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Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
January 30, 2017

Amazon Deforestation Rises as Government Moves to Weaken Indigenous Protections

Sunday, January 29, 2017
By Anna Sophie Gross, Energydesk | Report

The Brazilian government is changing the process for approving Indigenous lands, with critics warning the country now risks sliding back after years of progress on climate and environment.

The move to strip the country's National Indigenous Foundation (Funai) of its power on Indigenous land matters comes after the country saw a 30% rise in deforestation of tropical rainforests.

Brazil's justice minister, Alexandre de Morates announced last week that decisions over demarcating Indigenous land will now be made by the ministry of justice.

Environmentalists and political figures say the changes will weaken land rights of Indigenous communities and make it easier for agricultural firms to move into the Amazon where much of the land is located.


(Remember, they weren't able to do this until they removed Dilma Rousseff from office.)
January 30, 2017

El Salvadors New Battlefield

El Salvador’s New Battlefield
Twenty-five years after laying down their arms, the FMLN continues its struggle.

Hilary Goodfriend is a researcher based in San Salvador, El Salvador. She writes about the impacts of US policy in the region.
by Hilary Goodfriend

On January 16, 1992, representatives of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) and the right-wing, US-backed government of El Salvador signed a historic peace treaty that brought an end to a bloody twelve-year civil war.

The Salvadoran Civil War is notable among the last century’s liberation struggles in several respects: for one, the sheer brutality of the military regime’s response; for another, the negotiated transition to peace that saw an armed leftist insurgency transform into a successful political party. Unlike the Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions, which initially conquered power through military victories, the FMLN won the presidency at the ballot box nearly twenty years after laying down their weapons. Today, the party, defined by its statutes as “democratic, revolutionary and socialist,” is in the midst of its second consecutive presidential term.

The peace accords were essentially a military draw, but they were celebrated as a major victory by the FMLN and its supporters. The war had been long and brutal, and the guerrillas had forced a vicious regime that was sustained by the largest military power on earth to the table.

. . .

The 1993 UN Truth Commission Report ultimately put the war’s death toll at seventy-five thousand, with thousands more forcibly disappeared; at least 85 percent of the violence was attributed to the regime and only 5 percent to the FMLN.


January 29, 2017

Dogs share food with other dogs even in complex situations

Dogs share food with other dogs even in complex situations

Generosity, even among family members, had long been considered to be a specifically human characteristic. Yet rats, chimpanzees and other animals also exhibit similar behaviour. Rachel Dale, Friederike Range and colleagues, of the Messerli Research Institute at Vetmeduni Vienna had already shown that dogs also share food rewards with other dogs. Using a bar-pulling task, the dogs delivered the treats to partner dogs - especially if these were already known to them. A new study by the research team now used a more complex task set-up to confirm the prosocial behaviour of dogs. The experiment showed that dogs continued to prefer familiar partners. However, the increased complexity of the task influenced the readiness with which the dogs delivered a food reward to another animal. The study thus confirmed that the chosen method affects the result and is much more dependent on social proximity than had previously been assumed.

Recognition of objects necessary for giving treats

Instead of pulling on a rope, the dogs in the present study had to recognize special objects in the form of tokens in order to deliver a food reward to the other dog. "This time we not only tested a different experimental set-up but also the level of difficulty," explains Dale. "The dogs were first trained to touch a token in exchange for a food reward for themselves. They were then trained to recognize two more tokens: one that resulted in a reward being delivered to a partner dog and another which did not." Three experiments were then conducted to test whether the dogs exhibited prosocial behaviour even in this more complex task and whether they would deliver a food reward to a partner or not. The researchers also tested whether it made a difference to the donor dog if the receiver was familiar or a stranger and whether the presence of another dog was enough to trigger generous behaviour in the test dog even if the partner had no access to the food.

Do dogs have to see the recipients to reward them?

The test set-up consisted of two enclosures. The test dog was trained to wait on a specific location in one enclosure until the researchers revealed a board containing the tokens. The dog could then choose to deliver a food reward to the receiver dog or not. In the first test, either a familiar dog or a stranger sat in the receiver enclosure. The dogs could see each other during the experiment. In the second test, the receiver enclosure remained empty but the other dog was present in the testing room. In a third test, the test dogs were alone in the entire set-up. At the end of each test series, the donor animals could reward themselves by being allowed to touch the token that delivered the food reward to them. This was done to ensure that the dogs remained motivated and unstressed and did not become distracted by an unfamiliar dog.

Dogs remain charitable even in complex tasks

The experiment confirmed that dogs continue to exhibit prosocial behaviour despite the more complex task. The dogs clearly showed a preference for sharing the food reward with a familiar dog. Unfamiliar dogs were rewarded nearly three times less often than familiar ones. The higher level of complexity, however, impacted the general frequency of the food delivery. This influence could be shown among dogs for the first time by comparing the token choice experiment with the simpler bar-pulling set-up and confirms the results of similar tests performed with small children and chimpanzees.


January 29, 2017

Stunning meteor turns the sky emerald green as it burns up over India Toby Meyjes for Metro.co.ukFri

Toby Meyjes for Metro.co.uk Friday 27 Jan 2017 4:05 pm

A Brilliant Green Meteor Lights Up India’s ‘Sky Islands’
(Picture: Prasenjeet Yadav/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year)

A photographer has captured the moment a meteor burnt up over the sky in India in a stunning picture that was captured completely by accident.

Prasenjeet Yadav had set up his camera to take timelapse pictures of India’s sky island – mountain peaks that rise above the skyline in the south of the country – when he captured this instead.

The image has been entered in National Geographic’s prestigious nature photographer of the year for 2016.

The perfect shot was one of 999 he took that night and he was so surprised that at first he thought it was a fluke – only for its validity to be later confirmed by several astronomers.

Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2017/01/27/stunning-meteor-turns-the-sky-emerald-green-as-it-burns-up-over-india-6408425/#ixzz4X8KFZReq

January 29, 2017

Trump Mexico wall will destroy lives, Berlin mayor warns

Trump Mexico wall will destroy lives, Berlin mayor warns
27 January 2017

Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller has urged US President Donald Trump "not to go down the road of isolation" with his planned border wall with Mexico.

Mr Mueller warned such divides cause "slavery and pain" and would "destroy the lives of millions".

The German city was divided by the Berlin Wall from 1961 to 1989.

Mr Mueller's statement came as Mr Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto agreed to "work out their differences" over the issue.


January 27, 2017

Growth-stunting gene may spare South Americans from dementia

Growth-stunting gene may spare South Americans from dementia
USC study indicates that a genetic mutation in a group of Ecuadorians may help them avoid Alzheimer’s disease
BY Emily Gersema JANUARY 25, 2017

Ecuadorians who have a rare, growth-stunting gene do not appear to experience memory loss to the same degree as other people, according to a new study.

“This genetic mutation, Laron syndrome, seems to be protective against age-dependent cognitive decline,” said senior corresponding author Valter Longo, a biogerontologist at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. “We have been able to observe only a handful of them in their 80s and 90s, but neither my Ecuadorian collaborator Jaime Guevara-Aguirre nor I have ever seen a case of Alzheimer’s in these people, and we believe this extends to dementia.”

The study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, is the latest in a series by Longo and Guevara-Aguirre, an Ecuadorian endocrinologist, who are examining the health and aging of Laron syndrome. The rare genetic mutation, a type of dwarfism, was identified in a group of Ecuadorians whose ancestors had fled Spain during the Inquisition more than three centuries ago. The mutation leaves them without a growth hormone receptor – and consequently they are short in stature.

A condition with health advantages

The Ecuadorians with Laron syndrome who consented to take part in these studies are among an estimated 350 people in the world who have the mutation, according to the National Institutes of Health. Longo, who directs the Longevity Institute at USC Davis, said that they are the descendants of people who fled the Spanish Inquisition to live in Ecuador.


January 26, 2017

Honduras: Fruit Giant Fyffes Violating Workers Rights, Claims IUF

Source: Morning Star UK

Honduras: Fruit Giant Fyffes Violating Workers’ Rights, Claims IUF

Wednesday 25TH JAN 2017

FRUIT giant Fyffes is systematically violating workers’ rights in Central America, international food workers’ union federation IUF charged yesterday.

The transnational is the biggest importer of bananas to Europe and among the largest global suppliers of pineapples and winter season melons.

But workers in Fyffes’ subsidiaries — Anexco in Costa Rica and Suragroh in Honduras — have reported serious and systematic violations of basic labour rights, including freedom of association, the IUF said yesterday.

Reported abuses include threats, harassment and sacking of union members, blocking collective bargaining processes, failure to pay minimum wages and social insurance, exposing workers to hazardous agrochemicals and sacking pregnant workers.

Read more: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-3af5-Honduras-Fruit-giant-Fyffes-violating-workers-rights,-claims-IUF#.WIlhJxsrKyI

January 25, 2017

Sons of Panama's ex-president Martinelli under investigation in bribery and money laundering case

Sons of Panama's ex-president Martinelli under investigation in bribery and money laundering case

Panamanian officials are looking into $59 million in alleged bribes paid by Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.

Former Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli.

Univision digital reporter
Univision News Logo
Por: David Adams
Publicado: ene 24, 2017 | 10:01 PM EST

Panamanian prosecutors announced on Tuesday that 17 people, including several businessmen and former government officials, are wanted for questioning in connection to a massive bribery case involving the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.

Univision has learned that among them are two sons of ex-president Ricardo Martinelli, who is currently fighting extradition in Miami.

Ricardo Alberto Martinelli and Luis Enrique Martinelli, as well as the ex-president's brother Mario Martinelli, are among those linked to a $59 million case being investigated by Panama's Special Anti-Corruption Office, according to a source familiar with the case.

Martinelli's sons were living in Madrid, Spain but fled before arrest orders were issued for them, the source said. They are now also believed to be in Miami, the source added.

The sons have denied the Odebrecht bribery allegations, calling them “groundless.”

Their father, a billionaire supermarket magnate, was president from 2009 to 2014 and has been under investigation for public corruption soon after leaving office, as well as his links to illegal wiretapping of his opponents.


Hiding in Miami! How predictable.

You may recall the father also requested US help in wiretapping his political opposition.

January 25, 2017

Wife of ex-Brazilian president hospitalized after stroke

Wife of ex-Brazilian president hospitalized after stroke
Updated 2:58 pm, Tuesday, January 24, 2017

SAO PAULO (AP) — A hospital in Sao Paulo says Brazil's former first lady Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva has had a stroke.

Hospital Sirio-Libanes spokesman Gabriel Luccas says Silva was hospitalized Tuesday after the stroke. There's no word on her condition.

The 66-year-old is the wife of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who said on his Twitter account that he's "rooting for her to recover soon."

Silva was Brazil's president from 2003 to 2011 and now faces corruption charges, as does his wife.


January 24, 2017

Underneath Chichen Itzas pyramid

Underneath Chichen Itza’s pyramid

Scientists have used advanced scanning technology to reveal the shape of pyramids from previous eras within the Mayan temple.

By JOSEPH HALL News reporter
Sun., Jan. 22, 2017

Built around AD 1,000, the magnificent El Castillo pyramid at the Chichen Itza ruins in Mexico is a New World wonder.

Even wonder what’s beneath it? Scientists have used advanced scanning technology to reveal the shape of two pyramids from previous eras, sitting like Russian Matryoshka dolls within the Mayan temple on the Yucatan Peninsula.

The discovery

It’s long been known that the mammoth structure — also known as the Temple of Kukulkan — encased a second, 20-metre-tall pyramid within. Archeologists have tunnelled into El Castillo’s exterior shell to examine the inner structure.

And back in the 1940s, those tunnels, which were once open to the public, went deep enough to actually reveal the third pyramid, says anthropologist Geoffrey Braswell of University of California, San Diego. But those deeper tunnels were later backfilled for fear of structural collapse.


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