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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 93,497

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Argentina's Fernandez Signs Railway Nationalization Bill

Argentina's Fernandez Signs Railway Nationalization Bill



Cristina Fernandez nationalized Argentine trains May 20, 2015 | Photo: Reuters

Proponents say the move will help the country's economy as rail is more efficient for transport of goods and it will benefit areas outside the capital.



The Argentinian president enacted the law to nationalize trains Wednesday in the Retiro train station.
Launching the newly-nationalized rail network, Fernandez said it was important to “connect the country once and for all,” and said she wanted Patagonia to be accessible by train.

She defended the nationalization and said it was the State's duty to regulate private companies. She said her late husband has the same intention in 2002 and “no one believed him, no one tolerated him.”

In April, the Argentine Senate approved legislation to re-nationalize the country's railway system and boost its efficiency, which had suffered from privatizations during previous governments. The bill, sent to the Senate in March by President Cristina Fernandez, put both passenger and freight service in state hands.

Proponents of the measure, which had almost unanimous support in the legislature, say the move will help the country's economy as the use of rail to transport goods is more efficient and it will benefit areas outside the capital.

More:
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Argentinas-Fernandez-Signs-Railway-Nationalization-Bill-20150520-0030.html

What Is Behind the Controversy in El Salvador's Recent Elections?

What Is Behind the Controversy in El Salvador's Recent Elections?
Posted 13 May 2015 3:21 GMT

This article by Angeles Rodríguez-Domínguez was originally published on NACLA's website.

It is already past midnight in Nejapa, El Salvador. Poll workers at the Jose Matías Delgado School voting center, exhausted after having arrived at 5 a.m., are still arguing over how to fill out the new count sheets introduced for this year’s electoral process. Scenes just like this were repeated all across El Salvador during the March 1 elections.

Salvadorans took to the polls in relative calm to cast their ballot for mayors, National Legislative Assembly representatives and Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) legislators. Delayed openings, allegations of vote buying in rural areas and isolated confrontations between voters or poll staff did little to impede the active exercise of suffrage throughout the country. The process was declared broadly transparent by visiting international observation delegations, including that of the Organization of American States (OAS).

So why did it take almost a month to get elections results in a system that has been lauded as one of the most democratic and transparent in the region? The answer partly lies in the interventionist role played by the nation’s Supreme Court.

The road to the elections and the Supreme Court’s controversial rulings

As the Farabundo Martí Liberation Front (FMLN) has consolidated its legislative and executive power, the Constitutional Chamber of the country’s Supreme Court has demonstrated growing loyalty to El Salvador’s political right. They have issued increasingly controversial rulings to undercut elections and curtail legislative decisions.

More:
https://globalvoicesonline.org/2015/05/13/what-is-behind-the-controversy-in-el-salvadors-recent-elections/

The 14-year-old music prodigy who left his home in Guatemala for Los Angeles

The 14-year-old music prodigy who left his home in Guatemala for Los Angeles
ChrisAnna Mink
and Vanessa Wilson
on May 21, 2015 @ 6:30 AM




Marvin Velasco, 14, sings and plays the keyboard at San Juan 3:16 Church in Los Angeles, California. The parish became Marvin's safe haven after
he made a solo journey of more than 2,000 miles from Guatemala to the US last year.

(Charlie Magovern)

LOS ANGELES — The tiny storefront church is located in a dingy strip mall in Mid-City Los Angeles. A faded poster on the door displays in Spanish the biblical passage John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Above the front window, a vibrant yellow banner announces nightly services, a stark contrast to the neighboring tattoo parlor, Caribbean seafood market and medical marijuana dispensary. Customers buying pot are regaled with Spanish hymns pouring from the small sanctuary of San Juan 3:16.

LOS ANGELES — The tiny storefront church is located in a dingy strip mall in Mid-City Los Angeles. A faded poster on the door displays in Spanish the biblical passage John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Above the front window, a vibrant yellow banner announces nightly services, a stark contrast to the neighboring tattoo parlor, Caribbean seafood market and medical marijuana dispensary. Customers buying pot are regaled with Spanish hymns pouring from the small sanctuary of San Juan 3:16.

More:
http://www.globalpost.com/article/6555527/2015/05/20/14-year-old-musical-prodigy-who-walked-guatemala-himself-and-found-us

The Survival of the Species: From Indigenous Struggle to Ecosocialism

May 19, 2015

The Survival of the Species

From Indigenous Struggle to Ecosocialism

by QUINCY SAUL and HUGO BLANCO


The epic life of Hugo Blanco requires an epic introduction. None could do better than Eduardo Galeano:

“Hugo Blanco was born for the first time in Cuzco, 1934. He arrived in Peru, a country divided in two. He was born in the middle. He was white, but he was raised in Huanoquite, a town where his friends in games and adventures all spoke Quechua. He went to school in Cuzco, where the Indios couldn’t walk on the sidewalks, which were reserved for decent people. Hugo was born for the second time when he was ten years old. He received news from his town, and learned that Bartolome Paz had branded an indigenous peasant with a hot iron. This owner of land and people had branded his initials with fire on the buttocks of a peasant, named Francisco Zamata, because he hadn’t tended well to the cows on his property. This wasn’t so unusual in fact, but that brand marked Hugo forever. And as the years passed, this man who wasn’t Indio started becoming one; he organized campesino unions and paid with beatings, tortures, prisons, harassment and exile his chosen disgrace. . . Hugo Blanco has walked his country backwards and forwards, from the snowy mountains to the dry coasts, passing through the humid jungles where the natives are hunted like beasts. And wherever he has gone, has has helped the fallen to get up, the silenced to speak. The authorities accused him of being a terrorist. They were right. He sowed terror among the owners of lands and peoples. He slept under the stars and in cells occupied by rats. He went on fourteen hunger strikes. . . More than once, the prosecutors demanded the death penalty, and more than once the news was published that Hugo had died. And when a drill opened up his skull, because a vein had burst, Hugo awoke in panic that the surgeons may have changed his ideas. But no. He continued to be, with his skull sewed up, the same Hugo as always. His friends are sure that no transplant of ideas would work. But we did fear that that Hugo would wake up sane. But here he is – he continues to be that beautiful madman who decided to be Indio, even though he wasn’t, and wound up being more Indio than anyone.”

— Eduardo Galeano, excerpts from passages quoted in Lucha Indiegna #105, May 2015

Quincy Saul: We read in Lucha Indigena and other publications that in Peru today roughly 20% of the national territory has been ceded to foreign mining interests. We read also about the Guardians of Lakes, and the people resisting mining in Cajamarca. What are the lessons for the world that are emerging from these struggles?

Hugo Blanco: We all learn from the struggles in Peru and in the rest of the world. From the 4th to the 8th of August of 2014, we were gathered in Cajamarca weaving international alliances. The dominant system’s means of communication hide our struggles or lie about them. They are spokespeople for the enemies of humanity and nature. So one of our great tasks is to broadcast what is really happening.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/19/from-indigenous-struggle-to-ecosocialism/

The key to ending Colombia's seven-decade civil war could be the US

The key to ending Colombia's seven-decade civil war could be the US

Despite animosity between the Farc and the US, which considers the rebel group ‘narco-terrorists’, envoy Bernard Aronson is seen as a critical voice at peace talks



Sibylla Brodzinsky in Bogotá
Tuesday 19 May 2015 13.42 EDT

When Washington appointed a special envoy to peace talks between the Colombian government and the leftwing rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), it was billed as a show of support for the process and for President Juan Manuel Santos.

There is no love lost between the Farc and the US: Washington put the guerrilla group on its list of terrorist organizations in 1997 and poured billions of dollars of military aid into a campaign to defeat them. The rebels accuse the United States of imperialist meddling, and consider Americans among their most prized hostages.

. . .

Even if they aren’t shipped off to a US prison, the Farc worry about the security of their members in Colombia once they give up their guns.

And with good reason. As part of an attempted peace process in the 1980s the Farc created a small leftwing party called the Patriotic Union (UP). Those talks soon fell apart, and more than 3,000 members of the party, including two presidential candidates, were murdered during the 1980s and 1990s by rightwing paramilitaries linked to the armed forces. Many of those who escaped death went into hiding or exile.

More:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/19/colombia-peace-talks-farc-rebels-us-envoy-bernard-aronson




Experts doubt FARC is giving military training to Mexican cartels

May 19, 2015
Experts doubt FARC is giving military training to Mexican cartels
posted by Adriaan Alsema

Independent experts disagree with reported US intelligence about whether Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, is providing military training to Mexican drug cartels.

The Mexican weekly Proceso last week reported that the FARC had been training members of drug trafficking organizations New Generation Jalisco and Los Cuinis in the southern Colombian jungles.

The magazine said to base its claims on a US intelligence source who claimed some 50 members of the Mexican cartels had traveled to Colombia to receive military training.

However, several Mexican experts told Spanish news agency EFE that this is very unlikely, and that the FARC’s relationship with Mexican cartels is most likely restricted to cocaine and arms trafficking.

More:
http://colombiareports.com/experts-doubt-farc-is-giving-military-training-to-mexican-cartels/

Driest Place on Earth Hosts Life

Driest Place on Earth Hosts Life
By Andrew Williams - May 18, 2015



María Elena South: Mars on Earth in the Atacama Desert, Chile. Photo courtesy: Armando Azua-Bustos - See more at: http://www.astrobio.net/topic/origins/extreme-life/driest-place-on-earth-hosts-life/#sthash.0aLwfZ8k.dpuf

Researchers have pinpointed the driest location on Earth in the Atacama Desert, a region in Chile already recognised as the most arid in the world. They have also found evidence of life at the site, a discovery that could have far-reaching implications for the search for life on Mars.

For more than a decade, the Yungay region has been established as the driest area of the hyper-arid Atacama desert, with conditions close to the so-called “dry limit” for life on Earth. Several academic papers have been published reporting on the extraordinary characteristics of the site and its relevance to astrobiologists as an analogue of conditions on Mars. However, following a more systematic search of the desert, a Chilean research team has now found a new site, María Elena South (MES), which it describes as “much drier” than Yungay.

Lead author Armando Azua-Bustos, an environmental biologist and research scientist at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science in Seattle, says the team discovered that MES has a mean atmospheric relative humidity (RH) of 17.3 percent and a soil RH of a constant 14 percent at a depth of one meter. This soil value matches the lowest RH measurements taken by the Mars Science Laboratory at Gale Crater on Mars, establishing the fact that conditions at the site are as dry as those found recently on the Martian surface.

“Remarkably, we found a number of viable bacterial species in the soil profile at MES using a combination of molecular dependent and independent methods, unveiling the presence of life in the driest place on the Atacama Desert reported to date,” Azua-Bustos says.

More:
http://www.astrobio.net/topic/origins/extreme-life/driest-place-on-earth-hosts-life/#sthash.0aLwfZ8k.dpuf

4 Pinochet-Era Military Officers Sentenced to Prison in Chile

4 Pinochet-Era Military Officers Sentenced to Prison in Chile
Published 18 May 2015 (4 hours 31 minutes ago)

Four former secret police agents in Chile were sentenced to prison terms, among them Gen. Manuel Contreras, who ran the country's secret police.

​Four high-ranking Chilean army officials during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet were sentenced to five years in prison Sunday for their role in the murder of two young activists in 1976.
Among those sentenced was Gen. Manuel Contreras, who was in charge of Chile’s notorious secret police of the military government, the DINA. The DINA functioned as an intelligence entity that operated outside the traditional jurisdiction of the military hierarchy in Pinochet’s dictatorship.

This is only the latest sentence for Contreras, who has been found guilty in numerous other cases of human rights violations. He has been sentenced to serve a total of 400 years for his crimes.

More:
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/4-Pinochet-Era-Military-Officers-Sentenced-to-Prison-in-Chile-20150518-0014.html



Henchman Manuel Contreras, raptly
listening to his boss, Gen. Pinochet


Wikipedia:

Juan Manuel Guillermo Contreras Sepúlveda (born May 4, 1929) is a Chilean military officer and the former head of DINA, Chile's secret police during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. As head of DINA he was the most powerful and feared man in the country, after Pinochet. He is currently serving 25 sentences totaling 289 years in prison for kidnapping, forced disappearance and assassination.

Operation Condor

Further information: Operation Condor

From 1973 to 1977, Contreras led the agency on an international hunt to track down and murder the political opponents of the dictatorship, particularly members of the Communist and Socialist parties and the former guerrilla group and political party Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR). According to the report "CIA activities in Chile" released on September 19, 2000, the US government policy community approved CIA's contact with Contreras from 1974 to 1977 to accomplish the CIA's mission in Chile in spite of his role in human rights abuses. By 1975 American intelligence reporting had concluded that Contreras was the principal obstacle to a reasonable human rights policy within the Pinochet's government, but the CIA was directed to continue its relationship with Contreras, even giving Contreras a one-time payment in 1975. The CIA became concerned with Contrera's role in the assassination of former Salvador Allende cabinet member and ambassador to Washington Orlando Letelier and his American assistant, Ronni Karpen Moffit in Washington, DC, on September 21, 1976. The CIA gathered specific, detailed intelligence reporting concerning Contrera's involvement in ordering the Letelier assassination, but some of the material remains classified and another portion has been withheld at the request of the US Department of Justice (CIA, 2000) CIA contacts with Contreras continued until 1977.

After Orlando Letelier's assassination, tensions between Contreras and Pinochet grew over the course of his tenure, and the DINA was closed down in 1977 and replaced with a new apparatus, the National Intelligence Center (CNI). By 1979, Contreras was out of the army after a short time at the rank of General.

More:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_Contreras

Unseen Cuba: First aerial photographs reveal island's spectacular beauty

Unseen Cuba: First aerial photographs reveal island's spectacular beauty
David Sim
By David Sim May 18, 2015 13:43 BST

Here's Cuba as you've never seen it before. Lithuanian aerial photographer and publisher Marius Jovaiša is the first artist to receive government permission to fly over the country and photograph it from above.



Towering mogotes, cone-shaped limestone mountains covered in vegetation, are the signature geological feature in Valle de Viñales.(Unseen Cuba / Marius Jovaisa)

More images:
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/unseen-cuba-first-aerial-photographs-reveal-islands-spectacular-beauty-1501542

Monsanto and the Damage Done

Weekend Edition May 15-17, 2015

Neil Young Targets Monsanto

Monsanto and the Damage Done

by COLIN TODHUNTER


Neil Young is reportedly about to release a new album called, ‘The Monsanto Years’. Don’t expect the lyrics to be music to the ears of the company’s executives over in St Louis, however. With falling profits and glyphosate being reclassified by the WHO as ‘probably’ causing cancer, Monsanto needs Neil Young like it needs a hole in the head.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, which was primarily responsible $5.1 billion of Monsanto’s revenues in 2014. But that’s not all. The herbicide is used to support Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops, which comprise a significant proportion of its revenue stream.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, herbicide-tolerant biotech plants were grown on virtually all (94 percent) soybean fields in the US last year and on 89 percent of all cornfields. Food & Water Watch found the volume of glyphosate applied to those crops increased almost 1,000 percent between 1996 and 2012, from 15 million pounds to 159 million pounds.

But perhaps the WHO’s reclassification presents just another hurdle to be pushed aside by this science-denying company that has such immense influence within the US Environmental Protection Agency so as to have its fraudulent science accepted and studies showing the carcinogenic impact of glyphosate sidelined.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/15/monsanto-and-the-damage-done/
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