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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 156,952

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Scientists discover 417 Mayan cities in Guatemala's forested area


Mayan pyramid and ruins in the famous Tikal National Park, Guatemala. (Getty Images Photo)

Scientists have discovered 417 ancient Mayan cities in a densely forested area, with a history dating back to around 1000 B.C. in Guatemala.

Researchers from a joint U.S.– Guatemala archaeological expedition revealed in an interview with The Washington Post that they had uncovered 417 cities connected by a network of "highways" spanning 177 kilometers (109.9 miles), dating back approximately 3,000 years.

This discovery challenges historians to rethink what they know about the ancient Maya civilization.

According to The Washington Post, the discovery of a road and city network, hydraulic systems, and agricultural infrastructure indicates that the communities living in Central America were more advanced than previously thought.


Operation Condor: The Cold War US Conspiracy That Terrorized South America

(Just discovered this article, believe it's totally worthwhile to people unacquainted with this phase of US history: )

Operation Condor: The Cold War US Conspiracy That Terrorized South America


Giles Tremlett | The Guardian - TRANSCEND Media Service

During the 1970s and 80s, eight US (Henry Kissinger)-backed right wing military dictatorships jointly plotted the cross-border kidnap, torture, rape and murder of hundreds of their left wing political opponents. Now some of the perpetrators are finally facing justice.

3 Sep 2020 – The last time Anatole Larrabeiti saw his parents, he was four years old. It was 26 September 1976, the day after his birthday. He remembers the shootout, the bright flashes of gunfire and the sight of his father lying on the ground, mortally wounded, outside their home in a suburb of Buenos Aires, Argentina, with his mother lying beside him. Then Larrabeiti remembers being taken away by armed police, along with his 18-month-old sister, Victoria Eva.

The two children became prisoners. At first, they were held in a grimy car repair garage that had been turned into a clandestine torture centre. That was in another part of Buenos Aires, the city that their parents had moved to in June 1973, joining thousands of leftwing militants and former guerrillas fleeing a military coup in their native Uruguay. The following month, in October 1976, Anatole and Victoria Eva were taken to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, and held at the military intelligence headquarters. A few days before Christmas, they were flown to a third country, Chile, in a small aircraft that climbed high above the Andes. Larrabeiti remembers looking down on snowy peaks from the plane.

Young children do not usually make epic journeys through three countries in as many months without parents or relatives. The closest thing they had to family was a jailer known as Aunt Mónica. It was probably Aunt Mónica who abandoned them in a large square, the Plaza O’Higgins, in the Chilean port city of Valparaíso, on 22 December 1976. Witnesses recall two young, well-dressed children stepping out of a black car with tinted windows. Larrabeiti wandered around the square, hand-in-hand with his sister, until the owner of a merry-go-round ride spotted them. He invited them to sit on the ride, expecting some panicked parents to appear, looking for their lost children. But nobody came, so he called the local police.

No one could understand how the two children, whose accents marked them as foreign, had got here. It was as if they had dropped from the sky. Anatole was too young to make sense of what had happened. How does a four-year-old who finds himself in Chile explain that he does not know where he is, that he lives in Argentina, but is really Uruguayan? All he knew was that he was in a strange place, where people spoke his language in a different way.

The next day, the children were taken to an orphanage, and from there they were sent on to separate foster homes. After a few months, they had a stroke of luck. A dental surgeon and his wife wanted to adopt, and when the magistrate in charge of the children asked the surgeon which sibling he wanted, he said both. “He said that we had to come together, because we were brother and sister,” Larrabeiti told me when we met earlier this year in Chile’s capital, Santiago.

Today, he is a trim, smartly suited 47-year-old public prosecutor with hazel eyes and a shaven head. “I have decided to live without hate,” he said. “But I want people to know.”

What Larrabeiti wants people to know is that his family were victims of one of the 20th century’s most sinister international state terror networks. It was called Operation Condor, after the broad-winged vulture that soars above the Andes, and it joined eight South American military dictatorships – Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador – into a single network that covered four-fifths of the continent.


Deleted by poster. Sorry. Wrong forum.

'Slavery Simulator' Game Removed From Google Play After Backlash

The MagnusGames app is being investigated by federal prosecutors in Brazil

Robert Carnevale | May 25, 2023 @ 3:32 PM

The mobile developer MagnusGames released a game on the Google Play Store entitled “Slavery Simulator.” As one might expect, it has caused a stir. Chiefly, the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, is now investigating the app and has asked Google for the developer’s email

Though Google has since removed the game from the store, it was downloaded over one thousand times before being taken down, and its store page was accompanied by “hate speech” in the comments area.

“It is a game in which the user plays the role of slave owner and can choose between the possibility of making a profit and preventing escapes and rebellions or fighting for freedom and achieving abolition, the Brazil prosecutors office said.

For wider context, slavery is not verboten in modern games. It’s present in many titles, including history-focused grand strategy games such as “Europa Universalis IV” and overtly lurid games like “Slaves of Rome,” wherein you buy sex slaves in ancient Rome.


Colombia's prosecution cornered over drug links

Deputy chief prosecutor implicated in growing corruption scandal
by Adriaan Alsema May 16, 2023

Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has increasingly come over fire over top prosecutors’ alleged involvement in covering up organized crime.

The mushrooming corruption scandal involves deputy Prosecutor General Martha Marcena and multiple other top prosecutors and police officials.

The prosecutors and cops are alleged to be favoring senior mafia figures and paramilitary organization AGC.

The scandal initially broke in February when the prosecution’s former financial crimes chief, Ana Catalina Noguera, was arrested on corruption charges together with the former chief of the National Police’s international cooperation unit, Colonel Ricardo Duran.

. . .

A senior prosecution investigator, Fernando Rodrigo Romero, accused Hernandez of also blocking a 2021 request to arrest 14 reported businessmen for their alleged involvement in more than 20 assassinations in the northern Magdalena an Cesar provinces.


Mind reading breakthrough immediately raises questions of ethics

2 May 2023 / Richard A Lovett

It’s now possible to read a person’s brain activity and “decode” it into speech, researchers have revealed, in what appears to be something akin to “mind reading.”

The discovery is initially focused on helping people with disabilities to communicate.

“We were kind of shocked that this works as well as it does,” says team leader Alexander Huth, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas, Austin, who announced the development at a news conference in the US and published in Nature Neuroscience.

The researchers say previous speech decoders have been applied to neural activity recorded after invasive neurosurgery, which limits their use. Other decoders that have used non-invasive brain activity recordings were limited to decoding single words or short phrases.

The new process begins by having people listen to stories while their brain activity is monitored by a method known as “functional MRI,” which measures tiny changes in blood flow as the brain responds to what it’s hearing.


Vast Pile of Discarded Clothes in Desert Is So Big It's Visible From Space


Asatellite image has revealed an enormous pile of discarded clothing that is so big it's visible from space. The clothing pile, which contains everything from Christmas sweaters to ski boots, is located in the Atacama Desert—the driest non-polar desert in the world—near the municipality of Alto Hospicio in northern Chile.

The pile is spread out across a clearing in the desert terrain. One side of the pile measures more than 1,000 feet across. Texas-based satellite imagery company SkyFi recently shared an image of the pile, revealing the true scale of the pollution problem created by the fashion industry.

Chile has long served as a hub for secondhand and unsold clothing—often manufactured in China or Bangladesh—that is imported into the country from Europe, Asia or the United States before being resold around Latin America, Agence France-Presse reported.

It is estimated that around 59,000 metric tons of clothing arrive at the port of Iquique, which is next to Alto Hospicio, every year. The port is part of the Iquique Free Trade Zone—a duty-free area that was established in an attempt to encourage economic activity.


Chilean vast pile

Mexico Prosecutors Drop Case Against Woman Sentenced For Killing Man As He Raped Her

Roxana Ruiz, 23, was sentenced to more than six years in prison and ordered to pay more than $16,000 in restitution after killing her attacker in 2021.


May 21, 2023, 05:05 PM EDT

Roxana Ruiz shouts during a march in memory of Diana Velazquez, who was making a call outside her home in 2017 when she was raped and killed in Chimalhuacan, Mexico in 2022. Ruiz, who killed a man when he attacked and raped her in 2021, was sentenced to more than six years in prison.VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican prosecutors announced Saturday night that they are withdrawing a case against a woman who was sentenced to six years in prison for killing a man as he raped and attacked her.

In a ruling last week that touched off a public outcry, a court in Mexico State said that while it agreed 23-year-old Roxana Ruiz was raped in 2021, it found her guilty of homicide with “excessive use of legitimate defense.” It also ordered Ruiz to pay more than $16,000 in reparations to the family of her attacker.

Feminist groups, which have supported Ruiz’s defense, angrily protested, saying the ruling was criminalizing survivors of sexual violence while protecting perpetrators in a country with high levels of gender-based violence and femicides. Protesters in Mexico City carried signs reading “Defending my life isn’t a crime.”

An activist takes part in a protest in support of Roxana Ruiz Santiago after she was accused of homicide.PEDRO PARDO VIA GETTY IMAGES

Ruiz, an Indigenous woman and single mother, told reporters after the court’s ruling that she had received death threats because of the case and that she worried for her family’s safety, particularly the life of her 4-year-old son.


Long-hidden ruins of vast network of Maya cities could recast history

The Washington Post

Story by Charlotte Lytton • 11h ago

Long-hidden ruins of vast network of Maya cities could recast history
© Andres Turcios and Mirciny Moliviatis/FARES

Beneath 1,350 square miles of dense jungle in northern Guatemala, scientists have discovered 417 cities that date back to circa 1,000 B.C. and that are connected by nearly 110 miles of “superhighways” — a network of what researchers called “the first freeway system in the world.”

Scientist say this extensive road-and-city network, along with sophisticated ceremonial complexes, hydraulic systems and agricultural infrastructure, suggests that the ancient Maya civilization, which stretched through what is now Central America, was far more advanced than previously thought.

Mapping the area since 2015 using lidar technology — an advanced type of radar that reveals things hidden by dense vegetation and the tree canopy — researchers have found what they say is evidence of a well-organized economic, political and social system operating some two millennia ago.

The discovery is sparking a rethinking of the accepted idea that the people of the mid- to late-Preclassic Maya civilization (1,000 B.C. to A.D. 250) would have been only hunter-gatherers, “roving bands of nomads, planting corn,” says Richard Hansen, the lead author of a study about the finding that was published in January and an affiliate research professor of archaeology at the University of Idaho.


~ ~ ~

(Highly irritating narrator's voice, grin and bear it, the images are excellent)

Unfreedom Monitor Report: El Salvador

An excerpt from Advox research on digital authoritarianism in El Salvador

Written by
Jose Luis Benitez
Posted 19 May 2023 5:00 GMT

When El Salvador ended a civil war (1980–1992) through the Peace Accords between the government and the guerrilla movement in 1992, the United Nations presented the country as an example of peace negotiation and conflict resolution around the world. Since the arrival of President Nayib Bukele to power in 2019, El Salvador is becoming a case study for the emergence of a new form of authoritarianism and populism.

In just three years, Bukele has been able to build a complex political phenomenon that some have called “Bukelism,” which entails a mix of a millennial image, promoting the use of Bitcoin as a legal tender in the country, an anti-corruption and anti-traditional political parties narrative, and rhetoric against the United States’s influence on Salvadoran politics. Bukele has quickly moved to create a new political party, Nuevas Ideas, which controls a large majority of the 84 deputies of the Legislative Assembly and the most important local governments in the country. With this support, Bukele promoted a controversial removal of five magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General in May 2021. Thus, Bukele controls the executive, legislative, and the crucial Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, which just recently re-interpreted the constitution and allowed the possibility of Bukele’s reelection in 2024.

Bukele, who did not finish college and worked in the advertising industry before entering politics, has been recognized for his use of social media, especially Twitter, and other platforms to convey a message to his followers. Since he became president, Bukele has used Twitter to communicate orders to public officials, announce the approval of decrees and respond to any event in the country.

This report analyses two major incidents: the disclosure that Pegasus spyware has been used against journalists from independent media outlets and representatives of civil society, and Bukele’s legal advisor’s threats against two women journalists for not revealing anonymous sources included in a news story. The second event represents a trend of online harassment and threats against women journalists promoted by President Bukele and public officials and replicated by Bukele’s supporters, troll centres, and pro-government influencers on social media.


Linked excellent report follows:
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