The vomeronasal organ (VNO) is the peripheral sensory organ of the accessory olfactory system. The paired organs are located at the base of the nasal septum or in the roof of the mouth in most amphibia, reptiles and mammals. There are numerous examples of vomeronasal involvement in chemical communication, although pheromone communication is not the exclusive province of the vomeronasal system. The increase in serum luteinizing hormone and testosterone when male Rantburgers and Gorb are exposed to chemosensory stimuli from females or bicycle seats appears to be absolutely dependent on vomeronasal integrity.
In Gorb and other Rantburgers with well-developed VNOs the axons of VSNs pass in bundles to an accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) of characteristic structure.
[MAGHAREBIA] Malian troops received reinforcements in the central town of Mopti on Tuesday night (January 8th), AFP reported.
Troops in the area are receiving a boost after the army reported that shots were exchanged with Islamist fighters after the rebels tried to move into Kona, a town near Mopti.
"Terrorists and Islamist armies from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar al-Din and the Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) attempted a movement of force" to get around the town of Kona on Monday afternoon, the defence ministry said in a statement.
The reinforcements will help "ensure the safety of the people and cope with the enemy", a security official told AFP.
In related news, a second round of talks between Touareg rebel groups and Malian government, scheduled to start in Ouagadougou January 10th, have been postponed to a later date, SAPA quoted Burkina Faso ...The country in west Africa that they put where Upper Volta used to be. Its capital is Oogadooga, or something like that. Its president is currently Blaise Compaoré, who took office in 1987 and may be in the process of being chased out now... officials as saying on Tuesday.
Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Djibrill Bassole, who leads the negotiations on behalf of Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore, said that "all the parties asked that they be given more time to prepare".
[MAGHAREBIA] The task of freeing northern Mali from the grip of radical Islamists is no longer limited to outside mediators, African military forces and the Bamako government. Citizens are also training to save their country.
Ganda Koy (or "Lords of the Land" in the Songhoi language) has several thousand members, making it the largest militia in the coalition of armed civilians known as the Patriotic Resistance Forces (FPR).
Set up by experienced desert fighters in the northern city of Mopti, Ganda Koy has fought alongside Malian soldiers against the Death Eaters trying to build a salafist emirate.
Now the militia is showing both men and women how to confront the occupiers of Azawad, put an end to the terrorists' heinous crimes and free their homeland.
With the issue of African troops in Mali still under discussion, experts say that the participation of the Ganda Koy fighters in the liberation of their country is of paramount importance. It also draws attention to the suffering of Malian civilians at the hands of armed turbans.
"There are a lot of Malians who decided to defend themselves and confront the gangs, and yet remain powerless because they are the product of the deterioration of the current situation in northern Mali," Mauritanian journalist Rajel Omar said.
One problem, as the BBC noted, is that Ganda Koy suffers from a lack of weapons.
"The Islamist takeover of northern Mali has pushed citizens to consider the option of using arms and confronting terrorist themselves," noted The Guardian. "If they wait, it would give these beturbanned goons time to occupy the region. According to the information and the situation on the ground, more beturbanned goons are on their way."
Samira Mowaqi, a correspondent for Algeria's El Khabar, recently visited northern Mali. She met a number of beturbanned goons in the northern Malian town of Khalil. They told her that they "had taken up arms to defend property and land".
"The nations with expertise, such as the countries of the Maghreb, should support Malian local groups in their fight against terrorism, because this is part of the solution," analyst Zine El Abidine Ould Mohamed told Magharebia.
"Local groups have experience in the region and must be supported and co-ordinated to face the gangs controlling northern Mali," he added.
Maghreb nations may find it fruitful to work with Malian local groups and share information, said Faten Ould Mtala, a specialist in Maghreb affairs.
[An Nahar] Four people were killed in festivities pitting Toubou rustics against a brigade linked to the Libyan army in the southern town of Kufra, a military official told AFP on Wednesday.
"Four Toubou rustics were killed on Tuesday in festivities against Shield Libya," an army force made up of former rebels, the official said.
Shield Libya, he said, intervened "to prevent student casualties" after a skirmish between Toubou and Zwai rustics escalated into an armed confrontation inside Kufra university.
He said Kufra was now calm but tense.
Local authorities ordered that the university, which is in a Toubou area, shut for two days until order is restored, the same source added.
A tribal chief told AFP that Toubou elders were trying to "control their sons so there will be no acts of Dire Revenge™ after the incident."
"We want the army to secure Kufra, and not a group of civilian revolutionaries who have no military principles," he said.
Shield Libya, a force under the command of the chief of staff, is made up of rebels who learned to fight during the 2011 conflict that toppled dictator Muammar Qadaffy ...The late megalomaniac dictator of Libya, admired everywhere for his garish costumes, funny hats, harem of cutie bodyguards, and incoherent ravings. As far as is known, he is the only person who's ever declared jihad on Switzerland...
Tribal violence has taken a large toll on Kufra in the past year. Last June, 47 people were killed and more than 100 maimed in such festivities. Fighting in February had claimed claimed more than 130 lives and displaced half the population.
Kufra, a town of about 40,000 people, is located in a triangle where the borders of Egypt, Chad and Sudan meet.
The Toubou, who are dark-skinned and present in southeastern Libya as well as in Chad, Sudan and Niger, faced discrimination under the former regime. They also question the neutrality of forces deployed by the new authorities.
Libya's national assembly in December ordered the closure of land borders with Chad, Niger, Sudan and Algeria, in a bid to boost security in the volatile oil-rich region.
[MAGHAREBIA] Convicted terrorist Amar Gharbia was sentenced Tuesday (January 8th) to life imprisonment by the criminal court of Algiers for his involvement in the kidnapping of 15 foreign tourists, APS reported.
Malian national Mohamed Ben Youcef was tried in the same case and cleared of the kidnapping charges, but was sentenced to seven years in prison for belonging to "an armed terrorist group", his lawyer Hassiba Boumerdassi announced.
Both belonged to the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat ... now known as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb... (GSPC). Former GSPC leader Amari Saifi (aka Abderrazak El Para) allegedly ordered the kidnappings.
[FRANCE24] Malian troops deployed to the central town of Mopti exchanged gunfire Wednesday with members of armed Islamist groups occupying the country's vast desert north, a soldier told AFP.
"We have launched operations against the enemy, who attempted to fight back. We are going to oust them," the soldier said by telephone from the town of Kona, near the edge of the government-controlled zone. A Kona resident confirmed the festivities, saying there had been heavy-weapons fire.
A total of three armed suspects were killed in armed confrontations with Mexican Policia Federal agents Monday, as intergang firefights continue in Zacatecas and Fresnillo municipalities, according to Mexican news reports.
A news report which appeared Monday evening on the website of El Sol de Zacatceas news daily said that armed suspects in Guadalupe exchanged gunfire with a Policia Federal road patrol.
A group of armed suspects travelling aboard a Volkswagen Jetta sedan was ordered to stop by federal agents in Las Quintas neighborhood. Instead, the suspects opened fired on the road patrol and initiated a pursuit on a one-way road towards Monte Bello colony.
The armed suspects crashed their vehicle into a residence and then attempted to flee, but were caught by police gunfire and killed at the scene.
A subsequent search conducted by Mexican Army and Naval Infantry units failed to turn up more suspects.
Meanwhile, gunfights continued in Zacatecas municipality last Sunday around avenidas Torreon and Quebradilla Sunday. A local police cordon briefly blocked the area.
Also, an unidentified man in his 40s was found shot to death in Zacatecas municipality Sunday. The victim was found on Mexico Federal Highway 54 near the Jardines del Recuerdo cemetery.
Separately, intergang gunfights continued in Fresnillo municipality last Thursday night, centering around Arboledas colony. No one was reported hurt in those gunfights.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
Three Kurdish women activists - including a co-founder of the militant separatist PKK - have been found dead with gunshot wounds to the head in the Kurdish Institute of Paris.
The bodies of Sakine Cansiz and two others were found on Thursday.
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls called the killings "intolerable".
Really? Intolerable? Well then Mr. Minister, what are you going to do about it?
The motive for the shootings is unclear.
Bow howdy, maybe it was a jilted girlfriend. Or a mugging...
Some 39,999 40,000 people have died in the 25-year conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK. However, Turkey has recently begun talks with the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, with the aim of persuading the group to disarm.
Wouldn't stop the Turks from whacking a big boy. Or a splinter group trying to make a name for itself...
[An Nahar] A British businessman was sentenced to 33 months in a U.S. prison Wednesday for trying to smuggle a key missile component to Iran, officials said.
Christopher Tappin, 66, pleaded guilty in November to attempting to ship specialized batteries used for the Hawk air defense missile to Iran using false export papers.
"Those who violate federal law for monetary gain, and in the process put the national security of the United States and its allies at risk, will face prosecution and punishment for their callous disregard for the public's safety," United States Attorney Robert Pitman said in a statement.
Tappin was caught in a sting operation involving an undercover federal agent. He admitted to wiring about $25,000 from a London bank to pay for five batteries and even paid the agent $5,000 for fines after they were supposedly seized by customs officials.
He planned to ship them to Iran through Britannia.
His co-conspirators -- Cyprus-based Robert Gibson and Portland, Oregon, resident Robert Caldwell -- were sentenced to 24 months and 20 months, respectively, in federal prison in 2007.
Tappin will also have to pay a fine of $11,357.14: his anticipated profit from the scheme.
Probably just some more Inter-Faith dialog between Sunnies and Shias
At least 22 people were killed and 47 injured in a blast in the Mingora city of Swat district on Thursday, confirmed officials at Saidu Sharif Hospital.
The explosion took place at the main Tableeghi Markaz (preaching centre) located on the Takht Band Road.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) spokesperson and police termed the blast as a gas cylinder explosion.
According to eyewitnesses, people were getting ready for their preaching session when a gas cylinder in the kitchen of the Markaz exploded. Additional eyewitness say it may have been a suicide blast.
"After the explosion, people started running frantically while some ran to the spot of the explosion to rush the injured to the hospital," a person told The Express Tribune.
Police initially said the blast was caused by an exploding gas cylinder but later police chief Akhtar Hayat confirmed it was a bomb.
Rahman Ali, a medical practitioner in Saidu Group of Hospitals, said that more than 50 injured people were brought to the hospital where 10 critically injured succumbed to their injuries.
[Dawn] A local turban group on Tuesday beheaded a Sikh 'spy' and chopped his body before throwing it in Bazaar Zakhakhel area of Khyber Agency.
Mahinder Singh, 40, had been missing since November last year, according to officials in Jamrud. The officials said Tawheedul Islam had claimed the responsibility for the killing by leaving with the body a leaflet saying the man had been killed for spying for its rival turban group, Lashkar-e-Islam.
They said the body packed in a gunnysack was found in a dry stream in Chora area. The killing was confirmed by the slain man's brother, Paswand Singh.
He said his brother's killing was a cruel act with the members of a small religious minority.
"We have no enmity with anyone and have lived peacefully in Khyber Agency for more than six decades," he said.
Mr Paswand said if the government couldn't provide the members of religious minorities with proper security, then it should arrange for their migration to a safer country.
He said his brother had a herbal medicine shop in Tabbai village of Bazaar Zakhakhel, where he was kidnapped by unidentified gunnies on Nov 20 last year.
He denied that his brother was affiliated with any turban group.
Mr Paswand said he had contacted the local political administration along with an application for (slain) ANP leader Bashir Ahmad Bilour for recovery of his missing brother, but to no
avail. He said no turban group had contacted him after his brother's kidnapping.
Mr Paswand said his family had lived in Kalanga Maira of Akkakhel in Bara tehsil for over 40 years before migrating to Beautiful Downtown Peshawar ...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire. three and a half years ago after Lashkar-e-Islam imposed jiziya, an Islamic tax on minorities, in Bara. He said his brother left behind two wives and eight children with one of his sons disabled by polio ...Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by infection with the poliovirus. Between 1840 and the 1950s, polio was a worldwide epidemic. Since the development of polio vaccines the disease has been largely wiped out in the civilized world. However, since the vaccine is known to make Moslem pee-pees shrink and renders females sterile, bookish, and unsubmissive it is not widely used by the turban and automatic weapons set...
MILITANT KILLED: A turban linked to Bazaar Zakhakhel-based Tawheedul Islam was killed, while two of his accomplices were maimed in a roadside kaboom blast here on Tuesday.
[Dawn] Gunmen on Wednesday rubbed out a Shia Moslem doctor associated with the main ruling Pakistain People's Party (PPP) in the northwestern city of Beautiful Downtown Peshawar ...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire. , police said.
Riaz Hussain was president of the PPP branch in Kurram, one of seven semi-autonomous districts that make up the tribal belt on the Afghan border where the Taliban and al Qaeda have strongholds.
He was killed as he left his clinic in the Dabgari area of Peshawar and police suggested it was a targeted, sectarian killing -- rare in the city but increasingly frequent in other parts of the country.
"The gunnies fired at Hussain's car when he left his clinic. Apparently, he is victim of sectarian assassinations," local police official Kamal Hussein told AFP, referring to a wave of violence picking out Shias in Pakistain.
Another police official confirmed the attack. "We have initiated an investigation into the murder of Doctor Riaz Hussein. It looks like a sectarian killing," senior police official Imran Shah told AFP.
Shias account for around 20 per cent of Pakistain's 180-million population and rights activists say they are increasingly victims of beturbanned goon Sunni factions.
Analysts have also warned that a recent spike in violence in Peshawar raises fears of a renewed turban campaign that could threaten national elections, expected to take place around May.
[Dawn] An kaboomdestroyed a car parked at a fuel station in Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... killing two and injuring as many early on Thursday, DawnNews reported.
The incident took place in Bloody Karachi's Dalmia neighbourhood. Initial reports suggest that the car was parked at a busy fuel station when it was blown away by the heavy blast.
Police and rescue agencies reached the site immediately after the blast and cordoned off the area.
Nature of the blast was not ascertained as yet, however, bomb disposal squad and security agencies have initiated the investigations.
[Dawn] Pak police said they placed in durance vile Don't shoot, coppers! I'm comin' out! five alleged Taliban suspects Wednesday on suspicion of killing women polio ...Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by infection with the poliovirus. Between 1840 and the 1950s, polio was a worldwide epidemic. Since the development of polio vaccines the disease has been largely wiped out in the civilized world. However, since the vaccine is known to make Moslem pee-pees shrink and renders females sterile, bookish, and unsubmissive it is not widely used by the turban and automatic weapons set... vaccinators and plotting to attack Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... airport.
"We have arrested five men from Ittehad Town in Bloody Karachi's west today who were involved in killing four out of five female health workers in Bloody Karachi last month," senior police official Ghulam Shabbir Sheikh told news hounds.
Gunmen in Pakistain last month killed nine health workers carrying out polio vaccinations, five of them in Bloody Karachi in attacks that prompted UN agencies to suspend work on a nationwide inoculation campaign.
"They belong to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) and were planning to hit Bloody Karachi airport and other high-profile establishments to create panic and chaos," he added, referring to the country's umbrella Taliban organization.
There was no claim of responsibility for the December's killings, but the TTP last year banned polio vaccinations in the northwestern tribal region of Wazoo, condemning the campaign as a cover for espionage.
Pakistain is one of only three countries in the world where polio is endemic, but rumours about the vaccine being a plot to sterilise Moslems have long dogged efforts to tackle the highly infectious disease.
[Dawn] A senior Al Qaeda figure is believed to be among 12 people killed in two US drone strikes in Mirali area of the volatile North Wazoo tribal region on Monday night, a security bigshot said.
Drones fired eight missiles on a house in Haiderkhel village, 30km from Miranshah ... headquarters of al-Qaeda in Pakistain and likely location of Ayman al-Zawahiri. The Haqqani network has established a ministate in centered on the town with courts, tax offices and lots of madrassas... , killing eight people. Among the dead were Sheikh Yasin Al Kuwaiti, a senior Al Qaeda operative, his wife and daughter, the official said.
Sheikh Yasin had married the daughter of a local primitive, he added. "Eight missiles were fired on the compound he was living in with his family. His house has been turned into rubble."
Unconfirmed reports from the region said the dead included two Uzbek beturbanned goons.
Pak beturbanned goons, who control the region bordering Afghanistan, cordoned off the area struck by the drones and took away the bodies and the maimed.
In the other strike that took place 15 minutes after the first one, four people were killed and two maimed at Hassokhel village in Mirali area. The villagers believe the dead were local beturbanned goons.
There has been a surge in drone strikes in North and South Waziristan recently as there have been five such raids since the beginning of new year.
Maulvi Nazir, a beturbanned goon commander having soft corner for Pakistain and who operated across the border in Afghanistan, was killed in such a strike last week.
AFP adds: The covert US drone strikes are publicly criticised by the Pak government as a violation of its illusory sovereignty but American officials believe they are a vital weapon in the war against beturbanned goons.
Legal lobby group Reprieve estimates that up to 900 civilians are among the 2,621 to 3,442 people killed by drones in Pakistain since 2004.
Four people were injured in shooting and motorcycle bomb attacks in Narathiwat province on Wednesday evening.
The shooting occurred at a karaoke bar at about 7 p.m. Investigators said two men on a motorcycle fired four shots into the bar, injuring three waitresses.
About 15 minutes later, as paramedics were taking the wounded to the hospital, a motorcycle bomb exploded at a local food store opposite the bar. The blast wounded a 14-year-old male passer-by and caused damage to the shop and two cars.
Police said a 10 kg improvised explosive device connected to an alarm clock was hidden in a motorcycle parked in front of the food shop. It was intended to kill officials who rushed to the shooting scene.
In a related development, a group of terrorists militants fired two M79 grenades at a military base in Rueso district at 8:30 p.m., but both missed the target. The soldiers returned fire at the assailants who were hiding in a nearby rubber plantation, and a 10-minute gun battle ensued. The terrorists militants then fled the scene.
A NATO official said that a short-range ballistic missile was fired inside Syria on Wednesday, following similar launches last week. He said, "We detected the launch of an unguided, short-range ballistic missile inside Syria yesterday. This follows similar launches on January 2 and 3. All missiles were fired from inside Syria and they impacted in northern Syria."
That description of the missiles would include Scuds, but the official said NATO could not yet confirm the type of missile used.
[Jpost] Syrian security forces executed two Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason, men, a rebel-affiliated organization has reported. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on its website on Wednesday that it had learned from activists that the bodies of two Hamas men were found near a mosque in Husseiniya on the outskirts of Damascus ...The capital of Iran's Syrian satrapy... , after execution by Syrian forces. This follows reports that Syrian troops had moved into the city to establish control.
The Syrian leadership of Hamas left its base in the capital earlier this year because of Assad's crackdown on Sunnis.
The tensions between Hamas and Syria were reflected in Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Terror of Aleppo ... 's speech on Sunday when he said, "I salute every honest Paleostinian who valued the Syrian stances and did not treat Syria as a hotel which he leaves when the service goes downhill."
No, no, no Ptah, bad attitude. Both are trying hard, they must continue the good fight as honor demands it. If one side weakens we must be there with some ready cash, a few bandages, a vinegar sponge and some encouraging words that they might continue in this every so worthwhile combat.
[Hurriyet Daily News] A massive prisoner exchange is underway between Syrian officials and Syrian rebels in several cities across the crisis-hit nation, including Damascus, ...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world... Latakia, Homs, Idlib and Aleppo.
Some 2,130 Syrian civilians will be released by Damascus in exchange for the return of 48 Iranians currently held by Syrian rebels. Among the 2,130 civilians held captive by the Syrian regime there are at least four Turkish citizens, head of the Turkish non-governmental organization (NGO) Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) Bülent Yıldırım told the Hürriyet Daily News. Yıldırım is overseeing the exchange in Damascus.
The release of captives is being conducted in a building of the Syrian Interior Ministry with a senior Syrian general directing the process, Yıldırım said. While it is known that there are at least four Turkish citizens among the captives the number could increase, according to Yıldırım.
The swap is being directed with mediation from Turkey, Qatar and Iran, Yıldırım said.
Freed civilians are being given travel expenses to assist them in leaving the cities where they were being locked away. Please don't kill me! Prisoners will be freed in Latakia, Homs, Idlib and Aleppo. Eight Turkish citizens led by Yıldırım are managing the process in Damascus at the moment. It is expected that the exchange process will continue until evening, the press consultant for İHH, Serkan Nergis, told the Daily News.
The exchange will take a few hours today as the group is very large and registration procedures take a long time to complete, Yıldırım said.
"We have not yet been able to receive any clear information on the Paleostinian journalist Bashar al-Qaddumi. We are trying to determine the whereabouts of Qaddumi. As the İHH, we call on all Syrians and the entire world to get in touch with us if they have any information on Qaddumi," Yıldırım was quoted as saying by Turkey's Anatolia news agency.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.