to a land
peopled by Arabs. Most
went to coastlands
around Tel Aviv, or to
Galilee. There were few
After the Second
World War, Jews and
Arabs each passionately
wanted a national state
in Palestine. There was
bloodshed; when the
British mandate ended
in 1948, that turned to a
full-scale war, known to
Palestinians as al-
Nakba: the Catastrophe.
A UN partition plan
collapsed. The new
state of Israel took
most of Palestine. Arab
refugees fled to Gaza,
the West Bank and
Lebanon, lands still
under Arab control.
Gaza was ruled in
practice by Egypt.
Twenty years on,
Arab hopes of regaining
shattered in the 1967
June War, when Israel
occupied the West Bank
and Gaza and new
were established in the
Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip are involved in some of the most
intense violence for months. Militants are firing volleys of rockets into Israel and
Gaza is being hit by waves of air strikes. MARK WILSON explains the background to
the current crisis and gives some analysis about the future of Gaza.
Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu
says his country will keep up the
offensive on Gaza militants until
they stop firing rockets. AP PHOTO
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