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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 143,128

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Why getting rid of Costa Rica's army 70 years ago has been such a success

Amanda Trejos, Special to USA TODAY
Published 6:05 a.m. ET Jan. 5, 2018 | Updated 10:28 a.m. ET Jan. 5, 2018

Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are plagued by chronic poverty and violence that have sent a flood of refugees fleeing to the United States. Panama has gained the unwanted title as a world capital for money laundering and corruption. And all of them, plus Nicaragua, face recurrent political upheaval.

Yet amid this chaos, one Central American neighbor remains an island of political stability, economic prosperity and contentment: Costa Rica.

The country's secret is something that virtually no other country in the world can claim — no standing army. It has used the savings from defense spending to improve education, health care and a durable social safety net.

In 2018, Costa Rica will mark its 70th anniversary since it abolished its military, and that seems to suit the population. It ranked first in Latin America and 12th in world in happiness, according to the 2017 World Happiness Index. The Happy Planet Index ranked it No. 1 in the world.

Tourists visit the butterfly exhibit at the National Biodiversity Park, near Heredia, Costa Rica.
(Photo: Kent Gilbert, AP)


Only International Pressure Prevents the End of Funai, Says Indigenist

Only International Pressure Prevents the End of Funai, Says Indigenist
01/08/2018 - 10H49

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Married and the father of two children, indigenist Jair Candor, 57, is about to complete his 30th year working with several isolated indigenous groups in Brazil.

He is the coordinator of the Front for the Ethnic and Environmental Protection of Madeirinha-Juruena, which works in two conflicting areas in the northwest of the state of Mato Grosso. He has a pessimistic view of the future of Brazilian indigenous policies. "It is going from bad to worse," says Candor.


Folha - There are reports of isolated indigenous people killed by gold prospectors along the Amazonas river and in areas invaded by loggers. How do you see this scenario?

Jair Candor - I really do not see an improvement on the horizon. In my opinion, it is going from bad to worse. The influential political power in these areas is huge. We know that these are strong people with a lot of money. And these guys get what they want, because what the government wants today is the end of Funai (the National Indian Foundation). I tell my colleagues that the agency is still standing because of the isolated indigenous communities – because the attention given by the media abroad is very strong. That is the only factor that is still barely keeping it alive, because foreigners are harsh critics and it seems like they are more worried about the isolated communities here than the Brazilian government. If they were not isolated, Funai would already have become something else. We know that the big soybean and cattle farmers are taking over.


Interview: When the US Government Hides Evidence

January 9, 2018 12:00AM EST

US Government Can Construct Stories to Hide Illegal Searches

The US government can use evidence that it may have obtained illegally – from methods ranging from old-fashioned wiretaps to sophisticated data sweeps – to prosecute people without telling them how it got the evidence. Because the government wants to keep the source of this illegally obtained information secret, it concocts an alternative story to cover it up. This process, called “parallel construction,” is undermining the US judicial system. Researcher Sarah St.Vincent talks about her new report with Amy Braunschweiger, detailing the danger parallel construction creates for everyone in the US and why it needs to stop.

What does parallel construction look like?

We identified a case in Arizona where government officials illegally tracked a suspect’s rental car with a GPS device they’d secretly installed without a warrant. Then the federal official contacted the police near Flagstaff, Arizona, and told them to find a reason to pull over and search the car. So the local police pulled the person over, using the temporary paper license plate in the window as an excuse. They then used a drug-detecting dog to sniff the car and found drugs.

In the US we have a concept that’s called “the fruit of the poisonous tree.” That means prosecutors are not supposed to be allowed to enter anything stemming from an illegal search into evidence in court. If we let the government use something illegally gathered at trial, there’s little incentive for law enforcement to obey the law.


Colombia's colourful Black and White carnival in pictures

Colombia's colourful Black and White carnival – in pictures

More than 10,000 people take part in the Black and White carnival, which has its origins in a mix of Andean, Amazonian and Pacific cultural expressions, celebrated every year between the end of December and the first week of January in San Juan de Pasto, south-west Colombia.

Thu 4 Jan ‘18 07.13 EST


More images from Yahoo:


Five Mexican politicians killed in past week ahead of national elections

Five Mexican politicians killed in past week ahead of national elections

By Joshua Partlow January 2 at 3:03 PM

MEXICO CITY — To commemorate the new year, an aspiring mayoral candidate of a small Mexican town sent a Facebook message Sunday morning asking residents to unite to improve society.

“We only need maturity, seriousness, and responsibility to face the challenges that confront society,” Adolfo Serna Nogueda wrote.

Later that day, Serna was shot and killed outside his home in Atoyac de Alvarez, along the Pacific coast in the western state of Guerrero.

. . .

Four of the five politicians killed were affiliated with the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Top party officials have condemned the wave of violence and asked to meet with federal officials to discuss the cases.

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