Judi LynnJudi Lynn's Journal
May 1, 2015
Colombias Supreme Court urges investigation of Uribe for spying on opponents
posted by Adriaan Alsema
Following the sentencing of his former chief of staff and former spy chief on Thursday, former president Alvaro Uribe should be the next to be investigated for illegally spying on opponents, according to Colombias Supreme Court.
The scandal over illegal spying practices by now-defunct intelligence agency DAS dates back to 2008 when prosecution investigators began finding out that the intelligence agency had been spying on opposition politicians, the Supreme Court, human rights organizations and journalists.
The Supreme Court on Thursday sentenced Uribes then-chief of staff, Bernardo Moreno, and former DAS director Maria del Pilar Hurtado for having ordered and coordinated the spying on what seemed to be on persons and entities deemed inconvenient for the Uribe administration.
The scandal led to the dismantling of the DAS in 2011 and the incarceration of numerous intelligence officials including agents who hired civilians to plant bugs in the offices of the Supreme Court, the directors of both the Intelligence and Counterintelligence units, and recently one of its directors.
Cuba to Export Cancer Vaccine to U.S., New York Governor Confirms
The New York government and business delegation to Cuba also hope to pressure the U.S. Congress to end its blockade on Cuba
Author: TELESUR | [email protected]
april 23, 2015 15:04:34
The Cuban Immunology Center and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute of New York signed an agreement Tuesday for the U.S. to import a therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer developed by Cuba.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addresses the media during a conference before his departure at Jose Marti
airport in Havana April 21, 2015. | Photo: Reuters Photo: Reuters
Signing this agreement means we can immerse ourselves in clinical trials when we return to New York, said Candance Johnson, director of the U.S.-based Roswell Park institute.
The agreement was signed as part of a business delegation visit to Cuba headed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
We are very excited to be able to bring the vaccine to the U.S. and to treat patients, Candance said.
Cuba created the vaccine in 2011 after 15 years of research. Brazil, Argentina and Colombia are currently applying to have access to the vaccine, while the U.K and Australia have already carried out their own clinical trials.
The business delegation also saw an agreement between New York company Infor, and a Cuban organization. We are surprised by the level and experience that there is in Cuba in health and technology, company representative Charles Phillips stated.
Awaiting Cuba's thriving tech industry to boom | Opinion
By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist
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on April 25, 2015 at 5:00 PM
By James Barrood
Last week, the NJ Tech Council led a truly remarkable trade mission. The destination: Cuba.
Our group was made up of business leaders from many industries including mobile software/apps, biotech, IT staffing, renewable energy, construction, engineering, banking and others. Whatever our preconceptions about the island were, they were mostly turned upside down.
Before my first trip, I was told to expect little more than a communist dictatorship filled with unhappy and poor people. I can only speak for what I observed: that is not what I saw in the many meetings I held, or in the many areas of Cuba I visited. Rather, I found one of the most literate, healthy, educated, cultured, proud, warm and happy societies on the planet.
On this, my second trip to Cuba in 15 months, I didn't expect to learn much more -- but indeed I did. Visits to two biotech institutes, the chamber of commerce, a tech company, tourism officials, a software entrepreneur, and others, enlightened me about the incredible work that is going on there.
Some of the Cuban biotech industry's earliest and most significant products were targeted to fight diseases of children and mothers. The results have been quite impressive. Cuba has one of the lowest rates of infant and maternal mortality. Polio, neonatal tetanus, diphtheria, measles, rabies, mumps, whooping cough, and congenital rubella have been eradicated; its bacterial meningitis rates are among the world's lowest. One stand out product is recombinant epidermal growth factor -- the vaccine against hepatitis B -- with which the entire Cuban population under 25 years old is immunized.
Peru Turns to Ancient Aqueducts to Prevent Droughts
By Jack Moore 4/10/15 at 6:29 PM
One of the world's driest cities is attempting to solve its water problems by reviving its ancient network of waterways. The Peruvian capital, Lima, is to restore pre-Inca aqueducts in the Andes mountains to service its population during the seven-month dry season.
The project, as reported by New Scientist, would see a series of disused stone canals, locally referred to as amunas, re-grouted with cement to collect surplus rainwater in the rainy season to be used for during the dry season when there is a substantial rainwater deficit.
The canals are believed to have been constructed in 508 AD before the Incas and their revival is set to cut the city's water deficit by 25.9 cubic meters of water, over half of the current 42 million cubic metre water deficit.
The purpose of the amunas is to prevent the water flowing downhill quickly, taking it sideways across the mountains and slowing its descent, allowing for it to be preserved and used weeks later. This strategy will allow Peruvians access to additional water during the dry season instead of it being lost as surplus in the wet season.
Colombia spymaster sentenced to 14 years in prison
Date May 1, 2015 - 8:55PM
Julia Symmes Cobb
Bogota: The former head of Colombia's intelligence service was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Thursday for spying on opposition lawmakers, judges and journalists in one of the biggest scandals to mar the government of ex-president Alvaro Uribe.
Maria del Pilar Hurtado, 51, headed the now-defunct Administrative Security Department (DAS) intelligence service from 2007 to 2008, which was shut down following the scandal and replaced with a new intelligence entity. Hurtado received political asylum in Panama in 2010, but the Panamanian government revoked it last year. She surrendered to authorities in January, hours after Interpol released an international order for her arrest.
The former spymaster was tried in absentia for illegally intercepting phone calls and abuse of public office, among other crimes. Separately, Bernardo Moreno, one of Uribe's aides, was given an eight year sentence for his involvement, to be served at his home.
. . .
Two-thirds of Mr Uribe's closest political allies during his presidency, including ex-cabinet ministers, have been convicted, sanctioned or investigated for crimes ranging from corruption to hacking.
Symbolic Court Examines Labor Abuses in Latin America
Published 30 April 2015 (11 hours 3 minutes ago)
Ongoing violations of labour rights were highlighted as the world celebrates international workers day.
Marking International Workers Day, the General Confederation of Workers of Peru (CGTP) organized the Andean Ethic Tribunal, that concluded Thursday.
The tribunal will judge the current treatment of employees and highlight the current state of workers rights in the region.
The unofficial tribunal will hear cases from Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru.
The judges were members of the Latin American Association of Labor Lawyers - ALAL.
At the trials conclusion a verdict was issued to be read at the May 1st demonstrations celebrating International Workers Day.
Leddy Mozonbite is one of the organizers of the event. When she worked as a domestic employee, she would be sent by a wealthy family to buy a fish for 130 dollars. However, it would take her an entire month of work to earn that much. Such experiences in that sector led her to become a union organizer and she now is Secretary General of the National Federation of Domestic Workers of Peru.
By/Michael Casey/CBS News/April 29, 2015, 4:14 PM
Dinosaur fossil with bat wings is first of its kind
(Click to see image)
Artist's impression of the new dinosaur Yi qi./ Dinostar Co. Ltd.
A bat-like dinosaur has been unearthed in China that had wings made of skin rather than feathers, showing there may have been different ways of flying before the emergence of birds.
The tiny dinosaur discovered by a local farmer from Jurassic rocks in northeast China has been named Yi qi, which means "strange wing" in Mandarin. It belongs to a group of dinosaurs with long hands called scansoriopterygids that thrived 160 million years ago and so far are known only to be from China. Scansoriopterygids are closely related to small, primitive birds such as the Archaeopteryx, but there was previously no evidence that they could take to the air.
"It highlights how complex the transition from dinosaur to birds is," said Xu Xing of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology, and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing, who along with Zheng Xiaoting of Linyi University and several others described the finding in the journal Nature on Wednesday.
"Yi qi lived in the Jurassic, so it was a pioneer in the evolution of flight on the line to birds," Zheng added. "It reminds us that the early history of flight was full of innovations, not all of which survived."
Pope Francis orders Vatican to open files on Argentina dictatorship
Uki Goñi in Buenos Aires
Wednesday 29 April 2015 15.01 EDT
Pope Francis has ordered the Vatican to open its files on Argentinas military dictatorship, a move that could help the families of thousands of victims of the military regime finally discover the fate of their loved ones.
This is the popes wish for something to be done so he has asked the secretariat of state to take charge of it, and work has already begun on declassifying the Vatican archives related to Argentinas dictatorship, Father Guillermo Karcher, an Argentinian priest who is a close aide of the pope, said in an interview with a Buenos Aires radio station.
During the 1976-83 dictatorship, 20,000 people were made to disappear by the Argentinian authorities, who saw them as subversives. The Vatican collected a large amount of information on these cases, principally through the papal nuncios office in Buenos Aires.
The pope acceded to the opening of the Vatican archives at a meeting last week with Lita Boitano, the 83-year-old mother of two sons who were disappeared during the dictatorship.
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/29/pope-francis-argentina-orders-vatican-open-files-dictatorship
Bolivia: 15 Years After the Cochabamba Water Revolt, Echoes in New Cases of Corporate Abuse
Written by Philippa de Boissière
Monday, 27 April 2015 21:13
Bolivia: 15 Years After the Cochabamba Water Revolt, Echoes in New Cases of Corporate Abuse PDF Print E-mail
Fifteen years ago this month the people of Cochabamba, Bolivia were victorious in their now-famous showdown with one of the most powerful multinational corporations in the world, in what has come to be known as the Cochabamba Water Revolt. The attempt by the US Engineering giant Bechtel to privatize the citys water supply backfired spectacularly when the people of Cochabamba faced down government forces to kick the multinational out of the country and to reclaim their rights to one of the most basic human necessities on the planet.
For people the world over, this stunning popular victory over corporate hubris in the Andes not only continues to inspire hope that another world is indeed possible; it also shines an urgent light on three fundamentals in the ongoing wider battle against the abuses of corporate power in South America: how the road is paved to allow foreign corporations to seize control of the continent's forests, waters and territories; the damages they inflict when they get there; and how communities are fighting back against a deepening transnational assault on their resources and on their sovereignty.
For Bechtel, the road into Bolivia and its water systems was paved by Washington Consensus-inspired loan conditionalities. In the late 1990s the World Bank told Bolivia to privatize Cochabambas Water as a condition of further lending for water expansion. In 1999, the Bolivian government agreed and signed a lavish forty-year lease with a mysterious Bechtel subsidiary that wasted no time in hiking up the cost of water. Rates rose by 50% and sometimes by as much as double. The result for ordinary Cochabambinos was devastating, with many families being forced to choose between such basics as water or food. People from across the department responded with unified indignation, three times shutting down the entire city with blockades, marches, and general strikes. Despite heavy state repression that left one teenage boy dead and hundreds more injured, the people succeeded in kicking Bechtel out of the country, reclaiming their water supply and achieving a powerful victory that still resonates globally today.
Fast forward to South America 2015. These same fundamental themes of foreign corporate dominance and resistance are echoed across three current cases involving powerful European multinationals, profiled in a recent report, Corporate Conquistadors, from the Democracy Center, Corporate Europe Observatory and Transnational Institute. In Peru, Spanish Repsol is threatening not only the sovereignty but the very existence of local indigenous communities, as it pushes ever deeper into fragile Amazonian ecosystems in the insatiable quest to expand its reserves of oil and gas. To the south of Peru, in the region of Espinar, Swiss Commodities and Mining conglomerate Glencore Xstrata is bulldozing over human rights as local community members share testimonies of already scarce water supplies being destroyed by its twin mega mining projects, Tintaya and Antapaccay. Finally, Italo-Spanish energy giant Enel-Endesa is set to flood some 8,500 hectares of vitally important agricultural lands in Huila, Colombia where it is constructing a 400MW dam to generate cheap energy - either for export or to set in motion a new wave of mega mining and unconventional gas operations.
Uruguay, Venezuela have lowest inequality in Latin America
By Staff Writers, teleSUR
Wednesday, Apr 29, 2015
A book published Tuesday by the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) studying the relationship between inequality and taxation policies revealed that government intervention has succeeded in substantially reducing inequality.
The book, Inequality, Concentration of Income and Taxation of High Incomes in Latin America, shows despite remaining as the most unequal region in the world, the last decade marked a departure with an overall decrease in inequality.
During the period between 2002 and 2013, 15 of the 17 countries analyzed showed distributive improvements, reflected in the decline of the Gini coefficient, the report states. The Gini coefficient is a frequently used instrument used to measure inequality, with the closer the number to zero, the lesser the inequality.
The countries that showed the greatest decrease in inequality were Venezuela and Uruguay, countries whose governments have pursued aggressive policies of wealth redistribution. Bolivia, Nicaragua, Argentina, and Venezuela registered the largest annual drops in the Gini coefficient, which also suggests that the progressive wealth redistribution programs of these leftist governments have had a positive result.
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