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Test 1 / 30

Gymnorhina tibicen

The three-week campaign to select Australia’s bird of the year has come to an end. It was bitterly fought out on social media. Monday’s result, understandably has provoked another round of celebration and recriminations. The winner swooped in with an incredible 19,926 votes, of a total of almost 150,000. The Australian magpie, or Gymnorhina tibicen, took the title. It had quietly gained ground over the white ibis, which had a commanding early lead. The campaign was notable for fierce opinions both for and against the ibis, and many illustrations of its controversial urban habits. Complaints were levelled at the competition, of which attempted vote rigging, drama and political intrigue were just a few. On the morning of 21 November hundreds of suspicious votes were recorded for the powerful owl. Further investigation identified automated voting, forcing a large number of votes to be removed.

Test 2 / 30

The Cove

Over eight years have passed since the Oscar-winning film, The Cove, brought Taiji, an isolated corner of Japan’s Pacific coast, into the spotlight. It found itself at the centre of a bitter debate over the pursuit of dolphins for human consumption and entertainment. The film showed graphic footage of dolphins being slaughtered with knives and turning the sea around it a crimson red. This shocked audiences all over the world. Being unaccustomed to international attention, the town’s residents were wrong footed by their social media-savvy opponents. Consequently, they simply chose to clam up and go to ground. Requests for interviews with town officials went unanswered; the fishermen preferring instead to take a vow of silence. Taiji’s fishermen kept their counsel for years, for which there was much criticism. Now they have finally spoken out|up, agreeing to talk about their work, their whaling heritage, and their determination to continue hunting dolphins.