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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 93,572

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Kenyan rockhound finds oldest known stone tool

Kenyan rockhound finds oldest known stone tool
May 21, 2015
10:55 AM MST



Sammy Lokorodi, a resident of Kenya's northwestern desert who works as a fossil and
artifact hunter, led the way to a trove of 3.3 million-year-old tools.

West Turkana Archaeological Project

Sammy Lokorodi, a resident of Kenya's northwestern desert who works as a fossil and artifact hunter, is credited with finding the oldest stone tool ever known. The tool is a rock that was shaped for a specific purpose and is 3.3 million years old. Geologist Chris Lepre of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Rutgers University and Sonia Harmand of the Turkana Basin Institute at Stony Brook University documented the find and the age of the tool in the May 20, 2015, edition of the journal Nature.

The scientists consider that Kenyanthropus platytops, an early hominin and ancestor of humans, made the tool for breaking logs to get to insect larvae in the logs. The remains of Kenyanthropus platytops were found about a mile from the site where the tool was found and dates to 3.3 million years of age. The site was examined scrupulously for evidence of tool making and 149 artifacts involved with tool making have been found. The relics include hard stone anvils for breaking rock into tools, chips of flint that indicate tools were made, and rocks used for hammering tools.

The discovery is considered to be monumental in the world of anthropology. The oldest known tool ever found prior to this discovery was a mere 700,000 years old. Lokorodi is credited with finding the right type of sediment and the right location where the most ancient tool ever known was found in the Turkana Basin in Kenya.

Skeptics may consider this find to be just a rock but the evidence argues against this concept. The rock was machined for a purpose and there is no doubt of this. Modern apes including bonobos and chimpanzees have been filmed using stone tools. Modern apes have been trained to knap flint to make tools by humans. The basic idea is an ancient human ancestor had sufficient mental capacity to plan and execute a complicated task that had a purpose.

http://www.examiner.com/article/kenyan-rockhound-finds-oldest-known-stone-tool

(Short article, no more at link.)

Paraguay Official Sentenced for Illegal Sale of Indigenous Lands, Faces Other Charges

Paraguay Official Sentenced for Illegal Sale of Indigenous Lands, Faces Other Charges
Rick Kearns
5/22/15

The former head of Paraguay’s Indigenous Institute was sentenced last month to six and a half years in prison for illegally selling indigenous land; and is also awaiting trial for allegedly stealing $700,000 from the Institute that had been earmarked for poverty relief and development following a judgement against the country from the Inter American Court of Human Rights.

A Federal Paraguayan Tribunal handed down the sentence of six and a half years against Ruben Quesnel on April 16 for the illegal sale of 61,776 acres to Julia Vargas, who has returned titles to the land to the Institute while Quesnel’s accomplice, notary Justina Esteche, received a two year sentence for her role in the crime.

Quesnel became head of the Institute (known as INDI) in 2012, not long after the coup that ousted former President of Paraguay Fernando Lugo. In November of that year Quesnel made the illegal sale of land belonging to the Cuyabia community of the Ayoreo people in the Chaco region, on which 19 indigenous families were living.

. . .

Before the Prosecutors had filed charges against Quesnel for the illegal sale they had already started to investigate the allegations that Quesnel and some associates had stolen $700,000 from INDI that had been earmarked for food, medical goods, road and housing works for the impoverished Yakye Axa and Sawhoyamaxa communities. The theft and corruption charges were then registered against Quesnel in late 2013.

More:
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/05/22/paraguay-official-sentenced-illegal-sale-indigenous-lands-faces-other-charges-160424

When Bolivia Tried to Murder a US Folk Legend

When Bolivia Tried to Murder a US Folk Legend



Philip Ochs was an American protest singer and songwriter who was known for his sharp wit, humor and progressive
views. | Photo: Creative Commons

Published 9 April 2015

One of the greatest protest musicians in American history took his life exactly 39 years ago. Driven into a deep depression by both his own demons and the demoralization that faced radical leftists in the mid-70’s, Phil Ochs in many ways died with the movement. This week, I wanted to write about a lesser-known story from Phil’s life, and of his run-ins with another significant part of the history of that time period.

Phil Ochs had said that if a revolution were ever to be possible in the United States, it would require Elvis Presley to become Che Guevara. Phil tried to take on these attributes himself, but unlike Elvis, his gold-lame suit appearance ended with him being pelted with fruit, and his attempts to make pop music were commercially unsuccessful.

On an August day in 1971, on a busy street in Santiago, Chile, Phil met the closest thing to his Elvis Guevara. His name was Victor Jara, and not only did he have the popularity of Presley and the political passion of Che, he also had the topical-folk style of Phil himself.

But Víctor was part of something much more powerful than the Greenwich Village folk scene — Nueva Cancion. Rising alongside and within the social movements of Latin America, Nueva Cancion was political, personal, revolutionary, and exciting.

More:
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/blog/When-Bolivia-Tried-to-Murder-a-US-Folk-Legend-20150409-0021.html

Pope Francis told Obama that relations with Latin America go through Cuba

Pope Francis told Obama that relations with Latin America go through Cuba
Submitted by: Juana



Cardinal Jaime Ortega

Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino visited the state of New York to receive a Honoris Causa degree granted by Fordham Jesuit University , on Saturday May 16. The day before the ceremony, the Cuban prelate was interviewed by journalist Charles Rose, in his TV show.

Ortega y Alamino referred to the intervention of Pope Francis in the restoration of relations between Cuba and the United States; the possibility of lifting the embargo and the role of Francis in the process of dialogue between Havana and Washington. He said the Pope is interested in creating a new relationship between the countries, to have a way to solve problems through words.

There were previous contacts that created the conditions for dialogue between Obama and the Pope about Cuba. Pope Francis told Ortega that when he met Obama he mentioned the Cuban issue and the US president explained the situation with Congress, the laws (of the embargo) that were adopted before Obama was born.

Then the Pope told Obama it was time to change and to think about the role of Cuba in Latin America. The policy of his government (and governments coming later ) over Latin America pass through relations with Cuba . And Obama, says the Cuban Cardinal, was impressed by that vision.

http://www.cubaheadlines.com/2015/05/19/p13/pope-francis-told-obama-that-relations-with-latin-america-go-through-cuba.html

(Short article, no more at link.)

This Park in Ecuador is One of the Most Biodiverse Places on Earth

This Park in Ecuador is One of the Most Biodiverse Places on Earth

Yasuní National Park in the Amazon rainforest may have more species of life than anywhere else in the world


By Matt Blitz
smithsonian.com
May 22, 2015



Napo Wildlife Center, an ecotourism lodge in Yasuní National Park.
(Image courtesy of Flickr user Carol Foil)

Deep in the heart of Ecuador's Amazon basin, in the shadows of the Andes and below the equator, lies what may be the most biologically diverse place on the planet. Yasuní National Park in eastern Ecuador is home to millions of species of plants, birds, insects and mammals. It teems with so much life it leaves people lost for words, says Dr. David Romo, co-director of Tiputini Biodiversity Station-Universidad San Francisco de Quito. “People get stuck on awesome. It is hard to use too many words other than awesome because, well, it is,” Romo says with a laugh.

Whether it’s humongous kapok trees, hairy tarantulas, squawking toucans, jumping spider monkeys or fierce jaguars, the diversity of organisms inhabiting Yasuní is astonishing. What is truly hard to fathom, though, is that little of the park has actually been studied. The Tiputini Biodiversity Station was established in 1994 and while scientists have since taken on multiple projects—for example, a recent project identifying a new species of tarantula with distinctive tiger-like marks—there is still much to explore. “If we compare the area of Yasuní to a pillow, (the amount of) information we have is equal to two needle heads on that pillow,” Romo says.

There is no definitive answer to the question of why or how Yasuní became so biologically diverse—the causes may include its high annual rainfall or low variation in temperatures. The park has also been called “an ecological bull’s-eye” due to the fact that it sits at the base of the Andes, along the Amazon and close to the equator—three distinct ecological systems converging to create a wholly unique area.

The park’s abundance of natural resources has turned Yasuní into a battleground of interests, however. While illegal hunting and logging have existed here for many years, the discovery of oil in 1937 underneath the fertile soil of the rainforest created a new threat.

More:
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/amazonian-rainforest-one-most-biodiverse-places-earth-180955364/#H4OCq2PfA0JqfgfU.99

Is it time for France to pay its real debt to Haiti?

Is it time for France to pay its real debt to Haiti?

By Ishaan Tharoor May 13

In 1791, the slaves of France's most profitable Caribbean colony, Saint Domingue, revolted. The uprising was kindled by the appalling exploitation and abuse of the colony's enslaved African population, and stoked by the same Enlightenment values championed by white anti-monarchic revolutionaries in the United States and France itself.

But the independent republic of Haiti that eventually emerged in 1804 was never an equal among the brotherhood of Western nations. To the north, the United States, a nation of slaveowners, regarded Haiti, a nation of free blacks, with unvarnished horror and boycotted its merchants.

Meanwhile, France, the spurned former colonial ruler, fumed at its losses. In 1825, with a French flotilla threatening invasion, Haiti was compelled to pay a king's ransom of 150 million gold francs — estimated to be ten times the country's annual revenues — in indemnities to compensate French settlers and slaveowners for their lost plantations. The sum would be later reduced to 90 million gold francs, but that was little consolation: Haiti, in effect, was forced to pay reparations for its freedom.

This history is not as distant as it may seem. It set the stage for many decades of Haitian economic misery and underdevelopment to come—the country, one of the poorest nations in the Western hemisphere, did not finish repaying its 19th century debts to France and the U.S. until the middle of the 20th century.

More:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/05/13/does-france-owe-haiti-reparations/

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/
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