The Skill and Understanding of The Jungle Ecology.

Tropical rainforests may cover only two per cent of the planet’s surface but they’re home to half of all its species, including humans.

Nevertheless, surviving in this hostile environment demands both skill and an intimate understanding of the jungle ecology.

The main impediments to survival in the jungle is not a lack of edible species, but the fact that most of the things you might want to eat live high in the canopy, 30 metres or so above a hungry human’s mouth. As a result, securing enough meat for dinner can be a constant struggle and rainforest-dwellers must develop an extensive knowledge of the plants and animal around them.

In Brazil, the Matis tribe use blowpipes to shoot their prey with poison darts. They make the darts poisonous by mixing the deadly sap of the curare vine with assorted parts of other plants, creating a missile with extraordinary killing power. And unlike shot guns, blowpipes are almost silent so a single party of hunters can bring down a whole troop of monkeys, one by one, without them even noticing.

 The Penan of Sarawak also use blowpipes in the jungle, but they don’t just limit their aim to the canopy. The Penan will often bag ground-based animals such as bearded pigs too. But with silence a must, and hunters often spread out over a wide area and separated by dense undergrowth, how on earth do they communicate? The answer is with sign posts.

The Penan have a complex sign-language in which, at its most simple, a bent twig stuck in the trail may mean 'we went this way'. At the other end of the scale might be a complex arrangement of twigs, sticks and folded leaves that communicate a need for haste, the direction to follow, the distance to travel, the state of local hunting, and the mood of the person leaving the message.

 But not everything the rainforest has to offer needs to be hunted. In Indonesia and Malaysia, the people living in the rainforest have learned to turn the inedible stem of the sago palm into sago flour, a staple food and important source of carbohydrates. Men, women and children all play their part in processing and pounding the stem, turning food preparation into an import communal activity.

While a few groups across the tropics are still nomadic, others are moving towards an increasingly settled existence, partly because of increased pressure on their lands. Since the 1980s various Penan groups, both settled and nomadic, have campaigned against the logging that has devastated their habitat.

In just 50 years, half the planet’s tropical forest has been cleared with as many as 100 species becoming extinct every day, often before they have even been discovered by science. Unless something is done to stop it, much of tribal knowledge and customs will inevitably go the same way.


Mayotte: Overseas region and department of France

In 1500, the Maore or Mawuti (contraction of the Arabic جزيرةالموت Jazīrat al-Mawt – meaning island of death and corrupted to Mayotte in French) sultanate was established on the island. In 1503, Mayotte was observed by Portuguese explorers, but not colonized.


In 1832, Mayotte was conquered by Andriantsoly, former king of Iboina on Madagascar; in 1833, it was conquered by the neighbouring sultanate of Mwali (Mohéli Island in French). On 19 November 1835, Mayotte was again conquered by the Ndzuwani Sultanate (Anjouan sultanate in French); a governor was installed with the unusual Islamic style of Qadi (from the Arabic قاض which means judge). However, in 1836 it regained its independence under a last local Sultan.


Mayotte was purchased by France in 1841. It was the only island in the archipelago that voted in referendums in 1974 and 1976 to retain its link with France and forgo independence (with 63.8% and 99.4% of votes respectively). The Comoros continue to claim the island. A draft 1976 United Nations Security Council resolution recognizing Comorian sovereignty over Mayotte, supported by 11 of the 15 members of the Council, was vetoed by France. It was the last time, as of 2011, that France cast a lone veto in the Council. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a series of resolutions on the issues, under the title "Question of the Comorian Island of Mayotte" up to 1995. Since 1995, the subject of Mayotte has not been discussed by the General Assembly.



Mayotte became an overseas department of France in March 2011 in consequence of a 29 March 2009 referendum. The outcome was a 95.5 per cent vote in favour of changing the island's status from a French "overseas community" to become France's 101st département. Its non-official traditional Islamic law, applied in some aspects of the day-to-day life, will be gradually abolished and replaced by the uniform French civil code. Additionally, French social welfare and taxes apply in Mayotte, though some of each will be brought in gradually. Comoros continues to claim the island, while criticising the French military base there.

France Eases Abortion Restrictions in Sweeping Equality Law Called "historic" step in gender equality push France passed legislation this week allowing women to get abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy with no questions asked, lifting previous restrictions as part of a sweeping and historic law meant to increase gender equality in the country. Previously, a French woman could only get an abortion if her condition put “her in a situation of distress.” The new law, signed Tuesday by French President François Hollande, also ensures women can access information about obtaining abortions, Reuters reports. The legislation provides protections for domestic abuse victims and supports more equal division of childcare and representation in politics. And it strives to creates a more equal job environment by encouraging men to take paternity leaves. BACKGROUND Law No. 75-17 of 18 January 1975 liberalized the abortion law of France. Prior to 1975, the performance of abortions was governed by legislation that prohibited abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman when it was seriously endangered. Law 75-17 was introduced for a five-year trial period and was adopted as a permanent law by the Parliament in December 1979, with some amendments. Although the law begins by providing that “the law guarantees the respect of every human being from the commencement of life”, it nonetheless allows an abortion to be performed before the end of the tenth week of pregnancy by a physician in an approved hospital when a woman who is “in a situation of distress” because of her pregnancy requests the abortion. The physician must inform the woman about the risks involved and provide her with a guide to the rights and assistance provided by law to families, mothers and their children, as well as inform her of the possibilities for adoption should she decide not to terminate the pregnancy. The woman must consult an appropriate social worker or family counsellor about the interruption of the pregnancy, and if she still desires to terminate the pregnancy, she should renew her request in writing, no earlier than one week from the time of the first request. If the woman is an unmarried minor, consent of one of the persons who exercises parental authority over her or, if this is not possible, the consent of her legal representative is required. The abortion may be performed by the physician whom the woman first consulted or by another physician. If the pregnancy poses a grave danger to the woman’s health or if a strong probability exists that the expected child will suffer from a particularly severe illness recognized as incurable, an abortion may be performed at any time during pregnancy provided that two physicians certify, after an examination, that the health of the mother or foetus is at risk. Law No. 79-1204 of 31 December 1979 amended the 1975 Law. Many of the amendments introduced serve to clarify the procedures to be followed in the application of the law. Others are designed to ensure that women desiring to terminate a pregnancy are fully informed as to the alternatives to abortion and the availability of assistance. The 1979 law specifies that, should the one-week waiting period for consultation cause the 10-week period of pregnancy to be exceeded, the physician may accept the renewed request as early as two days after the initial request. The law clarifies that, if the woman is a minor, she must consent to the abortion outside the presence of her parents or legal representative. The 1979 law also amended section 317 of the Penal Code, under which a person performing or attempting to perform an illegal abortion on a pregnant or supposedly pregnant woman, with or without her consent, is subject to one to five years’ imprisonment and payment of a fine of 1,800-100,000 French francs. If this person habitually performs such acts, he or she is subject to five to 10 years’ imprisonment and payment of a fine of 18,000-250,000 francs. The 1979 law also made a woman who performed or attempted to perform an abortion on herself subject to six months to two years in prison and payment of a fine of 360-20,000 francs. After 1979, further legislation relating to abortion was approved. Decree No. 80-285 of 17 April 1980 required regional hospital centres and general hospital centres to have facilities to perform abortion and to provide information and medical procedures related to birth control. Decree No. 88-59 of 18 January 1988 added public hospital establishments with surgical or obstetric units to this list. Law No. 82-1172 of 31 December 1982 extended social security coverage to 70 per cent of the costs of care and hospitalization associated with lawful termination of pregnancy. Perhaps the most significant legal development since the passage of the 1975 abortion legislation, has been the approval by the French Government in late 1988 of RU-486, the so-called “abortion pill”, manufactured by Roussel-UCLAF. The use of the drug is closely regulated. On 29 December 1988 the Government issued an order setting forth strict requirements on the purchase, storage, dispensing, and recording of use of RU-486. On 22 February 1990 it issued Circular 90-06, which outlines the procedures to be followed with regard to the use of RU-486. The drug can be used no later than the forty-ninth day of amenorrhoea and it must be taken in the presence of a physician. The patient must be examined by a physician 48 hours afterwards to be administered a prostaglandin, and one week later to verify the termination of pregnancy. Currently, RU-486 is used to induce 19 per cent of all abortions and 46 percent of all abortions performed in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. The most recent development in French abortion law was occasioned by the activities of a small number of anti-abortion protesters. In the early 1990s, they began a campaign of harassment of clinics where abortions were performed and of persons performing abortions. They blockaded and invaded a number of hospitals and tried to discourage individual physicians from performing abortions. To respond to such attacks, the Government in late 1992 enacted legislation establishing new criminal penalties in the Penal Code to combat disruptive activities. Under these provisions, persons who prevent or attempt to prevent a voluntary termination of pregnancy by disrupting access to or the free movement of persons into and out of clinics or hospitals by threatening or engaging in any act of intimidation against medical and non-medical personnel are subject to fines and imprisonment. The provisions also apply to acts directed towards abortion counselling and requests for abortion and allow organizations established to protect the right to contraception and abortion to join as a party in suits brought against such obstruction. In addition, the law introduced one substantive amendment into the abortion laws dating from the 1970s. It repealed provisions of the Penal Code that criminalized a woman’s performing or attempting to perform an abortion on herself. The rationale of the sponsors for this provision was that women who resorted to self-abortion through despair or ignorance or because they lacked resources should not be further penalized.
Any talk about work in France these days is more likely to be about unemployment than employment. But while you might hear complaints from the French population about the state of the country, you're less likely to hear moaning from foreigners who work here. That's because many recognize the benefits of working in France. 1 PERKS: Sure, every company around the around the world can offer certain perks in the job, but many French firm actually have an official “perks department” where people are employed to fight for the best perks. If you're in a company with a "Comité d’Entreprise" you can get your hands on anything from cheap cinema tickets, holiday discounts and a nice wad of vouchers to spend at Christmas. 2 CANTEENS: French cuisine is great, we all know that, but it's not just limited to swanky bistros in Paris. Anglos, so used to scoffing down a sandwich, a bag of crisps and a Mars Bar at their desks, are often bewildered at the quality of the grub on offer at staff canteens in French companies. And because they're subsidized, a decent three-course meal can set you back only €5. And if you don't have a cafeteria, you should be getting restaurant vouchers than can be worth €10 a day. 3 UNEMPLOYMENT: Ideally you won’t arrive in France with the intention of being unemployed, but naturally, with lots of short term contracts (CDDs) around, you might spend a period out of work. Which at least financially, shouldn’t hit you too hard if you’ve worked enough to earn unemployment allowance (“le chômage”)? This can be the equivalent of a hefty chunk of your most recent salary, even up to around two thirds. 4 TRAVEL PASS: No one likes to commute to work, and both the Paris Metro and the RER, for example, have a reputation for being mobile cattle pens at rush hour. However, that’s no different to most big cities and more importantly, the big crush doesn’t feel quite so unpleasant if you're getting half your transport costs paid for you, as is the case for most workers in the capital. And even if your company doesn’t cover it, your monthly pass is a damn sight cheaper than it is in London, for example. 5 GOING SOLO: Despite what you might hear about reams and reams of red tape, France is actually a great place to set up a business. A recent report by Ernst and Young consultants ranked France as a world leader when it came to making it simple and efficient for entrepreneurs to get a venture of the ground. The country’s Auto-entrepreneur system for the self-employed is heralded by many expats, widely used, and involves very little red tape. 6 TAXES: “An advantage of working in France is taxes? You must be mad!” I hear you say. Well yes, but as Christopher Chantrey from the group British in France says: “You will possibly pay more in terms of deductions for pensions and health, but you will end up with a net amount that is easily comparable to the UK.” And at least you might have a pension. Also, declaring your own taxes every year puts you in control of your own money, much more than pay as you earn. 7 HEALTH AND HOLIDAYS: These two Hs are synonymous with France. If you're lucky enough to get a job here at a decent-sized firm, then they will normally cover your health insurance through a "Mutuelle". They may take a few pennies off your pay slip for doing so, but it’s still a good deal and the standard of care you have access to is worth it. Then there are the holidays, of which France gets the most in the world. 8 OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: No one wants to see the French leave France, but recent stats show that more and more young French people are heading abroad to find work. This naturally leaves vacancies back home for those with qualifications, and more importantly English Mother Tongue. French lawyer Jean Taquet says he has seen the careers of Anglo clients take off in France simply because they are native English speakers. Let it be known: You are in demand. 9 35-HOUR WEEK: Ok it’s a bit of a myth that everyone works no more than 35 hours a week here. But although it’s not always applied, the law is still in place. In certain companies, it is adhered to or they make up for the fact you may work a 40-hour working week, by giving you more days off. In terms of hours, working in France is also great for those who enjoy a lie-in in the morning. You can go for run, a swim and a massage before bouncing into work at 1O.30am and still be in before your boss. 10 FIRE PROOF: Perhaps mentioning in a job interview that one of the reasons why you came here was because it’s hard to get fired in France, is not the best idea. But you wouldn't be daft for thinking it. It may be a little exaggerated at times in the Anglo media, but it is certainly harder to fire people in France. However, it does lead to other issues, like making it very hard to actually get a permanent contract, French lawyer Jean Taquet says. But once you have one, it makes life easier.