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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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Neuroscientists have identified how exactly a deep breath changes your mind

Neuroscientists have identified how exactly a deep breath changes your mind

In times of stress, science shows focusing on breathing can really help. (Reuters/Lucy Pemoni)

Moran Cerf
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
1 hour ago

Breathing is traditionally thought of as an automatic process driven by the brainstem—the part of the brain controlling such life-sustaining functions as heartbeat and sleeping patterns. But new and unique research, involving recordings made directly from within the brains of humans undergoing neurosurgery, shows that breathing can also change your brain.

Simply put, changes in breathing—for example, breathing at different paces or paying careful attention to the breaths—were shown to engage different parts of the brain.

Humans’ ability to control and regulate their brain is unique: e.g., controlling emotions, deciding to stay awake despite being tired, or suppressing thoughts. These abilities are not trivial, nor do humans share them with many animals. Breathing is similar: animals do not alter their breathing speed volitionally; their breathing normally only changes in response to running, resting, etc. Questions that have baffled scientists in this context are: why are humans capable of volitionally regulating their breathing, and how do we gain access to parts of our brain that are not normally under our conscious control. Additionally, is there any benefit in our ability to access and control parts of our brain that are typically inaccessible? Given that many therapies—Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, trauma therapy, or various types of spiritual exercises—involve focusing and regulating breathing, does controlling inhaling and exhaling have any profound effect on behavior?

This recent study finally answers these questions by showing that volitionally controlling our respirational, even merely focusing on one’s breathing, yield additional access and synchrony between brain areas. This understanding may lead to greater control, focus, calmness, and emotional control.


U.S. Military And CIA Leaders May Be Investigated For War Crimes

11/18/2017 09:37 am ET Updated 2 hours ago

On November 3, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) informed the court’s Pre-Trial Chamber, ”[T]here is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in connection with the armed conflict in Afghanistan.”

In what Amnesty International’s Solomon Sacco called a “seminal moment for the ICC,” Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked the court for authorization to commence an investigation that would focus on US military and CIA leaders, as well as Taliban and Afghan officials.

Bensouda wrote in a November 14, 2016, report that her preliminary examination revealed “a reasonable basis to believe” the “war crimes of torture and ill-treatment” had been committed “by US military forces deployed to Afghanistan and in secret detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, principally in the 2003-2004 period, although allegedly continuing in some cases until 2014.”

The chief prosecutor noted the alleged crimes by the CIA and US armed forces “were not the abuses of a few isolated individuals,” but rather were “part of approved interrogation techniques in an attempt to extract ‘actionable intelligence’ from detainees.” She added there was “reason to believe” that crimes were “committed in the furtherance of a policy or policies ... which would support US objectives in the conflict of Afghanistan.”


U.S. Rep. Takano, Tampa and St. Pete councils support closer U.S.-Cuba ties

Cuba Central • October 21, 2017

On October 14, Representative Mark Takano (CA-41) became the first U.S. Member of Congress to visit Cuba in the aftermath of the State Department’s announcement that it would shrink its diplomatic mission in Havana and reciprocally expel Cuban diplomats from the U.S. He is also the first Member of Congress to directly engage with Cuban officials in Havana since President Trump’s June announcement that he would instruct his administration to increase restrictions on trade with and travel to Cuba. Rep. Takano (in photo at top) traveled on a delegation organized by CDA to advance dialogue and mutual exchange between U.S. and Cuban LGBTQ communities.

At the same time, a delegation of City Council members from the Florida cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg were in Havana, the first such official trips by a council in either city. That members from the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, which is home to the third largest Cuban American population in the U.S. behind Miami and New York City, were willing to vote in favor of a trip to strengthen U.S.-Cuba ties shows how far support for engagement has come.

Following their trips, Rep. Takano and the chairs of both the Tampa and St. Petersburg City Councils all expressed dismay at recent cutbacks to diplomatic missions, and voiced their support for closer U.S.-Cuba ties moving forward.

The visits are a marker of how officials from our government should interact — with a focus on mutual respect and collaboration.


260-Million-Year-Old Fossil Forest Discovered in Antarctica

By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor | November 15, 2017 05:54am ET

Antarctica wasn't always a land of ice. Millions of years ago, when the continent was still part of a huge Southern Hemisphere landmass called Gondwana, trees flourished near the South Pole.

Now, newfound, intricate fossils of some of these trees are revealing how the plants thrived — and what forests might look like as they march northward in today's warming world.

"Antarctica preserves an ecologic history of polar biomes that ranges for about 400 million years, which is basically the entirety of plant evolution," said Erik Gulbranson, a paleoecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. [See Images of a Fossil Forest Unearthed in the Arctic]

Trees in Antarctica?

It's hard to look at Antarctica's frigid landscape today and imagine lush forests. To find their fossil specimens, Gulbranson and his colleagues have to disembark from planes landed on snowfields, then traverse glaciers and brave bone-chilling winds. But from about 400 million to 14 million years ago, the southern continent was a very different, and much greener place. The climate was warmer, though the plants that survived at the low southern latitudes had to cope with winters of 24-hour-per-day darkness and summers during which the sun never set, just as today.


A New Report Sheds Light on the Plot to Murder Honduran Activist Berta Cceres

In Honduras, the United States willfully ignores institutional rot and buttresses crooked strongmen.
By Lauren Carasik TODAY 3:04 PM

Environmental leader Berta Cáceres was in her modest house in La Esperanza, Honduras, with fellow activist and Mexican national Gustavo Castro Soto on March 2, 2016. Cáceres had purchased the home with award money from the Goldman Environmental Prize, which she won in 2015 for rallying her indigenous Lenca community against a proposed dam. It was the first house she had ever owned, and it was meant to provide sanctuary from the intensity and danger of her work. Shortly before midnight, gunmen kicked in the door and fired six shots into her bedroom, hitting Cáceres three times. Castro, who was also shot, rushed to her side, and cradled her as she died.

During her funeral procession a few days later, a crowd of thousands wound down the street with a mix of grief and defiance, chanting what would become a rallying cry, “¡Berta vive, la luche sigue!” or “Long live Berta, the struggle continues.” Cáceres’s four children vowed to channel their anguish into pursuing justice for their mother’s killers and carrying on her work. Daughter Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres has stepped up to fill the void, taking over leadership of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), the organization her mother co-founded decades ago. It wasn’t long before she too was attacked, barely escaping the assailants.

. . .

As with anything in Honduras, the United States looms large in this case. Honduras has been a US “captive nation” for over a century, serving Washington’s military, geopolitical, and economic interests. It historically functioned as a conduit for transnational investment, such as American banana companies, and was later the staging ground for the US-supported contra death squads in Nicaragua in the 1980s. Today Honduras hosts the military base that anchors US military presence in the region and provides an important launching pad for anti-drug efforts.


Medellin becoming major destination for foreign predators

written by Adriaan Alsema November 14, 2017

Hidden among foreign visitors to Medellin are an increasing number of pedophiles looking to exploit the city’s child prostitution, according to a prominent local crime analyst.

Luis Fernando Quijano of the local Corporation for Peace and Social Development (CORPARES) said that this underground sex market is run by the city’s crime syndicate, La Oficina, together with foreign operators.

The local and foreign pimps receive pedophiles from across the globe with sex packages “with everything included. Drugs, children, adolescents, women, men or the complete package, with security and all that kind of stuff.”

Quijano could not say how many foreign predators would be coming to Medellin for sex, but he has witnessed a significant increase.


Colombia: Dont Promote Officers Linked to Killings

November 14, 2017 7:30AM EST

Defense Ministry Conceals Key Information

(Washington, DC) – The 2017 list of candidates for army promotions in Colombia includes five officers linked by strong evidence to extrajudicial killings that are under criminal investigation, Human Rights Watch said today. Two of them are under investigation, but resumes the Defense Ministry released on October 27, 2017, had incomplete information about all five officers’ records.

Four colonels and one army general on the list of 22 have been credibly linked to “false positive” killings and other abuses under their watch. These killings of innocent civilians were committed systematically between 2002 and 2008 to boost body counts in the country’s long-running armed conflict. The Colombian Senate will decide whether to approve these promotions in the next few weeks.

“Instead of delivering a strong message that it has closed the dark chapter of false positives, the Defense Ministry is undermining the reputation of the armed forces by seeking to promote officers linked to allegations of extrajudicial killings.” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “The Colombian Senate should disqualify any officers credibly implicated in serious abuses, unless and until those allegations are fully and properly investigated.”

Human Rights Watch research has shown that patterns in false-positive cases – including their systematic nature and the implausible circumstances of many of the reported combat killings – strongly suggest that commanders of units responsible for a significant number of killings knew or had reason to know about them. In addition to other forms of criminal participation, such as ordering crimes, commanders are criminally responsible under international law if they knew or had reason to know that subordinates under their effective control were committing a crime, but failed to take all necessary and reasonable steps in their power to prevent or punish those acts.


'A way of healing': Art and memory in Latin America

1 hour ago


The years of military rule in Chile, when thousands of people were killed or disappeared,
have left deep scars

More than 20 years have passed since the civil war ended in Guatemala and Chile returned to democracy, but the impact of extreme state violence is still keenly felt.

As part of a BBC radio series on protest art in Latin America, Louise Morris travelled to both countries and asked if there was a role for art both to demand justice and collectively memorialise those lost.

A woman sits centre stage reading aloud.

At regular intervals a dentist enters and injects her mouth with a shot of anaesthetic.


Trump breaks the link as handshake photo op goes awry

Source: Agence France-Presse

November 13, 2017 13:15

Manila - US President Donald Trump was all fingers and thumbs during a carefully choreographed photo op Monday at a summit of world leaders, failing to grasp whose hands he was supposed to be holding and breaking a lineup intended to showcase unity.

Trump, whose insurgent election victory was built on his willingness to disrupt political convention, was supposed to cross his arms and join hands with the men on either side of him.

But as others clutched the hands of the person to their left and their right, Trump used both of his hands to clasp the extended fingers of Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The doubling up left summit host Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte with a spare hand -- and broke the line into two parts.

Read more: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30331483

More than 50% of those on secretive NSW police blacklist are Aboriginal

Police commissioner concedes Suspect Target Management Plan has problems, but defends its objectives

Michael McGowan
Friday 10 November 2017 16.31 EST

More than half the people on a secretive New South Wales police blacklist are Aboriginal, the state’s top law enforcement officer has revealed.

The NSW police commissioner, Mick Fuller, says about 55% of people who are currently the subject of a Suspect Target Management Plan are Indigenous, prompting accusations that police are using a “racially biased program” to combat crime.

The Suspect Target Management Plan – or STMP – is a “predictive style of policing” that uses “disruption and prevention” to identify people who police believe are a high risk of committing crimes.

In October, researchers from the University of New South Wales and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre released a report which showed the STMP was overwhelmingly aimed at young people and Indigenous Australians, and resulted in “oppressive policing”.

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