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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 112,283

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For the past 19 years, having a miscarriage could land you a jail term in El Salvador.

That could soon change after the country’s government debates a landmark piece of legislation on Monday that seeks to decriminalize abortion in certain cases.

El Salvador has one of the strictest abortion laws in the world, and the procedure has been illegal in all circumstances since 1998. In many cases, women arrive at a hospital with heavy bleeding, obstetric emergencies or miscarriages and are presumed to have had an abortion. They've been arrested and imprisoned as a result. While the prison sentence for an abortion in El Salvador is two to eight years, there are currently 17 women in prison serving up to 40 years for homicide. All were initially charged with abortion, and later had their charges increased.

“This is a historic moment because we’ve been working for 20 years to lift this ban,” says Sara García, advocacy coordinator at Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto (Citizens Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion). A group from the United Nations Committee on the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) recently visited the country and called on the government to legalize abortion and stop detaining women for abortion-related offenses.


Untangling the Ancient Inca Code of Strings

By Bridget Alex | April 19, 2017 10:00 am


Village authorities insisted on handling the khipus without gloves
to feel the fibre differences. (Credit: William Hyland)

Two vibrant bundles of string, over 10,000 feet high in the Peruvian Andes, may hold clues for deciphering the ancient code of the Inca civilization.

Kept as heirlooms by the community of San Juan de Collata, the strings are khipus, devices of twisted and tied cords once used by indigenous Andeans for record keeping. Anthropologists have long debated whether khipus were simply memory aids — akin to rosary beads — or a three-dimensional writing system. The latter seems more possible, and decipherment more feasible, according to new research on the Collata khipus, published Wednesday in Current Anthropology.

In the study, University of St. Andrews anthropologist Sabine Hyland analyzed string color, fiber and twist direction to identify 95 unique signs — enough to constitute a writing system — and proposed a phonetic decipherment of the khipus’ final strings, thought to represent family lineage names.

“If that’s the case, that would be groundbreaking,” says Galen Brokaw, a scholar of Latin American Studies at Montana State University, who was not involved in the study. “The challenge is to find more sources, more khipu … more extensive evidence” to support this hypothesis.


Rumblings of a Constitutional Assembly in Brazil

by Matthew Taylor
April 19, 2017

Brazil remains in ferment. The massive Lava Jato investigation turned three years old last month, and this week marked the one-year anniversary of the Chamber of Deputies’ vote to impeach Dilma Rousseff. Last week brought the release of long-anticipated “end of the world” testimony by 77 plea-bargaining Odebrecht executives, which implicated nearly one hundred senior politicians, including a third of the Senate, more than three dozen deputies, thirty percent of the cabinet ministers, and a handful of governors. All six living presidents, including incumbent Michel Temer, now face allegations of improprieties from Lava Jato.

Temer’s signature reforms, meanwhile, have hit a rough patch. A draft pension reform amendment was watered down before presentation in committee in an effort to bring reluctant deputies on board. In time-honored fashion, the President is on an appointment spree, doling out mid-level government posts to allies to ensure that he surpasses the 308 votes needed to push the amendment through the lower house. Odds are that some diluted version of pension reform will pass, but only because of old-fashioned horse-trading, rather than deep commitment. Protests are ramping up, with angry members of police unions breaking windows at Congress earlier this week. And the timetable is short, with a committee vote now postponed until May, even as the race heats up in the 2018 campaign for the most wide-open presidential contest in living memory.

In the midst of the polarization and uncertainty, luminaries across the political spectrum have floated a bold new idea: a constitutional assembly to break the logjam. At least three problems could be addressed by rewriting the 1988 Constitution:

1. the rule of law problem, best exemplified by the fact that none of the sitting federal politicians implicated in the Odebrecht testimony are likely to receive a definitive sentence from the slow-moving high court before the end of the next presidential term in 2022;


Brazil's Temer Confesses Rousseff's Impeachment Was Revenge

Michel Temer | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 April 2017

. . .

Brazil's Senate-imposed President Michel Temer admitted Sunday in a TV interview that the former head of the lower chamber, Eduardo Cunha, opened the impeachment process against former President Dilma Rousseff because her party did not protect him from an investigation over corruption charges.

Cunha's decision followed the Workers' Party's vote at the ethics committee supporting an investigation into corruption charges against him over four bank accounts hidden in Switzerland. Cunha is currently serving a 15-year sentence on corruption charges involving the state oil company Petrobras.

“At one point, Cunha told me that he was going to shelve the requests for Rousseff's dismissal because he was promised three votes in his favor at the ethics committee,” Temer said to Band TV.

“Then, I saw on the news that the three members of the Workers' Party voted against him. Later Cunha called me and said 'Forget what I said. I am going to call the media and start the (impeachment) process,'” he added.


Goose 1, detective 0 - US cop whacked in head, smashed to ground in vicious attack

Sergeant Detective Ray Hall had forgotten his keys and was trying to walk back to the front door of the local police station when he was set upon by an agitated goose.

Video footage of the incident was uploaded to YouTube by colleague Shane Bassett who wrote, "Detective Hall forgot his keys. He then attempts to enter the building and is challenged by our local geese."

"Bad decision."

The video shows a goose launching itself at the unsuspecting Sgt Hall, who attempts to keep the violent goose at bay with his bag.


The four proven war crimes that have Uribe against the wall

The four proven war crimes that have Uribe against the wall
written by Adriaan Alsema April 17, 2017
Alvaro Uribe

These are the war crimes that implicate Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe to the extent they could land him in prison for life.

While Uribe enjoys presidential immunity for alleged war crimes committed between 2002 and 2010, the president is also embroiled in investigations of war crimes for which he would enjoy no immunity.

While the Colombian state has already been convicted in each of these cases, the former president continues to enjoy full impunity over his alleged responsibility.

Mass execution of civilians (Victims: >4000)

The mass execution of victims that took place is one of the most horrendous war crimes committed during the entire conflict.

For years, Colombia’s military lured civilians across the country away from populated areas, executed them and dressed them up as guerrillas in an elaborate scheme called “false positives.”


Colombia government not amused by Trump-Uribe encounter

Source: Colombia Reports

written by Adriaan Alsema April 17, 2017

Following an informal encounter with US President Donald Trump, Colombia’s government has criticized opposition leader Alvaro Uribe for allegedly lobbying partisan and not national interests in the United States.

Former President Andres Pastrana (1998-2002) announced over the weekend that he and former President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010) had met with Trump at his Florida holiday resort.

. . .

The meeting came before a planned meeting between the US president and his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos.

The informal encounter upset the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos as both Pastrana and Uribe are fierce opponents of an ongoing peace process in their country.

Read more: http://colombiareports.com/colombia-government-not-amused-trump-uribe-encounter/

Colombias transitional justice system set up by communist sympathizers, Uribe tells US Congress

Colombia’s transitional justice system set up by communist sympathizers, Uribe tells US Congress
written by Adriaan Alsema April 16, 2017

Former President Alvaro Uribe published a message to US congress on Twitter Sunday, warning Colombia’s peace process could ultimately convert his country in a tyrannical communist regime.

The message — which contains numerous false claims — seems to be the latest attempt of the hard-right former president to discredit the peace process that seeks an end to 52 years of armed conflict.

. . .

Uribe could face criminal investigations by a transitional justice tribunal over numerous major human rights violations that took place under his watch, in some cases by extreme-right paramilitary groups.

. . .

Dozens of former congressmen, mainly ideological allies of the controversial politician, are in prison for teaming up with the death squads to advance their political agenda.



Finding Oscar: Horror and Hope, After Unimaginable Massacre in Guatemala

APR 14 2017, 5:57 AM ET
‘Finding Oscar’: Horror and Hope, After Unimaginable Massacre in Guatemala

The unimaginable horrors of the Guatemalan civil war can be seen through what took place in one village. But it took decades to piece together a massacre perpetrated by the country's military that defies the imagination.

The search for answers form the heart of a new documentary, "Finding Oscar," now opening nationwide. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the film examines Guatemala's history - including U.S. support for the government at the time - and the war that that led to the horror of that one night, as well as the search for the children who would serve as living proof that the event occurred.

- video -

Until one fateful night, Dos Erres was a typical village in Guatemala. It was largely removed from the civil war that had gripped the country for decades. Most of its inhabitants were farmers. It was home to about 40 families, including 70 to 80 children. It contained one school, two churches, and a community well located in the center of town. Although Dos Erres - the name means "Two Rs" - was situated in a remote section of the country, one resident recalls, "La vida era buena" - life was good.

That all changed on December 6, 1982. Acting on the false belief that some villagers were sheltering weapons for local guerilla fighters, government-backed commandos stormed the town and rounded up all of the inhabitants. After a night of brutality, rapes and interrogations, the decision was made to "disappear" the entire village.

. . .


Ultrasound Scan in Intensive Medicine, a New Cuban Experience

Ultrasound Scan in Intensive Medicine, a New Cuban Experience

Havana, April 14 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban experience in the application of ultrasound scan in intensive medicine is considered as one of most interesting issues debated at the International Congress URGRAV-2017, held in Havana.

In Cuba, the intensivists do not have this competition to date, hence the great importance of tackling down this issue in this event, Hector Diaz, Dr. told Prensa Latina, who launched a book project on the use of ultrasound scan in critical care medicine.

He explained that this kind of tool has always been an important instrument belonging to radiologists; and even though it is frequently used in Cardiology or Gynecobstetrics, there is no precedent of being previously used in the intensive medicine in Cuba. Several colleagues and I have been working hard for some years on clinical ultrasound scan applied to our specialty. It is a skill that we want to implement.

Hector pointed out that his presentation at the 7th International Congress of Emergencies and Intensive Care, URGRAV-2017, was based on the current impact that this initiative has had on the Cuban intensive medicine.


(Short article, no more at link.)
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