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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 117,211

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How the Disappearance of an Indigenous Activist Sparked an Uprising in Argentina

People have taken to the streets across Argentina to protest the disappearance of Santiago Maldonado. (Enfoque Rojo)

DECEMBER 15, 2017

A conflict between indigenous communities and capitalist plunderers has long been simmering. The case of Santiago Maldonado brought tensions to a boiling point.


For the past three months, an unsettling question has riled Argentina: Where is Santiago Maldonado, the indigenous rights activist disappeared under murky circumstances after a protest? The tragic answer took 78 days to establish.

Santiago Maldonado, 28, was last seen on August 1 at the Pu-Lof indigenous community in Chubut, Patagonia. An artisan and organizer from El Bolsón, he traveled to support the Mapuche’s struggle. Dwellers of the Patagonia region, which abuts Argentina and Chile, the Mapuche people have been demanding the restitution of their ancestral land and protection from the encroachment of multinational corporations, such as the clothing manufacturer Benetton.

Since the 1990s, land grabs have plagued Argentina, where soil is sold at ridiculously low prices. Italian billionaire Luciano Benetton tops the list of foreign land owners in Argentina, with more than 2.2 million acres bought in the 1990s at a remarkably low cost.

But he is not alone. Ted Turner, Jacob Suchard (owner of Nestlé) and George Soros, among others, have also heavily invested in the large swaths of land in the Southern Cone, the southernmost part of South America. The arrival of foreign capital to the Patagonia has brought predictable consequences: the plunder of natural resources by extractive industries, the displacement of indigenous and first nation populations, the enclosure of land and violent state repression.


Former sharecropper spent most of Election Day in Alabama driving voters to the polls and has for

14 DEC 2017 AT 18:59 ET 

Perman Hardy was one of thousands of African-Americans who toiled on white men’s land in Alabama over the years. She picked cotton after school as a child. In the years since, she finished her education and has worked as an in-home care nurse. However, her most lasting legacy is the time she has spent getting voters to the polls.   

The 59-year-old woman has dedicated over two decades to trying to get every single voter in Lowndes County to the polls. Her county boasts 10,458 residents, most of whom are people of color. It’s been struck with what Hardy calls “an epidemic poverty” and that’s why she believes it’s so important for people to vote, AL.com reported.

“That’s my goal is to make sure everyone votes. That’s always been my goal. This is what I do every election,” Hardy said driving along wearing a Santa hat.

“I took some people today who’ve never cast a ballot before,” she said of the most recent election between Roy Moore and Doug Jones.

Hardy typically spends more than 10 hours driving voters to the polls if they don’t have transportation or can’t make the drive without help. She personally drove over 50 people on Tuesday to polling sites in the county. Many of those she took were supporters of Jones, who contributed to the overwhelming support from the black community.


How dirty politicians seek to maintain political control through Colombias elections

written by Adriaan Alsema December 13, 2017

Family members and political clients of convicted and investigated politicians hope to win a seat in Colombia’s congress after elections in March.

Virtually all the country’s political parties have proposed candidates for the 2018 elections with ties to incarcerated former congressmen, according to the lists released by electoral authorities.

Newspaper El Tiempo counted 23 family members and political clients of jailed or imprisoned electoral barons, not counting the FARC that was in an armed conflict with the State until last year.

The son of former Guajira Governor Juan Francisco “Kiko” Gomez will be a candidate for the Senate on behalf of the political group he founded and led by his father, despite the fact he is paying a 55-year prison sentence for three homicides.

La Silla Vacia


Honduras is coming apart, and the State Departments response is utterly nonsensical

Many worry the country's right-wing president is rigging the current election.
LUKE BARNES DEC 12, 2017, 4:25 PM

It’s been two weeks since Hondurans headed to the polls to elect a new president. Since then, there have been reports of electoral fraud, widespread protesting and rioting that have rocked the already-precarious Central American state. And the U.S. response? Send them military aid.

The crisis started in late November when Honduras held a hotly-contested presidential vote between the right-wing incumbent, President Juan Orlando Hernández, and his leftist rival Salvador Nasralla. However, a fortnight later, there is still no clear winner between the two. Electoral authorities say that Hernández has an unassailable lead, but there is also substantial evidence of electoral fraud, including one episode in which a glitch shut down the main tallying computer for 36 hours. Beforehand, Nasralla held a five-point lead.

As a result of the bitterly-disputed elections, protests spilled over into the street last week, causing the government to declare a 10-day curfew and suspend constitutional rights. “The suspension of constitutional guarantees was approved so that the armed forces and the national police can contain this wave of violence that has engulfed the country,” Ebal Diaz, a senior Honduran minister said on December 2. On the same day, a teenage girl, Kimberly Dayana Fonseca, was shot dead by soldiers loyal to Hernández.

To make matters worse, it appears that the security forces are now beginning to split into rival factions. Last Tuesday, hundreds of members of the elite riot police unit known as the Cobras said that they were no longer willing to face down protesters. “We are rebelling. We call on all the police nationally to act with their conscience”, one masked officer told Reuters. Other police units around the country have reportedly followed suit to the elation of Hondurans. However, according to a recent report, the Army has now begun clearing the streets of barricades, and Amnesty International reports that at least 14 people have died in clashes.


US Embassy in Cuba should not be a foreign relations pawn Opinion

Ralph Patino
DECEMBER 11, 2017 3:00 PM

By Jan. 3, 1961, the New York Yankees had won the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds and the U.S. State Department had lost its prize jewel of the Caribbean — Cuba.

On that day, a crisp Sunday morning, a cool breeze blew in from the Atlantic, bouncing off Havana’s Malecon seawall and onto the U.S. Embassy’s green lawn. There, U.S. Charge’ d Affaires Daniel M. Braddock, dressed in his customary white linen suit and accompanied by three U.S. Marines, walked over to "Old Glory" waving in all her splendor in the Caribbean trade winds. Acting on orders of President Eisenhower, they retrieved the U.S. flag, which could not be raised again at the site.

Some 56 years later, on Dec. 17, 2014, President Obama announced a change in U. S. policy toward Cuba, including greater engagement and the resumption of U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations, and the opening of respective embassies in Washington D.C. and Havana. The president’s action carried the support of the majority of the U.S. Cuban diaspora and the American people.

On July 20, 2015, another sunny and crisp Sunday morning, three Marines stood by as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry raised the American flag to its full regalia outside the U.S. Embassy in Havana. The act symbolized a positive shift in the future relations of both countries. The optimism was as palpable as the ocean breeze that caressed an excited crowd, including thousands of Cubans watching from nearby apartment balconies and rooftops.

For many of Cuba’s 11 million residents, the hoisting of the U.S. flag meant the United States was “back” and their quality of life would soon change. President Obama’s brief but much-celebrated visit to Cuba that March underscored a sense of empowerment and hope for the beleaguered island residents.


We Can't Repress Our Own People: Honduran Police Respond

by Jeff Abbott
December 11, 2017

The normally chaotic streets of San Pedro Sula, Honduras’s second largest city, were abnormally quiet. Only a few sex workers and others, and the occasional passing car, were in the streets at 9:30 p.m.

“This is not normal,” the clerk at my hotel near San Pedro Sula’s central park told me as we stood on the deserted main street on December 5. “This is because of the state of siege.”

Just days earlier, on December 2, the Honduran government announced this state of siege to put down the mobilization of angry citizens over the election. The government deployed the military, suspended the constitution, and established a curfew for the hours between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. But the government quickly was forced to change the curfew to 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., because no one was respecting the curfew.

Just days later, on December 7, the government changed the curfew yet again to 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. And by December 9, the government had decided to end the state of siege.


3,500-Year-Old Tombs Uncovered in Egypt. One Has a Mummy

The final resting places of two ancient officials contain colorful grave goods, an elaborate mural, and linen-wrapped human remains.

By Nariman El-Mofty

LUXOR, EGYPTEgyptian officials today announced the discovery and excavation of two tombs found in the necropolis of Dra' Abu el-Naga in Luxor. The tombs, dated to the 18th Dynasty (1550-1292 B.C.) belonged to officials who likely served here at the ancient capital of Thebes, now a UNESCO world heritage site.

The tombs were surveyed and numbered by German Egyptologist Friederike Kampp-Seyfried in the 1990s. At the time, the tomb known as Kampp 161 was never opened, while the tomb identified as Kampp 150 was only excavated to its entrance. The tombs were recently re-discovered and excavated by Egyptian archaeologists.

The names of the officials buried in the tombs remains unknown, as no inscriptions bearing the names of the tombs' occupants have yet been found. In April, the tomb of an 18th Dynasty magistrate named Userhat was discovered in the same necropolis.

Kampp 161 likely dates to the reigns of Amenhotep II or Thutmose IV, based on stylistic and architectural comparisons with other tombs in the area, making it around 3,400 years old. The western wall of the tomb features an elaborate depiction of a social event, possibly a banquet, with a figure presenting offerings to the tomb's occupant and his wife. Wooden funerary masks, the remains of furniture, and a decorated coffin were discovered in the tomb.


Why Canadians should care about whats happening in Honduras Canadas ongoing support to Canadian mi

Canada’s ongoing support to Canadian mining companies in the Northern Triangle region of Central America needs to be held up to scrutiny.
Fri., Dec. 8, 2017

People in Honduras are taking to the streets to demand a recount in their recent election. One young woman has been killed by the Military Police. Even elite police units are withdrawing to their barracks in protest over being asked to shoot at their fellow citizens.

Why should Canadians care?

Though most Canadians don’t know it, Canada has played a major role in what’s called the Northern Triangle of Central America. Its three countries – Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras – are three of the highest per capita homicide countries in the world.

Since the early 1960s proxy wars—first against Communism, then against the drug trade, have played out across these countries. Over 300,000 people died in the first war from 1960 to 1996, of whom 200,000-plus were Guatemalans (mostly Maya), with 85 per cent killed by government forces trained and abetted by the United States, South Africa, Israel, Taiwan and others. This figure comes from the Commission for Historical Clarification of the United Nations.

What most Canadian don’t know is that one of the roots of this war was an agreement between the then Guatemalan government and the Canadian company INCO to strip-mine large regions of the country’s northeast.


Mountaintop planet hunter turns on

By Daniel Clery Dec. 6, 2017 , 6:00 AM

A new exoplanet-hunting instrument, attached to one of the world’s largest telescopes, has seen its first glimpse of the sky, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) announced today. The Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) detects exoplanets by measuring shifts in the spectrum of light from stars caused by the gravity of planets tugging on them. For this technique, the signal of the stellar wobble is bigger for more massive planets in closer orbits. ESPRESSO, with improved spectral resolution, a wider wavelength range, and fixed to ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Cerro Paranal in Chile, hopes to discern the fainter tugs of planets with Earth-like masses and orbits.

“It’s the most mature facility in the world of this kind,” says astronomer Didier Queloz of Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, co-discoverer of the first exoplanet around a normal star in 1995.

In the early years of exoplanet science, this “radial velocity” method was the technique of choice, because dim planets are too faint to see so close to the glare of their stars. As an orbiting exoplanet pulls its star back and forth from the perspective of an observer on Earth, the periodic change in the star’s velocity is detectable as a Doppler shift in the frequency of its light. Hundreds of exoplanets have been found in this way. But in recent years, the technique was eclipsed by transit detection, when a planet passes in front of its star and temporarily dims it. Since 2009, NASA’s Kepler satellite has detected several thousand exoplanets using the transit method.

Because of the way they work, the two methods reveal different characteristics of an exoplanet. Both reveal orbits, but radial velocity points to a planet’s mass, while transits reveal its size. Ideally, astronomers want to know both. Researchers came to “understand that radial velocity was essential for masses, and that created an appetite for these measurements,” Queloz says. A few ground-based instruments had been churning away measuring radial velocities, including ESO’s High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) and the Automated Planet Finder at the University of California’s Lick Observatory in Mt. Hamilton, but astronomers wanted more.


Very Large Telescope at Cerro Paranal in Chile

More images:


In Honduras, a tense time as elections put democracy through the test

There is growing recognition that democracy is not working well following irregularities and possible fraud in the recent elections.
by María Martin / Dec.07.2017 / 1:33 PM ET

ANTIGUA, Guatemala — This Sunday, it will be two weeks since Hondurans went to the polls to elect a president, all members of Congress, and almost 300 mayors in the impoverished Central American country with among the world's highest rates of murder, violence and corruption.

Still, there is neither a declared winner nor official results in that election, the eighth since the country returned to civilian rule 25 years ago.

Instead, there are protests, turmoil and a growing international recognition that democracy is not working well in Honduras and that this election was fraught with irregularities and possible fraud, according to press accounts and international observer groups including those representing the European Union and the Organization of American States.

“Hondurans are full of rage and grief,” said Honduras expert and history professor Dana Frank of the University of California at Santa Cruz. “Was it too much to ask that democracy be allowed to work in Honduras and that the Honduran people have a free and fair election?”

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